There’s a New Baby in Town… How to Cope with a Jealous Toddler

Posted 05-7-2015 at 06:08 PM by Ellen

Congratulations on the new addition to the family! Having a baby is exciting, even though it can be challenging when you have a toddler who has become used to being the “baby” in the family and doesn’t quite know what his or her place is now. There are ways to cope with the situation in a positive way so that your toddler can develop a good relationship with the new baby.

Children between the ages of 18 months and three years will likely have the most difficult time with the transition to having a younger sibling. They are still quite dependent on their mothers and younger children likely won’t be able to express their feelings about the new baby or remember a little brother or sister coming into the home. Children older than three will have other interests other than the baby to keep them occupied, so the arrival of the baby will be less of a major event in their lives.

Your Toddler’s Feelings are Normal
Keep in mind that your toddler’s feelings about the new baby coming into your home are normal. Up until you became pregnant, he or she was the baby and your household ran in a particular way. Your child knew and understood how things worked.

Even if you explained that a baby was coming – even pointing to your tummy as your pregnancy advanced, there is a limit to what your child could understand about what would become a permanent situation. He or she could not possibly understand that there would be times when you would be distracted or have to deal with the baby’s needs first. For a toddler, that not the easiest situation to deal with.

Rather than telling your child that his or her feelings are bad or wrong, a better approach is to be prepared for them and try to redirect them in a more positive direction. You can start even before the baby arrives.

Give your toddler advance notice
Let your other child or children know about the new baby at the same time as you tell your family members and friends that you are expecting.

• Explain that all babies start very small and then grow big enough to live outside of their mother’s tummies. Your toddler did the exact same thing. Find a book you can read together about a new baby arriving.

• Encourage your toddler to feel the baby kicking and let him or her talk to the baby as your pregnancy progresses.

• Talk to your toddler about what will happen when the baby is born. If you will be going to the hospital for a few days, then let him or her know about alternate care arrangements. Let your toddler come visit you and your newborn in the hospital.

Let your toddler “help” with the baby
Take your cue from your toddler and if he or she seems interested in helping with caring for the baby, find some small jobs that he or she can help with. Let your child hand you a diaper or a wipe or help you choose between two different colored outfits.

Make time for your toddler
Despite your best efforts and preparations, your toddler may feel a bit left out after your new baby comes home. This is entirely normal, so make sure to spend some “special” time with big brother or sister.

• Set aside time when you are feeding the baby to read a story to your toddler. You can watch a video together during these times as well.

• Plan to spend some time with your toddler when the baby is asleep by doing something together. Draw or color a picture, play a game of your child’s choice, or build something with blocks.

• Ask your partner to look after the baby every now and then so that you can have some time alone with your toddler. This will drive home the message that he or she is important and deserving of your undivided attention.

• Even the best-behaved toddlers may have times when they may lash out at a younger sibling. If something happens, encourage your child to share his or her feelings but reinforce that the behavior is not acceptable. Try not to leave a toddler alone with a baby to minimize the likelihood of one of these incidents.

No matter what, it will take time for your toddler to become used to this major change in the status quo. Be present, be patient and love your older child unconditionally – your toddler will pass it on to his little brother or sister.

Diaper Swapers

Milestones: How to Know When Your Child is Ready

Posted 05-7-2015 at 05:57 PM by Ellen

Childhood milestones. Some, such as crawling, walking and talking are pretty much up to the child, while the parent is in wait-and-see mode. Once the kid is talking though, that’s when things can get interesting. Deciding when a child is old enough to take on a new responsibility or task isn’t easy. There is no single definitive answer. Choosing when to let your child cross the street by himself, walk home from school by herself or stay home alone while you go out to dinner depends on several factors:

• Maturity of the child – some kids are “old souls” and just seem to get things at an early age. Other children might need more time to mature before being allowed to take on certain tasks. No two 10-year-olds are alike; just because your cousin’s kids don’t need a babysitter, does not mean yours don’t either, or vice versa.
• Siblings – the oldest sibling often matures faster than their younger siblings. Only children can mature faster or slower than their peers, depending on parental influence and other circumstances.

