How to Help Your Kids Enjoy Hygiene Routines For A Jump Start to Lifelong Health

How to Help Your Kids Enjoy Hygiene Routines for a Jump Start to Lifelong Health

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

 

Kids don’t like cleanliness. At least, not all of it.

One kid loves brushing teeth, but hates brushing her hair. Another kid refuses to wash his hands, but has no problem soaking in the shower for an hour at a time.

No two kids handle hygiene the same. The problem is- all kids have to do all of the steps to proper hygiene. There’s no skipping brushing teeth just because Jimmy doesn’t like it!

So how is a parent supposed to create a positive atmosphere around necessary activities… that the child detests???

Here are 6 “mom secrets” that help with any hygiene routine—- and stay tuned for specific ideas for hair brushing, tooth brushing, hand-washing, and bath time!  

1) Monkey See, Monkey Do

Usually parents get up and get ready before the kids do. That’s the only way to get them out the door, because they need you coaxing them along every step of the way as they get ready, right?

The problem with this is that young kids don’t see that you go through the exact same hygiene routine as the child is expected to go through. There’s no example, it’s not relatable. Mom is just magically clean all the time.

Look for opportunities to get ready alongside your child- especially on weekends when there is less of a time crunch- so that the child can see you doing all the same cleanliness tasks that they do.

2) Fake That Smile

long black haired woman smiling close-up photography

If you want your kid to be positive about the morning/evening routine, you’ve got to be positive about it too! Even if it’s not a real smile, this is a great time to “fake it til you make it.”

How could a child possibly get excited to go brush his teeth if he hears mom say things like, “Oh no, it’s time to brush teeth! I hate this time of night. It’s always so awful! Well, here we go…”

Compare that to, “Oh yay, it’s time to brush teeth! Woo hoo! Toothpaste tastes like candy. I love it.”  

3) Always, Always, Always

Never let up on the hygiene routine! First of all, it’s healthy to brush teeth, take baths, and wash hands.

Second of all, consistency creates structure for the child. If you break that structure, they are more likely to act out because the tasks seem optional. “Why should I have to wash my hands before dinner tonight when I didn’t have to yesterday?”

4) Your Turn!

clear glass flower vase near rolled grey mat

Take advantage of independent streaks or stages.

Yes, your toddler’s extreme independence can be a blessing! Some aversions to hygiene could be because mom usually helps with those things… a lot. If you have a strong willed child or a child who is going through an independent phase, that’s opposite of what that child is seeking.

Help them out by giving them lots of chances to try each part of the routine on their own. It might take a little longer, but it has a lot of potential to cut down on tantrums or frustration.

5) This or This?

Some kids might struggle with hygiene routines because they are mandatory. It’s not easy to be told that you HAVE to do something, no matter what. Nobody wants to be told what to do!

You can help out with this by offering as many little choices as you can within the tasks themselves.

IE- You must brush your teeth. That’s not a choice. But you can have a choice in what toothpaste you want to use today!

6) FUUUUUUUUUN!

portrait photography of baby laughing

Anything you can do to make hygiene routines more exciting will increase cooperation. That’s why Disney makes so much money off of Princess shampoo and Superhero toothbrushes. They’re fun, and kids are more likely to try something that is  fun.

Batman Themed Hygiene Kit (Click the image below!)

Minnie Mouse Themed Hygiene Kit (Click the image below!)

Here’s more creative ideas to increase the fun aspect of hygiene:

  • Talk It Up: Tell kids all of the good things that will happen when they are clean! They look pretty or handsome, kids like to play with clean kids, their body is healthy, etc.

Here’s some great children’s books to teach kids about the importance of hygiene.

Click on the images below!
Don’t Get Sick! How Kids Can Keep Healthy and Safe – Good Hygiene for Kids – Children’s Disease Books

Smelly Melly: Personal Hygiene for Kids and Little Monsters

Hygiene Heroes! My Personal Hygiene Book :: Kids Hygiene Book. WE CAN TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES! WE CAN DO IT! HOW ‘BOUT YOU?

  • Visual Aids: Make cute, brightly-colored charts to show the child what’s coming up next! It will help them stay on track, and they’re fun to use!

Click the images below! 

Hygiene Habits Play Set

Step-By-Step Potty Chart

Step-By-Step Hand Washing Chart

Step-By-Step Shower Chart

Step-By-Step Tooth Brushing Chart

  • Apps/Games: There are TONS of apps and games to engage kids in hygiene routines. Here’s a few great ones to try out!

