Any links to Amazon are affiliate links. '

Shopping for Sporty Infant Wear Online

This post is in partnership with Baby Fans.

Choosing the ideal present for parents-to-be can be a challenge.  They already may have received necessities like a bassinet, diapers, bottles, a diaper bag, and more.  You want to get them something meaningful that reflects your forethought and caring for them and their new addition.

Rather than relegate your selection to baby wares found in big box stores or department retailers, you may find the ideal present for the new baby when you shop online.  The specialty infant site sells baby sports apparel, Green Bay Packers clothing, bibs, hats, and other gear emblazoned with the parents' or family's favorite team's logos, colors, and mascots.
Shopping for Sporty Infant Wear Online

Wide Array of Teams

The website specializes in selling apparel for babies like onesies, bibs, tee shirts, pants, and other clothing.  While you can find a host of apparel decorated with the logos and colors of NFL teams, you can also discover clothing emblazoned with team names and more from the NBA, NCAA, NHL, MLB, and other sports leagues.

This variety can come in useful if the parents of the newcomer are fans of more than one sport.  For example, they may love the Packers from August through February but also love the Cubs from April until the playoffs or World Series.  

As such, they may want to dress their little one in clothing that shows their love and devotion to their favorite teams across the board and in every season.  You can provide them with clothing for their baby to wear throughout the year.  Their new son or daughter will always be dressed in the favorite team's apparel regardless of the season.

Variety of Sizes

It can be difficult to keep a baby dressed in sports gear all year long if you only select clothing in newborn sizes.  Babies grow out of their clothing rapidly and may only wear a certain size for a few weeks if that.  

You can keep the baby dressed in style by selecting apparel in all of the sizes found on the website.  For example, if the baby is born during football season, you can buy newborn onesies and shirts in the family's favorite NFL team logos.

By baseball season, however, the baby may need to be moved up to a six to nine-month wardrobe.  You can show forethought by shopping for apparel that the baby can wear now and well into the next year.

You can also keep the baby's wardrobe filled by shopping ahead and buying 1, 2, and 3T clothing.  These sizes are typically worn by one, two, and three-year olds.  You can also show your love for the baby's older siblings by selecting sports gear to give them during the baby shower as well.

Along with shopping for primary clothing like shirts and pants for Baby, you can also find accessory items like bibs and hats.  These extras complete the baby's look and make for a fun way to dress the newcomer.

Many parents like to dress up their babies in the family's favorite sports apparel.  You can give a unique and meaningful present to the new addition by shopping online.  The website sells apparel for babies in  a variety of sizes.  The clothing is also decorated with the colors, logos, and mascots of teams in the most popular leagues and sports that are played in the U.S. today.

Two Year Old Sleep Regression

You have worked your child's entire life on having consistent and healthy naps. You have survived wonder weeks and short naps. You have navigated several naps being dropped over the last couple of years. You may have thought sleep regressions would be behind you as you entered toddler-land. Enter the two year old sleep regression.

Two Year Old Sleep Regression | Toddler Sleep | naps | #toddlersleep

A sleep regression is when your child suddenly stops sleeping well. There can be good reasons for regressions, and there are common ages for regressions that have no explanation or cause. Sometimes treating those exact issues can help bring you back to the sleep patterns you are used to.

Here are some things to do and thing to not do when your child is having the two year old sleep regression.

Do Not Drop the Nap
I have written on what to do when your toddler refuses to take a nap. My number one thing is do not drop it. Remember there is a regression right now. Things can go back to good with some tweaks and sometimes just with some waiting it out. Keep nap time.

Do Analyze Wake Time Length
Your toddler might need a little longer waketime length before nap starts. I have a handy chart on waketime length for toddlers in this post: Optimal Waketime Lengths for Toddlers.
Two Year Old Sleep Regression | Toddler Sleep | naps | #toddlersleep

Do Consider Teething/Sickness
Your toddler might be having sleep troubles because of teeth coming in or because of sickness. An ear infection can cause sleep problems. A simple cold can lead to poor sleep.

Do Consider Life Changes
Your toddler might be moving into a new bed, getting a new sibling, or starting a new activity. These things can all cause sleep regressions.

Do Have Rules and Consistency
Stay consistent with sleep and with your sleep rules. Your toddler might start testing getting out of bed without permission. Respond in a way to set the stage for good sleep habits long-term.

Do Be Aware of the Environment
Is it too hot? Is it too cold? Is the sun breaking through the window? Does your toddler need a blanket? Does your toddler need a pillow? Is your child comfortable sleeping?

Remember Regressions
Remember what a sleep regression is like? Baby doesn't sleep well for no good reason? If this poor sleep is a literal regression, there is nothing you can do but wait it out.

When your two year old is not sleeping well, consider the list of possible factors listed above. In the end, it might just be a regression that you need to wait out. Wait it out and continue on the sleep track with your toddler. While your two year old probably won't sleep every day consistently ever again, a daily nap is still super important in your toddler's daily routine.

Read More:
 What to do when your toddler refuses to take a nap

 2 Year Old Sleep Problems

New Blog Look!

This past month, the local Walmart got a total face-lift and update. I figured if Walmart needs a face-lift, my blog could use one, too. It was put on my radar and I filed it away for a good Christmas break project.

Then my friend Carrie at Wiley Adventures got a new blog layout, and I just had to jump on the bandwagon and get it done. I resisted for a few days, I have more pressing blog projects I am working on! (If you get my weekly email, you know what I am talking about). But I finally got distracted one day this week and did it. 

So welcome to the fresh, new look! Things are cleaner and less cluttered. I have some drop-down menus going on. I will be tweaking those over time. The mobile version won't look that different, but you will notice there is some difference in the navigation. If you are on mobile, you will have to check it out on desktop when you get a chance!

