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?

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 _________

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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?

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
Plus… are they wrong?! ;D

Author: Kathryn Eastin

Parenting is Exhausting!

Parenting is Exhausting!

We recently took a family road trip. We drove from Chicago to Nashville and had a lot of big fun. Our kids are champs in the car (translation: they watch a ton of movies and play tons of games on their various devices!), and we previously road-tripped to NYC for winter break, so this drive was nothing!  That said, after a long day of driving, my husband was exhausted, the kids wanted to swim and I got to be the one to watch them. Sure, I could have thrown on my suit and jumped in the pool with them, but I just didn't feel like it. As I was sitting there watching them enjoy the pool, I could feel myself growing irritated. Not at them, just cranky in general. So, after the kids were done, I brought them back to the hotel room, changed into my gym clothes, passed the kids off to my hubby and headed to the hotel gym. A half hour on the treadmill was all I needed to feel like myself again. A little sweat, a little quiet, a little kid-free zone. This small amount of time reminded me of how crucial it is for moms to take time for themselves. It isn't always easy, but it's so very important.

Even though we aren't country fans, we had a great time at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Whether you work in or out of the home, moms seem hardwired to do the majority of the worrying and feeling guilty, and therefore are generally the ones on the back burner. This is not to say that dads don’t kick ass, because they really do, they just seem to be better at taking time for themselves.  So moms, instead of letting ourselves go and/or being resentful of our significant other’s ability to hit pause when needed, I’ve put together a few ideas that will help take great care of you and your little ones, and make your life just a bit easier.  Bonus, these are all mom-owned businesses, so you’ll be taking care of yourself while helping out another mom. Win win!

Sweat it out.  This is my go to. When I can feel myself losing it, I throw on my shoes and hit the gym or head outside for a run.

●     Active Moms Club- Cassandra can help whip you back into shape post baby and beyond. She offers group classes as well as personal training. Her classes are encouraging, engaging, and a great way to meet other moms.

●     Primary Crossfit and Yoga- Located in Uptown, this gym offers the best of both worlds. Sweat your booty off one day and soothe your soul (and body) with yoga the next…or do it all on the same day if you can!

Pamper yourself. My other favorite thing to do. There’s nothing like fresh hair or a fabulous mani/pedi!

●     Nails Boutique- Tucked across Webster Ave. from Oz park, this little gem is my go to. Great conversation is always had and, of course, great nails.

●     Chroma K8- This adorable "beautique" is so environmentally responsible, they used mostly vintage furniture when they remodeled. I have seen some very fabulous hair walk out of this salon, including my own!

Get stuff done. Do you need to drop off the kids for a few hours? All day? Do you need a change of scenery, and a place for your kids to play safely? These places have you covered.

●     Take a Break Playcare- I can't say enough about this genius concept. Clearly mom created! At Take a Break, you can drop in and play (with your kids) for a couple of hours, or you can drop your kids off and actually get something done! They offer care for newborns up to age 13. Genius, just genius.

●     Purple Monkey Playroom- I love the coziness of this play space. Purple Monkey is the perfect alternative to the park on those days when you need to let your kiddos run around, but don't feel like worrying about how much bark they're eating or making sure they don't run into an oncoming swing. The park is great and all, but man, it's exhausting chasing tiny people around! Here, you can have a cup of coffee, chat with other moms and ensure that your little ones are nice and ready for nap time :)

●     Little Beans Cafe- Another great indoor play space, that offers locations in both Chicago and Evanston. This is great for smaller kids, but also offers options for older kids as well.

Birthday help. Once you have kids, you find yourself either going to or planning a party, constantly. My son has three parties to attend in the next week. If you are pressed for time (who isn't?!), these fabulous businesses can help.

●     Building Blocks Toy Store- Katherine and her team are AMAZING. You can call the store (two locations, Wicker Park and Lakeview), tell them what you want, pay over the phone and they will have it wrapped and ready for you to swoop in and pick up en route to the party. Not sure what the perfect gift is? If you give them a price range, and some ideas of what the birthday kiddo is into, they will hand select something for you. It doesn't get any better than that in my book. They also have a great selection of party favors, including personalized items that can be ready in minutes. Also great for teacher gifts and holiday.

●     Chicago Custom Cakes- Libby has a great eye for design and creates the cutest cakes. Whether you need a smash cake for you little one's first birthday, or a more detailed creation of whatever character your older kiddo is currently obsessed with, Chicago Custom Cakes has you covered.

Hopefully this list provides a few helpful options that help you recharge and refresh. You work hard and deserve a break. Pat yourself on the back, wipe the spit-up (or banana, or yogurt, or paint, or...) off your shirt and keep on trucking, mama!