Kids, naturally, need vitamins and minerals. Not only do they need them for the same reasons we do, but they also need extra vitamins and minerals to build their bodies up to their full adult size. A deficiency in even one micronutrient would mean a kid develops rickets, skin problems, allergies, or a poor attention span. So, naturally, as parents we want to feed our kids the healthiest possible diet, loaded with vitamins and minerals. But it isn't always as simple as wanting and doing.
When we try and feed our kids properly, it can be a real challenge to keep on top of the micronutrients, for two major reasons. The first reason is that it is easy to follow macronutrients, that is, fats, proteins, and carbs, because they are really obvious and memorable; but it is not so simple to follow micronutrients. You may be able to say, for example, whether bread is high in carbs or not, and even the number of calories per slice. But could you tell me, off the top of your head, how much selenium it has? There are just too many micronutrients, and our kids' needs are just too variable, for us to be aware of all the different things they may need in all the different foods they may eat.
And the second reason is that our kids generally do not like nutrient rich foods. As adults we either enjoy, or tolerate, foods that are very high in micronutrients. Liver, broccoli, and mushrooms, for example, are either enjoyed or dutifully swallowed by adults to make sure that they get all their micronutrients, sort of like a natural multivitamin. But kids are not so happy to eat these things. Which means that one of the few guaranteed ways of loading up on vitamins and minerals is not an option.
However, there are ways of ensuring that our kids eat enough micronutrients. The first is pure and simple: variety. If your kid eats enough different foods, they are bound to eat enough micronutrients over the course of the week. Make sure your kids eat at least one food from each category every week: nuts and seeds, leaves, berries, sweet fruit, non-sweet fruit, starches, legumes, meats or substitutes, dairy or substitutes, and omega 3 rich foods. You may not consistently hit their RDA, but other days you may exceed it, balancing things out a little.
There are a few other great tricks. For example, you can work out the micronutrient contents of their favorite whole foods. This way, you can tell them what they need to eat that day to hit their micronutrient needs, and why. Plus, because you're only learning about twenty or so different foods, it is much easier to memorize their vitamin and mineral levels. So we can keep a better eye on our kids' nutrition and push them in the right direction.
Another great way of getting your kids to eat vitamins and minerals is to bargain. Simply talking with your kids about the importance of these nutrients is sometimes enough to persuade them. Other times you may need to offer a reward, or to combine a nutrient-dense food with a desired treat to get them to eat properly.
Finally, if all else fails, you might want to consider a children's multivitamin. If you really have tried everything and there is no way this kid will get nutrients from whole food, then it is better to throw in the towel and feed them a multivitamin than to let them go without their essential vitamins and minerals! Talk to your doctor about your child's dietary requirements and current eating habits, so that you can work out a meal plan and supplement combination which will suit your child and your family best. And remember: there is no shame in supplements if that's what you need to do. Perhaps your kid is a supertaster, or autistic, or going through a growth spurt. They may have a legitimate reason for avoiding healthy foods, and it is your job as a parent to nourish them, not let them go without vital nutrients because an internet guru said whole foods were the only way.
Kids lunchboxes are under a sort of continual scrutiny for some reason which is pretty hard for me to understand. From schools giving us weird guidelines such as kids needing a “grain” instead of a starch, to Instagram mommies boasting of their healthy, ornate, cultured bento boxes, it seems that what our children are munching on matters to absolutely everyone. And yet, the one thing we may be failing to consider is: this is our kids' lunch. It may sound silly, but between bending over backwards to comply to school lunch inspections and leaping to try and outdo celebrity kids' food, we are neglecting the central aspect of a lunchbox: putting together a healthy, wholesome, enjoyable meal which will keep our kids fueled all day long.
So how can we make sure that our kids are getting the very best, healthiest meal for their age, tastes, and activity levels? We've done some investigating, and these are the top five mistakes parents make when it comes to assembling a healthy and nutritious lunchbox.
1: “I don't have time to prep, just throw some chips in.”
