Nourished Minds is an online resource for individuals and families providing specialized family services, empowerment coaching, and self-help guides. Social worker Nikole Seals helps families manage and recover from challenging life events like a health crisis, mental health issues, addiction, and other common social issues.
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Getting kids to eat healthy during their first five years of life will help them to make good food choices in the future. The post Getting Kids to Eat Healthy appeared first on Nourished Minds.
I don’t want this to overwhelm you but the food choices you make for your children during their first five years of life will become the foundation for their future dietary habits. No pressure though.
You may not want to admit it but you have a powerful influence on your child’s palate and preferences. Children will eat what you eat and eat what you serve. On the flip side of this, children are less likely to eat the foods that you don’t like or expose them too. So if you don’t buy or cook fish in your home, it’s no coincidence that your children won’t eat fish.
When I work with parents to help them improve their child’s health, I always start by asking about the parent’s dietary habits because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We know for a fact that kids learn far more from watching the actions and behaviors of parents than they do from listening. So if you don’t eat healthy, you can’t expect your children too. And if you are picky and don’t like eating fish, or meat off the bone, or foods with weird textures, or anything green; you must realize that your child will pick up on these same limiting thoughts. Failure to expose your child to an assortment of healthy foods because of your own personal preferences can result in your child missing out on a variety of important nutrients.
So bottom line: if you can your kids to eat healthy…show them how. A healthy team needs a healthy leader. Improving health should be a family goal and as the team leader, you must begin to teach and show your child how to make good choices.
With summer fun comes the unfortunate potential of being stung by a bee or eaten alive by mosquitoes, fleas, and spiders. Learns ways to treat both bites and stings with natural remedies. The post Treat Bee Sting & Bug Bites Naturally appeared first on Nourished...
This natural remedy is for kids and adults. I happen to know some adults who have fairly serious phobias and reaction to stings (you know who you are) so this is really for everybody.
With summer fun comes the unfortunate potential of being stung by a bee or eaten alive by mosquitoes, fleas, and spiders. Apparently we are their summer BBQ. Prevention is really the key here. There are many great natural repellents on the market that can work as a barrier on your skin like Burts Bee. But if you do happen to get bit, here are a few tips to help you or your child recover and get back to the summer fun.
Try to get yourself or your child to calm down. With kids this can be difficult because they are hurt and scared (again, this may also apply to grown folks). You may need to apply an ice pack to numb the pain before treatment.
For stings, you should first remove the stinger. Do not try to pull it out with your fingers or tweezers. This will cause the release of venom and more pain. Instead, try scraping it out with something that has a hard edge, like a thumbnail or credit card. Or try putting a piece of tape over it and gently lift it out.
Clean the affected area (after you’ve removed the stinger or if have a bug bite) with warm water and soap. Then make a paste of baking soda mixed with a little water and apply it. This will help to draw out the venom. Another little trick I learned is that papaya, which contains papain, is excellent at taking the sting out of mosquito and other insect bites. Which is maybe why papaya is so plentiful in the summer time, no? Simply cut a slice and rub it on the affected area.
Aloe Vera and calendula are also great for soothing pain and irritation for both bites and stings. They are all natural and inexpensive so you can apply as needed.
I always carry aloe on me because you just never know when you’ll need it. And I wouldn’t be doing right by my Native American grandmother if I didn’t mention that eating garlic acts as a natural repellent. It keeps away bugs and people.
There are many natural and holistic methods to relieve the symptoms of asthma. For every conventional approach to treatment, there is a natural method that won’t promote a child’s dependence on medications. Parents should seek consultation with practitioners that practice integrative medicine—use of both conventional and holistic treatments. The post Natural Ways to Reduce Asthma in Children appeared first on Nourished...
What You Need To Know About Asthma:
There are many natural and holistic methods to relieve the symptoms of asthma. For every conventional approach to treatment, there is a natural method that won’t promote a child’s dependence on medications. Parents should seek consultation with practitioners that practice integrative medicine—use of both conventional and holistic treatments.
First, “what not to do”. Asthma is often triggered by an allergen, stress, cold dry air or upper respiratory infections. So the best way to prevent attacks is to avoid exposure to allergens, especially food-based allergens. Some of the most common are dairy, nuts, wheat, seafood and artificial food coloring/additives. Take notice if your child seems to have attacks after eating certain foods. Children can have mild reactions to foods called “food sensitivities” and these sensitivities can easily go unnoticed. Also, read food labels and try to avoid buying any products with dyes, preservatives, or chemical additives. The rule of thumb is if it sounds like it was made in a lab—avoid it.
Prevention or reduction of attacks can be as simple as increasing your child’s nutrient intake. Vitamins won’t be helpful to your child in the midst of an asthma attack so you should always seek emergency medical intervention during an acute episode. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help to regulate inflammation as a preventative measure. Good sources of EFAs include fish (especially salmon), and leafy green vegetables. Try to serve fish in forms that promote fun for kids so they are more likely to eat it, like fish sticks made with fresh wild caught fish or fish tacos. If your child won’t eat fish or spinach then we suggest trying a supplement like Carlson’s DHA for Kids or Barlean’s Omega-3 Smoothies. Of all the nutrients, it is most critical for your child to have EFAs to reduce future attacks.
