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The Learning Curve: Help Your Toddler Beat Those Wobbles

Lots of kids have the odd hiccup when they start somewhere new. Here’s how to avoid that wobble turning into a ‘waahh!’

YOUR CHILD SEEMS UNHAPPY

It can take children a while to settle into a different routine. They’re learning new things, so they may get more tired. Because they are coming into contact with other children, they could also be picking up germs that make them feel out of sorts. Talk to the childcarer as soon as you pick up on this to come up with a plan together. ‘Also, what helps kids during this stage is parents showing that they’re interested,’ says Elizabeth. ‘Ask your child about his day. Put up his artwork when he brings it home and make a fuss of it. If your little one sees he’s doing things that impress his parents, it will help him feel more positive about his new experience.’

HE ISN’T SOCIALISING WITH OTHER KIDS

You can help by inviting other children to play at your house. ‘Becoming confident with other kids comes through sharing enjoyable time with them,’ says Dr Helen Likierman, co-author of Prepare Your Child For School (£10.99, Vermilion). If they don’t know each other well, don’t leave them to it while you have a coffee with the other child’s mum. Help them to have a good time together. Set up a shop where they both play at being a customer or create some fancy dress costumes. ‘You’re showing them ways of interacting that are fun for both of them and will also build confidence outside the home,’ says Helen.

YOUR LITTLE ONE ISN’T JOINING IN WITH ACTIVITIES

Find out what he isn’t engaging with. Is he refusing to join in when there’s singing? Or dancing? Chances are, the reason your child isn’t so keen on something is because he doesn’t know how to do it properly and he’s anxious he’ll get it wrong. Once you know which activity it is, give him the opportunity to do it with you at home. Also, try asking your childcare provider which songs they sing, so you can sing them together. Find out which music they dance to and play it at home. Have fun doing it together, so your little one relaxes and learns he can enjoy it.

HE IS HITTING OR BITING OTHER KIDS 

Try doing role-play with toys at home, as this can help your child think about the way he’s behaving. ‘Make his teddy hit a doll and show the doll reacting,’ says Helen. ‘Say to him, “This is what you did. How will this doll feel if she’s hit?” When he responds, ask more questions, like, “What could teddy have done differently?” If he’s not sure, make a suggestion.’ By doing this, you’re letting him understand why hitting someone is unpleasant and giving him the chance to think of other ways to behave.

OTHER CHILDREN ARE HITTING OR BITING HIM

This should be dealt with by your childcare provider. But, this time, they should be doing the role-play, not just with the child who lashed out, but also with yours. ‘This gives him the chance to think of reasons why another child might have acted that way, and what, if anything, he could have done to prevent it,’ says Helen. ‘This will also help him recognise that this behaviour is not good to copy.’ 


 
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