This is uncharted territory for a lot of us, but we are all making it work however we can. Caleb is on day 4 of virtual learning, and already I have found a few things that have worked and others that haven't. This is by no means smooth sailing, but every day has been a little better, and Caleb's school was so well-prepared for this. His teacher has been a rockstar, too.
I know that I am extremely fortunate in that I have the flexibility to work at whatever time I need to, but I also have Chloe to worry about and keep entertained, and I do want Caleb to learn to be more independent when it comes to virtual learning. After all, I would not be sitting next to him in the classroom, would I?
His teacher sent home a few tips that were really useful, and there were a few other things I implemented that just made sense for us here at home.
I'm trying to keep those last few in mind myself. It's not easy, but I keep reminding myself that we are all going through something similar. Deep breaths and lots of prayers! You've got this!
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P.S. Wash your hands, wear your mask, increase your vitamin intake, and get active yourself. Because once we do get back to semi-normal living, you're going to want to be doing all those things.
I've talked before about how I have had to learn how to manage curly hair because mine has always been pin straight. I LOVE Chloe's hair, and I have always said that her hair embodies her personality. The crazier her mood, the crazier her hair. I wouldn't change a thing about her, but I've definitely done some reading about taking care of her curly hair because I want to teach her to love and embrace her curls.
So here is what I do to take care of her hair.
And that's it! It's easier than I thought! I just had to take the time to learn. I hope this helps some of you out there who have little ones with curly hair!
At the very beginning of our "Safer at Home" orders, Moms in nearly every Facebook group I am in started declaring that this would be the perfect time for them to potty train their children, and to please send them all the tips. I had no such intention. I furrowed my brows at those moms and wondered why they would add anything else to their already overloaded plate. I was going to put my foot down, and I was NOT going to be an overachiever.
At some point about 7 weeks in, Caleb changed one of Chloe's poopy diapers, and I thought, "Maybe it's time to lose the diapers..." But I wasn't ready. So I pushed it to the back of my mind. A couple weeks later, I woke up on a Monday morning and thought to myself, You know what? Let's try this. I gave myself a morning. I told myself, if she gets it this morning and does okay with it, we'll keep going. If she fights me, we'll try again in a month or two. Well ladies and gentlemen, she did not fight me, so we continued. We're two weeks out and she has done really well. She has had a couple of accidents, but she often catches herself and lets me know that she needs to go.
My approach was really simple. I had no desire to be complicated, and I used the same approach I did with Caleb when he was just a few months older than Chloe is now.
Before I get into the actual steps we followed, I wanted to share a conversation I had with Samantha Lambros of Pottyology about potty training. Samantha is a mom of 3 children under 5. She is a behavior analyst and uses the science of behavior to teach new skills and modify behavior. When it came time to potty train her oldest child, she applied her skills as a behavior analyst to train him at 18 months. Her methods are science based and backed and supported by research and proven to be effective across multiple children. She has created Pottyology, a consulting agency for potty training. She has developed courses and shares tips on her Instagram account. I asked her to share a few tips for a laid back approach to potty training, and here is what she suggested.
So what did we do?
MONTHS ago, I pulled the potty out and put it in the bathroom. (We have one similar to this.) I would sit her on it every once in a while, and tell her, "Soon you'll go peepee in the potty," or something along those lines. I did this before potty training Caleb and it worked really well, too because they were used to seeing the potty and it didn't scare them.
With Caleb, he had started taking his diaper off and would tell me when he had gone in his diaper. Chloe told me a few times, but it was more of last minute decision for her. I honestly woke up one Monday morning and said, "Let's try it." I told myself that if she fought it too much, I would hold off for another couple of months. I didn't place pressure on myself (or on her) to get it done in 3 days.
