Age: General toddler

Potty Training the Toddler – Potty Charts, Rewards & Tips

How we potty trained: Psychology, reward charts, practice!

So we started potty training some time ago, but then lost momentum

The toddler (2.5 years as I write this) is pretty good at going to the potty now at home and if he is not wearing a nappy or trousers. But, if he has nappy and clothes on then he will just continue to use the nappy, not say when he needs the potty, and not use the potty. So I needed to get back on track with the training:

 

Potty training – Stage 2

The toddler is acquainted with the potty now so that’s some of the hard work done. I decided to make a chart where he can see his gains and successes and include rewards and positive reinforcement.

 

The psychology behind it

  • Graded exposure – to the potty (practice) – Child gets used to using the potty and increased skill and confidence with experience working their way up to a final goal (e.g. using potty or big toilet and no longer wearing nappy)
  • Behavioural psychology – rewards and reinforcement
What does this mean? Graded exposure relates to gradually in a step by step manner getting used to something starting with one small step and building on this with bigger steps. You might make an exposure hierarchy which is a ladder of experiences starting with a step that causes only a small amount of change/disruption that would be more manageable, and an experience at the top that would be very difficult to achieve in the first instance (but more manageable after you’ve achieved all the steps leading up to it). Once a step has been mastered any concern or upset about the following step tends to reduce because we learn that it “was ok”, “not as bad as we thought”, we have the experience from the previous step, and so on.
  • Example of steps with increasing difficulty: sitting on potty with clothes on as a first step. Doing a wee on the potty. Doing a number 2 on potty. Not wearing a nappy and using the potty. Using the potty at night time, using the “big toilet”… etc etc

 

Rewards and Reinforcement:
Reinforcement is where behaviour increases. Positive reinforcement is where a behaviour increases because it’s followed by a positive/motivating consequence such as praise or a toy. Negative reinforcement is where behaviour increases because a negative consequence is removed, maybe using the potty prevents wet and soiled clothes, change of nappy, change of clothes (if they don’t like this).

 

The Potty Chart

How we made our potty chart - potty training, how to & psychology

How we made the chart

The potty chart I made is a very lose hierarchy I suppose because I included a point where we ditch the nappy and wear pants (there’s a little photo of a pair of pants at this stage), in the hope that the toddler will be able to go straight to the potty when needed.
The general look is supposed to be a train track which goes down to a station at the end (see the photo of the station at the bottom of the chart which attaches to the toddler’s train track and he can actually play with it). There are trains (rewards) to collect along the way. I spaced these out so that the target behaviour (using the potty) is continually reinforced and rewarded, see more below:

 

How we potty trained: Our big toy reward! Psychology, reward charts, practice!

The “big reward”

  • I spaced the rewards out to keep the toddler motivated – there are several and they start soon on in the process.
  • There is a “big reward” at the end – a train station, which he really wants
  • We talk about the rewards which are trains from Thomas the Tank Engine in the hope that this maintains his attention and reminds him of the aims and potty frequently
  • I ask him frequently if he needs to use the potty and of the reward process – Use potty – Get sticker – get train after so many stickers
  • I keep the potty chart close to the potty so he can see his progress and to act as a reminder
  • The theme of trains and train track is meaningful to him and something he values. It taps into his personal interests.

 

How we’re using the Potty Chart

How we potty trained: Choosing stickers for our reward chart.

Choosing stickers for the reward chart

  • Use potty and get a sticker
  • Toddler picks a sticker and puts it on the chart himself (control, autonomy, increasing interest, ownership etc)
  • Stickers go down the train track towards a reward (toy).
  • Get enough stickers and he gets a toy.
  • Keep going down the track to the BIG reward at the end – a train station

 

Outcomes – what happened…

I wrote the above a few months ago now. We successfully navigated around and down the train track to the station at the end! The focused reward chart was a success. I also liked the idea of keeping the chart up in the living room where the toddler could see it, track his progress and act as a reminder of his success alongside the repetitive and reinforcing potty behaviour. He was very pleased with his station.

 

How we potty trained: Our big toy reward! Psychology, reward charts, practice!

