Pretend Play & Imagination
A Parents’ Guide


Pretend play is an important part of every child’s development. It allows them to make sense of the world around them and of course it is a great way for them to “try out” and practice the different roles and responsibilities they will have as adults.

Most children nowadays spend hours a day watching television, playing video games, computer activities, and taking organized classes to give them a head start for school. In a typical day of a child, there isn’t much time left for pretend play and many kids never gain the value of this amusing, healthy child’s play.

This guide will help parents understand the value pretend play adds to a child’s life and will advise parents how they can help their kids develop pretend play skills, and gain the many wonderful values of development skills that will last them a life time. Parents will learn how to encourage their child to pretend play and tap into their creative potential and also learn things about their kids they may not have otherwise known.

Advantages of Pretend Play

Pretend play allows a child to take on different grownup roles which helps him make sense of various views and behaviors associated with that role. It also enables a child to actively experiment with the social roles in life. The pretend play process helps children build many essential developmental skills essential to their well being, growth and happiness. These are carried with them throughout adulthood.

• Pretend play can help children work through various situations they find hard to understand, worry or frighten them. This leads to a more secure, happy child.

• Parents are able to get a good sense of what their kids are thinking and how they feel about certain situations when they watch their kids pretend play. You may find out something you didn’t know that scares your child, or learn how he really feels about a situation. This helps parents to be able to help their child should they see an area of insecurity or fear. It also enables them to set the record straight and provide information to their child to help him see things more clearly.

• Pretend play helps with your child’s self esteem because they get to be the grown up that makes the decisions and tells everyone what to do and what not to do. A child feels in control and is empowered by his role as a grown up during his pretend play.

• Pretend play brings about the practice of several social skills, such as language and communication, eye-hand coordination, and motor skills.

• While pretend playing a child will learn from his own mistakes without a sense of failure.

• When a child takes on different roles during pretend play he is able to see what it is like to be in another’s person’s shoes, enabling the moral developmental skill of empathy.

• Pretend play builds thinking skills and abstract thinking skills. During pretend play your child will be faced with problems to solve, causing him to use cognitive thinking skills that he will use throughout his life. Abstract thinking for example is when a child uses an object as a symbol for something else. This demonstrates a high level thinking skill.

• Pretend Play fuels a child’s imagination.

Introducing Pretend Play to your Child

Introducing pretend play to your child as early as possible has high rewards, and is one less task you have to be concerned with in toddlerhood. Toddlerhood is one of the toughest roads of parenting, and like many other areas, it is best to start this one early.

Whatever pretend tools you introduce, you will have to be involved with your child and introduce the idea to him simply by playing as well, alongside him, demonstrating different sounds, motions, ideas, voices, etc. Gradually pull back, the involvement when you see him start to interact and pretend on his own. As baby approaches toddlerhood and further on, advance the pretend play according to his age, by changing to more age suitable props, toys, and ideas.

Once the introduction is moving forward you will need to simply encourage pretend play and ensure your child’s time does not get over consumed with other activities. Alongside the flashcards, computer activities, television, extracurricular activities, and school, make sure you include pretend play.

Ways to Encourage Pretend Play

Many years back pretend play came naturally because there simply wasn’t much else to do. However these days there are many factors that cause parents to end up neglecting pretend play opportunities.

Parents, being attentive to the importance of education from a young age, tend to focus extra time with flash cards, educational videos, computer applications and activities, and reading books. Nowadays life is much busier and children don’t find that time on their own where they can just be, to play freely, without instruction or rules to follow.

If you give your child the means in which he can pretend play, he will naturally engage himself in it. Older children, who are not used to pretend play, may take a bit more time to be able to play without the interaction of another person; this is actually another good reason to begin this process early.

Make no mistake that make believe in a child’s world is highly important. Use these ideas to support your child’s pretend play and open up his mind to a world of imagination, empowerment, and skills that enhance emotional development.

Role Playing

Use everyday scenarios and role play with your child.

• Pretend to go the doctor. Maybe your child wants to be the doctor and you are the patient.

• Pretend to go the store. Maybe your child wants to be the grown up doing the shopping or wants to be the person that tends the cash register. Maybe they even chose to be a certain food at the grocery store.

