The three most important messages for your child according to Dr. Shefali

Following my blog yesterday on Health Book of the Month, I want to share the below article by Dr. Shefali  Tsabary (www.drshefali.com ) discussing what are the three most important messages you can give your child. I am not an expert, but just based on my experience with my own children I can only confirm this.

It is amazing to see how much they love spending time our kids like to spend with my husband and I – be it playing, reading a book, drawing. We can get them new toys all the time, but what they enjoy and appreciate the most is not so much the toy (usually forgotten within couple of days), but the fact that we take the time to play with them and their new toy. 

The best example for me was last year. It was play time with my son and we were both sitting on the floor. He wanted to play with his Lego, but I didn’t give him my full attention as my mobile kept ringing – calls, e-mails, messages. I was still sitting next to him, but I didn’t really focus on the playing part……so at one point our 3 year old (back then) boy looked at me and said: “….but mommy we wanted to play, and you are not playing, you are looking at your mobile! Can you put it away now and play with me?” For me personally this was a wakeup call, and now I always make sure that each time we do something together I give each one of our kids my full attention.

I think that we are all aware of how much our kids need our attention, but sometimes we tend to get carried away with all the distractions around us. I think that it is extremely important that we always stay focused on the big picture and what is important in life (I know! sometimes easier said, then done). That’s why it was important for me to share the below article by Dr. Shefali.  Enjoy reading it and share your thoughts……or experiences with your kids.

Stay healthy

Anna

What do you imagine your children most want from you? The newest gadget on which to play games? The latest iPhone? New shoes or designer clothes? A trip to Disney World? Tuition for a top university?

Sure, these things are always nice. Every kid enjoys getting something new or going to an exciting theme park.

But what all children truly yearn for goes much deeper. It doesn’t involve fancy clothes, the latest electronics, pricey trips, or even a high-brow education.

Every child wants to know three things:

  • Am I seen?
  • Am I worthy?
  • Do I matter?

When a person feels seen, feels worthy, and feels they matter, they grow up to live an empowered life.

It isn’t gadgets, clothes, vacations, or even the best of educations that enable a child to feel good about themselves. The key to how they see themselves and feel about themselves lies in how we see them, how we feel about them — and this is reflected in the connection we experience with them.

It’s through our gaze, our presence, our attention that our children grow up with a strong sense of self. We communicate their importance in all our everyday interactions with them.

When children aren’t valued for who they are rather than for what they achieve, they grow up anxious and may well become depressed.

Many of our young people are so deprived of our attention — of simply being seen for who they are — that they self-harm. Getting drunk, taking drugs, engaging in inappropriate sexual relations, even cutting themselves–all of these are cries for our attention, manifestations of a deep yearning to be seen and known.

A child develops a solid sense of self when who they intrinsically are is seen and affirmed. A sense of their worth springs from whether we truly connect with them as an individual who’s unique, not a clone of ourselves or someone in our fantasy.

“Do you see me?” This is the big question your child is asking every day. “Can you see me for who I am, separate from your dreams and expectations for me, separate from your agenda for me?”

A child doesn’t need to be a superstar to be valuable. To simply be ordinary is perfectly okay–to be just the way they are, and know they are treasured.

It isn’t enough to tell your child you love them. They need to feel lovable within themselves.

A sense of their worth flourishes when the way we look at them, the way we listen to them, and the way we speak to them reflects just how lovable they are. This is how we empower them–how we draw out in them the powerful sense of self that will carry them successfully through life.

 Photo by : © Robert Kneschke / Fotolia.com

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Ways of helping children to manage stress

Stress is the mental and physical reaction to external factors. The feelings and emotions triggered inside of us depend upon our interpretation of those factors. One strategy consists of raising our stress threshold level so that stress reactions are harder to cause. Another strategy provides tools to efficiently reduce our stress reactions and to neutralize them at the end. We can apply this strategy in the same way to our children.

Mothers intuitively feel what’s best for their children and what burdens them. There is a psychic connection; an intimate non-verbal communication between mother and child. A child knows intuitively its mother’s feelings; its behaviour reflects her mood, lightheartedness but also her concerns and worries. It is therefore our responsibility and duty as parents to cleverly manage the stress factors and to do something for our mental health every day, not allowing the downward spiral of neurophysiological stress to suck us down.

