Archive | Parenting Tips

Tips For Weaning Your Toddler From The Pacifier

It can be very hard to get rid of the pacifier especially if your toddler loves it too much. However, breaking this habit as early as possible is necessary. Check out these brilliant tips for weaning a toddler from the pacifier.

Gradually Reduce Use

Limit your toddler’s use of the pacifier. Allow your toddler to use the pacifier during specific times only like during nap and bedtime and take it out after he has fallen asleep. Make your toddler ask for it. Keep the pacifier in your kitchen cabinet and only bring it when he asks for it. Give your little one 15 to 30 minutes with it and then tell him it is time to stop. Starting slow may take a few months to break this habit and may cause him to have a meltdown at first so be patient.

Snip It

Another effective way for weaning toddler from the pacifier is by cutting the tip off. Carefully snip a pin-size hole in the pacifier to let all the air out making it harder for your toddler to suck. Your toddler will find sucking so unsatisfactory that he will speedily lose interest in the pacifier. Of course, you have to make sure your toddler does not see you snipping the tip of his pacifiers as that would confuse him.

Offer A Healthy Substitute

Trade your toddler’s pacifier for other comforting items that can give your precious child a feeling of security. This can be a stuffed toy, pillow, the blanket his grandma gave him for Christmas, a new bed sheet or placing a framed family photo on his bedside table. Explain to your toddler what you are doing. The first couple of nights without the binky will be hard for your toddler, but he will eventually realize that his “lovie” keeps him happy and safe than the pacifier.

Keep Your Toddler Busy

Diverting a child’s attention is one successful way of weaning a toddler from the pacifier. Oftentimes, toddlers feel the need to suck their pacifiers because they are bored. Play with your toddler more frequently. Read him a book. Take him with you to the grocery or when running errands. Visit the zoo, museum or park. Organize a play date with your neighbours so he can interact with other children.

Create A Reward System

Another way to wean a toddler from the pacifier is to use the reward system. Create a chart and each time your little one willingly gives up his pacifier, he gains a sticker or a check mark. Once the chart is filled, he gets a special prize such as a new toy, a special outing (e.g. beach trip), ice cream for dessert or maybe lunch at your toddler’s favorite restaurant. Continue using these charts until your toddler is totally off the pacifier.

Get Help From The Pacifier Fairy

Another popular technique for weaning toddlers from the pacifier is by having a pretend character reward the toddler for giving away his pacifier. Ask your toddler to gather his pacifiers and place them in a bag and leave them for the “pacifier fairy”. Then when your toddler is asleep, leave a special present near his bed so he can see it when he wakes up in the morning.

Go Cold Turkey

When these methods fail, the best thing you can do is to just take the pacifier away. Just say his pacifier is lost and help him look for it, but do not find it. Your toddler may cry for a few days or even plead for a new pacifier which can be heart-breaking, but you have to be firm. In a week or two, he will forget about it.

Weaning your toddler from the pacifier will not be easy for your little one. Thus, it is very essential that you give your toddler more love and attention to help him cope with the process more easily.

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The Importance of Role Models For Children

Children learn by imitating what they see. A role model can have a huge impact in a child’s life. Read below to better understand the importance of role models for children.

Serves As An Inspiration

One reason why role models are important for children is because a role model can motivate a toddler to dream big. A toddler who looks up to someone is encouraged to work harder and reach his dreams inspite of the obstructions he will face. Also, a toddler with good role models can help guide him reach his maximum potential in all aspects of his life. Often times, individuals who found success do so because they had a role model ever since they were a child who inspired them to do great things.

Boosts Academic Performance

Children who have positive role models feel more capable which helps them perform better in school as compared to children with no role models in their lives. Teachers and parents who stay involved in a toddler’s life teach the child the importance of education and that school is a secure place to express oneself. These role models also show that attending school allows a toddler to make friends and participate in activities which helps him enjoy school. Having a role model is important as it spurs children to enhance their knowledge by staying in school.

Teaches Role Expectations

Another importance of role models for children is that it teaches children about their roles in life and the behaviour expected of them. For instance, if you are respectful to people or you always throw your trash in the garbage can, your toddler will surely mimic your actions which helps your toddler learn the value of respect and love for Mother Nature.

