Why I’m focused so much on food now!

Hi everyone, my followers from the start and the newest to join in.  Thanks!

I am Heidi and my mission is to inspire parents to take an active role in the early years of their children’s lives.  I am thankful that my 4.5 year old son gave me signs that I could not ignore that his health was suffering.  After looking into his eczema, ‘ADHD’, ‘Asperger’s’, candida issues/seasonal allergies, sleep apnoea, low immunity, bedwetting, ear infections, dark circles under the eyes and even rough/dry hair, I have:

  • realised the food/chemical sensitivities that not only Master 4.5 has but also our whole family
  • studied and studied the ‘truth’ about what causes these symptoms that many parents ‘put up with’
  • exhausted myself silly!! and taken on stress from others reactions to our approach to healing ourselves

In the meantime, I have also realised how DIRE our children’s future is if we do not start to realise that we are what we eat, many foods are a REAL problem for our children (even ones that the FOOD PYRAMID will tell you is healthy) and how chemicals can affect our health too.

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It is easy to think of these ‘little’ symptoms, such as eczema or behavioural issues, as ‘little’ issues.  However, it is easy to forget the affect it can have on:

  • your child’s development now
  • how uncomfortable these symptoms might be for your child (who often doesn’t know any different)
  • and their future health. These health issues are all linked to INFLAMMATION, which only continues onto later adult diseases, also linked to chronic inflammation

So with all of this in mind, I am starting to post more about how to get your family’s health more on track and how to do it slightly more easily than I have done it for the last couple of years.  I am not aiming to scare anyone with health messages, but more just to plant seeds in your mind so that you can share these either with others who might need it, or for the day you might need it yourself.

Please let me know if you would like more information on any health topic relating to your child.  I am currently studying to be a family health coach, to help families make small changes for a much healthier life.
And of course, the more you interact with my page, the more you receive posts.

Thanks for joining in! 🙂 Heidi

Dads are important too!

Following my post last night about my role, and my sons’, in I Raise My Kids, I have to say my husband is well and truly a part too!
He is open-minded enough to go along with all of the ideas I have and enthusiastic enough to follow it up.
He takes our childrens’ early years as seriously as I do and hence we both make the most to appreciate our boys and most importantly, spend time with them.

Whilst I am celebrating having an active husband and dad around, I put my heart out to those that don’t have this.  My husband works away many weeks of the year…I can truly appreciate single mums and dads and the ‘overwhelm’ it must sometimes bring.

Hooray for dads…and the single parents that have to fill both roles.
(Yes it’s nearly Father’s Day )

Remember to show your appreciation for these special people in our childrens’ lives too.

Sibling roles

Does your little one know where they fit in in the family?  Particularly if they have a younger sibling?
Here are some drawings I did with Master 4 when I noticed he felt like attention was always on younger brother and he sometimes felt like he didn’t know what his role in the family was.
Not so easy to see the drawings, but you 'get the picture'!

Not so easy to see the drawings, but you ‘get the picture’!

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I drew these drawings with him as we talked about how important he was AND also how his younger brother would also have similar roles, particularly as he got older.
This really helped so when I then had to say ‘you’ll have to wait for your brother’, ‘wait for your turn with Grandma’ or ‘show your brother how to pack away’, he had more of an intrinsic motivation as he knew this was one of his roles as big brother.

Much better than ‘you’re the oldest, that’s just how it is!’.

Would what you say your children’s roles are in your family?

Is It a Bad Thing to Want to Give Our Kids a Magical Childhood?

I couldn’t agree more. I enjoy sharing a magical childhood with my kids almost as much as they do! I’ll never let anyone change my mind on that..

A Magical Childhood

Last week, a blog post went viral about why parents should stop trying to give their kids a magical childhood. 

One of my friends shared it on her Facebook wall and yesterday a speaker at a sustainability conference even recommended it, saying that parents today spend too much time “on those things like Pinterest” and “working so hard to make their children’s live magical.”

“They’re just making their own lives harder,” she scoffed, “trying to make everything perfect.”

Then she said it’s because we mothers are addicted to stress.

Yes, it turns out we secretly like stress and so the quest to make childhood fun is some deep, psychological quest to make ourselves unhappy.

Or something like that.  I had a really hard time understanding the logic in any of it.

These people seem to completely miss the point about what makes a childhood magical, and why some of us…

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Communicating at the toilet

Did you know that what you say and how you act around your child when they are toilet training can really make or break the whole experience?  A confident and supported child will be happy to keep trying, even if they make mistakes!

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Here are a few points to remember about communication, before you get started.

A child is never in the wrong when it comes to toileting

Your positive attitude, no matter what, is key to keeping your child relaxed around the toilet and most importantly, happy to keep trying.  Sensitive children in particular will pick up when you think they are not doing a good enough job.  This can completely derail their confidence.

