Your Toddler

Replace Recalled Brand With Generic

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For the time being, Frattarelli suggests parents look for generic versions of the medications, which are just as effective as name brands. "It's really just a difference in flavor or packaging," said Frattarelli, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Drugs. "Sometimes they are almost indistinguishable.”What to do? When kids begin sniffling, the first thing many parents reach for is Children's Tylenol. But that option is not available since a massive recall last year.

Nine months later, the Johnson & Johnson unit that was responsible is still ironing out its problems, and there's little indication of when parents will be able to turn to the brand. But medical experts say that when it comes to treating sick kids, there are still plenty of options. "The nice thing about this situation is that there are other alternatives to name brands," said Dr. Daniel Frattarelli, chairman of pediatrics at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn, Michigan. The recall was announced last April 30 by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Consumer Healthcare division. More than 50 variations of the company's liquid products for infants and children were pulled from shelves, including certain types of Tylenol, Zyrtec, Benadryl and Motrin. In all, 136 million bottles of medicine were recalled — the largest withdrawal of children's medications from the market in U.S. history. The products were recalled after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspection of the Fort Washington, Pa., plant where McNeil manufactures them. Investigators found a host of problems, and company executives acknowledged that some of the medications "may contain a higher concentration of active ingredient than is specified; others may contain inactive ingredients that may not meet internal testing requirements; and others may contain tiny particles." The company added that although there were no reports of adverse medical effects from the recalled products, customers should nevertheless stop using them. The plant in question has been shut since April, and additional recalls of children's Tylenol and Benadryl, as well as various adult products, continued through the end of 2010. It's still unclear when McNeil children's products will be back on store shelves. Assessments of the Fort Washington plant and others are continuing, company spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs said. She added that "McNeil will take whatever steps are needed" to correct their continuing problems, including, if necessary, more recalls. For the time being, Frattarelli suggests parents look for generic versions of the medications, which are just as effective as name brands. "It's really just a difference in flavor or packaging," said Frattarelli, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Drugs. "Sometimes they are almost indistinguishable.” The simplest way to find a generic version of a medication is to look for one with the same active ingredient, he said. Children's Tylenol contains acetaminophen, and children's Motrin contains ibuprofen. Both are used to treat aches and pains and to reduce fevers. Generic alternatives also are available for the allergy medications Zyrtec and Benadryl, said Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Zyrtec contains a long-acting antihistamine called cetirizine, which helps relieve symptoms like runny noses and itchy eyes, noses and skin. The active ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine, which addresses the same symptoms but can cause drowsiness, Fineman said. Parents should not give kids partial doses of adult medications, doctors warn. Even with medications for infants, it's important to adhere to the age limits printed on the packaging. For instance, acetaminophen should be given only to children who are at least 3 months old. "If you have a young child under 3 months who has a fever, that's not a situation where you want to give them something to block the fever and call it a day," Frattarelli said. "A fever under 3 months needs to be evaluated."

Your Toddler

Study: Depression Seen in Young Children

Depression in children as young as three is real and not just a passing grumpy mood.Depression in children as young as three is real and not just a passing grumpy mood, according to provocative new research. The study is billed as the first to show major depression can be chronic even in very young children, contrary to the stereotype of the happy-go-lucky preschooler.

Until fairly recently, "people really haven't paid much attention to depressive disorders in children under the age of 6," said lead author Dr. Joan Luby, a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis. "They didn't think it could happen ... because children under 6 were too emotionally immature to experience it." Previous research suggested that depression affects about two percent of U.S. preschoolers, or roughly 160,000 youngsters, at one time or another. But it was unclear whether depression in preschoolers could be chronic, as it can be in older children and adults. Researchers followed more than 200 preschoolers, ages three to six, for up to two years, including 75 diagnosed with major depression. The children had up to four mental health exams during the study. Among initially depressed children, 64 percent were still depressed or had a recurrent episode of depression six months later, and 40 percent still had problems after two years. Overall, nearly 20 percent had persistent or recurrent depression at all four exams. Depression was most common in children whose mothers were also depressed or had other mood disorders, and among those who had experienced a traumatic event, such as the death of a parent or physical or sexual abuse. The new study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and released in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, did not examine depression treatment, which is highly controversial among children so young. Some advocates say parents and doctors are too quick to give children powerful psychiatric drugs. Though sure to raise eyebrows among lay people is the idea that children so young can get depressed is increasingly accepted in psychiatry. University of Chicago psychiatrist Dr. Sharon Hirsch said the public thinks of preschoolers as carefree. "They get to play. Why would they be depressed?" she said. But depression involves chemical changes in the brain that can affect even youngsters with an otherwise happy life, said Hirsch, who was not involved in the study. "When you have that problem, you just don't have that ability to feel good," she said. Typical preschoolers can be moody or have temper tantrums, but they quickly bounce back and appear happy when playing or doing everyday activities. Depressed children appear sad even when playing, and their games may have themes of death or other somber topics. Persistent lack of appetite, sleep problems, and frequent temper tantrums that involve biting, kicking or hitting also are signs of possible depression.

