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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Have you ever wondered why your child behaves in a particular way? The answer is quite simple…………..

This is a perennial question that every parent asks himself from time to time. How many times have you heard yourself say, “why does he behave like that?”. The answer is of course not always simple and in many cases quite complex, however there is very often an underlying reason, which crops up time and time again.

Your child reflects you totally, particularly in the early years, when you and your partner are his principle sources of reference. Your child is what you make him. If he sees you behave in a specific circumstance, or react to a particular situation, he will interpret this as the appropriate way to respond. And if he sees you do this on multiple occasions, for him, this will become learned behaviour and the correct way to react because he has witnessed you do this.

So, this should make you doubly careful in what you do in front of your child. If you shout in an aggressive manner if something annoys you, he will do the same. If however you respond calmly and in a considered way, he will also do this.

You can stage your own experiment with your own child at home. Create a specific situation in view of your child, together with your partner, and then stage your reaction to it. Do this several times over a couple of days. Then do it again in front of your child and let him react to it before you say anything. You will be amazed by his reaction…………..

All of this to say, that your child will copy you completely, and you need to be his role model. Your child will reflect you and your partner’s behaviour. So you will end up answering your own rhetorical question about why your child behaves like that. Of course once he goes to school and starts mixing regularly with other children his points of reference will widen…………………but you and your partner still remain the key influencer in his life, as of course it should be.

 

Be part of your child’s life even before she is born. Talk to her while she is still in your partners tummy………………

Hearing your voice as well as its mother’s is part of the bonding process. Your unborn child hears its mother’s voice every time she says anything while it is developing inside her, but it is also important that your child hears your voice as often as possible as well. Your baby also needs to feel your touch as you caress her through her mother’s tummy. The amazing journey of fatherhood begins now.

It takes two to make a baby and it definitely takes two to bring one up. The easy part is making it, the hardest and also the most rewarding part, is bringing it up. Getting to the end of the road, if there ever really is an end of the road, is an incredible achievement and a truly satisfying and wonderful experience.

So when it’s time for your baby to be born, you should do your utmost to be present at the birth if at all possible. The three most moving and profound moments of my life were the births of my own children and I am sure it will be the same for you. I can remember each one as if they occurred, as if it was just yesterday. I know very occasionally circumstances can be out of your control and therefore it isn’t possible, but with good planning, you can try to minimise the chance of you missing it.

If you can do this, you will feel you are an integral part of the arrival of your child into this world and that you aren’t a peripheral figure to everything that is going on. Try to hold your baby before the umbilical cord is cut. She will see your face before she sees her mothers. Of course it is not a competition to see who is loved the most, but it is important that the bonding between you and your child is cemented the moment she comes into this world.

It will be the natural progression of the bond which you started developing with her before she was born and it will be one of the foundations of the relationship you will develop with her throughout her entire life.

 

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.

 

Always make time to answer your child’s questions. This is one of the key foundations of your relationship through the years to come.

If your child asks a question, it is because he wants to know the answer. Of course depending on the age of your child, you respond appropriately, but never brush off their question as not being important. The fact that your child asks you a question, shows that he is curious. He has a desire to discover the world he is growing up in and has a need to interact with you and have you do it with him. The question is important to your child based upon his current points of reference, or he would not have asked it

He will value your undivided attention so much, which will become evident in later years, when you ask him a question, or need an answer. He will give it to you, because that has always been the way you have treated him. As his father, you lead by example.

It is at a very early age that you should set the ground rules for the quality of communication between you and your children. This will determine what happens throughout their whole childhood. If you get this right, at the start of their lives, it will reap immeasurable benefits for the quality of your relationship together in later years. This will be very evident during the teenage years, when the challenges are very different, and can sometimes seem insurmountable for both of you.

Think of the amount of times you have heard other fathers say to their child “ask me later”, or “go and ask your mother”. By doing this, you are sending a subliminal message to your child. ‘I do not have time for you right now’, or ‘I’m not interested in what you want to know’, or even ‘it doesn’t concern me’. Potentially this can be the start of the construction of subconscious barriers to communication with your child, which as he gets older will be very hard to overcome.

