Category Archives: Health

Are your Children Experiencing Outdoor Play

In today’s world, children are playing indoors a heck of a lot more than they are outdoors.  What are these kids doing?  I am sure most of you have experienced a three year old who can navigate themselves through the computer better than some adults.  How about those computer games?  I know some children as young as two years who can beat adults at some of these games.  Then there is the TV, well I can say there are some educational programs, but we must be curious about this.  Does TV really have a long lasting affect on our children, good or bad?

To get children outdoors, a popular thing to do these days are playgroups.  I find mine on Meetup.com.  In addition to these playgroups, they are playing organized sports.  Have you noticed in your family’s lifestyle or other families that today’s kids have such a tight schedule at an early age that they are being shuffled from this playgroup to the next, and then shuffled to their organized sports team as early as the age of three years!  Life is so full and “busy” that the kids are so called “calmed down” with a movie, TV show or video game, not only at home but on the road with iPads or cell phones.  Wow, just writing it is making me exhausted.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “enough is enough and I just want to relax!” Here is the thing, your child is being robbed of their own identity, being robbed of a sense of independence and self, and most of all, being robbed of real socialization and learning.  Take it from me, I had to learn that the hard way.  We all do our very best to raise our children as best we know how and help our children be the best they can be.

There is another way.  Let’s stop pushing our children so hard, they really need time to explore to find out who they are in this world. We found the best remedy, outdoor play.  Allow them to get in the dirt and mud and let’s cease on nagging them not to get dirty.  If it is raining, hey, that is the most opportune time to send them outside for play.  Stay out of their way parents!  Allow them discover for themselves, it is vital for their health and stability.  They have only been on this planet for a short amount of time.

You are probably saying to yourself, this is all good and fine and my children are extraordinary, head of the class at age 5 and the sports star at age 6 and at age of 2 and 3 my child knows how to spell and add and nearly read!  Great! And here are some of the things that happen without a child stopping and relaxing and enjoying their natural outdoor environment.  Lose sense of self, social skills are not present, they have violent tendencies or aggressive, they have no access to creativity which helps brain function and health, physically they are not strong and dark circles appear under their eyes, hard going time sleep, loss of motivation and the list goes on. No kidding.

There is something about being outdoors, exploring, climbing, digging, playing in the mud and collecting sticks and other cool things, touching bugs and all the sorts that really has a bearing.  This gives the child a sensation of touch, which brings them into self and the present where they know their place.  It is a feeling of stability and owning their domain.  There is something to be said by molding a mug pie, which connects to their brain in a way that creativity and learning is enhanced.  Sitting and watching a computer screen, even educational, does nothing of the sort.  With outdoor play, the child understands what the natural environment feels like and is able to see the beauty of it then take it in on an intellectual level.  Ever see your child outside observing that worm or the little ants walking on the sidewalk?  Observation keeps them focused and grounded by learning in this environment without the toxic frequencies hitting them as the electronics do (Television, Cell Phone, iPads, tablets, computers).  The large benefit of outdoor play is that it clears their mind of the clutter our world puts in with advertisements, movies, plastic toys, etc. Being outdoors in nature, there is no one to impress and nowhere to get to.  It is about living in the moment and a huge opportunity for creative play and curiosity.

Learning is not only with your head but physical too? Have you ever thought about that? Growing up, the only time I actually got good grades if I was interested in the subject, where I got to experience it in real life or witness for myself. Homework and group projects assisting me in my learning as I went to public school.  Why settle for just classroom learning, let’s give your child a boost with outdoor play.  Children can pick up things quickly, academically and socially. Without this kind of play, it comes to a point that they are just now memorizing.  There were many people who we have talked to that insist that being raised playing outdoors, it is easier for them to learn in school.  Why is this? Just by being outside and touching trees, digging and finding bugs under rocks and amongst trees, children learn easier.  You may say, “my child is doing extraordinary in his/her learning in pre-school and or kindergarten.”  Let’s not dismiss your child’s unique abilities and the learning they do with you and in school at a young age.

Here is something for all parents to think about.

When it is the child’s free will, through outdoor learning and play, they tend to learn and master their education.  Need some more evidence?  The Tots Cafe has interviewed Jodi Levine, Founder of Earthroots, which is an outdoor education and learning for children.  These kids are outdoors all day long in the woods or the beaches. They get to play in mud/sand and with sticks and in streams and observe tide pools.  They are being educated about their natural environment and the instructors are giving them the gift of song, play and story.  It is a kind respectful education where there is no need for discipline, just guidance.