When we are making a lunch box it can be very tempting to say “I don't have the time to do all that!” But this is actually an assumption we make based on seeing things like elaborate lunch boxes prepped for celebrity kids, or professional chef food. But a kid's meal does not need to be elaborate to be delicious and healthy. Your kid is not going to suffer, emotionally or mentally, if you don't give them hand-rolled sushi for lunch. So next time, instead of a pack of chips, “throw in” an apple, some roasted nuts, or even some finger-friendly leftovers.
2: Giving all our kids the same box.
I get it: if you do the same for everyone it's easier, nobody risks ending up with somebody else's lunch, and nobody can complain someone else got a different thing. But at different ages and with different lives, your 15-year-old artist will need a different lunchbox than your 8-year-old football superstar. This doesn't mean you need to make each kid a bespoke lunch! Just that you may give one kid one sandwich and the other two, or one kid some more pudding and the other some more protein. Just play around with the amounts.
3: Putting in “new, healthy, superfood treats.”
Another one we totally get! If the latest big thing has come out an it's apparently the healthiest food in the world, it can be so tempting to put it in Jr's lunchbox. But what if Jr doesn't like it? Of course, sometimes it can be better to go hungry than eat junk, but if there are plenty of healthy options, stick to what you know your kids like, to make sure they eat well. Try the experiments in the kitchen at home.
4: Giving them just what they ask for.
Kids may know what they want, but they have no clue what they need. We all know not to give our kids a sugary drink for their lunch, but when it comes to other things we often cede to them as the experts. But if we know for sure that they will eat half an apple, but a whole banana, then why do we agree to give them the apple? Combine their wants with your knowledge of them, to make sure they get everything they need.
5: Not paying enough attention to kids' fads and trends.
This one is much less obvious, but just as important. Many of our kids will not eat a food which has been condemned by their friends, and will relish a food which their friends enjoy. Therefore, if you want your kid to eat a whole, healthy lunchbox, then you need to pay attention to which foods they would be ashamed or proud to drag out in the cafeteria. If the kids have all decided, because of a cartoon, that eggs are smelly and terrible, then a hard-boiled egg may go uneaten. On the other hand, if a superhero's favorite food is tuna sandwiches, then everyone may want one.
By working with your kid's wants and needs, you can make sure that they get the best lunchbox for them, even if it isn't the best lunchbox for Instagram.
Managing kids screen time is one of the huge challenges of modern parenting. It was much easier for ancient parents since there were fewer influencing programs on our screens. In fact, when you missed a program, you had to wait for the following day.
Currently, we have smartphones, tables, video games, Netflix, PVRs and much more, which makes it even more difficult to keep up with them all, create reasonable limits as well as evaluate them. Furthermore, it is even more difficult for us, adults, to disconnect from these devices since they make our lives easier many time. Indeed, much has been published on this topic to make sense out of it all. However, it remains one of the huge subjects of conversions during parent’s meetings.
How do you manage screen period in your house? Do you have limits set? And how much is enough?
Have a Conversation With Your Family
Have you kids understand the importance of sitting less and moving more, especially staying within healthy weight limits. Explain to them that they will be more energetic, which will help them out in developing or perfecting a new skill, such as cycling and could create much fun with friends. Importantly, affirm them that you will do the same.
Lead by a Good Example
It is important for you as a parent to lead by example through limiting your time on screen to no more than three hours in a day. If your children observe that you are obeying your rules, then they will be more obliged to do the same.
Track Active Time versus Screen Time
Start logging time spent on the screen by your family, including activities such as DVD watching, playing video games as well as using the computer for activities that are not school or work related. Then compare it with the level of physical activity they take part. This way, you will grasp a sense of the changes needed.
Be Creative by Making Screen Time Active Time
Engage in an active activity when you spend time on the screen. You can do yoga, stretch as well as lift weights. Alternatively, you can challenge your family to see one who can do most leg lifts, push-ups or jump jacks during television commercial breaks.
Set Screen Time Restrictions
However difficult it is, make a house rule that bounds screen time to three hours in a day. Notably, put into effect the rule!
