Just for Today, I Will Not Nag My Child

stop nagging

Last Updated on

All I do is nag my child.  I do not want to be this kind of mom. My time with my child is precious. And it’s limited, especially during the school year when he is gone for hours, then comes home to activities, homework, and sometimes, chores.

My few opportunities to have “quality moments” with my tween are rushed. It starts in the morning when I open his blinds and nudge him awake, sometimes losing patience.

Then, I’m hurrying him to make and/or eat his breakfast. Not 10-15 minutes later, I’m rushing him to get dressed, brush his teeth and fill his water bottle.

I’m likely mad he didn’t start making his lunch the night before.

While I’m not meaning to, I am nagging him about waking up earlier, or I’m stressing out and telling him to make his lunch the night before.

It’s too late for this wisdom — there’s nothing he can do about it now, right in this moment — but I can’t stop myself from saying all of these negative things.

stop nagging

Sometimes I’m rushing him to put everything in his backpack.

I’m want him to remember to include his homework, and possibly his band instrument and PE uniform, and anything else he needs.

Typically, I’m not even giving him time to remember any of these things on his own. My comments are reflexive.

Even as they are coming out of my mouth, I can’t stop myself from saying them.

And these are on days that I drive him to school. Everything gets even more harried on days he has to be ready 40 minutes earlier to take the bus to school.

And yes, of course he should go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. More on that later when I end my day with more nagging.

Well-meaning parents nag

Parents know this feeling.

We want our kids to be prepared for their school day.

We want them to eat and drink, go to the bathroom, brush their teeth, and go to school clean and prepared.

All of this “reminding” is to help them be successful. It’s for them, not us. Still, it’s so negative.

When did this change happen? When did I stop letting my kid be a kid? How did it happen that most all of my interactions with my child involve me correcting him, nagging him, or reminding him to do something?

Remember when our kids were babies, toddlers and preschoolers? Even when they were in their early elementary school years, I never nagged and complained at them.

Everything they did deserved praise and encouragement. I was offering positive reinforcement… always.

When and why did I stop?

Being a nag throughout the day

Try as I might not to do it, my nagging continues when I see my child again, after school.

Sometimes I pick up my middle schooler from school and sometimes he takes the bus. Either way, after a few lackluster, dead-end answers to my questions about his day, I start in with the stress.

What homework do you have? What is due tomorrow? Do you have any tests or quizzes to study for? Remember, you have soccer practice at 7pm.

It goes on and on.

Middle school-aged students already have so much going on with their changing bodies and brains. It’s a challenging time in their lives with new routines and increased responsibilities in school. They are dealing with new social dynamics and social stresses.

Why can’t I be a little bit more lenient and gentle with him now?

Stressed out kids

Kids have so many opportunities today. This brings on several challenges.

It’s our culture and society to be busy and to over-schedule ourselves and our kids.

And it’s not wrong to want to keep kids engaged in activities for exercise and/or learning. Especially in this age of electronics and how online pursuits can get out of control quickly, this is more important that ever.

We know that part of the reason we nag is because there simply isn’t always enough time to do everything we need to do.

But when did we go from thinking everything our child did was wonderful to becoming a nag?

Even when it was really hard, I was positive in front of and to my kids.

Ways to stop nagging

As the years go faster with my kids, I know I need to make a change.

I am going to try to stop lecturing and nagging my kids so much. I need them to start learning to deal with the consequences and take responsibility for their own time and decisions.

Maybe I can start with one or two gentle reminders.

Even better, I am going to sit down with my son and explain how I don’t like how I’m always nagging him.

I will explain how I’m going to let go a bit more.

I’ll let him know I will make mistakes and will probably still nag, often. However, I’ll be working on it.

In the meantime, I’m going to give him ownership of his situation.

I will talk with him about his chunks of time — before school, after school, and before bed – and what he needs to get done. I’ll ask him what he thinks he needs to get done before offering my opinions.

