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Archive for Toddler

Ten Tips for When the Next Baby Comes Along

By Jan Murray

If you have recently had baby number two and things are getting a little tense between you and your toddler put yourself in their shoes for a moment…

You are the center of attention and all your needs have been met at the time you usually demanded them.

Cuddles when you need them, sitting on a knee to have stories anytime and food as requested, then all of a sudden your mummy goes away for a few days and life just isn’t the same. She brings back a little bundle that cries night and day and demands her instant attention.

Your mummy seems tired and she doesn’t spend time with you like she used to. She gets cranky at things that normally didn’t matter and you have to try really hard to get her to notice you and give you the attention you were used to.

This can be a difficult time for all the family but there are a few things that can be done to help this situation be less stressful. These include:

  • Try to avoid making any changes in your toddler’s life either two months before or two months after a new baby arrives. This could include things like toilet training, changing into a bed, starting day care and moving house.
  • Introduce your toddler to visitors as the big brother or sister not the baby as their little baby. This makes your toddler feel important.
  • Use a toddler feeding bag. This is a small collection of your toddler’s popular food choices (not junk), favourite books that they can look at alone or with you, puzzles that are age appropriate, a new toy from the baby, easy to use drink bottle of water and a short dance or music DVD. Have all these items in an easy to open bag or box that your toddler brings out only at baby’s feed time, then puts it away when feed time is finished.
  • Have your toddler fetch and carry things for you; it makes him feel important and a valuable member of the family team.
  • Don’t push your toddler away from being with you and the baby. Instead, help him to be involved and show him the behaviour that you expect. Just telling your toddler to be gentle and not poke the baby’s eyes will not be enough. Show him how and where is acceptable to touch the baby such as stroking her head or feet.
  • Read books together about families.
  • Give your toddler attention when the baby is up not only when she is asleep.
  • Keep your toddler’s life as routine as it was before the baby was born. If you don’t have a routine, it will be a good time for you to establish one.  Routines eBook has routines for babies and toddlers.
  • Give extra cuddles and make eye contact down at your toddler’s level as much as possible.
  • Understand that your toddler’s world has changed and for a while he may regress for a short time with more night waking, toilet accidents (if previously toilet trained), and food refusal. Hang in there and keep your cool while encouraging acceptable behaviour, it will pass.
  • COVERS_3D_BEINGATODDLER__50844_zoomThis 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.

 

Moving your Toddler from a Cot to a Bed

By Jan Murray

You can help your toddler make the transition from a cot to a bed when you are ready and/or your toddler shows signs that he is ready.

You may find this transition easiest to manage after he turns two years old. However, some toddlers are ready earlier than this though.

Below are some signs that indicate that it is time for your toddler to move out of the cot:

  • climbcotClimbs or falls head first out of the cot
  • Thrashes around in the cot and appears unable to get comfortable
  • Asks for a “big bed”
  • When she is toilet trained by day and then starts to call out at night to use the toilet
  • A new baby is on it’s way and the cot will be needed. Make sure this transition happens 2 months before the new arrival.

Suggestions that can help your toddler move out of a cot and into a big bed

  • Make the changes when there are no other big changes happening in his life
  • If another baby is on the way, make the changes at least two months before or after the arrival
  • Your toddler or older child may like to help you chose the sheets
  • Idea One: Take away the cot surrounds and place the cot mattress on the floor in the same spot for a few days or a week before changing into the bed
  • Idea Two: Bring the big bed into the same room as the cot, leaving the cot assembled and start day naps and reading books on the new bed for a week before sleeping in it
  • Have a calm and comforting pre bedtime ritual established well before making the transition
  • Have some of the prebedtime ritual on the big bed such as reading and chatting
  • Tuck your toddler in and ensure he knows you expect him to stay in bed
  • If he gets out of bed, take his hand and walk him back to bed calmly and confidently, with no eye contact or conversation. Continue walking him back in this manner until he stays there. Do this consistently for three weeks before a new habit is established.

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.

Spring is in the Air

By Guest blogger Kylie Lannan

walking

Spring has arrived and with it comes some terrific opportunities for your child’s development as well as expanding their experience of the outdoors.

