Archive for the 'parenting' Category

Daylight Saving Ends this Weekend

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

On early Sunday morning, November 3rd, we will once again roll back the clocks. While this used to mean that you could get an extra hour to snooze on Sunday morning, your little one may not quite be ready to snooze for an extra hour. Worry not, these simple tips for babies (**6 months and older), toddlers and preschoolers will help you stay on track with your good sleep habits. Give your children a few days to settle in to the new time.

1. Put your child(ren) to bed on Saturday night (11/2) at the regular time.

2. Wake up with your child(ren) at the normal wake up time on Sunday morning (11/3).

3. Set your clocks back one hour. This is where you stretch.

4. Put your child(ren) down for the first nap at the regular time per the clock.** This will mean that s/he has been awake a full hour longer during this window and may need some help to stretch. Going outside and getting lots of sunlight and fresh air is a great way to keep kids awake when you’re stretching them.

5. Follow the clock for naps and bedtime from here forward. It can take a few days for your child to fully adjust, so be patient and consistent.

**Younger children may have a harder time stretching a full hour without becoming overtired. In this case it may be better to stretch them 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon or to stretch them slowly over several days. For babies under six months I recommend pulling the entire day’s schedule earlier by 15 minutes for the four days leading up to daylight savings.

***For school-aged children you may want to make the switch a day earlier so they have the weekend to get a jump-start on the adjustment.

daylight savings sleep tips (falling back)

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Do you remember when you used to get so excited to be gaining an extra hour of sleep with the time change? Now, this is often the dreaded time change as parents anticipate early risers will awaken even earlier. Worry not, these simple tips for babies (**6 months and older), toddlers and preschoolers will help you stay on track with your good sleep habits. Give your children a few days to settle in to the new time.

1. Put your child(ren) to bed on Saturday night (11/6) at the regular time.

2. Wake up with your child(ren) at the normal wake up time on Sunday morning (11/7).

3. Set your clocks back one hour. This is where you stretch.

4. Put your child(ren) down for the first nap at the regular time per the clock.** This will mean that s/he has been awake a full hour longer during this window and may need some help to stretch. Going outside and getting lots of sunlight and fresh air is a great way to keep kids awake when you’re stretching them.

5. Follow the clock for naps and bedtime from here forward. It can take a few days for your child to fully adjust, so be patient and consistent.

**Younger children may have a harder time stretching a full hour without becoming overtired. In this case it may be better to stretch them 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon or to stretch them slowly over several days. For babies under six months I recommend pulling the entire day’s schedule earlier by 15 minutes for the four days leading up to daylight savings.

sleep q + a: fearful at bedtime

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Q: My little boy is 2 years 7 months old. He’s always been an amazing sleeper and has rarely, if ever, had trouble going down to sleep. Just recently he has started giving us a very hard time before bed and nap time. It seem like he is afraid of something — he screams and cries for mom or dad (whoever puts him to bed) for close to 30 minutes and then usually collapses from exhaustion. At bath time he will start to say “no night night, no night night.”

A: It is entirely possible that there is something about bedtime that is frightening to a child this age. It may simply be the separation from you (which is long!). Children this age have a very hard time differentiating real from imaginary so any scary content from books, tv or peers can carry over to bedtime. It is important to remove anything that you think might be scaring your child (even if the content is relatively benign). Keep things very light and reassuring. Sometimes kids this age feel a little better if there is a very dim night light in their room. Address common fears about monsters by being very clear that they are not real. Tell him that he can pretend to be a monster by dressing up and even painting his face (like Halloween), but that they aren’t real. Using dramatic play (dressing up as a monster or the thing he is fearful of) is a way to put him in a position of power over his fear and help him to conquer this fear and ultimately sleep better.

It is perfectly fine to sit in a chair in his room until he falls asleep. Reassure him a few times that you will sit until he’s asleep to get him over this hurdle. He will start to fall asleep more quickly and you can move the chair closer to the door and ultimately out of the room. This is a nice way to support him at a difficult time.

It is also possible that the timing of his bedtime is part of the problem, too. Sometimes when children begin protesting anew, it’s because they’re overtired and need an earlier bedtime. His nap should end by 3:30 p.m. and bedtime should therefore be at 8:30 (5 hours later).

Lastly, make sure you have a soothing bedtime ritual that happens at a predictable time every day. If one parent is rushing in from work and doesn’t have much time to connect before bedtime, this could be very disruptive. It is important for children to have at least 45-60 minutes with a parent whom they haven’t seen all day before going to bed, otherwise they will protest that separation more.

sleep q & a: siblings sharing a room

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Q: Our almost 3 year-old and 5 year-old have been sharing a room for the past year and we are still having difficulties getting them to go to sleep when we put them down. We’ve separated their bedtime (but the younger one waits up for the older), we’ve taken away their lovies and night light. We’ve even resorted to spanking on a few occasions (which we hated to do but felt helpless). We have a soothe-to-sleep routine every night. HELP!

A: This is undoubtedly exhausting and frustrating. It can be hard to take a bedtime that is wrought with lots of testing and frustration and turn it into a peaceful process, but it can be done. First, you need to think about how to make it a win-win. Since they are sharing a room you will reward (or not) them as a team. Keep it POSITIVE! Children respond best when they know what to expect and have a clear path to get there.

