by Elizabeth Pantley
Many questions that parents ask about raising their children require long book-length answers to dissect and solve. Sometimes it seems to take a whole chapter to discuss the issue. So here’s my challenge for this article. I’m going to answer some of the most common parenting questions . . . in 25 WORDS OR LESS!
Q: What should I work on first - fixing my baby’s nap problems or nighttime sleep problems? It’s become a major issue in our house.
A: In most cases . . . do BOTH! Many solutions improve naps and night sleep. Also - be flexible! Don’t focus solely on sleep issues - you’ll miss too much!
Q: My three-year-old sometimes gets in a tizzy over ridiculous things - like her crayon breaking. I try to reason with her, but I can’t because she’s too upset.
A: You don’t have to solve every single problem. Instead, distract her with a different toy or an activity, and save the lesson for later.
Q: My four-month-old rolls over in his sleep and wakes himself up. I have to turn him over and pat him back to sleep. What can I do about this?
A: Lots of daytime tummy-time-play to help him master physical skills.
Q: My toddler’s noises wake the baby almost every day! How can I get my toddler to stay quiet during naptime?
A: You can’t! Better to put your baby down for naps with white noise sounds or lullaby music to mask the toddler noise.
Q: How do we know when it’s time to move our child from the crib to a bed?
A: Your toddler learns to climb, the height of the rail is up to his under-arms, or he asks to have a big-kid bed.
Q: We have an issue with monsters under the bed. Our daughter is really afraid something is under there!
A: Eliminate the “under”—put the mattress directly on the floor and pack away the bed frame for a year or until the fears go away.
Q: When we take our kids to a restaurant they display terrible manners! What can we do about it?
A: If you practice good manners at home, for every meal, your children will be more prepared when you eat out at a restaurant.
Q: How can I tell if my daughter still needs a daily nap?
A: If she wakes up happy, but gets cranky as the day progresses, or has more tantrums in the evening—a nap would likely help.
Q: Our six-year-old climbs into our bed in the middle of the night. We let him stay because we’re so tired, but we don’t sleep well with him there. How do we get him to sleep in his own room?
A: Try the Rubber Band Bounce—every time he visits: gently, quietly, without emotion—lead him back to his own room and lovingly tuck him in.
Q: Our eighteen-month-old has never been a good sleeper. We’ve been following our sleep plan for three weeks and still haven’t gotten a full night’s sleep! Help!
A: You are changing sleep habits that have existed for eighteen months! The process of change will take time. Just be steady and follow your plan.
Q: My little picky eater won’t try anything new, no matter how much we beg or bribe. How do we get our son to try something new?
A: Pick two new foods. Put one on his plate at every meal. When he sees a food enough it won’t be new - so he’ll taste it!
Q: When we drop our daughter at preschool she always cries. I try to tell her everything will be okay, the teachers will take care of her, and I’ll be back soon, but it doesn’t help. What can I do to help her?
A: Too much concern implies something to worry about. Give her a hug, tell her it’s no cause for worry, and that it will even be fun!