Bonding with dad, sleep and how to talk ‘toddler’

Bonding with dad

For the majority of Dads who work out of the home, it can be a challenge to spend quality time with their child.

However, studies show it's worth putting in the effort… German research has found dads who played with their toddlers in sensitive, supportive and challenging ways had stronger relationships with them between the ages of 10 and 16 – so the simple act of playing hide-and-seek with your tot before bed may help when they're in their teens.

If you sometimes wish your partner were a little more switched on to baby's needs (remember, he may feel sidelined by your all-consuming experience of motherhood), here are some ways to encourage him to take on a lead role:

Let him be more hands-on: Let him change nappies, make meals and be the first to respond to your little one when she cries.

Physical play is ok: Piggy back rides, wrestles and a generally less fearful type of parenting is just as important as a mother's careful nurturing.

Leave dad to it: Make yourself scarce for some of the time and allow dad to develop a one-on-one relationship with their toddler without you keeping an eye on them.

By now, your 19 month old is likely having one day sleep. (Image: Getty Images)

Sleeping

By now, your 19 month old is likely having one day sleep and hopefully they will continue with this nap for another couple of years. Most toddlers this age will need 11 to 14 hours of sleep each day, including naptime.

If your 19 month old is having restless nights, follow these tips to send your toddler off to the land of nod:

  • Settle your child into a regular sleep routine, which might include a bath and book before bed, then lights out at the same time each night.

  • Avoid exposing your child to scary books, movies and other media that can cause her distress.

  • If your child is struggling to get back to sleep, offer a cup of warm milk, which contains sleep-inducing tryptophans (amino acids).

  • Ensure your child is not overdressed and their bedding is light.

  • If your toddler's sleep problems persist, speak to your family doctor.

Talking to your toddler

A conversation with your 19 month old can sometimes be hard work but the key is to learning how to "talk toddler".

Right now, you're talking grown-up and she doesn't understand. For example, your toddler doesn't need to know all the details of why you would like her to do a certain task as giving too much information can be confusing.

So rather than saying, 'Come here so I can clean your teeth,' try 'Come here' and then, 'Let's clean your teeth'. A useful way to gauge is to ask yourself if the toddler could repeat the request – if she can't, it's too complicated.