This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mott’s®.
I can get caught up in the day-to-day of life. Some days just seem to be the same, one right after another. Wake up, feed the kids, do an activity, feed the kids, get them to take naps, feed the kids again. When you’re looking at the days like that, you forget how much incredible development and growth is actually happening around here.
And then all of a sudden I realize – I have a toddler. A toddler who is almost ready for preschool. It’s a lot to take in. I feel like he was born just a few months ago. (Oh wait, that’s his little brother. Holy cow.) All of a sudden he is putting together puzzles and complete sentences. He sleeps in a “big boy bed”. He’s identifying letters and telling me what he needs. As in, “I need a cookie,” “I need to watch a show,” and my favorite, “I need money.”
As much as I wish I could just press pause and keep him at this stage for a long time, he won’t stay little forever. He’s already grown so much. I can’t resist it, as much as I want to. But I can help him prepare for what’s ahead by helping him recognize how he is growing, and give him the chance to be a little more independent.
There are a few ways to help your toddler feel more grown up. Here are some of the things we’ve been doing around our house:
1. Give certain options and let them make choices. When they are babies, they obviously can’t make decisions on their own, so you do it for them. When they’re older, they have the capability, but honestly, sometimes it’s still easier and faster to decide for them.
We like to give Theo a few options to choose from and let him pick. This includes simple things: the shirt with bugs on it, or the shirt with trucks? The “Llama Llama” book, or the Cranky Bear book? A banana, or applesauce?
In the battle of the fruits, applesauce typically wins for my kid. Mott’s recently came out with an unsweetened applesauce variety, of which I’m a fan. I’d rather not add any sugar – this boy has enough energy as it is. And it comes in pouches (for the win!) so we can easily pack and eat them on the go.
2. Give them opportunities to help. This is a great age to try things like throwing away trash (you know, things that don’t make a huge mess, things like granola bar wrappers and papers). Also, it’s a great chance to teach them how to clean up after themselves, things like toys and crayons.
3. Celebrate milestones and victories. We love to applaud Theo when he finishes a puzzle, colors a picture, or does a good job of listening to directions. In my mind, I definitely want to reinforce good behavior, but I also want to encourage him in his accomplishments.
4. Set age-appropriate consequences. I think it helps my little develop boundaries and learn the difference between right and wrong, and safe and unsafe, by giving consequences when needed. It’s different for every family and varies by situation. For example, time outs are a pretty effective option for us. Also, logical consequences, like that he doesn’t get to move on to another activity until he has cleaned up from the previous one.
5. Play and discover on the go. Since he is learning so much, I try to take the opportunity to practice while we go. For example, if he spots a truck, I’ll ask him what letters are on the side. Or what color the truck is. It’s not a big deal, and we don’t do it all the time. But I enjoy seeing him figure things out for himself and test out what he’s learning.
6. Point out ways that they are getting bigger. This is a little easier now that Theo is a big brother. We point out how he can do things that his little brother can’t. We show him how Little Brother is wearing his old clothes, because he doesn’t fit them anymore. And we can chart his growth and show him how tall he is.
Apples have been a first food for both my kids, and applesauce is still a staple for my toddler. Sometimes he even gets apple juice, too. My goal is for them to be healthy, and applesauce is a great source of fruit and vitamins, so I’m happy when he picks those out to snack on.
This year, Mott’s and Walmart are teaming up to offer growth charts for kids and their families. The chart is a sticker that attaches and easily peels off the wall. You can mark on it to show your child how much they have grown, and they can keep track too. Theo liked comparing his height to the animals that are on the chart.
It’s easy to get your own chart. Just pick up $10 worth of Mott’s apple juice from the juice section, and/or applesauce from the apple/fruit sauce sections of Walmart. Next, register for the offer on www.Motts.com/Walmart. Finally, upload receipts from now- 9/15/2017. Your growth chart will be on its way to your house once the receipts have been verified.
What ways do you help your child feel grown up? Do you remember any ways your parents helped you feel grown up?