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Caroline just loved Easter!

On Saturday, we decided to dye Easter eggs with her. She had an absolute blast dipping, then dunking the eggs into the dye. She even used the tool and helped to lift them out of the dye! 

My family has a tradition of hiding the actual Easter basket somewhere in the house. As we got older, my dad got more and more creative and more challenging with his location of choice. Easter baskets were shoved up into the chimney, hidden in the dog food bin (under the dog food), in the back toilet tank, etc. You had to really look!

When I informed my husband that we would be carrying on this tradition, he was pretty excited to take over the hiding duties! Caroline's first Easter basket (on her 2nd Easter), was hidden on her stool in the bathroom. She was so excited to find it! She got spoons and forks, a polka dot baseball hat, a plastic egg, and a stuffed bunny! She loved taking everything out and toting the basket around!

Later that day, we went to an Easter egg hunt. Caroline got to meet the Easter bunny as well. She actually did really well and even gave hugs and kisses! I thought for sure that she was going to be scared of him. She found several eggs and put them into her basket as she looked for more. 

We then went out to lunch at a great local bakery. Royal Bakery in Germantown is nothing short of amazing! We got bagel sandwiches and a couple of donuts to go! This is a stop I can definitely see making a tradition out of!

Holidays can be a bit sad sometimes since we don't have extended family around. I am so glad that we are making our holidays so special, however. It might just be the three of us, but we have amazing family days!








My husband and I live far away from family. When it comes to childcare, this makes things a bit difficult for us. We don't have the luxury of being able to drop our daughter off with family. I am a stay at home mom, so (for the most part) we are not in need of childcare. There are some instances, however, that I simply can't bring Caroline along with me. And, in the event of an emergency, I would like to know that we have a backup plan and somewhere that we can take her if we need to.

In most cases, if I have an appointment that I can't bring Caroline along to, my husband tries to take off of work for a couple of hours and help me out. There are times that he can't do this, however, and it is pretty much off of the table during the summer months (when his work load picks up to full force)! Aside from taking Caroline along, or just not scheduling my appointments, we haven't had any other options at our disposal.

As a result, we have decided to find and use childcare on a regular basis. Not only did we find a childcare program, we found a backup option!

Our childcare options:

1. Weekly childcare
2. Babysitter

Before I could find/schedule/use the above options, I had to accept a few things mentally first!
   
- Just because I am a stay at home mom, doesn't mean I should never have an opportunity to have time to myself. It is not only healthy for me, it is a great learning experience for my daughter to be around other people and not with Mama!

This brought on a bit of guilt at first, but once I decided to admit this statement to myself, things got easier! It's hard, though...I mean I'm home, so why not watch my own child!?!

- I simply can't take Caroline everywhere. I can't watch her if I am at the chiropractor's office. I can't get a root canal done if I'm chasing my daughter around the office or if she's crying in a stroller. Some appointments are just not kid friendly.

- My husband and I are allowed to have a moment to be together without our child. Our marriage needs attention too!

About Childcare Options

Weekly childcare

There is most likely an organization in your area (often a church), that has what's called a "Mother's Day Out" program. Sometimes preschools offer a similar option as well. These programs are a few hours each week, and give your child a chance to learn social skills while being away from you. We started a program like this at the beginning of the school year (when Caroline was 9 months old). I have 4 hours each Friday all to myself. It gives me a chance to schedule appointments, run errands, or simply have some "me" time. I was hesitant at first, but now consider it to be one of the best things we've done! It gives me a chance to get so many things done. Caroline is also doing so well with this experience. Check out this post on Caroline's weekly program. It talks a lot about WHY I enrolled her. This is her "halfway" report on the school year! We have already signed her up for next year, and found a summer program (since her current one follows the typical school year).

Babysitters

This option has taken me awhile to do, but it is also very important. Most of the people that we know in the area use family to watch their children. So, we didn't have a recommended babysitter. I was hesitant to go online and hire someone, but the reality is that there are great avenues in which to do so. We chose to use care.com (there are several sites out there). I reviewed profile after profile until I found a couple of babysitters that I wanted to contact. From there, we scheduled an in person interview. I have to admit, I was very impressed.

When I conducted my search, I searched for an age of 40+. I was not looking for a high school student with little to no experience with children. I was looking for a former stay at home mom, or perhaps a mom/grandma that is retired and looking for some side work. I got lucky and found a mom with 10+ years of experience, AND her high school daughter as a backup.

