Here's good news...and bad news: Your toddler wants to do things by herself!! That is a good thing for her...but sometimes a bad thing for you! Why? Because it usually takes longer for your child to put on her socks than if you just do it for her! And it can be frustrating to both of you! But letting her do it herself teaches her the skill and helps her feel accomplished-both good things for her to learn!


Brain Science for Your Baby


Being a toddler is hard work!  Your little one is beginning to talk, but certainly can't really discuss her frustration with you.  Just as when you were reading your baby's cues, you'll need to recognize and respect your toddler's frustration and her need for both independence and security.  


A little bit about brain development: the "limbic system" in the brain is responsible for processing emotions. The limbic system interacts with hormones like cortisol and epinephrine to respond to the stressful situations. Having too much stress can cause damage to growing brains. That's why it is so important to be able to help your child manage her emotions. The good news?  Your child's brain also responds to hormones like oxytocin that are associated with bonding and decreased stress. All that work you did on bonding is the basis for helping her develop into the two year old explorer she needs to become.


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A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
Show her the ropes. The key to a toddler's independence is her being able to learn patience, perseverance and frustration tolerance. To foster this learning, show her what you want her to do slowly and clearly, breaking them down into separate actions. Walk her through each step of clearing her place at the table, for instance (first carry the plastic or paper plate to the sink, then the plastic or paper cup, then the silverware--no knives!. 
Don't to jump in. When you give a job to your toddler (pick up her toys, for example), let her see it through, even if it takes her twice as long as it would you. When she takes those five minutes to fold her pajamas in the morning, she will feel more accomplished afterward than if you finished her work for her.

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


 Practice being patient! It may be hard for you not to do things for your toddler, because you know how to do them faster and "better", in your opinion.


Being a Baby Buffer may be frustrating for you, when you have a child who is frustrated and angry when she cannot do everything she wants, without help from you. Try to calm yourself down when your child is not calm by telling yourself that "this too shall pass" and that "you can handle the frustration". This positive "self-talk" will help you be more in control when your child is not.






What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings. They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated. They may also respond to conflict by hitting, biting, screaming, or crying. One-year-olds want their independence, and may say, "No!" to adult suggestions or insist that they, "Do it!" Then, moments later, they might cling to an adult's leg or ask for help.

Gene's Research Tip

 Your TSK is curious!  It's in his genes, directly from you! But sometimes parents don't think that curiosity is cool; they think curiosity is a catastrophe! How can you use this curiosity to help him learn healthy habits? By being prepared for your little Curious TSK!


You need to give him new ways of looking at the world! You can do this by being a great example for such things as eating vegetables! So, does food presentation make a difference in how well TSK will eat?  YES!

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Cathy Smith, PhD

Being a mom is not always easy. That's why it is important to have a circle of support. We all have times when we need someone to talk you, someone to give us advice or to lift us up when we are having a bad day. Your circle of support can include friends, relatives, neighbors or people you meet through a club, church or other organization. Some of my best friends are women whom I met when my children were babies. When my oldest daughter was born, I didn't know many people in my neighborhood and my mother and four sisters all lived out of state. My family was a great support but they lived so far away. I needed some local supports, so I started looking for a way to meet other mothers who had young children.

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