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Traveling With Kids: Things To Expect and How You Can Cope

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Not a few parents will agree that traveling with kids can require all the patience, courage, and calm you can muster to make it to your destination in one piece.

You’re worried about many things; that they’d scream the plane down, earn you stares and visits from flight attendants, acting up and kicking the seat in front of them, and then leaving you extremely exhausted when you reach your destination.

Honestly, we wish we could tell you that these concerns are unfounded and that your kids would be different or that you can just waltz into the plane and be unbothered by the sighs and stares that will come from your co-passengers.

We can’t promise you any of that. However, we can share some tips for traveling with kids to make your life and the kids’ easier during the trip. Hopefully, these tips will help you finally decide to stop making every holiday about games and take that needed family vacation.

Pack a plane bag for each child

Pack each of your little children a plane bag containing their toys but try not to let them see it before you get on the flight.

These toys do not have to be expensive at all. The bag can also include things likea coloring book, little Lego sets, crayons, and candies.

Your kids will be excited to open the bags as soon as they’re up in the air, they’re entertained with so much stuff to play with and enjoy, and you have your peace of mind and calm for at least a few hours.

DO NOT vaccinate right before your trip

Vaccines can come with side effects though often minor and these can include rashes, diarrhea, fevers, etc. Any of these effects could leave your kids irritable and uncomfortable.

While it can seem like you never have enough time to do everything when planning a trip with kids, try to squeeze out some time a week or two before you travel for routine or travel specific shots.

Consider making friends with other parents on the flight

You’re going to need all the support you can get on the flight, especially when your kids start acting up and this support can come from parents like you traveling with kids. And the best time to build that camaraderie is before you board. While you’re in the waiting area, start up a conversation with other parents.

You can begin with regular questions like; “how old is your little girl?”, “That’s a nice little luggage”.

While the friendship may not last beyond the duration of the flight (some may be lifelong, keep an open mind), you’ll be glad to have someone in the flight who shares in your frustration and sincerely empathizes with you when your toddler begins to have a meltdown.

Wet wipes and pull-ups

Keep wet wipes and pull-ups with you every time you travel. Your toddler may be potty-trained but there can be emergencies or delays and you do not want to spend the entire flight with a less-than-pleasant smell after an accident or when your child gets sick unexpectedly.

You may never need the pull-ups and wipes but having the two near you would surely make you feel more relaxed. This way, your flights become adventures you look forward to and not one that can become a nightmare scenario if the “unexpected” happens.

Hold your baby up high

When traveling with kids, just any trick in the book can be applied if it helps to keep them calm.

Now, holding your baby high is one trick that will not work for everyone, however, some parents have had success with it.

There are no scientific reasons we can offer on why this works but it does, at least for some. And if it works for your child, why not?! But, remember to reserve it for after takeoff.

Prepare the papers

Young children are not often required to present IDs on domestic flights, but expect anything especially if you’re traveling with teens or even children younger than five.

Some parents have had some trouble checking their kids in after they were asked to show a means of identification. To avoid such issues, always fly with copies of your kids’ birth certificates or any other approved means of identification if they have been issued any.

Board early

Passengers traveling with small children and adults needing extra assistance are usually offered help. Clearly, you belong in the first category and if you board early enough, you’ll enjoy this benefit.

Possibly the only benefit you’ll enjoy from an airline when flying with kids but hey, if it helps you get adequate space for you and your kids’ carry-on luggage, then indulge!

Plus, you won’t have to bother about pulling a car seat, luggage, and a toddler past seemingly endless rows of knees and elbows.

You may have to “walk the aisle”

Taking a stroll with your child may become necessary when every other calming “strategy” fails.

If you’re not enclosed in a plane with just a space that is 90 feet long and 18 inches wide to walk free or do not have to bother about the drink cart that will cut the already limited space in half, taking your child for a walk can be a fun activity.