• Switch roles and you be the child and let your child be the parent (this is a good one for parents to see how their kids see them and their behavior)

• Mommy’s Helper. When you are busy and want your child to keep himself busy for a while, ask him to be mommy’s little helper and go the store for you. Give him a pretend list of things to get for you. Then ask him to unpack the bags and put everything away in its proper place.

Action Figures, Dolls of all Sorts

Nowadays there are various type dolls and action figures. Fairy’s, baby dolls that do all sort of different baby type actions, character dolls (Superman, Spiderman, Bratz, Hannah Montana), dolls you can put makeup on and do their hair, are to name a few.

These type toys enable your child to take on a role and play out different scenarios. This really fuels the imagination and enables your child to go somewhere else without ever leaving the house. Keep a box or crate of action dolls where your child can easily access them. Introduce these action figures to your child by playing along with him showing him that they don’t just sit there in the box, but can come to life if he wishes them to. Make them talk in funny voices, and fly and jump.

Dress Up / Costumes

A child can turn himself into almost anything he wants using costumes. He can even end up making his own costume out of old clothes of mom and dad. Dad’s old shirt can be turned into a doctor’s coat. Moms old night gown can be turned into a princess costume or a hat. Parents can use old Halloween costumes and turn them into something a little different that your child can pretend to be.

Obstacle Course
Use pillows, blankets, old tents to make tunnels and build an obstacle course for climbing. This is a great way to get your kids using their other favorite toys to fuel their imagination, while getting some exercise as well. It is also a good assistance for parents needing to keep their kids busy for a while.

Use soft animal toys, an old pen for a thermometer, headphones for a stethoscope (tape a piece of cardboard, or plastic bottle cap to the jack), and dad’s old shirt for a doctors coat. This is also an opportunity to teach your child a new grown up word and for them to learn that there are different types of doctors.

Let’s Go Shopping
Rotate roles as shopper and store assistant. Use a basket, empty cereal boxes and other foods boxes, dry beans and pasta for store goods. Make your own paper money and coins out of cardboard. If you have a toddler or preschooler they will be happy to help you color the money and coins.

Time to Make Dinner
Use kitchen utensils, rice, dry beans and pasta. Use plastic toy fruits and vegetables and empty food boxes. Promote pretend play by asking your child to help you in the kitchen at meal time and prepare a few dishes for you. Take those dishes to the table along with your meal and let the rest of the family in on the fun of eating dishes from the new chef.

Gain Parental Benefits

Believe it or not even parents gain value when they incorporate pretend play into their child’s life.

• Gain parental and personal satisfaction, self esteem and a sense of accomplishment as you watch your child develop a series of important benefits to his development.

• Pretend play supports independent play – another valuable tool for your child to learn, and also offers benefits to parents. Through pretend play, a child is better able to play independently, giving mom and dad a chance to do other things, or a chance to do things without the fifty million interruptions. Many parents say they were finally able to complete a conversation with their spouse when their child learned to play independently.

• The joy of being a parent will have you halting your tasks as you stop to watch your child in his glory of pretend play. Precious and hilarious facial expressions, body language, funny voices and sounds your child is likely to make during his play time, will have you in stitches laughing and grinning from ear to ear. Plenty of funny stories to tell friends and family, and I strongly suggest you keep your camera close at hand.Taking Good Childhood Photos

Motherhood: Find the Fun In It!

• A great relationship builder for parents. A new hobby awaits mom and dad, adding value to their relationship by spending time together learning how to take great pictures and then finding sneaky ways to get the shot without disturbing your child in his moment of glory. It is suggested by professionals that couples engage in spending time together by learning something new together or share in a hobby, in order to strengthen their relationship and get to know each other again, especially after having kids.
Marriage Trouble After Kids: Protect Marriage Tips

Pretend Play and Imagination

Pretend play fuels the imagination and children love imaginative play. It’s easy to figure out why – they get to be anything or anyone they want. They get to run the show, make all the decisions and be the boss. When a child is using his imagination he feels happy and independent. Children have the capacity to not only learn from what they are but also from what they want to be, and it’s up to mom and dad or caretakers to encourage this talent, by encouraging imaginative play.

Nurture the Imagination

Here are some ways parents can encourage imaginative play in the home.

