Posts tagged under Toddler. Show all posts.
Many mothers worry that their children are not eating enough. While this is a concern for many moms throughout the growing years, it is particularly true during the toddler and preschool years—sometimes referred to as the ‘picky eating’ years. It is important to remember that what may seem like a little bit of food to an adult is often quite a lot of food for a toddler.
When placing meals or snacks on your toddler’s plate, try serving a smaller portion than you would typically have, then if they would like more to eat they can always ask for seconds. Some appropriate serving sizes for young children include:
Keep in mind that toddlers like to graze, and what may seem like a very small amount of food actually adds up over the course of the day. In Better Food for Kids we give examples of a ‘picky eating’ day and you can see the calories really add up.
Sample Menu for a Picky 3 Year-Old
This provides approximately 1000 calories and 44 grams of protein and meets more than 50% of iron requirements.
Source: Better Food for Kids, page 25
Always remember that growth is the best indicator for whether or not your child is getting enough. Ask to see your child’s growth chart at your next visit to the family doctor to see the pattern of your child’s weight gain.
At some point, whether you’re ready or not, your toddler is going to declare an end to nap time. Here is some advice on weathering that transition stage.
From Two Naps to One
Most toddlers make the transition from two naps to one nap by the time they are 18 months old. This can be a tough time for you and your toddler. A toddler may not need that second nap every day, but if he goes too many days in a row with just one nap, he can become overtired and edgy (or fall asleep in the middle of dinner). At that point, anything even remotely resembling a routine goes out the window.
If you’ve eliminated the morning nap, try moving the afternoon nap ahead a little so that it occurs earlier in the afternoon. You may want to serve lunch a little earlier than you did when he was having a morning nap to ensure that your toddler will be in a reasonably cooperative mood when it’s time to eat. If he’s too tired, lunch could turn into a battle and your toddler may not want to eat at all. That could interfere with his afternoon nap. (If he hasn’t eaten anything for a couple of hours, he’ll wake up shortly after he’s fallen asleep because hunger will trump his need for some shut-eye.)
From One Nap to None
To figure out if your toddler is ready to give up that final nap, consider the following:
Your answers to these questions will help you to figure out whether your toddler is ready to ditch that final nap or whether he’d benefit from a bit of daytime shut-eye (or at least some daytime quiet time) for just a little while longer. Good luck!
You hear stories of people potty training their children by age 9, 10, 11 or 12 months. Really? At those tender ages, I suspect it not the child who is potty trained, but rather the parents.
A potty trained parent is a parent who has learned to notice their child’s body language and run to put a potty under them and ‘catch a pee’. I don’t see the point of that, myself. My definition of a potty trained child is a child who has the ability to recognize when they need to ‘go’, the sphincter strength and control to ‘hold’ until they can get to the toilet, the manual dexterity to unzip, unbuckle, strip down and actually ‘go’ independently; and then to wipe up, wash hands, and return to what they were doing. Amazing right?
So there are a lot of skills, physical maturation and psychological readiness required. It will take some time. On average, most children start training somewhere in the beginning of their second year and finish sometime by the end of the third year. Girls usually train before boys, and the order tends to be day dryness, day BM’s, night BM’s and finally night dryness which may not be accomplished until the child is age 6, 7 or 8. (Heredity is a factor here.)
So with that in mind, rather than trying to get your 18 month-old to use the potty to make a pee and getting into a fight, which will invite resistance and slow your efforts down, let me suggest the things we can be doing to help set the ground work for later successful training. To reduce confusion, let’s not call it ‘Potty Training’. Instead, let’s say we’re helping establish ‘Potty Readiness’. Sound good?
From about 18 months, you can work on this list of activities with your child;
Stay positive! Stay light hearted.
“I’m going to write a blog on getting kids to listen,” I told my kids.
“What?” My son said.
“I’m going to write…”
“That was a joke, Mom…”
Kids do listen and they do hear us, but they don’t always do what we ask—which is really the most important part of the listening.
You only have to say once where the cookies are and bang, they’ve got it. Try to get them out of the bath or into bed or to clean up the toys? Forget it. Kids don’t like to be told what to do any more than we do, which is why ordering them around often doesn’t end well.
