Clean Up Signal {Tips and Tricks}

The Babywise Friendly Blogging Network is sharing Summer Tips and Tricks with you today! Summer is in full swing here. We homeschool but we are taking a break from schooling this June which means my children have lots of opportunity for free play throughout the day. Which means lots of toys are played with. Which means lots of toys need to be cleaned up!

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I got so tired of constantly saying, “Time to clean up toys!”

So I decided to make a secret signal for the girls so they will know when to clean up toys.

My signal?

The vacuum cleaner!!!

My girls know when they hear the vacuum cleaner come on, it is time to CLEAN UP!

Usually after breakfast the girls are ready for some play time together. I love this because it lets me get some household chores accomplished before we start school and the girls burn some energy playing together.

But then I would want them to clean up and I would tell them to clean up and there would be complaints and crying and gnashing of teeth. One thing would lead to another and before you knew it, we were ALL in a bad mood. Over toy clean up.

Then I decided to tell the girls that their secret signal to clean up was going to be when they hear me turn on the Swiffer vacuum to sweep the floors!

Now, when I am ready for them to clean up toys from playing so we can move to our structured activities, I vacuum the floors and the girls clean up their toys!

The vacuum comes on and saves me from having to say a hundred times “Clean up your toys!”.

Go to the Babywise Pinterest Board to find more tips and tricks!

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8 Questions You Need to Ask Your Husband {BFBN}

It’s Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Day today and we have some new members!! Brooke Apffel of Apffel A Day is here today to share about eight questions to ask your husband! You can find me over at Wiley Adventures!

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I see my husband every single day. I fall asleep by his side every night. We have a date night once a week. Yet, I did not know the answers to most of the questions below.

It is easy to get caught up in the monotony of day to day life. Even date nights can become too routine. We often forget that it doesn’t just take a lifetime to know your spouse, it takes an intentional lifetime.

I created the following list of questions designed to get you deeper in your marriage. There are only eight here, but each one is a little seed that can sprout an entire conversation. Spread them out, be intentional and present when you ask, and, of course, listen.

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1. What is your biggest struggle right now?

As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to fix it. I know for me, my husband can tell me an issue he is having and I immediately think of about twenty solutions. I barely let him finish his sentence before bombarding him with excitement because hey guess what buddy, I have twenty different ways to make it better!In reality, he doesn’t want solutions most of the time. He just wants to confide in me. I would encourage you, unless your spouse directly asks for your opinion or your help, to try and take a step back and listen without any intention to remedy the problem. Maybe offer a hug, or some prayer, or just agree with him. He may just need someone to sit with and say, "you’re right, and I am sorry you are dealing with this."

2. Where do you hope we are in 5 years?

This is definitely an entire conversation. A good glass of wine and dreaming of glimpses of the future…ahhh lovely. It is so important to know your spouse’s dreams, hopes, wishes, plans for the future. This could range from having more kids to buying a new home.As wives, we are called to encourage and support our husbands. How can we do this if we have no idea what our husbands hope for?

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3. Are you confident that I love you?

This sounds worse than it is intended…hang with me for a second. My husband tells me that he loves me all the time…and of course it is my favorite. But, there have been a few times where I tell him that I love him, and his response is, I know you do.

Music to my ears. To have someone truly know that I love them, when I try my best to show them just this, it is amazing.

I want my husband to know that I love him…I think as wives we all do. But, every person is different. There are so many ways to receive love…some more impactful than others. Get to know the ways your husband feels loved and put your effort there.

This question simply opens the door into a deeper understanding of how your husband receives love.

4. How can I make your day to day easier?

I love this question. To be honest, I enjoy being the receiver of this question than the giver. Why? Because it is just that…a gift. The answer normally requires effort, and this is not always easy.

You could be doing something simple, that would maybe take only a few moments, but it would completely change the pace of your husband’s day…in a good way!

Make this question a habit. Stick it in with that good morning text and start your day being selfless towards your hubby.

5. What is the best marriage you have seen modeled?

Just last night, my husband and I were on a date and I whipped this question out. We both thought about it for a quick moment and we came up with the same couple! I guess it is a good thing to agree on what you want your marriage to look like.

