Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WFMW: The Toddler Edition

Anyone who has ever read this blog knows that I have a toddler. Her name is Wendy, and as of yesterday, she's 17 months old. She is my biggest source of joy, and my biggest source of frustration. She was an early walker, taking her first steps at 10 months, and hasn't stopped walking, running, or climbing since. Developmentally, she's ahead in the motor skills department.

However, she's a tad behind in the verbal development department. She understands most of what we say, and that's great. The problems come when she really wants to make her own opinions or desires known. She tries, and points, and says, "Di?" When we don't immediately respond in the desired manner, she gets frustrated, and can throw a fit of frightening proportions.

Don't get me wrong, she does say words, real, recognizable words - but only maybe 10. So as you can imagine, there are many situations for which she just doesn't have words.

Here are some things that have helped us cope with young toddlerhood:

1. Sign language. Wendy doesn't know much, but she knows some key signs - more, all done, milk, bye-bye. These are simple to learn, and have helped tremendously, especially at meal time.

2. Being firm. Even though she gets frustrated when she can't communicate with us, we've been trying to teach her that throwing a fit is NOT the answer. Throwing the fit will only get you ignored, or worse, put in time out. She can calmly try to get our attention and try again, either with signs or with toddlerspeak.

3. Distraction. When she's just being a bear, and insisting on her own way (whatever that is at the time), I can usually distract her fairly well. I get her baby doll and a book, and I sit in the rocking chair and quietly read to the baby doll. By the end of the first page, Wendy is beside me, listening and looking at the book.

4. Letting her help. She's already a big "helper." She tries to help me unload the dishwasher, and put the groceries in the pantry. This helps her feel big, which is a big deal for budding Miss Independence.

5. Letting Daddy step in. Sometimes when Wendy is pulling out her Toddler Princess attitude, all it takes is a word from Daddy to turn things around. I don't know why, but a Daddy's displeasure is much more powerful than Mommy's scolding!

These things may not work for your toddler, but they work for mine! Do you have any other suggestions I should put to use?

Head over to Rocks In My Dryer for more great tips!


We are THAT Family said...

We just started a baby sign language class at the YMCA. My baby has got 'more' down is constantly asking for well, more. It's better than screaming!

Eenigenburg said...

We learned about using sign language with babies when we were expecting our first, Miss M (now almost 2). It was wonderful!! We were so proud when she would sign and we had almost no tantrums!! I must admit that as her verbal skills improved, we got away from it, but we're picking it back up again for Mr J (almost 4 months). Although, even still, just a signed "no" or "careful" keeps her behavior in check when we're out and about or visiting friends. Good luck!

Nichole said...

Piper started talking about the time that I first started considering baby sign language, so we never pursued it. Since then, though, she's picked up a few signs from a Baby Einstein DVD ("Baby Wordsworth").