teaching kids table manners Q Wunder

12 Table Manners to Teach Your Kids -- Plus Tips on How to Do It

Teaching a child to be polite at the dinner table is like teaching a chihuahua to skateboard: It doesn’t exactly come naturally, but with enough practice, it can be done. Here, we share a dozen polite pointers for teaching table manners to your littlest eaters.

 

Sit up straight and still

Show kids how slouching with your elbows on the table makes it look like you’re bored instead of interested in the dinner conversation. If your kid tends to squirm and/or hug their knees, grab a bathroom stepstool to use as a footrest to help them sit calmly. A footrest can also help keep your child’s lap flat so their napkin doesn’t keep falling off. Sitting still is a tall order, so keep your expectations realistic; 15 or 20 minutes is the limit for most kids under six.

 

Put your napkin on your lap -- and actually use it

Teach your child to wipe their mouth and hands on their napkin, not their sleeve or pants. If you use disposable napkins at home, let them know it is actually okay to mess up cloth napkins at someone else’s house or a restaurant.

 

No toys, books or devices at table

Yes, this means you too. Your boss/best friend/dog walker can wait till after you finish eating for a reply to their text.

 

Wait for everyone to be seated before you start

Advanced level: At someone else’s house, tell your kids to wait for the host to start eating before they do.

 

Show respect to the cook

Tell your kids to say “No, thank you” (instead of “GROSS!”) if they don’t want something. And don’t forget to have your kids thank the person who made dinner.

Say please and thank you 

"Please" and "thank you" are easy to reinforce: Just don’t start to grant the request (pass the rolls, say) until you get a “please,” and don’t finish it (hand it over) until you hear “Thank you.”  

 

Use your fork, not your fingers

Just keep in mind that sometimes kids genuinely don’t know what’s a finger food and what’s not. Teach yours to ask if they’re not sure.

 

Chew with your mouth closed

And, conversely, don’t talk with your mouth full. As part of the lesson, you can even do a ilttle demo for them so they can see how yucky it looks.

 

Don’t play with your food

In other words, no slurping your soup, no blowing bubbles with your straw, no sculpting your mashed potatoes into a rendition of your sister’s head. Teach your kids that food’s (surprise!) for eating.

 

No eating straight out of the serving bowl or drinking out of the milk carton

Explain that it’s more sanitary (and less gross) that way.

 

Politely ask for whatever you want to be passed rather than reaching across the table to get it

This includes being patient enough to wait for a break in conversation, so expect this one to take some time to master.

 

Don't leave the table until everyone is done eating -- and then ask to be excused

Dinnertime is a great opportunity for kids to learn self-control, the art of conversation, and not to rush through a meal. Bonus: When everyone finishes at the same time, everyone can pitch in to clear their plates, put milk and food away, and wipe down the table. (Chores are more manageable -- and fun! -- when they’re done together.)

 

Want to take your kids (and their table manners) out to eat? This fall, get Q Wunder prizes in Chick-fil-A® Kid’s Meals while supplies last!


dine out with family Q Wunder

How to Dine Out with Kids Without Losing Your Mind

Candlelight out, bendy straws in! Restaurant dining post-kids is different than pre-kids, for sure, but with a little planning, you can still enjoy it -- and so can your children. Even better, taking kids out to eat helps them develop social skills, encourages patience, builds confidence and inspires them to try new things. Here, we share seven tips on how to dine out with kids without sacrificing your sanity.

Choose a kid-friendly restaurant.

Do they have white linens and flowers on the table? Pass. Highchairs and a kids’ menu? Right this way! Even if a restaurant isn’t specifically family focused, look for a loud atmosphere and other kids. Once you get there, take an out-of-the-way corner table to corral your kids and minimize disruptions for other diners.

Go early.

To avoid overhungry, overtired kids, don’t show up at your usual dinner hour -- plan time to get seated, get served, get the check, get home and still get kids ready for bed. Plus, when you stroll in at 5, you’ll find fewer other patrons to worry about disturbing, more attentive waiters, faster service, and possibly even an early-bird special. Just in case: Ask for a booth or bring a stroller so kids can lie down if they get sleepy. Or try brunch or lunch -- as long as you go well before naptime.

Practice at home and set expectations.

