Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Break 2014

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I am taking my annual summer break this next week! We will be doing fun stuff like cramming as many children as you possibly can onto playground equipment.

Please remember to send in your success story! I love to have these stories for reference for other parents wanting to know about Babywise and if it works AND if it is as bad as they hear. Let's shoot for having them in by July 9. If you send it later, I will do my best to work it in. 

Have a great week!

If you are looking for some new reading this week, see some of my most popular posts from 2008. This was my first full year blogging. The posts from this year cover a lot of the basics. These are in no particular order.
Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime

Easy Nap Fix

Getting a Consistent Schedule

Sleep Routine

Dropping the Dreamfeed

Waking Early From Naps/Won't Fall Asleep for Naps

45 Minute Intruder

5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions

Sample Babywise Schedules

4 Month Sleep Problems

Waking After Only 20 Minutes

Optimal Waketime Lengths

Overstimulation

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mama B's Sweet Peas {Giveaway!}

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Today's giveaway is from Mama B's Sweet Peas (http://www.mamabssweetpeas.com/). These sweet peas are hand-crafted pea-in-a-pod type of jewelry. She makes bracelets, pendants, and earrings! She also makes "loss sweet peas" that are made specifically for the babies lost--I love the idea! 


You can get one little pea to represent each of your children. You can do birthstones for each child or a color that you think represents your child well. 



I have a bracelet and necklace and I have loved them! I have one in the birthstones and one in fun colors. I like both. The birthstones of my children don't necessarily flow well together, so it is nice having one that they all look good! I also included our little Braxston in it, so I LOVE having something that represents him on my person at all times. 


And here is the maker with two of her cute children (she now has three):


Today, you are entering to win a pendant and chain of your own! If you don't win or don't want to enter, (or see this after the fact), you can use this code BWMOM for 25% off your order. This code has no expiration date! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ENTRY RULES
  • You must enter the giveaway to have an entry.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check each winning entry to make sure it was valid.
  • Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight July 4, 2014 (so that means you will not be able to enter on the 4 at all).
  • The winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter.
  • The winner will be announced sometime after the winner is chosen. I will email the winner.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back and/or check your email. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time.
  • I will not use your email address for any purpose other than contacting you if you are the winner (and FYI, I don't have access to the email addresses except for the winner).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tips for Camping with Children

This post may contain affiliate links.

Camping is pretty much our family's favorite thing to do. It is a great vacation with young children. It is inexpensive and really relaxed. There are a lot of amazing places you can go camping. Camping can accommodate napping schedules nicely. If you haven't tried it, do it! But be sure to read all of my tips because camping does have some harsh realities you need to be mentally prepared for.

We have camped with children starting at age 2 months. In my opinion, camping with a baby under one is relatively easy. A pre-toddler (somewhere between 12-18 months) can be the most challenging. They don't like to sit still and aren't really able to safely wander around the camp site.

The First Night Sucks
It just does. You absolutely need to expect the children to go to bed late and wake up early. They might even wake up periodically in the night. If you go camping, plan on going for at least two nights so you can have one good experience. Just know the first night will be the worst as everyone gets used to it. Go into it with that expectation. 

This photo is my husband one morning after the first night of camping--this was about four years ago. 




Think Through Sleep
There are many sleep considerations for you to take. Here are the basics--I will elaborate below:
  1. Remember and enforce family sleep policies. If you expect your children to follow them, they will.
  2. Try to have sleeping arrangements so that the children will sleep as well as possible. Have own beds/places to sleep as much as possible.
  3. Dress appropriately for weather. A tent or even a camper does not provide the protection from weather changes that a house does. 
  4. White noise can be very helpful when camping. 
  5. Keep bedtime and naptime at about the same time as usual as much as possible.
  6. If you have multiple kids sleeping together and need to stagger bedtime, think wisely about how you do it. 
What are rules?
Think about your sleep rules at home and decide if they will be the same when camping. Can your kids get out of bed? Can your children be noisy after put in bed? What are consequences to rules being broken?