1. TIMING: Make sure their bedtimes are reasonable. If they are overtired, they will act wired and will be more challenging to get to bed. Similarly, if they are not tired enough, they won’t be sleepy enough to drift off to sleep. Assuming they are not napping during the day (though they may be) they should be ready for bed around 7-7:30 p.m.
2. You have a soothing bedtime routine, so that’s great.
3. STAY CALM AND IN CONTROL. Children get frightened and stressed when we lose control. Spanking is an adult temper tantrum and can be dangerous. Plus is teaches children that violence is a solution. I know you don’t want that. Walk away if you are getting to upset.
4. Have a family meeting to clear the air (apologize for spanking, etc). Explain that you have a plan.
5. Give them back their lovies. Soothing items should never be taken from children as a punishment.
6. If they are genuinely afraid of the dark, the night light is ok. If not, it can help to have the room very dark so they aren’t encouraged to engage one another.
7.Create a reward chart that clearly outlines the behaviors you want to work on (throw in a couple gimmes so there is success). Collaborate with them on a complete list. Celebrate their successes, big and small, as you proceed. Communicate utmost confidence that they CAN do this, even when they fall short.
8. Have a reward that they are working toward. Praise alone can go a long way, but if you feel like a bigger reward might be needed, make it an experience (as opposed to a toy) such as a family trip to the zoo, etc. Be clear about how that can be earned and cheer them on along the way.
9. Give them a few tries to get it right. This means, at bedtime, come back and remind them to go to sleep a few times. “Hey kids, it’s bedtime. I know you can do it and earn a sticker toward our family trip to the zoo. Remember you get three tries to get it right tonight. Good night. I love you.”

swellbeing on chicago’s 190 north

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Our in-home consultation services were just featured on ABC7 Chicago’s 190 North program. If you fast-forward to minute 18 you will see our clip!

190 north clip

giggle guru blog – Sweet Dreams

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Two weeks ago I began blogging for giggle on their giggle gurus blog.  The blog is titled Sweet Dreams, and as you may well have guessed, the topic is sleep.  This blog is in great company with some other fantastic blogs authored by a great network of experts in other arenas, such as child development, organization, healthy eating and creating a green nursery. Please head on over and check them out.

nyc dads and positive discipline

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Recently I was very lucky to sit down with a group of NYC fathers and their little ones to discuss positive discipline at appleseeds in Chelsea. NYC dads is a Meetup group that has been expanding wildly and is now 200+ families strong, and growing!  We talked about the difficulties surrounding discipline and knowing the “right” way to handle each and every situation (think playground politics).  Being a parent awakens many thoughts/feelings/memories from our own childhoods that often need to be worked through.  If we aren’t prepared for this, the who journey can feel overwhelming and needlessly difficult. It was such a joy to be able to talk with a group of fathers who were interested in being proactive with their kids and being the best teachers possible. Oh, and their tots were too cute for school! Thanks NYC Dads!!

help needed: send diapers now!

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I was reading my Daily Candy emails this morning and was reminded of tremendous need many impoverished mothers have: diapers for their babies.  Help a Mother Out is an organization in San Francisco who collects diapers and distributes them to those in need.

Early in my career I worked for a non-profit program in the inner city of Milwaukee.  There I worked with many teen mothers and saw firsthand how hard some people work to stretch a diaper or two…some for an entire day.  It was heartbreaking to see, and with two little ones myself, I can’t imagine not being able to put a clean diaper on them whenever the need arises.

Fortunately, there are great people and organizations (such as Help a Mother Out) throughout the US, as well as virtual diaper drives who are collecting diapers to distribute to these very needy families. Spread some diaper cheer!

new iphone app for nyc parents

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Navigating NYC with kids just got a whole lot easier.

iKidNY is the must have app for savvy NYC moms on the move (and diligent urban daddies too).  A true favorite of locals and NYC visitors alike, this essential tool will change your life in the city as you know it.   Imagine being able to find the closest parks, playgrounds, changing tables, indoor playspaces, museums, libraries, subway stations with elevators, kid-friendly restaurants, and more, all with the touch of a button.   We don’t stop being efficient New Yorkers just because we have little ones!

why delayed gratification matters

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Jonah Lehrer wrote a piece in The New Yorker titled Don’t! that offers a beautiful explanation of an ongoing longitudinal study looking at delayed gratification and future success.  This study, conducted by Walter Mischel, a Stanford professor, suggests that raw intelligence isn’t the most important variable when determining future success in life.  In fact, what he suggests is that “intelligence is largely at the mercy of self-control: even the smartest kids still need to do their homework.” The key, it appears, to delaying gratification is teaching the brain to be distracted and shifting the focus of your attention.  This, Mischel argues, allows children to find ways to make situations work for them. The good news is that delayed gratification is a skill we can teach our children.  But what is so important is that it gets practiced throughout childhood.

According to Mischel, even the most mundane routines of childhood — such as not snacking before dinner, or saving up your allowance, or holding out until Christmas morning — are really sly exercises in cognitive training: we’re teaching ourselves how to think so that we can outsmart our desires.