Feeding Kids The Right Way

Many people’s feelings about food were instilled as children.

We learn good and bad food habits from our parents and friends as we grow up, and these habits shape the rest of our lives. Although some children might have a genetic predisposition to obesity, evidence shows many children as young as preschoolers have a self-regulating caloric consumption.

English: Child eating a veggie burger at a fas...

English: Child eating a veggie burger at a fast food restaurant. Français : Un enfant en train de manger un burger végétarien dans un fast-food. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Environment, parental influence, food choices, and learned behavior might well contribute to the seemingly degeneration of the body’s natural system. Early education has touched health, food, and eating from a purely scientific, void any emotional connection with food. The government has created charts for food groups and made recommendations. Although this is a positive step, many children are not offered healthy food choices or are allowed to make their own decisions. A diet of processed and unhealthy food would probably disrupt the body’s ability to regulate digestion and energy expenditure.

Kids who skip meals or overeat after long periods of going hungry create a vicious cycle of gradual and progressive weight gain.

The development of a myriad of emotional responses associated with food and eating can be derived from as many environmental influences. Food can become a desired stimulation after experiencing the effects of a sugar rush. Children will adopt their parents eating habits and emotions regarding food. Just two generations ago, fast food was not as readily available or an accepted meal. Fast food restaurants began growing like suburban weeds, after years of parents rolling through drive- thrus, and when the next generation reached driving age, the lines still got longer.

Eating can evolve into a very personal battle of control. Many American parents attempt to control their children with food. Food was often a motivational tool of reward or punishment.

Schools instituted lunch as a social event, often with rewards for eating quickly. Many schools allowed children to exit the cafeteria to go to the playground as soon as they finished eating. As many children reached their teens food became their choice for the first time. Fast food actually became a form of rebellion. The fast food industry marketed toward children and teens with characters such as Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger, and ‘Happy Meals.’ The fast food industry and Hollywood formed alliance to lure children with the latest movie action figures and toys. Fast food then infiltrated schools with sponsorships and meals. In addition, soda is now offered in many lunchrooms across the country. Soda was considered an unhealthy drink just twenty-five years ago. Soda fountains were a rare treat and self serve fountains almost unseen.

Today, the situation is different and children are bombarded with unhealthy foods. It’s time for us to teach our children healthy food habits before its too late, since childhood obesity is rising in America, and is higher than ever before.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/585182

By Nitin Chhoda

5 Foods Healthy Moms Should Avoid Feeding Children

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: nutrilover)

Most mothers are keen on what they feed their children. Our number one goal is to make sure they eat food that are healthy and will keep their little bodies strong as they grow. When things are hectic and time runs low, there is a turn of events with fast food taking over the dining table. Here is a list of 5 foods that you should avoid feeding your kids whenever possible.

Processed Meats

Kids will do almost anything for a hot dog or some other processed meat. However, these come packed with fillers, artificial colors, sodium, potentially carcinogenic nitrites and nitrates as well as saturated fats. So potent is this deadly mix that kids who ate 12 hot dogs in one month were found to be 9 times more likely to suffer from leukemia. Pre-packed lunches should be avoided as well. They can have a fat count of up to 38 grams, which is more than half the amount recommended for an adult. Imagine what they can do to your child.

Fruit Roll-ups

Don’t be deceived by the word ‘fruit’ in these gelatin snacks. There is only a trace amount of fruit and the rest is artificial color and lots of sugar. If it’s in the candy section it’s candy, fruit will be on the fruit and vegetable aisle.

Juice

If the drink you are buying is not 100% juice, chances are that you are giving your child high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors to drink. Avoid these drinks like the plague and instead plan on squeezing your own juice from fresh fruit. This way you are not contending with additives. However, it is recommended that children take only 4- 6 oz of juice daily. Even though the juice you squeeze out for yourself has much vitamin C, the fiber is lost. Encourage your child to eat the fruit instead of drinking juice.

