Friday, October 19, 2007

Co-Sleeping: Is It For You? By Lily Morgan

Many new parents prepare for a baby's arrival by purchasing a crib. Some children, though, never seem to be able to sleep well in the crib. They fuss, they cry, and the only place they seem able to sleep is in a parents arms or lying next to them in a bed. That's the point where parents start to look for any solution to get some rest. Co-sleeping may be the answer.

Co-sleeping isn't a new concept. Many other countries have parents bringing their children to sleep in their own bed. Babies sleep better and longer, and parents do as well. Some cultures are even a little amazed that the Western world puts their children in "cages" to sleep. Our society waffles between experts who claim co-sleeping is a bad habit that will be difficult to break and experts who believe co-sleeping to be the best arrangement for all.

The benefits of co-sleeping have been proven. For breastfeeding mothers, co-sleeping with a child allows for easier feeding. Both mother and child can attend to needs while resting without much disturbance. There is no full waking with a need to cry for the child to receive attention. For tired parents, co-sleeping creates harmonized sleep patterns in which baby and mother tend to slumber and wake at the same periods. The increased contact of a familial bed also promotes attachment parenting, reassurance and comfort. Co-sleeping may also help prevent SIDS.

A familial bed is just as safe as having babies sleep in a crib. Of course, it is important for parents to ensure maximum safety by choosing a firm mattress, removing loose, fluffy bedding and installing a baby gate or setting the bed next to a wall. These safety precautions are the same for children who sleep in a crib; there is a gate, mattresses are firm, and there is often little bedding involved. In either case of crib-sleeping or co-sleeping, pillows are removed.

Co-sleeping should only be practiced in a household where parents are non-smoking and do not abuse drugs or alcohol. It is a myth that children who co-sleep with parents are at a greater risk of suffocation.

It is also a myth that children who co-sleep won't leave the family bed to gain independence. Think about this: How many teens do you know that sleep with their parents? Children will want to leave the family bed. Most parents report that children are more than willing to have their own bed at around ages two to three, when they are ready, physically, emotionally and mentally.

The point is to establish a situation that ensures the best rest possible for all involved, whether it be co-sleeping or crib sleeping. If the situation isn't working for one or all, change it. Being close to the people we love most isn't a habit
that needs to be broken, nor is getting a good night's sleep supposed to be a struggle. What's important is a trusting, harmonious relationship at all times, during waking hours or sleeping ones!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Help Your Child Succeed in School

Copyright © 2007 Sally Goldberg, Ph.D.

Q. If you had to pick one strategy for helping your child to succeed in school, what would that be?

A. Self-esteem building. That holds the key.

A new school year is synonymous with a new beginning. "Get off to a good start" is what every parent says to every child. "Set up good study habits; make good friends; get good grades." These are all dreams of both parent and child. They sound good, and they are good; but they are only as good as your child feels about him/herself. Feelings of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence are the foundation for making these kinds of successes happen.

Here's how you can help...

1. Show your child respect and appreciation. Respect your child as you say, "Please...," and appreciate your child as you say, "Thank you." It turns out that the way to teach your child to say "please" and "thank you" is to say "please" and "thank you" to your child.

2. Help your child uncover his own uniqueness. Take as much time as you can to delight in your child's individuality. Your child is the one and only person like he/she is. No one else has been born into the world like your child. Have fun helping your child discover his/her own personal passion, potential, and place in the world.

3. Change the word "misbehavior" to "mistaken behavior." What do we know about mistakes? We learn from them. Teach your child as much as possible how not to make the same mistakes again.

4. Help your child to learn, to do, and to be all he/she can. Reserve praise for major accomplishments, but encourage your child by noticing and reflecting back to him/her about small occurrences. You can show your awareness by reinforcements like:

"I noticed you finished your reading assignment. You are responsible."

"I saw you open the door for your brother. That was helpful."

"I watched you put your favorite toy away. You handled it carefully."

Every small step is worthy of recognition as a major step toward further success.

Being the best at something is a respectable goal. However, doing the best you can comes first. Focus on your child's capability and strength. Notice his/her individuality. Help your child learn better behavior. Encourage him/her to succeed. What you think of your child is what your child will think of him/herself. Believe in your child; think positive; think strong. Self-esteem on the inside manifests itself in school success on the outside. Enjoy your partnership.

About The Author:

Sally Goldberg, Ph.D., is a professor of education at the University of Phoenix and parenting specialist. Through her books, articles, presentations, and one-on-one coaching she empowers parents to solve problems. She gives weekly parenting classes in different locations in Scottsdale, AZ. If you would like to contact Dr. Sally, you can reach her at 480-766-6323 or Find out more at

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