Advice from another Microsoft parent

At Microsoft, we've got a bunch of differnt e-mail discussion groups. One is for "Working Parents at Microsoft." It's a place to ask other parents for advice or recommendations.

One woman recently e-mailed asking for help with her child her is pitching major fits during diaper changes. Here was one of the responses. Great advice for all parents:

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The “Legal Restraining Techniques” at the bottom are to be used only after all other recommendations have failed and you are in a situation where you just need to use brute strength. These are NOT techniques to be used on infants or the elderly :-)!

Survival Guidelines:
1. Remember there is nothing wrong with your child. You want your child to potty train as soon as possible, so it’s better for your child to dislike the diaper changing process. Remember, when the child grows up, you want him/her to be strong enough to resist this kind of treatment from the world, therefore you should focus more on your own survival than on making the child enjoy or willingly submit to such a process.

2. Be “The Diaper Changer”, not the Parent while changing the diaper. Comfort the child after the diaper has been changed and all evidence of the diaper changing is gone. With luck, your child will not associate you with The Diaper Changer, but remember the child will grow up to resent you eventually anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

3. Speed. The faster you change the child, the less permanent emotional damage will occur and pretty soon the child will realize it’s not worth getting all worked up about it if the process is over before he can finish his first “soul-stealing” comment. It’s more important to go fast than to earn your child’s approval of your parenting skills.

4. Stealth. Sneak up on your child. Have all the equipment needed to change the child in your hands ready to go. This helps with the Speed recommendation, and reduces the time available for the child to get worked up about the process.

5. Location. Many clean-freaks are particular about where they change their child. Get over it and change the child wherever you can corner him/her. Sometimes it’s just easier to use a carpet shampooer after the fact.

6. Cry. Make as much noise as your child (mirror the child’s sound and facial expressions.) This has an amazing cathartic effect for you, and it confuses the child long enough to finish the job. I use this technique anytime my children are crying about anything other than acute pain and it works wonders. You can also use it on your spouse, but that’s a whole other topic.

7. Teenagers. If you are going to have more than one child, have the second child after your first child is old enough to change diapers, then you can simply delegate the problem (I encourage a healthy allowance for the teenager if you do this.) Most importantly, don’t watch or listen while your teenager changes a diaper: send them off to a room where you can’t hear what’s going on and don’t ask too many questions as long as they both come out clean. Again, the teenager is going to hate you anyway, you might as well get some use out of him/her while you can.

8. There is nothing wrong with you if you *consider* using cloth diapers. There is something wrong with you if you use cloth diapers while you can afford disposables. If you are worried about the environmental impact of disposable diapers, don’t worry you’ll get over it.

Legal Restraining Techniques:

1. To keep a toddler in one place:
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Place child between your legs. Take your left leg and cross it over the child’s chest (in a kind and gentle way.) Obviously be careful how much weight you apply, use just enough to hold the child. Encourage your child to *hug* your leg. This frees your hands to do the changing.

2. To control the legs with one hand:
With your child on his/her back, hold the child’s legs straight up in the air.
Bend the child’s legs outward at the knees, crossing the ankles.
Hold the ankles crossed in the left hand, applying enough pressure to keep the knees bent outward.
Work quickly!

3. If all else fails and you have a detachable shower head:
Stand child in the bathtub.
Strip the child.
Apply water until clean.
If the child is old enough to understand cause and effect, you can use the temperature of the water as an incentive :-).

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