In general, children should take a multi-vitamin & mineral supplement if they are picky eaters or refuse to eat vegetables. Sadly, we can no longer rely on our foods to supply us with all the nutrients we need. Today’s produce is grown in soil that is depleted and stripped of minerals and tainted with pesticides. Plus produce loses many of its nutrients in the shipping process that can take several days. Since kids are constantly growing, they require high levels of nutrients to sustain all the body’s activity. A multi-vitamin can give them the added boost they need. Be sure to find one that contains magnesium, vitamin B5 and vitamin B12; all of which are necessary for preventing asthma attacks.
Teach your child deep breathing, especially if your child plays sports. Most children and most adults for that matter, take shallow breaths all day long. Getting into the habit of taking deep breaths is invaluable for those who suffer from asthma. It strengthens the respiratory system and replenishes the stores of oxygen in the body. It can also help to teach your child how to reduce stress and calm the body. Practice deep breathing with your child. If you’re not sure of the proper technique for slow deep breathing, I suggest watching YouTube videos on yoga.
Would you make a child abuse report if you had suspicions? What if your partner was abusive? Learn how and when to report and why this can save a child. The post How to Report Child Abuse & Be a Protective Parent Video appeared first on Nourished...
Child Abuse & Neglect Part II: Making a Report & Being a Protective Parent
Would you make a child abuse report if you had suspicions? Reporting child abuse can feel scary and intimidating. Adults often hesitant to report concerns out of fear of getting involved or retaliation.
It’s even scarier to make a report when you’re in a relationship with the person being abusive. It’s important to remember that parents who engage in abusive behaviors are often acting out of anger, fear, or their own unresolved pain.
In this special episode of the Nourishing Bits Podcast, Nikole explains how our emotions can stop us from helping a child or push a parent to the point of becoming abusive or neglectful.
For more information, download my guides If You Suspect Abuse & Child Abuse Investigations: Know the Process, Know Your Rights
Subscribe to the Nourishing Bits Podcast: http://nourishingbits.libsyn.com/rss
The post How to Report Child Abuse & Be a Protective Parent Video appeared first on Nourished Minds.
Child abuse often goes unreported. Adults tend to dismiss or excuse away concerns because the truth is unthinkable. Here's how to recognizing the signs The post Child Abuse – How to Spot the Signs appeared first on Nourished Minds.
Child Abuse & Neglect: How to Spot the Signs
In a perfect world, there would be no such thing as child abuse. Children would be born into a home where they are valued and protected. They’d be encouraged to play, allowed to make mistakes, and live free from the fear of being hurt by an adult.
Sadly, the reality for children is very different. Child abuse and neglect is a worldwide problem. It does not discriminate. It affects persons of all races, cultures, religions, and economic and social position.
We often think of abuse as being isolated to poor communities where poverty, violence, and unemployment threaten family safety. But truth be told, abuse and neglect occur in educated and affluent families too. It’s just more likely to be reported if the family is poor. Abuse and neglect in educated and affluent families is more likely to be excused or kept secret.
A 2015 study of Child Protective Services (CPS) agencies in the United States estimated 683,000 children were victims of some form of abuse or neglect.
How You Can Help
Child abuse often goes unreported. When confronted with signs of abuse, people often dismiss or excuse away their concern because the truth is unthinkable. This is especially true if the child or abusive parent is someone we know and love. We struggle to make sense of the behavior and it’s common to have doubts. Doubts and uncertainty often come up as away to protect ourselves from the discomfort of acknowledging the possibility.
It can be easy to overlook the signs of neglect and abuse. However, doing so means a child will continue to suffer. Children may drop hints or sometimes they’ll find the courage to share their truth with a trusted adult. But if that adult fails to listen or seek help, the child can become hopeless and may not disclose to another adult.
Knowing the signs of abuse and neglect will help you to feel confident when deciding to take actions. As members of communities, we’re all responsible for protecting our youth. The first line of protection, is picking up on cues and signs that something is wrong.
Signs of Abuse
The signs and indicators of abuse can be physical like an injury or behavioral like a child who shows symptoms of depression or fear. This list is not exhaustive. One or several signs may apply to a child who has been victimized or neglected. The more warning signs you’re able to identify, the greater likelihood an act of abuse has occurred.
Definition: A parent or caregiver fails to provide the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter; or fails to provide a safe living environment, adequate health care, education, and supervision.
- Poor hygiene, often appears dirty
- Soiled, tattered, or insufficient clothing
- Appears malnourished or is always hungry
- Poor dental hygiene, poor health, often sick
- Left unsupervised for long periods of time
- Frequent absences from school
- Physically under-developed
- Scared of being alone, fear of abandonment
- Seems depressed, anxious, withdrawn, overly compliant
Definition: Physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means upon a child by a parent or caretaker.
