Weekends can leave us feeling wiped out
It's Monday morning and i feel like I’ve been an overzealous kennykeano at the gym. I ache all over and there is no fuel left in the mummy tank. Talking of tanks I look like I've been living in one for a month and feel like it has reversed over my emotions a couple of times.
Why is this? .....what happened?.. nothing terrible...no trauma, just the weekend, the weekend happened.
For a while I’ve been finding Monday's a little mojoless, a bit flat and hard work. Surely I should be energised and raring to go?
After a little reflection I started to count up all of the differences that occur between the week and the weekend and how this can affect little tots.
During the week our days are mostly structured around baby Ren and his needs, feeds, zzzzzz, massage & yoga time. But at the weekends things change and Ren often fits in around the social calendar.
Stimulation during the weekends is often heightened and parallel to new experiences. Couple this with not enough sleep (due to silent reflux and busy weekend schedule making naps harder) and we are building up the ingredients to an Overtired, Over Stimulated bambino.
The monotony of your monday-friday can be heavenly and snugly safe for your little one. So when this is taken away it can be exhausting and upsetting for them.
"The more secure toddlers feel, the more they can focus on things like learning, exploring, and playing."*1
With this in mind I started to think about how I could balance the weekend between baby time and social time. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN is the motto & having the strength to not be swayed by the expectations of others.
Here are some ideas to think about and try when creating your weekend plan of action;
1. Keep the morning 'safe'
Try and keep your getting ready routine the same;
same waking up ritual
same breakfast/chit chats/games
same order to the morning
"The repetitiveness of the experiences helps lay down critical pathways in the brain," explains Dr. Thomas. "When you repeat things over and over, you make those connections much stronger over time." * We all feel calmer and safer when we know what is happening 'now and next'. This will help your little one to start their day off feeling safe , calm and able to explore 'The New'
2. The New
It is important to explore new experiences, new ways to do things and new people. By setting up a 'safe' and predictable morning we are allowing our little one to feel safe & energised ready for 'The New' afternoon.When in a new situation remember to allow lots of contact, verbal reassurance and eye contact.
3. Bring 'The Old' into 'The New'
If you are going out take some of baby's favourite toys - especially anything that would normally be explored at that time of the day (books/music/puzzles/ball etc). Find space and time if possible to explore the familiar toy/activity in the new place.
This will help to;
- bring focus back to baby....allowing you to bond within the new surroundings
- bring baby's focus from 'The New' to the familiar and engage them with their familiar toys or favourite snack (if it is snack time).
- Did you know bananas can be a calming and soothing food as the tryptophan protein in them is converted into serotonin, which is known to encourage relaxation & feelings of happiness.
If you have a busy day it's even more important to ensure that there is plenty of time for a relaxing bedtime routine...... this is crucial to ending the day feeling safe, snuggly and relaxed for bed. Baby Yoga and Baby massage can be wonderful ways to engage with your baby and help them to find relaxation.
For more information this blog below is interesting and I have used a couple of quotes from it.*1 Jean M. Thomas, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Washington, D.C. http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/social/toddler-routines-schedules/