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Fussy eater

For nearly a year after she turned one, my niece only ate sausages and dry Weetabix and drank lots and lots of milk every day! We worried about her health but she seemed healthy and in good form.
My son however ate whatever I gave him. Both were born in the same week and we spent lots of time together so they were offered fairly the same food at the same time. We couldn’t understand what made my niece such a fussy eater from a very young age.
Now 9 years old, both my son and my niece are of similar healthy builtd and eat a big variety of food.
Most parents will encounter the fussy eater at some stage in their toddler’s development, and the key thing is not to worry. Remember being a kid and maybe a fussy eater too? Remember how you never ate your greens until you were a teenager (perhaps not even then?!) and you seemed to turn out okay.
When it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner, kids will be kids, in that they’ll let you know exactly what they will eat and what they won’t. However, at this young age, it’s usually because they’re experimenting with lots of different flavours, food textures and yes, even colours, that makes them fixate upon certain foods.
Everything’s new when you’re young and being asked to taste all these dishes for the first time, it’s a bit stressful. So if your child sticks on a certain food, don’t make a big deal of it. If it’s a healthy food, great – encourage them to eat what they will, but try also to introduce small amounts of what you’d like them to eat alongside it. One fruit or veg at the time. No more!
No child can like all foods however, so when it comes to finding out what your child will eat, it’s all about trial and error. It also helps if you leave off bringing high sugary snacks into the mix until they’re around school-age. As they say – what you haven’t tasted yet, you can’t yet crave…

Fussy eater

Tantrum at three years old

‘I do it myself’ – we’ve all heard it, and it’s a phrase that can elicit everything from a knowing smile, to a shiver of dread. At three, our kids want to be just like us – they’re that little bit more independent and don’t they just love showing it? If they don’t get what they want, well, then it’s Tantrum at three years old time. And three-year-old tantrums are a little more epic, shall we say, than the twos’…

Two-years-old, we now realise, were nothing compared to this. Once they hit three, they’ve acquired a usable vocabulary – and boy, do they like to use it. Okay, they might not always make sense, but let’s face it – when you’re in the supermarket and your child’s cooking up a storm, is that really the point?

Speaking of supermarkets, a three-year-old no longer accepts what you try to feed them. Gone are the days when your adorable toddler will happily consume what’s good for them. Now, at three, they become picky. They choose a food they like and they stick with it. If you’re lucky, they might settle on three foods they like (there’s that number again!), and woe betide you if you try sneaking anything else onto the plate!

Three-year-olds are great, but now that they’re potty trained (a minor miracle at the time), it means little accidents are an ever-present danger. Oh, and the toilets are never handy when you need them.

At three, kids want to dress themselves (slowly), attempt to do everything you do (very slowly), and quite frankly, when they don’t get their way – their Tantrum at three years old are on a whole new level. At three, kids can manipulate like there’s no tomorrow and bless them – it’s a talent they practice to the maximum. As for their motor skills? Improvements in that regard are usually best observed during a yelling and kicking-in-the-shins fit in the car park. Preferably a busy Saturday car park. Or maybe a quiet coffee shop…

In my opinion, the best way to deal with it is to have rules and boundaries in place that you need to stick to no matter what. Yes there will be times when it’s easier to give in, but one or twice won’t do much harm. Children at all ages feel secure when there are rules and boundaries, I know it’s hard to believe.

Stick to your guns, be as cool as a cucumber and let the storm pass. It could be embarrassing sometimes in public places, but think about what you want for your child and not what others think.

The early years can definitely be trying, but look at the bright side – it’s only a phase, right?

Temper tantrum at 2 years old

How to survive the terrible twos

Last month we looked at how to tackle the ‘terrible ones’, so now it’s time for ‘the twos’…

As we’ve already established – and as any parent will know – age two might be the most talked about year for tantrums, but they really can start from day one. However, by the age of two, there are different things to consider as to why your child is playing up, so it’s important to be aware of these.

The power of ‘no’

One of the key differences at this age is that by now, most children will have learned how to say ‘no’. A one-year-old wants to say no and screams as they try, but a two-year-old has the power of speech, which changes everything. They’re still not fully competent in this area however, so they’ll use the few words they can to maximise their effect.

Two-year-olds are also a lot more mobile, which can create trouble when they try to exert their new-found independence and are subsequently told off for it. They’re more inquisitive but still can’t move around as much as they might like, and they’re constantly being told ‘no’ by mum and dad. All of this leads to unwanted tantrums.

At this age, your two-year-old is undergoing a range of motor, intellectual, social and emotional changes, which all makes it very frustrating to be a toddler. So, it’s vital you consider this when disciplining your child, and consider the best ways to manage their behaviour.

