Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

Weaning Off the Bottle

If you think it’s time to wean your toddler off of the bottle, you may need a strategy to help you. Here are a few main points to keep in mind:

YOU Pick the Timing,

I can’t give you the magic or perfect age to stop with bottles.  Your paediatrician or dentist will suggest you stop if they see issues with the child’s soft palate. For the vast majority, we tackle this “project” when it makes sense in the context of the whole picture of our lives. It’s hard to implement someone else’s suggestion if you don’t really “buy in” anyways, so who cares what I think? What matters is what YOU think!

If you are ready, here is my strategy:

Limit Usage

You can begin by letting your toddler know: “As of today, bottles are only for bed.”

This is helpful because:

◾It eliminates one of the big things we hate: watching a kid walk around with an empty bottle hanging out of their mouth\ and preventing them from talking

◾It allows them to still have their bottle should they need it to calm themselves

◾It gives a clear indication of how much your child feels they need their bottle.  How? Well, children don’t like to step away from the action, so they have to decide if they want to stay and play or go and have a bottle in bed in their room – away from the action.  If they REALLY want a bottle, they will opt to give up their social life for it. If the bottle is really just a habit or added bonus, they will not be willing to lie down to have it.

Cold Turkey

After you have limited bottles to bedtime, think about the LAST day that you will be willing to offer a bottle.  Once you eliminate THAT last bedtime bottle, you need to be sure to be firm and friendly while enforcing this. NO more bottles. If you cave and give a bottle, you will be training them to cry and scream and demand one until you produce one for them. Don’t go down that road!

Good luck and remember – consistency is key!

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Potty Training – When to Start and When to Stop

Parents want to know when to start potty training.  Here is my answer:

◾Begin “training” when your child is verbal.  Start by helping them learn the language they’ll need, like “pee,” “poo,” “bum,” “potty,” “toilet,” etc.

◾Somewhere in the middle of their second year, you can buy a potty and get some fun children’s books about potty training.

◾Let them see you using the toilet (if you are like me, you have never had a minute alone in the washroom anyway!) and let them “play”/”imitate” you by either sitting on their potty or the toilet (with their pants still on is typical), or putting their dolls on it. This is still about “play,” not “trying” to use the toilet.

◾Show them how to dress and undress so they can pull their pants down and up on their own.  Show them how to wash and dry their hands at the sink.  These areas should be kid-friendly, with step stools and easy-to-reach soap and towels.

◾Look for 2-3 hour periods of dryness and predictable bowel movements each day.

Body maturation and awareness comes in three stages: “I peed,” “I am peeing,” and “I have to pee.” When they share “I peed” and “I am peeing,” you can smile and say encouraging comments like, “Hey, you are really getting to know your body!”

Only when they get to the “I need to pee” stage, which means they now are able to hold their bladder and have a chance to actually plan to get to the potty, is it time to invite them to try to use the toilet or potty. This, in my opinion, is when active potty training takes place (somewhere around between 2 1/2 and 3 years of age) and it means having you child wear fast-to-pull-down track pants or leggings – no zippers, belts, buckles or overalls, please.

Now you can invite them to try to do that pee (which they now know they are holding) on a potty!  It’s an invitation to try – not a life sentence of sitting until something happens!  They can sit and try, and when they want to get up, so be it.  They can try anytime they like.  The next time they announce, “I have to pee,” ask, “Do you wanna try the potty?” If they say yes, say “Let’s go,” and then move quickly to the potty and get them on there quickly.  They can’t hold for long at this stage, so if they don’t make it to the toilet, say, “That’s okay, you’re learning!” and stay positive.

When to stop training – you are being too forceful or are taking over the lead:

◾If they say NO.  No means NO and you have to respect that.  If they don’t want to use a toilet, they may be ready physically, but not psychologically.

◾If they are holding or constipated, whatever you might be doing – back off!

◾If they have many accidents and never even make an attempt to hold or get to the toilet.

◾If they don’t go when they are on the potty, but then go immediately after being re-dressed.

◾If they hide to go.

Hope that gives you a good start!

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

Dining Out – Reining In Restaurant Terrors

“Sit up. Sit up. Sit up! Quiet please, others are trying to enjoy their night out too. Quiet! Turn around on the bench. Stop hitting your sister under the table. Leave the condiments alone. What are you doing now?”

If you are tired of nagging your kids when out at a restaurant for a family meal, try the following experiment.

Step #1 – TTFT (Take Time For Training)

Play restaurant or have a tea party at home as a fun, instructional way to learn about manners when dining out. Ham it up and have fun with being “proper”. Teaching isn’t as successful when you try to correct in the moment. Instead, work ahead to set expectations and model the behaviour you’d like to see.

Step # 2 – Plan Ahead

Plan three trips to kid-friendly restaurants. The sole purpose of this event is to teach and train. Do not carry an expectation of staying for the meal. In fact, it’s best if you go expecting to leave each time. Be ready to ask for the cheque and put full plates of hot food in take-out bags.

Step #3 – Logical Consequences

Explain to the kids that you like to use your restaurant manners when dining out, just like they did during your imagination meal, and ask if they would like to do that as well. Be clear that if people don’t use their dining out manners it means you’ll have to leave. Ask again if they would still like to go.

By doing this you are applying a non-punitive method of discipline called a logical consequence. A logical consequence has the following attributes:

R – Respectful

R – Related to the mistaken behaviour

R – Relevant to the situation

R – Revealed in advance 

Step #4 – Encourage Expected Behaviour

Go out to eat! Appreciate and encourage any little thing that is done on-task. Plan ways to engage a conversation or doodle on place mats together. Stay social and busy in positive ways.

Step #5 Choice

If misbehaviour begins, offer no warning, threats, reminding, or nagging. Simply provide a choice; “Can you calm yourself or do we need to go?”

If they continue, it’s time to leave.

Step #6 – Follow Through, But Stay Cheery

In a firm and friendly way, leave the restaurant as you had stated you would.  No need to get mad, lecture, or be disappointed. All these actions take away from the lesson you are trying to teach and reduce the chances that the child will see how they have single-handedly spoiled their own fun. An irate parent deflects the attention to them and the child can “blame” the situation on their parents being “unreasonable”.

Step # 7 – Mistakes Are Okay

Assure you child that it’s okay and that you can try it again next week.

Step # 8 – Don’t Give Up

Eat out again and repeat until your child decides that it is a better choice to use his manners rather than misbehave.

Good luck and happy dining!

 

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t MIsbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com.

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