The point is, there is no magic age when your child is ready to reach a new milestone. But, there are some rules of thumb to follow when you want to determine if your child is ready to declare a bit of independence.

Walking home from school
This depends on the distance from your home to the school, the number of other students who make the trek and other issues such as availability of sidewalks, crosswalks and whether or not crossing the street is involved. For short distances, many children as young as seven or eight can walk home without parental supervision.

For example, if the school is on the same side of the street and is less than three blocks from home, most eight-year-olds can handle this. It is important that your child understands that he or she is to come straight home, to never talk to strangers or approach strange cars and knows what to do if approached by a stranger. For added peace of mind, talk to your neighbors and ask if they can keep an eye out for your child as she makes her way home.

Crossing the street
To reach this milestone, a child has to understand how to safely cross the street, so make sure to make several practice runs with your child. Eight to nine year-olds generally grasp the concept of looking both ways and only crossing at corners and crosswalks when available.

Staying at home unsupervised
Many of us were part of the “latch-key” kid generation of the 80s and 90s – so for us this might seem like a rite of passage. We wore our house keys around our necks, came home, unlocked the door to the empty house, got our approved snack and either watched cartoon or did our homework until mom, dad or an older sibling got home. Sadly though, times have changed and though an eight-year-old might have done this back in the 80s, now it’s mainly kids who are 10 and older.

Playing in the yard unsupervised
As a general rule, if a child is playing alone outside, he should be supervised – especially if playing in the front yard without a fence. Children playing in the back yard alone in a fenced yard with a lockable gate can safely do so around the age of five. If there’s a group of children and at least one is over the age of 10, the kids can usually play outside unsupervised.

As stated before, there really is no hard and fast rule as to when a child is ready to cross a threshold on his or her own. The best thing you can do as a parent is get to know your child – and as the milestones arrive, decide if it is the right time for your child to reach for it.

Dealing With Infant Congestion

Posted 04-24-2015 at 05:15 PM by Matrivine

sick baby

Infant congestion is difficult to get through for both baby and parent. There isn’t really an over the counter medicine that a baby can take. There are a few things we can do as parent, however, to ensure that our little ones get through this mucus filled time.

Humidity

Often the phlegm rattling sound of a congested baby breathing is just the sound of air flowing over dried mucus in the nose and throat. Using a humidifier helps hydrate those dry boogers which also helps the body expel them.

If you don’t have a humidifier for your little one’s room you can help your little one breath easier by turning the bathroom into a humidity room. Turn on the shower using only hot water and spend some time in the bathroom with your little one.

Building Trust In Toddlers

Posted 04-14-2015 at 02:30 PM by Matrivine

traveling with toddler

A child’s early years are the years they learn about relationships. They mimic the family members they love as if to say, “Hey, I’m like you! I belong here too!”

Nothing will cause a melt down faster than a perceived threat to those relationships. That’s because these little ones are also learning to trust. They need to know family members will be there for them. They need to know that there is stability in their world. The lessons they learn about trust can and often do follow them through growing up and into their adult years.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

It’s important not to ignore your child’s night time fears. When they sound off in the middle of the night, afraid of the shadow their teddy bear made on the wall, it’s important to go in and let them know (sometimes for the hundredth time) that there is a logical explanation for the shadow and there is nothing to fear. Give them the option of having the hall light on and leaving the door open. Let them know you will be there to help them through there night time concerns.

Same Family, Different Rules

Posted 03-26-2015 at 04:40 PM by Matrivine

Haters

When you live in the same area as your huge family the idea that there is a family way of raising children can rear its ugly head. The idea that certain behaviors are okay as long as it’s among cousins or that you need to back down on discipline because other family members would do things differently become holiday dinner topics. Here are a few ways to tell your family to butt out of your child rearing without using those exact words.

Keep A Copy Of The Rules

Your family has rules. Perhaps not a lot of rules, but they are definitely set in place. So are the consequences. Both are publicly displayed on the wall or on a chart you carry in your purse. These are rules that both you and your spouse agree on in raising your children. That’s exactly what you tell Auntie or Grandma when your child acts up and they come rushing to correct your way of dealing with your child. It does not matter if they believe you need to be more flexible or if they think you need to be stricter. What matters is the consistency of consequence to action for your child.

