Category Archives: Parenting Tips

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

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.

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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)

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 *      *      *     *      *

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

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:

Parents: Please Stop Sending Sick Kids to School

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

Why You Should Take a Mommy and Me Class

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I’d always thought “Mommy and Me” classes were silly.  Lilu used to be in gymnastics class, and while she was learning the bars and balance beam, there was another group of moms (and one dad) that sat in a circle on a mat while their little babies rolled around.  Who would pay money for that??

This year Lilu is in swimming (we wanted her to be proficient so we’ll know she is safe when she is not with us), and again, there are also baby options available.  In a smaller pool off to the side little diapered infants splash and play with toys while in their parents’ arms.

Hubby has been pushing me to sign up with Annabelle:

She loves her baths!

You’ll meet other moms!

It will be FUN!

I had a variety of comebacks:

It’s a waste of money.

She won’t really be learning anything.

I don’t want to put on a bathing suit yet.

Why you should take a "Mommy and Me" class

But one day we all went to watch Lilu as a family, and Annabelle practically threw herself in the direction of the pool.  (Good thing Daddy has strong arms and fast reflexes!)  She mimicked the big kids, flailing her arms and legs and squealing with glee.  Seeing that reaction, I just knew she would love being IN the water instead of sitting and watching behind the glass window.

So I signed up.  And I bought my first bathing suit in two years.  (Not the most pleasant experience, but I did it!)  And the next week Annabelle and I had our first Mommy and Me swim class.  And she loved it!  She splashed harder than all of the other babies combined.  I was every bit as soaked as she was by the end of the half hour.

Sure, she’s not learning to swim on her own yet, but she is learning to be comfortable in the water, which is a good background for water safety.  She’s also learning social skills: interacting with other babies, waiting her turn for activities, and giving back toys when it’s time to move on to something new.

If myself just five years ago could see myself now, hanging out in a pool (in a fairly modest tankini) with a group of moms and babies on Thursday mornings, I’m not sure I’d even believe it!  However, it’s been a great experience so far, and I find myself actually looking forward to next week’s class.

IMG_3749

Just a few of ways mommy-baby activities can benefit both of you:

  • Physical activity improves baby’s motor development
  • A group setting lets baby practice social skills: sharing, taking turns, interacting with other babies
  • A change of scenery– something besides being at home and the usual daily routine
  • The opportunity to make new friends

IMG_3752 IMG_3765

You might even be able to find FREE or discounted activities by checking with your local park, community center, church, schools, etc. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend getting out of the house and bonding with your baby over something a little different than the norm.  You might find that YOU actually benefit as much as your little one!

Do you take a Mommy and Me class with you little one(s)? I’d love to hear about your experience!

Check out these other ideas for getting active with your children:

Yoga for Kids – 10 Minute Photo Tutorial

25 Indoor & Outdoor Activities to get your Kids Moving

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

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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 July 28th, 2015 at 12:55 pm

I support AMBER Alerts – even if they wake me up on a work day

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Inside: AMBER Alerts have saved nearly 1000 children’s lives, but here’s why some people are mad about them.

AMBER Alerts have saved nearly 1000 children's lives, but here's why some people are mad about them.

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the headline: Amber Alert That Located 11-Year-Old’s Alleged Killer Sparks ‘Numerous’ Complaints (VICE News)

What could possibly be controversial about an AMBER Alert?

What’s the big deal about AMBER Alerts?

The AMBER Alert system has been around for over two decades here in the United States, but only recently launched in Canada.

As such, many residents of Ontario were caught off guard by the two province-wide alerts sent at 11:30pm and 12:30am.

Within the first few hours after the alerts went out, there were hundreds of calls made to 911.

But believe it or not, a large portion of those 911 calls weren’t to offer tips, but rather to complain about the alert. 

I don’t live in Canada, but I have received tons of AMBER Alerts to my phone — at all hours of the day.

