“People are People, No Matter How Small.” ~ Dr Seuss

When I’m not quite myself – tired, emotional or over-worked – there are a few things that can make me feel better. Calm, back in the moment. But sometimes, I am so outside of myself that I forget to reel myself back in and attempt to find peace. It wasn’t long ago that this happened often.

 

Makes me think: If I have not always been able to self-regulate, how can I expect my children to self-regulate? When our kids are anxious, tired, under or over-stimulated, they may be amidst the struggle of an internal imbalance. So, what can we do to help them?  

 

Ground them!!!

 

I’m not talking about the “go to your room by yourself” kind of grounding. What I’m referring to is helping them to restore a state of calm in themselves (spirit, body, emotions and mind). The connection we have with our babies is what allows us to easily be their teachers. Mainly by just being, as they observe. I calm myself to help them calm. I silence my fears and reflect peacefulness. I revise my behavior each day as I shift to another level of consciousness. And when I’m feeling unstable, out of my mind or lost in emotions – I know I need to ground myself.

When they fall and scrape their knee, when their sibling makes them mad, when they have hurt feelings or aren’t getting what they want, when they are so tired they can’t fall asleep. When they seem outside of themselves…. ground them. Bring them back to Earth. Grounding our children makes them feel safe, secure and teaches them to not get lost in their emotions.

 

When I tuck my sweet boys into bed at night – they ask for a grounding. As they lie on their backs, I gently brush my hands down their legs in repeated soft strokes. I talk of branches that reach out from the bottoms of their feet to secure themselves deep in the Earth, and how the crowns that shimmer on their heads reach up to hold on to the Stars. I remind them that they are safe, they are creative, powerful, loving, expressive, intuitive and connected. From their toes all the way to the tops of their heads and beyond.

 

Soon, they will be able to ground themselves, pull themselves back together after a handful of chaotic moments. Give themselves time outs and realize they are in control of how they are feeling. Create safe havens and recognize how to move past the obstacles that are overloading them.

 

A.C.T.

Tell me. Do you ground your children?

Send them to their room with no tv (and no explanation or guidence)?

The next time your children are acting crazy (and making you feel the same) try offering them a grounding. Bring them back to themselves, with soft words, a gentle touch, or even some alone time with your loving face still in their eyesight.

 

They may need to be by themselves to become grounded. Surrounded by silence but not alone and confused.

 

It takes a strong will and peaceful core to teach our children this simple act of thrive vs. survive.


Find your way,

Jess Thompson, get REAL mama

 

Piece by Piece We Assemble this REAL Family

Sun is shining, white puffy clouds amidst a beautiful blue sky. Sand in my hair and children laughing, shrieking, crying. I must be at the playground. As April comes to a close the realization hits me that I will be here quite often the next few months. I make a mental note to prepare good snacks and portable lunches – not just for the kids but for myself. I decide I may need a new summer skirt and a new shade for my toenails. Not necessities of course – but with every new season comes new schedules, tasks, adventures, learning curves and new ways to take care of yourself.

 

My daydream is interrupted as I hear the frustrated tone of our oldest son Xander (4) coming from the play structure. I look over and see him “directing” the play of his little brother and two other kids. There was a time where I might have rushed over to give him a quick pep talk on “how to make friends”. But those days are over since I’ve learned the difference between what I know and what I’ve been told. The scrolling voices (“Nobody likes a bossy child”) are not my own. And I very much appreciate his ability to control and create stories or adventures. This is part of who he is and I love him for it. I love his fearlessness. I love his will to lead and his flair for igniting excitement in others. Why would I ever want to change that for fear of someone reacting badly? So, I hang back – close enough to “mom” the situation if needed or take mental notes for later discussion. But all I see is joy, simple and free. A group of children being themselves with each other, learning how to interact and for the most part – Loving each other for who they are, now.

 

Moments later I see Silas (almost 3) running off on his own. He gets these ideas and rushes off to attempt something. Nothing can stop him, I have tried and failed. Not because I don’t love him for who he is. I overflow with love for his ability to accomplish things, his ability to overcome obstacles and push himself beyond limits. As “Mama” I was always afraid of him getting hurt. But worry is just our imagination creating things we don’t want to happen. So I allowed him to explore. And I learned to trust in “his” intuition. Holding back the over Mommying and making sure I’m only there when he needs me to be. Yes, he gets some bumps and bruises. He falls – but he always gets back up and tries again. If I were to step in and make my voice louder than his intuitive voice – what would he hear when I’m not around?

