What is your parenting style? Can your parenting style cause your children more harm than good?

Please take a moment to think about these questions: Is my parenting style a healthy one for my children? Am I over-parenting or under-parenting? Is my parenting style in my child/children’s best interest? Will my parenting style cripple or enhance my children as they grow into adulthood?

Let us start with over-parenting and under-parenting. Research shows that over parenting styles can be grouped into 2 major types: “helicopter parenting,” in which almost every move and action of a child is watched in order to keep the child safe.

People who do this are called helicopter parents because, like helicopters, they hover around every move that their children make, trying to oversee and supervise all aspects of their lives, including in social interactions.

The second style under the over-parenting group is “bulldozer parenting” (sometimes called snow-plougher parenting), in which parents try and remove every potential danger along the child’s way. These 2 styles affect how independent children grow up to be, their mental health and self-esteem negatively.

On the other hand, under-parenting can also lead to negative behavioral outcomes in children. Poor level of parental involvement can make children vulnerable to peer influence. In order wards, if parents fail to provide the right level of parental guidance, either due to over-parenting or under parenting children might turn to peer culture. So what kind of parent should you strive to be?

Well, it’s best to start by know what kind of parent you are now and what the outcome of your parenting style might be. After finding out, then you should determine areas that you want to improve on. My best advice is that you should find a balance that works for you and your family based on your knowledge of various styles and possible outcomes.

Are you an Authoritarian Parent?
Do you believe that:
 Children should be seen and not heard?
 You are always right and that your children must always obey your rules or
they will be punished?
 Children are too young to know what is good for them so their feelings should
not be taken into consideration?
Authoritarian parents do not believe in negotiating situations with their children, they are more focused on getting their children to be obedient. They do not involve their children in finding solutions to problems or obstacles. Instead of teaching children to make better choices, authoritarian parents might punish them or find other ways to make the children feel sorry for breaking rules.

While is it possible for children of authoritarian parents to sometimes do well academically, they stand the risk of growing up with low self-esteem and poor leadership skills. They could also turn out to be aggressive as a way of compensating for their lack of confidence since they were not raised to take responsibility for their actions.

Are you a permissive parent?
Do you:
 set rules but hardly ever enforce them?
 overlook it when your child breaks rules and avoid enforcing consequences?
Permissive parents are usually indulgent and see themselves more as their child’s friend than an adult who is responsible for raising the child. They will only try and enforce rules if a serious problem arises. They are not able to be consistent in their approach, for instance, if a child offends then begs, they will give back privileges without seeing that the child is really sorry for their actions.

Children who are raised this way are also likely to have low self-esteem and struggle academically because they lack any form of structure. They may also develop behavioral problems because they have difficulty coping with authority and rules.

Are you an uninvolved parent?
Do you:
 spend little time with your children?
 hardly ever ask your children about school or homework?
 rarely know where your children are or who they are with?
 do you find yourself compensating for spending time away from your children by indulging them, giving expensive gifts, etc?

Uninvolved parents tend to spend little time with their children. This might be because they are preoccupied with work or financial responsibilities of providing for the children and household. Children raised this way are likely to end up struggling with self-esteem issues and become easily influenced by peer pressure.

Are you an Authoritative Parent?
Do you:
 put a lot of effort into cultivating and maintaining a close relationship with your children?
 take time to explain the reasons behind the rules that you expect them to follow?
 answer questions that they raise about your rules?
 explain the consequences that go with breaking the rule that they are expected to follow?
 find out why your child breaks a rule before deciding whether or not consequences will be applied?
 use positive discipline strategies like reinforcing good behavior such as praise and reward systems?

Children raised this way stand a better chance of growing into responsible adults who are better able to hold and express their opinions. Ultimately, now that you know what type of parenting style you have been engaging, the important thing is to endeavor to be loving but firm, while giving your children enough freedom to develop their own interests and a sense of independence. Even if they make some mistakes while trying, be there to offer support.

What is normal Speech or Language Development in Children?

Just like any other development in children, the age at which children talk or learn language vary. Some start earlier than others. Some are able to say simple words that are used around them often like “mama”, “BaBa” even before their first birthday. However, the fact that your child is not saying words by the time she/he is a year old might not necessarily be a reason for you to panic.  So how can you help your child’s speech and language development?  What are the milestones to look for in order to know when to seek help?

