Tag Archives: Parenting Tips

Surviving Transitions — Going from One Child to Two (or more!)

Inside: We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! Everything you need to know to prepare during pregnancy that will make each addition go smoothly for the whole family. Sponsored by Luvs at Sam’s Club.

We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! What you need to know to make new additions a breeze.

Surviving Transitions — Going from One Child to Two (or more!)

There’s always the element of unknown when you’re expecting a new addition. Things will change, from your everyday routine to the family budget. However, it’s not necessarily as difficult as you might expect when you bring a new child into the fold. I interviewed some of my favorite family and parenting bloggers to get their take on transitions — which was the most challenging, which was surprisingly simple, and how to make things smoother for everyone. PS- Keep reading for a limited-time offer from Luvs at Sam’s Club that you don’t want to miss!

Going from zero children to one child

Going from no kids to having a child changes your whole life in an instant.

says Susie at Busy Toddler, and I think a lot of parents can relate! Beth at Days with Grey concurs:

Your first is your hardest because it is like, what […] just happened?!

No matter what you think life will be like with a new baby, there are always some surprises. However, once you get the hang of things, it will be hard to even imagine what life was like pre-kids, and you might just find that you wouldn’t want to imagine it either. Despite the inconveniences, my life feels so much fuller as a parent. And it is definitely always entertaining! Getting into the groove takes time, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it feels a little awkward at first. I love the advice Meghan at Playground Parkbench offers:

There will be a new normal, and you can’t find it until your husband goes back to work and your mom goes home, and it’s just you with the kid(s). Give yourself time, grace and you will find it.

Going from zero children to two children

Laura at Sunny Day Family jokes:

“I say just have 2 at once and be done!”

Mom of 4 Katelyn from What’s Up Fagans keeps it real:

Going from zero to two overnight was the hardest transition for me!

Katelyn’s tips to manage when your family suddenly doubles in size:

Get them on the same schedule ASAP — naps, eating, playing, bed time, etc. It is too much to have multiple schedules to manage. This was definitely true for twins, but also for the ones after.

Going from one child to two children

Menucha at Moms & Crafters perfectly puts into words what often happens when transitioning from being parents of one to parents of multiples:

The most challenging part […] was NEVER having downtime. When one is out, the other is crying, when one is sleeping, the other is bored.

Menucha’s number one survival tip?

ASK for help. People don’t always think to offer or know what to offer, but there’s no shame in turning to a parent, friend, etc for help. You’ll be there for them when they need it!

In our own family, Grandma, Grammy, and Grandpa were such a blessing to us in those early days as a two-child household. Friends and family are often happy to help if you let them know what you need. Katie from Pick Any Two also reminds us not to forget about how the transition will affect child number one. Read more of her tips for helping an older child adjust to their new sibling here. We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! What you need to know to make new additions a breeze.

Going from two children to three children

When chatting with my mom friends, I noticed an interesting consensus: after two kids, the transitions seem to get easier. Susie at Busy Toddler explains:

Going from 2 to 3 was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. You worry less because you don’t have time to worry anymore. You already know the answer to a lot of the questions. You have a history and background knowledge to rely on. I actually think each transition after the first one gets easier and easier.

Rachel at Wunder-Mom agrees:

It’s a little tricky just because you no longer have one parent per child but you also have several years and children under your belt at that time so you’re a lot more experienced.

Going from three children to four (or more) children

If you’ve ever dreamed of a big family, I’ve got good news! It might not be as much of a challenge as you’d think. In fact, many of the bloggers I spoke with say that as their families grew, everyone stepped into their own roles and life was easier for everyone. As Rachel at Wunder-Mom says:

[With] #4 (or more), [they] just kind of fall into place with the rest of the family!

Perhaps part of what makes later additions less stressful that the first child is that we parents have more realistic expectations. With our first, we want everything to be just right, and we have nothing to compare our experience to but what we read in books and see from other moms on social media. It’s tough not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to what you see around you! Tove at Mama in the Now offers these wise words:

Adjust your sense of “perfect.” Going from 1-2 was hardest for us, but then adding kids thereafter was a breeze. We were already outnumbered, so what’s one more?! What I considered perfect when we had one kid is way different than what we think is perfect today! [It] saves my sanity daily!

Now that is awesome advice for parents of any size family!

How to make transitioning the size of your family easier

I’ve shared a lot of advice from my friends and colleagues — now here are my top three tips for managing a growing family:

1. Stock up on essentials to save money and time

When preparing for a new addition to the family, making sure that you’re stocked up on essentials like diapers and wipes is a must. That way you can spend more time enjoying those precious first few weeks with your new baby instead of scrambling for supplies. A diaper subscription service is also a lifesaver! You never have to worry about running out or running to the store (which can be tricky when you’ve got multiple kids to round up). That’s why I love Sams Club’s free to-your-doorstep delivery service!Luvs diapers at Sam's Club subscription When you set up a Luvs diaper subscription through SamsClub.com, you save both time and money. Especially when you can catch special offers like the limited-time $3 off offer on Luv’s Ginormous boxes at SamsClub.com (not available in-club)! That works out to 11 cents per diaper — I’ve bought a lot of diapers and that price is tough to beat!

PS- Shipping is free!We break down each transition when growing a family — going from one child to two, to three, or more! What you need to know to make new additions a breeze. Luvs are soft and stretchy, with a LeakGuard core and Leak Barrier leg gathers to keep babies comfy and dry, even overnight! All at a fraction of the cost of many premium brands. In fact, you can save hundreds of dollars a year by purchasing Luvs over premium brands, and stocking up when they’re on sale. CLICK HERE to take advantage of this limited-time offer for $3 off Luv’s Ginormous boxes! 

2. Don’t forget to sleep!

Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but you really can’t skimp on sleep! Whether it’s a full night’s rest (or the occasional power nap), sleep is crucial to keeping up with a growing family. Katelyn at What’s Up Fagans puts it best:

If Momma doesn’t get sleep everyone suffers!

The transition from one child (who was an amazing sleeper) to two (and a baby that didn’t sleep for long stretches) was a tough one. My husband and I found a compromise to make sure each of us got enough rest. Late-night nursings completely wore me out, so my husband kindly took the morning shift with the kids. In turn, I tried to let him sleep as much as possible during the middle of the night, since I was the one that had to do the feeding anyway. It worked for us, and we all made it through until our youngest finally started sleeping through the night. Related: The One Thing that Kept our Toddler from Sleeping through the Night (and we had NO idea!)

3. Do what works for you

Every family is different, so sometimes you might find yourself going against advice you’ve been given. The most important thing to remember is that this is your family, and you’ve got to do what works! Don’t worry about comparing yourself to parenting “experts” or other moms on Facebook. In your family you are the best mom! Related: You are the perfect mom! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PG. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on February 16th, 2019 at 08:09 pm

How to Overcome a Baby Sleep Regression

Inside: How to get through a baby sleep regression, with 8 tried and true tricks that work! (From a mom of 3). Sponsored by Panasonic.

How to get through a baby sleep regression, with 8 tried and true tricks that work! (From a mom of 3).

Your baby is sleeping longer and longer stretches at night. Maybe you’re down to only one night waking.

And then it happens.

The dreaded “baby sleep regression.”

All of a sudden, it seems like your baby is awake every hour!

If that’s you right now, I hear you! Our youngest daughter is going on six months old, so we’ve definitely had some sleepless nights this year.

Sometimes it seems like she’s sleeping so well, and then we’ll have a few days where it’s just not happening.

