Sleep Tight: Naps and Why Kids Need Them

Ask some New Jammies parents about naps, and you may see a longing in their eyes. They might be wishing for one themselves. Or daydreaming about the days when their children’s naps were as common as a diaper change. Often, as a child grows older, naps can become a distant memory. That doesn’t always mean parents should give up on them.

According to KidsHealth, the importance of naps is vital, as “sleep is a major requirement for good health, and for young kids to get enough of it, some daytime sleep is usually needed.”

“Crucial physical and mental development occurs in early childhood, and naps provide much-needed downtime for growth and rejuvenation,” KidsHealth says. “Naps also help keep kids from becoming overtired, which not only takes a toll on their moods but may also make it harder for them to fall asleep at night. And naptime gives parents a brief oasis during the day and time to tackle household chores or just unwind.”

Sleep Needs by Age

KidsHealth reminds parents that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how much daytime sleep kids need.

“It all depends on the age, the child, and the sleep total during a 24-hour period,” KidsHealth says. “For example, one toddler may sleep 13 hours at night with only some daytime catnapping, while another gets 9 hours at night but takes a solid 2-hour nap each afternoon.”

Though sleep needs are highly individual, these age-by-age guidelines give an idea of average daily sleep requirements:

Birth to 6 months: Infants require about 14 to 18 total hours of sleep per day. Younger infants tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1 to 3 hours to eat. As they approach 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more established. Most babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2 to 3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each.

6 to 12 months: Babies this age usually sleep about 14 hours total for the day. This usually includes two naps a day, which may last 20 minutes for some babies, for others a few hours. At this age, infants may not need to wake at night to feed, but may begin to experience separation anxiety, which can contribute to sleep disturbances.

Toddlers (1 to 3 years): Toddlers generally require 12 to 14 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours. Young toddlers might still be taking two naps, but naps should not occur too close to bedtime, as they may make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep at night.

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): Preschoolers average about 11 to 12 hours at night, plus an afternoon nap. Most give up this nap by 5 years of age.

School-age (5 to 12 years): School-age kids need about 10 to 11 hours at night. Some 5-year-olds might still need a nap, and if a regular nap isn’t possible, they might need an earlier bedtime.

To Nap Or Not to Nap?

The National Sleep Foundation reminds parents not to become discouraged, as naps, or the lack thereof, are a phase all kids go through.

“About half of all children stop napping by age four, and 70 percent are done with daytime sleep by age five,” the NSF reports.

What are some signs little ones are ready to drop the nap habit?

“Consistently taking 45 minutes or more to fall asleep for a daytime snooze or getting 11 to 12 hours of sleep overnight are two big ones,” the Foundation says. “If you think it’s time to give nap-less living a try, follow these steps to ease the transition.”

Nap as Needed

The National Sleep Foundation agrees that napping doesn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing proposition.”

“While some children might be fine quitting cold turkey, others may do better with a gradual approach. For instance, consider skipping naps for three days, then napping again on the fourth,” the NSF says.

“Alternately, you could shorten the naps by waking your child within the hour to keep daytime sleep from interfering with bedtime. Even a 20-minute nap can have benefits for a small child. There is no one-size-fits-all formula, so follow your child’s cues to figure out the right sleep strategy.”

Turn Naps into Quiet Time

“Skipping an afternoon nap doesn’t mean your child is ready for constant action from morning to night. An hour of quiet time in the afternoon can offer an important opportunity for a non-napping child to re-group (not to mention restoring the caregiver’s energy, too),” says the Fiundation. “Reading books, coloring quietly, and listening to calming music are all good ways to rest up for the evening ahead.”

Also, the National Sleep Foundation suggests moving bedtime to an earlier time.

“If your child is no longer napping, bedtime hours may need to be adjusted to be sure you still provide enough time for sleep,” the NSF says. “Preschoolers should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day, with or without naps, which could mean going to sleep as early as 6:30 PM depending on what time your child wakes up in the morning.”

For more information on naps, sleep and additional topics involving kids’ health, visit these helpful online resources:

American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org
This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.

National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
http://www.sleepfoundation.org
NSF is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
http://www.aap.org
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
http://www.aasmnet.org
AASM strives to increase awareness of sleep disorders in public and professional communities.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Heart-healthy Family Dinners

February is American Heart Month, and New Jammies joins the American Heart Association in reminding families this is an ideal time to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their loved ones, friends and communities involved.

“The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices,” says the AHA. “While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”

In its Heart-healthy Recipes section of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website, the AHA provides meal planning ideas that can save your heart by improving your diet.

