Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just keep on swimming!

Swimming is my genes. I come from a family that has so much love and passion for swimming. Kieran first started swimming lessons the day after his 2 months newborn shots! I was so eager to get him in and turn him into a fish!
Isn't that too young?? Heck no! Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent among young children age 1-4, who are at greatest risk of drowning.

Before the age of 6 months infants have a dive reflex. When someone blows in their face they will open their eyes and hold their breath when submerged. It's amazing! By the time Kieran was 6 months he didn't need the blow anymore. He knew that after I counted to three I would submerge him. 

Now at 20 months old, Kieran can swim 6 feet face down from an island to the stairs. He can sit jump off the wall and do a small turn around back to the wall. Amazing what kids can do when given the chance to learn! 

If you haven't tried swimming with your little ones, I really suggest you do. I know most communities have a recreation pool that is affordable. And most private swim lessons have free trials. Give it a try! The parent and baby classes are a fun way to bond with your little one.

Most parents like to wait until they are old enough so sit through a class by themselves. From experience I wouldn't suggest it. When I was 16 I worked at a swim school for about 4 years. The kids who started as a novice swimmer at 3 years old were fearful and since they were able to communicate they were very stubborn when it came to submerging or moving away from the stairs. During my time as a swim teacher I remember most of my students who started in a parent and me class graduated within 4-5 years. At 5 most went off to join swim teams. Amazing right!!

I hope Kieran will love swimming and is passionate about it when he gets older.  I regret rebelling against my parents and quitting on swimming when I reached high school. Who knows maybe I'm raising the next Michael Phelps! A mama can hope right!! 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I had originally planned on writing a blog today about Heursistic Play, but "MINE and NO" was mentioned a few times. First off, thank you all for showing you're love and appreciation. I am so excited! Second, remember I'm a first time parent like most of you. I am still learning, educating myself and adjusting to the fact that I have a TODDLER! So your thoughts, ideas and suggestions will help me as well. I don't have all the answers, what I'm sharing with you are my experiences with Kieran.

At 20 months Kieran knows the power of "MINE" and "NO". Some of you know that I own a family daycare. I have 9 kids total and 2 assistants. Can you imagine what Kieran feels everyday with all these kids in his space!?!?

By the times Kieran was 18 months he started getting fed up with all these people coming into our home, taking his toys and getting in his space. I don't blame him, I would be annoyed as heck too!

So my husband and I sat down and brainstormed the best way to approach this. We came up with the "MINE BOX" or "TREASURE BOX". We went out bought Kieran a toy chest and lunchbox. We bought him a few new toys and put them all in his box and lunch box. We explained to him that these were special toys, just for Kieran! He didn't fully understand the concept then but he understood the word "MINE".

I started role playing with him. I took his toy and said MINE! He would yell "back" (give it back)! "MINE"! My goal here was to teach him the words mine and give it back. Once we got that mastered we went upstairs to all his SHARE toys. I would play with him and while playing I kept saying these are "share toys". I needed him to differentiate what were his and what were share toys.

I guess this case is different for everyone. Some kids go to daycare and they will grab toys. If I was in that situation I would have a special lunch box for Kieran that he gets whenever I pick him up. The goal is for them to recognize what are share items and what are "MINE"! It's ok to be selfish and have MINE toys. It's better they have that then having to share everything and constantly grabbing at whatever they want.

Like any other behavior we have to teach them everything. We have to compromise and be fair. Also keep in mind the MINE stage is a phase that will pass. We can't prevent it or stop it, but we can shape it.  It will not always work but it will give them a sense of power.  Let them have some control sometimes.

We are still at the MINE stage and working on it daily. Throughout the say I offer Kieran time to play with his MINE box, space for himself. This so far is working for us. Give it a try!

NO, is a very powerful word! And in my home it is ONLY used when something is absolute NO! We don't want NO to lose it's true powerful meaning so we are careful not to use it. I taught Kieran to use the word STOP when kids are pushing or grabbing from him. Which is more appropriate, since what he wants them to so is to stop bothering him.

NO, is used when he tries to touch the oven, tries to run off the sidewalk, etc. Basically we only use it when he is being unsafe. I know it's hard not to say NO, were are human beings and it's an automatic word that pops out of our mouths when our little ones are running like mad mans. Try your best to refrain from it, as mentioned in the first blog try SHOWING THEM WHAT TO DO VERSUS WHAT NOT TO DO.

Remember just like us adults, we have things we're selfish about and don't like sharing. So give your little ones that same opportunity.

Lastly, one huge detail I nearly forgot to mention. DON'T EVER EVER grab or take away things from your child. You grab they will grab! They learn from what we do right?! With Kieran we count and frontload him with everything! For example, Kieran has a toy a friend wants to play with. I tell him Kieran after I count to 10 we are going to give our friend a turn. And I sit there going back and forth counting for both kids while they take turns.

Same goes with taking something from him. Or moving on to another activity. Kieran loves holding onto his sippy cup, I don't ever take it from him without letting him know what I'm planning on doing. If I do that I am asking for a melt down! Who likes things being taken from them without being warned?!?! Planning, frontloading and counting will makes a huge difference in Kieran's behavior. About 98% of the Kieran will give up the item happily and do what I ask of him.

P.S. not only are you working on behavior by doing this, but your also teaching him to count! Only 20 months and Kieran can count to 5! So give it a try Mama's, I know it takes a lot of time and energy. But I promise you it will make a huge difference!

