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Shhhhhh....Parenting tricks of the trade!

With a two year old running wild around the house and a career in child psychology/development/behavioral therapy with children affected by Autism I feel as though I am learning new tricks-behavior modifications everyday!!!! I am happy to share mine as they come and hoping other parents will too!

*as any behaviorist/parent/teacher will say....reinforcement of appropriate behavior is much more optimal than punishment!!! Reinforcing desired behaviors provides children with more information than punishment..(i.e. I like it when you do this...instead of "don't do that")  not to mention reinforcement..(which can come in forms of praise, hugs, etc,) builds up children's  self-esteem and teaches them self-regulation of their behaviors...

*this goes the same for modeling appropriate behaviors, (We pet the cat gently like this, you try" Good Job being so gentle! As vegans we are constantly modeling compassion, and in most cases healthy eating choices!

*redirection is a amazing technique in maintaining sanity while raising toddlers!!! (hey, come look over here lets pretend we're dinosaurs while we walk (insert undesired location/demand!)

*and to get less technical

*My daughter loves frozen fruit!! She doesn't like berries unless they are frozen, but then she gobbles them up!

*sandwiches and homemade crackers in cookie cut shapes like these
http://shmooedfood.blogspot.com/2007/01/vegan-goldfish-crackers.html

*even just putting undesired food in a cool bowl or with her fav. Thomas the Train spoon helps to get her to eat it!!!

I definitely have more...and will keep them coming!

Nice! Lyle is a pretty picky eater, but will try new things if I poke it on a fork for him, or scoop it on a spoon. Forks are easier at first when they are learning to eat with silverware. Things fall off of the spoon too easily!

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I don't have any kids, but my mommy has been a preschool teacher for a long time. One thing she told me when I was babysitting some difficult kids was that if you want them to do something, give them a choice that's not really a choice. Like "do you want to read some books with me before you go to bed or would you like to read to yourself?" or "would you like to bring your train with you while we change your diaper or do you want to leave him downstairs?"

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I don't have time to add anything right now, but wanted to jump on board...great idea for a thread!! :) :)

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the fork idea is a good one, beans and veggies always seem to fall off my daughter's spoon seconds before they were going to enter her mouth......///leaving me thinking in a slow motion low voice////"NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!" 

and ah, yes, great call on the fake choice!, "do you want to brush your teeth now or in 1 minute?"
"should we pick up the books or toys first?"  until they learn to tell you neither, that is..I was working with a child and wrote out a list of possible "choices" and handed them the marker circle which one they wanted and they wrote in the word "none"-sure showed me:)

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Okay, well....kinda like cakes, I'm not a 'parent'.... BUT I have cared for/nannied children for 15 years ;)

Here are some of my tricks:

Be clear in your directions/expectations to/of them. Be sure to offer 'reward**' and then stick to it!!

*Reward DOES NOT have to equal 'spoiling'. It can be as simple as "I want you to eat ___ more bites, then you're all done and can get down!!"

When in time out, explain to them why they are there, the ultimate reason/end cause of the unacknowledged request, and realistic negative outcome if they continue this behavior: "I asked you to stop running, told you to sit down, and you continued to run away from me. I don't want you to get hurt. If you don't listen when I tell you to do something, you could get hurt." etc.

LOTS of praise for when they do something you ask them (especially with 5 and younger - older, adjust to child's personality).
NEVER underestimate the power of a smile, saying 'GOOD JOB!' and 'I'm sooo proud of you!'

Don't be afraid of multitasking/pairing fun tasks with stressful/disliked ones. Singing ABC's while sitting on the potty, etc.

Use 'adult' vocabulary and logic whenever possible, don't dumb down your conversation thinking it will help them....in the long run they can see through this and will grow to either resent you or disregard everything you say.

Acknowledge their feelings (this can often be the hardest....especially those with 10 and above), don't contradict them simply to reassure yourself. "I hate you!!" "That's okay, I love you enough for the both of us." or "You may feel whatever you will to me; it doesn't change/stop me from loving you." versus "I know you don't mean that!! You have to love me!"

When upset with limited verbal communication ability, verbalize/acknowledge what they're saying. "MOoOm!! I'm uncomfortable and tired and I just want to get a clean diaper (and/or away from ______ ) and a nap!" or "I know hun, I know you're tired and need a new diaper, just calm down, relax and we will get this done."

I'm currently looking after a kiddo with "Extra Sensory Disorder". (A socially aware cousin of the Autism'esque family.) When he gets 'over stimulated' he will start whipping his head around, I have recently discovered simply telling him to sit and take a deep breath, he calms down immediately, and is instantaneously in better spirits and more receptive to me.

Be aware of alternative remedies/ tricks. Today, I met up with Mom and child to play with him in the building's playroom while the mom met with a client in her office. The poor thing starts crying within 30 minutes of my 2 hour session. He is inconsolable. He starts hitting his cheek saying "Owuuu". Unfortunately, Mom was in such a rush to get to the office from their trip to the park, she forgot to pick up his diaper bag containing the oral anesthetic/analgesic and diapers. She did bring wipes however!! I wound up digging through the building's kitchen, found a full ice tray in the small freezer of the mini fridge. I took out two ice cubes. I handed him one; he just held it in his hand. I popped the other one in his mouth, he began chewing/crunching on it. When he was done, he popped the one I had given him earlier into his mouth. That gave me enough time to brew an extra strong cup of ginger tea (as it cooled, I added a bag of chamomile). The ginger has anesthetic properties and the chamomile helps to calm him so the ginger can take better effect.

He was still crying off and on when Mom came back, but he had managed to calm down enough to start eating and playing again.

