Lighthouse Thoughts

Parenting A Toddler

Approximately forty percent of all children adopted are toddlers between the ages of one and four. Adopting a toddler is not the same as adopting an infant or newborn.  Parenting techniques will be different depending on whether you adopt a younger or older toddler. His life experience and developmental level; not chronological age, will determine what strategies work best for him.
    Children; who have missed important developmental stages, may respond faster to parents and establish stronger bonds for forming attachment, when regression techniques such as bottle feeding a toddler who can drink from a cup are used. Children may need to be taught to play, eat properly, or to relax.
  Many toddlers who have spent time in an institutional setting will have developmental delays, fine or gross motor skill delays, or emotional or social delays. Speech delays are the most common.  A widely accepted calculation used to estimate developmental delays for children in orphanages is a one month delay for every three to four months in an orphanage. Using this equation, a 36-month-old child may be at the developmental equivalent of 24- 27-month-old. Most parents report that during the child’s first year in their new home that they experience catch up growth, improved coordination and cognitive development. 

Parenting Tips for Toddlers 

1.      Acknowledge that early days together can be very frustrating, keep temper in check.
2.      For older toddlers, learning simple phrases in the child’s language can be very beneficial. 
3.      Determine causes of anxiety. Something easily overlooked such as a doll with eyes that don’t close, monster toys, or even buttons
4.      Snuggle and hold often.  If they are hug resistant, start slow with simple non-threatening moves, while you establish trust.
5.      Don’t confuse transitional issues with attachment disorder.
6.      Join a post adoption support group.
7.      Use natural consequences and attachment parenting techniques.
8.      Don’t leave your child to “cry it out” When he is upset, he needs to be comforted.
9.      Establishing a daily routine will help your child feel more secure. 
10.  Feed when hungry. For children with food insecurities, try leaving healthy snacks in a convenient and easy to reach location. 
11.  Use time in, not time out.
12.  Interact and spend as much time with your child as possible. Limit television and avoid solitary activities. 

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