Learning from French parents

Back from visiting my brothers in Durham.

M is on leave in the last week and will continue to be off for almost another 2 weeks. It is bliss. j’adore my amour (i dont know what husband is in french).

I’ve also bought a book titled ‘French kids don’t throw food’ which is a whole
new set of revelations really! Written by an American married to a British dude where they’re now living in France, she’s noticed how well behaved French kids are. The parents are calm when telling the kids to do something. No shouting or tantrums – something which I would love to have with Zayan! (Being in a room with my nephews and nieces are like being in a zoo. When we go out, PANING! I see other kids sitting quietly eating their meals and wish ny anak buahs are like that too! It doesnt help when theyre all together and encourage each other on)

Anywayyyy the book has a lot of common sense – common sense that we somehow dont follow or use (maybe just me). theres an entire chapter about sleep, which of course i read feverishly. Apparently french babies sleep ALL night on average at 3-4 months old. They dont do this whole crying it out business but instead ‘follow the baby’s rhythm’. I am still confused to what this means but basically one rule they follow is to do ‘the pause’. Instead of picking up baby as soon as he cries, the parent pause for that little bit longer to see what he wants. Sometimes they might just want some comfort or sometimes theyll fall back to sleep on their own. If crying persists, they’ll pick baby up. The french understand that babies (as do adults) have sleep cycles lasting 1.5 – 2 hrs and they have yet to connect these sleep cycles together. However within a few weeks old, they can learn to connect sleep cycles if we teach them.

You have to read the book to fully understand. All in all, it’s quite refreshing to learn. There’s a lot of talk about educating the kids, instead of disciplining. Having a firm framework to live life but being flexible inside the framework (eg can only eat snacks as afternoon tea but can eat whatever during this time). This belief that children needs to have their senses awaken, instead of being dampened by excessive protection.

Oh this reminds me of children and food. As part of our training, we had a seminar on children and eating habits. Children nowadays are either addictive snack eaters or fussy picky eaters. I remembered two things from it:(1) kids follow what their moms eat and (2) kids below age 2 have suggestible palate – if you introduce variety of taste and textures of food when theyre babies/toddlers, theyll grow to like it. so if food they eat as toddlers are bland, theyll be accustomed to that taste and later want food of that taste only.

Basically the french knows this! They treat children like mini adults, serving food like for adults but tinier portions. They’re so passionate about ‘educating’ their kids about food that they think long and hard the menu for the nurseries. They wont repeat the same food (eg not same veg every wk), theyll mix different textures (eg pureed veg and more solid dessert). also to encourage eating variety of food, the rule is to have a bite of everything on the plate. and if they dont like it that day, dont be discourage to try that piece of food (eg broccoli) another day but maybe different taste/way of cooking.

eh melarat tah pulang. for those interested, do read it! i dont agree with all the principlea but i do find what they do an alternative way of seeing things.

zayan’s awake now daaa~

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