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One thing I think is important is that instead of saying "good job", is to be specific with what the child did that was good. "I like the way you cleaned up your toys" or "thank you for holding still" is  much more effective than "good job".

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I thought of some more, (am I getting way to into this?:))) 
Our kitchen is upstairs so when I want to spend time in the kitchen I have to gate Kea and I in there, I have a little kitchen for her up there.  I also bring up a basket of different toys and stickers for when I want to cook for a while...and/or I give her real pots, pans, etc... to cook what I'm cooking.  Also, if I chop of veggies I give her a bowl of them chopped into little pieces and a lid to go on it....she loves putting them in different containers and eats many in the process!!!

Yes, any praise is great, and behavior-specific praise is wonderful!! it provides lots of information by labeling the desired behavior.

Also fun fact..."motherese" or child-centered speech- helps children to learn language!  (speaking to children in a higher pitched, sing-song, simple speech,)It is a universal trait,
(parents speak that way to infants in all languages))

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When my son was a little guy, he would never eat veggies if I called them 'peas, spinach, carrots,' etc... but if I chopped them small, & called 'em 'herbs & spices'... NO problem! The results of anti-veggie preschooler peer pressure, perhaps? IDK... but whatever works, right?!

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Bath time and the dreaded-by-all-invloved hairwash- my strategy= Let her play in the tub for awhile so the tub itself doesn't become associated with the agony of hairwashing.  When "its time" pull out the bubble soap, let her pour it under the faucet while I wash her hair......somewhow this makes the activity go from a 1,000 decibal scream to no scream at all! and sigh, no more hair wash for another day or two.

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Okay, maybe this isn't the smartest or safest, but I am right there and I don't let him out of my site, so why not?  Us single mothers have to do what we can to survive!

My son hates having his diaper changed, he cries, arches his back and tries to roll over, and he is STRONG!  Drives me mad.  One evening as I was TRYING to prepare tofu stir fry for dinner I could smell a needed diaper change.  Out of desperation to give him something to occupy him while I was changing his diaper I gave him the broccoli stem (it was organic and I rinsed it off and it was large).  At frist he just stared at it then proceeded to put it right in his mouth and chew on it, he got this pleased look and started to just naw and naw and naw at this thing.  I couldn't believe it!  IT kept him occupied not only during the diaper change, but the whole time I was preparing dinner!  I set him in his high chair to naw on this thing while I cooked. 

It was awesome.  Since then I learned that he likes to chew on carrots too.

Way cool!  Finally a use for all those broccoli stems!

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Okay, maybe this isn't the smartest or safest, but I am right there and I don't let him out of my site, so why not?  Us single mothers have to do what we can to survive!

My son hates having his diaper changed, he cries, arches his back and tries to roll over, and he is STRONG!  Drives me mad.  One evening as I was TRYING to prepare tofu stir fry for dinner I could smell a needed diaper change.  Out of desperation to give him something to occupy him while I was changing his diaper I gave him the broccoli stem (it was organic and I rinsed it off and it was large).  At frist he just stared at it then proceeded to put it right in his mouth and chew on it, he got this pleased look and started to just naw and naw and naw at this thing.  I couldn't believe it!  IT kept him occupied not only during the diaper change, but the whole time I was preparing dinner!  I set him in his high chair to naw on this thing while I cooked. 

It was awesome.  Since then I learned that he likes to chew on carrots too.

Way cool!  Finally a use for all those broccoli stems!

Veggies as chew toys for toddlers!  I love that. lol

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I did that too with whole carrots and other veggies.  Nice to know Im not the only one.

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Ohhh, and you can put them in the freezer till they get very VERY cold, but not totally hard as a rock, makes an awesome teether.

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I would put frozen fruit in those mesh-sucky things...but veggies would've been an awesome idea!

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I make meals that are 'themed' to the books/tv shows that she likes to watch.  I don't make them look like a giant teddy or anything, more like we have rice noodles and say that they are 'hello kitty's favourite food' as she eats them a lot, and I tell her that Kitty is from Japan and that they eat noodles there.  This seems to make them go down a lot better. 

If the characters don't have food often, or only eat cakes we talk about who we think might like something -  'this pasta looks like a spring, I think Tigger would say it's delicious!'  even just saying that 'grandma and grandad love chilli' seems to help.  My daughter is only 2 and is just starting to get fussy with eating, sometimes I feel lost with what to give her but I think we're getting there and I look forward to reading more tips from here.

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What a cute idea!!!

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Lyle won't eat any veggies, so I've been saving my veggie cooking water and then putting the water in his oatmeal and cereals so that he gets some of the nutrients (I hope!). I have also discovered that he does not like leftovers. GRRRRRRRR

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Lyle won't eat any veggies, so I've been saving my veggie cooking water and then putting the water in his oatmeal and cereals so that he gets some of the nutrients (I hope!). I have also discovered that he does not like leftovers. GRRRRRRRR

My daughter won't eat leftovers, either. Makes packing her lunch a pain, sometimes.

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mine also won't eat leftovers!  I can get her to eat them if I use them as the base of another dish like shepards pie with leftover chilli base etc  Also, she will eat left over lentil dhal - she's hooked on the stuff!

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he loves the tempeh bacon from this site....the one that is marinated in maple syrup. but only the first day!
today when i reheated it i put a little more syrup on it and he ate the leftovers!
seriously, how do they know they are leftovers? sheesh!

yeah, imagine that one day lyle's packed lunch will consist of peanut butter and jelly, and....peanut butter and jelly. everyday.

what's yoru lentil dahl recipe, mimi? lyle ate lentils at one time. maybe i can try it this way!

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