• A dress up corner with old clothes, shoes, backpacks, hats, costume jewelry, purses, accessories.

• Old telephones, phone books, magazines, newspapers.

• Cooking utensils, dishes, plastic food containers, table napkins.

• Stuffed animals and dolls of all sizes

• Fabric pieces, blankets, or old sheets for making costumes or a fort

• Theme-appropriate materials such as postcards, used plane tickets, foreign coins, and photos for a pretend vacation trip.

• Writing material for taking phone messages, leaving notes, and making shopping list.

• Musical instruments of different sorts

• If you see your child daydreaming do not interrupt him.

• If your child wants your involvement in his imaginative world join in and have a little child’s play of your own – just be sure to let your child take the lead and you simply follow along.

• Put on a play with your child of his favorite book.

• Make up songs together.

• An art box with crayons, markers, glue, construction paper, water colors.

• Finger painting or brush painting. While your child is painting, ask them questions about their work. What is it? Who is it? What does it eat? Why did you choose that color?

Children require imagination for healthy growth, learning and coping. A child’s imagination should never be stifled and his creativity should always be nurtured and fostered. From the age of two and up is crucial for imagination and pretend play, but it is extremely beneficial to parents and child if the procedure and introductions to pretend play and imaginative play are tackled early, starting from one to one and a half years old.
Natural Remedies for Common Ailments

One of the many ways parents can limit toxins being ingested in their children is to minimize use of over-the-counter medicines unless they are truly needed. Professionals advise that parents should try alternative natural remedies for common ailments such as cold, congestion, and cough.

Here are a some natural remedies to use when your children have a soar throat and cough due to a common cold or flu.

For Common Cold and Congestion
  • Avoid mucus producing foods
    y products, red meat, oats and gluten containing grains. Bananas and Soya products
  • Ginger Lemon Tea: To soothe mucus membranes

    2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in one cup of hot water. Add 1 teaspoon of juiced ginger. Let steep for 1-2 minutes then strain to remove ginger. Take as needed.

  • Fresh ginger: To help decongest sinus cavities

    1/2 teaspoon juiced ginger, given in a spoon with Manuka raw honey. 2 times daily

  • Propolis syrup or lozenges: Anti-viral. Follow directions on the box
  • Echinacea syrup or tincture: Boosts immunity. 0.5ml 3 times a day until symptoms are better for a maximum of 10 days
  • Honey garlic vinegar mixture: anti-viral, anti-bacterial

    1 teaspoon Manuka raw honey with a bit of crushed garlic and apple cider vinegar. 2 times daily

  • Eucalyptus oil: To soothe mucus membranes. Put 3-4 drops on your child's pillow at bedtime, on his t-shirt during the day or in a humidifier.
  • Salt water nasal spray: to clear out the sinus passages; can be purchased from the pharmacy; administer as needed
  • Topical Vitamin E: for older children, to soften and heal the nose's mucous membranes and blood vessels; squeeze the contents of a vitamin E capsule into the nostrils at bedtime

For Cough

  • Avoid mucus producing foods
    Dairy products, red meat, oats and gluten containing grains, bananas, soya products
  • Honey garlic vinegar mixture (as above)
  • Eucalyptus oil (as above)
  • Zinc lozenges: to boost immunity; 1/4 tablet for toddler. For an older child follow instructions on the packaging or ask your pharmacist
  • Vitamin C: to boost immunity; start with 500mg 2 times a day (reduce of child gets diarrhea)
  • Magnesium: to ease tightness in the chest; from eating more magnesium-rich foods such as almonds or from supervised supplementation if necessary (consult your nutritionist)

If you do use over counter medicines please try and also use the above suggestions. They can help limit the amount of medicine you have to give to your child per day.

I have used all of the above natural remedies for everyone in my family and they do help with cough, congestion and soar throat just as much as the average cold medicine bought over the counter.

A Baby Sleep Massage (Lymphatic Massage)

Do you need toddler sleep help? One of the things you can do to support your chosen baby sleep technique, just before bedtime is a baby sleep massage. It's better then a bath to help settle and relax your child.

A baby sleep massage also holds health benefits for a child with cold or flu.

Do you know how to properly administer this lovely little task?

