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By Ester Depret, mum of two and blogger

Telling the time

One of the topics we focused on during pre-school was telling the time. It was on Jules’ to-do list but Alixe seemed to be keen as well. The moment they were able to tell the time, they wanted to control it too. As a result, my five-year-old daughter did not hesitate to point out that 12.30 pm is lunch time. Clearly, she has her priorities straight! Continue Reading “Sam the lamb – sleeptrainer and telling the time”

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A good night’s sleep is the basis for the health of little kids and teenagers. But how many hours do they actually have to sleep at night? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine researched over 850 scientific articles together with a panel of 13 sleep experts.

Ultimately, they concluded the following guidelines for children:

4 – 12 months old: 12 to 16 hours of sleep (including naps)

1 – 2 years old: 11 to 14 hours of sleep (including naps)

3 – 5 years old: 10 to 13 hours of sleep (including naps)

6 – 12 years old: 9 to 12 hours of sleep

13 – 18 years old: 8 to 10 hours of sleep

‘Sleep is paramount for a healthy lifestyle, and it is important to develop and promote healthy sleep routines during childhood’ according to Dr. Paruthi.

Moreover, research indicates that children with a good night’s sleep are mentally healthier, show exemplary behavior and have better learning capabilities such as a longer concentration span and a better memory.

On the contrary, children with less sleep have more behavioral and learning problems. In addition, this group of kids has a higher chance on high blood pressure, overweight, diabetes and depressions.

Concluding, sleep is very important for both younger and older children!

Next to this research we are curious about parents’ findings regarding a good night’s sleep. Please feel free to contact us via our website or social media channels.

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By Clare Fahey

Lots of the families that I have worked with have had problems with their children waking up super early. This is a common problem and stems from being overtired. One way to combat this is an earlier bedtime. Another way of tackling it especially with toddlers or slightly older children is by using a toddler clock. A toddler clock is a clock that uses a picture or coloured lights to signal to the child that it is morning. This means that they know when they are allowed to get up because of the colour of the light that is showing.

There are lots of different toddler clocks around and recently I was sent one to review. This was Pam the Penguin from Zazu Kids.

I love how cute Pam is, but apart from looks Pam is also very functional. Pam is a nightlight, a toddler clock and a Bluetooth speaker.

Pam has buttons on the bottom to set a time for your child to get up, just like a regular alarm clock. But instead of sounding an alarm Pam turns orange half an hour before your set time, letting your child know that it is almost time to get up…during this time they could play quietly in their bed, or in their room, then Pam turns green at the time you have set, when they are allowed out of their room. Pam has a soft glow, so shouldn’t wake your child if by some miracle they are still asleep at this time.

When used alongside family sleep rules, rewards charts for staying in bed and consequences for getting up early, a toddler clock could be the difference between having breakfast at 5 or having it at 7. An age appropriate time for young children to be waking up is anywhere between 6am and 7am. If your child has been waking earlier than this you could start off with it set at 6am, then creep the time forward by 15minutes every couple of days until they are waking at a time that you are happier with.

As well as the orange and green lights that come on in the morning there is also a nightlight setting. This can be plugged in and go all night, or use the rechargeable battery and go for 10min. There is a choice of colours for this light…..blue, red, white or pink. While all of the colours look great, I would recommend using the red or pink settings as these colours won’t affect the body’s production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) Melatonin is needed in high enough levels to fall asleep and stay asleep. This is why screen time before bed isn’t advised.

The other feature of Pam is the Bluetooth speaker. I love the idea of this as you can play white noise or soothing music from your phone. Keep in mind though that the Bluetooth only reaches so far. If you have a large house, it probably won’t reach from one end to the other. I tried out the speaker at home and it worked from anywhere in the house, but cut out when I was outside. When I tried it at preschool it cut out when I went out to the hallway.

Overall I think Pam the Penguin is a fantastic product and is perfect for children aged 2 and up. Before that age the speaker would be handy but they wouldn’t understand the concept of the lights.

Disclaimer: Zazu Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.
If you would like to find out where you can buy Pam or another Zazu product visit where to buy.

Clare Fahey
Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Sleep Harmony NZ Ltd

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By Clare Fahey

Soft toy that soothes your baby

Have you ever wished that your musical soft toy would turn itself on when your baby is unsettled in the middle of the night? There is one that will do just that… Don the Donkey reacts to sound and will come back on for 10 minutes with a baby’s cries.

