As you may know, children, including babies, need sleep just as much as adults do, if not more. Though some of the effects of sleep deprivation in adults are either not relevant to or not observable in infants, some are, especially crankiness. A cranky baby is no joy to be around.
You know your baby needs plenty of sleep to grow and be healthy and happy. And by getting on a sleep schedule similar to your baby’s, you can both benefit. But unfortunately, babies don’t come equipped with sleep buttons or on/off switches. As we all know, getting a baby to sleep isn’t as easy as turning off a stereo or putting your computer into sleep mode, but there are ways.
Fortunately, however, there are things you can do to help your baby get the rest he needs and help the other members of your family have a peaceful night’s sleep at the same time. You need to be prepared for the possibility that your baby’s first few nights or even her first few weeks will include more wakeful time than you would like. In one study, researchers observed newborn babies to find out just how many hours per day they slept. Babies in the study slept an average of two-thirds of the time, about sixteen hours per day. Yet that is merely an average. Some babies in the study slept as little as nine hours per day; while at the other extreme, some slept for twenty-one hours.
Why you’ve got to go in Crystal River, Florida. Simply because it is just 90 minutes from Orlando and Tampa, in addition to that this is the only place you can swim with manatees in the wild. Winter is the best time to see them, though they hang there all year long.
What to do: Snorkeling/diving outfitters like American Pro Diving Center take you to the warm springs where these gentle mammals congregate. Be patient and respectful: Let the manatees approach you. This is a perfect place for your gradschoolers, tweens and teens.
Photo not mine.
• Always test bath water with your forearm or the inside of your wrist to prevent burning your baby’s skin.
• Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub.
• Never leave water in the tub when it is not in use.
• Use nonskid mats on the bottom of the tub and place childproof covers over cold and hot water knobs to prevent your child from turning on the water.
• Keep all electrical appliances away from water.
• Keep the toilet seat down.
• Keep toiletries, cosmetics, cleaning products and medicines with safety caps locked and away from your child.
• Disengage dead bolt locks and, instead, try to use a high safety latch to lock the door.
My nephew and his cousin.
Becoming a parent is an evolving, wonderful growth process you and your partner can enjoy together. As you adjust to your new role as mom or dad, your baby brings changes into your lives. You only had yourselves to worry about before, but now, with the new responsibilities, feelings and relationships, you have to do some preventive work to avoid possible pitfalls.
The first step is talking. Both of you have attitudes about parenting that you may not have discussed with each other. Parenting will inevitably raise many issues on which you may take different positions. Find out how your partner feels by talking about such key issues as:
- Each of your roles in caring for the baby
- Doing chores in the house
- Family budget and spending priorities
- Feeding your baby
- Returning to work
- The role of grandparents and other members of your extended family
- How your parents brought you up and how you want to raise your child
- Where you expect to get advice on parenting topics
- How you will deal with crying, night waking, discipline
- Your hopes and dreams for your child
On these topics you might agree or disagree, but you must respect each other’s opinions and search for common ground. The way you communicate as a couple will have a strong impact on what kind of parenting team you become and, in the long run, will influence your children as they watch the two of you exchange ideas and express opinions.
Say you’re sorry when you make a mistake or lose your temper.
Nobody’s perfect, even you, and he should know that. By apologizing, you’re establishing a level of honesty between you and your child, and demonstrating that you care enough to have her understand what you are feeling. And what better way could there be for a child to learn about owning up to her own mistakes.
Play and have fun together.
Enjoying each other in play helps rekindle your love. Sharing good times will make the roguh patches easier to handle.
Create a child-friendly home.
Make an effort to ensure that your young child can move freely throughout your house without fear of damaging something precious and without fear of disapproval. Make sure your home is a place where he can be happy and comfortable.
Express anger appropriately.
Show your child your own problem-solving skills and model how anger should be handled.
Never hit your child.
This will only demonstrate that you will overpower him instead of teaching him the right way to handle anger.
A child’s self-esteem is based on a positive relationship with parents and eventually teachers. Parents can foster that can-do attitude in their children with a “wow” or “That is great” every time they accomplish a feat. These positive comments form children’s first concept of success, which ultimately leads to a healthy self-perception. I grew up fine, but I remember that in my growing-up years, one thing I suffered from where the many don’ts from my parents. Thus, I resolved that I would try to be different with my own children. Putting my children’s feelings and self-esteem should always be a primary consideration.
But praise and positive reinforcement alone will not make children feel better automatically. Providing them with lots of love, care and understand is equally significant. Children who are happy and confident may still experience low self-esteem because they do not feel loved. Likewise, children who are loved and pampered at home may still feel inadequate and incompetent, thus ending up with low self-esteem. Hence, a balance of both should be present. Delivering positive messages and engaging in constructive communication lead to a healthy self-perception.
If you choose to set very few or no limitations on your child’s behavior, he will have a difficult time learning safe, appropriate behavior and self-control. You are handling over to your child the control to regulate his own behavior. This parenting style or approach is known as permissive parenting. Permissive parents will usually establish very few rules and often do not consistently enforce the rules that they have set. Due to a lack of your child’s experience, and his cognitive and emotional immaturity, this approach is rarely effective and is bound to be a disaster. Can you imagine what would happen if you said to your toddler, “I have laid out your pajamas for you. I trust you to know when you are tired. You can decide when you are ready to go to be.” Or “I see that your teeth are bothering you. Let me know if you wish to go to the dentist.”
When your child fails at regulating his own behavior, she will be more likely to have outbursts and temper tantrums and to lose his self-control. He will not be making independent decisions. Eventually, he will rely on others to control her decisions and actions. If you do not set and enforce limits for him, school or law authorities may need to do so later on in his life.
Your child has a deep-rooted need for limits on his behavior. The limits and boundaries that you set for your child’s behavior will make him feel secure. Some children will directly will directly ask for guidance or limits if they feel the need them. This is particularly true when a child is in a new situation where there may be less structure and rules. A child who is raised with a lot of structure and rules may enter a more lax environment and start to ask, “Is it okay if I….? “Are we allowed to … ? You may even witness your child putting himself in time-out when he gets upset. He may ask you what is allowed or acceptable in a given situation. He needs to know that an adult is there to guide him and keep him safe and in control. When he is feeling confused, scared, frustrated, angry, or overwhelmed, he will count
on your to guide him with authority and control.
Setting limits and boundaries on your child’s behavior does not mean taking away her freedom. You can still allow your child to have many choices within the parameters that you set. For example, “Playing ball in the street is not safe. You can play ball or another game that you choose, but you must stay in the yard.”
Reading is a big part of most children’s lives, and books and magazines are a good way to interest children in the environment. Child sake offers lists of environmental and nature books for children, organizing them by category (www.childsake.com). Your local librarian may also have some suggestions. Magazines introduce kids to environmental topic in quick gulps. Ranger Rick, Kids Discover, and National Geographic Kids give children the opportunity to learn about all different aspects of the natural world around them and ways to take care of it. The internet also offers an array of sites that teach environment lessons. Many state and local regulatory agencies have pages expressly for children.