I can not stress enough my belief that a bedtime routine is not only helpful, but necessary. Having a routine not only comforts your child from as early as 6 months old, but gives them a sense of consistency that is so important in their changing lives. I know everyone would love to be at home every day with their children, but that is not always possible. So as a child's day may change from a sitter to home, or school to home, having a consistent routine will give them a tremendous sense of security. Both of my children have always had the same routine; dinner, baths, quiet play and bed, and I have some great sleepers! Now of course there are some tantrums and such thrown in there, but they know what's coming next. They can count on going upstairs after dinner to take a nice bath, and know that they will return downstairs to play for a short while before stories and bed.
I have found an excellent website I am excited to share with you that has several great features including the amounts of sleep recommended for various ages. The bottom line is all children over the age of 1 should be getting at least 10 hours of sleep, while some children will want up to 13 with daytime naps on top of that! Another point I want to stress is to remember that it does not work to your advantage to keep a child up to help them sleep better, in fact it will have the opposite effect by making them overtired and harder to settle down.
Sleep is so important for their development, both cognitively and socially, and I hope everyone will take a moment to reflect on their child's sleep pattern and adjust it if necessary. Sweet dreams everyone!
At this point in time I am packing lunches year round. My children are still quite young and when I am working they are in childcare. They have to have lunches and snacks packed when this happens, and I need to be prepared for it. A few things I like to have on hand include easy to eat protein foods; red beans, cheese, peanut butter or chicken bits. I try to have as much fresh fruit and veggies as possible, like carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or apples. Frozen veggies are always a good standby, peas, mixed, or broccoli can be thawed and added to a lunch box pretty quickly. In my experience children will eat whatever they are fed from the beginning. My 14 month old is extremely picky, but I just continue to offer her good choices knowing one day she will know no other way. The key seems to be trying to offer a variety and being consistent. Their taste buds are always changing so you never know when that day will come when she smiles and eats green beans happily, instead of throwing them on the floor!
I divide my time between working at home and working in an early childhood center for children from 18 months to preschool, and I have seen thousands of lunches come through. I must say that for the most part parents pack some very healthy lunches, with 3-4 great choices. But there are a few that just makes you think, what was that parent thinking? To give you an idea of what I am talking about, here's a sample of what I've seen. Fluff sandwiches, artificially colored cheese crackers, gummy fruit snacks, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, yogurt that is neon in color, and microwavable "baby" food, that, I'm sorry, smells revolting!! Now don't get me wrong, anything is fine in moderation and my children enjoy goldfish and graham crackers. The point I am trying to make is why do we spend all sorts of time, energy and money and making our kids feel and look good, but forget about the importance of fueling their body? What we pack in their lunchboxes is so important, and I hope that every parent thinks twice this year before they throw in some processed crackers before adding a banana.
I have included some information on the new "food plate", which has replaced the old food pyramid. I hope you all find it as helpful as I have, I think many people will find this much easier to work into their lives. Happy Eating everyone!!
The new food pyramid is a circle.
The feds have ditched the age-old triangular guide to eating well in favor of a circular plate they hope diners will load up with fruits and veggies.
"As long as they're half full of fruits and vegetables and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we're golden," said First Lady Michelle Obama, who helped unveil the new icon Thursday.
The simple white plate is paired with a smaller white plate that the feds say is reserved for dairy, such as a cup of milk or a container for yogurt.