11 Things NOT to say to a parent of an Only Child

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With a single child households on the rise, it’s time everyone got on board with what onlies and parents of onlies already know: Only children may grow up differently, but they’re just as awesome. I put together this list of comments that I really don’t like to be asked or say.

  1. “He must be really lonely.”

First of all, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. I can say that only children are actually less likely to feel lonely because they have more experience being alone. We’re comfortable hanging out with ourselves and often have rich inner lives. That said, it’s important to make sure only children have lots of opportunities to play with other kids, so if you’re really concerned about the sibling-free boy down the street, I’m sure his parents would be happy to send him over for a play date.

  1. “He won’t have anyone to help take care of you when you’re old.”

While this technically may be true, there’s no guarantee that the children in a bigger family will share the work of caring for a parent, anyway. We have all heard about families where one sibling becomes the de fact of caretaker, whether he or she wants to or not. This is a situation that’s impossible to predict, so it’s just hurtful to make someone feel guilty for it.

  1. “It must be so easy with just one child.”

Well, yes and no. Yes, parents of only children don’t have to referee sibling fights, fill out school forms in triplicate, or spend nearly a decade changing diapers. But some of us made that choice because we know that we would have trouble managing a bigger family. When other parents start complaining about the stress of having multiple kids, I resist the urge to remind them that they chose to have a bigger family.

  1. “You’re not a real parent until you have more than one.”

Several parents told me they’d heard variations of this hurtful line, as if only-child moms “fall somewhere between a mother and an aunt on the challenge and commitment spectrum,” as a friend described it. We may have “just” one, but we have the important job of protecting and nurturing that life and feel all the same fears, worries, and boundless love other parents feel.

  1. “You don’t want him to grow up to be spoiled, do you?”

Trust me; parents of only children have internalized this stereotype so deeply that most of us are hyper-vigilant about not “spoiling” our kids. Even so, it’s a given that an only child is going to get more focused attention from his parents. Research shows this is a positive in terms of self-esteem, achievement, and even intelligence.

  1. “You’re selfish for not having another child.”

Does anybody know me or know my situation or the reasons for not to have another baby? That is another topic.

  1. “That must be why he is so shy.”

First of all, there is nothing wrong with being shy or introverted. The shy, withdrawn only-child stereotype is so pervasive that for a long time people believed is true, that is another topic.

  1. “He doesn’t seem like an only child.”

That’s a loaded complement if I’ve ever heard one. All kids have selfish and bratty moments, but only children are more quickly defined by these labels than kids from bigger families. Conversely, some people see an only child who actually has empathy and social skills as a rare unicorn. The reality is that all kids are in the process of acquiring these skills and should be allowed some mistakes as they grow.

  1. “What if he doesn’t have kids and you never get to be a grandmother?”

Well, yes, I’ll be a little disappointed if I never experience being a grandparent, but having more than one child just to ensure it happens doesn’t seem like the smartest gamble. Plenty of people never have kids. I want my child to grow up to be happy with his choices, not with pressure to make me a grandmother.

  1. 1 “Are you having another?”

Variations include “Just one?” and “Don’t you want one of each?” I especially like this sneaky one from the grandparents: “Our friends are asking us if you’re having another baby.” It should go without saying, but these are very personal questions. Some people will be happy to respond that they’re “one and done,” but others may have painful reasons behind their family size—money troubles, marriage problems, medical conditions.

  1. “He needs a sibling.”

I love my child dearly, but I try hard not to give in to him every whim and want, and that includes creating another human being for him to play with. There is no guarantee that siblings will be friends. I felt completely identified in this article Follow my blog for more informative and interesting articles about parenting and motherhood’s experiences.

 

 

Motherhood And The Tendency To Alcohol

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Mothers have unique challenges that can aggravate drinking issues in those with susceptibility. However, it is important not to blame external circumstances exclusively for leading mother’s to drink heavily, also are also biological and physiological factors at play.

