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Wouldn’t it be great to be “that mom?" The one who has it all together and is prepared for everything, despite her jam-packed schedule? While nobody is perfect, no matter how great they may seem, it’s possible to use some very simple tips and tricks to master organization.
Use the following tips and tricks to make your own life a lot easier and to make yourself into “that mom” in the eyes of those around you:
- Get yourself ready, then start on everything else – Despite your instinct to get the kids ready before you, focus on yourself first instead, even if it means setting your alarm clock fifteen or thirty minutes earlier. Once you’re washed, dressed and ready, you can deal with the kids. That way, you won’t run out of time before you can get yourself set. If you’re worried about something spilling on your outfit before you head out the door, go old-school and wear an apron until it’s time to head off.
- Prep dinner the night before or in the morning – Wash, peel, and chop veggies, shred cheese, and do anything else that can be done in advance. Do it either the night before or in the morning, whenever it makes the most sense to your schedule. That way, once dinnertime comes, most of the work is done. Once 5:00 rolls around, you don’t have to think about what to have, and you won’t need a lot of time to make it. Even the clean-up will be easier.
- They live on a schedule – If you set wake-up times, meals, and bedtimes on a schedule that rarely changes (even on weekends), it will mean that kids are more likely to be hungry at mealtimes, tired at bedtime, and ready to get up in the morning when the alarm goes off. When their bodies agree with the schedule you’ve set, you’ll face less of a hassle in getting them to get up, get to the table, or get to bed.
- Do laundry regularly – Doing laundry every day can help you to stay on top of things. Run the washer first thing in the morning or the moment you walk in the door. That way, it will be done by the time you’re ready for the next step. Keeping on top of laundry will stop it from becoming an overwhelming task. Suddenly, it can become a simple, regular part of your day that you don’t even have to think about.
- Wipe down the bathroom – Whenever your hand towel is ready for the laundry, use it to wipe the countertop and sink. While your kids brush their teeth, give the toilet a scrub. By keeping the bathroom regularly wiped as a part of your regular routine, it will make the actual cleanings quite quick and easy. Buildup won’t have had the opportunity to happen.
- Make time for you – Recognize that you’re pretty awesome but you’re not super-human. You need to be realistic and that means scheduling some time for yourself to be lazy, procrastinate, and do something fun just for you. Whether that means painting your toenails, reading a book, or watching the latest romantic comedy, take the steps you need to buy yourself some down-time. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable and you’ll burn out. After all, “that mom” never burns out! But have you seen her toenails? They’re always painted!
After a summer of being essentially schedule-free – or at least being rather lax on schedules – having to conform to a certain bedtime and waking time can come as a bit of a shock to parents and kids alike. That said, school has an established start time and your son or daughter needs to be up, dressed, fed, and alert by the time the bell rings.
While many parents allow their children to go without a bedtime right up until the first day of school, there are many drawbacks to that strategy. Primarily, kids end up somewhat jet-lagged for the first several days. This means that they begin the school year with a disadvantage when compared to the children who are well rested. Exhausted children have a harder time adapting to their new schedules, interacting socially and learning the ropes for the new year.
If you want to help your child ease into the schedule required throughout the school year, there are some very handy tips that can assist you along the way. These can help your son or daughter to set a school-time sleep schedule, and can also improve sleep hygiene throughout the rest of the year.
- Around 2 weeks ahead of the first day of school, gradually create a school timing routine that will align with the one that will be used during the school year. Every night, make bedtime just a little bit earlier and every morning make wake-up time earlier by the same amount. The time increments should be determined so that by the start of the school year, your child’s schedule will allow for the amount of sleep needed for that age and to begin the school day on time.
- Keep a set schedule. Once you have established the bedtime and waking time, stick to it. This means that the same schedule should be used every day of the week. Weekends shouldn’t be used to “catch up.” With a proper bedtime and waking time routine, your child should already be getting all the sleep he or she needs, so the need to catch up shouldn’t be there.
- Create a winding down routine ahead of bedtime. A healthy bedtime routine isn’t just a matter of being in bed with the lights off at the right time. The time leading up to shutting out the lights is very important, too. All screen time (TV, mobile devices, video games, etc) should cease an hour before bedtime in favor of quieter activities. These can include bath time or washing, brushing teeth and hair, a bedtime story for younger kids, or reading time for older ones. This helps to prepare the body and mind to be restful once it’s time to sleep.
- Create a peaceful environment in the child’s bedroom. The best place for a restful and solid sleep includes a comfortable bed, soft and snuggly bedding, a dark room, and a temperature that is slightly on the cool side without being cold.
