Picky Eater Protocol

Picky Eater Protocol

As a Family Health Coach, the number one question that I get is… what do I do about my picky eater? This is such a tough area.  All kids are different and there’s simply no magic formula. 

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Why is My Kid So Picky?

This is the million-dollar question.  We can speculate as to why they’ve become so particular, but truth is it could be for many different reasons. One reason suggested, is that kids like to be in control of something and many of them know they can control what they eat, especially if they’ve been doing this from the get-go.  I’m guilty of this.  My little man had tummy troubles from the beginning of time, so it began as early as breastfeeding, and me worrying that what I was eating was affecting him.

There are also some kids with real sensory issues. They can’t handle the texture, the color, or the smell of some foods, typically this is a more serious “picky eater” problem and should be discussed with your pediatrician who can then refer you to a specialist.

My biggest tip to you is relax and do your best to meet their nutritional needs. Ask yourself are they staying mostly healthy? Are they growing well? Do they seem to have enough energy to get through the day and be active? If you answered “yes” to these questions, chances are they’re getting what they need.

The Non-Meat Eaters

What do you do when your child won’t eat meat? Kids need a lot of protein for their growing bodies, in fact, they need about 1 gram per pound of body weight according to Dr. Sears. So, when they won’t eat meat, naturally, most of us become concerned.

Protein

My son’s is biggest issue is with meat, and for good reason, he simply feels bad for eating the animals.  What’s a mom to do about that? In this situation, I’ve let him stand his ground, and haven’t forced him to eat meat, but have tried to make sure that he chooses a healthy protein to replace it.  He LOVES peanut butter.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the one staple in his diet that he’s eaten since he was little. We always choose a whole grain bread, natural peanut butter, and jelly with limited amounts of sugar and NO HFCS! He will also eat a variety of beans, but his favorite are Mexican refried beans and baked beans, on the rare occasion black beans. 

Protein is essential for everyone.  Protein provides our bodies with the 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot make. Animal based products naturally contain these 9 amino acids, but without eating animal products it’s important to make sure we are getting complete proteins from other sources in our diet. Not long ago, it was thought that we had to eat a certain combination of plant based protein at the same meal to provide our bodies the complete protein it needs. However, research has since debunked this notion. (YAY! This now gives us moms one less thing to stress about!)

The following is a list of “kid friendly” protein sources  

  1. Peas
  2. Quinoa (whole grains)
  3. Wild Rice
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Nuts
  6. Beans
  7. Chia Seeds (bake into muffins or blend into a smoothie)
  8. Potatoes
  9. Broccoli
  10. Asparagus
  11. Dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk)
  12. Spinach (blend into a fruity smoothie)

The Carb Lovers

My son also could eat bread, crackers, and cereal all day, every day! We literally can go through a box of cereal in 2 days. It’s amazing.  Carbs are also an essential part of everyone’s diet, but it’s important that they eat the right carbs (complex) for a balanced diet and energy regulation.  Sugar is a simple carb, and is in everything, read labels, and do your best to limit the sugar in foods you buy.

Kid’s bodies are being trained at a young age how to burn calories.  If they’re constantly using carbs as energy, their bodies will be more likely to use them for energy verses fat, which in adulthood could make staying trim more difficult.  They likely could care less about this information, but as a parent we have the responsibility to give them a healthy start for a healthy life. Provide them food containing protein, carbs, and fats.

Fat is Necessary

Most picky eaters that I’ve encountered, won’t touch fish.  It tends to have a strong taste and different texture that most picky kids have trouble trusting. However, cold water fish contains healthy fats, essential for brain development, hormone production, cells, and immune system, Omega 3 EPA and DHA. These are vital for the growing child.

We can also get Omega 3s from seeds like flax and chia, and oils, however, these are ALA which the body must convert into EPA and DHA. This only happens in very small amounts, but with a picky child, I know, we have to take what we can get.  I choose a multivitamin for my kids that contains DHA and EPA Omega 3s so that I know they’re more likely to get what they need.

