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Raising Healthy and Independent Kids

Updated on June 13, 2011
Head Start is an exceptionally good program for teaching 3 to 5 yr. old children
Head Start is an exceptionally good program for teaching 3 to 5 yr. old children

Let's begin with raising healthy kids first, and then we will talk about the indipendence part of their lives. Teaching your kids when they are young to have healthy habits is not difficult if you begin to do it from the time they are toddlers. So many two year old kids do not eat correctly for they do not like vegetables, for the taste, or sometimes just because of the color of them. I have my two year old grandson staying with me for the first time ever, and I have been unable to give any guidance to the young mother because of where they live. They are in the process of moving into this town now, and I was shocked to find out that at the age of two he was barely eating any solid foods, and existed mainly on bottle after bottle of milk. Even through the night, he wakes up crying anywhere from 3 to 6 times, at which times he is given a freshly refilled bottle to put him back to sleep.

When I asked the reason behind these habits, mom told me that he wakes up through the night because he is hungry. The child does not come when he is called, and actually runs the other direction when he hears his name. Anytime he wants something, he cries and whines and does not talk very much. What talking he does do, cannot be understood. To me the whole situation seems to me like the boy is ready to grow up some and mom isn't assisting him with it at all. The lack of most solid table foods shocked me, for my kids all ate finger foods by the time they were a year old, and where mostly off bottles by the age of two to three. This type of parenting is lazy in my opinion. The thing is, that if she took the time to teach him to drink from a cup, talk some, and eat solid foods so that he would sleep through the night, she would find that her parenting responsibilities would take less than half the time it is taking her to deal with him now.

Feeding a child vegetables from a young age is not only going to keep them in good health, but will stop a lot of table "fights" later on when you want him to eat them and it becomes a battle of the wills. Since they have moved in with me, and will be here for about another two or three weeks, I have taken the opportunity to interfere and ask her why. For example, allowing him to cry when he wants something is what an infant does. A two year old should be able to indicate his wants and needs some other way. When he began crying I asked him simply, "Why are you crying? Do you want something?" He immediately stopped crying and pointed at what he wanted. I continued by telling him to use his words, and he did, although I could not understand any of it. He is just not growing up due to her lack of taking the time to teach him.

This kind of parenting is what is causing so many kids to grow up and not be able to act responsibly, for they were not taught that and many many other things. I have been giving my grandson solid foods, and he cannot use utinsels yet, but he sure does know where the food goes. She was suprised that he was eating so well for me.

Things You Can Do To Encourage Independence

Between the ages of 1 and 5, children soak up information and learn things as fast as it can be put before them. It has been proved that if you make flashcards with for an example, a color on one side and the word for that color on the other side, a child as young as 18 months old can and will learn to recognize the color and can read the word for that color in no time. Also, the very things that they have taken out of our schools, music and arts, have been proven to promote a greater understanding and easier learning in the math skills. Kids who are encouraged to learn a wide variety of things will grow up to have a far better and varied field of interests as adults.

Children who are taught to read in addition to watching television, who learn that their rules do not change and are consistent, and that they will be expected to do certain chores, will grow up to have a more realistic understanding of the world we live in. They will know that work brings rewards, and that finishing something has its own rewards. These things all should be started with children from a young age, for not only is it easier for them to learn them, but to accept them as a way of life. They will grow up knowing how to soak up knowledge and use it as a way to answer their own questions as they get older. Give your children the best start you can, for their sake mostly, but also for your own sake too, for raising a child who realizes that there are values to the things they have been taught, will have a much happier adult life, and you will know that you gave that person the best start you possibly could.

Mental health, physical health, and emotional health are all important in our kids life, and giving your child a head start in keeping these areas of their lives growing due to the ability to feed each of these parts of their lives, with food, with knowledge, and with a curiosity to keep learning, gives them the best chance for happiness you can .

Training a child to have a routine or a daily schedule is also a very simple way to ingrain habits that they will then fall back on for the rest of their lives. If your child knows that after school he is expected to do his homework, and after his responsibility of finishing that is done, he may then play. This very simple habit is something that will stick with him for years to come. This is the very first and best step to not allow the start of procrastination. If they learn in first grade that it really does not take much time or energy to just get their work done and over with, they won't grow up with lazy work habits.

Not giving your children money, or an allowance, but encouraging them to work for the money they get I think is the biggest single thing you can do to let them see that nothing in this world is ever handed to anyone, and that if you want something bad enough, you will put the effort into earning it. Whether it is a big item or even if it is only a few pennies for gumballs, allowing them to get used to working for those things in life that they want, gives them a reality based guide to how things work in life when they get older, and will also teach them to be providers for their families later on. There is nothing wrong with making your kids work, and getting them used to doing a job and doing it well.

All of these small things, when done consistently in the daily lives of your family, so that the children not only work themselves but they see you working and being that good example for them to follow as they grow older. Lead by example, and lay a good basic groundwork of the rules of life, and when your kids get old enough to go to college, to begin their families, you will find that they did learn those things as kids, and they will not have such a hard time figuring out what to do and how to be a good adult.


Submit a Comment

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    7 years ago from Oxnard

    UPDATE-- Since I wrote this article, mom has begun feeding the child to some extent, has found that he does not like new foods, so maybe we are making a little difference.... :)

  • ArtByCari profile image


    7 years ago

    This breaks my heart. It's great that your grandson has someone like you to watch over him.

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    7 years ago from Oxnard

    Gus, that is funny, and not to date you, but that was the dark ages, I remember my grandpa saying something similiar, but we were polish and he said it was jelly bread....but seriously, thanks for the comments, and I am hoping that my son learned his lessons well, and will pass on his past to his new step son, we can only hope.

  • GusTheRedneck profile image

    Gustave Kilthau 

    7 years ago from USA

    Howdy ddsurfsca - There is no way that I would make light of your fine article here, but, way back in the dark ages (prior to Dr. Spock) I was advised that the best way to train a kid to toughness was to feed the kid lots of turnips - and to train a kid to be pleasant and tractable was to serve the kid plenty of macaroni and cheese. Seems to have worked here. Don't know how it worked with others.

    Gus :-)))

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    This saddens me to read this and I agree it is lazy parenting. The Mom I would gather is not your daughter, so choosing your words carefully is on the agenda. She needs to hear from someone, hopefully she will listen to you, if just a little. Great informative hub.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    7 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    I am really happy to be your first Voted UP & AWESOME~~ and I pray this valuable HUB gets many readers... these are the same values my parents used and they work~~ I fear they are sadly lacking in some of our parents today-- children need structure so badly/ they depend on us for it as adults. THANK YOU...!!


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