Friday, January 7, 2011

Cleaning: Tips, Tricks and a Schedule! (part 3)

The 'final installment!'  Good morning!  I still owe you all a daily schedule and since I can't sleep due to this kidney stone, I thought I might as well type!  My husband and I found out the hard way that sleep is one of the most important things for a child.  Our schedule revolves mostly around the kids' sleeping schedules, followed by eating schedules (also important!), and then the time inbetween.  Once we were able to establish a good sleeping schedule, the rest just sort of lined up.  I always recommend the book, "No Cry Sleep Solution" to any and everyone who asks about babies/toddlers and how to get more sleep.  It is a fantastic book and really helps to 'diagnose' why a child isn't sleeping and offers ways to help the child sleep better for both naps and night sleep.  The author also includes lots of sleep study information as well as information about sleep cycles.  A light bulb will go off in your head as soon as you read it and you will think, "Why didn't I realize this before?"  We use the principles in the book daily and refer back to it whenever our schedules seem a bit off.  If you are one who likes to 'try before you buy' as I do, you can get the book at your local library.  Though I imagine after reading, that you will feel the need to purchase! :-)  It can be daunting at first because, if your current sleep schedule is like ours was, you are already exhausted.  Taking on the task of reading a book that requires you to put forth even more effort is not something one likes to do when order is already lacking in day to day activities.  The most important things we learned from this book were how much sleep a child actually needs and when they need it!  I was quite surprised to learn that children have a natural bedtime of 6 or 7pm. Usually about the time when most of us are giving a second nap should actually be bedtime!  The link above contains excerpts from the book and I would recommend taking a peek!  Fascinating material!  As I was saying, our sleep schedules drive the rest of the day to day activities.  Some kids need more sleep than others and some are able to deviate from their schedule occasionally.  You will learn how to tell which category your child fits and ours is one who does not deviate well!  We must stick to our schedule, which can be difficult at events and holidays for instance, but overall it is worth it!  I really do hope you take a look at the book!  There is a toddler version as well but the basic principles are the same and I find the original more helpful even if you have a toddler.  The difference with the toddler version is that it offers solutions on how to get your child to sleep in a 'big kid' bed if they are ready. 

I am thankful that I am able to be a SAHM but unfortunately I don't have much to offer on how to adhere to sleep schedules for working moms.  The one thing that I have read is to try and get your child's caregiver to stick to your schedule, especially for naps.  I realize this can be quite difficult though, especially if your child attends a daycare with multiple children.  However, there are some tips in the book for working parents. 

Our current schedule goes something like this:  (remember it all revolves around sleep)
general wake time: 7-7:30am
breakfast: 8am  During breakfast I try to wash the dishes and still talk to and sing with my daughter who is sitting at the table, she is usually there for about an hour.
free time:  9am  This is the time I try to go to the store if necessary or have a play date, which can sometimes be pushed to 10, otherwise we play at the house or watch a video together.  I am not one of those moms who never lets there child watch TV.  I don't have a problem with it personally.  Of course I feel like everything can be done in excess.  If you are a TV free household or if you want a TV free day you can always do some learning activities or go for a walk if the weather allows!
snack: 10am I usually have another half hour or so to get some other things done at this point as well.  I like to get as much done as possible in the morning so that I have the rest of the day with the little ones!
pre-naptime routine: 10:30-11 or 11:30 My little lady needs about an hour to wind down but if I notice signs of tiredness before that, I'll go ahead and get her in for her nap.
lunch:  2 or 3pm (this is a time that changes a lot, depending on how long her nap is or if she is teething or sick but the order is the same)
play:  after lunch until dinner I try not to always have scheduled 'learning' activities for her to do because I think it is important for kids to just play and use their imaginations.  However, we also do sign language flash cards, learn numbers or letters, talk about different animals and what sounds they make/where they live, shapes and colors, etc.  We read a lot of books as well, she loves them.  Physical activity is sooo important for kids of all ages.  I don't have to do anything to get my lady to run around at the moment, she is still just at that age where she runs ALL the time.  There are other active things we do that keep us moving though:  We pretend to be different animals and hop like frogs or crawl like creative.  They think everything is funny so you don't have to try too hard! :-)
dinner: 5 or 5:30  Our dinner time is also the start of the bedtime routine.
bedtime routine and bed:  after dinner to 6:30 or 7, bedtime!!! Again, my little girl needs at least an hour before bed to wind down.  Our routine includes bath, books, songs and then bed.  If she seems really wound up we will give her some quiet play time after the bath and before we read books.  It is really important to keep the lights dim and the noise level soft at this point, if possible of course!

Our schedule does change from time to time.  There are times when she gets tired earlier or takes a nap later, but the order in which we do things is always the same.  I know our schedule will change again when the little baby is no longer up around the clock and needs a sleep schedule as well and I am thankful that I can refer to the book for any problems that I may encounter with that!  Another thing I liked about the 'No Cry Sleep Solution' was that it offered different ideas about schedules and timing for sleep.  Whether your child takes one nap or two, for instance.   It really is a very interesting read even if you already have a good schedule going!  I have yet to read the Dr. Sears' 'The Baby Sleep Book' but I imagine it would be quite helpful as well.  I hope that this helps and that you get this book, amazing...seriously! 

Have a wonderful day!

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