Monounsaturated fats are also important. They have been shown to reduce the risk of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease.  Research has shown that they help decrease inflammation, and may even help you maintain a healthy weight. These fats can be found in foods such as olives, nuts, seeds, avocados, and eggs.

Protocol Suggestions for Your Picky Eater

I am a Health Coach here to educate and share ideas, however, picky eating is a very delicate subject that so many of us moms struggle with every day. We’ve had our struggles and challenges, but I’ve found a few tricks that work for my son, and first and foremost is… Patience is key!

No two kids are the same. I can vow to this as well. I have an 11-year-old daughter who is an adventurous eater, she’s never afraid to try anything. Same parents, same up bringing (both of my kids were breastfed for 13+ months), no explanation to why they are complete opposites.  I’ve just learned to go with the flow and focus on the positive and not the negative.  He’s healthy, he’s growing well, and has the right amount of energy!

Key Take-A ways and Suggestions

  • Sit down, ask your child what they like to eat, make a list, post it on the fridge as a reminder.
  •  Don’t stress. Keep it simple and positive.
  • Remember, some kids are very sensitive to smells and textures, having sensory issues with food is a real thing.
  • Focus on protein needs for kids: 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, (a 30 pound child needs approximately 30 grams of protein per day.) Protein is the building blocks of their growing muscles and bones, they can get plenty from vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Add whip cream to fruit
  • Dip veggies in home made ranch
  • Peanut butter or other nut butters for protein
  • Make eating fun, family time, set good examples: picky parents will make picky children
  • Don’t force feed anything! This will only end in frustration and tears
  • Smoothies, shakes, or, cookie cutter shapes for sandwiches are fun things to try
  • Cook with mild flavors
  • Most kids will eat pasta and there are good whole grain, protein filled pastas on the market.
  • Include one thing at each meal that they will eat. If it’s rice or potatoes, always make a rice or potato of some sort. If it’s one vegetable they will eat, make it.
  • Ask them to try something new, don’t tell them. It takes approximately 7 times of trying a new food for a child to like it, don’t give up!
  • Have them help make dinner, show them how fun cooking can be, make it like a science experiment.
  • Educate the importance of grow foods for growing up big and strong. Use Traffic light eating. Green – grow and go. Yellow – slow down. Red – stop and think.

A List of a few of My Son’s Favorite Picky Eater Meals:

I typically either add meat or fish after I scoop out his portion or pick around it when I dish his out. He has recently started eating chicken nuggets on occasion, so we do that about once a week with a side of veggies.

  • Mashed Potatoes and Noodles
  • Veggie Stir Fry
  • Soup and Corn Bread (He likes potato soup and pot pie soup)
  • Alfredo pasta with peas
  • Pasta with butter and a side of raw veggies to dip in ranch
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • Baked potato bar with broccoli
  • Rice and Beans
  • Breakfast for dinner (he likes scrambled eggs and loves  to make them himself)

What are Your Picky Eater Struggles?

Please share with me what your little one’s struggles are with picky eating. I’m always interested in knowing what other moms are going through and how they manage it. And who knows maybe we can work together to find a solution. Thanks for reading!


Resources:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/makingdecisions.sec.aspxhttps://

www.healthline.com/nutrition/monounsaturated-fats#section7

10 Everyday Swaps to Make for Healthy Living

10 Everyday Swaps to Make TODAY for a Healthier Living Environment

Cleaning up your environment can be surprisingly easy.  Take some time to look around your home, how many different products do you use every day? How many could easily be swapped for something less toxic? How are those products effecting your health and the health of your family? Have you ever wondered if you made a few simple changes in what you put in and on your body, that you might feel better?

Throughout my wellness journey, I’ve slowly eliminated toxic chemicals from my environment. I know it’s made a difference in my health.  My sensitivity to synthetic fragrances is over the top, they give me headaches every time I’m around them. I also have less joint pain, as someone who suffers from mild carpal tunnel, my joints often hurt. Now that I’ve swapped out toxic products for healthier ones, I have less pain. When I encounter a toxic chemical now, I often get aches in areas I’m not use to.

How Do You Get Started?

