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This I Like

Posted February 28, 2011

Peppa doll.  Babies can use this as a "calming cloth" to hang on to as they learn to fall asleep independently.  I bought it in Cumberland, BC. You may have to google for a source near you.  A sweet face, not over-stimulating, Fair Trade and organic material.  $10. www.babylonia.be  Made in Belgium.

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This I Like

Posted February 28, 2011

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg.  Wonderful examples of "mistakes" (bent page, ripped paper, something spilled, a stain) being turned into art.  Ages 3 and up. (Amazon)

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What to Look for in a Dayhome

Posted February 2, 2011

Last week, I had the privelege of consulting with a couple who plan to open a dayhome on March 1.  The mom is going back to work and the dad will be staying home with his 1 year old son.  It  was wonderful to be able to put in all my 2 cents on how I'd like to see a dayhome to be organized.  I really enjoyed being asked and I've been invited to come up and take a look before they officially open.  If you are interested in exploring a  March placement in a unique setting, you may call 403-261-8872.  Speak with Tarl or Heather.  Their home is in the Springside/Wentworth area, quite near Waldorf School, SW. Along with his one-year old son, Tarl will accept 2 additional children, ages 1-4 years.  He will also consider before/after school care.

I thought I would share a few of my ideas on what could make a good dayhome:

  • A separate place for each chlld to take a nap.  For 3 children, this means 3 cribs or playpens.  Naps (appropriate for age) are important for a child's day to go well.  It is tiring for a child to be with other children all day, so the naps are a chance to recharge batteries, restore curiosity and provide resilience to finish the day (maybe?without a melt-down.
  • A caregiver with imagination, patience and a curiosity about each child in his/her care.  A person who observes what interests each child and who is willing to follow up on those observations with books from the library, activities and pretend play around topics like trucks, baby dolls, trains, ballet, dogs, cats, etc. 
  • A supply of interesting toys and items to play with rather than a massive collection of every toy ever invented. 
  • An interesting way to display these toys so children are inspired as they arrive or get up from a nap.
  • An effort to tidy and rearrange items occasionally through the day to make the environment fresh.
  • A caregiver who is confident but flexible about how she/he will handle discipline issues, separation anxiety, temper tantrums should they arise.
  • A supply of hats, puzzles, dolls, trucks, balls, items to pretend with and a few cupboards to be safely explored.
  • Basic, careful babyproofing, including an assortment of safety devices, as necessary.
  • A low adult:child ratio  The fewer children, the better for your child.

This list is not exhaustive, but may help you in your evaluation.  Now, what if your child is already in a dayhome which you feel may not live up to "perfect."  Well, just as our own homes will not always (ever?) be perfectly clean, perfectly run or always have toys laid out in an interesting order, a child's basic need for a warm, interested caregiver and a reasonably rich environment can be met in a variety of settings.  Caregiver warmth and confidence and interest should leave you feeling satisfied with your choice.  If you do not feel your child has access to such a caregiver, then perhaps other choices can be made.

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“How Can I Get My Child to Eat More?”

Posted February 28, 2011

You can't.  Your child will eat when she is hungry and stop when she is full. The ability to self-regulate one's food intake is an essential skill which babies require for healthy development.  Sounds so simple, right?  It is for the baby -- not so much for parents.

Universally, parents care a great deal about how much their child eats.  Not surprising given the number of weigh-ins required in the year after birth.  Parents unddrgo a greaat deal of scrutinyThere is a strong focus on: 

  • weight-gain or lack thereof
  • starting solid food the "right" way
  • when and how -and when not - to add certain foods to the baby's diet 

Parents receive guidance, recommendations, warnings and even visits all in an effort to be sure feeding is going well.  It's no wonder parents start counting every bite and worrying perenially about whether their child is eating enough to stay on the growth chart.  Parents feel judged and scared about where their child sits on the ever-powerful GROWTH CHART. If your child is in the 80% range, a parent can feel proud --and keep on feeding in order to stay there!  If your child is at the 3% you may feel threatened by the risk of failure to thrive or malnutrition --so you increase your efforts to feed more often in order to correct this "problem."

This isn't fun for the parent and it isn't fair to the baby.  With some rare exceptions, babies and toddlers know when they are hungry and they know  when they are full.  Instead of following a chart or a list of recommended food amounts for each age, a parent only needs to observe their child to learn her individual patterns and body rhythms.  When a child is hungry (every 3-4 hours) he becomes fussy, whiny and clambors for food.  When he is full, he loses interest in food and wants to be free to explore.

Major behavior problems and power struggles can arise when a parent tries to get a child who isn't hungry --to eat!  If only the child would eat, the parent would feel better.  Using choo-choo games or resorting to feeding  ham or hot dogs or Kraft dinner are usually desperate measures to ensure the child won't wake up "hungry" in the middle of the night or not gain enough weight to satisfy the nurse at the next well baby check-up.

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