Your Toddler

Babies and Toddlers Protected Most By Flu Vaccine

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Two new strains of influenza are making their way around the world this year and the new updated flu vaccine appears to work well against them.

Surprisingly, babies over the age of 6 months, and toddlers are showing the best results according to a new goverment report. 

Because of the mild flu season last year, many adults may have decided they don’t need the vaccine. But there’s no guarantee that the virus won’t bounce back with a vengeance this year.

Child deaths from the flu have made headlines in recent years and it appears parents have stepped it up to make sure their little ones are protected.  Three-quarters of tots ages 6 months to 23 months were vaccinated. That's a significant jump from the previous year, when 68 percent of those youngsters were immunized.

A yearly vaccination now is recommended for nearly everybody, but new figures released Thursday show that last year 52 percent of children and just 39 percent of adults were immunized.

The only ones who shouldn't get vaccinated are babies younger than 6 months and people with severe allergies to the eggs used to make the vaccine.

Flu specialists can't say how bad this winter's flu season might be. Influenza strains constantly evolve, and some cause more illness than others.

But strains from the H3N2 family tend to be harsher than some other flu types, and a new H3N2 strain is included in this year's vaccine because it is circulating in parts of the world.

Because of that strain, "I am pretty confident that this year will be a more traditional flu season" than last year, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Jernigan told The Associated Press. "People won't have had any real exposure to that."

Only one ingredient in this year's flu vaccine was retained from last year's, protection against the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic and has been the main kind of influenza circulating since. Also new in this year's shot is protection against a different Type B strain.

Other trends the CDC spotted last year:

- Roughly a third of teenagers got a flu vaccine.

- So did 45 percent of high-risk young and middle-aged adults, those who are particularly vulnerable to flu because they also have asthma, diabetes or any of a list of other health conditions.

- About 47 percent of pregnant women were vaccinated. Women have five times the risk of severe illness if they catch the flu when they're pregnant, and they can require hospitalization and suffer preterm labor as a result. Vaccination not only protects them, but recent research shows it also provides some protection to their newborns as well.

People can be vaccinated anytime, but Jernigan cautioned that it takes about two weeks for protection to kick in. Flu typically starts to appear in October or November, and peaks in January or February.

Insurance covers the flu vaccine as well as Medicare.  Some plans don’t even require a co-pay. Talk to your pediatrician or family physician about scheduling your child’s flu shot today!

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/years-flu-vaccine-guards-against-strains-161357811.html

Your Toddler

Rotavirus Vaccine Study Result: Very Effective!

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The rotavirus vaccine is definitely one vaccine you want to make sure your child gets.

Rotavirus is a gastrointestinal disease that causes an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It can produce severe diarrhea along with vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Dehydration is often a side effect and globally, it’s responsible for more than half a million deaths each year in children under the age of five.

This disease is bad news for youngsters, but since the Rotarix and RotaTeq vaccines were introduced - U.S. children have benefited greatly from the protection.

Most parents are good about making sure their kids receive all the recommended vaccines, but many wonder how effective these vaccines really are. A new study says that the rotavirus vaccines are 91-92 percent effective for children 8 months and older. That’s an excellent result.  

The study, led by Margaret M. Cortese, MD, of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aimed to find out the effectiveness of the rotavirus vaccine.

There are several types of rotavirus vaccines. Researchers looked at the effectiveness of the “monovalent” vaccine called RV1- that came out in 2008. They also reviewed data on the “pentavalent” vaccine RV5. 

The researchers gathered files on all children who went to one of five hospitals in Georgia and Connecticut with severe diarrhea lasting no more than 10 days.

The children were all born after the RV1 vaccine had been introduced (2008).

The researchers tested their stools for rotavirus and looked at their immunization records.

The researcher then compared the vaccination history of the children who had rotavirus to those who did not have rotavirus.

There were 165 children who had rotavirus in their stool and 428 who tested negative for it.

When the researchers compared these groups, they found the RV1 rotavirus vaccine was 91 percent effective for children 8 months and older.

The RV5 was 92 percent effective based on comparisons between those two groups.