Start by taking note of how you feel today. What is your energy level? How is your mood? Do you feel anxious or worried? Now make the following simple swaps and take a weekly account of how you’re feeling.

I’ll be suggesting products that can be swapped out, if you make a purchase from one of the links, Metronome Wellness will receive a very small commission. However, what I’m trying to get across here is to just make a healthier, less toxic change, for your health and the health of your family. You can easily make your own products, or purchase them. Thankfully, more and more companies are getting rid of the chemicals in the things we use everyday, and making them more affordable!

Cleaning products

No surprise that cleaning products top the list.  Have you looked at some of the chemicals on the labels of mainstream cleaning products? I mean, toxic, highly flammable, keep away from children, hazardous crap! Scary right? Why would we want these in our homes? Of course, we were once told that we must sanitize everything. We now know that we’ve done more harm than good with this way of thinking.  There are more scary, drug resistant bugs out there than ever before.  STOP sanitizing everything! A little bit of bacteria and dirt is good for your health!

Did you know that with a little white vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda you can pretty much clean anything? Crazy and think of how much money you could save! Check out my essential oil clean recipes. If you don’t have time, or frankly just don’t want to, I recommend using Seventh Generation products.  They can be found almost anywhere, and they stick to their promise of keeping the toxins out of our homes and the environment.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste can be full of toxic ingredients like triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial sweeteners, fluoride, propylene glycol, Diethanolamine. Why!?? What’s the point of adding these harmful ingredients to something you put in your mouth? One of the most absorbent places in the human body.  You can easily make you’re your own toothpaste! Wellness Mama has a few different ways: https://wellnessmama.com/1772/natural-toothpaste/ Or if you prefer to purchase a safer toothpaste, I like Himalaya Botanique, I get mine from amazon and have been using it for years.  

Shampoo

Another easy, simple swap to make today is your shampoo. I’m going to “plug” a MLM product, sorry.  I’ve tried making my own, and used a variety of different “natural” shampoos, and found Monat to be my favorite. It’s something that I can honestly say has helped my hair a ton! Over the past couple of years using it, my hair has grown more than ever, gotten stronger, healthier, and I frequently get compliments on it (which hasn’t happened since kids). Their company name is short for “Mother Nature” and they say “no” to toxic ingredients. Check out the science behind their products at:  https://monatglobal.com/the-science-of-monat/.

Face wash

As someone who struggles with acne, I’ve used a million different products. I wanted so badly for essential oils or something very simple to work, but it never did. I’ve used the dermatologist’s products and pills, but because of the chemicals, I never felt good about doing that, even if it did work. I finally found something that really works, and I can get behind. Tula. It’s a super food, probiotic for your skin, without all the nasty stuff! It feels amazing and gives me a natural dewy look.

Make up

I must admit, I keep it pretty simple, I’ve never been into make-up.  Again, I’ve tried making my own, and you can too, with a little arrowroot powder and cinnamon, but I never could get the combo quite right. So now I use and recommend this powder foundation called Everyday Minerals Matte Base. It covers my acne scars really well, and gives me a simple, clean, finished look.

Coffee Creamer

If you’re a coffee drinker like me, and like a little creamer in your coffee (I’ve tried to switch to black many times, I just can’t do it), there are a lot of fairly new, healthier options on the market today. I use to use the original Coffee Mate French Vanilla, but the further I got along my all-natural journey, the less and less I enjoyed the taste of the it.  I switched to the Natural Bliss, which was pretty good, but I’ve tried to limit my dairy consumption, so when I came across So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Creamer, I knew I’d found the “one”. If you’re trying for a more plant based diet, I highly recommend this, it has just 7 ingredients, 4 grams of sugar and is vegan certified.

Laundry Detergent

I’m just going to be honest again, as bad as I want to be “Suzy Homemaker” and make everything from scratch, I’ve tried making my own laundry detergent, but my laundry never came out as clean as I thought it should. I’d find that some of the socks would still have a lingering smell, and my whites were not so bright. 

