Unfortunately, there is no Parenting 101 offered in our school systems today. All new parents are greeted with a similarly daunting feeling when first holding their newborn baby in their arms — or in our case, newborn babies..
Every well-established routine (meal time, bath time, beach time, etc.) did not start out so easily for us. We must have tried 20 different beach set-ups when first traveling to the beach as a 4–some.. Tent or Umbrella? Bathing suit or diapers? Is bringing a chair even worth it?
Trial and error is a promised theme of parenting. Each day we slightly adjusted our routine to more readily adapt to our growing babies. Even though Alejandra and I are only 17 months into our unique journey, we would like to share with our parent community some of our all–time favorite Parent Hacks
When we discovered Baby Shark, it was like discovering fire.. Baby Shark is the first song of a 54 min animated video on YouTube that appeals to babies and toddlers by using super simple melodies of well–known children's' songs. The individual songs teach numbers, letters, days of the week, and even animal sounds. Just the ability to briefly entertain our babies while cooking a meal, showering, or dining out makes this video well worthy of our Top–5 list. With Baby Shark, you no longer have to endure your baby's screams when you finally work up the courage to eat out with your little one. A word to the wise, use Baby Shark with moderation. Just like adults, babies can become addicts to screens and technology. I'm no doctor, but Baby Shark 1 time per day seems sufficient. Also, we would not recommend Baby Shark to babies under 8 months old.
Mattress on the floor
In the beginning, our babies slept in their cribs.. After a few relentless months of sleep training, they eventually worked their way into the bed halfway through the night. Shortly after... they were then sleeping in our bed for the full night like the world's cuddliest teddy bear. Although we all enjoyed sleeping in the same bed, we realized that sleeping with your baby is not the best idea for many reasons. That is when we decided to put the mattress on the floor. This enabled us the best of both worlds, we could put the babies to sleep in the same bed as us, but then escape to our own bedroom afterwards. The mattress on the ground also gave us the peace of mind that our rambunctious boys wouldn't fall more than 1 foot if they decided to look for us in the middle of the night. At the 1-year mark, our boys were sleeping through the night 90% of the time thanks to our sleep training and mattress on the floor strategy.
Pop n' Play Portable Playard
A trip to the beach with your toddler (or toddlers in our case) may seem ,in theory, more relaxing than it actually is. In an ideal world, you and your well-behaved toddler would sit comfortably in the shade while you sip on your cold beverage listening to your favorite Jack Johnson album. Often times, this is not the reality by any stretch. At first, our beach days consist of chasing our babies around to make sure they don't get washed away by shore break, shouting, "en la boca, no!" (not in your mouth!), and constantly re-applying sunscreen to their silky smooth baby skin. This WAS our reality until we discovered the Summer Infant Pop n' Play Portable Playard. Basically, this life-saving piece of equipment resembles a UFC octagon designed for babies. The Playard keeps our babies "caged in" with all their favorite toys while still allowing them to enjoy the open air, beach environment. The Playard is even big enough for mommy or daddy to sit down inside. You can assemble the Playard in less than 30 seconds and even comes with a snap on roof for the especially sunny days.
Songs for all activities
"It's bath time, it's bath time, it's bath timeeee. For Jonathan, and Sebastiannn..." When the boys hear us sing this tune, they immediately start ripping off their diapers and mentally prepare themselves for their nightly bath and bedtime ritual. The "Bath Time" song is just one of the many songs we've created for the everyday events of our lives. We have a song for waking up, eating, adventures in the stroller, and of course, bath time. With enough repetition, these simple chants will engrave themselves in the mind of your baby so they are aware of what's about to happen. For example, our boys will throw a mini temper tantrum if we put them in the stroller without singing our adventure song queuing them that an epic adventure is in their foreseeable future.
As the Pediatrician has told all parents over and over again, a tight schedule is crucially important to your baby's physical and mental development. When a baby comes into this world, they know nothing of eating times, sleeping times, play times, etc. Therefore, we, as parents, must take control and show our babies that they are NOT the baby boss of the household. When parents succumb to the cries of their baby and give them whatever they want at anytime of the day, the baby will believe that they are actually in control of their schedule and throw a fit when they are finally told no. With twins, we had no choice but to invoke a military-like schedule just to keep our sanity. Otherwise, we would have never been rewarded with our precious, 2-hour nap-time break from 1pm - 3pm each day. Some days will be harder than others to keep the schedule, but try to stay on track as much as possible. You will be happy when your baby is sleeping 12 hours in the night.
Thanks for reading! What are your parent hacks? Leave us your comments!
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