Your toddler is 32 months old now and he is exerting his will at every chance he gets. Two areas where power struggles often arise are mealtime and bedtime. Read on to find out how to minimise these battles.
Your Child’s Development
At 32 months of age, most toddlers will occasionally become extremely picky eaters. Now is not the time to try to introduce new foods. Stick to his old favourites and try not to get to upset about his eating habits. Many times, a child of this age is only exerting his independence and trying to see how far he can go with you. So, make sure to stay calm and avoid power struggles. Also, although it will be hard to do, try not to give in to him. If you make him a different food every time he refuses to eat, it sends the message that he can get what he wants by not cooperating.
Don’t worry about him going hungry. Experts agree that a child will eat when they are hungry as long as you keep offering him food.
Another area of struggle with a 32 month old toddler is bedtime. All toddlers will inevitably go through a period of bedtime battles. They may get out of bed the minute you leave the room, or get up in the middle of the night and want to play. Your toddler may be experiencing bedtime meltdowns for several reasons. It could be that your toddler is having a hard time getting used to his ‘big boy bed’. The close quarters of his crib had a secure feeling and now, his new bed is so big and different. He could also be having bad dreams. Or, it’s possible that he is now afraid of the dark. Here are some things you can do to alleviate the bedtime battles with your toddler:
- Make sure that your child is dressed appropriately. He could be waking up because he is too hot or too cold. Remember, you should dress your toddler at the same level as you would dress yourself.
- If the new bed is causing the problem, create a boundary. His crib had rails to keep him in. You may want to try using a door gate for his room, or installing a bed guard rail on his toddler bed. Just having the rail at the side could provide him a secure feeling and in turn, he may go right back to sleep.
- It’s a good idea to use a nightlight. At this age, a child’s imagination is working hard and those shadows in his room could look pretty scary. A low light nightlight may be all you need to keep those scary things away.
- If your child thinks that there are monsters in his room, don’t play into it. Explain that monsters are not real and that they only exist on television and in books. Some parents find that spraying “monster repellent” (you can use air freshener) is enough to keep the monsters out of their child’s mind.
- No matter how tired you are, make sure that you always walk your child back to his bed in the middle of the night. Don’t let him climb into bed with you or your child will end up with the habit of sleeping with you, and that habit is very hard to break.