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Children in nappies in reception

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by cath1980, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. rharg - you and I are going round in circles. I am not making any assumptions about you particularly. I hope you will give the parents of the children you teach the same benefit of the doubt. You may suffer the consequences of other people's parenting choices, but as teachers, the consequences of everything parents do or don't do with their children, is felt in the classroom. Ultimately though, parents have the biggest impact on the education of children, and as such, our working relationship with them is (or should be) paramount. I see a lot of teachers who are very judgemental about parenting (often without children themselves, or without knowing very much about the individual circumstances of the families involved). I am not saying YOU fall into this category, but some of those I have met, have let their judgements impact on their relationship with the family of the children concerned. I think this is a terrible shame for the children involved.
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    The subject was discussed on BBC Breakfast yesterday and the "expert" of the day said she believed most children were capable of being dry and clean by their third birthday (she gave boys a couple of months longer than girls) but she also said that she thought some children were using this basic bodily function as a "weapon" (can't remember her exact words) to hold over parents ... interesting thought
  3. Bizarrely, I have just looked at another site I post on and found this thread:
    It gives an interesting parental perspective on this, and is a good example of the kind of extenuating circumstances that can lead parents to not train their children. I was particularly interested to see that this poster (and at least one other) feel schools will be supportive of families whose children are not trained by school age.
  4. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I think schools are supportive but we can still moan about it can't we?
  5. I was more meaning something along the lines of maybe we're sending out the wrong messages!? I.e. parents genuinely think it is OK to wait longer and longer, partly because people they believe to be 'experts' are colluding in this - including schools to some extent. The message this parent got from her school, was probably not the one privately held in the staffroom of her child's school! The parents on this thread are also universally supportive - and this has largely been my experience outside school - parents will mostly support other parents' decisions (rightly or wrongly) not to train 'because of x, y, z'
    Of course we can moan - but it's important to remember that most parents are on the same side as us, even if we don't always understand the decisions they've made.
  6. Msz, I didn't see that program this morning about children using toileting... or not as a 'weapon' , another similar issue...is the one with food and healthy eating.[​IMG]
    Many of the families we perceive as having issues re toilet training seem to be the ones where the child rules the roost and the parent abdicates any responsibility...another sign of apathy or depression or a total lack of understanding of the energy and consistency it takes to be a parent.
    Sometimes it is about the parent wanting to be the child's best friend. "Sorry...you are a parent please act like one."
    Health Visitors see so many maternal stress issues ... domestic violence, addiction, working etc that an easy option is to say '''leave toilet training till later...to reduce some of that stress..
    However, I believe that with the best of intentions this is not in the best interests of children. Our children are growing up expecting rights but with no sense of responsibility instilled in them. We can all see the feral youths to be...plus the passive bunch who will let life pass completely by them... For the most part it's too late to say to parents you need to do x, y and z by age 3. We need to go in earlier.
    Recently we had a two year old with the foulest of language and a penchant for kicking, punching and spitting at staff and children. While explaining to his parent that we have a zero approach to violence and we needed her support to manage his behaviour....her response was..but he's only two. But when was she planning to say no...
    What am I saying...the ones who need to hear this will never listen.[​IMG]

