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Easing Into Toddler Transitions

Easing Into Toddler Transitions

Easing into toddler transitions can be difficult for toddlers and parents. It is so important to go at the pace of your own child’s development. Try not to compare your child’s milestone timing to other kids' timing, as each child is so different. Children will complete these transitions at various times and that is okay.

Some of these toddler transitions range from weaning from a bottle to a sippy cup, going from the crib to big kid bed, diaper to training pants to underwear, staying home to starting preschool, needing help getting dressed to getting dressed all by him or herself, and needing help eating to being able to use utensils and completely feed him or herself.

Toddler Development and Transitions Tips and Tricks

No matter what the toddler transition, they are all exciting moments to be encouraged and celebrated. Some may be more challenging than others, but if you follow the following plan, you (and your toddler) will have success.

  • Be consistent: It's important to develop a plan for your toddler and for parents to get on the same page. It’s a great idea to have all caregivers keep the same rules and routine. This will help to avoid any confusion for your toddler and make the transition easier to grapple with and eventually achieve.
  • Encourage: Reading an encouraging book on the topic or telling a story can be a great tactic. This can be very comforting to toddlers and give them some extra knowledge and confidence that will empower them to accomplish these various milestones.
  • Have rewards: Make sure to praise toddlers when they are doing well and having success. Offer hugs and kisses, stickers, or a small token that helps to reinforce that they are doing a good job.
  • Anticipate conflict: It can be very helpful to try to anticipate triggers or issues that can upset your toddler.
  • Ignore: Minor undesirable actions often aren’t worth your energy, so learn to ignore those.
  • One at a time: Choosing your battles can be essential to getting through this toddler transition time. I recommend choosing only one behavior to modify at a time. It makes the process less overwhelming for you and your child.
  • Role model: Your child watches your behavior and likes to follow your lead, so demonstrate good behavior, respect, and love to those around you.

Adapted from Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents’ Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers by Tanya Remer Altmann, M.D., F.A.A.P. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009).

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