Tips & Tricks: Middle Child Syndrome

The Babywise Blogging Network is bringing you Tips & Tricks today on the topic of siblings. Don’t forget to visit our Pinterest Board as well.

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Rather suddenly, Sweet Pea was thrown into the position of “Middle Child” in our family. With an older sister that naturally just demands attention and then a baby brother that required so much of my attention during his first year, I have definitely seen some of the signs and symptoms of Middle Child Syndrome in Sweet Pea.

It is very easy to “overlook” a naturally reserved, quiet middle child when you have two others demanding your attention. Here are some things we are consciously doing to make sure Sweet Pea does not feel overlooked in our circus:

1. One on One Time – Sweet Pea needs one-on-one time with her parents. Time when she has our undivided attention. This is the main reason I do preschool first with Sweet Pea before doing school with Little Bug. That is Sweet Pea’s time. I will also sneak other times throughout the day where my focus is just on Sweet Pea. We may read a book together or play a game, both of which Sweet Pea really loves to do!

2. Special Outings – Dave takes Sweet Pea on errands sometimes to be able to have some special on-on-one time with her. I think it’s a wise idea to schedule special outings for all children with each parent every month or so. This is something I would like to eventually implement in our family.

3. Positive Reinforcement – Middle children tend to act out negatively (to get attention they feel they are lacking), so anytime I catch Sweet Pea doing something noteworthy, I make a big deal over it! She has a natural desire to be a helper so it is easy to find things to compliment her on. Her daily chore is to put Sarge’s milk cups together for me. She does an excellent job and I make sure to praise her every day for a job well done.

4. Be sensitive to needs – Sometimes, in the chaos, I just need to STOP and ask myself, “What does Sweet Pea need right now?” and that can help to calm the chaos of everyone around. She might simply be needing her water cup refilled and if I take 2 seconds to open her water, she can go to fridge to refill her cup and that is one less person needing something at the same time from me!

It’s important to make all our children feel special, but in this season, I think our middle child needs this assurance more than the others. How does your family deal with Middle Child Syndrome?

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Click on the links for more Tips & Tricks!

Apffel a Day
Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
Faithfully Infertile
Giving it Grace
The Journey of Parenthood
The Moses Home
Team Cartwright
Wiley Adventures

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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Intentional Christmas Gift Giving {and Giveaway!}

This month for our Babywise Tips and Tricks Day we are pinning something about Christmas on our Pinterest board! I’m sharing with you how we plan to give Christmas gifts to our girls this year.

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I try to parent intentionally. This year, as my girls are both older and more aware of Christmas and everything that that entails, I want to intentionally put the focus on Jesus’s birth and not the commercialization of Christmas.

We have a four year old that walks into a store and automatically desires to bring home everything she sees. We know if we don’t consciously teach our children an attitude of gratitude they aren’t just going to wake up one day and suddenly become self-less, caring people who truly desire to give rather than get.

It’s starts now. Now when they are little and their hearts are so moldable is the time to teach them that having more isn’t necessarily the best.

Since they were both infants we have limited Christmas presents to 3-4 gifts per child. To us, birthdays are their special days where we go over and beyond (but not extravagantly so!) and give them more than three things for their birthdays.

Christmas isn’t about them getting a bunch of new stuff. Christmas is about Jesus’s birth and what that meant to the people who lived long ago and what it means to us living today.

Throughout the Old Testament the people had been hearing that the Messiah was coming, and then, finally, He came.

In the form of a newborn baby, born to a virgin girl in a stable…He came to one day die as payment for our sins.

That is why we celebrate Christmas and in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is so easy to forget that.

Recently I was reading somewhere (and I cannot for the life of me remember where) about giving your child three gifts on Christmas morning, just like Jesus received three gifts from the wise men.

A gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The gift of gold is a gift that the child really, really wants. For Little Bug, this would be a bicycle.

The gift of frankincense is a gift that can be shared and enjoyed with the whole family. So like a game, movie or tickets to go see a musical together.

The gift of myrrh is a gift that will further the child’s relationship with the Lord. A devotion book. A new Bible.

