Meet a How Do You Do It? author

MandyE

MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

Quintessential Twin Pictures

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Categories Friendships with Other Multiples, humor, Infants, ToddlersTags , , 2 Comments

When my girls were born 6 1/2 years ago, I wasn’t on Facebook. I hadn’t started blogging. And — to my knowledge — Pinterest didn’t yet exist. I barely had any mommy friends, let alone friends with twins. (That’s funny to think now, since almost all my mommy friends have multiples!)

I say that to say, I didn’t have a ton of inspiration for pictures. I took a blue million. Now, though, I look around at all the adorableness on social media, and I wish I could rewind the clock, if for no other reason than to take some adorable smooshy baby pictures.

One picture I’m thankful I captured is what I think of as a truly quintessential “twin” picture. I’m not sure where I got the idea back in the day (how old am I???), but it’s one that just makes me smile.

What is cuter than a baby in a bucket swing? Twins in a bucket swing!

Two kiddos, back to back in a bucket swing at the park. How I love those matching hats, baby-soft skin, chunky little legs, and uber-clean tennis shoes…all TIMES TWO.

If you have infant or toddler twins and haven’t taken such a picture: GET THEE TO A PLAYGROUND. FIND THYSELF A BUCKET SWING. Aaaaand GO!!!

These days I’m almost always at the ready with my trusty camera. And a couple of weeks ago, I realized I had an opportunity to sorta-kinda recreate this quintessential twin shot.

No, I didn’t cram my kiddos into a bucket seat at the park. (They’re slight, but I think that would be pushing it.) My dad has a disc swing [there’s probably a real name for this?] at his house. The girls were delighted to play on it last month when we went down for a visit. They were taking turns well enough, but then I suggested they try to swing together. (Oh, and please do so while I find the perfect camera angle… HA!)

Too big for a bucket swing, perhaps, but these twin sisters are never too big for an outdoor adventure.

Voilà!

I still love that baby-soft skin, now with matching ponytails and scruffed up tennis shoes.

I can’t foresee what my next recreation might be, but know I’ll be on the lookout, ever ready to capture the moment.

What’s your favorite twin/triplet/more pose? Share it on our Facebook page. We’d love to see!!!

MandyE is mom to 6 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls. She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Make-It Monday: Father’s Day Gifts from the Kiddos

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Categories Celebrations, crafts, Make-It MondaysTags 1 Comment
Father’s Day is fast approaching, and I’m sharing a couple of the ways we’ve made Daddy feel the love on his special day.
I wish I’d had the wherewithal to do this the girls’ first Father’s Day…but, just shy of 6 months old…I think I was still in somewhat of a haze.  Since the girls’ second Father’s Day, though, we’ve been carrying out the traditional of our “Top 10 List”, complete with hand prints, and — since the girls were three — signatures, too.
HDYDI-fd2
On the center card: “The Top 10 Reasons We Think You’re the Best Daddy in the World”, on which I list some of the fun things the girls love to do with their daddy.  I try to come up with things that represent what the girls are doing at that given age/stage.
This picture is from our 2011 list when the girls were two, and it includes cuteness along the lines of:
  • You help us build the best “structures” with our blocks, and the tallest towers.
  • You never tire of sampling our tea and lemonade, and all our culinary creations.
  • You show us how to be super sweet to our furry sister Sasha.
  • Two words…tickle time!!!
  • You sing “Found a Peanut” every night, even though we know it’s not your favorite song, and you make up all sorts of silly lyrics to “Baa-Baa Black Sheep” at our requests.
  • You give us nose kisses the first thing when you come home from work, and you talk to us through the window in the backyard when you cut the grass.

And every list ends with, #10. You’re ours.

Last year, we added a fun new twist to our Father’s Day celebration, and our girls thought it was so much fun.  I drew conversation bubbles and the girls wrote a Father’s Day message.

HDYDI-fd1This year, I plan to have the girls hold the letters D-A-D-D-Y for a picture.  I’m sure that will incite plenty of giggles, too.

Some hand print art and pictures of his girlies…what more could a daddy want?  And I love getting the girls involved in the gift-giving.  That’s what it’s all about!

Do you have any Father’s Day traditions?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Twinfant Tuesday: “Mothering” on Mother’s Day

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Categories Discipline, Emotion, Infants, It Gets Different, Mommy Issues, Older Children, Parenting, Twinfant TuesdayTags 3 Comments

I remember my first Mother’s Day.  My girls were right at four months old.  I was incredibly grateful to have joined the ranks of motherhood, but I was tired…so very, very tired.  How wonderful it would have been to have a break.

