10 Tips From A Dietitian Nutritionist for Picky Eaters

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Some kids will only eat white foods. Some will only eat food topped with cheese. Some go through phases of only eating pancakes. We all want our children to eat nutritious, balanced meals so what do you do if your kid thinks vegetables are the equivalent of pond scum? These are our top 10 tips on how to handle the picky eaters in your life!

 

“I know! She eats anything! I can’t believe it!” your friend exclaims, referring to her 5-year-old daughter as she chomps away on a Salmon Avocado Roll, while your child eats “orange mac and cheese only, Mom, not the white kind!”

Is your friend’s daughter more advanced? More gifted? More mature? Not at all! Your friend’s child is simply different from yours, and that’s OK. 

Feeding troubles affect up to 25% of normally developing children and up to 35% of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. That’s a lot, right? It’s a common issue to have, but it’s not a problem — it’s something you can work with and overcome together as a family. It’s important for everyone in the family to understand what the “picky eater” is going through, so you can all help out. Many families work with a child dietitian nutritionist to help them along this tricky path, and you may want to, as well. It’s always good to seek help if something isn’t working for you or your family.

Here are 10 tips for families with picky eaters so you can understand where your child is coming from, and help them eat well in the process.

1. Establish A Routine

It’s important to have a routine. As adults, we should also look into this, because it’s been proven that our bodies are happiest when we have a specific schedule to stick to. Studies have shown that children and adults who eat at the same time every day are less likely to be obese and have lower BMIs and blood pressure than people who eat at random points throughout the day. According to Gerda Pot, a professor at King’s College London who was interviewed by the Times, appetite, digestion, and how our body processes food are actually linked to circadian rhythms. This means that our bodies follow a 24-hour pattern in relation to food, just like how our bodies need sleep. It’s so interesting! But it can be so hard to stick to a schedule…

Here are ways to feed your child in a way to encourage their appetite by establishing a routine.

  • Consistency — Serve small meals and snacks at consistent times of the day, with 2–3 hours between each meal and snack time, allowing the child to become hungry before the next meal. Young children feel most comfortable with scheduled mealtimes.
  • Beverages After — Offer milk, nutritional beverages, juice, soup, or water at the end of the meal or snack, and not before, in order to prevent filling their stomachs.
  • Duration
    • Eating should begin within 15 mins of the start of the meal.
    • Meals should last no longer than 20–30 mins.
    • When the meal is over, all food should be removed and only be offered again at the next planned meal. You should not become a short order cook!

2. Respect Your Child’s Appetite

Your kid may not be hungry! And even if they are, it’s important to never force or bribe your child into eating. Forcing or bribing creates pressure, which can lead to children eating even less in the long run. Positive tactics like praise or a gift can also create pressure, though. It’s hard to remember this when you’re trying to get your child to eat, but, believe it or not, pressure in any way makes kids like food less.

What are examples of pressuring messages or tactics?

  • Praise (“Oh my gosh, you are such a good boy for eating that! Good job!”)
  • Shame or guilt (“If you loved me then you would eat this…”)
  • Bribes (“If you eat this, I’ll give you a toy after dinner!”)
  • Distraction (“Just watch your favorite TV show while you eat this…”)
  • Threat or force (“You have to eat this or I won’t let you go to that birthday party this weekend.”)
  • Pressuring therapy (“We’re going to have to bring your nutritionist back for therapy if you don’t eat this…”)
  • Nutrition admonitions (“You need more spinach to grow stronger…”)

So what should you do?

  • Start to learn and notice your child’s hunger signals.
  • Allow your child to choose how much or how little of the offered food to eat. Don’t make them clean their plate!
  • Respect your child’s natural inner signals of hunger and fullness. They will change from day to day, so be open for differences!

3. Make Food Fun

Let your child have fun with food! Food is a glorious thing, and we should treat it as such, as long as we aren’t negatively affecting others in the process. Why not enjoy it? Cut pieces of toasts into silly shapes! Make funny faces with fruit on the plate! Make everything on the plate the same color in different shades! When we understand that food is meant to be enjoyed, we’re more apt to be curious for more options. Discover your playful side, too!

