When a parent comes to me for advice about potty training, I always start the conversation the same way.  Let’s consider what it takes to pee on the potty.  A child has to be aware that they need to pee, let you know, hold the pee, get to the bathroom, adjust their clothing, sit on the seat, let it go, and then flush.  For some children there is even an additional step of wondering where the pee has gone.  Not to mention readjusting clothing and washing hands.  For little people this is a BIG task!

My next question is generally, why are you wondering if it’s time to potty train?  Did someone tell you it was “time” or did you pick up a cue from your child that they were ready?  Everyone has a theory about when a child “should” be potty trained, but for most typically developing children, we need to pay more attention to what the child is telling us than what anyone else’s well-meaning advice might be saying.  Are you feeling pressure from nursery school?  Friends?  Grandparents?  Parents today have pressure from so many ends about potty training, not to mention how expensive diapers are, and how connected our feeling of success as parents is, to having a child who is using the toilet.  The truth of the matter is that we need to block all that out.  Potty training can turn into a battle if a child isn’t ready.  When a child is ready, it tends to be a far simpler process.

While I encourage parents to begin the potty training process when a child is ready, I also encourage them to be aware of themselves.  Are you incredibly busy right now?  Waiting on the birth of a baby?  Are you feeling pressured or will you be able to have a joyful, no-pressure, positive and playful attitude towards potty training?

Most children are not ready to use the potty by 18 months.  Most aren’t showing any signs of readiness until atleast 2 years old, if not later.  We know that as your child passes their second birthday you have a better grip on their personality and their temperament, as well as what they like and don’t like.  All of this can be important during potty training.  At 2 years of age, a child is very aware of their parents’ face, emotions and tone.  If you are anxious, angry, or irritated with them during the process they’ll know.  You have to go in with the expectation that it is a process, it may be messy, there will be accidents, and eventually there will be success!  All this being said, if a child is approaching their 4th birthday and still showing no interest in potty training, I begin to wonder why.  What else might be happening for this child?  More often than not, by this point, children are well on their way to using the potty regularly.

Bottom line…Potty training should not be rushed. The key concept is that children should be taking the lead!

Having a child shouldn’t mean you can’t go out for dinner without hiring a babysitter.  Taking your young child to a restaurant holds the possibility of a wonderful experience in a new place with new foods, as well as an enjoyable time for you and your partner.  It can also be a total nightmare.   Here are some tips that will help you achieve the former, and cope with the latter.

  1. First and foremost, try to choose a restaurant that is relatively child-friendly.  Trying to make a go of it in a strictly adult-only environment sets you and your child up for failure and isn’t fair to other diners.
  2. Birth to 4 months may be the easiest time to take a child to a restaurant.  As long as there is room for your stroller or car seat, the low rumble of conversation tends to lull babies to sleep through the entire meal!  Parents should consult their pediatrician and consider what best suits their child and family, when deciding at what age to bring their infant into a restaurant.
  3. Bringing babies 5months – 1 year old to a restaurant can be slightly more challenging, but they are fascinated by all of the new things around them.  Use this to your benefit.  To start, keep them in the stroller or car seat.  Let them spend some time looking around, holding your napkin, listening to the different voices.  Once you take them out they’ll enjoy gently banging on the table and exploring the booth.  Remember, they’ll be quick to pull a table cloth or grab and knock over a glass so be sure to keep these things out of reach if you have your child on your lap.  Have finger foods and small toys available.  Give these things to your child slowly.  They’ll still be interested in looking around as they eat and play.
  4. Toddlers who are 1-2 years old take a bit more planning before accompanying you to a restaurant.  First of all, be sure the restaurant has a high chair or booster seat.  Otherwise, bring your own.  Once you sit down, clear a spot on the table for your child.  Be sure that you are going to the restaurant at a time when your child is hungry.  If you miss that window, it will be hard to contain your child and most likely that will ruin your meal.  Acknowledge that developmentally, a 1-2 year old can not sit for a 3 hour meal.  This may mean shortening your meal a bit, or feeling comfortable enough at a restaurant to follow closely while your child toddles around.  Children at this age love to practice new walking and running skills.  As with babies, bringing small finger foods and snacks is important.  It’s best to be prepared for the possibility of a slow kitchen.  Bringing toys and presenting them one at a time is helpful at this age as well.  You might first offer a board book, then a crayon and paper, and finally a small peg board or puzzle.
  5. For children 2-3 years of age, putting together a restaurant bag is helpful.  Children at this age can sit longer, but still need activities to keep them engaged.  Some of my favorite “restaurant kit” items are stickers, paper and crayons, contact paper and collage materials, travel size Magnadoodle, books, and small cars and animals. If you are going to a nice restaurant, bring a disposable placemat or extra paper for your child to work on.  Remember, pace your child by giving them one item at a time.  Talk to your child about his or her day and yours, as well as the food that is coming.  Think about what you might do tomorrow and what the plan is for when you get home.   Choosing appropriate meal times and having snacks on hand goes a long way with age group as well.
  6. As children get older, they can help pack their restaurant bag or do it entirely themselves.  They can order their food and say thank you when it arrives.  Restaurant etiquette is a lifelong skill.  You might play eye-spy in the restaurant or pick out letters and their sounds on the menu.  Because you started bringing your child to restaurants at a young age, they will have a clear understanding of the expectations when they are older.