But I didn’t get a break that year.  I changed just as many diapers, washed just as many bottles, dealt with just as much laundry as I had the many days before.

While I have yet to enjoy the elusive “day off”, my subsequent Mother’s Days haven’t been quite so grueling.  Certainly at six years old, my girls are largely self-sufficient.  They’re bundles of energy, but they’re so much fun.

I wanted to spend the day with my girls on Sunday.  I’m working full-time these days, and they are in kindergarten, so our downtime is a tiny fraction of what it used to be.  I cherish being with them on the weekends, and I wanted nothing more than to hang out with them and enjoy the spoils of being a mommy.

What I didn’t see as part of my Mother’s Day “bliss”, though, was disciplining my children for talking back to me, or for saying an inappropriate word.  I counted three time-outs between the two girls.  At age six, that’s a bit unusual (fortunately), but it had to be done.

And I certainly didn’t plan to get a “throw-up call” from Baby B a couple of hours after bedtime.  She somehow didn’t get any on her bed, but it was all over her…prompting a full shower and then drying her hair, and then doing a big load of laundry.

During these not-so-blissful times, there was a part of me that wanted to say, “Seriously???  On Mother’s Day??!!!  The last thing I want is to put you in time out!

But I stopped myself.

We may take a break from time to time (a well-deserved break, no doubt!), but our job as mothers never stops.  It changes, and it gets easier in many ways, but this is who I am.

This line of thought helped me keep things in perspective on Sunday.  Certainly I would have enjoyed a perfectly planned day, complete with some pomp and circumstance and some quiet time…and I definitely plan to eek out a pedicure in the next couple of weeks…but in the midst of not-so-fun, I was reminded how important my job is as a mom.

If you’re in the midst of the twinfant stage, hang in there.  If your kiddos are older, but still tucker you out just as much, that’s OK.  If you took some time “off” this weekend, hope it re-energized you.

Whatever stage we’re in, may we keep perspective.  May we appreciate it for what it is.  And may we feel the importance of our roles.

Hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day, in whatever way you marked the day!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Wouldn’t Do Without Wednesday: Our “OK to Wake” Clock

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Categories Overnight, Parenting, Potty Training, Preschoolers, School-Age, Sleep, Wouldn't Do Without WednesdayTags 5 Comments

I originally wrote this when my twin girls were three, as a review on our local MoMs’ group blog.  My girls are now six, and my love for this little gadget is still as strong as ever.

***

Since our girls started sleeping through the night, until they were about 18 months old, I could usually count on them waking up around 6:45 in the morning.  And then, when they dropped to one nap during the day, they began sleeping until about 7:30.  Those were the days!

When we began potty training, around 27 months, though, we experienced a drastic change in the girls’ morning routines.  I appreciated that they woke to use the potty…but there were some painfully early starts to our days for quite some time.

I then discovered a wonderful gadget that has made a huge difference in our morning routines, the “OK to Wake!” clock.  [There are several iterations of these in clocks and stuffed toys…just search “OK to wake”.]

OK to Wake

I set the clock to 6:30, at which time it glows green.  (As much as I’d like them to sleep until 9am on the weekends, I wanted to set a “realistic” goal.)  I tell the girls, if you wake up and the clock isn’t green, you can roll over and go back to sleep.

There are times when I hear them stirring shortly after 6:00, but they don’t usually call for me until 6:30…on the dot…and then I hear, Mommy!  The clock is green!  I slept well!

There are times that they wake up early, sometimes needing to sit on the potty.  After they use the bathroom, it’s been great to have an “impartial party” — the clock — to cite.  “The clock isn’t green.  It’s still sleep time,” I’ll tell the girls.  They almost always accept that they need to go back to bed.

I was worried that the clock would somehow wake them up in the mornings.  Its glow isn’t so bright that it disturbs them, though, and a handful of times they’ve slept an extra 15 or 20 minutes.  The green glow lasts for 30 minutes, so they still get to call out to me when they wake up (which they get a big kick out of).

I would love to one day get back to our blessed 7:30 rise and shine…but for now, I’m so thankful to at least have a consistent wake-up time.

