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Bringing up baby - 'just right' Carrie Dunn looks at advice on childcare through the years.

Byline: Carrie Dunn

THERE'S no denying it - children can be challenging, demanding and quite contrary little things.

But we all love them to bits and that's why we pay so much attention to bringing them up "just right".

As Nursery World magazine marks its 80th anniversary, expert Deborah Lawson, an experienced nursery nurse and former chair of the Professional Association of Nursery Nurses, takes a look at childcare over the years.

Fussy Eaters

In Nursery World, December 1925, advice for curing a fussy eater read: "Cut out feeding times for 24 hours. He has water in abundance, exercise, rest, peace. After that you will have no trouble with regard to food, and the wicked boy may be transformed into a likeable young person who appreciates his mealtimes."

Lawson says: "We wouldn't advise this now, or be anywhere near that judgemental. But if you look behind this answer, it isn't far off the mark.

"A lot is about setting boundaries. We shouldn't encourage our children to constantly graze. They need a good routine, with exercise, fresh air and plenty of water."


May, 1926 - hints for starting a nursery: "Have separate marked dustpan and brushes for the nursery. Have different cloths for everything and see that they are kept separate and used for the purposes intended. Never allow anything soiled, even a bib, to remain on the baby."

Lawson says: "When I trained, we had to damp dust every morning. Today it is still important to maintain very high standards of hygiene, and I would advocate that anything for a child is routinely cleaned and disinfected."


January, 1936: "My charge would wake up every night and cry for hours. Then one night, instead of petting her, I gave her a smacking. Every night after when she cried without reason, I smacked her. After three weeks, I had nights of undisturbed rest."

Lawson says: "There are ways and means of being firm without having to resort to corporal punishment. We would not condone any form of violence whatsoever.

"Back then, they were probably not aware of what smacking does to a child. These days, we might use a rewards chart, promoting positive behaviour and ignoring negative."


February, 1965: "Cover pillows, especially feather pillows used by children susceptible to asthma and hayfever, with polythene bags."

Lawson says: "Never. There are now lots of protective products available, and we know that using polythene would be far too dangerous."


December, 1938: "My little girl is two, with quick-growing straggly straight hair. I wonder if shaving would make it coarser and easier to keep in order."

Lawson says: "Some babies are born with lots of hair, some without any, some don't have a decent thatch until they are three or even more.

"So don't resort to shaving heads."

Cut out feeding times for 24 hours


Suggestions on how to bring your child up have changed over the decades
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2006
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