How Can You Help Your Child’s Speech Development?

Your involvement as a parent is very important from a very early age in helping your child’s speech or language  development:

1). Devote a lot of time to communicating with your child from a very early age. Spend time talking, singing, and encouraging the child to imitate the sounds and gestures you make.

2)Another good way of helping speech and language development is through reading age-appropriate picture books to the child from a very early age. Some even start talking to babies when they are still pregnant.  Most parents start a few weeks after birth. Read out the words in the books pointing at the pictures. You could also find books that speak when you touch the pictures. As the child gets older, encourage the child to point to the pictures and make the sounds. You can then gradually introduce interactive nursery rhymes. The type of rhymes in which the child has to repeat sounds or touch a part of the body or object.

3). Also, make conscious efforts to explain things to your child. For instance, when you are preparing food, or unpacking groceries show the different items to the child and say their names. Ask the child to repeat what you say. Gradually build up to showing the child and asking him “what is this?”

Some Speech and Development Milestones

Twelve Months

By their first birthday, most children will be cooing and babbling and saying simple words like “mama, baba”.  They are attentive to sound and recognize their names and the names of objectives that they use often like ”bottle”.

Between  Twelve and Fifteen Months

By this time, children will be able to under some simple instructions, “like sit”, “stand”, “come”, “go” “take” etc. Their babbling will also be a little more coherent as they try to imitate the words they hear.

Between Eighteen to Twenty Four Months

Some toddlers within this age range will start to combine words  like “mama coming” or “dada going.”  They will also identify objects like a ball, some parts of the body, etc. They also know the difference between some opposites like “up” and “down”. They are more ready to follow simple instructions like “put it down”,  “give it to me”  or “stop that”.

From Two to Three Years

There is usually a remarkable improvement in the number of words that a child says by this age. They should know more words than can be easily counted by age three and they should be combining words to make sentences. Most children who have been taught, can count, identify colors, etc.

How to Create the Perfect Bedtime Routines and Training for Your Child

What Time Does Your Child Go To Bed?
This is might be a very simple question but you’d be surprised to find out that not many parents insist on proper bedtime for their children. It is also surprising because you would think that
parents would be eager to put their children to bed and have a few minutes to themselves!

Why is it important to schedule proper bedtime for children
Quite apart from the advantage for parents, a regular bedtime for children is very important because of its effect on their behavioral development. A properly scheduled bedtime helps children develop positive behaviors, regulate themselves, and function properly at home and in the school. There are several studies, which have looked into the relationship between irregular sleep times and behavior problems in young children. Some studies show that the more irregular a child’s bedtime is, the more likely the child will end up with negative long-term behavior such as: throwing tantrums, inability to control their tempter, even the ability to keep still and be attentive enough to learn.

A proper sleep routine is tied to the circadian rhythm. This rhythm or pattern is an internal (biological) the clock that runs constantly, cycling between alertness and sleepiness. It is also known as the sleep-wake cycle because it helps regulate sleep patterns which is necessary for both physical and mental development. This natural rhythm is easily disrupted if proper bedtime is not followed.
In children, it is even more delicate because their physical and mental functions are very easily disrupted. Children who do not have a
properly scheduled bedtime also end up getting less and lower quality sleep. If something is not done to ensure proper sleep patterns, it can leave lasting effects on brain development that can last into later life.

Regular bedtime helps ensure that the child has enough sleep to help the brain mature. The good news is that even if you are a parent who has not been sticking to proper bedtime for your children, the negative effects of an unstructured bedtime can be reversed. So how can you start regulating your child’s sleep? How many hours of sleep does a child need?

