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From taking over toys to hogging treats, learning to share can be a challenge for toddlers. Since sharing is not a natural habit for young children, it’s important to guide your child through this skill, as this will help them interact, socialise and play with others throughout their childhood. Here are some helpful tips for how to encourage your little one to share.

 

Set an example and practise at home

Toddlers tend to model the words and behaviours of those around them. Try and incorporate sharing daily and make a conscious effort to explain your actions as you do them. This could be through dividing food with your partner or passing on a toy to your toddler. Try and do this regularly throughout the day so that your toddler learns that this behaviour is normal and to be expected.

 

Point out sharing in others

If you notice sharing in other situations, point it out to your little one: ‘Wasn’t it nice of Tommy to share his toys with you?’ or ‘Dad halved his sandwich with you. That was kind of him, wasn’t it?’ It may take a while for them to register this fully, but as their emotions continue to develop, the message will start to sink in.

 

Play games that require taking turns

Play games with your child that involve turn-taking and sharing. Narrate your actions and talk your child through each step, repeating phrases like, ‘Now it’s your turn to add a block to the tower, then it’s my turn’ and ‘I’ll share my blue blocks with you, and you can share your red ones with me!’ This language will eventually help to normalise the behaviour.

 

Explain and encourage sharing on play dates

Play dates are a great opportunity to encourage sharing. If you are inviting friends or family around to play, explain to your toddler beforehand that they will need to share their toys. Ask them what games and items they’d like to share with their friend. If your child has a few favourite toys they are likely to guard with jealousy, it may be best to keep these out of the way in the meantime.

 

Praise sharing

As soon as you see your toddler sharing or exhibiting generosity, make a point of praising their actions. ‘That was lovely of you to share your ball with Ellie!’ or ‘Thank you for sharing your juice with me. That made me feel really nice.’

Teaching your child to share takes time, effort and patience. With these prompting tactics and a little bit of perseverance, you can help to establish these positive habits early, which will serve them when socialising and forming friendships throughout their childhood and later in life.

Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting

Sibling relationships play a crucial role in how children learn to interact, resolve conflict and develop emotions such as empathy. Though these social skills take time to mature, it’s important to help guide your little ones through any sibling issues and to help them establish positive habits early on. Here are some helpful tips for nurturing healthy sibling relationships.

Avoid comparisons

Comparing your children is a sure way to build resentment and rivalry between siblings. Avoid negative terms and questions like, ‘Why can’t you listen like you sister?’ or ‘Your brother doesn’t talk back like that,’ as comparing different behaviours can make the other child feel hurt, insecure or resentful. Instead, observe each situation from a neutral and constructive position by focusing on the strength or weakness of each child individually, without referring to the other sibling.

Encourage cooperative play

Find activities that both or all children enjoy. Differences in age and interests can make this problematic but experiment with a variety of games and choose ones that require teamwork or shared skills. Fort-building or doing crafts can also be a great way to get your little ones bonding and enjoying each other’s company.

Respect and reinforce boundaries

While having a sibling can mean always having a playdate, a companion and a confidant, it can also mean having someone that is around all day every day. Respect each child’s feelings and needs with private one-on-one conversations. Explain the concept of boundaries and reinforce them when it’s time for some privacy or independent play.

Identify the cause of the conflict

If your children argue regularly, try and figure out what’s behind these disagreements. Are your kids fighting for your time and attention? Do they argue when they are bored? Once you recognise these patterns, you can put measures into place to help prevent conflict. For instance, you could try spending one-on-one time with each child or have rainy-day games prepared for when the bane of boredom strikes.

Encourage good listening skills

When an argument arises and you need to intervene, it’s important to try and guide your children through how to resolve the conflict on their own. Give each child time to discuss how they’re feeling and be sure to encourage the other to listen by preventing interruptions. With some prompting and perseverance, these listening skills will eventually help your little ones learn how to compromise, problem-solve and respect each other’s feelings.

Respect and appreciate differences

Differences in age, skills and interests can make it challenging for your little ones to get along. But, one of the best parts about having multiple children is being able to watch them get involved and excel in different areas. Make a point of celebrating each child by praising their unique interests, strengths and accomplishments equally. Modelling this as their parent will also encourage your children to respect each other’s differences, rather than fight over them.

Sibling arguments are an inevitable part of growing up. However, they also present the opportunity to guide your children through conflict resolution and start establishing positive habits for the future. With some patience, practice and perseverance, you can help foster an invaluable sibling bond that will serve them throughout their childhood and later in life.

Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting

With many families currently limited to at-home entertainment, screen time continues to be one of the most reliable ways to keep the little ones busy. While technology can benefit your child’s growth, too much can begin to affect their health and wellbeing. When teaching your child about screen time, it’s important to understand the pros, cons and limits required to prevent your tot from overindulging. Here are our tips for establishing healthy screen time habits with your toddler.

Stick to a daily limit

To establish a healthy routine, try and stick to a daily limit of an hour or less. Keep your toddler aware of these restrictions with regular time reminders, and try and encourage breaks every 15 to 30 minutes, as moving around is helpful for your child’s energy levels, development and sleep. While it’s okay to go over the limit on some days, be sure to treat this extra time as a privilege and not a standard.

Set rules for rooms and situations

Be clear with your toddler about when and where screen time is not permitted. Certain periods of the day, such as mealtime, before bed or in the car, should be reserved for rest, interacting with your little one or preparing for the day together. It’s also vital to establish screen-free zones, like the bedroom, and instead keep screen time in the lounge room, living room or other common settings.