The Benefits
  • A baby sleep massage, when administered correctly can boost immunity because it stimulates the lymphatic system. As you may know, the lymphatic system runs through the entire body and is a natural draining system that filters out unwelcome molecules and attacks microbes. It works with muscle stimulation.
  • During illness a lymphatic or baby sleep massage can assist in boosting a child's immunity and speed up his recovery.
  • A baby sleep massage is also a relaxing technique that calms, soothes and relaxes baby. It is also a wonderful bonding method and is very much enjoyed by both parents and baby.

A baby sleep massage is an effective technique to help with baby sleep problems and toddler sleep problems. Use it in place of a bath. Dim the lights, put some soft music and massage away. A baby massage can help baby sleep through the night when utilized as part of a bedtime routine.

Instructions for administering Baby Sleep Massage (Lymphatic Massage)

1. Use a natural oil such as almond oil, or vitamin E oil (especially good for children with Eczema)

2. Start at the feet and work up. Use short, firm strokes. It is important to work upwards towards the heart, as this is what drains the lymph nodes.

For a sore throat

1. Use a Eucalyptus oil.

2. Gently but firmly massage the lymph nodes in the neck beginning from the jaw line and loving slowly down to the collar bone. The massage pressure should cause SLIGHT discomfort but not pain.

3. Do this for 15-20 minutes. This will decongest the lymph nodes and allow them to heal.

Giving your baby a baby sleep massage is a simple task with high reward.

Happy Parenting!

The Parent Fairy
The Parent Fairy

Toxin Alert - Reducing Exposure

Unfortunately most children come in contact with toxins from the moment of birth, sometimes earlier, as many toxins such as alcohol and mercury can be transferred to unborn babies through the placenta during pregnancy.

A toxin is defined as any chemical or natural substance that can harm humans and other living things. They can poison, sicken, or irritate through contact or absorption. The effect of a toxin depends on the type, the duration of exposure and the health of the person exposed. Toxins produce general effects such as fatigue, headaches, depression, excess mucus, or digestive unrest. More specific effects include slowed learning, muscle and joint problems, lowered immunity, allergies and even cancer. Even pets are highly susceptible to toxin damage. Toxin effects on pets

A healthy body will be more efficient in removing toxins and reducing their effects. Today you are going to learn where toxins come from and how to ensure your child’s body is healthy enough to ward of toxin effects.

Where the Heck to do they come from?!

The Environment
  • Pollution (factories, exhaust fumes, gas stations, war zone radiation)
  • First and second hand cigarette smoke
  • Herbicides and other chemicals used on lawns and gardens and agriculture
  • Paint and glue
  • Candles (contain lead)
  • Cleaning items
  • Insecticides and insect repellents
  • Air fresheners and incense
  • Water supply (may contain medical and industrial residue and copper pipes)
  • Plastics containing hot food, cling film, aluminum foil
  • Aluminum pots and pans of old, scratched or chipped
  • Gas ovens and leaky gas pipes
  • Fireplaces
  • Dust
Foods and Drink
  • Inorganic, sprayed fruits and vegetables
  • Animal products treated with antibiotics and hormones
  • Smoked or char-grilled food (particularly the blackened part)
  • Contaminated fish (such as tuna. It is best to eat white tuna)
  • Tinned food(containing acidic food such as tomatoes)
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Food additives
Personal products
  • Beauty and hygiene items (shampoo, soaps, body lotions, antiperspirants, fluoride toothpaste, cosmetics and perfumes)
  • Medicines (pain killers, sedatives vaccines and anesthetics)
  • Mercury-amalgam dental fillings
Don’t Panic – Minimize Exposure

We have to face the facts that we cannot minimize ourselves or our children from ALL the toxins around us every day. Don’t Panic! – You can minimize the damage and ensure a healthy body that can counteract the effects of toxins.

