By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution and Gentle Baby Care
Question: Our first-born is showing extreme jealousy towards the new baby. He’s obviously mad at us for disrupting the predictable flow of his life with this new challenger for our attention. How can we smooth things out?
Think about it: Before the baby entered your family, your toddler was told he’d have a wonderful little brother to play with, and how much fun it would be. Then the little brother is born and your toddler is thinking, “Are you kidding me? This squirming, red-faced baby that takes up all your time and attention is supposed to be FUN?” He then “plays” with the baby in the only ways he knows how. He plays catch. You yell at him for throwing toys at the baby. He plays hide-and-seek. You yell at him to get the blanket off the baby. He gives the kid a hug, and you admonish him to be more careful. Is it any wonder that your toddler is confused?
Teach:Your first goal is to protect the baby. Your second, to teach your older child how to interact with his new sibling in proper ways. You can teach your toddler how to play with the baby in the same way you teach him anything else. Talk to him, demonstrate, guide and encourage. Until you feel confident that you’ve achieved your second goal, however, do not leave the children alone together. Yes, I know. It isn’t convenient. But it is necessary, maybe even critical.
Hover:Whenever the children are together, “hover” close by. If you see your child about to get rough, pick up the baby and distract the older sibling with a song, a toy, an activity or a snack. This action protects the baby while helping you avoid a constant string of “Nos,” which may actually encourage the aggressive behavior.
Teach soft touches: Teach the older sibling how to give the baby a back rub. Tell how this kind of touching calms
the baby, and praise the older child for a job well done. This lesson teaches the child how to be physical with the baby in a positive way.
Act quickly: Every time you see your child hit, or act roughly with the baby, act quickly. You might firmly
announce, “No hitting, time out.” Place the child in a time-out chair with the statement, “You can get up when you can use your hands in the right way.” Allow him to get right up if he wants – as long as he is careful and gentle with the
baby. This isn’t punishment, after all. It’s just helping him learn that rough actions aren’t going to be permitted.
Demonstrate: Children learn what they live. Your older child will be watching as you handle the baby and learning from your actions. You are your child’s most important teacher. You are demonstrating in everything you do, and your child will learn most from watching you.
Praise: Whenever you see the older child touching the baby gently, make a positive comment. Make a big fuss about the important “older brother.” Hug and kiss your older child and tell him how proud you are.
Watch your words: Don’t blame everything on the baby. “We can’t go to the park; the baby’s sleeping.” “Be quiet, you’ll wake the baby.” “After I change the baby I’ll help you.” At this point, your child would just as soon sell the
baby! Instead, use alternate reasons. “My hands are busy now.” “We’ll go after lunch.” “I’ll help you in three
Be supportive: Acknowledge your child’s unspoken feelings, such as “Things sure have changed with the new baby
here. It’s going to take us all some time to get used to this.” Keep your comments mild and general. Don’t
say, “I bet you hate the new baby.” Instead, say, “It must be hard to have Mommy spending so much time with the baby.”or “I bet you wish we could go to the park now, and not have to wait for the baby to wake up.” When your child knows that you understand her feelings, she’ll have less need to act up to get your attention.
Give extra love: Increase your little demonstrations of love for your child. Say extra I love yous, increase your daily dose of hugs, and find time to read a book or play a game. Temporary regressions or behavior problems are normal, and can be eased with an extra dose of time and attention.
Get ‘em involved: Teach the older sibling how to be helpful with the baby or how to entertain the baby. Let the
older sibling open the baby gifts and use the camera to take pictures of the baby. Teach him how to put the baby’s socks on. Let him sprinkle the powder. Praise and encourage whenever possible.
Making each feel special: Avoid comparing siblings, even about seemingly innocent topics such as birth weight, when each first crawled or walked, or who had more hair! Children can interpret these comments as criticisms.
Take a deep breath and be calm. This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards, and focus on your current priority, adjusting to your new family size.
Excerpted with permission by NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group Inc. from Perfect Parenting, The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 1999
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series
“Help! I’m getting so frustrated with the endless stream of advice I get from my mother-in-law and brother! No matter what I do, I’m doing it wrong. I love them both, but how do I get them to stop dispensing all this unwanted advice?”
