parenting: things to do

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Buy and properly install a car seat.  Once your child grows out of the infant car seat, she needs a rear facing properly installed car seat.  Have I said properly installed before?  Yes, because statistics show 60%-80% of car seats are installed incorrectly. 

When your child is ready to move from the car seat to a booster seat, think about purchasing a booster with a 5-point harness, rather than a booster seat that relies on the regular adult lap belt.

If you live in New York City or Baltimore you can schedule a lesson with “The Car Seat Lady”.  If not, you can visit her website where you will find detailed information about most car seats, including how-to videos and an amazing section about taxis.

One more note about keeping your child rear-facing in her car seat after the law allows you to switch to front-facing:  We all know it’s easier for you and your child to face forward. I would encourage people to be as thoughtful and clever as they can be to help their child ride rear facing as long as possible.

There is no hurry to switch from a crib to a bed until your child is climbing out and may pose a risk to himself. 

When it is time, talk about it.  Say things like, “It seems like you are getting ready to sleep in a bed.”  Say things that help the child know that he is ready, that first people sleep in cribs and then beds.  You can pick sheets and a blanket together, all things that are fun. Again, if you ask me, you should avoid tying this move to age.  Eliminate the words “big boy” or “big girl” if you can from your vocabulary—the move to a bed is mainly tied to emotional readiness, not size or age.  (more on this below)

This is where the stuffed animals and maybe a small pillow help make a nice transition from the crib to the bed.  Buying a travel pillow and removing half the stuffing or buying a toddler pillow while your child is still in the crib gives you another

Why do I suggest avoiding “big boy & big girl”? 

The correlation of behavior to age isn’t accurate.  One 4 year old may be ready for things another 4 year old isn’t—and for the rest of their lives we want them to do things that are right to do because they are right—not because they turn a certain age.  It also helps you and your child have expectations for individuals—in your next child isn’t ready or is ready for something at a different age, you avoid a conversation that will go nowhere.

As your child is learning to use the toilet, having a portable potty can be very helpful.  The smallest (easiest) is the Potette which is about $10 or the new somewhat sturdier Potette Plus.  Both come with fancy bags (plastic bags with a maxi-padesque liner) but you can use scented diaper disposal bags as replacements.  It’s good to put a bag on the potty before you leave the house, and then re-fold the potty, so you’ll be ready when your child has to pee or poop.

Whether or not you are going back to work, need a day to yourself, or have another reason, hiring a caregiver is a process. Read more here.



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