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Making mealtime nutritious and pleasant for your toddler

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 04:32pm
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Here are some practical suggestions for helping your children to enjoy eating nutritious food at mealtimes:

Have meals and snacks at regular times, which helps children's bodies learn to expect when they will be fed.

Offer your children only nutritious snacks between meals which won't let them get too full. This includes carrot sticks, apple slices, peanut butter on celery, and fruity yogurt. 

Encourage your children to feed themselves as much as possible, whether with fingers or utensils. Acknowledge your child’s behaviour-“You ate all your vegetables by yourself tonight, you are getting so grown up.”

Try to relax about the amount your children eat, and which foods they eat. This keeps the tension levels down and makes mealtimes more enjoyable for the whole family.

Try to give your children at least one thing you know they like at meals, as well as something you'd like to introduce them to. But don't worry if they don't eat the new food. Sometimes it takes several exposures before little children learn to like a food.

Let your children tell you when they are full. But before they leave the table, make it clear that they will not be allowed to return for snacks until some reasonable time has passed.

Try to make sure your children have eaten at least a little solid food before giving them a drink. Drinks can be very filling.

And, try not to nag your children about eating. Avoid being very disappointed or angry when they don't eat much of what you have prepared. It will be easier for both of you over the long run, if you can take their refusal somewhat lightly.

To learn about incorporating Comfort, Play & Teach into mealtimes with your toddler, watch our Mealtime with Your Toddler video. 

 

We know that mealtimes and be especially challenging for parents. How do you make mealtimes happier and healthier for you and your child? Share your comments below!

 

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The benefits of play and your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:59pm
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Children benefit from playing alone, with siblings, with other children and, most importantly, with you. Adults are special partners in play. You encourage your child to concentrate, to try new things and to deal with frustration. Parents are also partners in play when they make their home safe for play and provide a choice of things to play with that are appropriate for each stage of development.

Blocks, boxes, pails, water, playdough, dolls and ordinary things around the house, like pillows and plastic containers are wonderful stimulating playthings. These materials can be used in different ways and at different ages. Many toys advertised on TV have only one use, so they limit the imagination, rather than encourage it. Such toys can be expensive, may soon be forgotten and do little to help your child's development. On the other hand, some toys have many uses and "grow with your child" for a long time.

When playing with your children, let them choose what to play with. Children need to be leaders in their own play, so try not to take over their games or activities. Let your child tell you what he wants you to do, and very gradually add new stimulation, like more things for him to play with. Research has shown that giving a child too many new things to do or play with at once can be overwhelming, and can make learning more difficult.

Visit the Toddler Play Section of our Activity Centre to make the most of play time with Comfort, Play & Teach.


Video Alert!
You can also watch this video from our Comfort, Play & Teach video series, Playtime with your Toddler, to learn more.

 

 

 

 

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Your toddler and learning more than one language

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 01:48pm
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Fortunately, most young children can learn two or more languages as they grow up, especially in the years before they go to school. They might show slight delays in vocabulary growth in each language at first, because they are learning two or more sets of words at once. But by the time they have reached grade five, they often have a more advanced knowledge of language than other children who speak only one language.

When a child is learning two languages, she may mix words from both languages into her sentences, but she will eventually learn to separate the languages correctly.

You should go ahead and speak the language you are comfortable with to your child. It's also good to read to him in that language, and use it when you are playing with him, as well.

And remember, it's much better to speak to your child in your native language often than to talk very little because you think you should only speak in English or only French, and you aren't comfortable doing so.

Click here for more on teaching your toddler to speak two languages.

Do you speak more than one language at home? Are you encouraging your toddler to speak both? Post a comment and share your strategies with other parents.

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Dehydration

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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