    Milliebear, I think we need to tell those parents who do want to do best by their children and will work with us that we do expect children to be toilet trained by 3...medical exceptions etc as mentioned previously.
    How do we do this?
  7. I don't know if I would use the word weapon but withholding poo or not using the lav., not eating and not sleeping are the most powerful tools for young children. The children I have worked with over the past five years have taught me a lot about poo and eating.
    IMO they use these tools to gain control, what other weapons do they have?
    Why do they need to gain control ? Is it because they sense that their key family adults around them at home are not in control. Is it because at daycare they might have younger assistants who are not fully engaged or are on low wages. Sorry daycare folk- that was a sweeping statement
    At my present school, I eat with the children and serve their food and I have noticed their attempts to hook me into their "eating" games which they play with parents. I have also noticed that those who play the eating games also play the poo and wee game. I suspect they have sleeping problems too and are still in the family bed.
    I try to take a neutral stance at the table and the eating thing usually, gets better but it takes months rather than weeks. Three year olds and sometimes five year olds are gagging on foods like young toddlers because they are being introduced to foods they have not tried before. We have home cooked meals with veg and chewing is required, as are forks.
    When another perhaps "kinder" colleague eats with the children, the eating fads return as she coaxes them and changes their meals.
    These children who choose not to eat very often are not securely dry and also soil.
    Parents sometimes say at first that child x does not like me and are concerned and I feel that it is because I am responding in a different way and the systems that he/she had to gain control are not working. The same parents can also be the ones that weep tears of appreciation when their child leaves my class a more settled child.Could be tears of relief of course. For some children the teacher might be the first adult they meet who is really in charge.
    Parents openly confess, in particular the more mature mother that they don't want their child to grow up. They genuinely adore their child. Do you think it is because they feel they have missed out on much of the toddler growing up, because they are at work or they have waited a long time to have a baby ?
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I constantly hear a little voice in my head saying just those words as I listen to parents telling me they can't do anything with their child and would I mind talking to them about their behaviour. I just know that one day I'm going to say it aloud
  9. I agree, and if it were up to me, I would reintroduce the guidance to parents that we used to have, which was that there is a 'strong expectation' that children entering nursery at three will by dry bar the odd accident. I think this does provide unsure parents with a 'guide' and means they are more likely to be incentivised to train. There will always be exceptions though, and nurseries need to be clear in their communication with parents that 'expectations' do not mean children will be slung out for the odd accident, nor do they mean children will be disbarred if they are 'getting there' but slowly. Parents whose children arrive untrained, when parents have declared them to be, need to be brought in and the issue discussed - is this a sudden regression/is there an underlying cause etc. If parents are genuinely trying to train, but without success, they need to rule out other causes. Unfortunately, not all GPs are very sympathetic to the idea of underlying issues and will want to wait longer to see if the child 'grows out of it'. Not all parents have the confidence to push for more than this. If it does seem to be that there is a lack of parental will/ability, or a lack of consistency in the training, then schools can be really helpful in putting together a joint plan of action to tackle it as speedily as poss.
    If I was EY (and I'm not!) I would absolutely not have nappies in the classroom unless a child was then shown to be totally incontinent (in which case, I would be pushing for medical checks to be done).
  10. Sorry! My response was meant for Tash.
  11. [
    <font face="Times New Roman">tash:</font><font face="Times New Roman">&hellip;For the most part it's too late to say to parents you need to do x, y and z by age 3. We need to go in earlier</font><font face="Times New Roman">That is an interesting point, Tash, and one which I think is being taken on board by LEAs. Haven't Sure Start discovered this is why their initiatives did not work as hoped- because they were nursery based and the focus was on the child in nursery. Haven't they moved their focus to supporting parents with parenting?</font><font face="Times New Roman">tash:</font><font face="Times New Roman">Health Visitors see so many maternal stress issues ... domestic violence, addiction, working etc that an easy option is to say '''leave toilet training till later...to reduce some of that stress.. </font> Haven't Health Visitors cut down on their visits and developmental checks? Do they visit the homes of 2 year olds any more? Could this contribute to the issue we are discussing?

  12. That's right Hedda they (health visitors) have cut back or been forced to cut back on home visits but they do still see parents at clinics etc right up until children go to school ...should say I am in Scotland.

    Many reasons I think, for Sure Start not working, but I was at a conference recently where a senior police officer said that they are now treating violence as a public health issue...that trying to tame wayward teenagers (hic!) was way too late. They are now looking at root causes and trying to target more resources to early years/addiction/domestic violence etc to lessen the impact on developing children. I believe similar intiatives are happening down your way too.
    Medical officer of health for Scotland has said that stress, exposure to violence etc impacts on brain development to the point where the frontal lobe (flight or fight and impulsivity is paramount.)

    He claims research is showing a <u>limited</u> window in the early years for 'reprogramming' thinking/reasoning. My worry is that no matter what resources we throw at children and families the overall picture is pretty depressing for their long term mental and physical health unless we get in really early.
    This is why I think we (and others) need to be quite upfront with parents and say...it's your job to....instead of fudging around really quite serious issues.
    I know I've digressed a bit off the nappy topic but I do think that some of this content is material to the whole parenting agenda. And while many of our parents are not at the 'toxic stress' level (yet) they are getting mixed messages about what's important for children.
    Here's the link to Harry Burns MoH, Scotland...it's a web PowerPoint and takes a bit of time to load and a lot of it is technical and statistical related to research and the impact of 'childhood toxic stress' on mental and physical helath for adults. Slide 25 shows the effect on brain development of a three year old exposed to 'toxic' stress levels.
    here's a quote from one of his slides...
    "At age 3, &ldquo;at risk&rdquo; children identified on the basis of chaotic circumstances, emotional behaviour, negativity and poor attentiveness
    As adults, those &ldquo;at risk&rdquo; were more likely to :
    • be unemployed
    • have criminal convictions (especially for violence)
    • been pregnant as a teenager
    • have a substance abuse problem
    • exhibit signs of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome"
    Nothing we didn't know really.
    Next steps anyone?

