parenting

How To Potty Train A Toddler Fast

Potty training is among the most challenging times for any given parent. However, since the toddlers must pass through this level, we need to master how to fasten the process so that we can make it as painless as possible for all parties included.

Potty training your toddler fast is possible but it will require some level of patience and some wit. In this article, we highlight some of the tips that you can use if you are looking forward to training your toddler on how to use the potty fast.

1. Let them watch and learn

Toddlers learn better by observation. If you have another kid in the house who is already using the potty, you can let them watch and learn from the process. Let them observe you or daddy when they go to the toilet so that they can know how it’s done. Loop in the support of other family members in this case.

2. Be patient and consistent

You have to be very patient and very consistent with the toddlers when potty training them. You will be sending them to the potty in intervals and you need to keep the consistency solid. For instance, you could start off with 10 minutes apart and scale up slowly as they get used to going to the potty. Whether or not they have something to take out, always take them to the potty when the time comes. They will soon get used to the process.

Always stick to the routine. If it helps, you can set up an alarm so that you can always be on point with these sessions.

3. Bribe them

Bribes work magic when potty training. You can give the toddler candy when they go to the potty. You can give them an extra candy when they actually poop. If you are training them how to wipe themselves as well, offer them an extra candy if they do it. Be ready for a messy session though, as it will be part of the process.

4. Keep praising them

Do not go slow on the praises when your toddlers use the potty. This will keep encouraging them to go to the potty so that they can receive these praises. Ask the other family members to assist in heaping on the praises and turn this moment into a fun occasion.

5. Keep the potty in a visible location

Do not hide the potty from the toddler. By keeping it accessible and in an open location, it does something to their minds. They will be able to run to the potty as soon as they experience the first signs of pooping. If you keep the potty hidden, you might not fasten this process.

6. Let them run around naked

Toddlers love running around the house naked. Let them be but only after they have gone to the potty and pooped. This will encourage them to keep going as you will give them the freedom to stay naked after. When they get used to it, slowly work your way back into clothing.

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Motherhood, parenting

6 Ways To Build Your Toddler’s Vocab

One of the most exciting milestones, for both you and your child, is when your child learns how to talk. If you have a young toddler, chances are that they already know and use a few simple words. But more words mean more power— power to better understand the world and power to better understand themselves. Of course, most kids will learn more words naturally over time, but jump-starting your toddler’s vocab can’t hurt! Even so, there’s no need to break out the flashcards or buy fancy learning aids; the best and most effective ways of teaching your toddler are actually free. This list of 6 Ways to Build Your Toddler’s Vocab will show you easy ways to introduce new words to your young toddler, so that they’re chatting up a storm by the time they’re ready for preschool.

1. Lead by example.

To your young toddler, you’re just about the coolest person in the world. They want to dress like you, act like you, and yes, talk like you! Arguably the best way to boost your toddler’s vocab is to talk to them… a lot. Narrate what you’re doing throughout the day and talk about things that they are doing as well. The more you say any given word, the more likely that they’ll pick up on it too!

2. Introduce new experiences.

Narrating daily life for your toddler is great, but if you have the same routine day after day, the number of new words they’re exposed to will still be limited. You can expose them to even more vocab by going to new places and seeing new things with your toddler. You don’t have to completely give up your routine to do this either. Even something as simple as changing the route of your daily walk can give you tons of new things to talk about. You can also try going to a different grocery store with different products, going to a new park, or trying out a new kid-friendly restaurant.

3. Introduce new people.

Spending time around different people can be just as helpful as spending time in different places when it comes to learning new words. Make sure your toddler has plenty of opportunities to play with kids their own age as well as older kids and adults. Since everyone experiences life differently, words that you don’t typically use could be commonplace to others.

4. Read to them.

Another great way to help your toddler grow their vocab is to read to them, and not just before bedtime. Your toddler will have a better chance at picking up new words if they are awake and excited rather than tired and cranky. Try to pick books with fun, colorful pictures that you can talk to them about. Books with “sound” words (like “boom!” and “splat!”) or actions (like “stomp” and “clap”) are also great for introducing new words while having fun.

