4 Tips For Getting Your Kids To Sleep

Many parents know the struggle of the bedtime with their kids.  Even if their children are perfect angels throughout the day, the witching hour rolls around, and it’s impossible to get them to fall asleep without a huge fuss.

Rather than accepting the bedtime drama, it’s important to take the right measures to improve nighttime for everyone’s benefit.  Not only will your kids sleep better, but you’ll sleep better too.

When it comes to the best tips for getting your kids to sleep and staying asleep, here are the ones that stand out most.

Reduce Light

Even though kids may argue about wanting all the lights on in the room, it’s not going to do them or you any favors as far as getting to sleep.  It’s essential to dim the lights as much as possible, leaving only a small amount of light, such as a night light.

To encourage them getting the best sleep possible in the mornings as well, you should consider blackout curtains so that they don’t jolt out of bed at the first sign of the sun.  This can be especially helpful for the weekends when exhausted parents want a few extra hours of sleep.

Start a Ritual

Kids respond very well to a repetitive routine every night.  A ritual provides nighttime cues so that they know bedtime is approaching.

Although everyone’s bedtime ritual can vary, most experts recommend a variation including a bath and a story.  Once you begin your ritual, you must do it every night without fail. That way they know once you start, they’ll soon be asleep.

No More Screen Time

Even though parents are exhausted at the end of a long day and may be tempted to sit their kids in front of a tablet screen or a movie, this can have an adverse effect.  Encouraging stimulation close to bedtime will keep them awake for longer.

Make sure to turn off screens at least two hours before sleep.  Otherwise, they may not be able to calm down their minds easily.

Stay Consistent

The most important thing to remember when creating a bedtime structure is that you must stay consistent.  Making exceptions or giving into them begging to change the rules will only encourage them to push more and more at bedtime.

Even when kids start crying and begging to stay up later, it’s up to you to give a loving but firm “no” for their own good. After a period of being consistent, they’ll eventually catch onto the idea that bedtime isn’t a flexible rule. Once they lay in their beds, it’s time to fall asleep and stay asleep without a fuss.

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3 Ways Having a Baby Can Test Your Marriage

Although having a baby is a beautiful transformation in your relationship which can bring you closer as a couple, there are a lot of hurdles to make it through as a team.  There is a reason that so many relationships end in divorce, particularly after having children.  There is no bigger test for your marriage than bringing a new baby into the world together.

If you can make it through the challenges of a newborn and come out loving each other more than before, then chances are that you can make it through just about anything in your marriage.  Here are some of the biggest tests that having a new baby can bring to the table and what you can do to handle it better.

Exhaustion Kicks In

Since babies don’t come out of the womb sleeping full eight hour nights like older children and adults, you’ll find yourself waking up in intervals for the first few months.  When you’re in a deep sleep and are awoken suddenly by crying, it can be jolting on your sanity.

When you and your partner are first adjusting to the discomfort of being awake at all hours without ever feeling like you’ve gotten enough sleep it can start to wear on your patience.  Many couples find themselves nagging at each other, or feeling competitive about who wakes up more with the baby. When both people in a relationship are physically exhausted, it increases your chances for arguments and a stressful atmosphere.

Try to remind yourself that this is only a phase, and your baby will be sleeping through the night soon enough.  Try to be fair about taking shifts for who wakes up with the baby.  With a balance between the two of you, you can avoid one of you resenting the other for doing more work.

Less Social

When you have a baby, you can’t do as much as you once could.  Since the baby is often sleeping and eating most of the day you need to be in a space which facilitates being able to do that.

It can be challenging to go to restaurants or get-togethers when you’ve got a baby to look after the entire time.  Try to get a babysitter once in a while so that you can fulfill your social needs. Take it in small steps, beginning with only an hour or two at first and work your way up until you feel your baby is ready.

Less Intimacy

When your body goes through the changes of having a baby, you may not feel as sexy as you once did which can affect your intimacy.

You also may be so tired that any free moment you’re not taking care of the baby, you want to rest instead of taking time for each other.  Be patient with the process and eventually things will return to the way they once were.

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4 Tips For Kids Who Resist Bedtime

Bedtime is the point of the day where parents finally get to tuck their children away under the covers and retreat into adult time.  No more coloring books everywhere, or Disney sing-alongs echoing through the house. They don’t have to clean anyone’s diaper or break up fights between siblings.  Nighttime is often cherished by tired moms and dads who have been parenting all day, so when it’s lights out, it can be incredibly frustrating when the little ones won’t budge.

