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Every parent has witnessed their child having a temper tantrum at one time or another. They are a normal part of development and happen most between the ages of 1 and 3 years of age. Temper tantrums are very common prior to and around the time of language development, as children that aren’t fully verbal cannot yet say what they want, feel or need. Tantrums can be an easy way for them to try to get what they need. They can be as short as 20 seconds or go on for hours. They may include: crying, screaming and yelling, stamping feet, rolling around on the floor and breath holding spells.
When to Not Ignore Your Child’s Temper Tantrum
- If your child is physically at risk of harming him or herself
- If your child is in danger of hurting someone else during a tantrum such as hitting, kicking or biting
How to Help your Child Avoid Tantrums
- Give plenty of positive reinforcement - Get in the habit of catching your child being good and reward them with praise and attention for positive behavior
- Try to give toddlers control over little things - Offer minor choices such as “Do you want this shirt or that shirt?” “Do you want an apple or banana?” This will allow your child to make choices but choices that you are okay with.
- Try to limit “No” - Keep off-limit objects out of sight and out of reach helping to make struggles less likely and also limiting the use of “No”. Make sure your child understands the importance of “No” and know that the more you use it, the less effective it becomes.
- Distract your child - Take advantage of their short attention span by offering something else in place of what they can’t have. Start a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one or take your toddler outside or inside to simply change the environment.
- Consider the request carefully when your child wants something - is it outrageous? Maybe it isn’t. Choose your battles.
- Know your child’s limits - When your toddler is tired or hungry, don’t take them grocery shopping or try to squeeze in one more errand. It can also be a bad time to give kids a toy that is too advanced for them as they could get frustrated when they don’t understand why thaeycan’t get it to work.
Do’s and Don’ts During Tantrums
- DO stay calm - children learn by example! If you stay calm, your child is more likely to do the same. Get down on their level so you are eye to eye at arms distance and talk to them in a quiet, soothing voice. Empathize with them and let them know you hear them and understand why they’re upset. Calmly but firmly tell your child what to stop doing and what to do instead for example, “Anna, stop screaming right now and speak in a nice voice.” When he or she does as you asked, praise your child.
- DON’T give in - you don’t want to reward their behavior. If throwing temper tantrums leads to your child getting their way, get ready for tantrums to become a regular occurrence
- DO distract - getting your child to focus on something else might help them to soon forget why they were so upset in the first place
- DON’T overreact - try to understand why your child is frustrated. Take a deep breath (or several) and know that this too, will pass.
- DO set expectations - Before taking your child to a public place like a store or restaurant, talk to them about proper behavior. Try to give them 3 simple rules you’d like them to follow in the store or restaurant and if they do them, reward them with such things as an extra bedtime story.
- DON’T bribe your child - this is the same as giving in
- DO teach better ways - encourage your child to use words to describe their feelings. Keep in mind that giving rewards for good behaviors work much more effectively than punishing bad behavior.
- DON’T worry about what others are thinking - almost every parents have been through the same thing! Know that your child’s tantrum doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent.
What Do I Do if the Tantrum Happens in Public?
If a tantrum occurs in public, use planned ignoring if possible. If this is not possible, find a safe place to sit with your child such as a park bench and tell your child they must sit quietly. Wait beside your child (without talking) until they have been quiet for 30 seconds.
When Do I Set a Time Limit?
Rather than setting a specific time limit on how long your child needs to calm down, tell your child to stay in the room until he or she regains control. This will empower them to understand that they can affect the outcome by their own actions. However, if the time-out is for a tantrum PLUS a negative behavior (such as hitting), put your child in a 1 minute per year of age time-out.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Know that temper tantrums get better after the age of 3 although, they don’t go away entirely. As kids mature, they gain self-control and tantrums will usually stop on their own as they learn to cooperate, communicate and cope with frustration.
Contact Your Child’s Healthcare Provider If:
- You often feel angry or out of control when you respond to tantrums
- You keep giving in
- The tantrums cause a lot of bad feelings between you and your child
- You have questions about what you’re doing or what your child is doing
- The tantrums become more frequent, intense or last longer
- Your child often hurts themselves or others
- Your child seems very disagreeable, argues a lot and hardly ever cooperates
Did you know that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 220,000 patients were treated in hospitals, doctors’ offices and emergency rooms for injuries related to winter sports in 2017!
- 69,000 injuries from snow skiing
- 54,000 injuries from snowboarding
- 52,000 injuries from ice skating
- 5,000 injuries from sledding and tobogganing
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons states that most injuries sustained during winter sports can easily be prevented by keeping in good physical condition, staying alert, and stopping when participants are tired or in pain. The most common injuries include: sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures; many of these happening at the end of the day when people are tired and overexert themselves.
