Handling arguments with your toddler

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 08:35pm
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When your child is going through the toddler years arguments sometimes happen. How you handle them can affect how things turn out and how often you find yourself squabbling with your little one.

An argument is hard on everyone involved. Tempers flare and it's not always easy to stop and listen to what the other person is trying to say.

It's important to remember that there are at least two sides to every argument. And that there are complicated feelings at work on both sides. While you may be feeling that your child isn't recognizing your authority, your child may be feeling she isn't being heard, and that her views and feelings aren't important to you. Both of you are sure to be feeling frustrated and hurt.

It is good practice to repeat what you heard your child saying.  For young children, they may have some trouble saying what they really mean and it is helpful to make sure you are getting their message.  For example:  “What I hear you saying is that you want to finish the show before you clean you room.”  If your child agrees that is what they are saying you can then give your position. 

When someone feels you are listening to them it is usually easier for them to listen to you.

Validate the child’s feelings.  “I see that you are angry,” or “I hear that you are feeling upset,” are great statement to make that let your child know you not only hear what they are saying but what they are feeling.

Identify if feelings are getting in the way of solutions.  When feelings are high it can stop anyone from listening, but especially a child, who sometimes stops listening and responding to you.  You cannot reason with a child who is in the middle of a temper tantrum or starts to stomp their feet.  Let the child know that you know they are angry, or upset, or frustrated, but they need to calm down before you can talk with them.  Give them some space and time and do not get into any discussion or arguing while they are in their “temper.” This is a great life skill to teach a child while they are young and one that many adults have not learned well.

Also, if your emotions are overwhelming you, let the child know that you need to calm down before you go on.  This is great modeling.  Once you are in control of yourself you can sit down with your child to go through their side and to give yours.  

Don’t go on forever. Once all has been said it is time for a solution or decision.  If it is something small you may consider having the child make the decision.  If it is something more important or a consequence is required then you need to make the decision.  Once made, the message to your child is that the arguing is over.  There is no appeal court.  If your child continues to argue the best response is silence or to ignore them.  Follow up on whatever the decision is and give them time to calm down and respond.

Acknowledge their behaviour, Comment when your child behaves in the way you want them to act; For example; “Thank you for saying what you think so clearly,” or “Thank you for calming down so we can deal with the problem.” Or “Thank you for doing what you need to do and not arguing anymore.”


Did you argue with your toddler? How did you handle it? What advice would you give to other parents dealing with this? Leave a comment below and share your experience with other parents just like you!


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Making toilet learning easier for your toddler

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 04:18pm
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Here are a number of things you can do to make toilet learning easier for both you and your toddler:

Help your child become familiar with what learning to use the toilet is all about. Before and during the learning process, read stories about using the toilet such as Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel. Explain to your child in simple terms how food and drink become "poo" and "pee," and what the potty and toilet are used for. Remember, to a little child, a toilet is a big hole that makes a lot of noise. It's common for some children to think they might fall in and disappear, or that a monster might come out of the toilet after them.

Choose a low-stress time to begin your child's use of the toilet. Toilet learning works best when both you and your child are relaxed. Avoid times when he is dealing with change, like the arrival of a new baby in the family, a move to a new home, parents’ separation or starting daycare.

Help your child get started by saying that it's time to start using the toilet like Mom or Dad. Allow her to watch other young children or family members on the toilet, to help her get the idea. Let her have her dolls or stuffed animal pretend to use the potty. 

Use a potty chair it allows children's feet to touch the floor, helping them to feel more secure. It also allows them to get on and off without having help. Include your child in picking out a potty chair. Let your child just sit on the potty to get used to it, wait at least 1-2 weeks before starting any toilet learning  Reading a short story to your child while they sit on the potty may help them to relax as we.. 

Stay nearby while your child is on the toilet or potty, and don't make him stay any longer than he wishes to. 

Dress your child in loose clothes that he can easily pull up or down. Use training pants or "pull-ups" or cotton underwear once he has been successful for 1-2 weeks.

Help make "going to the washroom" part of your child's routine, by giving reminders like, "Let's take a potty break." Encourage her to use the toilet or potty right after meals, and just before and just after sleep. And when she says she has to go, act fast!

Teach bathroom hygiene. Show your child how to wipe properly after peeing or pooing-girls should wipe from the front to the back. Both boys and girls will need help with this particularly after a bowel movement. Show your child how to wash his hands after using the potty or toilet.

