Your toddler now
The approaching second birthday is a good time to rethink your child's safety. You've thought about childproofing before, but every stage brings new hazards as your child grows taller, more mobile, and more adventurous. Reevaluate potential dangers from his point of view.
Increasingly, your toddler will be able to get into places you never dreamed possible. He may climb onto stools, tables, and counters; open containers he never showed an interest in before; and move into dangerous zones (a pool, the basement tool bench) faster than you'd think.
The good news is that your child is well able to understand the meaning of "no." When he was small, you had to rely on moving dangers out of reach. That's still good advice, but by now, you should also be using your words and serious tone of voice to make clear which behaviors are not acceptable – opening up CD cases and ripping books, for example.
You'll still want to keep as many potential threats out of reach as possible, though. Remove sharp knives from accessible drawers, and store medications and vitamins in childproof containers.
Read more about childproofing your house.
For our son's second birthday party at a park, I made sure I put on the invitation 'Join us for cake and ice cream' so people wouldn't think we were providing lunch.
Your life now
It's only natural for couples to have disagreements about how to raise a child. We all come from different families and have individual personalities.
When you and your spouse or partner disagree about how to handle a parenting situation, it's best for your child if you present a united front. The parent who witnessed the incident can finish responding to it as he or she sees fit. Talk about your disagreement afterward, out of earshot of your toddler.
Consistency is the spine of discipline, so it's a good idea to discuss your basic views about rules and punishments and to work out agreements about the major issues. Instead of attacking each other's methods, explain your approach and why it seems to work.
Keep your discussion to specific issues rather than generalities that can veer into personal attacks. Search for a compromise.
Further reading: Eight discipline experts reveal their secrets.
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