One time when we went camping, McKenna had been put to bed first, then was woken up when Kaitlyn went to bed, and she was ready to party. My husband didn't want her waking up Kaitlyn, so he  kept going in to her and telling her to sleep and be quiet. She quite enjoyed his visits and she kept up the party for most of the night. I finally told him he needed to just ignore her no matter what. He did and she finally went to sleep. That was our *best* camping experience ever. And by best, I really mean worst. 

With that in mind, review sleep rules when you are getting your children ready for bed. Explain that the same rules apply when camping as they do at home. I let my children know that if they want to go camping in the future, they will do their part to make it enjoyable now. 

Where to sleep?
Where will all sleep? Will you be in a camper, tent trailer, or tent? How will you arrange sleeping arrangements so that people can sleep as well as possible. 

If you don't share beds at home, you might want to think twice before doing it while camping--especially if you have young kids. Young children move A TON while sleeping. If you put two kids together, they might wake each other up as they kick the tar out of each other. If you sleep with a child, you will have your tar kicked out. Yep, been there. You also can have issues if you are sharing an air mattress with adults and children. My husband learned that the hard way one night when he slept on an air mattress with our three oldest and had them all rolled into him and on him all night. 

If possible, have people in their own beds so their sleep only impacts themselves. For babies and toddlers, use bassinets, pack and plays, or a pea pod. In a bassinet, use blankets to cover the sides so the child won't wake in the night and get woken fully by seeing an unfamiliar surrounding. For preschoolers and older, consider foam pads, air mattresses, and cots. The more comfortable your child, the better the child will sleep.

lots of personal space for Brayden on this twin in a tent
Kaitlyn taking a nap on the beach in her pack and play

A sleep arrangement for us


How to dress for sleep?
When Brayden was two months old, we took him on his first camping trip to the mountains of Wyoming. What was I thinking?!?!?!?!? It is FREEZING in the mountains of Wyoming at night. He was a two month old! In a tent! After that, we bought a camper so our babies could have a heater to keep an even temp at night. 

For warm dressing at night, consider:
  • Layers. For the babies and toddlers, have socks, onesie, footed PJs, and sleep sack to keep them warm. These little ones do not keep blankets on them, so you have to dress them for sleep as though they have a blanket attached to them. You don't want to over dress because people don't sleep well hot, either. 
  • Blankets and sleeping bags. As children get older, they start to keep their blankets on them. You can then dress them warmly (socks are very important for sleeping in the cold!) and then get a sleeping back and a blanket for each child. 
While it is cold at night, it gets hot in the day. As soon as everyone is awake, I open all windows to let things cool down. This is wise whether in a  tent or camper. When you are choosing your spot to camp, if at all possible, set up where there will be shade. If you have a cover or awning of some sort, use it. 

If it is warm at nap time, have your child sleep in a onsie only and be sure to have some air flow in the place the child is sleeping. 

How to block noise when sleeping?
A great thing about a camper is that it is quieter than a tent. I have loved having one for my babies. When we are choosing a spot to set up the camper or tent, I always try to be a distance from where the action will be. We always go camping with my extended family each year. I stay away from the fire pit because that is where the action is and the noise will be. 

this was our first camper we owned--you can see we are parked all by ourselves away from the wild and crazy people

There is a lot of natural "white noise" when camping, but if you are worried about things being noisy, bring along a sound machine that runs on batteries. I love white noise for naps so the child has a better chance of sleeping with the chaos that is usually going on around you during the day. Then if you have older children, they can plan

When to do bedtime?
For younger children--toddlers and babies--I try to keep bedtime as close to normal time as possible. Remember, overly tired people don't sleep as well as well-rested people, so if you want the best shot at sleeping well, you want your child down on time.

As children get older--4-6 usually depending on their natural flexibility--they can start staying up later when camping and they still sleep fine. Don't be fooled into thinking a late bedtime will equal a sleep-in session in the morning. 

How to stagger kids?
When you have all of your children in a tiny space, you need to be smart about how you stagger their bedtimes. I put my deepest sleeper in bed first. I also consider how long the child will likely take to fall asleep. A fast fall-asleeper is wise to put to bed first. 

A tricky thing in staggering is you don't know when the first child fell asleep. We have put the second child to bed before shortly after the first actually fell asleep and then the first child has had a power nap. Not fun. If your kids will be quiet and go to sleep quickly, it can work to have them go to bed at the same time. 

