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Three Bedtime Building Blocks For Your Child

The use of building blocks is a great teaching tool in helping bedtime become easier for both you and your child. Just like a step stool helps the little ones reach the sink or a scaffold helps a construction worker reach higher heights, building blocks help your child to learn to sleep on their own. It is a great esteem building tool also as children feel great when they can do something on their own.

The building blocks you will use are sleep cues. The big fancy term used in the medical field is “sleep onset associations”. The great thing about these sleep cues is that when they are used consistently they tell the brain that it’s time to slow down and rest. This is great for both you and your child because once these are set in place your child’s brain will automatically respond to these cues.

Children learn about associations between events and objects and can relate that to falling asleep at the age of six months. If you will recall in my post on when you should start teaching them this skill it’s  at around 4 months. I also mentioned that you don’t expect them to have this skilled mastered but that you can introduce them to it at that age. Young children and babies begin to learn that certain things done in a certain order will lead them  to sleep. The cues I’m about to share with you are scientifically proven  to help children as well as adults begin to wind down and begin to feel sleepy.

Cue 1: Create an atmosphere that’s conducive to sleep by turning off all excess lights. You will want to close the curtains and pull down the shades. Light stimulates the body to stay awake  while darkness signals sleep to the body. This also tells the brain to produce melatonin, a hormone in the body that regulates the body’s rhythms and also helps us to feel sleepy. This is also true for any television, computer or electronic toy light or lighted clocks. Read more »

When Should You Start Helping Your Infant To Sleep On Their Own

When should you start helping your infant to sleep on their own? The answer is around 4 months. I say around because every child is different and you really should determine what is best for you, your family and your child. So if your child is 6 months and you’re reading this it’s okay you can start at 6 months.  This is just a guide to give you an indication of when you can start.

Please also keep in mind two things. One whenever you are working at teaching your child a new skill you want to do what is to gradually build the skill so that the baby will be able to do it eventual and also has the time the need, how ever long they need to accomplish that skill. In Early Childhood Education we call this scaffolding. Just like those scaffolds that you see on construction sites that allow the workers to reach higher levels. You also want to give your child the opportunity to gradually reach that more advanced place that they are trying to acquire. Second be patient, knowing that this will take some time and not happen overnight will help you to be patient.

So you are building skill upon skill, little by little. Meaning you don’t expect your baby to be able to sleep on their own in one night or two, three or four nights. As my Ballet teacher used to say, “It’s a process not an event.” So prepare yourself by managing your expectations. Be patient and expect a few tears. Be prepared to assure your baby with a soothing voice.

WHEN TO PLACE PUT THEM IN THEIR CRIB

Don’t allow your baby to fall asleep on you. Once they do that that’s it. As soon as you put them down they will wake up. Then comes the dance of you trying to console them and get them quiet again so you can get them back to sleep and lay them down only to have them wake back up again. This will cause anxiety and frustration for both you and the baby. Your intention and desire is to help them to learn to go to sleep on their own.

Part of learning to go to sleep on their own is learning how to comfort themselves and soothe themselves and know that they will be okay and that you are still their mommy or daddy and that all is good with the world. Their will be some crying to accomplish this because they are babies and this is how they communicate and this is a new thing for them.

So your job is to be the comforter and soother in a way that empowers them to be able to do it by themselves. In building this skill you will be by their side rubbing their tummy and talking to them in a soothing voice. You will look at their stomach instead of their eyes. The reason for this is looking them in their eyes will have the opposite effect of what you want. This is because looking into a baby’s eyes stimulates them. You don’t want to stimulate them. You want to calm them down and sort of lull them to sleep.

So to recap you don’t want the baby to be asleep when you put them into the bed. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is wide awake ready to rubble and 10 is knocked out cold, you want your baby to be around a 7 or 8 before you put them into the crib.

 

HOW TO BEGIN

Begin by placing your baby in the crib on their backs. It’s best if you have a ritual that you do or will do every night. So think about this ahead of time. What worked for my daughter and I was to feed her, then a bath and then a bedtime story. I found that it helped to have this ritual even when she got to be a toddler and preschooler. We just added more things like getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, talking about her day and then the story was the last thing before lights out.

Once you place them on their backs you can sing them a song or read a story or just talk to them. Tell them that you love them and think they are so wonderful. Tell them how they are just growing so wonderfully and beautifully. That they are going to have a wonderful and good night sleep and that mommy or daddy will be going to their room while they sleep in theirs. Tell them they are going to do just great and everything will be fine. Tell them this in a sing song type of voice using words, and make it sound soothing.

Then leave slowly, reassuring them that they are going to be fine, have a great sleep, grow big and strong etc. If you are met with crying keep reassuring them where you are. If it escalates slowly make your way back to them telling them Mommy or Daddy is here. Keep reassuring them that they are okay and will be able to do this. Remember look at their belly not their eyes. Then try leaving again.

Please share with us how you successfully taught your child to sleep on their own. We’d love to hear what worked for you. Please also share this with anyone that is facing this challenge. I will be writing more on this subject in later posts, so please come back.  Have a great day! :-)

 

 

At What Age Should You Teach Your Baby To Sleep On Their Own

This is a really short post in the form of a question. At what age should you teach your baby to sleep on their own? Some of you would say baby? My child is a preschooler about to enter kindergarten and it is a fight to get them out of our bed. So to keep the peace and get some sleep we allow them to sleep with us. We tried and tried and tried, but it’s too much of struggle!

I totally understand and was shocked at the answer. I’m going to make this easy and make it multiple choice. Come back tomorrow for the answer.