To get kids to listen, sometimes all we have to do is a better job of asking. Our tone, our manner, our words, our volume and our timing are all key to increasing cooperation. Here are some suggestions:
Write a list, or a picture list, with the routine on it—toys, teeth, bath, story, bed, hugs. Working to communicate with them in simple terms that they’re more likely to connect with will help to make sure that message gets across.
Is it reasonable for my child to sit at the table for a whole meal? How do I get him to stay there?
Children need to learn to sit at the table along with other social skills that they aren’t born with. When teaching our children, we start by understanding our key values (courtesy, peacefulness, respect, and self-discipline) and our long-term vision for our children (polite, healthy, and interdependent). Once we know where to start and where we are going, setting clear expectations becomes easier.
Discuss the full plan with your child ahead of time. Set an expectation that he sits to eat his food and then remains at the table for a slightly extended period of time. Engage him in conversation or give him a choice of crayons, paper, or Cheerios (if he has eaten his meal) to extend the time. Set him up for success by making the time just slightly longer than he currently sits. Over the next few weeks, lengthen the duration by short amounts. Four year-olds should be able to sit for 20–30 minutes—presuming they have learned how to do this.
Be aware of what is happening during dinner:
With a little patience and effort, meal time can become a true family affair.
So it’s time to move your sweet pea from her baby crib to her new toddler bed and you’re freaking out about how to manage the change. Let me reassure you that children are actually quite robust and resilient. In fact, it’s these little life struggles that help build up their ‘psychological muscle’ as they discover for themselves that they can cope and manage in the ever-expanding world.
When to move? My general child guidance rule is to continually foster his or her progress towards autonomy and mastery. The sooner they can go from bottle to cup, high chair to booster and likewise, crib to bed—the better.
If you have a new baby on the way, it’s recommended you take down the crib and have it out of sight for a time before moving it into the baby’s nursery (and perhaps changing up the bumper pads). If you can’t pull that off, no worries. Trust your older child to make the adjustment and learn to share, because there’s a lot more of that coming!
Ask your child to join you shopping so they can help pick their new bedding for the new bed. Often they’re so excited to sleep in the Spider-Man/princess sheets, they don’t mind passing down their old crib to the new baby.
How do you know when it’s time? If your tot is a real monkey and starts scaling the sides, you should make the move. Don’t risk a tumble over the top rail—simply keep the railing down so the crib becomes a day bed. Teach them to crawl in and out of it safely on their own.
Ah yes, now they’re not contained anymore. No need to panic. Install a baby gate at their bedroom doorway. This serves to enlarge the area they are contained in from their crib to their whole room. Make sure you’ve child-proofed the room before this step, however.
With the gate in place, you can tuck them in, say your good nights and if they crawl out of the crib and stand at their doorway calling for you, so be it. Treat it the same as if they were in their crib. They may fall asleep on the floor instead of their crib, but that will only be for a few nights while they discover this new limit. Once asleep, you can move them back to their bed or cover them with a blanket.
My daughter Lucy transitioned by keeping her crib mattress and sheets but dropped on the floor, futon style. For both my girls, there was a time when they had their new bed set up and old crib (side down) still in their room. I simply let them pick where they wanted to sleep. They both chose to start with naps in the bed (with a side attachment to stop them from rolling off onto the floor) but both preferred their cribs at night for awhile.
When the crib finally has to come down, talk about it together, mark it on the calendar a week in advance so they know the big day is coming, and make a fun event of disassembling it together.
Bedtime and sleeping are such normal, yet loaded activities. It’s tricky because you can’t actually make your child sleep. It’s a skill they need to learn and often, the more we try to teach, the more push-back we get. Some routines and tips can make a big difference.
Are your kids still crawling into bed with you? How do you encourage them to sleep on their own?
This is an emotional issue for parents. When tired, we either get in a midnight power struggle and/or eventually give in. Deciding what you want for your family should happen in the cold light of day, not in the middle of the night. If having the kids in your bed works for you, then don’t change it, but know that you are establishing a habit. You are clearly stating your expectations through your actions. If and when you decide that your kids need to sleep on their own, don’t let fear stand in your way.
Sleep is a gift that lasts a lifetime. You can’t make your kids sleep (which is the reason this is such an issue in the first place) BUT, children are capable of learning to keep their head on the pillow, lie quietly and wait for sleep to come. The big issue is when parents interfere with the child’s capability to put themselves back to sleep; our actions are teaching them that they can’t do it.
So how do you give the gift of sleep? The end result is the same but how you get there is up to you.
