How are You Rocking Parenthood?

Do you ever have those moments in your parenting where you think, ” I am totally rocking this!  Smartest move ever—this right here.”

This is the flip side to my last post on admitting that I’m not part of the Good Mom Club….. because sometimes I’m pretty awesome.  To clarify, I’m talking about small things, tiny decisions that I’ve made that have miraculously been the exact right thing for our family and saved a bigger headache.

Things that may not work for other families, but in my family it’s really working. Decisions that other parents choose not to make, but for my kids it’s really made a difference.  Choices that may not be a big deal to other families, but they’re totally saving my sanity.

Here’s mine for today:

When we moved Evelyne out of a crib and into a big bed about 3.5 years ago (oh my gosh, how it has been so long since she was a baby?!!!), we got her this stoplight clock.

It’s an unattractive piece of cheap $40 plastic, oh yes, but it has saved my life.  We set the time they can get-up in the morning, and while it’s sleep time the light is red, when it’s time to wake-up, the light turns green.

It’s taken some periods of getting used to for both her and Harris when they first started getting using it, but now they’re old pros and almost always “obey their clock.”  As soon as we got it, seeing the red light define sleep time stopped middle-of-the-night wakings when Ev didn’t know that it wasn’t morning and wanted to get-up for the day.  Harris took to it immediately because Evelyne had been using it for so long, so she helped him learn to wait for the green light in the morning before coming out of their room.

It’s an boundary that is outside of me which makes for fewer battles.

The best part:  I can adjust the alarm time and make the green light come-on earlier during the weekdays when we have to go to school, and later on the weekends when Clay and I want to sleep an extra 30 minutes.  This is the benefit over simply teaching them to tell time, I think.  They have no clue that I’m changing the wake-up time.  (We probably don’t have much longer before they figure it out!)

When they were younger, during a seasonal time change, or when they’re just sleep-deprived, I also alter the wake-up light and it has definitely helped them sleep longer in the morning and adjust their wake-up times.  I remember that in the first couple of months we had this, I slowly started setting the wake-up light 15 minutes later to see how late Evelyne would sleep, and was able to consistently lengthen her night sleeping by about 45 minutes.

Before the kindergarten stage and on days when we don’t have to go anywhere, I let them wake me up, but on school days I like to wake-up before them to get a start on the morning.  The clock has been a lifesaver because I know the exact time that I can expect them to come bounding down the stairs ready for breakfast.  This helps me adjust my attitude (I’m not a morning person.) and get breakfast ready in time.  I love that it takes the guesswork out of when I have to be “on” in the morning.  These days they usually wake-up about 10 minutes before their light comes on, Harris sometimes half an hour before, but they’re content to play upstairs and get dressed while they wait for their light.

This stoplight clock has been one of my favorite parenting finds so far, and I recommend it to everyone I know.  It has SAVED us, and we even travel with it.  (Very helpful for adjusting to other time zones.)  For some families wake-up times aren’t a concern and this wouldn’t be needed, but for us, it is a parenting move that I have ROCKED.

So here’s the deal, I really want to hear from you.  I have this big idea that maybe this could even be a regular series on my blog, to have a recurring opportunity for parents to share “works for me” tips, big and small.  This can be a specific boundary that you draw around your kids that has worked, a product, an activity, or a communication tip.  Anything!  Just something that you like to give yourself a little pat on the back for implementing into your parenting.

(And it should go without saying that what works for one family won’t always work for another.  Different folks, different strokes.  This is more about you and what you’re happy with than what you think everyone should do.)

What are you rocking these days?

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