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10 Essential Hacks for Traveling with Small Kids

The Summer travel season is here, World of Smiles found some smart travel tips for you and your little ones.

 

Article by Sara Clemence

Having kids definitely slowed my husband and me down. When you’ve got a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old, it can be hard to get to the grocery store—forget horseback riding in Patagonia or partying all night on a houseboat in Paris.

Still, we’ve managed to keep traveling without resorting to, um, resorts. The key to being intrepid with small children is being willing to go with the flow—but smart travel strategies help, too. Here’s what a travel editor has learned from flying, driving, pushing, carrying and sometimes dragging her two children around the world.

1. Plan your packing, so you don’t forget the essentials

We try to pack light, but especially when you have little kids, there are some things you simply do not want to be without (like wipes, bottles, and enough diapers to last for a couple of days). I start my packing list a week before we leave, because those everyday items can be easy to forget—when I use them, I add them to the roster. I have no desire to repeat the Vancouver Car Seat Incident, which was made infinitely worse by the fact that we had run out of baby wipes.

2. Pay up for good gear

Travel cribs, strollers, and the like can add up. But it’s worth buying equipment that is durable and lightweight—an extra five pounds feels like 50 when you’re running for a flight. Our phil&teds travel crib cost about $200 and is a little complicated to assemble. But it clocks in at just seven pounds and can even fit in a large suitcase. Another option is to buy inexpensive gear, like an umbrella stroller, when you arrive at a destination, and donate it before you leave. Just know that it can be time-consuming.

3. Ask (and ask again) for the baby bed

On many (though not all) international flights you can get a baby bassinet—a little cot for infants that attaches to the wall in front of the bulkhead seats. They’re free, but you have to reserve them in advance. Book as early as possible, call at least once before the flight to confirm the bed, and remind the flight crew when you board that you reserved one. It’s a hassle, but the payoff for your arms is huge.

4. Sort out your in-flight entertainment in advance

Crinkly books, nesting toys, small puzzles, Legos, and other small toys kept my son occupied when he was a baby. Save a shopping trip by spending 15 minutes on Amazon. Now that he’s a preschooler, we load an iPad up with movies and “educational” games the night before the trip. Read that last part again: we learned the hard way that you don’t want to have to wait for Penguins of Madagascar to finish downloading so you can leave for the airport. Over-the-ear headphones are a good idea, too, since earbuds don’t sit well in little ears. Friends in 18B: You’re welcome.

5. Know how to find a kid-friendly apartment

We rent houses or flats equipped for young children whenever possible. You generally get more space than in a hotel, you can cook or eat in, you won’t have to worry as much about safety or damage, you might be able to borrow gear like cribs and strollers, and there’s built-in entertainment for your little ones. (What kid doesn’t love playing with someone else’s toys?) My trick: when searching Airbnb, I check “family friendly” in the amenities list, then look for listings that have photos of children’s rooms.Kid & Coe is like Airbnb for families—all of its properties are kid-friendly and upscale. But I’ve also found them to be more expensive.

6. If you stay in a hotel, shoot for a suite

Another reason we usually stay in rentals is that can be such a hassle to reserve hotel suites or connecting rooms. But sometimes we need last-minute lodging, or the rental options are unappealing. And it is not cool to have to go to bed at 7:30 because you’re sleeping in the same room as your two children. My secret weapon is Book a Suite, a website that’s exactly what it sounds like. When reserving, make sure that the “suite” is actually more than one room and not just a larger-than-normal guest room.

7. Bring plastic bags

I always pack a few big black plastic garbage bags, a few grocery sacks and a wad of painter’s tape in our luggage. Classy, I know! But the big bags work as blackout curtains in too-bright rooms (the tape won’t mark walls). The little ones are good for dirty laundry, used diapers and snack trash, and can cover less-than pristine seats (see: the Vancouver Car Seat Incident).

8. Carry lots of small bills

You’ll probably need them for luggage carts, vending machines, and tips (extra small people = additional luggage = needing more help from bellmen). Open your wallet for anything else relatively inexpensive that might make the trip easier. That includes but is not limited to: priority boarding, checked bags, and airline seats with extra legroom.

