Toddler is the stage where the child begins to walk, talk and learn the use of motor skills. Children in the age group of 1-3 are considered as toddler and taking care of them is indeed a bit challenging. In the toddler stage, the child grows very slowly and also has a very low appetite but this is the most active stage of their life. Many physiological changes occur at this age, the brain develops up to 85% the size of adult, the heart rate decreases and breathing becomes slower. They start to teeth and by 3 years they will have the complete set of milk teeth.
As the brain is developing, the mental development is also taking place at a high phase in toddlers. They start to think, analyze and comes to know the right from wrong. The social behavior is also developing during this stage. Adequate care and loving environment is essential for their proper mental development. Playing with them, talking with them, making them do something creative like building a sand castle and reading to them at this age makes them more alert and helps in making their brain active. The emotional and social development also occurs at this stage, a happy home environment and a caring family is found to make them a confident person in the future.
The main concern with toddler is their diet. Most of the toddler refuses to eat one or the other food. The food they like today may not be the one tomorrow and most of the parents have to run behind them to feed them even a spoonful. This is the age where most mothers stops breast feeding, so the diet should indeed be healthy enough and meet their nutrition requirement. Most of the toddlers are fussy eaters, and about half refuses to take solid food. Calcium, iron, vitamins and minerals are all very essential at this stage; give them a variety of food to eat from. The calcium requirement should be fulfilled by giving them skimmed milk products, butter milk, yoghurt or cheese, anything will do. Toddler special health mix are available which is easily digested and contains DHA, an essential fatty acid and almost all minerals required for proper mental and physical growth of toddlers.
It is seen that most toddler refuses solid food as they were introduced later during infancy. Infants should be given solid, chewable food when they are about 8-9 months old. Trying all types of foods and flavors before their first birthday can reduce the chance of becoming picky eaters. A picky eater refuses to eat almost everything and their preference falls into a very small range of similar foods. This type of eating reduces the chance of getting the healthy diet as similar food have similar nutrient content and most often they can become anemic and unhealthy. Try including the food they normally dislike in their breakfast as most children eat well in the morning. Chop the fruits and vegetables very finely and include it in their favorite dish. Try to make the food interesting by present it beautifully and making it colorful. Try giving the food a new name like Little Becky's vegetable delight or something they would love. Make them drink a lot of fluid; this prevents dehydration and constipation in them. They can be given their glass of milk, juice and plenty of water. It is good to avoid sweetened drinks and soft drinks.
The parents should be careful about their diet and make them eat properly, but never force them to eat. And don’t be put off if they refuses to eat the complete portion you are trying to feed them as they knows when they are full and no one will starve themselves. Many parents serve an adult sized meal to children and expect them to finish it, remember, children can eat only less than half of what you eat. Try to make your little one eat them self, it will be messy in the beginning but they would learn to eat properly after some time, try to give them their milk or juice in a cup. This will make them feel grown up and they would try to eat more properly. Do be patient because you were just like them when you were their age.
The preschooler should be trained to do the things on their own. They have to do everything independently at school and no one can train any child in just two weeks before sending them to school. Potty training is also important; the nappy habit should be changed when they are 1-2 years of age. Treat them like a kid not like a baby cause only then they will be responsible at school.
Toddlers are often physically active, so there is no tension about their fitness. Some parents make their child watch something in the television so that the child sit quietly do not come in between the busy schedule. Making your child glued to the television can make them follow up that habit and may lead to obesity in coming years. So try to spend some active time with your little one; take them to a park or beach or for a walk to a nearby shop. This also helps them to make their muscles strong and fit. Try to keep them active but don’t overdo as they can get tired easily. The time spent together can help in developing the friendship and love between you and it can also provide a little work out for the parent.