Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Kids Need Their Zzzzzs!

Sleep is so important for our children, both mentally and physically.  A good night’s sleep helps improve our mental alertness and just makes us feel better! The amount of sleep that each child needs varies, but a good rule of thumb is:  1-3 years old need 12-14 hours, 3-5 years old need 11-13 hours, 5-12 years old need 10-11 hours and teens need 9-10 hours per night. 
To ensure that your child has an easy time falling asleep and gets a restful sleep, try the following:
·         Reduce Stimuli prior to bedtime-limit the noise, dim the lights, avoid television, computers and video games
·         Linear movement, like rocking, is calming.  Avoid spinning or excessive movement at least an hour prior to bedtime
·         For infants- put your child down when he or she is drowsy, not asleep
·         Avoid caffeine and sugar
·         Maintain a consistent bedtime routine- bath, books, bed
·         Scented bath products with lavender may be helpful
·         Give your child a massage using firm, deep pressure-ask your therapist to show you massage techniques
·         For children who startle easily, consider using white noise
·         Try using a heavy blanket such as a quilt or one made of chenille
·         Ask your occupational therapist about the possibility of using a weighted blanket
Michelle Yoder, OTR/L

Monday, November 7, 2011

Avoiding Holiday Havoc

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it is important as parents to carefully guard our family’s schedule.  Putting too many items on the calendar without sufficient down time can lead to tired and unhappy children, as well as grumpy and forgetful parents.  When you start receiving those invitations, try to weigh them out and select only those invitations that will comfortably fit into your schedule.  It is important to select those activities or events that will bring you joy and help you fully experience the beauty of the season, limiting those events that you do only because you feel obligated.  I always ask myself three questions, “Does this activity benefit my spiritual growth, my family, or my personal growth?”  If it does not, I try very hard to say no!  This is a life-long process for most mothers.

As the weather gets cold and your children have less time playing outdoors, it is also important to include physical activity in your children’s schedule.  This might be a good time to try our Yoga class here at Touchstone, or maybe sign-up for martial arts, swimming, or indoor gymnastics/play classes. Make sure you also make time for you to get the physical activity that you need, as well.  If you are not healthy and happy, then you cannot take care of your family.

So, this holiday season let’s all try to be mindful of how we use our time, experiencing each moment to its fullest!  Happy Holidays from your friends at Touchstone Therapy.

Karen Charlton, MPT