Archive for October, 2008

daylight savings sleep tips

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

I know, I know.  Daylight savings time again.  It always comes too soon.  Fret not, these simple tips for babies (6 months and older) and toddlers will help you stay on track with your good sleep habits.  Give your children a few days to settle in to the new time.  After they adjust to the new clock, the only thing left to dread is the sun setting at 4 p.m.  Ugh.

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

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

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.

spanking doesn’t work!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Parents must know that while spanking may work in the very near term to stop a child from misbehaving, it ultimately backfires.  For starters, spanking teaches your child that the bigger, stronger person in a disagreement always wins.  And that in order to make your point, you must strike another person.  The irony is that children are often spanked for hitting or kicking another child.

An article by Lisa Belkin in this morning’s New York Times Magazine Blog, “When Is Spanking Chid Abuse?” shares the findings of Alan E, Kazdin research.  Mr. Kazdin is the Director of the Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic at Yale and reports that 63 percent of parents physically discipline their 1-to 2-year-olds.  I find this statistic staggering and alarming.  In a piece Mr Kazdin wrote for Slate, he says there’s “a strong natural tendency to escalate the frequency and severity of punishment.”  Here is the part of what he says that I wish every parent would understand.

“The negative effects on children include increased aggression and noncompliance—the very misbehaviors that most often inspire parents to hit in the first place—as well as poor academic achievement, poor quality of parent-child relationships, and increased risk of a mental-health problem (depression or anxiety, for instance). High levels of corporal punishment are also associated with problems that crop up later in life, including diminished ability to control one’s impulses and poor physical-health outcomes (cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease). Plus, there’s the effect of increasing parents’ aggression, and don’t forget the consistent finding that physical punishment is a weak strategy for permanently changing behavior.”

I have to believe that if parents really knew what was at risk with corporal punishment, they would work harder to seek an effective solution.  Stay posted for a seminar on this very topic.

fans dramatically reduce SIDS risk

Monday, October 6th, 2008

The New York Times Well Blog posted about a new research finding, published today in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, has found having a fan in baby’s room reduces the risk for SIDS by as much as 72 %!  The proposed theory is that the fan prevents the baby from re-breathing in exhaled carbon dioxide.  And while the fan doesn’t make the baby’s room cooler, it is important to keep the sleeping environment cool as this also reduces the risk for SIDS.