Routines and Schedules

Routines and Schedules

It is times like this that I want to go back to my past self and give myself a high five!! The routines we put in place when our son was 3 years old or younger are still in place with some minor changes through the years and they are still working well 9 years later!! Bliss, I tell you!

Schedule Versus Routine

A routine is a series of things we do before or after an event.

A schedule is based on set times when certain events occur.

Schedules and Routines both have their place.

I find that set schedules do not work as well with infants but having a variety of routines in place does work well.

We used to have a screen time schedule here which worked like a charm! Our son watched a show at about 8 am, 11 am (when he is home), and 4 pm. We did have to be a bit flexible but we put in this place because he would focus hugely on watching his programs. “Can I watch a show” (over and over).

Once the set times were in place, the constant asking for a show came to a complete stop. My response was “yes you can at __ time”.  After staying consistent with this for a while he really took to it.

As he has grown we have been able to be way more flexible. He knows his time limits and he works with them.

What are the benefits of routines and schedules??

When children know what to expect, they feel more secure and are more willing to follow through with tasks.

I often have parents ask why their child is so well-behaved at daycare or school and not as much at home. The first thing is that children will unload their feelings at home where they feel safe. The second thing is that there is a great deal of structure with routines and schedules so the children know what to expect.

I often recommend that parents maintain similar schedules and routines at home.

You may find that you continue certain routines from your childhood. It is really cool how routines and schedules can really help children feel safe, secure, and be willing to do the steps without even realizing it.

I have to admit that our morning routine is my favourite.

Morning routine:

  1. Come in and give mom a hug
  2. Bathroom
  3. Snuggles with Mom and/or Dad
  4. Get Dressed
  5. Start watching You-Tube (Pause when breakfast is ready)
  6. Eat Breakfast
  7. Brush Teeth
  8. Put on socks
  9. Finishing watching You-Tube while getting the outdoor gear on
  10. Out the Door

It typically is very smooth and we have been doing a routine similar to this since he was 3!

There are a few things that you can do to help your child get familiar with a routine.

  1. Be consistent
  2. Use visuals (written list for older children and list using pictures for younger children)
  3. Use verbal reminders
  4. Use a timer to remind your child when they have to move to the next step

You can use routines throughout your day! Have fun fitting in the routines and do not forget to make them a little fun for your child as well!!

If you would like some help figuring out how routines and schedules can help your family, please feel free to book a free 15-minute consult to ask how I can help. You can book the free call by clicking on the following link 15-minute free call

Below is the video I did about routines and schedules. Feel free to listen…

Why am I so tired??

Why am I so tired??

If you are a parent who is tired and wondering why, you are reading the right post!

September is a month that marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall, and for many people, it is the most exhausting time of the year.

There are a variety of reasons why this is the case, ranging from the back-to-school season to the changing weather patterns and shorter days.

The following are some of the reasons why September can be so exhausting and some tips on how to get through it…

Reason 1: Back-to-School Season

For children, this means getting back into the routine of waking up early, attending classes, and completing homework and assignments.

 

For parents, it means adjusting to the new school schedule and managing the logistics of drop-offs, pick-ups, and extracurricular activities.Even for those who are not directly involved in the back-to-school season, the increased traffic, crowds, and general busyness can be draining. 

Reason 2: Changing Weather

The transition from summer to fall can be a difficult one, particularly in regions where the weather can be unpredictable.

The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and the weather can be rainy and windy. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and lethargy, as well as an increased susceptibility to colds and other illnesses.

 

Reason 3: Increased Work Demands

For many people, this is a time of year when work begins to ramp up after the summer lull, with new projects and deadlines to meet.

Reason 4: Social Events

After summer, people often feel disconnected from others so the social calendars begin to fill up.
 

There may also be social events to attend, such as weddings, reunions, or other gatherings, which can take up time and energy.

 

 

How do you deal with this time of year???

Here are a few tips to help you manage the stress and fatigue of September:

 

1. Get plenty of rest:

With the changing weather patterns and increased activity, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough rest. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and try to establish a consistent sleep routine.

