Being aware of the sounds around you

Being aware of the sounds around you

Do you ever turn on the TV for background noise in the evening, and sometimes not even realize or pay attention to what show is on? As adults, we are not always aware of the sounds around us. When our child is within earshot, it is important to be aware of the sounds that are present in our environment. We are used to noise all around and we know how to tune it out when needed. However children (especially infants) have not learned this skill yet and so the sounds within their environment can sometimes cause overstimulation and possibly a melt-down. Since an infant can’t politely say “turn that down”, most often they demonstrate their dislikes in screams and tears, adding to the noise, and often leading to overstimulation for you as well! What is the solution? Intentional listening – this simply means to be aware of the environment that you and your child are in and use the background sounds to set the tone for the mood or behaviors that you desire. When choosing music to have on in the background, choose music that has a consistent beat and pleasant melodies. Consistent beat A consistent, rhythmic beat provides predictability for children, which in turn provides security and comfort. A consistent beat can be identified by clapping your hands (or clapping with your baby’s hands) in a consistent rhythm with the music. The opposite, arrhythmic beats, would stray away from your consistent clapping. The arrhythmic beats can sometimes be jarring and unpredictable, often creating unease for your child. Pleasant Melody This concept is a little more subjective. Songs that...
How to get your child to listen

How to get your child to listen

Young children need opportunities to be autonomous and to be in control of their own thoughts and bodies. However, there are times when we need our little ones to do what we say​. Have you repeated yourself over and over to a toddler and wondered how to get your child to listen? Most of us have repeated ourselves trying to get a toddler to do what we want, and those repeated requests and​ ​the​ ​non-compliance cause frustration that can quickly turn​ ​into raised voices and negative emotions…no fun for parents or toddlers. Here are a few simple techniques that will increase the likelihood your child will comply ​​when you need them to: First, give your child many opportunities for choice throughout the day.​ ​[You can refer to the previous article on Choice for ideas]. If they have opportunities for choice, they are more likely to listen when choice is not an option. ​Try to limit the number of requests your child must comply with. When choice is not an option, your child will be more likely to comply when your instructions are simple, clear and provide positive directions. ​These are effective commands.​ The word “command” can seem strong but it is simply giving direction that is not optional. For example, saying “Are you ready to go to the store?” implies that your child has a choice​ ​-​ ​your child is free to say “No​,​ I don’t want to go!” If this is not a choice, instead say “It’s time to go to the store. Please walk to the car.” Here are some quick tips on how to give effective commands:...
Formula and breastfeeding – the facts!

Formula and breastfeeding – the facts!

Choosing formula and breastfeeding – it’s a big decision for parents. While there are many factors to take into consideration, in the end there is really only one thing that matters: Which choice is right for you and your child?  As a registered dietitian and nutritionist in a pediatric practice, I discuss breastfeeding and formula with new parents every day. Below is a breakdown of the benefits and challenges of breastfeeding and formula feeding – here are the facts!   Breastfeeding: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as the best source of nutrition for infants.  Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by the introduction of complementary foods, with continuation of breastfeeding till 1 year or older is recommended by the AAP.  You can access their Policy Statement about breastfeeding here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full#content-block). The benefits with breastfeeding include:  Provides natural antibodies to help baby resist illnesses Easily digested, and babies often experience less constipation and gassiness May lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome during the first year Some studies have shown higher levels of cognitive function in breastfed babies Evidence shows that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions including: childhood overweight/obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac’s disease, asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer Women who breastfeed lose pregnancy weight faster than women who do not It is a bonding opportunity for mother and child It is a low cost option (of course there is your time and supportive tools, equipment ad/or advice) Challenges with...
Teething do’s and don’ts

Teething do’s and don’ts

As a pediatrician, I hear a great deal of questions and concerns about teeth and teething: “Can you see if my baby has any teeth coming in?” “I think my baby is teething; her hands are always in her mouth.” “My baby is not sleeping, not eating, is more fussy, and has a fever – could this be from teething?” Teething is the process of teeth erupting through the gums. It can start as early as 3 months and continue until as late as 30 months, when all 20 of the primary teeth are in. Most commonly, parents can expect that first tooth to peek through around 4-7 months of age. Usually the middle two bottom teeth appear first and are followed by the four upper teeth, then the lower lateral incisors. Next, families can expect the first set of molars, then finally the canine (eye) teeth. Some babies can even be born with one or two teeth. As children begin teething, they may drool more and want to chew on things. However, this can be confused with normal developmental milestones. At around 3 months of age, babies put their hands to their mouths, then hold toys and bring them to their mouths. So not all drooling and hands in the mouth is related to teething. Some babies are a little more irritable with teething, and the most discomfort occurs during the few days before the tooth breaks through the gum. The gums may appear a bit swollen and a little more red. Sometimes the gums can even look a little purple or bruised. Some babies may feed a...
What does it mean to be school ready?

What does it mean to be school ready?

The playground can be a tough place…especially for parents!​ You may meet parents who boast about their 3 year old who reads independently. Others ​swoon​ about ​their​​ 4 year old who can count to 50 with ease. All of this may leave you wondering if your child is school ready. What does it mean for a child to be “school ready”? What indicators​ can ​tell you if your child is going to thrive when he/she walks through those doors on the first day of school? ​It’s helpful to be guided by two principles when thinking about school and your child’s ​abilities: (1) ​​Every child​ is​ unique ​and there can be no “one size fits all” definition of school readiness​; and (2) You are the most valuable resource for your child’s ​readiness. — for more tips, check out our Parenting Advice section — You may be surprised to learn that school readiness has less to do with what your child can already do, ​and more about how prepared he/she is to learn it.  Is your child ready physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively to function in a classroom​?​ ​It is not about what they already know to “be ahead” or “keep up” in school. It is important to ​differentiate between the behavioral skills (collaboration, patience, ​listening​)​ you want your child to have, and ​content knowledge (counting, reading, writing).​ Preparedness happens when you are mindful of your child’s learning, patient when challenges arise and thoughtful about how you can support and nurture their growth. ​There are many school readiness traits developed and studied by top educators,​ ​​and based on the research, and my own experience, I have identified seven​ “School Readiness Indicators​”​ which ​will...
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