Sleep Tight: Meditation for a Better Sleep

New JammiesAt New Jammies, we all know how important sleep is for a healthy lifestyle. Without it, sleep can be a detriment to how we function at home, work, and school. With it, sleep can improve our moods, stress levels, and productivity.

In short, bring on the sleep.

Sleep isn’t always easy for parents, and especially kids, to achieve at bedtime, though. For some, a good night’s sleep takes work. A diet rich with Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium and less caffeine can help. Meditation and relaxation exercises also aid in achieving healthy sleep.

“One of the most powerful techniques for quieting the mind is meditation, which allows you to go beyond the mind’s noisy internal dialog into a space of silence and stillness,” says Deepak Chopra, M.D., on his Chopra Centered Lifestyle website www.chopra.com.

The Chopra Center suggests committing to a consistent sleep ritual by creating a soothing evening routine. Take a light walk shortly after dinnertime and minimize intense mental activity in the evening. Prepare for bed about an hour before sleep by running a hot bath and performing a slow, oil massage on your body.

“Put a few drops of lavender oil in the bath water and play some soothing music. Have the intention to allow the stress of the day to leave your body,” Chopra says. “Once you’ve completed your bath, try drinking a warm herbal tea or heated milk with a pinch of nutmeg.”

The Chopra Centered Lifestyle says the ideal bedtime is 10 p.m. Once in bed, try and avoid watching television or reading mentally stimulating material and spiritual or inspirational literature to help shift your awareness away from the usual demands of your life to a more expanded perspective.

“Avoid work on your taxes, balance your checkbook, or watch a violent thriller on television right before bedtime – all of these activities can over stimulate the Vata dosha and make it hard to fall asleep. Turn off the lights, close your eyes and just lie comfortably on your back observing your breath. Allow your attention to float through your body. If you notice areas of tension, consciously release the pressure,” Chopra says.

See more at: http://www.chopra.com/ccl/5-tips-to-end-insomnia-and-get-restful-sleep#sthash.cdkF6kwd.dpuf

Sleep Meditations for KidsKids can also benefit from sleep mediation, especially in today’s age of apps available to help soothe them to sleep. The free Sleep Meditations for Kids Android app on Google Play, created by leading yoga teacher and Montessori teacher Christiane Kerr for children of all ages, helps guides kids to the creative part of their minds through a number of carefully scripted story meditations.

“Each meditation story has an underlay of subtle sound effects and gentle music which combined with Christiane’s calming voice make them irresistible and a deeply relaxing. This recording will help children to relax and will enhance feelings of contentment. It can be used for a general relaxation, or as a teaching resource and is suitable for children up to the age of 12,” says the app’s description.

The app features a deeply relaxing 13-minute audio track and Kerr’s calm, reassuring voice that guides children, as well as adults, into a completely relaxed state of mind and body. She founded Calm For Kids children’s yoga and mindfulness training in 1999. She has has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 15 years in the UK and offers training, CDs and free mp3s on her website at calmforkids.com.

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall AsleepIn August, fortune.com featured a children’s sleep aid in the form of a book by Swedish author and psychologist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin that’s on the top Amazon’s best-selling book. The article says “The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep” is like hypnosis for children, and “will put your kid to sleep in minutes.” In the kid’s book, Roger the Rabbit and friends Sleep Snail and Uncle Yawn try to help him find sleep.

“This is a new safe and innovative way to help your child fall asleep and is recommended by psychologists and therapists,” says the review on Amazon. “‘The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep’ will help you accomplish the task of getting your child to have its beauty sleep and sleep well all night.”

The book is available in five formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audible or Audio CD.

New Jammies sleep fashions for fall help kids rest easy

Space Cadets

This fall, New Jammies is helping kids relax right and sleep tight at bedtime with comfortable, all-organic new designs that reflect the changing season.

Fashionable fall collections for girls and boys include Unicorns, Bicycles, Ballerinas, Elephants, Trains, Monster Trucks, Space Cadets, Moose Tracks, Rainbow Unicorns, and Ranching Cowboys. New Jammies are 100% organic cotton, are not treated with flame retardants, and feature tagless labels for comfort.

For example, nature-loving boys or girls can be ready for bedtime in the popular Moose Tracks prints, back this season in soft sage green with stretchy rib knit. Our Space Cadets collection explores the galaxy in this whimsical organic cotton footie pajamas. The whimsical Elephant Kites organic cotton pajama set will send girls off to dreamland in cozy, comfort.

