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Kids Health

Great App for Lunch Planning

Lunch planning app

Packing lunches has always been a struggle until I found this great lunch planning app!

You know how it goes, you pack lunch and it comes back home uneaten or you let the kids pack their own and it’s mostly cookies and chips, right? This app makes the whole process so much easier, it’s called La La Lunchbox and has been a huge timesaver on school mornings.

It is super easy to use, in fact the kiddos can do most of the work. They get on it over the weekend and pick out items for their lunch throughout the upcoming week.

Lunch Planning App 

La La Lunchbox comes preloaded with tons of options, and you can also take photos and add your own items to the list.

Kids take ownership by choosing from fruit, veggie, protein and snack to make sure the lunch is nutritious, balanced and also enjoyable.  The app creates a grocery list for the week, so when I’m at the store I can make sure to get the items needed.

Then in the morning before school, myself or the kids just open the La La Lunchbox and start packing from the list for that day. So easy, no thinking required!  And no nagging to have them pack something other than cookies since the list is right there and the kids chose the items on it themselves.

Great App for Lunch Planning

Give La La Lunchbox a try and see if it makes your already hectic mornings a bit more relaxing.  And if you have any other apps that you recommend to make your kiddo routines easier, please leave them in the comments below!

How much sleep does my child need?

The moment I became a mom I instantly became obsessed with the question, “How much sleep does my child need?

Every time my child is cranky or going through a challenging phase, I always find myself wondering if they are getting enough sleep. Nice to have something to blame it on, right mamas?!

If kids don’t get the sleep they need, things can get ugly. That can go for moms too. Just sayin’!

In the course of working with Serta as a brand ambassador for their amazing mattresses, I learned of their partnership with the National Sleep Foundation. Serta’s Perfect Sleeper is the official mattress of the National Sleep Foundation.

Since this organization is an expert on all things sleep related, I poked around to see what they had to say about children and sleep, and came across this great article I wanted to share with you.

What do you think? Would love to hear your comments below.

How Much Sleep Does My Child Need?

Information courtesy of the National Sleep Foundation.
Full article can be found here 

Newborns (Birth to 2 months)

For newborns, sleep during the early months occurs around the clock and the sleep-wake cycle interacts with the cycle of needing to be fed, changed and nurtured.

Newborns sleep a total of 10.5 to 18 hours a day on an irregular schedule with periods of one to three hours spent awake.

Newborns express sleepiness in different ways. Some fuss, cry, or rub their eyes.

It is best to put babies to bed when they are sleepy, but not asleep. They are more likely to fall asleep quickly and eventually learn how to get themselves to sleep. Newborns can be encouraged to sleep less during the day by exposing them to light and noise, and playtime. As evening approaches, quiet the environment with dimmer lights and less activity.

Newborn Sleep Tips

~ Observe baby’s sleep patterns and identify their individual signs of sleepiness.
~ Put your baby in the crib when drowsy, not asleep.
~ Encourage nighttime sleep.

Infants (3 – 11 months)

By six months of age, nighttime feedings are usually not necessary and many infants sleep through the night with 70-80 percent sleeping through the night by nine months of age.

(But those nine months can feel like eternity – right moms?!)

Infants typically sleep 9-12 hours during the night and take 30 minute – 2-hour naps, one to four times a day – the quantity of naps decreasing by age one.

When infants are put to bed drowsy but not quite asleep, they are more likely to become “self- soothers” which enables them to fall asleep on their own at bedtime and also put themselves back to sleep during the night. Those who have become accustomed to assistance to fall asleep from mom and dad at bedtime often become “signalers” and cry for their parents to help them return to sleep during the night.

Infant Sleep Tips 

~ Develop regular daytime and bedtime schedules and routines.
~ Create a consistent and enjoyable wind down bedtime routine.
~ Establish a regular “sleep friendly” environment.
~ Encourage baby to fall asleep independently and to become a “self-soother.”

Toddlers (1 – 3 years)

Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting about one to three hours. Naps should not occur too close to bedtime as they may delay sleep at night.

Many toddlers experience sleep problems including resisting going to bed and nighttime awakenings, fears and nightmares.

