Archives for April 2013

Has Your Child Earned All Freedoms?

Source: www.noisycoworkers.com

The idea that our kids need to earn their freedoms is so crucial to the Babywise way of raising our kids. We cannot give our kids certain freedoms without making sure they can handle those freedoms.

How do we determine whether we should allow a certain freedom? Many parents award freedoms based on the child’s age. We think, He’s 5 now. He’s old enough to cross the street without holding my hand. Or she’s 7 now. She should be old enough to take care of a pet. But do we stop to actually think about the child’s level of responsibility? Is the 5-year-old responsible enough to stop and look both ways before crossing the street every single time? Is the 7-year-old responsible enough to fill a pet’s food and water bowls and do it every day without reminders?

When we decide whether our kids have earned certain freedoms, we should determine whether they are responsible enough, not old enough. You might even find that your younger child is more responsible in certain areas than your older child. It’s perfectly normal.

Before I get into certain types of freedoms we should evaluate, let me take a minute to explain why this is so important. Essentially, our kids need to learn how to make decisions. And to learn anything, we need to take baby steps. To open the world up to a child and allow him to choose everything from what shirt he wears to whether he’ll do his homework is just too much for a young child. This is how the Ezzos put it:

“[There is] a legitimate concern that warns against creating the false impression in the mind of a child that she is able to do anything, say anything, and go anywhere without parental guidance or approval. Simply put, this is a child who has been granted too many freedoms of self-governance too early, and this is how children become ‘wise in their own eyes.’ It is our firm conviction, based on our observations, that more conflicts arise out of this ‘wise in your own eyes’ attitude than any other single factor in parenting,'” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 180).

Pretty powerful stuff, huh? Let’s take a minute to look at a few areas of freedoms that we might be tempted to award our children without ensuring responsibility:

Physical Boundaries

I’ve been a long-time proponent of the idea that our kids should not be allowed to roam the house, no matter how old they are. When we allow our kids to roam the house, they get the idea that every room in the house and everything in it is there for the taking. Before we implemented this rule, William would root through my bathroom drawers, wander upstairs by himself, and even go into the backyard without asking permission. Now, my kids know they are to ask permission to go anywhere but the main downstairs area.

Now at age 8, William has earned the freedom to go upstairs without me, but he still tells me or checks in before he does. I’ll allow him to take a shower (upstairs) by himself. But I have to make sure Lucas doesn’t go with him. Lucas has not earned the freedom to be upstairs by himself or without a parent. If he’s up there with William, they often wreak havoc.

Time

As odd as this may sound, our kids need to earn the freedom to choose what to do with their time. Before they learn the value of managing time, our kids will certainly choose to play all day and not do a single chore or bit of homework. I’ll be the first to tell you that our kids certainly need time to play. It is through play that our kids learn. It is through the imagination (which flourishes in play) that our kids learn to be creative and think critically. But we need to manage our kids’ time for them so they learn the value of time management. They need to learn that it’s usually far better to get your work done first and then play.

Plus, if you’ve been a Babywise parent, you’ve learned that directing our kids’ lives is so beneficial to their development. Keeping them on a schedule and directing their time tells our kids that they don’t get to choose to do whatever they want whenever they want. They learn that they are held accountable to the parents’ expectations.

Play

Yes, our kids need to earn freedoms when it comes to play. There are many aspects of my kids’ playtime that I direct:

1) Sibling playtime

2) Independent playtime

3) Play with friends and neighbors

4) Outdoor play

5) Exercise through play

6) Video game play

My kids are allowed free play, but I will tell them when it’s time to play outside, when it’s time to ride their bikes, and when it’s time to play with friends. And they must earn freedoms and show responsibility even when it comes to play. During free play, they are not allowed to trash the playroom. I don’t limit the amount of toys they can have out at once. But they have earned this freedom simply because they know they need to put toys away as they go.

