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Don’t Let Post-Partum Zombies Eat Your ZZZ's

  A humorous look at the trials and tribulations of new parenthood The past few months my house has been filled with zombies.  My three-year-old learned about zombies right around Halloween, and since then, as part of his bedtime routine, he has been inventing stories about them.  Zombies coughing. Zombies fighting. Zombies marching. Zombies fishing. And, of course, zombies eating brains. I’m not sure why zombies appeal to him so much. Maybe it’s because they shuffle around and grunt. Maybe it’s because they are clumsy and silly-looking. Or maybe it’s because after his little brother arrived in late October, his mom turned into one. My adorable newborn boy needs to eat every two to three hours, and as…

Get the Facts on the School Start Time Movement

Health advocates are pushing districts to move the first bell later for adolescents. Improving kids’ school performance isn’t just about rigorous classes and great teachers—helping them get quality sleep may actually be even more important. That’s especially true for adolescents, whose internal body clocks are different from those of younger kids. Kids’ circadian rhythm changes as they mature—when they’re teens,  secretion begins later at night and shuts off later in the morning. That makes it harder for high schoolers to go to bed early and wake up at dawn. The problem: Traditional school schedules, which often have adolescents beginning classes as early as 7:00am, are at odds with this later circadian rhythm…

How to Get Your Child to Sleep on Sunday Night

Is your kid wound up from the weekend? These tips help little ones hit the hay For many families, weekends are a time to cut loose—from school, work, and even, ahem, bedtime rules. Friday and Saturday night fun often means kids get tucked in later than usual, but that’s okay as long as they can sleep later in the morning, right? Getting enough shut-eye is essential for your child’s mental and physical development, but too much sleeping in on the weekends can breed Sunday sleeplessness. And that means a less-rested start to the week for everybody. Irregular bedtimes even have been linked to lower test scores and behavior problems in grade-school kids. Wherever possible, try…

Toddlers and Napping: How Much is Normal?

The art and science of keeping your kid well-rested throughout the day It is a truth that most parents learn early on: Toddlers need a lot of sleep to stay happy (and get the energy that they need to keep growing). And that sleep doesn’t all happen at night. No matter how much slumber they get when it’s dark out, they still need some serious stretches of shut-eye during the day. And this need for naptimes is actually a good thing for the whole family: You need those moments of daytime downtime to regroup and focus on yourself, too! Sleep Training Tips for Children

Get Your Child to Learn to Love Bedtime

Three surefire ways to end evening battles. Even when your toddler or preschooler is exhausted, he or she still may resist being put to bed. And you can’t blame tots: In their eyes, all the exciting stuff happens after the lights go out, and they’re not being included! Luckily, with a few small tweaks to your evening schedule, you can help make bedtime a fun part of your child’s day that he or she will actually look forward to. Sleep Training Tips for Children Video production in partnership with

How Do I Get My Child to Stop Sucking His or Her Thumb During Sleep?

Learn how and when to help your kid kick the habit. Believe it or not, if your child sucks his or her thumb while drifting off to sleep, that’s a healthy habit. After all, it means that your child can soothe him- or herself with something that can’t be misplaced (like a pacifier). But if breaking the habit doesn’t happen naturally, at some point you’ll want to help your child do it so that thumb-sucking, even if it’s just during sleep, won’t lead to problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth development. Fortunately, many children lose interest in thumb-sucking by age three or four. If your child continues the thumb-sucking habit after that, you’ll want…

Is Your Toddler Ready for a Big-Kid Bed?

Learn the right time—and the best ways—to help your little one make the transition. Saying goodbye to the crib is a milestone for toddlers. The truth is, there’s no perfect time to make the switch; kids can be ready as early as 18 months and as late as four years old. The best way to tell whether your child is up for the transition to big-kid bed is to look for these signs. Your Kid Can Climb Out of the Crib. When toddlers can make like monkeys and scale the rails of the crib that previously safe space for sleep can become a hazard for falls. Your Toddler Is Potty Training. A little one who is…

Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Training

Learn how to help your baby sleep—so you can, too. Oh, the irony of life with a newborn: Somehow the baby manages to sleep a ton, while Mom and Dad barely (or don’t!) get enough. Never fear, there are ways you can ease your little one into a healthy sleep routine. Here’s the bonus: Doing so means you’ll get more sleep, too. Raising a healthy sleeper starts with a consistent bedtime routine. You can start enforcing this when your baby is roughly six weeks old. At the same time every night, read a book together, sing songs, and feed your baby before putting him or her into the crib. It may also help to get…

How to Get Kids to Stop Sleeping With Teddy Bears or Blankets

There is a right and wrong way to separate your child from a cherished bedtime pal For many kids around the country, bedtime means getting read a story, being tucked in, and snuggling up with a favorite stuffed animal. Having a plush toy or blankie in bed with them every night gives them a sense of security throughout the dark hours. And although craving the comfort of a teddy bear at night seems childish—similar to sucking a thumb at night—there’s no specific age that’s deemed “too old” for the habit. In other words, it’s normal for your kid to hold onto a nighttime buddy later than you might think…

How Long Should My Child Sleep?

Ages, stages, and other key factors behind kids’ sleep needs Sleep—and lots of it—is an essential part of childhood development. As babies turn into toddlers, and then school-age kids, and then teens, sleep patterns and sleep needs may shift. It’s certainly not easy to keep tabs on how many hours your child gets, let alone whether that’s enough. While no one formula dictates exactly how long every child should sleep, there are some guidelines that can help you determine a target range. Newborns and infants need the most sleep of all, followed by toddlers. Once your child is four and school-age, his or her sleep needs will change yet again, so this is what…