Many factors can lead to sleep problems at this age. Toddlers’ drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with their sleep. In addition, their ability to get out of bed, separation anxiety, the need for autonomy and the development of the child’s imagination can lead to sleep problems. Daytime sleepiness and behavior problems may signal they are not getting enough sleep.

Toddler Sleep Tips

~ Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.
~ Make the bedroom environment the same every night.
~ Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced.
~ Encourage use of a security object such as a blankie, lovey or stuffed animal.

Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age.

As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and nighttime wakings are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors tend to peak during preschool years.

Preschooler Sleep Tips

~ Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
~ Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
~ Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark and without a TV.

Grade Schoolers (5 – 12 years)

Children aged five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, at this age there is an increasing demand on their time from school, sports and activities.

In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products. All of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep.

Watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours.

Sleep problems and disorders are common at this age. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.

School-Aged Children Sleep Tips

~ Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.
~ Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
~ Make child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
~ Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
~ Avoid caffeine.

So, I want to know, are your kids getting enough sleep? Comment below with your thoughts!

[Disclosure: I am a part of the Serta blogger program and have received complimentary products to facilitate my reviews. I am also compensated for my time and participation in the program. All opinions are 100% my own.]

Helping Your Kids Cope with Doctor Fears

As mamas, we can kiss scraped knees, bandage minor cuts, give extra cuddles and run for the iced boo boo pack for owies. But, helping your kids cope with doctor anxiety?  That can be a toughie.

When a trip to your favorite pediatrician is in order (sometimes I swear I need a “frequent visit” card punch) it can cause stress for everyone involved. Does anybody else’s kids freak out when you mention a doctor’s visit?  Well, mine do.

Recently, I was sitting in my daughter’s gymnastics class lounge chatting with the other moms, and this very topic came up.  Turns out, each one of our girls had different fears about the doctor and all of us shared what worked.

It was all such great advice…girlfriend to girlfriend, mom to mom…that I thought I’d compile it and share with all of you!  So, in no particular order, here’s our two cents. I very much hope you find these tips handy in helping your kids cope with doctor anxiety.

Getting Them TO the Doctor…

1. We ALL agreed that honesty was the best policy (on a need-to-know-basis). If you know your little one is scared of the doctor and you tell them you’re going someplace else to get them in the car, then show-up in the doctor’s parking lot, you’ve lost credibility…and future doctor’s visits will be REALLY unpleasant.

2. On that note, we also all agreed that there was no reason to fuel any unnecessary anxiety or fears by telling them they were going to the doctor next week/tomorrow/etc. (for any well checks), or even, we’re going after lunch/nap/etc.  This gives their little minds time to worry and fret…and get really worked up.

3. One mom said she kept their location vague, and when they pulled into the parking lot and her daughter recognized it (because, of COURSE, most children know the doctor’s parking lot), she calmly told her that they were going in to tell her doctor hello and let them know how [insert child's name] was doing. She told her daughter she could tell the doctor how well she was doing in school, sports, milestones, how much she’s grown, etc.  This made it a little less scary than saying “Dr. so-and-so is going to give you a check-up!”  Obviously, this will only work for planned, well exams or visits.  Not lying, but not explicitly saying “check-up!” Needles!  Shots!

Needles, Shots, Pokes, Oh My!

4. Speaking of shots, one mom handles them this way.  When her daughter asks if she is going to get one (in advance of the appointment), and says how scared she is of needles, the mom will say validate her fear (“I know needles can be scary, honey.  But, they give your body medicine sometimes when you need it.”), and then says they can talk to the doctor together about whether she will need a shot that day.

Yes, there may be a meltdown at the doctor’s office…it may be unavoidable…but we agreed that listening to your child’s fear and saying that you would talk to the doctor together helped advance fear and fretting.

5. If you know your child is due for shots, ask if they have a numbing spray. One mama told her pediatrician that her little girl was terrified of needles and they gave her a numbing spray first to help with any sting or poke. Every office is different, but it’s worth an ask!

Make it a Game!

6.  Bring a favorite doll, train, car, stuffed animal, etc. with you to also get “examined.”  Have the doctor do anything to the toy first, before your kiddo – most likely, they’ll play along!

