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Sunday Funday — How Weekends Have Changed Since Becoming a Mom

 

Today was family day in the Rodriguez house.  The four of us spent the day together, all day, just us.

We started the day with breakfast, well, brunch if you consider it was around noon.  Grandma stayed with us last night, so Matt and I were extremely lucky to be able to sleep in for once!  (Good thing because Annabelle decided to get up and play for an hour around 6am–a nap was much needed!)  I made chocolate chip pancakes– yes you read that right, I COOKED– and we all started our day together around the table with a treat.

By this time, Annabelle was ready for her nap.  Mateo sent Lilu and I off to the salon for pedicures, something I haven’t spoiled myself with since I quit my job.  What a relaxing hour!  Lilu had brought an American Girl book (yes, our six year old wanted to READ at the salon) and she was so cute sitting next to me quietly immersed in her new chapter book, occasionally giggling when her feet were tickled.  I even let her pick my nail color– metallic lime green– because, why not?

When we returned home, Annabelle was up and ready to go, so we headed off to the mall to get Lilu’s bangs trimmed and a new dress for school picture day this week.  Nothing too exciting, but so much fun for the four of us to be together.  I gave Lilu a few options from Gap Kids– great sales going on– and she asked if she could try them on.  Grandma usually buys most of the girls’ clothes– it is just something she loves to do– so Lilu never gets to choose.  This was probably the first time she’s been in a changing room for herself, and she WORKED it!  She transformed into a little diva, twirling and posing.  In the end she didn’t really care which dress I picked, it was modeling them that was the fun part.

Before we headed back to the car, Lilu pleaded to stop in Barnes and Noble.  How do you say no to a kid that begs to go to the bookstore??  Even Annabelle has developed a love of books (I never believed babies would sit still for a story, but she is fascinated and knows which ones are hers.)  We let Lilu pick out a new adventure in the Frozen saga (of course they are still milking this thing) and got Annabelle a new peek-a-boo book since she can actually lift the flaps herself, and delights in doing so.

There are so many things that can make it difficult for us to spend an entire day together as a family: school, work, naps, Lilu’s weekends with her mom.  It is so easy to get caught up in life that you forget to slow down and just enjoy it and the people that are most important.  Today was such a simple day, but it was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  Kids want nothing more that to just BE with their family, and honestly, there is nowhere else I would rather be either.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on September 9th, 2019 at 09:42 pm

Surviving Transitions — Going from One Child to Two (or more!)

Inside: We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! Everything you need to know to prepare during pregnancy that will make each addition go smoothly for the whole family. Sponsored by Luvs at Sam’s Club.

We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! What you need to know to make new additions a breeze.

Surviving Transitions — Going from One Child to Two (or more!)

There’s always the element of unknown when you’re expecting a new addition. Things will change, from your everyday routine to the family budget. However, it’s not necessarily as difficult as you might expect when you bring a new child into the fold. I interviewed some of my favorite family and parenting bloggers to get their take on transitions — which was the most challenging, which was surprisingly simple, and how to make things smoother for everyone. PS- Keep reading for a limited-time offer from Luvs at Sam’s Club that you don’t want to miss!

Going from zero children to one child

Going from no kids to having a child changes your whole life in an instant.

says Susie at Busy Toddler, and I think a lot of parents can relate! Beth at Days with Grey concurs:

Your first is your hardest because it is like, what […] just happened?!

No matter what you think life will be like with a new baby, there are always some surprises. However, once you get the hang of things, it will be hard to even imagine what life was like pre-kids, and you might just find that you wouldn’t want to imagine it either. Despite the inconveniences, my life feels so much fuller as a parent. And it is definitely always entertaining! Getting into the groove takes time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it feels a little awkward at first. I love the advice Meghan at Playground Parkbench offers:

There will be a new normal, and you can’t find it until your husband goes back to work and your mom goes home, and it’s just you with the kid(s). Give yourself time, grace and you will find it.

Going from zero children to two children

Laura at Sunny Day Family jokes:

“I say just have 2 at once and be done!”

Mom of 4 Katelyn from What’s Up Fagans keeps it real:

Going from zero to two overnight was the hardest transition for me!

Katelyn’s tips to manage when your family suddenly doubles in size:

Get them on the same schedule ASAP — naps, eating, playing, bed time, etc. It is too much to have multiple schedules to manage. This was definitely true for twins, but also for the ones after.

Going from one child to two children

Menucha at Moms & Crafters perfectly puts into words what often happens when transitioning from being parents of one to parents of multiples:

The most challenging part […] was NEVER having downtime. When one is out, the other is crying, when one is sleeping, the other is bored.

Menucha’s number one survival tip?

ASK for help. People don’t always think to offer or know what to offer, but there’s no shame in turning to a parent, friend, etc for help. You’ll be there for them when they need it!

In our own family, Grandma, Grammy, and Grandpa were such a blessing to us in those early days as a two-child household. Friends and family are often happy to help if you let them know what you need. Katie from Pick Any Two also reminds us not to forget about how the transition will affect child number one. Read more of her tips for helping an older child adjust to their new sibling here. We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! What you need to know to make new additions a breeze.

Going from two children to three children

When chatting with my mom friends, I noticed an interesting consensus: after two kids, the transitions seem to get easier. Susie at Busy Toddler explains:

Going from 2 to 3 was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. You worry less because you don’t have time to worry anymore. You already know the answer to a lot of the questions. You have a history and background knowledge to rely on. I actually think each transition after the first one gets easier and easier.

Rachel at Wunder-Mom agrees:

It’s a little tricky just because you no longer have one parent per child but you also have several years and children under your belt at that time so you’re a lot more experienced.

Going from three children to four (or more) children

If you’ve ever dreamed of a big family, I’ve got good news! It might not be as much of a challenge as you’d think. In fact, many of the bloggers I spoke with say that as their families grew, everyone stepped into their own roles and life was easier for everyone. As Rachel at Wunder-Mom says:

[With] #4 (or more), [they] just kind of fall into place with the rest of the family!

Perhaps part of what makes later additions less stressful that the first child is that we parents have more realistic expectations. With our first, we want everything to be just right, and we have nothing to compare our experience to but what we read in books and see from other moms on social media. It’s tough not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to what you see around you! Tove at Mama in the Now offers these wise words:

Adjust your sense of “perfect.” Going from 1-2 was hardest for us, but then adding kids thereafter was a breeze. We were already outnumbered, so what’s one more?! What I considered perfect when we had one kid is way different than what we think is perfect today! [It] saves my sanity daily!

Now that is awesome advice for parents of any size family!

How to make transitioning the size of your family easier

I’ve shared a lot of advice from my friends and colleagues — now here are my top three tips for managing a growing family:

1. Stock up on essentials to save money and time

When preparing for a new addition to the family, making sure that you’re stocked up on essentials like diapers and wipes is a must. That way you can spend more time enjoying those precious first few weeks with your new baby instead of scrambling for supplies. A diaper subscription service is also a lifesaver! You never have to worry about running out or running to the store (which can be tricky when you’ve got multiple kids to round up). That’s why I love Sams Club’s free to-your-doorstep delivery service!Luvs diapers at Sam's Club subscription When you set up a Luvs diaper subscription through SamsClub.com, you save both time and money. Especially when you can catch special offers like the limited-time $3 off offer on Luv’s Ginormous boxes at SamsClub.com (not available in-club)! That works out to 11 cents per diaper — I’ve bought a lot of diapers and that price is tough to beat!

