Friday 12 November 2010


Training Teddy Bear (18-24 months)

I realize that a teddy bear (or any doll) is not just a teddy bear. It can be very useful for moral training, potty training, teaching independence, chores training, responsibility training, etc. that makes it fun and at the same time educational for your toddler. Actually, it was thanks to my sister-in-law, Karin, who mentioned to me that J is at the age, where he will enjoy playing with dolls. Thus, to me, a teddy bear or a doll is a must-have, regardless of whether your toddler is a boy or girl. And remember also to keep a few of your new born clothes that your toddler has long out-grown for the teddy bear!

Here is a list of useful things to do with teddy bear:

1. For Moral Training

I saw how special a few children are at the daycare that J goes to – they have the ability to care for other children. When J was new to the daycare, there was this little girl called Emilie, who would come over to J, give him a hug, hold J’s hand, and then bring him in to join the group – amazing for 2+ year old toddler!!! Emilie has since left for the kindergarten.

Of course, children have different personalities, and some are more caring than others, others are more self-centered. But still, some parts of it can be nurtured and influenced. This little girl is a role model for J.

I have been thinking about how I can direct J towards having the sensitivity to show care and concern to other children. Then yesterday, God gave me an idea from the book I read about potty training, and using the teddy bear for role play.

The same concept can be expanded to many other areas such as those mentioned above. I begin to introduce the teddy bear as the other child or brother to J, and I taught him to carry the teddy bear, hold the teddy bear’s hand, dressing the teddy bear, etc. basically to learn to show care and concern to others by showing care and concern for the teddy bear.

2. For Teaching Dressing and Undressing

J learning to take off the shoes of the teddy bear
Toddlers at J’s age can begin to learn how to dress and undress themselves. I tried to show J how to, by putting him in front of the mirror. But I thought of the idea that using the teddy bear for practice would be very useful too. So, I begin to show J how to put on clothes for the teddy bear, and undressing the teddy bear; how to put on a hat for the teddy bear, and putting on shoes for the teddy bear. J enjoyed it a lot. He enjoyed trying to put on shoes for the teddy bear. Thus, it is a good idea to keep some of your new born clothes, socks and shoes that you don’t use anymore for the teddy bear.

3. For Cultivating the Love for Reading

I will read to the teddy bear and J. I will also teach the teddy bear to read. I will also ask J to teach the teddy bear to read. In this way, it makes reading time more fun and varied. J finds it funny that the role is reversed – instead of mommy teaching J to read and telling J the name of the object in the picture book, he now is the “BIG brother” teaching the teddy bear to read. J will tell the teddy bear that the picture the teddy bear is looking at is a bird, for example. In this way, J is even more motivated to learn to read and learn the nouns of things, so that he can teach the teddy bear :-)

4. For Chores Training

I have been training J to bring his own plate, bowl, cup, etc. to the sink after each meal. Sometimes he is cooperative, sometimes he doesn’t bother. When he is “lazy” to do his chores, I will bring out the teddy bear and pretend that the teddy bear is bringing the bowl to the sink. I will then praise the teddy bear for being so responsible and such a good boy. J would be so delighted to see the teddy bear acting out doing chores. Then I would tell him that it is his turn to bring the bowl to the sink, now that the teddy bear has done his. And he would do so. It makes chores fun, when you have a companion, such as the teddy bear to do it along with you.

Similarly, when J refuses to clean up after playing, out comes the teddy bear again :-). I will pretend that the teddy bear is picking up the toy and putting it back to the shelf. I would praise the teddy bear for putting away the toys after playing. J would find it so amusing that he would do the same. Try it with your toddler.

5. For Meal Time

When J refuses to eat his breakfast this morning, I would bring the teddy bear out, and give the teddy bear a spoonful of the cereal porridge. Thereafter, J would also begin to eat. He would eat a spoonful, and then he would want me to give the teddy bear a spoonful. Before long, both J and the teddy bear have finished their breakfast, to the satisfaction of mommy :-)

6. For Potty Training

I actually got my idea to use the teddy bear for all kinds of role plays from the book I read on potty training called “On Becoming Potty-Wise for Toddlers”. Use the teddy-bear for role-playing the whole potty process so as to motivate your toddler to use the potty. It helps maximizing learning by combining a toddler's developing imagination and play with a real life experience. In the process of teaching his little friend the steps of potty training, he learns everything he needs to know.

Here is my book summary:

Of course like all other toys, at some point, the novelty of the training teddy bear would wear off, and the tactic wouldn't work anymore. Then, I will just put the teddy bear away for a few days and bring it out again after some time.

How to Choose a Suitable Teddy Bear?

1. It should be a good size

It should preferably the size of a newborn baby, so that the toddler can do more things with it. It does not have to be too big as well, as it would take up too much space and too cumbersome to play with.

2. It should be cuddly

It should be cuddly so that it can hold the clothes of the new born sits nicely on it. So remember to save some new born clothes for the teddy bear, so that you can change the clothes on the teddy bear.

3. It should be affordable

It doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, I bought mine at the flea market for 5 DKK or 1.25 SGD only. You do not need to buy the expensive “Build-A-Bear” Danish brand, which comes with the possibility of purchasing all kinds of clothes that are equally expensive! Just save some of the new born clothes that your toddler out-grown, and voila, you have a teddy bear with lots of clothes to change and play with :-)

And it doesn’t need to be a teddy bear. It can also be a doll.

On Becoming Potty-Wise for Toddlers

1 comment:

  1. sis this is very useful! didn't know that there are so many uses for a teddy bear. :)


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