5 best techniques to make a child’s bedtime easy

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child’s bedtime

Getting the little ones to bed. Never an easy feat, whether you’re at home or on the road. It seems that no matter how full a day you’ve had, no matter how many family activities you’ve been doing, no matter how exhausted they seem…when it comes to bedtime, they instantly seem to perk up.

They know that Mom and Dad, plus their older siblings, are all staying up later than they are. And they sense that something magical happens during this time to which they’re not privy; exciting shows are watched, snacks are eaten, laughs are had. The result? A big case of FOMO and a very cranky child!

Fear not, weary parents – because I know of a few quick tricks that can help you get your child to bed when they’re supposed to. Without the drama. And because I’m feeling generous, I thought I’d share them with you!

1. Create a pre-bedtime routine

We’re all used to some kind of routine in the mornings. We shower, we have breakfast, we head to work and we pick up a coffee on the way. Within that routine lies a dozen other routines involved in getting the kids ready for school – lunchboxes are packed, homework is checked and kisses are given before ensuring they’re on their way in good time.

When it comes to evening routines though, we can be less organised. The bedtime we set for our kids often goes out the window, especially if friends or relatives pop over to visit. We might feel too tired ourselves for baths or story times; as a result, our little ones find it hard to settle down.

But it’s so important to set – and stick to – a solid bedtime routine at an early age. So after dinner, start the wind-down early. Turn off all devices that emit blue light (like phones or tvs), as these increase alertness and can over-stimulate your child. Instead, prepare some indoor activities (coming up!) before giving them some warm milk to settle them down further. Finally, a nice bath will let them know bedtime isn’t far away; even if they seem to get hyper again with all the splashing around, it is relaxing them on the inside!

Once they’ve changed into their pajamas, it’s time to read them a story. Try to spend some time with them in their room like this so they go to bed feeling safe and secure.

2. Keep playtime indoors

Your kids aren’t going to be sleepy straight after dinner; more likely, they’ll want to make a break for the great outdoors. Unfortunately, playing games outside can overstimulate them and make it impossible to get them to bed at a normal hour…especially if it’s summertime and bright outside!

Instead, think of some calming activities they can do indoors. These include painting or coloring, playing house or making a scrapbook. All creative, imaginative games that are great for bonding with your child…without getting them too hyped up before bedtime.

3. Create a soft atmosphere

Bedtime is made even easier if you’ve made the necessary preparations first. So even before they’ve had their bath, or their glass of warm milk, or played those indoor games, turn your child’s bedroom into a sleep sanctuary. Start by turning on a night-light or bedside lamp if you have one.

Next, make sure their favorite blanket is on their bed and don’t forget any cuddly toys they love! So when it comes to story time, you’ll be lulling your child to sleep in an environment that’s familiar, cozy and perfect for slumber.

4. Offer a rewards scheme

If you’re having trouble getting your kids to go – and stay – in bed, try using a sticker chart. If they stay in bed until breakfast time, they get to add a sticker to the chart. If by Saturday morning they’ve filled a line of stickers in the chart, they get some sort of treat. Like pancakes for breakfast!

It may seem like a desperate solution but honestly, kids love the competitive, gaming aspect… and a little bribery can go a long way!

5. Don’t engage

This is an important one to remember. Because if your child is acting up or showing off right before bedtime, they may just want a little extra attention. They know that if they kick off at the right moment, they’ll get extra hugs, another story and a little more parent time.

By not engaging with this behavior, you’re letting them know that it’s not okay to act this way! Sometimes the strongest approach is the silent one – so just ignore whatever tantrum they’re throwing on the landing, steer them silently back to bed and eventually they’ll realize that they’re not going to get any extra attention. Combine this with the ‘rewards club’ technique and they’ll know it pays more to stay in bed!

Hopefully these techniques will help make your child’s bedtime a little easier… and as a result, your life a little easier, too! For more sleep-related tips, check out what the guys at The Sleep Advisor have to say.

In the meantime, may you and your little ones enjoy a sweeter, sounder sleep – tonight, and every night!

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Packing Perfection: Preparing to Travel with Babies or Toddlers

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Travel with babies and toddlers can be a challenge, but it can also be a grand adventure! Pack perfectly and follow a few easy strategies and your trip with kids can be an entirely enjoyable situation! Yes, for real 😉

Tips for Travel with Babies or Toddlers
Pre-packing checklist

Before you begin packing, make an on-paper checklist of the things you’ll need while vacationing with your kids. Once you are 100 percent sure every necessary item is on the list, start the packing! Don’t wait until the last minute to do this, advises travel gurus at BabyCenter magazine.

