Archive | May, 2013

Teaching Children About Strangers

Your toddler’s safety is very important and it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that. Part of your task is to teach your toddler about strangers. This is essential so you can supply your toddler with the knowledge and skills he will need to safeguard himself in dangerous circumstances. Here are some simple tips for teaching children about strangers.

Provide A Definition of A Stranger

First and foremost, your toddler has to understand what a stranger is. A stranger is an individual your toddler does not know. However, you also have to teach your little one to understand that there are good strangers. Good strangers are people he can turn to if he needs help, is lost or scared such as security guards, police officers, teachers and store clerks. Aside from those people, any individual he does not know is a stranger.

Teach Your Toddler Rules

Discuss with your toddler stranger danger safety by teaching him the following rules –

•    Grown-ups who need help should ask another grown-up.
•    It is okay to talk to a stranger if a trusted adult is with him or if you say it is okay.
•    Never tell someone your name or where you live.
•    Do not accept candies or anything that is being offered to you if you do not know the person.
•    Never answer the door.
•    Never go with a stranger no matter what the stranger tells you.
•    If a stranger comes too close, he should run or shout as loudly as possible.

Show Your Toddler What To Do

Teach your little one that whenever a stranger comes close to him no matter what the reason is, he should hold up both hands in front of him and scream, “Stop!” as loudly as he can. If the stranger continues to come forward, the child should yell again, “No!” and “I do not know you!.”. If your toddler is within arm’s reach of the stranger, he should run and yell as loudly as he can. Generally, this action will alert any individual in the area and help ensure the safety of your toddler.

Practice Makes Perfect

Teaching children about strangers will not be effective if they do not practice it. Give your toddler different scenarios. For instance, “You are busy playing at the park while mommy is busy pushing your little sister on the slide when suddenly a friendly woman you do not know walks up to you and gives you a candy. What should you do?”. Role playing is an ideal way to test your toddler’s stranger awareness. The more your toddler practices, the more aware and confident he will feel, the lesser he will be scared when faced with such situation.

Use Different Resources To Teach Your Toddler About Strangers

Teaching children about strangers does not have to be boring. Read books together with a stranger theme. Try books such as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Berenstein Bears Learn About Strangers”. After reading, discuss the story. Ask questions such as “What would you do if a stranger approaches you?”, how he felt and what he learned from the story. Rent or purchase DVDs about stranger awareness. Provide your little one printable coloring pages or activity sheets (visit Activity Village) to emphasize concepts.

Buddy System

Talk to your toddler about the significance of always having a buddy with him, whether he is playing or walking. Ask your little one to draw two people on a piece of paper. Have him write how each person on the paper can help the other if a stranger approaches. Let your toddler know that a buddy can always ask for help if something happens to them.

Teach Your Toddler To Stay Close To You

Another way of teaching children about strangers is to instruct your little one to hold your hand or stay within your visual range whenever the two of you are in a public place. Better yet, strap your toddler into his stroller if he likes to wander from place to place.

Have Your Toddler Memorize His Contact Information

Help your toddler write his name, emergency contact number and address in an index card. Encourage him to practice saying it aloud. Memorizing contact information would be very helpful for your toddler in case he ever needs access to it.

Toddlers should be taught stranger danger safety as early as possible. These safety measures will teach your toddler how to react when dealing with this type of situation.

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Surprising Facts About Asthma In Children

Asthma is an inflammatory illness in the airway. This condition is not new for parents with toddlers. But, did you know there are hidden facts about asthma in children? Below are surprising facts about asthma in children every parent needs to know to help their precious ones breathe easier.

Fact # 1: A toddler who had eczema as a baby has a higher risk of developing asthma later.

This fact is the most surprising facts about asthma in children. There is a strong connection between eczema and asthma. Doctors call it the “allergic march” – children who have eczema as an infant go on to develop allergies (often food and airborne allergies) and then asthma. However, the risk of your toddler developing asthma later can be minimized by treating hay fever with medications and allergy shots or immunotherapy.

Fact # 2: Exposing a toddler to certain environmental factors can lead to the development of asthma.