Table manners aren’t just for restaurants. If you teach your children to use their inside voices, eat with utensils instead of their hands, and say “please” and “thank you” in your own home, meals out are a lot easier. Before you head to the restaurant, walk them through what to expect, including what will happen during the meal (“first we’ll sit down, then we’ll look at the menu to decide what we want to eat…”) and how you’d like them to behave (“...we’ll all sit at the table until everyone is finished eating”). It can also be helpful to narrate the experience for them as it’s happening (“Okay, we just ordered, so it’ll take a little time to get our food. Would you like to play a game while we’re waiting or do some coloring?”) That said, be realistic about your expectations. Very few toddlers can sit still for an entire meal. Figure on getting up to walk around with little ones every 20 minutes or so. Don’t let them wander around on their own while you catch up on a little adult conversation: It’s too easy to get distracted while they grab silverware off a table on the other side of the dining room or crash into a waiter carrying a tray of hot minestrone.

Keep it short.

Skip ordering appetizers so dinner doesn’t drag on too long. You might even want to check out the menu online before you go. And don’t ask for kids’ meals to come out first, or you’re just asking for restless and cranky children by the time your food arrives. Instead, occupy them before the meal (see below) and eat together to foster social skills and family bonding.

Bring a bag of tricks.

If the restaurant provides crayons and color-in placemats, amazing. But it doesn’t hurt to pack a few goodies just in case: Think finger puppets, small toy cars, activity or board books or whatever else your kids like that’s small and quiet. What about your phone or a tablet? As tempting as it can be to distract kids with digital devices, screen time at mealtime means kids miss out on practicing the art of conversation, learning to entertain themselves, and the joy of a communal meal. Instead, include kids in the fun with games like Q’s Race to the Top On the Go Pack or Would You Rather? If you do choose to allow some screen time, set limits on it, so it’s only while waiting for food to come, say, not when the waiter is taking your order or while eating. While you’re at it, put your phone away too -- not on the table where it is likely to distract everyone. If you really have to send a text or call someone, excuse yourself and take the phone outside to do so.

Take them outside -- or even leave if you have to.

Baby bawling? Kid freaking? Respect other diners: Calmly pick your kid up and head outside until your child calms down. If the behavior continues back at the table, be prepared to get your meal to go and take it home. P.S. Don’t give warnings without follow-through: If you tell your child to stop throwing french fries or you’re leaving, really do go home if the frites keep flying. On the other hand, if you overhear the next table marveling at your kids’ good manners, be sure to pass that onto your children -- nothing encourages good behavior like positive reinforcement.

Tip well.

Leaving behind a mess? Kids a handful? A hefty tip makes up for a lot -- and may grant you even better service next time you come in.

Looking for a kid-friendly restaurant for your family? This fall, get Q Wunder prizes in Chick-fil-A® Kid's Meals while supplies last!


Overwhelmed Moms on How Not to Be a Mom Servant

How Not to Be a Mom Servant

If you feel like you’re waiting on your kids hand and foot, it’s time to take a step back -- and let your kids step up. After all, when you do everything for them, there’s no motivation for kids to do anything for themselves. In this What’s Up Moms video, Q Wunder creator Sofia Dickens shares her tips on how to stop being a mom servant -- and start raising self-sufficient kids.

  1. Make it easy for them to help themselves.

    Instead of being at your children’s beck and call, empower them to do more on their own. For example, put things they frequently ask for, such as water and cups, down low enough so they can easily reach them. If wipes are within reach, they may even clean up their own messes!

  2. Don’t feed them on demand.

    Instead of responding to your kids’ every hunger pang, set regular family snack times and mealtimes -- and stick to them. Set out at least one dish you know they like for every meal, and let them know that once the meal is over, the kitchen is closed until the next snack.

  3. Clean up before the next activity.

    If they want to do a puzzle, build a fort, draw a picture, play tag...great, they just have to clean up what they’re doing first. Instant rewards are the best motivators!

Working on getting your kids to do more on their own rather than relying on you for everything? Check out the “Shape Up, Chip In” song and video, available on the Q Wunder app!

download on the App Storedownload on Google Play button


Girl and dad making family dinner together Q Wunder

7 Easy Kid-Friendly Dinners Kids Can Make Themselves

If you want your kids to learn how to actually feed themselves someday, start tonight. The younger the child, the more enthusiastic they’re likely to be about helping. And when kids pitch in on dinner, they’re more likely to want to eat it.

