Your Child’s Physical Health

Originally Posted on April 10, 2012

Can we germ-proof our kids?

I’m sure we have all been there; I know I sure have. We take our kids to day care and wonder if they will catch germs from the other kids! We see other children coughing and putting their fingers in their mouths, noses etc. and simply cringe at the thought of them interacting with our children.  Some parents may even attempt to “germ-proof” their kids, but according to new research, attempting to do this is doing our kids’ immune systems a disservice.
According to new research, published at medicalnewstoday.com, exposure to germs may actually keep our kids healthy.  This sounds like complete non-sense! Right? Germs can keep our kids healthy? hum…

Well, the study was performed by Researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The study was performed on rodents, some of which were exposed to germs early in life and some were not. The scientists determined that exposure to germs actually reduced the body’s of Invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells. These specific cells were found to have the capability of having positive and negative effects on our children’d bodies. The scientists found that in the most basic form, these INKT cells can actually help to protect us from diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and asthma; but on the flip-side too many can also contribute to the above heath problems.  So the basic take away from these findings in reference to the rodents is that by exposing the young rodents to germs they were actually being protected from accumulating T cells, which in turn allowed them to be healthier than the rodents who were not exposed to the germs.Simply put, our kids’ exposure to common germs at an early age, may keep their immune systems busy and in turn prevent them from worsened effects from other germs later in life.

With the above said, I believe, it is absurd to think that we can germ proof our kids; however, like the old adage, I believe that an ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure. Suffice it to say that our kids will continually be exposed to other kids until well into college life. If we do nothing else, we should at least teach our children the best ways to maintain cleanliness, and healthy habits, which will at least give them a fighting chance against illnesses.

Here is a list of popular places where germs can be found and tips to keep your children as germ-free as possible:

  • Public restrooms – Encourage your child to use toilet paper to flush the toilet and on the door handle, when leaving the public restroom.
  • Community pools – I would rather avoid this place, but if you must go please discourage your kids from swallowing the pool water or squirting it from their mouth.
  • While at home home –  To avoid making the whole house sick, remember to use spray disinfectant and plenty of hand sanitizer.  Use paper towels in the bathroom and kitchen instead of hand towels, also do not allow your child to share drinking glasses, or toothbrushes. 
  • Playground – make sure you child washes their hands when they come in the house from play.
  • Grocery store- Use disinfectant wipes here especially, you may even find them at the stores prior to entering.  Wipe down grocery cart handles. and invest in a shopping cart cover.

Bottom line – germs are inevitable and natural. I believe, however, if we teach our kids to have healthy habits it can help them to stay healthy in the long run.

Just Food for thought…as usual, I would love to know Your thoughts.

Child Development – Instilling Respect During your Child’s Development years

Originally Posted on March 9, 2012

Child Development – Instilling Respect During your Child’s Development years

Why is respect so important to parents? Is it just so that the parent can feel a sense of power over their children?

No, certainly not. Respect is very important for many specific reasons. Your child’s relationship with you will provide a basis for their attitude toward every other form of authority that they will encounter.  It will become the main cursor for the way they will later view teachers, law-enforcement officers, their future employers, and family members. Believe it or not your child’s teacher will be able to easily tell when your child has been allowed to have their own way at home, because your child will show a similar attitude in the classroom.  So the relationships your child has at home is the first and most important one your they will have, and those first experiences will spill over into their adult life.

Now, if you want your child to accept your values, when he or she reaches the teenage years, then she or he must develop respect for you during childhood years.  Look at it this way, when your child can effortlessly, routinely, and successfully, defy your authority during, say…their first 15 years, and even worse, when they can laugh in your face and stubbornly, stomp away, flouting your leadership, they will develop a natural contempt for anything and everything you say or stand for…needless to say, they become the one in control. That is sad, and borderline child abuse on your part, because your child depends on you to prepare them for the outside world, which will be a lot less forgiving than you. Once your child develops this attitude, they will consistently view you, the parent as stupid, one whom they believe is wrapped around their finger.  Not only that, they will also view you as being afraid of them.  While they may never utter these words, they will feel them each time they win a confrontation with you.  Face it, if your child believes you are afraid to lead them or correct them, they will not have a lot of confidence that you will in turn protect them when and if needed.

Again, your child’s respect for you is critical in the transmission of faith in you the parent, and on from their generation to the next.  Simply put, a child who disdains his mother and father will be less likely to emulate them in the things that matter the most.  If your child determines that you are not worthy of respect, than they will definately not respect your morals.  You could be a devout Christian, but if you neglect to teach your child to show you respect, how can you teach them to respect and reverence God?  They will in turn loose out on benefiting from the highest moral, your Christian faith in God, which is what will ultimately keep them though out life.

Food for thought…as usual, I would love to know Your thoughts.

