Veronica Partridge

Motherhood

Blanket Time: The Exercise That Saved My Sanity

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive on social media after posting a photo or video of my children doing blanket time is, “What is blanket time?” I asked this too when I heard those two strange words. The short answer: It’s a life-saver. A time-efficient glorious discipline taught to young children that is beneficial for everyone involved—parent, child and whomever else is present.

So, what is blanket time?

Blanket time is an exercise intended to train young children to sit on a blanket provided to them for a duration of time set by their parent. Ultimately, this is a practice intended to increase your child’s ability to listen, obey, and enjoy doing it. During blanket time, our children are allowed to have just a few small toys to entertain themselves and they are to stay on the blanket until mom or dad say they can get up. That’s it! Profound, right?!

Now you’re probably wondering, “What’s the point?” and “How old does my child have to be to start?”

First off, blanket time offers mothers the 5-45 minutes of time many of us are desperate for. Secondly, it teaches your children how to listen to mom’s instruction.

As for age, the younger the better! I have had friends start before their little one was even mobile and others not until their kiddo was three. The downfall about starting later is that it’s harder to teach, but not impossible!

How do I teach this to my child?

As the parent, you know how your child learns best, so this can look different for each person. I can’t tell you exactly what to do, but I can share what has worked for us.

We start young! Like, before our kids can crawl away. This is simply to get our baby familiar with the blanket. We place the baby on the blanket and happily say, “Okay Valor, it’s blanket time now! Blanket time is so much fun, let’s learn how to play quietly!” Then, I will place him on the blanket for just a few minutes.

Since this is just to get him familiarized with the blanket, I often sit calmly and quietly next to him smiling at him every other minute to affirm the moment. Then, once I feel like he has been on the blanket a sufficient amount of time, I will say, “Okay Valor, blanket time is over! You did a great job. Wasn’t that so much fun?!”

The earlier you can begin practicing blanket time, the less difficulty you’ll experience. For example, Valor is 5-months-old and his older brother, Honor, is 21-months-old. Honor is a blanket time champion! He actually gets excited when I say, “it’s blanket time!” He darts across the room to set up his blanket for me. As Honor gets older, he will transition from blanket time to quiet time like his big sister, Aria (who is almost 4).

For older children (ages 2-3) who are just getting started on blanket time, it’s the same general approach. A few toys you know they will enjoy, perhaps special toys they only get to play with during blanket time, a blanket, and a parent willing to dedicate the time to teach this skill to their child. That being said, make sure your kiddos basic needs are met: Are they hungry? Do they need a nap? Do they need a fresh diaper? Checking all these things BEFORE you start could make the learning process much smoother.

I suggest starting with only a few minutes (3-5) and after they begin understanding the concept, you can slowly increase the duration of time.

What if they try and get off?

I simply say, “Oops! It’s blanket time sweetie, that means we must stay on the blanket until mommy says you can get up!” and quickly guide them back.

Since this is a learned skill,  they likely will not understand the concept right away and, in reality, probably HATE going back to the blanket. But be patient and stick with it! CONSISTENCY IS KEY! It’s okay to remind yourself that YOU are the parent! 😉 I promise, in the long run, this discipline is worth it!

Teaching our children this skill, in my opinion, has been beneficial for our entire family! Your child gets to practice listening, self-control, sitting quietly, and body awareness while you get to get through a doctor’s appointment with your toddler present, cooking dinner for your family without a toddler fight breaking out, get a shower, or just enjoy some much-needed rest time!

I hope this helps answer the questions I received pertaining to blanket time. I’m cheering you on from Central Oregon and I hope teaching this skill to your children blesses you and your family.

With you in the journey,

Veronica

25 Days To Reigniting The Christmas Spirit In Your Kids

Last years holiday season was kicked off in an interesting way… On December 1st, Dale and I were excited to get our Christmas tree in the backwoods of the Oregon mountains. Long story short – it ended with Dale in the emergency room and a six inch long ¾ inch deep chainsaw wound to his right thigh (view here if you’re not squeamish). So, for this year, we’re hoping the Christmas season will be kicked off in a more…gentle way.

Our oldest (Aria) who is almost four, has finally reached the age where she’s remembering the meaning and purpose of holidays and traditions. Recently, she has been asking more about Christmas. I’ve had to explain to her that, “Hopefully, daddy will not be cutting his leg open this year and we will have a more exciting holiday!” Lol.

That being said, Dale and I have had several conversations regarding the Christmas traditions we would like to adopt and which ones we want to leave behind. So this year, we will be celebrating our first Advent! Last year, I bought several Advent books to explore but Aria was still too young and not interested in the narrative. However, this season’s curiosity has motivated Dale and I to give the Advent journey another shot!

What is the Advent?

Advent is the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by Christians as a season of prayer and fasting, and the story of Jesus. We’ve decided to walk the journey by using our advent calendar. Starting December 1st, we will pull one tag per day. On every tag, there is a passage of scripture for us to read and on the opposite side is an activity or act of kindness for us to do each day. In addition, we will be starting Ann Voskamp’s Advent book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas.

As you might have guessed, it is very important to Dale and I that our children are taught to have grateful hearts, especially in a season where everywhere you look is an advertisement manipulating our little ones into a heart of materialism. Note: Many Advent calendars are filled with daily toys. As I have mentioned above, we opted for good deeds, instead.

