Done with Diapers

Posted By The Engineer
Categorized Under: Children
Comments (0)

You know it’s time to potty train when:

diapers

If your child can tell you that he/she has done number 2 in the diaper, it is definitely time to potty train.

There are so many different suggested methods to potty training. However, I recommend any method that does not drag out over time. The key is short and sweet. Some children are pretty routine about when they go number 2, this will make it easier to potty train.

Start with pull-ups. If your child has is regular about the time for number 2 in the day, then take advantage of that. For instance, my little one will go number 2 within about 30 minutes after eating breakfast. When I am ready to potty train him, I will put him on the potty about 20 minutes after breakfast. I will leave him on the potty until he does his business. However, there is no point to leaving a child on the potty for more than 10 to 15 minutes. If you take the child off the potty and then he/she goes in the pull-up, then just reiterate that “you go potty in the toilet”.

Also watch out for signs like squatting quietly in a corner or standing still with a very red perplexed face. In these instances, grab the child and rush off to the potty. You will not always make it in time, but the child will eventually get the idea that when it is time to go, you rush to the potty.

Pull-ups should be the routine for 2 to 4 weeks, but no more. You should start to notice that the child may go into the bathroom after he/she has gone number two and point at the toilet and say either ‘do do’ or potty or something related. You will know that you are making progress.

After the period of pull-ups, it is time for the gnarly part. Ditch the diapers altogether and be prepared. You need to now put the child in underwear. If you are not feeling that courageous, then you can get those plastic diapers that go over the underwear. This will mean less mess to clean up off the floor/carpet. The idea here will now be that the child has no interest in sitting in a wet or stinky, mushy diaper.

When he/she still goes in the underwear, wait about 5 or so minutes to change them. This will reinforce that not going in the potty is ‘ick’. With my first one, he was pretty stubborn. However, it only took about 10 days until he got it. Granted there were accidents after that, but they became less frequent. There will be nights that you have to get up to change the sheets and the child, but it is very important not to regress as the child will too. It is also very important to have all the other caregivers and family members on board with your method, as consistency with all things in life is key.

Remember, above all, pay attention for the signs that it is the right time for this. You will not be successful if your child is not ready. The #1 key sign is that the child is aware and expresses when they have gone potty in the diaper.

Good Luck and please feel free to ask questions or provide comments of successes or failures with this advice.

Communication

Posted By The Engineer
Categorized Under: Children, Life, Relationships
Comments (2)

Communication is key. There is a reason that is a very common phrase, it is TRUE! Yes, we all know its true; however, we somehow still fail to do it effectively, if we even do it at all. Lack of effective communication can be the breakdown to every relationship; Parent/Child, Employer/Employee, Spouses and Intimate Partners, Siblings, etc.

communication

How do we improve communication? We need to identify the deficiencies and work on ways to fix them. Alrighty then, where do I even start? The deficiencies are so vast, so let’s start with a generic algorithm, which if applied properly, should drastically improve communication.

1. PAY ATTENTION

Communicating is not just getting your point across well, but more importantly, getting the others’ point. I can be confident in saying we don’t all always get everything all the time, virtually impossible. From the moment your child is born, pay attention to him/her so that you can be aware of his/her needs. Make sure you heard what the other was saying, instead of paying attention to what you want to say next. Read and understand the instructions BEFORE attempting to assemble furniture or complete and assignment at work.

2. ASK QUESTIONS

Lets put money on how often you actually were right about what you thought the other person meant! Popular vernacular is a heck of a thing. Since the population is literally a living thing, it changes constantly and so does the meaning of its words. This is certainly my most frustrating part of communication. I am a very literal person, and who else is these days? Rarg! This being the case, I have to make sure I understand what the other person is saying by asking. Hey did you say…did you mean…am I to understand that…? I cannot be more literal about this point, make sure you understand by asking questions.

3. ACKNOWLEDGE

I’ll be right back…nothing…ah, hello? Can you at least let me know you heard me? My son asks me all the time “Mommy, why are you not listening to me when I’m talking to you?” Well then. Apparently, I do it too. I don’t always let him know I heard him. The impression I give him, by not acknowledging him, is that I am not paying attention or I didn’t hear him. This is the same for adults. I know I feel the same way with him, my husband, the bank teller, etc. Just acknowledge that you heard and understand. A simple OK does it most the time.

