The Same Old Thing
Think of the things you do each day that are the same. These are the daily routines that help your child know what to expect. Here is an example of a routine you may be doing already:
- Take off your baby’s pajamas
- Put on a new diaper
- Give your baby a kiss on their tummy or tickle their feet
- Put on their clothes for the day
Maybe you walk or drive the same way to get to child care each day. Maybe you have a routine for meals, bath, and then bedtime.
Whatever you think of, make a habit of telling your child about each part of the routine as you are doing it. You might say,
- Now I tickle your tummy! Next, I put your shirt on over your head. Arm in the sleeves. Now I put your feet in your pants. And a kiss for your feet!
Playing Side by Side
Plan a time for your child to play with other children their age. Your one year old will probably play mostly by themself, but they are learning to be around others.
Let the children play side by side, each doing their own play. Have enough toys so that they can “share” with another child. Show them how to offer a toy to their playmate or ask if they want to borrow a toy. If the children want the same toy, or if a child does not want to share a toy, talk with the children about this. You might say,
- When Reece is all done with the toy, you may have a turn.
You can encourage your child to share, or you can explain to the other child that this a special toy and that you brought a different toy to share.
We Are Sharing
Help your one year old learn to share. Start with a snack you can eat together, like pieces of cereal. Give some to your child and have some for yourself. First give a piece of your cereal to your child, asking,
- Would you like a piece of my cereal?
- May I have a piece of your cereal, please?
See if your child will give you one of their snacks. Keep asking until they offer you one, or gently put one from their hand into yours. Say something like,
- Thank you! You shared your snack with me! That was so kind.
Once your child understands the idea of sharing, you might try this game with cars, blocks, and other toys.
Help your child learn to follow directions. Start with simple directions like,
- Please put the paper in the trash.
You may need to say your child’s name and repeat the direction so they know you are giving them a direction. If they need help, take their hand, and follow the directions step by step. Help them pick up the paper, carry it to the garbage and drop it in. When they complete the task, talk about what they did.
- You put the paper in the trash!
Think of what words your child knows. Do they know “shoes,” “apple,” or “ball?” Use these words in the directions you give them.
- Please bring me your shoes, Andres. Thank you! You brought me your shoes! Now let’s put them on.
As your child is closer to two years old, or older, they maybe be able to follow a two-part direction, like
- Please bring me your shoes and sit down.
A Safe Space for Big Feelings
It is common for one year olds to have tantrums. Help your child through their big emotions. Create a safe space for them like a bed or other spot with cushions or pillows where they cannot hurt themselves or others. Stay with them to help them calm themselves down.
You can also try to figure out what they are trying to say with their actions. Sometimes if your child is hungry, tired, or frustrated, they will be more likely to have and show their big feelings.
Your child is learning that they are their own person. They learn that they have their own desires which may not be the same as others! If your child kicks or hits when they are upset, they can hurt themself or others around them. Creating a safe space is important.