Set up a plan that is right for your family:
Whatever the plan, you need to know it first and be consistent with the follow up, especially if you involve your kids as well. Let them know the script (what you’ll say when they’re in your room, what strategies they will use when they’re waiting for sleep).
And have a good night’s sleep.
How do I handle bedtime battles? My child will do anything to avoid going to bed: screaming, crying, whining, asking for another drink, wanting more hugs, and so on. It can be exhausting.
You’ve zeroed in on the heart of the issue by identifying the root cause of this oh-so-common (and oh-so-frustrating) problem: your child will do pretty much anything to avoid going to bed. It doesn’t matter which strategy (or strategies) she turns to on any given night. She’s got a single goal in mind—stopping the dreaded bedtime clock.
This may work brilliantly for her, but it isn’t working at all for you. By the time bedtime rolls around, you’re desperate for a break. You’re patience reserves are running on empty (or close to it). So how do you minimize the bedtime hijinks so that you can salvage part of your evening for yourself? Here are a few tips.
Remember, any of these methods will take a few tries before completely fixing the issue, so keep your calm and may you all get a good night’s sleep.
So you’ve been following my advice in the Potty Training Primer about developing ‘potty readiness’ skills, and now you’re wondering when it’s time to actually start hard-core training.
Here are the key signs I suggest you keep an eye out for before you move forward:
If you’ve got all that going on, then BRAVO—you can ask your child if they would like to wear a Pull-Up (or something they can remove quickly) instead of a secured diaper so they can use the potty whenever they want to! They find this idea very appealing if they are truly psychologically ready to potty train. If they are not interested, sorry—you have to wait. It’s their body, it’s their time line so believe me when I say that any insistence will just invite resistance.
The next time they say they need to pee, ask if they want to go use the potty. Assist but don’t take over. Let them take the lead on getting undressed and pulling down their own pants as best and as fast as they can. This is their milestone, not yours! You are a witness to their development and success, so cheer them on and celebrate their success with a big smile, a hug, a high five and acknowledge them: “You really know how to take care of your body!”
If they prefer using the big toilet, that is fine, but be sure to use a foot stool, as planted feet allows the pelvic muscles to be engaged, and that helps with the whole biomechanics of elimination.
You may have a child who needs a little help getting started. If so, determine what time of day is their ‘usual’ for having a pee or poo, and ask them to see if they’d like to try. Help them relax by reading a book with them on the toilet, and if after five minutes they have not been successful, move along. You can easily become a hostage in the bathroom to a potty-training child who might want to keep your attention.
After a good spell of success, ask if they’d like to try underwear and take them shopping to pick their favorites. Expect some accidents and don’t admonish them if they happen. Instead, comfort them, and let them know that you would expect accidents to be part of learning. Teach them how to clean themselves up when they occur such as pulling off a pee soaked sock to put in the laundry pail. The more hassle and time the child has to spend cleaning up after their own urine accident, the more likely they are to move more quickly in the future.
If accidents become plentiful, address the fact that freedoms and responsibilities go together. If you want to wear undies, you have to try to use the potty. If you aren’t managing that responsibility well, you lose the freedom of wearing undies and it’s back to Pull-Ups for a few weeks or a month and then you can try again! With no rewards or punishments, and with a patient parent who understands that interest in training will ebb and flow, you’ll ride the wave of potty training until your child decides it`s time and success will follow!
How do you discipline other people’s children when their mom is not around?
Most children are on their best behaviour when visiting a friend without Mom or Dad, but not always. So when the play date is at your house and the guest is exhibiting undesirable behaviour, what are your options?
Dealing with a guest’s missteps shouldn’t be too different from how you treat your own child. It is best to remain calm, polite, respectful and non-judgemental. This way you will ensure that guests are always on their best behaviour when they come to your house!
You’re becoming an old pro at this parenting thing. In fact, you’ve decided to have another baby. Now you’re wondering what you need to know to prepare your first born for the arrival of baby number two.
Start spreading the news. Let your older child hear the baby news from you before she hears it through the family or neighbourhood grapevine. Let her know that there’s a baby on the way and that she’ll soon be someone’s big sister.
Involve your older child in your pregnancy. Take your older child to your prenatal checkups so that she can hear the baby’s heartbeat and watch the doctor or midwife measuring your belly. This will help to make the pregnancy feel more real for her.
