Two Strategies to Help your Child’s Sleep Schedule when Daylight Savings Time Begins

 Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, March 13th, 2016.  This is the time of year when we spring our clocks forward (and lose one-hour of sleep). For most of us, the lost hour of shut-eye is no big deal, but for young children, daylight savings can create a kink in their sleep-wake cycle.

So, what can parents do?

First and foremost, begin by developing these healthy sleep habits:

  1. Establish a consistent sleep schedule for your child. Bedtime and nap times are always the same time.
  2. Establish a 20-30 minute bedtime routine. (i.e. Brush teeth, story time, prayers, snuggles, good night kiss.)
  3. Know your child’s sleepy cues. Consistency is encouraged, but also be aware of your child’s sleepy cues. (Yawning, irritability, etc.) An over-tired child will have a more difficult time falling asleep, so start the bedtime routine as soon as you see those sleepy cues.
  4. Eliminate bright lights or screens at least an hour before bedtime. Blue light interferes with melatonin production and can create bigger bedtime battles.

Once you have these basic sleep practices in place, choose one of these two methods to help your little one transition with the time change:  “Go with the Flow” or “Adjust the Schedule Steady and Slow”.

“GO WITH THE FLOW”

WHO: Early risers, kids who typically wake up at the crack of dawn and kids older than two years old.

HOW:

  1. Move all your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday night (March 12, 2016)
  2. On Sunday, continue with your normal routine. If you have an early-riser, your child should wake up a little later.
  3. Keep nap and mealtime routines on schedule according to their usual schedule. (i.e. If nap time is noon, keep it at noon)
  4. Keep bedtime the same as always, if bedtime has always been 7:30pm, keep it at 7:30pm.


“ADJUST THE SCHEDULE STEADY AND SLOW”

WHO: Babies and children who are more sensitive to changes in schedule

HOW: Slowly adjust your child’s bedtime after the time change:

  1.   Shift your clocks forward one hour on Saturday night (March 12, 2016).
  2.   Sunday, keep your child in bed until the new waking time, which would be 30 minutes earlier than normal. So if your child normally wakes at 8:00 a.m., you will want to wake your child up at 7:30 a.m. (which is the old 6:30 a.m.).
  3.   For bedtime, you’ll want to have your child in bed at 8:30 p.m. (this is the old 7:30 p.m.).
  4.   It’s important that you are consistent with your child’s schedule and routines. To do this by moving all mealtimes and naps 1/2-hour later.
  5.  After 2-3 days, move your child’s bedtime back another 1/2-hour to 8:00 p.m. (the old 7:00 p.m.). You will also need to shift your baby’s waking time later by 1/2-hour. So you’ll now wake your child at 8:00 a.m.
  6. Adjust all mealtimes and naps 30-minutes later throughout your daily routine.

It can take a week or two for kids to adjust to the time change.  So, stay consistent and persistent.

Introduction to Empowerful Parenting™ 

What is Empowerful Parenting™?  

Empowerful Parenting™ is giving children the power and opportunity to learn and grow by doing things for themselves.  

In a society of “helicopter parents” who swoop in anytime their child is challenged or uncomfortable, Empowerful Parents understand that it is through life’s challenges that we grow

Empowerful Parents give their children space and opportunity to learn through experience

Empowerful Parents provide children with honestloving guidance and positive support to develop independence and self-confidence.  

  

Scenario:  Your 6-year old wails from the couch, “Mom, I’m thirsty!”

The enabling parent:  

Responds to needs by getting the child a drink.

The Empowerful Parent:  

Says an empowering statement, “You are thirsty? What are you going to do?” (This statement says:  I believe in your abilities.  You are capable.  I value your opinion.)

Then, gives space and time for child to think and respond.

If child needs help, parent offers guidance by saying, “You could get a cup from the panty for water or there are juice boxes in the refrigerator”

If child asks parent to do it for them, parent responds, “Let’s get your drink together.  I can show you how, so you will know what to do next time you feel thirsty.”

Scenario:  Your 10-year old has put off doing his book report–it is due tomorrow and he hasn’t even started yet.

The enabling parent:  

Helps the child by basically doing the project for him so he won’t get a bad grade.

The Empowerful Parent:  

Encourages the child with an empowering statement that helps the child recognize the strengths of the situation (i.e.  “you still have plenty of time to finish the project” or “you are smart kid, I know you’ll figure it out”). 

Then, The Empowerful Parent gives the child space and time for independent problem solving while remaining present for positive support.  

Next, offers guidance when child requests assistance.

Finally, if needed parent works together with the child to help facilitate problem solving. 

The Empowerful Parent sees challenges like this as an opportunity for the child to learn about time management.

Learn more:  Empowerful Parenting™ Fox News interview 
I can’t talk about Empowerful Parenting™ without giving a “shout out” to all of the people who have influenced my evolution as a parent.  I am blessed to be surrounded by a community of Empowerful Parents.  It is these amazing mamas and papas who have helped me to see the power of positive thinking, recognizing abilities and providing children with safe and appropriate opportunities for growth and independence.  These relationships have helped me evolve from an enabling parent into an Empowerful Parent.  Thanks to all of you…you know who you are 😉

How to create your happiest year ever…

I love this time of year. The beginning of a new year. New goals. New aspirations. Excitement. Optimism. The start of something new brings the hope of something great!  We set goals to eat healthy, exercise more, lose weight, quit bad habits, be more productive…

Why do we set these goals?  

Is it because it’s the “right” thing to do, what we think we “should” do? Or, is it because doing these things will make us happy?

I challenge you, this year, to stop “shoulding” yourself and set your New Years resolutions based upon your soul’s deepest desire: HAPPINESS.  