But then, you’re in a plane, the space is limited, and on top of that, you have to repeatedly walk up and down the walkway, and also learn to ignore the stares from passengers who, if you keep at it, will eventually get tired of watching your little “walkway parade”.  Talk about the little joys of parenthood!

Choose longer layovers

If you’re flying with kids and there’s going to be a layover, try to make it an extended one. This way, you’ll get plenty of time till the next flight and your kids have enough time and room to run around.

Take away the stress from the airport experience and the flight becomes easier for you and the kids. Additionally, you get the chance to have them eat a good meal before you re-board.

Lying may be unavoidable

As your flight progresses, and hopefully towards the end of it, expect your child to become irritable from sitting in an enclosed space for hours. This is normal. Depending on their age, also expect them to ask how much longer is left before the plane lands. At this point, it’s ok to lie about the exact landing time.

If landing is two, three hours away, you can tell them you have just about 30 minutes to go. However, ensure you disable the interactive map feature on the headrest TV or your child will figure out things for himself and become super-triggered.

Your child will find it hard to sleep on the plane

If sleep comes naturally, then fine, if it doesn’t, understand that your child isn’t going to be the first person to find the economy seat too uncomfortable for sleep. Let him be, don’t try to force your child to sleep on the plane.

Be organized

Get yourself and your kids organized and settled in immediately you board the plane. Keep the travel essentials nearby in places like the pockets and under the seats. This way, you won’t have to climb over others or wait for the seat belt sign to go off before getting that stuff your kid needs.

Communicate with your kids

As long as your child isn’t too young to understand, you should discuss what to expect on the flight with them.

Do this before, during and after the flight. Tell them all they should expect from flying and this includes; checking in, boarding, seat spaces, meals, entertainment, sleeping positions, and landing.

You can also discuss some potential problems and solutions depending on your child’s age. Discuss things to do if they start getting bored or hungry. Get them excited about the trip to help them look forward to it as a big adventure.

At every procedure during the flight, talk with them so they are comfortable and prepared. Regularly check them during the flight to know how they’re doing and if they might need anything.

Patience

If you’re adult flying in a plane with kids/sitting near a family, we understand that it can be frustrating. Try your best to control how you react, be patient and tolerant. Calm yourself down and see it as an opportunity to practice compassion and patience.

Teach kids manners and respect

Teach your children manners and respect for others. Yes, you’ve tried to stop them repeated and it clearly failed to work. What can you do then? Focus on your iPad while your kids scream down the aisle or annoy the person in the front of them with the constant kicking?

Certainly, NO!

With a few stern words, your kids should calm down. The whole point is this; do all you can to get them to stay calm and enjoy the trip not just for your own good or theirs, but also for others flying in the plane with you.

 

Dawn is a health and fitness enthusiast, a massage therapist and she also loves to write!

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Parenting

Why Is My Child Always Angry? When A Child’s Anger Become A Problem

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Unlike adults, kids are often fueled by their emotions and this is why tantrums or meltdowns can be common occurrences. But, what about prolonged intense anger or frequent outbursts? Is this normal or beyond the usual childhood behavioral issues that kids often outgrow?

Occasional meltdown is common with most children. Because their behaviors are often fueled by their emotions, they may sometimes lash out when frustrated or being defiant. This is completely normal and most will stop with corrections or naturally outgrow it.

When Does A Child’s Anger Become A Problem?

A child’s temper tantrum should become concerning when if you notice the following signs.

  • An outburst that becomes dangerous to him or others around
  • Temper tantrums and outbursts regularly occurring beyond the age of eight
  • Temper tantrums and outbursts that get in the way of learning. This type of outburst can cause his teachers to report him frequently.
  • When the behavior gets in the way of his socialization; causing him to get excluded from playdates and parties.
  • When he is unable to control his anger and feels bad about it
  • His anger gets in the way of peace in the family; disruptive to normal family life

Causes Of Anger Issues In Children

Again, tantrums are normal and expected at certain stages in childhood. However, they become concerning when they carry on past these stages. If your child throws tantrums or is overly aggressive, it could be linked to any of the causes outlined below.

