Joining in with the big kids
Independence is coming fast now. With a little guidance, your child will be able to do all sorts of things for herself, from painting and crafts to playing active games with others kids. The first set of milk teeth will now be fully formed so it’s time to give up the pacifier to ensure healthy tooth and jaw development. This also makes communication easier. Walking and running begin to give way to two-wheel fun as well. From tricycles to balance bikes and trips with mum and dad on a baby seat, the world is opening up. Plus there will be lots more to learn and experience at kindergarten. You can also start teaching your child to swim now, if you haven’t already, and there are all sorts of creative activities to enjoy. Paints, paper and even pre-covered canvas are all cheap and great fun, as well as encouraging your child’s creative development.
Like the big ones
Supreme concentration is required for playing – you might even fail to hear Mummy calling out that it's time for bed.
It's all about being independent! I've long been able to do what Mummy and Daddy can, as long as someone tells me which hole in the T-shirt I should put my head through. And once that's been done, I'll unpack the paints and start painting my first works of art.
Saying bye-bye to pacifiers
With the third birthday comes the final farewell to the pacifier.
The set of baby teeth is complete. So that teeth and jaw can continue to develop healthily it is necessary for the child to give up their pacifier. As a matter of fact the sucking reflex is gradually weakening from around the second birthday when the toddler is learning to chew. Apart from this, little chatterboxes have less time to suck. Cheery chatter is only really possible without a pacifier in your mouth.
Some children find parting from pacifiers easy, others cling to the habit. It is not always easy to give up something you have learned to love. Parent's patience and creativity are required. Even if it's difficult: remain consistent. Cuddling gives a sense of security, games distract and days full of activity make falling asleep without a pacifier easier.
MAM Midwife tip
Midwives Marietta Cronjaeger and Gabriele Stenz about the best tips for giving up pacifiers:
- It's always difficult at first. But during the day it is easier to go without pacifier: picture books, outings or drawing are distracting and fun. Cuddling with parents is comforting.
- Pacifiers belong in bed only: In the first parting phase it is okay to have a pacifier to go to sleep. But after getting up the pacifier stays in bed.
- A suitable time for the final farewell is when the child is well and happy and no major life changes are expected.
- A new "going to bed" routine makes going to bed without a pacifier easier. How about a story or a song? If repeated every evening baby will quickly get used to the routine.
Coming off pacifiers can also be linked to a special event. Here are a few examples:
- The toddler gives all his pacifiers to a friend's baby. After all, the smaller baby needs them much more.
- A visit from the pacifier fairy: she comes in the night, takes all the pacifiers, but leaves an exciting present behind instead.
- A small arrangement with the shop assistant may be necessary for this: the toddler "pays" for the toy he has longed for with all his pacifiers.
Little sporting ace
Walking and running are no longer enough – a set of wheels is what's called for now. With a tricycle you can really fly round the corners. And when you get hungry, you can now sort yourself out almost without any help from Mummy and Daddy.
The third birthday is approaching! Isn't it incredible how many things such a young person has already learnt? And this is just the start of things. At kindergarten there'll be lots more exciting new things to experience.
Sport and child in harmony
Fancy going back to the sport you're used to? Or maybe you'd like to try something brand new? You can do both – with a child in tow.
Two to three-year-olds are already remarkably mobile. Just keeping up with them can be a sport in itself. But there are also other ways of keeping fit. For instance, you can try familiar sports in a new setting – for a change.
Standard sports, but suitable for kids
- Key requirements for cycling include a secure child's seat and a good helmet; opt for less busy routes on your first few rides. Confident parents can put their kids in a little trailer attached behind the bike, but be aware that the child's nose will then be at the same level as car exhaust pipes!
- Running: Great fun if the little ones enjoy sitting in a buggy and you've got a suitable model ("jogger").
- Inline skating is very similar to running in terms of how you can take your small child along, it's just faster. The movement of the skater has a calming effect on the child.
- Walking and hiking: With your child in tow, a real workout to quicken the pulse! The child should walk alongside you and let off steam on flat, short stages of a walk.
- Family yoga: Ideal because the little ones are still very agile.
- Dancing: Examples of courses on offer include belly dancing or creative dance for parent and child.
- Swimming: Not just in the form of baby swimming for the very smallest babies, but also suitable for two to three-year-olds.
- Gymnastics: Some studios and childcare facilities offer much more than just the usual "rolling around on a mat" in special gymnastics classes. Internet search tip: Enter "child gymnastics".
Canvas and brush in hand
Got a weakness for abstract art? Little artists are masters at this!
Every artist is a child, Picasso is alleged to have said. We say: Every child is an artist. Once they are two to three years old, little children are very good at painting and drawing pictures using brushes and pens. They love experimenting with paints and different materials. And what they come up with is often highly respectable.
Canvas, paint, brush, artist's apron, underlayment that can be wiped down – and off you go:
- Cheap, precovered canvas is available along with the rest of the equipment from hobby shops and art shops.
- Choice of paint: Acrylic paints are ideal for slightly older children – they are very bright, do not fade, are easy to apply with a brush and are water-soluble as long as they are moist. Smaller children should experiment first with the non-toxic finger paints which are easy to wash off.
- If a work of art is particularly good, you can have it transferred to a large canvas by a print shop. This is very trendy and makes a great gift!