It is my favorite time of year here in Brisbane. It is a great time to get out and about; exploring parks, beaches and many places in between. However, often with this outdoor fun come some hazards that we as parents must be diligent about. In particular we must be constantly alert near water around the home and in public places. Babies and young children are inquisitive by nature and this can put them in danger or result in a tragic accident.

On the flip side I feel that this need for alert puts fear in parents, which at times drives us to be overprotective of our children. How expectations on parents have changed when comparing to the way my parents allowed me to play and explore as a young child. I remember playing with friends down at the local creek, going to visit the horses in a local orchard and playing hide and seek around the neighborhood. Very different to suburban living in 2014 where there are so many more dangers both real and perceived. It is such a balancing act for parents today to find that middle ground which allows their children to explore and keep them safe at the same time.

Spring also means children’s tender skin is exposed to the harsh Australian sun. On one hand we need sunlight for good health however sunburn is painful and harmful to children’s delicate skin. Research has linked childhood sun exposure to developing skin cancer later in life so precautions must be taken to minimize skin exposure. A safe environment requires that parents be diligent and to follow the Cancer Council of Australia’s message of “Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.” Hat, sunscreen, shirt, shade and slide on sunglasses are the actions we need to take to protect our skin from the harsh sun.

An enormous amount of development both physical and emotional occurs when children can “run free” outside. By allowing children to play independently allows them to take safe risks. Children need to be allowed and in fact encouraged to take educated or safe risks such as climbing a tree. It is important for their development and confidence however it does go against a parent’s instinct to protect their child. As long as children are taking these risks in a safe environment they will feel well supported if it doesn’t work out. It will help them get back up and have another go but of course it usually means there will be some scrapes along the way. By always helping and protecting our children we are inhibiting their ability to gaining resilience. This is what helps all of us get up and have another go when things don’t work out the first time. This is a vital life skill that we all need.

The outdoors can be an overwhelming place for some children and they may need the help of parents to navigate their way. However try not to “do” for them just guide them; let them climb trees, jump from rocks or dig in the dirt. It is all part of their learning and developing. Have fun with them and enjoy being outdoors this spring.

Happy Parenting

Kylie (Settle Petal consultant – Brisbane)

This article was endorsed 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.

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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.

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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.

How to Get Your Toddler to Drive You Crazy?

There are FIVE key parenting skills that I have found will produce a toddler who will drive you crazy. If you are the parent of an enthusiastic toddler and you haven’t worked out what these are yet, read on.

There are habits and daily practices that aggravate a toddler’s behaviour and ones that will calm. I will share with you five sure ways to encourage a tantrum throwing, stubborn and argumentative toddler who generally sleeps poorly. Many toddlers are already like this but in case you feel like you are missing out on the excitement here is what you can do:

1. Let your toddler dictate when they eat and sleep every day.

Toddlers have bounds of energy and are keen to investigate how objects work and how adults and children react to things that they do. Have you noticed a toddler doing something, then immediately turns to see what reaction they created? With this behaviour they haven’t got time or they forget about eating and they certainly can’t spare the time to sleep. Your toddler’s on off switch malfunctions as you go about your daily business. Toddlers are forced to eat and sleep when their bodies won’t allow them to go on any further. A poorly balanced and fluctuating metabolism is a great way to encourage tantrums and argumentative behaviour.

Do you need a routine? ‘Suggested Daily Routines‘ eBook

2. Let your toddler graze on as much packaged and processed foods laced with additives and refined sugar as possible.

Allow your toddler free range of the fridge and pantry. Make sure it is stacked with packaged and convenience foods. After all, these foods are much easier and quicker to prepare, pack for outings and they keep fresher for longer which saves you time going out food shopping. Allowing them to graze constantly reduces the mess at meal times because they are generally not hungry. However, a diet like this means they will probably be constipated or could even be the opposite with diarrhoea depending on how well they tolerate the sugar content.

3. Have minimal outside play and let your toddler watch TV while you are busy doing what you need and want to do for a lot of the day.

Toddlers learn by exposure to things they can see, touch, feel, smell, taste and hear and television certainly offers two of those senses. Back yards are often too much work to look after and it is much easier to keep your toddler clean when they watch television. They can just snack while they sit mesmerized at the screen which means at least they eat. This way you can avoid the mess and fussiness at mealtimes. After all the conversation around the family meal table is rapidly being replaced by the input of television shows when they get older anyway.