Just as your baby is an important part of your life, he is also important to others. People who care about your baby are bonded to you and your child in a special way that invites their counsel. Knowing this may give you a reason to handle the interference gently, in a way that leaves everyone’s feelings intact.
Regardless of the advice, it is your baby, and in the end, you will raise your child the way that you think best. So it’s rarely worth creating a war over a well-meaning person’s comments. You can respond to unwanted advice in a variety of
It’s natural to be defensive if you feel that someone is judging you; but chances are you are not being criticized; rather,
the other person is sharing what they feel to be valuable insight. Try to listen - you may just learn something valuable.
If you know that there is no convincing the other person to change her mind, simply smile, nod, and make a non-committal response, such as, “Interesting!” Then go about your own business...your way.
You might find one part of the advice that you agree with. If you can, provide wholehearted agreement on that topic.
Pick your battles
If your mother-in-law insists that Baby wear a hat on your walk to the park, go ahead and pop one on his head. This won’t have any long-term effects except that of placating her. However, don’t capitulate on issues that are important to you or the health or well-being of your child.
Steer clear of the topic
If your brother is pressuring you to let your baby cry to sleep, but you would never do that, then don’t complain to him about your baby getting you up five times the night before. If he brings up the topic, then distraction is definitely in order, such as, “Would you like a cup of coffee?”
Knowledge is power; protect yourself and your sanity by reading up on your parenting choices. Rely on the confidence that you are doing your best for your baby.
Educate the other person
If your“teacher” is imparting information that you know to be outdated or wrong, share what you’ve learned on the topic. You may be able to open the other person’s mind. Refer to a study, book, or report that you have read.
Quote a doctor
Many people accept a point of view if a professional has validated it. If your own pediatrician agrees with your position, say, “My doctor said to wait until she’s at least six months before starting solids.” If your own doctor doesn’t back your view on that issue, then refer to another doctor - perhaps the author of a baby care book.
You can avoid confrontation with an elusive response. For example, if your sister asks if you’ve started potty training yet
(but you are many months away from even starting the process), you can answer with, “We’re moving in that direction.”
Ask for advice!
Your friendly counselor is possibly an expert on a few issues that you can agree on. Search out these points and invite guidance. She’ll be happy that she is helping you, and you’ll be happy you have a way to avoid a showdown about topics that you don’t agree on.
Memorize a standard response
Here’s a comment that can be said in response to almost any piece of advice: “This may not be the right way for you, but it’s the right way for me.”
Try being honest about your feelings. Pick a time free of distractions and choose your words carefully, such as, “I know how much you love Harry, and I’m glad you spend so much time with him. I know you think you’re helping me when you give me advice about this, but I’m comfortable with my own approach, and I’d really appreciate if you’d understand that.”
Find a mediator
If the situation is putting a strain on your relationship with the advice-giver, you may want to ask another person to step
in for you.
Search out like-minded friends
Join a support group or on-line club with people who share your parenting philosophies. Talking with others who are raising their babies in a way that is similar to your own can give you the strength to face people who don’t understand your viewpoints.
Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series. (McGraw-Hill) http://www.nocrysolution.com
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation, Perfect Parenting and Hidden Messages
Is your marriage everything you ever hoped it could be? Or has it been pushed down your list of priorities since having children? Let’s face it, parenthood is a full-time job, and it dramatically changes your marriage relationship. But marriage is the foundation upon which your entire family is structured. If your marriage is strong, your whole family will be strong; your life will be more peaceful, you’ll be a better parent, and you’ll, quite simply, have more fun in your life.
Make a commitment
To create or maintain a strong marriage you will have to take the first critical step: You must be willing to put time, effort and thought into nurturing your marriage. The ideas that follow will help you follow through on this commitment and
will put new life and meaning into your marriage. A wonderful thing may happen. You may fall in love with your spouse all over again. In addition, your children will greatly benefit from your stronger relationship. Children feel secure when
they know that Mom and Dad love each other—particularly in today’s world, where 50 percent of marriages end in divorce; half of your children’s friends have gone, or are going through a divorce; or maybe it’s your kids who have survived a divorce and are now living in a new family arrangement. Your children need daily proof that their family life is stable and predictable. When you make a commitment to your marriage, your children will feel the difference. No, they won’t suffer from neglect! They’ll blossom when your marriage—and their homelife—is thriving.
