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  • Haircut, Ear Piercing, Etc : When is the Best Time?

    Wondering when is the perfect moment to introduce a sippy cup, get a pet, or have your tot's ears pierced? Our experts give you the guidelines.
    by Ruth Manimtim-Floresca .
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    6…let a child eat junk food?
    “If sweets or junk food aren’t introduced early to a child, he wouldn’t know what he’s missing,” says Dr. Ty-Sy. “I always remind parents to prepare healthy food—natural, unprocessed, without artificial coloring, and not-too-sweet food and drinks are ideal.”
    She concedes that kids can be allowed some junk food if their eating habits have already been established, “…meaning they can eat their veggies, fruits, and meats on a regular basis. But I really don’t encourage giving junk food because it might be habit-forming, so give everything in moderation.” Lastly, she advises that if you want your kids to eat healthy food, you have to model that behavior for them by choosing healthy food yourself.

    7…transition from feeding bottle to sippy cup?
    One of the factors that contribute to infant and toddler tooth decay is propped bottles containing sweetened liquids while a child sleeps. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents teach children to drink from a cup as soon as possible, usually by age one. A cup cannot be taken to bed, thus it will not cause milk and other sweetened drinks to collect around a child’s teeth. A sippy cup with a snap-on lid and straw or a special valve is a good start to prevent spills and messes.

    A couple of indicators that show a child can be encouraged to switch to a sippy cup are a strong fist grasp and the ability to move things easily from the hand to the mouth. Buy a first sippy cup with two handles instead of just one.

    8…to get a pet?
    “One of the best ways to teach children responsibility is by letting them have a pet to take care of,” says veterinarian Catherine D. Visey-Saladaga, D.V.M. She adds that the best time to get one is when your child starts showing interest in animals and expresses the desire to have a pet. It is important that he is already able to follow instructions and is ready to be taught how to properly take good care of animals.

    As to the right age, Dr. Visey-Saladaga makes it clear that this would depend on the parents’ assessment of their child’s readiness and ability to understand how to care for another being. “I got my daughter her first pet, a two-month-old half shitzu-half mini pincher pup, at the age of five. At the time, she already understood and was able to provide for the needs of her pet to eat, drink, play, and bathe. She also knew things she should not do to her pet,” she recalls.

    Dr. Visey-Saladaga recommends getting a pet that is of small size or breed, easy to handle or manage, is of good temperament, and matches the child’s personality and interest. “Young or newly-weaned animals are preferable so it would be easier for them to adapt to the child and vice versa.” She adds that it is also best if parents can research on whether the animals they plan to get for their kids would be appropriate to their lifestyle and budget.

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