Bite me, bite me not

I wish I had seen this article when I was struggling with Raoul’s biting issues and aggressive behaviour! Just need to share this:

Seen from http://peacefulparent.com/680/

Helping children when they bite, hit and push
July 2, 2013

When your child hits, pushes, bites, grabs or otherwise acts aggressively, telling him/her to be gentle and to not hurt is only a small part of the information and support that they need to learn to understand and respect other people’s boundaries.
Not all, but mostly when a child acts aggressively, their actions are driven by frustration and frustration can really overwhelm a child who’s still slowly developing impulse control, especially when they lose their sense of connection and safety.  As well as learning that it’s not okay to hurt others, they need an answer to the question of; “but what CAN I do with all this frustration?”
Children hurting others is often a cry for help; as well as guidance relating to what you won’t let them do, it’s also generally a call for increased connection, warmth, affection, fun, laughter or perhaps they have some big cries locked inside their body that need an outlet.

Babies around one year to eighteen months often bite, push, grab or hit out of excitement or experimentation without being aware that it hurts the person on the receiving end.  In telling your child that it hurts, you can be sincere without being critical “ouch that really hurt!” if they hurt you, or “I can’t let you hurt your sister”, as opposed to “don’t you dare do that!”   Your child is learning through seeing the reaction that the receiver didn’t like it (be it another child or parent) and with your patience, they soon learn to control the impulse.

Your calm consistent patient guidance and support will pay off greatly. Gaining more language and greater understanding of the information they’re receiving also helps children to better communicate what they want or need without becoming physical.  Be assured that your child’s phase of hitting, biting or pushing is all part of their learning and is symptomatic of them still developing impulse control and healthier ways of expressing their feelings.  It’s not indicative of them being an “aggressive chid” or a “naughty child”.   These issues mostly only become an ongoing problem when a child can’t access the calm, level and warm support that they need as they learn.

How else can the need be met?  When a child around this age goes through a phase of biting, it can be helpful to tie a teething ring or other object that they can bite onto a ribbon and safety pin it to their top or put it within reach and encourage them to use that when they have the urge to bite.

But mostly children, especially if older than 18 months, tend to hit, push or bite out of frustration.  It can be good to make a note of when it happens and identify any patterns.  Reducing the contributing factors may be the way forward.  For instance many children become very out of balance when they eat certain foods like gluten or dairy, processed sugar or food with artificial colours and dyes.  A few days of jotting everything down could potentially save you years of frustration.

Children like adults do better when they’re more relaxed than stressed.  Think about what you can do to reduce your child’s stress or minimize situations that may be over-stimulating.  If your child becomes aggressive every time you go to the supermarket, then it’s fair to assume that being in that environment is the problem rather than the child.

Seeing it as a symptom of stress (rather than judging a child to be “naughty”) helps the parent (or teacher) to think creatively and do all they can to increase the child’s sense of connection, safety and security.  Are they finding interactions with certain friends or siblings stressful and if so, do they need more of your calm non-judgmental mediation?  Perhaps your child needs for you to slow down the pace and maintain calm respectful communication, especially at vulnerable times like when the child wakes up or is tired or hungry.  Quality non-directed time in nature can also do wonders for helping children come back to balance.

Touching and handling your child gently and sensitively.  Touching and treating a child gently in your day to day activities of putting on their shoes, picking them up, restraining them in situations of danger, lifting them into their high-chair or car seat helps them learn to be gentle towards others.  Even helping a child get dressed can lead to them feeling over-powered and result in them over-powering other children, as children naturally re-enact what they experience.

Advance warning.  It also helps to prepare the child by explaining what you intend to do before and during normal activities; for instance “ok let’s go and change your nappy will we” giving them a minute to adjust, holding arms out and waiting for baby to come to you, this general approach increases their sense of having more power and decreases the fight flight response that often leads to the instinct to attack.

Prevent the biting, pushing or hitting;
* by shadowing your child if they are going through a phase of being aggressive,
*  by intervening physically as swiftly as possible rather than expecting them to respond to verbal instructions; physically hold them as you tell them “I can’t let you hurt, but I’m here to help you with your frustration”,
* if they’ve already lashed out, keep the child who did the hurting close and involve them when caring for and empathizing with the child who has been hurt,
* if the child who did the hurting doesn’t want to stay close, you can tell them “I care about both of you and will come and help you soon”, this can seem counter-intuitive, but I consistently see that aggression fizzles out when children feel understood and helped,
* then showing care and empathy for your child’s feelings of anger and frustration that drove their actions;”you got really frustrated, you hit your brother and now he’s hurting”, “that was a tricky problem for you wasn’t it”, “you got upset when Tom rode on your bike didn’t you”, this invites your child to share their feelings,
* your child knows what they did was wrong, they see the upset it caused, show them that you’re working hard to keep everyone safe, to prevent one child hurting another and helping them get their frustrations out in non-aggressive ways like having a cry or asking for help,
* as soon as your child learns to really trust that their feelings are always important and deserving compassion, they will get better at seeking support before they reach overwhelm.  Children who gain support learn to seek support, to release stress through crying or to talk when they start to become overwhelmed, rather than lashing out.

