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How to make Nap and Snack Time a Fun Time for Everyone

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Kids need naps. This is a fact that every mother knows. When the afternoon always involves a cranky and misbehaving toddler, you know that it is the missing nap that is to blame. Kids use up a lot of energy just being kids. Running instead of walking, jumping, rolling, laughing, playing pretend, making messes; it all takes a lot of energy and strength! Every child needs a time of rest and quiet each day. It will keep them healthy and happy.

The mom knows it, the dad knows it, but it is another story to convince the child that he needs a nap each day. You may be putting your little one on his bed with instructions to take a nap, only to have him show up next to you in the family room with complaints that he can’t sleep or does not want to take a nap. This scene can happen over and over again each day, until Mom is worn out and its time to make dinner and now it is getting too late for a nap anyway. Another day without a nap and another evening full of tantrums and squabbles.

Maybe it is time to re-think the naptime reality. A child needs rest, but the way they get the rest could be changed and customized for each child and family. Once a child is over three years old there are other ways to ensure she gets the rest she needs. Here are a few ideas to try:

•    Book Time – Have your child choose 4 or 5 favorite books and put them on the bed with him. Instead of telling him to sleep, tell him to stay on the bed and look at his books. Most kids will actually fall asleep while enjoying their Book Time!

•    Timer – Use a timer to set the naptime. Let your child know that he or she can enjoy their book time on the bed until the timer goes off. This removes you from being the bad guy and you can blame the timer!

•    Naptime Toys – If your kids don’t care for books, allow a few small toys on the bed with instructions to whisper while they play.

•    CD Story Time – Play a CD that tells a story while they rest on the bed. The library has books on tape/CD that you can borrow.

•    No TV or Video Games – Naptime will not be restful if the TV is on or video games are being played.

•    Music – Play soothing music in the bedroom to help your kids calm down and rest.

Naptime is important for Mom too. Take advantage of the quiet moments to sit down and read or rest yourself.

Fruit Snacks for Kids 

Our kids all crave sweets. It is easy to fall into the bad habit of handing out sugary treats when our children want a desert or a sweet snack in the middle of the day. But we also know that too much sugar is bad for anyone, especially little ones. How can we get fruit to take the place of sugary snacks?  It may take some trickery and creativity but the Internet is full of great ideas and fun ways to set your kids up to eat in a healthier manner.

One popular idea is to present your family with a fruit pizza. The crust is sugar cookie dough with a layer of cream cheese mixture and then artistically displayed fruit slices including sliced strawberries, peaches, bananas, kiwi and grapes.

Look at fruit as an art medium and your mind will come up with lots of great ways to pass healthy food off as fun and silly snack food.

Here is one cute idea:

•    Spread kiwi slices along the bottom of the plate.
•    Slice a banana in half length-wise.
•    Place the banana slices on the plate with the bottom touching the kiwi and the top reaching to the top of the plate like two tree trunks.
•    For tree branches, position orange slices in a fan shape to form the branches of a palm tree.
•    Add grapes as coconuts in the palms.

Leading by example is the best way to change your family’s habits. Not only can you trick your kids into eating better, you can also do small things that will trick you into snacking better too.

•    Cut and clean celery and keep them fresh in a cup of water in the refrigerator for easy snacking.
•    Wash and display bunches of grapes for your table.
•    Cantaloupe is a wonderful in between meal snack that can be very filling.
•    Watermelon squares kept cold and easy to grab are a great way to soothe the sugar craving.
•    Apples in a bowl can distract the family from eating the wrong snack.

If there are no sugary snacks to find in the house, your kids will have to compensate with a substitute and fruit is a great alternative.

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