Childspeak, hair braids, and the importance of sleep

I love having my grandkids here.  It’s tiring, but rewarding!  It also gives me a lot to blog about!  Three random thoughts come to mind today:

First, this is the longest span of time Landon and Rilyn have ever been away from their mommy and daddy.  Landon, 8 months, doesn’t know much difference, but Rilyn, who will be 3 in April, is keenly aware.  Everyday she has woken up in the morning and from her afternoon nap and said, “Today my mommy is coming?”  (Her mommy and daddy are on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic.)

I decided to make her a paper chain to give her a visual of how many “sleeps” she’ll have before her mommy and daddy come home. Every time she wakes up from a nap or in the morning, she gets to take off one link on the chain.  As the chain shrinks, she gets closer to when her mom and dad get home.  This has greatly reduced the questions and given her a sense of time and security. Sometimes as moms…and Nanas…we have to learn how to speak a child’s language.

Second, when Erica was little she had long hair that I learned to braid in a dozen different ways. Rilyn’s hair is getting long enough to do that and she’s good about sitting still and letting me get it out of her face before breakfast every morning.  I’m glad to discover that I haven’t lost my touch!  If you have a little one with long hair, this twist is so easy.  Its just like a French braid, but you only use two strands instead of three.  If you’d like to learn how to do this, let me know and I’ll try to put up a You Tube video tutorial.

Third…bedtimes.  With little ones in the house, I am reminded of the importance of regular/early bedtimes.  For kids. For parents.  Why is bedtime important?

For Kids: 

Kids need sleep.  They need more sleep than adults need.  Little ones ages 1-3 need 12-14 hours a day and ages 3-6 need 10-12 hours a day (including nap and night sleep).  Good sleep contributes to physical health and reduces discipline issues. As the kids get to school age, sleep is necessary for learning and focus.  (You can find a complete list of sleep needs from birth to 18 here.)

Kids need routine. They need a regular bedtime routine and a regular time they go to bed. 8 pm was bedtime for our kids through grade school.  9 pm as they got into middle school/junior high.  10 pm in high school (although when Mark and I hit the sack around 9 or 9:30 so do our boys these days).  Bath, story, and prayer makes for a good bedtime routine for little ones.

For Parents:

Parents need a break.  When kids go to bed, it’s much-needed time for mom and dad (and Nana and Pappaw!).  Mom and Dad can get a few things accomplished without interruption AND they can intentionally spend time with each other.  Each night after the kids go to bed, Mark and I do a quick pick up of the house and then we snuggle on the couch to watch some TV or read.  Occasionally we play a game of Bananagrams or Yahtzee.  This gives us much needed talk time!

Parents need to be parents.  When kids don’t have an established bedtime, it’s usually because the kid is in charge rather than the parent being in charge.  Parenting is all about leadership. Kids don’t do a very good job leading themselves…that’s why they need parents to lead them!

So what about you? Do you have anything to add about “childspeak,” hair braids, or how you do the sleep routine at your house?  We can learn so much from each other!

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8 Responses to Childspeak, hair braids, and the importance of sleep

  1. Tara says:

    I did the paper chain before little siblings were born. Since the older sibs’ naps were inconsistent I just did “night sleeps” not naps. 🙂

    DO put up a youtube tutorial! I’m so clueless about long hair it’s not even funny. I have three boys and a “pink caboose”. I’m sure she’d LOVE it if I could do something cute to her hair!

  2. Michelle G says:

    I’d love to see a youtube video of your braids My little girl has long but very fine hair, so its a battle to get it to stay in the braid:)

  3. Kelli says:

    Thanks so much for this post! You are so right about points on sleep and bedtimes! Our kids are in middle school now, and my husband and I miss that extra time we had together after they went to bed! We find ourselves staying up a little later than we should just to spend a little more couple time with each other!

    Also, I would love for you to put up your You Tube video on braiding. My daughter has long hair and I need some ideas!

  4. Karen says:

    Love the paper chain idea – I should have did that for Christmas. Yes, please do a braid video! I agree with sleep ~ my youngest is 4 1/2 now and I’ve never had an issue with sleep with any of my girls. I establish routines at about 14 weeks and stick with them no matter what. And, this mama loves collapsing on the couch at 8pm ( as long as my chores are caught up ;-).

  5. Kathy Fehr says:

    You amaze me. You are busy with your grands and yet you take time to encourage all of us. What a joy it is that you can help out your children during this stage of their lives. Happy New Year to both you and Mark. Thanks for sharing your family photos too.

  6. Nichole Agers says:

    When our first two were just little ones, I remember my husband making the decision one evening that things were out of control. He said “from now on, we are going to put the kids to bed at a certain time and that’s going to fix this craziness we go through every night”. Oh, how wise he was (and still is!). Ever since, our kids have had set bedtimes. Just last year, we allowed our new middle-schooler to go to bed a half hour later than the two younger ones. This works out really well for our family. One thing I do cherish every night before bed is our family prayer. We just take turns (Dad, Mom, oldest, middle, youngest) praying out loud to our Heavenly Father. There have been so many sweet prayers said during that time. It’s a good reminder of the innocent faith of little hearts. Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard for us adults to believe that our prayers are actually going to “work” when these little children (well, kinda still little) can pray so honestly and expect an answer. It’s convicting.
    My husband and I watch one show every week after the kids go to bed. We both look forward to it all week and make sure the kids get to bed on time every Tuesday night! Funny that we watch Parenthood! Shows where our values are, I guess. It’s fun to have a “date” on the couch planned every week. As crazy as our lives are, we know that every Tuesday we are going to do our best to be on the couch together at 9:00.
    As for hair, I would love to see that tutorial! I have two girls with long hair, but only one who still lets me do her hair! I’d love to learn that braid. I’m always trying new things with her hair. I’m thankful I got two girls to be creative with their hair. I am also thankful for my sweet boy too, and how easy his hair is to fix!
    Thanks for the fun post. It’s fun to talk about mom stuff for a few minutes!

  7. Tammy says:

    I have to add a comment about hairstyles….I have 5 girls from age 9-16 so we do a lot with that in our house. I learn a lot off of various hair blogs. My favorites are http://www.cutegirlshairstyles.com, http://www.princesshairstyles.com, http://www.girlydohairstyles.com, and http://www.babesinhairland.com. The coolest one that I do at Easter is the basketweave and I think that is from princess. Most of those sites have a hairstyle gallery where you can browse the pics and then click on whatever one you like for the tutorial. To make things easier, I pin my favorites on pinterest as an easy reference when trying to think of what hairstyle to do in the morning.

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