You may be wondering, that sounds nice but what are the differences between these nature children to the children who mostly play indoors? This I invite you to ask yourself.  There are many stories of parents and children a like that nature playing has made tremendous impact.

Personal Story. My 4-year old son and I experienced Earthroots Forest Kindergarten class.  Before we took the class, we were having difficulty with going to bed early (7:30am), as he was consistently going to bed at 9-10pm and getting up at 8-9am, which affected him in many ways than one.  Brings us to our experience at Earthroots. How it works is one parent or guardian must be present at all times. This was new to me being a city slicker and all.

The day consisted of children socializing, the parents socializing too, the kids playing wherever they felt the need and the parents socializing, the kids and parents together singing in a circle, snack time with organic foods for all of us and eating on our blankets, more signing, kids activities which were outdoor running games and a bit of hiking. Followed by an activity and then the best part was quite time. Quite time was to give us a rest and to allow nature a chance to come in and be with us.  That was so needed.  The day was so exhausting for me and all I really did is sit on a blanket, eat outdoors, do a small hike and went exploring with my son as we collected some amazing looking sticks. Okay, that says something about me, but what about my son? The next day and the day after that and so on, he has now been consistent on sleep, falling asleep no later than 8:00pm. Huge improvement! Sleep has now been regular, his actions are now calm instead of tantrums or outbursts, and he seems to be a lot gentler.  There is nothing like the experience of outdoor play and learning.

Stories may inspire you, but if you like to really see results with you and your children, experience the outdoors is the way to go.

There is so much evidence out there toward the benefit of outdoor play, we as parents need to know this and give every possible thing to our children so they grow up healthy, abundant and secure adults. Playing outdoors is one of the most important activities.  Give them this opportunity of playing out in nature.

Written by Tina Hiatt, Director of Holistic Health & Fitness.  http://www.HolisticHealthFitness.net

Sleep is Vital

There is nothing more important than them getting the correct amount of sleep. I am talking about the child’s sleep cycle. Yes they have a sleep cycle.  The correct sleep cycle is asleep by 7-7:30pm and must get 10-12 hours sleep. Hey, I did not make this up, it is a real evidence.  Ever notice your child acting up or yawning about 7-7:30pm?  Well, they are tired.  Their days seem a lifetime compared to our days which seem to whiz right on by.

Sleep is actually the one most important things you can ever do for your child, yourself and your family. It influences their brain development, determines how they function socially, it will shift their mood to not so tolerable, it dampens their vitality, and it affects their adrenals if they are sleep deprived or even getting their 10-12 hours but going to sleep past 8pm.

If you are having a hard time getting your child to sleep by 8pm you are not alone.  That has been my biggest challenge as a parent.

Here are a few things I had to do to get my child to bed at least by 8:00pm consistently and we are still working on it.
1. Change our family lifestyle: We are now home every night by 4:00pm.  I decline a lot of fun stuff I can be doing but my child’s sleep is most important and so is mine.
2. Get the house dark by 5:30 even though it is bright as it can be outside.  Getting the house dark, having an early dinner and quite time before we read has been very helpful to the bedtime process.

3. Get him in bed at 6:30pm.  This part is taking some time.  Some nights we get him in bed by 7:00 and no later.  So far the reading time starts at 6:30 and by 7-7:30 hits he is yawning and now resting. He is not consistently asleep by 8:00pm. This does not happen every night but that has a lot to do with the rhythm of our child’s day and that’s another blog.

4. Play the imagination game. Heard from the Waldorf school that telling stories and having them imagine is very healthy for their development and it also calms the child.  So the last story is something we play, “the imagination game.”  We turn off all the lights because reading time ended.  This is how it works. It consists of him closing his eyes and laying on his back.  It starts off something like this…”Imagine you are sitting on the nice cool green grass looking over a quite still lake and once in a while a fish will jump out of the water and go down into the water with a quite splash…”  It is a really calming and soothing type of imaging that has no action, low tones, and highly meditative.  It works well for our family and he is usually tired enough to go straight to sleep.

