As parents, we’ve all seen it, our baby slumped and snoozing in their car seat. Head lolling at an unnatural angle and mouth agape. You think “Aw. Poor thing. They must be so uncomfortable.” You want to fix it. In fact, as their mom (or dad) you are compelled to fix it. You lift their head gently from the side, trying to find the “tipping point” between front and back and side to side. You think you’ve got it. Ahhhh…the head is balanced. Success. Then they wake up and the screaming commences.
The point is, everyday our children are happy. We just don’t know it. So we continue on our quest to make their lives more pleasurable, more comfortable, “happier.” We shift, move, change, sanitize, anticipate and assist them with the hope of making their world a better place. And what do we get for it? Banchee screams and a migraine for our efforts.
The best advice I ever got as a parent and what I’d like to pass on to others: NEVER make a happy baby happier.
And at all costs, avoid the following 10 most common ways parents cause tantrums in otherwise peaceful and content babies or toddlers:
1.Moving your child from the car into the house so they can have a more comfortable nap. Unless you have a kid who is a guaranteed “transferer” let them sleep even if you have to sit in the car with them in the driveway. Or worst case, move the entire carseat with your sleeping child.
2. Changing your child out of a wet diaper in the middle of the night. If the wet diaper doesn’t wake them, you shouldn’t either!
3. Adding to a picture they’re working on…just to make it “prettier” (or neater, or color IN the lines). Step away from the crayons.
4. Paying for expensive seats to a live kids show and insisting they watch every last second of it. Paying for the seats won’t affect your kid’s happiness one way or the other. Making them sit through the whole show (plus intermission!) - long beyond their attention span to justify the cost will. It’s ok to leave.
5. Adding salt, cheese or ketchup to food without asking.