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Helping your preschooler deal with his feelings

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 04:04pm
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It's a good idea to help your preschooler learn to manage his emotions, but remember you don't want to stop young children from having feelings all together. It's much better to help your child learn better ways of dealing with his feelings instead. Here are several things that you can try:

Try to set a good example for your child. When you find yourself getting upset or frustrated, try saying things out loud like, "I'm sure I can get through this if I slow down and think about it." This is a great way to teach your child how to calm himself down and remain in control.

Help your child put what she is feeling into words. Teach her what to call different types of feelings.

Talk about the way people in storybooks and pictures are feeling, and talk about what might cause those feelings.

Explain that you understand she's upset or angry, but at the same time let your child know that some behaviours, like hurting others or constantly whining, are not acceptable.

Take your child's feelings seriously and acknowledge how he is feeling. Never say "It's not such a big deal" or "Why are you so upset about that?" Instead, help your child understand that many people have similar feelings on occasion, and some people have them more often. Then discuss the acceptable ways to express them.

Be a positive influence when your child does get upset by helping to calm him and change the situation into something more positive.

Avoid labeling your child by his feelings, such as "He's always been an angry boy" or "She can't help it, she's shy." Too often, a child will start to believe what is being said, and live up to the label.

If your child's control of her emotions doesn't seem to be improving, consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.

 

How do you help your preschooler cope with her feelings? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

 

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Verbal Child Abuse

by Maxine
Posted August 27 2010 01:58pm
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Verbal abuse is repeatedly insulting a child; or calling a child names. When telling a child he is stupid, fat, lazy, useless or whatever, it can be just as harmful as hitting a child, because it makes her feel as if she is no good.

Children in these situations come to believe they're worthless or stupid, and feel it's hopeless to try to be anything different. A child needs to feel loved, wanted and safe in order to feel worthwhile.

Any type of abuse can lead to a whole range of behavioural, emotional and physical problems.

If you or your partner is using verbal abuse with each other or with your child your child will not be able to thrive and you should speak to your doctor or a counselor in your area.

In Canada, anyone who believes a child is being abused is required to report it to the police or child protection authorities.

 

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Nightmares and Night Terrors: Overview

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 03:16pm
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Here are some points to help parents tell the difference between a nightmare and a night terror.

Nightmares

  • Nightmares usually, but not always, occur in the last half of the night.
  • Your child will be awake, or nearly so, and glad that you have come to him.
  • With nightmares, comfort your child right away. The sooner you respond, the sooner your child will settle down, so all of you can get back to sleep.
  • Physical reassurance is important. Hug your child or rub her back until she calms down.
  • Reassure your child that it was only a scary dream, even if it seemed real.
  • Double-check that your child's favourite toy or blanket is tucked in with her, make sure the night-light is on, and remind her you will be close by.
  • Remember that most children experience nightmares at least occasionally even babies after they are 6 months of age.
  • In some children, the terror of a nightmare may linger for hours, and may even make them afraid to sleep.
  • If your child is not easily comforted by you, or nightmares are frequent or their effects are long-lasting, discuss this with your child’s doctor.

Learn how to cope with and prevent nightmares

Night Terrors

  • Night terrors usually, but not always, occur in the first half of the night usually about 1-2 hours after the child has fallen asleep.
  • If your child bolts upright with eyes wide open, looking scared and panicked, screaming in distress, sweating, breathing fast and with a rapid heart rate, your child is likely experiencing a night terror.
  • Although it will seem like your child is awake during a night terror, your child will not recognize you and will not be comforted by you. After a few minutes, or sometimes longer, your child will simply calm down and return to a peaceful sleep.
  • Although children tend to remember having a nightmare, children usually don't recall having a night terror.
  • If you are able to wake your child up, she is likely to become scared and agitated, mostly because of your reaction to the night terror, especially if you shake her or yell at her to wake up.
  • It is usually best to just make sure your child is safe. Only intervene if you think she will injure herself or if you need to guide her back to bed.
  • Night terrors are unbelievably hard on a parent, because the screaming is frightful and relentless. A night terror typically lasts from 5 to 25 minutes. Once it is over, your child may return to peaceful sleep on her own, or she may wake up. If she wakes, you can help her get back to sleep.
  • If your child gets night terrors, discuss this with your child’s doctor.

Learn how to cope with and prevent night terrors

Make sure that babysitters and other caregivers are aware that your child has night terrors and know what they should do if one occurs.

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Your 3-year-old

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 10:17pm
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By age three, your child is becoming more and more her own person and you'll be able to get a real sense of personality. Your child will gain self-esteem and a sense of who she is. Children are not as afraid of being abandoned now, and are generally optimistic and cheerful.

Your child is probably more willing to please you, but that won't stop him from expressing his own unhappiness and opinions about things. This is actually a step forward, because your child will learn to stand up for himself, so try not to discourage it totally.

Your three-year old will be sociable and capable of some cooperative play, although she still won't be great at taking turns or sharing. She may spend more time negotiating how to play, and with whom, than actually playing. For example, "I'm not playing with you today, I'm playing with her."

Your child will be getting better at pretend play, with themes and stories, not just roles. His play may often have a "danger and rescue" theme with him taking the lead as the strong character, like Superman or a lion. Try to give your child the opportunity for play, both alone and with others, as often as possible.

By now, your child will begin to understand simple rules and be better at controlling her impulses. There may be fewer tantrums, because she can express herself and her feelings better with words. She may label feelings, like "I'm mad" or "I'm tired."

Your child will also begin to understand that other people have feelings too. He will have more understanding of what "no" means, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll do what you're telling him. Setting consistent limits and expectations continues to be important at this stage of development.

Remember, each child is unique. Not all children develop at the same rate in each area, such as movement, communication and relating to others, so this information is meant only as a general guide. If you have concerns about your child's development, you should consult your child's doctor.

How did your 3-year-old behave? What do you remember about that age and stage? Leave a comment and share your experience with other parents just like you!

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