What about that sun?
Where I live, the sun comes up early in the morning and goes down late at night in the summer. A hard thing with camping for people around here is that the sun is up in the 5 AM hour and usually people wake with the sun. Keep this in mind as you are setting up your sleep situation. 

Prepare for Playtime
When camping, you might worry about how your child will entertain him/herself while camping. I find a child 2 or older is really quite adept at entertaining themselves with the nature around them. Yes, there are some things you can bring with you for your child to play with, but don't overpack! You don't need to over complicate the situation. And don't pack things you can't clean easily. Have your child play with nature and imaginations (but be careful about any poisonous plants you might have around you!).

One note, when Brayden was a toddler, he REALLY needed his consistency. He had to have independent playtime even when we were camping. He would need a place he could be alone and play for a bit. You could do this in a pack and play, tent, or camper. 

Here are some things we commonly do when camping:
whittle sticks. My husband does this ad the kids sit and watch forever.

play in dirt. A lot.




sometimes they eat dirt, too
when I think camping, I definitely think horseshoes

We play with frisbies more than anything when camping. They are easy to clean and can be used for a lot.
We LOVE to play frisbee golf when camping. 

We also love to go for hikes and walks when camping.
bikes can be fun if your location is suitable for them

fishing is a great camping adventure
for the young ones, I do bring along a small tote with baby toys in it to play with. I also bring books for all kids.

Campfires are soothing and fun to be around. Be very alert and cautious with children around fires.
Most are naturally careful, but you have some who are a bit crazy.

Prepare for Mealtime
When you are deciding what to eat and what food to pack, don't forget to consider where you will eat. While an adult can sit down on a log with a plate of food and eat it, children are not that coordinated. If you have a baby, bring along something that can be a high chair. If you have toddlers or preschoolers, you might like a small table of some sort that they can sit at. Be aware of what your campsite is like. Many campsites have pic-nic tables at them. We tend to camp in the middle of no where so we need to provide our own stuff.




Pack Wisely
Packing for camping is hard. You can justifiably pack a TON of things. You need jackets, warm clothes, light clothes, pajamas, socks, shorts, pants, diapers, sunscreen, bug spray, perhaps swimsuits...sleeping gear, tables, food, wet wipes, entertainment items...oh my goodness. The list goes on forever. The more you pack, the more you have to wash and put away when you get home. 

Return Home with Realistic Expectations
So...when you get home, everyone will be tired. You might need early bedtimes and longer naps. You might have kids falling asleep during independent playtime. 

You will have a ton of laundry. Really, a ton. Just be prepared. 

Relax
One of the best things about camping is that you can just relax. Don't stress too much. If you really feel like you need more knowledge on what to expect before setting out in the great outdoors, try doing a trial run by setting up a tent in your backyard or in your family room. See what curve balls your children throw you and what you will need for your family's camping trip.

Let your children play with nature while camping. Don't worry about getting dirty. Let it happen. Have fun! Let me know if you have any questions.

Do you have tips for camping with children?


Check out Rachel's tips for Traveling with Small Children.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Journey IS the Destination

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There I was, watching The Voice. I was doing a major multi-task session as I rode my elliptical, read Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle), and watch The Voice. Never did I imagine I would be thrown a golden nugget of wisdom. Out of nowhere, Usher shared a mantra of his that just struck me hard.

The journey is the destination. 

Got that? 

This saying is akin to "Enjoy the moment," "Carpe Diem," "Stop and smell the roses," etc. But I love the way it makes you look at life.

This phrase doesn't say, "Hey, it's a long road to get to your end-goal with ups and downs, so you might as well live in the moment and enjoy everything for what it is" like many of these other sayings seem to direct my thoughts. No, it tells me, "The road you are on is where you are going. You have already arrived." 

It is similar to the idea of there is only one day. Today. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn't happened yet. 

I like thinking of it as the journey being the destination because it still leaves your mind to focus on a goal. We aren't aimlessly wandering through life. We have goals, dreams, and aspirations. We do have things we need to accomplish and we do need to have a plan for how to figure it out. We can't possibly only live in today--we need to learn from the past and plan for the future or each day will be of little worth to our overall growth. 

