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A toddler’s guide to bedtime stalling—in 30 steps

STEP 20: If you see your parent backing away slowly out the door, you have one option only. “Waaaaaaaaater!!!!!!”

A toddler’s guide to
bedtime stalling—in 30 steps

Ilana Wiles is the geniusbehind the unwaveringly hilarious Mommy Shorts and the author of the upcomingbook, The Mommy Shorts Guide to RemarkablyAverage Parenting. She writes about her remarkably average parenting experienceswith her two daughters, Harlow and Mazzy, and all we can do is nod our heads inagreement.


Between wiping away tearsand gasping for breath from laughing so much, we felt the need to share aninsightful excerpt from her book. We think it will shed some light on the innergoings on of little ones around the world during that infamous hour of the day:bedtime.

Mazzy and Harlow may have both been successfullysleep-trained as babies, but as they became toddlers, they each becameincredibly advanced in the art of “bedtime stalling." This is the process ofprolonging the bedtime routine by any means possible.

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It goes a little something like this . . .

STEP 1: Make it as hard as possible for your parents tochange you into your pajamas. This can be accomplished by running around thehouse at full speed and stopping for no one.

STEP 2: Hide.

STEP 3: When they finally catch you, scream, “Noooooooooo!!!!!!!"and kick your body out in every direction.

STEP 4: Cling to thefloor.

STEP 5: Go limp and make yourself as heavy to pick up aspossible.

STEP 6: Break free and run into the kitchen, screaming thatyou're hungry. This works best if you barely ate dinner and your parents fearyou will wake up starving at three a.m.

STEP 7: If your parents refuse to open the fridge, ask for abanana. Only the cruelest parent can turn down a toddler's bedtime bananarequest.

STEP 8: Refer back to “rules for eating a banana" in the previous chapter.

STEP 9: When you have finished eating, don't tell anyone.Wait until they discover you have finished.

STEP 10: Brush your teeth. Spit in the sink. Resumebrushing. Keep repeating until someone tells you to hurry up.

STEP 11: Become fascinated with running water and wash yourhands for as long as possible.

STEP 12: Become fascinated with towels and dry your handsfor as long as possible.

STEP 13: When your parents aren't looking, hide yourblankie. Then say you can't go to bed without it.

STEP 14: Take a long time selecting your bedtime book. Whenyou finally select your book, make sure it is the longest one on the shelf. Don't let your parent trick you by skippingpages.

STEP 15: When your parent is finished reading your book, begthem to read it again.

STEP 16: When your parent is finished reading the bookagain, ask for another book.

STEP 17: Suddenly claim a need to pee in the potty, even if(especially if) you have neversuccessfully used the potty before.

STEP 18: Sit on the potty doing absolutely nothing untilsomeone tells you it's time to get up.

STEP 19: After you have been tucked in, complain aboutsomething really vague. Example: “It hurts! That thing!" Grunt and squirm foreffect while your parent attempts to “fix it."

STEP 20: If you see your parent backing away slowly out thedoor, you have one option only. “Waaaaaaaaater!!!!!!"

STEP 21: “Not that cup, the other cup!!!!!"

STEP 22: Ask for a Band-Aid. Actual boo-boo is unnecessary.

STEP 23: Once your parent returns with a Band-Aid, tell themyou need a different Band-Aid. For instance, if your parent brings you a Jakeand the Never Land Pirates Band-Aid, say you want a Frozen Band-Aid.

STEP 24: Once you have taken the Band-Aid situation as faras you can, ask your parent to sit in the room with you.

STEP 25: If your parent folds, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Milkthese moments for as long as possible.

STEP 26: If you are still not ready to accept theinevitable, reach down inside yourself, dig as deep as you can, and do something amazing. Speak in fullsentences, sing the alphabet, count to twenty—anything your parents have beentrying and failing to film throughout the day can work.

STEP 27: Once you have run out of material, give a heartfelt“I love you." It's very hard for parents to walk out the door when they arefinally getting the adoration they feel they deserve.

STEP 28: At this point, your parent probably feels it issafe to walk out. It's time to start crying.

STEP 29: You have one last card up your sleeve. “Kiss andhuuuuuuug!!!!!"

STEP 30: Hold on for as long and as tightly as possible.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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