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.

IMG_6872[1]
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

Can we throw out the thumb?

That’s it!  At two years and three months, Master 2’s THUMB-SUCKING is about to see an end.  Well as quickly as we can stop it…!
You see in the last two days I’ve noticed a few changes to his face and speech that have made me pay attention:

  • he’s now developing on ‘open bite’ where his top front teeth don’t sit neatly in front of his lower teeth…  The top ones jut out in an arch, just slightly.
  • with his teeth closed, because of his front teeth sitting forward, the middle of his top lip is forced outwards, just slightly… But his appearance looks different.
  • tongue tip sounds such as /s/, /d/, /n/ sound slightly ‘dentalised’ (ie the tongue and jaw sit forward giving that ‘fuzzy’, lispy sound).

Being a speech pathologist I have seen these changes and want to reverse them as quickly as possible to avoid face shape changes, future dental issues and of course, the dreaded speech errors.  To have more of an idea of the issues that thumb- or dummy/pacifier-sucking can have, here is a post I wrote a while back on the effects of sucking, on speech development https://iraisemykids.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-future-of-a-little-sucker/.

Whilst it is good to have in mind the future issues with sucking a dummy/pacifier or their thumb, it can also be very difficult to put an end to this habit.  The potential trauma to a child must be kept in mind at all times.  When stopping the habit starts to affect the parent-child relationship, this is where it might be time to back off or slow the focus a little bit.  Giving it time might be all that you need. 

So, how do you stop the sucking habit?  Whilst I don’t have the answers, I know slow and steady is a good idea and keep in mind your child’s age.  The younger they are, the less you can expect of them.  Always keep in mind shame.  Without explaining why you are trying to end the thumb- or dummy-sucking, your child may be left feeling shame for wanting to continue with a self-calming strategy that they suddenly feel is ‘not allowed’.

Here is a little bit on our journey with Master 2.

Master 2 only sucks his thumb when he has his comforter monkey.  I am tucking it away in the day and whilst Mr2 has asked where it is, we have joked that he is at work and distract him by wondering what job he does and I list off options for Mr2.  He laughs with me so I know he is okay with the concept.  I give monkey back for sleep, so he still sees him twice a day.  When he wants monkey in the day, we will have a fun game of hide and seek and find monkey.  I am being careful not to hide monkey so much that Master 2 can only think about ‘not letting go of monkey’ and end up sucking his thumb more.  We have made the rule ‘no monkey in the car’ which Master 2 has gone along with, with the distraction of his music in the car.

We have talked about the thumb pushing his teeth out and how my aunt who is a dentist is going to check on his teeth soon to see how he is going with less thumb sucking.  He now asks me if he can suck his thumb before he goes to bed.  I let him, knowing it’s a compromise for less sucking in the day and that he will anyway.  We will keep the talk up about less thumb sucking and I give him other ideas of what to do when he holds monkey (stroking him, holding a second toy) with no pressure to take it on yet.  I am going with education early so hopefully he can make his decision to really quit as soon as he is ready.  We are lucky he doesn’t suck his thumb without monkey.
IMG_9708[1]

Ps this is Master 2’s ‘big smile’. The best I could get of the wriggling boy!

Why you should think about your baby’s language development

[6-12 months] This is such an important, interesting and exciting time for your baby’s language development.  Your baby goes from feeling the day by ‘sensations’, to understanding their world by ‘words’ (be that verbally or gestures).

This is the time to REALLY watch your little one.  When they pay attention to something, be it what you are doing, an object or another person/animal, you can help to teach them language with a few simple steps.  My first vocab list – 6 months+ and My second vocab list – moving to 12 months will give you tips on how to make language learning simple and also the first words your baby is likely to learn.

The sooner a child has language, the sooner you can interact even more with them, entertain them more, negotiate with them and help them to learn more about their world.

Helping your child to talk – take the time

[from 6 mths]

Just like with reading, exposure to words does all add up to the ‘more you put in, the more you get back’. Picture two children at a cafe.  The first child’s parents get on with their coffee, smile at the baby and give it a few toys.  The second child’s parents label what the child is looking at, playing with and even take the time to point out say a dog or a bus going past.

Then take this scenario to the shopping trolley, driving in the car, in the bath, while you’ve got visitors and out in the pram.  It takes more effort but you will be sure to have a child with a larger vocabulary and stronger relationship with you than those little ones who have spent more time by themselves.

Hide and seek with chicken soup?

Yes that’s right.  The lengths I will go to, to encourage my children to be adventurous and healthy eaters!

It all started when I made chicken stock from scratch.  So I decided to make a creamy chicken soup with it… The problem is, Master 2 is still getting his head around mixed textures, let alone a soup, but I do have Master 4 who is becoming just so adventurous, I don’t want to hold him back for the sake of Master 2 eating a dinner with us.

So I held my breath and served the soup with a piece of their gluten-free toast and coconut oil to entice them to dip into the soup.  Taking a spoon to it would surely be too scary.  Both boys said ‘TOAST!’ and pushed the soup aside.  Hmm.

I knew I had a better chance with Master 4 so encouraged him to try the soup and I would put a Wiggles song on for him.  He did.  Now onto Master 2.

Knowing that Master 2’s sensory system would need some working to get him to eat the soup, I tried to encourage him to at least touch the soup, no eating.  Instead he became upset when I put a small dollop on his toast plate.  Hmm, so I was looking at this bowl of soup not even getting touched tonight….

Out comes the avocado offer!  Master 2 was keen.  But of course my trick was to throw the avocado into the bowl of soup so he would have to at least touch AND taste a small amount of soup.  He wasn’t impressed!

