Toddlers and preschoolers react superbly to games and humor. When you have a behavioral challenge, think about whether a game would help. As an example, many kids fuss about getting dressed in the morning. Play a game to see which child can get dressed the fastest or see if your kids can beat a timer or even beat you (move slowly, Mom!). The kids will love the competition and will get dressed lickedy-split. Kids fuss about getting their hands and faces washed after meals? Start with their toes, their ears and the back of their necks and once they are giggling, tackle their messy hands and faces! Is your little one hysterical because she just bit her tongue? After establishing that she is okay, ask her to check to see if her tongue is still there. Or, if she took a fall, ask her if the floor is okay. She’ll be laughing in no time.
Archive for December, 2009
You know how there are those complicated words from high school that you never forget but have absolutely no use for? I finally have a use for two of those favorite science class terms: equilibrium and disequilibrium. I have found that raising children is defined by these cycles. A new challenge hits – like baby refusing a bottle, or a toddler having frequent tantrums over the seemingly tiniest upset, or a newly potty-trained child needing to go pee-pee 14 times a night. Everything feels askew, out of control, maddening. Problems persist if moms get lost in that feeling and start feeling hopeless. Instead, put on your problem-solving hat. Ask yourself, what is happening that might be causing or maintaining this problem? How can I try to fix it? Do we need some alteration in our routine? Would a game help? Then, pick a simple plan, put it into action for several days and see if it works. If not, institute another plan. Almost without fail, these problems (with a bit of thought) are solvable. And then, you will find yourself in a blissful period of equilibrium. Calm, peace, enjoyment. That is, until the next challenge comes! And, when that next challenge comes, simply remind yourself, “This too shall pass!”
Kids love being active. They love the backyard, the playground, the pool. They love going for walks, riding bikes, and helping with housework. The love building forts in the playroom. Strangely, they even love running up and down the stairs (my daughter can amuse herself for eons pretending to be the babysitter for all the stuffed friends that sleep in her bed). Embrace this! Keep your kids moving as much as you can. If you have a sedentary kid, sign him or her up for some sort of class that encourages movement. The more your kids move, the less likely it will be that they will develop a weight problem when used in concert with the eating strategies outlined above.
Preventing Obesity in our Kids – Calm Mom Tip #3: Sell kids on the importance of everything in moderation.Friday, December 4th, 2009
Trust me, I am not the food police. My kids eat sweets…often! But, they understand that we eat bits of sweets and bits of lots of other foods too. If sweets are forbidden, kids will go nuts when they have access to them and eat way too much. I am amazed at how often my kids will leave half a cookie or half an icecream because they are full. They aren’t in a panic to finish because they know they can have more on another day. But, here are two things we try to do.
First, we try to keep the sweets healthful. Sounds funny, right? But, it is kind of along the lines of what Michael Pollan teaches (author of “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”). If we serve icecream, it is a small bit of a premium brand in which the ingredients are milk, cream, vanilla, sugar and eggs. Looks at the ingredients on those giant grocery store brands and you’ll see the difference – your great-grandma would not recognize half of those words! And, we really watch portions. Earlier this summer, we went out for icecream a few times with our four-year old. We were amazed at the size of the child’s portions. At some places, I even asked for a smaller portion, volunteering to pay the same price and it was still huge. So, we bought some premium icecream (one small pint has lasted for weeks and has worked out way cheaper than going out for icecream several times) and some icecream cones and we started having “Mom’s Ice Cream Store” at home. It’s been an outstanding success. Our daughter loves it and I have control over the portion – I think it is about a tablespoon or two and she is completely satisfied.
One of the things that moms of toddlers and preschoolers find so stressful is that time is no longer under their control. On some mornings, kids can be “all done” with breakfast in five minutes; other days it takes forty-five. We have all had mornings when we are sprinting around the house trying to chase down a toddler to get him dressed for school. And, just wait until they learn the words, “all by myself.” Suddenly, putting on a pair of socks (which would take you 20 seconds) takes 10 minutes.
Listen up moms – there is no way to rush little kids. So, put yourself on toddler time! Allow yourself extra time, particularly when you need to be somewhere on time (like work or a doctor’s appointment) even if it means losing out on some sleep. And, keep to a schedule as best you can. Kids do better if they know the drill each day. If you have a difficult time peeling kids away from the TV in the morning, don’t turn it on in the first place. If you are tired of chasing kids around the house to get their clothes on, get them dressed in their rooms as soon as they wake up. And, never underestimate the power of a highchair or car-seat. They are excellent places to apply sunscreen and do hair. When kids can’t wiggle or run, everything moves more efficiently!