Effective ways to combat sleeping anxiety in children

sleep storySource: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-teenage-girl-256657/

Tips to help you help your little ones get a good night’s sleep

As a parent, it’s a public matter that the biggest nightly challenge you need to face is to get your kids to bed, stay there, and sleep. Of course, it’s difficult, but it’s one of the things that you need to do as a parent.

One study shows that almost thirty percent of children, aged 3 to 7 years old, struggle to sleep and stay asleep every night. And, anxiety is the main culprit.

Children have a harder time controlling their emotions if they don’t get enough amount of sleep and they become hyper or irritable. Although it’s not easy, it’s paramount that you do everything in your power to help your child get the amount of sleep she or he needs.

Children and Their Fears

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The typical speeches would be “Don’t leave me please!”, “Five minutes more!” or “Stay with me!” These things could be normal among children, but you shouldn’t tolerate it.

All children experience a phase wherein they’re having difficulty sleeping. The reasons could be being afraid of the dark, dolls coming to life, imaginary monsters under the bed, bad guys could break in, etc.

Going to the bathroom alone is also a problem because someone at school started the “Bloody Mary in the mirror” stories that invoke your child’s imagination. As a result, he perks up in the middle of the night, and you’re up too.

While it’s enticing to comfort your child that everything’s fine, the chances are you already know it’s not working, and it doesn’t work.

Whether your child is five or fifteen, the approaches below will help your child overcome and take charge of  his or her fears

Start with Pillow Talks

sleep story 3Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/baby-royalty-free-mothers-day-tenderness-67663/

Perch on your child’s bed, nestle beside them and have a conversation with them. Talk about what she or he is thinking and everything that will set a relaxing mood.

However, you need to set some limits. When you say that it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Don’t fall into the trap of them whining and telling you to stay or to sleep with them.

Gently tell your child that you want to spend more time with him or her, but you can’t linger too long. Listen to their qualms but avoid talking too much. Occasionally, listening alone allows your child to resolve his or her worries.

Let Your Child Self-Regulate In the Bedroom

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/girl-sleeping-with-her-brown-plush-toy-101523/

First of all, your job as a parent is not to make your kids go to sleep but put them to bed. There’s a fine line between the two.

Set a consistent wake-up time with an alarm clock. If your child can’t sleep, let him or her read in bed. Make sure to keep the lights dim or off.

Ditch the Stimulants

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/coffee-tea-table-restaurant-29612/

Keep your child from drinking energy drinks and caffeine-rich drinks. Beware with covert stimulants in chocolate drinks too.

Sleeplessness and anxiety are side effects of medications too. These pills include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medications and over-the-counter medications for cold and flu. If you’re hinting that the medications of your child are part of the problem, make sure to call the attending physician and ask for some advice before you stop them.

Teach Your Kids To Give Their Worries Away

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Source: https://stocksnap.io/photo/HA3JD0XRX2

In Guatemala, there’s a tradition of educating the children on how to leave their worries by using colorful dolls called trouble dolls or worry dolls. The children confide their worries to the dolls then put their dolls under their pillows.

According to the traditional folklore, the doll accepts all the child’s fears to make the child sleep peacefully. They are affordable and are available online.

You can pitch the same scheme of teaching your child to let go of his or her worries by using inanimate objects like stuffed toys, stuffed animals or dolls that you already have.

 

Regulate More Melatonin

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Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/feet-cute-flower-child-36793/

Melatonin is a feel good hormone in the body that gives you that drowsy and sleepy feeling. Melatonin supplements are effective in regulating the sleep cycle of your child back on track.

Melatonin is effective in bringing your child into good slumber. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help much for those kids who wake up in the middle of the night. There are limitations and risks in using melatonin supplements, so be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician before using over-the-counter supplements.

Takeaway

Getting your little angels to sleep better is the holy grail of parenting. Though it’s just one of the many challenges that parents face every day, it’s still important that you teach your kids the importance of independence and courage as early as possible. And the best venue to do this is to start right at their mattresses. Help your child overcome his or her fears, be the most supportive and helpful parent.

Author Bio:

Rachel Minahan is an interior designer by profession and a budding writer at the same time. She spends the majority of her time attending her business and writing for her blogs. Rachel is also fond of keeping tabs on the latest health and design trends. She also has a soft spot for children, especially those with anxieties at a very young age.

