Posts Tagged: Alyson Schafer

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.

Fear of Water

Some children fear the water. This fear is very real. But children are not born with fears. Fears are developed when a child’s healthy and natural reluctance is responded to by an over-reacting, well-intentioned parent.

A child comes into this world knowing little of how it works. As they explore, they encounter things that shock or surprise them. Their reaction is to be startled, not afraid. Parents often over-compensate by; reassuring that everything is okay, giving the child special attention, soothing with excessive expressions of concern, or cajoling.

The next time the child encounters a new situation (such as water) they are faced with three choices:

◾Look to the adults to see what they are doing and follow their lead (face the challenge),

◾Retreat or withdraw from the new experience (avoid the challenge) or,

◾Control the situation with fear, thereby paralyzing themselves and gaining parental involvement (get others to deal with the challenge).

The benefit of grooming our children to face small challenges is that they develop the psychological muscle to deal with greater challenges in the future. With each success they learn they are capable and further believe they can handle more.

As parents we want to prepare our children for life, not protect them. So, this summer when your tots scream as you lift them up over the dark waters of the lake, keep in mind these suggestions:

◾Don’t minimize the reality of their fear (“Oh come on, it’s just like the pool, don’t be silly.”)

◾Don’t be overly impressed with their fears (“Oh honey, I’m sorry, let me get you a freezie. Let mommy wipe your tears.”)

◾Don’t over-emphasize reassurances (“It’s just water, it’s okay, you’re safe, mommy has you, nothing will happen.”)

◾Don’t expect your child to be fearful of the water, as children will live up to our expectations!

◾Don’t be a slave to their fear. If they only go in the water “their way” and that doesn’t work for you, the more you go along with it, the more you’re actually supporting their belief.

◾Do be matter of fact and unimpressed (“That’s okay. If you don’t like the water you don’t have to go in.”)

◾Do continue having a good time yourself. The best way to grow an interest in swimming is to be a swimmer yourself.

◾Do have faith and show encouragement (“I am sure that one day you’ll decide you’d like to be swimming in the lake so much, you won’t let your fear stop you.”)

Enjoy the water!

 

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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