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Encouraging your toddler to share

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 07:00pm
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Does your child ever have trouble sharing? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Our experts have come up with several suggestions for helping your toddler learn to share.

Be a role model. If you share and take turns with your child, he will experience how nice it is to have someone share with him, and will learn to do the same thing with others.

Try to let your child have enough space to play beside another child, but make room for her own toys and activities. When children are very young, it's a good idea to have duplicate toys to make everybody happy. Allow your child to think of a toy as "mine, mine, mine!" but also acknowledge your child when she lets someone else take a turn. Describe how the other child feels when she shares, such as, "Johnny is so happy you gave him a turn with the ball."

Be a guide. If your child wants a toy another child has, help him find some other interesting toy or activity in the meantime, to help him learn to wait.

Be patient. Know that it takes time for children to be ready to share, so don't expect your child to be too generous too soon. And certainly don't punish her for not sharing or taking turns. You want sharing to be a happy experience - not something your child feels forced to do.

At about three years old, help your child sort it out with other children if an argument develops over a toy. This will give him the skills to eventually work things out himself.

And finally, until you feel your child can handle them, avoid situations with too many children. They can be overwhelming if a child is in the middle of an "all mine" stage.

 

How do you teach your toddler share? What techniques have worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your experience with parents just like you!

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Dissuading your preschooler from lying

by Maxine
Posted December 20 2010 11:06am
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Preschoolers are notorious for "stretching the truth." They are not being defiant, they are not being bad - they are being preschoolers and they'll grow out of this stage once they understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

Parents often worry when their young children don't tell the truth, concerned that this behaviour somehow reflects on their child's character. Relax! Preschoolers are notorious for "stretching the truth." They are not being defiant, they are not being bad - but they are being preschoolers. And they will gradually grow out of this stage once they come to understand the difference between fantasy and reality, and begin to develop a sense of right and wrong. 

As a parent, it's important to see lies for what they are, and to treat them not as signs of trouble, but rather as opportunities to teach. Telling the truth is something that children gradually learn over the years, not something they know how to do from birth.

Here are some "teaching moments" that you can use to encourage your child to tell the truth.

Whenever possible, help your child understand the difference between truth and fantasy. For example, "I can see that you can make up great stories. We should write them down and make a book out of them."

Show your child that you understand that some lies are wishes. If your child says that he didn't break the window, when you know he did, gently acknowledge "I know that you wish it didn't happen, and I'm sure that you didn't mean to break the window, but you did break it."

Focus on finding a solution instead of simply laying blame. "Now that the window is broken, what are we going to do about it?"

Explain why telling the truth is important to you. "When people tell the truth, it helps us to trust them." Ask your child how she would feel if someone told her something that wasn't true. Stating family values and explaining the reasons for them helps children come to adopt these values over time.

Notice the times when your child does tell the truth, especially when you know it must have been difficult for her to do so, and let her know how pleased you are that she was honest. Children at this age desperately want to please their parents, and lies are often told to avoid upsetting their parents. If your child learns that truth pleases you more than the broken vase annoys you, the truth will win out.

Finally, try to set a good example. That 'little white lie' you told when the phone rang and you whispered "Tell him I'm not here," can seem awfully confusing to a young child who has just been told by you that lying is wrong.

Remember, helping children to be truthful is something that will happen over time, not all at once. So, be patient. Take it in stride when he lies, and treat each new situation as an opportunity to teach your child in a calm and constructive manner.

What do you do to dissuade your preschooler from lying? Have you tried any of our strategies? How did they work for you? Leave a comment below and share your story.

 

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Helping your child cope with the death of a pet

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:58pm
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You can help your child cope with the death of a pet by helping her to understand that loss and grief are a natural part of the cycle of life. Encourage your child to tell you what she is feeling and answer any questions. There are also books available in the children’s section of the library about a pet's death, that you can read and talk about together.

Remember, it's not the size or kind of pet that matters, but how important it was to your child - so don't say things like, "It was only a goldfish." If your child feels you don't approve of the depth of his loss, it just makes it harder for him to cope.

It may be comforting for your child to have some kind of a farewell ceremony for the pet. Put a picture of the pet in your child's bedroom. Encourage everyone in the family to talk about their special memories of the pet.

It’s not a good idea, while your child is grieving intensely, to try and distract him with fun activities.  It can be very hard to accept the loss of a pet that was really loved.  Children need time to experience all their feelings and accept the loss.  Don’t rush to replace a pet in an attempt to help the child feel happy.  Grief is an important natural process for all of us to learn about.

It is not unusual for a child to feel strongly and intensely sad about the death of a beloved pet for a period of six to eight weeks. However, if it lasts longer than this, consult your child's physician. It may also be helpful to consult your child's daycare provider or school teacher to see if this behaviour is happening away from home, too.

 

 

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Long trips and your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:02pm
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A long car ride can be stressful but it is also a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to enjoy each other's company. Capitalize on this time to laugh and play games. This will not only make a tedious journey more entertaining but you will also get a better understanding of how your child is thinking and what is important to her.

When you let your child take the lead in suggesting or inventing her own play activities you are sending an important message. Following rather than always directing tells her that you like and respect her ideas. This will encourage her to continue thinking and making more decisions. Here are some ideas for interactive play for you and your child during the drive:

  • Guessing games – these games encourage young children to observe and think about how objects function in their environment as well as give practice in language. You start off the game but then let your child take the lead so that you have to guess what's in her mind. Some examples include:
    • "I Spy with My Little Eye – something that is blue"
    • "I'm thinking of something that starts with the letter 'A' "
    • "I'm a spoon – what am I used for?"
  • Storytelling – listening to a story without a picture book takes a lot of concentration and imagination. Create your own story together by starting off with "Once upon a time there was a girl who…." Invite your child to add a sentence to the story. Respond with a new sentence and keep this pattern going until your child has had enough of story creating.
  • Creating silly rhymes – use the "phonic families" to devise funny sentences, e.g. the cat sat on a hat looking for a bat; the goat put on his coat and swam to the boat which wouldn't float.
  • Counting – understanding the concepts of numbers takes a lot of concrete practice. Ask how many cars of a particular colour can she count? Let her choose the colour and help her when she gets lost with the sequence of numbers; ask your child what else she would like to count as she is looking out the window.
  • Reading signs – point out common signs that your preschooler may be aware of and beginning to recognize such as "Stop" or "Exit"
  • Singing songs – encourage your child to pick her favourite tunes and sing together. Also, bring favourite tapes to listen to in the car.
  • Talking – seize this opportunity to have a conversation about things that you don't always have time for, e.g. who she likes to play with at school/child care; what is her favourite thing to do during the day at school/child care; what was something funny that happened this week? The topics are endless and allow your child to give you a glimpse into her life.

 

What do you do on long trips with your child? Are there games that we haven’t mentioned that your child likes to play while travelling? Share your stories below!

 

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