PS- Shipping is free!We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! What you need to know to make new additions a breeze. Luvs are soft and stretchy, with a LeakGuard core and Leak Barrier leg gathers to keep babies comfy and dry, even overnight! All at a fraction of the cost of many premium brands. In fact, you can save hundreds of dollars a year by purchasing Luvs over premium brands, and stocking up when they’re on sale. CLICK HERE to take advantage of this limited-time offer for $3 off Luv’s Ginormous boxes! 

2. Don’t forget to sleep!

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but you really can’t skimp on sleep! Whether it’s a full night’s rest (or the occasional power nap), sleep is crucial to keeping up with a growing family. Katelyn at What’s Up Fagans puts it best:

If Momma doesn’t get sleep everyone suffers!

The transition from one child (who was an amazing sleeper) to two (and a baby that didn’t sleep for long stretches) was a tough one. My husband and I found a compromise to make sure each of us got enough rest. Late-night nursings completely wore me out, so my husband kindly took the morning shift with the kids. In turn, I tried to let him sleep as much as possible during the middle of the night, since I was the one that had to do the feeding anyway. It worked for us, and we all made it through until our youngest finally started sleeping through the night. Related: The One Thing that Kept our Toddler from Sleeping through the Night (and we had NO idea!)

3. Do what works for you

Every family is different, so sometimes you might find yourself going against advice you’ve been given. The most important thing to remember is that this is your family, and you’ve got to do what works! Don’t worry about comparing yourself to parenting “experts” or other moms on Facebook. In your family you are the best mom! Related: You are the perfect mom! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PG. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on February 16th, 2019 at 08:09 pm

Why I Should Have Just Said Thank You

 


A couple days ago my mother-in-law offered to call her cleaning lady to come to our house. And here I thought I had been doing a fantastic job with this domestic business!

I clean the kitchen top to bottom every single night. I vacuum daily. I mop and clean bathrooms weekly. And somehow I manage to mostly keep up with endless (literally) laundry, picking up all kid toys before bed, heck I even scrubbed the kitchen cabinets this week! So I was a little surprised by her suggestion.

I mean, it made sense when I worked full time, but now that I am home it feels a bit frivolous.

Confused, I pointed out how many chores I did every day. “I feel like the house is cleaner than ever…”

“Well, it’s so much work taking care of two kids. I raised twins so I know. I just thought it would be nice to help you.” She reasoned.

“I appreciate it,” I replied, debating whether or not to take her up on the offer. “But it just seems silly with me home every day. I can handle it– is there something I missed?”

“Well…” Pause.” There’s a little dust on the bookshelves…”

Dust?!

“I just know how busy you are and everyone has allergies and…”

I know she meant well, but now I really couldn’t accept– I definitely couldn’t justify anyone (even if it was a gift) paying a cleaning crew to come in because there was a little dust on some shelves. I assured her that I had everything under control and not to worry.

So here I am, exhausted, finally sitting down at 11pm because I spent my Friday night DUSTING. Oh well, the house does smell fabulous!

And I guess it’s my own fault. I have told my husband so many times that he needs to learn how to graciously just say “thank you” on occasion. Maybe I should have heeded my own advice.

Being a stay at home mom IS hard work! There’s really no way of knowing until you’re in it— making sure big sis is dressed, fed, and off to school on time in the morning; changing every poopy diaper (for some reason Annabelle saves them for me); trying to think of ways to entertain two kiddos all afternoon; squeezing in a workout wherever possible; completing all of the aforementioned chores; getting both kids bathed, fed, in pajamas, and in bed at a reasonable time and praying that no one has a meltdown. Phew!

Moms (and dads): there’s nothing wrong with accepting an offer of help or a gift every once and a while. It doesn’t mean that you are a bad mom or you’re not doing a good job. It means that there is someone out there who CARES— let them! I’ve learned my lesson! Next time I’ll be relaxing and watching an entire movie on a Friday instead of looking for all the dust I’ve missed.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on August 6th, 2016 at 12:20 am

How to Overcome a Baby Sleep Regression

Inside: How to get through a baby sleep regression, with 8 tried and true tricks that work! (From a mom of 3). Sponsored by Panasonic.

How to get through a baby sleep regression, with 8 tried and true tricks that work! (From a mom of 3).

Your baby is sleeping longer and longer stretches at night. Maybe you’re down to only one night waking.

And then it happens.

The dreaded “baby sleep regression.”

All of a sudden, it seems like your baby is awake every hour!

If that’s you right now, I hear you! Our youngest daughter is going on six months old, so we’ve definitely had some sleepless nights this year.

Sometimes it seems like she’s sleeping so well, and then we’ll have a few days where it’s just not happening.

Our middle daughter went through a few sleep regressions, so I know what to expect when the time comes with this little one.

It’s not easy, and it’s not much fun, but you can and will get through it! In this post, I’ll tell you what’s worked for us to overcome a baby sleep regression for our girls.

What is a baby sleep regression?

Baby that used to sleep soundly or on a set routine may suddenly seem like their sleep is all over the place. It may feel as if your baby has “regressed” to the erratic sleep patterns of their newborn days.

The following are a few characteristics of what has been dubbed a “sleep regression” in babies:

  • Frequent waking during nighttime or nap time
  • “Fighting sleep” or taking a long time to fall asleep
  • Fussiness when it’s time to go to sleep

10 Ways to Overcome a Baby Sleep Regression

Our middle daughter taught us a LOT about what works and what doesn’t to get a baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Because we’ve put what we learned into practice with our youngest daughter, we’ve had a much easier time establishing a good sleep routine with her.

The following are the things that have helped us to overcome baby sleep regressions for our girls:

1. Give baby their own space

Both of our two youngest daughters slept in a crib in our bedroom until they were a year old. This made it easy for me to nurse them at night.

However, during a sleep regression, it seemed like any little movement I made would wake them up.

During those sleep regressions, we moved the baby into a travel crib in our extra bedroom. That way they would sleep soundly without my husband and I disturbing them when we came to bed.

Panasonic video baby camera is motion and sound activated

Our Panasonic video baby monitoring system allows us to keep a close eye on our little one, even when she’s in another room with the door closed. It’s motion and sound activated, so we know right away when the baby wakes up.

We’ve had a few different baby monitors over the years, but this is by far the easiest one to use AND the best quality.

For a quick start, all I had to do to get set up was plug in both the monitor and the camera. There was no confusing “pairing” process — when you turn on the monitor, it automatically links up with the camera. Plus, you get up to twice the range of most other monitors, so you can be anywhere in the house and still have eyes on your sleeping baby.

Panasonic’s video baby monitor is super user-friendly. A directional pad on the monitor allows you to pan, tilt, and zoom the monochrome night vision camera to get the perfect view.

The 3.5 in Color monitor features a built-in long-life rechargeable battery — up to 13 hours of standby time and up to 5 hours of continuous baby monitor use.

