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Bedtime Blog

Soda, Insomnia and the Parent who said “NO!”

by Lisa Malkiewicz creator of the Sleep Fairy relaxation CD for kids

Once upon a time sodas were considered a treat, not an everyday habit. Then a terrible thing happened, parents fell under the spell of evil advertisers. They began to believe that soda was a legitimate beverage for mealtimes and snacks. Young children began to down two or more sodas a day, which equals double the amount of recommended daily sugar intake. Why, one can of soda contains up to 13 teaspoons of sugar - more than a quarter cup!

It got so bad that the average American was drinking 56 gallons of soda a year. Disgusting!

Finally one caring parent stood up and said to their child, “No, have water. Soda and it’s dreadful combination of sugar and caffeine lead to childhood insomnia, hyperactivity and, of course, obesity.”

Sometimes it only takes one brave person to make the change and get the ball rolling and that’s how it was with this appalling soda epidemic. At dinner tables across the country parents began to say “No” to soda. In supermarkets and restaurants the craze caught on and parents stopped buying. It was as if parents all came to their senses at once.

The kids balked at first and tested the parents resolve, just like kids are built to do. But the parents stayed firm and pretty soon the kids were all sleeping soundly at night. They were healthier… and happier too, because they were able to focus better in school. And they all lived happily ever after.

The end.

Bedtime Breathing

by the Sleep Fairy

Teach your child the value of controlled, slow breathing. It’s an easy relaxation technique they’ll be able to use on their own.

Breathe slowly and deeply, in... and out...

Breathe in calm and happy, breathe out worries.

Breathe in warm sunshine, breathe out stale air.

Make up your own:

Breathe in Grandma love, breathe out grand-daughter love.

Breathe in wild flowers, breathe out lazy rainy days.

Breathing out doesn’t always have to be the negative, we are filled with all sorts of positive things to release into the world!

Let your mind wander, you are on your way to dreamland anyway so go ahead and free associate. And breathe, breathe, breathe...

Kids Love Progressive Relaxation

Progressive Relaxation is a fabulous way to help kids calm down and become more receptive to bedtime. Lull your little one by gently calling their attention to different parts of their body and telling that part to relax.

When I do it on my CD I use a magic wand with sparkly sounding fairy dust sprinkling down. I invite the child to imagine that the fairy dust is relaxing their head ...and neck ...and shoulders. We go all the way down to their sweet little piggy toes.

You can do this yourself. Speak softly and slowly and take the time to nurture them with loving words about their ears that listen so well or their arms that give such good hugs.

#1 Parenting Tip for Bedtime

The best thing you can do is create a bedtime routine. First, a nice warm bath. Then an enjoyable snuggle and a good book. Give yourself ample time to make bedtime a pleasant experience. This is an opportunity for "quality time" we want our kids to get. So make sure to leave enough time for talking and caring. But once the clock says lights out/bedtime, be firm. Sticking to the schedule is an important part of building the routine.

Sleeping Problems Could Be Sign of Stress

Grown-ups love to think of childhood as a carefree time of life. In reality children have stressors that can cause difficulty falling asleep, restless waking and nightmares. Of course we all recognize some events as definite causes of stress: Parents porcing or death of a family member. But parents getting back together after a separation is highly stressful for a child as well. So is a parent re-marrying or becoming pregnant.

Any troublesome relationships in the family can create stress for everyone. If parents are having trouble with one child it could very well be causing stress for the "good" child as well.

The stress of moving homes is widely recognized even for kids. But smaller moves such as changing schools or even changing teachers can be a source of stress.

Having trouble at school is stressful, as you would expect, but so is an outstanding personal achievement or recognition.

Watch out for overloaded schedules. Too many after school activities such as dance, sports or music lessons, can be putting pressure on your child without them or you realizing it.

In short, if your child is having sleep problems, scout around for possible stressful events that you may not have recognized at first. You know the old saying, knowing the problem is half the solution.

Tonsils, ADHD and Sleep!

by Lisa Malkiewicz creator of the Sleep Fairy

A new study says children who have their tonsils out get benefits that go far beyond the elimination of strep throat, they appear to sleep better, and behave better as well!

Research by a team from the University of Michigan Health System shows that many kids with behavior issues may, in fact, be suffering from sleep-disordered breathing.

Data and results collected from rigorous tests of sleep and breathing at night, and attention and behavior during the day support previous observations of a link between children's sleep-related breathing problems -- such as snoring and breathing interruptions called apneas -- and daytime behavior problems.

About half of the children in the study who had ADHD before tonsil surgery no longer met criteria for this diagnosis one year later.

Now don’t jump the gun and presume a tonsillectomy is going to help every child who has ADHD symptoms and sleep-disordered breathing. Tonsils have a function and to remove tonsils unnecessarily removes some of your immune defenses that nature provided you with. It's important for a child who is hyperactive and not sleeping well to see their pediatrician or possibly a sleep specialist.

This study is in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Positive Mental Focus

by Lisa Malkiewicz creator of the Sleep Fairy

Bedtime is a good time to exercise your mind by thinking happy thoughts. Here’s a way to guide your child in this great direction: Can you remember something that made you feel happy today? See if you can think of one thing that made you feel good. It can be a big deal, like winning a special award. Or getting a new puppy. It can be something very ordinary. Like, “My Grandma picked me up from school.” or “I found a four leaf clover.” “I ate an ice cream cone.”

What made YOU feel happy today? Whatever it was, remember everything you can about the experience. What did it look like? Taste like? Smell like? Feel like? Sound like? What made YOU feel happy today? Fill your whole body up with your happy thought. Remember it with your eyes... your ears... your hands... Your nose... your mouth, your whole body. Good happy thought thinking!

Guided Imagery Wards off Monsters

by the Sleep Fairy

It’s the bedtime mantra known by kids the world over: “Mommy, I’m scared.” Taking a little time before bed to guide your child’s imagination in a positive direction is a great habit to get into. And kids have famously playful imaginations so it’s simple to do.

Tell your child to close their eyes and imagine that they are floating on a cloud, or visiting an amazing toystore, or laying on the beach on a warm sunny day. You pick the event and as you describe it be sure to focus attention on the senses: The sand feels warm... you can smell the salty sea air... You can see the bright colors of wildflowers growing along the boardwalk and hear the sounds of seagulls calling to each other...

Not only is this a fun nurturing way to relax and bond with your child before bed, it also builds a foundation for an important life skill. Harnessing the power of ones imagination is widely considered a key factor in creating success in life.

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