Monday, January 30, 2017

A simple bedtime relaxation script for children

My kids are all night owls, which means they tend to gain energy as bedtime approaches. To help them calm their bodies and minds, I started a simple nighttime relaxation technique with the older two. My nine-year-old appreciates it the most and will ask for it nearly every night. Mikko and I both have the characteristic of needing a looong time to fall asleep, and he can get anxious about it. This sort of relaxation time helps put him at ease.

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If you already have a background of relaxation scripts, you can adapt ones you love. I called upon my own childhood, when my parents offered me some simple relaxation ideas when I kept stealing into their room each night to whisper that I couldn't fall asleep, and my experiences with Hypnobabies childbirth hypnosis, which helped me through three unmedicated births.

Have your child lie down and begin in a calm, soothing voice:

Squeeze your toes … and your feet … and your legs … all the way up to your bottom [or whatever word you use; we're a butt family].

Have them practice isolating each muscle in turn. Mikko has coordination difficulties so at first had to use his hands to assist him in highlighting each body part to contract; however a kid needs to do it is fine.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Counting for hide-and-seek

I just need to preserve the cuteness.

(Dit-do is the name Karsten has given Alrik. We have no idea why. Dit-do decided on counting to 13 for hide-and-seek. Also no idea. I just go with it.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Why we treat our oldest & youngest children differently

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As a mother of three kids, I've had a lot of opportunity to reflect on how the truisms about sibling order come to pass seemingly by accident.

For instance, I find myself expecting ever more grownup behavior from Mikko, my oldest at nine years old, and considering my youngest, now two, as still a baby. But when I look back on my days with Mikko at two, I recall thinking how grownup he was even then.

Here's the explanation, and I think it's a simple one. It's not that we're callous and indifferent parents who can't let our older kids be kids and who can't have adequately high expectations for our younger ones. It just has to do with our experience of their growth.

When our first child is born, it's our first child. This might not apply to those of you who extensively nannied or babysat or co-raised siblings before parenting, but for the rest of us, we're experiencing each milestone as the first time it's happened.

When our firstborns smile, Whoa! Before they'd just gurgle and poop! Now they're social. When they sit up, Holy motor control! When they stand and talk and wave, everything's an obvious big leap forward, bringing them ever more distant from the last stage they were at.