Weaning Off Pacifiers

Bye-Bye Binky

I tried to avoid it as long as I could but I realized a pacifier was the only thing that would calm him. My son is now 2 and we are trying to wean him from the pacifier but it’s proving to be very difficult. For the most part, it’s “out of sight, out of mind”, but without the pacifier, he is just sticking everything else in his mouth anyway. He also as gotten used to having it during stressful situations such as transitions during the day, so he will ask for it when children are arriving and departing from daycare.

I don’t like that he has developed this dependency, and of course, the pacifiers go missing frequently so I always have to have a supply on hand. It’s hard to take a picture of him without it in his mouth and I don’t want all of his baby pictures to be of him with a pacifier in his mouth. It’s hard to understand his words when he has a pacifier in his mouth. There are so many reasons why I think it’s time to get rid of them, but I’m relieved to learn that I don’t need to be in a rush.



Process vs Product



Parents who understand this concept don’t expect their infants and toddlers to bring home great artistic products, displays, reports, etc. on a daily basis. It’s difficult, because parents want to know what their child is doing every day in their absence, and what he is accomplishing in the long term, even and especially, at this young age. But, at this young age, children need space and opportunity to explore and create, with guidance on the “how”, and not on any kind of finished product to show off daily accomplishments. Those kinds of “accomplishments” may not be serving them much purpose in the long run, despite their popularity in childcare centers throughout the U. S.

In the right environment, your child is making huge accomplishments every day, especially if there is not a finished product to show off at the end of every day, week, or even month. Often the “finished product” is a result of how well your child follows teacher-centered instructions, not an indication of his knowledge or his physical and creative developmental acquisitions. Without the finished product being forced to completion and display, the child is learning about the process of artistic materials such as why markers, crayons, paint, and pencils, work the way they do. And how the paper fits in to the process of using those materials. He is learning about physics when he is continuously rolling cars and trucks around the environment.

It takes a lot of faith and trust in your childcare provider, and some reasonable amount of daily, weekly, and monthly communication on their observations of your child’s development, even if it’s to say, “This week he was just continuing on with driving the cars and trucks around the floor, table, couch and windowsill!” Your child is gathering useful life skills from these activities, be it processing something relatable such as what he sees in traffic, or something much more abstract such as developing reasoning skills, or concentration.

Maria Montessori calls this the “Secret of Childhood” – we may not understand what is the driving force behind the child’s seemingly obsessive needs to repeat seemingly trivial actions, but when there is concentration present, it should not be disturbed, regardless of the adult’s understanding of it. The child is learning – regardless of our ability to put a label or a finished product on the end of the task in order to have a product to show to prove that learning has possibly or apparently occurred.

Toddlers and Sharing


The way this mother discusses the topic of toddlers “sharing” toys, is very much in line with the Montessori philosophy of “sharing” and the same that I strive to practice in my in-home daycare. Toddlers don’t really have a concept of “other” as far as feelings or emotions. They just aren’t capable of that right now. So, a toddler who doesn’t share is a “normal” toddler! It’s really fruitless to try to get toddlers to understand the concept of sharing this early in their development. And let’s face it – the idea of “sharing” in and of itself is not so simple. I talk to the children about their frustrations when another child takes something or has something that is desired, and help them to begin to understand, but demanding that your toddler (or someone else’s) “share” could be really damaging to them emotionally, rather than helpful or polite.

Stupid Questions

Yes, this sounds like a really harsh thing to say, but when you think about it, you will realize that your child needs every opportunity to practice and ultimately “learn” how to concentrate, if concentration is an important skill that you want your child to develop. And I’m sure that this is an important skill that you wish for your child to develop. It is for me.

(I’m putting “learn” in quotes only because it’s not generally something children actually learn how to do…it is natural for them to do, and generally “taught” out of them because of adult interference. Albeit in the name of love, wanting your child to develop important skills, and thinking you are helping…

With this concept in mind, understand what Teacher Tom (and myself) are trying to say… give your child some space to learn on his own, to just “be” and explore his world. Yes, if your child approaches you with an object, a book, a picture, or pointing to something in the environment that is interesting to him – talk to him about it! And by all means, be the instigator of interesting experiences. Count the numbers, name the colors, etc. But when your child is “in his own world” exploring his surroundings, don’t interrupt with stupid questions.

