CategoriesParenting Wellness

Learn the ABC’s of Sleep Training

Every parent knows the struggle of getting your kid to fall asleep – and stay asleep. Even though you rocked them to sleep and read them a story, they always seem to wake back up after 30 minutes after you put them to bed. It could be time for sleep training.

Whether you’re dealing with a phase of sleep regression or just getting started, there are things you can do to help bedtime go smoother and with fewer interruptions. 

Learn the basics of sleep training and use these night training tips to get back to catching your own zzz’s.

What Is Sleep Training?

Sleep training is training your child to fall asleep without help from you. As much as you might like cuddling with your kids all night in your bed, at some point they should learn how to fall asleep and stay asleep in their own bed.

You know you’ve successfully sleep-trained an independent baby when you can put them down for bed and they drift off without needing to be rocked, cuddled, nursed, or shushed.

For new parents, sleep training can feel like an insurmountable challenge. At the peak of sleepless nights, it’s easy to cave in and relax on sleep training. Anything to catch a little shut shut-eye, right?

Though it might be a bit tricky at first, sleep training isn’t just important for you – it’s important for your child’s health. 

How Soon Can You Start Sleep Training a Baby?

Most experts recommend that the sleep training process begins between four and six months of age. At this point, a child is developmentally ready to go at least six to eight hours between feedings. 

Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the greater the chance that they’ll develop a sleep association with your presence at bedtime. But sometimes life gets in the way, and you might need to work on sleep techniques for one-year-olds.

Tips & Tricks to Master the ABC’s of Sleep Training

Ready to sleep through the night? Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution to fix all of your nighttime woes. For long-term success, you might have to try a few of these to find a combination that works best for you.

  • Your best efforts can be thwarted by an irregular schedule. Before you endeavor into sleep training, establish a regular schedule of feeding, daytime naps, and bedtimes. You can start establishing a regular routine around two months.
  • Nighttime sleep quality is partially influenced by daytime activities. Make sure your child is getting enough physical and mental stimulation throughout the day so that they’re ready for sleep by the time bedtime rolls around.
  • Try not to create a routine that associates you or feeding with falling asleep. You’ll end up having to work harder to break that association while sleep training.

If you’re curious to learn more, you can find a whole range of sleep training books here. 

Trial Different Training Styles

The same style won’t work for every situation. Ultimately, as the parent, you know what’s best for your child. Just keep in mind that you should ideally give each trial at least a week (if not more) to start to see any progress. Sleep training doesn’t happen overnight, so give yourself grace and be patient with the process.

Here are a few different methods you can try with step-by-step instructions.

Pick Up & Put Down Method

The key to the pick up and put down method is to only soothe your child to get them to calm down. If they wake up, this method advocates standing over the crib, patting their back, or holding them until they are calm. Pick them up, calm them, then return them to the bed.

The key is to avoid holding them until they fall asleep. As a parent, you are the comforter and soother. Letting them fall asleep on their own is critical to successfully sleep training them.

Cry It Out (CIO) Method

This technique can really pull on your heartstrings. Also known as the “extinction” method, this sleep training method works by letting your little one cry until it’s time for a feeding or for them to get up in the morning. In many cases, this technique will have your kid sleeping through the night by themselves within three to four nights.

The key here is consistency. Babies can cry themselves to sleep and it’s something nearly every parent experiences at one point in their life. Listening to babies cry at night isn’t anyone’s ideal definition of parenthood. But we promise that it’s tougher for you than your kids. 

Bedtime Routine Fading Method

The bedtime routine fading method can take a bit more time than the CIO method. Instead of modifying your bedtime routine, this method works by gradually reducing the amount of time you spend going through the typical bedtime routine.

For example, if you normally spend 30 – 45 minutes rocking your child, slowly decrease that amount by five minutes each day. This eases the transition to sleep independence so that you might not have to work through crying and fussing at the beginning of bedtime.

Chair Method

The chair method is a much more gentle and gradual approach to sleep training. You start by placing your child in their bed or crib and sit in a chair next to them as they fall asleep. Once they’re asleep, you leave the room. If they wake up in the middle of the night, go in and sit back down in the chair, but don’t remove them from their bed.

Over the course of a few weeks, start to move the chair further and further away from the bed. Then, when they’re easily falling asleep on their own, remove the chair from the room and enjoy those beautiful, uninterrupted hours of sleep. 

Ferber Method

This technique is also known as the check and console method. It’s an in-between style that combines the distance of the CIO method, but with the soothing of the pick up and put down method.