The responsibility also lies in making sure that the other person DID hear you, by soliciting an acknowledgment…hey, did you hear me? So, don’t get mad that I have to ask if you heard me. People expect acknowledgment.

4. RESPOND ACCORDINGLY

Address each point the other person was making, and don’t just ramble on in a different direction. This advise can be applied all the time, even if you are talking to a child, most certainly just get to the point. Stay on point, steer the course, etc. He can’t say ‘hey hun, the Dodger’s are coming to town’ and you say ‘dinner will be ready in 5 minutes’. You have to at least preface that with ‘that’s nice babe’, then move on. But you can’t just bypass a comment or question. This goes back to acknowledgment.

For more specific forms of communication like discussions or debates, it is very important to address the topic at hand and not veer off. This earns respect. It proves to the other party that you are paying attention and that the issue at hand matters. Don’t use that time to interject other topics that are of concern, but are not relevant to the current topic. It is frustrating as the issue will never reach resolve that way, or most definitely takes longer.

5. BE CONSISTENT

If you are consistent in your style and vocabulary when it comes to communication, it will make it easier for others to learn to communicate with you. If you follow these five steps consistently (this one included), I truly believe that you can improve your communication on every level in every relationship. This last step is key, though. As with most things in life, this improvement process takes time and practice. So be persistent and consistent.

Stop the waking up in the night for a bottle/cup!

Posted By The Engineer
Categorized Under: Children
Comments (68)

Once your child starts getting most of his/her nutrition from solid or solid like foods, there is no more need for a bottle in the middle of the night. Quite frankly, a bottle should not be associated with sleep, it should be associated with thirst or hunger. Often times it is easy for us to get our baby/toddler to go to sleep by giving them a bottle…not good. That practice creates the problem we are trying to deal with here. Additionally, it is bad to give your child anything other than water before bed if they have teeth, the sugar can cause decay. (Once your child has teeth on the top and bottom, it is time to start getting most of the daily nutrition from solids or mushy stuff).

Waking up in the middle of the night is also not good for the well being of you or your child. Broken sleep is the worst! Nobody is happy the morning after an interrupted night of sleep. It only takes two easy steps to stop this. It will also only take two things, time and patience. The following steps apply to both a bottle or sippy cup. From here on I will only refer to bottle (shorter to type).

Step 1: Give the child water. When your child wakes up in the middle of the night give him/her water. The first few nights your child will likely throw a fit. Eventually one of two things will happen. Either the child will have finally decided ‘I am not waking up for freaking water’ and eventually stop waking up, or he/she will get used to the water, stop throwing a fit, but still wake up. For the latter, please see step 2.

Step 2: Give the child nothing. Go into the room and tell him/her that they are not getting a bottle and it is time to sleep. Tuck the child back into bed and say ‘mommy (daddy) loves you but you are not getting a bottle, go to sleep’. Leave the room and do not go back in. Eventually your child will stop waking up for nothing.

NOTE: It is very important throughout any behavior changing process that you make sure the child does not need anything else. Make sure he/she is changed or has gone to the potty. Make sure there is no possibility of your child being hungry. Not too hot, not too cold, etc…you get the picture. This will help you to be reassured that the child is only crying to get what he/she wants.

** A really great tip to help your child sleep right through the night is a very active day. Make sure you do as much as possible throughout your day to wear your child out. A tired child will sleep right through the night, even if he/she had PLANNED on waking up for milky.

Getting your child to go to sleep

Posted By The Engineer
Categorized Under: Children
Comment (1)

I have a 4 year old and a 19 month old and I tell them bed time and, for the most part, they go right into their room and within 10 minutes (or less) they are done for the night. Friends and family alike are amazed and want to know how I do it.

Before the how, let us discuss the why. Children need a certain amount of sleep a night to be productive and healthy the next day. Your child’s brain will be lagging all day if it has not had enough rest. This will cause an irritable child and eventually an irritable parent. Without enough rest, the body (even for adults) does not absorb enough oxygen. When this happens, it weakens all the defenses in the body. This is why when a person is ill, one of the first pieces of advice is ‘get rest’. A good supply of oxygen is also essential to the brain for controlling the body and increasing the ability to learn.

Besides the health and well being of the child, the time afforded to the parent is also important. My husband and I cherish the time we spend with our children. However, there are things we have to do to prepare everyone for the next day. These tasks become twice as difficult with a tired child trying to vie for attention. Additionally, time for my husband and I to spend with each other and wind down is equally as important as time with the kids.

