'Am I Doing It Right?' Experts Answer Moms' FAQs on Raising ToddlersHow do you deal with a picky eater? Is he too young to go to school? When do I worry about ADHD?CREATED WITH NIDO 3+
Pressure from other people and the things posted on social media sometimes cause moms to worry whether they're raising their kids right, forgetting what truly matters: their child’s growth, development, and happiness.
During "The Facts and The Curious: FAQs About Parenting Toddlers Answered by Experts," a talk sponsored by NIDO 3+ at the Smart Parenting Convention 2019 held on June 29, two doctors and an educator reminded moms to just "chill" as they answered questions about toddlers’ physical development, behavior, early childhood education, and nutrition.
Here’s what moms learned:
FAQ #1: How do I deal with a picky eater?
Dr. Maria Josephine Yuson-Sunga, a pediatrician and the medical director of Nestlé Infant Nutrition, told parents not to be too hard on themselves when their kids refuse to eat "proper" meals. She assured the parents it can be a normal phase, adding "matatapos din 'yan."
At 3 to 5 years old, kids naturally strive for independence and control as they realize they “can choose and assert their will.” So the key is to be patient and to give them the freedom to choose from a variety of food.
"Just keep offering food and keep getting the kids into the habit of eating. Don’t get stressed out if they’re eating the same thing every day or are very stubborn about their preferences," she said.
She reminded parents, however, to cut down on chips but to constantly give their kids milk.
"Remember to continue giving your kids age-appropriate milk as it contains nutrients that growing children need. Based on the recent FITS study, nine out of 10 Filipino children are still deficient in nutrients like calcium, so there’s really a need to include the proper growing-up milk in the diet of our children," she explained.
Lastly, Dr. Yuson-Sunga pointed out that kids eat one-fourth the amount of food an adult eats. "What may seem little to you is actually already a lot for a child," the doctor said.
In this video, a registered nutritionist-dietician shares more tips on how parents can make their kids eat nutritious food:
FAQ #2: When should I potty-train my child?
Look for signs that show your kids are ready, like when they start to take off their diapers because these irritate them.
Parents shouldn’t force potty-training on their toddler. "Work with your child. Don’t pressure them to transition just because of what you see in other kids. Doing so might cause them to have trauma and delay this even more," Dr. Yuson-Sunga explained.
FAQ #3: When should I worry about my child having ADHD?
Doctors follow parameters before diagnosing a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to Dr. Francis Xavier M. Dimalanta, a well-known developmental and behavioral pediatrician.
"You need six out of nine criteria to be present for inattention traits, and another six out of nine traits to check for hyperactivity and impulsivity. We carefully assess a child alongside the parent, who will give the context and history of the child," he said.
But parents should also trust their gut if they feel something is amiss and watch out for certain red flags.
"I see many toddlers who are very hyperactive at 1 to 3 years of age, and I always say, it’s normal,” Dr. Yuson-Sunga said. “However, if by 4 to 5 years old, they exhibit the same type of hyperactive behavior, then that’s when I’ll start to refer them to a developmental expert.”
FAQ #4: Why exactly are gadgets bad for children?
Teacher Tina Zamora, a family life and child development specialist, warns against excessive use of gadgets and advises not to put them into the hands of a child before the age of 2.
"We can tell when a preschooler is 'fully gadgeted.’ They tend to be more hyperactive and cannot finish a task. Also, their vocabulary is less [developed], their attention span is shorter,” she said. "Sa gadget kasi, everything moves so fast and is so colorful. When they get to school, that’s what they expect, so when teachers slow down, they get bored right away."
For his part, Dr. Dimalanta advises parents to make TV-watching and gadget use an interactive activity, not a babysitter.
"A lot of social skills problems develop because children are put in front of the screen for such long periods. Turn gadget use into bonding time by explaining what they’re viewing and experiencing it with them," he said.
To help parents discipline their children properly, Teacher Tina encourages parents to follow these three simple steps:
FAQ #5: When is the right time to enroll my child in school?
The most important thing to consider is your child’s readiness, Dr. Dimalanta said. "If at 2, your child shows an interest and readiness in school, by all means, go enroll him," he explained. "But if he’d rather play, just let him play and be a child! We forget that play is what they really need at that age."
Teacher Tina shared that the Department of Education (DepEd) actually requires children to start kindergarten at 5 years old, yet many parents want to enroll their children earlier so they can socialize with other kids.
"If you want them to socialize with other kids, by the time they’re 2 years old, look for a toddler class that offers twice- or thrice-a-week schedule,” she said. “They’re still young! They get sick often, their sleep schedules get disrupted, or there are just days when they refuse to go to school.”
"At that age, you’re really after socialization and interaction with others," she added.
If you do decide to enroll your child in school, let these tips by Teacher Tina guide you:
FAQ #6: How much does my child have to know when he goes to preschool?
Ideally nothing, Teacher Tina noted. "This is especially true for more progressive schools. But ask most child development professionals—most parents need to chill. Raising children is not a race. Let them be kids. Let them play! They will learn what they need to learn in school," she said.
When it comes down to it, being a parent is all about trying your best every day and recognizing you have to be easy on yourself, too. The three experts all agreed that parents need to "just chill!"
Part of parenting is slowly but surely finding out what works best for you and your child. This includes making sure children are allowed to play and be active and provided balanced meals, supplemented by a growing-up milk with the recommended amount of nutrients for their age to help support brain development, digestion, growth, and immunity.
All these, along with your guidance, help your kids get the proper nutrition they need to thrive and develop.
NIDO 3+ is a growing-up milk made for kids ages 3 and up, because NIDO understands that these are critical ages for a child's growth and development. NIDO 3+ helps provide nutritional support to toddlers and preschoolers.
For more information on Nido Advanced Protectus 3+ follow them on Facebook.