Finally got his big reward! (station)

Wasn’t all plain sailing…

The area of the chart where it says “now wear your pants” didn’t happen – we started with the pants a bit later down the track. Why? Well we used them and we wet them a few times. I wondered if it was a bit too early and if they felt like wearing a nappy. Pants were a new concept for the toddler. So I waited a bit longer until the potty visiting behaviour was more familiar and routine and then we added the pants.
We had a few accidents, but I think this is normal.
But, finally, we are now “potty trained” inside the house for wee! (apart from at night time and long naps where we use a nappy still)

 

 

Next step – potty use OUTSIDE the house!…

(note how I’m breaking this all down into steps – this is also for my benefit! – but if you prefer to do it quicker or all in one go, then that’s a personal choice).

 

First “day” back at work after maternity!

Mum's 1st "day" back at work after maternity leave - what it was like, how I felt, what happened!

There is light

So today I was back at work. I’m only doing a certain number of days this month and re-entering slowly.

It was all going so well. I got the lovely crowded tube in the morning; it felt great to get back into the old swing of things despite the mass of people and heat on the tube. Stopped off for a coffee, stopped to look at the shops, the trees, the people, acknowledged the absence of small children, screams, whines, sounds, pushing of a buggy like it’s an extra appendage.
Braving the tube: Mum's 1st "day" back at work after maternity leave - what it was like, how I felt, what happened!

Busy tube, morning commute

Walked into the office. People rubbing their eyes in disbelief – “you’re back?!” – well, not quite like that, they were a bit surprised to see me though (despite various emails about when I was coming back). Chatting. Catching up. Enjoying the conversation.
Logging onto the computers – checking and deleting masses of emails that are now out of date and irrelevant. Setting up my diary. Doing all those fiddly things that don’t really seem that important but need to be done and will save you time later.
Planning and longing for my lunch – thinking about going somewhere with comfortable seats and eating a nice tasty lunch, without distraction, demands or uncertainty about whether a child will wake up from their nap, start to get tired and grumpy, etc.
Re-mapping my brain – reading – thinking – trying to connect back up the links, memories, knowledge in my mind where these had somewhat decayed or stagnated over the maternity leave.
How NOT to have a 1st day back at work after maternity leave - what it was like, how I felt, what happened!

Stickers from the hospital

Anyway, It so happened that I’d set up a doctor’s appointment for the toddler because he’d come down with a puffy and red eye. This had started the evening before but looked worse the next morning (my 1st day back). The childcare provider was going to take him to the appointment. I thought everything would be fine as he’s had some redness and problems with his eyes before and i’ve taken him to the doctors (and an eye test). But no, THIS TIME, this time is different. The GP talks to me on the phone. They say that the toddler needs to go to A&E (emergency room) to be checked by the paediatric specialist because she does not want to take any risks with his eye. She said it was more precautionary. So I pack up. Tell my colleagues this news. Feel like it looks like an excuse and maybe i’m not able to leave the kids or something. Rush back to the tube grabbing a sad egg mayonnaise sandwich on the way. Eat sandwich on tube.
Get home, take child out to the hospital (which takes ages to get to). Wait for nurse triage. Wait for doctor. Wait for antibiotic medication and eye drops. Make our way home.
My first day back at work! Wheeee..eee.eee
(psychotherapists might have a field day about this – the attachment – the separation – me rushing back to give pure physical care and some kind of teleological act of caregiving e.g. giving medication, eye drops, sigh)

 

The toddler’s visit to the optometrist: infant & child eye health

Infant eye health: when should your toddler or child have their eyes tested?So the other day we went to the eye doctor

I was slightly concerned by one the toddler’s eyes (aged 2 years 4.5 months). He kept rubbing it a lot and sometimes one eye looked a bit different to the other. Hard to explain exactly what it was but probably a mild case of me being overly concerned. Anyway… eye tests for under 16 year olds are free on the NHS and I thought it would be good to assess and get a general idea of his eye health and visual development.

