Remaining faithful even in the little things.
Have you ever tried to calculate how much time you spend in the bathroom with your kiddos each day? Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or caregiver, if your child is at that age, let’s make a healthy assumption it is much more time than you prefer. Convincing them to go, repeating directions, reminding them of appropriate behavior, disinfecting…again and again!
Okay so it’s really not so painstaking of a task now that I’m at home with kids instead of at school, but let’s be honest, it’s not the place I prefer to spend my time. And I’m sure my amazing paraprofessionals and co-workers felt the same way. Toileting is a detestable job for most – especially when you have a little one who wants NOTHING to do with it – and as teachers, we never admitted we felt the same way.
Yet, instead of dreading the task and making the worst of it in my head, I can renew my mindset about it and seize a “deeper than surface level” teaching moment!
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”Galatians 6:9
Think about this skill as a season, maybe a very long season, yet, just a season. Let that perspective comfort you. Ponder the 33 years Jesus lived on earth ALWAYS doing good. He didn’t grow weary once; He kept His eyes fixed on the joy to come in heaven with the many He would draw to His saving grace. And what is more important than ministering to our kids with that intent – to draw them nearer to Jesus, even if that’s just through your actions?
Using the toileting visual:
I had a student who despised bathroom time. So as an IEP team, we worked out the best way to handle his training and wrote the steps on the back of the toileting first then visual. So no matter who was with him that day (para, teacher, substitute) the plan was readily available for them to execute.
Choose, or have your student choose, a reward they want after they use the potty. Place the picture next to the word “then.” And done! But before implementing, make sure you hash out ALL the details with your team.
Other things to consider:
- If they go potty they get a reward of how much? (2 m&ms, 5 minutes of play time) Let the reward match the intensity of the task to the individual. In other words, if this is a new or despised task for your little one, make sure the reward is well worth their effort!
- If they don’t go potty do they get a reward? I know this sounds crazy, but you will most likely have someone out there who can’t stand not giving a reward to stop a potential tantrum. So be firm with your team on how the procedure should go.
- If they throw a fit in the middle of the process but still go potty, do they get the reward? This one is tricky, so it’s up to you to determine what to do.
- Follow through is super important, otherwise the visual is meaningless. Choose your battles carefully!
You’ll want to work out a system for using this visual that works best for your student. Some students may need to see the visual before they will go to the potty, some may be okay with just being reminded once they get into the bathroom. In any case, show the toileting card, read it to your student, and follow through!
I have another resource of a first/then template in my Classroom Table Visuals if you’re on the hunt for something more generic in nature!
Remember there’s a deeper meaning behind being consistent in what we do – it’s character building to remain faithful to the ways of the Lord day after day, or in this instance, to continue teaching toileting skills day after day.
May God strengthen you to not grow weary so you are able to make a difference again today. You’ve got this!
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