Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Tips to Get Kids to Eat More Fruit

June 2, 2014

 

 

 

fruit

A well compiled list on a very real challenge courtesy of The Times:

 

1. Serve children the fruits they like, even if it is at the expense of variety. There is no reason why kids who love bananas shouldn’t have one every day. Eventually, parents can add variety by combining a favorite fruit with new ones.

2. Fruit can be eaten at any time of day as a snack, and not just as a dessert. Consider serving fruit to kids with breakfast, as an after-school snack, or even in a salad with dinner.

3. Set a good example. It is well established that children tend to imitate their parents’ behavior, particularly at mealtimes. So parents should set the example by eating plenty of fruit themselves.

4. Prepare fruit in front of children or involve them in the process. Whether it’s scooping out melon balls for fruit salad, washing berries, or coring apples, giving children a task in preparing fruit will make them more likely to enjoy eating the result.

5. Provide easy access to fruit. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table and allow kids to help themselves. For children who enjoy eating fruit, sometimes the best way to boost their intake is simply to remind them to eat it when they’re hungry.

 

Click on the link to read 6 Year Old Suspended for 4 Days Because of Cheese in his Lunchbox

Click on the link to read Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

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Is “Bubble Wrapping” Your Child Really Worthwhile?

May 25, 2014

 

bubble

We all do it. Too afraid to risk a serious injury to your precious child we say, “Steer clear of that” or “Get off that ledge”. Nobody wants to see their child break a bone or scream in pain.

As a stay-at-home father I take my son to a park almost ever single day. The idea is to let him run around and enjoy the fresh air. But let’s face it, the average park is a great disappointment.  The equipment is designed to seem fun, but when tested is severely underwhelming. The slides are slow, the climbing apparatus is hardly off the ground and the greatest element of danger is being accidentally bumped into by another eager child. Park designers are simply afraid of potential lawsuits, so they design a layout high on colour and style and low on substance.

I read the following opinion piece in an online Canadian newspaper. I couldn’t agree with it more:

 

Imagine spending childhood outdoors, running, playing and even, heaven forbid, getting dirty.

Not only does it sound like a lot more fun than a play date booked three weeks in advance at an indoor gym under the protective watch of parents, but it’s also healthier.

And, unfortunately, it’s something that fewer and fewer Canadian children get to do, putting them at risk of growing overweight or just out of shape and, frankly, unadventurous.

As the Star’s Diana Zlomislic reported this past week, the first global report card to measure childhood physical activity gives Canadian youngsters an embarrassing D-minus score, behind top-rated countries like New Zealand, Mexico and even benighted Mozambique.

Leave aside the pointless comparison with a desperately poor country where kids do physical domestic chores like collecting water and walk to school as a matter of course. Ranked beside comparable countries, Canada still looks bad. Parents here may spend significant sums on structured activities but only 4 per cent of young people aged 12 to 17 get an hour of high cardio activity each day, according to a report by Active Healthy Kids Canada.

While it’s long been known that children are devoted to video games and parents stuck in gridlock run out of time to go outside with their kids and play, it’s fair to suggest that a little extra effort is needed.

Release those youngsters from the parental “bubblewrap,” as Healthy Kids’ researchers rightly suggest, and give them the freedom to play. Outdoor, unstructured play can provide kids with better exercise than the expensive programming.

As Healthy Kids’ chief scientific officer Dr. Mark Tremblay says, “We need to stop treating physical activity like a vitamin, something you take once a day.”

 

9 Secrets for Raising Happy Children

May 11, 2014

 

happy children

Courtesy 0f Dr. Mercola at mercola.com:

 

1. Healthy Eating

Mood swings and even depression in kids are often the result of a heavily processed-food diet. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! Your gut and brain actually work in tandem, each influencing the other.

This is why your child’s intestinal health can have such a profound influence on his mental health, and vice versa – and why eating processed foods that can harm his gut flora can have a profoundly negative impact on his mood, psychological health and behavior.

The simplest way back toward health and happiness, for children and adults alike, is to focus on WHOLE foods — foods that have not been processed or altered from their original state; food that has been grown or raised as nature intended, without the use of chemical additives, pesticides and fertilizers.

You, a family member, or someone you pay will need to invest time in the kitchen cooking fresh wholesome meals from these whole foods so that you can break free from the processed food diet that will ultimately make you and your children sick.

Food is a part of crucial lifestyle choices first learned at home, so you need to educate yourself about proper nutrition and the dangers of junk food and processed foods in order to change the food culture of your entire family.

