Have baby will travel
Many parents understandably worry about taking little ones off on holiday, particularly if there is going to be a change in time zones. A sleep deprived holiday is no fun for anyone and holiday time is precious, so here are a few tips for helping your child learn to sleep in the new environment, and on the new time zone.
1. Think carefully about the times of flights when you are booking them and how they fit in with babies sleep times, and make sure your little one remains well hydrated during the flight.
2. If your little one is going to be sleeping in a travel cot then trial a few nights in the travel cot at home so that it is not completely new.
3. Once in your holiday home try to create a sleep environment as close as is possible to the one at home. Consider lighting levels etc. and maybe think about taking a travel black out blind if your child is used to sleeping in the dark, and don’t forget to take any comforters, books etc. that your child likes at bedtime.
4. Switch to the new times zone as so as is possible, the day of arrival if possible, but if not then most certainly the next day. Our body clock (circadian rhythm) is controlled by many things including the time that we eat, and the times that we go to sleep and wake up, so the quicker you switch these things to the new times the better.
5. Get out into the daylight. I cannot emphasise this enough. The biggest controller of our body clocks is light. The hormone melatonin, which tells us when we are sleepy is extremely sensitive to light and the more sunlight you can give your child in the daytime the quicker the body with learn the new day and night.
6. Think carefully about when your child needs to nap and try, within reason and without spoiling your holiday, to factor this into your day’s activities.
7. Relax! Holidays are precious so enjoy it and don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are staying in someone else’s home, in a hotel or on a campsite you may have to do things differently than you might at home, after all you can’t leave your little one crying or shouting for attention, as you might chose to do at home. If your child usually sleeps through night at home but doesn’t on holiday then do whatever it is you need to, BUT ask yourself one question and that is “what is the least I can do”. You might need to sit on the floor and hold their hand to stop them disturbing others, rather than take them into your bed. Be honest with yourself.
8. Once home, no matter what happened on holiday, get straight back to doing whatever you were doing before you left, after all that is what your child knows and what he will expect of you once he is back in his own bed.
9. Above all enjoy your holiday.
Encouraging Good Eating
Lots of children can be picky or small eaters and this is often a cause of great concern to many parents, so here are a few tips to help you teach your child to eat a better.
The most important thing you need to do is to ask yourself one simple question, “how much attention is my child getting for not eating?” Children thrive on attention and if eating very little, playing up at mealtimes, refusing food etc. means that they get lots of attention, cajoling and game playing then they will continue to do those things.
The second most important thing to think about is how stressed is this making you. Your child will pick up on your stresses, so try to be as relaxed at mealtimes as you can.
Here are some other things to consider;
· A child’s stomach is about the size of their clenched fist – that’s not very big!
· A portion is what would fit into the palm of their hand
· Regular meal times encourage good eating and better sleep
· Your child needs to be hungry to eat a meal which means not keep feeding them on and off throughout the day
· Be mindful of snacks, are they preventing your child from eating proper meals
· Do not give drinks one hour before a meal, particularly milky drinks
· Do not leave drinks such as juice lying around for your child to keep sipping from. Not only can they keep topping up their tummies but it is also not good for their teeth
· Put drinks into cups rather than bottles so that they do not comfort drink
· At mealtimes offer food with water rather than milk or juice
· Turn off the TV and do not allow toys at the table
· Ideally eat with your child at the table – children learn from role modelling
· Include your child in food preparation.
· Start by putting small amounts (and I do mean very small amounts to begin with) of foods you know they like onto your child’s plate. They can always come back for more and it gives you the opportunity to praise them for having eaten everything on their plate even if it is only half a dozen beans!
· Once they have eaten the tiny amount you have given them offer them some more. If they so “no” be relaxed about it, and don’t offer lots of attention by cajoling and encouraging them, just tell them they did really well to eat everything they had.
· Next time give them just a little bit more
· Consider putting food into the middle of the table and asking them what they want – not eating is about them having some control, so giving them a little control might be helpful
· Even if your child says he doesn’t like a particular food keep offering every so often and keep letting your child see you eat it, you will be surprised when they suddenly do decide to try it!
· Do not allow your child to get down from the table, wander around and get back up, your child needs to stay at the table for the mealtime
· If your child has an early tea (particularly relevant to children attending nurseries) then consider offering them some supper before they have their bath
· Do not offer milk from “goodnight” until after breakfast
Remember you get more of any behaviour you regularly pay attention to, the more your child is rewarded for not eating the more often they will refuse to eat.