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Peter Haiman, Ph.D.


Thinking Outside the Box

Organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children, La Leche League, Attachment Parenting International, and the American Academy of Pediatrics can no longer remain politically inactive. These organizations have been primarily educational in purpose and isolated by nature. Yet, current child-rearing practices, influenced by changing values and the media, seriously damage child development.

In 1997 I wrote "Cooperation Will Make It Happen," published in the Journal of Psychohistory, which described the erosion of the extended family and consequences for children and adolescents. I announced a meeting of educational leaders to create The Alliance for Children. Although the meeting was held in Washington DC in 1997, and most in attendance viewed the alliance as critical for children and the future of our democracy, no subsequent meetings occurred.

In the intervening fifteen years, child rearing in this country has become more damaging to children. They are growing up less educated, more violent, with less humane values, and less thoughtful and caring of others. Our leaders behave more violently and cannot cooperate. It is time for the above organizations to join together and form an alliance that will improve social and cultural influences on child rearing so the next generation can continue to enjoy freedom in the United States.

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Making diaper changing more enjoyable

Most parents do not look forward to changing diapers. It can be a messy business for sure! Good parenting strategies can make diaper changing easier. This article will suggest parenting techniques which can end the fighting and anger experienced by parents, and even make diaper changing more enjoyable for them.

About six months after birth, a wrestling match between parent and child can begin to take place at diaper changing time. As the child grows bigger, the struggles that parents encounter often become annoying and frequently enraging. When it is time to change diapers, the child wants to continue to play. Young children do not like it when parents make them stop playing with toys to have their diapers changed.

While this describes the reactions of many parents and children, other youngsters and their parents do not mind – even enjoy – diaper changing. What makes the difference?

When changing diapers, use a vinyl tub made for washing infants. It has an oval shape and a flat center. It has a perimeter that, when inflated, becomes an elevated, rounded tubular boundary. Most elevated diaper changing counters are hard and flat. A squirming infant or toddler can easily roll off and fall to the floor. A youngster can not as easily roll over the inflated and raised perimeter of the baby tub. Nevertheless, young children have strength and should never be left unattended. A young child will find the soft tub with its pillowy headrest more comfortable than a flat changing table. An uncomfortable child soon becomes a wriggling and resistant child. Changing diapers goes more smoothly if a youngster feels comfortable.

Youngsters are normally curious and very interested in life. From a child’s perspective, there is nothing to do during diaper changing time. They, therefore, soon become bored and start to resist the parent and the process. Boredom is a major cause of a child’s squirming and resistance to changing diapers.

When you approach your child to change diapers, pause for a moment. During this pause, notice with what toys your child is playing. Like adults, children dislike being abruptly interrupted. Say that it is time to change diapers. Ask your youngster to choose one or two of the toys with which he/she has just been playing to hold throughout diaper changing. It is best if your child chooses from among toys that he/she can hold easily and which are non-breakable and easily cleaned. A youngster who has a self-chosen toy to hold, look at and be interested in during diaper changing will not get bored, start to resist and squirm. An entertained child will be more cooperative and make diaper changing easier for parents.

Make diaper changing entertaining for you both. Place a tape recorder with selections of music that your child likes near the diaper changing area. Play favorite songs during changing times. Sing to your child while you change diapers. If you sing songs when you change diapers, your youngster will learn to enjoy the music and even diaper changing.

Make interesting and funny faces both while you sing and at other times, too. Play peek-a-boo, holding up a diaper before you reveal your funny face. Your youngster will laugh. You both will find diaper changing more fun.

Talk and act in an animated way. Be sure to look into the eyes of your infant or toddler when you sing or talk. Your animated face, head and body will attract the interest of your child and make diaper changing easier and more enjoyable for each of you.

Hang a mobile above your diaper changing area. Be sure that the attractive surfaces of the mobile are positioned horizontally so your child will look up and see the surfaces, not the edges. Also make sure that your child can’t reach the mobile. Start the mobile moving when you lay your youngster on the tub or when your child loses interest in the toy he/she is holding.

Try the above ideas. When parents make changing diapers entertaining for their child, the process can become enjoyable for them, too.

Peter Ernest Haiman, Ph.D. Copyright ©