Monday, October 16, 2017

Why I Worked to Get My Baby To Sleep Through the Night by 8 Weeks Old

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You are a mom. You need to make sacrifices now. Your whole life, you have really been able to, for the most part, put your needs first. Those days are over. But guess what, this new you does not need to turn into a martyr. Having a new baby, you will get less sleep than you used to, or at least more fragmented sleep than you used to, but having a new baby does not mean you don't get to sleep at all. It doesn't mean you have to function for the next several years on a few hours, interrupted a night. What if I told you it only needed to last for a few months?

Why I Worked to Get My Baby To Sleep Through the Night by 8 Weeks Old | The benefits of sleep | baby sleep | baby sleep schedule | #babysleep #babyslseeptraining

I am a mom of four children, and I sleep better than I ever did before I had kids. 

My youngest was sleeping from 7:30 at night until 7:00 AM with a feeding I got her up for at 10 PM (I call this a dreamfeed) at 8 weeks old

Some moms look at moms trying to get their babies sleeping through the night as selfish. They say to suck it up, this is what you signed up for, and forget trying to sleep.

For moms trying to accomplish sleeping through the night, it is about so much more than selfishness. First, I find it a bit comical that a mother would accuse another mother of doing something for selfish reasons. I think those of us who are moms really know that basically everything we do is for our kids. We have to force ourselves to make time for ourselves and often even to make time for our spouses. If you feel motherhood, then you know mother plus selfish doesn't really fit together.  

It isn't about being selfish.

It is about being able to be ourselves because we are getting enough sleep, so we can be the best moms we can be. We can be happy. We can be focused. We can be patient. How much easier of a time do you think I had to be a patient and engaged mother of four when my 8 week old was sleeping through the night? That is not about being selfish. That is still about putting kids ahead of myself. 

Even so, that isn't even the number one reasons moms try to get their little ones sleeping well at a young age. They do it because they believe sleep is essential for the baby. That reason might not be a popular one for the moms accusing us of doing it out of selfishness. It is easier to accuse us of being selfish than to allow the worries of how the lack of sleep will impact their own babies. 

We can be accused of doing it for selfish reasons all day long, but our driving reason for putting the effort into getting a baby to sleep well is because we believe sleep is best for a baby. Also being able to sleep? Major perk. Very much a perk. That perk trickles into the family only being benefited. We mothers of sleeping babies have more energy than we would otherwise. We have more patience than we would otherwise. Even if you look at baby sleeping well as "only" benefiting the mother, you can't ignore that the fact that the rest of the family benefits from that. 

If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. That saying exists for a reason.

Back to the importance of sleep. What has us convinced sleep is worth working for? We have read the studies, and we are convinced. Maybe some haven't read the studies, they have only heard about them from the news or from friends, but common sense tells them, yes, I see those benefits in my life when I get healthy sleep. That is probably true for my baby, also. This post contains affiliate links. 

The book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth goes into great detail on the importance of sleep. Some key points:

"Providing the growing brain with sufficient sleep is necessary for developing the ability to concentrate and an easier temperament" (page 7). (emphasis mine)

"Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm" (page 7). (emphasis mine)

"Sleeping well increases brainpower just as lifting weights builds stronger muscles..." (page 7). (emphasis mine)

"...when children learn to sleep well, they also learn to maintain optimal wakefulness" (page 8). (emphasis--larger text--mine)

"Sleep problems not only disrupt a child's nights, they disrupt his days, too, by making him less mentally alert, more inattentive, unable to do concentrate, and easily distracted. They also make him more physically impulsivehyperactive, or lazy" (page 11). (emphasis mine)

"...infants who sleep more during the day are better able to learn from their environment; this is because they have a better-developed ability to maintain focused or sustained attention...They learn simply from looking at the clouds and trees, touching, feeling, smelling, hearing, and watching their mother's and father's faces" (page 24). (emphasis mine)

He talks about toddlers and how toddlers who get adequate sleep are more mild and in positive moods. "...three year olds who nap are more adaptable than those who do not" (page 24). (emphasis mine)

Some parents might want to hold off on teaching sleep abilities because some day the child will not need naps anyway. Parents will just wait it out. Weissbluth points out, "...it simply is not true that children who miss naps will "make up" for it by sleeping more at night. In fact, the sleep they miss is gone forever" (page 24). (emphasis mine)

"...the children who slept more [at age three] were more fun to be around, more sociable, and less demanding" (page 25). (emphasis mine)
Why I Worked to Get My Baby To Sleep Through the Night by 8 Weeks Old | The benefits of sleep | baby sleep | baby sleep schedule | #babysleep #babyslseeptraining

 "I believe that healthy naps lead to optimal daytime alertness for learning--that is, naps adjust the alert/drowsy control to just the right setting for optimal daytime arousal" (page 28). He also says, "Without naps, the child is too drowsy to learn well" (page 28).