Remembering that the journey is the destination means that we remember to learn from the past. It means we have set goals for our future. It means we have plans and somewhere to go. We make preparations and adjust as we go along.

But it also means that we find value in what is happening now and not just looking ahead at all times. 

We we read an adventure book, like the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the things we cherish in the book are the events that happen along the way. The book would mean very little if we were told the protagonist set out and then jumped to the completion of the goal without sharing the journey along the way. 

Keep this in mind as you parent. Your journey in raising your children is your destination. Have your goals, but live in today. In many ways, you have arrived. And sometimes the journey frankly sucks. Sometimes it is boring, monotonous, difficult, infuriating, tiring, frustrating, and more. Other times, it brings you unspeakable joy and satisfaction. Your heart burns within you like you never knew it could. It is rewarding, fulfilling, fun, and full of contentment. 

Your journey is your destination. Wherever you are, you have arrived. The things you do each day as a parent IS the point of your parenting. You will have fruits and rewards along the way. You will also have hardships and trials along the way. But "along the way" is the point. This is what is teaching you, refining you, and molding you and your children into who they are each day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Brinley Toddler Summary {22.5 Months Old}

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This is a summary for Brinley from 22-22.5 months old.

SLEEP
Sleep is going well! Nothing new or different.

EATING
Eating is also going well. She is sometimes having meals where she doesn't eat much, which is new for her. It might be concerning to me if she were my oldest child (it did with Brayden). She is my fourth and I know it is totally normal. Just know that at times, your toddler will eat next to nothing and will still survive. Don't stress--your child will eat at the next meal. 

PLAYING
Playing is going well. She is loving having her siblings home for summer. "Bay-den," "Kay-kay or kay-lyn," and "Kenna" are all very fun playmates for her and she is so happy to have them around all of the time. 

ECZEMA
Her eczema spot has almost gone completely away a few times. I clipped her fingernails rather short and it got better then. I noticed she will scratch it, and I vaguely remember when McKenna had eczema reading that scratching it makes it worse. So I am keeping her trimmed to prevent the ability to really scratch. 

This spot gets much worse when the buggers are over it. She wipes her buggers over that spot every time if I don't catch it with a tissue first. She has had a runny nose for months with these teeth coming in.

TEETH
Speaking of, two more of her canines came through over these last two weeks. Just one more to go! And the buggers are going away!

TIME OUT
We had her biggest tantrum during this two week period. Overall, she was quite pleasant and great. One night, I was picking things up. She loves shoes and is often getting my shoes out to put on herself. I had cleaned up my shoes when she got a pair out. I kept cleaning other things and her attention left the shoes. I asked her to put my shoes away. Typically, she is a very enthusiastic cleaner. This time, she said, "No!" and slapped them out of my hands. I firmly told her, "Brinley, put mommy's shoes where they go. Say Yes Mommy." She got upset and refused. 

I took her to her booster chair at the kitchen table, buckled her in, and set the timer for two minutes. I told her she was having a time out and left the room. She was very upset. By the end of the two minutes, she had calmed down. I went to her and said, "Brinley, you had a time out because you did not obey mommy." I then took her to my room, pointed to the shoes on the floor, and said, "Put the shoes away please." She said, "Kay!" and put them away. I thanked and praised her for obeying me. 

DISRUPTIONS
Summer is in full swing and so are the disruptions. The three older kids are playing softball/baseball and we have games several nights a week. Brinley often gets to bed late. I have planned other activities so she rarely has a nap disruption.

We went to an amusement park (Lagoon) during this time. She is too small for most rides, but she loved even just being there. She loved watching the roller coasters and she would scream when the riders would scream. She rode the carousel and actually got a bit nervous at first, but she quickly got over it. She missed her nap that day but was very pleasant. On the drive home, she did not fall asleep. McKenna did, however, much to the concern of Brinley who yelled, "Kenna!" for most of the drive. McKenna is a deep sleeper and slept through it, though. 