Granted, most kids under 10 aren’t ready to operate the stove or chop veggies on their own, but kids six and up can be taught to use a paring knife and cook at the stove with supervision. And even four-year-olds can use a grater with your guidance. So yeah, kids “helping” means there’s probably going to be a bigger mess when you’re done. But, as they say, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Okay, omelets may be a little complicated as a starter meal, but little kids can crack eggs and help stir them until they’re scrambled. And here are seven more easy family dinners kids can make mostly on their own. Bon appetit!

Easy-peasy mac and cheese

Bring 3 cups of milk and 2 cups of shells to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in 2 cups grated cheddar, a dash of salt and 1 cup frozen peas.

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Measure ingredients (with supervision)
  • Add ingredients
  • Grate cheddar (with supervision)

Pasta with tomato sauce and Parmesan

Use jarred sauce and it’s the ultimate heat-and-eat kid fave. More time? Make this simple recipe from Italian chef Marcella Hazan: Simmer a can of whole tomatoes for 45 minutes with a halved onion, a half-stick of butter and a dash of salt, stirring and breaking up the tomatoes occasionally, until it turns into sauce (discard onion before serving).

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Measure ingredients (with supervision)
  • Add ingredients
  • Fill pot with water for pasta
  • Dump sauce or tomatoes in pot
  • Grate Parmesan (with supervision)

With supervision, older kids can also:

  • Open can of tomatoes
  • Stir sauce

English muffin mini pizzas

Spoon jarred pizza or pasta sauce on English muffin halves, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Top muffins with sauce and cheese
  • Cut muffins in half with a table or plastic knife (with supervision)
  • Grate mozzarella (with supervision)

Black beans and rice

Chop an onion and saute in a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 cup rice and 2 cups water and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in 3 cups (two 15-ounce cans, drained) black beans and 1 cup frozen corn.

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Measure ingredients (with supervision)
  • Add ingredients

With supervision, older kids can also:

  • Open cans of black beans
  • Stir ingredients into sauteed onion

Chicken zucchini quesadillas

Grate 1 small zucchini and mix with 2 cups grated Monterey jack and 1 cup shredded, cooked rotisserie chicken. Set out four flour tortillas and sprinkle one-quarter of the chicken, zucchini and cheese mixture on one half of each, then fold over. In a frying pan over medium heat, fry two quesadillas at a time in a tablespoon of canola oil for 90 seconds on each side (or microwave quesadillas, two at a time, for 90 seconds total.)

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Wash zucchini
  • Grate zucchini (with supervision)
  • Grate Monterey jack (with supervision)
  • Shred chicken
  • Measure ingredients (with supervision)
  • Top tortillas (with supervision)
  • Microwave quesadillas

Potatoes with broccoli and cheddar

Poke 4 potatoes with a fork. Microwave potatoes on high for 5 minutes, then turn and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes. Microwave 2 cups of frozen broccoli florets on high in a glass bowl filled with a little water for 4 minutes. Slit the potatoes lengthwise and add broccoli and grated cheddar to each potato.

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Measure ingredients (with supervision)
  • Wash and poke potatoes
  • Add water to bowl
  • Microwave potatoes and broccoli
  • Grate cheddar (with supervision)

Sweet potato soup

Over medium heat, bring a halved clove of garlic, 2 peeled and cubed sweet potatoes and 2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Discard garlic clove halves. Add a dash of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Pour into a blender in two batches or use an immersion blender to puree, then stir in 1/2  cup milk.

Kids can:

  • Get out ingredients
  • Measure ingredients (with supervision)
  • Add ingredients
  • Wash sweet potatoes
  • Peel garlic
  • Peel sweet potatoes (with supervision)

Next: Want more recipes your kids can help make? Check out our kid-friendly hummus and brain-booster bars. And while you cook together, listen to "Shape Up Chip In" and the rest of the Q Wunder playlist, available on the Q Wunder app!


Q Wunder in Chick-fil-A Kid's Meals

Q Wunder Prizes Available in Chick-fil-A® Kid’s Meals While Supplies Last!

