Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Is your Child Ready to Start Potty Training? Find Out How to Know if it's the Right Time!

Every new parent always has the same question of...
“When should I start potty training my child”

Although most children start potty training between 22 to 30 months, every child is going to start at a completely different time.  One of the most important things to remember is that if you push your child to start early and they aren't ready then it can lead to frustration for both you and the child.  Before children can begin to start potty training, they have to be able to have the basic motor skills mastered by themselves.  Once they are physically ready for potty training then it's time to make sure they are emotionally ready! MamaOT shares some signs that your child may be ready to start the adventure of potty training:

  • Your child experiences discomfort when wet or soiled
  • Your child indicates that he or she has a dirty diaper
  • Your child has regular bowel movements on a fairly consistent basis
  • Your child can sit on a potty for a short time when placed on it
  • Your child demonstrates a pattern of being able to stay dry for about two hours or more at a time
  • Your child can pull down their pants independently
  • Your child demonstrates interest in watching and imitating other' bathroom-related actions
  • Your child can follow basic directions
These are only a few of the list that MamaOT shares! Check out the link to see more detailed information.

Now that you have seen the signs that your child is ready, do you want to know some helpful tips? Kids Health has a great list of how to help with the potty training process, but just remember that it doesn't happen overnight.

  • Set aside some time to devote to the potty-training process
  • Don't force your child to sit on the toilet again his or her will
  • Show your child how to sit on the toilet
  • Establish a routine
  • Try to catch your child in the act of pooping
  • Have your child sit on the potty within 15 to 30 minutes after meals
  • If your child has pooped in their pants, remove it from the diaper and put it in the toilet to teach children where poop goes
  • Don't have uneasily removable clothing on children when potty training (Overalls, lots of layers of clothing)
  • Allow your child to go a certain amount of time throughout the day without wearing a diaper. If they don't have an accident then you can reward them somehow
  • For the boys: have "target practice"
  • Reward your child with small things (stickers, stamps, etc.)
  • Make sure all caregivers (babysitters, grandparents, childcare workers) follow the same routine of bathroom time and use the same names for body parts
Once you feel ready to conquer the task of starting the potty training process, remember to be patient with your child. It will happen and every child will be different!  

Do any of you experienced potty-training parents have any suggestions or other tips that would be helpful to those parents struggling with teaching their child the tricks of potty-training?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Day of Caring September 11, 2014

Yesterday as part of United Way Day of Caring, we had an awesome activity at Mountainland HeadStart! We had a great turn-out and had super fun activities. Thanks to our volunteers from BYU Broadcasting. Check out all the fun we had!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Are You "Nesting"?

Are you a new mother who is wanting to clean and organize everything in your house to prepare for your baby that is on the way?  Do you just keep cleaning the same thing over and over? If so, you are probably in the  "nesting" stage.  

Not all mothers will go through this stage, but it does help some mothers make the time go by faster. Nesting may be a good thing to keep you busy and your mind off other things, but it's also a good time to clean out things that you've been storing for awhile. Here are some good tips from What to Expect for those "nesting" mothers that will help you prepare for your sweet little chick.
  • Restock your fridge and pantry: When mothers are nesting they usually want to get rid of the old and bring in the new.  This is a perfect time to go through the fridge and pantry and throw out any old food and stock up on new food.  Stock up on healthy snacks that you can easily grab on the go, because once your baby comes you will want to have the essentials ready to go.
  • Cook ready-to-go freezer meals: You'll be grateful you cooked ready to go meals that are easy to take out and put in the microwave because the last thing you will want to do is spend hours preparing dinner when you could be taking a long needed nap. Find your favorite recipes and start cooking those ready to go meals!
  • Load your laundry: Before your baby comes you are going to want to wash certain things that don't get washed very often like towels, bedding, blankets, etc., because once your baby arrives you will be loading the washer with clothes that have spit up stains on them.
  • Deep clean: Nesting is a great way to clean those things that haven't been cleaned for awhile.  Have you organized your office lately? Or have you vacuumed and dusted in those forgotten places? You will be amazed at the things you haven't cleaned in awhile once your nesting instinct comes out.
  • Outfit your baby: Don't overstock on lots of clothes for the baby, but stock up on the essentials such as onesies, booties, sweaters, blankets, etc.
  • Outfit yourself: Do you have everything you'll need for once your baby is here? Some necessities for you are nursing bras, nursing pads, comfortable t-shirts that are easy for breastfeeding and comfortable, and also some old underwear that can be thrown away after recovering from labor.
  • Be prepared: Babies need more than just clothing, they need diapers, diapers, and more diapers! They also will need baby lotion, soap, diaper rash ointment, nail clippers, thermometers, bottles, and much more!  You can always get these items after the baby comes, but it makes it so much easier to have them right there when you need them!
Nesting isn't supposed to be stressful and everything on your to-do list doesn't need to be done before the baby arrives.  Start with one task at a time and don't get too overwhelmed trying to clean every corner in your house.  When your sweet little baby arrives you won't be worrying about the spices you forgot to alphabetize.  If any of you mothers have more advice on "nesting", please feel free to share it with all our soon to be mothers!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Do Something Kids Crave!

