Television as Babysitter?

Posted July 29, 2012

I was like many parents - worried that my kids were growing up with too much TV.  However, there were times...when I so looked forward to the time of day when Sesame Street came on.  (old version)  Once in a while I felt desperate enough that I didn't care what was on!  And yes, my kids had snacks and sometimes meals on a tablecloth in front of the TV.  I soothed myself by calling it a picnic.

Early on, though, I found out almost by accident that I could create situations in which my child would play independently of me!  I didn't even need to turn the TV on when I needed a break.  Since then,  I've written a few blogs on independent play:

Ways to Play with Your Child Without Becoming a Playmate

Your Child in Your Back Yard,

Aiming for Independent Play 

Dear Kitty, My Child Refuses to Play Alone Ever!

Guarding Your Child's Free Time

Time Management with a Toddler

Today I'd like to share a blog written by Janet Lansbury of Elevating Childhood. She  addresses the concept of independent play as an alternative to using the TV as a babysitter.  I think you'll enjoy it! The blog is entitled A Creative Alternative to Baby TV Time.




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Toilet Training Question from a Dad

Posted July 22, 2012

Dear Kitty,

My daughter, Isobelle, is 27 months and my wife and I are starting toilet training with her.  Long story short, it's not going well.  She did great at first and actually peed on the potty twice that day!  We cheered and clapped and let her know we were really proud of her.  After that, she seemed to not want to do it again.  We've tried not to force anything, we just check with her through the day.  She says no every time and we are beginning to feel frustrated.  Do you have any pointers for us?

Dear Dad,

Some children Isobelle's age accept toilet training in a matter-of-fact way and never look back.  Many others, in fact the majority, I believe, are  put off by some aspects of toilet "training."  These toddlers may become easily overwhelmed and begin to resist the parent's efforts.  I suspect, from what you say, that Isobelle is in this category.

Just the cheering and clapping for early successes can be overwhelming for some children.  She will do better if you take her success calmly and simply make a positive comment such as "There is pee in the potty," with a happy look on your face. Leave off the baloons, the party and the calls to Grandma!

Many children seem to sense when a parent has an agenda - and they resist on principle.  ("If dad gets really excited about this and asks me about it all the time, I better be very, very cautious until I know what's going on.")  It's better if you don't show all your cards -letting it be known how much you really, really want this to happen.  Two year olds can be contrary by nature and this could give her one more opportunity.

She also may feel rushed.  Personally, I believe we are focusing on toilet training too early in a child's life.  Most parents start because every other parent they know is starting...I"m not sure this is a good enough reason.  I don't know of a single child development expert or study that recommends children be toilet trained at age two.

As I will state in my upcoming "Toilet Learning the Easy Way" on Tuesday, August 21, 2012, I recommend that the year between 2 and 3 be spent with you and your wife as fancy models of what you do in the bathroom - without any enticement yet, for your daughter to perform.  Handled with sensitivity and patience, this learning can happen in a seamless way, with Isobelle turning 3 having voluntariiy followed you, step by step, to mastery.  This is how she learned to use your cell phone, after all!  I will also cover what to do if preschool looms... 

Note to readers:  If you have a child over age three who is highly resistant to learing how to use the toilet or has become constipated in the process, I believe that a Telephone Counseling appointment with me will serve you even better than this seminar. 



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Filed under: Toilet Learning


Unquestioned Leadership

Posted July 16, 2012

Mathew, age 3, is yelling at his mother.  He doesn’t want to go to bed.  He has been lining his trucks up making a ‘truck stop’ and he isn’t finished.  His mother has already given him 10 extra minutes and now it’s past bedtime.  She is pleading with him and soon resorts to threatening.  “If you don’t come now, you won’t be able to use your bike tomorrow or go to Gregory’s house to play!  I’m warning you!”


This is a huge, nightly power struggle between Matthew and his mother.  Matthew’s reasons are different each night but the result is the same.  Mom gives Matthew a heads up about bedtime approaching and Matthew begins to dig in his heels.  Soon mom is reminding him that the time is getting shorter…begins to nag him about putting his toys away “NOW!” Soon Matthew is yelling, “You can’t make me!”

Matthew is no different from any other child in that he strongly needs his mom’s unquestioned leadership in order to do his best in a situation like this.  This is what it might look like.


Mom, having observed this problem developing over several nights, needs a plan.  She might decide to restructure the time after dinner.  First Matthew needs to get into his pajamas and brush his teeth.  Then, the next 30 minutes belong to him.  He can use this time however he wants, choosing to make his ‘truck stop’ or asking a parent to play something with him.  At the start of this 30 minutes free time, mom sets a kitchen timer.  She explains to Matthew that when the timer rings, his playtime is over and it’s time for a story in his bedroom.  The story, however, depends on his cooperation with the kitchen timer. 


A night or two may go by before this plan begins to work for Matthew.  He might need to test out the whole idea and see if mom will let him play longer if he begs, or maybe she’ll take pity on him and still read to him even when he doesn’t cooperate with the timer. 


Matthew needs to find out right away that mom won’t budge on the new plan. If Matthew doesn’t respond immediately when the timer rings, the story is cancelled for that night and his only choice is to walk himself to his room or be carried. This is unquestioned leadership – something every child needs from his or her parents in order to grow up feeling secure.  Children will do best when they see a parent acting with confidence and consistency.  Matthew’s mom can stay calm (but firm) because she has practiced this plan in her head.  Now there will be the right balance of power between parent and child when it comes to bedtime issues.


Learn more about unquestioned leadership on Tuesday, August 18 at Kitty’s seminar Setting Healthy Limits Age 1-4 Years.

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Filed under: Discipline

Sleep Training Made Simple

Posted July 9, 2012

In today's world, parents deserve to have choices about how to help their child learn to sleep well.  Many parents search for a "softer" way to help their baby learn to sleep at night and take good, refreshing naps.  Many other parents have tried several methods already and are desperate for a plan that will work quickly, bringing relief to their sleep-deprived family.

Kitty Raymond's new "Sleep Training Made Simple" seminar offers a selection of the most popular, well-respected sleep training methods for parents to study and choose from.  Kitty will present the pros and cons of each method, saving parents the time and cost of searching through the myriad of books written on the subject.

Kitty bases all her seminars on pediatric research and "Sleep Training Made Simple" is no different.  She discusses pediatric insomnia, inability to initiate sleep and disorders of sleep maintenance. Also covered will be the sleep training theories of Marc Weissbluth and Richard Ferber.  Parents will have a clear understanding of the importance of sleep and feel empowered to choose a training method that fits for their family.

At Raymond Parenting, Kitty has been counseling families on the benefits of successful sleep training for nearly 30 years.


Please feel free to forward this announcement to friends and families you think will be interested.

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Filed under: Sleep and sleep training, News from Kitty, Interesting Parenting Matters

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