I would love to hear what you think! And for fun, here are a couple of screen shots of past blog versions. I really wish I had screenshots of the very early days. Those would be glorious ten years later.

This upcoming Monday marks my official ten year anniversary, and I am excited to be bringing it in in style!

Old look on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

Old look on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

Brinley Child Summary {5 years 3 Months Old}

This is a summary for Brinley from 5 years 2 months to 5 years 3 months old. 

Last month, I talked about Brinley having some bad dreams. She has been fine this past month and hasn't had issues with dreams. 

Brinley moved into a new room this month. We moved kids around, so she is in a new room. The first night in, she told me she wanted her video monitor out of the room because she is a big girl and doesn't need to be looked at. The next night, we took it out, but before she fell asleep, she decided she did need it in the room. 

For a while, I was waking Brinley up each morning and she would tell me how tired she was. I decided we needed to get her in bed earlier. A lot of children will take naps once they hit Kindergarten because it is just so much more taxing on them, but she doesn't nap. I decided she just needed more sleep and an earlier bedtime. We started aiming for in bed by 7:30 PM and she has been waking up before I get her in the morning, so it is fantastic! No more sleepy Brinley in the morning. In bed by 7:30 is a challenge with things going on in the evenings, but we are making it work. 

Eating has been going well. Nothing special to report.

One day when I picked Brinley up from school, she said, "I have figured out that Australia isn't a real place."

In her class, Australia is the "time-out" spot. So I inquired as to why she figured that out.

I had been in her class that morning, and when I left, she was super hyper and had a hard time sitting still and listening. She was sent "to Australia." The kind of funny thing is that she thought she was going to really go to the real Australia and was upset she as leaving her family. So amusing, other than thinking of how sad she must have been at the moment! I don't know why she thought that because plenty of people in class had visited Australia...

This was the only day she had ever gotten so much as a warning, much less being sent to Australia. I figured this was tied to my being there. I told her that she had to be able to still follow the rules after I leave or I wouldn't be able to help in class. I would be helping in a couple of weeks. We talked about it a few times. 

The morning when I helped the next time, I reminded her that she needed to follow the rules after I left. When I picked her up that day, I asked her teacher how she did after I left and she told me Brinley was great. She had talked to Brinley about it also that day. 

I LOVED that her teacher picked up on the same thing I did. I loved that she did some ask and tell with Brinely. I just love teachers.  

I am still loving having Brinley in Kindergarten this year. One major thing for me with the decision is who you are in school with is who your friends are. She has a lot of friends who will be in Kindergarten this year, and knew zero friends coming into this school year. Her teacher tells me she is always surrounded by a group of children. While I was helping in class last time, she hit her head on the bathroom doorknob. She came to me for a hug, and a few of her friends rushed over to give her hugs and talk about how much they hate to have their head hit.

It made me so happy that she has such sweet friends surrounding her! I hope her grade continues to be a sweet, kind group of children. I have noticed they all seem to be very friendly with everyone. 

The elementary school had a fundraiser race. Brinley's grade did a little sprint. Nate ran with her. She finished among the leader pack, which surprised and amused me. We didn't do any sort of practicing with her at all, and the ENTIRE time she ran, she just chatted up a storm. So she could have pushed it a little harder, but she had a lot of fun.

Here is what Brinley has going on:
  • Swimming lessons: She is still progressing!
  • Gymnastics: Brinley has been so scared of heights her whole life, so gymnastics has been a challenge for her. This past week, she went on the tall beam all by herself! She was so incredibly proud of herself. I am so impressed she has worked on this and faced her fear. 
  • Dance: Dance is going well! 
  • Piano: Piano is also going well. She is very good at her notes already, which is so handy!

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
7:00 PM--Bedtime process begins.
7:30 PM--In bed.

Related Posts:

How I Got My Baby To Sleep 9 Hours by 8 Weeks Old

Getting a baby to sleep through the night can be more simple than you think. It takes consistency. It takes thought and effort. It takes paying attention to details. It can require some effort on your part. It can all be done! Here is how I got my baby to sleep 9 hours at night by 8 weeks old.

How I Got My Baby To Sleep 9 Hours by 8 Weeks Old | baby sleep | sleeping through the night | #babysleep

1-Establish a solid routine
I started a nice, consistent routine from birth. No matter the age of your baby, work on getting a nice solid routine each day and night. You don't want to turn rigid and not allow for flexibility (growth spurts and sicknesses happen), but you wan to be as consistent as is reasonable. Have regular feeding intervals. Have some playtime after each feeding. Have regular naps. Many of the following tips will delve further into this overarching concept of having a solid routine.

2-Wake baby up at the same time each morning
This is the hard one to do when you have a young baby. Decide on a reasonable morning wake up time and get baby up at that time each day. Stick to a 30 minute window. I don't mean 30 minutes on either side. 30 minutes total. If you are aiming for a 7 AM wake up time, your 30 minute window might be 6:30-7:00. It could be 6:45-7:15 or 7:00-7:30...choose a 30 minute window to go with your wake up time.

I get my babies up at the exact same time every morning. I only tap into that window when I MUST. While I am waiting for baby to sleep through the night and establishing this consistency, I am as consistent as possible. Do not underestimate the importance of this step.

I know it is hard some mornings. Baby is sleeping and you want to let baby sleep in so you can, too. I promise it pays off.

3-Do bedtime at the same time each night.
Just as you have morning wake-up time at the same time each morning, have your bedtime the same time each evening. Again, allow the 30 minute window as needed. Days can vary, and it can make bedtime a tricky thing to keep consistent. Stick to this 30 minute window. If your day got way off and you ended up feeding baby at 5 PM instead of 4:30 PM and usually do bedtime at 7:30 PM, stick to your same evening feeding and bedtime. 