- Avoid large amounts of food close to bedtime. A heavy meal before bedtime can make it tough for a child to fall asleep. Light snacks won’t typically cause any harm, but they should be kept small.
- Avoid caffeine. Caffeinated drinks and food – such as soft drinks, coffee, tea, energy drinks, energy shots and even chocolate – should be limited after noon and entirely avoided in the evening. Ideally, this stimulant should be avoided completely to eliminate its impact on the sleep schedule, but if it is consumed, try to keep the timing right.
- Set a good example. One of the best ways to make sure your child keeps up a positive and effective sleep schedule is for you to live by the same rules. If you establish your own regular sleep habits, it will be much more natural for your child to do the same.
The earlier you begin the efforts to create a sleeping and waking schedule with your child, the better prepared he or she will be once the first day of school rolls around. While it may not seem like the most fun thing to do before classes start, it will make a big difference when they’re expected to sit at a desk and focus first thing in the morning.
Making the transition to pre-K is a big one for your child, but also for you. Things are changing in an important way, making it a good idea to take the time to prepare together. There are many things to consider, including excitement, concerns and many adjustments from the way things have been.
This can make the time a rather emotional one, but with the right prepping, things will go much more smoothly. Your son or daughter can feel proud of being a big kid while overcoming the challenge of being separated from you while simultaneously beginning something unfamiliar.
Use the following steps to help to prep your big kid for starting pre-K. These will help you both to have fun with the idea instead of building anxiety around it:Use pretend play – Explore the concept of pre-K. Take turns playing the role of the teacher and the student. Act out some of the more common routines, beginning with saying goodbye to Mommy or Daddy, taking off your jacket and hanging it on a hook, reading stories, singing songs, sitting in a circle on the carpet, having outdoor play and taking a nap. Focus on the fun associated with preschool and have patience as you answer all questions. The idea is to help your son or daughter to feel that they are in more control.
- Make a game out of doing things yourself – Create a game that helps your son or daughter to learn to become comfortable with some of the things he or she will need to do him or herself at pre-K. This can include unzipping a jacket and hanging it up, putting the jacket on and zipping it up, fastening his or her shoes, and putting on a backpack. Games can include racing to see who can do up their coat the fastest or putting everything in a backpack, closing it and putting it on.
- Read books on the subject – There are lots of books about starting pre-K. Borrow a few from your public library and enjoy them together. Talk with your child about what happens in the story. Discuss the way the characters feel. Ask your child how he or she is feeling, too.
- Have a school lunch picnic – If your child brings a lunch or snack to school, practice packing it together and then have a picnic. This will give your kid the chance to practice using the lunch or snack containers him/herself and while feeling comfortable eating from them.
- Visit the preschool – Ask the pre-K teacher if you can visit the school and classroom ahead of time, to let your child get to know the environment. Have a bit of a playtime in the yard if you can, too. This can boost your child’s confidence in the location because it adds familiarity.
- Start the new bedtime schedule early – At least 2 weeks ahead of the first day of school, start practicing school-year bedtime habits, such as a calming winding down routine before a set bedtime and waking time. This will help to make sure that your child will be well rested by the time the first day rolls around.
With these and other strategies to prepare your son or daughter for pre-K, you can increase his or her confidence and reduce anxieties ahead of time and he or she will be ready to have fun with the new experience.
The fall time change is upon us and while a difference of one hour may not sound like much, it can have a surprising impact on your child’s life. As we “fall back” this year, you might want to consider using a few simple techniques to assist your little one in aligning with the clock. This will help to make sure you all continue to get a good sleep at night.
It’s important to recognize that kids don’t adapt to changes in sleep hours as well as adults. They also struggle more greatly when they are deprived of the rest they usually receive. Changing even one hour in a routine can impact your kid’s appetite, attention span, and mood as a whole.
The main advantage to this time of the year is that we gain an hour as we “fall back”, instead of losing one when we “spring forward.” You won’t be dragging yourself – and your kids – out of bed with one less hour of sleep. However, if your kids are already on a sleep schedule, this can mean you have energy-filled children ready to get up and face the world an hour before your alarm goes off in the morning. So much for that bonus hour!
If you want to help to ease your children into a new schedule along with the time change, consider the following helpful tips from Parents magazine:
Make the changes gradually – Instead of turning the clock ahead by an hour and expecting your child to align with it right away, gradually shift your child’s bedtime and waking time in advance. Give the process at least four nights, if not more. Push bedtime and waking time ahead by fifteen minutes each night until it matches where it should be on the clock once the time change actually happens.