A.) 6 months

B.) 8 months

C.) 24 months

D.) 4 months

Remember come back the same time tomorrow for the answer. Please include in your answer what you do to get your child to sleep. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful day! :-) Remember to please tweet or share this post. Thanks so much! :-)

Successful Parenting: Tell Your Own Teaching Stories For Bedtime Stories

I wrote a post recently on answering your children’s why with a “Because I love you.” statement and explain the “Why?” later, well here is when the “why” is explained. You and your child can make up your own bedtime stories to help them understand why you tell them to do the things you tell them to do. You can name it, “The Stories Of Why”.

This idea is great for your preschooler and is great right after a bath and they are tucked in bed, after the drink of water, bathroom and a check for monsters under the bed. Bring the paper and marker and crayons to draw the pictures. It would be great if you had a large book or laptop desk for the paper and crayons to sit on. You can tell the story and your child draws it.

Or you can draw the characters as you tell the story if you child is too young or just wants to hear the story. Make the story simple and easy to understand so that they get the moral of the story. Asking them questions helps them to understand the story even better and helps them to integrate it within themselves. It is so much more powerful when children come to a conclusion on their own. It is very empowering for them also.

THE STORY OF THE BOY WHO LOST HIS TEETH

If earlier that day as you were getting your child ready for school they gave you a hard time about brushing their teeth. You can make your bedtime story about “The Boy Who Lost His Teeth”. You can begin your story first by asking your child “What do your teeth do?” . You can also ask if they think that’s important and ask them why. Children have an amazing amount of wisdom and understanding so tap into it.

Begin the story with the “Once upon a time in a land far, far, away there lived a little boy with his mom, dad, sister Emily and cat Fe Fe.” Just make it up and have fun. You can involve your child by asking them, “What do you think happened?” or ” And then what happens”. They will love being involved and this will help them remember the story better.

You want to write down the story so that you remember it and always have it available in the future. You also have the option of getting books that tell the story for you either from the bookstore or library. I think purchasing the books are better because it’s less of a hassle of trying to remember to get the books back to the library.

Try this with your child and see what happens. Make sure you remind your child that this is explanation time and the time to ask any questions. Try to anticipate the questions in advance so you can be prepared. Also if you run out of reasons ask them why do they think. Turn it around and have them think about the situation more deeply. Let me know how it turns out and leave a reply.

Preventing Childhood Obesity By Teaching Your Child To Manage Stress

People think that only adults have to deal with stress, but children are also dealing with much more stress than their parents dealt with at their age. Listed below are three ways to help your child deal with the stresses of life. We should also take into consideration that not all stress is bad and some things that we normally don’t think as stressful are. Any type of change contains stress, especially anything that is new or unknown to us.

Children experience these same stresses but do not have ways and means of dealing with them. To adults this appears as crankiness, rebelliousness and behavior that causes us stress. It is up to us as parents and caregivers to teach them about what they are experiencing  and how to recognize it as well as some age appropriate actions that they can take. It is also up to us to manage and have productive ways of dealing with our own stress, that way we are able to deal with our children. Fortunately the suggestions that I will be giving for the children will also work for you.

DIET AND EXERCISE

Although diet and exercise should be obvious, I’d like to remind you of them. First I’d like you to look at exercise differently. Instead of exercise think of how we as a family can move more, how can we play and have fun together and enjoy each other while moving. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, starting with 10 minutes is fine. You want to have success early.It is such a great motivator and enables you to  stick with your goal, which is why you want to first establish the habit and then increase the duration.

Playing tag, throwing a freesbie or ball or some sort. These are things that you can do even with toddlers. With toddlers you might want to start out being seated and rolling the ball to them and have them roll it back to you. Popping bubbles is a game that small children especially love. You can run with while blowing the bubbles and they can try and catch you. Games like hop skotch teach children about numbers and also help with balance and coordination. Play the games you love to play as a child that required moving. One of the most important key factors is that it has to be fun and enjoyable. This way there will be a great chance of it becoming a habit.

Make sure you drink plenty of water too and carry a cooler or small lunch bag in your car so that you always have water available. It is also probably a great idea to carry fruit, and healthy snacks, remember chopped up vegetables make a really healthy snack. Adding a small amount of protein will help you stay full longer. Children should always have water readily available as they tend to get thirsty more frequently than adults.

PROPER REST

With adults as well as children and teens it is a good idea to establish a bed time and stick with it 7 days a week. Not doing this causes our rhythm to be off. Not get proper rest effects our moods, and performance. The best time for children to go to bed is around 8 pm. It is best to have a winding down period an hour before the actual bed time. This is one of the biggest reasons that parents have trouble keeping their children in bed. Have a ritual that you do every night this signals to the child what is coming next. The body also needs time to wind down and prepare for sleep too.

WAYS OF DEALING WITH STRESS

1. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and explain them to him/her.

2. Teach them to look on the bright side early.

3. Create an environment where they feel comfortable expressing their feelings to you. For small children ask them to use their words. In the beginning you will have to explain what the words mean. In addition to explaining them point out examples of different emotions when you see them whether it’s on t.v. or in real life. A part of creating a comfortable environment is allowing children to experience their anger.

4. In allowing children to express their anger, it also needs to be explained that they have to express them in an acceptable way by making sure not to harm others or destroy things. You should also give them acceptable ways of dealing with both anger and stress such as journaling, talking to you or deep breathing.

If you use the above suggestions you will find that both you and your children will be able to deal with stress a lot better. Dealing with stress in productive ways helps both you and children not to use food as a way of coping with stress.

I would love to hear how this worked for you or if you have something else that worked for you. You can leave a comment on the blog. For more information on healthy eating and wellness for children get my free report on healthy kids weight loss at http://healthykidsweightloss.com.