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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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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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Making bedwetting easier on you and your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 02:54pm
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Bedwetting is challenging for parent and child. There is the waking in the middle of the night, changing clothes, cleaning up, constantly laundering bedding and changing the sheets! It’s a tough time for you both.

Remember, no child purposely wets the bed. And while it can be frustrating or upsetting for both of you, there are ways to make it easier on everyone. Here are several of them:

Try to decrease the amount of fluids your child has before bedtime. Make a routine of having your child go to the bathroom immediately before bed.

Put a plastic sheet on your child's bed and keep extra sets of clean sheets and blankets close by. This makes clean up in the middle of the night a lot easier on both of you, and you don't have to worry about ruining the mattress.

Be supportive. Tell your child you know it's not her fault and let her know that many children take longer to develop this kind of control. Don't expect too much too soon, or punish or shame your child for bedwetting. If you do so, things will only get worse.

If your child is becoming embarrassed about wetting the bed, or you think bedwetting is going on too long, consult your child's physician for more specific strategies. Most children stop by age 5-6 years.

How does your child react when he wets the bed? How do you make it easier for him? Share your comments below!

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Encouraging your quiet toddler to speak

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 12:41pm
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To help your child to talk more, it's a good idea to talk to her whenever you're together, carrying on a flow of conversation about what you're doing, and about what she is doing. Try to be animated, using gestures and lots of expression in your voice. Emphasize important words and phrases. But you should pause frequently and for what may seem to be a long wait, so your child has a chance to digest what you have said and to respond. It also helps to have lots of books around and to read to your child often.

Try to encourage his talking by asking some open-ended questions (such as "How do you...?" or "What do you think?") or by talking about subjects he is interested in. Sometimes, for very quiet children, a good beginning is to ask him to fill in words in familiar rhymes or stories that they know by heart. Really listen to your child, getting down at his eye level and looking at him when he talks. When playing together, follow your child's lead and talk about what you're playing with.

It may be tough, but try not to get frustrated by what sounds like "baby talk" from your child. And don't correct your child's speech too much. The best thing you can do is set a good example in the way you talk. If you are concerned that your child is behind in language, you may want to call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Do you have a quiet child? Do you find it hard to encourage him to speak? Share your experiences with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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