Tag Archives: toddler

Time to turn off the TV?

Photo: Getty

When the toddlers I care for have had (what I’ve decided is) enough TV I often tell them their favourite characters are going to sleep. If they ask for TV when I don’t want them to watch I’ll say again that so-and-so is sleeping.

Should we encourage children to believe the characters on TV have lives we can’t see? Should we molly coddle them with these ideas when we really just want to say “no”?

I’m ok with limited TV for children but definitely don’t want them watching all day, or becoming less able to be entertained without the screen on. Perhaps the best way to keep TV from becoming so central is to keep the characters the children watch from becoming too real, like playmates they can’t wait to see again. Dora’s not sleeping – she doesn’t bloody well exist!

What do you think? If your young children watch TV, what do you say to them to discourage them from wanting too much?
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You might also like:

Television makes toddlers aggressive: The Telegraph

Television addicted 2 year olds don’t even know their own name: Eco Child’s Play

Why it’s really not so terrible to let your toddler watch TV: Huffington Post

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Potty mouth!

English: "No Swearing" sign along At...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You dropped a glass. It shattered as it hit the ground, sending glass splinters skating across the floor and a pool of shard filled juice creeping under the fridge.

“F**k.”

A fairly common response. Except you didn’t say it. Your 18 month old toddler watching you from the doorway did.

My baby has a potty ¬†mouth before he’s even potty trained!

He’s so cute at this age. Now he understands around 200 words and can probably say about 60. You can share jokes together, he is beginning to follow your simple rules and instructions, and is able to tell you what he wants to eat and how he likes to play. I bet you love to show off to others how he can repeat a word for you – “Can you say, ‘shark’ ?? … Tell Grandma what this is! …”

What an excellent mimic! And isn’t is he adorable when he tries to use the broom or the phone or the remote just like you do? And now he’s swearing, just like you do. It’s enough to make you want to say, “F**k!” ūüôā

How did this happen?!

Your toddler thinks you are the bees knees. You are the bestest, smartest, most wonderfullest person and he wants nothing more than to be like you and to have your approval.

If he’s heard you repeat a word or a phrase often enough, and to be honest it doesn’t have to be that often, he’ll want to try and¬†say it too – to be like you. And if you react when he says it with amusement or attention, even negative attention, he’ll want to keep eliciting that response from you.

As far as your toddler is concerned, he’s ticking all the boxes every time he says ‘the F word’. He does it just like you do, and he gets plenty of attention for it as well.

What should I do to clean up his act?

Remove both the reasons he’s doing it in the first place. Don’t give him something to mimic and don’t give him attention for saying the word.

Believe me, I love a good curse word, when used in the company of adults who appreciate it! But those blissful days of babyhood when you could talk about whatever you wanted, using whatever language you liked and know your child had no clue what was going on are O-V-E-R. And if you can’t spell you’re in trouble, too, because you’re going to spell rather say say things like, ‘ice cream’, or ‘park’, or ‘bedtime’, for many years to come.

Be more mindful of what words you say, and the content of your conversations, from now on. Encourage your child to say a phrase like, “Oh Oh!” when there’s an accident and be sure to do the same yourself.

If he keeps using unwanted words, tell him not to say it, but don’t make a fuss. Do not laugh, no matter how inappropriately hilarious it is to hear your munchkin unknowingly swearing like the proverbial sailor. Keep a blank expression on your face, not one of disapproval either. After briefly telling him not to say the word, go about your business, preferable something unrelated to your child. Now he is no longer getting any worthwhile response from saying this word.

Soon enough he will forget about it and choose to use language that he mimics from your own and that is reinforced by your interactions with him. That is, until he goes to school and learns them all over again from the other kids!

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When has your child said something inappropriate?

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Teeth Grinding: Is that normal?

A young boy after losing two baby teeth, exfol...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Welcome to the first post in the new series, “Should I be worried?” – your go-to-place for a quick reference about a variety of common infant and toddler behaviours and ailments.

As many as a third of young children will grind and click their teeth. The habit can emerge as young as 8 months, around the time the front teeth come in. The sound of your child grinding her teeth will most likely set your own on edge. It’s surprisingly loud, disconcertingly abrasive, and can have you asking, “Is this normal?”

Should I be worried about my baby or toddler’s teeth grinding?

No, there’s no need to worry. Not only is this a common practise in young children, it’s also a harmless one. Teething grinding, or Bruxism as it’s technically called, will not ruin your baby’s teeth.¬†

Though some slight wearing of the teeth can occur, it won’t be enough to seriously damage them, and certainly not enough to cause pain.¬†Baby teeth have fewer developed nerves and less fully developed roots, and so are not as sensitive as adult teeth. Your baby can probably only feel a rubbing sensation from the action.¬†

Why do children grind their teeth?

There are several reasons your child may be grinding her teeth. The habit usually begins with teething, so it may be that the rubbing helps alleviate pain and discomfort. The sound and sensation can also be soothing to your child. Similar to head banging or rocking, children find a rhythmic motion, feeling, or sound comforting when they are anxious or tired; self soothing is valuable skill and not a sign your child is unhappy.

Most likely, however, the grinding is a natural and healthy learning process that goes hand in hand with new teeth. Your child is exploring her mouth and teeth and discovering what they do, how they feel, and what noises they can make. Even though the sound is horrible to you, it is interesting to your child.