 

 

 

 

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8 Rules to Manage Kids’ Media Over the Holidays — From a Media Expert and Father

The holidays are a wonderful time for families to gather together, but in between those hours spent with loved ones, there will be many, many hours of down time.  Many school breaks are over three weeks long, so what will kids do with all of that free time?  In most households, kids will be consuming lots of media — TV, moves, video games, and apps.

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On average, kids will have more than 300 hours over winter break to fill until the New Year. Despite the best-laid plans, more than 100 hours will end up dedicated to screen time, if not checked.

Dan Olschwang, a former advertising executive and veteran of the digital media world, has spent years researching and working with top pediatric experts from Harvard to find ways to help parents navigate the digital parenting realm.  The result of his efforts is the Dawn app for parents.  The app serves as a tool to help parents customize their unique child’s screen time.  Parents can use Dawn to easily rate and identify fitting, constructive children’s apps and games. With crowdsourced ratings, Dawn help parents chose media that will benefit their children’s educational and developmental processes.screen568x568

Over the holidays, Olschwang offers these tips to parents to help regulate their children’s media consumption, and hopefully form good media habits for the New Year and beyond.screen568x568 (3)800

Tips:

  1. Limit the length of each media sessions – Keep each session of media consumption limited to an hour and have
  2. Bundle all screen time and explain why – Screen radiation damages brain and eyes when viewed for long stretches, as well as interferes with proper balance of hormones and vitamins.
  3. Let the child decide, with some guidance – Guide them to physically active choices, but give them freedom and variety. Offer and alternate between a variety of choices, rather than dictating a specific activity. Legos, reading, outdoors – if they constantly gravitate toward the same activity – insist they choose something else at the next break.
  4. Provide positive alternatives in media – When they are online or on a mobile device, find exciting apps, games movies that can substitute the negatives they might be gravitating towards.
  5. No media before bed time – End all screen time five hours before bed time and minimize the adrenaline rush towards the end. Exposure to less exciting, less suspension, less scary when finishing screen should be advised. Calm content should be viewed last.
  6. Talk to them as if they are adults – First, get yourself informed so you can explain to you child your consideration. Then start a dialog and explain your reasoning and where they come from. The “because I said so” line doesn’t cut it.
  7. Talk to them about their media consumption – Take the time to know what are the watching or playing. What is the take away lessons? Why is it right or wrong, does it reflect your family values? What is different from real life experiences/behaviors/attitudes from what they are seeing on the screen?
  8. Remember, you are not your child entertainment squad – Believe it or not, being bored is important!! It forces them to use their imagination, creativity and find ways to entertain themselves. Being passively entertained constantly, inhibits the development of many important skills like resourcefulness, curiosity, etc.

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    Dawn app creator Dan Olschwang

More information on Dawn is available at www.magicalis.com.

Everything is Coming Up Sweet Sprouts for New Online Consignment Boutique

Mom Entrepreneur Molly O’Kane and Best Friend Molly Mundy See a Growing Business by Buying and Selling Gently Owned Children’s Clothing and Gear Online

Getting ready for her second child, San Francisco mom Molly O’Kane cleaned out her two-year-old son’s closet.  She found new clothes with tags on, and others worn only once or twice before they were outgrown.  What a shame, she thought, that those adorable clothes – many of them cherished gifts – sat stored away.

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O’Kane talked with other moms who faced the same dilemma.  They wanted their children’s precious clothing to go someplace special, to a family that appreciated them – not in the bottom of a thrift shop bin.  Likewise, they wanted to find new homes for their hardly used strollers, bassinets and other gear.  That’s when O’Kane got the idea for Sweet Sprouts.

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She took her concept of an online children’s consignment boutique to the Keiretsu Forum, a competition similar to TV’s Shark Tank, hosted by her Alma matter, Saint Mary’s School of Economics and Business Administration of California.  With only three minutes to pitch her idea using no visual aids, and five minutes to field judges’ questions, O’Kane wowed the panel, winning mentorship to start her venture.