What parents can do to help:

  • Always try to be patient
  • Limit your use of ‘no’
  • Find alternatives for your child if they want to do something that isn’t allowed
  • Use other ways to discipline your child, rather than shouting e.g. humour or redirecting their attention elsewhere
  • Praise your child as soon as they respond in a positive way
  • Recognise potentially tantrum-inducing situations and try to avoid them

Tackling tantrums at the age of one – Terrible ones!

Tackling tantrums at age 1:  ‘terrible ones’

We’ve all heard of the Terrible Twos, but tantrums in our children (as most parents will know!) often start long before they turn two. In fact, it’s normal for your baby to begin demonstrating assertive behaviour soon after their first birthday, and it’s important to understand why.

All children, of course, develop at different rates, but at around the age of one, they’re generally beginning to become more aware of their world. They want to do things for themselves, but can’t. They want to express themselves – say ‘no’ to things – but can’t yet do this with speech. They’re curious and want to explore, but aren’t aware of the dangers, so they get upset when you stop their adventuring.

You may be in a hurry to get lunch finished, but your child wants to have a go; making a mess but in doing so, achieving something for themselves. Children want to control their environment and when they can’t, they do the only thing they can – they have a tantrum.

To avoid even worse behaviour by the age of two, it’s important to tackle tantrums head-on as soon as they start. Babyhood doesn’t last long, so it’s up to you as a parent to help your baby acquire his or her independence while still protecting them from any risks.

How do you do this?

  • Where you safely can, let your baby say ‘no’, and accept this.
  • Always stay one step ahead – don’t take a tired toddler on one last errand after a busy day…
  • Remain calm when a tantrum does strike, and don’t ignore it – acknowledge the behaviour by talking reassuringly to your child.
  • Remember – your child understands more than he/she can communicate at this stage, so warn them about their behaviour if you see a tantrum brewing, and change your schedule accordingly to avoid trouble.



Why So Grumpy!

Why so grumpy?

It’s always refreshing to hear that your child is well-behaved at school or nursery, but when they turn into little monsters at home, it can be hard to comprehend why.

So – just what makes schoolchildren so grumpy and uncooperative after the bell rings?

Firstly, most children behave themselves at school and work hard to impress their teachers because they want to be liked by them. The positive reinforcement they receive in a less familiar environment – with their peers – reins them in when they might otherwise misbehave. Once school’s finished however, the effort of ‘being good’ seeps out into less restrained behaviour.

It should be noted that for most children, this is generally not consciously done. They feel safe and secure at home and they know that ultimately, their needs will be met no matter how they behave there. Having behaved all day, they subsequently let their guard down and they probably also know exactly what they can get away with i.e. they have more power at home.

What can you do then to improve behaviour at home?

  • Create a culture of accountability – make sure your child knows their misbehaviour has consequences and won’t be tolerated any more.
  • Tackle one behaviour at a time.
  • Establish clear rules/expectations.
  • Make sure you mean what you say – be consistent.
  • Use positive reinforcement.
  • Stay calm and don’t join in with aggressive behaviour.
  • Lead by example.

Ultimately, if your child is behaving at school, they have the skills to do the same at home, so it’s important to recognise this. Tiredness can also be a contributing factor, so ensuring your child eats healthily and has the energy for a full day’s activities will help, as well as getting a good night’s sleep.

It will take time and effort to generate better behaviour at home, but with perseverance, it can be done.

Viral infections in children

Fighting viral infection in children
As January gets underway and winter takes its hold, the chances of your child picking up viral infections and colds is more likely than ever. Children are, of course, susceptible to bugs all year round, but it can be particularly difficult to shake off these viral infections in the colder months.
While there isn’t a cure for viral infection in children, there are precautions you can take as a parent to ensure that, when the inevitable happens, your child can recover as quickly as possible. How often your child catch an viral infection and how rapidly they recuperate, can be managed, and it’s all down to how strong their immune system is.

Fighting back
Whether your child develops a sore throat, cough, a cold, or picks up a viral infection they haven’t had before, a healthy immune system is crucial to fight any infection off.
So, what can you do to boost your child’s immune system?

The NHS has five top tips:
Sleep – Quality sleep allows the release of growth hormones which benefit children’s immune system and their brain.
Drink more milk – dairy products are packed with protein and vitamins A and B12 to allow normal growth.
Eat more fruit and vegetables – these are key sources of vital vitamins and minerals
Be active – regular exercise boosts the immune system, so encourage your kids to walk, ride a bike or play football
Have a hearty breakfast – starting the day fully fuelled with a healthy breakfast will give little bodies the energy they need to fight off infections

Avoid second-hand smoke, anyone who’s known to have a viral infection and washing hands regularly are also important.
Ultimately, your child’s immune system benefits from balance, so combining these recommendations will ensure your child is well-equipped to handle any viral infection coming their way.