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Growing up to be kind and caring

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 08:29pm
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Toddlers don't understand when other people don't feel like they do, or that sometimes they are not the most important people in the world. But does this mean that they won't grow to be kind and caring individuals? No, it does not. 

You may wonder if children will ever be kind and caring when they constantly interrupt your phone conversations or fail to understand that "Mom is too tired" to play with them. You may also be surprised at how cruel young children can be to each other. Toddlers simply don't understand that other people don't feel like they do, or that sometimes they are not the most important people in the world.

Most parents hope their children will learn to be sensitive to others and act with kindness. But caring doesn't happen unless children themselves are treated with sensitivity and kindness, so it helps to be aware of what you can do to encourage empathy.

Empathy develops from infancy when children are treated with kindness and understanding. Empathy is often described as the ability to put yourself in someone else's shoes - in other words, to understand how someone else feels and how to respond to them. When children feel valued and loved, they will naturally respond to others that way.

It may not be until school age that your child has the thinking skills needed to learn how to take someone else's point of view, and what to do about it. But by showing your child love and sensitivity from the day he is born, you're setting a good example for learning to be kind and caring.

 

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Help! My toddler is a picky eater!

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 09:07pm
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Mealtime with a toddler can be tough. You worry that your child isn't eating enough food, or the right kind. Or maybe you think your child is eating too much of one kind of food. Often you may feel that nothing seems to work. She won't let you feed her, and she refuses to eat what you give her.

The first thing you need to do is relax. Don't call her a "picky eater" or she may become one for life. There are many reasons why your child may not be eating the way you expect him to:

Every child is different in how often, when and what she wants to eat. Some take a real dislike to certain types of foods - maybe it's the texture or the odour. Some prefer to eat only a couple of things. Fortunately, most children grow out of being this particular about food, and develop regular and healthy eating habits.

Kids go through growth spurts. During these times, they eat a lot. At other times, they hardly seem hungry at all.

Another factor in your child's eating habits can be his struggle to be independent, especially between ages one and three. Refusing to eat can be your child's way of asserting himself. Avoid a power struggle during mealtimes. Giving reasonable choices may help, such as, "Would you like milk or juice?"

The best thing you can do is make sure your child has different healthy foods to choose from so, when she does want to eat, at least she's getting the nutrients she needs. Limit your child's options to two or three items at a time, more can be overwhelming.

If your child is losing weight, not maintaining his weight or overeating, consult your child's health care provider.

 

How did you handle your picky eater? What strategies worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your story or send in a question to ask our experts!

 

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How do toddlers learn to share?

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 03:26pm
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Knowing how to share is an important skill for getting along with others, but parents shouldn't expect a child to really understand "sharing" until age four.

It's not surprising that it takes time to be able to share. There is a lot to learn. Children have to be able to control their impulse to grab something. They have to be able to see another child's point of view, understand time well enough to feel that it's okay to wait for what they want and be able to talk enough to sort out who gets what, and when.

Toddlers just know that they want something, and they want it now. Toddlers first have to develop a sense of who they are, and then start to learn about ownership of things. Even though toddlers enjoy being near other children, and even want to do the same thing, they still want their own space and toys. It's all part of learning that they're individuals, and that they're important. Toddlers seem to have unique rules of ownership, such as, "I didn't want it until you had it" or "It's mine because I want it." 

If by age four your child still doesn't cooperate with others, and is hostile, it's best to get some help. Consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.

 

How did you encourage your toddler to share? Leave a comment below and let other parents know your tips for this parenting challenge.

 

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Ten Things to Remember When Your Child is a Baby

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 06:57pm
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1. Long before your baby can talk, he is learning about language.

He is sending you clues about what he needs, wants and feels. He will test different cries, gurgles and facial expressions to see how you respond. Then he’ll keep doing the ones that get the results he wants. As he learns that he can make things happen, he will develop confidence and want to try new things. Keep on talking with your baby. Try repeating the sounds he makes and adding new ones.

2. Learning to “read” your baby is fun, but can be a challenge.

She smiles – you smile back. She reaches out – you touch her hand. If she turns her head away when you speak, that can hurt you. But she may be telling you she is tired. Or maybe she needs your voice to be softer. She may just want to be left alone for a moment. It takes trial and error to figure out what your baby is trying to tell you, so be patient.

3. Babies experience relationships through their senses.

The best way to tell your baby you love him is with lots of talking, cuddling and eye contact. You cannot always be there when he wants a hug. But when he’s “asking” for a hug, do your best to deliver.

4. Your baby forms a secure attachment to you as you care for her.

Through daily routines, your baby learns that she can rely on you. She gains a feeling of safety. This trusting attachment sets the basis for her future relationships.

5. You cannot spoil your baby by responding to his needs.

Babies are born with a need for human contact. In the process of providing it, you learn more about him, and he learns more about you. He learns that he can count on you.

6. Special moments need time.

Not all of your one-on-one moments with your baby will be happy and special. You need to spend lots of time getting used to each other for those special moments to happen. They will happen more if you focus on your child while doing everyday things.

7. Babies are most ready to learn when they are calm and alert, in a quiet environment.

This is a good time to spend with your baby and to play.

8. Toys can’t take your place.

Giving your baby toys and other safe things to play with is good for her development. But playing WITH your child is even more important to her well-being.

9. Even when you are really busy, it’s important to make time for your baby.

Housework isn’t the top priority. If you have a partner, try to take turns with chores and with spending time with your baby. Build a circle of friends, relatives and neighbours. We can all use a bit of help!

10. You don’t have to be perfect to be a terrific parent.

So relax. And your child doesn’t have to be perfect to be a terrific child. You will both make mistakes, and you will both recover. So enjoy each other now because babies grow up quickly!

Also see: 

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