These have been what we have done for our family and what a difference in my child!  It is much more social and talkative to other kids.  He is vibrant and the bags under his eyes has ceased.  He get his full 10-11 hours of sleep per night and wakes up bright and early enough to have a hardy breakfast and take his time getting ready for school.  His playtime has been the most creative I have ever seen him and he has improved immensely in school.

Life is not always perfect but one thing you can always do for your tot is get them to bed when their cycle says so.  There will be exceptions but keep them far and few between, especially on a school night, the teachers will thank you.

The Mom Escape

Where do we find our escape from the craziness of motherhood? How do we not give all ourselves to our child where it becomes unhealthy for us? I am on a quest to find these answers.

I am a mother who owned her own business, moved to England, had a baby and moved back to the US and stayed home with my child. When I arrived back to the US, I had sold my business, had no family near me and my friends at that time were all single with no children. It was one lonely and hard path for me. What I did have was a beautiful baby boy, whom I focused my attention. Then my son starts growing up and not so needy, but I am still giving my all to him. I was about to go nuts…what happened to that woman on the go and in love with life? That was my question to myself and still my question.

Now my son is in Nursery School and I have the mornings to do what I need, I use this time to conduct business, write blogs, film and “trying” to get back into the swing of entrepreneurship again.

Being in the inquiry of what is missing, some solutions came up. One is my workouts. Usually a ritual of working out has been in my life and now has disappeared. As humans, a workout is important for vitality. Getting that blood flowing will do anyone some good.

Another thing I am missing are my friends. Just finding the space to go out and be with the “women” is a healthy outlet. I find it important to be with your friends, it brings a mental health and community. As humans, we must have community.

To start with just those two things can make the world of difference. On this path of finding the healthy medium of Motherhood and sense of self is a journey. If anyone has their own journey of finding self, I would love to interview you. Please share as other Mother’s experience do matter and we all can learn from each other.

The Real Problem with Cell Phones, iPads and Laptops

Did you know that if you are holding your cell phone with one hand and holding your child in your arms or touching their hand, the radiation does travel through your body and directly impacts your child’s developing body?  We have to remember to have no babes in arms, when on the phone.  Yes, in this day and age we have to be mindful to protect our tots processed GMO filled food, tap water,  and something that many people don’t realize is harmful……Electromagnetic Pollution.  If parents did know the harm, then the hurried mom I saw in the crafts store would not have handed the cell phone to her 7 year old to handle the call.

There was a mom in one of my mommy groups that was asking about this topic, because her husband is a computer programmer and they have lots of electronics in their home. Her concern is that her spouse doesn’t believe all of the laptops, iPads, and computers are harmful to their toddler and young child. He wants concrete studies. I found it so interesting that someone whose business requires constant exposure to electronics and wifi, had no idea of the impact to the body on a cellular level and is even skeptical of the imposed effects.

Have you heard of Dr. George Carlo? Many years ago he was hired by the cell phone industry to study the health risks of cell phones. His findings were unfavorable to the industry, so a gag ordered was placed on him to keep quiet and his life was even threatened. While in hiding, he wrote a book called “Invisible Hazards of the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries About Brain Cancer And Genetic Damage”. In the book is incredible documentation of studies from his research along with thermography photos of the cell phone impact on an adult and a child. The radiation and electro-magnetic frequency is very intense on an adult and you can only imagine how much greater the EMF penetration is on a child, with their developing brain and body. Gratefully I attended a lecture of his about 6 years ago and heard him speak on his research and findings. He spoke of a woman who had developed a brain tumor and the location of the tumor was in the same exact area that her cell phone antenna was at her head when on the phone. The tumor even mimicked the shape of the antenna. It was brought to the attention of phone manufacturer and some news leaked, but not much was reported by the media. Another speaker at the same conference shared that the bombardment from cell phones, computers, hotspots and electronic environment in general can absolutely contribute to or heighten the symptoms of what people call ADHD and even autism.  Also, it lowers the immune system of adults and especially children.

Any pregnant woman can protect herself and unborn child by using a corded headset for the cell phone and landline (if cordless) or speaker phone. The phone should be kept a minimum of an adults arm length away from the body…the farther away the better, especially for iPhones. A tot should never play with the cell phone (‘airplane mode’ will heavily diminish the bombardment). Also, a tot should never touch a laptop, even with EMF blocking stickers/chips. The entire keyboard is right above the electronics and the area above the hard drive puts out the highest frequency. When your older child is on the laptop, make sure to set up a corded keyboard so the child is not touching the laptop or sitting close to it. The same goes for IPads amd Kindles unless they are on airplane mode. When the iPad is playing music or loading a webpage the bombardment is high. If you want to see the impact of your electronics and the hotspots in your home, consider purchasing a Trifield Meter. They start at about $160.00.