2. Stay active:

Exercise is a great way to boost your energy levels and reduce stress. Even a short walk or jog can help you feel more alert and focused. If you are not already active, consider starting a new exercise routine or joining a fitness class.

3. Eat well:

A healthy diet can help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day. Avoid sugary or processed foods, which can cause energy crashes, and focus on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

4. Manage your time:

With so much going on in September, it is important to manage your time effectively. Set priorities, establish a schedule, and delegate tasks where possible.

5. Take breaks:

It is important to take breaks throughout the day to recharge your batteries. Even a short walk or a few minutes of meditation can help you feel more refreshed and focused.

September can be a challenging month for many people. By taking steps to manage your stress and fatigue, such as getting plenty of rest, staying active, eating well, managing your time, and taking breaks, you can make it through this busy time of year with your energy and enthusiasm intact.

As always, Be the Parent you want to be and the parent your child needs! 

 

Be the Person You Want Your Child to Be

Be the Person You Want Your Child to Be

 

 

As parents, we all want our children to grow up to be compassionate, kind, and responsible individuals. But have you ever stopped to think about the role you play in shaping their behaviour?

 

The Power of Mirror Neurons:

 

Did you know that children are like little sponges, absorbing everything around them? Research has shown that children mimic the emotions and behaviours of those closest to them. This phenomenon, known as mirror neurons, highlights the importance of modeling the behaviours and attitudes we wish to see in our children. If we want our little ones to be empathetic, respectful, and kind, it starts with us embodying those qualities ourselves.

 

Addressing Our Own Behaviour:

 

When we notice a behaviour in our child that we’re not particularly fond of, our immediate reaction might be to focus solely on correcting them. However, it is crucial to first reflect on whether this behaviour is inadvertently coming from us or another loved one. Perhaps, without realizing it, we have been demonstrating that behaviour ourselves. Addressing our own actions and emotions may be necessary before expecting our child to change.

 

Influencing Others:

 

It’s important to acknowledge that we can’t always change the behaviour of others, but we can certainly influence it. If you notice a behaviour in someone else that you don’t appreciate, talking to them calmly and expressing your concerns might eventually lead to positive change. Explaining to your child what you don’t like about someone else’s behaviour can also serve as a valuable teaching moment, helping them understand the importance of certain qualities and behaviours.

 

Apologizing and Embracing Mistakes:

 

Nobody is perfect, including parents. In fact, it is through our mistakes that we can teach our children valuable life lessons. As parents, we must be willing to label our mistakes and apologize to our children when necessary. By doing so, we demonstrate a crucial lesson in handling mistakes – taking responsibility, offering an apology, and showing our children how to own up to their own errors. Remember, children learn from our mistakes and how we deal with them.

 

Reflecting on Our Own Behaviour:

 

At times, we may notice unexpected behaviours in our children that leave us puzzled. However, it’s essential to reflect on our own behaviours and emotions to uncover potential triggers. Are we inadvertently exhibiting those behaviours in certain situations or with certain people? By examining our own actions, we can provide explanations for our children’s behaviour and work towards a solution together.

 

Conclusion:

 

In the journey of parenthood, we are the architects of our children’s character. To raise empathetic, responsible, and kind individuals, we must embody those qualities ourselves and be the person we want our child to be. Leading by example, addressing our own behaviour, fostering communication, and embracing our mistakes can guide our children towards leading fulfilling lives. Remember, by being the person you want your child to be, you are not only shaping their future but also making life easier and more enjoyable for the entire family.

How Actions Speak Louder Than Words

How Actions Speak Louder Than Words

parenting foundations

 

(At first, he was saying he wanted to try the water but never went in, turns out he did not want to get wet and have to go back in the car. That makes sense.)

The way your child is acting is a very large indicator of how things are going in their world. They may even be telling you that everything is okay but their actions will tell you otherwise.

 

 

Are you thinking… How do actions speak louder than words??