Sibling playtime is also a freedom they need to continually prove responsibility for. If they say nasty things to each other or don’t share, they lose the freedom to play with each other. And for my boys, this is one of the most severe punishments I can give. My boys love each other so much and hate playing alone.

Playtime with friends is also a freedom my boys need to earn. There are always kids out playing on our street (when the weather isn’t too bad). And many of them will come to the door to invite my kids out. I allow my kids to go when the neighbors are out, but I watch their play closely. If one of my boys speaks rudely to another child, I’ll give a warning. If it happens again, I make the child play by himself or go in the house. Playing with friends is a skill they need to learn, and I’m not going to just let them figure it out on their own.

And as you might guess, I limit video game play quite a bit. It’s only allowed on the weekends, and my boys need to have cleaned up their toys before they are allowed to play. If the video games cause anger or violence in the child, I turn it off. They need to learn how to play video games and not let it negatively affect their disposition.

These are probably the top three areas where we find we need to limit our kids’ freedoms. Think through each one to determine whether your child has any freedoms he needs to earn. If you have given a freedom that the child hasn’t earned, don’t be afraid to take it away. Our kids go through phases where they are responsible for a certain freedom and then they stop being so responsible. Freedoms come and go with the child’s level of responsibility.

Should Every Child Get a Trophy?

Source: leighsportsvillage.co.uk

After learning from the best (the Babywise series), I’ve always been of the assumption that not every child should get a trophy. But after living with this first-hand, I’ve started to question my assumption.

I’m sure we’ve all seen or heard of it. Today’s sporting events just aren’t like they used to be. When kids are involved, either the games aren’t scored or every child is given a trophy, no matter how well they do. Yet for as long as I can remember, I’ve held the belief that this idea of every child getting a trophy isn’t good for our kids. When our kids put in great effort and work hard, they should be rewarded. I don’t believe a child should be rewarded for putting in minimal effort or for just showing up. This is how our world seems to be operating these days. It seems as if everyone is afraid to tarnish our children’s fragile egos.

I also believe that by giving every child a trophy, it completely robs the trophy of any value. It makes the trophy practically worthless. Plus, it’s possible that kids will lose all motivation to do well. Kids are smart. If they realize that the kid sitting on the sidelines will earn the same recognition as the child who works hard, then what good is it to work hard?

Now, if we are doing our job as parents, we should teach our kids that the reward is in doing a good job. In the case of sports, when you take one for the team and run harder than anybody else, your efforts will get noticed. But what about these trophies?

Let me back up a minute and explain why I bring this up. My kids have started flag football this season, and with William being more cerebral than athletic, this is our first real foray into kids’ sports. Well, today was the big kickoff event for the season. After William’s coach explained the rules of the game, he mentioned to us all that we might see other coaches handing out medals but that he wouldn’t be. The organization encourages coaches to hand out one medal after every game, which I assume would go to the kid who played his hardest. Well, our coach has decided to do it differently. Rather than handing them out after every game, he said he would hold onto them, and at the end of the season, we would have a celebration where every child would receive a medal.

After watching the kids practice and play, there’s a part of me that can see why he does this. There are some kids (like the coaches’ kids) who are clearly more experienced and talented than the rest of them. William, who was doing math problems in his head on the way there, would be outrun by one or two of those kids any day of the week. But my issue with trophies and medals has nothing to do with experience or talent. It has to do with effort.

If a child shows great determination and comes running onto the field and scores five touchdowns, then perhaps his effort should be rewarded. If a child shows great improvement in an area where he has struggled previously, then he should probably receive a medal. And I like the idea of kids getting recognized for their effort on the day of the game, and when nobody else is being recognized. Being rewarded by a coach (someone other than mom or dad) like this, on a day when only he is being recognized, would certainly bring a smile to William’s face. I’m not sure his smile would be as big when he receives the medal at the same time as all the other kids.

But then again, the mama bear in me does want to protect William’s self esteem. What if he’s staring off into space doing math problems in his head while the receiver runs right by him? What if he’s just not as capable as the other kids? What if his sensory issues get in the way of his ability to play?