Certain environmental factors can trigger asthma symptoms such as being near a traffic-related area where pollution is very high. A toddler exposed to pollution and high levels of ozone has a bigger chance of getting asthma. Other environmental factors include – tobacco, perfumes, cleaning fluids, wood smoke, dust mites (a very common asthma trigger), mold, seasonal weather changes (especially when pollen levels are higher), animal dander as well as indoor swimming pools (the chlorine in pool water can cause a toddler’s airway to experience changes which can lead to asthma).

Fact # 3: A toddler who does not wheeze can still have asthma.

If your toddler has a chronic or ongoing cough, it may not be a persistent cold or a symptom of allergy. Recurrent bronchitis can also be an indication of underlying asthma. Coughing is one common symptom of asthma but other factors can cause a cough so an accurate analysis is necessary. To do this, you toddler’s doctor may perform a test called spirometry to gauge the volume of air your toddler can breathe out forcefully into a tube. The doctor will listen for wheezing (narrowing of airway), coughing and shortness of breath which comes from the muscles in the airways narrowing and from the swelling of the lining.

Fact # 4: A toddler with asthma can perform various activities.

It is not true that asthma can limit a toddler’s activities. All too often, parents limit their children to do certain things to prevent asthma attacks, but this is not necessary. In fact, doing various activities such as sports and exercises can improve an asthmatic toddler’s condition. As long as right medication is used at the right time, adequate rest and healthy eating habits are observed, a toddler with asthma will be fine.

Fact # 5: Mild cases of asthma in children should not be taken for granted.

Toddlers with mild asthma may not suffer as much as children with full-blown asthma but it is still very important for parents not to let their guard down. A toddler with asthma, mild or severe can easily develop upper respiratory illnesses which can aggravate the condition. A parent should also be cautious about exposing the toddler to foods with sulphites such as packaged fruit jams, canned vegetables and baked goods and certain medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Fact # 6: A toddler’s asthma action plan must be constantly re-evaluated.

According to pediatric pulmonologists, a toddler who has persistent asthma has to have a written asthma action plan. This asthma action plan must be reassessed with your toddler’s doctor at least 2 to 4 times a year. Young children are also required to use a peak flow meter to help figure out how well their asthma is being controlled. This should be done every morning before a toddler takes his medications. The record must be shown to the doctor so the doctor can adjust a toddler’s asthma action plan accordingly.

Fact # 7: Asthma is often referred to as Reactive Airway Disease.

Some doctors do not directly diagnose a toddler of having an asthma condition for two reasons – the toddler is too young to undergo examinations that can help detect asthma or the toddler has very sensitive airways but the doctor is unsure if it is asthma and it may be something the toddler will outgrow before adulthood.

Asthma is a very widespread childhood disease in the United States. There are a lot of facts about asthma in children but the seven facts mentioned above are unknown to a lot of parents.

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Fire Safety Tips For Children

Fire safety is a subject rarely discussed by parents to their children. Toddlers are explorers and there is a huge possibility that they will find themselves playing with fire. This simple guideline about fire safety tips for children can help parents keep their children well-informed and out of danger.

Educate Your Toddler

The number one fire safety tip for children is to make sure a toddler understands that fire is for grown-ups. Fire is bright and it flickers which will most likely grab your toddler’s attention. As soon as you detect that your toddler has any inkling of an interest in fire, be sure to tell your little one that fire is not a toy for children, he should not play with fire and that fire is something that adults use to heat things and cook with. See to it you stress the fact that fire can burn and is very hazardous. When explaining this to your toddler, make sure you use words that your toddler can comprehend. Use words from his own vocabulary such as “boo boo”, “hot” and “ouch” to let your toddler know that fire will hurt him if he touches it.

Keep Fire Sources Out of Reach

Out of sight, out of mind. This adage is especially true when it comes to fire. Children are very inquisitive by nature so despite your best efforts to educate your toddler about the dangers of fire, he may get the urge to test it out for himself. To ensure this does not happen, put fire sources where your little one cannot gain access to. Cover outlets that are not in use. Keep electrical wires secured. Keep the fireplace covered with a screen. Stash matches, lighters and candles in a drawer with a lock.

