Problem Solving and Conflict Resolution for Children


As a parent how did you learn to resolve conflicts? Doubtlessly, your biggest influencers were your parents. You learnt your early lessons from them and unknowingly emulated their responses and attitudes when resolving conflict. Now, these are a part of your psyche and intellect more than you would ever want to admit.

Conflict resolution is not like math. It is an art that needs to be experienced, interpreted and learnt in our own unique way. When it comes to children, it is best to let them resolve conflict in their own way, albeit, with a little support from you. Here are a few guidelines that will slowly, but surely help you and your child learn conflict resolution at every level, whether it is for a very young child or an older child.

  1. Let them resolve conflicts. Don’t do it for them

It is challenging for any parent to hold back when a child is trying to snatch a toy from another child. After all, you want to instil the spirit of sharing early on, right? Well, this may not be the right way to do it. It is easy to swoop in and demand that your child share the toy or even take sides in your attempt to dissolve undesired situations that result in crying and heartbreak.

But intervention at this stage can prevent the child from learning it to resolve it in his own way. He will always look to you for support (if you support him) and look away from you (if you take the other child’s side). Both are equally damaging.

Next time you are faced with a similar scenario, try this:

If your child cries for a toy that is with another child, express empathy. “I know you are upset that you can’t play with the teddy now”. At the same time, offer choices to resolve the conflict. “Do you want to ask Amy if she can share it the teddy with you for some time?”

  1. Provide safe environment for conflict resolution

If a conflict resolution scenario is getting out of hand and you suspect it will result in a physical battle, it is okay to physically remove your child from the scene and explain that hitting is not allowed. Children need us to set limits when it comes to emotions that lead to physical harm. A respectful discipline option may not work in this scenario.

  1. Don’t shame, lecture or use an angry/surprised tone with a child in conflict

Children are even more sensitive to others than we are. So when your child hits somebody, don’t shame him by pointing out the obvious. “Look, how you hurt Arjun! He is so sad!”

The hitting was more of an uncontrolled and impulsive reaction than the hate for Arjun. Understand that the child has a wide range of emotions running through him/her right now,

Keep a calm voice. The child is already on a emotional high and doesn’t need you to contribute to it.

There is a tremendous amount of excellent information on these techniques and teaching them to children of all ages.  Google RIE and you will find tools and articles helping you to bring up self sufficient children. Make them part of your day, and a part of your child’s life and they will grow in depth and confidence.

Caring for your baby’s dental health: Prevention is the key

Dental  Health

Your baby’s toothless smile is one of the most precious things on earth. The appearance of the first tooth is something of a milestone in your baby’s and your life. But what is disappointing is that baby teeth don’t get appropriate amount of health attention, besides the cuteness factor. Generally, a visit to the dentist is occasioned only when there is a problem. This mindset has led to a staggering number of babies facing dental issues such as decay, scarring and caries. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and make it difficult to swallow food.

New research has shown that primary teeth form the foundation of your baby’s future dental health as well as over all well-being. So we decided to put together a series of do’s and don’ts for your baby’s dental health.

Age 0 to 6 months: Wipe your baby’s gums clean and wet with a gauze or a soft cloth

Age 6 to 18 months: Try to introduce a soft baby brush. Continue to use water only for cleaning

Age 18 to 24 month: Introduce a low fluoride toothpaste

  • Remember, decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth. The only thing bacteria loves is sugars from food left in the mouth.
  • For breastfeeding infants (even without any teeth), sleeping with milk in the mouth is the quickest way to invite bacteria to gorge on un-swallowed milk.
  • The easiest way to clean baby gums is to take a clean and soft cloth and wipe your baby’s gums before she falls asleep and every morning. If the baby is going to stay awake, the saliva formation will wash down remnants of milk in the mouth.
  • If the baby uses a pacifier, don’t dip it in sugar or honey. Plain water works best in the long run.
  • If the baby has a habit of falling asleep with the milk bottle in her mouth, gradually replace milk with water.
  • Avoid adding sugar to milk and food
  • Fluoride is essential to your child’s dental health. Toothpaste containing fluoride is the best for everyone in your family. But make sure that the baby doesn’t swallow the toothpaste. Swallowing excessive fluoride can also result in staining of the teeth.
  • If your child already has tooth decay, do not delay a visit to the dentist. The primary teeth are very important for the permanent teeth to be healthy and in the right place.

