Does your Toddler need complete silence and darkness to go to sleep? You can avoid the hassles and inconveniences this can bring.

Bedtime can be one of the most challenging and daunting times of the day and really doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you have got your Toddler into bed, don’t close his bedroom door, leave it open. Many children can be afraid of the dark for no reason at all. Therefore, it will be reassuring for him if he wakes up in the middle of the night, and doesn’t feel cut off from the rest of the family. Pitch blackness can be very intimidating and scary for a young child.

In any case, virtually all young children do not need complete darkness to sleep. When they are tired, they will sleep anywhere, even in bright sunlight. How many times have you seen a small child fast asleep in his parent’s arms, in the middle of the day? It can also be a good discipline for later on in life. My theory is that it may well help keep your child with an ‘open’ attitude to you and others, as he grows older. Hopefully it will help avoid him trying to always close himself off in his bedroom when he is a teenager, and distancing himself from the rest of the family. It’s amazing how something as simple and unscientific as this, can help promote good habits, later on in life.  And these habits definitely last in later years.

I always found that our children didn’t need silence to sleep. Young children sleep if they are tired, and if they are not, then they don’t. It can be reassuring for your young child to hear normal family background noise when they go to sleep, so they do not feel cut off at bed time. It also means that your family can continue its normal household (sometimes noisy) routines in the evening. It is very important for your child’s development that he is raised in as normal household environment as possible. It goes without saying that normality is relative, and based on your particular religion and culture

Sometimes a little night light in the background, or even just the bathroom light, particularly when your child is very young, will prevent him becoming afraid of the dark. Because he has this light on, as he grows older, darkness should never become an issue for him.

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Managing your child when he is a Toddler is one of the most challenging and rewarding periods of his childhood.

Well, you made it through those early months, and now you have the Toddler years to look forward to. These can be really fun years as your child grows and develops. He will look up to you and learn very quickly from you, whether it is how to hit a ball, ride a bicycle, learn nursery rhymes, or simply socialise with other people. His brain is like a sponge and everything you do will be observed and taken in. Sometimes you will only realise exactly what he has registered when you are least expecting it. So be ready to be surprised.

Some people say that the mother is the most important point of reference for your child during these early years. This may seem to be the case, but don’t let it put you off. I believe you are both as important as each other, only in different ways.

These initial years can have a huge impact on the closeness of your relationship with your child later on. Trust, respect, and love is built up during these early years, and all of these will help you overcome the challenges that lie ahead as they grow up. They will allow you to be truly involved with your child and be able to offer a balanced upbringing to him. You will never be a peripheral figure to your child, and together with your partner, you will be taking just as important role as she does. Remember, you as his father, also have a duty to be involved in every aspect of his life.

The few years when your child is a toddler can be very tiring and stressful high energy stuff. They are so inquisitive and want to discover so much and so quickly, but their attention span is very short. Beware they can be a danger to themselves without you watching over them. When you couple your toddler’s naivety and inexperience with their sudden energy spurts, you have to balance the need to let them discover and explore life, with the need to keep them safe themselves.

These are also really fun times, as you and your partner are the total centre of your child’s universe. This is a huge responsibility, as you are your Toddler’s idol, role model, comforter, play mate, provider and protector. However, the sense of satisfaction and joy for you, not to mention for your child, during these years, as you build closer and closer bonds, is nothing short of incredible.

When the inevitable challenges of bringing him up present themselves, which they certainly will, hopefully you will feel that you have some potential options and solutions. And trust me, there will definitely be some occasions where you feel you need some.

 

To avoid mishaps with your baby, always check first with your partner when you get home. If you don’t, who knows what can happen…………..but always keep it in perspective.

In my excitement to see my children after a day at work, I almost always forgot to ask whether they had been winded after their evening feed. In my enthusiasm for a cuddle it caused many accidents, many of which were totally unexpected.

One Friday evening I came home after a day at work and picked up our daughter. As usual, I didn’t ask my wife any questions, put her on my shoulder, where she promptly vomited all down the back of my jacket. It was Friday, so I was pretty relaxed and just changed it. My wife and I were going to neighbours for drinks, the babysitter had arrived and with a new jacket on, off we went.

After 45 minutes of hugs and hellos we were chatting to a group of friends when suddenly one said, “Mark, what the heck’s that on your trousers?” You guessed it, my little princess had puked right down my trouser legs too and I hadn’t noticed. At that moment everyone worked out what the unusual smell had been (I think the parents of babies become immune to the scent of milky vomit) and a bit of ribbing and exaggerated gagging ensued for the rest of the evening.

