4 Tips for Raising Happy, Emotionally Healthy Children

“Emotional intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years. All the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages.” ~Daniel Goleman   I consider myself an expert on the emotional needs of children. Mostly because I was one. No one goes into parenthood anticipating the ways they will psychologically damage their children. At least I don’t think they do. I hope not. It’s far more likely that most go into parenthood wanting the best for their children, hoping to do more for them than their own parents were able to do. So, why is it that so many come out of childhood scathed in some way? My parents fed me and sheltered me. I learned how to take care of myself physically and to manage the tasks of adulthood. I was responsible and productive. Yet, I was far from happy and fulfilled. I did not come out of childhood feeling good about myself. I had no idea how to identify how I was feeling, let alone express it in ways that were not destructive in some way. I did not learn what a healthy relationship looked like, with myself or others. Technologically and economically speaking, we have made tremendous strides in the last 100 years. It is actually pretty phenomenal if you take a minute to look at history. World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars took up resources and energy in the early to mid part of the 20th century, and everyone had to step up and out of their comfort zones to keep things going, within the family and within our country. There was tremendous change on a national level. The earlier part of those 100 years were often about survival for families. Putting food on the table and a roof over their heads was a priority. Everyone doing their part in managing household responsibilities was paramount. Disposable income and disposable time were luxuries. For the most part, that has all changed. Huge technological and economical advancement only left psychological and emotional growth lagging sorely behind. Does anyone find it strange that we spend twelve years or more in an education system, which is supposed to prepare us for life, but no one teaches us how to navigate our own emotional world? We take classes for everything from learning to draw to playing an instrument to getting a medical degree or becoming an accountant to learning karate and gymnastics or learning to cook, yet we get little to no education on our psychological and emotional health. We are completely caught up in and focused on our physical health, unaware that our emotional health or lack thereof plays out in our bodies every minute of every day. Why does mental health have a stigma and physical health does not? They are completely intertwined. If we were healthier emotionally, we would be healthier physically. I think most of us would agree that the world often looks like it [...]

2018-11-21T15:38:20-08:00 By |

Meditation for Kids: The Antidote to “Screen Time”

Children Can Tap Into Their Inner World and Find a Treasure Trove of Intuition, Happiness, and Peace   Children today are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of media. The average American child consumes a little more than two hours of screen time every. single. day. My kids get limited screen time. I am practical in my idealism and am not a purist about this issue, but it certainly concerns me. I can see their energy plummet after watching something and am often left wondering why I allowed it. In the “old days” TV ads were the family nemesis, transforming children into effective sales reps who used unfair tactics, especially the dramatic super-human-whine to convince their parents. The parents’ best defense was to turn off the boob tube. Alas, this is no longer a viable strategy. Now, media is everywhere, in our purse, our pocket, our car headrest. Ninety-eight percent of American households with children under eight years old have access to a mobile smart device, regardless of income, according to Common Sense Media. If we as parents are addicted; how can our children stand a chance against the lure of the hypnotic blue glow and the endless variety of engrossing entertainment? In an age when media is so pervasive and the numbers of children with depression and ADD/ADHT are skyrocketing, it is essential to provide the antidote to the insanity: meditation. Meditation is the antidote to screen time for many reasons. When we meditate, we use different neural pathways in the brain, which provides a completely different experience. We are able to concentrate, turn off our five senses and discover the more subtle and formative experiences found within. The inner world is a treasure trove of intuition, happiness, peace, and so much more. Unfortunately, it is drowned out by the over stimulation of this culture and time. It is important to introduce meditation with sensitivity and non-attachment to the results. If you want to encourage your children to meditate, the worst thing we can do as parents is impose our well-intentioned desires on them. The best way to get your child curious about meditation is to lead by example. There are many meditation techniques suitable for children. Here are a few of my favorites: Candlelight Meditation Help your child to light a candle and set it in front of her (or him, I just had to pick a pronoun). Invite her to sit up straight with legs crossed (we call it “crisscross apple sauce” at home). Ask her to watch the candle flame with eyes open for at least a few seconds or as long as she can sit calmly. Then, invite her to close her eyes and tell you if she can still see the candle behind her closed eyes. Listen closely to what she describes. Repeat the exercise, opening eyes and watching the candle quietly and then closing the eyes and describing what she sees with eyes closed. You can adapt this for [...]

