Learn everything you need to know about your 30 month old toddler. Track important developments and milestones such as talking, walking, growth, memory & more.
You don't need to enroll your toddler in finishing school to teach her good manners. Proper behavior isn't always expected of a tot (far from it!), but there's no better time to reinforce appropriate social behaviors with your little one. She doesn't need formal lessons -- she needs a good role model and plenty of direction from you.
Above all, remember that you set the example for good manners. When your child observes you being polite, she's more likely to do the same, so watch your Ps and Qs. You can also enlist the help of toddler-friendly characters in books or through music or short DVDs to explain the importance of using manners. (To save time, ask the children's librarian for material for you on your next library visit.) Perhaps the most common place to work on manners is at the dinner table. Start with the basics -- saying please and thank you. Be sure to praise your tot when she chews with her mouth closed (even if just for a moment!), says please and thank you, and doesn't talk with macaroni and cheese in her mouth. Gentle reminders of good table manners will help your child, over time, to show proper etiquette during mealtime. Of course manners also involve demonstrating kindness (or at least civility, in a toddler's case) to others. This means hitting, biting, and pushing are not polite, and instead sharing and speaking nicely are acceptable. Realistically, these unpleasant behaviors should improve as your tot matures, but it's important you are instilling in your child now what is socially appropriate, even if she's not quite ready to share and hug her 2-year-old playmate.
You needed a car seat to bring your child home from the hospital, and when she outgrew it you bought an age-appropriate, forward-facing seat. Maybe you even visited a child-safety technician to help you properly install the new seat (good for you!) and feel confident that you've covered your bases for minimizing your tot's risk of being injured or killed in the car.
But have you?
Even a responsible parent might be surprised to find she's putting her child (and potentially herself) at risk with other, seemingly innocuous driving habits.
Consider what's on the seats and floor of your car. An overstuffed diaper bag, a small umbrella, heavy library books, or your gym duffel -- all can become missiles during a sudden stop or a car crash with potential to seriously injured. Be sure you secure loose cargo and stow smaller objects in the glove compartment or under the seats.
Next, check your windows. Toggle and rocker window switches in cars can be deadly for little kids. Imagine a tot who climbs out of her seat to put her head out the window and call to you. If she puts her knee on the power switch and the window goes up, it can crush her airway. Find out what type of switches your vehicle has and take steps to minimize switch hazards (such as controlling windows only from the front and always knowing where your passengers are before raising or lowering windows).
Wouldn't it be amazing if you could bottle your toddler's energy and use some of it for yourself? Taking care of an active little kid is a big job, and when your toddler's on the go, you might just want to go to bed! Short of draining cup after cup of coffee throughout your day, what's a mom to do to keep herself moving?
Exercise! Surprised? Exercise is a great tool in helping busy moms boost their stamina. It might seem funny to think you have to expend energy to get more energy, but when you take care of yourself you'll feel better and be stronger to meet the day's challenges head-on. The key is finding a fitness plan that works for you and sticking to it. Remember, getting in shape or increasing your fitness level doesn't have to be time-consuming or difficult.
Don't get hung up on when the optimal time is to exercise is. If you have a lunch break during work hours or when your husband is home for lunch, sneak in a quick workout or walk. Schedule activities with your child that will get you moving: Walk to the neighborhood playground, head to the zoo, or even stroll around the mall if the weather is bad. If you're home during the day, get up early for a jog or do a yoga DVD while your toddler is taking her nap.
If you just can't get motivated at home, consider joining a gym with a good-quality child care program. Odds are your toddler will have fun playing with new toys while you take advantage of a morning spin class. A workout buddy also helps you continue your fitness plan. Having a friend to hold you accountable keeps you on track (and besides, it's fun to socialize too)!