Make your Bedrooms Screen-free
Do not have any computer or TV in your kid’s bedroom. In fact, children who have a television in their bedroom tend to have about one and half hours more on the screen every day as compared to those who do not have. Furthermore, it keeps children away from the rest of the family by keeping them in their rooms.
Mark Meal Time as Family Time
It may appear difficult, but it is possible. Keep the TV off during mealtimes. If possible, have the TV far from eating area if there is any. Meal times are a good time to converse with one another. It is indeed true that families who take food together are likely to have more wholesome food. Prioritize eating together and plan family meals at least thrice each week.
Provide Alternative Options
Watching can become habitual, thus making it easier to overlook what is out there. Offer your family ideas or substitutes, such as having outdoor games, developing a new hobby or even learning a new sport altogether.
Deceased from using TV Time as a Reward or Punishment
Such practices are likely to make children perceive TV as important!
Understand TV Placements and Advertisements
Seeing fast food, snack foods soda and candy on the TV affects everybody, particularly children. Help your kids understand that since it is on television or favorite program does not mean a drink or food is healthy. Make your children think why their favorite animation character is attempting to getting them eat particular breakfast cereal brand.
Remove Your TV Cable
If you want a swift and effective way of limiting TV watching habits, cut your TV cable feed or remove it altogether. It will indeed change your family watching habits overnight. Luckily, it’ll impact your checkbook positively as well!
We know that stress lies at that root of almost every health challenge, right?
It contributes to systemic inflammation which can impact our gut and our mood, down regulates our immune system which can contribute to auto immunity and cancer, throws our blood sugar levels out of balance and even impedes our detoxification. Read on to learn how Essential Oils support stress relief.
Essential Oils Support StressI don’t know about you, but when I was originally told that I needed to reduce my stress levels, I felt paralyzed.
It was clear that my job, my kids and my lifestyle were stressful, but I had no idea how to shift that stress. I wasn’t about to quit my job as I needed the money to put food on the table. As stressful as my children could be, I didn’t want to sacrifice one minute with them. I was honestly overwhelmed and paralyzed.
I was told I had to reduce my stress to improve my health, but I had no idea where to start or what to do.
So I drew on the one skill that I knew would never fail me. My ability to research. I knew that if I could clearly understand how stress works in the body, I could then map out a clear plan for reducing it that would not require drastic life changes like quitting my job or abandoning my children.
How Essential Oils Can Support the Body in StressUnderstanding what actually triggers a stress response gave me the tools to help reduce it.
For example, nipping the thoughts that stir a stress response in the bud can help avoid it altogether. Essential oils are uniquely suited to help us address, transform and clear negative emotions and thought patterns.
Our sense of smell, which is part of our olfactory system, is one of the most powerful channels into the body. In fact, our sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 times more acute than our other senses. Research has shown that scents can travel faster to the brain than other senses like sight or sound. Perhaps for that reason, inhalation can be the most direct and effective method for using essential oils. The entire process from the initial inhalation of an essential oil to a corresponding response in the body can happen in a matter of seconds.
When we inhale essential oils through the nose, the odor molecules trigger receptor sites in our mucous membrane, which then sends the odor information on to the olfactory bulb at the base of the brain. I find it interesting that it is not actually the essential oil itself that is sent to the brain, but a neural translation of the oils. These fragrance messages are interpreted and transmitted to the limbic system of the brain, known as the “emotional brain” because it deals with emotional and psychological responses.
As you may know, the limbic system serves as the control center in the brain for emotions and feelings, along with hunger, thirst and sex drive. This helps explain how scent can influence appetite and sexual attraction. It also impacts long-term memory through our hippocampus which stores our memories. The hippocampus is the area of the brain at play during those powerful experiences of smell triggering emotions or memories. For me, the mere smell of mothballs transports me back in time to my grandparent’s apartment in Brooklyn, triggering a multi-sensory memory including both the visuals and the emotions that I experienced during our annual visits.
