Posts

Pediatric Dietitian Advice From The Pros

How YOU Can Help Your Picky Eater By Not Jumping To Conclusions!

 

Whether you have a toddler or a teen, nutrition is extremely important for your child’s physical and mental development. I’m sure you’ve seen the research stating that one in every three children is obese. But what are we supposed to do with this information? As parents, all the information and oftentimes conflicting advice on what constitutes “healthy and nutritious” for your child can be overwhelming. And what if we have a kid who just won’t eat nutritious foods?

As an eating disorder specialist and a mom of three girls, I know the challenges that parents and caregivers go through when raising children and trying to feed them healthy foods, while promoting a positive and healthy body image. For some parents, this is not such a big deal, and they allow their kids to eat whatever it is they want without paying attention to the nutritional value. Other parents end up getting in the way of their children by worrying too much about what they are (or aren’t!) eating. Which end of the spectrum do you fall on? To what extent can you actually help your child? Advice from an expert pediatric clinical dietitian — someone who has seen it all! — may help you realize that you aren’t alone, and that your kid isn’t different! Many children experience difficulty eating, and it’s completely normal. However, as a parent you do play a vital role in guiding your child down a healthy path.

It’s important to recognize that picky eating isn’t your fault, it isn’t your child’s fault, and it is completely manageable. Children are growing creatures who experience new senses every single day in their bodies, and that includes in their taste buds! You wouldn’t expect a child to understand what a word is until they are taught to read it (and even after that it takes some time to recognize it on their own), so why would you expect them to understand their sense of taste immediately? Children are sensitive, and they are constantly learning about the world around them. Remember, it’s brand new for them! Our anxieties only worsen the situation. Read on for some advice from professional pediatricians and specialists on how YOU can help your child overcome the boundaries of picky eating and lead them on a lifelong journey to healthy eating!

Normalizing Picky Eating and Learning to Manage Anxiety from your Child’s Fussiness

Below you will find several findings from various pediatricians, eating specialists, and therapists who have either conducted studies on or worked personally with children who are extremely picky eaters. These doctors and therapists have worked closely with stressed and anxious parents who live in fear that their children suffer from eating disorders. The specialists assure these worried parents that excessively picky eating is more normal than you may think in children. Doctors and therapists also stress the importance of remaining calm and not making a huge deal out of a very common childhood trait. They outline the importance of not jumping to conclusions, and not labeling your child’s fussiness. What we as adults may see as being “picky” is often actually just a child experiencing and growing in the world around him or her.

Kristen Lee Campbell, MD is a Pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital & Instructor of Pediatrics. She is also a mom herself and has a picky eater of her own. Findings from her thesis on fussy eating in children is outlined below.

It’s Completely Natural

According to Dr. Kristen Lee Campbell, children are stubborn creatures by nature, and sometimes they simply decide their mind/body doesn’t want something. This is natural, and can be conditioned and worked with without too much cause for alarm. Just because a child is selective with his or her eating habits, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she has a disorder. Being an overly picky eater is actually congruent to biology and the natural development of a child’s taste buds and tolerance for certain foods. “It does take time for children to develop the sensory tolerance for certain flavors, spices, textures, and temperatures,” Campbell says. Therefore it is totally natural for a child to be extraordinarily picky and selective with food. You also shouldn’t continually compare your child’s progress with eating habits to others because “the definition of age appropriate foods varies with culture, and a myriad of contexts,” Dr. Campbell explains.

Keep Calm And Keep Cool

Dr. Campbell also encourages parents to keep calm, and keep cool! Children are unbelievably impressionable. Believe it or not, if they sense your anxiety in a situation, they are more likely to experience their own anxiety. It is important to not project your own fears and misconceptions of possible eating disorders onto your child. The last thing that is going to help your little picky eater is a mealtime full of tension, worry, and fear. Children will often do as they see. They are little mimics by nature. Remaining calm, encouraging, and optimistic will only help ease your child’s picky tendencies. They also respond well to visually appealing and fun foods! Dr. Campbell personally knows how difficult this can be for parents, but she urges them to be patient, and remain optimistic.

Dr. Lee Hudson is a Consultant Pediatrician with expertise in feeding and eating disorders. His findings with picky eaters among children are outlined below.

