Celebrate Your Toddler’s “No!”

I walked into the kitchen and discovered my two-year-old blonde haired daughter, dressed in her little pink fleece sleeper with the padded feet, standing on top of the chair next to the counter. She was preoccupied with dipping her fingers into the butter bowl and then into the sugar bowl before they headed into her waiting mouth. When she saw me enter the kitchen, a potential threat to her wonderful activity, she formed a very concise pointed finger at me, and firmly delivered “NO!” at my astonished expression.

“NO!” It’s probably the most commonly used word in toddlerhood! It flies out of our children’s mouths before they even have time to really think about what they are saying “no” to.

When my five children were young, they were allowed to say “no” as much as they wanted to. I would always try to respect their “no” as much as I could within the parameters of the particular situation, and especially in circumstances such as when they didn’t want to be tickled by me, or didn’t want to hear me sing, or didn’t want to be kissed by Grandma or didn’t want to share their prized possessions. I think “no” is an important word for asserting their feelings and desires and unless it is a matter of safety, they have the right to have their opinion listened to and respected. Here is why children should be allowed to say “no”:

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is three and her daddy might want to put her in the front seat and not the car seat because it is less hassle.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is five and her little five-year-old friend might want her to cross a busy street without an adult.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is nine and her Uncle might want to touch her in her private places.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is twelve and her friends might want her to steal a candy bar from the grocery store.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is fourteen and her friends might bully a fellow student.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is fifteen and a friend’s drunk parent might want to drive her home from a sleepover party.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is sixteen and her boyfriend might want to show her how much he loves her.

I want my daughter to say “no” when she is eighteen and her buddies might want her to try some “ecstasy.”

So, when she is two-years-old, my daughter can practice saying “no” as much as she needs to. And I won’t take it personally.

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting and Teacher Conference Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new DVD, Plugged-In Parenting: Connecting with the digital generation for health, safety and love as well as the new book, The Last Word on Parenting Advice http://www.professionalparenting.ca, jarnall@shaw.ca, 403-714-6766

Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

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How to discipline toddler hitting, biting, throwing and tantrums

Time-In, instead of Time-out for child discipline, by parenting expert, Judy Arnall

123 Time-Out – Know the Risks!

123 Time-Out Advantages and Disadvantages
By Judy Arnall

Time-out seems to be a popular discipline/punishment method. Parents need to be aware that it has risks for their child and their relationship. Although many parents claim it has “worked” they often mean that it has worked to gain compliance in the short-run. Long-run effects of this method, on the child and the parent-child relationship are listed under the disadvantages. What can parents do instead? There are many methods to getting children to calm down. Try Time-In instead. In Time-in, the parent assists the child in regaining self-control. They coach the child how to deep breathe, how to stop and take a minute to channel feelings at an object, or redirect their anger and frustration with physical outlets. Breathing, touch, hugs, soft words, and rocking will all help a child finish crying and be “ready” to listen – to teaching, comforting, encouragement and kind words of direction in what to do instead next time. With many repetitions, children soon learn that taking a time-out from the source of annoyance is a good coping strategy, rather than a punishment, and will repeat it themselves on their own.
Advantages of using Time-Out
• Puts limits on behaviours.
• Invites little adult emotion.
• Increases consistency.
• Simple to do.
• Helps parents to calm themselves down.
• Better than spanking and hitting.
• Transferable among care-givers.
• Developed for children with ADD.
• Sometimes attains “short-run” goals of stopping misbehaviour.
Disadvantages of Using Time-Out
• Promises “magic” and speed, which can be an unrealistic goal in parenting.
• Fails to address long-run goals of the child developing belonging and attachment with family.
• Teaches that time-out is a negative punishment rather than a positive life skill.
• Invites power struggles in keeping a child constrained in time-out.
• Encourages submission to a bigger-sized person.
• Fails to teach problem-solving and co-operation skills.
• Can incite anger, frustration, and resentment in the child.
• Can promote rebellion, retaliation, and getting-even behaviours from the child.
• Can increase sibling animosity when used to curb sibling conflict.
• Ignores the child’s feelings that led to the misbehaviour.
• Is a barrier to parent-child communication.
• Fails to recognize that each child is unique.
• Fails to teach internal controls and self-discipline.
• Fails to teach conflict resolution and thinking skills.
• Fails to teach how to make amends or restitution in solving the problem.
• Fails to teach the child how to self-calm when the child is in a high emotional state.
• Isolates the child, rather than promote connection between the child and the“conflict” person.
• Not “mutually respectful”. Adults do not want to be treated in the same way. In real life, if someone is bothering an adult, they can’t move the person to time-out. They have to take the time-out themselves.
• Gives negative attention to the misbehaviour, which may often increase misbehaviour in attention-seeking children.
• Difficult for extroverts who need to “talk through high emotional states.”
• Label’s the child with unhealthy self-esteem. “The naughty child goes to the naughty step”.
• Increases original and repeat behaviours because the child’s underlying needs or feelings are not addressed.
• Children do not have reflective skills until age seven to understand their role in the preceding behaviour.
• Children often do not know or understand why they are in time-out.
• Often used to help the parent calm down rather than for child’s needs.
• Models power over, not peace with.

