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Making mealtime nutritious and pleasant for your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:28pm
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Here are some practical suggestions for helping your children to enjoy eating nutritious food at mealtimes:

Have meals and snacks at regular times, which helps children's bodies learn to expect when they will be fed.

Offer your children only nutritious snacks between meals which won't let them get too full. This includes carrot sticks, apple slices, peanut butter on celery, and fruity yogurt. 

Encourage your children to feed themselves as much as possible, whether with fingers or utensils. Acknowledge your child’s behaviour-“You ate all your vegetables by yourself tonight, you are getting so grown up.”

Try to relax about the amount your children eat, and which foods they eat. This keeps the tension levels down and makes mealtimes more enjoyable for the whole family.

Try to give your children at least one thing you know they like at meals, as well as something you'd like to introduce them to. But don't worry if they don't eat the new food. Sometimes it takes several exposures before little children learn to like a food.

Let your children tell you when they are full. But before they leave the table, make it clear that they will not be allowed to return for snacks until some reasonable time has passed.

Try to make sure your children have eaten at least a little solid food before giving them a drink. Drinks can be very filling.

And, try not to nag your children about eating. Avoid being very disappointed or angry when they don't eat much of what you have prepared. It will be easier for both of you over the long run, if you can take their refusal somewhat lightly.

 

We know that mealtimes and be especially challenging for parents. How do you make mealtimes happier and healthier for you and your child? Share your comments below!

 

Ask Our Expert!
Do you still have questions about nutrition and your preschooler? Our expert, Karen Soper, is a Holistic Nutritionist and has been practicing holistic nutrition since 2003. Ask Karen a Question!

 

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Your 18-Month-Old

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 06:39pm
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At around 18 months of age, children will begin showing more independence, such as insisting "I do it myself." It's important to understand that your child sees herself as the centre of the universe - not in a selfish way, but in a self-centered way. In other words, she believes everyone is experiencing what she is experiencing; what she knows, everyone knows. This happens because, at this age, seeing herself as a separate being can be a bit scary and confusing.

You also may notice that your child's moods swing rapidly - between being proud and bold, to whiny and scared, or even to being angry and throwing tantrums. This, too, is part of your child's struggle for independence.

It's around this time that children start experiencing the new emotions of pride and shame. Dealing with these emotions can be very tricky, so try to be careful not to make your child feel ashamed of his efforts to do something, even if the outcome isn't exactly what you expected. For example, feeding himself is usually pretty messy at this age. But acknowledge his efforts and soon the neatness will come.

Socially, children will enjoy playing near other children, but not necessarily with them. At this stage, your child isn't ready for you to teach her to take turns. That comes a little later. In the meantime, provide opportunities to have other children around, but be ready to gently intervene (many times) when her lack of sharing skills needs shaping.

Remember, each child is unique. Not all children develop at the same rate in each area, such as movement, communication and relating to others, so this information is meant only as a general guide. If you have concerns about your child's development, you should consult your child's doctor.

 

How did your 18-month-old behave? What do you remember about that age and stage? Leave a comment and share your experience with other parents just like you!

 

 

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When your toddler is upset

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 01:28pm
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When toddlers get upset, it can be very hard on them and the people around them. Here are several suggestions from our experts to make things easier on everyone.

  • Offer your child a safe quiet place to calm down, away from others, but where she knows she is not entirely alone.
  • Help your child regain control of his emotions by teaching him deep breathing and to think about good things.
  • Try to calm your child by gently changing the scene into something more positive, like baking cookies, going for a walk or cuddling together while you watch TV.
  • Encourage positive, fun physical activity, like jumping on cushions, to help release strong feelings.
  • Most importantly, try to keep yourself calm when your child is upset. Remember that you can't be helpful unless you are in control of your own emotions. 
  • During your regular daily life provide a good example of coping with your own emotions by saying things in front of your child like, "I'm sure I can get through this if I slow down and think about it." 

 

How do you manage when your toddler is crying and upset? Have you tried any of these techniques? Did they work? Share your story with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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Making toilet learning easier for your preschooler

by Maxine
Posted December 22 2010 06:23pm
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Here are a number of things you can do to make toilet learning easier for both you and your preschooler:

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 preschooler? What advice would you give to other parents? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents.

 

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