Tag Archives: parenting

Letting Go Of Perfectionism At Christmas – 3 Tips

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I learned perfectionism at an early age.  The quest to prove myself worthy of love by doing everything perfectly (or not doing it at all) was learned at my father’s knee.  It has taken a good portion of my adult life for God to break me of it and for me to learn God’s love for me is not performance based. He loves me even when I fail Him, which I do often and in spectacularly public ways.

Christmastime can be hard for frustrated perfectionists, especially if small children are involved.  Years before artificial Christmas trees were invented, my dad would spend hours drilling holes in the trunk of our Christmas tree to “fill in the bald spots” with branches taken from the bottom of the tree.  Once he got the bald spots filled in, he would put the tree in the stand.  However, it never stood perfectly straight, so more time would be spent stringing guy wires from the tree to nails in the wall to keep it perfectly aligned. Only then were his six frustrated little girls allowed to approach the tree.800px-Christmas_tree_with_presents

Years later as my husband and I began our tradition of going to a tree farm with our young children, I frustrated everyone (myself included) by searching for the perfect tree.  Nothing was ever good enough for me.  I could always find some fault with any tree they found: not big enough, bare on one side, too spindly, etc.  It was not a fun excursion.  I finally decided that picking out the tree was better as a tradition the kids shared with just their dad.  They had a great time and no matter what tree they brought home, by the time it was decorated and the lights were on, it looked beautiful.  Here are a few other things I learned through the years.

Tip #1.  If you find yourself stressing about everything being perfect this holiday season, take a deep breath and walk away.  Take a moment to yourself and think, “Is it worth taking the joy out of Christmas because I want everything to be just so?”  Let your children’s memories be of the joy and happiness of the holiday season.  Teach them to embrace the imperfect and to encourage those who are trying, no matter the result of their efforts.xmasdinnertable                                                                                                                  photo by flickr_NC intoruth

Tip #2.  Stop comparing yourself to others!  No offense to those of you who have your house perfectly decorated, your holiday baking all done, and every gift exquisitely wrapped and under the tree, but your super capabilities make us “normal” folk feel inadequate.  I no longer torture myself looking at Pinterest or magazines that give me unrealistic expectations of what the holiday should look like for me, and I am happier because of it.   Looking at pictures of things that are beyond my means makes me discontent.  I choose to be thankful for the life and home that God has provided for our family. Christmas_presents_under_the_tree_(11483648553) Tip #3.  It isn’t about the presents.  Repeat after me, “It isn’t about the presents”.  Children, especially small children, will not know that you did not find the perfect gift.  As the parent, you are responsible for helping them to have realistic expectations.  If you are joyful, no matter how few gifts are under the tree, then your children will be joyful, too.  You set the tone of the day for your children.  Don’t let the lack of money determine your enjoyment of the holiday.  Teach your children the joy of making a gift for those they love.  Teach them to serve others as their gift to Jesus.  There are many free activities to enjoy as a family.  All you have to do is seek them out.  Your children long for your presence and time with you, even more so at the holidays.  Treasure these moments as they are all too quickly gone.FullSizeRender (33)

Tip #4  Learn to love the imperfect gifts in your life.  This is our sad little Christmas tree.  Yes, I know there are all blue lights at the top and multi-colored lights at the bottom.  I know the ornaments are old and tired.  But you see, every year my sweet husband gets out the tree and decorates it for me while I am at work.  It is a gift to me. I have learned with God’s grace to love the perfectly imperfect gifts in my life.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do yourself and your family a big favor this Christmas.  Let go of your unrealistic expectations.  Give your heart and home over to Jesus as you celebrate his birth.   Your holiday season will be full of joy.

I am linking up this week with Grace & Truth  and Purposeful Faith.

Protecting Childhood Innocence

For the last nine days, the television and radio news have been focused on the violent attacks in Paris.  As an adult, the images are terrifying and the news overwhelming.  I had to tell my husband to turn it off.  “I can’t stand to hear anymore about it.”   It is not that I don’t have compassion for the victims of this atrocious attack. My heart and mind just can’t take more trauma.

ID-100211555Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If the news is too traumatic for me as an adult, what must it be like to a child?