Dr. Panda Bath Time

Good Habits

Cute and Tiny Morning

Let’s Potty! Potty Training Board Game!

  • Earn Rewards: Create a rewards system. Maybe a child can earn a fun experience- like staying up one hour past bedtime, or choosing a special movie from Redbox, or feeding the ducks at the park.

Click on the images below!

Teeth Brushing Reward Coloring Book

Magnetic Reward Chart

 

There you have it- our tips for hygiene in general. It’s time to get more specific.

 

Making Hair Brushing Easier:

-Use detangler (Click image below)

-Use a Detangler Comb (Click on the image below)

-During bath time, put the conditioner in the child’s hair and use this as a chance to brush the child’s hair. Conditioner naturally detangles and softens hair, making it easier and less painful to brush.

-When brushing hair, start with the bottom inch of hair. Brush it out until there are no more tangles in the bottom inch. Then, move up another inch. When that section of hair has no tangles, move up another inch, and another inch, and another inch. This makes tangles less painful to brush through.

-Flip hair over your head and brush the underside of the hair first. This section of hair can be particularly tangled, so brushing it out first and then brushing the top layer of hair can decrease pain during brushing.

-For more amazing tips, check out The Secret to Brushing Your Little Girl’s Hair without Tears! 

 

Making Tooth brushing Easier:

-Choose the correct size of brush.

-Use child-safe toothpaste with fluoride(Click image below). It tastes better anyways.

-Sing a song like the ABC’s or Twinkle, Twinkle. The child has to brush as long as mom is singing. This is a good way to help the child learn to brush thoroughly instead of rushing through tooth brushing.

-Use this Baby Alive Teeth Brushing Doll (Click the image below!) to practice first. You can show the child how they will need to brush all of their teeth. Once the child has seen the baby doll do it, it is their turn!

-For more great tips, check out Make Teeth Brushing Fun with 6 Easy Tips!

 

Making Hand Washing Easier:

-Sing a song like the ABC’s or Happy Birthday. The child has to scrub his hands as long as mom is singing.

-Be silly- Use a crazy narrator voice to give a play-by-play of what the child is doing. “Tom is reaching for the soap, reaching, reaching…. He’s got the soap!! Now he’s scrubbing, But can he get those hands clean?? We’ll see- the anticipation is too much!”

-For more great ideas, check out Hand Washing 101! 

Making Bath Time Easier:

-Use child-friendly, tear-free, natural shampoo (Click the image below). It hurts a little less when it gets in their eyes.

-Try a face shield (click on image below) to keep soap and water out of eyes.

-Use this Little Mommy Bath Time Doll (Click on image below!) to practice first. You can show the child how they will need to put soap in their hair, then rinse out the soap. Once the child has seen the baby doll do it, it is their turn!

-Be silly- Use crazy voices to name all the parts of the body (hands, arms, elbows, armpits, tummy, legs, knees, feet….) as you wash them.

-For more tips, check out How to Make Bathtime Fun for Kids

 

I hope these tips make life a little easier for you mama!

Always remember that your efforts are worth it! If your little one can enjoy hygiene now, he’ll enjoy a long life of health.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Rules of Parenting Etiquette that will make YOU One Popular Mama

16 Rules of Parenting Etiquette That Will Make YOU One Popular Mama

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Cheesy Mom Joke of the Day: Mom what’s it like to have the greatest daughter in the world?? 

Scroll to the bottom of the post for the answer! 

Just a few days ago, I had the worst experience. I was at a park. My kids were playing and I was sitting back on a bench enjoying their happy voices.

And then, another parent came to sit by me. I tried to be friendly and chat, but everything she did just rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn’t handle her! She didn’t handle her kids’ negative behavior when they needed it, she gave my kids food without asking me, she seemed to be digging into personal topics that I didn’t want to talk about, and through all that she kept correcting MY parenting!

By the time we went home, I was so frustrated! I complained in my head about that rude mom…. until I finally thought to myself… “What if I’m the same way? What do I do that frustrates other moms?”

I really didn’t want to be THAT mom, so I decided I’d better launch an in depth research frenzy to educate myself on how to be a socially appropriate mama.

Here’s what I learned about how to be a well-liked and polite parent. 

people laughing and talking outside during daytime

1) Don’t ring the doorbell when you visit a family with a newborn.

Have you ever been jolted out of a deep postpartum nap by a ring of the doorbell, only to hear a high-pitched scream from the baby monitor immediately after?? NOOOOOOOO!

