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Childwise Principle Four: Instill Morality and Behavior Will Follow

On Becoming Childwise: Parenting Your Child from 3-7 Years

The fourth principle in On Becoming Childwise is on morality. Ezzo and Bucknam state that morality is "essential for optimal intellectual and emotional development, as well as the advancement of natural skills" (page 68).

I find teaching proper morals to children to be the most overwhelming task of parenting. Sleep training was hard, sure. Sometimes food issues can cause you anxiety. But there is such complete weight associated with morals. Morals guide the child through life. A child who cares for others will share. A child who respects elders will speak in such manner. A child who loves others will be kind to siblings. 

As the child ages, these morals become even more important, guiding the child through choices on drugs and sex. Those are extreme categories, but many of the simple things lead to those larger categories.

So instilling morals is an important parenting task.

And I don't just want my children to do the right thing in action. I want it deeper than that. I want them to do the right things because they want to. I want their moral actions to be motivated from within. I want them to do what is right, and know what is right, even when I am not standing there. So I want to teach them to behave morally out of love, not out of fear of punishment or disappointment. Instilling morals is the way to lead the child to govern himself and discern right in new situations. 

That is why instilling morals leads the child to having the behavior you desire. The behavior is an outward sign of an inward feeling. 

So there is the big, overwhelming and generalized "why" we want to instill morals, the main question in our mind naturally then becomes "how"? It can seem overwhelming. I often feel overwhelmed when I start to think of the gravity of this goal. Okay, okay, I ALWAYS feel overwhelmed when I think of the gravity of this goal.

On Becoming Childwise has a lot of guidance on the topic of how to instill morals. We will go through those. There are also several posts on the topic on this blog: moral training.

The short answer is to be an example yourself. Emulate what you want your child to be. That will likely mean you will need to do some changing yourself. Maybe you want your child to share but you aren't so good about sharing yourself. Maybe you want your child to speak kindly to others and of others but she often overhears you talking poorly about people you know. Maybe you want your child to be patient but she hears you yelling at other drivers as you drive down the road. Do your best to emulate the behavior you are trying to teach.

And of course you can't be perfect. You will make mistakes. Take those opportunities to emulate the repentance process. 

Actively teach about these morals in your home. Share stories that teach about proper choices and ways to act. Teach your child about the morals. 

This is obviously a topic larger than a simple blog post, so we will discuss this further in the future and have discussed many aspects in the past. 

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Potty Training 1-2-3 {Giveaway!}

This post is written in partnership with Garry and Anne Marie Ezzo. All opinions are my own.

If there is anything that can strike fear into the heart of a first time mom, I think it is potty training. How on earth are you supposed to teach a little toddler or preschooler how to eliminate into a toilet rather than a diaper?

Some parents have a more natural aptitude for such things, as do some children. Put Kaitlyn in that category. Others really don't. Put the combo of Brayden and me in that "other" category. But I read On Becoming Pottywise and we were able to have success!

So I am very excited that Garry and Anne-Marie Ezzo are offering this giveaway today! Many thanks to them. Two lucky winners will win not only the Potty Training 1-2-3 book, but also the DVD

Here is the great thing about these resources. They are filled with advice that works, and the advice is coming from people you already trust. The ideas work well with your family because there are certain base values you share with this book. This is a great combo, too, because it works with different facets of the way you learn--and many people find a video tutorial very easy to follow. See the description for more on this product.

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  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry.
  • You must leave a separate comment for each entry. This is not so I can get lots of comments--it is because it makes it a million times easier to choose a winner. It takes less time, and less time is good.
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  • One entry per comment.
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  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM Friday, February 4 Mountain Standard Time.
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  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time!


The winner of the Professor Brooster Mechanical Brain Booster is...


Please email me at Include your mailing address. You have one week or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!

Last Day to Enter...

To day is your last day to enter to win the Professor Brooster Mechanical Brain Booster! You have until 11:59 MST!

Thrush/Yeast Infection

I must apologize. I must apologize for having not written this post before now. I thought I had written something because recently someone was asking about thrush and I went to my blog to "find the link" and instead found nothing.

