How to get your kids on a schedule no matter what their age can be crazy but I managed to do it and these are my tips for you.
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So when my son was born everything was crazy for my husband and I. My labor was over 21 hours. He was born in the middle of the night we had visitors first thing in the morning, until the very end of the night. The first month he had his days and nights backward. We both were exhausted for weeks on end between him being up all night and visitors almost every day, there was almost no break. People talk about taking naps, but I couldn’t even eat in peace for a minute in those first few weeks. When we finally got some breathing room I started implementing ways to make our lives a little easier and this is what I found.
Get a sleeping schedule with kids.
- We had to set our own bedtime.
- Being on your own schedule shows your children what to expect. If they see you doing things at generally the same times or in the same ways then they begin to pick up on cues that tell them what to do.
- For our bedtime routine it generally ends with snack time and 95% of the time that is what tells my 1 year old that it’s almost time.
- We brush our teeth, turn on the nightlight and he drinks his milk and he’s generally asleep within the hour.
When they were babies, swaddling has been the cue.
- Generally during the day I started leaving them unswaddled even for nap time.
- If it was cold I cranked up the heat or put a warm blanket under them but really wrapping them up tight was only for bedtime.
- The nightlight was soothing for my son. My husband loves the TV on at night and I think the flashing used to startle my son. Once we started implementing the salt lamp as a nightlight he stopped waking as much.
- The noise machine helped just reduce outside noises similar to the light.
- About the hour or two leading up to our bedtime, I would change them. This woke them up and mostly kept them awake. If they were hungry they’d start eating but if not they had a few hours to eat well before i went to sleep.
- This tip came later on but not changing them at night made all the difference. Yes, they sometimes ruined outfits (which I’d change!) but not waking them fully meant they stayed pretty sleepy for me to put back down. It was a great schedule. These Amazon diapers changed the game for me though. The price AND the functionality was unbeatable, seriously.
We also ALWAYS put on diaper cream or vaseline to prevent rashes. Add it to the schedule!!
Some major differences here is also that my son didn’t latch for 3 months. Many people congratulate me for still pumping for him that long but in reality, I was just a cow. it also paid off for me when I (briefly) returned to work because we had a freezer full of milk.
What this means though is that for my daughter, who latched right away, never really woke up for feedings she just fussed, ate and slept.
My son? It was a whole different schedule. He fussed, I got up, warmed up a bottle, propped him on the pillow on my lap, attached the pump to me, and fed him the bottle. When he was done I had to burp him, I had to be done pumping, I had to put that milk in a bottle, clean the pump, and go back to bed.
By the time that was all done it was always at least an hour. At that point it was tough for me to go back to sleep but eliminating changing him meant if he didn’t get too upset with me waiting for his milk he never fully woke up.
Again, it’s a routine thing. My husband and I…
- Have coffee
Then generally it’s playtime with my son while my husband gets ready to leave. We go on our walk if it’s nice. We play chase around the house. I listen to whatever videos I want from coaches and the mentors I follow. We eat lunch and then it’s milk time and generally nap time for my son.
You’re like great routine but you’re still not telling me how. But that is how. No matter what time we wake up we still do the same order of operations. We might swap exercise and shower sometimes but it’s still part of our day. I think a two hour window is what we work with. Whether the day starts at 6AM or 8AM depends, but then nap time is too (12PM-2PM), and bedtime (9PM-11PM).
You ultimately have to do what works for you but getting the basics down helps a lot. When nap time is over my husbands home soon from work, we eat dinner, I clean up and we have tea, then snacks, then bedtime. It might sound tremendously boring to you but it works!
Your routine can be whatever you want it to be but having certain predictabilities sets you up right. Meaning after a month or so they will naturally start responding to the hour instead of just the cues. Then you can change the location but keep the routine. You can add new things in or take some out but they will already anticipate the next step.
Then you can schedule your life accordingly. Maybe make Tuesday’s for the grocery store, and Friday can be laundry day, more ways for everyone to predict what will be happening next!
If you want to take more things off your to-do list with little kids, check out Gerber and their auto ship program! I’ve been absolutely loving taking one more thing off my list because my schedule can be hectic enough as it is. With auto ship, at least now I don’t have to worry about impromptu grocery runs because we were running out of food (I have hungry kids!).
If you can, there are sometimes also services that will do your laundry for you. This is a tough one for me personally, I don’t relish the idea of strangers handling my undergarments. It could be fine for the kids clothes I suppose, but I’m not sold on that yet.
Also, of course, if you can schedule some date nights with your husband because you have a few fewer things to worry about even better! My husband and I haven’t been out for a few months because our daughter is still very young right now. When we can though, it’s never a problem because we can expect what times are best for both kids!
Let me know what you think below, and if you have any additional tips for me tell me in the comments! Us moms need all the help we can get!
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