“There’s a common misconception that anything described as healthy is lacking in flavor and satisfaction. To add insult to injury, there’s also an automatic assumption that healthy foods are unaffordable,” the American Heart Association says.

“The truth is, there are plenty of creative ways to make a tasty, heart-healthy dish. And you don’t have to be a master chef to whip one up, and do it well … Once you start eating this way, you may wonder why you didn’t start sooner. And before you know it, you’ll be coming up with your own inspired creations.”

Try these heart-healthy dishes from the American Heart Association and encourage your New Jammies kids and to eat right today:

Healthy greens and beans add a flavorful punch to this easy soup recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup.

Ingredients

6 Servings (Serving size 1 cup)
1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/2 small red onion (chopped)
1 medium celery (chopped)
1 medium garlic clove (minced)
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (rinsed, drained)
14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery are soft.

2. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes so the flavors blend.

3. Stir in the spinach. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

4. Just before serving, sprinkle the soup with the Parmesan.

This protein-packed vegetarian Edamame Salad with Orange-Balsamic Dressing can be a main course or a side dish.

Ingredients

Serving size 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, lowest sodium available
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar PLUS
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided use
1 tsp. olive oil, extra virgin preferred
1/4 tsp. pepper
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. mixed salad greens, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 medium cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced radishes

Directions

1. Prepare the edamame using the package directions, omitting the salt. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the edamame, navy beans, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until needed, up to five days.

3. At serving time, put the salad greens on plates. Top, in order, with the cucumber, tomato, carrot, radishes, and bean mixture. Pour the dressing over all.

Benefit from heart-healthy omega-3 fats with this vegetable and seafood Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon dish.

Ingredients
4 Servings (Serving size 3 ounces fish and 1/2 cup vegetables)

1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
2 oz. spinach
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped, roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
1/4 cup fresh basil (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed, patted dry
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs, lowest sodium available
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

3. Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish is the desired doneness and the filling is heated through.

This Blackberry Cobbler dessert recipe features nutrient-dense blackberries and is great for family meals, especially as the weather warms. Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories, and contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Cooking Tip: On the blackberries, this sweet-tart fruit is nutrient dense. Look for plump berries with a dark, rich color.

Ingredients
8 Servings

Cooking spray
4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup sugar substitute and 1/2 cup sugar substitute, divided use
1/4 cup water
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the berries, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, the water, lime juice, and ginger. Let the berry mixture stand for at least 15 minutes so the juices can accumulate.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar substitute.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.

5. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just until no flour is visible. Don’t overmix.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Using a spatula, spread the batter in the pan. (The batter doesn’t have to touch the edge of the pan; it will spread while baking.) Top with the berry mixture.

7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For information on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Holiday Recipes for the Whole Family

Holiday meals are full of New Jammies’ traditional favorites, from turkey and stuffing to pumpkin pie topped with fresh whipped cream. With many of these holiday appetizers, entrees and desserts loaded with fat and calories, we like to discover some of the more healthier options for families, especially those with kiddos to please.

One way to start thinking healthy for the holidays is to consider switching out traditional ingredients for less sugar- and calorie-heavy items. Everyday Health healthy living newsletter offers these options, featured in its “11 Healthy Holiday Food Swaps” article. These include skipping:

• Full-fat dips, and eat yogurt dips (hummus with yogurt and lemon recipe)

• Some alcohol calories, drink wine spritzer instead (8 ‘skinny’ holiday cocktails)

• Candied yams, eat roasted sweet potatoes (low-calorie candied yams recipe)

• Store-bought, eat homemade stuffing (low-calorie stuffing)

• Traditional gravy, eat low-fat gravy (click here for recipe from the Mayo Clinic)

These recipes will be a hit with the family this holiday, and help with staying healthy:

Spinach Parmesan White Bean Dip

Found on Pinterest, one of our favorite resources for ideas for healthy recipes and fun holiday do-it-yourself projects, this simple, vegetarian, five-ingredient, gluten-free dip is “packed with protein and veggies, and tons of cheesy flavor.” Sounds great to us!

Ingredients
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1 15 oz. can white beans, small
2 tbsp freshly squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Blend in food processor; salt and pepper to taste.