Here are some ways to make meals fun for you and your child:

  • Make Faces On Plates — Paint plates at a paint studio or buy plates with faces on them, so you can move the food around to become different parts of a person’s head. Spaghetti can be the hair, broccoli can be the nose, corn can be the teeth, and so on.
  • Be A Monster — Allow kids to act like monsters destroying and devouring their food, as long as they don’t make a mess around the house, or as long as they take responsibility for cleaning up afterwards. The spinach can be the grass in the yard, the chicken can be the house, the pasta can be the fence… and THEY ARE THE MONSTERS EATING THE NEIGHBORHOOD!
  • Grow Your Own Food — This gives kids a chance to see where it came from, and have a hand in the process. When a child plants something and watches it grow from seemingly nothing over a long period of time, it makes it rewarding to try a bite of what they saw growing on the windowsill or in the garden!
  • Watch Cooking Shows Together — Shows like “Master Chef Jr.” are a great way to get kids excited about food. When they see other children their age making food and becoming masters at cooking, it makes it more exciting. Try some of the recipes that you see on the cooking shows together! Notice what excites your kid, and incorporate that meal into your next plan.
  • Use Dips And Spreads — Get kids to eat their fruits and veggies by offering fun things to dip the food into. It’s fun to try different tastes, and the physical movement of dipping gets them connected to their food in a different way.
  • Eat A Rainbow A Day — Focusing on color is a great way to get kids to try different food groups. Encourage them to try to eat something of each color of the rainbow every day, and keep track of what they ate already!
  • Make Up Your Own Food Names — Teach children the proper names of foods, but come up with your own silly words for them, too. A green smoothie can be “monster juice” and pineapple can be a “ferris wheel.” Ask your kids to help you come up with their own funny names!
  • Make Food Into Fun Shapes — Does your kid have an obsession with the solar system? Cut things into stars and circles for the planets! Are they learning to spell? Make the food spell out their name on a plate. Make the meals look fun and enticing, and your child may be more keen to try a bite or two… or more!

4. Be Creative

Systematically introduce new food! Provide some of your child’s favorite foods together with a small amount of new food. If the child refuses a new food, offer just one bite of the new food without tricking, hiding, bribing or forcing. (If the child continues to refuse after three attempts, do not force the child.) Attempt to reintroduce the new food after a few days or weeks. A child’s preference often changes, even if it takes a few tries!

5. Minimize Distractions

Avoid allowing television, tablets, toys, electronics or books at mealtimes, as this takes away the experience of eating. Instead, engage children using food or by allowing children to self-feed.

6. Establish Rules

Don’t make a second meal if your child refuses the first one. Having a second option always available, like a salad or a bowl of cereal, takes the pressure off both parent and child, because everyone knows the child will still be able to eat something. (If your kid wants to have a sugary bowl of cereal every night, obviously this option doesn’t work for you!) Your child should know that you will not drop what you’re doing to make them what they want, even if they don’t like what’s offered.

Everyone should wait at the table until they are excused from the table. This means that if your child doesn’t want the meal, they still have to sit at the table until everyone else is finished, whether they eat or not.

Whatever your rules are, stick to them as much as you can.

7. Be Patient

Encourage independent feeding – allow for food spillage and age-appropriate mess during mealtimes; cover the floor if it makes cleaning up after meals easier.

Maintain a neutral attitude during feeding time and never become or even appear angry. Your child shouldn’t associate anger with food!

Be patient with your kid, but also be patient with yourself! This may be a trying experience for both of you, but if you give in to what your child always wants to eat, they won’t grow.

8. No Sweets As A Reward

Dessert is not a reward for eating well. This teaches your child that the dessert is the best part, and they should save room for it. It only increases your child’s desire for sweets! Think of making your family’s typical dessert fruit or yogurt, or only offering dessert once or twice a week.

9. Have Your Child Help

Ask your kid what they want! What vegetables and fruits are they craving? Have them help you pick out healthy food at the grocery store. They can help you prep the meal, too! Many kids love to help wash veggies, set the table, or stir a sauce.

10. Set A Good Example

  • Eat Together As A Family — Families should eat together as often as possible. Three-four times a week is what you should aim for, and if you can get more than that in, great! Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be dinner. It can be breakfast or lunch. It also doesn’t have to be a home cooked meal! Eating together can include ordering your favorite takeout every once in a while.
  • Try Things You Don’t Like — If there is a particular food that you yourself don’t like, tell your child you are going to try it prepared in a different fashion to see if you like it in a new way. Show your child that people can change, and it’s ok to try things again.
  • You Have To Eat Your Fruits And Veggies, Too! — Don’t tell your child to eat a nutritious meal and then only serve yourself the pasta and tomato sauce. Do what you’re asking your kid to do.

 

Should I seek the help of a CDN Certified Dietitian Nutritionist?

It’s OK to ask for help. There is a certified dietitian nutritionist in your area who has trained for this, and who may know the ups and downs better than you do. Why not seek the help of a professional?

If you want to find a dietitian nutritionist, ask your pediatrician about where to start. They can lead you in the right direction on where to look in your area.

Or, ask us! We’re always happy to help you find a dietitian or nutritionist who’s right for your family. We’ll match you with a professional specialist, and their expertise, knowledge, and planning tools will help you solve your picky eater concerns. Whether you want to seek the advice of a licensed dietitian nutritionist, a therapist, a fitness guru, or a tutor, we’re your one-stop-shop to help you and your entire family — adult or child. Contact us for more information!

