Since the majority of America has been quarantined, we've gotten an overwhelmingly positive response to healthy recipes, parenting tips, kids nutrition tips, and so on. This of course got me thinking 🕵️♀️... Seems like the biggest lesson we have learned thus far from this virus is all about going back to basics. I mean we were all taught the importance of washing our hands before but this takes it to a whole new level.
We can't control the uncontrollable but we can control how we think, act and react to things. Seems like we are all searching for answers. Focusing on what we can control, seems to help. So guess what: with most of the USA population at home, where do we have the most control... at home... with our family. As many are home more than usual, they are noticing something is... OFF! Today most children are over-stimulated and overloaded with objects and information, but most are deprived of what is truly fundamental for a healthy and happy childhood. So many are concerned about falling “behind"because of this, but what if instead we ADVANCED? Consider using this time to improve, re-inventing yourself and working on personal development with your kids and yourself. Think of all the things these kids could learn during this time, become more creative, gaining empathy, a love for books, expressing gratitude, learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, expressing their feeling through the written word, family bonding, learn the value of eating together as a family, enjoyed having conversations as a family, self soothing and entertain themselves.
Given the circumstances, parents are worrying about what is best for their children and their families. These concerns often center around being the best parent possible (since many kids are home more than usual), stress management, and how to achieve a balanced life. It can get tough when there’s so much to juggle, but sometimes as a parent, the best advice is just to keep it simple.
So I figure I'd recap some of the basics to remember:
Fundamental # 1 for a healthy and happy childhood: Emotionally available parents
I'm the first to admit this has been a challenge lately with everything going on. So many parents are overwhelmed, distracted or scared and in those scenarios, it's hard to be fully available for the kids, even if you are home with them. However, we have to try are best, kids don't need perfect. Check out the recent blog post for tips on creating or maintaining a healthy mindset.
One of the primary goal as a parent - is to lead by example. If you want your children to have good manners, you have to be kind and considerate to others. If you want your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, they need to see you eating a healthy balanced diet. If you want to get your kids to be more active, show your kids that being active is fun and make it a family event, they have to see you doing it first.
But leading by example requires you to be present enough, to know what you need to be modeling. As parents we can often find ourselves very busy. It can be a challenge to spend quality time with our children, harder still to spend quality time as a family, and seemingly impossible to take time for yourself and your own well-being. As our schedules get busier and our children’s commitments grow, eating dinner as a family or playing a game together can be difficult to coordinate. But even with many Americans home right now, it can be challenging juggling all the hats needed. This is the current struggle for most parents, believing they should try to do it all. Parents are downright overwhelmed and exhausted and need solutions. In the midst of deep overwhelm, we turn to electronics to mute the edges of life. The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule but rather to schedule your priorities!!! Read that again... This is truth.
Once we make the commitment to spend time together, it’s easier and easier to find the time to do it. In many cases, families have self-quarantined or are on lock-down and don't have a choice but to be together. In the midst of our deep overwhelm, we turn to electronics to mute the edges of life, to become babysitters while many work from home, and the list goes on. The current generation of kids are growing up in uncharted territory. Recent research showed that the drastic decline in outdoor play in kids is creating a slew of behavior problems due to lack of sensory input. By constantly putting kids in front of tech, restricting their movement and diminishing their time to play, we are causing more harm than good. As we continue to prioritize over-scheduled lives, fancy devices and material items galore, we are forgetting one thing: The basics. So now more than ever many have the OPPORTUNITY affect those statistics in a positive direction.
Getting back to parenting basics is more important than ever. It’s okay to schedule family time (and no it does not count if you are all sitting in the living room looking at your individual iPhones or iPads). Find something that you all enjoy doing and DO IT, and try your best to keep doing it.
Set aside regular times for the kids to talk to you - this could simply be enjoyed during a daily family dinner with no phones or technology to distract them. Listen first; talk second.
Look the children in the eyes when they talk to you, and ask them to do the same when you talk to them. This can help you read subtle body language and to teach them to do the same.
Become a regulator or emotional trainer of your children. Educate them to recognize and manage their frustrations and anger. When kids learn to decode facial expressions and nonverbal cues and work through their own feelings, they experience better outcomes.
Play with family board games or something age appropriate and includes family interests.
Help them create a "jar of gratitude" journaling what you are thankful for and displaying it to often be reminded of all the good things is very important recognition of enjoyment experienced, which leads to positivity.
Turn off phones at night when children have to go to bed to avoid digital distraction.
Keep track of important events and be sure to support them - notes, caring tokens, etc.
Express your own emotions. Parents have a tendency to hide their own emotions from their children. While children don’t need to be involved in the details of adult problems, it’s okay for the children to see you sad, mad or overwhelmed. When you label and talk about your own emotions, you show them that we all have emotions to cope with and that you trust them just as they can trust you.
Give your children the loving touch - snuggles, hugs, kisses, tickles, etc.
Connect emotionally - smiles, reading, dancing, jumping, playing with them.
