Dear Acorn Families & Staff,
Happy New Year! We hope you had a restful break and are getting back into the swing of things. We have had a lot of questions about the changing policies regarding Covid exposure and quarantine. We spoke with Metro Health, the epidemiology department specifically, at length today and this is what we were advised:
·If your child tests positive for Covid, they must isolate for 5 days and be tested for Covid after day 5. Metro Health Department advises a PCR test rather than a rapid test. If this test is negative and symptoms have resolved, they may return to school IF they wear a mask for the next 5 days. If they are not able to wear a mask consistently or don’t wear a mask, the health department has advised us they should remain home for an additional 5 days (10 days total).
·If a family member tests positive for Covid, they must isolate away from the child for 5 days, and test for Covid after day 5, then wear a mask in public for 5 days. If continued interaction with the child occurs (cooking meals, reading together, or interacting), the clock starts over each time they interact. If a family member interacts with a child while the family member is positive, then the 5 days would start counting from the day after a family member’s negative test. Each interaction with a positive family member is considered an exposure according to Metro Health Department.
·Adults who are vaccinated AND boosted and exposed to Covid, do not have to isolate or quarantine but must wear a mask in public for 10 days and should test after day 5 of exposure.
·Adults who are vaccinated BUT NOT boosted and exposed to Covid must isolate for 5 days, get tested after day 5 and then mask in public for another 5 days if test is negative.
·Children who are vaccinated BUT NOT boosted and exposed to Covid must quarantine at home, be tested on day 5, and then mask in public for another 5 days if test is negative.
·The last day of exposure or the day symptoms begin counts as day 0.
We know this is confusing and different even from more recent information. These guidelines are based on the extreme transmissibility of Omicron and the new CDC guidelines. When in doubt remember the rule of 5: isolate for 5 days, test after day 5 (PCR test), if negative, mask for 5 more days. If your child cannot or does not consistently wear a mask, the health department advises remaining home for the full 10 days. We will continue to call and seek guidance as there are so many things to consider in each scenario. We will update you with any new information.
Thank you for your support, and we wish you all a Happy, Healthy 2022!
Are you still looking for gifts for your little ones? Acorn Parent and Alum Lauren Nygard has put together book bundles, just in time for the holidays. Orders must be placed by December 14th for delivery before Christmas and 25% will go back to support The Acorn. Thank you Lauren!
Over the last few months, a theme has been emerging in schools and on child education listservs across the nation, “The Pull-Up Nation.” When I first started hearing about this, I assumed this meant this year was one to help “pull kids up” academically. However, it turns out that children across the country are arriving at preschool and kindergarten wearing pull-ups and are not toilet trained.
On the surface, this trend is surprising as many children and families have been home for the past year and a half to two years. However, this past period of time has been traumatic for many. Parents have been working from home while trying to educate their children and maintain some sort of normalcy. Every decision became weighted in a different way and parents are exhausted. For many, many families, focusing on toilet training was an easy battle to forego. However, now many children are entering school behind their peers in this key developmental milestone.
Certainly at The Acorn, we have very young children (2 and 3 years old), many of whom come to us early in the toilet training process. This is not unusual. However, if any of you are considering toilet training or are trying to make the process more successful, here are some recommendations:
1. Aim for an extended period of time at home to begin. Winter break, Thanksgiving vacation, or a long weekend are great times to begin as you have an extended period of time together. It’s generally a good idea to focus on remaining home as much as possible for easy access to bathrooms and laundry.
2. Plan out a schedule. When toilet training, it can be helpful to give children scheduled toilet times. Ideally, have your child try to use the toilet immediately upon waking up in the morning, about 20-30 minutes after breakfast, mid morning, after lunch/before nap, after nap/rest time, mid afternoon, and before bedtime. Tie toilet attempts to natural changes in the schedule. “As soon as you try to go potty we can eat lunch,” or “let’s go to the bathroom and then we’ll go play outside."
