Easiest DIY LEGO Table

January 12, 2018 in Parenting

My newly turned 5 year old son absolutely loves LEGO’s. He loves LEGO sets, however, doesn’t enjoy following instructions nor does he like to be confined to one specific set, so he takes them apart and makes his own creations. I love his creativity but I have been stabbed in the foot too many times by randomly placed LEGO pieces. I decided he needed one place to create and that would be on a specifically designated table. After a quick google search, I got inspired to make the most ridiculously easy LEGO table, and after creating this, I realized there’s an even easier way to create this which I will generously share with you.

Here’s a pic of the table before the magic. My son insisted on being in the picture:)

Here’s what you will need:

Ikea lack table or really any table
Mounting tape or better yet (LEGO plates or similar brand that already have adhesive – genius!)
(4) 10×10 LEGO or similar brand plates (only if you decide not to get the lego plates with adhesive)

Steps:
  1. Clean the table and make sure it’s dry.
  2. Cut pieces of the mounting tape to cover the back of each LEGO plate. I used one strip on each side of the plate plus two smaller strips towards the middle of the plate. (see image below)
  3. Remove mounting tape strips and apply the first plate on one corner of the table. For those of you who are concerned with the plates being directly centered, you might want to mark on the table where you want to place the plate. I opted not to do this, and now the plates are slightly off center, but my son doesn’t mind.
  4. For the next plate, place it next to the plate you just placed down and use a LEGO piece to properly align the two plates. This is important because if you don’t do this, imagine how annoyed everyone will be when you realize that you cannot place a LEGO down between two plates because it wasn’t aligned. Nobody wants that. Nobody. See picture below to see what I’m talking about.
  5. Repeat step 4 until all the plates are placed on the table.
  6. Pat yourself on the back for creating something so awesome that will bring your kid(s) lots of joy and cost you very little money. That’s what we call a win-win.

Here’s a pic of the plates turned upside down with mounting tape. Now imagine how much easier it is, if you use LEGO plates that already have adhesive. I would have used them had I known about them before I started this project.

Here’s the completed table with the LEGO pieces connecting each plate ensuring that the plates are aligned.

This was the scene my son came up with after I finished the table. He was having so much fun, I had to set a timer, so I could get him to stop and move onto to bedtime.

I was both delighted and disturbed by this particular scene my son came up with. This is Sensei Wu from Ninjago who had his head switched and is literally on the chopping block. Oh my creative son.

I hope you get inspired to create this super simple easy LEGO table. If you’re not in the diy mood, there are plenty of already made LEGO tables. I included  an example below of an already made table that looks very similar to the one I made that you can purchase for $79.99. It will cost you more but save you the labor. However, if you’re willing, this is one of those things literally anyone can do and it’s cheap. The one I made cost about $25 because I already owned an Ikea table, however, if you bought a new table along with the other materials, it would still cost under $40.

This is the made for you LEGO table you can purchase on etsy.

If you have any other creative ideas for LEGO tables or LEGO plates, please share! I love to see what you come up with.

Till next time,

Yolanda

Getting my kid to stay in his room with this toy, the Sleeper Hero (Review)

August 8, 2017 in Parenting

 

Ever since my 4 year old has learned how to use the toilet, my husband and I no longer have restful sleep. You see, before our boy was diaper free, he used to sleep all through the night and if he didn’t, he couldn’t leave his room because we kept his door locked until we were ready to retrieve him in the morning. Now we leave his door open ajar so he can use the bathroom when he needs to, however, he comes out his room for more than taking a wee.

He would come out of his room claiming there were monsters in his room, shadows that followed him, and sounds that spooked him or sometimes he was just lonely. Then there were nights he would sleep through the night but wake up before we were ready to and he insisted he was ready for breakfast at  5 am. Ahh! Then there were the times we would wake up and he would be nestled right next to us. My husband and I felt exhausted, just like the early days of sleep deprivation before our little boy was sleep trained.

We have tried several strategies to get our 4 year old to stay in his room until it was the proper ‘wake up’ time. We tried incentives, treats, and even went back to our trusted sleep coaches who have always helped us get our son back on track with sleep. This time, everything we’ve tried lasts for so long, so when I came across a blurb in Parents magazine about a super hero doll that motivates your kid to stay in bed, I was intrigued and interested enough that I purchased it.

So what is this doll?

