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Helping Children (and Families)
to Have a Better Night's Sleep

Swanling® Blog and News

  • The Slumber Swans - loved by all ages.

    "So I have to tell you when I got home from the ABC Expo it was late (10pm EST), my husband and I walked in and my kids were spread all around my dad sleeping. The next morning when they woke up they were so excited to see me (which melts my heart still) and immediately said "what did you get me!" - Of course! I pulled out the big Swan for my 11 year old daughter and she was so excited to see it, she squeezed it and said mommy this is so soft I'm calling her Swanie. I showed her where she can stash things inside her and she was thrilled! Then I gave my 2 year old son the baby swan and he was just as excited and immediately put the swan's beak in his mouth - such a boy!! But then my 7 year old son said "where's my swan" I was stumped because I didn't think he wanted one - thankfully I had other things from the expo to give him so he was fine. Phew - dodged that bullet.

    Just wanted to tell you that they are still sleeping with their swans and love them. Especially my 11 year old daughter who still sleeps with her lovey from when she was a baby! Now Swanie has joined her beloved "Sally" doll. :)

    Thanks for being such amazing people!"

    Michelle L.
    Co-founder of Favored By

  • Ali Landry still loves her Slumber Sleeper!

    Ali Landry tells us how important the Slumber Sleeper is to her family. With two kids now using Slumber Sleepers she is sure it has changed her life!

  • Soft to the Touch

    It has long been understood that humans are tactile beings. Children in particular use their sense of touch as their very first way of finding out about the world. For the majority of babies it is through touch that they learn to sooth themselves. They are drawn to the softest, silkiest textures rubbing them between their fingers or against their faces finding comfort there.

    This is why children often latch on to a "lovie" when transitioned to sleeping in their crib or a new environment. It is something familiar and comforting, helping them feel safe and settled. Recently there have been growing concerns regarding children having stuffed animals or blankets in the crib with them for fear of accidental suffocation. Swanling Innovations created a solution for parents of children who really need their "lovie" to sleep at night. The Slumber Sleeper™ is made with the snap-in-place system, allowing the Slumber Swan or Slumber Silkie to be safely snapped at the wait of the child, so their "lovie" is always with in hands reach but always kept away from their face, and conveniently IN the crib.

    Waking up frequently with children during the night causes for a cranky household in the morning. Zero to little sleep across the board is not the way we want to start our day.
    Using the Swanling snap-in place system can help keep children safely sleeping through the night, changing sleepless nights into restful mornings.

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  • Our ABC Kids Expo Favorites

    Going to the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas, we saw tons of new products that are on the market and will be appearing soon in your local stores. However, thanks to the internet, you can purchase them now.

    1. Vtech Monitors

    Vtech Kids collection has monitors that keeps parents from worrying about their children while they are sleeping.

    2. Pebble Accessories and Toys

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    Pebble products are made in Bangladesh to help support their economy and lives of others. Their products are gorgeous vibrant and best of all machine washable (even on the toys!).

    3. Mimo

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    Mimo has developed the SMART Nursery. It's a wireless device that attaches onto their specific onesie, which allows parents to track whether or not their child is asleep or awake, tracks breathing, body temperature, and also body position.

    4. Tottigo

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    It's a Pack 'n Potty that makes taking potty training easy when you are traveling or just going out to dinner.

    5. Baby Powder Wipes

    The guys behind Quantuminds have developed baby powder wipes that are talcum and gluten free that will not make you or your child cough. Easy to take on the go.

    6. Smart Bottoms

    Smart bottoms has cute reusable diapers. Check them out.

    Keep your eyes out for all of these products and let us know what you think.

  • Ali Landry and the Favored By team give Swanling a Thumbs Up!

    This week the Swanling team had a blast at the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. We are showcasing the Slumber Sleeper™ and Slumber Swaddle.

    The Favored.By team, including Ali Landry, stopped by and shared the love that they have for the Slumber Sleeper with us.

     

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  • Back To School for the Whole Family.

    It's back to school for many children, which means summer is over. Bedtimes are back in full force and schedules begin to play an even more important role.

    Here are our tips to make the back to school blues an easy transition for the entire family, especially when you have a range of ages amongst your children from newborn to teenagers.

    1. Begin to set a schedule
    With activities and clubs back on, the more structure that is present for children and adults the better. We know what it is like juggling soccer practice, tennis lessons, play dates, and having everyone around the table for dinner. Some days it seems impossible but with a schedule everyone knows where they need to be and at what time.

    2. Eat Breakfast
    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and gets your brain functioning properly. Babies and children will be cranky if this meal goes to the wayside.

    Here are our favorite on-the-go breakfasts.


    3. Make bedtime enjoyable

    Bath time, bedtime stories, music, time to relax helps get your child calmed down from all of the day's activities. The more wound up a child is, the harder it will be to fall asleep.

    4. Play
    Spending time together as a family can make all the difference in life. Create memories that last. Busy schedules and everyone running in 50 different directions makes it important for us all to take at least a few minutes and just all play disconnected from our iPhones and electronics.

    5. Set a learning environment
    Environment is key for learning. Make it fun and exciting with all of your children whether they are 3 months or 13 years old. Hands-on activities let your imagination play and allows your brain to remember concepts in a new way.