Realistically, I know I can’t (and won’t) back off completely. But I can lessen the reins.

I’m imagining he will rise to the occasion, at least some of the time.

He will at least start to learn to rely on himself — and not me — to control his time and the outcome… his destiny.

This destiny being that perhaps he is late for school one day. Or maybe his destiny will be that he didn’t finish his homework and has to wake up early the next morning to finish it.

Of course I want to remind him about personal hygiene and getting good grades. I want to make sure he eats healthy foods and gets enough sleep. This is where it gets challenging — because all of these things are really for his own good.

That’s what makes it really difficult to not nag your kids.

Nagging at night

When I cringe the most is when I’m nagging at my son to go to bed. It crushes me when he’s reading a book, and I am getting angry that he’s up late.

Most likely, I’m telling him to brush and floss his teeth without even asking him or checking his toothbrush to see if he already has.

We’ve barely spent any time together all day. And now to end the day and our time together, I’m usually negative. I’m usually tired and stressed out myself.

I don’t want to come off as mean, especially to my son, who I love more than anything.

But I do.

And the irony is I want so much for him to be rested enough to have a good day tomorrow, that I’m being negative with him at that moment.

Ways to not be a nag

So, the goals: Be more patient. Discuss expectations. Be there when he falls but help him back up. Be kinder and gentler. Take 5 seconds before speaking to really think about what I want to say. Say more positive reinforcing things.

I can pick my battles, allowing myself only one or two nags per day. (How fun it will be to prioritize my most important nags!)

The great news is I have lots of room for improvement. Just like I want to be kinder to my kids, I will learn to ease up on myself as well. Things usually work out, no matter how much or little I intervene.

Here’s to less nagging!

Have you learned to curb your nagging? Please leave your tips in the Comments.

 

 

 

Have a Plan for Your Day for Your Spare Time and Moments Alone

make a plan for the day

Last Updated on

When you have a plan for your day, you will feel so much better. Even if you don’t exactly follow it, when you have a few unexpected minutes, you will know what to do.

Do you ever find yourself with spare time? As a mom, you know these moments are rare. The very occasional times it happens, it’s easy to fritter it away on social media and other pursuits leaving you feeling like you wasted your time.

Planning out your spare moments will enable you to be more productive throughout your day.

According to Parents.com, effective busy moms should schedule time to relax.

Plan for your day

So how do you do it?

You don’t need to be super-organized. It’s not essential to write everything down or schedule your day to the minute or even the hour.

Figure out what time you have

Start by thinking of chunks of time you have, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes. Some examples might be:

  • Waking up earlier than everyone in your house
  • Waiting in the car pickup line at school
  • After the kids go to bed
  • During nap time

Maybe you find yourself with an extra 20 minutes in the mornings now that your kids are making their own lunches.

Perhaps your husband decides to take your kids to lunch and a movie, and you find yourself home alone for a few hours.

make a plan for the day

Maybe you work on your blog or work from home and your time to work on it is when your kids nap — if you can be so lucky.

What to do with that time?!

So many times, we use and waste our precious time trying to figure out exactly what to do.

Oftentimes, we end up using and wasting all that glorious time just trying to figure out something to do. We might start and stop many different tasks.

We are surprised when that 15-20 minutes or hour or two hours is over. It’s a terrible feeling when we don’t feel like we used that time wisely.

Remember, when you have a plan for your day, you can maximize unexpected spare moments.

Your most productive times

Think about your most productive times.

For many of us, that’s in the morning. Maybe you aren’t an early riser and appreciate any sleep you can manage. So for you, your productive time may be after your kids get on the bus or after you drop them off at school.

For others, it might be after everyone goes to sleep and the house is quiet.

Know your most productive times where you can get work and more difficult tasks done without distractions.

Use your least productive times, like when you are tired, for things like Facebook and other social media.

Chores and other obligations

When you have a free 10 minutes, it’s really easy to go room to room, trying to figure out something to do. But often, the kids are playing online, and you’ve already made dinner. What to do?

