Whenever I come across any advertisement related to childcare, I have always seen mothers all over the ad. It creates an impression that a mother knows everything about a child and a father does not know anything about child-rearing. Recently I came across a commercial from Pampers which is no different.
If you see this commercial you will immediately note there are only mothers throughout the ad – a woman’s voiceover, two women displaying the diaper features and a mother playing with her baby.
But it is not the mothers who do everything for their children, even when it comes to diapers and taking the baby to sleep. It might be true in the era of my parents but not today. Modern lifestyle forces both the parents to take equal responsibility at home and fathers do take a lot of responsibility in the homes today. Hence my today’s post is dedicated to all fathers who have an awesome time with their babies but need little guidance from experienced fathers who have managed kids.
In my personal life, I have observed that managing a child’s sleep was not easy for me. It was not that I didn’t want to take care of his sleep but it was my over-friendly nature that had made him take me lightly. Sometimes it was exhaustive for me to put him to sleep and finally his mother used to take him to the task to make him sleep. Well, I didn’t like her beating the child in order to put him to sleep and always felt it was a failure on our part to know the child better.
Many people told me that the child needed to play extensively throughout the day so that at night he gets tired and sleep automatically. He was a bundle of energy that never seemed to reduce. So I made it a practice to eat my dinner with him. He started eating dinner with us after six months of his age. By one year he was eating from my plate. I always felt that this kind of small habits creates good bonding between the father and the child. Simultaneously we used to have cartoon channels on for him to keep his attention diverted from food so that he eat without any hassle. Both of us used to switch roles of feeding him and he enjoyed our attention and the dinner sitting in the middle of two of us. This practice was a kind of preparation for his bedtime.
After dinner, we used to watch television for some more time and then we used to start preparing for our sleep. Well, no need to mention that we had to keep at least one hour buffer to make him sleep.
I never believed that spanking a child could yield any result. Thus in order to make him sleep, I used to play with him to exhaust him and to put him to sleep. His most favourite bedtime game was to play with me. I used to lie down on the bed and he used to jump on my back. Well, let me confess that a one-two-year-old kid jumping on my back relieved a lot of my back pain. It was a good message for me while he enjoyed the attention of playing with me. He used to pull my hair hard, beat me and all that was part of my work to put him to bed. The problem was he had so much of energy that he never seemed to get tired and it was always me who used to get tired.
So after about one hour of play with him (it is probably better to call it as getting beaten up by him), we used to switch off the lights. But the little devil never used to sleep immediately. He only used to keep his eyes closed and we could feel that he was not asleep. So it was again my turn to take him on my lap and take rounds in our balcony to make him sleep. At times I was successful, many times I was not. Then his mother used to step in, some spanking from her and he would peacefully go to bed.
This bedtime story with my little one may create an impression that his mother was successful in making him sleep but very often she used to use force to put him to sleep. So the impression such commercials create, that mothers are more successful with kids is not right, not at least in my kid’s case. I have the opinion that fathers can be equally successful with kids and hence I want to share some tips for the new fathers –
- If your kid is a son make him a friend at an early age. A good father-child bond can be created in several ways like sharing food, making him eat from your plate, having a good pillow fight and losing to him and at times even making him jump on your back (that is a good massage you know). This father-child bond is extremely important to take you a long way. If the kid is a daughter she will be naturally less active than a boy and more addicted to her father. Same actions of creating bonding may be taken and I am sure you will get better results.
- Good night sleep is very important to have his mind and body fresh for the next day. So make sure you use a good diaper. Well, I am not recommending any particular brand here but make sure it is dry from inside even when it is ready to be thrown out. Check different brands yourself and then decide. Don’t compromise on the quality of his diapers, as the last thing you want is he getting up in the middle of the night and disturbing your sleep. One tip has the better quality diaper for night time even if in the daytime you are using the ordinary ones to save cost.
- NEVER spank a child in the middle of the night if he is not getting sleep, no matter how frustrated you are. That will make them cry out of pain even harder and will make your night miserable.
- Sometimes, children start crying suddenly at night without any reason. That may be a bad dream or maybe stomach ache. Without putting on any light just put your hand on their chest and slowly and gently rub their head. This will work if it is a bad dream. If it is stomach ache then consult a doctor for a solution. My child’s paediatrician had given a solution that worked like magic with him.
- Always make him sleep in between two of you in those early years. That will make him bond well with both of you.
- After three or four years of his age when he is independent make him sleep in a separate children’s room. You need to do this gradually so that he becomes independent and confident and you two have your privacy.
- At times children do get up suddenly in the middle of the night without any sign. I don’t know why do they do that, but I have observed that with my kid and hence I feel it is very important that you are not in a sexual position with your partner during those times. To save you from such awkwardness you need to make your child sleep in another room as soon as they are old enough to understand things.
- Many people resort to lullaby or bedtime stories for making a child sleep. I used to create my own funny lullabies that never worked. If you are a victim of such lullaby failure, please buy some good CDs and play them during the night. That will probably make you sleep as well.
- Other than a lullaby, my personal preference is good soft music like piano or flute. These can change the entire ambience to such an extent that after your baby’s sleep, you and your wife may try to get cozy…well use the other room for that. The last thing you want is to wake your little ones up and mess up your romantic mood.
- For having a good night sleep and a perfect romantic mood you can also use soft aromatic perfumed candles or spray. These take your nights to heavenly perfection and may also help your baby sleep faster. Please change these fragrances as if he gets used to one fragrance, later he may not get sleep without any fragrance or with a different one.
All the tips provided here can really make a father rock with his kids. I am sure the perfect use of these tips will change the common perspective that when it is related to babies, one always needs to believe in mothers’ opinion. We fathers can also be equally successful with our babies.
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