Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I was asked which is better, few rules that are consistently enforced or many rules with intermittent enforcement. You could just as easily add many rules that are all enforced, but that would be exhausting for the parent and the child. This is an easy one to answer but one within the impelementation gets difficult.

Few rules that are on the things that are most important and that are broad enough to cover a range of situations. Rules that concern the rights of others, safety, concern for property are important and things that children of all ages (2 and above) come to understand. Other things fall into the category of things to store away for discussions such as at bedtime, dinner, a family evening together. Parents have a tendency to try to "fix" children's behavior through establishment of many rules. Years ago this was viewed as an attempt to "civilize the child." Sometimes parents can find a variety of ways to put everything the child does into those three categories. Don't over do it.

Once children are about five you can even start periodic conversations about what rules they think you have for them that they like and what ones they don't like. This brings out an opportunity for both discussion (listening and sharing) as well as reflection on what aspects is the child ready to take over for themselves rather than you being the monitor. Remember that this will not mean at any age the child will no longer do what "bugs" you, but just that the day-to-day management of that issue is being shifted to the child.


  1. Ok so I know this isnt the right place to do this but I have no idea where to ask a question. And I couldnt actually find a post that answered it already so.....

    How do I get my 33 month old to poop in the toilet? She isn't afraid of the potty or pooping in it. She pees just great. Oh please help. Also, any suggestions on naps? She still desperately needs one but refuses to take it. Ive tried to just put her in bed and give her quiet time even if she doesnt fall asleep but then she CRASHES by about 6. Then shes up at 5. And with a 10 mth old as well, I just cant get up that early and do it all over again. Help!

  2. There are no magic methods and each child has a different temperament and background that influences what and when they do things. What we do know are some big picture things that impact the child and their willingness to do certain things.

    At 33 months it is easy to assume that the child understands the physical cues of needing to use the toilet. Children of this age often don't use the toilet because they don't want to take time out of their current activity to go use the toilet. It is relatively common for boys at that age and older to prefer to go in their diapers, pull-ups or pants than to go in the toilet. It is less common for girls. What are the situations where the child does or does not use the toilet? Is the child wearing diapers, pull-ups or underwear? Is the child able to talk you through the process of how to use the toilet?

    Some children also have a difficulty with letting go. Think of it as performance anxiety. Is constipation an issue? How often do you reminder her to use the bathroom? Do you keep the door closed when you are in the bathroom? For some parents they have found that their children did better when the child's use of the toilet was not a spectator activity.

    I guess what I am saying is that I would need more inforamtion to make specific recommendations on this issue. I have worked with over 200 children go through this process and they are both similar in some ways and different in others.

  3. The nap issue: Children need to develop the ability to be self soothing and teach themsleves to relax. Some children need assistance. Don't insist that she takes a nap. Do insist that she lays down and the time starts when she is quiet and on her bed, not when you send her to bed.

    You won't care if she is looking at books or playing with stuffed animals. Limit the choices of what to do. Provide soft music for the background that will be associated with rest time. Some children do better resting at 11:00 between a mid-morning snack and lunch and others do better after lunch. For an almost 3-year-old having a 30 minute down time would be appropriate.

    What does not work is putting a child in a room full of things and telling the child to lay down. Have you ever found yourself spending 15 minutes telling the child to lay down or that you will not read a story. Better to spend that time helping the child to relax. Rub the child's back, turn down the lights, talk quietly. Also don't go from fast paced to resting in a short time. Let them know what is coming each day even though it is a routine they should be use to. If your routine gets interupted, still give a down time as close to on time as possible.

    Make it a down time for you as well. For many parents they think that if their child is resting then it is the best time to do other things or be with another child. A 30 month old is old enough to know that you are out there doing something and they might only be able to hear what is going on so they want to be there. Encourage a time for individual attention for each child while they are both awake.

  4. Oh she defitnately understands the potty. She will tell you that you are supposed to poop in the potty, and you wipe, and wash your hands and everything. She knows the drill. She is in underwear 100% of the day. She is in a pull up at night. But even at night before shes asleep she will get up and pee and she wakes up crying when she has to pee in the middle of the night but Ive yet to get to her before she goes though. She still wont go by herself very often and she refuses to try to pull up her own underwear. She gets very mad when she cant get them over her heiny! She is the most stubborn child Ive ever met. Im assuming even worse that me bc my mom told me yesterday that I was going to end up crazy.

    She is definately NOT constipated. She goes poop like 4 times a day! I kinda think thats because when she is going I take her to the bathroom so she stops and doesnt finish though.

    If she is inside playing she will use the potty to pee. If shes outside its just to much work unless you physically bring her inside to pee. I probably ask her every 15-20 min if she has to pee. If I think shes going to poop soon Ill ask more often then that even. And she doesnt care where she is when she poops. She can be standing naked, next to the toilet and she will poop on the floor. Anywhere but the potty. She pooped in the potty before she ever peed in it but as soon as she figured out how to pee she quit pooping.

    Sometimes we close the door, sometimes we dont. I can try that but shes naked 90% of the time by choice so I dont think she cares about privacy. But who knows!

    Oh and apparently Ive been doing nap time ALL wrong! Not sure Emma will give me 15 min to stay with Maddy but well see. I know we need a better "bed" schedule. We had a great one when Thomas was home and bedtime was a breeze! I just havent been able to keep it up by myself with 2 of them! Ill attempt it today though.

  5. I like your new format...very soothing....

    I think I'll go take a 30 minute nap. aaaaahhhh.