I’m so impressed with both the quality of the picture and all of the features! I’ll go into more detail about my favorite feature in section three.

2. Know that it is normal

It can feel pretty isolating to be up with a restless infant in the wee hours of the morning.

However, just about anyone with kids has been through sleep regressions with their babies. It’s a normal part of a baby’s early development and it doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong.

Knowing that you’re not alone and reminding yourself that you’re doing the best you can is an important first step in getting through a baby sleep regression.

Panasonic video baby monitor in box

3. Try white noise

When our middle daughter was a baby, white noise helped her fall asleep — especially during the first sleep regression.

I used to search for “white noise” videos (yep, that’s a thing) on the internet. Then I’d place our tablet near our daughter’s crib so the white noise would play for an hour or so and help coax her to sleep.

How I wish we’d had this Panasonic video baby monitor when our middle daughter was a baby! It features both lullaby and white noise features so there’s no need to buy a separate white noise machine or search for videos like I used to do.

Our youngest daughter prefers music, so we use the lullaby setting the most. It helps her nap during the day when it gets a bit noisy in our house.

4. Stay consistent

Even when you’re smack in the middle of a sleep regression, it’s important to stay consistent with bedtimes and nap times.

It can be challenging when it takes a lot longer to get your baby to fall asleep, but it’s better to keep trying at the same time every day regardless.

If you’re trying to get a baby back on a sleep routine, it’s best not to get away from that routine in the first place.

Stick with it, and your baby will get back into a sleep rhythm before you know it.

5. Don’t skip naps

It may seem logical to think that keeping your baby awake during the day will help them fall asleep faster at night.

However, experts say the opposite is true!

Keeping your baby on a regular nap schedule will help their bodies establish a circadian rhythm. That way, they’ll instinctively come to know when it’s time to be awake and time to be asleep.

In the first few months of life, babies may take frequent naps throughout the day. Around 4-6 months they may transition to taking fewer naps for longer periods of time.

During their first year of life, babies usually don’t stay awake for more than two-three hours straight during the day. They also give pretty clear signals when they need to nap.

Cues that your baby is sleepy:

  • Rubbing eyes or tugging at ears
  • Yawning
  • Staring into space, or the appearance of unfocused eyes
  • Sucking on hands and/or fingers (baby may be trying to soothe themselves to sleep)
  • Flailing limbs
  • Crying or fussiness

It may be helpful to have your baby nap in their crib, to establish that as a “sleep” zone. However, I go by the old saying “never wake a sleeping baby,” so if our daughter falls asleep in her stroller on a walk or in her rocker, I let her stay asleep.

For peace of mind, I keep a close eye on her with our Panasonic video baby monitor if I need to step out of the room for a minute. Check out the picture quality below – it’s amazing!

Panasonic video baby monitor for peace of mind while baby naps

6. Work as a team

Sleep deprivation is no fun at all, but if you and your partner work as a team, you can help minimize it.

Since I breastfeed, I have to wake up to nurse about 1-2 times per night. However, my husband helps to rock the baby back to sleep if she doesn’t fall asleep nursing. We also take turns doing the “early shift” when the kids wake up in the morning, while the other person gets a little extra shut-eye.

Because we split up the nighttime duties, it helps both of us to stay sane through sleep regressions.

7. Look at the positives

Certified infant and toddler sleep specialist Rachel Gordon offers some amazing and encouraging perspective on sleep regressions. She actually urges parents to “ditch the term regression” and instead view these changes as “transitions.”

Since changes in sleep patterns often accompany baby developmental milestones, regressions…ahem…transitions, can be viewed as a cause to celebrate!

How to get through a baby sleep regression, with 8 tried and true tricks that work! (From a mom of 3).

8. Remember, it IS temporary

As exhausting as it can be to deal with a baby sleep regression, they don’t last forever.

Generally, a sleep regression only lasts a couple weeks, so eventually, your baby will sleep better.

And as crazy as it sounds, when your baby turns into a big kid one day, you might actually find that you miss those special moments you two spent snuggling at night while the rest of the world was quiet.

So when you’re sleep deprived mama, hang in there! You’ll get through it, I promise.

At what age do babies go through sleep regressions?

Below are a few of the most common ages when a baby may experience a sleep regression:

  • 4 month sleep regression — This is the most infamous sleep regression, perhaps because it is usually the first one. Sometime between 8 weeks and 5 months, babies transition from newborn sleep patterns to a more regular sleep schedule. However, getting there sometimes involves nights of restlessness and wakefulness.
  • 8 month sleep regression — When your baby starts hitting major milestones, such as crawling and cruising, this major brain development can create changes in their sleep.
  • 12 month sleep regression — Around one year, babies may start moving toward taking one nap per day, instead of two to three.
  • 18 month sleep regression — Toddler milestones, such as teething, can result in sleep disruptions.

Keep in mind that sleep regressions may happen at different times for different babies, and not all babies will go through every sleep regression.

The four-month sleep regression was a doozie with our middle daughter, but it wasn’t as big a deal with our youngest. However, it is possible that our youngest daughter may experience a more substantial sleep regression down the road. I suppose we’ll find out!

Do you have any helpful tips to get through a baby sleep regression? Share them in the comments below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Panasonic. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on May 24th, 2019 at 10:37 am

Rookie Parent Mistakes to Avoid with a Second Pregnancy

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Don’t repeat my mistakes!! Lessons learned from the first time around and what you really need to do to prepare for a second pregnancy (or third, or fourth…) Sponsored by Pampers at Sam’s Club.

With my first baby, I’ll admit that I kind of winged-it. I did a little bit of reading and research, but I didn’t want to go overboard. So I barely planned at all!

Well of course life has a funny way of teaching you a lesson! I sure learned a lot from baby #1 about what we need for a second baby, and I thought I’d share those lessons so you can be better prepared than I was!

Don't repeat my mistakes!! Lessons learned from the first time around and what you really need to do to prepare for a second pregnancy (or third, or fourth...)

How Baby #1 Teaches You to Prepare for a Second Pregnancy

As we wait anxiously to welcome a new member of our family later this year, I’ve started compiling a list of all the things I want to remember from my first childbirth experience so I can get ready for the next time.

1. Stock Up on Diapers and Wipes

Many times with a second pregnancy (or third, fourth, etc.) you might have a small celebration with family and friends, but you don’t get to do a whole big registry again. The thinking being that you likely saved a lot of your baby furniture, toys, etc. and don’t need a brand new nursery setup.

However, there IS one thing that you ALWAYS need with any baby…

Diapers and wipes!

In fact, you can never have too many diapers and wipes on hand. Seriously, whatever you planned to buy before the baby arrives – go ahead and double that! (You’ll thank me later!)

Even with six months to go, we’ve already started stocking up on both Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes.

The hospital started us out with Pampers Swaddlers last time and we loved them! So soft and they stayed in place. When it comes to wipes, I recommend Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes, especially for the early days when baby’s skin is so delicate.

I was thrilled to see such a hot deal at Sam’s Club this month, so we’ve already halfway filled the crib up with boxes of diapers and wipes!

Don't repeat my mistakes!! Lessons learned from my first pregnancy and what you actually need for a second baby (or third, or fourth...)