There are many challenges and blessings of motherhood that are not unique to alcoholics, as other mothers experience them.  However, it is important to acknowledge them and support other mothers in finding strategies to address the challenges in order to enjoy the blessings:

Challenges:

  • It can be challenging to find time for self-care without the support of loved ones, as an example alone time, massage, exercise, nap, read)
  • Mothers may experience “mommy guilt” for leaving their babies in order to take care of themselves.
  • Hormones are unstable during pregnancy and after, especially if a mother is breastfeeding.  Mood and energy can be effected and difficult to regulate.
  • The extreme change in routine with a baby can throw off the recovery plan a mother may have had previously, one of the most difficult stages in life.
  • HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired) is an abbreviation for possible causes that lead to decline.  These 4 triggers are sometimes hard to avoid as a new mother and it is important to stay aware of how vulnerable they can leave you to fading.
  • Mental health issues as anxiety, and depression can be intensified during early motherhood for reasons that include: stopping psychotropic medications due to pregnancy, hormone variations, sleep deprivation, mood issues, stress.  For those women who used to drink to self-medicate mood issues in the past this can be a difficult and causing time to learn to handle without turning to alcohol.
  • Loss of freedom:  drinking alcohol can be an escape and lead one to forget about their responsibilities for a short time. Parenting can lead some to feel locked and trapped.
  • Mothers put their child first and this can lead them to ignore recovery suggestions and to avoid taking the time to fit their recovery program into their new busy life.
  • Motherhood is continuous in a non stop routine. Alcohol can offer a quick escape and sober mothers need to find other options that may require support from others.
  • Marriages and partnership dynamics inevitably change after a baby enters the family, and there may be an increase in tension for a long period of time.
  • Motherhood is the opposite of a lifestyle and feeling responsible for another human being can lead some mothers to long for a time when they were independent and spontaneous.
  • Motherhood involves delayed gratification and patience in the process.  For those who require immediate gratification and rewards, they may look to other sources as alcohol, and food.
  • Many alcoholics’ desire excitement and stimulation in their life, becoming a mother requires a quieter existence and a monotonous routine.

But don’t be discouraged there are many protective positive factors that motherhood can add

Blessings:

  • Taking care of a baby is the ultimate act of sharing and can increase our selflessness therefore, decreasing selfish addictive behaviors
  • Being a mother may increase motivation to get and stay sober, so that you have something to offer to your child.
  • Being in recovery can prevent feelings that parenting is “getting in the way” of your drinking life.
  • Motherhood brings new meaning to your life and can fulfill you in a way that you may have been searching for through alcohol.
  • Motherhood can inspire you to plan for a healthy future and excessive alcohol would not fit into that type of lifestyle
  • Mothers want to set good examples for their children, and being a mother in recovery is an admirable
  • Genetics account for 50% of the chance of developing alcoholism.  Therefore, it is vital that alcoholic parents take responsibility for getting sober and staying in recovery in order to increase the chances that their children either don’t develop alcoholism or have role models to support them if they do.
  • Drinking alcohol in excess inevitably brings an element of danger into your own life (health, drinking and driving, blackouts, etc.).  Therefore, as a mother, you would not want to bring these issues into your child’s life.

Recovery involves more than just “not drinking”.  It also includes living a balanced and healthy lifestyle.  Here are some suggestions of ways to balance recovery and motherhood:

  • Ask for help!  Mothers are not superwomen and need support in parenting from their spouse, partner, loved ones and friends.
  • Make sure that you are eating regularly and if you need help getting groceries or cooking, then reach out to others.
  • Be sure to integrate self-care into your day when taking care of your child: take a nap, exercise, read a good book, watch a fun T.V. show, meditate pray, etc. Cultivate a hobby.
  • Find ways to combine self-care and childcare: get a jogging stroller so that you can walk/run with your child; do yoga stretches while they are playing in an activity center on the floor; get a seat or “pack and play” that will allow you to shower, cook, clean, etc. Be sure to get outside each day, especially if there is sunshine. A lack of vitamin D from the sun can contribute to depressed moods.
  • Ask a loved one to watch your child or pay for a babysitter so that you can do something good for yourself at least once a week: therapy mutual-help group meeting, yoga, exercise, massage, manicure, etc.
  • Join a Mom’s support group such as “Mommy and Me” or library affiliated mother’s groups
  • Begin to create a daily routine that can bring some predictability and stability to your days.
  • Get sleep!!!  Sleep deprivation can lead to many mood-related issues.  If you are having insomnia or constantly interrupted sleep, then it is important to find some support and solutions:
  • Take a nap while your child is napping even if you have chores and other tasks to accomplish, have your partner alternate getting up to feed the baby at night, sleep with ear plugs and have your partner be “on call” alternate nights, listen to a guided relaxation before bed, turn off all electronics 1 hour before bedtime, go to bed first so that you are asleep before your partner comes to bed and have them be “on duty” so that you can sleep, have a night off and sleep at a loved one’s house so that you partner can cover for you (even one night of good sleep could help to recharge your battery).
  • NOT drink caffeine after 4:00pm, “Sleepy time” tea, consult with your physician about getting a blood test for your Thyroid or other post-partum imbalances that could lead to sleep issues, talk with your physician about non-habit forming sleep aid options if all other techniques do not help you.

