How will full time work and travel affect your toddler?

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 08:24pm
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Being away from your child can be very difficult for both of you. Research shows that parental absence is usually difficult initially when your child is between six months and two and a half years. If you're away for a few days or even a few hours, you may find that your child becomes very upset with you, even angry. If this happens, try to comfort and reassure her.

Spending time away from your child is sometimes necessary and, in most cases, these absences will cause no harm. If you have to be away longer than one or two days, you can make things easier by leaving your child with someone who knows him well, will understand he may be anxious and upset, and who will consistently reassure him of your return. It's also best to leave your child in familiar surroundings.  It is helpful to try and have their day remain as consistent and predictable as possible, whether you are with them or they are in the care of another person (getting up the same time, having the same bedtime routing, nap time, etc.).

You can help to reassure your child and keep a positive relationship. When you return at the end of the day or after a trip, your child may tell you to "go away," or say, "I don't want you." What your child really means is that she missed you terribly and wishes she could have more control over your coming and going. Let you child know that it is okay to be mad or sad or grumpy.  Tell them that you love them no matter what they feel and you are so glad to be home with them.  To help your child feel a little of this control, allow her to keep her distance for an hour or so after you return if that's what she wants, or let her direct where you should sit. This may help your child feel more secure that she still has some say in her relationship with you.  Above all, don’t get upset or chastise your child for not being happy to see you.  

Be Honest.  Some parents are inclined to tell their child they will be right back, or not tell their child they are leaving and then leave when the child is occupied or sleeping.  Although this might seem easier it usually causes greater distress in the long run.  You child may start to become extremely upset whenever you are out of their sight because they fear you are not going to return  It is much better to tell you child you are leaving and when you are coming back.  They may be too young to understand time, but you can help them by putting jellybeans (or a similar small, non-perishable food item) in a jar.  One jellybean goes in for each day you are away.  The child eats one jellybean at the same time each day and when all the jellybeans are gone, Mom or Dad is coming home.

Make coming home special.  Always greet you child right after you arrive home and spend a few minutes with them.  Cuddle, share stories, show pictures; just spend some nice time together.  If there were issues with the child when you were away, save dealing with this until a little later.  Your return home needs to be a pleasant time for all of you.

Include your child in preparing for you to leave. Give your child a role in helping you pack and in taking something to remind you about your child, (i.e. a picture, one of their toys, etc.). Having them participate will help them feel more included and will also help them to understand the difference between a “long trip” and just going to the store.

Connect with our child while you are away.  Children respond well to structure and predictability.  If you are away for more than a day, call just before bed, send an e-mail or talk to them via one of the social networking sites.  Try to make your connection at the same time each day.  After they wake up, at supper, or just before bed as an example.  You might want to take one of their storybooks with you and read it to them as a part of their bedtime routine.  A great idea that some parents have used is to have two copies of favourite storybooks so that as the parent read one over the phone or internet, the child can follow with their own book.

Children do adjust.  Remember that there are millions of parents who work full time, part time and travel away from home and their children are doing just fine.  


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Handling Sibling Rivalry

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 08:54pm
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Sibling rivalry can develop for many reasons. In some cases it's due to the personalities of the children, but other times children may feel jealous. For example, if one sibling is really good at playing sports or is really good at school, but the other one struggles with these things.

Some sibling rivalry is to be expected.  If you had two best friends living together in the same house they would have some conflict and arguments from time to time.

The goal then is not to try to prevent sibling rivalry, but helping your children deal with any issues that arise between them in a constructive way.

If the rivalry takes the form of physical fighting between the children, it is very important for children to know that there is a "no hurting" rule, as opposed to just saying, "no pinching" or "no grabbing." Let them know right away that you won't tolerate that behaviour by saying, "we don't hurt anyone in this family."

If the children are arguing constantly, letting them work things out on their own is good in many cases. But be ready to step in when these little arguments start turning into long-standing issues. New research shows that children can suffer immensely if verbal taunts and threats by brothers and sisters go on and on.

To keep things peaceful, try to give each child one-on-one attention at least part of each day. This will make each child feel that she is still special to you.

