Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Benefits of Babywise in Older Children

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I am really happy to be able to reflect on our use of Babywise over the last nearly 9 years as parents and think about the benefits we enjoy now because of work we put in back then.

Thanks to many of you, I think we have greatly improved the success stories for Babywise in babies and young toddlers found on the Internet. When I first started this blog, it was hard to find such stories online. The stories existed in reality, but people weren't putting them out there. I think since then, we have built up a strong community of moms willing to express the benefits to the world. And there is strength in numbers! Confidence is gained as more are willing to share. That is one reason I love the Babywise Success Stories Week we do here each July. 

There still aren't a lot of stories from people with older children. Many of the arguments about the problems with Babywise from the Babywise haters have shifted from the horrible things it will do to your baby to the horrible problems it will cause in your children when they are older. The hearsay scare tactics used about the babies doesn't work as well when there are so many moms with babies who have and are proclaiming the many benefits they have had and providing real-life evidence in their babies that those supposed problems just don't come to pass. So they have shifted essentially to, "The baby might be fine, but the child won't be." 

Because of that, I am very happy to share how my children are today now that they are in or past the age when the Babywise child will supposedly self-implode (if I remember correctly, it is around age 5). I hope to illustrate in a way that shows they are perfectly healthy in every physical and mental way without sounding like a braggart. My intention here is to illustrate how my children, all Babywise babies, have thus far grown to be great. 

In many ways, my children are quite normal for children around here. They aren't perfect angels, but for the most part they are respectful and obedient to authority figures. Their teachers at school and church love and appreciate each of them in the classroom. McKenna's preschool teacher has taught all three of my older children and has commented to me many times during this school year about how well-behaved my children are and has thanked me for that. And while they are all great and have some similar characteristics, they are also very different from each other. They are unique individuals who are growing to be their own person. Let's get a little summary of each child.

Brayden is coming up on 9 years old. If I had to use one word to describe Brayden it would be responsible. He is a very confident child (like all of my children are). I find the confidence in my children highly satisfying because of claims I have read about how children who were Babywise babies will grow up to be anxiety ridden children who are constantly scared. Brayden is very smart. This is another win for me because a favorite theory of anti-Babywise people is that CIO will damage the brain. Brayden is in the gifted and talented program at school. It is a small group of children. There are only two boys in the program for his grade. He is also one of the youngest people in his grade. 

Recently, the children in the gifted and talented program presented reports they had created. The other children all took about 3 minutes each. Brayden got up last and took 11 minutes (I recorded the whole thing). He was perfectly confident and comfortable getting in front of the crowd. He also regularly bears his testimony at church. This involves him voluntarily standing up and walking to the pulpit in front of the 300-500 people in the room and declaring his testimony. 

This isn't to say he is never scared of anything and never worries about anything. He does, but in a very normal way of children. Overall, he is more confident than most children his age. I would guess there are shy Babywise children out there, and I would say that is perfectly normal. There are shy children from any parenting philosophy, just as their are confident children from any parenting philosophy. My point here is that despite claims to the contrary, Babywise did not destroy confidence in any of my children. 

Brayden can handle being alone. He has fun with friends. He is service-minded. He and his friends at school started a club to clean up trash on the playground because they noticed there was a lot of garbage around. He has always enjoyed helping others. He is very helpful at home. He is great about doing what he needs to do and completing tasks and chores that need to be done.

Kaitlyn is coming up on 7 years old. The best word to describe Kaitlyn is sweet. She is always concerned for others and is the most natural and perfect hostess. Kaitlyn is very willing to work hard at something until she has it down perfectly. She doesn't get frustrated as she practices over and over and over again. She recognizes to be good at something, it takes effort and she is very patient as she puts that effort in. Because of this, Kaitlyn is basically good at everything she does. I have seen her apply herself to thing after thing, from braiding hair, to art, to riding a bike. She came inside the other day triumphantly and told me she had finally perfected the art of turning on her bike. 

Kaitlyn is also very smart. The gifted and talented program at our school starts in third grade and she is in first, but the base entrance upon test scores, drive, and work ethic as well as classroom behavior. She is definitely on par for achieving all of the requirements to be placed in the program. 

Kaitlyn loves to help. She is an amazing big sister. She loves to do all she can to take care of Brinley. She is very selfless and will sacrifice much for other people. Kaitlyn will really be an amazing mother some day. 

