Toddler Fears: Things That Go Bump in the Night
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With your 3-year-old's expanded imagination comes more fears that seem irrational to you, but are terrifying to your toddler. Learn how to combat common toddler fears like monsters and the dark.
Transcript: Your toddler is fearless in some ways - he or she will run, climb and tumble, gathering bumps and bruises...
Your toddler is fearless in some ways - he or she will run, climb and tumble, gathering bumps and bruises along the way. But toddlers and preschoolers are also irrationally fearFUL of many things. Starting at around 3 years old, your son or daughter's IMAGINATON begins to blossom. BUT, they can't always separate FANTASY from REALITY. For this reason, it's normal that certain fears may develop. Fear of a creature living under the bed or in the closet is common as is fear of the DARK. To alleviate these anxieties, place a night light in your toddler's bedroom. You may also make a show of checking for monsters or getting rid of them with a special "trick." A favorite blanket or stuffed animal may also help relieve his nighttime anxiety. Your child may also be afraid of cats and dogs. Don't force him to interact with them, and let him know you'll protect him. Then, if it's a dog or cat you know, you can reassure him they are not dangerous by touching the animal yourself. Loud noises, baths, even the vacuum - anything can become frightening to a 3 or 4 year old. But no matter how irrational your child's fear seems to you, DON'T dismiss or belittle it. Sometimes, it might help if you can figure out what's triggering the fear. Is it related to being apart from you? To sibling rivalries that may be amped up? You won't always be able to tease out a cause, but it's worth trying. In addition: DO confidently reassure your little one that you'll protect them from any harm. DO demonstrate that the object of their fear is harmless by facing it yourself. DO role-play if his fear involves other adults, such as doctors or costumed characters. You may find a great tactic that calms your toddler's anxiety... or you may not; it all depends on your child's temperament. In most kids, though, these fears fade at around 5 years old. Take a look at more videos in this series for details on toddler behavior, discipline and much more.More »
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Sometimes, it's tough to encourage healthy eating while trying to have a pleasant meal, too. Take this survey to share how you help your toddler eat well, despite picky eating habits and table tantrums.
Last Modified: 2012-12-04 | Tags »
toddler nutrition, toddler meals, toddler diet
Your toddler resists bedtime with all her might. Find out how to help your toddler get the sleep she needs-- watch this video for tips on handling toddler sleep problems.
Transcript: If you think it's a struggle getting your toddler to EAT, wait until the kiddo starts resisting SLEEP....
If you think it's a struggle getting your toddler to EAT, wait until the kiddo starts resisting SLEEP. Bedtime is a notoriously DIFFICULT time during the toddler years-your son or daughter always wants to stay UP. This may be due to separation anxiety, hyperactivity due to over-tiredness, a desire to avoid "missing" anything, or because he wants to assert his independence. To avoid a battle, the FIRST thing you need to do is establish a CONSISTENT night time routine. Read him a story, give him a BATH, sing him a lullaby, or just cuddle-whatever you do together, make sure it's quiet and calming. Do it every night and soon enough, the activity will cue in sleepiness. Before you say good night, ask him if he has to use the bathroom or drink water-take care of these potential interruptions NOW so he doesn't get up in 30 minutes asking for them. Provide a favorite stuffed animal or blanket for him to sleep with - it'll help ease separation anxiety. Lower the volume of conversations and TV shows outside his room - the LESS he hears, the less he'll want to get out of bed and join the fun. Of course, you can expect him to get out of bed sometimes, but don't let him make it a HABIT. DON'T run to him whenever he wakes up calling for Mom or Dad, wait a minute and see if he falls back asleep. When you do go to him, don't stay too long or turn on the light. The exception may be when he has nightmares or night terrors. Then you want to comfort him, ease any fear and help him fall asleep again. Night TERRORS usually begin at 4 or 5 years old-your child may scream and cry for 5 to 15 minutes, fall back asleep quickly, and have no memory of the episode. They're scary to watch, but don't usually signal any underlying psychological issues. However, if night terrors happen frequently, it's worth a mention to your pediatrician. Check out over videos in this series to get more information on toddler behaviors and solutions.More »
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Toddlers will try anything to stay up with you, but your job is to help them replenish their stores of energy in the short-term and establish a regular sleep schedule in the long-term. Take this survey to share your experience with toddler bedtime battles
Last Modified: 2012-12-03 | Tags »
toddler behavior, toddlers at night, bedtime for toddlers
When a toddler tantrum ensues, you just want to give in. But you should learn how to say no-- get parenting advice on toddler discipline and toddler behavior problems.