 

How To Say Goodbye To An Eating Disorder: Notes From A Survivor & Mental Help Therapist

 

Life is beautiful. I know this may be hard to see when you are in the depths of an eating disorder but I promise you, it is. I got to the other side of my eating disorder and you can as well! Please ask yourself my “five questions” as you read this week’s blog and start to say goodbye to your eating disorder for good! Are you ready?

 

While it may not be easy to stop your ED, it can be done (and may even be enjoyable!). Before I get into the five questions to ask yourself that can help you get rid of your eating disorder, I am going to get you excited and inspired to become eating disorder free.

But before I even do that, a little bit about my recovery… My anorexia arrived when I was 14 years old and stuck with me for about a year and a half. I then, secretly, became bulimic for the next 8.5 years.  Without getting into too much of the horrifying details, I can tell you that it was a terrible disease that affected all parts of my life, and thankfully, I was finally able to overcome it at the age of 24. Now at age 41 and as a mother of three girls ages 6, 9 and 12, I have a new understanding of my mental illness at that age and why I was particularly vulnerable. I know now that it is possible to live a happy, healthy life without an ED, and that the steps to get there can be positive and full!

As August McLaughlin discusses in “The Silver Lining: 5 Happy Truths About Eating Disorder Recovery,” there are positive aspects in the road to recovery. Recovery leaves people “feeling lovelier, inside and out.” Individuals with eating disorders have distorted views on themselves both physically and mentally. They want to lose weight to fix their physical appearance, and they take these drastic measures to make them feel better internally. Treatment, however, teaches people how to appreciate themselves for who they are and to love each and every part of themselves.

 

Treatment leads to greater energy. Eating disorders take an extreme amount of physical and emotional energy to sustain. By letting go of an eating disorder, people will gain back their energy to do things they love and to think about something other than the eating disorder.

Treatment brings enjoyment back to food. Food is no longer as scary as it once may have seemed. By mending one’s relationship with food, a person can enjoy their favorite foods without feeling the extreme guilt before, during, and after.

Treatment leads to freedom. Eating disorders have such control over people’s lives that are living with them. By not letting the eating disorder dictate every life decision, individuals are surprised to see how much they can freely live their life, by their own rules.

Treatment comes with support. Depending on the type of treatment that one goes through, they will likely be surrounded by other people in treatment. By being surrounded by like-minded individuals, one can see that they are not alone, and that there are people out there going through the same thing as them that are also looking to get help.

Treatment leads to gratitude. Living with an eating disorder can be extremely challenging and detrimental. People in recovery living without an eating disorder can be thankful for their bodies and their minds without the eating disorder. It may be scary to think about what one’s life would be like giving up this eating disorder that has had so much control, but there is nothing to lose by giving up an eating disorder, just a beautiful life to gain.

Many people believe that when they quit something they are addicted to, they will be sacrificing something. In the case of eating disorders, a client may feel that they are missing out on something by giving up their eating disorder. To help with recovery, we must show how positive it can be to live a life without an eating disorder. There should be “nothing to fear, nothing to ‘give up’ and absolutely everything to gain.”

In order to stop ED, ask yourself the questions below. While I cannot answer these questions for you, I can answer for myself with the hopes that it will help inspire you to search for answers deep within yourself. I would even encourage you to get a piece of paper and write down your answers. Take some time with this, dig deep, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with yourself. Tell the truth, and give yourself some kind love for taking this first step.

Question #1: What does the ED really do for me?

To ask this question in a slightly different way, you can also ask yourself, “What function/purpose does my eating disorder serve in my life?”

My anorexia helped me get attention from people, especially from family members and friends. I was 12 when I was sent to live with a foster family, and by 13, my anorexia helped me stay in control over a life that felt miserable and very much not in control. Of course at the time, I wasn’t aware of that, but I am now.

I was a very developed 13 year-old. Before I became anorexic, I was a bra size D, and had no clue which bra, if any, I was supposed to wear. No one ever spoke with me about bras or anything related to sexuality. I started developing, and, after the first sign of my period — which, by the way, I thought I had gotten hurt because I had no clue what had happened to me — the fears, anxieties, and uncertainty nudged me to become best friends with anorexia and to keep me as the sad little girl that I was. Becoming a grown woman was scary, and I wasn’t ready to enter that stage. My ED also helped me to stay isolated so I could focus on my education, which I knew would help save me from a life of poverty.

As I matured and gained weight, I was sexually assaulted by several people who took advantage of the fact that I was insecure, neglected, and vulnerable. The various other traumatic incidents that happened to most of the eating disorder people I knew as well helped perpetuate my eating disorder. This kept me in a bubble, because I was under the illusion that life with an eating disorder provided people with a feeling of safety and security. My eating disorder started out of instability, with the hope that the eating disorder would create stability. My eating disorder held great control over my life, which I grew accustomed to over time. Letting go of my eating disorder was scary, and I was under the (false) impression that it gave me a sense of control and comfort.

