Parenting a Toddler

Parenting a Toddler

Parenting a Toddler
Parenting a toddler brings new challenges, as toddlers are growing in understanding and developing language, motor and reasoning skills. This means new foods, childcare environments and skills like self-feeding and potty-training, all of which can be stressful. Throughout toddlerhood, consistency is key. Model good health habits and keep up with your pediatrician check-ups.

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    A , Psychology, answered
    Kids, through their innocence, bring so much to their play experiences. Sometimes their actions are an expression of their inner selves and sometimes their actions are an expression of what they have seen in their environment. What I often observe in my work with families is that parents want to correct, steer, punish or even ignore what their child may be offering through the language of play. What I want to help parents and caretakers to do is to observe and participate with children during play.

    I can't tell you how many times I have been playing with kids wondering where we were going and then seemingly out of nowhere came a theme. For example, when watching a child draw, do they draw people? Houses? Trees? Landscapes? How are the people interacting? Are they holding hands? Playing? Fighting? Ask questions of your kids. See if they will tell you a story about their drawing. See if you can find recurring themes in their drawings. If there are conflicts or issues that arise through their drawings, see if you can help them find solutions.

    Games are a great way to help see how kids approach life, as well. Checkers, chess, darts, Chutes & Ladders … all of these games can give you an inside look at your child's persistence, resilience, values and sense of fairness, impulsivity and planning ability. These games are also a way to teach life lessons about taking risks and reaping rewards or consequences of those risks, about planning and observing, anticipating the moves of others, and even winning and losing with grace, honor and dignity. There is no shortage of opportunities through games and play, to learn and teach. Kids are often more receptive to learning in casual environments.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Here is a behavior makeover to stop your little biter.
    Infants usually bite to relieve gum soreness. Each time you see your baby about to chomp away, immediately provide a chewy toy substitute. Toddler's might think biting is a game, so don't play along! Put your hand gently on his mouth and say firmly: "No biting!" Preschoolers may bite because they don't know how to handle frustrations. Intervene and show what to do instead: "Tell your friend you want a turn."

    Focus on the injured kid: "That must hurt. What can I do to help?" You'll model how to convey sympathy and your child will quickly recognize you're not giving him attention.

    You can find more behavior makeover tips in the book, No More Misbehavin.' Whatever you try remember to consistently use the method until you do get the change you want.

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    A Pediatric Nursing, answered on behalf of
    I think you have to be pretty firm with a toddler, and I think this is a good time to start using logical consequences. So for instance, if you have a toddler that's riding a trike, and the rule is that you need to wear a helmet when you ride your trike, then you've set that rule up. The toddler knows, "Yes, that's what I need to do," but then say he chooses not to wear his helmet. A logical consequence to that would be, guess what, we get to take your bike away for 5 minutes until you can decide to put your helmet back on. And then always give them a chance to try again. So if you set a timer for 5 minutes, they know that in 5 minutes, they're going to have a chance to try putting their helmet on and riding their trike again.

    I think that giving that logical consequence sets them up for dealing with future problems, because that's how life is. When we speed on the freeway, we get a ticket. So teaching your kid about logical consequences I think is really important. If there isn't really a logical consequence to the behavior, then I recommend a time-out. A time-out is not putting them in their bed, because that's where they sleep, and that needs to be comfortable. It's not having them face the corner in shame. It's having them sit on a chair in a very boring corner, and you set the timer for 1 minute per year of age. So if you have a 3-year-old, that would be 3 minutes. And it's not you putting the child in time-out, it's really the timer.

    When a child comes out of time-out, it's a good time to talk about what happened. You want to relate the incident to the emotion so they can start talking about how they felt about it. So it looks like you got pretty angry that Susie wouldn't share her doll with you. That helps them later on say, "Yeah, it really made me angry that Susie wouldn't share my doll." Instead of having a temper tantrum or hitting Susie, it gives them a chance to use their words and begin to manage their own anger.

    I don't usually start time-out till age 2. And that's about the earliest that I would start time-out or start having those conversations. That's the earliest time they can understand that.
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    Baby Madness: Messy Eaters
    In this video from the Discovery Health show "Baby Madness," Dr. Christina Johns offers tips to help parents cope with messy eaters.

     
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Here are some good safety skills to teach your child:

    Establish a family secret code. Choose a memorable code like “Geronimo,” to give only to family members or trusted individuals responsible for your kids in your absence.

    Emphasize to your child that she can always ask a stranger for help, but an adult stranger does not ask kids for help.

    Do not open the door. Stress repeatedly to never open the door to someone who is not an immediate family member.