4-Have a dreamfeed
Not all babies do well with a dreamfeed, but it is very helpful for most. A dreamfeed helps your baby get enough food in the "day" to not need another feeding at night. If your baby is hungry at night, your baby won't sleep through the night. So a dreamfeed is a nice insurance plan to help your baby make it longer through the night. The dreamfeed can be harder than it sounds. Some babies are super sensitive to the exact time of the dreamfeed. It isn't always easy to implement, either. If you can get it going and figure out the right timing of it, a dreamfeed is invaluable. Read more:
5-Teach baby to self-soothe
All night long, your baby will be having sleep transitions. If anything pulls baby from a transition into alertness, if baby can't self-soothe, baby will need you to help her fall back asleep. Self-soothing is an important skill for a baby to make it through the night without a visit from you. My favorite self-soothing method is the 4 S's. See also:
6-Do an eat/wake/sleep pattern each day
A key element to both the Babywise method and the Baby Whisperer method is to feed baby, have baby play, then have nap time. This method works for a few reasons. One is that you are being mindful about making sure baby has some time awake consistently throughout each day. Baby gets those awake hours during daylight hours, not nighttime hours.

This method also helps ensure baby eats well at each feeding. You aren't feeding baby to sleep, so you are working to keep baby awake to eat. If you feed your baby to sleep and she falls asleep after 2 ounces, but she really ideally would be getting 4, she will have gotten 2 fewer ounces that feeding. Those ounces need to be consumed at some point. If that doesn't happen during daylight, it will happen at night time.

This pattern also helps you make sure your baby has regular and consistent naps. A great paradox of babies is they they do not sleep better if they are deprived of sleep. They sleep worse. The better rested your baby is throughout the day, the better she will sleep in the night. Babies need a LOT of sleep. They need several naps each day (the exact number depends on the age). 

7-Problem solve
If you are doing the first 6 things I listed above and baby is not sleeping through the night, the final step is to problem solve. The trick is to figure out why baby is waking in the night. Once you know why, you can know what to do about it. 

Baby might not be sleeping through the night because she is still hungry at night. If that is the case, you need to see if getting more food in during the day is possible. It might not be yet. A tummy can only hold so much at a time. Feeding more often might help add another feeding in the day. Cluster feeding might help. Sometimes, you have to just wait hunger out.

Baby might be hot or cold, making it difficult to sleep through those transitions. Baby might have reflux or gas pain. Baby migiht not like having a wet diaper. I have a whole post with common reasons why baby wakes in the night and what to do about it. Check that out to help problem solve.  It is very helpful to take notes as you problem solve. It helps you track the details. 

These seven steps will help you get your baby sleeping through the night. Take note that a baby needs to be old enough to sleep through the night consistently. Babies under 5 weeks should typically eat at least every 5 hours through the night. By 7 weeks old, baby can be up to 7-8 hours between feedings if baby can handle that. Some babies can't go very long between night feedings for a while. Be patient with your individual baby's needs. 

See also:

 Why I Worked To Get My Baby to Sleep Through the Night

 The Big List of Sleep Training Resources

Goodness Bee Eczema Balm {Giveaway}

For several years, Goodness Bee has done a giveaway on this blog for their amazing eczema balm. It is time again to do a giveaway for this cream!

This is absolutely fantastic! We love to use it on dry skin and eczema issues and it helps immensely. 

I have always said different things work for different people, but I would say if your child has eczema, try this first. It is 100% organic. They also use minimal amounts of ingredients to prevent further irritation from other ingredients.

You can read more about our experiences with this in these posts:

Goodness Bee is giving away a free Baby Eczema Balm! Enter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • 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 November 18, 2017.
  • 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's).
  • Entries are accepted from all over the world.

How to Help Prevent Childhood Fears {BFBN Week}

When it comes to parenting, I am all about preventing issues as much as possible. I would rather put time into preventing a problem than spend time problem solving and trying to fix a problem. Today, Emily from The Journey of Parenthood is talking about preventing fears. 

How to Help Prevent Childhood Fears {BFBN Week}
Emily has six ideas to help you prevent fears for your children. Her first tip is no night lights. Emily says,

"A very, very common fear children have is being afraid of the dark. This is such a common fear that parents often start off their children with night lights from birth. Growing up I was such a child who feared the dark. Even now if my husband travels I leave a couple lights on so I feel safer.

This is a fear I didn't want my children to have. It's not fun feeling fearful. I am also nearsighted and have read that vision issues can come from sleeping with a light on. If I could prevent my children from being fearful of the dark and possibly help their vision too? I was all for it.

Sleeping is a time of rest. We don't need lights on. Our bodies sleep best if it's dark and it's the best way for our mind to recognize that it's time to sleep. With our children we've never allowed night lights. This helps them sleep well from infancy and has truly minimized any fears of the dark."

I am team no nightlight also. I prefer sleep to happen with no external light. We do add it in for a time if fear of the dark creeps up, but we have always been able to use the nightlight during that time period and then remove it when the child gets over that fear. 

Head on over to Emily's blog to read up on How to Help Prevent Childhood Fears

Real vs. Fake Fears: How To Distinguish Between the Two {BFBN Week}

When your child declares a fear of something, do you ever stop to wonder if the fear is actually a fear? Today Kim is talking about "fake fears." She is explaining what they are, why they are, how to identify them, and how to work around them.

Real vs. Fake Fears: How To Distinguish Between the Two {BFBN Week}

Kimberly says, "Does the fear your child is expressing make sense in the context of their lives?  Fears that seem to come out of nowhere are often a sign of something deeper going on.  For example, if your child is suddenly afraid of the bath when previously they have adored it, something more than just the bathtub might be going on.  This is the time to think back and see if anything has happened that might be bothering your child.  Maybe they had a negative experience while swimming that they still need to work through."