There’s something about a specially formulated detergent that has been tested to really clean. The one I use and is Home Made Simple – Lavender laundry detergent, it’s a plant based detergent that is better for you and the environment.  I’ve found it at the local grocery store and it’s a reasonable price. This swap uses plant based ingredients and truly makes clothes smell fresh and clean.  They also make it unscented if you prefer not to smell like lavender.

Candles/ Air Fresheners

Please tell me that you don’t you aren’t still using air fresheners. The air quality of our homes is so important. Good air quality is important to support our immune systems against environmental and seasonal threats, along with preventing toxic overload in our bodies.  Candles are not the best option, especially if they’re full of artificial fragrance. Soy candles are a little better, but your best option is using an essential oil diffuser. There are many benefits to aromatherapy, it can help to energize you or calm your nerves, not to mention making your house smell lovely.  It’s so simple to change out the scents too.  You can use individual oils or blend them up to make your own special, preferred scent. I love lavender at night and a grounding blend during the day such as DoTerra’s Balance.

Deodorant

Swap out those aluminum laden deodorants for one with less chemicals. I do make my own from time to time, and often for my daughter, but for a purchasable deodorant that works, Schmidt’s is my pick! It has been proven to work in the southern summer heat over and over again. It’s a little pricey, but it’s nice to have around in a pinch.

Meat

I really don’t like talking about meat, I eat some on occasion, but I’ve never been a big meat eater, in fact, in the past I was a vegetarian. It’s however, an area to look at when making healthy swaps. Have you ever wondered where all the meat at your local grocery store comes from? I do all the time, and when I think about the mass production, I think about what kind of conditions these animals were probably living in. So when you’re shopping for meat, look for at the very least, meat that has been raised without hormones or antibiotics. If you can afford it, organic and free range is even better. You can read my post on Mindful Eating which addresses the need to think about where our food is coming from.

Slow and Steady

So maybe you don’t make all of these changes today, but soon. Take note after you’ve made the health conscious swaps. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? How about your kids? Do they seem a little less irritable? I hope you’ll feel the differences like me. Make the changes, for your health, the health of your family, and the health of our environment.

Resources:

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/09/09/toxic-toothpaste-ingredients.aspx

How to Prepare for Adolescence

Perspective from a Mother of an 11-Year old daughter

I’ve had so many people tell me recently to prepare for what’s about to come.  My daughter is 11, and according to some of my friends who’ve already been through the teenage stage, she’s going to probably start to isolate herself from me and not want me around so much.  I hate hearing this, it’s terrifying, please deliver my bubble NOW! I’ve been wanting one for 11 years, now I want one more than ever.

I know that’s not possible, but if it were, I’d probably be one of the first to take advantage.  I’m a slightly overprotective parent, but so far, my kids have been okay with it.  In this world of fake everything, I try to teach realness and honesty, and the older and older my kids get, the more they become exposed to things that I would pay good money to protect them from.  Love and prayers are my savior.  I realize they’re going to experience the bad in this world at some point, I just want them to know that I’m always here to help them navigate and understand.  I NEVER want them to feel like they can’t talk to me about anything!

Communication

My baby girl and I’ve always been close, she’s always been very open when it comes to anything on her mind.  She’s never afraid to ask me questions or tell me when something happened at school.  So, here I am trying to figure out what I can do to prevent her from changing the way she feels about me over the next 8-10 years.  I’m sure some of you who are reading this are saying “good luck!” Please send it this way, I know I’ll need it!

The Tween Stage

Having an 11-year old daughter definitely comes with its rewards and challenges.  Trying to manage through this stage gracefully, meanwhile preparing her for puberty is scary not only for her, but my husband and I as well.  When I think back to when I was about to be a teenager, I think of how naive I was.  I felt so unprepared for what seemed like the rude awakenings of life. Middle School and even worse High School! Maybe if I’d known what to expect, instead of the pretend drama seen in movies or on TV (and I was an 80’s & 90’s child), I would have been a little happier throughout my adolescence.

Preparing for Them for Adolescence

I’m definitely NOT a parenting expert and haven’t lived through this yet, but here’s what I suggest to-do and pray it helps.  I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going over the years!

