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Help! My preschooler a picky eater?

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 03:37pm
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Most parents know that mealtime with young children can be difficult. 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 do you handle your picky eater? What strategies work for you? Leave a comment below and share your story with parents just like you!

 

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When Toddlers Whine

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 06:11pm
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You know what it’s like when your little one starts in with that whiny tone. It can drive even the calmest parent crazy!

When toddlers begin to whine, the most important thing to do is not to give in. If you do, it will teach your child that whining is a good way to get what he wants, and he will do it again, and again. Instead, let him know that you expect him to speak to you without whining.

Acknowledge your child’s efforts when she speaks without whining.  If she keeps whining, stay calm and ignore it until she speaks properly. If you think she is really overwhelmed by a situation, though, she may need a hug or a back rub to break the cycle.

Here are some suggestions from our experts to prevent whining:

  • Watch for situations where your child may get bored, and prepare for them. For example, have a bag of toys for your child to play with while you're on the phone.
  • Teach your child the difference between whining and asking properly.
  • Try to pay attention to your child when she talks to you in a normal voice. If you ignore her when she is asking for something nicely, she may start to feel that the only way to get your attention is to whine.

 

What do you do when your toddler whines? How do you handle the situation? Share your story with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

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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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How will my child react to the death of a pet?

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 05:39pm
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For many children, the death of a pet is their first experience with death and grieving. Some children are particularly close to their pets, and may feel the loss intensely. For those who have already lost a loved one, a pet's death may reawaken the feelings of anxiety, loss and pain they felt before.

Children need to know that you understand and accept how anxious, sad, angry and confused they are feeling - and that their feelings will change with time. If they begin to worry that you, or even they, may die too, you should reassure them that they are safe and that you expect to live a long, long time and will be there to care for them.

Help your child express their feelings. The most helpful process for anyone experiencing grief and loss is to be able to talk about their feelings and to have them accepted by loved ones around them.  Avoid saying things like, “Your dog died last month, you should stop being sad by now”. Whether they are sad, or angry, or lonely, or scared, let your child know that it is okay to feel that way.  Give them a hug, tell them you love them and that you miss the pet as well. Talk about the pet and what you remember.  

Depending on their age, children can react to a pet's death in a lot of different ways. It's not unusual for children to have nightmares, start wetting the bed, get stomach aches or headaches, start acting out aggressively, become withdrawn and want to be alone or not want to go to school.

Children under five in general do not understand that death is forever.  They may mention that their dog has died one minute and the next ask you to buy some dog treats when you are at the store.  

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

 

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