8 Simple Tips to Supporting Your Child with Both Nutrition and Lifestyle
In a fast paced world with information at our fingertips, we can get tripped up on what to focus on when it comes to nourishing our kids. Each child is different with different needs, but I wanted to touch on a few things that can help point you in the right direction when it comes to nourishing your whole child.
Nourishing our child is not just about breast milk or formula when they are a baby. Children are real people entrusted to us. They need nourishment from both lifestyle and food everyday.
In health coaching, this is called primary and secondary foods. Primary foods are the ways in which we nourish ourselves in life and secondary foods involve the foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis. Children need both of these to thrive and grow.
As parents, we are always growing. We don’t like to admit that, but it is true. When I am working with parents regarding their child’s behavior, encouraging their role as the parent is often a huge piece to helping the child. Whether we want to believe this or not, there are always things for us to learn as parents, both from our children and from wisdom.
Today, I wanted to share some tips to help guide you to making simple choices towards nourishing your kids. These do not exhaust all of the needs, but these are great places to start. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation here.
It is important for your child to be nourished in life. This is always a challenge as parents, but one that can be learned as we admit where we lack and be willing to move towards change ourselves as parents.
We also need to see our kids as real people who are trying to figure out their world and we need to support them. They do not know how to navigate life in the best way, that is why we are there to support and help them.
1. Be confident in your role as the parent
Children do not know what is best for them, but you are learning what is and will teach them. Your kids have been entrusted to you and you are the best parents for them. Do not let your child’s emotions determine your role as a parent.
You are learning and will continue to learn and grow as you parent them, but you remain to be always the parent. Do not let their emotions or disagreements change that confidence.
Being a confident parent nourishes their need to feel protected and cared for. Nourish them with your confidence.
2. Give simple instructions (for small and elementary aged kids)
Consider giving your child only 1-2 tasks at a time. Do not give overwhelming instructions, like “Clean your room.”, rather give simple tasks like “Pick up all the books on your floor”.
Once they are able to do that, then you can ask them to “Make the bed”…ect.. Just as you want to offer them one bite of food, you want to offer them one simple task to accomplish. Nourish them with simple tasks to grow in.
3. Celebrate one thing
Children are full of mischief and will often make foolish choices. As parents, we can see it more easily and always tell them what they need to correct.
We forget that they also need to hear what they are doing well at. Our role with instructing our kids is always felt, so we have to be mindful that they need to know when something is going well.
Many kids deal with shame and that is a deeper rooted issue of the soul rather than simply correcting behaviors. It is easy to shame our kids especially if their behavior is reflective of us. But their behavior is not a reflection of our identity as a parent.
Take time to nourish them with celebration and speak about what they are doing well rather than everything they need to fix.
4. Motivate with LOVE not fear or pride
We often justify our behaviors because we think much of ourselves or because we avoided our worst fear, but love is a long lasting motivator that will outlast both. When you ask your child to do something, let them know that you want what is best for them and love them even if they disagree.
Let them know that your instructions are boundaries of love, not to determine the child’s worth and value. This will free them at home and at school to follow through with tasks not to win approval from you or to avoid punishment, but because they are loved and can do what is best. Nourish your child with love.
It is very important to feed kids nutrition that will both support their growth and their emotional development. What we eat supports the nutrients the body needs to function in this way.
Sometimes a lack of focus can be a lack of nutrition to support the body. The food we eat today is different and often full of toxic ingredients that can, over time, harm or insufficiently support the needs of the body.
Consider choosing one of these things to start implementing.
5. Add quality fats for brain support
Add coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, real butter and whole fat dairy. Avoid Vegetable oil, margarine and fat free processed foods. Quality fats support the brain development and function.
Bone Broth is an incredible nutritional food your child can eat everyday. We make soups twice a week with it. A lot of my clients think it can be too daunting, but once I help them, they understand how easy it is to incorporate in any rhythm.
6. Drink water every day
Water is essential for hydration for the cells of the body to work. Your child is most dehydrated in the mornings. My kids have a water bottle by their bed that they get to drink when they wake up before they eat anything.
If your child does not like water, you can use coconut water, water + lemon juice (plain) + stevia to help start drinking water again. Reducing/eliminating soda’s will also change the pallet of the child to help them enjoy water again. Filtered water can also be a solution as it tastes so much better than tap water. Avoid juice (even 100% juices because it is fructose sugar), gatorade and energy drinks
7. Decrease sugars at home
A lot of packaged foods we consume contain sugar in the ingredients. If the sugar is in the first 3 ingredients, do not purchase it, make a better choice. Sugar comes in many forms (sugar, cane juice, syrup, fruit juice concentrate, agave, sucralose, high fructose corn syrup)
8. Increase vegetables
This can be difficult for children who don’t like them, but keep putting them in front of them. Ask them to take one bite. Try one thing everyday for one week with one bite. (1:1:1) Then move to another item. It will take many bites before a child might tolerate a food so don’t give up!
Try both raw and cooked vegetables. Don’t overwhelm a kid with too many options. Choose one thing and ask them to take one bite. You will eventually find something they like. Then you can celebrate and move to another option.