McKenna is coming up on 5 years old. The best word to describe McKenna is fun. She is the life of the party and has a smile that lights up the room. She is always laughing and has a good time no matter what situation she finds herself in. She is a very happy person. McKenna has energy that never dies and is always putting that energy into something. She is the child who says she never wants to grow up--she wants to be a child forever. 

McKenna is strong physically and mentally. She is smart and athletic. She has been my strong-willed child. She often has to work to control herself to listen to authority figures. But she puts the effort in and can do it--to the point that her preschool teacher tells me she is perfectly behaved. I honestly didn't know if McKenna would be a child who was good in class. I worked with her. I hoped she would be, but sometimes the fun factor can take over her motivating driving force. Despite her young age, she is able to assess a situation and behave appropriately for the situation. This would not have happened without the self-discipline that comes from instituting Babywise principles. 

McKenna is friends with everyone she meets. It doesn't matter if we are at the park, a basketball game, or standing in line to get into a play, McKenna will make a new bestie within a few minutes. She also doesn't care how old or young you are--everyone is free game for bestie status. Her number one and two people on her desired guest list for her birthday party are her primary teachers at church. 

Brinley is young--only 19 months. She is not an older child. But I will say this about her. She has been a very happy baby and a very loving and pleasant toddler. She loves to give hugs and kisses to her family. She is very gregarious. She has a ton of charisma. She can basically get whatever she wants from anybody. She charms the elderly at church and makes their day each Sunday. 

Brinley is also very confident. The other day she looked in the mirror and said, "Oh I so coot!" Like my other children, she loves having her routine and knowing where she goes next and what to expect in life. She fully trusts me. When she asks for something--from food to going outside--if I tell her "just a minute" she says "kay" and she patiently waits until I get her what she asked for. She knows that when I tell her something, I mean it. She trusts my word. 

For my children to be who they are today, it has taken a lot of effort, but it hasn't been terribly difficult. It is hard to explain it because it hasn't been easy, but it hasn't been hard. I have put a lot into it, but it hasn't been something that other people couldn't do.

I have valued sleep. I have put effort into making sure they are good sleepers who can sleep on their own. I have given them consistent naps, bedtime, morning wake up time, and rest times over the years. Get more info on Naps and Sleep

I have valued independent playtime. I have been sure they are able to play independently. I have made it as consistent as possible per the circumstances (back when Brinley had two naps a day, it was hard to be every day with having schedules of older kids to work around, but she has been consistent since moving to one nap). Get more info on Independent Play.

I have worked to allow them to be independent people. I have taught them the value of hard work and I have expected them to be able to solve problems independently. I have helped them as they have needed, but I believe their ability to problem solve independently can be attributed in large part to independent playtime and having to problem solve on their own each day. Get more info on Chores.

I have expected respect from my children. They know they must respect authority figures. Get more info on Discipline.

My children know they are not the center of the universe. I give a lot to my children, but they do not get to interrupt adults (or any conversation) without being corrected for it. They know that mom and dad are people two and have feelings that should be considered. Get more info on Family Dynamics.

They know throwing fits gets them further from their goal then they ever were before the fit. Get more info on Discipline.

There are so many little things that really have all struck me as common sense when I have read them in the Babywise books that we have implemented that have helped my children grow so far into the delightful people they are. They amaze me each day. I am excited to see them grow and see all they will become. They are equipped with tools to do what they need to do and I have no doubt they will continue to amaze me in the future.


Book a Day said...

I think your kids are awesome because you stay calm and don't yell at them or spank them.

Zephyr said...

I couldn't be happier with my toddler on Babywise. She is happy, confident, bright and can sleep anywhere. She knows her routine, and it makes her secure and happy. She's also very polite, and routinely says please and thank you, which blows me away for such a baby still. And on top of that, she has been an awesome sleeper in terms of length of sleep (twelve hours at night, two to three through the day, regardless of illness or disruption), which has made me a happy and well-rested mum! I am gobsmacked at all the bad press out there for Babywise. I know five of my friends who personally followed it, and all of them have happy children (aging from 1yo to 14yo) who slept well, and are well adjusted. I have other friends who were 'anti-routine' (apparently all kids find their own routine by 4yo???), and they are 18 months down the track and still not getting a full nights sleep, and then only sleep 20 or so minutes during the day. That can't be good for the child or the parent!