 "Infants who take long naps have longer attention spans" (page 60) and "...they seem to learn faster" (page 60). 

Studies have also found children with higher grades sleep longer (page 61). And is it much longer? No. One study found that brighter children slept 30-40 minutes longer each night (page 61). That isn't much time. And studies done on sets of twins where one slept longer than the other showed that the twin who slept more had higher test scores at age ten than the twin who slept less. 

"...in a study of one- and two-year old children, those who woke up frequently were much more likely to have an injury such as a broken bone or cut requiring medical attention than those who slept through..." (page 318). (emphasis mine)

"In my own pediatric practice, fat babies are almost always overtired babies. That's because their mothers have incorrectly attributed their babies' crying to hunger instead of fatigue" (page 433). (emphasis mine)

That is just a sampling of the information in this one book on the importance of sleep. Of course, there are many more resources out there.

  • Healthy Sleep from Harvard:  "Lack of adequate sleep affects mood, motivation, judgment, and our perception of events." You can also read theories on why sleep is important here. 
  • 11 Reasons You Need Sleep. "Quality shut-eye is some of the best medicine available. It leads to more energy, helps you handle stress and improves overall well-being. Your system also benefits in countless little-known yet important ways when you get the seven to eight hours nightly that experts recommend. Sleep is your body’s time to heal, recharge and restore itself. Skimp on it, it that sleep debt affects every body function, from your memory to your mood to the number of sick days you take and even your risk for a heart attack"
  • 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep: "Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.

    "Sleep used to be kind of ignored, like parking our car in a garage and picking it up in the morning," says David Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program.

    Not anymore. Here are some health benefits researchers have discovered about a good night’s sleep."
  • Health Costs of Losing Sleep: This was on the news just a few days ago.
Conclusion
Sleep is no respector of persons. You need it even if you are a mom. You need it even if you are a baby. Moms who are aiming for their babies and children to have solid sleep habits aren't doing so to be selfish. They are doing so for their children. They believe in the benefits of sleep. They are doing so because they love their children. So the next time to you decide to accuse a mom seeking sleep for her baby of selfishness, step back and realize she loves her baby as much as you love yours, and she is trying to do the best for her baby as much as you are yours. 


Friday, October 13, 2017

Pinteresting Fridays: DIY Gifts Using Essential Oils

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The more I use essential oils, the more I want to use them. I have been doing some Pinterest searching and found some fun DIY beauty products you can make with essential oils. We have lip balm, bath bombs, shower discs, and bath salts! All DIY, and all including your choice of essential oils. 
Pinteresting Fridays: DIY Gifts Using Essential Oils

If you order $125 worth of oils from doTerra this month before October 15, you will get a bottle of On Guard FREE! That is my very favorite oil to use. It works so well to boos the immune system and get sickness out of your house quickly. If you would like to sign up, check out my doTERRA store. You can read more about essential oils and why I love them here. 

Here are some great DIY  essential oil ideas. These would make great gifts, great mother-daughter night in activities, and great DIY for you!

DIY Lip Balm from The Seasoned Mom
Essential oil DIY gift ideas


DIY Bath Salts With Epsom Salts from Mom Always Finds Out
Essential oil DIY gift ideas

Homemade Shower Vapor Discs by Yankee Homestead


Thursday, October 12, 2017

How To Choose An Amazing Midwife {Guest Post}

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In New Zealand, where I live, midwifery care is pretty much the norm. Women have the opportunity to choose an obstetrician if they wish, but barring complications, the vast amount of women here choose to have a midwife as their primary care provider for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. However, choosing the right midwife can be a little daunting. She (or he!) will be the person that is responsible for the safety of both you and your child. Not only that, but you will possibly be in THE most vulnerable position while you are under her care. As someone who has had both an amazing midwife and a not-so-amazing midwife, I'm going to share with you 4 things to keep in mind in order to choose the right person.

