by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:31am
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Dehydration happens when the body doesn’t have enough water to carry out its normal jobs.

Toddlers can become dehydrated quickly and need to be watched carefully. This is especially true during hot weather and illnesses such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Watch for signs of dehydration when changing routines, giving new foods or even changing water sources.

The symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Crying with few or no tears
  • Slightly dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Fewer wet diapers than usual
  • Fewer dirty diapers than usual
  • Less active
  • More sleepy or tired than usual
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irritable
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

Severe dehydration includes the following symptoms:

  • Very dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Skin that stays stuck together and doesn’t spring back when it’s gently pinched then released
  • No urine or wet diapers
  • Intense thirst
  • Your child is difficult to arouse or does not recognize you
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heart rate
  • Cool, grayish skin colour
  • Very lethargic
  • Loss of weight

When mild dehydration occurs, there are steps you can take to stop this:

  • Offer your child fluids frequently
  • Offer fluids such as popsicles, freezies, or water every hour. Consult your doctor before giving any over-the-counter re-hydration fluid.
  • If you can’t get your child to re-hydrate herself, call her doctor or go to the children’s after-hours clinic. If neither is available, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. It’s always better to take a dehydrated child to medical experts sooner rather than later. Re-hydrating quickly is very important.

If severe hydration occurs, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

You can prevent dehydration in your child by frequently offering her fluids she would normally take. Watch for signs that dehydration is getting worse. This is especially true when she has vomiting or diarrhea.


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Handling Sibling Rivalry

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 08:54pm
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Sibling rivalry can develop for many reasons. In some cases it's due to the personalities of the children, but other times children may feel jealous. For example, if one sibling is really good at playing sports or is really good at school, but the other one struggles with these things.

Some sibling rivalry is to be expected.  If you had two best friends living together in the same house they would have some conflict and arguments from time to time.

The goal then is not to try to prevent sibling rivalry, but helping your children deal with any issues that arise between them in a constructive way.

If the rivalry takes the form of physical fighting between the children, it is very important for children to know that there is a "no hurting" rule, as opposed to just saying, "no pinching" or "no grabbing." Let them know right away that you won't tolerate that behaviour by saying, "we don't hurt anyone in this family."

If the children are arguing constantly, letting them work things out on their own is good in many cases. But be ready to step in when these little arguments start turning into long-standing issues. New research shows that children can suffer immensely if verbal taunts and threats by brothers and sisters go on and on.

To keep things peaceful, try to give each child one-on-one attention at least part of each day. This will make each child feel that she is still special to you.

Don’t compare your children. Sometimes parents fuel sibling rivalry by using one child as an example to the other. They ask, “Why can’t you listen like your brother?” or “Why can’t you have a clean room like your sister?”  This tends to create resentment rather than be helpful.  Let your children know that it is okay to be different.

When jealousy rears its ugly head, it's important not to blame one child or the other. Encourage the children to talk about their feelings of envy and jealousy. It's not going to be easy, but try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say in these situations. Try to emphasize the strengths of each individual child.

Share the consequences – When there is an issue that you are brought into, don’t take sides. Ask each child for their side of the story without any interruptions.  Ask the children what they think the solution is and, if it is reasonable, support their solution.  If they can’t come up with a solution you can proceed with a couple of options.

  1. Ask the children to work out a solution, and until they do, they are not allowed to do anything else.
  2. Come up with a solution yourself, but make sure that both of the children are involved.  Don’t give a consequence to just one child.  Remember it takes “two to tango.”  

Have you children apologize when they do something wrong. Saying I’m sorry is critical to the maintenance of loving relationships.  It says that “I care that I hurt you or upset you.”  At the end of any issue, have your child apologize to the other.  If both are involved in “causing” the issue they should both apologize.  If they are not ready, ask them to sit quietly until they are, even if it takes a while.  Finally, make sure the tone is right, an angry, “I’m sorry,” does not convey the right message.  


Is there jealousy or rivalry between your children? What have you done to manage the conflict between them? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!


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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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Preventing Tantrums at Home with Comfort, Play & Teach

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 04:26pm
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Here are some Comfort, Play & Teach® suggestions for preventing tantrums at home.


Ensure your child doesn't become too tired or too hungry. These are the enemies of good behaviour. If your child has had a sleepless night or wasn’t hungry at his last meal, he may become more irritable or cranky. This can put him on the road to a tantrum.



Provide stimulating activities for your baby to do when you need to do things that are boring to her. For example, listening to you talk on the telephone is very boring to your young toddler. Try keeping a basket of toys that your child likes close by for just such occasions. Or, try to involve your child in something close by—even though she is not able to help with cooking, cleaning the car or doing the laundry.



Stick to your routines—especially those at the end of the day. The late afternoon and early evening are the “witching hour” in many families. At this time, toddlers are a lot more likely to be hungry and tired. If their routine is disrupted, things can go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Have nutritious snacks available in case you get stuck in traffic or dinner is unavoidably delayed. Don’t hold off dinner too long—even if you have to eat without one parent present. When you’re tired, keep the bath, book and bed routine in place. The last thing you need when you are tired is a screaming baby.  




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