2. Serve with carrots, celery, cauliflower, pita chips or any healthy chip or veggie stick that goes great with dips.

 

Wild Rice with Cranberries & Almonds

This low-calorie (120 per 1/2 cup), low-cholesterol (0 mg) side dish, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association’s Recipes for Living, is a healthful holiday option that can be made for a big dinner, or a small get-together with lots of leftovers, as it serves 11. According to the ADA, wild rice takes longer to cook than other rice, but it has a lower glycemic index of 45 compared to white rice with a glycemic index of 70. This is important for those holiday guests with diabetes or other special diet considerations. The toasted almond slices and dried cranberries are a nice touch for any holiday spread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
2 (4-ounce) boxes wild rice
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes.

2. Add the water and chicken broth to the pan and bring to a boil.

3. Add the rice; cover and cook according to package directions; usually about 50-60 minutes.

4. Remove the lid and add in the toasted almonds and cranberries; use a fork to mix together.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free, including the chicken broth, and this can be made gluten-free.

 

Orange Glazed Turkey with Potatoes & Carrots

The American Heart Association offers many healthy options for traditional recipes on its website at recipes.heart.org. This citrus-roasted recipe for a turkey breast, to make holiday prep easier, caught our eye for a healthy take on festive meals.

”Try this new Simple Cooking with Heart take on traditional turkey. Its seasoning gives the dish a base of flavor, and orange marmalade adds tangy sweetness. Serve with potatoes and carrots. Enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving year-round!”

Ingredients
6 Servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5-1.75 lb. boneless, skinless turkey breast (all visible fat discarded)
2 tsp. dried mixed herbs (mix a combination of any/all – rosemary, basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, thyme, sage)
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. orange marmalade
1 lb. washed potatoes (can use any type of potatoes), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 medium carrots (peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Place turkey in the dish.

3. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (herbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder). Rub half of mixture over the turkey.

4. Spread marmalade over turkey.

5. Stir potatoes, carrots and oil in to remaining herb mixture. Place vegetables in dish around the turkey. Bake for 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.

 

Spiced Caramel Apples

Better Homes and Gardens knows a little something about entertaining, and has spent decades being one of the foremost experts on food. So it’s no surprise they’ve put together a list of Healthy Apple Desserts that includes this easy recipe that slow cooks while everyone is visiting.

“Instead of serving caramel apples on a stick, we cut apples in half, topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and cloves, and cooked them in a slow cooker. We added a drizzle of caramel topping later, along with a few chopped pecans, to create a healthy apple dessert that wows.”

Ingredients

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
5 medium red-skinned cooking apples (such as Rome or Jonathan), cored, and halved
1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar-free caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and cloves. Core and halve the apples.

2. Place 1/2 of the apple halves in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with some of the cinnamon mixture. Add remaining apples and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

3. Pour apple juice and lemon juice over apples. Stir to coat apples evenly.

4. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring gently halfway through cooking time.

5. Spoon apples and cooking liquid to individual serving dishes. Drizzle with caramel topping and sprinkle with pecans.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Fall Crafting for the Kids

At New Jammies, we love the beauty that Autumn brings, from the changing of the leaves to the colors of the harvest. So this season the time is right to let the kids become inspired by all that surrounds them to make fun crafts with a Fall theme at home.

New Jammies Founder and CEO Nicole Ludlow loved the Halloween-inspired Paper Plate Spiders her preschool-aged son made at school, with inspiration from the I Heart Crafty Things blog. We thought we would check out other do-it-yourself crafts young children can complete from iheartcraftythings.com, and these Cupcake Liner Turkey Puppets caught our eye.

Just in time to get into the Thanksgiving spirit!

Turkey Time

“I love making crafts with my kids that can be interactive for pretend play or that we can use to reenact a story that we’ve just read. I came across some darling Cereal Box Turkeys over at Plum Pudding recently and I loved them,” says the iheartcraftythings founder and kids craft designer Rachel Nipper. “I decided to make more of a kid-friendly version that my children could help me with and we are using them as Turkey Puppets. We used one of my favorite crafting materials to make them also, cupcake liners.”

Supplies:

• craft stick [We received ours from our friends at Craftprojectideas.com.]
• 2 mini brown cupcake liners
• 1 orange cupcake liner
• sheet of cardstock paper (I used a scrap piece of yellow, you can use whatever color you want)
• small piece of brown, yellow and red cardstock paper
• 2-inch circle punch (or you can free hand a circle this size)
• school glue
• glue stick
• scissors

Directions:
1. Start by using your glue stick to glue down your orange cupcake liner onto a sheet of cardstock paper. I used a scrap piece of yellow that I had. You can choose whatever color you want to use. Now cut the cupcake liner out. (Backing it with cardstock paper gives the cupcake liner and puppet stability.)

