Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The More You Do It, The More Your Child Will Get Used To It

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No matter what it is, the more you do it, the more your child will get used to it. When it comes to activities your family likes to do, expose your baby to them as early as appropriate so that both you as parents and she as the child can get used to it.

While growing up, my parents lived about a 3.5-4 hour drive away from their parents. We would go visit often. My sister and I became very adept at entertaining ourselves in the car. We were really good travelers. My parents started young and did it often. If your family likes to travel, the more you do it, the more baby will get used to it. However, please remember balance. You need to be sure you provide the consistency your child needs so she can have somewhere to return to once you get home. A new vacation every week is going to cause severe disruptions to your child's routine.

My Dad is also big into playing sports. Even as an "old man" (love you Dad!), he would play on five different basketball leagues at one time. When I was a baby, this was no different. As the oldest, my Mom easily took me to basketball games. I was used to the noises. I grew up very used to the behavior that was expected of me at the games. At a young age, my Dad was able to bring me to watch his games while my Mom stayed home with my baby sister. Times were different then, but I was used to behaving as I should. If your family enjoys attending and playing in sporting events, starting baby at them at a young age will help get her used to it. If she is older, she will get used to it the more she goes.

This not only applies to traveling and loud events, but everything. The first bath Brayden had, he hated it. Over time, he grew to tolerate and eventually like it. The first time Kaitlyn felt grass, she was not excited about it. She wouldn't put her bare skin on the grass. Over time, it no longer phased her.

As you teach new skills (self-soothing), wean from bottle to sippy cup, instruct on hand folding, introduce new foods, and the many other things you will teach, your child might be a bit weary at first, but she will get used to it with time and consistency.

As baby is exposed to sights, sounds, smells, etc., she will get used to it and learn how to adapt. Of course you need to take into account overstimulation and avoid it. You can ease her into things if she needs it. Just as you don't need to avoid all things she dislikes, you also don't need to throw her into the deep end, so to speak. Some children do much better with a gradual introduction to things.

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Justin and Julie said...

Your website is such a blessing. I am always so encouraged by it. I started reading it when my daughter was a newborn. I like you do not love the newborn stage. I don't know how many times I read your "When does it get better" post. Yet, now she is 7 months and life not perfect but it is sweet like you said. Sometimes I feel like I know you. I even pray for you and your family when I think of you. How is your pregnancy going?

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

Great post! I like the sort of off-topic ones that deal with parenting in general. I think a lot of people don't think about this kind of stuff, then complain that they can't travel anymore because their LO doesn't like the car or complain that their LO doesn't eat any vegetables. Experiences can really shape our likes/dislikes and what we're willing to tolerate.

Btw, In the second to last paragraph did you mean "wary" rather than "weary". Sorry, I'm an English major, I can't help but notice those things!! :-)

susanne said...

I travel a lot with my 5 month old since he has been 2 months old. We have already been on the airplane for 3 round trips, plus many a day trip and back in the car. At first my son would not sleep in a new/ strange place. I have learned to bring along some comforts from home his crib sheet, his crib blanket/ swaddler, and his sound machine. I think the familiar sound and smells helps him to sleep better and feel less anxious when he is transitioning from one sleep pattern to the next.

I agree that if you keep exposing your child to something they will learn to deal with it. I know this is true of feeding him rice cereal. He HATED it at first and would only eat fruit or veggies. I kept at it and now he will eat it for me. So yes, consistency and perseverance matters!

Tracey said...

Just wanted to let you know that today I posted a book review of On Becoming Babywise at my blog www.girlstogrow.com. Babywise was such a help to me as a new mom and I continually recommend it to others.

Emily said...

I've really been struggling with independent play but want to keep at it. My DD is 14 months so we've moved to her room. I followed your steps with taking it very slow.

My problem was that whenever I would stop playing with her or slowly move to the corner, She stops playing and tries to climb in my lap. When I ignore her she would just stand there crying and grabbing my leg.

I finally decided that wasn't working so I've been playing with her for a little bit then just leaving. She no longer cries but she won't play. She lays down and starts sucking her thumb like it's nap time. Her door is shut but I can see her through the crack or this is how she is when I come in. I've only been leaving her for 10 minutes because I think she actually might fall asleep and it's sort of sad to me.

I do it after breakfast so it's usually over an hour to an hour and a half before her first nap. This is really the only time I can be consistent about it because we do any errands after her first nap and my husband comes home pretty quickly after her second nap.

What should I do?
Thank you!

Riddlez said...

This is soooo true. It applies to almost anything in life, too. The first time is usually the hardest, but if you keep at it, it will eventually come together.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks so much Julie! I really do appreciate the prayers.

The pregnancy is good. Well, sort of. I am almost at the end. I am thinking that within a week, she could come any day (though you never know!). Pregnancy is really hard on me, but the baby is good so that is all that matters :)

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Amanda! And the sad thing is that I am also an English major. I just don't proof-read these posts. I just write and post! They are like stream of consciousness. lol

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Susanne. Your comment made me think of another facet to this. The more you do it, the more you as the parent will get used to it. You won't be as anxious in these situations because you know how to handle them well.

Plowmanators said...

Tracey, that was a nice review!

Plowmanators said...


I would just continue as you are. Sound really excited when you leave her. "Have a fun playtime!" When you come back in, greet her with excitement again. "Did you have a fun playtime? Good! Let's clean up your toys!" Slowly extend the time. She will start to play. I like that you saw that you being in there wasn't helping so you left. Just have patience and take it slowly and she will start to enjoy it.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Riddlez!

Emily said...

I just wanted to update that today my DD actually started to play after laying down for a few minutes! You were right I was just going in too early and by waiting a little more each day she started to play.

I have a new question though. She opened drawers in her chest and pulled clothes out. She's never done it any other time and I don't think I could communicate to her that it's too messy after the fact. It's hard when you're not in the room yet she's still so young (barely 14 months) that I can't explain that's wrong when I leave her in her room.

Plowmanators said...

Emily, Congrats on the improvement!

When you go in and she has gotten into something she shouldn't, take her to the clothes, tell her we don't take our clothes out of the drawers and have her help you clean them up. Continue to be consistent with that. See also the blog lable "discipline" for further correction ideas if needed.


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