As it turned out, both of his eyes are fine. I was unsure about how he would react to the testing; at our last dentist appointment, for example, he refused to open his mouth, although this was over 6 months ago and he’s changed since. We talked about the eye doctor with him a few times in the days before we visited and explained what would happen and that we were just going to check his eyes, just like we check his ears (the term we use when we take his temperature) and to make sure his eyes were OK. Hopefully by likening the new experience to his previous and known experiences this would make the new optometrist experience feel less alien and a normal thing to do.

Infant eye health: when should your toddler or child have their eyes tested?

We got a sticker!

Fortunately the optometrist was very friendly and the session was quite child orientated and we were able to get some good testing done. There were no problems or signs of infection. Next eye check in 1 year!

 

Here’s what the NHS has to say about children’s eye health and eye tests:

Children may not realise they have a vision problem, so without routine tests there is a risk that any problems could go undiagnosed …

…Eye problems are often much easier to treat if detected while a child’s vision is still developing (usually up to about seven or eight years of age).

When do children have their eyes tested?

  • Within 72 hours of birth 
  • Between six and eight weeks old
  • Around one year old or between two and two-and-a-half years old – as part of the child’s health review
  • Around four or five years old – some children may have an eye test when they start school

 

It’s also recommended that children have regular eye tests at least once every two years. These tests can be done at a high street opticians and are free for all children under 16 years old (and those under 19 years old in full-time education).

For further information on children’s eyes and eye health see this page here from the NHS

 

 

Potty training the two year old – psychology and retrospect

Potty training at 2 years old: Psychological perspectives and a graded hierarchy to encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Our potty

The potty “training” still seems to be going well. I say “training” because I feel like we’re not specifically doing anything, but then I looked back on what we had set up, and, actually I can think some psychological and “set-up” aspects apply.
Firstly, we upgraded the basic boring plastic potty we had previously (that he never sat on) to a fancy Thomas the Tank Engine colourful potty that plays a little song when something is deposited in it. This is a reward in itself. We made the potty interesting and something exciting to sit on by selecting one where he recognises the theme (Thomas), and likes and potentially trusts that brand (because he likes the toy). We set it up so that it wasn’t a toy, though, so he knows there’s a particular function around it. We started to talk more about that “function” and make it part of our every day, normal, conversation by saying things like “mummy is going to the big potty now”, etc, to make the toddler aware that going on the potty is a normal thing people do. I suppose we kind of set up a graded step by step hierarchy as well by:

 

  1. Introducing the potty
  2. Having the potty out in the living room
  3. Discussing that the potty is for doing a wee or poo in, not a toy, and normalizing this process when adults in the house needed to go to the “big potty”
  4. Encouraging the toddler to sit on the potty, with clothes on in the first instance (as he wasn’t sure about it)
    1. offering a reward/reinforcement for just sitting on it (I can’t remember if this was a biscuit or watching his favourite TV show, which also probably reduced any anxiety or concerns because he was distracted by the TV and calmed by his favourite show)
  5. Encouraging the toddler to sit on the potty without a nappy (diaper) on
  6. Encouraging him to sit on it when we thought he might need a wee, e.g. after a bath because that’s when he often does one, and offering a reward for doing a wee – also talking about what reward he would get
    1. offering a reward/reinforcement for doing a wee which was chocolate and now also a reward “coupon”, which the toddler calls “tickets”. He likes the fire engine tickets the most (pictured)

 

Potty training at 2 years old: Coupons, Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Reward “coupon”

We haven’t got to the point yet where the toddler can tell us that he feels the need to use the potty. That is still to come. But, we’ve done very well so far I think!

 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Also, here’s a complete cut and paste job from a previous post of mine about reinforcement:

Ψ reinforcers = increase frequency/likelihood of a behaviour

Ψ punishers = decrease frequency/likelihood of a behaviour

Ψ Here’s a good page that explains positive/negative reinforcement and punishers – for example, they explain that “punishment” doesn’t necessarily mean there is a harmful or dangerous consequence, it’s a process where a consequence immediately follows a behaviour which decreases the future likelihood of that behaviour occurring. Positive punishment is where a negative consequence is put in place after the behaviour, like sending child to “time out” or telling them off, and negative punishment where a good thing or desired outcome is removed after the behaviour occurs, such as removing cake/sweets/ice cream because the child was “naughty”. Reinforcement is where behaviour increases. Positive reinforcement is where a behaviour increases because  it’s followed by a positive/motivating consequence such as praise, reward, like giving a kid money (positive) for doing chores (the behaviour). Negative reinforcement is where behaviour increases because a negative consequence is removed, such as a kid does his chores (behaviour) to avoid being nagged to do it (negative).