What do you think? Should every child get a trophy?

Milestones and Behavior

A recent shot of Lucas. If only he were always so peaceful.

There’s a new phenomenon going on in my home right now. I haven’t read about this in any parenting book, but I have heard other moms mention it. There’s something about kids hitting a certain age or particular milestone that sends their behavior completely off-kilter.

Lucas has been 5.5 for 13 days now, and I’ll tell you, it’s been 13 days of defiance, disobedience, attitude, and pretty much any other behavior problem you can think of. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I did the math and realized that he had hit his half birthday. We were doing all kinds of timeouts, logical consequences, pulling our hair out (William included), and more.

I explained this phenomenon to my husband, and he wondered why a half birthday would do it. But I’ve seen it mentioned on the Babywise message board. And it’s not that Lucas is aware of this milestone. It’s just a little change in his development that perhaps has him a little confused.

I think many parents see this phenomenon much earlier in their kids’ lives. Typically, age two and three present big challenges. But for us, with Lucas at least, two and three were a breeze. I’ve always considered it 10% luck, 20% personality, and 70% training. I started training him in the Babywise principles from day one. My blanket time success story was one of our shining moments.

As odd as this sounds, I think part of the reason Lucas was so easy was that William was so difficult. I don’t think anybody who knows William would call him easy-going or laid back. A friend recently described him as intense, and that’s him in a nutshell. He’s intense in everything he does, and he’s been like this from the minute he was born. I remember being in the hospital wondering if it was okay that I went to sleep, considering my newborn was lying in his bassinet bright eyed and bushy tailed! Sleepy newborn? What’s that? Even his entrance into this world was intense since my water broke before I had a single contraction. And then it was 11 hours of painful, intense labor. We had colic, developmental delays, you name it!

When I was pregnant with Lucas, I “told him” that he had to pay me back for all the terror that William caused. The obedient thing that he is, he listened. :) Kidding aside, I think Lucas subconsciously recognized that William was a lot to handle. And he let William do his thing. He let him direct their play. They rarely fought ever because Lucas was so appeasing. You may have noticed that I rarely discuss sibling rivalry. Plus, whenever we were out, Lucas was his brother’s watchdog. He always made sure he was coming, even if I was walking at my own pace and William was lagging behind.

When I step back and examine their behaviors, William is much easier to manage now. I’ve noticed a change in him just in the past few months. I don’t know if it’s his occupational therapy, homeschooling, maturity, or what, but something is working for him. Perhaps Lucas noticed that things were a little too quiet, so he decided to fill the void. Not only has he been testing the limits lately, but he’s stopped letting William get his way. Sadly, they fight a lot more now.

I’ve also noticed a few other changes in Lucas’ development. For one, he’s been stuttering lately. I don’t think of it as a problem, but as a developmental speed bump. My niece has struggled with stuttering over the years, and my sister noticed that it’s just one of those things that goes along with their growth. It comes and goes. I can also tell that Lucas’ brain is moving too fast for his mouth. He knows what he wants to say. It just takes a little while for it to come out.

Lucas has also shown big progress academically. Because we homeschool, I see this with my own two eyes. His reading is coming along so well, and he’s at the point now where he reads the words he sees around him. When I read to him at bed time, he’ll point out a few words he recognizes. And he was watching TV the other day, and simply said to himself “fox.” He read the network logo.

What am I to do about all of this? Recognizing the problem and its cause helps immensely. But it still doesn’t get to the root of the issue. If I weren’t a Babywise mom, I might call it a phase and wait it out. But since I know better, I’m going to train this disobedience right out of him! It means my husband and I need to buckle down and tackle it head on. Consistency is the name of the game these days. We can no longer be lax with our schedule, room time, couch time, etc. We will also be looking for logical consequences that “hurt” a little more than a timeout would, because after your sixth timeout of the day, they start to lose their effectiveness! And thank goodness he still naps!