The great part is that she has valuable experience raising her own children, as well as looking after other children. I am fully expecting to learn from her, bounce ideas off of her, etc. I walked away from the interview feeling comfortable and like I'd have someone to talk with as well.

I am so glad that we finally decided to take the plunge and find a babysitter. We have 3 dates scheduled with her already: 2 date nights with my husband (Caroline will already be sleeping), and 1 appointment that wouldn't fit into the above weekly childcare time slot.

I feel much more comfortable knowing that we have someone to call in case of an emergency as well!

Interviewing the Babysitter

I had a couple of things that I wanted to make sure I asked the babysitter during our interview. I also knew that I would get a feel for her just by spending some time with her. I didn't want it to be a formal interview, but more of a casual meeting.

We had her come to our house. My husband was home, and Caroline was just getting up from her nap. I wanted to see the babysitter interact with our daughter. I wanted to see how our daughter responded to her.

Questions I was prepared to ask:
- Are you ok with dogs?
- What is your availability during the week and the summer?
- What is your pay rate?
- What discipline are you comfortable with?
- Are you comfortable keeping with a schedule?
After that, I knew I'd figure out more questions along the way...

The amazing thing was that this babysitter was experienced enough that I never had to formally ask my questions. She asked me questions. This gained so much respect from me. I knew that she knew what she was talking about. She asked about discipline before I could bring it up. She asked about schedules. She asked about what we felt comfortable with if our daughter woke up crying. She was comfortable (and seemed to agree) with ALL of our answers. I felt good that we were on the same page, and that she wouldn't be out of her comfort zone.

We also just had some hang out time. We chatted here and there, and came up with more questions and topics to discuss. In between, we let Caroline play and interact with her. We showed Caroline that we were comfortable with the babysitter, and the babysitter had chances to interact with her. The setting was relaxed and comfortable, and I feel that we got a very good feel for how this woman will interact with our daughter. I did one interview with one person, and didn't feel the need to interview anyone else! Trusting my Mama gut!

Take the First Step!
If you are in a similar position with no family in the area, I highly recommend that you consider both the weekly childcare option, and having a babysitter! Take the first step and do your research to find a good program and a reliable babysitter. Pick up the phone and schedule that tour, or interview. You deserve a few hours a week to get things done, and it is incredibly stress relieving to know that you have someone to call! You do not need to feel guilty. Again, this is a healthy step for mama and child!

Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise Friendly Blog Network and the ladies in the group are covering anything and everything to do with babysitting and childcare options! Be sure and check out our Pinterest Page and check out the other posts today!




Stephanie- Giving it Grace

Kimberly- Team Cartwright






Caroline is just about 16 months old, and we have always done some form of independent play time. The look of this "independent" time is changing, however. Below you will find a breakdown of how independent play has changed for us over the last 16 months, the reasons to do independent play, and the ideal timing to do this during the day.


The Progression of Independent Play


In the beginning months, Caroline's independent play looked much different. I was in the same room, but actively doing my own thing and encouraging her to play on her own. Often, this simply meant getting on my phone and paying attention to something else. She seemed to see that I was busy and entertained herself. If I made eye contact, however, she'd want me to engage her further. I would leave the room on occasion (staying where I could see her), and come back fairly quickly. Before she was crawling, she simply got some floor time on a blanket on her own. This lasted a few minutes.

Eventually, her independent pay consisted of me being in a separate room (with a sight-line to her).
Once she was crawling, we actually took a step backwards for safety reasons, and I mostly stayed in the same room to keep a close eye on what she was doing. The same happened when she made the progression to walking.

Once Caroline learned that she could follow me, however, true independent play took a back seat. It looked more like her following me from room to room. I wasn't actively playing with her, but I wasn't keeping her away from me either. After all, I LOVED that she was choosing to follow me around! After doing this for several weeks, she finally realized that I would be coming back, and that she didn't always have to follow. So our independent play looked more as it used to- me leaving the room on occasion and typically within view.

Now that Caroline is older and understands what I am telling her, I decided to challenge her a bit more with her independent play. Around 15.5 months of age, I started putting her in her room for 10 minutes at a time. I kept the monitor with me (so I could hear her), and went downstairs. She has done so great with this, that this has now become mama's shower time! She has access to me in the bathroom if she needs me, but also has free reign of her room and the upstairs hallway. I can hear if she were to yell out for me, so this has worked out perfectly. She checks on me every once in awhile and pokes her head in the side of the shower curtain. She then returns to her room and plays with her books, puzzles, blankets, etc.