 

 

 

Potty Training the toddler at 2 years old

Potty training at 2 years old: Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

I’m the “number one” engine

So we’ve been attempting to “potty train” the toddler. By potty train I mean buy a potty and hope he sits on it. I’ve not actually developed any formal training schedule. Anyway, some time ago I bought a basic plastic potty. He didn’t like it and only sat on it once or twice I think. Maybe it was too uncomfortable and uninteresting. We upgraded a few weeks ago to an all singing fancy Thomas the Tank Engine potty which is colourful, has a picture of Thomas on the inside and also (apparently) plays a song or noise when he (eventually) deposits something in it!

 

And now something (slightly) more psychological about potty training and shaping behaviours:

So far my attempts have been to encourage him to sit on it for a start. He’s done this. I had to bribe him with promise of a biscuit if he sat on it because he was slightly dubious of the thing (despite it being Thomas related, and even then he kind of thought it was just a new toy). We then upgraded to him sitting on it with no trousers (pants) or nappy, usually after a bath as this is sometimes when he does a wee and has no nappy on anyway. He’s done that too. I’ve promised him chocolate if he does a wee or poo. You could class this as reinforcement I suppose, rather than bribe! Note though, maybe offering food as a consequence isn’t always the best answer but hey ho I’m into new territory here with the potty so I’m winging it. If you want to set up some less food related rewards and consequences schedule there’s some great behaviour charts here for “things I need to work on” (useful for general behaviours and issues) and their potty training section here. The potty training reward coupons look great and i’m going to print some off to give to the toddler appropriately. Yes, suppose I could have done a sticker reward chart too to encourage repetition of potty sitting and eventually wee/poo related behaviour on the potty.
So last night, he apparently did a very small wee in the potty!! Unfortunately, nobody noticed and he didn’t say that he’d done anything . The darned potty is supposed to play a song to alert us to this fact but I think it was too small an amount so it didn’t set the song button off. Fingers crossed he’ll do it again soon though so we can celebrate! Yeah, let’s all celebrate successful weeing!!

 

Potty training at 2 years old: Coupons, Rewards and Reinforcement; encouraging the toddler to use the potty

Reward “coupon”

**update the next day: he did a really small wee in the potty tonight! He had chocolate and a special “coupon” as a reward (pictured, from freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com) Hopefully the coupon is a bit more tangible and longer lasting than the chocolate; he can see it and it will act as a reminder, encouragement and reward for the behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for baby and toddler – the shopping continues

The quest continues: Mission double buggy for newborn baby and toddler. Reviews of tandems and side by sides. Mission Double Buggy – the quest continues
Had an epic journey to one of those mega-out-of-town-style-baby-stores. Involved two buses, a newborn(ish) and a toddler. Toddler was rather unhappy on the way home because he’d only had 1/2 hour nap. Parents were rather unhappy on account of lack of food and the whole experience. Anyway, looked at some double buggies. Here’s what I found…

 

  • Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler: some buggies have weight limit of 15kg per child!

    Beware: For the lighter child only!

    Lot’s of them don’t take children heavier than 15kg (apparent average weight of a 3 year old) and as mentioned before my 22.5 month old is approaching 14.5kg so this rules out many buggy options. I was really disappointed that the Baby Jogger City Mini Twin Pushchair (pictured) has the 15kg limit because it was recommended to me plus I see it everywhere so it must be a popular choice.
  • I wasn’t the only crazy parent to take a tape measure out buggy shopping with me. I was measuring the width of a buggy and some bloke who was also looking at the buggy whipped his tape measure out and did it for me.
  • Shop staff don’t really know how to fold/unfold all the models and umm and arred a bit so not sure I have 100% confidence in what they said

 

From the buggies that accommodated the heavier child:

