We are 2 months into the new year and it's a great time to get rid of bad habits and that goes for all of us. It is especially a good time to work on developing healthy habits at home for children of all ages.
What better time to start making sure that your children are getting enough sleep. Winter months are great for setting bedtimes, as it gets darker earlier and somehow it seems easier to get little ones to bed when it is dark. Recently, a parent emailed me that their 2 year old was now staying up until 10:00 p.m. because "he didn't want to go to bed". This little boy wanted to stay up and play on his parent's table" rather than going to bed, and he was driving them crazy as they got less and less sleep themselves. The dad asked, "what should we do? Do we put him to bed earlier, even if he doesn't want to?"
The answer is yes! They need to have a consistent bedtime for their 2 year old son, with a good bedtime routine. For me as a parent, that meant bath time, story time, hugs kisses, and lights out! Even as the kids got older I tried to enforce a teenage bedtime of no later than 11:00 p.m. on school nights. Teens need sleep too, and every night is not pre-finals night so make sure your teen is going to bed and no electronics in their room either.
Many people start diets at this time of year, but I would rather talk about changing eating habits. Do you already have family dinners? Are your children getting a healthy breakfast before they head off to school? Do you pack your child's lunch at least 2-3 days a week? We can all improve our eating habits, and by changing even one thing (no more soft drinks in the house or serving a green vegetable at dinner), will impact nutrition and health. Little changes but a good start.
So, here's to a healthier 2014 and to starting off with good habits and maybe trying to change a bad habit. I often race off to work, so I'm going to try to eat breakfast regularly. I may have to get up 10 minutes earlier, but it is do-able. I'll let you know how it goes.
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