 

Let’s take a moment to observe your child’s fascinating world. You’ll quickly realize that they possess a unique language of their own, and it’s not just spoken words. No, their actions and behaviour have the power to communicate volumes.

Picture a toddler throwing an epic tantrum. It may seem like chaos, but beneath the surface, they’re conveying a message. They’re saying, ‘Help me!’ ‘I’m done!’ ‘I don’t like not getting my way.’ ‘It’s frustrating not being able to do what you can do.’ And my personal favourite, ‘Why don’t you understand what I’m trying to tell you?’

Now, imagine laying an infant down on the floor, and they begin to cry. At first, you might assume it’s because they dislike tummy time or simply want to be held. But there’s more to it. They could be hungry, tired, or confused about their surroundings.

Here’s a game-changer: if you lower yourself to their level, make eye contact, or speak in a soothing tone, the crying might cease before you even pick them up. You don’t have to stay glued to the floor forever, but it’s worth a try to make them feel more at ease. Sing or talk to them from a distance—it can work wonders.

Even older children, though equipped with a large vocabulary of words, often struggle to express their true emotions effectively. That’s where their behaviour becomes a crystal-clear indicator of their inner world.

Just think about our not-so-little guy, who is 11 years old. When he’s bouncing off the walls or struggling to follow simple requests, it’s a telltale sign. It could mean he’s bursting with excitement, harbouring worries, overflowing with energy, or simply having a blast.

So, let’s be clear: children communicate through their actions and behaviour. Now, you might be wondering, ‘That’s great, but what can I do about it?’

 

Hold on tight—I’ve got some tips to help your child improve their communication through action:

 

1. Pair Actions with Words:

Empower them with the right words. Picture this: your infant is crying, and you know they’re hungry. Instead of merely comforting them, say, ‘I think you’re hungry.’ It may sound silly, but trust me, it’s incredibly helpful. This technique is especially effective for toddlers and preschool-aged children.

2. Respond to their Actions:

Give them the chance to express their needs. Believe it or not, children as young as eight months can use gestures, although it’s typically around ten months when they start gesturing for what they want. When you acknowledge their gestures and show them that you understand, they’ll continue to use this form of communication.

3. Teach Them Sign Language:

When your child resorts to gestures, you can introduce simple baby sign language. The key is to combine signs with words, enabling them to communicate using both methods.

4. Visualize it:

Use visuals to enhance communication. Prepare a set of pictures that your child can use to express their needs. Around 16 months, they can start using this technique. Ask them to ‘show you’ what they want, and although they may begin around 12 months, they’ll become even better at it by 16 months.

 

Now, let’s decode some actions and unravel their hidden meanings:

 

Rooting:

When a child shows an action towards a breast, it usually means hunger—the most common reason. However, it can also indicate tiredness or boredom.

Crying:

Ah, the myriad cries! You’ll become an expert at deciphering them.

Hitting:

When your child resorts to hitting, it can often signify frustration or anger. However, don’t be quick to judge. Sometimes, it can also be a sign of extreme excitement. Understanding the underlying reason behind the hitting will help you respond appropriately.

 

Biting:

Ah, the teethers! Biting is commonly associated with teething discomfort and pain in infants. However, with toddlers and preschool-aged children, it can serve as a way to express frustration, anger, or even excitement. If you’re dealing with biting behaviour, I recommend checking out our previous blog post dedicated to tackling this issue. [Insert link to the previous blog post]

Twirling Hair:

When your child twirls their hair, it’s often a way for them to seek comfort during anxious moments. This behaviour can indicate that they’re feeling overwhelmed or uncertain. Providing reassurance and a calm environment can go a long way in helping them manage their anxiety.

 

Now, I would love to hear from you! Have you noticed any other behaviours from your child that you’ve deciphered? Share them in the comments section below this post. Let’s continue unravelling the fascinating world of children’s communication through actions and behaviour.