With My Child…

The Confident Toddler

Posted 03-6-2015 at 09:06 PM by Matrivine

mother and toddler

No one wants their child to grow up feeling insecure. We want them to feel like they own the world. Confident children are more likely to create and use opportunities available to them. So, how do we build confidence in toddlers?

Example

How do I feel about myself? Well, it seems that no matter how much I exercise or how healthy I eat I haven’t lost weight. I should wear makeup more often. I am not a fan of my skin and I hate my nose.

Imagine how surprised my two year old would be if I told him all that. To him I’m beautiful. I know because he tells me daily. Now imagine how he would feel if I told him everything wrong with me. Best case scenario he would feel mommy is sad and try to comfort me.

Worst case scenario is a much darker road to go down. The person he thinks is beautiful and perfect as she is has flaws. These flaws, she says, makes her not pretty. How many flaws does he have? What does he need to change about himself to be cute? Did he get mommy’s nose? Mommy is always saying she hopes he didn’t get her nose! What if he did?

The Bedtime Blues

Posted 03-5-2015 at 06:18 PM by Matrivine

Two Kids

Woe to the mother that tries to put young children to bed. This is particularly true of mothers putting multiple young children to bed. How do you keep them from ganging up on you? How do you keep them in bed? Here are a few tips.

Ritual

Each child should have their own bedtime ritual. This means they have their own special songs, special blanket, and special stuffed animal. Have a spoken checklist of before bed activities. This could include prayers, turning on the night light, and getting a drink of water. Let each child know they are loved and safe. After the ritual of bedtime give them a kiss goodnight and walk out of the room.

Two In A Room

When children are young they often share a room. This means double the trouble at bedtime. They seem to have a tendency to feed off of each other in bedtime defiance. The trick to turn this pair into dueling snorers it by separating them as best you can.

Helping Little Ones Meet Milestones

Posted 03-4-2015 at 06:06 PM by Matrivine

Reading to children as a family

Our children meeting developmental milestones is a big concern for many parents. We notice other people’s children progressing at a faster or slower rate and often judge how our children should be progressing based on that. We know that each child progresses differently. Some are advanced in motor skills. Others have excelled in language skills. We often see in other children the skills that we worry about our child doesn’t seem focused on.

Wellness Visits

The best way to know for us to know if our children are progress developmentally is to keep up with the wellness visits with our pediatrician. These visits help measure the mental growth our toddlers are experiencing. It’s nice to hear a pediatrician tell us that our worries are unfounded. Sometimes, however, worries aren’t unfounded and need to be addressed quickly with tools such as speech therapy or a hearing test.

During the visit our pediatrician usually gives us a sheet with all the upcoming milestone in our little one’s life. It give us the opportunity to work with our children with a goal in sight.

Toddler Snack Tray Ideas

Posted 02-18-2015 at 03:56 PM by Banana Cat

Toddler Snacks Featured

I mean, not to brag or anything, but my daughter used to eat everything.

And do I mean EVERYTHING. Pickles? Steak? Mango? Yes. She’d eat half a bag of steamed green beans for dinner. Her favorite food for the longest time was pickled ginger, something that even me with my Asian taste buds could only eat in tiny bites, but she scarfed it down by the spoonful. I was super proud of my amazing kid. Chicken nuggets and French fries never saw the inside of our kitchen.

And then one day—she didn’t eat everything. It was like the universe knew how smug I secretly felt about my Kid Who Ate Everything, and overnight turned her into the pickiest eater on earth. Mealtimes started becoming battles, and I didn’t want to be battling with my toddler over food.

Enter: The snack tray.

Preparing Kitty For A New Baby

Posted 02-13-2015 at 04:34 PM by Banana Cat

cat2

Everyone who has pets before having children may find themselves getting nervous as the day they need to introduce their pet to their new baby grows closer. The good news is that cats and babies can absolutely get along, even if your cat is suddenly angry to find out he or she is no longer the center of your world. There isn’t a way to sit down and tell your cat, “Look, soon, a tiny, screaming primate will move into your territory and it will be unlike anything either of us has ever experienced before,” but making a few preparations beforehand can hopefully smooth the transition for everyone.