by Carrie Wiley
I first learned about Babywise because of a family that I baby-sat for in high school and college. I was very close to them and I even ended up keeping their kids for a week while their parents went on an anniversary trip. During that week, I had a very close up view of their family routines and I’ll never forget my jaw hitting the floor when I would tell them it was time for bed and get this… they just went to bed. No arguments. No “5 more minutes please”. We did their bedtime routine and they WENT TO BED. I decided right then that whatever they did, I was going to do when I had kids of my own. Turns out, what they “did” was Babywise.
Because my first experience with Babywise was actually on the other side of baby schedules, I was able to go into Babywise with my own babies knowing the long term benefits. And now, after having implemented Babywise principles with all four of my kids, I am able to reap some of the benefits of having an established schedule with my older kids. Here are some of the benefits I have experienced:
– Makes big transitions not so big
With all of the big developmental changes we face with each kid (i.e. transition out of a crib, nap time to rest time, rest time to room time, potty training, etc…) having an established routine in place has helped a great deal in making those transitions smooth. Because expectations are pretty clear when you have an established routine, it creates a safety net so to speak for the child to feel secure in when a change is happening somewhere.
The latest example I have of this is when we accidentally weaned my two year old of his pacifier habit. And I say accidentally because that’s how easy it turned out to be. I had been DREADING this. He was my last baby, I was a little lazy with him and I just didn’t want to deal with the fall-out. I thought it would ruin our hard-earned schedule. Instead, one Saturday afternoon, my husband couldn’t find the paci, went through our bedtime routine without it, and he went to bed without it just fine. There were a couple nights of asking for it, a couple bouts of 5 minute crying, but that was it. Without question, I give credit to the established bedtime routine we already had in place.
– Actually aids in flexibility
This sounds counter-intuitive to some people, how a schedule can make you more flexible. But when you have a routine in place, it allows you to deviate when you need to (because we all know life just HAPPENS sometimes) and fall right back into your well-established routine. And after Babywise, we all know that the beauty of the “Parent Directed Feeding” schedule is that it is a FLEXIBLE schedule not a rigid one. Babywise, from the beginning, sets you up to be a flexible family.
– A baby-sitter’s dream
Having your kids on a solid schedule or routine makes you the dream job for a baby-sitter. And I say that both from the baby-sitter’s perspective and the parent perspective. I typically only have to write down the schedule once or if something changes for our sitters. They know our routine and schedule and fall pretty easily into that routine themselves. There is never a question of when something should happen. Our routine is easily duplicated no matter who the care giver is. Also, our baby-sitters know our kids sleep, so when they put them to bed, they go to bed.
– Can more easily notice or know when something is wrong
This is one of my favorite benefits. Having an established routines helps you know your kids inside and out. You establish a “normal” so when something is not normal, you notice immediately. This is applicable for illness, developmental changes, or even emotional issues. I can spot when something is wrong pretty quickly and address the issue.
– Helps with strategies for handling developmental challenges
Because you know your kids so well, you can better strategize when challenges arise. If something comes up at school with my daughter, know her “normal” can help me know where to start with making changes or making a new game plan to address these challenges. I have found this particularly helpful as I navigate school for my gifted child.
– Establishes home as a refuge
When kids have the safety of an established routine, it helps make home their “safe place”, their refuge. I always want my kids to feel a sigh of relief when they walk in our front door. I want it to be a warm, loving place, where they feel safe because they already know the expectations of our home. They know to expect consistency. That consistency is one of my favorite ways to love my kids.
– They sleep
Because of those hard-worked Babywise days, my kids are awesome sleepers and I know they are getting the rest they need. Sleeping through the night isn’t something they grow out of as they get older… it sticks with them and creates healthy sleep habits for their whole life.
– I can work from home
Having an established routine allows me the ability to work from home as a Travel Agent and blogger. I know when they will be in room time or resting/napping. I know when they will be in bed every night. This creates pockets of time for me to be able to get my work done.
These are just SOME of the benefits that I have personally experienced with my older kids of having an established routine. I’m looking forward to finding out even more as my kids grow older!
Carrie is wife to Kyle and mom to Laura Kate (9), Shepherd (6), Fischer (4), and Archer (2). She loves to travel, drink English Breakfast Tea, watch Gilmore Girls, read a good, suck-you-in fiction book, and help people plan magical trips to Disney World. You can find her at www.wileyadventures.com.