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Creating Effective Morning & Bedtime Routines with Toddlers

January 15, 2018 in Motherhood - No Comments

Creating Effective Morning & Bedtime Routines with Toddlers

January 15, 2018 in Motherhood - No Comments

I’ll be honest, as first time parents with a babe whose favorite hobbies are eating and observing the world around him, our first several months of our little’s life in the sleep department were beyond rough. One of the biggest game changers for us, however, was finally creating an effective routine for all of us and sticking to it each and every day. Now, I can honestly say something that during those long days and nights, I wasn’t sure would ever come out of my mouth – our little man is a pretty darn good sleeper! Not only that, (and I don’t want to jinx it) but our morning and bedtime routines run pretty much like clockwork around here these days.

That being said, let it be known that there is really no magic to the actual steps in our routines. For the most part all of the actions are pretty typical I’d say for many families, probably even your own. The following are the sequence of events we follow each morning and evening:

Morning Routine:
1. Wake up
2. Change diaper/clothing
3. Brush teeth
4. Prepare breakfast
5. Eat breakfast

Bedtime Routine:
1. Change diaper/clothing
2. Brush teeth
3. Read bedtime story
4. Pray
5. Sleep

Like I said, there are no bells and whistle’s here folks.

That’s because, to be honest, the key to our success hasn’t had much to do with the “what” portion of our routines, but really in the “how” we carry them out.

When it comes to the “how” – we have two key words we live by – short and predictable.

Routines, specifically those that take place before bed, should not be long, drawn out endeavors. They should be short and sweet, and each piece should serve a purpose. Our morning routine, including breakfast on the table, takes less than 30 minutes and our bedtime routine is around 15 minutes total.

Now let’s chat a bit about predictability. As a teacher myself, I know what an impact having predictable routines can have on a classroom full of students and honestly, it couldn’t be more true of my journey as a mother. While I am certainly all for adventure and spontaneity, here and there, throughout our days, I have found that the beginning and the end of the day just aren’t the right spaces for that for our little guy. He needs a predictable pattern he can rely on. Frankly, we all do.

Because of this, we are fairly firm on bedtime at our house. We start our above routine around 6:15pm each evening, and Asher is in bed by 6:30pm. While morning wakeup time varies a bit each day, Asher usually wakes up between 6:00-6:30am, upon which we then complete the above morning routine. Does it require a bit of sacrificing on our part at times to ensure our child is in bed at this time each night? And does our child ever have to miss out on events so that he can hit the hay? Yes, sometimes. But for us, setting up healthy sleep patterns for him have been well worth the effort.

Not only are we predictable with the timeline of our routines, but the order as well. We do our best each day to follow the steps the same way so that Asher knows what to expect. For instance, we always sing our toothbrushing song as we brush our teeth (see more of this here). We always read one book before bed. And, praying is always the last thing we do together before we place Asher in his crib for the night.

Within this structure, we also offer Asher choices at specific points along the way. This enables him to have a sense of empowerment and connectedness to our routines as well. For instance, he always gets to choose the book he reads before bed. He can choose whether he wants to sit on mama or dada’s lap for prayer or whether he prefers to sit on the floor himself. And he also has the choice each morning of whether he’d like to play or “help” us prepare breakfast in the kitchen. While the steps of the routines were determined by us as his parents, I have found that providing Asher with some of this flexibility to make choices within them is equally as important to their success.