    6. Live
    Life can be hectic, and we are all not perfect, but when you put forth a valid effort, it pays off in the end. Just know that we all have been there and you are doing a great job at parenting.

  • The Essential 101 Guide to the Slumber Sleeper™

    We help families have a complete restful night of sleep and wake up feeling like a new person when their children use the Slumber Sleeper™. It's no longer sleepless nights wondering "how in the world will they make it at work tomorrow." but sleep becomes something that both the children and adults look forward to.

    We created the Slumber Sleeper™ as a way for our children to sleep comfortably, safely, and securely at night so we as parents would not be completely worried when we slept thinking about the "what if's."

    Take a look at the latest behind the scenes with the founders of Swanling, Jan Marco and Joanna von Yurt.

    Also, you can find more information answering all of your questions about the Slumber Sleeper™ here, and if yours is missing, feel free to contact us.

  • Labor Day Barbecue Meal Ideas

    Labor Day weekend is here and that means barbecues, picnics, family, friends as we gather for the end of summer celebrations.

    For parents, we see an extra day off of work to "relax" and enjoy with our families. We know how busy it can be visiting all of the family and having people over; so we decided to help you out with some barbecue meal ideas for the weekend. This way you can check one thing off of your list easily.

    Appetizers and sides

    Caprese Salad

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    Chips and Homemade Salsa

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    Pesto Zucchini Pasta

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    Entrees

    Peach Barbecue Short Ribs

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    Italian BLT Grilled Cheese

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    Desserts

    Blueberry Cheesecake Galette

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    Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

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    Giant Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Nut and Gluten Free)

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  • 10 Coconut Oil Benefits for Mom and Children (and Dad too)

    Coconut oil is the latest craze on the market today. With the benefits and chemical properties of coconut oil, there is no doubt about this oil being at the top of the list. It has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It's an oil that you can use from cooking to a moisturizer.

    Here's some top ways to help your children and can also help mom and dad too.

    1. Massage

    Forget about other lotions and oil, put a little bit of coconut oil (We love Nutiva unrefined coconut oil) on your finger tips and start giving your little one a massage that moisturizes their skin as well.

    2. Speed Healing of Cuts and Sunburns

    If your child spent too much time in the sun and is starting to get a sunburn or even has a cut, the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make coconut oil at the top of the treatment list. Mix with a few drops of lavender essential oil and rub directly onto the burn or cut. It will heal in a fraction of the time, and your skin will not peel.

    3. Hair

    Use directly onto scalp and at the ends of hair as a conditioner. It will tame unruly hair, moisturize, and can get rid of infant's cradle cap.

    4. Increases Breast Milk in Breastfeeding Mothers

    If you are a breastfeeding mother, your milk supply is key to your child receiving all of it's nutrients and minerals. With the large amount of saturated healthy fats, it keeps your hormones optimal, which in turn keeps you producing the right amount of breast milk.

    5. Diaper Rash

    Instead of over the counter creams try coconut oil. Use a small amount and rub directly onto skin. Watch the rash disappear in a fraction of the time.

    6. Eczema

    Is your child battling dry, itchy skin that tends to breakout easily? Use coconut oil as a moisturizer and watch the skin clear up. Also works well for acne for both children and adults.

    7. Bug Bites

    It's still summertime and the bugs are out in full force. If your child is constantly scratching and itchy from bites, use a little bit of coconut oil on the skin as it relieves itchiness.

    8. Nursing Nipples

    Many mothers experience cracked, dry nipples while nursing their child. Instead of using lanolin many mothers are keeping a jar of coconut oil handy to use instead.

    9. Help Speeds Up Metabolism and Weight Loss

    Coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). It is a healthy fat. When consumed, it goes directly to the liver and increases metabolism. This in turn leads to weight loss. Start adding a few tablespoons a day of coconut oil into your coffee or your favorite dishes to speed up weight loss.

    10. Body Scrub

    Mix equal parts coconut oil and sugar together for an instant skin exfoliator and moisturizer. Use in the bath or shower and have amazingly soft skin.

    Pick up your jar of coconut oil today at your local grocery store and start seeing the difference in your life.

  • Back to School Sleep Tips from Guest Blogger Dana Obleman.

    During summer months, we have a way of letting bedtimes sneak later and later. It has much to do with the fact that the daylight hours are longer, thus interfering with the release of Melatonin (our ‘sleepy hormone’).  That, and the fact that we feel the need to get out there and enjoy every bit of the warm weather and sunshine we possibly can. We all find ourselves up later than usual, and this can spell trouble when September rolls around.

    As the summer comes to an end you look back fondly at all the trips to the beach, the back yard barbecues, and the after dinner walks to the ice cream store but you also realize that with summer’s end comes the need to get your children back on some sort of a sleep schedule.

    So what should you do?