Demonstrates Important Life Lessons

The toddler years are very important for teaching children essential life lessons. Remember that toddlers learn by observing the people around them. Having positive role models show toddlers how to handle a complex world. For example, parents can teach their children how to lend an ear, control anger, resolve problems, admire cultural differences, the importance of having good values and that everyone makes mistakes, but one should learn from them and strive to be better rather than give up and feel frustrated which are essential lessons he can pass along to future generations. Through a toddler’s role models, he is able to incur constructive personality traits that can help him succeed later in life.

Good For The Health

Having role models is also important in promoting healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle to children. For instance, eating nutritious foods, running, walking and playing with your child instead of sitting on the sidelines provide constructive pressure that will motivate your toddler to be fit and active unlike nagging him to be healthy which can only lead to rebellion and power struggle.

Helps Evade Risky Behaviour

A toddler with positive role models will protect him from bad influences. A loving family shelters a toddler from violence, provides self-control especially to children who are aggressive as well as keep them away from harmful things such as alcohol, drugs and other behaviour that can harm a toddler.

Boosts Self-esteem

Another importance of role models for children is that it develops a toddler’s self-esteem. Positive role models encourage children (especially children with certain facial characteristics) to appreciate their appearance rather than feel insecure because they do not look a certain way. In addition, having a role model teaches a toddler that there are more important things than looks and shallow things.

Having a good role model is very essential to toddler development. A role model can give a child a sense of security and comfort which helps safeguard a toddler from unhealthy behaviour as he grows up. As a parent, you are the best role model for your child so make sure you lead by example.

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Things You Need To Know Before Adopting A Child

Are you ready to adopt? Adopting a child is a journey. Parents who wish to adopt a child must ensure they are prepared with the responsibilities that comes with adoption. Here are some things you should know before adopting a child.

Your Reason For Adopting

Why do you want to adopt a child? This should be the first thing you have to consider. There are a variety of reasons for a couple to want to adopt a toddler, from inability to have their own child, reluctance to go through the process of childbirth or simply out of compassion.

Your Personality

When adopting a child, you have to know if you have enough love, patience and determination to get through the whole procedure of adoption. Because adopting a toddler is permanent, you have to recognize your own limits of what you can handle. It is very important that you assess your abilities and limitations to prepare for the adoption process.

Getting An Agency or Lawyer Is Important

Choose an agency. You can either select a public or private agency. Public agencies handle adoptions of older children and those with special needs while private agencies handle domestic and inter-country adoptions (international adoptions). Visit adoption.com for more information about adoption agencies. Set appointments with agencies you are most interested in. You may ask any questions you have about the adoption process, inquire about fees and how long you need to wait. Select an agency you feel will be the best fit for your family.

If you do not like waiting, you can pursue another option which is getting a private adoption through an adoption lawyer. Most private adoptions are open adoptions, meaning, the biological mother and adoptive parents will meet and select each other.

Be Ready For Adoption Paperwork

You will need to fill up adoption paperwork. You have to give comprehensive information about your family which includes – your earnings, debt, family structure, medical history (you will need to provide records from your doctor) and criminal history. After completing the paperwork, submit it and pay the required fee. Fees vary from state to state and adoption agency or attorney. Generally, adopting a toddler in the United States cost less (around $12,000) and can be free if you adopt a toddler with special needs. For private adoption, expect to pay $30,000 or more plus travel costs if the toddler is located in a different state.

Expect A Home Study

You will have to complete a home study. A home study is necessary. A social worker will come to your home who will ask questions about you and your husband (marriage, lifestyle, personality, interests, parenting style, etc.), evaluate how you interact with your spouse and other children and examine your house.

You Need To Show Up In Court

Once a toddler has been found, you will need to show up for your court date to finalize the adoption. A judge will review your adoption paperwork and home study result. The judge may ask tons of questions so be ready to answer them all. If there are no problems, the judge will issue an order accepting the adoption and you are now the legal parents of the child.

Adopting a child can be a lengthy process, but it is worth the wait. You might also worry if you can love your adopted toddler or whether the toddler can love you in return. But remember, love is not a feeling. It is a process of growing.

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Easy Ways To Boost Listening Skills In Children

Toddlers have a gift of gab. They love to talk. But sadly, listening is not always easy for them. Follow these everyday activities to help boost listening skills in children.

