Surprise! It’s time to turn back the clocks!

It happened again. While we moms were thinking about costumes and candy, the end of Daylight Saving Time snuck up on us! “Falling back” each year means the kids have a tendency to “fall back” into a pattern of getting up early in the morning and wearing out early in the evening.

In a perfect world, we should start adjusting our kids a week to ten days before the time change by putting them to bed 10 or so minutes later each night. (Next year’s time change is Sunday, November 6th. Put a reminder on your calendar for late October!)

But all isn’t lost if we haven’t started gradual adjustments to our kids’ sleeping schedules. A few steps can help us all adapt:

Wind Down

The kids will start getting tired earlier in the evening, and they may struggle to stay awake until their normal bedtime. It’s ok to put them to bed early if they can’t stay awake. Otherwise, set up a time for quiet activity, like reading a book, coloring or singing songs. Try to avoid exercise and stimulating activities for three hours before bedtime.

Stick to the Routine

Whether they’re going to bed early or on-time, it’s important to stick to your bedtime routine. If you don’t have one, this is a good time to establish one. Include bathtime, putting on pjs and brushing teeth. Routines help kids know what to expect. And when they know what to expect, are less likely to fight bedtime.

Start the Day Right

Hopefully, the kids will “sleep in” and not get you up an hour earlier Sunday morning. Either way, it’s important to start the day with a healthy breakfast. Food signals to the body it’s time to get up and get moving, and it’ll help fuel them to what will feel like a later bedtime.

Practice Patience

Easier said than done, right? Everyone is adjusting to the new sleep schedules-  parents included. That means we’re all a bit grouchy and irritable. It’ll take about a week for everyone to adjust, no matter their age.

A Real-Life Halloween Scare

Halloween – the ultimate kids’ holiday. The costumes! The carvings! The candy! But, for the 15 million kids with food allergies, the holiday can be a different kind of scary.

Going trick-or-treating with a food allergy sufferer is a whole different experience. Instead of delighting at each piece of candy thrown in their treat bags, they look at it skeptically and ask “Can I eat this?” With each no, they get a little more deflated and lose interest in the trick-or-treating process.

I know many people wonder why this is such a big deal. Why can’t kids with allergies just eat what they can and give away the rest? It’s a valid question. But there’s something about looking into a kid’s eyes and seeing the disappointment door after door on what’s supposed to be the best night of the year to be a kid.

There’s a way to make sure every ghost, ghoul and goblin can safely enjoy the holiday – it’s called the Teal Pumpkin Project. Anyone who wishes to participate can buy non-candy treats, like pencils, stickers, tattoos or other Halloween knick-knacks. Then they decorate their homes with a teal pumpkin to let the kids know there’s a safe alternative for them at this house.

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The Teal Pumpkin Project is in its second year. Last year, people in all 50 states and 7 countries participated. This year, the goal is to expand the initiative and get 100,000 households involved.

Think about it this way – one in 13 kids has a food allergy, so you’ve got a good chance one of them will knock on your door. You could just make their Halloween night!

Beware, You’re Raising a Threenager!

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If you ask the parent of a toddler, they will tell you it’s the hardest age for the whole family. But if you ask the parent of a teenager, they’ll tell you it gets even worse. If you ask me, both have valid claims. Three-year-olds and teenagers have a lot more in common than many people realize. Behold the habits of the threenager!

Bathroom Behaviors

  • Teenagers have a reputation of spending hours in the bathroom, grooming and primping. TV show after TV show depicts teens pounding on the door, demanding their turn in the coveted place.
  • Threenagers will also bang on the door incessantly if their parents dare to take a moment to answer nature’s call with some privacy. The difference is, the threenager doesn’t want to use the bathroom, he is just outraged that his parent is taking time away from entertaining him.

Not Morning People

  • Everyone knows teenagers will sleep until noon if you let them; they are grouches if you dare wake them up when the clock still says “am.”
  • Threenagers can also be bears in the morning. There are days they wake up on the wrong side of the bed and days parents run out of patience with them at 8am. However, no one asked them to get up at 5:30! Their sleep deprivation and crankiness is solely because they decided to wake up when it was still dark outside.

Brothers vs. Sisters (Or Brothers vs. Brothers) (Or Sisters vs. Sisters)

  • Think back when you were a teenager. I bet you didn’t always get along with your siblings. My brother and I definitely had our moments growing up.
  • When threenagers fight with siblings (and believe me, they do,) they drag Mom and Dad into every battle. I used to think “Mom, she’s looking at me” was an exaggeration, but now I realize this is an actual thing threenagers say. Often.

Rulebreakers

  • Teenagers break curfew. They don’t finish their homework. They sneak out of the house at night. They’re wired to break the rules established by Mom & Dad.
  • Threenagers break rules you never knew you needed to create. House rules at the home of a threenager include: Do not put your hand in the toilet. No jumping off the top step of the stairs. Pants must be worn when we leave the house. No toys in the toaster, DVD player or any other electronic device.

Honesty isn’t always the Policy

  • I recently read a study that teenagers lie more than any other age group. (You can read about it here.) It’s pretty interesting, but not too surprising.
  • With threenagers, the issue can be a little too much honesty, like when a three-year-old tells a complete stranger what she thinks of his clothes, hair or even smell.

Your best bet when engaging with a threenager is a mixture of love, understanding and patience. Good luck!