You want to avoid feeding them or rocking them to sleep. Instead, come in and check on them at regular intervals. You might need to start with shorter, 5-minute intervals with younger babies so that they don’t feel abandoned. 

For seven-month babies and older, aim for 10 to 15-minute intervals. If they wake up, you should restart the checking and consoling until they fall asleep on their own again.

Conclusion: Sleep Training Doesn’t Need to Be a Nightmare

Sleep training can take a toll on parents and children. Long, sleepless nights filled with crying and soothing can make you feel like you’re failing. 

But perseverance is key to mastering sleep training with your little one. Establish a regular routine, trial different methods, and be persistent. Your hard work will pay off and you and your baby will thrive thanks to sleep training.

 

CategoriesParenting Wellness

5 Tasty Allergy-Free Snacks for Kids

Finding the perfect snack that everyone can enjoy isn’t just about coming up with tasty treats. It’s also about finding allergy-free food snacks for kids that are safe for the whole gang. While this might seem like a daunting challenge, we promise it’s easily doable thanks to the allergy-friendly food revolution. 

The good news is that you don’t need to invest a ton of time or effort into making allergy-free snacks for your kids. Many nut-free brands also recognize that it’s not just about peanuts or tree nuts – there are six other major allergens that should also be considered.

Here are eight tasty allergy-free snacks for kids that everyone can safely enjoy.

What Are Allergy-Free Treats?

Allergy-free treats can be guaranteed to be free of the top eight most common allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, soy, egg, wheat, milk, shellfish, and fish. Pre-made food products and school snacks that you buy at the store are made in dedicated facilities that don’t process foods that contain allergens.

An easy way to spot allergy-safe treats is to look for the seals or certifications that indicate they’re allergy-friendly kids’ snacks. You might spot a gluten-free, nut-free treat with a symbol on the outside of the package. But if you really want to make sure it’s 100% safe for everyone, here are a few store-bought healthy snacks that are safe for everyone.

Five Allergy-Safe Snacks That Pass the Kid Taste Test

1. Allergy-Friendly Granola Bars

Freedom Foods is known for creating tasty solutions for kids with food allergies. Their apple and cinnamon, school-safe Crunchola Granola Bars will have your kids coming back for seconds. 

2. Applesauce & Cinnamon

Looking for an easy, prepackaged gluten-gree and dairy-free snack? Applesauce is an easy go-to. It doesn’t require refrigeration, and you can get really creative with toppings. 

While cinnamon is a classic, you can also add in allergy-friendly toppings for extra texture. Things like toasted coconut and allergy-safe granola can be perfect additions.

3. SunButter

If you’re looking for peanut butter or almond butter alternative, there’s an easy solution: Sunbutter. Made with sunflower seeds, this is an easy and safe peanut-free snack. The delicious duo tops the list of all-time favorite gluten and dairy-free snacks because it makes it ridiculously easy to throw together a quick snack.

4. Not Nuts Dairy and Soy Free Treats

The entire Enjoy Life Not Nuts line has nailed the tasty, gluten-free snack selection. Like their fan-favorite seed and fruit mix bars. They’re kinda like granola bars – but better because they’re packed with all sorts of crunchy nuts and chewy fruits. The best part is that these allergen-free bars avoid the eight most common allergens. 

5. Boomchickapop Popcorn

There’s no better gluten and dairy-free store-bought snack than popcorn. But you have to be vigilant about which one you choose because not every popcorn brand is committed to making sure that their products are allergen-free. 

That’s why Boomchickapop is one of our favorites. Their standard popcorn contains only three ingredients: corn, sunflower oil, and sea salt. Ditch the potato chips for this healthy, salty snack that every kid can enjoy.

Conclusion: Finding Allergy-Free Snacks for Kids Is Easy Thanks to Healthy Store-Bought Options

Gone are the days where finding healthy, allergy-free snacks for kids was a chore that required making special snacks for the whole group. Today, many brands offer allergy-friendly snacks that are more than just gluten and dairy-free. Get ready to kick your summer staycation up a notch with these tasty treats that everyone can safely enjoy.

CategoriesWellness

The Not-So-Sweet Effects of Sugar on Children

Kids can be as sweet as candy, but how much sugar is too much sugar? Sweets, candy, and sodas are all an integral part of childhood. Summers wouldn’t be complete without ice cream and Halloweens would be empty without your favorite candy treat. But too much sugar can have serious health consequences for your child. From brain function to high blood pressure, learn about the effects of sugar on children.