2. Skip the Fancy Clothes and Stick to Essentials

Clothing you don’t really need with a brand new baby:

  • Shoes
  • Jeans
  • Anything with zippers or buttons

Clothing you actually use with a brand new baby:

  • Onesies – lots and LOTS of onesies

Sure, those cute little dresses and matching outfit sets are tempting. And they totally make for adorable photo opps!

But when that first “blowout” happens, you’ll wish your baby was wearing a simple onesie that slips right off!

And don’t even get me started on shoes and socks…

My first baby would only keep shoes/socks on for mere minutes before she’d rip them off and toss them aside. Even at almost four years old, she still takes her socks off the first chance she gets. (Fortunately in Texas I don’t have to worry about her feet getting cold!)

What to do to prepare for a second pregnancy

No matter where we went – from the grocery store to an airplane – this baby would NOT wear shoes!

Lesson learned: babies don’t need fancy kicks or gear. Onesies are super convenient for diaper changes and they’re cheap to replace if they become stained. (It happens…)

3. Create a Detailed Birth Plan

Even if your labor doesn’t go according to plan (do they ever?) it’s still crucial to have a birth plan, and know all your options should things change at the last minute.

With my first birth, I was so dead-set against a C-section that I wouldn’t even entertain the possibility.

Problem is, life doesn’t always care about what you want! Miss “I’m never getting a C-section” (aka ME) ended up carted away in an ambulance to a completely unfamiliar hospital for that dreaded C-section. A terrible experience that could have been made better had I planned for all possibilities.

What I learned: it’s better to prep for any outcome you can think of and not use those options then to plan for nothing and end up with no say in what happens.

Related: Why ALL Moms Should Plan for a C-Section

4. Do All the Prenatal Exercises Your Doctor or Midwife Recommends

As we neared the due date last time around, my midwife gave me a list of exercises to complete daily. These were supposed to help encourage the baby to drop into just the right position for a smooth birth.

I think I spent hours each day bouncing up and down on my yoga ball (at least it felt like it!) But I’ll admit that I might have slacked off a bit on my crawling (which is just as fun as it sounds).

I’ll never know for sure, but I’ll always wonder if I had been more diligent in those exercises, would our birth experience have gone better?

You better believe that this time I’ll be doing every move and stretch my midwife says to do…and then some!

Related: How to Get Rid of Morning Sickness (without a Prescription)

5. Bring Maternity Clothes to the Hospital or Birthing Center

Key word: MATERNITY.

I did a pitiful job packing my “go bag” the first time around!

For some reason I assumed I would slip right back into my pre-pregnancy clothes after I popped out a baby. Haha…NOPE!

Pack your most comfortable maternity clothes to the hospital or birthing center, and make sure you have enough outfits for at least a 2-3 day stay (in case you are there longer than expected).

Otherwise you may be left waiting for friends or family to bring the items you forgot. (Don’t ask me how I know…)

6. Don’t Forget About the Hubby

When packing our hospital bag, I completely forgot about my husband! (And he didn’t think to pack a bag at all!)

Be sure to bring your significant other a couple changes of clothes as well if they will be staying with you at the hospital.

My poor husband didn’t leave my side the entire 5 days we were at the hospital, and he didn’t have fresh clothes until his mother arrived the day after my surgery.

How to prepare for baby #2

Oh the things I wish I’d known with the first baby!

The easiest step to prepare for a second pregnancy…

That might seem like a lot of information to digest at once, but you can start by working on one thing at a time.

While you don’t really need your hospital bag months in advance, you can stock up on those diapers and wipes so you don’t need to run out and buy them all at once when the baby arrives.

Ok mamas, your turn! What did you learn with your first pregnancy that you would do differently the next time around? Share your tips for new (and second-time) moms in the comments below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pampers at Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

More on pregnancy:

Pregnant woman cradling belly; how to get rid of morning sickness

How to Get Rid of Morning Sickness (without a Prescription)

Why wait for Mother's Day to treat your mom to something special? Here's what moms really want! Surprisingly, it's not expensive

What Moms REALLY Want (Might Surprise You!)

 

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on February 16th, 2019 at 08:07 pm

How to Get Your Kids to Wake Up Happy

 

I used to struggle every morning to get my daughter to wake up for school — this kid can sleep twelve hours and still insist that she’s tired!

However I recently discovered a little trick that not only helps her wake up, but wake up happy. If you’ve been fighting the same battle every morning to get your out of bed, this might be just the trick you need!

How to Get Your Kids to Wake Up Happy

My oldest daughter and I have always bonded over music. Ever since she could talk, we have made time during every day to sing and dance to our “jams” (generally super-cheesy 80’s music).

Like any kid, she’s not always very enthusiastic about waking up for school. One day last week as I was tucking Lilu in to bed, I told her I was going to come in the next morning with music blaring to wake her up. That way, I explained, she would have to be in a good mood.

Must-try hack to get your kids to wake up happy in the morning - This really works!!

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7am rolls around and I forget. Lilu didn’t. She sat right up in bed: “where’s the music?” I quickly retreated to my room to grab my phone.

When I came back to make sure she was getting dressed, I was playing “Higher Love” (our official family song.)

Well wouldn’t you know, Lilu hopped right out of bed with a smile on her face, already suggesting which song to play next!

The rest of the morning was entirely pleasant as we ate breakfast together, heads bobbing to the tunes playing from my portable Bluetooth Speaker. Lilu was even ready for school ten minutes early!

My daughter is very big on traditions, so we will be “jamming” each morning from now on. Adding music definitely improved everyone’s mood — myself included. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it sooner, but I’m sure glad I found a way to make mornings a little bit easier!

So if you’ve been looking for ways to get your kids to wake up in the morning, try adding a little music. You might be surprised how effective it can be!

More on Child Sleep

“Is my child normal?” – Why Some Kids Need More Sleep than Others (with current sleep recommendations)

6 Ways to Help an Anxious Child Sleep

 *      *      *     *      *

We got Lilu a Buddy Bunny MP3 Player for her birthday last year and it was a HUGE hit! It’s a standing bunny that has light-up ears and plays music that you load from your computer. It’s easy for kids to use (she’s 6) and comes with a remote. Why couldn’t they have had stuff like this when I was a kid? 🙂

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on August 9th, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Why I Turned Down a Job Today

 


The original plan was never for me to be a stay at home mom.  When I quit my job in November, I intended to enjoy the holidays at home with my family and immediately begin looking for new employment after New Years.

Within days of resigning, I had an interview lined up already.  It seemed a very promising opportunity.  After a month-long interview process in which I was all but guaranteed the spot, there was a “miscommunication” and I was told they were going to “pass.”  Definitely a bummer, but perhaps a blessing in disguise– I might have ended up working for another shady company.

Why I Turned Down a Job to be a Stay at Home Mom

“Why don’t you just stay home with the kids?  You don’t need to go back to work– we’re doing fine.  It’s been so good for the girls.”  I couldn’t believe my husband was suggesting such an idea.  Work was all I knew.  It was part of my identity.  I’d been a part of the workforce since I was old enough to legally do so.  (Actually, I started much earlier as a groom at the stable where I took lessons in trade for attending horse shows.)

