Category Archives: Toddler

Our Evening Routine For A 21 Month Old

Our Evening Routine For A 21 Month Old, bedtime routine, make bedtime easy, sleep training your baby, sleep training your toddler, meredith rines, merelynne

What does your typical evening routine for a 21 month old (or around that age) look like? 

I’m lucky because both me and my husband are home most nights so we handle our son’s bedtime routine together.  We usually trade off jobs for our little guy – one gives the bath while the other one gets his room picked up and pajamas laid out.  Then the next night we switch.  I’ll admit though… Dent prefers J to give him his bath because he plays a lot harder and splashes a lot more water.

We found by sticking to a similar routine each night, it makes things a lot easier on our little guy (and us). The nights we have to switch things up or are running behind are the nights we tend to pay for it… plus it may take Dent a night or two to get back on track, too.  Here’s are average evening routine for a 21 month old:

5:00-6:00

Pick up the little one from the sitter and come home to help with dinner.  We usually have dinner by 5:30 or so and typically J will have it started by the time we get home.  So it’s just a few finishing touches then we sit down together at the kitchen table.  After we eat it’s clean up time.  We usually clean the kitchen together – one of us putting away dirty dishes while the other one wipes down the table and entertains Dent.

6:00 – 7:00

Playtime.  We don’t work on any other chores around the house and focus on playing with Dent.  If the weather is nice, which it’s the middle of winter in Southeast Missouri so the weather is never nice, we will go outside to play on the swing set.  If we’re inside then we play, work on colors and shapes together and just spend time as a family.

7:00 – 7:30

We start our bedtime routine.  Dent gets a bath, we read for a few minutes and then it’s off to bed.  He’s usually sound asleep by 7:30 on most nights – some nights are better than others, but he’s pretty good about falling asleep quickly.

7:30 – 8:00

We work on any laundry that needs to get done and then we focus on chores around the house. We try to tackle a different house chore each night so by the weekend we aren’t spending all day cleaning or catching up on laundry.

Monday – dishes and clean kitchen
Tuesday – laundry and sweep
Wednesday – dust, clean kitchen and clean bathrooms
Thursday – laundry, sweep and mop

On the weekends we try to keep the house picked up and the kitchen straightened so it’s not hard to get back on track the next week.

8:00 – 9:30

After the house and chores all are done, then it’s time to relax.  J and I usually pile on the couch with our dogs, blankets and I grab the laptop.  We watch a show on Netflix and I work on editing a video or finishing up a blog post. 

Here’s a few tips to make nighttime a bit easier:

Divide and conquer – if able too.  If not, then just try to plan as much as possible.  On the nights I’m home alone or J is we make sure to get any pajamas laid out before bath time so we aren’t scrambling around. 

Get ready for the next morning – I like to make his milk with any medicine (that he gets with breakfast) and his sippy cup for the sitter’s house the night before.  I get all the cups, snacks, and diaper bag ready to walk out the door before we go to bed.  That way if we’re running behind or he sleeps in then I don’t have to worry about it. 

Buy easy to prepare breakfast foods – this goes along with getting things ready (and not much on the evening routine, but it helps!).  I like to have breakfast foods that are easy to heat up and serve.  So if that means scrambling some eggs before going to bed so I just have to heat them up the next morning then so be it.

Teach your little one to pick up toys – I love that Dent helps pick up toys before going to bed.  Now I’ll admit he isn’t perfect, but he does help! 

Use a white noise machine (here’s the one we use) to help them sleep through the night. We love our machine, it helps drown out any outside noises, the dogs, and us in the morning while we’re getting ready.

Be consistent – it’s important to be consistent with your evening routine.  I know it’s hard to be perfect 100% of the time, but sticking to a schedule really does help your little one to go to bed easier without fighting.

When he was a lot younger we followed a simple routine to help sleep train him.  It saved our sanity so much! So, what do you incorporate in your evening routine for a 21 month old? Leave a comment below!

Chores For Toddlers {How To Know What Jobs To Give and Ways To Introduce Them}

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Does your little one help around the house? We have a few ‘chores’ around the house that our little guy helps with. Recently I sat down to answer your questions about what chores specifically he does. 

You can watch the video of Chores For Toddlers online or down below:

Here’s the chores our little guy does to help out:

Laundry

He helps with taking the wet clothes from the washer and puts them in the dryer. Sometimes he misses and we end up picking we clothes up off the floor or from hanging half-way out. There are even times where he’ll take wet socks into the family room to show Daddy what he’s doing. But he tries and that’s all that matters.