The surprising secret is that this doesn’t have to take any extra time in your already busy schedule. Just a change in attitude plus a committed focus can yield a stronger, happier marriage.
So here’s my challenge to you. Read the following suggestions and apply them in your marriage for the next 30 days. Then evaluate your marriage. I guarantee you’ll both be happier.
Look for the good, overlook the bad
You married this person for many good reasons. Your partner has many wonderful qualities. Your first step in adding sizzle to your marriage is to look for the good and overlook the bad.
Make it a habit to ignore the little annoying things — dirty socks on the floor, a day-old coffee cup on the counter, worn out flannel pajamas, an inelegant burp at the dinner table — and choose instead to search for those things that make you smile: the way he rolls on the floor with the baby; the fact that she made your favorite cookies, the peace in knowing someone so well that you can wear your worn out flannels or burp at the table.
Give two compliments every day
Now that you’ve committed to seeing the good in your partner, it’s time to say it! This is a golden key to your mate’s heart. Our world is so full of negative input, and we so rarely get compliments from other people. When we do get a compliment, it not only makes us feel great about ourselves, it actually makes us feel great about the person giving the compliment! Think about it! When your honey says, “You’re the best. I’m so glad I married you.” It not only makes you feel loved, it makes you feel more loving.
Compliments are easy to give, take such a little bit of time, and they’re free. Compliments are powerful; you just have to make the effort to say them. Anything works: “Dinner was great, you make my favorite sauce.” “Thanks for picking up the cleaning. It was very thoughtful, you saved me a trip.” “That sweater looks great on you.”
That may sound funny to you, but think about it. How many times do you see -- or experience -- partners treating each other in impolite, harsh ways that they’d never even treat a friend? Sometimes we take our partners for granted and unintentionally display rudeness. As the saying goes, if you have a choice between being right and being nice, just choose to be nice. Or to put this in the wise words of Bambi’s friend Thumper, the bunny rabbit – “If you can’t say somethin’ nice don’t say nothin’ at all.”
Pick your battles
How often have you heard this advice about parenting? This is great advice for child-rearing—and it’s great advice to follow in your marriage as well. In any human relationship there will be disagreement and conflict. The key here is to decide which issues are worth pursuing and which are better off ignored. By doing this, you’ll find much less negative energy between you.
From now on, anytime you feel annoyed, take a minute to examine the issue at hand, and ask yourself a few questions. “How important is this?” “Is this worth picking a fight over?” “What would be the benefit of choosing this battle versus letting it go?”
The 60 second cuddle
You can often identify a newly married couple just by how much they touch each other — holding hands, sitting close, touching arms, kissing — just as you can spot an “oldly-married” couple by how little they touch. Mothers, in particular, often have less need for physical contact with their partners because their babies and young children provide so much opportunity for touch and cuddling that day’s end finds them “touched fulfilled”.
So here’s a simple reminder: make the effort to touch your spouse more often. A pat, a hug, a kiss, a shoulder massage – the good feeling it produces for both of you far outweighs the effort.
Here’s the deal: Whenever you’ve been apart make it a rule that you will take just 60 seconds to cuddle, touch and connect. This can be addictive! If you follow this advice soon you’ll find yourselves touching each other more often, and increasing the romantic aspect of your relationship.
Spend more time talking to and listening to your partner.
I don’t mean, “Remember to pick up Jimmy’s soccer uniform.” Or “I have a PTA meeting tonight.” Rather, get into the habit of sharing your thoughts about what you read in the paper, what you watch on TV, your hopes, your dreams, your concerns. Take a special interest in those things that your spouse is interested in and ask questions. And then listen to the answers.
