Your toddler: 31 months old

Bad dreams, classes for kids and family vacations. Learn all about life with your 31-month-old.

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Bad dreams
Nothing can warm your heart like watching your child snuggled in her cozy bed, asleep. And there’s nothing as disconcerting as a child awakened from that tranquil sleep by a scary dream. In order to best comfort your child, it’s important to understand exactly what you are dealing with. There are actually two types of bad dreams, nightmares and night terrors, that disturb your toddler’s slumber and each requires different tactics for soothing your child back to sleep.

Read more: How to handle kids’ nightmares>

Class is in session
A program — like kindergym or story time at the library — can be a great experience for a little person, and a welcome break for a parent. Your child gets to hear someone else read a story, or hang out with other kids her age, or play on equipment that she wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy at home. And you may have a minute to exchange a laugh with another parent.

Keep in mind that your toddler may not be ready for a program that stresses “skills.” Be cautious, too, about enrolling a toddler in a number of different activities — it’s easy to overwhelm a small child. Toddlers are in the midst of a vital process of learning about their world in a hundred different ways, and they need healthy stretches of free time to do that. Time spent in very structured programs (or energy expended rushing to the programs) may result in more stress and less opportunity to play. And play is your child’s most important job right now!

Read more: All the best classes for families in Canada>

Decisions, decisions
Sometimes a choice — a simple choice — works wonders with a balky toddler. She doesn’t want to help clean up? Ask would she prefer to put her animals in a bin, or on their shelf? Would she like to wear her sweater or a jacket to the park? Any time a safe reasonable opportunity arises, let your toddler have some control and make a choice. We’re all more cooperative when we feel we have a say. Learn some great alternatives to “no.”

Read more: Dealing with a defiant kid>

First family vacations
Vacations before baby: relaxing on the beach, eating leisurely gourmet meals, wandering around museums, fulfilling your thrill-seeking side with a roller-coaster ride or white-water adventure. Vacations after baby: not quite the same. But it doesn’t have to be negative! Here’s how to plan a fantastic family vacation.

Read more: 9 family vacations for every travel style>

Be prepared
No one likes to think about the what ifs in life, but now that you’re parents, it’s important to have a solid plan in place if anything should happen to you or your partner. Get started today on these three essential financial life-planning options. And while you’re at it, have you started planning for your toddler’s education yet?

Read more: 4 simple ways you can save money>

Originally published on Oct. 23, 2011. 

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