Be A Listener Yourself

Parents play a big role in shaping a child. Hence, it is very important that you model appropriate listening skills. Do not interrupt a conversation. Avoid doing other things when your toddler is talking. Get down to your toddler’s level or pick him up so you can look him in the eye. Listen thoughtfully. Repeat what your toddler said. Respond if he asks you a question. If your toddler sees you listening, he will be encouraged to imitate your behaviour.

Talk To Your Toddler

Have conversations with your toddler. Talk to him about the things he is interested in or what he did in school. Narrate household activities. For instance, while you are cooking, explain to him what you are doing and why you are doing it. Make sure you listen and answer any queries he may have such as “Why do you have to wash the vegetables?” or “How will you know the beef is cooked?”. Conversing with your toddler gives him a chance to engage in a real conversation, practicing both speaking and listening.

Repeat Information

Ask your little one to repeat what you said after telling him something. For instance, if you asked your toddler to pick up his toys, put them back in the shelf and wash his hands after, have him say the things he has to do again. This gives him a chance to think about what he was told and allows you to ensure your toddler is listening to you.

Play Games

Play listening games with your toddler. Play “story chain”. Start by saying something and then ask your toddler to give the next sentence. The funnier the better. Play a game of I Spy or Simon Says. Teach your toddler to follow instructions by turning it into a game. Give him a direction and ask him to follow it. Make your instructions fun to make the game exciting. For instance, you can ask him to make a silly face, hop three times and construct a tower using blocks. Your toddler will be encouraged to listen carefully so he can follow what is happening.

Read Together

Read with your toddler often. Ask him what he thinks will happen next or to give a different ending. Discuss it or have him repeat the story in his own words. Just make sure you choose books that will fascinate your toddler to make him sit still until you finish the book.

Praise Good Listening

Positive reinforcement is always effective in encouraging any good behaviour. If your usually distracted toddler makes his bed without you having to reiterate the instruction, praise him for a job well done. Say “Thank you for being such a good listener!”. Knowing you appreciate his effort makes him more motivated to repeat the good behaviour.

Listening is an important skill toddlers must learn at an early age. This skill will help him succeed in life.

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Teaching Children About Money – Raising A Smart Shopper

Teaching children about money is one of the most important things parents can do for their children. After all, knowing how to shop responsibly is a life skill everyone should learn early. Here are some tips on how you can raise your toddler to become a smart shopper.

Introduce Budgeting

The first step is to teach your toddler the value of budgeting. It is important that your toddler understands that there is no endless supply of money, therefore, spending and saving should be balanced. For example, you can give him $5 as his weekly allowance. Make it clear how much money he has and to plan his spending wisely. This is the fastest way to make him weigh his options carefully.

Take Your Toddler Shopping

Sure, it is more stress-free to shop alone, but your toddler will learn more being with you. Before going to the store, make a list so you can focus on the items you need. Teach your toddler how to read labels. Compare prices. Explain that the brand-name cereal may have a cuter box but the store brand tastes just as good. Stress the importance of quality versus quantity. If you are in a clothing store, discuss why spending more for a good pair of jeans is better than buying 3 shorts for $10.

Use Cash

Your toddler will not be able to understand the true significance of money if he sees you using credits cards and checks all the time. Use cash whenever you can. Explain how credit cards, debit cards and checks work in words he can understand. Limit your own credit card use to your toddler from having credit card debts when he gets older.

Give Your Toddler A Job

You can get your toddler to do simple chores such as setting the dinner table, cleaning the floor or picking up falling leaves in your backyard. Give him money once he has completed his tasks. This gives him an idea that one has to work hard to earn money. Plus, buying things will be less alluring if he is spending his own money.

Avoid Impulse Buying

Impulse buying can lead to overspending. Help your toddler understand his needs and wants. If he wants to buy something, encourage him to plan ahead or sleep on it so he can decide if it is a want or a need, if he will really use it and if it is worth the price.

Teach Your Toddler How To Save

Explain to your toddler that if he wants to buy something, he has to save for it. He can allot a certain amount for a week or month for that robot. Help him collect coupons for future use and search for bargains. When he receives money for special occasions like his birthday, insist that he open a passbook account and have him deposit his monthly savings to his account.