A lot of parents struggle with getting their kids to go to bed and stay in bed.  They may have tried everything from giving in, to trying to rationalize with them, to even getting angry, yet nothing has worked.

However, exhausted parents shouldn’t lose hope.  There are ways to get your children to bed and keep them there, as long as you apply the right methods.  Here are some of the most effective ways to make bedtime easier when you’ve got kids resisting to sleep.

Create a Ritual

Even though kids may resist rules, they actually thrive off them.  When you give kids boundaries, they feel safe. By knowing exactly what to expect every day without any sort of a grey area, they feel a sense of regularity and confidence.

Bedtime goes a lot smoother if you have a military-like structure which happens exactly the same way every night.  Although your nighttime routine can consist of any number of things, most people find that taking a bath is a great way to wind them down. They should also upkeep their dental health by brushing every night regardless of whether they protest.  Finally, something, like reading a book or singing a lullaby, can be an excellent end to a ritual before they fall asleep.

No Screen Stimulation

Even though tired parents may be ready to sit on the couch and relax at the end of a long day letting their kids watch tv with them before bed, it can be the reason they’re not falling asleep.  

Experts recommend turning off screens at least an hour before bedtime to help them get into a sleepy state.

Consider a Reward System

If you have a particularly stubborn child who is resisting bedtime even after applying these methods, you may want to start a behavior chart.

Each night that your child successfully sleeps in their bed without any issues, they will get a sticker. Eventually, when they get enough stickers, they get a reward of your choice.

This can be a fantastic incentive for getting even the most difficult of sleepers to stay in bed.  They’ll also feel a sense of pride seeing that they reached their goal through hard work.

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3 Tips For Going Through A Divorce When You Have Kids

If you and your spouse are about to file for divorce, you likely have a lot on your plate to handle. From finding a divorce attorney to planning out your life after your marriage is over, there are quite a few things that need your attention. However, some of the people that need the majority of your attention right now are your kids. Your divorce will severely impact their lives too. So to help ensure that you’re all able to get through this tough situation together, here are three tips for going through a divorce when you have kids.

Be Careful With The Information You Share

One of the hardest parts about going through the divorce process is breaking the news to your kids. When you sit down together to have this tough conversation, it’s important that you be careful with the information that you share with your children. KidsHealth.org shares that while you want to be honest and open about things, you don’t want to give your children any details that they’d be better off not knowing. You also want to avoid placing blame on any one parent so as to not taint the relationship that the children have with that parent.

Reaffirm Your Feelings Toward Your Kids

During this tumultuous time, your kids might start to wonder if your feelings toward them have changed. Since your love for your spouse faltered, it’s only natural for them to question if this could happen with your love for them. To reassure your children emotional, HelpGuide.org advises that you frequently and genuinely reaffirm your feelings toward you kids whenever you can. Tell them that neither parent will ever stop loving them and the choice you’ve made to end your marriage has no bearing on how you feel about them. Expressing your love for your kids will help them realize that although things might be scary in this moment, they still will have both their parents at the end of the ordeal.

Try To Get Your Kids Talking

With both young kids and older teens, it can be hard to know what they’re really thinking or feeling about everything surrounding your divorce. But for your kids’ sake, it’s important that they feel comfortable sharing any feelings they might have. Because of this, Holly St. Lifer, a contributor to Parents.com, suggests that you encourage your kids to communicate, either with you or with a counselor or therapist. Talking out their feelings can help them move past anything that’s holding them back and can give them an outlet for dealing with things that don’t necessarily have any control over at this moment.

If you’ll soon be telling your kids that you’ll be getting divorced, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you navigate these unknown waters.

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3 Ways To Teach Your Kids Responsibility At Home

As a parent, it’s your job to ensure that once your children leave your home, they’re able to be productive and contributing members of society. And while your child can learn some of these skills at school, the biggest place where they can be influenced in this way is in the home. Knowing this, it’s important that you try to find ways to teach your kids the life skills they’ll need to be successful once they’re out on their own. To help with this, here are three ways you can teach your kids responsibility while at home.

Allow Them To Help

The first foray your children are going to have into responsibility is going to be when you allow them to help you with your tasks. Until your child learns what needs to be done and the way it needs to be done, they can’t be very helpful. So to teach them this, you should encourage them to help you with any tasks or chores possible. According to Alonna Friedman, a contributor to Care.com, you should set a good example of a positive attitude about work or chores by not grumbling when it’s time to get things done. Additionally, allow your child to take the time they need and to make mistakes in a safe environment until they can learn to so things on their own.

