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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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Encouraging your toddler to eat healthy

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 06:48pm
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Do you have trouble getting your toddler to enjoy healthy foods? Are you looking for suggestions on how you can encourage your child to develop healthy eating habits? Learn more about what our experts have to say. 

Establish a routine for meals and snacks. Try to feed your child at times when he is alert, and not too tired to eat or cooperate.

Use a variety of foods from the four food group. Remember that children, like adults, have their own likes and dislikes, which may change over time. If your child will not eat certain foods (such as yellow vegetables) try to "hide them" in a soup or casserole.

Involve your child in the food preparation. For example, he can help to set the table, or pour and mix ingredients - your child will feel so proud of his participation, that he will be more likely to eat what he has helped to prepare.

Serve new foods alongside familiar foods. This encourages your child to enjoy eating a variety of foods and establish good manners.

Create a pleasant environment for your child at mealtime. Make sure she is comfortable (for example, young children will usually need a booster seat).

Set reasonable expectations, such as a realistic sense of how long your child can sit at one time, or the amount of food that he can eat during a meal or snack time. 

Try not to show anxiety about what foods your child is or is not eating. Children learn quickly that food can be used as a weapon for getting their way.

Don't forget that children's appetites vary. Expect the appetite of your two-year old to be reduced, since he is now growing at a slower rate than before, and he is much more interested in exploring his surroundings instead of sitting in one place. Children should eat to satisfy their hunger, not to gain anyone's approval.

Try to sit and eat as a family. This establishes mealtimes as pleasant social occasions.

Offer your child the same food that everyone else at the table is eating, as long as it is age-appropriate.

Present food in a form your child can cope with at her level of skill and independence. Using child-sized, unbreakable utensils, dishes and cups will help encourage your child to develop the skills she needs to learn to feed herself.

Understand that children need practice. Using a spoon, fork and cup with control and confidence takes years of practice.

Remember that children tend to be messy. They may eat with their fingers and hands, spill things and can be easily distracted.

Limit the number of choices at a meal. Too many choices can be overwhelming. Foods that are rejected by your child should be re-introduced at a later time.

Involve your child in making decisions about meals so his likes are reflected in the menu. Try to always include one thing your child likes eating.

Buy or make a placemat for your child's place at the table. 

 

How do you encourage your toddler to eat healthy? What have you found works best for your family? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

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Helping your toddler stop bedwetting

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 03:20pm
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Here are several strategies from our experts that you can try to help your toddler stop wetting the bed:

Limit how much your child drinks after dinner especially any drinks with caffeine. Try and limit any fluids 2 hours before bedtime.

Use training pants and not diapers.  Diapers may 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.  

Encourage your child to empty his bladder a second time, just five minutes after the first time, right before bed.

Wake your child during the night to go to the toilet. However, some experts say that if she's not really awake, it's almost like encouraging her to pee while she's sleeping.  

And, place a portable toilet by your child's bed so that if he wakes up and has to go quickly, he can.

Use of rewards and punishments is no longer recommended as an effective way to manage bedwetting.

If the bedwetting continues despite all your efforts, consult your child's doctor for more specific strategies.

 

Did you use any of these strategies to help your toddler stop wetting the bed? Which ones worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

 

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Making childcare easier for your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 02:58pm
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To make the transition smooth from home to childcare, it's important to build a relationship with your child's caregiver and keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your child's likes and dislikes, any particular fears (such as thunder), how your child is behaving, what your child usually does or likes to do during the day, any problems you are currently facing, and so on. You should also share anything you're concerned about regarding your child's behaviour at home.

Here are several ways to make leaving your child with a caregiver easier and less painful for everyone.

If possible, start leaving your child with the new caregiver for short periods of time, at least two weeks before you need full-time care. Stay with your child and the caregiver for a little while each day, for the first few days, to help your child adjust. This will also allow you to learn more about the childcare. Remember, you and the caregiver are a team, working in the best interests of your child. So try to stay in touch regularly.

Try leaving a favourite toy or blanket or a picture of you with your child. These can be comforting when you are gone.

Before leaving, be sure to explain to your child that you'll be back. Do so confidently, without appearing anxious or sad.

Create daily rituals, such as kissing three times and waving good-bye together, when you're leaving. After a while, these rituals will give your child a sense of predictability over your leaving.

Accept and be sensitive to your child's display of emotions, such as crying or purposely ignoring you, when you are leaving. Stay calm if your child acts scared or angry. Acknowledge the fear so she knows it is okay to have these feelings.

When you are leaving your child at child care, here are some things to avoid:

  • Never make fun of your child, if he cries when you leave.
  • Never sneak out - an upset because you're leaving is much better than an upset because you suddenly disappeared without warning.
  • Try to avoid going right back in, even if you've forgotten something. This can be confusing and distressing for your child.
  • Never force a shy, anxious or "slow to warm up" child to jump into a situation. Let him stay close to you until he feels comfortable enough to join in.

If you find that your child isn't adjusting well to being left in childcare, be sure to talk with the caregiver. Remember - you are a team.

The way children respond when they are left with a childcare provider for the first time varies. What was your experience like when you first left your baby at childcare? Share your story by leaving a comment below!

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