5. Limit TV time.

While watching television can be entertaining, it’s easier for toddlers to learn new words when they hear those words in real life. Because of this, you should try to choose activities that involve more interaction and cut down on screen time. When your toddler does watch TV, stick around to watch the show with them. You can turn it into an interactive activity by asking them questions, pointing out fun things in the background of a scene, and acting out their favorite parts with them. That way, your toddler can still watch the shows they love while also working on their vocab.

6. Encourage them.

When children are first learning to talk, you might naturally feel the urge to correct their mistakes. But unless they ask for help pronouncing something, you should let them stumble through their words at first. Constantly being corrected quite simply makes things less fun, and toddlers learn best when they’re having fun! Instead, try adding to what they’ve already said to show that you understand and that you’re interested too.

With so many fancy, expensive learning aids promising to help your toddler become a master wordsmith, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out because, of course, all parents want what’s best for their children. Luckily, in this case, what’s best is not what costs the most money. Keeping learning simple and fun (and free!) will not only ensure that your toddler is building their vocab, but it will also get both of you excited about the process again.

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Motherhood, parenting

Learning to Cope With Post Partum Depression & Anxiety

By Jasmine Aranda

September, 2016. One week before my 22nd birthday. I got a gift I hadn’t expected to receive- a baby was on the way, and it was time to get my head on straight.

I spent each and every day of my pregnancy doing research. Having never grown up around babies, I wanted to make sure I knew everything there was to know, from schedules to milestones. I HAD to know what to expect. I had to have everything in order.

You see, long before I found out about my little tot, I had developed anxiety. I had become scared of life, fearful of Lord knows what every day. It was a miserable existence, and knowing a whole new world of challenges was coming my way, I had to figure out how to cope with it so I could be the best mom I can be.

I let the doctor know about my mental health issues. I had medication trial and errors, and evaluations at every visit. I did everything I could to stay excited about the little girl on the way and not fixate on all the things that could very well go wrong.

All seemed well, and in order, and when the time came, I was ready to be the mom I knew I was capable of being. I had the knowledge, the technology, and the support to keep myself together and take care of my child. I felt confident that even though I had suffered through anxiety and depression, keeping myself afloat would keep the PPD away.
Hahahahahahahahahahhahhahahahhahhaa.

I was a fool to think I could prevent the inevitable, and while I did my best to be prepared for it, it’s a bullet that is not easily dodged.

Post partum depression comes in shortly after birth, and while there is no definite cause, there are several factors that contribute to PPD. Hormones, exhaustion, and pre-existing conditions all add up to PPD and can happen to almost any woman who gives birth. Symptoms include your typical depression symptoms- crying, feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest or rage. These symptoms can also extend towards an inability to bond with the baby as well as feeling that the mother may harm the baby as well as herself. Post partum depression can last a few months up to a couple of years after birth, although this can depend on how soon the condition is diagnosed and treated.

I knew I had PPD after just a few weeks. My doctor knew to watch for it, and I gave myself time immediately after to heal and try and get settled into a groove to see if I was just feeling bad or if there was actually something wrong. I found myself bawling my eyes out as I fed my baby, and completely flipping out on my boyfriend for leaving a wrapper on the couch. Getting rest was hard, and I felt I had no escape. I began having panic attacks, once a month, then multiple times a month. It was terrifying feeling so emotionally out of control. So I knew I had to come up with some ways, in addition to what I was already doing, to help ease the suffering and confusion.

Some of these things were pretty obvious, others worked by trial and error. The main thing is that it helped, and still helps now. So here are a few things I have done to help cope with PPD in the first year…

1. Being Knowledgeable

I tend to expect the worst of everything. Of course, this probably stems from the fact that I really don’t know enough about some things to know that it’s not as bad as I am making them out to be. Knowing a step beyond the basics goes a long way towards peace of mind. Take milestones for example- knowing that the timeframe for babies to learn things can be relieving because usually there is more leniencies than expected. Also knowing that children go their own unique pace, so just because Johnny down the block can roll over already doesn’t mean he won’t be eating glue with your kid come kindergarten. It’s all going to turn out ok in time.