  13. I have a two year old and we were visited at home. My son had his regular checks but these didn't seem especially 'thorough' to me (although if there'd been problems I might have had a different experience). I know the home visit is not the case in all areas though. My HV is of the school of thought that you don't push children to train before they are showing signs of readiness though, as I suspect many are.
    In my area Surestart offers a scheme where parent 'mentors' are assigned to families deemed to be vulnerable or struggling. They also offer parenting classes that parents can self-refer to, or be referred by GP/HV. These are aimed at tackling some of the issues identified by Tash. The rub though, is that these are (for the most part) entirely optional, and the hard-core of truly problematic parents, have no interest in attending. Similar to the situations you get with all CP agencies who have no power to intervene significantly in family-life until things have gone way past the point of no return. Is it right that we should have state intervention in how people parent? I don't know the answer to that, but I suspect it is the question we are dodging round.
  14. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    This should be part of an admission policy. If DDA is being used, then the disability needs to be defined and resources (people) need to be funded to support that child's disability. If you go back to the OP with 4 children coming into school in nappies ... then at say, 2 changes a day each ... depending on where the facilities are (and are there actually proper places to change a nappy in school?) it could be 40-50 minutes a day out of the classroom. Some posters in this forum have small classes with no TA support. What should they do? I'm one that believes pull-ups and apathy are much of the issue here. Maybe the Government should put an extra tax on pull-ups to fund care staff? LOL.
  15. I'm well aware of that.
    I'm well aware of that too.
    There are many things that parents do (or don't do) that I disagree with but it doesn't automatically mean that our relationship suffers. Just like the fact that sometimes my friends, family, collegues do things that I don't agree with but our relationship does not break down because of this. You can disagree about things without it being the end of your relationship!
    Of course and it's because I'm considering the well-being of the children that I say it's wrong for 4yr old children to be untrained in using the toilet and to still be wearing nappies!
  16. missjivebunny

    missjivebunny New commenter

    I had several children not toilet trained at the beginning of last year. As Msz said at the start of this thread, I asked for them to be in pants and most of them trained quickly. One, who had a bowel problem wasn't trained until after Easter and was in nappies until then. He pooed up to 10 times a day and it would be everywhere, all over him. He had a terrible phobia of the toilet at first and would not even sit on it without being very distressed. As well as this, he had terrible nappy rash which would bleed and weep. Many times I was close to tears in the toilets as he cried in pain while I cleaned him and put Sudocrem on him. It wasn't the poo I had a problem with, I'm used to that, but it was a problem for me that I had to do something that caused him considerable pain. It was also a problem for me that while I was in the toilets, sometimes for nearly the whole day, I abandoned my focus task, my playing, my digging, my guided reading or whatever, abandoning 33 other children in the process. I agree with the people who say if there isn't a medical problem then the rules should be stricter. But even if there is a medical problem, it still comes with the same problems. He got no extra support because he had a medical problem. The continence team visited regularly, and just told me to keep doing what I was doing, even when I begged them for further help.
    I was ashamed that by March I felt resentful, and as it got to nappy change number 6 of the day and I was pulled away from what I was doing again, I would be a bit short with the child, then I would feel very guilty. As the other children got a bit older they would hold their noses around him and say things like 'He smells like poo doesn't he Miss'. It was a total nightmare, and when he eventually got medical help and went on medication to regulate his bowels it was a big relief (for both of us no doubt!) He became fully toilet trained (for wee too) a few weeks later. The whole thing was an emotional rollercoaster. On the plus side I knew him inside out (in more ways that one!) because I spent so much time with him.
    The issue of having children in nappies is not going to go away, in fact it is going to become more common as more people become aware of the guidance being issued to authorities in regards to continence. What is lacking is practical support for schools but of course that wouldn't be awarded without a statement etc. Being told to 'write a continence policy' as I was, was not helpful.
  17. Good Post Miss JB.
    This thread is getting a lot of traffic- over 2000 views in a couple of days. I think this level of interest indicates mutual cobcern over this issue.
  18. missjivebunny

    missjivebunny New commenter

    Thanks Hedda. Sorry for slightly narrative post, wasn't really contributing to the debate but felt that the story was relevant, as other people will find themselves in this position if they haven't already.
    If anyone is wondering, I didn't write a continence policy.
  19. missjivebunny

    missjivebunny New commenter

    Also, and this is a genuine question that teachers who have been teaching for a while may know the answer to, when I started school in 1990, children who were not toilet trained didn't get in. So where were they? Was it that all 4 year olds just were toilet trained? Or did those who weren't stay at home? Or did they go to a Special School? This has just occurred to me and I am curious.
  20. Well my child's playgroup in 1987 expected children to toilet trained and they accepted children form the age of 3.
    As for school, apart from the occasional accident and those who had medical conditions or emotional trauma, "toilet training" did not seem to be a problem for most of my career until C21. The first Yr R intake that had a real rookie to the world of the toilet came in 2002.

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