Explain The Use of Smoke Detectors

A home with a smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half. Teach your toddler about smoke detectors – why they are important, how they work and what sound they make. Toddlers should be able to link the sound going off with a fire as part of fire safety for children.

Develop An Escape Plan

It is very important for every family to have an escape plan in case of fire. Find two ways out of every room in case one way is obstructed by fire or smoke. Practice escaping by both routes to make sure windows are not trapped and screens can be taken out easily. In addition, choose a meeting place outside such as a big tree or the house across so you will know that everyone has gotten out safe and sound.

Teach Your Toddler What To Do In Case of Fire

Knowing what to do in case of fire is something toddlers have to learn early. Teach your little one to:

•    Cover his mouth and nose with a damp towel or clothing to avoid inhaling smoke while evacuating.
•    Fall and crawl under the smoke to safety.
•    Stop, drop and roll in case his clothes are on fire.
•    Test if a door is hot before opening it using the back of his hand.
•    Never hide, stop to take any belonging or make a call. He has to go outside as fast as he can.


Most importantly, practice fire drills frequently (once a month if possible). Rehearsing what to do during a fire is very essential so your little one is aware of what he has to do instead of crying for help and hiding under the bed which will only increase his chances of getting trapped in the house. To make learning about fire safety more entertaining for your toddler, why not take him to a local fire station where he can learn fire safety lessons in a fun way. Watching videos about fire safety can also encourage your toddler to practice it at home.

Be Cautious Around Fire Yourself

Children learn by example and there is no better way you can instil fire safety awareness to your toddler than by showing him that you are following preventive measures as well. You can have your toddler participate in this by asking him to give you oven mitts or help you make sure the candles are blown out before going to bed.

Do not wait until it is too late to teach your precious one about fire safety. As soon as your toddler can understand household directions, he is  ready to learn fire safety tips as well.

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How To Buy Potty Training Products

Potty training can be scary and overwhelming for toddlers. But thankfully, you can make this phase calm and as fun as possible with a little help from potty training products. Here is a guide on how to buy potty training products to make potty training mess-free, pleasant and a success for both you and your toddler.

Pick A Fun Potty Chair and Seat

Sitting in a toilet can be very nerve-wracking for toddlers. Why? Because toilets are huge, cold and noisy. To help your little one go without the fuss, buy your little one a potty chair. Pick a potty chair that is made of plastic and preferably one in your toddler’s favorite color or one that features your toddler’s favorite character (e.g. cartoon characters, superheroes, princesses and forest designs are well-loved by young children). A potty chair that plays songs or cheers for your toddler can also encourage your toddler to go to the potty often. Buy at least 2 potty chairs as you will need them in different parts of your house.

Once your toddler is used to using a potty chair, he is now ready to transition to a potty seat. Choose one that is of your toddler’s size and is a perfect seat over the regular toilet seat. Again, pick one with a cute design so your toddler will enjoy sitting on it.

Find A Sturdy Step Stool

Your little one will need a step stool to help his feet reach the floor while using the regular toilet as well as help him reach the sink for brushing teeth and washing hands. Choose a step stool that is durable, one with rounded corners, a non-skid rubber surface and large, strong rubber feet to prevent the step stool from slipping on the floor. In addition, pick one that comes in fun colors or designs and see to it it is very easy to clean.

Invest In Potty Training Pants

Another potty training product every toddler must have are training pants. This comes in very handy for any trips out. There are two types of training pants – disposable and cloth. Disposable training pants are recommended because they are made for a toddler so he can effortlessly pull them on and off on his own. However, they are very similar to diapers so your little one may not be able to feel when he is wet which can prolong the potty training process. On the other hand, cloth training pants enables a toddler to feel when he is wet so he is able to go and use the potty on time. The only downside to cloth training pants is that they require washing.

Again, choose a “big kid underwear” with your toddler’s favorite character on it to motivate your toddler to potty train.

Do Not Forget The Potty Training Friend, Books and DVDs

Another effective way to help your toddler potty train successfully is to have a potty training friend and books and DVDs about potty training. A potty training doll can help your toddler learn how to use the potty as well as help your little one overcome any potty training fears so he can enjoy this journey.