Spend time with your spouse
It can be very difficult for your marriage to thrive if you spend all your time being “Mommy” and “Daddy”. You need to spend regular time as“Husband” and “Wife”. This doesn’t mean you have to take a two-week vacation in
Hawaii. (Although that might be nice, too!) Just take small daily snippets of time when you can enjoy uninterrupted conversation, or even just quiet companionship, without a baby on your hip, a child tugging your shirtsleeve or a teenager begging for the car keys. A daily morning walk around the block or a shared cup of tea after all the children are in bed might work wonders to re-connect you to each other. And yes, it’s quite fine to talk about your children when you’re spending your time together, because, after all, your children are one of the most important connections you have in your relationship.
When you and your spouse regularly connect in a way that nurtures your relationship, you may find a renewed love between you, as well as a refreshed vigor that will allow you to be a better, more loving parent. You owe it to yourself — and to your kids — to nurture your relationship.
So take my challenge and use these ideas for the next 30 days. And watch your marriage take on a whole new glow.
Parts of this article are excerpted with permission from books by Elizabeth Pantley:
Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading Hidden Messages: What Our Words and Actions are Really Telling Our Children, New Harbinger Publications, Inc. and by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary
Shifting Schedules – When to Change from Two Naps to One Nap
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution
During the early years of life, nap schedules are in a continuous state of change. After a newborn period of all-day napping, babies eventually settle into a regular two-nap-a-day routine. Most children switch from these two daily naps to one nap sometime between the ages of 12 and 24 months. However, that year of difference is a very long span of time. This shows that age alone is not the only factor to consider when changing your baby’s nap routine.
Changing your baby from two daily naps to one nap isn’t about what your child thinks he wants, nor is it about the schedule you’d like to have. It’s about the biological need for two naps versus one. Naps at different times of the day serve different purposes in mind and body development at different ages. For example, morning naps have more dreaming, or REM sleep, which makes them important for young babies who require it for early brain development. You don’t want to rush the process if your child is still benefiting from this important sleep time.
There is another consideration when deciding to make a schedule change: The length of time that your child is awake from one sleep period to the next has an effect on his mood and behavior. No matter how well your baby sleeps at night naps are still very important. The older your child is, the longer he can go between sleep breaks without getting cranky. The biology behind this reason dictates that young babies need to divide their day up with two naps, but older babies can handle a full day with only one nap.
Since there is a wide range of what’s normal it’s important to study each child’s behavior to see when he is ready to transition to one nap a day. Use the following lists as a guide.
Signs That your Child Needs TWO NAPS Daily.
• Your child is under 12 months old
• When you put your child down for a nap he plays, resists, or fusses for a while but always ends up sleeping for an hour or more
• When you take your child for car rides during the day he usually falls asleep
• If your child misses a nap he is fussy or acts tired until the next nap or bedtime
• Your child is dealing with a change in his life (such as a new sibling, sickness, or starting daycare) that disrupts his nap schedule
• Your child misses naps when you’re on the go, but when you are at home he takes two good naps
Signs That Your Child Is Ready to Change to ONE DAILY NAP.
• When you put your child down for a nap he plays or fusses before falling asleep, and then takes only a short nap, or never falls asleep at all
• Your child can go for car rides early in the day and not fall asleep in the car
• When your child misses a nap he is cheerful and energetic until the next nap or bedtime
• Your child naps well for one of his naps, but totally resists the other nap
How to Make the Transition When Signs Point to Change
Instead of thinking in terms of dropping a nap it’s better to think in terms of a schedule change. The change from two
naps to one nap is rarely a one-day occurrence. Most often there will be a transition period of several months when your child clearly needs two naps on some days, but one nap on others. You have a number of options during this
complicated transition time:
• Watch for your child’s sleepy signs, and put your child down for a nap when indications first appear.
• Keep two naps, but don’t require that your child sleep at both times, allow quiet resting instead.
• Choose a single naptime that is later than the usual morning nap, but not as late as the afternoon nap. Keep your child active (and outside if possible) until about 30 minutes before the time you have chosen.
• On days when a nap occurs early in the day, move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes to an hour to minimize the length of time between nap and bedtime.