Feeding the Dogs

We also have him help with feeding our dogs.  J usually helps fill the measuring cup and then Dent puts the food in each dog’s bowl.  Some nights it’s a struggle to get him to stop.  He loves filling the bowls up and wants to keep doing it after the dogs already have the right amounts.

Putting the Dogs Away

With three dogs we have found it’s best to put the bigger one (he’s also the youngest one) in a kennel before we leave.  The other two get a treat as we’re walking out the door.  Dent’s job is to take a treat and put Bud in his kennel. Then as I latch the door he gives a treat to the other two dogs.  They’re patient with him because sometimes he wants to give it to them in the kitchen other times he wants them to be in the family room.

Putting Away Toys Before Bed

With a little guidance our son can help put away his toys. He’s not perfect at it and sometimes he just gets them near the container, but he’s trying.

Sweeping and Swiffering the Floors

The broom and swiffer are his favorite toys in the whole house. So it’s no surprise that he loves to push the broom around. We prefer if he pushes the Swiffer because at least he can get some dog hair picked up.

How to introduce new chores

This part is always a little tricky for me.  It really has two parts and they both have to deal with you as the parent, not the child.  

First – be patient

Second – don’t expect perfection

Our little boy surprises me daily with the things he helps with, picks up and brings to us.  He really does love helping others, it’s so apparent.  So for us, it’s all about being patient to teach him what we want and the outcome.  Then it’s about being okay with mistakes.  

Do I like having dog food spilled on our kitchen floor?  Of course not.  But he’s learning.  Some days are better than others, but with each spill we teach him patience to make sure the job gets done right.  

When we think he’s ready for a new “chore” we contemplate how to break it down.  For instance, with feeding the dogs.  The first step we did was fill the measuring cup and take it over to the right bowl.  As we were over the bowl then we handed the cup to our son to fill, but our hands stayed on it.  As he got more stubborn and able to figure it out, we handed the cup to him to fill the bowl once we brought it over.  Now, he’s able to take the bowl from the container and fill the bowls (or mostly fill) them all on his own.  

It’s all about progression, not perfection.

So if you have something you want your toddler to help with or learn then figure out how to break it down into steps.  Start with the easiest step first then work your way backwards.  If they make mistakes, then take a deep breath and know it will be okay.  Like I said in the video – if the mess is big enough then we’ll sweep or mop afterwards.  But for the most part we just let it happen.

What chores does your little one do? Leave a comment letting me know! I would love to add a few more to his list.

My Favorite Toddler Hacks

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Hi! My name is Meredith and I am a Mom who is constantly running in circles.  Like constantly.  Like I fall down from being dizzy at least once a week because I have too much going on. That’s why when I find something good that makes my life a little bit easier, I hold onto it.  Then I like to shout it from the nearest rooftop (but not really because I am terrified of heights) so that other Mommas can benefit too.  That’s why I just love finding anything that saves me time and saves my sanity.  

I’m always trying to tweak this or change that to make it more efficient. When it comes to being a Mom, I’m pretty sure we need all the help we can get. It’s hard enough to remember everything on our to-do list, grocery list and doctors appointments – if we could have just a little bit more help then we could rule the world with our eyes closed. 

Recently I was talking with other Moms about things that make our lives a little easier.  I came away with a ton of great idea, but realized I had a lot of toddler hacks already in place.  I thought it was time to share them with you so that hopefully your life can become a little bit easier.

You can watch my favorite toddler hacks online or down below:

What’s some of your favorite toddler hacks that you’ve learned along the way? Leave a comment below!

Check out these posts for more tips and hacks:

Mess Free Baby Painting

Road Trip Hacks with Toddler

Tips For Organized Packing

My Favorite Mom Gadget

Upgrading To A Big Boy Room | Starlight Baby Giveaway

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At what age do you change the theme of your baby’s nursery? When we first decorated Dent’s room, we made a very big effort to make sure we didn’t have to completely re-do every choice as he grew.  We made a few changes here and there to make the room easier to use and better for playtime. For instance, the perfect area rug was not quite perfect. No matter what anti-slider mats, stickers, glue, whatever we bought the darn thing slid everywhere.  It was such a hassle and a trip hazard on those late night feedings. 

We quickly took out the rug and never replaced it.  We also added room darkening curtains for those mid-day naps. A while back I created some wall art for his room. Do you know what’s great about making my own pieces?  When it’s time to change them out then it’s really simple.

