Your baby’s just been born & you’re probably thinking-What kind of parenting could I possibly be doing besides changing, feeding, burping & playing? Well…there are a few things & it’s a great idea to start now.
- You can never start teaching this too early & it’s quite easy to start. You can start by letting baby know what you’re doing right before doing it-it’s a very small way of showing respect but letting her know what’s about to happen before dumping her into the bath or taking off her diaper can also help to ease the transition. Bonus- using language to express what you’re doing will help to develop her understanding of the vocabulary you’re using in the process
- You may even choose to ask your baby permission: is it OK for Mommy to change your diaper now? It’s not like she’s going to say “no” but asking before shows a modicum of respect.
Babies & children do well with routines, when they know what to expect things go smoother. It’s a good idea to develop routines for mealtime & especially for bedtime or nap time
Children are very much a product of their own environment and while genes definitely have their role to play, there are things that as parents we can do to create an environment that is conducive to raising our children.
As parents of babies we are often tempted to make sure there is not a sound to be heard when baby is sleeping – my advice – this is NOT a good idea. Visitors to our home never fail to be amazed that we can give a tour of our house, including our kids rooms & speak in regular tones – not whispering – while our kids are fast asleep & that they remain asleep. My husband & I credit this to what we called NOISE TRAINING & we started the kids at birth!!!!
- What noise training involves is keeping your newborn in the room with you & your guests while he’s fast asleep. Speak at regular voice levels – avoiding, of course, too many sudden or high pitched noises. These will sometimes occur naturally in an excited conversation & your baby may startle – that’s OK – he will settle back to sleep.
- When baby is FALLING asleep is the time to make sure that the conversation is not excited & not too noisy. In other words, we are very aware of the noise output when it’s time to fall asleep but once baby is sleeping, we go to regular noise levels.
- Your baby will get used to sleeping around noise & will likely sleep through a lot more than you’d expect.
- High-pitched, shrill, & sudden noises may still wake up your baby- but as you know, those are the noises to avoid.
- BONUS: When you have a second baby (or babies, as was my case), the newborn(s) in the house won’t wake the older sibling – which has a very good effect on :
- Parents only having to deal with newborn(s) in the middle of the night & not the awakened sibling
- The older sibling getting a complete night’s rest – hedging your bets for a better disposition the next day rather than a tired & cranky one.
- Another way to show your child respect is to give him or her some feeling of control, some power. An easy way to do this is through the power of choice. With an infant it will be silly little things like “Do you want the red rattle or the blue one?” and whatever way your child indicates – pointing or looking towards that object, say “Ok – the blue one – good choice!” sounds ridiculous – especially since at first your baby will not likely make ay motion or indication of choice – BUT again – the interaction is there & when the ability to choose does come, your baby will feel so happy to have had a say.
- This sets you up for “bigger” choices that will transcend infancy through toddlerhood, school-age , plus-plus… e.g. at bedtime : Would you like to wear your red pajamas or your blue ones?” As opposed to “would you like to get ready for bed now?’ you’ve given your child the power to choose within the limits that you have set. As your child grows, there will always be limits – but they will expand as will the opportunities to choose.