Dinner’s over. The table’s cleared and dishes are done. Now, there’s just one thing between you and an hour or two of peace. Bedtime, also known as The Witching Hour.
We all know how it’s supposed to go:
And that’s exactly when the stall tactics begin.
Finicky sleepers are enough to push anyone to their wits’ end. But who do you call?
Dead European composers!
Seriously. Listening to classical music at bedtime is a
surefire way to get your kids relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Music helps to calm, quiet, engage, distract and transport human beings of all ages to the drowsy state that is the gateway to a deep and restful sleep.
As a pianist, composer and PhD in music composition with four children of my own, here’s what I’ve learned through experimentation and hard experience.
When picking classical music for bedtime, the piece should have:
Before we get into particular recommendations, I want to note that many fine, well-meaning music lovers have made small fortunes writing about “The Mozart Effect,” “The Bach Effect,” and even “The Alternative Art-Punk Emo Hardcore Effect.”
Regardless of composer or period, these advocates promise that playing certain specific classical music to children, both in utero and post-birth, produces smarter, happier and well-rounded children.
Sadly, such promises are utter nonsense.
What works best for bedtime is instrumental music with a steady beat and a steady harmonic rhythm. While this definition eliminates most Emo Hardcore music, it does include the bulk of European instrumental music composed between roughly 1700 and 1800, and much of the instrumental music written to the late 1800s.
That block of time spans the High Baroque and Classical periods, including notable composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Mozart. But it also captures work from hundreds of other worthy composers, whose music will just as easily put your children to bed.
So rest easy that if my selections don’t work for your family, you could also choose music by:
any of their compositions will also improve your children’s SAT scores is a
conversation for another post.
Are you a believer in music as a gateway to better bedtimes? What kind of music plays well in your family? We’d love to hear about your journey. Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Do you have professional expertise of value to families? Would you like your expertise featured on our blog? Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t respond to all inquiries, but we’ll be in touch if there’s a fit.
By Dr. Vivien Brown, MD
Eating is a powerful part of life. Think about your earliest childhood memories. Chances are, food—and the people who made it for you—plays a big part of those moments.
Yet, developing healthy food habits can be a great anxiety source for many parents. That’s particularly true if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands or your child’s suddenly changed their preferences.
How can this change help parents? Food guides, which reflect the best available scientific evidence at the time of their publication, offer insight into where to focus your energy in building healthy eating habits.
And the new guide’s got some great suggestions.
The biggest change to Canada’s Food guide is removing the old food groups: grains, milk products, fruit and vegetables, and meat and alternatives.
Instead, the new food guide encourages Canadians to think of each meal in terms of a plate divided into four sections.
Unsure what counts as a whole grain? John Berardi, PhD and co-founder of Toronto-based Precision Nutrition (PN), has an excellent overview to finding whole grains in your local markets.
And PN also has a useful visual system for estimating portions using your hand size when you’re on the run.
Canada’s new food guide goes further than just identifying healthy foods. If you want to build strong, lifelong eating habits, parents should also be mindful of how we eat.
Canada’s new food guide puts drinking water front and center in its recommendations, especially for children.
That news may surprise some parents. Nutritionists and doctors have advised against giving children sugar-heavy drinks like soda for several years. But juice and milk have been staples of food guides in the past.
Yet, the new food guide recommends that Canadian families avoid all drinks that are high in sugar. That includes juice.
What about milk? Dairy is now considered a protein and not an independent category. Drinking milk should be considered against other protein consumption in the diet.
I get a lot of questions from my patients about how the new food guide should influence the choices they make for their families.
It’s important to remember that guidelines are not laws. Instead, they provide educated instruction that each individual should interpret. If you have questions, you should always talk to the doctors and medical professionals who know your history and health needs best.
Also, Health Canada’s recommendations reflect recent changes in medical and scientific research. By adding new discussion areas to the guide, Health Canada is asking us to consider new ideas, such as the important of eating with family, that haven’t had a lot of airtime in previous versions.
What is Health Canada’s goal in updating the guide? In general, they want to help Canadians to:
While these are lofty but important goals, we still need to make Canada’s Food Guide apply to our own lives. You can use the information it contains as a stepping stone to avoiding the disordered eating patterns I see in patients every day.
So, the food guide serves as a great reminder to be proactive about our eating habits as we grow and age. To have a healthy life, it’s important to be proactive about food. A meal is a process, not just an end result.
By sharing meals, play and conversation with others, we’ll all learn to make better choices for our health.
What recipes do you enjoy making with your family? Have you added cooking experiences to your Family or Child collections in LifeTales? We’d love to learn more. Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Do you have professional expertise of value to families? Would you like your expertise featured on our blog? Send your pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note we can’t respond to all inquiries. But we will be in touch if there’s a fit.