Build Responsibility Gradually

Once your child can start to take on responsibility on their own, it’s a good idea to build on these tasks gradually. According to Cheryl Butler, a contributor to Quick and Dirty Tips, young children can do things like put their dirty laundry in a hamper, help set the table, and feed any pets. For school-aged children, bathing themselves, cleaning the floors, clearing the table, and picking up in their bedrooms are appropriate responsibilities. And once your children become teenagers, you can help them build more life skills like laundry, yard work, cooking, and taking care of others though babysitting. Everything they learn from these experiences will prove to be very helpful when these responsibilities rest entirely on them.

Create Consequences For Their Choices

A big part of learning responsibility is learning how to handle any consequences that may come from your actions. While it can sometimes be hard for parents to allow their kids to have harsh consequences, this can help them be even more prepared for life outside of your home. According to Dr. Robert Myers, a contributor to the Child Development Institute, you should institute both rewards and consequences for things that are done in your home. This can help them learn all facets of responsibility.

If you’re looking for ways to teach your children about responsibility, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you do just that.

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3 Tips for Getting Through Your Child’s Hospital Stay

The worst thing for a parent is to have a child who’s hurt or sick. And while taking care of them at home can be hard, having to hand over control to a hospital staff can be even harder. Even though you know your child is getting the best care possible, handling the time you have to spend in the hospital for a child can be very challenging. All other thoughts go out the window when your child is sick, including whatever the medical costs will be. So to help you get through this trying time, here are three tips for surviving your child’s hospital stay.

Pack Appropriately

If you have to rush your child to the hospital, there’s likely very little time for you to pack anything. But once your child is admitted, it’s going to be helpful for both you and your child to have a few things from home. According to Sydney Loney, a contributor to Today’s Parent, you should try to pack light and just bring a few things that will help your child feel more comfortable, like their favorite stuffed toy or blanket. If they have a favorite activity, like a game or toy, you might want to bring that, too. For you, pack some pajamas and something to help you pass the time when your child is sleeping or out of the room.

Remember That You’re The Parent

Although there’s going to be a lot of people coming in and out of your child’s room and giving their opinions about her care, Virginia Sole-Smith, a contributor to Parents.com, reminds us that you are your child’s parent. This means that you should try to parent how you normally do. If there are things he or she should or shouldn’t be doing as part of your family rules, try to keep those things as constant as you can. This will help your child feel like things aren’t too far from the norm and will give them a sense of stability.

Always Advocate For Your Child

Especially if your child is too young to speak on their own or is otherwise incapacitated, it’s up to you as the parent to be your child’s advocate. According to Laurie Sue Brockway, a contributor to PGEveryday.com, this will usually require you to ask a lot of questions so you can ensure that you know exactly what’s going on with your child’s care. Even if you get the feeling that you’re being annoying with the amount of questions you’re asking, it’s up to you to determine what should or shouldn’t be done for your child’s health, so don’t get too stressed about wanting as many answers as you can get.

If your child has been or will soon be admitted to the hospital, consider using the tips mentioned above to help your whole family make this through this tough experience together.

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4 Ways Being a Grandparents Is More Fun Than Being a Parent

Being a parent is a series of trials and errors.  When you are doing it for the first time there can be a lot of figuring out to do that you never anticipated.  Things can be challenging and there can be a lot of work involved.

At the end of the journey, however, when your little ones have left the nest and you have graduated with your degree in poop and tantrums, you get to enjoy the next best chapter: being a grandparent.  If you thought that being a grandparent meant just being a senior citizen, you thought wrong.

When your children have children of their own you get to secretly snicker as they go through challenges that you went through with them.  This “I told you so” goes without needing to be said out loud as suddenly your children start to appreciate everything that you went through with them.  

Along with this smug satisfaction, also comes the joy of enjoying your grandkids in an entirely different way than a parent does.  Here’s how.

You Don’t Have To Do The Disciplining

When children act up it’s up to the parent to enforce discipline to help guide them to be well-behaved people.  It’s one of those parts of parenthood that isn’t fun at all but is part of the job.

Unless of course, you’re the grandparent!  Sure you’ll have to do a little disciplining here and there if you’re the only adult present and the kids misbehave, but for the most part, when the parents are there, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy being the good cop for once!