    • First, don’t wait until the night before school starts to try to lay down the new/old law and have everybody in bed by 8:00. The excitement of a new school year, along with a couple of months of late bedtimes will make this a difficult place to start.
    • At least two weeks before school starts, you should slowly start moving bedtime back to an appropriate time. If your child has been going to bed somewhere around 8:30-9:00pm for the past couple months, start by bringing bedtime earlier by 15 minutes every 4 nights. This way, by the time school begins, your child’s body has adjusted to going to bed at an earlier time.
    • I suggest that pre-school and school aged children through to adolescents, should be going to bed between 7:00 and 8:00 pm.  If you constantly need to wake your child in the morning, then he/she is going to bed too late. Putting your child to bed at the same time every night will teach their bodies to sleep the needed amount of night time hours, so they can wake feeling naturally refreshed.  No need for alarm clocks if you child is going to bed early enough!
    • Get the kids involved!  This can include toddlers, and all the way up to teens.  For the little ones make a chart of the bedtime routine and go over it with them before bedtime. Some good examples of bedtime routine activities include: a bath, getting pyjamas on, a glass of warm milk or a light snack (nothing sugary or caffeinated), stories, happy thoughts about their day and so on. The purpose of the routine is to act as a system of cues for your child’s body and brain; it lets them know that the time for sleep is near. It should be in the same order every night and move in a step-by-step fashion.  For young children, offering a sticker or a happy face beside each step of the routine (on the chart) can keep it moving in a efficient and positive way.
    • Setting a timer can be a fun, and effective way to keep the bedtime routine on track. You can make it a goal to get everyone ready and in bed by the time the timer goes off.  That way it’s not really YOUR fault that they have to get ready for bed, it’s the timer’s decision! If they co-operate you can include a small reward at the end, such as a sticker, or a collection of stickers that add up to a bigger reward. A good length for a bedtime routine is about half an hour to 45 minutes.
    • Watching TV or playing video games right before bed has been linked to an increase in the amount of time it takes children to fall asleep, so those activities should be stopped at least an hour before bedtime.

    One last tip: make sure your child’s room is dark enough at bedtime. This will help with the transition both at night and in the morning. The early rising sun can provoke all of us to wake too early so purchase some black out blinds or hang a blanket over windows to help keep out the sun.

    If you would like some printable bedtime routine charts or other “kid friendly” facts about sleep, check out www.sleepforkids.org

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    About Dana Obleman

    Sleep Sense Founder Dana Obleman

    Dana launched her successful private practice in 2003, and since then has helped over 30,000 of parents solve their children’s sleep problems.   She is the creator of “The Sleep Sense Program,” www.sleepsense.net, a best-selling “do-it-yourself” guide for sleep deprived parents.

    Dana has made numerous television appearances, has been featured in national and local newspapers, spoken at multiple parenting trade shows and baby conventions.  She was also invited to lecture on solving infant and toddler sleep problems to Family Physicians, through the University of British Columbia.

    In addition, to a BA in Psychology, Dana also holds a degree in Elementary Education from King’s University (1999), and is a professional member of the National Sleep Foundation.

  • 40 Activities for Family Time Tonight

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    Some days it can be difficult to find activities that the entire family will enjoy. When one child wants to play a certain sport and the other wants to play dress up, what do you do as a parent when it's time for family time?

    No matter what the age from infants to teenagers there is something on this list that you can choose for family time in your house and adapt for your child's age.

    1. Family dance party 
    2. Game of pitch and catch
    3. Cooking together
    4. Sidewalk chalk
    5. Story time
    6. Create your own story (One that everyone gets to add to the story)
    7. Walk outside
    8. Bike ride
    9. Movie night
    10. Obstacle course
    11. Paint outdoors
    12. Magic sand
    13. Make art out of molding clay
    14. Finger painting or Painting on canvas for older children
    15. Pictures in the clouds
    16. Hopscotch
    17. Freeze tag
    18. Hide and seek
    19. Simon says
    20. Dodge ball
    21. Shadow puppets
    22. Play H-O-R-S-E
    23. Build a fort
    24. Fly a kite
    25. Play a game of cards (Go Fish, Rummy, etc)
    26. Family game night
    27. Dress up
    28. Go for a hike
    29. Bake in the kitchen together
    30. Blow bubbles
    31. Tic tac toe
    32. Chess or Checkers
    33. Crosswords or Seek and Find
    34. Play charades
    35. Tell jokes
    36. Camp indoors or in the backyard
    37. Outdoor sports (basketball, swimming, baseball, tennis, golf, etc.)
    38. Pictionary
    39. Gardening and watering the plants
    40. Play restaurant or office
  • 10 Adorable DIY Nursery Ideas

    Nursery decor for your baby's room and wish list of parents make you think creative, adorable, and "I must have it." Faced with too little space or wanting pure comfort in a peaceful, calming room that you and your child will love and ultimately sleep in, design elements are key.

    Here are some adorable DIY (do-it-yourself) ideas that make the top of our list.

    1. "Oliver" Name Stack

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    We always see a child's name on the wall, but why not bring it to life in 3-D. Take the cardboard letters and stack on top of one another and attach with mod podge or another strong adhesive glue.

    2.  Armoire Baby Central

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    Need a place to store everything and also have a changing table included. Take an armoire and rearrange the shelving to create a baby closet and changing table in your nursery.

    3. Glitter Walls

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    Want to add a little sparkle into your room? According to HGTV, add glitter to glue and then paint even coats onto the wall. The glue dries clear, and the walls sparkle.

    4. Ottoman 

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    An ottoman for those late nights may be all that your tired feet need.

    5. Lantern Globe

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    Create a lovely lantern to open up small spaces and bring light into your child's room.

