The week's best parenting advice: July 20, 2021
Vaccinating under-12s, the pros and cons of the SNOO, and more
Vaccinating the youngest among us
The Food and Drug Administration says children under the age of 12 may be offered COVID-19 vaccines as soon as this winter, according to NBC News. With the Delta variant spreading rapidly in the U.S., it makes sense that many parents of young children are anxious to vaccinate their little ones as soon as possible. But it's important to note that trials for both Moderna and Pfizer's shots for under-12s won't be finished until the fall, NBC notes. Plus, the FDA wants to see four to six months of follow-up data to ensure they're safe. "I can't imagine ... that we're going to have too much data before the late fall," says Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric researcher involved in Moderna's trials. Results for kids under age 5 will likely take even longer. "There is still a lot of work left to be done," Creech says.
Much ado about the SNOO
"Few other technological advancements have inspired the same level of reverence among parents, bordering on religious devotion, as the SNOO," writes Maura Judkis at The Washington Post. The SNOO is a high-tech bassinet that senses when new babies are fussy and uses motion and white noise to lull them back to sleep, so parents can get some extra shut-eye. But it comes at a steep cost: $1,500. Is it worth it? On the one hand, it's hard to put a value on a good night's sleep. Judkis points out that parental sleep deprivation contributes to postpartum depression. On the other hand, some parents report their babies can't sleep in anything but the SNOO — if there's a power failure or they go on vacation, they're out of luck. And while the science suggests the SNOO's methods are sound, "it doesn't work for everyone, or every baby," writes Emily Oster at ParentData. "And for many people they thought it helped, but it wasn't magic."
The benefits of the 'Peppa Effect'
Over the last year or so, COVID-related lockdowns have reportedly boosted the so-called "Peppa Effect," which has American children speaking in British accents after watching hours of the cartoon Peppa Pig. Indeed, kids love this show: It is the second-most popular kids' cartoon (behind only SpongeBob SquarePants). And some parents, while a bit confused by their kiddo's new vocabulary, see it as beneficial. Dominique Parr says the show has helped her 3-year-old daughter Hazel, who is autistic, develop her language skills. Tess Darci says her 4-year-old daughter is much more polite thanks to Peppa: "She says 'lovely' and 'please' and 'thank you' all the time," Darci told The Wall Street Journal, adding that she feels the show offers some cultural education at a time when international travel is a challenge. "At least with Peppa they go to Italy, she's learning about London, she knows about the queen."
Dispelling a common myth about new parenthood
After Joanna Goddard of Cup of Jo gave birth to her first son, she fell instantly in love with him. But when her second boy arrived three years later, she "felt like a stranger was suddenly living with us." Postpartum depression followed, and her connection with her new baby suffered further. Eventually, the fog lifted and she "fell hook, line, and sinker for this wonderful person." She shares the story to remind new parents that "it's normal to experience all sorts of feelings — even negative ones," when you have a baby. "You're never alone." Her readers agreed. "It took me a solid month, maybe two, to feel that full-fledged love with my son," a reader tells Goddard. Another says the "love at first sight" myth makes her cringe. "I really wish I had felt that, but I just wanted to sleep."
Why you should stop commenting on your child's appearance
Can commenting on a child's appearance do more harm than good? Maybe. Clinical psychologist Rebecca Kennedy of Good Inside says she avoids commenting on her daughter's physical looks in order to disconnect the perceived link between external praise and body confidence. When we say things like, "You look so pretty," it can make a child "addicted to external validation and words of praise about their appearance from other people," Kennedy says. Real body confidence comes from feeling good about what's inside. Parents can instill this by inquiring about how a child feels or what they think, rather than commenting on how they look. For example, ask your kid how they thought to put together their outfit today, or how they feel while wearing it. Remind them that what they think about their own body is most important. "Now I'm building my child inside out," Kennedy says. "I'm curious in the person inside the body, not just judging the body with certain words."