You Are Not Alone

Dr. Lee, first and foremost, points out that parents with picky eaters are not alone! “Picky eating is very common,” he states with confidence. Dr. Lee relays that a study in the Journal Appetite, released in January 2016, evaluated the eating habits of well over 100 children ages 3 to 11. Overall, 39% of children were identified as very picky eaters. It’s common among children, and of course common among parents, to jump to conclusions and begin labeling. However, Dr. Lee stresses the importance of parents remaining calm, and not overanalyzing during a child’s “finicky phase”.

Dr. Faye Powell is a developmental psychologist at the University of Bedfordshire specializing in children’s eating behavior. Dr. Jacqueline Blissett is a reader in childhood eating behavior. Natalie Morris is a lead therapist at Integrated Therapy Solutions’ Feeding Clinic. All three specialists have worked together to study children with picky eating habits, and to assuage anxious parents. Some of their findings and thoughts on picky eaters are below.

Every Child Develops At A Different Pace

Dr. Powell believes that every child is different, and just because your child is not eating as much as his or her sibling or friend did at a certain age, there is no need to jump to the conclusion of an eating disorder. “Child fussiness is largely down to innate differences between kids.” For instance, Dr. Powell mentions that, “Children who have ‘heightened sensory sensitivity’ are much more likely to be fussy eaters. These children are sensitive to different sensory aversions and textures – it can be rather overwhelming. Kids with tactile defensiveness, where they have high oral sensitivity, will be fearful of and not accepting of foods that are different — crunchy, for example.” This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your child, it doesn’t mean your child has an eating disorder. It simply means every child is innately different, and every child will develop his or her eating tendencies at a different pace. As long as your child is not malnourished or severely underweight in any capacity, this fussy phase is normal, and patience and optimism are key!

It May Just Be How The Food Looks!

r. Powell & Dr. Blissett also say that innately, children are fussier about foods because of how the food may look, such as toast being burned. “As they grow older, food fussiness may be because they are associating that food with something they find ‘disgusting’,” Dr. Blissett says. “If they see worms in the mud, they may associate them looking like spaghetti.” Therefore, it is actually  more normal than you think for a child’s fussy eating habits to develop past the age of 5 or 6. Believe it or not, this shows positive cognitive development, and cognitive function. It just so happens that if your child is a picky eater, their cognitive development is influencing their food fussiness.

Repeated Exposure

Dr. Powell, just like Dr. Lee, stresses the importance of remaining calm throughout your child’s picky eating days. “The key thing to bear in mind when encouraging your child to eat something is to not put any pressure on them,” Dr. Powell says. And that includes the pressure of a hypothesized eating disorder. “All research into food behavior points to putting pressure (including the projection of eating disorders and your own anxiety) on children to eat having a negative impact,” Dr Powell says. “For children who are fussy, ‘repeated exposure’, where you offer the food repeatedly without the pressure to eat it, is really important. Over time, that child will typically begin to accept the food.” The key is remembering that this is something that will happen over time.

Model Behavior

Moreover, Dr. Powell and Dr. Blissett discuss how impressionable children are. They talk about the importance of modeling while coping with your child’s picky eating. “Watching other people and learning through modeling other people’s behavior is so important,” Dr. Blisset says. “In all of our studies, we’ve shown if your child is fussy, the most effective way of getting them to try something new is if you’re eating the same thing and modeling it enthusiastically.”

Be Patient

Most importantly, Dr. Powell and Dr. Blissett encourage parents of picky eaters to be patient. Excessive fussy eating is more normal than many parents believe it to be, and widely affects children up to the age of 11. Even science explains a child’s fussy eating, and how it will eventually begin to cease, as Dr. Powell explains that, “With age, we lose sensory capacity and foods will be tasted less intensively. This is one factor reducing a child’s pickiness.” Therefore it is naturally common for young children to be exceedingly picky. It makes complete sense for a child to be very picky when it comes to foods because of their heightened sense of taste, so don’t stress!

Dr. Blisset and Dr. Powell also relay several cases of parents believing their child’s fussy eating days would never end. However, with patience and a calm demeanor, these parents overcame their fears and anxieties of their children’s projected conditions.