Something we have just recently introduced to Asher as he is becoming more and more independent are mini visual schedules representing his morning and bedtime routines. Our goal with these is to enable him to begin to lead himself through the steps of his routine so that eventually it becomes something that is directed by him, and it’s not always dear old mom and dad guiding him through each step. As he is almost 20 months old, he is beginning to demonstrate to us his desire to do more on his own – and this is one of the ways we are hoping to support him in doing just that, while at the same time hopefully setting up effective lifelong habits from the get go.
Honestly that’s the just of it friends. There’s not a lot to it, because when you boil it down, there really isn’t a lot to it. But I cannot tell you the world of difference these seemingly simple routines have made in all of our lives here at the Happ abode.
A few things I would like to add before I close are this – first, it took a lot of practice for us to get to this point, and there are still things we continue to improve upon within these routines each day. It took months, for instance, of us modeling for Asher how sit, fold your hands together in prayer and speak with God each day before he finally started catching on to some of the pieces himself. Let’s be honest for many weeks he just ran around the room in true toddler fashion as one parent prayed and the other kept one eye open scoping the scene. But with perseverance and practice, little by little, each step is improving with each passing day.
Secondly, I think we all know that as parents of toddlers things change on a daily basis. They are trying to figure out this world around them, and constantly keeping us on our toes trying to keep up with all the wonderful spirit they bring to the table. So while I am sitting here and “preaching” the importance of “same, same same”, I know that at some point I may need to be more flexible, and at some point portions of the routine may even need to change to meet my ever changing child’s needs.  As he grows it is only natural that I give Asher the reigns a bit more over these routines and let him begin to shape them more on his own. After all, as I shared at the very beginning, it’s not really the “what” that is the most important, but the “how” – and my hope is that he will learn how to create routines that work for him on his own so that he can do it even after he leaves home someday (*sigh*) as well.

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About Me

About Me

Hi, I'm Mrs. Happ! I love Jesus, Mr. Happ and being a mama to our little man. I live off of a steady stream of bone broth, kombucha, Spanglish & top knots. And when I'm not busy chasing a toddler, I love me a good creative endeavor. Welcome to our "HAPPy Healthy Casa". I'm so glad your here. Read More


