TwitterRSS
Or, subscribe via email

Supporting

Let's Talk Babies!

Child Development

We parents often get sucked into playing the compare game. A mother in the waiting room of your pediatrician’s office, holding a little one about the same age your own bundle of joy, strikes up a conversation with you, before long you find yourself comparing milestones. Playing at the park with your child you observe another child about the same age and begin wondering why your child isn’t able to ride a bike like that, climb that rock wall, etc, etc, etc. It is so easy to fall into a pattern of second guessing your child, your parenting, and comparing your child with others. When you have more that one child it can become easy to compare your own children to each other. Baby A hit this milestone at this age, why is Baby B still not doing that. We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others so it isn’t any wonder that we fall into the same trap with our children.

The thing about babies is that no two are exactly alike. When a baby learns to sit on their own, when they learn to crawl, when they start to babble, when they start to walk completely depends on the baby and will happen at different times for different babies. Comparing your child to your friends child, or a strange child in the park or the doctor’s office, or comparing your own children to each other, doesn’t do any one any good. Just because that 7 month old you encountered at the doctor’s office is already crawling doesn’t mean your 8 month old should be. Just because that 4 year old at the park can ride a two wheel bike doesn’t mean your 5 year old should be able to.

Obviously, if your child appears to be behind hitting developmental milestones it can be stressful and wondering why other people’s children are hitting milestones before your own can be an easy trap to fall into. The best thing to do, if you are worried or concerned about your child’s development, is to talk with their pediatrician and see if there is cause for concern and what you can do to help your child.

When Maya was a baby I did a pretty good job of avoiding the comparing game. As long as she was hitting her milestones within the normal ranges I didn’t really care if she was doing it faster, better or sooner than other babies her age. Now with Anna I’m taking the same approach.

Each baby will develop at his or her own pace and comparing them to other children isn’t going to make that happen any faster. Just do the best you can to encourage your child and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and they will get there eventually. And remember, if you are worried at all, talk to your child’s doctor.

A couple of weeks ago Maya started stuttering a bit.  She was getting caught up at the beginning of some of her sentences, saying things like “I,I,I,I,I,I,I want a drink” or “look,look,look,look, there’s a doggie”.  The stuttering seemed to be most pronounced and most common during times when she was really excited, really tired, or really frustrated about something.  I figured it was probably normal but I wasn’t entirely sure so I did a little research online, in a few parenting books and by calling my daughter’s pediatrician.  Turns out it is likely just a perfectly normal case of toddler stuttering, or transient dysfluency.

Almost all children between the ages of 2 and 4, about 85%, will suffer through a phase of stuttering.  It occurs when their language skills have out paced their verbal dexterity.  Basically their little brains are thinking up the words they want to say faster than their mouth muscles are able to form and actually speak the words.  Often stuttering in toddlers and preschoolers takes the shape of getting stuck on the first word of a sentence or even the first syllable of a longer word, like “I-I-I-I-I-I want to play outside” or “base-base-base-baseball is fun”.  This differs a bit from traditional stuttering which is often displayed with getting stuck on the first sound (or letter) of a word, like “h-h-h-h-h-h-he is over there”.

Once I discovered that Maya was just going through a very common phase of toddlerhood I wanted to know what, if anything, I needed to do to help her through this phase.  In talking with the nurse at her pediatrician’s office and through reading a few sites online I discovered a few things I can do, or should avoid doing, while she goes through this phase:

  • Remain patient and listen to your child and maintain eye contact.
  • Don’t finish their thought, let them get it out even if they have to stumble over a word 20 or more times.
  • When your child has finished their thought repeat it back to them so they can hear it without the stutter and so they know you have understood what they are saying.

Most children will outgrow this type of stuttering around the age of 4, however, if the stutter appears to be getting worse, your child gets upset about their stutter, or you notice any other changes with the stutter be sure to discuss it with your child’s doctor as speech therapy may be needed.

As quickly as our potty training adventures began they have ended.  Not because we’ve given up but because my daughter is super smart and figured this whole potty training thing out already.  Maya is full time in big girl underwear, at home, while we’re out and even during nap time!!!!  The only time she wears a pull up  now is for bedtime, although a couple of nights in a row she has woken up dry so I’m think that might not last long either.

