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Safety Tips for Massaging Your Baby

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:00am
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Our experts have created these safety tips to help you when you’re massaging your baby. Remember, it’s a great idea to learn about baby massage from a certified Infant Massage Instructor.

  • Do not massage a baby that is sick or has a fever.
  • Do not massage over areas that have a rash or are red. This could cause further irritation to these areas and may be painful for your baby.
  • Avoid using nut-based oils when doing massage to decrease the risk of an allergic reaction.
  • Do not use oils around baby's eyes or mouth, as these may get into their eyes or mouth during massage.

Sources: Tina Holden, Child, Youth & Family Consultant, British Columbia.
Jill Vyse, Massage Therapist, International Association of Infant Massage, Canadian Chapter.

Find out more about baby massage: 

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Dressing Baby for the Weather

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 02:56pm
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When you’re taking your baby outside, especially in very cold or very hot weather, it can be tough to decide how many layers your baby needs. Dressing your baby can be different from dressing yourself, so making the right decisions take some thought. Here are a few tips to get you through winter and summer weather.

Summer

Avoid the sun as much as possible. Too much sun exposure can lead to skin cancer later in life. Avoid using sunscreen on babies younger than six months of age. If your baby is less than six months old, your best bet is to keep his skin covered and stay out of direct sunlight. For babies older than six months, avoid being in direct sunlight during its peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on days when the UV index is 3 or higher, your baby should be wearing sunscreen. Use unscented sunscreens that:

  • Have a rating of at least SPF 15
  • Block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Are waterproof

Avoid sunscreens with ingredients such as PABA, which can trigger allergic reactions. Slater the sunscreen on your baby 15 to 30 minutes before heading outside and reapply every 2 to 3 hours, or after your baby gets wet or sweaty.
During hot weather alerts, keep your baby indoors or in the shade, and avoid the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Baby’s summer wear:

  • Dress your baby in loose-fitting lightweight clothing with long sleeves to cover arms and legs.
  • Put a wide-brimmed hat on your baby.
  • Put UVA/UVB-blocking sunglasses on your baby to protect her eyes.
  • If you’re using a baby carrier or sling, make sure that it’s not lined with heavy fabric and that your baby is not too hot.

In hot weather, because babies and toddlers dehydrate and get sunstroke more easily than adults, be sure to give your baby lots of extra fluids in addition to the ones he gets at meal-time.
 


Winter

Babies cool down much quicker than adults, so they’re more prone to frostbite and wind chapping. Keep that in mind when you’re picking their clothing and use these rules of thumb:

  • Dress your baby in one layer more than you’re wearing .
  • Don’t stay outside for too long – if your baby is suddenly fussy, that could mean she’s not comfortable.

Be sure to watch for the physical signs of frostbite and keep an eye out for exposed fingers and toes: A frostbitten nose, ears, fingers or toes will start to turn white.

Baby’s winter wear:

  • A hat that covers his ears is a must.
  • UVA/UVB-blocking sunglasses and a visor on baby’s hat protect his eyes on sunny days, especially from light reflecting off snow and ice.
  • Warm socks, booties, a scarf or neck warmer, and mittens keep your baby’s hands and feet toasty.
  • Dress your baby in lightweight fabrics such as polyester or fleece.
  • When riding in a car seat put your baby in a snowsuit or bunting bag that will allow for correct placement of car seat straps.
  • When riding in a stroller put baby in a fuzzy-lined stroller seat, or a bunting or baby jogger bag if you regularly walk with him.
  • Rain covers on strollers can protect baby from wind, rain and snow.

 
Does your baby have a favourite winter or summer outfit? Do you have great photos of baby bundled up in her snowsuit? Leave a comment or post a picture below!

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Building effective communication with your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 11:14am
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According to our experts, the key to effective communication between you and your toddler is active listening and providing an appropriate positive response.  This may sound simple, but sometimes we forget to use these important skills with our young children.