***

(This is not a sponsored post.  I am in no way affiliated with the companies that make or sell these awesome gadgets.  It’s just been a lifesaver to us…for close to four years now!…and I wanted to share.)

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Toddler Thursday: Reflections on Potty Training Twins

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Categories Parenting, Potty Training, Preschoolers, Toddler Thursday, Toddlers24 Comments

I originally posted this on my blog a couple of weeks after Baby B potty-trained, which was about 6 months to the day after Baby A potty-trained.  I decided to document what worked for us, in hopes that it might be helpful to someone else.  Here’s hoping!

Potty Training Reflections

I remember where I was a year ago…I didn’t know much about potty-training, but I knew it would be in my relatively near future. I planned to do my research and decide upon an approach. I would be prepared, and I figured that would be at least half the battle.

When Baby A started showing some signs of interest in the potty, shortly after she turned two, I started reading…the parenting books I had, online sources of parenting information, blog posts. Outside of the “boot camp” approach, I didn’t feel like there was much “methodology” to understand. I read about reward systems and pull-ups, but I surely didn’t find a step-by-step guide as I’d hoped.

Having said goodbye to diapers three full weeks ago (!!!), I thought I’d reflect on what I’ve learned. I know that two children does not a statistically significant sample make, but – even with the girls being very different from each other – there are a couple of learnings I can point to in our experience. Some of these are personal opinions of mine, and some are more overarching principles that I’ll actually reference beyond potty-training.

Consider your rewards very carefully, in light of what behavior you’re trying to motivate.

I often hear about people using sticker charts or M&Ms, with rewards earned for output, sometimes in weighted amounts. In both cases, our girls told us they wanted to start using the potty, so I didn’t need to motivate them to “produce”.

Instead, I sold our girls hard on how cool it was to get to flush the potty. With both of them we went through a period of time when they wanted to tee just a couple of drops to be able to flush (I could just imagine how manipulative things could have gotten if they were jonesing for M&Ms!). I told them, “That’s not enough to flush.” (In Baby A’s first couple of days, we flushed so much the potty actually did “break”…fortunately Hubby heard the anguish in my voice and was able to rescue me during his lunch period that day. In the midst of potty-training, I was in no state to deal with a plunger myself!)

The “prestige” of being a big girl, of flushing the potty, and of wearing pretty underwear seemed to be motivation enough for both our girls. After several months, Baby A began having some very small accidents…not wanting to interrupt her play for a bathroom break. About six weeks ago I started awarding her a sticker at the end of the day for keeping clean and dry all day. It worked like a charm! She loves to get her card off the refrigerator, pick a sticker, and show her new sticker off to her daddy. I immediately got Baby B on the same system, and she’s been earning stickers almost every day, too.

“Play” is part of learning, but I only allow it in measured doses.

When both girls started using the potty, it was quite the novelty, of course. It was so frustrating to me how much they wanted to play! Whereas I don’t tolerate playing at mealtime, though, I was afraid to reprimand them too much on the potty…ultimately they were doing what I was trying to encourage. Someone commented on a blog post, reminding me that a child’s job is to play. It was a great reminder for me to be patient, and know that the novelty would wear off sooner or later.

Still, I have rules about sitting on the potty. Your hands belong on the handles on either side of the seat. When the girls start to play the “why” game, or sing, or get otherwise distracted, I’ll remind them, “We’re here to make our tee-tees / stinkies. We can talk / sing when you’re finished.”

I don’t “reprimand” them so much as encourage positive behavior. After a point, though, if I think they’re truly just playing, then potty-time is over.

Be flexible – and encourage flexibility – in the potty location.

Before the girls started to potty-train, I was vehemently opposed to using a potty chair. (I couldn’t imagine having to clean it out!) I bought the girls a potty ring for the regular toilet. That worked fine…until Baby A seemed to use potty-time as an excuse to garner one-on-one time with Mommy (the bathroom being separate from the playroom). I bought the potty chair and put it right next to the playroom. That quickly addressed Baby A trying to go every five minutes.

Baby A used the potty ring on the upstairs potty, and she had no trouble using the portable potty seat in public restrooms. And if we’re at a friend’s house, she does fine sitting on the regular toilet (I hold her gently to make sure she doesn’t lose balance and fall in!) I have heard about kids getting attached to one particular potty chair or ring. By introducing different potty paraphernalia from the beginning, I hoped to avoid that issue.