So I offered a bit of corn thin with two goals in mind – a bit of filler now that I could see this soup wasn’t going to be eaten and another object to put in the soup.  Master 2 wasn’t impressed but he did dig it out and try to wipe off the end.  Whilst he ate the dry end, I scooped the avocado out and left it on the table, making sure there was still some soup on it.  Master 2 fell for it and ate the avocado.  I made sure he knew he’d eaten a bit of soup, ‘hooray!!!!!’.

I tried with the corn thin again, and this time he ate it all!  So I backed it down to small pieces of corn thin dropped into the soup.  He was fine with it!  In fact, he enjoyed digging around for it.  And before we knew it, we were playing hide and seek in the soup.  I hid small pieces of corn thin in the soup, he would dig them out and eat half the soup that came with it.

Whilst Master 2 didn’t eat all of his soup, he touched it (crucial for getting his sensory system okay with the idea of eating it), tasted it and even ate decent amounts of it (probably half).  And after my first thought that he would finish dinner without having touched it, I call it success!

I’ll be making it again soon, so we can teach his sensory system more 🙂  Oh and Master 4 ate two bowls full!

It’s time to turn two!

Just three months difference

Just three months difference

My little boy turned 2 today!  Just recently I’ve noticed he has begun to ‘look’ two.  On the left was only three months ago and when you look closer, you see his head shape has changed…. His brain has really grown lately – personality blooming, vocabulary sky-rocketing, physical skills ever-improving and he is becoming more and more aware of the world he lives in.  And another big change is the muscle tone in his face….  He has lost the baby cheeks, all because he has simply been using the muscles more for talking!
(I can’t say chewing as he is still experimenting with ‘no thanks Mummy’ to the new foods I present him with, but that’s another 2-year-old story..)
Do you have a coming-up-2-year-old who is going through these changes?  🙂 Heidi

 

Sign of the week begins!

Well it’s on for a limited time.  Any parent who is keen to teach their little one some signs (from 6 months +), first get your head around the ins and outs at Do I get on this baby sign bandwagon or not?…..

And if you’re still keen to give your little one a great brain workout (and yourself!!!), here is your first challenge.

Find as many opportunities to sign ‘MORE‘ to your little one as you can.  By clicking on the link, you will see how to do the ‘more’ sign.  This is in Auslan, so if you are not in Australia, you will need to take a look for a similar sign search website for your country’s sign language.
At first, you will just be modelling it (like you’ve been modelling how to talk all this time) and always saying the word.  The aim of spending a whole week just on one sign is to get into the habit of doing it anywhere and everywhere, NOT to get your little one signing it in one week……This will come!
A few examples of where you might sign ‘more’..
  • more bath toys
  • more cereal
  • more (insert favourite song)
  • more blocks up on the tower…..

If your baby lets you, you can take their hand and show them how to do it.  One thing to remember… don’t hold things back from your child because they aren’t attempting the sign.  You would only do this once you have SEEN your little one doing it at least once.
If you have any other questions, please ask away!

🙂 Heidi

Turning ‘yuck’ to ‘thanks’

Success! Many of you would know I don’t stand for ‘yuck’ at the dinner table. It’s taken awhile of reminding ‘I’m not sure of that food’ and lots of exposure to foods with no pressure to eat. Finally Master 3.5 has started sitting at the table and surprising us with ‘what a great dinner Mummy’ and ‘thanks for cooking this Daddy’. It is worth being consistent on this!

Speaking of which, one of my most clicked on blog posts of 2013 was ‘No child is naughty at the dinner table‘. It is full of reminders on why you should take it easy on kids at the dinner table (but we still ensure sitting to eat, age appropriate table manners and of course, no YUCK).

And right on cue, Master nearly 2 sits at the table tonight and mutters what I am sad to say was an approximation of ‘yucky’.  Here we go, round 2…….!

(but for this age, I played the ignore game)

You can also find I Raise My Kids at Facebook and just recently, Google+. Hooray!

How many…?

[18 months +] Teach your child to count through incidental counting here and there, when they have attention for it. This might be seeing a whole lot of balls in a book, once you’ve named ‘balls’, if they are still looking, you could name the colours, sizes or count them. They will need to hear numbers and see you pointing as you count many times before they will get the concept.

[2 years +] Once your child is getting closer to being more interested in counting, start asking ‘How many…?’ before you start counting.  Although some children can count, I see many who also have no idea when I ask ‘how many…?’. They need to learn that the words ‘how many..?’ and ‘count’ mean to start counting!

Don’t worry, these are the earliest ages you would worry about beginning counting.  Go along with your child’s attention for it.  You can always model other vocabulary instead.

Helping your child to talk : WAITING

[Birth onwards]  How long do you give your little one to respond?  By waiting and expecting your baby/toddler to give you some form of communication (a smile, kick, reach or words), you are teaching them that communication is two-way.

Some children need you to wait a bit longer, to give them time to come up with a response. Silently counting to 10 while you look expectantly at them is not ridiculous!

tickle, tickle!!..........

tickle, tickle!!……….

An example is :
Mum – tickle, tickle, tickle!!!!! (WAIT!)
Baby – eventually kicks in excitement for ‘more’

Mum – more or finished? (WAIT!!!!)
Toddler – might push food away or say finished after they realize they have to make a decision

Dad – pink shirt or red shirt? (WAAAIIT!)
Toddler – might reach for or even attempt to copy colour

The key is waiting 😉

Visit us on Facebook too!