Conquer Your Toddler's Irrational Fears AND Managing Fears at Bedtime {BFBN Week}

If your child has a fear you can empathize with, it can be easy to be patient and understanding. It can even be easier to help your child get over that fear if you understand what that fear is like.
Conquer Your Toddler's Irrational Fears AND Managing Fears at Bedtime {BFBN Week}

If you don't, however, and find the fear purely irrational, it can be tricky to get through it. Today, Christine from Christine Keys is talking about three powerful ways to conquer your toddler's irrational fears. Christine says:

"Does your toddler have what seems like irrational fears? Mine does. For several weeks he refused to go in the bath or shower without being held because he was convinced he would be sucked down the plughole. Here's the thing though. Despite how irrational their fears seem to us...they are very real to them. So let's get on to talking about how to manage and overcome them."

Head on over to Christine Keys to read all about it.

You can also read all about how to manage fears at bedtime from Carrie over at Wiley Adventures. Carrie says:

"When Laura Kate was two years old, every night for about two weeks, she was terrified of ducks. During the day, she was not afraid of ducks. But at night, it was full-on terror. She said she could hear them quacking when we turned out the lights. She would sob and sob and beg us to make the ducks go away. We went on "duck hunts" with her, we searched for any toy in her room that could be causing the sound, we checked the perimeter of the house outside her bedroom window to see if we could find something. We found nothing. These ducks were completely in her imagination. And since we had little control over what she was thinking, we determined that we needed to teach her to manage her fears instead of telling her to stop or not be afraid. "

This week, the ladies of the BFBN will all be talking about fears. Here is the schedule.

 Babywise Friendly Blog Network

How to Ease Your Toddler's Fears AND Teach Bravery {BFBN Week}

When a toddler has a fear, it can be hard to work through it. Toddlers are not expert communicators and often turn to meltdowns when their point can't be made. That can easily lead to mom or dad also having a meltdown of their own. 

How to Ease Your Toddler's Fears {BFBN Week}

When your toddler has a fear, it can be hard to know what to do to communicate with your child and avoid meltdown stage. Today Katrina from Mama's Organized Chaos is talking about how to ease your toddler's fears. Here is what you will find:

1. Acknowledge the fear
2. Empathize
3. Understand the fear
4. Explain and explore their fear
5. Comfort your child
6. Empower your child 
7. Take the focus off of the fear 
8. Focus on the positive things

Head on over to Mama's Organized Chaos to read all about it!

9 Ways to Teach Kids BraveryToday we also have a post from Natasha at Let's Be Brave talking about how to teach your child to be brave. She has 9 steps to help you. She says:

"We value being brave so highly around here.  We believe being brave is the basis for so many other important things we want to teach our kids - kindness, compassion, love as a verb.  Things that can be unpopular or uncool at times, we want our kids to be brave enough to be and do those things anyway.  It takes bravery to stand up for someone being picked on at school.  It takes bravery to be kind to someone who isn't kind to you.  It takes bravery to voice an unpopular opinion.  We want our kids to be people who do what is right, even though it's not always easy.  We want our kids to be BRAVE.  Here are the ways we teach our kids bravery.  "

Head to Let's Be Brave to read all of her tips. 

This week, the ladies of the BFBN will all be talking about fears. Here is the schedule.

 Babywise Friendly Blog Network

  • Monday: Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom - What To Do When Your Child is Scared of the Dark
  • Tuesday: Katrina from Mama's Organized Chaos - How to Ease Your Toddler's Fears

  • Tuesday: Natasha from Let's Be Brave - 9 Ways to Teach Kids Bravery
  • Wednesday: Christine from Christine Keys - 3 Powerful Ways To Conquer Your Toddler's Irrational Fears
  • Wednesday: Carrie from Wiley Adventures - Fears at Bedtime
  • Thursday: Kimberly from Team Cartwright - Real vs. Fake Fears: How to Distinguish Between the Two
  • Friday: Caitlin from Rogers Party of 5 - Fear of Transitions
  • Friday: Emily from Journey of Parenthood - How to Help Prevent Childhood Fears

What To Do When Your Child is Scared of the Dark

We all have fears. Even we adults, who are rational and experienced people, have fears. Sometimes we adults have fear of the dark. When my husband is out of town, suddenly my dark house seems very scary! If I, as an adult, can be scared sometimes, it isn't surprising that children are also at times scared of the dark.

What To Do When Your Child is Scared of the Dark | Fears | #scaredofdark

Fears can be a normal part of development. As children get older and have imaginations, they can be scared of the dark. As you approach the situation when your child is afraid of the dark, try to remain patient and understanding. Remember that sometimes you are afraid of the unknown also and also that fear is a normal thing. Here are some ways to help your child when she is scared of the dark.

Turn on Nightlights
I am a BIG proponent of sleeping with darkness as much as possible. It helps your body go into deeper sleep, so I don't like there to be light in the room as much as possible. However, if I have a child who is scared of the dark, I will put a nightlight in the room. I recently did that with Brinley when she had a couple of scary dreams. After a few weeks with the nightlight, I took it out and she has been fine. So don't be afraid that once you add a nightlight in, you can't ever take it back out o the room. We use these simple night lights (affiliate link). They aren't too bright, so they aren't as disruptive to sleep as other nightlights we have tried.

Offer Comfort Items
Your child might feel better with a stuffed animal, a lovie, or a photo by her bedside. My kids love to sleep with a picture of Jesus on their nightstand. You might also put a picture of the family or a favorite pet. A comfort item can help  your child to calm down and pull from the rational side of her brain.

