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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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Toddlers and learning to empathize

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 05:31pm
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When you are the parent of a toddler, you might wonder how you can teach your child to empathize with others as she gets older.

The ability for a preschool child to sympathize and empathize with others is influenced by a child's experiences - how she is treated by those around her, world events that she may hear about, and by the behaviour she observes toward others. A simple definition of empathy is the ability to recognize the emotions that another person is experiencing. Sympathy builds from empathy as a person will be moved to show concern or sadness in response to someone's emotional state.

For example, following many world disasters we often hear about young children demonstrating in many touching ways their capacity to empathize and sympathize with others in need.

As this capacity develops in your child, you may find your child:

  1. Asks more questions about how certain events or experiences make others feel.
  2. Asks you specifically how certain things make you feel.
  3. Begins to make some conclusions about how others might feel in certain situations.
  4. Begins to show both empathic and sympathetic behaviours during pretend play with a doll or playmate, e.g., says "Don't cry baby. Mommy will make it better."
  5. Begins to comfort and express concern for another individual.

Such behaviours are to be celebrated in children. This capacity is fundamental if we want our children to be caring, respectful and generous individuals. While world disasters bring our attention to warm-hearted examples of children who have created pictures to raise money for other children, parents need to be aware how this growing ability influences the different areas of a child's immediate world. The ability to empathize and sympathize affects:

  • A child's interactions and reactions to others
  • A child's belief about his /her ability to make a change on someone's behalf
  • A child's network of relationships
  • A child's current and future personality

Our ability as parents to support the development of this capacity is profound. Parents, who show sensitivity and responsiveness to their toddler's needs, have children who are more secure and pro-social in their relationships with other children. Here are some other parenting behaviours that contribute to building a child's capacity for empathy and sympathy:

  • Talk to children about how their behaviour makes other children feel, e.g., if a child hurts another child. Offer suggestions how to rectify the emotional situation;
  • Model caring behaviour toward others so that children can see how it makes other people feel;
  • Take time to discuss emotions and feelings associated with problems or situations; and
  • Take every opportunity to let children know they have the power to make another individual happy by showing them an act of kindness.

 

How do you teach empathy in your home? Leave a comment and share your story with parents just like you.

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Diarrhea

by Maxine
Posted August 18 2010 11:50am
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When your toddler has diarrhea it can be a messy moment for both of you! It can also be worrisome, as diarrhea is often coupled with dehydration or other illnesses.

When your child has diarrhea it can be a messy moment for both of you! It can also be worrisome, as diarrhea is often coupled with dehydration or other illnesses.

Diarrhea, which is also called gastroenteritis, is liquid stool that is passed frequently. Stomach cramps and vomiting sometimes accompany diarrhea. It’s usually caused by a virus or bacteria or sometimes by food that the body cannot easily digest. Like vomiting, diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of the virus or bacteria. Diarrhea is common in babies and children – they are the most likely of all ages to get it.

Mild stress can sometimes cause diarrhea, so you may see this as a reaction to changes in your toddlers routine. Always take extra diapers if you are traveling or going to a party, just in case. Be sure to have some hand sanitizer too, in case there is no soap or water available.

“The main goal for treatment of diarrhea is to avoid dehydration,” says Karon Foster, a Registered Nurse and Parenting Expert. “Diarrhea takes away water and other important matter from your child’s body, if they are not replaced by drinking and eating he will get dry and dehydrated.  Be sure your child gets lots of rest and liquids, as well as any solids recommended by your health care provider.”

 
Don’t give your child medication unless your doctor tells you to do so. And be sure to talk to your health care provider if any of the following things happen:

  • Your child has more than 6 large, water bowel movements in a day or the diarrhea lasts for 2 days or more.
  • There is blood in the diarrhea.

 
There are a few things you can do to try and prevent diarrhea from happening at all. These include:

  • Introducing new foods one at a time. Wait 1 week between each new food to allow it to interact with all of your baby’s systems.
  • Setting up and keeping a predictable routine – especially if your toddler’s digestive system seems to be sensitive to changes in his daily life.
  • Trying to limit contact with others’ illnesses.
  • Washing your hands for 15 seconds before feeding your child or handling food. This is especially important after using the bathroom, diapering, coughing and sneezing. Also, carry hand sanitizer for those times when water and soap aren’t available.
  • Properly handle and store food to prevent contamination from bacteria. This is especially important when preparing or giving your baby food.

 
 

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The benefits of play and your toddler

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:59pm
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Children benefit from playing alone, with siblings, with other children and, most importantly, with you. Adults are special partners in play. You encourage your child to concentrate, to try new things and to deal with frustration. Parents are also partners in play when they make their home safe for play and provide a choice of things to play with that are appropriate for each stage of development.

Blocks, boxes, pails, water, playdough, dolls and ordinary things around the house, like pillows and plastic containers are wonderful stimulating playthings. These materials can be used in different ways and at different ages. Many toys advertised on TV have only one use, so they limit the imagination, rather than encourage it. Such toys can be expensive, may soon be forgotten and do little to help your child's development. On the other hand, some toys have many uses and "grow with your child" for a long time.

When playing with your children, let them choose what to play with. Children need to be leaders in their own play, so try not to take over their games or activities. Let your child tell you what he wants you to do, and very gradually add new stimulation, like more things for him to play with. Research has shown that giving a child too many new things to do or play with at once can be overwhelming, and can make learning more difficult.

Visit the Toddler Play Section of our Activity Centre to make the most of play time with Comfort, Play & Teach.


Video Alert!
You can also watch this video from our Comfort, Play & Teach video series, Playtime with your Toddler, to learn more.

 

 

 

 

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