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Q. My child resists bedtime. What can I do to improve this ?


A. Most parents say that bedtime is a battle in their house. Their child does not want to sleep and drives them crazy. Most children are happiest on the go and come to a screeching point at bedtime. To get your child into a more sleep accepting frame of mind, set up a regular bedtime routine, which will help him to unwind.

The following tips will help in making your child going to bed, a pleasant experience :

a. Set a bedtime routine : Stick to a bed time routine as closely as you can and avoid straying away from it, as far as possible. The routine should be aimed at creating a relaxed and calm atmosphere. The predictability of a routine is very comforting to the child and helps in facilitating the transition. The routine may include any of the following things :
  • Cleaning up : a warm water bath or a sponge is a perfect way of beginning a bed time ritual.
  • Changing : make your child wear something that is comfortable, cozy and not irritable to the skin. Changing him into pajamas becomes a clear symbol of nighttime sleeping.
  • Brushing the teeth : it is very essential to brush his teeth before sleeping at night
  • Reading : before sleeping at bedtime can be a very healthy routine.
  • Recaping : spend a little time talking to your child about his day, all his experiences and share a bit of your own.
  • Saying good night : this finale helps to separate the child and gets him mentally prepared for bedtime.
b. Limit TV viewing : Children with a TV in their room have the toughest time going to sleep. Any sort of TV watching seems to energize them, rather then helping them to relax. Limit your child's TV time, especially as bedtime draws nearer.
c. Problem solving : Sometimes a child may be unable to sleep as he may be worried about the happenings of the day or he may be afraid. Offer him a night lamp if he is afraid of the dark or play him soothing music at a low volume.
d. Do not use your child's room as a punishment place : This should be avoided as he will have a difficult time seeing bed time as pleasant.
e. Be calm, but firm : Explain to your child that sleep is necessary for healthy growth. Speak calmly and quietly and insist that when the time is up, he must go to sleep.















Q. How can I stop my child from hitting other children and grabbing their toys ?


A. Toddlers often express their frustrations as well as demonstrate their lack of social skills, by hitting or other forms of aggressive behaviour. Sometimes they are unable to manipulate their environment or ascertain their needs, due to which they display aggressive behaviour. Children do not learn to tame their aggressive instincts naturally, they have to be taught.

You can help your child in the following ways :

a. Applaud good behaviour : Give plenty of attention for good behaviour and very little for bad behaviour. A child who does not get enough attention may do anything to get it.
b. Do not loose your cool : Avoid using a heavy hand on your child. Handle your child in a firm but gentle way, even though you are annoyed with him.
c. Enforce the rules : Enforce certain rules on your child by making it clear that use of physical force to settle a dispute is unacceptable.
d. Translate his feelings : Encourage translating feelings such as anger, disappointment, jealousy, etc. into words, rather than through aggressive actions.
e. Set a good example : Your toddlers will imitate your action, so if he sees you using words rather than actions in a situation, he will learn to respond in the same way.





Q. How do I deal with a child who has a sweet tooth ?


A. With tummies so small, appetite tender and taste limited and fickle, there are just so many bites that parents can expect their toddler to take. A lot of care must be taken that it should not be wasted in sugar or sugary foods, as they have no or low nutritional value.

Sugar imparts instant energy, but it is a kind that does not last long. As soon as one consumes it, it gets converted, whereas natural sugar like an apple takes longer to convert to energy and lasts longer.

Effects of Sugar

a. Children under the influence of sugar exhibit hyperactive behaviour.
b. Sugar has completely no nutritional value, it provides no vitamins, no minerals. It is nothing but calories.
c. Sugar is usually found in combination with other nutritional undesirables, unhealthy ingredients such as fats and refined grains. These foods are called "empty foods".
d. Sugar may also be indirectly implicated in the development of diabetes.
e. Sugary foods tend to kill a child's appetite.
f. Too much sugar leads to obesity.
g. Sugar is also responsible for early tooth decay. A large proportion of children have tooth decay by the time they start school.