It’s a fact, babies will be sick on you. Of course, this may mean you have to take your stuff to the dry cleaners, but who cares. Your child didn’t do it on purpose, even if she is smiling at you and has that unspoken look on her face ‘caught you out there dad didn’t I?’ She certainly didn’t have any ulterior motives for doing it, so don’t blow it out of perspective.

It’s not worth getting upset or annoyed when this happens. It will happen to you many times, but in the end, it is always worthwhile when you see your child’s little smile after she has got rid of the wind in her tummy.

How can you as a Dad, improve the general quality of life at home when you have a demanding Toddler tiring your partner out? It is possible and there is a special benefit as well!

This is always a challenge for young parents when you have Toddlers in the household, but a little extra effort can reap dividends for you both. Even if you are exhausted when you arrive home from work, and you feel you don’t have enough energy to have a little playtime with your child, force yourself to make that extra special effort.

Always say hello to your child, wherever he is in the house and listen attentively to what he has to say to you about his day. It will be time very well spent. He will always want to greet you when you have been away, even if only for a few hours and he will remember the effort you have made for him for many years to come.

It will also give your partner a break, which she will really appreciate and recognise the effort you have made. Even though she knows you are very tired from being out all day, the fact that you have made that special effort to relieve her, will help improve your relationship together. It will give her instant relief from the pressure of children, and it will definitely improve your sex life.

This may seem like a wild claim, but as she will be far more relaxed when she goes to bed, it will definitely be more rewarding than if she is exhausted. It’s a bit like knocking over a set of dominoes. You relieve the pressure on her, she spends time on herself, she relaxes, you get tired from playing with your Toddler, you need relaxing, she spends time on you, you feel better, she feels better……it’s a win/win situation……

Get involved with your baby right from the start.

One of the most intimate and moving moments of your life will be the arrival of your baby into this world. The sheer magic and awe at being present at the dawning of this new miracle of human life will stay with you for the rest of your life. It will be the most meaningful and emotionally charged event you have ever experienced and yet it will seem to go by ‘in the blink of an eye’.

Before the birth you may have lots of qualms about seeing blood, or seeing your partner in pain and being there in such a highly charged emotional situation, so you may be hesitant initially. The significance of the occasion once your partner goes into labour will make you forget about all those concerns. The more you realise that this is something so life changing and so profound, the more you will want to be there. It will be even more meaningful for you, as you will have been communicating with your baby and touching him through his mother’s tummy for the last six months.

Therefore, I would strongly recommend that you, as a father to be, do everything to make sure that you are there at the birth of your child and witness his arrival into this world.

Hold him as soon as he is born and you will see and feel immediately the intimate and unique bond between you. When you first look into his eyes as his father and reflect that this little being is part of you, it will start immediately. You will never ever forget that moment. It will remain as vivid in your mind for many years into the future, as the day he was born.

What is the most enjoyable period for you during your child’s growing up years?

When you have your first child, everything is brand new from when she is born to when she leaves home. You experience everything first with your eldest. But if you have more than one child, it is only then that you can then start to evaluate what period of your children’s lives is the most enjoyable for you as a Father.

For me, and many dads I have spoken to, this a very interesting question, as sometimes it appears that your child’s growing up years seem to go by all too quickly. All you can then do is look back and say “that was good”, or “I didn’t particularly like that”, without really appreciating it fully. So when do you really have a chance to look at which part of your child’s development is the most enjoyable experience for you?

You might think the joy of having a new born is the most enjoyable, as everything is new, and you are learning literally, every day. Or when your child becomes a Toddler. He is so sweet, apart from those ‘terrible two’s’ tantrums. But hey, they are not too frequent are they? Or it could be the Primary School years, pre-puberty, when you are the ‘apple of your child’s eye’. Then again is it the Teenage years? Probably not, as your child is changing so much physically and mentally, unless you love to see how she handles these challenges and still remains reasonable.

Then when they finish Secondary School and are officially adults, at least in age. Maybe you can start to discuss rationally with them, now they are going off to University or going out to work. Or is the final stage of childhood the most enjoyable for you, when they leave home, but still need you as an advisor or confidante?

When do you think the best period is then? I think it is actually all of them, each part of their growing up period is different, as each child is and therefore your child will react and respond to you in a different way at whatever stage of his life he is at. So you should make the most of whatever period your child is in and enjoy it to the full with him, even if you have to handle the odd sleepless night, sudden tantrum, or unexpected and unwarranted teenage explosion. Every part of their childhood is enjoyable, but like many things you live through in life, sometimes you don’t always realise it while it is happening.

