Child Care

Parenting Help (?)

As a parent, grandparent, and teacher, I frequently read articles and books about child development.  Information abounds and I am often overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available.  But when you are having difficulty dealing with an issue, it can be comforting to “Google” the question and let the experts deal with it.  This is not a new thing.  Parents have always looked for advice or encouragement in dealing with a problem.  And in the past, as now, there were always experts to help out:


“Put the baby in the corner and leave it there… Handle the baby as little as possible… We strongly protest against the haphazard, promiscuous kissing of babies.”  (From the 1916 book, The Mother and Her Child)


In an 1894 manual, Dr. Emmett Holt advised:  “Crying is the baby’s exercise.”  He advised against playing with the baby until it was 6 months old, as play was thought to cause nervousness and agitation.


A U.S. government baby manual from 1932 recommended starting toilet training by the end of the first month.  The mother should hold the baby “over the chamber, using a soap stick, if necessary, to start the movement.”




I don’t recommend any of the “suggestions” listed above.  It’s amazing how ideas of raising a child have changed.  There are two books I do recommend:  Reading Magic, by Mem Fox and Mind in the Making:  the Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, by Ellen Galinsky.  They are two very different books, but each provides some valuable insights into aspects of child development that are helpful for anyone raising or working with children.

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