Our middle daughter went through a few sleep regressions, so I know what to expect when the time comes with this little one.

It’s not easy, and it’s not much fun, but you can and will get through it! In this post, I’ll tell you what’s worked for us to overcome a baby sleep regression for our girls.

What is a baby sleep regression?

Baby that used to sleep soundly or on a set routine may suddenly seem like their sleep is all over the place. It may feel as if your baby has “regressed” to the erratic sleep patterns of their newborn days.

The following are a few characteristics of what has been dubbed a “sleep regression” in babies:

  • Frequent waking during nighttime or nap time
  • “Fighting sleep” or taking a long time to fall asleep
  • Fussiness when it’s time to go to sleep

10 Ways to Overcome a Baby Sleep Regression

Our middle daughter taught us a LOT about what works and what doesn’t to get a baby to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Because we’ve put what we learned into practice with our youngest daughter, we’ve had a much easier time establishing a good sleep routine with her.

The following are the things that have helped us to overcome baby sleep regressions for our girls:

1. Give baby their own space

Both of our two youngest daughters slept in a crib in our bedroom until they were a year old. This made it easy for me to nurse them at night.

However, during a sleep regression, it seemed like any little movement I made would wake them up.

During those sleep regressions, we moved the baby into a travel crib in our extra bedroom. That way they would sleep soundly without my husband and I disturbing them when we came to bed.

Panasonic video baby camera is motion and sound activated

Our Panasonic video baby monitoring system allows us to keep a close eye on our little one, even when she’s in another room with the door closed. It’s motion and sound activated, so we know right away when the baby wakes up.

We’ve had a few different baby monitors over the years, but this is by far the easiest one to use AND the best quality.

For a quick start, all I had to do to get set up was plug in both the monitor and the camera. There was no confusing “pairing” process — when you turn on the monitor, it automatically links up with the camera. Plus, you get up to twice the range of most other monitors, so you can be anywhere in the house and still have eyes on your sleeping baby.

Panasonic’s video baby monitor is super user-friendly. A directional pad on the monitor allows you to pan, tilt, and zoom the monochrome night vision camera to get the perfect view.

The 3.5 in Color monitor features a built-in long-life rechargeable battery — up to 13 hours of standby time and up to 5 hours of continuous baby monitor use.

I’m so impressed with both the quality of the picture and all of the features! I’ll go into more detail about my favorite feature in section three.

2. Know that it is normal

It can feel pretty isolating to be up with a restless infant in the wee hours of the morning.

However, just about anyone with kids has been through sleep regressions with their babies. It’s a normal part of a baby’s early development and it doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong.

Knowing that you’re not alone and reminding yourself that you’re doing the best you can is an important first step in getting through a baby sleep regression.

Panasonic video baby monitor in box

3. Try white noise

When our middle daughter was a baby, white noise helped her fall asleep — especially during the first sleep regression.

I used to search for “white noise” videos (yep, that’s a thing) on the internet. Then I’d place our tablet near our daughter’s crib so the white noise would play for an hour or so and help coax her to sleep.

How I wish we’d had this Panasonic video baby monitor when our middle daughter was a baby! It features both lullaby and white noise features so there’s no need to buy a separate white noise machine or search for videos like I used to do.

Our youngest daughter prefers music, so we use the lullaby setting the most. It helps her nap during the day when it gets a bit noisy in our house.

4. Stay consistent

Even when you’re smack in the middle of a sleep regression, it’s important to stay consistent with bedtimes and nap times.

It can be challenging when it takes a lot longer to get your baby to fall asleep, but it’s better to keep trying at the same time every day regardless.

If you’re trying to get a baby back on a sleep routine, it’s best not to get away from that routine in the first place.

Stick with it, and your baby will get back into a sleep rhythm before you know it.

5. Don’t skip naps

It may seem logical to think that keeping your baby awake during the day will help them fall asleep faster at night.

However, experts say the opposite is true!

Keeping your baby on a regular nap schedule will help their bodies establish a circadian rhythm. That way, they’ll instinctively come to know when it’s time to be awake and time to be asleep.

In the first few months of life, babies may take frequent naps throughout the day. Around 4-6 months they may transition to taking fewer naps for longer periods of time.

During their first year of life, babies usually don’t stay awake for more than two-three hours straight during the day. They also give pretty clear signals when they need to nap.

Cues that your baby is sleepy:

  • Rubbing eyes or tugging at ears
  • Yawning
  • Staring into space, or the appearance of unfocused eyes
  • Sucking on hands and/or fingers (baby may be trying to soothe themselves to sleep)
  • Flailing limbs
  • Crying or fussiness

It may be helpful to have your baby nap in their crib, to establish that as a “sleep” zone. However, I go by the old saying “never wake a sleeping baby,” so if our daughter falls asleep in her stroller on a walk or in her rocker, I let her stay asleep.

For peace of mind, I keep a close eye on her with our Panasonic video baby monitor if I need to step out of the room for a minute. Check out the picture quality below – it’s amazing!

Panasonic video baby monitor for peace of mind while baby naps

6. Work as a team

Sleep deprivation is no fun at all, but if you and your partner work as a team, you can help minimize it.

Since I breastfeed, I have to wake up to nurse about 1-2 times per night. However, my husband helps to rock the baby back to sleep if she doesn’t fall asleep nursing. We also take turns doing the “early shift” when the kids wake up in the morning, while the other person gets a little extra shut-eye.

Because we split up the nighttime duties, it helps both of us to stay sane through sleep regressions.

7. Look at the positives

Certified infant and toddler sleep specialist Rachel Gordon offers some amazing and encouraging perspective on sleep regressions. She actually urges parents to “ditch the term regression” and instead view these changes as “transitions.”

Since changes in sleep patterns often accompany baby developmental milestones, regressions…ahem…transitions, can be viewed as a cause to celebrate!

How to get through a baby sleep regression, with 8 tried and true tricks that work! (From a mom of 3).

8. Remember, it IS temporary

As exhausting as it can be to deal with a baby sleep regression, they don’t last forever.

Generally, a sleep regression only lasts a couple weeks, so eventually, your baby will sleep better.

And as crazy as it sounds, when your baby turns into a big kid one day, you might actually find that you miss those special moments you two spent snuggling at night while the rest of the world was quiet.

So when you’re sleep deprived mama, hang in there! You’ll get through it, I promise.

At what age do babies go through sleep regressions?

Below are a few of the most common ages when a baby may experience a sleep regression:

  • 4 month sleep regression — This is the most infamous sleep regression, perhaps because it is usually the first one. Sometime between 8 weeks and 5 months, babies transition from newborn sleep patterns to a more regular sleep schedule. However, getting there sometimes involves nights of restlessness and wakefulness.
  • 8 month sleep regression — When your baby starts hitting major milestones, such as crawling and cruising, this major brain development can create changes in their sleep.
  • 12 month sleep regression — Around one year, babies may start moving toward taking one nap per day, instead of two to three.
  • 18 month sleep regression — Toddler milestones, such as teething, can result in sleep disruptions.

Keep in mind that sleep regressions may happen at different times for different babies, and not all babies will go through every sleep regression.

The four-month sleep regression was a doozie with our middle daughter, but it wasn’t as big a deal with our youngest. However, it is possible that our youngest daughter may experience a more substantial sleep regression down the road. I suppose we’ll find out!

