Help! My toddler is jealous of the new baby!

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 09:12pm
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Having a new baby fit into the family when you already have an older child - or children - is quite an adjustment for everyone. A young child, in particular, can feel rejected because you need to spend so much time with the baby.

Toddlers may react in some harsh ways, like wanting you to send the baby back to the hospital, or inadvertently hurting the newborn. Or they may temporarily act younger, by having toilet accidents or demanding to eat like the baby, to get your attention.

Children between the ages of one and three tend to feel the most jealous of a baby, and resent having to share your attention. Your child may feel proud and excited one minute, and jealous, sad or resentful the next. Toddlers rarely have developed lightness of touch, even when they try to carefully caress the baby they can unintentionally hurt him, so never leave your baby alone with a toddler.

It's important to let your child know you understand that he doesn't always feel loving toward the new baby. Let your child say he is sad or angry, help him be a helpful older sibling. Read stories about families with new babies and talk together about how the older child felt in the story.  Make some time for just yourself and your older child Every day; even ten uninterrupted minutes will make a difference.

Be aware that jealousy may also appear when your baby moves to a new stage. For example, your older child may be quite generous with the new baby until your baby learns to walk. Now that your baby is walking, she can interrupt your older child's play, discover his toys, break or scatter them and take over his friends. As your baby learns to talk, she becomes able to challenge your older child. This will trigger jealousy, where previously it was not a problem.


Was your older child jealous when the new baby arrived? How did you manage? Share you story by leaving a comment below or send your questions to one of our experts!


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Toddlers and Temperament

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 05:56pm
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Some toddlers are more expressive, some more timid. Some are very physically active, and some are more sedate. Some are sensitive to loud noises, while others are not bothered at all. Some thrive when surrounded by people, while others are content to play alone quietly. These differences are what we call temperament, and much of this becomes evident in the first few months after birth. 

As parents, it is important to recognize and accept the basic temperament of your child, so you can respond appropriately. For example, if your child's temperament is timid, introduce new activities slowly and allow time for him to build up confidence. If your child's temperament is highly active, give advance notice of changes, so she doesn't fly off the handle. And, if your child's temperament is easy-going, remember that even though she copes well, you are still needed - so check in and stay connected.

Learn more about temperament and watch our unique Temperament Video featuring our expert, Dr. Carol Crill Russell. 



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Inspiring your toddler's creativity

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:04pm
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You don’t need to spend a lot of money to inspire your child’s creativity. Being creative doesn’t have to start with expensive materials from the toy or art store.

Creating toys and activities for children from recyclable materials or "beautiful junk" is important for two reasons:

  • Common household materials are an inexpensive way to provide play opportunities for young children
  • Children's creativity and thinking skills can be developed at the same time that you are being an environmentally conscious parent

The following list can be used along with scissors, glue, yarn, paint and markers, in order to construct and create anything your child's imagination suggests:

egg cartons
milk cartons (all sizes)
plastic containers, bottles and jugs with lids
boxes (large and small)
aluminum pie plates
styrofoam trays
paper towel and toilet rolls
cardboard tubing
old wrapping paper
road maps
muffin tins
popsicle sticks
old, clean paint brushes
wooden clothes pegs
used envelopes
old Christmas cards
old pantyhose
paint chips/samples
brown paper bags
buttons (all colours, shapes and sizes)
egg shells
coffee cans and lids
empty film canisters
juice lids
carpet samples
spools; ribbon rolls
bottle caps
yarn; ribbons
magazines; catalogues; calendars
cloth scraps of different fabric
leather or suede remnants
lace, trim or rick rack
beads; old jewellery
wood scraps; dowels
discarded wallpaper sample books
inner tubes
pipe lengths
old newsprint

Use recycled materials from around your house to encourage your child’s imagination and creativity while having fun together! Visit the Activity Centre for lots of fun activities that you can do with your child to encourage his creativity. 

What articles from around your house have you used to inspire your child’s creativity? Share your ideas below!

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Giving vs. Getting: Toddlers and finding balance during the holidays

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 01:03pm
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The centre of many holiday celebrations is giving and receiving gifts, especially for children. Children fantasize about it, and most hope to receive lots of big, expensive gifts. Parents, for their part, worry that the mid-winter holidays will spoil their children or make them greedy. Most parents will probably have to provide a healthy reality check, providing some guidance for what are more reasonable dreams.