Children who hurt others when frustrated feel insecure and need to receive messages that they are safe.  Quite often the child who did the hurting receives little care for their feelings.  But the aggressor wouldn’t have lashed out if they weren’t feeling insecure, frustrated, threatened or possibly even overwhelmed.  When children hurt another, they need to know that you’re not just trying to make them stop being angry, they can’t do that and trying to not be angry causes a lot of inner conflict and even more frustration.  They need to know we understand and care and can help.

Show him that you can remain calm and confident as you help him with his frustration.  Your confidence in helping your child will start to ease any feelings of insecurity or overwhelm they may have.  Even when a child doesn’t look afraid or frustrated when they lash out, if you look closely you will see that their body is in a very tight, tense stressed state.

Show her what she *is* allowed to do when frustration builds up.  If at all possible, when you intervene and stop your child, hopefully just before they lash out, show that you’re making yourself available to really listen as they cry and complain and get it all out. Quite often the parent’s intervention to stop their child, will provide the outlet they need to let the underlying frustrations push to the surface and gain some release through big cries.  You can perhaps suggest that they roar like a lion, stamp their feet, jump up and down, scream into a pillow (which is less overwhelming that screaming into the air), maybe tear some old newspapers, pop bubble wrap, take their hand and do some brisk walking or a little run outside which gives them both an outlet and connection at the same time.  Also, doing some slow deep breaths with them can help them regulate.  A tight hug sometimes works wonders to dissipate tension if they allow that.  There are many ways to dissipate frustration.

Laughter heals and dissipates tension.  Another really effective way of helping them get their frustrations out is to invite them to push against your hands as you kneel in front of them, this will bring frustrations to ahead and they’ll either growl or laugh, either way it’ll be a release.  Power reversal games help a child release frustrations relating to feeling powerless or controlled, any game where the parent takes on the role of being goofy, silly or the less powerful one can be very therapeutic, which can be measured by the intensity of the laughter that the game elicits!  It can really help to have a pillow fight with you to give your child an outlet to their need to push and be vigorous, or scream into a cushion as you tell her it’s safe to do so and you’re looking after her.
Also important to consider is that the frustration that drives a child to lash out is often the result of them not gaining the opportunities they need to have big releasing cries that are supported by their parent.  The biggest need is always acceptance and empathy!

To summarize.  To keep everyone safe, keep your limits simple, clear and confident – aim to avoid pleading or being aggressive in saying no. Let him know that you won’t let him lash out, that you’re keeping everyone safe and helping him with those big feelings of frustration.  She needs to see that you see her big feelings not just her behaviour which is only the outward symptom.  A stressed child needs to see hat you can care about and empathize with her frustration “I see this is really hard for you, I can help”, “I care about *all* your feelings, I’m going to stay here and care for you until you feel better.”

Avoid isolating, threating unpleasant consequences or punishing or otherwise giving your child the message that you don’t want to interact with her when she’s angry as this can instill shame.  In my work with families, children of all ages often describe to me what they truly feel about themselves and their parents when put in time out, and they are just not the messages that we want any child to embody.  It’s not necessary and can lead to long term feelings of aloneness when they have problems and difficult feelings.

Your child especially needs your loving care and guidance when he’s angry, anger is a tough and often overhwleming emotion and deserves empathy.  The child needs your loving support with their feelings of anger (that are allowed) when they act aggressively (which is not allowed).  Avoid shaming him when he lashes out, he’s already struggling with difficult feelings and needs help in coming back to peace with himself and his world.  Kids act well when they feel well.