2. Making Things Easy For Myself

If you are easily overwhelmed, remember that there is no problem whatsoever with making things as easy as possible for yourself. Don’t let others interfere with your schedule- if you need to feed or put the baby down for a nap at a certain time, stick to it. It makes things easier for the both of you in the long run. It also helps to keep everything organized and within easy reach. In the beginning I had a tendency to bring everything I needed into the living room- bassinet, swing, diapers and wipes, and since I was breastfeeding that was one more thing I didn’t have to prepare. I could do everything I needed to in one area, and not have to run around with a grumpy baby.

3. Talking To The Doctor

From the beginning, I knew I would need help. Coping with my anxiety was difficult from the beginning- I couldn’t figure out why everything was so overwhelming, why nothing I did ever seemed to work out. Just before leaving school I found that speaking to a counselor combined with medication actually did make a difference. I knew it was something that I had to stick with, because let’s be real here- face masks and essential oils are only going to get you so far. I needed REAL help, so keeping my doctor in the loop on how I was feeling went a long way towards helping me overcome my PPD by the end of the first year.

4. Me Time

Motherhood feels like it swallows our whole identity. We live and breathe our children, we’re always talking about our children, planning a future for our children. Sometimes we forget that before we were moms, we were just… us.
Carve out time- an hour at least- to get into a hobby you enjoyed, or create a new one. Call up a friend and catch up. Do something that is entirely a YOU thing, not a mom thing. Being a mom is the greatest thing in the world, but you gotta remember- you are still you, too.
I personally enjoying doing something artsy, and blogging has been a good medium for that creativity. I can create things and I can write out my feelings. It is terrifyingly public, yes, but if this story helps somebody then hey, it’s worth putting it out there.

5. Ask For Help

There’s a lot of pressure to be the mom who is on top of her game. However, being a mom with PPD means there’s an extra layer of challenge on top of everything. Please don’t try to do everything on your own; it will not work.
We all want to be great mom’s, but it can get tiresome. Between being exhausted from depression and sleep deprivation, it’s hard to keep going 24/7. Ask a sibling to come by, they would love to see their little niece or nephew. A close friend would always be down to come play with the baby for a bit. And you already know grandma is more than ready to get hands on with your little one- just reach out and ask.

6. Get Rest

My mom was dropping hints for months that she wanted to babysit overnight, and I brushed it off because I didn’t want to seem like I was abandoning my child. She finally told me straight, “You are tired. I see it. Let me take her for a night and you rest.” It was horrifying initially, but the sleep that night… Yes, please.
Having adequate amounts of rest makes a huge difference. Being sleep deprived will make your more susceptible to irritability, moodiness, and a full blown mental breakdown. Always, always, always rest whenever you get the chance (don’t forget- you can ask for help anytime!).

7. The Dishes Can Wait

I wouldn’t call myself OCD, but when things are out of order it does trigger my anxiety. Within the first year there is a lot of changes going on with you and your little one, which means a lot of schedule changes. Once you get something down, it’s on to the next thing! This makes it difficult to hold down the fort around the rest of the house, and while having a perfect home seems necessary, in reality it’s not. There are way more important things that you are doing- parenting and maintaining your mental health. It may be a day or a week before those dishes get done, but they will get done on your time. For now, just take a deep breath, and enjoy each day watching your baby grow. A little mess is hardly worth the stress.

8. Talk To A Professional

As much as we want our friends and family to understand us, there are just some things they can’t get no matter how you explain it. I can’t explain why a plate on the counter can make me crumble to bits, or why I feel so hopeless when I seem to have everything going for me. Having a counselor to talk to helped me in a different way- I was able to vent my frustrations and express myself to someone who wasn’t biased. It was a short escape every other week where I had someone who could help me reflect on what was truly bothering me so I could learn how to deal when I got all worked up.

9. Recognize Triggers

While there wasn’t any specific thing wrong, there were little things that didn’t really help my mental state. I was so easily agitated it was ridiculous. Through my counseling, I began thinking about what it was that was getting me worked up most of the time. Disorganization was a major one, so I did my best to keep what I could straight and tidy, and getting my boyfriend to lend a hand when he could.