How To Choose An Amazing Midwife

Know Your Rights

First and foremost, know your rights. You are in charge here. I know what it's like to feel intimidated when talking to a professional. Especially if you're a first-time mama. You're entering a world that you're really not fully informed about and it can be a bit scary. However, you are paying for this service. Even in New Zealand where healthcare is 'free' you're actually still paying for it. Things may be labelled as 'free' but if you're working and paying taxes, I can assure you that it isn't. So, don't be intimidated. Again, you are in charge of the situation. Don't feel pressured into making a quick decision and don't feel as though you're inconveniencing anyone.

Ask Around

The next thing I would recommend doing is asking around. There's nothing like hearing the truth from other mamas to know which midwife is worth her weight in gold and which one probably wouldn't suit you. Ask your mama friends and if you're in a new town like I was, then turn to Google. I typed in something like "midwives in *insert my town*" and found some online forums where midwives were discussed. Another great place to get feedback is in Buy, Sell, Swap Facebook groups. :)

Interview

How To Choose An Amazing MidwifeThis part is ESSENTIAL. Do not sign up with a midwife without a thorough interview first. In fact, I'm even going to tell you to interview at least two different midwives before making any decisions. This person is going to play a big part in your whole motherhood experience, so it really is best to be thorough and sure of your decision. Make sure to ask her questions around the type of birth experience you're after. Is she happy to do a home birth, hospital birth with an epidural, or any other type of birth in between? While I'm sure the majority of midwives are nonbiased, there are a few that have their own agenda. Remember, you're running the show and she is there to support and guide you through the process. Don't forget about qualifications and experience too! Does she listen? This one was a big issue for me with my second child. My first midwife was absolutely amazing. I honestly couldn't fault her. However, she took another job during my second pregnancy so I needed to find another midwife. I rushed the process and ended up paying for it. My second midwife was nice enough, however, she didn't listen. It seemed like she did at the time of the conversation, but every subsequent visit she would ask the same questions over and over as though she had never heard the answers before. It was frustrating. Her mind was elsewhere, and that became evident during the delivery and also postpartum. Don't get me wrong, she was a really nice person, but she just didn't listen. Considering that a midwife's job is made up largely of advocating for their client, this was a major fault. So, ask your questions, make sure you feel heard, and be sure that your personalities gel!

Trust Your Gut

Welcome to motherhood! Trusting your gut is going to be a big deal from now on. There will be times when it is all you have to go off, so start practising it now. Even if everything else checks out, but something just doesn't feel right, keep looking. With my first midwife, we could sit and chat for hours. However, with my second it felt like I almost had to entertain her. It was exhausting and again, frustrating. So, don't make the same mistake as I did. Even if you feel like an inconvenience, trust your gut and find the right person for the job.

There are things about the birth of my second child that I feel a bit robbed of which could have easily been resolved had my midwife just been mentally present. However, her inability to listen still didn't rob me of the joy of that day. Both my births were incredible experiences that I will forever cherish. Let me know, what kind of professional care did you have for your births? Obstetric or midwifery? How did you find it?

Christine is mother to two living in New Zealand and blogs at http://christinekeys.net/ .


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Best Toys for Children

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This post lists my most recommended toys for children. This will be ideally the age range of 5-8 years old. There may be four year olds who like things listed here and there may be nine year olds who like the things listed here. I have a post for four years old toys. I also have preteen ideas in Preteen Boy Gifts and Preteen Girl Gifts

Best Toys for Children


As you are adding toys to your collection, add only toys you think your child will love and don't add too many. If you are like me, you want to get SO MANY of the toys out there. The day will come, however, that you will wish you had fewer toys. So choose wisely and don't overdo it. This post contains affiliate links. 

OLD FAVORITES
I always start off these posts with talking about you looking at old favorites. Are there collections your child loves that you can build on? Does your child have a train collection you can add to? 

LEGOs
We love LEGOs at our house! These are toys I haven't minded getting over the years because all four of my childre have loved them and the possibilities are endless with these toys. This is a good starter set. LEGOs require a lot of creativity and build up fine motor skills. You can build on them over time, also.



