Your Toddler

Deafness After Mumps More Common Than Thought

New research out shows that mumps-related hearing loss in children may be 20 times more common than previously suggested. "Deafness is rare but important complication of mumps virus infection," the researchers from Japan's Hashimoto Pediatric Clinic in Osaka wrote in a report in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. The researchers determined the incidence of sudden hearing loss in children with mumps based upon a population-based office survey of more than 7,500 patients from 40 pediatric practices in Japan, a country where mumps is constantly present.

Among 7400 children who took hearing tests after the onset of mumps, seven or 0.1 percent had confirmed hearing loss. Hearing loss in the seven children was confined to one ear but was "severe and did not improve over time," the researchers note. None of the 7 children with mump-related hearing loss had been vaccinated against the mumps. In a commentary on the Japanese report, Dr. Stanley A. Plotkin from the University of Pennsylvania, Doylestown, highlights the lack of universal mumps vaccination in Japan. The absence of vaccination against mumps is "surprising for a developed country," Plotkin wrote, "and this regrettable policy must be changed for the sake of Japanese children."

Your Toddler

Is Your Child a Biter?

2.00 to read

At some time or another your sweet child is going to bite or wallop someone, most likely another kid. And yes, it's embarrassing to have to pull your child off another or to apologize to grandma because her grandchild just took a chunk out of her arm. 

Know that you’re not alone - all kids bite and /or hit. The key to stopping aggression in children is teaching them that there are alternative ways to handle frustration and biting is not acceptable behavior.

Not all biting stems from anger. The younger the child, the less chance that biting is an aggressive behavior. It can also be a simple case of exploration. Young children bite for many reasons, from painful gums because they are teething to seeing what kind of reaction they get. Children between the ages of one and three typically go through a biting phase they eventually outgrow.

While biting may be a normal phase kids go through, it’s something you want to discourage.

Let’s look at some of the reasons kids bite.

  • They're in pain. When babies bite, typically it's because they're teething. They're just doing it to relieve the pain of their swollen, tender gums.
  • They're exploring their world. Very young children use their mouths to explore, just as they use their hands. Just about everything infants or toddlers pick up eventually winds up in their mouths. Kids this age aren't yet able to prevent themselves from biting the object of their interest.
  • They're looking for a reaction. Part of exploration is curiosity. Toddlers experiment to see what kind of reaction their actions will provoke. They'll bite down on a friend or sibling to hear the surprised exclamation, not realizing how painful the experience is for that person.
  • They're craving attention. In older kids, biting is just one of several bad behaviors used to get attention. When a child feels ignored, discipline is at least one way of getting noticed -- even if the attention is negative rather than positive.
  • They're frustrated. Biting, like hitting, is a way for some children to assert themselves when they're still too young to express feelings effectively through words. To your child, biting is a way to get back a favorite toy, tell you that he or she is unhappy, or let another child know that he or she wants to be left alone.

So, how do you prevent or teach your child that they can’t go through life biting others?

You start with consistent prevention and move on to discipline if they are older.

  • If your baby is teething, make sure to always have a cool teething ring or washcloth on hand so he or she will be less likely to sink teeth into someone's arm.
  • Avoid situations in which your child can get irritable enough to bite. Make sure that all of your child's needs -- including eating and naptime -- are taken care of before you go out to play. Bring along a snack to soothe your child if he or she gets cranky from being hungry.
  • As soon as your child is old enough, encourage your child to use words such as “I'm angry with you" or "That's my toy" instead of biting. Other ways to express frustration or anger include hugging (not hitting) a stuffed animal or punching a pillow. Sometimes redirection is helpful; shortening activities or giving your child a break can help prevent the rising frustration that can lead to biting and other bad behaviors.
  • Give your child enough of your time throughout the day (for example, by reading or playing together), so he or she doesn't bite just to get attention. Extra attention is especially important when your child is going through a major life change, such as a move or welcoming a baby sibling. If your child is prone to biting, keep an eye on any playmates and step in when an altercation appears to be brewing.

You’ve done all that is possible to prevent another biting situation, and low and behold your child is biting another. What do you do then?

When your child bites, firmly let your child know that this behavior is not acceptable by saying, "No. We don't bite!" Explain that biting hurts the other person. Then remove your child from the situation and give the child time to calm down. It’s important that you remain calm.