I am sure after reading this, you will be highly aware of the harmful impact of your tot playing with your iPhone or computer to play their games. Let’s share this awareness with others.  It’s time adults and children keep a safe distance from cell phones.

Child’s Physical Development

Most of us can appreciate that the way we raise our children which will determine the rest of their lives.  What I have observed as of late has challenged my confidence in parents (me included) as to the ways the little ones are being raised.

As an Exercise Kinesiologist I get to understand and appreciate how the body functions, what a healthy posture is and how the body looks. It is directly correlated to the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of us.  I am witnessing, in vast numbers, children who’s bodies are underdeveloped and in poor condition.

Children must have adequate exercise so the muscles can stabilize and strengthen the body so it has a chance for proper development to occur. Without enough exercise poor posture develops, emotional growth is stunted, mental imbalances manifest and connecting to self and life is diminished.

A child with poor posture can have tendencies to be overly unruly, learning difficulties, often sick and less able to perform physical activities. That is a very short list of the challenges that children face today when improper development of the musculoskeletal system exists.

With all the so called conveniences and toys of today like cars, TV, Video games, computers, remote controls of many descriptions, children do not really stand a chance of reaching their physical potential as societal behavior in general has learned how to be lazy.  This will eat them alive and by the time they are an adult. Aches and pains are more than likely will show up, emotional and mental unrest is inevitable and disease is on it’s way.  I bet we all know a few people like that?

It may sound a bit crazy to think that an out of shape body can make our lives so miserable.  It starts with the parents as always.  The children will learn and emulate the parents behavior.

About the Author: Wayne Daniels is a Holistic Health Practitioner with emphasis on Exercise Kinesiology. Located in Tustin, California. www.HolisticHealthFitness.net

Healthy Snacks

It is important for our children to get the most nutritious foods we can possibly find for their growth and development.  Some of you might already have your children begging for the snacks and sweets or even not eating their veggies. If you are one to not bring crazy snacks in your home, then perhaps your little one is seriously eating another jelly bean or bright colored Goldfish Crackers and you are feeling a passionate discussion will be occurring in the next moment. With health education and communication your child will understand why certain things aren’t worth consuming.

The Tot’s Cafe has a plethora of knowledge and health professionals to give you the best advice on child health.  We want you to know the impact of feeding your child the most common processed foods and unhealthy sugars.  There is much advice out there for us Mothers and our intention is to narrow it down for you.  In this blog we are not
going to get into detail with you as there will be plenty of information we will provide from different holistic health professionals that will benefit your child’s health.  Let’s keep our children away from the doctor’s office and keep them vibrant and happy.

Here are some simple, most common snacks to be concerned of that children are often seen consuming in the car or during play dates. We are sure a few others that will come to your mind that also belong on this list.

  • Goldfish crackers or any Cracker: AKA artificial color (known to contribute to hyperactivity, ADD) and gluten (can be constipating and cause digestive disorders).
  • Juices: Any carton-ed or boxed Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, etc.: AKA sugar, artificial color and some liquid that was once fruit juice and has since been processed and highly heated.  Now your child is just getting only sugar that is foreign to the body and now causing addictions and diseases.
  • Chicken Nuggets: AKA chicken scraps that have been irradiated and will simply never grow and considered a fossil in the present. To add they have been fried in unhealthy genetically modified oils with gluten in it which this “chicken nugget” is now considered dead with NO nutritional value.
  • Cookies: AKA sugar, gluten, chemical preservatives.
  • Cereal: AKA gluten and high fructose corn syrup, known to contain mercury. It is also made of non-organic corn, a crop that is mostly GMO (genetically modified organism, which is foreign matter to the body which alters DNA to make people more prone to sickness and disease).

In a nutshell, the above items are not going to grow a brain or build strong bones. They essentially add no value to the growth and development of our youth and the worst part is they contain a variety of chemical toxins.

You all must be saying, What!?