 

 

It’s getting late. Food is running low, cheeks are rosy red and emotions are heightened. Its been a long day of playing. Its been hours of me figuring out how to guide them by allowing their actions to enlighten me. I’m starting to gather our things when I see a little fella of 1 or 2 walk up to Xander and hit him. Not provoked, not even hard or malicious – just the testing boundaries kind of hitting I’m sure we all have witnessed. I’m too far away to say anything and not even sure that I need to, but worry (there’s that word again – See! nobody is perfect) that Xander might be getting angry and reactive. So, I start to walk over and see the little hand continuing to smack at my child. I stop in my tracks and watch as Xander gently grabs his hand and says “Baby, don’t hit. Hug instead.” He repeats this over and over again until the little fella finally hugs him back and then walks away.

 

He didn’t know I was watching and this certainly wasn’t anything I had “taught” him to do. But I was well aware of how he learned it. His innate kindness that he was born with, his loving spirit that is given the space to shine – mixed together with the kind of family and home we strive to assemble.

 

Piece by piece we assemble this REAL family – where mistakes are made, lessons are learned and we allow each other to be exactly who we are. We walk together, each on our own journey but fully respecting the experiences of the other. We stay present and enjoy all the moments. We stay connected at our hearts and notice when there are disconnections, only to grow stronger as we repair the breaks along the way. And we do hugs… lots and lots of hugs.

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):

 

Is your voice louder than your child’s (intuitive) voice?

Stepping in? Stepping over his?

What would he hear if you weren’t around?

Next time you want to “voice over” your child, first breathe.

Breathe in, out, through the moment.

Take as many breaths as you need to resist stepping in for “the rescue”.

Perhaps your little one will surprise you, work it out his way,

and get a result better than you could have ever imagined.

 

If you catch yourself making your voice louder than your child’s AFTER the fact,

take note and try again. Practice. Again and again. In time it’ll be second nature.

Find Your Way,

Jess Thompson, get REAL mama

 

Find Out What REAL Foods Are Affecting Your Child’s Health

I thought it would be helpful to show you how I help children find the right REAL food diet for health and happiness. 

It’s super simple and really comes to life when you SEE it visually.
So click the video and let’s get started!

 

 

We need to dig DEEP beneath the surface of your child’s symptoms from allergies, asthma, eczema, inattention, mood and sleep problems, or you fill in the blank.

And SEE the REAL problems that need to be addressed: DIET, GUT, DETOX and DRAIN.

We are what we eat, digest, absorb and release.

So be sure to ….

A.C.T.  (Action Changes Things):

  • Watch the video. 
  • Visit FoodAllergy.com to order a food allergy/sensitivity test kit for your child and find a practitioner in your area to help you evaluate the results

I’d love to know…

What is your family struggling with? Allergies, asthma, eczema? Attention, mood, sleep? Diabetes or excess weight? Or something else?

Did this video help you SEE how the body can react to food, even REAL food?

Post a comment and let me know.

Dig deep and share BIG. Your story may be just what someone else needs to hear today.

Community heals.

XO – 

Susan McCreadie, MD
Holistic Pediatrician and NonProfit Co-Founder of getREALforkids

 

I Feel Your Pain (Connect. Empathize. Guide.)

Silas asks me to put a blanket on him. I pick up his favorite one, appropriately named “big white”. I fluff it up in the air and let it fall gently around his body – just like I always do. Peace in my heart as I lovingly take care of my sweet boy.  And then…

VOLCANIC ERUPTION of emotion explodes out of my child!!

He screams, “No, not like that, like this.” I fix it and verify, “like this” I ask?

“Noooo!!!”…..  followed by the saddest crying and devastation known to man.

The peace in my heart is quickly replaced by a bit of anxiety, a sprinkle of fear and a splash of anger. I think to myself how much I would love if someone would wrap me in a warm blanket. I wonder if I should explain to him that there are children in the world who don’t have any blankets at all. I feel tired and a little disappointed. I feel tired. TIRED, ah yes. And so is he…

His 3 year old little body and mind had a long day; he is tired and overwhelmed. It’s not my job to judge his emotions. I need to put myself in his shoes. It’s not the time to teach him about gratitude or poverty. It’s not right to get angry at him and tell him he is overreacting. These are his emotions, in this moment, in his own stage of understanding and development. Besides, I’m not even sure he knows what “overreacting” means. And it certainly doesn’t pop into my mind that this is the perfect time to video or take a picture of my child.