    6. Design Inspired Mobile

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    Shapes and colors stimulate the mind. Why not bring that into an easy to make mobile?

    7. Book Sling

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    Save on space and make this sling to store books and magazines.

    8. Wall Art

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    Take your favorite quotes and create the perfect display in the nursery. Easy to do and looks amazing.

    9. Lamp

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    Take a designer inspiration and create your own lamp in these easy to do steps.

    10. Plaid Accent Wall

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    Bring your favorite plaid patterns from Burberry and more to life in the room with this tutorial.

  • Twenty Photos We Liked from Your Instagram Streams

    We love seeing creativity and art in play. From travel to adventures to your little fashionista, there is always something new and adorable.

    Here are a few of our most recent Instagram likes.

    1. Aidennicholas

    This little kid is going to be the next big model.

    2. Jessicalorren

    This mother, who is also a photographer, captures some of the best moments with her daughter.

    3. Heather_collins

    Heather brings her free spirit into every image offering a sense of peace and beauty showcasing that we have to be grateful for what we have today in the world.

    4. Weekendsandwildcards

    Noah and Sofia are the next big fashionistas. Every time we see one of their images, we think we are looking in a magazine.

    5. IdaFrosk

    Who says that you can't play with your food? Ida creates amazing artwork out of her food daily.

    6. Masonandthetambourine

    As much as we love the water, we love Mason and the Tambourine's clothing line. Absolutely adorable.

    7. Andrewknapp

    Instagram meets "Where's Waldo?" Andrew has transformed the love for hide and seek in photos with #foundmomo.

    8. Frankandzoey

    This mother captures her children in all of their favorite brands. We love the styling and the kids' adventure to explore the world around them.

    9. Littlezooeymagazine

    Little Zooey offers advice for parents, and their lifestyle photos capture people in the moment.

    10. Jacobsantiago

    Jacob is a great city photographer. The creativity he brings to his images instantly connect with you. He brings NYC to life in your Instagram feed.

    11. Parisinfourmonths

    Bonjour! This brings Parisian life directly to you with city and lifestyle images. Want to go to Paris today with us?

    12. Kaelahbee

    Kaelahbee brings her design skills to her child's life from the beautiful photos with special touches to the additions for the nursery.

    13. Gopro

    We love adventure, people, and creativity. GoPro's Instagram feed is full of it using all user generated photos.

    14. Digdeepplayhard

    This mom, Erin Shirley, brings her personal training life into the life of having a young child. Need some motivation to go out and workout. She'll show you it's possible with a little one.

    15. Civilizedcaveman

    George Bryant brings his love for food and people to life with #hugsandbacon. We can't get enough of the great recipes and daily motivation.

    16. Jojerry

    Traveling across Greece, Jo Jerry, brings the beautiful landscapes and street photography into our lives. Our day wouldn't be the same without a daydream of being in Santorini.

    17. Amberleebuckley

    Amber describes herself as not a regular mom but a cool mom, and we have to agree.

    18. Jessieweaver

    A daily dose of cuteness from Jessie and her family makes us smile.

    19. Instablonde

    Instablonde brings fashion and lifestyle from around the world to brighten your day.

    20. Selk

    Sarah Kindade brings storytelling into each of her images, which makes each picture have a special meaning to us as we all can relate.

     

    Keep up to date with our latest Instagram photos at @swanlinginnovations.

  • Swanling Innovations changes the name of the Slumber Sheet® to Slumber Sleeper™.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT:  Julie Tomlinson; julie@swanling.com

    Santa Barbara, CA (July 26, 2014) – Swanling Innovations Inc. is excited to announce a change of name for their signature product the Slumber Sheet to the Slumber Sleeper™.

    The decision was made to better describe the multi-functionality of the product and keep it from getting classified as just a sheet or just a sleep sack.

    The Slumber Sleeper is the only all-in-one product to offer solutions to the many concerns and needs surrounding infant and toddler sleep that would normally require multiple products. Without compromising quality, comfort or effectiveness the Slumber Sleeper delivers amazing versatility, ease of use and functionality.

    It is available in a soft cotton blend and a luxurious organic cotton, in both twin and crib sizes. The Slumber Sleeper™ creates a loving cozy environment that is both soothing and comforting to babies helping lull them to sleep and feel held and secure through the night.

    The Slumber Sleeper is a multifunctional sleep solution for infants and children up to 30lbs. It successfully addresses the new recommendations put out by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatricians) for a better safe sleep environment as well as following the International Hip Dysplasia guidelines for healthy hip development.

    While it facilitates back-to -sleep, it also serves the purpose of being a mattress protector, sleep sack, blanket, and sheet. Saving parents both time and money.

    When asked about the new name, Joanna von Yurt the inventor and mom behind the Slumber Sleeper™, commented, “We believe the new name will help parents better understand the concept of the Slumber Sleeper™ and how it truly helps your child sleep better, longer and be safer, while still feeling the comfort of being held. The Slumber Sleeper™ really takes the sleep sack concept to a new level, and is so much more than a sheet. We consider the Slumber Sleeper the next best thing to a loving cuddle.”

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    ABOUT Swanling Innovations Inc.