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, I heard a man call in to a radio show and tell the host that he and his five-year-old daughter had sat all day and watched the replay on television of the planes flying into the World Trade Center and its eventual collapse with people running for their lives.  I was shocked to think that this man had exposed his fragile five-year-old to repeated trauma.  What kind of parent does that?

Growing up, I don’t recall my parents ever talking about the Vietnam War, worry over their finances or any other adult topic.  In those days, parents protected their children from information that was too much for them to understand.

Corrie Ten Boom talked about a time she asked her father a question as a young child. “Father, what is sexsin?” He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor. “Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said. “It’s too heavy,” I said. “Yes,” he said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It’s the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

We live in a scary world, and our children need to know that there is evil in the world and to be taught to be cautious of strangers.  As parents, our job is to ensure that we give them just the little bit of age-appropriate information that they need to be safe and nothing more.  When traumatic events are shown on television and our children are present, it is our job as parents to protect them.  Send them out of the room, or better yet, turn off the TV.  As children get older, you continue to answer their questions with age-appropriate information and conversation.  You do not immerse your child in graphic television images that they are too young to comprehend.

This touching video is a wonderful example of a father protecting his child’s innocence.  Please take a moment to watch.

Is This Poison in Your Home?

ID-10098849Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most parents are diligent about keeping poisons out of their home and away from young children.  When they think of poison, they think in terms of harmful substances like household cleaners or pesticides.

That is all well and good, but there is another more insidious poison that requires extra vigilance to keep away from our loved ones.  It is highly infectious and just a tiny amount can spread quickly from one person to another and destroy your family.

I’m talking about attitude.  Have you noticed how one person’s bad attitude can infect a whole group of people?  Mom gets mad and yells at Dad.  Dad yells at the kids.  The kids fight with one another, and on it goes.  If you don’t nip it in the bud, the atmosphere of your home becomes toxic.

grumpy-child-10070716Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As parents, our job is to set the tone for our home.  Our attitude towards life and our reaction to the things that happen throughout our day is imprinted on our children’s psyche.  Do you get angry easily over little things?  Do you over-react?  Are you unable to adjust when the unexpected happens or things don’t go your way?  Are you unforgiving and unloving?  Do unkind words, foul language or inappropriate jokes color your speech?  Do you serve your family with love, or does resentment color everything you do?

Your children are watching everything you say and do.  As adults, our job is to protect the children in our lives from the toxic effects of bad attitudes.  That begins by controlling our own attitude and monitoring those of our children.  Gently correcting a bad attitude and instructing a child in how to maintain a good attitude is part of our job description as parents.  If children are allowed to have a bad attitude or moody personality, they will have few friends and will struggle through life.

Model the behavior you want to see in your children.  If you haven’t in the past, it isn’t too late to begin now.

How do you handle a bad attitude in one of your loved ones?

Meet a 91 year old Superhero…

When you think of superheroes you think of vibrant, young, costumed characters with supernatural powers out to save the world. Superheroes never grow old in comic books or the movies.

superhero

This last weekend I spent time with a 91 year old superhero, but she doesn’t wear a costume or a cape. Her mission isn’t to save the world or even to fight crime, but she is a superhero just the same.

mom 5/31/11

You see, fifty-two years ago her life was irrevocably changed by the birth of her disabled daughter. At a time when doctors were still telling parents to put their disabled children in an institution and forget about them, this superhero rejected the advice of the doctors and specialists and chose to bring her daughter home. When told that her baby would never walk, talk, sit-up or do anything that a normal child could do, like all good superheroes, she refused to give up.

Janice 1963

She fought tenaciously for each small victory for her child: learning to crawl, learning to walk, speaking her first words at the age of three. She never gave up.

Oct 1963

Janice school 1965

Janice and Mom

She dedicated herself to fighting every day for education and therapy for her child. She fought against stereotypes and the preconceived idea that her child could not learn, was uneducable. She fought for job training and meaningful work. She fought to find a suitable program to provide a supervised living arrangement for her daughter. And she did it all while raising six other children.

Janice at the Farm

At an age when most people were retiring and slowing down, our superhero found her life as busy as ever. You see, parenting a special needs child is a journey that never ends. Her daughter came home every other weekend to visit, and our superhero provided her care. Travel, vacations, leisure, those things are for other people. Our superhero may have thought and even longed for them, but she never complained that those things were not something she would ever get to truly enjoy.

