3 Common Toddler Issues

Fever

A fever is the body’s natural response to infection and represents the activation of the immune system. Temperature-wise, a normal or low-grade fever usually measures at 100-102°F whereas a temperature over 108°F can cause brain damage. Generally, you should contact a doctor if your little one’s fever climbs above 103°F and/or lasts more than 3 days.

As far as treatment goes, it is recommended that low grade fevers be untreated and closely monitored. Because this is the body’s way of fighting infection, it is best to let your little one’s immune system do its job. During this time, however, it is important to keep your child hydrated and comfortable – be sure to offer lots of fluids and dress them in loose and breathable clothing.

If the temperature of the low grade fever begins to get higher, consider administering children’s acetaminophen (commonly known as Tylenol). Always continue to monitor your child’s temperature.

Other symptoms that may accompany the fever include irritability, loss of appetite, headaches and other pains. Most toddler fevers are caused by viral or bacterial infections, teething and the flu.

Poop Issues

Even though they are growing and developing, toddlers still have immature digestive systems and, under the right circumstances, can cause one of two poop issues: constipation and diarrhea.

Constipation occurs when stool is backed up and becomes hard and difficult to pass. This could be caused by children who hold in their poop (usually out of anxiety or fear of previously painful experiences) or a diet low in fiber and liquid. You can treat constipation at home with foods such as prunes, pears, broccoli, carrots, peaces, pineapple and whole grains. See your doctor if your child cannot pass their stool and appears to be in extreme discomfort.

Diarrhea is hard to spell and exists on the opposite end of the poop issue spectrum. Diarrhea is characterized by loose and liquidy stool, usually caused by malabsorption of food through the stomach, food intolerance, tummy bugs and other infections. Foods high in fat and fiber are effective in treating diarrhea. Because liquid is being lost through the stool, diarrhea can cause mild dehydration. Make sure your little one drinks lots of liquids.

Tantrums

Behind the curious eyes and squishy faces of the toddler lies a dark energy that can burst forth at any moment and usually for no reason. Tantrums are the necessary evil of toddler development as your little one develops emotional control and learns how to communicate needs properly.

Scientifically, when tantrums occur, stress causes the logical part of the brain to shut down and hand control, or the lack thereof, to the emotional section of the brain. This leads to impulsive behavior and uncontrollable emotions.

Temper tantrums are completely common and normal. Yours is not the only child to lose their mind on a daily basis. It is important to keep your cool during these situations and remember the following steps:

  • Calm your child down. Use soothing words or allow them to work through their tantrum.
  • Once they are calm, acknowledge their feelings and help them to label their emotions.
  • Teach them alternatives to the behaviour. For example, if your child hits while upset, teach them to hit a pillow. If they scream and go on, teach them calm down methods such as deep breathing. Be sure to discuss these alternatives during calm time, not in the middle of a meltdown.

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