Single Parent Association of Newfoundland



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Channal - St. John's Location


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Channal - Mount Pearl Location


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How to Make Sure that Everyone in the Family Gets enough Sleep

Sleep is such an undervalued part of life. We need it, we crave it, and we don’t get enough of it. More than a third of American adults do not get adequate sleep.

The elusive sleep is sometimes due to life circumstances such as jet lag, a new baby or a big deadline. But other times, it’s simply because of our own anxieties, distractions, unsettled thoughts, stressors, environments or stimulants. Both adults and children could use better quality sleep. If you’re one of the unlucky third who are sleep deprived, then try to pick up a new sleep habit by doing these six things.

1.  Get on a schedule. Train yourself to sleep at the same time each night by getting into a pattern. Our sleep clocks, also called circadian rhythms, make us sleep and wake up around the same time each day if we remain consistent. If you find yourself tired around 3 a.m. each night, but you really should be hitting the hay at midnight, then start training yourself to sleep earlier by retreating a half hour earlier each night until you’ve adjusted your clock. This is especially important for children who are transitioning from summer vacation to the school year and need to retrain themselves to fall asleep early. If your children share a bedroom, getting on a sleep schedule is also important, as it’s easy for kids to distract each other before bed.

2.  Have a bedtime ritual. Start getting ready for bed a half hour before sleep. Take a bath, brush your teeth, drink a glass of chamomile tea, and go through your skincare routine each night at the same time. Read a book or write in a journal. Find a nighttime routine and repeat the ritual daily so that your body and mind will associate the routine with sleepy time.

3.  Practice relaxation techniques. Do whatever gets your brain to relax so your body can rest. Meditate, listen to ASMR tracks, play a rain or ocean soundtrack, or leave on white noise. Relax your muscles, focus on deep breathing, and think about nothing. Another technique is to concentrate on staying awake. Sometimes trying to stay awake can actually tire you out (calculus class, anyone?), while trying to sleep keeps you wide awake. Oh, the irony.

4.  Eliminate distractions. Those who work late have a hard time turning off their brains at night, so avoid working after a certain hour each day and commit to only addressing work during business hours. It’s tempting to pick up our cell phones and tablets as we lie in bed, but the blue light from electronic devices actually stops melatonin production and keeps you awake longer. Turn off your screens an hour before bed. Keep them charged in another room to avoid temptation, and set your phone on Do Not Disturb so you’re not awakened by texts and emails. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, then get a real alarm clock instead.

5.  Don’t ruin your sleep during the day. A good night’s sleep can be disrupted by what you do during the day. Avoid eating late at night. Even though a food coma sounds like a great way to fall asleep, your sleep won’t be as restful because your body is busy digesting what you just ate. Avoid taking long naps during the day; otherwise you won’t be able to fall asleep at night when you want a full night of sound sleep. Avoid caffeine, sugar and other foods that stimulate you as bedtime nears.

6.  Change your sleep environment. Perhaps it’s time to rearrange your bedroom, switch the side of the bed that you sleep on, get blackout curtains, replace your pillows and mattress, adjust the temperature in your room, plug in a nightlight, or use a humidifier.

Restful sleep is an important way to decompress from today and prepare for tomorrow. Without the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, you and your children could experience sluggishness, lack of energy, and lack of focus. Make sure your family gets enough sleep so you can all function at your best throughout the day.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

 


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UPDATE regarding CRISIS TEXT LINE

The Crisis Text Line is now available to residents of NL. Powered by Kids Help Phone, regardless of need or age, individuals can text ‘Talk’ to 686868, to speak to a trained crisis responder.

Every texter is connected with a Crisis Responder, a real-life human being trained to bring texters from a hot moment to a cool calm through active listening and collaborative problem-solving.

All of the Crisis Responders are volunteers, donating their time to helping people in crisis.


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Life with a Baby

The "Life with a Baby" program offers parent & child social events as well as parenting workshops.  For more information on this program check out their website and Facebook page.

Life With a Baby - www.lifewithababy.com

A Program of Healthy Start Healthy Future

Real Parents - Real Challenges - Real Help

 Connect with Life With A Baby:

https://www.facebook.com/LifeWithABaby


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Fitness: How Single Parents Can Keep It Manageable

Not only does exercise reduce stress, but it also boosts your positive, motivating emotions , too. Part of this is biology — the body is regulating itself during exercise, but it also has to do with seeing and feeling the results of your efforts. As a single parent, sometimes knowing all this isn’t enough to keep you motivated, or help you find the time or money to stay fit. You know you need to do it and you know your kids need you to do it, so here are some tips on how to juggle it all and maintain a workout routine that works with your fast-paced life.
Start With the Basics
There are a lot of activities you can do in the comfort of your own home, without equipment, and without much expertise. From calisthenics to couch workouts, there are dozens of ways to work on your fitness anywhere you find yourself. Don’t be afraid to engage your kids as well, and put what they are learning in gym class to work for both of you. If they are in the lower grades in particular, most involve basic, equipment free exercises anyway. And who knows, they might even teach you a thing or two about improving your form.

Get Your Steps In
Fitness trackers have made meeting your daily step goal as much an obsession as it is a necessity. You can go fancy, and buy a Fitbit, Garmin, or similar, or you can use your smart phone. If you are cash-strapped, you can pick up the low-tech version (you know, from back when these devices were simply called pedometer) for less than $10. If you park at the back of the lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a quick stroll on your lunch break, and hike around the neighborhood with the kiddos after work, you should be well on your way to reaching those 10,000 steps without needing to add more hours to the day. If you work in an office, and things are super sedentary, consider asking your boss and your colleagues to turn meeting into walking meetings. Not only does this tend to make the meeting more productive, but everyone gets some health benefits from it as well.

Money Matters
Most single parents are on a budget. A lot of factors play into just how tight that budget is, but depending on your circumstances finding the funds to pay for a gym membership or structured fitness program can be nearly impossible. If gym membership is not a perk your employer offers, but the noise, the smell, and the camaraderie of the gym are what drive you to workout, consider unique ways to get access. Some options might include being an assistant coach for your child’s sports team so you have access to the facility where they train. Many yoga and Pilates studios offer community or charity classes for free or discounted admission on certain days and times. Consider using your professional skills to barter with the gym or studio owner services in exchange for membership or classes.

Make It a Habit

The reality of life is that we make time for the things we want to make time for, and that reality is the same for fitness. In most cases it is not money or time that holds you back from your fitness goals, it’s your own motivation. So forget about staying motivated, and just make fitness a habit instead. Once it becomes as second nature as your morning cup of coffee, or as critical to your routine as brushing your teeth, the tweaks you need to make to your workout to reach specific fitness goals will be easy to make. After all, the hardest part is showing up, not what you do once you get there.

Making sure you provide for your kids is a top priority for any parent, and single parents often neglect their own needs to do so. Staying fit plays an important part in reducing stress, having a positive attitude, and maintaining your own health, so that you can help them maintain theirs. Do your best to make your budget and schedule work with a regular fitness regiment, whether it is a small as meeting your daily step goal or as big as hitting the gym five days a week.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com



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Volunteer Opportunities

  • Do you have:
  • - spare time on your hands?
  • - enjoy meeting new people?
  • - like to help others?
  • SPAN can use your help as a volunteer
  • Call 738-3401 to inquire about becoming a volunteer with SPAN.



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