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Your Toddler

Are Little Girl's Toys Too Sexy?

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Peter Pan may never have grown up, but Tinker Bell and her fairy friends definitely have. The Disney Fairies boast hourglass figures, coy glances and barely-there mini dresses. In short, these girls aren’t your mama’s pixies.Notice anything new about the dolls and ponies that your daughter picks up at the toy store these days? Once you get a good look at them, do you think they may be a little too hot-to-trot? You're not alone.

An article on this week’s MSNBC’s website, offers a look into the world of children’s sexed-up play things. Peter Pan may never have grown up, but Tinker Bell and her fairy friends definitely have. The Disney Fairies boast hourglass figures, coy glances and barely-there mini dresses. In short, these girls aren’t your mama’s pixies. Even trolls have come of age. Those formerly stout, pug-nosed kewpies, have reemerged in a new slim, thigh-baring line called Trollz. Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake have become tweens and shed their baby fat.  And et tu Holly Hobbie? She’s traded her prairie dresses for a saucy wardrobe and lightened locks. In recent years, Disney, Mattel and other major companies have revisited a host of iconic dolls and turned them into freshly tarted-up — or at least more grown-up —toys. New lines, like the Monster High Dolls and hot-to-trot Struts horses (yes, horses),  came out of the gate tramping it up and they're making some parents — and psychologists, uncomfortable. “They send the message to kids that you can’t just be you,” says Lori Mayfield, a 30-year-old mother of four from Draper, Utah. “It seems like toy makers are setting up our kids.” While she likes the Disney fairies because they “have a good friendship and there’s always a lesson to be learned,” she says that even she and her husband, Chad, were startled by their saucy style. The actually found themselves recently debating which fairy is the hottest. (Consensus: Silvermist.)  Mayfield, who runs the blog, Twinfinity from her home, says she and her husband strive to teach the kids that beauty comes from within, but frets that her 6-year-old daughter is already asking to wear makeup and worrying whether her coat makes her look fat. Dale Atkins, a psychologist says she's upset about what the revved-up dolls are teaching girls about their own appearance.  “When we have these ridiculous models —sexualized children, and horses with long eyelashes that are flirtatious and all of that — it sets up this ideal of beauty and body image that kids have to pay attention to because they can’t not pay attention to it. And they feel less good as they’re trying to develop a good sense about their own bodies," she says. "The sexualized aspect just makes them feel like they're only good if they are objectified. ... And it's all so subtle, for a child anyway. We parents and adults look at this and say, 'Oh my gosh, this is so blatant, but in fact it's subtle because kids are playing with these things and then they look in the mirror." But representatives at Mattel, the makers of the wildly popular Monster High Dolls, say its controversial line of toy dolls, featuring the teen offspring of monsters, aims to show kids it's OK to be different. “Monster High is all about celebrating your imperfections and accepting the imperfections of others," says Margaux Vega, spokeswoman for Mattel.  She acknowledges that the dolls, which sport fishnet stockings, heavy makeup and ultrashort skirts, appeal mostly to 5- to 7-year-olds. But they also have online personas and webisodes aimed at older kids that tell each doll's back-story. "Clawdeen Wolf is the teenage daughter of a werewolf. In the webisodes, she has to shave and wax and pluck between classes," Vega says. "Girls of a certain age know about the embarrassment of unwanted hair in unwanted places.” 'Why does she look like a boy?' It's gotten so that some kids, even young tots, expect that dolls will look like they've already been through puberty.  