SCHEDULE
8:00 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
8:30 AM--Get ready
9:00 AM--Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM--Outside Time
11:00 AM--Independent Playtime
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Nap
5:00 PM--Free Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime


RELATED POSTS/BLOG LABELS:

Monday, June 23, 2014

How To Travel Without "Un-doing" Babywise

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Traveling with a baby is stressful. I would dare say that traveling with a baby who is on an awesome routine you love is even more stressful. Why? Because you are terrified that your short little vacation will un-do all of your hard work. Even if your baby is not on the perfect schedule, you can be terrified of the repercussions of travel. I can empathize! And perhaps ironically, I felt that more with Brinley as a baby than any other child. I think at that point I knew a few things:
  1. Travelling can disrupt a baby and set back progress.
  2. Her schedule was perfect with our family's day-to-day life, and day-to-day life happened every.single.day.
  3. It would be much harder for me to do what my family needed me to do if she was thrown off.
So yes, I get the fear. 

Beyond the fear, there is this. Yes, some babies get thrown off by travel. Some get thrown "on" by travel. Brayden actually started sleeping through the night for the first time while on vacation, which led me to think through more intently on why he would be waking in the night at home because it made no sense for him to sleep through the night on vacation. It helped me figure it out. 

Also, if a baby does get thrown off, it won't take you long to get back on track. It will come back. Here are some tips to help you have the best shot at traveling without un-doing Babywise. 

Learn How to Flexible-ize Your Child
To flexible-ize, you do things to help your child be flexible. See "Flexible-izing" a Baby for more. 

Relax and Remember It Will Be Okay
Just take a deep breath. This is part of life. It will all be okay. If your baby does get thrown off, you can get baby on quickly. I would say you will be back on track again within two weeks at most. Despite the fear that I know is there, know that even if your child does get off, your child will get back on. 

But let me also say this. We said "yes" to everything when Brayden was a baby. By the time Brinley came around, I had learned to say no sometimes. We didn't go to everything that was going on if it was going to be way too disruptive. Not everyone liked it. Not everyone accepted it. But I put my baby first. 

Be Consistent Before You Leave and When You Get Back
Consistency is so powerful in helping your child be flexible. Commit to being consistent for a week before you leave. Be home for naps and have your child in bed on time. This is important no matter what your child's age is. A child who is not in a sleep deficit at the beginning of the trip will have a larger "margin of error" for the vacation. By this I mean that your child will be more flexible and better able to handle the disruptions that will come. 

When you get home, plan on being home and consistent for two days at the very least. Plan that in. Ideally, you would do it even seven days, but plan on two for sure. Also plan on naps perhaps needing to be longer and start earlier than usual. Some children will respond to being overly tired by not sleeping as well and taking shorter, more fitful naps. Maintain your consistency and your child will get back on track.

Do Prep Before Hand
In the weeks before you travel, pay attention to what you use daily and what you might need to bring with you. You don't want to pack everything, but you want the essentials. Another helpful thing to possibly do is shift the schedule if you will be in another time zone. See 

Shifting Your Schedule {Time Change, Time Zones, etc.} for more.


Try to Maintain Sleep While Away
There is a lot you can do to maintain sleep while you are away. Bring anything you can that your baby likes to sleep with. Remember the lovie. Remember the special blanket if there is one. Remember the pillow if we are talking toddler. Remember the PJs and the sound machine. You might bring along your own pack and play. Do what you can to make the sleep environment familiar.

If your baby will sleep on the go, even if it is a shorter-than-usual nap, have your baby sleep at nap time. If your baby won't sleep on the go, try to be settled somewhere for your child to nap, again, even if it is a shorter nap than usual. A well-rested baby will be a more pleasant baby. So as much as possible, try to keep most naps and bedtimes the same. You can definitely take some liberties and skip some naps, but don't push your child further than he is able to go.

If you need to have some nap skipped, be mindful of how you do it. If you skip one nap, don't skip the nap before or after it. If you will have really disrupted naps one day, try to have more normal nap schedule another. Try to balance your nap disruptions as much as possible. 

When McKenna was a toddler, we were camping in a National Park. During the week, she missed a few naps and was definitely not sleeping as well as she did at home. She wasn't one to typically sleep on the go, but by the end of the trip, she was falling asleep in the hiking backpack and would nap while we hiked around. It is obviously not the ideal sleep location and she wasn't getting the quality nor the quantity of sleep she was accustomed to, but it worked for our trip. 