Full-time mum’s privilege

I’m sure there used to be a time when parents were in charge, and involved with their children’s education and upbringing. I still remember how my mum spent time with us making dough, playing with us, and bringing us to the market, other than ferrying us to the 2-hour kindergarten programme at PCF.
Fast forward many years; one parent’s earnings are no longer enough for some families’ basic living. So both parents have to work to make ends meet. And when both parents have to work, this means their children spend alot of time in childcare.
Mothers who choose to stay home and concentrate on their children’s academic learning and moral education are penalized with less subsidies.
It seems to have become teachers’ sole responsibilities that every child under her charge becomes the upright and moral citizen that parents want.
As a teacher, I’m extremely tired of doing the parents’ job. All these years of work, I’ve met my fair share of parents who just brush off issues with “yeah he/she’s like that” without any followup action. I can’t parent them, so I can only shake my head in disapproval.
As a mother, I’m lucky to have the skills and knowledge of a preschool teacher to try and bring up my kids to be happy, independent and socially acceptable people. My only regret is not being able to be their mother and teacher full-time. Now I’ve to contend with passing this job to their teachers while I can only do whatever I can with whatever time I’ve with them. Hope I can eventually spend much more time with them; to grow up with them; to guide them; and to be the person they’ll turn to for help.


How to get your child to listen

Raoul is at the Terrible Twos stage and I’m getting stressed and peeved at the same time. I went online to look for some answers as a worried parent, and found this to be quite useful and more importantly, do-able.

Top Tips
Before you can expect your child to listen, you need to ensure you really listen to your child.

As a parent, the pressure of 101 things that need to get done can sometimes make it hard to listen. But when a child is not feeling listened to, they are more likely to whinge, shout or throw a tantrum to get your attention.

Careful listening shows that you respect your child’s feelings and gives her space to explore a problem and, often, find her own solution. Being listened to can cause difficult feelings to evaporate…cue less moaning, less tantrums, less tears. Most importantly, if you listen to your child, she is more likely to listen to you.

How to Listen
* Give your full attention. Stop what you are doing, turn to your child, make eye contact and listen to what they are saying.
* Acknowledge what your child is saying with a non-committal, simple “Mmm”, “I see,” “Oh,” “right”.
Often behind what your child is saying (or even behind how they are acting, if not yet talking) is a feeling. Identify the feeling and give it a name.
“That sounds frustrating”

“You’re disappointed that we have to leave now”

It’s crucial to accept feelings and resist the temptation to make things better by denying them (“hey, there’s no reason to be so upset”).

* Diffuse difficult situations by giving your child his wishes in fantasy. Wave a wand with words!
“You’d really like it if you could stay up later”

“If only I could make that orange juice into your favourite apple juice”

How to Communicate
To get your child to listen, think carefully about exactly how you communicate. Subtle differences in words, tone and body language may effect whether your child tunes in or out!

Tone of voice
How you say something is as important, if not more important, as what you say

* Use an up-beat, encouraging, positive tone as much as possible.
* When indicating limits, sound definite and confident. Any hint of uncertainty and you’re more likely to be ignored, debated (But “please, can’t I just…”), or guilt-tripped (“It’s soo unfair”).
* To indicate disapproval, use a firmer, lower, authoritative tone, but don’t shout.
* Avoid nagging. Ask once nicely, once firmly and then take action. If you typically repeat yourself several times before your take action, your child will learn to ignore your initial requests.

Body language
* Communicate from close by. Don’t shout through from the next room.
* Always get down to your child’s height and make eye contact. An adult towering above a child can be intimidating.

* Use clear commands and keep requests brief and to the point. Limit yourself to a few important words (e.g. “8 O’clock. Bedtime”).
* Avoid accusing (“you never listen!”), criticising (“you’re so lazy”), or threatening (“if you don’t hurry up, then I’ll leave without you”).
* Avoid phrasing which implies that cooperation is an option!
“Shall we…?” “Could you…” gives your child a get out clause (i.e. “No!”)
Instead, make requests clear, short and specific: “Bedtime now”

How to Encourage Co-operation
For some children “no” can be the default position when asked to do things. Below are some tips to encourage your child’s cooperation.

* Make a statement of fact that describes the problem rather than accusing or criticising
“There’s paint on the table”
“I can see wrappers on the floor”

* Give information
“Clothes on the floor don’t dry very quickly”
“Leaving lights on wastes electricity”

* Describe how you feel
“I don’t like hearing whinging”
“It bothers me when I see clothes on the floor”

* Reduce resistance by offering a choice about when or how something is done
“Would you like your hair done before or after breakfast?”
“Do you want to skip to the car like a pony or bound like a dog?”

* Avoid lectures, use one word

* Use ‘when…then’ technique to focus your child on what needs to get done
“When you’ve brushed your teeth, then I’ll read you a story”
“As soon as your homework’s done, then you can watch TV”

* Write a note
Children love receiving notes. Be creative, notes don’t just have to come from you!
“I like to be hung up. Please don’t leave me on the floor. Thank you. Your towel.”