This powerful emotional reaction in the limbic system is triggered by nerve impulses which in turn trigger other areas of the brain that are responsible for secreting hormones, neurotransmitters and regulating body functions. For example, the pituitary gland releases endorphins, which can help alleviate pain and promote a sense of well-being.
The theory of how this works centers on the idea that essential oils can stimulate or sedate the brain to promote or inhibit the production and release of various neurotransmitters which then impact the nervous system.
Because smells can bypass the thought center of the thalamus and connect directly to the emotional center of the brain, known as the amygdala in the limbic system, they can trigger us to react first and think later. All other physical senses are routed through the thalamus, which acts as the switchboard for the brain, passing stimuli onto the cerebral cortex (the conscious thought center) and other parts of the brain.
The amygdala plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. The easiest way to stimulate this gland is through the sense of smell. In other words – the emotional brain responds better to smell than it does to words that are read, spoken or heard. Our sense of smell links directly to emotional states and behaviors often stored since childhood.
This makes essential oils especially powerful tools for enabling us to access stored or forgotten memories and suppressed emotions, like anxiety, depression, fear, worry, grief, trauma, anger and self-abuse. Once accessed, we can acknowledge and release them. The word “emotion” includes the word motion, implying that are supposed to move through us and be released. Negative emotions can that we hold onto can contribute to health problems.
Emotions and thought patterns can trigger an ongoing stress response in the body (since our stress response cannot differentiate between physical or emotional and thought driven stressors) which impedes our ability to heal. Smelling essential oils can be a powerful tool for moving through and releasing these thought patterns.
The Stress Support Kit https://dv216.isrefer.com/go/stresskit/ldegarci/ from Vibrant Blue Oils is a great, simple way to get started with essential oils to support stress relief.
When we think of feeding our children, we often make the mistake of thinking of them as a small adult. But as they go through different developmental stages, their needs for protein will change and evolve. A child will never need quite as much protein as an adult, but this is more due to their size than anything else. A 3-year-old needs 0.12% of their body weight in protein a day, whereas adults only need a baseline of 0.08% of our bodyweight a day. This is because our child is continually growing and needs protein to form muscles, skin, and even bone! However, depending on their precise age their needs will still vary, for many reasons.
First of all, your child's minimum protein requirements up until age 2 is... not important. How is this? Don't they need protein? Well, of course they do need lots of protein. But at this age they will be getting more than enough from milk and formula. Even later on, from ages 2 to 4, your child is so efficient at recycling protein in their diet that as long as they eat some variety and some protein sources, you don't need to worry about counting each gram. It is only later, as their needs increase and their ability to reuse old protein decreases, that you want to watch their protein intake more closely.
Ideally, your child will be eating 19 grams a day between ages 4 and 9, and 34 grams between ages 9 and 13. From then onwards, boys will need 52 grams of protein a day, and girls need 46 grams a day. Of course this will vary depending on how active they are and how much they weigh. More active kids and kids who are taller or more muscular need more protein to replenish what they lose in a day.
Protein is absolutely vital for growing children. First of all, protein is an essential building block for our bodies. When we get enough protein every part of our body is held together as it is supposed to be. But when we do not get enough protein then not only our muscles, but every part of our bodies breaks down. Our skin and organs are rich in protein, sure, but protein is even present in our bones and blood.
Protein is also vital for regulating appetite and energy. When children eat less protein than recommended they usually replace the calories with carbs. These children end up lethargic, bored, and constantly hungry. On the other hand, a kid that gets enough protein fills up quickly and is brimming with energy all day.
Finally, proteins, and the foods that contain them, are a key component for maintaining good brain health. Not only protein, but the zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, etc. we find alongside it, are essential to maintaining the neural pathways in our brain. This gives us a stable mood, helps us tell night and day apart and sleep well, and makes us more focused.
For most of us protein quantity is not a huge issue. So long as your child is eating main protein sources at least once a day, they are probably getting enough, as only 100g of animal meat contains 20g of protein. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or a reduced meat diet, you may need to watch what your child is eating.