Say a Prayer
Prayer is very comforting and helpful. Say a prayer together that she will be able to feel comforted and secure.

Offer Assurance
Assure your child that your home is safe. You don't want to make a big show checking for scary things and then act relieved there is nothing scary. That seems sweet, but it can communicate to your child that she has a legitimate reason to be afraid. Ask her what she is afraid of and show her there isn't anything scary there. Afraid of what is under the bed? Look under there together to see that there is nothing scary there. 

As you offer assurance, don't belittle or criticize your child for having fears. "I know the dark seems scary to you. What makes you feel afraid? Oh, the closet? Let's check the closet together to see if there is anything scary there." 

Remove Triggers
So much can be so scary to your little child. You may find many shows aimed at entertaining children can really trigger fears in them. The conflict that was added to the show in order to make it more entertaining can be fear-inducing. In the dark, you can't see, and so if your mind turns to remembering those scary things you saw on television that day, it can make the dark even scarier. Be mindful of what you let your children watch and for how long they are watching things each day.

It isn't just television that can scare children. A book can be scary. An interaction in real life can be
What To Do When Your Child is Scared of the Dark | Fears | #scaredofdark
scary. You screaming when you saw a spider can be scary.

You might also find a fear of the dark pops up when there is another big stress in life. The fear of the dark is just the way your child is manifesting her stress and anxiety. Is there is a big change happening at school, church, or home? New sibling? Mom pregnant? New job? Moving? New teacher? Help her work through the real fears to avoid a fear of dark creeping up. 

If your child is scared of shadows, playing shadow puppet games will help her understand shadows better so they seem less scary at bed time.

Empower Your Child
Give your child things to do when she is feeling scared. "When you feel scared of the dark, think about this happy thing. Hum your favorite song. Think of the story to your favorite book." Distracting your brain from the fear is helpful. You can also allow your child to look at a book until she feels ready to go to sleep. 

Give your child some actionable steps she can take to help her face the dark. "Don't be afraid" is not actionable. "When you feel afraid, do _____________." is actionable. 

Look at the Routine
If your bedtime routine isn't soothing enough, it can exaggerate her fear. If your child is going to bed too late, she will be less rational and more likely to succumb to irrational fears. 

As you help your child find ways to face her fear of the dark, be mindful about starting habits. Some things, like nightlights, are easy enough to use for a bit and then take away once her fear has eased up. Other things, like stuffed animals, are harmless enough to introduce into your child's life. Be sure anything you do start will be okay to continue on for an extended time.

This week, the ladies of the BFBN will all be talking about fears. Here is the schedule.

 Babywise Friendly Blog Network

  • Monday: Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom - What To Do When Your Child is Scared of the Dark
  • Tuesday: Katrina from Mama's Organized Chaos - How to Ease Your Toddler's Fears
  • Tuesday: Natasha from Let's Be Brave - 9 Ways to Teach Kids Bravery
  • Wednesday: Christine from Christine Keys - 3 Powerful Ways To Conquer Your Toddler's Irrational Fears
  • Wednesday: Carrie from Wiley Adventures - Fears at Bedtime
  • Thursday: Kimberly from Team Cartwright - Real vs. Fake Fears: How to Distinguish Between the Two
  • Friday: Caitlin from Rogers Party of 5 - Fear of Transitions
  • Friday: Emily from Journey of Parenthood - How to Help Prevent Childhood Fears

 How to help preschoolers work through their fears

 What to do when your child has a nightmare

Inexpensive Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Do you know what I reeeeaaalllly dislike in my house? The cheap little toys you get that end up breaking in a day. A lot of those types of toys are obvious candidates for a stocking stuffer. You can fill a stocking up fast and inexpensively! I can't bring myself to be the source of the cluttery toys, however. I also can't bring myself to spend a thousand dollars on stocking stuffer items (I exaggerate...a little). I want stocking stuffers that are useful, inexpensive, and I won't want to throw away the next day. Here are some stocking stuffers I always go-to (this post contains affiliate links):

Inexpensive Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Stocking stuffers for kids | #stockingstuffers

Notebooks come in all sorts of sizes, so no matter the size of your stocking, you can find a notebook to go in it. Notebooks are also very inexpensive. Check the dollar store and other local stores you like to turn to for inexpensive notebooks. Our dollar store also has nice drawing pads. Always price check against Amazon, also

Coloring Books
Along the same line, if your child enjoys coloring in coloring books, those are fun stocking stuffers. Not all of my children have been into coloring books, so it isn't something I have always used, but I do have some who love to color in a coloring book. Be sure to look at Amazon for some good deals on coloring books, especially the adult coloring book style. They have a lot of options for under five dollars. 

Post-it Notes
I am not kidding. My kids think they are in heaven when they pull out Post-it notes. A whole pad they can use however they want to! You can get them at the dollar store or often somewhere like Walmart or Target for even less than the dollar store. You can often find good deals on a package of post it notes that you can then split up among your children.

Yes, tape. Once again, thrilled children. This is tape they can use however they want. It is really a gift for me, because they don't use up all of my tape. I often find this is least expensive at Walmart. We always do scotch tape and sometimes do duck tape.

More joy from my children. You can get a package of any of these for pretty cheap. My kids love to get their own package of pens that they can use up and take wherever they want to. My kids love to get the "click" pens since that is what I typically use and don't allow them to steal from me.

You can get really inexpensive calendars, journals, and planners at the dollar store. There are also a lot of fun finds on Amazon, depending on what you want out of these things. 

Stickers are very inexpensive and a thrilling addition to the stocking. 

Bath Toys/Bath Paints
Fun, simple bath toys can be nice for the stocking. If you haven't tried bath paints, you need to try it out!

