There are so many ways to parent our children. You hear advice from everywhere and often it is conflicting. I am here to share my experiences. There is no one way to parent, so do what works best for your family! I just wanted to share some insight on where we have been and what we have done to help Scarlett along her journey.
It is hard to have a schedule for a baby especially with our busy lives and work schedules. Starting and sticking to a schedule has always been our main struggle. While we have family who watches her in our home, she always tries to stay awake until I get home. This makes for a cranky, yet excited baby at 7:30 in the evening.
Our schedule is not set in stone, but we do roughly have one. It does vary every other night. One night, we both eat once I get home. We, then, settle in for a little snuggle time while watching Disney Junior in a dimly lit room. After a while, she gets sleepy and I let her doze off in our bed before I move her to her crib. Yes, we co-sleep and are okay with it but prefer her to sleep in her own bed.
Then, every other night, we eat, Scarlett has bath time, snuggle time, and then bed. My objective every night is to wear her out. She gets excited when I get home. Like a second wind. Wearing her little hind end out is key to getting her to sleep before midnight. This is where bath time comes in. Not only do we use night-time bath wash, but we have some amazing bath toys that keep her hands and mind busy!
As a toddler, hand eye coordination is key. Drawing, picking up and placing objects and splashing are great ways to do just this… and wear her out. Her current favorites are her Octopus Floating Bath Toy and her Letters and Numbers.
The letters and numbers are made from BPA foam, float in the water, and once wet stick to the wall! We take half of them in the water and wet the other half and stick them to the wall. This encourages her to touch and feel the ones in the water. Also, she explores and experiments with placing them on the wall and taking them off.
The Octopus is a little more challenging. It has three rings that are to be placed on the octopus’ arms. This is harder for Scarlett to do but helps her work on her depth perception as well as her hand-eye coordination. Having monovision, we have to find ways to work on depth perception as well. Even though she hasn’t gotten the hang of it, she throughly enjoys playing with it.
Once she is throughly worn out from her splash and play sesh, she is more than ready for bed. We employ bath night on the evenings she is wound up more once I get home. Once she’s had a bottle, we lay down for a bit and she is out.
Many parents feel that a strict routine is necessary for their toddler. Well, not really. Having a set time frame for everything can be cumbersome and force you to rearrange your whole schedule around theirs. While some parents are okay with this, we have another kid and have to have more flexibility for sports/school activities. Ultimately, as I said above it is about what works for you and your family. This is what works for mine.
What about you… do you have a strict, semi-strict, loose or free schedule for your baby?