Opt for potty training books with colorful illustrations and those that come with fun accessories such as stickers. Potty For Me! by Karen Katz, The Potty Train by David Hochman and First Look and Find: Elmo’s Potty Book are popular titles of potty training books. For potty training DVDs, pick one that demonstrates the process of going to the toilet through silly dances and singing in the most tasteful manner as possible. Animal characters are a favorite amongst toddlers.

Check Reviews

Do not forget to check for customer reviews before you buy potty training products. This is to make sure that the potty training products you will choose can deliver and are helpful for your toddler.

Make Sure The Products Are Safe

Most of all, see to it that the potty training products you wish to buy are in excellent condition. The potty chair, potty seat and training pants must be brand new. There should be no damages such as holes, cracks, chipped paint and sharp edges. If you are buying second-hand potty training books, DVDs and a doll, make sure they are not worn out and do not have any damages as well.

With the help of these potty training products, training your toddler to use the toilet will be very easy and enjoyable.

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Steps To Choosing The Right Child Care For Your Toddler

There are plenty of options when it comes to child care providers. However, even if a wide selection is available, choosing the right child care is still a difficult decision. Why? Because parents are very meticulous in entrusting their children’s well-being into someone else’s hands. How do you find an excellent child care provider for your toddler? Follow this guide to help you pick the best child care for your precious one.

Step 1: Know What You Want

Knowing what you want is the first step to choosing the right child care for your toddler. The first step is to write a list of your “wants” in a child care provider. Making a list requires time and careful deliberation so see to it you do this together with your spouse. Ask yourself these questions:

•    Are you looking for a child care provider with years of experience, is trained and has credentials?
•    Do you want a caregiver who can stay with your toddler at home or would you rather have your toddler mingle with other children?
•    Are you looking for a child care provider with a flexible schedule?
•    Do you want a 1:1 caregiver-toddler relationship or would you rather entrust your toddler to a child care provider who cares for other children at the same time?

After you have made a list, go over it once again to ensure you did not miss out on anything.

Step 2: Consider How Much Are You Willing To Pay For The Caregiver’s Services

The second step to choosing the right child care for your little one is to figure out how much you are willing to pay for a caregiver’s services. Take a good look at your budget. Employing a babysitter, a nanny or putting your toddler in a daycare center is more expensive, but if you have the money, then these are your best options. If you are cash-strapped, then consider relative care and home daycare.

Step 3: Do Some Research

You need to do your homework if you want to find the best child care option for your toddler. You can do this by calling your local experts such as a Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency. They can give you child care recommendations in your area that can cater to your needs. Do not be shy to ask your relatives, friends, officemates and neighbours for referrals. This is the best way to know which child care providers are the best in your area. In addition, do not forget to check the yellow pages and search the internet for child care providers.

Step 4: Visit and Ask Questions

This step is the most important when it comes to choosing the right child care provider as this will help you narrow down your options. It is okay to talk to them on the phone but it would be better if you pay each child care provider a visit so you can make a detailed evaluation. Set an appointment with each provider, ask questions such as their experience, lifestyle, discipline style, child care perspectives, how they will react in case there is an emergency, etc. Talking to each prospect face to face also helps you assess whether the child care provider is competent and responsible of if the caregiver is inexperienced and impatient.

Step 5: Check The Child Care Provider’s Background

After your meeting with each child care provider, narrow down your options to two. Then, perform a background check for each caregiver. Contact previous employers and ask their experience with the said child care provider. Check the caregiver’s certifications, affiliations and police record. For daycare centers and home daycares, tour the establishment so you can see if the establishment is clean, safe, has a welcoming vibe and is spacious enough for children to thrive. Observe how the children relate with the staff, if the employees are capable in handling young children as well as the activities they offer.

Most importantly, after you have completed the steps above, sit down with your spouse once again and consider all the advantages and disadvantages of every child care provider. Go over your list and choose the option that comes close to your list. See? Finding the best child care provider for your toddler does not have to be very stressful after all. All it takes is a little planning and knowing what you want and do not want for your toddler.

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Resolving The Most Common Babysitting Problems of Parents

Finding a good, reliable babysitter for your toddler can be a challenging task. After all, you do not want to entrust your precious one’s safety just to anyone. Unfortunately, even with the most careful selection, there can still be issues with the babysitter you hire. Here are some of the most common babysitting problems of parents and ways how these can be resolved.