Stephanie Kirby said...

Love the review! Thanks for all the wonderful information! I wanted to ask you what do you do to help McKenna control the "fun" side? My son is 6 and gets awesome grades, is super sweet, and a really good boy, but he has a hard time focusing and letting play time end so he can work on his school work sometimes. His teacher wrote on his last progress report that he just wants to play way too much. Any thoughts on something I can do with him to help him stay focused? Any discipline measures you've found that work for McKenna? Also, I wanted to note that he was homeschooled for kindergarten, so this is his first year at school.

Valerie Plowman said...

Zyphyr I love how Brinley says "Dank-ooo" all the time! It is so cute.

Valerie Plowman said...

Book a day--thank you :)

Valerie Plowman said...


I actually haven't had to do anything. She has been great from the beginning, which frankly shocked me.

I would be a big contribution is that he is a boy. It is just harder for boys to sit still than girls. I have rarely seen a girl be a physical disruption in any of my kids classes--it does happen, but it is rare.

So one thing I would do is figure out a way for him to channel energy elsewhere. See if you can find some kinetics things he can do to use energy but while sitting at his desk. I am sure there are ideas on the web.

I would definitely talk with him at home about needing to listen to his teacher and stop playing when playtime is over. I would examine how you are at home with him--does he have too much free play? When you tell him it is time to clean up does he do it, or does he push for more playtime? I would be very consistent at home so he transfers that over to school.

My guess is kids like your son and McKenna do best with a very structured teacher. They need teachers who will not give them latitude or they will take advantage of it. So as you look at teachers for him next year (if you can request at your school), ask around to find out which teachers will be better at managing that.

I would also say there is a good chance a contributor is that he was homeschooled--just in comparison to the other kids who were there in Kindergarten, he wasn't forced to stick to such a strict routine as a school environment is. I know one of our Kindergarten teachers at our school actually really dislikes kids being kept home for an extra year for discipline issues. She says they do better if they come in earlier and get that routine a year earlier.

So all of that to say, he likely needs some time to be able to catch up to what the other kids learned in Kindergarten so far as classroom behavior goes--but I do think my March it is reasonable to expect him to have caught on.

I would talk to the teacher to see what she does about it. You will have to decide if you want discipline at school and home. Usually it happening at school is enough, but kids will often respond to school discipline faster if they know mom and dad will be checking in to see how they are doing at school. Many teachers will send home daily reports if needed.

He is also old enough to include him in the deciding of consequences. When you talk to him about it, ask him what he thinks should happen if he doesn't listen to his teacher. And talk to him about how him listening to his teacher shows his teacher respect and the other children respect.

Valerie Plowman said...

Oh and also on the energy--make sure he can get his energy out at home.

Does he have recess and PE class? I know those things get cut a lot these days, which is a detriment to boys. Our school still has those things thankfully.

Stephanie Kirby said...

Hi Valerie,
Thanks for the response. Yes, he does have PE twice a week. He also has recess everyday. He does ask for more playtime at home sometimes. At school, he will get a demerit for disobeying his teacher, and he will likely come home with left over work that he didn't get finished due to his lack of focusing. They don't send home homework at his school in his grade. The only reason he would bring work home is if he didn't finish the work he should have done in class. He has done better the last couple of weeks, thankfully. He actually did very well until Christmas break. It was after Christmas break that he started the lack of focusing, and brining home work, etc...Perhaps it just took him a long time to get back in the groove of going to school. We have had the respect talk that you mentioned as well. Thanks for your input!

Valerie Plowman said...

Is it cold where you live? You saying he was fine until Christmas makes me think--what is different? Is he getting less exercise? Does he need some vitamin or nutrient that gets depleted in the winter?

Stephanie Kirby said...

Well, it's been a cold winter everywhere, including here(NC). I hadn't thought about the vitamin thing. I try to remember to give him a Flinstone vitamin everyday, so I don't think that could be it. He is still getting enough exercise I think.

Valerie Plowman said...

Unrelated, but it has actually been a very mild winter here in Utah. We haven't gotten cabin fever or anything :) We normally are stuck inside for months, but we have been playing outside with no snow since the end of January--it has been a weird winter for everyone!


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