Six New Year toddler resolutions

Trusted childcare experts offer advice for those tricky toddler transitions...


Have a happy new year with your toddler

New Year is the perfect time to make a few toddler resolutions that will help your family stay happy and healthy. If you’ve been putting off tackling tricky toddler habits, read on for advice that will help your child reach that next milestone…


1. I will… get him sleeping in a big bed

Tizzie Hall, author of How to Raise a Happy Toddler (£11.99, Vermilion) says, ‘Girls are often ready for a big bed by 2 1/2 and boys at 3. Involve your toddler by taking him shopping to choose bedding and helping you put it on the bed. Sit on the bed with him during the day and read stories, then suggest he has a daytime nap in it, reminding him he’s a big boy now, before moving on to night-time sleeps. Keep the cot in your toddler’s bedroom for a couple of months, so it still feels familiar, but encourage him to sleep in his big bed. He’ll soon learn to love the space and freedom.’


2. I will… swap his bottle for a cup

Prima Baby‘s health visitor Dawn Kelly says, ‘Most healthcare professionals recommend you stop giving your baby a bottle once they turn 1. Many babies can try drinking from a trainer cup from around 6 months. Drinking from a cup is better for their teeth, oral muscle development and general independence. If you have problems getting your toddler to drink from a cup, persevere and stay calm. Keep the cup around the room and let him decide when to drink from it. Just check that he’s producing plenty of wet nappies and contact your health visitor if you have any worries.’


3. I will… tackle potty training

Tizzie Hall says, ‘Most toddlers are ready to start potty-training between 22 and 30 months. Signs she’s ready include being aware of what’s happening in her nappy, touching her nappy to tell you she is wet or has done a poo. Try to have an excited attitude – go shopping together to buy new big girl pants a few days before. Then introduce the potty and say from now on, she’ll be doing all her wees and poos in it – sit her on the potty every 15 minutes or so. Tell her that whenever she feels a wee coming, she needs to say, “Mummy, potty,” and you’ll give it to her. The key is making a big song and dance of it every time she succeeds.’


4. I will… help him enjoy play dates

Dr Claire Halsey, author of Ask a Parenting Expert (£14.99, Dorling Kindersley), says, ‘We all want our children to be sociable, but toddlers’ natural inclination to snatch and refuse to share makes it tricky! However, you can help teach your child how to interact socially. Short, structured and supervised play dates are best. Organise activities that both children can do separately, but alongside each other, while also being on hand to intervene. Encourage sharing by ‘taking turns’.


5. I will… stop reacting to his tantrums

Dr Miriam Stoppard, author of You and Your Toddler (£5.99 Dorling Kindersley) says, ‘Tantrums are the only way a toddler knows how to cope with frustration. The only tactic you can use is to discourage them – ignore them until the tantrum dies down. Without attention, a toddler has no reason to continue the tantrum. If your toddler is in a safe place, walking away can also stop a tantrum.’


6. I will… help him give up his dummy

Jo Frost, TV’s Suppernanny and author of Confident Toddler Care (£16.99, Orion) says, ‘A dummy is meant to be used to help infants sleep, not to keep toddlers quiet. If you’re trying to wean your child off the dummy, try the “dummy fairy” technique. Tell your toddler that the dummy fairy is coming the next day to take all the dummies and explain why (eg. they need them for babies). Collect the dummies with your child and put them in a gift bag. Hang the bag on a doorknob and leave a note for the fairy. When your little one is asleep, put the dummies in the bin – outside – and leave a small gift inside the bag. You can sprinkle a few coloured feathers and some glitter around the bag as “evidence” that the fairy has visited. Parents who say this technique doesn’t work are those who rush out to buy more dummies or dig out the ones in the bin!’

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