Also, please remember that your child's protein needs are averages, not a daily prescription! If your child doesn't do much one day, don't be shocked if they eat barely any protein. Likewise, if they are going through a growth spurt their daily protein intake could even double. If your child looks healthy, then they are probably balancing their protein out over the week, even if one day is high and another is low. On the other hand, if your child is always snacking, lethargic, bored, ill-tempered, and unfocused, then they could not be getting enough protein for their current stage of development. Always pay attention to what their body is doing, more than to prescribed numbers.
Feeding kids, a healthy breakfast can be a challenge, especially when unhealthy foods are so popular in breakfast culture. Sugary cereals, spreads that are half or more sugar and the rest is oil, caffeinated foods, greasy fried foods, fast foods... Even some of our “healthy” options, such as fruit salads or plain cereals, leave much to be desired due to their high fast-release carb content, low protein content, and low micronutrient content.
But kids can and will eat almost anything for breakfast if you give it to them. We tend to assume that our kids are picky eaters because they don't like bread, or won't eat broccoli. However even though your kid may have some foods they are very fussy about, you might be surprised by the healthy foods your kids will eat if given the chance. So how do we go about composing the perfect healthy breakfast for our kids?
Start with starch.
Starches, especially cold starches, are one of the most underrated breakfast foods for kids. Many of us may feel guilty when our kid gets a sandwich, some overnight oats, or a bagel for breakfast. But actually, the right starches make the perfect foundation for a healthy breakfast. The key is in choosing a starch which will release its energy slowly. A cooked, cooled starch, such as rice or potatoes, forms something called resistant starch, which is digested slowly. Likewise, starchy foods served with fats and fiber are much more slowly digested, giving your kid steady energy all morning.
-cooked, cooled oats
-cooked, cooled potato
-cooked, cooled rice
-whole bran bread
Progress onto protein.
But starch alone will not make for a filling, healthy breakfast! Research has found that kids who eat a carb-based breakfast have lower energy levels, worse tempers, and underperform both physically and at school when compared to kids who eat protein for breakfast. Make sure to include 10-15 grams of protein in your kid's breakfast. You may offer them a cooked egg, sausage meat, nuts and seeds in their porridge, or some extra milk. But whatever it is, make sure it has enough protein to fuel them.
-brazils in overnight oats
-sunflower seeds in cooked, cooled oats
-scrambled egg and cooked, cooled potato
-walnuts in cooked, cooled rice pudding
-bacon on whole bran toast
-rye bread topped with a fried egg
Because of the way we usually plan our breakfasts, all too often we neglect our micronutrient balance. A lot of breakfast cereals are so lacking in natural nutrients that they need to fortify them. And things like milk, bacon, or fruits, whilst better than a plain bowl of cereal, are still not massively rich in micronutrients. Try and make a point of including at least one food at breakfast that is a proper nutritional bomb. Eggs are a great example, being rich in minerals and B vitamins. Nuts and seeds are full of antioxidants and minerals, and some, like flax seed, are high in omega 3. And berries, unlike large fruits, are high in antioxidants.
-brazils and blueberries in overnight oats
-sunflower seeds in cooked, cooled oats topped with honey
-scrambled egg and cooked, cooled potato
-walnuts and raisins in cooked, cooled rice pudding
-bacon and tomatoes on whole bran toast
-rye bread topped with a fried egg and mushrooms
Take your time.
When your kids have a hearty breakfast in front of them, it may not be easy to get them to eat it all up. Kids tend to drag these things out quite a bit, especially if there is something new on the menu. Make sure to leave a little extra time for them to fuss about what they have, pick at things, and generally get food in bit by bit. It might seem ridiculous, but if you want them to eat well it may help to just sit down and work on your emails for ten minutes after you finish.
There is no One True Breakfast.
Another important thing to remember is that if your kids won't eat something, then it's no big deal. They don't need to eat any specific food to have a good breakfast, so if something doesn't agree with them, then cycle it out and try a new thing. It is much better for your sanity to put together a healthy breakfast your kids will eat than to try and persuade them to eat the healthiest breakfast bowl in the world.