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“Through Kiretsu I was able to receive mentorship and gain a true understanding of venture capitalist funding and angel funding,” said O’Kane, who took the reigns as Sweet Sprouts CEO.  “The best advice I received was to bring the idea to fruition without taking venture capital funding or angel funding. This way I could really make the business my own, instead of answering to funding requirements.”

With confidence in her idea, which entrepreneur experts believed had the potential to be a $30 million business in five to 10 years, O’Kane got the financial support of family and friends to begin building Sweet Sprouts.  Along with her MBA education, O’Kane found her background as a registered dietician and former school nutritionist was helpful and inspirational in during Sweet Sprouts’ start-up phase.

“I was used to being creative to stretch lean budgets when I had to devise healthy menus for school children,” said O’Kane.

During the time O’Kane was developing her new business, similar sites sprang up, but O’Kane set Sweet Sprouts apart from the competition by offering sellers a much higher profit margin for their sales.  To avoid the pitfalls that her competition faced, O’Kane put strict quality controls in place regarding what could be sold on the site and guidelines for interactions between users, so high-rated sellers would attract more buyers, and low-rated members would be removed from the community.

O’Kane’s philosophy was that families came first.  The site was designed to save families up to 75 percent of what they would pay for clothes and gear at a retail store, and it offered families an easy and safe way to sell their goods.  There would be no need for an appointment or a trip to a consignment store, and sellers would not have to invite strangers from sites like Craigslist to their home for transactions.

O’Kane offers several ways for sellers to be involved on the site.  They can sell items for themselves and earn up to 80 percent of the sale price.  They can become a local Sweet Sprouts boutique owner and sell items for other families and earn up to 50  percente on sales, or they can ship items to Sweet Sprouts for Personal Seller Service and net up to 75 percent of the sales. For moms like herself, O’Kane wanted to offer users the opportunity to be part of the Sweets Sprouts enterprise and work from home with a flexible schedule.

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To help her realize her vision, O’Kane enlisted the help of best friend and former college roommate Molly Mundy, a former social worker and now stay-at-home mom.  The two shared many things in common, besides their first names.  Both had a dedication to social service, both had a young child at home, and both were seeking a way to stay home with their children while supplementing their family incomes.  Mundy also had specialized skills in social media as a proficient user of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks.

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Together the Mollys came up with a Sweet Sprouts site that gave back to the community by donating a portion of every sale to local charities.  They created a user interface that was intuitive and simple-to-use, so users could easily upload photos and descriptions of their items to sell.  They also loaded the site with rich social and interactive features.  The Sweet Sprouts that grew aimed to help other moms “make money, make connections, and make a difference.”

“We, like many moms, want to contribute to the household income but still have the flexibility to choose our own schedule, allowing us to be present for our children when they needed us.  Sweet Sprouts offers us the opportunity to do that,” said Mundy.

O’Kane and Mundy work on Sweet Sprouts several hours a day, in between their children’s nap times and other breaks in their day.  The experience has been rewarding financially and otherwise.  Particularly gratifying for both women has been their ability to help non-profit organizations fundraise, giving them an alternative to ubiquitous candy selling fundraisers, which former nutritionist O’Kane believed promoted kids eating unhealthy, sugary candy.

“I figured that an exchange of clothes, like an online swap meet, would be a much better way to support schools, churches, sports teams and other non-profits.  They wouldn’t have to do candy sales, and they could sell the clothes year round,” said O’Kane.

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Another way O’Kane and Mundy feel Sweet Sprouts can make a difference is by helping moms meet each other, virtually and in person.  Through local Sweet Sprouts boutiques, moms can get together for sales events, and online they can share stories, challenges and triumphs of motherhood.  As a first-time mom and former social worker, Mundy appreciates the value of these online and personal relationships and the power of the Internet as a resource for support.  She regularly updates the Sweet Sprouts blog, Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages with helpful information for other mothers.

“We wanted to give other moms the ability to use the site to connect to each other.  During the first year with a new baby, many moms struggle to find one-on-one time with their friends.  Being able to share their stories and give each other support and advice can help them feel they are not alone,” said Mundy. “Sweet Sprouts provides a place for moms to grow together.”

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Kids enjoy crafts at the Sweet Sprouts launch party at All Good Pizza in San Francisco on June 2, 2013.

