YOUR TOD­DLER (1 - 3 YEARS) QUES­TIONS AN­SWERED

Your Baby & Toddler - - Questions & Answer 2016 -

Take a closer look at what is frus­trat­ing your daugh­ter in con­nec­tion with what she wants. This will help you deal with the tantrum as well as know how to pre­vent them in the fu­ture. Place set rules and bound­aries, which your daugh­ter un­der­stands and knows that she can­not ma­nip­u­late, so that you re­duce her need to throw a tantrum. Once your daugh­ter learns to ex­press her­self in the ver­bal do­main she will feel more un­der­stood and con­tained. Teach­ing your child emo­tional lit­er­acy from an early age can also help her feel more un­der­stood in con­nec­tion to her emo­tional world. This can be done by talk­ing to her about feel­ings and nam­ing the emo­tions for your daugh­ter. A tod­dler re­fus­ing your care­fully planned and pre­pared meals can in­deed be very try­ing, but it is quite nor­mal. At this stage in their de­vel­op­ment they are learn­ing to be more in­de­pen­dent and ex­per­i­ment with how to ex­press this. There are only so many things that they can con­trol, and hav­ing a say in, and in­flu­ence on, their food pref­er­ences are two of th­ese. An­other fac­tor which con­trib­utes is food neo­pho­bia. Your tod­dler is fac­ing count­less new ex­pe­ri­ences ev­ery day. Neo­pho­bia is the fear of any­thing new and this can man­i­fest as a fear of new tastes or tex­tures. Some chil­dren may dis­play dis­taste for a new veg­etable but will try with a lit­tle per­sua­sion, oth­ers may adamantly refuse.

It may also be help­ful to be con­scious of bad ex­pe­ri­ences that an in­fant or child may have ex­pe­ri­enced at the time of hav­ing a par­tic­u­lar food. This can form a strong neg­a­tive

Chil­dren of this age en­joy adult at­ten­tion – close phys­i­cal prox­im­ity is im­por­tant, and they will per­form (pos­i­tively and neg­a­tively) to gain this at­ten­tion. They are also prone to tantrums if things go do not go their way. Your child’s be­hav­iour to­wards th­ese care­givers is not in­tended to be mean or hurt­ful. At this age a child does not un­der­stand that oth­ers have feel­ings. Neg­a­tive be­hav­iours may of­ten be a re­sponse to frus­tra­tion. As your daugh­ter’s lan­guage is still de­vel­op­ing, this is one of the only ways for her to com­mu­ni­cate her wants and needs.

In cases where a child’s pri­mary care­giver is ab­sent (even tem­po­rar­ily, such as be­ing at work), it is im­por­tant that the child has a con­sis­tent care­giver who can pro­vide for her needs. It could be that the num­ber of dif­fer­ent care­givers is be­com­ing con­fus­ing for your daugh­ter. Al­though all par­ties love and care for her, she may be miss­ing the op­por­tu­nity to bond suf­fi­ciently with one per­son. She may there­fore

sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety your child may cry or throw a tantrum when you put him to sleep at night. He may also wake up in the middle of the night want­ing com­fort. Night ter­rors, how­ever, are seen to be more ter­ri­fy­ing for the par­ent and not for the tod­dler. Night ter­rors oc­cur dur­ing the very deep part of sleep and there­fore your tod­dler is fast asleep and does not have any rec­ol­lec­tion of what was go­ing on. Mak­ing sure your tod­dler is safe and pro­tected and try­ing not to wake your tod­dler up while he is hav­ing a night ter­ror is all that you can do in this sit­u­a­tion. Night ter­rors are dif­fer­ent from night­mares in many ways, and night­mares nor­mally start around three years of age.

There are other causes of night ter­rors other than sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety and it be­ing a nor­mal de­vel­op­men­tal stage. For ex­am­ple, when a child is over­tired or sleep de­prived they are more likely to have night ter­rors as they have a greater need for deep sleep. Any­thing con­tain­ing caf­feine or sug­ary foods given too near to bed­time can also cause night ter­rors. Fi­nally, night ter­rors can also run in the fam­ily. There are a few things par­ents can try to do to min­imise ter­rors at night. Try to con­tinue with a day­time nap rou­tine. When it comes to sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety at night, try to keep a con­sis­tent rou­tine (story, hug, kiss and then leave).

Chang­ing a tod­dler’s nor­mal rou­tine (let their tod­dler sleep in their bed, for ex­am­ple) can in­flu­ence fu­ture sleep­ing pat­terns. If your tod­dler does call out for you in the middle of the night, soothe him and then tell him that he is safe and needs to go back to sleep. Hav­ing his favourite toy or blan­ket with him can also help him feel more com­fort­able with sep­a­ra­tion from you at night. Re­mem­ber that this is a

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