5 Common Baby Sleep Myths

5 Common Baby Sleep Myths

We asked a local sleep expert for some tips and info about getting babies to sleep at night!

Katie Kuncho owns Katie Ks Sleep Consulting, and lives here in Jacksonville with her husband Rodney and son, Owen.

I have experienced first hand how tricky sleep can be for a new baby.  While experiencing sleep troubles with my son, I went on a mission to find out how to help him. What I found is that there are ways to help your child learn independent sleep skills without feeling mom’s guilt.  Once I understood what was happening, I felt guilty for not helping him sooner!  Watching Owen’s transition and how it has changed our lives is what has led me on the journey of helping other families get the quality sleep that they deserve. I am passionate about helping families because I know how important sleep is to both baby and parent’s health.  It’s a necessity. Not a luxury. 

There’s no such thing as a casual mom. This gig is full-time, no matter if you’re a stay-at-home-mom, a working mom, or somewhere in between. Your kids are on your mind 24/7, no matter what else might be going on, so we tend to do a lot of research, and with access to unlimited data via the internet, Barnes & Noble, or your mother-in-law, (the latter having the most to say, by a mile) it’s inevitable that we get some conflicting information. Sometimes it’s even hard to sort out the opinions versus the facts. So today, I want to focus on my area of expertise, that being sleep, and try to dispel some of the more popular myths I’ve seen in parenting forums, heard from Mom groups I’ve talked with, or even heard from a well-intentioned family member or friend. 

jacksonville newborn photographer

1. Sleeping too much during the day will keep the baby up at night. 
 Not likely, except in extreme cases. Unless your little one is sleeping practically all day and up all night, you probably don’t need to concern yourself with the length of their naps. Newborns especially need a ton of sleep. In fact, up until about 6 months, I don’t recommend that your little one be awake for more than about 2 – 2 1/2 hours at a time. For newborns, that number is more like 45 minutes to an hour. 

What keeps babies awake at night, more than anything else, is overtiredness. You might think that an exhausted baby is more likely to sack out for a full night than one who slept all day, but it’s actually just the opposite. The reason we refer to it as being “overtired” is because baby has missed the “tired” phase and their bodies start to kick back into gear, which keeps them from falling and staying asleep. A baby who has gotten a decent amount of sleep during the day is far less likely to miss the sleep window.

There are substantial variations depending on baby’s age and the length of their naps, but up to that 6 month mark, it’s really not uncommon for baby to be sleeping around 5 hours a day outside of nighttime sleep, so if your little one is still within those guidelines, let them snooze.  Bottom line is sleep begets sleep, the better baby naps during the day, the better they will sleep at night.

jacksonville newborn photographer

2. Sleeping is a natural development and can’t be taught. Sleeping is natural, absolutely. Everybody wakes up and falls back to sleep multiple times a night, regardless of their age. So no, you can’t teach a child to be sleepy. What can be taught, however, is the ability to fall back to sleep independently.

The typical “bad sleeper” of a baby isn’t less in need of sleep, or more prone to waking up. They’ve just learned to depend on outside assistance to get back to sleep when they wake up. Once your little one has figured out how to get to sleep without assistance from outside sources, they start stringing those sleep cycles together absolutely effortlessly, and that’s the secret to “sleeping through the night” as most parents understand it.

jacksonville newborn photographer

3. Babies will naturally dictate their own sleep schedule. The idea that infant physiology is so flawlessly, naturally programmed to regulate a baby’s schedule is, to be blunt, laughable. Nothing against Mother Nature, but she doesn’t provide us with a ready-to-run baby. Our babies need extensive care and help in their development, and their sleep cycles are unbelievably erratic if left unregulated. If they miss their natural sleep cycle by as little as a half hour, their cortisol production can increase which causes a surge in energy, and things quickly spiral out of control.

So as much as I wish babies could just fall asleep when they’re tired, it simply doesn’t work that way. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t respond to their cues, but you shouldn’t rely exclusively on them either.

jacksonville newborn photographer

4. Sleep training is stressful for the baby and can affect the parent-child attachment. Nope. And this isn’t just me talking here. This is the American Academy of Pediatrics. If there’s a more reliable source of baby health information, they’re astoundingly bad at marketing themselves. And according to a 2016 study* conducted by eight of their top researchers, behavioral intervention, (A.K.A Sleep training) “provide(s) significant sleep benefits above control, yet convey(s) no adverse stress responses or long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behavior.” Not a whole lot of gray area there.

jacksonville newborn photographer

5. Babies are not “designed” to sleep through the night. Trusting your child’s physiology to dictate their sleep schedule, their eating habits, their behavior, or just about any other aspect of their upbringing is a recipe for disaster.

Is your toddler designed to eat three pounds of gummi bears? Surely not. Will they if you don’t intervene? Without a doubt. Is your baby designed to avoid predators? If so, nobody told my little one, who would have happily hugged a hungry Siberian tiger if it approached him. (He might still, I don’t know. It’s never come up.) Our little ones need our expertise and authority to guide them through their early years, and probably will for decades after that. This is especially true when it comes to their sleep.