To be honest, it was such a relief to think my world would no longer revolve around someone else’s schedule (except two little girls!)  I had been so happy for the past month– apparently I had been more miserable than I realized at my last job.  It was as if a fog had been lifted and I was truly enjoying life.  I was reluctant to do anything which might jeopardize this newfound happiness.

So I stayed home and resolved to do all the things that had fell by the wayside while I was working full time.  I caught up with the laundry (for a day…then of course it was piled everywhere again, but hey I did it!)  I thoroughly cleaned and reorganized our exercise studio/game room.  I made sure the kitchen was spotless every night before I went to bed– waking up to an empty sink and sparkling counters is an amazing feeling– even I can hardly believe I just said that, but it’s true!  The girls and I took leisurely walks whenever the weather allowed.  Matt and I ran errands on his days off– just enjoying being together as a family.  I re-dedicated myself to my writing.  Work had sucked my energy to where I was literally just surviving every day.  Now I was actually living.

This went on for a few months and our family settled into a comfortable routine.  Then I got a call from a former work colleague.  She too had left the company I worked for last due to the negative environment.  Now she was asking if I would like to come meet the owner of the new spot she had gone to– they were looking for someone with my experience and she thought I would be a great fit.

Panic set in.  Things were going so well at home, was it worth it to rock the boat?  Annabelle still had a couple months before we could start weaning– I couldn’t bear the thought of dusting off the dreaded pump.  Would I still have time for my writing?  That was my “me” time– I looked forward to it every day.  Did I even want to go to work outside the home?  Was I lazy or selfish for even having these feelings?

“So don’t do it.”  Hubby said matter-of-factly.  “You don’t have to.”  He sees the world very black and white.  It’s easy for him to make decisions without getting emotional.  If only it were that easy for me! I decided to at least go in for a meeting and see exactly what the position entailed.  I was flattered that my friend had suggested me and felt I owed her that much.  I figured that it would be at least 40 hours plus some nights (as most event jobs are) and that I would simply be unable to meet those demands.  But at least I would have “tried” and given the opportunity a fair listen before politely declining.

Fast forward a few days and I’m sitting in front of one of Houston’s culinary greats.  He is an imposing physical presence, but at the same time very warm and easy to talk to.  “So what schedule would work for you?  Do you need to leave by 2?  Can you be here at 9?  Family is important to me, so I understand your situation.”  Well this was not what I expected.  Here he was asking me what would be my ideal schedule.  He was so willing to work with me that I wanted to take the job for that reason alone.

I had anticipated an easy out– a schedule to which I would be unable to commit.  Instead I had an offer on the table for a part time job with hours that were tailored to me.  The pay wasn’t great, but what part time job would be able to compete financially with the salary and commission I pulled before?  Plus I could probably learn a lot from someone so knowledgable in the industry.

Hubby was less than excited.  “It’s not that much money.  It’s not really worth it.”  At first I was frustrated– he wasn’t even listening to the positive aspects!  “If you really want to do it, we’ll make it work,” he assured me. “But I love having you home.  And what about your writing?  You won’t have as much time.”

He was trying to be supportive, but I could see that he did not want me to accept.  Could I blame him?  Sure, the part-time schedule worked great for me, but what about him?  As a night manager he often doesn’t even get home until 4am.  If I was leaving at 8am every morning, it meant he would get an absurdly little amount of sleep.  No one could function on 3-4 hours of rest every single day.  It really would be asking him to make a huge sacrifice– for what amounted to only a couple hundred extra bucks a week.

I agonized (probably more than I should have) over the decision for two days.  However, when I thought about what was best for our family as a whole, it is for me to be exactly where I am at the moment.  It still didn’t make it any easier for me to write a letter of regret turning down the job.  To accept that for the time being I am not the prime breadwinner.  To let go (at least temporarily) the part of me that sees myself as a working woman and embrace this new identity as a stay at home mom.

That is what I am right now, but that is not ALL that I am.  I am a writer.  I am a counselor to family and friends who come to me for career advice (I was there for over 15 years!)  I am a motivator to those that need a little extra encouragement to make a positive change in their lives or pursue a dream (leaving a fairly lucrative career to stay home and commit to my writing was a risk, but it is my dream).  I am the backbone of our family– keeping home and finances in order.  I am molding two little girls into strong and intelligent little ladies.

Typing it out and owning it is such an empowering feeling.  If writing is not your thing, I encourage you to say it out loud mamas!  Often when we make the choice to stay home, we often lose a little bit of ourselves and our identity as an independent woman.  But it is still there inside– your assets and gifts that you offer the world, whether it be from an office or your house.  Remember your strengths and your passions and know that you are still as important, if not more so now, than you were before!

I do feel truly blessed that I am able to have this time with my family and my girls, though it was not without sacrifice–read about the one lifestyle change that we made which allowed me to be a stay at home mom.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on May 9th, 2015 at 10:14 am

10 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Morning Sickness (That Really Work!)

 

How to get rid of morning sickness with home remedies (and without a prescription) — what really works and what doesn’t if you’re experiencing a tough pregnancy!

Pregnant woman cradling belly; how to get rid of morning sickness

How to Get Rid of Morning Sickness without a Prescription

I don’t know why they call it “morning sickness,” because for both of my pregnancies it was more like “all-day everyday sickness!”

When you’re in the throws of the first trimester morning sickness, the accompanying symptoms (nausea, vomiting, fatigue) can be extremely debilitating. It can be difficult to handle your normal daily routine, take care of the kids, or function at a job.

For many women, the symptoms of morning sickness lessen after the first trimester. However, for others those symptoms can stretch halfway through a pregnancy, or longer.

My morning sickness usually lets up a little after four months, but I still have occasional symptoms after that. If you’re like me, you’re probably willing to try just about anything to get rid of that awful feeling!

What Causes Morning Sickness?

During the first trimester, our bodies experience a rapid increase in hormones. This causes symptoms of nausea and vomiting in over half of pregnant women.

While extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable for the mother, morning sickness is a good sign that the placenta and baby are developing.

However, if you experience excessive vomiting to the point where you cannot keep any food or liquid down, you may have a condition known as Hyperemesis Gravidarum. See your doctor or midwife right away.

10 Home Remedies for Morning Sickness

I’ve compiled a list of all the home remedies for morning sickness that I’ve tried throughout two pregnancies – with detailed descriptions of what worked and what didn’t.

Keep in mind that what worked for me might not work as well for you, and vice-versa. That’s why I’ve presented as many options as possible so you can try for yourself.

Hopefully your discover something new that helps you get the morning sickness relief you need!

Note: I’ve included shop-able ad links to products that I love and that helped me get rid of morning sickness symptoms; read our full disclosure policy here.

Morning Sickness Remedy #1 — Get a Full Night’s Sleep…and Then Some!

Days where I didn’t sleep well the night before were the days that I felt the worst.

However, if I got a full 7-8 hours of sleep, I felt substantially better the next day.

I know as a busy mom or if you work outside the home, it feels tough to get everything done during the day and go to bed on time. But it is so important to make self-care a priority, and sleep is one of the best things you can do for yourself during pregnancy.

I enlisted my husband’s help to get it done – I feel like it was a fair trade for me to get the sleep since I was growing the baby!