Recently I’ve been thinking we need to upgrade a few pieces to make it more of a big boy room and instead of a baby room.  Now don’t get me wrong I am no where near ready to switch out for a toddler bed… and neither is Dent.  But I think we could do a few things to the walls to help the room grow with our boy.  I found these whimsical dinosaur vinyl wall decals from Starlight Baby and just fell in love.  They are absolutely perfect for our son’s room.

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You can watch the video of my first thoughts on the vinyl wall decals and what his new big boy looks like below or online:

James from Starlight Baby reached out to me and offered one of my readers a chance for a $60 store credit.  I couldn’t believe it. I love the idea of bringing such a great giveaway to you just in time for Christmas.  They have so many great decals, clothes, and more for your little one.  Starlight Baby offers something rare on their wall decals – they will customize the color for you.  If you have a color code from a paint color, wall art or any item then they can custom print your decals to match.  You just send the color code or color idea to them and they will work with you to make it happen.  How cool?! I love their customer service!

Enter the giveaway below. If you want to go ahead and check out Starlight Baby’s store, head on over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I did receive the wall decals for free in exchange for my review.  However, the opinions are 100% my own.

What To Pack Your Toddler For Your Next Trip | Tips To Staying Organized

It’s no secret I love to-do lists and planners. I pretty much have my whole life over on Google between using the calendar to keep our lives organized and with having our expense tracking on Google Sheets. I love having my life organized and detailed out.

There should be no surprise then that I have a go-to list for when we travel with our young son. We travel quite a bit, between visiting J’s family, to seeing friends and just getting away for awhile. We love going on adventures.

I realized early on that in order to not forget anything, I would need a list. With working full time, running a house, being the best mom I know how and a wife – I needed help.

I put together a list over on Google (duh!) and every time we go on a trip, I pull it out and print it off. In this list is a detail of everything we need to bring for no matter how long we’re going to be gone or no matter which part of the country we’re going to be going to.

You can watch this video online or down below to see exactly what I like to bring along on any trips for our son.

For more information you can check out these posts:

Tips For Road Trips With A Toddler

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Traveling With A Baby

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How I Get It All Done

how to do it all as a mom

What We Did For Halloween

Since this was Dent’s first year getting to trick-or-treat we wanted to make sure he enjoyed it.  We started the night off with heading to my parents house so my Mom could actually get a trick-or-treater for the first time since I was a little girl.  You see, my folks live a little ways out of town and we never had any come visit us for Halloween.  Every year my Mom would hope, but they never came.  

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So I wanted to make sure she had a least one trick-or-treater at her door.  He loved it.  He walked up to the front door and then strutted straight inside to get his goodies.  Afterwards we headed back to our house to trick-or-treat our street.  We knew he wouldn’t make it all night, so we just stayed close to home.

I know I haven’t been a kid in a very long time, but I don’t remember Halloween being such a madhouse.  Parents just rolling up to a house, kids running out of the cars and straight to the candy bowls then hitting a few more houses before sprinting back to the car for Mom to roll down the street a little more.  It didn’t seem fun, it seemed about it was all for the candy.  I remember being a little girl and walking the street as a group, which I spent most of my childhood Halloweens with my Grandma handing out candy, but the few years I did go – it was about having fun with friends.

Our little NASCAR driver loved walking up to someone’s house and being handed candy. He wasn’t quite sure what to think of it, but he loved it! He even started waving bye-bye to people as we walked away.    

Tips for Traveling With a Toddler

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With the holiday season fast approaching, we are planning for some road trips to see family.  Now that our little man is almost 17 months old (cue tears!) we travel a little differently than when he was first born.  Long gone are the days of him sleeping most of the car ride and we’ve replaced those peaceful days with fighting the car seat, boredom and counting down the seconds until we reach our destination.

I make it sound just horrible traveling with a toddler, don’t I? It’s really not that bad.  Sure some trips are better than others.  Some days he’s a peach in the car and entertains himself with a small toy and a few snacks.  Other days he can’t stand his car seat and is sure to let us know how unpleased he is.

But as I’ve told him over and over, Mommy and Daddy have to use the car seat because it’s the safest place for him to be.  He usually fights me, but I at least try to reason with him (HA!).

With J’s family living a few hours away, we tend to travel on a regular basis.  I wanted to share with you my tried-and-true travel hacks with you.  I want you to be prepared for those long car rides you’ll be facing and nights away from home.  Plus this time of year usually means the roads aren’t always the best, especially with temperatures dropping below freezing at night.  So I like to make sure we have our little guy nice and calm during road trips so that it makes driving a little easier on us.