The Danger of Dropping a Nap Too Soon
It’s my belief that the reputation that toddlers have which is known as the “Terrible Twos,” is very likely caused by inappropriate napping schedules. There are a great number of toddlers who switch from two naps a day to one nap, or – heaven forbid! – drop naps altogether, many months before they are biologically ready. This can result in a devastating effect on their mood and behavior: the dreaded and horrible“Terrible Twos.”
For those parents whose children suffer the “Trying Threes” or the “Fearsome Fours,” it’s likely your child is misbehaving for the same reason: an inappropriate nap schedule may be the culprit. The good news is that a modification of your
child’s napping routine can make a wonderful and dramatic difference in his day – and yours.
From The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley (McGraw-Hill, January 2009). Here is the link for information and more excerpts: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series
Learn about it
A baby’s first tantrum can take you by surprise. Your baby can really shock you by shrieking, stamping, hitting, or making his whole body go stiff. But don’t take it personally; baby tantrums aren’t about anything you’ve done wrong, and they aren’t really about temper, either – your baby isn’t old enough for that. The ways you’ll respond to your baby’s behavior when he is older are different than how you should respond now.
Why babies have tantrums and what you can do about it
A baby tantrum is an abrupt and sudden loss of emotional control. Various factors bring tantrums on, and if you can identify the trigger, then you can help him calm down ¾ and perhaps even avoid the tantrum in the first place. Here are the common reasons and ways to solve the problem:
How to prevent baby tantrums
Often, you can prevent a baby from losing control of his emotions if you prevent the situations that lead up to this. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- When baby is tired, put him down for a nap or to sleep.
- Feed your baby frequently. Babies have small tummies and need regular nourishment.
- Give your baby toys that are geared to his age and ability level.
- Warn your baby before changing activities (One more swing, then we're going home.)
- Be patient when putting your baby in an unfamiliar environment or when introducing him to new people.
- Help your baby learn new skills (such as climbing stairs or working puzzles).
- Keep your expectations realistic; don't expect more than your baby is capable of.
- As much as possible, keep a regular and predictable schedule.
- When your baby is overly emotional, keep yourself as calm as possible.
- Use a soothing tone of voice and gentle touch to help your baby calm down. He can't do it on his own, he needs your help.
by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of the “No-Cry Solution” book
By Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Discipline Solution
Children resort to aggressive behaviors because of a lack of wisdom and self-control. It is not a sign that a child is hateful or mean. Kids are human beings and human beings will get angry, we can’t prevent that. What we can do is teach our children how to handle their frustration and anger in appropriate ways. If your child uses these physical acts to express her feelings, use some of the following tips to change her behavior.
Intercede before it happens
Watch your child during playtime. When you see her becoming frustrated or angry - intervene. Coach her through the issue. Teach her what to do, or model what to say to her friend. Or if she seems too upset to learn, redirect her attention to another activity until her emotions level out.
Teach and explain
It’s one thing to tell a child what not to do or to step into an argument and solve it yourself. It’s another thing entirely to teach her what to do in advance of the next problem. This can be done through role-play, discussion, and reading a few children’s books about angry emotions.
Examine hidden causes
Is your child hungry, tired, sick, jealous, frustrated, bored or scared? If you can identify any feelings driving your child’s actions you can address those along with the aggressive behavior.
Give more attention to the injured party.
Often the child who hits gets so much attention that the action becomes a way of gaining the spotlight. Instead, give more attention to the child who was hurt. After a brief statement, “No hitting!” turn and give attention to the child who was wronged, “Come here and Mommy will give you a hug and read you a book.”
Teach positive physical touches.
Show your child how to hold hands during a walk or how to give a back rub or foot massage. Teach a few physical games, like tag or cat’s cradle. Under direct supervision, children who are more physical can gain a positive outlet for their physical energy.
Teach the clapping method
Tell a child to clap his hands whenever he feels an urge to hit. This gives him an immediate outlet for his emotions and helps him learn to keep his hands to himself. An alternate is to teach him to put his hands in his pockets when he feels like hitting. Reward with praise anytime you see he’s successful.