Undiagnosed/Untreated Learning Disability

If your child has temper tantrums or outbursts at school or mostly when it concerns school work, he may be suffering from an undiagnosed learning disability. These conditions could make learning extra difficult for him and the resulting frustrations would in turn cause him to throw tantrums.

ADHD

Anger issues are a common symptom among children with ADHD. Kids with this condition are frustrated easily especially when learning something new or when they have to do their homework or any learning-related activity.

Anxiety

Children suffering from severe anxiety may have frequent outbursts and often more defiant to instructions. Children with these conditions struggle with situations that trigger distress and lash out when made to face these situations.

It is also not uncommon for the child’s fight or flight mode instinct to take hold during anxiety-inducing situations causing the child to throw a fit or simply refuse to do things to avoid facing his fears.

And even when such children manage to “keep it together” at school, they often flip the lid at home.

Sensory Processing Issues

While rare, your child’s anger outbursts could be a result of the difficulty he has processing information he receives through his senses. Children with this condition are particularly sensitive to excessive noise, crowds, and so become overwhelmed, anxious, or uncomfortable under these conditions.

Autism

When faced with huge or unexpected changes, children on all points of the autism spectrum are commonly prone to outbursts or major meltdowns. This is due to the sensory issues that may cause them to become anxious and agitated.

Trauma Or Neglect

Kids will act out when they are neglected or have to deal with chaotic situations at home. kids suffering from trauma or neglect often display these behaviors at school intimidating other students in the process. Children more at risk include those with ADHD and those who have had traumatic experiences.

Symptoms Of Anger Issues In Children

Because temper tantrums or outbursts can easily be confused or misdiagnosed as something else, it is important that you’re familiar with some of the red flags in order to quicken diagnosis and treatment.

 

  • Intense and quick reaction by the child to perceived rejection or insult
  • Excessive risk-taking in areas they feel confident about their abilities e.g. classroom games, sports, etc.
  • Avoidance of areas or assignments where their deficits are easily exposed and overreacting when made to partake in these assignments
  • Anger outbursts that are often brief
  • Frequent defiance to instructions

These are just a few of the symptoms of the condition. While these symptoms will help you make a close guess, the key to accurate diagnosis is getting proper help from a health professional and in this case; a pediatrician. Once all possible medical courses are ruled out, you’ll be referred to a trained and experienced child psychologist to help determine the exact cause of your child’s outbursts.

How To Help A Child With Anger Issues/What You Can Do If Your Child Has Anger Issues

While your child’s anger outburst may be exasperating to you and others in the family, you have to understand that he is only distressed. If he were older, he would probably manage it more maturely.

Do not view this problem as a manipulative behavior as he only lacks language, control and problem-solving skills to deal with his anger in the best possible way.

That said when a child lashes out or throws temper tantrums, you want to help in the best way you can before or after a professional’s evaluation.  I outlined some of the things you can do below.

Identify the triggers

The first thing you want to do when your child has frequent emotional outbursts is to identify the triggers of this behavior.

Do his outbursts begin when getting ready for school?  Does he become anxious at bedtime? For the former, you can prepare his mind beforehand by laying out his clothes, waking him earlier, or even having him shower the night before. You can also break down the tasks for each school day into steps and post them on the wall. That way, he is better prepared mentally for the day ahead.

Remain calm

Kids can quickly get out of control and when dealing with a raging child, it can seem even worse.  Now, it’s very easy to lose your cool at this point and yell at him to stop. But you shouldn’t.

When you yell or reprimand harshly, you only decrease your chances of reaching him.  In defiance, he’ll become more aggressive and less likely to listen to you. Try to remain as possible and by doing this, you not only create a chance to reach the child but also teach him to do the same thing during upsetting situations.

