Unplug this back-to-school year!

It’s Back-to-School Time and We’re Serious About Getting a Good Night Sleep!  During summer camp, I got an earful from kids about not getting a good night sleep and why.  The top sleep offenders were:  late night TV viewing in their bedrooms, playing video games (war games are definitely NOT relaxing), bad dreams, and pets or siblings making noise.  I also experienced first-hand how technology is making kids crave constant and immediate stimulation — whether it’s on their iphones or weaving a gazillion Rainbow Looms.  Kids need relaxation time (adults do, too!) because their brains are on fire!

Depending on their age, kids need approximately 8-10 hours of sleep each night.  Sleep is as important as experience and eating fruits and veggies, so families need to work as a team to help kids get the rest they need to be their best in school, on the sports field or at home!  Getting a good night sleep is one of HealthBarn USA’s 7 healthy habits, so I have some great tips to get you and your family started on establishing a sustainable routine today:

  • Create Relaxation Time.  It’s important to start winding down at least one hour before lights out, to get your body and mind ready for a peaceful night sleep.
  • Play Soft Music.  The HealthBarn kids loved listening to Yoga and Native American instrumental music and sounds of nature during their down-time at the Barn (you can easily find this music on iTunes or Pandora), and many liked playing their own instruments to help them relax.
  • Color Mandalas.  Mandalas are symmetrical designs usually in the form of circle.  It serves as a tool for meditation in many cultures.  When coloring these beautiful designs, kids benefit by improving their concentration and fine motor skills.  At the Barn, we found colored super cool mandalas, click here to download free coloring pages.
  • Brush and floss teeth.  Washing hands is important to get rid of germs, but your mouth can really load up with germs and bad bacteria if you’re not brushing and flossing everyday!  Bonus: your heart benefits, too!
  • Sip Herbal Tea.  We are crazy about picking mint and chamomile flowers and steeping them in hot water for an herbal infusion that is ultra relaxing!

As grown-ups we know when we need to unwind and can take action.  For kids, they need our help to show them how-to create quiet time so they can think, reflect and sleep to be their best in all that they do all day!

How do you help your child unwind and get a good night sleep?

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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