Friday, May 31, 2013

Adobe Photoshop Elements

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I love pictures. I love to take pictures of my children. I also love professional pictures...but getting constant professional pictures can be expensive, and it can't capture every day life. Several years ago, I bought a DSLR so I could take better pictures of my children. It was amazing! But I knew I could do more. I decided to purchase Adobe Photoshop Elements to help me with some photo enhancement. I then signed up for a class through the local college so I could learn how to use it!

I have enjoyed Elements so much. I was approached by Staples to do a review on a product for them. They gave me the choice of calculators, printers, mini-fridge, and software. I decided to go with the new Photoshop 11 because I have enjoyed it so much. They sent it to me for free to review. You can do a lot of simple things that just add that little bit extra umph to your pictures. There are a lot of free actions out there, too, you can get to further enhance--and of course many paid actions (see MCP Actions for great paid ones--they do have some free too. My favorite free set I have used is from the Pioneer Woman). You can use it to do everything from simple touch ups to dramatic photo changes. You can also do collages.

Photoshop 11 offers the ability to work in quick mode, guided mode, and expert mode. In quick mode, you are given the options of doing the bare minimum in photo editing. Guided mode is a middle-ground approach between the quick and expert modes. The expert mode is pretty similar to Photoshop CS6. 


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Adobe Photoshop 11 also has added a cool organizing method that is comparable to how we are used to using pictures in social media. You can tag photos based on people, places, or events. It is also easy to share your photos through email, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Another fun tool you can use in Photoshop is movie making. There are new styles, themes, and sound effects to help make your movie fabulous!


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So how easy is it? I knew how to use Macromedia Fireworks from a college class, which is quite similar to Adobe Photoshop Elements. So with my class I took, it has been very easy for me to learn. I think it is actually quite easy to use for the average computer user. I think a class is worth it, though, if you can find one because there are so many more facets to software that you might not find on your own. I imagine there are classes offered online--or even just great blogs that will walk you through it.


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Another popular photo editing software to consider is Adobe Lightroom. I haven't tried it, but it is very popular among photographers right now. I went with Elements because it is what I know and I am not really even deeply knowledgeable about the differences between the two softwares--like, why does Adobe make two similar photo editing softwares? Maybe one of you know? 

Full disclosure: Staples provided me with the Photoshop Software for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own and no other compensation was received.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Brayden Child Summary: 8 Years Old!

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Brayden is now 8 years old! That means we enter a whole new BW book: On Becoming Pre-Teen Wise. Can you believe it?!? I guess that means his next summary will be in a new category--Pre-teen Summary! Ack!

Brayden at his piano recital
EATING
Brayden seems to be going through a growth spurt right now. He is eating a lot more at meals.

SLEEPING
Sleeping has been great. We now let him read for about 10 minutes in his bed before he goes to sleep. We make sure he is in bed early enough that he can add ten minutes. We started this at the time change because he was having a hard time going to bed an hour early. It is something Jim Trelease talks about in his book The Read Aloud Handbook that I have wanted to implement someday. Brayden is old enough and responsible enough to handle it. He is good about watching his clock and reading for the amount of time we tell him and then go to bed.

EXTRA ACTIVITIES
Brayden continues to take swimming lessons. During this last three month span, he also did piano lessons, soccer, and started baseball.

TALKING
Last time, I talked about how it is hard to get Brayden to talk. You may have seen my post last Friday about a book I read, Raising Cain, to help get ideas. We have had good improvements in the talking department. Something right now that is helpful is we play catch every day when he gets home from school. It has worked out well and it is good to have that carved out and planned one-on-one time with him. I think that is the trick for him is one-on-one time, which obviously is harder to come by with four kids and him in school all day. I am learning as I go with him--the perks of being the oldest child right? I will make sure I always have a planned one-on-one activity with him each day.

EMBARRASSMENT
I have a friend who is a mom to one of Brayden's best friends. She was telling me the other day how when this boy gets embarrassed, he gets angry and she had realized this relatively recently. I have since noticed what Brayden does when he is uncomfortable or embarrassed  he makes light of the situation. He doesn't do this in a witty, make everyone laugh way. He does it more in a "I am too smart and too good for this" way. It is the way he deals with his emotion. This is something we will be working with him on. 