Give your child a time out
To use Time Out when a child acts out aggressively, immediately and gently take the child by the shoulders, look him in the eye and say, “No hurting others, time out.” Guide the child to a chair and tell him, “You may get up when you can play without hitting.” By telling him that he can get up when he’s ready, you let him know that he is responsible for
controlling his own behavior. If the child gets up and hits again, say, “You are not ready to get up yet,” and direct him back to time out.
Avoid play hitting and wrestling
Young children who roughhouse with a parent or sibling during play time might then use these same actions during non-wrestling times. It can be hard for them to draw the line between the two. If you have a child who has trouble controlling his physical acts then avoid this kind of play.
Don’t lose control
When you see your child hurting another child it’s easy to get angry. This won’t teach your child what she needs to learn: how to control her emotions when others are making her mad. You are mad at her, so she’ll be watching how you handle your anger.
Don’t let your child watch violent TV
Children can become immune to the impact of violence, and they may copy what they see depicted on television. Avoid viewing shows that portray aggression as an appropriate way of handling anger.
Don’t assume your child can figure it out
If your child comes to you about a difficult situation, don’t send him away for tattling. But don’t step in and handle it for him, either. View his call for help as an invitation to teach him important social skills.
Don’t focus on punishment
More than anything your child needs instructions on how to treat other human beings, particularly during moments of anger or frustration.
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) http://www.nocrysolution.com
Get Your Toddler to Cooperate!
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting
Toddlers and preschoolers require finesse to gain their cooperation, because they have not yet reached the age at which they can see and understand the whole picture, so simply explaining what you want doesn’t always work. Robert Scotellaro is quoted in The
Funny Side of Parenthood as saying,“Reasoning with a two-year-old is about as productive as changing seats on the Titanic.” (He must have had a two-year-old at the time.)
You can get around this frustrating state of affairs by changing your approach. Let’s look at two situations – first the typical (Titanic) way:
Parent: David! Time to change your diaper.
David: No! (As he runs off)
Parent: Come on honey. It’s time to leave, I need to change you.
David: (Giggles and hides behind sofa)
Parent: David, this isn’t funny. It’s getting late. Come here.
David: (Doesn’t hear a word. Sits down to do a puzzle.)
Parent: Come here! (Gets up and approaches David)
David: (Giggles and runs)
Parent: (Picking up David) Now lie here. Stop squirming! Lie still. Will you stop this!
(As parent turns to pick up a new diaper, a little bare bottom is running away)
I’m sure you’ve all been there. Oh, and by the way, David is my son. And this was an actual scene recorded in his baby book. Like you, I got very tired of this. And then I discovered a better way:
Parent: (Picking up diaper and holding it like a puppet, making it talk in a silly, squeaky voice)
Hi David! I’m Dilly Diaper! Come here and play with me!
David: (Running over to Diaper) Hi Dilly!
Parent as Diaper: You’re such a nice boy. Will you give me a kiss?
David: Yes. (Gives diaper a kiss)
Parent as Diaper: How ‘bout a nice hug?
David: (Giggles and hugs Diaper)
Parent as Diaper: Lie right here next to me. Right here. Yup. Can I go on you? Oh yes?! Goody goody goody! (The diaper
chats with David while he’s being changed. Then it says, Oh, David! Listen, I hear your shoes calling you – David! David!
The most amazing thing about this trick is that it works over and over and over and over. You’ll keep thinking, “He’s not honestly going to fall for this again?” But he will! Probably the nicest by-product of this method is that it gets you in a good mood and you have a little fun time with your child.
When you’ve got a toddler this technique is a pure lifesaver. When my son David was little I used this all the time. (I then used it with my youngest child, Coleton, and it worked just as well.) Remembering back to one day, when David
was almost three, we were waiting in a long line at the grocery store and I was making my hand talk to him. It was asking him questions about the items in the cart. Suddenly, he hugged my hand, looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I love for you to pretend this hand is talking.”
Another parent reported that she called her toddler to the table for dinner a number of times, when he calmly looked up at her, chubby hands on padded hips and said, “Mommy, why don’t you have my dinner call to me?”
And suddenly, the peas on his plate came to life and called out to him; he ran over to join the family at the dinner table.
