A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that consistency of young children's bedtime is associated with positive performance on a variety of intellectual tests (CNN Health, 2013). While routine and consistent habits foster a safe and steady rhythm for growing children, additional habits could possibly provide parents with some calmer, happier and more agreeable children during the "witching hour" that leads to final bedtime.
✻ E110 Sunshine Yellow
✻ E124 Ponceau 4R
✻ E122 Carmoisine and
✻ E211 Sodium Benzoate
These top four have been scientifically proven to induce and cause hyperactivity in children. Most of these additives are found in children snacks such as cakes, yogurts, crackers, and drinks. (Source: netmums.com)
There is evidence so far suggests that taking fish oil supplements which contain sufficiently high concentrations of omega 3 oils may well have a beneficial effect on dyslexic, dyspraxic and ADHD children and possibly undiagnosed children too. Even if your child does not have any of these symptoms, fish oils and omega 3/flax or hemp seed oils are good for growing brains.
Aside from illness, travel or daylight savings time changes, children should have a pretty predictable sleeping/napping pattern and routine. Many online sources have the same underlining message when it comes to children and sleep.
✻ Be firm regarding your child staying in bed when it is time to nap/sleep.
✻ Speak calmly and reassure your child that it is time for resting and everything is fine.
✻ Offer praise when your child stays in bed.
✻ Do not offer bottles to encourage children to stay in bed or talk to, pick up, or reason with your child after he/she wakes up from a short stint of sleep during the night.
In general, these are helpful hints for parents of young children:
✻ Newborns do not have a set night/day schedule for the first several weeks of life. It is best for a newborn not to sleep longer than five hours at a time in the first five to six weeks as their small bodies need frequent feedings.
✻ Older babies and children should have a nap time and bedtime schedule.
✻ Start a quiet time, such as listening to quiet music or reading a book, 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime.
✻ TV, or any other electronic devices that excite the optic nerve should not be a part of the quiet time. The LED light from these devices trick the brain into thinking it is day time and stimulates the brain.
✻ After quiet time, follow a bedtime routine such as a diaper change, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, or essential oil massage (doTerra's Lavender or Serenity) and essential oil diffused in room.
✻ Set a time limit for quiet time and the routine so it does not drag on and your child knows what to expect before bedtime.
✻ Say goodnight, turn off the light or any other electronic devices that have lights (even digital clocks) and leave the room. Night lights are fine as long as they are dim and away from direct line of sight, and are turned off or unplugged after the child is asleep.
✻ Security objects, such as a special blanket or one stuffed animal (make sure it is organically stuffed), can be part of the bedtime routine.
✻ It is important for children to be put to bed awake so they learn to soothe and fall asleep themselves.
✻ Babies should not be put to bed with a bottle, blanket or too many stuffed animals that are filled with synthetic or polyester fibers for risk of suffocating or inhaling artificial toxins. Bottles may causes problems with tooth decay and ear infections while non-organically made stuffed toys can induce asthma or cause other toxins to be inhaled.
✻ Whole grain sprouted crackers and almond or other nut butters
✻ Fresh seasonal fruits: peaches, bananas, berries
✻ Oatmeal topped with bananas and walnuts
✻ Fresh cut veggies with yogurt dressing
✻ Hard-boiled eggs or egg scramble with goat cheese
✻ Stone ground tortillas with organic cheese and non-spicy mango salsa
✻ No sugar Greek Yogurt with fresh berries
✻ Cottage Cheese and pineapples
✻ Chopped fresh peaches warmed in oven or stove top and topped with a little almond or hemp milk
✻ Whole grain English muffin topped with melted low-fat cheese
✻ Brown rice or quinoa in nori wrapper and tofu
✻ Smashed bananas on sprouted whole wheat toast
✻ Hummus and stone ground or sprouted crackers or fresh cut seasonal veggies
✻ Tuna and celery on Persian cucumber in sprouted pita bread
Calm and slow movements with intentional breathing in dim lighting can instill calm and foster a sweet and loving atmosphere for winding down. Even a few minutes laying down on the back or practicing Shavasana with your child/children can be fun and relaxing!
Additional Sources: sheknows.com, parenting.com, CNN Health