Cara Blackie (ed­u­ca­tional psy­chol­o­gist) an­swers:

Your Baby & Toddler - - Questions & Answer 2016 -

This is a very hard sit­u­a­tion to be in. The dif­fi­culty with re­la­tion­ships end­ing is that the chil­dren don’t un­der­stand why any one of the par­ents would leave. I would sug­gest be­ing as open and hon­est about the sit­u­a­tion as you can. Take her age into con­sid­er­a­tion when you’re ex­plain­ing things to her, and re­mem­ber that she doesn’t need to know ev­ery lit­tle de­tail. Firstly, make sure your child knows both you and her father love her. The re­la­tion­ship has ended and you can’t stay to­gether. Try to ex­plain that her dad would love to see her, but he may need to sort out his own feel­ings first. Above all, be sure that she knows you didn’t break up be­cause of her; that it wasn’t her fault. It may be help­ful to buy a chil­dren’s book on di­vorce to read to your child.

What­ever your feel­ings to­wards him are, don’t ever put the father down or say any­thing neg­a­tive about him around your daugh­ter. If they had a close re­la­tion­ship try to keep that mem­ory, but also be aware of the cur­rent sep­a­ra­tion. If you as a par­ent are strug­gling with the sep­a­ra­tion and feel your emo­tions may be in­flu­enc­ing your child, I sug­gest you visit a coun­sel­lor or psy­chol­o­gist for your own ther­apy.

Fi­nally, when the father does have con­tact with your lit­tle girl, try to make th­ese visit or calls as con­sis­tent as pos­si­ble. If he can’t com­mit to that (even a phone call once a week is con­sis­tent con­tact) then you may want to talk to him about the prob­lems that un­ex­pected vis­its can re­sult in, like an un­set­tled tod­dler who is even more con­fused about what’s go­ing on.

It is great that you have taken a keen in­ter­est in what goes into prod­ucts that you feed your daugh­ter, es­pe­cially as in this day and age we need to be con­cerned about the amount of sugar our chil­dren are get­ting. There are more stres­sors (en­vi­ron­men­tally, emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally) than ever be­fore, and con­se­quently more com­plaints about gut is­sues, de­hy­dra­tion, headaches, lethargy and fa­tigue. We are even see­ing type II di­a­betes in chil­dren as early as age 7 – that is a typ­i­cally adult on­set dis­ease. Th­ese com­plaints are among many I’ve seen di­min­ish once we work through the topic of sugar in a house­hold.

It’s a mat­ter of mak­ing bet­ter food choices by be­ing aware as a shop­per, stay­ing away from pro­cessed foods, ed­u­cat­ing your­self to know what in­gre­di­ents to watch out for and to keep your­self from buy­ing the junk that got you into this fix to be­gin with. The quick list of sub­sti­tutes for sugar-laden foods and prod­ucts will help you nav­i­gate your way around this:

In­stead of sweets try real dried fruit, such as apri­cots, prunes, dates, and cur­rants. They are very sweet and can be pur­chased in bulk for pack­ing into lunches or for snacks.

In­stead of mi­crowave pop­corn try air popped fresh pop­corn with sea salt or real but­ter (NOT mar­garine).

In­stead of fizzy cooldrinks try home­made iced tea with lemon and a tea­spoon of honey

is the smooth and in­te­grated use of the two sides of the body. This will be im­por­tant to your child when it comes to dress­ing, cut­ting, feed­ing him­self and aca­dem­i­cally for read­ing, let­ter and num­ber for­ma­tion. Crawl­ing helps de­velop the shoul­der, wrist and hand mus­cles, which are im­por­tant for fine mo­tor con­trol. On a sen­sory level, crawl­ing al­lows more of the baby’s skin, through their hands, knees and feet, to be ex­posed to dif­fer­ent sen­sory in­put, and this may al­low them to be less de­fen­sive to dif­fer­ent touch ex­pe­ri­ences.

Here are some fun ways to get your lit­tle one on all fours:

Cre­ate ob­sta­cle cour­ses through­out the house or gar­den where your tod­dler has to nav­i­gate over dif­fer­ent heights and sur­faces. This will be hard to do while stand­ing, so he’ll be forced to get down on all fours. Think of us­ing stacked up pil­lows, stairs, sturdy boxes, blan­kets and rollers to crawl and climb over.

Play peek­a­boo in hard to reach places, such as un­der the din­ing room ta­ble. Your lit­tle one will need to crouch and crawl to get un­der the ta­ble.

Most kids love pop up tun­nels (avail­able from toy stores). Play­ing in th­ese tun­nels in­cludes rolling balls, push­ing cars or hav­ing an older friend or sib­ling crawl through first. An­other mo­ti­va­tor is mom or dad wait­ing for him on the other side of the tun­nel.

Use a pi­lates ball and let your tot roll over the ball while on his tummy, weight bear­ing on his hands, and col­lect­ing a toy from the floor. This way his shoul­ders and wrists get a good work­out too.

If your tod­dler is strong enough, do a few wheel­bar­row walks around the room – hold his hips, and not an­kles, for ad­di­tional sup­port.

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