Developing a Bedtime Routine

Developing a Bedtime Routine

As pediatrician​s​, one of the most common concerns​ we​ hear from parents is, “My child won’t go to bed.”  At the end of a long day, the last thing parents want is bedtime drama. Often parents will try ​an “easy​”​ fix (lying down in their child’s bed, bringing the child into the parents’ bed, letting the child fall asleep anywhere and moving her later) just so everyone gets some sleep. ​These fixes may help in the short-term​, but ​often lead to long​-term ​issues. It is best to begin with a bedtime routine at a young age. And, as with all things, consistency will pay off. Most toddlers and preschoolers need 11​-​14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.  ​We ​recommend picking a bedtime that fits your family routine, taking into account the time you need to wake up and the ​length of time your child still needs for a nap.  Once you settle on a bedtime, decide ​what to include in your​ routine. Bath? ​Brushing teeth? ​Changing a diaper, putting on pajamas? Stories?  Choose an order for the components of your routine, and ​​stick with it. Very soon your children will expect it and enjoy it.​ ​​Some of the ​most wonderful times ​we have had with our children (Dr. Kaseta has four kids and Dr. Gannon has six kids) a​​​​re the quiet games, reading and chatting before bed. Some children will resist sleep because they feel a bit out of control. They do not really want the day and​/or​ time with you to end. ​Y​ou can give them some control by allowing them to make choices about the activity. ...
More questions about food!

More questions about food!

More on food…questions from you! After our last post, we had some parents ‘ask our experts’ more questions about food. We wanted to share these, as many of you may have similar questions.   1) Drinking: My one-year-old refuses to use a sippy cup. I’ve tried several different kinds but since they are different, he just throws them down. How do I get him to use a cup? Pick one and stick to it. Only put milk in it – often kids learn they get water in a cup and milk in the bottle. If they throw the cup and eventually get a bottle, they will keep doing it. It often takes days or weeks before they realize, “Oh, I am only getting the cup!” and they will drink. Remember to stay calm, pick up the cup like it is no big deal, and say, “I see you are done,” then offer it again later. Hang in there! If you are worried about hydration, you can make cereal a little thinner with more milk and include lots of cut fresh fruit.   2) Food texture: My child has no interest in textures. He loves strawberry mush from a blender but throws diced strawberries on the floor. How do I get him to start eating non-pureed food?  It is common for children to lack interest in certain foods and textures. Similar to the cup, just keep offering it. Instead of moving from puréed foods to stronger textures such as cut fruit, try to start with a more subtle change.  Move from pureed foods in a spoon to thicker foods in a spoon (mashed...
My child will not eat…what do I do?

My child will not eat…what do I do?

“Mealtimes are a disaster at our house.” “He only eats macaroni & cheese and chicken nuggets.” “How can I make my child eat vegetables?” As pediatricians, ​w​e​ ​hear ​these statements ​every​ ​day​​​. Parents say “my child will not eat…what do I do?” Nutrition​ ​is very important to parents, and children realize very early on that eating and food​ ​can be​ used​ ​to their advantage…and so begins ​​what​ ​we refer to as “Food Wars”! In ​reality, you cannot make another person eat. Children​,​ from a very early age​,​ demonstrate this by closing their mouths, turning their heads away, and spitting food out. Parents worried about their young children’s eating start trying to force feed a bit, or play games like “here comes the choo choo” with the spoon. As the children get older, parents often start bargaining​ (​e.g., ​”​no dessert unless you eat ​X” ​or ​”​you will not leave the table unless you finish​ Y​”). So what are parents to do?​! ​First things first. Children ​are born ​good self regulators. ​ They know when they are hungry and full. They know how to moderate their intake, and if we try to control this, we are not nurturing that ability. Secondly, not every meal will be perfectly balanced, and that is okay! Don’t stress about individual meals.​ ​They will have balanced intake over the course of a day or several days, and that is okay too​.​ ​As parents​,​ our job is to provide healthy food for them. We tell parents that you ​can ​only control what is on the plate​; once you give the plate to your child​,​ it is theirs. They...
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