Problem # 1: The babysitter is always late.

Tardiness is at the top of the most common babysitting problems of parents. It is very exasperating if you have to rush to work but you cannot leave your toddler because the babysitter is late, again. The best way to resolve this babysitting problem is to bring it up gently. Be very clear about your schedule when you call to book her. Say something like, “I need to be in the office at 8 o’clock in the morning, so I have to leave the house at 7:30.”. Or, you can also create in some extra time by asking your babysitter to arrive at least 15 minutes in advance. Make it clear that you will not put up with last-minute cancellations (except for emergencies) and that if she really has to cancel, she will need to organize for a back-up sitter (someone who you have met and approved beforehand) on her own.

Problem # 2: The babysitter is frequently on her cell phone.

This one is another common babysitting problem. There are instances when the babysitter is too tied up on her cell phone talking and texting with her friends that she forgets her duties. The best solution is to talk about the problem at once and give her a warning. You do not have to feel bad about asking your sitter to hold all calls until your little one is asleep. But, make sure you are considerate when correcting your babysitter.

Problem # 3: Letting a toddler sleep past his bedtime.

A toddler who is still wide awake at 10 p.m. playing games or watching TV will surely wake up in a bad mood the next day. Let your babysitter know that she has to make sure your toddler follows his bedtime and that disregarding your toddler’s sleep schedule can throw him off for several days. Go over his bedtime routine – taking a bath, how many books to read, turning the nightlight on, etc. In addition, discuss your toddler’s delay antics so your little one cannot persuade your babysitter to let him stay up a little longer.

Problem # 4: Visitors

Another common scenario when a babysitter is around the house is finding a guest (especially if the visitor is of the opposite sex) sitting in your living room. The best way to resolve this is to let your babysitter know that visitors are not allowed in your home. If she wants to have a friend come by to visit while she is babysitting, she has to ask permission first and if you are okay with it, she can invite the guest over to your home.

Problem # 5: A messy house.

Sure, coming home to a sparkling house is such a joy. But, do not expect your babysitter to do the housekeeping for you. The babysitter’s responsibility is to look after your toddler, not to keep the house clean. However, do make it clear to your sitter that you expect to go back to a home that looks at least in the same condition as when you left. Also, make sure she reminds your little one to put his toys away before you return and does not allow your toddler to make a mess of the house.

Problem # 6: The babysitter lacks leadership.

It is difficult to have a babysitter who is incapable or does not want to take charge of the children. A babysitter’s role is to care for a toddler’s well-being, meaning, the babysitter should know how to discipline a child. If you find your babysitter lacks leadership, go ahead and make her aware that this bothers you. Ask your babysitter why she is unable to take charge. Give her tips. But, if your babysitter still does not set the direction for your toddler, then by all means look for another one.

Babysitting problems are normal. However, it does not mean you cannot avoid it. By having an open communication, understanding and respect, you and your babysitter can discuss whatever issues may arise and create a good working relationship.

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Tips For Grocery Shopping With Children

Holding a grocery list, pushing a cart and toting a toddler with you is like being in a horror movie especially if your toddler is acting up and shoppers are staring at the two of you. Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid this scenario. Below are some very useful tips for grocery shopping with children.

Shop With A List

Before you head to the grocery store, make sure you have made a list the night or day before. Having a list will help ensure that you do not forget anything and it makes grocery shopping faster and hassle-free. Ask your toddler’s input as you make the list. Make it clear that you are not going to buy anything that is not on the list. Make sure you stick to that plan.

Go When Your Toddler Is In A Good Mood

Make sure the two of you grab a light snack and that he has taken a nap before heading to the grocery store. Drowsiness and an empty stomach can cause meltdowns and tempts you to buy food you do not really want to eat. Shopping with a toddler who is well-fed and well-rested will make things smoother.

Visit The Bathroom First

A bathroom request when you are in the very back of a grocery store or waiting in line can be really annoying and toddlers are guilty of this. Talk to your toddler and ask him to visit the bathroom before you enter the store. If he insists he does not have to go, pull out the “Sit and Count to 10” rule. Have him sit in the toilet and count to ten and see what happens. More often than not, your little one will end up going.

