Fight Over a Princess

Should Fighting Be Incorporated Into a Child’s Game? Do you give your children the chance to learn to fight? Should a fair fight have a place in an upbringing of a child?

In every man’s hearth, there are three wishes: to undergo a battle, to experience and adventure and to save a beautiful woman. And that may be true for boys as well. Do we give our children the chance to fight? Should an honest battle be a part of raising a child?

Many children enter their peer group with a preconceived notion (brought from their families) that they shouldn’t be weak and they should establish their position in a group, even if they have to use force. Other children are told that they shouldn’t fight, that everything can be settled by communicating or by backing off and every little sign of physical aggression in these children is suppressed by their parents.


Which path should we choose?

Aggression cannot be excluded from a child’s life we shouldn’t try to suppress it. Especially, the younger the child is the more likely he is to try to settle his disputes physically (remember: aggression is not only expressed by boys, girls can be aggressive as well). Of course, it’s important to show our children alternative ways to solve problems. But is it right to control and suppress children’s aggression as much as possible?

Don’t run at school. Don’t fight anyone at school. Don’t push your brother…. But when do children ever hear: let’s go scream, lets pillow fight or wrestle? Children, especially boys need these kinds of games. Kids get a chance to physically express themselves if they attend judo, karate or other physical sport classes, where physical contact with other children is a part of the activity. But what about other kids? School age children usually spend most of their time sitting down at their desks, at afterschool activities or at home in front of the TV. Home games are usually reduced to doing puzzles or other “brain activities”, so that our kids don’t break something or make too much noise.

If a child needs to get out his energy, computer games or plastic soldiers are used. And so slowly but surely, their bodies and aggression are suppressed to a minimum.

Aggressive behavior is a part of life

Aggression is a challenge and we should approach the natural aggression of children creatively.  An over-organized time (organized and controlled by adults), passive fun, not enough time and space for simple games are all reasons why many children don’t challenge their bodies. Yes, we cuddle our babies, we tickle them, throw them in the air; but the older the kids are the less physical their games are. But all children need physical contact during games. Children should learn that stroking has different effects than a firm grip. They should learn to distinguish positive and negative effects of a contact with another person.  Children are often not able to use their muscle strength reasonably. And so, instead of a friendly poke, a painful hit comes when a child wants to be friends with other children.

If the body disappears from a child’s upbringing, then the child never learns that he should have respect the physical inviolability of others.


 Don’t be afraid to fight! 

Not that long ago, all children needed in order to play was a ball, a rubber or a few sticks. But most of all, their bodies. Hide-and-go-seek, chasing and all the variations of these games were all they needed for a fun afternoon. Kids today have so much toys, so much technology and over organized activities that the only times they feel their body is if they sit in front of the computer for too long.  But physical games can teach a child a lot – mostly to respect his body and control it. The aim of these physical games is to create a fair fight and not hurt anyone. These games should have clear rules that are agreed on in advance. Also, make up a sign that anyone can make if he wants to terminate the game; or perhaps the fight. Yes, a fight. That is  one the games that’s disappearing. A fight that we parents are sometimes so afraid of and try to prevent. Of course I am not encouraging the stronger one attacking the weaker one or fighting our way using force.  What I mean is a friendly battle that happens between friends in order to compare their strengths, or just for fun between fathers and sons.

We usually deal with our child being in a fight, starting a fight or being the victim of the fight after it happens – in the park or at school. But did we teach our children, that physical fighting can be a part of a game and not a medium of communication? In an Internet discussion, one mother asked what she should do with her son who fights at school? And what was that anonymous answer? „Do you have a father or a grandfather? Boys just fight. They always had to protect their tribe. It’s good when their father fights with them and teaches them what the boundaries are – that everyone involved has to enjoy it, no one should be in pain and that some parts of the body are taboo. Of course it would be ideal, if all fathers did this.”


