Stay one step ahead of your Toddler at night time!

From the day when your child first goes into her own room with her own cot or bed, you need to be thinking about staying one step ahead. It will be a constant battle as she goes through this part of her childhood and you need to be up to the task. So immediately put a gate up across the doorway of her room. This will make sure she knows that she has to stay there until you or her mother come in and bring her out in the morning.

How would you like an extra half an hour’s sleep in bed in the morning? It can be so tiring and intense when your toddler is awake, whether it is at the end of the day, or at 5.00 am in the morning, so finding a way to get that little extra time to sleep can be priceless. This technique really works. Once she is asleep, go into her room and remove all the toys which are in there. Then replace them with a set of new toys which she hasn’t played with for a week or so.

She will be both fascinated and distracted when she wakes up and the new toys will keep her occupied, quiet and give you and your partner an extra lie in the next morning. No more crying out ‘mummy’ or ‘daddy’, although you might vaguely hear her playing if you do wake up. This extra time for you and your partner to relax will be priceless for the first three or four years. It will also allow you to have a higher quality relationship with both your partner and your child, because you will not be so tired when you wake up. A good night’s sleep makes everyone feel better.

Your role as Dad is to stay calm at all times during Labour and Childbirth.

You may think that once the labour process starts, everyone else will know what they are doing, and you can get wrapped totally up in the whole process of childbirth and leave it all to the Professionals in the room. Although this is very true, you also have to remain calm at all times, after all it is your baby who is about to arrive into this world and you are the person your partner trusts the most.

The pain of childbirth is so intense for your partner, that sometimes she will say and want to do things that, very possibly, you have never heard her do before. At this moment, reason goes completely out the window for her, but it mustn’t for you. Your job is to reassure her and encourage her all the time, listening to what she is saying, but ignoring it if she says something silly or offensive. You need to stay calm and if you do, you will keep the stress levels down for everyone in the room.

Of course her behaviour will depend on what type of pain relief she has opted for in her Birth Plan, so you need to ensure she receives the relief that she decided upon before she went into labour. Once your new baby arrives, hold her in your arms as soon as possible. It will be one of the most magical moments of your entire life. Then place your little baby in her mothers’ arms. This will reinforce the sense of bonding between you, as you pass your baby to her mum, as well as demonstrating the fact that you are all in it together.

Once you are all left alone, take time to tell your partner how well she has done throughout the whole labour and childbirth. She will be feeling absolutely exhausted and at the same time elated, yet possibly a bit melancholic. By calmly reassuring her, it will help her feel good about the whole experience despite the pain and physical trauma her body has just been through.

You may find that you also will have a ‘let down’ moment and suddenly find you have no energy as you feel both elated and exhausted as well. You have just ridden the ’emotional rollercoaster’ with your partner, but you have managed as you stayed calm throughout and got through it together.

How important are you as a Role Model for your child?

Sometimes you can forget how important you are as a positive Role Model for your child, and just take this vital part of the Father child dynamic for granted. Your child will observe and copy everything you do, all the time, even if you are not aware he is doing it. Boys particularly will observe very closely what you as their father are doing.

As the joint most important Role Model in your child’s life, you have a huge responsibility to lead by example, however difficult it appears to be at times. The way you behave will be considered as normal and acceptable behaviour by your child. If you are considerate and calm, your child will be. If you are aggressive and loud, you child will also be like that. The question is always, ‘what constitutes a good Role Model for your child’?

Remember at all times, ‘your children are what you make them’. Whatever you are doing or saying you must always keep this in mind. Your child will reflect how you are towards them and others on a day to day basis. The following tips on being a good Role Model are fairly obvious, and certainly not meant as a lecture, but only as an ‘aide memoire’ and is also certainly not an exhaustive list. The goal is simply to help you improve the quality of your child’s life going forward as they pass through childhood.

Work hard at what you do (paid or unpaid)

Be nice to people, even if they irritate you

Be polite and kind to everyone you come across in life

Be tolerant of other people’s differences with you

Always help others if you are able to

Never be aggressive, nasty or react violently

Be a good citizen and respect the laws of the country

Be a good listener and give your time to people you meet

If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say it at all

They all seem fairly obvious, but in the heat of the moment, we often forget. Your children look to you as their beacon and you must truly lead by example.

 

Should you leave your baby crying when you put him to bed, or always go and pick him up?

This is an eternal dilemma for you as a Dad with your baby. If you leave him crying, does it mean there is something wrong, or is he just trying to get your attention and testing the boundaries. So how can you settle him down?

It is of course normal that your baby cries when you first put him in his cot at bedtime, but if you spend some time with him before leaving his bedroom, it will always help. You can talk to him and tell him stories that you have made up, but what will work best is to sing him some songs. They can be lullabies or nursery rhymes and from you, not always his mother.

You may think that you can’t sing to save your life and that his mum sings much better than you, but don’t be put off. Your baby will love to hear Daddy’s voice before he goes to sleep. He will listen to and appreciate your dulcet tones as if you are the greatest Diva that ever lived. Your voice really is ‘music to his little ears’ and he will never be bored of hearing your voice.

You will be amazed just how quickly you recall the lyrics of the songs that you sang when you were a little boy. The more you sing the more you recall the words and the better you will become. In fact you will find it very soothing for you as well. You will find that this is very high quality time that you are spending with your baby at the end of the day and it will relax you both.

In fact, it is the start of a vital, intense and incredibly rewarding relationship, that you as a Father will have with your child, that will last for the rest of your life.

What can you do to make your Toddler understand that she mustn’t be rude? There is a very effective strategy.

It is normal that your Toddler behaves badly when she doesn’t get her own way, but it can be very frustrating for you and her mother. How often does it appear that she is just winding you both up more and more until you are at breaking point. You just want to shout at her or even smack  her to get her to behave. Of course this might work in the short term, but it won’t be a solution in the long term and will not help her understand that her behaviour is not acceptable.

You might say that if you shouldn’t shout at her, what can you do? It is a little like with a Teenager, withdrawing privileges will often work, particularly if it is something your child really loves. Maybe you go to the park on Saturday afternoons and she is able to go and play on the swings, or you go to the children’s farm once a month where she can see all the animals. This will certainly work, but there is also another strategy which has a more immediate effect and works very well.

Your Toddler will certainly have a favourite cuddly toy, who she always sleeps with and who she loves completely. If she is rude and aggressive with you, or her sibling, you can take away her cuddly toy. You can explain to her that if she behaves like that, her cuddly toy has told you that he doesn’t want to stay in her room. He doesn’t want to spend time with a ‘nasty’ girl, who isn’t nice to people.

She will soon learn that she has to behave properly and after a few occasions of doing this, you will find that her behaviour will change. Of course, then you will have to overcome the next challenge and we all know, there are plenty of them with Toddlers!