Beware: These apparently simple things could set your bub a-screaming. But SmartParents gives you the low-down to prepare for these basic tasks...



Unsurprisingly, many babies are terrified by the sight of a stranger waving a big pair of scissors close to their head. So, how do you make sure that first trim doesn’t turn into a showdown at the salon? First, choose a salon that caters specifically to children and make sure you ask for a stylist who regularly cuts children’s hair.

It might help if your child sits on your lap ― then you can read her a story while her hair’s being cut. If she’s frightened of the scissors, ask the stylist to show her how it works before using it. Then, take it slowly and keep telling her how well she is doing.


Once your toddler has been walking confidently for a few weeks, he’ll be ready for his first pair of “big boy” shoes. So, how do you avoid an ear-splitting tantrum when he has to sit and be measured and try pair after pair? The first tip is to try to go midweek when the shop is likely to be quieter. Again, ask for staff who have been trained to fit children’s shoes.

You may want to show him how your and even his favourite toy’s feet are measured, before his. Make a big fuss of his new shoes and ask him to show you how fast they go — encouraging him to run in them will allow the assistant to assess the fit. But don’t push it — if your child really hates the experience, go away and come back again another day.

Aeroplane flight

When you book, notify the airline that you will be flying with a child, and tell them her age. Some airlines provide bottle-warming facilities, bassinets for infants under 1 and safety seats for children aged between 6 months and 3 years. Most offer baby changing facilities and children’s meals, and kits to entertainment little action terrors.

Try to book flights that fit in with your baby’s natural sleep pattern or take lots of toys to keep him entertained. Most babies find the “white noise” of the aeroplane calming, but take-off and landing can be distressing, as can the change in air pressure, which can hurt junior’s ears. Give her milk, because gulping reduces the discomfort.

Birthday party

Keep the party short ― no longer than an hour. Yes, you want to show your child off, but remember that he will tire fast. Mornings are best because your baby won’t be over-tired and you can just offer guests light bites rather than a full meal.

Make sure you have lots of help because your baby will want Mummy by his side, not running around serving guests and handing out the nibbles. And don’t let guests hand the birthday child round like pass-the-parcel, or there will definitely be tears before cake-time!..

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First jabs are usually more painful for parents than they are for their babies, so if you want to avoid stressing your baby out, employ some mummy-calming techniques. Don’t arrive for your appointment too early, but make sure you’re not rushing either. Also don’t overdress your baby, because taking off layers will make you both feel agitated.

The nurse or doctor will advise you on the best way to hold your child: The most important thing is to stay still when the needle goes in. After an injection, nothing soothes a baby like a drink of milk.

Restaurant meal

Child-friendly venues can usually be identified by the reassuring buzz of noisy babies and chatter within. Family-friendly restaurants will provide high chairs, special children’s menus and even facilities for diaper-changing and bottle-warming. A rare few will have play areas. And they certainly won’t expect your baby to be seen but not heard.

Long car journey

As with flying, where possible, time long car journeys to coincide with your baby’s sleep times. Some parents recommend setting off at bedtime and driving through the night, but if you can’t face this, then factor in lots of stops to break up the journey. If your baby gets distressed, park and deal with him rather than letting him get more worked up. And invest in some nursery-rhyme CDs and suitable car toys.

Dentist visit

Once your child has a full set of teeth, usually around the age of 2, you’ll need to start taking her to the dentist for twice-yearly check-ups; again, research to find dentists who have handled children before. Don’t make a big fuss if your baby refuses to open her mouth.

Some dentists will let them calm down and even “ride” up and down in the dental chair and she may need to sit in your lap. A child may also want you to “go first” or see the dentist’s teeth. Tip: Try practising big, roaring “dinosaur mouths” before you go in.

Photos: INGimage

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