The alert noise is crazy loud and kind of creepy. I get that.

However, I still can’t fathom why anyone could be mad about an AMBER Alert! What the what?!

There is so much going on in our world that is divisive, you’d think that AMBER Alerts would be something we ALL could agree upon.

It made me sad to read otherwise, so I wanted to offer my support of the program.

I support AMBER Alerts because they work

Both fortunately and unfortunately, AMBER Alerts are a regular part of our day here in the U.S.

I say “unfortunately” because anytime an AMBER Alert goes out, that means a child is in danger. However, we are fortunate to have a system for spreading the word and finding those children.

Since the program’s creation in 1996, AMBER Alerts are responsible for the safe rescue of nearly 1000 children in the U.S.

That alone is reason enough to deal with any possible “inconvenience” of a phone alert.

Here’s a look at the exact numbers of AMBER Alert rescues in the United States:

  • 934 children have even rescued specifically because of an AMBER Alert
  • 53 children have been rescued from a Wireless Emergency Alert

Source: US Department of Justice

One thousand kids rescued is a big deal. 

Who knows what would have happened for those kids and their families otherwise?

I support AMBER Alerts because they’re not really an “inconvenience”

Let’s be honest here — your life is not ruined by a loud alert on your phone.

Your life is ruined when your child is kidnapped. Or worse.

Yes, it might scare the crap out of you to be woken from a deep sleep by that eerie chime. Trust me, there have been more than a few early morning alerts that shook me out of a peaceful slumber.

Was I annoyed?

I’ll admit it…a little bit. I like sleep, ok?

Did I get mad and complain?

No way.

I read the alert, made sure it didn’t apply to me, then I thanked my lucky stars that I had the luxury of going back to sleep. Because I know that an alert means that there is one family out there who is NOT sleeping.

An AMBER Alert is that family’s lifeline, a bit of hope, and maybe a happy ending. I’d never begrudge them that.

I’d also never begrudge our first responders and emergency workers who are trying to find a missing child as quickly as possible.  The first 24-48 hours are the most critical in a missing child situation, so I’m all for any measure to make it happen.

Think about all the spam calls and telemarketers that hit you up on a daily basis. Do you go and call 911 about that?

Didn’t think so.

I support AMBER Alerts so they are there if we need them

My Grandad used to volunteer for K-9 search and rescue, and as kids, my cousins and I used to help him and their team practice.

It felt like an eternity waiting for them to find us in the woods, but I knew that we would be found.

I can’t imagine how scary it would be as a kid to not know if or when you would be rescued.

I can’t imagine as a parent how scary it would be waiting for first responders and volunteers to find your child. If they do, that is.

I pray with all my heart that my family never needs to report a missing child or rely on an AMBER Alert. But I am thankful that this resource is there.

Take a minute to thank YOUR lucky stars too, and have a little grace

Maybe this is a good reminder for all of us to take a minute to reflect in gratitude that we have our families safe with us.

Hopefully it will also be a reminder for when the next alert comes to take a deep breath, and offer up a little grace for our emergency responders who are only trying to save a child’s life.

If it really bugs you that much, you can opt out of AMBER Alerts on your phone here in the U.S.

Apparently right now the AMBER Alert system in Canada goes to all phones, but that might change after this. In the meantime, I hope all my friends in the north will be patient while the new system works out its kinks.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be hugging my kids a little tighter tonight. And making sure my alerts are on.

You might also like:

The 10 types of cyberbullying that parents and educators need to know about, as well as steps to prevent them.

10 Types of Cyberbullying Parents Need to Know About 

The Xbox child safety settings that every parent should know. How to limit contact from other people online, block content based on age and ratings & more.

XBOX Privacy Settings Parents Should Know 

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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 February 15th, 2019 at 07:47 pm

Ten Truths I’ve Learned About Motherhood in My Baby’s First Year

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My sweet baby turned one over the weekend and has officially entered Toddler-dom. While it’s been an incredibly exciting time to see her learning real words, taking her first wobbly steps, and growing into her own personality, a part of me mourns my “little baby” that isn’t so little anymore. I see now why people decide to have more! 😉 Just kidding…maybe?

