The transition from baby to toddler is a difficult one to define, and one that some parents may dread. You may want to cling on to the baby days and stay wrapped up in that baby bubble, or you may want to see the back of them for whatever reason. That could be sleepless nights or feeding difficulties. For me the transition just seemed to happen overnight. I suddenly realised that my baby was almost childlike. A toddler. So for anyone going through this phase or just about to say goodbye to the baby days, here are the 10 tell-tale signs that your baby is now a toddler.
Most children start to walk between one year and 18 months old. Some start earlier, some start later. My daughter learnt to walk at 18 months old, so don’t worry if your child isn’t walking yet. They all do it at their own pace. This step is a huge milestone for your child and you as parents, it’s the beginning of a new phase and one that definitely resembles the toddler phase.
The toddler tantrums
Uh oh! These could be anything from laying on the floor and crying, to headbutting the wall, to demanding more with their bowl. I have seen it all. You might think at the time that this phase is never-ending. The best thing you can do is to roll with it, it will soon pass, and your child will move onto doing something that’s just as annoying instead.
Mini Sleep Regression
Dare I mention this? It might happen. During this phase your child may have a mini sleep regression where it is difficult to settle them at night, or they start to wake during the night. We experienced a mini sleep regression for about 2 weeks, and the best thing we did to conquer it was to stick with our original routine. Don’t change day time naps, don’t change bedtime, just keep doing everything as you had previously. We soon found that our daughter returned back to normal again, and we believe that she was testing hers, and our boundaries.
The demand for more
One of the first words that our daughter learned was “more” along with “Mummy and “Daddy”. She would demand more weetabix, more milk, more grapes and more biscuits. It was relentless. I felt that she was constantly eating and wanting more and more. If your child is going through this phase just go with it, they could genuinely be hungry with all the extra running around and walking they are doing now that they are a toddler.
Learning to play with toys
This may seem a silly one as your child has been watching and playing with toys since day 1. However as they grow up and get bigger, they become so much more interested in play. I noticed that our daughter was able to spend time playing independently or pointing to toys she wanted to play with. My best advice is let them explore, and find out for themselves what they love to play with. It may also give you some respite to have a sit down with a cup of tea.
They answer you back
This is the start of conversation, and it could be anything from a simple “yes” or “no”, to nodding or shaking of the head. When this happens embrace it, reply back to them. It’s the start of language and is so important for their development. Although come a few months you may wish that they are unable to answer you back when they start requesting chocolate for breakfast.
The public no longer coo over them
Ah the general public when you’re out and about with your baby in the buggy. They love to have a little peep, and ask how old your baby is. When your baby turns to a toddler, this stops. Phew! Maybe they realise that toddlers are messy and noisy, and not so cute as newborn babies.
You’ve spent 6 months weaning your baby and during this time they loved all the food you cooked for them, or would quite happily eat carrot and cheese batons. But now, now that they are a toddler they suddenly don’t want to eat your chicken casserole and would rather live on a diet of biscuits. If this happens don’t despair, keep going. They won’t starve themselves, but I know how frustrating it is to see your home cooked food going to waste.
Potty training and taking the sides off the cot
It could be a while away yet, but your mind will start to think about the next steps. When do I potty train my toddler? When do the sides come off the cot? Or when do they move into a toddler bed? It’s best not to worry about these, and only think about them when your child is ready. If your child can climb out of their cot, it might be best to take the sides off. But only do these when you and they are ready.
What’s going to happen to the baby clothes
Lastly you feel that stab of emotion when you’re packing away all the tiny baby clothes, sleep suits and vests, and you can’t quite believe that your child was ever so tiny to fit into that item. Now they have a huge range of clothes, that are constantly being covered in paint, mud and food. You might wish that they were smaller again so that their clothes stayed cleaner. Or is it time to think about Number 2 so you haven’t got to pack all those clothes away just yet.
The transition from baby to toddler is an emotional and exciting time for any parent, and you’ll see such huge changes in your child during this time. I love watching my daughter change every day, it’s actually quite amazing seeing her development progress, and sometimes I think these days are easier than the baby days.
Are you going through this phase at the moment? Or are you trying to cling on to the baby days?