In the four-and-a-half years I’ve been a parent, I’ve never not felt tired. Seriously. I don’t think I’ve gone one day without yawning my sleepiness away or feeling that tingle in your eyes because they want to shut themselves so much. The ironic thing is now that all three kids are sleeping through the night, I can’t even blame them for my sleep deprivation—it’s all on me.

How to Cope When You're Insanely TiredTake, for instance, the first few glorious weeks after my husband and I sleep-trained the twins: No longer bound by their thrice-nightly wake ups, we now had the hours after 8pm to ourselves. But do we set our bedtime to 8:30pm like we used to before they slept through the night? No—we now pushed bedtime up to 10pm, spoiled that we are for finally being able to spend time kid-free.

Or how about when I stopped pumping for the babies? Gone were the 5:20am wake up times or the 9:30pm pump-before-bedtime rituals. Do I still sleep by 10pm? No—I’ve pushed bedtime even further, sometimes as late as 11pm.

(All the night owls can stop laughing now. I’m one of those folks who need a solid eight hours of sleep.)

I didn’t use those extra hours for sleep. I do domestic stuff, I read, I blog. And then I get tired all over again.

(Like now. I’m not only tired but sick, too, and should be resting in bed.)

Your source of tiredness could come from more excusable reasons than mine, such as welcoming a newborn (and newborn hours), working overtime or family changes. Or maybe you’re like me and you would rather be tired than forgo other aspects of your life.

Okay, but we’re all still tired. So what do we do?

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It’s the question I get more than any other, the topic everyone has battled with at some point or another: Bedtime. Namely, how can we get our kids to fall asleep / stay asleep / not be so scared about sleep. You’d think something as relaxing as a good night’s sleep should be easy, but clearly it isn’t.

9 Children's Books about BedtimeAnd while we can sleep train and coerce and give rewards as a way to convince our kids to go to sleep, one of the best and often overlooked tools to overcome this and many challenges is through books.

With books, kids can relate to the characters. They realize they’re not so alone, and their feelings validated. They’re also able to discuss and define emotions they may not know how to voice, or even know to exist.

And books are fun! They’re a great way to talk about a challenging aspect of your household in a relaxed, natural manner.

Below are several favorites. Some deal directly with a child’s resistance to bedtime, while others are beautiful reads to transition our kids into sleep.

Take a look:

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Before my husband and I were even married, we both wanted the same number of kids: Four. Each of us are products of large families—I’m the youngest of five, he’s the youngest of six. Our parents have even more siblings: My mom (8), my dad (11), his mom (6), his dad (8). Four seemed like a nice, manageable number—not as big as our parents’ generation but enough to have the fun upbringing of a boisterous house. Yes, we would have four, we eagerly decided… until we had a kid.

Ask the Readers: When Did You Know You Were Done Having Kids?And overnight I was fine with just having one child. Who was I kidding thinking I could handle more than one? How did our parents manage on their own raising a zillion kids?

A few years passed (two-and-a-half, to be exact) when parenting started to feel easier. The newborn and infant phase was over. Even the Terrible Twos (which technically should be called the Terrible Eighteen-Month-Olds) faded away, and I started to itch for a second child. I wanted my eldest to have a sibling, and I believe I knew in the back of my mind I wanted at least two. I just needed the time to break me in and convince myself that I can handle this pregnancy and baby thing all over again.

Well, you know how that goes: Read more →

4 Ways to Help Your Older Child Handle the Baby's CriesTell me if this sounds familiar:

Your new baby cries… and so does your older child, because he doesn’t know why the baby is crying to begin with.

Or he sees you consoling a fussy baby and can’t understand why the baby just won’t stop crying.

Maybe the baby cries and your older child gets frustrated, banishing the baby to another room (or running there himself).

Welcoming a new baby—and all his crying glory—is hard enough for us parents. Now imagine your older child having to hear his baby brother’s cries, over and over, day after day.

It’s enough to make you go bonkers.

The first two weeks after I brought the twins home could only be called some of the most patience-testing, challenging times of that year. Sure, I was a second-time mom so I learned from my mistakes and knew the newborn madness would get easier.

Still, it took my older son a few weeks to adjust to his brothers, and a few more after that to be disinterested in their crying.

How exactly can we help our older kids handle the shrill cries of their new baby sibling?

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Why Offering Kids Choices Doesn't Always Work (And When It Actually Does)Imagine this scenario:

Your kid woke up grumpy, dragging himself through his morning routine. He complains about his oatmeal, lies limp as you’re getting him dressed for school, and balks when he has to stop assembling his puzzles so you can get out of the house on time. And when it’s time to put on a jacket, he refuses.

What do you do?

If you read most parenting advice, you might say, “We’re putting on your jacket. Which one do you want to wear—the red one or the blue one?”

And for good reason: When given a choice, kids gain a sense of ownership. Suddenly, putting on a jacket doesn’t seem like Mom’s Terrible Idea I Must Rebel Against. Instead, they get to decide that for today, they will wear the blue jacket, thank you very much.

But is it possible for offering choices to backfire? And does its effectiveness eventually fizzle after a certain point?

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