Establishing your kids' allowance/salary for conduct and tasks. Focus on family behavior and not just taking out the trash.
Teach them to be "work hardened". Teach them about the "work muscle" and how to make it strong.
Focusing on personal responsibility, ethical and integrous behavior.
Kids learn the most important lessons within the family setting. Don't expect them to learn it out in the world.
A father of an 18-month old son called to ask about how to transition from "co-sleeping" which is where children stay in the parents' bedroom until they feel it's time to transition baby to their own room and crib.
I've read many, many articles, "mom" blogs, entire books, research studies and the 1200+ developmental histories of the kids coming through my practice and there's a common theme. Nobody has a firm answer for "how to get kids to sleep through the night". Have you seen those books that tout "3 Secrets to Getting Your Child to Sleep"? Ha! There's no such thing as "sleep training", but there is understanding your child's vulnerability to those problems that interfere with sleeping.
The fact is that sleeping is a neurological process. The more well-integrated your child's brain is, the more competently they'll sleep. I can't recall reading any material that takes into account that your child may have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, autism, anxiety or depression. At least 17 disorders have symptoms related to ADHD. Of course, none of us ever wants to think about our sweet babies as growing up and having this kind of life challenge.
However, these disorders typically manifest initially as a "regulatory" disorder meaning that they have difficulty "shifting" from one state to another (wakefulness to sleep and sleep to wakefulness and activity to sedentary states). It's a "gas and brake" problem.
Father indicated that baby was conceived without "assisted fertilization techniques" such as in-vitro fertilization, the pregnancy was not complicated by problems, labor and delivery was smooth (at-home and baby was delivered after 6 hours) and baby has met all language and motor milestones. Baby did not have difficulty with feeding (no colic or latching on problems). As well, baby has transitioned, successfully, to child care.
Because babies master the concept of object permanence at about 8-9 months of age, they understand that just because items or people are "out of sight", they're not gone. It eases the separation anxiety.
All of these factors suggest that the transition to his own room and crib is a matter of several approaches and understandings.
Father thought that he would introduce his son to his crib by putting him in it and letting him play. If he does this, baby will not understand the expectations, so I recommended that baby be put in the crib for sleep only. Parents can introduce baby to the crib and let him know that this is where he'll sleep. Babies understand concepts, but because of the complexity of expressive language, they're unable to say what's on their minds.
When baby is put in the crib, a parent can sit in the room, eyes closed, relaxed and with only the occasional "shh", baby will settle down to sleep. The goal here is to avoid creating anxiety. Once anxiety becomes part of the equation, you've got a serious battle on your hands.
Father also indicated that baby wakes up once or twice in the night. This is not unusual for a rapidly developing body and brain/mind. You cannot let a baby sleep in a wet diaper and they will cry continually if they're hungry. Don't even think about them going back to sleep. These are two more reasons why "cry it out" may not be in the best interest of the child. Meet their needs.
Childhood is but a moment and infancy and toddlerhood is another moment. Adulthood is 60-70+ years long. Give them the best possible start you can. Trust is established early in life. Take advantage of this time...while they still like being with you. Trust your own instincts. You're raising your own kids, not someone else's. They'll be sleeping soundly every night by age 3. Invest the time.
There are a number of potentially hazardous situations in the home you may not be aware of, so this article will help remind you of them so you can make sure Christmas is truly "merry and bright".
See you next Sunday...New Year's Eve!