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Bedtime Routines: Who’s sleeping in my bed?

Snuggling up with my first born was the most peaceful thing I had ever experienced going into my early adulthood. The energy of pure innocence had a special way of permeating my soul. Time stood still. Nothing else mattered.

I was a young and single first-time mother and though bonding with my baby was easy for me, working full time for low wages and providing for both of us surely was not. There was nothing in the world more important to me than being a good mom. Most aspects of motherhood came naturally for me. I was so full of love, I didn’t question my intuition. With my baby as the center of my life and at the heart of all of my decisions, I didn’t have to question myself like I customarily did with every other aspect in my life. That is, until a couple of years later when my son was still sleeping in my bed with me and I started reading and hearing the buzz about how “bad” that was. Since I wanted nothing more than to be a really good mom, I read more on how to make the transition of getting my son into his own ‘big boy’ bed.

With full enthusiasm, our preparation started the process off great. I went out and bought him a very cool bright-red bunk bed with brand new mattresses so his cousins could spend the night, too. We adorned his new bed with eye-popping Dalmatian sheets, matching comforter set and snuggly stuffed animals. The ambience was topped off with the comfort of a dim glow from a nighttime lamp over by the window. He loved his new bed and we hyped it up for the first night on his own.

But alas, the hype didn’t last. Within minutes my son snuck out of his bed and toddled over to mine in the next room. I quietly got up and gently brought him back to his bed. A few minutes later I heard the pitter patter of little feet approaching my room again and again I walked him silently back to his bed, this time shutting the door. That was basically the end of peaceful nights in our little apartment. My son cried and wailed while I sat on the other side of the door praying he would go to sleep. But he was as tenacious as his mama and didn’t relent. Every ten minutes I opened the door and soothed him in his bed, then left the room shutting the door behind me. No sooner than hearing the click of the door latch did he start crying again for the duration of the next ten minutes I was out of sight. By then he was getting up from his bed and trying to open the door, but the childproof handles preventing his success and he sat at the door crying for me. I stayed the course following the books, head under my pillow fighting back my own tears. This persisted… all…. night… long. And every night for the next two weeks. It was torturous. I was a walking zombie astonished at his persistence and amazed with the fervor each night just as strong as the night before. He got to nap during the day while I worked, little bugger! I finally put an end to it.

I bet you’re expecting me to tell you that I magically figured out the secret to getting my son to acquiesce and that we slept happily ever after each night in our own beds from that night forward, but the truth of the matter is, it hurt me just as much as it hurt him. Why was I torturing us both just because some guy in some book somewhere, well, okay some doctors in many books out there were saying this was the healthy thing to do. It certainly didn’t feel healthy. Contrarily, it felt quite the opposite of healthy. To be honest, it’s probably some underlying trauma stuck in my son’s nervous system today 25 years later that we are all unaware of. (Dagger to my heart.)

No, I didn’t figure out the magic secret to getting him to sleep in his own bed after two years of sleeping in mine. I figured out my own secret, who gives a shit if he wants to sleep in my bed? I preferred him in my bed, too! I felt I could protect him better. I slept more soundly knowing exactly where he was, right next to me, and I knew exactly when he woke up. That’s what worked for us. A couple of years later, we naturally and gradually made the transition on our own time for him to start sleeping in his own bed. No fights. No fuss.

I had four more babies after meeting my now ex-husband. And I followed my heart again. My babies slept in my bed with me for the first year or two or more until we naturally decided we wanted to sleep separately. At times I had one baby in the bassinette next to me and one in the crib in the same room with us.

As they got older, we learned the importance of bedtime routines. We lived a fairly structured lifestyle as it was, with so many of us, it would have been complete chaos otherwise. When my oldest started school, bedtime routines were an integral part of our day usually starting at least an hour before their actual bedtime and consisted of wind down activities like showers and baths, preparing backpacks and clothes for the next day, reading and saying our prayers.

