As parents we are excited when our children meet the simplest of accomplishments. Rolling over, first words, eating solids, crawling, and walking are all moments we celebrate as parents and use to measure our child's growth. Pediatricians assess cognitive and motor development by checking for milestones and these events establish a child's individual history. Other milestones feel important to parents simply because they signify achievements that assure us we are parenting appropriately.
Sometimes a parent's excitement for reaching a particular milestone can rush a child into a new situation that might not best suit him/her. The following information has been compiled to better inform the decisions you will make about certain milestones, which can vary greatly in their timing.
Turning the carseat forward. We have all wondered about our toddler being bored or uncomfortable with the recommendation that children ride rear facing until the age of two. The American Pediatric Association revised the recommendation a few years ago and while most states have not changed any laws regarding infant safety seats, the research continues to support that rear facing is in fact the safest way for your toddler to ride as a passenger in the car. If you would like to read more about this topic as you plan for adjusting your own toddler's seat click here.
Transitioning from a crib to "big kid" bed. Some of us are blessed with toddlers very content to sleep tight in their crib well up to their third birthday, while others have adventurous little ones eager to exercise their climbing ability by their second birthday. Either way, making the decision about when to transition to a toddler bed can be tricky and there is no special age when you should make this change. We are big fans of Dr. Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) and agree with his recommendation to let your child ask for a big bed. As long as your crib is large enough (and you are not looking to move your toddler due to the arrival of a sibling) take your time with this milestone. There is absolutely no rush and no toddler will be hindered because of sleeping in their crib a few months longer. In fact, you will have a better rested, better behaved child if you let this milestone approach naturally.
When to toilet/potty training. Unlike certain topics in child development, there is a general consensus when it comes to the topic of toilet/potty training. On the whole the recommendation is to wait until the child is ready to toilet training. How do you know when your child is ready? There are a variety of checklists available online, but the three main areas to consider are: 1) physiological development (bladder/bowel control), 2) the child's cognitive (can follow simple instructions) and verbal development (vocabulary), and 3) motor skills (can the child pull his/her pants up and down independently). A fourth consideration is the child's social and emotional development, and this is probably the most difficult to gauge. Most children toilet train between 22 and 38 months of age. As you can see this is wide range, so resist comparing your toddler against another and allow this process to unfold with your child's readiness. For more information on toilet training your toddler check out the following information from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has some great information for looking at the developmental milestones of a 2 year old, 3 year old, and 4 year old.
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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