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Travelling with your Toddler

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 06:01pm
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If you are going on a trip:

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If your child has a favourite stuffed toy, blanket, etc, don't forget to take it with you on your trip. Children who need a special object to feel safe and secure at home will need it just as much, if not more, while they are away. Make sure to bring extras in case some of these precious objects get lost in transit. This, along with some favourite games and books, will help to maintain a sense of routine and familiarity that will be very comforting to your child in the midst of all the new things he will see and do.

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You may not be able to take a vacation from being a parent, but you can take advantage of your break to explore the more fun aspects of parenting. Take your child to a local festival, ask the hotel staff to help you find children's activities in the area, or simply take the time to play in the water with your child at the pool or beach. By spending time with her and playing with her, you are making her feel important and giving her opportunities to use and develop a wide range of skills.

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Take advantage of being in a new environment to teach your child about different things. You and your child may be seeing trees, flowers, animals and other things that you never see at home. Outings in your new surroundings are adventures that will stimulate your child's curiosity. Encourage him by showing an interest in his discoveries, pointing out new things, answering his questions and letting him share his impressions with you.

If you are staying close to home:

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When you plan special outings, take along what you need to prevent little problems from becoming crises: pack some favourite snacks in case there is no food available when your child gets hungry. Carry a lightweight change of clothing in case of falls, spills, etc. It is also a good idea to bring the stroller in case you end up walking more than you planned. Responding to your child's basic needs in this way will comfort him and help ensure that everyone has a good time.

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While it's tempting to squeeze in lots of activities in the little free time you have with your children, remember that less is often more for young children because they tire quickly. Choose one activity per day and take the time to really enjoy it together. You may also want to invite a friend and her children along. This will allow the activity to be a social one for both you and your child.

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Plan to arrive at the activity, event or place early in the day when your child is still fresh and has the energy to appreciate what is happening. This way he will be in the best disposition to participate fully and learn new things. Later, discuss with your child what she saw and did and encourage her to share this experience with others who were not there. Doing this will exercise her memory and help her practice her story-telling skills.

Have you used Comfort, Play & Teach when travelling with your toddler? Share your experiences below by leaving a comment!

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Helping your shy preschooler

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 02:01pm
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Some children are shy. They "hang back" in groups. They need your assistance to learn how to become comfortable talking and playing with others.

The main things to remember when trying to help a child like this to cope with new situations are:

  • Don't label a child "shy" or introduce your child as a "shy child." Sometimes children will define themselves as this and never move beyond the label.
  • Don't push your child into situations that he might find overwhelming. It's important that you accept your child's nature and help him develop ways to overcome his shyness - that may take time and patience. Instead of pushing, offer your child opportunities to be involved with others with your support.
  • Prepare your child ahead of time by talking about new situations, such as what she will encounter, or who may be there, and talk with her about ways to become involved in groups.
  • Don't nag your child about being shy. Parents who get irritable or impatient with a child's shyness may find that their child reacts by being even shyer.

Remember, every child is unique. Some children will be shy, to a greater or lesser degree, all their lives. It's important for them to feel valued for who they are.

Do you have a shy preschooler? Tell us about it below. Also, learn more about your child’s temperament.

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The benefits of touch for your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 12:01pm
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Is there anything more comforting to a child than the gentle touch of a loving parent? It is said that touch can speak louder than words and that touch is our first language. How true! When a father cuddles his baby or a mother rubs the back of a crying toddler, their touch is saying in no uncertain terms, "I care." This quiet yet clear communication between a parent and child is powerful, and its positive effects on children cannot be overstated.

Research shows that babies will cry less if they are touched regularly. We also know that a parent's touch does more than simply comfort babies; it has actually been proven that it helps them grow and develop.

In one study, premature babies who were touched and massaged regularly by their parents gained more weight and were more active, alert and responsive than babies who were not massaged.

So remember, when you comfort your young child, regardless of her age, touch can play an important role in how you communicate your affection and support.

It is also important for parents to be in tune with their children, and to read the cues and clues that children give about the type and amount of touch that suits them at a particular moment. Sometimes too much cuddling will make a baby cranky; if this happens, it's time to back off. In fact, some children are naturally more reactive and sensitive to touch than others and at times may find too much touch over-stimulating. They'll let you know when they need a break - your job as a parent is to recognize and follow their lead. Often, a casual touch on the shoulder is enough to let children know that you love them.

So read your child's cues, and remember that touch can speak louder than words. When it's used sensitively, it sends a powerful message of love and security.

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How play is good for your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 03:35pm
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When children play, they are practicing skills in every area of development: thinking, solving problems, talking, moving, sensing, cooperating and making moral judgments. This natural form of learning is very similar to the real world, because instead of learning one thing at a time, children have to learn - and use - several ideas and objects all at once. Playing is also fun - it makes children happy, and leads to easier and more effective learning.

In the early years, children explore or play by doing the same thing over and over again. For example, babies hold, manipulate and suck on blocks. Children learn what objects are like, and what they can do with them. They are beginning to make sense of their world.

As children grow, they add make-believe to their play. When children pretend, they are showing what they know. For example, when they put a block to their ear and say "Hello," children are showing that an object can be a make-believe telephone, and that a telephone is used for talking to people. When children build a castle or an airport, they have to think about their goal, and figure out how to make the castle or airport. That involves being creative and solving problems.

In pretend play, children are making sense of the world, trying out things they've learned and seen, and thinking about their feelings. They sort out fantasy and reality. You can tell a lot about what your child is feeling and thinking just by watching her play.

Around the time your child begins school, games with rules become part of play. Games encourage children to use strategy, logic and moral judgments to follow the rules. Board games like Snakes and Ladders, card games and team sports are all games with rules that help children learn to take turns, negotiate, problem-solve and get along with others.

Video Alert!
Watch our Baby Playtime video to learn how to incorporate Comfort, Play & Teach into the playtime you spend with your baby.

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