So, we have finally reached TRUE independent play. I can hear her at all times, but I cannot see her and she cannot see me for the majority of the time. We, of course, have everything baby-proofed, so I am not concerned about anything major happening to her in my "absence".

At 16 months of age, she only does 10-15 minutes of true independent play like this. She does great with it. This independent play is "free play", and she has access to her room. I pull a few things out, and sometimes she chooses to play with those items, but other times she chooses to find something different.

Eventually we will up the time, and create more structured play. She might sit down and color, or use her wipe clean books to learn beginning pen control, etc. She is too young for this type of structured play to be independent, however.

Reasons to do Independent Play


- You need time: Let's face it, you need to cook dinner without your toddler hanging all over your legs! You need to shower, and do a few things here and there that don't involve your toddler.

- Teaching the ability to entertain onself: This is an invaluable tool for your toddler to have. The ability to entertain themselves is huge. Children who can find something to do, are less likely to be bored, and are more likely to engage in something valuable that they will learn from. Even if their independent play consists of taking all of your clothes out of your bottom drawer... they are learning something!

- Building important qualities: Solo play builds self confidence, independence, and creativity. If you look closely, your toddler will be practicing skills. You will hear them babbling and practicing their language skills as well!

Timing


Whatever you do, make sure your child is well rested and well fed during independent play! Things will go much smoother if this is the case! We choose to do late morning (right after breakfast). She is excited to be up for the day, isn't bored of her toys just yet, and has a lot of energy to put into her play time. 

Clean up 

When independent play time is over, I always come in and ask her to clean up any mess that she's made. At this age I help her and show her what to do. If she resists, I let her calm down, and then ask for her assistance again. I also explain why she needs to clean up and help mama. I never just clean up the mess without her help. It is important that they learn to clean up after themselves at an early age. Caroline loves to help clean up because it simply seems like another activity to her. Sometimes we even turn it into a game!


In last two weeks, Caroline has developed a heightened hesitation and sense of being scared of things. I have noticed changes when she interacts with new people, as well as objects and situations that she isn't as comfortable with. She also still retains most of her fearlessness, however! She climbs on top of anything she can, would probably jump into a pool if I let her, and jumps into the foam pit at the trampoline park all on her own!


People

She is becoming very hesitant and shy around strangers.

If she so much as sees someone coming near us, she holds on to me a little tighter, and even hides behind me. If someone is perhaps located in the direction we are going, she tries to change direction and doesn't want to go that way anymore. She stops in her tracks and assesses the situation.

When people come up to her (to say high to the cute baby, of course), it now causes her to cry.

I have noticed a couple of things:

- She reacts more strongly to some people

- She does seem to ease up and become more comfortable with someone when she sees that I am talking to them and comfortable

What we are doing

I think it is very important to tell her that it is ok to be hesitant, and it is ok to be shy. "Always trust your gut" is a very important message. She does not have to talk to (or interact with) strangers. On the flip side of that, I am also trying to explain to her that she can be polite and say hello in return. I am also informing her when we know and trust someone. We reinforce that concept of staying close to Mama and Daddy, and that we are always assessing new people as well.

Objects

I know this has happened with a couple of things lately, but the only one coming to mind, was her reaction recently to a pine cone.

She has seen and touched pine cones before. We were walking down to her favorite stop sign, and she spotted a pine cone. She stopped dead in her tracks and was pointing and saying "there, there there!". I told her what it was. She stepped closer, looked, then backed up. She did this several times and seemed to be quite frightened. I picked up the pine cone and held it far away from her. I was explaining to her that it wouldn't hurt her, and that mama was holding it and that everything was still ok. She was very curious, but still wouldn't come near the pine cone. I set it back down, and tried to get her to keep walking. She would not walk passed it. So, I tried to head back towards home with her. She wouldn't have anything to do with that, either. She was fixated on the pine cone. Eventually, she worked up the courage to walk over to it and pick it up. It was amazing to see how she seemed to be thinking about things, and working through her fear right in front of me! In the days following, she's been completely fine with pine cones!

Sudden changes

This fear actually isn't new. I first noticed it back in February when we were in Palm Springs. That California wind came up and we happened to be walking around outside together. She ran for my legs as the wind blew a piece of trash near her. She was so startled and didn't know what had just happened. She climbed up me faster that I could grab her it felt like!

