The first of a two-part blog today. This list is in no par­tic­u­lar order of importance.

The first 26:

1. Don’t talk to your infant or tod­dler in more than grunts, if pos­si­ble don’t talk to them at all, for as long as you can.

2. When and if they do start to talk repeat their incor­rect words and gram­mar back to them every time they speak.

3. Cer­tain­ly nev­er ever cra­dle them in your arms when they are infants.

4. Let them feed them­selves with a bot­tle at their ear­li­est ability.

5. Use an ‘activity cen­ter’ on a reg­u­lar basis even if the infant/toddler cries when lying on it or sit­ting in it.

6. When you return to work make sure you use a mul­ti­tude of care­givers all with dif­fer­ent expec­ta­tions, val­ues, atti­tudes and lan­guage abilities.

7. Over­whelm your child with mate­r­i­al pos­ses­sions; bring­ing ‘a treat’ home every day is preferred.

8. Give your child unlim­it­ed choic­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly in cloth­ing, as they get old­er so that they become bemused and inca­pable of mak­ing decisions.

9. Sel­dom if ever sit at a table with your child for a meal.

10. Please, nev­er make meal­times a social interchange.

11. Make rigid house­hold and dress code rules so that your child becomes neu­rot­ic about adher­ing to them or ignores them altogether.

12. Fight and wres­tle with your child even when they are ‘saying’ (crying/sobbing) that they don’t want to continue.

13. Leave a tod­dler in a sod­den unchanged nap­py (dia­per) for long (hours!) peri­ods of time just because they ‘won’t allow you to change him/her’.

14. Lock your tod­dler in their bed­room so that they won’t dis­turb your sleep­ing or wak­ing time.

15. Leave your 2‑year-old in a playpen in the ‘care’ of an inca­pac­i­tat­ed old­er (80+ year old!) car­er for hours at a time.

16. If you have a pool, make sure it isn’t prop­er­ly cleaned or bal­anced for hygiene pur­pos­es – a ‘green’ pool ensures that you and your chil­dren will get sick!

17. Allow and encour­age your dog to lick (call­ing it a “kiss”) your infant/toddler/child’s face at every opportunity.

18. Explain noth­ing to your chil­dren from a very ear­ly age; see #1.

19. Allow vir­tu­al­ly unlim­it­ed access to children’s DVD’s, so- called ‘educational’ TV pro­gram­ming and movies you deem quite appro­pri­ate for a small child because ‘s/he loves musi­cal­s’, nev­er mind that many parts of the movies, even car­toons, are scary.

20. Nev­er refuse your toddler/child any­thing, espe­cial­ly with­in the first five min­utes after you return home from work.

21. Put your toddler/child in a ‘naughty chair’ or in their room as soon as you come home from work, while you are on the phone with a friend, just because your child is cry­ing and need­ed and hoped for your attention.

22. At oth­er times let them use the ‘naughty chair’ as a toy.

23. Over­ride the rules that a care­giv­er has set in place but don’t fol­low through on any rules except the most rigid; see #11.

24. Nev­er ever lis­ten to your children.

25. Don’t even think about try­ing to under­stand what your infant/ toddler/child is talk­ing or think­ing about.

26. Nev­er be aware of ‘design’ changes you make in their bed­room that may affect their sleep­ing pat­terns e.g. not only mov­ing them from a cot (crib) to a bed, but also chang­ing the loca­tion of their bed with­in the room!

Twen­ty-six more next time.