French Fries

We have all heard of this one before but it’s worth repeating. French fries have too much sodium, fat and calories to be good for your child. When starchy foods like potatoes are deep fried, heating them to extreme temperatures, acrylamide, a cancer causing agent is produced. French fries do not have much nutritional benefit at least not as much as can be found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, carrots and the like. Children could eat French fries every day if you allow them, so put a stop to it or reduce the consumption of fries in your home as much as possible.

Non-Organic Chicken Nuggets

This is an all time favorite for kids and we have all been told that white meat is healthy, so what is the problem? Chicken nuggets made from organic meat are very healthy for your child. However, the commercial kind is made up of high fructose corn syrup, sodium and compressed fat. They may look like organic chicken breast, but most of them are made from left over pieces of skin and chicken meat ground together and shaped like a nugget. These are not healthy for your child and should be avoided at all costs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6162959

By Kelly DiLauro

Easy Meal Planning – 5 Strategies for Feeding Kids

friday night dinner

friday night dinner (Photo credit: petit hiboux)

If you’re stumped as to what to do about feeding your kids and feel guilty about giving them items like chicken nuggets for dinner, don’t – feel guilty that is. A dinner of chicken nuggets or pizza is quite acceptable, every now and then. A common goal most of us responsible parents have is to feed our kids foods that will nourish them and help them to develop. But with the busy lifestyles many of us have, meeting this goal can be quite a challenge. Here are five meal planning ideas to help you pass the dilemma of what to feed your kids.

1. Commit to a Goal

You’ve being disciplined. You’ve given your meal plan quite a bit of thought and have planned out what you will cook for the week. Monday goes well, Tuesday is a bit hit and miss, and Wednesday is a disaster. Don’t give in or give up. I’ve been there and I’ve felt your frustration. What you may need is a small win. And here is where items like chicken nuggets may come in. At times like this try to keep the end in mind – a healthy, growing kid. Give yourself permission to not feel guilty about occasionally substituting the ultra healthy lentil loaf for something like pizza or a burger. Think about what your kids really like that you feel would be o.k. to feed them once in a while and add that to your weekly meal plan.

2. Understand You Child’s Eating Habits

Do you have a morning eater, an all day grazer, or an evening eater? By understanding what type of eater you are dealing with you can plan meals accordingly and avoid the feelings of failure that might consume you when your child, who for instance, may be a morning eater, is defiant at dinner time.

3. Be Creative

If you only have a couple of recipes that you regularly cook for your family, try expanding your repertoire. By being creative, and astute, you will hit on a family meal idea that will be a home run with your picky eater. This requires resolution on your part, but it can also be lots of fun and you’ll learn a lot on the way as well.

4. Be Deceptive

Your kid has decided that vegetables are evil and he’s just not going to eat them, ever again. Don’t fret. A simple, ingenious (but somewhat deceptive) way to help your little one to chow down on the good stuff is to add puree vegetables into his meals. Add puree squash or cauliflower into your next batch of mac and cheese, or a bunch of mixed vegetables (whatever you have on hand) into a tomato sauce. They’ll love it, and they’ll never know what’s hidden inside.

5. Be Forgiving

If it seems that no matter what you cook for dinner, your child is just not having it, don’t force the issue. The truth of the matter is they won’t starve if they miss a meal or two. Forgive them, forgive yourself, and try again tomorrow.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5368070

By Carla Richardson

Mother and Baby Activities: Swimming

As a new parent you probably have heard about other mothers or fathers signing up their small babies for mother and baby swimming activities, and you may be wondering what kind of swimming can be done when half the participants are too small to actually do much. While small babies aren’t able to swim on their own, just the experience of being with their mothers on water can prove beneficial for their development.

A boy in a children's swimming pool.

A boy in a children’s swimming pool. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swimming Lessons for Babies

It may sound surprising, but babies actually like water (provided it’s at the right temperature and not filled with irritating chemicals) and mother and baby swimming lessons are very popular. Going with your toddler to swimming lessons can help them feel more confident about water when they grow up, and it does encourage relaxation and better sleeping patters. Don’t expect your toddler to ever be out of your reach, but baby swimming lessons can pave the way for a healthy lifestyle when they grow up and can actually swim on their own.

How Are Lessons Performed?