Then the researchers compared the children who had rotavirus to another group of children who were not sick at all. Their data was pulled from the state electronic immunization information system, which stores data on children's vaccination history.

In this comparison, the RV1 rotavirus vaccine effectiveness was also found to be 91 percent for children aged 1 to 2 years old.

"RV1 and RV5 were both highly effective against severe rotavirus disease," the researchers wrote.

It’s truly amazing how valuable some of the vaccines available now are for our children.

Not all rotavirus cases turn out to be severe, but it is the most common cause of serious diarrhea among infants and young children. Since 2006 when the vaccine was introduced for U.S. infants, rotavirus –related hospitalizations have dropped by as much as 86 percent.

The study was published June 17 in the journal Pediatrics. The Research was funded by the CDC Emerging Infection’s Program.

Source: http://www.dailyrx.com/rotavirus-vaccine-highly-effective-preventing-dis...

Your Toddler

Expanding Gel Balls Dangerous If Swallowed

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Toddlers and babies love to put things in their mouth. They don’t know when something is unsanitary or dangerous, they just like to suck and chew on things. But that natural inclination can cause big problems when they swallow something that is unsafe for consumption.

One little girl in Houston,Texas did just that.

She found a cute little gel ball, put it in her mouth then unfortunately swallowed it. It was a Water Balz.

The problem is that once a Water Balz is submerged in water, or if it ends up in the stomach, it can expand to 400 times its original size.

The 8-month-old child was brought to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston with stomach pain. Her parent’s suspected that she had eaten one of her sister’s Water Balz and became alarmed when they read the toy’s label.

Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, a pediatric surgeon at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, told Reuters Health "It goes in small and grows on the inside and may not come out."

X-Rays taken at the hospital showed that the baby’s small intestine was swollen, as if something was causing a blockage, but the X-Rays couldn’t reveal what was causing it. The baby’s belly continued getting bigger and bigger and her symptoms didn’t go away.

"The blockage allows fluid and gas to accumulate, it is just like you step on a hose," said Olutoye, whose report appeared Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Finally, doctors decided surgery was necessary to remove the obstruction. They cut her intestine open and drew from it a bright-green Water Balz nearly an inch and a half across.

Luckily, the baby recovered and is now doing fine.

The colorful balls are small (about the size of a marble) and are an easy temptation for toddlers and even pets. While most parents wouldn’t buy this product for their baby, they might buy it – or one similar - for their older child. That’s often how a toddler finds one to play with.

This type of product is becoming more and more common. It is made from a super-absorbent polymer that is used, not only in children’s playthings, but also in pottery and gardening products because of its ability to absorb water.

Pets can also suffer from bowel obstruction, which can be fatal, if they eat one.

DuneCraft Inc. manufactures and markets the Water Balz product. CEO, Grant Cleveland, said he was sorry to learn about the incident with the baby, but noted that the label carries a warning and is recommended for kids over the age of 4.

"An eight-month-old has no business being near that product," he told Reuters Health. "Trying to turn it in to a public risk is absurd."

There are other similar products on the market that pretty much do the same thing. They all promote that the little gel balls will expand when water is added.

“This report should serve to raise awareness of the hazards of accidental ingestion of these products, which pose a public health concern,” Dr. Olutoye and his colleagues wrote. “We speculate that this problem may increase in incidence as a cursory look at department stores suggests that the use of superabsorbent polymer technology is becoming more prevalent in toys, gardening equipment and other household products.”

The photo below, from a New York Times article, shows the difference in size once water is added to the Water Balz.

If you’ve got Water Balz in your home, or a product that performs like it, make sure that your little one is not able to get a hold of them. Keep an eye on your pets too, just in case they think you’ve bought them a new chew toy.

 

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/gel-balls-threat-toddlers-doctors-154518994.html

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/expanding-ball-toy-poses-hazard...NY Times Water Balz         Water Balz

Your Toddler

Toddler’s Tantrums May Be Linked To Angry Parents

1:30 to read

The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” takes on a certain significance when you look at the results of a new study published in the journal Development and Psychopathology.

Researchers found that toddlers are more likely to become easily agitated and act out if their parents are quick to anger and overreact.