9. Be ambitious

I was really anxious before a trip we took to Europe. Was I completely insane to take two babies on a three-week-long, figure-it-out-along-the-way adventure? I kept reminding myself that I wanted our family to be adventurous. The takeaway from trip: Children are almost always capable of exceeding expectations. You can even take a toddler to a contemporary art museum without anyone crying (including you).

10. Know when to back down

One evening at an upscale sushi restaurant on the other side of the country, my normally well-behaved son started hollering and trying to scale the velvet banquette. “What’s wrong with him?” my husband said. What was wrong with us? You can’t take a 2-year-old sightseeing all day, let him skip his nap, and then expect him to behave in a fancy restaurant. We’ve learned that sometimes you need to quit while you’re ahead. And, that you can have pizza delivered in Paris.

 

This article was originally published at Travel + Leisure, http://tandl.me/1NYdgN1

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please visit, www.visitworldofsmiles.com. We have two Portland area locations to serve you.

Children and Teeth Grinding

Grind, grind, grind…

…if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Teeth grinding, or what is medically known as bruxism, is common in children. In fact, almost 30% of children grind or clench their teeth, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, losing teeth, or other discomforts, such as allergies. Kids typically outgrow teeth grinding by the time they reach their early teenage years.

Many kids who grind their teeth in their sleep don’t even realize they are doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw, facial, neck, shoulder, or headache pain. Most often, if it hadn’t been for a parent or sibling telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed by the child.

There are children, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications, from worn and cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw. Your dentist can tell you if your child’s teeth grinding is not something to be concerned with or just monitor. Teeth grinding, especially when all of the permanent teeth are in,  can have serious consequences that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth fractures and damage to the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ.

The first step in helping your child recover from teeth grinding is noticing and diagnosing the problem. Symptoms of teeth grinding typically include:

  • Grinding sounds when your child is sleeping
  • Complaints of tightness or pain in the jaw
  • Complaints of headaches, earaches, or facial pain
  • Complaints of pain when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

If you suspect your child is a teeth grinder, our doctors and our team will be able to help. Please contact us at one of our 2 offices (West Portland or North Portland) if you have questions, www.visitworldofsmiles.com.

A World of Ideas from World of Smiles

World of Smiles, PinterstHere at World of Smiles we understand the importance of our children’s overall health. A healthy smiles comes from a healthy body and mind. In the spirit of promoting a healthy, active, community focused lifestyle we have relaunched our Pinterest page, https://www.pinterest.com/pdxkidsdentist/. Here you will find boards pinned with ideas, inspiration, fun, crafts, and more:

 

Hungry for healthy seasonal/holiday snacks, check-out our Food-for-Thought board.

Looking for family fun events around the Portland-Vancouver area, we’ve got you covered, This is happening PDX!

Too soggy to head outside, stay indoors and be creative with our Activities and Crafts board.

We also have fun pediatric dental tips with Healthy Smiles and an inspiring Tooth Fairy board.

The world is an amazing place, go explore its beauty on our World of Wonder board.

We hope you enjoy our Pinterest boards. Happy inspiration, exploring, learning.

 

Need to schedule or reschedule your child’s next dental appointment? We have 2 locations, West (West Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard) and North (East Portland, Vancouver, Milwaukie, Gresham).

 

 

New Year Dental Health Resolutions

Happy New Year! You’ve probably thought about New Year’s resolutions in the wellness category, like eating healthier, going “green”, and increasing exercise. And that’s great! But have you considered your family’s dental health in the New Year? Don’t forget- dental health is an integral part of your overall wellness. Now is a great time to improve your mouth-healthy habits.

We want to help your family start the New Year off right. Review this checklist with your kids to ensure everyone has a healthier 2017!

  • I’ve visited a dentist within the last six months
  • I’ve followed up with necessary dental work, if needed
  • I brush twice a day, everyday
  • I brush for a full two minutes
  • I brush all areas of my mouth each time
  • I brush my teeth at night and don’t eat again after I brush
  • I floss daily
  • My toothbrush is not older than 4 months
  • My toothbrush is not frayed
  • I keep my toothbrush in a holder at least 4 feet away from the toilet bowl
  • I don’t use my teeth to open packages, tops of containers, etc.
  • I make “happy teeth” food and beverage choices
    • I limit between-meal snacking
    • I rarely consume added sugar – including, but not limited to candy, mints, taffy, cookies, muffins, chips, and soda.
    • I include dairy, lots of fruits and veggies, and water in my diet
    • I eat foods that contain calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C

Did every member of your family receive a perfect score on the checklist? If so, way to go! If not, there’s room for improvement in 2017. Read our past blog entries and continue to follow our blog for healthy tips and ideas.