* Praise and reward cooperation
Praise all signs of cooperation with warmth and enthusiasm. Use a star chart to motivate your child for daily tasks such as getting up, brushing teeth, getting dressed

Finally, use the involvement technique to encourage helpful behaviour through positive attention.

By Dr Victoria Samuel
The Parent Support Service
Supernanny Expert

Taken directly from


7 Reasons Preschool Teachers Make Awesome Wives

May 11, 2013 by amy

If any woman’s occupation prepares her for marriage, it has to be that of a preschool teacher. A teacher of preschool children is used to dealing with a group of little people under four feet tall from a variety of backgrounds during the most active part of their day. There just does not seem to be much that would faze her.

Here are just a few of the many reasons a man may want to wed a preschool teacher:

Unconditional Love
One thing about a preschool kid is that he is pretty much a blank slate. He has not accomplished much in life yet besides being cute and leaving havoc in his wake. Unless he has had the misfortune of having an extremely angelic or a particularly devilish older sibling in the same preschool, the teacher will accept him for who he is.

The kind of woman that teaches a preschool child makes a great wife because she is used to loving people for who they are, not what they have accomplished. Once a man becomes a student of her “class”, she will champion his cause.

She will always appreciate his unique hobbies. He may need to stress the fact that video games count as creative play. Instead of “man cave”, he may want to try the term “learning center”. She may even sit down and play along.

Chances are a preschool teacher has seen her share of messes. From potty accidents to paint splotches on the carpet, she has scrubbed up the worst of them.

While it may not be a good idea to assume that she will do the same for him, a man can breathe a little easier when he knows that his dusty collection of model cars is not likely to raise an eyebrow. If his mess is something that could be damaged with the application of a disinfecting wipe, he may want to clean it up himself before the vows are exchanged.

For men that enjoy frequent displays of affection, a preschool teacher is perfect. She is used to random hugs when she is trying to talk. The man that marries her will be greeted at the door with a hug every time. She may also unbutton his coat for him and give his nose a swipe with a tissue. He can just count that as a bonus.

Cool Under Pressure
If a man’s idea of a crisis is the electric going out during Monday night football, he will be glad to know that is nothing for a preschool teacher. She has often fielded 10 different crises at once, and that is before the parents leave the building.

When something comes up that a man cannot handle, a preschool teacher is great to have on hand. She will not only have the game up and running again, but she will also serve up the non-allergenic snacks and juice boxes in front of the television.

A woman who can keep a class of 20 little ones entertained for six hours a day is certain to make a man’s life interesting. Spontaneity is her rule of life, and he will never quite know what she is going to do next. This is not cause for concern. If she sees he is already entertaining himself, she is likely to leave him alone due to the whole “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” thing.

A Positive Outlook
Marrying a woman trained to work with preschoolers is a beautiful thing. She would never tell her charges, “Don’t run, honey!” That would be too negative. Instead, she encourages them to slow down with, “Let’s walk like a dinosaur!”

This training is especially beautiful on the day when her husband comes home to tell her his job is transferring to the opposite coast or his fishing trip with his buddies is scheduled the weekend her mother is coming for a visit. With any luck, she will be excited about living near the beach or the quality time alone with her mom.

Wonderful Mother
Of course this is the most obvious trait of a preschool teacher. There is no chance of her moaning when her newborn is handed to her in the hospital, “But what do I do with him?” Diaper changes and middle of the night feedings will be no problem.

She may find it hard to adjust to one child at a time. If a man is not too fond of children himself, he may want to point out that their home is not quite the dimensions of her classroom so she may need to scale back a bit.

One thing she will not be able to scale back on is her love. The man she marries and the children they share will have all the affection she is used to lavishing on a roomful of people. What man wouldn’t want that?

filed under: features


Copyright © 2014 Early Childhood Education Degrees


To share, or not to share

I told Raoul before going to a relative’s place: Remember to share your yellow-top taxi (his favourite) later.
Raoul: Who? *with whom?
Me: With everyone.
Raoul: silence


Raoul: hugging his taxi very tight
Me: Raoul, just now I said to share your yellow-top taxi right?
Raoul: gives a pained face Mummy, keep. Keep. (Hands me the yellow-top taxi)
Me: Whoa, you’d rather keep your toy than share your toy?
Raoul: smirks


How has it become Parents VS Teachers?

“(CNN) — This summer, I met a principal who was recently named as the administrator of the year in her state. She was loved and adored by all, but she told me she was leaving the profession.

I screamed, “You can’t leave us,” and she quite bluntly replied, “Look, if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can’t deal with parents anymore; they are killing us.”