A variation on this technique, that also works very well, is to capitalize on a young child’s vivid imagination as a way to thwart negative emotions. Pretend to find a trail of caterpillars on the way to the store, hop to the car like a bunny, or pretend a carrot gives you magic powers as you eat it.
It’s delightful to see how a potentially negative situation can be turned into a fun experience by changing a child’s focus to fun and fantasy.
Excerpted with permission from Kid Cooperation, How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate by Elizabeth Pantley http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth, copyright 1996) Published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc. (http://www.newharbinger.com/)
Who doesn't dread the thought of a diaper change at times? Read below for some suggestions from Elizabeth Pantley to make diaper time a more engaging and fun experience for all.
Stop the Diaper Changing Battles
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series
Babies are little bundles of energy! They don’t want to lie still to have their diapers changed. They cry, fuss, or even crawl away. A simple issue can turn into a major tug-of-war between parent and baby.
Diaper changing as a ritual
The position of parent and baby during a diaper change is perfect for creating a bonding experience between you. You are leaning over your baby, and your face is at the perfect arms-length distance for engaging eye contact and communication. What’s more, this golden opportunity presents itself many times during each day; no matter how busy you both get, you have a few moments of quiet connection. It’s too valuable a ritual to treat it as simply maintenance.
Learning about your baby
Diapering offers a perfect opportunity for you to truly absorb your baby’s cues and signals. You’ll learn how his little body works, what tickles him, what causes those tiny goose bumps. As you lift, move, and touch your baby, your hands will learn the map of his body and what’s normal for him. This is important because it will enable you to easily decipher any physical changes that need attention.
Regular diaper changes create rhythm in your baby’s world and afford the sense that the world is safe and dependable. They are regular and consistent episodes in days that may not always be predictable. Your loving touches teach your baby that he is valued, and your gentle care teaches him that he is respected.
A learning experience for your baby
Your baby does a lot of learning during diaper changes. It’s one of the few times that she actually sees her own body without clothes, when she can feel her complete movements without a wad of diaper between her legs. Diaper-off time is a great chance for her to stretch her limbs and learn how they move.
During changing time, your baby is also a captive audience to your voice, so she can focus on what you are saying and how you are saying it — an important component of her language learning process. Likewise, for a precious few minutes, youare her captive audience, so you can focus on what she’s saying and how she is saying it — crucial to the growth of your relationship.
What your baby thinks and feels
Many active babies could not care less if their diapers are clean. They’re too busy to concern themselves with such trivial
issues. It may be important to you, but it’s not a priority for your child.
Diaper rash or uncomfortable diapers (wrong size or bad fit) can make him dread diaper changes, so check these first. Once you’re sure all the practical issues are covered, make a few adjustments in this unavoidable process to make it more enjoyable.
Take a deep breath
Given the number of diapers you have to change, it’s possible that what used to be a pleasant experience for you has gotten to be routine, or even worse, a hassle. When parents approach diaper changing in a brisk, no-nonsense way, it isn’t any fun for Baby. Try to reconnect with the bonding experience that diaper changing can be -- a moment of calm in a busy day when you share one-on-one time with your baby.
Have some fun
This is a great time to sing songs, blow tummy raspberries, or do some tickle and play. A little fun might take the dread out of diaper changes for both of you. A game that stays fresh for a long time is “hide the diaper.” Put a new diaper on your head, on your shoulder, or tucked in your shirt and ask,“Where’s the diaper? I can’t find it!” A fun twist is to give
the diaper a name and a silly voice, and use it as a puppet. Let the diaper call your child to the changing station and have it talk to him as you change it. (If you get tired of making Mister Diaper talk, just remember what it was like before you tried the idea.)
Keep a flashlight with your changing supplies and let your baby play with it while you change him. Some kids’ flashlights have a button to change the color of the light, or shape of the ray. Call this his “diaper flashlight” and put it away when the change is complete. You may find a different type of special toy that appeals to your little one, or even a basket
of small interesting toys. If you reserve these only for diaper time, they can retain their novelty for a long time.
