Guest Post by Cady Calhousie

The toddler years are a time of rapid development as the little ones reach so many milestones in a short span of time. It’s no wonder there’s a growing trend of parents opting to work from home more or permanently to make sure they witness and participate in these milestones.

But making that leap from cubicle to home office comes with unique challenges; and while you have a vague idea that the transition won’t be perfect, nothing can quite prepare you for what lies ahead. Here are three basic and practical ways to help you in this journey:

Have a discipline strategy

Children begin to develop their own personality at this stage; they start to have a sense of autonomy, and they become incredibly attached to the word no – with matching tantrums like ripping off their favorite baby bows and throwing them away. They start to push back and challenge boundaries. In finding your own approach to discipline, the best standard is to be firm but fair. What worked for you may not work for your child because you have different personalities and belong to different generations. Prepare to go through a lot of trial and error until you find the right balance.

Establish a shared reading habit

75% of brain development occurs in ages one to three. At this stage, the child begins to develop thoughts and feelings, and as parents we want to maximize our children’s potential. Studies show that a child’s physical brain progress is enhanced when the child is given the appropriate external stimulation – and the best stimulation comes from reading.  Studies also show that shared reading is better than passive reading because you engage the child. Another benefit of shared reading is the additional cuddle time strengthens your parent and child bond. So set aside time each day to share a book and make sure there are no distractions like television, tablets, and other similar gadgets.

Don’t be overprotective

As parents, we are naturally protective of our children. The younger the child, the more protective we are.  But countless studies show that being overprotective can be as harmful as being negligent. Some parents these days are reluctant to let their children outside and play because they are worried about accidents, children getting dirty, or being bullied by other children. Here are some of the more common consequences of being overprotective: obesity, addiction to gadgets and computer games, asthma and allergies, and lack of social skills. Our toddlers need to interact with their environment and other children as part of their healthy development. We can lessen our worries by being vigilant and prepared, learning first aid, supervising scheduled play times, and picking child-safe environments.

The toddler years are exciting and full of surprises, making them worth transitioning to work from home for the parents. The fact that there’s no single correct way to raise our children makes the journey a time of rapid growth for both toddlers and their parents.