The swimming lessons are conducted by specially trained instructors, on swimming pools heated to over 30C and shallow enough for an adult to stand on her feet easily. Of course they don’t really involve swimming for real so even parents who don’t swim themselves can attend, and often this can be helpful to lose existing fear of water. Your baby will be allowed to float but always next to you or on your arms, and some may even enjoy going underwater, but you won’t be expected to dive underwater yourself if you aren’t comfortable with the idea.

Can all Babies Learn to Swim?

Babies as young as 6 weeks can attend mother and baby swimming lessons, but you should always check out with your doctor if your baby has any existing condition. Avoid going to the swimming pool if he or she is or has recently been sick, as that can make things worse. Some babies take to the water easier than others, but the trained instructors at the swimming pool know how to make the experience great both for them and for you and ensure everything is safe and fun for your baby.

Some say that young babies take so well to water because it reminds them of the time before the birth, warm and safe and hearing their mother heartbeat all the time while submerged in water. Whatever the reason, most babies do seem to enjoy water related activities, and many public and privately owner swimming pools have special swimming lessons for mother and baby so check out your nearest pool for more information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6795777

By Irene Lizarraga

You Can Teach Your Baby How to Swim

a baby in the air above a swimming pool after ...

a baby in the air above a swimming pool after being tossed toward a man by someone who isn’t shown in the photo except for his/her arms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contrary to what the “experts” say, you can teach your baby how to swim. When I say baby, I mean 12 months or older. Six-month-olds can be taught to flip over and float, but it is a bit trickier. Most parents are led to believe by well-intentioned pediatricians or swimming instructors that either they have to be at least 3 to start or that they must be taught by a professional. I am here to tell you that I have taught all four of my children to swim, and it is very do-able.

There are a few things to consider when you are preparing to be a swimming instructor for your own brood. Number one: You have to understand that swimming is a skill, like any other that your child undertakes to learn. Like learning to walk, there will be times when the baby is apprehensive. However, after a while, as he or she gains confidence, frustration and tears diminish and delight and enjoyment take their place. Number two: There will be people who disagree with you for attempting to do this and who will try to persuade you to stop. I know it sounds crazy, but I am reminded of several occasions in which I was literally accosted by onlookers who did not have an understanding about what I was trying to accomplish. This can be avoided by choosing a private setting for your lessons.

Before I go any further, let me just comment on floaties by saying this right up-front: If you want you baby to learn to swim, you must never put even them on their little arms. Floaties provide a false sense of security to a young child. I will never forget one day at the public pool in Kirksville, Missouri when a young child about 4 years of age jumped right into the water next to me at a depth of 4 feet and proceeded to sink straight to the bottom. Luckily, I was right there and I grabbed him before the lifeguard even had a chance to jump in the water. His mother apologized and said, “He usually has his floaties on. He must have forgotten that he can’t swim without them.” I held my tongue then, but now you know. The other thing about floaties is that they encourage an upright position in the water which is counterproductive to the learning of the swimming posture which is horizontal.

The lessons themselves should be short-ten minutes at the most. Your baby will be working very hard during this time, so keeping it short will control for the fatigue that will naturally take place. Be disciplined about this. Make sure that you have a clock to keep the minutes for you. The lessons should also be frequent. I like to do four or five days a week whenever possible. If you have more than one child, you can have them sit out while you work with each one until they can swim well on their own. I make it a rule that they cannot interrupt each other’s swim lesson. Also, make sure that your little swimmer has not just eaten and that he or she is not over-tired (nap-time).

In waist high water (for you), start out by making sure that your baby can grasp the wall at the side of the pool. Do this a few times so that they understand that their job is to get the wall. Move away from the wall an inch and tell your baby to get the wall. If she slips under the water, that is okay. Just watch that she reaches up and grabs it again. By this time, she may be crying. That is okay, too. Now you will be able to hear when she takes a breath more easily and will know when to have her grab for the wall again. Tell her what a clever baby she is for getting the wall. She is learning that she cannot breath under water and that she must hold her breath. She is also learning that the wall is where she is safe. Sometimes the water level is too low, so that it is too far for the baby to reach the edge. This is easily corrected by talking to the owner of the pool.

