Class 2 Discussion

You get to choose one of two assignments for this week:  choose either a task of bodily care that’s currently challenging (hair brushing, tooth brushing, diapering, etc.) OR choose one keeping house activity that your children see you doing but don’t usually help with, and have them help with it at least three times in the following week. If you choose a task that kids haven’t seen you do much, they may not be as interested in participating.  Seeing you do it over and over is how they KNOW that they are contributing, because they know that it must be done.

What area did you choose? Did it go better or worse than you expected? Was it enjoyable and bonding, or was it stressful and distancing? How did the experience evolve over the course of the week?



Please share at least twice during the week, and respond to at least one other person’s post.  When you share for the first time, start your own Comment box.  Then when you give us an update later in the week, press “reply to this comment” on your own original sharing.  This way it helps us keep everyone straight, since we can’t see one another.  And of course when you reply to someone else’s comment, press “reply to comment” on their comment.


  1. Chappell Marmon says

    I’d like to improve our bathtime routine, but could use some ideas about how to make it better. Kiva doesn’t bathe every day–its more like 2 times a week, although now that its summer we might have to do it more often–and most of the time I take a bath with her. So its mostly very connecting. She used to nurse a lot in the bath, but now she plays with toys, etc. But she doesn’t love the bath in general. The part she really hates is when I have to wet her hair before shampooing and when I have to rinse the shampoo out. She won’t tilt her head backwards or lay back so I end up having to just dump the water on her head and try to shield her eyes with my hand. She gets over it fairly quickly but it always seems a bit traumatizing to her. Any suggestions?

    • Angie Kochukudy says

      Hi Chappell,

      Sarina had a lot of trouble with rinsing as well…though she has mostly enjoyed bathtime overall and loves water now. I couldn’t find how old your daughter is so I’m not sure how it will fit. Sarina just turned two, and probably since she was about 18 months, I really focused on “look up!” as the emphasis. She would finally look up at the shower head, and I would rinse her head, making sure to use low pressure or a cup. You could have some focal point for her, something she’s looking at that’s very high to catch her attention. After a few times of it actually working (she looked up, I rinsed, no water in eyes), she started to get it, to trust me. I also narrated it as I went – “This will keep the water out of your eyes.” I also give her a cup, and she dumps water on herself. Even got her to dump water on her own head for a while (she has since wised up and has her own priorities now.) They do also have little “hats” that you can use to rinse and it kind of seals – I’ve never used it. Good luck!

      • Chappell Marmon says

        Thanks for these ideas! I do think i need to get more creative about teaching her to look up–and trying to make it more fun. I’ll keep trying!

      • Chappell, my daughter (17 months) won’t lie back either. I pour water over the back and sides of her head, and then I use a wet washcloth to get the soap out of the hair close to the front of her head. I also do a lot of “fun” pouring of water on her, when no soap is involved.

  2. Angie Kochukudy says

    I did the readings, but didn’t get to listen to the call until Monday night, BUT, I already have a success. As per last week, evenings have been tricky – she gets home from daycare and I’m cooking, etc. Well, tonight, I tried to include her more in meal prep. She helped put spices in the meat, tried a tomato (she only eats them at daycare, spits them out at home), she helped mix/mash the guacamole. So what was most interesting was that she tasted – several times – many foods she’s been refusing tonight. And she also sat with us and just ate for a good 10-15 minutes. Then she got back to her distracted, needs connection self…even asking for hugs (a first). But it was a success.

    So – I’m going to focus on involving her in meal prep and clean up.

    I’d like to find some additional routines for bedtime – we have a fairly common meltdown point where she decides she doesn’t want to get a new diaper/take shoes/socks off, put on PJs. It’s not every night, but some nights when she’s tired. I’ve kind of resorted to just “powering through” while she has her tantrum, getting the diaper changed and her PJs on so we can move on to the rituals that she enjoys, but I’d like to find a way to actually engage her reliably during that weak point. It does seem to be fatigue related, hence why I just try to get it over with, but I’d love suggestions for other ways to engage her constructively.
    I am learning that imagination and making it fun does not come natural to me, but I’m working on it!

    • Angie Kochukudy says

      Please note – I’m not trying to brag; mostly I’ve been struggling, so I’m trying to encourage myself with a success.

    • Angie, Bragging is encouraged, lol! Everyone needs success stories to help motivate them; thanks for sharing yours!

      For bedtime, I wonder if you could change her into her pajamas much earlier, so she’s not so tired. Right after dinner, perhaps? (Or even before dinner?) You could go into her room and do it very slowly with games in between. Or even bring her pajamas into the living room to change things up. Look at the discussion on the Class 1 board with Chappell’s bedtime to get some more ideas. The more of the “must-do” things you can do earlier, the more it allows you to have snuggles and connecting time as you wind down for bed.

