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Three reasons to chuck out the parenting manuals right now!

I remember it well, my angelic child screaming “I don’t love you”. This happened as they clung on to my legs at the supermarket, with me desperately wanting to scream back.

This may be a few years ago now, but I remember the good, and sadly, the bad days all too well. It was easy to look around at other parents at playgroups thinking I was alone in those feelings; that I was the only one whose toddler screamed at me in public. The books I read at the time about parenting didn’t tell me any of this!

Of course every toddler goes through their tantrum stage, but looking back, I really was just winging this parenting lark. Despite thinking that I had it all sussed thanks to the parenting manuals and books I read.

Which bits of that advice actually REALLY helped me?

I made this video for a brand a few months ago – but it holds so true for me I am sharing it again. Motherhood wasn’t what I expected.

Which bits did you chuck out from the parenting manuals first?!

These are the three key pieces of advice that I soon discovered just didn’t work for me, or other parents.

3 reasons to chuck out the parenting manuals

3 reasons to chuck out the parenting manuals RIGHT NOW!

At the age of one, all children should be sleeping through the night

So if, like me, you have dealt with an eternity of sleepless nights. Which was at its height when my son had reflux. Surely by the time they hit one they will have learnt to sleep through – or so they told me.


Not even the deepest of sleepers will sleep through the whole night. Just like adults, babies and toddlers have a sleep pattern that goes through different cycles. My children still wake up in the middle of the night, often for no reason; and sometimes they want me, sometimes they don’t.

As they have gotten older, the need for mummy or daddy to comfort them is minimal and they go back to sleep on their own. However, “sleeping through the night” doesn’t really happen, they just don’t pester anymore!

On top of this, when they are toddlers, we are dealing with new nurseries, getting used to mum going back to work, potty training and teething. As your child grows older, the night-time worries and needs change, but all we can do is give them the tools to settle themselves so that those worries don’t give us too many sleepless nights.

Toddlers should be out of nappies by the age of three

I, like many of my friends, worried that potty training would not come naturally to my children.

It is sometimes hard to accept that children will be toilet trained at their own pace. There are no medals to be won for a child who is out of nappies by the age of two. I have written on this blog before about potty training not being a race.

Similarly, there should be no rush to get them out of nappies at night time. Night time potty training is much tougher and will come in their own time; often it is a developmental issue and there is really nothing “training” related about it at all.

Lots of children aged five still wear nappies at night!

Breast is best for everyone

A subject that has had a good airing in the media over recent years, but when is it the right time to stop breastfeeding?

There is no definitive answer to this, of course. A good time would be when both the mother and baby/child feel ready, not when society, or that parenting book, says you SHOULD be ready.

I fed both mine until they were roughly six months, but with my first child, I had so many problems breastfeeding due to Mastitis and thrush that I should have given up much earlier. My memories of those times with my precious small baby aren’t as they should be.

I had heard so much about how important it was to feed my child myself that I was willing to do so to the detriment of my own, and ultimately my baby’s health. One day, when I am ready, I will tell the full story.

Suffice to say, that without the support of my husband, and a very close knit circle of friends, I could have become seriously ill. The experience taught me that sometimes you need to listen to your body, and to your heart and not believe everything that you read in a baby manual.

There is no right or wrong with our parenting; the right way is surely the natural way to you and your child? So sod the manuals – read them, take stuff on board, and then do it your way, with lots and lots of love and a willingness to learn from your mistakes (and your friends)!

Cue Frank Sinatra…

What are your three parenting truths that make you want to chuck out those parenting manuals right now?! Let me know in the comments on join in on the conversation on the KiddyCharts Facebook page.

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Photo credit: khunaspix /

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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