You Get To Send The Kids Home at The End of The Day

Children are fun and creative and full of life.  When they aren’t tired or hungry they can be loads of fun.  It’s usually only about the end of the afternoon that their fussiness or moods start to kick in, and after a long day of enjoying their good sides, that’s when you get to hand them back to their parents and go home.

You can put your feet up and sip your evening cocktail knowing that you have absolutely no diapers to change or babies to wake you up in the middle of the night.

You Get To Spoil Them

It’s fun being able to spoil your grandkids and see their faces light up.  Being a grandparent essentially means all of the fun parts without having to get your hands dirty.  

You get to relax and enjoy their childhood rather than stressing about whether you’re doing it right.  That’s up to the parents! You’re just there to be fun and give them cookies.

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4 Things You Should Put On The Top Of Your Baby Registry

Having a baby is incredibly exciting.  The anticipation of your new arrival is a lot to think about.  Your life will change as you know it, you and your partner will create something entirely unique together, and you will be full of more pride than you ever imagined was possible.

Before the baby comes, however, it’s important to take care of all of the preparation.  Many people have baby showers so that people are able to gift them items that will make the process much easier for them.

Before your baby shower, you’ll have to create a baby registry so that your guests know what you want for the baby.  If you’ve never had a baby before, you may be lost on what exactly you need. Here are some of the most important things that you should have on your list right at the top.

A Breast Pump

Since doctors recommend giving your baby breastmilk for as long as possible, having a breast pump to express milk is important.  Whether it’s to keep yourself from engorging, or you’ll be pumping extra milk for bottle feedings, having a quality pump is worth its weight in gold.

Although there are perfectly fine manual pumps on the market, having an electric pump is much easier and makes the job go much faster.  Using a manual pump will take triple the time to express even the tiniest amount of milk in comparison to an electric.

A Baby Carrier

Since newborns aren’t big fans of being put down for any period of time, having a baby carrier which you attach to your chest will come in handy.

You can put your baby against you while still having your arms free.  This way you can walk around your house and get things done. Or you can go for a walk and get your baby to sleep against you from the gentle sway of the movement.

A Swing

For extra fussy babies, having a swing is essential.  You can stick them inside and get some work done rather than having to carry them all over while you try to clean the house.

Some babies refuse to sleep at all, and a swing is the only solution which will get them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

A Pocket Nanny

A pocket nanny comes in handy for keeping up with your babies last changes, naps, and feedings.  Simply set a timer and press the button each time you want to know if it’s time to do one of these tasks.

This may seem like a simple gadget, however, for exhausted new parents, it’s incredibly useful since things can be hard to keep up with.

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4 Mistakes First Time Parents Make

When it comes to having a baby, there is no one book that applies to everyone.  It’s up to parents to figure this baby thing out on their own by trial and error and hopefully make it through to the other side without going nuts.

Despite how beautiful making a new life is, it also comes with a considerable amount of challenges.  Challenges which can be even more difficult for a parent doing it for the first time. When it comes to some of the most common mistakes that first-time parents make, and how to avoid them, here are the ones that stand out most.

Neglecting Self Care

When you first give birth to your new baby your entire world will be centered around the new life that you have created.  You eat sleep and breathe your new baby, and it quickly becomes a challenge to even find time to even have time to eat or bathe.

It’s essential, however, to make sure that you continue to take care of yourself to feel your best.  Whether it’s asking a family member to come over so that you can take a bath, go to the store and buy beauty products which will make you feel more refreshed, or even asking someone to take over so that you go for a walk without having to worry about the baby for a moment.  This won’t just be better for you, but it will benefit your baby since you’ll be giving yourself the tools that you need to be at your best as a parent.

Not Sleeping When The Baby Sleeps

It may be tempting to want to start getting as many things done as possible the minute that your baby falls asleep.  However, sleep is crucial if you’re running on empty. When your baby falls asleep, fall asleep with them, and take advantage of this time to rest up.

there is laundry or cleaning to do, this is a great opportunity to reach out to friends and family for help.  Don’t be afraid to say that you need a hand in order to get some rest. You’d be surprised at the number of people who find joy in helping.

Buying Too Much Stuff

When you find out you’re going to have a baby, the first thing you might do is go straight to a baby registry website and looking for different items that people say you need.  The list can start to get immense and you start wondering where you’ll put all this stuff, let alone what its even for.

Rather than falling into the belief that you actually need all this junk, however, you’ll find that you can raise a perfectly happy and healthy baby without the latest electronic mobile over their crib which projects all the constellations, can do your dishes, and feed your dog. Keep it simple!

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