Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Toddler Tips

Every now and then I run across something online that really makes sense and helps a ton in the raising of our toddler. Other times I accidentally try something that just happens to be a big hit with the little miss! Of course, there are countless other things that I try and don't really work or help. So, while I thought I'd share these recent tips that have helped me (oh, and okay, an excuse to post some cute pictures!), it's no guarantee they'll work for you... But parenting is often all about trying things until you find what works!

# 1 - Reading Time

This is my favorite new find. I've actually been able to complete a few books lately!

As a used-to-be-avid reader, I've struggled to find time to read since becoming a mom. For a while there was nursing time, but I knew with #2, that would probably be harder. Then I happened to read this post on a parenting blog I enjoy. The basic idea is that helping your children enjoy reading can be aided by them seeing you read. The mom writing the post has 4 children 10 and under, yet each day they have a time where they all sit on couches and read their own books together.

Hadassah used to sit at her shelf and literally "read" all the books for 30 minutes at a time, but lately that's lessened - perhaps because she got tired of looking at the same ones over and over! Having an excuse to sit down and read myself sounded pretty good, so I thought we would give it a try, thinking it would be a stretch for her to not want me to read TO her instead of next to her.

To my surprise, she immediately loved it! She even brings it up "reading time?" herself sometimes, and always makes sure I have my book before starting on hers. It's also helped teach some good things, like instead of her dropping her books on the floor when she's done (a bad habit she'd had) she's learned to carefully put them in a pile or give them to me if they're too big. I'm also teaching her to put them away when we're done, by having her carry at least one or two to the shelf while I do the others.

She usually easily lasts for 15 minutes (though there are rare cases she doesn't want to sit very long), and it's been really nice for me to actually get to read books I've had on the shelf for a while. It's really sweet to have that together time, too. It often calms her down, too, as we try to do it after her afternoon nap and snack. She doesn't always wake up in the best mood, but this time on the couch often helps restore the happy Hadassah. :)

I am careful not to let it replace the time I spend reading to her - nothing beats the feel of her curled up in my lap, interested in a story. But, all-in-all, this has been an awesome addition to our day!

#2 - Let her help

Dassah loves to help. If she sees me doing something at the counter these days, often she tries to push a chair over to stand up and help. Often that just means she wants to try and taste whatever it is I'm making, but I am trying to let her help when it's not dangerous or I'm not needing to finish quickly. And when getting chores done doubles as time together and "playtime" for her, it's a huge win all the way around!

I have to remind myself to keep trying again for things that were once impossible, as her abilities and understanding is increasing. There have been breaks in helping with dishes, for example, when every time it seemed to turn into a battle with her trying to hold the spout and spray water everywhere. There still are with cooking sometimes, when all she does is grab pieces of dough to eat (every now and then we have victory in her restraining her hands, at least for a few minutes!).

With the summer heat and the amount of times her clothes would get wet even with an apron on top, we just go with the diaper look for dishes helping. Her current like has been filling and pouring, be it bowls, cups, or spoons. She also has observed how I take things out of the big bowl of soapy water to rinse them, so she now often does it herself. Hasn't quite caught on that I usually scrub them before taking them out of the bowl, but so it goes. ;)

Snapping beans is one of her very favorite chores to help with. She will often go to the fridge and say "snap beans?" She's done it for months now, and will snap the whole bowl (I snap off the ends and then give them to her to break in half). I think it plays in to a toddler's love of taking things apart and tearing things up. ;)

She's very proud of her accomplishment when done, too. She'll pick up the pan and give them to me, saying "boil?" I've always loved snapping beans for some reason, and doing it with her just makes it more fun (not to mention gives me time to prep other food while she's finishing up!).

#3 Steam lettuce

This is her happy face after eating her third whole leaf of Romaine lettuce, torn up and lightly steamed! "More lettuce?" she kept saying, so I told her I'd be sure to make more for her next time!

She always really likes the Chinese lettuce we've eaten, but raw lettuce is never that appetizing. While I do want to make Chinese lettuce at home, Ryan and I eat salad daily. I try to steam vegetables for Hadassah (she's great at eating and enjoying most of them!) so decided to try throwing some spinach in for the last minute one time. She gobbled it down. I tried it with lettuce the other day, and she loved it!

Super easy to add to the end of what I'm already cooking, or to just boil water in the water boiler and pour it over lettuce, letting it sit for a minute. I'm happy to find a way that Hadassah can eat and enjoy these good-for-her greens!

So, there you go. No guarantee any of these suggestions will work for you, but I'm enjoying the happy toddler they (usually) help us have! Life with a toddler is (again, usually!) such a joy! :)

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