Not too long ago I shared some of my go-to tips when traveling with a baby.  Now as he’s gotten older and a little more independent some of my tips have changed.  But if you have a younger baby then these tips could really help you.

Let’s get into today’s post – tips for traveling with a toddler.  Now don’t worry I am going to cover everything from the car ride to staying the night.  So let’s do it.

What to bring in the car:

Snacks

Few Favorite Toys – I typically bring one (or two) that makes noise and the rest are silent. I either bring a few balls, books or stuffed animals.

Diapers and wet wipes for any changes – I like to leave a few of these outside the diaper bag so I don’t have to dig around for an emergency stop.

Towel – in case there is a mess that needs to be cleaned up or we have to do a diaper change in the back seat.

iPad to watch movies

What to bring for overnight stays:

Pack-n-play – that way when it’s bedtime your little one has a place to sleep that’s all their own.  

Blanket – it’s nice to have something that smells like home and can be a comfort to them

Extra Clothes

Favorite Bottle or Sippy Cup – my little guy still loves a bottle in the morning.  We’ve been able to replace everything else with a sippy cup, but not his morning one.  Since he takes medicine I prefer not to fight him just yet.  

Favorite Foods – you pack snacks or non-perishable foods you know your little one likes.  This works great if you’re eating out a lot or not sure what meals will be prepared.

Bedtime Routine – it can be hard to stick to a similar routine that you have at home, but try.  Your little one loves having a routine and it makes it a lot easier on them if they are being put down about the same time each night and follow the same steps they would at home.  For us, it’s bath, brush teeth, have some water, snuggle for a bit then be laid down.

Morning Routine – again, try to stick to the similar routine you have each morning.  I know it can be hard, but just do your best.

If you plan on flying with your little one, then check out my tips here to make it so much easier on yourself and your child.

DIY NASCAR Costume for a Toddler

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This family loves NASCAR (well actually J loves it and I’ve learned to like it over the past 5 years). When it came time to decide on a Halloween costume for Dent, we agreed on a race car driver outfit.  Of course he had to be our favorite driver, too – Tony Stewart.  

I started searching online and the prices were ridiculous! $30 for a Halloween costume?!?! … No thanks…

The ones at Walmart weren’t NASCAR themed and had way too many fake muscles for my liking. Why do we have to put fake muscles on everything for little boys… what kind of message is that sending?? I don’t know, but I didn’t care for it.

Then I decided to just make a DIY NASCAR costume for our son.

I even gave myself a budget of keeping it under $15.

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I headed to Walmart where I had hopes of finding a solid black sleeper, but wasn’t in luck. Then I found a long sleeve shirt and sweat pants that were under $4.00 each, so I spent less than $8 for the outfit.

Next we headed to Hobby Lobby to try to find some ribbon with a checkered flag. They had one kind and it was $4.00, but with a 40% off coupon it came out to be $2.40 for the spool. Perfect.

I knew I had some fabric glue at home, so I decided to just use it. I washed the clothes once we got home and then got to work. I took the ribbon down the sleeves, sides of the shirt and pants, which didn’t take long at all.  I let it dry overnight just to be sure the glue held.

It needed just a little bit more so I bought some iron-on transfer paper for less than $8.00. I googled Tony Stewart to see what type of sponsors he had on his uniform and went from there.  Once I decided on a few brands, I googled their logo and then uploaded them into canva.  I saved the sheets as a PDF and then printed them on an inkjet printer. 

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I had never used iron-on transfer paper before so I was a little unsure of how good it would turn out, but I followed the directions to make sure I was doing it right. It does say to wash it after 24 hours and turn it inside out, but honestly I didn’t.  I figured since I already washed the clothes when I bought it that it would be fine.  Now after he’s done wearing it then I will wash it, but I don’t want to take the chance of the transfer coming off in the washer.

Overall I spent right at $18.40 for the whole outfit.  I wasn’t under my $15.00 goal, but I only used two of the sheets of transfer paper so now I have it for next year’s costume or some other craft project down the road.  So I still consider it a win!

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We headed to a trunk-or-treat earlier this week and had a blast.  Dent loved getting candy from everyone and showing off his outfit.  We’re planning on walking around the neighborhood on Halloween. I can’t wait!

Focus on Family Month

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Happy October! They say winter is the most magical time of the year, but I think Fall is a very close second. This month since the temperatures will be starting to drop we’ll be spending lots of time outside.  There are a few pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other fun stuff we are going to try to do.

