Happy parents raise happy kids

Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

Test Your Stress


Stress is the new era’s worst disease. It is estimated that over 90% of all illnesses are caused or worsened by stress. In the future, you may find yourself dedicating most of your energy to overcoming stress. Stress management is a lifelong journey and everything little thing you do can help.

There are many ways to measure your stress level. I personally like rating it on a scale of 1 to 10. For any of my coaching clients, I recommend a stress review every three month to make. This helps them make sure they are progressing (or at least helps them find out if their situation is getting worse). The issue with stress is that you start noticing it when it gets out of control. Regular monitoring when things are going well can be critical. It allows you to find a benchmark that you can compare to. If things go a little sour, you can do something straight away before you find yourself in a mental health ward with a nervous breakdown.

Handy Family Tips: Wake Up With a Smile

Little girl in a hoodie

In every family, some mornings are harder than others. How the morning goes often sets the tone for the rest of the day, so the way all the family members wake up can determine whether the day will be easy and relaxed or stressed and chaotic.

Imagine a rushed morning. You find yourself saying things like, “Get ready”, “Get dressed”, “Come on, put your shoes on”, “We are going to be late”. The kids are late for school, you are late for work, you spill coffee in the car, the kids forget their lunch boxes and when you think it could not possibly get any worse, you find yourself stuck in traffic. You end up thinking if only you had those 5 minutes you wasted hurrying the kids, you would have been ready on time.

It is not always easy to wake up kids. If they went to sleep later than usual, or they stayed up late in front of a screen, it can be even harder. The best way to help them wake up in the morning is to give them time. I know it sounds funny but enough time to wake up at their own pace is all it takes. Regardless of their age, waking up at their own speed is essential for a good start to the day.

This post is part 18 of 19 in the series Handy Family Tips

A Good Start for the First Day of School

Mother hugging her son at entrance to new school

In Australia, the new school year starts today. I sent some rules about starting the year on a positive note to all my clients, which I would like to share with you too.

Even though the first week of the school year is not very important in terms of learning material (because most teachers do not teach new things), I believe it is one of the most important weeks. It is a pivotal point for setting the right frame of mind to ensure a good year.

Most kids are very excited to start the year. They have mixed emotions of anticipation and fear. Whatever happens in the first week of school, will determine which will take over – the fun and excitement or the dread, from the new teacher, academic performance or lack of friends.

Slumber Party: Sleepover Reloaded

Little girls in pajamas

Last week, our 11-year-old daughter Noff had a slumber party for her birthday. Since she has a birthday party every year (most of her friends do not), we decided we would try to do something different this year. She had already had one or two friends for a sleepover, but never a whole slumber party. At first, I asked her how many girls she would invite and she said 5, but when the invitation went out, I discovered she had invited 12 girls.

Hmmm… I wondered how that would work.

While I was worried if we would be able to fit 12 girls into our living room as the invitation went out, I realized that a slumber party required more than just a big living room. It comes with lots of other challenges. Some people also questioned our choice to allow this mass sleepover to take place, but I thought it was a great opportunity to give our daughter a chance to learn things about herself and others that no amount of talking could.

Challenge 1: The number of kids
The first challenge was to reduce the number of people from 24 that usually come to her parties to 7, which we thought would be a good number. Obviously, this did not work for us, because with a lot of effort, Noff only brought it down to 12. She struggled so much that we comforted each other, “We’ll manage. We always do”.

Eventually, 7 girls confirmed, we put mattresses on the floor, and as the girls came with their small suitcases, we discovered there were 9 girls there, 10 including Noff.


Family Policy

Teen girl looking defiant

Last Sunday, Ronit ran a parenting workshop and I came in the afternoon to help her pack. When I arrived, she was still talking to the parents about rules and boundaries and mentioned the way she used “family rules” to avoid conflicts with the kids.

That reminded me of the time when I wanted to register for a software engineering course at the local university. The course I wanted was popular and all the places were taken, so I rang during my lunch break to ask to be put on the waiting list.

“I’m sorry, Sir, but you’ll have to come in person and fill out the waiting list form”, the administrator told me.

“Can you please just take my details and put me on the list?”

“I’m sorry, Sir, but it’s university policy”, she said.

Boy, was I pissed off at this. I was spewing for weeks afterwards. It may have even contributed to my later stomach ulcer. Or not.