      • Angie Kochukudy says

        I have been a little more successful with bedtimes – well, the one time I put her to bed…I was able to work on connection and then come back to it with some silliness and we pulled through well. I’m also nursing her still, morning and night, and it has been a battle to get her to let go – she wants to nurse FOREVER (there is no milk!). So, I started a timer. The timer goes off – she switches sides, and then the second time it goes off, nursies go night night. I’m finding less resistance! Yay.

        Sarina also helped her daddy put away groceries on Wednesday, and Wednesday night, she helped me season broccoli, and helped make her own macaroni and cheese – Stirring. She did a pretty good job too! We need a better stool!
        We are going camping at the beach all weekend, so routines are now shot for the time being, but lots of chances to help out and explore.

  3. Kristen Cronin says

    Trevor and I went grocery shopping this week, and when we got home, I expected that my husband would look after him while I put the groceries away. Trevor didn’t want to leave my side, though, so I started handing him groceries to put into the refrigerator, and he LOVED it! He was asking “okay, Mommy, where do these go?” I’d give him just a little direction, and he put away pretty much everything for the fridge. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but who cares? He had a blast, and I had a little helper. Now, if I can just figure out mealtimes…. 🙂

  4. Alexis Schrader says

    I’m wondering about tips on incorporating kids into household tasks when we’re feeling tired or impatient. I’m 7 months pregnant and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to spend the extra time in the kitchen when I can cook dinner by myself in about 1/3 of the time.

    • Alexis, yes. Remember, involving kids in tasks is extra juicy for them because they’re getting connection, competence, and contributing all at the same time. But it’s totally fine that you don’t include them in everything, and often times getting a meal on the table quickly is more important. As long as you give her OTHER times during the day where she can be involved in that way, then it doesn’t have to happen during meal prep. However, when we’re busy kids often feel the need to strengthen their sense of connection to us. So how can you concentrate on connection for her, while you’re also quickly and competently getting the meal together? It might be by having her stand on a “helper stool” at a counter that’s close but out of the way, and giving her a simple task, or giving her nibbles of each ingredient. It might be by you telling her a story, or talking about the different foods that you’re cooking with. As long as you have enough attention for your task AND for your child, then she can come and go as she needs, either hanging out with your or going off to play.

  5. Yuanyuan Shen says

    Here comes more questions:
    2. Can you give me some examples of chores that are suitable for children under two?
    3. Austin hates tooth brushing. Singing doesn’t work for him. Any tricks that might make it enjoyable for him?
    4. Austin and Lydia often cries after nap, and they are very difficult to comfort. I watched your DVD several months ago. I bought hair brush, and tried to do it as gracefully as you do. But when they keep crying and pushing me away, I probably didn’t do it well. The only thing I find to stop their crying is giving them something to eat. But the other children will ask for it, too. And they will ask for more. It’s hard to stop… Do you know why they cry after nap – I’m sure they have enough rest after 2-2.5 hours sleep, and what might help?
    5. Justin’s nap is one of my daily challenges. When he is in school, he takes nap every day. When he is at home, if he doesn’t nap, sometimes he falls asleep around 5, but most of the time he doesn’t have much problem to make it until bedtime. It seems to me he doesn’t need nap every day, but he can fall asleep if he chooses to, and napping makes him feel better in afternoon.
    Actually it is me who really needs some rest during nap time. My problem is Justin often doesn’t want to nap, and he makes me not able to rest. The only way I find possible for him to nap is we both lie on the couch – if I let him sleep in his room, he almost always gets up to play. I read a book to him before we lie down. Then I say ” let’s see who falls asleep first”, and he wants to be the first. These worked for a few days. Then he chooses not to sleep. After I put down the book, he acts excitedly. If I ask him to play quietly, he would deliberately make some noise, and he often plays with my hair!
    It makes me angry and sad. I read 10 minutes even when I have a sore throat. He can sleep, but he chooses not to, and he deliberately makes me not able to rest. What do you think might help him take nap every day, or at least play quietly when he doesn’t feel like sleeping?

    • Yuanyuan Shen says

      It happen again today at nap time 🙁 I was exhausted and really needed some rest. Justin promised me he would lie down quietly and sleep after I read his favorite book. But he didn’t, and he refused to play quietly. I understand that he is capable of playing quietly while I’m resting on the couch doesn’t mean he can do it every time. What makes me very frustrated is he didn’t keep the promise he made 10 minutes ago, and he indeed needs nap, too. Yesterday, he didn’t take nap. Then he fell asleep on the couch around 5:30pm, and we couldn’t wake him until 8pm! I really need help on this.

    • Kerri Thauby says

      Regarding toothbrushing – we pretend that Oliver is a trashcan and I lightly step on his foot (the pedal) and he opens his mouth (the lid) wide while I brush his teeth. This is after he has already brushed them himself. We just started this last week, so it’s still fun and working for now.

      • Yuanyuan Shen says

        Thank you, Kerri. The trash can trick sounds fun and I’m glad it works for you. I’m afraid I have to come up something else. We don’t use trash cans in our house – we had to remove them because the children had too much interest in them.

