RSS Feed

Category Archives: Parenting

The Fascinating Reason Why Kids Have So Much Energy: Balance, Behavior and Longevity

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I was doing Know Your Child Teacher Training, my instructor asked us if we knew the reason why kids have so much energy.

None of us really knew the answer, but we all agreed that kids have ridiculous amounts of energy. Read the rest of this entry

I Only Clean Up When The Kids Are Awake

Posted on

CleanUp2When my firstborn was a baby, I used to anxiously wait until she was asleep, then I would whisk through the house and clean up. When she woke up, I would be all eyes on her, sitting and playing and taking care of her until at last, she would fall asleep again. Repeat.

But, that got old fast. Real fast. I started getting resentful to the fact that I never had enough time for myself and it was so incredibly tiring trying to entertain a baby for hours on end. So, I changed all that fast and started taking her with me to get everything done.

Now, my kids are 3 and 5 1/2, and unless it’s an accident, I almost never clean when they’re asleep. Read the rest of this entry

I Let My Kids Get Hungry

food

My kids often come to the kitchen just as I start cooking dinner. They’re looking for something to shove in their mouth for instant gratification. I tell them, “Dinner’s coming.

They complain and sometimes cry.

I listen to them, tell them I understand they’re upset.

I offer some water.

I know you’re hungrydinner will be ready soon.

They open the fridge. There’s nothing in there they can pop in their mouths.

They complain some more, maybe cry more. I listen, without scolding them.

They have to wait.

But, when dinner is ready, we all sit together at the table and they eat. And man, do they EAT.

It’s so peaceful. They say “Oh yummy, mama! Thank you!” I don’t have trouble keeping them at the table because they’re too busy indiscriminately scarfing down their food. Almost everything I put in front of them, they eat. I rarely hear a complaint.

If they never feel hunger, how can they enjoy the taste of their food?

If my kids graze all day, they may or may not want to eat a meal, and if they do eat. If they do eat, after a day of grazing, they usually take two bites and run off to play. Meal rejection is frustrating to me. I’m not a control freak, I feed my kids about five meals a day, but I do have my limits. For one, I know that what children eat and the way they eat, is important to the way that they grow and develop. Kids don’t get a great deal of warmth and nutrition from walking around grazing all day (even healthy grazing). Also, when my kids won’t eat a meal, my effort of creating nourishing food, feels wasted. If they reject too many meals in a row, I start to get resentful over my wasted effort.

Letting my kids ‘get‘ hungry, should not be confused with letting them ‘go‘ hungry. It’s NEVER ok to punish a child by withholding food or to shame or make fun of a child for eating ‘too much‘.

I don’t encourage grazing and I won’t make them something special half an hour before dinner is going to be ready. After I clean up the kitchen at night, the ‘kitchen’s closed. I won’t prepare meal after meal all day. I don’t make special meals either. They eat what we eat (unless I honestly screw up dinner). I do my best to meet everyone’s needs, including my own need of feeling honored in the kitchen.

We do have snacks in the house sometimes, and when we do, the kids are allowed to eat them at free will. Allowing children to learn how to self regulate their diet is completely possible, and my kids get plenty of opportunities to do so.

But, once the snacks are gone, they’re gone and the snacks don’t get replenished until we go to the grocery store next, or if I bake something. If they choose to eat all the snacks in one go, it might be a week before they see snacks again. Or, they can ration the snacks out. It’s their choice.

People tell me that they just can’t deal with the whining and grumpiness of a hungry child and I totally understand. It’s annoying and sometimes even I can’t deal with it. But, a child that is ONLY hungry, will simply come looking for food, without crying and screaming for it. The tantrum part comes from other emotional distress, but we end up giving food as a remedy for some unhappiness that is not always related to the hunger.

If we offer food to make an upset child feel happy, then over time, could we accidentally be teaching a child that food has the ability to make you feel better when you’re upset? By not validating a child’s emotions and instead, offering food, what are we teaching our kids? Comfort eating is a real problem that many children and adults suffer from. When my kids get hungry and grumpy, I address the hunger and the emotions separately. Of course, I feed them as soon as the emotional storm is past. Anyway, it’s not good to eat when you’re upset…

Every child is different and they each have different dietary requirements depending on the day. Some kids eat like a bird and others eat like a horse. And, sometimes the kid who usually eats like a bird needs to eat like a horse on a particular day or vice versa. Although it takes some time, giving food with awareness is something that I’ve gotten better at. Listening to a child’s true needs, rather than just offering food to prevent a temper tantrum is truly ‘listening‘ to our children.

Letting a child get a little hungry, builds their desire to eat their food with awareness. Opposites are complimentary. If you never feel hungry, how can you ever enjoy your food?

For an aware parent perspective on why kids are picky eaters, I wrote an article on that here.

This post is meant to be read with common sense. If a child had special dietary considerations (diabetic) you have to consider their health needs. This post is intended for children with no special dietary considerations and is not an excuse to withhold food from a child.

