Eating, sleeping, and toddlers. Ugh.

Nutrition and sleep.

We could have asked questions all night, but we had a mere two hours to grill the pediatrician who spoke at the Parent Education Night at my daughter’s preschool tonight. Hands shot up as soon as she asked for questions. I found myself nodding as other moms and dads asked about dealing with night wakings, how to establish bedtime routines, healthy meals, and getting kids to eat them. The doctor’s answers were quite helpful, but, to be honest, the highlight of the evening for me was the knowledge that other parents have the same issues I have. We’re new to the preschool, and it feels so good to finally have a community of parents around us.

We spent the bulk of the conversation on sleep. The doctor spoke about the importance of routine, which wasn’t new to any of us. But she pointed out that the purpose of the bedtime routine, in part, is to help the kids wind down from activity to sleep gradually. She recommended gradually dimming the lights as it gets closer to bedtime as a visual cue. The more senses involved the better, she said.

Then we turned the conversation to food. We segued in to the new topic by discussing how what we eat affects our energy level and the quality of our sleep. “Don’t eat too close to bedtime” is pretty common knowledge, but with kids who go to bed at 7:30 or 8pm, that can be more of a challenge. She cautioned us to watch the kids’ sugar intake and to make sure they get enough protein. If our kids are craving starches, which, lets face it, most kids do, they likely aren’t getting enough protein.

We ran out of time before we could get much further in the discussion, but I suspect that many of the parents in the audience would appreciate Feeding Baby Green by Alan Greene. I reviewed it for Library Journal some time ago, and, in addition to the information on eco-friendly food, it also had some very helpful tips for engaging toddlers and preschoolers with healthy food. If that goes well, Annabel Karmel’s The Healthy Baby Meal Planner: Mom-Tested, Child-Approved Recipes for Your Baby and Toddler would be a great next step. I’ve made a few of the recipes in this book with excellent results. And if it doesn’t work, there’s always Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. I’ve yet to try any recipes from this one, but I have my eye on a recipe for sloppy joes that includes pureed squash. Sounds good to me!

Check out the list of parenting books on my wiki for more resources. The list isn’t comprehensive by any means. But it’s growing regularly as I read and review books.

*Amazon affiliate. I receive a percentage of the purchase price on any purchases made from links on this blog.

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