Encourage positive behavior

After he calms down from a fit of anger, praise him for it. Encourage him to verbalize his feelings and when he does, try to arrive at a compromise on the problem and praise him for making the effort.

Don’t give in

The last thing you want to do is encourage this behavior by agreeing to all he wants. You’ll only be reinforcing an undesirable behavior which would certainly make it harder for him to stop.

Help and encourage him to practice problem-solving

One of the best times to help a child prone to outbursts is when he is not upset. Encourage him to communicate his feelings to you and help him come up with solutions to the issues before they happen.

 “Everyone Makes Mistakes”

Children prone to outbursts often have high standards for themselves. This they do without even realizing it. They lack the social awareness of the expectations for children within their age range.

Teach the child to understand that there everyone makes mistakes. It would also be helpful if they are taught to say the phrase to themselves whenever they make a mistake/have a higher than “normal” expectations of themselves.

Nonverbal cues

During outbursts/tantrums, a nonverbal cue can be an effective way to get your child to calm down before a total rage. These cues could include raising your hand in a “stop” motion when your child’s anger is rising.

Practice this with the child in his calm state so he learns to see it as a safe signal not necessarily as a punishment.

Why Is My Child So Angry? Conclusion

Kids at any age will throw tantrums to get what they want and to avoid certain situations. This is perfectly normal. What is not be “normal” is a child above eight or nine throwing tantrums regularly or frequently bursting into fits of anger.

While it is advised that you ignore these behaviors to avoid encouraging it, you may still need to take other steps. This is particularly important in cases where the child is getting physical to the extent of frightening you or disrupting the family with his behavior.

Apply the techniques and behavioral therapies outlined above. And also see a professional for help if the behavior persists.

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Parenting

Bedwetting In Children: Causes, Diagnosing And Solutions To Bedwetting

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At some point in their early years, kids will wet their beds and this is completely normal.

At what age does bedwetting become a problem? How can you effectively stop an older child from wetting the bed? What are the possible causes of bedwetting in children? I’ll discuss all of these and more in this article.

When Bedwetting Becomes A Problem

Bedwetting is fairly common among children but as they grow older, most outgrow this behavior. While a few may wet the bed occasionally, some may continue bedwetting until their early teenage years.

What Causes Bedwetting?

Contrary to popular belief, bedwetting does not occur because of a child’s laziness. There are several reasons your child may be bedwetting and these reasons are outlined below.

Genetic causes. In these cases, bedwetting is inherited from a parent or an older family member e.g. an aunt or an uncle.

Stress. Bedwetting can be triggered by stress. A change in the family; positive or negative ones e.g. the arrival of a new baby, moving, or a new bedtime schedule during a long trip or a vacation can increase stress levels causing bedwetting.

In some cases, bedwetting may be caused by a smaller than normal bladder.

Bedwetting may also occur when the hormone vasopressin isn’t being produced sufficiently. This hormone causes a reduction in urine production during sleep.

Slower development of the central nervous system making the child unable to stop the bladder from emptying during sleep.

Spinal cord abnormalities

In rare cases, your child’s bedwetting may be a sign of an underlying health problem. This bedwetting type may suddenly occur after your child has been dry for months or even years.

Urethral or ureter valves abnormalities

Untreated urinary tract infection

If you suspect an underlying cause, you should talk to your doctor or see a pediatrician. The pediatrician will screen the child for possible health problems and recommend treatment plans tailored for the specific condition.

When Do Children Achieve Bladder Control?

There is no one-size-fits-all timeline for every child. Children can achieve bladder control at different ages but generally, for many children under the age of 5, treatment may not be needed for bedwetting.

Some children may wet their beds until the 7 though not regularly. If your child wets the bed more than occasionally after the age of 7 and does so during the day and at night, you should consult your health care professional or pediatrician.

 

Diagnosing Bedwetting

Aside from a serious underlying condition being responsible for bedwetting in rare cases, oftentimes, children who wet the bed are healthy and active. Having your doctor examine your child can help you determine the true cause of the condition.