Questions I Need to Stop Asking My Kids

Posted on

Questions_katesurfs

Before my children could verbally communicate well, I got really good at reading their cues… Hungry? Tired? Hot/Cold? Upset? Have to pee? Yup, with a little practice, I seemed to be able to figure it all out. Now, they’re older and extremely verbal, but I keep doing something extremely stupid: I keep asking them questions which I (and they) already know the answers to. Asking these types of questions makes me sound like a broken record and is an obvious display of my lack of awareness.

1. Are you hungry?

I can generally calculate this answer, myself, if I think about the last time we ate. If they’re hungry, they’ll either lunge for food or they’ll have a melt down. Simple. Next.

2. Do you have to pee?

I ask the little one at least 29 times a day. If she has to pee, she holds her crotch and can’t sit still. I KNOW when she has to pee… SHE KNOWS WHEN SHE HAS TO PEE. I can just take her, but instead, I ask her. She says “No“. I ask her again 5 times until I take her… I’m an idiot. I could have saved my breath and just taken her at my first chance. Read the rest of this entry

The Joys of Making a Birthday Cake for You and Your Hippie, Diet-Restricted, Mama Friends

Posted on

cake

See that cake? I’m a fraud. It’s made from berries that aren’t even organic.

I can explain. Really, I can.

See, last week, I *thought* it would be a good idea to do my daughter’s 3rd birthday party at playgroup, since her birthday and the playgroup day coincide. Throwing a real party would be too much effort (second child).

I could make a cake!

We could sing ‘Happy Birthday‘, it would be grande! Read the rest of this entry

Go Ahead, Mix Brown

Posted on

IMG_5840

Who am I to tell you what your creative process should look like?

As a kid, I was probably taught to keep my colors separate. I can’t remember exactly.

I certainly remember being told to color in the lines.

I remember being taught the right way to draw things… and guess what?

I suck at painting and drawing. Suck bad at it. I was a sensitive type, so every time someone would correct my creativity, without me asking for advice, I would get pulled out of the creative process and start to question my ability. I started thinking that I sucked at painting and drawing, so I stopped.

You can paint however you want, sweetie.

It’s just paint.

It’s just paint.

Whatever you create is perfect.

I let your older sister paint brown and draw rubbish.

Now, I love her drawings and paintings. They are so hilarious and unique. She knows how to keep her colors separate and I never had to teach her that. Actually, she yelled at you today because you were messing up her purple.

So go ahead, mix brown, draw scribble and paint squiggles… be my guest.

It’s just paint.

It’s just color.

Whether you learn to keep your colors separate or not, I don’t care. Because keeping colors separate is not as important to me as your confidence.

 

 

 

My Daughter Isn’t Bossy. She’s a Follower, And That’s Ok

Posted on

IMG_0599

Lots of people stick up for bossy girls (and boys).

Don’t call my daughter bossy, she’s a leader!”

Bossy, bold, being a leader, brave, (whatever you want to call it) are all qualities that seem to appeal to our society.

But, what if your kid isn’t bossy?

What if your kid is a sensitive little follower, and copies other kids in a bid to make everyone happy? What if your kid is a people pleaser? Of course, us adults like if a kid follows our lead. But, if a kid follows and copies other kids, we see this behavior in a negative light.

Does being a follower make your kid a sissy? Weak? Unoriginal? Read the rest of this entry

Oh, Shut Up and Let Me Use My Phone!

Posted on

phone

We were driving through the beautiful countryside yesterday and my husband said, “Hey Kate, stop looking at your phone and look at the scenery.” I was in the worst mood ever (we were joking about it) and I said, “Oh would you shut up and let me look at my phone!” I’d seen the pretty scenery a million times before and it was the first time I’d had a chance to check my phone all day.

Somehow, my husband can get away with being on his phone whenever he needs to. But when it’s my turn… Forget it! They all need me then. It’s not fair!

It’s ok, I get it. My family likes my presence. Read the rest of this entry

Nobody Loves You As Much As I Do

Posted on

NobodyLovesYou

I scooped her up and whispered in her ear, “Nobody loves you as much as I do.”

We were giggling and being total goof balls at the grocery store.

I nibbled on her neck and said it again, “Nobody loves you as much as I do!

She paused, made a more serious face and softly rested her head on my neck, wrapping her tiny arms around me.

Oh God, what a melt moment. I almost cried. Read the rest of this entry

I Miss You Already

Posted on

IMG_5058

Tonight, I sat down at the computer to find that my 5 year old had left the photo library open. She had been looking at old photos of her and her sister.

“Oh, just look at those two!” I thought with a smile. I just wanted to reach through the screen and pinch those little cheeks.

The photos were only from 2 years ago.

Look at the house! Everything looked so much brighter and new. Less stains on the carpet and less clutter from toys.

And, those beautiful cherubs… Oh, how did they change so fast?! Read the rest of this entry