Take a moment to reflect on your life. What moments do you remember with a smile? Is it busting your butt on the treadmill at 5am or is it that afternoon that you hiked through Tooth Fairy Forest with your family?

This year, instead of setting goals for things you SHOULD do, write a list of all the things that will make you HAPPY. Then, resolve to spend more time doing those things.  

Resolve to choose happiness above all “shoulds”.

I’m definitely not saying go hogwild on the fried chicken at Country Kitchen buffet or spend the year sitting on your couch laughing at reruns of Seinfeld. Those activities might make you happy in the moment, but when December 31, 2016 rolls around are those the moments that you will remember?

Resolve to create moments worth remembering.

I am certain this resolution will lead you to your HAPPIEST year yet!

What are your resolutions to create happiness? I’d love to read them!

A few of my resolutions to create happiness:

  1. Having FUN makes me happy…Spend more time playing, laughing and being silly.
  2. BALANCE in my life makes me happy…balance my time between work, play, relaxation, relationships, me-time, charity.
  3. SUCCESS and accomplishment makes me happy…Take daily action towards my life goals.
  4. Spending QUALITY TIME with my loved ones and friends makes me happy…have parties, celebrate everything, host more happy hours, lunch dates, put down my phone and Be present with people, snuggle my family and puppy.
  5. TRAVELING makes me happy…plan vacations, take road trips.
  6. Feeling HEALTHY makes me happy…walk the dog, walk with friends, do yoga, plan healthy meals, cook with my family, meditate.
  7. MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION makes me happy…spend time daily talking with my kids about topics beyond “how was your day”.  
  8. INSPIRING others makes me happy…write inspiring blogs, public speaking, write inspirational book, practice affirmations.
  9. Being KIND and HELPFUL makes me happy…continue working as a pediatric OT,  volunteer at kids’ school, volunteer on HOA board, do lots of random acts of kindness.
  10. Being CREATIVE makes me happy…write some more books (maybe with my kids), launch the Comfy Cup.
  11. Having FREEDOM and FREE TIME makes me happy…So I vow to practice saying “no thanks” to thongs and things that don’t make me happy! (haha, typo that I decided to leave in–because thongs don’t make me happy…I much prefer a cozy booty-covering underpant). No thanks to thongs that ride up my crack!  Also, no thanks to any THING doesn’t create FUN or FREE TIME or HAPPY AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS.

Each year, I choose a “word for the year”.  Several people have asked what my word is this year.

 This year, my word is HAPPINESS.

    What is yours? 

    Empowerful Parenting: how to lovingly empower your kids vs. enable them

    Any parent will tell you that parenting is the hardest job in the world. A day spent at home with my kids is more mentally and physically challenging than any day at work.  Why? I believe it is my strong emotional connection to my kids.  After all, it is my responsibility to fill them with love and help them grow into the best human beings they can be.  As parents, it is our nature to give our children unconditional love and kindness. The challenge arises when delineating between loving-kindness and enabling.

    “Moooom, WHERE ARE MY SHOES?”

    “Moooom, I’m hungry!”

    “Moooom, is it time to go yet?”

    “Moooom….”

    “Mom? Did you hear me?”

    “MOM–wake up!”

    I know I am not the only mother that is exhausted by the end of the day. The constant need for guidance and assistance and attention can be draining.  Sometimes, it just seems easier to do things for them rather than teach them to do things for themselves.  But is that the loving thing to do?  Isn’t empowering more loving than enabling?

    Like all parents I love my kids to the moon and back. I want the world for them and I want them to HAVE, DO, and BE everything their soul desires. I realize that I don’t have to HAVE, DO, and BE everything FOR them.  

    So, where is that fine line between acts of love and enabling (which really is disabling) your child to depend upon you to HAVE, DO, and BE everything FOR them.

    By definition, enabling means: give someone or something the authority or means to do something.  

    There comes a time when you have to choose between giving your children the means to depend upon you or giving them the authority to explore the world independently.

    I recently placed a picture in my kitchen to remind myself how to choose between lovingly empowering and enabling my kiddos. 

    On a picture of my children at the beach, the caption reads: Do not do for others what they can do for themselves.

    Now, when I hear, “Mooom….”, I take a moment to ask myself, “Is this request something they can do for themselves?”

    If it is something I know they are capable of doing, I do this– I call it Empowerful Parenting:

      
    1. I encourage them by letting them know that I believe in them and their ability to do this task independently. 

    You are smart and strong I believe that is something you can do for yourself. 

    2. Then, I challenge them to find a solution.

    Hmmm…what ideas do you have to solve this problem?

    3. If they tried. I mean really tried. Then I offer choices as suggestions to guide them in their problem-solving.

    Have you tried___ or ___?

    4. Finally, I offer to help complete the task together. Not FOR them, WITH them.

    I am proud of you for trying…let’s see if we can do it together.

    If you think about it, when we are recognizing our children’s abilities and supporting and believing in the fact that they can do it for themselves. We are empowering them. That is ultimately loving them.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are still “MOOOOM” moments that require my attention. (i.e. I puked in my bed or I want a hug.) 

    And, if I am being completely honest, I still revert back to the “I’ll do it for you” on occasion. Hey, nobody is perfect, right?

    Overall, I am consciously making an effort to EMPOWER my children to trust in themselves and their own abilities, not to depend upon me to magically meet their needs and solve all their challenges.

    Presently–and even after my kids are grown-up and moved out of the house–I know there will be those “MOOOOM MOMENTS”. Those moments when my children really do need ME. 

    In those moments I will follow the advice of my own mother, and “appreciate being needed“.