Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…
If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.
Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.
The parents role
As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.
It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
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By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System
Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…
Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.
When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:
Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”
Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.
Here are a few quick tips:
Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.
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By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 3: TOUGH LOVE
Many parents lament that they can’t get their children to eat certain foods or meals that they prepare…
Despite their best intentions, many parents today arrive at a stand-of with their children; the children dictate what they will and won’t eat, and then the parents become distressed when their kids fall ill with frequent colds and flus, ear infections and asthma, to name but a few repercussions of poor diet. Or in ever-growing cases, children acquire seemingly mysterious behavioral disorders with long labels that require medication. Even then, the link is often not made between diet and health.
Sometimes it seems a whole lot easier to just give into children and throw into their lunchboxes that vegemite, peanut butter or jam sandwich, a packet of chips, or a cupcake. There is no doubt that this type of approach to lunches is quick, simple, and easy. But the question is:
Islife simple and easy when we have hyperactive, angry or unwell children?
NO, it isn’t…full report
…Life is draining physically, emotionally and financially.
We cannot pour soft drinks or additives onto a potted plant and expect it to survive… the same applies to our body.
There is a direct relationship between what we eat and our quality of life and health. In Lunchbox Solutions, I discuss a variety of approaches to retraining fussy eaters.
Every family must negotiate guidelines and boundaries around many facets of lifestyle and behavior, but there are none as important as diet, because what your children eat has an ENORMOUS IMPACT on the whole family. It’s exhausting when they are chronically unwell when they are irritable and friends and family don’t want to spend time with them. So I’d encourage you to pick your battles and be clear that the “food battle” is one you want to win!
Even if your child appears quite healthy, remember that the impact of poor food choices may have a long-lasting effect on their health as adults. The cumulative damage of refined sugars and processed foods can be an enormous contributor to illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. It is our role as guardians to empower our family with proactive and positive habits.
Since my boys were very little they learned that they need to eat primarily wholesome foods and at times “sometimes foods.” It is vitally important that children learn how they can strengthen digestive power through eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible including a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits, raw or organic nuts and seeds, beans, whole grains; you get the idea.
Foods should nourish and heal the body. Eating foods in their most natural state ensures we receive the highest nutritional content. Whole foods contain naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids, amino acids and more.
Consuming food shouldn’t be a toxic event. By eating “whole foods” we also help our family to reduce their intake of harmful chemicals. Such as preservatives, synthetic nutrients, and other additives that are considered non-foods (which are added to most all processed foods.)
If you can — try to eat organic foods whenever possible. This will help to ensure you avoid harmful toxins such as antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, and synthetic fertilizers. Purchasing organic food is not a luxury but rather an integral step in securing our health. Pollutants in our modern environment—for example, pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides and fumigants—have been linked to abnormalities in behavior, perception, cognition, and motor ability during early childhood, even when exposure is at so-called harmless levels.
The goal is to teach the child to make these good decisions themselves
Where possible encourage children to help you shop and prepare meals and take the opportunity to highlight the pros and cons of different foods and false foods.
Encourage your children from a young age to also be open to having supplements or “vitamin boosts” from time to time. For example, smoothies and homemade juices are a great way to add multi-mineral powders and probiotics into their weekly diet. High-quality probiotics can provide the necessary bacteria for a healthy gut, and they are an essential aid to digestive health for all children — I would recommend taking these a few times a week. It’s also a great habit to encourage them to randomly have zinc and vitamin C powder drinks or multi-mineral drinks particularly if they have been really busy or had a few late nights.
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By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: My number one tip or proactive step for raising the health status of your children is to FIND AN INSPIRING, RECOMMENDED WELLNESS CHIROPRACTORs and have your child’s nervous system regularly checked.
Chiropractors and children
I’m a chiropractic baby and cannot emphasize enough how chiropractic adjustments with a wellness chiropractor are a parent’s secret weapon when desiring to raise strong, healthy children. If you have never seen a chiropractor or have any questions regarding safety and effectiveness, please read my post on The Legitimacy of Chiropractic. Chiropractic for babies and children is gentle, safe, and effective, and in the spectrum of all health professionals – chiropractors have an incredibly excellent safety record. More and more parents worldwide use their chiropractor as their trusted health resource.
While chiropractic may be able to help with many health issues, chiropractors do not treat colic or asthma. For example — chiropractic adjustments free-up the nerve “communication channels”. The body is then better able to address and clear health challenges.
