A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom

Credit Card Parenting

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Toddlerwise gave a great concept I have remembered from pre-motherhood. It has to do with discipline and consistency now. It refers to a certain method of parenting that puts off the hard yards and discipline until the future and it’s called credit card parenting.

“You’ll still pay the price of training in the future, but with compound interest.”

Let that sink in. Whatever it is you are not doing now…. you’ll still have to do it later. It’ll just be harder. It will be more work, more hassle, and you’ll come up against a stronger will.

Here are some common areas we can put off training because it may feel like a hassle.

1) obeying “no.” Babies as young as 8 months can learn the meaning of no and obey it.

2) please and thank you. manners are a lot harder to learn when you’ve spent a few formative years sayin’ gimme. Teaching sign language is a good way to help your toddler express themselves, and please and thank you are simple signs. Also, signing will transition naturally into speech.

3) eating the food you eat. Some methods, such as baby led weaning, have the baby eating from your plate from 6 months. We didn’t do this and lived in puree heaven (or hell as the case may be) for a while but by around 13 months she was eating the dinners I cooked. After some time at allowing her to adapt to our food she got the hang of it. Having your toddlers eat what you eat is both easy and convenient. It’s a lot harder to get a 3 year old to like beef stroganoff than a 1 year old.

4) independent playtime. From a young age if you teach your children to play with their toys alone for an appropriate and (secretly) supervised amount of time, by the time they are about 18 months, they’ll be able to play quietly in their room for about an hour and give you some space. I don’t mean they wander to their room when they feel like it. I mean you put them in their room at a designated time of the day for a specified period (set a timer if you want) and they happily play. If you do independent playtime in the morning you can make the bed, put up last night’s dishes, give the house a good straighten, get dressed, or read some emails. Afterwards, you’ll be refreshed and they’ll be ready for some interaction. Training to entertain themselves prevents the “I’m bored” phrase.

5) sleep training. Rocking the baby to sleep, inserting the pacifier every twenty five seconds, and giving all other manner of sleep props just puts off the inevitable. The inevitable being the battle between them and you to go to sleep at a time of your choosing. If you start sleep training by Day 1 you’ll have a child sleeping 12 hours a night without feeding by at least 4 months (some friends have had it earlier) taking two to three 2 hours naps a day. Sound like a fairy tale? Read Babywise. It works.

Put in the hard yards early and reap the benefits early. You can train your children much younger than you think. Get a strategy and stick to it. Then you’ll live off the rewards program and stop paying interest!

A Mother Far from Home

PS – Click here for lots of articles relating to parenthood: the great adventure!


Author: A Mother Far From Home

Around here we look at practical child-rearing and child-bearing issues. Look around and find down-to-earth parenting talk, tips, reviews, and some interesting lessons I've learned while navigating the waters of motherhood.

One thought on “Credit Card Parenting

  1. What great advice! As the mother of four children, I agree wholeheartedly!

    Thanks for inspiring me today (and I really enjoy the way you write)!


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