The same reaction has been brought on by:

- Sudden ignition of fire (at a Japanese steak house)- she was NOT a fan! LOL

- Leaves blowing in the wind

- A spider that suddenly crawled out of a newspaper she was playing with


It is very interesting to see how she deals with these new fears. She seems to really confront them head on. No matter what it is, she gives into her natural curiosity and observes closely. She stays close to Mama at all times, and holds on tight. But after awhile, she seems to want to let go, be independent, and address the object/situation on her own. It has been very interesting to observe this process. She seems so strong and so brave, and also listens to her natural intuitions. I am glad that she has become hesitant of strangers (better than the alternative), and that she seems to have a natural gut feeling about certain people. This is such a good quality to have and to listen to.


There are two things I want to address in this post:
1. Why antibacterial soaps are BAD
2. Why dirt is good

As a mom, I understand the desire to keep your child healthy. Unfortunately, the use of antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers might be having the opposite effect long term. The science major in me has to point this out!

Antibacterial Soaps and Hand Sanitizers


1. Resistant bacteria is dangerous
 
These products contain a chemical called triclosan.
I'll keep this basic, but triclosan, like antibiotics, is used to kill bacteria. These chemicals kill most bacteria, but not all. A small subset of bacteria survive the exposure and start to develop a resistance. Over time, these bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics making them very difficult to treat and fight off. If this happens on a large enough scale our society could create bacteria strains that are resistant to ALL chemical treatment. That's bad news for us.

There are also many studies being conducted on overuse of triclosan and that it may be causng issues such as infertility, thyroid regulation problems and more.

2. We need good bacteria
 
These products also kill good bacteria. Good bacteria is actually useful in helping to fight off bad bacteria and in keeping us healthy.

Similar to how the bacteria can develop resistance to chemicals we expose them to, we can develop a resistance to bacteria (when exposed to them). That is a good thing! We can build up our immunity if we allow ourselves to be exposed.

Our digestive health depends highly on good bacteria (probiotics). This is why yogurt is so helpful for digestive issues.

Let your baby/toddler/child get dirty

So, we've discussed why antibacterial products are not great for us. Let's talk about dirt and why it is so good for us! Now, just to be clear, I am fully aware of the fact that our society has come a long way in cleaning up public health issues such as contaminated water, etc. I am not in any way saying that those efforts were bad- we couldn't sustain disease free as a population without those measures. I am simply saying to go outside and let your children play in the dirt- in fact you should too! It's ok. And don't shower them in antibacterial soap afterwards! 

Dirt actually contains healthy bacteria
 
It is good to get exposed to that healthy bacteria, and our children's bodies need practice dealing with, and being exposed to bacteria. Their bodies actually practice its immune response. Being exposed to bacteria can build your immune response, reduce allergies, and improve digestive health. All really good things!

Foods that contain probiotics (such as yogurt) are great to feed to your children. That only goes so far, however. There are actually soil based microorganisms that contain stronger strains of beneficial bacteria, that actually survive in our digestive system and provide the most benefit. 

Kids have a natural desire to explore

Even a baby that's only at the crawling stage, will go off into the dirt if you let them. This is such a great natural desire that we should not hinder. Babies and children are learning about their environment and satisfying their natural curiosity. Their bodies are absorbing good things such as iron and soil based microorganisms that keep them healthy!

So, let them play. Let them go outside without shoes if they want to. And it's not even the end of the world if they put some dirt in their mouth- which they will do! Let them splash in mud puddles, and help in the garden. Let them eat a meal without washing their hands before they do. These are all steps to keeping your child healthy long term. 



Eat Wake Sleep Cycle Month 15In the last 3 months, Caroline has transitioned to 1 nap, and has learned so many new skills! I continue to be so impressed by this amazing little girl!
 
Nap schedule: As mentioned in this post about When and How to Transition to One Nap, Caroline was simply not taking a nice long nap until we started putting her down a bit later in the day.

This is the schedule we had to use for a while:

7 am wake, 2-4 pm nap, 7 pm bed

She did that for a couple of weeks, and then started showing signs of tiredness a bit earlier (1/1:30).

She is now sleeping from 1:30-3:30 pm, which is working much better for us! She has also done a couple of 1-3:30 pm naps. It is almost as if she needed to be taught how to take a 2 hr nap by putting her down later. Now she is putting it into practice at a more convenient time, and
is avoiding getting overtired by doing this as well!
 
