School is back in session!
Your child might either be very excited or disappointed that summer is over, the air is colder, and school is here to stay for the next eight months!
On top of learning new academics and adjusting to a new routine, there is also new social dynamics to be learned within their classes.
While every school is different, you hope for the best that your child does not have to deal with teasing or bullying. The truth is that even if you have effective communication with your child, they may still be hesitant to tell you if another kid is pushing them around. This could be because they’re embarrassed, nervous, or wanting to handle it on their own.
For the safety of your child and every child involved in a bullying situation, it is not something to be handled light-heartedly. While the older generations are known for writing off bullying as “character-building”, a mildly abrasive encounter can eventually lead to a much more serious issue if a child is not punished for acting out against his or her peers.
While of course the goal as a parent is to eventually teach your child to be effective in problem-solving and independent enough to fight their own battles, bullying is an issue because, especially in more severe situations like an event of a physical altercation, an adult is the only force that can step in and put an end to it. If the event transpires on school property, administration most likely gets involved and that can lead to further disciplinary action. The goal is, of course, to never get to that point!
Yes, the effects on a victim of bullying can be long-lasting (emotionally, mentally, and physically), but what can almost be considered more detrimental is a bully that was never effectively disciplined for his or her behavior and then grows into an aggressive and out-of-control adult.
A way to open up the discussion with your child is by telling them a story about your personal experience. There’s a high chance you were bullied, know someone who was – or were a bully yourself! This normalizes what they might be feeling and are more likely to open up about what they’re going through.
If your child is in fact, experiencing issues with bully, here is the recommended advice (in fact, you may wish you had these step-by-step tips when you were a kid!)
- While It’s Happening:
The first thing anyone can do while confronted with a bully is to walk away or remove themselves from the situation. If this is not possible and you are cornered, tell the bully firmly to “stop”. The most important thing a victim to do is to try and keep their emotions calm, even if it’s just on the surface. If you can remain calm on the outside, the bully has nothing to fuel their fire to continue to taunt you. They are spurred on by their subject reacting to their provocations, so being able to control a knee-jerk response can shut them down pretty quickly.
Tell a friend you trust to help process the situation and support you. Friends are great to have even in situations where the confrontation might not have been that severe or stayed in control. Next, tell an adult you trust, even if the altercation did not escalate to threats or physical violence. Even just experiencing being talked down to: “You’re stupid” “you’re so ugly”, name calling, etc. NEEDS to be stopped as this can spar a bully on to bigger and badder endeavors. Talking-down is a step-ladder for which these insecure boys and girls can build aggression for further deeds. It’s important to note that reporting a serious issue is NOT tattling, and a child should be praised for having the courage to speak out in a difficult situation.
- Over time:
Try to avoid areas where you and a potential bully can come into direct contact without adults around. This might be in the hallways, at a bus stop, or on the playground. If you can, have a buddy system where you always have one or more friends around you. Not only are bullies less likely to corner a victim when there’s people around, but if a situation does arise, you will have at least one witness to testify to the event.
It’s also important to have go-to friends or adults you look up to in order to talk out your emotions. Getting your feelings out in the open is therapeutic; just because a conflict is resolved doesn’t mean there are not lingering emotions. If it helps, consider journaling to vent on to paper. Processing the events over in your head can help you recognize next time when a bad situation is stirring. Practicing at home or writing down responses to a bully can also help you remember a good and proactive statements to make in the heat of the moment.
For other ideas, visit the Anti-Defamation League’s page on bullying. Have a great school year!
Here at the Kidds Place, we know that newborns and infants have an enormous amount of needs – the phrase “high maintenance” doesn’t even begin to cover it! It’s no wonder oral health can easily be sidelined during these times; to make way for other health and dietary needs that seem more pressing. It could quite possibly be due to the fact that we typically associate dental care with people who, well – actually have teeth!
You may have heard of dentistry for children, or have read about the importance of children having several visits with a pediatric dentist before all adult teeth erupt and all baby teeth are lost.
In fact, most experts say that all children should see a dentist before their first birthday, or around the time their first tooth erupts – whichever comes sooner. But why?
Here are some parents many questions may be asking themselves –
“Does my one-year-old baby really need to see a dentist? Aren’t pediatric dentists kind of expensive, even with insurance?”
“Why would my child need to see a dentist if they haven’t even started eating solids yet?”
“How bad is it if my child gets a cavity in their baby tooth, if they’re just going to lose the tooth anyway?”