The Top 20 Tips – To minimize your family’s exposure to toxins

  • Limit exposure to car fumes, busy roads and polluted areas. Close windows when filling the car with gas to avoid gas fume inhalation
  • Do not smoke around your children. Second hand smoke is also harmful to children and can affect them even from smelling it on your clothes or in your hair
  • Use stainless steel or ceramic cookware in the kitchen. Illuminate aluminum foil. Switch off gas source when not in use.
  • Do not let your dentist use mercury fillings. If you already have mercury fillings it is best to have them removed.
  • Make sure your children do not eat crayons and play dough. Buy non-toxic crayons, and have fun making your own play dough from natural ingredients. toxin free homemade play dough
  • Use mixture of water and vinegar for house cleaning as much as you can. It is just as effective as a commercial product
  • Avoid using insect sprays and repellents in the house. Try natural products such as Neem leaves and Neem products, garlic and cinnamon oil. For ants spray a mixture of vinegar and water or tea-tree oil and water near entrances. Sweep their trail and sprinkle ground pepper in places where they tend to gather.
  • Do not paint or redecorate when your children are around. Always use water based paint.
  • Decorate your household with indoor plants. They absorb carbon dioxide and toxins from the air surrounding them.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that contain chemicals and colorings such as fizzy drinks and candies.
  • Minimize use of over-the-counter medicines unless they are truly needed. Try natural remedies and baby lymphatic massage for common illnesses
  • Check food labels to illuminate additives
  • Avoid foods with a lot of preservatives and additives such sausages and cured meat. Avoid charred food.
  • Do not put hot food or drinks into plastic containers. Heat causes some plastics to release in the food.
  • Do not drink or cook with tap water. Drink mineral water. Do not leave plastic water bottles in the sun or heat.
  • Buy organic food when you can.
  • Void eating seafood contaminated with heavy metals such as tuna, swordfish and shellfish. Eat those that are small in size, as large fish tend to eat smaller fish and carry more toxins.
  • Make sure your children get fresh clean air by going to the park or the seaside at least once a week.
  • Consider natural options for soaps, shampoos, bubble baths, antiperspirants, lotions, etc .
  • Avoid use of talc powder it irritates the lungs. Discourage your kids from using perfume or body sprays. Use natural moisturizing creams such zinc, vitamin E and almond oil for massage.
Natural Detox – Kids Safe

Children should never use “Detox” supplements. Try these slow, natural detoxifiers.
  • Fiber from fruits and vegetables, and whole grains
  • Sulfur containing foods such as garlic and onion
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage
  • Protein from high quality sources such as organic meats, beans pulses, nuts, and seeds
  • Freshly squeezed organic juices
  • Foods rich in the detoxifying nutrients of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • Pectin, and natural substance found in fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas and carrots
  • Epsom salts added to a 20 minute bath to promote natural detoxification through the skin
Toxic Free Cleaners - Yes, they are just as effective

If you would like to make your home cleaners toxin free, which I highly recommend as there are several benefits. One, you and your family are not breathing in toxins everyday from household cleaners. Secondly, it will save you money; thirdly, there will be less poisonous supplies in your home.

Change from over the counter household cleaners to natural disinfectants today by making them at home! Toxin free household cleaners
The Parent Fairy

Non Sleeping Kids: Ways to Keep them Healthy

Probably the most discussed area of child care is sleep or rather lack of it. The quality and quantity of an infant's sleep affects the well-being of everyone in the household — it's the difference between being cheerful, alert parents and members of the walking dead.

No matter what age your children are quality and quantity sleep is important for their growth, healing, immunity and daily regeneration. “Sleep should always be taken seriously”, says Nutritionist Alia Almoayed.

What Happens?
  • Kids can become hyper, moody, and even aggressive. Not to mention the good ole temper tantrums.
  • Kids who do not get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight, which can turn to obesity between the third and sixth grade. When excessive TV time is added to the sleep deprivation, 3-year-old toddlers have a 16% chance of being overweight. Overweight children face the same health issues as their older siblings and their parents. Regardless of age, excess weight gain raises the risk for obesity, asthma, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and type 2 diabetes
  • Lack of sleep affects concentration and how children interact with peers and teachers
  • Older children are more likely to drop out of school if they had a poor early transition to formal education