Three times catching the wall is plenty for this first lesson. Later, you will introduce variations like turning her so that her side is facing wall so that she must turn to get it, having her “fall” into the water with her back towards the wall so she has to turn all the way around before she can reach it and even trying different orientations to the water (ie. head first, entering on her side, etc) when she gets really good.

You want to take her out to the middle of the shallow end now and, holding her on one shoulder, show her how to kick her legs. Do this for a few minutes while saying “kick, kick, kick.” Then hold her out in front of you, pulling her through the water towards you and tell her to get your hand under the water. Right after she inhales a breath, release her and let her glide toward you for a brief one or two seconds. Praise lavishly. Two more times, and that should do it for the first lesson.

Do this for several days until your baby is holding her breath predictably and you feel comfortable taking cues from her. After a week or so, you should be able to tuck her legs under her and let her push off against your thighs to propel herself toward the wall. From that point, you will be able to end her lessons with one or more of these “big swim” to the wall. Your baby will be swimming, and you will have helped her learn.

At that point, you can add more variation to the swim routine. You can add a flip over to a back float to take a breath in the middle of her swim to catch your hand. You can also add floating on her back and flipping over to resume her swim to catch your hand or the wall. By this time, she will be having so much fun, she may even jump in to the water from the side and swim over to you. This is fun to show off at the public pool, especially if you have been shunned there before. I have had people who criticized me when I started come up and remark what wonderful swimmers my children were and that they were surprised at how much they could do at such a young age.

Of course, no matter how well your baby and children can swim, you will never stop watching them very closely around the water-but you knew that. If any of this makes you feel uncomfortable, by all means don’t do it. This is certainly not what I think you should do. All I am saying is that if you really want to teach your baby how to swim, you can. I did. Four times.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/621653

By Rana Burr

Baby Swimming Can Be So Much Fun!

English: a baby in the air above a swimming po...

English: a baby in the air above a swimming pool after being tossed from one man toward another (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among the numerous attributes that can easily be made to children at an early stage in life, one which clearly stands out is that of swimming; once learnt, it is rarely, if at all ever forgotten. In fact that is the reason that a lot of emphasis is often placed on teaching children to swim right at their infancy stage, viz. when they are still babies. That is because; this is a stage which has practically no fear attached to swimming whatsoever. Otherwise, over time, a lot of young adults develop a fear for water – what is commonly referred to as aqua phobia.

Besides the obvious aspect of more focused and fearless learning, another clear advantage that baby swimming offers is that it can be so much fun for adults! Parents in particular tend to rejoice in the prospect of seeing their infant children being able to swim with complete nonchalance. Along the way, various memories are formed which in turn go on stay for life! Take for instance, the first time that an infant manages to stay afloat in water all by itself; or the first time, that an infant actually takes rapid strides while swimming, once again completely unaided and all by itself. These are memories which when captured on film become a part of lifelong memories which parents and the infant too will cherish, long after it has grown up!

Another clear advantage that baby swimming offers is the feeling and spirit of camaraderie. That comes about since babies tend to learn in an environment which in turn has fellow babies also looking to hone their skills in swimming. In such a scenario, they often end up making friends and acquaintances that go on to become a part of their circle of close associates, even much later in life. The same holds true for parents as well who also get a clear opportunity to enhance their social network amongst other fellow parents also looking to teach swimming to their kids.

Overall, if you are looking to groom your children as athletic and health conscious individuals in their youth and adulthood, then baby swimming would certainly be a very good instrument for you to actually do so. It has in fact been observed that in most cases, once babies are taught the nuances of swimming, they tend to continue pursuing the same, well into their adulthood as well.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5953125

By Abhishek Khandelwal

The Top 10 Parenting Tips For Great Children

Equal Parenting Alliance

Equal Parenting Alliance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am introducing the 10 Parenting Tips that can become your blueprint to family success. Focus on these 10 parenting tips and you will propel your children to their places of greatness. That’s a pretty bold statement to make, but we stand behind it.

So let’s do a little math here. Ten tips at 2 minutes each equals 20 minutes to the best children and the wisest parents in the world. Not so fast, algebra-breath.

