“What to Expect the Second Year” excerpt “Your Toddler, Decoded”

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I hope you all saw the great giveaway I am hosting of a “What to Expect the Second Year” gift basket. The book is in stores TODAY. Below is an excerpt from the book called, “Your Toddler, Decoded”. I hope it gets you excited for this book.

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Your Toddler, Decoded
From “What to Expect the Second Year”
By Heidi Murkoff

Behavior:
Cheerios need only apply.

Explanation:
Variety may be the spice of life–but not for comfort-craving toddlers. The more things change, the more toddlers hunger for the same-old-same-old, and for most, that goes emphatically for food.

Solution:
Let picky toddlers pick. Offer only healthy foods–and keep healthy foods in the house–and your picky eater can’t help but pick healthy choices.

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Behavior:
Veggie is a four-letter word.

Explanation:
Besides the obvious control issues (“You want me to eat my vegetables, Mom? That’s reason enough not to”), it’s a matter of taste–really. Tender toddler tastebuds are actually way more sensitive than grown-up ones, which means that broccoli really can taste yucky.

Solution:
Offer up those veggies (especially with dips–toddlers are huge fans of the dip), eat them yourself (tots love to model mom and dad), but don’t push the green agenda. Veggies don’t have a monopoly on nutrients–in fact, a juice slice of cantaloupe contains more vitamin C and vitamin A than a broccoli stalk. Sweet revenge for veggie haters! Ditto sweet potatoes.

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Behavior:
One bite of waffle and three blueberries pass for a meal.

Explanation:
Toddlers actually need to eat a whole lot less than parents think. A toddler portion of bread: ¼ slice. Egg: ½ of one. Fruit: 2 tablespoons. Plus, all those nibbles add up–look at what your toddler eats over a week, instead of scrutinizing lunch leftovers, and you’ll probably see that it all balances out.

Solution:
Don’t push membership in the clean plate club. Let your toddler eat as much or as little as he or she is hungry for–in other words, to appetite. And keep toddler portions tiny–just like that tummy. Your little one can always order up seconds, but heaping servings will only overwhelm (and probably get flung over the side of the high chair).

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Behavior:
Banging on everything

Explanation:
There’s a pint-sized percussionist in every 1-year-old. Making sounds is super satisfying–and making sounds loud enough to make a scene (or make Daddy crazy) is satisfaction plus-plus. Rhythm is rad to discover, too. Plus, when you have energy to burn–as every toddler does–banging does a bang-up job.

Solution:
Give your little drummer boy or girl plenty of appropriate opportunities to bang. Offer up the classic toddler drum set: a pot and a wooden spoon–then a metal one for your mini-metalhead to experiment with (it’ll make a different sound). Play music, too, and dance it out together. Redirect dangerous banging–glass coffee table comes to mind–immediately.

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Behavior:
Hitting

Explanation:
When you’re short on words (and just plain short), hitting says it all. Like “Move it buddy–you’re in my way!” or “I’m so frustrated, I have to slug someone!” or “Hand over the toy, and no one gets hurt … oh, wait, too late.” Since toddlers have little concept of other people’s feelings, hitting isn’t malicious at this age –when tots hit, they’re just expressing themselves, communicating one of the few ways they know how. Primitive, but surprisingly effective.

Solution:
Just because hitting is age-appropriate and even understandable, it isn’t acceptable. So show your toddler how to express him or herself the civilized way–through words. Stop hitting immediately and firmly by saying “No hitting, hitting hurts.” Comfort the victim as needed, then move on to another activity.
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Behavior:
Impatience–I want it NOW.

Explanation:
Toddlers have no concept of time. For a 1-year-old, there’s no time but the present. Five minutes, later, tomorrow–it’s all a confusing blur.

Solution:
Keep wait time to a minimum when you can. When you can’t, make the waiting more concrete and manageable by setting a timer your tot can watch tick. Make longer waits more tangible, too: “We’ll go to the playground after lunch.” Distraction’s a handy card to play, too, since toddlers are still highly distractible.

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Behavior:
No, No, No … negativity

Explanation:
First the physiology: It’s easier for a toddler to say “no” than “yes” and it’s easier for them to shake their head “no” than to shake it “yes.” Second, the psychology – that is, the mom and pop psychology. “No” speaks volumes about your toddler’s emerging sense of self. It says “I’m the boss of me–and the boss of you, too, whenever possible.” “No” is powerful stuff for someone who essentially wields no power.

Solution:
Choose your battles. Let your little one hold sway over the choices that don’t much matter (like rejecting the sweater you picked out for one of her choosing), but don’t take “no” for an answer when it comes to issues that aren’t open to negotiation (like car seats and holding your hands on the sidewalk). And be clever with your questions–avoid those that can be answered with a “no” (like “Do you want to go to bed now?”).

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Behavior:
Bedtime battles

Explanation:
It’s hard to brake for bedtime when you’re an Energizer Bunny, with so much to do, explore, discover, and make a mess with. Plus, transitions of all kinds are tricky for toddlers–especially a transition that has you going from awake (running around, playing, having fun) to asleep (lying down, in the dark … bummer).

Solution:
Apply the brakes gradually, rather than expecting your tot to go from 60 to 0 in a matter of minutes. Build a predictable bedtime routine that relaxes, soothes, and gradually unwinds your toddler–and eases the transition from awake to asleep. Include a warm bath, a light snack that combines protein and complex carbs, cozy cuddles and storytime, and a consistent, comforting goodnight ritual.
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Behavior:
Night waking

Explanation:
All of us wake during the night, but the trick (for a toddler) is learning how to fall back asleep without help from mommy or daddy.

Solution:
To help your toddler learn this invaluable life skill, consider sleep associations. However you want your toddler to fall back asleep during the night is how he or she should fall asleep at bedtime. Rock your little one to sleep, and she’ll expect that same crib-side service at midnight and 3 a.m. Have him fall asleep on the sofa or on your bed–and guess where he’ll want to return when he wakes up again?

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Behavior:
Tantrums

Explanation:
Tantrums are normal, developmentally-appropriate, an inevitable part of growing up–if you have a toddler, you have tantrums. They are a declaration of independence, an assertion of autonomy, a means of controlling a life that’s essentially run by much larger people, a form of communicating what words can’t yet, and a way of expressing some of the big frustrations faced by little ones.

Solution:
Head off as many tantrums as you can by avoiding triggers–like hunger, overtired, excesses of excitement, and too many frustrations and restrictions. When you can’t head off a tantrum, try distraction. Or ignoring it. Or a big hug. Keep your cool, because nothing fires up a toddler like a fired-up parent. And whatever you do, don’t give in to the tantrum. Cave, and you’ll be sending the message that the best way to get what you want is to kick and scream for it.

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Behavior:
Not sharing

Explanation:
To toddlers, there is no “yours, mine, and ours”–here is only “mine”: their only article of possession, and as soon as they master it, one of their favorite words. Just starting to grasp the concept of ownership, toddlers still haven’t figured out that it applies to anyone but themselves. Plus, hoarding is yet another way little ones define their identity (“I have, therefore I am”).

Solution:
Instead of pushing sharing, which will make your tot guard those toys more jealously, put that possessiveness in perspective (really, would you be that quick to loan out, say, your car?). Play sharing games at home (“I’ll let you look at my book. Then I will look at yours.”) And put special toys away at play dates so they won’t be grabbed by peers.
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Disclaimer- This post was not monetarily compensated. I want to share this book with you as I feel this is an important book for all families.
The above excerpt was provided by and used with permission by Workman Publishing