Six things you never knew about your toddler

How tall will he grow, left or right handed or why he thinks he's related to the milkman! We explain what you wouldn't have guessed...

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You’re aware of exactly what your toddler likes and dislikes. But there are some surprising things you’ve yet to discover about his little character

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1. He’s already left or right-handed

Your toddler will probably seem to switch hand preferences repeatedly well into his pre-school years. But according to recent research from the Foetal Behaviour Research Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast, your little one’s handedness develops as early as 10 weeks into your pregnancy.

2. He thinks the milkman is daddy

“It can be hugely embarrassing, but most toddlers go through a development stage when they call every man they come into regular contact with daddy,” says Eva Lloyd, senior lecturer in early childhood studies at the University of Bristol. “It’s a linguistic phase and they can’t understand that the term should only apply to one man.

So they try it out on various men until they understand the word has a specific meaning for just one person. They can do this with the word ‘mummy’ too. But if you’re the main carer, they’re more likely to pick up quickly that it’s your name in particular.”

Get ready for red faces when the postman comes…

3. His friends are really important to him

It might feel like your toddler’s ignoring all the other children at playgroup, or that you’re always dealing with toy-snatching tantrums, but the little playmates your tot has now are helping him to develop the building blocks of life-long social skills.

“Researchers have only recently realised how important non-parental relationships are to toddlers,” says Eva Lloyd. “The skills they’re learning will help them to become more sociable, self-reliant adults in years to come.”

4. You can already work out how tall he’ll be

Your child will probably achieve half of his full adult height between 18 and 24 months of age. You can work out his estimated adult height with the online predictor, csgnetwork.com/heightpredictcalc.html.

5. TV isn’t necessarily bad for him

In fact, if your child’s bright, watching TV can actually help him to develop even faster, claims a study by the National Research Centre on the Gifted and Talented.
Further research into the impact of TV programmes on cognitive development by Dr Jerome Singer and Dr Dorothy Singer revealed that a moderate amount of carefully selected TV means children go on to be more sociable and less aggressive at school.

6. Music will make him good at maths

A study at the University of California found that pre-school children who learned a musical instrument performed better on tests that measured their spatial-temporal reasoning (ability to think in space and time) than those who didn’t. They were also able to learn complex maths problems earlier than those pre-schoolers who’d had no musical training at all.

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Mum’s story

“TV can be great for development”

“I was always paranoid about letting Annabel watch too much TV. But I have found the advantages of it recently. Annabel likes to watch CBeebies or Nick Jnr in the mornings and just before bedtime, and she really gets a lot out of it. Most, if not all, of the programmes she watches teach her quite a bit. She shouts answers at the screen and astounds me how well she does. She recognises all her letters and numbers and even some simple words. And so much of this is through the programmes she enjoys, so I am much more relaxed about her watching it now.”
Allie, 40, mum to Annabel, 3.

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