Friday, July 21, 2017

Baby/Toddler Schedule: Who's ruling who?

 (How precious is that angel baby?! I can't believe he's almost 14 months old!) 

Hey Friends! Long time, no chat. Matt and I are headed out on a date and a church event later tonight, and as I was writing out Sam's schedule for my Mom, it got me thinking.
Wanna know what we've received (surprisingly!) the most flack for in regards to parenting Sam? His schedule! You wouldn't believe the amount of ill-mannered and critical comments we've received about it. It's baffling. But one of the most common comments we've heard repeatedly is "You shouldn't let your baby dictate your schedule." But you know what? He doesn't rule our schedule. We rule his. And he's a better kid for it. But even better? Matt and I are better versions of our parental selves for it.

Sam thrives on predictability, which is something we learned very early on about his personality. When he knows what to expect he behaves better, is less fearful, and trusts us more. As a baby, I can only remember a handful of accounts where we witnessed real meltdowns and they were generally from being over tired. And I strongly believe we've been so fortunate because he has always known what to expect from us. 

Does this mean we make sacrifices? OF COURSE! What parent doesn't for their children? There have been times when I would have loved a later bedtime so we could attend specific events as a family. Honestly, he would be totally fine with a pushed bed time now, as a toddler. But we've reaped more reward than anything else.

His early bedtime allows us more time alone as husband and wife each night and makes date nights out as simple as someone coming over to watch the monitor. Or on nights like tonight, it makes someone else watching him and putting him down for bed ridiculously simple because he has always had such a solid routine. 

His predictable nap time makes scheduling events and appointments effortless and gives me a foreseeable amount of time to accomplish things for myself. We know how much time we have during each part of the day and it benefits our family tremendously! If you knew me and Matt before Sam, not one ounce of this would surprise you. Our time together has always been so precious and we've always thrived on a routine as a couple. We're the first ones to arrive anywhere, we've always had dinner with the early birds, and we are true homebodies. I think those things say a lot about our personalities and Sam's schedule is simply a part of who we are as a family.

Now, does this mean I think you should have your baby/family on a schedule? Well, no. I believe every family is different and every situation varies. You should do whatever works best for your family, your baby, and your lifestyle. My favorite thing about parenting is that there are many different styles and approaches and we all have the luxury of learning from one another. We each learn what works best for our families and it's totally okay if that's different from your peers. We offer advice to the best of our abilities but we should also understand if someone chooses to take a different approach. I'm sure we all want our children to grow up as unique individuals and I promise that won't happen if we're all parenting the same way.

P.S. If you would like for me to share some sample schedules by age showing what has worked for us, I would be glad to. Let me know!


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