I started Baby B on the potty chair, but she was playing so much…bouncing with her feet and wanting to lift the seat from the base. So I moved her to using the potty ring. That allowed me to discourage her playing, as her feet don’t touch the floor. I also transitioned A to the big potty, so we’re potty chair-free these days, too!

I never used Pull-ups.

I don’t mean to be controversial here…I know there’s a big market for this intermediate step, so it must work for a lot of families. Maybe because I was able to wait for our girls to make the first move, though, letting me know they wanted to use the potty, I never felt Pull-ups were necessary. I didn’t like the idea of putting a “just in case” / back-up system in place.

I think some parents use a Pull-up when they leave the house, to avoid messy accidents away from home. I certainly understand that fear! I wanted to avoid that scenario at all costs, too. For us that meant staying at home during the first three to five days when the girls were taking on their new responsibility.

With Baby A, who trained at 27 months, I took very small outings at first…a walk around the block for 30 minutes…then working up to a quick run to Target within a 45 minute window. I would wait until she’d just used the potty at home to time our trip.

With Baby B being older (I guess), this didn’t seem like much of an issue. When she “got it”, within the first five days, I felt comfortable to leave the house as usual. She used a public potty within the first week, and it wasn’t a big deal.

Potty-training is an emotional time.

I saw it with both my girls…they became very sensitive when they were potty-training. I’ve read about developmental changes inciting emotions, and I believe it wholeheartedly. I explained it to myself that the girls were coping with a huge responsibility, and – relative to their little worlds – that was a lot of pressure on them. Once they became more confident in their abilities, within a week or so, their emotions stabilized (at least relative to a two-year old!).

Baby A also regressed a bit when Baby B started training. I didn’t anticipate it, but I recognized it quickly. For a full six months, Baby A had been a star on the throne…and here was her sister joining her in the spotlight, wearing pretty underwear, and getting stickers, just like she had been. Whereas Baby A’s potty use had become a fact of life, I began to praise her again, noting how proud I was of her, as well as her sister.

Potty-training is stressful.

A blog friend of mine wrote a year or so ago, “If potty training is stressful, your children aren’t ready.” A couple of kids later, I agree…but…it’s all relative.

Even though I feel confident both my girls were ready, such that motivation wasn’t a huge factor, potty training was still a stressful time. That first week or so there was a constant need for attention…looking at the clock…listening for cues…back and forth to the potty…wanting to discipline, but not wanting to discourage.

But…everything evens out. The newness wears off, the routines kick in, and – over time – going to the potty becomes a part of life. Like so many other journeys to date in this crazy ride called parenthood, potty-training is just a phase. It will pass. You will all survive.

Still…treat yourself! I didn’t reward the girls with chocolate, but you’d better believe I kept a stash for myself! And I distinctly remember on Day 6 of Baby A’s training, I took myself to the Dairy Queen after the girls were in bed. I got a Reese’s Blizzard and sat in the car, all by my lonesome, and enjoyed every spoonful.

***

With enough time, {almost} every experience is sweet in hindsight.  Potty training was not exactly fun, but we made the best of it.  

If you’re in the midst of training, hang in there!  If training is ahead of you, you can do it!  And if you’ve been there and done that, we’d love to hear any tips and tricks you can share!

Twinkly Tuesday

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Make It Monday: Spring-Inspired Craft

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Categories Activities, crafts, Lifestyle, Make-It Mondays, Parenting, Preschoolers3 Comments

Before my twin girls started kindergarten last fall (sniff, sniff!), I loved nothing more than an excuse for a themed playdate.  A craft and a snack to match?  Sign me up!

With our busy schedules these days, we don’t get together with our twinkie BFFs nearly as much as we’d like to.  I ran across this picture of a playdate from last March, and it just warmed my heart.

A fun Easter project for little ones: Paper plate chicks!While I try not to be a hoarder, I still have these little chickies hanging around…they are just so stinkin’ cute!

We started with a white paper plate (I love the cheap-y kind for crafts).  The kiddos colored their plates yellow, and then they glued googly eyes and a triangle beak on for the face.

For the wings, the kiddos traced their hands.  Depending on their scissor-skill-level, some of them cut out their handprints, and the MoMs did the handprints for the others.

It was a challenge for our 4 1/2- and 5-year olds to accordion fold the legs, but they had fun trying.  :)

There are all sorts of variations you can do, depending on the skill of your crafters-in-training.  If you’re brave enough to break out the paints, you could even do some handprint chicks on canvas.  (There are a million cute inspirational ideas on Pinterest!)  However you do it, I think it’s a great way to {finally!} welcome spring!