See this guest post for more ideas: 

Tips for Traveling with Baby/Toddler: Naps on the Go {Guest Post} and Baby Sleeping in Hotel Room {Guest Post}


Try to Maintain Eating Times While Away
I keep meals at about the same times while traveling. I find my kids are used to eating at the same times each day and they get grumpy fast if a meal is late. I make sure I have anything I might need to feed the child with me wherever we are. 

For more on travel, see:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sample Summer Schedules

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A big question people have when summer comes around is "what should our summer schedule look like?" You can see how I plan my summer schedule here. Here are some samples of our summer schedules we have had over the years.

One note, before my children were in school, our summer schedule really was no different than our spring, winter, or fall schedules. I am sure this was in large part due to the fact that Brayden was not a terribly flexible baby or toddler. We had our disruptions, but our main schedule was the same. I didn't really start creating a summer schedule until Brayden started school and our summers became something that could be distinguished from other times of the year. 

Another note, for a baby, I do not change the daily schedule in summer significantly. I worked my older children's summer schedule around the baby's schedule. I had them do nap and rest time while the baby did nap. I had them eat meals when the baby was used to eating meals (or around the baby's meals if needed). So as you plan your summer schedule, note when naps are and when meals are. Plan meals and rest/nap time for everyone else around those times. Also plan Independent Play around those times if needed. Then you can plan out the schedule for the family and work the rest of baby's things in around what the family is doing. 

There are some things I want to point out. I view summer as a more flexible time of year. I always remember that my schedule is to serve me and my family. If we are on a walk and we take longer than 30 minutes, I don't stress about it. If we are having a lot of fun with the learning activity and it takes over free play, I don't mind (that is one reason I put free play there--so we could borrow from it if needed). If I don't have anything ready for learning time, free play becomes an hour instead of 30 minutes. On the other hand, if the children don't get their chores done in time to go on a walk that day, it doesn't happen. It is a logical consequence. 

Don't live and die by the schedule. Have a game plan, but be flexible as needed. Do remember, respect sleep times and meal times as much as possible. Doing so goes a long way for helping your child be flexible

School-Aged Children Schedule
This was Brayden's schedule one summer:
7:00 AM--Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM--Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM--Breakfast
8:30 AM--Music/learning time
9:00 AM--Practice Piano
9:30 AM--Chores
10:00 AM--Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM--Play outside
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM--Rest Time
2:30 PM--Independent Playtime
3:30 PM--Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM--Bedtime

This was Brayden's schedule one summer. This was designed to be done when the weather was cooler outside:
7:00 AM--Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM--Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM--Breakfast
8:30 AM--Music/learning time
9:00 AM--Practice Piano
9:30 AM--Chores
10:00 AM--Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM--Independent Playtime
11:30 AM--Learning Time
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Outside Time
1:30 PM--Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM--Rest Time
2:30 PM--Free Play/Outside time
4:30 PM--Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM--Bedtime

This was Brayden's and Kaitlyn's schedule one summer:
7:00 AM--Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM--Practice Piano/Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM--Breakfast
8:30 AM--Chores
9:00 AM--Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM--Sports practice
10:00 AM--Outside Time
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM--Rest Time
2:30 PM--Independent Playtime
3:30 PM--Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM--Bedtime

Preschool-Aged Schedule
This was Kaitlyn's schedule one summer:
7:30 AM--Wake up. Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM--Breakfast
8:30 AM--Music/learning time
9:00 AM--Get ready
9:30 AM--Chores
10:00 AM--Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM--Play outside
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM--Nap Time
4:00 PM--Get up/Independent Playtime
5:00 PM--Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:30 PM--Bedtime

This was McKenna's schedule one summer:
7:00 AM--Wake up. Get ready for day.
7:30 AM--Sibling Playtime
8:00 AM--Breakfast
8:30 AM--Chores
9:00 AM--Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM--Sports practice
10:00 AM--Outside Time
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Sustained Silent Reading
2:00 PM--Rest Time/Nap
3:30 PM--Independent Playtime
4:30 PM--Free Playtime (at times, TV time or video game time would happen in this block)
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime

Toddler-Aged Schedule
This was McKenna's schedule one summer:
8:00 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
8:30 AM--Music/learning time
9:00 AM--Get ready
9:30 AM--Chores
10:00 AM--Walk/bike ride
10:30 AM--Play outside
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Nap
4:30 PM--Get up/Independent Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime

This was Brinley's schedule one summer:
8:00 AM--Wake up/Breakfast
8:30 AM--Get ready
9:00 AM--Walk/Bike ride
9:30 AM--Outside Time
11:00 AM--Independent Playtime
12:00 Noon--Lunch
12:30 PM--Learning Activity
1:00 PM--Free Play
1:30 PM--Nap
5:00 PM--Free Playtime
5:30 PM--Dinner
6:00 PM--Family Time
7:30 PM--Get Ready for Bed
8:00 PM--Bedtime

Share your summer schedule in the comments! I will add them to this post for people to reference in the future.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When Kids Push The Limits (Dos and Don'ts)

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As I write this, it is summer. Something that comes with summer is less structure and therefore more freedoms for the child. This can lead to a child basically doing whatever she wants to, or in other words, being "wise in her own eyes." "Wise in own eyes" can definitely happen no matter the season. The question becomes, what do we parents do when this happens? And notice I said when and not if. All children have moments of being "too big for their britches." 

Do Understand What Is and Isn't Appropriate For Your Child
Let's say your child takes off from the park on her own and rides home on her bike without asking you first (real-life experience for me this month). Was that appropriate? Why or why not? Think through what freedoms are appropriate for your child and the ones that are not. It is important that you have a firm opinion on this so that you can respond to situations with authority. 

Do not assume that just because your child wants to do something or physically can do something that means your child should be allowed to do it. There is more to consider than just your child. Think through the full implications of a freedom. 

Also, try to understand your basic moral principles and policies. Despite your thinking, your child is sure to come up with a myriad of things you never thought about. Understanding why you have the rules you do will help you respond appropriately with the unforeseen events.

Do Have a Plan for when Rules are Broken
Think through what the consequences will be when a rule is broken. Try to make the "punishment fit the crime." Have it be related.

There will be times your child surprises you and comes up with new things to try that you never forsaw. I find this more true for my younger children. You think you have seen it all and you stop being as diligent in thinking through what could go wrong and the child just surprises you with a new one. At these times, you can say something like, "You will need to have a consequence for this. I will think about it and talk with your father about it and we will let you know what the consequence will be." There is no harm in thinking for a bit before responding. 

Do Clearly Outline Rules, Expectations, and Consequences
Sometimes we think something is obvious. For me, it seems obvious that my child should not ride home from the park alone and without telling me first. For Kaitlyn, it seems like it isn't a big deal. The park is right by the school and she frequently rides her bike home from school, so what is the problem?

These are times to use your judgement. Maybe you will forgive this transgression and explain that what the child did is not okay and stress that it should not be done again. Perhaps you will offer some grace but still apply some sort of consequence to help the child remember in the future. This can be appropriate for children who are smart enough to understand "why" behind rules and who can be expected to judge the action with accuracy, or at the least, know to ask you first. 

Do Re-establish Structure
You might reflect and find that the little problems you see with your child are correlated with the time you started to be lax in your daily structure. Children who are tired, hungry, or who have too much free time tend to find trouble more than those who are well-rested, eat regular meals, and who have some structure in life. You might need to pay better attention to naps and bedtimes to get your child behave the way she knows how to.

Don't Laugh Openly
Sometimes the insolence is quite funny and even cute, especially in the young ones. Don't laugh in front of your child. Children love to get a laugh out of adults and will do anything to get it more laughter. Don't let the child see how amused you are. Save your laughs for when the child is away.

Don't Brush it Off
It is a big deal for your child to ignore your rules. Do not fool yourself into thinking there is no harm in it.

Don't Be Afraid to Discipline
It is your job to offer up discipline when your child does something she shouldn't. 

Don't Think it is Only a Phase
Doing nothing and waiting for a phase to pass is like standing in the middle of a steep hill and waiting for it to taper off. Yes, children go through phases, but it being a phase doesn't mean you should do nothing about it. Work to get your child through the phase. Teach your child how she should be and give consequences when she chooses incorrectly. Just as you need to hike to get over that steep hill, you will have to work to get your child through the phase. Phases can become habits very easily.

I have several other posts that will help you with this concept. They are worth the read:

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