2. Use school glue to glue your craft stick down to the front of your orange cupcake liner.

3. Using your glue stick, glue one of your mini brown cupcake liners onto the orange cupcake liner, positioning it at the bottom.

4. Use your scissors to make slits around the top and sides of your orange cupcake liner. Some of the cardstock paper you glued your cupcake liner onto may show through after doing this, so keep that in mind when deciding what color you use in step 1.

5. Cut your other mini brown cupcake liner in half and glue the pieces onto the sides of your other brown cupcake liner to act as turkey wings.

6. Cut a 2-inch circle from your circle punch out of your brown paper and then glue it onto your puppet.

7. Finish your turkey by adding googly eyes, a beak and snood cut out of your red and yellow paper.

“Now you have a fun little turkey puppet to reenact your favorite turkey story or for imaginative, pretend play. We made several turkeys so my kids have had fun letting them interact with each other,” Rachel says. “I think it would also be fun to play around with different patterned cupcake liners instead of the orange one. I’m thinking orange polka-dot liners or a different pattern. I didn’t have any on hand to try it out.”

Sponge Paint It

Nicole also noticed her preschooler seems to be drawn to painting with sponges, so she became inspired to ignite his creativity at home using household sponges and paint.

“I just cut up a sponge into different shapes and put colors of paint on plate to dip and splotch, she says.

At school, he made this Egg Carton Caterpillar project in class, and it turned out pretty cute, according to Nicole.

“All you need for this project is an egg carton, some kid-friendly paint, pipe cleaners and eyes (optional, because you can always just paint the eyes on),” says Megan Bray, from the Balancing Home blog site.

Read full instructions here.

Catch the Sun

Nicole says another neat project her son did at school, but parents and caregivers can also do at home, is making suncatchers or stainglass.

“Cut a shape out of thin tissue paper and paint with water colors,” she says.

The Artful Parent blog offers 50+ suncatcher crafts for kids at https://artfulparent.com/stained-glass-suncatcher-ideas-kids.

These Autumn Leaf Suncatchers from The Artful Parent are great as holiday presents in December or gifts for the family at Thanksgiving in November.

Supplies:

• Transparent contact paper (sticky-back plastic)
• Fresh autumn leaves
• Heart or other hole punch (optional)

Directions:

1. Cut off a rectangular piece of contact paper. Fold it in half, then pull the paper covering off to the fold, exposing half of the sticky plastic.

2. Arrange your autumn leaves on the sticky contact paper and press to adhere.

3. If desired, your your hole punch to cut out heart (or other) shapes from leaves and add those to the suncatcher as well.

4. When you are satisfied with your design, remove the rest of the paper backing from the contact paper. Carefully fold it over the leaves, sandwiching them in between the two layers of plastic, and press down with your hands, avoiding air bubbles if possible.

5. Hang in a sunny window and admire!

The Artful Parent taped the suncatchers to the window, but sometimes they punch holes in the top and add a ribbon for hanging.

A note about the leaves: The fresh autumn leaves are beautiful, vibrant, and full of color which is one of the reasons we like to use them for these nature suncatchers every year (rather than pressed and dried autumn leaves). However, please note that they will lose some of their color over time and decay. Ours are usually enjoyed for about two weeks before we take them down.

For more fun DIY arts and crafts activities ideas from The Artful Parent, click here.

Happy crafting!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

 

Play Right: Understanding the Real World Through Play

Even in adulthood, New Jammies parents know that the reality of the world can be hard to understand.

As caring and responsible parents, it’s our job to help our kids navigate through 24-7 news reports, social media and word-of-mouth info sharing.

That’s where play comes into, well, play.

According to the Genius of Play, children as young as 3 learn to understand the real world through realistic pretend play. The Genius of Play is a national movement to raise awareness of play’s vital role in child development, spearheaded by The Toy Association.  The movement is rooted in research and facts, and serves as a leading resource on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play that serve children throughout their lives. The group promotes play as a way to hone communication skills, important in coping with reality as teens and adults.

“Knowing what people mean isn’t always easy. Kids have to learn to decipher what people are saying — and not saying — by listening, observing, and sometimes picking up on very subtle clues,” says the group.

“By playing with others, children learn the art of communication. They come to recognize facial expressions and body language. They figure out how to strike up and carry on conversations, and how to express their thoughts and desires in a way that won’t cause problems and put a stop to the group game.”

Specifically, the Genius of Play says pretend play is especially important for children’s communication development and literacy.

