Does your toddler or preschooler stall bedtime with “just one more [glass of water, book, kiss, etc.]” requests? Once you have entered the land of “just one more” it can be hard to leave, as you tend to get in deeper and deeper each time you give in. The result is later bedtimes, overtired kids and frustrated parents.
Recently, I have had a slew of parents contact me about their three year olds. The email is always about the same: “Can you give me some advice about my three-year-old son? He has always been a great sleeper, going right to sleep on his own and staying in his bed until it was time to wake up. This all ended last week when he suddenly refused to lay down unless my husband or I lay with him. When we get up to leave, he will wake and scream for us. The other night, we put him back to bed over 20 times and it was so exhausting that we ended up just letting him stay with us. It was horrible as he was so upset. He still naps so we talked about taking those away. What can we do?”
Newborns. It is amazing how skilled your brand new little one is. They have several reflexes that come to play right from the start. Most notable is the rooting reflex, allowing them to turn their head with the intention to try and suck when their cheek or mouth is stimulated or touched, as well as the grasp reflex, gripping your finger when offered. Their sight is limited, but they still can see within a range of 4 to 12 inches, just the right distance between mom’s breast and face - not a coincidence, I would say. As they observe in close range, they will experiment with mimicking your actions and facial expressions. This is a neat thing to see. Their head and neck are surprisingly strong, but not very coordinated, so although you can be impressed, still be careful.
In the last issue, we talked about toddler behavior. For older children’s behavior, problem-solving is now the first go-to discipline tool. Problem-solving is effective for maintaining open communication and understanding development, as well as formulating creative solutions for solving everyday problems of living together as a family. Punishment is ‘me against you.’ Problem-solving is ‘you and I working together against the problem.’ Problem-solving teaches creativity, empathy, communication and accountability.
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