In recent years the health of her disabled daughter has declined and once again she needs much help with everyday tasks like bathing and dressing. Her lifelong struggle with seizures has left her weak and her walk unsteady. She struggles with incontinence and needs to be woke several times at night to be taken to the bathroom.

I watched in wonder this weekend as our 91 year old superhero, now weak and frail with age, insisted that she is still able to care for her daughter. She gets up with her in the middle of the night and pushes her to the restroom in a transport chair. She changes wet clothing and puts dry sheets on the bed. Knees stiff with arthritis, back hunched with age, she bends and struggles to put socks on her daughters feet. Hands spotted with age rub lotion on her daughters back. Not a word of complaint ever leaves her mouth.

All the while, she jokes and cajoles to get her daughter to cooperate. To get her to lift her arms to put a shirt on she says, “Hands up! This is a stick-up!” Her daughter replies, “Oh mom, you are just teasing me.” She entices a beautiful smile onto her daughter’s face. My eyes fill with tears at the sight of unconditional love and sacrifice that I am blessed to witness.

Many people would deem this superhero’s life unfulfilling and lacking in reward. However, I was there when her daughter turned to her and said, “Have I kissed you good morning yet, Mom?” How many 91 year olds are lucky enough to hear those sweet words?

Jean Evanger and Janice Evanger

I am not impressed by the superheroes I see in the comics or the movies. Pretend superheroes don’t stand a chance compared to the real life superhero I lived with every day of my life growing up. But, I don’t call her superhero, I just call her mom.

Do You Make These Parenting Mistakes?

tips logo Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1. Trying to be your child’s friend. You are the parent. The time to be your child’s friend is when they are grown. They need you to be their parent now.

2. No consequences for bad behavior. Children need discipline. It is your job to train them to behave and follow instructions. The discipline years are the early years. If you begin to train them to obey when they are young (birth – seven), then they will obey when they are older. Don’t wait until your child is a teenager to try to begin teaching them obedience.

3. No consistent discipline. Make sure your rules and expectations for behavior are always the same. Your child shouldn’t have to guess what the rule might be today. Consistency gives children security and lessens anxiety.

4. Let them watch or listen to anything they want. As a parent, it is your job to protect your child’s innocence. Images and sounds are imprinted on the brain forever. I am appalled when I hear a parent say they let their child watch violent movies, horror films or even some stories on the nightly news. The same goes for soap operas or adult programs that deal with sex. Let them be a child for as long as possible. Yes, they will have to face the real world and be aware of safety concerns, but don’t burden them with adult topics and concerns that they are not equipped to handle.

5. Encourage them to grow up too fast. It breaks my heart to hear people tease eight and nine year olds about boyfriends and girlfriends. Children should not be thinking about boyfriends/girlfriends at that age. Encourage your children to wait until they are older to think about boy/girl relationships. (Don’t even get me started on dressing little girls like adults. Teach your girls to dress modestly.)

6. Laugh when your kids throw a tantrum, use bad language or hit other children. Teach your child to treat others with respect and kindness. As parents, we must model this behavior to our children. Do your children see you treating others with respect and kindness?

7. Don’t give them any spiritual training. The most important investment a parent can make is in the spiritual development of their children. It is the primary role of the parent. Every day is an opportunity to impart spiritual values and lessons to your child. Sending your child out into the world without a spiritual compass is like sending them to sea in a ship without a rudder. Help your child develop a strong faith in God and His plan for their life.

8. Make your home a child centered home. Giving children everything they want and putting your spouse and the needs of your marriage last is not good for the child or the family. Children thrive when parents are in control and providing a structured home environment. Parents are to be the leaders and decision makers in the home.

9. Do everything for them. Don’t give them any responsibilities. When we do everything for our children we rob them of the satisfaction of learning how to do things for themselves. We do it because it makes us feel good to have someone utterly dependent on us. It is not good for the child. Teach your child life skills by giving them chores around the house. Help them to learn the joy of a job well-done.

10. Talk bad about your spouse. Treating our spouse with honor and respect and teaching our children to do the same builds strong families. That doesn’t mean we never disagree, but we should never disparage our spouse in front of our children. Never allow your children to disrespect your spouse, either.

