Char-Koosta News

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Tips for better parenting

Better than candy

Because candy works so well for soothing hurt feelings, and for stopping behaviors that frustrate us, we need to remember why it needs to be an unusual treat. Candy, sweetened fruits, sugary cereals, and many uses of sugar in our foods take a toll on our children. Sweets can be a problem for adults, but for children they can set up a life-long problem with both weight and health in general. Sweets eaten early in childhood can:
   • Make it difficult for children to like vegetables and other foods.
   • Lead to long-term obesity, dental issues, and many related health issues.
   • Teach children that acting out gets them attention and rewards.

So what is better than candy? Most strategies take time and effort at first, but quickly pay off when our children are well behaved and easy to soothe. A central solution is to establish routines. Consistent routines soon end all the fuzzing over behaviors requested by caregivers. Here are a few good routines to establish.
   • Regular time for bed.
   • Regular times for eating including snacks.
   • Regular time for naps, or at least quite activities like books and drawing.

Children are more secure when they know what’s happening during their day. When children feel more secure and know what to expect, there just aren’t big struggles over behavior. If they don’t expect to win an argument about eating the food served to them, or about things like bed time, they are much easier to care for. Establishing routines isn’t easy, and we’ll have some tips that may be helpful in future columns.

Jack Wright is a Mental Health Consultant working with Early Childhood Services. Contact: alexjack@blackfoot.net

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