Some babies are naturally gifted sleepers, for sure, but don’t rely on the advice of those who tell you that babies should dictate their schedules. You’re in charge because you know best, even if it may not feel like it sometimes.

jacksonville newborn photographer

There are obviously plenty more myths and misconceptions surrounding babies and their sleep habits, but these are some of the most important to get the facts on. Remember, there are endless posts on social media and websites that portray themselves as factual, but there’s nothing stopping them from making that claim, regardless of their accuracy or basis in actual scientific evidence.

Google scholar is a great place to find peer-reviewed scientific study on all things baby-related, and trusted sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health, Britain’s National Health Service, Canada’s Hospital for Sick Children, the World Health Organization, and other national children’s health organizations are excellent sources of information you can feel confident about using to answer questions about your baby’s health.

And if you want more information about the benefits of sleep, I’m willing to chat!

Contact Katie:





Photographs by Christy Whitehead Photography, newborn photography studio in Jacksonville, Florida.

Tag! Featured: Random Fandom Gifts

In an effort to feature local businesses during Covid, we are playing “tag”. We are asking local companies info about their favorite places. And then we ask some of the companies they tag about their favorites!

Random Fandom Gifts was recently tagged as a favorite by another local company so here they are:

Your name: Alexis Kaisharis and Rich Oliver

Where are you located: You can usually find us at Riverside Arts Market, but you can always find us on our website www.randomfandomgifts.com

Tell me about your business.

We hand make pixelated artwork, home decor, and accessories representing all kinds of pop culture across all medias. Our pieces can range from 100 beads to 10,000 beads; our biggest piece ever was actually 30,000 beads. Everything we make we do it with pure geeky love. We’re bringing geeky goodness to everyone, and our goal is to make everyone’s pixelated dreams come true!

Now that you’ve been tagged, tell me your favorites!


What is your favorite local restaurant for date night? Orsay

What is your favorite food place to go with family? Leaderboard Arcade

Who has the best sandwiches? Eddis & Sons

Best pizza? Pie 95 Pizza 

What toppings MUST go on a pizza? Cheese, Pepperoni, and Canadian Bacon

What should NEVER go on a pizza? Pineapple or any fruit, except tomatoes. 

Best Mexican? El Jefe

Best Chinese? Tim Wah Dim Sum

Best burger? JoyShtick

Best fries? JoyShtick

Best bar? Rec Room 

Best BBQ? Twisted Okie

Favorite food truck? Pie 95 Pizza and Fusion Food Truck

Favorite place to get dessert? 1748 Bakehouse


Favorite activity around town that’s free? Riverside Arts Market

Favorite activity/place to go, that costs money around town? The Cummer Museum 

Best local band or musician? The Fire Water Tent Revival


Best place to get a hair cut? Red Hot Looks

Best realtor? Lou Morales Realty, David Morales

Do you have any tattoos? Who would you recommend? Melaniinks at Dark Matter 


Favorite mom & pop shop? Darby’s Dungeon, Bellalina Bath and BelloBoopie 

Favorite side of town? Riverside

Favorite local event? Riverside Arts Market and the GAAM Show. 

What local charities do you like to support? First Coast No More Homeless Pets and JASMYN.  

What is the most underrated shop or company in North Florida that everyone should know about? Bijubee Jewelry, plus maybe also us lol

Best place to get married or have a big party? Congaree and Penn

Best place to get fresh veggies and fruit? Riverside Arts Market

Anyone we missed? All of the amazing artists in Jacksonville! Elena Ohlander, Chappy Lips by Leslie Valerio, Hypnoticat, Olivia Gonzalez (Garage Roses), and R.L. Pyro Art are some of our favorites

Where can people find you:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/randomfandomgifts

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/randomfandomgifts

Website: www.randomfandomgifts.com

Email: randomfandomgifts@gmail.com

Tag! Local business, Bello Boopie

With everything going on, the need to support other small businesses is more important now than ever. On the last flight I took, I saw a magazine and they interviewed local business owners and those business owners mentioned their favorite businesses, and then THOSE businesses were interviewed, and it kept going.

So, we are doing a “TAG! You’re it” Local business feature to help get the word out about a lot of local businesses that I hope you’ll patronize!

The first is Bello Boopie, who makes paper goods, like cards and stationary, you may have seen them at Riverside Arts Market.

Your name: Noel a.k.a. The Minion Man

Where are you located: Riverside Arts Market, Orange Park Farmers & Arts Market, Art Walk Downtown Jacksonville.  In Store: Trove Antiques and Coconut Barrel

What makes your business unique? Bello Boopie isn’t afraid to push the boundaries.  Most Greeting Cards come blank or with sentimental greetings; our greeting cards are geared to make people laugh. 

