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Health & Baby

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How to Be a Calmer Parent

Month 12, Week 2

Once your baby learns to walk and talk, she'll expect to go wherever she wants and say whatever she's thinking. Of course, she's too young to do either, so she may become frustrated, which can lead to tears, tantrums, and frustrated parents.

Here's how to handle meltdowns without losing your cool:

  • Give your baby cues. She may be acting out because she's not sure what to do. Instead of saying, "Don't grab toys," tell her, "It's nice to share with your brother."
  • Take a break. If a tantrum is too much for you to handle, take a few minutes to regroup. Put your baby in a safe spot, like a crib or playpen, and then go in another room and listen to music, call a friend, or do something relaxing.

Your Baby's Development This Week

You've got a terrific listener underfoot! Your baby understands so much of what you say she can follow simple commands and knows what to expect when you announce it's mealtime or bath time.

She can't converse yet, but some of her gestures show that she knows what's going on. These are typical:

  • Pointing. She may point to the ceiling to show she wants to be picked up or gesture to a toy she wants.
  • Shaking her head. Your baby understands the meaning of the word no. By being able to move her head back and forth, she can assert her opinion.
  • Waving. "Bye-bye" is an early word for many babies. The hand gesture associated with it is one that babies learn early.

Month 12, Week 2 Tips

  • During a tantrum, try to draw your baby's attention away from whatever is upsetting her. If that doesn't work, give her a few minutes away from the situation.
  • Even when you discipline your baby, be sure to let her know that you love her no matter what. Positive comments help boost self-esteem.
  • Encourage reality play. Your baby may start using her toys to pretend: pushing toy cars along the floor, drinking from teacups, or feeding dolls.
  • Once your baby can talk, discuss the books you read together, or leave words out of familiar stories so she can chime in.
  • Reevaluate your baby proofing once your baby is walking everywhere. She may be able to get to a dangerous bookshelf quicker than you'd anticipated.
  • Give your baby easy-to-grip crayons and paper to encourage her to scribble.
  • Remember, even if your baby is upset, speak in a low voice. She will calm down quicker.

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