“How much brushing is really necessary, especially if my child only has a couple of teeth?”
Let’s address these plausible objections. First of all, the Kidds Place accepts many forms of insurance and we are delighted to work with families and discuss prices for the types of care your child(ren) may need and the services we provide. Honestly, treatment from a pediatric dentist is going to be better for your child in the long run especially in terms of their experience. They are more likely to feel safe and welcomed at our offices, and our employees are trained to help acclimate our young patients that may be scared or unsure.
Much of what dentistry for children accomplishes is preventative care. This means not just bi-annual cleanings, but teaching proper hygiene and catching decay early, if there is any. When there is decay in baby teeth, there is a chance that the adult teeth that replace it can have issues as well. Oral health and the functions in rest of the body are directly correlated.
For infants especially, it is highly possible for childhood caries to emerge; also known as Baby Bottle Syndrome. This more or less is a cavity caused by habitually leaving a bottle in a child’s mouth for too long or the repeat use of a pacifier dipped in a sugary substance like juice. Oftentimes when a child falls asleep with a bottle in their mouth repeatedly (and they already have one or more teeth), plaque from sugar in juice or formula can begin to accumulate on the teeth. Baby Bottle syndrome commonly affects the front top teeth, as this is where the bottle or pacifier sits.
Even when a child is first born, wiping in the inside of their mouths gently with a clean washcloth can help eliminate bacteria. As soon as the first tooth erupts, start brushing that tooth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that is safe for infants. Practice doing this daily until the child is able to do it themselves.
The mouth is full of germs, and from the time teeth are present and onward, decay can occur. If decay occurs and goes untreated, this can result in pain and infection. When one or several baby teeth are rotten, this can affect the growth of the adult tooth indefinitely, even if it is removed early. This is because the
spaces created by baby teeth create a sort of pathway for adult teeth to grow into. Primary teeth merely act as a placeholder for adult teeth, and are of course necessary for speaking, eating, and smiling. When baby teeth are removed prematurely, adult teeth of course will still grow in, but oftentimes they are not as straight and it can sometimes be a longer and painful process than usual.
If your child has teeth and has not yet seen a dentist, don’t panic! We’re here to help. The first appointment is mostly to educate parents and to inform them of their child’s development and needs. Preventative dental care is very important and can help eliminate so many problems down the line that have the potential to be not just painful for your child, but also expensive and time-consuming. Give us a call and we would be thrilled to help you and your family begin healthy, long-lasting smiles for your kids!
Jitters. Anxiousness. Butterflies.
Whatever you or your child calls it, going back to school after a long summer can be scary. Being in a season where kids are not around their peers 25-30 hours a week and then having to go back can seem daunting, especially when they’ll have a new teacher, new curriculum, and possibly brand new peers as well.
Most of worries children experience are totally unrelated to ours. Kids have their own stress; their own ways they feel unprepared or inadequate – whether that be in academics, the social structures amongst students, or even just learning how to balance a schedule again.
Your child may not fit into this category – some relish the back-to-school shopping, new notebooks and pencils. Others can seem indifferent. But many children can appear frightened or even resistant to the first week of September. This does not necessarily mean that they will struggle as a student – in fact, many of the ones that are anxious are actually that way because they have a desire to perform well but are worried they will fall short.
“What if I don’t know the answer when a teacher calls on me?”
“Who will I sit next to?”
“What if I get lost and can’t find my classroom?”
Whatever the woes may be, here are some ideas on how to prepare your child for school and ease their anxiety.
Kids may not know how to articulate this, but structure, consistency, and predictability are huge during child development. Not knowing what to expect at school or having way too much variety can detract from a child’s learning and peace of mind because they are constantly working to adapt.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start implementing small elements of structure and consistency into the regular everyday before school starts. This could look like, but isn’t limited to:
– Eating breakfast every day (even if it is not at the same time)
– Going to bed around the same time (notice we say “around” – it is more difficult in the summer for sure!)
– Setting an alarm clock in the morning a few minutes earlier every day until it is back up to school time
– Having (or helping!) your child pick out their clothes every night before bed so they know what they’ll wear the next day
Talking it Out
Encourage your child to talk through their fears and mention specifically what might be bothering them. Tell them it’s normal to have concerns and it’s okay to be scared. Sometimes they may not want to admit this in front of other people, so maybe seeking a private place to have these discussions might help your child open up if they are having difficulty doing so.
