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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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Avoiding nagging your toddler

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 12:24pm
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Pick up your toys! Eat your dinner! Hang up your coat! Sound familiar?

When you tell your toddler over and over again to do something, he can become pretty good at tuning you out. Here are several ways to avoid nagging all the time:

Talk to your child when everyone is calm, about what is expected, what the rules are and develop a schedule for the tasks.

When your child doesn't do what you want, instead of nagging, go to your child, get his attention, ask what he is feeling about the task and why he is hesitant to do it. Then, after you've dealt with your child's reasons, in a calm way make it clear what your child is to do.

If your child often refuses to do, or never gets around to doing what you expect, speak to other parents to find out if what you're expecting is reasonable. And ask what they do that works, instead of nagging, that gets things done.

Don't nag to the point where you're yelling and making threats about what will happen if your child doesn't do what he's asked, especially threats you know you won't carry out. ("If you don't pick up your coat, you'll have to wear it for a week straight!") This is usually ineffective. Once you've lost your temper, all that most children think about is how upset you are. Be calm and consistent. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Follow-through is very important.

Do you find it hard to refrain from nagging your toddler? Do you have your own strategies for reducing your nagging? Share it with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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Helping your toddler cope with bedwetting

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 11:48am
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Remember, no child purposely wets the bed. And while it can be frustrating or upsetting for both of you, there are ways to make it easier on everyone. Here are several of them.

Try to decrease the amount of fluids your child has before bedtime and especially drinks that have caffeine. Make a routine of having your child go to the bathroom immediately before bed. 

Put a plastic sheet on your child's bed and keep extra sets of clean sheets and blankets close by.  You can even place a towel on top of the bottom sheet to help absorb any urine when your child doesn’t wake in time to go to the bathroom. This makes clean up in the middle of the night a lot easier on both of you, and you don't have to worry about ruining the mattress. 

Use training pants instead of diapers. Diapers can interfere with your child’s motivation to get up and use the bathroom. 

Make access to the bathroom easy. Place a nightlight in the bathroom or leave the hall light lit.  If the bathroom is a distance from your child’s room, consider using a portable toilet in your child’s room.

Be supportive. Tell your child you know it's not her fault and let her know that many children take longer to develop this kind of control.  Other family member such as siblings need to be supportive and not tease about bedwetting.

Don't expect too much too soon, or punish or shame your child for bedwetting. If you do so, things will only get worse. 

If your child is becoming embarrassed about wetting the bed, or you think bedwetting is going on too long, consult your child's physician for more specific strategies. Most children stop by age 5-6 years.

 

Did your toddler have issues with bedwetting? How did you help him cope? Share your story below by leaving a comment. 

 

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