Encouraging your toddler to share

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 07:00pm
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Does your child ever have trouble sharing? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Our experts have come up with several suggestions for helping your toddler learn to share.

Be a role model. If you share and take turns with your child, he will experience how nice it is to have someone share with him, and will learn to do the same thing with others.

Try to let your child have enough space to play beside another child, but make room for her own toys and activities. When children are very young, it's a good idea to have duplicate toys to make everybody happy. Allow your child to think of a toy as "mine, mine, mine!" but also acknowledge your child when she lets someone else take a turn. Describe how the other child feels when she shares, such as, "Johnny is so happy you gave him a turn with the ball."

Be a guide. If your child wants a toy another child has, help him find some other interesting toy or activity in the meantime, to help him learn to wait.

Be patient. Know that it takes time for children to be ready to share, so don't expect your child to be too generous too soon. And certainly don't punish her for not sharing or taking turns. You want sharing to be a happy experience - not something your child feels forced to do.

At about three years old, help your child sort it out with other children if an argument develops over a toy. This will give him the skills to eventually work things out himself.

And finally, until you feel your child can handle them, avoid situations with too many children. They can be overwhelming if a child is in the middle of an "all mine" stage.


How do you teach your toddler share? What techniques have worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your experience with parents just like you!

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When your toddler is upset

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 01:28pm
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When toddlers get upset, it can be very hard on them and the people around them. Here are several suggestions from our experts to make things easier on everyone.

  • Offer your child a safe quiet place to calm down, away from others, but where she knows she is not entirely alone.
  • Help your child regain control of his emotions by teaching him deep breathing and to think about good things.
  • Try to calm your child by gently changing the scene into something more positive, like baking cookies, going for a walk or cuddling together while you watch TV.
  • Encourage positive, fun physical activity, like jumping on cushions, to help release strong feelings.
  • Most importantly, try to keep yourself calm when your child is upset. Remember that you can't be helpful unless you are in control of your own emotions. 
  • During your regular daily life provide a good example of coping with your own emotions by saying things in front of your child like, "I'm sure I can get through this if I slow down and think about it." 


How do you manage when your toddler is crying and upset? Have you tried any of these techniques? Did they work? Share your story with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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Building effective communication with your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 11:14am
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According to our experts, the key to effective communication between you and your toddler 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 practice active listening with your child? Leave a comment and tell us about your experience or send a question to one of our experts!


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Preventing Tantrums at Home with Comfort, Play & Teach

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 04:26pm
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Here are some Comfort, Play & Teach® suggestions for preventing tantrums at home.


Ensure your child doesn't become too tired or too hungry. These are the enemies of good behaviour. If your child has had a sleepless night or wasn’t hungry at his last meal, he may become more irritable or cranky. This can put him on the road to a tantrum.



Provide stimulating activities for your baby to do when you need to do things that are boring to her. For example, listening to you talk on the telephone is very boring to your young toddler. Try keeping a basket of toys that your child likes close by for just such occasions. Or, try to involve your child in something close by—even though she is not able to help with cooking, cleaning the car or doing the laundry.



Stick to your routines—especially those at the end of the day. The late afternoon and early evening are the “witching hour” in many families. At this time, toddlers are a lot more likely to be hungry and tired. If their routine is disrupted, things can go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Have nutritious snacks available in case you get stuck in traffic or dinner is unavoidably delayed. Don’t hold off dinner too long—even if you have to eat without one parent present. When you’re tired, keep the bath, book and bed routine in place. The last thing you need when you are tired is a screaming baby.  




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