To give your child the best start at life, and help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime, you must lead by example. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend reading my nutrition plan first. This will provide you with the foundation you need to start making healthy food choices for your family.

2. Eating on Time

If a child goes too long without eating, it may lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels that lead to irritability. Children need to refuel their growing bodies on a regular schedule, so try to keep your child’s meal and snack times consistent.

3. Regular, High-Quality Sleep

Too little sleep not only makes kids prone to being grouchy and having mood swings, it also negatively impacts children’s behavior and attention. In fact, as little as 27 minutes of extra sleep a night has been shown to have a positive impact on children’s mood and behavior.3

Children aged 5 to 12 need about 10-11 hours of sleep a night for optimal mood and health. To help your child get a good night’s sleep, get the TV, computer, video games and cell phone out of your child’s bedroom, and be sure the room is as dark as possible. Even the least bit of light in the room can disrupt your child’s internal clock and her pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin. I recommend using blackout shades or drapes. For my complete recommendations and guidelines that can help you improve your child’s sleep, please see my article 33 Secrets to a Good Night’s Sleep.

4. Free Play

Unstructured playtime is essential for kids to build their imagination, relieve stress and simply be kids. Yet today, many kids are so over-scheduled that they scarcely have time to eat dinner and do homework, let alone have any free time for play. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics states that free, unstructured play is essential for children to manage stress and become resilient, as well as reach social, emotional and cognitive development milestones.4

Along with slowing down and resisting the urge to sign your child up for too many activities, be sure to provide your child with simple toys like blocks and dolls that allow for creative play. Free play time is also an ideal time for active play – like tag or chasing butterflies – which is naturally mood-boosting (as exercise is for adults).

5. Express Emotions

Kids need to yell, cry, stomp their feet and run around with excitement. This is how they express their emotions, which is healthy for emotional development and will prevent a lifetime of internalizing negative emotions. Encourage and allow your child to vent and express his emotions in healthy ways.

6. Make Choices

Kids are constantly being told what to do, so giving them the ability to make choices goes a long way toward increasing their happiness. Try letting your child decide what to wear or what to eat (within reason), or give her a few choices for activities and let her decide which one to do.

7. They Feel Heard

Your child knows when you’re not really listening to them (such as if you’re ‘talking’ to them while surfing the Web or watching TV). Yet a child’s happiness will soar when he feels like his parents truly listen and respond to what he’s saying. Not only will you feel more connected to your child, but you’ll also build his self-confidence and happiness.

8. Unconditional Love

Above all else, children need unconditional love, and they need it consistently. If your child makes a mistake, let her know you still love and support her regardless. Your child will grow up confident and happy knowing you are behind her every step of the way.

9. Be Happy Yourself

If you’re stressed out and unhappy, your child will sense this and also feel sad and worried in response. You are your child’s first role model, so lead by example by embracing the bright side of life. If you need some help, use these 22 positive habits of happy people to become a happy person yourself.

 

 

Click on the link to read Brilliant Prank Photos Show Parenting at its Worst

Click on the link to read Little Girl’s Delightful “Brake Up” Note

Click on the link to read 9 Truths About Children and Dinnertime

Click on the link to read The Most Original Way to Pull Out Your Child’s Tooth Out (Video)

Click on the link to read Father Carries His Disabled Son 9 Miles to School Every Day

Click on the link to read Never Take the Dream out of the Child

Governments Should Ban Schools From Imposing Toilet Rules

March 10, 2014

 

toilet roll

I have vehemently opposed school toilet rules for some time, arguing that it is unfair and unhealthy to impose such a rule. The evidence seems to back up my claim:

Some primary school children are at risk of developing kidney and bowel problems because they have difficulty getting permission from their teacher to go to the toilet.

And others say they are avoiding the school toilets because of where they are located and worries about sanitation and security.

Almost 1,000 school-aged children attending eight Irish primary schools in the east coast were surveyed and 545 children responded.

While, overall, children had a positive perception of their school toilets, and used them if they needed to, around 57pc said they experienced difficulties going to the toilet.

The findings emerged in a survey of pupils by Maeve Smyth, a public health nurse with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Wicklow. She was prompted to investigate the issue after school-aged children attending her bedwetting clinic said they found difficulties following their care plans while at school.

“These children described how they were reluctant to use the school toilets and permission was often denied,” she told the nursing and midwifery conference at the Royal College of Surgeons.

“Significantly, 57pc of the children had difficulties getting permission from the teacher to use the toilet when they needed to.