For example, if your child usually goes to bed at 8pm, advance that to 8:15pm on the first night, 8:30pm on the second night, and so on. Don’t forget to do the same thing for the child’s waking time in the morning. Since the time change, itself, happens over a weekend, the latest bedtime/waking time will be on days off, which means as little interruption as possible to your weekday schedule.
- Use light to your advantage – Light is one of the most important signals to your waking and sleeping cycle. The same goes for your children. When light is dim, melatonin (a natural hormone) is produced, encouraging sleepiness and preparation for rest overnight. Help your child to adapt to the time change by altering the rhythm of his or her light exposure. As you gradually alter bedtime and waking time, dim lights slightly later at night and turn them on earlier in the morning.
- Adhere to a set routine – The more closely you stick to a routine, the better your child will adapt to the time change. This isn’t just a matter of set bedtime and waking time – though that is a large part of it. It has to do with the entire process of heading to bed and waking up.
- Ahead of going to bed, go through the same process of dimming lights, brushing teeth, washing up, putting on pajamas, or reading a bedtime story. Keep the activities in a similar pattern and at similar times. This will help to create triggers in your child’s mind for winding down and becoming restful and ready for sleep. In the morning, go through the same routine of opening the blinds, getting up, washing up and getting dressed, having breakfast, and so on. This way, your child’s brain will recognize the triggers for becoming energized and active.
- Be understanding – even when you’ve done everything right, the time change can be challenging for your child. Try to be patient and sympathetic if he or she is moodier than usual. This will be a short-term issue and your support will help your kid to adjust more comfortably.
Don’t forget to follow these same habits for yourself, too. Making sure that you alter your own sleep schedule and routine will help you to be well rested and more sympathetic to your child throughout the adjustment. When you sleep well at night, it will help you to keep your calm, even if you’re facing extra tantrums for a few days.
Halloween is one of the most exciting times of the year for kids and parents alike. No other holiday compares in terms of the experience. After all, the Easter bunny brings treats right to you, evenings on July 4 are for fireworks instead of trick-or-treating, we don’t knock on our neighbors’ doors asking for candy on Thanksgiving, and we don’t dress in fun costumes on Christmas.
That said, if you want to make sure Halloween stays unique in a fun way this year, you need to stay safe. Kids can become exceptionally excited, making it easy to forget street-crossing safety or the fact that many of the people they’ll be visiting are indeed strangers. Therefore, it’s important to be especially vigilant as you accompany your kids on their spooky adventures.
The following are some of the top Halloween safety tips recommended by a spectrum of trusted organizations and publications.
- Costume Precautions – ‘Parents’ magazine reminds us to take safety into consideration with costume choices. Non-toxic face paint looks great without the obstructed vision caused by most masks. Pay attention to wigs, helmets, hats and even high collars as they can reduce your child’s peripheral vision. Brightly colored costumes make your child easier to see in the dark. This isn’t just important when crossing the street, as it’s also important for you to be able to keep an eye on your little one as he or she moves in and out of the shadows. Choose only costumes specifically labeled as “flame resistant” since many Jack-o-lanterns are lit with real candles and the sweep of a cape or a baggy pant-leg near a flame could otherwise spell disaster. Don’t forget to add reflective tape and flashlights whenever possible.
- Check the Loot – The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us not to let kids snack on their treats while they’re out trick-or-treating. Wait until you get home to check and sort the treats. It is very rare for tampering to occur but every year news reports pop up. It’s far better to be safe than sorry. A responsible adult should give each piece of candy a careful examination. Anything improperly wrapped, unwrapped, spoiled or simply suspicious should be thrown away.
- Carve Carefully – KidsHealth provides a list of helpful tips for creating injury-free Jack-o-lanterns. Kids should never be allowed to use knives. Instead, let them use a marker to draw the design onto the pumpkin. Kids also love scooping the “innards” out of the pumpkin with their hands so you can let them do that, too, once you cut the top off. As you carve, keep kids at a safe distance to reduce the risk of accidents. Don’t forget to clean up carefully. Pumpkin “guts” are slippery. The last thing you want to have happen is a slip and fall. Once your pumpkin is carved and gorgeous, use flame-free battery operated candle.
- Be Safe Parents – Caring For Kids (a pediatricians info group) recommends that you accompany children on their trick-or-treat adventure until they’re at least 10 years old, but preferably older. Be aware of your children, the people around you, traffic and other factors such as tripping hazards. Remember that your child is very excited so even if he or she is usually great about looking both ways before crossing the street, it may be forgotten while out on a trick-or-treating adventure.
