Mommy Hacks: Getting Baby to Sleep Through The Night

Hey guys! I recently got an email from a reader about getting her 11 month old to sleep through the night. Her baby had been sick, and is no longer staying asleep. Whether or not you’ve always struggled to get baby to sleep or something happened to disrupt their routine, there’s hope! Here are some of my fave tricks for getting baby to rest when they need to (so you can sleep too):

Getting Baby to Stay Asleep

Establish a bedtime routine. Little ones thrive under routines, which is why I’ve talked about Aden and Ariah’s nighttime rituals in the past – they’re still so important. If you want a baby that will sleep through the night, the first step is getting them to fall asleep, and keep that routine to create consistency in their lives. As you might’ve seen, our nighttime ritual includes a warm bath, bedtime stories, and prayer. These are all relaxing, “wind down” type of activities, that help lull baby to sleep.

Check the temperature. Babies are sensitive and their rooms need to be comfortable for them to sleep in. If they’re too cold or too hot, they’ll feel that in the night and wake up uncomfortable. This might take a little testing to see what your baby sleeps best in, but it can make a huge difference.

Overnight diapers. Getting the right overnight diapers will keep them dry through the night – another common reason for babies waking up. Again, if they feel comfortable, they’ll be more likely to stay asleep until they’re well rested. 

Find the right window of time. Little ones have a specific time window. Make sure they go to bed when they’re supposed to – sometimes they miss that. Usually, children will wake up around the same time no matter what, so keep that in mind if their routine is disrupted or they don’t feel tired. Another trick? You may think that because they’re not sleeping through the night, you’re putting them down too early but actually – sometimes the earlier bedtime helps them to stay asleep longer. Go figure!

Lastly… Get a sound machine! Kids of all ages love sound soothers – I know because both Aden and Ariah do. Just like the tips above help create consistency in a baby’s sleep routine, sound soothers provide subtle, rhythmic background noise that makes them feel more at ease. Some of them have warm, glowing night lights and different melodies to choose from. If you haven’t tried this yet, you just might be amazed.

If you have any baby sleep tricks, share with me in the comments below. Thanks to Tameramowry.com reader Carmen for the inspiration, and good luck with Mila!  

Xx,
Tamera

Mommy Hacks: Potty Training Tricks

One thing every parent goes through with their children: potty training. No surprise there – this is something all kids go through. The most important thing is to get your little ones comfortable with this transition. It’s unfamiliar terrain to them, so the biggest hurdle is putting them at ease. My secret?

Potty Training Tips by Tamera Mowry

Cheerios!

As you can imagine, making it a game is a great way to make them feel more comfortable and at ease. When I was training Aden, I would tell him it’s time to play a game called Shoot the Cheerios. It’s not necessarily the type of game that matters, but that they feel relaxed and open to learning what you have to teach them.

Beachy Home Decor

Naturally we had to incorporate the Cheerios into our beachy home décor.

Tamera Mowry

Positive reinforcement is also really important. It’s what tells children they’re on the right track, and they’ll feel accomplished with their achievements. That’s why I love little art prints like this throughout our house.

Quick Potty Training Tips

  • Make this a laidback, fun experience – it doesn’t have to be serious!
  • This time in their lives is full of information overload, the simpler, the better
  • Some parents reinforce success by cheering them on, adding stickers or marks on a chart, or giving a special prize/treat – but no matter what, the important thing is that they know when they’re doing it right.
  • Encourage them when they have a setback – accidents happen after all
  • Be prepared for a relapse – this can happen and usually it’s a result of other changes in their life. At first, Aden did that for a little while – he wanted to be like his baby sister! So the fun game came in handy here, and he was back on track.

Have you been through this experience yet?

Xx,
Tamera

Mommy Hacks: Learning to Share

Did you see my last post on quality time with Aden? I think pretty much everyone knows how much he loves trains at this point. Well, Ariah has been getting into trains herself – which is no surprise since of course she wants to do the things her big bro does. Turns out, this newfound interest is teaching Aden all about sharing.

Ariah - Teaching little ones to share - Tamera Mowry

They love those trains.

Little ones only begin grasping the whole sharing concept at age three or so, so Aden had had a little experience in it by the time we brought his little sis home. Of course – this is no playdate – this is a sibling, so he’s going to be making compromises and taking turns for a long time to come.