An interesting thing in the Raising Cain book is the authors talk about how boys tend to have a narrower vocabulary for emotions. Boys and girls of the same age do not identify the same amount of emotions. While girls can name a range of complex emotions, boys simplify and group emotions into a few main categories. So helping boys identify these emotions is important to helping him express them appropriately. 

An example of this happening was at baseball practice. Brayden feels like if he is corrected, he is somehow bad at it (a perfectionist thing). So at practice one day, there were lots of older boys there helping the younger ones learn how to play the different positions. He started getting really silly and reacting to an instruction of "move to the left a little bit" by either moving an inch or ten feet. 

SCHOOL
It is the end of second grade! He has loved school and continues to do well. It is a little scary to move into older grades. Second grade is still pretty much sunshine and roses and everyone is friends. From my memory and current observations, that starts to change in fourth grade. 

GROWING UP
I was thinking about things to have Brayden take over this summer (I like to do new chore training during summer since there is no school going on). I decided to have him put all of his own laundry away (probably long overdue...but I like to be aware of how many shirts there are in what colors...anyway, I told him about this plan and he said, "I would LOVE that." Um, okay? I told him we will both be happy then :) 

BOOKS
Here are some books he loves:



SCHEDULE
Brayden weekday schedule is:

7 AM--get up. Eat breakfast. Get ready for school. Practice piano. Play until time to go to school.
Goes to school.
Comes home from school.
Play catch then do Homework.
Playtime until dinner.
5:30 PM--Dinner. Then time with family.
7:00 Chores and start getting ready for bed.
8-8:30--in bed (why does it take so long? We spend a lot of time reading before bedtime. We read scriptures then read chapter books).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Are a Good Parent

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With this being a parenting blog, my posts obviously consist primarily of advice. Advice can be helpful, and that is obviously what you are looking for when you come here, but sometimes you just want to be told you are good enough. I wanted to take a moment to just encourage without parenting advice added to it. 

You are a good parent! I am sure you make mistakes sometimes, because we all do. I am sure you can look back on some things and realize you probably should have done things differently because we all do that, too. That just makes you normal.

You are doing the best you can do. The best you can do is good enough! If it wasn't, babies wouldn't be raised by humans (that reminds me of that movie--Mars Needs Moms--they raise their babies with robots on Mars...). I don't want to oversimplify things, but we have all been raised by imperfect people and the human race manages to press forward.

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In the end, no matter how hard you try and how much effort you put in, you will have days when you have that kid the grocery store. You will have times you have that kid when you are trying to leave the park. I don't say that to discourage you, but to encourage you that when the moment happens that you have that kid, it doesn't mean you haven't done a great job! 

If you need some "pats on the back" and encouragement, see thee posts:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Brinley Summary {41 Weeks Old}

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This is a summary for Brinley's 41st week; she was 40 weeks old.



NURSING
Same old same old.

BOTTLE
She took a bottle from Kaitlyn this week! Hurrah for more progress!

SOLIDS
This week, she tried watermelon. MAJOR love. She super-loves watermelon. 

SLEEPING
Brinley started a new thing at nap and bed time. I put her down for her nap, then walk to her door, and she rolls over and peeks out the side of her crib. I then wave to her and tell her how I love her and she waves back. Then she rolls back over and I leave.

NAPS
Her morning nap moved back to 10:30 instead of 15 minutes this week.

NIGHT PJs
I changed up her PJs. It got warmer, so instead of long sleeved, footed PJs inside of a fleece footed PJs, I am doing a onsie, socks, and light cotton pajama pants inside of fleece footed PJs.

SCHEDULE
8:45--nurse with solids (fruit, cereal, yogurt). Indepenedent Playtime happens in this block.
10:30--nap
12:45--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal)
2:30--nap
5:00--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal, finger foods) 
7:30--feed, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

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I hope you all have a great day remembering those who have gone before us! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review: Raising Cain

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Brayden can be hard to get to talk. If you spend several hours with him one-on-one, he will start to jabber on and on, which is great, but with four kids, it is hard to find several hours where he and I can be alone on a consistent basis. I wanted some strategies for getting boys to open up, so I turned to Amazon and looked at reviews on books about boys.