Would you like to have help deciphering your child’s behaviour? Brenda from Parenting FOundations can help you with a mini-consultation which includes a 60-minute call on Zoom and 2 follow-up emails. Book your consult here.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Navigating Tantrums and Meltdowns: What is the Difference?

Navigating Tantrums and Meltdowns: What is the Difference?

 

As children grow and develop, they often experience strong emotions that they struggle to control. In these moments, it’s not uncommon for a child to have a “tantrum” or “meltdown”. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to two different types of behaviour.

Tantrums and meltdowns are both responses to overwhelming emotions, but they differ in how they are expressed and what triggers them. Understanding these differences can help parents and caregivers respond more effectively and support children in developing better emotional regulation skills.

 

What is a tantrum?

A tantrum is a behaviour generally defined as emotional outbursts that involve screaming, crying, kicking, hitting, and other forms of physical expression. People typically throw tantrums when they are frustrated, want control over a situation, or want something they cannot have. 

 

What is a meltdown?

Meltdowns are also characterized by big emotional outbursts that result in kicking, hitting, vocal expressions, and other forms of physical expression. Unlike tantrums, meltdowns are typically a result of being tired, hungry, needing connection, or having sensory overload. 

Meltdowns can often be associated with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, all people can have meltdowns. If your child is having a meltdown it does not mean that they may have a neurodevelopmental disorder. 

During a meltdown, a child may become completely overwhelmed and may display a range of behaviours that can be challenging for caregivers to manage. These behaviours may include crying, screaming, hitting, biting, throwing objects, or even self-injury.

 

What are the key differences between tantrums and meltdowns?

While both tantrums and meltdowns are expressions of intense emotion, there are key differences between them. Some of the key differences include:

  1. Tantrums are often triggered by external events, such as being told “no” or not getting what they want, while meltdowns are usually the result of internal triggers, such as sensory overload, hungry, or being tired.
  2. Children who are having tantrums are often seeking attention or control over a situation, while children experiencing a meltdown are typically unable to control their behaviour.
  3. Tantrums are usually shorter in duration, often lasting only a few minutes, while meltdowns can last much longer and may take hours to resolve.
  4. Tantrums are typically characterized by crying, screaming, and other forms of physical expression, while meltdowns may involve more extreme behaviour such as hitting, biting, or even self-injury.
 
How to respond to tantrums and meltdowns?

When a child is experiencing a meltdown, it’s important to prioritize their safety and help them regain a sense of calm. This may involve removing them from the situation, providing sensory input such as deep pressure or calming music, simply giving them space and time to calm down independently, or staying with them but doing nothing but being there (this does not work for all people).

During a meltdown, there may be times when you are doing everything in your toolbox to help calm your child, including standing on your head, and it does not help. In times like this, you may need to let your child ride out the meltdown while you make sure they do not hurt themselves or others. 

In both cases, it’s important to remember that every child is different and may respond differently to various strategies. 

 

If you need more guidance on how to distinguish a tantrum from a meltdown or would like strategies to reduce the number of temper tantrums or meltdowns, feel free to book a free 15-minute conversation with Brenda from Parenting Foundations.

Pacifier: The Real Deal

Pacifier: The Real Deal

A pacifier  (aka soother, dummy, sucky, etc) can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

The sucking reflex is a very calming for many children. It is a very natural thing. Children come out of the womb with the ability to suck and they love it!! Many of you may even have pictures of your little one sucking while in the womb!

As children age, the soother can become an object that they depend on greatly. I believe this is often when pacifiers become an issue.

 
What is the big deal about a Pacifier?

The following is a list of the reasons that a soother can become an issue:

  • Children can begin to develop dental issues with prolonged pacifier usage after 2 to 3 years of age.
  • Children that keep the pacifier in their mouth all night may struggle with getting into the deeper stages of sleep.
  • You may find yourself going on a soother hunt several times a night in a dark room!
  • Your child needs your help to put the soother back in their mouth during each wake-up! We all wake every to 60 to 90 minutes.
 
When should you consider removing the Pacifier?