Personally, meditating didn’t become integrated in our daily habits until much later when I was going through the divorce. I can say with certainty, we would not have been so resilient and able to adapt and adjust the way we did through the following few years without this practice. The uncertainty, insecurities, the worry and anxiety we all felt was drastically alleviated through the regular practice of meditation. That is why I am such a huge promoter of meditation for kids today for everyday life.

Incorporating regular mindfulness and meditation practices into your kid’s bedtime routines serves as a wonderful way to wind down at the end of the day and prepare for a good night sleep while offering the opportunity for you to reflect on your day and connect.

I hope you enjoy the bedtime meditation link below, but before you do, please read more about the benefits of bedtime routines in general. The following is a compilation of information from multiple resources. And when you are done reading, I look forward to becoming part of your nighttime wind down whenever you need a little extra help preparing for bed.

Routines are incredibly beneficial for elementary-aged children. They provide structure, promote healthy habits, and contribute to overall well-being. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Consistency and Structure: Bedtime routines establish a consistent schedule, which helps children feel secure and understand what to expect each night. This structure can reduce anxiety and promote a sense of stability.
  2. Improved Sleep: Following a bedtime routine signals to the body that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Consistently practicing a routine can help children fall asleep faster, experience better quality sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed.
  3. Relaxation and Calmness: A bedtime routine typically involves activities that promote relaxation, such as reading a book, taking a warm bath, or practicing deep breathing exercises. These activities help children unwind from the day’s activities and create a peaceful atmosphere for sleep.
  4. Enhanced Cognitive Functioning: A good night’s sleep is crucial for optimal cognitive functioning. By establishing a bedtime routine, children are more likely to get the recommended amount of sleep, which can improve attention span, memory, and overall cognitive performance.
  5. Emotional Well-being: Bedtime routines provide an opportunity for connection and bonding between parents and children. Engaging in activities like talking about the day, sharing stories, or expressing gratitude can foster a positive emotional connection and a sense of security.
  6. Healthy Habits: Bedtime routines often include habits like brushing teeth, washing up, and choosing comfortable sleepwear. By consistently practicing these habits, children develop good hygiene practices and learn the importance of self-care.
  7. Independence and Responsibility: Following a bedtime routine empowers children to take ownership of their own bedtime rituals. It teaches them responsibility and self-discipline, as they learn to complete tasks independently and prepare themselves for sleep.

Remember, every child is unique, so it’s important to tailor the bedtime routine to their individual needs and preferences. By establishing a consistent and enjoyable routine, you can help your elementary-aged child develop healthy sleep habits and set them up for success in various aspects of their life.

The Secret Of Getting Your Kids To Listen: 5 Essential Steps

Some days you feel like the invisible mom, or maybe the mute mom. No matter what you say, how you say it, how loud, or how many times, your kids just don’t listen. This is one of the biggest complaints from parents. “I feel like all I do is run behind my kids repeating myself.” Moms come to me ready to pull their hair out, or maybe they only have a few clumps left. They’re tired of yelling to no avail. Get ready to learn the secret to getting kids to listen.

When parents say their kids don’t listen, they really mean their kids don’t do what they are told. They are often hiding behind screens, the television screen, the laptop screen, the phone screen, or the tablet screen. The first step to getting kids to listen or to obey is to make sure they hear the message. Are you yelling your commands across the house from one room to the next or are you talking to a child with nothing in between you two except the screen?

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1. Be direct and make eye contact.

When you need a child’s full and undivided attention, get their full and undivided attention. In giving orders, be sure to make eye contact with your child and then get some sort of confirmation that they heard you. They must acknowledge your direction with a response. Ask them to repeat the order back. Ask them for verbal confirmation that they heard the order.