Transcript: Your 2-year-old daughter is at a stage when she's becoming INDEPENDENT, CURIOUS, and adventurous. She...
Your 2-year-old daughter is at a stage when she's becoming INDEPENDENT, CURIOUS, and adventurous. She wants to learn by DOING. But she doesn't know her own abilities and limits yet, and it's YOUR job to teach her self-control. Establishing rules and setting limits is an important part of this learning process. Be clear, provide examples, and be consistent. When she doesn't follow your guidelines, you may resort to saying "NO!" But that word is only as powerful as your follow through. If you're only going to eventually give in, what reason does she have for paying any attention to your initial NO? So when you say NO, MEAN no, so you can demonstrate-and ENFORCE-the consequences of not listening. You also want to avoid head to head conflict. That doesn't teach a child self-control OR respect. So...keep your cool. But it's an UNFORTUNATE truth that toddlers and tantrums go hand-in-hand. It's only natural that you feel like arguing back when you try to enforce rules and your toddler is on a "No, no, no!" kick. Don't. Instead, -Have patience. If YOU lose control your child will think that's the proper response to the situation. -Find reasons to say "YES." -Reinforce GOOD behavior with specific praise. -Find creative ways for her to do things on her own. -Offer CHOICES to help her experience the independence she CRAVES. Remember: Kids learn by watching what their parents are doing. So if something's a DON'T for your child, DON'T do it either. When NO is absolute, such as in cases of danger, you might say, "You cannot touch the hot stove! " "You cannot cross the street by yourself!" But enforce it with calm certainty, not anger or anxiety. And when your child forgets or refuses to follow a rule or acts out: - Help her calm down by staying calm yourself. -Teach her HEALTHIER ways of self-expression. -Distract her from her tantrum. -Teach her problem-solving skills. Curious about other discipline issues with toddlers? Explore the rest of the videos in this series.More »
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Trying to teach your toddler how to share toys? It's tough, but it can be done. Watch this video for information on toddlers and sharing.
Transcript: Your little one REFUSES to share toys with friends and cousins during playtime. Why? Well, Children typically...
Your little one REFUSES to share toys with friends and cousins during playtime. Why? Well, Children typically DON'T develop an UNDERSTANDING of sharing until age 3 or 4. It's not that your kid is mean-spirited-- children at that age CAN'T see things from another person's perspective; they only know what they PERSONALLY feel. They ALSO lack the self-control necessary to stop themselves from doing what they WANT to do, EVEN if it's against the rules. You can begin to teach your toddler the CONCEPT of sharing by explaining the process, pointing out instances when people are sharing, and by setting an example by sharing your things with your son, or daughter. Here are more strategies that work: -When playing, practice taking turns in a game. Take turns putting the toys and games away. -When reading a book together, turn a page, then have your child turn a page and keep alternating turns. If your child isn't ready to share, don't punish him, but be ready for potential conflicts and see if you can find ways to avoid them. If other children will be around, offer toys that your son does not identify as HIS. Explain that these should be shared and do NOT belong to him. Or allocate certain toys as "sharing" toys, so there's no argument. -ALLOW your son to put away his SPECIAL toys that he does NOT want to share. -Make sure there are ENOUGH toys to go around. -Praise your son and the other kids when they DO share. -Plan activities that DON'T require sharing. -Be prepared to intervene if your child treats another's toys as if they are his own. Take the toys away and return them to their owner. To learn more about your toddler's development, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Your toddler is fascinated with his or her own genitalia, and you don't know how to talk to them about it. Watch this video to get tips on talking to your toddler about nudity and touching.
Transcript: Your toddler SHOULD discover his or her body and private parts-so don't try to discourage it. Children...
Your toddler SHOULD discover his or her body and private parts-so don't try to discourage it. Children typically become curious about their bodies between 18 months and 3 years. Toddlers will often touch their genitals. At this age, they do NOT understand society's concepts of modesty or sexuality. This is just toddlers being toddlers-curious explorers. And that's why you should begin talking to your child about his or her body a LOT earlier than puberty, advises the American Academy of Pediatrics. You should tell your child about the physical aspects of being female or male, and WHAT their different body parts are. It is IMPORTANT to teach the REAL names, NOT made up ones-doing so could indicate there's something wrong with the real words, and possibly cause future embarrassment. Additionally, you will need to explain which body parts are considered PRIVATE and should be kept covered. If your child has questions, be direct with your replies. Don't provide more information than is needed, but make sure it's clear and understandable, such as "it's not good manners to show grandma your penis". It's up to each individual family to set standards for when nudity is acceptable and what touching is allowed-and under what circumstances. Remember: PUNISHING your child for this behavior may cause him or her to FEEL shame or to become more intensely focused on self-exploration. By age 4 or 5, your child will likely show an interest in other aspects of gender and reproduction, including where babies come from, and begin to ask questions about the differences between girls and boys. The more open and direct you are, the better your chance of continuing an open discussion as the teen years approach. To learn more about toddler health, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-26 | Tags »
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When your toddler hears you swear, he or she will likely mimic you, which can be embarrassing in public. Get tips on controlling your toddler's dirty mouth.
