It's not defiance, the 'testing' is healthy
At 2 years old, Conor is in full swing of testing Valerie and me. Just last night, I told him to stop jumping up the stairs so he wouldn’t accidently fall. He jumped up the next stair and looked back, grinning. I repeated my request and it triggered him to jump up the next step and turn around, grinning. I wondered if I should put him in a timeout for disobeying or pick him up and get him out of the ‘hot’ area.
According to Susanne Ayers Denham, a developmental psychologist, kids aren’t being defiant when they ‘test’ us. She points out that toddlers are trying to grapple with the rules of the family. They’re still trying to figure out if you need to be there to correct them each time and how they can ‘own’ the rule so they follow it even when you’re not there.
When you figure that this ‘testing’ coincides with their increasing need to be independent, it’s hard to read when a child needs to be reprimanded and when a child needs some room to learn and grow. I find this line increasingly blurry and need a constant dose of psychologists to remind me that my amazing son is following human instincts and isn’t just trying to be a pain in the ass on any given day.
Why are children scared of the dark
Fear of the dark is common at the age of about three years old. It occurs suddenly because children’s imagination starts to come alive at two and is often in full swing by the age of three.
Once the imagination kicks into gear, it’s difficult for a child of this age to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. And in the confusion, a dragon or medieval knight that they saw at a party or read in a storybook can find itself alive in their real world. And darkness represents the bridge between that fantasy and reality.
Most kids grow out of this phase in a matter of weeks or months. So be patient and don’t try to rush a child through this phase as it may actually prolong it. Tips include;
(Note: As my son goes through this stage, I learned of this developmental stage from Claire Lerner, LCSW, a child development specialist.)
- Don’t tease the child. It’s very real to them and it can prolong the stage.
- Give one of his stuffed animals the title of ‘protector’ to help him as a friend to accompany him and keep him safe.
- Use a night light so he can see something and not make up shapes in the void of nothingness.
- Don’t bring him into your room to make him feel better. It only reinforces that his room isn’t safe after all. Instead, visit his room so he can see the monsters aren’t the problem and mom and dad know this and are willing to go into the room.
10 ways to get your picky eater to eat better
Why some kids can eat anything and others are picky eaters is a mystery. Some parents say they just feed their kids what the rest of the family is eating and they learn to eat it or go to bed hungry. While this sounds cruel to parents with picky eaters, think of it a different way; when you prepare a meal for the family, make sure it has enough variety that the kids have a good opportunity to find something in the meal that they will eat. In due time, they will learn to try other things that they will discover they actually like.
That said, there are ways to get kids to eat better. Here's some things to think about;
1. Kids need to eat every three to four hours. Schedules are important and when you begin to regulate a feeding schedule, you're on the right track The rule is 3 meals, 2 snacks and lots of fluids. Snacks might include carrots, pretzels, yogurt and water.
2. Respect your kid's appetite or lack thereof. If you try to force or bribe your child, you could be reinforcing a power struggle of food. Mealtime shouldn't be associated with anxiety or frustration. Try smaller portions so they're not overwhelmed.
This week -"There's An Elephant In The Bathtub" by Roger Bradfield
Many research studies show that boys learn to read at a slower pace than girls because they don't have male figures in their lives that read. So I've decided to ask men to read outloud to kids so that boys can see that it's cool to read. VISIT THE READING ROOM...