St. Louis, MO

Category: Toddlers

Learning the ABC’s

Alphabet books come in delightful sizes and themes. You can buy in cardboard and paperback books with themes of the ABC’s. But an additional experience and free is finding the alphabet in everyday print. Children first tend to become aware and learn capital letters. Capital letters are often more important and seen more are letters you find outside. Let’s take the ‘STOP’ sign at the end of the block. Ask your child what she thinks it says. Then touch the print and say, “This says Stop”. “S …T..O…P”.   Look for some other print and do the same thing.

Toddlers are Learning: Even with the Dog’s Water Bowl and the TV Remote!

Your child has an innate curiosity to explore and learn. Toddlers face a conundrum, stay next to Mommy or Daddy where it is safe or move away, crawling or walking to see something new. Usually the toddler chooses to move away, using those muscles and the new activity of crawling or walking so that she can understand the world around her.

Here in the US, we encourage our children to be independent. The act of crawling and walking is celebrated not only because of the new skill, but because with it we know comes more learning. As parents we might not always recognize the learning part, but it is there.

Leaving Your Child at a New Childcare Center

I was shopping yesterday, and met a young woman who was obviously worrying and upset. She had left her baby for the first time at a childcare center. Her child is nine months old, and she said, “I am sure he is okay. He went right into the caregiver’s arms”. Between her emotional response and her worried look, I am not sure she fully believed it. The hours were slowly going by at work.

Capturing Those Precious Moments with your Baby–Even in the Grocery

Precious moments with babies are fleeting.  As an early childhood specialist and a Nana of two young granddaughters, I wanted to shout at the young woman struggling with the 5 month old baby at the grocery store, “ Take a deep breath, slow down.  Don’t miss experiencing this with your child”.

I know it is a lot of work taking a baby to the grocery. There are many logistics. First, arranging to go between the window of finishing a nap and being fed.  Then the preparations: changing into a fresh diaper.  Taking; the baby front carrier pack, a bottle, small toy, a change of clothes, fresh diapers and wipes, plastic bags and the grocery list.

“Loveys and Security Blankets” Should Young Children Still Use Them?

Is your child making the transition to preschool or Kindergarten?  Should she take that dirty, scraggly blanket, stuffed animal?  Is it embarrassing to you?  Here is the ‘scoop’.

All of us need to be accepting of all security objects. And that ‘all’ includes moms, dads, siblings, extended family members and teachers!   As a director of a lab school and private childcare center, and as a teacher, I have seen a wide assortment of ‘loveys’: stuffed animals—horses, bears, Big Bird, comb, mother’s bracelet, dad’s key chain, dolls, books, blankets, sweaters, etc.. The most important thing about a security object is the the availability of the lovey and the adult’s acceptance.

Books for Infants and Toddlers

Black and White Illustrations—Excellent for newborns and Young Infants

Hoban, Tana. (1993). White on Black.  NY: Harper Collins.  

Hoban, Tana. (2007). Black and White.  NY:  Harper Collins.  (accordion fold out)


Pictures of Babies and Animals

Priddy Roger.  (2001).  Happy Baby Words.  NY:  St. Marin’s Press.

Priddy Roger.  (2001).  Happy Baby Colors.  NY:  St. Marin’s Press.

No Author.  (2006).   Colors.  NY:  Scholastic.

No Author.  (2004).  Animal Colors. Essex, Eng.:  Eagle Global Logistics.  (small size)

No Author.  (2004).  Animal Patterns. Essex, Eng.:  Eagle Global Logistics.

No Author.  (2004).  Animal Sounds. Essex, Eng.:  Eagle Global Logistics.

I-Pads and Potty Training: Have We Taken the Digital World Too Far?

Potty training and technology meet as CTA Digital has designed an I-Pad Potty. The potty chair has a stand for the I-Pad. And when your child advances to an adult-sized toilet there is an I-Pad stand.

My question is: are we taking the use of electronics too far? The American Pediatric Association has recommended no screen time for children less than two years old and limited time as a preschooler. So, you have to ask yourself is the technology that important and will it be used in the right way (I assume without parent interaction) to be included in the process of learning to use the toilet? I would suggest the answer is “no”—and the availability of the I-Pad is another way to keep the child occupied while on the potty. I see I-Pads used consistently to keep a toddler quiet in restaurants as the family waits to be seated and served.

When Does an Infant Become a Toddler?

When do I start calling a child a toddler? Professional groups and book publishers identify the toddler age in varying ways. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) uses these classifications: young infants (0 to 9 months), mobile infants (8 to 18 months), and toddlers (16 to 36 months) (

Child development books may refer to toddlers as beginning at 18 to 24 months (Santrock, 2009, Child Development) and other specialists offer the range as 12 to 36 months, (Raikes & Pope Edwards, 2009, Extending the Dance in Infant and Toddler Caregiving) or 16 to 36 months (Copple, 2012, Growing Minds). So, since there is no consensus on the age, we might consider a child a toddler by development.

Strong Attachment Relationships Have Large Benefits

Attachment develops throughout the infant and toddler years between children and primarily parents, but also grandparents, siblings, caregivers and others. This invisible bond develops as you touch and cuddle the newborn, and then progresses from comforting physical closeness to the baby’s emotional reliance. Attachment relationships are essential to providing the security needed for the child to later take risks in exploration as well as in motor development—crawling and then walking. For the child, security is her knowing that someone cares for her and will take care of her—she will be safe. These concepts are conveyed through our day-to-day interactions.
Secure attachment relationships influence their emotional and social development.

Toddlers and Sleeping: How to Have a Peaceful Bedtime

Children go through very normal fears and anxieties of sleeping, the dark, monsters, and nightmares.  And bedtime can become stressful for the entire family.

The ‘key’ to a peaceful bedtime with toddlers and preschoolers is a very predictable series of events.  For example,  a parent should tell her child that it is almost time to get ready for bed,  then offer a calm activity to do together such as working a puzzle.  It is critical to create and follow a bedtime routine:  these activities might be taking a bath, eating a light snack with milk, brushing teeth, toileting, and reading a book of the child’s choice.  Toddlers and preschoolers respond well to a routine and feel more comfortable knowing what is going to happen next.

Helping Toddlers Learn About Reading and the Alphabet

A love for reading begins with the parent matching the books to the child’s interests and level of development. Just as the child’s reactions to books changes—so should the selection of the books and the adult’s story reading behaviors.

The first experiences begin with the parent reading to the unborn child–the soothing tones and inflections do stimulate the baby.

Reading should occur everyday in the baby’s life. Tana Hoban has some wonderful books that are visually stimulating to the newborn—in black and white, with accordian pages that can be placed standing next to the baby (black and white contrasts are the most recognizable,  stimulating illustrations to babies).

Living with Toddlers

One of the first things to remember is that toddlers do not like change. Moms know that just trying to get a toddler to stop playing with a toy and go do something else can be a struggle. Toddlers are egocentric, so what they want and what they are doing are thinking and doing is “the only way to look” at the situation. With this caveat in mind, transitional warnings are greatly important. Even then, Moms know that crying and unhappy toddlers may still happen when a change occurs.