Don’t Project Your Anxiety

Natalie Morris, lead therapist at Integrated Therapy Solutions’ Feeding Clinic, is yet another therapist to stress the importance of parents remaining calm and optimistic throughout a child’s (very natural) journey with picky eating. Natalie explains how she has seen parents get worked up and anxious thinking their child has an eating disorder, and in turn the parents’ anxiety may be hindering a child’s appetite.  Natalie states: ”Feelings of fear and the need to control are significant. When the brain is in this heightened state of anxiety, adrenaline is released and this suppresses the appetite, making the child even less likely to eat.” When these feelings of fear are projected from parent to child, a child’s appetite can be suppressed even further.

Dr. Powell, Dr. Blissett, and Dr. Morris all assure parents with picky eaters that they are not alone, and that, despite their hardships with fussy eating, what they are experiencing is actually a very normal and natural phase for numerous children. They encourage parents to try as best they can to eliminate anxieties and simply “take each day as it comes.”

How Can I Find a Great Pediatric Dietitian Near Me?

A pediatric registered dietitian can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. Let us help you in your search to help your child! After thorough research and interviews, we match clients with the perfect fit for their needs, whether it is a registered dietitian pediatric specialist, a nutritionist, a coach, or something else entirely. We have a fantastic base of specialists, including, of course, professionals who work in clinical dietitian pediatric nutrition! Check out our website to view our many professional specialists, or email or call us to chat about connecting you to someone who can help change your and your child’s life for the better.

 

7 Actions That Will Scare Off Your Nanny

I’ve worked as a nanny, worked with families, hired a nanny myself and monitored nannies so I’m very familiar with the conflicts and issues that can arise when someone else comes into your home and plays such an integral role in care-giving.

It’s not easy as parents to hand over control and it’s not easy as a nanny to completely meld into your family. I often blog about red flags when hiring nannies and ways to help train and properly communicate, but sometimes it’s good to look at your own actions and what you may be doing as a parent that sends red flags up to your nanny.

We all know it’s good for our children to have consistency, so if you are constantly finding yourself with nannies who quit or seem unhappy, it’s a good idea to make sure you are doing everything in your power to give your nanny a reason to stay.

Here are some parent actions that drive nannies off:

  1. Unrealistic expectations. It’s fine to have a schedule and outline what you want your nanny to do with your kids when it comes to enriching activities, healthy eating and a bedtime. It’s not OK, however, to expect that the schedule never need to be adjusted.
  2. Failure to communicate. So many times I talk to parents who have grown annoyed with their nannies and started to resent them, but they have never communicated with their nannies about the behaviors that bothered them. For example, if your nanny does little things like leave the kitchen messy after mealtime or load the dishwasher a certain way you don’t like you have to communicate this. These are small things that can be fixed but if you let them build up and start resenting her without communicating what you want and how you want it, it’s a recipe for disaster.
  3. Changing the plan. Continually making last minute changes or always coming home later than you say you will are two really easy ways to drive your nanny off. Try to set out a consistent schedule at least a week in advance and always apologize and ask – not assume – if your nanny can handle last minute changes.
  4. Never letting your nanny be “off the clock.” I know a lot of people keep weird hours and sometimes think about things they want to tell their nannies at all hours of the night. It’s best to establish a set time when you communicate with her, however. A nanny shouldn’t feel like she has to respond to your calls and texts all night and weekend long in her time off.
  5. Money issues. Not paying your nanny in a timely manner is also hugely off-putting. Other smaller things, though, you may not think about. For example, you may tell your nanny that you will reimburse her for expenses like cab fare and things like getting your kids a snack at the park. It’s really best to leave cash for her ahead of time, though, because those expenses can rack up. Nannies who are continually shelling out their own money on your kids will get resentful very quickly. It’s also uncomfortable for a nanny to have to remind you to pay her.
  6. Bad-mouthing your nanny to your friends. This can – and will – often get back to your nanny. Be careful how you speak about your nanny when she’s around and when she’s not. Also be careful when your kids are around because they will pick up on things that could get back to her. If you have an issue, you should address it with her face to face.
  7. Undermining your nanny in front of your children. There might be times when you walk into a situation and want to save the day, but if you go against what your nanny has already told your children prior to your arrival, you are completely stripping her of all her authority.

