Archive for December, 2008

Preparing Your Toddler for the New Baby

Whether your pregnancy was planned or surprise, a new baby is going to bring a somewhat shocking change to your toddler’s world.  While they may not be old enough to fully grasp what is going on, there are a few things you can do to prepare them for the changes ahead.

Make the idea of a new brother or sister exciting.  Yes, we know that adding a newborn into your home is inevitably going to mean less time and attention to your toddler, but the point is to minimize the negatives.  Talk often of how much you love having your toddler around and how they are going to love having the baby around, too.  Tell them about ways they can help with the baby and how much fun it is going to be to have someone new to play with.  Spending a little time thinking about what type of relationship you would like to foster between them will help these encouragements to come naturally to you.

Though tempting, talking about the significance of your growing belly may serve more to confuse than inform your toddler.  Most are not yet able to grasp the concept of a sibling growing in a belly and then coming out, and many a mother has been surprised to find that their toddlers didn’t even notice the watermelon-sized loss in their midsection when the baby makes its appearance.  An occasional belly comment or kiss is fine, but for the rest of the time, stick to emphasizing baby over belly.

Get around another baby or two to help your toddler conceptualize what you’ve been talking about.  There’s always a surplus of new moms who would love a little break, and giving them one can actually help both you and your toddler prepare for life with another baby.  Be sure not to put any expectations on your toddler while the baby is around—if they prefer to play on their own as if the baby isn’t even there, that’s okay.  It is still a productive exercise.

Get your baby gear out early.  Don’t wait until the last minute to get the swings and playpens out.  Minimizing the amount of change that happens at the time of your baby’s arrival will help your toddler not to feel overwhelmed.  They may not fully understand you when you explain to them that soon a baby will be inhabiting those items, but they will be much better prepared to deal with it when it happens.

Lastly, begin now to think of ways for you and your toddler to spend time alone.  Whether it’s going to the park or enjoying an ice cream cone together, make a habit of doing it often, and don’t break the habit once the little one arrives.  It is normal for children of the toddler ages to be needy whether they are an only child or one of dozens.  Giving your toddler some quality time and affirmation is what they need most.  After all, it’s not the knowledge that they are your only child that they need; they need to know that they are your very special child.  And thankfully, that is something you don’t need to work very hard at.

More help preparing your child for the new baby at Child n’Parent.

By:  Destiny

Add comment December 20th, 2008

Healthy Meals for Kids When Eating Out

Eating healthy

Dining out is challenging enough for adults but when it comes to kids, the challenge is even greater. Even though many sit-down and fast food restaurants are adding healthier adult dining options, the meal choices for the little ones are still surprisingly high in calories and fat. When surveying the kid’s menu at fast food restaurants, the standard seems to be fried chicken nuggets or chicken strips served alongside a serving of greasy French fries. It would almost be a joke to call this meal low fat or nutritionally sound. If you’re looking for a healthy menu for kids at a restaurant or fast food stop, what are your options?

The solution to a healthy children’s menu doesn’t appear to lie with the chain restaurants. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently surveyed the kid’s menu at seven leading chain restaurants and found the choices to be high in calories, fat, sugar, and low in nutritional value. The worst of the bunch was Outback Steakhouse where the children’s menu offering of cheeseburger, fries, soda, and sundae added up to a whopping 1,700 calories and 58 grams of fat. Is it any wonder that the number of obese children is skyrocketing?

Although most restaurants have yet to embrace the concept of a healthy children’s menu, there are ways you can make meals more nutritionally sound for your children when you’re dining out as a family.

Choose Your Restaurants Carefully

If you’re looking for a sit-down restaurant with a healthy menu for kids, most of the chains and franchises aren’t going to offer what you’re looking for. One exception would be Cracker Barrel restaurant where kids can get a variety of veggie items on a kid’s plate as well as grilled (not fried) chicken strips. Buffet restaurants are another option since they offer a variety of vegetables that can be substituted for the standard French fries. To help your child eat healthy, be prepared to give him some assistance in his selections since buffets are notorious for displaying tempting high calorie, high fat treats and desserts.

Fast Foods?

