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Is Your Baby Crying? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do

Is Your Baby Crying? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do

As a parent, it can be extremely disconcerting when you hear the sound of your baby crying. This is especially true if there is no obvious or apparent motivation for this, as we are often told that unless our child is hungry, tired, or in need of a diaper change there is no need for them to cry. This is a fallacy, however, as crying remains an infant child’s primary method of communication and enables them to convey a specific feeling.

So, rather than ignoring these cries or attempting to decipher the message, the key is to focus on learning more about why babies cry and how to soothe them effectively. With this in mind, here are some practical actions that can help to soothe your baby when they are crying for no apparent reason:

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1. Snuggle and Swaddle your Baby

You may notice that your child spends a considerable amount of time crying in the first few weeks after their birth. This is because newborn babies are accustomed to the warmth and security provided by the womb, and they often crave this as they adjust to their real world surroundings. This is where swaddling can come into play, as by wrapping your child in a carefully folded blanket and snuggling them you can recreate the sensation of being in the womb. According to the Baby Centre, swaddling can reduce crying by up to 28% and effectively sooth them on a regular basis.

2. Engage in Skin-to-Skin Contact

On a similar note, engaging in skin-to-skin contact is an excellent way of both bonding with and comforting your newborn baby. In terms of the former, the quality of time that you spend with your infant child is crucial. Skin-to-skin contact is such a popular concept among parents, as it can be done during times of sleep and relaxation while it helps you to develop a strong, physical bond with your child.

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It is also an excellent method of soothing your child and stopping your baby crying during the first three months of their life, as this helps to replicate the comfort and security that was provided by the womb. This can also be considered as a proactive way of stopping your child from crying, as it helps them to adapt to their new surroundings.

3. Occupy Your Child with a Pacifier

Pacifiers offer another excellent way of soothing a distressed child, especially if they are struggling to sleep or in search of comfort when they are placed into their crib at night. There is also scientific evidence which suggests that sucking on a pacifier can steady an infant’s heart rate, relax their stomach, and even calm flailing limbs. Given that these symptoms can all cause distress to child and disoriented them considerably, a pacifier can have a measurable and positive impact on your baby’s level of comfort.

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There is even research which suggests that the use of a pacifier can decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This is because children that suck on a pacifier are reported to be lighter sleepers, which makes them less susceptible to the dreaded disease. In terms of best practice, parents who do not want their children to become attached to a pacifier can simply allow them to clamp down on a finger.

4. Relax Your Child with Music and Rhythm

From birth, your child will have an instinctive appreciation of music and its variable, underlying rhythms. This provides an excellent foundation on which parents can build on, as they look to use music to soothe their child and identify mediums for them to express their creative urges.

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From the perspective of soothing a crying baby, simply singing a lullaby, or rocking your child to the rhythm of a simple melody can be extremely effective measures. The key is to experiment with alternative types of music from birth, prioritising slow and relaxing melodies that have a clearly defined and gentle rhythm. You will quickly be able to identify which melodies help your baby to relax and soothes them into sleep.

5. Soothe Your Child with White Noise

Babies love white noise, and there is a scientific reason to explain this phenomenon. Once again it is connected to the womb, as babies have spent their entire life in this single environment and are accustomed to their surroundings. Given that the womb is known to be deafeningly loud and that life in the real world can be uncomfortably quiet, it therefore stands to reason that infants should be comforted by the volume of white noise.

To use white noise successfully, you will need to play a steady flow of white noise that effectively blocks out other audible sounds. This can then replicate the overwhelming nature of the bodily sounds heard in the womb, providing a soothing and familiar environment that helps your infant make the transition into the real world. You may also need to experiment with different types of white noise to achieve the ideal audio levels, as while appliances can be used there are also specifically created soundtracks that can be purchased and utilised.

Featured photo credit: TaniaVdB / Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Published on February 11, 2021

3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

I’m old enough to remember how the cane at school was used for punishment. My dad is old enough to think that banning corporal punishment in schools resulted in today’s poorly disciplined youth. With all of this as my early experiences, there was a time when I would have been better assigned to write about how to negatively discipline your child.

What changed? Thankfully, my wife showed me different approaches for discipline that were very positive. Plus, I was open to learning.

What has not changed is that kids are full of problems with impulses and emotions that flip from sad to happy, then angry in a moment. Though we’re not that different as adults with stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine in our diets.

Punishment as Discipline?

What this means is that we usually take the easy path when a child misbehaves and punish them. Punishment may solve an isolated problem, but it’s not really teaching the kids anything useful in the long term.

Probably it’s time for me to be clear about what I mean by punishment and discipline as these terms are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different.

Discipline VS. Punishment

Punishment is where we inflict pain or suffering on our child as a penalty. Discipline means to teach. They’re quite the opposite, but you’ll notice that teachers, parents, and coaches often confuse the two words.

So, as parents, we have to have clear goals to teach our kids. It’s a long-term plan—using strategies that will have the longest-lasting impact on our kids are the best use of our time and energy.

If you’re clear about what you want to achieve, then it becomes easier to find the best strategy. The better we are at responding when our kids misbehave or do not follow our guidance, the better the results are going to be.

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3 Positive Discipline Strategies for Your Child

Stay with me as I appreciate that a lot of people who read these blogs do not always have children with impulse control. We’ve had a lot of kids in our martial arts classes that were the complete opposite. They had concentration issues, hyperactive, and disruptive to the other children.