The study looked at the behaviors of adopted children aged 9, 18 and 27 months of age, and their adoptive parents in 361 families and 10 states. They also analyzed genetic data from the children and their birth parents.

The study revealed that the children of adoptive parents, who had a tendency to overreact and were quick to anger when toddlers made mistakes or tested their parents with age-appropriate limits, had more temper tantrums than normal for their age.

Children who had the greatest increases in these types of negative emotions as they grew from infants to toddlers (from 9 months to 27 months of age) also had the highest levels of problem behaviors at 24 months. This suggests that negative emotions may have their own development process that impacts children's later behaviors, according to lead author Shannon Lipscomb, an assistant professor of human development and family sciences at Oregon State University, and her colleagues.

Genetics also seem to play a role in the children’s behaviors. Children who inherited a genetic risk for emotional negativity from their birth mothers, but were raised in a low-stress and less reactive family, also displayed a higher level of tantrums.

According to the researchers, these findings help improve an understanding of the complex link between genetics and home environment

"Parents' ability to regulate themselves and to remain firm, confident and not overreact is a key way they can help their children to modify their behavior," Lipscomb said in a university news release. "You set the example as a parent in your own emotions and reactions."

To help your child learn self-control you must model good self-control. Show that good emotional control and problem solving are the ways to deal with a difficult situation.

Toddlers are easily frustrated by what they are able to do and what they want to do.  Tantrums are a normal part of development and are equally common in boys and girls. Toddlers generally understand more than they can express. Imagine not being able to communicate your needs to someone — a frustrating experience that may precipitate a tantrum. As language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease.

Toddlers also want a sense of independence and control over their lives. When they discover that they can't do something or have everything they want, the stage is set for a tantrum (much like some adults!)

Kidshealth.com offers these tips for tips for parents of toddlers who want to avoid tantrums.

Give your child enough attention – Children crave attention, even negative attention. Try to establish a habit of catching your child being good, which means rewarding your little one with attention for positive behavior. Even just commenting on what they're doing whenever toddlers aren't having a tantrum can help increase those positive behaviors.

Give your toddler control over little things- Offer minor choices such as "Do you want orange juice or apple juice?" or "Do you want to brush your teeth before or after taking a bath?" This way, you aren't asking "Do you want to brush your teeth now?" — which inevitably will be answered "no."

Keep off-limits objects out of sight and out of reach- Although this is not always possible in an environment outside the home, removing temptation when possible can help prevent frustration and provide a safer outcome.

Use distractions - Take advantage of your little one's short attention span by offering a replacement for the coveted object or begin a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one. Or simply change the environment. Take your toddler outside or inside or move to a different room.

Choose your battles carefully- Is your toddler’s request outrageous? Maybe it isn't. Accommodate when you can, or offer an alternative that is similar.

 Know your toddler’s limits - If you know your toddler is tired, it's not the best time to go grocery shopping or try to squeeze in another errand.

Try to understand what's going on. Tantrums should be handled differently depending on the cause. Try to understand where your child is coming from. For example, if your little one has just had a great disappointment, you may need to provide comfort.

It's a different situation when the tantrum follows a child being refused something. Toddlers have fairly simple reasoning skills, so you aren't likely to get far with explanations. Ignoring the outburst is one way to handle it — if the tantrum poses no threat to your child or others. Continue your activities, paying no attention to your child but remaining within sight. Don't leave your little one alone, though.

Kids who are in danger of hurting themselves or others during a tantrum should be taken to a quiet, safe place to calm down. This also applies to tantrums in public places.

Sources: http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=661980  http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/tantrums.html

Your Toddler

“You’re a Do-Do Head.” Toddler Name-Calling

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Sooner or later your sweet little toddler will blurt out a string of words that sounds a lot like an insult. You might hear something like  “You’re a do-do head.” or the ever popular “You’re stupid.”  It may stop you in your tracks and make you wonder… “Did I hear that right?” 

