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Archive for January 2016

Reflect on Your Parenting

This will touch you heart, especially if you have been short with your toddler or preschooler today.

‘I ran into a stranger as he passed by,vegemite
“Oh excuse me please” was my reply.

He said, “Please excuse me too;
I wasn’t watching for you.”

We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,
My son stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked him down.
“Move out of the way,” I said with a frown.

He walked away, his little heart broken.
I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

While I lay awake in bed,
God’s still small voice came to me and said,

“While dealing with a stranger,
common courtesy you use,
but the family you love, you seem to abuse.

Go and look on the kitchen floor,
You’ll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself: pink, yellow and blue.

He stood very quietly not to spoil the surprise,
you never saw the tears that filled his little eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small,
And now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by his bed;
“Wake up, little one, wake up,” I said.

“Are these the flowers you picked for me?”
He smiled, “I found ‘em, out by the tree.

I picked ‘em because they’re pretty like you.
I knew you’d like ‘em, especially the blue.”

I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today;
I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”
He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay.
I love you anyway.”

I said, “Son, I love you too,
and I do like the flowers, especially the blue.”

Do you need some help to live on ‘Planet Toddler’?

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Words of Encouragement Help Children Grow with Self-Confidence

Your children need your words and actions of encouragement.

From a very young age children want and need to feel worthwhile and valued. Children need to be accepted and encouraged while they grow and discover their own direction in life. Therefore, raise your children to see that they are a worthwhile participant in life and that they can achieve?

You can do this by offering your child words of encouragement and show them actions of acceptance, rather than giving constant correction and criticism.

Acceptance

From birth, a baby can sense when an adult accepts them:

  • Through a calming voice and regular eye contact a baby’s soul is nurtured.
  • With a gentle cuddle and an affirming hug a baby’s heart is soothed.

You can reach the heart and soul of your child by giving positive acknowledgement when they do something right. Ensure they feel encouraged when you are in their presence as their heart is not won through criticism but acceptance and believing in who they are.

Words of Encouragement

Praise a child’s behaviour rather than always picking up on the things that they do wrong. When anyone is encouraged rather than corrected it makes them try harder the next time.

Here are some phrases you might like to use when you praise your child’s behaviour. If you include their name (………) in the sentence it will make an even greater positive impact.

“That’s it; you’ve got it ……”

“You’re doing a good job getting the pegs out of the basket ………..”

“You’re learning fast………”

“Way to go, high five…….!”

“Keep on trying …….., you will get there”

“…….., now that’s what I call a fine job of packing away the blocks”

“Wow, good remembering to shut the door………”

“You make painting look easy………….”

“Now you’ve figured it out; great page turning ……….”

“……..you’re getting better with cleaning your teeth everyday”

Talk to your child about how to manage their feelings. Explain to them that it is ok to feel a certain way and then help them do something that will make them feel better. (For example: Feeling SAD: “it’s ok to feel sad, Sam. When I feel sad I look at a colourful book and that makes me feel happy. Come on, let’s find one and look at it together”)

 

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Separation Anxiety

Ever had a ‘Velcro baby’ where she’d hold tight and not let you go? You’d step away and she’d cry and reach out for you in a desperate attempt to go with you. Even going to the bathroom or having a shower proved difficult without your baby dissolving into a flood of distressed tears. You probably found that these acts of insecurity were heightened when she was unwell, teething, tired or hungry.

It’s normal behaviour at certain ages

But don’t panic—it’s a normal stage of developmental that occurs around seven to nine months of age. It’s a time when most babies start to crawl.

Handling a new stage of development

Your baby is developing ‘object permanence’ where just because something is out of sight and out of hearing doesn’t mean it no longer exists. Coupled with the new skill of crawling she takes herself away from her place of security, her primary carer (usually mum).

The passion to explore, plus her leap in brain development, makes her feel unsure whether she can get back to mum or that mum will come back to her. How you handle this period of separation anxiety will have a strong influence on how well your baby learns to separate.

Help baby adjust

To help your baby adjust, don’t always rescue her and pick her up and take her with you. Instead, help her feel comfortable with separating. Come back to her and play for a few more minutes before going again. As you leave the room, let her see that you feel confident saying goodbye. Talk to her in an upbeat tone as you leave, assuring her that she’s ok and that you’ll be coming back to her. This is the same when leaving her at day care or grandmas. Give her time to feel comfortable in the company of a new carer before you leave. It will help her to separate with a minimum of distress. Avoid sneaking away, always say goodbye otherwise an unexpected disappearance can leave your baby wondering when and if you will return, which builds mistrust and feelings of insecurity.

Baby’s temperament

Temperament has a major impact on how she copes with this stage of her development. You may have already noticed one of the three temperaments[i] (easy, difficult, and slow-to-warm) in babies that you know, and recognised the different ways they handle change.