We have two Portland area locations to help you get started, www.visitworldofsmiles.com

We wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

 

The Quick Guide to Toddler Time Out

 

With the holiday season beginning, our little ones will need help navigating this stimulating and exciting time.

 

The best way to change behavior isn’t discipline. You need to figure out what you want your child TO DO, instead of what NOT TO DO…”

 

The Quick Guide to Toddler Time Out

by Alexis Dubief

 

toddler-time-outParenting a toddler can make you yearn for the glorious newborn days where you could just carry your compliant child around with you like an adorable loaf of bread. So it’s no surprise that parents find themselves looking for techniques to help manage their toddler’s behavior because toddlers, by their very nature, are often unmanageable. One popular approach is toddler time out: putting your toddler in a chair or some other safe comfortable space for 1-2 minutes. During the toddler time out, your toddler will calm down and quietly reflect on their behavior, identifying their contribution to the current situation and changes they can affect to do better in the future.

 

I think parents of toddlers gravitate towards the idea of time outs because:

  • You can’t reason with a toddler. “If you play in the snow with bare feet they’ll freeze off and you can’t play with your friends with leg stumps!”
  • Challenging behavior can feel relentless. “Stop hitting your brother so we can have snack! Why did you stuff your socks in your sippy cup?”
  • We worry that we’re losing control. “Yes she’s still naked. I tried to put pants on her for 3 hours and gave up. Shut up and stop judging me!”
  • There are clear rules. “Sit in the chair for 3 minutes or Mommy will cry. You don’t want Mommy to cry do you?!!?”

 

I don’t remember where I first came across the idea of time outs but I believe it was on Super Nanny.

I would watch the videos of parents wrestling their kid into the naughty chair for what appears to be 27 hours while the Benny Hill theme song plays in the background. It’s hard to watch this and feel like it’s a winning strategy. My own attempts played out in much the same way leaving me feel resentful and defeated.

 

So I asked two child psychologists about it.

Drs. Kate Viezel and Jamie Zibulsky see patients at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Center for Psychological Services and are trained in Alan Kazdin’s Parent Management Technique (PMT). They also run a year-long PMT externship for psychology students. And they are both parents of young children so they totally “get it.” And this is what they have to say about it

 

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

The best way to change behavior isn’t discipline.

Say what now? How do I get my child to stop being a small dictator if I don’t punish her? Well, as psychologists have known since teaching rats how to run through mazes, the best way to change behavior is through positive reinforcement. Rats won’t do much if you shock them when they make a wrong turn, but if you put a piece of cheese at the end of the maze, suddenly you have a little furry Einstein. If you’re offended that we are comparing your child to a rat, clearly you haven’t been subjected to the tiny claws of a tantruming toddler.

What does “positive reinforcement” mean in real life? You need to figure out what you want your child TO do, instead of what NOT TO DO (more on this later). And you need to regularly acknowledge when they do something right. Here are some examples of how to positively reinforce your child:

  • Specific verbal acknowledgement, like saying “Great job putting your socks in the drawer!” (which is a more effective way to praise than saying something global like “Good boy!”)
  • Positive Attention, such as looking at them and smiling, or playing yet another round of Candy Land
  • Touches like hugs or high fives
  • Tangible rewards like stickers or treats

 

Most of us pay way more attention to our children when they do something wrong than when they do something right. Or we may praise exceptional accomplishment while breezing by the run-of-the-mill appropriate things they do every day. But research and experience show that kids behave better when people focus on the things they are doing right, even when those things are as simple as sitting down at the table to eat breakfast.

