Let your toddler help you in the kitchen. Be sure they are not near a hot oven or stove and move sharp or hot objects out of reach.
Give them a task that is safe and simple. Let them tear up lettuce leaves for a salad, peel the husks off corn, or stir water into pancake mix.
Talk with them about what they are doing. Ask questions about the food. What color is it? What does it feel like? Does it smell?
- What color is this lettuce? It is green! And the corn is yellow!
Talk about how eating different foods helps them grow strong and healthy.
All About Teeth
Here is a fun way to start teaching your child to take care of their teeth. You will need a child-size toothbrush. You can use child’s toothpaste without fluoride. Water alone is fine too. Look together in a mirror at your child’s teeth and talk about them. You might say,
- Where are your teeth? How many teeth do you have? Let’s count together!
Count the number of teeth on the top of your toddler’s mouth. Then count the bottom teeth. Ask your child some questions like,
- What color are your teeth? Are they hard or soft?
- What color is your tongue? Is it hard or soft?
Let your child feel a tube of toothpaste with the lid on. What does it feel like? Is it squishy? Hard? Soft? Then put a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. Help your child brush their teeth. Brush the top, bottom, inside, and their tongue. Let them rinse the toothpaste out with water. Talk about what teeth are for. Start with some silly ideas,
- Do I use my teeth to drive a car? No!
- Do I use my teeth to swing on a swing? No!
Help your child with the answers. Teeth help you chew, talk, and smile.
A Sunscreen Game
Make a game out of putting sunscreen on your child. Find a sunscreen that is made for children. Place a small amount on your child’s arm a few days before you plan to use it. Rub it in a small spot so you can be sure your child isn’t allergic to any ingredients.
Stand in front of a mirror where your child can see themselves. Put some sunscreen in your hand. Help your child put dots of it on your face and then on theirs. Talk about where you are putting it.
- Let’s put sunscreen on my nose.
- How about my cheeks?
- Great job! Now let’s put some on your nose!
Be sure to use sunscreen on their face, arms, and legs. Help them rub it in so that they don’t get sunscreen in their eyes.
Clean hands help to keep your toddler healthy. Germs that can cause illnesses, like colds and flu can spread to everyone in your family. Help your child wash their hands after using the toilet, before and after eating, coughing, or blowing their nose. This will be many times each day. Show them how to use soap and warm water. Sing the happy birthday song while they scrub so they will know they have washed their hands long enough to get rid of the germs!
Deep breathing is a great way to help your child calm down. And, it helps you calm down, too! Show your child how to take a deep breath by filling their belly with air. Have them put their hand on your belly as you take deep breaths. Count slowly to 5 breathing deeply after each number. Ask your child to show you how they can take deep breaths.
- I see your belly grow big when you take a breath.
- Let’s take a deep breath together.
Practice this with your toddler during happy play or quiet times. Then when you are in a stressful situation with your child you can Take 5 to help calm them. See if you can use deep breathing to calm your child when they are crying, being aggressive, or having a tantrum.
Let your child see you using this approach yourself. They will learn from copying you!