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Do You Need A Musical Potty Chair?

Posted April 13, 2014

So many choices!  As with nearly every baby product you can think of, potty chairs come in top-of-the-line styles with bells, whistles, colors and surprizes and celebrations.  "Potty training has never been easier or more fun than with potty seats by Arm and Hammer.  Get the 3-in-1 special rewards potty chair."  " Choose the Teamsen Prince or Princes chairs ($66.00 each) and your children will be delighted!""

"If only these fancy seats had been around 40 years ago..." I've never heard anybody say.  Not only were potty chairs simpler then - toilet training was simpler then.  Not because kids jumped out of their diapers with glee to use the potty but because nobody cared as much about getting it done.  There was not much of the competition amongst parents as there is now, nor were there many choices in potty chairs.  They were built to be practical, washable and the only fancy thing you had to decide about was if you wanted pink or blue.  And they were very inexpensive. 

My main message to you today: whistling and ringing potty chairs are offputting to many children.  I've never had a parent tell me that the only one her child would pee in was the one with the choo-choo sounds.  For most kids the transition out of diapers is a bit daunting anyway, mostly because of parental enthusiasm (translates into pressure).  Dressing up a potty chair to resemble an exersaucer with sounds and asking your child to sit on it when they know something is about to happen is a recipe for refusal. 

I recommend Babybjorn Potty Chair (around $29.95) for your child.  It sits steadily on the floor and is made very simply.  No noises, no rewards and nothing to startle your child when the pee starts to come.  Cheers!

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Filed under: Toilet Learning


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Naps Are Hard for My Three Month Old Baby - Help!

Posted March 31, 2014

Dear Kitty,

Regarding my now 3 month old boy and his sleep habits, he now sleeps thru the night from 7pm to 6am. He usually wakes around 4 am and fusses for a short time then goes back to sleep. I've been putting him down for his first nap around 7:15am and leaving him for 1.5 hours. He has been sleeping for 45 minutes then waking and crying for the remainder. Because I have a 2.5 year old we have activites and outings scheduled so Evan gets his 2nd nap in his carseat where he sleeps for 1 - 2.5 hours long, most of the time in motion - his best nap. His 3rd nap he has been sleeping for 45 and crying for the remainder.

How can I help him learn to take as long a nap at home in his crib as he does when he is in the car?
 And yes, I am again looking for some supportive words and wisdom. Any other thoughts you have would be appreciated as well. Thanks so much.  Sara J.

Hi Sara,

You've done very well helping your son learn to sleep through the night.  Allowing him to fuss when he wakes at 4 gives him good practice at calming himself back to sleep.  I agree with your timing of the 7:15 am nap since he'll do best with just 1 hour awake time at his age.  Be sure you always put him into bed awake for his naps and give him plenty of time to use and practice his self-calming skills.  These skills will help him when he wakes up accidentally half way through his nap.  I agree with leaving him in his crib as he tries to finish off the full 1.5 or 2 hour nap.  However, as long as his second nap is regularly in the car with motion to put him to sleep, that's what he will continue to prefer.  It's a very strong crutch for him as it is with many babies.

If you could arrange to be home for 4-5 days straight and put him down awake for every nap (4/day) and leave him in his safe crib for the duration of a good nap (2 hours), I believe he would very quickly learn how to get back to sleep from that 45-minute accidental wake up.  Soon he will be sleeping for his full nap, without the need for any crutches.  Once you've helped him become very good at self-calming during his naps, you could probably return to taking some of your outings in the car and allowing him occasionally to fall asleep that way, without worrying that he'll lose his self-calming talents.  

By letting him stay home and be put to bed on time and awake for every nap over several days, I predict that whatever self-calming strategies he uses to get to sleep at bedtime and back to sleep at 4 am, will soon - with lots of practice - become part of his naptime routine as well.

If you would like to book a telephone counseling appointment to discuss this further, use this link.

Cheers,

Kitty Raymond



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My Favorite Preschool Philosophy

Posted March 16, 2014

Reggio Emilia is a town in the Emilia Romagna provice in Northern Italy.  From there has come a unique  philosophy of learning for young children which differs dramatically from the Montessori philosophy and from other preschool teaching styles I've observed and taught, before.  I was able to visit a model Reggio preschool years ago in Washington DC.  I felt like I was watching learning from a totally new perspective.  I loved it!

I watched as the teachers (guides) observed and listened to the children, wrote notes on their observations in order to decide what tomorrow's preschool day would look like.  They would make mall, significant changes based on what they saw and heard. This was the basis of the Emergent Curriculum.

"Emergent Curriculum: An emergent curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through community or family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadow, dinosaurs, etc.). Team planning is an essential component of the emergent curriculum. Teachers work together to formulate hypotheses about the possible directions of a project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support and involvement." (from website for Discovery Preschool, Calgary)

Many parents may have already chosen their child's preschool for September and some of you may not be planning to send your child to preschool.  It is an optional choice.  However if you are interested in pursuing this learning philosophy for your child,  I've listed the Reggio-based preschools I know of in Calgary, below.


http://discoverypreschool.info/

http://www.peterpandaycare.ca/approach.html

http://thekidscountryclub.com/hello

http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b234/about.htm

http://kingslandcommunitypreschool.com/about/reggio-approach/

http://christchurchcalgary.org/preschool/

 

Have I missed any Reggio preschools in Calgary?  What about the city you live in?

Have you had experience with a Reggio Emilia preschool?  What did you think about it for your child?  If you would like to discuss or ask questions of other parents, go to my Facebook page to comment.

 

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Filed under: Preschool Education


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A Baby Learns To Talk

Posted March 9, 2014

Irene, mother to Dalia who is  15 months old, asked me how to help her daughter learn to talk.  Dalia has a few words, already, including 'mama' (not daddy, yet), 'ball' and 'baba' (bottle).  Irene doesn't remember teaching Dalia these words, and wonders if learning language is automatic for a baby or does a parent need to help.

Much research has been devoted to finding out how, when and by what means an infant begins to learn language.  Recently I've come across two items I know you'll be interested in.  One is a Ted Talk by Researcher Patricia Kuhl called The Linguistic Genius of Babies.  Her work is fascinating to watch!

The other item is a summary of research which shows the value of babies listening to conversations going on around them. It describes how babies use context in their quest to learn to speak.  Use this link.

I also reminded Irene of the benefit of using rhyming recitation and songs during playtimes with Dalia.  Good examples can be found in nursery rhymes like Baa Baa Blacksheep, Jack and Jill, Row Row Row your boat, The einsy weensy spider and many more you can find here

 

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Filed under: language learning


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