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Handling arguments with your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 12:28pm
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When you and your preschooler argue it can be hard to keep your cool, but there are ways to handle these squabbles that will help resolve the situation and hopefully cut down the number of arguments you face. 

An argument is hard on everyone involved. Tempers flare and it's not always easy to stop and listen to what the other person is trying to say.

It's important to remember that there are at least two sides to every argument. And that there are complicated feelings at work on both sides. While you may be feeling that your child isn't recognizing your authority, your child may be feeling she isn't being heard, and that her views and feelings aren't important to you. Both of you are sure to be feeling frustrated and hurt.

It is good practice to repeat what you heard your child saying.  For young children, they may have some trouble saying what they really mean and it is helpful to make sure you are getting their message.  For example:  “What I hear you saying is that you want to finish the show before you clean you room.”  If your child agrees that is what they are saying you can then give your position. 

When someone feels you are listening to them it is usually easier for them to listen to you.

Validate the child’s feelings.  “I see that you are angry,” or “I hear that you are feeling upset,” are great statement to make that let your child know you not only hear what they are saying but what they are feeling.

Identify if feelings are getting in the way of solutions.  When feelings are high it can stop anyone from listening, but especially a child, who sometimes stops listening and responding to you.  You cannot reason with a child who is in the middle of a temper tantrum or starts to stomp their feet.  Let the child know that you know they are angry, or upset, or frustrated, but they need to calm down before you can talk with them.  Give them some space and time and do not get into any discussion or arguing while they are in their “temper.” This is a great life skill to teach a child while they are young and one that many adults have not learned well. 

Also, if your emotions are overwhelming you, let the child know that you need to calm down before you go on.  This is great modeling.  Once you are in control of yourself you can sit down with your child to go through their side and to give yours.  

Don’t go on forever. Once all has been said it is time for a solution or decision.  If it is something small you may consider having the child make the decision.  If it is something more important or a consequence is required then you need to make the decision.  Once made, the message to your child is that the arguing is over.  There is no appeal court.  If your child continues to argue the best response is silence or to ignore them.  Follow up on whatever the decision is and give them time to calm down and respond.

Acknowledge their behaviour, Comment when your child behaves in the way you want them to act; For example; “Thank you for saying what you think so clearly,” or “Thank you for calming down so we can deal with the problem.” Or “Thank you for doing what you need to do and not arguing anymore.”

 

Do you and your preschooler argue? How do you handle it? What advice would you give for other parents? Leave a comment below and share your experience.

 

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Help! My preschooler is jealous of the new baby!

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:44pm
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Having a new baby fit into the family when you already have an older child - or children - is quite an adjustment for everyone. A young child, in particular, can feel rejected because you need to spend so much time with the baby. Toddlers may react in some harsh ways, like wanting you to send the baby back to the hospital, or inadvertently hurting the newborn. Or they may temporarily act younger, by having toilet accidents or demanding to eat like the baby, to get your attention.

With children who are five or older, jealousy can show itself subtly, like cuddling too hard or blaming the baby for accidents. But they may not get too upset at the birth of a new baby. Often they start to act like a big brother or sister. Your child may feel quite possessive about the baby, and want to help change or feed her new sibling.

It's important to let your child know you understand that he doesn't always feel loving toward the new baby. Let your child say he is sad or angry, help him be a helpful older sibling. Read stories about families with new babies and talk together about how the older child felt in the story.  Make some time for just yourself and your older child every day; even ten uninterrupted minutes will make a difference.

Be aware that jealousy may also appear when your baby moves to a new stage. For example, your older child may be quite generous with the new baby until your baby learns to walk. Now that your baby is walking, she can interrupt your older child's play, discover his toys, break or scatter them and take over his friends. As your baby learns to talk, she becomes able to challenge your older child. This will trigger jealousy, where previously it was not a problem.

 

How did your preschooler react to the new baby? Was there jealousy? How did you cope? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

 

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Help! My preschooler is refusing to sleep!

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:49pm
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There are many things that can cause your child to stay awake at bedtime or to wake in the night and stay awake. Some examples are illness, digestive problems, allergies, a move to a new home, or change in child care provider and even anxiety. You may not know it, but your child could be feeling genuinely anxious about being separated from you at bedtime.

The best way to make sure that both you and your child are getting the rest you need is to establish a regular bedtime routine. It should be at the same time every night, with no rough or active play just before bed. A nice bath and bedtime story is a great way to calm your child before going to sleep.

Be gentle but firm about your child staying in bed after being put down. Encourage your child to learn to stay calm by singing and talking quietly to herself, or cuddling with a pillow or stuffed animal. Leave the room with your child awake, so he can learn how to fall asleep on his own. It's also important that while your child is falling asleep, she is not distracted by excessive noise in the home, such as loud television programs, or the sound of older brothers and sisters playing.

It's normal for your child to call out to you in the night, but you don't have to go running right away. Try calling back to him first, just to let him know you've heard the cries and are near by. If your child continues to fuss, go into the room and use your voice and presence to calm him. Instead of picking him up, pat or massage him gently.

And remember, almost every child goes through several phases of testing you to see how late they can stay up. Stay gently firm and consistent. Getting angry doesn't help ease your child into sleep.

 

How did you deal with a preschooler who refused to sleep? Offer your tips to other parents by leaving a comment below or ask an expert your question on this topic.

 

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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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