7.  If you haven’t heard of Doc McStuffins on Disney Junior yet, let me introduce you to your new best doctor friend.  By watching this show, and playing “clinic” at home with doctoring their toys, my kids have made major progress with doctor fears!  Check it out!  I actually turned our front hall closet into a “clinic” – of course, my babies are still pretty little, so a closet is the perfect size for them to pretend for a doctor’s office.

More Advice…

8.  Talk about the doctor at home when they aren’t sick or hurt.  Tell them how wonderful it is to be a doctor, how they help people, times when you went to the doctor and were scared…but didn’t need to be, because they made mommy all better!  Slipping these casual little conversations could help fighting fears in the long run.

9. If all else fails, bribe.  Okay, yes.  Sometimes I am THAT mom who will promise a lollipop or big sticker or Target dollar spot item if they are extra brave.  I figure it’s a decent investment!

Spill it, mamas!  What do you do to calm little minds and big fears about the doctor?  Share in the comments below!

Free Family Fun & Wellness Fair

This Saturday there is a FREE Family Fun & Wellness Fair at Pretend City this Saturday where local families are invited to come and enjoy live performances, face painting, games and more.

The event takes place this Saturday, June 8th between 9am – 2pm in the Pretend City parking lot and is completely free to attend.  In addition to the fun activities, there will be a variety of stations set up offering free health screenings for children in an effort to aid parents in understanding their child’s development.

Free health screenings for kids include: 

Speech & language
Social & emotional
Body Mass Index
Fine & Gross Motor
Hearing & Dental

When a child completes at least three or more screenings they will receive a free Pretend City Museum admission.  No RSVP is needed. Such a great event to be able to take your kids to a fun family fair and also learn about wellness at the same time!

Pretend City is located at 29 Hubble in Irvine. 

[Pretend City is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor and we love them. In fact I was just there this morning with my little one!]

Kid Friendly Green Smoothies

This post is all about how to make kid friendly green smoothies. Key word being “kid friendly!”

These blended, frozen drinks are definitely my “go-to” whenever I want to give Eli and Georgia something that’s quick, healthy and drama-free.

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes for a nutritious and tasty green smoothie that I hope your kids (and you!) will love. I’ve even included some simple tips on how to make green smoothies kid friendly. They’ll forget they’re drinking kale in no time!

Green Smoothie Recipe aka “Little Greenie”

1 cup packed kale (discard stems and tear into pieces)
1/2 banana
1/2 cup mangos (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon raw honey (or agave nectar)
3/4 cup orange juice

Blend until smooth, serves 2

*Coconut water is a great alternative to orange juice and makes the drink that much more tropical. My kids prefer the taste with orange juice because it adds sweetness, but I opt for mine with coconut water. If you’re using fresh fruit just add a few ice cubes to your blender.

How to Make Kid Friendly Green Smoothies

Add a Little Flair
Fancy straws are a big hit in my house, especially with my four-year old daughter. I got the ones above at Target and I only break them out when I have something I really want them to drink. With these straws, my nutritious green smoothie instantly becomes a special treat. You can also try floating fruit on the top or serving them in a new, fun glass.

Give it a Name
I called this one “Little Greenie”. I got the name from one of our favorite books, I Love You Stinky Face. In the book, the imaginative son turns into all sorts of undesirable creatures and questions his mom about her unconditional love. When he pretends to turn into a Green Alien from Mars she reassures him she will still love him, feed him green grasshoppers, and call him “Little Greenie”.

Sweeten It!
Pineapple and orange juice both add sweetness to your smoothie and soften any bitter taste of the greens. Bananas also help neutralize and sweeten bitter flavors. A touch of agave, raw honey, vanilla extract and cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder will also do the trick.

Make your Green Smoothie Purple
If all else fails just change the color of the smoothie. Red and purple fruit will take the green out of your smoothie without draining it of its nutrients. Fruits such as red grapes, cherries, raspberries, or blueberries work wonders. The recipe below is a must try for any kid (or adult) that has an aversion to green food/drink.

Purple Smoothie Recipe aka “Berrylicious”

2 cups frozen fruit (I usually go with a blend of berries)
Blueberry greek yogurt
1 banana
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 splashes of milk

Blend until smooth, serves 2

If you’re looking for more tips on how to adjust the flavor or consistency of your smoothie click here. Vitamix’s website has all the answers on easy smoothie fixes.