10. Keeping Cool

When something did trigger tearfulness or rage, and I recognized it, I then had the opportunity to stop and calm myself before I let myself get too frazzled. I know that 95% of the things that bothered me only bothered me because of my depression, not because it was an actual issue. It’s important to remind yourself that you’re just tired, it’s just a plate, and there are way more important things- like baby snuggles- that your extra energy could be going towards.

Being Patient
Overcoming post partum depression does not happen overnight. It will be many long months before you start feeling yourself again. My daughter is 15 months old at the time of this writing, and while there has been significant improvement, I still slip into bouts of hopelessness and sadness. Remember that you are stronger than your conditions, and even when it’s rough, there’s a little one who can’t wait to see their mama every day. Baby steps are for moms, too.

About Author

Hello! My name is Jasmine and I am a part time blogger at Rise and Blossom and a full time mom to my little girl, Tate. I currently live in West Texas with my daughter, husband and two dogs. When I am not writing I am often found drinking coffee, chasing my toddler, or trying my hand at something artsy.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/riseandblossom

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/riseandblossom/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/riseandblossomofficial/

Website: http://www.riseandblossom.com/

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Arts Project, Motherhood, parenting, Toddler

How To Have Fun With Toddlers – 5 Art Projects To Do With Kids

By Samantha Gonzalez.

Kids love to create. It’s in their nature. My belief is that we can all benefit from a regular dose of creativity. So here are 5 projects you can do with your kids to get those creative juices flowing!

*Note these were designed with toddlers and preschoolers in mind, but older kids would love them too, as well as their parents!”

1.) Crown decorating
For this you’ll need:
Paper (construction or printer paper works fine, but for sturdiness, we used poster board)
Paint supplies
Glue
Rhinestones/Glitter/Sequins/Anything sparkly!

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Start by making a quick measurement of your child’s head. Cut the paper or poster board that length, plus 2-3 inches. Add paper with glue or tape as needed.

Then cut a few points at the top of the rectangle. You can let your child dictate how many and what size to you if they are old enough. We want to give them as much involvement as possible!

Let them paint away!

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Wait for the paint to dry (maybe try out another project while you wait!)

Glue on the shineys

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When it’s dry, tape, glue, or staple the crown together and bow to the royalty. This is a great prop for dramatic play as well as a fun art project!

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2.) Caterpillars and Butterflies
I love this project because it does so much in one activity! Art, Fine motor skills, the science of a butterfly’s metamorphosis, and a fun toy. For this you’ll need:
Pipe Cleaners
Coffee Filters
Washable Markers
Beads
Spray bottle of water

Make the Caterpillar
First loop one end of a pipe cleaner and twist to keep the beads from falling off, then thread beads on. How much help you give will depend on the age and maturity of the child. I love teaching threading with pipe cleaners because they won’t flop or fray like string and thread will! Threading is an important fine motor skill for toddlers and preschoolers, and even older kids have fun with choosing colors and experimenting with patterns.
Once your child is satisfied (or bored) with the threading, twist off the end like you did before and bend another pipe cleaner in half around the loop and twist to make antenna. You can get creative here too by either cutting them short, twirling them, or keeping them long!
Make the Cocoon
Now take out your coffee filters and markers and let your child color and scribble. The more colors the better! If your caterpillar is longer, you might need two coffee filters.
Help the child roll the caterpillar up in the cocoon. Now is a good time to talk about the metamorphic process!
Spray the wrapped caterpillar with water. Make sure the filter gets really wet.

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I did this right before nap time so we told the caterpillar goodnight, then I came back out to spread the coffee filters back out so they would be dry by the time she woke up.

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Make the Butterfly
This part you can do alone with smaller kids so they can see the “magic” of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Or you can let older kids try it on their own.

Once the coffee filters are dry, twist a third pipe cleaner around the middle of the caterpillar the again around the coffee filter. And you’re done!

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3.) Love Is… Painting
This one requires a little more prep and artistic work for mom. But you’ll not only have a fun project to do with your little one, but also an adorable keepsake or gift that’s perfect for Mother’s day, Father’s day, or Grandparents.

