Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy New Year 2008! Please remember to be very careful if you’re going to be drinking any alcohol, Do Not Drink and Drive! If you’ll be attending any parties away from your own home, choose a designated driver or pre-schedule a Taxi ride to ensure everyone arrives home safely. You don’t want to take any chances on your own life or the lives of others. See you “next year”!
Do you have a picky-eater in your house? Are you struggling to get your children to eat a healthy, balanced meal because they simply refuse to eat healthy food? Is your picky eater becoming an overweight statistic, willing to only eat fried foods, pizza, hot dogs, waffles and other sugar-coated sweet treats? You may even find yourself feeling like you’ve become a “short order” cook in your own home, serving up cafeteria-style meals for each family member just to keep the peace. If this sounds at all familiar, and you want to learn how to get your picky eater to eat healthy foods and have better health, carefully consider the following:
Children learn what they live, so if parents are not setting the right example, by eating a healthy diet themselves, parents are setting the stage for failure with their own children‘s health. Getting children to eat healthy food needs to begin when children are very young, while their tastes for different foods are still developing. Toddlers and older children can learn to love healthy foods, even if they are now very picky about what they will or will not eat.
“Tara” is a mother of two young daughters, six year old Jessica and five year old Chelsey. While Tara is preparing a healthy and nutritious meal for her husband, she will ask her daughters what they want to eat for dinner because “they hate everything”, ultimately preparing three separate meals in order to “keep the peace” at the dinner table. Tara often complains that she doesn’t like this never-ending ritual, but fails to realize that putting a stop to it is well within her abilities as a parent of these two young girls.
Children that are picky eaters are that way because parents are allowing it to happen. It’s your parental responsibility to make the rules about meals and snacks – not your child or teenagers. If you want your children to eat healthy, then serve them healthy and nutritious meals that the entire family can enjoy together. If your child adamantly refuses to eat the healthy meal set before them, then cover and save their meal in the refrigerator until they later say they’re hungry. Then simply say, “That’s good because I saved your dinner for you”. Reheat and serve the meal to your child. Children that are truly hungry will eat. Children are not harmed by missing a meal or two. It’s important to remember that being a picky eater is a learned behavior, and it will take time and determination on the part of the parents’ to change things around.
Getting your children to learn to love fruits and vegetables can often be accomplished by offering small amounts of dipping sauces, dressings, or flavored low-fat yogurt to dip into. Instead of doling out cookies, brownies, donuts, chips and other high-calorie snacks, keep a variety of well-stocked fresh fruits or vegetables in easy reach of hungry children.
From the time my children were very young, they ate and snacked on fresh and uncooked broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery with peanut butter, and all varieties of fresh fruits. We regularly introduced new items, especially different ethnic foods, and over a period of time learned to love all healthy foods. Sugary sweets such as cakes or cookies were saved for a special treat on weekends, rather than a nearly nightly occurrence following the evening meal.
Changing the behavior of a picky eater may not be an easy task, but nothing about parenting is easy. The sooner parents’ start changing their own attitudes and behaviors towards healthy eating, the sooner they can expect their children to do the same. If you have some tips on getting children to eat right and eat healthy, please add your comments for the discussion.
If your children know more about technology and computers than you do, this post is for you. If your children or teenagers are nearby, now is the time to usher them out of the room because this is for your eyes only. If it’s not possible to read this in private right now, than be sure to bookmark this page and come back to it when you can read it without ‘inquiring minds’ hovering nearby. You’ll understand why in just a couple of minutes.
Do your young children or teenagers know more about technology and computers than you do? Do you scratch your head in amazement and utter confusion when your children discuss the latest and greatest technological advances that you know nothing about? How about this: Do you really know what your children or teenagers are doing while they are online? Do you know and understand the dangers of webcams? If that in itself doesn’t concern or worry you, it should.
Advances in technology play an ever-increasing role in our lives today, with much of it being positive, and it will only increase in the future. While there are great potential benefits with technology and computers for learning and discovery, there is also tremendous opportunity for misuse. According to the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children), “early childhood educators (and parents) carry the responsibility to critically examine the impact of technology on children and be prepared to use technology to benefit children”. That begs this question: How can the non techno-savvy parent “critically examine the impact of technology” on their children if they are clueless about technology and computers?
Most parents tell their children not to talk to strangers, not to open the door if they are home alone, and not to give out personal information to persons unknown. Most parents keep track of where their children are, who their friends are and where they live, etc. However, many parents do not understand or realize that this same attentiveness and supervision must include critical examination and supervision while their children and teenagers are online.
Children and teenagers are not protected by a parents assumption that online service providers are supervising and regulating what goes on in “chat rooms”, “news groups”, or social networking sites like MySpace. Websites like MySpace “require” users to be at least fourteen years old to join, however there is no way that MySpace can verify the truthfulness of age. Therefore, someone who is well into their 30’s or even 50’s and older can easily pretend to be someone in your child’s age group and communicate with your child.
So, what can a non techno-savvy parent do to guide and protect their children?
Recently a news story was published about a young girl named Megan who was a victim of online bullying, which unfortunately lead her to commit suicide rather than continue struggling through this horrific ordeal. I dare say that if her parents’ were closely monitoring and supervising Megan’s online activities with the tremendous help of commercially available computer monitoring software, Megan would likely be alive today and her tormentors in jail where they belong.
“Get It? Got It? Good!” is a free download booklet on the topic “family guide on getting to grips with technology”. It’s an extremely useful booklet offered by a children’s charity called NCH, full of information for the techno-challenged parent. You may even want to print off several copies for family and friends, or email them the link so they can benefit as well.