Wish us luck!

 

Tips for Successful Breastfeeding

Source: breastfeedingfriendly.wordpress.com

By Emily Parker, www.journeyofparenthood.com

There are many areas of parenting that are debatable. We all have our own opinions and ideas about what is “best” and many times those ideas may clash with what others believe is “best” for their children. One of the few parenting choices that is not debatable is regarding breastfeeding. Everyone knows that breast milk is the BEST nutrition for our babies. Even formula companies compete with each other to see who can be the “closest thing to breast milk.”

While we all know breast milk is the best source of nutrition, we all have to make the personal choice whether or not to breastfeed. I know many, many mothers choose not to nurse their babies and this isn’t a post to make anyone feel guilt over that choice. Instead, this is a post to encourage those who do want to breastfeed and to share my personal experiences and what helped me to be successful with it when nursing my children.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my son, I wasn’t sure what kind of mom I would be. The idea of nursing kinda bugged me and I didn’t know if I even wanted to do it. Yet the more I learned about the benefits of breast milk for my baby, the more passionate about it I became. I nursed my son exclusively for nine months and he had a mixture of breast milk and formula until a year old. With my daughter I was very confident in my nursing abilities and nursed her exclusively until 11 months when I started to introduce whole milk into her diet then fully weaned her at 13 months.

If you’re pregnant and considering breastfeeding, here are some things I have learned that can help you be successful, and NONE of them have to do with the actual nursing process itself!

1. Pretend formula doesn’t exist: You know that years ago moms didn’t have any other option. Nursing was the ONLY method available. It may sound silly but if you pretend like there ISN’T any other option out there, then you are more likely to be successful in nursing, because you simply aren’t going to consider anything else!

2. Buy a top of the line breast pump and OPEN it: I bought a Medela Freestyle pump when I was pregnant with my son. That junk ain’t cheap. We spent well over $300 on it. I was hesitant to open it. What if I couldn’t nurse? What if I didn’t want to? What if I gave up? My husband told me to open it because knowing we couldn’t return it would be a BIG motivator to keep on nursing, no matter what!

3. Don’t buy ANY formula: Keep your house formula free. Throw out (or sell!) those samples you get in the mail. Turn down offers from people who are getting rid of their left over cans. During times when you feel like throwing in the towel it will not be EASY to give up. It will require a trip to the store to buy the formula and by the time you actually go get it you will probably just decide to continue nursing. :)

4. Know that you CAN do it: I think most new moms, like myself, worry we won’t be able to breastfeed. It was my #1 fear when I became a mom for the first time. My husband actually asked during our breastfeeding basics class at the hospital about how many women really cannot breastfeed at all. The lactation specialist said that with the right attitude and motivation, pretty much everyone CAN do it!

5. Share your goals: Husband support is SO critical. Without Zach being there, helping me, supporting me, encouraging me, and even giving me some “tough love” in the early days of breastfeeding, I truly do not think I would have been successful with it. As mothers we tend to have our first concern be for our children. Our husbands tend to have their first concerns be about US. So when we struggle with nursing and feel like giving in, they just naturally want to help us and make our lives easier. They can’t understand what we are going through with nursing and many husbands will suggest quitting because they think it’s what will be best for us. Share your goals with your husband. He needs to be your biggest cheerleader!!!

6. Know it WILL be hard: I personally believe the #1 reason so many women don’t try or stop nursing early on is because we feel like we are failing when it is harder than we expect it to be. The media tends to paint this pretty picture of nursing…it’s supposed to come “naturally” and it should never hurt, etc. As a new mom everything is scary. You’re thrown into this entirely new situation and have a little life depending on YOU. When nursing does hurt, or it doesn’t come naturally, we freak out. We automatically feel like we are failing at our most important job as a parent, feeding our baby! We take it personally, like something is wrong with US and then we end up quitting because it gives us one less thing to worry about. I know because I’ve been there. I couldn’t for the life of me get my baby to latch properly. It hurt. I bled. I cried and cried during feedings for awhile. I’ve had mastitis, three times. I kept going through it all and guess what? The hard phase passes. It gets EASIER. Not just that, but it gets ENJOYABLE. There is nothing better than nursing a sweet baby and sharing that close bond together! I truly believe if new moms went into the nursing experience being prepared for it to be a little difficult and knowing that there will be struggles that more moms would tough it out. Just always, always remind yourself that the hard days will be over soon and that it is going to be worth it!!!