Needed Items
If there are some items my child needs, I will totally throw it in there to help take up space. Yes, I have done socks and underwear in the stocking before. As long as it isn't the ONLY thing in the stocking, they don't mind. My kids all actually get excited about new socks. This category could also be a pair of pajamas or some slippers.  

Chapstick and Lotions
Girls love to get these self-care items in their stockings. These double as needed items, but are practical. Boys don't usually find these types of things as exciting, but they can absolutely be tossed in the stocking. We always do Lip Smackers in the stockings. 

Nail Polish
You can get a lot of nail polish for around a dollar. These can be great for a stocking stuffer, along with other nail things like nail stickers and nail files. 

There are a lot of inexpensive, fun games you can add to a stocking. 

Small but Inexpensive Toys
When Brayden was little, he loved Hot Wheels cars. Hot Wheels cars are not expensive at all, but they are still great toys. If your child has a favorite type of toy that has some inexpensive options, those are great additions. A small Beanie Boo or a small LEGO set are also great options. If you wanted to buy a big package of Hot Wheels to get them cheaper, ask a friend if she wants to go in on it together and split the cars up. Another ideas is to save some for Easter baskets or birthdays. 

I don't usually put much candy in the stockings. I sometimes do a candy-cane shape container full of a certain type of candy. Adding candy can b a great, inexpensive filler. Don't forget to consider gum in your list of candy options!

Gerber Puffs
When I had babies, I would put a package of the Gerber Puffs in my baby's stocking. 

Adding an ornament to the stocking is a fun tradition if you don't have ornaments going on some other time already. 

Big Item
I usually put one "big" item in the stocking. That is usually a movie or video game.

What are your favorite stocking stuffers?

Inexpensive Stocking Stuffer Ideas | Stocking stuffers for kids | #stockingstuffers

Why 58 Moms Put Effort Into Babywise

I love the community that we have on Facebook. I love to read your perspectives and takes on life. Last month I posed the question, why do you put effort into Babywise? Wow the responses! But you can't refer to those things easily in years to come, so I wanted to preserve them here. 

Why Moms Put Effort Into Babywise | Babywise | Babywise benefits | #babywise

I asked: Why do you put the effort you do into Babywise? It isn't necessarily easy to do. It takes effort, planning, and thought. What drives you to stick with it and keep trying? Here are the responses.

