If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Blog Posts 1–5, based on the United States of America Department of the Army Field Manual: Holistic Healing and Fitness, describe what really matters for your child’s sleep. If sleep is an important enough topic for national defense than surely sleep should be considered a serious topic for parenting!
Inexperience, for first-time parents, naturally creates some anxiety about how to best raise your child. Every imaginable opinion is available online to support widely divergent points of view. Many sites create false hopes to get you to buy their product and services. Their marketing preys on your anxiety. Some sleep-deprived parents become desperate. Even though some widely once-popular products and programs have been shown to be useless or dangerous, some of these products and programs are still available!
Caveat emptor (Let the Buyer Beware) is a well-known phrase, but parents also need to beware of false claims regarding rearing children. Myths (Blog Posts 36 and 37), fads (Blog Post 143), and fake news (146 and 147) are a sad part of the history of parenting. Here is a brief cautionary history to give you some perspective on fake promises.
Benjamin F. Feingold was a pediatric allergist from California, who proposed in 1973 that salicylates, artificial colors, and artificial flavors cause hyperactivity in children. To treat or prevent hyperactivity, Feingold suggested a diet that was free of salicylates, artificial colors, artificial flavors, BHA, and BHT. Scientific research found no good evidence that it was effective. Although the diet had a certain popular appeal, a 1983 meta-analysis found research on it to be of poor quality, and that overall there was no good evidence that it was effective in fulfilling its claims. In general, as of 2013 there is no evidence to support broad claims that food coloring causes food intolerance and ADHD-like behavior in children.
The long-playing vinyl record ‘Lullaby from the Womb’ was sold in 1974. It was promoted as “A unique listening environment for the newborn baby-designed to calm and soothe through the actually recorded sounds of a mother’s body”. My first son had had colic (Blog Post 43) but my second son did not. My third on son was born in 1975 and I bought this record to see if it worked. Unlike the results of the physician who claimed 100% soothing success, it did not calm my son’s crying. He published his research in the ‘Japanese Journal for Midwife’ in 1979 and no research paper since then has cited his work to support the results.
The Baby Einstein Company was founded in 1996 by former teacher and stay-at-home mom Julie Aigner-Clark. The concept and popularity of Baby Einstein expanded as a Disney property. The success of Baby Einstein was estimated to be nearly $400 million based on revenues.
Controversy: Language development. A 2010 study published in Psychological Science demonstrated that children who viewed the videos regularly for one month, with or without their parents, “showed no greater understanding of words from the program than kids who never saw it”. On the other hand, children who were taught by their parents improved the most; researchers speculated that this was probably because children learn best “through meaningful gestures and interactive communication with parents”. In response to these new findings, Disney offered refunds to parents whose children did not see improvement’
(To be continued)