Bedtime: The Magical Words that Moms Whisper to Themselves After a Long Day (Featuring: Are Those Your Kids)

Bedtime. The magical words that moms whisper to themselves after a long day.
Often times it is a rushed routine, simply so mommy can get some shut eye. What if I told you establishing a routine can be just as relaxing for you as it is for your kids?
Here are a few tips to make bedtime magical for all parties involved:

Start winding your kids down before they get overtired

What happens when your kids get over tired? I think any mom can answer that for you. Unexplained tears and tantrums often signal it’s time for bed. When your children don’t stick to a routine and are overstimulated or overtired, this makes for one miserable evening for EVERYONE.  Do yourself a favor and begin bedtime routines before the crankiness sets in.

Make bath time fun

Most kids love bath time! If you have an infant that hates it, have no fear, this will change soon! Bath toys, water proof books and even bath crayons make taking a bath more fun. Adding bubbles always excites my kids. Various brands like Crayola even have colored bubbles! To help my kids wind down in the evenings, I use Aveeno Baby Lavender Body Wash.  Lavender is known for having a calming effect on kids.

Add some literacy to the bedtime routine

As an educator, it saddens me to hear that there are a high percentage of children who don’t like to read. Reading to your child (at any time) has a myriad of benefits. One of which is the relationship you build with your child. They will remember those moments of cuddling together to read a good book. It also opens your child’s mind to a variety of experiences, assists with language acquisition, mastery of language and basic speech skills.

Teach your children how to fall asleep on their own

It’s important that your children learn to fall asleep on their own once they are past the newborn stage. What happens when they depend on you to sing, rock or hold them in order to fall asleep? Well just ask my 2.5 year old. I had established a firm routine with her sister, but rocked her to sleep every night past two years old. Some nights, I just wanted to lay her down and relax. That wouldn’t fly. She cried. Then screamed. And followed me to my room. It was painful. I thought I’d never get her to sleep on her own. And then it hit me. I hadn’t established a firm routine with her! I included her when I read her older sister (5) a story at night, then walked her to her room for prayers, kissed her, and it was as simple as that! By the end of the week, I had established a routine with her that allowed her to fall asleep on her own. It’s easy to make that mistake, even if you have other children.

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Pick a bedtime, and be consistent

Kids love consistency. Heck, adults do too. Picking a consistent bedtime not only helps you nightly but if you ever need to leave your kids with a babysitter (or your parents), they will continue to follow the same routine you’ve established in lieu of your presence.
How do you establish a bed time routine with your children? I’d love to hear what works for you.
Diedre Anthony, blogger
diedrea

Just Keep Swimming: Mess Free Sensory Bin

Sensory comes in all shapes and sizes and as we get towards the end of a beautiful summer, I would like to introduce you to a fun in the sun, or in the living room, sensory bin that is sure to please. With no water needed your little one can go on an under sea adventure to find Nemo and Dory!

My daughter was obsessed with this activity and her friends enjoyed finding the multiple Dory and Nemo figures we placed in the bin.

To get started you will need a long and shallow bin. I love the ones that fit under the bed or crib because I can leave my sensory gear in there or put things like diapers and clothes in them later! Here is the one I like best, and use often.

You will also need a good amount of blue toys. I love the ball pit balls we have for my daughter because I can use them for multiple sensory bins and they are just fun to play with! They are also great for little hands! Think of all the cool stuff you can do with these! I also put all our soft blocks in this bin to give a few textures and they built blue “water” cities with them.

Finally, you will need at least one Nemo and Dory toy. If your child is as obsessed as mine this will be an easy find, which is why we had multiple Nemos and Dorys in our box. You can get a bath toy set (great for real water fun) or this figure set to find even more friends!

Now just have fun under the sea finding all your fishy friends! And don’t forget, “Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming, What do we do we swim, swim.”

 

Show me some of your sensory bins and interesting things you put in them!

 

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Music and Movement Sensory Play- 2 & 3 Year Olds

Music is a wonderful thing that can be soothing at any age. When it comes to sensory play, music can be used in a variety of ways to help your child further understand the world around them.

For example, singing to your baby and doing finger plays helps your child develop rhythm and vocabulary. Today we will focus on 2 and 3 year olds and their need for music and movement simultaneously.

This activity will use a variety of senses including touch, sound, speech, and sight, which will make the play fun as well as educational.

For this activity you will need:
~A device to play music on, such as a phone, CD player, etc.
~Children’s Music
I suggest Raffi, The Laurie Berkner Band, or if you are looking for more music video songs Praise Party by Yancy is fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Instruments-you can always use pots, pans, and spoons as well or here is a set I like from Melissa and Doug

 

~An open space

Directions:
You will want to have all your materials together before you tell your toddler what you are doing so they don’t get distracted. Have them stand in the middle of the room and turn on 2 or 3 of your/their favorite songs. (Or more if they like it!) Have the instruments out so they can play with them as you

Some of the ones I like to do:
We Are The Dinosaurs– The Laurie Berkner Band

For this one you can march around like dinosaurs and pretend to be a big dinosaur or a little dinosaur! Littles have a great time making big dinosaur roars as well!
Fast And Slow (The Rabbit And The Turtle)– The Laurie Berkner Band

This song goes back and forth between fast and slow, which helps your toddler understand opposites. When you are talking about the turtle walk, dance, and skip very slow, and when you are talking about the rabbit run, dance, and skip really fast!

Junior Ragtime– Raffi

I love this as a way to introduce fun styles of music that kids do not usually hear and it is so fun to dance to! Maybe you can teach your little how to do the Charleston!