How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?


As a mother of a toddler just a few months from approaching the 2 year mark, I wonder about his speech abilities. I’m confident about his understanding of words in conversations, but wondering why he doesn’t say more? To be clear – I’m not worried! I am comfortable with the fact that all children develop on their own timelines and should be allowed to do so without parent worry or judgement. But I am curious. There are other younger toddlers in the classroom who are “speaking” or at least copying a wider variety of words and words sounds. So, how do children learn to speak? Here are some ideas.

I have posted a link to the 1-2 year age mark for the families in my community, but there are links included for younger and older age groups.

Choosing Childcare


Yes, I want you to choose me as your childcare provider. But then again, no – not if you aren’t comfortable with what I am actually providing for you. I want parents to be on board with my methods and my approach to caring for their child(ren), otherwise everyone loses and nobody wins. You must choose a provider who will meet your needs in the most possible ways.

That being said, I like the particulars of this article as it relates to infant/toddler needs, which, ideally, should be the priority! As much as the Montessori philosophy touts a higher ratio of children to adults (which I do believe is extremely valuable), in the toddler years, more individual attention from primary caregivers is important in building their personalities and self-confidence. These years are so much more sensitive (compared to the “primary” ages 3- 6) in the production of the person they will become.

If you are choosing childcare for infants and toddlers, consider these aspects published here.

Stop Saying “Be Careful”, and Some Ideas of What to Say Instead

http://teachertomsblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/eleven-things-to-say-instead-of-be.html? bm=1#.VkNfp7iyvlE.facebook

“Be Careful: and “Pay Attention” are statements that become redundant statements akin to “good job” or “well done” as far as children are concerned. They need specifics, and more importantly, they need to learn how to make progress without outside judgement.

Try expressing yourself in these ways towards toward your children instead, and see how their confidence and independence grows as a result.

Hurtful and Hurting Children


Even with a playroom full of toddlers (ages 13 months – 20 months) I am already talking myself through this process of helping some of the children to stand up for themselves, and helping some others feel secure enough to not be “bullies”. Stealing toys is what toddlers are supposed to do, just like throwing food from the high chair, and throwing toys over fences and gates, among many other fun behaviors for them that are annoying to you. It’s fruitless to administer time-outs, punish, or try to convince them that these behaviors can be hurtful. But, when aggressive behaviors continue, they can be hurtful to children who are younger, or not physically strong enough to prevent another child from taking a toy, or being physically dominant. This article focuses on what you can do to help the child who seems to be the “victim” day after day.

The most important part I took away was how to interpret or to understand what is behind the quietness or the crying, and how to help the “victims” learn to stand up for themselves,  no matter how long it takes, without necessarily viewing other children as “bad”.

John Dewey on the Purpose of Education

John Dewey on the True Purpose of Education and How to Harness the Power of Our Natural Curiosity

Children are naturally curious. Our job as teachers is to keep their love for learning alive.

“His task is rather to keep alive the sacred spark of wonder and to fan the flame that already glows. His problem is to protect the spirit of inquiry, to keep it from becoming blasé from overexcitement, wooden from routine, fossilized through dogmatic instruction, or dissipated by random exercise upon trivial things.”

Playdate Rules That Limit Learning


This is an important read, and essential philosophy for the way I run my in-home school. It breaks my heart to see any of the children in my care cry out in frustration or pain, or for any reason at all! But ultimately, my goal is for them to learn how to resolve conflicts on their own. Partly, it is how I will teach them and give them the language they can use to do this. But, in equal part is how they will decide and learn how to handle conflicts on their own. Given the opportunity, (really, multiple opportunities) children will surprise you on their ability to handle situations on their own, and be better for it, rather than looking for you to solve all of their conflicts. It’s not heartless to give them a chance to do this on their own!