Preventing Shopping Mall Meltdowns

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 05:02pm
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You’re headed towards the check-out counter when your toddler spots a colourful candy display. You quickly try to focus his interest elsewhere, but it’s too late. He asks for candy and you explain that he’s already had a treat today, dreading what is likely to come next. He arches his back and starts to wail as you look nervously at the shoppers around you and brace for a shopping meltdown. 

When your child has a tantrum in public it’s hard not to have a meltdown yourself, but there are things you can do to try and avoid these blow-ups.

“Remember that shopping can be really overwhelming for babies and young children,” says Kris Langille, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “Children can be over-stimulated by stores and may become more difficult to manage in response to this.”

It's not always easy to discipline a child while others are watching. However, it's important that you try to be consistent with what you would do at home. Often it may seem easier to look the other way or give in to a demanding child, rather than deal with it right there. However, inconsistency may encourage even more demanding behaviour in the future.

Our experts have put together some strategies you can try when going out, in order to prevent your child from having a tantrum:

  • Try to remain calm and maintain firm limits from the beginning to the end of the trip. 
  • Talk to your child while you shop, run errands and so on - engage her attention. Ask her opinion, and ask her to help you find what you are looking for.
  • Allow your child to participate in what you are doing. For example, if you are shopping, let him help pick out the fruit.
  • Don't go on an outing when your child is tired, hungry or ill.
  • Try to keep trips short.
  • Bring a snack along to make sure your child does not become hungry, and so you won't be tempted to give your child a treat in an effort to stop a tantrum.

Has your child ever had a meltdown at the shopping mall or grocery store? What did you do? How do you keep these from happening? Share your story with parents just like you by leaving a comment below.

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Preparing your toddler for a holiday dinner

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 04:16pm
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The ultimate goal of a family get together is to have a pleasant meal and enjoy each other's company. Stress occurs when young children misbehave, cause disruptions or don't comply with expectations. Our Comfort, Play & Teach approach can help you make the dinner more enjoyable for all.

You comfort your toddler when you recognize and support his needs, showing him that you respect and value him as a separate person. Preparing your toddler ahead of time for the dinner will help him feel a sense of security and comfort:

  • Tell him who will be coming for dinner.
  • Inform him that there will be lots of new and different foods to try.
  • Warn him that the meal will take a long time because grownups like to talk.

You can also prevent problems and comfort your toddler by understanding what is considered reasonable behaviour for this situation and for your child's age. For instance, it is unreasonable to expect a toddler to sit in a highchair or at the table for more than 20-30 minutes without wanting to be the centre of attention. By reading his signals and taking certain measures, you can prevent temper tantrums or outbursts from happening:

  • Give your child something nutritious to eat before the holiday dinner. That way, even if he doesn't want to try the foods being served, he will not feel too hungry.
  • Allow him to come and go from the table. He can play nearby in between courses and join the family when he is ready to eat some more.

Have some of his favourite activities ready beforehand, e.g. blocks, cars, crayons and paper. This way you can supervise and interact from a distance as he plays without causing too much disruption at the table.

Have you had dinner time successes or disasters with your toddler? Let us know by sharing your comment below!

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Is your child ready for toilet learning?

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:19pm
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As much as you're looking forward to being through with dirty diapers, you can't rush your child’s learning to use the toilet. Some children may start to be ready for potty training at 18 months others are not ready until they are about two or three years old, they don't have the necessary physical control along with the ability to tell you they need to use the toilet.

Typically, the following signs show your child may be ready for toilet learning:

  • She begins to dislike being in a soiled diaper and indicates she wants to be changed
  • She is able to stay dry for a couple of hours between diaper changes
  • She has regular and predictable bowel movements
  • She shows an interest in the toilet or potty and why it is used
  • She can follow one or two simple instructions
  • She can recognize that her bladder is full or she has the urge to have a bowel movement. She might pull at her pants, hold her genital area, squat or tell you.

But even then, if your child won't use the toilet or is worried, frightened or upset about it, wait and try later.

To begin toilet learning, choose a time with no stress for you and your child. Toilet learning requires an easy-going parent and a relaxed child. Avoid times when your child is dealing with change - like a new baby in the family, a move to a new home, parents’ separating or starting daycare.


How did you know when your child was ready? Share your experience by leaving a comment below!

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Helping your toddler deal with her feelings

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 11:51am
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It's a good idea to help your toddler learn to manage his emotions, but remember you don't want to stop young children from having feelings all together. It's much better to help your child learn better ways of dealing with his feelings instead. Here are several things that you can try:

Try to set a good example for your child. When you find yourself getting upset or frustrated, try saying things out loud like, "I'm sure I can get through this if I slow down and think about it." This is a great way to teach your child how to calm himself down and remain in control.

Help your child put what she is feeling into words - teach her what to call different types of feelings.

Talk about the way people in storybooks and pictures are feeling, and talk about what might cause those feelings.

Explain that you understand she's upset or angry, but at the same time let your child know that some behaviours, like hurting others or constantly whining, are not acceptable.

Take your child's feelings seriously and acknowledge how he is feeling. Never say "It's not such a big deal" or "Why are you so upset about that?" Instead, help your child understand that many people have similar feelings on occasion, and some people have them more often. Then discuss the acceptable ways to express them.

Be a positive influence when your child does get upset - by helping to calm him and change the situation into something more positive.

Avoid labeling your child by his feelings, such as "He's always been an angry boy" or "She can't help it, she's shy." Too often, a child will start to believe what is being said, and live up to the label.

If your child's control of her emotions doesn't seem to be improving, consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.


How do you help your toddler cope with her feelings? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!


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