2. Be clear and concise in your direction.

Kids attention spans are short. Once you get your child’s undivided attention, be clear and concise in your direction so that their eyes don’t glaze over as their little minds begin to wander off into Neverland. Think about a time you were busy at work, that time may have been just this morning, and a coworker interrupts your email response to a concerned client. You are in the zone trying to get the right words across when someone walks into your office and asks a question. You answer, but they proceed to tell you a song and dance about why they are asking. They finish their monologue with a request but by that time your mind has already returned to the next best line to write in your email. It happens. It’s best to be clear and concise.

3. Inform your child of the consequences of not following Directions.

In order to hold your child accountable for not following your direction, they need to be made aware of the consequences. If the direction was intended to be followed through with at that moment, stay in their presence until they get up to do what you asked.

Be consistent with your household rules. For example, no video games until after homework are completed. You can hang out with your friends after all chores are done. You can watch a movie only when your room is clean. When directions become rules, the expectations are more embedded in their heads and systems begin to form making the household run smoother.

4. Follow through with your decision.

When your child wants to play video games, simply ask to see their completed homework. If the homework is not completed, then remind them that video game time is only allowed after homework is completed. Do the same for all requests to remind your child of the rules. You must stick to your word or your child will not take your direction seriously.

Be respectful, firm and kind in holding kids accountable with simple statements without emotion. “I noticed the dishes aren’t done and you want to go out with your friends right now. What is the rule?” When your child tries to argue or give a little verbal push back, you can respond with a simple smile and gesture towards the dishes. If you get more push back, you can offer a hug, or simply say, “I love you and the dishes are waiting for you.” Stand your ground and allow time for your child to follow through.

5. If your child has a difficult time with these steps you will need to take it to the next level with a more official agreement.

In such instances, a more thorough conversation is required. You will need to set aside time to have this discussion. You may want to include other members of the household depending on the situation. Keep it friendly and respectful and invite everyone to brainstorm possible solutions. You may want to have fun with this and offer some silly or outrageous solutions to ensure everyone keeps a positive attitude. Once you have a good list of solutions, you can choose one that you both or all agree on.
Finally, make a deadline. Your deadline needs to be specific, such as, all chores need to be done by 8 o’clock. You may go out with your friends until 9:15 pm. Your homework needs to be completed by the time I get home from work at 6:30. Be very specific and always clear and concise. Being specific with your deadline is extremely important. When you agree, know that you will have to both keep your word.

From Robot back to Mom: 5 Easy steps to refill your Mom cup

Raising five dirt-digging, tree climbing, rock collecting, grass rolling little darlings while married to a construction worker who was always in the middle of some household upgrade really left the male/female energy grotesquely imbalanced in our home. Although we did have a female black lab, she offered no pretty in the pink sparkle in tipping the scales towards femininity as she liked to steal away for her midday rendezvous around the neighborhood returning only after finding the perfect blend of Eau de dead fish with Eau de dog poop, her two favorite fragrances carefully matted into her fur.

Day after day, month after month, year after year, I gave my all to my family: cooking and cleaning and feeding and cleaning and baking and cleaning and teaching and cleaning and organizing and scheduling, and did I mention cleaning? Money was always tight with our young family of seven and I became the master at frugality, and that meant no pretty pennies left over for sparkling up mom in pink either.

After a while, and I do mean a while, like a decade later, I found myself feeling less and less human. I was working like a robot, and worse yet, I was being treated like one. I had been taking on every challenge and handling it like a boss. I had been taking on every task piled on my plate and tackling all through to completion. I had been taking on every mess to fix and remedy like I was aiming for MVP in damage control. And I was losing myself in the process.

One night I had an odd dream about a raccoon. It was memorable enough that I spoke about it with a spiritual counselor. The raccoon was about as large as a seven-year-old child when he stood up on his hind legs. He roared at me as much as a raccoon roar, but he did not attack me. This took place on my front porch right outside the entry door and I was unable to go inside the house. He was clearly yelling at me as if he had an important message for me.

