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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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Helping your toddler cope with bedwetting

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 11:48am
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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 and especially drinks that have caffeine. 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.  You can even place a towel on top of the bottom sheet to help absorb any urine when your child doesn’t wake in time to go to the bathroom. 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. 

Use training pants instead of diapers. Diapers can interfere with your child’s motivation to get up and use the bathroom. 

Make access to the bathroom easy. Place a nightlight in the bathroom or leave the hall light lit.  If the bathroom is a distance from your child’s room, consider using a portable toilet in your child’s room.

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.  Other family member such as siblings need to be supportive and not tease about bedwetting.

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.

 

Did your toddler have issues with bedwetting? How did you help him cope? Share your story below by leaving a comment. 

 

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Your Two-Year-Old

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 06:32pm
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It is important to remember that no matter how old a child is, all areas of development are intertwined, and progress depends on nurturing every facet of development – social, intellectual, language, emotional, gross and fine motor. Each child develops at his own pace within a distinct period of time. Every child is unique and requires different care.

Toddlerhood is a balancing act for everyone, as your child struggles between the need to be independent and try so many new things and the need to rely on and feel protected by parents and caregivers. As a result, toddlers shift suddenly in their emotions, going from "me do it" to tantrums when they are frustrated. She wants help, but then again, she doesn't – it's all part of becoming an individual. Lots of patience and encouragement are essential, as parents and caregivers guide toddlers who need to do so much for themselves. Toddlers cope much better with separation and are better equipped to form new attachments. Although routines are important, so are flexibility and giving your toddler easy choices. Parents and caregivers are beginning to see a real sense of their child's temperament and personality.

Your toddler demonstrates a new level of self-awareness - by how he calls himself by name, identifies body parts, recognizes himself and family in a photograph, dresses himself and has a simple understanding of having his own things. Practicing self-help skills is an important part of a toddler's day, and many children begin toilet training during this time. Toddlers can communicate feelings, desires and interests using words and gestures. They also have a good idea of where things are located in and around the house or at child care.

By age two, many toddlers can play on their own and concentrate on an activity for a brief period of time. There is more and more pretend play with props, looking at books and singing simple songs. As toddlers gain more control over their bodies, they love to run, kick balls, jump and climb, get on and off chairs, step backwards and sideways, go up and down the stairs and push and pull toys. As the movements of the small muscles become more refined, toddlers can do simple puzzles, take lids off jars, fit a series of objects into one another, draw vertical lines, turn pages of a book one at a time, build bigger towers and use a fork. It is during this age range that children begin to sort and match things, count, tell the difference between "one" and "many" and start distinguishing colours and shapes.

Toddlers continue to play alongside other children. Sharing can be encouraged at this age, although it should not be expected to be perfect. At times, toddlers become very frustrated, especially if they are unable to make themselves understood, and may bite others as well as hit or pull hair. A lot of play is accompanied by language, as now toddlers have a vocabulary of approximately 50 words. They can name familiar everyday objects, use two-word sentences and communicate whole ideas with one word, such as "milk" for "I want a glass of milk." Sometimes it can be a difficult task for parents and caregivers to figure out exactly what the child wants. Toddlers begin to have a basic understanding of time, such as "soon," "not now," and "after your nap," but do not have a concept of "yesterday." And "no" is still a very popular word with the two-year old!

It is very important to give your toddler plenty of opportunities to cooperate with household chores: setting the table, cleaning spills, cooking, loading and unloading the washing machine, sorting dirty clothes, etc. Your toddler has a fascination for all these activities and by allowing her to participate in them you are not only making her feel important and helpful to the family, but you are also giving her a great opportunity to develop inner aptitudes for concentration, order, calmness, coordination, and motor skills, as well as teaching her to take care of her environment.

 

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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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