Below I have shared our list of activities and acts of kindness:

  1. Have the kids make cards and buy a few coffee gift cards to stick inside and hand them out to random parents. We could all use a cup and a cute kid handing you a gift. 🙂
  2. Offer to babysit.
  3. Read a book by kerosene lamp or candlelight.
  4. Tabletop shaving cream snowmen.
  5. Make treats for our neighbors.
  6. DIY Nativity scene. Baby Jesus is placed on Christmas day.
  7. Look for opportunities to bless your brother or sister.
  8. Have friends over for a kids craft night.
  9. Talk about miracles Jesus performed.
  10. Build a gingerbread house…or mansion.
  11. Wash your brother or sister’s feet and read the Bible story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet in John 13.
  12. Pick some of your own toys to donate.
  13. Make hug coupons.
  14. Do a chore for a family member.
  15. Take treats to a fire station.
  16. Paint rocks with encouragements on them and pass them out to others
  17. Leave a happy note or drawing for someone to find.
  18. Watch a Christmas movie.
  19. Sleep by the Christmas tree.
  20. Find something nice about someone else and let them know.
  21. Make dad breakfast in bed and eat it with him.
  22. Write an encouraging note to dad.
  23. Make hot chocolate and have family coloring or playdoh and talk time.
  24. Help the grown-ups set the table for Christmas Eve dinner.
  25. Place baby Jesus in the manger of the DIY nativity scene. Merry Christmas!

We believe traditions are the fabric to our child’s memories. I hope our journey will help you to gain a few memories to implement into your families Christmas season! If you have any other ideas or have celebrated the Advent already, I would love to hear your story in the comments below. We hope you enjoy your Christmas season and the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas 🙂

The Heartache of Miscarriage

If you follow me on social media, then this comes as no surprise to you. However, if you do not, a few weeks back, my husband Dale and I shared the joyous announcement that we would be expecting baby number two in January 2016. Unfortunately, about a week after sharing the exciting news, we lost our sweet babe. Here is the announcement we made about the loss of our baby…

unnamed-2

“Dear family, friends, and loved ones,

A few months back, after much prayer and counsel, Dale and I received a confirmation from the Lord to trust in Him in all we do. Specifically, about the number of children we would bear. After receiving this confirmation we became pregnant with our second baby and we could not have been happier. I’ve been experiencing all of your typical pregnancy symptoms until a few days ago, when I noticed I was losing a significant amount of blood. Dale, Aria, and I got to the hospital as quickly as we could and after many tests and examinations, were told I was having a “threatened miscarriage” (where your body starts the process of miscarrying without it actually doing it). Ever since we found out the news we have been praying for God’s will, no matter what the outcome. Unfortunately, last night we found out that we lost our precious little baby. Although the burden is heavy and our hearts are broken, God still remains faithful, loving, and good. Dale and I will continue to trust in the Lord and believe His will for our lives and our children’s lives is best no matter the circumstances. Though Dale and I are devastated, we’ll be okay and are so thankful for your support and friendship. I will say, I cannot wait to meet our little one again someday and find out what we would have had, how cool is that going to be?!

‘And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.’ ” Job 1:21

 

Dale and I still stand by these words. I know God’s will is always better than my own, and if that means now is not the time for having a new baby, then Lord, let Your will be done.

I’ll admit, I’m a realist at heart, and though the stats are there and very clear, my miscarriage completely caught me by surprise. I figured, I eat healthy, I live an active lifestyle, I had a healthy pregnancy the first time around, so why was this happening? What did I do wrong? And the truth is, nothing. I didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes miscarriages like this just happen and there isn’t always an explanation. And there doesn’t have to be.

Now that it’s been a few weeks since my miscarriage, I can honestly say to those who have asked, “I am well” and I mean it. I still have my moments from time to time but I really am doing well. I trust that God made the best decision for myself, and my family and that brings me comfort. I have also been proactive in not allowing myself to get too deep into depression. I know myself well enough to know I can get to a dangerous place if I allow my emotions to completely take over. Listed below are a few steps I have taken to help me in my grieving journey. They are not for everyone, but may work for someone.

Step 1 – Grieve

Grieving is a good thing. It’s a healthy thing. When something causes a person heartache or if something tragic happens, It is very important to grieve the loss you have felt and feel it with every bit of your soul. Otherwise, it gets ignored, stored and put away to never be spoken of again…although, it almost always comes out again way later in a much more unhealthy way. I allowed myself to feel the pain in my heart. I cried. A lot. I lied in bed for a couple of days and did nothing, however, a few days was all I allowed myself.

Step 2 – Pray

In the midst of my hardest hours all I could do was cry and pray. I asked God to bring me comfort and peace with our situation. I asked for healing and to allow this season to be used to help someone else. I believe He gave me those things.

Step 3 – Get Out

After allowing myself to grieve, I forced myself out of the house. It was the last thing I wanted, but I asked a friend to join me and she helped make the sulking in my own thoughts a lot lighter. She also continued to push me to get out more and keep me occupied.

Step 4 – Find a Hobby

One of the ways she helped keep me occupied was encouraging me to find some sort of hobby to either distract me or help me to grieve in a different way. I thought that was a great idea, so I took a trip down to our local hobby lobby and decided I wanted to teach myself how to weave. Not only did the weaving help me in my thought process, but it also introduced me to a new hobby which I really enjoy and want to continue doing.

Step 5 – Name

A few days after my miscarriage, someone reached out to us via facebook messenger and shared with me her miscarriage story. She stated how she and her husband named the baby to help bring them closure. I loved that idea because to me, calling the baby “it” kind of bothered me. It felt less meaningful as if we didn’t care about “it”. I didn’t like that. So I brought this up to Dale and he really liked the idea as well. We agreed on the name, Harbor. Harbor has many meanings, one of them which is, “a safe place” and we believe that is where Harbor is now. In the safest place Harbor can be, in the hands of Jesus.

 

Like I stated above, this is just what helped me. I hope it can help someone else, even if for a moment. And if you are currently grieving a miscarriage or have in the past, I encourage you to talk to someone about it. You’d be surprised how many women out there have come up to me after our announcement and said, “I’ve been there too.” You are not alone.