Posts By: Guest Blogger

Avoiding Bedtime Battles

Guest post by Alanna McGinn, Sleep Consultant and founder of Good Night Sleep Site.

Are there bedtime battles around your house? Practicing a consistent bedtime routine with your toddler can be key in making the fights disappear and transitioning your little one to a seamless slumber. It helps them to feel more comfortable in knowing what’s expected of them and what’s happening next, and provides some great one-on-one attachment time with mom and dad.

When you’ve got a toddler, promoting a calming bedtime routine is still important but you may have to shake things up a little bit and include some special tricks of the (sleep) trade!  Getting fun and creative with sleep training a toddler can help make going to bed a lot easier for everyone.

Something I recommend most parents to own with a child 2+ years of age is a toddler alarm clock.  These clocks work great in allowing your child to visually see that it’s night time and time to stay in bed. And for the early risers, it tells them when it’s morning and the right time to get out of bed.

Toddler clock

When introducing a toddler clock try the following:

  • Make it fun! Wrap it up and give it as a gift or have your toddler pick it out at the store.  Communicate how it works and make it an exciting addition to their routine.
  • Set the clock at the appropriate bedtime and sit with your child in excitement while waiting for it to turn on.  Your child will love the build up and the time together and they’ll be excited to follow the bedtime rule of heading under the covers.  In the morning when it’s time to get up, go in their room and if they’ve waited patiently then praise, praise, praise!

The biggest issue at bedtime is the “forever” routine.  “Can I have another glass of water?” “One more kiss!” “I have to go to the bathroom again.” “One more story!” Suddenly, what should be a calming 15-30 minute routine turns into hours of back and forth.  When the toddler clock isn’t enough, why not include a bedtime chart?  It’s a fun and creative way for your child to visually see his routine in steps.

Example of a bedtime chart.

You can involve your child and get them excited about the whole experience by bringing your little one with you to buy the supplies and let them decide how it will look.  After explaining your sleep rules, use the chart to show your child when the step in the routine has been completed.  Now when they pull out the usual excuses to delay bedtime all you have to do is point to their chart and remind them it’s been done.  This is an easy trick with a positive result.  We incorporated Mabel’s Labels “Write Away!” Labels to our chart as an added personalized touch and allows us to change our routine slightly when need be.

Or, instead of a routine chart, try this fun idea!  These personalized door hangers were super fun to make and a great way to cross off the list as you go through the routine.

One of our family’s door hangers.

Some more Good Night Sleep Site tips to help make bedtime less of a battle:

  • Preschoolers up to Grade 2 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night.  We want to aim for an earlier bedtime, therefore start your bedtime routine early enough so that you’re able to have a relaxed routine and you’re not rushing through everything.  I always recommend starting at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Children thrive on consistency. Choose your bedtime activities and stick to it for the most part.  Bath, PJs, brushing teeth, drink, potty, and reading a book are all things you can include to help cue your child that bedtime is coming.

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alanna McGinn is a mother of three (1 + twins!), Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site, and Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC).  When she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she’s working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. Follow Alanna on Facebook and Twitter for daily sleep tips and advice.

 

My Plugged-In Family

I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology in our home.

It started with Nintendo Wii. The big sell was that we’d be active, play together and have fun belting out tunes with Rock Band.  It was the gateway to Play Station 2, then X-Box, then Netflix and binge watching, not to mention computers, cell phones and iPods! AHHHH! Our kids tease my husband and I about being on our laptops in the same room playing Scrabble (sometimes with each other).  Sometimes it hits me how disconnected from each other this technology is making us and I try to figure out how to get us all to step back.