Do your best to answer your child’s questions. Speak to her about pregnancy and birth in an age-appropriate way. (Don’t start bombarding her with every fascinating fact you just read in your pregnancy book. Try to figure out what she’s really asking, and answer those questions in the simplest and most straightforward manner possible.)
Don’t oversell the new baby. Newborn babies are pretty boring (at least from the viewpoint of a preschooler who is looking for a playmate). Make sure your older child has a realistic idea of what new babies are really like so she won’t be too disappointed when the new baby shows up. Spend some time with a friend who has a newborn so your child can learn a bit about babies before she meets her new brother or sister.
Have a plan. Let your child know what will happen around the time of the baby’s birth. Will you be giving birth at home or in hospital? Will Grandma and Grandpa be coming to the house to help take care of her while you’re in labour? What will happen after the baby is born? Your child needs to know what to expect so that she’ll feel safe and secure.
Accept that you can never fully prepare anyone for the birth of a baby. Just as you were both surprised, amazed and more than a little overwhelmed by the birth of your first child, your firstborn will experience a range of emotions when she meets her new brother or sister. What matters is that you allow her to express those feelings and that you find ways to reassure her that she is still loved as much as ever. Having a new baby in the family won’t change that at all.
When it comes to toys, how do you choose the right ones for your baby? What are the key components you should be considering? Childhood development expert, Dr. Deborah Weber shares some key points.
Q. How important is it for baby toys to have educational components? Can toys really help babies learn according to their milestones?
A. What’s most important is to provide a variety of toys—and babies learn from all toys in addition to toys that have educational components such as the A,B,C’s or 1,2,3’s. Educational toys provide babies with an opportunity to learn through play—they are exposed to the different sounds, names of objects, and sing along songs that introduce different concepts and content such as colours, shapes, and numbers. Toys encourage and support the development of important skills in children as they play, such as motor skills, problem solving, creative thinking, socialization, etc. Toys can help babies learn according to their milestones such as providing the opportunity to use their senses, imagine, discover, learn and create.
Q. Can my baby be over-stimulated? Is there such a thing as too much stimulation?
A. Babies have an inborn response mechanism to ignore or turn away from over-stimulation, so if you notice your child continually turning away or becoming fussy, check the surroundings to see if there is too much going on. Some distractions you may not be able to control, but some you can. For example, if there is a loud television, radio, or if your baby is playing with a toy that has sounds and lights, you could eliminate some of the distracting elements. Knowing this, when we design toys for infants, we incorporate short musical responses and have action reaction momentary responses that give the child control. You don’t want to avoid stimulation because it is important to provide it; however, you want to be on guard for over-stimulation.
Q. Brands such as Fisher-Price emphasize that a lot of research and testing goes into how they design their toys. Does it really matter how sophisticated a toy is when sometimes babies/toddlers just play with the box?
A. You are so right—babies love to play with things as simple as a box! They enjoy climbing into and out of the box and discovering what else they can do with it. What we look for when testing toys at Fisher-Price is whether or not babies/toddlers enjoy and are interested in interacting and playing with the toys too. Are the toys engaging and invite repeat play, do they offer child interaction and progressive challenges that address developing needs yet are not frustrating to the child? We take great care to include a variety of play features in toys to encourage imagination and an opportunity for children to fully enjoy and have fun playing while they experience the developmental benefits the toys provide. It’s great to provide a variety of toys and objects for babies/toddler to play with along with things as simple as a box—because they stimulate their curiosity, creativity, and imagination.
Q. Babies grow so quickly, is it possible to find toys they will play with for more than a week?
A. There are a lot of great toys that have multiple ways to play and grow with your child. For example, the Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano can be used in the crib and then as a floor toy. There are also baby walkers that transform into a toy to ride-on, soft gyms that offer different modes of play from laying on your back, to tummy time, to sitting up; mobiles that transform into crib side soothers are great too! Other examples of types of toys that babies play with for longer periods of time are early role play items such as pretend food or cooking items, blocks, balls, zoo or farm animal figures, and dolls.