Give Your Toddler Some Power

Watching you go around the grocery aisles can be very boring for your little one. To avoid boredom and to keep his eyes away from that candy bar, request your toddler to help you push the cart, give him the list and ask him to relate them to you, assign him to check off items from the list, have him get something you need or ask him to choose what brand of cereal he wants or the prettiest pumpkin so you can make squash soup for dinner.

Play Games

Grocery stores provide a fun and educational experience for toddlers. Play the I Spy game. Start by looking for something in the grocery store and then say something about it to help your little one identify it. For instance you can say, “I spy something that is red with a white sticker.”. Ask your toddler to find it and when he does, let him have his turn. Or, you can also ask your toddler to name as many fruits and vegetables as he can when you are in the produce section. Talking about why you need to buy ketchup or zucchini is also an ideal way to quench your toddler’s curious mind.

Never Give

No matter how much complaining, arm flailing, shrieking or whatever tricks your toddler does when he is having a meltdown, do not give in, ever. When you give in to your toddler’s whims (even just once) it gives your toddler the idea that he can do it again which will make the fit worse every time you say no. But if you stay firm and ignore your toddler’s whims and tantrums, it will make your toddler realize that no matter what he does, you will never give in.

Establish Consequences

See to it your toddler knows what to expect when he misbehaves or starts throwing a fit in the grocery store. Inform him before leaving the house and remind your toddler about the consequences once again before stepping foot in the store.

Offer Positive Reinforcement

If your toddler was so behaved while you were at the grocery store, praise him for a job well done. Say something like, “You were so patient. Thank you, honey.” or “I am so proud you did not cry when I said no about buying chocolates.” Follow it up with a hug and a kiss. Giving a little treat occasionally also helps. Doing this helps your toddler know that you appreciate his good behaviour which will encourage him to do it again and again.

Grocery shopping with children can be so much fun, yet at the same time, it can be a terrifying experience as well. But with the help of these tips, you and your toddler can survive grocery shopping beaming and relaxed.

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How To Make A Chore List For Kids

Knowing how to take care of one’s self, home and surrounding is important in raising children. Household chores are very effective in teaching a toddler responsibility. At an early age, toddlers should be encouraged to partake in this activity. Here are some tips on how to painlessly make a chore list for kids.

Tip # 1: Consider Your Toddler’s Age and Capability

The first tip on how to make a chore list for kids is to recognize what your little one can and cannot do. Since he is still a toddler, he will be limited to very simple chores. Below are some age-appropriate household chores:

•    For a 2 year old
o    Put dirty clothes in the hamper
o    Put toys and books away after playing with them
o    Dusting

•    For a 3 year old
o    Help set the table
o    Feed a pet
o    Water a plant
o    Clear own dish from the table

•    For a 4 year old
o    Set the table
o    Fold towels
o    Help make his bed
o    Wipe up spills
o    Clear the table
o    Help put away groceries

In addition to choosing age-appropriate chores, be sure to consider your toddler’s abilities to perform certain tasks as well. Thus, it is ideal to start small so you can check if your little one can manage before giving him another task.

Tip # 2: Make Joint Decisions

When making a chore list, see to it you involve your toddler. Ask for your toddler’s opinion. Listen to what he has to say. For instance, if your toddler volunteers to walk the dog, let him do it. Or, if you he likes to talk, ask him if he can keep his younger sister company in the playpen while you cook dinner. Letting your toddler make decisions makes him more likely to actually follow through.

Tip # 3: Post It In Plain View

Post the list on the fridge, in his bedroom or in another central spot in your home so your toddler can see it right away. In addition, instead of using plain sheets of paper to write his chores down – get creative! Use markers and pictures (that demonstrate what needs to be done) to get your little one excited in doing his chores. Or, why not make your own silly tune about sorting dirty clothes or putting toys away.

Tip # 4: Keep It Fun

Chores can be boring, especially for children. Blast the music while you and your toddler are cleaning the living room, sing fun songs such as Snow White’s “Whistle Whistle While You Work” or Barney’s “Clean Up”. Talk about anything while cleaning. Do not ask your little one to finish 3 or 4 chores at once. Take it one chore at a time. After your toddler is done, head to the kitchen and whip up a yummy snack or go out and have ice cream.