Do you have any helpful tips to get through a baby sleep regression? Share them in the comments below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Panasonic. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on May 24th, 2019 at 10:37 am

5 Lessons About Internet Safety Google Says All Kids Should Know

 

Do your kids know what they should about internet safety? Keep reading to learn the 5 keys to keeping your kids safe online and how to download your free family guide from Google for Education.

We received this sponsored opportunity from Google for Education as a part of the Forward Influence Network. We are grateful for partnerships like these!

Do your kids know what they should about internet safety? Learn the 5 keys to keeping your kids safe online and download your free family guide from Google!

I’ve been an internet enthusiast since its earliest days — I built my first website at age twelve! Little did I know that as an adult I would build my own business using the internet too!

As a blogger, the internet provides me and my family with amazing opportunities. However, as a parent, I also see things that worry me — issues that I didn’t have to worry about as a kid.

Picking up my oldest daughter from elementary school, I’m always surprised to see how many kids have cell phones. My daughter tells me that many of her classmates already have social media accounts too.

Cyberbullying and “catfishing” weren’t even in my vocabulary in fifth grade, but these are things that our kids deal with on a daily basis.

The internet isn’t going anywhere — if anything, it’s becoming more intertwined in our lives. There’s no way to avoid our kids using the internet, nor do I think that’s a good idea either. As I mentioned, the internet has been such a blessing and inspiration for me.

The key is to start teaching our kids about internet safety as soon as they’re old enough to know what the internet is.

5 Lessons About Internet Safety All Kids Should Know

Safer Internet Day takes place in February each year; this year it was February 5th. Google invited our family to nearby San Antonio to visit their Be Internet Awesome adventure — and interactive experience filled with resources to teach families and schools about internet safety.

The Be Internet Awesome experience featured five games, each corresponding to one of the key internet safety lessons that kids should learn:

1. Share with Care

Just because we can talk to anyone and everyone on the internet doesn’t mean that we should.

Certain things should only be shared with close family and friends, and some things should be kept private. The first game we played focused on determining which was which, or “being internet smart.”

Kids were given an example scenario and asked with whom they could share that information, like a photo of a new baby cousin. Should they share this with everyone? Friends and family? Keep it to themselves?

learning about internet safety for Safer Internet Day

Once you got three answers correct, you earned your first badge and got to move on to the next game.

Test Your Skills: Practice asking your kids similar questions at home to test their knowledge. You can also play the free Interland Online Game from Google, which teaches kids about what to share (and not to share). My girls love this game!

2. Don’t Fall for Fake

As a blogger, I receive countless phishing emails, schemes, and scams every day. Some of these scammers are getting quite sophisticated that I even I do a double-take to make sure that an email is real before opening anything!

If these internet crooks can fool adults, then kids are especially vulnerable.  That’s why it’s especially important to teach kids how to determine what’s real and what’s fake.

Even though our girls only have limited screen time, and always in the same room with us, you can never be too careful! I’m a realist, so I know there will be times when they are older that we might not be around (school, friend’s house, etc.) to catch things right as they happen.

In the “Be Internet Alert” game at the Be Internet Awesome Experience, kids were given sample online messages and asked which ones were real and which were fake. The emphasis was to always be alert and on the lookout for anything that seems sketchy.

My middle daughter is four, but I still didn’t leave her out of the conversation. For now, I simply repeated the message: “Don’t click any links!” Hopefully that will stick in her mind, and as she gets older she’ll remember mom’s advice!

3. Secure Your Secrets

The third game at the Google Be Internet Awesome experience taught kids how to create strong passwords. There were bins full of letter blocks and kids got to build passwords out of the physical blocks, and then test it to see if the password they created was strong enough.

learning how to build strong passwords for Safer Internet Day

This was my favorite game of the day, and also the most challenging! It wasn’t hard to create a tricky password — the tricky part was remembering the password when the game prompted you to re-enter it from memory!

When creating a strong password, make sure that it is:

  • Unique
  • A combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
  • At least 6-8 characters long
  • Something YOU can remember (or write it down in a safe place)

Strong, secure passwords are vital to keep private information safe.

4. It’s Cool to be Kind

Did you know at least one-fourth of students report experiencing bullying? Chances are, your kids will witness bullying — whether it involves them personally, or a classmate.

The fourth internet safety lesson we learned focused more on being proactive: spreading kindness online.

Through an digital multiplayer game, the girls and I teamed up to build each other up by shooting hearts at each other (spreading kindness) and taking down monsters (reporting bullies).

It’s important for kids to know that they play a big role making the internet a more positive and safe place!

Safer Internet Day with Google

5. When in Doubt, Talk it Out

A few months ago, I partnered with Google to host an event in Houston for parents, influencers, and educators. Together we brainstormed ways to keep kids safe online.

The number one thing I heard over and over again was to be involved, be present, and keep the lines of communication open with your kids. That way kids will feel comfortable coming to you with questions or problems.

You can’t prevent your kids from ever running into something bad on the internet, but you can prepare them. The most important thing to emphasize is that you are there to help.

Kids need to know that if anything feels “off” or if they see any other their friends in trouble, they should always come to you or another trusted adult.

learning about internet safety on Safer Internet Day

Mission complete! The girls were proud to earn their Be Internet Awesome badges!

How to Get Your Free Family Guide to Internet Safety from Google

Google created an amazing online resource for parents and families, with lots of free information, games, and even crafts to help kids learn about internet safety — and have fun at the same time!

Click here to see all of Google’s digital safety resources for families, including:

  • Free Downloadable Family Guide
  • Interland Online Game
  • Internet Awesome Tips
  • Family Pledge
  • Family Link Parent’s Guide
  • Internet Papercraft Activity Template
  • and more!

Teachers: On the Be Internet Awesome website, there’s also a free curriculum you can use to teach your students!

If parents and teachers work together, we can increase the chances that kids will experience all the best that the internet has to offer.

Click here to learn more about internet safety and get your free family guide from Google!

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on March 9th, 2019 at 06:59 pm

Is My Child Sleeping Too Much? (Free Child Sleep Chart)

 

Have you ever worried, “is my child sleeping too much?” We’ve got answers to your most common questions about child sleeping: many hours of sleep does a child need, how much deep sleep does a child need, plus a free printable child sleep chart!

Have you ever worried,

Is My Child Sleeping Too Much?

Our middle daughter wakes up at the same time every morning — no matter what time we put her to bed. It’s as if she has an internal alarm clock!

Even when our toddler didn’t sleep through the night, she still woke up bright and early the next morning.

8:00pm bedtime? 8:30am wakeup.

11:00pm bedtime? 8:30am wakeup.

Of course her wakeup time may vary a few minutes here and there, but generally, it is the same time every single day. Plus, she wakes up rested, cheerful, and ready to start the day.

I’ll admit that we have tried later bedtimes on the weekends in hopes of getting to sleep in, with no luck.

As the sun begins its ascent above the horizon, our littlest family member is ready to start her day too!

Our oldest daughter is the exact opposite. She has always slept as long as we will allow her. On non-school days, that can be up to fourteen hours!

I sometimes find myself waking up my oldest daughter on weekends because I worry that my child is sleeping too much!

My oldest daughter is always fully awake and alert once she’s had a chance to eat breakfast, and she doesn’t fall asleep in school or places she shouldn’t. Yet there was still a nagging thought in the back of my mind, “Is my child sleeping too much? Is everything ok?”