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting and Teacher Conference Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling book, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery and the new DVD, Plugged-In Parenting: Connecting with the digital generation for health, safety and love as well as the new book, The Last Word on Parenting Advice http://www.professionalparenting.ca, jarnall@shaw.ca, 403-714-6766

Copyright permission to reproduce this article is granted if byline left in its entirety. http://www.professionalparenting.ca

Parent Time-Out

How to Take a Parent Time-Out with Small
Children Underfoot

One of the very best parenting tools is the Parent Time-Out. When parents are feeling
upset, angry, or frustrated over a parenting issue, or over their children’s behaviour, it
can help to diffuse the situation if the parent removes themselves to get calm and
centered, rather then force the isolation of their child into a Child Time-Out. After the
parent is calm, they are in a much better frame of mind to deal with the issue at hand
and they’ve avoided saying and doing things they might regret later. Sometimes, with
young children, this is easier said than done!

Many parents object to the parent time out because they complain that their toddlers and preschool children just follow them around the house, screaming, whining and crying.

How True!

Here are some tips to Mentally Time-Out when you can’t physically time yourself out:

Throw a CD on the stereo and dance hard!
Use an IPOD or MP3 player filled with your favorite songs to distract you.
Have earplugs everywhere. In the car, kitchen, purse, and bathroom. They take the edge off a child’s screaming that can damage your ears.
Lock yourself in the bathroom. Tell the children that you love them, and Mommy/Daddy is feeling angry, and needs to take a time-out for herself or himself. Turn on the fan or shower so you can’t hear the children, and breathe slowly. Visualize yourself in a calm place.
Do the Hokey-Pokey, and shake it out! Smile and make a funny noise and you will all be laughing.
Phone a friend to have a brief conversation. Tell her how you feel. Call from the closet or a bathroom if you have to.
Distract yourself with a magazine.
Drop everything, dress your children and yourself for the weather, and put them in the stroller. Go for a brief walk outside. Exercise, fresh air, peace and quiet! Children will be distracted by the sights and sounds and you can think out your anger in peace.
Put a children’s DVD or Mom’s movie on the player. It will either distract you or your child, and will give both of you time to calm down.
If you are in the car, pull over to a parking lot or some other safe place. Get out of the car, leave the children in there, and walk around the car 20 times. Cry, deep breathe, vent or stomp. Get back in the car when you have calmed down.
Imagine a soundproof, gentle, clear shell around yourself to protect you from screaming children.
Sit on the porch, find a closet, basement, or somewhere you can be alone. Make sure the children are in a safe place.
Tell your child that you both need a group hug. It can be very hard to hug someone that you feel angry with, but the touch is soothing and helps to heal the anger. It works well for some people.
Use “Self-Talk” Say over and over to yourself, “My child is not trying to bug me right now. She is only coping with her strong feelings in the only way she knows how. “But me first.”
Remember the phrase: “Get myself calm, Get my child calm, and then solve the problem.”