Tip # 5: Switch Them Up

Another way how to make an effective chore list for kids is to rotate chores or assign new tasks every so often. Give your little one different set of household chores every month or two so he will not get bored doing the same thing over and over. Ask your toddler to do something more difficult to give him an opportunity to learn something new and to test his progress.

Tip # 6: Do Not Redo The Chore

Your toddler will probably have trouble arranging the pillows or set the napkins crooked on the table, but there is nothing wrong with that, right? Show your toddler how it is done and then let him finish it on his own. Redoing the task your toddler worked so hard to finish will only hurt his ego and discourages him to follow his chore list.

Tip # 7: Pile On The Praise

Toddlers thrive on positive reinforcement. Whenever your toddler finishes a chore, praise him for a job well done. Let your toddler know that you are thankful and happy for helping you out. Give him extra playtime or allow him to eat chocolate for dessert. Knowing his efforts are appreciated not only boosts his self-esteem but also motivates your toddler to continue with his good work.

Making a chore list for your toddler is actually pretty simple. With a little planning, patience and teamwork, you will be able to come up with a chore list that can train and equip your precious one for growth and maturity.

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Understanding Pet Allergies In Children

Allergies in children are widespread. In fact, it is one of the most common childhood diseases. Household pets are considered a common source of allergies in children. Here is a guide to help parents become more informed of the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of pet allergies in children.

What causes pet allergies in children?

Pet allergies in children are an immune reaction to the pet’s dander – a gooey substance made up of saliva and very small skin flakes. Toddlers may also be allergic to the animal’s saliva, urine or feces. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, heredity can also make an individual more susceptible to allergies. If one or both the parents of a toddler have allergies, then there is a big probability that the toddler will also be allergic to something.

What are the signs and symptoms?

It is very important for parents of young children who have pets at home to be aware of the potential symptoms of an allergy to a pet. Here are the indicators that a toddler is allergic to an animal:

•    Stuffy nose
•    Itchy, red or watery eyes
•    Sneezing
•    Coughing
•    Wheezing
•    Rashes, hives and the development of a full-blown asthma (for severe cases of pet allergy)

Symptoms of pet allergy may even transpire even when a toddler is not in close proximity with the animal since the allergen can be found all over the indoor environment. Hence, it will take some work to figure out whether it is your pet or something else that is causing the problem.

Diagnosing The Problem

If you are not sure your household pet is causing the problem, you may want to take your little one to an allergist to help identify the source of irritant. An allergist will perform a thorough evaluation of your toddler’s medical record and complete a physical examination. A skin or blood test is also good for assessing your toddler’s level of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies as it relates to particular allergens. Skin testing is better as it delivers quicker and more precise results than blood tests. After 15 to 20 minutes, the allergist searches for bumps or marks like small mosquito bites that show an allergy.

Treating Pet Allergies In Children

Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for pet allergies in children. But, there are some things you can do to minimize the symptoms. Removing the pet from your home is the most common solution. Your allergy doctor may recommend a saline nasal rinse that contains antihistamine if it is a mild respiratory infection. Allergy shots can also be used if the symptoms persist even after getting rid of the pet and taking medications. Allergy shots can help reduce the symptoms and desensitize the immune system.

Preventing Pet Allergies In Children

Minimize Contact

You might have to give your pet up if your toddler is suffering from pet allergy. But if this is not possible, you can keep your pet outdoors. Make sure your pet does not come into your toddler’s bedroom. Another idea is to find a pet that is more allergy-friendly such as a fish, turtle or cats and dogs that shed less frequently to minimize pet dander.

Change Your Toddler’s Clothes

Change your toddler’s clothes after he plays with your pet. Wash his hands immediately. Make sure he takes a bath every night before going to bed so as to keep allergens from tracking into his room.

Install A Filtration System

Install a filtration system around your house to remove the pet allergens circulating in the air. Get one with a MERV rating of 12 in the heater and air-conditioning unit. See to it you change the filter every 3 months to keep the air in your home clean throughout the year. In addition, it is also a good idea to leave the fan on to create a whole-house air filter to remove the particles that may trigger pet allergy.