In honor of her first birthday, I decided to write about the truths of motherhood (or fatherhood)– things I’ve learned over the past year with an infant.

Ten Truths I've Learned About Motherhood in My Baby's First Year

  1. You will be able to function on less sleep than you ever imagined possible. That’s what coffee is for– any time of day or night– whatever it takes.
  2. You really don’t mind the smell of baby poop. Admit it, it’s not that bad!

  3. Your baby is the most fascinating thing. Ever. You could seriously sit and watch her just do her thing for hours.

  4. You won’t “break” your baby. You’ll be a helicopter parent for those first nerve-wracking few weeks, but after a year you won’t even sweat it when your baby is walking, and therefore falling, a lot.

  5. Your house will look like a Babies-R-Us showroom, and you’ll be ok with that. Forget your dreams of a magazine-worthy living room, if it keeps baby happy and busy you’ll be all for it!

  6. You will let your baby watch TV. And they will survive. Once you figure out that you can buy yourself a half-hour nap with a play-pen and TV, you’ll be sold. Rested mom = happy mom. You might even find yourself singing baby show songs shamelessly…with no kids around.

  7. Putting on jeans becomes your new definition of “dressing up.” Wearing makeup is now a really, really big deal (usually reserved for church, weddings, and the very rare date night.)

  8. Your day now revolves around the blessedly quiet hour that is “nap time.” Never mess with nap time– it’s just not worth it.

  9. Seeing your baby cry is the worst thing in the world. You’ll try and do anything to make it all better.

  10. You won’t be able to imagine life before baby. It’s just not possible– and why would you want to? Being a parent is exhausting, a little scary, and so much work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Happy birthday my sweet Annabelle!

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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 May 18th, 2015 at 06:30 pm

Shockingly Simple Toddler Sleep Hack – Most Parents Overlook This!

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What’s inside: An often overlooked solution to toddler sleep issues – and it’s one that parenting books won’t tell you! With one simple switch, our toddler immediately started sleeping through the night! 

As a parent of a new baby, you count down the days until they start sleeping through the night.

In fact, the promise of a restful night’s sleep when your baby hits the toddler stage is usually what gets you through those sleep deprived newborn days!

But what happens if your toddler never sleeps through the night?

A simple, but often overlooked solution to toddler sleep issues. With one simple switch, our toddler immediately started sleeping through the night!

Toddler Sleep Regression?

I never dreamed (no pun intended) that my toddler wouldn’t sleep through the night.

In the first year, we dealt with quite a few baby sleep regressions. I accepted that I didn’t get an “easy sleeper,” but I looked forward to getting a good night’s rest once we hit the toddler stage.

Boy was I mistaken!

At 22 months, we were still being woken up at least once, sometimes twice a night to cries of “Mama! Dada! Where are you?!” Going on three full years without solid sleep was really taking its toll, and I knew my poor little girl must be exhausted too!

Toddler sleep regression?

More like our toddler never slept through the night to begin with!

Why won’t my toddler sleep through the night?!”

If this is you too, I want to share a surprisingly simple toddler sleep solution that worked INSTANTLY for us.

Seriously, the first day we tried this was the first day we ALL slept an entire night through. 

It’s definitely worth a try! Perhaps it will be the magic toddler sleep trick for you too!

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!

I felt like we had tried everything

Different bedtimes, different pajamas, her favorite dolls, night-lights, cuddling, cry-it-out…you name it! I read countless articles on toddler sleep regression and toddler sleep training.

But nothing worked.

We got lucky a handful of times, but in her first two years of life, I could count on one hand the number of times our toddler slept through the night.

One day my mom suggested something that I hadn’t thought of.

