31 Month Old Child Development
Your Growing Baby
Preparing for a New Sibling
All his life your toddler has been your baby—right up until another little one comes along! If you're pregnant, you might be worried about your toddler's transition from being the youngest to being an older sibling. You might wonder when and how to tell him about the coming baby—and how he's going to react.
To start, it's important that you and your husband tell your kiddo the news—not friends or relatives. Be positive but avoid promises that the baby will be fun to play with, because honestly, that's not going to happen for a while and only sets your tot up for disappointment. Instead, point out infants at the store or park to your toddler and mention how they're small and do a lot of eating, sleeping, and even crying. Sometimes reading a book about being a big brother can help set expectations.
Your tot might express positive and negative thoughts about his coming sibling, and that's normal. Involve him in preparations for the baby so he feels included. Let him know he can talk to the little one inside you if he wants. Additionally, giving your youngster a doll will help him role-play being an older sibling.
As you near your due date, tell your toddler that you'll be in the hospital when the baby comes, and that he gets to sleep at Grandma's house. He might enjoy helping you pack your hospital bag and packing his own bag, too. Put a photo of you and your tot together with his things and above all, throughout your pregnancy and after childbirth, too, reassure your toddler that you love him to pieces and always will!
Health and Safety Info
A little kid can find a lot of joy in the beautiful outdoors: wide-open spaces, playgrounds, sandboxes, sprinklers, and even snow! Playing outside is a lot fun and a wonderful way to keep children physically active. Help keep it that way by taking the proper precautions and teaching your child outdoor safety rules.
Always let your child know the boundaries, whether it's in your own yard, the park, or a campground. And even though your kid might know where he's allowed to go, you still need to keep a close eye on him. Supervision is extra important if you're near a body of water. Never ever leave your child unattended near a swimming pool, and if you're at a home with a pool, be sure the entrances and exits are secure.
Protect your tot's skin (and your own!) with sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. There are numerous products formulated for a little one's sensitive skin.
If your child is zipping around on his own wheels or riding in a seat on the back of your bike, he must have a toddler helmet. Helmets can prevent serious head injuries and even death in case of a bike accident. Look for a well-fitting helmet that your toddler likes (because then he's more likely to keep it on).
Outdoor trampolines can be a real kick for kids, but they're inherently dangerous. Some trampolines are not intended for toddlers, so check the age recommendations before letting your kiddo bounce (and be sure you review other trampoline safety rules, too).
Handling Mommy Guilt
Moms tend to find guilt in all sorts of places, and those unhappy emotions and feelings of inadequacy often creep in from the day a child is born. The crazy thing is, if left unchecked these self-imposed guilt trips will continue throughout motherhood. Yikes!
It's time to stand up to the guilt, Mama, and enjoy being a mom instead of letting persistent negative thoughts tear down your confidence and crush your spirit!
When it comes to parenting, things often don't go as planned. Your child is his own (sometimes unpredictable) person with opinions and a personality that won't always line up with what you think is best for him. Accept that there is only so much you can do to teach your little one, and sometimes he acts undesirably.
If you find you're the one who's behaved poorly to your kiddo, apologize. Being forgiven can let you admit you're human but that you can move on from guilty feelings too.
Refuse to feel ashamed for taking time for yourself or for your relationship with your husband. Yes, you're a mom, but you're also a wife, daughter, friend, and a person with her own interests and needs—and that doesn't change just because you have a child. Show your toddler that you are a person of worth and he'll learn to respect you as more than just the fantastic woman who takes care of him each day.
Whether they're from your child, your mother-in-law, your sister, or yourself, don't let yourself go on guilt trips. You're parenting the best you can, and no parent is perfect, right? Listen to your own inner voice of reason. Constant second-guessing yourself is only hurting you and taking your focus and energy from what brings you joy in life.