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Reflect on Your Parenting

This will touch you heart, especially if you have been short with your toddlers or preschoolers 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.

Do you Know First Aid?

Jan Murray

I can recall in ONE DAY I had to administer first aid to three boys at my home – they were friends over playing with my children.

Two boys (one of them mine) stepped on a rusty nail that was lying face up in a piece of
wooden paling in the back yard (should have been cleared away but wasn’t) and one split his head when he fell off the bike and hit his head on the side of the rock wall. He had a helmet on but it doesn’t protect the forehead from a jutting out stone!

Most parents will face the responsibility of administering first aid
at some point to their own or to children who are visiting.

Gaining a first aid certificate or first aid skills will give you the calmness and confidence
you need to act quickly.

First aid prevents an injury or situation becoming worse.

It is reassuring for you to know how to act quickly in situations such as:
– Choking (partially or completely)
– Bites by a spider, bee, snake, tick or wasp
– Febrile convulsion
– Near drowning incident (more common than you would like to know and mostly in backyard pools)
– Falls and breaks a limb
– Burns with steam, flame, sun or chemicals (ingested or superficially to the skin).

First Aid courses available around Australia

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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.

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.

Mum, Baby & Toddler Interview

Listen to a 10 minute radio interview with Jan Murray and Stu Taylor; well known radio host in the USA.

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Photo supplied by www.venitawilsonphotography.com

Jan talks to Stu about babies and toddlers. What Jan shares gives you an idea of her knowledge and background on the controversial topic of parenting young children.

Listen to the INTERVIEW HERE

Points covered in the interview:

  • sleep
  • weight gain
  • routines
  • temperament
  • routines.

BUY Mum, Baby & Toddler online

mumBabyToddler

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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.

A ‘Helicopter Parent’ Hovers – is it Healthy?

By Jan Murray

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Your baby (or babies) begin life totally dependent on you for their physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

As babies grow, feeling a sense of belonging and being able to attach to other children and adults is significant in them becoming successful, socially appropriate and secure adults. It is important for parents to be mindful not to smother their children with too much attention, which can inhibit natural self reliant development.

A self-assured independent child or a child who feels entitled to preferential treatment (self-entitled) is made not born.

Parental support is gradually eased off as babies grow and develop. This allows for the natural progression of self reliance and independence. The term ‘helicopter parent’ is a buzz phrase used to describe parents that hover constantly or who are “physically hyper-present but somehow psychologically M.I.A.” In this situation parents are not allowing their babies or children enough space to develop emotional self-regulation.

Even if your child is an only child that receives a lot of attention, it can be healthy attention, which is calm, supportive and encouraging.

Play is how children learn about life and how and where they fit in. Allow children space for open ended play, leaving room to observe, mimic, try and keep trying. Providing such an environment reduces the chance of children always looking to adults for help as they grow up in an imperfect world. It helps them develop imagination and the ability to solve problems on their own which adds to their self esteem.

My book Mum, Baby & Toddler available here

mumBabyToddler

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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.

^ Warner, Judith (July 27, 2012). “How to Raise a Child”. The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved July 31, 2012.

Summer with a Newborn

By Jan Murray

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The Australian summer can bring extremely hot weather that lasts for months. The heat can be humid with rain or dry with wind and no rain. Whatever kind of summer you experience the effects of hot temperatures can be stressful for you and dangerous for newborns. Keeping cool yourself helps babies feel relaxed and comfortable; try cooling down with frequent quick showers and regular cold drinks.

Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature like adults do, which leaves them at risk of overheating and dehydrating. Babies can become too hot internally when lost liquids are not adequately replaced. Newborns lose fluids regularly from weeing, pooing, vomiting and perspiring and the lack of liquid causes little bodies to dehydrate and overheat. When dehydration is severe the risk of heatstroke and SIDS is increased. Keep an eye on the bottom end. Newborns need to have at least six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period—less than six is an indication that babies are becoming dry. Newborns may poo after every feed or only every few days or so. Poo should not be hard pebbles as this is constipation and a sign of not enough fluid. Offer babies extra liquid at regular intervals during the day. Either extra short breast feeds or if using infant formula give cooled boiled water between milk feeds.

Humid, hot, and airless environments cause fungal infections to thrive. Keep a check on places such as the nappy area, under baby’s chin, between creases and folds, as well as your nipple area. You can reduce the risk of thrush developing by regularly exposing these areas to air and keeping them clean and dry; if you are breastfeeding, eating yoghurt and reducing your yeast and sugar intake can also help. When reddened areas won’t go away with these measures seek professional advice.

Skin-to-skin contact is important for newborn development but it can make you both hot and sticky. When breast feeding on steamy days, if you place a wet cloth under your arm or around the back of your neck, and a small cotton cloth between you and your baby it can make feeding a little more comfortable.