7. Have a goal, but take it one feeding at a time: With my son, my goal was to nurse him for three months. Once I got there, my goal became six months. Once I got there, my goal became nine months. With my daughter, my goal was a year and I went beyond that as well. I think having a long-term goal is great! However, it can also make you feel exhausted. On those tough days it can feel discouraging to think “omg, I have another year of this?” During those times it’s so important to just take it one feeding at a time. Get through that feeding and then have the goal of getting through the next. I had a close friend of mine who felt discouraged and frustrated with nursing but she kept going one feeding at a time and nursed much longer than when she initially wanted to stop. Every little drop of breast milk is SO good for your baby so even “one more feeding” is better than quitting!

While I am no breastfeeding expert by any means, I know that my personal success with nursing had more to do with my MIND than with my BODY. I truly believe that if moms who want to nurse go into it with these things on their mind, then they WILL be successful in it! Whether your goal is a week, a month, or a year, you CAN do it and you will be so thankful you did! :)

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Editor’s Note: Maureen here! Thanks for the wonderful post, Emily! I feel compelled to interject with a bit of my own personal breastfeeding experience — primarily to dispel a myth surrounding breastfeeding. Emily mentions a lactation specialist who told her that everyone can breastfeed. Well, I’m living proof that this is not true. When I was pregnant, I never considered anything but breastfeeding, and I went through all the trials and tribulations to get my son to latch properly and manage the pain and sensitivity of nursing. On top of that, we discovered his dairy intolerance at 6 weeks, and I spent 4 months off dairy so I could nurse my baby. Well, when he was about 3 months old and he didn’t have much baby chub, I realized that something wasn’t going according to plan. I saw a couple lactation consultants and was told that I was going to have to supplement with formula. Despite the colic and natural childbirth, this was one of the most painful days for me as a new mom.

So just know that if you aren’t able to breastfeed, you are not a failure. I agree with Emily that we should do all we can to successfully breastfeed. But if you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. Formula is not poison. You can love, care for, bond with, and nourish your baby in so many other ways. And here’s my little secret: I always felt closer to my babies when I was feeding them a bottle. I loved when they would look up, with both of their eyes, into my eyes while they ate. That right there made all the struggles so worth it.

Entitlement: Self-Sacrifice

In January, I wrote a post called “Entitlement.” It seems to have struck a nerve for some of you. The blog was pretty active that day. I can see why. Entitlement is one of those ugly characteristics that we want to avoid instilling in our children. At the same time, it’s difficult to avoid, as evidenced by an entire generation that has been labeled as entitled.

Today, we’ll discuss all that we as mothers sacrifice and how it may lead to entitlement in our children.

They say that motherhood is the ultimate in self-sacrifice. In pregnancy, we give our bodies. In the newborn phase, we give up sleep and pretty much all semblance of free time. In the toddler phase, we give up the freedom to sit and relax (as we chase them around the house), not to mention the freedom to use the bathroom alone. In the preschool phase, we don’t have to give as much physically, but then the reality sets in that we need to start preparing our kids for school. As they grow older, we give less, but we still sacrifice adult time, date nights (that don’t cost an arm and a leg in babysitter fees), and everything else that won’t see the light of day until our kids can stay home by themselves. Plus, we’re still responsible for our kids’ physical and moral development.