  1. Sarah said: It makes for the happiest, well-rested and best sleeping babies!!
  2. Vicki said: I'm on baby #3 and have used Babywise on all of them. I invest in it because it works for our family with the predictability of a schedule and it pays off. My older boys are 5 and 3 and are excellent sleepers.
  3. Cassie said: It makes for a happy happy baby! I've done it 4 times now and all my babies are great sleepers at an early age and are so content. I love having a routine and know what my day will look like every day. I can run errands and know they will be happy if it's not feeding time. I love the predictability and the consistency.
  4. Sarah said: I provide food for my children, I educate them, I provide shelter and clothing... why wouldn’t I also provide healthy, age appropriate sleep? I put the effort in because I feel like it’s the responsible thing to do. It’s not for me, though it IS nice to have young kids who will nap anywhere on time. lol It’s for their well-being. Kids who sleep grow better, learn better and have better mental health. That’s the only reason I need.
  5. Danielle said: Because my kids are amazing flexible sleepers. I'm as rested as I choose to be and now that my kids are 2-8 I can sit back and reap the rewards of kiddos who don't wake at night and aren't grumpy because they receive adequate sleep 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼. The "hard work" in the beginning is totally worth it. I started late with my first baby and it was so hard. I started basic principles from birth with the next 3 and there was no real training, they naturally picked up on it.
  6. April said: Begin as you mean to go on. Eventually I want our whole family to share time and predictability is a great way to do that. Plus dad and I were a family before kids and I want to always make sure to nurture that relationship. I can't see how I would do that without Babywise!
  7. Carrie said: Because I’m a terrible sleeper, and I can’t function at my mom job or my teacher job if I’m not well rested. Plus, my kids are great sleepers, but, more importantly, they’re great kids when they’re awake because they’ve gotten the sleep they need.
  8. Ali said: Because I don't want a second grader still coming to my bed. I have a family member who followed a different style and she still has problems with bed wetting, and kids in her bed and they are all in school. 
  9. But the biggest reason as stated in the beginning of the book, it really shows how the family works, for us that's God first, husband and wife second, kiddos third. And they baby fits into that, not the other way around. It really helps center the family in what is important!
  10. Sophia said: I knew I was going to do babywise before even got pregnant. One of my friends children are very well behaved and happy, my husband and I knew we had to do whatever she was doing. After reading the book it just made sense to me, now I can't imagine doing it any other way. My 14 month old daughter has friends her age that a just now starting to sleep through the night. 😬
  11. Katie said: I appreciated how Babywise allowed me to anticipate my baby’s needs without the guess work of “is he hungry? Is he tired?”
  12. Stephanie said: Because the first part of the book is what sold me. I want my child to function well as part of the family. I do not want to alter my family and my marriage for a baby. Maybe that sounds harsh. But I enjoy sharing a bed with my husband. I enjoy our time. And when you fight to teach you baby to sleep and self soothe those things can stay. And I feel like we can all enjoy each other more. Yes it's hard and I am looked at for CIO and for doing things like that but then I am also told how come your baby sleeps for 12 hours in their own room. And well the truth is because I fought like hell to teach them how.
  13. Lauren said: Sanity! It isn't easy but the reward of stable kids who know when they need a break, downtime, a nap, a snack is so so worth it. Plus a predictable schedule is so beneficial for everyone.
  14. Sara said: I'm type A. I like a schedule, routine and knowing what to expect. I also love sleep lol I know the hard work now will pay off later.
  15. Nikole said:  I love all of the above answers. Not much more to add haha. Sleep is crucial to development and positive function through the day. I know the tantrums I deal with are NOT from being overtired. And if they are, I do the necessary troubleshooting. BabyWise helps me know the cues and issues and takes out so much of the guess work. I have 3 kids and I recommend BW to all my friends and family. The work in the beginning is SO worth the flexibility when they get older. PLUS, I love routine and structure, and I know children do too. It’s my job as parent to provide that. Thank you BabyWise!!
  16. Jess said: I'll never forget how I was introduced to Babywise... Babysitting for a friends young kids so they could go on a date night and I was dreading bedtime. Even other family I'd ever babysat for it was always a nightmare. But not them. We did their bedtime routine and *gasp* they went to bed! They didn't cry or fight me on it! I knew then that whatever these friends were doing, I needed to know for when I had kids (I wasn't even married at the time). That's what I love the most because it incorporates so much else - that if my husband and I want to go out, I'm not worrying (too much) about the kids and bedtime. And people don't mind babysitting because it's easy!
  17. Kayla said: My kids are easy for someone else to care, they are happy kids because they are well rested and their routine allows them to know what to expect... my husband and I aren't arguing every night over who's going to try to get kids to sleep and I am well rested!
  18. Kelly said: Because babies are new to this world and they seem to do best when they have patterns... they are less unsure. 
  19. We all do best when well rested. 
  20. Our marriage has benefited because we have down time each night after kids are in bed. 
  21. Kids learn delayed gratification
  22. Family hierarchy
  23. Helped me be more confident as a mom as I'm not a "natural" so having schedules and routine helped me, too!
  24. Soooo many reasons. 😉
  25. Chelsea said: Because it helps me to be the mom I want and need to be. My kids are 5, 4, 3, 2 and 8 weeks and I could never do it (and have a husband in the Army) without SLEEP. People constantly remark to me that hey don't know how I do it or I must be so tired and I always just smile. Because the truth is, unless I have a newborn, I'm not tired! Babywise has allowed me to not only have all these kids, but be rested, happy, have a good marriage, have alone time EVERY DAY, and be sane!!
  26. Taylor said: Because it works! Every "Babywise child" I knew before we had kids was always such a delight to be around. It really works! Now years and years later we have 2 wonderful children who were raised using Babywise and they are great sleepers, smart, engaging and delights to be with!
  27. Lindsey said:  I feel like babywise is the key to having a well balanced family-rested, (loosely) structured, predictable. Kids thrive in routine and predictability. They're happier! Currently hangin out in a dark hotel room with my three napping kids- 6,3, 11 months. When their heads hit their pillows and the room went dark, they knew it was sleep time. #babywisewinning#fallbreaktravels
  28. Macie said: Mary  is the first person to introduce me to Babywise! Nannying for her kids was a dream, so I knew before I even got married/had children that I would be following suit 🙌🏼
  29. Amanda said: All of these previous answers got me started. Now I have 3 kid ages 5, 3.5, and 2 with baby #4 due in January. I also have a husband who travels about 25% of the time and often works late. We move a lot and have no family close by. People ask me how I do it and my 1 word answer is babywise. We still have rough days, but I can't imagine life without babywise (or the rest of the books in the series. Please don't stop at sleep training in babywise).
  30. Anita said:  I'm not sure about it being harder? I think it makes everything so much easier! The predictability of your day, of your baby's needs... The blessing of sleep! BW makes my life soooo much easier
  31. Rachel said: Reminds me of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover- live like no one else so later you can live like no one else!!! Love having my child sleeping 12 hours a night in her own room and a great and she’s always excited for bed time.
  32. Tiffany said:  I was diagnosed with postpartum depression with my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th child. My first child was severely colicky and rarely slept for nearly 7 months. Babywise was how I regained control of my life and our family after a chiropractor fixed her colic, and I implemented it ASAP with my other 3 children because finding control and getting sleep were key to helping keep my PPD at bay. Also, breastfeeding (understandably) didn’t go very well with my colicky firstborn, and she struggled to gain weight. Babywise helped me feel at peace with my other babies’ growth and they were deliciously fat! I even had a doctor recommend I nurse a baby more frequently at the beginning when her weight gain wasn’t ideal. I ignored the doctor because I knew that snacking was not going to do it. She ended up being my chunkiest baby!