We, the adults need time-out.  We need the courage to leave gaps and slow things down; an effective way of reducing fatigue. The better we are at doing this, the more carefree our children will be growing up. It is important to develop their healthy and positive attitudes towards life and to strengthen their courage to live by the ability to soften everyday situations and not to see red when facing the smallest problem; to show the children, that to learn also means to make mistakes. This helps to prevent stress reactions.

Children feel their parent’s “meaning of life”. When the parents are obsessed with social and professional constraints, the children react with stress symptoms and behavioral problems. Children need to sense sympathy and care, to feel secure so they can live their lives with curiosity, thirst for knowledge and a feeling of freedom. When these basic needs are unfulfilled they create stress in the form of internal tensions. Children seek to diminish this through frustrating actions when there aren’t any other possibilities for naturally dealing with such imbalances.

Gaining experience in and with nature helps to be earthier, develops a sense of homeland, feeds and keeps up the enthusiasm for discovery, and allows the evolution of a healthy resistance against stress factors. Children need an orderly daily routine, healthy food, fixed feeding and bedtime, and in-between, enough space and time for physical activities and for playing and recreation. Children do not like to be scheduled by their parent’s appointments. They need opportunities to socialize with other children and to experience a social interaction. They need comfort, compassion and understanding, when they’re upset or if something bad happened.

Kids already have a clear mental, body and spiritual constitution. Parents have to recognize it and to deal cleverly as educators with its nature. Kids can be lively, fiery or leisurely; they can grasp things quickly or slowly, be generous or precise. All this determines their possibilities and limitations and the threshold where stress reactions can be expected.

Life wants evolution. That’s the reason why our children’s lives are marked by challenges, unexpectedness, partiality and contradictions. Life wants to extend boundaries, stands “in competition mode”, but above all, this is what unifies and harmonizes.  Therefore, we need tools for strengthening balance, integration and self-esteem and they must be included in our children’s educational standards.

More about this issue in the following bog.

The book on the subject:

Kumuda Reddy, Linda Egenes: “Super Healthy Kids”, a parent’s guide to Maharishi Ayurveda; www.mumpress.com

Introduction:

All parents want the best for their children. Yet when faced with a sick child, it’s hard to know what to do. The time-tested wisdom of Maharishi Ayurveda offers surprisingly effective solutions to children’s health problems today-from ADHD to obesity. This step-by-step guide explains how to use natural approaches such as diet, lifestyle, daily routine, meditation, massage, exercise, yoga postures, herbal remedies, and aroma therapy to prevent illness and restore balance. With this practical book in hand, you can keep your children healthy without negative side effects.

Photo source: © Cécile Gall / cecile-gall-photography.com

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Stress is setting our children’s daily life and their development under pressure

Our children are born in a complicated world. Although food and living conditions in the western world are mostly ensured, other factors make it difficult for our children to manage and to find their way in daily life. Why is that so? What kind of messages are embodied by the child when he or she appears in this world? And mind you, as representatives of a species, which is often referred to be no less than the crown of the creation.

Children are an expression of the natural cosmic laws. They are miniature images of the universe, unity in diversity. This is the explanation proposed by scientists who describe the unfolding of the universe from the fields of energy and matter into a manifestation of nature. Children embody interconnectedness, belonging together, universal integration. They are product and expression of what we call individual and cosmic love. Love is the fundamental law of evolution. For this reason our children look forward to a world where they can spontaneously live in harmony with this fundamental law and develop, grounded  in this security and certainty. But whom and what do they encounter in their environment?

At first they see us, their parents who even if we carry within ourselves the same basic and fundamental laws, we are pushed and  formed by mutual agreement with the collective values of our society, we run into the demands of performance and competition in our daily work; to the ups and downs of our desires and obligations. Children are finely attuned to the ways their parents cope with this field of tensions and the feelings they emanate and the children react accordingly.
 
Then the little ones go to school, where the individualization and integration process is written in capital letters, but at the same time, everyday life is ‘criss-crossed’ by mixed messages and practices, such as: “You must achieve success that will be measured and compared to the others”; “your performance assessment will be based mostly on exams”, “you have to endure the selection pressure”, etc. and all this while you’re placed in a forcedly multicultural and formalized community of individuals from most diverse families, with different styles of parenting and widely divergent levels of social skills.

Subsequently, we the adults are surprised when our children, living in this ever faster moving world, struggle sometimes through their daily lives and are increasingly scared, frustrated, obstreperous, overexcited, aggressive , belligerent  and stressed. To watch sometimes speechless when our children disregard the “do’s and don’ts” and don’t pay attention to what they do or how they behave. Sometimes we must deal with their destructive actions when the children are under pressure.
 