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You Shouldn’t Pressure Your Child to Eat New Foods, Study Says

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Frustrated by your picky eaters? A new study says pressuring them to try something new (or to eat just three more bites!) doesn’t help.

Your picky eater comes to the table, takes one bite, and announces she’s done. Or declares that she now hates her formerly-favorite dinner. It’s frustrating—and enough to make you resort to pleading, bribery, or demands to eat more. After all, it’s your instinct as a parent to nourish your children. And when it seems like they’re not eating enough, you worry that they won’t grow well (and will never eat anything beyond buttered pasta and chicken nuggets!).

But according to a new study, pressuring kids to eat doesn’t do much good. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that when parents pressured their toddlers at mealtime, it didn’t affect their growth one way or another and had no impact on how picky they were a year later.

“The fact that we did not find a link between pressuring in feeding and future picky eating suggests either that picky eating is not especially changeable, just like it’s hard to eliminate shyness in a shy child, or that reducing picky eating needs a different approach than just pressuring,” says researcher Julie Lumeng, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at University of Michigan.

That’s not to say that pressuring kids to eat is necessarily harmless either. “Pressuring in feeding can be considered controlling or intrusive, and we know from decades of research that controlling and intrusive parenting is not valuable for child well-being,” she says.

Mealtime pressure can also worsen a child’s eating habits over time, warns pediatric dietitian Natalia Stasenko. That’s especially true if there are underlying reasons for a child’s hesitation to eat, such as anxiety or oral motor problems. Even if a child’s finicky habits are more garden-variety, pressure can negatively impact how a child feels about food and eating in general, she says.

What’s more, though this particular study didn’t show that pressure led to more weight gain, those tactics could contribute to a higher obesity risk as your child gets older. That’s because pressuring kids to eat when they don’t want to interferes with their ability to self-regulate (knowing when they’re hungry and when they’re full). Toddlers are typically good regulators, but that natural sense tends to diminish by age 4 or 5, says Stasenko. “The study wasn’t long enough to study the effects of mealtime pressure on the ability to self-regulate and its relationship to obesity,” she notes.

Since it’s natural to be concerned about picky eating and how it might affect your child’s habits in the long term, what can you do? Lumeng says children are more likely to try a new food if they see others eating and enjoying that food—especially if it’s another child like a sibling or classmate. A “one bite rule” may help some children grow to like and accept new foods. Pairing a disliked foods with a liked food (like a new veggie with ranch dressing or ketchup) is a reasonable approach too, she adds.

Remember that experiencing a food without eating it is part of the process too, says Stasenko. “In order to try a new food, kids need to go through multiple levels of experiencing it in a pressure-free way, starting from seeing it multiple times, having a chance to interact with it, seeing other people eat it, touching it, smelling it, tasting it and finally eating it,” she says. “All kids progress through these steps at their own speed.”

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, educator, and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. She is the author of the forthcoming book The 101 Healthiest Foods For Kids. She also collaborated with Cooking Light on Dinnertime Survival Guide, a cookbook for busy families. You can follow her on Facebook Twitter Pinterest, and Instagram. In her spare time, she loads and unloads the dishwasher. Then load

Via Parents

 

5 Snacks to keep your kids full longer

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Children can definitely eat out of monotony, just like grownups do. But another issue is that sometimes what they are eating may actually not be filling them up. Snack staples like pretzels, gummy fruit snacks, fish-shaped crackers, and even many granola bars simply don’t have much staying-power, so kids are hungrier sooner.

If you’re looking for a snack that will satisfy, here are some ideas:

Cheese & Veggies 

Have been proof that kids that eat as snack cheese and vegetables were satisfied after eating fewer calories than those who munched on potato chips. That’s probably because protein-rich cheese and water and fiber-rich veggies are both naturally filling foods.

