Raising Infants and Toddlers

The duties of a first-class mother of infants and toddlers are, for the most part, not so hard. You mostly just feed them and change their diapers. It doesn’t have the complexity and subtlety of homeschooling. Nevertheless, here are some principles, for the period from birth to about the fifth birthday:

Breastfeed. If you aren’t breastfeeding, then you are feeding them chemical factory food, quite likely made from GMOs. Here is a label from a popular brand of baby formula. Avoid this horrible crap.

Music or Silence: Have a house without “noise.” Music (something good and worthwhile, whether actual music, or reading or talking), or silence. Not the silence of outer space, but the silence of nature, like a park or garden. Common forms of “noise” in the house include: popular music constantly on, television and road noise. It also definitely includes toys that have some kind of electronic noise, which is very common today. All our toys are silent.

Have a pretty house. For some reason, moms assume that if you have children, then the children’s mess dominates the house. Children often make a mess of their toys and playthings, but then you clean up and put them away. Even if your house is modest, keep it clean and decluttered. Have a place where the toys get put away at the end of each day. Try to keep toys from accumulating too much. Toys that the child has outgrown, or just never showed much interest in, can be given to younger children or donated. “Noise” includes “visual noise” — clutter and mess. Your house should look like “music.” I don’t like toys and other children’s stuff with garish colors.

A child-safe area. As you child begins to walk, set up an area that is child-safe. Children need a place where they can fool around and play, and not have to hear “don’t do this/don’t touch that” all the time. Fencing and gating can help here.

Child-size things. As children get a little larger, ages 2-5, they can be given child-size things that are easy for them to handle. Probably everyone has some child-size cups or spoons. Child-size furniture is also nice, including perhaps a cabinet with child-size drawers that can be easily opened with big handles. Children like to have a place where they can keep their things.

Keep your baby by you while sleeping. Separating an infant into a separate bedroom is unnatural. Keep your baby near your bed, in a bassinet or at least a crib in the same bedroom.

No screens. It doesn’t take long before moms learn that children are fascinated by video screens. It keeps them quiet for hours. It is very tempting but … don’t do this. I wouldn’t give children screens (tablets, televisions) until maybe age 6 — including “children’s” entertainment, and especially “educational” programs. One problem today is that children often have tablets, which they hold perhaps 8″ from their eyes (they have short arms). This can be very bad for developing eyes.

Avoid wifi. If you can, turn off the wifi. Use internet via Ethernet and USB (cable) if you want to. Microwave radiation (wifi) is particularly bad for children. Many countries ban wifi in schools.

No vaccines. Read up on vaccine damage. I would avoid all vaccines. There are way too many children today with autism and various autoimmune disorders including allergies. When I was a child, people weren’t allergic to peanuts. If you want, you can delay vaccination to at least age 2 or maybe age 6. Vaccines are much riskier, the younger a child is. If you say you are “delaying” vaccination, it can go a lot better with doctors and relatives who think you should vaccinate your children. Also, it gives you six years to learn about the problems of vaccines. For a long time, Japan had no vaccination before age 2, due to the potential damage it can cause. Japan still bans the MMR vaccine due to problems 2000x above normal. There is almost no chance of getting a once-common infectious disease today, even without vaccination. The last known case of polio among a U.S. resident was in 1978. The last known case of polio in all of North and South America was in 1991. Occasionally there are outbreaks of measles, with “hundreds of cases” loudly promoted in the media, and the infected children are, rather suspiciously, those that have recently been given the measles vaccine. What they don’t tell you is that the number of deaths from measles in the U.S., from 2000-2020 (twenty years), is apparently a grand total of: 2. Not 2 per year, just 2. Mortality from nearly all infectious diseases plummeted after 1930, mostly due to better public sanitation and healthcare, and were already at very low levels before the introduction of vaccines.

Good food. Homecooked meals from natural single ingredients. Lots of fruit and vegetables. Eat together as a family every day. Children generally eat the same food as adults (possibly avoiding spicy foods at first). They don’t get to choose. Avoid too much “kids foods,” like a constant diet of cookies, ice cream, hot dogs and pizza. Healthy stuff only.

Get outside in a natural environment. The best place is somewhere naturalistic, like a park or garden, but also a place where moms don’t have to say “don’t do this/don’t go there” all the time.

Play with other children. As children get a little bigger, from about 6m onward, and definitely from about 2yrs, they should be with other children pretty much every day.

If your child is driving you crazy, you aren’t doing it right. Motherhood is not mom and baby alone in the living room for 10 hours straight. That will definitely drive you nuts. The pattern of “parents playing with children” is fine for 20 minutes, but not for longer periods of time. Children play with other children for 10 hours straight, while Mom keeps them out of trouble and feeds them. That is the basic pattern.

Trade off childcare with other Moms. Children can play with other children for 10 hours, every day, but moms probably don’t want to make small talk with other moms for 10 hours, every day. “Playdates” are not so good. If you formalize this process, you might even set up a “daycare co-op” with ten other families, to have a place for the children to play every day, while moms take turns overseeing them. I met one person who set up a co-op like this. They even rented some space that they could use every day. Another friend formed a “mom’s club” of about 5 moms that got together four days a week.

Dress your children well. Nice clothing for toddlers doesn’t cost much. Yes, they will get it dirty — so what? Toss it in the laundry. If you ask around, you can probably get clothing from other moms whose children have outgrown them.

These are some product photos from Oshkosh.com. Companies like Oshkosh or Carter’s are making tons of very nice children’s clothes, and they often cost less than $10 after discounts. The only difficulty is getting parents to actually use the very nice things available. There’s no reason to be a slob. “No t-shirts” for boys and “no tights” for girls is a good rule.

Forget about “school.” Avoid all “school”-type studying at young ages. Studies have shown that pushing children toward “studying” at an early age (before age 5) not only provides no benefit, but it actually produces worse results! You can do a little bit around age 4 (but not earlier), such as the 26 letters and 10 digits. You might try to practice a little reading around age 5. But, this would be about 15 minutes a day, no more. And, if you just skip it, that would be fine too. In the past, children would often have no schooling until about age 8, when their brains have developed enough to process abstract information like words and numbers. Some children will begin to do a little reading from about age 5, but if they don’t, no big deal. Children who begin to read at age 5, and those that begin to read at age 9, have the same reading ability at age 12. The common pattern among homeschoolers is much less study before about age 8, and much more study after age 12.

Read to them. Parents reading to children is OK, from an early age. These should be books that are age-appropriate for the child. The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Elephant and Piggie, not To The Lighthouse. Look into Mother Goose, or Aesop’s Fables. Sing songs.

Basically, surround them with things that are Good, True and Beautiful.

This is study time for Mom. You have a few years to get up to speed on homeschooling. Read books about homeschooling, and continue expanding your own education. Give yourself the kind of education that you want to give to your children — which is probably different than the education you got when you were a child. When they are around age 10-12, they are going to be doing a lot of reading. You need a long head start. “You not Them.”

Published by proprietor

Happily married, with children.

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