Make Plans and To-Do Lists
When your child voices their fears, it is easy for adults who have been there to say, “You’ll be fine!” or “There’s absolutely nothing to worry about!” Validating your child’s concerns is very important, not only because it shows you care but that you can relate to some degree. Ask questions for clarification and to show you’re listening.
Then, help them come up with ideas of a game plan for any specific hypothetical predicament that worries them. This can stand as an excellent teachable moment both in critical thinking and problem-solving.
For example, if one issue is about finding the bus, practice walking to the bus stop together or finding out what number the bus will be.
If one of their fears is about forgetting their lunch in the before school, create a morning checklist of things they must do before leaving the house.
These ideas and more can help your child feel more prepared for school and every aspect it entails. For more information or more ideas in helping your child, go to www.anxietybc.com
“How young is too young to start flossing?”
“How long can I go without flossing?”
“How long has it been since I last flossed?”
“How can I trust my child to floss regularly without them hacking into their gums?”
The truth is, whether your child is under a year or in their preteens, dental health and questions about oral care can often sit on the back burner. These are questions you may not find yourself asking because physical health and mental growth can seem so much more pressing.
What most of us do not realize is that our dental health actually has a significant impact on our overall health. A truly healthy body does not coexist with a mouth that is decayed and infected.
So what’s the big deal about flossing?
Regardless of age, flossing is incredibly important because it cleans areas of your teeth a traditional toothbrush does not. The crevices between our teeth can store the most bacteria out of anywhere else in our mouth and can cause gum sensitivity and infection. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry says that flossing is the most important weapon against plaque.
Did you know that if you never floss, you’re only cleaning two thirds of your teeth? Imagine going months or even years only cleaning certain parts of your body. Everybody would really start to notice after a while!
You (or your kids) may retort: “I don’t have time to floss every single day.” That’s okay! While once daily is of course a good idea, dentists everywhere would agree that flossing as little as twice a week is better than not doing it at all.
Toddlers especially do not need to worry about flossing until their teeth begin to touch. When this happens, teach them how to hold the floss (between both hands, wrapped around their pointer and middle finger), and go in between the teeth gently. Once there, be sure to go over the edges of the teeth where it arches into the gums. You may have to do this until your child has developed the strength in their hands to do it on their own.
– To prevent bleeding, be sure to floss regularly and not cram floss through the teeth quickly, especially if it tends to get stuck. If waxed floss seems too thick, instead use dental tape. It is smoother and thinner.
– Unwaxed floss is rougher and will squeak when the tooth is cleaned. It may be more challenging for kids.
– Pre-measured, disposable flossers are great for a once-over but do not work well for people with bridgework.
– Waterpicks are not an alternative to flossing as they simply loosen debris (which is why they are excellent for individuals with braces, dentures, and those recovering from wisdom teeth removal).
Gingivitis is a condition that develops when gums do not have proper exposure to a proper cleaning. If you or your child flosses rarely or not at all, gums will become sensitive, bleed, and can even develop infections. While gingivitis is fairly common and can be cured very easily (flossing more), if action is not taken, eventually it can spiral into periodontitis, or gum disease; which is the root of many heart and lung conditions that can actually be fatal. It may take years of neglect to get to this point, it is still something to be aware of — and it says a LOT of how important cleaning in those hard-to-reach places can actually be!
Come one, come all! Beck’s Harvest is teaming up with The Kidds Place, Dentistry for Children to improve smiles!
Did you know that tooth decay is the most common childhood disease? When kids learn to choose healthy sweet treats (fruits!) over soda and candy, it gives their mouth a fighting chance. Kids who take good care of their mouth and bodies should be rewarded – these are life-long skills that will ultimately improve their development into adults.
That’s why Beck’s Harvest from Green Bluff is offering a pound of fruit at NO charge to every child that is cavity-free at their next appointment! To schedule your child’s next cleaning, call us at 509-252-4746. Don’t delay!
Do you have a child under the age of twelve months?
Dental experts say that a child should have their first dental appointment by the time they receive their first tooth or before their first birthday; whichever comes sooner.
You may ask yourself, where should I take them? Will my current primary dentist be a good fit for someone so young?
While there is nothing wrong necessarily with your child seeing your dentist, pediatric dentists come highly recommended. Not only because they are geared more towards a child’s needs but also because they complete two or more years of schooling than a standard practitioner for adults.
Pediatric dentists know not only the inner and outer complexities of a growing mouth, but are also equipped to balance the challenges that come with having an inexperienced and possibly terrified human sitting in their chair.
