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Supernanny Jo Frost’s Best Tips on Getting Your Children to Help Out More

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We all need to get our errands done and the difference between having a good experience and not when kids are involved is exactly how much we get them involved. We all know what it’s like being home with the little ones and needing to get the laundry done, with your toddler all too eager to prize you away to do something else. 

Follow the advice of Supernanny Jo Frost to help stay on top of this and make sure your kids are involved as much as they can be. It is equally important for your children to understand that they also have a responsibility to play a part in living together as a family.

First – Assess how you can get your children involved:

  • Look at the task at hand and work out how your children can help. Look for tasks which will be achievable for them and also make your life easier. For example, separating the socks from the vests, taking out the food from the shopping bags, tidying up the bath toys as getting out of the bath.
  • Be mindful to keep the chores short and sweet depending on the age of the child.

For younger children:

  • For younger children, having them match up socks together is a great early educational game as well as allowing you to achieve your task of folding the laundry. It’s a win win!
  • The supermarket shop is a classic example of getting your children to know their food and simultaneously avoiding the public tantrums by keeping kids occupied. Have them cross off items on the shopping list as you go along and direct you to items that are still left to buy.

For older children:

  • For older children, give them an actual task to complete, or a daily job which is solely their responsibility.
  • This can range from peeling vegetables, setting the table, actually putting the clothes away,or being your second pair of hands while you work on any other chores around the house.
  • Have them take part in family fly-bys before you go to bed: straighten out the sofa cushions, fold the blankies and make good for the next day. Tidy away remote control units and tidy newspapers and magazines, either placing them to one side for the recycling bin or stowing them in a stand or basket.

Reward them!

  • Compliment the efforts of this teamwork and how it makes you feel. Expressing your gratitude is extremely rewarding for any child to hear how they have been of help to you. This also encourages the willingness to help again.
  • When the job is done feel free to reward your little ones. If they have a behaviour chart give them a star, or give them an incentive to work towards. You should always make a point to show them the positive end result – all hands lead to a job well done!

 

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Top tips to get excited kids asleep on Christmas Eve

With Christmas Day nearly upon us, many  parents in the UK will be dreading trying to get their kids asleep before Santa’s big day. Please find below five top tips from Professor Colin Espie, about how to get kids off to sleep before Santa drops in for his milk and cookies. Colin is a professor of sleep medicine at the University of Oxford and co-founder of Big Health, a digital health company.

His top five tips are:

1. Be active during the day

There is plenty of evidence that regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep through the night. One Australian study found that every hour a child spends inactive adds three minutes to the time taken to nod off. Take a break from Christmas movies and head to the park to help expend excess energy before bedtime. 

2. Stick to bedtime routines and rituals

A consistent bedtime routine, or a set of specific ‘rituals’ before lights out, will signal that it’s time to sleep. If you’re staying away from home, find ways to recreate parts of the routine, even if they are happening later than usual. Preparing for bed in the same order each night (such as bath, brushing teeth, stories, goodnight hug), will help with readiness for sleep, wherever you are. Even a few days of a consistent schedule should help your child settle into a new location. Bringing familiar bedding, toys and books will help them to relax and feel secure away from home. 

3. Act before your child gets overtired

Young children are often reluctant to admit that they’re tired – even more so when the alternative to bed is playing with shiny new toys. Look for signs of sleepiness before your child starts to get overtired, which is often the driver for ‘hyper’ behaviour.

Try to start the bedtime routine at a consistent time. If they really don’t feel tired, they can play quietly in their bed or crib with the lights low. If you notice that your child is often overtired at night, experiment by shifting the whole bedtime routine forward by 15-30 minutes. 

4. Give plenty of notice

Give plenty of notice when bedtime is coming up, and then stick to what you’ve said: “In 10 minutes the cartoon will end and it’ll be bath time, and then we’ll have time for two books.” 

A timer which rings when playtime runs out could be a useful ‘independent’ signal that it’s time for bed. If your child refuses to stay in bed, try to avoid giving extra attention for bad behaviour. Be as neutral and uninterested as you can as you return your child to bed, even if you have to do this a few times. Consistency is key – even at Christmas – to help the whole family sleep well.

5. And if all else fails…

With a house full of guests, your child may understandably feel as though they are missing out on all the excitement by going up to bed. If you’ve followed the tips above and still have a stubborn and weary young one hanging onto the bannisters in protest, the suggestion that Father Christmas only leaves presents for children who are asleep might just be enough incentive to encourage lights out.

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About Big Health

Big Health was co­-founded in 2010 by former insomnia sufferer Peter Hames and world renowned sleep expert Professor Colin Espie. As the world’s first digital medicine company, Big Health creates automated evidence­-based behavioral programs using technology, thereby making them accessible by a wider audience. Big Health’s first product, Sleepio, is a digital sleep improvement program featuring Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques, clinically proven to help overcome even long term poor sleep without pills or potions. The company is based in San Francisco, with offices in London and Glasgow. For more information on Big Health and Sleepio please visit www.bighealth.com.