Setting Them Up for Successful Adolescence

Set a good example

How you handle stress and anxiousness will impact her.  If she sees you stressed and angry and then yelling or turning to alcohol to chill out, it’s likely she will think this is the best way to handle things.  Teach her to recognize when she starts feeling sad or anxious and walk away, remove herself from the situation and take a break. Give her the tools she needs to calm down. Suggest she take a walk, workout, do some yoga, diffuse some oils, go for a drive (when she’s old enough, of course), take a bath, listen to loud music, or calming music whichever she prefers.

Spend dedicated time with her

At this stage in her life, she needs you more than ever, even if she doesn’t say it.  Give her your undivided attention, DAILY, and when you can dedicate a morning or an entire day with her do it!  Do something fun, these years are going to be confusing, serious and physically and mentally challenging, let her be a kid as long as she can!

Routine

Keep life as predictable and routine as possible.  As with a small child, routines are necessary, but in adolescence they can give them a sense of security at home.  If they know what to expect, they are more likely to respect their boundaries.

Give her chores

Hopefully, she’s been doing chores for a while, but now that she’s older, it’s okay for her to be responsible for even more things around the house.  Maybe she cooks dinner once a week? Or maybe it’s time she learns to mow the lawnChores are part of being a family and sharing responsibility, not to mention a way to teach life skills.

Talk

Not just serious talk, ALL talk, talk about what’s going on with the family, the weather, politics, caring for the Earth, music, whatever comes to mind. It’s so important to keep lines of communication open always!  Let her know that friends will come and go, but you will always be there for her.

Teach her to make healthy choices

Teach her to respect her body and nourish it with proper nutrition, exercise, and rest. This is another important area to set a good example.  Don’t body shame yourself, show her that women and girls are beautiful from the inside out, and that our bodies are special for all they can do and we must take care of them.  Food is fuel, she must fuel her body with plenty of fruits and veggies and keep herself hydrated to ensure proper functioning organs and natural detoxing system.  Teaching her to cook healthy meals, and encouraging her to choose healthy snacks at this age will go a long way in the road to a healthy life.

If she’s athletic encourage her to participate in a sport.  If she likes to be more independent when she’s physically active, help her to make activities such as running, riding bikes, yoga fun and a part of her daily routine.  The stress relieving benefits of exercise will help her to feel better, sleep better, and ward off depression. 

Check out my post on Self-Care for Kids.

Support and encourage her interests

Around this age, they start to really discover what they truly enjoy doing.  Nourish it, support her, and encourage her to pursue her dreams.  Talents tend to go one way or the other at this age. If she hasn’t found what she loves to do, help her to explore her options.   They need you to be positive and supportive.

Give lots of love, hugs, and cuddles

Show her that it’s okay to be affectionate. Human touch goes a long way at reducing stress and anxiety levels. Research has shown that a hug releases a hormone called Oxytocin which is related to reduced stress levels. She needs to hear that she’s loved too, so tell her multiple times a day!

They’re still our babies and always will be, we need to give them all we’ve got while they’re still around! Because they grow up way too fast!

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Workout Routine for Moms

Mom Workout

Busy Mom’s Exercise Plan

You know you’re supposed to exercise, you want to be healthy and have energy to keep up with your crazy kids, but how? When you feel like all you’re doing is cleaning, cooking, working, and running kids? Let’s face it finding the time feels nearly impossible most days.  Getting up out of bed in the morning, when all you want to do is sleep, can be a daily struggle. 

I’ve found for us busy Mom’s, that if we can just carve out around 10 minutes, a few times a day, to take a break and get moving, we feel much better and the day tends to go much smoother. 

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Keep it Simple

You don’t have to run miles, spend hours at the gym, eat some restrictive diet.  Small steps, simple steps in the direction of a healthier lifestyle is all it takes.  I promise, if you devote just 15-20 minutes a few times a day to yourself and your health, you’ll sleep better, feel less stressed, your jeans will be a little less snug and you’re going to have more energy to chase around your kids!