Well, you might be thinking..."Why would I do something my child craves?" The answer is because not only will it help them, but you as well! So what is it that kids crave? We'll tell you: ROUTINES! It is important that your children have routines in their lives for many reasons. Maci Elkins, MSW, Program Manager of Lower Shore Early Intervention Program says, "Routines involve repetition.  Repetition involves predictability. Predictability involves stability. Stability involves security.  Kids crave routines because routines make kids feel safe and secure.  On a very basic level (keeping in mind that is how young children function) routines reassure children that their needs will be met." 

Here are a few benefits while using routines in the words of Dr. Laura Markham:

1. Routines eliminate power struggles because you aren't bossing them around.  This activity (brushing teeth, napping, turning off the TV to come to dinner) is just what we do at this time of day.  The parent stops being the bad guy, and nagging is greatly reduced.

2. Routines help kids cooperate by reducing stress and anxiety for everyone.  We all know what comes next, we get fair warning for transitions, and no one feels pushed around.

3.  Routines help kids learn to take charge of their own activities.  Over time, kids learn to brush their teeth, pack their backpacks, etc., without constant reminders.  Kids love being in charge of themselves. This feeling increases their sense of mastery and competence.  Kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to rebel and be oppositional.

4. Kids learn the concept of "looking forward" to things they enjoy, which is an important part of making a happy accommodation with the demands of a schedule.  He may want to go to the playground now, but he can learn that we always go to the playground in the afternoon, and he can look forward to it then.

5. Regular routines help kids get on a schedule, so that they fall asleep more easily at night.

6. Schedules help parents maintain consistency in expectations. If everything is a fight, parents end up settling: more TV, skip brushing teeth for tonight, etc.  With a routine, parents are more likely to stick to healthy expectations for everyone in the family, because that's just the way we do things in our household.  The result: a family with healthy habits, where everything runs more smoothly.

Here is an idea to try with your kids. Morning routine charts can help!

Have you had any success with routines? Let's hear about them!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stress...Ain't Nobody Got Time for That!

If only that were true. Stress in small amounts is a good thing. It can help keep us alert, allows us to be more attentive throughout the day, allow us to problem solve, and help us realize we can handle our day to day tasks.

But there are days were we feel the complete opposite...

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Help Me Grow (a free parent information line) has a great resource library on a variety of  topics that parents have questions on or are looking for more information about. Stress is one of those topics. Although stress  is normal there are moments that we need to take a step back and evaluate how we are affected by it to become more aware of how it affects children. 

What you might be seeing (Signs of Stress Indicators)   
Feeling angry or irritable a lot of the time
Feeling hopeless
Having trouble making decisions
Crying easily
Worrying all the time
Arguing with friends or your partner
Overeating or not eating enough
Being unable to sleep or wanting to sleep all the time

What can you do (it is important to learn how to manage stress- for your own benefit and that of your children)
  • Identify What is Making you Stressed- everyone has different stressors i.e. money, work, surroundings, child’s behavior, health issues.
  • Accept what you cannot change- Ask yourself “Can I do anything about it?” if the answer is no, then focus on something else. If it’s something you can do then break it into smaller steps so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Have Faith- Look back at the times where you have overcome challenges and know it will soon pass!
  • Relax! – Try deep breathing , yoga, meditation, listening to music.
  • Take Care of Your Health-Get enough sleep , eating healthy, and get some exercise
  • Take Time for Yourself- Take a bath, read a book, when you can have someone watch your children and get out for a few hours
  • Develop a Support Network- ask for help. Have your spouse or partner take over bedtime for few nights. Accept help from family and close friends to pick up kids, help you make dinner, to give you a break.

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Learning to manage stress will improve your happiness and show your children that they can handle stress too!

If your interested in additional informational resources or have any other parenting questions please call Help Me Grow at 801-691-5322 and we will be happy to connect you resources and answer any questions you may have on your child's development. 

Sources: United Way of Utah County Welcome Baby Parent Handout "Stress Management"
Healthychildren.org also has articles on stress management for children and adults