So, stop whatever you are doing, or at least as soon as it is safe to do so, and listen carefully to the question. Then answer it honestly. You both will reap the benefits of this approach right through to your child’s adulthood………………… and beyond!

 

How do you keep your children close to you from babyhood to adulthood? It is possible, you just need the right approach and philosophy…………………Every Day

How do you know if you have got it right with your children? How do you judge if you are a successful parent as you watch your child grow up? What mistakes and pitfalls can you avoid and what ones are inevitable? These questions and many more are always in the mind of you as a parent. What you do know is that you want to be the best parent possible to your child.

So where do you start? Right at the beginning, as soon as your child is able to communicate with you. This is the door through which you must walk with your child and never let it close on you. Open communication between you as your child grows up, will allow you to overcome virtually every problem that presents itself to you. In fact even before issues become problems.

As a parent, never have any subject which cannot be discussed openly by you and your child, however uncomfortable it is for you. Strategies like always having a special time of the day when you talk about what has gone on, for both you and your child, will really work. This could be at supper time, or when you child is in bed, or those tender moments just before going to bed. You will find that this lays the foundation for a very strong relationship as your child grows up, and will make your bond together unshakeable.

At these special times, you also need to be telling your child your daily challenges as he needs to be able to relate and understand your world. Of course you need to tailor what you say depending on his age. You say your bit and encourage him to say whatever he wants to. You will be amazed at what you learn. The conversations will change as your child grows older, but will always be open and frank. Those key links you build together will always work whether your child is 2 or 22.

It is really worth making the effort on this, and you and your child will have created a bond which will help you both, and enhance your relationship together for the rest of your lives.

Time to go home with your new baby. How can you make it seamless and stress free?

After the trauma and exhilaration of the birth of the family’s new arrival, it will be time to go home. This can pose a few challenges, but if you handle it right, it will be plain sailing. When you arrive home with your baby for the first time, if you have animals (dogs specifically), immediately bring your baby to be introduced to the family pet.

This will make your dog feel fully included in the arrival of the new family member and help to prevent any jealousy occurring. If you don’t push it away, it will create its own bond for looking after and protecting your child. Your baby will also start immediately and subconsciously to learn to accept them and not to feel threatened by dogs. In later life, this will be a good social skill as she will be more comfortable around animals.

When we had our first baby and brought him home from the hospital, we placed him in his carrier seat on the floor in the middle of the lounge. We then called our dog over to see him. She sniffed him and looked at him, and sniffed him again, and understood that he was a new addition to the family, and was no threat to her.  She immediately lay down next to his carrier seat and stayed like that for quite a while until it was time for a feed….the baby that is!

From that day onwards until she died 10 years later, she slept under his cot initially and then his bed, and ‘protected’ him. Once we had a second and a third child, she would rotate rooms virtually every night once so she could look out for all three of them.

Of course, this might not be possible in some households depending on the breed of dog. Also, if your pet is an outdoor one it will be slightly different.  However, when you do go outside with your baby for the first time make sure that you introduce your new arrival to the family pet. It works very well.

Also, if you already have children, prior to your new baby’s arrival, talk to them about having a new member of the family. It is very important to include them in all the attention their new sibling is getting. It will make them feel good towards their new sister and be really positive about her arrival. A very good strategy to get your older child to feel good about the new arrival in the family, is for your baby to ‘bring a special gift’ to them.

For years after our daughter was born our oldest son always remembered the Thomas the Tank Engine train set ‘his new sister bought him’. He loved her for that, (Toddlers can be so fickle) and never got jealous when we were giving her attention, because he understood she was smaller than him and ‘needed to be looked after’.

Exactly how important do you think it is to be a good Father to your children? Even more than just ‘vital’ if that is possible, as you will see!

You as a Father made several choices, many of them unconscious, before and when you finally decided, together with your partner, to have children. It was to become a complete change in your life and certainly will have turned out to be just that. Exactly how involved you are in your child’s life, will determine inextricably what kind of person he/she will become. Your children are what you make them into and this is a responsibility that is absolutely enormous.

