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For many of you, I know your goal with Babywise is simply to get the sleeping through the night baby. After that, you might let the principles from the -wise series dwindle into a fond memory…then one day your two year old will cause you to think, “Is there a babywise book for this age?”
In my mind, the sleeping through the night is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to raising your child. Believe me, it is great. Good sleep habits and good eating habits will be the foundation for having a happy, well-behaved toddler, preschooler, and beyond.
Something I personally love about the -wise series is the focus on moral training. If you are looking for nothing more than sleeping and eating, something like Secrets of the Baby Whisperer will suit you just fine. With the -wise series, you get good tips that help you train the heart of your child. The tips are often very much common sense. You just don’t think of it on your own.
The -wise series also keeps you focused on structuring your child’s day. What is the big deal about structure? As On Becoming Preschoolwise puts it, children left unattended for great lengths of time get into trouble (page85). And keep in mind that a “great length of time” is not as long for a child as it is for you ;). So structure helps your child stay out of trouble–though that doesn’t mean your child won’t ever get into trouble.
I have a couple of stories to illustrate children getting into trouble without supervision. A little over a year ago, Brayden and Kaitlyn were playing in the sandbox. Brayden was just over three and Kaitlyn was around 15 months old or so. I decided to go in the kitchen and clean. The sandbox is close to the house, so with windows open, I could hear if something as amiss. When I went out to get them, however, I saw that hearing was all that needed to be happening.
Kaitlyn was soaking wet. I asked Brayden what happened. Well, apparently she was dirty and he turned the hose on her. She was happy as can be…but wet. I had not been gone more than 5-10 minutes.
Another story happened about 5-6 months ago. Brayden was approaching four and Kaitlyn was approaching 2. My husband and I were busy painting and prepping McKenna’s room for her arrival. Brayden and Kaitlyn were playing together nicely in Kaitlyn’s room. When we went to get them ready for bed, we saw that they had covered Kaitlyn’s bed in a huge pile of toys. Huge! They were quite proud of the structure.
These stories don’t end in tragedy or really anything bad, it just illustrates that when kids are left to their own devices, they do things that aren’t really beneficial to anyone and create a lot of cleanup for everyone (assuming you require their help).
Structure helps you guide your child’s day. You can provide independent play time where he can learn to problem solve and learn to do an activity as directed. You can have set meal times and set nap/rest times. You can have free play where your child chooses an activity to do, but knows his limitations. You can have learning time where you teach him things based on age. You can have time that is unplanned and you are spontaneous if that is something you enjoy.
Structure helps you work those things into your day that are important to you. If you decide to continue on with the -wise series, I don’t think you will be sorry you did. You can follow things as loosely or strictly as you like. You will find many helpful tips that provide prevention as well as tips for dealing with discipline issues when they arise.
Structure has definitely made life with three children much easier for me. I know when McKenna will need me. I know when I will have time to myself. I know when we can have learning time.
Here is a sample of the order we do things so you can see what you can get done with structure:
- Eat breakfast
- Learning time
- Sibling play
- TV time
- Bath time
- Independent play
- Take a walk
- Eat lunch
- Scripture study
- Learning time
- Free play
- Spontaneous time (Daddy is the spontaneous one in our family). We do family activities and projects.
- Family scripture study and prayer
- Time with my husband! (I had to throw it in there because it is a nice perk)
We of course have variations. We have days we go to the park. We have random different activities thrown in there. But my point here is to show the many different things we are able to get in a day. It isn’t stressful to get these things in, and it is all thanks to structure.
- Baby Whisperer: E.A.S.Y.
- Benefits of Structure and Routine
- Schedules Can Be Hard
- The Value of a Schedule
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