What’s the favorite thing you sell? Our locally inspired greeting cards that make fun of Floridians


What is your favorite local restaurant for date night? Hawkers 5 points

What is your favorite food place to go with family? Clarks Fish Camp

Who has the best sandwiches? European Street (Park Street Location)

Best pizza? V’s Pizza!

What toppings MUST go on a pizza? I’m a Cheese kinda guy!

Best Chinese? Peony Asian Bistro

Best bar? Park Place

Favorite food truck? Pie95

Favorite place to get dessert? Community Loaves


Favorite activity around town that’s free? Riverside Arts Market

Favorite activity/place to go, that costs money around town? Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens

Best local band or musician? Jacksonville Symphony (I’m an old soul)


Best place to get fresh veggies and fruit? Riverside Arts Market and Orange Park Farmers and Arts Market


Best place to get a hair cut? Barbara Fisk at Beauty Boss Hair Studio

Best realtor? Mary Ann Eldreth

Best massage therapist? Brenda Star Walker


Favorite mom & pop shop? Trove Antiques

Favorite side of town? Riverside/Avondale

Favorite local event? (Party, sports, concert, whatever) Weekly: Riverside Arts Market.  Yearly: Boat Lighting Parade

What local charities do you like to support? JASMYN, V for Victory, and First Coast No More Homeless Pets

What is the most underrated shop or company in North Florida that everyone should know about? Coconut Barrel

Best place to get married or have a big party? Old St. Andrews

Best Local Maker: Random Fandom Gifts

Best Fur Friendly Company: A tie: Lucy Lou’s Designs for collars and leashes, Bubbas Bistro for pet treats

Best Local Shoe Company: An Unlikely Pear

Best Burger: One Twenty Three Burger House

Best Local Instagram Account: JaxMarketplace

Where can people find you:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/belloboopie

Facebook: www.facebook.com/belloboopie

Website: www.belloboopie.com

Email: belloboopie@gmail.com

Phone/Text 904-290-3060

Bello Boopie

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3+ Tips to Improve your Workspace and Posture While Working at Home

Tips to improve your workspace and posture at home, by Dr Cristina Padilla, Chiropractor, Owner at Thrive Family Chiropractic, a house call chiropractic practice serving the NE Florida region.

Are you one of the thousands of employees or business owners who has been forced to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Chances are, you never thought this would be a long-term practice you needed to adapt and prepare for, right? I certainly wasn’t.

Most of us don’t have a dedicated office in our homes, because we never had to work from home for longer than a few hours here and there or maybe just to meet a deadline or project occasionally. Personally, I have been spending a lot of extra hours on Zoom calls and meetings as well as helping patients virtually. And my back and neck are feeling it. The irony of being  a Chiropractor …? I can’t adjust myself!

The most common complaints I have been getting from practice members these last few weeks have been: increase in headaches, neck and low back pain and stiffness. Why? They are working out of their couch, bed, dining room table, kitchen counter. They don’t have their nice and comfortable desk chairs and their workstations at home are less than ideal. Not only is this physically a problem, but ask your significant other to take a photo of what you look like while “in the zone”, working from home? Chances are you are hunched forward, your chair doesn’t have any back support and you are looking down way more than you should.

Not only is posture affected by these “new workspaces” but these changes in ergonomics can also lead to increase in headaches, trouble focusing and decrease in physical activity, all damaging to your body and health.

So here are a few tips to help improve your workstation and relieve some of the tension in your spine. As always, a visit to the Chiropractor (virtual if you would like) is highly encouraged to provide you with a long term plan to improve posture and overall health.

  1. Couches are for slouchers. Yes. I know. But someone had to tell you! Couches are made for comfort, not with good posture in mind. Most of them are soft and deep and they do nothing good for your spine when you are on episode 4 of Tiger King or at the Monday morning team meeting (wearing sweatpants …isn’t it wonderful!?)

In the absence of a desk chair, the ideal would be an inflatable exercise ball (this is the one I got, with a base and even workout bands! *non paid advertising* https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CTLNYVV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )

Another option is a sturdy chair, like a dining room chair, that has padding for you to sit on. For this, you may want to use a decorative pillow to support your low back or order a lumbar support pillow online. These are pretty inexpensive.

The bed and couch are the worst options because not only do they not provide good support, you have no way of keeping your workstation at eye level (more on this below) unless you have a portable desk that props up to keep your screen and devices at eye level as well as your keyboard and/or mouse as close to your body as possible.

  • Movement is life. Movement is important to increase bloodflow to your arms, legs and to get your heart rate up throughout the day. While there are a number of gyms and personal trainers providing free or inexpensive online workouts (North Jax Crossfit is my go to!), a lot of people may not be as inclined to exercise at home, because they don’t have equipment, they get lazy, they don’t have a partner to workout with … you name it, I’ve done it.