Now that the why has been covered, it should encourage you to take the next step towards the how. The how is harder if the child is older. I never really had much of a problem with either child as I started from the get go. The steps are still the same, regardless of the age of the child.

Step 1: Do not let your child sleep in your bed. This is a very important first step. Allowing your child to sleep in your bed creates dependency. Put your new born in a bassinet, crib, or even pack n play in your room for the first month or two. The child will be easily accessible in the middle of the night for feeding and changing but will eventually realize that he/she goes back in the appropriate place for sleep. It has been my experience that around 4 months old is when they start to form habits such as wanting to sleep in the bed with mommy. Do not feel like you are taking bonding away from your child as there are many more appropriate bonding moments to be had with your infant, such as nursing/feeding and play time.

Step 2: Prepare your child for bedtime. Make sure your child has been fed. Make sure he/she has gone to the potty or has been changed. Put on jammies, brush teeth (if applicable) and read bed time story (also if applicable). Give your child lots of huggies and kissies and explain that it is bedtime and he/she will now go to sleep. This last part is very important because it sets the expectation for the child but also provides security (mommy is not leaving you in here to be alone because she does not care).

Step 3: Make your child comfortable. If you have an infant, swaddle him/her in the blankies to provide a warm, close feeling. For all subsequent ages, tuck them in and smoosh the covers in around them to provide that same warm feeling.

Steps 1-3 are done so that you will know your child now needs nothing else for the time being.

Step 4: Leave the room. If your child is in a crib or bed in your room, you will need to leave the room until the child is asleep.

What happens after step 4 depends on how old your child is and what your previous practices have been. It is more than likely that your child will have a fit and cry for you. Please remember that as far as I have ever heard, no child has ever cried themselves to death. Please comment on this blog post if you have heard otherwise.

Step 5: Pay attention. Listen for the crying and take note of the time. The younger the child, the shorter the period you will let them cry for at a time. The first night you try this method, only let the child cry for 5 minutes.  For all subsequent nights use the following matrix: For 0-4 months let the child cry for about 5 minutes. For 5-18 months let the child cry for 10 minutes. For all subsequent ages let the child cry for 15 minutes.

Step 6: Check on the child to calm and reassure. Go into the room, ask him/her if something is wrong? If the child is young enough, he/she will obviously not respond. However, they understand more than we know, so we ask the question anyway. Older kids will give an excuse, you will reassure him/her that everything is fine and they are going to go to sleep. For infants who can’t communicate, you may want to make sure everything is still alright; do we need a diaper change? were you still hungry? do you have a fever? is your foot caught in the crib? Once you have determined all the answers are no, reassure the infant that everything is alright, mommy loves you and you are going to go to sleep.

Step 7: Let the child cry to sleep. Now that you are certain the child is clean, dry, fed and in no danger there is no reason to go back in the room. The child has been assured that you love them and that everything is alright. If you are rigid in following these steps, by night 3 step 7, let the child cry to sleep, will be significantly shorter. What happens is the child realizes that you are not coming back in the room to keep them company, there will eventually be no reason the him/her to continue to cry. The first night, this step may be as long as 1 to 2 hours. PLEASE be assured that this will not damage the child mentally or physically. As a matter of a fact, you are teaching your child trust. You are sticking to your word and they will realize that, even if they can’t verbalize it.

If your child is able to get out of bed and open the bedroom door, you will need an additional step.

Step 8: Be persistent. This is not an easy step to follow through with, especially if you have other children in the room. Unfortunately, it is necessary or it will just be harder later. Once the child gets out of the bed and room, you will put him/her back in the bed and use a firm voice to let him/her know they are going to sleep and will not get back out of the bed. You may need to repeat step 8 numerous times. Even upward of 20 times in one night. There is no need to yell or be frustrated, just consistent. You should see a decline in the number of times you have to put the child back in the bed after the third night.

My experience has been 3 to 7 days to see significant improvement in getting your child to go to sleep.

I have experienced relapses in my younger child months after he was going to sleep easily. I just held fast to my steps all over again and saw the results immediately.

Please remember that every child is different and only you know your child best. The steps may have to be tweaked for each individual child. It is very important that you pay attention to your child, not just when going to bed. Knowing the intimate details of your child’s behavior is the first step to you managing him/her. Parents automatically know how to love their child, it is innate. Discipline is not nearly as inherent, but certainly as important to producing a well rounded child.

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