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A couple of little Sweet Sprouts fans enjoy the festivities at the site’s launch event.

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The two Mollys are all smiles as their venture takes off.

Date Night in Beverly Hills Raises Funds for Healthy Child Healthy World

 

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“You are what you eat.” they say, so it made sense that the tony crowd at Date Night looked ravishing.  Pretty dresses and bright smiles abounded as 300 parents, friends and supporters of the non-profit advocacy group Healthy Child Healthy World sampled delicious desserts and cocktails at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills to help raise funds and awareness for the cause of ridding our food chain of dangerous chemicals.

Organic Stoneyfield Farm Yogurt Co-Founder and Chariman Gary Hirshberg energized the crowd by sharing the story of his foray into organic dairy production with just seven cows back in 1983 when the venture was considered on the fringe.  Reminiscent and as rousing as Al Gore in “Inconvenient Truth,” Hirshberg recited the evidence and statistics to support that chemicals in our food have been a 50-to-60-year experiment on the human population that has proven dangerous and even deadly.  Especially convincing were Hirshberg ’s stats on the extraordinary rise of food allergies in children over the past few decades.

While Hirshberg’s straight and hard facts about cancer-causing-chemicals in our food were hard to stomach, he presented an alternative path and actions that consumers can take to rid, such as questioning our food sources and voting “yes” on Proposition 37, a ballot initiative in California to require food labels to disclose when products are made from genetically altered ingredients.

“It’s’ not about increasing yield and feeding the world, as the big bioengineering companies would have you believe,” said Hirshberg .  “Most food is genetically modified so that it is pesticide-resistant, so that the chemical companies can sell more pesticides to spray on our crops.  The only greater ‘yield’ that increases is in the stocks of the chemical companies.”

Alongside inspiring speech-making, the food and company were delightful.  Stand outs include luscious salted chocolate bark from Firefly, Margarita cheesecake with a pretzel crust from Sweet Spils; a melt-in-your mouth toasted lemon meringue on a graham round from Plantine; pound cake and browine bite fudge fondue to die for from The Melting Pot; exquisite cake samples from Ji’s Cake Boutique; flavor-bursting berries with fresh cream from Clover Organic Farms; and bite-sized red velvet delights from Kira’s Kiss Desserts.

Besides the desserts, guests were invited to load up on healthy products from a number of vendors who support and abide by the high quality and safety standards of Healthy Child Healthy World, such as Episencial skin care products, adorned with kid-fave Eric Carle illustrations; eco- and people-friendly house cleaners and detergents from Earth Friendly Products; incredible Unreal “unjunked” candy; Sneaky Pete’s nutrient and fiber-infused drinks;   assorted high-quality kid and adult supplements from Nordic Naturals; lots of Luna bars; and handy hair ties and headbands from Soybu, made from recycled-materials.

The general ambience was fun and festive, with a live DJ and an outdoor night club vibe, and the hosts were fresh-faced and friendly – save maybe the officious young woman from Clover who booted us out of their “reserved” lounge.  Well, at least their cream was sweet.

Healthy Child Healthy World was founded by parents Nancy and James Chuda, who lost their precious four-year-old daughter Colette to a cancer caused by pesticide exposure.  Their grief turned into a crusade to raise public awareness of the toxins in our foods and to put pressure on food producers to seek alternatives to unsafe additives and pesticides.

While the mission of Healthy Child Healthy World is serious, the mood at Date Night was celebratory, as attendees savored the successes of the growing movement toward a world free of man-made toxins in our food and environment.  As guests raised their glasses of organic vodka and wine, they cheered the progress made so far and fortified themselves for the challenges ahead, and had a naturally good time.

My First Bike: LA Bike Expert Offers 10 Tips for Choosing a Training Bike and Teaching a Child to Ride

 

It’s an enduring memory for every parent when a child takes off pedaling for the first time on a two-wheeler.  That thrill of independence and the rush of the sidewalk under the tires can be the start of a life-long enjoyment of bicycling — that is if the child is ready to ride, according to Santa Monica’s Performance Bicycle store sales associate Jarrin Black.

 

“If the child is ready, and he or she has the right equipment, then the experience will be a positive one, and the child will want to keep riding,” said Black, who specializes in fitting children for bicycles.