ART and CRAFT ITEMS

Kids in this age range seem to move less from playing with toys and more toward using toys to create things. They might be creating an imaginary world or they might be literally creating crafty things. Perler beads are fantastic for kids in this range, and they stay popular into the preteen years, also. My girls have also loved this Klutz book for making friendship bracelets. A rainbow loom is another great craft toy. Playdough is a huge hit and was a favorite of both of my younger children. Kaitlyn has loved and still loves today as a preteen how to draw books. Stamps are fun.. We love Melissa and Doug stamps. Beyer paint animals are cute animals that are white that you can paint to look like how you want. Cat's cradle is a fun game that is pretty craft-oriented. 

BIKES AND SKATES

My children love to rollerblade. We started off with these very inexpensive rollerblades when they were younger. They are great. A bicycle is another great gift. This is one we have gotten in boy and girl style and really like. Outside toys are great gifts. I have written on my favorite outside toys and the ones that I think are worth the money to get.


DRESS UP

Dress up is super popular in this age range. Something simple like a cape or cloak can go a long way. Shoes and dresses are fun. We always let our children keep their Halloween costumes each year and just add them to the tote of play clothes. It isn't only girls who like to dress up, so dress up items are great for boys and girls. 


STUFFED ANIMALS
My girls all LOVE stuffed animals. I have shared several times that their favorite is Beanie Boos. They are super cute. 

NERF
My son and his friends all enjoyed (and honestly enjoy still at 12) NERF guns. They love to shoot each other and have NERF gun wars. 




CAMERA
All of my children have loved having a camera. They love taking pictures and looking at the pictures they have taken.




SAXOFLUTE
This is a toy I got for Brinley and she LOVES it. The saxoflute is a musical instrument your child can build, which changes the way things sound. While this is fun, it might drive you crazy if you have a napping baby at home, so proceed with caution.




GAMES
Board games are fantastic for this age range and so fun. I have written several posts on our favorite games because we just love games here! Here they are:
DOLLS/FIGURINES/TRUCKS 
Little figurines and dolls are toys this age group will still play with. I would add to this trains, trucks, cars, etc. My Little Pony, babies, barbies, plastic animals, comic toys, princesses





Did I leave off your child's favorite? Comment and let me know!


Great Toys
If you are looking for the perfect toy for your child, look through my "best toys" lists:


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Brinley Child Summary: 5 Years and 2 Months Old

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This is a summary for Brinley from 5 years 1 month to 5 years 2 months old.

Brinley Child Summary: 5 Years and 2 Months Old

SLEEP
I commented last time about Brinley's night with bad dreams. Brinley woke up with nightmares. She had a few in one night. Whenever my kids have bad dreams, I encourage them to talk about them. I read long, long ago that it is good for them to talk about the dream. So the next morning, she told me all about the bad dream. That night, she was afraid to go to sleep because she didn't want to have the bad dream again. 

Thus far in her life, she has slept without most of the potential sleep crutches that can come along. She has never sucked on anything. She has a favorite blanket to sleep with, but she can sleep without it. She will even pack it the night before we leave and choose not to sleep with it so we don't forget it the next day. She was swaddled as a baby, and she has always had a sound machine to help block out the noises of the household. But never a night light. 

That night, she was genuinely scared. A hard thing with dreams is I can't promise she won't have another scary dream. At all. I won't promise that to her because odds are that she will have a bad dream again. 

She is pretty logical, and Brayden and I are both very logical. So we both chatted with her about her concerns that night. In the end, we plugged in a night light. Many years ago, we bought a bunch of these night lights (affiliate link). I like these because they aren't too bright. I also like that they can be pointed in various directions, so I can make it so they don't shine right at the child. I point them at the floor. These are also automatic, so they turn on when it is dark and off when it is light. I didn't love using a night light when she has made it five years without one, but at the same time, she really was scared and this helped her feel more secure. So it is in her room now.

We also set up her stuffed animals to watch over her. A big thing with bad dreams is to help the child feel more secure. Some people create a "bad dream spray" and spritz it around the room. Prayers are wonderful. You want to set the child up to feel secure and powerful over her sleep. These stuffed animals watching over her helped her feel more safe and secure.

EATING
Eating is great! She is eating well and eating a nice variety of foods.

KINDERGARTEN
Kindergarten is going very well so far. Despite my being confident she was ready for Kindergarten as a young child in the grade (see Why We Chose To Send Our Daughter to Kindergarten On Time), I couldn't help but worry. All those posts on the Internet are all around talking about how you must keep your child back...it makes you second guess and question yourself, no matter how sure you felt. It makes you question if you really have your child's best interest at heart, because what good parent wouldn't give their child every advantage they could create?