It’s called the Sleeper Hero. It’s a simply and cleverly designed doll to help your little ones stay in bed until it’s the appropriate time to leave their room. There is a book that accompanies the doll, but it is optional. We decided to buy the combo and we were prayed this would be the answer to our bedtime struggles.

How does it work?

There is a circle in the middle of the doll’s chest that lights up red when it’s time to stay in bed and lights up green when it’s okay to leave your room. There is a little clock underneath the cape on the back of the doll that allows you to adjust the sleep and wake up times. The doll requires two AA batteries. Since the light turns off after 15 minutes, the battery life will last for awhile.

So did it work for us?

Yes, the doll worked eventually. We first introduced the Sleeper Hero to our son and then read him the book. The story is about a little boy named Luke who struggles with fears of monsters and other fictitious creatures until his friend, the Sleeper Hero, comes to protect him through the night. When his red light is on, he is keeping guard for him and when the light is green, he is free to get out of his bed. My son really enjoyed the story. We read it the first few nights and then his interest tapered off.

Our boy was super excited to have a new bedtime mate and eagerly snuggled with the Sleeper Hero as he drifted off to sleep. The first night, Asher stayed in his room all night until the light turned green. Success! However, after  a few days, he was escaping his room again.

To get him back on track, I visited the Tips & Tools section of the Sleeper Hero website to get some ideas on how to make this doll more effective. The answer was a free sleep chart. We told our son that if he fills out this entire chart, he can choose a toy from his wish list. He stayed in his room for 35 days. Thank G-d! He did have two nights after about two weeks where he came out, but we reminded him of his chart and he got back on track.

Without using a sleep chart, the Sleeper Hero itself wasn’t enough to keep our son in his room, however, with the the sleep chart, this doll has become the answer to everyone getting more restful sleep.

How much is it?

This doll can be purchased online and in select retail stores. We bought ours from Amazon for $49.99 which included the doll and the book. You can buy the doll by itself for $34.99 and the book for $19.99. I noticed on the company’s instagram account, they sometimes offer discount codes.

Why I Love the Sleeper Hero

This toy has been the most effective tool in helping our son deal with this nighttime fears while helping him develop the ability to stay in his room until the designated wake up time. Truthfully though, we have to use the sleep chart over and over again along with incentives to get our kid to stay in bed. That’s fine with us though because the Sleeper Hero with the sleep chart is the only thing that’s consistently worked for us. This doesn’t mean our son doesn’t occasionally come out of his room. He still does, but his nighttime escapes are minimal these days.

The doll is well designed, adorable, and quite huggable. The materials they chose are soft and even though there’s a little clock on the back of the doll, it doesn’t interfere with the snuggle potential because it feels like a soft toy. I like that I can easily program the bedtime and wake up times and change the times as often as needed.

In a nutshell, this toy is worth every penny. If you’re desperate to get your kid to stay in bed, give the Sleeper Hero a try. If you already own one, I’d love to know if it’s working for you, or if you have another clever idea of keeping your little one in bed all night, please let me know.

Here’s to more sleep!

🙂

 

 

 

 

The 3 books that got my son interested in pooping in the toilet

August 8, 2017 in Parenting

Since having children, I don’t think I’ve ever thought about or talked about poop as much as I have since the birth of my first son. I definitely have never beamed with pride over a poop like I did the first time, my son pooped out a small log, his first official solid poop. I actually took a pic and texted it to my husband since he wasn’t there for this huge milestone, and he too was so proud. Poop is a constant topic in a household with young children especially when your 4 year old thinks it’s hysterical to say poop over and over again and tries to include the word poop into normal every day conversation. As much as we all get a kick out of poop in this household, there comes a time when your kid’s poop is just too adult sized to be in a diaper. When we potty trained our son officially at 3 years old, he was okay with peeing but pooping not so much. He was scared to poop in the toilet. So what’s the logical thing to do? Research the heck out of the topic and order as many exciting books about poo for your kid. These books actually worked (along with M&M’s and raisinets after each attempted poop). So here are the top 3 books that inspired my son to get out #2 into the toilet.

 

Where’s the Poop? by Julie Markes

This is a lift the flap type of book featuring animals and humans. Throughout the book, parent animals ask their kid animals if they pooped yet, and the little ones reply ‘yes’ with their poops hidden underneath the flaps. The book ends with mom asking her kid if he pooped which reinforces the idea of going in the toilet.