I had thrush/yeast issues with both of my girls. Twice with McKenna.

Thrush/Yeast infections are very difficult to get rid of, and I know from experience they are very painful for the nursing mother. 

It all started with Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was born a perfect nurser. She had perfect form and was very efficient. There was never any pain involved with nursing her. When she was about a month old, it started to get a bit painful. At first,  I thought it was normal. It was very painful for me when Brayden was first nursing, so I figured it was just the normal "callousing" coming a bit late.

But it just continued to get worse.

And worse.

I started to bleed from my nipples. Oh it was painful. I even called my lactation consultant friend and she attributed it to poor latch.

By the time Kaitlyn was 6 or 7 weeks old, my logical brain kicked in. It didn't make sense we would spend a month nursing pain-free, then suddenly get so bad. My LC friend thought it could be she was sucking harder now, but it just didn't make sense to me. 

Plus, it was only getting worse.

Finally, one day, I "Googled" 'bleeding nipples' and up came information on Thrush! Yes! That was the problem! I read about it on several sites and realized that is what I had.

I contacted my doctor and also contacted Kaitlyn's doctor. She had some thrush spots in her mouth behind her lips, not on her cheeks  or tongue where I was checking. 

I wish I could say that after a week of anti-fungal medication, we were both perfect. No. It wasn't until she was 7 months old that we were finally yeast free. But we did get things so I was not in sharp, shooting pain at even the though of nursing.

So what is thrush? And what do you do about it?

Thrush is yeast. In a baby, you will likely see white patches in the mouth somewhere. The biggest sign for me was that she she had what appeared to be a diaper rash, but it would not go away. It had red, raised bumps all over her diaper area.

Symptoms in mom. For me, it starts with bright red nipples. They are also very sensitive all of a sudden.

It then moves on to burning. It can burn in the nipple area and when it spreads enough, it burns in the milk duct area, so you feel it everywhere your ducts are. At this point, you will have shooting pains when you nurse your baby.

You will start to crack in your nipples. And not just a "I am a first time mom nursing a baby" crack, but a full on split down your nipple. And in my case, blood gushing forth (sorry, but true).

You might also find you have a red rash on your breast like your baby might have on the bottom.

Your breast and/or nipples might be itchy.

You will need to of course see your doctor AND your baby's doctor, even if one of you do not have symptoms. Your doctor(s) will decide what is the best course of treatment, but I do think it is wise to be aware of some things when you go.

First, you both MUST be treated at the same time. Some doctors will try to treat just one you, but you both must be treated. Be firm about this. When Kaitlyn was a baby, her doctor told me we both had to be treated at the same time. When McKenna was a baby and I had yeast, she had no visible symptoms. I called the office and a nurse on the phone told me she couldn't be treated if she had no symptoms. I was finally able to get an appointment and the doctor prescribed treatment for her.

There are several treatment options out there. 

Nystatin is a common first choice in treating mom and baby. For baby, it will be drops and for mom, it will be a cream in most cases. Some sources believe Nystatin to be rather ineffective against yeast. We personally haven't had luck with Nystatin alone.

Yeast problems develop when the immune system is low. So if you or baby (or both in my case) were on antibiotics, then that is likely when the yeast problem developed. Probiotics, like acidopholus, might work to help you fight the yeast, though some have found it to hurt the situation more than help.

Some readers commented that diet change helped them. Maybe adding more yogurt (with active cultures). Some cut dairy. Yeast likes sugars, so going low-carb and high-protein with vegetables can help.

There are some nipple care actions to take. One is to let the nipples dry off completely before dressing, even after nursing. You also want to clean your breasts with water or a water/vinegar mixture after each feeding. You can also do nipple soaks, either in saline solution or in vinegar/water mixture (1/1). Also, keep your nursing pads dry and fresh. Be careful with the nicer disposable pads. They can hold so much liquid you might be changing them too infrequently (I know from experience).

Gentian Violet is a very popular remedy, but one I have never used.