Two things that have worked well for me:

First, set up a simple workout station in an area that I tend to walk by a lot. I recently decided to put a yoga mat in my bedroom and I have been following a challenge in April of doing 50 burpees a day (I’m gonna be super honest…it’s not happening every day. But it’s happening a lot more than before – and it only really takes a few minutes! If you try it, post on social media and tag me @jaxmobilechiropractor )

Secondly, set up a timer for 5 minutes an hour of stretching and movement. Whether it is walking a few laps around the house, doing a few Sun Salutations (great stretch and easy to do!) or to do a few squats and jumping jacks – there is a lot of research supporting these can help boost your energy and give you focus! 

  • Water challenge. While you are up, go get a water refill. I try to use the largest glass or tumbler I have and every time I complete a task, a video call or the end of the hour, I make a point to finish my water and pour some more. Remember, you should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water a day – more if you are an avid coffee drinker like me. For every cup of coffee, add one cup of water! Make your water fun – berries, lime, lemons, oranges, cucumbers are refreshing ways to make water fun!!! I am currently obsessed with Arbonne’s Hydration tea (chamomile and other herbs, no caffeine!). Email me if you would like some samples!

I hope these tips are easy for you to implement to your daily routine. I have created a short exercise and stretching program specific to reverse the long hours of sitting at a desk, along with an article from Physitrack that exapands on how to evaluate if your workspace is ideal for you and your posture.

If you would like a digital copy of these or to schedule a complimentary ergonomic evaluation, please email thrivefamilychiro@yahoo.com or contact me via Facebook or Instagram at @jaxmobilechiropractor . Let’s Thrive!

Jax Thrive Mobile Chiropractor Corporate photography

Bored? 20+ Games You Should Buy Right Now!

Being in quarantine we are playing some games, mostly on the phone, BUT we own A LOT of games. We like to camp and go on group vacations with friends. It can be hard to pick out games, I mean, there are TONS, so here are some recommendations from our household to yours.

Let me know on facebook your favorites or any that we missed and should try:


Spot It— This game, no joke, is great for the youngest in your group to the oldest. I often pack it with me on family trips. We played it last summer with my son who was 4 at the time and my great aunt who is maybe 80.

It sounds crazy, but there are a set of pictures on each card and not every card has the same set of pictures, but they each have ONE image that matches. Your job is to be the first to find the match. I swear, sometimes I feel like there’s no way something matches, but there is! Great game, easy and quick to learn, not much to set up. Highly recommend it.

There are different themes too, like camping or Disney.

This one is good for most ages. The kids seem to really like it. I play it with them sometimes.

Other Card Games

Phase 10 is a go to game in our house. It’s like Rummy, I’m told (I’ve never actually played Rummy!). You have to make sets, etc, and each round is different. My 9yo likes to play this one with us.

I haven’t tried Snappy Dresser, but this 3 pack of games is a good deal and includes Uno!

Apples to Apples Type Game Play

Apples to Apples is a classic game. One person is the judge and they read a card, like “Next best thing since sliced bread” and every person has to give a card with their answer. The judge than picks their favorite answer.

This type of game may sound vaguely familiar to adults. Cards Against Humanity plays off this same idea. If you want a truly vulgar, 18+ politically incorrect game, CAH as it’s commonly known, would be my suggestion. Don’t forget add on packs for even more fun. I like the blank cards so you can add your own!

But, if you want something similar, but the kids want a good laugh too, try this one: Kids Against Maturity.

Domino Style Games

Qwirkle is a popular game in our house. It can be super tricky. you have to match the color or shape and you can’t duplicate in a row.

They have a new travel version and a new Qwirkle Cubes we haven’t tried yet.

We bought this one and we haven’t completely figured it out, but my daughter def. likes it.

Super Silly Games

This one is super popular online. We have one like this and haven’t gotten around to playing it yet!

We’ve only played Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza once. It’s a group memory game. You have to say the right word in the right order if you want to win. It’s harder than you would think.

Face Off. This one currently isn’t available on Amazon, as of my writing this, but this one is GREAT for groups. We have used it at home and with our Girl Scout gatherings. I would say ages 7+ would be best.

Word Games

If you like Scrabble or Words With Friends, I recommend Quiddler. It has rounds, kind of like Phase 10 (see other card games section). You can play a game in 15-30 minutes, depending on how many people are with you. I haven’t played it with my 9yo yet, but I think she could do it with some help.

Solo Play

Kanoodle is like a puzzle. My 9yo likes it. I bought it after seeing teachers request it.

Other Highly Rated Games

It took us a little bit to figure this one out, but once you do, it is a great game for the older crowd especially. If you have adults in your group who love to compete in Monopoly, THIS is the game for them. They even have different versions like a Game of Thrones one!

We bought Ticket To Ride from Target on like a Black Friday deal. We’ve broken it out once but haven’t completely played it yet. One of my friends said her family loves it and it’s like Monopoly but with trains. They do have MANY different options for this one, like individual country ones. There’s also a version for younger kids, called First Journey.

This next one, looks REALLY interesting an is actually cheaper and you can play with Alexa!!