So, what are you waiting for? Start today, whatever time it is take a break and do one of the following workouts.  Fall in love with the process, then keep it up! EVERYDAY!!!

Morning workout.

Before the kids get out of bed, grab your coffee or your dog, and go for a brisk walk.  (slowing down a little to take sips of your coffee if needed). Walk for 10 minutes which is enough to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing for the day.  When you get back home, take 5 minutes and do the following:

Midday Routine

So, it’s the middle of the day. You’ve either been working all morning, running errands, cleaning house, or chasing little ones.  Time to spend 15 minutes on yourself.  Go for another 10-minute walk.  Take the kids if you need to, it’ll be great for them too, not to mention the awesome example you’re setting by being active! When you get back it’s time for a few more simple exercises.   

Evening Workout

The evening workout will take a little longer, because there’s an added 10-minute stretch, but what an amazing way to end the day, by giving your tired muscles a nice little flexibility workout.  As we age it’s even more important that we stretch, it’ll save you from a lot of aches and pains, you’ll sleep better and wake up feeling ready to start this routine over again.

Break it Up and Have Fun

When you break up your workout into little pieces throughout the day, it hardly feels like a workout, and yet you’re giving your body the same attention as a hard 45 minute nonstop workout. 

Exercise should be fun, even if you’re not doing this routine, do something you enjoy.  A few of my favorite motivational sayings are….

“No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch”

“Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment for what you ate, but a celebration of what it can do.”

“Embrace all that is you.”

Be Happy, Be Healthy, Be Well Momma!

Healthy Gift Ideas for Kids

Christmas gift ideas for kids

Gift Ideas for Kids that Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

This site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, Metronome Wellness may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Christmas is fast approaching, before we know it, we’ll be putting the lights on the tree.  I honestly, can’t wait, it’s my favorite time of year.  I love all the festivities, the lights, the smells, the joy it brings my kids, and yes, even the cheesy Christmas songs that my husband despises.

With Christmas comes the gift giving tradition.  Of course kids love to receive presents, but it’s also important to teach them first and foremost the true meaning of Christmas and secondly, how special it can be to give gifts as well. 

Homemade gifts are always the best especially from kiddos.  We spent last weekend crafting and getting ideas on what we could make everyone this year. My son saved some tin cans that he’s painting and wrapping with yarn to make pencil holders and candles. My daughter loves to draw and is using her all of her art supplies to make canvas art. It’s one of our favorite things to do and a great way to spend some quality time together! I hope they always enjoy this, because handmade gifts really come from the heart.

What are the Best Gifts for Kids

What’s on your kids Christmas list this year?  Is it electronics? I would venture to guess, the majority of older kids these days are asking for some type of electronic or video game.  It is what it is, but as parents we have a responsibility to take care of our children’s health so let’s make some healthy gift giving choices this year by choosing activity-based gifts over screens! Here’s my list of ideas, I hope they inspire you to make your children’s health a priority when buying their gifts this year.