If you also have had similar questions, like “how many hours of sleep does a child need?” or wondered if your child is sleeping too much, keep reading. We’ll break down the current recommendations for child sleeping, plus there’s a FREE printable child sleep chart!

free printable child sleep chart

Free Child Sleep Chart

If you’ve ever wondered how many hours should a child sleep, we’ve created a handy printable child sleep chart with current child sleeping recommendations.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer these guidelines for total hours of sleep needed in a 24-hour period:

  • Infants (4-12 months old) — 12-16 hours of sleep
  • Toddlers (1-2 years old) — 11-14 hours of sleep
  • Children (3-5 years old) — 10-13 hours of sleep
  • Children (6-12 years old) — 9-12 hours of sleep
  • Teens (13-18 years old) — 8-10 hours of sleep

You can grab a printable copy of our child sleep chart here:

How many hours of deep sleep should a child get?

Like adults, how much deep sleep should a child get depends on the total amount of sleep per night. The goal is 20% of child sleeping time spent in the deep sleep stage.

Even within these expert child sleeping recommendations, there is a fairly wide range of what is considered “normal.”

For example, including her afternoon nap, my middle daughter falls squarely within the “normal” range. My older daughter also is in the normal range, though at the upper end.

Why would my oldest daughter need more sleep than my youngest?

Why Some Kids Need More Sleep Than Others

Is it possible that some kids need more sleep than others?

The answer is yes.

Here are a few common reasons why:

1. Not getting enough sleep during the week

Long school days, a heavy homework load, extracurricular activities, and parent work schedules often mean that kids don’t always get to bed early enough to meet their ideal sleep needs. This might cause children to sleep more on weekends, essentially to “catch up.”

Some researchers say that it is possible to make up for not getting enough sleep during the week by sleeping longer on weekends.

Say your child has to wake up an hour earlier than they naturally would on school days. These 5 “lost” hours might be made up by sleeping a couple hours longer on both Saturday and Sunday.

2. Anxiety or Stress

It’s well known that stress can cause problems with sleep, making it more difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep at night. However, for some people, anxiety can actually make them sleep more.

According to Dr. Rebecca Spencer, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Department of Psychology, “you can be driven to sleep simply by having a lot of emotional memories to process.” In short, when life gets overwhelming, your brain needs the ability to decompress and sort through what’s going on. It can’t do so properly unless you’re fully at rest.

Be cognizant of situations that could be causing stress for your child. Some might be obvious (a new sibling), while others might not be so simple to determine, like if your child is being bullied but hasn’t told anyone.

Click here for tips on how to deal with child sleep anxiety and help your child get more sleep.

3. It’s genetic – Some people just need more sleep!

How do I know? Because I am one of them!

My husband can function well on very little sleep. Sometimes he goes about his day on five hours of sleep! (This can be due to his work schedule OR due to his love of horror movies that none of us will watch with him during the day).

I am not my best self if I’ve gotten less than eight hours of sleep, and if I could, I would sleep much longer. I’ve always been like this — I just need more sleep than my husband.

There is actually a term for people who are genetically-wired to require more sleep than others, even more than what might be considered normal.

“Long Sleepers” often need ten hours of sleep or more (adults), and there’s not really anything that can be done to change that. We simply have to accommodate this as much as possible.

Therefore, the answer to the question “how many hours does a child need to sleep” may be different for each child.

What can you do if you think your kids need more sleep?

If you’re wondering how many hours of sleep should a child get and if your child is getting enough sleep, here are proven tips to help them get more shut-eye:

1. Help them fall asleep faster

These tips to help an anxious child sleep can be beneficial for any child who struggles to fall asleep. The less time spent trying to sleep means more actual rest.

2. Re-evaluate weekday activities

Is karate class really worth it if it means your child doesn’t get home for dinner until 7:30pm? When possible, find activities that can be done on weekends or earlier in the day.

3. Discuss a reasonable homework load with your child’s teacher

Even when my daughter is fully focused, it usually takes at least thirty minutes to complete her daily homework assignments. On days where she is especially tired from school, homework can drag over an hour as she struggles to retain focus.

The National Education Association recommends 10-20 minutes of homework for first graders, increasing by 10 minutes per grade. A recent study published by the American Journal of Family Therapy found that the average first grader actually receives three times the recommended amount of homework!

If you feel that excessive homework could be contributing to sleep issues, try talking with your child’s teacher to figure out a reasonable work load.

4. Try an Earlier Bedtime

Going to bed early may have benefits for kids’ health, and it will allow them more time to get the sleep they need. Alison at Pint-Sized Treasures explains why her kids have early bedtimes here.

When to see a doctor

Changes in sleep patterns, trouble staying awake during the day, or suddenly sleeping hours longer than usual could be signs of an underlying issue.

Trust your gut!

If something seems “off,” don’t ignore it. It can’t hurt to give your family physician a call.

Do you have any child sleep tips? Share them in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This post is based on my own experience and is not intended to be medical advice.

More of our favorite posts about child sleeping:

It took us over a year to figure this out!! I had started to think our toddler would never sleep through the night, until we cut out this ONE thing. If you're stuck in the cycle of sleepless nights like we were, you'll want to check to see if you missed this too!

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Child Sleep Anxiety: 6 Tips to Help Your Child Get More Sleep

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on February 8th, 2019 at 07:27 pm

I support AMBER Alerts – even if they wake me up on a work day

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Inside: AMBER Alerts have saved nearly 1000 children’s lives, but here’s why some people are mad about them.

AMBER Alerts have saved nearly 1000 children's lives, but here's why some people are mad about them.

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the headline: Amber Alert That Located 11-Year-Old’s Alleged Killer Sparks ‘Numerous’ Complaints (VICE News)

What could possibly be controversial about an AMBER Alert?

What’s the big deal about AMBER Alerts?

The AMBER Alert system has been around for over two decades here in the United States, but only recently launched in Canada.

As such, many residents of Ontario were caught off guard by the two province-wide alerts sent at 11:30pm and 12:30am.

Within the first few hours after the alerts went out, there were hundreds of calls made to 911.

But believe it or not, a large portion of those 911 calls weren’t to offer tips, but rather to complain about the alert. 

I don’t live in Canada, but I have received tons of AMBER Alerts to my phone — at all hours of the day.

The alert noise is crazy loud and kind of creepy. I get that.

However, I still can’t fathom why anyone could be mad about an AMBER Alert! What the what?!

There is so much going on in our world that is divisive, you’d think that AMBER Alerts would be something we ALL could agree upon.

It made me sad to read otherwise, so I wanted to offer my support of the program.

I support AMBER Alerts because they work

Both fortunately and unfortunately, AMBER Alerts are a regular part of our day here in the U.S.

I say “unfortunately” because anytime an AMBER Alert goes out, that means a child is in danger. However, we are fortunate to have a system for spreading the word and finding those children.

Since the program’s creation in 1996, AMBER Alerts are responsible for the safe rescue of nearly 1000 children in the U.S.

That alone is reason enough to deal with any possible “inconvenience” of a phone alert.

Here’s a look at the exact numbers of AMBER Alert rescues in the United States:

  • 934 children have even rescued specifically because of an AMBER Alert
  • 53 children have been rescued from a Wireless Emergency Alert

Source: US Department of Justice

One thousand kids rescued is a big deal. 

Who knows what would have happened for those kids and their families otherwise?

I support AMBER Alerts because they’re not really an “inconvenience”

Let’s be honest here — your life is not ruined by a loud alert on your phone.

Your life is ruined when your child is kidnapped. Or worse.