Provide Complete Nutrition for Healthy Development

Limiting your child’s sugar consumption can help ensure balanced nutrition and healthy development. If you’re thinking, my child eats too much sugar, you should compare their daily intake with the recommended limit. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar daily for children.

The daily recommended amount of sugar was established as a guideline to help prevent side effects and long-term health implications. 

If your child is filling up on processed, sugary foods, then they might not have as much room for healthy, whole foods that deliver the complete nutrition that their growing bodies need. A diet high in sugar can increase their risk of obesity and high blood pressure thanks to constant spikes in blood sugar levels.

Let’s talk about the negative impact of sugar on the brain. The link between sugar and child brain development has been highlighted by several studies. Results of a 2018 study suggested that increased sugar consumption during pregnancy and throughout childhood lead to decreased cognitive function and overall lower intelligence scores.

Yes, a child’s sugar addiction can be a real thing. If you find that your child is constantly craving sugar, that might be a sign that it’s time to dial back on those sugary, sweet, processed foods. If you can’t kick those sugar cravings, try swapping out for naturally sweetened foods – like berries and other sweet fruits.

Protect Your Child’s Dental Health

Limiting sugar for your child can help protect their dental health. While regular brushing, flossing, and dentist visits can help dodge those nasty cavities, a diet high in added sugars can wreak havoc on dental health.

Limit their intake of sugary fruit juices, sodas, and candy – especially right before bedtime or nap time. If you do decide to indulge in sugary treats, make sure to reinforce good tooth brushing habits to help avoid dental decay due to sweet foods.

Look for Sneaky Sugars

An easy way to make sure you’re cutting down on sugar intake is to read the nutrition labels. Many “healthy” foods aren’t so healthy. Things like yogurt, milk, and cereals can be packed with hidden added sugars that often go undetected.

Go for healthier alternatives like plain yogurt. Kick it up a notch by topping with fresh fruit, granola, and honey. Check each food to see how many grams of added sugars there are. 

Natural sugars are better because they’re usually offset by natural fibers. For example, although berries and fruit are high in natural sugars, the fiber content helps burn off the sugary energy during the digestion process. Moderate added sugars like high fructose corn syrup.

Find a Balance

Let’s be realistic. A restrictive diet (i.e., one without any sugary foods) isn’t necessarily viable. Let the kids be kids and enjoy that sweet treat or sugary drink every once in a while. Life is about finding that balance between healthy foods and the occasional indulgence.

Pay attention to what your child eats, but let them have a little bit of freedom. Completely forbidding sugar is a fast track to rebellion – which can backfire and cause more harm than good in the end.

Conclusion: Protect Your Child’s Health With a Balanced Diet

Sugar can do crazy things to a child’s developing brain and body. The effects of sugar on children range from long-term health implications to dental cavities. A healthy, balanced diet includes whole, unprocessed foods and the occasional sweet treat. There’s no need to completely eliminate all sugary foods. You can easily support their cognitive development and keep those bones and teeth healthy by moderating their sugar intake.

 

Note: You should always discuss dietary changes with your trusted pediatrician. This article was written to help you understand the potential health effects of a sugar-filled diet.

CategoriesBlog Parenting Wellness

10 Tips to Survive Working from Home With Kids… Without Going Insane

 

Between Zoom meetings and homeschooling, trust us when we say that working from home with kids has been pushing every parent over the edge. If you feel like you’re going off the rails trying to juggle a full-time job and homeschooling, you’re not alone.

When your daily routine doesn’t feel so routine anymore, try these ten tips for working from home while homeschooling.

1. Schedule the Day – or Don’t

For some households, creating a schedule can help add some order to an otherwise wildly unpredictable day. One of the best time management tips for work-at-home moms is to schedule out time blocks – for both you AND the kids.

But forcing a routine on the chaos of homeschooling while working can be like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. There will be a lot of pushing, shoving, friction – and probably a few savory words. Don’t fret if you just can’t make a semi-rigid schedule work. Remember that trying to force a schedule can create added stress.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, even if that flow changes every day. Even if your morning routine gets thrown off because the Cheerios are out of stock, don’t let it throw off your entire day.

2. Manage Your Expectations

If you don’t set realistic expectations, you’re setting yourself up for a one-way trip on the struggle bus.

When you’re creating a work-from-home schedule, plan on (constant) interruptions – even if you can close the door to your office and try to drown out the kids bickering in the living room.

There will be some days where you won’t be able to stick to those bedtime routines. Instead of letting it stress you out, let it go and accept that one day will not throw the universe out of alignment.