Toddler rage can get pretty intense and if you’re a toddler you’re not really capable of saying exactly what’s got your big girl or boy panties in a wad. As a parent, you might have to restrain yourself from giggling the first time or two insults are hurled, but after awhile you’re really going to want to put a stop to it. First of all – it’s annoying when the cuteness wears off- and secondly, you don’t want your child insulting everyone whenever they get the urge, and finally they need to learn how to control their impulses.

Sometimes parents, caregivers or babysitters get right down on a toddlers level and the fight begins. No one wins in this situation.

So how do you put a stop to your preschooler’s name-calling and its first cousin “potty mouth?” Well, there are several approaches you can try. Since every kid is different, some of these tips will help some and not others. But don’t give up and don’t lose your cool (too often.)

  1. Take the fun out of name-calling. Let’s face it; name-calling for a toddler is a blast. They get a quick response and it can be very amusing watching mom or dad blow up right in front of them. Oftentimes they get giggles from their parents, or equal rage. For a toddler that’s a lot of exciting attention. Instead, calmly respond. “I don’t like that word, please don’t use it.”  It’s simple and to the point. Continue doing whatever you were doing before your child decided to let you know you weren’t behaving the way they wanted you to.
  2. Help your child find the language they need to explain what they are feeling. Angry insults usually come from frustration, and ha-ha insults from getting positive re-enforcement in the way of laughter and making a big deal of whatever is said.  To a toddler, cracking mom and pop up on a regular basis is a hoot till mom and pop get tired of it. Take the time to look at the situation that was going on right before the outburst. Was there something he or she wanted? Was he or she hungry, tired, thirsty, bored? Express what you think they were really wanting to say, such as: “You really wanted more cookies; they taste yummy. You're mad that mommy isn't letting you have them.” See if they respond that you have acknowledged their true complaint. Work with them a little while to help them find the right words.
  3. Give the anger a release valve. Offer your toddler a pillow to hit on or allow them to stamp their feet…. for a limited amount of time. Anger is normal – we all have times when we get angry. Expecting a child to not get angry or express it is not reasonable. Help them learn how to express anger appropriately and move on.
  4. Acknowledge your child’s need for independence. That’s a tough one because they aren’t really independent. But they are beginning to understand that they can have some say in their life choices. Help your youngster feel more empowered by allowing her to choose which shoes to wear, or what she has for snack time. When children are constantly being told what to do, they are more likely to try to exert some sense of power with behaviors like name-calling.
  5. Don’t reward name-calling. I think that says it pretty clearly. If you want to entertain a power struggle with a toddler, you’ll probably come out on top in the long run, but feel worse about your behavior than theirs. A better approach is to not reward name-calling by either over-reacting or giving in to demands. If he or she doesn’t get what they want after a name-calling session, they’ll eventually learn that name-calling doesn’t work.
  6. “Ouch.”  Some parents find it effective to use this simple phrase to let their children know that they have crossed the line. It sends a brief message in a neutral way that can have a real impact because it is delivered without a lot of words that a child might otherwise tune out.
  7. Where did you learn to act like that? Kids are great mimics. They learn by watching and listening. If you name-call when you’re angry, or someone they spend a lot of time around is a name-caller, you can see where they might pick it up. I’ve always thought if you want to see a reflection of yourself – watch how your toddler behaves.
  8. And finally, the hardest method of dealing with name-calling – don’t laugh. OK, now stop right there… not one more giggle. See? It’s hard. Once the laugh train is going full steam, it’s difficult for the conductor to stop it. Do your best to maintain a poker face even when the name-calling is silly. There are lots of more positive things to laugh with your child about.

Most children try name-calling when they feel hurt or out-of-control. If you find yourself at the beginning of the name-calling phase, control your own behavior and offer your child a way to help express what is going on with them. It’s one of those childhood expressive periods that needs some direct guidance and management before it becomes a pattern of bad behavior.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/25/parent-coach-name-calling_n_1791306.html

Your Toddler

Children’s Early Memories

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Can you remember something that happened when you were two years old? It’s probably a safe bet that most adults would have to say no. There’s always the few that can recall almost every day of their lives, but most of us can barely remember what happened yesterday much less something that occurred when we were toddlers.

An interesting new study takes a look at the early childhood memories of a selected group of 10 to 12 years olds to see if they could remember a specific event that happened before they were 5 years old.

