Thursday, April 5, 2012

Schedules

Any mom out there knows that a big part of your life is juggling schedules.  Anywhere from work, school, kids activities, play dates, doctor appointments, you name it.  And everyone knows that no one can work through 5 people's schedules at one time better than a Mom.  Sometimes though it's hard to find the right rhythm to keeping all of those schedules flowing.

One of the best resources that I've found over the years is this website.  I am a very scheduled, do-it-by-the-book kind of person, so this helped me out greatly.  One thing that I've learned is that every kid is different.  It's really best to take your first few months and let the baby lead you.  They won't be on schedule and you both will need time to acclimate to each other.  Once that happens, you will see what your baby's natural cycle is.

The important thing to know is how your child reacts when they are tired.  All three of my kids get more hyper when they are tired.  It's very deceiving because they look more alert and excited....that's when I know they are about to lose it.  They never fall asleep at the table or in their chair, they just keep going and going and going.

When kids get over tired, it makes it that much harder for them to fall asleep and sleep through the night.  The key is good nap times through the day.  Some babies need 3 short naps, some only 1 big one.  That's where learning their natural cycles comes into play.  When babies under 4-6 months sleep.....let them sleep.  Don't worry about set schedules yet, unless you know that they work best on a strict schedule.  (Little Man is that way....he works best on a very strict schedule).  When that schedule seems off, stir the pot a little and have a day out of the house.  Sometimes it takes an off day to get back on track.  If they have a hard time getting to bed at night, try putting them down 30 minutes earlier.  Sometimes they just need that extra nighttime sleep.

Children are very adaptable.  Even when you have a good sleep/eating schedule down and you have a string of days that are crazy and schedules are off, they will be just fine.  Just go back to your original schedule when you are able to.  Or alter your child's schedule to fit because as they age they will adjust.  Also, watch for cycles.  Sleeping and eating schedules get very cyclic.  If you see your child regress, that usually means that they are ready to go on to a longer schedule because they are growing up.  Just watch and you'll see that they will go on to an even better schedule within about a week.

Just remember that life has a rhythm to it.  Sometimes the tempo speeds up and sometimes it slows down.  Just follow the pace and you and your kids will be happy and healthy.

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