Month: December 2014

Take Control Of Change

The holidays are wrapping up and that leads to thoughts of the New Year.  I’m not typically one to buy into the New Year’s resolutions but maybe you are, and that’s OK.  My opinion is that you can start fresh any day.  There’s no need to wait until the New Year to make a change in your life.  I have found in the past that when I have tried to make a “radical” New Year’s resolution, I often failed.  Changes have to start small and need to be intentional.  Before you go about making radical changes, here are some tips on how to set yourself up for SUCCESS.

1.  Make a list of the changes you know you need to make.

For me right now, I need to get back into my fitness routine.  I have fallen back on this due to a recent sickness I was suffering from the past month.  My go to routine is to run every other day, but right now my goal is just to do some sort of exercise every other day as running may not be doable every time for me.

I also need to clean up my diet.  I typically count calories, but I am now ordered to be on a low sodium diet due to recent health changes.  I plan to start eating clean and eating meals at home (meaning I will prepare for times I am out past lunch and bring food rather than grab fast food).

I also need to be intentional about being in God’s word daily, several times a day.  If I’m going to fight the good fight, I must be prepared mentally and spiritually.

While it’s good to have a list, don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to change all these things at one time.  Pick the biggest bang for your buck.  What is going to have the most impact.  Or you may want to start small if you are one who often sets goals and fall short  leaving you disappointed in  yourself and discouraged.  These goals of mine are things I have been doing for a long time, but I need to clean it back up a little and reset my mind and body.

2. Once you have picked a goal, set a date.

Decide when you can start this goal.  If you are working on your diet, and you have a few more holiday parties to attend, you may want to wait until those are over.  You don’t want to feel like a failure in the beginning.

3. Research how you want to make the change.

You need a good plan.  Do some research first.   Is this diet effective in the long term?  Is it short-term, and if so, what is my plan once I reach that goal?  How do I need to set up the routine for exercise?  Pinterest is a great place to find resources.  You can also follow blogs written in your area of interest.  Facebook often has groups for certain interests where you can find a community of encouragement.  Then there is Google when you just don’t know where to start.  Read books.

4. Pray about it.

God knows your needs, and he knows what we are capable of more than we do.  Give this area of concern to him.  Tell him your plans and let him guide you.

5.  Find an accountability partner.

Mine is my husband and a friend.  Find someone and tell them your goal, your plan, and your weaknesses.  Text, call, or sit down with them and talk about your struggles or successes.  If you can get someone on board to do this with you, EVEN BETTER!

OK, so what are you waiting for?  Let’s take control of our lives again by taking one step at a time!  My new start begins today.  I would love to hear your plans!

Is Bedtime more of a Battle Zone? Help for the Exhausted Parent

It’s 7:00 and you are rousing the children up to go to bed.  They are brushing their teeth in protest; taking their vitamins and getting water in protest, climbing into bed and attempting to wrestle in protest.  Although an hour ago, your child was whining and crying over tiny bumps and minor disappointments due to exhaustion, now they claim “I’m not tired”.

Do you leave the room already frustrated when lights are turned out?  Only to hear the common sound of little feet scooting down the hall to ask you for the 4th time, “will you tuck me in?”  Does your child get up minutes later asking for “just one more kiss?”  Do you find yourself biting your tongue because ‘if they get up ONE more time, they are REALLY going to regret it?!!!!’  But then of course, that one more time comes, and you once again go into the room, tuck them in, kiss them goodnight, and in a firm voice inform them “STAY in bed or you will: get a spanking/be in trouble/lose a privilege, etc, etc………  The list of threats can be exhaustive at times.

Do you ever sit and think ‘it would be nice to have a little quiet time before going to bed, if the kids would just GO TO SLEEP’.  I’m here to encourage you and myself because this is my house EVERY NIGHT.  This is an issue with consistency and limit setting.  I too feel guilt when I get frustrated and my 4 year old whispers in a sweet voice “mommy, I need another kiss?”  But when the morning after comes, I know this is a behavior not a cry for more love.  She gets kisses all day long.  This is a problem with me and my husband.  We have made it her problem just as we made it her brother’s problem when he was younger.  We struggle with what Dr. Canapari calls sleep association disorder and limit setting disorder.

Setting limits around bedtime and enforcing them doesn’t make you a mean parent who doesn’t want to love on your children.  It makes you a strong parent who knows the importance of your child and yourself getting the rest you need.  Children need 11-12 hours of sleep per night depending on age.  And I presonaly need at least 7 hours of sleep to be able to get up the next morning and function.  Intermittent sleep through the night makes us tired and drowsy the next day.  This is the case for children too, so if you have a child that falls asleep pretty easily but can’t stay asleep, this post is for you too.  There are times when my daughter falls asleep quickly and without the battle (although this is not common lately).  However, she wakes up several times per night calling out or crying for me.  I then wake up, and usually go get her and put her to bed with me.  Because of my need for sleep, I have created another problem for her.  She does not self soothe when she wakes.  She requests to lay with me, rub my arm, or rock in order to fall back asleep.  There are some nights when I am awakened because she is reaching for me trying to find my arm an hour later.

As babies, I didn’t mind the co-sleeping arrangement all that much as long as they would sleep and I got sleep.  However, with a preschooler and grade-school child, sleeping with my kids is less than fun and sweet.  I often wake up to a foot in my face or being kicked in the back.  The other night I was dreaming, and my daughter threw her arm across my face, and I jumped up because I dreamed someone slapped me.  To help encourage you, I am going to share how I am enforcing bedtime limits with my child.  I will be referencing Dr. Canari’s sleep training tools.  As well as “Sleep Sense” by Megan Faure & Ann Richardson. This is a book my children’s pediatrician recommended when my daughter was a baby, and I have returned to it several times during difficult sleep issues.  I would recommend it as a resource to keep on your bookshelf if you struggle to get enough sleep and are not a fan of the “cry it out” method.

As we set out on this journey, I would love to know what some of your bedtime struggles are.