Friday, December 08, 2006

Favorite Things - Baby Wise

If you google Baby Wise, or Along the Infant Way as it's called in the churches, you'll get a long list of sites condemning this program. If you search for the book on Amazon and read the comments written there, you'll find the same thing. Many people feel very strongly that this program is detrimental to babies and they actively campaign against the book.
I disagree. I have two children and I have used the program both times with wonderful results. I love this program for many reasons. The first is that it provided me with some kind of direction for raising kids. My focus would've been getting through the moment, minute, hour, or day, rather than aiming for a particular goal. Since our first goal was teaching our babies to sleep through the night, we had a plan that led us in that direction. Brenna slept through the night (8 hours) at 7 weeks and Daniel slept through at 11 weeks. If for no other reason than this, we would recommend Baby Wise! Sleep is important!
Secondly, the book recommended that we teach the baby sign language because babies can understand words a lot earlier than they can speak them. We taught Brenna the signs for 'please', 'thank-you', 'more', 'drink', and 'all done'. We believe this cut down on temper tantrums tremendously because she wasn't frustrated in communicating.
Third, we have found the concept of 'parenting in the funnel' to be invaluable. The basic idea is that you don't give your child freedoms beyond what is age appropriate. Too many freedoms too early creates a child who believes he's entitled to what he wants. It's easy to see this in action by simply trying to remove a freedom your child already has! One example of the funnel is that once Brenna was potty trained, she still had to call for one of us if she needed to go during a nap or at night. She did not yet have the freedom to get up on her own. Now she does, because she is old enough to get up and then put herself back to bed. While the funnel has become somewhat of a joke among our friends (" that in the funnel?") it still guides our parenting decisions more than anything else.
True parenting isn't easy. It requires active involvement from the parent and that means getting up off the couch to enforce your authority. It's not about what works for you, but rather what will guide your child in the direction you've chosen. We want our children to be a blessing to others and that guides our direction. No matter what you want for your kids, Baby Wise and the rest of the series can be a huge help.

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