Here is the cold plain truth.  These items above are keeping your child from obtaining vibrant health, creativity and strong bodies and are causing diseases. No kidding.  Yes, it is a bit deceiving the way most packaged food are attractively labeled.  Unfortunately the toxins in the ingredients are not clearly spelled out, nor is the negative impact of consuming these foods spelled out for us.  If ingredients were clearly stated, the lines at the drive through wouldn’t be so long and the “Happy Meal” (now that’s an oxymoron) would no longer exist.   Cookies and candy are very addictive for children and as parents, we all know that.  Yet we give in and think these are a treat for our children and really we are numbing and dumb-ing them.  It is up to us parents to be extra cautious of anything in a package or a carton.

Healthy Alternatives:

  • Choose organic everything.
  • Make juices from organic apples or oranges by juicing these fruits yourself.
  • Provide easy to grab finger food fruit or veggie snacks, such as berries and sliced cucumbers.
  • Grab snacks and desserts from the “Raw Food” sections of your local Health Food Store and Whole Foods.
  • Skip the cardboard cereal and blend up a nutritious smoothie.

Your child will eat his veggies if that is what you enjoy. If your child isn’t eating his veggies, it’s because you aren’t, he is holding out for dessert or he knows there are boxes of cookies and crackers in the pantry or he was in the pantry before lunch.  Yes, it can been considered a sacrifice for some parents to not fill the cupboards with processed items, especially if they’ve been enjoyed for years. As you know, your child wants to eat what you eat. So, if you doubt the nutritional integrity of any product then it is best to not invite it into your pantry. You will be also doing yourself a favor by experiencing your own elevated health. Healthy, playful and food selective parents are what our children will continue to appreciate for the rest of their precious life.

Stay tuned for our upcoming children’s health blogs on:

  • Gluten
  • Processed Foods
  • Corn Syrup

Potty Training Done Easy

There are a few books on Potty Training and on The Tot’s Cafe’s ventures out meeting extraordinary mothers, we have found one Mother with an International perspective on potty training.  Her son is 2 and a half years of age and has been fully potty trained by 19 months and took only 5-days!  We were so impressed we had to get an exclusive interview with Anna.

Anna grew up in Poland as the average age for a child to be fully transitioned is from 1 to 2 years of age.  As you can see this is natural for Anna to have her son already going potty at such a young age.

Instead of the label “Potty Training,” Anna uses “Potty Transitioning” as that makes more sense as we are not per say training our children to do anything, they are giving us the signs that they are ready to transition out of the diapers and into undies.

Top Seven Secrets to Potty Transitioning by Anna:

  1. Start before one year of age by observing the signs on when the child wants to poo and set them on an infant toilet to get them familiar with the idea.
  2. Whenever you go to the bathroom, take them with you, let them see get curious about it.
  3. Mix cloth and eco-friendly disposable diapers from birth. Experience of wet cloth diaper will make them want to transition sooner.
  4. Allow your one-year old to run around without a diaper and make the potty available and in sight at all times.
  5. When they are aware of elimination and they already want to eliminate in a potty, start putting COTTON training pants on them.
  6. Eliminate the fear of potty training and think of it as the EASY  and NATURAL child transitioning.
  7. Initially let them eliminate in the potty. The toilet seat might seem a bit too overwhelming in the beginning.

During our interview with Anna, she did mention that it is not too late for those mothers who have toddlers who are still in diapers.

Anna’s Advice for Toddlers Still in Diapers:

  1. Take them with you to the toilet and allow them to sit on their potty too.
  2. Have them diaper free at home, watch the signs of them needing to go potty and show them their potty.
  3. Purchase Gerber’s Training Pants and have them wear those out as they will feel uncomfortable when they go wet.
  4. Never force or get upset when they do potty on the floor or in their training pants, just show them the the toilet and it is okay to go in there.
  5. Be patient with your tots as they have been use to diapers and has not had the distinction yet of diaper-free.
  6. Initially let them eliminate in the potty. The toilet seat might seem a bit too overwhelming in the beginning.

Have any questions for Anna please respond to this blog and Anna will answer your question within 24 hours by emailing your answer from Anna. In addition your question will be answered by video blog for other parents to learn from. We appreciate your questions to inspire other Mothers that there is hope for their child, eventually they all get out of diapers.

Check out the interview on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1bFhF6uExA

Early Elimination Books referred to you by Anna:
Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, written by Ingrid Bauer
The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative, written by Christine Gross-Loh