Tag Archives: parenting tips

Five Tips for Your High Needs Child

I remember writing on my personal blog a long time ago about my high needs toddler. This was a little girl who had grown from being a high needs baby – one that requires constant holding and comfort (and will scream bloody murder the entire time).


Well here we are two years later, and I can say that the “high needs” part of my child is the gift that keeps on giving ;)

My daughter is extremely smart, engaging and often hilarious. But with her intensity comes extra challenges:

  • Clothing is still her enemy. She has a handful of things she will wear over and over. Anything that is restrictive is out of the question – no arm cuffs, no jeans or pants with buttons, and only specific socks will do.
  • Obsessive compulsive – she likes to repeat certain activities or patterns. For example, bedtime must consist of the exact same routines and words repeated, or she tends to lose it.
  • Picky eating – food cannot touch each other on the plate, and she freaks out over various ingredients. She doesn’t like “black specs” in her dinner (i.e. spices), “chewy meat” or meat with fat, and certain textures are tough for her to swallow.
  • Drama queen – any tiny cut or scrape is blown out of proportion. If it’s actually a serious injury (like the time she fell off her bed onto her front teeth), you can expect hysterics to the point of passing out.

Although all of this sounds like we should be bringing her to the doctor for an assessment, I can say with certainty that we aren’t dealing with any developmental disorder. She has done very well in all-day Kindergarten, and tends to save her emotional releases for home :) She is learning to write and read, and has no trouble socializing with other kids.

What it does mean is that we’ve had to become creative in finding ways to manage our daughter’s emotions. My level of patience has gone up tremendously in the past few years, and I don’t lose my temper nearly as often as I used to. It helps that my husband is very creative, and often comes up with great solutions!

1) Make things into a game. She won’t go pee? Ask her if you can “pump” her arm to see whether pee will come out. Won’t get dressed? Pretend her pants go on her arms and get her giggling.

2) Routine, routine, routine. I’ve mentioned my daughter is slightly OCD. Although she does well when we go on vacation or go out to special events, most days she thrives on a very strict schedule. School is actually a great place for her, because she knows what to expect. We find it more challenging when she is at home with nothing to do!

3) Wear them out. Staying at home and just “hanging out” does not go over well with our daughter (actually, it might be the parents who suffer the most!) We always go out and do something, even in a snowstorm! She also enjoys swimming, museums, gymnastics and soccer.

4) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Really, is it a big deal if she decides to wear the same outfit three days in a row? We’ve learned to put our foot down over anything that could be dangerous, but have tried to relinquish power for many other things. That’s not to say we don’t have rules, but within those rules is a lot of flexibility (e.g. she won’t wear her coat because “it feels funny.” Our rule is that she has to carry whatever she chooses not to wear. Usually within seconds she’s decided it’s too cold outside not to wear her jacket!)

5) Be empathetic, but don’t cater. We respect that our daughter has a lot of big feelings – often giving her a huge hug will help her to calm down a bit. But that doesn’t mean that we cater to her every need. She eats the same dinner as the rest of us, despite protests over various foods (we always make sure there’s one thing on the plate that she likes). And we DO find our patience runs thin when she’s  disturbing the rest of the family with hysterics. There have been times we’ve chosen to keep her home from outings when she won’t cooperate, and she realizes that the consequences are that she misses out on a lot of fun!

Do you have a high needs child? What are some of your tips/tricks for parenting them?


Question of the month

It’s back to school time! Or for some little ones, it’s about to be their first time at school.

What are your best back to school tips?

Do you have any tips for the nervous parents out there sending their kids for the first time?

My biggest tip is “know your kid”.  My son does well in new situations but he’ll lean on me and my husband if we’re there.  On his first day of school last year we got him on the bus no problem… then we rushed to school to make sure he would do well in his new classroom.  When it was time for me to leave he lost it, sobbed and had to be physically removed from me.  I am positive that had I never gone to the school he would have been fine.

