Reader Advice: What Works for You

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck.

Over the past month, we’ve been talking about rhythms and routines here at Simple Kids.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and been able to take some things away from it that will help enrich the lives of you and your kids.

I know I have personally benefited from the wise words left in the comments.  I thought I would highlight some of that advice here today, so that others can benefit from the ideas and thoughts shared, too.

On Tooth Brushing

At the beginning of the month, contributor Vanessa Brown wrote about tooth brushing and shared some tips for developing  a routine.  Reader Alicia had some good tips for ending toothbrushing battles, too.

I liked Tammy’s suggestion in the comments for keeping two sets of tooth brushes: “We have two sets of toothbrushes/paste for my girls, so that after breakfast they can brush their teeth downstairs in the bathroom next to the kitchen. The evening brushing happens upstairs after bathtime. Its just easier than going up and down the stairs.”

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Spring Cleaning Children’s Spaces: Simple Stategies for Tackling the Toys

If you’ve been following along with Simple Mom’s Project Simplify, then you know that this week Tsh has had us working on our kids’ closets and toys. All three of my children are out-growing things, and we’re preparing to welcome our new baby at the end of this Summer, so this has been perfect timing for us.  I’m not quite finished with all of the children’s clothes, but I’ll be finishing up today and then it is on to the playthings. I thought it would be good re re-post this article from April 2010 on kids spaces and some strategies for tackling the kids toys. Happy Spring Cleaning! – Kara

Spring!  The time of fresh starts, new beginnings, growth.  Time, after a long Winter, to clear out the cobwebs, throw open the windows to let in fresh breezes … and time to clean.

As a parent, I can tell when it is time to clean up and declutter the play areas by the fact that my children stop playing there and start taking their toys to other parts of our home to play. It is as if the chaos is too overwhelming to them and they are seeking out simpler spaces to play in.

When I clean out the play spaces, they enjoy playing there and I notice that their play becomes calmer and more peaceful, too.

But, when it comes to toys, especially downsizing toys, there are often some deep emotions involved.  How does a parent know where to start?  What do we get rid of?  What do we keep?   And what can we do to keep that toy chaos from returning?

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Early Birds and Night Owls: Finding Ways to Create Rhythm for Divergent Needs

The following is by contributor Amanda Morgan of Not Just Cute.

“Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.” – Yehudi Menuhin

Routines are wonderful for creating continuity and a predictable rhythm in your family life. But what happens when the internal rhythms of individual members of one family are drastically different? Perhaps nowhere is this difference in personal rhythm more striking than at bedtime.

One Room, Many Sleep Patterns

We have three boys sharing one room. While our oldest is often hammered from the day’s activities, our middle son remind us almost nightly that he is “noctownal” and doesn’t actually need sleep. (Sometimes we almost believe him.) Our youngest still naps, so depending on how that goes each day, he may be out as soon as his head hits the pillow or he may still be winding down for a while. I’m certainly not ready to spend three hours in a revolving door of three separate bedtimes, so we had to come up with a routine that would fit different rhythms.

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Creating Realistic Routines for Your Family

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

All this month we’ve been discussing rhythm and routines here at Simple Kids. Creating a family routine from scratch, adding new elements to an established routine, or altering schedules when life situations change can be a bit intimidating for some of us.

As I hope the  contributors and I have stressed so far, there are very few universal factors when creating family rhythm and routines.  We are each unique and our families are unique.

Our needs are not all the same and our circumstances are not all the same.  What is one person’s simple solution might be another one’s complication.

When it comes to creating family routines, the best advice I can give you can be summed up like this:  be realistic, make them personal, and be yourself.

Personalized for Your Family

Many of my own early attempts at creating routines for my family were doomed from the beginning.  This was because I was trying to copy the beautiful weekly and daily routines on the blogs I was reading and of other families that I knew.

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Weekend Links

The first crocus appeared in our yard this week.  I’m hopeful this means that the long Winter is officially over and Spring is here.  The first crocus bloom is a pretty joyful occasion around here.

Wherever your are, whatever you are up to with your kids this weekend, I hope you are enjoying happiness and joy, too.