Subway restaurant offers a healthy menu for kids. Their “Fresh Fit for Kids” meal consists of a miniature sub sandwich, a healthy side item such as yogurt or fruit, and juice. There are also healthy options for adults which makes this a good choice for the whole family. Most of the other fast food restaurants are still lacking in options for a healthy children’s menu.

The Second Option

Modify your child’s menu selections when eating out. If a healthy menu for kids isn’t available, improvise a bit. See if you can substitute low fat milk for the standard whole milk. At sit-down restaurants, order a small side of vegetables in place of the standard French fries on the children’s menu. Substitute juice or water for the ubiquitous high sugar soda. If your child is still hungry after eating this type of meal, bring along a package of nuts or an apple to offer to him after dinner in lieu of dessert.

With a little planning, you can dine out with your children without guilt even if a healthy menu for kids isn’t offered. It’s far better than serving your kids chicken nuggets and fries.

By Dr. Kristi

3 comments December 10th, 2008

Meeting Santa Clause

You’re standing in line anticipating what fun it will be to finally introduce your child to the man in the big red suit.  The fond childhood memories of previous meetings with him are running through your mind and you smile as you think about what toys your little one might ask Santa for Christmas.

The line is getting shorter and you make arrangements to buy some pictures to share with Grandma and Grandpa.  Eagerly you flex your fingers and scoop to put your little one on the big man’s knee.  As the photographer is getting ready to do her stuff, your little one takes a good look at Santa and is shocked to find a big old hairy, scary stranger complete with wrinkles and white hair.  Your little one’s mouth takes the shape of a big black hole to scream “Mommy I want to go Home!”

Meeting Santa Clause is a significant event that requires preparation.  From the time our children are tots, we strive to teach them about stranger danger.  Is it any wonder that they become confused when we plop them on some stranger’s knee and expect them to enjoy the experience?  A little coaching beforehand can go a long way to make the Santa Clause experience both memorable and enjoyable.  Here are some tips to prepare your child for the big meeting with Santa Clause.

1.     Show your child a picture of Santa Clause and ask them if they know who he is.  Share your own personal views about Santa Clause with your child.

2.    Ask your child if they would like to meet Santa Clause in person and visit with him about what they would like for Christmas.  Explain that you will both have to wait in line and be patient while the other boys and girls take a turn having their visit.  Be sure to pack snacks and drinks to ease any hunger pains that are sure to develop.

3.    Explain to your child that a Santa Clause in person is much bigger than the Santa Clause in the picture.  Describe a live Santa Clause in detail and ask your child if he or she would be too scared meet the jolly man.  If the answer is yes, save your money and don’t go.

4.    If your child agrees that he or she would like to meet Santa Clause, explain that you are going to arrange to have some pictures taken of them while sitting on Santa’s knee and it is very important that they smile their very best.

5.    Go easy on your budget and have them come up with just one or two items to ask Santa for Christmas.  Let them know they can ask Santa two or three questions about his home, his red suit and his reindeer.

Santa Clause is a classic tradition that spans generations.  However, children are smart and they can often sense that a mall Santa Clause is not necessarily the “real” Santa Clause. Below are some cute questions they may come away asking:

1.     Mommy why did he have a fake beard?
2.    Are those his real elves?
3.    How did they get all that snow all the way here from the North Pole?
4.    Does Santa go home at the end of the day?
5.    Mom, are you sure that that’s the real Santa Clause?
6.    How does he remember what I want for Christmas?
7.    Do I really have to be good?
8.    If I do something wrong, how does he know?
9.    Mommy why does Santa have bad breath?
10.    How many cookies does he have to eat to fit into that suit?

Prepare your responses in advance so that you can explain Santa’s mysterious ways in your own  fashion.  Everyone keeps Christmas according to rich family traditions that are passed on from generation to generation.  How you explain Santa Clause to your child is up to you.

I’m going on forty and I still believe in the giving nature of Santa Clause.  A few days ago I was reading the famous letter that a little girl named Virginia O’Hanlon had sent to the Editor of The New York Sun asking if there really was a Santa Clause.  My heart warmed at the Editor’s response:
“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.  He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give your life its highest beauty and joy.”
“He lives, and he lives forever.  A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

We want to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas from all of us here at Child n’Parent!

By  Debby Hoffer

Add comment December 4th, 2008


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