The time to act is NOW! We are slowly killing our children. Researchers have given us alarming statistics on the mental & emotional state of our children:
- 1 in 5 children have mental health issues
- 43% increase in ADHD in 15 years
- 37% increase in depression in the same time
- And an astounding 200% increase in suicide rate among children aged 10 – 14.
What are we doing wrong?
Children today are over whelmed and over stimulated with material items, but they are deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood.
- Emotionally available parents – one on one attention without distraction
- Clearly defined boundaries – house rules, curfews, consequences
- Responsibilities – cleaning, raking leaves, shoveling snow, caring for a pet, chores
- Adequate sleep – technology-free bedroom, regular sleep schedule, proper sleep hygiene
- Balanced Nutrition– reduce processed food and replace with healthy whole food to properly fuel the minds & bodies.
- Activity – they need to be outside playing with their peers, getting dirty, making friends, solving problems
- Free time – time to learn how to entertain themselves, develop a sense of self by learning what they like, don’t like, unstructured play
Children have been inundated with:
- Digitally distracted parents – 78% of children feel their parents are addicted to their cell phone (Statistics Canada 2017)
- Indulgent and permissive parents who let children do as they please, without consequence
- A sense of entitlement – getting what they want without have to earn it, work for it
- Immediate gratification – getting what they want when they want it (they have not learned patience)
- Endless stimulation – television, cell phone, tablet
- Structured time – sports teams, academic pressure keeps them busy
Can we do anything about this?
If we want our children to live happy, healthy lives and participate in socially productive futures, we need to make changes NOW!
Let them be bored.
When they are bored, they ignite the creative centers of their developing brains.
They learn to socialize, communicate within their own peer group.
They learn to solve problems and develop critical thinking based on the situations within their peer group.
Join a Community of Solution-Focused Parents who are actively learning new ways to help their children.
Lead by example. Be the person you want your child to become.
Strategies you can easily implement to make big changes.
- Set boundaries – I use the “You + Me = We” rule. (learn more)
- Learn to say NO – give them a balance of needs & wants.
- Limit junk food to once a week – provide healthy meals and snacks
- Outdoor activities – 1 hour per day; walking, running, sports, cycling, helping a neighbour, yard work
- Family dinner – every night supper should be eaten at the dinner table as a family unit. Everyone contributes to the meal; prep, cook, clean. Eating at the table (without technology) is a great time to connect, learn, share, communicate
- Family Game Night – set a side 1 evening each week to play as a family; board games, adventure hikes, scavenger hunts – it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it together.
- Basic Life Skills – teach them to cook, clean, do laundry, care for pets & plants, clean up after themselves
- Sleep Hygiene – create a regular routine that is followed nightly.
- No technology 1 hour before bed – allows the brain to slow down & prepare for sleep
- Bath, snack, pee, brush, bed – in the tech-free hour
- Read a book, Sudoku, crossword – (without tech) that will offer a sense of completion (prevents the brain from creating to-do lists while you are trying to sleep
- Instill accountability – when they make a mistake, guide them to owning the error and finding solutions to make it right.
- Patience – teach them to wait their turn
- Let them be bored – allow them to find safe ways to entertain themselves.
- Be available – Your children need you to be emotionally available (free from distractions) to help them problem solve, sort through an event or seek assistance
- Technology Bedroom – all devices should have their own place to recharge over night (away from bedrooms)
All devices gather in 1 place to recharge during meal times, family game night, conversations and most importantly – bed time.
Teach your children emotional regulation
Children need to know that they have emotions, and how to manage those emotions. If they are taught how to manage the small, daily feelings, they will be better equipped to cope with the big, strong emotions later on in life.
Teach your child to be kind, considerate and non-judgmental toward others. Instill a “random act of kindness” routine in your home and when you are out in the community. Teach them to greet others, introduce people, share, say PLEASE & THANK YOU, and apologize when needed. In short – model all of this, by being the person you want your children to become. They learn more from watching you than they ever will from listening to you.
Connect with your children
Hug them, love them, praise them, dance with them, run with them, play with them, explore, be curious with them. BE with them. They can’t BE with you because they don’t have the capacity, yet. But you can BE with them!!
Feelings of worth can only flourish in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open and rules are flexible.Virginia Satir
Change Your Life Today!!
Expect Miracles, Andrea