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For a quarter of a century, Today's Parent has waded through the sometimes murky waters of child-rearing. We've seen good ideas and bad, watched fads come and go, and emerged with some essential, timeless truths. Here are 25 of the best
The “burrito wrap” will help keep baby snug and secure for the first six weeks of life until she’s ready to stretch out, says paediatrician Ari Brown, co-author of Baby 411. Here’s how to perfect your technique.
Kiss, cuddle and coddle her to your heart’s content.AleksandarNakic/ Getty Images
Don’t fret, says Michelle Moreau, a child and family therapist and mom of three in Saint John. “They need to gain the confidence that they can try, fail and get back up to try again.”Cavan Images/ getty Images
Our favourite read: Tame Your Time-WastersEkaterina Goncharova/ Getty Images
Studies show most children aren’t developmentally ready to potty train until they’re between the ages of two and four. Watch for these signs of readiness:
Best bathroom reading: The No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantleyromrodinka/ Getty Images
To prevent a blow-up — your own, that is! — have a discipline plan in place, advises parenting speaker and Today’s Parent columnist Kathy Lynn, author of Who’s in Charge Anyway? “When you’ve figured out what the rules and expectations are, it’s just plain simpler for everyone.” If Jack has a habit of darting off in the grocery store, for example, let him know that you’ll give him one warning and then you’ll both be leaving the store, pronto. “When you deal with these situations quickly, you’re calm because you still feel like you’re in control,” says Lynn. “We lose it when we go on and on and on, pleading, warning and reminding.”Prostock-Studio/ Getty Images
Separation anxiety usually peaks between eight and 18 months of age. These four steps can help smooth the transition:
A consistent routine helps kids unwind and paves the way to dreamland. It can be anything you like — a bath, a game of peekaboo, a bedtime story — as long as it’s quiet, relaxing and predictable.
Our favourite read: Blanket SolutionsBlend Images - Inti St Clair/ Getty Images
Paul Kropp, author of How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life recommends these three R’s for every age group:
Our favourite read: Raise a ReaderPeopleImages/ Getty Images
The best way to get across the manners message to kids is to make it fun, says Vancouver’s Judi Vankevich, a.k.a. The Manners Lady, author of Manners Matter and Character Counts for Kids.
Our favourite read: Party of FourCharday Penn/ Getty Images
Parent-educator Maggie Reigh in Kelowna, BC, and author of Taking the Terror Out of Temper Tantrums, has this advice:
Our favourite read: Top Temper TamersFangXiaNuo/ Getty Images
Whether it’s Friday-night pizza or a trip to the pumpkin farm at Halloween, rituals and traditions are the glue that holds families together.AleksandarNakic/ Getty Images
While children can legally be left alone between the ages of 10 and 12 (depending on the province you live in), that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready. “Make your choice based on capability, not convenience,” advises Samantha Wilson, a former police officer and author of Safe Kids, Safe Families. Is your child comfortable being home alone? Can you depend on her to follow house rules? Is she able to handle unexpected situations? If you answer yes to all of the above, she’s probably ready. Here’s how to get things off to a good start:
Does it seem like your children are constantly bickering? Research has shown that siblings aged three to six fight seven to 12 times an hour. These tips can help keep the peace:
Our favourite read: The Fight StuffDejan_Dundjerski/ Getty Images
“My Ava started reading before her second birthday.” “Max is taking chess lessons!” Welcome to the world of competitive parenting. “We put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves worrying about our kids keeping up with the Joneses,” says Karyn Gordon, author of Dr. Karyn’s Guide to the Teen Years. Here’s how to stop:
Our favourite read: Mommy DirestYellow Dog Productions/ Getty Images
Nuff said.Catherine Falls Commercial/ Getty Images
Our favourite read: The Babysitter DiariesJamie Grill/ Getty Images
Trust us, it helps to build lasting memories.AsiaVision/ Getty Images
Our favourite read: Sneaky Solutions to Picky ProblemsUserba011d64_201/ Getty Images
Overprogrammed children are prone to stress, and miss out on important childhood activities like dreaming, drawing, building, fantasizing and just hanging out. “Make a decision to say, ‘We’re not going to be committed every day; our kids are not going to be in a zillion things,’” advises Katherine Gibson, author of Pause: Putting the Brakes on a Runaway Life. “Help your child choose one activity he can get to without you chauffeuring him — and only two activities per school term.”
Signs of stress: Headaches, upset stomach, tearful over minor things, continual fatigue, irritability, disinterest in activities once enjoyed, declining grades, behavioural problems at school.MoMo Productions/ getty Images
“If you want to be the first to discuss sex with your children, you have to start early,” says Meg Hickling, a sexual health educator in Vancouver and the author of The New Speaking of Sex: What Your Children Need to Know and When They Need to Know It — especially when you consider that 27 percent of Canadian teens aged 14 to 17 report that they are sexually active. Begin by teaching toddlers the correct names for their body parts, including their genitals — “This is your nose, this is your tummy, this is your penis.” Answer all of your preschooler’s questions simply but honestly (no stork stories, please, but no obstetrics courses either), and teach your curious preteens the basics of puberty before they get there.
Our favourite read: Talking to Kids About Sexpixdeluxe/ getty Images
Teach your child how to give back, and she’ll keep on giving.
When children are under five, they can:
Between ages five and 11, children can:
In junior and senior high school, children can:
They won't last forever.Catherine Falls Commercial/ Getty Images
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