Alternative to Ferber: How To Get A Toddler To Sleep Through the Night

Sleeping baby

It can be a nightmare for exhausted parents when a baby will not sleep through the night. Many parents consider the Ferber “Cry it out” method of sleep training. But for some, hearing their baby crying is extremely difficult, even if it is just for a few minutes. I admit, we were in this category. We bought the Ferber book and gave it a try; for one night. We did not have the strength to go any further. Night after night, I would put my son to sleep and night after night, after an hour or two or maybe three, he would wake up crying. I ignored Ferber’s teaching and would again rock him back to sleep and quickly go to grab a few hours of sleep myself, before the process repeated itself.

Then one night, I asked myself: What if I was part of the problem? What if the reason that he was waking up was to get me to come to him? What if by picking him up and soothing him back to sleep, I was actually giving him the reward for waking up and crying?

I decided to take a different approach that was half-way between what I was doing then and the tougher “Ferber-Method”. I decided that if he were to cry, I would go to him, but I would not pick him up. In fact, I would not even allow myself to enter his room. From then on, after he was asleep, if he cried, I did not go back inside his room. When he cried, I would stand outside and talk to him through the open door. I would stick my head into the doorway and talk to him. I would pull up a chair and sing to him. I would calmly shush him or do whatever was necessary.  It did not matter how long it would take. I wanted him to know that he was not alone, that I was nearby. But I would not go into his room.

The first night, I sat outside his room for several hours. He was awake, but when he understood that I was not coming, he eventually stopped crying. I pulled up a chair and sang the same songs that I would sing when putting him to sleep. I remember being there for several hours that night.  The next night, the same thing happened, but I did not spend as much time there. After 4 or 5 nights, he stopped waking up in the middle of the night. It seemed like a miracle.

The next problem was how to get him to sleep until the morning. We read about a device called a “Gro Clock”, which is something like an alarm clock for kids. But instead of an alarm which can be heard, when it is time to wake up, the clock face turns from a tranquil blue with a star to a lively yellow with a sun.

The clock actually did not work for us at first, because it was too early. My son did not yet understand the concept of colors. A few months later, when he understood the difference between yellow and blue, we tried it again. And it worked! I explained to him that, when the yellow sun appeared, all he had to do was say “Yellow Sun” and I would come and get him from his crib. He did! When he would call “Yellow Sun” I would immediately go to him. Because that was our agreement. He kept his part of our agreement by waiting for the Yellow Sun, and I kept my part of the agreement by going to him immediately when he called me.



The 7 Best Videos To Teach The Alphabet To Your Kids

girl singingAre you trying to teach your child the Alphabet? There are excellent songs and videos on Youtube which can help, by reinforcing the message.  Below are the songs and videos from Youtube that I used when I was teaching my toddler the alphabet. Each has its pros and cons, each has varying degrees of educational and entertainment value. But my son loved watching all of them.  Sometimes we played them during the day, but mostly we played them at night as part of our going to bed ritual. Below are the best songs and videos for teaching the alphabet starting with the very best:

1. My favorite video is from “Super Simple Songs”. I like the animated movement of the letters and the way they go through the alphabet three different ways.  Although, they use lower case (I believe upper case is best for teaching the alphabet) and the song goes through the letters l,m,n,o,p a little too quickly, this is still my favorite. But maybe I am biased because I am a huge fan of “Super Simple Songs”. If you do not know “Super Simple Songs”, you will find all of their videos to be excellent, educational and entertaining:

2.  The Toonbo Song features mice jumping into and out of holes to tune of the alphabet song. It is cute, funny and this is the only song that my boy really remembers and still likes after all of these years. It is very fast, and perhaps too fast for a very young child. But the entertainment factor is very high. Your kid will almost certainly love it.

3. The Alphabet Train is a fun way to learn the alphabet with no song at all. Children are often attacked to the voices of other kids. And what kid doesn’t like trains? Plus it uses upper case letters and moves through the letters very slowly. Though it may not be as entertaining as listening to a song, it  is educational and it does add variety:

4. I love this version of the Alphabet Song with India Aria and Elmo. India is not the best actress in the world. But the way India sings is simply lovely. This video also uses lower case letters. :

5. If you are tired of listening to the standard Alphabet song, “We Are The Alphabet” by KidsTV123 takes a different approach, by simply singing the letters with no real tune. And notice that L,M,N,O and P are not rushed the way they are in other songs. The video uses both upper and lower cases. I like the relaxed pace of the song, though it does not have the entertainment quality of other videos, I think that parents are more likely to notice this than kids:

6. I do not think that DidiPop’s Cool Alphabet Song is the best for teaching the alphabet. Parts of it are a bit fast for very young  kids to understand. Frankly, I have a difficult time understanding all of the lyrics. But it is unique and the entertainment factor is high. What a fun alphabet song:

7. I love GiggleBellie’s upbeat approach. But it is a bit fast and it includes counting to 20. So, it might not be appropriate for all kids:

So, which of these 7 songs will you use to teach your toddler to read? I used them all, because variety makes the learning process more fun.

What is your favorite video to teach the alphabet?

Teaching Your Child Long-Divison

divisionYesterday, I tried to teach my son long-division. I failed miserably. We went over the steps several times and he got confused. I felt my patience flying out the window, so decided to stop for the day.

I did a bit of research on YouTube and found these excellent videos:


This is a good cartoon for younger kids. I like the whale’s southern accent.

Then I found this more serious video. It says nearly the same thing.

I that both videos use mnemonics, which are very similar.

The first uses Daddy, Mother, Sister and Brother
The second uses Father, Mother, Sister and Brother

I have never heard those before, but hopefully my son will find them useful.

Homeschooling? 5 things you MUST know

homeschool girl

If you are considering homeschooling your kids, you may have heard many myths, like:

“Homeschooled kids goof off all day and do not receive a proper education”


“Homeschool families maintain an alternative lifestyle”.

In reality, homeschooling is a growing trend in the USA, though it is not legal in all countries. For example, over half of European countries forbid homeschooling.

What do you need to know if you are considering homeschooling your children in the USA? Below are five critically important things that all parents in the USA who are considering beginning the road to homeschooling should know. But please confirm this information with your local school board.

      1. If you are homeschooling your children in the USA, you should be aware of the requirements in your state. Twenty-nine states require an annual notification.Ten states require a one-time notification. Two states require approval. This convenient map gives an overview of the requirements by state.
      2. Many states have testing requirements. Some states require annual testing, while others require testing as the student reaches a milestone, like 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th year. Here is an overview of testing requirements by state.
      3. On average, homeschoolers do well compared to the general population. According to a study National Home Education Research Institute, homeschooled students did better than the national average on their SAT exams. ” 13,549 homeschool seniors had the following mean scores: 567 in critical reading, 521 in mathematics, and 535 in writing. The mean SAT scores for all college-bound seniors in 2014 were 497 in critical reading, 513 in mathematics, and 487 in writing
      4. Most states will not issue high school diplomas to home schooled students. So, many families create their own.  This video explains more about diplomas
      5. Universities around the world are welcoming bigger and bigger groups of homeschool graduates. Read what top universities such as Stanford, Yale and even Oxford write about homeschooling.


Get A FREE Copy Of “The Fun and Easy Way to Teach a Toddler to Read”

FreeToday, I created the Facebook page for the book “The Fun and Easy Way to Teach A Toddler to Read. When the book is launched, I will be offering 100 free copies! To get yours, like the Facebook page. I will be announcing the publication, launch and free copies on the Facebook page.