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Help! My toddler is refusing to sleep!

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 11:44am
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There are many things that can cause your child to stay awake at bedtime or to wake in the night and stay awake. Some examples are teething, illness, digestive problems, allergies, a move to a new home, or change in child care provider and even anxiety. You may not know it, but your child could be feeling genuinely anxious about being separated from you at bedtime.

The best way to make sure that both you and your child are getting the rest you need is to establish a regular bedtime routine. It should be at the same time every night, with no rough or active play just before bed. A nice bath and bedtime story is a great way to calm your child before going to sleep.

Be gentle but firm about your child staying in bed after being put down. Encourage your child to learn to stay calm by singing and talking quietly to herself, or cuddling with a pillow or stuffed animal. Leave the room with your child awake, so he can learn how to fall asleep on his own. It's also important that while your toddler is falling asleep, she is not distracted by excessive noise in the home, such as loud television programs, or the sound of older brothers and sisters playing.

It's normal for your child to call out to you in the night, but you don't have to go running right away. Try calling back to him first, just to let him know you've heard the cries and are near by. If your child continues to fuss, go into the room and use your voice and presence to calm him. Instead of picking him up, pat or massage him gently.

And remember, almost every child goes through several phases of testing you to see how late they can stay up. Stay gently firm and consistent. Getting angry doesn't help ease your child into sleep.

 

How did you deal with a toddler who refused to sleep? Offer your tips to other parents by leaving a comment below or ask an expert your question on this topic.

 

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Ten Things to Remember When Your Child is a Toddler

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 07:00pm
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1. Now is the time to start setting limits that go beyond safety.

Decide on a few rules that really matter. For instance, “be gentle” and “no hurting others” are good rules for a toddler. Try not to have too many limits or rules about little things that are not important. If you do, everyone will end up getting angry. Let your child know what the rules are and stick to them. Be firm and be consistent. Remind her of the limits before going out or doing something new. And make sure your child’s caregivers know the rules, too.

2. Toddlers respond better to limits when they feel loved. Try talking to your toddler in a positive way.

Say, “Please close the door quietly,” instead of “Don’t slam the door.” Pay attention to his good behaviour and tell him that you are proud of him. This can build your child’s self-esteem and he won’t want to battle with you all the time.

3. It takes time for toddlers to learn to make friends and get along with others.

Their social skills will improve as they learn to talk and control their movements more. Playing with your child will help her get ready to be with others. Talk with her in a happy, playful way. You can even act out ways of dealing with new situations that your toddler will face.

4. When you need to leave your toddler with a new caregiver, start by introducing them for short periods of time when you are there, too.

Try to let your child get used to the caregiver before you leave them full-time. For the first few days, stay with your child and the caregiver for a little while. This will help your child adjust and help you learn more about daycare. Stay for a little less time each day. This will make the first couple of weeks easier for you and your child.

5. Bring your toddler’s favourite toy and a snack when you go out.

Talk about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Tell him how you expect him to behave (“Stay with Mommy”). Also be careful about the time of day you go – children need their snacks and naps. If you think the outing will be too much for your child, leave him at home or with a caregiver, if you can.

6. Toddlers need routines.

They learn to expect what will happen next. This gives them a feeling of control. Bedtime routines are important and can make life happier for everyone. Set a regular bedtime hour. Make a routine that includes calming things like a bath or reading a book. To help your child learn the routine, tell her ahead of time what the next step will be.

7. Toddlers will get into mischief.

Faster than you can imagine! They are busy exploring the world around them. It is not difficult for them to break things or hurt themselves. Make sure your toddler has safe surroundings and is never alone for long.

8. All toddlers break the rules at times.

How you respond depends on the situation and your child’s age. Think about how your child is feeling. When he misbehaves, it’s often because he is upset. He isn’t trying to make you mad – he just doesn’t know how to tell you what’s bothering him. Try to figure it out. Was he bored without you? Was he excitedly trying new things? Understanding your child’s feelings may help you guide him better.

9. Your toddler needs to know that you will be there when she needs you.

A secure child will more eagerly explore the world around her. If you notice that your child is having difficulty, stop what you’re doing and go to help her. If she is finding it hard to be part of the group, try giving her a toy related to the group’s play to help her join in.