There’s a funny thing about self-sacrificing mothers. There are many moms who say that their children give their lives a purpose. They feel needed and they like it. These are the moms who will sacrifice everything for their children, and many of them are self-righteous about it. They give the impression that working moms or moms who have activities outside the home are not fulfilling their duties as moms. Many of them go so far as to criticize those of us who sleep train or have our children sleep in their own beds.

Despite how self-righteous they may be about it, it’s usually these self-sacrificing mothers who end up with entitled children. These kids have been given the world for their entire lives. Then they get to a certain age and start to expect that they’ll be given the world. They act entitled. Why wouldn’t they? It’s what they’ve been taught to do. Interesting how that works, isn’t it?

Realizing that this is the case, it’s important to stop every now and then and examine how our parenting methods may be creating entitled children. In what ways do we sacrifice as mothers? What areas of sacrifice can we give up? Where can we depend on our kids more? What more can we require of them as they grow up? What do we give them that they feel entitled to?

Here are some ideas to think about:

1) Insist that your crawling baby or toddler wait outside the bathroom for you. It’s okay if he fusses for a few minutes.

2) Don’t pick up your baby or toddler every time she cries. Shush her until she stops whining or crying, and only then pick her up.

3) Set aside time for your spouse every night (couch time) and insist that your child not interrupt you.

4) Find a time in the day where your child is awake but you have some alone time. Teach your child that when he sees you reading the paper and drinking coffee, he is to leave mommy alone.

5) Make sure your kids earn every privilege.

6) Track the time your kids spend on devices (computer, iPad, video games, TV), and make it clear that it’s a privilege, not a right.

7) Require chores, no matter how much homework or piano practice she has. Even from an early age, kids can start helping out around the house.

8) If your child starts acting entitled to a certain privilege, take it away. Only give it back when he seems grateful for the privilege.

Keep an eye on all that you sacrifice for your kids. Make sure that you sacrifice less and less as the child grows. Have him do more for himself as he ages and make sure he knows you don’t live your life catering to his every whim.

Help a Reader Out: Teaching Independence

Thanks for all the help this week! Here’s one more to finish off the week. This is from my post It’s Easier to Do It for Them. Please reply with your thoughts and any resources you can recommend for this parent.

What do you advise for parents who have done everything (and I mean everything) to avoid conflict, and now they have teenagers who simply refuse to pick up after themselves, wake themselves in the morning, do their homework, wash a dish, etc…they throw anything they’re done with on the floor and walk away. They don’t know how to make a bed or run a load of laundry, and see no need to ever learn. They don’t want to go to college because that looks like work. They want to stay home and play video games and be waited on. Now what. IS IT TOO LATE. What have we done.

I do think it’s important to work on these things when our kids are young, for this very reason, but I don’t think it’s too late. I don’t have a teenager, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Maybe those of you with teenagers will have better advice. But my initial thoughts are that it’s not too late because the teen is still living under your roof. It’s hard not to have sympathy for the teen since he’s simply living up to his parents’ expectations. But it sounds like things need to change.

The problem started because it’s easier to wait on our children than it is to require them to do for themselves. So I’m thinking the answer is to stop taking the easy approach. Stop making life so easy for him.

First, if I were this mom, I would sit down with my husband and make sure he agrees that things need to change. Then we would work together on a plan. Define all the individual tasks you want him to learn and own, and prioritize them so you can work on one at a time. Then sit down with the teen and explain the new rules and the consequences associated with those rules. Perhaps it would be appropriate to involve him in the process so he feels like he’s a part of the solution. I would also give it some time to see if he finds the motivation himself. Assume that he wants to change. If not, then start thinking about logical consequences.

Personally, I would start with video games. I don’t know of any motivated, successful person who spends any significant amount of time on video games. Plus, they can cause so many problems. It’s easy to lose all self-control while playing, which could easily get in the way of school, sleep, exercise, healthy eating, etc. I would simply take the video games away. Be prepared for the child’s wrath because video games are addictive, and it will take some time to be okay without them.