11. Refuse to apologize when you have been wrong. Refusing to admit our failures and mistakes can build walls between parents and children. Never be afraid to apologize and ask forgiveness.

My husband and I were far from perfect as parents. I struggled in some of these areas. It is only by the grace of God that we made it through and have great relationships with our grown children today. I share these thoughts with the goal of encouraging healthy parenting and happy homes.

What are your parenting do’s and don’ts?

14 Steps to End Bullying

bullying 3 Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bullying is a national epidemic. The consequences of bullying are low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and declining academic performance. Here are some tips on how to prevent bullying and how to prepare your child to deal with bullies.

TEACH YOUR CHILD NOT TO BULLY:

1. Model good behavior and social skills to your child. Treat people with respect and kindness. Bullies learn their behavior by watching others.

2. Monitor what your children watch on TV and the video games they play. If you see bullying behavior in a program, talk about it with your child.

3. Teach your child how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. You can start at a young age to help a child learn to deal with anger and disappointment appropriately.

4. Teach your child empathy for others. Talk about feelings. Teach appropriate social skills: sharing, taking turns, saying please and thank you.

5. Go to the library and check out books on bullying. Read them together and talk about the pain of bullying.

6. Build your child’s self-esteem. Remind them of how precious they are to you and God. Remind them that God made them just the way they are and that He has a special plan for their life. Bullies usually have low self-esteem and bully to make themselves feel better.

TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO RESPOND TO BULLYING

1. Teach your child to look people directly in the eye when they speak to them. Maintaining eye contact conveys strength. Bullies like to pick on children that appear weak and fearful.

2. Role play conflict resolution with your child. Teach them how to respond appropriately and defuse the situation.

3. Teach younger children to say “NO!” in a loud voice and walk away.

4. Teach your child to ask for help from trusted adults: parent, teacher, counselor.

5. Have your child find a buddy to sit with or a group of friends. Bullies tend to pick on kids that are alone.

6. Talk to your child, their teacher, and the school. Have a meeting at the school with the parents of the bully and school staff. If the school is not responsive, go to the school board, the police, and the newspaper. You are your child’s advocate.

7. Remind your child again and again that they are precious to you and valuable to God.

8. Pray, pray, pray.

16 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Middle School

Students and parents alike fear the transition to middle school. Here are a few tips to ease the transition and prepare your student to succeed in middle school.

1) Be positive. Yes, there will be lots of changes, but it means your child is growing up and becoming independent. Focus on the positive and help your child have a good attitude and outlook towards middle school. Your attitude sets the tone of your home.

2) Talk about it. Ask your child questions. Do they have any fears or concerns? Find out what those are and address those specific fears. Knowledge of what to expect eases fear of the unknown.

3) Check out the school website with your student. There is a lot of information on the school website.

4) Attend orientation and open house with your student. Take a tour of the building. Find out where the cafeteria, office, gym, etc. are located. Make it a group tour by bringing their friends and their parents along. Shared memories build friendships.

5) Reassure your student that every other student will be experiencing the same feelings and emotions at the start of the new school year. “You are not alone.”

6) Equip them to begin to handle issues on their own. Remind them to ask questions and go to the teacher or school counselor for help, if needed. Remind them that you will be available to them at any time.

7) Help your child develop their social skills. Role play how to introduce yourself to new people. Talk about what it means to be a friend and how to treat people with respect.

8) Encourage them to get involved in clubs, sports, youth group, volunteering, etc. They will build friendships and gain social skills through their involvement.

9) Teach them to be organized and write down their assignments and test dates for each class. This is one of the best tools you can give them and they will use it throughout their lives.

10) Help them develop good study skills. Do they need extra help? Find a tutor or call the school homework line for help. Ask them, “How can I help?”

11) Ensure your child has the supplies and tools necessary for academic success. Help them come to class prepared to work.

12) Talk about bullying and what to do about it. There are books and resources to teach children about bullying. Check these out and read them together. Teach them to walk away from people who would tear them down. Not everyone will like them, and that is okay. Give them resources and skills to deal with difficult people.