Have a plan for chores that take just a few minutes, five minutes, or 10 minutes.

Chores are great things to do when your kids are around because you won’t mind if you are interrupted. Really, who wants to clean?

Can you quickly wipe down the floors in your kitchen? Can you throw in a load of laundry? With five minutes, you can wipe down the bathroom, dust, or sort through mail.

Whip out the vacuum when you’ve got a little bit longer.

Paying bills, working from home, etc.

You want to plan for more involved tasks when your kids are occupied or at school. You don’t want to be distracted and take out your frustration on them.

Waiting in the pickup line at school

Some parents pick up their kids from school everyday.

Assuming there are 180 school days, if you wait in the car pick up line for 10 minutes a day, that’s 1,800 minutes.

That’s 30 hours in a school year you will be just sitting there!

What can you do with that time? What’s your plan?

Can this be your Facebook time? Maybe this is a time to read. Can you do bills, make a meal plan, write out a shopping and grocery list? You can even use this time to plan your day and week. According to timemanangementninja.com, 30 minutes of planning saves you exponentially more time.

Perhaps you want to simply close your eyes and center yourself for a few moments.

plan for your day

Planning spare minutes

There are many minutes each week that are like this. They are unaccounted for. While they seem insignificant, over time, they really add up.

Some people have great success planning their day the night before. Others think of generalized things they need to do.

A great system is to have a sheet of paper. Make separate headings for tasks you can complete in 5 minutes or less, 10 minutes or less, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and one hour. As you think of things you need to do, log them in one of these sections.

In this way, when you find yourself sitting in front of the computer and have 10 uninterrupted minutes, you will know what you can do and be that much more productive.

Log your to-do’s in one place

Too often, we log our shopping lists, to do’s, and other reminders in notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, our daily calendar, notes on the back of a receipt, in our phones and on the computer.

We have multiple lists in many different places.

It’s human nature to write or type things down when we think of them — so we don’t forget. But it’s important to have some type of system for this.

The best tip is to log your to-do’s and make your lists in one place.

Of course, once you find out the system that works best for you, it might not always be practical. So throughout your day, when you’re on the go, you can type them out in your phone or write them in a small notebook you carry around.

Then later transfer them to a notebook or calendar each evening. No matter what, the goal is to have one master list, in one place.

There’s nothing more stressful than having notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, notes on your phone and on the computer.

It just adds to the chaos and stress and takes away from our productivity.

Plan for spare moments

Moms have endless tasks. It’s usually very difficult to get ahead with something in our lives.

Usually, we are doing all we can to keep up. In the meantime, we just keep crossing stuff off our to-do lists.

Have a plan for your day or some idea of what you can do when you find yourself with unexpected spare minutes. You will feel better in control of your time, be more accomplished and productive, feel more rested, and will likely be happier at the end of the week.

 

 

 

Ways to Get Involved at Your Child’s School and Volunteer

volunteer at your child's school

Last Updated on

There are so many reasons to get involved at your child’s school. You will be volunteering your time but you will be the one who will reap the most rewards.

In whatever time constraints you have, chances are, there is something in the school you can help with.

Due to moving, we’ve been in five different elementary schools, in four districts. They were all very different in the kind of help they wanted and needed.

No matter what, you can get involved if you want to. Many times, there are volunteer jobs you can do from home, which helps when you work full time.

Reasons to get involved at your child’s school

Make friends

When our kids are young, it’s a lot easier to make friends with other parents.

As they age out of play dates and life gets busier, it’s more difficult to make friends.

Everyone is over-committed and scheduled. And if you are new to a school, it’s even more of a challenge.

However, when you volunteer at your child’s school, you will tend to see the same people repeatedly. There are certain volunteers who step up, and they tend to do more than one thing.

No matter what your child’s grade, you will get to know parents as you work side-by-side at Jog-a-thons, bake sales, and planning fall festivals.