Introduce The Value of Giving

Being a smart shopper is not just about learning how to save or score discounts, but it is also about knowing how to give. Giving helps your toddler learn that he can get satisfaction from money when he is able to help the less fortunate. Drop money to the local donation box. Volunteer in a soup kitchen. Ask him to pick toys and clothes he will no longer use and give them to charity.

Last but not the least, set a good example for your toddler. When your toddler sees you handling money maturely, he will most likely follow your act.

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Pets and Children – Simple Pet Chores Any Toddler Can Do

Pets are a great addition to a toddler’s growing up experience. However, the only problem with pets and children is that children do not have the capability to do everything that comes with caring for a pet. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways a toddler can help out. The following are some pet chores any toddler can do.

Food Duty

This is not even considered a chore because toddlers love giving treats to their pets. Ask your toddler to constantly check if there is enough water in your dog’s bowl. Because children believe “more is more”, you might want to supervise your little one at first to prevent your toddler from giving his goldfish an entire bottle of fish food. Have him watch you as you prepare carrots for your rabbit so he knows how much to give. Or, teach him how to measure the pet’s food portion and have him place it in a bowl and feed it to the pet. It is also important that you inform your toddler of the possible dangers that can happen if he gives his pet too much food.

Mess Patrol

Your toddler may need a little prodding with this chore. After all, cleaning up after pets may be the crappiest part of having a pet. But, you can teach your toddler how to scoop out the poop in the pet’s cage, throw the waste and clean or change the bedding. Of course, do not forget to remind him to wash his hands afterwards.

Bathing and Grooming

It is very essential to keep a pet clean and well-groomed especially if they are around toddlers. Ask your little one to help you with bathing and grooming your pet. For instance, your toddler can apply the shampoo while you wash the pet or he can hold the pet during grooming. Once he knows the proper way to bath and groom your pet, he can take over. But do keep a close eye on your toddler and your pet. Toddlers tend to get too excited when doing this task and elicit a not so friendly response from the animal.

Walking

Let your toddler come with you when walking the dog. If he is old enough to handle the dog, show him how to hold the leash and have him take a turn. Again, close supervision is necessary.

Playtime Buddy

Pets and children are the best of friends because they love doing the same thing – playing. He can dangle cat toys, teach the dog simple commands like “sit” or “roll” or play fetch with the dog or toss empty toilet paper rolls, a cardboard tube or box into a cage for his guinea pig or gerbil to play in. See to it you emphasize the importance of being gentle when playing with a pet.

Having a pet can give your toddler a sense of responsibility and teach him empathy. However, do bear in mind that the level of responsibility you give to your little one should be fitting to your toddler’s age as well as the temperament of the animal.

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Travel Tips For Toddlers With Autism

Traveling with children is never easy. Traveling with a toddler who has autism can be even more daunting. Here are some tips to make traveling easier for toddlers with autism.

Tip # 1: Choose A Destination Your Toddler Likes

What does your toddler like? Does he like going to amusement parks? Basking in the sun on the beach? Going out of town? Pick a travel destination that is within your toddler’s comfort zone so he can enjoy the activities.

Tip # 2: Plan In Advance

It is very important that you make arrangements ahead of time. Research the destination and the available activities in the area. Get in touch with your chosen airline, hotel as well as restaurants and other tourist spots and inform them that you are traveling with a toddler who has autism. Discuss your toddler’s needs and ask for certain recommendations.

Tip # 3: Prep Your Toddler

Prior to leaving, help your toddler prepare for the vacation. For instance, you can give him a calendar and ask him to check off each day until the scheduled trip. Watch movies and videos and read books about traveling. Look at photos of the location. Talk to him about your upcoming trip. Tell him you will have loads of fun together. You can also practice vacation scenarios. Role play how you will travel, what you will do and who and what he will see. Better yet, help him put together a “travel book” of pictures. Preparation and stimulation will help your toddler transition more smoothly.

Tip # 4: Pack The Essentials

Make a list of the things you need to bring. Aside from the basic essentials (milk, clothes, diapers, etc.), pack one or two loveys such as books, his favorite toys, pillow, blanket, DVDs and a portable DVD player. Do not forget to pack a light snack your little one will enjoy as well. These comfort items will not only help soothe him, but they will also entertain your toddler and give him a sense of familiarity while traveling.

