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Encouraging your preschooler to eat healthy

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 11:46am
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How can you get your preschooler to enjoy healthy foods? Here are some suggestions from our experts:

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 groups. 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. 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 as 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 preschooler 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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Helping your preschooler stop wetting the bed

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 05:30pm
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Here are several strategies from our experts that you can try to help your preschooler stop wetting the bed:

Limit how much your child drinks after dinner especially any drinks with caffeine. Try and limit any fluids two hours before bedtime.

Use training pants and not diapers.  Diapers may 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.  

Encourage your child to empty his bladder a second time, just five minutes after the first time, right before bed.

Wake your child during the night to go to the toilet; although, some experts say that if she's not really awake, it's almost like encouraging her to pee while she's sleeping.  

And, place a portable toilet or potty by your child's bed so that if he wakes up and has to go quickly, he can.

Use of rewards and punishments is no longer recommended as an effective way to manage bedwetting.

If the bedwetting continues despite all your efforts, consult your child's doctor for more specific strategies.

 

Did you use any of these strategies to help your preschooler stop wetting the bed? Which ones worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

 

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The benefits of play and your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted August 5 2011 04:34pm
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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.

 

How often do you get down on the floor and play with your preschooler? Do you have tips for other parents on how to work playtime in their busy schedules? Share your comments below!

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Preparing your child for kindergarten

by Maxine
Posted August 29 2011 04:19pm
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As your child's first day of school creeps up, you will both experience different feelings. You're excited that he's old enough to start school. At the same time, you wonder if he will adjust to the new routine.

Your child may also be excited. But if she's never spent time away from you she may feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect. Similarly, for a child who is already in a childcare setting, spending part of her day in junior or senior kindergarten may pose some new challenges. A new and unfamiliar routine and teacher may take some getting used to.

Whether it's your child's first time away from you or he's making the transition from childcare to school, here are some things you can do to help make the move easier.

  1. Talk about the new routine.
    Talk to your caregiver about the new routine when school starts. Share this with your child so he is prepared for the change.
  2. Talk about what won't change.
    Prior to school starting, both you and your caregiver can talk about kindergarten, providing reassurance by reminding your child about all the things that will still be the same.
  3. Visit the school in advance.
    If possible, during the summer, visit the school your child will be attending. If there is a playground, you may even want to spend some time there letting her play to become familiar with the environment.
  4. Find out the name of your child's teacher.
    School administrative offices are often open before the first day of school and may be able to provide you with some information.
  5. Ease your child into class.
    Ask the school if you can visit during the first week perhaps staying for the first hour or until your child seems settled.
  6. Reassure your child that you will be back.
    Make sure your child knows who will pick her up when school finishes. An anxious child may want to know exactly when that will be. Offer a cue from the routine, for instance: "After you clean up the room you will hear the bell ring and you will know it's time to go home. We'll be waiting to pick you up."
  7. Be enthusiastic about school.
    Talk about the wonderful things he will be doing at school – making friends, different kinds of art and play activities and of course learning. This should be done at home with you as well as with your child's caregiver.
  8. Help your child find friends from school.
    Find other children in the neighbourhood attending school. Your caregiver can help. Talk about them noting how much they enjoy school. Schedule some play dates in advance and have at least one familiar face.
  9. Share your own stories.
    Talk about some of your own stories about school – what was it like for you when you started. If there are older siblings have them join in also.
  10. Get ready together.
    Include her in the preparation for school. This can be as simple as deciding on snacks to send each day or buying school supplies. Including her will make her feel that this day is special and it really is all about her.
  11. Share the excitement of growing up.
    Starting school is often seen as a sign of being a "big boy". Talk to your child about how he feels about school. Being a "big boy" may be just what he wants or the prospect may be overwhelming. Be sensitive to his feelings and gently continue to talk about the wonderful things that happen at school.
  12. Create a neighborhood walking bus.
    If there are other children in the neighborhood who your child knows and will be attending the same school you may want to walk to school together giving a sense of community to your child even away from his home.
  13. Make a special exhibit at home.
    Set up a special place at home where your child will be able to display work that comes home from school. Even before school starts you can decorate this space together

The transition to kindergarten can be hard for you and your child. Being prepared and explaining to your child some of the things he can expect will give you both some peace of mind.



Video Alert!
You can also watch our video “How to ease your child's transition to school” to learn more.


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