Great parenting is not about doing things right.
It's how you handle it when things go wrong.
Keep the mindset of minimizing your disappointment. You are less agitated in situations if you expected the worst. For example; if you wanted to read a book for a couple of hours during the evening but your kid is putting up a fight, it's much easier to deal with it if you did not have high expectations to begin with. Plan for the best, expect the worst. Simple but works.
Another mind trick that I personally use but can't recommend for everybody that I assume that all mishaps are my own fault for not preparing enough.
Being late for a doctor's appointment and the kid is having a fit, wasting precious time? It's your fault for not getting ready sooner and not taking this into account, not the kid's.
In actuality, it's nobody's fault but having yourself to blame is easier.
Your main focus is to provide security, attention and nourishment.
- Insecurity in early childhood leads to irregular cortisol levels which leads to increased aggression even in later life. This is caused by continuous stress response to being alert, and it tunes the body inappropriately.
- Attention is essential for social, emotional and mental growth.
- Nourishment is basis of all biological growth but usually the easiest to cover.
Attention is a different thing than being around. You can be around your kid all the time but not pay attention to them. It's not about the quantity but the quality.
You should assume your child gets zero attention in day care and act accordingly. If you are not paying attention to your kid, you are not doing your job as a parent.
Babies and toddlers are individuals. This might not be obvious to new parents but each kid is different. What might work for some might not work for you. But it's always worth to try out new approaches on persistent issues. You start seeing obvious behavioral differences as early as 2 months old.
My first child had basically no reaction to singing to calm him down, he just wanted to be held. My second child calms down by singing.
My first child likes to sleep on his stomach (against common guidelines) while my second child will usually turn on her side for sleeping.
Both of these behaviors started to show up earlier than 12 months of age.
Learn to calm down. If you feel getting irritated, take deep breaths. Exhale through the nose. Inhale through the nose. Repeat 3 more times. Isolate yourself from the situation if safely possible.
You might also try to sing, if appropriate for the situation. Singing can calm you down as you are focusing on something else than the situation at hand.
You are not a friend to your kid. You are not there to please your kid, you are there to guard and support them. Rules help them to learn manners, boundaries and social hierarchy, which all are essential in human interaction.
Children like routines. Routines give both security and opportunity for children to show how they improve. Even adults like to perform routine tasks and that is why breaking bad habits is hard. Read more about habits.
Low quality day care is bad for children. It usually means that the child is not getting the attention they need for growth, especially under 3-year-olds. 4 kids per carer is acceptable but suboptimal. High quality day care has 1 carer per 3 kids but that is hard to come by if not getting a dedicated nanny.
Some early childhood deficiencies balance out later. Insufficient intellectual and emotional growth from the lack of attention balances at around 11 years, but does cause slightly delayed learning even past that point. On the other hand, aggression introduced through insecurity lasts much longer, even through their whole life.
Get child insurance early, preferably during pregnancy. After your child is diagnosed with an ailment, getting a decent insurance becomes impossible. No insurance company will make you a good offer. Insurance is good even in welfare countries as it both reduces the queue time when going to the hospital, and you naturally get any expensive costs covered. Insurance becomes excellent if your kid is diagnosed with some ailments that needs treatment, of course, but even milder inconveniences can get virtually free like hiring a physiotherapist to help with delayed walking. But do read the insurance contracts and learn what is covered and what is not.
- Baby along your arm, belly down, face between your thumb and index fingers
- Head slightly lower than the legs
- Slam lightly around shoulder blades for 5 times
- Flip the baby.
- Push the rib cage with two fingers for 5 times; 1,5 cm above the nipple line.
- Lay baby on an even surface.
- Slightly tilt head back.
- Place your mouth over both mouth and nose.
- Lightly breath out 3 times, 3 seconds between.
- Check pulse from the inner biceps on an extended arm.
- If there is a pulse, repeat giving break, otherwise continue.
- Push the rib cage with two fingers for 5 times 3 seconds between; 1,5 cm above the nipple line.
- Repeat pushes until the help arrives.
- How Not to F*** Them Up, Oliver James