Seeing your child bite another is naturally going to create an unpleasant reaction in you. As soon as you witness a biting episode, your body tenses, your heart races, and even if you don't actually scream, you really want to. The angrier you are, the tenser the situation becomes. You are much more likely to strike your child when you let your anger get the best of you. Take a deep breath, assess the situation and intervene calmly. Remove your child, let him or her calm down and explain (yes, once again) that biting is not going to be tolerated. If your child is old enough to understand time-out, this is a good time to use it. If not, remove the child from the temptation. Playtime is over.

One way some parents handle biting is to bite their own child to show them how painful it can be. Doing what you are telling your child not to do sends a mixed message. It’s similar to hitting your child and then saying “don’t hit others.” Most likely your child will experience how painful it is because another child will bite them someday.

The point is not so much that biting is painful, the action itself is unkind, unproductive and wrong.

When biting becomes a habit or continues past the age 4 or 5, it may stem from a more serious emotional problem. This is the time to ask for help from your pediatrician, family doctor or a child psychologist.

If your child is bitten, wash the area with soap and water. If the bite is bleeding and the wound appears to be deep, call your child’s doctor. The bite may need medical treatment, which could include antibiotics or a tetanus shot or both.

Biting is a horrible habit to get into and a difficult one to stop. Start teaching your child early that momma and daddy are not putting up with it and that there are better ways to explore the world and handle frustration.


Your Toddler

Sleep Problems May Mean Eating Problems

2.00 to read

Parents who have a hard time getting their babies and toddlers to sleep at night may also often have trouble at mealtime, new study findings suggest.

So-called behavioral insomnia, where a young child regularly resists bedtime or has trouble staying asleep, is common -- seen in up to 30 percent of children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.

A similar percentage have problems at mealtime, ranging from being an overly "fussy" eater to having a full-fledged "feeding disorder" - in which, for instance, parents can't get their child to follow any regular eating schedule, or the food refusal affects a child's weight.

It might not be surprising to many parents that sleeping and eating issues often go hand-in-hand. But the new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, is the first to show this may be true.

Among parents of 681 healthy kids 6 months to 3 years old, Israeli researchers found that those whose child had behavioral insomnia were more likely than other parents to say their child had eating issues as well.

And parents whose children were diagnosed with a feeding disorder were more likely to say they had trouble getting their child to sleep at night.

When asked if mealtime was a "problem," one-quarter of parents of children with insomnia said that it was; that compared with nine percent of other parents.

Similarly, 37 percent of parents whose children had an eating problem said that sleep was also an issue. In contrast, only 16 percent of other parents said the same.

Young children's eating and sleeping habits are the two most common concerns parents bring to their pediatricians, write the researchers, led by Dr. Riva Tauman of Tel Aviv Medical Center.

The current findings, they say, suggest that doctors should be aware that the two issues commonly go together, and help parents find ways to manage both.

The standard way to address behavioral insomnia is for parents to change their children's nighttime routine. That usually means setting a regular bedtime and certain rituals, like reading a story, that let a young child know bedtime is coming.

With eating problems, experts generally suggest that parents try to get kids interested in mealtime from an early age -- gradually introducing a variety of healthy, colorful foods, for instance, and making the eating environment pleasant but without any distractions like TV.

The current findings are based on 58 children who had been diagnosed with behavioral insomnia, 76 with a feeding disorder, and 547 who were studied for comparison.

Parents of children with insomnia were more likely to also report feeding "problems" -- worrying, for example, that their child was not eating enough or not growing properly.

Similarly, parents of children with feeding disorders were often worried about their child's sleep; and compared with other parents, they reported that their children got to bed almost an hour later, and slept for fewer hours each night.

It's possible, according to Tauman's team, that parents of young children with feeding disorders are more sensitive to sleep issues -- and vice-versa.

But they say it's also likely that parenting practices, like a lack of consistency in enforcing rules, underlie both problems.

On the positive side, the researchers note, that means that getting help for one issue could help parents manage both.

Tips for getting your child to sleep

Stick to a bedtime. "Don't wait until your baby is rubbing his eyes or yawning to put him to bed," says Marc Weissbluth, MD, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. "By then he's overtired." If you notice your child winding down at 8 p.m., make that his/her bedtime.

Get into the routine. Thirty minutes to an hour before bedtime, start a calming ritual that may include giving a bath and reading a story or two.

