Posts Tagged ‘routine’

How to Keep Your Baby on a Schedule When You Go Home for the Holidays

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

How to Keep Your Baby on a Schedule When You Go Home for the HolidaysGetting a baby on a schedule is an accomplishment in itself. For me, schedules are essential. I need to have order and some kind of routine in my life with my kids. This is especially important when we go home for the holidays. Our family is 6 hours away, and it can be a challenge to maintain normalcy while we are enjoying the company of our loved ones. Here are some ways you can keep your little one on a schedule and yourself sane during the holidays.

Sleep–It’s a beautiful thing

We all know how important naps are. When my daughter, who is now 3, didn’t take a nap, there was this strange phenomena that occurred around 5 p.m. She became a different child. She would either go crazy, stop listening, and run around like a crazy toddler, or she would fall asleep wherever we were.

When you are visiting family during the holidays, don’t neglect nap time. Little ones need it. Moms need it. Try to establish a place of comfort for your child to sleep if you staying with family. When we visit, I always bring Johanna’s blanket, pillow, and lovey, “Teddy.” This way, it feels like she is sleeping in her own bed, even though it isn’t. It’s tempting to go out and about and just forget about naps and regular bedtimes when there are presents to buy, programs to attend, and endless gatherings to share in. However, you will be thankful you let your baby get some much needed rest. It will make your trip so much better–promise.

Meals, Snacks, and Nursing

The holidays are a time when there is so much to eat, and often so much that is bad for you to eat. It’s important to still be the mom while you are around your family. Sure, grandma may want to feed your little one a sugar cookie, How to Keep Your Baby on a Schedule When You Go Home for the Holidaysbut remember you are mom. Try to keep mealtime normal. Bring your high chair, bibs, and table wear. Use the same cups you use at home. Keep meals consistent. If your little one likes to eat veggies for lunch, serve veggies no matter where you are. Of course, it is okay to break out of the routine some, but it is important to keep some normalcy.

I always pack a huge bag of snacks for my two little ones when we go home for the holidays. I know what they like, so we make a trip to the grocery store prior to leaving. While there are snacks at Grammy’s house, they aren’t what they are used to, which can cause tantrums and belly aches.

As far as nursing is concerned, remember to do what works for you and your baby. If you usually nurse before naps and bedtime, continue to do so. Don’t worry about family’s opinions or who is around. Take care of you and your baby.

Playtime and Fun with Family

My favorite part about going home for the holidays is all of the fun my children get to have with loved ones. I have great memories of taking my daughter home when she was 4 months old by myself and heading to see Santa, heading to the pumpkin patch, and attending her first parade.

While there are so many amazing memories to be made, remember to try to stick to some routine. I always bring a laundry basket full of my children’s toys. I let them pick out some of them and then we bring things they maybe have forgotten about. Once again, remember you are mom. If you don’t want your child to participate in something, speak up. For example, if you don’t want older children to put your little one on a trampoline, stop it before it happens. Trust your instincts.

So mom, how do you enjoy the holidays with family and keep your kids sane?

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait for the holidays and time with family again!

How We Do Bedtime

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

How We Do BedtimeMy daughter was a rotten sleeper. When she was 8 weeks old we started a bedtime routine and clung to it like barnacles to a rock in the hopes that it might help her sleep. While I’m not sure it helped her, I do feel that it helped us. It gave us solid way to end the night after what was often a chaotic day.

Today, though, my daughter is 3 and is finally sleeping through the night regularly. This has allowed us to ease up on the strict routine and exchange it with something a bit more fluid. Even so, we still very much do have one.

At 7pm she’s sent to her room for a little independent play or playtime with Dad, who she typically doesn’t see until just before dinner. At 7:30 playtime winds down, she gets into pajamas and is sent off to the bathroom for one last use of the potty and brushing teeth. Then comes the one part of the routine that has never changed: all three of us settle down to read books. We have read to her, together, since she was far too little to understand. When she was a baby we had a futon in her room (for, you know, those nights when it’s just easier to sleep in there) so we would sit together and read to her. The futon was eventually replaced by a rocking chair, and now we all crawl under her bunk bed into her “reading nook.” We read two to three books and then she climbs up into bed.

Once there, she HAS to have her sip of water. If we forget, she’ll definitely let us know. Then she’s tucked in with one stuffed friend and ends the night with a story. Her favorite thing right now is that one of us tells her a completely made up story. Sometimes they’re stories about her adventures, sometimes they’re silly stories about our cat, and sometimes they make no sense at all. She doesn’t care, just as long as she gets a story.