6. Is it a stress reducer or stress enhancer to be home? Why?

Brace yourself for the answer and allow your husband to be honest. Try not get defensive, but instead actually listen to what your husband is saying.

I feel my job as a wife and stay at home mom is to create a safe place for the entire family…a haven. If my husband feels more uptight than comfortable when he is home, I want to know. How can I change this? How can I make our home a haven for my husband?

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7. Are we having enough sex?

No.

I am sure most men, unless you are wonder woman, would give this answer to their wives. But, the question is not, are we having as much sex as you would like? It is, are we having enough sex?

Men are physical. They have a deep need for sex. Plain and simple. Just as women have a deep need for intimacy and affection. And nothing strengthens a marriage more than meeting one another’s needs.

This question is also an entire conversation. Determine if you are meeting your husband’s need for sex. If no, then why not? Are you not being met in your need for affection? Are you too tired at the end of the day? What could you do to make sex be a get to and not a have to?

Don’t allow routine weekend sex be the norm in your marriage.

Spice it up!

8. Do you think we have a passionate relationship? If not, how do you think we could?

Just the other night we were sitting on the couch and a romantic movie sparked this question. Of course no relationship is like a movie…but, I remember this crazy passion I had for my husband when we were dating.

All I thought about was him. He was so exciting, mysterious, interesting, inviting, and he drew me in like a magnet. This passion fizzled.

There is not a doubt in my mind that I love my husband, but the passion is not what it used to be. Distractions surround us…work, chores, baby…life can be a little much. This just means we have to fight.

Fight for your husband. Choose them over you. Work tirelessly to regain that passion back. Even something as simple as trying a new restaurant on date night or getting a hotel for a night can spark something simply amazing.

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I hope more than anything these questions get you talking. I hope they strengthen your marriage and get you two deeper. Here are some unique dates sure to liven things up a bit! Now go enjoy your spouse.

 

Don’t forget to visit the new members of the Babywise Blogging Network by clicking on the links below!

Amy @ Amy Schlichter

Carrie @ Wiley Adventures

Shea @ The Moses Home

Stephanie @ Giving It Grace

Kimberly @ Team Cartwright

Do you blog?

Do you blog? Are you a “Babywise Mom”? The Babywise Friendly Blogging Network is looking for new members to join our team!

Each month, we have one day where we post on each other’s blogs. We also have one day that we have a common theme that we post on.

The purpose of this network is to have a strong voice out there in support of moms who choose to do Babywise!

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Please let me know if you would like to be considered for joining the network. You can comment here or on any of the current Babywise Friendly Blogging Network blogs. Please include a link to your blog. If you would like to participate but not necessarily be a monthly contributor, we also love to highlight bloggers. You do not need to be a parenting blogger to join our network. You can be any sort of blogger.

Common Ages for Dropping Naps {BFBN}

Valerie Plowman from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is guest posting here today about common ages for dropping naps. This post was very timely for me as I have a baby currently taking 3 naps! This post is excellent for the new mom just starting out on Babywise or for someone who needs to remember what to expect at certain ages. I am over at My Devising talking about how to do Babywise when you can’t start as you mean to go on.

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by Valerie Plowman

Dropping a nap is always a little bitter sweet (along with a bit scary–are you doing the right thing?!!?). On one hand, it was nice to have that quiet time to get various other things done without the "help" of the child at that moment. On the other, every napped dropped is an opening to more flexibility and freedom for the family. 

Babies on a typical 3 hour routine have 4 naps by my estimation. I consider going to sleep around 7 PM or later to be "bedtime" and not naptime, so between waking up in the morning and going to bed at night, there are four naps initially. I will walk you through the ages for dropping all 4 naps.

The 4th Nap

The fourth nap is typically dropped around 4 months old. 4th nap at 4 months. Pretty easy to remember, right? This is the most consistent age for nap-dropping. Across the board, most babies do this close to 4 months old. No other nap is this similar for babies. The range is 3-5 months. 

The 3rd Nap

The next nap is to drop is the 3rd. This nap might be a short nap for a while before you actually stop having it altogether. The average age for this nap being dropped is 8 months. The range is typically 6-10 months. Some will be older. You might have a 5 month old every so often who is ready for 2 naps. 

