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Baby's Bedtime Routine

There’s this common misconception that baby’s bedtime routine is peaceful...a time to unwind, yawn and fall blissfully asleep. The reality is that baby’s bedtime routine is loud, intense and downright chaotic. There’s a lot of action packed into a short period of time--think feeding, bathing, reading, etc., all before baby has a total meltdown.

Since baby’s bedtime usually coincides with adult dinnertime, it’s not surprising that mom and dad end up on the losing end of the home-cooked meal equation….even when mom is an expert nutritionist like Stephanie Middleberg. Yup, even the expert sometimes needs a break from being the expert.

Stephanie recently invited us and a professional home chef from Kitchensurfing into her home to show us how a little break from your routine can mean a lot of sanity. As you can see below.

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It also got us thinking about a few ways you can make baby’s bedtime a little less chaotic. And a little more delicious. Here’s 5 of them.

1. Bring in some help for dinner. Not every home-cooked meal has to be home-cooked by you. Kitchensurfing chefs cook, serve and clean up, all in 30 minutes. They bring their own ingredients and equipment. Meaning a yummy meal and no dirty dishes. Hallelujah! Plus you can schedule it on the regular, so you know that once a week, your dinner is a done deal. Did we mention if you use our links you get a dinner for 2 for free?

2. Get prepped. Just like some people pick out their next day’s outfit the night before, get all of your baby’s bedtime tools prepped and ready to go before you’re under the meltdown gun. Lay out baby’s pajamas and swaddle. Pick out your books. Make sure the humidifier is filled. The less you have to do when you’ve got a cranky, crying baby, the better.

3. Reduce stimulation. We know, we know. Poor Dad didn’t get to see that adorable baby all day. But right before bedtime is not a great time for some air tosses and a tummy time obstacle course. Try to minimize the action as you ease into the evening.

4. Move bathtime. Or skip it altogether. For some babies, bathtime is anything but relaxing. Just because all the books and TV shows make it look like bathtime is a necessary part of your nighttime equation, it doesn’t have to be for you. Move baby’s bath to first thing in the morning, or even post-nap earlier in the day. Or heck, just skip it when you need to. Baby needs some germs sometimes too!

5. Indulge in a glass of wine. Or a beer. Or a martini. Or if you’re not the drinking type, indulge in something else. The point is: allow yourself a few minutes of “Mom time” after baby goes to bed. We know that sometimes life as a parent feels like Groundhog Day. Know that it feels that way for everyone, at least sometimes. So remember to take care of yourself too. You deserve a break.

Start your break now with Kitchensurfing. Sign up here and your first meal for 2 is on us! Yup, totally free. (Please note: delivery area is manhattan below 110th Street and Brooklyn zip codes: 11215 and 11217.)

This post was brought to you by Kitchensurfing.

Feature Photo by Desiree Walters Photography

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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When we recognize kids' unwelcome behaviors as reactions to environmental conditions, developmental phases, or our own actions, it lets us respond proactively, and with much more compassion.

Here are 10 ways kids may seem like they're acting "naughty," but really aren't.

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