As I wrote in the post, I don't feel that is the best way to parent at my core, however. I think there should be challenge in life. I think it makes us stronger as people. Real life is FULL of challenges. We seem to only get brief respite from difficulties in life, then we are thrown right back in. If I make life easy for my children, then how will they develop the skills to face adult life issues?

Still, I worried.

She is doing so well in every way. She loves school. The week before school starts, they test every kindergartner to see where they are academically going into the year. Brinley tested as 92% against ALL of the kindergartners in the ENTIRE DISTRICT. That was just such a strong relief to me. It verified what I felt to be true--that even though she is young in the grade, she is ready to be there. She is not struggling at all with any of the learning at all. Despite being young, she is way above average for the average child in kindergarten. Keeping her back would not have been the best move for her.

She is doing well socially, also. She has made a lot of friends. Her teacher tells me that she never sees Brinley without a large group of children around her and that she is a social butterfly. She is still thrilled every day to go to school. She is loving learning. She is doing very well at listening and following directions. She is able to sit still. It is all such a relief!

We do have Kindertude. It doesn't seem as strong to me as my other kids were, but that could be in large part because she is my fourth child and I just know very well to expect it and also have a lot of experience in responding to it. I am better at stopping it in its tracks than I was a couple of kids ago.

EXTRA CURRICULARS
Brinley has either started or will soon start the following activities:

  • Swimming lessons: She is still doing great with swimming lessons! She loves it.
  • Gymnastics: I shared last time that at Brinley's first gymnastics class, she was terrified of the balance beam. She has a literal fear of the beam. After her first class, her coach said she wasn't sure Brinley would be able to continue in the class because of that fear, but was willing to work with her and see. Nate and I talked with Brinley extensively about it. I had no problem letting Brinley stop gymnastics if her fear was too much for it. I looked into tumbling class options so she could get some of the benefits. But Brinley was determined to work through her fear. And she has! She gets up on the beam by herself. She is super scared, but does it anyway. She told me she doesn't want to be afraid of heights and she tells her body not to be. I am super impressed with this girl. I am blown away that she will face a fear like that and work through it as a five year old. Children really are amazing. 
  • Dance: Brinley has been loving dance! She is with the same studio and same teacher she has always had. 
  • Piano: Brinley loves piano. Her teacher commented that she was surprised by how much Brinley enjoys it. As Brinley has started these new activities this fall, I have come to realize Brinley is the type of person who is willing to work on a skill to get better at it. She is a perfectionist, but one who is willing to work. That is how Kaitlyn is, too, and it is such a beneficial quality in life. It is something that is just her, but it is a skill you can teach other kids. That isn't the way Brayden is naturally, but through experiences in life, he has learned that practice does pay off and things do take practice. 
SCHEDULE

7:30 AM--wake up, get read, eat, practice piano if time
9:00 AM--school
12:30 PM--home and eat lunch. Homework. Practice piano if we didn't have time. Then she can watch two shows and has independent playtime if desired. Two days a week she has her extra curricular activities. I scheduled her stuff during the other kids' school day so we didn't have our family time so interrupted. 
4:00 PM--Siblings home. Sibling play and family time. 
5:00 PM--Dinner in this hour
7:30 PM--Bedtime process begins.
8:30 PM--in bed by 8-8:30.


Related posts:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Potty Training Tips

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There are some parts of parenting that are very hard in the moment but you still look back on fondly. I remember being super tired getting up in the night with a newborn, but those nights are still precious and fond memories. There are other parts of parenting, however, that you laugh maniacally at in the review mirror. Potty training is one of those things for me. I have not yet looked back fondly on potty training days. Potty training can be hard and stressful, and we moms need all the real-life tips we can get to get through those days. This post takes you through some key potty training tips to get you through your potty training experience as smoothly as possible.

Potty Training Tips


Prepare Before You Start
Before you start potty training, prepare yourself and your child. Have a game plan. With some kids, you can just wing the whole process, but with most, you need to know what you will do. How often will you take your child potty? Will you stay with your child all day, or do a normal routine? Will you go bare-bottom, underwear only, or fully clothed? Will you do treats and/or rewards? If so, purchase those. There is more than one way to potty training, and there is no ONE right way. Find what appeals to you, but be aware of other strategies, or at least be prepared to research other strategies if the one you go with ends up not being the right formula for your child.  For details on how I potty trained, see my post on how I do it. 