Over the years that followed, more and more companies structured their operations in such a way that clients could not get their way. Not easily, anyway. When I rang Customer Service, I would bump into First Line staff who were basically trained parrots. The term “company policy” rang in my ears more and more often. It was infuriating.

But at some point, Ronit and I learned how to use the same trick to our advantage as parents. Oh, sweet revenge!

Bullying (31): How to stop parent bullying

Bullying scene with bunny figures

Parents are the most important agents of socialization in our society. Unlike teachers, who are the second biggest influencers on children, the same parents are around their kids while their teachers change. It is only sensible to think that if we want to support kids’ health and wellbeing, we need to support the most important people in their life – their parents.

I came up with the idea of supporting kids by supporting their parents about 20 years ago when I had an early childhood center. I could increase my young kids’ success and confidence whenever I got to the parents and made the partners in the process of education. There was 100% correlation between the success of the child (1½ years old to 4 years old) and the level of their parents’ involvement. My young students could read, do math and solve 60-pieces puzzles. They had the fine and gross motor skills expected of kids 3 years older than they were. At first, their parents did not believe their own eyes, but I just sent all their games and work sheets home so they could see their kids were able to do everything I said they could.

After 25 years in education, I can dare to say that investing in the parents is the most effective investment in children. And as with any investment, the sooner you start, the greater the returns.

I believe that government organizations should be investing in parents, but until that time, I will use this blog to help parents help themselves.

Here are the next 5 tips to help parents stop the cycle of bullying, help themselves and help their children be confident and avoid being bullied, being a bully or being a silent bystander.

This post is part 31 of 34 in the series Bullying

Sleep Problems with Kids

Baby sleeping

This is the message from Julia, describing her sleep problem with her daughter. When she sent me the question, it was easier for me to give her a call and answer her question, but I wanted to share it with you too, just in case you are having similar challenges.

Hi Ronit,

I have looked around your site to try and find some info on sleep problems with kids but had no luck. I know you are very busy, but thought I would ask just in case you can direct me to something that could help me?

My 8 1/2 yr old daughter cannot put herself to sleep, we have her in a single bed next to ours, and one of us has to go to bed at the same time as her, and usually we fall asleep, as it takes her a while to nod off. So as you can see, there is never any ”adult time” in our house. Things are getting rather desperate, as it creates a lot of problems as you can imagine. Hoping you might have time at some point to help me.

Thank you,


Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss (14): How to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Happy healthy girl

Healthy kids are every parent’s hope and prayer. I remember during my pregnancy, while everyone was talking about the sex of our baby and our plans and wishes for its future success, the older people said, “The most important thing is that you have a healthy child”.

I am a very good example of a parent who thinks we can do something to change our kids’ health, although I did not grow up with that thinking. My mom raised 5 sick kids and she still thinks medication is the cure for everything. To her, “doctor” is a kind of god that must be obeyed, even when her doctor keeps her waiting, ignores her symptoms and gets things wrong. She has been sick all her life and she does not have any health strategy.

I believe that kids’ health (and their parents’ health) is an important part of parenting. I am in a constant search for tips and tricks to keep my kids healthy, so I decided to ask the Top Parenting Bloggers about their attitude towards ensuring their kids’ health.

This post is part 14 of 14 in the series Top Parenting Bloggers Discuss

TV Diet (8): How Much TV is Too Much?


As the name of this series of posts suggests, your family may need to go on a TV diet to minimize the damage done by excessive watching while still getting the benefits TV has to offer.

The best way to start any diet is to find out how much and what kinds of food you consume, so to start your TV diet, first you need to know how much TV you and your kids are watching.

Most parents think their kids watch too much TV and fight a lot with their kids over it. Finding out about your kids’ viewing habits can help you greatly in your parenting by having your facts straight.

This post is part 8 of 18 in the series TV Diet

TV Diet (7): Learning and Education

Teen in front of TV

Last week, I wrote about the influence of watching TV on kids’ and adults’ perception of relationships as disposable and easy to change. Today, I want to write about something very close to my heart – learning and education – and how watching TV affects them.

Some people might say, “Big deal. Not every child has to do well at school. Besides, there are things kids can learn from watching TV too”.

Well, humans must learn to survive. Your kids’ opportunities in life depend very much on their abilities to learn and develop new skills. Read on and you will see that watching TV causes kids to do poorly at school, but this also sets them up for a much more limited life long after they finish school.

This post is part 7 of 18 in the series TV Diet

Ronit Baras

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