The iCandy - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The iCandy

The iCandy:
Pros: The size attracted me. It manoeuvred well; it was smooth and easy to turn with my giant toddler perched on the top seat. It wasn’t too long (which can happen when you have two tandem seats) or wide.
Cons: BUT, when I tried to tip the pram as though I was going over a kerb or getting onto a bus it was quite an effort because the toddler was weighing down the front of the pram. Lowering the handle bar only made this more difficult. Puts me off a bit.
 It folds nice and small but unfortunately you have to take BOTH seats off to fold the frame. So is this a one handed easy fold? – basically, no. I’m not sure I can take two seats off whilst grappling two small children. Other disadvantage is it’s pricey. You not only have to BUY THE SECOND SEAT, but have to buy the adaptor to fit it on AND a carry cot for a newborn because the main seat does not lie flat enough. A bit cheeky.

 

The Mountain Buggy Duet

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5

I’d had my eye on this from doing a thorough search online. It seemed great on the whole. The seat looked a little snug perhaps for the toddler but I measured it and it was a similar width to other seat units so I don’t know why. It folded very simply but is fairly large compared to the tandems when folded. I’d read reviews that it can pull to the side of the heavier child but I didn’t find this too much (although I could definitely feel where the heavier child was) and it was possible to turn and push with one hand (wouldn’t say it was 100% smooth and easy to do this though; my single buggy is definitely better at one handed turning). All in all, fairly liking this option.
It’s slim! – I lined my current single buggy up and the mountain buggy wasn’t that much wider (pictured).
The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - folded and width - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

Mountain buggy duet folded and look how slim it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil & Teds 

Phil and Teds "Vibe" - Baby and Toddler seating positions - Mission to find a double buggy/stroller/psuchair review. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Seating positions on the Phil & Teds

I think this was the “Vibe”. They also had the navigator at the store.
Pros: it folded down easily and small. It’s slim for a double buggy (65cm wide) compared to side by sides, but the mountain buggy duet is only 63cm wide so this kinds of contradicts my “slimness” point, I suppose. It pushed well, until I put the weights in it (you can get a 12kg and 9kg weight to put in the seats to mimic the weight of a child) and then it took a bit of effort to move.
Cons: As above, didn’t move as well as i’d liked once the weights were in (my toddler was off somewhere else at this point and he’d had enough of buggy shopping). You have to remove the seat to fold it.
I’m not sure I like the seating configuration (pictured) where the newborn appears to go into this “pouch” under the toddler’s seat. His head would be right by my legs. I’d have to be careful not to walk into it. The toddler seat in this configuration also only takes a maximum 15kgs. I’d therefore have to hope he stays around 15kgs until the baby is old enough to move into a toddler seat at the bottom of the pram al-a traditional Phil & Teds style (you can zip the pouch up and it zips up and away under the top seat). Then the toddler seat on the top takes up to 20kgs, the bottom seat 15kgs.
Despite all this – I’m keeping my mind open about Phil & Teds

 

In conclusion:
  • All the double buggies I saw have their pros and cons
  • It’s difficult to weigh up which pros and cons are better/worse and it depends on the combination for each buggy. Looks like I can’t have everything I want
  • Buggy shopping is a pain – I thought I sorted this already with my first buggy!
  • I want to look at the Phil & Teds “Dot”  because this is apparently smaller and lighter than the other models
  • I want to look at the Mountain Buggy +one, which is a tandem style configuration also suitable for newborn + toddler, and later converts for 2 toddlers. I have seen one in a grocery store when I stopped some poor bloke in the aisle to ask him loads of questions about it.

 

The quest continues…

 

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for the newborn baby and toddler!

My quest to find a double buggy has begun…

 

Quest to find a double buggy for a newborn baby and toddler!

Mission, impossible?

 

I have spent hours, no possibly days online looking for double buggy options for a newborn and heavy toddler. I have learnt quite a lot as well; there are “tandems” (one seat behind the other), there are side by sides, and something called a “sit and stand”. Unfortunately, my toddler at 22.5 months is extremely heavy at over 14 kilos and I have discovered that a lot buggy brands have a maximum weight limit per seat of 15 kilos. This seems to rule out many of the the cheaper, slimmer and more dinky looking options. I am therefore left with a few options, and some don’t seem suitable for newborns. Also, some of them are massive monstrosities that I can’t possibly imagine getting around on the bus and train/tube with. I need to test them out properly in-store with the right weight limits, i.e. my toddler and baby sitting in them. Slightly concerned the toddler would make the pram pull to his side given the massive weight difference between him and his brother, or topple it over?!