We’re excited to announce that Q Wunder prizes will be featured in Chick-fil-A® Kid’s Meals this fall while supplies last! The Q Wunder Chick-fil-A® Kid’s Meal prizes will include:

Q Wunder in Chick-fil-A Kid's Meals

 

  • Q’s Do, You and Q Cards:

    A selection of fun interactive cards designed to get kids thinking and talking about their feelings and actions, all packaged in a small carrying case

  • Q’s Race to the Top Game Scroller:

    A quick game that’s easy to finish in the time it takes to eat a meal, this toy includes a mini game board, game pieces and question and action cards that encourage kids to think and get moving

  • Q's Activity Book:

    An interactive booklet including puzzles, coloring pages and thought-provoking questions for kids along with two crayons

  • Q Machine and Q Says Question Spinners:

    Question Spinners let kids spin the wheel and answer or act out the question or action that comes up in the spinner window

Plus, every Q Wunder prize will include a coupon code for 20% off our award-winning Q Wunder products and a free one-month subscription to all the premium content (including videos, songs and more) on the Q Wunder app

Chick-fil-A® is committed to supporting social and emotional development in its Kid’s Meal prizes. Q Wunder toys are designed to be not just fun, but also to help kids identify their feelings and work on patience, manners and other emotional and behavioral skills.

Find your local Chick-fil-A® location and collect all five Q Wunder activities in Kid’s Meals while supplies last! 

Next: Discover why eating with your family is so important.


Don’t Make These Halloween Boo-Boos

We asked parents in our Q Wunder Ambassadors Facebook group what their biggest Halloween pet peeves are -- and they had plenty! Holidays like Halloween are a great chance for families to bond and create precious memories of that time your kid dressed up as a poop emoji. But they’re also an important opportunity to teach and model kindness, manners and considerate behavior -- hopefully they’ll remember that forever too!

Don’t trick-or-treat too early or too late.

“My biggest pet peeve is parents bringing their kids around before the start time,” says Rachel Johnston, mom to a 10-year-old girl. “In our county, we have specific times, like 5 to 7 PM. I don’t like to not have the stuff out for the kiddos when they ring the bell.” Many cities and/or neighborhoods have start and end times -- Google where you live to see if yours does. If not, a good rule of thumb is to head out at sunset and head home by 8 PM. Otherwise, you may disturb families who are having dinner, sleeping or otherwise occupied.

Don’t let your kids just stand there staring.

“‘Trick or treat’ and ‘thank you’ are quick and easy to say!” notes Jillian Davis, mom to a 5-year-old boy. Granted, kids can get excited and forget, but it’s your job to refresh their memory before they start trick-or-treating and prompt them on the doorstep if they forget. Plus: Remind them to respond politely when they’re asked about their costume (bonus points for doing a practice run before you leave).

Don’t allow super-scary costumes.

Please, begs Melissa Bechtel, mom to 4-, 9- and 11-year-old girls and a 13-year-old boy, “no plastic blood-flowing masks like the Scream one. They’re too much for little ones -- and for me!” In fact, costumes featuring blood and gore are best avoided altogether. Even if your kids can handle it, what about the two-year-old bumblebee who toddles up to the doorstep to trick-or-treat next to them? 

Don’t skip the costume either.

It bugs Laura Johnson Wurzer, mom to 10- and 14-year-old boys, “when older kids don’t even bother trying to wear a costume.” Neighbors are giving your kids candy; the least you can do is dress them up. Even older kids who might be over it (but still want chocolate) can throw an old sheet with a couple of holes in it over their head.

Don’t hit the same house twice.

“At least put forth some effort,” sighs Laura. No matter how good the candy is or how “on the way home anyway” it is.

Don’t make your baby trick-or-treat.

Andy Tunnicliffe, dad to 6- and 8-year-old boys, hates it “when adults hold a baby and expect candy in their bag. Obviously the baby shouldn’t be eating candy, and adults should buy their own candy. Halloween is for kids!” If you want or need to bring your three-month-old with you, go for it, but if the kid can’t walk, they shouldn’t be collecting chocolate. Likewise, if your kid is old enough to drive, send them to the store to get their own candy.

 

And here are a few more to keep in mind…

Don’t turn your yard into a horror movie.

If you want to freak people out, set up a haunted house in your garage so families can choose to go in or stay out. But animatronic headless screaming monsters next to your mailbox can give little kids nightmares.

Don’t let kids run to the door and trample the flowerbed in the process.

Stay on walkways. It’s safer and makes it less likely your kids will stomp on your neighbor’s asters.

Don’t allow your kids to grab the candy bowl, take a handful or ask for something else.