Put your baby in his/her crib awake. If your child is routinely rocked to sleep at bedtime, what happens when she wakes up alone at 3 a.m.? Answer: She cries. "All infants and toddlers wake two to six times a night," says Parents advisor Jodi Mindell, PhD, coauthor of Take Charge of Your Child's Sleep. "They need to know how to put themselves back to sleep."

Swaddle for the first three months. Research shows that 
infants who are swaddled wake up less and sleep longer than
 other babies.

Tune out. If your baby seems sensitive to household sounds, try running a white-noise machine or a fan in her room.

Let the sun in. Expose your baby to about 30 minutes of light each morning. Why? Light suppresses the release of the sleep hormone melatonin; this helps set her internal clock -- making it easier for her to fall asleep at night.

Your Toddler

HGH May Benefit Kids with Cystic Fibrosis

Although Human Growth Hormone is not a cure for the disease, researchers discovered that it reduced the number of hospitalizations among those who have the disease.A new study from the University of Connecticut suggests that recombinant human growth hormone could be a promising tool in treating cystic fibrosis.

Although rhGH is not a cure for the disease, researchers discovered that it reduced the number of hospitalizations among those who have the disease. The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, was produced by the UConn/Hartford Hospital Evidence-based Practice Center and was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the study offers insights on managing the disease, there's not enough evidence yet on whether rhGH treatments could extend the lives of those with cystic fibrosis.

 "It's intuitive that it might be beneficial as far as length of life goes, but we won't be able to go ahead and tell that just yet," said one of the researchers, Craig Lapin of UConn's Department of Pediatrics and the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Cystic Fibrosis affects multiple organs. Lungs are clogged with a thick mucus, which can lead to lung infections. The disease also affects the pancreas, making it difficult for the body to absorb food, which significantly stunts growth and often leads to early deaths. The researchers studied cases of children and adolescents, with cystic fibrosis going back to the 1990s, who received an injection of human growth hormone every day for six months to a year.

 In the 1950s, children with cystic fibrosis generally died before age 8. But with antibiotics and other medical advances, the median age for people with the disease increased to 37 by 2008.

"As the kids with cystic fibrosis are living longer and longer, a lot of these ancillary problems are become more apparent," said C. Michael White, director of the Evidence-based Practice Center and lead author of the study. In the cases studied, the researchers found that human growth hormone added 1.25 inches in height and three pounds to the patients. That growth also resulted in larger internal organs, particularly the lungs, making breathing easier.

 HGH also appears to improve the mineral content in bones, making them stronger. "

For those who received human growth hormone, White said, annual hospitalizations decreased by half, from about three hospitalizations per year to one and half.

 HGH therapy can be expensive, but fewer hospitalizations should balance out the expense.

 "Hopefully, this is going to encourage cystic fibrosis care providers to use it more frequently in patients at the lower end of weight and of short stature," Lapin said of the findings. A daily injection can be difficult for a child who is already taking several other medications, White said, but going to the hospital fewer times might make up for it.

 "I could see that, for a lot of kids, the injections would become just part of the daily routine," he said. "They would probably be a lot less scary than hospitalizations."

Your Toddler

Magnets in Toys Pose Broad Dangers

Parents need to be better warned about potential health risks and symptoms of children swallowing toys with magnets.When giving your child toys this holiday season, parents need to be better warned about potential health risks and symptoms of children swallowing toys with magnets. That is the warning from a new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. When ingested, multiple magnets can stick together across a bowel wall, leading to infection in the digestive tract, the need for surgery and even death. The study also found that parents often don't seek medical attention for a child who has swallowed a magnet as quickly as necessary.

The findings are based on the analysis of 121 magnet-swallowing cases in 21 counties and were published online in the journal Pediatric Radiology. "The majority of swallowed magnetic objects were components of toy sets, including many well-known brands," study author Dr. Alan Oestreich, a professor of radiology at Cincinnati Children's, said in a hospital news release. "Many of the children represented in the survey were 5 years of age or younger and dependent on their parents or guardians to ensure they do not have access to multiple small magnets." The authors urged parents to pay particular attention when buying toys for small children as written warnings are not mandatory on toys containing magnets. Symptoms of ingested magnets can be mild and flu-like, but nausea, vomiting, cramps or abdominal pain should be given medical attention.