If you like Connect 4, Santorini is like a 3D version. My daughter and I sometimes play this one. It’s a bit more complex than Connect 4 though. So I would say 8+ for this one.

Game Night In a Can. We bought this for a big family get together. We ended up not using it for that, but the girl scouts did and they loved it. I would recommend this for a business that is doing team building and scouts type stuff. Note: The can has changed and I’m not sure if they added new stuff to it, but it might be even better now?!

A Bit Harder

So, I bought this game about a year ago and it may hit too close to home for you right now, but that’s ok! If you have anyone who REALLY likes hard strategy games, this might be the one for them. Honestly, we brought this on vacation with our friends, and the guys were youtubing videos on how to play this and we still had deep discussions on what was the right way to do it. It is a highly rated game though. A bit too much for our house though!

In conclusion

I know that’s a lot of games, but we actually own MANY MORE than what I listed!!!! It’s crazy.

The games we usually bring with us on trips are: Spot it, Phase 10, Catan, and Quirkle.

When Christy Whitehead isn’t writing about all her crazy board games, she owns Christy Whitehead Photography, a studio in Jacksonville, Fl. She specializes in maternity, newborn, families, cake smashes and corporate work.

+Please note these may be affiliate links and we may make a little bit of money when you click on one to buy! Please let us know how you liked the games or if you have any new ones we should try!

Making Masks, Tips, Supplies & Other Useful Stuff

Since the studio is temporarily closed because of quarantine, I’ve been doing a lot of sewing. Mostly masks-for myself, my family, the medical community and anyone who has asked.

I’ve also been getting asked what templates I used, so I figured I’d make a blog post to share everything I’ve found about mask making in one blog.

But before I get into all the mask making info, here are some local groups you can join, donate too, help, buy from, etc:

Give Back

The Coding Sharks School, in Jax, needs donations to make shields for medical workers.

Feed the medical community www.FeedTheFrontLineNEFL.org

We have a group for the 904 area where medical personnel post their needs and also mask makers come to sell or donate masks. You can join it on Facebook here.

Another group you might be interested in is Jax Help for Healthcare.


Cotton fabric–many use the fleece on the mouth side for comfort.

You can pick up fabric at Joann‘s (order online and they’ll deliver it to your car. ALSO, if you go in, they were giving away a free mask making kit, one for each customer. It should make 2-4 masks). Download their app on your phone for coupons.

Fabric.com is another good one, but because of COVID they are limiting the types of things you can purchase, so the cheaper fabric is sometimes not available. Scroll to the bottom of their page and sign up for their newsletter to get 10% off.

Spoonflower is kind of like Etsy but for fabric. You’ll find some fun ones there.

This material is supposed to be better than N95: Haylard H-600 2 ply

You can see a video about it here:


The local stores seem to be running quite short on elastic. You can buy flat or round elastic.

Flat elastic holds better for sewing and you don’t have to knot the ends, the down side is, it probably bothers ears more and you want to make sure you lay it correctly while sewing so it lays flat in use.

The round skinny elastic is what I bought and what I use. I figured it would be better for wearing. The only downside I’ve found is I have to tie the ends to help keep it from coming out of the mask. I bought this from Amazon, it’s 109 yards. I’ve made over 100 masks and I don’t think I’ve used even half of this! Def. a great value.

Side note, if you want to make the mask more fitted around the nose, you can buy some pipe cleaners. Standard size, cut in half. I tried to order them off Joanns.com and they didn’t have them, but they did have them in store, and you have to go inside to get them. Or you can order some off Amazon.

General Info About Fabrics and Filter Material

No Sew Mask

Here’s the text info and the video:

And another one.

Rectangle Basic Mask

Pleated with interfacing template

Rectangle Mask with Pocket

Other Face Mask Templates

No pleat template/fitted.

Fitted with pocket for filter template.

Use your Cricut!

How to Clean a Mask

This has a video on how to make one but also goes into how to clean a mask.

If you decide to buy N95s:

On the news, N95 seems to be the best, but when I went to buy them online, I found different codes, if you’re concerned about where you buy them from I found this list of codes as to where each comes from:

N95 (United States NIOSH-42CFR84)

FFP2 (Europe EN 149-2001)

KN95 (China GB2626-2006)

P2 (Australia/New Zealand AS/NZA 1716:2012)

Korea 1st class (Korea KMOEL – 2017-64)

DS (Japan JMHLW-N)

And here is an article about the different types.

In conclusion

I hope you find all these links and videos helpful!

Christy Whitehead Photography


Follow me on IG and FB: @Jaxphotographer

Three fun, easy, and educational rhythm activities to do with your kids during a quarantine

Three fun, easy, and educational rhythm activities to do with your kids during quarantine

By Alisha Ramcharitar, Owner/Founder, Just Add Rhythm LLC

Developing any kind of schedule during this quarantine can be tough.  Parents have to multi-task like never before – handle the household, home school, work remotely, and somehow safely get groceries.