    Swanling Innovations is committed to producing modern, safe and innovative products of only the highest quality that meet the expectations of discerning parents. It is our goal to provide safe sleep solutions that help address the many concerns surrounding safe sleeping environments for babies and toddlers today. To learn more please visit www.swanling.com or email julie@swanling.com

  • Imaginary Meets Educational

    "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Ready. Set. Liftoff!" Michael, a bright four year old, said. "Off to outer space." Then, out of nowhere, he corrected me saying, "You're not doing it right. You have to float. You are in outer space...remember???"
    Then, I realized the value of play and creativity together. We always hear that play is always valuable learning time, but we don't always see it in action.
    Our minds wander when we are immersed in action. For a child, it's not any different. The world is an open playing field. Who is here to say that this space shuttle is not real? The imagination yields for lots of opportunities for learning combined with play.
    Children see past the idea that the playground equipment is only a replica space shuttle and not an actual one. They gravitate to the opportunity at hand to play and explore.
    It's your job as parents and friends of children to keep the creativity going and play along. As adults, we can offer more details in this level of play. Bring the learning experience to the imagination world. Float in outer space. Buckle up before lift off and pull the throttle all the way back. Look out the window, and you are seeing Mars up close. Did you see that comet soar across near the big dipper?
    The options are endless, but it all starts with your enthusiasm towards play and the imaginary to bring forth the educational and learning side.
    Who said learning can't be fun?
  • Inspiring the Next Generation

    The children that you cuddle in your arms tonight will soon be the next generation of leaders, and it is your job to continue to inspire them.

    How? 
    Well, that is through experiences, learning, invoking creativity daily, and most of all spending time with your children.

    Kid President has done an amazing job of inspiring adults and children alike. We have to give kudos out to his family for the inspiration that they have had on Kid President's life. Take a look at this favorite video.

    Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to be wiling to expand our horizons to see it. Open up your boundaries. Be willing to explore with your children and always be there for them to come to.

    Children have their own individual personality and learn at a rapid rate. It's no longer "let's go to outer space in this rocket playground equipment," but today, it's "time to blast off with a full countdown," and then upon getting up, you must float because gravity isn't in outer space.

    Inspire your child daily to open their mind. Create new ideas, innovate, and expand their horizons.

    The future will be a bright one with this next set of leaders including your child.

  • Asleep in Minutes

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    Children and adults of all ages need sleep, better yet, sound sleep. An evening without rest can be detrimental the next day- cranky, tired, hungry, snacking all day on carbs and sugar to keep you energized from the long night before.

    What you do at night to prepare for bed can make it easier to have a solid night of sleep.

    Routines are popular with children because when they get into the habit of something, it becomes natural. Adults in this sense are the same. Here are our top tips for parents to use with their children to have sound sleep so that everyone can wake up fresh and ready to go for the day ahead.

    1. Turn off blue lights at sunset

    Electronics are a huge culprit today for sleep. We are watching television late at night with the bright blue light in our faces that disrupts our circadian rhythm (aka our brain's time clock). So the more that you use your tablets, computers, televisions, phones, lamps at night, the more your circadian rhythm will be off kilter. This leads to worse things than just a night's sleep. We are talking about diabetes, heart disease, obesity, leptin resistance, and more. It's like a domino effect down the line.

    To correct this, start using amber lightbulbs in the house without blue light and also the free app f.lux for computers and tablets.

    2. Bath Time

    Getting a bath a night and starting to calm down is key. Help your child get dressed in their favorite pajamas after a bath, brush their teeth, and get in the habit of this is what happens at night before bed.

    3. Bedtime Story

    Remember snuggling up in bed with a nice story with your family when you were younger? Bedtime stories are a key feature of childhood memories. Growing up reading books not only stimulates learning and creativity but also allows for family bonding time.

    4. Music

    Soft music (jazz, classical, soundscapes, etc.) can help get children and adults into a calm, relaxed state ready for bed. All of their worries and thoughts are set aside, and sleep is the next logical step for the mind. Here's a favorite Spotify playlist of the calming ocean waves.

    5. Slumber Sleeper

    For the young children (newborns through toddlers), the Slumber Sleeper helps create a comforting environment for a child to fall asleep and stay asleep all night, which means a solid night's sleep for the rest of the family as well.

  • Eating Out with Children

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    From newborns to children through their teenage years, dining out can be a challenge at times. You want to include them in the dining experience with other friends and family; however, there is always a balance of what happens if they are fussy, temperamental, or just wanting to play and will it be worth it.

    There are restaurants out there that are very kid friendly and will do whatever they can to make it a pleasurable experience for you and other patrons in the restaurant from giving out children's snack plates before the meal (kudos to The Cheesecake Factory) to making sure the children receive their meal first even if there is a back order in the kitchen.

    As parents, there also a few things that you can do to ensure a great evening out.

    1) Make sure to bring something for children to do

    Activity books, crayons, drawing, books. You never know when that quick dinner will turn into a three hour extravaganza. Tablets can be a touchy subject especially it that app has some loud, repetitive music.

    2) Teach your child manners

    When you eat at home, do the children rule the house or do you treat it as dining out? When children are in the habit of knowing exactly how to mind and what is expected of them, they will within reason do the same when out to eat.

    3) Bring your child a snack

    Just in case the restaurant is not super accommodating, you can be. Bring something that you know that your child will eat and can snack on. If they are eating baby food or using a bottle, make sure you bring that with you. A fussy baby can ruin any dinner date for you and other guests.