I’m so proud of her for figuring this out so quickly.  As soon as we realized she wasn’t digging the pull ups and switched to big girl underwear for our training she got it within a couple of days.  I haven’t changed a diaper in over a month, I haven’t even changed a wet pull up in almost a week, I can’t tell you how awesome that is :)

She’s a big girl now!!!

010_360x480

Maya, mommy is so proud of you but would like you to not grow up quite so fast, you can slow down a bit if you want 😉

Kids, like adults, get stuck in the rut of bad habits.  Though they often aren’t the types of habits that are going to lead to anything really detrimental, they can be bothersome and in some cases have negative consequences.   Sometimes those little habits that your child develops like sucking his thumb, picking his nose, etc, will go away on their own if you just ignore them.  However, sometimes parents just want it to stop or it has become too troublesome to ignore anymore.  So, how can you tackling those bad habits and not end up with both of you in tears?

We’ve been lucky so far with Maya (knock on wood).  She didn’t take to a binky so we didn’t have to fight that battle, she doesn’t suck her thumb, and so far hasn’t developed any other bad habits.  But, I know not all parents are quite so lucky, and I know likely, at some point down the road we are going to have to tackle a bad habit or two.  So, what can parents do to help curb these bad habits?

  • Be patient and give your child a chance to correct the behavior on their own.  If they aren’t showing any signs of stopping and the behavior is starting to have negative consequences then begin to work on it with them.
  • If the behavior doesn’t go away on its own consider ways you can help your child take steps in the right direction towards ending the behavior.
  • Give your child something else to do.  Kids often fall back on bad habits for the sensory satisfaction it provides, or in the case of thumb sucking, hair pulling, etc, because they don’t have something else to do with their hands.  Give them something like a puzzle, play dough, a worry stone to play with, yarn to make into bracelets.  Be creative.
  • If your child is resorting to these bad habits in times of stress, tension, upset, give them a new outlet for these feelings.  Things like coloring, stretching exercises like yoga, sitting quietly and reading a book or laying down in bed and cuddling a favorite stuffed animal are all good ways to ease upset, angry, or tense feelings.  Get your child involved in decided what the would rather do.
  • For older children consider talking to them about the consequences of their actions, like that thumb sucking hurts their teeth, or that hair pulling can lead to bald patches in their hair, or that nose picking can lead to nose bleeds.  Sometimes if they understand the consequences they may opt to stop the behavior on their own.

No matter what the bad habit is be sure to address the action itself and not make the child feel like you are upset with him or her.  Remember that we all have bad habits and it often just takes time, patience and practice to get over them.

If you are worried about your child’s behavior be sure to discuss it with your child’s doctor.

    For most of her short little 2 year life Maya has had a love affair with clothes.  She wasn’t one of those babies who loved to be naked, and as a toddler still prefers being full dressed to being naked.   If given the option to run around naked or put on some clothes she will always choose the latter.  The other day I had decided to let her run around for a bit with her diaper and pants off because she had a bit of a diaper rash.  She got quite perturbed at this idea and kept asking to me to put her pants back on.  I ended up giving in and putting her diaper and pants back on because after she used the potty she cheered and said “yeah, pants back on.”  After that display I couldn’t resist giving in to her.  She also doesn’t like it when other people don’t have clothes on either.  As soon as Lorne gets out of bed in the morning she tells him to put a shirt on.  There is no walking around naked at our house with the clothes police living here :)

    Over time this love affair with clothing has grown into a love affair with playing with clothes and playing dress up.  Whenever there is a pile of clothes laying around, either to be donated, washed, put away, whatever, Maya will find it and play in it.  There have been many gigantic huge clothing everywhere messes made in our house.

    BigClothingMess_360x480

    Nowadays she usually prefers playing dress up with the clothing she finds versus throwing them all over the place (which is good for me!).   Any clothes she finds become dress up clothes.

    Playing dress up (1)_360x480

    Wearing all mummy's shirts_360x480

    Playing Dress Up_360x480

    I am seriously going to have to think about starting a dress up bin for her.  Just imagine the fun she would have with a bin full of princess outfits and mommy’s old clothes and shoes :)