Unfortunately, this sentiment seems to be becoming more and more prevalent. Today, new teachers remain in our profession an average of just 4.5 years, and many of them list “issues with parents” as one of their reasons for throwing in the towel. Word is spreading, and the more negativity teachers receive from parents, the harder it becomes to recruit the best and the brightest out of colleges.

So, what can we do to stem the tide? What do teachers really need parents to understand?

10 things parents and teachers want each other to know

For starters, we are educators, not nannies. We are educated professionals who work with kids every day and often see your child in a different light than you do. If we give you advice, don’t fight it. Take it, and digest it in the same way you would consider advice from a doctor or lawyer. I have become used to some parents who just don’t want to hear anything negative about their child, but sometimes if you’re willing to take early warning advice to heart, it can help you head off an issue that could become much greater in the future.

Trust us. At times when I tell parents that their child has been a behavior problem, I can almost see the hairs rise on their backs. They are ready to fight and defend their child, and it is exhausting. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I tell a mom something her son did and she turns, looks at him and asks, “Is that true?” Well, of course it’s true. I just told you. And please don’t ask whether a classmate can confirm what happened or whether another teacher might have been present. It only demeans teachers and weakens the partnership between teacher and parent.

Please quit with all the excuses

The truth is, a lot of times it’s the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone.
Ron Clark

And if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them. I was talking with a parent and her son about his summer reading assignments. He told me he hadn’t started, and I let him know I was extremely disappointed because school starts in two weeks.

His mother chimed in and told me that it had been a horrible summer for them because of family issues they’d been through in July. I said I was so sorry, but I couldn’t help but point out that the assignments were given in May. She quickly added that she was allowing her child some “fun time” during the summer before getting back to work in July and that it wasn’t his fault the work wasn’t complete.

Can you feel my pain?

Some parents will make excuses regardless of the situation, and they are raising children who will grow into adults who turn toward excuses and do not create a strong work ethic. If you don’t want your child to end up 25 and jobless, sitting on your couch eating potato chips, then stop making excuses for why they aren’t succeeding. Instead, focus on finding solutions.

Teachers vs. parents: Round two

Parents, be a partner instead of a prosecutor

And parents, you know, it’s OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don’t set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It’s a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+.

This one may be hard to accept, but you shouldn’t assume that because your child makes straight A’s that he/she is getting a good education. The truth is, a lot of times it’s the bad teachers who give the easiest grades, because they know by giving good grades everyone will leave them alone. Parents will say, “My child has a great teacher! He made all A’s this year!”

Wow. Come on now. In all honesty, it’s usually the best teachers who are giving the lowest grades, because they are raising expectations. Yet, when your children receive low scores you want to complain and head to the principal’s office.

Please, take a step back and get a good look at the landscape. Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has “given” your child, you might need to realize your child “earned” those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education.

And please, be a partner instead of a prosecutor. I had a child cheat on a test, and his parents threatened to call a lawyer because I was labeling him a criminal. I know that sounds crazy, but principals all across the country are telling me that more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children.

Teachers walking on eggshells

I feel so sorry for administrators and teachers these days whose hands are completely tied. In many ways, we live in fear of what will happen next. We walk on eggshells in a watered-down education system where teachers lack the courage to be honest and speak their minds. If they make a slight mistake, it can become a major disaster.

My mom just told me a child at a local school wrote on his face with a permanent marker. The teacher tried to get it off with a wash cloth, and it left a red mark on the side of his face. The parent called the media, and the teacher lost her job. My mom, my very own mother, said, “Can you believe that woman did that?”

I felt hit in the gut. I honestly would have probably tried to get the mark off as well. To think that we might lose our jobs over something so minor is scary. Why would anyone want to enter our profession? If our teachers continue to feel threatened and scared, you will rob our schools of our best and handcuff our efforts to recruit tomorrow’s outstanding educators.

Finally, deal with negative situations in a professional manner.

If your child said something happened in the classroom that concerns you, ask to meet with the teacher and approach the situation by saying, “I wanted to let you know something my child said took place in your class, because I know that children can exaggerate and that there are always two sides to every story. I was hoping you could shed some light for me.” If you aren’t happy with the result, then take your concerns to the principal, but above all else, never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don’t respect her, he won’t either, and that will lead to a whole host of new problems.

We know you love your children. We love them, too. We just ask — and beg of you — to trust us, support us and work with the system, not against it. We need you to have our backs, and we need you to give us the respect we deserve. Lift us up and make us feel appreciated, and we will work even harder to give your child the best education possible.

That’s a teacher’s promise, from me to you.”