“How can you pour from an empty cup?” My spiritual counselor asked me. Mom gives all day, pouring from her own cup to make sure her family has what it needs to get through each day. But when she doesn’t replenish her cup, what is left after a while to give? If we want to be able to give the best we can, it is necessary to refill our cups.

It’s practically second nature for moms to put themselves last. We are nurturing and caring for others who depend on us and we are happy to do it. The task of mothering infants and toddlers can be self-gratifying. All it takes is that little cherubic smile to make it all worth it. As a parent of young children, so you must have to create a parent-child bond relationship, we often forget to fill our own cups. This is vital for our self-care, but for some of the stubborn women like me, here’s another way to justify taking time to split the load of housework. We need to remember that we teach people how to treat us and we teach our children how moms should be treated.

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Here are 5 steps to immediately refill your Mom’s cup.

In this blog, we are discussing with you 5 easy steps that immediately refill your Mom’s cup

Share the workload and give your children a list of chores.

Create a list of chores with your children and decide together who can do what each day. Hang the list in a conspicuous place so everyone can see it and refer to it with ease.

Share some responsibility by creating routine charts with your children.

Create a routine checklist for mornings getting ready for school and bedtime so that your child can learn to take responsibility for checking the list and be autonomous in getting things done.

Have lots of fun!

You schedule play dates for your children and chauffeur them to all of their social events, don’t forget to have fun yourself. Schedule fun times with your children, date night with your significant other once per month at the very least, and schedule a mom’s night out where you can relax with other moms or have a girl’s night with old friends, or just a ‘you’ night doing whatever you like to do.


This can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk daily and/or pushing the stroller. You can take your child with you. My children used to ride their bikes with me on the bike path while I pushed their baby brother in the running stroller. Start with a one-mile walk and gradually increase the mileage. You may want to research yoga classes with your kids. You owe it to yourself to move your body and get your heart pumping. The release of endorphins during an aerobic workout will instantly lift your spirits and get your creative juices flowing, too.


Meditation improves your mental, spiritual, and emotional health. You can include your children in your meditation routine as we do in the Mommy & Me/Daddy & Me Meditation Program.

My children’s pediatrician told me that the same-sex parent is most influential. For moms who are raising little girls, don’t forget that you are showing your daughters how to act like a mom. Someday they will likely be moms too. And for moms raising little boys, you are teaching your sons what to expect of their future wives. We need to teach children to treat us better for their sake as well as ours.

The list above offers so much more than ways to refill the mom cup. Try each step on the list and watch the positive impact on all areas of life. You love your children, remember to enjoy life for everyone’s benefit!

What to do when your kids are smoking weed

A parent’s worst nightmare is finding out their teen is engaging in dangerous activities. Unfortunately, this comes with the territory of raising adolescents. The teenage brain is wired differently. Neurochemicals are literally changing the biochemistry of the brain during this stage, which will continue as they develop into an adulthood. Teenager’s brains are undergoing a transformation from naiveté and blind trust to more independent thought processes. They are going to question things they never dreamed of before. All of a sudden, the most important spoken words are those from the mouths of their peers. And it is during this stage that inhibitions are naturally low. The process of fine-tuning brain connections is developed through experience and risk-taking behaviors that run along a spectrum. What you may find risky behavior in the stage of life you are in today will likely not seem so to a teenager. However, there are some behaviors that are not debatable, such as drug use and abuse.

Take a moment to remember your teenage years and the experiences you underwent. Think back to some of the things you did that very few people know about. Are there things you did that you have never told anyone before? Experimenting and testing the waters is a normal process for brain maturity. You live and learn, and your children will, too, but that doesn’t mean you sit back and watch your kids make mistakes with no guidance. That doesn’t mean that you sit idly knowing your kids are partaking in a dangerous activity and that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye while your kids are smoking weed. Some may argue,” it’s practically legal,” but in reality, it still is not!

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What Do You Do?