Remember time for yourself and couple time - Getting to switching off and relaxing in order to self-heal or bond as a couple is vital, whether you go to a yoga class, a walk on the beach or have a weekly date night. Remember you can't pour from an empty cup. Without these re-energizing times, we cannot continue to give and give and give as parents without eventually crumbling. Letting the kids see that you value your couple time and still love each other can be a very good thing to model.
What not to do:
Be digitally distracted parents or entertain your kids with digital devices.
Interrupt children to tell them how they’re feeling or comment on how a certain experience must feel. Listen first, talk second.
Avoid squashing emotions - given the opportunity to express and work through their emotions, they learn how to regulate and cope with their feelings. When their feelings are shushed or dismissed, they learn to push down their emotions, but these emotions will one day erupt as they haven't been dealt with.
Fundamental # 2 for a healthy and happy childhood: Clearly defined limits
Let’s face it, kids push the boundaries every day, they are wired to test us and see how far they can go; it’s in their nature.
Define your boundaries. It’s so important that your child knows who you are and what you believe. You should communicate your personal values and stick to them. Watching what you do, often makes more of an impression than what you say.
Make your expectations known. Make a list of what you expect for yourself in relation to your kids. Think through what matters most to you. Is it respect, responsibility, honesty, loyalty? Tell your kids what your guiding principles are. Notice in coming up with this list that you are not attempting to control your child but rather, you are taking charge of yourself. If one of your principles is “respect” and your daughter is often rude to you and interrupts your conversations without saying “excuse me”, let her know the consequence she can expect from you each time that happens. Let her see that you respect yourself and will follow through. This is different than trying to “make her” speak the way you want her to. You’re giving her the choice, but you’re holding her accountable. Setting the expectations for the morning, the day, the evening for each child. Create a routine they can follow and that way when they wake up they can confidently self direct themselves and feel independent. This boosts your child’s feelings of confidence and capability by allowing them to do age-appropriate tasks on their own.This may include getting dressed, picking up toys, preparing foods like cereal or toast, making the bed, or other chores, depending on your child’s age.
Set limits and remember that you are the captain of the ship. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you are in control of the helm. Help your kids experience the impact of crossing boundaries so that it becomes part of their reality. Admit when you have crossed someone else’s boundary and apologize for it. And when your kids cross one, let them know and hold them accountable. Let’s say you promise your child that you’ll drive her to the movies after she does her chores—but she plays barbies instead. If you follow through by not driving her, your child will experience the consequences, and will come to understand on a deep level what you expect. She will know that you respect yourself and mean what you say. Eventually, she will learn good boundaries for herself and how to respect others, as well.
Offer children a balanced lifestyle full of what they need, not just what they want. Don't be afraid to say "no" to your kids if what they want isn't what they need. The power of saying "No" is key.
What not to do:
Be a parent who let children "rule the world" and be the ones who set the rules
Let your child walk into their parents' room without knocking on the door and doesn’t respect their privacy. Rather teach them to respect privacy.
Letting your child invade your boundaries as a couple.
Let your child interrupt your conversations with other adults without saying “excuse me” or waiting politely for their chance to talk.
Let your young child tells you what to do and throws tantrums if you don’t do what is said.
Doing for your child what can (or should) be done for themselves.
Constantly asking questions; interrogating your child over everything.
Over-sharing with your child about your life; treating them like a friend rather than your child.
Giving up your parental authority and allowing your child to take control of the household.
Living through your child vicariously; feeling as if their achievements are yours, and their failures are yours as well.
Fundamental # 3 for a healthy and happy childhood: Responsibility
Over time, children will accept ownership for a task or chore – the children do it because it needs to be done and accept that it is their obligation to do it.
Involve your children in some homework or homework according to their age (folding clothes, ordering toys, hanging clothes, arranging food, setting the table, feeding the dog, etc.). Assign chores and a time frame they should get done.
Show your kids the importance of believing that they can solve problems they encounter.
Show them how they can learn and grow by taking risks and trying new things.
Communicate unconditional love – no matter what happens, you love your children just because they exist and are yours. This allows your children to take risks, to make mistakes, knowing that they have their parents’ unconditional support and love.
Setting limits and boundaries, imposing discipline, teaching your children how they should behave, passing on your values, and giving guidance.
Model the importance of being dependable so people know they can count on you, keeping one’s word and agreements, meeting one’s commitments, doing something to the best of one’s ability, being accountable for one’s behavior, acknowledging mistakes, and being a contributing member of one’s family, community and society.
By not meeting their needs immediately and not giving them everything they want, you provide an opportunity for your children to tolerate some frustration, delay gratification, become less impulsive and less self-centered.
You set standards of behavior that you expect your children to meet. You establish consequences for breaking rules and you follow through on those consequences. You teach your children to be appreciative for what they have.
Have them waiting for what they want – they believe that with persistence and practice they can reach a goal.
Teach them to acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them.
Help them learn the importance of sticking to a task and not quit.
Encourage children to give back in some way.
What not to do:
Parents often confuse obedience with responsibility.
A sense of right, or undeservedly wanting everything without earning it or being responsible for it.