“And 34pc of children also intentionally avoided using them. These findings were significantly related to age, location, sanitation and security.”

She added: “Prolonged postponing increases the risk of, or exacerbates the problem of, urinary and bowel disorders.”

A spokesman for the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) said the finding that 34pc of children intentionally avoided using school toilets should be further investigated by the schools concerned.

He said: “Regrettably, sanitation was an issue in some schools due to government neglect of school buildings. While progress has been made in many schools in recent years, there is still a backlog of schools awaiting funding.

“A school board has a duty to ensure that the overall hygiene of a school is of an acceptable standard. But where it is identified that it is of a less than acceptable standard, then the board should be funded by the Department of Education to urgently redress the situation.”

He added: “In general, the union advises against children being forced to line up to go to the toilet at specific times.

“Where possible, children should be facilitated to go to the toilet when the need arises. However, this is not always possible where toilets are external to the classroom.”

 

Click on the link to read Even Prisoners Don’t Have to Beg for Toilet Paper

Click on the link to read School Makes Children Pay to Use the Toilet

Click on the link to read School Toilet Trial is a Terrible Idea

Click on the link to read Schools Putting Spy Cameras in Toilets and Change Rooms

Click on the link to read A Toilet Break is a Right Not a Privilege

Click on the link to read Even Prisoners Get to Use the Toilet

Why Healthy Eating Laws in Schools Don’t Work

February 10, 2014

 

health

The late great Dale Carnegie wrote:

There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything … Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

It’s a shame that policy makers and school administrators don’t seem to have read any of Carnegie’s work because had they absorbed the quote above, perhaps they may have come up with something better to offer students.

People think that school represents the perfect place to undo parenting errors. They think that by bringing in a new school rule or program, that children will be set for life. Some of the rules and regulations in a school near you include:

- Anti-bullying programs

- Sex Ed programs

- Junk Food policies

- Playground no hugging rules

- Toilet rules

- Drug programs

- Anti-gambling programs.

 

And it goes on and on ….

 

Is this really a bad thing? What’s wrong with scrapping junk food from school?

Of course nothing is wrong with instilling healthy eating habits, teaching children about what constitutes bullying and how important it is to avoid drugs.  But to be successful you’re going to need more than a worthy cause.

The problem with schools taking on these issues is that schools already have a stigma for most children. Whether we like to admit it or not, most kids hate school and they hate what they are taught at school. So whether it’s a math or science lesson or its a discussion about the dangers or excess sugar consumption, the chances of breaking through are difficult. It requires a positive and creative approach.

And let’s face it, the programs eluded to above often look and feel like schoolwork. They often consist of worksheets and paired activities and feature mini-quizzes. Why do the people who put together these programs think that if they put an animal mascot on the front of the pack and crossword on page five that kids will warm to the content? No child has ever been fooled by such a gimmick.

And inflexible rules are worse. Sure, it’s not ideal for kids to be eating chips or popcorn at school, but taking away their treats is yet another way of reinforcing the stigma that schools are overbearing, ruthless and prison like. I just read that Brussels want to ban yogurts and cheese from school lunches. If I was a school kid in Brussels I would want to go home and douse myself in cheese just out of spite!

It is such a breath of fresh air when a great anti-bullying initiative or healthy eating idea surfaces. One that captures the students’ imagination and encourages rather than bans, nurtures rather than smothers.

If you want children to listen they must want to listen. Don’t shove draconian rules and anti-bullying packs down their throats. Give them something that doesn’t look or feel like school work.

 

Click on the link to read You Can’t Have Your Lunch and Eat it Too

Click on the link to read How Many Teachers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? (Part 1)

Click on the link to read Girl Faces Expulsion for Being a Victim of Bullying

Click on the link to read Cancer Sufferer Claims she was Banned from Daughter’s School Because of her “Smell”

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

6 Year Old Suspended for 4 Days Because of Cheese in his Lunchbox

February 2, 2014

 

cheese

Lunchbox laws cause friction between schools and parents and achieve a great deal less than intended. I am all for healthy eating, but the answer is not to suspend a 6 year old for what is in his lunchbox.

Ultimately, as much as educators want to feel they can change the world in all instances, the job of parenting should rest solely with … parents. It is not the business for schools to suspend children for cheddar cheese bags.

There are far better methods for dealing with unhealthy lunches than dictatorial rules. These include:

1. Having a quiet word to parent offenders.

2. Complimenting children with healthy lunches.

3. Having a fruit and vegetable party in the classroom to celebrate a class achievement. This has proven particularly successful in my classroom.

