Health Parenting

The Toxins In Our Children

Our bodies were made to keep us protected from outside invaders. Invaders that could threaten our survival and well-being. Little did we know that throughout our entire lives, from the time we were born, we would constantly be introduced to elements and chemicals that would poison our bodies little by little, causing havoc within us.

Things we use to clean our homes with, what we use to shine our vehicles with, nail polishes we use on our little girls, perfumes we spray on each other, what we eat and feed our very own children, our furniture we sit on to relax and to eat on, our daily hygiene products – Everything! Everything that we’ve only known of has toxins in it that eventually harm the very cells that make us, crushing our health from the inside and out.

We need to know more about these toxins so we can reduce our exposure to the worst of them and protect ourselves and our children from the harmful effects.

“How is this so harmful to our children?”

“Unregulated chemicals are increasing in use and are prevalent in products that Americans use everyday.”- ‘Toxic Exposure: Chemicals Are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture | UC San Francisco (’. That’s me and you. That’s your children and grandchildren. Many of us have used plastic baby bottles for our children not realizing the chemicals from the plastic seep into our children’s milk as soon as they are born. It was found that BPA- a chemical that is used to harden plastics for baby bottles, toys, and other products, could harm the endocrine system of fetuses and infants. Thankfully, the FDA outlawed BPA from being in any baby products as of 2012, however, scientists believe that the products that are now used to replace BPA could be just as harmful. That is just one instance of what we use daily that is unhealthy for us. There are trillions more!

Childhood Cancers

The environment that we expose our children to play a role in childhood cancers. Long-term exposure to some household cancer causing products threaten their health. Harmful chemicals can enter the body from simply breathing in while the floors are being mopped in your home. Many of these chemicals can also be absorbed into the skin as tables are sprayed down before sitting to eat. Researchers at Georgetown’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center found a higher level of common household pesticides in children’s urine who also were diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia between the ages of 3-7. – ‘Common Household Pesticides Linked To Childhood Cancer Cases In Washington Area — ScienceDaily’. House hold items that are used to bring fresh or clean fragrances to the home carry chemicals that are harmful to us and our young children. Long-term exposure to this may cause cancer as well. To be safe, make your own homemade air fresheners using fragrance-free products. There are different things you can use for house cleaning. Anything to possibly reduce the chances of childhood cancers for our babies is worth a try.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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ADHD, as many know, has been linked to lead. Lead can be found in children’s costume jewelry and toys. The intoxication of this leads to a syndrome that resembles ADHD. Higher blood levels of lead is found in children with higher levels of ADHD. Pesticides are another form in which cause neurological behavioral problems. Bug sprays that are used on our fruits and vegetables can be ingested if not washed correctly or long enough. A different study showed that those who had ADHD had high levels of organophosphates, which is a chemical found in the bug sprays that are introduced onto our fruits and veggies. To prohibit this from happening to your children, buy organic fruits and vegetables, always. I believe your child, any child, is worth the extra cost. Aside from fruits and vegetables, food coloring snacks are also a culprit for ADHD. Food coloring has been found to cause damage to genotoxicity. Food coloring can be found in not only foods such as snacks, candies, and desserts, but also our drinks much like orange sodas, grape sodas, and some kids juices. As mentioned earlier, BPA can no longer be used in baby products, though that does not include baby shampoo plastic bottles and baby lotions. To avoid this being another link to ADHD and your child, stop using plastics and especially those plastics that are marked “No. 7” on the bottom as those are the ones that are often linked to ADHD due to BPA. – ‘Toxins in the Home Linked to ADHD in Children – ADHD Center – Everyday Health’.

Be In The Know

There are about 100,000 synthetic chemicals that are being added to our everyday products and lifestyle. A majority of these chemicals have not been tested for their effects on us humans, much less the effects it has on children and developing fetuses whose body’s are much more susceptible to ailments by these toxins. – ‘Impacts Of Environmental Toxins On The Health Of Children (’. Everyday more and more children are falling ill whether it is the two that I just touched the surface on above or heart conditions and many others. Many of these diseases/illnesses can be formed from pre-natal exposure coupled with genetics and perhaps the additional environmental introduction after birth is to blame.

It is no longer in doubt that the chemicals in our environment whether it be from our homes, schools, and outside, are affecting the health and development of our children. In 2002, the World Heath Organization and United Nations Environment Program estimated that about 3 million children under the age of 5 die every year due to environmental hazards. That was18 years ago, I can only imagine what the numbers are like now.

Do your research on everything you use. When buying foods for you and your kids, turn the box over and read what it is you are putting inside of your bodies. It’ll only take a second. Google the ingredients and chemicals that you aren’t familiar with. Go organic. Choose glass over plastic. Be intentional with you and your child[ren]’s health and what you feed your body’s. Be in the know, stay in the know. Our children’s lives depend on it.

