Dealing with bad behaviour
If your child is behaving badly, it can be very stressful but try to stay calm and think about their behaviour before you react; firstly, try to assess the nature of your child’s behaviour and determine whether it is just a stage or if the problem runs deeper. Here are some tips for dealing with bad behaviour:
- Talk to your child: try to find out if there is a particular problem and discuss this with your child. If they are refusing to do what you ask them to, explain why you want them to do it; for example, if you want them to put their coat on because it is raining outside, explain that you want them to do this so that they won’t get wet and cold.
- Don’t over react: repeated bad behaviour and annoying habits can be very difficult to take in your stride but try to stay calm, rather than exploding with anger as this won’t help.
- Keep rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad behaviour; if your child is repeatedly doing something they shouldn’t be to get your attention, ignore them for the moment and pay them positive attention when they have stopped.
- Be consistent: children will get confused about what is good behaviour and what is bad behaviour if you react differently every time; try to react in the same way each time so that you can establish clear boundaries.
- Resist bribing your child: don’t give your child a reward before they’ve done what you asked them to; instead, reward them after they’ve done it and explain why you are rewarding them; for example, say, ‘well done for tidying up your toys, like I asked you to’.
- Seek help if you’re struggling; talk to your GP, health visitor or contact your local family advice service.
Dealing with fighting and aggressive behaviour
Children are very curious and you may find them trying actions such as kicking, biting and scratching; at first they may not know that their actions are harmful so you need to teach them about why their actions are wrong. Some children go through phases of aggressive behaviour so here are some tips for dealing with aggressive behaviour:
- Do not fight back; this is setting a bad example and it may teach your child that this is an acceptable reaction.
- Remove your child from the situation and make them sit in a quiet place for a period of time; this can be another room or the corner of the room. After the period of time has elapsed, talk to your child about why their behaviour was wrong.
- Encourage your child to say sorry to the other child or person they have hurt.
- Encourage your child to talk to you about their behaviour.
- Take your child out and allow them to run around and let off steam in a constructive way; encourage them to play games and spend time outdoors.
- Reward good behaviour
- Seek help if you’re struggling
- Be consistent with your child
- Set a good example
Potty training your Child
Potty training can often be a difficult task for parents especially if they have more than one child in the family. Often children can be confused by the change from nappies to potties and they may be reluctant to go to the loo independently. However, there are things you can do to encourage your child to use the potty and take their first steps toward toilet training.
How do I know if my child is ready for potty training?
There are certain signs that can indicate when your child is ready to be potty trained, as described below:
- If your child is aware when he/she is about to pass urine or stools.
- When your child is passing soft bowel movements at regular intervals.
- Your child is able to pull their pants up and down.
- If your child imitates you by going to the bathroom and express a desire to use the toilet.
- If your child dislikes being in a dirty nappy.
- If your child demonstrates a desire for independence.
- Your child can walk and sit on their own.
What age should I start potty training my child?
There is no right or wrong age to begin potty training as some children may be ready earlier than others. Some parents start training their child when they reach about one year old while some wait up to the age of four. The best time to potty train your child is when you think they are emotionally and physically ready to adapt which is for most children at the age of two years.
What things can I do to help my child potty train?
There are a few things you can do to encourage your child to use the potty, as outlined below:
- Show your child how to use the potty and explain to them clearly that this is where they need to urinate.
- Give your child positive reinforcement if they use the potty successfully.
- Do not force your child to go on the potty if they are scared or do not want to as you should try to make the process gradual rather than hurry things up.
- Accept that there may be little accidents. Do not make your child feel bad if they accidently wet themselves.
- Try to make a plan for potty training to help make the process easier.
- Try getting your child to use the potty after their last feed before bed.
What you may need for potty training
Here is a handy checklist for what you may need when teaching your child potty training:
- A potty.
- A toilet trainer seat.
- Trainer pants.
- Pants for girls.
- A potty chair.
- Toilet step stools.
- Books to read or toys for your child to play with while they sat on the potty.
Caring for your child’s teeth
Maintaining good oral hygiene is something we should all do and it is especially important to instil these values in children. Encouraging your child to brush their teeth twice a day, morning and night is a step in the right direction. There are certain things you can do as parents to ensure a solid foundation for healthy teeth and gums so that your child will be less susceptible to dental decay, as described below:
Tips for promoting healthy teeth in your child
- Try to give your child a healthy balanced diet and don’t be tempted to give them too much sugary foods as this can cause tooth decay.
- Try to introduce foods which are enriched with calcium and vitamin D as this can help strengthen your child’s teeth.
- Ensure your child is brushing their teeth correctly twice a day. Toothpaste with fluoride content can help strengthen tooth enamel.
- It is best to avoid giving your child fizzy or sugary juices as this can cause damage to teeth.
Keeping your child’s teeth clean
It is very important to brush your child’s teeth, both in the morning and before they go to bed. Correct brushing is essential which is why you should check your child’ oral hygiene habits every so often to ensure they are cleaning their teeth properly. It is recommended to use a pea size amount of toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth and to do so in a gentle, circular motion. This will help to remove plaque or food particles from between teeth.
Tips for cleaning your child’s teeth
- Try brushing your child’s teeth in the morning and evening after they have eaten to effectively remove any food particles stuck between teeth.
- Try to make cleaning teeth a game to get your child interested in the process.
- Praise your child if they brush their teeth properly or even if they do so independently.
- Change your child’s toothbrush every month or so as the bristles will become worn. This is not only hygienic but helps to reignite your child’s interest in cleaning their teeth.
- Some children’s toothpastes come in fruity flavours which may be worth considering if your child dislikes the taste of normal toothpaste.
- Children learn by imitation. Allow your child to watch as you brush your teeth.
- Try to concentrate on one section of your child’s teeth and then move onto the other sections for an effective clean.
What foods to avoid when maintaining children’s teeth
Try to give your child a well balanced diet. Too much sugar can be damaging to your child’s teeth so try to avoid giving them too much. However, you do not need to cut out all sugary foods completely as long as they are used in moderation. There are alternatives to sweets and chocolates such as fruits which are sweet in taste, including the likes of dates, raisins or dried foods such as papaya. Try to avoid giving your child too many fizzy or acidic drinks as they can lead to dental decay. Instead, you could try making your child a homemade milkshake using milk which is high in calcium.
Most children like sweets and parents can often feel cruel depriving their child from eating them; however, it is for their own good and will benefit their teeth in the long run. You do not have to cut out sweets completely and you could try to encourage them to have alternative sweet foods such as bananas or dried fruits. Encourage your child to brush their teeth well after eating sugary foods to prevent risk of dental decay. Also, sugar-free chewing gum is a good means to dislodge food bits that become stuck between teeth after eating.
Regular visits to the dentist
It is important to take your child to the dentist for regular checkups in order to identify any potential problems at the earliest. If a problem is identified early it can be sorted with minimal treatment. Visiting the dentist can help ensure your child is less susceptible to cavities and other dental problems, as the dentist will be able offer advice concerning your child’s oral hygiene and cleaning routine. Many dentists encourage children to let them examine their teeth by offering stickers and other toys, which works to make a visit to the dentist a bit more fun. If you haven’t taken your child to the dentist as of yet and are worried about his/her oral hygiene you should arrange an appointment at the earliest.
Caring for your child:
- Caring for your child
- Children’s behaviour
- How to deal with sibling rivalry
- Dealing with bad behaviour
- Caring for your child’s feet
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