You know what’s going on

The parents and guardians who volunteer tend to know more about what’s going on at school.

Be a part of something bigger

If you are a stay-at-home parent with little ones, sometimes it’s monotonous.

Sure, it’s great, but at times it’s mundane.

When you volunteer at your child’s school, or anywhere, you are contributing to the greater good. And you get out of your own mind.

You can come back home refreshed and ready to handle your routines.

Get to observe the students

Whether you help in the classroom, shelve books at the library, or help at a school event, you will get to see your child’s classmates and students in other grades.

You will relate better to your child’s stories about these children. And likely, will will start to form some opinions yourself.

Teachers and staff get to know you

Teachers don’t always have time to reach out to you via email, but you may get to hear something nice your son or daughter did, etc., just because you are there.

They are also likely to view you as a proactive, involved parent.

Students get to know you

Not only will the faculty get to know you, but the students will too. You will be charmed by the smiles and hellos you get.

Connect with other parents

Even if you don’t become fast friends, when you volunteer at your child’s school you gain the opportunity to talk to other adults.

Especially for stay-at-home-parents, this can be really satisfying and more real than interacting on Facebook and other social media.

Sure, you won’t love everyone, but you will have the chance to gravitate toward the moms and parents you do like.

Revive your skills and learn new ones

Often, parents leave the workforce after having children.

Volunteering at your child’s school is a great way to get back in a professional capacity, renewing skills, learning new ones, and taking on responsibility.

Make your kids proud

Your children will see how much you care about their school experience, and they will love seeing you.

Set a great example for your kids and let them see you in action. Kids see us at the Parent At Home.

Volunteering at their school is an awesome opportunity to let them see you shine in other ways.

How to help at school

Some teachers want parents in the classroom, even in the older grades. Others may try to accommodate kindergarten parents by letting them help with stations but nothing else.

However, most teachers don’t ask for any help in the classroom.

There are many reasons for this, but one is teachers need to focus on their students, not on the parents.

Whether or not you are actually in your child’s classroom really doesn’t matter. It’s often better not to be so your child has a chance to learn to be without you.

Assist teacher as needed

In these cases, you can offer your help to your child’s teacher by being behind the scenes. You can offer your services to makes copies and/or assist the teacher in any way he or she needs. Maybe you help out on a special activity day or class project.

Room parent

You can always volunteer to be a room parent. In this role, you can help the teacher with specific things he or she needs but likely won’t be interacting with the students.

Oftentimes, the room parent role can be done from home.

If your child’s main teacher doesn’t want any help, which is often the case, there are still ways to help at school. You can reach out to the specials’ teachers.

School librarian

The librarian often will welcome your help shelving books. In one of our schools, this was the only way I helped at school. My kids had a class in the library once a week.

A few times a month, I would sign up to help during my kids’ library times. I would put away dozens of books while being able to observe my child’s library time.

It was surprising to me how many students would come up to me to ask for help finding books. It was great to be able to help the kids and get to know them a little bit.

Perhaps the school librarian will identify some emerging readers you can read to.

Some librarians may ask for your help with the Scholastic Book Fair if the school has one. At the end of the school year, school librarians often inventory the books. These are great ways to help as well.

PE teacher

PE is often an area that parents don’t think about. Sometimes, the PE teacher may welcome help. He or she is usually the person who organizes a school-wide Field Day. Perhaps you can help with that.

Other times, they may be the one to organize the school walk-a-thon or jog-a-thon. Chances are, the PE teacher will need help counting and logging laps.

Like with all teachers, you can always put it out there that you are available, and when something comes up, they may contact you.

Art teacher

If your child is lucky enough to still have art in school, that’s great. It’s a program that often cut. Find out if there is any way the art teacher could use your help. Like with PE and the Librarian, the specials’ teachers typically see every student in the entire school.