The only thing that has worked for me to finally rid myself of the yeast is Diflucan. And not the "wimpy" route of diflucan, but the 'take-several-pills-day-one-then-one-to-two-pills-daily-for-ten-days' route. With McKenna, I had to get a new  OB (old one moved). She is one who doesn't believe much in treating thrush. She thinks it will go away on its own eventually. Well, maybe so, but try telling my bleeding nipples to wait two months and it will go away. So I had to push for the Diflucan treatment, but I got it. 

Also, be sure to ask for Newman's Nipple Cream prescription if you have cracked nipples. It has to be compounded. I didn't get that until my second round with McKenna, and let me tell you, it is fabulous. So fabulous. I can't believe I went through two rounds of infection before this heaven-sent drug was given me. 

For more information on these and other treatments, see Could We Have Thrush? There are also other ideas, including dietary changes, at Yeast Overgrowth Suggestions.

This sound pretty awful, right? It is! So here is how you avoid it getting bad:
  1. Be aware of the signs. A big part of my problem with Kaitlyn is I didn't realize what was going on and it got really bad before we started treatment. 
  2. This often happens after a round of anti-biotics. If you or baby are or have been on them, keep a lookout for symptoms.
  3. Let nipples air dry after showering and/or nursing.
  4. Clean with water daily (to avoid, not treat).
  5. Keep nursing pads dry and fresh. As I said above, watch those nice and absorbent pads. They hold more than you realize.
Reader Ideas
Here are some ideas from readers they say worked with yeast (other than what has been listed):
  • Go tanning (the light kills the yeast)
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Wash clothes (nursing nightgown, bra, etc) often with vinegar added to the cycle
Please share any treatments or tips to avoid you have found helpful!


Love Language: Acts of Service

The final love language discussed in the Five Love Languages of Children by Chapman and Campbell is acts of service.

On the surface, acts of service seems simple and straightforward. You do nice things for your child and she knows you love her. It is not, however, that cut and dry.

"Don't view acts of service as a way to manipulate your children" (page 90).

"...if we parents give in to desires or even demands for too many gifts and too much service, our children can remain childishly self-centered and become selfish" (page 90).

"However, this caution should not keep parents from using the language of service and gifts in appropriate ways" (page 90).

Providing Age Appropriate Service
"You should do for your children what they cannot do for themselves" (page 91).

This means that when your child is ready for it, you teach him how and have him do it himself. You feed a 6 month old with a spoon, but a 6 year old is capable of feeding himself. A 3 year old won't be able to make her bed on her own, but an 8 year old can.

So you start life doing the service acts for the child.

Then you move on to the intermediate step. That is when  you teach them how to perform acts for themselves. Does it take more time than doing it yourself? Absolutely yes. Will it be more sloppy and less efficient? Most definitely. "Parents who are too busy to teach children how to do laundry, or too perfectionistic to let them do it, are not loving those children but crippling them" (page 91).

Offering Service
This is where the line gets harder--where things aren't so cut and dry.

You want your children to learn to be self-sufficient. You want them to learn to do things for themselves. But you don't want to lean so far in that direction that you offer no service to your children. 

So make sure you offer service and help to your children when they need it while still balancing the teaching of self-sufficiency.

Serving With Love
When you perform acts of service, be sure it is in your heart that you are serving. Do so with love. I know things get mundane. Changing another diaper gets old. Filling up that cup of milk for the fifth time before you have even had a chance to take a bite of your own dinner can be frustrating. Try to keep the proper perspective. If you serve grudgingly, your child will feel that, and any love that could be communicated through the service will be negated by your negative attitude (see page 94 for more).

"When parents serve their children with a spirit of resentment and bitterness, a child's physical needs may be met, but his emotional development will be greatly hampered" (pages 94-95).

And don't feel bad if you have ever offered service grudgingly. I would venture to say all of us have. Have you ever entered that nursery at 3 AM in a bad mood because you are up in the night? You are not a lone. As Chapman and Campbell point out, "Because service is so daily, even the best parents need to stop for an attitude check now and then, to be sure their acts of service are communicating love" (page 95--emphasis added).

Meaning of Service
As you serve, you teach your children to serve. As you serve your children, neighbors, and spouse, you show them how to serve. 

