07 Mar Raising toddlers
“The First Life Crisis”? Questions about how to navigate your child’s transition from baby to toddler? We have many! We are lucky today to be asking child development and early parenting specialist, Mandy Richardson (Founder of Raise Toddlers), all of your top questions. With a Bachelor of Education, Masters in Child & Family Studies and currently completing a PhD in Respectful Parenting Methods, we figured who better to ask so continue reading for her advice and wisdom about ‘Raising Toddlers’!
Interview with Mandy Richardson from Raise Toddlers
1. What is the number one question you are asked about parenting toddlers?
I would say most parents will ask ‘Is it normal that…’
I think the shift from baby to toddler can feel both gradual & somehow come as a stark shock simultaneously!
Toddlerhood has been described as the first life crisis where our baby realises that they actually exist as a person of their own, chuck in there the leaps in cognitive, motor and language development and this steep curve in growth brings big emotions, push, pull behaviours & parents are wanting to know is this normal!
Yes, yes, it is!
2. Can you tell us about Active Vs Passive toddler activity and how these types of play affect a toddler?
Oh yes, I love this topic!
Active toys are toys that do all the work for the toddler. Think flashing, beeping, singing, moving toys that are battery operated. These toys may keep your toddler occupied and while I am not against them as such (especially at times a toddler may need to be passive for long periods like strapped in their car seat or on a plane) they essentially offer the toddler brain entertainment & render them passive.
On the other hand, a passive toy such as a Tupperware bowl, sticks they find outdoors or a ball require the toddler be active in order to engage with it. These objects only come alive with the toddler movement, intentions and actions.
These objects require the toddler’s brain to be active and therefore promote imagination, creativity, problem solving skills and bring a much deeper level of satisfaction too!
3. What are your favourite toys to recommend to parents, wanting to engage their children with active play?
Toys that are open ended and meet the natural urges that toddlers have. These natural urges are known as play schemas. When you understand these repetitive actions in toddlers and provide toys to meet them, toddlers tend to play more organically and independently. You can learn all about the toddler dev play schemas over at our website www.raisetoddlers.com.au
4. Why is my child hitting?
It is pretty common for toddlers to hit at some stage or another during this phase of development. This act is driven by their limited language, big emotions and impulsive brains. It is not mean spirited but rather an automatic act out of their control. All behaviour is communication. We always want to see a hit as a toddlers way of saying ‘help me!’. They need our help to stop. This means moving in close, calmly blocking a hit, acknowledging the feeling & validating what you think they might be trying to communicate while showing them you will not allow hitting. It takes patience and consistency for them to develop the skills to communicate in more effective ways.
5. What are the recommended screentime hours for babies, toddlers and young children?
The World Health organisation recommend no screen time under the age of 2 (except for video calls as this is considered interactive engagement)
The recommendation from 2 to 4 years is 1hr a day (less is preferred)
6. Finally, are there any common mistakes you see or pieces or advice you would like to offer our Rescueblue parents?
My best advice is perspective can make the world of difference to navigating toddlerhood. My phd research is all about parent reflective functioning and it boils down to how we perceive our toddlers and our role that can make a difference to how we experience this phase in terms of our stress levels and interactions with our toddler. Seeing their behaviours through the lens of development can really help and that is why we exist!
Our mission at Raise Toddlers is to help you help your toddler, while staying sane yourself so get in touch and check out our Raise Toddlers membership, online workshops and downloads x