A study examined almost 4,500 children, whose sleep behavior was recorded at age four to five and again at six to seven. It was found that about one-third of children reported poor sleep habits. The problems included children who were unhappy to sleep alone, reluctant to go to bed, restless sleepers and waking up during the night. It’s interesting to note that the study began with toddlers aged 4 and by the time they were six their sleep problems have escalated into those of an older child. This is just one of the reasons that getting good sleep habits formed from an early age is imperative. You might also take note that thinking your children will grow out of the non sleep stage may not be the case, even if they did, they are still losing precious sleep during the early stages of growth.
  • Toddlers who lack proper sleep are also less active then they should be for their age. They are less interested in structured activity like sports, swimming, ice skating, etc.
  • They will also lack attention span in school and activities, which can lessen their success, too much of this and they soon begin to lose their self-esteem when they notice they are not able to keep up with the rest of the class.
    They have a preference for sitting and watching TV or sitting and coloring, and often like to eat during this time
  • Just like an adult, a child’s immunity levels go down tremendously when they lack proper sleep, making them more susceptible to illness and disease.

How Much Sleep?

As you know children vary from one another. This is a generalization of hours per age.
  • Two Year Olds 12 hours
  • Three to Five year olds 11 hours
  • Six to Twelve year olds 9-10 Hours

Possible causes for Disrupted Sleep

It is important to illuminate any causes that could be hindering your child in getting quality sleep. Make sure none of the below are interfering with your child’s sleep. It is best to ensure this before you start a sleep routine.
  • Poor diet
  • Illness or side-effects of medication
  • Room temperature, lighting or noise
  • Bad Dreams
  • Bad habits (such as sleeping in parents’ bed or waking up for food or drink)
  • Bathroom visits
  • Stress, anxiety or emotional problems
  • Blood sugar imbalance

Now that you know the health hazards attached to a child not getting the required sleep. What can be done about it?

A Solution

First off look closely at the list above and ensure they are not part of the problem. The absolute best way to ensure the above health hazards do not affect your child is to ensure they learn how to go to bed without a fuss and how to sleep independently. The sooner you start the better, but even a pre-schooler or older child will benefit hugely, and so will mom and dad.
  • Consider shortening your child’s nap
  • Child should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day
  • Avoid television, scary stories or other stimuli that can get kids over excited just before bedtime
  • Do not put a TV or game console in child’s bedroom
  • Avoid taking your child to your bed to sleep
  • Use a very small night light. Too much light disturbs the circadian rhythm. A small light is needed for when they get up to use the bathroom at night – it should not be too bright
  • Keep their bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Generally 23-24 degrees Celsius
  • Let your child wake up to natural light from the window. Natural light stabilizes sleep rhythms and will put him in a better mood when he wakes up
  • One of the best methods is to put your child on a sleep routine, and yes, like everything else it takes time and must be done consistently to have an effect, and hold its value for time to come. This is why I have given you information to help in speeding up the process of your endeavor. With so much information out there on this topic you may find yourself choosing the technique or solution by trial and error lengthening the process and adding more sleepless nights and unhealthy parent and child in the process

Each child is different and each child needs to be handled differently during this stage so the number one thing to look for is a technique that offers multiple solutions to the same problem and informs of what NOT to do. Baby Sleep independently

Keep them Healthy in the Process

What a child eats or does not eat effects the quality and quantity of his sleep. Sleep promoting foods are also required in your child’s diet to ensure his nutrition is kept up to par Try these sleep promoting foods, nutrients and dietary adjustments.
  • A balanced dinner of whole grains as well as protein (brown rice, beans, chicken, fish)
  • Sleep inducing foods (onions, lettuce, turkey, complex carbohydrates, and essential fats)
  • Foods rich in B vitamins (broccoli, brown rice, green veggies) B vitamins help with anxiety and stress therefore improving sleep
  • Avoid drinks containing caffeine. Even a small amount can disrupt sleep. Remember my first newsletter about caffeine and how long it stays in the body?
  • Do away with sugary snacks before bedtime (at least 3 hours before and even then, let him get some exercise after the sugary item is consumed). Sugary items disrupt blood sugar levels and can cause children to wake up at night and not be able to fall asleep again
  • Avoid any foods your child might be sensitive to
  • Ensure your child is well hydrated during the day. Thirst can wake up a child up at night. However, do not give too many drinks before bed time, unless your child is very thirsty. If he is hydrated well during the day he shouldn’t be thirsty just before bed time
  • Avoid foods with preservatives, colorings or other additives. These foods affect the nervous system and induce insomnia and can take a few days to wear off.
  • At least 30 minutes of exercise a day

Do your best to implement the above nutrients into your child’s diet and don’t forget yourself! Ensure your child’s diet is up to par on a regular basis for his health and also to promote good eating habits as he grows older and into adulthood.