    5) Make a reservation if possible

    The last thing that a hungry child wants to do is wait an hour to eat. Either make a reservation, find a snack, or make an executive decision not to wait to eat at the most popular restaurant in town no matter how great the chef is.

    4) Clean Up

    Yes, you are out to eat at a restaurant, but that does not mean that you can leave your table and the floor underneath like a tornado went through it. Children make messes. Take a second before you leave and make sure the waitstaff does not have to call Stanley Steamer in for your table or you will be known as "those guests" in the restaurant.

    Going out with your child can be a great fun experience for all. Just make sure you come prepared, and if anything starts to go downhill, just remember to breathe and apologize to those around you.

  • Air Travel with Children

    IMG_2677 copy
    Traveling with children on flights can be a hassle unless you are prepared. The last thing that you want to have happen is to be the parents of a young child screaming on a transatlantic 8 hour flight.
    The other passengers know what you are going through yet will still have that look of why. Why won't this child just fall asleep or why is he still crying?
    As parents, you will do anything to have a smooth sailing trip.
    Here are our top tips when traveling with young children.

    1) Make sure that each one has their own carry-on

    Kids just want to be like the adults. Make sure that in their backpack they have crayons, toys, snacks, their favorite blanket, etc. This way they can feel like big kids and you when you tell them to grab it out of their bag.

    2) Movies and games

    The tablets are fantastic for this. We do not like having electronics babysit our children, but on long flights it is an exception. Start the movies and the games. It will keep their interest for at least a couple of hours on the flight.

    3) Make them comfortable

    Comfort is key for everyone- children and adults alike. Children want to have their favorite stuffed animal or blanket with them. Make sure it makes it on the carry-on bag and not the checked luggage. We love the FOM pillows for travel as well as the Slumber Sleeper. Our youngest just slept most of the flight from Los Angeles to Zurich in hers. Best thing ever.

    4) Bring your own snacks

    Make sure you have bottles, baby food, and snacks for the duration of the flight. Having the right amount will make it a smoother flight for all. For older children, make sure that you have food that they will eat and not complain about if they are picky eaters. Also double check the TSA requirements if traveling with young children as there are provisions for the liquids and baby food.

    5) Be prepared for other passengers

    No matter how well behaved your children are you may still catch sighs or glares from other passengers when they see that you are traveling with a baby or multiple children. Be polite. Apologize first hand and make a good impression the moment you board the plane.
    In the end all passengers want to get there safely, but if you can help keep your child entertained and comfortable, it will be better for all.
  • Spending Time with Your Children

    family time

    As parents, we know that spending time with our kids is important and vital to their overall success and development. There are times when we discount the value of going to a basketball game or attending that one dance practice before the big recital. We believe that they may not remember or don't value our time the same way that we see it. I mean we can't exactly bill our children by the hour like we do for client work.

    But at the end of the day, we realize that it is all worthwhile. The smiles, the joy, the happiness it brings to their faces when they see you in the audience with a sense of relief that you made it and your attention is completely on them.

    You may not realize what it is worth or your children for that matter until you can no longer have those moments. When life takes loved ones that are dear to your heart away, you would give anything to have another basketball game, band concert, golf tournament, dance recital, you name it and see your parents in the stands.

    So when you have the moment to spend with your children, most definitely do it no matter what is going on in the back of your mind on what else you could be doing. Your children look up to you and need your never ending support and love in life.

  • Top 5 Summer Popsicles for Teething Children

    Summer is here, which for most of the Northern Hemisphere means warmer weather. With a child around, you must have something to cool them down. Combine that with the added pain that comes through with teething, a popsicle is a must have. Forget stopping by the store for these. Make them at home by yourself or with the older children to get everyone involved together. Be sure to make extra, as it will not only be the teething child wanting these.

     1. Roasted Fruit Pops

    fruit pop

    The farmer’s markets and grocery stores are bursting at the seams with fresh produce. Why not use this opportunity to make a new variety of popsicles for the summer days? Start by roasting the fruit; then puree them. Adds a new type of flavor to your standard popsicles. Your children and you will indulge in these.

    (Recipe by: Lesley W Graham and Stir and Scribble)

    2. Watermelon Pops

    watermelon

    Homemade summer popsicles with watermelon are sure to refresh and hydrate after a hot and humid summer day. Crisp, refreshing, and your teething child will love this.

    (Recipe by: Paper{whites})

    3. Frozen Mango, Kiwi, Raspberry Pops

    photo 3-2

    Fresh fruit purees stacked in layers make this popsicle vibrant, beautiful, and bursting with colors. Pair this with a hot summer day and a child, and you have a match made in heaven.

    (Recipe by: Skinnytaste)

    4. Carrot, Mango, and Raspberry

    photo 4-2

    Add a serving of fruit and vegetables with this delicious combination. Your child will absolutely love the berry and tropical mix with a hint of carrot.

    (Recipe by: The Girlichef)

    5. Maple and Squash Pumpkin Pie Popsicles

    photo 1-3

    Thanksgiving on a stick is what this should be called. This popsicle is geared towards an older toddler but will be enjoyed by adults too.

