Let Them Get Messy!!!

A scene that I see being played out over and over again is when little ones are exploring or eating with a parent right on top of the child cleaning up after them. It drives me bonkers sometimes!

I get that there are people that are really fearful of germs; however, this creates little people that do not want to get dirty.

Case and point…

I love my husband but when our little man was a toddler I had to do a mini-intervention.

My husband does not like a mess. Well, this does not bode well with a toddler. Our little man would get distressed and run to wash his hands if he was dirty. It was becoming an issue. I did not want a little person that was afraid to explore or eat something due to becoming dirty. He was literally suctioned up after most meals with a “Dust Buster”.

After the mini-intervention (and after being kicked by me under the table a few times), our little man will power through his meal and will try touching different things (he does not like all textures but that is information for a future post regarding sensory related issues) while exploring.

When our little ones are able to explore their environments they learn so much!! If I see a little one that is “dirty” on the playground from jumping around and climbing I have to stop myself from going over and high fiving that parent!

If you are concerned about your child getting sick or hurt, it is important that you also look at the other side. Children that are not free to explore their environment can have increased fears and their physical development can be delayed.

 

Ways to be Prepared for a Mess while out…

 

1. Have a change of clothes with you

I made a habit of having a change of clothes in my backpack, diaper bag or my purse. I also had an extra couple of outfits in the vehicle for those last minute adventures

2. Have a few wet wipes or a cloth in a bag for those moments

Never hurts to be prepared to clean up a mess. Baby wipes have many purposes. I still have a package around for those moments 🙂

3. Join in and explore

By doing this you can teach your child how to explore in a safe manner if you are concerned. This also allows your child to see that it is okay because mommy or daddy is doing it too!

4. Carry a Plastic Bag

This has saved me a few times. Soiled clothes have a place to go without causing an issue.

 

Children learn so much when they are given the opportunity to explore. I am not sure about you, but man I had a blast as a child when I was free to jump in the puddles, make mud pies and roll down the hill.

I am challenging you to let your little one get messy. They will learn how to clean up after themselves and they will have so much fun doing it!

If you are looking for more information about the benefits of exploring the outdoors, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of “Balanced and Barefoot” by Angela Hanscom. Following is an affiliate link for the book.

Have fun letting your little one get messy!!

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Crying, an Alternative Perspective

Crying, an Alternative Perspective

When we here a child crying it can send anyone into “we must fix this” mode. This is very evident when a baby cries.

Often a baby’s caregiver will jump into action trying to find out why the baby is crying. For an infant, this is their main way to communicate with others. I firmly believe that when a baby cries it is a good idea to make sure their need is met. If you have met your baby’s needs(fed, changed and comfortable) and baby is still crying, your baby may just need to express emotion. Expressing emotion is the need. Babies express emotion through tears. This can be uncomfortable for adults.

A great way to put this in a different light is to compare a child crying with how good it feels to vent and drop an f-bomb every now and then. You release pent-up emotion. Emotion is “better out than in”. When we are constantly trying to stop our child from crying we are not giving them a chance to express the pent-up emotion.

With older children, we will often try to get our children to stop crying. Imagine when you are in the middle of a vent and someone shuts you down so you stop venting. You are still frustrated, angry or sad. You may actually have more intense feelings than you did when you started your vent. When you are given the chance to vent without judgment and with support from the person listening, it can feel like a weight has been lifted from you.

 

 So now what do you do when your child is crying or upset? 

 

You let them cry or be upset. This can be difficult if you are out. When you can, be present when your child is expressing their emotion. You can offer a hug if they want it. Using words like “I know it can be hard”, “I am here”, or “I love you”. If your child begins to throw insults your way, remember that it is their vent session. Afterwards, you can make comments like “wow you were awfully angry” or “you said some nasty words” and then move on with your day.

I wrote an article about tantrums that would be a good read in addition to this post. Once you have figured out if your child is having an “upstairs” or “downstairs” tantrum you can act accordingly.

Understanding Tantrums

95% of the time that our son is crying, screaming or having a tantrum, he is simply offloading some feelings from his day. After he is done he is back to the happy young man that he is. When he is stopped for whatever reason (it happens) he will be a cranky and non-compliant little guy.

So…

Let them express their emotion! Be present when you can and move about your day.

 

Back to School Sleep Tip

It is that time of the year where our little ones are preparing to go to school or go back to school. The first thing I get a number of questions about is how to get your child prepared to get the amount of sleep he needs each night.

When summer hits we often fall off our routines. This is pretty common and honestly, it is to be expected. If you child is going to bed later and waking up later than he needs for school you can help him get back on track.

Where do you start?

The first thing that I recommend that you do is to figure out what time your child needs to be going to bed to get the recommended amount of sleep that he needs.

Here is a link that can help you figure out how much sleep your child needs Recommended Hours of Sleep. Keep in mind your child may need more or less sleep than a child that is the same age as your child. So trust your gut instincts on the exact amount of sleep that is best for your child.

Keep in mind your child may need more or less sleep than a child that is the same age as your child. So trust your gut instincts on the exact amount of sleep that is best for your child.

Now What?

Now you know how much time your child should be sleeping so the next thing to look at is what time does your child have to be awake to get where they need to be in a timely fashion without you having to rush them out the door (stay tuned for a post about how to get them out the door with your patience and hair intact).

Let us say for example you need to be out the door by 8:00 am so you decide that 7:00 am is a good time for your child to get up.

Currently, your child is getting up around 9:00 am. There are 2 ways you can approach this change:

Cold Turkey:

The weekend before school you can just cold turkey wake your child up at 7:00 am and start your day. I do recommend giving him a few days to adjust before going to school which is why I recommend starting on the weekend. Then have bedtime at the time you figure he needs to be able to get proper rest.

Gradually:

Right about now you can start waking your child up 15 minutes before he usually wakes up. Bedtime will be 15 minutes before he usually goes to sleep. Then every 3 to 4 days, change wake-up and bedtime by 15 minutes. Continue this approach until you reach the desired times.

Be prepared for some protest from your child. Reminding your child that you are doing this to help him get ready for school can have a positive effect on the push back you may receive.

Have fun preparing for back to school!

If you have additional questions feel free to ask me all the questions that you have in the Preschool/School Aged Group or Forum Area for members. Not a member become a member today!