I figured this would be a great time to have another focus month.  If you remember, back in February I typically have a Focus On Finances month.  I always planned on having another focus month, but it never happened.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re a Mom – your brain is going a mile a minute, all the time and if you don’t write it down then it just won’t happen.

Anyways, I realized that October would be perfect for a Focus on Family month.  I put together a bucket list last year, but now that our little boy is older we’ll be able to do a lot more.  Last year we went to the pumpkin patch and he was barely 6 months old so there was a lot he just wasn’t able to do.  But now he is 18 months and is full of energy.  He runs, never walks.  Our sitter’s husband calls him Mouth of the South, which is some former wrestler that apparently never stopped running his mouth.

This month will be all about spending time together.  Fall is a great time to be outside, it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold yet.  Where we live pumpkin patches pop up about this time of year, so there is always a fun (and cheap) activity we can go do on the weekend.  I’m planning on putting together a new fall bucket list of things we are most excited about doing this year with our little man.  

But to get you started with the Focus on Family month, here’s a list of a few fall fun activities you can do with your family:

spend time together at the local pumpkin patch
go apple picking
attend a fall festival
plan a family themed Halloween outfit
have a few picnics outside
go to the park
have a movie night

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?  Leave a comment letting me know!

Our Toddler’s Bedtime Routine

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Does your toddler have a bedtime routine you follow?  We do and I highly recommend it to every toddler mom.  Your little one will do so much better with a set bedtime and you will feel so much better having a little bit of time each night all to yourself.  Some nights I use my time wisely by taking care of dishes, finishing laundry and cleaning … then other nights I’m so useless and binge watch TV for a couple of hours.  But it’s my choice!  

We set the foundation for easy nighttime routines months ago when we worked on sleep training our little man.  I truly believe that is what made our nights now a lot easier.

I also know that some days are better than others when it comes to a toddler’s bedtime routine.

Typically our little guy’s routine doesn’t vary much.  We found that works best for him and for us.  Now, I am not going to sit here and say we are perfect every single day.  That would be a lie.  No one can be perfect 100% of the time.  However, we strive for some consistency because without it we are a mess.

Around 7:00 each night we start off with bath time, which our little guy loves.  We ask if he’s ready for a bath and he takes off down the hall pulling off his pants and tugging at his shirt.  If we’re not fast enough, he’ll get all the way down to his diaper and then start taking it off.  We may or may not have had to clean a few mistakes down the hallway floor a couple of times.

After bath time, we go straight to getting ready for bed with getting PJ’s on, drying his hair and then story time.  Now some nights if we’re running late on bath time or he’s extra cranky then story time is super fast.  Other nights it’s a bit longer.

During story time he gets a small bottle of milk and then it’s off to bed.  We typically lay him down while he’s still awake.  That way he can put himself to sleep and we’re not trapped for 30 minutes or longer.  When we first sleep trained him months ago I started off staying in the room until he was sound asleep.  But I found that I was keeping him awake longer.  I would rub his back and the moment I switched directions or changed hands it was an excuse for him to pop right up.  It was also killing my back.  Leaning over the crib for 30 minutes or longer was just plain miserable.  So I was moving around a lot, sometimes I would make a small noise and then he would wake wide up.  It was awful.  

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I finally realized I was the problem so I started laying him down when he was still awake.  He gets a small bottle, his favorite blanket and a few soft lullabies.  Then within 10 minutes or less he would be out.  

Most nights that’s all there is to it.  He sleeps quietly until around 7:00 the next morning.  

Now, if he’s not feeling very good or has a tooth coming in then we might be up a few times during the night to cover him back up and pat his back.  It’s very rare we have to pick up up from his crib once we lay him down for the night.  We only do that if he needs a diaper change or is sick.  For the most part once he’s down for the night, he’s down for the whole night.  

We do let him sleep with a small, light blanket.  He prefers to be covered up and loves the small swaddle blankets we received during one of his baby showers.  We also have a LeapFrog My Pal Scout in his crib.  It plays music for him to fall asleep to and he likes it.  So if he wakes up in the middle of the night then he sometimes will turn the dog back on to play more music (which was super creepy the first few times he did it because I didn’t know he could turn it on and I thought it was randomly playing at 3am).

Months ago I found this white noise machine that plays all night.  Our neighbor’s driveway is right by our son’s room.  Our little guy was waking up every time their teenage boy came home late or when they left early for work.  Now with the white noise he sleeps through it.

What’s your toddler’s bedtime routine?

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