Happy Crafting!!!

MandyE is mom to six-year-old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

 

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Confession: I Hate the Girls’ Class Pets

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Categories humor, Parenting, School, School-Age2 Comments

Shhhh…I’m writing here, instead of on my own blog, so my girls won’t see this confession.  I can’t utter this aloud, but I hope writing about my disdain will be cathartic.  

My twin girls are in kindergarten this year, in separate homeroom classes.  Each class has a “pet”.  It’s not the living, breathing kind (thank goodness)…but rather the stuffed variety…and each child takes a turn bringing Thomas or Rowdy home for an overnight visit.

pet4My A got to bring Thomas home the very first day of school, and she was incredibly excited.  I was excited, too…how stinkin’ adorable was that??!!!  We celebrated the first day of school with ice cream, and we had fun making pictures of Thomas at the ice cream stand.

A few days later, my B got her turn with Rowdy.  It was a weekend, so we took him to the bookstore with us, where he enjoyed playing with the train set.

pet2

Sure, this is a great exercise!  Fun!  It offers families another way to get involved with their kid’s school life!  It gives us a glimpse into what other families do!

But…it’s a lot of work!!!

pet1
We once built a bed for the animals out of blocks…blocks that could be sanitized the next day!  Hahaha!

(And, at the risk of revealing my germophobe tendencies, these critters kinda gross me out.  There’s no telling where they’ve been, and my girls want to cuddle with them in our house.  ICK!!!!!  Lest you think I’m being petty, a friend of mine who is a kindergarten teacher in another district had to eliminate her class “pet”.  It acquired “bugs” during its rounds.  See…this is not just in my head!  And I don’t want anything ON my head as a result!!!)

As part of the hosting duty, the parent/child writes in the animal’s journal about what they did together.  We try to do something fun…something journal-worthy…with the critter at night.  Our evenings are so jam-packed with homework, supper, and getting to bed by 7pm, though, that’s a tall task in itself.

In the mornings, I want to involve the girls in what we write in the journal…but I’ve finally decided we have to get up 30 minutes earlier (THIRTY MINUTES!!!) to accomplish this.  The girls prescribe what I should write, and then they paste pictures and draw.  This last week, Baby A wrote a few lines (in kindergarten phonetic speak) herself [which was incredibly adorable].

The girls’ birthday topped the cake (no pun intended).  As the birthday kid in their classrooms, they each got to take home their class pet.  So…in addition to the family birthday festivities we were trying to cram in on the first day back to school following the holiday break, we had BOTH critters to accommodate.

pet3
Rowdy and Thomas played the girls’ new Connect 4 game (after the girls went to bed).

My head is itching, just writing about this.

I will make it through the balance of this school year.  I will smile as genuinely as possible when my girls bring their beloved class pets home.  We’ll do fun things.  I’ll take pictures.  We’ll write and draw in the journal.

I’m sure I’ll miss this one day…at least in some strange way…but for now, pardon me while I go clean something.

Yes, writing this does make me feel a little better.  Anything you need to confess today???  Go ahead…we won’t tell!!!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Make-It Monday: A Token of Thanks

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Categories Activities, crafts, Lifestyle, Make-It Mondays, Parenting1 Comment

I had great intentions of doing something nice for our mail carrier and sanitation crews over the holidays.  With the girlies in kindergarten and me being back at work full-time, though, my intentions these days don’t always make it into actions.

We’ve had a crazy amount of snow over the past three weeks (relative to our area, anyway), and I thought this would be a great time to say “thank you” to the folks who’ve continued to work, oftentimes much later hours than they normally would, to keep things rolling during this weather.

kitkat1The last trip we made to the grocery store, I picked up packages of snack-size Kit-Kat bars.  I wrote a little note, and the girls were thrilled to add some handmade touches.

They were giddy to leave this in the mailbox on Saturday morning.  And they were ecstatic to get a thank-you note in return from the mail carrier, saying we’d made her day.

Later in the week, we’ll tape a little package (wrapped in a zip-seal bag) to the top of the garbage can, and we’ll try to catch the recycling crew early Friday morning.

I love seeing the girls excited about doing something for someone else, and I was reminded it doesn’t take much to make someone else’s day.

kitkat2

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Managing the Time Change

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Categories Parenting, Routines, SleepTags 4 Comments

(This post was originally published on our local Mothers of Multiples blog site.)