How do you start regulating your child’s sleep time?
Identify the number of hours that your child needs to sleep based on the recommended number of sleep hours based on age. While there is no hard and fast rule, according to The American Academy of Sleep
Medicine, children of different ages need a different amount of sleep:
 4 to 12 months — 12 to 16 hours
 1 to 2 years — 11 to 14 hours
 3 to 5 years — 10 to 13 hours
 6 to 12 years — 9 to 12 hours
 13 to 18 years — 8 to 10 hours

Sleep Training Babies
The easiest time to start sleep training your child is when they are babies. Be observant, watch out for signs that your baby is drowsy. For instance, when drowsy, some babies rub their eyes, others are restless, while some keep staring at nothing in particular. A really obvious sign is when they yawn. Set the baby down in a quiet dark room as soon as you notice that she is sleepy. You might need to rock the baby or hum a lullaby to help her relax when you first lay her down. A very important aspect of sleep training babies is to set the baby down while the child is drowsy but still awake. It almost goes against logic but studies show that it helps the child adjust to sleeping time if he learns to fall asleep in bed rather than in the parent’s arms.

Toddlers and Older children
There are two basic things that will help you succeed in training your child for bedtime:

1) Consistency: it is important to keep to the same bedtime once you start.
Once you have determined how many hours of sleep your child needs every night, decide what time they go to bed. This might mean that you adjust meal times so as to give you adequate time to prepare the child for bed without changing the bedtime. If you have children of different ages, it is advisable for them to all have the same bedtime so that you can go through whatever bedtime routines you put in place together. Be ready for the slightly older child to kick against going to bed at the same time with the younger sibling!
Of course, once in a while, you might be unable to get them to go to bed at their normal time. Don’t let this derail you. Just get back to putting them to bed at a normal time. If you have been consistent with bedtime for any length of time, the likelihood is that on the days when you cannot get them to bed at the normal time, they will start nodding off when their body clock clicks in!

2) The second important thing to do is to have a bedtime plan or routine.
Once you decide to train your child or children for bedtime, sit down and draw a plan of activities that you will perform with them every night that will lead to putting them to bed. The reason for this is so that psychologically, the child/children programed to know that after going through certain actions, the next thing is sleep. A well planned and carried out bedtime routine is a way of giving their body clock a sign to wind down. A simple routine for a toddler could be A) changing the diaper B) reading to the baby while he’s lying in bed, tucking him and a
goodnight kiss.

Other items that could be on your bedtime routine list depending on the child’s age are:
 Stop the child from watching TV, playing video games, etc. about 30 minutes before bedtime. This will help the brain to relax from the intensity of focusing on the bright screen.
 putting on pajamas
 teeth brushing
 a last drink of water
 potty time (especially for children who are being nighttime potty trained! Check out my posts on Potty Training)
 Reading a book, telling a story and or signing. (Sharing a bedtime prayer for those who are religious)
 getting tucked into bed with a favorite cuddly toy or blankie!
 hugs and bedtime kisses
 lights out (you might need to invest in a nightlight. Some children will need one to help adjust).

It might take a few days or weeks to get the child to adjust. It is however well worth the effort because children with inconsistent bedtimes can develop behavioral problems like emotional outbursts and hyperactivity. So for the sake of your child/children’s wellbeing please make the commitment to regularize their sleep time and stick with it.

Part 2: How much Time Should You Spend Playing with Your Children?

Unfortunately, there are very many conflicting answers to this question. There are even studies out there that try to claim that spending quality time playing with children does not benefit children until they are teenagers. But please answer this question for yourself, how realistic is it to expect your teenager to welcome your attempts at cultivating them through play when you never really spent any quality time playing with them when they were younger? I am not saying it is impossible to gain the trust of such teenagers, but it will definitely be a lot more difficult. Also, by the teenage years, a lot of damage might have been done by the lack of bonding which should have been started much earlier in the child’s life. The same researchers who try to claim that spending time with young children is not important to agree that teenagers who spent more time doing things with their parents (like even just sharing mealtimes) are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, like taking drugs and alcohol. They also agree that such teenagers do better in some subjects in school. My purpose here is not to prescribe how much time you should spend playing with your child. Instead, I believe that it is the quality of the time that you spend playing with them that matters. As I noted in the previous post on playing with your children, most parents have enough on their hands trying to provide for the family. I respect this very deeply and will hate to add unnecessarily to that burden of trying to provide adequately for your children. It is also unrealistic to say that you should make out one hour or 30 minutes every day to play with your children no matter what. I believe that if you are tired, frustrated, or anxious after a hard day at work, it’s unfair to expect you to spend an hour pretending to be happy and enjoy playing with your children. Again, I know from experience that playing with children (especially toddlers and preteenagers) can be exhausting. They have so much energy and never want playtime to end!
However, even if all you can manage is 10 to 15 minutes at a time, plan what you want to do with them ahead and be consistent. The rewards of making time to play with your children far outweigh the effort that you put into it. In addition to the advantages that I mentioned in the last post, playing with them enhances their curiosity, builds their confidence in themselves and in you as their parents, and helps to develop positive memories of their childhood.
Playing with your children also helps in other ways like helping you to relieve stress while demonstrating to your child how to manage toxic stress and develop socially and emotionally. The play also helps them develop emotional intelligence, these are all qualities that will help them thrive in school and later in life. This is why good schools also incorporate active guided playtime into their curriculum. Unlike the passive learning classroom, children who are taught through play, are more curious. They are focused and more attentive because they are excited. It is therefore easier to engage them in the learning process because they are enjoying what they are doing.