 Battling while following rules 

A thirty-year-old Martin thought of a great idea for his son Ondra. „I have a new game. We will fight over the princess. And who else is a princess her, then your mother!“ Ondra ran to his mother and started hitting her with his little fists. „No!“ said dad, „we will not be fighting with the princess, but over the princess – me and you, Ondra. Whoever wins, get a kiss from mom. She will not be looking, instead she will be reading in the other room.“ Martin then explained to his three-year-old what is allowed and what not during this fight. Little Ondra agreed to the terms and wanted to play. At first he won of course – his dad held back. But the next day, dad won. And then the third day as well. And then, Ondra won. Mom gave kisses to each winner as promised. Dad was proud that he made up this game, and Ondra was proud that he could fight according to the rules as a good knight.

I personally like the idea of „mom is not looking“. Because honestly, what mother can handle watching their son getting beat?

Surely, a boy’s fight can end with “Stop it – your hurting him.”. Because our desire to protect our property is very strong! But what about men’s desires? As John Eldredge puts it in his book: “In the heart of all men, there are three desires: to undergo a battle, to experience an adventure and to save a beautiful woman.” I wish to all fathers that they can fight with their sons for princesses, and to experience an adventure full of love that way. This is one way to successfully handle children’s aggression. And I’m sure many dads will enjoy such a game.


Sleep, Baby, Sleep…

The first four months of a baby’s life are also called the „fourth trimester“, since the baby is adapting to the world outside of his mothers womb in which he had everything he needed. Now he has to learn to satisfy his needs through adults. That’s why a baby’s sleep patterns are not getting stabilized and there is no „wrong“ or „right“ at this point yet.


Parents usually have a crib ready before the birth of their child (later in the article you’ll find out which one is the best). But parents cannot know ahead of time how their little one will sleep in it. Our first tip: if you ever hear an advice that you should get your baby used to a regular sleeping regime, forget about it for now (you can try that later). First, try to get tuned in to what the baby’s sleeping needs are. Basically, allow him to sleep and eat whenever he wants; let him lead you.

Even though you child’s sleeping regime may be unpredictable, you should go through this „unorganized“ phase with him. Your baby will learn to communicate with the world by observing your reactions to his needs and behaviors. In the first four months of his life, go ahead and put your baby to sleep in your arms (while rocking or feeding) without fearing that he will learn bad habits. It’s not good to practice the let-him-cry-until-he-falls-asleep-method on small babies, since they don’t know how to soothe themselves down yet.

Around a baby’s fourth month, he is developed enough to get used to a regular sleeping regime; or perhaps his sleeping patterns will stabilize on their own.


What’s the Average Sleep Time?

A newborn usually sleeps when he is full and satisfied, being that anytime during the day and night. The need for sleep is different with each child, so consider the following lines approximate:

•  A newborn can sleep up to 20 hours a day.

•  Around his second month, a baby starts separating his night and day sleep. Also, his day sleep time is now slowly decreasing. A child now sleeps around 14-18 hours a day, individual differences are big.

•  A one-year-old child sleeps around 12-17 hours a day.

•  A three-year-old toddler sleeps around 10-16 hours a day.


What Are the Best Cribs and  Mattresses?

The crib should be made of natural materials and painted with non-toxic paint color.

The slats on a crib rail should be 45-75 millimeters apart. You can find many types of matrasses to choose from. The important thing is for the matrasses to not be too soft, since then the baby may sleep in a dent that could be bending his spine. Another important thing to remember is that the crib should only be used for sleep, not for daytime activates such as playing.


What Sleeping Position is Safe For Your Baby?

It’s been said that the only safe position for a newborn is on his back. Sleeping on the side can lead to the baby rolling over on his stomach. Sleeping on the stomach can lead to an increased risk of suffocation and to sudden infant death. When the child is four months old, he is capable of turning into a position that suits him best. We should let him do that.