Activity Idea

When time is not on your side or funds are low, try taking a brisk walk with your toddler, at a pace he can keep up but more upbeat than just a stroll. If you have an IPod let him use it. Take a lil' basket and pick flowers or things he likes. Or, take a camera and let him take pictures.

A Healthy Snack for Kids

My Top Selling Recipe

Here is my top selling recipe for healthy snack for kids –they love em! And, guess what? It is so easy to make!

: Don’t tell them what’s in them and be sure to let them cool COMPLETELY so they don’t taste the veg.

Nutritional Value: Eggs and nuts make this delicious snack full of protein. Cocoa powder is a good source of flavanoids. Spinach is rich in folic acid, iron and regulates blood sugar and keeps the heart healthy due to high potassium and magnesium. Carrots are great for the skin and eyes and loaded with beta carotene, plus keep the pipes clean with insoluble fiber.


6oz plain dark chocolate
6 oz Butter (trans fat free would be best)
3 Large eggs
9oz Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
4oz Plain flour
5 ½ oz Chopped hazelnuts
½ cup Spinach (pureed) see instructions
½ cup Carrot (pureed) see instructions

To Puree
Wash and steam spinach (only steam for 10-15 mins.) then puree in blender. Do the same with the carrots

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F and line a square cake tin with parchment baking paper.
Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl on a pot with boiling water (bowl should not touch water in pot).
In another bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla.
Beat in melted chocolate and butter, spinach, and carrot.
Mix in the flour and hazelnuts and transfer to the cake tin.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes.
Cut into small squares

I hope everyone reading this has their child on a sleep routine. THE EARLIER YOU START THE EASIER IT WILL BE and by the toddler stages you and your child will be getting consistent sleep and staying healthy, you will have some free time in the evenings to relax and your other children wont be disturbed at night by a screaming toddler. If you already have a toddler and have not started him on a sleep routine, then your first step needs to be to put into place a sleep routine.

Remember to asses your child, and then choose the routine that best suits him. Not all routines work for all children. Children are all different so an approach that works for your friends child may not work for yours. Be sure to find one with multiple approaches to ensure success without having to change the routine over and over.

This is your "Free Extra" to say thanks for signing up for my free newsletter. Tomorrow we will embark on ways to help mom and dad get through stages of exhaustion. Stay tuned tomorrow for "Joie de Vivre" - For parents fighting bedtime battles."

Until then, happy parenting!

The Parent Fairy

The Parent Fairy

Vitality - for Non Sleeping Parents

Not getting enough sleep or constant interrupted sleep can lead to a lack of vitality and more serious problems than you might think. Parents have accepted sleep deprivation as a new way of life. As tough as parenting is, imagine how much tougher it will be when your body and mind cant keep up with the pace your everyday life demands. Imagine the effect on your children when you lose your energy, your spark, your patience, and when fatigue and depression set in.

If you feel you are performing perfectly fine and are not affected during times of sleep loss, have a look at the below points then reconsider.
  • Men who sleep less than seven hours a night have a 26 percent greater death rate over two decades than men who sleep seven to eight hours a night.
  • People who operate in a sleep deficit are less productive and more prone to stress.
  • Sleep is cumulative so losing sleep one day will have effects the following day. Missing adequate sleep several days in row you build up a 'sleep deficit', which impairs the following:

