Keeping kids healthy, naturally!
Brooke shares with us the ways she keeps her kids healthy, and advises other families do the same.
I have had the privilege of visiting with countless families. I love to empower them (especially new parents) to research, think for themselves and remind them to enjoy these days for they do pass quickly. Although being up at 2 a.m. with a teething baby is not my idea of fun and seems like it will never end.
When I think of raising healthy kids naturally a few topics come to mind. And, please know I am not suggesting you do anything we don’t do here at our home.
If we are what we eat then the food a child consumes is so very important. As their bodies grow they are getting the foundation of their current and future health. In the natural health field we know that many kids who are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD are having possible reactions to what they eat. Sugar, artificial sweeteners, colors and flavors are not “foods” our bodies were designed to ingest. Food coloring can be hidden in all types of food. (https://deeprootsathome.com/red-dye-40-hyperactive)
At our home we make available healthy nut butters such as Almond and Cashew, seeds, 100% fruit jellies, fruits, veggies, hummus, salad fixings, gluten free oats and bread, farm fresh eggs, raw honey, organic beans and more. All of these staples can be made into all kinds of creative snacks and meals.
I always urge parents to stay away from processed foods as much as possible. And, remember protein! A lack of protein can affect moods and behavior! When their bellies fill up on too many carbohydrates, sugary treats or juice then there is not room for healthy food not to mention affecting their energy levels and overall well being. And, kids usually love helping prepare what they are going to eat!
Screen time! Research shows too much screen time is damaging to a child’s brain. According to statistics, the average child spends up to 8 hours a day in front of some kind of screen. Recently one of my kids asked repeatedly for screen time. I stuck to my guns with a firm NO each time. And guess what? This child played an instrument, spent time with a sibling, jumped on the trampoline and played fetch with the dog instead of the screen time. A child’s bored state oftentimes creates an atmosphere of being creative and active. I give you permission Mom and Dad to say no and set boundaries on screen time! It really is important for brain development.
Sleep deprivation can be an issue for all of us in today’s fast paced world. But, when children sleep their bodies not only repair themselves but grow as well. Dr. Mercola recommends school age children receiving 9-11 hours, teens need 8-10 and preschoolers need 10-14 hours of sleep per night. I have a child that gets almost exactly 12 hours of sleep no matter when bedtime is because that is what her body needs. Habits for smooth and relaxing bedtimes are to turn lights down low, talk in quiet tones, keep the same routine and no screen time before bed which wakes up the brain. Chamomile, kid friendly herb blends and Essential Oils can help. It is recommended to sleep in a dark room so our bodies and minds truly can rest. And, if you notice constant mouth breathing while sleeping or awake, that is something to look into!
Supplements are highly important since I have never met a child who consistently eats the recommended dose of fruits and vegetables. Look for quality vitamins from the health food store or from a holistic doctor. I prefer raw food vitamins but if your child has MTHFR then they may need a different protocol. I always recommend probiotics (especially after antibiotics) and an essential fatty acid supplement which is important for brain development. There are good protein powders and “green” powders to add to smoothies that help one get their veggies. Please watch children with chewable vitamins! I once had to do the Heimlich on one of our kids who got choked on a chewable…that was memorable!
Lastly, it is important to keep them moving! Rake leaves, take a walk, play tag, ride a bicycle, help with projects, chores and just being kids!
Brooke DeLong, N.D.
About the Author
Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.