When it comes to teens getting enough sleep, numerous forces are working against them. Early school start times are wreaking havoc on their circadian rhythms. An overload of after-school activities is turning bedtime into gotta-start-on-homework time. The buzz of texts from friends, the screens shining in their faces and the constant lure of just one more game or episode of Riverdale are keeping their brains wired well into the night. And all the lectures coming from concerned mums and dads seem to be dissolving into thin air because, well, adolescence. And so they slog through their days, cranky and short-fused and barely able to respond to basic questions. As parents, you wonder if there's anything you can do to help.
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When I was a child there weren't many options for entertainment after school or on weekends: I could walk to a friend's house. I could watch TV on our 13 fuzzy channels. Or I could read. And so I read, and read, and read -- hours and even whole days would pass with no interruptions. I didn't have any choice but to concentrate.
As parents, you often hear about life's great injustices:
"While I was drawing, his elbow moved my hand so now my princess has a moustache!"
"She moved eight spaces instead of seven! I saw it with my own eyes."
"He ate the last lolly even though I had written on the box, 'Do not eat the last lolly!'"
You're expected to mediate, to help find a solution -- for the 17th time this morning. No more, you say. It's time call in an unbiased third party.
What happens if your picky-eating child doesn't grow out of it? What if you're begging a 15-year-old to just taste a green vegetable? After all, by the time they're adolescents, kids have spending money, autonomy, and access to plenty of junk food. So what is a parent supposed to do when the strategies they used when the kid was six simply don't work anymore?
All day, every day, the struggles your kids face are real. And you can bet they will let you know about those said struggles. Maybe they can't figure out a homework problem. Or how to place the correct arm into the correct armhole of a jacket. Or maybe the moat of their LEGO palace does not look like the picture, and therefore it's all wrong, all of it.
While not everyone was thrilled about the fidget spinner explosion of 2017, one thing it did bring is more awareness about tactile aides for kids with ADHD, autism and other disorders, or those who may simply be feeling overstimulated and anxious. There are all kinds of items that occupational therapists keep in their tool bags to help children calm down and stay focused.
Here are five products that parents say have made a big difference in their kids' lives.
You may have taken the quiz as a child: What type of learner are you? You'd answer questions such as, "When you see the word cat, are you more likely to a) picture a cat in your head, b) say the word 'cat' to yourself, or c) imagine yourself physically petting a cat?" Once you made your selections, your so-called learning style would be revealed. Congrats! You're a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner!
The University of Florida Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature has a digital archive of 6000 children's books from the 19th and early 20th century, all free to read online. A redditor discovered the treasure and shared it it Reddit's Books community. Fans of history and children's literature will be delighted to click through the pages of titles such as Aesop's Fables, The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe and Grimm's Fairy Tales - and share them with their kids.
In the game of adulting, a herd accompanies you past the milestones. When you're young, everyone you know is graduating university, landing a first job, getting married, having kids. As you approach middle age, the milestones become less celebratory. Everyone you know is loosening their belt, losing their hair. And then comes the most disorienting loss of all: Their parents.
I 100 per cent support thank you cards, both in theory and in practice. But also? Life, man. After your kid has a birthday party, you've got to get the cards, track down each guest's mailing address, find stamps, and if you're extra enough to let the child write the notes herself, oversee the project for days. ("How do you spell Makenzie? Oh no, I messed up. I'm going to start over.") It is a process. I've noticed that many parents are now skipping physical thank you notes and sending mass "Thanks for coming!" messages, and I get that, but to me, it feels a little impersonal.
Hearing your kids fight is a practice in restraint. You want to jump in, bust out Mum or Dad Voice, and remind them that you didn't give them the gift of a sibling so they could spend their days screaming about whose cheese cracker is cheesier. However, as we know, there are good reasons to let kids engage in some healthy conflict.
In movies, immediately after a mother gives birth, a nurse places a pristine newborn in her arms. In real life, however, babies usually look more Alien 3 than Huggies ad as they enter the world - their heads are misshapen, their faces resemble grumpy old men, and they're covered in a white film. The traditional protocol has been to get them a sponge bath, stat.