Showing Love Through Service
If your child's love language is service, here are some ideas to show love in this way:
  • Help child with sports practice
  • Help child with homework
  • Make snack for child--especially a favorite when the child is having a bad day
  • Carry child to bed and/or tuck in bed (rather than just sending them to bed)
  • Make meals for children
  • Serve others together
  • Help your child get ready
  • Take special care of your child when he is sick
  • Choose a special way to always provide service. For example, always making sure the special stuffed animal is in their bed before bedtime
  • Help fix broken toys
Related Posts Blog Labels:

Staying on the Moral Path

As I mentioned recently, teaching morals to my children is my primary concern. The idea of them straying from those morals is frightening to me, so the question becomes, how do you teach sustaining moral character?

I recently read some great ideas from Rosemary M. Wixom, General President of the Primary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

First is to realize that your children will learn from someone. "The world" will teach your child if you do not, and children are able to learn from "the world" younger than you may realize. Remember the post Teaching Children: Whose Job Is It? The answer is the parent's job. If you don't make it your job, someone will, and you might not like who your child chooses for his teacher.

Second is to teach them now. Wixom said, "What we want them to know five years from now needs to be part of our conversation with them today." It is like the idea Begin as You Mean to Go On. But this can be intimidating. Think about things like sexual purity. Five years early? That is not an easy conversation five years late, much less five years early. But again think back to the first point--if you do not teach your child, someone will. This leads me to realize I need to have a discussion with Brayden about drugs. He is 5, and in the modern day he will definitely hear about drugs before he is 10. 

Third is to teach in every opportunity. "Teach them in every circumstance; let every dilemma, every consequence, every trial that they may face provide an opportunity to teach them how to hold to gospel truths." This is what we call finding the teaching moments. These are moments that present themselves to you--not moments you sit down and give a lesson. These moments require you to be present physically and mentally. You also need to be prepared to respond to these moments. My neighbor, mother of seven, once told me she loves it when her Kindergarteners come home with their feelings hurt about something. She sees it as a great opportunity to talk about why it hurt and how they can avoid hurting others in the same way. 

Fourth is the ever present advice to be a good example. I think just about every person, expert to experience parent, states example as one of the most, if not the most, important factors in having children behave the way we hope they will. I hope the constant "be a good example" advice won't desensitize you to it.

These are four steps you can take to help keep your children on the moral path you desire for them. This is not exhaustive--there is of course much more than this. It also isn't "easy"--each step has many small important factors that go along with it. But it is simple. Nothing grand and nothing that can't be done by us all.

For the full article, see Stay on the Path

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Sleep Hierarchy: 6-9 Months

This age group is pretty simple so far as what your sleep goals are. Things are pretty straight forward for this age group with fewer exceptions and caveats than with the earlier ages. Here are your three main goals for this age group:
  1. Baby is put in bed awake
  2. Baby sleeps in her own bed
  3. Baby sleeps at consistent times (regular naps and a set bedtime and morning waketime)
These are the things you want to be doing with this age group. 

This is the age to get serious about teaching baby to sleep in her bed if you haven't already (and if that is a goal you have). See the CIO Bootcamp--Revised and Updated if you need help. You also want baby sleeping in her own bed if that is where you want her. It is also important and possible to have set bedtimes and regular naps each day.

There are also two subgoals you want to have for this age group:
  1. Baby takes two naps that are at least 1.5 hours long. Baby might also take a third nap, which can range from 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  2. Baby sleeps through the night.
The first three main goals must be met before you can realistically hope for these two subgoals to be reached. Yes, some babies will reach one or both of these even if none of the first three are met; however, most will not in this age group.

Some of you are going to have difficulty with number one. If so, be sure to look over the 45 minute intruder posts and the Naps: Troubleshooting post. Take the advice in those to heart, including the advice to relax about it all. If you are having short nap troubles, be sure to read through those for advice and encouragement.

If you are having night issues, be sure to see the Nighttime Sleep Issues post. 

Structure Deters Whining

First and foremost, let's be sure we recognize that the title says structure "deters" whining and not "banishes" or "cures" whining. But deters is better than nothing, right?