        • Alissa Moghtaderi says

          Yuanyuan, I used to put on a very serious face and tell my boys that I was putting the earpaste on the earbrushes and it was time to brush their ears. When they would correct me and tell me it was TOOTHpaste, I really insisted that they were wrong and that it’s definitely earpaste for brushing their ears.

      • Angie Kochukudy says

        What a great idea! I have Sarina sing to me – we do “aaahh” sounds which helps keep her mouth open. But the trash can idea is awesome!

    • Yuanyuan Shen says

      Today at breakfast, Austin was tapping his bread with his fingers. I don’t mind a 21-month-old plays his food a little bit, as long as he keeps eating and doesn’t waste food. Justin followed excitedly, playing much more wildly. I thought about good intention for a moment, but got nothing. When I was just thinking how to apply SMILE, he started to throw bread crumbs at me. I had to be very firm to stop him. Was he asking for connection? I don’t feel that way…

      • Yuanyuan, kids aren’t always asking for connection when they do silly/annoying things; most of the time they’re just having fun! Which can be connecting, if you enjoy it too. The problem is when he’s having fun playing with his food and throwing crumbs, but it’s not fun for you. Then it’s disconnecting. How can you get him to change this behavior? You can tell him sternly to stop, which often works but doesn’t strengthen your relationship. Or you can figure out a way that he can have fun that you BOTH can enjoy. He’s old enough that you can enlist his help with this: “Hey, food needs to stay on the plate, silly. What can we do instead?” He may not be able to come up with something that’s as fun (throwing food is pretty fun, after all) but you can remind him, “It’s important to have fun in ways we all can enjoy. I need food to stay on the plate in order for it to be enjoyable to me. Let’s think…I know! Let’s have a toast. Cheers!” When kids DO feel connected to us, they’re able to do what we’ve asked. Of course, nobody feels connected in every moment, and often times something (like throwing food) is just too much fun and we can’t find a connecting way to make it stop. Using SMILE to help children do what we ask is a practice, one that we get better at as we work on it.

  6. Alexis Schrader says

    Just tried a new chore and wanted to share! I was mopping this morning while my daughter played, and she asked if she could do it so I said ok. She pushed the mop around and really enjoyed it. Obviously a 2.5 year old wasn’t doing a thorough job, so to get the chore done I took a turn and said if she wanted the mop back she had to catch me. I got the mopping done pretty quickly and we both had a good time!

  7. Kerri Thauby says

    As a stay at home mom, I have always taken the opportunity to finish the housework during the day so that I can have nap time free for resting and a couple hours at night for me. The chores I complete at the same time every single day are folding the laundry during my 1 year old’s morning nap, and sweeping the floor after lunch. So this is where I invited my 3 year old, Oliver, to participate. He has not been interested in helping with the laundry as I’m folding downstairs. Since it’s early in the day, he’s usually busy playing by himself and hasn’t responded to my invitations to match his daddy’s colorful socks (only way I can think of him helping out with clothing). I haven’t tried the “deliveries” yet, as it is a less scheduled process of when I take the laundry upstairs and actually distribute, but he might be more excited about helping with that. Oliver did want to help out with the sweeping after lunch and I love the idea that he should be involved in tasks that are about contributing to the family and not just cleaning up after himself. So he has helped sweep the ample amount of food on the floor (mostly from 1 year old Benjamin) into the dust pan that I hold. He has a short attention span with it, but it’s enough and I intend to keep this as a routine. He occasionally asks to help cook dinner and often likes to help bake. It’s great to think of these as activities we can do together instead of things I must get done myself.

  8. Alissa Moghtaderi says

    We Moghtaderis have had a bit of a hectic week. Tuesday our movers started packing; Wednesday the boys finished school; Thursday we moved to Washington DC. So we have not been successful in establishing any new routines, or even maintaining the old ones! But we have had a very smooth transition to DC and the boys are thrilled with the new house and the addition of Grandma Ann and Grandpa Charles to our household.

    Despite our busy and transient days, I have been making an effort to encourage the boys to help with household tasks. For instance, this morning Elliott spilled some sugar on the table and I told him he could clean it up with the hand vacuum and then wipe it with a towel. He did a great job, and Miles even pointed out a spot he missed and Elliott wiped it up, too. (Your comments about kids getting satisfaction from not just doing a task but doing it well resonated with me, Faith, and I was so happy to see that Miles and Elliott both have that spirit!) I’ve been able to find a lot of opportunities to have them help with tasks like checking the hotel room for anything we might have left, and putting their own dishes in the kitchen.

    The hardest part is occupying myself while they are doing their tasks so that I don’t inadvertently help. 😉

    • Kerri Thauby says

      Welcome to the neighborhood, Alissa. And thanks for representing us all on the conference call this week 🙂

  9. Love it!

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