October Toddler Class Newsletter
We really enjoyed seeing everyone at Back to School Night. It was nice to talk with many of you, and to share with you some of what your children have been doing in the classroom. It was also wonderful to touch base with everyone through our six-week phone calls. Please feel free to contact us at any time with any questions you may be having. And just a reminder, now that the first six weeks of school are over, we would love to invite you to visit our classroom. We welcome you to come in and do a project with your child’s class, have your child show you some of their favorite works, or just come to observe. You can schedule these visits with your child’s teachers.
Birthday Celebrations in the Toddler Classroom
In the upcoming months we will be celebrating many birthdays for children in our class. Birthdays are celebrated in a low key style at school. We will give you more information about joining our celebration as your child’s birthday approaches. We encourage you to donate a book in your child’s name to the classroom library. The book will be inscribed with the child’s name and birth date on the book.
The toddler classroom offers very young children the unique experience of self-development in a tender atmosphere of special understanding, respect and support. Teachers in the toddler program are professionals trained specifically for this age group and are skilled in the “language” of interacting with toddlers: providing the respect, tenderness, warmth and patience that allow the children to blossom. Being that toddlers are precise imitators of both peers and adults, the teachers take on the role of a MODEL. For a toddler environment, it is only appropriate to BE what we want them to be.
Here are the words to another song we’ve been singing at circle time. Here’s a Ball for Baby
Here’s a Ball for Baby, big and soft and round; Here’s is Baby’s hammer, see how she can pound;
Here is Baby’s rhythm, clapping, clapping so; Here are Baby’s people, standing in a row.
Here is Baby’s trumpet, toot-te-toot-te-too; Here’s the way that Baby plays at peek-a-boo;
Here is Baby’s umbrella, to keep the baby dry; Here is Baby’s cradle, rock-a-baby-bye.
Bye, Bye, little baby, bye, bye, little baby, Hush, now go to sleep.
We are in need of plastic grocery bags. If you have a stash somewhere around the house, please bring them in! We use them to dispose of the children’s dirty diapers and we are almost completely out!
It would be fun to do some fall or harvest related projects with the children in the classroom. If you have ideas, please talk with one of us. Things that have been done in the past include carving a pumpkin and roasting the seeds, painting small individual sized pumpkins, or baking pumpkin bread.
THANK YOU: Thank you to James Williams for the new icepacks for our classroom. Thank you to Quinny Sherry for the zucchini bread. Thank you to Glenn Shaw and Rebecca Vandiver and all of the Toddler p.m. class for the beautiful hand-painted mugs for Belle and Rose. Thank you to Bennett Buese’s nanny Whitney for making pumpkin ice cream with the toddlers. Thank you to Emily Grunfield for doing the chalk pumpkin project with the children. Thank you to Courtney Rutkowski for the pumpkin seeds. Thank you to Audrey Williams for coming in for the Halloween project.
YOUR TODDLER AT HOME
We often get questions from parents about how to support the toileting experience at home. The following describes the approach we recommend you take, based on how we do it at school.
- Find a few times each day when you are already undressing your child – such as first thing in the morning when they are getting dressed, or at night when they are undressing for their bath. Take a few minutes to offer your child a chance to sit on the toilet while they already have their diaper off.
- Make it a choice – if they choose not to sit, that’s okay. The first goal is simply to get them comfortable with the idea of sitting on the toilet (or a potty chair, whichever you prefer). Try to follow their level of interest. It is important to make this a fun, enjoyable experience so that the toileting process does not result in a power struggle.
- Offer your child an opportunity to observe other people in your family using the toilet. At school, your child gets to see their classmates sitting on and using the toilet. At home, it is great if they can watch you or their older siblings so that they can learn that this is a normal part of everyone’s life.
- Once they get comfortable with sitting on the toilet, it is important to continue this as a part of your daily routine, ideally multiple times a day. This gives you an opportunity to observe as they develop the awareness and control of their bodily functions. At some point, something will happen while they are sitting on the toilet. This may take weeks or months.
- When we reach the point at school where your child is successfully urinating in the toilet most every day, we will recommend that your child start wearing underwear to school. It makes it more exciting for your child if you allow them to go with you to the store to select and purchase this new clothing item. That way, they can pick underwear that they will be excited to wear. Wearing underwear will give your child the added opportunity to feel the sensation when they are wet. It also gives the teachers a chance to observe how often they need to go to the bathroom. We will ask them to come to the bathroom to try to urinate in the toilet approximately every 45 minutes. Usually, this results in success, but we modify our reminders based on how frequently your child needs to come in order to remain successful at school.
