Hansa Bhargava, MD, oversees the team of medical experts responsible for assuring the accuracy, credibility, and timeliness of all content on WebMD FIT and Raising FIT Kids. Bhargava is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, did her residency at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and is board certified in pediatrics.
Joy Brown: Okay. Here's a question from a proactive mom who wants to know what are the top mistakes parents make with toddlers and how can I avoid them?
Dr. Bhargava: Okay. Well first of all, she shouldn't feel like she is going to make a mistake, even though most of us -- most moms do sometimes feel like that.It's good that she is asking the question, because it's really important to be proactive and get as much information as you want.
Dr. Bhargava (cont.): With toddlers probably -- the most important things are disciplining and potty training.So, I would say those are probably the two issues that probably need most help and most information and certainly, you can get that information from your pediatrician.
Dr. Bhargava (cont.): Also, there are lots and lots of books about it.But you want to start the disciplining at an earlier age so that you get a good grip on it and the child feels much more secure when the child knows what the barriers are.
Dr. Bhargava (cont.): And as far as potty training is concerned,again it's unfortunately slightly easy in this busy world to actually miss the boat and leave it for later and again for that, it's a good idea to start at the right time.
Joy Brown: I think some parents are afraid to disappoint the toddler, I mean, what's a good way to go about it if you have a tantrum going on.I remember clearly when I was young our pediatrician told my mother to throw ice water in my younger brothers face to stop a tantrum, well this was quite a long time ago.But there have to be constructive ways to tell them to stop behavior problems, do you have a recommendation?
Dr. Bhargava: Yes, I do and ice water is not one of them. But having said that, I think the most effective way is actually time out.I know it's actually not a new philosophy it's been around for several years, but it is very effective. So, if a toddler is throwing a tantrum make sure he is not harming himself,make sure that you know, he is not in anyone's way where he could harm himself by tripping over someone or flailing their arms around and hurting -- somehow hurting himself.
Dr. Bhargava (cont.): But if you can take him and put him in a safe area and just have him cry it out that is the best thing.And generally, the rule of thumb is, if he is two years old you put him in time out for two minutes, three year olds, three minutes, so basically one minute per year of the age of the child.
Joy Brown: That's a great guideline…all the way up to 15…
Dr. Bhargava: Well hopefully they are not still throwing tantrums by 6 or 7.