Yes, it might scare the crap out of you to be woken from a deep sleep by that eerie chime. Trust me, there have been more than a few early morning alerts that shook me out of a peaceful slumber.

Was I annoyed?

I’ll admit it…a little bit. I like sleep, ok?

Did I get mad and complain?

No way.

I read the alert, made sure it didn’t apply to me, then I thanked my lucky stars that I had the luxury of going back to sleep. Because I know that an alert means that there is one family out there who is NOT sleeping.

An AMBER Alert is that family’s lifeline, a bit of hope, and maybe a happy ending. I’d never begrudge them that.

I’d also never begrudge our first responders and emergency workers who are trying to find a missing child as quickly as possible.  The first 24-48 hours are the most critical in a missing child situation, so I’m all for any measure to make it happen.

Think about all the spam calls and telemarketers that hit you up on a daily basis. Do you go and call 911 about that?

Didn’t think so.

I support AMBER Alerts so they are there if we need them

My Grandad used to volunteer for K-9 search and rescue, and as kids, my cousins and I used to help him and their team practice.

It felt like an eternity waiting for them to find us in the woods, but I knew that we would be found.

I can’t imagine how scary it would be as a kid to not know if or when you would be rescued.

I can’t imagine as a parent how scary it would be waiting for first responders and volunteers to find your child. If they do, that is.

I pray with all my heart that my family never needs to report a missing child or rely on an AMBER Alert. But I am thankful that this resource is there.

Take a minute to thank YOUR lucky stars too, and have a little grace

Maybe this is a good reminder for all of us to take a minute to reflect in gratitude that we have our families safe with us.

Hopefully it will also be a reminder for when the next alert comes to take a deep breath, and offer up a little grace for our emergency responders who are only trying to save a child’s life.

If it really bugs you that much, you can opt out of AMBER Alerts on your phone here in the U.S.

Apparently right now the AMBER Alert system in Canada goes to all phones, but that might change after this. In the meantime, I hope all my friends in the north will be patient while the new system works out its kinks.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be hugging my kids a little tighter tonight. And making sure my alerts are on.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on February 15th, 2019 at 07:47 pm

Shockingly Simple Toddler Sleep Hack – Most Parents Overlook This!

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What’s inside: An often overlooked solution to toddler sleep issues – and it’s one that parenting books won’t tell you! With one simple switch, our toddler immediately started sleeping through the night! 

As a parent of a new baby, you count down the days until they start sleeping through the night.

In fact, the promise of a restful night’s sleep when your baby hits the toddler stage is usually what gets you through those sleep deprived newborn days!

But what happens if your toddler never sleeps through the night?

A simple, but often overlooked solution to toddler sleep issues. With one simple switch, our toddler immediately started sleeping through the night!

Toddler Sleep Regression?

I never dreamed (no pun intended) that my toddler wouldn’t sleep through the night.

In the first year, we dealt with quite a few baby sleep regressions. I accepted that I didn’t get an “easy sleeper,” but I looked forward to getting a good night’s rest once we hit the toddler stage.

Boy was I mistaken!

At 22 months, we were still being woken up at least once, sometimes twice a night to cries of “Mama! Dada! Where are you?!” Going on three full years without solid sleep was really taking its toll, and I knew my poor little girl must be exhausted too!

Toddler sleep regression?

More like our toddler never slept through the night to begin with!

Why won’t my toddler sleep through the night?!”

If this is you too, I want to share a surprisingly simple toddler sleep solution that worked INSTANTLY for us.

Seriously, the first day we tried this was the first day we ALL slept an entire night through. 

It’s definitely worth a try! Perhaps it will be the magic toddler sleep trick for you too!

It took us over a year to figure this out!! I had started to think our toddler would never sleep through the night, until we cut out this ONE thing. If you're stuck in the cycle of sleepless nights like we were, you'll want to check to see if you missed this too!

I felt like we had tried everything

Different bedtimes, different pajamas, her favorite dolls, night-lights, cuddling, cry-it-out…you name it! I read countless articles on toddler sleep regression and toddler sleep training.

But nothing worked.

We got lucky a handful of times, but in her first two years of life, I could count on one hand the number of times our toddler slept through the night.

One day my mom suggested something that I hadn’t thought of.

Do you think she could be sensitive to sugar and caffeine?

My initial reaction was outrage: I do NOT give my kids caffeinated drinks at all! No soda, tea…nothing…never! My mom knows that!

Then my mom dropped the bomb:

What about chocolate?

Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine, and both girls do get the occasional treat.

Except that was the problem.

The treats had become more than just an occasional surprise. Once I started thinking about it, I realized that every time I turned around, someone was handing my girls candy or cookies or ice cream.

Whether it was Daddy bringing home fried Oreos from his food truck, or a family member popping in to say hello with a surprise ice cream sundae, or even the bank teller passing a sucker over the counter — sugar was everywhere!

I prided myself on the fact that as a family we ate very healthy: home cooked meals every night with lots of vegetables and lean proteins.  And I thought that we were reasonable about sugar consumption.

However, our girls were getting far more sugar than I realized, and even a bit of caffeine from chocolate treats.

Does chocolate disrupt sleep in children?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that both kids and adults avoid chocolate before bedtime. That’s because chocolate contains caffeine, which even in small amounts can be detrimental to good sleep habits.

How much caffeine is in chocolate?

Believe it or not, a typical serving of dark chocolate contains about as much caffeine as a cup of tea.

Milk chocolate contains about a third of the caffeine of dark chocolate, but even that could be enough to affect a child, as children are more sensitive to caffeine.

On the day that my mom suggested that chocolate and other sweets were negatively affecting our littlest’s sleep, I thought back to what she had eaten the day before.

I was ashamed when I counted up the cookies I had watched our daughter eat.

I might not have given them to her myself, but I allowed others to feed her an excessive amount. Maybe 5 cookies total — that’s more than I would ever eat in a day and it is INSANE for a not-quite two year old!

That night she had woken up twice. I hung my head in shame.

What happened when we cut back on sugar and chocolate

The good news: we can make a positive change at any time!

That very day I announced to my husband and my visiting mother-in-law that the girls were not to have any more sugar for the rest of the day. Period.

I explained that I wanted to see the effect it was having on our toddler’s sleep.

That night our daughter slept through from 9pm to 8am. ELEVEN hours straight!!

I couldn’t believe the immediate impact that cutting out sugar and chocolate had on toddler sleep.

The next day I again made the announcement: no sugar after her lunchtime treat (that was snuck in without my knowledge…though that is another story.)

That night our toddler slept from 9:30pm to 11am. MORE than TWELVE hours straight!!

And the next night it was twelve hours again!

And the next night was ten hours!

More than one night in a row of sleeping through the night has NEVER happened before. Sleeping more than twelve hours straight is unheard of for our youngest daughter.

This was four nights in a row of sleeping around twelve hours straight. It was like a miracle!!

I don’t care if anyone thinks it is a coincidence…I am sold!!

It might not be what’s going on around your child that’s keeping them awake.

I think with sleep issues, we often look for external factors as the cause: noise, temperature, discomfort, etc. However, sometimes it is important to consider what is going on inside our bodies!

I can’t believe I missed this for so long — I know the effect that sugar has on ME, but I hadn’t thought about what it was doing to my girls.

Maybe a couple treats won’t keep every child up at night, but for my little girl (who didn’t even have a taste of processed sugar until after her first birthday) it was obviously too much. And if you’re stuck in the exhausting cycle of sleepless nights like we were, it is definitely worth a try!!