Should I do anything about it?

This, too, shall pass. Your child will likely grow bored of grinding her teeth during the day and grow out of grinding them at night. The habit is best ignored or discouraged with distraction.

If your child is still grinding her teeth regularly after all her baby teeth have come in, this may be the time to see a dentist and check for excessive wear. Even then, it is unlikely that your child’s grinding is a problem and probable that she will grow out of the behaviour by the time she is about 6 years old.

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Does your child grind their teeth?

What have you done about it?

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Baby and Toddler Toileting Gadgets – crazy or genius?

Every now and then someone comes up with a new piece of gear for baby and toddler care that is pure genius. ¬†When they first invented the baby monitor I’m sure parents everywhere were relieved to be able to move their ear away from the nursery door. When non spill valves were added to sippy cups toddlers rejoiced at the freedom to upturn their drinks with wanton abandon. But when some bright spark started selling the Peepee Teepee, basically a little hat for your baby boy’s penis, not everyone was convinced.peepee-teepee (1)

In fact, there are hundreds of innovations aimed squarely at your baby or toddler’s toileting habits. But since we’ve got some of the basics to a fairly fine art (think disposable nappies, baby wipes, portable potties…) there are still¬†entrepreneurs¬†out there pushing at the glass ceiling of baby¬†ablutions and eliminations.¬†

Here are three baby and toddler toileting gadgets that just might be crazy enough to be genius. Unless they’re just crazy.¬†

Baby Bathroom Harness

Baby-Keeper-Basic

The Babykeeper is a harness for a baby aged 6-18 months that is designed, not to be worn by an adult, but to hang over the door of a public toilet.

This one’s more about your toileting habits, but if you’ve ever had to go to a public toilet with a baby you know the choices you’re faced with are all crap (pun intended!). You can leave your baby in their pram just outside the locked door where they will no doubt be abducted and raised by a cult. You can leave the stall door open with the pram just outside so the cult members coming to use the public bathroom can watch you wee. You can try and cradle your baby in your lap while using the toilet, and probably drop them, Baby 59 style, straight into the bowl. Or you can set them on the floor and pray the germs are no worse than anywhere else your baby sits (side-note: apparently they probably are actually no worse than anywhere else).

This over-the-door-harness may make you feel slightly as if you’re treating you baby like a handbag, but provided you don’t forget to collect them as you leave, may just be the answer to the question: “What happens if I can’t hold it until I get home?”

iPad Potty

ipad potty

The iPotty is a plastic potty with an activity stand for an iPad attached.

Though there is what seems to be incessant talk about whether or not toddlers and young children should use technology like iPads (note to self, write post about whether or not toddlers and children should use technology like iPads) the fact is, millions do. Much advice about potty training centers on the dual issues of keeping the child actually sitting on the potty long enough to see some action, and finding the experience rewarding, or at least not finding the experience upsetting. Having a TV show to watch or an app to play with while learning to use the potty addresses both issues smoothly and simply.

You may cringe at the idea of introducing your child to iPads in general, let alone encouraging them to hunker down on the loo staring at a screen for long periods of time, but when your toddler starts asking to use the potty instead of weeing on your lap or smearing poo on the walls above their cot I suspect it won’t seem such a problem.

Toddler Urinal

toddler-urinal

The Peter Potty website announces that it is the world’s only flushable toddler urinal. It is exactly what it sounds like, a urinal small enough for the smallest of urinaters, and adjustable as they grow.

Children of both sexes are usually taught to wee sitting down. But many little boys want to stand, like they see their Daddy doing. An adult toilet is too high for a toddler to wee into standing but a regular potty on the floor is too small to aim at. You either have to resign yourself to urine all over the bathroom floor or insist your boy sits to wee until he is much taller.

Adding a urinal to your bathroom at home may seem like overkill, but despite the instinct to link them with the smell of stale urine and the general distaste of some public men’s bathrooms, the toddler urinal could be be best way to keep your bathroom floor wee-free while keeping your little man happy.

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Join the discussion below, are these gadgets crazy or genius?

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Playpens: Are they good or bad?

Not so long ago the playpen was a very common and ordinary part of a young child’s life. Ask your own parents or grandparents and there’s a good chance they not only used one, but did so without spending much time pondering over its evils or benefits. The playpen was as ubiquitous as the pram or the highchair.

But today it is far less common to see a playpen. Those who do use them often joke uncomfortably about “locking” their baby away, to buffer against the criticism of others. Forums are littered with parents questioning their pros and cons and asking for advice about whether a playpen will help or harm their baby and their family. Many feel the playpen has become a sort of anti-status symbol, where parents who use one believe they are looked down upon by those who do not.

Why the playpen has fallen from favour.

There are various websites and forum comments that allude to studies that show babies placed in playpens experience developmental delay and suffer long term mental and physical harm. But no one seems to be able to point to any such studies and Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at University of California-Berkeley and author of ¬†The Philosophical Baby, says she ” [doesn’t] know of any systematic research on this.” What seems most likely is that advice about the importance of allowing a baby to move and explore their environment has been applied by concerned parents to playpens, though not intended to specifically warn against their use in their entirety. Continue reading

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