- Has unexplained injuries (bruises, cuts, bites, burns)
- Has many injuries in different stages of healing
- Has injuries to ears, face, ribs, back, feet
- Returns from long school absence with fading bruises
- Seems frightened of parent or caretaker
- Arrives at school early, leaves late
- Problems in school (truancy, absences)
- Is aggressive, bullies’ peers
- Seems depressed, anxious, withdrawn, fearful
Definition: The act of engaging a child or adolescent in sexual activities they do not comprehend or are unable to give consent. This includes oral sex, sodomy, genital fondling, masturbation, and exposure to sexually explicit material such as pornography.
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Genital irritation, discharge, or pain
- Bruising, bleeding, blood-stained clothes
- Frequent urinary tract infections, STD
- Evidence of penetration without explanation
- Sleep disturbance, digestive disturbance, nightmares, headaches
- Bed-wetting, accidental defecation in underwear
- Socially withdrawn, distrust of other
- Attaches quickly to strangers
- Argumentative, moody, secretive, depressed
Definition: Any act of a parent or caretaker intended to inflict unjustifiable emotional distress or mental suffering upon a child. Examples include verbal abuse, threats, humiliation, confinement, isolation, acts that terrorize a child.
- May present with symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder
- May have attachment issues or socialization problems
- Regressive or delayed development
- Struggles with self-worth, trust
- Academic difficulties and development problems
- Exhibits phobias or fear of rejection
- Aggressive, non-compliant, withdrawn, or avoidance behavior
- Engages in delinquent behavior, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts
If you would like more information on how to talk with kids about abuse or how to file a child abuse report, download my self-guide, If You Suspect Abuse: A Guide for Concerned Friends, Family, and Protective Parents.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration
on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2017). Child Maltreatment 2015. Available from
When a child experiences or witnesses a trauma or act of violence, it can have a devastating effect on their mental health. Being a well-informed parent can make all the difference for your child's recovery and your peace of mind. The post Signs of Traumatic Stress in Kids appeared first on Nourished...
One of the most difficult truths of parenting is that you can’t always protect your child. An increasing number of children are exposed to acts of violence. Even witnessing traumatic events can leave kids feeling fearful and unsafe. If you think your child is having difficulties coping, it’s important you know the signs and symptoms of Child Traumatic Stress. Being informed will make all the difference for your child’s recovery and your peace of mind.
- Approximately 1 in 4 children will experience some type of traumatic event before the age of sixteen. A child may suffer symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear and feelings of guilt, whether they were a trauma victim or a witness to the trauma.
If these emotions go unresolved and persist for more than a month, your child could be suffering from Child Traumatic Stress, a term used to describe symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in children and adolescents. Recognizing the signs of PTSD in young children is difficult since they may not be able to verbalize their feelings. For this reason, parents should watch for changes in a child’s behavior in the aftermath of a crisis.
PTSD typically occurs in children who have witnessed or experienced an event involving death, the threat of death, serious physical injury, or a threat to their physical safety.
Some common childhood traumas include:
- Car accidents
- Serious injury
- Serious medical diagnosis and procedures
- Natural disasters
- Acts of terrorism
- School violence
Signs & Indicators of PTSD in Children
There are several key indicators to be watchful of after your child has experienced some type of trauma. You may want to seek the help of a professional if your child exhibits any of the following behaviors:
- Continues to experience the event in the form of thoughts, flashbacks, dreams, or phobias
- Avoids anything associated with the event like where it happened, people involved, or thoughts
- Has difficulty sleeping, concentrating, or experiences mood swings
- Expresses fear verbally or in the form of crying, screaming, freezing-up, tantrums, scared to separate from family members, or starts to act younger than their age
- May see changes in their impulse control or ability to concentrate
- School-age kids may experience problems in school or refuse to attend school
- Child may get very attached to parents or isolate themselves from family and peers
- Teens may engage in disruptive behavior, eating difficulties, sexual acting out, substance abuse, self-injurious behaviors or suicidal thoughts
What Empowered Parents Can Do
How a child recovers from trauma largely depends on several factors. Age, developmental level, and severity of the trauma will influence how a child reacts. But the greatest influence on a child’s reaction is the parent’s reactions. Your emotional resilience, or lack thereof, is a guiding agent for your kids.
Research shows that parents who respond to trauma with reassuring supportive action can greatly reduce the likelihood of their child suffering PTSD symptoms. Your child will be looking to you to gauge how they should be reacting.
Role modeling healthy coping skills can have a powerful impact on your child’s healing. Be very cautious about letting your own fears stop you from talking with your child. It’s appropriate to let your child know that you feel fear too. Sharing stories of how you have overcome your fears in the past can be very helpful as well.
Family counseling is an effective way to help reduce a child’s fear associated with the trauma. If you believe that your child has signs of PTSD, you should seek the professional help of a clinician who specializes in trauma-focused therapy. It’s critical that parents and family members be involved in treatment to encourage an environment of support, understanding, and reassurance for the child.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR (4th Ed.). Washington, DC.
Lubit, R. H. (2010). Post-traumatic stress disorder in children. emedicine from WebMD. Retrieved September 29, 2011, from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/918844-overview
McNally, R. J. (2009). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (Eds.), Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, (9th ed.), (pp. 2650-2660). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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