As a mother of twins, my number one piece of advice to new MoMs is to get their babies on a schedule…the SAME schedule. It was that piece of advice that saved my sanity when my girls were infants, and I’ve continued to be very schedule-oriented since.

With the clock being so central to our lives, the thought of the time change twice a year sends my stomach into knots.  While I dread changing our clock every few months, [KNOCK ON WOOD!] our girls have always adjusted to the new time within a few days, and it’s never been quite as bad as I rehearsed in my mind.

I am posting an excerpt I read from a sleep specialist, as to how to manage your children’s schedules through the time change.


Managing the Time Change: A day-by-day plan for transitioning your child's schedule to account for Daylight Saving changes.

In the spring, the clock is moved forward an hour, so we lose an hour.  For the adult and teenager, this typically means losing an hour of sleep.  When we get up on Monday morning at 6am, we feel tired because  our internal clock says it is 5am.  It can take some individuals weeks to feel rested again in the morning.

Although the time change officially takes place on a Saturday night, for the child it actually begins the next evening on Sunday.  The parent should stick with the “old time” all day Sunday for the child’s nap.  Then on Sunday evening, the parent should move to the “new time”.

There is good news for the parents of young children who wake too early: often the younger child starts sleeping later in the morning.  For the child who has been going to bed at 7pm and rising at 6am, this is the perfect opportunity for the parent to change the child’s sleep schedule if a 7am rise time is desired. The parent must be ready, however, right from the first night after the time change: The parent must consistently put the child to bed at 8pm, make the child’s room very dark, and add white noise to the room (if there is a significant noise in the home in the morning from others getting up).

When a child has been going to bed at 8pm and rising at 7am, he is likely to appear wide awake on Sunday night after the time change at 8pm because his internal clock says it is only 7pm.  The parent should consider allowing him to stay up until 8:45 – 9pm for 1 to 3 nights.  During this time, the parent may have to awaken the child in the morning between 7 and 7:30am if the parent wants the child to start going to bed at night again by 8pm.

Most children are back on schedule within 10 – 14 days if the parent is consistent.


What are your tips and tricks for managing the time change?  Wishing us all a smooth transition over the next week!!!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Are My Children UNDER-Scheduled?

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Categories Activities, Balance, Community, Lifestyle, Parenting, School-Age10 Comments

My girls just turned six.  To cruise around my friends’ pictures on Facebook, those who have similar-age children (or younger), I have to question if my kiddos are missing out on something.

I see pictures from dance recitals, piano lessons, gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, and basketball.  And my mouth is watering these days at all the pictures of kiddos selling Girl Scout cookies.

Our girls have experienced very little of that.

They’ve taken swim lessons the past three summers.  The first summer they didn’t exactly love it, but they’ve had a great time the past two years.  And the summer when they were four, they took a two-month tumbling class and had a great time.

It’s certainly not that I’m opposed to them participating in activities, but, as I’ve stepped back to assess our history to date, I feel fiercely protective of their time, and of our time as a family.

The girls are now in kindergarten, and our Monday-Friday are jam-packed.  Their daddy is a teacher, so they come home with him after school.  After a snack and a little play time with the kitties, they’re often just finishing up “homework” when I come home around 5:30.  I rush to get supper on the table, and we are usually finishing our meal shortly after 6:00.  If we’re lucky, we have time for a game or a book or two before we begin our bedtime routine at 6:30.

(Yes, our girls are in bed by 7:00!  They seem to require 11 1/2 – 12 hours of sleep!)

On the weekends, I try to balance getting family errands done (groceries and laundry and cooking ahead) with hanging out with the girls.  If the weather is nice, we love to go to the park.  We try to head to the zoo or children’s museum every 6 weeks or so.  And I block off plenty of time for unstructured play at home, and crafting, and reading, and snuggles.

Newly working mom wonders whether her kindergartners are under-scheduled as she protects family time.

These days, I just don’t see where we’d put a practice or two a week and games/events on the weekends.

I think our girls’ schedules are plenty packed as they are, and I have strongly mixed feelings about introducing anything else into the mix.  Still, I can’t help but question if I’m providing them with appropriate access to trying different activities.

HELP!!!  Are my kiddos “missing out” at this age?  Does this get easier as kiddos get older (and don’t go to bed so early)?  How does your family prioritize activities?

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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