Structure actually does a lot for avoiding whining. On the simple and obvious side, a well-rested child whose tummy is satisfied is going to whine less. Structure lends itself to naps, consistent bedtimes, and regular meals. 

But structure moves beyond that. Adding the right structure to your day builds attention span. 

You don't want to spend the day jumping from activity to activity as your child desires. There is a place and value to free play, but the entire day should not be free. 

On Becoming Preschoolwise says the parent should choose not only the activities of the day, but also the starting and stopping times of the activities. "Left to choose for himself, a preschooler will generally spend too much time flitting from one activity to another or following Mom around expecting her to entertain him. Flitting and following generally lead to whining and discontent" (page 119). 

Preschoolers need guidance and encouragement to stick with activities longer than their natural tendancies desire. For example, you might be working on a craft project with your preschooler. She might want to stop after about five minutes (not all would--some live for craft projects). You can help encourage her to stick with it and finish the project. This is great for a preschooler to do so she can learn to build her attention span for school and further learning. 

You need to choose appropriate activities and require an appropriate amount of time--neither too much nor too little. "As your child grows and matures, work on increasing the length of time he spends happily engaged in each activity. This will increase your child's attention span" (page 119).

Structure also adds the element of no time spent wandering and wondering what to do. If you have independent play, meals, nap or rest time, learning time, family time, sibling time, outside time, chores, etc. planned into your day, your child won't have to sit and wonder what to do next. That leads to less whining. Again, free time is valuable and should be a part of your structured day.

If you find your child is whining a lot, spend some time analyzing the structure in your day. Do you have enough? Are you working to develop your child's focusing and independent skills? Is your child getting the rest and food she needs? Address this simple area first when trying to troubleshoot a whining problem.

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Book Winners...

Now for the winners of the books from Tony Dungy...

The Grand Prize Winner of both books is...


And the two winners of Dungy's new book are:

The Witbecks


We Three Kings

Please email me at with your mailing address (no PO Boxes). You have until Wednesday, January 26 8 AM MST or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!

Canvas Winner...

The winner of the Canvas from Canvas on Demand is...


You have one week to email me at or another winner will be chosen. Congrats Becca!

Last Day to Enter TWO contests

Today is your last day to enter to win

1. A Canvas Photo!

2.Children's books!

One of Those Moments

And by "Those Moments" I don't mean a good one. It was one of those moments.

There I was, walking out of our church building holding McKenna as she cried. I was closely followed by a crying Brayden and a crying Kaitlyn. As I was walking down the hall I thought to myself, "This is one of those moments when you either laugh or cry." So I burst out laughing. It really was a comical scene. 

So what got us to that moment? Ah. Something so simple.

Each winter, our church does basketball games for the men. It was the first basketball game of the season, and my husband's game was at 7 PM. 

Historically, the first game of the season has always been a difficult one. It takes a game to get everyone in the groove of knowing expectations and me knowing what to bring to keep things calm.

But I remembered that. I utilized ask and tell before we left. I explained where we would be and what the rules were. They were all well-fed. We brought notebooks and crayons--a sure-win.

But I was sabotaged.

Not intentionally, but the "7:00" game started late--7:20. Considering that my children are usually in bed between 7:30 and 8:00, I really should have seen it coming. My husband must have on some level because he told me that if I needed to leave, he could easily find a ride home. 

Things went well until 8:00. Relatively. Brayden and Kaitlyn were good while McKenna was unhappy that she couldn't join the men on the floor playing basketball. But she is young and, though tenacious, can be distracted to have fun with a group of children without much effort. Every so often I had to grab her just as she was about to run out onto the floor.

But at 8:00, Kaitlyn and McKenna started to cry. McKenna's mind was set on that gym floor and she could not be distracted. Kaitlyn was tired from having not slept during her nap that day. So I decided we were leaving. 

And there I was, walking down the hall with three tired and disappointed children crying and me laughing. 

Why do I tell you this story? To illustrate a couple of things. One is that things are not always 100% smooth sailing for my little family. We have our moments. Those moments. And two is that sometimes despite your best efforts, things still do not go well. Remember my post "It Happens"? It really does happen. And I don't say that to discourage you, but to encourage you so that when it happens to you, you have one of those moments, you can laugh it off and not sit and stress about where you have gone terribly wrong in life. 