“The idea that a letter represents a sound is based on symbolism — a concept kids come to understand when they pretend that a cardboard box is a castle, or that a shoe is a race car. Role-play also gives children a chance to use words they’ve heard adults and other kids use, and helps improve their vocabulary. As they grow older, word-based games help reinforce language and literacy skills.”

Genius of Play lists these games as great communication-building ideas for play:

Jumping Jack Syllables (ages 4 1/2 – 5)
Teach the child to do a simple jumping jack. In one smooth movement, jump and land with feet spread apart, raise hands over the head and clap. Share with them that a syllable is a separate count or beat in a word. Then by using the days of the week or months of the year, use jumping jacks to play out the number of syllables per word. For instance, using Saturday, the child will have three movements to the word, ending with his arms over his head.

Courtesy BestBeginningsAlaska.org

Balloon Ball (for ages 4+)

INGREDIENTS:

• An air-filled balloon or beach ball
• A broomstick or row of pillows
PREP TIME:
5 minutes

Lay a broomstick or row of pillows on the floor to act as the ‘net.’ Have your child hit the balloon over the ‘net,’ then run to the other side to hit it back before it touches the ground. Score 1 each time your child hits the ball without it hitting the floor. If two children, have them hit the ball over the ‘net.’ The game ends when the ball hits the floor. The child who hit that ball wins.

Kick the Can (ages 5+)

INGREDIENTS:
A large, empty can or bucket to be kicked
PREP TIME:
2 minutes

Choose one person to be “IT” and a “home base” for the children to gather (when playing outside, a fire hydrant or familiar tree are great spots). Place the can in a safe, open space. To start, have IT count to 50 with his/her eyes closed while the other players hide. Upon opening their eyes, IT should start searching for the hiders. When IT finds a hider, he/she calls out the player’s name and that player goes to jail (home base). Another player can risk capture to save jailbirds by kicking over the can and calling out “Home Free” without getting tagged by IT, after which the jailbirds are free to run and hide from IT again. The game continues until everyone has been captured. If jailbreaks keep the game going too long, the first person caught 3 times becomes IT and a new game begins.

Crafts Cards (ages 3+, requites adult help)

INGREDIENTS:
• Multiple sheets of construction paper for each child
• Old magazines
• Glue
• Safety scissors
• Magic markers and crayons
• Extras: stencils, stickers, feathers, glitter

PREP TIME:
10 minutes

Nothing says “you’re special” like a homemade card. Give each child some paper folded in half, magazine pages, markers and crayons. You can leave additional magazines, the stencils, stickers, feathers, and glitter where each child can reach them to use. Allow their imaginations run wild as the kids use the supplies to make cards for their friends, their families, even their favorite pet!

Parentingscience.com agrees that playful experiences are learning experiences. An evolutionary anthropologist created the online parenting resource for critical thinkers who want to understand child development from the perspectives of psychology, anthropology, evolution, and cognitive neuroscience.

“Most play involves exploration, and exploration is, by definition, an act of investigation. It’s easy to see how this applies to a budding scientist who is playing with magnets, but it also applies to far less intellectual pursuits, like the rough-and-tumble play in puppies,” says parentingscience.com. “The animals are testing social bonds and learning how to control their impulses, so that friendly wrestling doesn’t turn into anti-social aggression. Play is learning.”

Parentingscience.com reminds us that play is self-motivated and fun, as well as important for understanding the real world.

“These arguments aside, there is also empirical evidence that kids treat play as a tutorial for coping with real life challenges,” says the site. “All around the world, children engage in pretend play that simulates the sorts of activities they will need to master as adults, suggesting such play is a form of practice.”

Parentingscience.com adds that when kids are fed information during pretend play — from more knowledgeable peers or adults — they take it in.

“Experiments on American preschoolers suggest that children as young as 3 understand make distinctions between realistic and fanciful pretending, and use information learned from realistic pretend scenarios to understand the real world.”

Find more information on why play is essential to learning and development at Mom Loves Best

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

 

Play Right: “Up & Active” Toy Trends Perfect for Summer

New Jammies Trains Collection

Early this year, the Toy Industry Association announced its top trends at the New York Toy Fair, and New Jammies was happy to see popularity of the “Up & Active” theme.

“With more room for innovation and a greater willingness to take risks, toymakers are pulling out all the stops to create highly ground-breaking products, reinvent play patterns, and refresh classic brands with cutting-edge technologies and exciting new licenses,” says Adrienne Appell, a trend expert at TIA. “Best of all, these toys build children’s developmental skills through collaborative, hands-on, and imaginative play.”