I really like this method of Christmas gift giving because it keeps Christ the focus of Christmas as the child only receives three gifts instead of piles upon piles of gifts.

It also keeps down on the “trendy” toy giving because all three of these gifts are very intentional and will stand the test of time.

And now for the Giveaway

We’re giving away two copies of the eBook Charlie and Noel, An Advent Calendar Story! This is a story about a young boy awakening to the real meaning of Christmas. The eBook contains the story along with discussion questions for the family to talk about after reading each chapter of the story. It also includes links to activates you can do with your family!

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The giveaway will go from today (Tuesday) until midnight on Saturday night, November 30th. Enter to win by the Rafflecopter below! If you don’t win, you can purchase Charlie and Noel, An Advent Calendar Story by clicking here.

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Tips and Tricks: Travel with Tots {BFBN}

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network’s Tried and True Tips and Tricks Thursday. Visit our Pinterest page where we’ll be pinning more holiday ideas!

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The holidays are nearly here and you may have a trip planned. While travel with small children is never “easy” it is something I have done with both of my children from birth. Our first trip with Little Bug was when she was less than two months old.

Over the past four years I’ve noticed that certain ages and stages are harder to travel with than others. For instance, this past summer, traveling with a 4 year old and 2 year old was a piece of cake compared to previous summers of a 2 year old and newborn or a 3 year old and 1 year old.

At any rate, here are 3 tips for trips with tots. Some of these I wish I had practiced when my girls were real little. There are probably a few trips that I don’t really remember much about because I was too concerned about how my girls were fairing during the trip.

1. Realize your tot is going to get off schedule and relax about it.

This is one that I didn’t realize until Sweet Pea came along. I remember feeling so stressed about Little Bug’s sleep while on a trip because she notoriously woke early in the mornings and from naps while on a trip. Every single trip. Every single day. I can remember trying to “figure out” what was going on when really, what was going on was she was in a new environment and was just waking early because of it. No big deal. I didn’t believe it was “no big deal” at the time.

Finally, I realized this was just the way trip sleep was going to go. And it was okay. Going on a trip is not “normal every day life” and small children realize this. Their schedules get off. They don’t sleep as long or as well. It’s just par for the course of travel.

2. The beauty of a schedule is that when life does return back to normal, tots bounce right back into their normal schedules.

All the stressing and we would get home and within a few days to a week, Little Bug’s sleep was always back on track. There was never a trip that threw her completely off forever. She always went back to the schedule once we returned home.

This truly is the beauty of scheduling. I finally realized the schedule was there to serve us and not the other way around. We could venture off it slightly while on a trip and once home things would get back on track.

3. Sticking to the schedule as close as possible while on a trip is wise.

All that to say, while on a trip I do not throw our schedules out the window. We still try to plan our activities around naptimes. While this is an inconvenience for sure, it was always WAY worse to have to deal with overtired babies or toddlers.

I remember my first trip to my Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving when Little Bug was just 6 months old. The house was full of family members who were anxious to see our baby girl, but when naptime came, it was naptime and Little Bug was put to bed. Thankfully my family has always been very supportive of our choice to schedule our babies. They have seen the positive results and were always astounded that my babies rarely cried at all.

Planning around the baby’s schedule isn’t always possible if other family members are involved too. I remember this same trip we met some family members for dinner. We were out past Little Bug’s bedtime and by the end of the evening she was getting cranky and to us, she was very fussy because normally she was all smiles. But, it was worth it to be able to see family we only get to see maybe once or twice a year.

I’m sure some people do go on a trip and leave their child’s schedule at home, but that is a recipe for disaster if you ask me! Trips just require a little more flexibility to the schedule than normal, but total abandonment of your tot’s schedule while on a trip is just not wise, if it can be helped.

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There was a season where I thought travel just wasn’t worth it, but had I taken these three tips to heart I don’t think I would have felt that way at all. I still traveled during that season; I just dreaded it!

The good news is once a baby hits two, they really are easier to travel with. This summer I traveled with my girls for nearly two weeks straight and we had a ball. Their sleep was a little off, but the older they get the better I’ve noticed they can sleep on trips.

And, as always, they both bounce right back to normal within a few days of being home.