Clean Your Home Regularly

Another way to prevent pet allergies in children is to clean your house frequently. Invest in a vacuum cleaner with advanced filtration system to remove dander as well as dust mites, molds and other allergens in the air. Dust appliances and furnitures. Remove your carpets as they can trap pet dander and replace them with smooth flooring such as vinyl, linoleum or hardwood.

Pet allergies in children are very common and it can make a toddler’s life difficult. But, with the help of this information, parents now know how to manage them and make life easier for their toddler and the entire family.

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How To Prevent Toddler Tantrums

A toddler in the midst of a fit might be too hard to control. But even if it is impossible to stop your toddler from ever having a tantrum, there are many things you can do to prevent them. Here are some parent-tested tips on how to prevent toddler tantrums.

Identify The Triggers

What sets off your toddler to have a meltdown? The first step on how to prevent toddler tantrums is to figure out what sets off the behaviour so you can stop it before your toddler dissolves into a full-blown tantrum. For instance, avoid bringing your little one with you when you shop if you know he will just beg and whine for toys and treats. Choose restaurants with a quick service. Make sure your toddler is well-fed and well-rested before going to grandma’s house.

Give Your Toddler Choices

Giving your little one freedom to make his own choices gives him a sense of control which children constantly crave for. This is a very effective technique to prevent toddler tantrums. Substitute direct commands. Instead of saying “Put on your pajamas right now.” (which often sets off a battle), say, “Do you want to brush your teeth or put on your pajamas first?” or “Would you like to wear your blue pajamas or your white pajamas?”. Do not forget to compliment your toddler for his choice.

Encourage Your Toddler To Use Words

Most often, tantrums occur because a young child is unable to express his thoughts and feelings which make a toddler feel helpless. Teach your little one to say or sign words such as “hungry”, “sleepy”, “hurt”, “I want.” and “more”. The easier your toddler can communicate with you, the lesser the chances you are to struggle with tantrums.

Establish A Daily Routine

Toddlers thrive when there is consistency. Thus, it is very essential that you create a daily routine, including mealtimes, naptime, bedtime as well as everyday activities. See to it that you stick to the routine as much as possible. Having a routine helps your toddler know what to expect, giving him a feeling of security which in turn minimizes toddler tantrums.

Keep Your Toddler Busy

Plan active and quiet times for your little one. If you notice your toddler has been playing outdoors or around the house for quite some time, invite your toddler to sit quietly and read a story or finish a puzzle together. If you think your toddler has been cooped up in the house for hours, play active games, ask him to help you with household chores or take a walk around the neighbourhood to get some sun and fresh air.

Give Warnings

If there is any change of plans or activity, make sure you notify your toddler beforehand. For instance, before you pack up the toys or leave the playground, give your little one a 3- to 5-minute warning. Say something like, “We are about to leave in 5 minutes. It is almost time to say goodbye.”, “We will be cleaning up your toys in a while. After we pack them up, let us head to the kitchen and have a snack.”.

Provide Distractions

If you feel your toddler is about to have an outburst, try to distract your toddler. Play a new game. Go to the next room. Sing a song. Talk about anything under the sun. Be silly and make funny faces. It also helps to teach your toddler calming exercises such as counting to ten, taking a deep breath, going for a walk or writing.

Praise Good Behaviour

One way how to prevent toddler tantrums is to give children credit for their good behaviour. Give your toddler a big hug, kiss or a pat on the back for behaving well. Say “I am so happy you behaved in the restaurant.” or “Thank you for following mommy’s instructions.”.

Be A Good Example

Most importantly, there is no better technique how to prevent toddler tantrums by setting a good example for your toddler. If you shout when you are angry or frustrated, then expect your toddler to act the same way when he gets upset. Stay calm and be mature when dealing with difficult situations. Your toddler will see this and will most likely emulate the behaviour.

Toddler tantrums are normal. After all, it is a toddler’s way of expressing and experimenting with feelings. But, these preventive measures are very important in helping a toddler learn how to control emotions and display good behaviour.

Posted in Parenting, Toddler TantrumsComments (1)

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May 2013
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