It is a fact of life. If you have a baby, are around a baby, have a family member or neighbor with a baby, inevitably they will cry. And in a lot of times, cry for no reason- or atleast a reason you can’t pinpoint.And as long as the crying doesn’t come from a basic need like hunger, needing to be changed, or sleep, it is up to you to help your child refocus.
Not everyone is built with auto patience, so I wanted to share five ways I often use to help calm down my child before it’s me that loses it.
1) Babies like schedules. When things go out of that schedule. they get confused and often times frustrated. I am personally of the belief that a child should have a routine that includes feeding times, bedtimes, and nap times and that before they know how to communicate, you are communicating with them by your behaviors and schedule. That being said, there are times where the schedule can get completely out of whack and a baby starts to cry. One thing my son can always count on is me singing. Since he has been born, I have sang, very typically, “you are my sunshine” to him. I sing it when I am changing him, when he is in the tub, and when we are hanging out. Because he has come to know it as a smiley happy song, when he is crying and I sing, it starts to calm him down out of familiarity. I more or less find that its a trigger a great trigger. Try using a song to communicate to your child during the day and then as a calming mechanism in the future.
2) Distraction. Ah, distraction. this works for every child, even the older ones. If Phoenyx is crying beyond belief, I look for an item he has never seen before or sees very little. Somtimes this is a large makeup brush, a wooden kitchen utensil, a little jewelry box, there are a ton of things that are stashed around your home that your child would like to discover. In my case, I generally dont just hand him the item but instead drop it near him. He will notice it and crawl over, thinking he was the one who found this new item. This works about 99% of the time in making him forget he was crying and on to new things.
Tip: Keep a bag of “new” toys secluded away that you can use for car trips, in your diaper bag, or those really special times you need some distraction. You can check out places like Dollar Tree to find some inexpensive items to stock up on according to your age group
3) Water! Whether its a bath or a pool, the fun of water is always a great way to calm a baby down. Generally a bath is part of a babys bedtime routine, but it can also be a great way to reset during the morning or afternoon hours as well. Right now I am facing a child that has learned to stand in the tub but doesn’t understand the dangers, so currently bath time is having an opposite affect as I make him sit down quite a bit and he wants to stand, but in general, a warm bath is relaxing and serves the dual purpose of getting clean. Right now I am giving P one bath in the morning time to play, usually some fun pool time in the afternoon when he starts to get cranky, and then a bath before bed for cleaning purposes. Just make sure you have your bath toys, paci, towel, diaper, and soap ready.
4) Babies really love to look at themselves. I will sometimes walk Phoenyx into the bathroom and have him stand on the counter and stare at himself in the mirror. If he is crying, it intrigues him and he will generally stop when he realizes the man in the mirror is him. He is also very interested when he realizes that one of those people staring at him is ME. He can look at me in the mirror while I hold him and give him a kiss and his frowns generally fade.
5) Change of scenery. This idea works for both the parent and the child. Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. The house gets stuffy, the toys are boring, whatever it may be, taking your baby on a walk or a drive can give him, and you, some quiet time. The lull of a stroller and hearing the birds and feeling the wind absolutely calms him down every time. It also gives me a chance to gain some more patience. If the weather is not right for a stroller, you can also do this in the car, although in my case, he doesn’t generally calm down till the car is rolling for a few minutes. Unfortunately he also could fall asleep in the car and push off his regular naps, messing up the day further, so the car is a last resort for me.
Last but not least, do not be afraid to walk away from your baby. Your childs crib is a safe zone for him. It’s OK to lay him down if he is fed, changed, and not sick, and go into your room and close the door. It is OK to take a break and it does not make you a bad mother.You never hear about a mother that walked away from a baby to give herself some time being bad, but you hear plenty about mothers who shake, hit, or otherwise lose it with their child because they didn’t know how to calm down.
Personally, if I ever feel really frustrated, I will put him in his crib, close his door, and I go take a shower. When I get out of the shower I feel better and chances are he is more calm – or at the very least I am calm enough to deal with him. When you are frustrated, your baby gets frustrated, but remember that crying is part of growing. It does not make you, or your relationship with your child, bad. Until your child learns to communicate more with words, it is up to you to redirect and refocus him.
What do you do when your baby cries? Any tips for other moms?