Transcript: It's shocking-and maybe a little amusing--the first time you hear a really nasty word come out of your...
It's shocking-and maybe a little amusing--the first time you hear a really nasty word come out of your youngster's mouth. Even if you're careful at home, chances are you SLIP from time to time. And kids pick up swear words at preschool, from older siblings, around the neighborhood, and from TV. According to the Association for Psychological Science, curse words emerge in children's vocabulary by age 2 and the swearing becomes adult-like between ages 11 and 12. WHY do children swear? COMMON reasons include: -To feel like a grownup. -To get attention. -To copy what they've heard from other kids, adults, or on TV or in the movies. What can you do to get restore your child's G-rated vocab? Establish CLEAR rules about swearing: If you DON'T want your child to use these words, be clear he cannot use them at home or at school. Establish consequences, and enforce them. As with other rules, be sure YOU follow them TOO. He's following YOUR example-so no more cursing when you drop your cell phone. Teach him how to express himself in healthier ways. PRAISE him when he reacts to anger appropriately. If he curses in front of strangers, don't be too embarrassed-they'll probably just laugh. After all, kids will be kids, and yours WILL eventually learn that cursing is NOT a classy thing to do. To learn more about toddler development, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Whether you're flying with a toddler or taking a long drive with one, there are several preparations to make for your journey. Watch this video for information on traveling with a toddler safely and easily.
Transcript: Before you say, "We're going to Disneyland!", it's smart to travel-proof your toddler as much as possible....
Before you say, "We're going to Disneyland!", it's smart to travel-proof your toddler as much as possible. First, pack a travel and safety kit to manage small scratches, cuts or strains. Pack a copy of your child's medical history, and a list of all prescription medicines that your child takes. Depending on where you're headed, you may need travel-size packages of common over-the-counter meds, including: antidiarrheal medication, antihistamines, decongestants, anti-motion sickness medication, pain or fever meds, cough suppressants, antacids, and hydrocortisone creams. Kids often get motion sickness, and diarrhea or colds are common while traveling/ You should also toss in bug spray and sunscreen. If traveling by plane, make sure to purchase a separate ticket for your child since it's safer for him to sit in a car seat that's been OK'd for use on planes. I suggest you dress your child in easy-to-remove clothing and shoes. EVERYONE gets a security check, and you'll make it easier on both of you if you can hasten it along. Don't depend on airplane food to feed your child - bring his favorite snacks with you. You should also pack some of his toys to distract him from a fear of flying, or just to entertain him during the long flight. To reduce ear pain, encourage your child to yawn, swallow, or drink through a straw during takeoff and landings. These actions will work to relieve the pressure. Before any international trips, check with your pediatrician to see if your child needs any vaccines. Prevent jet-lag by adjusting your child's bedtime routine a few days before your trip. When you get to your hotel room, examine the room and childproof it if necessary. Traveling with a toddler is often harrowing, but with the right planning, you can make your trip as hassle-free as possible!More »
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Your toddler's temper tantrums cause you to feel anger, embarrassment and disappointment, but those feeling those emotions is not the most productive reaction. Watch this video to get advice on how to handle toddler tantrums, crying fits and public fussiness.
Transcript: You know the scene. There you are, hopelessly staring at your screaming toddler writhing on the floor....
You know the scene. There you are, hopelessly staring at your screaming toddler writhing on the floor. What should you do? Before you panic, let me give you some advice. Stay calm and get back in control by DISTRACTING your child. Hand him a toy, move to a new location, or tell him a story. During tantrums, URGE your little one to use his or her words. This encourages good communication, and what's called tension regulation - that's the ability to manage feelings like anger and frustration instead of VENTING them. At the same time, you must recognize your toddler's limitations. Many tantrums happen because a toddler doesn't know the words for what he's trying to express. That's why yelling and punishments during tantrums AREN'T warranted-you toddler isn't pitching fits just to make you mad. So while you're desperate to quiet down the situation RIGHT NOW, try to figure out what's provoked the meltdown: Exhaustion? Frustration? Hunger? Lack of attention from you? Then, help YOUR CHILD by suggesting the right words to express his emotions and YOU'LL come up with an effective solution. In the long run, you'll reduce the number of tantrums if you praise your child for GOOD behavior, for example, when you leave the grocery store without incident. POSITIVE reinforcement will lead to more good behavior down the line. You can also attempt to prevent tantrums by avoiding DANGER zones, such as the grocery store or mall. Toddlers are especially prone to tantrums when they're hungry or tired... but come to think of it, so are adults!More »
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Need tips on how to discipline your toddler? Watch this video to learn the right toddler discipline techniques.