How can you keep the kids entertained during those long stretches at home?

Here, we give you three simple ideas for your kids to access the fun and benefits of rhythm from home – no instruments required.

BYO Drum

Recently, I hosted a Quarantine Songs Jam Session for families on Facebook Live.  Beforehand, I invited all participants to find items around their house they could use as instruments – Tupperware containers, pencils/pens, pots/pans, salt and pepper shakers…you get the idea.  Invite your kids to get creative, and don’t be afraid to join them! Schedule a family fun evening where everyone BYO’s their most creative idea to the jam session.  Play along to our Facebook Live session:

Quarantine songs jam!

Posted by Just Add Rhythm LLC on Thursday, April 2, 2020

Or you can find your own quarantine playlist.

Secret Song

Next, let’s try a game.  This is a crowd pleaser during our in-person sessions for all ages, and it’s super simple.  One person plays a short excerpt of a song on their “drum,” and everyone else has to guess what it is.  The obvious challenge is that because you’re only hearing the rhythm and not the melody, it’s harder to guess the song correctly. 

Of course, we encourage everyone to pick songs that most people will be familiar with (like nursery rhyme songs, Christmas or holiday songs, patriotic songs, etc.).  The example I usually give when I demonstrate is the Happy Birthday song (aren’t we all sick of singing that while we wash our hands).

Check out this Spotify playlist of songs almost everyone knows the words to (just be sure to check which few songs are explicit if you choose to play the recording) for some pop-inspired ideas.

Part of the fun is trying to figure out how to actually play the song on your instrument.  Once someone guesses it, you can all try to play it together – and have a laugh if you mess up!

Rhythmic Breathing

Finally, being stuck at home and dealing with this quarantine can be stressful.  Your kids might feel anxiety or worry about the health and safety of themselves, their family, their friends.  They might be wondering when it will end, and when they can go back to school, back to their usual activities.  Or, they (and you!) might just need a mental break.

We can help them manage some of that stress or anxiety with a rhythmic breathing exercise called the Stopwatch Technique.  Percussionist Jim Donovan (formerly of the band Rusted Root) leads transformational rhythm programs to empower people to use sound to improve their health.  He developed this simple technique that aligns slow, deep breathing with light rhythmic tapping on your lap.  Follow along with Jim’s video here:

We’re all in this together

Did you find these activities fun and helpful?  Drop a line on Facebook to let us know how the kids enjoyed them, and be sure to follow us.

You can also find us here:



We’re all in this together.  Please reach out to us if we can offer you any additional resources, exercises, or techniques to try!  Rhythm is fun, and it’s also been proven to help improve our mental, physical, and emotional health.  Let’s get drumming!

Contact us (https://justaddrhythmnow.com/contact-us/)

Alisha Ramcharitar, M.A. is a global bridge between West African culture and corporate and community wellness.  The Founder of Just Add Rhythm, she leads interactive, innovative programs in the Jacksonville area and throughout Florida.  Alisha is a REMO endorsed and HealthRHYTHMS® trained facilitator. She and her husband are the proud parents of an energetic baby boy and an even more rambunctious Goldendoodle.  She’d like to think she’s as good a ukulele player as Zooey Deschanel.

7 Photo Craft Projects Your Kids and Family Will Love Doing Together

Cute ways to incorporate photos into your arts & crafts projects.

Children love to be creative. Whether it’s finger painting on a Saturday morning or a new macaroni portrait of the dog, arts and craft projects are a fantastic way to not only get them to have some fun by exerting those creative juices but it’s also great for keeping them busy for a while.

If you’re always taking photos and are looking for new ways to display them, incorporating your latest shots into your child’s next arts and craft project is the perfect way to do just that.

Below are some fun ideas.

  1. Frame your memories. There are so many fun frames that you can make with your children that can be used to display your favorite photoss. If you’re heading to the seaside for your next holiday, make a point of bringing back a few shells that can be used to create a cute frame.
  2. Create a puzzle. Choose one of your favorite photos, enlarge it and print it. Stick the photo on some sturdy cardboard and coat it with an acrylic spray to protect it. Cut out some puzzle shapes and let your child put the photo back together again.  OR, check out this method for making a Lego puzzle: https://www.icanteachmychild.com/lego-picture-puzzles/
  3. Craft a fridge magnet. Get your child to draw something from their imagination but leave a space for a photo in the picture. Laminate the drawing and attach magnetic sheets or tape to the back for an instant photo frame for your fridge.
  4. Make a mobile. A mobile is a unique way to display your family tree. Checkout sites such as Pinterest for inspiration. There are tons of creative templates to use.
  5. Make a coaster. See those photos year round with a cool tile coaster, or put it on an easel for display. Maybe even put your child’s hand print on the back!
  6. Make an ornament! Use the photo transfer method mentioned below to transfer the image onto a ceramic ornament.
  7. Make a necklace of photo pendants. https://www.handimania.com/diy/photo-pendant.html

Doing a photo transfer is a great way to do many projects: http://www.architectureofamom.com/2014/11/photo-transfer-ceramic-ornament.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+ArchitectureOfAMom+(Architecture+of+a+Mom)&crlt.pid=camp.EpAnoqboi8df

Using family photos in your next arts and crafts session is the perfect way to bond with your child and share some beautiful memories. Have fun!

