Toddle About Blog

Once Bitten: How to help a child that bites

Children bite for different reasons. It can be caused by anything from anger or frustration to boredom, jealousy or sadness.

Children bite for different reasons. It can be caused by anything from anger or frustration to boredom, jealousy or sadness.

By Anne Goldsmith – Positive Behaviour Consultant & Parenting Coach.

Being a parent isn’t easy for anyone, but having a child who bites makes it all the more challenging.  It’s embarrassing and can lead to you and your child being excluded from playdates and parties. It will probably feel like your child will never change their behaviour.  But it can be done. Child behaviour expert Anne Goldsmith explains how…

I first encountered childhood biting when my son was about 2½ years old. We were at a toddler group where the mums were chatting happily and the children playing nicely. Suddenly, the peace was shattered by loud screaming.  A child came running to his mum saying that one of the girls had bitten him. He showed us his arm – with definite teeth marks, bright red and already with a bruise forming.

At the time, I remember being shocked and horrified. “How could a child do that?” I thought, “How could their mum let them do that?” Typical responses, looking back now. But it was another couple of years before I realised that it really wasn’t that simple…

When our second child was just over a year old, she started to bite.  The first time it happened, we were on holiday and we were coming to the end of a fun day having enjoyed some real, quality family time. Continue reading

Hide and Seek as Therapy

Hiding BoyBy Jeff Thomas – Registrar, Play Therapy UK

Children of all ages love to play hide-and-seek and it can play a very powerful role in their emotional development.

When parents play Peekaboo, this facilitates attunement and attachment – showing her baby, with a loving gaze, that she understands and meets their needs. When the mother disappears in the game, the infant may experience both anxiety and the pleasurable anticipation of reunion with her. This, in turn, increases the infant’s capacity to tolerate separation.

Interestingly, when children are referred for therapy, they often initiate hide-and-seek games over and over again.

As Hide-and-seek games consist of separating and reuniting, it is likely that the child’s attachment schema is triggered. The repetition of this game allows the opportunity for the connection and comfort of face-to-face relationships that they may have missed out on. For children who have experienced attachment difficulties, trauma, anxiety and loss, hide-and-seek games are extremely important. The children initiate this game so they will be found and thereby begin to heal wounds of feeling ‘left’, ‘abandoned’, ‘bad’ or ‘unimportant’. Continue reading

Outdoor Play: Using the Principles of Play Therapy

Play TherapyBy Jeff Thomas – Registrar, Play Therapy UK

Play is a natural process that is essential for the development of a child’s brain and mind. Without the stimulus of play, the physical size of the brain will be much smaller, as shown in research undertaken with Romanian orphans.

20% of children in the UK suffer from emotional, behaviour or mental health problems.  Play Therapy has been shown to have a success rate of between 77% and 84% when delivered by Play Therapy UK’s registrants.

But play is good for ALL children, and parents can follow the principles of non-directive play to maintain the good mental health of children who do not have any mental health problems.

Neurobiology tells us that beneficial chemicals such as opioids and oxitocin are released naturally as a result of play. The amygdala is calmed and the hippocampus, which enables us to learn and recall memories, is repaired.  Continue reading

Does your child suffer from Bedwetting? Then you need to read this

World Bedwetting Day – 30 May, 2017. Time to Take Action


The World Bedwetting Day Steering Committee (WBD-SC) has launched simplified practical guidelines to help healthcare professionals understand how best to treat bedwetting.

About Bedwetting

Bedwetting affects 1 in 15 seven year olds1

Bedwetting, also known as nocturnal enuresis, is an uncontrollable leakage of urine while asleep[7]. In most cases it is caused by over-production of urine at night or reduced capacity of the bladder3. An inability to wake up can be another cause3. Bedwetting does not have a psychological cause3. Bedwetting is a common childhood medical condition, with approximately 5–10% of 7 year-olds regularly wetting their beds and the problem may persist into teenage and adulthood1. Continue reading

Positive Parenting – 6 Ways to Encourage Good Behaviour (and leave everyone feeling happy!)

Positive Parenting

Children are constantly learning and growing and as parents we are our children’s first teachers.