Despite a pediatric dentist’s trained expertise, children can often be traumatized by the initial experience if they are not used to their mouth being touched, or if their first visit requires treatment that might cause pain. This first visit can set the tone for the rest of their life as to oral care and how they view their bi-annual visits.
To avoid both prospects, we’ve compiled a list of ideas for you as a parent to prepare your child to be dentist ready.
Having someone else touch the inside of your mouth can feel very invasive if you’ve never experienced it before. To eliminate the nervousness and uncertainty of this sensation, have a “pretend visit” with your child. Lay them down on the couch or recline in a chair and ask them to open wide. Take the opposite end of a toothbrush and use it to count and touch each tooth. This is helpful especially if your child has missed the one year mark and is a little older – then they are able to understand what is going on.
There are also ways your dentist can help normalize the first experience. One idea is letting your child stand over you while the dentist pokes around in your mouth for a few minutes – this shows them there is no pain and there is nothing to fear. Another idea is having your child sit on your lap or lay on their back on you if they need additional comfort during the check-up or procedure.
Until this first dental visit rolls around on your calendar, there are plenty of just standard care practices at that will not only reduce the chances of early decay but get your child comfortable with their mouth. Here’s the list from Parents Magazine:
1. Stop sucking habits as early as possible.
2. Choose a soft and kid-friendly brushUse only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Too much or too little can be damaging in the long-term.
3. If your child is under 8, help them brush after breakfast and before dinner each day. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says children do not have the full and proper dexterity to brush their own teeth until age 8.
4. Avoid too much sugary drinks and snacks.
These steps and more can make sure your child is dentist-ready, and prepare them for a lifetime of oral health. If you have any further questions, you can always call our office at: 509-252-4746
Fruits and vegetables some of the most important, yet overlooked food groups in an everyday diet. Both help a child grow up strong and both reduce the chances of disease and illness significantly. They can also strengthen a child’s teeth as well, and many fruits can be a healthy alternative to cavity-causing sweets.
Sadly, most of us know we are not consistently eating the recommended amount of these food groups – that goes for both children and adults. An Australian study found the deficit to be as high as 56-80% in kids.
The commonality is often due to lack of finances (fresh fruit and vegetables can get pricey, depending on where you shop), and their shelf-life is not as long as most other tempting snack food that can be loaded with sugar, carbohydrates, and preservatives. Both of these aspects can be difficult especially with bigger families.
Another hurdle is the possibility of placing this many servings in front of your children in the first place. Many children tend to be picky eaters, or at least timid about certain foods. Instead of fighting them, television commercials and other marketing ploys are constantly bombarding us to buy the latest fruit juice or packaged veggie snacks, claiming it is the best thing for our children.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with these products (and sometimes they can seem a quick and easy solution), the reality is that nothing is ever going to beat out or replace the healthy benefits of good old-fashioned fruits and vegetables that are not manipulated to taste or seem better. Sometimes, persisting for your child to finish his or her last few celery sticks can make all the difference, and can bring you steps closer to implementing more and more nutrients in their diet.
So what are the recommended servings? Variables include not just age, but gender and how much physical activity each child is getting. Younger children actually don’t need nearly as many as growing preteens.
Up until age three, toddlers only need 0.5-1 serving of fruit, and up to just 2.5 servings of veggies. Between ages four to eight, the number goes up to 1.5-4.5 servings of fruits and vegetables, respectively. After age nine, it is 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of veggies.
If your child is an athlete and is more active, it is wisest to be on the higher end of these averages because they are burning more calories. Statistically, because boys tend to have a slightly faster metabolism than girls, they sometimes require more.
Here are some tips for you and your children to consume more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables each day:
- If your child is a juice addict, replace at least one meal a day with water instead. This way, instead of drinking juice they can still get the fruit fix via a handful of blueberries or apple slices.
- Produce prices getting you down? Save your pennies for the weekly or bi-weekly farmer’s market in your town. Sometimes you can get more for your buck and negotiate a bargain with the seller. It’s also usually fresher and better for you.
- Keep a bowl of fresh fruit in sight, either on the countertop or kitchen table.
- Fruit dehydrators are an amazing investment. Making your own fruit leather is not only yummy, it can help save over-ripe fruit from going bad and is cheaper than buying fruit snacks.
- In the summertime, cool off by blending fresh fruit and freezing it in a mold as a popsicle. Add raw honey if extra sweetness is desired.
- Have a container of diced fruit in the refrigerator as a go-to snack.