Not wanting our children to fail, we do too much for our children; when this happens, the children don’t learn to take on the responsibility themselves.
Do not load your children's backpack, do not bring their backpacks, do not bring them the task they have forgotten, do not peel their bananas or oranges if they can do it alone. Instead of giving them fish, educate them to fish.
Fundamental # 4 for a healthy and happy childhood: Balanced nutrition
We are always looking for healthy snack ideas. Please share below if you have any. Children's Nutrition Tips: How to spread healthy, even to the picky eaters; this is what we have learned - it's so hard to want to empower your children's drive for independence when you are trying to "break" them of a poor habit. However, empowering your child is exactly the key to your success in preventing the mealtime battles and creating the change necessary for long term lasting healthy habits!!!!
Provide nutritious foods and limit junk food.
What not to do:
Provide unbalanced nutrition.
Provide easily accessible limitless junk food.
Let the children have a free for all with food and drinks.
Think your children will know when they are hungry or when they are full.
Fundamental # 5 for a healthy and happy childhood: Good Quality Sleep
Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child sleeps well.
Relax before bedtime.
Keep regular sleep and wake times.
Make sure your child feels safe at night.
Keep sleep environment that’s quiet and dimly lit.
Make sure your child has enough food at the right time.
Try to have your child get sunlight during the day.
Make sure your child has no caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
Avoid scary TV shows, movies and computer games.
Turn off devices at least one hour before bedtime, blue light from televisions, computer screens, phones and tablets might suppress melatonin levels and delay sleepiness.
What not to do:
Allow inadequate sleep consistently
Allow screens in your child’s room at night.
Fundamental # 6 for a healthy and happy childhood: Healthy Motion & Fresh Air
Encourage movement in the open air when possible.
Spend time outdoors daily doing activities such as: cycling, walking, fishing, bird / insect watching. (When possible)
In the cold, playing outside allows your child an escape from indoor germs and bacteria. Just make sure they are properly bundled up and moving around to capture and generate warmth. Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Don’t forget gloves and a hat! But still get outside.
Being outside more often also allows your child to develop a stronger autoimmune system and a resistance to allergies.
Physical activity gives your immune system a power surge for a full 24 hours. A stronger immune system leads to less illness.
With all of the technological advancements of the past decade, many children are using their imaginations less and less.
Getting into healthy motion offers a variety of ways to stimulate your imagination through play. Something as simple as building a silly snowman utilizes problem solving and imaginative skills they would not be using while sitting on the couch.
What not to do:
Allow a sedentary lifestyle
Allow too many video games
Allow too much screen time
Keeping kids inside for days when it's cold. You must remember your child is still growing during these months, and prolonged sessions of inactivity are not conducive to their muscular development.
Fundamental # 7 for a healthy and happy childhood: Healthy Interactions
It's critical children learn creative play, social interaction, unstructured play opportunities and spaces for boredom.
Teach responsibility and independence. Do not protect them in excess against any frustration or error. Making mistakes will help them develop resilience and learn to overcome life's challenges.
Educate them to wait and delay gratification.
Provide opportunities for "boredom" as boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. You don't need to feel responsible for keeping children entertained.
Help them create a "jar of boredom" with busyness ideas for when they are bored.
Educate them to greet, to take turns, to share, to say please and thank you, to recognize the error and apologize (do not force them), be a model of all those values that you inculcate them.
What not to do:
Use technology as a cure for boredom, nor offer it on the first second of inactivity.
Use of technology during meals, in cars, in restaurants, in shopping malls. Use these moments as an opportunity to socialize, thus training your brains to work when they are in "boredom" mode.
Provide endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification and the absence of boring moments.
So how can we fix this? If we want our children to be happy and healthy individuals, we must wake up and be present and go back to basics. It is still possible ...
I would love your support and comments and suggestions and advice... I'd love to create a space where we can help each other make our lives better instead of all the negativity.
Did you know studies show: overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight? In recent years, an estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to obesity epidemic. Children are exposed to high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense, and micronutrient-poor foods, which tend to be lower in cost but also lower in nutrient quality. These dietary patterns, in conjunction with lower levels of physical activity, result in sharp increases in childhood obesity while under-nutrition issues remain unsolved.
Thus, our mission is to not only guide you to improving your physical health but also create a healthy mindset and healthy finances so you can be truly present in life to enjoy what matters most to you. Liberating parents for love, empowers parents to be truly present in the moment, with their children to empower them to grow up (with healthy body and healthy mind) into tomorrow’s leaders. Let's come together to create LIBERATED PARENTS FOR LOVE! We are not perfect by any means, but we have come so far, once we stopped blaming, making excuses, and took responsibility for our life. We believe in equipping people with the structure and tools necessary to live a life of balance and fulfillment. A life with freedoms in health, wealth, and family. Our mission is to empower you to overcome everyday obstacles, experience everyday wins, realizing that you have everything you need within to create the life you desire!! So if this sounds up your alley, and you would like to setup a time to discuss your overall well-being: take this Well-Being survey and book your FREE consult today!
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