Unfortunately, most of us do not realize that the way our children enter the world may have a direct effect on their health. Spine and nerve distress can, at times, arise from restricted or abnormal positioning in the uterus and also from the journey through the birth canal or potentially during the delivery process itself. In my book Well Adjusted Babies 2nd Edition I discuss that many factors may cause birth trauma, including:
Birth trauma causes:
1 False labour
2 A long or very short labour
3 Poor positioning of the infant’s head and neck as they journey through the birth canal
4 Failure of the mother’s cervix to dilate
5 The use of drugs to increase contraction intensity
6 The use of vacuum extraction or forceps
7 Caesarean section delivery because of lack of progress
8 Cord around the baby’s neck
9 Foetal distress.
10 An awkward position within the uterus before birth
Positioning and health
Left unresolved, this spine and nerve dysfunction may place further stress on the communication systems of the body. Birth trauma can affect a baby’s nervous system, which in turn (amongst other things) may then affect digestion and an infant’s capacity to breastfeed or sleep well. The Journal of Neuroscience (2008) states that, although the first year of life may be a period of developmental vulnerability, it may also be a period in which therapeutic interventions would have the most significant positive effect.
Sometimes children have the nerve and spinal distress that results in their head being tilted to one side so that one ear sits higher than the other (refer to picture below). At other times a child’s head may be rotated or turned more to one side so that they display a preference for having their head turned this way.
A misshapen head is not merely a cosmetic issue; it is a brain stem issue. If your child’s head looks uneven or you notice flat areas, this can indicate restrictions between the skull and the soft layers that cover the brain and spinal cord. A healthy mind requires good movement of the skull and spine; when this movement is impaired, the brain and nerve function is impaired.
There is a myth that an odd-shaped child’s head is of no concern and will ‘right itself’ with time. However, anomalies of shape can be the first indication that your child is susceptible to developmental delay. Chiropractors can identify and fix this immediately.
For older children, nerve interference may play out as developmental delays, digestion issues, asthma, behavioural problems, low energy, inability to concentrate, headaches, etc – the list is endless.
By the age of seven, a child is likely to have had hundreds of falls and while children seem to have a “bounce-back” resilience, left uncorrected the body tries to hide subtle damage that potentially leads to poor postural and neurological function. We need to keep in mind that each seemingly insignificant slip and fall our child has does ADD up, and that as the branch bends, so grows the tree. With a subluxated spine (where misaligned vertebrae may affect the function of the nervous system), our child’s “communication highway” no longer functions at 100%, potentially altering the way they can think, feel and behave.
I often explain to patients that having a subluxation is like driving a car with the hand brake on. You can certainly still drive the car but you don’t get anywhere — very effectively. And after some time, all sorts of engine issues arise. Chiropractors focus on increasing the neurological function of your child by removing nerve interference which may hinder nerve communication.
I encourage parents to have newborn babies checked by chiropractors very soon after birth. Special techniques exist, that carefully correct any subluxated areas of the spine. Many chiropractors have a special focus on family health and work with babies and young children. If you haven’t had your child checked by a chiropractor then find a recommended family wellness chiropractor in your area.
If you are already taking your child to a chiropractor but feel that they are not thriving in a manner that you hoped then consider if you are only seeing your chiropractor sporadically, — investments in health work best when made consistently and regularly. I believe that children do well to be checked each fortnight, your child may not need to be adjusted each time but a quick “check-up” is an important health ritual. Most chiropractors have fee systems that make regular care viable.
People see chiropractors regularly because they feel and experience how adjustments add vitality, immune strength and clarity into their lives.
It’s like eating clean, healthy food — every cell in your body tells you, “this is a good thing.” Ask other parents who take their child to see a chiropractor about their experiences — worldwide, typically parents delight in the results they notice in their children.
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In the next five blogs, I will reveal the top 5 tips on raising the wellness of children!
But first, I want to address an important question.
When it comes to raising healthy children, how would a chiropractor and a medical professional proceed?
There are two significant differences that exist between the ‘chiropractic wellness’ approach and the ‘medical approach’ to health as each sets a different goal and a different course of action.
Firstly the medical profession views the human body as a conglomerate of chemical and mechanical functions so that when a health challenge arises, doctors look specifically at the problem area and take a “we’ve got to fix it” approach. This might be through eradicating germs that they credit with creating disease or through offering drugs or surgery. The focus is to reduce symptoms and to address health issues in a disease-oriented model.
Wellness chiropractors see the body as a whole, acknowledging that the body works together. So that when we compromise, or tax one area of our body, other areas can, in time, become vulnerable.
Most of us are aware that our nervous system controls and coordinates every function of the body. Still, we may not appreciate that there a significant number of stressors that accompany our modern lifestyle, which taxes our spine and nervous system. These lifestyle factors move a body out of balance and threaten our health. Chiropractors ask questions like, “How can we help the body recreate balance and good function?” and “What part of this person’s environment is taxing their health?” Chiropractors take a vitalistic view of the human body, respecting the body’s innate or inner intelligence and adjust the spine to stimulate the body’s natural ability to recreate balance, order, and healing.
While current health issues are addressed, wellness chiropractors are most excited about helping clients become proactive about all facets of their health.
??This is a step up from last week’s tight rope walk. This week you have to cross your arms over your chest so you can’t use your arms to balance!
Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance.
STEPS for Tight Rope Walking:
1. Walk forward along the line with your feet as close together as possible, making sure your heel touches the toe as you step forward.
2. Make sure your head is looking up, not at your feet!
3. Walk ten paces forward on the tight rope then ten backward without falling over.
Now we will make the balance and reach exercise a bit harder! Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance.
STEPS to Balance:
1. Start on all fours.
2. Reach your LEFT ARM and RIGHT LEG out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.
3. Now, balance your RIGHT ARM and LEFT LEG out straight, hold for 10 seconds, relax it down.
CONCENTRATE ON: keeping your body still and not leaning over or letting your shoulders drop when you do the exercise. Be sure to hold the exercise for 10 seconds.
This activity will help your child to forge stronger sensory and movement connections to their limbs. Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with Snow Angel.
STEPS for Snow Angel:
1. Have your child lie on the ground face up with arms by their side and legs together.
2. Have them close your eyes.
3. As the parent you will tap an arm or a leg to indicate for your child to move it outwards then bring it back into their body.
4. You can tap an arm, or a leg, or both at the same time. And voila, snow angel.
LEVEL 2: Instead of tapping the limb you will tell them “left arm” or “right leg”.
Just when you think being pregnant is enough to deal with, nature has to throw in the curve-ball of a higher risk of low back pain. Not only that, but statistically, it’s said to start early on in pregnancy and increase over time. This can put a lot of stress not only on the mother, but everyone around her as well. So what causes it? How does it affect your baby’s development? And what can you do about it?
Low back pain on it’s own is a complicated condition. Muscles, ligaments, discs, and tendons are all potential culprits, but sometimes even your brain itself perceives dysfunctional patterns and sends pain signals as a response.
As the baby grows, the lower back will gradually start to increase its curve as the pelvis tilts. The shoulders move back to compensate for the shift in the centre of gravity. Finally, the head takes on a more forward position, a condition called Anterior Head Syndrome. All this happens as the body releases a special hormone to relax the ligaments in the pelvic area to allow for easier birth and movement of the structures as the uterus enlarges.
All of these shifts and changes increase stress and strain on the low back, so it’s no surprise that low back pain is expected during pregnancy.
The low back pain itself is not the concern when it comes to the baby’s development. However, it does throw a wrench in the works when you’re trying to maintain an optimal, healthy environment for your baby. It can make it hard to stay on track with movement and exercise, get high quality sleep, prepare healthy meals (to avoid eating out and consuming processed, innutritious food), and manage stress levels.
Walking: 30 minutes a day should do, just to get some motion in the pelvis and avoid uninterrupted sitting.
Foam Rolling: working on the fascia and muscles will help your soft tissue adapt to all the structural changes that your body is going under.
Strength Training: developing strength, especially within your core stabilizing muscles, can help immensely with low back pain and overall health.
Structural Chiropractic: a structural chiropractor can act as valuable asset in the health care team of any pregnant woman. They can keep the body functioning optimally as well as address conditions such as Anterior Head Syndrome and low back pain. We usually find pregnant women to have the speediest recovery at our office.
If you’ve got a baby on the way, try these out and benefit from a better and more comfortable pregnancy. If you have any questions about pregnancy, low back pain or other health concerns, feel free to bring them up with your Structural Chiropractor.
At Revolution Chiropractic we take a structural correction approach to your spine and one of the big indicators of spinal dysfunction is forward head carriage. The head is basically a bowling ball balanced on the top of your spine and every inch it moves forward causes an exponential increase in how hard the muscle must work to continue to hold it up. The issues go much deeper than neck discomfort, this poor postural position increases the tension on your spinal cord, puts you at greater risk of a strain injury to your neck, speeds up the degenerative process of the spine and can cause nerve root impingement, which let me assure you is not fun at all.
What is really concerning is the number of children we are seeing with this postural issue. Chiropractors are seeing more and more children as patients with issues linked to forward head posture and a HUGE contributing factor is the amount of time they are spending on handheld screen devices. I have personally seen many children with their necks bent to 90 degrees as they stare at a tablet or phone on their lap.
According to the NZ Ministry of Health children age 5-17 should spend less than 2 hours per day sitting and using screens, and this time should not be continuous but rather broken up throughout the day.
On top of smart devices creating postural problems, they are also reducing the amount of physical activity that kids are getting. Which reduces the creativity of tactile play. For the health of your children, we strongly recommend you reduce the amount of time they spend on devices, perhaps reward them with some screen time after some physical activity. It is much easier to raise strong children than it is to fix broken adults! Remember that kids imitate those around them, especially their parents, and let’s face it, we could all benefit from spending less time on our mobile devices.
When you are using your phone or tablet make sure you keep it at eye level for healthy posture. Your arms getting tired from holding them up is a great reminder to take a break!