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  • Just your typical morning tower building. 😋
#ad Not only do we enjoy crafting top notch towers over here, but we appreciate using top notch supplements as part of our daily routine as well. I started using @ancientnutrition Bone Broth Protein a few years back to support my gut and immune health, and I’ve only grown to love this company, their products and what they stand for more since. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In addition to our Bone Broth Protein, some other products we are loving lately include:
*Multi Collagen Protein Strawberry Lemonade 🍋: Supports skin elasticity and healthy joint function, not to mention it’s perfect for sipping in the summer time.
*Keto Cocoa: Chalked full of MCTs, adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms, we love adding this to smoothies, making hot cocoa and even pancakes with it (see my stories from today 👏🏻).
*Ancient Probiotics -Ultimate: One of my favorites to keep in rotation when I need some intense support. In addition to a diverse probiotic blend, it also contains an Ayurvedic herbal blend with herbs like turmeric, ginger, etc. *Fermented Ashwagandha: I don’t know what I would do without this little herb as a busy mama. It supports a healthy response to stress and cortisol levels in addition to energy and focus. 👌🏻👏🏻
So now I’m curious, if you could build a tower out of some of your favorite supplements, what would you use? #ancientnutrition
  • 🌱Asparagus Painting 🌱
I know I always say vegetables make the best paint brushes. But asparagus may be top dog when it comes to mimicking the real deal. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We practiced some letter tracing today with this vegetable, and I let Asher pick out some all natural paint from the refrigerator to use for dipping.
His choices today: Organic Maple Syrup 🍁, @tessemaes BBQ Sauce and @sirkensingtons Chipotle Mayo. Quite the array 🤷🏼‍♀️. He dipped, traced a few letters, and then basically just went to town using his asparagus as a spoon to indulge in all of his “paint” selections 😂. Kinda figured that may be the case- and I was 100% okay with it as each time he snagged some sauce he also put that asparagus in his mouth and even ventured to try a bite. Plus it made for a great sensory experience as he was covered in it all by the end. .
#toddleractivities #totschool #totschooling #preschoolathome #learningwithmommy #playbasedlearning #learningthroughplay #littleoneslearn #earlylearning101 #wonderandawekids #activitiesforkids #activitiesfortoddlers #mydayswithkids #tagfromtheheart #craftymama #creativechildhood #kidssnacks #toddlerfood #eattherainbow #iteachbilinguals #bilingualkids #homeschoolblog #kidsactivitiesblog #earlyliteracy #sensoryplay #sensoryactivity
  • D is for Dates. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Or as we call them in our “casa” - Dátiles.)
We love dates over here and they are darn close to being called a staple in our home. We love wrapping them in bacon for mealtime. Stuffing them with nuts, nut butters or vegan cheese for snacks. And we love adding them into smoothies and treats if we are looking for a pop of natural sweetness. This fruit is chalked full of potassium and fiber and rich in antioxidants, and thus, I think it deserved to receive a day of recognition 😉. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This morning Asher helped me pit our dates and combine them with other ingredients like avocado, hemp seeds, coconut and cacao powder to create this “No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Bites” recipe from my incredibly talented amiga @thenaturalnurturer. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After we created our balls, I asked Asher what he would like to roll them in. I told him he could choose three things, and I would choose three so we had a variety of different tastes. Asher chose to roll his in food-dyed sprinkles, cinnamon, and coconut. I chose walnuts, hemp hearts and beet powder for mine. And yes, in case you are wondering, they taste as heavenly as they look.
  • 📖 My Story: Part #2 📖 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Life seemingly went back to normal as I knew it after my health scare my junior year. (See Part #1). I was ready to move forward and enter into my college years and into my first career as an elementary school teacher. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Through that time I would notice on and off that when I ate certain foods they seemed to “run right through me”. And that my gut maybe wasn’t “pleased” with my choices. But, let’s be honest, it tasted good, and I wasn’t really gaining any extra weight, so it couldn’t have been that bad right?
Flash forward a few years into teaching, I came down with what appeared to be hives all over my chest, neck and face. The doctors thought I was having an allergic reaction and prescribed me steroids to calm it down. After a few days, it hadn’t gotten any better. In fact, it was getting worse. Which is when they decided to do a strep test and realized I had been misdiagnosed and actually had a case of scarlet fever, which is caused by the same bacteria as strep throat. Thus, after being on a steroid for several days, I was now put on an antibiotic protocol as well. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Needless to say at the time, I had no idea about how I could use probiotics, diet or supplements to support me through this. I just thought once I finished my course of meds I’d be good as new. However, what I learned the hard way was that after years of not caring for my gut the way I should, and after countless rounds of antibiotics in high school and now, my gut, and in turn, my body had finally reached their tipping point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
To be continued...
Outfit: @fabletics Use the link in my profile to snag it or check out their other options to best match your shape and style. #myfabletics #moveinfabletics
  • Popsicles. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sticky fingers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sweaty hair. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
No pants. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is what most days entail right now, and we are soaking it all in. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I spent some time this morning refreshing a blog post I wrote last summer about this time entitled “9 Front Porch Activities for Toddlers”. While we love getting out and about and exploring our community this time of year, we also love hanging right outside our own front door. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The post highlights different learning, sensory and family activities with minimal prep you can do alongside your little one on those day’s you just feel like laying low. And, while they are geared toward toddlers, all are still things that are certainly appropriate for preschool and even early elementary as well. {Link in profile}. .
#creativekids #toddleractivities #kidsactivitiesblog #kidsart #summeractivities #preschoolactivities #totschool #preschoolathome #teachermom #homeschoolingideas #naturalmama #unschooling #wildandfreechildren #freerangekids #raisingragamuffins #learningthroughplay #the_sweet_life_unscripted #themagicineveryday #alldaykids #let_there_be_delight #lifewithlittles #healthykids #homeschoolblog #celebrate_childhood
  • My two favorite refreshers during hot summer days:

1. Watermelon and cucumber water to hydrate 🥒 🍉 
2. Essential Oil “Cool Down” spray to sooth my skin 💦 
Here’s the recipe:
5 drops Peppermint
5 drops Lavender 
3 drops Eucalyptus

Add to a 2oz spray bottle. Fill the remainder with half unscented witch hazel and half distilled water. Shake er’ up, and it’s ready to go!
Spray Inspo: @byoilydesign .
#oilymama #naturalmom #chemicalfreehome 
#ecofriendlyhome #holisticliving #parentingblog #healthylivingblogger #mombloggers #momblog #holistickids #healthykids #nontoxicliving #healthblog #healthbloggers #healthyfamilies #oilyfamilies #oilyfamily #plantpowered #nontoxichome #cleanbeauty #diybeautyproducts

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