The easy solution is to punish their parents by removing the kids from the class or punish the child with penalties such as time outs and burpees. Yes, it was tempting to do all of this, but one of our club values is that we pull you up rather than push you down.

This means it’s a long-term gain to build trust and confidence, which is destroyed by constant punishments.

Here are the discipline strategies we used to build trust and confidence with these hyperactive kids.

1. Patience

The first positive discipline strategy is to simply be patient. The more patient you are, the more likely you are to get results. Remember I said that we need to build trust and connection. You’ll get further with this goal using patience.

As a coach, sometimes I was not the best person for this role, but we had other coaches in the club that could step in here. As a parent, you may not have this luxury, so it’s really important to recognize any improvements that you see and celebrate them.

2. Redirection

The second strategy we use is redirection. It’s important with a redirection to take “no” out of the equation. Choices are a great alternative.

Imagine a scenario where you’re in a restaurant and your kid is wailing. The hard part here is getting your child to stop screaming long enough for you to build a connection. Most parents have calming strategies and if you practice them with your child, they are more likely to be effective.

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In the first moment of calm, you can say “Your choice to scream and cry in public is not a good one. It would be best to say, Dad. What can I do to get ice-cream?” You can replace this with an appropriate option.

The challenge with being calm and redirecting is that we need to be clear-minded, focused, and really engaged at the moment. If you’re on your phone, talking with friends or family, thinking about work or the bills, you’ll miss this opportunity to discipline in a way that has long-term benefits.

3. Repair and Ground Rules

The third positive discipline strategy is to repair and use ground rules. Once you’ve given the better option and it has been taken, you have a chance to repair this behavior to lessen its occurrence to better yet, prevent it from happening again. And by setting appropriate ground rules, you can make this a long-term win by helping your child improve their behavior.

It’s these ground rules that help you correct the poor choices of your child and direct the behavior that you want to see.

Consequences Versus Ultimatums

When I was a child and being punished. My parents worked in a busy business for long hours, so their default was to go to ultimatums. “Do that again and you’re grounded for a week,” or “If I catch you doing X, you’ll go to bed without dinner”.

Looking back, this worked to a point. But the flip side is that I remembered more of the ultimatums than the happier times. I’ve learned through trial and error with my own kids that consequences are more effective while not breaking down trust.

What to Do When Ground Rules Get Broken?

It’s on the consequences that you use when the ground rules are broken.

In the martial arts class, when the hyperactive student breaks the ground rules. They would miss a turn in a game or go to the back of the line in a queue. We do not want to shame the child by isolating them. But on the flip side, there should be clear ground rules and proportionate consequences.

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Yes, there are times when we would like to exclude the student from the class, the club, and even the universe. Again, it’s here that patience is so important and probably impulse control too. With an attainable consequence, you can maintain trust and you’re more likely to get the long-term behavior that you’re looking to achieve.

Interestingly, we would occasionally hear a strategy from parents that little Kevin has been misbehaving at home with his sister or something similar. He likes martial arts training, so the parent would react by removing Kevin from the martial arts class as a punishment.

We would suggest that this would remove Kevin from an environment where he is behaving positively. Removing him from this is likely to be detrimental to the change you would like to see. He may even feel shame when he returns to the class and loses all the progress he’s made.

Alternatives to Punishment

Another option is to tell Kevin to write a letter to his sister, apologizing for his behavior, and explaining how he is going to behave in the future.

If your child is too young to write, give the apology face to face. For the apology to feel sincere, there is some value to pre-framing or practicing this between yourself and your child before they give it to the intended person.

Don’t expect them to know the ground rules or what you’re thinking! It will be clearer to your child and better received with some practice. You can practice along the lines of: “X is the behavior I did, Y is what I should have done, and Z is my promise to you for how I’m going to act in the future.” You can replace XYZ with the appropriate actions.

It does not need to be a letter or in person, it can even be a video. But there has to be an intention to repair the broken ground rule. If you try these strategies, that is become fully engaged with them and you’re still getting nowhere.

But what to do if these strategies do not work? Then there is plenty to gain by seeking the help of an expert. Chances are that something is interfering or limiting their development.

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This does not mean that your child has a neurological deficiency, although this may be the root cause. But it means that you can get an objective view and help on how to create the changes that you would like to see. Remember that using positive discipline strategies is better than mere punishment.

There are groups that you can chat with for help. Family Lives UK has the aim of ensuring that all parents have somewhere to turn before they reached a crisis point. The NSPCC also provides a useful guide to positive parenting that you can download.[1]

Bottom Line

So, there your go, the three takeaways on strategies you can use for positively disciplining your child. The first one is about you! Be patient, be present, and think about what is best for the long term. AKA, avoid ultimatums and punishment. The second is to use a redirect, then repair and repeat (ground rules) as your 3-step method of discipline.

Using these positive discipline strategies require you to be fully engaged with your child. Again, being impulsive breaks trust and you lose some of the gains you’ve both worked hard to achieve.

Lastly, consequences are better than punishment. Plus, avoid shaming, especially in public at all costs.

I hope this blog has been useful, and remember that you should be more focused on repairing bad behavior because being proactive and encouraging good behavior with rewards, fun, and positive emotions takes less effort than repairing the bad.

More Tips on How To Discipline Your Child

Featured photo credit: Leo Rivas via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NSPCC Learning: Positive parenting

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