"We are interested in looking at young children's memory because of what it can tell us about memory in general," study researcher Fiona Jack, of the University of Otago, in New Zealand, told MSNBC’s LiveScience. "Most of us can’t recall anything about infancy, it's only at about 3- or 4-years of age we can start to remember."

Natural memory is sometimes supplemented by the telling of stories that may have happened when a child was little. After awhile the event feels like a memory instead of  a story.

"There will be some people who claim to remember things from 8- or 12-months old," Jack said. "It's really difficult to know for any given person if that is a genuine memory, or is it partly due to reconstruction through the stories your parents have told and pictures of the event."

The study revolves around the “Magic Shrinking Box.”

Researchers devised a "magical" contraption to catch the attention of children in their study, called the Magic Shrinking Box. The kids put a toy in the top, cranked a lever and a mini version of the toy popped out at the bottom, with an accompaniment of sounds and lights. The researchers trained 46 of their 27-to-51-month-old participants for two days in a row, showing them how to use the machine.

On the third day of the study, the kids were asked if they remembered how to use the box, and to describe the box. The same questions were asked 6 years later. Before using the words “ The Magical Shrinking Box,” the kids were shown a medal they received for being part of the early participation in the study. They were asked if they remembered why they got it. The parents were also interviewed at that time.

About a fifth of the children were able to recall the box six years after playing with it. Even two of the youngest – who were under 3 years of age when they participated – were able to remember. Half of the adults remembered the game and how it worked.

The researchers also checked to see if there were certain characteristics that may have helped the children remember, like language skills and general memory abilities. They didn’t find indications that any particular personality trait affected the results.

One thing they did notice from the parent’s interviews was that kids who talked about playing with the box for several days and weeks after the event were the ones who remembered it. The researchers believe that continuing to talk about the “Magical Shrinking Box” shortly after it occurred may have helped preserve the memory.

“We did find that on average, children who remembered the events six years later talked about it more when it happened," Jack told LiveScience. "Actively engaging in conversation could have helped memory development in general and about this particular event."

Memory can impact children in lots of ways. Language skills can improve when a child remembers something well enough to express it clearly. Tasks can be improved as a child remembers how to complete each step. Children can learn how to comprehend reading material better when they remember how each character intertwines with the other.

Parents.com offers these tips for helping your little one develop or improve their memory.

1. Establish routines. Young children thrive on them, and they make perfect fodder for enhancing your child's memory. If your 1-year-old knows that he snuggles with his bear each night after his bath, he'll start to get the bear himself. As he grows older, you can enhance the language-memory link by asking "What happens after you take your bath?"

2. Play memory games. Ask questions when you're out and about. For example, if you're passing a friend's house, ask, "Who lives there?" Games like this give children experience in recalling information.

3. Demonstrate how to perform tasks. Babies model their parents' actions. If you want your child to learn how to do something, such as stack one block on another, show him how and then give him a turn. Doing, rather than simply observing, helps your baby store information more solidly. Be sure to repeat the action on different occasions, too. While babies can learn from a single example, they remember best when you repeat the action periodically over several days.

4. Talk with your child about her experiences. Focus on events that resonated strongly with her, such as a trip to the zoo. As she gets a little older, help her make stories out of her recollections. Your child's memories will be richer, and she'll learn how to relay them in a clear form. Soon enough, she'll be reminding you of all the good times you've had together.

Sources:

http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/22/9638211-first-memories-may-happen-as-early-as-age-2

http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/intellectual/enhance-childs-memory/

Your Toddler

Button Batteries Can Be Fatal for Kids

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Just about every home has them. They are button batteries that run everything from cameras, weight scales, calculators, remote controls, and flashlights. They are just the right size for your little one to swallow or put up their nose. If ingested, these small batteries can cause serious injury to a child such as chocking, burns and even death.

An estimated 40,400 kids under 13 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for battery-related injuries from 1997 to 2010, according to an analysis just out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The findings appear in the latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Three-quarters of injuries happened in kids 4 and under.

Most of the children were treated and released but 10% needed hospitalization and 14 battery-related deaths were also reported. 58% of the injuries were related to button batteries when the battery type was known.