Q. What should I look for when picking toys for my baby/toddler? How can I tell a toy is safe?
A. Babies and toddlers like toys with: buttons to press, knobs to turn, action-and-reaction, put-and-take, stacking-and-nesting, colourful activities, lights-and-sounds, textures to touch, surprises, happy faces. They are attracted to bold, contrasting colours and simple but interesting patterns. They like listening and moving to lively, rhythmical music, as well as listening and falling asleep to soothing lullabies. Regarding how to tell if a toy is safe, check to be sure it is manufactured by a reputable toy company that indicates they meet safety regulations. Follow the recommended age grades on the package. The age recommendation provided by the manufacturer of the toy will give you the age the toy is safe and appropriate for.
When a second baby arrives, our toddlers suddenly seem so mature. We still need to have age-appropriate expectations of their abilities to set everyone up for success.
Baby’s arrival can be as frustrating for Big Sibling as it is exciting for others. Big Sib didn’t want this new child and is no longer the star of the show. Surely, misbehaviour will bring all the attention that Big Sib needs.
Create a ‘treasure box’ with Big Sib, full of books, blocks, independent activities and shelf-stable snacks. At baby’s feeding time, invite Big Sib to grab the treasure box. He can help himself to a snack while baby is eating, then the two of you can read a book together. Giving attention for behaviour we want to see means that Big Sib doesn’t have to resort to misbehaviour for attention.
Be realistic about sharing—kids this age are egocentric—they believe that their point of view is the only one: “Everyone knows that I want this toy now. No one else will take it.”
We can introduce/model sharing by:
When kids are fighting over a toy, step in and guide children. Express your belief that it can work, “I know that you two can find a way to make this work”. Guiding when they are too young to do it on their own will be the first step in their development as problem-solvers.
When it comes to toys, how do you choose the right ones for your baby? What are the key components you should be considering? Childhood development expert, Dr. Deborah Weber shares some key points.
Q. When toys are labelled with ages, are the labels for safety, or are they based on research on developmental stages?
A. Thank you for asking this very important question! Age recommendations are guidelines for parents and gift-givers to use when purchasing toys for children. The age recommendations on Fisher-Price toys are based on the following factors: safety guidelines, sound knowledge of the developmental stages of children, observations of children interacting with toys, input from parents of young children regarding the age-appropriateness of toys and history of similar toys. So you can see that much consideration, deliberation and testing goes into establishing the age recommendation for toys. In addition to following the age recommendations for toys, parents need to instruct older children to keep their toys out of reach when younger children are around, as there could be small parts which could cause a choking hazard.
Q. My friend’s baby seems to be learning/developing quicker than mine. Should I be worried? Does this mean my baby is less intelligent?
A. Children develop at different rates and go through developmental stages at a different pace. The best way for babies to learn is through their interactions with you. Talk, read, and sing to them throughout the day—use descriptive language because that provides the foundation for learning. In addition, there are many toys on the market which have learning components integrated into them for a child your baby’s age.
Q. How can I encourage my baby to use their imagination?
A. The Laugh ‘n Learn toys provide a great opportunity for babies to use their imagination. They are early role play toys with themes to introduce baby to pretend play in a fun and familiar way way—some examples are a Tool Bench, Farm, Kitchen, Tea Set, Vacuum and Lawn Mower—these toys jump start baby’s way to imaginative play. Engage in play right alongside of your baby—it’s a great way to get them engaged and encourage them to use their imagination—“What can we build today? Would you like a cup of tea? This room is messy—we sure do need to vacuum—let’s do it!”
Q. What type of stimuli should I be exposing my baby to and at what stages? When are colours most important? Sounds? Touch?
A. The youngest babies are sensory learners, so exposing them to a variety of sounds, sights, and textures is appropriate. Playful music as well as soothing music of different styles, bright colourful high-contrasting toys or objects, and texture that is smooth, bumpy, silky, furry, or soft. Describe the sounds, sights, and textures to your baby as they interact and experience them. Introducing the older baby to colours provides them with the understanding of the colour names and that objects are made of different colours. It gives them the language to use to help describe objects.
Q. Can a child have too many toys?
A. A child can have too many toys if there is no place to store them properly. Clutter and disorder can be over-whelming and cause frustration making it difficult to play appropriately. Keeping toys in order on shelves or in containers is important so that when it is time to play, the toys will be ready, and when it is time to clean-up, there will be a place to put the toys away. When a child outgrows a toy, it can be an emotional parting for the child. If your child is old enough to understand, involve him or her in the decision about what to do with the toy. You’ll have an indication of when it is time to part with the toy, to save it for another child, or to give to charity, when you’re child no longer uses it for several months.