A Snapshot from the Sunshine Garden Suite
by Miss Belinda
Winter Greetings to You, Dear Parents ~
A warm welcome back to you all from the holiday break. It was so good to see everyone again, and the children seemed to transition back into the fold with ease. We also warmly welcome three and a half month old, Baby Bea.
With caring for our new wee one, the little girls are making use of the baby dolls, blankets and bottles in their play, sitting on rocking chairs and feeding the dollies their bottles and swaddling them with the warm blankets. All of the children come up to watch Bea drink her bottle, greet her with a, “Hi, Bea”, and come to check on her when she’s crying. She is a source of endless fascination for the children, and I’m seeing all of the children’s caring and nurturing tendencies coming through, from the youngest to the oldest. They’re trying really hard to remember to use quiet voices and feet around the baby because her tiny ears are still so tender. Of course, Baby Bea does not yet know how to use her quiet voice, so at naptime some of the children grumble as they are awakened when they hear her cry when waking up from her nap, but when I quietly pick her up and sit down with her in the rocking chair to either feed her or give her a cuddle to help her back to sleep, most of them quickly go back to sleep as well.
And speaking of napping, as it’s getting a bit late, and I’m feeling a bit sleepy, I thought I would share with you a few little bedtime tidbits from Sharifa Oppenheimer, author of the book, Heaven on Earth:
Tried and True Bedtime Snack:
v Buttered toast with honey and warm milk with honey and cinnamon. This combination of foods can help create a relaxed, sleepy effect on children.
Bedtime Stories – things to consider:
v Offer only one story or book before saying goodnight. Two or more stories and books can overwhelm a little mind. You can use the same book or story for several consecutive evenings.
Carefully choose books that:
v Feature a luminous central image in each illustration (for example, Grandfather Twilight)
v Model social behavior
v Portray high character
Try making up your own stories. These can be little nature stories or stories about your own childhood told from the heart. Children love to hear about the experiences their mommy’s and daddy’s had while growing up. And they love to hear them over and over again.
Bedtime Story Pointers/Flexible Guidelines:
For infants and babies
v Finger and toe rhymes
v Lullabies and rocking rhymes
Twos through Fours:
v Stories of home, yard and animals
v Stories about their own day (you could tell them the story of their day in reverse beginning with their bedtime routine and ending with waking up at the beginning of their day.)
Fives, Sixes and Sevens (some Fours):
v Fairy Tales (particularly Grimm’s fairy tales) *It might be a good idea to read the tale on your own first to see if there might be anything in it that could frighten your child. The younger the child, the simpler the tale.
v Images of fine human qualities
Eights and Up:
v High Adventure
*Note about Television Viewing – it is associated with altered sleep patterns and sleep disorders in children, so try to have the children refrain from television viewing several hours before bedtime.
Bedtime Blessings and Verses – Two of my favorites (there are so many lovely blessings and verses out there to choose from):
Guardian angels, whom we love,
Shine on us from up above.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And in the morning when I wake,
Show me the path of love to take.
Blessings on our sleep.
The dark comes like a blanket, protecting us at night.
(make gesture of wrapping blanket around yourself)
The moon shines like the heart of God, providing gentle light.
(make gesture of moon above your head)
The stars call forth our sparkling dreams like waves upon the shore,
(gently make back and forth gesture like waves above your head)
to greet the nighttime pilgrims as we journey through sleep’s door.
(make gesture of going to sleep with hands folded at one ear and head tilted to the side)
Blessings and Sweet Sleep to you all.