Christy Whitehead is a professional photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She specializes in newborn, families and headshots. Don’t feel like making your own art wall? Christy has lots of cool portrait options from prints mounted to wood or even printed on metal.

Check her out online:



How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer

How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer

Tips for what you need to consider before you pay that photography deposit.

Finding the perfect photographer can be overwhelming. There are a couple of important things to consider before booking.

What style are you looking for?

Photographers have different styles so you need to decide on someone who can help you achieve the end result you are looking for. This applies to everything from wedding and maternity shoots to family and corporate shoots. Ask the photographer for some examples of their latest work to evaluate whether they can cater to your needs.


Look at their website and Facebook page. Are the portraits in focus? Are the colors off? Is the posing good?

Photographers typically only post a couple of their best photos from a session, so if the ones posted aren’t that great, it’s not a good sign.

Research and review.

Before you invest in a professional photographer you need to do your homework. Get online to find a few customer reviews, browse around their website to view their latest work and have a look around their social media pages to find out what others are saying about them. These platforms will also give you a good idea of their personality and style.

We have a ton of positive yelp reviews and Facebook reviews.

Some other important points to consider when researching photographers are:

  1. Budget. Do their services fall within your price range? Do they have a payment plan?
  2. Expertise. Are they experienced enough to give you the results you are looking for?
  3. Location. Are they based in your area and are they willing to travel to a specific location if need be? Do they have a studio?
  4. Quality. Is the quality of their photos good enough? Look at aspects such as sharpness, exposure, and saturation.

How about newborn photographers?

You don’t want just anyone handling your sweet new baby. Check to make sure the studio is licensed and insured. How many newborns have they photographed? What safety measures do they take?

Where are they photographing your baby or family? On railroad tracks–that is illegal. In a glass jar–highly dangerous! Hanging in a crocheted blanket from a tree limb–scary!

What about after the session?

Does the photographer provide any retouchups? Head swaps?

Our studio does full retouchups, removing acne, marks, etc. This is included as part of our service.

Who to choose?

Get in touch with the photographers you are considering and ask any questions that you might have. It’s important that you chat with the photographer over the phone if not in person as this is the best way to get to know them and find out whether you’re comfortable with them and feel they can do the job you need them to do.

It’s important that you pick a photographer that you have confidence in. While there is nothing wrong with helping out your hobby photographer friend who has just started out, it’s best to choose an experienced photographer for important events and occasions that you can’t relive.

jacksonville photographer

Our studio does studio and on location portraits and we’d be happy to discuss your session ideas with you.

How to Take Your own Newborn Photos Like a Pro, Tips From a Newborn Photographer

How to Take Newborn Photos like a Pro

By Christy Whitehead, www.JaxPhotographer.com

The first year of your baby’s life they change so much from day to day. While I highly recommend professional portraits, here’s some tips for capturing a few moments on your own as well.

newborn photography jacksonville fl
Newborn photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. Specializing in custom sets like this Toy Story set.

Let’s talk Lighting

Lighting is your friend, but not all lighting is created equal. Have you ever noticed how sometimes photos have a yellowish tint? Yeah, you can thank those indoor lights. So let’s look for some window/natural light.

Position your baby so that their head is closest to the window, and their little booty is parallel to the window (if you want mainly face photo) or farthest away from the window (if you want full body).

In studio, I use a big light that acts very similar to a window light and position it just to my right, and maybe slightly to my back.

Keep in mind, shadows are your friend! Without shadows, you’ll have a flat image and you won’t see all those cute little baby rolls.


Next thing to think about is the angle you take the photo, you don’t want to shoot so that you don’t see up into the baby’s nostrils, as that’s not flattering and creates a “black hole.”

Don’t forget to step back and get full body, as well as get close and get details.

If you’re doing a naked baby shot, you also have to think about all those little bits. You want everything tucked in so you don’t see their genitals. Push comes to shove, a little blanket can help cover things up.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Shoot straight on, stand up higher and get a shot from above, etc. Even going on the shadowed side and shooting back at the baby can create a nice effect.


A large bean bag that is a bit stiff is a good place to start with posing your little one.

Some large throw blankets work great over the bean bag to not only help keep your little one warm, but also give you a nice soft backdrop.

Rolled towels are great for putting under the blankets to help prop them up.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Props or No Props?

Some people prefer very simple and clean. Either baby completely naked or with a little outfit on they want something that represents them and their personalities.

I often try to do both. But it’s something you’ll have to think about when you’re thinking about your own photos, what do you like?


