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Finding quality time with your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 12:21pm
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Work, household chores and social activities all put a strain on your time with your preschooler. It's really important to spend quality time together. This will help build a trusting relationship, and reassure your child that he can count on you. But you can't turn on quality time like a light switch. It comes sometimes when you least expect it, if you spend enough relaxed time and do enough things together.

You will, no doubt, start by looking for things that you can do to free up more time for family, such as:

  • Deciding which household chores can be left undone or be done imperfectly in order to make more family time.
  • Leaving certain things until after your child has gone to bed to make the most of your time together.
  • Turning some routines, such as driving to daycare or doing the dishes, into quality time by singing together or talking seriously about what is happening in your lives.

There will be occasions when the time you spend with your preschooler may have to be juggled around a bit, but try not to skip them entirely. Also, try to spend time alone with EACH of your children.

Remember that children like things that are predictable. So plan your quality times so that they can take place regularly. Maybe you can eat dinner together, or go to the park first thing every Sunday morning.

 

How do you find quality time to spend with your preschooler? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment and share your story below!

 

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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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Making toilet learning easier for your toddler

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 04:18pm
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Here are a number of things you can do to make toilet learning easier for both you and your toddler:

Help your child become familiar with what learning to use the toilet is all about. Before and during the learning process, read stories about using the toilet such as Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel. Explain to your child in simple terms how food and drink become "poo" and "pee," and what the potty and toilet are used for. Remember, to a little child, a toilet is a big hole that makes a lot of noise. It's common for some children to think they might fall in and disappear, or that a monster might come out of the toilet after them.

Choose a low-stress time to begin your child's use of the toilet. Toilet learning works best when both you and your child are relaxed. Avoid times when he is dealing with change, like the arrival of a new baby in the family, a move to a new home, parents’ separation or starting daycare.

Help your child get started by saying that it's time to start using the toilet like Mom or Dad. Allow her to watch other young children or family members on the toilet, to help her get the idea. Let her have her dolls or stuffed animal pretend to use the potty. 

Use a potty chair it allows children's feet to touch the floor, helping them to feel more secure. It also allows them to get on and off without having help. Include your child in picking out a potty chair. Let your child just sit on the potty to get used to it, wait at least 1-2 weeks before starting any toilet learning  Reading a short story to your child while they sit on the potty may help them to relax as we.. 

Stay nearby while your child is on the toilet or potty, and don't make him stay any longer than he wishes to. 

Dress your child in loose clothes that he can easily pull up or down. Use training pants or "pull-ups" or cotton underwear once he has been successful for 1-2 weeks.

Help make "going to the washroom" part of your child's routine, by giving reminders like, "Let's take a potty break." Encourage her to use the toilet or potty right after meals, and just before and just after sleep. And when she says she has to go, act fast!

Teach bathroom hygiene. Show your child how to wipe properly after peeing or pooing-girls should wipe from the front to the back. Both boys and girls will need help with this particularly after a bowel movement. Show your child how to wash his hands after using the potty or toilet.

During the process, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Be patient. It may take a child 3-6 months before the diapers are gone for good during the day. Some children learn to control their bladders first others learn to control their bowels first.  Bladder control through the night takes longer than day control.  It can take several months or even years for your child to stay dry during the night.
  • Expect accidents to happen.  Be calm do not overreact or blame, shame or punish your child.  Have a change of clothes easily available. Accidents are common until about five years of age -- ask any kindergarten teacher! And even when your child is staying dry during the day, naps and nighttime will still pose a challenge -- this kind of control will take longer. Also, a child who has learned to use the toilet may start wetting her pants or the bed due to stress or change. This is common and doesn't usually last long, in terms of daytime dryness, but nighttime bedwetting may take longer to reinstate. 
  • Try not to use words like dirty, stinky, smelly-this may make some children self conscious about using the potty or the toilet.
  • It's very important to compliment your child's attempts, even if he misses. 
  • If your child resists toilet learning, back off and try again later; he may not be ready yet. To not force him this will only make it more frustrating for both of you. 