Make sure you have time in your schedule to focus on the task at hand. Potty training needs your attention. Talk about potty training before you actually start so your child can be prepared, also. 

For more help on what to do before you start, see my post 5 Things To Do Before You Start Potty Training

Focus on Your Child
I mentioned above that you need to clear your schedule before you start so you can focus on your child. You need to be mentally focused on your child and able to help and guide at any moment. Your child is learning a new skill. She isn't just adding a skill to life. She is changing the way she has been doing something her entire life. She will likely fall back into her old habits at times, and very understandably so. If you are not fully focused on this learning process, you are more likely to be cleaning up more accidents. Potty training is challenging, for both you and your child. 

Set the Space for Success
Potty training can be stressful experience for both you and your child. Set the space up around your child up so that when accidents happen, you won't freak out about it. If you are using a potty chair, set the chair on a surface that is easily cleaned or set it on top of an absorbent towel. Have your child play on a surface that is easily cleaned or on a towel. If you are grossed out or stressed out by a potty accident, it will bring more stress into the process. 

Give Lots of Liquids
For most any method you go with for potty training, you need your child to NEED to go potty. If your child doesn't NEED to go potty, he will be able to hold it for a long time. A big part of potty training is your child simply realizing he can pee on the toilet. That comes from doing it, and that comes easier if his body needs to so badly that he just can't hold it in. 

For that reason, it is smart to have your child drink a lot of liquids. You can do that by offering liquids he likes or by offering enough dry snacks that he just needs to drink a lot of water. 

Many times, a child just needs that light bulb moment of experience of actually peeing on the toilet to realize what it is all about. THIS is how it feels. THIS is how you do it. If there is lots of liquid, there is lots of opportunity for practice. 

Have Some Sort of Reward System
Your reward could just be verbal. It could be hugs, kisses, and high fives. It could be a sticker chart. It could involve treats. It could be anything your child loves. Have something that gives your child reward.

You will want to decide what exactly to reward. I like to reward success on the potty, but I also like to reward success off the potty, meaning staying clean and dry. We aren't just celebrating what happens on the toilet, but we are also celebrating the fact that an accident didn't happen. 

A reward system is really the biggest difference among the different potty training methods. How you reward, when you reward, and what you reward for. You know you. You know your child. You can best guess what type of system will work best at your house. 

Tell Your Child it is Time to Go Potty
In the beginning, your child might have a hard time recognizing when to go potty. So far, she has just gone when she has gone. If you rely fully on her deciding she needs to go, you will most likely have more accidents, especially if she is two or younger. It is wise at first to have set times to sit on the potty and try. You can do every 15-30 minutes. You could decide to let her guide when, but still have some key times you require sitting.

Just don't give full control to your child. Even once she is potty trained, you will have times you want her to go to potty. Before nap time. Before bed. Before leaving the house to go somewhere. Establish from the beginning that there will be times you tell her to sit and try to go potty.

Expect Accidents
Remember when your child first learned to walk? There were times he fell down. Accidents and mistakes happen when we humans are learning new skills. The same is true for potty training. Accidents will happen. Do not let them stress or freak you out.

Don't Be Afraid to Quit
Potty Training Tips With that said, if it is clear after a few days that your child isn't ready for potty training, stop for a while and try again in a few months. Some people are terrified of stopping because they think they will set their child up for failure forever. I personally have stopped and then started again with a child. I know many others who have, also. All of those children have gone on to potty train at a later date. If it just isn't working, and you can tell it won't, try again a different day. Don't give up after a rough day--give it some time. But once you know this isn't working, stop and come back later. 

Conclusion
Potty training can be challenging and exhausting, but you can do it! As in all things that are difficult, there is great reward at the end. So while it is hard, it is worth it. And you can kiss that step good-bye and look to diaper free days ahead!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Time Change Warning: Fall 2017

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In the United States, the time will change Sunday, November 5. That is one month from today, so this is your friendly one-month reminder and warning. Depending on how you feel about the time change. 



I have several posts to help you out with this transition. The fall time change is the most difficult one for little children. In the fall, if they wake up at 7 AM, what their body feels as 7 AM is the new 6 AM. It is hard to convince a ten month old to just sleep in an extra hour. If your child is used to eating lunch at noon, noon is now 11 AM. If your child is used to going to bed at night at 8 PM, this is now 7 PM, so your child is ready for bed earlier than is ideal for your ideal schedule. 