    Teach 9-1-1. Make sure your child knows her first and last name, your first and last name, phone number, and address. Program your phone so your child can reach you and dial 9-1-1 instantly. Put a sticker on the “0.” Then teach how to dial “operator” to reverse charges, so she can call you from any phone anywhere.

    Teach: “Drop, Holler, and Run.” Teach your child that if he ever needs to get away quickly, he should drop whatever he is carrying, holler, and run.

    Retrain to yell, “STRANGER!” If possible, he should run to an adult (ideally a woman with children) screaming, “Help! This is a STRANGER!”

    Use your gut instinct. Teach your child that if she ever feels he could be in danger, to use that fear instinct and leave immediately. You’ll support her.

    Learn to recognize suspicious behavior. Instead of scaring (and possibly even confusing) your kids with the “Stranger = Danger” approach, experts suggest that a better way is to teach kids to recognize suspicious situations.

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    A , Dental Hygiene, answered

    It is actually a simple answer. Pacifiers involve sucking.

    Babies are conditioned at birth to suck for survival, and are "wired" to derive a vast amount of pleasure from this act, as a result of this innate necessity. When we think about why babies suck, and when they suck, it all makes perfect sense. For example, at birth a newborn derives milk and pleasure form the act of sucking, and before long may begin to associate the sucking behavior with the positive experiences of mommy, closeness, and nourishment... All powerful and wonderfully amazing rewards for any baby to partake in! But the true biochemical explanation goes far deeper than that.

    When a baby sucks a pacifier, thumb, finger, etc. beta endorphin in released during the sucking process which attaches/activates to opiate receptors/the opiate reward system in the brain. Sucking behavior is thus reinforced with a powerful reward system that nature intended us to have all along. Little did nature know that the process could persist well into later childhood if permitted as a result.

    It is tough for a tot to take on a battle with the pleasure center of the brain, and if a pacifier is around, one can guess how that battle will end. 

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    A , Psychology, answered
    If you’re really sick of it, go for it and decide to spend your precious parental effort, time and sanity on an "eliminate the binky” plan. What worked for us with our oldest (when we still had the time and energy to fight this particular battle) was to, first, have a conversation about it: "Now that you’re two years old, you’re big enough to not have the binky except for in your crib. The binky stays in the crib, now for sleep only." Expect protests, and try to have a substitute ready that might (reluctantly) be accepted (blanket, stuffed animal). Then phase out binky over a week or so, explaining that “You’re big enough now without it, here’s your (blanket, animal) instead."

    Stick with the program. Sympathize mightily with the feelings of hurt over the lost bink, but make a huge deal out of, “Now that you’re such a big boy without a binky, look at all the cool things you can do now! Only babies have a binky.” Once it’s over, it’ll probably be over.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    I know that it is very upsetting to be on the receiving end of a bite, and even more so to be the parent of the “bite-ee,” but we have to look at this as normal toddler exploratory behavior. Babies at this age still get a lot of their information about the world through their mouths. Plus, they’re often teething, and they’re not the greatest at explaining their wants and needs. So a bite now and then is really understandable. Some toddlers even bite to convey their love and affection for someone! Modifying the environment usually does the trick in minimizing biting.

    First, give care and attention to the “bite-ee” if he or she is upset, and certainly if the skin is broken. But if the child isn’t upset, don’t make a big deal out of it (you don’t want to unnecessarily reinforce the biting). Do show the biter what to do instead. "We don’t bite people, but you can bite this special toy! This is yours to bite!"  (You might want to buy one of those chewie things that Early Intervention specialists use for toddlers; we have one at home.  It’s a little different than what you get at the regular baby store. They’re nearly indestructible, and they’re fun to chew.)

    Analyze what came before the bite. Was the child tired? Overstimulated? Teething? Take care of those issues first, and you should see a reduction in biting.

    At home, be unemotional about biting, but firm. "No biting. If you want to bite, bite this instead." If he bites you, say, without reacting too strongly, "Ouch. That hurt. No biting. Here’s your bite toy." And then move on. If you have to be a broken record, do so -- you might have to for awhile. But he will eventually stop.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Talk to your child about potty training, where pee-pee belongs, and how he accidentally peed in the tub; use a matter-of fact tone, with no scolding or worry in your voice. See if you can make it like a silly joke, so he doesn’t feel so bad. “Does pee pee belong in the tub? NO, silly! But that’s OK! We’ll keep trying and one day for sure you’ll get it!”
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    A , Psychology, answered
    While effective, suppositories can be rather harsh, from a psychological perspective. It tells the child, “I am forcing you to poop. I am in charge of your body, by forcing this inside of you….You are not in charge.” Ideally, we want to reinforce the notion that the child is in charge of his own body. Suppositories and enemas can be experienced by the child as a violation of his own fragile sense of bodily control.