- Buy a ‘kid-friendly’ paring knife (usually has dull serrated edges and will only cut food, not fingers) and have your child chop veggies for dinner or lunch at least once a week. Not only can it help them develop an interest in cooking, but they are more likely to be more enthusiastic about eating a meal they helped prepare.
- If you’re at the grocery store and feel like your cart might not have enough fruits and veggies, take a bag of chips or an item that is nonessential and replace it with fruit instead. Think about it – yes, a carton of raspberries can sometimes cost up to 4 dollars. But so can a box of soda cans. These little exchanges can make all the difference.
Source: Healthy Kids NSW
Being a kid in the summer time can be so fun and carefree! Days at the beach, family vacations, and BBQs, oh my!
No school, usually no extra-curricular activities, and unless your children are older than 15, probably no job responsibilities either.
Summer can be bittersweet for parents; it can be seen as a time of year filled with opportunity, projects, and activities, but also frustration on those down-days because kids of not being in school. It can therefore be easy for the kids to just kick back and do nothing. Or nothing enriching, anyway.
You then decide (at least with the younger ones) to come up with ideas to keep them occupied – but at the same time, fighting the urge to not just place them in front of screens or assigning a list of chores so you can maybe get a little peace!
Don’t get us wrong; kids growing up learning how to do chores is definitely important, and can really be refined during the summer months. But what are some fun ways to make the days and weeks go by faster? What are some fun things to do as a family that don’t cost a fortune (or involve more screens)?
We’ve assembled a small list of ideas to get the ball rolling. Summer can be fun and cheap, too! It can also bring the family closer together on the days where everyone otherwise would be off doing their own thing.
(*Please note all crafts are taken from various sources and their images belong to the authors)
1. Hot Car Crayons
(Image and article via Come Together Kids)
Depending on where you live, there are just some days where it can seem WAY too hot to play outside! When that happens, here is a fun activity where using the heat can work to your advantage!
All you need is Crayola crayons, a silicone mold, a cookie sheet, and a car sitting out in the sun! Click to read more.
2. Make Homemade Ice Cream
(Image and article via Entertain Kids On A Dime)
Fun and easy! Maybe you’ve attempted this before, but it’s only a few ingredients and everyone in the family can participate. You will need two large freezer bags, sugar, vanilla, half and half, ice, and able hands. Click to read more.
(Image and article via Alpha Mom)
So fun; you can even recycle old shirts you have laying around the house! This one also involves crayons, too. All you need after that is sandpaper and an iron. Click to read more.
4. Kool-Aid Play-Dough
(via Rachel Talbott)
(image via Kraft Recipes)
Most people would have most of the ingredients used to make this non-toxic and even edible play-dough! All you need is flour, salt water, olive oil, and Kool-aid. Great for young kids to play with; more fun for older kids to make! Click to watch (6:06).
Water Bottle Tornado
(image via Steve Spangler Science)
All you need is two empty 2-liter bottles – and if you can find it, a tornado tube. The coolest part is that you can get a little creative with this; instead of using just water for the tornado, you can have your child add food coloring or glitter! Click to watch (2:50).
The typical American childhood can have an element of magic and wonder when the trifecta of all mystical characters come to call: Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
Can you remember when you were a child, anxiously waiting for Santa Claus? It seems that good old Saint Nick has a whole subculture of the Christmas season dedicated to him; with movies, songs, and rituals based around his appearance in every home on Christmas Eve.
Then there’s the Easter Bunny. Although not as prominent, children can get their picture taken with the rabbit in certain malls and shops, similar to Santa. Many parents put together an Easter basket for their children which frequently include references to the Easter Bunny (bunny-shaped candies, eggs, etc). Both characters have also been branded by Coca-Cola, Cadbury, and other national corporations. Yet the Tooth Fairy is a very unique legend, as she only comes into conversation around the years children are losing teeth, and baby teeth can fall out at any time during the year.
A Little History
It is very interesting how widespread this tradition is; the concept is actually centuries old and all over the world. It’s probably because most cultures view the loss of baby teeth as a coming of age or a rite of passage. Not only that, but losing teeth can be such a new and sometimes painful experience for kids. The idea of a Tooth Fairy (or a Tooth Mouse, if you’re in Europe) helps to normalize the new experience and helps it be not as scary.
