How to make your own reward chart (and does it work?)

I don’t really have a parenting style. I try and be fair and remain calm (although that doesn’t always happen) but most of all I try and be consistent. One thing I have learnt from my years as a teacher is that children need to know what the rules and boundaries are, and for them to stay the same. Quite often, knowing what is expected of them, and receiving praise when those expectations are met, is enough. But sometimes they might need a little bit more encouragement… and that’s where a reward chart can come in.

You can buy lots of reward charts, or download templates online, but when I decided to try using a reward chart with Toby I decided we would make our own. And it’s super easy.

Both reward charts

If you want a reward chart to work I think it’s really important that you involve your child in deciding what will be rewarded and what form those rewards will take. Toby is only three and a half so there was quite a bit of input from me, but if your child is older then you can probably let them make a few more of the decisions. Read more

Living Arrows 42/52 (2016)

It feels like we have finally turned a corner here in the Toby Goes Bananas house this week. In the last few days it’s like Gabe has turned into a different child. He has suddenly got a massive appetite and is eating everything I put in front of him, which after 8 months of struggling with weaning is absolutely amazing! He’s still got teeth making their way through but he doesn’t seem to have been in as much pain with them for the last few days. We’ve had a few nights of better sleep from him too – he’s still waking up but the other night he made it until after 4am before his first wake up, when it’s usually more like 10pm. Hopefully this is the first step on the road to sleeping through. I really hope so – three and a half years is a long time to go without a proper night’s sleep!

This week’s picture of Gabe is far from technically perfect – partly because Toby took it, but mostly because the light was rubbish. But just look at his big grin! When he’s wailing in your ear at three o’clock in the morning it’s hard to remember that sometimes he is actually happy but then you capture a smile like this and it doesn’t seem so hard any more.

Gabe giving a big grin

And as for Toby  – I mentioned in last week’s Living Arrows post that we were making some progress with potty training… well on Wednesday he went to nursery in a nappy but after he used the loo at lunchtime they made him wear big boy pants – I’m not too sure if I’m entirely happy about that part but we’ll just gloss over it for now. He has only worn a nappy once since and that was only because I was scared about him having an accident in the middle of Sainsbury’s (and I was right to trust my instincts as he informed me in the yogurt aisle that he was doing a poo!).

Apart from that one poo in the nappy though he has only had one accident and I think that was because he was too busy playing. Every other wee and poo has gone in the potty or the toilet. He has been out in the car, to baby & toddler group, to the garden centre, to the supermarket…he’s used public toilets (with the help of a training seat) and generally just been brilliant about the whole thing.

And not only has he not been wearing nappies during the day, for the last four nights his night nappy has been dry too. I actually think he’s been pretty much dry at night for quite a while but he always used to wake up and immediately do a big wee in his nappy. That wee is now being saved for the potty. So it looks like, after our initial struggles, he might end up being dry day and night at the same time!

I’m so proud of my biggest boy. He can still wind me up in an instant but then he is three after all, and he flashes me one of his lovely smiles and I can’t stay cross at him for long…

Toby and his lovely smile

Work starts on our new kitchen tomorrow and we’ll probably move out to my mum and dad’s house for a few days so it’s all going to be a bit hectic for a couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll still manage to get some pictures of my boys and I’ll see you next week for another Living Arrows.

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The reluctant potty trainer

Toby is three years and almost three months old. Three months ago he would cry and complain if you even suggested he go near a potty. He knew what it was for – if you asked him where wees and poos go he would tell you they go in the toilet (thanks Bing Bunny!) but he still wouldn’t contemplate sitting on the potty or the toilet, even with his clothes on.

As we were moving house in July we weren’t about to start pushing things but did mention to him that perhaps he could start using the potty when we lived in our new house and he seemed fairly open idea. We went out and chose some big boy pants together and we got a chair type of potty (this one if you’re interested) – I realised that because he is so tall sitting on a standard potty was really uncomfortable for him.