However, teeth cleaning alone aren’t a guarantee against tooth decay. If despite taking appropriate steps your baby has tooth decay, it probably has something to do with the baby’s diet and warrants a visit to the paediatrician.

How to help underweight toddlers gain weight


Childhood Obesity

The travails of a parent whose toddler is underweight can only be felt, not described. Children usually follow a predictable growth pattern. They triple their weight in the first year of their life, and thereafter a kilogram every 3-4 months for the second year of their life. However, not all children follow the same pattern. Each child develops at a different pace. So when does a parent start to worry about poor or no weight gain? A month, 2 months or 6 months of no weight gain? Or more?

There is no correct answer to this because there are a lot of factors that can affect weight gain in a toddler.

  • Genetics: If the child’s parents are lean, chances are the baby will be skinny too
  • Dietary restrictions such as dairy free diet, vegetarian diet or a vegan diet can put the child at a risk of being mal nourished
  • Recent illness or medications can kill diet temporarily resulting in poor weight gain or even weight loss
  • Emotional upheaval: A change of scenery that didn’t go down too well with your toddler may directly affect hunger
  • An increase in height that precedes weight gain

However, if your gut feeling tells you to get an expert opinion, the best person to give it is the paediatrician.

Assuming your child has no underlying medical problem, you can proceed with the following to ensure that your child is getting enough calories. The rest will follow.

  • The best way to get your toddler to gain weight is to increase his calorie intake with heart healthy foods such as nuts, vegetable oils, dry fruits, dairy, carbohydrate heavy fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget the protein found in eggs, peanut butter and beans.
  • Avoid filling up the calorie count by means of ‘junk food’. These are empty calories that do nothing to help your child develop holistically.
  • If your toddler is a fussy eater, you have to ensure two things are always right. First that the meals are calorie and nutrient rich and secondly, that meal times are enjoyable and an unhurried affair.
  • If nothing else works, your doctor may prescribe a high calorie supplement drink.
  • Filling up on milk and other beverages is a common hunger killer. It leaves little room for other nutrient rich foods that are necessary for weight gain.
  • Increase the frequency of meals. Add 2-3 snack times to ensure that the child is meeting his daily quota of calories, as prescribed by the paediatrician.
  • Keep a daily diet chart of the child’s diet plan and stick as close to it as possible.

Once this checklist is in place and you have begun to follow it, do not be in a hurry to check your child’s progress daily. Let the doctor do it at a monthly interval. This will ensure that the child doesn’t become too self conscious about his/her weight.


Coping with Cyber Bullying: What Every Parent Needs to Know

When you and I were in school we might have experienced bullying, either personally or from a distance, in the classroom, the playground or recess time.  For our children today, bullying has taken on another dimension…the virtual dimension. This is something that you and I as adults may not even be aware of. But parents, this is out there and it is REAL for our children, especially our tweens and teens. Part of the reality is that digital technology and the internet play a huge part in the lives of our children as they use it for school assignments and their social life. This social connectivity can be online or via their mobiles, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social media sites.

 So, what is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber Bullying has been defined as when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

It can include abusive texts and emails, hurtful messages, images or videos imitating others, excluding others online, nasty online gossip and chat.

The fact that cyber bullying can happen 24/7 [and not just in person], can be done in anonymity, and once out there can go viral, makes cyber bullying even more damaging than traditional face-to-face bullying.

 As a parent what should I know?

Signs that your child is being cyber-bullied and how to handle this

The first thing is for you to get acquainted with your child’s cyber world. Find out where your children surf, what are the popular social sites amongst kids and talk to your kids about the possibility of cyber bullying and safety. Do reinforce that even if they see a post that is targeted at another child, by their ‘liking/ sharing/forwarding’ it they are guilty of cyber bullying by association.

The next thing is to look for signs that might point to your child being cyber bullied. Some of these might be:

  • Changes in online behaviour– is your child suddenly spending less time online? Has he asked you about closing down his account, or about security features to block others out?
  • Distress does your child become annoyed, upset, stressed or angry after he has been online? Has his school attendance or performance reduced?
  • Secrecydoes your child act secretively when using the internet or phone? Does he close down the computer when you walk into the room?