Wake time: Caroline is literally off and running! She's only been walking for 3 months now, so I can't believe she is already full speed ahead! Not only has she learned to run, she is learning a lot of new language skills! She can say mama and dada, but is also starting to experiment with other consonant sounds, and has her own "words" for things. She understands our communication so well! I can ask her to put an object in a specific location, and she does it without hesitation. She helps me with a variety of tasks and enjoys it so much! If she spills her milk, for example, she goes and gets a wipe and attempts to clean it up on her own. She is learning so quickly!
 
She is also much more aware of the capabilities of her body. She can climb up and down the new stool in the bathroom (only took 1.5 days of practice and explanation), she gets down off of the couch with ease (so much so, I leave her on the couch by herself without worry), she climbs on and off of her rocking horse on her own, she brushes her teeth, lets me put her hair in pigtails again (also helps to comb her hair), and so much more! She can point to most of her body parts, recognizes things outside from learning them in books (stop signs, school buses, grass, leaves, sky, clouds, planes, etc). She can play on a playground now with assistance!
 
She's also learned to wait and/or ask for help, and understands to hold my hand when crossing the street or in a parking lot. We are working on listening to things such as staying close and
coming back to mama when called. She does this a little bit, but it certainly needs improvement LOL!

We've started doing 10 minutes of true independent play time at this age as well. She goes up into her room and has access to the hallway as well. I leave the monitor on (so I can hear her), and I stay downstairs. This is giving me a chance to get a few things done, and she is learning to be without mama for a few minutes, and that it is ok to be without me!
 
It is amazing to see how much she's learned! Over the past 15 months she's been watching and observing so much. Now she is putting it all into practice!
 
Caroline is also getting really good at using a fork and spoon! I would say she has the fork down, and she is just starting up with a spoon again, but is doing really well. We also give her full rolls, sandwiches, slices of quesadillas, etc. She takes bites (most of the time), and does
well without everything being perfectly cut up into bite sized pieces.


She definitely understands "no", and even throws little fits when she hears the word. We are starting to get a little more strict with our discipline now that we know she understands things so well. For example, she only gets to eat what we've prepared for breakfast/lunch/dinner. If she doesn't like it, or doesn't want to eat it, she is done and has to wait until the next meal. Part of the meal is always something we know she will eat at least a little bit of. She is told "no", and if she doesn't listen, the object is taken away, or she is removed from the situation. As her understanding grows, our expectations grow as well. Read more about her tantrums and our discipline here...

We started potty training right at 15 months. It was going very well (more pee in the potty than on the floor), however, she still does not have a way to tell us that she needs to go. Her communication skills need to improve slightly before we do this. So, we are holding off for now. I fully expect this to happen soon, however. She is definitely ready (aside from the communication barrier)!


I am super excited for the next wonder week! She is about 1 month out from leap 10. I've read and heard from other mamas that this leap is when the words really start to flow! I can't wait to hear her voice more!








It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Here's my post on "Knowing When and How to Switch to One Nap per Day". Enjoy!



Babywise mamas often have lots of questions about naps. Naps are a frequent topic of discussion because they are essentially the first line of defense from a mamas standpoint! We notice when our little one's naps are disrupted, or start to become difficult to come by. After all, nap time is mama heaven! Nap changes are the telltale sign of everything!



There are a few things to keep in mind when observing your baby's napping behavior:
1. Short naps (around 30 minutes), are typically linked to your baby being overstimulated and/or overtired.
2. Difficulty falling asleep- this can be due to your baby being overtired or undertired! Mama will know best which is the case based on the age, wake time, and cues from baby (rubbing eyes, etc.). Ideal wake times can be found on the baby schedules page.
3. Short naps (around 45 minutes), are linked to pretty much everything else! This is a tough mystery to solve as it can be due to learning new skills, hunger, your baby might be uncomfortable, perhaps hasn't learned how to link sleep cycles yet, needs more wake time, etc. All sorts of things can be the cause of the dreaded 45 minute intruder. 

Transitioning to 1 Nap
When it comes to transitioning from two naps to one nap per day, the task can be a little daunting. Not only is it hard to part with one of those nap heavens (Mamas, I know you feel me on this!), it can also be difficult to know when your child needs to take this big step! If you read the Pre-Toddlerwise book (and most other sleep resources), they advise you to transition to one nap somewhere between 14 and 18 months of age. This is a HUGE range (and this is just the average), so you will not be able to switch to one nap based on age alone! It is always important to build your schedule around your specific child's needs. 