 
What skills do you use to calm down in situations other then parenting? Use some of those strategies if you can. Just as the oxygen masks in airplanes are meant to be used on adults first, so they can be in a position to help the children, you must take care of your needs first when you are angry. The bonus gift is that you are truly modeling for your child, how to take a calming time-out when situations become
overwhelming. Modeling by example, instead of forcing them in time-out, is the best way for children to learn self-calming tools.

FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S SAKE, TAKE A BREAK!

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and
Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without
Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out,
spanking, punishment or bribery” and a new DVD called “Plugged-In Parenting:
Connecting with the Digital Generation for Health, Safety and Love.”
http://www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca
Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.

Cooked Playdough Recipe

 

World’s Best Playdough Recipe Courtesy of Parents and Children Together (www.pact.9f.com)

2 cups white flour

2 cups water

½ cup salt

2 TBSP oil

4 tsp Cream of Tartar

4 tsp food color

Mix salt, flour, and cream of tartar in a heavy medium pot . Add water, oil and food coloring. Cook and stir over medium heat. When the mixture forms a ball in the pot, turn it out and knead on a lightly floured surface. Store the play-dough in an air-tight container, preferably in the fridge. Serve with cookie cutters, rolling pins, necklaces and rings (for imprinting), cupcake trays, garlic press, etc

Judy Arnall

is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or briberyShe specializes in “Parenting the Digital Generationhttp://www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca

Finicky Picky Eating Problems

PICKY EATING PROBLEMS
 
 By Judy Arnall 
Babies eat more food relative to weight in the first year, compared to any other year of their life. By age one, food consumption drastically reduces. Babies triple their birth weight in the first year, and toddlers only gain five pounds in the second year. If you can get one good meal into a toddler in a day, you are doing very well!
 
It helps to think about the division of responsibilities between parent and child as outlined by Ellen Satter. The feeding relationship helps to lesson the need to bargain, bribe, and punish a child to get them to eat. It allows for healthier eating habits and social eating relationships. According to an informal poll of my parenting groups, about 25 to 30 percent of parents feel their toddlers are picky eaters. Toddlers are definitely more interested in exploring than eating, so more food may be on them, the tray and the floor than in their tummies! That’s okay. It’s just a stage.
    

The Feeding Relationship

The parent’s job

What:

Parents control the money and shopping at this age and make most decisions of what to buy. 

The parent controls what food is bought, stored, cooked, and served.

When:
 
The parent decides when snack and meal times will be.
 
Toddler’s tummies are about the size of a ping pong ball, and they need food and drink every two hours. Three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and three snacks: mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and bedtime per day is recommended. The parent keeps the food onthe table for 20 minutes and then puts the food away until the next scheduled meal or snack.
  
Where:

The parent decides where eating and drinking will take place. Eating at the table should be encouraged to minimize the risk of choking while running, walking,or climbing. It’s also a good habit to get into, as non-aware eating can lead to weight issues. When children eat while watching movies, playing video games, or computers, they are not consciously enjoying the food or even paying attention to what they are eating.  Although, I have noticed you can easily slip a plate of raw vegetables and dip under their noses while they are playing video games and the whole plate is gone in minutes. I don’t even think they notice what they just ate!

The child’s job
 
If:
 
The child decides if he will eat, according to his internal hunger cues rather than the clock or schedule. A meal is only a small part of the day’s food intake – only 1/6. If your child chooses not to eat, don’t worry. He will make up for it at some time later in the day, next day, or in a few days.
 
How much:   
The child decides what quantity will satisfy his hunger. This also helps him decide his internal cues.
  