    (Recipe by: The Kitchn)

  • Best Summer Baby Food Recipes

    Making your own baby food for your children lets you play in the kitchen and find out exactly what your son or daughter really enjoys. Not only is it a healthier solution without preservatives but also less expensive. Grab your chef’s apron and play Iron Chef America in your kitchen today with your favorite blender (We love the Vitamix.). Start creating gourmet masterpieces that even you will eat.

    -Note: Please check with your pediatrician to make sure that your child is ready for solid foods.

    1. Pureed Carrots

    Pureed carrots

    Start with the basics on this recipe but feel free to add herbs and a dash of salt and pepper once you find out whether or not your child enjoys them. (Recipe by: chocolateandcarrots.com)

     

    2. Pureed Peaches

    Peaches

    Make this healthy version of a southern peach pie. Peaches are currently in season and taste absolutely amazing. (Recipe by: premeditatedleftovers.com)

    3. Blueberry, Mango, Avocado

    photo 3

    If summer had a puree, this would be it- a mix of tropical and berries with the consistency of pudding from the avocados. It’s making my mouth water now. Be sure to save some for your child before you get to taste testing. (Recipe by: babyfoode.com)

    4.Basil and Ginger Infused Peach Compote

    Peach and ginger

    Is this supposed to be for my yogurt and pancakes or is this going to my baby? Feed your baby first and make a double batch. This takes baby food to a whole new level. (Recipe by: thelowhistaminechef.com)

    5. Quinoa Ratatouille

    quinoa

    Tonight your child is not just going to have dinner, but he or she is going to have dinner in a French café with this ratatouille. (Recipe by: loveandduckfat.com)

  • The Slumber Sleeper™ and Attachment Parenting

    The Slumber Sleeper™ by Swanling allows baby to feel as if it's being cuddled in its mother's arms. Research has proven that being touched is essential to babies' normal development. Further, the Slumber Sheet can help to get babies on a sleeping schedule.

    Our test subjects have shown that infants who sleep in the Swanling Slumber system sleep longer, spend more time in NREM sleep, and awake less spontaneously than when not swaddled.

    If the benefits are so numerous, why don't more parents use the Slumber Sleeper? Its simple...the word is just getting out about this revolutionary sleep product as it is only 6 months old.

    Sometimes introducing a non-conventional product to the market can be challenging however as the Slumber Sleeper is truly an extension of swaddling, it has been widely accepted and welcome as Americas best Sleep Safe Sleep Solution for infants and children. It is important to know that the Slumber Sleeper does not make the infant feel trapped or confined; actually the opposite. The Slumber Sleeper provides infants with the feeling of touch and this aids in the practice of attachment parenting.

    Most parents today gravitate towards the method of “attachment parenting” a term coined by William and Martha Sears.  The Slumber Sleeper is the perfect tool or product to aid in the attachment parenting practice as it creates an environment nearly identical to falling asleep in mommy’s arms. This gives the child all the advantages that come along with attachment parenting. Some of which include allowing children to form secure attachments and securely-attached kids are healthier and happier studies have shown.

    One of the biggest challenges that comes along with infant swaddling is for the parents to learn the technique of how to swaddle a baby properly using a standard blanket. The blanket must be tight enough to stay fastened and make the baby feel secure, and yet loose enough so that the infant doesn't become overheated. Once a baby starts moving around, he often kicks off his blanket, and a loose blanket in the crib can increase the risk of SIDS. And most receiving blankets aren't large enough to properly swaddle a growing infant after a few months or even weeks. Although there is wide variety of specially made swaddling blankets designed to overcome the limitations of traditional swaddling, up until now, none have offered a simple solid wrap that fastens and snaps into position virtually preventing any undoing regardless of the amount the infant may wiggle. Further, the Slumber Swaddle allows the infant complete range of motion in its hips and legs aiding longer or taller infants and further, allowing parents freedom from concerns of hip dysplasia.

    The vast majority of infants sleep better as a result of being swaddled. Some parents give up swaddling too quickly because their babies don't seem to like it, or the parent has reservations about the tightness needed to swaddle correctly.  However, parents who have swaddled successfully report that most babies realize they love it. True, some babies will never grow accustomed to swaddling, but the vast majority sleep better as a result of being swaddled. If your baby resists swaddling at first, Dr. Karp advises, "Be patient. You may have to practice a few times before [the baby] gets used to it. Try swaddling when she's already sleepy and in her most receptive frame of mind."

    The results of successful swaddling are a better-sleeping and rested baby - and more well-rested parents. Proven effective over centuries of parenting and research, swaddling is a practice that truly works. The Slumber Sleeper is really a magic way of extending the practice of swaddling and successfully aiding in attachment parenting.

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  • Baby products that change the way we live.

    Looking forward by looking back.

    Flashback to the year 1989-
    The only moms “wearing” their children were the “hippie” moms, who were often criticized for being too attached to their children, these where also the women who were breastfeeding their children which at that time the general public considered offensive! For those ladies who wanted to carry their children close to their bodies, realizing how much better it was for baby and mommy, there were not really many options, most baby carries were a wrap of some sort and not always easy to figure out. That was about to change.