Our new “house rules” when it comes to sugar:

  • Only one small treat per day
  • Absolutely NO sugar after dinner

And we are ALL sleeping better because of it!

Pin this post:

n often overlooked solution to toddler sleep issues - and it's one that parenting books won't tell you! With one simple switch, our toddler immediately started sleeping through the night! 

More toddler sleep tips:

4 signs that your child is ready to transition to a toddler bed, as well as tips from top bloggers to make the move a breeze!

When is it Time to Transition from Crib to Toddler Bed?

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Happy You, Happy Family: Find Your Personal Recipe for Happiness in the Chaos of Parenting Life by Kelly Holmes

Kelly is a friend and colleague whose work has changed the lives of countless families. Her new e-book shares the recipe to:

  • Stop feeling overwhelmed. Get a handle on the swirling chaos of to-do items and appointments and “should”s in your head.
  • Set yourself up for a happy day, every day. Find out the ingredients you need in your day in order to become your happiest self.
  • Catch yourself before you lose your cool. Learn what to do when you lose your patience with a temper-taming toolkit of proven tools to get you back on track.
  • Heal after the storm. For the days when you do lose your cool, you’ll get the exact steps to flush the bad mojo from your body and repair the relationship with your child (or your partner).

Grab your copy of the e-book for Kindle, Nook, or iBooks:

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Parents: Please Stop Sending Sick Kids to School

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on June 2nd, 2019 at 06:56 pm

Parents: Please Stop Sending Sick Kids to Class

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Sick kids in class put others at risk, including families at home. When to keep your kid home from school and what to do if you can’t.

Sick kids in class put others at risk, including families at home. When to keep your kid home from school and what to do if you can't.

“That kid over there is sick.”

My husband nudged me to look in the right direction, but I didn’t need any help spotting the kid he was talking about.

Red circles around his eyes. Puffy, red nose. Coughing. Coughing. And more coughing.

Yea, that kid was totally sick. Just who a parent wants to see standing next to their kid in gymnastics class.

The woman sitting beside us in the observation area quickly turned around. “He’s not sick! He’s just been playing for a while and is tired.” She must have been his grandma and she obviously overheard us discussing her visibly sick grandson.

Maybe this kid didn’t have the flu. Though he could have the flu for all we know.

But even if this kid “only” had a cold, there’s no good reason to be at gymnastics class passing germs to all of his classmates and instructors.

We don’t want your kid’s germs!

Kids get sick. It’s just a part of life.

However, I think I speak for all parents when I say that we don’t want our kids picking up any more germs than they already do or bringing illness home with them.

In a house with three kids, including a 7-month old baby, even a cold is devastating!

It took our family almost an entire month to kick a cold during Christmas vacation. Our oldest likely brought it home from school, then the kids spread it to each other, one by one, and finally to my husband and I.

Because of our poor congested baby, no one got any sleep. Christmas was subdued with a house of sick kids. Fortunately, there was no school due to the holiday break, or our oldest would have missed at least a few days. As it was, she had to skip her tutoring sessions, which she loves.

We were all pretty miserable, on Christmas no less.

And we were fortunate that this was “only” a cold.

I don’t want to imagine the flu, or worse, making it’s way through our family or to our baby.

Even if you’re careful, germs spread FAST among kids.

As soon as we spotted the first signs of a cold, we got serious about trying to prevent it from spreading.

We instated a no-hugging, no kissing policy in our house.

We diligently washed hands – every 5 minutes it seemed!

Everyone drank tons of water and crammed vitamins.

And everyone still got sick.

But you know what we didn’t do?

We didn’t send any of our kids to their activities!

Even with all our efforts to prevent that annoying bug from spreading, every single person in our family caught it. Germs are pervasive, especially with kids who constantly touch their face and put stuff in their mouths.

So if you bring a sick kid to class, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that at least one of their classmates is going to pick up their germs, and bring it home to their own family.

Not cool.

When should sick kids stay home from school?

Most schools, daycares, or activity centers have policies about different types of illness and when to keep kids home.

However, policy or not, there are certain symptoms and conditions that warrant staying home or even a doctor visit.

If your kid has any of the following, keep them home:

  • Fever — A fever of 100°F or higher is an indicator of illness or infection. Kids with a fever should stay home or possibly see a doctor if the fever is too high. Click here to learn more about fever in children and when to call the doctor.
  • Vomiting — Whether it is caused by something contagious or not, if your child is throwing up then they likely don’t feel well enough to go to school or an activity.
  • Diarrhea — This can be a sign of something contagious like a stomach virus, which you don’t want to spread to others. However, diarrhea can also lead to dehydration quickly, so you’ll want to keep your child home where you can be sure to give them plenty of fluids.
  • Severe color or cough — A pervasive cough can be a symptom of serious (and contagious) conditions like whooping cough or viral bronchitis. In any case, your child is probably feeling pretty miserable and needs rest.
  • Flu — The flu can be deadly for small children or those with a compromised immune system. If you know your child has the flu, do not take them to a public place.
  • Pinkeye — Because it is highly contagious, many schools will send home children with pinkeye. If you’re unsure, get your child’s eye checked out so you’ll know whether it is in fact pinkeye, or something benign.
  • Lice — Please, I’m begging you, keep them home!! Many schools are changing their policy on lice, allowing kids to stay in school so they don’t miss a minute of instruction. I don’t care about the policy. Lice suck. Treating a house is time-consuming and expensive. If you kid gets them, keep them home and treat them. Your fellow parents thank you.

Related: Try this Glitter Germy Hands Experiment with your kids to show them how easily germs spread and teach good hand washing habits!

This germy hands experiment is a fun way to teach kids good habits to help keep them healthier during cold and flu season. Free printable activity sheet!

What if I can’t keep my kid home?

I realize that many employers aren’t very understanding about sick kids. I used to work for a company who could care less about my own health, not to mention that of my family.

I get it. I really do.

A rise in the number of families with two working parents means that more kids are going to school with minor colds, and sometimes with more serious illnesses.

But here’s the thing.

With a little baby who hasn’t had a chance to get all her shots yet, I have to be protective mama bear.

Sending a kid to school with a runny nose and a cough might not seem like a big deal. Maybe they even act “fine.”

But it’s a big deal to us families with babies.

And it’s a big deal to families with immunocompromised kids who can’t fight off minor bugs like the rest of us can.

If your child is a little under the weather and you have no choice but to send them to school, at least have the courtesy to let their teachers know. That way they can keep an eye on them and make sure that all the kids are washing hands and bathing in sanitizer.

However, there is no reason to bring a sick kid to extracurricular activities!

If you explain the situation, I’m sure that most people will be understanding and accommodating with make-up classes. They don’t want sick kids spreading germs at their gymnastics facility or tutoring center.

If your kid is sick, please keep them home. I promise I will too.

Some say the “village” is gone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re all in this crazy journey of raising kids together, so let’s not make it any harder on each other than it already is.

Related: The New Trend of Schools Enforcing Dress Codes for Parents

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on October 15th, 2019 at 07:49 pm

Do Not – I Repeat – Do NOT Ask Your Kids About “Momo”

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Inside: What parents need to know about the Momo Challenge and how to keep their kids safe online.

I wish I’d never said the word “momo” in our house.

What parents need to know about the Momo Challenge and how to keep their kids safe online.

Like all of you, I saw the disturbing photo circulating Facebook last week, warning parents to ask their kids about “momo,” which is supposedly a new social media “suicide challenge” aimed at kids and teens.