Your Toddler

Recall: “Softimals” Toy Sets

1.30 to read

Name of product: Building Toy Playsets

Infinitoy Inc. is recalling the Super Safari Set model #30025 and the Deluxe Circus Train Set model #30040. The model number can be found on the back of the box in the lower right corner. The sets come in a white box with “Softimals., “Build, Play, Repeat,” and “Ages 1 ½ to 5,” printed in a colorful font on the front and back of the package. The sets have numerous plastic pieces that can be connected and fit together to build a vehicle pulling cars with a hippo, giraffe, zebra and other animals. The drivers of the lead vehicles, Safari Sam and Mighty Mike, have removable blue or yellow plastic hats.  

Hazard: The plastic hats found on play set figures pose a choking/aspiration hazard for children.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC is aware of one incident in which an 18-month-old child placed a hat in their mouth and started to gag/choke but the toy was removed. No injuries have been reported.

This product was sold at specialty toy stores nationwide and online at and from September 2012 to September 2013 for about $25 and $40. 

Consumer Contact: Infinitoy, Inc. toll-free at (888) 558-0933 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, or online at , then click on Safety/Recall at the bottom of the page for more information. 

About 7,134 units are being recalled.



Your Toddler

Seven Tips For Toddler Discipline

2.15 to read

Toddler-hood is a particularly vexing time for parents because this is the age at which children start to become more independent and discover themselves as individuals. Yet they still have a limited ability to communicate and reason. "They understand that their actions matter -- they can make things happen," says Claire Lerner, LCSW-C, child development specialist and director of parenting resources for the organization Zero to Three. "This leads them to want to make their imprint on the world and assert themselves in a way they didn't when they were a baby. The problem is they have very little self-control and they're not rational thinkers. It's a very challenging combination." So how do you deal with a child who screams every time you try to give him or her a bath, and whose vocabulary seems to consist of just one word -- "no"? Here are a few simple toddler discipline strategies to help make life easier for both you and your child. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 1: Be Consistent Order and routine give young children a safe haven from what they view as an overwhelming and unpredictable world, says Lerner. "When there's some predictability and routine, it makes children feel much more safe and secure, and they tend to be much more behaved and calm because they know what to expect." Try to keep to the same schedule every day. That means having consistent nap times, mealtimes, and bedtimes, as well as times when your toddler is free to just run around and have fun. When you do have to make a change, it helps to warn your child in advance. Telling your child, "Aunt Jean is going to watch you tonight while Mommy and Daddy go out for a little bit" will prepare her for a slightly different routine, and will hopefully prevent a scene at bedtime. Consistency is also important when it comes to discipline. When you say "no hitting" the first time your child smacks another child on the playground, you also need to say "no hitting" the second, third, and fourth times your child does it. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 2: Avoid Stressful Situations By the time children reach the toddler stage, you've spent enough time with them to know their triggers. The most common ones are hunger, sleepiness, and quick changes of venue. With a little advance planning, you can avoid these potential meltdown scenarios and keep things relatively calm. "You have to anticipate, which means you don't go to the grocery store when your child needs a nap," says Lisa Asta, MD, a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. Try to make sure your child is home at naptimes, bedtimes, and mealtimes. If you are out, always keep food on hand in case of a sudden hunger attack. Keep excursions short (that means finding another restaurant if the one you've chosen has an hour-long wait, or doing your grocery shopping at times when the lines are shortest). Finally, plan ahead so you don't have to rush (particularly when you need to get your child to preschool and yourself to work in the mornings). You can ease transitions by involving your child in the process. That can be as simple as setting an egg timer for five minutes, and saying that when it rings it's time to take a bath or get dressed, or giving your child a choice of whether to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt to school. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 3: Think Like a Toddler Toddlers aren't mini-adults. They have trouble understanding many of the things we take for granted, like how to follow directions and behave appropriately. Seeing the scenario from a toddler's perspective can help prevent a tantrum. "You might say, 'I know, Derek, you don't like getting into the car seat ... but it's what we have to do,'" Lerner explains. "So you're not coddling, but you're validating their feelings. You have to set the limit, but you do it in a way that respects the child and you use it as an opportunity to help them learn to cope with life's frustrations and rules and regulations." Giving choices also shows that you respect your toddler and recognize the child's feelings. Asking your child if he or she wants to bring a favorite book in the car, or take along a snack, can make the child feel as though he or she has some control over the situation while you remain in charge, Lerner says. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 4: Practice the Art of Distraction Make your toddler's short attention span work for you. When your child throws the ball against the dining room wall for the 10th time after you've said to stop, it's pretty easy to redirect your child to a more productive activity, like trading the ball for a favorite book or moving the game outside. "Parents need to create an environment that is most conducive to good toddler behavior," advises Rex Forehand, PhD, the Heinz and Rowena Ansbacher Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont and author of Parenting the Strong-Willed Child. "If they're into something they're not supposed to do, the idea is not to punish them but to get another activity going or pick them up and put them in another room." Toddler Discipline Secret No. 5: Give Your Child a Break Time-outs are one of the foundations of child discipline, but they may not be the best approach for the toddler stage. The negative implication of being sent away can teach kids that they're bad, rather than promote good behavior. If you do give your child a time-out, limit it to just a minute or two at this age. Instead of calling it a time-out, which can be confusing to children under 3, refer to it as something more positive. Lerner suggests creating a "cozy corner," a safe place, free from distractions and stimulation, where your child can just chill out for a few minutes until he or she can get back in control. That time away can help you regroup, as well. Correct bad behaviors, but also take the time to praise good behaviors. "If you don't tell your child when they're doing the right thing, sometimes they'll do the wrong thing just to get attention," Asta says. When you tell your toddler he or she has done something good, there's a good chance your child will want to do it again. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 6: Stay Calm When you're standing in the middle of the mall, looking down at your child who's screaming on the floor, and trying to ignore the stares of the shoppers around you, it's easy for your blood pressure to reach the boiling point. It's hard to stay calm, but losing control will quickly escalate an already stressful situation. Give yourself some time to cool off, advises Forehand. "Otherwise, you're venting your own anger. In the end that's going to make you as a parent feel worse and guilty, and it's not going to do your child any good." "I call it the "Stepford Wife" approach," Lerner says. As your child screams, say, 'I know, I know,' but stay completely calm as you pick him up. Don't show any emotion. Sometimes the best tactic is to ignore the behavior entirely. "You just literally act like they're not doing what they're doing. You ignore the behavior you want to stop," Lerner says. When your child realizes that his screaming fit is not going to get him a second lollipop or your attention, eventually he'll get tired of yelling. Your child may drive you so close to the breaking point that you're tempted to spank him, but most experts warn against the practice. "When we spank, kids learn that physical punishment is acceptable. And so we are modeling exactly what we don't want our kids to do," says Forehand. At the toddler stage, redirection and brief breaks are far more effective discipline tactics, Forehand says. Toddler Discipline Secret No. 7: Know When to Give In Certain things in a toddler's life are nonnegotiable. She has to eat, brush her teeth, and ride in a car seat. She also has to take baths once in a while. Hitting and biting are never OK. But many other issues aren't worth the headache of an argument. Pick your battles. "You have to decide whether it's worth fighting about, and about half the time it's not worth fighting about," Asta says. That means it's OK to let your son wear his superhero costume to the grocery store, or read The Giving Tree 10 times in a row. Once he gets what he wants, you can gradually get him to shift in another direction -- like wearing another outfit or picking out a different book to read. Finally, know that it's OK to feel stressed out by your toddler sometimes. "Realize that none of us as parents is perfect -- we do the best we can. There are going to be days that we're better at this than other days," Forehand says. "But if we parent consistently and have consistent rules, then we're going to see more good days than bad days."

