Unplug Yourself

Before crawling in bed to read my daughter a story, I wolfed down a piece of chocolate.  Thinking she wouldn’t notice, I got into the sheets and found my daughter sniffing the air.  “It smells like chocolate,” she announces.  “Hmph,” I replied.  “Let me smell your breath mommy.”  She doesn’t miss a beat.computer screen and cell phone in black light

Children are watching and listening to every move we make.  Even when we think they aren’t noticing, they are.  Parents who tell their kids they have eyes in the back of their head got nothing on all the children who have hearing like an owl, a sense of smell like a bloodhound, and sight like an eagle.

Why do I bring this up?  Because it is important information on how we should conduct ourselves in the presence of children and teens.  We need to be the role models on how to make good decisions, on how to spend our time, and how to value what is really important in this life.

Many parents complain at how much time their children spend on media but fail to look at how much of their own time they are playing Farmville, Angry Birds, or any other social media game.

Show your children what to do when there is no phone, computer, tv, or other technology.  Be the role model.  I know many parents who engage in a healthy lifestyle and feel upset when their teen doesn’t want to go lift weights with them in the garage or go to the coast.  It is discouraging but keep trying and looking for ways to engage them.

I have seen countless children use the hold out method.  They think if they don’t speak and make it sour for everyone, they will get their way.  I encourage parents to combat this with their own holdout method of following through with their plans and keeping their cool.  A child will come around, maybe not the first time, but eventually.  Also, include them in planning what might be fun that doesn’t include technology.

I know this a challenge for many parents, and I count myself among the many.  We are all a work in progress.

I am a work in progress and can help shape healthy habits for my family.

“Mom, I Don’t Feel Good!”

Anxiety is a tricky, tricky feeling.  It can come out of what seems like nowhere.  It can hang for a few moments or an entire day.  It can keep you up at night or wake you out of a dead sleep.

Anxiety can make you feel physical pain.  It can make you feel so sick you cannot go to school or work.  It can prevent people from driving.  It can be at the root of someone’s addiction.

Anxiety can make it difficult to connect with others.  It can eat someone up inside.  It can hold on so tight, you wonder if it will ever let go.

The Anxiety and Depression Institute of America states 1 out of every 8 children suffer from anxiety, and it also affects 40 million adults in the U.S.  They also note it is the most prevalent mental disorder and also the most treatable.

This is good news, if you realize what you got and how to get help.  One of the challenging pieces is just that.

Anxiety can hide within other symptoms and not be as clear cut as one may think.  I have seen children present with what is thought to be ADHD come to find out they are wrestling with anxiety.  With the proper identification and treatment, symptoms can improve.

Children and teens will also often present with physical symptoms.  Headaches, tummy aches, leg pain, or a general sense of not feeling good.  Their complaints are real but the cause of them are different than they may expect.  It is important for your child to get checked out by a doctor if physical complaints are present to rule out any serious medical problems.

So what is the best treatment?  Therapy, nutrition, yoga, herbal supplements, medication, acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy, meditation and other stress reducing techniques can all be helpful.  You need to find the best combination that works for you or your child.

Please remember healing takes effort and time, but it is possible.  Now that is a relief!

Handling Summer Overload

Congratulations parents!  You have made it through another school year.  Summer is here and it is time to relax…..or is it?

Summer camps, sleepovers, pool time, staying up late, sweet treats.  While summer is supposed to be a time of leisure days, it can also be a time of stress for some families.

Kids can get overloaded from doing fun things just as much as they can get overloaded from too much work and activities during the school year.  Not only can does ice cream melt on hot day days but children can melt down as well!

Here are some ideas on how to keep kids and parents from avoiding the meltdown and creating a summer of fun.

1. Keep bedtime on a regular schedule-most of the time. Kids need lots of sleep to function.  You know how it feels when you are sleep deprived. Kids fare worse. Certainly there will be nights you have fun things planned so try to get them back on schedule as soon as possible.

2. Plan fun time and downtime. Kids need time to unwind. If you have a really busy day, plan a little less the next. If you are on vacation, plan some quiet time allowing for kids to rest and rejuvenate.

3. Transitions for some children are really tough. If this is the case, it may good to make a loose schedule for your child, meaning keeping a morning routine and a bedtime routine when possible. Some children benefit from having it written out or pictures to represent what is happening that day.

4. Eat well. Summer time can create a time for sweets overload. Ice cream, popsicles, candy, chips, cookies, you name it. Be mindful of what your children are eating throughout the day and balance it with healthy options.

5. Remember, parenting needs to be kid focused. I know we have get togethers with our friends where we want to stay up late and enjoy “our” time. This is all good but be mindful of what your children are needing.

6. Take some adult time. We end up being better parents when we take some time away to connect with other adults.

May time move slow in the moments I want to hold onto.