Sounds pretty scary right?

What is Momo?

The so-called “Momo Challenge” features a terrifying image of a deathly pale girl doll who has jet black hair and protruding eyes. The picture is said to pop up in the middle of kids videos on YouTube, even on YouTube Kids.

Y’all…this photo is disturbing. I don’t even like looking at it — and I’m a grown-up who knows it’s fake. I can only imagine how scary it must look to a child.

The picture alone is enough, but the worst part of the Momo Challenge is that “Momo” tells kids to do bad things, even hurt themselves.

Like dangerous internet challenges past (remember the Tide Pod Challenge?), the Momo Challenge sent parents, schools, and the media into a frenzy.

Everywhere you look, everyone is talking about Momo.

Watch out for Momo! Warn your kids!! Beware!!

Should you be worried?

The image is real, but the original intent is far from what the now-viral “warning” posts claim.

The scary-looking doll with long black hair and huge eyes is actually a sculpture, created by Keisuke Aisawa, an artist for the Japanese special effects company Link Factory and displayed at Tokyo’s horror-art Vanilla Gallery in 2016. They have nothing to do with any of this Momo nonsense.

 

Apparently photos from the event circulated quickly online and along the way the term “Momo Challenge” hit the mainstream. However, it looks like the Momo Challenge is little more than an urban legend.

So far there are no actual confirmed cases of injuries or suicides linked to the Momo Challenge. In fact, Snopes.com says that “the existence of the Momo challenge may be far more hype or hoax than reality.”

YouTube also released a statement, assuring users that “despite press reports of this challenge surfacing” they’ve seen “no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube.”

Parents: the Momo Challenge isn’t a real thing.

I repeat, Momo is FAKE.

UPDATE: Is Momo Real or Just a Hoax? Here’s What We’ve Learned.

Should you talk to your kids about Momo or other internet challenges?

Even though it turned out to be a hoax, the Momo Challenge is still all over the news and parents are still worried. So I asked my daughters if they’d heard of it.

I knew full well that my youngest daughter wouldn’t. She’s four and doesn’t have any unsupervised screen time. I did suspect that my oldest daughter would at least have heard kids at school talking about it.

“What’s Momo?” they both asked.

I explained that Momo is a creepy picture but it’s fake, so if they hear kids talking about it, don’t worry.

Case closed. Parenting duty done.

So I thought…

Except now my four-year-old won’t stop talking about Momo.

“Is Momo fake?”

“Will I see Momo on YouTube?”

“Will you show me Momo? Is she scary looking?”

All day long. Momo this, Momo that.

It doesn’t matter that I told her it’s fake. She still asks. She still worries.

If I’d never mentioned Momo, she wouldn’t know about it.

Lesson learned.

How to talk to your kids about Momo:

  • If you have a pre-schooler or a child that never has unsupervised screen time…DON’T! If there’s no way for them to find out about Momo on their own, don’t put the idea in their head. Unless you want to deal with tons of questions and nightmares for days on end.
  • If you have an older child who is around other kids at school and might hear about it on their own, it makes sense to have a conversation about internet challenges in general. I explained to my oldest daughter that someone took the photo and posted it to get attention. We revisited our ongoing conversation about internet safety and when to bring something to a grown-up’s attention.

The problem isn’t Momo.

If it’s not Momo, it will be something else.

The problem isn’t Momo — the problem is that users can post whatever they want to YouTube.

Parenting blogger Jennifer explains, “just like how there is no ‘approval department’ at Facebook approving each and every Facebook post, Youtube allows users to generate and post content at their own discretion.” Click here for more about what parents need to know about YouTube and YouTube Kids.

Furthermore, even if you ban the internet in your house, your kids still learn about things like this from their peers.

So what can you do?

Don’t panic. Be proactive.

The most important thing we can do as parents to keep our kids safe online is to maintain an open line of communication. We want our kids to feel like they can come to us with concerns or for help.

Setting firm “house rules” about internet use helps minimize exposure to harmful content.

Some of our family’s internet rules:

  • No social media profiles for our kids/tweens
  • No electronics in bedrooms; all screen time takes place in a supervised family area
  • When using YouTube Kids, our girls may only watch channels we know and approve
  • Frequent check-ins by my husband and I to make sure the kids are not watching anything they shouldn’t

There’s no perfect system, but knowing what your kids are watching AND your kids knowing that you are watching goes a long way towards keeping them safer online.

And for your own sake, don’t panic about every scary new “challenge” that your Facebook friends are talking about or the news tries to scare you with.

These internet challenges seem to be as much about capitalizing on parents’ fear as anything else. And we’re smarter than that!

UPDATE:

Is Momo real or just an elaborate hoax? An update on the Momo Challenge and what you haven't been told.

Is Momo Real or a Hoax? What We’ve Learned.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

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Last updated on March 5th, 2019 at 12:41 am

Is Momo Real? Here’s What They’re NOT Telling

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Inside: Is Momo real or a hoax? An update on the Momo Challenge and what you haven’t been told.

Is Momo real or just an elaborate hoax? An update on the Momo Challenge and what you haven't been told.

WHY?? WHY?? WHY?!?!!

I think that’s what all parents want to say to the person who started the whole Momo thing.

While it’s been around for a couple years, in the past couple weeks news of the Momo challenge has been everywhere. Unless you completely unplug and disconnect from the rest of the world, it’s all but unavoidable right now.

Is Momo real or is Momo a hoax?

That’s the burning question, and it’s stirring up a LOT of controversy.

Snopes.com discredited the Momo Challenge as “far more hype or hoax than reality.” YouTube quickly jumped to its own defense, saying they’d yet to find any videos on their platform promoting the Momo Challenge.

Just as quickly as they jumped on the bandwagon warning parents to watch out for Momo, the media turned around and told parents to forget it ever happened.

Momo is fake news, they said.

But how can Momo be a hoax if I’ve seen the videos myself?

After I published my first article about the Momo Challenge, parent after parent reached out to let me know that they had found the videos online, and that they seemed frighteningly real.

My child was watching YouTube Kids and Momo appeared in the video!

Seemingly safe videos – Peppa Pig being one of the names I heard time and again – allegedly were altered to include clips of Momo instructing kids to hurt themselves.

I don’t doubt for a second that these types of experiences are happening — that’s why simply writing everything off as a hoax isn’t fair to the parents dealing with the fallout of some very real video clips. Because of this I think it is important to clarify what exactly is meant when saying “Momo is a hoax.”

YouTube doesn’t want everyone to stop using their service, so it makes sense for them to say that the challenge isn’t real and they’re on top of it.

What they’re not telling is that it is absolutely impossible to check every piece of content before it is uploaded. It’s impossible to check even a fraction of the videos that are available on YouTube.

YouTube relies on the help of users to police and report inappropriate content. The same goes for other social media platforms too.

So do we believe them when they tell us that Momo is a hoax?

Here’s what we know:

There are no credible reports of anyone hurting themselves or committing suicide as a result of seeing Momo videos. So claims that kids are winding up with grave injuries or worse after seeing Momo are not true.

In that regard, Momo is a hoax.

The problem is that there ARE videos of Momo circulating, and likely far more of them than before the media frenzy started. YouTube and other social media networks are on high alert, but realistically, it’s impossible to prevent attention-seekers and troublemakers from uploading these clips.

Try telling a parent whose kid came home terrified after seeing a Momo video at school that the whole thing is fake.

It’s no wonder that many schools have banned YouTube in response. (That’s probably a good idea anyway).

