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Your toddler now
Nothing says "she's not so little anymore" like watching your child pedal around on a tricycle or a bicycle. Age 2 is a good time to make one of these available, especially if you have a physically active child who has already aced running and has good balance.
If you haven't kept up on developments in the world of toddler cycling, you may be surprised to discover that while tricycles are still very much in the picture, scaled-down two-wheelers suitable for 2-year-olds are an option once your child is tall enough. (When you're shopping, be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendation for height and inseam measurements.)
Once you have a trike or bike that's the right size, figuring out how to pedal is the most challenging part.
When it comes to tricycles, beginners usually prefer low-slung models that keep them close to the ground (and are less likely to tip over). Stay nearby during your child's first attempts, in case of spills. Some trikes come with a long, removable push-bar, which lets you control the action without having to bend over – a real back-saver.
More adventurous toddlers can go straight to a tiny two-wheeler if they're tall enough. Look around and you'll find bikes designed to teach balance at an early age. Not all kids are ready for the challenge, but if yours is, it can be lots of fun.
Even if your child won't be traveling beyond your own backyard, make sure he wears a helmet from day one. You'll be establishing an essential safety habit, and it's good protection in any case.
Take advantage of your child's desire to read the same book every night by reading something that builds his skills. When my son was 20 months old, he was obsessed with Dr. Seuss's ABC.
Want a wonderful memento of your child's early years? Start a quote book. As she grows more verbal, some of the funniest comments will spring from her lips. Toddlers tend to ask surprising questions ("Hi, Mommy, are you awake?"), make observations cobbled from limited vocabularies ("Grandpa hair all gone!"), and use metaphors in the most delightful ways ("moon cracker" for a crescent-shaped bite).
Many of these sophisticated expressions don't show up until age 2, when language skills really explode, but if you get in the habit now of jotting down fun sayings, you'll wind up with a terrific record. We always think we'll remember these quips, but many of them fade from our memories over the years.
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