10. Being a parent can be tough.

Parents need to give each other support. Some parents form groups to talk and help each other out. Ask your local health unit, library or community centre to help you find one of these groups. It's important you know you're not alone. Research confirms that all parents both need and want help!

Also See:

 

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Preparing your toddler for childcare

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:14pm
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Starting childcare can be an adjustment for the entire family. Routines will be new for everyone and some family members will adjust easier than others.

Whether it's a family home care setting or centre-based care, here are some tips to help make the transition easier for everyone.

  1. Start talking about the new routine well in advance of the first day.
    For instance, if mom will be doing the drop off, she could start talking about the ride to childcare. Talk to your child about the new routine that will take place once in care. Familiarize yourself and your child with the names of the teachers as well as the other children.
  2. Arrange advance visits.
    Advance visits, for children of all ages, allow your child to become familiar with the caregiver, the routine, and the other children. Visits can begin several weeks before the first day.
  3. Ease your child in and out.
    At the start, a parent or other family member should visit with the child for 30 minutes to two hours. Over the next few weeks, arrange to leave your child for a period of time without you. This will help the caregiver and child get to know each other. It will also show your child that you will come back. During the first full week, you may want to pick up your child a little earlier on the first day, gradually increasing the length of stay as the week progresses.
  4. Make introductions to the new children.
    Getting to know the other children and the other parents will be important for you and your child. During visits, be sure to introduce your child to children in his or her group. Similarly, don't hesitate to introduce yourself to some of the other parents.
  5. Take touches of comfort.
    Allow your child to take something that will give her comfort—a special toy, blanket, even a picture of you.
  6. Make a comfort call.
    Talk to your caregiver to agree on a time you can call during the day. It's important to plan this together to ensure your call won't take the caregiver's attention away from the children at a busy time.
  7. Touch base with your caregiver every day.
    Exchange information about your child's day or the evening at home. For instance, if your child had a restless night it is important your caregiver know so she can respond to any unusual behaviours or needs that may arise as a result. Similarly, as you head into the evening, you should know if your child was fussy at childcare.
  8. Talk with your child.
    Each day, talk with your child about special things that happened at childcare.
  9. Have an older sibling visit.
    If there's an older sibling in the same childcare setting, ask that she be given the opportunity to visit her younger brother during the day during the adjustment period.
  10. Be specific about pick-ups.
    Reassure your child that you will be back. Make sure he knows who will pick him up at the end of the day and when. Even if he is not old enough to really tell time, one of the ways children learn to tell time is when pick-up routines become established.

We know it can be hard to leave your child in childcare for the first time. Preparing yourself and your toddler will smooth the transition and contribute to making it a positive experience for everyone.

How did you prepare your toddler for childcare? Was it difficult for you? For your child? Share you experience by leaving a comment below!

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Helping your toddler sleep through the night

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 01:07pm
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Sleeping problems are very common between the ages of two and four, even in children who slept well before then. Teething, mild infections and bad dreams can also cause sleeping problems. Many parents are concerned about their children's sleeping habits, especially problems around getting to sleep or staying asleep. Sleeping problems are troublesome because lack of sleep, by either children or adults, can lead to difficulties in functioning well during the day.

Here are some suggestions that may help you deal with sleeping problems:

Make sure you have a consistent bedtime routine. This means carrying out bathtime, storytime and any other bedtime rituals at the same time and in a calm way. Avoid exciting games, such as running or rough play before bedtime. Calm music and a warm bath can also be relaxing.

Encourage your child to sleep with a special toy or blanket. This can help your child feel more comforted about being separated from you at bedtime.

Leave a light on in your child's room or the hallway. This can comfort a child who seems to be genuinely scared of the dark. If your child is afraid, do not minimize these feelings. Listen to his concerns, but let him know that you believe that he can cope.

Sometimes a child who has overcome sleeping problems may have them re-appear because of illness, bad dreams or a change in the family situation (such as moving house, her parents' separation or a new sibling). This is to be expected, and you will need to re-establish the sleep routine and coping strategies. Gradually, when your child feels safe, secure and able to cope, she will learn to fall asleep and stay asleep on her own.

Video Alert!
For more on bedtime with your toddler and Comfort, Play & Teach, watch this short video.

 

Does you toddler have trouble sleeping thought the night? What methods do you use to have her get to sleep and stay asleep? Share you experiences by making a comment below.

 

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