Talking To Your Kids About Their Health

Talking to our kids about their health may seem like a topic they will yawn at and ignore. But it matters. When we can engage our kids in the health process, they become active participants in the outcome.

I used to think that if my kids got sick I had done something wrong – given them too much sugar, not ensured they had enough sleep, didn’t cook the most nutritious meals – I could go on, but you get it. I would be so hard on myself for not taking better care of them. Since I’m a nutritionist, what would people think if my kids were sick? I would try and pump them full of vitamins, teas and other concoctions in an effort to speed up the healing process.

The problem? They had no clue what all the vitamins, teas and concoctions did. The message was, “Just take it and you will start to feel better.” It didn’t seem like I was teaching my kids to understand their bodies, listen to what they need and appreciate the healing process at work. I was showing them that sickness needed to combatted with every known artillery weapon and to wipe it out with speed and efficiency.

When we don’t allow the body time to heal and don’t treat it with respect, we are robbing ourselves of the knowledge that comes within the struggle. I see it as constipating our entire bodies – telling our bodies to shut up and shove our natural healing process into Pandora’s box for a later unveiling (which won’t be pretty I might add).

Children look to adults for an understanding of how to “walk” in life, and we often give the wrong message. What have you told yourself before?

  • Getting sick is annoying.
  • I don’t have time for this.
  • Taking medication will allow me to get through my day…I can relax later.

What does it mean to be healthy – no sick days at work? Eating the right foods? Exercising daily? Managing to juggle work, activities, and family without falling apart?

Health is not defined by the absence of sickness or disease, as noted by the World Health Organization. It is the complete mental, emotional and spiritual happiness of each of us.

I think health can be defined even further: health is the vitality that comes from within, which can only be appreciated when we embrace all facets of ourselves (emotional, physical, spiritual). This gives us a beautiful understanding of health and life.

What I have come to know and believe is that sickness is part of health – kind of like yin and yang – the sacred place of balance. Teaching our children to listen to their intuition, take care of their bodies through healthy whole foods and allowing our bodies to move through exercise will provide them with a sense of confidence that will carry with them through their lives. In sickness, we need to hold the same values and practices.

Whether you play board games, sing songs, read books, snuggle, or watch a movie with your kids when they are sick, it’s the bonding time that is a big part of healing. Enjoy this time! Adding to this, you can make a nourishing tea to sip on. In this recipe, the astragalus helps to modulate the immune system, the cinnamon balances blood sugar, the goji berries offer anti-oxidants and immune-boosting protein, and the chamomile helps to relieve stress. It’s the perfect cuppa to help you embrace the healing process.

Nourishing Tea

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

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Serves: 6 cups

Ingredients
  • 6 cups of water
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp goji berries
  • 2 Tbsp astragalus
  • 1 ½ tsp chamomile
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the tea using a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Enjoy with a “spootie” (my grandma’s equivalent to 'a little bit') of raw honey.

Photo: iStock/shironosov

I love green smoothies (especially with kale!), walks in nature (it is so peaceful), hugs from my kiddos and fur babies (is there anything better?), laughing (who doesn't like to laugh?), seeing people smile (joy is infectious), savouring the taste of real food (the way nature intended), and waking up each morning knowing there is another day that I can learn, laugh, grow, change and love! Meet this expert

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