 

Some parents find having a portable dvd player works for them in restaurant settings.  Watching a video will certainly keep your child busy during a meal but can be a slippery slope.  Sometimes batteries die.  You’ll need to keep the volume low enough so as not to disturb other diners or your child has to be willing to wear headphones.  Using a dvd player may shorten your child’s attention span for the other items you bring to occupy them, because they are anticipating using the dvd player.  Plus, your child might miss out on what can be a terrific teachable moment.  This is not to say you shouldn’t have the player available.  Just choose the times at which you use it, wisely.

Once children are eating solid food, give them the opportunity to try some of what you are eating.  When they can speak, encourage them to say please and thank you to the waiters and waitresses.  I suggest playing quiet and loud games before you go to a restaurant so that your child is clear about the difference between inside voices and outside voices.  Include your child in table conversation whenever possible.  To be sure, there will be days when you’ll have to take that meal to-go.  There may be periods of time where you have to give up meals at a restaurant, but don’t forget to try again a month or so later.  With practice and repetition your child will better understand appropriate restaurant behavior, and dining out will become a fantastic family activity!

(Brooklyn) Totally Toddler — A Toddler Development Q and A

 

Chances are that if you have a toddler at home, you are dealing with one or several of the following:

  • discipline issues
  • potty training
  • transitioning from a crib to a bed
  • transitioning to being an older sibling
  • getting up at night or taking forever to go to sleep
  • what and how much should they be saying? playing? doing?

If you and your family are looking for some answers to questions about any and all of the above, then you are in luck.  We will be hosting a special “Totally Toddler” seminar where child expert Dana Rosenbloom of Dana’s Kids will lead a Q and A on everything toddler related.

Dana will offer real solutions to your toddler issues and you will leave the seminar with a better understanding of your child’s development and with techniques that work!

Sign up today.  Space is limited.  Sorry, no toddlers allowed.

*Spouses are $10 cash additional at the door — if your spouse intends to come, please be sure to email us to let us know.

Questions?  Email chana@mommybites.com

Organizer: Mommybites

Start:10-02-12 6:30 pm

End:10-02-12 7:30 pm

Venue:Park Slope Eye

Address:

682 Union Street , Park Slope, NY, 11215, United States

 

Having a hard time getting out of the house in the morning? Keep a “kit” in the bottom of your stroller with snack, an empty cup, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, a bottle of water, and shelf stable milk or formula. (I’d even include some stickers, bubbles, and crayons, just in case.) I recommend that parents keep their baby carrier and a rain/wind shield in the bottom of the stroller, as well. On those inevitable days when things aren’t going as planned, don’t worry about checking the diaper bag contents, just go, knowing your extras are in place. When you use something from the kit, text or email yourself a reminder with an alarm, to replace it.
 