Usually I am the one to get up first in the morning to get our oldest daughter ready for school, but while I am pregnant we switch. My husband gets up for the school morning routine and I get an extra hour of sleep. That extra hour makes a huge difference!

Pregnant woman resting to relieve morning sickness

Morning Sickness Home Remedy #2 —Nap When You Need To

Piggy-backing on the topic of a good night’s sleep, napping is also helpful to get rid of morning sickness.

Another common symptom of morning sickness during pregnancy is fatigue, and sometimes this is extreme in the first trimester.

Listen to your body!

If your body is telling you “I need to lie down NOW” – do it!

I found that when I tried to push through my fatigue, I felt terrible for the rest of the day — not only exhausted, but nauseous as well.

On the flip side, when I started to feel nauseous, if I immediately got into bed or laid down on the couch, I could stave off the worst of the nausea before it got to the point of throwing up.

So if you start to feel queasy, a short nap is an effective way to get back on track and feel better again.

Related: Click here to see my picks for the best pregnancy pillow so you can sleep better!

Morning Sickness Relief Tip #3 —Take Your Vitamins

When you’re trying to conceive or first find out that you’re expecting, your doctor will surely tell you to take your prenatal vitamins.

Prenatal vitamins are critical both for healthy development of your growing baby, but also your own health, as the baby takes your own nutrients.

Remembering to take your vitamins can also help ease morning sickness, as the B vitamins are shown to relieve certain symptoms. In fact, Vitamin B6 is one of the main components in the prescription morning sickness medication Diclectin® (more on that later in the post).

When taking your vitamins, timing is everything! Taking them at the wrong time can actually make you feel worse, so follow these tips for best results:

  1. Don’t take your vitamins on an empty stomach, as this may cause you to feel sick or throw up (losing all those nutrients!)
  2. If taking a capsule or pill, try taking immediately before bed. This helped me during my first pregnancy, when my vitamins often made me feel more nauseous. I didn’t feel sick if I was sleeping.
  3. Trouble swallowing pills? Try a gummy vitamin that tastes great and is easy to get down.
  4. If taking one vitamin a day is too intense (this sometimes made me feel nauseous with my first pregnancy), try a lower dose vitamin that you take multiple times a day. I love SmartyPants Prenatal Complete Gummy Vitamins because the daily serving size is 6 chewable gummies. They taste delicious and I can spread them throughout the day.

Related: 15 Things to Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

Stop Morning Sickness Tip #4 —Drink Lots of Water

When I felt especially nauseous, I didn’t want to eat or drink anything.

However, dehydration can exacerbate morning sickness symptoms, making you feel even worse, so it is crucial to drink enough liquids.

If plain water isn’t appetizing, try flavored water (look for sugar free options) or sparkling water.

One of my favorite combinations is fresh lemonade and sparkling water – it tastes amazing (so I can get t it down), and the sparkling water cuts the sugar content in half.

Avoid caffeine — as it is a diuretic and makes it more difficult to stay hydrated. One cup of coffee or tea is generally considered safe during pregnancy (I relied on my one cup to get through the work day with my first baby!) However, if you do indulge, be sure to drink plenty of water too!

Interestingly, with my next pregnancy, I couldn’t even go near coffee (sad face) because just the thought of it made me want to throw up!

Morning Sickness Home Remedy #5 — Ginger

Ginger is one of the most common suggestions to help get rid of morning sickness, and there are a few different ways to add ginger to your daily diet:

  • Crystalized ginger or ginger candy
  • Added to hot tea in grated or syrup form
  • Taken via capsule

I’ve taken ginger throughout both of my pregnancies, but noticed little relief (if any). However, it has been used and recommended as a natural way to get rid of morning sickness for centuries, so it may work better for you. Definitely worth a try!

Related: Try my recipe for flu-fighting tea, which contains a generous helping of crystalized ginger!

Hot tea on tray with honey and ginger

Morning Sickness Remedy #6 — Morning Sickness Tea

Whether you make your own at home (see my recipe above) or purchase, a decaf morning sickness tea can work wonders!

My “secret Santa” this year gifted me with tin of morning sickness tea and I absolutely loved it! I enjoyed the flavor, it helped me get another glass of liquids, and I actually felt like it helped stop morning sickness almost immediately. (The effects didn’t last forever, but it was helpful when I felt symptoms start).

Try this: Secrets of Tea No to Morning Sickness Tea (I loved it!)

Get Rid of Morning Sickness Trick #7 — More (or Less) Physical Activity

Depending on your body, getting out and getting active might be a helpful way to relieve morning sickness. With my first pregnancy, I took daily walks and practiced light yoga during the first trimester.

However, this time around, exercise of any kind made me feel horrible. So I listened to my body and rested instead.

Once I was out of the first trimester, I slowly reintroduced exercise (my usual twice-weekly yoga classes, with modifications).

Pay attention to what your body tells you — whether it is to move around or get more rest.

I know that it is difficult when you’re an active person and used to working out frequently to just stop for three months. But I promise when your body is ready you’ll be able to move around again.

Morning Sickness Relief Tip #8 — Essential Oils

Three of the most common essential oils used to help relieve nausea are lemon, peppermint, and lavender. Here’s how I used them throughout my pregnancy to help get rid of morning sickness symptoms:

  1. Lemon — Add a couple drops of lemon essential oil to hot tea or your water bottle.
  2. Peppermint — Rub a couple drops of peppermint essential oil onto wrists, hold under your nose and inhale deeply 5 times. I especially love the “Breathe” blend by DoTerra!
  3. Lavender — Add 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil to an aromatherapy diffuser. Lavender is also shown to help promote restful sleep, so I like to use it at night.

Click here to shop DoTerra essential oils or create your own wholesale account and save on regular orders! (like you would at a Sam’s Club or other wholesale stores).

Related: My Favorite 12 Practical Everyday Essential Oil Uses

Morning Sickness Home Remedy #9 — Preggie Pop Drops

I only recently discovered these little gems — and while I’m glad I finally tried them, I wish I’d found them sooner!

Preggie Pop Drops are sour hard candies that contain a proprietary blend of essential oils to help get rid of morning sickness.

I’ve found that they help with nausea and motion sickness when we’re in the car, as my sensitivity to “car sickness” seems to be higher when I’m pregnant. Plus they taste fantastic (unlike ginger candies)!

I always keep a couple of them in my purse for emergencies.

Morning Sickness Remedy #10 — Take 1/2 Unisom Sleep Tab at Night

In 2013, the FDA re-approved Diclectin® (formerly known as Bendectin), the only prescription medication approved to treat morning sickness. This drug was banned in the United States for almost 30 years, but after extensive studies is again deemed safe by the FDA. It was, however, available in most of the rest of world during this time.

When I was pregnant in 2013, my midwife recommended taking 1/2 of a Unisom Sleep Tab at night to help relieve my debilitating morning sickness. Not only did this reduce my nausea, but it also helped me sleep through the night, so I felt more rested and less sick the following day.

I tried almost all home remedies for morning sickness, but it was the Unisom that was my lifesaver!

Why does Unisom work to get rid of morning sickness?