It can be really difficult to recognize behaviors in ourselves and it’s always easier to throw blame on someone you are paying to look after your children, but like in all relationships when conflict arises, it’s good to look at your own actions first.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page.

What Is Nanny Monitoring? How I Became A “Nanny Spy”

To understand how LW Wellness Network came to be, it’s important to also understand my background as a Nanny Spy. You might be wondering what Nanny Monitoring is, and why it’s such an integral part of what we do here as a family concierge service, so let me give you a little background.

I worked as a nanny for many years before becoming a mom myself and hiring nannies of my own so I definitely understand the business from both sides. My first Nanny Spy job came to me quite naturally, before I even realized this was such an important service that many parents were looking for and need.

After seeing one particular nanny always come to the same park with the child she was looking after and consistently neglect him to the point where I felt it was getting dangerous, I asked around and was able to contact the mother. She was so grateful to me and this idea that I would “spy on nannies” kind of sprang from there.

My first actual assignment as a nanny spy was, as you can imagine, a very nerve-racking — and yes very exciting — experience!!!

The client had hired me for eight hours to follow their nanny and report back on exactly where the nanny was and what she was doing with the child during the day. It might sound a little odd, but these parents had grown suspicious of the woman looking after their 3-year-old son and they felt they could get peace of mind if I was able to bring them back some hard evidence and facts.

They were obviously hoping I would report back that the day had gone smoothly and their son was in capable, loving care the entire time, but in the event that this wasn’t the case, they wanted that knowledge so they could immediately fix the situation.

In this particular case, nothing too alarming happened. I did witness the nanny flirting with guys; the child was definitely not her main focus. I saw her talk to a strange man at Central Park, which I definitely thought was a red flag.

The most disturbing part, though, was that I was able to witness her bad mouthing the family to other people. She said that the parents were never home and that kid was super hyper and required a lot of attention.

All of this I reported back to the family. While I didn’t feel the child was in grave danger, I did recommend that they sit down and talk with the nanny, as it seemed like the relationship had been damaged and was no longer productive for them all.

As the years went by, I spied on hundreds of nannies and wrote countless reports for parents and it became clear to me that what I was doing was protecting the innocent children from being emotionally/physically abused or neglected by their child care providers.

My passion and mission in life is to prevent mental illness and promote wellness in families. The Nanny Spy service is not about “spying on” or “ratting out” your nannies. It’s really about giving peace of mind to parents, documenting red flags, and stepping in if the situation is at all dangerous for the child.

Many of the nannies I observe are incredible, loving, giving nannies and they help protect children and do their best to create a healthy, well-balanced environment. However, the few who I find are not doing their jobs and either neglect or abuse the child, or they are not mentally or physically well for the job, help reinforce the importance of what I’m doing.

LW Wellness Network is a family concierge agency dedicated to bringing vital resources to parents as they raise their children. We’re all about collaborative care giving and open communication when it comes to parents and nannies.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, contact us today!

Stress-Free Parenting Part 4: Taking Control Of Bedtime

For many of you, this might make a lot of sense. For others, like my client Joana, bedtime is the most stressful time of the day for her and her family.

When I walked into Joana’s apt, she welcomed me with a big hug and said, “I hope that you can help me with putting my kids to sleep… last night I was screaming so loud both my kids and my next door neighbors must have thought I lost my mind…”

Joana has a daughter who is 6 and an older son who is 10. After talking to Johanna for 15 minutes, it was obvious that the stress she experienced at bedtime wasn’t just about her kids.

I knew that while she wasn’t looking for therapy, she needed some guidance and coaching not just with putting her kids to sleep.

I was honest with Johana and told her that since she asked for help with putting her kids to sleep, I would start with helping her in that area, but I also suggested we work on helping her deal with other stresses. 

As a first step I told Joana she needed to understand the following:

  1. She is 100% responsible for her emotions.
  2. She has the ability to control her thoughts. 

She, as many of my clients, looked at me like I was an alien, which I expected. But when I told her with confidence that thousands of my clients thought the same and changed their mind, she was open to the idea that maybe there is hope for her.

The following are the four tips that I gave her regarding reducing stress at bedtime. Since Joana was a pessimist by nature, I suggested  she recite to herself (and to me) that it is possible to have a less stressful bedtime routine.

