Guest Post By Bernadette Lueck
As parents it is our responsibility to take care of our children. They are our focus and passion. I have learned over the years from parenting my own eight children that kids can teach us so much. If we listen carefully they will remind us to take the same care of the big kid in all of us.
If you are full stop eating:
How often do we hear from our children that they can't finish their dinner because they are too full. We on the other hand will eat every bite because it tastes good or we perceive that the uneaten food must be thrown away. Sometimes we even finish their plate because we don't want it to go to waste. We lose sight of the fact that foods primary purpose is to nourish us. Putting on extra pounds over the years comes from lots of missed opportunities to listen to our "I'm full" signal.
Give this a try next time you sit down to eat. Eat slowly and enjoy your meal. After 15 minutes ask yourself if you are full. If the answer is yes, put the rest away for a snack later or for the next meal.
Keep it clean, simple and colorful:
Children like simple food. They often like food that is free of sauces and gravies. Our diets should be clean of extra breading and fat. Vegetables should be clean of anything that takes their natural color and flavor away. Try to eat a rainbow of color each day. Food that are colorful are full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Avoid food that comes in a box.
Go outside for a little recess:
Vitamin D is an important vitamin that many adults are deficient. Our bodies will produce Vitamin D in response to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength as it helps the body process calcium from the diet. Take time to soak in a few minutes of sunshine and fresh air each day.
Take a nap and go to bed on time:
Getting proper sleep is important in the prevention of depression, heart disease and mental clarity. Disrupted or shortened sleep has also been shown to contribute to obesity and hormonal disorders. Set a bed time for yourself and be strict about it. Have a nightly routine of a little quiet reading, journaling or a non stressful television program.
Don't eat things that are foreign to you:
We have become so trusting when it comes to the foods we eat. Many of the foods we eat are processed or genetically modified. The next time you are at the store, look at the ingredient list of the food that you are considering buying. Do you know what each ingredient is and why it is there? If the answer is no than don't trust it as being wholesome and nourishing.
Bring a Sack Lunch:
Pack a healthy lunch for yourself each day. Include lean protein, some vegetables and fruit and water. When we take the time to carefully plan our nutrition we don't fall victim to the fast food lunch. You'll be saving money as well as nourishing yourself.
Crawl before you walk:
When our children are born we don't expect them to walk until after they crawl and not run until after they walk. Be kind and loving to yourself and remember that healthy, positive change involves those baby steps.
Guest Post by Lydia Quibbin-Jones
In the lazy days of summer, it can be hard being organized. With the heat and the circumstances of not having to get up early to get your kids ready for school, most families just take this opportunity to sit back and relax. When my boys were younger, we were part of this majority. My children’s rooms were little more than piles of mess, until I put my foot down and came up with some kid-friendly ways to keep my whole house spick-and-span.
Here are some ways you can encourage your children to help make your house neat during the summer months:
Make it a rewarding experience.
To start off the summer cleaning fun in our house, we go through all our closets to check what we can still use. Clothes that don’t make the cut, books that aren’t needed anymore, toys that don’t hold any appeal go in the garage sale box. After all the cleaning up, we set up a yard sale, with each of us manning our own table and pocketing the profits we all get from our perspective sales.
These rewards get my sons revved up about cleaning out their closet, since we turn something that is usually a boring chore into something fun and profitable too! Don’t forget to monitor the things that your children put on their tables because they might just be selling something they could find valuable in the future. To be sure, I go over everyone’s boxes and check what’s for sale and record it by taking pictures. This way, we know where an item went when we look for it in the future.
Make it easy to do.
Try to see things through your children’s eyes. To make it easy for younger kids to do their own organization, have their clothes at a height they can reach. Hang lower hanging rods and hooks, and place two hampers (one for light and another for dark-colored clothes) near your children’s door for effortless clothes organizing.
Ensure that your kids will understand why they need to do the cleaning, and make the process as seamless as possible. Explain the task thoroughly, keeping in mind their level of thinking. Full understanding is the key to making tasks much simpler. This will also help prepare them in handling other responsibilities in the future.
Make it fun.
Having two sons, I know it can be more frustrating to get boys to care about organization than it is with gi(generally!), so I took steps to make it fun. Fun ideas  work the best. Remembering my husband’s penchant for shooting paper balls into a trash can after he works was a simple way to integrate a bit of sport into cleanliness.
We found a small basketball hoop from a toy store to put over both my sons’ hampers so they can shoot their way to cleanliness. Pump them up during cleaning time with fun songs like Eye of the Tiger or some Black Eyed Peas songs to get them energized.
Make it a team effort.
To make it clear that you are not the organization dictator, do the cleaning with your kids. It would help for them to see you as a teammate who joins them in tidying up. Barking orders and then relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine after your kids were just told to spring into action can give them a bad impression of you as a parent.
Set up a house cleaning hour, where everyone is taking care of their own spaces at the same time. Urge your older child to assist the younger, and vice versa.
Make a list.
A Checklist is one of the things that keep our family flowing smoothly. All chores are listed on a board in the kitchen, with each family member with his/her own column to take care of. Each week, we all get together and fill up the checklist, and throughout the week, we check off all that we’ve accomplished. The one who finishes first gets to pick what we do for Sunday afternoon!
Getting your kids to be more organized is a cinch when you follow these steps. Try them out this summer for your children to start their own habits when cleaning up!
About the Author: Lydia Quibbin-Jones is a work-at-home-mom (WAHM) and organizing maven who attests to the wonders of practical living. A mother of two, she sees every day as a great opportunity to teach her young boys the importance of keeping a neat home. Aside from being a dedicated parent and wife, Lydia works part-time for a light fixture retailer, where she puts into practice many of her homemaking skills.