So it can be tricky.

There is more than one way to prepare (or not prepare) for the time change, and there isn't necessarily one right way to do so. There will be a way that works best for your child and for your family, but there isn't one right way for the world at large to prepare. See this post for various ways people approach the time change to see what works best for you.
 How to manage the time change your way

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Time Change Warning: Fall 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Favorite Toys 2017

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Each year, I share with you some of my top ideas for gifts for children. These are things that are tried and true in our home. These can make great Christmas or birthday gifts for the children in your life.



These were a huge hit for me when I was a child, and my children love playing with them, also. If you have animal lovers at your house, plastic animals are a great option. I would say this is great for the 4-9 year old crowd. 



Speed Cube
A speed cube is a fun toy for the ten and older crowd. This is a good option for the tween you need to shop for but aren't sure what to get.



Hair Mannequin
Kaitlyn loves doing hair, so last year for Christmas I got her a hair mannequin. I did a lot of reading and researching and settled on this one. It is a great price and she has fully loved it. It works well for the way she uses it. It is harder to use without a stand, so I would recommend getting a stand at some point, but she has managed without one up to this point. This is great as soon as your child loves doing hair.

Wings of Fire Books
Both McKenna and Kaitlyn love this book series. It is rated for ages 8-12 and grades 3-7. McKenna started with it at age 7 and in second grade, but I think the rating for the books is accurate. These are loved by boys and girls.


Hand Fan
Right around age 7-8, both Kaitlyn and McKenna have had an affinity for a hand fan. You can get nicer ones for really inexpensive on Amazon. Last Christmas was McKenna's turn to ask for a fan for Christmas.


Adult Coloring Book
All of my girls are currently loving adult coloring books. Kaitlyn has this animal one. It is made for adults and works well for her artistic abilities. Brinley has a unicorn one. It is made for girls, so more appropriate challenge-wise for a five year old.


Nice Ball
Last year for Christmas, the one thing Kaitlyn wanted was a really nice soccer ball. I am not a soccer play and never was, so I didn't know what made a "really nice soccer ball." I did some research and came up with balls for around $100. That is a liiiiitttle more than I want to spend on a ball for a child. You know, balls that easily get left behind at a game or practice. But it was the one and only thing she wanted for Christmas, so I wanted to find a nice ball for her. I talked with her coach and he recommended this one. It is a great middle ground. It is very nice, nicer than a cheap ball you can get, but not so expensive that I will see red if the ball is lost. So far, so good, though.


LEGO Animals
Brinley loves LEGOs, but mostly because she loves the little animals that come with LEGOs. She enjoys building, but her main reason for loving LEGOs is the animals. So for her birthday, I looked up "lego animals" on Amazon and came across some lots of animals. She loved it! I have since noticed the lots come and go, so if you want to do this, it is wise to buy a lot as soon as you see one you like.

Playmobil
I shared my LEGO animal find on Facebook and a reader told me about the Playmobil sets and the zoo set specifically. I usually only post about things we own and love, but this is totally on Brinley's list for Christmas now. Since it was recommended by a reader, I thought it would be safe to share before we have tried it.



Fake Book for Piano
Our neighbor introduced us to the most amazing thing for Brayden this year. It is called the Fake Book. These are books that have chords and the melody for songs. So you can play a song easily with some basic knowledge. Brayden has loved it and I will get him another one this Christmas. There is an insane amount of these fake books. Disney, Christmas, Eighties, Beatles, Classical...it never ends.

Beanie Boos
I wrote on these last Friday. They are a huge hit at our house. These are great for any age as soon as you are okay with stuffed animals.




Looking for more ideas? See past posts. These are helpful because each year, I share the greatest hits from that year, so they give ideal ideas for various ages:
 Favorite Toys 2016  Preteen boy gift guide  Preteen girl gift guide
Choosing and Organizing Gifts
I am very methodical in how I choose gifts for people. I am very much a believer in "it's the thought that counts" and I put a lot of thought into the process. Plus, I don't want to purchase toys just for the sake of purchasing them. I don't want them in our house unless I think my kids will love them long-term. 
And don't miss my Gift Organizer {Free Printable} for organizing your ideas.

Book Lists
We love to give books as gifts. Each child gets a book at each birthday and each Christmas. Here are my book lists:
Favorite Toys 2017
Great Toys
If you are looking for the perfect toy for your child, look through my "best toys" lists:




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