When she first did it, she felt ridiculous and convinced me that it could never happen — but after reciting it three or four times she started laughing and I could see she was changing her mind. She also asked me if I was willing to come one night to observe her while she’s putting her kids to sleep and I agreed. I gave her the following as homework to practice before our following meeting and she promised to document her progress.

  1. Create a bedtime routine that kids will follow every night.
  2. No electronics after 7pm
  3. No sugar after 6:30 (for more about foods to avoid before bedtime, click here)
  4. Play slow music or sounds to create a relaxing environment. Some parents prefer books on tape, which is also a good alternative.

Joana worked on these four steps consistently and started making progress. Once she realized there were concrete things she could do about relieving stress surrounding bedtime, she stopped fearing it so much.

There Is A Genetic Component To ADHD And There Are Things You Can Do About It

With so many children (and adults) affected by ADHD today, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject. As parents, we always want to know if there’s something we could be doing to help with both the symptoms and the causes. This leads to the basic question of whether ADHD is genetic?

The short answer is yes. Something called the human genome project actually mapped out people’s genetic makeups and found a connection between mutations of the MTHFR gene and ADHD. This has led me to do a lot more research on the MTHFR gene and see what can be done once we are aware of this condition – whether it’s in ourselves or in our kids.

First of all, MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It’s basically an enzyme that helps break down the folate in our diets into a more useable form. Once in its usable form (5-MTHF), this enzyme is responsible for doing a lot of the basic things that keep our bodies going: cellular functions, synthesis of DNA, production of platelets and red and white blood cells, etc.

Basically, if the MTHFR gene is functioning properly, your body is eliminating toxins and heavy metals from the body. But, if you have a mutation on the gene – some defect – it can lead to everything from headaches and acne to depression and addiction. I found a great blog that breaks down the process in more detail if you are interested in all of the science behind it.

If you think you might have this mutation or want to check for it in your kids, you can order a simple blood test. Now, some will say what’s the point of knowing? Well, there are actually some things you can do about it. While you can’t repair the gene itself, there are ways to treat some of the symptoms.

Diet – and we often hear about this in conjunction with kids’ behavior and ADHD – can play a very important role. Foods containing folate (think leafy greens) become even more important for people with this mutation. Avoiding supplements and processed foods that contain folic acid is also very important.

A lot of this can seem overwhelming at first, but in truth, much of the population suffers from this genetic mutation to some degree. Some research suggests up to 40% of humans have MTHFR gene variations of some kind. The level to which the gene is mutated can vary greatly. Also, if you know you have this mutation, speaking to your doctor while you are pregnant can decrease the risk for your baby.

Overall, I think awareness is key. Talking to your doctor about things like diet and supplements and understanding that there is in fact a genetic component to some of the health and mental issues we face as both kids and adults can go a long way in helping us to avoid self-blame and get the help we need.

Check out our website to view our many professional specialists, or email or call us to chat about connecting you to someone who can help change your and your child’s life for the better.

Parenting Tools: Love and Logic And Counting To Three

,

I’ve talked briefly about Love and Logic parenting because I think it’s a great philosophy, and I’ve seen it work. I want to equip parents with as many tools as possible, because as we know, being a mom and dad does not come with a guide. There is a great book that I highly recommend called 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W Phelan.

The book talks about practical strategies to help give your kids choices and also set appropriate boundaries – without yelling. I think one thing most parents say before they have kids is that they don’t want to be the type of parent who is always screaming at their kids. But, as we all know, once you become a parent and you are faced with the day-to-day stress and the task of teaching your child responsibility, it is so easy to resort to yelling. The thing is, though, that only creates more stress and hinders our children, who don’t respond well to anger.

The idea of Love and Logic parenting is to be very clear with your kids about their choices and the consequences. Make your rules make sense to them. The key here is that you have to follow through. Empty threats are the worse because they teach your children nothing and make you upset and angry. Instead, tell your children what you expect, why you expect it and what will happen if those things aren’t done. Then, simply follow through with a consequence that makes sense.

