Gables Montessori Blog

A HARD TASK, PUTTING YOUR CHILD ON A DIET

Some parents fail to recognize when children are too heavy and many consider their weight as “right”, but that is a normal behavior, typically we use to think that a thin child is not adequately fed. Besides, it is not easy to know what is the ideal number on the scale, because body changes so fast that we don’t realize our kids are getting fat until it’s too late. There are a variety of methods you can use to accurately measure your child’s weight and if it is necessary there are actions you can take to improve their health too.

According to research, a child who is obese at age 6 has a 50 percent chance of being an obese adult, which also means there is a serious risk for many diseases like diabetes and stroke. The first indicator of obesity is the parents. If you are an overweight parent, it is more likely that your child is or will become overweight. There are others signs, for example, if you need to buy clothes that are for a much older child or if you have to buy an adult size for your kid. But the final word comes from the doctor or nutritionist, he can measure your child’s waist circumference, the thickness of a pinch of skin or fat in various parts of the body or perform a bioelectrical impedance test. With those simple tests you can accurately measure your child’s weight and determine if it is diet time.

Children are constantly growing and developing human beings, so they need a variety of healthy foods to keep their bodies growing properly. Diets don’t include those nutritious foods so it is better for kids improve their health simply by eating healthy foods and being more active. Another issue related to diets is that when someone is willing to take extreme steps to be thinner could have an eating disorder as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, serious conditions that need a doctor’s attention. So if your child is overweight or obese, helping him get to a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for him. The right way to do it usually depends on your child’s age, activity and character and putting him on a diet maybe should be the ultimate option. There are certain actions that can be taken at home and that will help the whole family:

  • Try not to buy junk food. If you have it at home is easier for your kids to eat it.
  • Leave your kids at home when you are grocery shopping, make a list before and stick to it.
  • Sugary beverages are full of calories. A can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. Juice is not much better. Prefer always water.
  • Be sure to serve your children appropriate portions of their meal and everything “on the plate”, so they get used to see the quantities of food.
  • Practice and teach moderation. A delicious cake or an ice cream can be saved for especial occasions.
  • Try not to promote the “clean plate club”, if you want to avoid the wasting of food, practice serving adequate portions to each member of the family.
  • The best thing you can teach your children is to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied, not full.
  • Prefer natural foods, the processed ones tend to contain more calories. Fruits instead of juices, raw vegetables instead of the cooked ones.
  • Plan ahead. Once a week, sit down and plan the week’s meals and make sure you have all the ingredients for your healthy menu.
  • Choose always fat-free or low-fat dairy products, your kids won´t know the difference and will love low-fat or fat-free cheese, yogurt and milk.
  • Assume this phrase as a rule or mantra: “If it’s fried, don’t eat it”. Fried foods are unhealthy. Maintain your family away from them whenever possible.
  • Walk, dance, run, play with your kids, try to incorporate exercise and movement into their daily activities. Take the stairs, play some sport, walk after dinner.
  • Avoid comment on what or how much your kids are eating, your children should become responsible for their own way of feeding. Phrases like “eat your vegetables” sometimes create rejection.
  • Involve your kids in choosing or preparing healthy meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created.
  • Allow treats as having candy, soda, cereals and cookies sometimes when visiting grandparents or when the family is on vacation.
  • Be a role model. Assume that eating healthy is a way of living not an erratic habit. Your kids imitate your behavior, so be honest and teach how to take care of themselves but also when to enjoy a delicious meal for an special occasion. Balance is what counts.
Read more

COULD MY KID HAVE CELIAC DISEASE?

Celiac disease shows up in so many different ways. Although experts say there are not “typical” symptoms, if you detect signs as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, stomach aches, rash, irritability, fatigue, inadequate growth, anemia, migraines and hyperactivity in your kid, maybe it is time to take him to the doctor for an accurate test. This disease is an autoimmune condition in which the lining of the small intestine gets damaged by consuming gluten (found in wheat, rye and barley) and in consequence, nutrients from foods can´t be properly absorbed. The problem is that it’s not just about the bread, foods like pastas, cereals, crackers, seasonings, spice mixes and others regularly contain ingredients with gluten.