Teach your children to be grateful, not greedy, and tell them to take one of whatever’s available unless they’re offered more. P.S. Same deal if there’s a bowl of candy left on the doorstep -- limit of one per person, please.

Don’t try a house with the lights off, “just in case.”

Lights off is basically the international symbol for “no candy here.” Either they aren’t home or they want you to think they’re not; either way, don’t waste your (and their) time.

Don’t let kids throw candy wrappers anywhere but back into their trick-or-treat bag.

No one likes littering -- and if kids are old enough to get candy, they’re old enough to throw their own wrappers in the trash at home.

Don’t forget to smile -- and tell your kids to do the same.

Throwing in a “Happy Halloween!” as you walk away doesn’t hurt either.

 

Download the free Q Wunder app to help your kids build a foundation of courtesy and manners -- all year long!

download on the App Storedownload on Google Play button

 


The One Thing You Can Do Every Day That Will Give Your Kids Better Manners, Grades and Self-Esteem

Higher self-esteem. More resilience. Better manners. Rising grades. Increased vocabulary. Improved nutrition. What’s the one thing you can do for your kid that will deliver all these benefits? Serve family dinners. Here are five tips to make family dinner easier -- and more fun.

 

Commit to the ritual

Kids thrive on routine. The stability of regularly eating together helps provide children with a sense of security that makes them feel safe exploring the world. You can even build rituals within the ritual -- for example, taking time for a blessing before the meal or taking turns saying something you’re thankful for today.

 

Keep it simple

Focus on meals that are easy to cook and that include at least one thing you know everyone in the family will eat. And don’t make special dishes just for your kids. Exposure to new foods (not just chicken nuggets and pasta) without pressure to eat everything on the table encourages kids to be more adventurous. Plus, it’s way less work for you. Finally, remember that family dinner doesn’t always have to mean home-cooked. It’s okay to order in or heat up a frozen meal sometimes.  

 

Do what you can

It doesn’t have to be a three-course dinner every night, or even dinner at all. Eat breakfast together every day, or lunch on weekends, or dinner three times a week, or whatever you can manage. If one kid has weeknight practices, pack a picnic and get there early so you can eat together beforehand rather than eating drive-through in the car on the way.

 

Cook together

Even four-year-olds can help get out ingredients, grate cheese or tear lettuce for salad. Older children can learn to measure and stir, cut veggies or make pasta and sauce. When you teach your children to cook, you’re teaching them a skill they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile, they’ll gain independence and you’ll get some family bonding time. Plus, kids are more likely to eat food they’ve helped prepare.

 

Make it fun

Take turns picking background music to play during dinner. Ask your kids questions from Would You Rather? or Q’s Race to the Top On the Go Pack. Have a theme night -- whether it’s Breakfast for Dinner, Purple Night, or Restaurant, where your kids serve you and clear the dishes. Finally, share your family history, including stories about your favorite toys, things to do and family traditions from when you were a child.

 

Next: Bring conversation starters wherever you go with Q's Race to the Top On the Go Pack or the new question cards on the free Q Wunder app

SaveSave


How to Make Your Kids BFFs

Sure, sometimes siblings are going to fight over who’s hogging too much room on the couch, stealing their ball or taking too long on the swings. But when they crack each other up with knock-knock jokes, make up a new dance together or snuggle at bedtime, there’s nothing sweeter. Here, Q Wunder creator Sofia Dickens talks to What's Up Moms about how to shake sibling rivalry -- and help your kids learn to not just get along but love hanging out together.

No tattling.

Instead of stepping in every time one of your kids comes to you with a complaint about their sibling, try stepping back instead. Tell them “You guys are on the same team. You can figure this out.” The exception? Someone getting hurt. In other words, “You can tell on your brother or sister to get out of trouble, but never to get them in trouble.” Let your kids know hitting, biting, kicking or otherwise hurting someone will not be tolerated, and if they see that behavior (or are on the receiving end of it), they should tell you right away. Anything else, let the kids resolve it themselves.

 

Encourage your kids to take care of each other.

Research shows that when a child takes care of a sibling, it builds powerful emotional bonds between them. And kids love the chance to feel grown up. Encourage older sibs to help younger ones by doing things like reading to them, helping them get dressed or teaching them to play a game. Little ones can also help bigger brothers or sisters -- for example, sharing toys, pouring cereal for them or getting them a Band-Aid when they skin a knee.

