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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Each child comes into the world with his or her own special gifts. They have something unique to share with us that adds to the magnificence of the world. The greatest service we can do for children is to help them to “unwrap” their own special gift. By providing love, support, and encouragement, we provide a safe space to allow a child to stay connected to who they really are. True success and abundance comes from tapping into their passion, and sharing their gifts and light with the world.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we want to shine light on the incredible women who hold the most important job in the world. Thank you for nurturing, guiding, and loving the future of our country. Thank you for helping your child to find the treasures that reside within them.

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Little Soul Productions operates with the philosophy that in order for kids to understand and be aware of different concepts, they need to experience them.  The more you can engage children in the learning process, the more empowered they are to discover the true magic of the world around them.  As we honor this world by celebrating Earth Day on April 22, let’s get our children involved so they can continue to develop a strong appreciation for their surroundings.  A great way to do this is to have them be conscious and understand where their food comes from.  We can teach them how the Earth is a sustainable eco system that provides for their well being.  In order to do this, we have asked guest blogger Lindsay Sloane to share an Earth friendly recipe that you can make with your children.  Kids are more likely to try new foods if they partake in the cooking process. Be sure to talk to your children about where the ingredients come from, so they can have a deeper appreciation for this amazing planet.

By Lindsay Sloane, guest blogger

I am first time blogger, long time cook, and even longer lover of food.  I distinctively remember getting to cook for the first time. I was in pre-school at The Magic Years Nursery School in Reseda, California.  The school really incorporated cooking into the curriculum and taught students how much fun and how easy it is to create delicious food.  In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share a nutritious recipe that kids can cook with their parents and the whole family is going to enjoy!  I wanted to share my joy of cooking and help teach children about some of the yummy foods that come from our Earth; foods that are free of chemicals, preservatives and ingredients you’ve never heard of.  This recipe is loosely based on one I learned from the Magic Years Nursery School when I was a kid.   I changed it to fit my tastes and I encourage you to do the same.

Lindsay’s Granola

Ingredients

5 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats (just dump a whole canister in a bowl)

1 Cup Raw Almonds Slices

1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (dehulled, unsalted)

1 Cup Raw Pepitas (these are the inside of pumpkin seeds – Available at Trader Joes)

1 Cup Unsweetened Dried Coconut

1 Cup Soy Flour

1 Cup Powdered Non-Fat Milk (if you buy the box with the individual packets, it’s one packet)

1 Cup Wheat Germ

1 Cup Safflower Oil

1 Full Honey Bear (one cup of honey if you are measuring)

Directions

The majority of this recipe kids can do with just a little adult supervision. Dump all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix.

Spread a thin layer onto two cookie sheets (it makes so much, you may have to do this twice)

Bake at 275 degrees until toasty and brown. Watch Closely so it doesn’t burn.

Wait for it to cool and then enjoy over yogurt or in a bowl with some milk…or even over ice-cream if you want a little treat!

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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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Some up and coming business people promote Conscious Entrepreneurialism; there’s conscious living, conscious business, conscious eating, conscious parenting.  But what does it all mean?  What’s at the heart of living a conscious life?

Believe it or not, conscious living is not the opposite of unconscious living – not exactly anyway.  In western culture we are conditioned to make decisions on just about everything based on how logical or smart something is.  We are celebrated for our ability to reason out a problem and come up with a logical solution.  And we are commonly “poo-pooed” for making a decision based on our feelings or intuition.

When we live consciously, we don’t abandon logic for intuition, but we do combine them.  That means, sometimes our decisions don’t appear to make sense.  For example, when my kids were little and everyone else was teaching their kids about stranger danger, I was encouraging my kids to say, “Hello” to the elderly man in the grocery line AS LONG AS it felt appropriate.  We would enter all kinds of situations where I would ask them how the person or the situation felt.  When it felt good, safe and nurturing I would encourage them to say, “Hello.”  If it felt yucky, threatening, hateful or scary – we left and they were told that that is the kind of energy to run from.  Some parents got very upset that I wasn’t teaching what made sense to them in a frightening world, but my heart and mind were in alignment and now I have two children who don’t even go near a friend’s home if it feels “yucky.”  They also have not missed out on opportunities for making new friends because they were allowed to talk to people they didn’t know.

The essence of living consciously is living with intentions and with an open heart.  Your mind may come up with some grand ideas, but those who live consciously run that feeling through their heart to see how it feels.  Most successful people will tell you their fortune came on the wings of a faithful leap.  They took a chance because it felt right, not necessarily because it made sense.  Yes, we can make mistakes, but we make mistakes every day trying to follow a linear thought based path.

If you live consciously then you don’t just eat veggies because you’re supposed to, but you eat beets because you feel you need them.  You don’t just take on a business partner because they have the cash, you bring them on board because your personality melds with theirs creating a powerful feeling.  You don’t just issue any punishment to your child for hurting someone, you teach them with an appropriate response how to deal with the fear that made them act that way and then how to apologize and make it right. 