One of the most popular books I found is Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson. The authors are both child psychologists and share what they have learned in their years working with boys.

There are definitely some great points in this book and some great ideas for how to help boys grow up to be emotionally stable. I do think they have been in this world of working with troubled boys so long that they seem to over-generalize and think more boys are in dire trouble than really are. In other words, I think some things in the book were a little over-dramatic for the average boy. There are some things they talk about that I think can send you into an over-reaction mode of parenting. However, there are great tips and they have great insight into how boys are, which is helpful for me being a female. I think it has been helpful in giving me some tools to help be a better mom to my son. And yes, I will blog on those things in the future.

This book has a 4.5/5 rating on Amazon with 163 reviews, so definitely a well-liked book. I think it was worth my time to read it.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Simple Life {Musical Musings}

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Music is a huge part of my life. Really huge. I like most genres of music and really love the impact a good song can have on me. I think music is amazing because it touches and has appeal to people who are both right-brained and left-brained. Here are some quotes that speak to me on music:

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. Aldous Huxley

I think I should have no other mortal wants if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music. George Bernard Shaw
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. Victor Hugo 
Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself. Henry Ward Beecher 
I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music. Billy Joel
Its language is a language which the soul alone understands, but which the soul can never translate. Arnold Bennett 
Music can change the world. Ludwig Van Beethoven 
I also love finding songs that speak to me about life lessons. This song, "Simple Life" by Casey Abrams, is something I love especially as we approach summer. My memories of summer as a child are memories of simplicity. I love the idea of keeping summer with plenty of simple fun. I think that is one reason we love to camp as a family--we have a vacation that is simple and relaxed and involves basically nothing but time together as a family. We love to go to the mountains of Wyoming where we are out of cell phone range and just be unplugged. 

This song is great for reminding me to step back and keep things simple. We don't need to overdo it, but we easily spiral into overdoing it. I love the list of "first world problems" he talks about in this song and the irony of being constantly frustrated over these modern conveniences and material possessions we view as necessary. But they aren't necessary! 

The idea of leading a "simple life" is something I really have to step back and remind myself often. I have a playlist on iTunes for songs that talk about this message. That way I can listen to them and remind myself to evaluate life and simplify. 


Related Posts:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Poll Results: Rolling in Crib

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Here are the results for the poll on rolling in the crib. Here are the questions:

1. When baby started to roll in the crib, were there sleep disruptions?
2. If yes, how long was it from start of disruptions to back to normal sleep?
3. Did you do anything to help with the disruption to sleep? If so, what?
4. Any words of advice/wisdom?

Results 
Total Votes: 22

1. When baby started to roll in the crib, were there sleep disruptions?

YES: 16 (73%)
NO: 6 (27%)

2. If yes, how long was it from start of disruptions to back to normal sleep?

Minimal: 1 (.05 %)
1 Day: 1 (.05 %)
2-4 Days: 4 (18%)
5-7 Days: 6 (27%)
1-2 Weeks: 2 (9%)
3-4 Weeks: 1 (.05 %)
Several Months: 1 (.05 %)

3. Did you do anything to help with the disruption to sleep? If so, what?

Flipped Baby: 6 (27%)
Practice: 5 (23%)
CIO: 3 (14%)
Bumpers: 3 (14%)
Stopped Swaddle: 1 (.05 %)
Nothing:1 (.05 %)

