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Help! My toddler is a picky eater!

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 09:07pm
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Mealtime with a toddler can be tough. You worry that your child isn't eating enough food, or the right kind. Or maybe you think your child is eating too much of one kind of food. Often you may feel that nothing seems to work. She won't let you feed her, and she refuses to eat what you give her.

The first thing you need to do is relax. Don't call her a "picky eater" or she may become one for life. There are many reasons why your child may not be eating the way you expect him to:

Every child is different in how often, when and what she wants to eat. Some take a real dislike to certain types of foods - maybe it's the texture or the odour. Some prefer to eat only a couple of things. Fortunately, most children grow out of being this particular about food, and develop regular and healthy eating habits.

Kids go through growth spurts. During these times, they eat a lot. At other times, they hardly seem hungry at all.

Another factor in your child's eating habits can be his struggle to be independent, especially between ages one and three. Refusing to eat can be your child's way of asserting himself. Avoid a power struggle during mealtimes. Giving reasonable choices may help, such as, "Would you like milk or juice?"

The best thing you can do is make sure your child has different healthy foods to choose from so, when she does want to eat, at least she's getting the nutrients she needs. Limit your child's options to two or three items at a time, more can be overwhelming.

If your child is losing weight, not maintaining his weight or overeating, consult your child's health care provider.

 

How did you handle your picky eater? What strategies worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your story or send in a question to ask our experts!

 

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Teaching your toddler to clean-up his toys

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 04:43pm
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Sometimes it seems to be impossible to get your toddler to clean up his toys. That is normal. Encouraging your child to cooperate and complete chores can sometimes be frustrating.

Try to avoid a battle of wills:

Warn your child ahead of time that "soon it will be time to tidy up."

Make it into a game or something you do together. For example, "how fast can we get the toys cleaned up?" or "let's put these toys to sleep" - make it something you can enjoy together. Cleaning up doesn't have to be the end of your fun together or the end of play.

Encourage your child to participate in making decisions. For example, allow your child to choose between picking up the stuffed animals or putting away the blocks. Allowing him to have some choice will communicate to your child that you respect his individuality. If children feel that they have some control, then they are more likely to cooperate.

Recognize your child's contribution toward helping clean up and acknowledge her positive behaviours.

Remember to set limits and be consistent. It may seem easier to clean up yourself, rather than taking the time to make sure your child participates in chores. However, this creates the risk of encouraging further stalling and delays during clean-up in the future. Be patient and remember that learning to complete chores cheerfully takes a long time.

 

How did you encourage your toddler to clean up his toys? What worked and what didn’t? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you.

 

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Making childcare easier for your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 02:58pm
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To make the transition smooth from home to childcare, it's important to build a relationship with your child's caregiver and keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your child's likes and dislikes, any particular fears (such as thunder), how your child is behaving, what your child usually does or likes to do during the day, any problems you are currently facing, and so on. You should also share anything you're concerned about regarding your child's behaviour at home.

Here are several ways to make leaving your child with a caregiver easier and less painful for everyone.

If possible, start leaving your child with the new caregiver for short periods of time, at least two weeks before you need full-time care. Stay with your child and the caregiver for a little while each day, for the first few days, to help your child adjust. This will also allow you to learn more about the childcare. Remember, you and the caregiver are a team, working in the best interests of your child. So try to stay in touch regularly.

Try leaving a favourite toy or blanket or a picture of you with your child. These can be comforting when you are gone.

Before leaving, be sure to explain to your child that you'll be back. Do so confidently, without appearing anxious or sad.

Create daily rituals, such as kissing three times and waving good-bye together, when you're leaving. After a while, these rituals will give your child a sense of predictability over your leaving.

Accept and be sensitive to your child's display of emotions, such as crying or purposely ignoring you, when you are leaving. Stay calm if your child acts scared or angry. Acknowledge the fear so she knows it is okay to have these feelings.

When you are leaving your child at child care, here are some things to avoid:

  • Never make fun of your child, if he cries when you leave.
  • Never sneak out - an upset because you're leaving is much better than an upset because you suddenly disappeared without warning.
  • Try to avoid going right back in, even if you've forgotten something. This can be confusing and distressing for your child.
  • Never force a shy, anxious or "slow to warm up" child to jump into a situation. Let him stay close to you until he feels comfortable enough to join in.

If you find that your child isn't adjusting well to being left in childcare, be sure to talk with the caregiver. Remember - you are a team.

The way children respond when they are left with a childcare provider for the first time varies. What was your experience like when you first left your baby at childcare? Share your story by leaving a comment below!

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Ensuring your toddler appreciates his holiday gifts

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 12:48pm
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Family members can be generous to a fault when it comes to giving gifts to young children. Consider what it feels like as an adult to have a mountain of presents to open, examine, and respond to. Toddlers too, can be easily overwhelmed and do not know how to manage their feelings in such situations. Parents can ease the stress for their toddlers by limiting the amount of presents that are available for a child to play with.

As miniature scientists, toddlers mainly play by trying things out and observing the response. The key to productive play is to help your child to focus and limit the distractions. Toddlers do not know how many presents they received because they do not understand quantity, nor will they be able to remember who gave them what present.

To decrease the stress around gifts:

  • Slow down the pace so that your child opens a present and has time to explore it. Let him watch as other family members open their gifts before offering him another one to open.
  • Watch your child to observe which toy really catches his interest. Follow his lead and support his play with that particular toy. 
  • Do not be upset if your child seems to prefer the wrapping paper and boxes.
  • Select three toys that have piqued your child's curiosity. Put the other gifts away in a closet out of sight for another time. Knowing your child's temperament will also help guide your decisions about which gifts to keep out, i.e., books or puzzles versus action toys.

 

If family members have sent several gifts, select one to put under the tree or in the stocking and save the others for another time.

Has your toddler ever been overwhelmed by an abundance of gifts at the holidays or at a birthday? Share your stories below!

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