Begin by painting a canvas a solid color. You can have the toddler help!

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When it’s dry, write on the canvas with a sharpie or paint pen.

Now paint your child’s hand and feet a contrasting color to the background and make prints in the spaces you left. For mine, the feet became the “V” and the hand stood in place of the “A”

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Let it dry, then display!

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4.) Rock Painting

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Paint is fun. But younger kids will often lose focus quickly, making you wonder if it was worth the prep and mess clean up. However, the more senses we appeal to, the longer toddlers and preschoolers will stay engaged. So for this project, we’re just going to paint. But instead of paper, pull out those river rocks you collected from your last vacation! The bumpy and rough texture combined with trying to get the smooth, wet paint to cover it, will keep the little ones much more focused. You can also provide some shineys to stick on and make some treasures to hide and search for later.

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You might even find a local rock hiding group and use the rocks there!

5.) Foil painting
This was a Pinterest find that I wanted to try. Literally, all you need is paint and foil! you can also add a little dish soap to the paint to keep it from flaking when it dries.
The foil has a fun texture and sound when touched, so it keeps toddlers engaged for longer. Remember, the more senses we can appeal to the more toddlers and preschoolers will have to keep their focus. For my little one, this quickly turned from traditional painting, to finger painting, to a full sensory exploration! Just be ready for the mess afterwards!

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Bonus Project!
If all this painting makes you think of one thing
“All. The. Mess.”
Then here’s a bonus project for you!
All you need is a zippered plastic bag and some paint. Tape helps too.
Pour a few colors of paint into the bag. I like to choose colors that mix well.
Zip the bag shut.
Tape it to the window, table, or just hand it over to the child.
Viola! Mess-free finger painting!

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Hope you enjoyed these five art project ideas for you to do with your toddler or preschooler! Check out my blog for weekly project ideas for your kids and for you. Whimsyroo.wordpress.com

ABOUT AUTHOR


Samantha is the owner of the WhimsyRoo blog and shop. The mission of WhimsyRoo is to spread creativity and whimsy to mothers and their children, no matter their skill level or time constraints!

Samantha is also a dance instructor for ages 2-18, and the mom of a beautiful three year old girl.

She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Facebook – @whimsyroo
Instagram – @whimsy.roo
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food, Motherhood, parenting

A Dietitian’s Guide To Baby’s First Food

By Nurfarah Hanani Amir Hamzah.

New mothers are surely excited to see their babies had the first spoon fed into the mouth. When you had noticed your baby is ready to be introduced with the complementary food, it will be a wonderful experience for both mother and baby.

Sometimes we might feel some pressure, whether we are doing things right and not causing harm to the baby. But don’t worry, here’s some quick tips for you mothers who wanted to prepare home cooked baby’s first food.

1. Do a meal planning on weekly basis. This will save you a lot of time for purchasing and preparation.

2. Be sure that all utensils, including cutting boards, grinder, knives, and other items, are thoroughly cleaned. Best is to separate the utensils and use it solely for your baby’s food.

3. Practice hand hygiene by washing your hands before preparing the food and feeding your baby. This is to reduce the risk of infections.

4. Do not add salt, sugar or any preservatives. Do not add honey to food intended for infants younger than 1 year of age.

5. Pick one new food at a time to be introduced and combine the food when your baby knowingly didn’t have any allergies to both.

6. If any allergies symptoms emerged, stop feeding the food. Try challenge the food again, after 1 month.

7. The steps of the food texture: puree -> semi solid -> solid

8. You may start with starch and/or vegetables and when your child reach 8 months, you may start preparing some porridge with introduction of protein. However, white egg should only be introduced after 12 months.

9. Use plastic spoon to avoid injuries. The BPA-free plastic spoons are abundantly available at the retail stores.

10. Make it a fun and relaxed environment for your baby. Never put the pressure for the baby to finish the food. For working mothers, best is to do it on Saturdays as you will have 24 hours to monitor your baby’s acceptance to the introduced food till Sunday evening.

11. Never stops breastfeeding the babies even after your baby starts eating. For formula fed babies, you might need to reduce the number of feeding.