Question #2: Do I really enjoy it?

Once again, ask yourself this question and try to be as objective as you can be. How much joy does your eating disorder bring to your life? Do you enjoy restricting? Binging and purging? When I reflect back and ask my old anorexic or bulimic self this question, the answer is that I did enjoy being skinny or maintaining weight when I binged and purged. Of course, I didn’t know back then that when I purged, I only purged about 50% of what I binged on. I wonder if knowing that would have helped me stop binging and purging. I am not sure about the answer, but regardless, I am sure that I “enjoyed” looking the way I did, even though clearly I was not happy.   

Some people believe that eating disorders calm and soothe people. In addition to striving for thinness, individuals may use unhealthy behaviors such as dieting, starving, binging, and purging to cope with unpleasant and overwhelming emotions and stressful situations. While these behaviors may relieve anxiety and stress over a short time, in the long term they actually increase anxiety and stress, in addition to creating other complications.

Question #3: Do I really need to go through life playing with my health just to maintain my eating disorder?

Of course, at the time the answer would have been, “Of course, yes!” But if you ask yourself that question and truly think about the answer and the kind of life that you wish for yourself, you might come up with a (slightly) different answer.

I remember my first visit to my doctor when I weighed 78 pounds. I had stopped getting my period, and my doctor told me that if I kept up my anorexia, I would never be able to have children. His words stayed with me and helped me kick my anorexia (by welcoming bulimia into my life). If you are wondering about the health risks that are associated with eating disorders, I can assure you that they are real.

There are many health risks related to eating disorders. Each eating disorder has its own health consequences due to the nature of the disorders. As anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation, the body is forced to live without the essential nutrients it needs for normal functioning. Anorexia can lead to abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart failure, reduction of bone density, muscle loss and weakness, severe dehydration which can result in kidney failure, fainting fatigue, overall weakness, dry hair and skin (hair loss is common). It is also possible that there is a growth of a downy layer of hair all over the body to keep the body warm.

With the binge-and-purge cycle of bulimia, the entire digestive system becomes affected, which leads to electrolyte and chemical imbalances of the body. These electrolyte imbalances can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death. This is because electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body each time the individual purges. Gastric rupture can occur during binging. Frequent vomiting can lead to inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus, tooth decay and staining from stomach acids. Abuse of laxatives can lead to chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation.

The consequences of binge eating disorder are similar to the health risks associated with clinical obesity. These include, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease due to elevated triglyceride levels, type II diabetes mellitus, and gallbladder disease.

Two other ways to ask this question are below:

  1. What am I getting out of maintaining this eating disorder?
  2. Would my life be incomplete without it?

Question #4: How can I make my life more complete so I can get rid of my eating disorder?

Can you imagine a life where you are eating disorder free? How is your life different? What are you doing? How do you feel doing what you really want to do?

Visualize this. Really think about it. Write it down. Maybe sleep on it. It doesn’t have to be only positive answers — jot down anything that comes to mind.

Question #5: How can I use the resources and people around me to help?

I am sure that for many of you, this might not even be a possibility or an option. Asking for help? That would mean that you have to let go of what is helping you “maintain your weight” and be “happy,” right? But let’s think about it more in depth and start by stating that there ARE many resources and people who CAN and WANT to help you overcome your eating disorder.

There are probably people around you who want to support you, whether you realize it or not. These people can be friends and family members who may or may not know about your disorder already who can be a good support system on your journey to recovery.

Another resource is an eating disorder specialist and/or mental help therapist. Someone who has trained in this field will be supportive, non-judgmental, experienced, kind, and knowledgeable. They can give you specific tools unique to you to help you towards a happier and healthier life! You may be asking yourself “Can I even find a good eating disorder or mental therapist near me?” The answer is almost definitely yes. If you need help in your search, LWWellness is always happy to help by matching you with someone in your area who can help you on this path.

 

How To Manage Your Child’s ADHD: A 5-Week Child Psychologist Plan

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ADHD and ADD are acronyms that you are likely familiar with by now. Many parents and medical professionals are concerned about the marked rise of ADHD over the last decade. Numerous people believe that the diagnosis is too readily given, and that ADHD medication is overused on American children. I have had many parents ask me to write about this topic, and I wanted to bring in an expert to help you with some skills and tools to manage your child’s ADHD.

 

According to the new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S., nearly one in five high school-aged boys and over one in ten school-aged children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

 

To give you a better sense of how serious this in the U.S., an estimated 6.4 million children age 4 through 17 have received an ADHD diagnosis at some point in their lives. This is a 16 percent increase since 2007, and a 41 percent increase in the past decade!

 

Before I discuss the most effective ways to manage your child’s ADHD, I think it’s helpful to first discuss the criteria that pediatric psychologists use to diagnose a child with ADHD. ADHD can only be diagnosed if an individual displays at least six symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity impulsivity.