You can, however, make real progress towards these 2 goals by using these parenting tips as a blueprint. Commit to 2 minutes a day on each of these tips until you have a plan that fits your family. Successful children and wise parenting will not happen by magic. It can and WILL happen through your commitment and wise strategies.

These tips are designed to get you:

A) Thinking about parenting in a new way, and

B) To do a little planning ahead.

OK, here they are. Each tip will beckon you to create a simple action plan to work on. And keep coming back to this list to check on your progress. Please be patient with yourself ans you devote 2 minutes a day, using your personal planner to jot down thoughts on how to grow in each of these areas.

The Top 10 Tips for Parents related to success for your family are:

1) Marital unity and family togetherness,

2) The value of faith and morals,

3) Showering one another with encouragement,

4) Discipline with calmness,

5) Living a healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise,

6) Parental responsibility for education,

7) Protecting your family from negative influences,

8) Preparation for careers and finances,

9) Friendships and dating guidelines,

10) Discovering destinies and roles for your children.

Take your time with each one of these tips until you feel comfortable putting each of them into practice.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5631281

By Charleen Ecuyer

How to Deal With Strong Willed Children – Top 4 Parenting Tips

Boy toddler. A child running in the park.

Boy toddler. A child running in the park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Children’s behavior typically changes as they move along the different developmental stages. This is because their socioemotional maturity goes hand-in hand with the growth and development of their physical and cognitive aspects. Dealing with children is challenging enough as it is; dealing with strong willed children is definitely a tougher thing to do. The age groups that are usually associated with the phrase “strong willed children” are toddlers (terrible twos) and teens. How to deal with strong willed children consists of understanding power struggles with children and creating more proactive relationships with them in hopes of preventing rather than coping with despair that parents might end up feeling.

4 Parenting Tips and Advice on How to deal with strong willed children:

1. Understand the relationship between power and trust As with all kinds of relationships, there is always interplay of power and trust. Power is possessed by both parents and children. The trouble is that most parents think that they are entitled to have the most of it and forget about the other side to having power: trust. See, children at a young age should be able to learn to trust their parents: as protectors, role models and guides. Children’s level of trust in parents essentially become lowered because of two things: parents asserting too much power and parents giving children too much power. The latter creates assertive or strong willed children with habits and attitudes that are quite difficult to break. So point is, learn to strike a balance between trust and power so that your children will still listen to you and respect you even if they have a strong willed personality.

2. Know about children’s developmental characteristics There are widely accepted theories on children that talk about developmental characteristics. It is important to know these characteristics so that you, as a parent will have a realistic expectation of your children and thus, know better how to deal with them. For instance, you cannot expect a toddler to listen to you the way older children should-their attention span and responding skill are just enough for a two year old. Also, your teenager may be exhibiting strong willed behaviour which is typical of teens asserting independence. Sometimes, parents just think it’s wrong because their children are acting differently. But that is because they are changing and sometimes it’s part of their normal process. That’s why I cannot stress the importance of knowing the facts enough.

3. Address the behavioral manifestations, not the person Your teenager may seem rebellious or your toddler may seem to not pay attention or your children get into too much trouble in school. Before you overreact, ask yourself, does it really bother your that they are “misbehaving” or does it bother your more that their behaviours reflect on your parenting? Talk to your children and explain to them that their actions are inappropriate. Ask them to reflect on better actions to do in future similar circumstances. Remember, they are human beings with feelings too. You may need to be stern (and consistent) to get your message across but be careful to attack the wrong doing not your child as a person.

4. Let your children participate in small decision making Power struggles with toddlers, teens and children in other age groups exist because parents tend to take total control of their children’s lives. Parents sometimes forget that children can make small decisions on their own. As a part of being a good role model for respect and getting the trust of your children, letting them participate in small decisions at home (i.e. what to have for dinner, what to wear) gives them the feeling that their opinions are valued and their voices can be hear. With this in mind, your children’s strong willed character can be softened into a more positive and participative one.