Things I count for: (saying 5 more minutes or giving a time like that makes no sense, but counting they can understand if you keep at it)

  • When it's time to leave
  • Before changing clothes or diaper
  • Bath time
  • Turning off the lights for bed
  • Sharing
  • Turning off a movie
Basically anything that can trigger a melt down I plan ahead, give him time and then follow through.

Asking versus Telling....

Kieran is 20 months old. His mission in life right now is to test every water, climb every step and run up and down every aisle! When it comes to stoping him or correcting him I am very careful how I approach it. The first thing I do when I catch Kieran doing something he's not suppose to do I quickly observe, is he doing it for attention or is he doing it because he's interested and wants to explore?

How can you tell? For me when Kieran is doing something for attention he gets whiny, loud and may even throw something. When he's testing his limits or exploring you can see him make a little cheeky smile, like "wow I just did that" kind of look. I try my best not to discourage him from exploring and I make sure he is safe when doing so.

The attention behaviors are very tricky! I am very careful with how I approach this. If you laugh oh best believe they will do it again! Been there and paid the price! To get a rise out of me Kieran will climb on top of his train table and start jumping. He knows better but he will do it just for the heck of it. So what do I do?!?!

Easy, I simply walk over take him off and say "feet on the ground please" and walk away. I then find something he enjoys doing like playing basketball. I start shooting hoops yelling and cheering hoping he would come over and join me. Not a second later he's at my side yelling "wow" "! yah"!

Did you guys just see what I just did!?! I did not put any attention in the unwanted behavior. I got him off the table. Spoke to him nicely and redirected him to something more appropriate! SWEET! Eazzyy peezyyy right?!?! Now you guys give that a try!

Does he go back on the table again? Sure he does everyday! And everyday I do the exact same thing. That's toddler life!

Now that Kieran's a bit older and understands me very well. I try to give him the chance to listen. So I catch him on the table again. I ask him "Kieran feet on the ground please" versus "No Kieran don't do that"! See the difference. Ask yourself as an adult which are you likely to respond better to?

Language is everything when shaping behavior and redirecting is the key to success, along with tons of praise and cheering!! After asking Kieran to put his feet on the ground I remind him "train table is for driving trains" and I show him what to do. Afterwards I walk him over to his play structure and tell him "we climb here". Once he starts climbing his play structure I start cheering and praising him for keeping his feet off the train table and for doing such a great job climbing his play structure. Whooooo!

Toddlers hate the word NO just as much as we do. Instead of saying NO to everything guide them to where they can jump or run. Instead of saying "No balls in the house" try "balls are outside toys".

I've learned that Kieran is so much happier when he is pointed to the direction where he is allowed to do what he wants. Never say No and leave them hanging. Explain. Redirect. Praise.


With Kieran PRAISE is everything! When the unwanted behavior is not around I am constantly praising him. I spend all day cheering and giving him high fives for being following the rules, listening and being nice. This is POSITIVE ATTENTION. The more you do this the less you'll get unwanted behaviors.

Monday, September 16, 2013

It was bound to happen....

This was so bound to happen.....

First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Janine Dulce-Asis also known as Mykieranbaby on instagram. I'm 26 years old. I'm a work at home mom. Wasn't exactly my plan but this is life as we know it. Before having Kieran life was all about school, work, sleep, eat, school in that order. Nothing was slowing me down I had so much passion in what I did. I wanted to make a difference in life. More than anything I wanted to make life easier for children with autism.

I majored in Psychology. The original plan was to go into research. But I loved being on the floor so much I couldn't stand being behind books all day. My focus was on behavioral therapy also known as applied behavioral analyst. What we do is we teach behavior. Children with autism learn differently. They need us to teach them what sad feels like, or when to be happy.

My passion all began when I was 19. I started nannying for a family with twin boys they just turned 3 when I first met them. When we first met they didn't say a word. They spent a lot of time looking out the windows or being fixated on a certain object. My job was simple then, drive them to therapy, engage them in appropriate play and talk to them. At the time I had no idea who I was going to be. But I fell in love with them. Everyday I went to work determined to find a way to break through to get them to say hello. After  6 months working for the family. I was packing up to leave for the night and one of the boys ran to the door and hugged me goodbye! My heart dropped. Tears fell down my face. And I didn't want to let go. These boys rarely touched anyone. And even the softest touch would trigger a melt down. But there I was standing at the door holding this sweet sweet boy who finally recognized me. He finally saw me! From that day on I knew exactly what I wanted to in my life!

In the mornings I worked at an early intervention school for toddlers just being diagnosed, afternoon I would nanny, then late afternoon I did 1:1 therapy in homes and at night I went to school. Talk about life right!?! But I wanted this. I nannied for those boys for 7 years. I couldn't let go and I hated they were outgrowing me. They've become so independent and I am proud to say they are in mainstream elementary school. Two very social bees and at the top of there class! After Kieran was born I tried to work for them part time, but I just couldn't do it. I loved them so much but I also wanted to give Kieran the same love and attention I've been giving them all these years.

Kieran became my life. I decided to put down the big goals for awhile and dedicate my life to raising an intelligent, well mannered boy. Today I still continue to apply my work everyday with Kieran. I believe and stand by that their is NO SUCH THING AS TERRIBLE TWO's. Behavior can be shaped, molded and learned.

So this is where this blog comes in play. I miss my work. And I miss being able to share my experience. My goal here with you is to share my approach in raising Kieran. I hope I can give you all some knowledge and ideas on how to approach behavior.

Along with that, I would love to share our day to day. And hey I promise I'll post some outfit of the day blogs. But more than anything I want to reach out to you guys deeper.

I hope I did ok for my first blog. This is all pretty new to me. And please bare with me I will work on my grammar. It's been awhile.....