Babies need a lot of sleep! And so do their mamas. When you visit a family with a newborn, you never know who is napping. To avoid waking the baby or mom unnecessarily, knock on the door instead of ringing the doorbell.

It’s also a great idea to call or text in advance to make sure you are visiting at a good time.

2) Don’t feed other children without asking the parent first.

girl liking candy lollipop

It’s so kind when a well-meaning person offers my little one a snack or a treat. They always seem so excited to share with her and make her smile by giving her something yummy.

But it’s important to check in with the parent first. You never know if the child has an allergy, a food intolerance, if the family is vegan or vegetarian, or a million other situations. Not to mention that it’s not always safe to accept food from strangers…. 

I remember trying to help my child calm down in the grocery store once. We were trying to work through her feelings and talk about the problem we had. A sweet gentleman walked by and gave her some gummy worms. She calmed right down, but I felt like I missed a chance to teach her important calming skills.

3) Clean up at restaurants.

My dad used to call my brothers and sisters and I “vultures”. Now that I’m a parent, I really understand that reference. The food comes out, and it’s gone within seconds. I say “gone”…. What I mean is the dishes are empty. But the food isn’t completely gone- it’s just everywhere it’s not supposed to be! Like on the floor, the table, the benches.

It’s ok, just sit back and have fun on your night out. It’s not worth it to try to avoid the mess or clean it up as you go. You’ll never enjoy a meal if you’re stressing trying to prevent the unpreventable.

Just make sure to clean up what you can at the end. Pile the dishes, use napkins to wipe up any spills, and pick up pieces of food that might have (and certainly did) fall to the ground.

Or if you don’t want to clean up, at least live a nice tip.

4) When you catch yourself talking too much about your own children, take a break and ask other parents about their kids.

The other day, I was going on and on about my little girl and how smart she is, and how perfect her teeth are, and how cute she looks in pigtails, and how excited she gets when she sees pictures of cows, and how much she loves chocolate, and how well she’s talking, and how she loves to read books, and how she dances to Daniel Tiger songs….. And then I realized, “Oh crap, I’m that crazy mom!” 

I love my little ones, but nobody likes a blabbermouth. Yes, be proud of your kids’ accomplishments- but don’t dominate the conversation. Make sure you’re asking questions about the other parents’ kids and lives.

5) RSVP when your child is invited to birthdays or other parties.

round chocolate cake with candles on top

Have you ever planned a cute and fun birthday party for your cutie pie? You spend money, you arrange for food, you plan out games and activities. And then only two kids show up??? Or on the other extreme, every other kid brings a plus one that you were not aware of?? Now how are we going to decide who gets cake and who doesn’t, cause there’s for sure not enough for everyone!!

It’s important for the party planner to know how many people to expect so that they can make arrangements in advance. RSVP’s are the only way they know what quantities to order.

Always RSVP- and do it as quickly as you can.

6) If your child accidentally breaks something, make sure to replace it.

This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised. How would you like it if this happened to you??

Make sure you either pay for it or purchase a similar replacement item to replace whatever got broken.

Better yet, involve the child so that they can have the experience of fixing their mistake. It doesn’t need to be a negative or a punishing experience- just explain to the child that there are things we can do to make it right and help them carry out those solutions. Now, an unfortunate accident has become a great teaching moment! 

7) When your kids are sick, keep them at home to avoid spreading illness.

person lying on gray sofa

When I see a kid sniffle, and wipe their nose on their hands, and then reach for my child’s toys…. I want to dive at them screaming “NOOOOOOOO” before the little snotty hand reaches it’s target! It’s nothing personal, I just need to save my house from those icky germs! 

If you know your kids are sick, keep them home. They will be more comfortable, they won’t spread germs, and they can heal quicker.

Think of the problems sickness causes for other families– parents might miss work, the children could miss school, and everyone’s miserable for a solid month while the illness slowly circulates to each person- twice. Then they’re finally freed from the clutches of that nasty flu or cold.

Let’s just avoid this, shall we?

8) Don’t allow yourself to get upset when other moms make critical or judgmental comments.

Did anyone say, pull your hair out? Bite your tongue in half to keep the words in?? Break out in sudden and devastating violence because you just can’t contain the rage anymore???

It’s so difficult to stay calm when someone is being judgy of your parenting, but you can do it! You’re the bigger person. They’re acting like a 5-year old, but you can be the adult.