It’s easier than you may think to live consciously; you’re probably already doing it.  Take a moment right now and assess how this article made you feel.  How does your chair make you feel?  How is the temperature in the room where you are sitting?  Be conscious of how you are feeling in every moment and make decisions about your life from that place.  You’ll find it not only feels good, but it makes sense too!

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Holidays produce some of the fondest memories we have with our children.  Valentine’s Day is no exception.  As you pick out Valentine’s for schoolmates, boxes of chocolate for mom and grandma and bake heart shaped cookies sprinkled with red sugar, you, like many conscious parents, may also be looking for more meaning or depth in this holiday to share with your children.  In fact, February 14th is a perfect time to introduce or reinforce with your children what it means to tune into your heart and your feelings.  More than a chocolate odyssey, Valentine’s Day reminds us to dig deep, remember to love ourselves and then express that love outward. The truth is, we can only love others to the degree that we love ourselves.

In addition to the crafts stamped with “I love you,” take this opportunity to help your child(ren) get in touch with the messages of their heart.  Consider adding one or more of these meaningful  Valentine activities to your memories.

1)       Spend a day using Feeling’s Language.  Instead of making statements like, “I am hungry,” or “I love you,” phrase everything with feeling language.  “I feel like it’s about time to eat.”  “My heart is full of positive emotions for you.”  “I feel like this is the perfect day for a family walk.”  “I’m overwhelmed with joy.”  “I’m blessed to have you in my life.”  You get the picture.

2)      Establish a Gratitude Jar.  Place a jar in a family common room along with slips of paper and colored pencils, crayons or pens.  Encourage every family member to mark down what they are grateful for at least once a day and put the paper in the jar.  At the end of the week take out the slips of paper and read everyone’s gratitudes.

3)      Have a Family Meeting and ask each person to state what they love about themselves (this can be things they think they are good at as well as qualities they like in themselves).  After the family member in the “hot seat” has expressed their self love, let all the other family members add the qualities they like about this same person.  Make sure every family member gets an opportunity to be in the “hot seat.”

4)      Download music that makes your heart sing and play it when you pick the kids up from school.

5)      Make a Commitment to only say, “I love you” when you are looking into each other’s eyes.  It has more meaning that way.

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The most successful teams I have seen, from sports to the workplace to philanthropic groups, are ones on which every participant is working with others doing what each does best.  The teams that I watch fail are those where everyone is trying to be the star and no on wants to play a supporting role.  I was in 3rd grade PE class when I learned that winning was important to everyone.  Not being very coordinated and, quite frankly, caring more about friends than winning or losing, I was never first choice for any teams.  I remember being so very confused that people I thought were friends were choosing others for their team because they had a better chance of winning.  In sixth grade I realized that I was not in the “smartest” class, only the “second smartest” in my grade and I was too young to realize that in my case, changing classes meant going from the top of second to the bottom of first.

To this day I have a problem with competition.  Yes, I realize that competition can push us to be better, give us something to strive for etc., but we are assuming that without competition we would turn into lumps.  Instead, I suggest that in fostering competition we are encouraging a society where there is a hierarchy of abilities instead of a society that recognizes each person for what they are good at. 

More times than not I see children as young as four years old, sad, depressed, angry (note none of these are positive emotions) because they weren’t the best at one or two activities.

Let’s imagine for a minute that instead of competing for one or two coveted spots on a team or in school, each child was recognized for what they are good at.  That every child’s unique contributions to the world were cherished.  Do we really think that under those circumstances our corporate, social and financial worlds would do anything but thrive?  Not to mention what the spirit of collaboration could do for world peace.

I see parents pushing their children earlier and earlier in sports, academics, dance, art….trying to secure a “top spot” in their child’s future.  I also see a lot of kids suffering from anxiety, depression, and stress disorders in elementary and middle school.  It’s not too late to change our world.  Here are a few ways to help foster collaboration and bringing out your child’s unique talents.

1)  Let your child try lots of sports, art and social activities before deciding on which one they excel at.  Don’t tell them how they are doing, praise them for trying and let them tell you how the activity makes them feel.  It is OK to do something just because it’s fun.

2) Do household projects as a family letting each person choose the part of the activity they will enjoy most.  Then talk about how quickly the project got finished and what each person enjoyed most about it.

3)  If you have multiple children, let the kids help each other with difficult homework problems or projects.  Letting them help each other not only lets each child shine, but it teaches the children that one person (the parent) doesn’t have to be great at everything!

4)  Ask for help and let your children see you do that.  In acknowledging that you are not an expert at everything, you open the doors for your children to know it’s OK to do the same.

5)  Let your children see you share your talents with others.  They will then want to share their gifts as well.