Avocado Toast 

Adults who had half an avocado at lunch reported less desire to eat up to five hours later compared to those who didn’t have avocado. But even a kid-sized portion should be super satisfying since avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats that can keep hunger at bay. Spread mashed avocado quarter on a piece of whole grain toast to add extra fiber.

Raspberries & Yogurt

Fruit is high in fiber, which sops up water and swells as it passes through the digestive system, making you feel fuller. Raspberries are one of the highest-fiber fruits, packing a whopping 8 grams per cup (that’s about a third of what school-age kids need for the whole day). If fresh aren’t available, get frozen berries (just make sure they don’t contain added sugar). Add them to yogurt, which is rich in protein.

Nuts or Nut Butter

Nuts contain protein, fat, and fiber, which are all satisfying nutrients. You can serve nuts straight up or paired with dried fruit, or blend nuts or nut butter into smoothies. When kids and parents regularly ate almonds, their overall diet quality improved and they had healthy changes to their gut bacteria. (Just remember that whole nuts are a choking hazard for children younger than four.)

Popcorn

Popcorn is a tasty source of whole grains. Some studies with adults, those who munched on six cups of popcorn reported feeling more satisfied than those who ate just one cup of potato chips—and they also took in fewer calories when given a meal afterwards. Popcorn is big on volume, which the brain sees as being more filling. Skip packaged microwave popcorn and make it yourself on the stove top is simple.

I hope these tips can help you and found this article useful 5 Snacks to keep kids full longer, sometimes is hard to decide the best option and healthier option for your kids, I hope this helps.

 

10 Things I Wish People Would Stop Doing Around My Kids

There are a few things I wish other parents would stop doing when it comes to my kids—or at the very least in front of them. With some things, when I clearly know the intent, it’s much easier to let it go, but other times I find myself digging deep to extend grace (if I’m honest there have been times when I’ve dug deep and come up with nothing).

Still, I’m not here to judge. I’m just here to encourage us to look within and to be mindful of the things we are doing and saying, not just when it comes to our own kids. I’m sure I’ve done something to result in an eye-roll from another mom. So while I’m asking you to please stop talking like a sailor in front of my children who happen to be right behind you in the grocery store checkout line, I’m also doing my best to teach my children about our own family values and expectations and that we don’t necessarily have to like or agree with everything someone does to respect them or be kind.

1. Let their kids use social media

Apparently my tween is the only one who doesn’t have Instagram or Snapchat (hey, I don’t even have Snapchat)—which means I’m being totally unreasonable here. I’m OK with that, but is there anyone out there who can give me a (virtual) high-five?

2. (Well-meaning strangers) offer my kids snacks

You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

My little one is crying and you wanted to help so you waved your magic wand, I mean lollipop. Actually, you did ask me if she could have it but she was right there listening and watching that gleaming piece of candy move through the air. You thought the tears were bad, now just wait until I say, “No thank you.”

3. Ask me for a favor related to your kid

Perhaps the only thing worse than my child putting me on the spot is another parent putting me on the spot—in front of both our kids.

4. Drop F-bombs

Given I’ve got a 3-year-old who occasionally moonlights as a parrot, I try to be more careful about what I say around her. While I can control what I say, I can’t control what you say (Note: I’m not just talking about the occasional drop but rather a continuous stream of profanity as a part of your regular dialogue.). And there are some words that I don’t want to become a part of her increasingly expansive vocabulary.

5. Be mean

Making cruel, harsh and/or judgmental comments about parents or children or people in general just isn’t cool nor is it funny. When you pick apart the traits (physical or personality) of another person (even if they’re on TV), support negative stereotypes and engage in other forms of word vomit, I’m forced to question the value of our relationship when it comes to my family. Or maybe I question why I came to this restaurant and ask to be seated somewhere else. In our world kindness rules. You can totally, “sit with us.” Just be nice, OK?

6. Tell me how to discipline them

Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined.

If you’re coming from a good place and you’d like to share your thoughts in private, then please go right ahead. But I’d rather you not tell me that all parenting dilemmas would be solved if I would spank my kids or ground them or do whatever it is you do. Lucky for you they’re my kids, which means you don’t need to worry yourself with how they should be disciplined. Have you watched the news lately? There are greater fights for you to fight.