The act of saving children’s teeth can be dated as far back as medieval Europe. In the 17th century, not a fairy, but a mouse, was used as a character in France called Le Petite Souris (The Little Mouse), which would pay a child when its 6th tooth fell out. Some cultures have also used beavers, squirrels, and even cats and dogs for the ritual. Then there’s early Norse tradition, in which there was instead a “tooth fee” that was paid to a parent when their child lost their first tooth.
In Modern America
While the Tooth Mouse or other practices have been common for centuries, the idea of a Tooth Fairy was actually coined during a radio broadcast in the 1970s in Chicago by a DJ. After that, the American Dental Association was hounded by listeners with call after call about the so-called mythological character, and had several inquiries about her backstory.
Now, while the tradition of placing a tooth under your pillow was already a common practice in the United States (as well as even leaving notes for her), it was after this point that the popularity of the Tooth Fairy skyrocketed and became its own entity and gained a cultural following – with the help of an unlikely individual.
Rosemary Wells, a now-famous children’s author, was a college professor at the time this broadcast occurred. She was baffled by the response, so she took on an extensive project that included lots of research and writing magazine articles about the aforementioned history of how saving children’s teeth to be retrieved by a small creature came into existence. She surveyed parents about their rituals and published her findings. Wells became known as the Tooth Fairy Consultant, and ten years later opened up a museum out of her home in Illinois dedicated to the sprite.
Today, the Tooth Fairy is a well-known American tradition, with films, songs, and television shows branding her as a true icon for children going through a normal and inevitable change. Kids can react to this change a number of different ways; with fear of pain or loss, being grossed out, or even self-consciousness of having holes in their smile. Thankfully, the Tooth Fairy is there to add some excitement and incentive to wiggling those loose teeth! Reports say that on average, the Tooth Fairy pays up up to $3.70 a tooth, so teach your kiddos to save up!
Child obesity is an expanding epidemic. Less than a year ago, the American Heart Association reported that one in three children and teens in the United States are obese. While these statistics can be attributed to a number of different things, many causes of obesity can also directly correlate with dental health as well.
Of course, diet is the primary factor of weight gain, weight control, and overall health. Today in 2017, our understanding of nutrition is better than it ever has been. More and more, individuals are educating themselves about the molecular structure of food and how it affects different areas of our body.
When you eat better, you feel better. When one desires being healthy over looking thin, it can have exponentially better and longer-lasting results; both mentally and physically. Our children are no different. In fact, children need to consume certain fatty foods as a part of their development; and rarely should a focus for a child be to “lose weight” unless there is a significant obesity problem. Most importantly, the eating habits they establish today will set the tone for their adult eating lifestyle as well.
However, it’s not just WHAT you eat; but how much, and when. Recent studies have been uncovering the issues behind nighttime eating, and found that it not only disrupts our eating cycle and cortisol levels (a hormone that regulates metabolism, digestion, and hunger) but can also be directly correlated to cavities and tooth decay.
In order to be clinically considered a nocturnal eater, it means you have to consume a fourth or more of your daily calories after the evening meal. For many, this looks like a large dessert or late dinner after having eating something earlier in the evening (like a small supper), plus, waking up at night to have another snack. A fourth may seem like a lot, but if these foods are higher in calories, it’s not very difficult to do. The reason why this can lead to weight gain is simple: when your body is sleeping, it burns significantly fewer calories than when awake. If you sleep on a fourth of your food instead of using it for energy, it is stored as fat.
Raiding the fridge and the pantry late at night are actually more common than you think, and can be alarmingly rampant in teenagers, especially those who stay up late regularly playing video games or other activities that can be accompanied by “vegging out” and snacking. If these habits continue past adolescence, the data doesn’t look good. Not only does nighttime snacking disrupt the biological clock, but it can also affect oral health as well. A Danish study took a collective of adults ages 30-60 that identified as midnight snackers and tested them twice over the course of six years. What they found was that those who ate late at night lost more teeth, despite medical or genetic background – even those who smoked did not alter this factor.
What the research suggested was that because we produce less saliva at night, midnight snackers have the disadvantage of not being able to rinse away bits of food in their mouth very well. This can be especially true if one goes to bed immediately after eating and does not take the time to brush their teeth. Chips, candy, and other carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, and after sitting in a dry mouth for several hours can turn to plaque. Plaque can turn to decay if not properly removed.
If your child struggles with hunger late at night, instead of opting for a snack high in carbs and sugar, offer a handful of baby carrots or an apple with peanut butter. If the need to snack persists, try eating dinner a little later or having a healthy snack an hour or so after dinner. Working together, you both can break the cycle and ease bad habits into healthier ones!