Try a stand-up diaper
If your baby’s diaper is just wet (not messy), try letting her stand up while you do a quick change. If you’re using cloth
diapers, have one leg pre-pinned so that you can slide it on like pants, or opt for pre-fitted diapers that don’t require
Time to potty train?
If your child is old enough and seems ready for the next step, consider potty training.
Reprinted by permission of Elizabeth Pantley, author of the “No-Cry Solution” book series. (McGraw-Hill) http://www.nocrysolution.com.
Cape Cod Mommies is pleased to be able to bring you articles from Elizabeth Pantley, author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution. Ms. Pantley is the President of Better Beginnings, Inc., a family resource and education company. She is a regular radio show guest and frequently quoted as a parenting expert in newspapers and magazines. Elizabeth is the author of eight popular parenting books, available in 18 languages, and she was a contributing author to The Successful Child with Dr. William and Martha Sears. She is the winner of the 2010 Mom's choice Award for "The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution", 2010 & 2011 She Knows Parents Choice Awards for "The No-Cry Sleep Solution", and has won other Disney i Parenting Media Awards as well as won twice on Amazon's Best Parenting Books.
Read more about Elizabeth here: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/
Wonderful Sounds for Sleep
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution
The environment that your baby enjoyed for nine long months in the womb was not one of absolute quiet. There was constant symphony of sound -- yourheartbeat and fluids rushing in and out of the placenta. (Remember those sounds from when you listened to your baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler stethoscope?) Research indicates that “white noise” sounds or soft bedtime music helps many babies to relax and fall asleep more easily. This is most certainly because these sounds create an environment more familiar to your baby than a very quiet room.
Many people enjoy using soothing music as their baby’s sleep sound. If you do, choose bedtime music carefully. Some music (including jazz and much classical music) is too complex and stimulating. For music to be soothing to your baby, pick simple, repetitive, predictable music, like traditional lullabies. Tapes created especially for putting babies to sleep are great choices. Pick something that you will enjoy listening to night after night, too. (Using a tape player with an automatic repeat function is helpful for keeping the music going as long as you need it to play.)
There are widely available, and very lovely, "nature sounds" tapes that work nicely, too, as well those small sound-generating or white-noise devices and clocks you may have seen in stores. The sounds on these -- raindrops, a bubbling brook or running water -- often are similar to those sounds your baby heard in utero. A ticking clock or a bubbling fish tank also make wonderful white-noise options.
“I went out today and bought a small aquarium and the humming noise does seem to relax Chloe and help her to sleep. I didn’t buy any fish though. Who has time to take care of fish when you’re half asleep all day?”
Tanya, mother of 13-month-old Chloe
You can find some suitable tapes and CDs made especially for babies or those made for adults to listen to when they want to relax. Whatever you choose, listen to it first and ask yourself: Does this relax me? Would it make me feel sleepy if I listened to it in bed?
If you must put your baby to sleep in a noisy, active house full of people, keeping the tape running (auto rewind) will help mask baby-waking noises like dishes clanking, people talking, siblings giggling, TV, dogs barking, etc. This can also help transition your sleeping baby from a noisy daytime house to which he’s become accustomed subconsciously to one of absolute nighttime quiet.
Once your baby is familiar with his calming noise, or music, you can use these to help your baby fall back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Simply sooth him by playing the music (very quietly) during the calming and falling-asleep time. If he wakes and cries, repeat this process.
If your baby gets used to his sleep time sounds you can take advantage of this and take the tape with you if you will be away from home for naptime or bedtime. The familiarity of these sounds will help your baby sleep in an unfamiliar environment.
Eventually your baby will rely on this technique less and less to fall and stay asleep. Don’t feel you must rush the process; there is no harm in your baby falling asleep to these gentle sounds. When you are ready to wean him of these you can help this process along by reducing the volume by a small amount every night until you finally don’t turn the music or sounds on at all.
Babies enjoy these peaceful sounds, and they are just one more piece in the puzzle that helps you to help your baby sleep –gently, without any crying at all.
Excerpted with permission by McGraw-Hill/Contemporary Publishing from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley, copyright 2002
Cape Cod Moms