For example, we were having trouble getting my youngest child to brush her teeth before going to bed. At some point, it needs to become the child’s responsibility. So, one day, I decided to stop the nighttime struggle and presented her with this scenario. I said, “They are your teeth and therefore it is your responsibility to brush them. I’m not going to do it for you. However, as a parent, I have to protect you from getting cavities. That’s part of my job to keep you healthy. So, if you don’t brush your teeth then you won’t be able to eat any of the sugary treats or candy that you like because that is what is most likely to cause cavities.”

This blog talks more about Love and Logic parenting as well as using the “1-2-3 strategy.” The idea with counting is that you are giving your child a formal warning and time to focus on what the consequence will be for a certain behavior. After three, you need to take action and follow through with a consequence.

What other strategies do you use that you’ve seen are effective? I’d love to hear your feedback!

Transitioning: Your Kids Are Getting Older And You Don’t Need Your Nanny For As Many Hours…Now What?

,

This is a struggle many parents, including me, have struggled with. I’ve talked to numerous friends with the same problem: What should we do now that we don’t need our nanny full-time? If you really love your nanny and your kids are used to her, but you don’t need her all the time because your kids are in school, how do you keep her around while scaling back her hours?

Many people have asked if it’s okay to ask their nannies to replace their housekeepers, and instead of watching the kids full-time, replace those hours with some light housework/errands. To answer that question, let me tell you a little bit about my own experience…

When my little one got into pre- school and I didn’t need my nanny full-time, I made the mistake of helping her find another part-time job. Of course it was very kind of me to do that, and it helped both of us. It saved me money and I was able to keep my nanny. However, I also asked my nanny to walk our dog who was old and without asking her, she also cleaned up after the dog who wasn’t able to hold her urine/poop. She did it all with love and care. And, then, she approached me one day and said that she was willing to clean for us but she didn’t want to babysit anymore.

As it turned out, my friend who I shared her with gave her name to her neighbor who was looking for someone to clean and offered her $20 hour. I was paying her $17 at the time.

Why am I writing this? I think that in hindsight I should’ve had the conversation with my nanny and asked her how she felt about doing other responsibilities instead of watching my kids. She needed the money, so she agreed to do whatever I asked even though it wasn’t what she really wanted to do. Then, when she had an opportunity to work with a different family who offered her more money she immediately took that opportunity, ultimately leaving me without someone to watch my kids part-time, which was what I was afraid of losing in the first place.

Last week, I met with a client who was very frustrated because her nanny got really angry with her. When I asked what happened, my client Susie said that when she no longer needed her nanny for 50 hours a week, Susie asked her how much money she needed in order to keep her job. The nanny told her she needed 30 hours a week, and Susie agreed that would work. In addition, Susie asked her to do some more light housekeeping and also clean after the cats and keep up with the cat litter. While her nanny agreed to do it, she quickly became very resentful and wasn’t really doing a good job with the cleaning and was not respectful to Susie.

When Susi confronted her nanny and asked her why she wasn’t really cleaning, her nanny got angry and asked to leave. The next day her nanny came and left a note saying she wasn’t coming back to work. Luckily Susie came home early that day because the nanny had left at 12 PM and her two girls had to be picked up at 2:30 PM. Susie was most devastated because her nanny left after four years without saying goodbye to the kids.

So here are my takeaways from these stories. In my opinion, when and if you need to cut your nanny’s hours then you need to have a serious conversation with her and figure out if that works best for both your family and her. If this is not the case, then as hard as it is to see someone you care about go and as challenging as it can be to acclimate to a new person, you have to make the decision that it is time to find a different kind of nanny who doesn’t rely on a full-time job with benefits. Another important thing to consider is that the person you had caring for your kids when they were babies and toddlers might not be the nanny who your kids need now or the nanny who suits your family as they get older.

It is therefore very important to think about what your family needs and what your nanny needs and wants. If you cannot pay your nanny full-time, sometimes it is better not to come up with different responsibilities for her to do that she might not like to do or might feel are not what she originally signed on for. A better option might be to share your nanny with another family and supplement hours that way, always being mindful that when you open it up to other families, it can become easy for your nanny to just pick the best pay/job responsibilities. Another option is to increase her pay while you are transitioning and help her find a different job. Ultimately, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself and with your nanny from the outset and keep the lines of communication open. If your nanny feels like one day she will no longer be needed or one day she will be a full-time housekeeper when what she wanted was to look after children, she’ll most likely turn to looking for other jobs or become resentful of the relationship that was once so healthy.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.