First, your best offensive stance has already been established through the positive discipline techniques that you have been raising them with to date. By using these techniques, you have already established a systematic household with clear expectations built with love, mutual respect, and firmness so you have a strong foundation in your relationship with your teen. But if you are new to using positive discipline or the True You Solutions relationship-building techniques, don’t worry. It’s not too late. You can start with your approach to your teen smoking marijuana. It’s never too late.

The most important step in your approach is to take a cooling-off period. As a mom who has been there, I looked like I was walking in circles the first time I found paraphernalia in my teen’s room. I was instantly struck with fear of what I thought I had found, pieces of a disassembled THC pen. Immediately after, I damn near convinced myself it wasn’t what I suspected. I paced back and forth on my way to confront my teen and then back to my room to think it over some more. Finally, I sought out answers beginning with Googling images using keywords written on the box I found in the trash. My nightmare then became a reality.

I needed to get out from under the ginormous wave of my own emotional stuff. Guilt. Shame. What did I do wrong that my teen would use drugs? What kind of parent coach am I that my teen is experimenting with drugs? Fear. What if he lies and betrays my trust in him? What if he plays on my ignorance and denies any wrongdoing? What if he doesn’t stop immediately? What if he doesn’t do as I say? Breathe. Parents need to remember we can only control ourselves and our response to the things around us.

Maintain Strong Relationship with your Teen

Set your intention and make it clear. My ultimate goal is to maintain a strong loving relationship with my teen based on mutual respect. My immediate goal is to be a positive guiding source for my teen who is making dangerous decisions. How do I go about that?

Trust is crucial for all relationships. To combat the fear that my son would lie to me and or deny it, thereby betraying my trust, was extremely important to me. I didn’t want to take giant leaps backward in our relationship because of a lie, so I wanted to minimize the opportunity. You may choose to omit the opportunity all together by not asking your teen about his/ her drug use, but instead, by telling them you already know about their behavior so there is no use in lying. I chose to give my child the opportunity to come clean on his own accord thereby strengthening trust in our relationship. I prefaced our conversation with a reminder of the importance of honesty.

Once I was able to approach my teen with calmness and genuine curiosity impressing upon him our family values first, we were clear to have an open discussion. Without demanding my son throw away the paraphernalia, I simply held my hand out. He placed the items in my hand, and I took them with me once our discussion was over.

Key Point of Conversation When Kids Are Smoking Weed

  1. Ask them questions with genuine curiosity and listen to what they have to say.
    • Why did they decide to partake in this behavior?
    • Where did the ideas come from? (People, places, etc.)
    • What did they think of the experience(s)? Don’t be afraid to ask this question. It will give you important and honest insight into your teen. Remember to remain calm.
  2. Make your stance on drug use perfectly clear.
  3. Explain your concerns. This could include the effect on siblings and the effect on your relationship. Ask what your teen thinks and feels about this aspect of his or her behavior. This helps to validate your teen’s significance as a member of your family and fulfills your teen’s sense of belonging. Right now, during adolescence, their need to belong to a peer group is especially high on their priority list. Let them know they will always belong in your family.
  4. Discuss the factual ramifications of drug use: the social, legal, and health consequences.
  5. Conclude your discussion with reminders of your love and admiration for your teen. Let them know you have confidence that they will strive to make good decisions. And make sure your stance on drug use is clear. You can ask your teen more curiosity questions to get a sure understanding of where they stand after your conversation.

If you sense that the discussion is not having the strong impact you hoped it would, ask your teen what some of the challenges may be that he or she anticipates. Work through ideas together on overcoming those challenges. Let your teen know you are there not only to guide but to support him/ her on their journey through a happy and healthy lifestyle.

3 Musts in Handling Your Mistakes

To err is human. Everybody makes mistakes. So why should we think that parents are the exception to the rule? Parents are the first and most influential role models for children. If parents are not allowed to make mistakes in front of their children, then what message does that send? You must be perfect as a parent? You must be perfect as an adult? You must be perfect in this house? You don’t want children to have unreasonable expectations for being a parent, an adult, or for being a member of the household.