My boy loved lifting the flaps and seeing the poo. This book helped normalize the pooping experience and helped my son realize that we all do it and it’s okay to poop. We had a stage where he was afraid of pooping in the toilet so this book helped him get more comfortable with idea of poo leaving his body. We’ve read this book so much and he’s been so enthusiastic about this story, that some of the flaps are now missing but he still enjoys reading it.

Bloop, Bloop Goes the Poop by Temara Moore

This is a fun story of a little boy while playing with his toys realizes he has to go poop and has to figure out where he should get rid of it. Ultimately, he makes it to the toilet. I really enjoyed this one because it’s a rhyming story and it’s very easy to remember the catch phrase ‘bloop bloop goes the the poop’. This book helped my son get acquainted with the idea that you can feel when you’re ready to poop and to recognize when he has an urge to go.

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

This is an amusing Japanese book translated into English that showcases the diverse world of poo. It shows animals and humans of various sizes with different shapes and sizes of poop. It also includes animals that are stationary and those that move while pooping. It includes some questions in there like ‘What does whale poop look like?” This question got me thinking and I had to find out. I was pleasantly surprised to find out whale poop keeps our air clean. Whaat?! True story. Check it out.

Let me know if there are other books on this topic that worked for your kid or if you already read these ones or if you try them out! I’d love to hear what you all do out there to get your kids comfortable with pooping.

Good luck,

Yolanda:)

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I got my 4 year old to stop throwing tantrums for toys in stores

March 11, 2017 in Parenting / Uncategorized

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only mom who’s experienced a young child demanding a toy that you refuse to purchase followed by a serious melt down. How does one stop this and have a peaceful shopping experience, well, at least manageable without tears, with young kids?

I found an incredible strategy that has worked for my 4 year old that I have to share with you. I came across this idea in a blog post awhile back and since we’ve been doing it, I no longer buy toys for my son while shopping and most importantly he doesn’t expect me to or even asks for me to buy him a toy (well, most of the times:) .

So what is it? 

A wish list, people, a simple wish list! 

Here’s the general idea.

You tell your kid that if there is something they see in a store that they like rather than asking you to buy it then and there, they can tell or show you the toy and you’ll add it to their ‘wish list’. Explain to them what a ‘wish list’ is and how you will keep track of their requested items and when their birthday rolls around, or any other special occasion where you feel it’s appropriate to buy them a toy, that you will sit down and review the wish list with them to narrow down what toy will be purchased.

My husband and I have agreed to only purchase toys from his wish list for his birthday or when we’ve all agreed a toy is an appropriate reward for meeting a long term goal. We do, however, surprise him with toys every so often and usually they are not from his wish list but he appreciates it because it’s unexpected.

How to track the wish list

At first, I would write down the toy my son requested in my memo section on my phone but sometimes I didn’t have my phone on hand, and I told him I was logging it in my brain (he believed me), and then I felt guilty for not actually tracking his wish list for real, so I started taking pictures with my phone. Now he tells me,”Mommy, take a picture of this for my wish list.” My phone is filled with pictures of toys now.

A sampling of my son’s requests

This sounds ridiculously simple but it has worked so far. For this to really work, you cannot buy them toys in stores just because they ask for them. Before we go shopping, I usually remind my son what we are going to buy and that if he wants something that is not on the list of things to ‘buy’ then he can ask me to put it on his wish list. As much as I love the ‘wish list’, sometimes, I notice how our shopping experience is a little longer than I would like because I’m taking pictures of nearly the entire toy aisle. The best way to deal with this now that I’m thinking about it is tell my kid, he can choose 5 toys or less on his wish list. I’m going to have to try that one out.

Check out the video of my son and I shopping at BJ’s where he went crazy seeing all the toys and asking for at least 10 toys to be added to his wish list. This was also the trip where he started asking for treats to be added to his wish list. I guess anything can be added that you don’t want to buy for your kid in the moment.

The beauty of this strategy is your kid will have his fantasy of playing with a toy or eating a treat satisfied simply by believing they one day will have it or taste it. My boy now gets excited about adding toys to his wish list without being disappointed that he won’t actually take the toy home. That is a win-win folks!

I would love to know if you try this strategy out and how it works for you or if you have your own clever tip for how to handle your kids constant toy requests.

