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Archive for March, 2010

Across the nation we are hearing reports of sunshine, warmer temperatures and flowers blooming.  We have been told by doctors, therapists and moms since the dawn of time to “Go outside.”  The benefits to all levels of your being are huge.

When children go outside they expand.  They experience a fullness of themselves that they cannot experience when indoors.  This is why moms everywhere lament foul weather — kids can only go so long without expanding before they start taking up all of the space around them — inside!

Next time you go for a walk with your child or even just outside to shoot some hoops or draw with chalk on the driveway, ask them how the sun feels on their body.  They are already soaking up the benefits of vitamin D which is so important for development and healthy living, and by tuning in to the sun they will also tune into their heart space.  They will feel the opening, the expansion.  Let them describe that to you.  Have them tell you how they feel.  Pay attention to how much more creative your child is when outside (or right after they come in). 

Put some sun screen on, grab a sweater and your sneakers, and go outside and feel better!

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One of the biggest challenges parents, caregivers and teachers face is getting children to eat healthy.   As babies, my kids ate almost everything: peas, carrots, beats, strawberries, green beans, sweet potatoes…. Why then is feeding them nutritiously so difficult when they get a little older?

Think hotdogs, French fries, prepackaged cracker/cheese/meat lunches and fast food.  Truth is, children do what we do.  We eat on the run, we eat convenience foods and we eat for emotional needs more than hunger a lot of the time.  It’s not that any one of the food types mentioned is horrible….well, let’s just say not completely without merit, but we tend to make these the building blocks of our eating habits instead of once in awhile treats.

We are born with coding to know what our body needs.  And try as we might, we don’t ever obliterate that intuitive sense.   If you’ve ever just absolutely craved a salad or needed a hamburger you know what I’m talking about.  You body sends messages all the time about the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need.  We coat that system with preservatives and sugar creating a scenario where we think we need preservatives and sugar, but listen a little deeper and you will find that you really want an apple with peanut putter, a vibrant salad, pasta with veggies….even that protein and iron rich hamburger on occasion.

Help your children hold on to their internal menu guide by having them play a conscious role in food choices.  Let them help you pick out fruits and veggies at the supermarket.  Make a menu with food choices that are easy for you to prepare and have them check off a food from each group (bread, fruit/veggie, protein and beverage) for breakfast and lunch.  Lead them towards healthier snacks like nuts, dried fruit, crackers and cheese, a scoop of peanut butter, yogurt and granola etc. 

Tell us about your favorite healthy snack?

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Sometimes all the nurturing in the world won’t calm an irrational, worked up or distraught child.  That’s when I encourage parents to get a little help from Mother Nature.  You see, all things nature help bring people to their heart space.  Ever find that you feel immeasurably better after a walk on the beach or through a park?  It’s because nature seeks balance and moves in to restore frantic or low energy creating equilibrium and harmony.

Of course, a child who is cranky because they’ve missed a nap simply needs sleep.  Or if they are falling to pieces because it’s past lunchtime, no amount of nature will quell the effects of low blood sugar.  But if your child is just having an off day, a little bit of time outside could work wonders.

Sending Johnny and Sally out to play together if they have been fighting might not work, but if you take them on a walk, or on a picnic and participate together, I believe you will find a change of attitude in the kids.  Chaos can exist outside, so again, going to a crowded park where there aren’t enough swings or the slide is stuffed with kids is not likely to help you or your child.  The chaotic energy of the people there will surely overrule the calming force of the grass, trees, sun and sky, but if you can play in a quieter park, walk through a botanical gardens, walk on the beach and collect shells, work in the garden at home or sit in your personal meditation garden the effects can be magical.

Too cold or yucky to go outside?  If you have a green thumb you can make sure there is a corner of your home with child safe plants all around.  Plop your child there with some relaxing music, coloring books and/or a story book and allow them to unwind and fill up.  Or, draw a warm bath and let your child soak while you read him a story.  Add a tablespoon of Epsom salts and a couple of drops of lavender and your child just may transform from angry and defiant to complacent and happy! 

Please share with us your favorite ways to employ nature in your quest to nurture your child!

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