Water is cooling. Ensure babies have a sponge down with a wet cloth, bath or shower at least daily. Wet your hand or a washer with lukewarm water and regularly wipe over bubs head on really hot days. If infant skin is dry, add a little natural oil to the bath water or moisturise the skin after a bath.

While feeling hot can make anyone irritable, the heat can also make it particularly difficult for newborns to settle and go to sleep. But don’t worry, there are some things that you can do to help keep them cool. Increase airflow in the cot by using a firm cotton mattress and remove any waterproof protectors, as these hold in heat. Spread a towel over the mattress under the sheet to absorb perspiration and be sure to remove any unnecessary bedding, toys and bumpers from the cot. Use natural cotton or bamboo fabric for clothes and bedding as synthetic materials trap heat and can cause babies to overheat.

For additional cooling, if you don’t have the luxury of air-conditioning, drape wet towels and a dish of water in front of an oscillating fan. Dress babies in only a nappy and light cotton wrap to sleep. When regulating an air-conditioner, take into account their fat layers, prematurity and general health, and set temperature to around 24°C. At this heat, babies would need a loose sleep-suit and swaddling wrap and perhaps another cotton blanket over the top. If bub is too hot his head will be sweaty as this is where newborns loose heat. Because babies loose heat from the head, place their feet at the end of the cot, which allows air flow around the head—this is also in line with SIDS safe sleeping recommendations.

If your house is hot, escape in an air-conditioned car or to an air-conditioned shopping centre or library for a break. When going for a walk, avoid going between 10am and 3pm as this is when the sun is most harmful. Avoid having babies in a stroller for too long as these tend to be hot and airless. This also applies to the car restraint when the car is stopped. These contraptions can heat up very quickly and cause body temperatures to rapidly rise, which can put babies at risk of a febrile convulsion. It is also important to use UV protectors on windows and over strollers to stop the sun’s strong rays from burning delicate skin.

Enjoy summertime with your newborn but remain alert to the hazards of heat. Seek professional help if your baby has less than six wet nappies in a twenty-four hour period, has dark circles under dry eyes, hot dry skin, sunken fontanels (soft spot on his head) a dry mouth and tongue or is floppy and difficult to arouse.

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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.

Toddler Tantrum

By Jan Murray

Your toddler has boundless energy and keeps challenging whoever is around until she gets the result she wants. If she never gets it she will stop trying and eventually move onto something else – she learnt the boundary. If you give in, even once, your toddler will keep going until you break again.

Your toddler has a very strong desire to get things right. When she is unable to get things to go her way, she gets very frustrated and acts out what toddlers are famous for — tantrums. Depending upon her temperament, she may experience regular tantrums, whereas others have them occasionally. A similar behaviour is also evident in babies just before a physical milestone such as crawling. This frustration helps to propel them forward to achieve.

tantrum

Tantrums are a physical outburst of the frustration felt by your toddler when things aren’t going the way she would like them to. Common tantrum behaviours exhibited by yours or other toddlers include:

  • Stamping the feet
  • Screaming and yelling
  • Kicking
  • Squealing
  • Throwing herself to the floor
  • Head banging on the floor or a wall
  • Holding her breath until she passes out (now there’s a fun one)
  • Biting
  • Deliberately not eating
  • Holding on to poo.

It is important to recognise that a tantrum is normal behaviour in your toddler’s development. Tantrums can be of two types – manipulative tantrums and frustration tantrums.

Manipulative Tantrums arise out of desires. Your toddler may use manipulative tantrums to get things done her way such as to force you to buy a toy or a lolly. It is best to ignore and walk away from this type of tantrum.

Frustration Tantrums arise because of their inability to express an emotion. Sometimes your toddler’s mental and motor skills have progressed more quickly than her ability to communicate. Not being able to express herself enough for you to understand what she wants to do or get done, leads to a frustration tantrum. Don’t ignore this tantrum but help her work whatever it is out.

It is important to help your toddler understand and learn what is acceptable behaviour and what is not (some adults have never learnt this). A tantrum indicates that your toddler is gaining a healthy sense of identity and independence. Your response to a tantrum is therefore significant for what your toddler learns about controlling emotions and making acceptable choices. Eventually, she will learn self-control and constructive willpower. By managing tantrum behaviour in a positive way you will help her come out the other end at three years old having learnt valuable character traits.