Then, theoretically, lights go out and we’re done. Some nights she goes right to sleep, other nights (like tonight, as I type) involve a few trips back in as she struggles to wind down. Even so, nights are much easier and calmer than ever before. Now, I truly do feel that a routine helps her sleep. Since she’s older and understands what we’re doing, knowing each step and what follows really helps her move smoothly through the evening. Bedtime fussing is reduced, and on the nights when we accidentally miss a step, she has a harder time settling down to sleep. So even though we’re not as firm on the routine as before, I still firmly believe in its benefits.

Kate Cunha is a mother of one 3 year old girl. Sleep is a big deal in her house!

We Made it to Bedtime!

Monday, October 19th, 2015

We made it to bedtimeAt our house, 5pm is and has always been referred to as “the witching hour.” It is the time of day where everyone is exhausted and nothing seems to be going right. The kids are crying or whining, everyone is hungry, and I am contemplating popping the cork on a bottle of wine. All in all, the evenings can be just a hot mess in our house. Our saving grace, however, has always been that if we can just get through the witching hour, we can get to bedtime. Where we get a C+ in most parenting endeavors, we ace the bedtime routine. In six years, we’ve rarely deviated because if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

We began our routine when my oldest was just shy of two months. We had read somewhere that sometimes enlisting a bedtime routine would help with regular sleep patterns in babies. We tried it, it seemed to work and since then we’ve only made minor tweaks as the kids’ developmental stages have changed.

Dinner

Most days, we try really hard to have a sit down dinner together with no interruptions. Having 3- and 6- year-old boys, someone is always out of their seat, or goofing off, or putting on an entertainment show that rivals Jimmy Fallon. Regardless, we still attempt to all sit together and all consume some food together at relatively the same time.

To encourage each person to talk, we each share one part of our day that we loved and one part we would change. Dinner time is our opportunity to reconnect and talk with one another about what is going on in each of our lives, as well as be highly entertained. And having dinner conversation boosts vocabulary more than reading! When the kids were really tiny, we still pulled the highchairs up to the table and ate together. As a family, it is probably the single most important part of our day.

Bath

I think for some, it is pretty unusual to bathe your child every day, especially when they are young. In our house, if you are old enough for milk to stick in your neck crevice, you get a bath every day.  The warm water is soothing and who doesn’t like to go to bed clean? After the bath, we have always done lotion and PJs. When they were babies, we followed up the lotion with a little baby massage. After that, everyone gets PJs, they brush their teeth, and it’s onto reading.

Reading Time

Reading is a highly regarded time of day in our house that usually involves the kids running like banshees to the bookshelf in order to get the first pick. They each get to pick two books, then we all pile onto the couch up and I set the timer for 20 minutes to make sure we meet my eldest’s kindergarten reading requirement (he takes the time accuracy of his reading requirement very seriously). Then they request Dad to read; he has a full array of character voices and apparently mine all sound like a British grandma.

Bedtime

After reading, the kids get kisses and hugs and it’s off to dreamland. My husband and I usually have grand plans to watch a movie or have an adult conversation that isn’t about around paying bills, but we almost always fall right to sleep, too. I guess the bedtime routine is so good it even works on the parents.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

Moving with Toddlers

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Moving with ToddlersMoving is tough. The last time my husband and I moved we were young and childless. We quickly found out, however, that when you are moving your entire family, including your tribe of small youngsters, it is a whole new (and stressful!) ball game. After relocating our family to a new state, my husband started a new job and my oldest started kindergarten all within a month. There are a few things I wish I had known beforehand that would have made our transition a whole lot smoother.

Expect the Worst

I know, I know…this is not the kind of advice you want to hear. It sounds really negative, but the fact is, if you are planning for everything to go wrong, you will be better prepared to handle the potential surprises that await you. Financially, always budget more than you expect to spend on your move. You don’t want to find out that you need a new set of tires on your car right before you are about to embark on the road trip to your new home state. Or that the roof on your old home will require repairs before you can close. I now have first-hand experience with both. If you expect the worst, then when the difficult times hit, both emotionally and financially, you can just assume you knew it would happen.