He sat on the potty a couple of times but didn’t do anything then seemed to lose all interest so we just put it in the living room and mostly ignored it for a while. We asked occasionally if he would like to use it and about six weeks ago he said yes one night. So, we got into a bit of a routine; Toby would sit on the potty in front of the TV every morning and every evening before bed. But still we didn’t even get a drip. He obviously has good bladder control as he could sit on the potty for half an hour and do nothing but do a massive wee as soon as he got a nappy on.

the-reluctant-potty-trainer-on-his-potty-watching-tv

We were quite happy carrying on like this and I was confident that Toby would get there in his own time. Near the beginning of September though nursery forced the issue a bit, and I’m still not entirely happy about it. When school started back nursery moved all the kids who will be starting school next year up into the pre-school room. All the kids except Toby. Nobody had mentioned anything about it up to that point but it turned out they didn’t want him to go into the pre-school room while he was still in nappies. However, I spoke to the manager and explained I didn’t want him being held back. I understood that there were no nappy changing facilities in the pre-school room but he’s only changed two or three times a day so it can’t be that much trouble for someone to take him to the other room to do it. I also thought that maybe seeing all the other children using the toilet might encourage Toby to do the same.

Anyway, nursery were actually fine and moved him up to the pre-school room the next week. But a week or two later when I went to pick the boys up they told me Toby had used the toilet and apparently didn’t want his nappy back on after, he wanted big boy pants. They suggested I put some in his bag the next day so if he asked again they could put him in them.

The next day, and the following week he wore his big boy pants at nursery but had lots of accidents. In fact I’m not convinced he did a wee on the toilet at all. We tried to keep up the pants at home but still had quite a few accidents and still no wee on the potty. It seemed to me that Toby was scared of doing a wee anywhere but in a nappy (or in his pants).

So last week we spent a whole day at home. Toby seemed to know when he needed a wee and would sit on the potty but still nothing came. He would start panicking when it felt like he was about to wee…but eventually he did one. A few drips at first and then a full proper wee! He did two more big wees on the potty that day, and didn’t have any accidents. But he did spend pretty much the whole day just sitting on the potty watching CBeebies! And he got a sticker every time he did a wee so that seemed to help too.

Both days at nursery last week he wore pants but still had a few accidents. He did manage a poo in the toilet though which he was very proud of. But by Thursday lunch time he was crying and begging me to put a nappy on him, and he’d woken up crying a couple of nights too, which I think must be related. So I put a nappy back on. On Saturday we tried pants again and although all his wees went in the potty he did two poos in his pants.

Since then he has only been wearing nappies and just doesn’t want to wear his pants. We have made progress though. He will now occasionally tell me he needs a wee (or sometimes just ‘I’m doing a wee!!’) or if I see him doing his ‘need a wee’ jiggle I will get him to sit on the potty and do it. So at home, most wees are going in the potty even though he is still wearing a nappy. We use cloth nappies and for that reason I don’t really want to go down the pull up route.

I had been trying to encourage Toby to wear his pants, and put him off nappies but I realised that if I don’t want to completely put him off I need to go back to listening to him and going with what he wants. And for the moment if he wants to wear nappies but still use the potty most of the time then I’m happy to go with that. I always said I would wait until he was ready and I think in the last couple of weeks I’ve been ignoring my own instincts. It’s come close to really causing an issue but hopefully by letting Toby go at his own pace he’ll get over whatever fear it is that he has and I’m sure it won’t be too long before he decides for himself that he is really ready for his big boy pants.

How old were your little ones when they potty trained? I would love to hear if any of you have had similar experiences to us.

Living Arrows 39/52 (2016)

I’m sure I only wrote last week’s Living Arrows post two minutes ago, time seems to be speeding by at the moment! We’ve still not being up to much, just settling into our new routine.

Gabe was still recovering from his immunisations last week and had a bit of a temperature on Wednesday. He’s got all four of his first molars coming at the moment too – two of them have cut and the other two are on the way. He’s coping pretty well, just not sleeping very well (not that he ever does!).

My parents are both involved in Scouts and at the weekend my dad was camping with his group just round the corner from our house. I took the boys along for the afternoon on Saturday – Toby had a brilliant time just running around the field and joining in some of the activities. I had Gabe in the carrier and even though he was a bit grumpy and tired he still managed to charm everyone with a few cheeky smiles.

Gabe giving a cheeky smile at scout camp

It’s been quite a big week for Toby really – he went to his first ever birthday party, and wasn’t really a fan. To be fair, the entertainer was really, really loud and I probably would have been scared if I was three too! On the plus side though, I got chatting to one of the nursery mums and we’ve arranged to meet up in a couple of weeks so that’s good. We’ve also been making some progress on the potty training front with Toby too. We’re not there yet but yesterday he had three wees in the potty which he has never done before so we’re calling that a win!

I was messing about with my camera and a peek-through book the other day and took this picture of Toby…I quite like it. He’s getting much harder to photograph these days though – he has to be in the right mood to cooperate!

Toby through the peek-through hole of a book about space

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