13) Talk about the physical changes they will experience as they go through puberty. Please don’t leave this up to the school to teach your child or just ignore the topic all together. Talk about these changes with your child. Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything. Teach them about modesty and treating your body with respect.

14) Teach them cell phone/internet etiquette. Remind them that things posted online or sent in a text can last forever and be forwarded on to many people. Keep private things private. Teach them to NEVER post or forward inappropriate pictures of themselves or others.

15) Ensure your child gets the needed rest to be able to do well in school. Children need a lot of sleep. Set a bedtime and enforce it. Your child’s teachers will thank you. Your students grades will improve along with their attitude when they are getting enough sleep.

16) No cell phones at night. Cell phones should be recharged at night in mom and dad’s bedroom. No child needs to be texting or on the phone after bedtime.

10 Great Things About Today

Two precious ladies, Janice and Mom

# 1. I got to spend time with two of my favorite ladies, my mom and my disAbled sister, Janice.

# 2. We took a trip to visit the place where Janice had worked for twenty years before she had to retire for medical reasons. I have written about this organization before. It is called L’Arche Farm and Gardens and is located in Tacoma, WA. Growing People, Growing Plants

# 3. I had heard about the people at L’Arche for years but never had the chance to meet them until today. What a treat! Here is Janice with an old friend and co-worker, Debbie. Janice lit up when she saw her old friend.

Janice and Debbie

# 4. When we arrived, everyone was busy at their assigned job. Everyone, no matter their disAbility has a job to do at L’Arche. We took time to take a short tour of a couple of the green houses while we waited for the barbeque to begin. It was really hot, but nobody was complaining, they just kept right on working.

Greenhouse 2

Greenhouse 1

# 5. We were blessed by the great artwork in the room where we ate lunch. Beautiful!

family and friends at L'Arche

cross at L'Arche

# 6. They grow awesome plants and vegetables! They sell them at Farmer’s Markets, fairs, churches, etc. They also sell crafts and eggs.

bountiful harvest

# 7. They remembered Janice and were so glad she came back for a visit. This really blessed my heart.

Janice and Friend

# 8. They pulled out old photos to share. Look how young Janice looks in this picture! Click on the photo and read the kind words they wrote about Janice.

blurb about Janice

# 9. The program coordinator who hired Janice way back in 1987 is still there at L’Arche today…still “Growing People, Growing Plants”. That’s Pat (Program Coordinator) and Janice in the old picture below. (My camera battery died before I could get a new photo today.) They used to have epic water gun fights on Friday’s after the work was done for the day.

Janice and Pat 1987

# 10. They asked us back! They are having a reunion in August with people coming from all over the country to visit. At the reunion, Janice hopes to get to see a lot of the people in this old photo. Can’t wait!

the team from L'Arche 1987

If you live in Pierce County, check out L’Arche Farm and Gardens. You won’t be disappointed.

Boost Your Child’s Learning Potential

mother reading to baby Image courtesy of Jomphong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Studies have shown that the most important thing you can do to help your child do well in school is to read to them. You have the amazing power to boost your child’s learning potential and increase their language skills by reading to them every day.

Not only will your child learn basic sounds that form words, they will learn how words are put together in sentences and how to enunciate them clearly. Books open up the world to your child. They will see and experience new things through the characters in the books you read.

family reading book Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the best benefits of reading to your children is the close bond you will form with them over time as you go on reading adventures together. There is nothing better than snuggling together and reading a book. Make it a routine part of your day. Bedtime is a great time to share a quiet story and prepare a child to calm down for sleep.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

It is never too early (or too late) to begin reading to your child. Some people read to their babies while they are in the womb. Start now and spend a few minutes each day reading with your child.

Have lots of books around the house. Do your children see you reading? Let each child pick a book to read, or take turns picking a book to read.

Go to the library often. Get your child a library card. Teach them to be responsible and take good care of the books they borrow. Many libraries have story times for children, and some even have story times for special needs children. If they don’t have such a program, why not suggest it to them?

Pick books that are age appropriate for your child. For younger children choose simpler themes. You don’t necessarily need to read the book verbatim. Simplify the language as needed. Children with special needs may have a shorter attention span. Keep it short and simple to begin with and keep it moving along to keep their interest.

Children usually have favorite books that they want to hear over and over again. Don’t push them to read something new right away. For special needs children re-reading the same book several times helps increase their retention.