 

Symptoms of inattentiveness include the following: difficulty sustaining tasks or play activities, not listening when being addressed directly, failing to finish school work or chores, being easily distracted, forgetfulness, frequently losing items, and avoiding tasks that need prolonged mental exertion.

 

Symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity include the following: frequently fidgeting or squirming in a seat and getting out of a seat, running or climbing in inappropriate situations, difficulty playing quietly, excessive talking, interrupting, intruding on others, and seen as “on the go” or restless.

 

The onset of these symptoms must be before the age of 12, and they must be persistent for at least six months. Finally, the symptoms must not be motivated by anger or the wish to displease or spite others.

 

If you think your child might have ADHD, I highly suggest that you consult with a local child psychologist who can best assess and determine the correct diagnosis.

 

Let’s assume that you find out that your child has ADHD — now what? First, I suggest reading the book “Driven to Distraction” by Dr. Hallowell. I love this book because the psychiatrist, who is an expert in ADHD, presents ADHD in a positive light, which I think can help people see it as an asset rather than a disorder. I have other books that I highly recommend, but this one will be a good intro to start!
Once you have a good grasp on what ADHD is, it’s time to take some steps for you and your child. Here are five actions you can take that help you work with your ADHD child.

 

It’s important to note that nothing happens overnight. If we try to introduce many changes in one day, we are less likely to follow through with them, and we become overwhelmed by all of the newness. Take these steps one week at a time! Solidly focus on one task a week, and gradually add in each of the other tasks. Your child will not benefit from disrupting your entire routine. Focus wholly on just one step, and know that it is enough to do just that.

Our 5-week Plan

This is the plan that one of our trusted providers, a top child psychologist, uses with her clients.

Week 1: Hold Your Child Accountable

Many parents and educators wonder how accountability is important for a child with ADHD. They think, “If my child’s disability is out of his control, is it fair to hold them accountable for their actions?” The answer is unequivocally yes. Your child’s ADHD does not prevent them from understanding consequences, and the first step to maintaining consistency in behavior is to not excuse them from accountability. Furthermore, help them remain accountable by showing you have faith in their abilities, and expecting them to do what is needed. Do not make excuses because of ADHD, rather encourage the appropriate behavior and hold you child accountable.

 

Here is what to do the first week:

  • Initial meeting and rapport building with your child psychologist: This is the MOST important week, as without a strong rapport and trust of our provider, your child will not be able to make the progress we expect.
  • Introducing CBT skills through activities such as games/playing sports
  • The focus of CBT is on how people think.
  • Noticing details about child’s behavior (i.e. he has automatic, reflexive thoughts and interpretations of events). Catching those thoughts and analyzing what one is thinking at a particular moment is extremely important. Provider will be able to assess child’s way of thinking by understating their way of thinking and helping to guide the child to think in a more constructive/positive way.

 

Week 2: Create Consequences

There are many healthy techniques to use to discipline your children – all of which will help you to restore safety and calm things down, reinforce rules, teach children, and help them find a way to make amends.

Natural Consequences

  • The first are Natural Consequences, which happen automatically without any action on your part. For example, if your child does not wear a raincoat on a rainy day, he will get wet. If she forgets her lunch, she will be hungry.
  • You can use Natural Consequences whenever the result is not morally, physically, or emotionally damaging. They are highly effective because as the saying goes, “Experience is the best teacher.”

Logical-Related Consequences

  • The second type is Logical-Related Consequences, where you step in.  For example, if your child won’t dress properly for the weather, she may not go out. Or, if he does not clean up a toy, you may clean it up and then he is not allowed to play with it for a specified amount of time.
  • This works well when there is a specific issue and the consequences are clear.
  • Logical Consequences are imposed by the parent. However, logical consequences are different from punishment in some important ways:
    1. Logical consequences are planned in advance by the parent. They are not reactive or angry responses.>
    2. Logical consequences are often planned with input from the child.
    3. Logical consequences make sense in relation to the behavior. They are “logical.”
  • Logical consequences require time and are thought out on the part of the parent. They need to be planned in advance to be most effective. There are some basic guidelines that can be helpful to parents in developing logical consequences.
    1. Give your child a choice and speak to them in private about the consequences
    2. The Three Rs and an H for Logical Consequences is a formula that identifies the criteria to help ensure that logical consequences are solutions, rather than punishment.

The Three Rs and an H of Logical Consequences

  1. Related
  2. Respectful
  3. 
Reasonable
  4. Helpful

Details:

  1. Related means the consequence must be related to the behavior.
  2. Respectful means the consequence must not involve blame, shame or pain, and it should be kindly and firmly enforced. It is also respectful to everyone involved.
  3. Reasonable means the consequence must not include piggybacking and is reasonable from the child’s point of view as well as the adult’s.
  4. Helpful means it will encourage change for everyone involved. If any of the Three Rs and an H is missing, it can no longer be called a logical consequence.

