Your 5 1/4-year-old

When kids whine, parents cringe. Read on for tips on how to deal.

Would you like some cheese with that?
“Pllluuuueeeese.” “Whhhyyeee not?” It’s not so much what they say, as the way they say it. When kids whine, parents cringe. Ignoring them usually doesn’t accomplish much except escalate the decibel level and your anxiety. It also won’t assure your child that you’re with her through thick and thin… and even whining. Whatever its origins, whining is a habit most parents hope their kids will break.

Should you reward good behaviour?
Doling out stickers or jellybeans isn’t an awful way to encourage your child to cooperate ― it’s just that it shouldn’t be the main way. Occasionally a little token can jump start a positive behaviour, like getting dressed in the morning without complaint. It can also make a miserable situation more tolerable ― like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. Sometimes a hug or a sincere word from you will do the same thing, though. Also, if children aren’t clear on what the reward means, it can undermine the long-term goal which is to help your child learn to behave a certain way, not because she’ll get a sticker for doing so (because she won’t, always) but because things work out better, and she feels better about herself, when she does.

Lousy lice
No parent wants to hear the word “lice.” Unfortunately, once your child starts school, she’s more likely to encounter the pesky insects, which live on human hair and eat blood ― but pose no serious health risk. Yes, they’re irritating and icky, but an itchy head is the worst that comes of it.

If your child does end up with lice, try to stay calm. Dealing with lice can be time-consuming, but one day you’ll laugh about it…really!

“My tummy hurts!”
Your kid is curled up on the couch, whimpering and clutching her belly. What’s causing that tummy ache ― and what can you do about it?

Good kids’ websites
From a child’s point of view, the Internet is an exciting and often educational way to play. You’ll want to make sure that her interest in the Internet doesn’t cut into her other playtime ― she needs lots of active play (indoors and out) and plenty of time with her friends. And as with any powerful experience, you don’t want her to go it alone. Think of the Internet as another way for the two of you to explore new things together. (Luckily, with today’s software, it’s easy to set parental controls that block dangerous sites while giving access to quality ones.)

Here are some recommended sites to check out with your child:
cbc.ca/kids
lego.com
disney.com
starfall.com

Also go to websites for some of your family’s favourite destinations: science centres, aquariums, zoos. Many of these places will have fun games and activities for your child to enjoy.

 

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