Then think through any other privileges the child has. If he’s of driving age, does he have a car? Do you allow him to use your car? Does he have free access to a computer. (I would allow it for homework only, and only in the main area of the house.)

Don’t simply take these privileges away. Tell him that he can earn them back by showing he’s responsible enough to have them. He can show responsibility by picking up after himself, doing his laundry, helping out around the house, etc. I’m guessing it will take some time for him to come around, which I think is fine. He will decide whether he wants these privileges back.

In the meantime, make sure not to do much for him. If you don’t want his messes in your space, I would toss his stuff into his room. Stop waking him up. Stop urging him to do his homework. (Maybe communicate with teachers so they know what to expect and so you know what their consequences will be.) Stop doing his laundry. My guess is he’ll eventually decide that he’s tired of wearing dirty clothes.

Now, the problem with this approach is that it could alienate the teen and really drive a wedge in the parent/child relationship. I imagine that the teen would be very upset with these new rules. And since the parents are driving the change, he will aim his anger at them. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this. It’s possible that my “tough love” approach wouldn’t work because of this. Or perhaps it would work, but it wouldn’t be worth the loss of the relationship.

Does anybody have experience with this? What’s the answer?!

 

Help a Reader Out: Blanket Time

Thanks everyone for all your help with the comment I posted on Monday! Here’s another comment from a reader that I’m hoping you can help out with. This time, it’s about blanket time. Please reply with any advice you might have for this reader. The original comment is this:

I’ve been working on blanket time with my 22 month old for about 2 months now. We are up to 15 mins. She has specific toys she gets only during this time each morning. She does test me and try to get off the blanket and see if I correct her which I do and she obeys. But now she won’t play and focus on her toys. Do you think it’s a phase? She just lays there until the timer goes off. I do stay near to enforce the boundaries. Right now I give her 2 puzzles, blocks, and a sorting activity. She just isn’t enjoying it. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

My first thought is to say that this mom isn’t doing anything wrong. There’s no requirement with blanket time that our kids actually enjoy the time. Yes, it’s preferable if they do, but if they don’t, that’s okay. As long as she’s staying on the blanket until the timer goes off, that’s all we need to require. If I were the parent, I might switch out the toys to see if she is simply bored with the toys available to her. I wouldn’t stick with the same toys week after week if the child shows no interest in them. But all in all, if she’s staying on the blanket for the most part, I’d consider it a success! Just keep doing it and add a few minutes bit by bit until you get up to 30-45 minutes.

Does anybody have advice for this reader? It would be great to hear your experiences with blanket time.

Help a Reader Out: Naps

It’s Spring Break time here at my house, and as we head out of town, I thought I would use the opportunity to address some of my readers’ comments. I’m painfully behind in replying to comments. So if you’ve asked a question, pay attention this week to see if other readers have ideas for you. Everyone else, please take a minute to leave a comment and let me and the commenter know what you think about the question.

Today, we’re helping a reader out with naps. This comment was posted on my post about Moving to One Nap a Day. I still have a napper in my house. Lucas is 5.5 and still does so much better when he’s had a nap. But nonetheless, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with the nap transition.

Here’s the question. Please reply if you can help!

“Hi! My LO is almost a year. Will be a year in a week. She does a great first nap usually 10:30ish-12ish. But lately her second nap is all over the place, sometimes 3-4:30, or 3:30-5, or up and not napping at all. Or putting her down at 3/3:30 and she plays and is up, then finally going down at 4:30 then naps late. She may be teething though, but her first nap is always good. So I can’t figure out if it is teething or if she is needing just one nap? So looking for some advice. :)”

We all know what it’s like to have to troubleshoot nap problems. Teething can definitely get in the way, but we don’t always want to blame nap issues on teething, especially if one nap is working fine. I suppose my question is why the second nap starts at different times. I wonder if keeping consistent nap times would improve consistency with the second nap. Does anybody have any ideas?

Thanks!