When it comes to teaching siblings to take turns with each other, it’s all about teaching kindness and generosity toward the ones you love. This is complicated for a toddler, most especially one that’s recently had to learn how to share mom and dad, but there are lots of little ways to teach these lessons.

Sometimes you have to tell little ones that the reason their little bro or sis wants to play with their toys is that they want to be included. For example, perhaps Ariah wants to play because she sees Aden having so much fun and wants to have fun too.

Just like I mentioned when talking about teaching kids to be gentle, it’s important to acknowledge the feeling behind the action. If a child doesn’t want to share, you can say something like, “I know you really love this toy, but since it’s such a great toy, other kids want to play with it too”. It helps them work through what seems like someone just interrupting their playtime.

Like most hurdles we have to cross in parenting, sharing is one of those things that you can’t really make up one single rule for. Sometimes it makes sense to intervene, and sometimes it doesn’t, so here are a few tips you might find helpful!

  • Introduce the concept of taking turns, rather than taking away, especially if it’s something they’ll get back
  • Use a timer – kids need that concrete timeline
  • We all have certain things we like to keep to ourselves – each child might have extra special items that are theirs alone
  • Model the behavior to reinforce that everyone does this

And a few tips for new moms – As a parent, you’ll find that the way you handle things may differ from another’s method. This can become an issue at the playground or on play dates. Try to keep an open mind, but know that you define how you parent. You might be teaching a lesson in sharing while another mom is teaching a lesson in patience. With little ones, there is so much for them to learn!

Things like sharing and playing together are something we’re balancing with individual quality time, which is another important topic. How do you approach the sharing issue between your children?

Xx,
Tamera

Mommy Hacks: 4 Ways to Keep Cool on Hot Days

Hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July. We just experienced our first major heat wave of the summer here in Southern California. (Just in time for mine and Ariah’s b-days and 4th of July no less. Whew!) Who can blame their littles for being fussy in this heat? Summer is my favorite time of year, but dehydration and over exposure is NOT why. As moms, it’s something we really don’t want to mess with.

Keeping Cool in the Heat - Tamera mowry

Here are all the ways we’ve been keeping cool (and happy) during this heat wave!

Limiting time in the sun. The hours of 10-3 are when the sun’s at its harshest. When I didn’t have children, this meant hours at the beach. But young children are very sensitive to heat and sun, so now I make sure not to plan any prolonged outdoor activities during this time. Take a dip in the pool or go to the park in the AM or early evening instead as a way to feel more refreshed. And anytime they’re in the sun, sunscreen is imperative. Can’t stress this enough! Go with at least SPF 50 for little ones.

Staying hydrated. This is so important, guys. Whether outside or in, we all need that h2O. When you see those temps rising, mix up an extra batch of yummy infused water for a refreshing drink that you won’t have to force on tired kids. Plus, handing them this instead of juice not only hydrates them but prevents the dreaded sugar crash.

Mist and repeat. This one’s an easy refresher: simply fill a spray bottle with water for a refreshing cool down on the go. Even in the seconds before the AC kicks in or when walking short distances, this bottle will come in handy. The best part is that it’s free and portable… Exactly what a mommy needs.

Chillin’ in the kiddie pool. Yep, it’s a family activity around here. Look how happy Ariah is! With temps this high, there’s no way around it: the kids need to cool off with some water. Breaking out an inexpensive kiddie pool is the way to go. It’s not a production like heading to the beach and you can put it in the shade or limit time to quick play sessions before the sun gets to be too much. Plus, it’s a great time for play that’s not too exhausting for little ones. Just don’t forget the sunscreen ;)

How do you cool your kids off in a heat wave? It’s tough when you’re hot too!

Get more behind the scenes pics of our family time on my Instagram.

Xx,
Tamera

Mommy Hacks: Aden’s New Favorite Activity

Well guys, Aden’s at that age – the one where he learns to dress himself. Seriously, how did he get this big?! Coaching your children through milestones like this that involve them being able to do things somewhat independently of your help (getting there…) is huge in any parent’s life. Aden absolutely LOVES to pick out his own clothes.

