Most parents know that a bedtime routine works wonders for smoothly getting their infant or toddler to bed. My daughter rarely misses a step in her bedtime routine because infants like predictability, and we like having a happy baby.
With a new year beginning, many of you are likely making New Year’s resolutions about how to be a better person or live life more fully. In her seven short months on earth, my little girl has taught me which habits will lead to being a better person and having the best year yet. Here’s a primer for New Year’s resolutions from my seven-month-old daughter:
My daughter only has two teeth, but that doesn’t slow her down at meals. She LOVES food. Dinnertime is one of her favorite parts of the day because she gets to taste flavorful vegetables, creamy cheese, hearty rice and potatoes, and sweet fruit. Thinking about the care we put into ensuring our baby gets the full nutritional spectrum of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and calories has made me question why I don’t put as much thought into my own diet. Most of us vaguely know why we should eat whole, unprocessed foods, but sometimes we need a quick refresher. Seeing how much my daughter enjoys simple, wholesome food – and how it is fueling her amazing, rapid growth – is inspiring me to make better food choices this year, too.
Allow time to be creative
Santa brought my daughter a tube of bathtub finger paint, and at bath time she has a blast smearing Pepto-Bismol-pink paint up, down, and across the sides of our bathtub. She doesn’t paint for our approval or to win the accolades of art critics; she’s simply processing what she’s seeing, hearing, feeling and learning. Research shows that creative people have better-connected brains, are more resilient, and can engage in more complex thinking processes. Knowing these benefits, I’ll continue to encourage my daughter to be as creative as she wants, and will be carving out time to be creative myself. Give yourself time to create whether through art, music, writing or something else, and you might start to see the world differently, too.
Getting out of the warm bathtub, especially in winter, is rough. My daughter always cries when that cold air hits her skin but quickly calms down as we towel her dry, bundle her in her soft, footed pajamas and nestle her atop our laps in her glider. She knows that accepting our help and love leads to a warmer existence. Is someone offering you help with a rough patch? Take them up on their offer. Swallow your pride; let others help you with whatever weaknesses you’re facing. They’ll feel purposeful when you accept their help. You’ll feel relieved. That warmth and love feel much better than staying in the cold.
After pajamas, it’s time to read a book or two. There’s ample evidence that frequently reading to your kids often helps them score higher on intelligence tests and develop a better sense of empathy. Did you know that there’s also evidence that reading books, news, and poetry help people live longer? This year, in addition to picking up classics like “Goodnight Moon” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” each night, we resolve to make more trips to the library this year to stock up on books for Mom and Dad to enjoy.
My daughter gets a bottle just before laying down in her crib. She loves food; we love that filling her up before bed helps ensure that she’ll sleep through the night. While some health experts claim drinking water right before bed leads to disrupted sleep and other problems, others note that drinking water throughout the day and leading up to your bedtime helps you sustain energy, recover from exercise, and flush out toxins. Most of us forget to drink enough water during the day, so sipping from a glass on our nightstand can help you stay hydrated and ready to face the next day. So far, a nighttime drink helps my daughter wake up smiling in the morning. I plan to adopt the same dedication to hydration this year.
Wake up with a smile
There’s not much sweeter than peeking into your child’s nursery in the morning to see them peeking back at you with a big grin on their face, happy to see you and ready to start the day. If I can make greeting the day with a smile one of my New Year’s resolutions too, 2018 is sure to be a great year.