I want him to know that his feelings are important. So I get down to his level, look him in the eye and give him my “I love you and I’m concerned for you” face. He notices and catches his breath.

I want him to see that caring about the feelings of others is crucial. So I ask if he is OK and if he wants a hug. He nods his head yes and I graciously deliver (or sometimes not, and I respect that too). Either way I start taking obvious slow and deep breaths and wait for him to follow.

I would never want him to feel shameful because of his emotional reactions. So I say, “You really didn’t like that blanket right there did you? I understand honey.”

I want him to learn better ways to communicate. So, I ask him if he would like to explain to me in a nice voice where he’d like his blanket to be.

Connect. Empathize. Guide. I can’t say that this is the answer for every child, but I believe in my heart that a variation of this could be helpful for many children. As parents when we connect, empathize and guide, we help our child develop the necessary skills to understand and regulate their own emotions – so they can learn the balance that we as adults are striving to find once again.

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things):

Does your child’s extreme reactions cause extreme reactions within yourself?

Is it fair to think that ours are allowable and theirs are not?

Next time you want to react to their reaction, stop.  

Breathe in, breathe out – SLOWLY… until your flared up feelings start to ease and you are able to once again focus on the distress of your child.

Try to stay soft and calm. Use your “zen” energy in hopes of it becoming contagious to your child. Sometimes this happens easily, almost miraculously. Sometimes not. Sometimes the words you carefully choose are perfect, other times not so much.

 

Go easy on yourself and your little growing person. His feelings are real, just like yours. His mistakes are learning opportunities, just like yours.

I promise… the more you try the connect, empathize and guide approach the easier it becomes for you & the quicker your child responds. You will notice his frustrations, and also his ability to understand himself better. You will notice his feelings, and his growing ability to find his voice. You will notice less and less volcanic eruptions, and soon he will make himself feel better by calming himself and finding solutions to his problems.

Sound crazy? Give it a try.

Find your way,

Jess Thompson, get REAL mama

 

Picky Eating STINKS.

Picky Eating STINKS.

Especially when you’re committed to feeding your family REAL food.
After planning, prepping and cooking a delicious wholesome meal, the last thing you need is a child who refuses to eat dinner. That, my friends, is MADDENING. But, it’s reality and it happens in more households than not.

In fact, some studies designed to assess the prevalence of picky eating among children (which is not perfect for lack of a universally accepted definition) indicate that almost 50% of parents of two year olds believe their child is at least finicky if not downright picky.

 

But, have no fear peeps.

I’ve got your baaaaacck!! In my professional practice, I support families on transforming picky eating through workshops, live classes and soon a virtual class!

To ease the food refusal stages, you just have to remember the three Ws.  What.  When.  Where.  Your job in the feeding and eating frenzy* is to decide what is being served, when it’s being served and where it’s being served. Your child’s job is to decide if s/he will eat what is being served and how much s/he will eat.  It’s called the “Division of Responsibility” in feeding and eating. Yup, you heard that right. Your child decides if they will eat and how much.

The problems of picky eating and mealtime battles begin when parents inch their way into the jobs of their children and vice versa. In other words, lines get crossed: parents try to decide if and how much their child will eat, and children try to demand what food is being served, when it’s served and where it’s served.

For example, let’s look at the one bite rule. This is the parent-created rule about taking one bite of something new before you refuse to eat it. It seems like an innocent strategy that perhaps is successful sometimes for some families. But, it’s straight up coercion. Coercion leads to all sorts of negative issues when it comes to food and our children. The worst is that your child develops a negative relationship with food consumed against his/her will. And, the tasting and trying of new foods becomes less about his own competency in this area and more about pleasing you.

We all want our children to grow into healthy competent eaters – good thing there’s an evidence based gold standard for doing so. The Division of Responsibility (DOR) was coined by the internationally recognized nutritionist and family therapist, Ellyn Satter. Her work in this field of raising competent eaters goes back 40+ years and has been used by hundreds of thousands of families.