2018-10-24T15:43:07-07:00 By |

Eating Healthy Meals as a Family Found to Reduce High-Risk Behaviors in Children

Food quality just as important for children as eating together as a family   Studies have shown that when children eat meals with other family members, especially healthy meals, they're less likely to become involved in disordered eating, drug abuse or practice unsafe sex. (1) Considering that up to 15 percent of youth in the United States suffer from depression and approximately 80 percent of 10-year-old girls have been on a diet, the findings offer hope for the future of children. (1,2) One study from the University of Illinois found that, when a child ate meals with their family, they were 24 percent more likely to eat healthier foods and 35 percent less likely to engage in disordered eating. (1) According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), about 10 million men and 20 million women in the United States have a clinically significant eating disorder. (2) Many of them range from bulimia and anorexia to ones not yet clinically classified, but which still involve extremely unhealthy behaviors. Food quality just as important for children as eating together as a family Experts suggest that, when eating together, where the focus is not on watching television or eating mindlessly alone, children are more apt to engage in conversation that reduces states of depression that are often linked to drug use and other unhealthy actions. They also note that quality of food in addition to quality of conversation is important. Providing children with healthy foods is essential. Dr. Felice Jacka of Deaken University led one of the studies that showed a link between higher-quality food and mental health improvements. She said, "In the U.S., as in the rest of the world, diet quality appears to be on the decline largely due to the availability of highly processed, high-fat, refined sugar foods." (1) Consumption of high-fat, sugary foods can, among other things, lead to obesity, which has been associated with premature puberty in girls who may reach that state as young as 10.5 years of age. (3) Girls who reach puberty so young are more likely to develop uterine and breast cancer later in life as well as face unwanted sexual advances, since they are often mistaken as older. (3) Healthy food tips Eating healthy foods, ideally with family members, can therefore help keep the childhood obesity epidemic at bay and, in turn, pave the way for the youth of America to live long, healthy lives. Healthy foods include fresh, whole and organic nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. When making recipes for children, it's also helpful to be creative, trying meals that involve healthy food substitutes, such as swapping out traditional items when making a muffin and using zucchini as a main ingredient. Experts at the family-oriented publication Parents suggest this idea, as well as incorporating plenty of healthy frozen treats, fruits and vegetables like sweet potato "chips" in a child's diet. (4) Sources for this article include: (1) http://news.therawfoodworld.com (2) http://blogs.naturalnews.com (3) http://blogs.naturalnews.com (4) http://www.parents.com http://science.naturalnews.com About [...]

2018-10-24T14:26:04-07:00 By |

Probiotics and Autism

Learn the Possible Cause   Many autism experts claim that several types of foods and diets can effectively treat or help children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Some autism researchers also believe there is a strong link between the functioning of the brain and the gut. But with the very large number of foods and recommended diets out there, how can you determine what works best for your child and adult family member(s) with autism? In this article, we discuss the various theories, as well as the effectiveness of probiotics or the so called “friendly bacteria” and diets in helping ease the symptoms of autism. What is the Possible Cause? In their study on autism, researchers led by Dr. Paul Ashwood of the University of California, Davis’ Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (M.I.N.D.) Institute identified proofs linking autism with changes in the brain, gastrointestinal (GI) distress, immune dysfunction, and severe repetitive behaviors. According to Dr. Ashwood, they found that children with autism have elevated levels of dendritic cells, which are considered as the ‘generals’ of the immune system. He claimed the dendritic cells serve a key role in the body’s immune response to microorganisms, including the disease-causing germs and normal digestive bacteria. Several scientists, meanwhile, have discovered several rare genetic changes or mutations linked with autism. However, they also found an intricate and different combination of genetic risk and environmental factors affecting early brain development of a child that further increase his/her risk of developmental delays or autism. Among the most discussed theories include environmental risk factors, advanced age of both father and mother at the time of conception, very low birth weight, maternal illness during pregnancy, extreme prematurity of birth, and difficulties during birth, particularly the times in which the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen. Download your FREE guide here   Autism, Probiotics and Digestive Health Based on various studies, individuals with autism often have abnormal digestive health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Kids with autism were also found to have an elevated number of the pathogenic bacteria called ‘Clostridia’, as well as the lesser known bacteria called Sutterrella in their guts. Meanwhile, a number of studies showed probiotic microorganisms have positive effects on the digestive health of both adults and children. These healthy microorganisms are contained in the probiotics supplements that can be used to treat ASD, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly in children. The US Department of Health’s (DOH) and National Institute of Health (NIH) claimed that gut health and autism are interrelated.  According to the agency, the postnatal development of a child depends largely on the microbiome or the balance of organisms in his/her digestive tract. Every child should have a healthy gut in order to develop proper immune function, regulate inflammation, and support proper and healthy development. To achieve a healthy gut, the thousands of strains of good bacteria should live in balance with the “bad bacteria.”  In the event that the bad bacteria [...]