For families with older children, have them help. Make a picture schedule showing your child their morning responsibilities. They can even help create it. Draw or cut pictures showing sneakers, backpack, and lunch box. Include a written label to support literacy skills. Let your children check off, or place a sticker next to, each item they’ve taken care of in the morning. This is a great time for those spontaneous rewards and positive reinforcement I’m always talking about.
 
Certainly, completing some of these preparations the night before can be helpful. All that being said, as we get in the groove of our post-summer schedules, cut yourself, and your children, a little slack. It will all come together. Big hugs!
 
 

 *Want to receive more great tips, right in your inbox?  Email me and I’ll add you to my mailing list!*

Needless to say “bullying” has been in the news a lot lately.  What’s been happening is nothing short of tragic.  It would seem to me that whether you have a child or are educating children, your goal is to give them the support and tools they need so that they become positive, active contributors to our global community.  To do this, we need to teach children tolerance and acceptance.  Unfortunately, we begin to see cliques and exclusion in groups of children as young as three years old.  This is when we need to begin educating young children, both explicitly and by modeling inclusive behaviors.  Schools can model this idea by including children with differing abilities and needs whose development they believe they can successfully support.  Parents can model acceptance by chatting with all of the other parents and not creating cliques within the parent population.  Teachers can model this by being aware of showcasing, and encouraging, each child’s strengths within their classrooms.  Parents and teachers can encourage children to play with many different friends.

The truth is, we can’t force children to create exceptionally close relationships with all children, but we can teach them to be tolerant and respectful.  Two books I love to use with the early childhood set to teach acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion are Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes and We All Sing With the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Shephard M. Greene.  Chrysanthemum offers a great jumping off point for discussing the value of being different and the choices children can make about the way they react to and treat others.  We All Sing With the Same Voice is a wonderful story and song with beautiful illustrations that talks about all different kinds of people and families.  Both books offer a platform for talking to children about this topic.  For children just beginning to think about tolerance and acceptance Todd Parr’s It’s Okay To Be Different is a wonderful choice.

Whatever materials, activities, or books you choose, start them young.  Along with other family “rules” include respect.  When you witness someone being bullied or someone being mean, use it as a teachable moment.  Ask your child what they just saw.  Ask them what they might have done differently.  Ask them how they think the children involved are feeling.  You can also do this while you are reading with your child.  Close the book and ask the same questions.  Help your children to start thinking about and exhibiting tolerant, accepting and inclusive behaviors.  You can have an impact!

During the month of August, I’ll be discussing positive discipline with  HAPPYFAMILY!

Check out my thoughts on Time Outs

http://ow.ly/cNi1l

How do you handle your child when they are not listening?

Keep an eye on the website for information about two upcoming events and a GIVEAWAY!

 

“Ugh… he puts everything in his mouth!” Have you ever used these words to describe your baby?

 Read on!

http://mommybites.com/col1/baby/how-babies-learn/

 

Check out my guest post orginally published on Lauren Jimeson’s blog, A Mommy In The City.

It’s all about toddlers and their need for independence!

By Myself!

Coming in a close second after “mine!” on the list of most frequently used toddler phrases is “by myself!” It’s truly exciting when your baby starts exerting her independence, using language, and more actively exploring the world around her. But the world of toddlers and 2s brings with it a new batch of challenges. How do you support your child’s desire to be independent and foster her feelings of competence and self-esteem, while also keeping her safe and setting appropriate limits? I considered focusing this post on dealing with tantrums, because they can be so prevalent during this time in early childhood, but I decided to approach the topic from a more proactive angle…

What can a parent do before their child tantrums? My initial answer to this question is always the same: “fight the battles worth winning.” This is a concept that will follow you as your children grow. Is it worth getting into it over striped leggings or solid ones for school? Probably not. Does it matter who buckles her in to the stroller? Not really, as long as she ends up buckled.

I generally recommend that parents of toddlers and young 2s use brief sentences when talking to their children. Repeatedly using these “catch phrases” will help your child understand them and begin to incorporate them into their own vocabulary. For example, when taking your child out of a high chair you might say “all done.” Going forward, your child may start using these words to let you know that they are finished. When your child wants a toy that a friend is using rather than saying “share,” which really doesn’t mean much to a child at this age, try “my turn” and “your turn.” When a young child is able to express themselves and make their needs known, they are less likely to have a tantrum.