4. Any words of advice/wisdom?
We flipped him back to his tummy 1 or 2 times a night for a couple days, but finally one night I woke up and checked the monitor and he was snoozing on his belly with no issues :) Guess he decided he liked sleeping that way after all! Give it time and any disruptions will pass! Sara Khel
Give baby lots of hands-on practice during playtime! Brooke Young 
A lot of practice rolling. We would practice rolling from one side of the crib to the other. I would hold a stuffed animal just out of sight to encourage him. Tcushu 
 I started teaching her to sleep on her stomach before she could roll so once she could roll she usually rolled onto her stomach because she wanted to be there. My advice is to let them choose their position. I never rolled her back over when she rolled. Also recommend a mesh bumper guard to keep arms and legs safely in the crib! Janice Schmidt
Wisdom I'd say to let their arms out if they're still swaddled and that'll give them the chance to learn to turn around. Both of mine just started sleeping on their bellies half the time around this age too so it sorted itself out. Rachel Norman
I think keeping her in a sleep sack for several months helped this not be a problem. Like other moms have mentioned, when she was old enough to move around, I purchased a mesh bumper so her legs wouldn't get stuck. Jessie
I think they start to be ok with tummy sleeping after a bit. She was already sleeping un swaddled. It is not unusual for her to need her paci once or twice a night anyway. Once we give the paci and roll her if needed, she goes right back to sleep. Sarah WhitehouseNews
Just "roll" with it. LOL, ok I know it was cheesy but I couldn't resist. :) dhamilton
Mesh bumper. My kids both slept even better once they were able to roll onto their tummies. They love it! Kristen
just be patient. They will stop soon enough, or her used to sleeping in a different position.  Hunter C
Once our daughter got the hang of it, she actually started sleeping *better* than before. She can choose how she wants to sleep! Sarahoutloud.com
My situation is a little different. This 3rd baby is a tummy sleeper. Has been since about 2 months because of bad gas issues. At 2.5 months she decided to start rolling to her back. That's really early, and since she was in no way ready to sleep on her back without a swaddle we had to do something to keep her on her tummy while sleeping. Otherwise, if she had been less "jerky" with her arms, I would have let her figure it out on her own. My hubby came up with the idea of making something for her to wear while sleeping, so I did. I just sewed a little "sleeve" with legs to just slip her legs through with a section of a pool noodle sewn into each side. Works like a charm! Now we are working on her rolling from her back to her tummy during her wake time so that this won't be an issue before too much longer. Erin
Work on the skill during waketimes, and remember that it'll pass and baby WILL go back to sleeping, and so will you!d Xio
When he was younger, I'd wait a little while to see if he quiet down before I went in to check on him. I think that's one reason he slept through the night earlier. However, once he started waking up again at night, I got out of the habit and would go in right away. I finally got back into the habit of waiting a little while before I'd go in, and after a few days, he started sleeping through the night again. I forgot the things I'd done earlier to help him sleep well. When I remembered them and started doing those things again, he started sleeping longer. Unknown


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Brinley Summary: 40 Weeks Old {9 Months Old}

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This is a summary for Brinley's 40th week; she was 39 weeks old. Brinley turned 9 months old this week!


I got this idea...this idea that it would be super cute to do a picture with her holding a flower. She isn't the type of baby that puts everything in her mouth, so I wasn't so worried about that. Welll...she put this in her mouth! It shouldn't be surprising. Note to self--fake flowers.


NURSING
Good and the same.

BOTTLE
She took a bottle from her dad this week! That was an exciting step! It was nice because I was able to take Kaitlyn and McKenna to our local civic ballet to see Cinderella. If Brinley wouldn't do bottle, I wouldn't have been able to take them.

SOLIDS
This week, I gave her grapes. They were a little bitter, and she was not too impressed. I bought some more later in the week and they were much sweeter and she had more interest in those. I didn't puree them; I just cut them up and gave them to her.

SLEEPING
Sleeping is good and the same.

CRAWLING
This week, she started rocking on her knees. She is still doing the walrus crawl, but she gets on her knees sometimes. 

DANCE RECITAL
Kaitlyn and McKenna had their dance recital this week. We had to get Brinley up from her afternoon nap about 1.5 hours earl for it (she was super confused). She made it through their dances, but then she got super upset toward the end. In the beginning, she loved it. She loved watching the dancing. 

DOCTOR
Brinley had her 9 month well-check visit this week. She is doing great! She jumped significantly in her height. I figured she had because she seemed so much bigger to me. She grew three inches in three months and jumped about 30-40% on her growth curve. She also jumped about the same percentage on her head size. Her weight it about the same--I can't remember if it went up a few percent or down a few percent. It is common for breastfed babies to thin out at this age--especially if they are crawling or walking. 

