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8 Reasons For Baby Crying And How To Soothe Them

8 Reasons For Baby Crying And How To Soothe Them

Whether you are a first time mother or have just had your third child, there is nothing more distressing than hearing a newborn baby crying for an extended period of time. Not only can this sound make you feel inadequate, but it can also make it impossible to perform daily necessities such as sleeping. Fortunately, scientific and anecdotal evidence have combined to offer proven techniques for soothing a cranky baby. Keep in mind that if these tips do not work, it is a good idea to visit a doctor to determine if something medical is at fault for your newborn’s discomfort.

1. A Tired Baby Is A Cranky Baby

One of the primary reasons that babies cry is because they are overly tired and need to take a nap. This can happen as a result of being overstimulated by too much activity or attention. Alternatively, their sleep schedule may not be properly regulated yet, especially if they are more than six weeks old. In fact, experts indicate that you need to begin sleep training at the six week mark if you want your infant to be well-rested. Failure to develop an adequate sleep routine can lead to an exorbitant amount of crying, both now and as they get older. Therefore, the best way to soothe this particular problem is by putting them down for scheduled naps.

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2. A Baby Crying Frequently May Be So Hungry They Have Become Hangry

Studies have found that people of any age who are hungry are less likely to be happy, and their impatience and anger spikes alongside their hunger. For example, judges make fewer favorable rulings as they get closer to lunchtime, which highlights the detrimental impact of becoming hangry. This happens despite the fact that adults understand how hunger works, so imagine what it is like for a baby to experience increasing levels of hunger without any relief. With this in mind, it is important to offer your newborn the opportunity to nurse or drink formula when they start crying. This is particularly important if they do not tend to finish each meal and instead ask for smaller but more frequent feedings.

3. Babies Cry When They Are Feeling Under The Weather

If your baby has eaten and slept recently, their cries could be an indicator that something is physically wrong. In some cases, this is nothing more than teething, but you should keep an eye out for symptoms such as constipation, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Experts recommend seeking medical assistance for any baby under three months who has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. As your child moves past the newborn stage, they will be better equipped to deal with a fever up to 104 degrees without needing medical attention. You can place a cool damp cloth on their forehead to help reduce their fever and make them feel more relaxed.

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4. Their Diaper Needs To Be Changed

Aside from food and sleep, a dirty diaper is by far the most common reason that a baby will cry. The easiest way to soothe this problem is by paying close attention to your baby’s signals so that you can change their diaper right away. Do not forget that diaper rash can develop if you wait too long, and this will cause your baby to feel additional distress. You can use lotions and creams that contain petroleum jelly or zinc oxide to help soothe and prevent diaper rash, and it is also a good idea to let a child with a rash go diaper-free for a while after each bowel movement.

5. Colic And Other Stomach Problems Make A Baby Miserable

A crying baby who does not appear to have any reason to feel upset could be trying to clue you in to some stomach issues. Colic is well-known to cause babies to cry practically non-stop for an extended period of time, but this is not the only type of stomach problem that can lead to this type of behavior. Abdominal pain can be brought on by colic, gas, constipation, acid reflux, an intestinal blockage, lactose intolerance, a stomach virus or a milk allergy.

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Be sure to pay close attention to whether or not your baby cries a lot after eating, and note any patterns such as an unusual amount of crying after having something specific. If you suspect that they are suffering from gas, you can do a light abdominal massage or move their legs in a bicycle motion while they are lying on their back. This should help them pass the gas, which will make them happy enough to stop crying. A potential allergy can be diagnosed with the assistance of your family pediatrician.

6. They Simply Need To Be Held

No matter what some people might say about spoiling your baby by holding them too often, research indicates that this is not actually possible. In fact, humans of all ages need regular attention and physical contact for good mental health. Your baby will not begin noticing cause and effect patterns until they are at least six months old, so go ahead and lavish attention on them during the newborn stage because this will help instead of hinder them later in life. As an added bonus, being held will typically soothe babies enough for them to stop crying.

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7. The Temperature Is Uncomfortable

If you feel too hot or cold, you can walk over to the thermostat and adjust it. However, a baby is at the mercy of their environment and can feel miserable if they are overheated or chilled. To check for this possibility, you should feel your baby’s stomach. If it seems hot or cold, make the necessary adjustments. Alternatively, you can rely on new technology such as an electronic patch to monitor their body temperature so that they do not even need to get the point of crying before you become aware that a thermostat change is needed. You will also want to keep your baby’s room at approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) while they are sleeping. In most cases, babies will feel comfortable wearing only one more layer of clothing than adults, so do not overdo it.

8. Something Minor Is Troubling Them

Very minor inconveniences that most adults can merely ignore could cause your baby to become extremely unhappy. A prime example is that some babies will cry because of a clothing tag, the amount of light in the room or the type of fabric that they are wearing. Additionally, a common problem is getting a single hair wrapped too tightly around a finger or toe. To an adult, this would not be a very big deal, but to a baby, it can actually cut off their circulation. Look for any small things that could be bothering your baby, and take corrective action to help soothe away their tears.

No parent will ever be able to magically relax their baby on the first try every single time they cry, but learning how to utilize all of the previously listed techniques should definitely be on your must-know list. After all, having these tips at your arsenal should make it easier to identify and soothe your baby’s sudden bursts of unhappiness as they occur.

Featured photo credit: Morgan via flic.kr

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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