A person can grow up with problems related to this illness before finally getting diagnosed, so the discomfort becomes a way of life. The best thing to do is to investigate the family history of the condition first because celiac disease is genetically based (If a parent has celiac, his or her kids have a 10 percent chance of inheriting the condition), the next step is talking to your kid’s doctor to order a simple blood test. But before that, parents should not remove gluten from the diet, it is better to wait for the expert opinion.

What should parents do when their children have celiac disease? Maybe the first training is to become expert ingredient-label readers, looking out for wheat, barley, rye and oats in foods; on the other hand the entire family could also benefit from a healthier diet. But there are two important things to keep in mind that will be the main tasks in raising celiac kids: dealing with the emotions and social effects that arise and giving lots of support to children in what will be their new way of life. Going for counselling can be a good option, there are sources of education and support for the gluten free diet that can help to better understand which foods are safe and which are not, how to read food labels to know if a food or medication is safe, how to plan a well-balanced gluten-free diet, help determine if vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary and where to find gluten-free substitutes for the child’s favorite foods.

Read more

PERSONALIZED CHILDREN´S ROOM

Children rooms

How should a child’s room look? Parents may think that the sanctuaries of their little ones must be places to be relaxing, full of calmed colors that motivate the concentration to study and read. But that’s not the reality. That may be the vision of the adults but maybe not the children’s. Instead, designers recommend let the room reflect their personality, even if that involves some more vibrant colors and patterns. The idea is working together creating a comfortable but organized area where they can develop creative activities.

Kids do homework, read, watch television, play, entertain friends and do much more than sleep in their rooms. So, it is a real challenge to try to meet all the needs in a few walls. For a scholarly child, the room must have a desk, a chair, and good lighting. For the social one, a relaxing seating area should be the center of attraction. At present the rooms of boys and girls are not usually so markedly different, so finding the right colors of the walls depends more on the children´s mood and preferences. Obviously, primary colors can be overwhelming so it is better to think of others as light orange or yellow or neutral tones like greens, browns, light grays or soft blues.

About the theme, let your child choose it, maybe there is a favorite hobby, sports team or activity that can customize the room. Artwork and accessories can also highlight a child’s interests and are easy to change out as they get older. Regarding space, there must be storage shelving and furniture adapted to the size and ability of your children, an organized room will help them relax and learn to be responsible of their own space.

Some designers say that, ideally, the child´s room should be media-free but it is almost impossible today, computers and tablets are part of the study material. Maybe a good option is to keep a computer in the room but visually separated from the sleep space with a bookshelf, curtain or another creative design idea.

Read more

ARE YOU RAISING A “MILLENNIAL”?

Millennials

Millennials are also known as Generation Y and the “Echo Boomers” (children of the Baby boomers), they were born in the 1980s and 1990s and have certain characteristics that give them a specific character and behavior. According to some studies, Millennials are a “civic-minded” generation with a strong sense of community both local and global. They are special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured and achieving. Also, there is a sense of entitlement and narcissism, a preference for a flat corporate culture, an emphasis on work-life balance and social consciousness.

When it comes to their professional lives, according to authors from Florida International University, Millennials place an emphasis on producing meaningful work, finding a creative outlet, and have a preference for immediate feedback. Findings also suggest the introduction of social media has augmented collaborative skills and created a preference for a team-oriented environment. This special generation also tends to the public service and has social liberal views, this is an overall support for classical liberal economic policies. They are flexible about same-sex marriage and are also more likely to oppose animal testing for medical purposes than older generations. The projected population of this interesting social group was 95 million people (in the U.S.). for 2004, but in a 2012 Time magazine article, it was estimated that there were approximately 80 million U.S. Millennials and The United States Census Bureau, using birth dates ranging from 1982 to 2000, stated the estimated number of U.S. Millennials in 2015 was 83.1 million people.

