How to Conquer the Greatest of the Sleep Fighters

Blake wants to be a night owl. For a time, we let him try. He would stay awake as long as possible, pretending to be energetic and wide awake. Of course, he was really sleepy and tired as he could be. He would be playing with his trucks on the floor and lay his head down when we weren’t looking. This would go on for a while before we would finally put him down screaming. Soon enough, he would wake up screaming again. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. Finally, after talking to other parents, we decided to put him on a routine and put him to bed at a set time if he was tired or not. This is working great! No more fighting the sleep monster that comes to steal the sleep from mommy and daddy.

bedtime

How did we do it, you ask? Very carefully! Seriously, we set a schedule and follow it. If you have read any of my other posts you will know I like schedules.  Now, as soon as we come in from work or daycare we follow the schedule and make sure he is in bed by 8:15 at the latest.

6:30 Dinner

7:00 Bath/ Brush teeth

7:30  Playtime with Daddy/Bedtime story

8:00 Bed

So far this has worked well. No more showing up to work looking like death warmed over and drinking coffee all day. The most amazing thing that we learned from this is that the later  he goes to bed the more he is likely to wake up sometime during the night. Early to bed and later to rise is even better for the smart dad’s bloodshot eyes!

 

Have you put your child on a schedule? What is your favorite bedtime routine? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Is It Too Early To Potty Train?

Our son will be 13 months this week and he has already peed and pooped in the potty. No, he isn’t potty trained and we aren’t forcing him to do anything. We simply give him the opportunity to use the potty and he has, twice.

 

Now, I have read the articles that say potty training before age three can be harmful. I have also read that there are some signs that your child is ready to be potty trained. Armed with this information I can boldly state that…I DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS! I do know that Blake is showing a lot of the signs that he is ready. He will come to us when he has poop in his diaper and want to be changed. He also will wake up from a nap dry. In fact, that is the first time he peed in the potty. He woke up dry and we sat him on the potty. It was just a minute or to and he went. He was so excited. He knew something was going on and we cheered him on.

 

We aren’t expecting him to be out of diapers anytime soon, but if he can get used to going to the potty this early, what is the harm? Again, I am not a doctor, nor do I have all of the answers. However, if you want to start potty training your child, here is what we do:

 

1. Take notice when your child starts coming to you with a dirty diaper.

2. Buy a potty and let your child get used to sitting on it.

3. Put your kid on the potty when he wakes up.

4. Sing the potty song (we just made one up).

5. Celebrate when your child does something in the potty.

6. Most of all, make it fun.

 

Of course, potty training takes time and patience. You don’t want to yell at your child or get frustrated. This should be a fun time for your child and a time for praise. We even bought a special treat for when Blake does go potty.

 

So, is it too early? I don’t know. We are having fun with it and he seems to enjoy it. How soon was your child potty trained? Do you have any tips to share? If so, please leave your tips in the comments section. I look forward to the discussions.

Using Google Calendar for Date Night

couple-holding-hands

 

All parents look for a getaway at some point. Kids are great, but we all need mommy and daddy time occasionally, right? I have started using a shared Google calendar to schedule a date a week with my wife. Just me and her. Sometimes we go out to eat. Sometimes we go get groceries. Hey, we have to get them sometime, right?

 

You may not think of going to the grocery store as a date, but when it is just you and your wife it can be. We have some of our best conversations in the grocery aisles. The point is, any time that we can spend together is cherished.

 

As I mentioned, we plan at least one date night a week. Usually, it is on Thursday night because Blake stays with Gammy on Thursday night and she keeps him on Fridays. There are some times when it doesn’t work out, but that is the schedule most of the time. The important thing is to use Google calendar to schedule it. This helps tremendously when you share it with the grandparents. If your parents re like ours, they will look for any time they can spend with the grandson! If that isn’t the case for you, you might consider sharing a calendar with a babysitter.

 

This is how it works:

1. Create a Google Calendar – You can name it whatever you want. I named ours Blake time.

2. Choose to Make it Public or Private – I chose to leave mine private and add the email address of those I want to share it.

3. Add Email Addresses of  Specific People to Share With – In our case we are just sharing with the grandmothers.

4. Add Permissions – You can choose to allow someone to manage the calendar and sharing, make changes to the events, see all event details, or  see only the free /busy times. In order for people to use it the way I want, they need to make changes to events.

5. Click Create Calendar – Now the only thing left is to schedule. I create an event called date night on the calendar and everyone can see it. If one of the grandmothers want to take care of Blake that night, they can add that to the event. Of course, we communicate outside of the calendar, but it does give us a snapshot of who wants to babysit while we have a little alone time.

 

You can add other event details to the calendar that you want everyone that is sharing to know about. For instance, Julie and I use it to manage our school work. We will usually put an event that allows the other to know not to plan anything because one of us has a paper to write or something. That means that Blake gets to some bonding time with the parent that isn’t hitting the books that night.

 

So, do you have a date night with your spouse on a regular basis? If not, it can be easy to start and the benefits are well worth the scheduling time. If you do, what are some things that you like to do on your date night? You can join the conversation below. I would love to hear your ideas.