 

Is it possible to treat all your children equally, or do you favour one of them?

This is a very tricky question to answer, because all children are different. No one size fits all, so what is right for one child is not necessarily right for another. Maybe your eldest child is very sensitive and your youngest is very tough, so how do you approach them when you need to reprimand them?

Maybe you have to adopt a softer line with the more sensitive child, and be more severe with your youngest, but then you can be accused of favouring your oldest. But of course you are not. It is completely normal that you might empathise more with one of your children, particularly if he has a complimentary character to yours, but this is not to be confused with favouritism. You are managing the situation with different strategies for each child.

So long as you avoid giving things to one child and not to the other, then you are certainly treating them all equally. It is of course possible to give something to one of them and something different to the others, but make sure they all get something which is interpreted as fair for everyone. If for example you take one child on vacation with you, and leave the other at home with grandparents, then this is definitely not fair and would certainly be showing favouritism towards one over the other. The problem would then be that you create jealousy between your children, and resentment towards each other. If you can’t take them all, then you shouldn’t take any of them.

Favouritism is to be avoided at all costs, as if you want your children to grow up and get on with each other when they are adults, then you have to be careful not to create resentment and jealousy between them when they are youngsters.

 

How much do your children miss you when you are away from them?

When you are away from home, maybe away on a business trip, just needed elsewhere, or even separated from their mother, have you ever stopped to ask yourself how your children feel? Of course they are probably with their mum, and having a good time, but they also need you just as much. They may not actually say it to you, but you can see in other ways how they miss you when you return.

This could be a look on their face when they are telling you what they have been doing in your absence. Or they may be angry with you for not being there, or maybe they just don’t want to communicate with you at all. This could be, in their mind, a way of telling you off because they miss you. So how can you avoid them feeling this way and turn it round into a positive situation?

The answer of course, lies in how you react back to them. It is not about bringing them a gift or a new toy to play with, although it will always be gratefully accepted, it is how you communicate to them both verbally, physically and emotionally when you see them again. It doesn’t really matter what age they are, they simply need to understand why you have to be away. So taking the time to explain why you are going away in the first place, can help significantly when you get back. It can also help them to understand why you have to be away.

So when you get back and the initial excitement of your return has subsided, try to talk to your child and tell him what you have been doing while you have been away. Explain what you have achieved while you have been absent. Tell him what benefit it is to the family and to him in particular. If he understands the reasons why, then he will more easily be able to accept when you have to be away.

Your child will always miss you when you are not there, but through some simple actions, you can lessen the impact, and make your absence much more bearable for them.

 

Please help me get my book published

Hi to all my Followers, I hope you are enjoying my Blog, I love writing about my experiences with Fatherhood, and hopefully you like hearing about them. I am inspired that so many of you care about the importance of a truly involved Dad.

Since I started my Blog, I have been writing a book which will be called the same title, ‘Help I’m a Father’ and recently I finally finished the manuscript. I am now pitching it to Publishers, and some of them have been very positive about it, and have asked that I try to get my Blog Followers and Viewers up before they agree to publish it.

So I would like to ask you all a favour. Could you please let all your contacts online know about my Blog and encourage them to Follow it and view my posts. I know it may seem like a strange request, but it really would help me to get my book published. If you could share it on your social media pages, it would also really be appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Mark

 

When should you start allowing your child to take risks?

One of the major responsibilities you have as a father is to help your child learn to make choices. Whether it is what trousers to wear today, or when to cross the road, or how much effort he makes with his school work. Life is full of choices, and some of those involve risks. The question is when and if you voluntarily allow your child to take some risks.

Every day you take calculated risks, whether it is driving a car, or coming down the stairs with your hands full, all of which your children are witness to. They then will at some point, take their own decisions in risky situations. By encouraging your child to take responsibility for her actions and her life, it will help her to understand the potential dangers that it can hold. So when and how can you start doing this?

You could start when they are 5 or 6 years old, when you go swimming together. So long as she knows how to swim, you could let her swim a few feet away from you, without armbands. Your child will love the independence it gives her from you and start to understand that she is in control of what happens to her. You can do this even if she is a little unsure of herself. It will make her appreciate the risk she is taking. If you go for a walk, and pass a tree, maybe you can let your child climb it a little, with you underneath of course.

If you encourage your child to try lots of things, through his choices and experience he will learn that some things are more dangerous than others. Let your child take calculated risks, but always make sure he understands the dangers and consequences.