Still ironing out bedtime routines with the start of the new school year?

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Hey parents, trying to juggle that new school year with new bedtimes? We hear you! It’s hard to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row, and with all the changes in routines, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and disorganized.

We thought this might be an awesome place to share some of our tried and true (most of the time) tips and see if any one is willing to share one or two of their best kept tricks to getting those little ones down for the night.

First off, it’s important to know how much sleep your kids should be getting related to their age. This helps in knowing what time you should be aiming to get them into bed, lights out by counting backward from when you need them up and out the door. For example, if your 5 year old needs to be at school by 9 am and it takes about an hour to get moving each day, bedtime should be starting around 7 pm. Starting a few minutes early allows for those unforeseen “I need my other jammies!” “where is that ________?” , and an “ok, one more_____, then lights out.)” Bed time rarely goes like clock work, but allowing time help parents breathe easier and not stress themselves out. Hey, what harm is done if you get out the door 10 minutes “early?” Maybe a little grown up bowl of ice cream and some Bravo, shhhhhh, don’t jinx yourself!

hours of sleep

Once you know your timing, its important to figure out what all you want done in that time we’re calling ‘bedtime.” Are we talking teeth, jammies, book, and bed? Or packing back packing, picking out clothing, bath time, followed by teeth, jammies, book, bed? I think it is ideal to be realistic and flexible each day. We all know the dead line aka lights out, but we also know know two days are the same so no two bedtimes will go exactly the same. I’m a big fan of having visuals and/or to-do lists. It keeps me/us focused and it’s rewarding to see things being accomplished. There are a ton of free printables online or just make your own according to your families needs. I really like a quick and easy list or this little longer list for those who are a little more independent (guess where I found them- pinterest of course!).

Once the routine has begun, I find it best to stick as close to the “schedule” as possible. Kids are always looking for a way to stay up a little later and as adults, I think we often get played for fools. If you give an inch, they’ll take a mile…and the will keep that reinforcement in their memory for the next evening or poor sucker who tries to put them down. Bedtime shouldn’t be a battle but it often is. Looking back, how often did the adult in the situation keep saying “well, ok, one more but this is the last one…” or “fine, go get some water, then lights out.” I sure am guilty of it. And I then find myself guilty of being in that same hamster wheel almost daily. Lesson learned! I understand the importance of sleep on growing minds/bodies and realize schedules help the flow move smoothly in our home so I don’t mind being the “bad guy” and saying we need to save a story or two for the morning.  I’d rather not end up with an over tired monster who can’t get to sleep or stay asleep.

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Every family is different, every routine varies. The key to your success is to find the “recipe” that works best in your household. Maybe it’s an all family story time, followed by soft music in each bedroom. Maybe it’s song during teeth, and stories in tub. Maybe you’re a house of artists and do a little drawing session in dim lights. Whatever you do, just keep bedtime a calm and quiet time- this is not the time to have a dance party or wrestle mania (however, not a bad idea after dinner to get those final wiggles out)! Dim the lights, turn off the screens, stop the chatter, calm the mind and body.

Rest and repeat.

 

 

 

Back to School – Let’s do Lunch (and more!)

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It’s official.

School is really knocking on the door. My question is, are you ready?

If you are anything like me, these things always sneak up on me and I find myself scrambling to be prepared on time. Even more often, I’m left with a heavy heart as I brainstorm awesome ideas- after the fact.

To make back to school time one of excitement for the learning that is about to occur and the social experiences our children will encounter, we hope and pray that everything goes smoothly, everyone enjoys their first days of adjusting, and dinner around the table is met with laughter, not tears and fears (for both kids and parents).

So…

In effort to kick of the 2017-2018 school year on the right foot, I’ve cheated and used my best friend pinterest to come up with a few ways to alleviate some stress and still feel like a rock star parent/caregiver.

To start off this school year, I’ve decided to go with some ideas of how to capture the memories of those first day cuties. How often are you wishing you had spent two more minutes getting that picture instead of rushing to the car/bus?

Back to school photo sign- Chalkboard/reusable

Another chalkboard photo opportunity

 

chalkboard

I’ve included some lunch making tips (for you or your “growing more independent daily” child) that aims to hit the healthy mark and gives multiple days of ideas! When the work day is too long and making lunches seems more like climbing a mountain, let these guys point you in the right direction.

Make your own school lunch

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Build a healthy lunch

You’ll also find some fun notes and affirmations you can sneak into your kiddos lunch or back pack to let them know you are thinking of them…always!

Free printable lunch notes and jokes!

Printable lunch notes

Affirmations

 

Be warned, if you enter the world of “pinning” without a timer, you may find yourself doing more pinning then living. It’s a slippery slope but full of awesome time saving, parent helping, kid loving hints and tips.

 

Did I just see a school bus?

Hey all, can you believe it’s that time of year? I’ve been anxiously counting down the last few days of “kid summer.” You know what I’m talking about. It’s great to have the kids out of school, hanging out all day asking “what are we going to do?” “can we_________?’ “I’m bored,” ” I don’t wanna,” “can I invite all the neighbors?” “will you make me_________?”

I’m ready for a little more routine and a little less “I don’t know” coming from my mouth. I’ll miss the impromptu field trips, the accidental block parties, the on the fly art projects but I’ll welcome the quiet and I’ll cherish the regularity of a school day.

This week is the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year for a few districts nearby, the rest begin next week! Wow, the time flew by and aren’t you glad? We survived the heat, we made memories, we found some new parks, embarked on some new paths and now it’s time to start fostering that love of learning and social interacting.

I thought I’d do a quick “pit and peak” for my summer and I was hoping maybe you’d share yours with me! For those of you who don’t know or watch the housewives series on Bravo “pit and peak” is the best and worst part of said vacation, trip, season, year (you get the idea).

Pit: Working so hard to ready the garden for organic grown food for my family and having it fry in the sun before first harvest. *Here’s hoping next year this is my peak!

Peak: Any of those moments shared with my husband, family, and friends. Sharing life and adventures with those I care the most about regardless of weather or location…I am blessed.