The art teacher may welcome you helping in the younger grades, especially if they are working with a new medium or doing a more involved or messy project.

involved at your child's school

Parent Teacher Group

The school’s Parent Teacher Group (PTG) or Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) are parent-supported groups which help in several ways at school. Chances are, your child’s school has one of these volunteer organizations which includes all the parents/guardians and faculty.

The organization is responsible for fundraising; supporting the teachers and faculty; organizing events to create a sense of community; and bridging the gap between school and families.

The school’s PTG or PTO likely can use your help. There are so many volunteer opportunities, from one-time commitments to more frequent jobs.

Volunteering at school from home

There are opportunities to help from home, to send emails, apply for grants, order supplies for events, and more. You can even clip, count, and mail in Box Tops to raise money.

Helping with school events and fundraisers

If you enjoy events, chances are there is a school-wide social event fundraiser such as a fall festival, spring carnival, father-daughter dance, mother-son event, BINGO night, silent auction, etc.

You can chair or co-chair one of these events; volunteer to bring snacks or whatever they need; help set up or clean up after the event; and/or volunteer at the event itself.

Go to the PTG meeting

There are likely to be Parent Teacher Group (PTG), Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Teacher Student Group (PTSG) meetings.

These are typically monthly but some schools have them every other month or even quarterly. Attending a PTG meeting is a great place to learn more about what is happening at your child’s school.

While it may be intimating to attend a meeting for the first time, everyone will be likely be happy you are there. Even if you just want to observe and can’t commit to helping, you will be welcome.

PTG meetings and PTO meetings are not about cliques or a select group. They are for everyone and anyone who wants to know more about what’s going on at the school.

Some PTG meetings are on weekday evenings and some may be during the morning after drop off or toward the end of a school day. They try to accommodate parents’ busy schedules but realize that everyone is busy.

Know it’s impossible to pick the perfect time that works for everyone. The PTO board members who plan the meetings are working around their busy schedules as well. As volunteers, they are doing their best to get other volunteers involved.

Often the principal and faculty members are there to represent administration and the teachers. You will learn a lot at these meetings.

Whether your school has a PTG, a PTO, PTSG, or a PTA, get involved! In the cases of PTG, PTO, and PTSG, you are automatically members without having to pay any fees or do anything!

Check if your school fundraising PTA charges dues for membership.

And remember, while it seems everyone “has all this time to volunteer,” that isn’t typically the case.

Many of the most involved parents are the ones who work full time and have busy home schedules as well. Working parents and non-working parents are all welcome.

Know that you do not have to attend a PTG or PTO meeting in order to volunteer at your child’s school.

Ways PTGs can use your help

Planning events at school:

What does your school’s PTO organize? There might be dances, a fall festival, movie nights, silent auction, Bingo, yearbook signing party, talent show, back to school night, carnival, end of the year celebration, and on and on.

You can help with the planning and/or assist with the event itself. No matter how much time you have, events generally have small jobs and larger tasks. You are sure to find something to help with.

Sometimes these events are for community-building; other times they are aimed at fundraising. Often, they are a combination of the two.

Raising money:

There are Box Tops for Education, Scrip gift cards, Amazon Smile, Coke Rewards, and Benefit Mobile, and grocery loyalty codes, and more. Perhaps your school partners with area restaurants for them to give your PTG money as a result of sales for an evening. Someone has to organize and promote all of these.

Maybe you came from a school that had a successful fundraiser that you want to be in charge of at your new school.

Do you have experience or interest in writing grants? Do you want to help with the annual school fundraiser looking for outside sponsors or raffle basket and silent auction items?

Really, there are all sorts of ways to help with fundraising. Even if you are not comfortable asking directly for money, goods or services, there are plenty of ways to be involved.

Board positions:

The PTG or PTO will need a President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary for sure. There are likely to be other positions as well.

Some people might be intimidated to jump right into one of these roles; however, it’s likely everyone will be glad if you volunteer to do one.

Depending on the board terms, many positions are only for one year. There is turnover every year.