More Eating Tips

  • Food jags are normal, where the child eats nothing but peanut butter and jam sandwiches for three weeks or a longer period of time. That’s okay. As long as it’s a healthy food, don’t worry about their nutritional intake. Most parents who worried about nutrition, found that their toddlers did eat a variety of foods when they kept a log of their food intake over a week or two week period.
  •  It takes 15 tries to accept a new food. Have a one bite routine – try one bite (the no-thank-you bite) and see if your child likes it. If they don’t, let them spit it out. Don’t turn the one bite routine into a power struggle. Young children have very sensitive taste buds and they definitely will change overtime.
  • Toddlers usually don’t eat much at dinner. They are tired and cranky at the end of the day. Track their lunch and breakfast intake.
  • Toddlers usually prefer finger type foods.
  • Cut a bathmat in half and use it on the highchair seat so they don’t slide out.
  • To save time, don’t use dishes. Put the food right on the tray. Then the plate won’t be thrown.
  • Give baby a spoon for each hand and then you can feed him with a separate spoon. It keeps his hands busy.
  • Give a butter spreader to help preschoolers cut food.
  • Let a toddler practice drinking from a sippy cup in the bathtub.
  • Fill toddler glasses only one third full, and make sure all dishes are plastic.
  • Cool hot food by dumping in an ice cube.
  • Be aware of micro-waving mugs with the attached plastic straws on the outside.
  • The liquid in the straw heats first and can cause burns because the toddler drinks it first.
  •  Clean highchairs and strollers in the shower. Run water and let the encrusted food soften. Works as well outside in the summer with the hose.
  • Dumping, mushing, and throwing food are exploratory behaviors. A little food exploration is part of development. When the food deliberately hits the walls, or the food exploration is testing your patience on a stressful day, it’s a signal that mealtime is over. Remove your child from the eating place.
  • If the toddler doesn’t sit still at mealtime, schedule a burn up activity right before mealtime, and they will have used up some energy. Before a restaurant visit, go to a playground. In fact, this works well for any event that requires a certain amount of sit still time: weddings, church, movies, concerts. Be thankful for 10 – 15 minutes, as this is all you might get!
  • Let them feed themselves with non-messy foods like peas and bread pieces while you can still feed the messy stuff with the spoon.
  • Try serving finger foods with dip or sauce. All children love sauces to swirl.
  • Serve mini portions of old favorites: pancakes, muffins, meatballs.
  • Let them pour their own juice using the dishwasher door as a counter surface.
  • Then you can just close the door after they spill and the mess goes into the dishwasher.
  • Serve a tray of carrot sticks, broccoli florets, red pepper, and salad dressing as you are getting dinner ready. Guaranteed it will be gone!
  • You can pretend to sprinkle sugar over the cereal and nobody will notice the difference. Just wave your spoon over and your toddler will think you put sugar and salt on their food.
  • Young children tend to like their food separated. Avoid casseroles if possible.
  • Serve dessert along with the meal. Don’t elevate the status of dessert as more desirable by declaring it the prize for eating the lesser-valued dinner items.
  • Purée vegetables to hide in soups and sauces.
  • Make sure dessert is healthy. Fruit, yogurt, ice-cream and oatmeal cookies are all very healthy choices and part of a balanced diet.
  • Avoid classifying food into “good” and “bad” categories. Use “more nutritious” and “less nutritious” so you get your child into the habit of making better food choice decisions.
  • Avoid punishing or rewarding a child with food items.
  • Treats are occasional foods. They wouldn’t be called treats if they were served every day. Designate a treat day.
  • Avoid bargaining using food. Parents who say, “Eat four more bites of your hamburger and then you can have your toy,” are setting themselves up for power struggles. Children learn very quickly that parents want them to eat, and by refusing, they can get attention and control. Give children attention for positive behavior and control in the form of choices. Don’t make eating a power struggle.
  • For fun, serve food on doll or play dishes.
  • Preserve the social function of food. A comforting, social, happy atmosphere at meal and snack time and a wide variety of healthy foods is all that’s needed for childhood nutrition.     

Judy Arnall is a professional international award-winning Parenting Speaker, and Trainer, Mom of five children, and author of the best-selling, “Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery

“ She specializes in “Parenting the Digital Generation” and picky eating habits www.professionalparenting.ca (403) 714-6766 jarnall@shaw.ca

Copyright permission granted for “reproduction without permission” of this article in whole or part, if the above credit is included in its entirety.