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  1. #1
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    Default Routine vs Child led/going with the flow

    **disclaimer - I'm genuinely interested in different POVs, reasonings etc. I'd love to hear peoples views without the differences in those views being taken as criticism or attack by others, just as I mean no criticism of other parenting style by the sharing my opinions **

    Which do you do? Does it work well for you? If you use routines how strict are they? How did you get your children into them?

    I do child led/going with the flow style parenting. I attachment parent so maybe it goes with that too. DS1 has a set bedtime (but is read to and cuddled if he wants until he falls asleep), but generally my kids do, and always have, eat when they're hungry, sleep when they're tired, wake when they're done sleeping etc. I get to know their general rhythms and habits and work around that.
    DS2 demand feeds (as did DS1) and at times will feed every half hour, other times every few hours.
    DS2 will generally have one nap, sometimes two, in his swing per day, otherwise will only sleep when held during the day. So I hold him, as I did with DS1 when he went through that phase.
    I also cosleep.

    To *me* this seems like the best way to respond to and nurture my children as individuals with individual needs/wants. In my opinion it's better for them to learn to follow their bodies cues for food, rest, play etc rather than external cues by a clock etc.
    I should add that if someone put me in a strict routine I'd feel panicky and not enjoy it, so I'm sure that influences my parenting.

    It's not always easy, but I don't mind taking my day with a pinch of organized chaos

    I have other friends who do routines strictly and that seems to work for them. One friends three children (one being a baby) all go to bed at a set time at night. They are put in their rooms and the doors are closed. The doors are opened at the time they are to wake up. She doesn't use a baby monitor because that's the baby's sleep time so if the baby wakes, well, it shouldn't have.
    This friend and another who uses routines can tell me a fortnight (or more) in advance exactly what time their child will nap, what time they will wake and what time they intend to feed them.
    Like I said, this works for them and they're very organized people.

    For me it boggles my mind.

    So share your views and help me understand!

  2. #2
    headoverfeet's Avatar
    headoverfeet is offline The truth will set you free, but first it will **** you off. -Gloria Steinem
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    I'm with you. But my boys have a set dinner, bath, bed routine though sometimes they bath before dinner. I do lay with them until my middle child is asleep. My DD 7.5 months is a total flow with the go thing

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  4. #3
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    When DD1 was born, I had this expectation that she should fit into my life and sleep when I wanted her to etc etc. I very much expected a routine with her. The day I gave up that expectation and followed her lead I was a very happy and more relaxed mum and everything fell into place and just worked.
    With DD2 I took the baby-led approach from day dot and I enjoyed it all from the day she arrived up until now. She eventually formed her own natural routine and I worked my life around that most of the time.
    I still mostly follow her lead now. it's easier as she only has 1 sleep during the day so I am a bit freer time wise. Soon she won't be having any naps.

    I'd never expect my children to follow a routine that didn't naturally form due to their individual needs. I'm a lot happier, stress free etc when I don't have expectations of my children. If I don't expect they sleep from 7pm I can't be disappointed if it doesn't happen, IYKWIM?
    I'm happy and they are happy.

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    I have followed their lead generally, but had to get strict with sleep because they would both wake all night and I couldn't deal with it. Though dd is teething badly atm so I am up and down with her all night because she needs me. She still goes to bed when she is tired around 530. Ds would never sleep if you didnt make him! He goes to bed about 630pm after stories, big cuddles and a chat. They get up when they are ready

    Food I've mostly followed their lead with ds needing a lot of encouragement to try the right foods and try new things



    **Mum, Dad, Big boy (Dec 08) and Baby girl (Feb 11)**

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    Like many, I do have a vague bed time routine. Its aim is to wind the kids down and get them into the frame of mind that bedtime is coming. I did this ever since my older son was a baby. I would bathe him after tea, dress him in some pyjamas and massage some lavender oil on him in a dark room and feed him to sleep in there. I don't do anything more regimented than this. I don't think too much chaos and instability is good for kids. My mum was fairly disorganised and I feel myself being like that at times and I hate it. Kids do respond well to knowing that tea will be on the table before too late, to knowing that mum will tuck them into bed every night etc. But I don't do a set routine. It simply conflicts with the reality of babies and kids and life imo. Too much stuff happens which interferes with the routine and then you get irritated that things don't go as planned and the kids aren't complying. So I guess I'm saying its good to find a balance?

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    Witwicky's Avatar
    Witwicky is offline A closed mouth gathers no foot.
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    We go with the flow. As an adult, I would hate to be force fed when not hungry and forced to sleep when not tired. I don't see it as any different for children. We have *very* loose bedtimes and there is no planned naptime during the day, they just go to sleep when they show signs of tiredness (although, I usually try and avoid late arvo naps).

    My friend recently asked me how many feeds my DS2 has per day...I honestly have no idea. I just stick him on the boob whenever he wants.

    This whole method really works well for us and it is SO easy

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    heeeeerekittykitty is offline My babies, my cats ....ahhhh , bliss !!!
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    I'm very much go with the flow , and as others have said , my kids will eat play sleep as they wish . It works great for all of us .

    Regarding sleep , I won't spend hours trying to get DS or DD to go to bed when Instead they can just stay out in the lounge with Dh and I while we cuddle them to sleep and all watch tv . Sure it might take ages and some nights after an hour I'm thinking arrrrgh go to bed but honestly , my most precious memories will be these nights cuddling DS or rocking DD to sleep .

    Regarding food , dd still feeds all night at one year old , DS still wakes for he's bottles and co sleeps with us . It's no problem for me , and I'm happy to do it despite the " recommendations " about babies sleeping through without feeds etc .

    Discipline and rules - my kids are both still so young but I try to set boundaries firmly but gently .

    This works for me as a mother . I have alot of other mothers around me that are very pro - routine . Some are the best mummies I know , and others I admittedly think are quite tough on their little ones, however on the other hand im sure they think I'm way too soft and a big sucker .

    This topic is like politics religion etc . I find everyone feels very strongly about their stance .

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    I've always baby led even when I didn't know I was doing it. If I find my kid asleep standing up leaning on the couch I put them to bed. If its my big one thats zonked out on the floor, I just throw a blanket on her. I feed when they are hungry and let them eat what they want. Everyday is different. No routine, but I personally find it fits in better with me because I don't have all these set rules in place.

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    When DS was born, I fed him when he was hungry, changed him when he wet/pooped his nappy, and put him to sleep. Little babies change and grow so quickly I think it makes sense to follow their cues.

    Now he's in school and I work fulltime, there is just no way around it but having a pretty strict, parent-led routine. If he goes to bed late, he won't concentrate at school and he won't get the education he deserves. If he doesn't have dinner on time, this sets back bedtime which again affects school.

    They are babies for such a short amount of time and I really hate labelling things and putting pressure as situations and people change. I'm sure as he grows he will again be able to set his own routine but for now, his education relies on a strict bedtime and he actually seems much more content when he knows what's on the cards for the day.

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    I also agree with benji. It changes as kids get older. My four year old can be told its bed time. And needs to be. If I don't, he will stay up till midnight, and yeah, then he will be a royal pain in the bum and be falling asleep at school. I can't let him "choose" what he eats. Because he won't eat at all. He actually lost 3kg recently because he hates food and likes to climb large trees and run in circles all day lol.. So I do sit him down and tell him he must eat some food several times a day. Also, I think as they get older they do kind of need to learn that the whole world doesn't revolve around them. You have to get to places on time, join in at school and wait for things too. Its hard, really hard, for me to not just "go with the flow" usually. I don't do routine well. But I do believe as they get bigger it benefits them to have some.

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