Musical soft toy Don the Donkey

I was sent Don the Donkey to review for ZAZU Kids. At first, I was sceptical as I don’t advocate for toys in the cot; especially for children less than 1 year. But after using Don for a month in an infant sleep room I have decided that this musical soft toy is definitely worth it. We just sit Don on the floor or the window sill and let the sounds sooth the children.

Don with moduleDon the Donkey is a very cute soft toy with a velcro opening in his tummy. Inside there is a removable module with an on/off button, volume dial and four buttons that play melodies: one button plays different kinds of lullabies, a button that plays a heartbeat sound, a button that plays white noise and one that plays nature sounds. Once you press one of the buttons, it will play the chosen sound for 10 minutes before switching off.

Cry sensor

If Don senses crying, he will come back on with the last setting that was used. With soft cries it takes Don 3 minutes to come back on (which can be a long time when you are waiting for it). With loud cries, or a door banging, the donkey will come back on straight away. The animal continues to play if your little one is still crying, then turns off once they have been quiet for 10 minutes. In addition, Don also switches back on when you shake the animal.

I have found that different children seem to settle with different sounds. Younger babies seem to settle with the heartbeat sound, some children fancy white noise and others like the lullabies. The other day the sleep room was full, some children were calm and quiet, and others weren’t. I was waiting for Don to come back on and once he did: one of the children who had been standing up and chatting, suddenly lay down turned over and was asleep in about 30 seconds! I was amazed that the music had had such a massive effect on her. It shows that because we have been using Don consistently, she has built up a sleep association to the music.

Disclaimer: ZAZU Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

Clare Fahey
Paediatric Sleep Consultant
Sleep Harmony NZ Ltd

Logo Sleep Harmony

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By Mama van Dijk

Holidays

Vacation! Well, let’s hope so. It means a couple of weeks off from nursery, no grandparents that could watch over the little one and no more fixed working days for me. It sounds relaxing to have no obligations for a while, but could I get the desired extra sleep I need as well? Perhaps ZAZU’s Sam the Lamb could help me!

 

Optimism

The final big holiday of my little girl is around the corner before ‘real’ school life begins. Primary school! Next year she starts and I am feeling pretty anxious about it – yes, I am that type mother – but my little one is feeling rather excited.

I put my work on the back burner and I am hoping for longer nights while my little girl is entertaining herself with pink dresses, puzzles and coloring pictures (too optimistic?)

ZAZU Sleeptrainer

So I bought a sleeptrainer and a large supply of green tea to protect against fatigue advised by my dietitian and mother. I have to admit, the bags under my eyes were getting bigger and bigger. Before school starts again in a couple of weeks, could I pleeease get some more sleep? Waking up around 7 am for example? Or what about 7.30 am? It sounds like a dream. From a tip from a friend of mine, I bought Sam the Lamb. The next day, my toddler and I, well maybe me more than her, were so excited to try Sam!

Sam the Lamb

We position the pink Sam on the bedside table of my little one. I hope it works properly, but at least Sam looks cute. I set the alarm for 10 am and leave the room positively. Joking of course! More realistically, I set the timer for 6.30 am with the goal to increase the timer with 15 minutes every day. Fingers crossed my girl is able to understand Sam.

What next?

Will 5 am ever change into 7 am? Is it too much to ask for more sleep as a parent of a toddler?

Next week you will find out on my blog what our first findings are from Sam!

 

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.

Mama van Dijk

Mother and Lifestyle blog

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By Tiny Sleepyhead

Nightmares

Children’s imagination blossoms between 2-4 years old. At the same time, you can notice that your little one’s vocabulary is getting richer and he/she can describe his/her fears more accurately. Nightmares help your child processing fears, stress or anything upsetting that happened during the day. But what to do when your child is afraid of the dark or has nightmares?

 

Monster spray

First tip: the ”monster spray”. To create one with your child, simply decorate an empty spray bottle with his favorite stickers and fill it with water and few drops of lavender essential oil. You can then spray the room before your child goes to bed, in order to create a “protection against monsters”.