Parenting tips on how to deal with strong willed children can be found in a lot of parenting literature. But of course, it always looks better on paper. The real challenge is putting theory to practice and staying consistent to being a good parent. Hopefully these few tips have helped you gain some clarity!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6749547

By Joshua See

Create Better Parenting Skills By Following These Top Tips And Hints Here

Latino Children Play Swing

Latino Children Play Swing (Photo credit: epSos.de)

As parents we sometimes struggle to find a medium that suits our needs and our children’s needs too. Many conflicting issues on a daily basis can create some testing and frustrating times for families of today. We are going to look at some effective tools and strategies which can help us as parents to better handle parenting on a daily scale so we can enjoy our short time as parents.

If you are new to parenting and are only just finding your way in this wonderful and exciting journey, then you may feel a bit overwhelmed or tired at this present time. It does not matter if you feel you are not a naturally calm person who can handle almost any situation because knowing what and how makes children do what they do will give you a better understanding. Once you begin to understand why children do what they do, you can overcome these regular challenges and go about your daily business without the added stress that most parents have to deal with.

Expecting children to understand that being nice to them is going to mean they are going to do the same is only going to leave you frustrated almost every time. You have to find a way of disciplining your child or children by using effective methods that are going to allow the child to understand what exactly you expect from them. There is such an age gap here so being able to do this is an art as well as a skill. Once you develop these skills you and your children will find more time for play, understanding and togetherness, which is what all parents want and desire.

Feeling guilty about losing your temper is only going to fuel the fire even more. Remember that this is a natural emotion and it is telling you that something needs to done in order to handle the situation. There is no such thing as a bad emotion because these emotions are simply messages telling us we are ready to take action on something. You can easily teach your child how to handle mentally challenging situations just by allowing yourself to take control of them yourself.

Clashing parenting styles and methods are always going to happen. This is because many couples who may or not be married do not discuss their plan of effective methods for parenting before the child is born. This does not mean you cannot learn from each others methods and combine them both together for a more effective and positive result. Work with each other and you will find that the job of parenting is going to be a lot easier and more fun as you both progress and develop your skills for many years to come.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6519156

By Winston Jones

Top Single Parenting Tips

Happy Children Playing Kids

Happy Children Playing Kids (Photo credit: epSos.de)

If you have been married for a number of years and the marriage dissolves, entering into single parenthood can be a daunting experience if you as the mother don’t have a grasp on things. No doubt, single parenting is tough and no one signed up for it.

5 top single parenting tips to employ:

No matter how lonely you feel and how much you need to be understood, do not talk to your child about her father and do not discuss grievances with her. This is too much responsibility for a child and besides you will transfer your sadness to her which is grossly unfair. Your child is not your confidante. She is not your protector. You are hers and so it must remain. Your child must always feel that someone is in charge. Don’t make your child a pawn in your failed relationship. He or she looks to you for love and guidance and to feel safe and protected.

Now that there is only one parent in the home, you are both mother and father and will need all your wits about you to run the home. You need to make up a list of rules for leisure time, study, chores and so on. You have to enforce the rules right at the beginning and stick to them. If they try their luck and do not do their chores, you have to either cut television or computer time, or something that your child enjoys. As a single parent who works outside of the home you have to run your house like a well-oiled machine so that when you come home from work you are not entering a house where the dishes are stacked up in the sink and the beds are unmade. You are the new rule-setter now. This does not mean, however, that their father has no say. He has his rights too, and you should never punish your children by refusing them contact with their father albeit it by telephone or weekend outings with him.

Have a plan and stick with it. Children like order; they just do not know it. One of the most common things single parents do in a situation where there is a breakup is that they compensate with gifts. This is especially true of the single father who feels guilty that he has left or that he is not with his children. The child will start to expect it and the next time she cries and you don’t buy that new doll she wanted, she throws a tantrum.

If your young children are used to going to bed at eight at night, do not let them stay up an extra hour to watch a movie as you want to establish a regular time each day when all the children can relax in their rooms.

Don’t go completely against the above by being a hard-nosed mom and being too strict. This is a time when children need love and understanding and you have to find time in your day to spend time with them in the evenings. Take them out at least once on the weekend unless they see their father.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6663369

By Amie Haskett