Home environment

The harmony of the home environment and whether dad works away for extended periods, also impacts on her ability to separate

Separation anxiety returns

‘Object permanence’ isn’t completely established until two years old, which means your toddler may go through this stage of separation anxiety again at around 15 to 18 months old. At this age your toddler’s inquisitive nature and spirit reaches a new level that often causes the clingy behaviour and distress of separating from significant carers to reoccur. This is because her brain development has taken another leap and her understanding of the world has changed. At this age your toddler has an amazing grasp of language and can understand what you say, even if she can’t say it back yet. For this reason, talk to her, tell her what is happening, where you are going, and when you will be back. Wave goodbye and eventually she’ll associate going away with coming back.[ii]

Keep her life stable and help her through this period of insecurity and uncertainly. Have a regular routine, feed her healthy food and encourage good day and night sleep patterns. Stay calm yourself knowing this time will pass.

Bub can also experience separation anxiety at bedtime, as this is a period of long separation. Avoid cry-it-out strategies to encourage sleep during these times as this will only cause more distress. ‘Putting them to Sleep[iii] eBook has alternative bedtime strategies for you to try. Again, temperament and the family environment are factors that interfere with her ability to manage separating, leaving her to cling for longer.

While separation anxiety can prove difficult for you and your child, try to accept that it’s a normal stage of brain maturity and infant development, and remain patient, encouraging and reassuring. Be sensitive to individual temperament and needs.

Push away or hold on tight

Try not to push her away too soon or hold on too tight for too long, as this can hinder the developmental process of independence and self-assurance. Avoid comparing your baby with others of the same age as every child and every environment is different and as always seek professional help if you feel that separation is an ongoing problem.

References:

[i] Peterson, 2004 referred to in (Burton, 2011, Psychology)

[ii] http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=141&id=1848

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This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

Co-sleeping with Your Baby

By Jan Murray

In many cultures it is normal practice for parents’ to co-sleep and bed share with their children. However, for families in western cultures such as Australia the act of co-sleeping and bed sharing with babies can be a complex issue, which often leads to controversial discussions. Forming close bonds of attachment doesn’t just happen in bed; there are many other factors involved. In the early years connecting with your baby is more about fulfilling his individual needs that are based on genetics and the environment in which he lives.

It’s true that co-sleeping brings comfort and sleep to many babies and their parents. Sleeping close can increase baby-parent connections, improve breast milk supply, and make breastfeeding easier. However, it doesn’t work like that for all babies and all parents. In fact, some babies are happier and more settled sleeping in their own space. Babies may be active, noisy sleepers that keep their parents awake.

In recent years co-sleeping and bed sharing have become a contemporary parenting practice. For families who have one parent working away for weeks at a time or where both parents work away from home for long hours, co-sleeping may be the best chance your baby has for spending time with his busy parents. Babies have developmental needs and busy parents often need to be creative with how to meet those needs.

If you do choose to co-sleep with your baby, follow safe sleeping guidelines and relax and enjoy the experience. Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUDI) of which Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is included has been linked to co-sleeping but it is not usually a cause unless safe sleeping practices have not been followed. Research findings show some babies are more vulnerable to SIDS than others. Therefore, following safe sleeping practices is a wise decision in case your baby is one of the vulnerable ones.

When co-sleeping, avoid the risk of your baby suffocating. Share a hard bed surface such as the floor or a firm mattress and avoid soft surfaces such as a mattress with a soft woollen underlay, waterbed, sofa, lounge or beanbag. Don’t risk sleeping with your baby if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if you are obese. Sleep your baby on the outside edge of the bed rather than between you and your partner as when he is snuggled between you his head can easily be covered by blankets or he can overheat. Avoid using heavy doonas and quilts. Instead, use breathable cotton blankets just as you would if he were in his own cot. Unfortunately, being at the edge of the bed increases the risk of injuries from falling out of bed. Use a bed-rail and avoid pushing the bed up against the wall as babies have suffocated after becoming wedged between the mattress and wall. A ‘bedside attachment’ or ‘snuggle bed’ are great options for a safe sleeping space within the parental bed. There is an increased risk of SIDS in babies born premature, small for gestational age or that are less than four months old. Therefore, in these circumstances it is best to avoid co-sleeping.

Despite the talk of co-sleeping increasing the risk of SIDS, it has also been found to reduce the risk of SIDS. When mum and bub snuggle close together they become more in tune with each others breathing patterns.

Sleeping apart is considered a separating experience and for some babies this can be very difficult. Genetic factors, temperament, and environmental issues may increase your baby’s anxiety levels, making the thought of sleeping separately stressful. Co-sleeping in this situation can provide much needed calming relief to a baby during the early years of development.

When following safe sleeping guidelines, co-sleeping is only a problem if it is a problem for you or your baby. If sleeping close in the early years works for your family delight in the experience of sharing a bed surface together. But if it doesn’t work for you or your bub enjoy the fact that you both have your own space to enjoy sleeping in. But because sleep is vitally important for everyone it is recommended that you seek professional help if neither sleeping option encourages sleep.

This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. Jan publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.

References:

http://www.epjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/ep05102183.pdf

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/sleep-problems/co-sleeping-yes-no-sometimes