Here are their suggestions to enhance your communication with your child:

  • Active Listening:  when your child is speaking with you make sure you are:
    • Looking at your child (“what you are saying is important,” is your message) 
    • Eliminate distractions (music, reading, etc)
    • Don’t interrupt  (let your child finish what they are saying)
    • Summarize (what you said is…so and so….did I get it right?)
    • Let you child know that you appreciate them sharing their thoughts or concerns with you.  It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but if your child feels you have heard them it gives them a greater sense of connection with you and actually decreases arguments.
  • Providing an appropriate response:  Sometime children will say something that upsets us, or we jump to a conclusion, or we provide a consequence to a child for something that they told us they did.  These responses teach children not to communicate with us.  Instead, thank your child for sharing with you and, if there is an issue, ask the child what they think would help or should be done.  Children are usually pretty fair and understand right and wrong, as well as the need to “fix” things. Instead of responding to their confession with, “That was a bad thing you did, so go to your room,” you might say, “Thank you for letting me know about that.  I am proud of you for telling me the truth, but now we need to do something about what you did.  What do you think would be fair?”
  • Timing:  If you child is in the middle of something, (watching a TV show, brushing his teeth, etc.) you should tell him that you would like to talk about something and wait for him to finish.  Remember that if you are busy, or you know you have to leave in a minute, you will not be able to be an active listener.
  • Play:  One of the best ways to communicate is while a child is playing a game or with a toy where he is also able to talk with you. Colouring, building blocks or puzzles are some examples.  As he is enjoying his activity you can ask him about his day, what was interesting, etc.
  • Create routines:  Have a “talk time” every day at the same time. You can schedule one early in the morning, at supper or just before bed, whenever you regularly have a bit of quiet time together.  For young children this would only be a few minutes, but it becomes a part of their daily life to have time to communicate with you.  At supper, for example, you might have each person say one thing that was good about their day and one thing that was not so good.
  • Go on an adventure:  Go for a drive in the car, a hike, visit the museum or beach and talk about what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. You can even do this in your imagination and pretend you are flying in a plane and talk about what you are seeing or doing.
  • Read:  Reading books to each other and talking about the story afterward is a wonderful and easy way to foster communication with your child.  You can do this with TV shows or movies as well.  Ask your child what they think about things that are happening.  “What do you think he is feeling right now?”  Why do you think she did that?”  “How would you feel if they did that to you?”  If you are watching a show together don’t have the communication get in the way of your child following the story.  If that is happening wait and talk about it once the show is over.

Keep in mind that even if you do all these things, your child may still not want to talk with you.  Pressuring children to talk will usually make them clam up even more. Talking about things that your child is interested in will help, but sometimes the key is to wait until you child initiates a discussion.  When this happens make sure you are using your active listening skills.

Do you practice active listening with your child? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience or send a question to one of our experts!

 

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Traumatic TV and Preschoolers

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:04pm
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It is important to limit children's exposure to TV and other media. In times when we are bombarded with images and stories in the media about difficult and upsetting topics, be they flu pandemics, natural disasters, wars or terrorist attacks, parents often cannot avoid their young children hearing or seeing information about these events. Here are some strategies to help you and your child manage the stress and upset that can result from seeing upsetting things in the media.

Through television and other media, four- and five-year old children can be exposed to violent and disturbing images of war, terrorism, pandemics, disasters and tragic accidents. Some preschoolers are affected by these images more than others. However, young children are very sensitive to their parents' and caregivers' reactions. If you and your spouse are upset, or if your child's regular caregiver or teacher is upset, chances are good your child will become distressed too.
 
It is a good idea to limit young children's exposure to violence or upsetting stories in the news. It is even more important to limit your own exposure, if it is preoccupying you or distressing you. Turn the TV and radio off. Reassure your child that you are basically all right, even if you are sad. If it is important for you to keep track of what is happening during a traumatic event, then turn on the TV or radio at key news moments to catch up. But turn it off again and reconnect with your child.

It is also important to limit the time you spend worriedly talking about the event or situation with others and give your child some quality attention.
Some children are very sensitive and if you are anxiously talking to teachers, grandparents, neighbours and others, even four- and five-year-olds can become quite disturbed themselves.

If your child does see some news event that upsets him, or upsets you, talk about it.
It is not necessary to explain it in detail. You can simply say that a sad thing happened and some people got hurt and died. In many cases you can tell your child that the event happened far away, and emphasize that you and your family are safe. Don't forget to tell him that the people in charge are doing everything they can to protect you against the danger, and to make sure this doesn't happen again. It may also help some children feel better if they help out in some way. For example, they can send drawings or letters to the communities touched by the event.

If your young child is still anxious over an event that happened more than one month ago, consult your child's physician.

 

How does your child respond to traumatic events in the news? How do you help him or her cope? Share your story by leaving a comment below. And don’t forget that you can also Ask and Expert if you have questions on this topic.
 

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