Before the physical exam, your doctor or pediatrician will ask questions about the child’s daytime and nighttime bathroom habits. He may ask about happenings at home and school for your child. He may also recommend a urine test to check for an untreated infection or diabetes.

Depending on the findings, (usually, there is no known underlying cause of bedwetting  and your doctor may recommend any or most of the strategies outlined in this article) your doctor may prescribe drugs to treat any underlying condition or another for bladder or urine production control.

Bedwetting: What Parents Can Do

If your child could stop bedwetting without your help, he’d have done so long ago. Avoid blaming or shaming your child and focus instead on practical steps and positive encouragement. It’s probably already more embarrassing for him than it is for you.

Tips to help your child stop bedwetting

Control Fluid Intake And Urination Before Bedtime

Your child’s fluid intake during the day will influence his urine frequency at night. Allow and encourage the child to drink as much fluid as possible during the day instead of waiting until night. Limit his fluid intake and try to get him into the habit of urinating every two or three hours. One hour before bedtime, have the child urinate and repeat right before he sleeps.

Bedwetting Alarms

You may want to consider getting a bedwetting alarm. These alarm types are designed with moisture sensors that trigger a buzzer or bell when the pajamas start to get wet.

Like most children will learn to wake up to use the toilet when the alarm sounds before completely wetting the bed.

Create a reward system. While you should not punish or shame your child for wetting the bed, you should create a reward system for dry nights. This encourages positive behavior and helps the child get more into good habits.

If your child is old enough to do it, ask him to change the sheets whenever he wets the bed. If he hasn’t been changing sheets, see it as an opportunity for him to learn; teach him how and have him do it any time he wets the bed.

Bladder training. Patiently teach your child to hold his urine for longer during the day. It will take some time but with good practice, he will learn. This exercise helps to stretch the bladder so it holds more urine for longer.

Medications. Even though your child’s condition may not be the result of an underlying ailment, it may still be helped with medications.

When taken before bed, these medications will help to reduce the quantity of urine produced during sleep. They may be beneficial during sleepovers, camps, etc. especially when used alongside other bedwetting prevention techniques.

 

Thoughts? Questions? Share in the comment section below

 

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Parenting

Night Time Fears: When Your Child Is Afraid To Sleep Alone

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Why is my child afraid to sleep alone?

Kids being afraid of the dark or sleeping in a room by themselves is not uncommon.

How do you respond when your child cannot sleep without you? How do you respond when your child has night time anxiety?

When A Child Has Night Time Anxiety

Granted, your child being terrified of darkness may seem very illogical. But you have to remember that it is only “illogical” because you see it from your position as an adult.

Our brains process things differently; the child’s brain most of the time is fueled by emotion. Ours, on the other hand, is fueled by logic; as it should be.

This is why it can seem like you’re worsening things when you tell your kid that there are really no monsters lurking in the dark. And of course, there are no monsters, but that won’t stop him from communicating his fears and concerns until he is heard.

When Your Child Is Afraid Of The Dark

How do you get your child to stop being afraid of the dark without disregarding his emotions? How do you get him finally understand that while his emotions are valid, he’ll still be safe if you’re not in the room with him?

In this article, I’ll share some tips for helping your child overcome the fear of sleeping alone and finally say goodbye to nighttime anxiety.

Stopping Nighttime Fear And Anxiety: The Things You Can Do

Distinguish Between Fantasy And Reality

Kids with nighttime fears should be talked to about the difference between reality and fantasy. Let them know that there are no monsters in the closet, in the hallway, or anywhere in the dark. By distinguishing between fantasy and reality, they have significantly reduced risk for nighttime fears or nightmares.

Teach Your Child How To Relax

Does your child cry during any of his anxiety attacks or whenever he has to sleep alone?  If he does, try teaching him breathing exercises as you try to calm him.

Teach him to take slow, deep breaths by having him exhale into a party blower. Studies have shown that these breathing exercises help to lessen emotional distress in both adults and kids.