Tip # 5: Keep Your Toddler’s Daily Routine

Traveling can disrupt your toddler’s routine which can make a child with autism feel lost and scared. As much as possible, stick to his daily schedule. Plan for breaks and downtime. For instance, you can spend a few hours at a beach and then head to a theme park or restaurant. Most importantly, stick to your toddler’s bedtime. Sleep is very crucial in preventing meltdowns in autistic children.

Tip # 6: Create A Travel Cocoon

Build a travel cocoon in the car or in your hotel room. You can use pillows and blankets to build one and then attach toys with Velcro to the side of the cocoon. This method gives off a feeling of intimacy which is comforting for toddlers with autism.

Tip # 7: Keep Your Toddler Safe

Bring a childproofing door knob, slip them onto the door so your toddler will not be able to turn the knob and leave your hotel room. Also, make sure your toddler is wearing identification. Pin a small name tag with your contact number and “autism” written on it to his t-shirt or shoelaces or have him keep it in his pocket.

Traveling with a toddler who has autism can be challenging. But with a little planning, practice and preventive measures, you can reduce the amount of stress your toddler and your family experiences while on a trip.

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Seven Parenting Tips You Can Break

Parenting is not an easy task. Thus, you constantly look for tips to make your job easier. But, are all parenting tips helpful? Unfortunately, the answer is no. They can actually cause more harm than good. Here are seven parenting tips that are okay to break.

Tip # 1: Discipline Bad Behaviour Immediately

Sure, you need to correct your toddler’s misbehaviour. But, you do not have to necessarily reprimand your toddler right away especially when you are in a public place. The goal is to teach or to correct the bad behaviour, not to punish. It is more effective if you wait until you are at home and when you and your child are calm enough. Once the two of you have cleared your minds, reflect back, point out the behaviour, explain why it is incorrect and ask him what he should do next time.

Tip # 2: Shield Your Toddler From Reality

Children can handle difficult circumstances such as death, divorce, moving to a new city or money problems so do not protect your toddler from reality. The next time your little one asks you why mommy and daddy broke up, do not shun his questions but answer them as clearly and truthfully as possible. But, avoid giving too much information. Your toddler will learn to be resilient by learning how to pick himself up.

Tip # 3: Give Compliments

Positive reinforcement is necessary in helping toddlers flourish. However, frequently showering your little one with praises can backfire. Focus on your toddler’s actions rather than singing him praises. If your toddler fixed his toys by himself, do not just say “You are great!”. Say something like, “Wow, you fixed all your toys by yourself!”. This will make your toddler think that he can even do better the next time.

Tip # 4: Set A Strict Rule

It is okay to have rules. But, you can let loose once in a while. Allow your toddler to stay up past his bedtime to watch a movie with you. Let him decide what food he wants to eat for dinner. Give him an extra scoop of ice cream. Have him watch TV or play video games for  more than 30 minutes. As long as you do everything in moderation, you will not have any problem.

Tip # 5: You Must Always Share

As much as possible, avoid forcing your toddler to share. This will only make him associate sharing with negative feelings. Instead, encourage your toddler to let his playmate have a turn riding his bicycle once he is finished.

Tip # 6: No Potty Mouths Allowed

Children have a growing vocabulary which they want to try out especially if the word is funny or strange. What you can do is talk and explain the “bad” words instead of banning them in your home. Let your toddler know there is a time and place where he can use them, like in the bedroom or bathroom.

Tip # 7: No Bickering

Fighting is normal in children, even in adults. When your toddler fights with his sibling, restrain yourself from refereeing. Let your children handle their own difficulties as long as it does not get physical. Doing so will teach your children how to get along with others and when to fight and back down.

Parenting tips are advices that aim to help parents deal with children more easily. You do not have to follow all of them. Sometimes, you can break them as long as you know what you are doing will benefit your child.

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Pets and Children – Why Every Toddler Should Own A Pet

Pets and children have an unexplainable bond. After all, many toddlers call their pets their best friends. If your toddler has been bugging you to buy him a pet, here are some reasons why you should go through with it.

Teaches Values

Having a pet teaches your toddler how to be responsible. Since you will be putting your little one in charge of feeding the pet, taking it out for a walk or helping you clean out the cage, your toddler learns how to be in charge of another life, helping him better understand the value of responsibility.