You DO NOT have to accept their advice or change what you’re doing. Just say, “Thanks for the ideas!” in a kind way (try to swallow the sarcasm if you can), and then do what works for your kids and your family.

9) Keep comments positive and encouraging and sporting events.

man tying boy's shoes on field

I don’t know what it is about kids’ sporting events that brings out insane competition in the parents. For all that’s Holy, it’s a game! For little kids! It’s about having fun, teaching the kids cooperation and teamwork, and building great memories.

Have you seen those crazy parents who treat it like they’re reliving their forgotten dreams and their own success or failure depends on the performance of a twelve-year old? I just want to slap them back to reality and tell them, “Today’s not about you!”

Always remember to speak kindly to members of other teams, other parents, coaches, refs, and basically everyone there.

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Other Great Reads: 

6 Steps to Be a Friend… Without Owning Other People’s Problems

27 Universal Truths to Live a Happy Life NOW!

Perspective of a Child

The Secret to Foolproof Goals- How to Become the Parent You’ve Always Wanted to Be

Over 35 Guilty Pleasures for Moms that I’m NOT ABOUT to Stop!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

10) Avoid personal comments or questions.

There are lots of topics that can be hurtful if approached in the wrong way. When to have children, how many children to have, discipline decisions, adoption, etc. can be touchy to discuss.

Let parents bring these topics up on their own or ask in advance, “Are you comfortable if I ask you about this?”

11) When a child cries in public take them out of the main area of the restaurant, theater, or store.

selective focus photography of girl crying

No parent should be embarrassed when their kids struggle in public. It’s ok, it happens to every parent. We all get it. Our heart and our loving thoughts go out to you, sister.

But there is a polite way to handle it, and it’s best for the child too. Find a calming, quiet place to bring your child while they calm down. This helps others enjoy their experience and helps your child have a safe place to work through his feelings with your help. 

12) Always send your child with money when they are invited to an event, on a trip, etc.

Don’t assume that the child will be paid for! Just because I’m driving all the kids to the movies doesn’t mean I have $70 to buy 6 tickets for all of my son’s friends!

An invite doesn’t mean that the other family is planning to cover everything. Send your child with some cash so that they can purchase food, tickets, or whatever else they need.

13) Clean up the toys after a play date.

assorted-color interlocking blocks on floor

Kids make messes when they have fun. It’s ok. But if you want to be invited for future play dates, make sure you spend a few minutes to pick up the toys after the fun is over.

14) Behave the way you want your child to behave.

We’ve talked a lot about kids’ behavior, but let’s remember that parenting etiquette is mostly the parent’s job. It’s about how you respond to your children in a positive and socially appropriate way.

It’s your job as a parent to set an example for your child’s behavior. If you want your child to be responsible and kind and polite, you have to be responsible and kind and polite too.

15) Don’t discipline other people’s kids. Offer guidance.

It’s never ok to physically punish another person’s child. No grabbing their arm, no spanking, no flicking them on the nose, or whatever else you do.

There are times when it falls on your shoulders to set appropriate guidelines for other kids, especially when they are at your house, when you are babysitting, or even if the other parent just won’t do it. I know, shoot me now. I hate having to deal with other people’s kids. I just have more patience for my own kids because, you know, I love them and stuff. But it has to be done.

If you find yourself in this situation, follow this recipe:

-If the other parent is present, politely ask, “Do you want to handle this one, or would you like me to?”

-Begin by explaining the problem to the child and let them know what you expect from them instead. Example: “At our house, we don’t hit. Next time, you can come get me if you feel upset and I’ll help you work it out.”

-If the problem continues, remind the child of the natural consequences of his actions. “When we hit, other friends don’t want to play. If you’re kind, we can keep having lots of fun!”

-Follow through with appropriate consequences. Make sure you don’t threaten anything you aren’t willing to carry out. If you say the play date will be over the next time the problem happens, then follow through.

-When you see the parent next, explain exactly what happened and ask if you crossed any lines. This will give them a chance to explain to you how they would prefer for you to handle similar situations if they come up again.

16) Keep every child safe.

Moms and dads work together to make sure kids stay safe. If parents watch out for each other, there will be fewer child abductions, fewer accidents, fewer injuries.

If you see a kid walking toward the road, no matter whose child it is, safety is everyone’s job. You get a free pass to intervene if it means keeping a child safe. 

man carrying boy both smiling

 

There you have it! 16 rules for being a polite parent. Do these things, and you’ll be welcomed in mom circles and parent hangouts.

