Life Right Now, Parenting

The Potty Training Games

I have to admit something: so far, this whole parenthood thing has been quite easy. I mean, easy in the word that it could have been way harder – we’re lucky in that way. I’m only saying this because raising a child, as challenging as it may seem, can be a thousand times harder than what we think our current situation in parenthood is. (My current situation is struggling with a stubborn toddler that refuses to go to sleep) But somewhere out there in the world are other parents, just like us that are facing other challenges, some that we cannot even start to imagine, of raising a happy, healthy and loved child. We’re not alone in the hood of parents.

Yet somehow, it can feel that way. I tend to feel this way sometimes. Especially when my anxiety, fear of failure and fear of disappointment gets the best of me. This usually happens after a long day at work, having to try my best to get through household to-do’s and suddenly ending up with a screaming toddler that refuses to ‘to-go’ poo-poo on the toilet or potty.

I call the current phase of our journey in parenthood: The Potty Training Games.

I call it this for a very valid reason. Potty training, to date, has been the hardest part of parenthood for this mama. We’ve been at it since Caitlin turned two years old. That’s a whopping 18 months of on and off trying to get her to “be a big girl” and use the potty. “Babies don’t wear diapers”. Well, she reckons that she’s my baby, so it must be okay then to still use diapers. I’ve tried what seems to be all the tricks in the non-existing manual of raising a child and so far we’ve only managed to get half way through the process. Sometimes it feels like we’re never going to get it right.

And then I feel like I’ve let my daughter down. Failed as a parent in successfully teaching her something that surely should come naturally to her to grasp. 

We’ve had a rough ride in the potty training games that may have contributed to our struggles. Constipation, diarrhea, medication to treat the two, unwillingness to eat fibre and veggies, as well as changes of a new teacher, friends and school – they all play a part in why we haven’t managed to get a handle on it yet.

Potty training can be done in many ways. There’s no set time as to how long it can take, no set methods to success as each child is different.

In Caitlin’s situation, she’s a bright little girl that easily gets shy when it comes to ‘doing her business’, she’s an extremely sensitive soul, thus get’s easily upset and all of this makes the process so much harder, frustrating and quite frankly exhausting.

We’ve managed to accomplish certain stages of potty training:

  1. Acknowledging that you need to-go
  2. Ask or tell an adult you need to-go
  3. Use the potty to-go pee-pee

The stages that we cannot seem to crack:

4. Acknowledging that you need to-go poo-poo
5. Use the potty to go poo-poo before making an accident in your underwear

Something you need to know about me: I always worry. And in this case my mind tends to run away with me. What if she can’t get it right? What if they start to tease her at school? I don’t want that! No parent wants that!

In the world of motherhood, it can feel like everyone’s children are perfect – Instagram perfect! – so why isn’t your child? The fact is that they are perfect… perfectly human. Little human beings that are learning. And learning takes patience. Something that I’m not good at and learning along the way. It’s a process and something that I’m hoping that we get through soon (before my nerves give in!).

Tell me moms: Did you have any challenges like ours when potty training your little one? If so, how did you manage to successfully potty train? I’d love some of your tips! 

Much love,
Cxxx

Life Right Now, Parenting

How-To: Teach your child about money values

When Caitlin was born, I handed over the pink piggy bank that I grew up with over to her by placing it in her room. Every so often, we clear out the small change from our wallets and throw them in there for her as a start to a savings account.

Fast forward a few years and Caitlin’s grown accustomed to putting money (small change, mostly) into her piggy bank. Every now and then her father will help her to count her money and place the high values in a safe place, starting the filling up ‘piggy’ process all over again.

Whilst Caitlin is probably still too small to understand the full value about working hard for your money and reward yourself for it, we’ve started to slowly explain the fact that if you behave, mommy and daddy will give you some money that you can either save in your piggy bank (which is what we prefer) or alternatively, you can buy yourself a sweetie the next time we go to the shops.

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So this whole process got me thinking about how I was taught money values and how it influences your approach towards money, spending, saving and so forth. Whilst I was one of those very fortunate kids growing up in a home where there was never a shortage of anything necessary, I still had the value of hard work entrenched into me. My parents are entrepreneurs by default, which means that shop-talk was always present and there was (and still is) always work that needs to get done. Whilst my kid-self didn’t understand why they were constantly working like all…the…time, my adult-self understand that raising four kids and maintaining a functioning household takes a lot of extra hours and hard work.

To me, understanding the values of hard work and the value of money totally goes hand in hand. So, the basic steps that we follow in teaching Caitlin the value of both are as follow:

  1. Entrench that money doesn’t grow on trees. We don’t usually carry a lot of cash on us, but it also provides the opportunity to show Caitlin that money isn’t always readily available and we need to work well with what we have.
  2. You can’t have both; sometimes you need to make choices. There’s always that moment in the shops when there is more than one item that Caitlin would like. Now, whilst the easies option would be to buy both for her, it also gives the opportunity to teach her that you cannot always get both that you want, you need to choose what you’d like most.
  3. “I need it” vs. “I want it.” The difference between need and want is still a difficult one for little ones to grasp, however we’re trying very hard to teach her the difference (especially when it comes to sweets and toys)
  4. Include her in the paying process when going to the stores. We always give her the opportunity to hand the items she wants from the store to the cashier and give her the opportunity to hand over the card (even if it’s just the store loyalty card) for payment.
  5. Combine money, math and chores. If you help mommy with the washing or picking up of toys then you are rewarded and so it adds up.

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There are various other ways of teaching money values to kids, however the above, I’d like to think, is currently appropriate for Caitlin’s age. As she’ll grow older, we’ll include her in decisions like:

  1. Setup a savings goal. 
  2. Decide which item is the best buy. 
  3. Making money in fun ways. 
  4. Giving to charities. 

Ultimately, we hope that teaching Caitlin the value of money and hard work will equip her for adult life.

Why not share how you teach your child(ren) the value of hard work and money?

Much love,
Chantelle
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