Whilst toilet training can be frustrating for parents, it is important to look at WHY there might be issues, rather than blaming the child.  This might include not being quite ready (and thus less understanding of the importance of making it to the toilet every time) or being almost ‘past’ the window of opportunity (and thus resisting going to the toilet).  Of equal importance, is to look into any underlying causes of sudden accidents, constipation or frequent bed-wetting.  Any issues around toileting is never the child’s fault!

Keep it positive

Whilst praise keeps it positive, why not try using your child’s own ‘intrinsic motivation’?  To do this, acknowledge what your child has achieved, for example, ‘you did a poo in the toilet!!’ or ‘you told Daddy you needed to go!’.  This generates excitement for your child to do that behaviour again.  Using praise, such as ‘good boy!’, is more likely to encourage your child to repeat what they did more to please you, than for their own self.

Always remind yourself, no negative talk will ever help your child to move forward in the toileting process.  Patience and understanding goes a long way in keeping the huffs, threats or blame aside!

Be careful how you praise and reward

It’s great to express your pride to your child on their toileting achievements.  But…including that you are proud even when they have accidents or wet the bed, will reassure them that you are supportive all the way!

It can be fun and enticing to offer a small incentive for going to the toilet but be prepared to adjust the target according to your child’s toileting skills.  So for example, if you’re only offering a sticker for a wee or poo in the toilet, what will you do if it’s a battle just to get your child to sit there in the first place?  By making it simple enough to earn their reward (that is, a sticker for just sitting on the toilet at first), a child will understand you aren’t expecting too much of them.

Negative reinforcement, in the form of ‘you won’t get this if you do/don’t do this’, is only asking for adrenalin (‘hey mummy and daddy aren’t supporting me here…’).  Stress brings inability to think and perform straight and a lack of support may reduce your child’s confidence and enthusiasm in doing what is expected of them.

Use appropriate language

Depending on your child’s age when they begin toilet-training, this will make a big difference as to whether you are using long sentences or reminding yourself to pick easy-to-understand words.

For the two-year-olds, you might need to use simpler language to make it clear what you need your child to do.  This might be ‘time for wee, no wees in the car!…then you can wee at the park’ or ‘Kasey had an accident, that’s okay, look wet undies, time for rinse then let’s get dry undies’.  You might still be clarifying terms such as wet/dry or ‘need to go’.  It can also be more appropriate to encourage your child to ‘sit on the toilet’ rather than announcing they need to do a wee or poo, just in case they really don’t need to go.

At first, it is important to confidently TELL your child when it is time to go to the toilet.  Be sure your child isn’t at an important moment in their play though!  By asking if your child needs to go to the toilet, you are almost asking your child to say ‘NO!’.  If you forget, respect your child’s answer and attempt again in a few minutes with ‘It’s time to sit on the toilet and try for wee or poo!’.

Lastly, there is a difference in saying ‘oh you had an accident’ compared with ‘did you wet yourself?’.  Hopefully I have inspired you to think twice about communicating at the toilet.

Have you signed up to follow I Raise My Kids here on wordpress?

 

Enough with the left brain and more of the right brain!

We began with our morning tea in the garden and discussed the art project : to draw an item and then paint it too.
Master 4 chose our new ‘child’, our avocado tree. We got out our beautiful rainbow dice (Thanks Apple n Amos) and decided to pick three colours for our project.
Purple, orange and yellow.
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Here is Master 4’s results. And of course this project lead into experimentation with these colours and the feel of paint, particularly for Master 2. But that is another story!

I encourage everyone to try this. You could do lucky dip for colours or even have a go at the project yourself.
Or check out Apple n Amos!

 

Autism inspired me to learn more

Autism is where my interest in child development started.  A child with autism (or ASD) isn’t quite like us, but yet can possess some unbelievably amazing skills.  I have met parents of children with autism who have shown me what it means to ‘do all that it takes’ for their child & then deal with others questioning that.
Children with autism have difficulty communicating, playing, processing sensory information and understanding the social norms the rest of us just ‘get’.  Once you learn about where it can all break down, you realise how intricate our brain is.
I’ll leave you with a little pic that really does sum up how complicated social interaction is for a person with autism.
Happy Autism Awareness Month!
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You’re going to be a big sister! Now here’s what’s going to change…

As the nine months draws to an end, most parents start to feel the nerves of managing one child (or more!) AND a newborn.  Yes it does come with challenges, logistical craziness and plenty of work in helping your older child through, no matter what their age,  but keep in mind it is still a very special time and hopefully an exciting event for your child!