Collectible toys were also among the hot forecasted trends, which help children develop lifelong skills, including social skills (when negotiating and trading with friends), organization skills (as they maintain their collections), and perseverance (not giving up on the “hunt”), according to the Toy Industry Association.

The “Up & Active” category features toys to encourage kids to get up and move – both indoors and outdoors.

“The latest active toys not only motivate kids to burn off excess energy, they are also engaging for the whole family and are more seamlessly integrated into other types of play,” says the Toy Industry Association. “This trend includes tech toys that weave in active components, classic outdoor ride-ons, traditional games that incorporate physical activity, and digital toys that foster face-to-face play.”

The Toy Industry Association notes that toys which encourage kids to move are a part of a larger health-and-wellness trend that spans multiple industries.

“We see consumers making healthy lifestyle choices, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, athleisure, wearable devices, and natural-looking beauty options, so I believe the outdoor and sports toys trend will continue into the near future as well,” says Juli Lennett, NPD’s senior vice president and U.S. toys industry analyst.

Toy companies are launching toys and games designed to motivate kids to move – both indoors and outdoors – particularly as they respond to the demands of millennial parents seeking more engaging toys for their kids, such as offering educational or more active play, says the Association.

“Toys that encourage kids to get up and move are on both kids’ and parents’ wish lists,” says Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert. “It’s not just classic outdoor toys that are popular; we are seeing toy companies innovate with tech toys that weave in active components, educational toys that incorporate physical activity, new exciting ride-ons, and traditional games that require kids to move around in order to play.”

One toy that help kids enjoy the Great Outdoors is the Regatta Swing. The nautical -themed swing is developed exclusively for Magic Cabin, which specializes in open-ended, nature-inspired toys and crafts to nurture children’s innate sense of wonder and curiosity. The swing, for ages 3–6 and older, holds up to 200 pounds and features an innovative design to sits two sailors on two heavy-duty mesh seats. The mesh bottom means water won’t get trapped inside while not in use. The simple concept of the bowline knot creates a secure hanging apparatus of adjustable height that’s easy to use.

New Jammies’ Pirates collection of PJs, which can double as comfy play wear to stay cool in the summer, would be a fun addition to this imagination-building play. Sailboat n’Waves would also be cute to rock in the Regatta Swing.

Antsy Pants’ line of Build and Play kits are designed to let kids’ imaginations run wild and get kids and families creating, imagining and building together. With each product purchased, sold exclusively at Target, Antsy Pants helps support KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all kids get a childhood filled with the balanced and active play they need to thrive.

“Antsy Pants will make a donation to KaBOOM! for each product purchased, and is projected to give more than $150,000 in the first year to build playgrounds for kids across America,” says the product’s website.

The Antsy Pants Build and Play Obstacle Course  gets the whole family moving with toss rings, jump hurdles and a race to the finish for fun-and-friendly competition. The easy-to-build Obstacle Course Kit comes with an agility ring course, start and finish flags, adjustable height hurdles, and weave pole course. No tools necessary!

New Jammies’ Star Spangled collection would be a patriotic, America-themed way to celebrate the Fourth of July while running through the Obstacle Course this summer.

USA! USA! USA!

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New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: From Daytime Jams to Sleep Jammies

One of the most versatile ways for kids to wear New Jammies in the warmer months is to don them during the day in the park, poolside or at neighborhood BBQs. Then mix and match at nighttime for a cool, comfortable sleep.

“New Jammies’ signature 100% organic cotton fabric is breathable and keeps kids cool in the summer heat and warm at night,” says New Jammies CEO and founder Nicole Ludlow.

“The fun part is to mix and match the short sets, pants and long-sleeved shirts for several different color and print combinations on vacation or out and about having a good time, day into night.”

A cute look for girls in the summer is to add brightly colored tutus and comfy sandals to our Lobsters collection. Or incorporate pastel tutus into an outfit with our pretty Ballerina Slippers or Mermaid Bubbles prints.

The Lobsters and Whales collections come with 100% organic cotton summer roll hats, too. The fun summertime New Jammies headwear designs provide a coordinated look at the beach or in town, especially with our Classic Stripes and nautical-themed collections, to help protect babies’ sensitive skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Boys are typically fairly easy to dress, especially in the summer, so our shorts sets with bold stripes and colorful prints really come in handy when packing for the day, weekend, or a week of well-derserved vacation.

“So many of our collections offer options for mixing and matching, and for going from day to night, if the boys manage to stay clear of mud!” says Nicole, who has two young boys of her own.

