My Parenting Advice Articles

Morning Dressing Struggels

How do I end the daily battle over dressing in the morning?

I have a 2.5 year old boy. Every day, we struggle on getting off his night time diaper (he is almost day trained) and his PJs. I have tried setting a timer,  letting him pick the alarm sound, letting him pick his clothes, using a sticker chart and  explaining.  Four out of five times he will not comply and then it is a struggle with  screaming, crying  and kicking while I get him out of his PJs and diaper and into  his day clothes.  He is very verbal and will tell me ''I want to fuss/struggle.'' 

Tags : sleep , morning

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Swearing Toddlers

Recently our 3 year-old boy started saying "Oh shit" when he gets mad.
We don't curse at home so he must be getting it at preschool.
We've been ignoring it so as to not encourage him to say it (though it is actually pretty funny!).
Should we do more?

Tags : Toddlers

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When Kids ask about God

I’ve got a “High-Holiday Unintended Consequences” dilemma.  We love shul for the traditions, the community, and the special moment marking a passage and taking stock.  But we aren’t God-fearing people; not even God-believing. I am in the agnostic range; my husband is an atheist.  Our five year old came back from services this year full of God questions (at least he was paying attention!): Who is God?  Why do we talk to him? Does He ever answer?  What does God look like?  Where is He?  How can He hear us if, as one friend said, “He is up in the super high skies”?

Tags : Kids' questions

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Getting from “Say thank you” to genuine gratitude?

How do you get your child to move from parroting back when you say “Say thank you” to genuine gratitude?  Can you teach it?  Model it?

Tags : Toddlers , Preschool , Thankful , manners

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In Praise of Child Labor: Why it's GOOD for Young Children to Work

Children gain many benefits from doing real work- manual, hands-on tasks that benefit their whole family and others outside their home.  They have few opportunties to do this in our society.  I invite you to re-imagine "child labor."

Tags : Toddlers , Preschool , chores , work , discipline

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Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is a condition tha tusually develops in early childhood.  While a child won’t talk at Kindergarten, or anywhere outside the famil, at home she’s a chatterbox.  

Tags : Toddlers , Preschool , Kindergarden , speech , talking , Language development , early childhood , social skills , anxiety , shyness , Mutism

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Travelling with Young Children

Travelling with young children can be a real challenge, from the actual trip- especially if it's by plane, to jet lag, adapting to a new environment, mixed up routines, and parenting your child "in view" of others- family, friends and strangers.

On the other side- sometimes the challenge is a parent traveling while the child stays home. Follow my tips for a smoother ride.

Tags : Toddlers , infants , routines , travel , airplanes , visiting

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The 5 AM Wake-up

Babies often wake up really early in the morning. Must be the inner farmer in them. But it makes for utterly exhausted parents. Easy steps help you train your baby to wake up later in the morning, so you can stay sane.

 

Tags : sleep , infants , baby , early morning , sleep training

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Nightmares and Scary TV Programs

Scary TV programs… boys (and some girls) love them and get really freaked out by them. What are parent to do?
Advice about how to handle nightmares & fears about having them, and how to decide what TV programs are approriate for your child at a given age. Also- how much TV watching is a reasonable "dose."

Tags : sleep , Toddlers , Preschool , TV , Television , fears , scary things , nightmares

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Aggression

It's rather common to hear of a child who's aggressive and non-compliant at home but "an angel" at preschool or kindergarten (sometime, of course, it's the reverse- but that's a different conundrum).  First, try to understand the reasons and decipher the  patterns and then implement a simple action plan. This article guides you through both stages.

Tags : Toddlers , Preschool , Kindergarden , aggressions , hitting , biting , yelling , limits , non-compliant , listeing , parental authoiry

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Pacifiers: from Babies to Toddlers

Pacifiers  generate passionate debates.  I, too, cringe at preschool kids cruising around town with pacifiers permanently implanted in their mouths, but I’ve never seen one go to college that way, so let’s not panic. Pacifiers are a useful for soothing babies, especially fussy ones, and getting them back to sleep in the middle of the night.  But you will have a problem if your child grows extremely dependent on a pacifier and you don’t gradually restrict its use and then wean your child from it.  

Tags : sleep , Toddlers , infants , baby , soothing , fussy baby , pacifier , comforting , weaning

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Stealing

When young children steal you have a delicate balance between teaching them that it's wrong on the one hand, but not shaming them on the other. The key is a straight forward explanation and a face-saving way to return the stolen goods.  Remember that kids under 5 are fuzzy about both ownership and the "full truth and nothing but the truth."

Tags : Preschool , Kindergarden , stealing , lying , Toddlers , telling the truth

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Clinging to mom 24/7

A period of “Mommy’itis” or “Daddy’itis” is common and often makes several appearances in early childhood (with a possible reprise in adolescence).  It often begins in infancy when it seems like only one parent can soothe a baby when he is really fussy, and/or get him to sleep.  In the toddler - preschool years expect at least one such period, often coupled with other struggles about “who’s boss.” If you dig Freud, you will not just expect, but welcome an oedipal period: a girl being “All Daddy’s” and a boy glued to mom’s side.