How I got my 4 year old to clean up with this one strategy

March 3, 2017 in Parenting

“Son, it’s time to clean up! Put all your toys away,” I calmly say to my preschooler.

“Sure mom!” enthusiastically replies my 4 year old.

This my dear moms, is a fantasy dialogue I’ve had in my mind. In reality, my son does not reply like that nor does he enjoy cleaning, however, I have found a way to get him to clean without arguing, raising my voice, and demanding. I want to share this incredible hack because it works and I’m hopeful that it will work for you and your little ones too.

I came across this strategy while reading The Entitlement Trap: How to Rescue Your Child with a New Family System of Choosing, Earning and Ownership. The authors suggested for young children (preschoolers) a playful way to get them excited about cleaning is using something they call a Gunny bag. In addition to motivating young kids to clean up, the Gunny Bag helps kids learn how to value and care for their belongings.

This is how it works:

(1) Find a good sized laundry bag that’s sturdy and can withstand a lot of toys shoved into it. At first I tried trash bags, but those broke apart easily (see below). I ended up ordering huge cotton laundry bags to replace the trash bags and they’ve held up wonderfully. You can use any sturdy bag you have on hand.

(2) Next draw a face on the bag or if you’re crafty, you can sew a face onto the bag. In the book, the authors drew a face with the drawstring as the mouth. I chose to simply draw a face on the front of the bag. Initially, I drew a silly face but my son wanted Iron Man and Leonardo, one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, drawn on the bags. I’m no artist but I figured there had to be simple tutorials for drawing anything and voila, of course, the lovely internet doesn’t disappoint. See the Gunny bags below. It’s not an artistic masterpiece but my son was satisfied with the end results and now refers to them as Iron Man Gunny and Leonardo Gunny. We have two gunny bags to accommodate the first and second floor of the house since he plays on both floors.

Iron man and Leonardo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

(3) Introduce the Gunny bag to the kids. Tell them that Gunny lives in a place like the attic or a high shelf, basically any area where the kids cannot access and that he sometimes shows unexpectedly and eats any toys and clothes don’t get cleaned up and put back where they belong. This is the part that gets the kiddos excited about cleaning up.  When you want your kids to pick up their toys, warn the kids that Gunny is hungry and ready to eat soon and give them a few minutes to clean up. Once Gunny is out, really get into the role. I like to say, “Gunny is so hungry, yum, yum, yum, I want to eat toys right now”. Usually at this point, my son is running around the room picking up his toys. I’ll start crying as Gunny if I see him picking up the toys because ‘Gunny’ really wants to eat them. My 4 year old finds this amusing, however he has a love/hate relationship with Gunny, so there have been times when he was upset and crying because he didn’t clean up his toys in time.

(4) Choose a day of the week that Gunny will give back to the toys to kids as long as they put them back in their proper place.  Sometimes, when Gunny returned his toys, he would select a few he no longer wanted. For those toys, we keep them in a bin that gets stored away and will come out later (toy rotation). I love it because they get excited about their toys again just because they haven’t seen them in awhile. In the book, The Entitlement Trap, mentioned above, they would donate the toys the kids no longer wanted.

Make sure your kids know where toys are supposed to go. If you don’t already have a place for their toys, take care of this before you introduce Gunny. It’s not helpful if the kids don’t know where their toys belong since it makes it difficult to clean in a timely manner if there’s confusion about where there toys should be placed. I just use a simple storage system from Ikea with bins that the kids can easily pull out and put back in. There are several ways to organize toys but the most important thing to consider is if your kids can follow the organization system and easily put back their toys and clothes.

A few weeks into using this strategy, I noticed I didn’t always have to bring out Gunny. I would tell my son to clean up his room, and he usually does with little push back and if he does protest, Gunny comes back out and my boy starts cleaning up immediately. There were times too that my son would let Gunny eat some of his toys. He’d say,’that’s fine’ or ‘that’s okay’, Gunny can eat them.’ I took this to mean he no longer had an interest in the toy so those would go into the toy rotation bins.

Overall, this get your kid to clean up strategy has been the most effective, playful and the least stressful way to encourage tidying up. I actually have fun acting as Gunny the bag and this method works (for the preschool crowd)!!

I would love to hear what you do to get your kids to clean up and if you already use the Gunny Bag or decide to try it out, how it’s working for you and your tots!

 

 

 

Back to top