During the process, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Be patient. It may take a child 3-6 months before the diapers are gone for good during the day. Some children learn to control their bladders first others learn to control their bowels first.  Bladder control through the night takes longer than day control.  It can take several months or even years for your child to stay dry during the night.
  • Expect accidents to happen.  Be calm do not overreact or blame, shame or punish your child.  Have a change of clothes easily available. Accidents are common until about five years of age -- ask any kindergarten teacher! And even when your child is staying dry during the day, naps and nighttime will still pose a challenge -- this kind of control will take longer. Also, a child who has learned to use the toilet may start wetting her pants or the bed due to stress or change. This is common and doesn't usually last long, in terms of daytime dryness, but nighttime bedwetting may take longer to reinstate. 
  • Try not to use words like dirty, stinky, smelly-this may make some children self conscious about using the potty or the toilet.
  • It's very important to compliment your child's attempts, even if he misses. 
  • If your child resists toilet learning, back off and try again later; he may not be ready yet. To not force him this will only make it more frustrating for both of you. 

Finally, remember that every child is different, so don't worry if your child takes longer to be fully toilet trained. Talk to your doctor:

  • if your child was using the toilet for several months and has now regressed; 
  • she is withholding stool; 
  • she is experiencing pain or 
  • there is blood in the urine or stool; there is a rash;  
  • is over 4 years old and not able to control his bowels or bladder 
  • or you have other concerns about your child’s toilet learning


How did you handle toilet learning with your toddler? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

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Helping your toddler adjust to a new daycare/preschool

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 02:48pm
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Adjusting to a new setting takes time. Your toddler needs to know that you are on her team as she moves towards being comfortable in a new daycare or preschool.


Here are several ways to help your child adjust to a new daycare or preschool:

Let your child know that you realize change isn't easy and that you know it takes time to adjust to new places, people and things.

Be supportive and encouraging, not impatient or frustrated. Explore the new area, or new daycare or preschool with your child in advance of going there on the first day.

Along with your child, get involved with new groups and activities at daycare or preschool. This will help you feel more connected to your child's new situation, too.

Help your child find the playgroups and activities she has always liked doing, and try to get her involved, outside of daycare or preschool.

Where possible, allow your child to stay connected with friends from his old daycare or preschool.

Ask your child what you can do to help - children often have great ideas about how you can help them feel better.

It would be a mistake to let your child stay home from a new daycare or preschool just because he is afraid and doesn't want to go. But don't force your child to get involved in outside activities too soon - he'll let you know when he is ready. And try not to say things like, "We moved three months ago - aren't you over it yet?" That will just make your child feel worse.

If you find that your child is sad, withdrawn, angry, acting out, doing unusually poorly in the new daycare or preschool, or showing physical symptoms of anxiety and things don't seem to be getting better even long after the move, consult your child's daycare provider or school teacher to see if they are noticing the same behaviour, and then consult your child's physician.

Have you had to move your toddler to a new preschool or daycare? How did she handle the transition? Share your thoughts below!

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Cooking with Your Toddler

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 12:34pm
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Cooking is an activity that toddlers can enjoy. The following Comfort, Play & Teach tips provide ways to share with children the comforting power of foods, the fun of creating a meal and the science of cooking and eating healthy.

Heart Comfort

Turn a weekend morning into something special by making breakfast with your child. Use everyone's favourite breakfast foods and let him feel good about contributing to the happiness of others.

Prepare hot chocolate in the evening and savour it together while talking or reading a book so that you can both unwind and spend a pleasant moment together.

Ask your child to help you with simple tasks in the kitchen and show him that his help is valued. This will help him build confidence and self-esteem.

Star Play

Let your child express and develop her creativity, e.g., invent a new recipe together and serve it to the whole family.

Place small amounts of different ingredients such as flour, sugar, vanilla extract, or jam in containers, and make each other guess their contents by exploring their smell, taste, or texture.

Together, make meals more attractive and fun by arranging food in playful shapes and configurations that you can then enjoy eating together.

triangle Teach

Demonstrate basic science concepts, e.g., when dough is cooked, it goes from a soft state to a hard state; when solid chocolate is heated, it melts into a liquid.

Encourage healthy eating habits by cooking wholesome foods with your child and explaining what foods are rich in the things that are good for our bodies such as vitamins, proteins, and minerals.

Teach your child about counting and quantities, e.g., when making pancakes, we use two eggs and we measure 2 cups of flour.


Spending time in the kitchen with your toddler is a great way to incorporate Comfort, Play & Teach into every day. Visit our Activity Centre for a list of activities that you can do with your child.

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