 

Tactics for Stubbornness vs. Aggression

Now that you have some strategies you can use when your kiddo is acting the way you want them to, let’s get to the issue you really want to address – what to do when your child is being stubborn or aggressive. By being stubborn (or, more charitably, “developing a sense of autonomy”) we mean those times when your peanut says, “no I won’t wear mittens, no you can’t change my diaper, no I’m not getting in that car seat, no I won’t stop throwing toys down the stairs.” And aggression is anything that hurts bodies or feelings, like hitting, kicking, screaming “I hate you!”, etc.

If you’re having a hard time getting your kid to follow instructions, first remember the power of positive reinforcement. That means you’ll need to be on the lookout for times when your child DOES put on their shoes the first time you ask. Simply saying “Great job getting in the bath the first time I asked!” (or doing a little happy dance) can work wonders.

 

Natural Consequences

Assuming you are praising, hugging, high-fiving, and Candy-Landing your kid a ton, another great response to noncompliance is to allow the natural consequence to play out. A natural consequence is anything (positive or negative) that flows organically from the child’s choice.

As an example, if your toddler breaks all their crayons into tiny bits of wax confetti, the natural consequence is that they’ve rendered their crayons unusable for drawing. The next time they want to draw they’ll be disappointed to find their crayons are no longer usable. You don’t lecture or use this moment to toss out a well-deserved “I told you so!” but trust your child to come to their own conclusions and let that inform future decisions. Natural consequences can be challenging for parents because we’ve been conditioned to believe that parenting means actively doing something and it can be hard to just sit back and let life happen without our involvement. It’s hard to get out of the way and trust your child to figure things out. But allowing natural consequences to happen is an enormously powerful and effective parenting strategy.

But what about aggression? Aggression isn’t something you can ignore, and timeout can be an effective strategy to use when bodies or feelings are getting hurt.

If done correctly.

 

How To Use Toddler Time Out

The time-out is a mild punishment technique that is usually an improvement over what many parents wind up doing when their kids are aggressive (arguing, harsh punishment, yelling, etc).

Time out can be effective, but you should do it consistently and rarely. And you must be regularly using positive reinforcement strategies in order for time out to work.

It is also important to remember that time out only works if you are removing a child from a highly reinforcing environment. Pick a place in your house where your child can sit in time out without any reinforcement or stimulation.

 

1. Keep it short.

 

It should be brief; anything longer than 5-8 minutes isn’t any more effective than a shorter time-out, and can lead to additional problems. The minute-per-age rule (three minutes for a three year old) is pretty good, but we would recommend that you max out at about five minutes, regardless of the age of the child. Also, some kids might not be able to do three minutes; in this case, even one minute (or less) is sufficient.

2. Minimize attention.

 

Time outs should not involve any attention given to the child because any attention can reinforce negative behaviors. Time out should definitely not involve a power struggle. Any attention (even “negative”) defeats the purpose of time out. (Walking the child back to the time out spot a billion times is absolutely a power struggle and nobody wins a power struggle). Physically holding a child in time-out is giving them ALL THE ATTENTION, and carries the risk of accidental injury. If the child refuses to do time out, offer a choice of time-out or a privilege loss. If the child refuses the time out, they lose the privilege. Once the child either does time-out or loses the privilege, let the whole thing go. No one likes a lecture so save the moral discussion for a time when everyone is calm. Take a deep breath, grab the play-dough, and head outside for some fun.

 

3. The right age.

 

Keep in the mind that, for all of the reasons above, it may be very tricky (and counterproductive) to give a time out to a child younger than the age of two or three. If you don’t think your child will be able to sit still for a brief time out or understand the concept of privilege loss, then they’re too young. You can still remove your child from the environment that is triggering the aggressive behavior, and pay lots of attention to appropriate behaviors.

4. Positive reinforcement is key.

 

The most important point is that time outs alone will not lead to behavior change. Reinforcement of good behavior will. If the child is not receiving praise, attention, and rewards for good behavior, all the time outs in the world won’t do a thing. You need to regularly acknowledge when our toddler uses gentle hands with the dog, plays nicely with their brother, and sits still for a diaper change.

 

This article originally appeared on 7/22/2016, http://bit.ly/2eBpjEA

To schedule an appointment or for more information, please visit, www.visitworldofsmiles.com. We have two Portland area locations to serve you.

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