It’s totally worth it to live by the rules of parenting etiquette.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Things I Wish I'd Known Before Potty Training

20 Things I Wish I’d Known BEFORE I Started Potty Training

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

I’ve heard a lot of potty training horror stories in my (short) time as a parent.

I thought I’d heard it all, and I was ready to go when my first child started to show signs of being ready to potty train.

I was wrong.

So, so, unfortunately, dangerously… wrong.

If I’d only known…

Here it is- everything I didn’t know about potty training. Here’s hoping that this information will help some mom out there!

1. I Don’t Know Everything.

Yeah, I know this one is obvious to everyone else, but for some reason, this took me a while to get.

I’m kinda slow that way.

But it was refreshing to finally get over myself and start using my resources- asking for help from other moms, researching answers, and trusting my mom-gut.

2. My Child’s Choice

Before I toilet trained my child, I imagined that potty training was my job as a parent. I imagined deciding when to toilet train my child and that I would have all the control of the process.

Just…. No.

And this is a good thing! My daughter decided when she was ready, and she showed me that she was ready by asking to use the potty. She started holding her poop when she needed to go. She would say “poop!” before her diaper was even dirty, then go poop a few minutes later.

Every child shows different signs, but the choice to toilet train was very much her choice. And I’m really glad it went that way! It seemed to be perfect for her.

How did your children communicate to you that they were ready to toilet train? What toilet training methods did you use, and why? Comment below!

three toilet papers

3. Kids Like Water

I’ve always known this… But I never really thought about how kids’ interest in water affects potty training.

Because, if you take a second to stop and think about it (which I didn’t)…. There’s water in the toilet bowl.

And the water swirls around in a cool way. It’s really pretty exciting.

And kids think so too.

I guess the point here is, watch your little one’s hands, or right into the toilet they’ll go!

4. Splash Zone

I do get a tiny bit of credit for assuming that there would be a splash zone if I was potty training a boy. But I wasn’t. I have a daughter. So I’m good right??

Wrong.

Splash zone principles still apply.

Pee can and will spray past the toilet seat if you’re not careful! Watch out, mamas!


More Great Reads: 

AMAZING Miracle of Moms- Let’s All Be That Mom Every Day

Helping Your Toddler Understand Time- Less than $20 DIY Resource for Parents

How To Survive a Tantrum in Public (Ages 3 and Up)

How to Make and Follow Through on a Kick @$$ Chore Chart


5. Clean Up Time Is All The Time

I also get some credit because I came prepared knowing that I would be dealing with lots and lots and lots of accidents! Which I did.

But, for some reason, in all my preparation, I only prepared emotionally for the accidents. I did not have a plan for cleanup- as in what cleaners to use, what’s safe on carpet, or specific towels or rags that are ok to clean up urine and feces.

I did learn some great tips though- such as:

  • Pee leaves a bad smell. Certain chemicals combat the smell, so be careful what cleaner you use. If you use the wrong one, the smell will linger even though you’ve tried to clean it. I really liked using vinegar solution or dish washer liquid soap.
  • Carpet is quite a process to clean, and it is best to act fast. The longer the urine sits in the carpet, the more difficult it is to clean. Check out this great post for more information.
  • When I had my first accident, I used this one blue rag that I have. It’s not a nice one, so I figured it would be fine to use it to clean pee. Then later, I happened to grab that same blue rag to wipe down my counters… and I couldn’t do it. Too gross for me to know where it’s been… Next time I potty train, I’ll have specific rags set aside for cleaning toileting accidents.

6. Rejected

When I started toilet training, I thought it would be a fun and positive to give my child a treat for using the toilet- just to make it special for her.

My little girl loves chocolate, and candy, and sweets, but we don’t have them in our home often, so I thought she would be very excited!

To my surprise, I offered her some Reece’s Pieces and she said “No.”

Whaaaaaat the h*&#??? What happened to you??

I swear she’s never said “no” to candy before or since. Only right when it mattered.

So if you’re planning to give treats to your child to help them learn potty training, make sure beforehand that the child likes the treat!

closeup photo of cupcakes on round white ceramic plate

7. I’m Out of Butter….

I tried to be ready to toilet train by choosing a week or so that I didn’t need to run any errands. I didn’t have much on my calendar, and I moved around my schedule for the few remaining appointments to happen later.

So we got started!

And then I looked in the fridge…..

Uh oh.