(These could also be renamed as the Three Rs and an H for Focusing on Solutions.)

Tools that will help you better connect with your child and empower them:

  • Learning about your child’s core beliefs and using exposures to practice those beliefs.
  • Core beliefs can be positive in the case of someone who is confident in their ability. They can also be negative in the case of someone thinking they’re bad at a particular task.
  • Emotional exposure is also one potential strategy that’s traditionally associated with phobias and traumatic experiences. One tries to challenge the emotion and negative thoughts enough that they can bring it down to a manageable level.
  • Normalizing stressful and negative emotional tasks can make them more approachable.

 

Week 3: Suspend Privileges

Obligations vs. Privileges

As part of imposing consequences, you may suspend privileges. But before you can do so, you need to understand what privileges are. Sometimes parents get so caught up in giving to their children that they miss what power they do have.

Your relationship with your children can be categorized as:

  • Parental obligations – what you absolutely must give your children, such as basic nutritious food, proper medical care, school attendance, and respect.
  • Privileges – what you choose to give to your children, such as special foods that meet their preferences, outings, sports, and activities.

The delineation between a privilege and an obligation may be different in different households. For example, in one family, playing a sport may be a privilege, while in another, once registered, it may become an obligation. The idea is to figure out what in your household is a privilege and as such can be taken away when necessary.

 

Week 4: Foster Time Management Skills

Children with ADHD suffer from “time blindness,” meaning they lack the ability to stay aware of time and use it well. This leads to wasting time, and lack of productivity. In order to help your child with “time blindness,” try to make time external. If you make time physical, rather than conceptual, you can help your child see how much time has passed, how much is left, and how quickly it’s passing. Do this by using measurable things like clocks, timers, counters, or apps.

 

Week 5: Teach The Importance of Respecting Adults

It is important to establish a healthy relationship between the child and the adults in their life. They must understand what is, and is not, appropriate to say to their authority figures. They must understand that there is a right time and place for certain behaviors and language. What will begin to help your child understand this is building a strong relationship with a positive role-model (i.e. his coach).

Executive Functioning

Children with ADHD tend to struggle with the following core executive functions:

  • Self-awareness
  • Inhibition
  • Verbal working memory
  • Emotional self-regulation
  • Self-motivation
  • Planning and problem solving

What Can Help With These Struggles?

  • Enforce Accountability (as described above in week 1)
  • Foster Time Management Skills (as described above in week 4)
  • Write It Down
    • Help the working memory by making information visible using notecards, signs, sticky notes, lists, journals, etc. When your child sees information right in front of them, it will be easier to jog their executive functions and help build their working memory
    • Also consider getting a planner- this can be an essential step to helping with time management. This will be a place to keep track of deadlines, homework, and also fun activities such as sports practice and birthday parties.
  • Offer Rewards
    • Help self-motivation by making motivation external using rewards</
    • Children with ADHD have trouble motivating themselves to complete tasks if they do not have immediate rewards
    • It is best to create artificial forms of motivation like token systems, or daily report cards
    • Reinforce long-term goals with short-term rewards to help strengthen the child’s sense of self-motivation
  • Make Learning Hands On
    • Making a problem as physical as possible, like using jelly beans or colored blocks to teach math, or word magnets to teach sentence structure, will help to reconcile the verbal and non-verbal working memory
  • Stop to Refuel
    • Emotional self regulation can be deleted when a child works too hard over too short a time (i.e taking a test)
    • Take frequent breaks to refuel during tasks that stress the executive system
    • 3-10 minute breaks are best in order to aid the child in getting the fuel they need without getting distracted or losing track
  • Get Physical
    • Exercise will give a boost to a child’s executive functioning
    • Physical activities help to refuel, and can help your child cope with ADHD symptoms
  • Sip on Natural Sugar like a Juice
    • During a test or project, have your child sip on a lemonade, a fruit juice, or sports drink for just the right amount of natural sugar (not too much added sugar, though!)
    • The glucose will fuel the frontal lobe, which is where the executive functioning comes from
  • Show Compassion
    • Children with ADHD are generally just as smart as their peers, but their executive functioning problems keep them from showing what they know
    • It is important to show compassion and a willingness to help them learn
    • Do not revert to yelling at your child for their mistake, instead, try to understand what went wrong, and help them learn from it

What About After the 5 Weeks?

From our experience, when parents stick to this plan, they start to see a change by the end of 4 weeks after meeting with a children’s psychologist. It takes anywhere from 12-30 weeks to fully change a behavior, so stick with it. Just remember that, step by step, you are making a positive change in you and your child’s life. Families who are committed to this plan have a high success rate with this 5 week plan! Keep at it, be vigilant, and you will see drastic differences. You’ve got this!