Both Unisom and the prescription medication Diclectin® contain the active ingredient Doxylamine Succinate (an antihistamine), which is shown to dramatically reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. Diclectin® also contains Vitamin B6.

Unisom Sleep Tabs (not the gels) contain 25 mg of Doxylamine Succinate, which the prescription Diclectin® contains 10mg. This is why the recommendation is to take half of a Unisom Sleep Tab to get a similar dose.

Note: Unisom also sells sleep gels, which additionally contain what is essentially Benadryl. Benadryl is a schedule B drug, and while is usually considered safe for pregnant women, this combination is not the recommended medication to deal with morning sickness.

While Doxylamine Succinate is classified a Schedule A drug (safe) for pregnant women, it is important to check with your doctor or midwife before starting any Unisom regimen.

Get Rid of Morning Sickness with my Home Relief Essentials:

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal experience; I am not a medical professional. Always consult your doctor or midwife with specific pregnancy-related questions.

Do you have any tricks that helped you get rid of morning sickness? Share them in the comments below!

More on Pregnancy:

Itchy skin after pregnancy is a common postpartum side effect, but can be embarrassing, painful, & hard to get rid of. 7 ways to help find relief fast!

How to Relieve Itchy Skin After Pregnancy

I never thought I would say this...but I MISS being pregnant! There are actually some pretty awesome perks that come with being a big ol' pregnant lady...

10 Awesome Pregnancy Perks You’ll Miss Later

 

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on March 13th, 2019 at 01:06 pm

5 Lessons About Internet Safety Google Says All Kids Should Know

 

Do your kids know what they should about internet safety? Keep reading to learn the 5 keys to keeping your kids safe online and how to download your free family guide from Google for Education.

We received this sponsored opportunity from Google for Education as a part of the Forward Influence Network. We are grateful for partnerships like these!

Do your kids know what they should about internet safety? Learn the 5 keys to keeping your kids safe online and download your free family guide from Google!

I’ve been an internet enthusiast since its earliest days — I built my first website at age twelve! Little did I know that as an adult I would build my own business using the internet too!

As a blogger, the internet provides me and my family with amazing opportunities. However, as a parent, I also see things that worry me — issues that I didn’t have to worry about as a kid.

Picking up my oldest daughter from elementary school, I’m always surprised to see how many kids have cell phones. My daughter tells me that many of her classmates already have social media accounts too.

Cyberbullying and “catfishing” weren’t even in my vocabulary in fifth grade, but these are things that our kids deal with on a daily basis.

The internet isn’t going anywhere — if anything, it’s becoming more intertwined in our lives. There’s no way to avoid our kids using the internet, nor do I think that’s a good idea either. As I mentioned, the internet has been such a blessing and inspiration for me.

The key is to start teaching our kids about internet safety as soon as they’re old enough to know what the internet is.

5 Lessons About Internet Safety All Kids Should Know

Safer Internet Day takes place in February each year; this year it was February 5th. Google invited our family to nearby San Antonio to visit their Be Internet Awesome adventure — and interactive experience filled with resources to teach families and schools about internet safety.

The Be Internet Awesome experience featured five games, each corresponding to one of the key internet safety lessons that kids should learn:

1. Share with Care

Just because we can talk to anyone and everyone on the internet doesn’t mean that we should.

Certain things should only be shared with close family and friends, and some things should be kept private. The first game we played focused on determining which was which, or “being internet smart.”

Kids were given an example scenario and asked with whom they could share that information, like a photo of a new baby cousin. Should they share this with everyone? Friends and family? Keep it to themselves?

learning about internet safety for Safer Internet Day

Once you got three answers correct, you earned your first badge and got to move on to the next game.

Test Your Skills: Practice asking your kids similar questions at home to test their knowledge. You can also play the free Interland Online Game from Google, which teaches kids about what to share (and not to share). My girls love this game!

2. Don’t Fall for Fake

As a blogger, I receive countless phishing emails, schemes, and scams every day. Some of these scammers are getting quite sophisticated that I even I do a double-take to make sure that an email is real before opening anything!

If these internet crooks can fool adults, then kids are especially vulnerable.  That’s why it’s especially important to teach kids how to determine what’s real and what’s fake.

Even though our girls only have limited screen time, and always in the same room with us, you can never be too careful! I’m a realist, so I know there will be times when they are older that we might not be around (school, friend’s house, etc.) to catch things right as they happen.

In the “Be Internet Alert” game at the Be Internet Awesome Experience, kids were given sample online messages and asked which ones were real and which were fake. The emphasis was to always be alert and on the lookout for anything that seems sketchy.

My middle daughter is four, but I still didn’t leave her out of the conversation. For now, I simply repeated the message: “Don’t click any links!” Hopefully that will stick in her mind, and as she gets older she’ll remember mom’s advice!

3. Secure Your Secrets

The third game at the Google Be Internet Awesome experience taught kids how to create strong passwords. There were bins full of letter blocks and kids got to build passwords out of the physical blocks, and then test it to see if the password they created was strong enough.

learning how to build strong passwords for Safer Internet Day

This was my favorite game of the day, and also the most challenging! It wasn’t hard to create a tricky password — the tricky part was remembering the password when the game prompted you to re-enter it from memory!

When creating a strong password, make sure that it is:

  • Unique
  • A combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
  • At least 6-8 characters long
  • Something YOU can remember (or write it down in a safe place)

Strong, secure passwords are vital to keep private information safe.

4. It’s Cool to be Kind

Did you know at least one-fourth of students report experiencing bullying? Chances are, your kids will witness bullying — whether it involves them personally, or a classmate.

The fourth internet safety lesson we learned focused more on being proactive: spreading kindness online.

Through an digital multiplayer game, the girls and I teamed up to build each other up by shooting hearts at each other (spreading kindness) and taking down monsters (reporting bullies).

It’s important for kids to know that they play a big role making the internet a more positive and safe place!

Safer Internet Day with Google

5. When in Doubt, Talk it Out

A few months ago, I partnered with Google to host an event in Houston for parents, influencers, and educators. Together we brainstormed ways to keep kids safe online.

The number one thing I heard over and over again was to be involved, be present, and keep the lines of communication open with your kids. That way kids will feel comfortable coming to you with questions or problems.

You can’t prevent your kids from ever running into something bad on the internet, but you can prepare them. The most important thing to emphasize is that you are there to help.

Kids need to know that if anything feels “off” or if they see any other their friends in trouble, they should always come to you or another trusted adult.

learning about internet safety on Safer Internet Day

Mission complete! The girls were proud to earn their Be Internet Awesome badges!

How to Get Your Free Family Guide to Internet Safety from Google

Google created an amazing online resource for parents and families, with lots of free information, games, and even crafts to help kids learn about internet safety — and have fun at the same time!

Click here to see all of Google’s digital safety resources for families, including:

  • Free Downloadable Family Guide
  • Interland Online Game
  • Internet Awesome Tips
  • Family Pledge
  • Family Link Parent’s Guide
  • Internet Papercraft Activity Template
  • and more!

Teachers: On the Be Internet Awesome website, there’s also a free curriculum you can use to teach your students!

If parents and teachers work together, we can increase the chances that kids will experience all the best that the internet has to offer.