So we had to pack up and go to the store. We stopped every 5-10 minutes or so to run to the bathroom, mostly false alarms, but it’s better than cleaning up urine in Walmart!

If you’re going to potty train, don’t forget to stock up the fridge!

8. Sick Day

After a few weeks or months (I have no idea how long it was- my potty training memories are a blur) my poor little girl got sick with a moderate fever and a cold.

I didn’t think it would affect her toileting because she didn’t have diarrhea or anything, but it totally did.

I had no idea!

She was being lethargic and seemed tired all day, and it carried over into going potty. It was difficult to get to the toilet fast enough because she just didn’t feel good.

Moms- be aware- sick children might have troubles using the potty.

9. Night Night, Sleep Tight

When I began toileting, I assumed that my child would learn to use the bathroom during the day and that skill would just sort of transpire into night time toileting.

Also wrong.

Unfortunately, I learned that sleep training is totally different than daytime potty training.

The urge to pee or poop doesn’t always wake children and they may go just because their bodies are relaxed in sleep. It’s unconscious. It’s not naughty behavior, it’s truly just an accident.

The child might be completely unaware until he wakes up and is all wet from peeing the bed.

In my daughter’s case, the best advice I’ve heard was to keep her in diapers or pull ups at night until she is consistently staying dry at night on her own. Then slowly switch to having her sleep in her underwear.

10. Connected At the Hip

I’ve always been connected at the hip with my daughter. We go everywhere together, we spend as much time as we can with each other, it’s amazing!

But during potty training time, it was literally EVERY second.

I couldn’t leave her side because she might have an accident in the few minutes or seconds that I stepped away- and she often did have accidents when I tried to step away.

Potty training was an important time for me to take time for myself since it is a long, stressful-at-times process.

I wish I had known that in advance because I could have arranged for more help from supportive neighbors, friends, and family if I had more time.

11. Waste Not, Want Not

There’s lots of extra skills children learn during potty training other than just pooping in the toilet.

Wiping their own butt is one of them.

For some reason, I just didn’t think about that until I was in it. Or more specifically, until half the roll of TP was in the toilet bowl.

Hmmm. Now what??

(For those of you who are interested- I scooped out wads of soggy toilet paper using a plastic fork into a double wrapped plastic Walmart bag. Then I tied it shut, tied those two bags in a third bag, and threw it all in the trash. Fork and all.)

gray wooden outdoor portable bathroom

12. Toileting Time Warp

At the beginning of toileting, I took my daughter potty every 10 minutes, and more often than that if she showed any signs of maybe needing to pee in between the 10 minute timer (like if she was touching her genitals, doing the “potty dance”, or squeezing her legs together).

But after a while, she was picking up the skill so I spread out our visits to the potty. 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, then every 30 minutes, every hour…

It’s a total time warp. Weeks passed without me realizing.

I wish I had soaked up that time with my child a little more. Although it was a lot of hard work, it was one-on-one time with my sweet little one. It’s not easy to get that kind of quality time. I wish I had appreciated it a little more.

13. Preparation

There are lots of times in daily life that a toilet is not conveniently nearby. For example, driving in the car.

My little girl didn’t have to go to the bathroom before we left, so I assumed that she could make it all the way until we reached our destination. That’s just not always true.

I learned to take my child to the potty before we ever got in the car.

baby beside green textile

14. What About the Pants?

My toddler did not know how to dress or undress herself at the time when we started toileting.

Woops.

That meant that she was unable to go to the restroom without mom’s help. She needed me to help her pull down her pants and put them back on.

That was fine for a while, but after weeks of taking my child to the toilet dozens of times every day, I was excited for her to be able to go on her own. That meant teaching her some basic dressing skills.

I had no idea I’d be teaching that!


Resources:

Click the Images Below!

  • Potty Time Watch

  • Potty Chair

  • Potty Seat with Ladder

  • Potty Training Reward Chart

  • Cotton Training Pants

  • The Potty Train


 

15. Vacation Time

Going on vacation is difficult with a child who is just learning to use the potty.

Our family went to visit Grandma. It takes four hours to drive there. We couldn’t leave until after dad got home from work at 5:30. I made sure the car was ready to go so that we could get started on the long drive as quickly as possible.

The drive to Grandma’s is a who lot of nothing. Just barren dessert. There’s only one gas station on the way.

So of course, I took my little girl in to the bathroom at the gas station.

But she had to go again only 15 minutes after we left the gas station.

Ugh. Now what??

In desperation, we pulled over and put her in the diaper. 