To help prevent injury during your favorite winter activities, follow these AAOS safety tips:
- Never paritipcate alone in a winter sport.
- Keep in shape and condition muscles before participating in winter activities.
- Warm up thoroughly before playing or participating. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are vulnerable to injury.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, including goggles, helmets, gloves and padding.
- Check that equipment is working properly prior to use.
- Wear several layers of light, loose and water and wind-resistant clothing for warmth and protection. Layering allows you to accommodate your body's constantly changing temperature. Wear proper footwear that poviders warmth and dryness, as well as ample ankle support.
- Know and abide by all rules of the sport in which you are participating.
- Take a lesson (or several) from a qualified instructor, especially in sports like skiing and snowboarding. Learning how to fall correctly and safely can reduce the risk of injury.
- Pay attention to warnings about upcoming storms and severe drops in temperature.
- Seek shelter and medical attention immediately if you, or anyone with you, is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite. Make sure everyone is aware of proper procedures for getting help, if injuries occur.
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities.
- Avoid participating in sports when you are in pain or exhausted.
Nothing creates a winter ambiance like a wood burning fireplace however, it is important to remember these fireplace safety tips from the AAP.
- If possible, keep a window cracked open while the fire is burning
- Be certain the damper or flue is open before starting a fire and keeping it open until the fire is out, will draw smoke out of the house. The damper can be checked by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror. Be certain not to close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
- Use dry and well-aged wood as wet or green wood causes more smoke and contributes to soot buildup in the chimney. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly.
- Clean out ashes from previous fires. Levels of ash at the base of the fireplace should be kept to 1 inch or less as a thicker layer restricts the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
- Have your chimney checked annually by a professional — even if your chimney is not due for cleaning, it is important to check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
- Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable (ie: furniture, drapes, newspapers, books, etc).
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house. If you leave the room while the fire is burning or the fireplace is still hot, take your small child with you.
- Minimize your child’s chance of burns form the hot glass front of some fireplaces. Safety scenes can be installed to reduce the risk of burns.
- Put the fireplace tools and accessories out of a young child’s reach. Also, remove any lighters and matches.
- Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Communicate to children as early as possible the danger of fires and the heat generated from them.
Cherry Creek Pediatrics wants to make sure your holiday season is one of joy. While holiday lights can bring beauty and happiness to your house, they can also cause overloaded circuits which can cause cords to overheat resulting in fires. Listen to this great holiday safety tip from the AAP to help prevent your risk of a fire this holiday season.
The holidays are upon us and with them often come big, holiday meals. These meals typically include long standing family traditions and often times the food can be a source of a major break down for a picky eater. We know that Thanksgiving can be extra challenging for parents of picky eaters. In order to prevent dinner from turning into a battle zone, check out these tips below to keep your Thanksgiving dinner fun for all!
Prepare something your picky eater eat will. Choose at least one food you know your child will like and make enough to imply that anyone can eat it, even if it’s unlikely that they actually will. This allows you to have something your child will eat without sending a message that he or she has their own special food. This way, your child is guaranteed to eat something during the meal and it also shows your child you care about his or her preferences when planning meals.
Prepare your child. Let your child know that you plan to offer at least one protein, grain, vegetable and fruit and tell them about any foods you are definitely planning on including (such as a turkey as a protein and stuffing as a grain). Make a few dishes ahead of time that your child will see Thanksgiving day on the table one at a time and let them try them during a normal family dinner.
Involve your child in meal planning. Kids are much more likely to eat foods that they have helped planned themselves. Ask your child if he or she has any ideas for the other food groups. For example, “What type of vegetable do you think we should include?” Then together, find recipes that use those foods as ingredients.
Invite your child to help with meal prep. When kids help to cook food, they will often sample what they are preparing which helps to make them more likely to eat their masterpieces later. Ask your picky eater to help you work behind the scenes washing vegetables, mixing ingredients or putting together a fancy cheese tray.
Use food bridges. Once a food is accepted by your picky eater, find similarly colored, flavored or textured “food bridges” to expand the variety of foods your child is willing to eat. For example, if your child likes pumpkin pie, try including mashed sweet potatoes on his or her Thanksgiving plate.
Give holiday foods fun names and make the food smell, taste and look delicious. We know it sounds silly, but studies have shown that kids are much more likely to eat “Magical Mashed Potatoes” or “Superpower Sweet Potatoes” over plain-old mashed potatoes. Many times, kids have made up their mind about a food before actually trying it. By adding a “cool” name and making the dish smell, takes, and look delicious, you’re already increasing the odds that your child will try it. For example, when preparing a veggie tray, try arranging the veggies in the shape of a turkey.
Don’t make it a battle. Focus on enjoying your time together with family or friends. Try not to worry if and what your child is eating, you have done your job. Go easy on yourself and your child and celebrate this day of gratitude.