5 Nighttime Routines to Help Your Toddler Get to Sleep
Lots of things happen when you have a kid: You’ll become a pro at changing a diaper one-handed (using a V cute diaper bag), you’ll get used to never peeing alone and you’ll be sleep deprived — very, very sleep deprived. The lack of z’s won’t stop when your offspring steps up from baby to toddler, but this is the time when you really need to set boundaries, create healthy habits and instill nighttime routines that will make bedtime easier for your wide-awake little human. Not only will you be able to get more rest yourself (and OMG, you’ll need it), but you will help your kids feel safer and more secure (routines help with that). It’s a win-win! To assist you in this noble journey, we have five tried and true ways to help your little ones go night night.
1. Read soothing books. This is a go-to bedtime routine for a gazillion parents, and for good reason. It works! But you shouldn’t merely pull out any book — find tomes that are soothing, relaxing and have a soft cadence. You wouldn’t want to pick a book that is full of action or one that’s too interactive. This is the time for them to wind down. When reading, try to use your softest tone; not only will it help relax them, but it’ll do wonders for you too. Find a book that they love and that brings them comfort. If you find a book that works not unlike a sleeping pill, you’ve lucked out (I have no idea why, but my daughter would nod off whenever I’d read her Oh No, Not Ghosts! I can pretty much recite this one by heart).
2. Say your goodnights. Pull a Goodnight Moon and have your little one say goodnight to anything and everything. Wish the dog, the cat, their stuffies, their siblings and, yes, even the moon a goodnight. It’s a sweet routine that will help them realize that this is adjustment time between awake and asleep. There’s something about having them realize that it’s not just them going to sleep and that they’re not alone. Just give them boundaries. If they start saying goodnight to every hair on your head, you’re in trouble.
3. Have them take a bath. This is another bedtime helper that many parents don’t use enough. The warm water of bath time will help relax your child’s mind, as well as their muscles, and will assist in getting them to a state more conducive to sleep. Just thinking of taking a bath makes me sleepy. If you have a dimmer on your bathroom lights, having the lighting a bit lower than usual will help even more. Chat with them while they bathe and reflect on the day. And there’s a big bonus to this routine — you’ll have a clean kid!
4. Play relaxing music. Hide your Ramones and Kesha CDs; they won’t help with bedtime AT ALL. Instead, invest in some low-key kid-friendly music from classic lullabies to classical to Bossa Nova (we’re partial to Getz / Gilberto played at a low volume). It doesn’t need to be music; you can use sounds from something like the Baby Shusher — it’s a sound machine for the baby who loves the sound of shushing.
5. Play a soothing game. There are several games that can help get your little one to sleep (and do a little learning in the process). Take turns playing the alphabet game. First say something like “A is for apple,” and they would follow with “B is for boy.” Keep on going until they nod off. Numbers work just as well: Try “one little monkey,” followed by “two cute cats” and so on, until they get to the point where they go night night.
Does your family do any of these bedtime routines? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know.
(Photos via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com