7. Make a negative or snarky comment about their appearance

I’m trying to raise girls that are comfortable in their own skin (and hair), and listening to you go on and on about how their hair is so coarse and how it must take forever and be so difficult to comb isn’t helping. We don’t need you to pity us or belittle us. We’re learning to work what God gave us and love it too. You don’t have to love it, but as the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

8. Disrespect boundaries

Nope. If my kid doesn’t want to hug you they don’t have to. It doesn’t matter whether you are a relative or a friend; if you ask and they decline, that’s it. And please refrain from the manipulative fake cries or declarations that you aren’t going to give them a treat anymore. Keep your treat. They have a right to speak up when it comes to their bodies.

9. Gossip

How is gossiping about someone’s marriage woes or troubled teen over coffee actually helping them? Moreover how is it helping my kids, who are indirectly being invited into an (inappropriate) adult conversation? Children are children, not miniature grown-ups. So please, let them be little. Once again “If you don’t have anything nice to say … “

10. Insist that (insert magical childhood character) doesn’t exist.

Just because you’ve stopped believing doesn’t mean my children have to. In my house we’re holding on to the magic of childhood for as long as we can, and for us that includes penning letters to Santa and putting that lost tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy. (Also: Unlike our fictitious favorites, our God is real. We don’t attack your faith and ask that you please refrain from attacking ours.).

Is there anything you wish other parents would stop doing around your kids or you’re making more of an effort to stop doing?

Via Mom.me

I Smashed the Legos Today, And Now I’m Filled With Regret

Pete Wilgoren

I warned her.

I really did. I warned her.

And she just stood there. We needed to get ready. We were late. She knew we were late. So I warned her again. I did.

Still, she just stood there.

And I started counting to 30. I gave her 30 seconds to get it together. Time to get ready. Now. We’re late. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8…. You need to get ready to go. Shoes and socks. Now. 9… 10… 11… 12… 13… 14… 15…. And she stood there. And I counted. And she just stood there staring me down defiantly.

And I counted more. 16… 17… 18… 19… 20. Don’t make me get to 30. She just stood there. Don’t do it. Stood there.

Don’t… 21… 22… 23… 24.

We’ve been here before. The morning battles. The not listening. The stare downs.

Stood there. Not this time. 25…

I took one of her small Lego sets, and I smashed it. Just like I threatened. One of the Lego sets she built piece by piece and proudly displayed. Destroyed. And she ran to her room in tears as Lego pieces scattered across the floor. I didn’t wait ’til 30.

I warned her I was going to punish her by getting rid of a Lego set. I warned her. I wanted to send a message. It was the culmination of all the not listenings. All the morning battles. All the frustration. So I sent a message. I did it. It was done. And immediately I thought, “What did I do?!”

She got ready for school in silence as I picked up all the Lego pieces I could find on the floor, from under the table, from behind the piano. I never found them all. We were so late that there wasn’t even time for breakfast anymore. We’d lost so much time on a useless battle over being late, the endless parenting battling over morning routines, I had to bag up some fruit and cereal for her and we headed out the door. In silence.

I dropped her off and headed to work, and I couldn’t shake it. In one instant, I created a memory she will never forget. Never.

I called my wife, and we talked it out as I drove. She listened. She’s always a good listener. And at some point, she said, “They’re little. We only have them for such a short time.” And she was right. I wanted to punish my kid, and I wanted to send a message. And I did. Unfortunately.

When I got off work, it was already dark. I battled the freeway home, and as I approached the exit for home, I passed right by it. I went to a local toy store and scanned the store shelves and spotted the same Lego set — the one with the little rocket ship amusement rides that spin around. I bought it.

I brought it home and walked up to the house. My little gal was already in her pajamas for the night. She saw the Lego set and smiled. I gave it to her and I said, “I didn’t handle the situation this morning properly. I was wrong, and I’m sorry.” And she gave me a big hug. She took the Lego box and dumped out the pieces on the floor and immediately started to rebuild. We started to rebuild.

Still, I know I created a memory she’ll never forget — the day Dad shattered her little Lego set — like little scratches on the surface of their childhood. This scratch was all mine. And I can’t take it back but I can do better. And I will.

By Pete Wilgoren

Irregular Bedtimes Could Be Damaging Children’s Health

What happens in the early years of a person’s life has a profound effect on how they fare later on. Thousands of research papers – many of them using the rich data in the British Birth Cohort studies – have shown that children who get a poor start in life are much more likely to experience difficulties as adults; whether that’s to do with poor health, or their ability to enjoy work and family life.

