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Bonding, Toddlers 18 Months-3 Years

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To do list from the book Bright from the Start, Jill Stamm, Gotham Books

  • At special times during the day, take the time to hold and hug toddler.

  • Encourage skin-to-skin contact. Massage toddler on regular, daily basis (e.g., bath time, bedtime, etc.).

  • Extend touch routines like massage to engage in games like “drawing” on one another’s backs.

  • Consistently reassure toddler when having failures, setting limits, and clear expectations.

  • Differentiate between a serious cry for help vs. a small “ouch”.

  • Maintain routines established in earlier stages for gedtime, mealtime, getting dressed in the morning, etc. so that the toddler can anticipate what happens and knows what to expect.

  • Clearly state and even make list of routines throughtout the day while explaining why they are important.

  • Encourage toddler’s to explore a wide range of objects experiences (while ensuring toddler’s basic safety needs).

  • Resist temptation to over-schedule toddler’s time and slow activity level down periodically- less rushing calmer atmosphere.

  • Review and model expectations on a regular basis as needed for reminder and reinforcement; respond predictably when faced with recurring action by toddler.

  • Develope physical cue (e.g., bringing toddler’s arm in close to toddler’s body as in cocooning) that can signal the toddler and help to calm him/her.

  • label feelings, emotions and experiences as toddler’s behaviours change (e.g., “Are you feeling tired and sleepy now?” “You seem so proud of yourself.” “That is hard to do; it’s OK to feel frustrated.”)

  • Deliberately act positively with the toddler showing both love and concers (e.g., smile, hug, make direct eye contact, praise, and show pleasure and thankfulness).

  • Make rewards for favorable behaviour from toddlers less external (e.g., sweet foods or toys) and more internal (e.g. more story time and backrubs)

  • Begin to label, describe, and model some favorite rituals (religious, cultural, or family).

  • Establish habit of lap reading together. Turn TV off, especially during times together.

  • Deliberately look for child care that ensure low cild/caregiver ratios of; one caregiver to no more than three infants (and total maximum group size limited to nine); one caregiver to five or fewer toddlers; one caregiver to ten three-year-old (total maximum group size limited to twenty).


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