Simply put, children and youth are increasingly in stress mode and do not understand why they have to know or learn something, and more important, they don’t care about the consequences. They don’t think about the future in hoping that the parents will save them again in difficult situations. We are destroying still too much of the youth’s development potential within our society and educational institutions.

And we, the adults, are torn between caring support and pressure, between loving behaviour and frustrated intervention Tensions in the individual’s environment put stress on the entire mind-body-soul system. This fact is proved by statistics and is increasingly valid also for our children. For this reason our human system is trying everything possible to free itself of these internal tensions. The process often leads to frustrating actions when nothing else works anymore. We see these excesses in the headlines of the media.

It’s our responsibility and duty as adults to provide the children with tools that will help them purposefully overcome their own anxieties. It’s an essential precondition to be able to accept this challenge also for us if we don’t want to go into a dangerous downward spiral involving the entire planet: personal stress accumulation leads to collective stress that may end in strife, struggle and war. If we follow the fundamental laws of nature consistently we can build a world where our children can live in security and peace according to their own destiny. This is our most important mission regarding the future of our world.

More about this issue in the following essay.

Photo by: Franziska Mayr Instagram @franzi_85

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Children – how are they affected by the parents lifestyle

We are living in a society where we, as women want to have it all – career, perfect looks, have the perfect kids, be the perfect mother, have the perfect social life……and the list goes on and on! In all these goal chasing lifestyle that we have created for ourselves, do we actually ever stop and think how all these affects our children? Do we ever take the time to really LISTEN to our kids? Or we are just so busy running from errand to errand that we run out of time for things like these?

Up until a few years ago I never really thought about it – after all I was too busy chasing my own goals! Meanwhile I am a mother of two young kids, and I have to say that this has been the most wonderful, amazing, difficult, frustrating at times, and at the same time self fulfilling journey. I still have goals that I am chasing, but meanwhile my complete outlook on priorities has changed…..and I am extremely grateful for that.

When our son was born, there were so many decisions to make. To name a few – do I go back to work, to what extent, do we put our son in nursery, how can we afford all this, and, and, and! I remember feeling very anxious at the time because I wanted to do the right thing. The right thing for whom? I remember talking about this with my husband, and he said one thing that completely changed my overview on priorities – he said that at the end of the day whether I go back to work or not is my decision and I need to do what feels right to me! Although deep down I knew all along what was the “right thing to do” under the circumstances, but to actually hear it lifted such a huge weight off my chest!

I decided to stay home and luckily we were also able to afford that! Eventually I also pursued my long term goal of starting my own event management business, which gave me a good balance to life with the kids. Of course there were difficult times, times of frustration, but up until this day I don’t regret my decision. Not only I don’t regret my decision, but I am so extremely grateful to have the opportunity to be there for my kids.

Obviously as a parent you never know whether you are doing the right thing, or whether you are reacting the right way, but what I have learned is that if I am open minded (and this is not always easy!) and just follow my gut instinct, then I will know what’s the right thing or reaction! No need to be kidding ourselves, every parent knows that at times this is easier said than done!

Throughout this journey I have noticed one very interesting phenomena – kids are much more sensitive then we can ever imagine, or we give them credit for! They pick on every little mood we are in, they sense when we are stressed out, or in a bad mood……..and interestingly enough they start acting accordingly! The experience that I have made with my kids is that whenever I am stressed out, they start acting out and are just being extremely difficult……and the same is when I have a bad day and am simply in a bad mood.

So, just imagine the effect our stressful lifestyle, day in / day out has on them and their development in the long run! Being a mom is such a rewording and at times frustrating job, but for me it is extremely important to not only watch my kids grow, but to grow with them! To grow into the mother that my kids would need and want in order for them to develop to their fullest potential. This is why I want to shift this month’s focus on children and how our stressful lifestyle affects them and their development…….and what we as parents can do not only to reduce this stress but to help them coop in the best possible way.

More on this in the weeks to come….

Stay healthy

Anna 

Photo by : © vvvita / Fotolia.com

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Children and sport

Children are curious, curious about new things, curious for movement. Shout and scream, race, jump, these are children’s needs. When children do sports, the following is promoted: the development of motor activity, and hence responsiveness, sense of balance and motor coordination. It will not only strengthen muscles and bones, but will also increase their balance, concentration, they will be more goal oriented and often even smarter! Toddlers are constantly in motion. Remaining silent is difficult – either to change nappy or to eat. The older the children get, the less they move. At the age of five years, they move at least four percent intensively, but they spend already 76 percent seated. Children at this age should be moving intensively at least 60 – 90 min. The reality is different – if they move 20 minutes a day, it seems to be much, and that’s the main reason why children get overweight and clumsy.

Exercise promotes health in the following ways:

  • trains heart and circulation
  • stimulates metabolism
  • increases the breathing performance
  • improves endurance
  • strengthens muscles
  • improves posture
  • strengthens bones
  • stimulates the balance and trains all senses
  • trains perception
  • increases the responsiveness
  • promotes the development of the sense organs by more stimulation
  • promotes concentration

Movement is always good, but in the fresh air even more – it strengthens the immune system. It is proven that children who move daily outdoor, are rarely sick. There is no bad weather, only the wrong clothes!

Movement promote concentration – hopping, running and raving. Lots of exercise makes kids smart, exercise increases the performance and learning ability of children. The more stimuli from the musculoskeletal system arrives in the kids brain, the better it develops. In the first few years of children’s life the brain needs a variety of inputs, thus all nerves are able to connect and network. With an inactive lifestyle many important nerve connections would not develop. This is also reflected in the language development.

Movement and language development are interdependent and are mutually dependent. That’s why a lot of exercise improves the child’s language development. Since the speech centre is interlinked in the brain with the control centre for the fine motor skills (and thus also the dexterity), your child can learn to speak only when it has acquired certain skills.

Children who have physical control and movement skills, move certainly not only in real spaces. Children who can safely orient and move in space, don’t have any difficulties even with numbers. Children who can run well backwards, have often fewer problems in teaching arithmetic when subtracting. They learn to understand their environment out of the movement. Balance or acceleration are both physical and fundamental physical experiences that can be experienced only through movement. Children who do not move enough, have problems to develop a sense of what is real. They have problems to assess important things correctly in their environment. Children who move sufficiently, are more concentrated, more receptive and alert.

Sport improves the social skills of children. Especially in gymnastics with others or team sports, children learn for life. For a game to succeed, rules are necessary. Fairness is at a premium. In a group children practice to follow the rules and to be considerate of others. They have to wait for their turn, avoid each other in the game and coordinate with others in order to form a good team. They learn to be jointly responsible for something and improve their cooperation. Even the stamina is strengthened. But even from pure movement the child benefits: it can reduce aggression, it is bold and dares more. Movement lifts the mood! Even kindergarten children are often anxious, shy or helpless. Often they already complain of headaches or abdominal pain. Would you have thought that may be the reason for that is lack of exercise? Ten minutes of exercise a day elevates the mood. Mood improves in proportion to the amount of movement, because body’s chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, are released:

  • serotonin makes a good mood and reduces anxiety
  • nor epinephrine boosts self-confidence and controls the excitation state
  • dopamine acts as the body’s own reward system and causes feelings of happiness

A leisurely walk is sufficient to increase the cerebral blood flow by 20 percent, improves oxygen supply and dopamine, the “lucky messenger” distributes. In addition, harmful stress hormones are reduced.

At what age should kids start with a sport ??? This is a question that parents very often ask themselves.

Children do not need special sport to get moving. They have a natural urge to move – at least in the first years of life. Children should always move at any age, as versatile as possible. Instead of purposeful sport until they begin school, the best is only jumping, running, climbing, catch and cycling. From six years on children could do some particular sport. Because only then they are able in their physical and mental development to learn a right sport and to acquire a technique. Previously rich motor skills are often lacking. Which sport is possible at which age, depends on the individual development of the child. Every child is different and that’s why the individual skills should be taken into account. All children should learn, however, swimming and cycling. The lifestyle of the parents is transmitted to their children. Therefore, it is more than necessary to be a good example for the young ones. This way it will not be a problem to promote the natural urge of children.

If children want to do a certain sport, they should be able to choose this alone. Parents can help, provide ideas and accompany them by exploring various sports. Do not be disappointed if your offspring has not selected your favourite sport. No way the sport may be imposed. When the child has chosen the sport that it would like to do, the best thing to do as a parent is hold back and let the kid proceed.

Because at the end what counts is movement and joy what children do! Have fun … .. in movement, sports and games!

 

Photo by : © Halfpoint / Fotolia.com

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