SCHEDULE
8:45--nurse with solids (fruit, cereal, yogurt). Indepenedent Playtime happens in this block.
10:15--nap
12:45--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal)
2:30--nap
5:00--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal, finger foods) 
7:30--feed, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Occupying Children During Summer

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Summer is coming! Summer break is great. You no longer have paper after paper coming home with your child each day. There is no more homework to check. There is no driving kids to and from school. There is no packing lunches in the mornings. There is no clock racing morning after morning.

But of course, that means there is less built in structure, and children thrive on structure and routine. Children can easily get bored, and bored can lead to getting into things they shouldn't. So what can you do during summer to keep children occupied? 

START WITH GOALS
Think of some goals you have for the summer. What sorts of things would you like to accomplish with your children? I think summer is a great time to relax a bit. It is a great time for free play and imaginations. It is also a good opportunity to work closely with your children. Summer can be a good opportunity to teach some new skills to your children. Think about what you want your child to be able to do independently next school year. Are there cleaning tasks you want to teach your child to do? Cooking? Packing lunches? Here are some categories you might have goals in:
  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Money management
  • Athletics
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Other education goals
  • Music
  • Activities
  • Religious
MAKE A SCHEDULE AND A PLAN
Once you have your goals in place, you can make a plan. I create a schedule using the method I talk about in this post: Planning Your Schedule for Multiple Children. I do a normal, daily schedule. I then make a list of other local activities and places we can attend in the week (story time, museums, parks, library, etc.) and a list of bigger things I would like to do during the summer (water parks, camping, parades, fairs, rodeos, hikes, amusement parks, sporting events, lakes, vacations, etc.). 

This post I listed will walk you through making this schedule. Having a schedule will really help you keep your children occupied during the summer. For a child who goes to school, having it written out and displayed will really be appreciated. Children are used to the structure and routine of school and will easily fall into a schedule at home.

START WITH A BREAK
I once read about a mom who takes the first week of the summer as break week. There is no plan, no schedule, and not even getting ready--they wear their pajamas all week. I tried it and my kids enjoyed it, though after a couple of days they were asking for normal days again. You might consider starting summer off with a break--whether it be a day or week long.

ACTIVITIES WE DO
Here are the things we do during the summer. Hopefully these will give you ideas for keeping your children occupied. Some families like more structure than we do and some like considerably less. Do what works for your family. 

Chores
I include chores in our day each day. If we are all going to get along during the summer, the children need to help out around the house. I like to look through my goals for my children to see what they need to learn to do over the summer. See Our Family Plan: http://www.babywisemom.com/2010/04/our-family-plan.html for ideas on what we have our kids do at what age.

Meals
We have our meal prep, eating, and clean up. I like to include the children in making meals so they can learn kitchen skills. I have found it is easiest to do real teaching if we do this one-on-one. Sometimes I have all of the kids help bake something, but there is no real learning taking place. So on a routine basis, I like it to be me and one child. 

Sibling Playtime
I use sibling playtime as a free play. See Sibling Playtime and Free Playtime for more ideas. If you have a napping child still, see Older Children While Baby Naps to keep the peace during naps.

Music Time
For my children who take piano lessons, we keep up some practicing during the summer. Some people continue lessons during the summer, but I like to keep regular commitments at a minimum during the summer months. 

Learning Time
I do learning activities to keep my children engaged in the learning process. Don't overlook the value in simple things for learning, as well. You can see a series of posts I wrote on simple summer learning here. My children love doing different learning activities. We still keep up a weekly theme, letter of the week, number, etc. 

Education Goals
While it is fun to take a break from school, I do want to avoid summer setback (see Avoiding Summer Setback). We keep reading up. Each afternoon, in the heat of the day, we come inside and do SSR (Sustained Silent Reading (SSR)). We are regular attendees of the library--we go each week during the summer. We participate in our library's summer reading program. 

This summer, I plan to do a reading incentive program for the kids in our neighborhood. I will make a tracking bookmark for each child and have each child read a minimum of 20 minutes a day. Then at the end of the summer, those who did it will come to our house for an outdoor movie. 20 minutes a day is not difficult to come by and I have no doubt the kids will do it easily. The great thing about reading is once you start, you keep going. So the child who sits to read for 20 minutes will find an hour has gone by. 

Religious Focus
In conjunction with our calendar time with learning time, we have a scripture we focus on memorizing. I plan to give my children a verse a week and challenge them to memorize each one. I will probably have a fun activity for the end of the summer to do. You could also have scripture reading goals.