 

What I need:
  • Something suitable for newborn that lies flat or takes carry cot attachment – but converts into toddler seat later
  • A toddler seat that takes over 15kg with room for him to grow for at least another year
  • Not too wide or long so that we’d fit through regular doorways, shop aisles, onto a bus, train, other transport
  • Easy and quick fold (some doubles you have to remove the 2nd seat before you fold it, which will be difficult with a baby and toddler to keep an eye on, plus ain’t nobody got time for that either)
  • Good steering and manoeuvrability so I can get around shops, on and off public transport, have a free hand for holding umbrella, shopping basket, toddler’s hand for when he wants to get out and walk

 

In my quest I’ve gone as far as taking discreet photos of double buggies whilst out in the playground (as in the main picture above) and running after random people in the supermarket to ask them questions about their buggies! I was in the store the other day and saw a bloke go past pushing a certain double buggy i’ve had my eye on online. I said to my toddler – “is that a mountain buggy +one I just saw go past?!” in an unnecessarily over-excited tone… why yes it was, so I cornered the poor bloke and started to ask him loads of questions about his buggy. Embarrassingly, whilst talking to him, a woman who i’d already queried over her double buggy about 20 minutes previously on the walk to the store also walked past us during this conversation and could see I was still at it.
The quest continues…

 

 

Preparing the toddler for a new baby

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Here’s looking at you, kid

How can you prepare a toddler or older child for a major change to their environment, family, view of the world and their place within all of this?

 

So the new baby arrived about 4 weeks ago. My first born (21 months at time of arrival) appears to have taken this well. He has been quite interested in the baby and wants to give him lots of kisses. He has occasionally been a bit possessive over things such as the bouncy chair that we set up for the baby. The toddler did not want baby to sit in it at all and got quite upset. Well, I suppose the chair did actually belong to the toddler in the first instance! Anyway, this made me think about how we prepared the toddler for this massive change to his life – i.e. that he was not the only child and mummy and daddy would be giving time and attention to someone else.

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

Before the new arrival:

We started talking about the baby long before he was due

  • We talked about “the baby” and what was in mummy’s tummy. Toddler often pointed to my tummy and referred to it as the baby. Maybe this change in narrative has set up something around there being something new coming.
  • During pregnancy I started to talk about being “careful” and “gentle” because the toddler was accustomed to climbing over me, being picked up, sitting on me etc. Initially I was feeding toddler (more of a baby earlier on in the pregnancy) and had to adopt different positions as the weight was too much across my stomach and also had to watch out for kicks or pushes to my stomach, so we have both been aware of the “carefulness”.
  • We’ve continued the gentle and carefulness now the new baby has arrived, but as discussed this has been set up now for some time so it’s part of our awareness and behaviour around “the baby”.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - Useful books we read - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Books we read to prepare toddler for the new arrival

We read books about becoming a big brother and new babies

  • Continuing with the narrative change idea we bought several books written especially for toddlers and young children about welcoming another child into the family. We read books every evening as part of the bedtime routine with the toddler and so it was normal for him to explore books. I’m not sure how much he took in or if he can relate the books to the situation he is now experiencing but i’m hoping:
    • 1) They started to introduce the idea of another child coming, that this is something that happens in families, normalizing the experience and,
    • 2) Gave examples/modelled what other children experienced during this time of change

 

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

Once the baby was here:

Keeping the toddler’s routine and schedule the same as usual (or as close to)

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - keep things consistent - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

What happens next?