But what about your child's natural desire to receive lots of gifts? Does this promote greed? As long as your family also highlights the true meaning of the holidays, such as giving to others and celebrating cherished rituals together, you do not need to worry too much about your child's materialistic desires.

Here are some ways you can use Comfort, Play & Teach: A Positive Approach to Parenting to set the tone for raising kind and caring children, regardless of how many gifts they ask for or receive.


Heart Comfort

Nurturing close relationships within families and among friends is the core of healthy social and emotional development for young children. Parents can set the tone for the holidays by emphasizing their true meaning – that of giving to others. The very young child, who has been at the receiving end of love, comfort, and attention to his needs from the earliest days, will replicate giving to others naturally and spontaneously. An infant as young as nine months will lovingly offer a parent his pre-chewed food in the spirit of sharing. A toddler as young as eighteen months will either hug or offer up a cherished stuffed toy to comfort another person who is crying. A child's capacity for empathy and concern is developed through the consistent and sensitive responsiveness shown them throughout the early years. When you focus on the "giving" part of the holidays, this teaches children to care for others and to reach out to people who are less fortunate.

  • Take a little time to help your children make their own "gifts". It doesn't have to be fancy. They can make drawings or colour pictures and put them in envelopes to give Grandma, Daddy and other people they care about.
  • Many fire halls and charities collect toys for children whose parents can't afford to buy them. Encourage your preschooler to choose a toy for purchase and let her give it to the charity.
  • When grocery shopping for your family, take time with your child to fill a special bag for the Food Bank, and drop it off together. Toddlers are great at stuffing bags.


Star Play

It is through the power of play that a child explores and makes discoveries about things and people in his world. Consider how your family's own traditions can be emphasized during the holidays. When children are little, it is a prime time to start family traditions that will last a lifetime. This helps children feel grounded and connected to the people who care for them.

Here are some ways that family values can be celebrated through play:

  • Preschoolers are very capable assistants in the kitchen during the preparation of the special foods that are part of the holidays. Young children enjoy the baking experience and are learning many important science concepts and motor skills in the process.
  • Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy the activity of decorating a tree. This is an opportunity for them to help make decisions about what ornament goes where and for you to engage them in a conversation about the ornaments. But remember, toddlers enjoy taking things off as much as they like putting them on.
  • If your family participates in special ceremonies such as lighting candles on the Menorah, let your preschooler count out the candles each night and help put them in place.
  • Sing seasonal songs, read seasonal stories and play traditional games as a family.
  • Turn on the outdoor holiday lights with your little one each night.

Nothing is too insignificant to delight a young child. And many times it is the little things that they will remember the most.


Triangle Teach

Young children need to learn how to communicate, interact with others, solve problems and express thoughts and feelings. The holiday season presents a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about themselves in the context of family and the community around them. Take this time to model for children how to think about others and to reach out to people who are less fortunate:

  • Be sure to talk about everything you are doing. Infants and toddlers may not understand every word, but your tone will communicate volumes. Preschoolers' capacity for language is growing exponentially and they love to listen to stories about people and traditions.
  • Talk about the importance of sharing and how it makes people feel when they receive a gift.
  • Take photos of family rituals and make a special holiday album. Use it as a vehicle to discuss with your child what was happening in the photos and what emotions were experienced. Discuss the importance of celebrating cherished rituals together.
  • Take picture books out of the library that explore themes of poverty. Engage your preschooler in a discussion about what things would make it better for that child or family. Follow through with any reasonable suggestions to demonstrate to your child, that even at a young age, actions can help to make a difference in someone's life.

Spending time with your children in these ways will help to outweigh the material aspects of the holidays, and your actions will build fond memories and positive values that will stay with them for a lifetime.

If you found this article helpful, please download the tip sheet (PDF). 

How do you help your toddler understand the true meaning of the holidays? Do you find it difficult to dissuade them from being greedy? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.

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One of our temperament traits, our innate reaction to the world, is First Reaction. Some people love novelty and change while others react with caution to new situations.
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You can use a variety of Comfort, Play & Teach strategies that are tailored to different temperament traits.
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What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Positive Parenting? Positive Parenting is the approach to parenting that we believe best supports all aspects of healthy child development.
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