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Your toddler now
You may be wondering when to step in and discipline your child for a particular misbehavior. Your toddler is beginning to develop a sense of what's okay and what's not. Much of her "naughty" behavior is not intentional defiance. She's testing your limits to better understand what they are.
Sometimes it's simply curiosity: "Mommy said not to play with the DVD drawer – did she really mean it?" Or "I'm not allowed to throw peas off the highchair, but what about crackers? What about milk?"
Be calm and matter-of-fact as you guide behavior, but don't look the other way when you disapprove. If your expectations are clear and consistent now, your child will grow up more secure, obedient, and happy.
My daughter only used her pacifier for sleep. Recently she started wanting it while she was awake and actually walked around calling for it, which she had never done before. Sure enough, three molars are coming in! Now it makes sense that she wants her binky more often. I'm going to let her keep it until the teeth come in all the way, and then we'll toss it.
Gentle bedtime routines
Bedtime will go more smoothly if you establish a routine your child can count on. A good bedtime routine is long enough to ease your child into a relaxed state, but not so long or complicated that it's a chore for you – or impossible for a babysitter to replicate. Twenty to 30 minutes is a good length of time.
Include more or less the same elements in roughly the same order every night. For example: A small snack, a bath or a quick cleaning of hands and face, get into pajamas, brush teeth, read a book or two. A cuddle and a kiss, and you're done. Other options include saying goodnight to a few stuffed animals or singing a lullaby. Ideally, you'll find a routine that works for your child (and for you) – and stick to it.
Skip the roughhousing. Your goal is to gently wind your child down, not rev her up.
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