When Joy Oglesby showed her daughter, Lauren Welmaker, a picture of the old version of Tinker Bell in a library book, the 4-year-old, who has all the new Disney fairies, wondered: "Why does she look like a boy?" Oglesby, 34, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has seen Struts horses, which have long eyelashes and wear high heels on their hooves, and says her daughter would love one. "The mane is silky and she would be attracted to the eyes, and the accessories that come with it. It looks very girly, I'm not sure why she gravitates to this kind of toy, but I'm not worried about it yet." But the effect of titillating toys creeps in slowly, says Peggy Orenstein, the author of the bestseller “Cinderella Ate my Daughter.” “Girls don’t naturally want to be sexy — they want to be girls,” says Orenstein. “That is natural. [But] when they continue to see images of toys that are supposed to be age appropriate emulating sexiness, then that un-natural aspiration, becomes natural.”  Orenstein says toy manufacturers began following the marketing strategy “Kids Getting Older Younger” when they realized that toys marketed towards kids between the ages of 8 and 12 were attracting kids who were in the 3-year-old to 8-year-old age range because they wanted to emulate their older brothers and sisters. But Donna Tobin, director of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro, says the company actually has gone the opposite direction with makeovers for its toy My Little Pony, aimed at girls ages 3 to 6. "We want our girls to stay little longer!" she says. "Look at My Little Pony. She’s cute. She’s pretty. She’s pink. She may have a different look, but she has always stood for friendship. We’re not about ipstick or shaving." As younger kids gravitate to older toys earlier, their big sisters and brothers often have already closed up their toy boxes and moved on to other things. At ages 6 and 8, sisters Amanda and Sophia Oliva of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., aren't interested in playing princess anymore, says their mom, Lauri. When they play dress up, they pretend to be models. And their newest obsession is with teen music sensation Taylor Swift. “Now, everything in our house is about Taylor Swift," says Lauri Oliva, 46. Sophia tries to emulate her. She'll sing and dance Taylor Swift karaoke songs in the mirror.” For Sophia's birthday, all she wanted was tickets to a Swift concert. "Kids are 8 going on 15 these days,” she says. What is old is new again Some kids' toys aren't necessarily being marketed to kids, but rather to their parents, says Reyne Rice, trend specialist for the Toy Industry Association. She says updating the look of a toy is a way manufacturers can appeal to the new generation of consumers while still tapping into the nostalgic interest and collector dollars of the older generation.  “A lot of these toy manufacturers realized the interest in brands that have been around for generations and realized there was still interest in the brands — from both the children as young as 3, as well as their parents,” says Rice. But Dr. Gail Saltz, psychiatrist, suggests parents actually seek out their old favorites instead of embracing some of the "refreshed" versions. “You have to use your judgment,” she says — and maybe hit up eBay or garage sales for the classic versions. “If you have a choice, I’d take the old Strawberry Shortcake.” Saltz says these sexed-up toys and childhood icons go in the same category as violent video games and PG-13 movies: Parents need to take a close look, evaluate them for themselves, and decide whether they’re appropriate. Melissa Walker, 41, of Southlake, Texas, walks the line of finding suitable toys for her daughters Gabrielle, 6, and Adeline,4, while letting them indulge their interests. Gabrielle loves the Disney fairies and says her favorite is Rosetta, "because she's pink and that's my favorite color. And because I like flowers and she makes flowers." (Rosetta is the red-headed fairy with a "garden talent.") Walker doesn't mind the Disney fairy makeover because of the overall message they send. "They control everything. They are in charge of seasons, of things working. They are good role models," says Walker. But she draws the line at sexy doll clothes. On a recent shopping trip to Costco, Walker saw a big bin of Barbie clothes, but despite her daughters' love for the doll, her cart remained empty. "There was not one outfit that wasn't a 'hoochie' dress. I guess it was the 'Barbie Goes Wild' collection. We didn't buy anything. There's no reason for that," adding that she's happy to buy Barbie outfits where she looks like a doctor or a princess or a soccer player. Walker has a strict "no exposed belly buttons" rule in her house, and figures her kids' dolls should follow it, too. "We don't want to plant that too soon," she says. "We'll have that fight soon enough."