What you can do to survive these challenging years:

  • Set sensible expectations and limits of behaviour and BE CONSISTENT when enforcing them as your toddler quickly learns you mean what you say if you follow through but are confused when you don’t.
  • It is important that both parents discuss and set the same boundaries to enforce.
  • When going on outings, explain to your toddler in simple terms where you are going and what behaviour you expect from her. Your toddler likes to know what is happening and what is expected. Keep expectations positive, not negative. For example, we walk when we are inside Jane’s house rather than we don’t run in Jane’s house. Saying it this way helps the brain to program pictures better.
  • Help your toddler understand what she can do to help herself feel better, such as, when I feel sad I look at a colourful book to help me feel better. Then do it with her so she can experience how it helps them feel better
  • Try to avoid situations that are likely to result in a tantrum. For example, if your toddler is tired and hungry, that is not the time to take her shopping
  • When a tantrum does occur, respond to it immediately and don’t bring it up again later or wait until daddy gets home! Forgive and move on — she will.
  • Let your toddler know that her behaviour is not acceptable, rather than she is not acceptable. For example, “biting Ava was a bad thing to do”, rather than saying, “you are a bad girl for biting Ava”.
  • Keep instructions simple and to the point.
  • If it is appropriate, ignore some of her behaviour or place her in a safe place until she calms down – avoid using the bedroom. This area needs to be a happy place not one of punishment or you will find it a battle to get her to bed at night.
  • Time out disciplines usually work best for the toddler over 2 ½ years old. Avoiding situations, distracting and moving her away works best for the younger toddler (12 months – 36 months).
  • Keep focused through this stage of development and remember you are teaching your toddler to learn about self-control, consequences of her actions and acceptable choices.
  • Give your toddler consistent messages. For example if you laugh at an action she did at home but get angry at the same action when she is out, the message she gets is inconsistent and confusing
  • Celebrate what she does right by praising her behaviour rather than concentrating on the things that she does wrong.
  • It is your tone and pitch of voice as you praise her behaviour that is just as important as the words you say.

Handling tantrums at public places:

  • Your toddler may get uncomfortable with new surroundings. If she often throws tantrums at public places like shopping malls and gives you a hard time, then it is quite possible that she may not like to be out in an unfamiliar place and around unfamiliar people.
  • Let your baby know you are there with them. Be with her all the time. Do not ignore her. Give her a hug or pick her up gently and take a stroll. This calms her down and then you may carry on with your work.
  • Be prepared to feed your toddler. Always take food and water along so that you can feed her if she feels hungry or thirsty at a public place.
  • Take your toddler away from the crowd. If your toddler is not settling down you may take her to a quiet place like a restroom or to your car and let her calm down. Once she is better, talk to her in a gentle tone – reassure her that you are around if she feels afraid.
  • Carry her favourite toys along. You may carry her favourite possessions like water bottle, sipper cup or her favorite toy to create companionship. If you find it difficult to manage so many things along with an uncomfortable toddler, take her pram. This way, you can put her to rest and tuck her belongings in the pram as well.

Read more in Mum, Baby & Toddler

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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.

Car Trip Entertainment for Kids

By Jan Murray

The combination of long hours, confined space and young children can make car trips a trying occasion. But they also give families the opportunity to bond and create memories for a lifetime. Some of the funniest stories and best memories my own grown-up children have today come from the many holiday car trips they went on as youngsters.

Today, mini-DVD players and iPods are probably number one on the list of car trip entertainment. Although they’re an easy way to keep kids entertained and ensure peace in the car, their use largely prevents parents using car trips as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds, extend sensory stimulation for growth and development and build lasting memories.

Make the trip an experience in itself: the destination is not the main event; it is just a part of it.

Prepare for your trip by visiting discount outlets and buying up appropriate toys, books, scrap book and other items. Have these in a different bag. Pack lots of healthy snacks in resealable bags with names and for drinks, fill several small bottles or pop tops with water. Avoid juice, cordial or energy drinks to avoid over-stimulation and dehydration. Pack all these in an esky and have it near to where you sit. It is helpful to set the scene before you get in the car: believe it is going to be fun, enjoy the preparations and plan your stops. Let your children know how many stops there will be.

Here is a list of ideas for trips by veteran family travellers:

  1. Plan to stop every 1 ½ hours. Pick somewhere with swings or where the kids can run around for ½ hour.
  2. Eat food going along leaving the breaks for playing and collecting items for their scrap book. Hand out drinks and real food snacks regularly. Reduce illness and challenging behaviour by making good choices.
  3. Scrap book the journey along the way (use leaves, biscuit wrappers, photos or whatever you like).
  4. Bring out a toy after each stop or when the kids are really restless.
  5. Have a car organiser or bag strapped to the back of the seat with books, pens and toys. Use a lap table.
  6. Sing-a-long to music.
  7. Spot a ‘red’ specific coloured car.
  8. Spot a ‘ute’ specific make of car.
  9. What does that cloud look like?
  10. Play When I grow up I want to be…?
  11. Listen to story CD’s with or without a read-along story (you can often borrow these from the library).
  12. Tell stories. One starts and another continues.
  13. Watch out for and spot animals.
  14. Make words and phrases from number plates (e.g. MNG “My Naughty Giraffe”).
  15. I Spy with my little eye something beginning with… (Our longest game was when our daughter had something starting with ‘W’, which turned out to be ‘R’oad!)
  16. Have your mp3 player and earphones handy loaded with your music for when things get so bad you have to retreat.

Make the experience of your trip last a lifetime.

Safe travelling and remember the car can be detailed when you get back.

Healthy food ideas here

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.