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Toddler - Week #78

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Week 78: Counting is Great!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           This week has shown me several times how routines and familiarity are important to Evan. I just finished trying to put him in bed for the night. I have done this a few times this week because my husband is remodeling our basement in the evening. But Daddy is the person who normally puts Evan to bed. The comfort of this routine is so clear, as Evan repeatedly asked for Daddy as I tried rocking him.  I usually ended up having to ask Daddy to take a break from construction to put him to sleep. He enjoyed rocking with me continuously rubbing my hair and saying "nice" which is a fairly new thing (and so adorable!). But it was the familiarity of their routine that needed to be followed in order for him to sleep. There were a few issues at day care that got me to thinking about Evan's familiarity needs, too. He bit another child two days in a row. He had been biting a few months ago but it had faded out. Now it was back and teachers were more concerned than before because he is also not talking at all in school. I think they don't believe me when I tell them he talks to me! He even has a few new or clearer words/phrases this week, like "nice" and "stop that" (which he said to me as I was trying to sing when we were rocking-can't say I blame him!). But at school he will not speak. I think he is more comfortable at home. I asked them to use some of our familiar phrases from home when he gets rough. We say "easy, do nice or gentle" when trying to get him to slow down and not be aggressive. The rest of the week was better, possibly due to the familiar phrases.


Creating Good Readers:
           There are books that bank on young children's love of familiar, repetitive phrases. These books are great for pre-readers. They can often feel like they are actually reading because they know the phrase or word that will be repeated. When a book is predictable it can help foster the confidence of a young reader. This is why we use picture books with young children-to give them the picture clues along with the repetition. Choose books like this to really engage a young reader. By about two or three years old you will start to hear them say the repeated phrase and they will really be proud of their reading abilities.


Book Of The Week:
           Another thing I noticed Evan doing this week was counting with me. I said one and he said "two...treeee" in his cute little voice. Again, predictability producing that confidence! I have a few counting books which cash in on the predictability of counting. My favorite is My Little Counting Book by Roger Priddy. I like this book for its simplicity. It counts your little ones body parts first by pointing out we have one nose, two eyes, two arms, etc. Then each page simply has a number with a corresponding picture. Even a child as young as Evan seems to know after I turn the page that had a one, I am going to get a page with the number two next. The pictures are great because they are real photographs of common items a young child knows and understands. And of course it helps that it is a board book. It's already survived Alice's toddlerhood so I am confident it'll be okay in Evan's hands as well.


           This week we have been busy! Evan continues to love his routine of doing a little art while I cook dinner. He has been a finger painting king this week. He also has liked helping out at dinner preparation time a few times this week, too, by making some rolls with Alice. They aren't the most appetizing rolls but the kids like eating the ones they have made! He is so routined to do something like this when we get home, then eat, and then get in the bathtub! Of course once I heard Evan counting, I made it a habit to count as often as possible. He likes to count to three and jump off the couch, count each step as we go down them in a chanting sort of way, and count as he throws his food to the dog.


Rhyme Time:
           Yes, I let him jump off of the couch every once in awhile. I also let him jump on the bed every once in awhile, too. So this week we sang Five Little Monkeys and jumped on the bed a little:       

        Five little monkeys jumping on the bed,

       One fell off and bumped his head.

       Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,

       "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"       

       Four little monkeys jumping on the bed,

       One fell off and bumped his head.

       Momma called the doctor and the doctor said,

       "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"       

       Continue singing until there are no more monkeys!       



Evan's Opinion:
           Evan has had a great week. He loves to count. Especially when jumping on the bed or jumping off of the couch! He also loves that board book. He can take it and read it on his own and he actually sounds like he is reading. I also think it was absolutely amazing how he was at bedtime. He wasn't upset that I was rocking him, but I wasn't Daddy and it wasn't going to put him to sleep. It cracked me up when he told me to stop it when I was singing! He isn't happy at day care though lately. I am hoping it gets better soon and he starts talking to them!


You're Probably Wondering.....
           "How can I address day care issues in the best way?"       

       This has been a dilemma for me a few times. Once, when Evan was in the infant room, they forgot to give him a bottle for way too long a time. He hasn't cried, so they hadn't fed him. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and Evan just simply wasn't a squeaky wheel. I could have flown off the handle and freaked out. I remained calm and asked questions. They still got defensive. Another time, I was picking him up and I saw him eat a handful of woodchips on the playground while nobody was watching. I addressed it right then and there with the woman in the playground with him, but she sort of shrugged it off. I was dissatisfied so I went to the director and complained. But it is a difficult decision to make when you are dealing with the people who spend the entire day with your child.       

       When the issue of Evan biting came up again, the director called me into the office to tell me the two teachers had wanted to make sure I knew the problem was fairly serious. He had bitten twice and that day had also used aggressive hands. I realized it was a tough issue, but I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do. After all, I am not there with him when it is happening. He isn't biting at home so it doesn't come up as an issue. He can be aggressive, but it is usually after Alice has pushed him to the ground and snatched a toy out of his hands. At those times, our phrases I mentioned seem to work. I thought about it and thought it might help if they used the same phrases. I wrote a nice letter because my husband does drop off. I made sure the letter sounded helpful rather than accusatory. I am a teacher and I know how letters from parents can sometimes put you on the defense. After all, we do our best as teachers, too, and sometimes parents, in their attempt to do their best, can sound like they are blaming a teacher. I tried my best to make sure my letter didn't sound like that. But my husband's report was that the two teachers were put out by the letter anyway. I was angry! What did they want from me? Why even tell me if they didn't want my help?       

       I thought some more about the problem and how I could have handled it differently. I think I handled it well. I did what you are supposed to do when you are experiencing difficulties with your day care providers. I addressed the problem as it came up instead of waiting for things to pile up. I made sure I wrote without blame. I tried to offer a suggestion for solving the problem. The one thing I hadn't done in my letter which may have gone a long way was to first state that I appreciate their services. I should have started my letter by saying how much I appreciate their taking care of Evan every day and how I appreciate them being concerned with improving his behavior. Maybe that would have softened them up first before I offered my suggestions.       

       In any case, these are the rules to follow for solving any problem in your day care. First show your appreciation. Next, state what you see to be the problem using facts only and using no blame. Finally, offer some ideas for solutions. If you attempt this a few times and do not get results you seek, you should go to the director and repeat the process. Hopefully you will get results at that point. For me, I will have to repeat the process but this time I will start with showing my appreciation-a step I never should have missed in the first place!


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