3. Set Priorities

Look – you’re not going to get everything done every day. One way to set your stay-at-home schedule up for success is by assigning daily task priorities.

Try breaking your daily tasks into three different categories: urgent, important, or non-important. 

If you’ve got a presentation to complete before a conference call or your kid has a school project due tomorrow, place them into the urgent (or must do) category. Domestic chores (like dishes or laundry) might alternate between important and non-important, depending on the day.

Categorizing your tasks can help you visualize what is essential versus what can wait. This simple approach can give your days the flexibility they need to manage your work at home job and homeschooling.

4. Establish Boundaries

The quarantine/work-from-home situation has blurred the lines between the work/life boundaries. If you’re feeling stressed and burnt out, try redefining the boundaries between work time and home time

Learning how to manage your time as a working mom or dad means understanding how to establish clear boundaries. When you sign off for the day, shut the door or tuck away the laptop to help you focus on your favorite part of the day: one-on-one time with your kids.

This tip goes for the kids, too. When school time’s over, let it go for the day. 

5. Make Time for Play

A day in the life of working from home should include a healthy amount of playtime. In today’s stressful quarantine environment, that might mean even more playtime than usual. 

Studies show that COVID impacts childrens’ mental health just as much (if not more) than adults. Limited social contact, isolation, and ongoing uncertainty can leave your child feeling anxious.

Try including more playtime into your daily schedule to help offset that anxiety. Give yourself permission to join in, but make sure you communicate with your peers and boss when you’ll be off the clock for playtime.

6. Ask for Help When You Need It

Lean on your support system and ask for help when you need it. Juggling kids and working from home can burn you out – quickly.

We all have moments when we know that we should ask for help but don’t. Probably because of pride. Or because we think we need to be superheroes and do it all without complaining or failing.

But if you’re thinking (yet again) that “I can’t cope with my kids,” you’re not the only one. We’re all just trying to avoid turning into perpetual Oscar the grouches while homeschooling and working full time.

7. Create Dedicated Spaces

The value of a dedicated home office can’t be understated. Having a space in your home to focus solely on work can give you the psychological definition between work and home life. 

When we’re doing our jobs from home with kids, it’s essential to define a space for everyone. 

To minimize distractions, you can try dedicating separate rooms for each person to work in. If that’s not feasible, use tape or other visual indicators to delineate “work zones” to give everyone permission to relax when they’re not in their zone.

8. Take a Break – or a Day Off

When you’re at your rope’s end, thanks to yet another squabble over who gets the iPad, it might be time to take a break – or a day off.

When a country full of working parents transitioned to remote jobs, there was a cultural shift in how break time and days off were viewed. Now, most employers encourage their employees to take time off when they need a break.

It’s also vital that you schedule in regular, kid-free time. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of adult time while the kids play outside or enjoy some extra screen time.

9. Dole Out Responsibilities

Let’s say it together: you can’t do it all. Evenly dividing responsibilities amongst all members of your household is an easy way for homeschool families to share the burden of a full-time work-from-home life.

This is the number one home management tip for working moms. Sorry, guys. The data shows that women still do the majority of domestic chores inside the home

Sharing household responsibilities can help spread the load out between everyone. Set up a chore chart and get the kids involved. Make a game out of it and provide rewards when chores get completed in full and on time.

10. Get Out of the House

When in doubt, get out of the house. Go for a walk, go to the park, or just take lunch outside for a backyard picnic. A change of scenery can help hit the reset button and set the rest of your day up for success.

If you’re wondering how to work around school hours, remember that you should keep outside time flexible. Some days will be more of a struggle than others. On those days, give yourselves the permission to get outside of the house and recharge your batteries.

Conclusion: Redefine “Normal” to Stay Sane When Working from Home with Kids

It’s time to accept that today’s version of normal is nothing any of us has ever seen before. As working parents, the WFH life can take a toll on you. Use these ten tips to help you stay sane when working from home with kids.

 

CategoriesBlog Wellness

Sun Safety for Kids: What Parents Should Know

With the weather finally warming up, it’s time to get excited about outdoor activities again. Getting outside can energize your day – especially after being cooped up for most of the winter. But before you hit the playground, you should learn about sun safety for kids to make sure everyone can play safely outside. 

From SPF to kid’s sun protection hats, learn about sunscreen, sun safety, and how to get the most out of your outdoor time while protecting your skin.

Understanding SPF

When it comes to sunscreen for kids, it can get confusing. Sure, you’ve probably used it for most of your life, but chances are that you might not understand SPF as well as you think you do.