The organic Classic Stripe in blue and white is a great option for bold and colorful day-to-night wear for boys or girls, and the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sailboats n’Waves pajamas and short sets are perfect to switch up from afternoon into evening. Especially for hanging around the water at the lake or ocean, and for summer vacations involving pirate ships, sunset cruises or floating on the river.

In celebration of summer, New Jammies has a few of these versatile outdoor and sleep time looks in our sale section of our online store.

Enjoy great sale prices on our Sharks PJ Shorts Set and Ottoman Flowers PJ Shorts Set, as well as the Pirate Skull Stripes and Sly Fox PJ Shorts Set, for a wonderful summer playing in the sun and sleeping under the stars.

Here’s to a summer to remember!

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Join our e-newsletter list and receive discounts on select New Jammies every month.

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New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Back-to-school sleep tips

New_Jammies_schoolNever underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

Especially on a school night.

That’s the message New Jammies parents are sharing with their kids as summer wraps up and going back to school moves front and center. According to a 2014 poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), many children receive less sleep on school nights than they should.

“For children, a good night’s sleep is essential to health, development and performance in school,” said Kristen L. Knutson, PhD, University of Chicago. “We found that when parents take action to protect their children’s sleep, their children sleep better.”

The poll reported that parents’ estimates of sleep time are only 8.9 hours for children ages 6 to 10; 8.2 hours for 11 and 12 year olds; 7.7 hours for 13 and 14 year olds; and 7.1 hours for teens ages 15 to 17. Those numbers fall short, by NSF’s standards. The nonprofit sleep organization recommends kids ages 6 to 10 receive 10 to 11 hours of sleep per night, and that children in the other three age groups secure 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

“It can be tough to make time for sleep when we’re too busy; making sleep a priority can give all family members the energy to function at their best every day,” said Hawley Montgomery-Downs, PhD, West Virginia University. “Sometimes performing better in fewer activities can be a healthy trade for too many activities while fatigued.”

In today’s digital age, many kids have a hard time achieving optimal sleep because of the prevalence of electronics in youth bedrooms. The NSF reports that families who turn off electronics off while sleeping can improve this growing trend.

“To ensure a better night’s sleep for their children, parents may want to limit their children using technology in their bedroom near or during bedtime,” said Orfeu Buxton, PhD, Harvard Medical School.

To help parents approach the better-sleep subject, the NSF has created an educational SleepforKids.org website. The site reminds children and their parents that with more sleep, kidspay better attention in school, are more creative, generate more ideas, fight sickness better, have improved moods and relationships with friends and family, and are quicker problem solvers.

SleepforKids.org offers these sleep practices for preschoolers:

  1. Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule
  2. Follow-through with a bedtime routine every night
  3. The child should have the same sleeping environment every night.  It should be cool, quiet and dark and without a TV
  4. Watch for difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings, chronic sleep problems, and behavioral problems during the day.

And these tips for school-age kids:

  1. Introduce healthy sleep habits, disease prevention and health promotion
  2. Continue to emphasize the need for a regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine
  3. The child’s bedroom should be conducive to sleep: dark, cool and quiet. TV’s and computers should be off and out of the bedroom
  4. Set limits
  5. Avoid caffeine
  6. Watch for signs of chronic difficulty sleeping, loud snoring, difficulty breathing, unusual nighttime awakenings and frequent daytime sleepiness.
Turtle-Ap-Organic-PJ

Teetering Turtles New Jammies

New Jammies encourages kids to eat right, play right and sleep tight. Our 100% pure, natural organic cotton New Jammies pajamas make heading off to bed a fun and comfortable experience for parents and their children. Make bedtime, and a good night’s sleep, a priority by including a pair of New Jammies in all your back-to-school shopping lists.

Play Right: Summertime activities for kids

Back to school may be just around the corner, but there are still enough active summer days for New Jammies kids to enjoy fun activities, learn, and play – indoors and out.

Airplane-Pajamas-Boys-Organic-Cotton-PJ-Short

New Jammies airplane pajamas

From airplanes and history to art and Native American culture, the topics museums showcase across the U.S. could keep a family busy, while learning, all summer long. Kids are like sponges, taking in knowledge as fast as they can, and the nation’s museums and interactive learning centers are perfect ways to teach our youth and have fun.

According to the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), approximately 850 million visits are made annually to American museums. That’s more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined (483 million in 2011).

“Museums tell important stories by collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting objects, living specimens and historical records,” says the AAM’s website. “Museums help communities better understand and appreciate cultural diversity.”