Do you think she could be sensitive to sugar and caffeine?

My initial reaction was outrage: I do NOT give my kids caffeinated drinks at all! No soda, tea…nothing…never! My mom knows that!

Then my mom dropped the bomb:

What about chocolate?

Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, and both girls do get the occasional treat.

Except that was the problem.

The treats had become more than just an occasional surprise. Once I started thinking about it, I realized that every time I turned around, someone was handing my girls candy or cookies or ice cream.

Whether it was Daddy bringing home fried Oreos from his food truck, or a family member popping in to say hello with a surprise ice cream sundae, or even the bank teller passing a sucker over the counter — sugar was everywhere!

I prided myself on the fact that as a family we ate very healthy: home cooked meals every night with lots of vegetables and lean proteins.  And I thought that we were reasonable about sugar consumption.

However, our girls were getting far more sugar than I realized, and even a bit of caffeine from chocolate treats.

Does chocolate disrupt sleep in children?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that both kids and adults avoid chocolate before bedtime. That’s because chocolate contains caffeine, which even in small amounts can be detrimental to good sleep habits.

How much caffeine is in chocolate?

Believe it or not, a typical serving of dark chocolate contains about as much caffeine as a cup of tea.

Milk chocolate contains about a third of the caffeine of dark chocolate, but even that could be enough to affect a child, as children are more sensitive to caffeine.

On the day that my mom suggested that chocolate and other sweets were negatively affecting our littlest’s sleep, I thought back to what she had eaten the day before.

I was ashamed when I counted up the cookies I had watched our daughter eat.

I might not have given them to her myself, but I allowed others to feed her an excessive amount. Maybe 5 cookies total — that’s more than I would ever eat in a day and it is INSANE for a not-quite two year old!

That night she had woken up twice. I hung my head in shame.

What happened when we cut back on sugar and chocolate

The good news: we can make a positive change at any time!

That very day I announced to my husband and my visiting mother-in-law that the girls were not to have any more sugar for the rest of the day. Period.

I explained that I wanted to see the effect it was having on our toddler’s sleep.

That night our daughter slept through from 9pm to 8am. ELEVEN hours straight!!

I couldn’t believe the immediate impact that cutting out sugar and chocolate had on toddler sleep.

The next day I again made the announcement: no sugar after her lunchtime treat (that was snuck in without my knowledge…though that is another story.)

That night our toddler slept from 9:30pm to 11am. MORE than TWELVE hours straight!!

And the next night it was twelve hours again!

And the next night was ten hours!

More than one night in a row of sleeping through the night has NEVER happened before. Sleeping more than twelve hours straight is unheard of for our youngest daughter.

This was four nights in a row of sleeping around twelve hours straight. It was like a miracle!!

I don’t care if anyone thinks it is a coincidence…I am sold!!

It might not be what’s going on around your child that’s keeping them awake.

I think with sleep issues, we often look for external factors as the cause: noise, temperature, discomfort, etc. However, sometimes it is important to consider what is going on inside our bodies!

I can’t believe I missed this for so long — I know the effect that sugar has on ME, but I hadn’t thought about what it was doing to my girls.

Maybe a couple treats won’t keep every child up at night, but for my little girl (who didn’t even have a taste of processed sugar until after her first birthday) it was obviously too much. And if you’re stuck in the exhausting cycle of sleepless nights like we were, it is definitely worth a try!!

Our new “house rules” when it comes to sugar:

  • Only one small treat per day
  • Absolutely NO sugar after dinner

And we are ALL sleeping better because of it!

Pin this post:

n often overlooked solution to toddler sleep issues - and it's one that parenting books won't tell you! With one simple switch, our toddler immediately started sleeping through the night! 

More toddler sleep tips:

4 signs that your child is ready to transition to a toddler bed, as well as tips from top bloggers to make the move a breeze!

When is it Time to Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed?

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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 June 2nd, 2019 at 06:56 pm