The good thing is, you can start to make small changes before the baby arrives to help prepare your child for what will eventually be the ‘new’ way of life.  Do talk about the pros of the little brother or sister’s arrival but remember playing cars and tea parties will be YEARS from now!  Your child needs to know what will happen from day one, particularly what will affect them.  

Change helps us to learn and grow....

Change helps us to learn and grow….

You can start by slowly introducing some of the changes below and providing pieces of information about the ‘new’ way of life…and repeat as much as they need!  

  • Prepare for the whole family to have a shake-up to their routine for a while.  You can start talking to your child about what might change for them, such as coming to watch the baby have a bath before their bath or explaining that Mummy or Daddy might have a sleep in the daytime.
  • Prepare to be breast-feeding at any time of the day, including right at your child’s bath, book or going to sleep time.  You can change up any routine now by having your husband step in (or you if you don’t normally take that activity, as down the track your husband might be doing the baby settling which gives you a chance to spend time with child 1).  Encourage independence in any activity that your child is close to, such as scooping their own food or taking off some of their clothes before their bath and putting it in the laundry.
  • Prepare to need quiet while someone is trying to settle the baby.  You can start practicing being quiet with your child, practicing for when baby arrives.  Doll or teddy play is great for this or even making a game of tiptoeing to the bedroom.
  • Prepare to be needed in two places at the one time.  You can start making your child wait that bit longer before you get to them or getting them to set themselves up for say book time or at the dinner table.  Again, think encouraging independence in any skill that your child is close to mastering!
  • Prepare to be busy.  You can start thinking about new routines now.  This might be cooking dinners when your child sleeps/rests, to avoid super-crazy witching hour or if you need to go hard at improving your child’s sleeping habits.  Reconsider any changes to your child’s life for the first little while, such as toilet training, moving to a bed, mostly as you will have less time and emotional energy to deal with these.
  • Prepare for a family full of emotion from tiredness to jealousy!  You can prepare your child by either talking to your child about the feelings that they might face (Trace Moroney writes a great series of books ‘When I’m feeling… kind, lonely, sad, jealous, happy, angry, scared, loved’) or prepare to give out many hugs and special time for your little one if they are too young to understand the words for these scenarios.  The most important thing is to be HONEST.  When you sit down and think about it, there might be few ‘pros’ for your child to have this new baby in their life so it is important not to pretend it is anything other than how your child is feeling that it is.  Jealousy and loneliness COULD be on the cards but on the other hand, your child might enjoy helping out and being the big brother/sister!
  • As mentioned in many of my posts, drawing is a great way to help your child talk things out whilst keeping their attention.  You might do a stick figure drawing and say ‘remember when you were in your room today whilst Mummy was feeding little bubby? (drawing as you go) Did you feel jealous that Mummy wasn’t there playing with you?’ or ‘remember when Mummy couldn’t get to swimming today because she was feeding little bubby? (drawing as you go) How did you feel taking Daddy instead? (you might let them draw the smile/frown or give them options of ‘excited’, ‘sad’, ‘both’).  Drawing brings past events (even from 10 minutes ago) to a concrete level for your child to think about more easily.  It also lasts longer in front of them than words that come and go.  And it can end up being a ‘special activity’ they get to do with Mummy or Daddy.  Link here to find out more about drawing conversations with your child.

Above all, patience and understanding is really needed, which can be extremely hard when you are exhausted.  You can only do your best and remember, all the first-borns in the world have had to go through the same thing!  ‘You’re going to be a big brother. What do I say next?’ also has information on how/when to break the news and preparing your child for the birth.

Come and visit I Raise My Kids at Facebook and Google+ 🙂

Most clicked on 2013

An early happy new year to everyone! I will take the chance again to say thanks for being supporters of I Raise My Kids.
This week I’ll be reposting the most clicked on posts from I Raise My Kids.
Actually the most clicked on is ‘about me’ so starting with that, I’ll give a quick summary about who I am, so you know where I am coming from with the posts that I put up here!
I am Heidi, a mum of 2 boys (getting closer to 2 and 4 years) and a paediatric speech pathologist. I am very interested in child development which includes everything from communication, cognitive, social-emotional and even physical development. I am also interested in play, literacy and picky eating/developing healthy eating.
We have been down a road and a half working out the cause of Master 3’s ‘ADHD’ and eczema and have since come across food intolerances, kinesiology and working towards more of a Paleo ‘lifestyle’ so hence I post about this as well. Working with children, I am starting to realise there is a lot more of the unnecessary behavioural problems as well as other health issues that creep up, relating to not only diet but also emotional issues.
I hope that if anyone ever has questions or concerns that they would like more information on, relating to any of the above topics, please send me a message. I am more than happy to try and help!!