Plan on at least two outfits per day per kid and check weather forecasts before you go. If you’re traveling to a colder climate, remember to take along a cozy sweater or winter coat for each child, too. Extra socks can be a real lifesaver, too! Although you could always hand wash socks in your hotel room, it’s so much easier to put on a new pair.

Familiar things in a new setting

Little ones tend to prefer familiar things, so be sure to take small TSA-approved travel bottles of your kid’s favorite shampoo, lotion, and other kiddie toiletries. Place bottles inside a sturdy zip bag to prevent accidental leaks and spills. If your child needs medicine, stash labeled prescription bottles in your handbag or carry-on tote. You certainly don’t want to wait in case your luggage is delayed for any reason.

Many kids are accustomed to their favorite snuggly blanket or familiar stuffed teddy bear. Take them along! Your child is sure to sleep better while in a strange hotel room if they have their favorites along. Most nice lodging options offer kiddie beds and travel cribs. Call ahead to reserve a portable baby bed at the Marriott Boston or wherever you will be staying.

Life’s little essentials

Another must-have is snacks! Don’t count on finding healthful treats at an airport. Instead, tuck granola bars, oat cereals, and juice boxes into your purse or carry-on bag. Remember to pack extra snacks for yourself, as well. Herding little ones through airports and train stations is hard work, and you’ll want to keep your energy levels high.

Toddlers and bigger kids may enjoy carrying their own toys and treats in a backpack purchased for your travel adventure. Go ahead and enclose a package of baby wipes in their pack, and you’ll always have a quick and easy way to clean sticky hands and faces, say traveling moms at Parenting magazine.

Plan to unpack as soon as you check into your hotel room. Make the space as kid-friendly and childproof as you can. Set up a play zone with your toddler’s favorite toys and a few new ones purchased especially for the trip. If you are traveling with an infant, set up a diaper changing station. Call housekeeping for extra washcloths and towels. Trust us when we tell you that you will definitely need them!

Travel offers a wonderful opportunity for family bonding and plentiful memories. Plan ahead, make lists and check them off, and have a fine time traveling with babies and toddlers!

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Family-friendly floors for your home

Family-friendly floors written in partnership with Luxury Flooring.

When it comes to making the right kind of choices for your family, you may not think that the type of floor you have is all that important, but it is! Your floor takes a lot of hits, especially where kids are involved, but can you have a stylish floor with little ones running around? Of course! You don’t have to compromise style for practicality. In our home we have a mix of solid wood flooring, carpet, laminate, and tile! We’ve left everything the way it

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Minecraft in a Chicago Movie Theater: this weekend!

Does your child love Minecraft? Starting this weekend on Saturday morning, instead of just playing at home, they can enjoy the game while meeting new friends as part of a local team representing Chicago, thanks to Super League Gaming and their Minecraft City Champs tournament, run in partnership with Nickelodeon. It’s like little league for Minecraft players! Fun, positive, and a special opportunity to get out and play with other kids their age. Past players clearly have had a GREAT time!

One skilled player will win

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Tips from Fit Moms on Finding Time to Exercise

Tips from Fit Moms on Finding Time to Exercise, Contributed by Kate S.

Everyone has trouble sticking to their exercise routines, but it can be almost impossible for a mom. Between looking after kids, taking them to school, going to the doctors, and any other commitments, there’s almost no time left for a mom to get her sweat on. Here are some top tips from fit moms to help you find time to exercise.

1. The Early Bird Gets the Workout You need to work out as early as possible, before the day has

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Jacob’s 1st Birthday: Viking Party

My baby is ONE?! But I just had him! I tell ya, that cliche “time flies” doesn’t change by the 3rd kid. In fact, time flies even faster. What a blur. In true Norwegian fashion, we went with a themed Viking party for the little man. It was a lot of fun to put together!

How cute is this cake?! Jacob’s little smash cake is sitting on top and looks just like a Viking helmet. I know, I know, REAL Vikings didn’t actually have horns on their helmets, but… it’s cute that way.

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Weird Weather and Insects: How your Kids Can Enjoy Some Safe Summer Fun

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Kids love the summer! In that time, moms and dads arrange for kids to enjoy activities, be monitored, and stay healthy. Aside from the sun’s rays, protective parents research the weather, insects, and other summertime hazards. Be prepared for weird weather, insects, and the worst summer can throw at you so the kids stay safe all season.

Water Hazards

Drowning occurs suddenly and without much accompanying sound. Parents help prevent catastrophe by staying off smartphones when chaperoning kids; being aware of their own CPR skills (as well as the knowledge of those

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