Your 20-month-old: Week 3

Your 20-month-old: Week 3

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Your toddler now

Preparing for a sibling

If you're expecting again, the last trimester – when you can point to your big belly – is an ideal time to share the news with your toddler.

Take advantage of this time to help your toddler get prepared. Talk about the baby to get him used to the idea. Even though kids this age don't really understand the concept, hearing you talk about it does lays the groundwork for what's to come. If you plan to move your toddler out of the nursery or have him share a room with the baby, make the switch or add a crib well in advance of your due date.

Visit friends with newborns, if you can. Check into a sibling-preparation class at your hospital. Many toddlers find babies interesting, and you can help yours interact safely with babies he meets in public by showing him safe places to touch a baby (the feet are good) and how to be gentle. Above all, enjoy these waning weeks of your family as it is.

See more top tips for helping big brothers and sisters adjust.

I require both of my children to wear a helmet while riding in the bike trailer. It's safer in case I crash, and it gets them into a good habit early on.

- Allison

Shampoo strategies

If washing your toddler's hair is always a struggle, consider cutting his locks short so there's less to fuss with. Wet his hair for shampooing with a wet washcloth rather than pouring water on his head. Use only a small dab of a shampoo formulated not to sting if it gets in the eyes.

Rinsing is likely to be the trickiest part, because getting even a few drops of water in the eyes bothers many small children. Try holding a folded washcloth over his eyes during rinsing. Depending on how much hair your child has, you may be able to get away with rinsing with a wet washcloth instead of pouring water. Develop some sort of ritual for distracting him during the rinsing, such as singing a silly song or having him look in a hand mirror while you do it.

There's no rule that says your child needs a daily shampoo, either. For most kids, once a week is plenty. In fact, hair that tends to be dry – such as African American or biracial hair – is much better off if it's not shampooed too often.

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