Ensuring that children get enough sleep is one of a number of ways to get them off to the best possible start in life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that toddlers should get roughly 11 to 14 hours of sleep every day. For children aged three to five years, the recommendation is ten to 13 hours, or nine to 11 hours for children once they’re at primary school.

But the latest research carried out by our team at UCL’s International Centre for Lifecourse Studies, shows that it’s not just the amount of sleep a child gets which matters. After digging into the data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) – which has followed the lives of some 20,000 children since the turn of the century – we found that having a regular bedtime also affects how they get on at home and at school, throughout the first decade of their lives.

The ‘jet lag’ effect:

To begin with, we looked at the relationship between regular and irregular bedtimes, and how the children got on in a range of cognitive tests. Parents who took part in the MCS were asked whether their children went to bed at a regular time on weekdays. Those who answered “always” or “usually” were put in the regular bedtime group, while those who answered “sometimes” or “never” were put in the irregular bedtime group.

The results were striking. Children with irregular bedtimes had lower scores on maths, reading and spatial awareness tests. In fact, the time that children went to bed had little or no effect on their basic number skills, or their ability to work with shapes. But having no set bedtime was linked to lower scores, especially for three-year-olds. The greatest dip in test results was seen in girls who had no set bedtime at their early life.

At the heart of this phenomenon is the circadian rhythm – the internal body clock, which tells you when it’s time to sleep and wake up.

If I travel from London to New York, I’m likely to be slightly ragged when I arrive, because jet lag is going to affect my cognitive abilities, appetite and emotions. If I bring one of my children with me, and I want them to do well at a maths test having just jumped across time zones, they will struggle even more than I will. If we think of the body is an instrument, then a child’s body is more prone to getting out of tune.

The same thing happens when children go to bed at 8pm one night, 10pm the next and 7pm another . Scientists sometimes call this the “social jet lag effect”. Without ever getting on a plane, a child’s bodily systems get shuffled through different time zones, and their circadian rhythms and hormonal systems take a hit as a result.

Best behavior:

As well as enhancing a child’s intellectual development, we found that regular bedtimes can also improve their behaviour.

At age seven, according to parents and teachers, children in the MCS who had irregular bedtimes were considerably more likely to have behavioural problems than their peers who had a regular bedtime. The more frequently a child had been able to go to bed at different times each night, the worse his or her behavioural problems were. In other words, the effects appeared to accumulate throughout childhood.

But we did find an important piece of good news,too: those negative effects on behaviour appeared to be reversible. Children who switched to having a regular bedtime showed improvements in their behaviour. This shows that it’s never too late to help children back onto a positive path, and a small change could make a big difference to how well they get on.

But of course, the reverse was also true: the behaviour of children who switched from a regular to an irregular bedtime got worse.

A weighty problem:

In a follow-up study, which looked at the impact of routines (including bedtimes) on obesity, we reported that children with irregular bedtimes were more likely to be overweight, and have lower self-esteem and satisfaction with their bodies.

In fact, of all the routines we studied, an inconsistent bedtime was most strongly associated with the risk of obesity. This supports other recent findings, which show that young children who skipped breakfast and went to bed at irregular times were more likely to be obese at age 11. Even children who “usually” had a regular bedtime were 20% more likely to be obese than those who “always” went to bed at around the same time.

Clearly, the evidence shows that a regular bedtime really matters when it comes to children’s health and development, throughout that crucial first decade of their lives. Including these findings alongside recommended hours of sleep in advice for all those caring for young children could make a real difference, by helping protect children from “social jet lag” and getting them off to a flying start instead.

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15 Reasons Why Toodlers Are Such Angry Little People

Toddlers get a bad rap. Their lives are tumultuous and filled with people who just don’t understand that they need their sandwiches cut into perfect triangles that don’t touch each other under any circumstances. And the juice should be in the blue cup…I mean the red cup…no, it’s actually the blue. Life is hard for these little dictators because sometimes they need to feel the satisfying crunch of a thousand Cheerios under their feet and most people are trying to take this away from them.

Of course, they feel angry. Who wouldn’t?