2018-10-12T18:03:37-07:00 By |

Six Food Mistakes Parents Make

Don't Give Up on Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthy!   Here’s a look at six common mistakes parents make when feeding their children. 1. Sending Children Out of the Kitchen It is understandable that parents don’t want children close to hot stoves, boiling water and sharp knives. But studies suggest that involving children in meal preparation is an important first step in getting them to try new foods. 2. Pressuring Them to Take a Bite Demanding that a child eat at least one bite of everything is likely to backfire. Studies show that children react negatively when parents pressure them to eat foods, even if the pressure offers a reward. 3. Keeping “Good Stuff” Out of Reach Parents worry that children will binge on treats, so they often put them out of sight or on a high shelf. But a large body of research shows that if a parent restricts a food, children just want it more. 4. Dieting in Front of Your Children Kids are tuned into their parents’ eating preferences and are far more likely to try foods if they see their mother or father eating them. Parents who are trying to lose weight should be aware of how their dieting habits can influence a child’s perceptions about food and healthful eating. 5. Serving Boring Vegetables Calorie-counting parents often serve plain steamed vegetables, so it’s no wonder children are reluctant to eat them. Nutritionists say parents shouldn’t be afraid to dress up the vegetables. 6. Giving Up Too Soon Eating preferences often change. Parents should keep preparing a variety of healthful foods and putting them on the table, even if a child refuses to take a bite. In young children, it may take 10 or more attempts over several months to introduce a food. Dr. Mercola's Comments: Considering a child’s attitudes about food and nutrition are overwhelmingly formed by their parents’ same attitudes, the way you approach food, mealtimes, and food preparation is vital to your child’s future health. About two years ago, I posted a survey from the America On The Move Foundation that found 71 percent of children get information about how to be healthy from their mothers, and 43 percent get such information from their fathers. Case in point, this New York Times article points out that preschoolers will like or reject the same fruits and vegetables that their parents like or dislike. And girls are more likely to be picky eaters if their mothers don’t like vegetables. Parents have also been found to be the strongest influence in how much soda kids drink. So getting healthy yourself and adopting healthy attitudes about food are two of the best things you can do for your children. You’re Not Doing Your Children Any Favors By … Most parents do try to feed their kids relatively healthy, but a lot of factors tend to get in the way. First of all, there’s so much misinformation out there about what’s healthy and [...]

