It’s hard to believe that the first month of school has quickly passed and just when you think you’ve got your family back into the swing of things, the Thanksgiving long weekend is here! If you are anything like us, that means that our regular schedule is out the window while we make plans to visit with family all weekend long and eat our weight in turkey and pie!
It’s no surprise that this change in schedule and diet can lead to undesirable behavior from your little ones! Desiree Cluff, from Rockababy, is here to share her Top 5 realistic and manageable tips for getting you and your family back on track.
- Don’t look at the big picture, it will overwhelm you. Look at it in pieces. Yes, your child may be going to bed 2 hours later than usual, and yes you have gotten into new bedtime routines (or lack thereof) that may not be the most desirable. No biggie, do NOT panic! Let’s look at one thing at a time. What’s the most important piece that needs your attention right now? Focus on that and get consistent about implementing the new, more desirable habits. Tackle one thing at a time. I know this sounds simple and obvious, but it’s the obvious things that often need little reminders.
- Healthy bedtimes are a must around here! If you feel that you have fallen into a later bedtime than normal, it’s okay, kinda. So, let’s get you back to where you need to be. I find a slow progression is most effective by pushing bedtime back by 15 min increments every 2-3 nights, until you reach your desired bedtime. If you find your child is struggling, and not tired enough at any point during this process, wait a few extra days before continuing to push the bedtime back.
- If you have more than one child, you likely have one in school and a younger child at home or in preschool. Both ages are equally affected by a change in daily routine. In the evenings after dinner, make sure you have a good solid routine that is dependable and consistent. Consistency is the big key to success here. Have as much playtime before dinner as possible, so that you have a smooth calm transition after dinner into bath, and then bed. Let bath be the last big play of the day. With children under 3, I recommend this routine rather than a routine that ends in playtime right before bed. Playtime before bed almost always leads to wired, over-tired energy. Watch for over-tiredness in all ages. It is often mistaken for not being tired, as it looks very hyper, resulting in our children staying up later by thinking it’s too early for bed. If this happens, you will be battling with the wired energy of a child who cannot settle down and has a poor quality of sleep and disruptive bedtime as a result.
- Consistency! Everything listed above will not be effective unless you have a very consistent plan and follow through. New routines take time, and like anything, if you want to see long lasting results you have to put the work in. It takes between 4-6 weeks to see a new routine become a solid habit with young children. Make sure your new routine is black and white with no room for wandering.
- Ask yourself what speaks to you as a parent and what suits your parenting style. Find your personal path, and explore how you feel rather than falling short to the daily pressures of too much information coming to you from every angle, telling you what “they” think. (BTW, who are Mr. and & Mrs. They?? “They” sure know a lot!) You’re a great parent doing everything you can for your children. At the end of the day, they are going to grow up to be amazing humans!
Desiree Cluff is the founder and operator of Rockababy. Born and raised in beautiful Vancouver, B.C, and educated at Erickson College. Desiree studied Life Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming, an approach to Psychotherapy based on the awareness of the power of language to affect behaviour and stimulate the mind.
Inspired by her desire to help others, Desiree knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children. She brings to the table superb communication skills, warmth and empathy and over a decade of experience with newborns, infants and toddlers. Her satisfied clients (well rested mamas!) claim she possesses magic pixie dust that she throws on their screaming and sleepless babies transforming them to great sleepers, sleeping 12-hour nights. The real key to her success has always been her personal touch. She spends quality time with each family and puts together a customized training program for them that she knows they can succeed with.
Desiree also acts as a child product consultant and teaches baby sign language. She assists families with other stressful times including transitioning toddlers from crib to big bed, potty training, and behavioral issues. In addition, she has extensive knowledge of healthy nutrition for babies and toddlers and helps her clients get off to the right start developing well-rounded, healthy eaters. Her greatest satisfaction comes from mentoring parents to become their own child’s expert.
Photos by Kyrani of Klik Photographic