Traveling issues like this one contributed to some toileting regression for my little one.

16. Mom’s Routine

I never thought about how to help my toileting child when I had to shower. Our usual routine was to bring a few toys in to mom’s room, where she would play happily while mom took a quick shower.

But there’s no shower fast enough to guarantee that there won’t be a potty accident. After all, my daughter needed my help to pull down her pants to use the toilet.

Sure enough, one day, my daughter called in to me in the shower, “Poop!”

I had soap all in my hair. I thought maybe I had enough time to rinse and then rush out to help her.

That was wrong.

four Mad About Curl and Waves labeled bottles on wooden surface

17. Mom’s Hygiene

Between my shower issues and the time warp I was living in, I had no idea how fast my hygiene slipped.

I would randomly stop to take a look at myself and think…. “Ewww. Let’s get it together, self.”

Maybe half the reason we stay home during potty training isn’t just to avoid accidents in public. Maybe mom’s not fit to be in public. I know I wasn’t!

18. Verbal Praise All Around

I always tried to show my baby that I was proud of her. I told her things like, “You did it!” and “You’re learning how to go potty!” and “You didn’t have an accident today!”

My favorite potty training memory is sitting in the women’s room at Walmart (apparently Walmart is the only public place I ever go… Just realized that) and out of nowhere my little girl yells, “Mommy, you pooped on the potty! Yay!”

Awesome!

I was embarrassed at first, but I can’t help but look back on that moment with a little chuckle.

And then I got smart. I thought… “Hey, if she gets a treat for going potty…. Maybe I do too???”

Yep. Good choice.

19. No More Treats!

And then comes the day when I realized that my toddler really didn’t need to have a treat any more.

How are you supposed to stop that habit once it starts?

I learned all about fading away rewards in college and at work, but it was the first time I had to use it in my parenting.

It seemed like it had been a while.

If you choose to use treats, remember that they have to end sometime. And that’s a whole ‘nother story.

girl making hand gesture on her face

20. Never Ending

Toileting doesn’t stop once a child seems to “have it down.” Accidents happen forever more.

  • Lots of children get so excited about what they are playing that they don’t want to stop to go pee, and so they have an accident.
  • Lots of kids struggle to get sleep training down.
  • Lots of kids have accidents when they feel stressed or under pressure.

Potty training isn’t a “one and done” sort of deal. It’s just life.

So get cozy, keep a smile, on, and don’t stress too much.

It’s still your happy life, and it’s still your sweet baby. Make sure to enjoy it before life moves on and you’re left remembering how it was.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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How to Respond When Your Kids Wander Away Or Worse- Staying Safe from Child Abduction

How to Respond When Children Wander Away (Or Worse)- Staying Safe from Child Abduction

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Updated: 2/13/2019

 

Safety Trivia: During Christmas time, it is common to decorate with what poisonous plant? (See answer at bottom of page)

Every parent has stories about losing their kids for a moment or two in a store, at a gas station, at Disneyland, or at a park.

Those moments are nerve wracking for mother and child.

We know that children are usually just fine, but with child trafficking and other abuse out there, no parent can take any chances. 

Please comment below: Have you ever been separated from your child in public? What did you do? 

Let’s discuss this topic in the following sections:

  1. How to Be Proactive In Prevention
  2. What To Do In the Moment
  3. Skills for Your Child
  4. Worse Case Scenario

woman in white blouse and blue denim jeans helping a baby crawl on green grass

Photo by Jordan Rowland on Unsplash

1) How to Be Proactive In Prevention

Many, many bad situations can be avoided with a little preparation on the parents’ part. Try these tips to keep your family safe:

  • Teach your children a “Magic Safety Word” that they respond to automatically. Practice and practice your word until the children know to run to mom any time they hear this word. You can use fun games, like Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light to practice running to mom when you hear the word. My husband’s family uses a whistle- that works great too.
  • Teach your children their full name, phone number, and address. If they are too young, you can write it on their arm, on the inside of a jacket or shirt, on backpack tags, or on the bottom of  their shoes.
  • Get your child safety tools such as a GPS watch. 
  • Teach children to stay next to you, and teach them why.
  • Have the stranger-danger talk often. In addition to teaching children to avoid strangers, teach them about “community helpers” such as policemen or store employees who can help the child if they are ever lost.