2018-09-17T18:53:31-07:00 By |

One of the Worst Parenting Mistakes You Can Make

Is TV Dangerous for Your Kids?   No matter how physically active a child is, time spent in front of the computer or television screen is associated with psychological problems. In other words, children can't make up for TV time by spending extra hours exercising. The findings also suggest that the way children spend their sedentary time, in addition to how much time they spend being sedentary in the first place, matters for their mental health. According to Live Science: "... [R]esearchers asked 1,013 British 10- and 11-year-olds how much time each day they spent in front of a computer or TV. The children also wore accelerometers around their waists for a week to track their physical activity and sedentary time ... The study found that ... more than two hours a day in front of a TV or computer was associated with more emotional and behavioral difficulties." Dr. Mercola's Comments: I've written about the wide variety of health benefits that exercise provides, one of which is treating depression and boosting mental health. These benefits apply to children as well as adults, and, in fact, the younger you start, the greater the long-term benefits. However, there's nary a household in the US that doesn't have at least one TV, and/or a computer, and for all their potential benefits, TV-watching and computer use also has a long list of drawbacks, especially where children are concerned. Most troubling is the finding that you may not be able to compensate for time spent in front of the TV or the computer screen. Because regardless of your child's overall level of physical activity, spending more than two hours a day on these digital displays may be all it takes to impact their mental and emotional health... Kids Spend an Astounding Amount of Time Watching TV or Using Computer Today, less than one-third of kids aged 6 to 17 get at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. Compare that to the TV-watching statistics below, and you'll realize just how troublesome the above findings may be. It may even be a crucial part of the equation that might explain why so many children are now using anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs. The average American watches nearly FIVE HOURS of TV a day More than half of American children have a television in their bedroom; one study put the number at 70 percent Twice as many adolescents with a television in their bedroom watch more than five hours of TV a day compared with youths without a TV in their bedroom 90 percent of American toddlers, under the age of 2, watch TV, videos and DVD's regularly About 40 percent of babies, under 3 months of age, watch TV, videos and DVD's regularly Based on a 2007 survey of families in two states, kids at 3 months watched less than an hour of TV daily, and that viewing time climbed to 90 minutes as children reached the toddler stage Visual digital [...]

2018-09-11T14:39:13-07:00 By |

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Kids Are Picky Eaters, but These Tips will Help You Make Sure They Are Getting the Nutrients They Need   Getting the Kids on Your Side Getting kids to eat healthy can be a challenge. It seems everywhere you go high sugar and low nutrition foods are screaming out for their attention. So instead of arguing with the little ones, why not start today and show them how to make wise food selections for every meal of the day. This is a great way to get them on your side and teach them to follow healthy eating habits for a lifetime. The best way to do this is the get them involved in meal planning, shopping for groceries and preparing the meals. While it may be difficult to bring them on every trip to the grocery store or prepare every meal, but most importantly letting them do something every now and then makes them part of the decision making process. They will be more interested in giving opinions and making healthy food choices if they know their input matters. Check out these simple ideas to get your children involved with daily meals. Ask your kids to pick out their favorite fruit or vegetable and you’ll pack in their school lunch. Allow them to select one healthy side dish with each meal. It can sliced peaches, canned beans, fresh strawberries, it doesn’t matter. This gives them a better understanding of what a well-balanced meal should look like on the plate. Encourage them to be involved with preparing the meal. It can be as simple at peeling the husks from the corn or counting the potatoes for mashed potatoes. Ask your kids to select a simple recipe they would like to make for dinner. Making rice or spaghetti sauce are always winners. One of the benefits of having them help to make the meal is they will eat it without complaint or hassle. Include a Fruit or Vegetable with Every Meal This little secret is an excellent way to help your little ones to eat more fruits or vegetables. For example, toss in some dried cherries into the rice side dish or add chopped mushrooms to the green beans. Also, consider putting a 21-day restriction on purchasing any pop or soda every month. The reason is it takes 21 days to create a new habit. You’ll soon find if these high sugar drinks aren’t readily available in the house, they won’t be craved. During this time simply switch from carbonated beverages water or 100% natural and freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices your children will not crave pop or soda. Drinking a glass of juice is a great way to add 1 – 2 servings of fruit or vegetables to their diet daily.Also, be a good example to your kids. This doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite indulgence. For example, snack on an apple while taking your children to school or pack a light [...]

