Child care
Louise Barrett is a general manager of The Park Academy Childcare, one of Ireland’s leading childcare providers.
Child care

Q. My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

Louise says
There is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.

Child care

Q. My child has a severe nut allergy and is starting crèche in a few weeks. I will be providing the crèche with the necessary medication in case of an emergency, but I’m terrified that they’re not taking the condition seriously. He will be the only child in the crèche with such an allergy so I’m scared that the other children’s parents may not understand the danger. What can I do to ensure my child will be ok?

Louise says
In a food allergy, the immune system reacts to a harmless food as if it was a threat and creates histamines and antibodies to fight it. The result of eating a food type that you are allergic to can be extremely serious so you are right to be dealing with this as thoroughly as you are. As parents, managing a child with allergies can be daunting, however, the thought of handing your child over to someone else to be cared for with this condition can be terrifying.

Child care

Q. I started giving my two-year-old a biscuit once in a while when he would help me put away his toys. Now he expects a treat every time. How do I teach him that treats are not an everyday occurrence and that tidying up and chores are a part of life?

Louise says
When our children are allowed to eat constantly throughout the day, it robs them of the chance to ever develop a proper appetite, which can create picky eating habits throughout the teen years.If children don’t come to the table at least a little hungry, they won’t be terribly keen to try new foods.

Child care

Q. My six-year-old son is very kind-hearted and generous, but unfortunately it is becoming a problem. He’s seen to be a bit of a pushover amongst his peers and I’m noticing them taking advantage of his kind nature. How do I teach my kid to stand up for himself without changing his considerate disposition?

Louise says
When you’re six, making friends is a really important process as it leads us to broaden our horizons with the larger social circle that preschool and school brings. Your son will take huge pleasure in telling you, “he’s my friend, I like him.”

Child care

Q. When my two-year-old gets really angry and has a tantrum, she will bump her head against the wall. This is really upsetting to us and we usually end up just giving in and letting her have her way because we don’t want her to hurt herself. I’m worried we’re setting a bad precedent.

Louise says
When children become frustrated and their minds outrace their ability to concentrate they can often engage in ‘head-banging’ as the sensory input they get from the banging feels better than the sensory overload they are experiencing. While it is important to stay close and ensure your child doesn’t hurt herself, try not to give the banging too much attention as your shocked or disapproving reaction might only make matters worse.

Child care

Q. What should I do when my two-and-a-half-year-old won’t share her toys with our eight-month-old?

Louise says
Sibling rivalry usually first happens when the younger child starts to crawl and puts their eye on the older child’s toys! As difficult as this situation may be to handle, having siblings teaches children important lessons about sharing and conflict resolution.

ABOUT LOUISE
Louise Barrett is a general manager of The Park Academy Childcare, one of Ireland's leading childcare providers.