Phrases like “my choice” and “your choice,” or “my pick” and “your pick,” set up an environment where young children feel that they have some control. This can be very helpful when you have a toddler or young 2 with a persistent case of “by myself-itis.” Studies show that “by myself-itis” is a leading cause of tantrums. (Okay, I made that up. But I’d bet that most parents of toddlers would agree!) Pick times to let your child choose, and highlight it for them. You can say “Pasta or rice, your choice.” Then later on, when you feel strongly that they should be wearing a jacket in the snow you can say, “Jacket on, my choice.”

Every child is different, and children have tantrums for a variety of reasons. Reflecting on what sets your child off, can help you before they reach the point of tantrum. If you are having a hard time seeing a pattern, get in touch. That’s what I’m here for. Embrace your toddlers’ and 2 year olds’ natural curiosity, and use of phrases like “mine” and “by myself.” Celebrate their independence, and use language and limit setting to help them manage the world around. You can do it!

(Original URL : http://amommyinthecity.com/2011/04/guest-post-by-myself/)

Check out my article on Mommybites about “The Value of A Flexible Routine.”  Use what you know about your child to create a routine that meets their (and your) needs, as well as teaching them to manage change.

http://mommybites.com/col2/nanny/the-value-of-a-flexible-routine/

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Stefanie Weiss, a mental health counselor specializing in OCD, ANXIETY, PANDAS, ADHD and other related mental health disorders. Stefanie’s services offer parents a unique opportunity to have their children’s, and their own, needs met by individually-selected and top-rated doctors and therapists.  Stefanie guides each family through the steps of exploring their children’s needs and finding techniques, treatments, and specialists that will be most effective.

 

 

 

From AskStefanie.com

“Stefanie is a Mental Health Consultant specializing in OCD, Anxiety, ADHD, PANDAS, and other related mental health disorders. She meets with the parents of children who have these disorders so that they can speak openly  and honestly about their child. Based on an in- depth consultation and intake process, they collaborate on selecting a team of doctors that will be most appropriate for the child.

Stefanie gives families information on their child’s disorder and coaches parents on how to deal with their schools, teachers, friends,and doctor appointments. She is a true “hand-holder” guiding parents who feel anxious and overwhelmed, and need that extra time and support while dealing with their child’s disorder.  As a mother of three children, she is extremely sensitive to what parents require emotionally.  Working with Stefanie is a boutique experience. Stefanie only refers to a select group of doctors that are the very best in their field. She has thoroughly interviewed every doctor that she refers to.  This process is vital to her. It helps her observe the doctor’s bedside manner, personality, office staff, and experience with specific disorders.

Stefanie believes that parents have a hard time gaining the courage to take the initial step of seeking professional help for their children. Going to the “right doctor” the first time puts families on the right track immediately, instead of going through a daunting process of 3 or 4 doctors until they finally find the one that they connect with and believe in. She helps make that process easier by getting parents in the right hands immediately. This saves them time, money, and energy. Exposing yourself and your child emotionally is a difficult step. Stefanie makes sure families are comfortable and confident with whom they select.”

 

AskStefanie.com Post: Will Going To Therapy Make the Situation Better or Worse ?

Recently on her blog, Stefanie broached the topic of whether going to therapy would make a situation better or worse.  The first step towards seeking out any type of help can be a scary one.  Whether you are choosing to bring your child for an evaluation, to physical or play therapy, etc. or going individually with a  spouse to see a psychologist or parent educator, you are making a conscious effort to improve your family life and relationships.  For this, I applaud your courage.  To read Stefanie’s post: http://askstefanie.com/2012/02/06/will-going-to-therapy-make-the-situation-better-or-worse/

 

Contact Information:

Stefanie Weiss

sw@askstefanie.com

www.AskStefanie.com

320 E. 65th Street               Suite 124               New York, NY 10065               646.543.0426 485 Underhill Blvd.               Suite 107               Syosset, NY 11791               516.641.7926