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Your toddler now
Encouraging the "inside" voice
Screaming is one of the less pleasant habits your toddler might develop. As with everything else in her life, she's constantly experimenting, and her voice is an instrument that can do all kinds of neat things. What's more, shrieking gets immediate attention.
Some kids condition their parents to give in to make the shrieks stop. To avoid that, explain that yelling hurts your ears. Tell your child that you can't respond until she uses a normal voice. But take care not to yell your instructions. You can also say, "That's your outside voice. It's okay to use your outside voice when we're playing at the park."
Show your child other ways to have fun with her voice, like whispering or singing. In fact, if you really want to get your child's attention, try lowering your voice to a whisper – it's even more powerful than raising the volume. It sounds not only different from the usual but special and secretive, and just might stop her in her tracks.
To encourage my late walker, I kneeled on the floor and stood him up an arm's length away from me. Then I let go and he'd take a step or two toward me and belly flop into my arms. Within a day or two, he was walking everywhere.
Toddlers are known for being finicky eaters, so save yourself some time and heartache by keeping meal preparation simple. Avoid coaxing your child to have "one more bite" or insisting she try a little bit of everything on her plate before releasing her from her high chair.
Do try to present a fairly good mix of foods at every meal. If you offer a variety of healthy options from different food groups, chances are your child will get all the nutrition she needs – even if she eats vegetables at one end of the day and grains at the other. More important than the nutrient mix at a given meal or even on a given day is what your child consumes over the course of a week. Given healthy choices, toddlers are naturally good at selecting the nutrients and amounts they need.
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