 Also Read: Keeping your Kids Safe Online

 As a parent how can I help if my child is being cyber bullied?

If you worry that your child is being cyber bullied, talk to him. Assure him that you are on his side, that he did not do something wrong and he does not deserve to be bullied. Here are some tips you could share with him:

  • Do not respond or retaliate. Tell him to talk to you about it, rather than ‘letting off steam’ online by seeking revenge online. It could make things worse and he might be accused of cyberbullying.
  • Tell him to block the bully and change his privacy settings. With your help he can also report this to the site administrator and the school authorities.
  • Help him save these abusive messages as evidence, like phone messages, print emails or social networking conversations/photos. He can also tell their friends that might be privy to these messages to collect this too.
  • Encourage him to be involved in anti-cyber bullying campaigns. There are many such initiatives online. This will give him a sense of control and empowerment. If he knows of a friend being bullied, remind him not to join in. If he feels confident, he should also stand up for his friend online.

Bottom line, parents you have to be aware and get familiar with the virtual world that your child is a part of.  In this case, ignorance is not bliss!

Happy Parenting!

Also Read: Teens and Social Media

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children. This blog was written by Aparna Samuel Balasundaram. She is a USA- Licensed Psychotherapist and Parent and Child Expert with 10 years of experience in the USA. 

Is A Hidden Nanny Camera The Right Way To Go?

Hidden CameraThere are very few reasons why you should not get a hidden nanny camera and tons of reasons why you should get one.

A hidden nanny camera can save the life of your child and for that reason alone I think that it is a very good idea for all parents to consider getting one. Whether they actually have a nanny or if they just hire a babysitter from time to time, it is just as important in either of the cases. Kids are delicate and they need to be treated with utmost care. That means that they need to be treated with respect and they need to be protected form physical and emotional neglect or violence. Sadly, the fact of the
matter is that you don’t know what goes on in your home when you are not there.

Even if your child does not have any cuts or bruises that does not mean that he or she is not being abused. Only a good quality hidden nanny camera is going to show you what the nanny is doing when you are away and it is just the nanny and the baby at home.

Do you know how often your nanny or babysitter yells at your child or children? Probably not. It is not like you can ask him or her; the nanny is obviously not going to tell you that all she does is yell all day long!

And if your child is very young he or she is not going to be any help either, but a hidden nanny camera would be. When you have a hidden nanny camera in your home nothing is going to be a secret any longer, you will know exactly what is happening when you are not there. Either you will finally have your mind put to rest about the quality of care that this nanny is providing or you will find out that she is terrible and fire her immediately. Either way you win, you simply cannot go wrong when you purchase a hidden nanny camera.

There are a few different kinds of hidden nanny camera on the market today. Some are as small as pins and they can be hidden absolutely anywhere and the nanny will never detect it. There was a time when they were all hidden in teddy bears, well that is done, now you can hide them in pictures, fire alarms, in the VCR, absolutely anywhere that will give you a good view of the room is a great
place to put your hidden nanny camera.

And since they are all so tiny now this is beyond simple to do. Having a good hidden nanny camera is the only way to know that your child is safe when you are not home. Safety is the most important thing for your child. So take care of the life and wellbeing of your baby and get a hidden nanny camera.

Entertaining Kids For Free – Good Weather

Entertaining Kids For FreeA trip to the mall is always met with applause by children in a typical 20th century household.And why not!? There are entertainment zones that have rides, bouncing castles, toy trains, simulating games and the works! It is a perfect place for your child to be entertained. This scenario is a far cry from our childhood, when there were no theme parks or malls that had such great entertainment
system just for kids. But do you also know that such entertainment does not stimulate or nurture your child’s imagination. This is only spoon-fed visual entertainment, with little or no room for imagination that is very important for any child’s development.

The best entertainment is free entertainment that is provided by nature. Free entertainment stimulates their minds more and tires them out if they enjoy it. If they are simply distracted by rides and toys they switch off and then lack enough imagination to entertain their own.