Here are some things to be on the lookout for with your current 2 nap schedule:
- Naps are becoming shorter and shorter
- Your child is no longer sleeping during one nap (perhaps quietly playing or resting)
- Your child is starting to refuse a nap all together (crying and fussing)

These are all signs indicating that you may be on your way to one nap in the short future. 
You will want to hold on to two naps as long as possible, however, so that your child is well rested. Transitioning too early, can result in a very cranky toddler! 

Personal Experience
Our transition has actually taken place over several months. When Caroline was 10 months old, she was absolutely refusing to take two naps. When I gave in and allowed her to take only 1 nap a day, her schedule was beautiful and she was happy and content- but only for so long! We quickly figured out that alternating between 1 and 2 naps, was the ideal scenario for her. She soon outgrew this, and by her 1st birthday, she was back to needing 2 naps per day on a regular basis. With all the new skills she was learning, she was simply exhausted! She needed the very occasional 1 nap day thrown in, but was on a consistent 2 nap schedule until now (15 months).

For us, the indicator was an extremely short 1st nap, and then refusal of her 2nd nap (due to being overtired). Caroline started essentially taking a short catnap in the morning. She would then also skip the second nap some days resulting in a very frustrating evening. She was overtired by the time it came to her second nap time and we were all having a hard time. I had attempted to do 1 nap days again (with a nap starting at 12:30 pm), and her naps were simply not long enough to sustain this schedule. 

I realized that on Friday's (when she goes to her Mother's day out program), she doesn't take a nap until 1:30 or 2 pm. Lately, that nap had been amazing! So, we decided to move forward with the one nap schedule, but that one nap starts at 1:30/2 pm. She stays in her crib until 4 pm! She typically sleeps the entire time, but if she doesn't, we still keep her in the crib for restful time and she doesn't complain. 

Consider TOTAL sleep
Something to keep in mind when making the transition, is the total sleep that your child is getting. At the 14-18 month age range, children should get a total of 12-14 hours of sleep. You aren't going to get much more out of them! So, if your child sleeps 12 hours at night, it is quite possible they may only take a 1 hour nap. They may also be the child that naps for 2 hours, or the one that only needs 12 hours total! It all depends on the individual! 

A typical one nap schedule in a Babywise book looks like this:
7 am wake
12:30/1 pm nap
3/4 pm wake
7/7:30 pm bed

As mentioned above, that schedule wasn't working the best for us. Caroline was taking about a 1 hr nap and having a hard time making it to bedtime. When that happens, simply make bedtime earlier! We started doing a 6:30 pm bed time to help her out!

This is the schedule that is proving to work the best for us:
7 am wake
2 pm nap
4 pm wake
7 pm bed

She is starting to wake a bit early (6:30 am), so we may push bedtime to 7:30 pm and see how that works. The reality is that it is all a balance, and very individual. Start with a goal in mind, but watch your child and make tweaks to best fit the schedule to them and your family!

Making the transition
When first making the transition, expect that your child will need a lot of distractions around the time they used to take their first nap. We have been spending a lot of time out and about keeping her busy. We are now over a week into this, and Caroline has made the transition beautifully. She still gets a little cranky around 10:30 am when she used to nap, but that is getting less and less frequent. And, if we power through, the rest of the morning is great and she takes an awesome nap later in the day! 

If you find that you can't get through the morning easily, try allowing your child to take a very short catnap. This will help get them to the desired nap time without getting overtired and being too cranky! And, consider alternating 1 and 2 nap days if you notice that your child becomes tired after a few days of doing only 1 nap. Try to make the transition as smooth as possible for yourself and your little one! And, congratulations on making it to 1 nap! Bittersweet, but you now officially have a toddler on your hands.


Other Helpful Resources:
Frequently Asked Baby Questions Summarized


It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:





It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Stephanie, over at Giving it Grace, is writing about "One Quick Trick For Stopping Unwanted Toddler Behavior". I am definitely trying this tip out myself! Check out the sneak peek below and head on over to her site to read the full post!



Truly the most frequently asked questions I get have to do with newborns and sleep, which is why I wrote this post about sleep goals for babies first four months. Today though, I am answering the second most frequently asked question I get, which is:

How do I get my toddler to stop doing "x" behavior?

The "x" behavior can be a whole host of undesirable behaviors: dropping food, tantrums at the table, delaying at bedtime...really, toddlers never tire of thinking up annoying things to do, do they?

