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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

  This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

RECHARGE Makes It Easier to Manage MOOD

Those mornings that you wake up "on the wrong side of the bed" are likely caused from not getting enough sleep the night before. In a study, people who were deprived of sleep for one week became stressed, sad, angry, and mentally exhausted. Another study found that missing just one night of sleep can have an effect on your mood and ability to think clearly. Researchers have also found that people who suffer from chronic insomnia are more likely to develop anxiety and depression. So when it comes to your kids, you'll be helping their emotional and mental health by helping them set and practice healthy sleep habits early on.

Kids who don't learn how to RECHARGE also have a harder time dealing with their emotions. Children don't automatically know what to do in response to their emotions. That's why you see kids cry or scream when they are frustrated because they want something, instead of just asking for it.

It's up to adults to help children learn both how to recognize when they are upset and how to calm themselves down so they can relax. Because every kid is different, you need to find an approach that matches your child's temperament. "Some children are very tactile, so they need to feel something to relax -- maybe it's squeezing Play-Doh, or maybe it's touching a soft blanket," Rose-Kayser says. Older children may simply need to be left alone. "If you have an 8-year-old, for instance, she might just need to hang out in her room for a little while," says Rose-Kayser. Other children need to be active when they're upset to blow off some steam. Rose-Kayser recommends having kids like this throw rolled-up socks into a clothes basket to help ease stress and anxiety.

How to Make Recharging a Priority

When we don't RECHARGE, we are less likely to make healthy choices. "We get in the craziness and busyness of life and don't slow down to think, rest, or sleep,” says Rose-Kayser.  “Then it's easy to decrease activity." That can be the start of a vicious cycle. When you don't take time to move your body, your stress and anxiety worsen. That, in turn, can make you sleep less deeply. Similarly, when you're busy and tired, you're more susceptible to the temptation "to turn to foods that we can get quickly from a package even though they aren't that healthy," she says. And "if children don't get enough rest, they can have behavioral issues, so we need to have that bedtime routine as a family."

Yes, that means parents, too. "Kids watch our every move," Rose-Kayser says. So insisting that kids get enough sleep while we burn the candle at both ends probably won't work.

 

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