Closely monitor your children’s online activities-
I am very grateful that I found computer monitoring software that allowed me to track everything that my children do online. Being able to track all incoming and outgoing email conversations, instant messages, MySpace comments, and all other communications online helps ensure that my children are kept safe. With personal effort and practice, parents can do much to ensure their children’s safety, and hopefully this has been a wake up call for you.
I would like to take this time to wish you all a Merry Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping CHRIST in Christmas! I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. Be safe and please do not drink and drive.
I just received notice that I am an S.O.B! An S.O.B Blogger to be exact. No…not THAT kind of S.O.B you silly goose. Liz Strauss has awarded me the “Successful and Outstanding Blogger” award. Thank you Liz! And you readers really thought it was a bad thing, didn’t ya?
Liz selects Bloggers that meet the criteria befitting an S.O.B Blogger, and believe me it’s an honor to receive such an award. Not only can you receive this award for your own blog, but recipients are also automatically included in the “S.O.B. Hall of Fame”.
If you wanna be a S.O.B-
According to Liz, in order to be an S.O.B blogger:
Find a way to start a dialogue about how blogging helps business, or carry the dialogue here back to your own blog. Offer a great feature, post, idea, or an article that will shed new light for the blogosphere. Add an outstanding idea, insight, or spark to the conversation going on at this blog or start one on your own and share what happened here. Contribute something that demonstrates that you think like a Successful and Outstanding Blogger. Find a unique way to “add value” to the conversation going on in the blogosphere to make it grow stronger.
Thank you Liz, and thank you to all of my subscribers and visitors for making this year a great one!
How many hours per day do your children watch television? What sort of programs do you allow them to watch? Do you closely monitor what they are watching, or do you do as many parents do and allow the television to be your children’s babysitter while you’re busy doing other things? And most importantly, how do you determine how much television is too much television for children?
There are many worthwhile, beneficial and educational programs on TV for children to enjoy. Not only can children see how other people live around the world, they can learn about other cultures, basically travel the world while sitting in the comfort of their own home. Children can learn their alphabet and numbers, learn about wildlife and nature, learn how to read well and improve their math skills, along with other vitally important subjects. Nevertheless, too much of even a good thing can be hazardous to your health, or the health and wellbeing of your children.
I’ve noticed over the last several years that neighborhoods with many young children seem to have become virtual ghost towns. I rarely see children out riding their bikes, playing with their friends, throwing a football, playing “hide and seek”, or playing in the neighborhood park, even during the best weather days. I’ve often wondered if parents are “encouraging” their children to play inside the house due to fear that their child will be snatched off the street by some pervert, perhaps never to be seen again. Rarely a week goes by where I’m not hearing the Amber Alert siren on the radio, notifying everyone within listening range of another kidnapped or missing child. I wonder if some parents, subconsciously or consciously, choose for their children to be entertained inside their homes with the television set, DVD’s or videotapes, computers and video games due to fear?
Even my niece’s eight year-old son rarely plays outside, and it’s not for the lack of neighborhood friends. Questioning his mother as to why this is the case results in a multitude of excuses such as, “he prefers to play video games and watch movies” or “I’m too tired after getting home from work to keep an eye on him playing outside”.
How much television is too much television for children?
Children need to be moving, need to be active, need to run and jump and play. They need opportunities to develop their cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills. Spending too much time watching television, or other mind-numbing activities, is hazardous to children’s health for many reasons. Consider some statistics of television viewing habits of children these days:
- Research shows that children and teens spend nearly four hours each and every day watching television.
- Add to that an extra 1.5 hours of television viewing for children and teens with televisions in their bedrooms.
- 70% of child-care centers use TV as a means to entertain children during a typical day.
- At the end of just one year, the average child has spent 900 hours attending school, and more than 1,203 hours sitting in front of the television set.
- The TV is usually kept on during meals in 63% of households, with 53% admitting to having “no rules” about television watching. 51% of households feel it’s normal for the television to be “kept on most of the time“.
- Many parents feel it’s normal for the television to act as a “babysitter” while parents are busy cooking meals, cleaning the house, paying the bills, leaving the children unsupervised in front of the TV set.
- TV watching has replaced other activities children used to engage in, such as: playing with friends, reading, doing homework or chores, being physically active, playing sports or other extracurricular activities.
- Children who spend excessive amounts of time watching television are at risk of gaining weight, obesity, poor sleep patterns, behavioral problems, increase of violent behaviors, poor grades and other risk factors.
When my own children were growing up, the TV was not on during meals. It was a time for us to sit together and enjoy pleasant conversation, as well as have discussion about school and upcoming events. I made a habit of lighting candles on the dinner table, which helped immensely to set the mood for a calm and enjoyable meal as a family. No arguments, complaints or whining was permitted.
I also did not allow my children to watch television shows such as “South Park”, or other shows depicting children behaving and speaking in a disrespectful manner to any authority figure. My children didn’t even know what shows like MTV or VH1 were until they were grown and out of the house. Believe it or not, when I would leave for work in the mornings and my children headed for school, the television cord was safely hidden to “parts unknown” until I got home and had the opportunity to choose what television show, if any, would be watched as a family.
All of my children are excellent readers, and they all enjoy reading even to this day. Their Christmas wish for this year was to once again have many of the Disney cartoon movies they recall us watching when they were all little. That’s all they wanted, and that’s what they’ll get. Ah the memories. Despite all the hardships that accompanied raising six children in a single-parent home, I must have done something right.
Do you monitor your children’s television viewing habits? What are your thoughts as to how much television is too much television for children?