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Archive for the ‘Toddler’ Category


Who here grew up playing in a portable pool at Grandma’s house? Raise a hand? I did! I personally grew up with a pool in my backyard, but remember as a child going to play at friends’ houses or Grandma’s house where there would be a portable pool to make the warm weather heat of summer a little bit more bearable. I live in New York now and even my nieces play in a portable pool on a city roofdeck because pools are scarce in the city…what was really shocking to find out this week was a new study that suggests portable or inflatable swimming pools are a greater danger to children than many parents likely realize, leading to one death every five days in the United States during warm months. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, provides harrowing descriptions of 209 backyard drownings and 35 near-drownings that have occurred in portable pools from 2001 to 2009. Scarily, I found out this study is the first U.S. research to probe the role portable pools have played in deaths or near-drownings.

Researchers restricted their study to include wading pools less than 45 centimeters deep to inflatable and soft-sided pools measuring about one meter deep.

The study, published Monday, June 20, 2011 in the journal Pediatrics, found that 209 children died in these pools between 2001 and 2009. In addition, there were 35 near-drownings reported during the same time period. The researchers reported on accidents that occurred in water depths ranging from two inches to four feet. One accident involved a parent who fell asleep in a wading pool while holding a child. Other accidents occurred during lapses in pool supervision when a parent left to answer the phone or was distracted by yard work. Two 9-year-old girls drowned in an inflatable pool after becoming entangled in a pool cover. In another case, 3-year-old twins died after leaving their home undetected and jumping into a neighbor’s unsecured four-foot-deep portable pool.

According to the study, 94 per cent of children were under age five and 56 per cent of the victims were boys. The children were also more likely to be in their own yard when the incident happened, with 73 per cent of incidents taking place there.

In this Aug. 7, 2007 file photo, Todd Fuentes, 4, left, plays with Adrian Girald, 7, second from right, and Anthony Zollinger, second from left, as his father Eugene Fuentes, right, looks on in a portable pool in Brooklyn, New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

“The anecdotal evidence was suggesting that because portable pools are readily available in many convenience stores and malls, and they’re relatively cheap, parents would pick them up, take them home, quickly assemble them, and all this would be done without a lot of forethought about the safety aspects,” said senior author, Dr. Gary A. Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Why is there a trend in buying portable pools?
Portable pools have become a popular and affordable alternative to expensive in-ground pools or stationary above-ground pools. Unlike the fragile, inflatable pools of the past, portable pools today are sturdy and large, including some that can be filled with as much as water as a small in-ground pool. Large wading pools typically cost $100 or less, whereas very large portable pools can cost $1,000 or less. By comparison, in-ground pools can cost $30,000 or more.

The downside of portable pools?
The downside of portable pools is that they often lack the security fences and gates that most local zoning authorities typically require to surround in-ground and above-ground pools. Among the portable pool drownings that were reviewed by the Pediatrics study, at least 47 could have been prevented if the pool had been surrounded by fencing.

The researchers acknowledge that no single strategy can completely prevent a death or near drowning, and so advocate a multi-pronged approach. On the one hand, manufacturers should develop affordable safety devices for portable pools, including fencing, alarms and safety covers, which are common for in-ground pools. They also say better consumer-education programs are needed to make parents aware of the pools’ risks.

According to the study, children were under adult supervision in only 43 per cent of the cases.

In-ground pools must have fencing on all four sides, while portable pools can be put anywhere on a property, she said. In my opinion, many consumers assume such pools are safer because of their smaller size and that there is only a couple of inches of water, so it’s not that big of a worry. Portable pools can be extremely dangers and should be treated the same way parents see larger built-in backyard pools with the same importance of adult supervision.

“The thing about drowning is that it’s simply different than most other types of injuries, because if you fall from playground equipment, you usually get another chance,” he said. “With drowning, it’s quick, it’s silent and it’s final. That’s why it’s so important to prevent these events from occurring in the first place,” say Dr. Smith.

Note: Researchers obtained data for this study from the four U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission data banks: the Death Certificate file, the Injury/Potential Injury Incident file, the In-Depth Investigation file, and the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Bottom line mommies and daddies? If you are going to use a portable or inflatable pool – you must be vigilant the entire time, never leave your child unattended and treat it as if it were an actual pool in your backyard. What’s an alternative? I loved sprinklers in the grass as a kid – shockingly they are really fun and kids always find a way to make a game or two of it in the summer heat!

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Whether you are a mom, dad, babysitter, relative or grandparent trying to feed your toddler at the table, it can be a challenge because kids at this age are very squirmy. Here are some creative tips to keep them happy at the dinner table and in their chair eating:

  1. Be creative with toddler utensils. For example, give your kids a garlic press to puree some of their own dinner.
  2. Let them play with a cookie cutter, whisk or lidded containers with food inside of them (this entertains them while you are at the table so you can get a quick bite in too!)
  3. Keep a small stash of plastic toys ready that you can put onto the high chair tray as your child’s interest in the food begins to go downward.
  4. Play farm animals – ask your toddler to pretend to be an animal who can “eat some of his or her meal.
  5. Use plastic cars or trucks to drive up to the food (fill the truck, such as a dump truck, with food and “drive” it into a pile for him or her to eat.
  6. Lastly, consider eating in your toddler’s favorite spot. If your child eats with you at the dinner table every night, why not switch it up and eat at his or her play area once in awhile or perhaps have a “special night” not in the high chair as a treat! 🙂

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Every parent has been there….found themselves in deep negotiation with their 2-year-old over whether he can wear his cookie monster shirt 5 days in a row? What parent has not, at one time or another, taken a “walk of shame” out of the grocery store when their child throws themselves to the floor with a tantrum? Toddlerhood is a hard time for many parents because this is the age at which children become more independent and discover themselves as little people that are independent. BUT – although they may be able to communicate well, many have limited ability to reason.