There’s plenty to talk about regarding how to make DOR successful in your home, but I’d like to focus on a strategy to help with the first W.  That is, your job to decide WHAT to serve. The goal to raising healthy, happy children is to serve REAL food. But, it they aren’t eating it, their hunger remains and your nerves are shot from worrying too much.

Strategic foods are the new wine. These foods keep you calm at meal times.

Every child and family member has likes and dislikes for food. If you’re responsible for creating family meals, it’s near impossible to please everyone with every component of the meal. If you try this approach, I’m sure you’ll all be bored of dinner by next week. A strategic food will keep you sane and keep everyone at the table from going hungry. Strategic foods are foods you include in the meal that are sure to please your picky eater.

Now, I’m not suggesting you serve PB&J alongside pastured, roasted chicken for dinner – that would essentially tell your PB&J lovin’ child that he doesn’t have to learn to try new foods and be a competent eater because you’ll always serve him PB&J.  

Strategic foods are foods that your picky child loves, but also are foods that are wholesome (or hopefully as wholesome as possible). They’re foods you know he can fill up on and therefore won’t be whining “I’m hungry” at 9pm when he should be snoozing. These are foods that keep you sane and feeling good that your child is coming to the table to eat a meal and feel nourished.

In my family, strategic foods vary depending on what I’m serving for the meal. My kid is like most and loves carbohydrates. So, if I’m serving burgers (of which he’s finicky about), then I’ll be sure to serve it alongside loads of homemade, baked sweet potato steak fries. If he isn’t interested in the burger, it’s fine with me. I tell him “there’s always something at the table you will enjoy eating. Choose what you like and eat as much as you want.” He’s been known to throw back large quantities of sweet potatoes!

Other times, I’ll serve grass-fed steak which he LOVES and thus it becomes my strategic food at dinner time. I can serve it alongside loads of yummy roasted veggies or raw chopped veggies. If all he eats is steak, well then, he’ll get his protein and have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. I’ll be well-nourished with all the veggies, not stressed about his belly and he’ll get exposed to a healthy eating role model and lots of opportunity to eat veggies too.

What are your kiddo’s strategic foods? Strategic foods don’t need to be carbohydrates like sweet potatoes. You can serve chopped veggies that your child loves. Pair them with a homemade ranch dressing that’s loaded with good healthy fat from yogurt or coconut.

My strategic foods include a random list: baked sweet potato fries, roasted chicken thighs, grass-fed steak, roasted garlic broccoli, corn tortillas, cucumbers, cooked maple carrots, baked beans, corn on the cob, raw pickles, sunbutter, maple & coconut acorn squash with raisins and more.

 

Here are a few ideas for you to consider for dinnertime strategic foods.

Of course, every child is different so your list of strategic foods may vary from the list below.

What’s on the menu?

Potential strategic food

Make it REAL and wholesome!

Tacos

Tortillas

Choose brands with organic corn, water, lime –  perhaps salt and maybe oil. Serve with a healthy fat like coconut oil or REAL butter.

Chili

Cornbread

Choose a paleo cornbread recipe that includes coconut flour or seed/nut flour instead of refined grain flour. Slather in healthy fat spread!

Grilled meat and veggies

REAL mac-n-cheese

Peel, spiralize and lightly cook zucchini. Top with REAL cheese, olive oil & nutritional yeast or a cashew cheese sauce, depending on your food intolerances.

Pot roast

Cheesy potatoes

Use REAL cheese or nutritional yeast & olive oil for dairy free. These babies may go fast if you cut them up like baked french fries!

Baked or grilled fish

Skewered veggies or grilled pineapple

For veggies, cover in olive oil. Make sure you’ve got enough to fill them up since fruit and veggies lack enough fat or protein.


It’s time to take the stress out of mealtimes once and for all. Start adding those strategic foods to your menu! It only takes a little ..

 

A.C.T. (Action Changes Things): 

So, you’ve got a finicky eater?
Which wholesome, nourishing strategic foods can you start to include at mealtimes to help your child (or spouse!) become a competent eater?
Are you including strategic foods now? What are they?

 

I’d love to hear from you – tell me about your experience in the comments.

To life, love, and REAL food, 

Danielle Shea Tan
Certified Health Coach, MBA
Co-President getREALforkidsTM

*Note: If your child has handicaps or other major medical issues, the DOR method can still be used but may require modifications for your family dynamic. Please seek guidance from a qualified nutrition professional.