Advent Therapy: Thumbs Up for Veggies

The New Year is upon us and healthy eating is suddenly on our minds.  Parents everywhere are looking to rid the house of the last bits of Christmas cookies, candy canes, and gingerbread house fragments.  It’s time to put away the holiday comfort foods and exchange them for some healthier family fare.  But there’s just one problem….the kids.  If your kids are anything like mine, nutritious foods (specifically vegetables) are not often on their top ten lists.   Some days they gobble up their greens without question, but many days the vegetables on their plates get ignored, at best.

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

 

We’re going to take a little break from our regularly scheduled programming and talk about something that is near and dear to my heart: being a blessing to those around us who may be in need.  And as a healthcare professional, this is a situation I encounter with regularity.  As a parent, I want to teach my children the importance of caring for those around them, whether physically, emotionally, or socially.  I imagine you do too.  But the path to achieving this goal can be vague.  I have seen this question come up on the Facebook groups I am a part of several times already in the past week or two.   “How can I teach my child to give back this holiday season?”.  It’s a great question.  And while the answer can be complicated, I do believe that it is also much more attainable than we make it.

Here’s a list of 5 ways we can bring the spirit of giving into our homes and hearts this holiday season:

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

Having a baby comes with all sorts of unfamiliar (and often overwhelming) territory.  Sleep schedules, diaper changes, feedings, and more.  But in both my personal and professional experience, there is one milestone that seems to leave the vast majority of parents feeling uncertain and often even confused.  I’m talking about feeding your baby, specifically starting them on solids.  (Yes, breastfeeding and bottle feeding have their own set of challenges, but I’ll save that for another post).

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

From the essentials, such as a carseat or stroller, to the non-essentials (although many may disagree with that classification) like swings, bouncy seats, jumperoos, and more, most parents have plenty of options when it comes to finding a place to put a baby down.  But did you know that there is one place for your baby that trumps all the rest in terms of promoting baby’s development, coordination, vision, and more?  Yes, it’s true!  And it’s free and almost always available.  If you guessed the floor, you are correct!

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

It’s mealtime with your 9 month old baby and it’s spaghetti night.  You cut the noodles into small bites, put them in a bowl, and top them with some sauce.  You sit down with a spoon and start feeding your baby.  But she is having none of it.  She just keeps grabbing at the spoon.  And when she does get her chubby little hands on it, she won’t let go.  Spaghetti is starting to fly.  If this isn’t bad enough, she begins smearing the bits of stray spaghetti all around on her tray and then…her face.  Balled up fists move in the general direction of her mouth, but much of the time they miss their target.  You are beginning to regret adding so much sauce to the bowl.  While on one hand you can appreciate the cuteness of the moment, you are also desperately hoping to regain control (and cleanliness).  Taking a deep breath, you wipe off her face and her tray and start again.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone.  And if the parent’s actions described above sound reasonable to you, you are also not alone.  Before our time is up today, I hope to convince you that there is a better way to managing mealtimes with your littles.  And that the better way is really quite simple:

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

If you’ve been in our waiting room recently, you’ve probably noticed our bulletin board about screen time guidelines for kids.  And if you’ve been in one of our therapy sessions lately, you’ve likely heard one of your therapists talk about this same issue.  It’s something that comes up a lot here at Advent.  Why?  Because we are convinced that it matters.  And we are convinced that there are very real risks to overuse of screen time, especially in very young children.  Stay with me here.  I am not out to add to your parenting challenges.  Trust me.  I am a parent too.  But I am here to call out the cultural norm and help us navigate a media-heavy society responsibly (and equip our children to do the same).  So let’s start with the obvious question:

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

Here at Advent, we are big believers in the power of family meals.  We know schedules get messy, and family members all like different foods.  And we won’t deny that it can just be flat out hard to coordinate everyone sitting down at the same time.  But we absolutely believe it is worth all the effort.  We aren’t just saying it because it sounds nice, or to make parents feel guilty.  We are saying it because there is actual hard evidence that shows the undeniable value of family meal time.  Regular family meals can enhance a child’s vocabulary (even more than reading books!).  They can also decrease a child’s risk for obesity and lead to higher fruit and vegetable intake.  And my personal favorite on the list: a better parent-child relationship.  Because who doesn’t want that?!?

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

Baby feeding is a highly debated topic these days. Should you use baby led weaning or feed purees?  Is it better to offer fruits or vegetables first?  And when should babies get their fist taste of solids?  But there’s another question that isn’t asked as often:  How many times should you offer your baby a food before deciding they don’t like it?  Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but research would beg to differ.

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Advent Therapy: Every One Unique

Every holiday season parents ask me, as their child’s therapist, to give gift recommendations for their child.  I struggle with this question because I truly believe there is only one answer: “Have a fun and relaxing day hugging, laughing, crying over the beautiful mess of family togetherness.”  As for specific toy recommendations, I will address that in another post; but today, I wanted to share my family’s Christmas story to help you understand my perspective.

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