Transcript: You don't want to SCARE your little son or daughter, but you don't want discipline to be INEFFECTIVE,...
You don't want to SCARE your little son or daughter, but you don't want discipline to be INEFFECTIVE, either. It's a difficult balance sometimes. Your ultimate goal should be to teach your child with proper behavior patterns. Before the age of 4, a child can't truly appreciate concepts of right and wrong, meaning they aren't really trying to do anything "bad", they're just responding to their environment. Disciplining with this in mind should help craft your discipline style, and offer perspective. So first off, DON'T punish your child with regular spankings. The American Academy of Pediatrics says it's ineffective in the long-term and is potentially damaging to your little one's mental health. Try NOT to yell at your son or daughter. At this age, they learn EVERYTHING from you, so they'll mimic your behavior in the near and distant future. Save the yelling for when they are in immediate danger, or for when they really mean to do something wrong! Try to avoid giving timeouts-they turn out to be smart if YOU are out of control and need to separate from your child before you get too angry or even abusive, but for a child of this age, they may not teach much. The message-that you don't want to deliver-may be, "You are so bad we can't deal with this" or "It's best to turn away from conflict, instead of solving it." If tensions escalate, however, the time out may be the only thing that helps your child calm down and provides positive relief. Then it makes sense. DON'T give in to your toddler's demands. He'll think that if he screams and cries enough, you'll give him what he wants. Bargaining with him will also produce the same reaction. Distraction is a good tool here and can often re-focus your toddler. That brings me to a DO - be CONSISTENT. If you say "No cookies if you continue to yell at me," follow through with it. You and other caregivers who are present should present a united front. DO let your toddler experience the consequences of his actions. An example of a NATURAL consequence is letting him go without a toy if he breaks it by throwing it to the floor. A LOGICAL consequence means denying him the use of your tablet if he refuses to share it with a sibling. DO be a role model. If you don't want your toddler to CURSE, don't curse in front of him. Finally, DO understand your toddler's developmental limitations. A temper tantrum or even a BITING incident doesn't indicate that you have a MEAN kid-children this age are struggling to express their emotions. You want to help them by teaching them the words for what they are feeling -even if they are mad at you! There's so much more to learn about toddler discipline and behavior - check out more videos in this series!More »
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Toddlers bite for a variety of reasons, from anger to boredom to tiredness. Watch this video to learn how to deal with a biting toddler.
Transcript: Toddlers use their new teeth to chew food and sometimes, BITE people! If this sounds like your kid, rest...
Toddlers use their new teeth to chew food and sometimes, BITE people! If this sounds like your kid, rest assured that this is quite NORMAL for the age. Toddlers may bite other children or adults if: -They can't express their anger, frustration, excitement or joy with WORDS -They don't know how to express their unwillingness to share -they feel overwhelmed with the sounds or goings-on around them -they just want to see what will happen -they're REALLY bored, REALLY tired or REALLY HUNGRY. Your FIRST response to the biting is to comfort the BITTEN person, even if it's an adult. Giving the BITER attention FIRST may reinforce the bad behavior. And caring for the victim teaches your child empathy. Next, turn to the biter - your child. Don't yell, bite BACK, or embarrass him. Don't react with ANY strong emotion, in fact. Stay calm and your child will calm down, too. Be clear: say that biting hurts and that it's NOT an okay thing to do. And try to get your child to apologize. Teach him how to use his WORDS to express his feelings. Teach him strategies to cope with his emotions. This teaching won't happen on Day One, but over time, he'll start to come around. Finally, distract both the bitER and a toddler bitEE with other activities. To PREVENT biting, identify the situations that usually lead to it and intervene if you see tension building. Distract your child with a story or toy. If you think your child bites to express emotion, step in and suggest healthy ways to let his feelings out. Praise him when he successfully does so. Finally, DON'T label your child as a "biter" - he'll actually start to believe it! Learn more -- Check out our other videos on toddler discipline!More »
Last Modified: 2014-04-24 | Tags »
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