Click here to learn more about internet safety and get your free family guide from Google!

More of our most popular parenting posts:

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One lucky winner will have their artwork featured on Google for a day! Keep reading for details and how to enter the Doodle for Google 2019 art contest!

How to Enter Doodle for Google Art Contest

 

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on March 9th, 2019 at 06:59 pm

Is My Child Sleeping Too Much? (Free Child Sleep Chart)

 

Have you ever worried, “is my child sleeping too much?” We’ve got answers to your most common questions about child sleeping: many hours of sleep does a child need, how much deep sleep does a child need, plus a free printable child sleep chart!

Have you ever worried,

Is My Child Sleeping Too Much?

Our middle daughter wakes up at the same time every morning — no matter what time we put her to bed. It’s as if she has an internal alarm clock!

Even when our toddler didn’t sleep through the night, she still woke up bright and early the next morning.

8:00pm bedtime? 8:30am wakeup.

11:00pm bedtime? 8:30am wakeup.

Of course her wakeup time may vary a few minutes here and there, but generally, it is the same time every single day. Plus, she wakes up rested, cheerful, and ready to start the day.

I’ll admit that we have tried later bedtimes on the weekends in hopes of getting to sleep in, with no luck.

As the sun begins its ascent above the horizon, our littlest family member is ready to start her day too!

Our oldest daughter is the exact opposite. She has always slept as long as we will allow her. On non-school days, that can be up to fourteen hours!

I sometimes find myself waking up my oldest daughter on weekends because I worry that my child is sleeping too much!

My oldest daughter is always fully awake and alert once she’s had a chance to eat breakfast, and she doesn’t fall asleep in school or places she shouldn’t. Yet there was still a nagging thought in the back of my mind, “Is my child sleeping too much? Is everything ok?”

If you also have had similar questions, like “how many hours of sleep does a child need?” or wondered if your child is sleeping too much, keep reading. We’ll break down the current recommendations for child sleeping, plus there’s a FREE printable child sleep chart!

free printable child sleep chart

Free Child Sleep Chart

If you’ve ever wondered how many hours should a child sleep, we’ve created a handy printable child sleep chart with current child sleeping recommendations.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer these guidelines for total hours of sleep needed in a 24-hour period:

  • Infants (4-12 months old) — 12-16 hours of sleep
  • Toddlers (1-2 years old) — 11-14 hours of sleep
  • Children (3-5 years old) — 10-13 hours of sleep
  • Children (6-12 years old) — 9-12 hours of sleep
  • Teens (13-18 years old) — 8-10 hours of sleep

You can grab a printable copy of our child sleep chart here:

How many hours of deep sleep should a child get?

Like adults, how much deep sleep should a child get depends on the total amount of sleep per night. The goal is 20% of child sleeping time spent in the deep sleep stage.

Even within these expert child sleeping recommendations, there is a fairly wide range of what is considered “normal.”

For example, including her afternoon nap, my middle daughter falls squarely within the “normal” range. My older daughter also is in the normal range, though at the upper end.

Why would my oldest daughter need more sleep than my youngest?

Why Some Kids Need More Sleep Than Others

Is it possible that some kids need more sleep than others?

The answer is yes.

Here are a few common reasons why:

1. Not getting enough sleep during the week

Long school days, a heavy homework load, extracurricular activities, and parent work schedules often mean that kids don’t always get to bed early enough to meet their ideal sleep needs. This might cause children to sleep more on weekends, essentially to “catch up.”

Some researchers say that it is possible to make up for not getting enough sleep during the week by sleeping longer on weekends.

Say your child has to wake up an hour earlier than they naturally would on school days. These 5 “lost” hours might be made up by sleeping a couple hours longer on both Saturday and Sunday.

2. Anxiety or Stress

It’s well known that stress can cause problems with sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep at night. However, for some people, anxiety can actually make them sleep more.

According to Dr. Rebecca Spencer, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Department of Psychology, “you can be driven to sleep simply by having a lot of emotional memories to process.” In short, when life gets overwhelming, your brain needs the ability to decompress and sort through what’s going on. It can’t do so properly unless you’re fully at rest.

Be cognizant of situations that could be causing stress for your child. Some might be obvious (a new sibling), while others might not be so simple to determine, like if your child is being bullied but hasn’t told anyone.

Click here for tips on how to deal with child sleep anxiety and help your child get more sleep.

3. It’s genetic – Some people just need more sleep!

How do I know? Because I am one of them!

My husband can function well on very little sleep. Sometimes he goes about his day on five hours of sleep! (This can be due to his work schedule OR due to his love of horror movies that none of us will watch with him during the day).

I am not my best self if I’ve gotten less than eight hours of sleep, and if I could, I would sleep much longer. I’ve always been like this — I just need more sleep than my husband.

There is actually a term for people who are genetically-wired to require more sleep than others, even more than what might be considered normal.

“Long Sleepers” often need ten hours of sleep or more (adults), and there’s not really anything that can be done to change that. We simply have to accommodate this as much as possible.

Therefore, the answer to the question “how many hours does a child need to sleep” may be different for each child.

What can you do if you think your kids need more sleep?

If you’re wondering how many hours of sleep should a child get and if your child is getting enough sleep, here are proven tips to help them get more shut-eye:

1. Help them fall asleep faster

These tips to help an anxious child sleep can be beneficial for any child who struggles to fall asleep. The less time spent trying to sleep means more actual rest.

2. Re-evaluate weekday activities

Is karate class really worth it if it means your child doesn’t get home for dinner until 7:30pm? When possible, find activities that can be done on weekends or earlier in the day.

3. Discuss a reasonable homework load with your child’s teacher

Even when my daughter is fully focused, it usually takes at least thirty minutes to complete her daily homework assignments. On days where she is especially tired from school, homework can drag over an hour as she struggles to retain focus.

The National Education Association recommends 10-20 minutes of homework for first graders, increasing by 10 minutes per grade. A recent study published by the American Journal of Family Therapy found that the average first grader actually receives three times the recommended amount of homework!

If you feel that excessive homework could be contributing to sleep issues, try talking with your child’s teacher to figure out a reasonable work load.

4. Try an Earlier Bedtime

Going to bed early may have benefits for kids’ health, and it will allow them more time to get the sleep they need. Alison at Pint-Sized Treasures explains why her kids have early bedtimes here.

When to see a doctor

Changes in sleep patterns, trouble staying awake during the day, or suddenly sleeping hours longer than usual could be signs of an underlying issue.

Trust your gut!

If something seems “off,” don’t ignore it. It can’t hurt to give your family physician a call.

Do you have any child sleep tips? Share them in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own experience and is not intended to be medical advice.

More of our favorite posts about child sleeping:

It took us over a year to figure this out!! I had started to think our toddler would never sleep through the night, until we cut out this ONE thing. If you're stuck in the cycle of sleepless nights like we were, you'll want to check to see if you missed this too!

This One Thing Could be Why Your Toddler Still Wakes up at Night

Anxiety, worry, and stress can keep your child (and you) awake at night. Six things you can do to alleviate those worries and help your anxious child sleep.

Child Sleep Anxiety: 6 Tips to Help Your Child Get More Sleep

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on February 8th, 2019 at 07:27 pm