Parents are not magical perfect beings. We are actually flawed average humans like everyone else. You don’t want to wait too long for the inevitable realization to hit them, because the time will most certainly come no matter how hard you might try to hide it. They usually begin to realize this during the stage when children begin challenging parents, adolescence. With all the other challenges during those exciting years, it’s best your children learn the hard truth before their hormones start interfering with their perspectives.
Mistakes are bound to occur. Your children will eventually witness your faux paus here and there and that is not only okay, but it is great. It allows you the opportunity to show your children the healthy and responsible way to recover from making mistakes. Fall from grace with style and class. Here are the three absolute musts for when your superhero cape falls off.

1. Acknowledge your mistake, especially when it directly affects your child.

In the world of parenthood, there is an array of perspectives and foresight required to get through any given day. The last thing we want is the domino effect of forgetting something as simple as the wipes when running errands for more than 10 minutes. Something somewhere somehow is bound to get spilled, soiled, or sticky. Wipes are always a necessity, and because of this fact, the package of wipes runs out quickly. You already know the one time you forget to replenish the stash is the outing that the biggest mess will occur and in the most inconvenient of times and places. A little mom spit will have to suffice, and nobody wants to revert back to the 1960’s of mom licking her thumb and rubbing it on a child’s cheek. These days, it’s humiliating, even for mom because any witness will know she forgot the wipes.

In such frazzled embarrassment, you may be inclined to immediately begin reciting a list of excuses which can easily sound like placing blame on the children. Excuses such as, “well if you got in the car the first time like I asked instead of making me repeat myself over and over we wouldn’t have been late and I wouldn’t have been rushing out the door and forgotten the wipes!” Or something to that effect. We know how it goes. We’ve all been there. Instead, acknowledge your mistake. “Oh no, mommy forgot the wipes!”

2. Apologize for your mistake.

Most people are rather forgiving when someone makes a mistake that directly affects them if they receive an immediate apology. Of course, we are talking about minor mishaps. Have you ever beeped at someone who just cut you off while driving? A simple apologetic wave of the hand from the car now in front usually makes us forget about the slight transgression without another moment lost. Or when a grocery cart is left unattended in the middle of the aisle while the shopper grabs an item off the shelf, is also easily forgiven with a quick apology. The apology acknowledges your mistake to the person involved and makes it much easier for reasonable people to move on with life. Why? Because people are human, and we all make mistakes.

3. Agree on acceptable solutions.

In the instances previously mentioned, the agreed upon acceptable solutions were simple enough. The car was able to get in front of you and you let it go. The grocery shopper moved the shopping cart out of your way. Let’s address a more stressful situation with a typical parenting scenario.

You’ve already been cut off while driving. You stopped at the store for Tylenol for your little one who has a fever. And now you are off to the pediatrician for a COVID test. While at the store you agreed to a simple snack for your school aged child tagging along. In the car on the way to the doctor’s office you open the snack and twist off the lid of the drink for your non ill child. Upon passing the drink back, you thought he grabbed the drink, but he only grabbed the snack and you let go. The drink spilled all over the car and your child and, guess what, you have no wipes!

You’re already stressed out because the baby is sick and cranky, you’re on edge after navigating traffic with the worst drivers possible and made it through the store with inconsiderate shoppers and long lines at the register. Your typical response may be to snap. “Why didn’t you grab it?” or “Why didn’t you say you didn’t have it?” Lucky for you, mistakes are teachable moments. You both now have an opportunity to learn. You can learn to ask your child if they have it before letting go, and your child can learn how to recover from a mistake with grace.

These steps may be easier said than done in high stress situations, but remember, practice makes perfect. Follow these three easy steps with the smallest of mistakes so that when a big ‘oopsy’ happens, you are well versed in how to respond with grace.