Hey! Do you have any advice for writing about really young children and babies?

she-who-fights-and-writes:

TIPS ON HOW TO WRITE YOUNG CHILDREN AND BABIES

Babies (Ages 0-1)

Babies usually learn how to sit up at 4 to 7 months, to crawl at about 7 to 10 months, to stand up at 9 to 10 months, and to walk at 9 to 12 months. Babies can learn to talk as early as 6 months, though they only start to form two to four word sentences from 18 months to 2 years old.

Babies are cute little bundles of joy that lighten up the entire household, though they do have their moments.

My biggest pet peeve about people who write babies into their stories is that they only concentrate on the cons. The baby is always crying and annoying the characters, who make snide remarks about how they wish it would shut up.

The writers set it up so that the baby sounds like more of a burden than anything else, and unless your other characters don’t want the baby and feel like it is a burden, then I highly suggest you switch it up and describe the happy moments that the characters have with their babies, too.

  • They don’t just cry because they’re hungry or need to have their diaper changed.

Contrary to popular belief, whenever a baby cries it does not mean that it needs to be fed or that it has pooped itself. Babies cry over all sorts of things because they literally have no other way to communicate when they’re unhappy.

They cry when they’re tired.

They cry when they’re left alone. (Separation anxiety is very prevalent in babies, who feel afraid and unsafe whenever their guardians are not with them

They cry when they’re frustrated and can’t do the things that their parents and siblings can do.

They cry when they’re scared.

They cry when they are left with the parent that isn’t their favorite. (This usually happens to dads when the babies are left in their care)

This may sound annoying, but babies are just trying to make it known that they’re unhappy. They can’t say “Hey, I’m upset, can you help me?” so their only other option is to cry. Since they’re young, these things that are happening to them are the WORST things they’ve ever experienced. When a baby throws a fit over a broken toy or separation anxiety, that’s probably because it’s the scariest and most heartbreaking thing that has ever happened to them!

  • They need constant love, care, and attention.

This is literally a young human person. They’re just as aware and alert as you and I, and they need constant stimulation to keep happy. Parents really have it cut out for them; they have to raise this little human larva into a fully grown homo sapien that will function well in society, and in order to do that they have to provide a lot of TLC to make sure the baby’s mind develops correctly.

A lot of parents in stories don’t do this; they only give their baby attention when it’s crying and I can’t help but think: that’s not??? How it works????

Things that parents do for their children to help them develop:

Read books

Sing songs

Play with toys with them

Play games like peek-a-boo and patty cake

Put on music

Put on educational TV and movies (Though they shouldn’t do this too often!)

Simply be around them

  • Parents should not leave the baby alone for extended periods of time.

This is a given. Babies can get themselves into a lot of trouble: They can roll of couches, touch hot or sharp objects, and eat things that they shouldn’t. Babies have to be under constant supervision, and it gets me really annoyed when characters in stories leave their child unattended for a long time.

  • Babies need a lot of equipment, which can include:

– Crib

– Bib

– Pacifier/Binky

– Bottle and formula (If parents don’t breastfeed)

**FYI babies on formula or breast milk need to be burped after they’re fed because they swallow air and can have gas buildup within their stomach and intestines. Some babies need to be burped a lot, while others don’t; it all depends on the baby, though bottle fed babies tend to swallow more air than breastfed ones.**

– Blankets and mats to lie on

– Toys (LOTS of them!)

– High chair

– Baby friendly food (for older babies that are off formula, which occurs after the sixth month mark), which can include actual baby food, Cheerios, fruit that is cut into small pieces, animal crackers, and anything that can be eaten with fingers that can’t be choked on.

  • The parents, if they’re caring ones, are always thinking about the baby.

This is especially if they’re first time parents. Babies are a BIG DEAL, and they become the most important things in their parents’ lives. They’re always thinking about the baby and can tend to worry a LOT when they’re separated from them. They take many precautions, such as baby-proofing the house, to keep their little ones safe, and most parents would take a bullet for their baby.

If the parents in your story don’t fret over their baby at least once, then you’re writing baby parents wrong.

Toddlers (Ages 2-5)

Many important milestones in a human’s life happen during these critical years. They start forming complete sentences and developing social skills. They learn that to get what they want they don’t just have to cry; they can communicate in other ways, though sometimes they take to crying if they don’t get their way.

Toddlers can be marginally more worrisome than babies; they’re mobile now, so they can now reach higher and move around faster than their younger counterparts. Their crying no longer is cute, but rather more annoying now that they’re older and are starting to develop their personalities, and there’s a reason why they’re called “The terrible twos”

Toddlers are just like upgraded babies that need most of the things babies do but can now communicate, walk, and eat real food.

However, the most important thing writers should know: TODDLERS ARE NOT SAGES

They should not be spouting deep, philosophical life lessons at every turn; that aspect of children that’s been developed in books, about how they “know things” just because they’re young and innocent, is completely false. One or two meaningful lines should be fine, but remember that they’re still kids; they like talking about dinosaurs, superheroes, princesses, animals, and trucks, and 98% of their dialogue should merely be them being a kid.

Hope this helped!

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