Here’s How Letting Go Of Guilt Will Make You Happier

As moms, we often feel guilty about one thing or another.

When I wanted to continue my education after having my first child, I felt guilty for leaving my kids at home with a nanny. When I started working, I felt guilty for not spending enough time with my three girls. When my 11-month-old fell and had a concussion while my nanny decided to watch TV in our bedroom, I blamed myself for being selfish and putting myself first before my children.

When we ordered in food for dinner when I felt exhausted and depressed because taking care of three kids is extremely exhausting (and yes rewarding too…) I blamed myself for being a bad mom who couldn’t even make dinner for her family. I even went on to tell myself, “What would my mom think of that?” and I came up with a whole story in my head of how horrible I was because I wasn’t a full-time stay at home mom.

There are many reasons why I thought the topic of mom’s guilt and self-blame is a good topic for Mother’s Day. After I met with a mom client who was depressed and heard what she had to say about being a mom, I was convinced that this was the perfect topic to write about.

Silvia is a mom of two boys whose dream is to be able to return to work as an interior decorator. She did that for 10 years prior to having her first child, and she tried working on a few projects after having kids but her boys and her husband weren’t happy that she wasn’t home. Her guilt and self-hatred for leaving her boys with a nanny made her decide that she would not work until her boys were older. When I asked Silvia how she felt about being a stay at home mom she said, “I feel like the days just go by and I am not doing anything meaningful. All my friends work and have careers and I am one of the only 40 years old I know that does nothing. I feel like I am nothing.”
I was very sad to hear Silvia telling herself all these negative things about being a mom. I explained to Silvia how her negative talk affects how she feels and why she behaves in ways that she wants to change (sleeping a lot, bingeing and not engaging with her boys and husband).

I asked Silvia what she wanted to do and she was certain that she wanted to stay home with her boys, ages 3 and 6, for at least two more years before she was going to go back to work.I also asked Silvia to tell herself that and be secure with how she says it to herself and others.

Silvia said, “I am a proud stay at home mom and the CEO of the Klien Family.” We both laughed and Silvia’s homework for the week was to pay attention to what she was telling herself and write it down. Guilt and self-blame are very popular with moms, and once you let go of them, you enjoy motherhood a lot more.

I found a great article that talks about dealing with the guilt we have as mothers and actually paints guilt in a positive light. We can use our guilt to channel it into making changes and actually get us to do something about the feelings tugging on our conscience. However, as the article goes on to say, most of us use our guilt in negative ways and allow it to take over our lives.

I think the most important thing is that moms understand they are in control of what they are telling themselves. Guilt and blame result from moms telling themselves all kinds of stories. Even if the stories are right, we can use the feelings of guilt and self-blame as a motivator to help us change the story.

I’ve found it is SO important for moms to use each other as a support system. Talking about your feelings of guilt surrounding motherhood helps you to realize you aren’t alone. Comparing yourself to other women, on the other hand, will just breed those negative feelings. I’d love to hear about the kind of guilt you often feel as a mom! We can use my Facebook page or the comments section here to start the conversation!

Here are just a few things I hear moms blame themselves for:

Being tired

Needing “me” time

Not being able to be two places at once

Having to work

Not being able to always spend equal time with each child

Not being as “fun” as other moms

Forgetting things — it happens

Letting someone else handle the meals

Getting frustrated

LW Wellness Network provides emotional and mental help for those who are struggling from stress or depressions, don’t hesitate to ask. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Preventing Obesity In Our Children With Mindfulness

As an eating disorder specialist, and someone who battled an eating disorder for many years myself, this is a topic very close to my heart. Food has become such an obsession in our culture – and body image issues, as a result.

We all know that obesity in children is a growing epidemic in our country. However, eating disorders are also a huge problem, so as parents, it’s hard to know how to deal with the issue of eating when it comes to your children and their health.

An interesting study was published earlier this year in the journal Heliyon that found a connection between impulsive thoughts in children’s brains and how much they ate. For the study, scientists at the University of Vanderbilt looked at the brains of 38 children between the ages of 8 and 13. From MRIs, the researchers were able to establish a connection between physiological reactions in the brain and food behaviors. Then they established connections between BMI and the kids’ eating behaviors (they used this questionnaire).