Part 1: Do You Play with your Children?

Do you create time to play with your child/children? I know that the temptation might be to ignore this question. After all, most parents are busy trying to work, trade, or do business just to see that their children are well-fed, have a roof over their heads, get a good education and wear decent clothes.

Struggling to provide these essentials can be time-consuming and by the end of the day most parents are too tired to find the time and energy to play with their children. Some children might have even gone to bed before the parents return from work. The way most parents were also raised is such that their own parents did not really have time to play with them. However, let us stop and ask ourselves this question: do we want to just reproduce our childhood experiences with our children or do we want to raise them better than we were raised? Your parents did the best that they could give their own level of exposure, why limit your children to the same level when you can do better? As the world progresses, so also does knowledge.

Recent research shows that playing with your children is an important aspect of preparing them for a successful future as adults. Making time to play with them is as important as going out to work, trade, or do business. Play helps children learn, by helping them to develop important physical capacities and social-emotional skills that will help them do well in school. As a matter of fact,
play is a very important part of their education which no one can provide better than you, the parents. It has to start at a very early age, as soon as they are born. Playing with your precious one helps in brain development in ways that prepare them for important skills that will be needed later like problem-solving, navigating relationships, and creativity skills. Children who are engaged in interactive play from an early age are more psychologically ready to explore and try new things, they also adjust better in school and are more motivated to learn. So how much time should you spend playing with your child/children?


By Dr Bunmi Oyinsan (Copyright)

Nighttime potty training is another aspect of raising children which a lot of parents find challenging. Parents get worried when their children who are able to stay dry in the day time keep wetting the bed at night. The truth of the matter is that day time potty training is totally different from night time potty training. The two kinds of training do not go hand and hand and parents should not try and train children for both at the same time.

Let the child get used to daytime potty training first, take some time to celebrate this milestone with the child, then gradually start the night time training process. However, be prepared for another battle because night time potty training might take a much longer time to achieve. This is because success depends to a large extent on the size of the child’s bladder. The child’s bladder needs to grow large enough to hold the urine that the child produces during the night. Her brain also needs to mature enough to recognize the urge from her bladder when she needs to pass water.

Many toddlers are not developmentally able to sense when their bladder is full and rousing themselves from sleep to go and use the potty is also difficult. In a lot of cases, the child’s body system doesn’t mature enough for the child to stop wetting the bed until the child is about 5 or 6 years old. Some even take longer. Sometimes, a child might be a very deep sleeper and this affects their ability to sense when the bladder is full.

There will also continue to be the occasional “accidents” even after the child is potty trained. Unless there are other medical reasons, a 7-year-old wetting the bed at night is not abnormal. Some people even believe that it takes boys longer to stop wetting the bed than girls but please don’t quote me because I have not found any conclusive research to back this claim!

My advice here is not to panic if you try and potty train your child for the night time without immediate success. Please be patient with the child. Do not lose your temper or become harsh with the child. After you have tried night time potty training consistently without success for a few weeks If the child is still very young you might have to take a break and give the child’s bladder sufficient time to mature a bit more. In most cases, by the age of 7, most children will be fully night time potty trained. If, however, bedwetting persists even after you have consistently tried to train the child past the age of 8 you might want to have the child checked out by a doctor for nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting).