On the other hand, a several old week baby should spend some time on his stomach when he is awake – this helps develop his mental and motor skills and abilities.

Do not put a pillow or a large quilt into a crib of a nursing baby up to his twelfth month of age (or longer). For the sake of a proper spine development, a pillow is not recommended for a child under three years of age. The toys in a crib should not have a string longer than thirty centimeters and all things that could disrupt a baby’s sleep or create potential safety hazard should be removed from the crib.

In the first 6 months, a baby can sleep at home or in a stroller. Later though, this could be dangerous, since the child can fall of the edge of the stroller when he wakes up.


What Should the Room’s Temperature Be?

For day sleeping, the temperature should be around 22 °C, while for night sleep the temperature should be less – around 18 °C. A child should be properly dressed.


Putting a Child to Sleep at Night

Putting a child to sleep at night slowly becomes an important routine. If you repeat the same rituals before putting your child to bed, he will then get sleepy just from the pre sleep atmosphere alone.  Such sleep rituals include:

•  bathing (can be combined with a massage)

•  dimming lights

•  changing into pajamas

•  feeding

•  nice quiet music or singing

A child should be fed, bathed and put to bed at the same time everyday, ideally between 6-8 pm. A half-hour before sleep should be dedicated relaxing. There should be no light in the child’s room (or wherever he sleeps). If he sleeps alone in a crib, he should be properly dressed or put in a sleeping bag that will keep him warm all night.


Can a Child Sleep With His Parents?

It’s been said that in terms of safety, it’s best if a baby sleeps in his own crib that is close to his mother’s bed. This also makes night feeding easier. Night feeding can also be made easier by letting the baby sleep in your bed, between you and your partner.

Sleep baby with fatherOpinions on whether a child can sleep in his parent’s bed vary; some pediatricians don’t recommend it while others do. A pediatrician Nils Bergman from the University of Cape Town encourages parents to let their children sleep with them. According to his latest study, children that sleep in their own bed from an early age are less rested and more stressed out at night. He recommends that children sleep in their parent’s bed until they are three years old. The director of education in the Children’s Mental Health Center in London and an author of parenting books Margot Sunderland says children should sleep with their parents even longer; until their fifth year of age. Until then, children can suffer from separation anxiety, which can affect their adult life as well. According to Sunderland, thanks to “co-sleeping”, children grow up as calm, healthy adults.


The Desire for Safety: Sleep Associations

Some children only require falling asleep in their parent’s bed, and can continue sleeping calmly in their own bed after their parents carry them over. Other children often wake up at night. In this context, we are talking about „sleep associations“, which are certain conditions and activities that affect a child’s sleep.

A sleep association can be anything that a child associates with falling a sleep: a parents arm, a mother’s breast, a pacifier, rocking, a closeness of a parent… During the night, a child assures himself that his safety has been maintained – that’s why he wakes up, cries and demands the same conditions he had while falling asleep.

Children older than four months can usually soothe themselves after waking up at night in different ways: by sucking their thumb, moving their head from side to side, by singing or humming, moving their arms, holding their stuffed animal, etc.


Night Feeding

You should remember to differentiate infant’s night and day sleep. When you feed your baby at night, do so in a quiet, dark room.

Night feeding is a must until the child is six months old. Gradually, night feeding should be shortened so that the child drinks less and is put back to bed shortly after burping. It’s easy to say, but harder to do.

After the child is six months old, he can often sleep through the night without being fed. Individual differences, again, are big. Especially breast fed babies require one to two feedings per night even when they are older. To deny them this at all costs wouldn’t be right. All of this also depends on the upbringing of the child.


Day Sleep

A child needs to sleep during the day, so he can gain energy. Children should sleep regularly after noon feeding around 1, 5 to 2 hours. Nursed babies under 9 months sometimes sleep before noon, between 10 am and 12 pm. This sleep is usually shorter than an afternoon nap. Because a child sleeps at a higher temperature during the day, dress him accordingly.  Don’t overheat your baby.