Here are some other reasons why toddlers are probably so angry all of the time:

1. They fall down a lot.

Have you ever seen how often those little shorties bite the big one? I don’t know any official numbers, but it’s often. I’d be pissed too if I was falling down all day long on legs that just weren’t working properly.

2. Moms don’t get shit right.

It’s not that hard, really. Moms should be able to figure out that clothes are painful to toddlers extremities, and that if your toddler wants to get into the car all by themselves, well then, the world will just need to wait.

3. There is literal crap in their pants.

And potty training is for losers.

4. Nobody understands what they are saying.

Words are hard, and sometimes screaming just feels right.

5. Everybody is trying to ‘change’ them.

If they have made a self-commitment to cry hysterically each time they don’t get to push the door button at the library, who are you to try and take this from them?

6. Nobody takes their problems seriously.

They don’t want your “help” while putting on their shoes; they just want one thousand years to get it right. Chill out.

7. Pants are the true oppressor of our great nation, and nobody seems to get this.

Toddlers get it. Legs are meant to feel all the changes of the seasons.

8. Time-outs are like jail for innocent people.

Toddlers are ruled by instinct, and their instincts tell them to say, “No!”  in a very loud voice when asked most things.

9. Everyone is always suggesting a nap.

They don’t need a nap; they just need someone to let them paint their body with syrup like God intended.

10. It’s like nobody has ever seen someone want to be naked in Target before.

Toddlers are innovators, and they predict that nudity is going to be the next trending topic.

11. It’s always, ‘hold my hand,’ ‘don’t run in the street,’ ‘don’t eat batteries,’ ‘don’t lick the cat.’

These things bring them joy. You don’t know that toddler’s life, lady.

12. They understand that the choices you are offering

them are complete bullshit.

Oh, really. They get to choose between taking a nap now or taking a nap in five minutes? They know a con when they see one.

13. There’s a never-ending list of things they need to do, and people keep jacking their shit up.

Jacking shit up — every toddler’s mom should wear a shirt that says this.

14. They haven’t known you for very long, so they need to see how long it takes for you to blow.

It’s like a long scientific experiment titled, “How fast can I make these people taking care of me lose their minds?” Their hypothesis is “very soon.”

15. Tantrums are great stress relievers.

It’s better than meditation and/or exercise according to some toddler experts.

So, next time you see a toddler losing his behavior at the grocery store, the playground, the pool, the library, the restaurant, or your own home, remember that they are just trying to live their most authentic life. Instead of trying to escape their wailing, you should really stay and watch and applaud their efforts. And give them candy.

Via Scary Mommy

5 Things You Need To Stop Giving My Kid

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Clint Edwards

People are always giving my kids crap. Sometimes it’s my neighbors. Other times its friends, or doctors, or family. And, you know what, I get it. You are a generous person. You like to see children smile, and that’s awesome. But the fact is there are a few things that you just need to stop giving my kids. Things like…

  1. Stickers

Hey, doctor’s office, you give a child a sticker and they smile. Good for you. But do you ever stop to think about where all those Dora and Batman stickers end up? Let me tell you: my van. They stick them on my van window, and then in the heat of the sun, those suckers get permanently welded on there. Well…not the whole sticker. Just part of it. The part I can’t scratch off, leaving me with a white and pink blotch that looks like separating continents. Or they end up on my dining room table. Or on my kid’s shirt, and I forget to check the shirt for stickers because the damn thing was inside out when I did the laundry, and something happens in the wash that is similar to what happens during arc welding, and the sticker never fully comes off my daughter’s favorite shirt. So what am I saying? Every time you give a sticker to my child, you ruin my shit. Stop ruining my shit.

  1. Party Bags with Cheap Crappy Toys

Oh, you are so cute with your little themed goody bag for each kid who attends your child’s birthday party. Help me understand your logic. You have a child. You surely have had your child come home with one of those damn parachuting army men that works once and then gets tangled, so you spend the rest of the day untangling the stupid thing while your child cries, only for it to get tangled again a minute later. You’ve heard the shrill squeal of a cheap plastic kazoo. You know what stickers do to your van windows. So why do you hand that shit out? Stop perpetuating a problem that you know makes everyone hate you.

  1. Cheetos

I love Cheetos, but when given to my children their little hands look like they’ve been into Donald Trump’s sunscreen. Orange fingerprints line my van, their shirts, and my sofa. One small bag and suddenly it looks like my house has been dusted for prints. Unless they lick their fingers. Then everything is coated in a cheese-scented paste that is almost impossible to get out of furniture without good upholstery cleaner and Xanax.