Walks and Bike Rides
We go for a walk or bike ride each day. We go first thing in the morning after we are ready so we can avoid the heat. It is good to get the exercise and get out of the house each day. 

Independent Playtime
We do independent playtime throughout the summer. I think this helps everyone get along well. Everyone has their alone time each day and the kids don't get so sick of each other that they bicker. 

Local Activities
As I listed above, we have some local activities we like to attend. There are activities at the library and story time. We like to try to visit different parks as we can to keep things interesting. We have a membership to a place close to our home with lots of activities. If you have something close to your home, like a pool, waterpark, amusement park, learning center, museum, zoo...I HIGHLY recommend getting a membership. A great thing about a membership is you can go for an hour or two and not feel bad about it. So if I have a baby that naps, we can go between naps and I don't worry that we wasted money. We can pick up and go on a random day that is obvious we need something else to do. We have even stopped on the way to the dentist and stayed for only 30 minutes--but we had an extra 30 minutes and needed something to do. We can go for a couple of hours in the evening after my husband gets off of work. We figured with the place we go, we only have to go 3 times a year as a family to make it worth the money we spent. 

Don't ignore the "local" opportunities of your own home, also. A kiddie pool, sandbox, scavenger hunt, backyard camping night, and more can all add some excitement to your week.

Big Activities
There are other activities that can't be regular in your schedule, but you might want to do during the summer months. For us, the zoo is one of those activities since it is a long drive. Maybe you want to go see a baseball game. Maybe you want to be sure to take in the fair. Think about these things and get them on your radar.

Vacations
Family vacations are a great summer activity. Our family loves to go camping together.

What do you do to keep your children occupied in the summer?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reader Weaning Questions

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Weaning From Bottle:
  • mommytoisabella said...
    For some reason I am having a problem posting this question under the appropriate title and this is the only place on the blog where I can get it to work.My question is in regards to weaning from the bottle. I read the article you posted. I was wondering at what age did you wean Brayden from the bottle to a sippy cup. Isabella will be 11 months next week and I am wondering if I should start weaning her right now. Also at what age did you stop giving your little ones milk or formula before bed?
    June 26, 2008 3:25 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    mommytoisabella,Brayden had sippys starting at 6 months with water. I weaned him from BFing at 12 months. He had a bottle until he was 13ish months, then we started to wean and took about a month. It wouldn't hurt to start weaning now. See the sample schedules post to see when I did milk before bed:Sample Schedules: One Year and Up : http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/sample-schedules-one-year-and-up.html
    June 26, 2008 11:21 PM

Medisim TempleTouch Premium Thermometer

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Today you are entering to win a TempleTouch thermometer from Medisim.

The world’s only combined thermometer for both forehead & underarm measurement in a new innovative design. 
Another breakthrough in thermometers, the TempleTouch™ premium. Offering a unique design & technical capabilities, which enable parents to receive quick and accurate temperature measurement by just touching the infant's forehead or open armpit.
The temple area is a comfortable and easy measurement site, accessible when child or patient is awake or asleep.


ENTER HERE
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a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Older Children While Baby Naps

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I think a big challenge with a baby is what to do with the older children while baby naps--or in other words, how do you keep the older children quiet while baby is napping? This is the most challenging while baby is young and taking four naps a day.

From the time Kaitlyn was born, I had two goals I tried to marry. One is that I didn't want us to feel like we had to tip-toe around the house at nap time--I wanted us to be able to move around and talk like normal people. However, I also wanted us to respect the sleeper. When I was growing up, my mom ingrained in us to respect the sleeper and those of us who were early risers would be respectful of the non-early risers and try to be quiet. So normal sounds were okay, but there didn't need to be loudness, yelling, and running. 

So that is a nice goal, but how do you implement it? Here are some ideas.