man and woman holding baby's hand while walking on road

  • Be aware of common abduction techniques.
    • Abductors try to get their victims in the car as quickly as possible for a fast getaway.
    • Not all abductors are men. Women also help in child trafficking because they draw less suspicion than men do.
    • Abductors try to change the child’s physical appearance quickly. Some abductors carry items like a shirt or a wig to put on the child so that they do not match the physical description that people are searching for.
  • If you are going to a particularly crowded place such as an amusement park, try these tips:
    • Arrange a meeting place just in case someone gets separated from the group. If you lose each other, immediately go to the meeting place and look there first.
    • Take a picture of each child at the beginning of the day so that you know exactly what their clothing looks like in case of an incident. Use some kind of bright or unique piece of clothing that is easily recognizable.
    • Use the “buddy system”– assign each child a partner. Everyone is in charge of keeping an eye on their partner. This keeps everyone on their toes and decreases the chances of getting separated.
    • Use a sharpie to write your name and phone number on the child’s arm.

Resources:

GPS Watch

Mini GPS Tracker

Backpack Labels

The Game Plan Game: Everyone Needs A Game Plan for Safety, Life Skills and Feelings Management

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

2) What To Do In the Moment

Despite our best efforts, children sometimes get lost in crowded places. They get distracted, they wander… it happens.

But it is terrifying because there are too many bad people in the world that would take advantage of a lost and unprotected child.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Stay calm. Getting worked up overstimulates your senses and makes you less effective. For your child’s sake, keep it together.
  2. Don’t hesitate! Act fast. Most abductions are quick and silent, so don’t worry about embarrassment. Just get to work.
  3. Use specific details to get other people looking for your child as well.
  4. Be loud. Shout the child’s name, or even better- call out a description of the child to the people around you. Abductors want to blend in and go unnoticed. If a large group of people are aware of a missing child’s physical appearance, it is difficult for an abductor to sneak away with the child.
  5. Use the resources around you. Watch for a main office, a help desk, employees, policemen, or just ask the strangers around you. They can all help.
  6. If possible, keep a family member at the location where you lost the child. Most children don’t go far.

timelapse photo of people passing the street

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash

3) Skills For Your Child To Know

In these scary situations, the child is likely scared and confused as well. Giving the child tools beforehand can help them make smart decisions.

  • Never get in anyone’s car or leave the store or location where you lost mom.
  • Never put on any different clothes than what you were wearing when you lost mom.
  • Know who the “community helpers” are. Know what clothes they wear so that you can find one to help you. Another common technique is to teach children to ask a woman with children with her, hoping that another mom will have sympathy and help the child.
  • Know your parents’ phone number, your full name, your address, etc. so that the helpers can contact mom.
  • If there is a family meeting place, teach the child to go there first. If there is no meeting place, the child should stay where he lost you.
  • Teach the child mom’s full name. People pick their own name out of background noise more than other sounds. I am more likely to hear “Becca Sheffield” over the hum of a crowd than “mommy”.

Is this information helpful? Please comment and like!

person standing on misty ground

Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash


More Great Reads: 

AMAZING Miracle of Moms- Let’s All Be That Mom Every Day

The Most Important Word in the English Language (For Parents)- Remember

When Life Is On A Parent’s Side- Taking Advantage of Natural Consequences

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

4) Worse Case Scenario

There is a story of a boy named Jake who was ALMOST abducted in a crowded beach.

His family was enjoying a nice day, visiting vendors and booths. Jake was right next to Mommy. She let go of his hand for a second, and he was gone that fast. 

Jake’s mom called for him.

A nearby army cadet heard Jake’s mom shouting, and offered to help. He and his army buddies started shouting to the crowd, “We are looking for a boy, He is 4-years old, blonde and in a red T shirt. Have you seen him?”

Jake’s mom attributes his safety to that specific phrase.

Turns out, Jake was with a man who promised to show Jake a “real rocket ship” if Jake came with him. 

When so many in the crowd started looking for the boy in such specific detail, the abductor knew he could not get Jake away without being spotted, so he just left.

Jake was found soon after.

(Read the full story here)

woman in white dress shirt holding her daughter in tutu dress beside of asphalt road during daytime

Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Please comment below: Have you ever been separated from your child in public? What did you do? 

This story makes me so scared for Jake, so angry at that man, so relieved that it all turned out ok, and so determined never to let anything happen to my own children. 

Keep your sweet little ones safe, and help the other moms around you.

There is bad in this world, but it’s nothing compared to all the good. Thank you for being the kind of moms who will help my child if she’s ever lost. And I’ll do the same for you. 

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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Safety Trivia Answer: Mistletoe

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