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Childcare Gurus

The BBC magazine website yesterday had an article about six childcare gurus who changed parenting.  It was an interesting read, and although I hadn’t heard of the earlier people (pre-Penelope Leach), I’d heard of the ideas behind some earlier parenting in comparison to those more latterly.

Nowadays, where there’s so much more talk around child-led parenting, it seems insane to think that around the 1920s Truby King was endorsing no time spent on bonding with your child; detachment was key to childcare.  I agree that discipline is important, but it seems so wrong not to want to spend time cuddling and bonding with your children.

After that, everything seemed to get more liberal and more about listening to your child.  I’m not sure I could agree with going too far the other way, as I believe children do need some routine and discipline to understand that there are boundaries and also make them feel more secure.  Then Gina Ford comes in, there’s a strong sense of routine to adhere to and discipline with Supernanny.

I’d say parenting style, I’m in the middle.  I wanted to try Gina Ford as I myself am a lover of routine, but N wouldn’t play ball and wake up when he was meant to.  He also wanted to feed more regularly, meaning we never managed to get past week 2’s routine!  However, by letting him do his own thing in the day, he fell into pretty much Gina’s routine himself.  So I’d say it seems to be a realistic routine for children if they’re doing it naturally.  We did follow her basic bedtime routine, and it did work, with him sleeping through by the time she recommended babies should be able to.

We did pick and mix, and I think we were lucky that N was an easy baby, and so far is turning into a fairly easy and straightforward toddler.

Pre-baby, I did used to watch Supernanny, and I agree with her parenting recommendations.  We’ve not had to use the naughty step yet as one telling off if required, plus a request for an apology usually works.  N is so shamed by being asked for an apology, he usually hides his face, tries for a cuddle and then shuts his eyes so I can’t make him look at me when I’m talking to him.  It’s so hard not to laugh, as I can see him trying to keep his eyes shut not to look at me.

Due to me working, he obviously had a structured routine…in fact yesterday, he was telling me ‘go to Julie’s’ who he goes to twice a week, and then tried ‘go to nursery’ before I managed to get him to change it to ‘swimming Saturdays’.  But otherwise, we’re pretty relaxed on what he gets up to.

I think parenting’s all about finding exactly what works for you and your children, and if you’re after advice from ‘experts’, then there’re lots of methods to choose from.

Mind you, if I had the child we know who I’ve never seen do what the parent says, I think I’d have tried a lot earlier to stop some of the disobedience.  Especially where there are 2 parents in tow.

What are your thoughts on childcare gurus?  Have you followed any or just done your own thing?

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  1. hmm what felt right for me, and still do. I noticed both mine fell into a GF routine without my help and I also used her bedtime routine as it was a nice way to spend time with the boys – I still do it now except there was more chatter than back in the cuddle days. BUt I think a lot of my parenting is child led – however I am the boss and they need to realise that sometimes they don’t get their own way – life has a habit of being that way so you have to learn to deal with that early on. I don’t think you need to be hardcore about it, just firm and fair…very hard to do with a fournager. *sigh*

    1. I love your threenager and now fournager terms! Think they should be patented and made official.

      So agree on the discipline. I always just think back to Kindergarten Cop – just shows how kids need structure and guidance, especially when they’re young so they know how to react once they’re in schools with more structure and rules.

  2. It’s amazing to consider how child-rearing advice has swung to and fro over the years, isn’t it? How much easier it would be if each child came with their own manual! 😀 Mind you I’m so bad at reading instructions, it probably wouldn’t have helped me much.

    The books that had the biggest impact on me were “Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves” by Naomi Aldort, and “Unconditional Parenting” by Alfie Kohn. And now I have a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, which is a whole other parenting mystery to unravel – just as well I like a challenge! Lucinda

    1. I haven’t heard of either of those books. It’s astounding how many there are out there. And it’s a minefield for parents who want to read up beforehand – there’s not much point until the baby’s arrived as you just never know what they’ll be like.

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