Don’t compare your children. Sometimes parents fuel sibling rivalry by using one child as an example to the other. They ask, “Why can’t you listen like your brother?” or “Why can’t you have a clean room like your sister?”  This tends to create resentment rather than be helpful.  Let your children know that it is okay to be different.

When jealousy rears its ugly head, it's important not to blame one child or the other. Encourage the children to talk about their feelings of envy and jealousy. It's not going to be easy, but try to stay calm and listen to what they have to say in these situations. Try to emphasize the strengths of each individual child.

Share the consequences – When there is an issue that you are brought into, don’t take sides. Ask each child for their side of the story without any interruptions.  Ask the children what they think the solution is and, if it is reasonable, support their solution.  If they can’t come up with a solution you can proceed with a couple of options.

  1. Ask the children to work out a solution, and until they do, they are not allowed to do anything else.
  2. Come up with a solution yourself, but make sure that both of the children are involved.  Don’t give a consequence to just one child.  Remember it takes “two to tango.”  

Have you children apologize when they do something wrong. Saying I’m sorry is critical to the maintenance of loving relationships.  It says that “I care that I hurt you or upset you.”  At the end of any issue, have your child apologize to the other.  If both are involved in “causing” the issue they should both apologize.  If they are not ready, ask them to sit quietly until they are, even if it takes a while.  Finally, make sure the tone is right, an angry, “I’m sorry,” does not convey the right message.  


Is there jealousy or rivalry between your children? What have you done to manage the conflict between them? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!


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Helping your toddler stop bedwetting

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 03:20pm
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Here are several strategies from our experts that you can try to help your toddler stop wetting the bed:

Limit how much your child drinks after dinner especially any drinks with caffeine. Try and limit any fluids 2 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. However, 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 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 toddler stop wetting the bed? Which ones worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.


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Comfort, Play & Teach: A Positive Approach to Parenting®

by Maxine
Posted July 31 2010 01:22pm

Comfort, Play & Teach is effective and easy to incorporate into your everyday routines. Be a positive parents with Comfort, Play & Teach.


Comfort, Play &  Teach: A Positive Approach to Parenting® is our research-informed parenting approach to support healthy child development. These three parenting actions work together to generate responses from children that transform everyday interactions from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Comfort, Play & Teach builds parenting confidence, strengthens the parent-child bond, enriches the moment for the child and parent, and, ultimately, opens a world of possibilities for you both.



Comfort Your Child

Comfort is the first thing that children need from a parent. When you comfort, with kisses for a “boo boo,” hugs when she is scared or reassuring words and a gentle touch to let her know you are close by, your child feels secure, loved and valued.


Play with your child

Play is the “work of children” and you are the most important person in your child’s world. When you join in your child’s play, helping to build a tall tower or pretending to be a king or queen, your child learns to explore and discover the world and his role in it.


Teach your child

Teaching is how parents help their children learn. When you teach your child by sharing and including him in your experiences, expanding on the knowledge he has or by being a role model, he learns how to think, solve problems and get along with others.

Why it Works

When you comfort, play with and teach your child, you learn to recognize and support the uniqueness of your child, motivate your child to be all that he can be and establish the foundation of a lifelong warm and respectful relationship with your child.

The approach:

  • Is simple, practical, relevant, easy to understand and to do, with no need for special equipment.
  • Builds on what your child can do.
  • Builds on what you can do as a parent.
  • Helps you understand your child’s current capabilities and the kinds of behaviours and skills
  • you should be watching for and supporting.
  • Gives you the opportunity and choices to support your child’s development based on his age and stage of development.
  • Stimulates a positive reaction from your child, which in turn provides strong, positive reinforcement for you.
  • Is for every parent.
  • Provides a common language for professionals and parents to talk about parenting.

Watch our videos to see Comfort, Play & Teach® in action.

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One of our temperament traits, our innate reaction to the world, is First Reaction. Some people love novelty and change while others react with caution to new situations.
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You can use a variety of Comfort, Play & Teach strategies that are tailored to different temperament traits.
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