Visit newjammies.com here to shop online this fall.

Play Right: After-School Activities to Help Kids Focus

Now that New Jammies kids are back in the swing of school, focus is a key to helping them achieve high marks and perform well in class. After-school can be an important time of the day for kids to not only relax and play, but also work on focusing on schoolwork.

Let’s Get Physical
Exercise is a great way for kids to fight childhood obesity (September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month) and stay mind-sharp. The experts at WebMD agree.

“Physical activity boosts blood flow all over the body, including to the brain. Brain cells get better at connecting with each another,” says WebMD author R. Morgan Griffin in “Your Kid’s Brain on Exercise. “What’s the result? Better thinking skills.”

WebMD says studies show that people who exercise more are sharper mentally.

“The effects may be almost immediate. One study found that kids scored higher on math and reading comprehension tests after exercising for 20 minutes,” says the report.

Griffin suggests helping kids benefit from after-school activity with an hour of exercise a day. “That’s what the CDC recommends for kids ages 6 to 18. Your kids can split up activity over the course of the day. A few minutes here and there adds up.”

footballThe CDC offers age-appropriate* ideas for physical activity for children and adolescents, at least 3 days per week as part of your child’s 60-or-more minutes, such as:

1. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, such as running.

2. Muscle strengthening activities, such as gymnastics or push-ups.

3. Bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running.

*Per the CDC, some physical activity is better-suited for children than adolescents. For example, children do not usually need formal muscle-strengthening programs, such as lifting weights. Younger children usually strengthen their muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees. As children grow older and become adolescents, they may start structured weight programs. For example, they may do these types of programs along with their football or basketball team practice.

Exercise the Brain
Check out the interactive website goofybrains.com, a division of Brain Pages, which specializes in the ethical and honest promotion of brain health and mental  health products, resources and professionals. The site offers ideas to keep kids’ minds sharp in its “Six Brain Exercises For Children” feature by Sarah Holt, a writer for increasebrainpower.com.

She suggests word searches and crosswords, memory exercises, and obstacle courses for the brain with stations set up hosting different focus-building activities. Holt also encourages parents and caregivers try having kids write or draw left-handed (or right-handed).

“This can be fun to see who can tell what was written or drawn afterwards. Another option is to draw a picture where one-half is done with the dominant hand and then afterwards it is copied onto the other half by the non-dominant hand. These are brain exercises for children that encourage both sides of their brain to work together,” she says.

Thank you, Internet

Image courtesy puzzlestoprint.com

From puzzles-to-print.com

The puzzles-to-print.com website is a helpful resource for parents and caregivers who have the ability to print off pdfs of word scrambles as educational tools and after-school activities to build focus.

Make the mind games fun for the holidays by printing off holiday-themed puzzles including this puzzle, just in time for Halloween. Click here to print out the fun.

Fall into Fun
Autumn is closing in, so while the weather is still warm, encourage New Jammies kids to play outside after being inside in the classroom all day. The website Kids Activities (www.kidsactivities.net), which provides “1,000s of ideas for childcare professionals and teachers,” offers these ideas, and more, for autumn after-school activities:

gourds1. Gourd Bowling. Set up bowling pins using empty two-liter soda bottles. If preferred, the bottles can be weighted with seeds or water. Use a round, bumpy gourd as the ball.

2. Magic Pumpkin Seeds. Materials: Pumpkin seeds, small paper bag and small pumpkins. Show the children a small bag of pumpkin seeds and explain that you believe these are magic pumpkin seeds. Take the children outside to your yard where they toss the seeds onto the ground. Have them make up a few magic words, if they want. The next day, before children go outside — gather the seeds and put small pumpkins in their place. Take the children outside and delight them with the ‘magical’ pumpkins that have grown. If you have enough pumpkins, the children can take the pumpkins home and/or first decorate and paint them to add to theme of your space. Idea adapted from preschoolrainbow.org.

3. The Squirrel Game. Let the kids pretend they are squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. Give each a small paper bag, then toss out several unshelled nuts onto the floor and let the kids race to see who can collect the most. Older and younger children should be separated for this game. Another way to play this game, (if you have a way to corral a large quantity of leaves) is to hide nuts beneath a large pile of leaves and give the kids a set amount of time to find as many nuts as they can.

4. Visit http://www.kidactivities.net/category/Seasonal-FallAutumn-Games.aspx for more fun fall game ideas.