Finally, there are a few things to avoid when making a breakfast fit for a kid. When feeding our children we need to remember that the goal is to fill them up and keep them full, energized, and nourished until lunch time. For that reason, do not include more than a teaspoon of sugars with their breakfast. This includes in fruit, drinks, and pre-made bread products. Sugars cause energy spikes and crashes that mean everyone is hungry again two hours later. For the same reason, don't serve your kids a low calorie breakfast. Kids need plenty of energy, especially in the morning, when they should get at least a quarter of their total daily calories.
Kids seem to be drawn to sugar like moths to a flame. But we all also know that too much sugar, from any source, is bad for us. And, then again, children, unlike adults, need to eat a minimum amount of carbohydrates per day, and may need some fast-release carbohydrate at times, due to how energetic they are. As a parent, it can be very difficult to control our kids' sugar intake, so it is important to approach this challenge logically.
The first thing we need to consider is that children below a certain age do not experience sugar like we do. Under the age of four or five, our children's limit for sugar is the sky. Seriously, they have done studies where they dissolved gradually increased amounts of sugar in water, and whereas older children and adults had a point where it was “too sweet” to drink, children under the age of five had no such limit. So, naturally, we need to restrict sugar access at this age, not just for their health, but to program their taste buds against overly sweet things later in life.
So how much sugar is too much sugar? Most kids only need three or four child-size servings of carbohydrate a day, so it is important to realize that at most one of these can be high in sugar. We may think we are doing a good thing if our kids get sugary cereal and banana for breakfast, toast and jam for lunch, jacket potatoes and sausages for dinner, and an ice cream for pudding, but that is already five servings, four of which are largely simple sugars! Make sure to only offer white starches and sugars once a day. A better day would be a soft-boiled egg, toast and butter, a jacket potato and sausages, and then a small fruit cup for pudding.
Even sugars from natural sources, such as fruit and honey, can cause issues. Sugar, at the end of the day, is still sugar, even when there is some fiber in it, and even when it is a natural source of sugar. It will still spike your child's insulin, increase their sweet tooth, and mess with their appetite. Far better to stick to things that do not taste sweet. Especially when choosing foods for younger children. By curbing their cravings and feeding them a variety of non-sweet foods we are showing their bodies what good energy there is in starch, protein, and fats, and that sweet things are a rare treat, not everyday life. This sets them up for a low sugar childhood, and life.
To help your older kids make better sugar choices, make sure to educate them about the importance of reducing sugar, and cooperate with them to find alternatives. Your kids may hate carrot sticks and hummus, but may love toast and butter or roasted chickpeas. By working with them, rather than against them, you stop being the bad guy and making sugar such a desirable, “special” food!
When permitting sugar, we need to also consider our kids' metabolic needs. Sugar makes for a terrible breakfast or dinner food. Sugar at breakfast limits the amount of protein your kid eats, resulting in an energy crash and brain fog. Prioritize proteins and fiber at breakfast. And at dinner it may give them too much energy and affect sleep. So make sure they get plenty of slow release starches, to help them wind down and sleep deeply.
Instead, we should try and feed a small amount of sugar as a mid-morning or mid afternoon snack, to keep our kids propped up throughout the day. Children burn a lot of energy through the day, so they are likely to burn out eventually no matter what we feed them. And young kids may still be used to the frequent feedings they had as infants. Protein at breakfast and lunch will keep them going a long time, but often a small sugar boosts an hour before lunch and dinner can help them.
Another great time to offer a little sugar is before, during, or after exercise. Before exercise always make sure to combine sugar, complex starches, and fiber rich foods, for a healthy, steady stream of energy. But after exercise a small amount of sugar to perk them up until their energy rebalances on its own is most welcome.