Interested in finding the best child psychologist in your area? We can help! Call us for a free consultation, and we’ll set you up with one of our incredible providers.

How Do I Achieve My Best Personal Fitness?

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Everyone is always talking about becoming a healthier version of themselves, but often people can’t articulate what that actually looks like. Do you know what changes you can make to lead a consistent healthier lifestyle? What tools do you need to achieve your fitness goals? There is no wrong time to start the process of becoming a better you, so why not make this your year. It doesn’t matter that this year has already started, either — don’t let that be your excuse! Here are some tips and pointers on how to lead a fitter life, and how to keep it that way. It is your life, after all — why not start now?

Before you get overwhelmed, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! Be strict with yourself on following through with goals, but don’t make it impossible to succeed by adding too many changes at one time. Start with incorporating small changes into your life.

Here are a few things that fit and healthy people do in their day-to-day lives that you can easily do too, with a little encouragement from others and follow-through from yourself. Once these become habits, they will start to become your daily routine, and you may be surprised you ever lived life a different way!

What Do Healthy People Do?

They Eat Well

This one’s a no brainer. But, did you know that many studies show that eating well is more important than exercising if you’re trying to lose weight? Think about this: If you eat a Snickers bar, that’s 220 calories, which is equivalent to running for 25 minutes. It’s much easier to not eat that Snickers bar than it is to run for 25 minutes. Exercise is incredibly important for our all around daily life, but eating well goes hand in hand with feeling healthy and fit. Eating nourishing foods, like lean protein and fiber, helps us feel full longer, stay more alert, and propel ourselves toward our exercise endeavors.

 

They Refrain From Fad Dieting

The word “diet” evokes a particular response in most people. You may feel like you are constantly thinking about going on a diet, but never do, or when you do, you can’t keep the weight off for long. This is because there is no “quick fix” for being healthy, although we are easily persuaded into thinking there is. Fad diets work for a short amount of time, so you may see quick results, but they are usually unsustainable in the long run, which is why we put the weight back on after we’re finished with the diet. Sometimes, we put on more weight than we lost after a fad diet, which can feel even more exhausting. Stick with small changes you can make to your daily routine, and add on new habits every week, so you can change your lifestyle, instead of quickly trying to change your body.

 

They Prioritize Sleep

This one’s a doozy. You know it. I know it. And yet we don’t do it. Why is it so hard to find time to sleep? We feel so great when we get enough of it, so why can’t we prioritize this precious commodity?

We cannot eat well or stay motivated to work out if we’re tired. I know that if I’m up late, I will often set my alarm to wake me up later and forgo the exercise to get a few more zzz’s, which in turn makes me irritated that I didn’t exercise. I’ll often eat worse throughout the day, too.

How to help? Make a bedtime schedule, and stick to it. Give yourself an extra hour in your routine as “getting ready for bedtime”, so you are in bed with the lights out at your designated sleep time. Helpful things for that hour before sleep are an epsom-salt bath, herbal tea with a book, or relaxing yoga poses. Make it fun! This is a lovely part of your day you can look forward to. And make sure to turn off your phone, because the blue light interrupts your sleep cycle. The sooner you turn off your phone and stop looking at it before bed, the better you’ll sleep.

 

They Exercise Every Day

Exercising every day is easier than you think it is. It’s not about “pushing yourself to the limit” or running for an hour every morning; it’s about incorporating activity into your everyday life. For example, if you have a dog, make it a priority to take him or her on a brisk walk for thirty minutes each day (your dog will thank you for it, too!). Or, on your lunch break, do a few flights of stairs. You’ll find that the more you exercise in the little ways, the more you’ll want to start adding movement into your life, like tacking on a yoga class at the end of your day, or getting up a bit earlier for a morning swim. Stop thinking of exercise as a negative thing, and start thinking of it as a fun way to add quality to your life!

There are a few useful ways to help keep you accountable for exercising every day.

  • Make a goal chart. Put it somewhere visible, like on your fridge. Make it for a week at a time, so it isn’t so daunting, and include one goal you have for each day. When you accomplish that goal, color that day in a fun color, so you can see your progress! It’s helpful to have a fun visual to see, and helps you stick to the plan.
  • Download a personal fitness trainer app. There are some free apps available, but paying a few bucks for one is a good investment. These help you track your progress, and help motivate you to keep going.
  • Find a personal trainer and fitness instructor. If you meet with a weekly trainer, they’ll make you want to exercise every day, because they’ll know your goals, see your progress, and reflect what they notice back to you. They’ll encourage you to work toward your full potential as your personal cheerleader. It isn’t just about you meeting your goals, it’s about someone holding you to them. Which brings me to the next item that healthy people do, which is…

 

They Meet With A Personal Fitness Trainer

You may feel like you don’t need someone to help you achieve your fitness goals, but even for the pro, a trainer is incredibly helpful. If you’re a beginner, a private personal fitness trainer will help you acknowledge what you need to change. They will help you identify and rework your eating habits. They will listen to your needs and concerns about your body, and come up with a strategy unique to you to get you where you want to be physically. They are on your team, and they want you to succeed. Check out more on our website about the personal trainers we use and let us know if you’re interested in one of them! We might be biased, but we really love them.

