How to Play With a Toddler

As parents or adults we might view play as just plain ‘playing’ as far as toddlers are concerned. But, for toddlers, playtime is a serious ‘work’ where they are picking up and honing a lot of new skills, developing creativity and imagination too. It could be something as simple as tugging onto a truck or stacking blocks on top of each other but any kind of play is special. Play time can be made even more special by spending quality time with your little munchkins and helping them learn and explore via activities.

Following suggestions will guide you to make playtime more special and meaningful.

Pointers on how to make playtime more meaningful

  • Choose an apt play area

The play area has an equally important role to play as the object of play itself. An open, child friendly space, with no other distractions and safe to run around or enjoy activities, is ideal.

  • Take things slowly and let your child lead you

It is best to let your little one take the lead after you have given him or her any toy to play with – how to hold it, what to do with it, which is the right side, how to maneuver the toy should be left to the child to explore. You can show him once how it is to be done and then let your child take the lead. Also, do not rush him or her into showing what the ‘right’ thing to do is or how to play with the said toy. Instead of doing things for the child, he is more likely to learn by trying to do it by himself. You can help out by showing them once how to play with the particular toy or help them out when stuck. This will prevent frustration in the kid. However, the help should be limited to only that much, else it will interfere with their learning and exploring process.

  • Be quick to decipher your toddler’s signals

Toddlers have a limited concentration and attention span. Playing with the same thing for long can lead to frustration in them and eventually maybe a tantrum. So check out for the tell-tale signs, in the form of facial expressions, sounds or certain gestures. In order to avoid a tantrum, you can quickly wind-up the given game or switch to something else beforehand upon noticing the familiar signals. This will also help you understand which toy or activity your child prefers more over the others.

What kind of toys or activities to pick?

There are a variety of toys, games or activities to choose from to play with your young one. But while choosing one, you can think if it will enhance the toddler’s fine motor skills, gross motor skills, or visual development, or sensory development. Also, check if it encourages their creativity and imagination skills. The play might help with their physical development or introduce them to the world in general and teach skills like how to interact with others.

So, choose messy play, water play, singing, scribbling, stacking, pulling and pushing- your child is learning while playing with anything. A key point to remember is to be ready for repetition as toddlers love to do the same thing again and again until they master it.

Caring For Your Toddler’s Nails

Toddler Nail Trimming

Good nail hygiene is an important part in rearing your toddler. Despite having tiny adorable fingers, the nails on them do grow fast, and can easily scratch. There is also the risk of infection that they introduce as fingernails, which are known to hide dirt. Caring for your toddler’s nails is an easy part of parenting, and one that is easy to learn for those who have had their first child.

Some Key Points

There are some points that are worth highlighting beforehand

  • Trimming nails is essential in the best method of preventing in-grown nails. These are as uncomfortable for toddlers as they are for adults, and prevention is always the best.
  • Nails are easiest to cut or trim right after a bath. Warm water does make the nails a little less rigid and a little more flexible so that they are easier to deal with.
  • You should not bite your toddler’s nails down. It might seem the road of least resistance when it comes to nail care, but this carries its own set of risks.
  • Nail care, if for no other reason, should be done because its results are aesthetic.

Toddler Nail Trimming Tips

Toddler Nail Trimming

It is important to have some kind of frequency for trimming their nails- once a week is considered as ideal by most of the parents. Nails grow at some predetermined rate, and after a week, there is enough new growth on them to necessitate trimming. This is for fingernails. Toenails grow more slowly so once every two weeks should suffice.

A nail clipper is the ideal tool for trimming nails. It should be blunt, and have rounded edges. Clippers with sharp edges and scissors are riskier to use if you have a child that cannot sit still. Forego the use of these until the toddler is no longer in infancy, and has the patience to allow you to trim without moving around.

Nail clippers might be a bit intimidating to your toddler at first, so allow them to watch you use them on yourself and other members of the family. This will wear down any worries they have, and they will become more receptive to their use.

If you have to play games with them as they eat, bath or relax, there is no need to stop now. Invent a silly game that will trick them into letting you trim the nails, each finger at a time. This is not manipulation, it’s simply good parenting.

Nail Care

Good nail care extends past the trimming. There are a few more things you can do to ensure your toddler’s nails remain strong and healthy.

  • Wash your toddler’s hands often especially if they grab things, or interact with a lot of people.
  • Some lotion or moisturizer applied to the nails following a bath goes a long way in maintaining healthy cuticles.
  • Hangnails should be cut with a clean clipper.
  • Any infected nails should warrant a visit to the doctor. The affected hand should be soaked warm salty water as it will reduce the number of germs before treatment becomes available.