4. Fill your toddler’s day with lots of outings, car trips and stroller rides leaving them little time to explore the world and all it has to offer at their pace.

Keeping your toddler busy with lots of outings is a great way to avoid messing up the house with toys. Confining them in strollers and car seats keeps them under control. This way there is no chance of having them run off and get into any mischief.

5. At the end of the day let your toddler dose on the lounge in front of the television while you prepare dinner.

Give them a main meal of meat and vegetables and fruit or ice cream for dessert about 7pm when you have yours. When they refuse to eat much allow them to get down and go back to the television until they decide they want to go to bed about 10pm. This ensures a reduced amount of sleep every night which ultimately leaves them chronically tired. You hope by putting them to bed at this later hour will allow them to wake later in the morning.

Would you like to know more about living on ‘Planet Toddler’?

Naturally, like most things, there are acceptations to everything but generally speaking you can be assured of an exhilarating, frenetic and exhausting ride of life with your toddler by doing these things that I have suggested.

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. For more online resources visit http://www.settlepetal.com

Worms and Worming – Australian Children

No socio-economic group is immune to intestinal worm and parasite infestations. Children still get worms even if they bathe daily. There is no point blaming the day care centre or the crèche at the gym for poor cleaning practices. Children get worms and it is thought to effect 1:5 children between 2 and 10 years old at some time. Many children have worms and are unaware of their residence before they clear themselves without treatment.

Worldwide the most common worm is the roundworm but the threadworm (also known as pinworm) is the most common intestinal worm found in Australian children. More rare varieties are the tapeworm found in sheep farming areas, hookworm and whipworm. Ringworm is not an intestinal parasite but a relatively common and contagious fungal skin infection.

Threadworms live in the human digestive tract and are seen in poo. They are ivory in colour and 2 -13 mm long. The female adult worm crawls out the anus to lay eggs and dies when her duty is done. The cycle would end here if eggs hatched and young worms died before entering the human digestive system, however, eggs can live for days and even weeks in favourable conditions on toilet seats, baths, benches, bed sheets, pyjamas, under fingernails and eating utensils. They are ingested when contaminated fingers enter the mouth. They hatch in the small intestine and travel down the bowel as they mature and the cycle continues.

Signs and symptoms of threadworms include itchy bottom (when worms are crawling around the anus), visible worms in poo or around the anal area (seen at night using a torch or first thing in the morning) restless sleep, teeth grinding, hyperactivity, irritability, bedwetting (irritated urethra), stomach aches, nausea and vomiting. Childhood habits like itching bottoms and putting fingers in mouths, sucking thumbs and chewing fingernails and toys, playing in dirt and sandpits, sharing lunch tables and benches and generally playing close to other children make it easy to spread eggs no matter how often hands are washed. Day Care environments are ideal for rapid spreading of worms as children play, eat and toilet in close proximity.

Thankfully, treatment is an easy over the counter medication that is taken once. ‘Merbendozole’ and ‘Pyrantel’ are the active ingredients that either kill or paralysis and purge the adult worms. A second dose may be required after two weeks if new eggs hatch. ‘Pyrantel’ can be used for 1 year olds but most treatments are for 2 year olds and above. If heavy infestations are left untreated it can lead to urinary tract infections, weight loss and other infections. Treat the whole family at the same time and wash the family dog to prevent reinfestation. Dogs cannot pass on threadworms to humans unless their fur had been contaminated by eggs from someone patting them. Prevent reinfestation with good personal and family hygiene – regularly cleaning toilet seats, baths and benches, regularly washing children’s bed linen, pyjamas and undies, encouraging effective hand washing after play, before meals and after toileting, keeping fingernails short and discouraging thumb sucking and nail biting.

Roundworms are not passed on from human to human but are picked up from contaminated soil, food and water. Commonly found in densely populated underdeveloped countries with inefficient sanitary methods of disposing of human waste.

Signs and symptoms of round worm infestation include bloody diarrhoea, upper abdominal discomfort, visible worms in poo, nose or mouth. In severe cases worms travel to lungs and other organs causing wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.

Treatment is over the counter ‘merbendozole’ and ‘pyrantel’ preparations but if symptoms are severe or you have been travelling to underdeveloped countries professional advice is recommended.

Being a 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. For more online resources visit http://www.settlepetal.com