4. Sending a list of healthy food options for lunchboxes to parents. Parents hate to be preached at but often welcome tips and advice.

 

I am sure my wonderful readers can recommend other positive ways to get parents to include more healthy items in their kids’ lunchboxes. As a teacher and parent I would love to read them.

 

Click on the link to read Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

School Makes Children Pay to Use the Toilet

January 19, 2014

 

pay

What is it with obsessing over the learning time lost due to toilet breaks? Either these breaks are legitimate in which case it is our duty to ensure that our students have access to the toilet, or it is an excuse the child makes in order to get out of the classroom. If it is the latter, the teacher should see it not as an abuse of trust, but rather as constructive feedback. The child is clearly telling the teacher that the lesson is boring. Teachers that successfully engage their students don’t have an issue with needless toilet interruptions.

For those schools considering toilet policies such as making students forfeit class money or privileges in order to get a toilet break, I wish to remind them of the following:

1. Teachers should not play games about something as serious as a child needing to go to the toilet.

2. Children should never be made to feel guilty for frequent trips to the bathroom.

3. Surely there are bigger fish to fry than time wasted on toilet breaks.

4. How would teachers like it if they were charged for toilet breaks during staff meetings?

5. Schools share too many similarities to prisons as it is, yet you don’t hear of prisoners having to give up privileges in order to go to the toilet.

 

I am glad that a class rule obligating students to part with their fake class money in order to claim a toilet break was scrapped. What disappoints me is how that crazy rule was allowed to be enacted in the first place:

An Oregon elementary school came under fire this week after one parent objected to a policy requiring students in some classrooms to “pay” to use the bathroom during class. (The policy has since been revoked.)

Melissa Dalebout, the mother of first-grader Lily, told local news outlet KATU that her daughter had an accident recently at Cascades Elementary School because she didn’t want to use her “Super Pro” bucks to go the bathroom.

The bucks were a form of fake money that children at the Lebanon, Ore., school earned for good behavior. Bucks that weren’t spent on bathroom breaks were redeemable for toys at the school store.

“I just feel my children should not be punished for having to use the bathroom,” Dalebout told KATU.

Mommyish blogger Maria Guido wondered if this type of policy might send the wrong message to kids.

“I don’t want my child to develop strange bathroom habits because teachers have him on a bathroom rewards program,” Guido wrote. “Not okay. I understand rewarding good behavior, but this bathroom break policy does not sit well with me. If my child wet his pants because of this, I would be pissed.”

Cascades Principal Tami Volz told KATU that the Super Pro payment plan, as well as strategies where excessive bathroom users lost part of their recess time, were imperative for classroom management.

 

Click on the link to read When Standing Up for Your Students Gets You Fired

Click on the link to read Girl Faces Expulsion for Being a Victim of Bullying

Click on the link to read Cancer Sufferer Claims she was Banned from Daughter’s School Because of her “Smell”

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student

Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

January 9, 2014

 

tony

Courtesy of Charity Curley Mathews:

 

1. Everyone (over the age of 2) eats the same meal. No special requests, no substitutes for anyone who has all of her teeth. I do try to be fair (and stack the deck in favor of success) by adding a couple of choices and also paying attention to each person’s favorite ingredients so there’s always something for everyone in each meal.

2. Add spinach to everything. Eggs, brownies, I’ll make anything “Florentine.” It’s not sneaky, because I tell the kids it’s going in. I’m just looking for new angles for getting more of the good stuff into those tiny bodies. Ditto for wheat germ, flaxseed and chia seeds. Also, we eat whole wheat everything: pasta, bread, pitas. The kids don’t know any different and it’s so much better for them.

3. Make it fun. Inspired by French Kids Eat Everything, we have tons of pretty little plates and bowls, special spoons and sometimes splurge on fancy paper napkins. There are parfaits and tea parties regularly. My goal is to make mealtimes enjoyable so the kids associate eating real food with pleasure. It’s working.

4. Start with small portions. I give the kids only a bite or two of each thing and whoever wants more, gets more. This helps kids figure out when they’re actually full rather than me coaxing them into “just one more bite” or worse, eating until their plates are empty from here on out.

