Am I Boring My Child?

I’m a stay-at-home dad, and I’m worried that my daughter will get bored at home with me and with the same toys. I want to be a great father and make sure my child is stimulated and learning new things, and is enjoying her surroundings. What do I do?

Wow, what a great question! You’ve really hit on an incredibly common fear-not only for dads but for stay-at-home moms too.

Rather than come up with a list of activities, the best way you can deal with your concerns is to try to think about things a little differently. First, try to remember that you’re not a walking video arcade; you do not have to entertain your child during her every waking moment.
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Childproofing

Our baby isn’t crawling yet, but he will be pretty soon. Basically he goes for anything within his reach. I’m assuming he’ll be the same way when he starts crawling. What should we do to childproof our house?

Once your baby realizes that he’s able to move around by himself, his mission in life will be to locate–and race you to–the most dangerous, life-threatening things in your home. So if you haven’t already begun the never-ending process of child-proofing your house, better start now.

The first thing to do is get down on your hands and knees and check things out from your baby’s perspective. Taking care of those pesky wires and covering up your outlets is only the beginning, so start with the basics:
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Sleeping Arrangements

Some friends of ours share their king-sized bed with their two children. They say that families all over the world sleep in the same “family bed” that it’s good for everyone. “Co-Sleeping” as they call it, still seems weird to me. Doesn’t it interfere with mom and dad’s relationship to sleep with the kids in the bed? It also seems pretty unsafe to me. What do you think?

Most pediatricians will probably tell you that your baby should get used to sleeping by him- or herself as soon after birth as possible. The reasoning is that in American culture we emphasize early independence, so babies should adapt quickly to being away from their parents-especially if both parents work and the children are in day care.
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Midnight Wakeups

We have a newborn and my wife and I are both exhausted. Who do you think should take care of the baby when he wakes up at 3 a.m.? Do both of us have to suffer? Does our infant really need both of us there in the middle of the night?

If your baby wakes up in the middle of the night hungry, and your partner is breastfeeding, you might as well stay in bed and let her take care of things. Sounds pretty boorish, but really and truly, there’s not much you can do to help. In fact, your sleeping through the feeding may actually benefit your partner. That way you get a full night’s sleep and you’ll be fresh for the 7 a.m. child-care shift, and she’ll get to spend a few more precious hours in bed.
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Finding Day Care

My wife and I are shopping around for day care. How can we tell if the facility will offer the proper care? Are there qualifications and credentials I should look for to make sure our child is safe and well cared for?

Finding a quality daycare center or provider can be incredibly stressful. Here are just a few things to look for in a day-care center:
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Sharing Childearing

I’ve got a pretty flexible schedule at work and I’d really like to share the childcare equally with my wife. She seems so good at it, though, that I’m not sure I can ever catch up. Is there anything I can do to learn this parenting thing and feel like a competent dad?

Many of us-men as well as women-simply assume that women know more about kids than men. On average, women do spend more time taking care of children than men do, and their skills may be a little sharper than ours. But parenting skills are not innate-they’re learned on the job, through experience and training. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’ll be able to have an active, involved relationships with your children.
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