Your Toddler

Study: Preschool Obesity Rate Stable at 1 in 7

New government research shows that the U.S. obesity epidemic has stabilized in the past five years among preschool-aged children at about one in seven children being obese. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 14.6 percent of 2- to 4-year-old children were obese in 2008, about the same as in 2003 and compared to a 12.4 percent obesity rate in 1998.

"These new data provide some encouragement but remind us of two things -- one, too many young children are obese, and two, we must not become complacent in our efforts to reduce obesity among young children," said Dr. William Dietz, director of the CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. Childhood obesity is known to increase the risks of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life, and it can often lead to adult obesity. The CDC surveyed some 2 million children. Researchers defined obesity as having a body mass index, which is a measure of height and weight, that ranked at or above the 95th percentile on growth charts. American Indians and Alaska Natives were the only racial or ethnic group where the proportion of obese children rose between 2003 to 2008 -- rising about one-half percent per year in each group to 21.2 percent. Hispanic preschoolers had the next-highest obesity rate in 2008 at 18.5 percent, with 12.6 percent of young white children and 11.8 percent of black children considered obese. Study author Dr. Andrea Sharma, a CDC epidemiologist, said reducing obesity rates required "policy changes that promote physical activity and good nutrition." She urged "greater consumption of water and fruits and vegetables and lower consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods high in fats or added sugars."