Covid Parenting

Finding Safe Childcare During COVID-19

Covid-19 has challenged so many aspects of our lives. We have lost time with our closest relatives and friends along with jobs that gave us financial freedom and stability. Things have certainly changed and a new normal has emerged from all of this. As we know, life has to continue on, but with extra precautions than before.

It is already difficult for a mother to return to work on a regular basis now add a life threatening pandemic on top of that. Not, only do we have to consider who is responsible enough to care for our child(ren) while we are away, but also what are their activities when they are not working for us?

I chose to write on this topic, because I, like many other parents, am currently having to deal with making this important decision in the coming days. I will be returning to work soon and need to find someone whom I feel is safe enough to come into my home and be in close contact with my son on a daily basis.

Before 2020’s epidemic became a nightmare to our country, I was already picky when it came to finding the perfect sitter for my toddler. I worried about how he was treated, if he was comfortable, if he ate well. You know, typical parental worries. Now, though, I cannot help but worry about what the potential candidate is doing while not at work. Is she/he hanging around in big crowds? Is he/she wearing masks or wandering carelessly out in public? This certainly has brought on a new type of anxiety for parents, including myself.

I have put together a compilation of things you should think about before interviewing your next potential sitter for your child(ren) and some questions that could help in your decision making.

Before the Interview

It is important to be prepared before having someone come into your house, yours and your family’s safe zone. Where has this stranger that you are inviting into your home been prior to being here?

First thing First:
Shoe covers: Shoe covers will help protect you from any thing the candidate may be carrying on the bottom of their shoes. I should have been doing this long before covid, but of course didn’t think of it until after. People go into public restrooms, step into public parking lots where others spit, vomit, and some even urinate on. So, yes shoe covers are a great idea.

Masks: Nothing different or out of the ordinary with this one. Masks are important and necessary to keep them from spreading their germs while they speak, laugh, and breathe.

Social Distance: When I am interviewing someone I usually like to shake their hands, but of course with covid being a part of the world for now, that won’t be an option. Stay 6-8 feet apart when interviewing the individual. If the day is good, then interview outside. You don’t know if this person or the next, for that matter, is going to be the perfect fit for your child and there is no need to have different individuals coming in and out of your house. Unless you know for sure you are wanting to give this candidate a shot, then you can invite them and show them around.

Be Prepared: And lastly, the obvious- have your interview questions and expectations in hand. You don’t waste time thinking about details you may have left out or want to know about them. As mentioned earlier, these questions have to be a little different than before due to how times have changed rather quickly.

Interview Questions

  1. How are you trying to reduce the risk of contracting covid?

2. Do you use masks and gloves when you leave the house?

3. Do you still gather with family and friends?

4. Do you have siblings or anyone in the household who physically go to school or go to work? If so, how are you all being careful there?

5. Do you visit relatives? If so, do you all wear masks while in their presence?

6. Have any of you had covid in the past?

7. Have you been around anyone who has recently had covid?

8. Do the people you live with practice social distancing?

9. Are you okay with wearing a mask while interacting with the child(ren)?

10. Are you okay with checking your temperature every morning?

11. Are you okay wearing a face shield in addition to the mask?

12. Do you have the flu shot?

13. Will you help with disinfecting frequently while working?

Being Safe is #1 Priority

Not only do these questions give you information for your protection, but for theirs as well. They are probably just as nervous as you are, to come into another’s home during this time. Some questions may be a little personal, but if this has to do with your family’s health, then you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to ask the questions necessary to make sure you are making the right choice. This may be a little extreme in other people’s eyes and that is okay.

Your family’s health should always be your number one concern and you shouldn’t have to walk on egg shells on that matter. We shouldn’t look for perfection, but for safety as much as possible during these trying times. If you are as cautious as I am, but still need to go to work, these are some questions you might want to consider when interviewing your child’s next potential nanny. Wouldn’t you rather have a hard conversation and ask hard questions than to assume, be wrong and contaminate those you love, possibly causing permanent damage to their health or even worse, death?


Talking to your Children Before Bedtime

Have you ever noticed that kids want to talk more right before its time to go to sleep? It’s not that they completely are trying to avoid sleeptime, but its actually the perfect time for children to open up. Bedtime routines bring feelings of intimacy and closeness with their parents allowing them to voice their concerns about whatmay have happened throughout their day at school or with friends. This is why, bedtime is perfect to let your children know a few important things that could really make a difference in their lives.

You Are Proud
Let your child(ren) know how proud you are of them. This helps them know that they are doing things right. This also helps them focus on the positive. Feedback from parents is essential to maintain a good connection with them. And feedback is something that you will continue to give throughout their entire life so its best to guide them in the right direction early on. Telling your kids you are proud of them is not just to say it, but this also helps them in developing their own sense of pride and accomplishments, which have no age limit.

