Raising children in today’s ever-changing world is certainly a challenge. As a father of three amazing children, I’m asked every day, “What can I do to become a better parent?” As a physician, I feel that parents are the key to the health of our children. Life for our children is vastly different than when we were growing up. The internet and smartphones are just a few of the things that have changed the lives of our kids today.
In this episode, I’ll talk to several parents and experts on what we can do to raise healthy, well-balanced children.
My first guests are Sue DeCaro and Erin Taylor, two experts to help us raise healthy and well-rounded children. They are so passionate about changing the world and making it a better place, they co-founded a company called Building Connected Communities. Their goal is to help navigate life in families, to support parents who are raising children.
When it comes to technology, Sue says the most important thing parents can do is to “model for our children the ways in which we expect them to use technology, in our own behaviors”. That means we shouldn’t be glued to our digital devices all day long. That’s not the right modeling if we want kids to have digital-free time, which they really do need to thrive and grow. Sue and Erin believe we need to look at technology in a positive way instead of being frustrated with our children who can’t seem to get enough of it. Of course, parents need to set boundaries when it comes to media use, but we can use technology as a way to connect with our kids. We could ask them more about what they’re doing, what they like about it and possibly join them in playing or watching games and videos. Sue and Erin believe it’s a great way to bond with kids. I talk to Sue and Erin about other important parental advice and I particularly like their stance on how to discipline children, using it as a teaching moment, instead of punishment.
My next guest is Dr. Elisa Song, a holistic pediatrician, whose work focuses on healthy kids, happy kids, and the thriving child summit. During her residency, when Dr. Song was working with very sick children, she realized that modern medicine was just putting band-aids on symptoms. She felt they were not getting to the root cause of what was really going on and children were not healing. Wanting to help and discover the root cause of these issues, Dr. Song learned about functional medicine and holistic pediatrics.
Now she is helping children heal from the inside out, and that includes body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Song believes that our kids’ body and brain are the most precious commodity to nourish. And getting the right nutrition from whole foods is the most important step. Dr. Song shows us delicious healthy foods and explains why our children need them. We also discuss how being label-smart helps our kids, and why sleep, mindfulness and stress reduction are also extremely important.
A mother of four children joins me. Katie Kimball is also the creator of Kids Cook Real Food. Lots of parents complain that their kids don’t eat vegetables, but Katie believes if you get them more involved with food, and teach them to cook, then kids will be more likely to eat healthily. And that includes veggies. That’s because children are more likely to try new things when they’ve made it themselves. Now many parents think cooking with kids can be a time-suck, but healthy recipes can be easy and simple. Plus it’s a great way to spend time with your children. And if kids learn to cook when they’re young, they’ll know how to cook when they leave home. So if you want healthy kids who turn into healthy young adults, you need to educate them first.
Katie’s little daughter joins us and shows off the cooking tips she’s learned from her Mom. She demonstrates “safe knife skills” while Katie explains how children should properly hold one when cutting food. Katie and Leah show how fun and easy cooking can be. I love how it provides an opportunity for education, connection, and quality time with our children.
My last guest is Dr. Madiha Saeed, a board-certified integrative holistic family physician, and a health coach to thousands. She says, “That we have literally, as parents, have our children’s brains in our hands”. We are born with billions of cells, but limited connections. Dr. Madiha says that with love and care, you can start building “love and care” type of connections. And these release oxytocin, that feel good hormone. If a child doesn’t receive love and care, depending on our life circumstances harsh connections can be built instead. And these raise the stress response system. So to have a caring, loving child, you can help them build positive connections through positive life experiences. And you can start right at birth.
After dealing with many patients with chronic diseases, her own chronic health issues, and raising four children, Dr. Saeed realized that doctors are not taught enough to keep a patient healthy and happy. Doctors are not taught about nutrition or parenting. So she made it her mission to provide truly integrative care. Dr. Saeed is one of my favorite people on the planet and I know you’ll love her enthusiasm and expert advice. So join me as we talked more about the importance of connection, love, and care in this episode. And you won’t want to miss her four S’s and why they are the key pieces when it comes to digestive health and detoxification.
I hope you enjoy my “New Age Parenting” episode.