Create Positive Night Time Stories

Another way to help your child overcome nighttime fears is by using a technique known as story desensitization. This technique is designed to help kids become less fearful by making them face their fears in small steps.

At daytime, create short stories with your child in which his favorite fictional character overcomes nighttime fears.  Try to keep the story as positive as possible and as the story progresses, introduce something a little scary to it that your child’s favorite character eventually conquers with some of the techniques mentioned in this article.

Counter Fearful Thoughts

With this method, you help your child think of safety, happiness, and bravery, all of which helps to give him a huge sense of control.

Create these images whenever the scary ones come up. When he’s scared of sleeping alone or being in the dark, you can tell him to imagine running or playing with his dog or any other pet.

Check Possible Sources Of Daily Stress

According to studies, children who suffer from daytime anxieties such as separation from parents, school-related anxiety, or other issues during the day are more likely to be terrified of the dark and sleeping alone.  You can lessen your child’s nighttime fears significantly by helping him cope better with the daytime stress.

Reviewing The Sleep Schedule And Requirement

As kids grow, their sleep requirements may change. Because many parents tend to overestimate how much sleep their children need, they often try to make their kids sleep long before they feel sleepy. When this is done, your child will have more time to overthink his fears at night or when left to be alone in the dark.

Try gauging your child’s sleep requirements and if you discover that you’ve been sending him to sleep earlier than needed, you should consider reviewing the sleep schedule. No, he doesn’t have to spend the extra one or two hours watching TV, you can line up other fun activities such as storytelling or games.

No Terrifying Imageries, Stories Or TV Before Bed

Avoid watching frightening movies, telling disturbing stories, or other materials when your child is present and right before bedtime. Kids exposed to frightening stories have been found to sleep poorly and had more disturbed sleep compare to those who weren’t.

Be Swift In Your Response To Nightmares

Be prompt in your response to nightmares. Whenever it happens, reassure your child that the nightmare wasn’t real. Patiently explain to him that everyone has nightmares. Doing this instead of delaying will help to quickly dispel the scare of a frightening dream and this way, your child goes back to sleep quicker.

Provide A Night Light

Provide your child with a night light but ensure you only get one that gives off dim light with a soft warm hue. Avoid bright and red light as these inhibit the production of melatonin in the brain, and tend to prevent sleep.

Be Calm And Confident

You’re probably your child’s biggest model on many things. Thus, when he comes to you or reports his fears to you, try as much as possible to remain calm, confident, sensitive, and responsive.

Let him know that you completely understand his feelings and assure him that even the bravest of us get scared sometimes. You shouldn’t let your sympathy make you too protective of him. Our young ones can pick up fears by watching us. A child can grow more anxious or fearful once he sees that you’re anxious, worried, or fearful.

A Stuffed Animal/Toy Or Doll

Providing your child with a stuffed animal or soft toy can help to reduce nighttime fears. In one study, fearful children who received a toy showed lesser nighttime fears and sleep problems than the children in the control group.

Be Patient

As a parent, your child is probably not the only one suffering from the effect of nighttime fears. It may be depriving you of adequate sleep and it’s only normal to wish it would all end.

While you work towards curbing or stopping this behavior, you should not direct your anger at the child. Stopping or managing this behavior will take some time, and directing your resentment at your child will only worsen things and take you several steps backward. Remain patient even when it’s hard.

Conclusion

Most children will have nighttime fears at some point in their early years. When this happens, they’ll need you to be sensitive to their fears, temperaments, and needs. Kids suffering from nighttime fears also need to be reassured regularly so they have a sense of security and become able to successfully overcome their nighttime fears.

Finally, if your child suffers from severe nighttime fears or nightmares or his fears seem to linger despite all you do, you should consult with a doctor or a trained and licensed therapist. A thorough examination and evaluation will help the professional create a treatment plan according to your child’s specific needs.

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