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One of the most used tools for punishing a child’s behavior in the last decade has been the “Time Out.”  Companies capitalized on products geared to assist parents with this consequence creating tools that range from Time Out Timers to  Time Out Chairs.  I’m a fan of Time Out myself.  It’s a great way for everyone to regroup, reset and recharge.  But if a child sits in Time Out and stews about the punishment or is uncertain about what they did to land themselves there the Time Out is really ineffective, and more times than not the child will end up right back in the Time Out seat.

This consequence is much more useful if the child has an opportunity to get in touch with what they are feeling and then get to a calmer more centered place.  A child that leaves Time Out calm and balanced is a child that will interact with his surroundings more successfully.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of a Time Out.

1) Choose a time out spot in your home and make it peaceful — Maybe at a window that overlooks the garden or in a space that removed from household noise.  It should also be comfortable enough that the child can relax, for example a chair is preferrable to standing.

2) Play some happy music in Time Out.  Not something that is distracting, but this is a good time to use something like Baby Mozart’s Relax, Daydream and Draw CD.

3) Encourage deep breathing in the Time Out space.  This may mean sitting with your child the first few times and breathing with them so that they understand this is part of the Time Out process.  Deep breathing encourages the physical and emotional levels of the body to relax.  Only once these levels are relaxed can anyone process what’s going on around them.  You are much more likely to get your child to understand their actions once they are calm.

4)  If the child is angry, have them count to ten.  This process helps them refocus their energy and helps to move them out of such a negative space.

5)  Just before they leave their Time Out space ask them to tell you  something they love about themselves.  This reestablishes the idea that consequences do not define them, and they will be in their heart which opens them up to better interactions with everyone.   (Remember ideally it’s 1 minute of Time Out for every year of the child’s age.  A 2-year-old can sit for 2 minutes)

6) My only DON’T suggestion is directly for the parents or caregivers.  Do not end a Time Out asking the child if they know what they did wrong.  This only serves to inject more negative energy into the process at the exact moment that we are asking them to go back to playing or listening to instructions.  We are setting ourselves up for disaster when we do this.  Instead, it is appropriate to tell the child why they are going to Time Out when it is issued, or if the child is older, to ask them why they think they are being sent to Time Out.

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One of the most emotionally challenging things I ever had to do was resign from a position within a charity group that I belonged to. Never in my 39 years had I failed to fulfill the obligations that I committed to or was assigned– no matter what the cost to my emotional or physical well-being. It was difficult to do, but two things happened that day;  1) I really felt free once it was done. I spoke from my heart and I stated realistically what I could do and what I could not. My two month headache disappeared almost immediately. 2) I earned the respect of the very women I was afraid would judge me. After all, I knew (or at least I suspected) that they were as busy as I was, so who was I to actually claim more time for myself when everyone else was carrying equally heavy loads? They were incredibly supportive of my self-honoring.  And in truth, I wasn’t really fulfilling my obligations anyway, so I freed them up to find someone who could help them more. Not only do our children act out when we are overcommitted, but they learn from what we do. If our children see us volunteering at every opportunity, helping every friend in need and operating from an unhealthy place to meet the needs of others then they will very likely grow up to be the same kind of person. So before you say, “Yes,” to that next charity drive, bake sale or PTA position, think about the message you are sending to your children. Saying, “Yes” to You and “No” to others takes some practice. Here are a few tips to ease you into the process. The goal is to only agree to those things that fuel your heart, your passion and your soul.

1) List all your commitments (no matter how big or small). Have a friend or your spouse read them back to you. If any give you a sinking feeling in your stomach or make your heart hurt or you feel like you are being squeezed in a vice…those are commitments that will only drain you. Find a way to get out of them or fulfill the commitment and resign from that job.

2) List 10 things that you can do for you that make you happy. Maybe read a good book, have coffee with a friend, take a day off, stay in your pj’s all day, take the phone off the hook, take a walk, exercise, meditate, get a massage….Whatever those things are, do one everyday before you fulfill any commitments outside of your family.

3) Remember that every time you continue to do a job that makes you complain or feel exhausted you are draining yourself, sending the group negative energy and most important, you are keeping that job from someone who would be very happy doing it.

4) Learn to say, “I deserve to live a balanced life.” Post it anywhere you need a reminder.

5) Surround yourself with friends who also say, “No.” If all of your friends are overcommitters, then it will be even harder to keep balance in your own life. In contrast, if you have friends who have a good idea of how much they can do and still live in balance, then not only will you feel more validated in declining but you will all serve as reminders to one another about what is important.

6) Make family time a priority. We often accidentally fall into the trap of overcommitting ourselves and then it becomes a habit. When we reconnect with the joy of family meals, playing games with our kids or having a date night, we are more reluctant to give those joyful moments up.

7) Ask for help. We assume everyone else is busy and has their own burdens so we don’t ask for help often enough. It is not our place to evaluate what throws someone else out of balance or what fulfills them. Let your friends and family members make that decision for themselves and take any, “Sorry I cannot” replies with gratitude and move on to the next person. Someone will feel very fulfilled in helping you.

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