Non-Screen Christmas Gift Ideas

  1. Activity watch such as Garmin Vivofit Jr. My son and daughter both have one, in fact they’ve used them so much, they’re both on their second one.  This little watch tracks their steps, daily activity, quality of sleep.  The best part is that’s it’s waterproof so it can be worn in the shower and while swimming.  The watch links to an app on your phone so you can keep track of their daily activity.  It’s a super fun way to encourage your kiddos to be active EVERY DAY!
  2. Yoga Mat – Yoga mats are great.  Kids need to stretch daily and giving them a special mat to do that on, will make them more likely get into the habit of regular stretching.  There are some very pretty and fun mats available so you don’t have to go with the plain-Jane ones anymore.
  3. Yoga game – Think Fun Yoga spinner game for kids.  We have this game as well.  My kids and I love to play it together.  Such simple concept, you spin the spinner and wherever you end up is the pose you do. There are even fun partner poses that will get you laughing and working together as a family!
  4. Turasa – Yoga and fitness board game.  I saw this game on Amazon and thought it looked super cool.  It’s a board game for the whole family to get you playing together instead of vegging out in front of the TV.
  5. Namaste – Stress Relief Cards. Check these out, what better way to encourage self-care than giving them ideas on how to relieve stress in a fun interactive way.
  6. Water Bottle – Kids need to drink water daily.  Giving them a fun water bottle to decorate, put stickers on, and be proud of will make them a little more willing to chug that water frequently and hydration is important in so many ways.
  7. Shoes – Kids need good shoes, especially if they’re super active.  Christmas is a good time to splurge on those super cool shoes that will hopefully make your kids feel the extra support they need to run, jump, and get moving and grooving more comfortably, and feel cool while doing it.
  8. Healthy Cookbook for Kids – Do you have an aspiring chef in the house? My daughter loves to cook and bake.  What better way to get their future cooking and baking careers started than a healthy cookbook with beautifully, easy recipes?
  9. Ice Cream maker – Okay who doesn’t love ice cream?  Who wishes they could eat it every day? Kids!  With an at home ice cream maker you can control the ingredients.  It’s easy to make a low sugar, banana ice cream using the milk of your choice.  The kids will love the freedom they get when choosing the flavors.
  10. Crafts – I think this goes without saying, crafts are always a fun way to encourage kids to use their imaginations.  Here are just a few of my kid’s favorites: Yarn Crafts, Crystal Growing Kits, Slime.
  11. Coloring books and supplies – Coloring has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety.  What a great outlet for your kids.  Add this to their self-care tools!
  12. Essential Oil Diffuser – Each of my kids have a diffuser in their rooms and we use them every night. Sometimes, it’s for helping to suppress seasonal threats with Peppermint, Lemon, and Lavender. Most of the time, we use them to promote a restful night of sleep with Lavender, Cedarwood, or Serenity. I highly recommend a diffuser with soft lighting and multiple time settings so that it’ll shut itself off after a couple of hours. Your child will love how nice it makes their room smell, not realizing the amazing benefits they’re receiving along the way!
  13. Gym Membership – What about a family gym membership? One with a pool? This gift is one that keeps on giving the whole year round it makes a great family gift. They say “a family that plays together, stays together!”
  14. Activity Camps and lessons – Do you have a little athlete in your family? Think tennis lessons, or a 6 week trial of a new sport. Last year we bought hitting lessons for my son who loves baseball. My daughter is the musician in the family and loves any kind of musical instrument she can get her hands on. So a few lessons to try out something different is always a fun way to learn stress relief through a creative outlet.
  15. Bikes, Scooters, Hoverboards, Trampolines, Jump Ropes, Soccer or basketball goals, all good outdoor gift ideas for kids.

May Your Christmas be Full of Joy

I’m sure there a many, many more great non-screen, Christmas Gift Ideas out there, this is just a small list.  I would love to hear your ideas for health-conscious gift giving, please share! I hope that your Christmas if full of family, friends, and memories that last a lifetime!

Self-Care for Kids

11 Ways to teach your kids Self-Care

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Being a kid is tough!  There are so many new experiences that aren’t only exciting, but pretty stressful too.  Emotions are always running high, whether good or bad, and the world can be a scary place. Then there’s puberty, which takes stress for a kid to a whole new level! 

Through all of the changes and unknowns growing up, it’s important that we, as parents, show and teach them how to manage the stress in their lives properly. Having the ability to gracefully work through difficult situations will be valuable tools they can not only use as a kid, but throughout life.

Self-Care is Important for Everyone

First and foremost, it starts with you, the parent, setting a good example is key.  Learn how to care for your wellbeing by not letting yourself get overly stressed or lose control of your emotions. Being able to recognize when it’s time to put yourself first and take a break will not only help your mental wellness, but will create more calmness in the family. Here are a few simple self-care techniques to help your kids work through their emotions…

11 Self-Care Techniques for Kids

Breath awareness. Kids need to be aware of their breath. When kids are tense, or anyone for that matter, they tend to hold their breath. There’s a natural release and cleansing process that happens with deep, intentional breathing.  Teach them to recognize when they’re tense and feeling stressed, and to stop and take a minute to close their eyes and breathe deeply. This skill will be super beneficial now and in the future!