How to Protect Your Kids from Watching Momo

We know Momo videos are out there, and if nothing else, they can be scary for kids who aren’t old enough to understand the difference between reality and fiction.

To be honest, the photos of Momo creep me out so much that I’ve refused to watch any of the videos.

Aside from flat-out banning YouTube, what is a parent supposed to do?

In my first post about the Momo Challenge, I talk about screen time and internet rules in our house, and I stand by those. We absolutely can control what our kids see in our home.

Most importantly:

  1. Only pre-approved (by us) YouTube Kids channels are allowed. These are trusted sources, whether it be the official channel for a television series that the girls enjoy, or a kid-centric content creator. These channels are not going to jeopardize their good standing or income by posting inappropriate material.
  2. All screen time takes place in eyesight of parents. Our girls do not have their own tablets or electronics, but rather we have a family iPad that they may use with permission and in our presence. Not only do our kids know that they are only allowed to watch a few specific channels, but they know we are watching too.

The above measures go a long way towards minimizing, if not eliminating exposure to harmful content. This is probably all that is necessary with younger kids who don’t have outside access to social media or the internet (preschoolers and younger).

However, older kids will likely hear about Momo from their friends, at school, etc. While we may not be able to prevent our older kids from learning who Momo is or even seeing pictures, we can make sure that they have a good head on their shoulders to deal with their peer influences.

We can’t wait until something like Momo comes along to talk to our kids about internet safety. This needs to be an ongoing conversation so kids know what to do when another one of these “challenges” goes viral.

What if your child has seen Momo videos?

My four-year-old hasn’t even seen the Momo videos, but for a couple days she was terrified of just the idea of Momo. (Which is why I wish I’d never asked her about it in the first place).

I did my best to explain that the Momo videos are a prank, and that she is not a real being. And then I explained it again…and again…when she asked the same questions repeatedly (as four-year-olds often do).

The best thing we can do is to reassure our kids and protect them from further exposure to that type of content.

One mom told me that her middle-school-aged son came to her and confided that his friends had all watched Momo videos and it was something that scared him. The mom worried that she’d failed at protecting her son from learning about such a thing.

That couldn’t be further from the truth!

If your child or teen seeks you out for help, then you’ve done your job as a parent. Kids are going to encounter things that you wish they didn’t. We can’t stop that from happening. What we CAN do is make sure that our kids feel safe coming to us instead of hiding things.

It’s not all up to YouTube

I do believe that YouTube and social media networks carry a responsibility to their users to make their platforms a safe space. However the ultimate responsibility falls on us parents.

I have three kids, so I totally get the need for a little bit of downtime or a few minutes to get something done, like finishing the dishes or squeezing in a workout. Allowing kids to watch their favorite channels keeps them happily occupied, and isn’t a bad thing if done under good supervision.

You’re not a bad parent if your kid watches YouTube Kids.

You’re not a bad parent if your kid stumbled across a Momo video.

Stuff happens and none of us are perfect or 100% present 100% of the time.

Take a moment to honestly evaluate the presence of YouTube in your house and the type of experience you want your children to have with social media and the internet.

Yes, it’s more work for us to closely monitor every single video our kids watch on YouTube. However, if it keeps them from seeing something harmful, then the extra effort is worthwhile, is it not?

There are always going to be bad people and negative influences in our world, seeking the attention of our children and teens.

But I can promise you that YOU are a stronger influence on your kids than anything else in this world.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
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Last updated on March 5th, 2019 at 01:47 am

Is Eating Boogers Good for Kids?

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Parents: If you’ve caught your kids eating boogers from time to time, you might wonder: are boogers good for you? Or should you be worried? Keep reading to learn what the experts have to say!

Ok, I’ll admit it. My kid eats boogers.

When I asked her why, she just shrugged and said simply, “because they taste good.”

As much as I try to discourage her, I still see my daughter “digging for gold” every now and then. So I started to wonder, should I be worried if my kid eats boogers?

Are boogers good for you?

If you've caught your kids eating boogers from time to time, you might wonder: are boogers good for you? Here's what the experts have to say...

Edit 5/4/19: A correction was made directly in this story at the request of an independent fact checker for Facebook. I want to clarify that I wrote this to be a humorous piece, not medical advice. My kid picks her nose sometimes – lots of kids do – and my post is all in good fun.

What are Boogers Made of?

Boogers begin as mucus, a clear slimy substance inside our nasal passage. Mucus is primarily made of water, but it traps small particles that we breathe in: dust, pollen, and even germs. This keeps those yucky irritants from entering our lungs and potentially making us sick.

Some of the mucus goes down the back of the throat — so we’re all unintentionally ingesting boogers throughout the day! The rest gets pushed towards the front of the nostrils by tiny hairs inside the nose known as cilia. As the mucus gets closer to incoming air, it dries out into clumps that we affectionately call boogers. (Source)

Why do kids eat boogers?

If boogers are full of dirt and other yucky stuff, then why do kids eat them?

Believe it or not, it’s the flavor!

Dried mucus can taste salty or even a bit sweet.

So when your child claims that boogers taste good, they might not be lying!

Are Boogers Good for You?

Just like dirt builds our immune system, it’s possible that boogers serve a similar function.

Dirt and bacteria trapped in mucus may help train strengthen our immune system so that it can fight off other illnesses down the road.

Scientists who subscribe to this theory, dubbed the “hygiene hypothesis,” believe that early exposure is beneficial and that keeping things “too clean” and sterile can be detrimental.

When our bodies come in contact with germs and bacteria at an early age, our immune response is created and strengthened. Essentially, this is how our bodies learn how to fight off harmful microbes.

So it follows that by eating their boogers, which contain dirt and germs, your child is building a stronger immune system and may be healthier as an adult.

There is limited research to back up this idea, but at the same time, it is doubtful that boogers are harmful.

close up of germs in boogers

Parents, “Pick” Your Battles

(See what I did there??)

Kids pick their noses. They just do. You probably did too when you were a kid.

The good news is that it’s likely a habit they’ll grow out of on their own — or at least not do in public.

In the meantime, since they’re probably going to do it anyway, might as well teach kids how to do it right.

Yes, there really is a “right” way to pick your nose!

Pediatricians advise that kids learn to remove boogers from their nose with a tissue, instead of their fingers. (We love “Boogie Wipes“ which are wet saline wipes that gently clean sensitive noses). Not only does this reduce the risk of accidentally scratching the inside of the nose, but it keeps germs off kids’ hands too.

Most importantly, kids should always wash hands thoroughly after blowing their nose so they won’t spread germs to others.

Related: Check out our Glitter Germy Hands Experiment to help teach good hand washing habits!

Bottom line:

If your kid likes to eat their boogers, it’s likely no cause for concern, and in fact may actually be good for them!

I’m sure down the road my daughter will cave in to society’s norms and stop eating her boogers, like we all do…at least I think we all do.

But for now I’ll “pick” my battles, and boogers aren’t the bad guy.

Disclaimer: This post is meant to be good fun, and not medical advice.

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Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Stacey is the creator of The Soccer Mom Blog, a Houston Texas mom blog that focuses on positive living for women and families. She loves to share real food recipes, money-saving tips, parenting encouragement, kids activities, DIY tutorials, home hacks, fitness, and so much more! To get to know Stacey even better, click here.
Stacey aka the Soccer Mom

Latest posts by Stacey aka the Soccer Mom (see all)

Last updated on May 24th, 2019 at 04:47 pm