The 1st Nap

The next nap you drop is the first nap. The age for this is probably average close to 18 months. The age of dropping this nap has a huge variance. Some are 14 months and some are closer to 2 years.  Some people even find their baby does best dropping this nap younger than 14 months. 

The Nap

By the time you get to dropping your one and only nap, it is just "the" nap. One nap a day goes on for years. The dropping of the one nap goes very slowly. It is more of a weaning process, and ideally you will move from it being a "nap" and turn it into a "rest time." Usually, a 2 year old will sometimes just play through the nap instead of sleep. This might not start until closer to 3 years old. This starts a long process of dropping the nap slowly. I still put my child down for a nap every day during this transition unless we have something going on, like a family party or a day out. I make these exceptions to nap knowing that a nap can be missed without the child losing it completely. 

As your child gets older, this nap becomes more often a rest time than a nap. Sometime between 4 and 5, you will most likely find most days are a rest and not a nap. You then officially consider this time rest time. 

Rest Time

Then the question becomes, when do you drop rest time for good? The answer is completely up to you and what your days end up looking like. I hold on to rest time until sometime during Kindergarten. We have half-day Kindergarten here. Come Spring, my children have thus far pretty much stopped having rest time be a normal part of every day. 

We still have rest time every Sunday for our children on up to the oldest who is currently 9. I will have rest time on days I think a child could use a nap. I say we will have rest time that day and the child will usually fall asleep. I sometimes re-institute rest time during summer break, also. With older children, I often just do Sustained Silent Reading and let that count as rest time and SSR time. Let rest time be something that aides your child and you in having a good day. It does not need to become a source of guilt. Rest time is a great thing to have in your day if it makes sense for your family. 

For more help on dropping naps, see these posts:

Valerie has four children (ages ranging 2-9) and blogs at babywisemom.com.

How Your Child’s Temperament Influences the Sleep Training Process {BFBN}

It’s the last day of our Babywise Friendly Blogging Network week. Natalie from The Baby Sleep Trainer says, “You know that phrase, “Every child is different?”  It’s always just a little amusing to me when a client comments that their second child is just nothing like their first.  We often forget that  babies really are just miniature humans with their own sets of likes and dislikes and their own, often very strong, personalities.”

To continue reading click HERE!

Creating a Parenting Team with Two Different Personalities {BFBN}

I think it is safe to say most people marry someone with a different personality than their personality. Opposties attract, right? Today Emily from Journey to Parenthood is bringing us a post about some ways to work together as a parenting team with your spouse even when you have very different personalities!

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Click HERE to read more.

Being In tune to Personality Types within the Family {BFBN}

It’s Babywise Friendly Blogging Network week and we are all writing about personalities!

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As a mother, it is fun to see the personalities of my children develop over time. My oldest daughter is a spit-fire, extremely outgoing type. My younger daughter is the exact opposite: quiet, reserved and takes a while to warm up to things. My son, at just 6 months old, seems to be a laid-back, go-with-the-flow little fellow.

As most of my readers know, the adoption of our 6 month old happened extremely quickly, and within two weeks life as we knew it with our two daughters totally changed when we left in the middle of the night to travel to our son’s birth city. We left not really knowing what to expect when we arrived because the circumstances concerning his adoption were ever-changing, but we ended up coming home a month later with a newborn baby who required around the clock care due to his medical conditions upon entering this world.

Talk about throwing our family for a loop. It was complete chaos. Excited chaos, but chaos. To top it off, literally the week of his birth we had started our first official year of homeschooling!

We found ourselves trying to juggle homeschool for the Kindergartener, a preschooler and a newborn baby that required constant care. I felt like we were running a 3-ring circus trying to juggle all the acts (children).

My mom basically moved in with us for the first month, which was a God-send. In desperation, I enrolled our 3 year old in preschool three days a week. The preschool was at a church located just outside our neighborhood and it is where we sent our oldest daughter for preschool at age 3. I felt very comfortable with the environment there.