Hopefully these tips will ease your mind in starting this new adventure in your life! Remember to always have fun with food and practice balance, moderate and variety.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Farahanani is a speaker and writer while working full time as a Dietitian & Clinical Instructor.
Her day job which she has the most passion in teaching aspiring students to be a Dietitian, doesn’t hinder her from other passion in sharing dietary advices to her readers on her personal blog at farahanani.blogspot.com and guest writer at parenting magazine.
Her mission is to spread more nutrition information to Malaysian particularly Malay Speaking community since she realised the limited Malay Language articles in such topics.

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Motherhood, parenting

5 Reasons To Care About Social Skills More Than School

By Emily Edlynn.

As a child psychologist, I knew the textbook importance of all areas of child development long before I became a mother. Little did I know the real-world pressures on parents for their children to excel and reach goals that society has decided are important. When I was pregnant with my first child, living in Los Angeles, I decided we had to move when people repeatedly asked me if my unborn child was on a kindergarten waiting list yet.

In my roles both as mother and psychologist, I know these academic pressures can start really young, and parents worry about whether preschool is preparing their child enough for kindergarten. Of course, this anxiety skyrockets when these kids are in high school getting ready for college. But we may all be losing focus on what matters most for our children’s futures.

Research has shown over and over how important social relationships are across the lifespan, from infant brain development, to being an adult with lower risk of mental and physical health problems.

School matters, but relationships matter more.

Most parents I know say that what they want most for their children is for them to be happy. If that’s true, then we need to care more about how our kids are learning to interact and relate with other people, than how quickly they are learning to read chapter books and do multiplication.

5 Reasons to Care about Social Skills More than School:

1) Play Dates Over Hours of Homework

Decades of research show that social skills in childhood and adolescence are the strongest predictors of success in college and later in life. It matters more than grade point average, test scores, or sports trophies.

2) Work Hard AND Play Hard Is True

Recent research shows that academics are actually linked to social skills, so they go hand-in-hand rather than competing with each other. One recent study of kids in a social skills program in elementary school showed they improved academically after the program.

3) Let’s All NOT Get Along

We all want our kids to get along, but conflict can be just as important as harmony. Whether it’s figuring out who gets to play with the toy both toddlers want, or a fight over hurt feelings in middle school, conflict is a part of life and the better we deal with it, the better our relationships. Kids need the opportunity to have conflict to build these skills, which is more likely when they have unstructured play without adult supervision.

4) The Key to Happiness

It’s simple and common sense, but also shown in research: having close, meaningful relationships makes us happy no matter our age. We know that teenagers with depression and anxiety have lower quality social relationships, likely because their symptoms are getting in the way of socializing. In fact, a huge part of treating these symptoms is to encourage MORE time with positive friends. People with all different kinds of problems are more likely to manage these problems well when they have strong networks of support.

5) Who Am I?

Every child is figuring out their sense of self in different ways as they get older. First, young kids learn who they are outside of the family unit when they engage with the world in daycare or other opportunities without their parents. In elementary school, being around even larger groups of other kids pushes them to start identifying who THEY are with basic labels. Teenagers are famous for “trying on” different personalities as they figure out their identity in the larger world. This experimentation likely involves different kinds of friend groups. All of this identity development is a function of social relationships: Who am I with others? Who am I in this world?

There is no doubt that school is a hugely important part of a child’s development. Doing well in school earns more than a good grade point average; it builds work ethic, critical thinking skills, self-esteem, and of course knowledge.

So to be clear: I’m not saying, “Just forget about school and focus on friends!” I think many of us need to find a balance of where we are focusing that better reflects what we know about how essential social skills are to every other part of life. Although school success can pay off in many ways for our kids’ futures, it is clear that who surrounds our kids while they grow and learn, and how our kids relate to each other, matter even more.

ABOUT AUTHOR


Dr. Edlynn is the author of The Art and Science of Mom parenting blog. She is a child psychologist and mother of three children, ages 8, 6, and 3. Her mission is helping families find calm in the chaos of modern parenting by blending science and instinct. She can also be found at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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