Archives for January 2014

What We’ve Been Up To

It’s been a frigid winter here in the East, with temperatures dropping into single digits and bonus below 0 wind chills But that hasn’t stopped us from enjoying a lot of activities. Here’s a small sampling of a few of our days!


Playing with snow. Watercolor painting. Mixing paint colors to paint butterflies.


Matching play food to pictures of real food. Making coffee filter snowflakes.


My Gym. Painting Christmas cards. Working on letter recognition (upper and lower case).


Aly

Biting

The dreaded biting. It tends to be something that seems so horrifying and so primitive. But it’s actually relatively common and normal. In all the years I was in daycare, I saw my fair share of biters. Some worse than others, some doing it once and being done with it, and some doing it for weeks or months before finally stopping.

Let’s first talk about why toddlers bite. There can be several reasons. These are the main ones.
Attention. The child sees that if they bite they get more attention.

They’re in pain. A lot of times, it just feels good to them to bite down on something as their teeth come in. Unfortunately, that something could be another child’s arm.

Frustration/Defensive. A lot of toddlers don’t have a large vocabulary. So when another child comes along and takes their toy, they aren’t able to say “hey! I’m playing with that!” Instead they chomp down and that usually makes the other child drop the toy and run off crying. Or perhaps another child comes over and pushes them. The biter bites, and the other child stops and cries. You know what? The biter got exactly what they wanted – the toy back and no pushing. This can be one of the hardest ones to stop because to the biter, biting gets “positive” reinforcement from the other child!

Half the battle is figuring out why they’re doing it. The other half is figuring out how to stop it.

If your child is biting for attention, it’s very important to make sure you are showing the child who got bit attention first, as well as giving them more attention. Pick them up, love on them, kiss their boo boo. All before talking to the biter. When the biter is playing appropriately, be sure to give them lots of attention (not bringing up biting while doing so).

If your child is biting because they’re in pain, give them appropriate things that they can chew or bite on (a teether , frozen washcloth, frozen pacifier). They even make teethers specifically to alleviate molar pain. Be sure to tell them they need to bite on this if their teeth hurt. Don’t assume they just know. “If your teeth hurt, bite on this teether. It will make you feel better.” If need be, give them Orajel or Teething Tablets.

If your child is biting out of frustration or being defensive, work on words with them. Not just immediately following the bite, but throughout the day as well. Talk to them more often than not. Build their vocabulary as a whole, not just pertaining to biting. The more words they have, the better. When they bite, be sure to remind them to use words instead and give them clear examples – “We don’t bite. We say “It’s my turn right now.” Also encourage them to get an adults help instead of solving their problem themselves. Would you rather be “interrupted” a billion times a day or deal with biting frequently throughout the day? It’s also important to shadow them for a few days as much as you can. It’s much better to prevent biting from happening than it is to try to fix it after it happens. If you see your child getting frustrated, you can intervene and help them solve the problem before it escalates to biting. “I see that Billy is trying to take your truck. Let’s tell him that you are playing with it right now. Say ‘Billy, it’s my turn right now.’ Let’s also make sure he knows we’ll give it to him when we’re done. Say ‘I’ll give it to you when I’m done.'” You could even model appropriate reactions for them. Grab another adult and role play. Have the other adult take something you have. Use words to get it back. The more examples of appropriate reactions they see, the better.

One thing not to do is bite back. This is controversial, with some people saying it’s the magic solution for solving biting problems. I just don’t get it. To me it’s hypocritical. Children learn by example. If you’re trying to teach a child that biting is not okay to do, and you bite them, what is that showing them?

Typically, biting stops by 3 or so years old. It’s always good to keep your pediatrician in the loop on issues like these, but especially if they continue beyond 3 years old.

If your child does start biting, just try to remember that it is normal, and many children go through this stage. Stay positive!


Aly

Wishes are Granted!

Apparently, my wish from my last post was granted. After a rough weekend for the girls’ parents where M started climbing out of her crib, her crib had to be converted to a bed. At the same time, I bumped up their nap from around 2pm to 1:15. All of a sudden she was taking awesome naps, and after a few days or so, E started to as well. E’s crib is now converted to a bed as well. They sleep in their beds at night, but they’re still separated for nap, with M in her bed and E in a pack and play on the lower level with me. At least until they get back into the habit of sleeping through both the night and at nap for at least a solid week or so. Then I’ll make the transition of both napping in their beds.

I have a feeling E will be the more difficult one for this. She is a very determined child. She knows exactly what she wants and will do her best to get it. She tends to take longer to go to sleep for nap (has since she was an infant, fought it till she just couldn’t anymore), so it should be interesting with both of them in beds that they can easily get in and out of! Here’s to hoping it’s an easy transition when it does happen!


Aly