Your Toddler

Making Time Outs Work for You and Your Child


It’s not going out on a limb to say that at eventually, mom or dad will resort to the “time out” rule when their little one is behaving badly. And that’s a good thing. 

Time-outs can be very effective in helping children learn how to change their behavior as long as they are not overused and handled correctly.

What is a time-out? Basically, a time-out is when a child is separated from others for behavior that is unacceptable such as throwing a full-out tantrum, continuingly refusing to obey a command, or biting, hitting or kicking someone. 

When used correctly, a time out can teach a child how to modify his or her behavior in a more acceptable way. However, problems can arise when parents don’t know how or when to use time outs effectively.

Time outs should be used as positive and consistent discipline, not as a form of punishment. Time outs separate a child from positive feedback when they are intentionally acting up. It gives them the space and time to settle down and associate the behavior with the consequence.

A time out should consist of a designated place in the home where the child is safe and can be seen. The place should be quiet and away from the activity that caused or included the behavior. Many parents have a stool, chair or step on standby for time outs. The area needs to be boring and not have “reward” objects such as TVs, toys, or computers present.

How long should time outs last? Many follow conventional wisdom that when a child demonstrates unacceptable behavior, he or she should be separated from the activity for a number of minutes equal to his or her age.

Time outs should be used to help a child calm down and think about the behavior that got them there.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says it's okay to give children as young as 1 a time-out – but it's best only as a last resort. Until he's a little older, your child may not have the self-control and reasoning skills to make a traditional time-out effective. Instead, think of a time-out as the "quiet time" your toddler needs to calm down and get his or her emotions under control. It’s also a time when parents can get their own emotions under control as well.

If you’re child is capable of understanding that certain behaviors are not going to be tolerated, and yet they are right in the middle of acting out one of those behaviors, that’s when a time out should be implemented.

You want your child to associate the behavior with the consequence. Calmly tell your child in no more than 10 words why they are in time out. As soon as he or she calms down, reward them with positive attention.

Children whine, cry and sulk – those are not reasons to put them in time out. Time outs are for intentional behavior such as biting or continuing to break rules.

What's helpful about a time-out is that it can defuse and redirect an escalating situation in an unemotional way. It lets you teach your child without setting a negative example, the way yelling or hitting does.

Parents tend to over explain a situation to a child, that’s why it’s important to keep the wording simple and direct. Over-talking the problem also tends to make the parent more agitated when the behavior doesn’t change. Being calm when putting your child in time out not only de-escalates the situation but also helps your child relax and think about their behavior. If you’re screaming and jerking your child to the time out area, they are more likely to be frightened and / or defiant than contemplative.

When the time-out is over, give your child a hug. A sign of affection demonstrates that he or she is still worthy of your love even though the behavior is unacceptable.

What if your child won’t stay in the time out zone? Toddlers are going to give you a challenge- that’s their nature. Power struggles can easily get out of hand. Until your toddler can appreciate the need to follow rules, limit the use of time-outs. Otherwise he or she won't understand why she's being corrected, and you may get frustrated and abandon the strategy prematurely.

You might actually consider “practicing” time outs with your child. Say your little one is revved up and on the edge of losing it- this might be a good time to grab a favorite book and sit down together. This is more like a “time-in” that associates positive attention to calming down before the behavior gets out of control.

When your child can follow simple directions and has a slightly longer attention span, they’re ready for a more traditional time-out. Between ages 2 and 3, you'll probably notice that he or she is better able to understand cause and effect.

But don't spring the tactic on them in a burst of frustration – a time-out works best if it's explained ahead of time. Use simple terms: "When you get too wild or act in a way that Mommy and Daddy don't think is a good idea, I will call, 'Time-out.' That means you will sit in this chair for a little while until you can calm yourself down."

Some parents find it useful to act this out or to use a doll or teddy bear to demonstrate taking a time-out.

Time outs are not miracle cures for unacceptable childhood behaviors. They are one tool parents can use to help educate their children about cause and effect. Parenting is a balancing act between positive reinforcement and consistent discipline.

When a child is very young, redirecting their attention to something more appropriate or fun may be the best approach. The key is to always keep your expectations realistic.

Sources: Paula Spencer,


Please fill in your e-mail address to be included in our newsletter.
You may opt out at any time.



Some kids are playing sports before they are potty trained? Yes! This is crazy!