Powering Down: The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep

Is your child getting enough sleep?  We are phasing out of the days where kids run around all day and play outside until the street lights come on.  In today’s world, a lot of kids are entertaining themselves in a new way and it may be affecting their sleep.  About 75% of elementary and middle school children have access to some type of electronic device in their bedroom.  The extra stimulation, light and sound can make it harder for children to relax and get enough sleep.

The solution?

Try to limit screen time at night and at least 1 hour before bedtime.  Instead, try unplugged activities like reading, games, exercise or quiet time.  Keep in mind, adults should lead by example in this department and use the time as quality time with family.

Lack of sleep can lead to decreased concentration in school, a weakened immune system, increased risk for obesity and moodiness.  Kids ages 5 to 12 should be getting at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep.  So, let’s power down at night so we can power up in the morning for a successful day!

Kids Say the Darnedest Things!

As a nanny for the past 8 years there are so many reasons I love my job. Being able to play a
role in so many different children's development and foster their growing can be incredibly
rewarding. I’ve always been so grateful to have my nanny kids in my life because no matter
what is happening at home, no matter how serious life gets these kids always...and I mean
ALWAYS find a way to cheer me up (and they don’t even know they are doing it!).
I recently decided to ask a few of my fellow nanny friends to participate in a series of questions
to see how their kiddos would respond and it absolutely gave me a good laugh and I hope it does for you too.

(G-Girl B-Boy- -Number is their age)
Question #1- Why do you like being a kid?
Answers-

B4: “I get to do fun things”
G7: “I don’t like being a kid because I have to listen to mommy
and daddy. I want to be a grown up so I can tell my mommy and daddy
what to do and make my own decisions”
B3: “I am just 3; I am a boy not 16!”
G7: “That I don’t have to do a lot of homework”

Question #2- One word to describe you would be _________
Answers-

G7: “Fashionable”
B4: “Strong”
B3: “ **Insert kids name here** “
B9: “Awesome”

Questions #3- If you could be an animal which one would you be and why?
Answers-

G7: “Unicorn because they are magical like me”
B4: “A rat so I could go flat and go under doors”
G7: “A dolphin. They swim all day”
G3: “A doggie”


Question #4- What do you like to do for fun?
Answers-

G2: “Park!”
B4: “Play with Mommy”
G6: “I like to do my makeup”
B4.5: “Going on the swings at school”


Quesion #5- What's the nicest thing you’ve done for someone?
Answers-

B4: “Eating someone's food for them when they don’t want it all”

G7: “Gave up my best friend for someone”
B4: “Smile and wave and say hi to everyone”
B3: “It’s not nice to scream and shout and you have to get out of
the bath if you do”

Question #6- What do you think you’ll be doing in 10 years?
Answers-

G2: “I’m gonna give shots”
G7: “Walking down the red carpet”
B4: “Be a daddy and a jungle explorer”
B9: “College”

Question #7- What do you think makes a person good looking?
Answers-

G7: “Having Abs and being kind”
B4: “Their boobies”
G7: “Their smile”
B9, G6, B4.5: "Having good hair”


Questions #8- What's the grossest thing you can think of?
Answers-

G4, G2, G7, B9, B3.5: “Poop”
G7, B4.5, G7, G6: “Boogers”
B9: “Grandmas Feet”
B4: “Kissing someone on the mouth”

I wish I could sit around and ask different kiddos these questions all day. Their responses are
priceless!
Plus… are they wrong?! ;D

Author: Kathryn Eastin

Great Expectations

This week's blog post is brought to you by our friends at Third Coast Birth. They offer childbirth education, birth doula support, postpartum and parenting support to Chicago area families.

We love the honesty of this piece. We all had ideas of how we would parent our children before we had them. Some of those ideas worked well, and some had to be thrown out the window once we met our children and discovered their various personalities! Thanks for sharing this truth, Margarita. We certainly can relate!

______________________________________

I had grand ideas about my hypothetical children before I ever met them. I had dedicated the first 12 years of my adult life to a career working with and supporting children and families. I understood kids. I especially understood the kids that gave most adults a hard time. I loved their honesty, their capacity to call bullshit when they saw it, and overall, their unburdened perspective on humanity. I respected them; they respected me.

And then I gave birth to a child very similar to the ones I just described. Except the people who have had a hard time with her are me and her dad, not her teachers, nor her friend’s parents, mostly just us – her parents. My oldest kid is small and mighty, intelligent and opinionated and she takes nothing, and I mean not a single thing, at face value. She is also an empath and an observer. She mirrors the emotions of those around her and for better or for worse, she and I are very in tune with one another’s emotions. This means then, any objectivity I was once capable of as a caregiver becomes completely obliterated by our collective emotions.

Let’s take a step back. I remember the day I graduated with my masters in child development, and a few people said to me:

“You’re going to be an amazing mother!”

Oh, well, thank you. What makes you think that?

“Well, with all this knowledge of children you have, you’ll be so great with your own!”

Hmm, that’s an interesting idea. I didn’t think the information I learned in grad school would actually give me much of an advantage on parenting, quite simply because of the one factor that isn’t present when you’re working with children who don’t live with you: deep rooted emotional connection.

Emotions play a pivotal role in parent-child interactions, I think we can all agree with that concept. The entire purpose of the parent-child relationship within the first 3 years of life is to allow strong social-emotional capacities to flourish within our kids, so that they may be functioning members of society and humanity. That may be a bit harder to swallow, but that’s another discussion for another time. As a non-parent, in my work with kids, it was easier to see each individual child as a whole developing person, rather than as small, irrational and intense humans who lose their minds when you cut their pancakes into triangles instead of squares (even though they specifically asked for triangles and then silently changed their minds during the 5 seconds you assumed the pancake cutting position; true story).

Fact: we cannot be objective with our own kids. We are connected to them on a cellular level, and at a uniquely emotional level that only a parent-child dyad can share. So, what does that mean for our day-to-day parenting interactions with our kids?

In reading this article, from PBS Parents, the following stood out like the kid who has a fresh poop in his diaper in Mom&Baby music class:

“Keep in mind that you can’t actually make your child do anything–eat, sleep, pee, poop, talk, or stop having a tantrum. What you do have control over is how you respond to your child’s actions, as this is what guides and shapes their behavior.”

Wait. What? I know I can’t make my kid do anything, but I thought that I was just doing everything wrong. Not so. I am doing so many things right, and so are you. And if we shift our perspective to accommodate the concept that as parents, we don’t actually run the show, maybe then we can give ourselves the space to have effective and reasonable responses to the ever fluctuating intensity of being the grown up to our 3 year old skeptics, our 4 year old sages and even to our 2 year old tyrants.

The collective expectation in our society: that parents need to single-handedly mold, control, teach our children everything from how to deal with emotion, to how to read and write, to how to pee in a toilet, to how to sleep a socially acceptable number of hours every night, to be polite, etc, is a total farce. It’s time to shift our expectations, folks. And it will be time to shift expectations again every 3-6ish weeks in the first 6 months of life, and then every 4-8ish months thereafter through about age 5. Stay tuned for what that all means in terms of milestones like beginning to sit, crawl, stand, talk first using telegraphic speech and then in full multi-word sentences. It’s a wild ride, but if we stick together, it’s still dramatic and exhausting, but a lot less terrifying.