Because it was a last minute decision, I didn't have any panties purchased for Chloe, so the first day I put her in a dress and didn't put anything under. I used my handy Echo or Siri on my iPhone and set a timer every 15 minutes. I also encouraged her to drink plenty of fluids! Every 15 minutes, I walked her to the potty and we sat there. If she had a successful visit, I gave her a couple of mini chocolate chips. You can use whatever motivates your kids. I figured these were harmless enough. I put her diaper on for naptime, and afterwards she asked to go to the potty (chocolate was a big motivator for her!). We continued this through the afternoon. She had just two accidents the first day and realized it right away. When she had an accident, we said, "It's okay, accidents happen," and walked her to the potty and made her sit anyway.
On Day 2, I extended the timer to every 20 minutes and we repeated the process. She only had one accident on day 2, and she successfully pooped in the potty. We made a big deal about saying bye to the poop as we flushed it down the potty (things I never imagined myself saying #783). We continued to celebrate every success.
By day 3, she was starting to run to the potty on her own, and her big girl underwear came in, so we started using that. I also extended the timer to every 30 minutes. She had a few accidents this day, but we continued with the same praise (and chocolate, duh) when she did go in the potty.
On Days 4 and 5 she had maybe one accident per day, even getting out of the pool to both pee and poop in the potty! Over the weekend she had a couple of accidents as well when we were playing outside and distracted.
During the second week, we continued with the consistency (although we were no longer setting a timer and having her go exactly every 30 minutes), and she did great. By week 3 we were able to leave the diaper off during nap-time, we removed the reward of chocolate chips (we still praise her every time she goes - a high five or a "Yay, Chloe!" does the trick), and at this point, a month in, she is only wearing the diaper to sleep (and no, I have no plans of night training just yet).
We are still reminding her to go to the potty regularly, but most of the time she will let us know when she needs to go. She has accidents once every couple of days, but most of the time she catches herself before she has a puddle underneath her and yells, "Mommy, potty!"
So there you have it, my quarantined potty training experience. If you don't have the bandwidth to do this at the moment, don't try it. If you don't think your child is ready, don't add more to your plate. The key to being successful is consistency. And if you want more tips, head over to Pottyology, because she is definitely the expert in this field!
Have you potty trained a child during quarantine? How did it go for you?
We aren't huge schedule people, but I have found that if we have a loose schedule to follow during these days, we all function a little bit better. I know that when the kids are doing free play or quiet time I can get a little work done, and during the other times I can attend to them much more.
Some days we will follow this, and other days we won't. My goal is to get him to complete all his school work in the morning so the afternoon can be filled with more "fun" things. But since he can't work for two or even one hour in a row, I'm breaking up the work for him so it resembles his school schedule a little more. The afternoon hours are typically much more blended together and it's more of a big block of time, but since he will be having class Zoom calls in the afternoon, I still wanted to schedule the hours a little bit.
Chloe follows probably an eighth of this schedule, but they do play together during his breaks and when we go outside. They have their snacks and meals together. I'm really letting them just enjoy one another and play together as much as possible.
At the end of the day, we are all trying our best. If following a schedule like this stresses you out, don't do it. For us, Caleb is up super early every morning, and he tends to do much better if he can anticipate what is coming, especially when it comes to completing his work.
I hope this helps you maintain some semblance of order in your house, too!
This has been such a weird time of adjustment. When school was in session, we had a morning routine down pat and it was usually pretty smooth. Now, we are all sleeping in later (except Caleb), and our routine is definitely not streamlined. While I haven't been utilizing a strict schedule with the kids, we have a pretty loose list of what we do on a daily basis.
I have wavered back and forth between letting Caleb just be and play all day and giving him a few structured activities. In the end, I realized he likes to learn and he thrives with just a little bit of structure, so we are doing some instructional learning in the mornings. The rest of the day is pretty loose.
But there are three things I want him to do each morning - Brush his teeth, make his bed, and get dressed. So I made this little chart for him to check off, and I'm keeping it with his instructional items.
Download and print, it's that easy. If you have access to a laminating machine, laminate it and use dry-erase markers so you can reuse it!
Hope that helps!
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