2018-09-05T16:32:56-07:00 By |

Interactive Healthy Eating Tips for Kids

3 Amazing Tips to Get Your Kids Involved in Making Healthy Food Choices!   Kids love to be actively involved in doing stuff. So by giving them fun activity to do is a great way to teach them how to make healthy food choices. So check out these fun and exciting interactive tips to encourage kids to established routines that will remain with them throughout their life. Tip #1: Grow Your Food Get the kids interested in growing their own food and gardening. This doesn’t mean they are growing 2 acres of corn or harvesting tart cherries, but simply a small garden on the back deck or backyard. Plant the easy stuff like tomatoes, beans or maybe an indoor herb garden. The purpose this kid garden is not feed your family daily, but to get the kids to eat some of the freshly grown produce. You’ll be amazed how they’ll soon start watching the tomatoes ripen or the beans grown. Tip #2: Start Fruit and Vegetable of the Week A weekly schedule is a creative to get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables regularly. It also is a great way to introduce them to new foods. It’s simple to implement. All you need to do is select a fruit or vegetable at the beginning of the week and try to eat it throughout the week. For example, if you select carrots and apples. You could include raw carrots in the kid’s school lunch and cooked carrots with dinner. The chopped apples with peanut butter could be enjoyed as a quick after school snack. They also make an excellent side dish for dinner, too. Simply heat up a sauce pan, toss in the apples with a little brown sugar. Cook until they are softened and serve. In addition to eating the fruits and vegetables of the week, teach about the natural health benefits of each particular food. For example, did you know that apples can help with asthma? Or tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, they are can help with sleep. Learning little health facts, make it fun for the kids and also helps them to understand the importance of how fruit and vegetables help them stay healthy. Check out How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy post Here is quick list to help get you started with your weekly calendar. Weekly Schedule: Fruit and Vegetable Schedule Health Benefit InformationFruits and vegetables are great sources vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body in both adults and children. Teaching your kids about eating a balanced diet is vital to maintain a lifetime of good health. Tip #3: Daily Eating ChecklistsCreate healthy eating checklists daily. This will help you and your kids to better keep track of and manage healthy eating habits.Here are just a few easy-to-use worksheets to help you started. Each checklist helps to keep track of how your household including fruits and vegetables into their daily meals. Health Eating Checklist – [...]

2018-08-28T14:54:12-07:00 By |

The Amazing Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast Milk Helps Protect Preemies Against Blindness   Contrary to what infant formula companies want you to believe, infant formula cannot replace breast milk when it comes to protecting your baby's health and promoting healthy long-term development. In fact, breastfeeding offers a long list of life-long health benefits not just for the baby but for mother as well. Considering the fact that babies have been successfully raised on breast milk since the beginning of mankind, it stands to reason that breast milk is a perfect food in every way, providing a growing infant with everything it needs. Modern science confirms this logic, and it is my hope that more women start reevaluating their choice to substitute breastfeeding with infant formulas. Nursing even has health benefits beyond nutrition. As noted in the video above, breastfeeding helps expand your child's palate and allows his oral cavity to develop properly, which helps prevent breathing disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea, and all the health risks associated with such sleep disruptions. Breast Milk Is a Complete Food As noted in the featured article in The Stranger:1 "Colostrum, the thick golden liquid that first comes out of a woman's breasts after giving birth ... is engineered to be low in fat but high in carbohydrates and protein, making it quickly and easily digestible ... Mature breast milk, which typically comes in a few days after a woman has given birth, is 3 to 5 percent fat and holds an impressive list of minerals and vitamins: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and E. Long chain fatty acids like DHA (an omega-3) and AA (an omega-6) — both critical to brain and nervous-system development — also abound in mother's milk. The principal carbohydrate in breast milk is lactose, which provides copious calories and energy to fuel babies' relentless round-the-clock growth ... Other sugars are also present, including some 150 oligosaccharides ... complex chains of sugars unique to human milk ... These oligosaccharides can't be digested by infants; they exist to feed the microbes that populate a baby's digestive system. And speaking of microbes, there's a ton of them in breast milk ... much like yogurt and naturally fermented pickles and kefir, that keep our digestive systems functioning properly." Besides healthy bacteria, breast milk is also loaded with nutrient growth factors that support the growth of beneficial bacteria, along with components that inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and yeast. So breast milk really "primes" your baby's gut and promotes the colonization of a healthy microbiome. This, we now know, is critical for both short- and long-term health. Another important nutrient in breast milk that is not found in infant formula is cholesterol, which provides other crucial components for the formation of healthy nerve tissues. Breast Milk Offers Natural Immunity As noted in the featured article,2 "Not nearly enough people know about this mind-blowing characteristic of breast milk: It changes daily based on signals from the baby." Indeed, [...]

2018-08-27T18:32:40-07:00 By |