5. Serve new foods with flair. We often use the fancy little bowls for new foods: I give the kids one bite in a special dish. Then I use an idea from the brilliant new book, It’s Not About the Broccoli. The kids become critics and give a thumbs up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down. And if they give a thumbs down verdict, I’ll say, “That’s OK. You can try it again another time and maybe you’ll like it better then.” Planting the seed…

6. We cook all the time. Since I only work part-time, this works for us but any family could create a cooking culture by doing weekly dinners, big weekend breakfasts and so on. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day; the kids see me doing it and right there they’re learning a lesson that real food is a priority for our family. Plus, it’s fun to let them help and that’s another lesson. My goal is for each person to have a dozen dishes they can make before they leave this house. We’ve got a while, which we’ll probably need…

7. The table is a stress-free zone. Toddlers dumping their plates notwithstanding, the dinner table isn’t stressful because we’re not battling the kids over who eats what. The food is there and manners are encouraged but no one is yelling, or prodding. We’re either sitting, eating or talking. Sometimes singing. If this isn’t possible, whoever is having a hard time will be excused along with mom or dad and welcome to return when he or she is feeling more cooperative.

8. Homemade is better than processed. Especially when it comes to snack foods, it’s easy to either give the kids real food — sliced cucumbers, dried cranberries, chunks of cheese — or make our own versions of crackers, fruit leather, DIY “Nutrigrain” bars and so on. Every time you can make something in your own kitchen, it’ll be fresher, purer and almost always healthier.

9. Two snacks, maximum. Because little bodies burn through their calories in the day, I like to give a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack to avoid meltdowns. But constant eating is a big problem these days and I don’t want the kids to learn that habit. In fact, for the afternoon snack I like to stick to fruit and it can be as simple as apple slices or as sweet as bananas and strawberries on a skewer.

10. The kids drink water and milk, period. Once juice and soda are off the table (literally and figuratively), it’s not even something to fight about. Our kids have two choices for drinks, they like both of them and best of all — they’re both healthy options.

Food is such a huge part of our lives that I can’t help thinking about it, learning about it, and yep, writing about it. It’s bigger than just our family, though. Food has huge implications for health, happiness, even our country’s financial well being. With obesity declared an “epidemic,” diabetes affecting more Americans than ever and the first ever generation of Americans to have shorter lifespans than their parents, Michael Pollan said “cooking might be the most important factor in fixing our public health crisis. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your health.” I would add it’s one of the most important things that we can teach our kids.

 

 

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

 

An ADHD Epidemic or an Over-Diagnosis Epidemic?

December 26, 2013

ritalin

ADHD is only an epidemic because lazy doctors and greedy pharmaceutical companies have allowed it to be:

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) published a study “The amount of children on medication has reached an astounding 3.5 million up from 600,000 in 1990. Also an astounding 15% of high school kids are now diagnosed with ADHD.  The historical average was 5% of children were affected by ADHD.”

Dr. Connors of Duke University who fought to bring Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) into the spotlight is appalled and considers this a “national disaster of dangerous proportions.”  Many doctors are quick to diagnose and give out medications. This comes from a phenomenal marketing campaign by pharmaceutical companies that publicized the disorder and promoted the medication to medical practitioners. The proportion of children taking medication for ADHD increased with severity, from 56.4% among children with mild ADHD, to 71.6% among children with moderate ADHD and

Click on the link to read my post on More than 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD!

Click on the link to read my post on Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

December 24, 2013

barb1

 

The debate over the latest push for a plus-sized Barbie is steeped in political correctness on both sides and ignores the children the toy is aimed at.

One side argues that Barbies aren’t of realistic dimension and the doll is guilty of influencing feelings of negative body image among young, impressionable girls.

The other side argue that the picture above shows an obese girl and that there is a responsibility to teach children that being overweight is not the ideal from a health standpoint.

My view is that Barbie has already had many decades of reproducing the same type of doll. It’s too late for the company to suddenly become inclusive. So your going to have one overweight doll amongst thousands of stick figures? That’s a great way to make someone overweight feel good, put them in a room crowded with models!

If they release the Barbie pictured above it will be the source of more bullying because one can’t help comparing it against every other Barbie ever produced. Even the marketing pitch shows the comparison.

Let’s take the responsibility of making our children body confident out of the hands of Mattel and lets own this problem and do something about it.

1. We need to tell our children that they are wonderful people, regardless of their size. If you think an overweight girl is unhealthy, try an overweight girl racked with guilt and self loathing.

2. Let’s not put such an emphasis on looks and instead replace the focus with more important attributes like kindness, empathy, loyalty and integrity.

3. Let’s help our young find their talents and show them how they can use their unique abilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Plus sized Barbie is a meaningless, insincere and tokenistic gesture at a time when we need to show our kids that they really matter!

 

barb2

 

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

 


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