It will help if you make an effort right from start to not let your toddler develop a sweet tooth. Restricting sugar does not have to mean restricting sweets entirely. Sweets made with fruit juice concentrates and fruit sweetener can be just as satisfying to a toddler, as treats with sugar.

Sugary schedules to stick to :

a. Set a good example for your child, cut down the amount of sugar the whole family eats.
b. It is best to offer your child sweets once he is done with his meals, as a dessert.
c. Do not give sugary foods at bedtime unless you can clean your child's teeth. A mouth produces less saliva at night and acid attack goes on for much longer.
d. Try to limit sugary foods and juices to meal times. Sugar does not cause any damage at mealtime since the mouth produces more salvia, which helps to neutralize acid and remineralise the teeth.





Q. My child pulls her own hair, why does she do it and how can i prevent it ?


A. Hair Pulling is another way that a baby releases tension or tries to recreate soothing comfort she received as an infant during nursing or bottle feeding.

For many toddlers who lack a grip on vocabulary gripping and yanking the closest handful of hour is the primitive expressive vehicle of choice.

Reasons of Hair Pulling
Going for long hours without food.

Lack of sleep

A child who recently gave up his nap and hasn't yet adjusted. He may simply have trouble sleeping since his teething.

Lack of verbal facility
Action speaks louder than words. He doesn't yet possess proficiency required to express his feelings needs or desires.

Upset when he can't seem to control his environment as much as he'd like.

He may be coming down with a virus or a ear infection

Inadequate attention
Children who don't garner a lot of notice when they're good often 'act up' in order to win notice.

How to prevent it ?

1. Provide your child more comfort and attention especially at times of increased stress.
2. Get her hair cut in short style, so she won't be able to get a good grip on it.
3. Give her something else to pull on a long haired stuffed animal for instance
4. Engage her in other activities that keep her hands occupied

If all else fails, seek advice from her doctor.








Q. When to wean from Breast Feeding ?


A. Breast feeding is one of the most gratifying experience for the mother. One should breast feed exclusively until the baby is atleast 4 months old.

Most doctors recommend introduction of solids between 4-6 months. Introduction of solids should compliment breast feeding. Many children are ready to give up breast feeding around the age of 9 months to 1 year.

Watching a child grow from one stage of development to another is always a sweet and bitter experience. Filling you at once with pride that how grown up he is and with sadness that he will never be a baby again. It is possible that at first you may miss the physical closeness to your toddler that nursing provided. One can replace the time spent in nursing by other activities like hugging, cuddling, playing together, reading together which increases the proximity. You should consider weaning gradually over a period of weeks or even months. Sudden weaning from the breast may be physically uncomfortable for the nursing mother. It is most necessary that weaning should be a very gradual process for both the nursing mother and the baby. It allows time to the mother and child to adjust to the end of a very special era. The adjustment would be easier if you give your toddler extra love and attention during weaning.

There are few things you should consider while weaning your child off breast feeding :

1. Be sure that your toddler can drink fairly well from a cup. Sooner or later all children learn to drink from a cup. The trick is getting them to do it sooner rather than later. The best time is early in the second half of the first year, when babies are still relatively pliable and drinking from a cup is a novelty and not a necessity.
2. Timing is one most important key factors. Don't wean if your toddler is going through other major changes due to the arrival of a new sibling or any kind of sickness. If your child is at a high risk for eczema or asthma, you should plan to exclusively breast feed atleast for 6-8 months. If your child falls sick often, delay weaning as breast milk increases immunity of child.
3. If your child wakes up in the morning or from a nap or is hungry for meal, offer a drink from a cup or a snack at first. If your child still clamours for breast, then oblige. Gradually, his milk intake will reduce which in turn will reduce your milk supply.
4. Try to prevent your toddler from falling asleep at the breast. Nurse before, rather than after regular bedtime routine.
5. Cut back on the number of daily feedings. Usually, it is the midday feeds which the toddler is disinterested in. Eventually cut down to just one feed and drop the remaining feeds by distracting your child, in the form of a toy or a book.