This is completely up to you; however, there are a few things that would cause me to encourage you to drop the pacifier. The following are my reasons for dropping the pacifier:

  • Your child is not able to go back to sleep with out you inserting the pacifier and they are in a different room than you. Your sleep is definitely affected.
  • Your child is not appearing well rested. This will be evident with their behaviour during the day.
  • Your child’s speech is impacted by the pacifier.
  • Dental issues are beginning to develop.
 
How can you remove a Pacifier?

There are a number of ways that you can remove a pacifier from your child. The older your child is the harder it can become; however, it is possible and may not be as hard as you think. Here are some common ways to remove the pacifier:

Cold Turkey: 

This may seem to be the harshest method but in reality, it is the easiest. Stop giving the pacifier. At first, your child will protest; however, you can add more comfort to your child during this transition which will help with removing the pacifier.

This is the best method for children under 1 year of age.

Gradual Removal: 

This is when you start reducing when the soother is offered during the day. For example, only offering the pacifier during rides in the vehicle and in bed. After a few weeks of only offering it during designated times, you then cut it out completely. The first few days without the pacifier are trying times but it does get better with time.

This is the method that we used with our son. When he was just over a year, we only offered the soother in the vehicle and while he was in the crib for a nap or bedtime. I would offer a snack in the vehicle when needed and offer comfort objects (ie his lovey) when he needed something other than my comfort to calm him. Then we set aside 4 days where my husband and I could take turns offering him support through the night if he needed it. The first night he requested it a few times at bedtime but we stated “it is all gone” and offered him a hug. at bedtime, it took a few extra minutes to put him to sleep but that was it. He woke once during the night and needed comfort to go back to sleep. Night 2 he asked at bedtime and we stated the same message “it is all gone”. He fell asleep and stayed asleep all night. That was it!

This is the best method for children between 1 to 2 years of age.

Soother Fairy:

This is when your child gathers up all of their soothers and places them in a spot where the soother fairy (aka you) will remove the pacifiers and replace them with an object that your child will enjoy or has been asking for. For younger children, it is a good idea to replace the pacifiers with an object that can be used as a comfort object. After the pacifiers are gone you may have to deal with an upset child during sleep times or periodically throughout the day. The best thing to do is make sure you dispose of the pacifiers so you do not give it back to your child.

This is a method applicable to children over the age of 2 but best for children close to age 3.

Stuff a Bear:

This is when you bring your child to a place that makes stuffed animals and brings along the pacifiers. Your child then stuffs the pacifiers in the bear or whatever stuffed animal your child chooses. Then voila you have Soother Bear! When your child requires support you can remind her to grab her bear and also provide hugs and extra comfort when needed. This can be a quick solution for some children. Some children do get frustrated that they know where the pacifier is but cannot get it.

This is another method that is good for children over the age of 2. This is my preferred method for children that are closer to 2.

Deflating the Pacifier:

There are a couple of ways to do this; however, before proceeding I would like to remind you to proceed with caution with this method. The soother can become a choking hazard as the material gets compromised when you deflate the soother. This is when you poke holes in the soother so your child will no longer be able to suck the soother like she did before. Some children do not care and keep chewing on the soother. Other children will just stop using the soother as they are no longer getting the benefits from the soother.

This method is good for children over 1.

Chopping the Pacifier:

This is when you cut off a little piece of the pacifier. I advise you to proceed cautiously as this can also be a choking hazard. You usually start with the tip and then every few days chop off a bit more until there is nothing left but the plastic handle. Some children will just stop using the pacifier altogether and some will hold onto the plastic handle and suck on the plastic. If this is the case for your child I would then use another method to get rid of the pacifier all together.

This method is good for children over 2.

 

As with all things related to children and parenting, there is no right or wrong answer to how you should proceed with removing your child’s pacifier. Hopefully, one of the methods in this article will help your child with removing their dependence on the pacifier.

If you have any other questions or need assistance with coming up with a plan to assist your child with becoming pacifier free, please feel free to post a question in the forum area.

Take care and have a lovely day!