- Drive Safely – SafeKids.org reminds us all to drive especially safely at this time of year. Take extra time to watch for crossing kids and remember that they may not wait for intersections to dart out.
Have a fun and happy Halloween!
This project is so easy and super fun too! Pumpkins make the perfect canvas to use on the day you are feeling artsy! You can use them to decorate your home or even a fun party table!
Glitz & Glam Pumpkin
If you have a white pumpkin, you don’t have to paint it! If you have an orange one, paint it white or whatever color you wish first! Then we used a cut up sponge to dab on Mod Podge where we wanted the glitter circles. Sprinkle on loose glitter and let dry. Make sure you have something under the pumpkin when you do this or you will have a big glitter mess! After it dries, repaint around the circles to make them sharp. Voila! Gorgeous upscale décor!
Depending on what kind of donut you want to paint, either paint the base the donut color, or leave it white or orange. We decided to leave our pumpkin white in this case. We just painted the top on and for sprinkles we used Puff Paint! Almost looks good enough to eat!
We had the most fun with this one! We painted our pumpkin black and then just dipped the paint brush into different color paints and kind of threw our hand toward the pumpkin for the paint to splatter! If you use Glow in the Dark paint for the splatters that would look amazing at night too!
The ideas are endless! Have fun creating your masterpieces this October!
While Little Sleepy Head 100% cotton pillowcases are soft to begin with, many little ones want their bedding to be extra-soft. After all, they have soft skin and want a very snuggly place to get a restful night of sleep.
Many pillowcase companies use chemicals to “finish” their cotton. This does make it feel softer, but Little Sleepy Head products take a more natural approach. Our pillowcases are meant for children, so the last thing we want to do is add chemicals to the fabrics. We respect the fact that many families avoid using chemical fabric softeners on their children’s bedding due to the substances and fragrances they contain. Therefore, we aren’t about to add similar chemicals to those products even before they make it to your home.
Fortunately, that doesn’t stop Little Sleepy Head pillowcases from becoming luxuriously soft and snuggly. There are lots of natural ways to soften this high quality cotton to make it even more supple than it was when it was first purchased.
These methods are all simple, affordable, natural, and chemical-free ways to soften the pillowcases without the use of chemical fabric softeners. If that’s the route you’d like to take, consider the following alternative methods:
- Add between ½ cup to 1 cup of baking soda to the load of laundry (depending on the load size). Simply sprinkle it into the water as the machine is filling. This not only softens the fabrics but it also eliminates any odors in your laundry and will make your detergent clean more effectively. Or;
- Add ½ cup of white vinegar to your laundry during the rinse cycle. This will not leave a vinegar odor on your fabrics. In fact, it will work as an odor eliminator while brightening certain colors, softening fabrics and reducing static cling. Or;
- Use soap nuts. These natural little dried berry husks are being sold by a growing number of companies as a natural laundry detergent. Simply add a few to a little cloth pouch (usually sold along with the soap nuts themselves) and soak the bag in half a cup of hot water as your machine fills. After a minute or two, pour the liquid and the bag itself into the machine and wash you laundry with them as an alternative to detergent and fabric softener. The soap nuts work as both. nThey clean fabrics and eliminate odors (they are powerful enough to eliminate skunk spray). They also soften sheets, pillowcases and clothing as effectively as chemical fabric softeners, if not better. Best of all, they can be reused several times before they’re composted.
It’s as simple as that. You’re one natural load of laundry away from a softer and even more snuggly Little Sleepy Head pillowcase.
When your toddler doesn’t nap it can be a fast route to crankiness for both you and your child. After all, napping is supposed to be a peaceful time for your son or daughter to recharge. Equally, it provides us mommies and daddies with precious relief from our child’s seemingly endless need to go, go, go.
Even more importantly, though, is that the sleep your toddler receives at nap time is critical to his or her overall physical and mental health. During the first few years, a child’s body is growing at such a rate that added sleep is needed to keep up with cognitive, emotional and physical development.
Of course, just because that’s the case, it doesn’t mean that your toddler will be willing to simply shut off at nap time. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help to encourage sleepiness at nap time.
- Stick to a schedule – toddlers are great with a consistent routine. This is true for eating, activities and also sleeping. Keep a schedule to set and maintain your child’s circadian rhythm (sleeping and waking clock). Have a bedtime at night, wake time in the morning, and naptime (start and finish) during the day. Many toddlers nap most easily in the early afternoon.
- Wait a while after eating – give your child the chance to burn through the initial burst of energy after eating lunch. Try not to load his or her meals with too many sugars and avoid caffeine altogether.