For kids who love animals, zoos and aquariums are ideal options for boys and girls to learn about different species and ecosystems, and enjoy a fun, up-close look at the Animal Kingdom. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums website is a great resource for parents and caregivers to learn what zoos are doing around the country to help teach kids in a family-friendly environment.

Just this summer, Tiki the Giraffe turned 25 at the Oakland Zoo in California, the Indianapolis Zoo opened a new, state-of the-art orangutan center in Indiana, and tiny red panda cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. Get out and see what the country’s zoos have to offer in 2014.

Mermaid-Pajamas-Girls-Cotton-PJ-Short-Set

New Jammies mermaid pajamas

From outdoor water parks to a sprinkler in the backyard, getting wet in the summer sun guarantees a refreshing activity option for kids in the summertime. Going back to the idea that children are sponges, they can learn to swim with lessons at public pools and through youth swim clubs. They can perfect their back strokes in the country’s host of lakes, swimming holes, and rivers. Just remember, safety first, so wear a portable flotation device (PFD), also known as a life jacket, or water wings and flotation devices as needed.

Of course being outdoors in the sun, no matter what the activity, requires proper sun shading and protection to prevent sun damage and melanoma. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a significant part of a person’s lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18.

WHO suggests these sun protection tips:

  • Limit time in the midday sun. The sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, limit sun exposure during these hours.
  • Watch for the UV index. This helps in planning outdoor activities to prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays when the UV Index predicts exposure levels of moderate or above.
  • Use shade wisely. Seek shade when UV rays are the most intense. Shade structures such as trees, umbrellas or canopies don’t always offer complete sun protection. Remember the shadow rule: “Watch your shadow – Short shadow, seek shade!”
  • Wear protective clothing. A hat with a wide brim offers good sun protection for eyes, ears, face, and back of the neck. Sunglasses with 99 to 100 percent UV-A and UV-B protection greatly reduce eye damage from sun exposure. Tightly woven, loose-fitting clothes provide additional protection from the sun.
  • Use sunscreen. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15+ liberally and re-apply every two hours, or after working, swimming, playing or exercising outdoors.

Venture out there with the kids this summer and play right, so they sleep tight, in their 100% pure, natural organic cotton New Jammies pajamas. Have fun!

Eat Right: Kids gardening makes for healthy summer eating

New Jammies Pea Welcome to New Jammies new blog spot! At New Jammies, we live by the mantra, “Eat right, play right, sleep tight.” This blog is our chance to share the latest on kids’ nutrition, playtime, and bedtime/sleeping trends. We encourage information sharing and networking between our parents, families and caregivers who want to do the best for our next generation of little ones.

This summer, we hope everyone is enjoying a fun summer with the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables, from garden to table. Kids love to learn, and home gardening is a great way to teach them about healthy eating habits, whole foods, and nature’s bounty. Plant the garden in the spring with the kids to teach them how to have a green thumb early on – and go from there.

In the summer months, encourage kids to be a part of the cultivating and harvesting with the adults. This will teach patience, responsibility and a sense of pride for starting something from scratch and watching it grow.

For those new to horticulture, the Internet is a treasure trove of information on youth gardening. The site www.kidsgardening.org is a perfect start to learn how family gardening can make a difference in a child’s life. On the site, there are family gardening activities, a garden guide, how-to projects and videos, and even a parents’ primer. July’s featured resource focuses on growing plants that attract butterflies. And we all know kids are fascinated when they see butterflies in action. They not only learn about flowers and plants, but specific science involving insects, i.e., pollination, life cycles and stages, and the interdependence of butterflies and plants.

There’s coaching on easy-to-grow nectar plants, butterfly garden seed collections and more. These Top 5 Tips for Gardening with Kids! are helpful in guiding parents and caregivers through youth gardening. A quick in-person visit to your local gardening center or home improvement store also is a hands-on approach to encouraging a love of gardening in kids. Helpful gardening specialists can answer questions and involve kids in the decision-making process of building a beautiful, healthy garden that can feed a family all year long.

Help create interest by equipping the kids with their own tools and accessories – such as tiny gardening gloves, watering cans and knee pads — so they really feel a part of the process. Encourage visiting and maintaining the garden as a daily activity, and, most importantly, make sure it’s fun.

Healthy eating habits and lifestyles are learned from producing home-grown, all-natural foods from scratch. Eating right leads to sleeping tight, and our 100-percent organic New Jammies products can help kids be passionate about good health and the environment. We believe in teaching the next generation how to improve our communities to be more sustainable and to respect Mother Earth. Who could ask for more?

Have a safe and happy summer!