The Terrific Twos!

We've journeyed a long way as we've discussed social, developmental milestones in young children, and today we are going to focus on the two year old. Most people associate this age with the infamous "terrible twos". Life can be quite tumultuous when you're two, but it doesn't have to terrible. Armed with the right information and skills, I think any parent can turn this phase of development into the "terrific twos"!  Here are a few things to expect:
  • Your two year old will begin to enjoy a wider range of relationships but will still feel strongly possessive of his family.
  • His growing imagination may cause him to develop sudden fears that were not there before.
  • Frustration tantrums peak as does clinging and whining, however with patience and proper guidance, you will see greater independence and less separation anxiety as they approach their third birthday.
  • Your child will begin to understand and respect simple rules around this age.
  • She will enjoy playing interactive and circle games, such as "Ring Around the Rosey".
You can encourage your child's confidence and obedience during this phase by giving him opportunities to choose something related to the trouble area. For example, a child who is not wanting to go to bed could be offered a choice of which bed time story to read before going to sleep. I hope you'll leave some of your parenting ideas for this age as a comment below. Just remember that patience and consistency are your keys to making this stretch of road the "highway of terrific twos"!!

The New Explorers Club - Flannery Brothers

Upbeat kindie rock from 2 American brothers. It genre-hops a bit, with a latin-sounding opener, reggae-lite "Kitchen floor" and the pirate-y (is "pirate" a genre? in kids music it seems to be) "Pirate or parrot". It's pretty danceable and the songs are pretty solid, with the occasional hint of Jonathan Richman, but, apart from the pirate song (and, as you know, I'm a total sucker for all things pirate), there's nothing really outstanding here.

This is fun! - Caspar Babypants

I wasn't crazy about Caspar Babypant's (AKA Chris Ballew from The Presidents of the USA) first kids album, but I'm digging this one. It's a mixture of originals and traditional tunes, sounding quite like, surprise surprise, The Presidents of the USA ... or what I remember of them anyway, must be 15 years ago now since I listened to one of their records (eek!)

Mostly the songs are pretty simple, but that's a virtue when they're also bouncy and quirky and fun and catchy enough to stick in my head - and I expect when I bring this home this evening they're going to make the kids dance. The lyrics keep making me smile - they're not self-consciously addressed to children, rather Chris Ballew just has a child-like view of the world (like Jonathan Richman) that is perfect for family-friendly music.

There's also a cover of Nirvana's "Sliver" - the one with the chorus "Grandma take me home" - and a quote from Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" in the middle of "Buckeye Jim" that made me laugh out loud when I heard it. I like this. Recommended.

Mile marker 18-24

Thinking of toddlers always makes me smile! I can't think of another age where so much energy, curiosity, and emotions are so passionately expressed! :) It's am amazing time of blossoming imaginations! You will not only notice some early pretend play, but you may also see the first signs of night mares and "monsters under the bed". At this stage, yout toddler is much more aware of other children and will interact with words and gestures while playing in a group setting.
Your 18-24 month old is also beginning to be aware of a variety of emotions that they have never experienced before- jealousy, sympathy, guilt, and fear. That makes this a great age to begin talking about body language, facial expressions, and the feelings that go with them.
  • Grab a mirror for some face making fun.
  • See who can find different facial expressions when reading a book.
  • Talk about how you or your child feels and why. This will give them a better understanding of healthy emotional expression. 
Until next time,

What are the odds? - Meredith LeVande

American kindie acoustic-guitar-playing singer-songwriter plus band. Fairly gentle singalong-y indie, occasionally bluesy and a little They Might Be Giants-ish some of the time, it's let down by a lacklustre recording. My kids like it and the songs are nearly all good, but I'd really like to hear them re-arranged and recorded with a bit more ZING.

Happy first birthday!!

For those just joining us, we've been doing a post series on social, developmental milestones in young children for several weeks now. Today, we're going to talk about the 12-18 month old. At this stage, your baby is truly beginning to understand how things work and the "cause and effect" nature of objects and situations around him. As a result, his social development takes on a new level of interaction. Here are a few things to expect:
  • Cooperative ball play
  • Giving a toy to you and then taking it back (this is a great stage to begin working on sharing and turn taking!)
  • Begins to imitate adult behaviors; such as trying to brush hair, sweep, or put on shoes
  • Laughs at silly things and begins to understand humor
  • Resists adult control and may display frequent tantrum behaviors (Remember that he is learning about cause and effect. Giving in to tantrums can teach your baby to tantrum every time in order to get their way.)
  What a fun age to deepen your relationship with your baby! His creativity is growing, and you can really begin to see his personality beginning to shine! It's a great time to get out in your community with your child. Look for story times at your local library or book store. Join a local mom's group for playdates at the park, or try a free Kindermusik class. Click here to find a location in your area.

Mile marker 6-12

If you have a child in this age range, chances are you are daily amazed at the new skills they learn. I remember thinking that mine learned things while they were sleeping! A six to twelve month old child is gaining mobility and cognitive awareness in a variety of ways. These new skills will bring about a lot of changes in social development as well. Here are a few things to look for:
  • Your child's love of interactive games, such as finger plays, will increase. You will even see them beginning to imitate some of the movements from their favorites!
  • They typically begin to show preferences for certain people, places, or objects. For this reason, you may notice separation anxiety increasing.
  • Your baby will use their new found mobility to explore their surroundings with enthusiasm. Time to baby-proof the house!! :)
  • You may begin to see the initial stages of parental testing with regards to bed time, feeding, or other boundaries you have set.
As your child grows and learns, you will find that each stage carries with it, it's own joys and struggles. I encourage you to embrace each moment, as you enjoy learning more about your child and his or her strengths and abilities.

Mile marker 3

Congratulations, you've survived the first three months of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and endless feedings with your newborn. Reaching the three month marker can be a real turning point for most new parents. Your baby is now beginning to coo and smile when she sees you. She will even begin lifting her arms for you to pick her up sometime in the next few months. This is an age where your child will begin to enjoy hand games, mirror play, and other social activities, such as playgroups or "mommy and me" music classes. By 6 months old, your child will likely develop a strong attachment to you, so plan to interact along side your child during these outings. This will help her to be more comfortable while she explores and learns, as well as promotes the bond between parent and child.

We'll continue our social milestone journey next time with a post on the 6-12 month old child. Until then...

Hello Children Everywhere

This is the best CD of "classic" children's songs available at the moment (that I know of), all in their original versions. It's got "Nellie the Elephant", "The Runaway Train", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", "Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen by the Sea", "You’re a Pink Toothbrush" and many many more. One of the best sellers on the kids-tunes site.

Buy it, and other children's classic recordings, now on