- Once your child is successful with wearing underwear at school, we suggest that you also begin wearing underwear at home. It is important that your child is receiving a consistent message – that they are capable of wearing underwear and being successful with it — both at home and at school. Remember, however, that success still includes having accidents. Accidents are part of the process. There is nothing like wet underwear and pants to help your child figure out how it all works! When they do have an accident, don’t get let them see you get frustrated or upset (even though you probably will be!). Respond calmly with something like “I see you made pee in your underwear. Let’s go get you some dry clothes”. Take them to the bathroom, take off their wet clothes, and let them sit on the toilet to see if there is anything else that they can get out into the toilet. Once they are done on the toilet, you can allow them to redress themselves in dry clothes. If you react in frustration or anger, they will learn that accidents really get your attention, and they can turn this into a very powerful attention getting activity. This is not something you want to encourage!
- Once you make the decision to start putting your child in underwear at home, it is important that you stick with this decision. It is okay to establish “rules” about when they must wear a diaper – for example: wearing a diaper for nap time, for night time, and for long rides in the car. Once you have explained these rules to them, then you need to stick with it and make sure they are wearing underwear consistently at all other times. It is incredibly confusing if you sometimes let them wear underwear and other times put them in a diaper. This sends a mixed message about what you expect of them. They need to get the message from you that you are confident in their ability to do it.
- It will take additional time before your child is able to alert you ahead of time that they need to use the toilet. Please continue to remind your child to use the toilet even once it seems like they are really getting it. Sometimes it takes weeks, or even months, for them to begin to tell you that they need to use the toilet before they’ve already had an accident. Over time, you will begin to develop a sense for how often they need to use the toilet in order to remain dry in between your reminders, and together you will be successful. At some point, they will start coming to tell you that they need to use the toilet, or they will just go use it on their own. Gradually, you can eliminate your reminders once they get to this phase.
- Learning to use the toilet for bowel movements often takes much longer as well. Bowel movements are more complicated than urinating for many reasons. Children often can tell that they are going to need to have a bowel movement long before it is really ready to come out. With urinating, they usually can just sit on the toilet and “squeeze” and they are able to make it come out right away. Often, with a bowel movement, they need to sit and wait for some time before they can make it come out. This can get boring. It is helpful if you can sit with them and read a story, sing songs, or have a conversation while they sit and wait. Other common issues we see with using the toilet for bowel movements include:
- Some children like to go to a place of solitude to make a bowel movement. They may hide in their room, or behind the sofa to get some privacy. Once you notice this habit, you can begin to watch for them to go to their “special place” and know that this is a signal that they need to make a bowel movement. At that point, you can tell them it is time to come to the bathroom to try to make their bowel movement in the toilet.
- Some children will ask you for a diaper in order to make a bowel movement. When they do this, you should tell them that they need to come to the toilet to do it instead. Offer to make the process fun. Again, try reading a book, singing songs or having a conversation about something fun.
- If they have a bowel movement in their underwear, do not make a big deal of it. Handle it in the same way as described above for accidents when they urinate in their underwear. It is helpful if you can put the poop in the toilet and let them flush it down, so they get comfortable with the idea that it goes in the toilet, and that you flush it when you are done. Some children have additional anxiety about flushing their poop – the psychology behind this is unclear, but allowing your child to flush their poop will help you learn whether or not this is something that is comfortable for them.
- If you observe that your child is holding their bowel movements instead of coming to the toilet, we offer the following thoughts:
- It is better for them to poop somewhere than to hold it, so if they are having accidents in their underwear, that’s okay – don’t let them get stressed out about having to do it in the toilet if this is uncomfortable to them in any way. It is much more uncomfortable to be constipated, so the first rule is encourage them to poop where ever they can.
- If they get to the point of constipation, and giving them a diaper to poop in will solve the problem, then you can make an exception for this and give them the diaper at this point. Again, it is most important for them to poop somewhere and not make themselves constipated. Then you can work on transitioning to pooping in the toilet. You can also allow them to flush the poop from their diaper into the toilet to help them make the connection of where it should be going.
We hope that these tips give you some ideas of how to support the toileting experience at home. If you have additional questions about how we handle things at school, or how you should be handling things at home, please let us know. Your comments and questions can help us improve this article for future use by other parents.