{Foster Parenting} Bedtime Routine.

Creating a bedtime routine is important for both the child and the parent. When little momma first moved to our house, we found that over the course of her moves her bedtime routine had changed dramatically. As a result, she occasionally fights sleep and has struggled to stay asleep during the night. We have found that by creating a strong bedtime routine, we are able to minimize her nighttime anxiety and help her feel more rested.

Here’s our routine:

8:00 PM– Shower/Bath. She’s at the age where showering is appropriate for hair washing days, but she still enjoys bath time.

8:20 PM– Teeth/Hair/Fish. After bathtime she brushes her teeth, hair, and feeds her fish independently.

8:30 PM– Points. We review the day and give points for positive behaviors.

8:35 PM– Quiet time/Catch up. There are days when we are distracted or life gets in the way and need a few extra minutes to get back on track. We use this time as a buffer. If the day goes smoothly, we use this time for reading or coloring in bed. This helps calm the mind and encourages a SLOW down!

8:50 PM– Devotion/Prayer. I do a quick devotion with little mama every night. On days I forget, she usually tells my mom on me. She prays after devotion.

9:00 PM– Lights Out. Bedtime.

Bedtime is hard for us for a variety of reasons. Little momma responds to cues, but often has a lot of bottled up energy and doesn’t like going to bed. She also struggles with staying asleep and feeling grumpy in the morning. We’ve found the below tips to be extremely helpful in creating a better bedtime routine.

– No screens an hour before we begin the bedtime routine. Screens overstimulate children and it’s hard for them to shut down after screen time.

– No chocolate milk or juice with dinner. This has been the hardest for us to cut out. At first we thought, “hey, milk is milk,” but then quickly realized the sugars ramped her up and made it harder to sleep.

– Reminding her that a 9 PM bedtime is appropriate for her age and her growing body. Again, at first, she wanted to stay up and watch a show with us because we were awake. We had to tell her that her body required more sleep and that most of her friends went to sleep at the same time. This helps her remember that she’s going to bed for her best interest.

Tell me: Does your child struggle with bedtime? What methods have you found helpful?

{Foster Parenting} Affirmation Part I

In a recent post Reggie Joiner,  says parents are responsible to fight for their children’s heart. As parents, we make the rules, we expect our children to follow those rules, and we create routines to help shape their lives around these rules. However, at the end of the day, I want our daughter, or any child in our care, to see that we care about their heart more than the rules. We care about the way they see themselves in our eyes as well as in their own. My job as a mom is to fight for little momma’s heart.

One way I fight for her heart is by affirming her in love. Despite all the rules, I try to be intentional about showering her with love through affirmation. This, to me, helps quiet negative self-talk and peer talk. I first got the idea long before we had a kiddo from Priscilla Shirer.  She speaks life into her boys before she drops them off at school. I do the same for little momma. Here’s what I say everyday:

IMG_0167

 

And you know, I didn’t think she listened… But she does! I know because the other day when I sneezed and  pulled into school forgetting to finish the spill,  she said, “um… You forgot you are being shaped to be a woman of valor and poise”. That my friend is a parenting win. When you parent from hard places like J and I do, you don’t necessarily get a lot of positive feedback. But when you hear your child repeat the words you’ve been speaking over them, you know in your heart of hearts that you are doing the right thing!

Tell me: How do you speak life over your children?

{Foster Parenting} Helpful Reads.

Throughout our foster parenting journey, I’ve found reading incredibly helpful. It quiets my thoughts and gives me new perspectives on topics.

Here’s a list of my favorites:

  • Dave Thomas Foundation– The site has robust resources for families interested in adoption as well as some other really great facts.
  • Pam Parish– Her devotion and blog is really helpful for families seeking to stay grounded in faith as they grow through foster and adoption.
  • The Connected Child Great insight on how to push through barriers and connect with your child.
  • Jen Hatmaker– If you rifle through all of her other awesome topics, you’ll learn a lot from her international adoption journey.

These resources have helped me feel more prepared to conquer the uncharted waters of parenting and have also opened the window to other resources related to parenting in general.

Tell me: What’s your favorite resource for parenting?

{Foster Parenting} The Choice

Early this summer, Jason and I made the decision to become foster parents. We believe that all kiddos deserve love and need someone fighting for them. So, we took a leap.

We signed up to complete an eleven week certification at our local Cabinet for Health and Family Services. This course entailed surrendering our Saturday mornings, home visits, physicals, home studies, background checks, fingerprinting, and a lot of faith.

After eleven weeks of hard work, we were approved to become foster parents. We put in the work so we could extend hope to a child (or children someday) in need. Maybe you have the same desire, but are scared. Let me tell you, if we can do it, you can too!

Here are some facts that helped us make the choice:

  • There are over 7,800 kids from ages of birth to 21 who are living in out of home care in Kentucky.
  • Many have brothers and sisters who are also in need of care.
  • They represent all races and many ethnic groups.
  • Most have suffered some type of abuse/or neglect by their birth family.
  • Their needs may include medical problems, physical disabilities, developmental delays or behavioral and emotional disabilities.
  • Many infants who come into care have experienced prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol.
  • Most (75 percent) are able to return home when their birth families or relatives can provide appropriate care for them.
  • Many utilize programs that assist them in obtaining education and job skill training after high school graduation.
Tell me: Have you ever thought about foster parenting? If so, let me know. I’d love to help guide you through the process.