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Making Life Easier: Diapering

Making Life Easier: Diapering

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For many families, changing a child’s diaper can be a major battle. This routine is usually not as predictable as other activities, is often unpleasant for adults and not an event that the young child enjoys. While it can be challenging, it is also an opportunity to build a positive, nurturing and responsive relationship with your child. This installment of the Making Life Easier series provides several proven strategies to help make diapering a positive and relationship building experience for you both.. Also includes a handy tip card for quick reference. (November, 2010).
For many families, changing a child’s diaper can be a major battle. This routine is usually not as predictable as other activities, is often unpleasant for adults and not an event that the young child enjoys. While it can be challenging, it is also an opportunity to build a positive, nurturing and responsive relationship with your child. This installment of the Making Life Easier series provides several proven strategies to help make diapering a positive and relationship building experience for you both.. Also includes a handy tip card for quick reference. (November, 2010).

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Published by: Pyramid Model Consortium on Nov 17, 2010
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 Making Life Easier 
By Pamelazita Buschbacher, Ed.D. Illustrated by Sarah I. Perez
F
or many families, changing a child’s diaper becomes a major battle.is routine is one that is often not as scheduled or predictable asother activities. It is often unpleasant for adults and not an activity that the young child enjoys. As your child grows older and becomesmore mobile and interested in interacting with his world, diaper changing might become even more di-cult. While it can be challenging, it is also an opportu-nity for building a positive, nurturing and responsiverelationship with your child. Several proven strategiescan help to make diapering a positive and relationshipbuilding experience for both of you.
Tip:
 
Prepare your child forthe diaper change.
Develop a predictable routine for diapering that canchange as your child grows and becomes more mobileand independent. A routine helps the child understand what will happen and what to expect. While changingyour child, give your child your undivided andunrushed attention. e calmness in your voice andmanner will most likely calm him and encourage hiscooperation. Respond to his sounds and interactions with gentle touch, nuzzles with your nose under hischin, eye contact, soothing sounds and words. Respond in soothing ways thatyou know comfort him and you bothenjoy. Babies and toddlers thrive onpredictability and learn from repeti-tion. ey like and need to know what is going to happen next. efollowing are strategies that will helpyour child learn to cooperate with thediaper changing routine.
Diapering
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Provide a transition warning.
Most young chil-dren need help in transitioning from one activity toanother especially if they are engaged in an activity that is enjoyable. It’s dicult for a child to move froman activity he really enjoys to one that he does not like.You might try giving him a
 verbal warning 
andsay, “Tommy, I think it is time to change yourdiaper. We’ll change it in ve minutes. Okay?”Another transition strategy is to
set a timer
and when the timer rings, it’s time to change thediaper. For example, you can set the timer for 5minutes and warn your child when the bell ringsit will be time to change his diaper. Remind himas the time gets closer. You might say, “Look,Mason, 2 more minutes, then we change yourdiaper.” You can use a kitchen timer to help yourchild or purchase a visual timer that shows thetime counting down (your child’s teacher ortherapist would be able to tell you more about where to purchase a visual timer).You might use a
countdown or count up
 strategy and make a game of the transition. Youmight say, “Hmm, someone has a poopy diaper. Who can it be? I think it is Sammy. Let’s changeyour diaper. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Diaper change.”
Provide choices whenever possible.
Providinglimited choices to your child is a powerful strategy forthe prevention of challenging behavior. Limited choicesthat can be oered during diaper change might beabout what toy to bring to the changing table, where to do the diaper change, turning thelamp on or o. is gives your child a feelingof control, supports your child’s commu-nication, and encourages your child tocooperate with your requests. Oeringlimited choices (2 or 3) versus many prevents your child from engaging in a game whereyou keep oering dierent things and your childkeeps saying “not that one.” Your child could choose who might change him (Daddy or Nana), where tobe changed (on the oor or on the couch), or what tohold (diaper, wipe, or pacier). You can communicatethe choices for your child with words, pictures, or by showing your child an object. When you oer choicesby presenting objects, pictures, or using sign language,say what the options are in addition to showing thechild the choices (even if your child has a hearing loss).
Empathize with your child’s feelings.
If your childpouts, says “not now, Mommy,” ignores you, screams,or runs away, provide a label for how he might befeeling and follow through with the diapering. Youmight say, “You look sad (angry). I know you wantto go out and play. Here, hold your blankie. First,change your diaper. en we can go out and play.” Your empathy will help your child understand thatyou respect how he feels but that it is still necessary tochange his diaper.
Use or allow your child to choose (with limitedoptions) a transition object.
is is something (e.g.,diaper, book, blankie, bottle, etc.,) that the child cantake with him and hold or suck (e.g., pacier, bottle)during the diapering process.
 
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Ensure that the transition is smooth
and encourageyour child’s cooperation by letting him know what will happen after you change his diaper with the useof a
“First…, Ten…” statement 
. You might say,“First we change Micah’s diaper. en we can gooutside to play.”
Many parents have found success with using picture for each step of the routine
using photosor clip art. e steps might look something like whatis listed below for changing Micahs diaper. For eachstep, the underlined word would be represented witha photo or picture.1. Get 1 diaper.2.Get the wipes.3. Lie down.4.Pants o.5. Dirty diaper o.6. Wipe bottom.7. Diaper on. 8.Pants on.9. All done diapering. (happy face)Not only does this explain the process for your child,but it also ensures that others (e.g., grandparents,babysitters, etc.) will conduct the routine in a similarand predictable way. For children who can't see apicture, you might use an object or your words toguide your child through each step.
Encourage your child to be a helper in the routine.
  Active participation in the process builds your child’sself condence, independence, and problem solvingabilities. You might say, “Shelby, time to change yourdiaper. Please help me nd what we need. Hmm. Where do we keep the diapers? (wait) Oh yeah.ank you. Now we need the wipes. You are such abig helper. ank you.”
Tip:
 
Minimize unwantedmovement.
Some children become very active during diaperchanging. When they wiggle around or resist, it placesthem at danger of falling o the changing table and itmakes it dicult for the adult to complete the routine.e following strategies are suggested for keeping yourchild from wiggling all over the place.
Reduce distractions in the diapering area.
A petor others running around the child only makes him want to get up and join the fun.
Describe what you are doing in a fun way.
Youcould do this in song. You might sing, “is is the way we take o your diaper” (to the tune of “isis the way we wash the clothes”) or use some othermelody that’s bouncy. You could use “First…en”statements. You could say, “First we take o youoveralls. en I take o the wet diaper…” and so on.

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