Common Concerns during the Toddler Period
Promoting Toddler Development: Dressing
Some parents do not allow their toddlers to dress themselves. These parents need help to understand that when toddlers dress themselves, even though they invariably put shoes on the wrong feet, the child is developing his sense of autonomy. The nurse should encourage the parents to give up perfection for the purpose of developing the child’s autonomy.
Promoting Toddler Development: Sleep
As children grow older, the need for sleep gradually decreases. During the toddler period the child may start with a nap time two times a day and sleeping of 12 hours each night. However, the toddler period ends with this sleep pattern: one nap a day and only 8 hours of sleep each night. The parents should be educated about this decline in sleep pattern or they may view their child having disinterest in sleeping as a problem.
Bedtime routines are effective in putting a toddler to sleep. A bedtime routine may include bath, tooth brushing, pajamas, a story, being tucked into the bed, having a drink of water, choosing a toy to sleep with and turning out the lights. However, the parents must pay attention and caution of not allowing their child to maneuver them into such long procedure that results to delay in the sleep past the set schedule or time.
Promoting Toddler Development: Bathing
- Parents should make bathing time fun for toddlers by providing toy such as a rubber duck, boat or plastic fish.
- Toddlers can already sit in the bathtub. However, parents should NEVER leave the toddler unsupervised. The toddler may slip and get their head under water or reach and turn on the hot-water faucet and scald themselves.
Promoting Toddler Development: Tooth Care
- Instruct parents to offer fruits such as bananas, pieces of apple and orange slices and protein foods such as cheese or chicken to their toddler rather than high-carbohydrate snack items such as cookies. Fruits and high protein foods not only promote optimum nutrition but are also important in preventing dental caries by limiting the exposure of the child’s teeth to carbohydrate.
- Calcium should be included in the child’s diet which is found in large amounts of milk, yogurt and cheese. This mineral is especially important in the development of strong teeth.
- Toddlers should be given tooth brush and they need supervision in brushing their teeth until about age of 8 years old.
- A dental floss can be used after brushing to clean in between the teeth and remove plaque.
- Fluorinated water should be taken by the child, if available, so that all new teeth are formed with cavity-resistant enamel.
- By two and a half years of age, the parents should schedule the toddler for his or her first dental visit for assessment of dentition. Most children have fear going to the dentist. To prepare the child for this first visit and the subsequent ones the parents can do the following:
- Read a story to the child about a dentist
- Never using the words such as “drill” and “shot” and any negative words that might scare the toddler of visiting the dentist
- Maintain a positive attitude about the dental visit
- Answering the child’s question honestly without going into much detail