 

Let them be bored together.

We get it -- sometimes it’s easier just to turn on a show or hand them your phone. But when kids have to make their own fun, they learn to get creative and work together. Watch as they make up a new version of tag, build a secret hideout from blankets and pillows, or put on a show starring their stuffed animals. After all, they’re not just playing, they’re becoming pals for life.

 

To get more parenting Q-tips -- plus Q Wunder videos, games, music videos and more for your kids -- download the free Q Wunder app!

download on the App Storedownload on Google Play button

SaveSave


Winning Ideas for Hosting an Unbeatable Family Game Night

Score big with friends and family alike by planning a champion game night. This easy, inexpensive get-together not only promotes family bonding, it encourages focus, turn taking and resilience as well as vocabulary, math and motor skills. Game on!

 

Setup

Make it a standing play date. Think book club, only for families, and well, without books. It’s basically family date night: Families take turns hosting -- once a week or once a month, say. You may want to limit it to just two or three families, depending on their size, so everyone can play a game together, or you may want to invite more families and get two or three games going at once. You can even designate a kids’ table and an adult table so kids can play their favorites while parents play more complex games.

Designate it BYOG (Bring Your Own Game). When everyone shows up with a game, guests have their pick of what to play.

Schedule around your gamers. Check kid naptimes and bedtimes to find a sweet spot that works for everyone. Sunday late afternoon into early evening (say, 4:30 to 6:30) often works well.

 

Games

Would You Rather is a great icebreaker to play as you wait for people to arrive.

Blocks can also be fun before the main games begin -- set some out and let guests practice stacking them to build the highest tower.  

Q’s Race to the Top is not only a blast for kids ages 3 to 9, it also teaches them social and emotional skills. And parents love learning more about their kids as they play!

Cards are a popular choice for all ages, whether you play Go Fish, Memory, War or Crazy Eights.

 

Food

Set out plenty of chairs -- or a picnic blanket. Gather everyone round the dining room table if it’s big enough, or spread out a big blanket in the living room and eat and play on the floor.

Serve no-mess finger foods. Think chicken fingers, pizza, pretzels, string cheese, cut-up apples or veggies, cookies -- anything guests can snack on with one hand while they play.

Make it potluck. When guests all bring something, it’s a win. That way, everyone can focus less on game night prep and more on game night fun!

 

Break out Q’s Race to the Top and ace game night every time!


Figure Out When Your Child Should Go to Bed with This Printable Kid’s Bedtime Chart

No need to lose sleep over it: Our printable kid's bedtime chart, based on research from the National Sleep Foundation, tells you when to put your kid to bed based on when they need to wake up. 

printable Q Wunder kid's bedtime chartFirst, we share average bedtimes for ages three to nine, depending on what time your child gets up and whether or not they take a nap. We also give you a range of healthy bedtimes in case your kid needs a little more or less sleep than the average child.

How can you tell if your child isn’t getting enough sleep?

Adequate sleep is crucial for social and emotional skill development from focus to flexibility. Keep your eyes open for these signs that your kid may not be getting enough rest:

You have to wake them up, often multiple times before they’ll get out of bed.

 

They’re sluggish in the morning, rubbing their eyes and acting lethargic.

 

They sleep in on weekends.

 

They fall asleep on brief car trips.

 

They’re cranky during the day, especially in the late afternoon and early evening. They may also have other behavioral signs, like hyperactivity, attention issues or aggression. 

 

They’re clingy and anxious.

They don’t fall asleep easily, and/or they get up very early. Paradoxically, when kids act amped up at night or get up before dawn, it’s often because they’re not getting enough rest. When kids get overtired, their bodies produce hormones that can keep them up late or wake them up early.

What if you suspect your child isn’t getting enough rest?

If these signs sound familiar (or a new schedule means your child needs to get up earlier), try putting your kid to bed 15 minutes before their current bedtime. Do they fall asleep quickly? Do they wake up on their own? If so, keep moving bedtime up 15 minutes every night or two until they are getting up at the target wake-up time and go from falling asleep easily (under 20 minutes for most kids) to having trouble getting to sleep. That’s when you’ve found your sweet (dreams) spot. Then be consistent, including sticking to the same sleep schedule on weekends. Works like a dream!

 

Want to help your kids get going once they do get up? Print our morning routine chart!