Of course, they’re not what I would pick out, and he knows it. The boy loves to wear his train shirt over and over again, and I have to remind him that he has a whole closet full of other options (remember all the pics I shared the other day?). But here’s the thing: allowing and encouraging kids to pick out their outfits is not something to take lightly. It’s actually really important to their development!

aden-rain-coat
How cute is Aden’s rain gear though? Mom approved!

When little ones reach the point of being able to choose, it’s a major freedom they haven’t had. Even at the youngest age, all kids want is to feel that their feelings and opinions are valid. At the very least, when mommy says, “Okay, tell me what shirt you want to wear today…” they feel that we respect their opinion.

But beyond that, you can use these moments – and the silly outfits that come from it – as a way to teach them some valuable cognitive skills, like decision making, responsibility, and even more minute things like the motor skills required to actually dress themselves and button buttons, zip zippers, etc (all with your supervision of course). It also teaches them to work within a timeframe. Of course, this means two things – helping them to reach conclusions within a reasonable amount of time (and of course time is one of the hardest concepts to get a three year old to grasp!) and helping them practice patience when things don’t go as planned.

As much as I’d love my little man to dress up in all those adorable outfits we’ve collected for him over time, I know how important picking out clothes is to him (even if it takes him awhile to decide on that fave tee). The most important part is that he has the choice and can express himself and his individuality how he wants to, which contributes to self confidence and self worth too.

Have you been through this phase with little ones? Share below!

Xx,
Tamera

Mommy Hacks: Teaching Little Ones to be Gentle

Hey guys! Here’s an interesting fact: you know that feeling you get when you see something that is SO cute (like a baby’s chubby cheeks or the furriest little kitten)? And you want to just squeeze and squeeze? Well, there’s actually science behind it that suggests that when we see something that evokes such strong emotion, we want to do something about it. It often triggers an aggressive reaction. Don’t get me wrong, most of us don’t mean any harm, but it’s because of “strong approach motivation”. An intense feeling = an intense (almost) action.

Teaching Kids to Be Gentle

We have this quote up on Aden’s wall.

These feelings are easily switched back and forth in negative and positive experiences. That intense feeling of aggression that comes with a negative experience comes from a similar place. Of course, most adults know not to act out on these strong emotions (we’d never want to harm baby, and similarly, when we’re angry, we generally still do not wish to harm others).

There’s a reason I bring this up, and it has to do with young children and toddlers. They experience the same feelings as we do, and it’s important to see where they’re coming from. Positive experiences – like when Aden is so excited to see his baby sister – can evoke that sort of “she’s so cute, let me squeeze her!” feeling. And because kids at this age go straight to expressing their feelings, they immediately want to do that action (squeeze, shake, bite, etc.).

Teaching Kids to be Gentle

Keep in mind that most of the time when children are acting out, it’s because they don’t know how to express their feelings. Teaching them how to do so in a healthy way means lessening the chances of troublesome behaviors. That quote from Despicable Me, “It’s so fluffy I’m gonna DIE!” comes to mind. Lol. The child really feels the need to do something about this pent up aggression-like feeling.

When your child experiences this feeling, whether because of a positive or negative experience, they need to know how to express it gently, without putting themselves or anyone else in harm’s way. The first step is to teach them exactly what gentle means. If they hit when they mean to pat, explain (gently of course) that this (motion with your hands) is gentle, and that we don’t want to hurt anyone. It can help to guide them physically (on a stuffed animal rather than a living creature, of course). Don’t forget to let them know when they’re expressing a feeling correctly!

A similar time when you can teach a child to be gentle is while they are playing with you. When they’re too rough, take this time to teach a lesson that they’ll carry through to play with other kids, pets, etc. It helps to create rules for play.

Lastly, I’ve noticed how important it is to teach these lessons in a calm manner, as difficult as that can be at times. When welcoming a new baby brother or sister, kids of any age will do anything they can, even unconsciously, to get mommy and daddy’s attention. Acting out as the parent gives them attention – though obviously not the kind they need. And if a negative action guarantees that they’ll grab your attention, be warned that they will repeat it! Keep that in mind so your efforts don’t have the opposite effect.

How did you go about navigating gentility with little ones? Have any other mommy hacks topics you’d like to see?

Xx,
Tamera