Taking Care of Your 18 Month Old Toddler
Posted by Admin Dino, December 15, 2012
The everyday physical care of an 18-month-old can be a balancing act between letting them assert themselves and take some control, and making sure that they're clean and healthy.
Toddlers tend to be quite determined little people. They have a growing awareness of their own bodies and often have strong views - expressed in no uncertain terms - about what's done to those bodies. They're also keen to do things for themselves.
Toddlers' hands get into everything, and then into their mouths, so you'll probably want to encourage your toddler in good hygiene practices.
One way of doing this is to get into the habit of washing your hands with her whenever hers need it, particularly before meals or snacks, or after playing in the garden or with pets. Once you've got her used to the idea of handwashing by soaping your hands and rubbing hers in yours, the time will come when she'll want to do it for herself. You can make this easier for her by providing a step which she can stand on to reach the basin by herself, though at first you'll probably still need to turn the taps on for her and help with rolling up sleeves. Be prepared for splashes — if not puddles — on the floor too.
Although you won't need to hold your toddler in the bath, don't turn your back on her while she's in the water or leave her unattended. It's still possible for her to slip under the water. She may also try and turn on the hot tap or get hold of the soap and get it into her eyes.
Some toddlers are frightened of baths, however, which makes bathtime very distressing for everyone concerned. If this is the case for your toddler, you can try washing her in other ways — such as standing her up in a bowl of water and giving her an all-over wash, or letting her sit on the draining board and washing her from the sink, or standing her in the bath and spraying her, or letting her spray herself, with the shower attachment if you have one. When you want to get her back into the bath, getting in it with her, or providing some exciting new bath toys, can sometimes help overcome her reluctance.
Many toddlers hate having their hair washed. But as an increasing number of substances seem to find their way into your toddler's hair, hairwashing is something that you can't always put off.
If hairwashing is a misery for your toddler, as well as for you, using a shampoo shield to keep the water off her face will sometimes help. Some toddlers will hold a flannel over their face to keep the water off if you give them one — though they probably won't want you to hold it there for them. Or they may be happier if they're allowed to wet their hair for themselves. Making funny shapes or Father Christmas beards with the shampoo lather and letting your toddler look at herself in a mirror can sometimes turn rears into smiles.
If your toddler's fingernails aren't kept short, all manner of things — food, soil, playdough are among the more mentionable - can get under them. Toenails need to be kept short too, or shoes can be uncomfortable.
You'll need to cut your toddler's nails with round-ended scissors or nail clippers. You'll probably find it easiest to sit her on your lap, where you can hold her — relatively — still. Give her a toy, or sing to her. The rhyme 'This little piggy' was made for nail-cutting sessions.