Allow time to point out pictures in the book and ask questions. Talk about the story. Ask them what they think will happen next. Have them tell you the story some time. You may be surprised at how much they remember.

Books that rhyme are great for children with speech or language delays. Have the children repeat some of the words in the story. If there are animals in the story, have them make the animal sounds.

Make it interesting by using inflection in your voice. Make it fun. Use props. Act out part of the story. Make up a silly song to go along with the book or use hand motions for certain words.

For children who have trouble with their fine motor skills, glue pompoms onto the pages of the book to make it easier for them to grasp and turn the page.

For the visually impaired find books with extra large print. If your library doesn’t have these, ask them to consider buying some larger print books for visually impaired children. It never hurts to ask.

Record a video of your child reading a book. Kids love to see and hear themselves on camera. It doesn’t have to be perfect. For some special needs kids just making the basic sounds of the words is a big accomplishment. Celebrate their success.

Don’t make reading to your child a chore or something to cross off your to-do list. Relax. Don’t make a schedule or a rigid goal of reading so many pages each day. Take a break when your child needs one. Enjoy this time with your child. Just have fun! Before you know it, your child will be on the road to becoming a lifelong reader. girl carrying books Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diet and Nutrition and the Special Needs Child

healthy plate The quality of our diet affects our health throughout our lives. As adults, we all know how good we feel when we are eating a healthy diet. It should come as no surprise then that diet and nutrition have a tremendous impact on children, especially our special needs children.

Studies have shown that nutritional deficiencies can profoundly effect a child’s ability to learn, communicate, think, socialize and adapt to new situations. Since these are areas that many special needs children already struggle with, it is vitally important that we make sure their bodies are equipped to do the work they need to do by providing them with a nutritious diet.

Special needs children can have a variety of issues with food: whether they display a lack of interest in eating, food aversions and sensitivities, difficulty swallowing, fixation on eating only one food, negative reactions to food textures and color, the list is endless.

Talk with your doctor, nutritionist or therapist about the best course of action for your child. A nutritional assessment will give you a good course of action specific to your child’s needs. Talk to other parents of special needs children and find out what is working for them. Research diet and nutrition online. Here is a Mayo Clinic article on basic guidelines for a healthy diet for kids: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/childrens-health/in-depth/nutrition-for-kids/art-20049335

Don’t be discouraged if changing your child’s eating habits takes a long time. Don’t give up. Just keep offering small amounts of the new foods you want your child try. Celebrate each small victory along the way. Be patient. Give yourself some grace.

A friend of mine whose son is autistic tells me that eating a healthy, organic diet has helped him tremendously. Some children with autism have problems with milk and gluten. There is a lot of information online about diets for children with autism. Finding the right diet for your child can help. You can find more about the Autism Diet here: http://www.autism-diet.com/

Studies suggest that a high-fat, low-carb, ketogenic diet can help prevent seizures in children who do not respond to medication. You can find more information here: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/treating-seizures-and-epilepsy/dietary-therapies/ketogenic-diet

cuttingveggiesEating habits are formed early in life. Children watch what their parents are eating and learn to eat the same things. Do you model healthy eating habits? Do you keep healthy snacks easily available to your children? Set the example for your children and you will reap the benefits of good health right along with them. If possible, have your children help you shop and let them pick out the vegetables and fruit. Let them help you prepare some of the food you eat. Involve them in the decisions and preparation and it will go a long way towards helping them develop an interest in healthy food.

Some special needs children struggle with obesity due to limited mobility or conditions like low muscle tone which make it harder to keep weight off. Every child should be encouraged to find a sport they enjoy. The joy of movement and being a part of a team encourages friendships and cures the social isolation that so many special needs kids face. There are many adaptive sports teams today: Miracle League, TOPSoccer, and Special Olympics to name just a few. Check something out in your area and help your child get moving.

Don’t let your finances stop you from getting out and having fun. There are lots of free activities available. Take a walk. Go to the park. Call the zoo or museum and find out when they have a free day. Attend free community concerts or plays.

Always check with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your child’s diet, but remember that you know your child best. Every child, every family is different.

What kind of diet works best for your child? I would love to hear what works and what doesn’t work that you have tried.