Meeting your toddler’s needs Your toddler needs to feel your love. She needs to feel safe and secure.
Moms and Dads Toddlers need to feel emotionally connected to their mothers and to their fathers. Dads can do everything that moms can do, except breastfeed!
Loving connection The moment your baby was born, you fell in love with her. Now your baby is a toddler. It’s just as important now for you and your toddler to feel that loving connection to each other.
Responding to her needs You and your toddler feel this love when you respond to her needs:
• when you hold her close to you.
• when you continue to breastfeed her.
• when you talk to her lovingly.
• when you smile at her.
• when you look into her eyes.
• when she’s hungry and you feed her.
• when her diaper is messy and you change her.
• when she’s tired or fussy, and you calm her.
• when she’s sad, and you comfort her.
• when she can count on you.
Showing love Your toddler feels loved:
• when you play with her.
• when you sing to her.
• when you read to her.
You also help your toddler learn when you do these things.
Happy to be a parent! You feel good about being a parent:
• when you realize you are giving your toddler what she needs.
• when she smiles at you.
• when she begins talking to you.
• when you watch her grow and change.
• when you see she’s healthy.
Breastfeeding Many mothers continue to breastfeed after their toddler turns one, and even two and three. Breastmilk is a valuable food for your toddler even after she begins eating solid foods. It also continues to protect your child from getting sick. And you and your toddler will feel that loving connection when you breastfeed.
Meeting your toddler’s needs Of course toddlers need to eat, sleep and be warm. They have other types of needs too.
Giving your toddler a sense of security Your toddler will feel safe and secure when she can count on you to give her what she needs. She will feel safe when the people around her are calm, and there aren’t a lot of loud noises.
Paying attention to your toddler Your toddler wants and needs your attention. This makes her feel connected to you and loved.
Responding to your toddler Your toddler will feel loved:
• when she smiles at you and you smile back.
• when she talks to you and you talk to her.
• when she holds up her arms and you pick her up.
• when she cries and you respond to her.
Holding your toddler Your toddler will feel loved, protected and secure when you hold her. You can pick her up often. She will become more independent as she grows. You can help her grow by responding to her need to stay close.
Smiling at your toddler Your toddler will know you’re happy with her when you smile at her.
Speaking with a loving voice Your toddler enjoys hearing your loving voice, and feels sad or even scared if your voice isn’t loving.
Showing kindness You are kind to your toddler when you think about what she needs and help her. Is she too hot in that sweater? You can take it off. Did she fall down? You can pick her up and tell her you’re sorry she got hurt.
Staying calm Your toddler needs you to stay calm. When you are calm, she can feel calm too.
Being patient Sometimes your toddler will do things you don’t like. She may cry a lot when you’re busy or tired. She may have a tantrum. She may make a mess with her food. She may break something. It is important to remember that toddlers do these things. They are not being bad. They are just being toddlers! Don’t punish your toddler. Try to stay patient.
Meeting your own needs You have needs too. You need to rest or sleep. You need time with friends and family members. You need time to be alone. You need to relax and to do something fun.
When you’re having problems Sometimes family issues or your own personal problems may get in the way of caring for your toddler. You may find it more difficult to be patient or loving towards your toddler.
There’s help. If you are stressed:
• talk to family members and friends for support.
• try to be patient and loving towards your toddler, and yourself.
• reach out and find help. Call 211 for help.
• or talk to your WIC educator if your toddler is on WIC.
When you find ways to meet your own needs, it will be easier to be a kind, patient and loving parent.
Is your toddler on WIC? If you are a WIC mom or WIC dad, you can find many helpful services at your WIC center.
• You can talk with a WIC educator to learn more about what toddlers do, feeding your toddler, your toddler’s growth, your toddler’s health and shots.
• You can ask for referrals to community services.
• You can take part in parent sessions with a WIC educator and other parents. There you can learn tips about your toddler’s behavior, her nutrition, healthy eating, and ways to avoid childhood obesity. There are other topics too.
• If you are breastfeeding, you can be a member of a breastfeeding support group and enjoy getting together with other breastfeeding moms.
• You can meet with a nutritionist at your WIC center if your toddler has a health challenge.
• You can receive helpful food checks for purchasing nutritious food for your toddler.
Your questions Staff at our WIC centers will be happy to answer your questions.
WIC is here for you! Read more about WIC services>>