Has your child been using the potty without your prompting during the day consistently? In other words, does she no longer depend on you to remind her to go and use the potty during the day? If the answer to this question is yes, then your child is ready for night time potty training.


  1. Buy either disposable sheet protectors, or easy to clean plastic sheets
    that can be placed under the child’s bedsheet to protect the mattress.
  2. Avoid giving the child liquids one hour before the child’s bedtime.
  3. Let her use the potty, 30 minutes before bedtime and again just before
  4. Wake the child up to use the potty before you go to sleep. If your bedtime is more than 2 hours after your child goes to bed then time yourself and wake her up to pee 2 hours after she goes to bed.
  5. Waking the child up to pee once at night is usually sufficient if it is well-timed and if you do not allow the child to have fluids too close to bedtime. Her bladder will not be producing as much fluid as it does during the day.
  6. During the daytime, tell your child that he needs to go to the bathroom any time he wakes up during the night. You can also offer rewards,
    promise the child a gift, or a treat if he wakes up by himself to go and pee at night. Ask him to let you know whenever he does this so that you don’t end up going to wake him up again during the same night.
  7. Some children will actually resist nighttime potty training, they might be scared to get up at night go to the bathroom alone when everybody else is sleeping. If you notice this is the case with your child, find a way of making them know that there is nothing scary about night time. I have a nursery rhyme that I sing with my grandchildren to embolden them: “Go way scary monster, go away!” By the time we get to the last line, they are screaming at the imaginary monster and making scary faces to scare any monster away! Please make sure you provide adequate night light.
  8. You might also need to use some tough love if you find that your 4- year-old (or older) child is deliberately resisting night time training. Have a “sit down” or talk with the child. You can start by asking her why she does not like getting up to use the potty at night. If she cannot defend herself, you might then remind her that she is old enough and able to get up and use the potty at night. Let her also know that you will make her clean up the mess every time that she wets the bed.

How to Potty Train Without Stress: Part 3

  • Once the child is comfortable with using the potty. Start teaching them about hygiene. Explain what you’re doing when cleaning them, then encourage them to do it while you watch. Teach them how to wash their hands with soap and water after toilet time. This is another fun part of toilet training because children love playing with water.
  • Some children will start coming to you when they feel the urge to use the toilet after a few days. Continue to lead them there. Others might start attempting to go there themselves. Both of these efforts need to be encouraged. This is also when most of the accidents happen. It might be frustrating for you because you have to keep cleaning up but please don’t let the child know that you’re feeling overwhelmed. Keep encouraging them to try again.
  • Some children might go a whole day without an accident then boom! They have a series of accidents. Even when this happens, continue to praise them for the effort. Say things like: “I know you tried to get to the potty. I am so proud of you for trying!” “Wow! You tried to pull down your pants, good job!”
  • Expect accidents, remember to tell them its okay, and even if you feel disappointed or frustrated, do not show it. Change and clean your child and let them know they can try again.
  • If you find you are getting annoyed or even feeling like your toddler isn’t trying, leave off potty training for a while and try starting again in a few days or after about a week. Punishment or scolding does not help with toilet training, it only makes the child anxious and tense which will only lead to more accidents.
  • How long will it take to toilet train your child? As I said earlier, it’s impossible for anyone to prescribe how long toilet training will take. After a couple of few weeks, some children will get used to the scheduled potty times and start remaining dry during most of the day while it might take others longer to get used to it.

