“From the time he was young, he dressed the way you told him to dress; he acted the way you told him to act; he said the things you told him to say. He’s been listening to somebody else tell him what to do… He hasn’t changed. He is still listening to somebody else tell him what to do. The problem is, it isn’t you anymore. It’s his peers.” ~Barbara Coloroso

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~Frederick Douglass

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~Joan Didion

“Whether or not you have children yourself, you are a parent to the next generation. If we can only stop thinking of children as individual property and think of them as the next generation, then we can realize we all have a role to play.” ~Charlotte Davis Kasl

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” ~Jacob Bronowski

It’s that time of year again—either the dreading it or the can’t wait time of year when the kids head back to school.

Back to school

They are another year older and either entering kindergarten, or starting grade one, or middle school, or high school, or maybe college. Or perhaps even university in another city.

In any case, they are embarking on another year of learning and expanding their horizons.

How can we as parents or caregivers support them in having a great year? I feel we can do this best by loving them from the inside out.

Here are a few ways you can start to do just that and give them the best fighting chance at having a successful year.

1. Toss the garbage out of their diets.

The reality is simple, really. If we put garbage food and beverages into our bodies then the only thing our bodies are going to be able to give us back is garbage. This also goes for our children. If you want them to thrive then give them foods to thrive on and get rid of the foods that drain their energy, make them hyper, cloud their brains, deplete their immune system, and starve them nutritionally.

How do you know what is garbage and what is not? Start here: whole foods (meaning foods in their original form, not processed or manufactured) are always best.

I have included an excellent resource below that can help teach you what you need know and how to get started.

http://drhyman.com/blog/2012/11/20/raising-healthy-eaters-part-i/

2. Take the chain off their ankles.

Children need parents for many things: giving guidance, setting good examples, providing moral values, and giving them the basics of life. However, children don’t need parents to weigh them down from achieving the full expression of themselves through criticism, judgment, conditional love, and dealing with the parent’s own unhealed wounds.

If you are unable to love your children unconditionally and give them the appreciation they crave, the affection they need, the attention they deserve, the allowance to be themselves, and the acceptance of who they are and are not, then it is time to break the chain and heal your own wounds so you can love them completely.

3. Use positive reinforcement to motivate.

Nothing builds self-esteem faster in kids than being told they have done something well or right. Even when they fail, giving them loving encouragement and support will motivate them to try again. A strong sense of self and self-esteem is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. This strength will carry them through life and the many challenges they will face.

4. Let them be imperfect.

Children need to make mistakes. That is how they learn. As parents we want to protect them from ever making a mistake so we tend to over-control their lives. Of course there are times where we do need to be “the parent.” There are, however, just as many times where we do need to let them be themselves and make their own decisions.

Just be ready to catch them when they fall and love them unconditionally without blame or judgment. Help them to recognize and learn their lessons.

5. Teach them the art of relaxation.

In today’s world, children are feeling just as much stress and pressure as adults. We need to teach them how to relax in a healthy and productive way, a way that actually allows them to unwind, unplug and turn off. Show them by example how time away from technology can actually help them to unwind and rejuvenate.

Practice this as a family and see how much happier everyone will be.

6. Sleep, sleep, and more sleep.

Children need sleep! They need if for their growth, their mental health and their immune system.

Get the phones, computers and TV’s out their bedrooms and make sleep time a priority. It is just as important as what they put into their mouths. A sleep-deprived child will not learn, and will make bad food choices.

Again, teach them by example. Because guess what? Parents need sleep too!

One of the most challenging meals to get into children is a healthy breakfast-a breakfast that is going to give them the nutrients they need without all of the added sugars and preservatives.

Rather than give you just one recipe I have included a resource with multiple breakfast recipes to try.

http://drhyman.com/blog/category/recipes/breakfast-recipes/

Enjoy!

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