Nightlight

Another useful tip during bedtime routine or when a nightmare occurs, is to use  Lou the nightlight from ZAZU. One of my favorite settings is it’s adjustable brightness. This cute lamp can be used as a nightlight during the bedtime routine while reading a book or during a relaxing story time. You can switch on both the little owl and the outer ring, or if you prefer you can put them on separately. When the story time is over all you have to do is to dim the lamp and that’s it! You don’t have to worry about switching the light off as it goes off automatically after 30 minutes for the outer ring and little owl goes off after 60 minutes which is enough for you child to fall asleep with reassuring light. Another great feature is the noise sensor. If your child wakes up at night the light goes on for comfort. It helps to feel safe at night and makes it easier to fall back asleep. With the help of nightlight Lou nightmares are not so scary anymore.  I can definitely recommend ZAZU’s Lou to any parent of a young child.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

All the best,

Ola

Tiny Sleepyhead

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By Saskia Voolmaa; Blogger from Estland

We have such an enormous range of innovative baby products to our disposal nowadays that many of us are often left thinking back to how our grandparents and even parents successfully managed without those products to raise their children.

There are many products that are so necessary that you think you cannot live without them. I have read many blog posts and watched YouTube videos where mothers show products that are ‘must haves’ related to newborns or toddlers. And of course there are videos where mothers honestly show products they have bought and never needed. I have always tried to follow these kinds of videos meaning that rather luckily, I now have relevant products and have not spent money on unnecessary baby stuff. Big win! Some time ago I saw a cute nightlight buddy in Innovative Kids web shop. It was so cute and looked so soft – how could I resist buying it? I mean, aren’t they cute and friendly? And so cool, with long hands and legs! To be honest, I have been looking at it for a while before I actually bought it. As my son, Hans likes cats so much, I decided to buy Katie the Cat. When I opened the box my son immediately wanted to cuddle his new buddy! All I had to do to get it working was to insert the batteries and to listen what kind of sounds the new toy played. There is a little opening in Katie’s belly which is held together by velcro. In the belly, the removable module is stored, which plays soothing sounds and glows brightly. A gentle push of the belly and the light goes on and the sound starts to play! You can choose what kind of sound you would like to hear and whether or not you would like to switch on the light. There are 3 melodies – lullaby, nature sounds and lounge sounds (2 different volume options: high/low).

What I really like is that there is an option to choose nightlight mode only. The volume of the module is not very loud but my little one is very sensitive to sounds. When he cuddles Katie in the middle of the night, the sound will not start playing but the belly will softly glow. Perfect!

I was very surprised how good the quality of the music is for such a low price and from such a small toy! The nature sounds are so beautiful and calming that you could use it to relax also!

The nightlight automatically switches off after 20 minutes which is quite enough time for baby to fall asleep. My son Hans got another gift for his birthday – a toy bear in which you have to pull the rope to activate the sound and it lasts only for a minute or two…  So I find it very easy to teach Hans to fall asleep without me with his new friend Katie. Although he fell asleep quite well in the evenings we had still problems with morning naps. Katie helped hold my son’s attention whilst I can sneak out from the bedroom.

At the beginning I put Katie in the crib. But as my son rolls a lot in his sleep he accidentally activated the nightlight and this affected his sleep. That is why I hang Katie on the cot’s side bars with her extremely handy long arms which mean you can loop one hand through the other onto the side of the cot (I hope you can see it on the picture below).

Katie is also a very good travel buddy! On our trip to Finland it created a familiar atmosphere as our accommodation was a boat with loud noises. Nightlight-friend Katie is a big help to us! Hans sleeps calmer and falls asleep by himself now (for the majority of time). In the future if the sounds and light are no longer necessary we can still use Katie as a soft toy and friend for my son. I definitely recommend

If you would like to find out where you can buy Katie or one of her friends,  head over to where to buy.

 

Disclaimer: Zazu Kids have sent this product free of charge, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.

Visit Saskia.ee

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By Tiny Sleepyhead

Vacation

As a Sleep Consultant, I get loads and loads of questions about sleep tips during the holidays. What shall we do at bedtime? What shall we bring with us? Shall we keep to our daily schedule? Can we skip naps? My response is always be prepared in advance and you will avoid sleep troubles. So, grab a pen and paper and let’s get ready for the holiday!

The most important thing to notice is that you’re changing the safe environment that your little one is used to. Children don’t realize why all of the sudden, they find themselves in a strange new place surrounded by different smells and noises. It’s definitely not home! To make it easier for your little one, try to recreate their home sleeping space as much as possible.