Tags : Toddlers , infants , Mommy , Daddy , boys , girls , preschoolers

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Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting as it is currently practiced by many new parents has many benefits but I believe it has been taken to unreasonable - and counterproductive- extremes.  I suggest ways to adopt some if its principles without going to extremes.

Tags : sleep , Toddlers , infants , attachment , nursing , babysitter , separation , separation anxiety , bonding

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Bedtime for Babies

Getting your baby to fall asleep in her/his crib is the key to gradually teaching her/him to sleep through the night.
Co-sleeping (or "Family Bed") is problematic: Doctors warn against it due to the risk of SDIS and most parents cannot get the quality sleep they need in order to function the next day if their baby/child sleeps in their bed with them.

There is a gentle way (if accompanied by fussing and protests fro your baby) to train your baby to fall asleep in his crib (not your arms) and sleep through the night.

Tags : sleep , infants , baby , sleep training , co-sleeping , parents' bed , crib

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Bedtime Battles Part 2

Bedtime with toddlers and preschools age kids can devolve into long battles and make parent frustrated and exhausted, if not worse. The key to successful bedtime routines at this age is firm rules, consistency, keeping your cool and using rewards for cooperation.

Tags : sleep , Toddlers , sleep training , limits , preschoolers , bedtime , going to sleep

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Separation

Starting school- as a toddler, preschooler or Kindergarten student can pose many challenge, the biggest one of parent is separation difficulties.  It breaks your heart to leave your child sobbing or screaming for you!  The teachers' assurance that 10 minutes after your departure your kid plays happily with others, joins circle time or eats his snack is important, but does little to assuage the sadness and guilt.  Simple, practical steps to help your child master the separation will not only improve things but also let him feel he's accomplished an important milestone.

Tags : Preschool , Kindergarden , preschoolers , separation , separation anxiety , crying , leaving your child , teachers

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Traveling with Young Children

Traveling can be really challenging and many families mud two it to visit grandparents, celebrate holidays at home, etc.- so hopefully some of you are reading this before you depart. The younger the infant the smaller their orbit: all your baby really needs is your and your partner’s body and attention, readily available. Older kids may react to the changed environment, new people, new rules and simple fatigue.
Jet lag amplifies the problem and can take quite a toll on both kids and parents.
ANother challenge is when a parent travels and kids stay home.
Practical steps offered here will help you prepare as much as possible and weather the challenge.

Tags : infants , travel , airplanes , Toddlers , preschoolers , separation , babies , going away , home sick , grandprents , relatives , visiting

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Kids (mostly boys) and guns

This column is for parents who DO NOT have/approve of guns. If you are a gun owner or enthusiast it'll make you mad, and you probably have other things to worry about- so skip it.

For parents who have an aversion to guns it often comes as a shock when their child, most often a boy, asks to have one. What should you do? Is there a middle road? Read on!

Tags : aggressions , boys , gender , guns , violence , cops & robbers , aggressive play , gun play

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Kindergarten: Getting Ready

Helping you child get ready for Kindergarten is vital in making their initial adaptation as successful as possible. If your child has already attended preschool, entering Kindergarten is usually a bit easier but it's still a very big change.  If Kindergarten will be your child's first experience in a school/group setting, preparation is even more important.  It's not hard: it just takes some time, patience, planning and a simple step-by-step approach.

Tags : Preschool , Kindergarden , social skills , separation , separation anxiety , kindergarten readiness , school , starting Kindergarten

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Teaching Kids to Be Generous and Charitable

We all want our kids to be generous and understand how important it is to be charitable.  But some ways of teaching and modeling charity- such as putting money in a collection box- are much too abstract for kids under 5.  How can you model and teach these qualities early on?

Tags : Preschool , Kindergarden , Toddlers , genrosity , charity , caring , empathy

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When young kids steal and lie

Most young children "discover" lying as a way to get out of trouble and stealing as a method to acquire something they want almost by chance.  They are very fuzzy on the concepts of telling only the truth and private property.  Guiding them through a moment of stealing or lying is important step in maturation.  You can help your child learn how to recognize he has done something wrong, "fee up," and make amends without being humiliated.

Tags : Preschool , Kindergarden , social skills , stealing , lying , telling the truth , school , embarrasment

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Too many presents at Christmas, Hanukkah or a birthday

Too many presents often make the "Birthday boy" the "Christmas granddaughter" or the "Hanukkah niece" overwhelmed, leading to a tearful meltdown. They also undermine the child's ability to appreciate gifts, feel thankful and enjoy the presents. Not surprisingly, this can lead to disappointed parents and relatives and unhappy memories of a big moment or festive holiday.
Simple guidelines show you how to "Ration" presents so they are truly appreciated and enjoyed.

Tags : Thankful , Toddlers , preschoolers , presents , Christmas , Hannukka , Birthday , gifts , giving

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Separation

Difficult separation at preschool is as common as the common cold – and most frequently about as harmful. However, it's important to respond in a way that validates your child sadness and worries about saying goodbye, assures him/her when you'll be back and provides some tools to handle the intense feelings, so that your child comes out with a sense of mastery and accomplishment.

Tags : Preschool , Toddlers , separation , separation anxiety , crying , teachers , classroom , saying bye bye

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Rachel Biale - Parenting Counseling