- Create the right environment – if the naptime environment is full of bright light and is highly stimulating, your toddler may find it challenging to calm down and fall asleep. Turn off the lights, use blackout blinds or curtains, and shut off all device screens. If the room isn’t naturally quiet, use a white noise machine or play some gentle, quiet music to help create a steadier and more soothing background sound.
- Choose the right pillow and blankets – a Little Sleepy Head Toddler Pillow is just the right size and snuggle level to both soothe your toddler to sleep and to support the head and neck no matter what sleeping position he or she chooses. When it comes to blankets, don’t overdo it. The goal should be to achieve the cooler side of warm. An overheated toddler is far less likely to sleep.
- Relax your toddler with a naptime massage – if your toddler is restless, rub his or her back and legs in a slow and gentle motion. This will help to soothe and ease muscles and lull your child to sleep.
- Enjoy quiet activities during naptime – make sure everyone in the family, including older children, know that your toddler’s naptime requires quiet in the whole home. Noisy activities will need to wait.
Keep in mind that some naps will be better than others and there will also be times when your toddler simply won’t fall asleep. It happens. At the same time, a half hour of quiet resting will still be helpful to your child and to you for that matter. While the goal is ultimately a sleep time, the occasional wakeful but restful time is perfectly all right.
Sleepwalking can sound terrifying and may appear rather startling when you first see it in your young child. However, this condition, also known as somnambulism, is actually quite common and is typically nothing to worry about. Technically speaking, sleepwalking involves any range of complex activities while your son or daughter is actually in a deep sleep. It could be a matter of simply sitting up and looking around or it could involve talking or getting up and leaving the room.
Children, particularly younger kids, are much more prone to sleepwalking than adults. It is also something that is much more likely to happen if the child is overtired or sleep deprived.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids between the ages of three and seven years old have a much higher probability of sleepwalking. It is most common among kids with sleep apnea as well as other sleep struggles (such as insomnia, sleep terrors and others), or even those who wet the bed.
Sleepwalking kids are actually sound asleep while they move around and will usually stay that way throughout the entire episode. As this is a time of deep sleep, waking your child may be surprisingly difficult to do and the odds are that your little one won’t remember anything that happened.
There is a myth that says that waking a sleepwalker could be dangerous. It’s just a misconception. If you want to wake your child during one of these incidents, it won’t cause him or her any harm. In fact, depending on the circumstance, it might make for a safer and calmer experience if you can simply wake your child and bring him or her back to bed.
There isn’t any specific treatment for sleepwalking in children. It is usually something that will correct itself on its own. That said, if you are concerned about the condition, then it’s a good idea to speak with your child’s pediatrician. Be prepared to talk about certain potential sleepwalking triggers such as sleeping habits, fatigue, stress or even medications your child may be taking.
Most children will outgrow sleepwalking, so the goal is to help to reduce the triggers as much as possible and to keep the child safe during the incidents. To start, make sure that exterior doors are locked in a way that your child will be unable to open them. This will stop your child from sleepwalking outside the home. Keep closets and cupboards locked if they contain potentially dangerous items. Baby gates can be helpful in stopping your sleepwalking child from using the stairs.
You may also find that you can minimize the number of episodes by encouraging consistent and restful sleep habits. These can help to improve the quality of sleep, reducing the chance of being overtired and sleep deprived. Consider the following:
Keep a set bedtime and waking time every day. Children sleep most restfully when on a schedule. The same can be said for nap times for children who are still napping.
Wind down ahead of bedtime. For at least an hour ahead of bedtime, all screens (including tablets and cell phones) should be turned off, lights should be kept dim and activities should be calm and soothing. Keeping a routine of bedtime activities (for example, washing hands and faces, brushing teeth and reading a story) can help to train the mind to prepare for sleeping every night.
- Use the right bedding – a Little Sleepy Head toddler pillow is just the right size and fill for kids and has the perfect level of “snuggle” to be soothing when it’s time to sleep. Make sure bedding is soft, but not too hot. Being warm but slightly cool is better than being overheated.
Makes 16 muffins
1 ( 15 oz) can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 c. egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. ( 2%) evaporated milk
2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 and line with silicone liners or foil liners sprayed with nonstick spray. If you are not using liners, spray your pan with nonstick spray.
Mix the pumpkin with the next 5 ingredients (through the evaporated milk). If you are not opposed to Splenda, you can also substitute the sugars for the same amount of Splenda.
Combine flour with the next 4 ingredients (through baking soda). Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix until blended and smooth.
Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
That's it! You can serve with ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream (or Fat Free Cool Whip works too!)