Parenting is the most rewarding job a person can have, but it does not come without challenges. From the first minute your little bundle of joy is placed in your arms, until the day you die, you are responsible for another human being. This thought can be overwhelming, and more than a little bit scary.
I’ve never met another parent who felt that they had it altogether and couldn’t do any better than they are already doing. Everyone feels that there is room for improvement in their parenting skills and they wonder how other people handle the same problems they are currently facing. But every time you ask someone new, you get a totally different answer than you did from the last person. Parenting is not one size fits all. And it seems that out of all the years you spend parenting, there are none are filled with so many challenges than the first five.
In the first year your infant will go from being a newborn who can’t even hold their own head up, to a crawling (and sometimes walking) toddler who is no longer eating nothing but milk, but table foods as well!
In the next year, your toddler will hit the “terrible two’s” which in case you are wondering do not simply go away the minute he hits three. Whoever coined the phrase “terrible two’s” was dead wrong! It should have been called “terrible two’s, three’s and sometimes even four’s”! But don’t panic over these years. You’ll learn to deal with your child’s meltdowns in no time flat, and it trains you for their teenage years when the tantrums return big time! During this year you will also begin potty training your toddler and watch him begin to grow more dependent. With this independence comes separation anxiety as well, as he struggles between wanting to do things on his own and still wanting to be close to you at all times.
By age three your toddler will begin to want to do new things on his own in a big way, so it’s important to keep a close eye on him right now. He will get frustrated easily when he can’t master things on the first try, but it’s also a great time to teach him patience as he tries again and again.
At age four your toddler may now begin preschool and the separation anxiety may return as he experiences this new independence in a big way! But some toddlers go the opposite direction and can’t wait to get out on their own. Although it’s going to be hard if he doesn’t seem to miss you, it’s important to promote this independence and don’t hold him back, this will make a huge difference for both of you when he starts kindergarten the following year!
Age five will bring lots of new experiences, kindergarten, new friends, play dates and if he is ready, maybe even sleepovers! This is an exciting new time for both you and your child, so as he enters the big kid world, relax, have fun and remember that the hardest years are now coming to a close!
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