 

How Can I Help Myself Get There?

Make It Easier On Yourself In The Morning

If you plan to work out the next morning, set everything up the night before. I mean everything. Pick out your workout clothes, fill up a bottle of water and put it in the fridge, set out your work clothes for after your workout, and make your lunch. The less you have to think about the next morning, the more you are apt to actually get out of bed and start moving. You won’t be stressed in the morning, and it’ll make you feel better the whole day after your workout.

Learn What Your Body Needs To Eat

You don’t need to eat as much as you think you do. “Portion control” is a scary term, but it really just means that you should listen to your body. Drink two full glasses of water before you eat each meal (often we’re actually thirsty, not hungry), and slow down. Enjoy your food! Food is great, after all, so why not really take time with it? Eventually, you will start to realize what your body needs, and you may not need to eat an entire plate. Leaving food at the end of your meal is OK. Eating your whole plate is OK, too! Just make sure it’s what your body is asking for. Eating nutritious meals also helps with this, because our body craves less of it when we are getting the proper nutrition.

 

Don’t Aim For Perfection

You are not perfect. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re just not. So why pretend that you are Superwoman by expecting your body to perform miracles? Set small goals for yourself that you know you will be able to accomplish. You’ll feel better as you start to transform your daily routine, and as it starts to stick.

 

Find A Workout You Love

There is something for you! I promise! You may think you hate working out, but there is an activity that will make you feel great. You may not be jumping for joy to do it every single day, but it’s the kind of thing that once you start it, you love it. What is it for you? It could be salsa dancing, a mud run, jumping rope, swimming, or jogging with your best friend. Working out doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be something that adds joy to your day.

 

Make Working Out a Social Activity

Similar to having a personal trainer fitness instructor, a personal trainer group fitness instructor works wonders. Find a studio and a class that you love, and stick to it. You’ll meet people in the community who will expect to see you at the group classes, which will hold you accountable. You can also make it a group activity with friends: Take a weekly class together and grab a bite to eat after! Or, instead of grabbing a coffee on a friend date, suggest that you go on a walk together instead. Find social media accounts that inspire you to get up and move. You may even want to create a fitness account of your own!

 

How Do I Find My Personal Fitness Trainer?

Below are ways to find a fitness instructor and personal trainer to work with your personal fitness goals. If you are looking for a personal trainer, this might help you narrow down which type of personal fitness trainer for hire you’re looking for.

Remember, we specialize in matching you with the people you need to reach your health and fitness objectives. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for nutritionists, dietitians, teachers, and trainers, we’ll chat with you to find the best fit!

 

Go To A Local Gym

Most gyms have many personal trainers on staff, so ask your local spot about their options. If you have a gym you already love, it’s a great place to start, because you’ll just add it to your pre-existing routine. If you don’t go to a gym regularly, this is still a great option, because a fitness gym personal trainer will teach you how to use each machine, how much weight to use to achieve your goals, and how many reps you should do. They will essentially teach you how to be able to work out on your own, while still holding you accountable. A Snap Fitness personal trainer or a 24 Hour Fitness personal trainer are both good places to start your search, and they’re available around the country.

 

Hire A Trainer To Come To Your Home

A personal fitness trainer at home is a solid option for busy schedules, because you don’t have to find extra time to make it to the gym. These trainers will often work with what you already have in your home, so it depends on the kind of workout you’re looking for to know if this is a good option for you. Yoga, kickboxing, small weights, and cardio can all work with limited equipment.

 

Meet A Trainer In A Local Park

Lots of trainers meet their clients in a local park! Wander Central Park any day of the week and you’ll see people working out with one another. This is a great way to find a space for free, be outdoors, and meet in a central location. The drawbacks are rain and… people staring at you. But hey, that might help! Check out a personal fitness trainer directory for your area by looking online to see which trainers will provide this service.

 

Work With A Trainer Online

An online personal fitness trainer can be a good option for those who prefer to stay at home but want their trainer to be a specific person. Maybe the trainer doesn’t live in your area, or maybe it’s more affordable than having the trainer come to your home. Whatever your reason, if you don’t feel like you need someone in the flesh, but you still want that extra push, look into this. Many people nowadays also use a fitness personal trainer app for their workouts.

 

Now What?

Go forth and be fit! It’s time to take your life in your hands to become the best possible version of yourself. You only live once, so what are you waiting for?

What tips and advice did we miss? Let us know below in the comments! Check out our website, email us, or call us for more information on how LW Wellness can help you in your search for fitness and nutrition!