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Baby Massage Tips

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:00am
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Our experts have developed this list of tips to help you when you’re using baby massage. Remember, it’s best to learn baby massage techniques from a certified Baby Massage Instructor.

  • You can start infant massage at one month of age for only 10 to 15 minutes while watching your baby's cues. Be cautious with babies who are ultra sensitive. You may have to wait until your baby is older to start. A few babies may be so sensitive to touch that they will never be able to stand massage.
  • The best time to massage your baby is during the "quiet, alert" state which is when your baby is relaxed with his eyes open and making lots of eye contact.
  • Some babies may not enjoy massage the first time. Your baby may be tired or hungry, or may have a full stomach. Your baby may also be reacting to this new experience. Try gentle strokes, gentle tones or singing may help your baby relax. If your baby is still upset, try again later.
  • It's OK if your baby really doesn't enjoy massage. Some babies need to wait until they are older.
  • Know that not all babies will enjoy massage, no matter how wonderful your skills.
  • If you are using massage oil, make sure it is safe and edible as little hands and feet end up in baby's mouth. Oils, such as grape seed or safflower can be used. Oils and lotions made just for babies can also be used.
  • Often babies will spontaneously urinate the first time they experience massage, so be prepared just in case!
  • Don't wear any jewelry that may scratch your baby.
  • Your baby should be completely naked or wearing only a diaper when being massaged; make sure the room is warm enough.
  • Talk gently to your baby, or maybe sing her favorite songs as you massage, and listen to your baby "talking" back.
  • Establish a routine. Put aside 15 minutes every day for infant massage and try to do it at a more quiet time in your baby's day
  • Choose a time when your baby isn't too hungry and when you aren't rushed.
  • Ask your baby's permission before beginning to massage; this helps to promote healthy touch. For example, "Taylor, is it okay if I give you a massage?"
  • Look for cues that would indicate your baby does not wish to be massaged, such as turning their head away, stiffening or pushing away.
  • Have fun!

Sources: Tina Holden, Child, Youth & Family Consultant, British Columbia.
Jill Vyse, Massage Therapist, International Association of Infant Massage, Canadian Chapter.

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How to use the Cry it Out Method

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 02:41pm
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If you're going to attempt to have your baby sleep through the night, you need a good plan! If you're ot sure how to proceed with this approach, we can help.

If you're going to attempt to have your baby sleep through the night, you need a good plan! If you’ve done night weaning, have a good going to sleep routine and you feel like your child will respond well to Cry it Out, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how to start using the method.

Not sure how to proceed with this approach? This is where we can help. In the link below, we have outlined specific steps for you to follow. Remember that if you encounter too much resistance, wait a few weeks and then try again. The timing of this approach can vary so much—depending on your individual child and yourselves.

1

Be prepared. This method requires a large amount of groundwork. The success of this method depends on both parents preparing themselves emotionally and planning their steps carefully in advance. To begin, if you don’t have a stable bedtime routine for your baby, give yourself at least two weeks to get that firmly established. Take whatever time you need to discuss together and agree on your Cry It Out plan. 

2

Put your baby in his crib when he's drowsy but not quite asleep.

3

Whisper your comfort words to your child—something like “night, night” or “sh-sh-sh”—and leave the room. If she cries when you leave, let her cry for your predetermined wait period

4

If your baby is still crying at the end of your predetermined wait period, return, but leave the light off. Keep your voice quiet and reassuring. Don’t pick him up. Instead, pat him and reassure him for no more than a minute or two. If possible, lay him down and pat his tummy or massage his temples. Leave again while he's still awake—even if he's crying.

5

If your baby is still crying, follow your plan, and stay out of the room a little longer than the first time. Follow the same routine. Stay out of the room for gradually longer periods. Each time, return for only a minute or two to pat and reassure your baby. Then, leave while she's still awake.

6

Follow this routine until your baby falls asleep—with you out of the room.

7

If your baby wakes up again later, follow the same routine. Begin with the minimum waiting time for that night and gradually increase the intervals between visits. Do this until you reach the maximum for that night.

8

Increase the amount of wait time before responding each night.

9

Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Each day, ask yourself how things are going for you, for your relationship and for your family. During stressful times, it’s critical for you to stay open and honest with your partner. Let your combined creativity adapt this approach to your particular needs and desires.

10

Decide whether to continue. The Cry It Out method doesn’t always work. For some families, it works just the way it is supposed to. After a few nights and a few tears, their child sleeps contentedly through the night. For other families, the tears continue and the promised sleep doesn't come. When this happens, you need to try something else.

 

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Building effective communication with your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 11:09am
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According to our experts, the key to effective communication between you and your preschooler is active listening and providing an appropriate positive response. This may sound simple, but sometimes we forget to use these important skills with our young children.