The Art of Packing and Tossing

Packing. I’ve learned it is an art form to get a whole lot of stuff squeezed into each brown box without breaking anything. To start, you want a good pile of sturdy Uhaul boxes and a LOT of packing tape. You also don’t want to be packing anything you don’t absolutely need. Start cleaning out your house and those kids rooms asap. Ask yourself if you’ve used the item over the last 6 months. If you haven’t used it, start organizing those items into “sell”, “donate”, and “toss” piles. I tossed a lot of puzzles with missing pieces, sold clothing that no longer fit, and donated furniture from college that needed to be replaced anyway. Looking back, I wish I had tossed even more! If you’re queasy just thinking about moving the box and then having to unpack it, find a new home for it in the sell, donate, and toss pile.

Stick to Routines

I found that during our chaotic move, the best thing I could do for the Littles was to try to stick to our normal routine as much as possible. We have always had dinner together, then bath, reading and then bedtime. I tried to stick to this schedule as much as possible. The kids identified with what was coming next and they felt secure that even though we were in a new place, our lives weren’t going to be completely different.

Be Open with Your Kids

During the moving process, our kids asked some really great questions. Some of which we had no answers for…Who will be my new best friend? Will the people moving into our house love it like we did? What will our new house look like? (Luckily, we knew the answer to that one). We tried our best to be open and honest with them. We told them we didn’t have all of the answers but we did know that moving was the best decision for our family. We told them we knew that it seemed scary but that they could trust us to make sure that we were making a good choice. Small children will often ask the same questions over and over again. Don’t get frustrated. The repetition helps them remember what’s happening and reassure them that you are there for them.

Ease up on Your Personal Expectations

There was a moment, after we arrived in our new state, where I realized that both my kids had spent the entire day glued to the I-Pad and the TV while I unpacked. I will readily admit, it was not my finest parenting day. But the reality is you will need time to get certain crucial things done. So try to cut yourself some slack. A few days of extra electronics time doesn’t mean you’re creating a video game-playing hermit. You sanity will thank you.

Enjoy the Adventure

Moving to a new place is fun. It is exciting and refreshing and it can be a really great new start for everyone in your family. Remain positive. Remind the kids what a fun adventure it is and they will follow your lead.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

Adjusting to a School Routine

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Adjusting to school routineSchooool’s (no longer) oouut for the summer! It’s that time of year. Perhaps you’re elated or just not ready. Either way, it’s time to prepare for that old-time routine. For some families who work in education their babes are returning to childcare. For others with school-aged children, the switch back to a school schedule can really affect your littlest ones.

Changes in routine come in a number of ways. If you have to wake your child to take children to the bus stop or drive them to school, that affects their sleep routine. Nap times may also be affected and evening routines. It’s also an adjustment for a young child if brothers, sisters, or parents suddenly go from around all the time to missing for an 8 to 12 hour stretch. My husband is a teacher, and our little boys have a few weeks of adjustment to our “new normal” of the school routine because for several months they get used to dad being home all day, every day.

Routines offer security. You likely know changing your child’s daily routine can cause stress and behavioral challenges. As the routine changes, your child may need to renegotiate boundaries he or she previously had in place. For example, if your toddler was used to wearing pajamas until the late morning during the summer and suddenly must change upon waking, this can cause confusion and potentially result in a power struggle. To help make it through, consider the following:

  • Change your routine slowly. Start a few weeks before school if possible.
  • Do a little bit at a time. If, for example, your toddler will return to childcare, try spending a couple of hours away from him or her regularly in the couple of weeks prior. This is, assuming you have a trusted caregiver you can rely upon.
  • Don’t change what you don’t need to. Just adapt to necessary changes, don’t add in extras. If you say, “no more junk food once summer ends,” perhaps a slow transition here is helpful, too. If sleep, time with siblings, and other parts of the routine are changing, keeping other things consistent can help keep a sense of routine in the midst of adjustment.
  • Talk about the new schedule. If your young one is old enough to remember May, talk about how soon your family will go back to that style of living. If too young, talk about the changes that will happen, like siblings being gone for the day.
  • Try not to make the mornings rushed. Rushing results in heightened expectations (I need x, y, and z done now…) and an increased likelihood of meltdowns. Prepare what you can the night before.
  • Spend quality time in the evenings or weekends to help reinforce your presence that was so much more clearly tangible all day long during the summer. As the first weeks can be taxing on you as a parent also getting used to the new routine, this can also be rejuvenating for you.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.