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."

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Your Toddler

Talk to Your Toddler Often!

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Want your toddler to cultivate a good vocabulary?  Talk to him or her often and in great detail. A new study suggests that the more an adult talks to a toddler, the better language skills the child will develop

The study included 29 children, 19 months old, from low-income Hispanic families. Each child was fitted with a small audio recorder that captured all the sounds he or she heard during the day in their homes.

The recordings were analyzed to distinguish between adult speech directed at the toddlers and speech they only overheard, such as when a parent or other caregiver was on the phone or talking with another adult.

The researchers found a wide spectrum of differences in the families. Some parents engaged their tot in conversation on a regular basis and some barely spoke to their little one. One child heard more than 12,000 words of child-directed speech in a day, while another heard only 670, according to the study released online recently in the journal Psychological Science.

"That's just 67 words per hour, less speech than you'd hear in a 30-second commercial," study co-author Anne Fernald, a psychology professor at Stanford University, said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.

The scientists followed up five months later with the children and tested their language skills. At age 24 months, those who had experienced more child-directed speech had larger vocabularies than those who heard less child-directed speech.

Experts say reading to your child is a wonderful way to help your child learn language skills. While reading, include extra information. An example might be: The bird flew over the tree  - The bird was a little brown bird, like the birds in our yard. What sound does a bird make? Cheep, cheep! Now, you say it. Cheep, cheep.

Developing good language skills early will help your toddler express what he or she wants better and may help lessen some of the frustration toddlers often experience.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/child-development-news-124/briefs-emb-10-21-toddlers-language-psych-science-release-batch-988-681484.html

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.

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Your Toddler

Dressers Recalled After Two Toddlers Die

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with Bexco Enterprises Inc., doing business as “ Million Dollar Baby” of Montebello, Calif. is announcing a voluntary recall of 18,000 children’s four-drawer dressers.

When a young child climbs up on open dresser drawers, the dresser becomes unstable and poses the risk of tip over and entrapment.

CPSC and Million Dollar Baby have received two reports of deaths associated with these dressers. An 11-month-old boy from Tulsa, Okla. and a 20-month-old girl from Camarillo, Calif. were reported to have suffocated when their dressers tipped over, entrapping them between the dresser and the floor. The cause of the deaths has not been determined.

This voluntary recall involves “Emily” style four-drawer dressers with model numbers M4712, M4722, M4732 and M4742 and similar “Ryan” dressers with the model M4733.

The dressers were sold in five finishes: Cherry, Ebony, Espresso, Honey Oak and White. The model number, “Million Dollar Baby” and “MADE IN TAIWAN” are printed on a label located on the back of the dresser.

The recalled dresser measures 33-inches high by 20-inches deep by 40-inches wide and is a part of the Da Vinci children’s bedroom furniture collection. The dressers are made from pine and wood composite. 

The recalled dressers were sold at JC Penney and independent juvenile specialty stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com, BabiesRUs.com, BabyUniverse.com and other online retailers from January 2006 through June 2010 for between $230 and $300. 

The Million Dollar Baby dressers met applicable voluntary standards when first produced, but a May 2009 voluntary industry standard, and subsequent revisions published in October 2009 and November 2009, requires that tip-over restraints be sold with the dressers.

The restraints attach to a wall, framing or other support to help prevent dresser tip-over entrapment hazards to young children. Million Dollar Baby is offering free retrofit kits with tip-over restraints to consumers who have older dressers. Included in the kit is an adhesive warning label that consumers are to attach to the dresser, which describes how to prevent tip-over injuries.

The dressers were manufactured in Taiwan and the USA. 

Consumers should immediately stop using and keep the dresser out of a child’s reach.

Consumers can contact Million Dollar Baby to receive a free retrofit kit that contains a wall anchor strap, which attaches to the dresser and wall to help prevent the dresser from tipping. The kits can be ordered by visiting the firm’s website at www.themdbfamily.com/safety2 and click on Safety HQ or call toll-free at (888) 673-6652 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. PT Monday through Friday.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2013/Million-Dollar-Baby-Dressers

 Million Dollar Dresser "Emily"Million Dollar Baby "Ryan" dresser

Your Toddler

Seven Tips For Toddler Discipline

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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."

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