 

Black recommends the following guidelines for parents who are purchasing a first bike for children and preparing them to ride it for the first time.

 

1.  Safety first.  It’s a no brainer that kids should wear a helmet.  In fact, Performance Bicycle does not let children test ride a bike without one.  Pick a helmet that fits comfortably and that your child likes, so that he or she will enjoy wearing it.  Tip:  have them try it on and wear it around the house to get used to it, and enforce a “No helmet, no ride” rule.

 

2.  Color matters.  Silly as it sounds, color may be one of the most important factors in selecting a bike, because if junior doesn’t like the color, he won’t ride it.  This is where The Performance guarantee comes in handy.  If your child isn’t 100-percent happy with the bike, you can bring it back and exchange it in 90 days.  Even after the time period expires, if there is a problem, the shop will work with you to find a solution.

 

3.  Go slowly.  Tricycles are a great first step, and balance bikes are huge leap in helping a child gain coordination and balancing skills for bicycling.  When children have mastered trikes and balance bikes and seem bored with them, then it is time to graduate to a two-wheeler, with training wheels to start.

 

4.  Don’t Push.  Wait until a child shows signs of being physically and mentally ready for a bike, and literally, don’t push.  Let the child ease into pushing off and riding when he or she is comfortable, and never give a bike a shove with a child on it and expect them to “sink or swim.”

 

5.  Consider quality.  Cheaper is not always better.  You may pay a few dollars more when you buy from a bike shop versus a department store, but at a bike shop you can be assured that the bike was hand built by a professional mechanic, and you will get service and adjustments that do not come with bikes sold by mass retailers. Also beware of off-sized parts with mass-produced bikes as they may require special tools to make adjustments.

 

6.  Get the right bike.  Fit is key for a first bike, and the fit may depend on comfort rather than what a chart says is right for your child, though charts like the Grow Up With Performance chart online at http://www.performancebike.com can be a helpful guide, particularly if you are ordering online. 

 

If possible, bring your child with you to choose a bike.  Toddler bikes range from 12” (2 to 4 years) to 16” (4 to 6 years), though size is a better gauge than age in choosing a frame size.  As a rule, the child should be able to stand over the top tube with at least an inch or two of clearance.  Girls’ style bikes generally offer even more clearance.  When seated, they should be able to touch the floor with tippy toes or the balls of feet.  Arms should be relaxed and slightly bent.  Parents should resist the urge to buy a too-big bike so that a child will grow into it.  At Performance Bicycle, their Growth Guarantee program offers discounts of 10 to 15 percent when you upgrade your child’s bike to the next size.

 

7.  Keep it up.  Over time a bike needs tune ups to maintain it.  Another advantage to buying at a bike shop like Performance is that minor adjustments are included in the purchase price for the lifetime of the bike.   Parents should check a bike regularly to make sure bolts are tightened, gears and wheels are aligned and all moving parts are working together smoothly.  Warning, use only bike chain grease and not WD-40 as the popular lubricant can actually cause a chain to lock up. 

 

8.  Gear up.  Make sure your child has all the accoutrements to ride safety.  Besides the mandatory helmet, there’s a bell so that she can give audible signals when approaching another bike; a head light and flashing rear reflector which are required by law after dark in some jurisdictions, including Santa Monica; and for the aggressive rider, consider adding a hand break for extra stopping power and to get little ones ready for their next, more-advanced bike with hand breaks.

 

9.  Get to know your mechanic.  There’s nothing like the service of a reliable mechanic to give you confidence in the quality assembly and maintenance of your bike.  At Performance, the man known to all simply as “Jorge” has diagnosed and fixed bike problems that other shops gave up on, and he’s been doing it for 35 years.

 

10.  Enjoy the ride.  Equality important as teaching kids the rules of the road, i.e., ride to the right, pass with care, pull over to stop, etc., is showing them how to enjoy the experience of bike riding.  Bike riding together is not only terrific exercise for everyone but also a great family activity.  Cruise the bike path from Venice to Santa Monica (avoiding the busiest hours between 6-9 am), enjoy the scenery, and stop for ice cream along the way.  Make a day of biking, and make a day of great memories.

 

 

 For more information, go to http://www.performancebike.com