In a May 2010 study, reported in the journal Pediatrics, researchers noted that there was an increase in emergency room visits related to button batteries from 1990 to 2009. The 20-year study revealed that there were about 66,000 battery-related emergency room visits.  Small battery related injuries nearly doubled in that time period in children under the age of 18.

Battery consumption symptoms involve vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, respiratory distress and dysphagia or difficulty swallowing. This makes it especially hard to diagnose what the problem is, especially if the caregiver didn't see the child consume the battery.

What makes the small items so dangerous, however, is that they can cause serious burns due to a buildup of the chemical hydroxide in just two hours, according to WebMD. They can also leak a corrosive chemical called alkaline electrolyte. Researchers identified the 3-volt lithium, coin-size batteries that are less than or equal to 20 mm as the most common culprit.

“Because delays in diagnosis and treatment can lead to serious complications and death,” the report’s authors wrote, “children suspected of having ingested a battery should get prompt medical attention. It is also important to recognize that children might be reluctant or unable to say that they ingested a battery or gave one to a sibling.”

The report said some safety standards are in place, but more could be done. In 2008 federal safety standards for toys included making batteries unreachable by putting them, for instance, in screwed-in compartments.

Not only are children swallowing button batteries but there has also been an increase in senior adults swallowing them. Some of these older adults have mistaken the batteries, sometimes used in hearing aids, for pills.

The United Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) offers a list of button battery precautions parents can take.

  • Discard button batteries carefully.
  • Do not allow children to play with button batteries, and keep button batteries out of your child's reach.
  • Caution hearing aid users to keep hearing aids and batteries out of the reach of children.
  • Never put button batteries in your mouth for any reason as they are easily swallowed accidentally.
  • Always check medications before ingesting them. Adults have swallowed button batteries mistaken for pills or tablets.
  • Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child's reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.
  • If a button battery is ingested, immediately seek medical attention.

There is a National Battery Ingestion Hotline available at (202) 625-333, or you can call your poison center at (800) 222-1222.

These batteries are small and easy to overlook. Make sure that you treat them like any other product that you wouldn’t want your child playing with.

Sources: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11181.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57504252-10391704/most-fatal-child-battery-swallowing-accidents-due-to-tiny-batteries/?tag=cbsnewsMainColumnArea

http://news.yahoo.com/small-deadly-swallowing-button-batteries-fatal-kids-182031780.html?_esi=1

 

Your Toddler

Understanding Temper Tantrums

2.00 to read

You can usually tell when it’s coming. Your little one’s normally sweet cherubic face begins to turn a scarlet red. The eyes and mouth twist into something unrecognizable.  Squirming ramps up, tears start to flow, whining reaches a fever pitch and then BOOM- your child is spinning off into of a doozy of a tantrum.

A little voice in your head says “step away from the child.” That’s probably not a bad idea.

So, what does it all mean?

According to a new study published in the journal Emotion, it means your child is experiencing a complex mixture of simultaneous emotions including sadness and anger. I know from personal experience, it’s sometimes hard to see the sadness when the anger has the upper hand.

It’s an interesting study. Very young children aren’t able to express in words what’s bugging them. They can’t argue reasonably, defend their position, or explain why they want what they want. They are at the mercy of whoever is in charge. As you might expect, that can lead to increased levels of frustration. Get frustrated enough, and something’s going to give. But what exactly are they trying to express?

While tantrums generally involve shouting, kicking, screaming, crying and whining, the new study looked at the noises a child makes when going through a temper attack.

Researchers discovered that the sounds children make during a tantrum are not random. But have a specific pattern and rhythm.

The first challenge was to collect tantrum sounds, says co-author James A. Green of the University of Connecticut.

"We developed a onesie that toddlers can wear that has a high-quality wireless microphone sewn into it," Green said. "Parents put this onesie on the child and press a go button."

Researchers listened to and recorded more than 100 high-fidelity audio recordings and discovered certain patterns of anger and sadness.