Stretching

Growing kids have more aches and pains then we realize.  Think about how quickly their little bodies change and grow.  One minute we’re holding them in our arms, the next they’re off to college! Their bodies need to stretch out the pain. Teach them to stretch when they wake, throughout the day, and before bed, it will help them feel better, sleep better, and hopefully grow with less aches and pains.

Hydration

All bodies are made up of mostly water, without it no one can function properly.  It’s important for health on all levels, it keeps the brain, muscles, and digestive track all working properly. 

Unfortunately, most kids walk around constantly dehydrated.  They need about an ounce of fluid of water per body pound of body weight each day.  Do whatever it takes to encourage them to drink up! Let them choose a “cool” water bottle for school and sporting events, some kids like to add stickers or art, make it fun!

Nutrition

It’s no secret that when we eat well, we feel well.  Help your children make good healthy food choices.  Stock up on healthy snacks and pack them plenty of fruits and veggies for lunch.  If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat them.  When you don’t buy or pack foods that are highly processed or full of sugars, they don’t have a choice but to eat healthy.

If they aren’t eating the healthiest right now, I do however, recommend slowly transitioning to a healthier diet, usually you’re met with less resistance that way!

Play

I can’t say it enough, start early and teach your kids to be active.  Set a good example by being active yourself. Better yet, find an activity you all like doing together, like riding bikes, tennis, running.  This is another lifelong skill that is vital for their overall health and wellbeing.  The best way to de-stress, in my opinion is to go for a run.  Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins that improve the way they feel almost instantaneously.

Sleep

A good sleep routine from the very start of childhood can teach kids to be good sleepers for life!  Set a bedtime and stick to it. Most kids need 9-12 hours of sleep a night.  Sounds crazy, I know, but they’re growing quickly and while they’re sleeping, their muscles and brain grow, regenerate, and repair.

Alone Time

We often underestimate the importance of having time alone.  As a parent it’s easy to worry when your child withdrawals from the family and just wants to be alone in their room.  This is actually good for them, as long as they’re without screens.  This time allows kids to work through some of the thoughts in their head, get creative, use their imaginations, perhaps writing, drawing, or reading.  Time alone can give the mind a mental reset especially for introverted type children.

Time away from screens

Screens! My enemy! Well not totally, as I do the majority of my work in front of screens, but for my kids, yes. As they’ve gotten older they’ve become more and more apt to entertain themselves with screens. I hate nagging because they’re pretty good kids, but I miss the days of blocks and play dough and always using their imaginations.

It’s so good for them to take a day off here and there, I know it’s hard with a lot of homework now requiring the computer, but try and mandate a couple screen free days a month, and limit their time spent in front of a screen each day. My post on screen time may give you a few ideas on how to incorporate a play time = screen time rule in your home.

Encourage them to find a hobby or activity they love

Having a hobby or something they love to do is a great way to get their mind off of everyday stressors.  Being part of a team, or having a creative outlet gives them the opportunity to express who they really are or may not be able to express with words.

Music

Listening to music has been proven to relieve stress.  Dancing to the music, even better. Playing a musical instrument, WOW! So encourage them play, dance, or turn up the tunes and allow the mind and body feel the stress drift away!

Essential Oils

Last but certainly not least.  Using essential oils for your child’s self-care routine is super beneficial in so many ways.  The simple act of breathing in an essential oil can give them a sense of calmness. 

Try using oils like lavender and lemongrass, both are great for kids.  My son’s favorite is Cedarwood, it’s a very grounding oil.  And if you’re into blends, DoTerra makes an entire kids collection of specialty blends made just for kids. Also, a family favorite of ours is a blend called Balance it’s a beautiful, grounding blend great for everyone. 

Check out my list of budget friendly oils to find the oils right for you and your family.

So there you have it! 11 simple self-care techniques to teach your children. If they don’t thank you now, believe me they will thank you later in life when they realize that these skills are used in everyday life, throughout life!