Based on information from Wikipedia, Millennial characteristics vary by region, depending on social and economic conditions. However, the generation is generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies. Some research indicates that these young professionals want their jobs to provide opportunities to engage with “good causes” for positive social impact and according to data gathered by Accenture in 2016, millennials in Asia Pacific are expected to have the biggest spending power than any previous generation. Undoubtedly a social trend of this new era that it is impossible to pass unnoticed.

Read more

A FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN

Hurricane Harvey

The Earth is always changing and natural disasters can occur anytime or place. Floods, tornados, ice storms, hurricanes, and others can affect our life without previous warning. Therefore as vulnerable humans, the best we can do is be ready with a family emergency plan that helps us to mitigate the effects of these events. It doesn’t matter where you are, or how close or far you may suppose you are, it is important to be ready and prepared and also teach your family to manage the crisis. Recently we saw the consequences of the devastating hurricane Harvey, so it is appropriate to remember some essential measures to be alert. First of all, you must always keep a list of telephone numbers of emergency assistance groups and teach your children how to contact them or use the 911 service. Also, you should keep a permanent kit at home with some basic things:

  • Water (one gallon of water per person for at least three days).
  • Non-perishable food and special items that a specific family member might require.
  • Non-prescription medications (pain relievers, anti-diarrhea, personal hygiene items, etc.)
  • Towels, sleeping bag or blanket for each person.
  • Extra batteries on various sizes.
  • Whistle to notify location.
  • Charging devices and a backup battery for mobile devices.
  • Personal documents (insurance policies and cards) preferable in a waterproof portfolio or envelope.

Regarding children, we can help them to understand their place in the world and how the disasters might affect their routine. The best we can do as parents is to teach our kids to cope more effectively with a disaster, that is possible if we try to explain in a simple way what is happening and what they can do to help protect themselves. Providing unnecessary details may only alarm them so concrete explanations are the best. One excellent recommendation is limit media coverage and helps children to process the information they receive. Be sure to ask them what questions they have, that helps to evaluate if their fears are realistic and to show them how to cope with the feelings that might be arising. Other important tips are: let your child know that it is all right to be upset and maybe anxious; if you feel you are not capable of giving some support ask for help (family, friends or professionals), allow children to express their regrets and help them figure out what they can do to help others in their community, if it is possible.

Read more

TOLERANCE: AN IMPORTANT WORD TO LEARN

Some recent events in the country bring to the fore a necessary word in education: tolerance. What does it mean? Why is it so important? Tolerance is the willingness to accept behaviors and beliefs that are different from our own, although we might not agree with or approve them. We are surrounded by differences in ethnicity, religion, culture, gender, disabilities and other differences that simply we cannot deny (even politics). Some people see the multicultural society as a marvelous scenario to act in but others do not feel at ease. That’s why it is important to encourage tolerance in our kids from an early age.

Educating our children as human beings capable of learning from other cultures means make them feel relaxed and open to new ideas, experiences and knowledge. We need to teach our children the ability to learn to work with others, to understand and appreciate people for who they are and not for what they believe or look like.

Always keep in mind these tips:

  • You don’t have to sacrifice your heritage or beliefs. Being tolerant is respecting yourself and celebrate the differences of others.
  • Parents are role models. The tolerance they show naturally teaches their kids how to behave. Remember: children closely watch and imitate us, even before they can speak.
  • Look at the way you treat and speak to others, even those who you do not have a very close relationship. Think carefully about the words you use, avoid joking and any degrading name.
  • Be sure to talk to your children about programs, movies and games that can motivate intolerant behavior. The media has a a powerful ability to shape attitudes. Let them express themselves about they think or believe and discuss together.
  • Look at the differences within your own family, help your kids to appreciate and accept the qualities each member possesses.
  • Explore with your children how different cultures celebrate special occasions, learn together about other traditions. Make new and good friends from different groups. Travel as much as you can to meet other people.
  • Remember: it’s up to parents, teachers and other positive role models to guide children as they explore the technology world.
Read more