    • Reaction time
    • Judgment
    • Vision
    • Information processing
    • Short-term memory
    • Performance
    • Motivation
    • Vigilance
    • Patience
  • The body needs 7-8 hours of sleep per day; 6 hours or less triples your risk of a car accident. (Interestingly, too much sleep--more than 9 hours--can actually be harmful for your health; recent studies show that those who sleep more than 9 hours per day don’t live as long as their 8-hour-sleep counterparts!)
Parents that are unable to get a good nights sleep will also experience fatigue. Fatigued people experience more moodiness, aggressive behaviors, burnout and higher levels of stress. Here are the signs of burnout. Do you fit into any of these categories?
  • Chronic fatigue - exhaustion, tiredness, a sense of being physically run down
  • Anger at those making demands
  • Self-criticism for putting up with the demands
  • Cynicism, negativity, and irritability
  • A sense of being besieged
  • Exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential things
  • Frequent headaches and gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleeplessness and depression
  • Shortness of breath
  • Suspiciousness
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Increased degree of risk taking
So what can you do to help yourself avoid the above areas while working through your child's sleep routine and lacking well needed sleep?
  • An Afternoon Snooze
    Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning (though the last two hours of morning sleep have special benefits of their own). The body seems to be designed for this, as most people’s bodies naturally become more tired in the afternoon, about 8 hours after we wake up. Many experts advise to keep the nap between 15 and 30 minutes, as sleeping longer you into deeper stages of sleep, from which it’s more difficult to awaken.

    When your baby naps this is the perfect time for you to nap as well. A toddler before the age of 4 should be having a nap and that when you can have a snooze as well.
  • Meditation
    If you don’t have time for a power nap, try meditation; it gives your body a rest and produces slower brain waves similar to sleep. But meditation holds other values as well and whether you are lacking sleep or not, meditation is an area every adult should encompass in his daily life. Try this FREE meditation course. 15 minutes a day, meditation can restore the body to a calm state, helping the body to repair itself, and prevent new damage due to the physical effects of stress. This is highly beneficial to a parent experiencing sleep loss.
  • Avoid Caffeine
    Working as a stimulant caffeine remains in the body with a half life span of about 4-6 hours. Whe
    n you are in a position to get some sleep, either during your child's nap time or before he usually wakes up in the middle night, if you have had caffeine you will have a hard time accumulating the few hours of sleep that you can, thus, aiding in sleep deficit. Caffeine effects hormones in the body as well.
  • Food for Energy
    food is the second most important way that energy is taken into the body. The energy in food sustains us, and the effect of food energy on our body is the dietary practice known as macrobiotics.
    • Avoid fried and fatty foods. They cause sluggishness
    • Drink plenty of healthy fluids (dehydration causes fatigue). It's also a good idea to avoid alcohol
    • The right combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat eaten at regular intervals will help keep energy levels high. Here is a diet to help you boost your energy with food.
    • The best energizing foods are those that are rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting substances. Put these foods together along with small amounts of healthy fats for a balanced diet that is sure to provide you energy all day long.
  • Foods to be eaten regularly to boost metabolism
    Blueberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, mango, spinach, salmon, nuts, tea, tom
    atoes, soy, low fat dairy products, oatmeal, whole grains, citrus fruit, peppers, sweet potatoes and beans
  • Do not eat 3 to 4 hours before regular bedtime.
    A big meal late in the evening usually guarantees that you will wake up less refreshed and less rejuvenated when you need to wake up, this tip is very helpful for parents who have to wake up during the night.
  • A Positive End Result.
    Make sure you are losing precious sleep because you are working toward a required result with your child. Any parent who thinks it is fine for he and his child to operate without the proper sleep, and simply go along with the bedtime battle for years is doing himself and his child a huge injustice. You should be working toward a healthy, loving, bed time with your child, with him going to bed in a peaceful manner and stays in his bed throughout the night on a regular basis. This is known as an independent sleep and can be accomplished with a viable sleep routine, and from as young as one year old. Even younger if you begin the process at about 6 months of age.

    Many parents believe that sleep loss comes with the territory of being a parent. This is not true. Once your baby reaches the age where he does not need night time feedings parents need to enforce a sleep routine. During this stage parents will lose sleep but once the routine takes hold, a good night sleep will once again be a part of life. Lets not forget more free time for mom and dad when baby is tucked in at a normal hour and sleeping peacefully for the night.

    While working through the process of a sleep routine with your child don't lose your much needed joie de vivre or the needed nutrition for your mind and body. Keep yourself at your best.

Stay tuned for tomorrows "Toxin Alert", which will give you ways to protect your child from toxins and how to limit their exposure. Homemade play dough, natural remedies for the common cold and flu, and how to administer a lymphatic (baby sleep) massage to speed up recovery and help baby sleep.

Until then, happy parenting!

The Parent Fairy