My two-year-old started potty training this month, and he’s doing pretty well. We’ll be traveling over the holidays, and I’m wondering if I should have waited. Is it a bad idea to put him back in diapers?
Learning to use the potty is a big step for children and their parents. It can certainly be a time of great challenge, frustration, and mess! However, it is also a time where we have an opportunity to connect with our child in a new way. In those early days of watching, waiting, and coaching my three children to use the potty, I learned so much about them as people and felt such closeness to them. Sure, I was exhausted and had a few of my own count-to-ten moments, but I also enjoyed the experience of connecting as they grew in a new skill. You share here that your son is doing well with the process, and I would encourage you to take that in and celebrate it. Your son is responding to your ability to guide him through this gently, and it is working.
When the holidays hit, kids can experience all kinds of stress-related behaviors. It is reasonable to expect that your son may have additional accidents or experience a back-slide in his potty learning. That is okay! In fact, many kids experience a regression in their potty skills when faced with a new stressor, illness, or time of transition. If your child masters the potty prior to your traveling, I would encourage you to steer clear of using diapers again. This can create some confusion for him. Instead, prepare yourself for how you will approach accidents and provide lots of encouragement to him. Never scold or punish a child for accidents. Instead, say something like, “Oops, all of our pee and poop goes in the potty!” while carrying your child to a potty to sit while you clean up the mess. For travel, you may also consider purchasing a toddler travel potty that can easily be used while on the road.
Like so many skills our children learn, the progress is not linear. Embrace the challenge and know that your consistent attention and warmth are all he needs to succeed in this.
We were at a birthday party recently and the six-year-old opened presents in front of guests. It was a disaster! The holidays are coming, and I know my kids will open presents from relatives. Should we practice gratitude, or have a few standard thank-you lines prepared? Please help!
The holidays are a time of fun, celebration, and connection for many families. There is excitement for presents, treats, and festive activities. Kids – and let’s face it, parents – get hyped up and worn down by it all. Preparing our children for the festivities can be a helpful preventative strategy for all kinds of less-than-desirable behaviors. One of the best ways to keep our kids’ behaviors on track is to find meaningful ways to connect with them before and during the big holiday event. Sometimes, we are so rushed with the preparation of it all (which is all for the kids, right?), that we actually miss the mark in really being fully present with our kids.
Before a big gift-opening event, try to have five minutes of special time with your kids. Be silly, laugh, rough-house a bit, play, get physically close, and tell them you are enjoying this time with them. When their cups are full with our attention, they are much more likely to be gracious and use all of the manners we work on with them.
It is a good idea to teach your children about gratitude and how we can express that to others. Support them in coming up with ideas about how they would like to express gratitude to family members and even role-play some of these scenarios at home. For some kids, the present opening and stare-down from relatives can be a lot of pressure. Acknowledge this with them ahead of time and help them off-load some anxiety. With kids who feel overwhelmed by the process, stay close during present time and help them take breaks as needed. Help them find the words by saying things like, “Wow! We are so going to love playing with these LEGOs at home!” or “How lucky are we to have an aunt and uncle bring us these gifts?!” Like most things, kids will learn how to be kind and grateful by watching our example.