You Believe In Them
Encourage your child to never give up. Failing is okay, every one fails. It is the times that they get back up to accomplish what they want that matters most. Parents have to let their children know that they believe in them. Sticking with your child through thick and thin is exactly what they need especially if they didn’t get the grade they expected on their science project or if they failed to catch the ball at their baseball game. If you give up on them they will grow up with that same mentality and end up giving up on themselves as adults. Strong willed children end up growing into leaders who do not get bent up when something goes wrong in their plans.

Bad Days Happen
Children will have bad days and when they do they depend on you to guide them in the right direction. Remind them that bad days happen, But that doesn’t mean that it is a reflection of who they are and that just because they had a bad day today it does not mean that they shouldn’t look forward to having a great day tomorrow. Comfort them and let them know the day has already happened and now they can focus on the good things that did happen. Practice reflective listening during this hard time with them. Each time they feel heard it brings the emotion down and they can see whatever made their day so bad, as what it is and not make more out of it.

You Support Them
Tell your child that they will always have your support. We get so busy in life and making sure our children eat, do homework, chores, and bathe that we get distracted from the most important thing: How our children feel. Let your child know that no matter what happens you will always be their number one supporter. It is crucial for them to know that you will always value their views and opinions. Just a simple, “I will always support you no matter what.” will open up the door for them come to you with their fears, thoughts, and impressions about anything and everything. Reassure them that you are listening and not judging.

You Love Them
When you are angry with your children, you love them. When you are happy with your children, you love them. You love them when you wake up, when you drop them off at school, and when you are busy making dinner. They need to know that there is no one in the world that could love them as much as you do. They need to know that you love them unconditionally even amidst disagreements and arguments. Let them know that your love for them is not one that fades away or could ever. Regardless of who they are, what they do, who they become, how they perform, what they accomplish or don’t accomplish, they will always have your love. Love tells them that they are valuable. It gives them courage, hope, and joy.

When kids feel a strong sense of acceptance and love they develop a positive self esteem and they feel safe and secure not only within themselves, but you as well. Talking to your kids before shutting down for the night resets their thinking for a better tomorrow with the confidence that they need. Letting our children know that they can talk with us about anything will encourage them to deal with whatever they are feeling outwardly instead of holding it all in. Take the time and talk with you kids tonight and see what a difference it will make.

Family Parenting

The Forgiving Hearts of our Children

I know that you have had some pretty questionable days that leave you feeling as if you are an unworthy parent. If anything, it was simply a tough day for you. The children were at each others throats again and you could not seem to get anything done around the house without dealing with their temper tantrums, screaming and crying, and, “Mommmmmmmm!” be called out all day long. So what did you do? You put one in timeout for hitting his little sister. You yelled at the other. You probably even threatened to punish them both from their games and television at some point.

Later in the evening after bathing the children and sending them to sleep you laid your exhausted body down and thought, “I was really harsh today. I should have been more patient with them. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did.” It is normal for us to grow weary after being frayed at the edges and pulled tight in every direction.

We tend to be highly critical of ourselves after having a stressful day with the kids. We truly make ourselves believe that we are inadequate parents and feel extremely guilty for showing tough love at times. The next day we may even fall into the trap of being a little too lenient with them due to the remorseful feeling that lingered on from the day before. We still have to remember to stay consistent about behaviors that are and aren’t acceptable in order to raise kids that will grow to be responsible adults with great mannerisms.

What you probably have not yet realized, is that our children have the most forgiving hearts that we could ever know and there is no need to be hard on ourselves for having days where we are emotionally and mentally strained.

I am profoundly humbled by my son when I have a difficult day with him. After yelling at him or placing him in timeout, he quickly forgives. It is almost as if he had forgotten that I just got after him. He still hugs and showers me with kisses right after. He looks at me with the most loving eyes. Our kids are no grudge holders. They do not hold the tough days against us. Even after him upsetting me I still feel annoyed a few hours later, but when I see how forgiving his heart is, it inspires me to be as forgiving as he. The next day all I can do is vow to have more patience with him and to remember to forgive as quickly as him.

Some things shouldn’t even matter like water being spilt on the floor, or getting their outfit dirty. We have to keep in mind that carpets dry, clothes get washed, but our babies, well, they only stay little for a little while so we must soak it all in while we have the chance. If only we had the forgiving hearts of a child, who knows how different the world would be today.

Your little ones still think of you as their hero. You still hold the keys to their pure hearts. They look up to you regardless of how awful you think you acted with them today. You could do no wrong in their eyes. So, tonight when you lay your tired head down and you are left in the middle of the night tossing and turning with a heavy heart, know that they have already forgiven you. They love you. They don’t see you as a monster even if they cried like you were one earlier. Tomorrow is another day and they will love you just as much if not more. You have been forgiven already and don’t even know it yet. You need only to have the same forgiving hearts as they and forgive yourself.