Q • We have an 18-month-old who seems quite curious about everything. He’s even saying short sentences, and his favorite word is “why.” Is he too young to grasp our explanations when we answer his questions, or should we just repeat ourselves? Also, what recommendations do you have to keep toddlers busy in a fun, educational way that will hold their attention and be beneficial?
From a reader • We have a 20-month-old who also asks “why” about everything. She started at around the same age as your son. We’re not sure if she completely understands our explanations, but it seems as though she might, at least for the most part. Our pediatrician told us to keep the explanations short and to perhaps consider using flash cards for our answers. This works pretty well and as she gets older, we add more words not only to the cards but also different ones. This is our third child so she already picks up a lot from her older siblings. The activities that hold her attention the longest are actually watching her brothers play and trying her best to be included. Although she’s three years younger, she has amazing coordination, which we think is basically from trying to keep up with her brothers. Try the flash card idea and see if your son enjoys it and maybe even learns new words. — Russ and Deb S. in Norfolk, Virginia
From Jodie Lynn • There are endless books written about toddlers, what they can do, what they prefer to eat, how they like to play and with what, their developmental stages for their age, etc.
However, one of the most important elements for a parent to find out about is their temperament. If you can figure this out, you will be way ahead of the game.
Dr. Harvey Karp, who is very well known for “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” also published “The Happiest Toddler on the Block,” and is quite passionate about parents finding out their toddler’s temperament to help them parent their children.
He basically says that there are three main ones: easy, shy and spirited, he and has lots of information for parents on understanding their toddlers once it’s figured out. There are simple tests to perform that will help you decide into which category your son might fit. It’s a very interesting concept and worth delving into.
Although your son will soon turn 2, some children get to the “terrible twos” much earlier. If he’s currently asking why about everything, maybe he’s an early bird of the twos.
Once you’ve figured out his temperament, then finding the best educational and fun activities for him to do with beneficial results while holding his attention will be easier. Just remember, if he’s inquisitive now, it will only get stronger as he gets older; as it should.
Can you help?Our 22-year-old son just moved back into our house after graduating from college. Although he has received several job offers, he hasn’t accepted any. He’d like to take a couple of months off because as he says, “I’m just tired and need a little time off.” We’re hoping that he doesn’t take too long of a break. In the meantime, should we come up with household rules now or wait a couple of months to let him recover?
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Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.