What do I take from it? Well, for one, we won't be going to any more 7 PM games unless I decide we will just leave at half-time no matter what. For another, I need to do some brainstorming to work on McKenna accepting no and putting her efforts toward appropriate activities. When she gets her mind set on something, she fights until she gets it. It isn't a trait I think is bad--on the contrary I think it is a great trait. So long as I can keep her focused on good goals, I won't have to worry about her :). But I do need to work with her to accept new goals if a goal she has set for herself is not okay. 

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Feeding a Newborn: How Long Is a Feed?

Feeding a Newborn: How Long Is a Feed?

The question of how long a baby should eat is at the forefront of every newborn mother's mind. Even experienced moms run through the question since every baby is different. This is especially true for breastfeeding moms because they have no idea the number of ounces baby is eating. There are variables of how much milk mom has, how fast it comes out, how fast baby can drink, how strong of a sucker baby is, and how much baby needs. How do you know?

My friend who is a lactation consultant at our hospital says the only way to know for sure if baby is getting enough is to get a scale--an accurate scale--and do weighing before and after feeds. Of course, most of us can't afford said scale, so we need other guidance. 

As you might suspect, Tracy Hogg, aka The Baby Whisperer, has some guidance.

20-40 Minutes
Hogg says that for the first 6-8 weeks, an average-weight baby's feeding will take 20-40 minutes (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, page 99). Lactation consultants say to aim for at least 10, but preferably 15-20 minutes per side initially. Those numbers are in sync with what Hogg is saying for amount of time spent feeding.

Sleep Is Not A "Full" Sign
A baby falling asleep is not a sign that the baby is full--especially in a breastfed baby. Most breastfed babies will fall asleep about 10 minutes into a feeding because of oxytocin (page 99). 

Count Sucks
One sign that baby is done with one side is how many sucks she takes before swallowing. I read somewhere, and I think it was in a Baby Whisperer book but I don't see it so I am not sure, that if baby is sucking more than 4 or 5 times before swallowing, you can switch sides. After the initial letdown, the baby will start to "suck, suck, suck, swallow." If baby is just sucking with no swallowing, then she is asleep. If she is sucking a lot of times before swallowing, then it is time to switch sides. 

Watch Growth and Disposition
Feeding a Newborn: How Long Is a Feed?One of the best ways to know if your baby is getting enough food is to watch growth patterns and also your baby's disposition. If she is content and sleeping well as well as growing, then she is eating long enough. If not, then she is either having a growth spurt or she needs to spend more time eating.

The good news is that while it takes some time to figure each individual baby out, you will get there and will be able to feed your baby with confidence. You don't need to be an expert immediately. Have some patience with yourself. Pay attention to your baby and you will be able to figure things out.

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Book Giveaway!

You Can Be a Friend

Tony Dungy, former NFL player, retired Super Bowl winning head coach of the Indianapolis Colts who is now a part of NBC's Sunday "Football Night In America," and a NY Times Bestselling Author is releasing his new book You Can Be A Friend.  He and his wife Lauren have created a children’s book series perfect for parents and their kids, teaching them about the importance of kindness, family, friends and community in a charming series.

The first book in this series is You Can Do It.

You Can Do It!

Two lucky winners will win a copy of You Can Be a Friend.

One lucky winner will will a copy of You Can Be a Friend AND You Can Do It!

That is three winners total!

How exciting!

We will do one entry each. To enter:

Be a follower of this blog, then comment saying you are. 

You can enter until Friday, January 21 at 11:59 PM. Winners will be announced Saturday January 22.

Poll Results: What age did you start blanket time?


5 months or younger
  89 (51%)
6-8 months
  21 (12%)
8-10 months
  17 (9%)
10-12 months
  15 (8%)
12-15 months
  15 (8%)
15-18 months
  8 (4%)
18-24 months
  3 (1%)
2 years or older
  4 (2%)

Votes so far: 172 


Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above