Newborn Children Sleep

Newborn sleeps as much as it needs; the only problem is that it sleeps at different times that suit you. At first he sleeps in short periods anytime during the day or night.

After a certain time the longest period of sleep will happen during night and the child stays alert longer during day. Of course there are differences between children. Don’t worry if your newborn child won’t sleep all night straight away even though it was predicted or even hoped for.

Emphasis on the difference between day and night

Since newborn age make sure you differ between day and night sleep to teach your child when it is a play time or a sleep time. Put a child to sleep in a carrier, pram or a basket during the day and if you have a cot put the newborn child to sleep in the cot only for the night sleep. You can place a pram in a shade outside, don’t forget to put a mosquito net over, and always put the brakes on. At home make sure that your pet doesn’t attack your child in the child’s room. It is not necessary to have a complete quietness. When the  newborn baby cries, pick it up and take advantage of it being up and alert – help him to associate the day with playing. For a night sleep wrap the child well to prevent sudden movement of arms or legs which could wake him up and put it to bed/cot. Turn the lights down. When it wakes up for feeding feed it calmly using low voice or don’t speak. It will soon get used to night time for sleeping and not for playing and it will soon learn to sleep throughout the night.

Daytime sleep

About the sixth month putting to sleep should become part of an important daily routine of child life. The child should be tired out and prepared for its sleep to be able to sleep all night. It also needs daytime sleep to uptake energy for its active life. Daytime sleep is necessary until the age of two or three years. But don’t let the newborn child sleeping too long. Let it sleep for about two hours (if it doesn’t wake up earlier) and then wake it p. If it was in a deep sleep it could become confused and rather upset, leave it at peace for a while before you prepare another activity.

newborn child sleepNewborn Child Safety

Don’t use pillow for a child younger than two years old, it could suffocate.

Put child to sleep on its back. According to doctors it is the safest position. It seems that children sleeping on their stomachs are more prone to a sudden cot death.

The mattress in the cot should be firm with appropriate sheet.

Child should not be too hot or cold.

Don’t smoke or expose your  newborn (and even older…) child to passive smoke.

Put the child in the cot feet to the banister into the bottom part of the cot so it cannot slide under the cover.

Sudden cot infant death

Every year several infants suddenly and unexplainably die in their sleep. Experts don’t have any explanation but they set a few recommendations to lower the risks. If you put your child to bed on its back make sure it is not exposed to cigarette smoke and keep watching that it doesn’t get overheated. The danger of sudden cot death can be radically increased.

Temperature suitable for newborn children

The danger of sudden cot death is increased if a child is excessively wrapped up especially when it has a fever or doesn’t feel well. But make sure it doesn’t get too cold. The ideal room temperature in the bedroom is 18 deg C which is also comfortable to an adult in light clothing. At this temperature we cover the child, in his body sleep suit, with a sheet and three thin blankets or light quilt. Newborns sleep best wrapped up in thin blanket to prevent waking themselves up by sudden leg or arm movements that happen while falling asleep. It also calms them up. But beware of overheating and do make sure not to put too many covers on. Do not use feather guilt for a child younger than 1 year old. If a child has a fever do not add any more covers or hot water bottle nor use an electrical blanket and do not turn the heating up.

Placing a newborn child into the lower parts of the cot

Place the baby with its feet near to the bottom of the bed and cover it so the cover reaches its shoulders. Tuck in the bottom of the cover under the mattress so it cannot slide under the cover with its head. It could increase the danger of sudden cot death while being overheated.

Newborns regulate their body temperature via the skin on their face and head. If a child slides under the cover the regulation is impaired. Make sure to adapt the cover accordingly for safety. If the room isn’t too cold don’t covet the child’s head with a hat.

Sleeping on the back

According to doctors sleeping on the back is the safest position. There is no evidence about newborn infants suffocating by bringing digested milk up.