Finally, remember that every child is different, so don't worry if your child takes longer to be fully toilet trained. Talk to your doctor:

  • if your child was using the toilet for several months and has now regressed; 
  • she is withholding stool; 
  • she is experiencing pain or 
  • there is blood in the urine or stool; there is a rash;  
  • is over 4 years old and not able to control his bowels or bladder 
  • or you have other concerns about your child’s toilet learning

 

How did you handle toilet learning with your toddler? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

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Choosing child care and kindergarten

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 05:53pm
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When looking for a child care or school setting that is just right for your child, allow enough time to compare many, to have all your questions answered and to meet the educators who will teach and care for your child. The time your child spends in these learning and care environments should be Comfort, Play & Teach time. Be sure that the centre or school you choose makes both you and your child happy!

Note: 

  • Browse or contact the Ministry of Education of your province for a list of licensed child care options in your area
  • Browse or contact your city for child care program ratings

Comfort

  • Look at the learning environment. Does it have comfortable and organized spaces for children to play, explore and interact? Are there soft furnishings and natural materials? Do the windows let in enough light? A learning environment should be interesting and inviting, and should make your child feel at home. Observe the interactions among the adults and children and among the children themselves. Are they respectful and kind? Do they care for each other? Do you feel a cooperative or a competitive atmosphere?
  • Make sure that the standards that ensure your child’s health and safety are being met. Is the centre or school clean? Are the learning materials in good repair and safe? Are the children receiving proper meals or snacks that are nutritious? If you have concerns about issues that affect your child’s well-being, find out how to have them addressed. Parents have a vital role in ensuring that children receive quality education and care.

Check with your provincial or municipal website to see if they have ratings of childcare centers. Ratings of childcare facilities are available in some provinces. 

Play

  • Notice the kinds of activities available to the children in the classroom. Do the choices include math, language, science and nature, building toys, blocks, art, music and a drama area? Is there time for children to explore freely, pursue their own interests and to learn through play? Posted lesson plans should match what is being implemented, but there must also be flexibility to follow the children’s lead!
  • Inspect the playground and outdoor learning materials. Are materials like the climber and riding toys in good repair? Are there grass and trees that provide shade? Do children get sufficient time to practice their physical skills including running, climbing, riding and playing collaborative games? Children need a healthy balance between active outdoor play and more quiet indoor activities.

Teach

  • Ask about the centre’s or school’s educational philosophy. Is it play-oriented or more academic in nature? Is there a balance between learning experiences that are initiated by the children and directed by teachers? Do teachers provide individualized attention and does the philosophy complement your child’s learning style? It is important to know that your child will be exposed to a variety of learning opportunities, while exploring individual interests at her own pace.
  • Remember, a good classroom environment, curriculum and educator all have important roles in providing care and learning to the whole child. If your child is excited by what is available in the classroom, is safe, and most importantly, feels cherished and valued by the teachers, you should feel confident that your child will flourish there and that you have made the right choice!

Home Daycare

For parents who are looking for an alternative to enrolling their child at a daycare centre, home care may provide a good option. This kind of care is provided in a caregiver’s home and is available for infants, toddlers, pre-school and school-aged children.

Caregivers who work for home care agencies are screened, approved and monitored by home visitors. Below are some of the advantages of selecting home daycare:

  • The agency provides assistance, support and monitoring, and aids care providers in planning developmentally appropriate activities, preparing nutritious meals, maintaining a safe environment and selecting safe and suitable toys and equipment for children.
  • Children will enjoy a warm and homey environment, which they may find comforting and reassuring.
  • Children receive consistent care and attention from the child care provider.
  • There are fewer children than in day care. This ensures that children have opportunities for playing and interacting with others but still receive lots of individualized attention.
  • Home care may be a less expensive option than day care.
  • Parents may be able to find a home care situation that is conveniently located near to their own home or to their workplace. 

What made you choose your child care provider or kindergarten? What things were you looking for to help make your choice? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you!

 

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