While having only two children to care for three mornings of the week did help to calm down the dynamics of the house, my plan of desperation didn’t last for long because I didn’t take into account the personalities of my children!

About two months into our new life with three children, I realized what I had done. We were basically home-bound with the baby. Taking him out just wasn’t an option due to his medical conditions.

Our oldest daughter is extremely social. There is not one single fiber of introvert in her body. She bounces through the house daily from the moment she gets up until the moment her head hits the pillow at night. Quiet does not exist in her world. She is constantly talking, interacting and socializing with anything –living or non-living. And suddenly, she was stuck at home and she literally became like a ping-pong ball going throughout the house trying to fill up her socialization tank.

Meanwhile, her reserved little sister was heading off to school three mornings a week. If I had to take her to school there were always tears. I knew she was having fun there because I would ask her teacher and ask her when she came home. The answer was always the same: she was having fun. But did she love going to school? No. Given a choice, I know she would have rather been home with Mommy.

We basically had one child who felt like a prisoner in her own home and another child being sent away from home three times a week who would have loved to just stay home. We had everything backwards.

As much as I wanted to homeschool my oldest daughter, I had to look at the Big Picture and realize that the season for homeschooling would come; now just wasn’t our season due to all the challenges our family was up against in trying to nurse this sweet baby boy to health.

One night when my husband and I were talking about what we needed to do to help our family get through this season, we both brought up a school in our city that partners with homeschool families. The children go to school three days a week and are homeschooled the other two days of the week.

When we learned there happen to be a space available in the Kindergarten class (which is very rare we are told), we decided to enroll our daughter there for the remainder of the school year so she would have an outlet during this difficult season. We pulled our younger daughter out of her preschool class.

This has been the best decision we could have possibly made for our family during this time. It was a very hard decision for us to make because of our strong conviction and calling we feel from the Lord to homeschool. However, you have to deal with life as it comes. God orchestrated the events for us to be able to adopt our son and He made provisions for our family to get through the first challenging year with him.

If our daughter wasn’t such a Social Butterfly, we may not have had to go to these drastic measures to give her an outlet during this time! She is the biggest Social Butterfly on the planet and I am thankful that we were able to find something to meet the needs of our entire family. When making decisions concerning your children, it is important to be in tune to the differing personality types in your nest!

Consistently Parenting Your Different Children {BFBN}

This week is Babywise Friendly Blog Network week! We are all posting something about personalities. Today, Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is talking about how to parent consistently in your home when your children are all different.

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Valerie writes, “Children are all unique. They respond to different things differently. How can you respect and respond to those different needs while still being consistent in your home as a parent? How do we enforce rules and expectations appropriately across personality and even age differences without our children forming a mutiny? How can we be consistent while still responding to the unique needs of each child?”

Click HERE to read more!

Outdoor Play {BFBN}

Spring is around the corner! We have not been buried under snow for the majority of this winter like many parts of our country, but we have had an unusually cold winter and I am SO ready for warmer weather!

It is Babywise Friendly Blogging Network Pinterest Day today and we are all sharing springtime activities to do with children.

If you are looking for a fun idea of something your child can do once the weather has warmed and the snow has melted, look no further! This idea will cost you nothing in supplies or prep. The only thing you need to do is…..

Tell your child it is time to play outside and send them on their way!!!!

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At least once a day my children are sent outside to play in our backyard. I am never far away for safety reasons, but I am also not interacting with them because I want them to know the pleasure of creativity. 

We don’t really have any outdoor toys set up in our backyard besides a small slide and a play kitchen that was on someone’s curb for the trash in perfect condition. Besides that there is simply creation! When we first started doing this, my daughter would say, “There is nothing to do!” and I simply replied, “Play with anything you see around you!”.

Now my girls go outside and play together usually pretty well and they have found plenty to play with! I love to hear their creativity when they are out there playing. One of their favorite things to do is to make dirt soup. They have pretended they are gardeners planting a garden. The possibilities of what they can play are endless.

Our days are very structured and we do lots of learning inside the house, but the most valuable time of day for my children is this time they spend outside simply being children and playing!!  

Be sure to check out the other Babywise Friendly Bloggers for more springtime activity ideas for your children!

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