But, it’s not all bad. Here are some of the positive things:

1)      Texting – A lot of our texts to our teens look the same “I’m here!” “Leaving in 5 minutes!” “Dinner!” (We live in a tall skinny house, so it reduces the yelling and stair climbing). But there are the “Love you” and “Just thinking about you” texts too. The more diplomatic check-ins like “Hey, how’s your day going?” instead of asking “Um, where are you?” It leads to the inevitable autocorrect fails, like when I texted “Good luck, homey!” to my daughter instead of “honey” when wishing her luck on her Geography exam. Or when I texted the shopping list to my husband asking him to get “geese” instead of “cheese”. These texts usually result in at least a smile (and sometimes revised dinner plans).

2)      Facebook – I was a late Facebook adopter. What would I even write? Do I really want to post photos? Turns out that it really does help me connect with family and friends I don’t get to see all the time. I send messages to my niece to get her perspective on things that pertain to my daughters since she’s a few years older. I request a Scrabble game with another niece and use the chat window to laugh about how crazy our board looks as we play diagonally on only half of it. I resist the urge to “stalk” my kids on Facebook but every now and then we talk about privacy, boundaries and over-sharing.

3)      Twitter – When I first started on Twitter, I mostly followed parenting experts and found it a great way to reach out to them directly for advice. My tweets quickly evolved into finding the humour in typical day-to-day parenting situations rather than being frustrated or upset. My whole frame of mind changed and I took things less seriously. I embraced the chaos!

4)      Blogs – There is so much information out there and communities full of like-minded people to get involved with and learn from. It can be comforting to realize you’re not alone when dealing with parenting issues.  They spark thought and conversation and as often as some posts end up in heated debates, they also provide a place for compassion and understanding as we all navigate this parenting thing together.

But still, I really do need to find a way to balance the screens. Do you have any tips on managing all the technology?  What are your pros and cons of being plugged-in?

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

 

Best tools for parent-to-kid communication.

Guest post by MamaDweeb.com founder, Annie Shultz.

 

Tae Kwon Do, dance, music, friends, volunteering and jobs – there are always at least a million things pulling your attention at one time. Of course, being organized increases productivity and decreases errant mistakes. But the big question is – what are the best tools to keep organized communication between spouses and children?

1. Command center

It’s been said the more clutter you have the more cluttered your thinking. So keep important papers and bills in files near the front door where they are easily found and yet not staring you in the face. With an organized command center, both spouses know where to find the permission slip or updated insurance card. And don’t forget the Write Away labels! Easily label your file folders and other boxes.

For command center ideas, check out Pinterest. We have some beautiful home organization pins you will fall in love with!

 

2. Calendar Sync

There are quite a few apps that sync devices. These are extremely helpful since both spouses can view the schedule and make changes as needed. Below are some of my personal favorites:

Cozi

This is one of the most popular apps for family calendar sharing because it is easy to use and has as many features as a new minivan. You can manage and share to-do lists (great for sharing grocery lists with your partner), schedules and alerts.

Google Calendar

I love how simple it is to sync Google Calendar across multiple devices and to share calendars with your spouse. If you want to keep a calendar only for spousal communication, think about setting up a join Gmail account. You can download Google mail and calendar apps for only this account to keep it separated from all the other parts of your life.

Skedi

Skedi is an iPhone calendar app that syncs with iCal, and Google Calendar. What sets this app apart is the ability to assign “person in charge.” This means if you have an event, you can assign a babysitter. The app will then email the babysitter so they can accept or decline. Then, the app records who is in charge for the evening.  This is a very time-saving feature and cuts down on “didn’t you schedule the sitter tonight?” confusion.

 

3. Face-to-face  business meetings

All the tools in the world can’t replace the meeting of the minds in real time. Schedule 15-20 minutes of face-to-face time. This is easier said than done…but it is vital. Go over the plan for the week, discuss desires and needs for time and really connect mentally.  It is so easy to allow the hectic plans to sweep us away into a void of eye contact and real talk. Try to make a moment to prevent it.

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie is a Kansas mom to three young children. She created MamaDweeb.com in 2009 and loves to inspire and connect with others through her writing. She also loves talking, dreaming, 90s pop and country music.

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