  • Consistency and predictability are important. Keeping things stable and “as normal” were important things for us to do with our toddler once the baby arrived. This meant keeping the same nap routine/times, bedtime and routine, meal times, etc so that the toddler could feel secure and stable in his usual day-to-day activities and that he didn’t experience everything as being “thrown upside down”.
  • If you can’t do practical/physical things as you would usually, social and emotional aspects are also important e.g. the conversations and interactions you have.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

A new toy for the toddler

We bought a present to the toddler, “from” the new baby

We bought the toddler a present and we said it was from the baby. This had two benefits (or maybe more I haven’t thought about). First, it kept him busy and interested in something immediately after we got home with the baby and were slightly distracted by all things new baby related. Second, hopefully it meant that the toddler was being thought about, kept in mind, cared about and valued. Although, that said, I’m not sure what stage the 21 month old is at developmentally in terms of being aware of himself in other peoples’ minds, theory of mind, etc – but hopefully it meant something to him to receive a present.

 

I’ve spent one-to-one time with the toddler

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

One-to-one time together: out for chips

Whilst Daddy looks after the newborn for a few hours I’ve taken the toddler out to the playground, the shops, and other activities that we would normally do together (see above about keeping things familiar and consistent). I’ve also done this in the house by just going to play with him by myself while the newborn has a (long) nap and is watched over by Daddy.

 

We’ve shared some activities (toddler + baby)

  • Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

    Toddler involving the baby in his play

    We’ve shared the same play space and toddler has helped show interesting toys to the baby.
  • There’s not that much stuff the newborn can do, but tummy time is one of them. The toddler was very interested in the baby’s tummy time and wanted to practice “rolling over” too (not that the baby can do much of that at this stage!). So I put a blanket down on the floor for the toddler so he could practice rolling, along with the baby (while I made sure the toddler didn’t roll into the baby!).
Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

“Rolling over” together

Some thoughts a few months post baby:

Here’s some other things we did that I found useful when the “new” baby was a few months old:

 

Giving the toddler a role that involved him: this let me get stuff done around the house and hopefully gave the toddler a sense of importance, responsibility and attention:
  • e.g. helping with chores, fetching items (can you get me that nappy from the box), can you put this in the bin for me please? And thanking toddler for his help.
Actively and explicitly displaying to the toddler that sometimes they come first and attending to their needs:
  • e.g. saying things like “Ok baby, i’m going to change toddler’s nappy now and when i’ve finished then I can come to you”

 

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

Future ideas:

Things I’m planning to do

  • Buy a double buggy or some system where I can take both of them out. The toddler and I go to different classes and meet with other parents and babies, so I feel it’s important to keep going with that and book us into a few things (we were doing football previously). BUT – I need to be able to get out of the house so double buggy shopping is on the agenda!
  • I have a baby carrier/sling but want a structured “clip and go” variety for ease. I’m feeling I’m going to be slinging the baby a lot, but I need to read reviews and see which one is good in terms of usability, ease and importantly keeping baby in a healthy position!

 

 

 

My toddler won’t eat vegetables…

My toddler won't eat his vegetables so I sneak them into food - here's one recipe! And he eats it!

Mmm, tasty vegetables

My toddler doesn’t like to eat vegetables (no surprise there really). But, he used to like them! He used to eat mushed up fruits and vegetables all the time when he was younger! But not now. So I’m sneaky and hide them in his food! Aren’t I mean. He’s also gone fussy over a few other foods he used to like so I sneak those in too.

 

My toddler won't eat his vegetables so I sneak them into food - here's one recipe! And he eats it!
“green pasta” for dinner
Just made him one of his favourites, “green pasta” for dinner. It’s green because it’s broccoli (sometimes spinach instead), peas and today I added a bit of carrot, mixed with cream cheese and tuna. Blend/liquidise until it makes a smoothish sauce with no lumps of vegetables apparent. The cream cheese hides the vegetables well. I then mixed this sauce with the pasta.
He would never eat those vegetables alone. I’m probably doing a terrible thing and should really keep offering vegetables to normalize and desenstitise him to them, but when i’ve presented them it results in food refusal, not wanting to touch the whole dinner (waste of money, time, food), and a tantrum. So i’ll have to keep on being sneaky.

 

Here he is enjoying his tasty dinner, complete with vegetables (22 months old).
My toddler won't eat his vegetables so I sneak them into food - here's one recipe! And he eats it!
Yum, tasty dinner for toddler
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...