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Here are some secret tactics I gathered from various moms on how to discipline your toddler: 

1. Think Like a Toddler
Toddlers aren’t mini-adults. They have trouble understanding many of the things we take for granted, like how to follow directions and behave appropriately. Try to see the situation from your child’s perspective and help prevent a tantrum.

Giving choices also shows that you respect your toddler and recognize your child’s feelings. In a way, this can make your child feel as though he or she has some control over the situation while you remain in charge.

2.  Avoid Stressful Situations
By the time children reach the toddler stage, you’ve spent enough time with them to know what can set them off. The most common ones are:

  • Hunger
  • Being tired
  • Quick changes in location

With a little advance planning, you can avoid these potential “meltdown” scenarios and keep things relatively calm. If you can, try to make sure your child is home at naptimes, bedtimes, and mealtimes. If you are out, always keep food on hand in case of a sudden hunger attack.

3.  Try Distraction
Fight the urge to raise your voice at your child when he or she acts up, because your tone will either make your child distressed or curious. Instead, quickly and calmly get him interested in another activity. This is especially a good tactic for toddlers who fall down and get a “boo-boo.”

4.  Be Consistent
You and your spouse also need to be on the same page when it comes to family rules. Sending your child mixed messages about whether she’s allowed to get up from the table while everyone is eating or splash you in the bathtub will only confuse and frustrate a child.

Try to keep to the same schedule every day. That means having consistent nap times, mealtimes, and bedtimes, as well as times when your toddler is free to just run around and have fun.

5.  Keep It Positive
If you say the word “No!” to your child all the time, he may start to tune you out — or worse, begin using it himself when he doesn’t want to do something. “Save ‘No!’ for situations when safety is involved.

6. Praise Good Behavior
Sometimes, toddlers act out because they lack communication skills — and it’s a surefire way to get your attention. That’s why you should always let your child know you’re pleased whenever he does something that you like or remembers to follow one of your rules.

7. Know When to Give In
Certain things in a toddler’s life are nonnegotiable. A child has to bathe, eat, brush teeth, and ride in a car seat. Hitting and biting are never OK. Pick your battles.

8. Do the Best You Can
Finally, know that it’s OK to feel stressed out by your toddler sometimes and that you do the best you can. There are good days and bad days, but as long as you parent consistently, you are doing all you can.

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Many kids are afraid of the dark – whether it be from watching a movie, monster in the closet or a boogeyman under the bend…here are some tips on how to conquer those fears and why millions of kids feel that it is so real to be afraid of the dark.

Fears
Fear is a normal part of life for all of us, including our children. It tends to start when you try something new, something that you’ve never experienced before, something that is an unknown.

For small kids, especially toddlers, this happens almost every day, so fear has a lot of opportunity to pop up – especially at night. It tends to be that ‘the fear of the dark’ begins when children are old enough to have a sense of imagination and around 2 or 3-years-old. Kids at this age are old enough to imagine, but sometimes not able to decipher between real and pretend, which can then turn to “scary.” This fear suddenly becomes ‘real life’ when a shadow in the dark can get very scary!

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Why Fear of the Dark? Where does it come from?
Some of the worst offenders of ‘fear of the dark’ is the TV! Many parents don’t recognize how the TV affects their children, especially parents who tend to use the TV as a form of babysitting when they are busy. If you do not regulate what shows they watch or what time of day in the child’s sleep pattern, it can be very stimulating and expose your kid to things that might seem  scary. Another common reason is younger siblings watch TV with their older sibling and it might not be age-appropriate, such as a scary cartoon.

Another root to the fear can actually be books! Yes, the age old books. Images can be intimidating and provoke a child’s imaginations depending on the content. For example, a drawing of a monster in a fairy tale book or witches from a Halloween book.

Scene from Monsters Inc.

A last reason of these fears can come from older siblings or even parents where someone might say to your toddler, “You better brush your teeth or the boogeyman fairy might get you!” Although it is intended as a joke, these simple light-hearted phrases can be a reason by a nighttime fear or nightmare.