A fantastic way to do this is to plan a Park Walk Activity when the weather is nice. All you need is a picnic basket with nibbles and a couple of sealable plastic bags. This activity is great for getting your child to take an active interest in nature. Find a good park near your house that has enough trees, shrubs, flowers and shade to rest. Start early so that you can wrap up by the time it gets sunny. Start your walk and see how many different things you can find. There is no need to rush the kids. Let them take it all in at their own space. Let it be a leisure walk rather than an activity that has a start and a finish. You could simply guide your children by picking out leaves or flowers that you like and carefully putting them inside the re-sealable plastic bag. Tell them you want to take it home and put it in your room. Your kids are sure to follow your suit. Make sure you don’t pick too many. One of each will be fine.

When you do this more than once, you will notice your children brining back bags full of moss from the trees, different twigs, berries and nuts, various leaves and flowers, small stones and feathers.

Whatever you can find you can collect. Let your child get interested in the surroundings and discover new things on their own.

A picnic basket is great to break up the walk when you feel your child has walked enough for one time.

When you get home get a large piece of paper and some glue and see what scenes you can make from what you have collected. Younger children will enjoy sticking things on randomly and maybe doing a bit of colouring around it as well. Older children could try and make a picture out of the things they have in the bag.

Tips To Help Teach Your Children Their Numbers

ID-100170690If you have a toddler, they are probably trying to learn how to count. If they are not trying to learn to count, they are definitely learning how to say different numbers. Most will learn at around three that they are three years old. They might not know what it means, but they remember the number. You will want to help them want to learn numbers so it comes easy to them once they start going off to school. Remember, you are your child’s first teacher. Below are some creative ideas to help teach your child count numbers.

Read books on counting. There are many of these books in your local bookstore, libraries, EBay, etc. These are fun and a majority of the books you find will have great images to go along with the book to keep your child’s interest. Kids love books so stock up! If you are really creative, you can make a counting book with your child.

Use flashcards. You can either buy some cute expensive cards with pretty pictures, some cheap flash cards with just numbers or just make your own. Flash cards have been used for years. They work! You can also go to a school supply store and get some writing tablets that allow your child to trace numbers and also the alphabet.
When asking “How Many?” start with small numbers. Even very young toddlers will start memorizing the numbers one, two, or three. So spend a lot of time counting up to three objects at first. Eventually, your child will be able to say he or she has 2 hands, 2 feet, etc.

Another option would be blocks, depending on their age. Small children love blocks. Many of the small wooden blocks that you can buy at the toy store will have numbers painted on them.

Find something that both you and your child will enjoy doing. There are many different ways you can help your child learn their numbers, just picking out the method is going to be the fun part.

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Tips For Taking Your Children Shopping

ID-100182426Okay, so you want to go shopping but are dreading going because you will have to take the kids along too. For those that have been shopping at a store with children, you know that it can be a very stressful experience, especially if the children or child is young. If you plan ahead, you might just be okay.

Before you enter the store, you will want to set the rules. Make your rules nice and clear. You can tell them to “Stay close to me” or “No begging for anything”. If you are shopping for someone else, be sure to let your children know, so they don’t expect you to start shopping for them. For instance, if you are buying a toy for a birthday present for another child, let your child know this before you even begin shopping. Ask them to help pick out the gift.

If you’re in a giving mood, agree to buy them a reward for good behavior. You could also reward them by playing a game at home, watching a movie together, a trip to the park, cook one of their favorite meals, etc. If you think that your child might misbehave, this might be something you might want to try. It has been known to work for many moms and dads.

Depending on their age, you might want to pack a snack or treat for your child to eat while you are shopping. Some nutritious snacks might include raisins, nuts, grapes, sliced apples, nuts, granola bar, etc. Bringing a snack might also prevent them from asking for food while you are shopping.

Other ideas of items to bring with you could be a book for your child to look at or read. You could bring their favorite blanket or their favorite toy. A pencil and paper could also entertain them. The idea is not to go empty handed. Be prepared so your shopping trip is successful and you don’t end up turning around and going home.

If your child is hungry before you go shopping, make sure you feed them. This will prevent them from complaining about hunger pangs. If they are tired, have them take a nap beforehand, this will save a ton of stress. The best time to go is when your child has a full tummy and is well rested.

While you are shopping, you can play games with your child to make the trip fun. If you are shopping for food, you can play a game of who sees the bananas first. You can sing songs about what you are buying. You can talk about what is on the packaging. At the end of your shopping trip, let your child help give the checkout clerk the items you are buying. Kids love helping out. Just remember to keep them distracted from the candy isle unless you want to buy them some extra energy.

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