To stop unwanted behavior, I'll always first advise being more firm. In our home, disobedience or naughty behavior either means I'm not being clear enough with what's expected, or I'm not being swift enough with discipline. But if the undesired behavior is too clockwork - like a tantrum every time mom tries to put toddler in the car - I take a different approach. I like to change it up. The scenery, the routine, whatever - just do something to break the pattern of bad behavior.

One of the earliest instances of this I can remember is when my son started having tantrums at the dinner table... Read more....



It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Carrie, over at Wiley Adventures, is writing her tips about "Scheduling". Check out the sneak peek below and head on over to her site to read the full post!




I love a good schedule. I have always loved a good schedule. I also married someone who appreciates a good schedule. So it should come as no surprise that when Kyle and I became parents, we like to set up and follow a good schedule. It is the second reason that drew us to Babywise in the first place. (The first reason was having so many friends in life stages ahead of us with well-rounded kids who loved to sleep, all of whom had used Babywise). 

Now that we have done this a few times, I get asked a lot of questions about setting and keeping a schedule. Here are some things to consider. 

How to set a schedule in the beginning

Whether you are starting from a pregnancy planning your first baby or even planning a schedule for your older child, my first suggestion is applicable: Read more...



It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Emily, over at The Journey of Parenthood, is writing about "How to Drop the Last Middle of the Night Feeding". Check out the sneak peek below and head on over to her site to read the full post!

The newborn days are so tough for me. I don't function well without enough sleep and I feel like I'm a walking zombie until my babies are sleeping through the night. Establishing a Babywise Routine isn't easy, but it pays off so quickly. Somewhere around 6-8 weeks my babies all stopped waking during the 3-4 am hour and instead slept until the 5-6 hour. While you'd think that would be awesome, because it means an extra hour of solid sleep for me, it's actually the MOST frustrating time for a baby to wake.

With a desired wake time to start the day being 7, having a baby wake at 5 is like torture. How do you handle it? How do you get them to drop that feeding and make it until 7? Having to wake yourself up to feed your baby at 5 am knowing you will be up again at 7 is truly torture! Here's how I handle dropping the last middle of the night feeding: Read more...



It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Kimberly, over at Team Cartwright, is writing about "Twins and Babywise: Why Bother?". Check out the sneak peek below and head on over to her site to read the full post!


It still feels a little strange when I say it out loud, but I am a twin mom.  Not only that, I have three kids!  For real, how did that happen?  Okay, I know how it happened, and that isn't the point.  The point now is what do I do with these three kids?  We had Ben in a really good place schedule, sleep, and eating wise.  Babywise was a major part in helping with this.  While I was staring down the future with three kids, I knew the Babywise principles would help me again.  I so do not have all the answers yet.  In fact, I have more questions than answers.  I don't have all the kinks worked out, so I will hold off posting on details until then.  What I am talking about today is why I have decided to even try Babywise with my twins when I already have a 2.5 year old. 

Here are the big questions I get about choosing Babywise so far:  




It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:


Shea, over at The Moses Home, is writing her tips on "Avoiding Overtiredness". Check out the sneak peek below and head on over to her site to read the full post!




I get asked a couple of questions a lot, and most of them have one answer. Those questions are:
1. I can't get {insert cute baby's name here} to nap longer than 45 minutes at a time. He/She won't take a full nap!
2. {insert cute baby's name here} takes FOREVER to fall asleep for naps. He/She will never settle down, and just keep talking to themselves (or crying) when I lay them down!
3. {Insert cute baby's name here} keeps waking up WAY early in the morning. Like at 4 or 5 am and I can't get them to fall back asleep!
4. {Insert cute baby's name here} wakes up from a nap SCREAMING. He/She never wakes up happy.

Most of the time, these questions lead me to the same root problem: Overtiredness. Having an overtired baby or toddler can make a mom feel like she is running around in circles - and coming to no real resolution to the problem. Read More....

It is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! You will be hearing from these lovely ladies this week, all on hot topics people often have questions about:

Valerie, over at BabyWiseMom.com is writing her 6 tips on "How to Have a Good Sleeper". Check out the sneak peek below and head on over to her site to read the full post!

When your baby doesn't sleep well, it can drive you to the brink of insanity. You are worried about why baby won't sleep well. You are emotional because you can't remember what it feels like to sleep longer than a few hours at a time. You feel stressed because you can't afford to take your time doing anything because your time is short before baby needs you again (I once removed the clothes from the dryer, moved clothes into the dryer, started a new load, AND folded laundry in FIVE MINUTES when I had a newborn. I try to replicate that every week and just can't make it happen). You are paranoid because when baby wakes up is always a guessing game. You feel anxious because try as you may, you just can't get sleep just right.