Committee chairs:

Some schools may include other other positions as board positions. However, more likely is the PTO will have committee chairs.

A committee chairperson will hold a position in which you are in charge of something specific. They all involve different levels of volunteer commitment.

Some examples of one-time events include:

  • Spring carnival, fall festival, sock hop, or other event
  • Holiday shop
  • Annual fundraising campaign

Other chair positions can be for ongoing roles, such as:

  • Communications
  • Donations
  • Outside events
  • School events
  • Staff appreciation
  • Yearbook
  • Website management

Being in any of these positions doesn’t mean you have to do all of the responsibilities yourself. Moms are busy.

Ultimately, it will be up to you to see everything through to fruition; however, depending on the position, you will likely have other people helping.

Supporting the teachers and staff:

The PTG or PTO may do special meals or snacks for the staff during test days or conferences, or Teacher Appreciation Week.

Bringing new ideas:

Do you have an idea? Bring it to someone on the board or talk about it at the next PTG meeting.

One of our schools started with just a few small events and ways to fundraise, and now has blossomed into many more traditions, thanks to new people who brought new ideas.

Ways to help at school

After school clubs

Maybe you volunteer to help with the school’s student council or other special interest club, like the school newspaper, math club, or yearbook.

No matter what your talents, there is likely a group that would benefit from an adult mentor.

Office help

You can offer your assistance to the hard-working office staff. Maybe you can help sort out old files or make and distribute copies.

Resource teachers

Does your child see special resource teachers for math, speech, help with reading, or for the school’s gifted program? You can reach out to that person to offer your assistance.

Volunteer at your child’s school

No matter what your interest, time and talents, chances are there will be something you can do to volunteer in some capacity at your child’s school.

You will meet new people and get to help out in any way that suits your interests. There are many ways to volunteer at school as well as helping out from home.

Your kids will be grown way too soon. Embrace this time in your life and volunteer if you can.

Hello, my name is Paula, and my kids have been in more schools than I care to admit. I have tons of experience with moving, being new to schools, making new friends and keeping in touch with ones I no longer get to see every day. I am excellent at adapting to new situations.

Also, I’m exceptionally proud of the good people I am raising. Learn more about me and my contributions to socialmum.com. 

Taking a Social Break Over Summer Break

wanting no plans over summer break

Last Updated on

There’s something really awesome about summer break. Yes, there’s the loose schedules and less demands. You don’t have to rush in the mornings, make lunches, pester about homework, or drive the kids to endless activities.

There’s quality family time. There’s actually time to play games, bring out crafts, and do puzzles. You can actually relax and just hang out without rushing everyone to the Next Thing.

But there’s something even better: We get a break from the social scene and some of those moms we just don’t love.

Sure, I love being a part of whatever is happening. But during the school year, it’s go – go – go. There’s barely a night a month that’s free. And when you do have one, it’s filled quickly with the “shoulds.”

It’s the chaos and the keeping up with everything and everyone that I need a break from.

During summer, I can disappear from Facebook for weeks at a time. My mind takes a vacation from everyone.”

Baring something tragic, I really don’t want to know what’s going on with everyone. Just as I’m sure my kids need some time to recharge and get away from their friends and peers, I do as well.

Skipping the Social Scene Over Summer Break

In the spring, I envision relaxing weeks of summer and all I hope to accomplish.

In my mind, I’m already planning the guest list and some potential dates for different parties I want to have. Maybe a neighbor bash? That would be good to not have hurt feelings. “You weren’t invited because it was just my neighbors!”

I think of starting a Fourth of July party tradition, just as my parents did for 30+ years.

I want to be that cool house. The party house. The house where kids can just drop in, anytime, and always be welcome. I want to have endless gallons of ice cream and pitchers of lemonade. I want to have a fully-stocked bar for all the parties and moms’ nights I’m planning.