Some different popular poses with your little one.

Families together.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Siblings with the new baby.

Depending on the older child’s age, you might want to position them laying down next to each other, or have the older child sit on the ground with the new baby in his lap. (I would have a spotter though, just in case!)

With each parent, individually.

Naked, skin on skin with dad is fun, especially if he has tattoos. Or if he’s military or has another uniform, that can be a great way to customize it.


If you’re having a hard time getting your little one settled, a swaddled baby is typically a happy baby!

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Baby on tummy.

This gets a nice cute shot of their whole little body laying down in that cute little pose, showing off their toes and fingers.

Hands on arms/elbows, front view.

This is more of a straight shot of your little one, but can include a little bit of their whole body. But the focus is more on the face.

Head in hands.

Get dad to hold the new baby in his hands, it shows how little the baby’s head is at this time in his life, compared to daddy’s hands.

Wedding rings on toes or fingers.

This would be especially sentimental if you plan on gifting your child with those rings one day.

Baby on his back.

This can be a very natural pose for little one and if he has gas, the tummy pose may irritate them, but this pose is usually pretty comfortable.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Buckets and baskets.

Using a bucket or basket is popular with newborn photographers


Special toys can be a great way to make your session extra special. Oversided teddy? Make it look like your little one is sleeping in it’s lap. Grandma make the little one a special little doll, have her hold it.

Special items, like a wedding dress or veil is another nice idea to incorporate.

Use the crib as part of your session. Pose your little one in there on their belly, face towards you and shoot them through the bars or from above.

Types of Newborn Photography

There are two main different types of newborn photographers, lifestyle and studio/posed.

Lifestyle photographers are photographing things as they happen naturally. So if you like this style, you like the photos of the chaos of everyday situations—the house the way it is, the kids doing what they, want, etc. The only problem with doing this type of session yourself, is lifestyle sessions typically include YOU, the parent.

Studio/posed photography is how I typically shoot. While I shoot families with their little ones, it’s in studio, posed for the best possible results. While the family photos would be exceptionally hard to get on your own, since you need to hold the little one AND take the photo, posing your little one for some photos of only them.

newborn photography jacksonville fl


Cell phones have come a long way, but even as a professional, I still struggle to get great shots from my cell phone, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone!

I shoot with Canon professional SLR cameras, if you want some info about what I shoot with and what I recommend, check out the For Photographers section on my website for info about education and gear. https://www.jaxphotographer.com/photographers/faq-gear-getting-legal


Baby rolling, or kicking out. Little ones like to push and kick, always be careful of where they are on a prop, make sure they aren’t too close to an edge or on an unstable prop, like a bucket without help. I have an assistant or parent sit near me, within reach in case they need to grab the little one, as safety is of the utmost importance.

Strap on camera. This may sound crazy, but if you’re photographing above the baby, make sure the strap is on your wrist tight or around your neck. The last thing you would want is to accidentally drop the camera on your little one!

Glass jars, etc. There was a time when people put babies into glass jars with their heads sticking out, etc. This is dangerous. What if the baby kicks out or something happens and the jar falls and cracks? I would only hope that all photos using things like glass jars are being photoshopped and not really done.

Railroad tracks. What most people don’t realize is, shooting on railroad tracks is illegal. Even adults who know what they are doing have been caught by surprise and killed, here in the US, so just avoid the railroad tracks.

Fabric hanging. Sometimes, people request a shot of their little one inside a wrap, lifted off the ground. When we shoot this, we do this on top of a bean bag and there is a spotter right there to help in case the little one were to fall, etc.

Taco Pose.

A lot of people love the shot with the babies legs all the way to the front near the baby’s face. I’m not a huge fan of this shot. Not all babies will do this pose, some just aren’t this limber. Also, if they have gas, tummy issues, or anything else that is bothering them, they may not want to do this pose at all.

newborn photography jacksonville fl

Head on hands.

This is a popular request and we do it quite a bit. But what most people don’t realize is, this shot is typically composited. Basically, we set the baby up in the pose, and my assistant holds their hands at the bottom, under the chin, I take a photo, and then she moves her hand to hold the baby’s head and I take another photo. Then I combine these shots in Photoshop, to create what looks like the baby is resting on her hands. Little baby heads are quite heavy and it would not be comfortable for them to rest on their hands, if they can do it at all. So if you’ve tried to do this shot and couldn’t, this is the secret of how I do it!


Even with all these tips, I don’t know that I could even go over everything I’ve learned over the years on how to create the best newborn portraits while keeping your little one’s safety in mind.

If you’re struggling to take photos of your little baby, or just overwhelmed with the thought of it, give me a call, (904) 891-0359 or shoot me an email Christy@jaxphotographer.com

Christy Whitehead is a pregnancy, newborn and cake smash photographer in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been voted best photographer multiple times and has been featured on Buzzfeed multiple times for her fun and geeky photos.




newborn photography jacksonville fl
Some of our geeky newborn sets!