When you offer your kid small doses of sugar at appropriate times you eliminate the idea that sugar is a special treat, a reward, or an otherwise emotional food. But you are doing this without forbidding it or making it a bad food either. It is important not to demonize any nutrient, food, or food group to your child, as this attitude can stick with them for life and encourage disordered eating. Instead, we can show them that each food has a time, a place, and a purpose, sugar included. This food may be very tasty, but it has a job to do, and that is why we do not eat it all the time!
If you want to raise healthy kids, it often starts with limiting certain things so that they are encouraged to play outside and be more active. Encouraging healthy behaviors includes reducing their screen time. Here are some reasons why you should consider doing this.
Kids Are More Active
The less time your kids spend on their computers, playing video games, or watching TV, the more time they spend being active and finding outdoor adventures to go on. The problem with encouraging exercise in kids is that they feel like they don’t have enough time when you consider school, homework, dinner, and their TV time. However, if you start reducing screen time, they have those extra slots of time to do other things. It might not be easy in the beginning, so having the entire family reduce screen time is easier on the kids because you are all doing it together.
There Are Fewer Distractions
You will also notice that there aren't as many distractions when everyone in the home is spending more time together or on other activities and less on computers and cell phones. If you find that when you are all at the dinner table, an adult, teen, or child is distracted by their phone or tablet, it is a good sign that distractions are getting in the way of regular conversation. Enjoying each other at dinner is a good reason to cut back.
You Get More Family Time
Along these same lines is the fact that you will have more time together as a family. Instead of letting everyone go off and do their own thing during the evenings or over the weekend, take away the electronics and do more family activities. Activities might include going for a walk, taking a drive to the beach, or enjoying an indoor game or crossword puzzle. You can have one game night every week or get some games and toys to enjoy in your backyard.
They Find Other Interests
When your kids aren’t spending their free time playing the Playstation or watching movies, they will start exploring other activities. You aren't punishing them by taking everything away, but just limiting computer and TV time. Downtime from electronics lets them play with more of their toys, find things to do outside, or maybe even making new friends in the neighborhood. Engagement in healthy play is never a bad thing! You might even buy them some new activities to make it a little easier to ditch all the electronics.
“I will not be distracted by noise, chatter, or setbacks. Patience, commitment, grace, and purpose will guide me.”
― Louise L. Hay
“I am in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.”
― Louise L. Hay
Reduce Distractions to Stay Engaged With Your Kids
For well-rounded, healthy kids, they need you to be engaged with them and what they are doing. Engagement will improve their mental health, and can even help with their overall wellness. Reducing your distractions is a perfect way to start becoming more engaged in them.
Be Present When They Are Talking
When your kids get home from school, it is usually when they are most excited about the day and want to tell you about what they did or learned. Afterschool is an excellent time to be present and pay attention to what they have to say. It is wonderful for your kid's self-esteem when they know mom and dad genuinely want to hear what they have to say, follow along with their stories and chime in when appropriate. Always have an open ear ready to listen to your kids, instead of constantly being distracted by other things.
Put the Phone Down
Your cell phone is probably one of the biggest distractions that keep you from paying more attention to your kids. It is hard to stay engaged with them when your nose is constantly in your phone. Of course, there are times when you need to look at it, like answering a critical text or checking your calendar. But when your kids want to have play time with you or are telling a story, turn the phone off and put it down for a while. Your kids will notice that you are putting in an effort, which is huge for their confidence and mental health.
Reduce Screen Time
Paying attention to the amount of screen time a person encounters in a day isn't just for the kids, but for you as well. If you want to spend more quality time with your kids, cooking meals and going on family walks, there is only enough time when you reduce some of the other unhealthy activities you might have. Reduce their TV and computer time during the week so that there is extra time for engaging and socializing with each other. Spending time together is good for their mental and physical health and yours too.
Find Activities to do Together
Finally, think about some activities you can participate in together. New activities might be walking the dog in the evening after dinner, teaching them how to cook or bake, or playing outside over the weekend. Take them to the lake to fish and go hiking, or help them with their homework while the TV and cell phone is turned off completely.
Lisa Ann de Garcia, MA, MEd.