Developing your Child’s Self-Esteem – Part 3 of 3 part Blog Series

Originally Posted February 19, 2012

Developing your Child’s Self-Esteem

Part 3 of 3 part Blog Series

Last week we covered various ways to promote high-self esteem or self-worth in your children, while being sensitive during critical moments. Finally, I want to share different ways to teach your child not only how to make good decisions but also how to recognize when he or she has made a good decision.

You may be surprised to know that often times, children make decisions but are not always aware that they are doing so. There are a number of ways that we as parents can help our children improve their ability to make sound decisions.

  • Help your child to clarify a problem where a decision is needed.  Such as asking them certain questions that will help them zero in on how they see, hear and feel about that situation.  This will help them better decide what to do.
  • In order to do this, you can help them brainstorm possible solutions (there is usually more than one solution or choice. Parents can help by pointing this out to their child.)
  • You can also allow your child to choose one of the possible solutions. Remember the best solution will both solve the problem, while making your child feel good about themselves.
  • Later on you can revisit the situation by evaluating the results. Such as, did it work out? or fail? If so why? Reviewing will help your child make a better decision next time. In the military this is called an “after action review”

In doing the above you are also helping to develop a positive approach to providing structure for your child, as all children need structure.

You can also help your child develop high self-esteem by helping them learn to focus on their strengths by pointing all the things that they can do.

Teaching them to always think well of them selves (positively) that way others will treat them the same.

Help them to think in terms of other alternatives instead of thinking in terms of only one solution for satisfaction.

Laugh often with your children and teach them to laugh at themselves; lightheartedness is a positive trait and helps one to deal with many different situations without stress.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you.  As always, I am interest in knowing your thoughts…or experiences regarding this topic.

Developing your Child’s Self-Esteem – Part 2 of 3 part Blog Series

Originally Posted on February 12, 2012

Developing your Child’s Self-Esteem

Part 2 of 3 part Blog Series

Last week we reviewed a list of things to watch for in your children which may identify low or high self-esteem in them.

This week we will focus on how to promote high-self esteem or self-worth in your child.

First and most importantly, make sure that you always speak positively to your child. Even if their behavior is not pleasing.  Sometimes parents are first and often too quick to express negative feelings to their children, and often times do not speak the positive things.  So as the Word of God says, speak those things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17, King James Version), positive affirmations.

To put it simply, your children do not know if or when you feel good about them and thier actions if you do not express or convey your thoughts to them.  As such, that is something they NEED to hear on a regular basis. Believe it! This will make a world of difference in the way they view themselves.  As they will, more often then not, remember the positive things you say versus the negative, if you are more generous with praise or positive reenforcement, versus only pointing out the negative things they do.  In all certainty, our children will often store up your comments, whether they are negative or positive and will “replay” your statements to themselves. So as their primary caregiver and teacher, it is your responsibility to practice giving your child words of encouragement throughout each day. It will make a world of difference in the way they see themselves.

How to go about speaking positive to your child.

As stated earlier, make sure that you are generous with your words of encouragement or praise.  You can use what is called “descriptive praise.” This will allow your child to immediately know when they are doing something well.  This will take a little work on your part, because you will have to become in the habit of “looking” for situations where your child is doing well at a certain task or displaying a certain talent. So when your child completes a task or chore, it might be a good idea to say to them, “I really like the way you went about cleaning your room, it looks like you found a good place for everything and put everything in its place!” or if you see a certain notable talent being displayed, you can say, “oh you are so talented” or “wow, that last piece you played was wonderful.., you are really talented.” what even goes farther is when you praise them in front of their friends or other family members. The same can be said for pointing out positive character traits such as, “You are such a kind person.” or “I like your determination, even when things seem hard, you don’t give up! That is fantastic!”

You can even go a step further by teaching your child to speak positively by making his or her own positive self-statements.  I learned in the military a long time ago that negative thoughts and talk is often self-defeating. It is the main cursor in depression and anxiety.  As I stated last week, the way we think about our selves determines how we feel about our selves and the way we feel about ourselves will determine the way we behave.

Here are some good examples of positive self affirmations: “I can do this, if I just keep on trying!” or “oh well, I or we lost, it’s not the end of the world. We can always try again next time”  or,  “So what, they didn’t thank me, I didn’t do it to get thanks. It still feels good to help others…”

Conversely, times will come when you must criticize your child’s actions.  Just be sure to avoid criticism that evokes ridicule or shame.  It’s extremely important to use “I” statements rather than “You” statements when giving your child criticism. For example you could say, “I would really appreciate it if you would put your clothes where they go in your room instead of on the floor” instead of saying “you are so lazy!”

Good communication is paramount in all aspects of life, one that we must practice daily.

Next week I will provide additional guidance on helping to promote positive self-image in your children. Until then, I would love to know your thoughts…or experiences regarding this topic.