Sleep environment

Let’s start with the sleeping environment. Bring bed sheets with you. It might sound silly but children’s sense of smell is much stronger than among grownups. To make it more familiar for the baby during the holidays you can put the fresh sheets on in his/her bed one night before the travel. It will soak all familiar smells from home and it will still be clean during the holidays. A sleeping bag is equally important. Make sure the thickness is adapted to the weather and temperature of your holiday destination. Don’t forget to bring along a lovely, special security object/toy which is going to help your baby feel safe and secure.

Routines

Now we have got bed surroundings covered, let’s move onto the bedtime routine. Try to follow a bedtime routine as similar to one at home. Children find themselves safe in predictable routines. Bedtime rituals start with bath and are followed by feeding and a favorite book. That will help your child to recognize what is coming next: Bedtime! Tip: Bring some shower gel and massage oil they will help the baby feel more like home.

Bedtime accessories

And last but not least, bedtime accessories. The most important one is the white noise. There are loads of sound machines and applications that you can use but I find ZAZU’ Zoë the Penguin the most practical, especially during holiday time. It is very compact, has a rechargeable battery and has a built-in nightlight. The white noise stops after 20 minutes from starting and had a built-in sensor which starts playing chosen sound automatically if your baby starts crying at night. You can also connect it to your Spotify with your favorite bedtime. Zoë is a perfect holiday companion!

If you have more questions about holiday preparation or sleep question in general, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@tinysleepyhead.comor visit our FB page Tiny Sleepyhead

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by Zazu Kids.

All the best,

Ola

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By Tiny Sleepyhead

Bedtime routine

This blog’s topic is bedtime routine. Average bedtime for most children is between 7-8 pm. Bedtime routine starts anywhere between 6-7 pm. Sometimes getting your child into a sleepy mood can be a difficult task. Especially that this is a business time in the household. Often dad or mom comes back from work and wants to play with his little one. Shortly after this, it is time to have dinner. Some babies get easily over stimulated during this time and as a result they can have difficulties settling in for the night.

 

From hectic times to sleepy times

Here are few examples what can you do to transform hectic, busy time into a relaxing preparation for the night slumber.

Let’s start with dimming lights slightly during dinner time. If you don’t have a dimmer at home you can install a light bulb with a warm light. The slightly orange light will help your body to regulate circadian rhythm to start producing melatonin: the sleep hormone.

After dinner, there is time for a quiet play and cuddles. This is a time when noisy toys should be out away and the tv switched off. The calm environment will help your child to wean from a busy day and get ready for bed.

Kiki the star projector

A bath or a shower followed by a baby massage or yoga for older children is a great start to a bedtime routine. You can put calm music during this relaxing time or ZAZU’s Kiki the star projector.

Kiki represents a cute kitten and has three different colors of lights to choose from for a projection: orange, blue and green. There is also a multicolor option and light shuts off automatically after 30 minutes. Kiki also has three soothing melodies such as mimicking a mom’s heartbeat, relaxing nature sounds and calming lounge music. Each melody switches off automatically after 15 minutes. And as other Zazu products, Kiki has an optional cry sensor in case your child wakes up at night and needs reassurance.

Please note that for some children light projection might be more stimulating than calming. But Kiki can definitely be used during the massage and changing time. In that case, it is a perfect tool to use as a pre-bedtime/ cuddle time companion. I personally love using it both before bedtime routine and after nap time. We put a soothing sea with seagulls sound plus star projection on and we feel like we are sailing over the ocean! We have a great adventure time without leaving home. My baby loves Kiki, and I am sure yours will too.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way by ZAZU Kids.

All the best,

Ola,

Tiny Sleepyhead

Photo: @kleinewundermaus

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Research shows (Spencer, Moran, Lee & Talbert, 1990) that newborn baby’s who hear white noise fall asleep more easily (80% within 5 minutes) than baby’s who do not hear white noise (25% within 5 minutes). In addition to white noise, heartbeat sound takes stress away from baby’s, which causes them to calm down and sleep better.

That’s not as strange as one might think. Baby’s feel warm, safe and secure in the womb. They can listen to the sounds of their mother’s heartbeat and the sound of blood flowing through her body, white noise. The transition from mum’s belly to the cold and quiet outside world can be a big transition for baby’s. Little ones are often uneasy when they’re not close to their mother and have difficulties falling asleep. When you let them hear the sounds that make them remember the nice time before birth, they feel more safe and they feel close to their mother. They will calm down and fall asleep better.

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