The relationship between parents and their children, within the family unit, underpins the whole fabric of our society. So many ills in it can be directly linked to problems within the family unit. Very often this will be because of an absentee Father in the household. This can be for a variety of reasons, some of which can be out of the his control. If however the relationship is strong and stable, it will have a positive effect for many years into the future. A close and loving dynamic will benefit you, your child and society in general. If you are to get the most out of being a Father, you have to be prepared to take on every aspect of the job, however challenging it is, and be involved 100% in every area of your child’s life. If you do this and are totally committed to being the best dad possible to your children, it will be the most rewarding thing that you will ever have experienced.

“Great Dads make for Great Children and Great Children make for a very Happy life for everyone”. This has always been my motto, and anyone who is involved with children will know this is true.

Thank you for reading this Blog as it means you really care. I have written a book called ‘Help I’m a Father’ which talks all about this relationship and is full of really useful tips and advice. It is available through Amazon and all Royalties are being donated to sick and underprivileged children’s charities to help improve their lives.

Make Believe is magical for your child, particularly around Christmas time. You should keep it magical…

Christmas and New Year is the most magical time of year and one for the whole family to really enjoy being together. For your children, having Daddy around helping Mummy prepare for Christmas and sharing in the excitement as it builds, will be very special. Try to make sure you always spend Christmas and New Year with your children. You will see, that by always making an effort to be together at this time of year, when they are very young and as they grow older, they will want to continue to spend the Festive period with you. They will come to expect this, and it will always be like that, even when they have their own family unit. The tables might be turned though and it will be them doing all the work.

Something you could do to make the magic of Father Christmas more realistic, is to dress up on Christmas morning and just as your child is waking up, run across the lawn (or across a corridor if you live in an apartment) in your outfit. While you do that, your partner can call your child to the window or the door, so he can just manage to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas disappearing round the side of the building. Of course it has to be perfectly co-ordinated with your partner. While your child is still looking on in disbelief, you can quickly come inside, get rid of your outfit, join in and share in the amazement. Your child will be convinced he has seen Santa Claus.

Always keep in mind when you decide to do this that your Child is extremely observant. One year I forgot to put boots on and wore a pair of my everyday shoes. When I got back inside the house all pleased with my little charade, my son asked very ‘matter of factly’ why Father Christmas was wearing my shoes. Fortunately he was still very young, only 2 years old and I was able to explain it away by saying lots of people had shoes like mine. It wouldn’t have worked if he had been much older.

 

A Great Idea for a Christmas Present for any Dad, my Book ‘Help I’m a Father’

A Father is a vital component in the family and such an important daily point of reference for his children. A truly involved Dad will have such a positive impact on his children’s well being and contributes so much to their lives, it can never be over played.

In my book ‘Help I’m a Father’ I have really focused on things that a Father can do to improve the quality of his relationship with his children and offered tips and advice which can certainly get him out of some tricky day to day situations. It can offer him options when he most needs inspiration. But don’t believe me, below are some of the 5 star customer reviews it has received on Amazon.

“Brilliant book! So many useful tips and bits of advice to keep you going through the tough times of being a parent. Suitable to all parents from those with young children all the way to those with adult children. Plus it has some really good ideas of things to do to keep your children amused on long journeys! Would recommend to anyone needing a bit of help with parenting, especially those couples that are first time pregnant and want a little heads up with what’s about to come!”

“Perceptive, clever and sharply written. Hearn tackles the most important and least-written-about area of a man’s life. This book is a must for fathers, fathers-to-be — and mothers who want to understand the particular challenges their partners face”

“This is a really useful, enjoyable, amusing and long overdue book which gives an excellent perspective, for any Dad or Dad-to-be, on what it takes to be a better parent.”

“Great read! Well written and gives fantastic advice on all the areas of family and fatherhood!”

Any feedback or comments you can give me are very welcome, so please don’t hesitate.

The book is available through Amazon in paperback or an e-book. It would make a very useful and practical Christmas present for any Father, and would certainly be appreciated hugely. The link is below

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Help-Im-Father-Moments-Great-ebook/dp/B01H63QO2G