Helping baby sleep well is not as easy as it ever sounds in written instructions. It is easy to write a simple how-to guide. It is much harder in practice. It is, however, doable. You just need to focus on a few key areas. Here is how you can have a good sleeper (be sure to follow links on any topic you need more input on). Read More...
Image Source: HolyMamaMoly.com 


So I have to say, Caroline can throw a pretty good tantrum now. Screaming, real tears, hitting, throwing, and for some reason opening her mouth and slamming her face into me (or anything near by). Luckily, it usually just consists of screaming or crying, and seems to come in phases and then goes away.

It is always hard to not just give in and give her what she wants. Sometimes that is appropriate, and others it simply is teaching a very bad lesson. Here are a few things I am keeping in mind through this phase (however long it comes and goes):

1. Understand
  
It is so important to understand why your child is upset. This obviously isn't something you can just ask them if they aren't talking much (or at all yet).
These are the most likely culprits:

- Didn't like that you said "NO" or wouldn't let them do something.

- Communication issue. It must be so frustrating to not be able to get your point across to someone. When your child can't say all of the words they want or need to say, it is bound to frustrate them. It is also frustrating to them if they don't understand what you are asking of them. 

- They are tired or hungry. I don't know about you, but I certainly get a little extra cranky if I am tired and/or hungry. I don't always realize why I am so snappy until my husband points it out LOL! A child is definitely not going to realize that they are getting abnormally upset, and link that to hunger or tiredness- but you can. This is why I am a huge advocate of keeping them on a schedule. Schedules keep everyone well rested and well fed!
    
2. Pick your battles
  
Not everything is worth letting them have a tantrum over. If it is safety related, hold your ground and be firm, but if it isn't, perhaps reconsider why you are saying "no". If you still feel that it is a necessary "no", then stick to it! But, if you realize that you might be saying no out of convenience for yourself, reconsider. It is ok to realize that you may have been wrong and correct the issue. What seems like no big deal to you, is a HUGE deal to your child. Did they just want to stay outside for a little while longer? Can you make that happen? Go for it! That being said, see number 4 below on setting boundaries! (It is always a balance).

3. Explain
   
 There are 2 very important things to explain to your child:
- First explain that you understand how they feel. Acknowledging someone's feelings goes a long way. Tell them that you understand that they are mad/sad/angry/etc. and that it is ok to feel that way. It sucks that they can't have candy for breakfast (or whatever it is they are upset about)! Be genuine and try to understand how big of a deal it is to them.

- Next explain why you are saying no. Tell them that it isn't good for their body to have candy for breakfast, or that you don't even have any in the house. Or tell them that you spent a lot of time making eggs and pancakes and it would make you feel appreciated if they ate what you made. Whatever your actual reason, just tell them. Most people like to know why something is happening. Not just, "because I said so". And they may not understand, but one day they will, so just keep explaining. I've been explaining since day 1 when Caroline had no clue what I was talking about!

4. Set boundaries
Children thrive on rules and boundaries. They also test you on them. Decide what your boundaries are and set them. Don't be afraid to enforce them. Hearing "no" is healthy for a child. They will hear no a lot in their lives. Don't let their first experience come outside of your home. They simply cannot have what they want all of the time. Teach them that. They will not always understand why, and that is ok. (Still worth explaining, though).

5. Be consistent
  
 When you set rules and boundaries, be consistent. Both parents need to be on the same page. You need to always enforce the rule in the same way so they don't get confused. There are enough communication issues, don't create one of your own! If they aren't allowed to go down the stairs in an upright position, just don't let them. If that means that you carry them down the stairs when they won't do it correctly, that's ok. If they cry the whole time, that's also ok. I'd rather have a crying child, than a child that just fell down the stairs. Don't forget to take the time to explain (#3).
6. Be patient
Don't forget that this is all new to your child. They may not understand yet that something is "unsafe" or what that even means. Their whole world seems like it's falling apart when they can't have candy for breakfast. Don't forget that their world is so much smaller than ours, and that things are on a much bigger scale. So, be patient with them. Don't let them actually get you upset. And be patient with the process. Consistency will pay off, and you won't have to keep saying no to the same things (it will be new things). Also be patient with yourself. Remember that you are doing the best you can and that you have good intentions. If you get upset, it's only human. It is ok. Forgive yourself and start over, because your child already has.