Here are their suggestions to enhance your communication with your child:

  • Active Listening: when your child is speaking with you make sure you are:
    • Looking at your child (“what you are saying is important,” is your message)
    • Eliminate distractions (music, reading, etc)
    • Don’t interrupt (let your child finish what they are saying)
    • Summarize (what you said is…so and so….did I get it right?)
    • Let you child know that you appreciate them sharing their thoughts or concerns with you. It doesn’t mean you have to agree, but if your child feels you have heard them it gives them a greater sense of connection with you and actually decreases arguments.
  • Providing an appropriate response: Sometime children will say something that upsets us, or we jump to a conclusion, or we provide a consequence to a child for something that they told us they did. These responses teach children not to communicate with us. Instead, thank your child for sharing with you and, if there is an issue, ask the child what they think would help or should be done. Children are usually pretty fair and understand right and wrong, as well as the need to “fix” things. Instead of responding to their confession with, “That was a bad thing you did, so go to your room,” you might say, “Thank you for letting me know about that. I am proud of you for telling me the truth, but now we need to do something about what you did. What do you think would be fair?”
  • Timing: If you child is in the middle of something, (watching a TV show, brushing his teeth, etc.) you should tell him that you would like to talk about something and wait for him to finish. Remember that if you are busy, or you know you have to leave in a minute, you will not be able to be an active listener.
  • Play: One of the best ways to communicate is while a child is playing a game or with a toy where he is also able to talk with you. Colouring, building blocks or puzzles are some examples. As he is enjoying his activity you can ask him about his day, what was interesting, etc.
  • Create routines: Have a “talk time” every day at the same time. You can schedule one early in the morning, at supper or just before bed, whenever you regularly have a bit of quiet time together. For young children this would only be a few minutes, but it becomes a part of their daily life to have time to communicate with you. At supper, for example, you might have each person say one thing that was good about their day and one thing that was not so good.
  • Go on an adventure: Go for a drive in the car, a hike, visit the museum or beach and talk about what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. You can even do this in your imagination and pretend you are flying in a plane and talk about what you are seeing or doing.
  • Read: Reading books to each other and talking about the story afterward is a wonderful and easy way to foster communication with your child. You can do this with TV shows or movies as well. Ask your child what they think about things that are happening. “What do you think he is feeling right now?” Why do you think she did that?” “How would you feel if they did that to you?” If you are watching a show together don’t have the communication get in the way of your child following the story. If that is happening wait and talk about it once the show is over.

Keep in mind that even if you do all these things, your child may still not want to talk with you. Pressuring children to talk will usually make them clam up even more. Talking about things that your child is interested in will help, but sometimes the key is to wait until you child initiates a discussion. When this happens make sure you are using your active listening skills.

 

Do you have questions about communicating with your preschooler? Ask one of our experts!

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Traumatic events in the media and your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 02:10pm
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It is important to limit your child's exposure to TV and other media. In times when we are bombarded with images and stories in the media about difficult and upsetting topics, be they flu pandemics, natural disasters, wars or terrorist attacks, parents often cannot avoid their young children hearing or seeing information about these events. Here are some strategies to help you and your child manage the stress and upset that can result from seeing upsetting things in the media.

Through television and other media children can sometimes be exposed to violent and disturbing images of war, terrorism, pandemics, disasters and tragic accidents. Some are affected by these images more than others. However, young children are very sensitive to their parents' and caregivers' reactions. If you and your spouse are upset, or if your child's regular caregiver or teacher is upset, chances are good your child will become distressed too.

It is a good idea to limit young children's exposure to violence or upsetting stories in the news. It is even more important to limit your own exposure, if it is preoccupying you or distressing you. Turn the TV and radio off. Reassure your child that you are basically all right, even if you are sad. If it is important for you to keep track of what is happening during a traumatic event, then turn on the TV or radio at key news moments to catch up. But turn it off again and reconnect with your child. 

It is also important to limit the time you spend worriedly talking about the event or situation with others and give your child some quality attention. Some children are very sensitive and if you are anxiously talking to teachers, grandparents, neighbours and others. 

If your child does see some news event that upsets him, or upsets you, talk about it. It is not necessary to explain it in detail. You can simply say that a sad thing happened and some people got hurt and died. In many cases you can tell your child that the event happened far away, and emphasize that you and your family are safe. Don't forget to tell him that the people in charge are doing everything they can to protect you against the danger, and to make sure this doesn't happen again. It may also help some children feel better if they help out in some way. For example, they can send drawings or letters to the communities touched by the event. 

If your young child is still anxious over an event that happened more than one month ago, consult your child's physician. 

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