  1. Your Broken Toys

I can’t count how many times I’ve been at a friend’s home and one of my children has fallen in love with some worn-out, crappy, broken-up princess tea set or Pikachu missing an ear, and suddenly I hear the words, “Oh…you can have it, sweetie.” Then I get the wink—that look from another parent that seems to say, “It’s your problem now.” Kiss my ass, it’s my problem! I have enough broken toys at my house. You don’t need to be passing your garbage into my house. I don’t need more. And I will admit, I have done this same thing before. Half the time it’s some broken toy my kids were given. Honestly, it feels like passing around broken toys is some sort of parental hot potato, each person trying to get rid of some silly piece of shit, when in fact we all just need to unify and start throwing this crap in the garbage. Can we do that? Together…please.

  1. Stuffed Animals

I’m not sure if stuffed animals can have sex. I try not to think about stuff like that, but what I do know is that they multiply. So I understand. You’ve got these stupid, button-eyed, hairy things growing in numbers. You want to thin the herd. Awesome. Throw them away. Give them to Goodwill. I don’t give a shit what you do with them, but don’t give them to my children because they are taking over my home, same as yours. Some of them smell bad. Real bad. Like whatever your kids did to them bad. Or they are sticky. I don’t need any more sticky crap, and neither do you. That’s why you gave it away. Sneaking stuffed animals from your house to mine is not being crafty, or spreading joy, it’s just you dumping your shit into my home. Stop it. You’re being an asshole.

I doubt many parents will disagree with this list. In fact, many will probably add to it. And if you do have a love for stickers on your van window or smelly stuffed animals or any of the other garbage I’ve listed, please comment below with your mailing address. I have a package to send you.

 

This Popular Sleep Aid May Be Harmful to Kids

There’s no quick fix that gets kids to sleep sooner, better, deeper. But melatonin comes pretty close.While medical experts don’t have much bad to say to adults about using melatonin, which isn’t a pharmaceutical rather a health supplement, some are concerned when it comes to regular use in children.

A recent New York Times Well blog post reported that while a lot of parents have given melatonin for their kids because it works—doctors don’t actually know whether it’s doing harm in the long run. Children’s brains are still growing and developing, and melatonin is a synthetic form of a hormone the pineal gland produces, and which signals to the brain it’s time for sleep.

“I think we just don’t know what the potential long-term effects are, particularly when you’re talking about young children,” said Dr. Judith Owens, director of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Disorders at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Parents really need to understand that there are potential risks.”

Research isn’t conclusive but some suggests that it could have effects not just on the brain but on other systems developing in children: reproductive, cardiovascular, immune and metabolic.

Melatonin has known possible side effects for adults, including “headaches, dizziness and daytime grogginess,” the Times reports. That last one is what makes it a sleep aid and also dangerous for drivers who might use it. The hormone-like substance, which is also found in foods like barley and walnuts, can also interfere with medications for blood pressure and diabetes.

When researchers looked into consistency across melatonin products, they found that 71 percent of their samples were at least 10 percent off from the written dose.

Doctors who treat sleep disorders in children have long known parents turn frequently turn to melatonin to help their kids with sleep issues, often picking up the pills at a health food store and not telling their own doctors—a mistake.

“I rarely see a family come in with a child with insomnia who hasn’t tried melatonin,” Owns said. “I would say at least 75 percent of the time when they come in to see us” at the sleep clinic, “they’re either on melatonin or they’ve tried it in the past.”

For those who give it to their children, Owens recommends letting their child’s doctor know. She also said the pills should be picked up from a reputable source. Because they’re not regulated by the Food and Drug Adminstration, there’s no way of know how much of the useful ingredient is in each pill. Buy “pharmaceutical grade,” which tend to have “more precise dosing levels.”

When researchers looked into consistency across melatonin products, they found that 71 percent of their samples were at least 10 percent off from the written dose. In fact—and this is where parents, particularly, should be cautious—some contained nearly 5 times the dosage written on the label.

So while there’s still no silver bullet for kids and sleep—except for lots of exercise, predictable nighttime routines and early (yes, early!) bedtimes—the melatonin temptation should be met with caution and some medical support.

Contributions on this post via Mom.me