But somehow, it just doesn’t happen. Even though I’ve got entire weekends completely free — zero plans — I can’t get myself to invite some of those families that I really do want to have over.

I watch my kids play Fortnite with their friends — and talking with them through their headsets — and think, “Why do we need to have play dates? This is a play date in itself.”

So I continue to do nothing. I’m not even inclined to extend a group invitation to everyone suggesting we all meet up to go bowling, a movie, or to the trampoline park.

break over summer break
Photo credit

I want to keep my kids to myself…. In our cozy little world with zero outside obligations except for work and summer reading.

Taking a Social Break Over Summer Break

With the new school year just on the horizon, the craziness and chaos will begin soon enough. We will be forced to interact at school functions and our calendars will fill.

We will be back to operating in catch-up mode. In the meantime, I’m hoping it’s okay to just want to take a break from it all.

 

What Are We Supposed to Feed Our Kids When There Are So Many Considerations?

feeding our kids healthy foods

Last Updated on

There’s so much consider to when feeding our kids. They have easy access to processed foods. Practically every day is some sort of Sugar Fest.

Us parents grew up eating whatever was served for dinner; being picky was not an option.

We lived for trick or treating as that was our one chance to get candy. Jell-O was our dessert. Soda came in glass liters and quarts and was for special occasions. We drank water and milk; Gatorade didn’t exist.

Nowadays, with packaged and processed and refined foods, it’s difficult to make healthy choices for our kids. We want convenience. We have picky eaters. So often, we eat on the run. There are more allergies than ever before.

This isn’t a health post; it’s coming from the perspective of a stressed mother who is trying to feed her kids healthy foods — weighing the options — trying to balance it all out.

At times, it’s overwhelming.

What are we supposed to feed our kids?

Packaged snacks and processed foods aside, even when it comes to real, whole foods, there is a lot to consider.

These are just some of the things we have to wade through as we try to make healthy choices for our kids:

Fruits and vegetables

It used to be that if you fed your kids fruit and vegetables, you would be good to go. Now, you need to consider all of this other stuff.

  • Where it was grown? (Many people avoid produce from certain countries.)
  • Is it organic? (We are supposed to consider dirty dozen.)
  • You wonder, did you wash it well enough?
  • Is it a super fruit?
  • Is it a less appealing starch, like corn and potatoes?

We are starting to wonder if too much fruit is too much sugar for our kids.

C’mon now, this used to be easy. Why does it have to be hard?

we want to feed our kids healthy food
Wading through the best food choices for kids

Protein

We need to feed our kids protein so they can have sustained energy throughout their school day and for their activities. Which to choose?

Eggs

Lots of people are now keeping chickens themselves to have high-quality eggs. However, if you are like the rest of us, we have to stand in the grocery store, pondering what all of this means and which eggs are the best choice.

  • Organic
  • Hormone-free (Is the same as organic? Who knows.)
  • Free-range
  • Cage free (Is this the same as free range?)
  • Vegetarian
  • Pasture-raised (Is this the same as free range and being cage free?)
  • Brown or white eggs

Plus, those containers! Do we choose the earth-friendly option? Should we buy the eggs in cartons that can be composted or pay less for a plastic one? In many areas stores still sell eggs in Styrofoam cartons.

After considering all of this, maybe it really is easier to set up a chicken coop and raise your own.

Meat

First, you have to choose what type of meat to get:

  • Is white meat the best?
  • Why does my kid only want to eat bacon?
  • What cut of beef is the right one to get?
    • Remember those saturated fats
    • There’s chuck roast, sirloin, tenderloin, rib-eye, flank steak, ground beef and more.

Then, you need to start making all these other choices, just like with your eggs. Will you choose:

  • 100% grass fed
  • Grass fed
  • Grain fed
  • Free range
  • Certified organic feed
  • No growth hormones
  • No antibiotics or growth hormones

There are probably more choices even. I never even go to this section with healthier meats. I’m too cheap to buy them so I buy the one that looks the least fatty and that’s on sale. I need to remember to buy turkey or even a turkey breast instead of waiting for Thanksgiving.