Shake My Sillies Out– Raffi

I use this in almost every class I teach to toddlers because it is a great way to get them moving and then settled down right before you start talking about something else.

This is a great activity to do to get your child moving, get that little extra energy out, or a fun thing to do inside on a rainy or snowy day!

What songs did you use? What part of this activity did your child like best?

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which I receive compensation from if you purchase the item(s). You will be redirected to the affiliate page after clicking on the link, which may be highlighted words, pictures, or other format link. Thank you for your support of this site!

How to be Pregnant with a Toddler Under Two and Survive

 

 

Let’s start with the obvious, while you are throwing up and have a little person watching you gibbering things you don’t understand; pregnancy is A LOT harder the second time around.

With your first child, you read the cute advice people blogged about sleeping when you could, having an excuse to not do anything strenuous, and getting to eat whatever you want for two and blaming it on the adorable little human growing inside your belly.

Well, as I am sure you are finding out, sleeping is over rated (even though you could collapse with pregnancy and toddler exhaustion), having a toddler and picking them up or walking them up and down stairs IS strenuous, and whenever you have food in front of you most of it goes to the toddler who acts like you haven’t fed them in a week, even though they ate twenty minutes ago. Being a Mommy now seems more difficult than ever, so how can you survive it?

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1. Put your toddler to bed early.

This may sound like obvious advice as well as difficult if your little one enjoys staying up late, but try it. Start by starting bedtime a half hour earlier every three nights until you get to the desired time. Before we were married, my husband and I were being mentored by a couple with three kids. When 7pm rolled around, all three were in bed and we were like, “Man, this is an early bedtime!” We found out though, that it can save your sanity, give you some much needed time alone to rest or go to the bathroom by yourself (THAT NEVER HAPPENS!), and help your marriage. And, guess what? Our little girl is in bed by 6:30pm every night!

2. When you have some alone time, don’t feel like you need to make the house look good.

If you are anything like me, you are reading this blog to find ways to be the most productive you can with the little energy and time you possess. However, you have to remember that you do have a lot less energy right now.

Give yourself a break!

I know there are dishes in the sink and the laundry looks like it may never end, but slow down! When that new bundle of preciousness pops out, you are going to get even less done so learn this lesson now, enjoy the moments with your toddler because the laundry and dishes will always be there.

Write yourself a list of things you want to accomplish, but don’t expect them to get done all in one day. Set a goal to get two reasonably sized tasks done during the day and if you get more done than two give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t stress over it.

Your husband and your toddler love you and, honestly, probably don’t mind the mess they are making anyways. (And if hubby does mind, hand him the list and he can check off a few for you. Give and take right?) TAKE A BREAK and do what helps you relax. You still are carrying another baby, even though you have more to do this time.

3. Give your husband chores.

My husband works A LOT, so when we got pregnant while nursing and on birth control, I didn’t want him to feel like coming home meant more work.

So I did EVERYTHING and if something went by the wayside, like spending enough time with my toddler, I felt like the worst person on the planet.

My house was clean, but my little girl went to bed without having the quality time she needed from Mommy and Daddy didn’t get home until after she was asleep. The honest truth is, you got into this together and you have to work together. That is marriage! Love each other, be there for each other, and help each other with what needs to get done because if you don’t someone is always going to either be bitter because they do everything or upset because the, visible never ending, mess of having a little kid is always there.

After a long conversation on what we both wanted to see or needed done, my husband and I agreed that I focus on dishes and laundry and he takes out the trash and cleans the bathroom while we share vacuuming duty. Let me tell you though, just because your jobs get done doesn’t mean the bathroom will get cleaned every week (or that it got clean once in four months) and you have to let it go and tell your husband when there are no bowls to wash one. ☺

woman-423608_19204. Whether you work or stay home, get out by yourself, even if only for a few minutes.

Being a mostly stay-at-home mom with a part-time (and a half) job, I am right in the middle of both worlds so I understand that there seems to be no time no matter which world you are in.

However, you need a moment where you don’t have to meet a deadline and you don’t have a toddler on your leg. Even if you don’t have a lot of money for pampering (we sure didn’t), treat yourself to coffee or a meal at a restaurant by yourself or with a close friend so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

I have been really bad about this one, so I am preaching to the choir, but I love to go to Starbucks or the craft store and either get myself a coffee/tea or buy some fun craft I want to try during my “I put my baby to sleep early time” (or both).

Pampering yourself with little things doesn’t have to be pricey. Be wise about your budget, but put a little money aside for you and your husband for spending money each month (Read my post on how to have fun on a small budget here). Even if you only get $10 a piece, that is enough for coffee or a meal with a friend.

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5. Start teaching your toddler small ways to help and take care of themselves.

I know that sweet toddler was JUST a baby and is still your baby, but this will serve you well now and when you are feeding your new baby ALL THE TIME. We started our daughter off watching Daniel Tiger, which is a blessing from heaven!

They have cute songs about being a big helper and what it is like having a new baby come into the family. (Seriously, watch this clip and buy the DVD about his baby coming here. You can thank me later.)

At first we sang the songs together and when my daughter did a task that we asked like placing a stuffed toy in her toy box or not shutting the door, we praised her. Soon we added in little plastic drawers so that she could learn that everything has a place, and then we showed her where those places were. This does not happen over night and will take months of patients, but when your toddler can put all her dolls in the doll drawer and can find the blocks she is in love with you will be grateful. (If you would like to see our set-up click here.)

If you have been a Mommy to a small toddler while pregnant or are in the swing of it what would you suggest? Did you try any of or all of the suggestions above? Did they work for you? I love hearing what worked and what didn’t and any other opinion or advice you have so always feel free to comment or contact me.

 

happy mommying

 

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