3. Wear underwear, not pull ups. While pull ups can be great for school and sleeping, they are designed to help pull dampness away from the body. Wearing underwear helps children have the sensation of wetness and feeling uncomfortable which helps them learn the body signals of needing to use the bathroom. If you are concerned about running errands, sitting in car seats or your child sitting on furniture while toilet training, consider wearing underwear underneath a pull up or plastic pants. It’s important that the child have underwear against their skin to feel the wetness/discomfort to help increase their awareness of those bodily signals.
4. If your child is against underwear, consider going pantless. If you have a fenced or private backyard, allow your child time to play outside without pants. Again, this can help them learn those body sensations and signals that they need to use the bathroom.
5. Make toilet attempts fun. Have a basket of toys, books, or activities in the bathroom. These are activities children use just when using the toilet. This makes trying to use the toilet fun and helps them sit for a little longer.
6. Be sure children’s feet are properly supported. It’s very difficult to use a toilet if your feet are dangling in the air. Add a stool for children to put under the feet. This helps them feel more secure on the toilet and helps their body be in the proper position for a bowel movement. Also consider a child sized toilet seat to fit on the adult sized toilet seat. This can make children feel more secure as well.
7. Keep your patience and your sense of humor. Children will have accidents. This is an inevitable part of toilet training. Stay calm. Keep your sense of humor. This too shall pass.
As always, we are here to help you. Mara spent many years in private practice helping parents with toileting challenges with their children. Feel free to use us as a resource. We are here to help you anyway we can.
As we get a few months further into the school year, students are sharing more and more of their daytime activities and peer interactions with parents and teachers at school. As fun as it is to hear what your child is doing at school, sometimes they may relay stories you’re not quite sure how to interpret. Below are some tips to help get more details when your child shares aspects of their day.
1. Validate the feeling. If your child comes home saying he was back safety patrol or a friend threw sand on her, reflect your child’s feeling back to them. “Wow, it must have been exciting to be back safety” or “I’m sorry to hear sand was thrown on you. How did that make you feel?”
2. Ask follow-up questions. As a parent, I can be quick to jump to conclusions based on what my child tells me. Follow-up questions can provide a very different explanation than the one I had in my head. For example, if my child comes home and tells me a friend threw sand on him, my next questions would be “what were you working on when that happened? Did your friend see you? What did you do when this happened? Did you talk to anyone about it? What was their reaction?” I might hear “someone threw sand on me” and assume that a peer threw sand at my child in anger or frustration. Further clarification may reveal that one child was enthusiastically digging a hole and the spray landed on my child, who was standing behind. Technically, the story reported to me was true, but the intention between the two scenarios is very different.
3. Help your child problem solve. If your child reports that something happened, ask if they used their words. If the answer is no, talk with your child about what they could have said. “How could you have let Carrie know how you feel? What could you have said to ask Wendy to stop?” Also help your child identify other solutions. “What could you have done when Mara kept throwing sand? Could you talk to your teacher? What adults were nearby who could have helped you?
4. Children at this age often struggle with interpretation and motivation. They know how they were impacted by a situation but are not great at knowing if an incident was accidental, teasing, on purpose, careless, etc. Ask your child questions about another child’s facial expression, tone, or body language. “What did Carrie’s face look like when this happened? Was she smiling? Did she look sorry?” “You said Wendy was angry. What about her face or body told you that?” This is great to practice with siblings or family members. “How did you know Mommy was serious when I asked you to stop? What about my voice or my face told you I wasn’t teasing? How did you know Daddy was happy? What about his face or body said he was okay?”
If your child ever reports something to you that raised your concern or that seems out of line or unusual, please reach out to your teacher. You can message them directly through the Playground App. We know that many of our children have not had typical social interactions over the past two years due to Covid so rest assured we are having these same conversations at school. If you have broader questions or would like more resources and support in navigation social relationships, please reach out to Wendy or Mara. We are always more than happy to help you and your family navigate these situations.