APPROACH AS A SIGN OF LOVE
Something I didn't want to happen with any of my babies was the older children growing to resent the baby. I didn't want them being frustrated at the baby because we couldn't wake up the baby. So I taught it with the angle of "we are doing this to show respect and love." We show our baby love by respecting baby when she is sleeping. See this fore more:

Moral Training: Love


WHITE NOISE IN BABY ROOM
I didn't figure this out until McKenna came along, but white noise in the baby's room is very helpful. This helps muffle out normal noises so you don't feel paranoid to move around your house as usual. You can use noise machines, humidifiers, box fans, mp3 tracks...See

White Noise


GIVE BABY TIME TO GET USED TO IT
A brand new baby usually will sleep through anything (though there are sleep experts who say just because a newborn is asleep doesn't mean the sleep is ideal--a newborn in a disruptively noisy environment may not be getting as restorative of sleep as one in an ideal environment).

Then the baby seems to enter a phase where sleep is more sensitive. Noises will wake baby up. After some months, baby will start to sleep through those noises. The trick is keeping noises normal so baby can get used to it and staying patient through the sensitive sleep times. And some babies are more sensitive than others.

STRUCTURED ACTIVITIES
Have your structured activities happen during baby's nap. Some ways I pair these is chores/independent play in the morning nap, and learning time/reading/rest time in the afternoon. 

Independent Playtime
Occupy the older children by having independent playtime during one nap. Obviously you won't cover the entire nap, but you can get a good chunk in there. Have it in a place where the noises your child makes won't be too noisy for your baby. This is an especially helpful thing to do when you have three or more children. More than one child makes for noisy interactions. We always have independent play on Sunday mornings during Brinely's nap (our church is currently at 1 PM). This way, the kids won't get all riled up and loud and wake her up early before church. See Index: Independent Play for more.

Naps/Rest Time
Another great thing to do is to align nap/rest time with baby's afternoon nap. 

Learning Time
You can also have some learning time. Learning time is another structured activity that you can keep your child's noise levels at a reasonable level. See Index: Learning Development for ideas.

Reading
Read stories to your child during baby's nap. If your child is old enough for SSR, do that during baby's nap, too. See SSR for more on that.

Chores
You can do your chores during nap time. Just be aware of when your baby will reach the age to benefit from observing chores being done. I didn't do chores in front of Kaitlyn and I think that contributed to her not wanting to do chores at a young age. She has overcome that and now is a great worker, but in her younger years, she had no desire to work. With Brayden I had always worked with him around, and with McKenna I was careful to do cleaning in front of her. I think by 9 months, it is good to do at least some cleaning in front of your baby. Brayden was copying me by 9 months, though, so even 6-7 months might be a good idea. See Chores Index for more.

TV Time
If you do TV Time each day, do it during baby's nap. This is win/win because it keeps kids quiet and it makes it so TV time is at a time when baby won't be around to watch the TV. See television  for more.

EXERCISE
Make sure your child is getting as much exercise as is optimal for him. A child who has too much energy is going to have a harder time being appropriate indoors. You can all go for a walk or bike ride together and this will help your child to not have so much energy to burn in the house during baby's nap. See exercise  for more.

CONSEQUENCES
Once you have worked your rules and schedule for the best environment for baby's naps, have some consequences for when your children get too loud and crazy during nap time. Especially in the younger days of baby's life, you can't really fill each nap with structured activities. Baby sleeps too much to do that. Your children will have times they get loud.

We start with a reminder. Kids are kids and when kids get together, they have fun and get loud. We start playtime with a reminder about respecting sleeping people.

If/when they get loud, we tell them they are being too loud. Again, kids are kids and kids don't necessarily know what level is "too loud."

If they can't calm down, I bring in a consequence. Going back to me not wanting resentment to build up, I try to make the consequence apply very logically (which is the way I am in all consequences naturally, but I am careful to make sure in this instance that holds true). An example of a consequence for group of siblings being noisy is that they don't get to play with each other for the rest of the nap.

I also have a rule that if you can't be appropriately quiet inside, you need to play outside.

My favorite consequence came one evening when the children obviously had way too much energy built up. They could not be quiet at all--they obviously needed some exercise. So I sent them outside to run laps. We have a large yard and I told them they each needed to run three laps. They ended up enjoying it so much they each ran at least ten laps. What they needed was to burn some energy!

What have you found to be helpful in occupying older children while baby naps?

Related Posts/Blog Labels for Siblings:
Dynamics
Problems 
Room Sharing


Schedules

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