Seafood

There are lots of choices with seafood, just like with every other protein.

  • Was it sustainably harvested?
  • Was it from a fish farm?
  • Is it sourced from China?
  • What about toxins, including mercury?
  • We want it to be sure it’s dolphin-safe.

Here with fish, also, we have to worry about saturated fats. We want to look for sources that include Omega 3. My kids will only eat fish with breading — aka fish sticks — does this count as eating fish?

Beverages

There’s a plethora of choices when it comes to giving drinks to our kids.

Milk

There’s such controversy around milk these days. And there are the kids who are allergic or intolerant so there’s a host of other milks to choose from, including:

  • Soy (Off and on, soy gets a bad rap.)
  • Lactose-free
  • Goat
  • Rice
  • Coconut
  • Almond
  • Cashew

Then, you also get to choose:

  • Flavors (plain, chocolate, vanilla)
  • Organic
  • Fat free, 1%, 2%, whole

Water

At last! Water! Here’s something that should be easy. But even with what should be simple and healthy water, there are decisions to make.

  • Bottled water
    • There are the water bottle companies telling us that bottled water is superior to tap water.
  • Tap water
    • We are supposed to consider the potentially harmful heavy metals, chlorine, pesticides, bacterial and chemicals in our tap water.
    • Some areas add fluoride to their water, and some don’t. This is an issue unto itself.

Other drinks

Oh, the choices. Our kids have been bred to drink their sugar.

These beverage examples aren’t in the same category as everything above — the more real foods and drinks — but are listed here to see what us parents are up against when it comes to breaking habits and helping our kids made good choices.

  • They have juice for breakfast.
  • There’s sugar in their milk.
  • Since our kids were in preschool, we’ve been giving them juice boxes and Capri Suns in their lunch bags.
  • Then at their sports practices and games, we give them Gatorade and Powerade.
  • Soda is everywhere. Go to any fast food restaurant (I know, I know) and they can mix their own concoction with 5+ types.

These sugar drinks are really endless. They’ve become the norm.

Lemonade

Even giving kids lemonade — what seems like it should be a little bit healthier but really isn’t — has become a complex thought process, standing at Target, looking at all the mixes, aka chemicals.

Should you choose:

  • Sugar free? (Think of all those artificial sugars.)
  • The mix with sugar? (Think of all that sugar rotting out their teeth.)
  • Make it at home with lemons and sugar?
    • It makes me a bit ill that I’m literally spoon-feeding my kids sugar.

I Want a Larger Refrigerator and a Smaller Pantry: On the Quest for Healthy Foods

We’ve become desensitized to all the choices in packaged foods. Look at all the choices at Costco.

Take a walk through Target or Walmart and your eyes will roll to the back of your head as you try to choose a something simple as ready-to-eat cereal.

There’s a definite trend toward “healthier” foods. However, they are all packaged, made-in-a-factory foods. Healthier foods are really just that… actual foods. Ones that aren’t filled with synthetic vitamins and refined oils.

Wouldn’t it be great to go back in time to the grocery stores — aka the corner stores — from decades ago? How simple it was.

People bought eggs, bread, milk and some produce and went home. Maybe there was a market to buy fruits and vegetables. People went to the butcher for meats. There were less options but they were most likely much healthier and safer.

What are we supposed to feed our kids?

Food is overwhelming. Even after buying it, we still have to prepare it and serve it and clean up afterwards.

And sometimes — after all of that! — they don’t even eat it!

There’s so much us exhausted parents have to deal with. We make thousands of decisions every single day without even realizing it. Food is a huge thing. We all want to feed our kids healthy food.

In trying to have our kids grow up with a balanced diet so they can learn to make their own safe, healthy food choices, it’s all we can do as we wade through the choices of convenience, nutrition, price, additives, and more.

%d bloggers like this: