Children, Health and Wellbeing, teenagers, Uncategorised, wellbeing, Wellness

Do Something for Someone Else…

I never thought I’d ever say this, but on Sunday I went to Morgzfest in Sheffield.

Morgz is Morgan Hudson, an 18 year old Youtuber, who’s made his name by publicly pranking his Mum, Gill, and by the two of them challenging each other with ridiculous tasks such as:

  • drinking disgusting mystery cocktails (Sunday’s vomit-worthy concoction was mealworms, mustard, honey and diet coke. Bleurgh)
  • seeing how long can you sit in a bath of ice
  • eating a food of one colour for 24 hours.

The whole of the family get involved in his videos, with his brother Jensen, Dad (Darren) and Stepdad (Bald Martin) all playing a part in the high-energy, high-jinx shenanigans.

Though I’ve seen quite a few Morgz vlogs (by force), and I can see his appeal for his fans, a day at Morgzfest is my idea of hell.

The event involved 7 hours of waiting around in Sheffield Don Valley Bowl with only junk food on offer (you couldn’t take in your own food, and it seems quite ironic with me being a health practitioner!) and the only entertainment between 12-3.30pm being a huge field of inflatables, which included the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course.

I wasn’t impressed. Especially as the rain came down in a torrential burst as soon as we got there. I was cold for the rest of the day. At first my head was constantly filled with what I could be doing at home instead.

Despite this, I had a fantastic time. My daughter absolutely loved it, and when Morgz, his mum, dad, brother and stepdad came on stage for the challenges during the last couple of hours, she was in absolute bliss. It was like watching pantomime, and not only did she have a massive smile on her face, I did too. The fact that the whole day had an aura of good-natured energy also played a massive part in the thawing of my cynicism.

Going on the obstacle course with her (I believe it really is the World’s Largest Inflatable Obstacle Course…!!!) was one of the most hysterical experiences of my life.

The whole encounter made me realise that, although you see a lot written about learning to say no and putting yourself first for health and wellbeing reasons, sometimes by putting other people first, you actually do the greatest service to yourself.

Watching my daughter happy made me happy.

Knowing she’s made memories that will last her a lifetime, will stay with me forever.

Sometimes, even though you want to say no, say yes instead.

It’s the best thing you’ll ever do.

anxiety, blood pressure, Children, Health and Wellbeing, nutritional therapy

Parenting, Building Confidence in Children, and Future Health

Build up self-esteem in your child through positive body language and kind words.

I’ve just read a blog post by Brene Brown about an Oprah interview with author Toni Morrison which really made me think about my behaviour as a parent.

In the interview with Oprah, Toni speaks about how we can influence a child’s confidence and their self-image in ways that we don’t even realise. Here’s the link to the original post by Brene.

According to Toni, children gather information about their parents’ feeling towards them based on their initial reactions (whether they be positive or negative) on each meeting.

For instance, as a parent, do you immediately pick up on your child’s uncombed hair, food stained clothes, muddy shoes etc?

Or do you smile, happy to see them, first?

When I read this, I thought to my own behaviour, and recognised that I can be quick to criticise, without even intending to.

The problem isn’t with the criticism itself – as parents, we need to be able to tell our children not to get mud on the carpet etc – but what’s important is that the criticism isn’t the first thing they always hear.

What is that criticism (if it’s the first thing out of your mouth) telling them about themselves and what you think about them? Does your body language, or do your words, demonstrate your love, or does it tell them there is something wrong with their appearance, behaviour or choices?

If you don’t think well of them, how can they think well of themselves? And how will these micro-criticisms impact their self-esteem in the long term?

This interests me, not only as a parent, but as a nutritional therapist. A person’s health and wellbeing is all tied up in self-esteem and stress.

If we don’t think well of ourselves we send ourselves negative messages:

You’re such a mess.

Why can’t you do a simple thing like that?

What an idiot!

These self-criticisms – where we can’t be kind to ourselves – become a form of stress.

As I’ve mentioned previously, stress affects cortisol levels which, if not managed, can negatively impacts health – both mental and physical.

So how can we help our kids to develop better attitudes towards themselves and as a result, become healthier adults?

Well, I suppose initially, that lies with us and our behaviour towards them. The way we react to our kids can either enhance of undermine self-image and resilience. If we manage our reactions positively, this ultimately has a beneficial impact on their future health.

As Brene says in her blog post, don’t let the first comment to your child each time you see them be a negative one. By being kind to them, we teach them to be kind to themselves.

Say something nice, or “flash a smile” before you ask them to move their belongings (that have taken up residence on the living room floor for the last three days!)

Even if they don’t show it, your smile or kind words will mean so much, and it’s another way of telling them you love them.

Plus, it also takes the sting out of the fact they’ve got to clear up after themselves!

I’m going to try it.

What about you?

Children, Health and Wellbeing, Uncategorised

Kids and New Foods

I just thought I’d share this fabulous image from the Wellness Festival I attended on Sunday. A mum and her son came to try my healthy snack tasters and became really interested in the ingredients in the recipe sheets. The foods weren’t something the little boy had tried before, and the blondies contained chickpeas, which were a foreign thing in a sweet snack to both adults and kids.

It was lovely to see them together talking about food, which is important for a child to develop an interest in food and a willingness to try new things.

It’s important to have an open attitude to food and your children will follow your lead.

Sometimes it can be difficult to get children to try foods which fall outside their familiar meals and snacks. You may have tried to introduce more of a variety, but you keep hitting a brick wall, which can be extremely frustrating, when you’ve spent a long time cooking.

I always found with my own children that if they didn’t like a particular food, I’d put a very small amount on the plate – alongside their much loved meals – which I’d ask them to at least try. They didn’t have to eat much of it – just taste it and leave the rest. Even if they didn’t like it, I’d keep reintroducing that same food (never in large amounts) at meal times. Often they’d develop a liking for it but sometimes they wouldn’t (sweet potatoes and tomatoes are two examples of this with my youngest).

What we have to remember (which is difficult in our busy modern lives) is that it takes around 10 tastes of a food for a child to be able to accept it. Just because they say they don’t like it the first time doesn’t mean they can’t ever like it.

However, it’s important not to make too much of an issue of it. If you come to realise that it’s a food they aren’t ready for, praise them for trying it, and move on. Children’s tastebuds are far more sensitive than an adult’s – maybe they don’t like that food right now, but when they’re older, it may just be their favourite (as olives are with me!)