Raising a Healthy Child
Over the last twenty years our family has grown to the abundant size of seven and now the oldest of our four sons has moved a thousand miles away. Our sons at home are all teens, or nearly teens, and our baby girl is starting kindergarten this year. When our oldest son was a toddler I was blissfully unaware of all the dangers and hazards that could be found in a simple box of macaroni and cheese or a can of ravioli. It was five years later that I first became aware of the connection between the food we eat and our physical health. I began experiencing chronic health issues, anxiety, and fatigue. I changed what I was eating and in just one week my life completely changed forever.
By the time my third son was born eight years later our eating habits had completely changed; no longer did white flour, white bread, white sugar, or white rice enter our home. We still serve our children their favorite meals; we just spend more time and effort to make sure they are the healthier versions of macaroni and cheese, pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, etc. Sugary drinks are rare and stevia is our favorite sweetener.
This is not to say we control every meal our children eat. We still eat fast food occasionally, we bring home packaged foods once in a while, and they will drink a soda when we are eating out, some times (no refills). We teach our children moderation. We teach them to make the best decisions for themselves most of the time. On the occasions when they do not make the best decisions they are beginning to see, and feel, the consequences for themselves.
We also help our children balance their technology use with other creative choices and exercise. Especially during the summer months we have a daily schedule that allows our children plenty of free time on electronics after they have played outside for an hour and spent an hour doing creative activities such as practicing their musical instruments, painting, drawing, writing, and reading.
Raising a healthy child is a lot of work. It is challenging, often confusing, scary, and endless. I believe it is the most important and far-reaching job parents will ever have and not everyone will do it the same; or agree on how to do it. I also believe there are factors and elements of a child's raising we can not control. Many times children grow to be healthy members of society without parents or even with abusive parents. Many times the most attentive, supportive, loving parents will raise a child who rebels against their best intentions and lives a life contradictory to how they were raised. My suggestion is to do the best you can, do better when you know better, and pray for God to take care of the rest.
Here you will find some of the things I have learned. I hope they will inform you and help you to make the decisions you deem best for your children.
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