I once read a quote that went something like this: “Being a parent is hard, but so is being a kid.”
Look at it this way: How would YOU like the rug pulled out from under you on a regular basis as you are expected to move out of your cozy bed, switch where you normally sit to eat, even give up some comfort items?
Welcome to the world of a toddler.
Even the most docile kid will often balk at a change in his routine, but with a few tips, a flexible approach and a positive attitude, parents can help ease the transitions in a toddler’s life.
When it’s time to ditch the bottle, it’s best to do it slowly. Letting your baby hold a sippy cup with water from the time he’s a few months old will help him get used to cups. At first he will probably just bang the cup around, but eventually he’ll discover that he can drink from it.
When you feel he’s ready, start with substituting a cup for a bottle at one feeding time. Many parents find that first thing in the morning is easiest, when your child is hungry and might not care what container his milk is in. Gradually replace one bottle at a time until your little one has successfully made the transition to cups.
The bedtime bottle will likely be the hardest to replace. One solution is to put milk in a cup and water in a bottle and offer both to your child; he will likely choose the cup with the soothing milk. Extra snuggles and kisses go a long way in easing this difficult transition out of babyhood!
Oral gratification is instinctive and helps calm us. It’s why babies suck their thumbs or use pacifiers and why adults snack or chew gum. It’s tough behavior to change, but prolonged pacifier use can add up to huge orthodontic bills later in life.
According to the American Dental Association, "Children who continue to use pacifiers past the age of 3 show a higher prevalence of altered dental arches and abnormal lip and cheek mobility compared to those who never used a pacifier."
Belton mom Cara had a unique solution when she helped her daughter give up her pacifiers: they visited Build-a-Bear, where her daughter put her last binkie inside her new bear before the animal was sewed up. She named her bear Binkie.
Cara and her daughter also attended a Pacifier Party, where children tied their binkies to balloons and sent them to the man in the moon.
High Chair to Booster or Chair
Although the age varies, most kids will give parents a clear indication when they are ready to move out of their high chair, such as undoing the buckles, climbing out and refusing the high chair in order to sit at the table with the rest of the family.
If you feel your toddler can safely sit at the table, go ahead and make the switch. If your child likes to explore rather than eat, lead her back to the table and say, “If you want to eat, stay in your seat.” Boredom will soon set in, hunger will prevail and she will soon be sitting at the table with the grownups.
Tisha Foley’s two kids are past the toddler stage but still face transitions on a regular basis. They make their home in Belton.