  33. Alena said: Because it works!
  34. Autumn said: Because I need MY sleep!
  35. Roxanne said: For me it's being a Capricorn and my A rated personality. 😆
  36. April said: Because flexibility! Just blew a tire and my husband spent 45 minutes fixing it and LO slept through the whole ordeal!
  37. Evie said: I was so happy to find a way to structure my day with my baby. Before I had my baby, I anticipated having no control over my life. I pictured all of life's responsibilities and having to drop them the moment my baby cried, whenever that may be. Babywise gave us order to our day. I could give my baby my full attention when it was time, knowing that a nap was coming. I could plan when we would be going grocery shopping and I was able to help an eldery neighbor with rides several times a week because of that schedule. Life is still that way for us at 3 years old. I know that bed time and nap time is when I will focus on other things, so I can give my all to her during the day. We are older parents and we knew we couldn't handle any more sleep deprivation than those first few weeks at the beginning!
  38. Bethany said: What I like to point out the most (because of so many misconceptions about it being for selfish reasons) is that I find sleep sooooo important for physical and mental health! I wanted to give my baby a good foundation and healthy sleep habits so that she can thrive in development and other areas of her life! Also the first chapter of the book- I fell in love. My husband and I find our marriage to be a priority above anything else that happens in our home, so it was a great way to start the book too!
  39. Sherry said:  I suffer with depression and anxiety and lack of sleep is just a no go for me! I like the predictability of the scheduling I can even leave my baby with dad and say “he needs to go down at this time” and “up to eat, at this time” there is no guessing for him. Since I started working from home I’ll plan working and working out during his nap times I’d be crazy without Babywise
  40. Brittany said: I was exposed to Babywise prior to having kids and got to see the results in real life and in real time as many of my friends had babies around the same time. About half followed Babywise and the other half didn't, and the differences in their families were remarkable! I was already convinced in Babywise in theory, but seeing it work for a variety of families in real life sold me! It was still a few years until we had our kids, but I tell everyone about Babywise now! It has saved my life as a mom and my marriage!
  41. Ashley said:  I stick with it because I see how well my boys function when they're well rested. I see how I benefit by having predictable times to get stuff done or having time with my husband. My boys have learned to love sleep, and they're learning the foundations of healthy boundaries (ie: first time obedience). Implementing Babywise principles aren't easy, but I really do not want to see my boys without them ❤️
  42. Jillian said: Being a parent involves a lot of work no matter how you parent. We prefer to be proactive, and babywise told us exactly what to do. I tell people it's the instruction book every parent wishes came with their baby. Also, we love happy, well-rested children. 😃
  43. Bethany said: It is hard work, but totally worth the outcome! I love that my toddler still sleeps 10-12 hours through the night. I love that I know WHY my infant cries when he does because I know where he is in his cycle. I love knowing how to plan my day based on when my infant's next feeding will be. I love knowing my baby is truly well fed (thigh rolls, anyone?) because he eats when he is fully awake. I love that we have added a child to our family and aren't now revolving our lives around the child. These reasons and so many more make the hard work worth it.
  44. Yooli said: I had PPA/PPD both times and getting enough rest for me was crucial to my mental health. And my husband and I like having our bed to ourselves and our evenings to reconnect and get chores done. I like predictability and routine, as does my husband. Our kids sleep very well, heal very fast when they get sick, and we can quickly triage what's wrong if they are acting out of sorts. My kids are happy, they are at a good weight, and they trust us. AND they like the predictability and they are wonderfully behaved in public and for other folks who may watch them. Our friends even know our schedule now that both my boys are on 1 nap and it's easy to schedule social events. It is hard to do, but really it was only like 3-4 months until my kids were sleeping 12 hours a night and they have breezed through any regressions and wonder weeks because of the consistency of BW scheduling.
  45. Natalie said: It may seem like extra work at first, but it pays off HUGE with well adjusted kids! I have done Babywise with both my kiddos and they are both so flexible and manageable. It’s still chaos sometimes, but it’s totally controlled chaos. It’s SO worth it!
  46. Carrie said: I can’t help 2 babies get to sleep every time. They’ve got to learn to do it on their own but in a loving way that makes sure their needs are fully provided. 
  47. Things that take time, effort, and patience are usually worth it. 
  48. I like hearing how amazed people are when I tell others of their sleep habits.
  49. Lacey said: The main reason I did it was for my sanity. I am a person who needs order and felt completely out of control after my first was born. After I started babywise everything got so much better. It wasn’t always easy but worth it. I’ve done it three times now and I’m a better mom when everyone is well rested and knows what’s going on.
  50. Rebecca said: I like parenting with intentionality and with the big picture in mind. Yes, thanks to following babywise, I have a child that is a great sleeper and who is in a fab routine. But, I like that I am also training and developing self-control, obedience and other virtues as they grow up.
  51. Team Cartwright said: Because it is about prioritizing. It helps me decide what is most important to my family and helps me make those things happen. Eating and sleeping enough are important to everybody, not just babies. It makes sense to focus on those physical needs first, then move on to other needs. That is what experts tell us about ourselves when it comes to dealing with stress and life. Eat right and rest enough. That should translate to our children too. Babywise gave me the flexibility to get out and get things done, even with three under three and twins as part of those three.
  52. Emily said: I NEED my sleep. I am not a good mom without it. And because as an introvert - despite loving my children immensely - I need scheduled breaks from them and time to myself.
  53. Elisha said: Sleep! Routine and my two sleeping 7-7 without wakes at 6 and 10 weeks! They thrive and because of that I thrive! That’s my motivation!
  54. Julie said: I believe that sleep is important for EVERYONE. I believe almost all kids want & need a predictable routine. I believe the baby should join the existing family dynamic.
    Why Moms Put Effort Into Babywise | Babywise | Babywise benefits | #babywise
  55. Jessica said: I want a well-rested, happy child that can fall asleep independently! And because I'm a first time mom and someone was kind enough to gift me the book when I was drowning just a couple weeks in with my overtired on-demand baby! She's almost 12 weeks now and we are all reaping the benefits already!
  56. I also love that it allows parents to be in control, not the child. They pick up on that from a very young age! We have a responsibility as parents to set an example of authority in the home...everything else stems from that!
  57. Claudia said:  Because you know the hard work and tough days pay off! When you have a newborn and they start waking only once a night, you feel rewarded. When they start sleeping through the night at a few months old (when the norm isn't till 1) is a huge reward! This means you can function as a level headed parent (most days 😉) and be the best mum you can be for your family!
  58. Valerie (that's me) said: I don't even know what more I can add! There are so many great answers. I love the hierarchy of the family set up as several people have mentioned. I love that my children are well rested. I love that I quickly recognize when something is really off--I can quickly spot sickness or pain because I know the sleep and hunger needs and patterns of my babies and children. I have done it long enough to see the work pays off. I would do this again and again. I did it four times, and would easily do it four more. It is hard at times. But it is worth it.

 Benefits of Babywise in older children