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Finding quality time with your toddler

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 07:59pm
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Work, household chores and social activities all put a strain on your time with your toddler but it's really important to spend quality time together. This will help build a trusting relationship, and reassure your child that he can count on you. But you can't turn on quality time like a light switch. It comes sometimes when you least expect it, if you spend enough relaxed time and do enough things together.

You will, no doubt, start by looking for things that you can do to free up more time for family, such as:

  • Deciding which household chores can be left undone or be done imperfectly in order to make more family time.
  • Leaving certain things until after your child has gone to bed to make the most of your time together.
  • Turning some routines, such as driving to daycare or doing the dishes, into quality time by singing together or talking seriously about what is happening in your lives.

There will be occasions when the time you spend with your toddler may have to be juggled around a bit, but try not to skip them entirely. Also, try to spend time alone with EACH of your children.

Remember that children like things that are predictable. So plan your quality times so that they can take place regularly. Maybe you can eat dinner together, or go to the park first thing every Sunday morning.

 

How do you find quality time to spend with your toddler? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment and share your story below!

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Helping your toddler find balance during the holidays

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 01:51pm
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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.

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.

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:

  • 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.

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. Toddlers may not understand every word, but your tone will communicate volumes.
  • 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.

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.

 

What does your family do over the holiday season to ensure that your child understands both giving and getting? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

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Toddlers and Verbal Abuse

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 01:55pm
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Verbal abuse is defined as repeatedly insulting a child or calling a child names. Telling him that he is stupid, fat, lazy, useless etc, can be just as harmful as hitting him. These actions can result in him feeling as though he is no good. 

Children in these situations come to believe that they are worthless or stupid and they may feel that it’s hopeless to try to be anything different. A child needs to feel loved, wanted and safe in order to feel worthwhile.

Any type of abuse can lead to a whole range of behavioural, emotional and physical problems. 

If you or your partner are using verbal abuse with each other or with your child it may be difficult for her to thrive. You should speak to your doctor or a counselor in your area.

In Canada, anyone who believes a child is being abused is required to report it to the police or child protection authorities.

 

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Preventing Tantrums in Public with Comfort, Play & Teach

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 04:27pm
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How do you prevent your child from having a tantrum in public? Our experts have provided some strategies to prevent tantrums when you are in public with your child.

How do you prevent your child from having a tantrum in public?

Babies and young children often find shopping and other trips away from home overwhelming. The sights and activities in stores and public places may cause your child to spiral out of control.

Try to be consistent with what you would do at home. It may seem easier to look the other way or give in, rather than deal with the behaviour right there. However, if you are inconsistent, it may encourage even more demanding behaviour in the future.

Here are some strategies to prevent tantrums when you are in public with your child:

Comfort

  • Don't go on an outing when your child is tired, hungry or ill. 
  • Try to remain calm. If you become angry with the bank teller or upset in a traffic jam, your toddler is likely to sense this, and he may lose complete control.

 

Play

  • Try to keep trips short and within your child’s limits. Some babies love being out and about; some don’t. Even those that love it will have off-days. In general, keep outings on the short side for 1 year olds. Gradually go for longer outings as your child approaches her 2nd birthday.  
  • Bring along nutritious snacks and interesting toys. This will help to ensure your child doesn’t become hungry. Also, you won't be tempted to give your child a non-nutritious treat or to buy an unneeded toy in an effort to stop a tantrum.

 

Teach

  • Talk to your child while you shop, run errands and so on. Engage his attention. Ask for his opinion, and have him help you find the items on your shopping list. A game like “I spy” may keep your child engaged and learning about colours, shapes, textures while grocery shopping

 

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