Next: Night time toilet training

How to Potty Train Without Stress: PART 2

  • At least 2 weeks before starting to toilet train, make sure you use specific words like poo, pupu, dudu, or whatever you choose to call it whenever you are changing your toddler’s diaper. Do this consistently. Say things like “you have pooed,” “you peed” “Are you pooping?” etc. so that they start learning the difference between peeing and pooing.
  • Invest in either a potty or a special toilet seat attachment. Place the potty in the toilet. If it will be more convenient, you can place it where your child spends most of his/her time for the first few days while the child is getting familiar with the potty. You can even start by simply encouraging your child to sit on the potty even while watching TV. If you’re using toilet seat attachment, spend some time showing your child how to sit on it and how to flush. Most children enjoy this part of the training and will keep going back to play with the toilet flush handle! So remember to keep the toilet door closed when not in use or you might end up with toys, keys, spoons, etc. in the toilet bowl!
  • If you’re a working parent its best to start the next steps of potty training process during a weekend. Preferably a long week or during a period when you know you can take a few days off from work. This will allow you to introduce the technique you are using to your toddler which you can then tell the daycare provider who should be able to continue during the week so the child does not fall back. Stay at home mums or dads (or as I like to call them home executives!) don’t need to worry about this weekend rule unless their child also goes to daycare.
  • Schedule some regular potty times. Let your toddler sit on the potty or toilet seat without a diaper for between 3 and 5 minutes first thing every morning and when the child wakes up after naptime. Repeat potty time every two hours. It does not matter if your child is male or female. Even the boys need to learn to sit while peeing. Believe me, they will learn to pee standing up later! Some children will not want to sit on the potty for more than 2 minutes at a time. Let her get up. Encourage her/him to sit again by offering praise or a toy.
  • Watch out for signs that your toddler is about to do a wee or a poo and guide him/her to the potty or toilet. Always act fast! Lead the child to the toilet immediately.
  • Praise or clap for the child every time you manage to get them to the potty to pee or wee on time. Some parents use the reward system. They give the child a treat, or a favorite toy to play with after successfully using the potty.


When Should You Start Potty Training Your Child?

Hi all, I am reposting this for the benefit of our new members and because we would like to continue the discussion with tips on how to potty train over the next few days.

Potty training should not depend on exactly how old a child is. Children develop at different rates. So potty training should depend on the child’s physical development and behavior milestones.

Some children are ready for potty training between ages 18 and 24 months while others might not be ready until they’re closer to 36 months. Please study your child and try not to compare him/her to other babies because rushing and trying to train a child who is not ready could actually traumatize the child and then it will take longer to train him.

Readiness for toilet training also has nothing to do with his or her level of intelligence or whether or not you are a good parent.

So how do you know when your child is ready to be potty trained? Here are a few tips:
• Can your child walk to and sit on a toilet?
• Can your child pull down his or her pants and pull them up again?
• Can your child stay dry for up to two hours?
• Can your child understand and follow basic directions?
• Can your child communicate when he or she needs to go?
• Does your child seem interested in using the toilet or wearing “big-kid” underwear?
If the answer to most of these questions is yes, then your child is ready. If the answer to more than half of the questions is no, please be patient. Wait and use the time to train him or her in those things that will help get her/him ready.

Also, I know parents who are pregnant with another baby might be anxious to potty train their toddlers before the birth of the new baby. However, this is unfair to the toddler if she/he is not yet ready.
Children are more sensitive than we realize. Forcing a child to be toilet trained in order to prepare for a new baby might make the toddler feel alienated from you and even resent the new baby.

8 Tips for Effective Napping for Preschoolers

Napping can be pretty tough for teachers and for children alike. Here are tips that make it easy for both of you.

  1. Regular naptime is a taught exercise for children, so be persistent. We know this sounds weird but this is true. 
  2. If naptime is really about discipline, then we must check our expectations.  (I am not sure I understand or agree with this point- I suggest deleting it and making the title 7 naptime tips instead of 8)
  3. Have a plan for naptime. What can you do if the kids are unsettled? What will you do when some resist and begin to disturb others? Make a plan that ensures naptimes are effective.
  4. Teach naptime skills during the day not during naptime. Model what to expect, how to lay down and rest the mind.
  5. Prepare for those who will not nap. Provide quiet activities for those who are not sleeping. When other kids are napping, get those who aren’t sleeping to engage in quiet activities.
  6. Set a relaxing tone. Dim the lights if you have to, play relaxing music that the children are familiar with. Use a hushed voice, move around the room quietly and help children settle.
  7. Transit into naptime gradually. Begin by setting up quiet materials. These will help kids move from high energy to low energy. Avoid very active activities closer to naptimes. Ask the kids to arrange their mats and cots, tell them to take deep breathes and read a book.
  8. Transit out of naptime gradually too. Begin by putting away quiet time materials, then move around the room waking the kids. Have a routine for awakening the kids.