Another value toddlers learn when taking care of a pet is compassion. Your toddler will learn not to grab a cat’s tail, wrestle or play tug-of-war with your pet dog. He will realize that pets, just like people, need food, shelter and love.

Boosts Social and Physical Skills

Research shows that children with family pets have higher self-esteem. Why? Because having a pet helps a toddler develop skills necessary for forming relationships with other peers. They have a friend to play with and talk to so that when they go outside of their homes, they can communicate more easily with other people. Plus, since pets need regular exercise, your little one will be encouraged to take walks or play outside with the pet which helps strengthen his physical skills.

Helps Toddlers Understand Nature and Living

Having a pet will help your toddler understand the animal world and nature. For example, having a pet fish encourages your little one to discover how this creature eats, lives, how to care for it and so on. Your toddler will not only learn a lot about vertebrates but this will also help him understand the beauty of life.

Good For The Health

According to studies, children who were exposed to animals at an early age are less likely to develop common allergies as compared to children who had no pets at home. Pets can help lower the risk of children getting ear infection, heart disease and other respiratory problems. This is because early exposure to the bacteria alters the way a toddler’s immune system reacts to other allergens.

In addition, pets can also enhance the emotional health of a toddler. They can help lessen depression, relieve emotional stress and help toddler’s transition more smoothly.

Instant Mood Lifter

Pets have a way of making a person happy so whenever your little one is feeling blue (e.g. he had a bad day at school), he will know that he can go to his pet to cheer him up.

Great Source of Entertainment

If your toddler is bored, instead of watching TV or playing video games which are unhealthy for toddlers, your toddler can go outside and have a fun time playing with his pet or teaching his dog a new trick.

Pets are good for everyone, especially toddlers. Having a pet not only helps in the development of your toddler but it can also cheer up the whole household.

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Children and Divorce – How To Help Toddlers Deal With It

Children and divorce is a very sticky issue separated parents have to deal with. There may be no easy way to help toddlers survive this ordeal but there are many things parents can do to help their children deal with separation in the best way possible.

Talk To Your Toddler

Your child is entitled to know the truth. Talk to your toddler openly and truthfully. This part will never be easy and sugar coating will just make the situation worse. Say something simple like, “Mommy and daddy love you very much. But we cannot get along anymore.”.  Leave your feeling of anger or guilt out of it.

Encourage Your Toddler To Talk

Toddlers have many questions about divorce, hence, encouraging your toddler to talk will help him voice out his feelings. Make sure you listen to what he has to say and answer them as gently but as honestly as possible. If he feels uncomfortable talking about the issue, ask him to write you a letter instead.

Provide Reassurance

Most children feel they are to blame for their parents’ divorce. So it is very important that you reassure your toddler that what happened is between mommy and daddy and is not his fault. Remind your little one that while sometimes, parents do not get along, that does not mean mom and dad will stop loving the child. In addition, always make your toddler feel loved. Hug, kiss, cuddle and say “I love you.” to your toddler as often as possible.

Address Changes

It is also important to prepare your toddler for the forthcoming changes in his life.  Help him understand that mommy or daddy will have to leave the house, he can stay in his dad’s house over the weekend or daddy will pick him up from school every afternoon.

Create Stability

While prepping your toddler for the changes is necessary, it is also equally important to let your toddler know that not everything will change. Keep the same rules. Continue doing your toddler’s daily routines. Having a regular schedule for feeding, bathing, playing, cuddling, sleeping, etc. is essential for creating a sense of security and for making your toddler feel loved regardless of which parent will look after the child.

Be Civil With Your Ex

Never fight with your ex in front of your toddler. No matter what problems you and your ex may have, it is crucial that you maintain a decent relationship with your ex. Avoid blaming your spouse and never say bad things about your ex.

Create An Arrangement

Come up with an arrangement with your ex. Discuss issues such as – visitation rights, holidays, birthdays, vacation and the likes. Whatever deal you decide on, see to it your toddler’s needs come first.

Give Space

Divorce will always be a sensitive issue especially to children. Be patient with your toddler. Give him space and time to express his disappointment, to mourn and to recover. Just let your little one know mommy and daddy will always be by his side no matter what happens.

Watching parents go through separation is a life-altering situation for children. Thus, it is essential for parents to find their inner strength so they can properly cope with this issue and help their children get through this difficult time.

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