The results aren’t shocking. We know eating disorders aren’t just a mental thing – they are a physical thing. However, the researchers concluded that teaching children mindfulness could go a long way in helping prevent obesity. If we recognize the connection between children’s impulsive behaviors and eating habits, teaching them mindful techniques, to really focus on what it is they are putting into their mouths, could decrease their eating.

Dr. Cowan, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said,”We think mindfulness could recalibrate the imbalance in the brain connections associated with childhood obesity.” He went on to say that while mindfulness hasn’t shown much of an effect on adults and eating behavior, perhaps testing the connection in kids could be more beneficial.

Teaching our children mindfulness – being aware, staying in the moment and focusing on tasks at hand – is a skill that will benefit them in more ways than one.

If you would like me to connect you with one of our expert therapists, contact me or book an appointment with me. I look forward to hearing from you

\

\

Is Your Nanny Emotionally Fit For The Job?

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a nanny/ housekeeper to help me for two days a week.

I met a friend who is a psychologist and I asked if she was happy with her nanny. She said she was happy with her, but the nanny was looking for more hours and she only needed her for three days. I asked if she wanted to share her nanny and she said she thought that was a great idea.

She added as a side note that her nanny was a little sensitive but otherwise wonderful.

I met with her nanny and was very impressed. She seemed kind and warm and had a great resume and strong references. I ran a background check and also conducted an online search. I met her husband who worked at a local Jewish school. I even called the school to ask about him to make sure he was a good person (might sound crazy but after having a nanny who had an alcoholic boyfriend who was following her I learned to be very thorough).

Overall, I was very happy with the nanny. I’ll call her Vivian. She was smart, well-spoken, kind and loved my girls. Since I have worked as a nanny and with nannies and families for over 20 years, I knew how important it was to have a trial period. It can be two weeks or one month.

For me, it was four weeks.

My 6-year-old was always so happy and excited to see her. My older two, ages 9 and 12, liked her but they are very independent and need less of her attention.

A week after Vivian started she started telling me how unhappy she is with her other job. She knew that her other boss was also my friend and now she was putting me in an uncomfortable situation.

She started saying things like, “The older boy is a bully. He throws things at me and treats me badly. I can’t do this job anymore. I love the younger sister and the parents, but he is just horrible. He has some problems… And he takes medication but it’s too much for me…”

That day, I had to run to work and couldn’t talk, nor did I want to talk to her about my friend’s son and his behavior. And then… Out of nowhere, she started crying. It was 3:30 pm, and I had an appointment at 4. I told Vivian that she should talk to the parents about it and have them talk to their son. Vivian then told me that she was looking for another job and asked that I don’t tell my friend.

I couldn’t believe that she actually asked that. But then I realized that it might have been a cultural thing as Vivian moved here from the Philippines a year ago and she might not have been aware of how important communication and giving families notice is. I encouraged her to tell the parents how she felt because if she wasn’t happy, it wasn’t a good situation for everyone involved.

Vivian said she would tell the parents that she was looking for a job and in fact had an offer pending.

I called my friend and told her about the situation. She then told me that indeed her son  hates her and hates everything she makes him to eat. I didn’t want to get involved or get in the middle of it but I somehow got sucked into a very challenging situation.

Is this nanny emotionally fit to be a nanny? To take care of my girls? Any kids?

She was excellent in organizing and cleaning, which is mainly what I needed her for. She was a very pleasant person and very kind. But, when a nanny starts crying on a job and starts talking about another family that way and speaks in such an immature manner, there is no way she is fit to be a full-time nanny. Now,

Now, personally, I had no problem with Vivian. She was very good. But her judgment and sensitivity made me feel uncomfortable, and I told her that while she was excellent in many ways, she wasn’t the nanny that I was looking for. In fact, I told her that I thought that being a nanny wasn’t something that fit her. I said it in a kind yet serious way and I tried to explain the rationale behind what I was saying.

She said she also thought that it was too much for her and that’s why she decided to take the other job taking care of an older woman with Alzheimers.

If you’re interested in more information about our services as they relate to your nanny, check out our nanny consulting page or contact us today.

iStock