"Screaming and yelling and kicking often go together," study co-author Michael Potegal of the University of Minnesota told National Public Radio. "Throwing things and pulling and pushing things tend to go together. Combinations of crying, whining, falling to the floor and seeking comfort -- these also hang together." And while earlier thinking suggested that a child progressed from initial sadness to anger during a tantrum, the researchers found that these two emotions actually occur simultaneously throughout the outburst.

But where one age-old theory of tantrums might suggest that meltdowns begin in anger (yells and screams) and end in sadness (cries and whimpers), Potegal found that the two motions were more deeply intertwined.

"The impression that tantrums have two stages is incorrect," Potegal said. "In fact, the anger and the sadness are more or less simultaneous."

Once understood, researchers say, this pattern can help parents, teachers and caregivers respond more effectively to temper tantrums. It can also help clinicians tell the difference between ordinary tantrums, which are a normal part of a child's development, and those that may be warning signals of an underlying disorder.

So what is the best way to handle a tantrum?

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn't easy for parents or caregivers to do.

"When I'm advising people about anger, I say, 'There's an anger trap,"' Potegal said.

Even asking questions can prolong the anger and the tantrum.

Many experts recommend ignoring the child when they are in tantrum meltdown mode.

Preschoolers.about.com offers these suggestions for handling a child in the throes of a tantrum meltdown.

  • If you can, try walking away, making sure that your child is safe first. Stay nearby, but make sure it’s clear by your actions that her display has no effect on you. Don’t make eye contact and don’t talk to her. When she sees that she’s not getting a reaction, she’ll eventually stop.
  • Diffuse it: If you have trouble not re-acting, there are some other techniques you can try. Soothe your child by rubbing her back and talk to her in low, quiet tones. Some parents find repeating the same phrase over and over again like, “You’re OK,” or “It’s alright”or singing a quiet song or nursery rhyme seems to work. You can also try injecting a little humor into the situation by telling a silly joke or making a funny face.

What you shouldn't do: yell back at your child or try to reason with him. While your child in the middle of an emotional outburst, there is no way to get through to him. You just have to wait until it is over.

If the tantrum is in a public place, pick her up and bring her to a more private location like your car or a public bathroom. If you can’t get the tantrum under control, put her into her car seat and go home. Unfortunately, there are some instances where you just can’t leave, such as an airplane or a train. Just do your best and grin and bear it. Others might be annoyed but your child is your concern, not anyone else.

If you child starts to bite, kick, hit or show some other aggressive behaviors, you must take action immediately. Remove the child from the situation until she can calm down.

When the tantrum is over, don’t dwell on what happened as upset or as angry as you may be. Going over what happened again and again will most likely upset your child and could cause them to begin to tantrum again. Instead, give her a hug and a kiss and move on. If you feel like you need to talk about it, wait a few hours when you are both calm.

One of the most important things to remember is that children are not simply little adults. They cannot respond on the same level as an adult and the younger they are, the less they know how to handle frustrating situations. As they grow and test the boundaries, they will learn about life by what you teach them and how you teach them.

Sources:

http://preschoolers.about.com/od/behaviordiscipline/a/Tempertantrums.htm

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health

Your Toddler

Alert: Kids In Hot Cars

1.00 to read

We're sad to report another child has died while left in a hot car. 23 children have died in hot cars this year.

We’ve had many emails and tweets wondering “how could this happen?”  Some stating “I can’t imagine forgetting my child in a car” and “I know people are busy and if there are several kids getting out of the car, the phone rings, I may get distracted and I did not get a head count”.

With triple digit temperatures engulfing the country, this tragedy could happen again.  We’re here to make sure it doesn’t.

We know how busy you are, so here are a few tips to insure your family’s safety:

*Never leave children alone in or around cars, not even to run in the store for a minute.

*Place something you need like your cellphone, purse, or house keys on the floor in the back seat.  It will force you to go to the back seat.

*Keep a stuffed animal in your child’s car seat when your child is not in it.  When you place your child in the seat, put the stuffed animal in the front seat to remind you your child is safely buckled up.

*If you see a child left alone in a car, get involved.  Go in the store and ask “did anyone leave a child alone in a car?”  if the child appears to be sick or in distress, call 911 and try to get them out as quickly as possible.

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