Sun protection factor (SPF) is the rating that sunblocks are given, depending on how much of the sun’s rays they block. 

The number that follows SPF (i.e., 15, 30, 50) indicates how long it would take to get burnt if you weren’t wearing any sunblock. For example, it would take 50 times longer to burn after applying SPF 50 versus not wearing any sunscreen whatsoever.

What’s the minimum SPF rating for kids https://libido-de.com? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) sunscreen guidelines recommend SPF 15 at minimum. This is a good starting point, but you can always opt for a higher-strength sunblock.

SPF 15 blocks about 93% of the sun’s UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks up to 98% of UVB rays. 

Some dermatologists might tell you that anything over SPF 50 won’t do much more to protect the skin. In fact, it can lure you into a false sense of security that could result in painful sunburn for your kids.

Keep in mind that sunscreen’s effectiveness is based on the assumption that it’s applied (and reapplied) correctly. 

Dodge the (Ultraviolet) Rays

UVA and UVB rays are both harmful UV rays. They can do a real number on any exposed skin that might be peeking out on your child. 

UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are most responsible for premature skin aging. UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer.

Avoid sun damage to your kid’s skin by choosing sun protection that offers broad-spectrum protection. This type of sunblock blocks out both UVA and UVB rays to provide maximum protection.

Also, consider timing your outdoor excursions so that you’re inside at midday when the sun’s rays are the most intense.

Different Types of Sunscreen

Choosing the right type of sunscreen ultimately comes down to what outdoor activities you have planned. The same sunscreen won’t work for every activity. Here’s how to protect children from the sun by choosing the right sunblock

Chemical vs. Physical Sunscreen

Chemical and physical sunblocks are two different styles of sunblock that have unique advantages and disadvantages.

Chemical:

 

  • Blocks the sun’s rays by soaking up UV rays and turning them into heat
  • They can take up to 30 minutes to work – which can feel like a lifetime of waiting for eager children
  • Aerosol application makes it easier to apply

Physical: 

 

  • Blocks the sun’s rays by reflecting UV rays
  • Don’t have a wait time before they start working
  • Can be easier to wipe off and might need reapplied more often

Sunscreen Lotion, Stick, or Spray?

Lotion and stick sunscreens tend to apply thicker than aerosol sprays. They may or may not be waterproof. Waterproof sunscreen is an easy way to avoid sunburn while swimming.

One bonus to aerosol and stick sunscreens is that they are easy to apply to a wiggly, active child. Aerosol chemical sunblock helps to avoid the whole “sunblock in my eyes” burning feeling that can create negative associations with sunblock for kids.

There is not a single “best” type of sunscreen. If you plan on staying out longer, a stick or lotion sunblock might be best. But if you’re just going to the park for a few hours in the early morning, then an aerosol can be a good option, too.

And when in doubt, reapply, reapply, reapply!

How to Explain Sun Safety to Children

Getting kids to wear sun protection hats, UV shirts, and reapply sunscreen can feel impossible. They often don’t realize the importance of sun safety. Here are a few ways you can approach teaching sun safety facts to kids:

 

  • Make it a game: Try playing sun safety dress-up. Grab bucket hats, UV shirts, and sun protection wraps and pretend to “dress up”, even though you might not be going outside. This can help kids look forward to protecting their skin.
  • Take it to the classroom: Making it a part of other, learning moments can help kids to understand the significance of sun protection. Look for books, e-learning apps, and TV programs that help reinforce sun info for kids. Who knows what fun facts about the sun for kids you might run into!
  • Lead by example: If there’s one thing that parents know for sure, it’s that the kids are always watching and emulating our actions as parents. Demonstrate the importance of sun safety by practicing good sun safety yourself.

Sunburn Information Facts

Even diligence cannot 100% prevent sunburns. While we try our best as parents, we’re only human, and there is a chance that your child might experience sunburn at some point.

If sunburn happens, it’s a good idea to use aloe vera to help cool the skin down and reduce inflammation. Keep the affected area cool and dry and avoid clothing that can restrict airflow.

Remember that sunburn treatment is only the first step. You’ll also need to make sure that your child drinks enough water and stays hydrated to accelerate skin cells’ healing process. 

Conclusion: Know the Facts About Being Sunsmart

The best way to avoid long-term skin damage is to make sure you understand the facts about being sun smart. When it comes to kids and sun, help teach your child about the importance of sun protection – whether that’s wearing sunblock, protective clothing, or modifying the “under the sun” hours. Understanding these parenting sun tips can help show you how to stay safe in the sun for kids.