By Nicola Masters – Head of Early Years & KS1 at Akeley Wood Junior School and Nursery

As a parent, how proud do you feel when someone praises your child for their good behaviour? Likewise, how quickly do you wish you could run and hide when that same child decides to throw a tantrum at the local supermarket? You are now faced with a consequence, how do you deal with the good, the bad or the ugly? Your response as a parent is key…

In a nutshell, this is what positive behaviour management is all about…

If we want our children to become responsible and resourceful members of the community, we first need to recognise that children are constantly learning and growing and that as parents we are also our children’s first teachers.

With the right help and support, many people believe that from an early age, children can be taught to think for themselves and learn how to control their emotional and social behaviour without having to rely on one punishment after another to correct disobedience. Continue reading

Doll’s House Therapy: A way to help heal Children’s Emotional and Psychological problems

By Play Therapy UK

Doll's House

By watching a child play with a doll’s house, a therapist can discover a lot about them as the child’s unconscious mind expresses itself through play.

How the classic doll’s house is being used in play therapy to help heal emotional and psychological problems in children.

The toolkit of a Play Therapist is made up of toys and a wide range of creative arts materials which allow children to play, create and express themselves in a way of their choosing. Play therapy utilises these props to heal children’s emotional, behavioural and other psychological problems.

The toys vary widely and represent different things such as real life, fantasy, scary scenarios or sensory exploration. Examples include puppets, figurines, animals, cars, swords, dolls, medical kits and more. They allow the children to explore all sorts of ideas and situations in a safe and supportive environment. Continue reading

Presence – The Key to Healing Children’s Emotional Problems

Play Therapy UK

The therapist’s role is to provide the best conditions for clients to be able to heal themselves.

By Play Therapy UK

Parents can learn from Play Therapists.
At the very heart of Play Therapists’ work is the belief that our clients have a natural biological tendency towards healing, health and well-being – not just physically but psychologically as well.  The power to change resides within the child and is not mainly a result of direction, advice or information that a practitioner or parent might have to offer. The therapist’s, role is to provide the best conditions for clients to be able to heal themselves.  Parents can do this as well.

Most important of all is to establish an empathetic therapeutic relationship between client and therapist.  Although parents should not be therapists to their own children they can apply some of their principles.

Play Therapists trained to Play Therapy UK standards use Axline’s principles of non-directive play therapy, where the child chooses what they want to play with.  The therapist then communicates with the child using the ‘medium’ such as drawing, sand tray worlds, clay, music, puppets etc. Continue reading

The Road to Resilience: How to Help your Child Develop their Inner Strength

Life can be challenging for Children as well as Adults

What can you do as a parent to build resilience in your child?

By Nicola Masters – Head of Early Years & KS1 at Akeley Wood Junior School and Nursery

Do you ever just wish you could press pause on your hectic lifestyle?  I’ve learnt over the years as a working mum, it’s OK to admit that life can sometimes be stressful and challenging.  But have you ever considered that children can feel equally overwhelmed by different life experiences, such as sudden changes or their action-packed schedules?

We are all born with a capacity for resilience, but research shows that if we really want to become happy, healthy and successful human beings, resilience is something we need to instil in our children early on.

So what can you do as a parent to build resilience in your child?

One of the most important things you can do is help your child to develop secure bonds with adults, providing them with positive role models in their life.  You should also provide opportunities for your children to regularly learn new skills and, more importantly, take risks! Continue reading

Children’s Emotional and Behaviour Problems: How can you help?

Play Therapy UK finds the best therapy to help your needs

Younger children often cannot or do not want to talk about their problems so therapies that use play and the creative arts are more suitable for them.

By Play Therapy UK

The problems that affect children’s emotional well-being are many and varied. Over 60 have been identified with autistic spectrum and ADHD at the top of the list. Sometimes it is not obvious – a child may become shy because of lack of self-esteem or quiet and withdrawn because of traumatic experiences.

You are not alone as a parent if your child has one of these issues. 10% of UK children have a mental health problem and another 10% are estimated to have an emotional or behaviour problem that prevents them reaching their full potential. Continue reading

A Special Baby-led Playtime – Turning normal play on its head to help you connect with your baby


By Becky Wylde, Clinical Lead at NorPIP, The Northamptonshire Parent Infant Partnership.

This play idea is a recipe for something different that will nourish your relationship with your baby or toddler. It is a special kind of child-led play which is known as “Watch, Wait and Wonder”.

It looks very simple to begin with, but it can have a remarkably positive effect on both baby and parent. The key is making some time, only five or 10 minutes at a time, maybe 2 or 3 times a week, to be focused solely on your child and following their lead. Continue reading