We repeated this scene several times over the year – when I went to his Christmas concert and it was time for me to leave and when I went in to volunteer for one morning.  He is fine without me but can’t handle me leaving him if I’m there. So this year I put him on the bus and let that be that, and he had a great time at school. I won’t be volunteering this year, or going in to check on him because for MY son that makes things worse.

What about you? What are your tips for parents based on your experiences?

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Potty training. Cold turkey.

by Brigitte

There’s lots of ways around it, there’s a lot of different methods and tools– it can be fancy, but really it’s a human necessity and I don’t try to glamourize it with fancy potty’s or themed underpants or even absorbent pull-ups that look like jeans. I take it for what it is: the human need to eliminate. I’m not
saying my way is the right way, the best way or the way that’s going to work for you – but hopefully it’ll give you a perspective and maybe even a method to try for yourselves.

I’m currently in the process of potty training triplets. My trio is 20 months old and 2 of them are just about fully potty trained. The first question I always get asked is “how did you know they were ready”.

You can go ahead and Google the signs of readiness, but I don’t really believe in them. My kiddos never held their bladder for more than 2 hours ( before being potty trained), they couldn’t sit still for 5 minutes and they certainly cannot pull their own pants and underpants down – but that didn’t discourage me, I just “knew” they were ready – I guess it was an intuitive mother thing, and maybe the
fact that I was tired of changing diapers lol!

Before potty training and for their entire lives we’ve always been an “open door family” I don’t think I’ve ever closed the door while going to the washroom and the kiddos come in and out freely as I explain what’s going on and what you do – so they had been introduced to the concepts from early on.

When we decided it was time to train it was cold turkey. We used the same method that the Montessori school used for our oldest son (sometimes I joke that the tuition itself made up for the ease in potty training). Initially we wanted to just use the toilet (with a child size ring inside, not a fancy Dora one
with handles and padding – just a plain $4.00 one from Walmart, this is peeing and pooping here folks not a birthday party) but because we have triplets this was almost impossible because they all wanted on the toilet at the same time, so we bought them each their own potty, again from Walmart for $12.00.

First things first. Get the diapers off. Gone Garbage forget about them ( except for naps) only underpants from here on in, no “well it’s just for a car ride” no “well we just have to go to the grocery store” get them off! Once you’re ready for that commitment for the first 3 days you bring the child to the potty every 15 minutes, you sit them down you say pee pee and you wait a minute or so – if they
pee you say “yes, you went pee good job” and that’s it – if they don’t pee you say “OK, you don’t need to pee now, we’ll come back soon” – this takes commitment from you as a parent – you need 3 days at home, consistency is key. After the first 3 days increase the time to every 25 minutes for 2 days, and continue gradually increasing the time between potty breaks.

It will work. But you cannot go back. You cannot use pull-ups. Keep the diapers off for good ( except naps and nighttime when they are not conscious that they’re peeing…for now) Potty training I think is 80% adult commitment and 20% child readiness. You need to learn your child’s cues, you need to
take the time to bring your child to the potty and you need to be consistent! It will work – and when it doesn’t you just need to say “oh dear, that pee-pee was supposed to go on the potty” sit them on the potty and say “Is there anymore pee” and finish off like that. During the first week I leave the potty
somewhere visible and the babes naked so they can go and use it as they wish – and it works!

The hardest thing for me has just been preparing – keeping lots of back up clothing, change of underwear, pants – even shoes for any “on the go accidents” I’ve found that my wetbag from Spoiled Sugar has come in even more handy now than when I was doing cloth diapers!

What’s you’re biggest fear about potty training? Mine is bringing the trio into the bathroom while one pees and the others are touching everything in sight in the bathroom –ohhh that just makes my skin crawl! Whatever your obstacles are share it here – maybe we can come up with some awesome recommendations and help each other say bye bye to diapers!

Thanks for reading!

Brigitte is a stay at home mom to 20 month old triplets and a 5 year old boy and owner of www.spoiledsugar.ca

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