Dos and Don’ts

Do:

  • Communicate, be respectful, and show that you understand your child.  Don’t tell them their fear is silly, because not only does it not help and they’re still scared, but now they feel guilty and ashamed of their fear.
  • Ask your child what he or she feels when he or she is alone in the dark. Even if your kid’s apprehension seems ridiculous to you, reassure him/her with concrete information. For example, say, “You’re right that the house makes funny sounds at night. Let’s listen to them together, and I’ll tell you what each one is.”
  • Teach your child to calm himself by saying, “I’m safe in the dark; my mom and dad are nearby” or “That sound was just the heat coming on.”
  • Gradually decrease the light in the room, starting with a lower-watt bulb in his lamp, then leaving a light on only in the hallway. Offer praise each time he goes to sleep with less light.
  • Help your child avoid scary TV shows and movies, since nighttime fears can be greatly intensified by what a child is exposed to during the day.
  • Reassure your child that his fear of the dark is normal.
  • Arm your child with comfort items, whether it’s a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a night-light, to help her sleep soundly.

Don’t:

  • Do sleepovers. Although it may be tempting to let your little one crawl into bed with you, resist the urge.
  • Say to your child, ‘Let me make sure there aren’t any monsters under the bed.

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Paulo was put in a timeout while on a playdate. His friend, Amalie, decided to join him for moral support.

I started putting Paulo in timeouts when he was about 12-months old. It seemed so silly to put him in a corner because at his age I didn’t really know if he understood the reason or grasped the concept. According to Dr. Sears, timeouts should be around one minute per year of age. So since he was a year old, he sat in the “naughty corner” for one minute.

The first time I put him in timeout, he sat for about two seconds, then ran back to me with a big smile. I guess he thought it was a game. I couldn’t help but smile back because he was just so darn cute! So just what every mother would do, I swooped him up and showered him with kisses until he giggled.

The subsequent times that followed weren’t “cute” anymore. This time I meant business! Every time he hit his sister, he was sent to the naughty corner. I guess after many timeouts, it finally clicked.  Now at 21-months, he runs up to his sister, hits her, then walks to his corner. (Stinker!) Ok, I guess he learned the wrong lesson, but in his defense, he usually hits his sister if she happens to take away the toy he was playing with.

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Paulo is wearing a zip hoodie and cargo pants set from rabbitmoon's Imagination collection.

I’m guilty! I am so guilty of not indulging my second child to the same enjoyable things as I did with my first. Miranda had playgroups, play dates, Mommy and Me classes, anything and everything that I could expose her to that would be fun, educational, and give us extra bonding/play time.

I remember someone telling me that having two kids is like having 10. I didn’t believe it! How can one little person make life complicated to the 10th degree? Well, let me tell you… Now that I have two kids, I AM A BELIEVER! I am so busy with the demands of motherhood, Miranda’s school, my freelance work, the housework, the grocery shopping (I have to go every week now because boys eat so much more than girls!) and all the voluntary roles I thought I would have time for (Classroom Mom, Yearbook Committee, Faith Formation Teacher, helping my parents). I’m lucky if I can keep my head above water. Poor Paulo! He gets whatever is left of my hectic schedule.

I jotted down my little guy’s schedule each day of the week:

  • Monday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Tuesday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Wednesday : take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Thursday: take Miranda to school, SWIM CLASS!!!, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Friday: take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play

Pretty boring, huh? At least he has weekly swim classes. But any free time I get, I’m either working, doing chores or running errands just so I can survive the day and actually get to bed at a decent time (midnight would be early for me!) But never mind about me. This is precious Paulo time I’m wasting. So… I’ve decided that I NEED take charge of my schedule and plan recreational activities for my little guy. He shouldn’t be penalized for being Child No. 2. He needs to have his own schedule, his own friends, and make his own memories. This sad little dude rarely sees a playground that when he does see one, he pees his pants in excitement! So I’m bringing back weekly playgroups.

His first play date was with my friend’s daughter. This little girl’s big brother was Miranda’s first playgroup friend and they have been very good friends ever since. (Coincidentally, my friend and I had our two kids roughly at the same time so each of our two kids are about the same age.) We met at a nearby playground to enjoy the fresh air and some outdoor fun, but it started to drizzle. Luckily, there was Toddler Storytime at the museum across the way that was just about to start. PERFECT!

The kids had a good time, AND the moms did as well. We both reminisced about our lives five years ago when we were both new mothers and only had one child each. We talked about how much more relaxed we were back then, how busy our lives have become, and how we missed connecting with each other just to talk about life in general (husbands, in-laws, school, broken appliances, the laundry…). We vowed to have our play dates each week for the sake of our second children AND for the sake of our sanity! What a revelation… I NEED PLAYGROUP, TOO!!! This is going to be a good thing.

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You hear horror stories from other parents or read about the terrible twos. As your child reaches 1 ½ years old, you come to the understanding that you are soon to be a parent experiencing the “terrible twos.”  It tends to be that when a child turns two (I have seen my two nephews go through this stage) – what Mommy says doesn’t go. Because it’s his way or the highway! I have witnessed my nephews throw themselves to the ground – ha!

WE all agree no one looks forward to the “terrible twos,” which is a developmental stage that usually begins during in the toddler years.  Although many parents don’t expect the terrible twos to start until their toddler is two years old it can begin anytime during your kid’s second year. So what are the terrible twos? How do you know?  It is characterized by toddlers being negative about most things and often saying ‘NO,’ or you may find your toddler having everyday mood changes and temper tantrums.

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