child development, healthy food, Relationships

Training the Fussy Eater

Toddlers can be fussy eaters who refuse to try a new food at least half of the time. Approximately half of all toddlers fit this description, so it is no wonder that food issues are a source of stress for parents.

Establishing healthy eating patterns is important to avoid problems such as obesity and eating disorders later in life. Various strategies can help your child accept a wider range of foods.  It may be necessary to offer food to your child as many as 10 different times before they choose to eat it. The problem is, many parents get frustrated and give up before the fourth or fifth try.

Picky eater

Try to make foods fun.  Colorful foods like carrot sticks, raisins, apples, grapes, cheese sticks and crackers can all be fun and healthy choices for your growing toddler.  Explain to them that eating good food is important so they’ll grow big and strong, and how it will help them run faster and play longer.

Children learn behaviors from their parents. If you restrict yourself to a narrow range of foods, your child will take notice and mimic your caution. Don’t limit your child’s food variety to only those foods you prefer. It may be that your child’s tastes are different to yours, and perhaps you are simply serving them foods they don’t happen to like.  Try to set a good example and try a variety of foods in front of your child. It could motivate them to do the same.

If your child seems healthy and energetic, then they are eating enough. If you are still concerned, keep an eye on how much food they actually eat over the day. Children tend to graze constantly, rather than restrict their eating to three meals per day like adults. You may be surprised how those little handfuls and snacks add up. For further reassurance, check your child’s growth and weight charts, or check with your child’s pediatrician.

Try not to worry, and remember, that unless a child is ill, they will eat.   Children are very good at judging their hunger and fullness signals. Try to stay relaxed about mealtime and offer your child a wide variety of foods, and most importantly, remember to set a good example by trying a wide variety of foods yourself.  You may discover you and your toddler share a new found favorite food!


 

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child development, Child's Education, Relationships

Positive Praise for your Child’s Pride

elementary school boy receiving a trophy in classroom with teach

Praising a child correctly is important to the development of positive behaviors. It’s a great way to encourage constructive future behavior.

When you give praise you are giving your child a feeling of positive feedback, which increases their sense of confidence, self esteem and abilities. 

When you praise your child, you are pointing out the way they’ve acted, an action they’ve taken, or simply who they are. When your child looks good, tell him so. When your child does anything that pleases you, let him know. You should also praise a child’s effort to do well, even if it doesn’t come out so good in the end. You should find something each day about your child to praise.

Be on the lookout constantly for behaviors or actions deserving of praise, but don’t be over the top about it.  Be sincere and honest in your praise.

Wait for unexpected or previously unnoticed good behavior and praise your child for it.  And when you see such action or behaviors, praise immediately so the child will know exactly what behavior or action was deemed praiseworthy.

It’s also very important to look your child square in the eye when you praise him, and reinforce the positive behavior, action or trait being praised with a gesture such as a warm smile, a hug, scruff of the hair, or caress his face while you tell him.

Be exact, and state precisely what action, behavior or trait you find praiseworthy.  And most importantly, never directly follow praise with criticism or negative comments.  Let your child know what they did right and reward them for it before you let them know what they did wrong and punish for misbehaving or a misdeed.

So be sure to admire and congratulate your child and celebrate the good person they are growing into by praising their positive actions, behaviors and traits daily.  You’ll be building a strong sense of self in your child and you’ll grow closer as a result.

 

Relationships

Building Your Child’s Self Esteem

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It’s often been said that children learn what they live.  So if you’re looking for a place to start helping your child build positive self esteem and self value, then you should show them your positive sense of self and strong self esteem.  Be positive when you speak about yourself and highlight your strengths. This will teach your child that it’s okay to be proud of their talents, skills and abilities.

Your child also benefits greatly from honest and positive praise.  Find something about them to praise each day.  You could even give your child a task you know they can complete and then praise them for a job well done after they’re finished. Show your child that positive acts merit positive praise.

When your child’s feeling sad, angry or depressed, communicate openly, honestly and patiently with them. Listen to them without judging or criticizing.  They may not fully understand why they feel the way they do, so the opportunity to communicate with you about it may be what’s needed to help them sort through a difficult situation.  Suggest positive behaviors and options as solutions, and make sure to leave that door of communication open so they know the next time they feel bad, they can come to you for help and know that you won’t judge or punish them for how they’re feeling.

Teach your child the importance of setting goals and developing a plan to meet that goal and complete that task.  Small projects are the best to start off with in the beginning.  Ensure that it’s an appropriate task for your child, and not too complex.  Don’t only give praise at the end of the project, but praise their accomplishments during the project as well.

Most importantly, tell your child “I love you” each and every day – many times throughout the day, in fact. 

When they’ve behaved badly, remind yourself that it’s not them you don’t like, only their behavior.  Tuck short, sweet notes in their lunchboxes or coat pockets, or even send them a card in the mail.  Soon, they’ll learn to say “I love you” just as easily and honestly in return.