Balance their routine

Screen time should only occupy a small part of the day and should not substitute hobbies, playtime outside or social situations. Schedule plenty of non-screen time in your child’s daily routine, as physical games and mentally engaging activities are essential for their creativity and development.

Participate together and combine learning

Where possible, try and use screen time as a bonding or learning experience. Download age-appropriate applications that may help to boost your little one’s development, and take this opportunity to talk your toddler through fun educational games. Alternatively, if you’re unable to spend this time together, take the time to research apps that will introduce your child to letters, numbers and other essential skills.

Censor content

It’s not always possible to accompany your child during screen time, especially if you’re using this time strategically to finish that Zoom meeting, cook dinner or complete other tasks. Before handing over the iPad or switching on the TV, be sure to censor content and review games to ensure they are appropriate for your toddler. Additionally, keep close to your child during screen time and use parental controls to prevent any curious fingers from exploring.

For parents who’ve got their hands full, it can be difficult to establish this healthy balance. While you shouldn’t feel guilty for permitting screen time, it’s important to set boundaries and expectations, so your little one doesn’t grow accustomed to excess TV time and start dismissing other activities, for example.

Socialising, playing, creating and discovering are the best ways to entertain your child and boost their development. As their guardian, you remain the most important person in their lives, so try and get involved where you can!

Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting

Technology is an ever-growing aspect of society and continues to affect the way we work, socialise and operate daily. Before introducing devices to your child, it’s important to understand both the pros and cons of screen time and how a healthy balance can protect and benefit their health and wellbeing.

Toddlers develop motor skills by exploring their environments and engaging in physically and mentally stimulating activities. According to The Department of Health, toddlers aged 2 to 5 should be limited to less than an hour of sedentary screen time daily, mixed with plenty of physical activities during the rest of the day.

What are the benefits of screen time?

One primary benefit of technology today is the ability it gives us to connect with family and friends. When used appropriately, some of the other benefits that screen time offers your child include:

  • Digital literacy. Today, digital skills are valued both in an educational and professional setting.
  • Calming tendencies. In stressful or anxiety-inducing situations (such as before a medical appointment), screen time has been known to calm and ease children.
  • Greater learning. With the right programs and applications, screen time can provide interactive and developmental learning opportunities.

What are the potential risks of excessive screen time?

Conversely, toddlers who are exposed to excessive screen time can be at risk of long-term problems associated with their health, wellbeing and behaviour. For this reason, it’s important to establish healthy screen time habits early on.

  • Health problems. Toddlers who indulge more in screen time and less in physical activity may suffer issues with their physical and mental health.
  • Reduced enjoyment in other activities. Some children who grow accustomed to excessive screen time may find less enjoyment in other activities, such as imaginative or outdoor play.
  • Disrupted sleep. Excess screen time and blue light exposure, particularly close to bedtime, can cause sleep disturbances.
  • Shorter attention span and irritability. Too much screen time can also affect your child’s mood and attention span, which may negatively impact their learning ability later in life.
  • Social skills. Toddlers who are overexposed to technology may find it more difficult to socialise and communicate later on.

How do I establish a healthy balance?

As always, the key to this debated topic is moderation, balance and consistency. Here are some tips to help you establish healthy screen time habits:

  • Set rules, boundaries and limits. Ensure your child is aware of when, where and how much screen time is allowed and treat any extra time as a privilege, not a given.
  • Balance their schedule. Dedicate most of the day to physical activity, socialising and other mentally stimulating games.
  • Incorporate learning. Where possible, try and encourage your little one to play engaging, mentally stimulating games that may help to boost development.
  • Participate together. If you can, take screen time as an opportunity to walk your little one through fun educational games, as this can enhance their understanding and encourage conversation.
Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting
Child and family health nurses support parents during the early years of their child’s life. They are involved face-to-face with families and provide a range of critical services and support; new parents in particular may find their support invaluable.Read More
Posted in News Pregnancy Baby Toddler Parenting By Baby Bunting
Rural properties contain a variety of hazards that are not found in urban or even many regional homes, and the risks for toddlers and small children on rural properties is far greater than those elsewhere. Minimising these risks is important to ensure your todder’s safety while living on or visiting a rural property.Read More
Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting
Although medical appointments are inevitable for toddles and young children, the prospect of one can fill them with apprehension and anxiety. Whether your child is due for a vaccination, a procedure or just a check-up, you can help them through the experience with a bit of preparation at home.Read More
Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting
As many parents can attest, sugar highs are a reality. The type of food our toddlers eat can affect their behaviour and, at a critical time in their young lives, impact their learning, socialisation and development. It’s important to understand how food does this and therefore consider what we feed our kids and when.Read More
Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting
Kids love to run around outside and, because physical activity is so important for their healthy development, it’s important to encourage regular outdoors play. Being outside lets kids have the freedom and space to develop their motor skills and use up some of their seemingly-boundless energy by playing, running, climbing and jumping.Read More
Posted in Toddler By Baby Bunting
Raising a family outside one of the big Australian cities can be a rewarding experience. When compared to urban areas, rural and remote areas offer significantly more opportunities for an outdoor lifestyle, physical activity and shared family time. However, raising a family within a rural or remote area does come with a set of particular challenges, and these must be acknowledged and mitigated to ensure overall family welfare.Read More
Posted in Baby Toddler By Baby Bunting

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