Headaches Stomach aches Runny nose Sneezing Loose stools Constipation Restlessness Hyperactivity Dark circles under the eyes Skin rashes Asthma Allergies Irritability Lethargy Tiredness Low Mood
I recall from a young age having headaches on a weekly basis. I would come home from school and pop Advil like it was candy. I was young and naive, so I didn’t realize that the Advil was only covering up the signal my body was giving me to let me know something I was doing or eating was not agreeing with me. By the time I reached college my body’s signals grew louder, as I began to experience digestive issues and frequent stomach aches. After numerous doctor trips in search for an answer and many over the counter medicines to eliminate the discomfort, I began doing my own research and soon realized I had food sensitivities and my diet was causing the discomfort. In a matter of two short weeks, I changed my diet and completely eliminated all ailments!
Food sensitivities and intolerances, unlike allergies, are toxic reactions to foods that do not involve the immune system. They are more common than food allergies, but often undiagnosed because reactions of a food intolerance are not so obvious and reactions can be delayed for as long as up to two days after exposure. Different children will display food sensitivities in different ways, which is why the list above is quite extensive. Unfortunately, some of the main culprits such as gluten, dairy, soy and eggs are in a lot of our foods. Corn, refined white sugars, food chemical additives, artificial coloring and MSG are also potential culprits that are commonly found in our children’s snack bars and many other processed items.
I encourage parents to consider that food may be contributing to a child’s discomfort or behavior. The food we put into our body matters, as it is what fuels us. Practice mindful eating habits with the children in your life. Teach them to listen to their body and the signals it gives. For some quick tips on cleaning up your families diet, check outLet Food be Thy Medicine for 10 simple steps to getting started!
A licensed Naturopathic Physician (ND or NMD) can help you identify food sensitivities by doing testing. Interested in figuring it out on your own? Check out The Elimination Diet, by Tom Malterre & Alissa Segersten.
Ever wonder if there is a way to ensure that your child will grow to be a happy and healthy individual contributing to society? I believe the best shot at facilitating this desired outcome starts with YOU. As parents, we often put our needs last and don’t realize we are tapped out until we find ourselves at our wits end and in a state of reaction. This vicious cycle leaves us exhausted and our relationships suffer. The only way to stop this cycle is to start taking better care of YOU! Model self care and self love to your children. Show them what it looks like to slow down and honor oneself. Below is a breathing exercise that will assist you in doing just this.
Give yourself permission to take time each day to connect to your authentic self with this simple exercise:
Commit to taking at least 5 stress free minutes to yourself every day.
Recommended when you wake in the morning or in the evening before falling asleep.
Lying down or sitting comfortably, close your eyes and calm your mind by focusing on your breath.
You can’t force yourself to not have a thought, just let the thought go with your outbreath. You can count your breaths to keep your focus inward.
Take 5 calming breaths: Inhale, through your nose, letting your belly expand with air. Exhale out your mouth, completely let go on your out breath. Take notice of your whole body relaxing more with each breath.
Relax your face—let the tiny muscles around your mouth and eyes get very soft and relaxed.If there is an area in your body that is particularly tight, breath into this area.
Visualize light filling your whole body on your inhale, and washing away any stress or mental garbage on your exhale.
Take 5 additional breaths while visualizing your body filling with light.
Affirm an “I Am” statement.
Once your body and mind has relaxed though breath, affirm an “I Am” statement. This statement may change over time. Choose what feels right to you in the moment. Examples: I am safe, I am strong, I am beautiful, I am capable, I am abundant, etc.
Breathing exercises, similar to this one, can be taught to children as young as age two in order to develop self-soothing, a necessary life skill! Dr. Harvey Karp refers to this as Magic Breathing in his book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block.
The end of the school year is an exciting time for all kids! As for parents, some are just as excited while others may feel a bit overwhelmed. Whether your feelings about summer break are mutual to your child’s or not, get in the groove, by considering ways to celebrate with some quality time!
The activities below can be yearly rituals that signify the beginning of summer break– kids of all ages enjoy fun family rituals!
Visit a favorite restaurant with your kids on the first day of break. This is a great time to discuss and inspire summer goals.
Make pizza from scratch. This is an easy one to allow kids to partake in. Let your child choose the ingredients they want for toppings.
Trip to the bookstore to buy a book to read for the summer.
Take your daughter for a manicure or your son to the batting cages.
Put together a fun summer basket filled with items your child will enjoy (toys, books, journal, art crafts, gift cards, etc.). Kids love using their imaginations, so challenge them to think of additional items to include.
Encourage your child to make a collage depicting all the things they want to do or accomplish this summer. Make one for yourself too. Doing this with your child models self-reflection, consideration, imagination, and individuality!
Check out this awesome video with Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of the NY Times bestseller, The Conscious Parent! In this interview, Dr. Shefali describes the best ways to practice conscious parenting and how staying centered despite outer chaos can be achieved.
Without a doubt, I believe that conscious parenting starts with filling your own cup! I’d like to encourage a conscious parentchallenge here at ChildBlossom! Consider the following questions below, each night, for 1 week. Take some time to reflect, and journal your responses. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll learn about yourself!
Did I live with my authentic voice, today?
Was I allowed to be in stillness?
Did I detach from all external pressures?
What emotions were triggered today? What can be learned from this trigger?
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
As parents we oftentimes overlook the message in this poem. Soon after our babies come out of the womb, we begin judging which family member they look like, and as their little personalities develop we discuss whose temperament they’ve inherited. We forget that this child that inherited our genes and DNA has it’s own unique being, separate from us.
As parents we have an important job. This job requires conscious thought and consideration with honest reflection regarding our actions. Do you behave as though your child is an extension of you, instilling your beliefs or projecting your fears and insecurities? Or do you respect their personal journey, providing them with untainted reflection, guidance and support? A conscious parent recognizes when they fail to do the latter, and strives to change course. Be a conscious parent – provide your child with a steady bow and send forth a sound arrow.
We live in a fast paced world where many things are easily at our fingertips, and the amount of choices we encounter on a daily basis can be exhausting.
Who has time to weed through the false advertisements or take a microscope to food labels or ingredients list? I’m sure most of us want to believe that the FDA is doing its job and strictly regulating our food, and most importantly our children’s food. Unfortunately, the dirty truth is this is not happening. Much of our food has alarming amounts of preservatives, food colorings, additives, pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics that are not nutritious for our bodies and especially not our growing children’s bodies!
You wouldn’t expect your car to run smoothly if you filled it with garbage, so why don’t we have the same expectation for the fuel we put in our own bodies?! If you’re concerned with how you feel or how your child is feeling or behaving, start with a cleaner diet.
I like to follow these 10 simple steps as much as possible–
Drink filtered water
Avoid eating anything with more than 10 ingredients
Avoid eating genetically modified foods
Pass on fast food
Increase the amount of living and fresh foods consumed.
Cut back on sugar
Ease back on dairy foods (coconut and almond milk are great substitutes, if you’re going to consume dairy, choose organic)
Consider Gluten free (many children and adults are sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat products, even if they don’t officially have an allergy)