    Although carrying your baby close to your body was new in the US, the concept had been around in Europe since the early 70’s, starting in Sweden where the medical experts had concluded that eye contact and physical closeness between parents and their children was very important for parent /child bonding. Björn Jakobson was inspired by this research and developed a product that could facilitate closeness and the bond between parents and their newborn babies. BabyBjörn launched its first baby carrier, "Hjärtenära" (Close to heart), in 1973.
    It took over thirty years for the concept of “wearing” your baby to be accepted in the United States. It just wasn’t “fashionable”. Until a black and white advertisement in Harpers Bazaar featured a svelte new mom model showing off her Bijorn carrier.

    Flash-forward to the current year 2014-
    “Wearing” your child is not only popular but also recommended and expected, as is breastfeeding. Attachment parenting continues to grow and develop and our children are thriving. Currently in the USA there are well over 20 companies producing various designs of baby wraps and baby carries designed to help care givers better bond with their children, not to mention the added convenience of being able to be functional while still soothing your baby. And a new paradigm in how best to care for our babies has now been established.

    This leads us to current day – once again a concept that is based on the same principals of bonding and giving a child a sense of security and has been tried and tested and successful in Europe and is now being introduced to the US. This time it is a safe sleeping aide designed to help a child feel held and secure while in their crib, and allow parents more freedom and peace of mind, while adhering to all the current safe to sleep recommendations. Introducing the Slumber Sleeper™, a safe sleep solution for infants and children. This product will revolutionize how children self soothe and sleep finally giving parents the rest they need. www.swanling.com

  • A seven year old tells us why she stil loves the Slumber Sleeper™.

  • The Curse of the Short Nap- from Guest Blogger Dana Obleman.

    Do you want to know the single biggest complaint I hear from tired parents every day? It’s that they put their baby down for a nap, and she only sleeps for 45 minutes! That is barely enough time to make yourself a snack and take a shower! I understand why it’s frustrating, and want to give you some suggestions for improvement.

    First of all there are a few reasons why your baby is only sleeping for 30 to 45 min. It is exactly one sleep cycle.  For adults, our cycle lasts about 90 min, but for babies it much shorter, averaging 30 to 45 min in length. At the end of each sleep cycle, a baby is in a very light sleep state and may even momentarily wake up before entering into a new cycle. This momentarily light sleep is where most of the problems arise.

    In order to encourage a longer nap you need to first ask yourself a very important question. Did my baby fall asleep in the same place she ended up? Most of the time the answer to this question is no. She fell asleep in my arms, and then I moved her to the crib. The tricky thing about this is that people don’t usually like to wake up somewhere different from the place they fell asleep. On some level our bodies know or sense the difference, therefore we wake up with a startle and if you’re a baby this is where you would start to cry!

    So the first step is to make sure your baby is in the same place when she falls asleep as she is when she wakes up. This will help prevent her a startle reflex, and ease the transition from one sleep cycle to the next.

    You also want to make sure that your baby is doing most of the work of getting to sleep in the first place on her own.  If you always feed her to sleep, then again, you can see why she may not like it when she gets to the end of the sleep cycle and there is no bottle or breast nearby. This will also cause a baby to wake with a startle and start to cry. The Slumber Sleeper™ is a terrific way to help your child learn to self soothe as the gentle pressure of the sheet helps them feel held and secure.

    If you have taken steps to encourage your baby to self soothe, and she is falling asleep in her crib, then congratulations because most of the battle has already been won. The good news is that with time and practice, she will have a much easier time getting from one sleep cycle to the next, and should start to sleep longer and longer for each nap over the course of two to three weeks. Most babies take at least one long nap, and by long, I mean 1.5 to 2 hours a day, and then a shorter one or two naps throughout the rest of the day.

    Find out more, in www.sleepsense.net

    About Dana Obleman

    Sleep Sense Founder Dana Obleman

    Dana launched her successful private practice in 2003, and since then has helped over 30,000 of parents solve their children’s sleep problems.   She is the creator of “The Sleep Sense Program,” www.sleepsense.net, a best-selling “do-it-yourself” guide for sleep deprived parents.
    Dana has made numerous television appearances, has been featured in national and local newspapers, spoken at multiple parenting trade shows and baby conventions.  She was also invited to lecture on solving infant and toddler sleep problems to Family Physicians, through the University of British Columbia.
    In addition, to a BA in Psychology, Dana also holds a degree in Elementary Education from King’s University (1999), and is a professional member of the National Sleep Foundation.

  • Sentinel Article- March 8, 2014

    Sentinel Article March 2014 The Sentinel of Santa Barbara features Swanling Innovations Inc.

    The Santa Barbara Sentinel interviews Joanna and Jan von Yurt about their innovative invention the Slumber Sheet.

     

     

     

  • Madre de dos ama la Slumber Sleeper™.

    Otra madre feliz nos dice por qué la Slumber Sleeper™ ha trabajado para ella como una buena solución sueño seguro para su bebé o niño pequeño.

  • Mother of two is using the Slumber Sleeper™ for both kids.

    Francisca shares her experience with the Slumber Sleeper™ and Slumber Swaddle. Another happy mom glad to be sleeping.

  • A Child's Testimonial for the Slumber Sleeper™.

    Parent's tell us why they like the Slumber Sleeper™. Now we get to hear why the kids like it. Claire has been using the sheet since day one and was key in the fabric choices and development of the Slumber Sleeper™.

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