Nurture Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence
We want the best for our children. From the moment they’re born, we look for ways to stimulate learning potential and strengthen their IQ (Intelligence Quotient). While studies differ on whether we can actually enhance IQ, they concur that we can – and should – support Emotional Intelligence/Quotient (EQ). Doing so not only improves a child’s ability to learn, it provides tools for managing emotions and developing coping skills that result in healthy self-esteem and good decision-making.
EQ is defined as the ability to identify and manage emotions, as well as having regard for the emotions of others. People with high EQ exhibit leadership skills and are typically excellent team members. Of course we want our children to have a high EQ. However, with our busy adult lives and our child’s organized play, we seem to be ignoring its importance. Today, nearly one in five children has an emotional disorder such as anxiety, depression, or behavioral conduct problems.
According to Dr. Gerald Newmark, founder of the Children’s Project, “[It is vital] to create a positive atmosphere in which family members interact with each other in ways that make everyone feel respected, important, accepted, and secure.” In doing so, “we can become a powerful force for developing emotionally healthy and high-achieving children and families.”
Try incorporating these strategies into your family’s routine:
Model Coping Skills. Children learn by observing you. Research shows this begins in the prenatal period, when developing babies sense maternal stress. When your anxiety levels get high, don’t just muddle on. Take time out. Do something just for you. This kind of self-awareness models emotional health and shows children how to cope with stress.
Solve Problems Together. Whether it’s kids who don’t want to get out of bed for school or an epic struggle around chores, open communication is the best way to reduce tension. Talk with your kids about what’s important to your family and why. Invite them to offer solutions.
Listen to Your Kids. Too often adults view kids’ problems as insignificant or silly. But our children see themselves as real people with real problems. Ask them about their challenges and concerns. When children feel heard, they feel validated and that builds trust between them and you.
Express Gratitude. Acknowledge the good things in your life; this steers focus away from negative events and gives new perspective to tough situations. Keep a family journal, or during mealtime have each person express what she or he is grateful for that day.
Honor a Child’s Spirit. Children can experience profound moments that shape their lives in enduring ways. It can be a moment of wonder (seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time) or an awareness of their own inner wisdom (an ‘a-ha’ moment). It can be moments in which children ask big questions about life. Set aside time to discover and discuss these experiences.They can become cornerstones in a child’s evolving sense of themselves and an awareness of something greater than the material world.
There are so many reasons – and so many ways – to love avocado. A culinary superfood, avocados provide up to 20 nutrients including vitamins K, C and E, as well as folate, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. In fact, they actually have more potassium than bananas.
Unlike most fruits, avocado is low in carbohydrates and high in a healthy fat called oleic acid. Like olive oil, oleic acid has been linked to health benefits such as reducing inflammation, protecting cells against cancer, and reducing cholesterol. This amazing fruit also improves digestive health and helps your body absorb other nutrients.
There are limitless ways to add avocado to snacks or meals: Use avocado as a healthy spread on toast; blend it into scrambled eggs; add it to dips, salsa, or soup; slice for a salad topping.
Avocado is optimally ripe when the fruit is mildly soft to touch. Its flesh should be creamy and green-gold in color. If you don’t use the whole fruit at one time, keep leftover avocado fresh by leaving the pit in the unused portion and allow it to sit, uncovered, on a counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge (still uncovered) for up to two days. When you want to use the other half, simply peel off the brown crust to reveal a soft and deliciously ripe avocado beneath.
Beta-carotene has two important functions in the body: It functions as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage, and it can be converted to Vitamin A (retinol), critical to maintaining skin and eye health.
Without beta-carotene, our bodies are unable to manufacture Vitamin A. And without sufficient Vitamin A, nearly all of our systems are at risk, including lungs, kidneys and immune function. Research shows that people who consume the necessary levels of beta-carotene are able to lower their risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, macular degeneration, and other age-related diseases.
You can get beta-carotene from a variety of foods:
- Chinese cabbage
- Yam/Sweet Potato
The National Institutes of Health recommends a daily intake of 3,000 IU for adult men and 2,310 IU for adult women. For children, amounts vary according to age. While beta-carotene deficiency is rare in most industrialized countries, it can be difficult getting the recommended levels simply from food. That’s where supplements come in. In consult with your healthcare practitioner, design a plan that meets your individual needs. You may want to consider a supplement with a mixture of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.
It’s possible to take too much beta-carotene. This is usually indicated by a yellowing of the skin, palms or soles and is known as carotenemia. Once consumption of beta carotene is reduced, this yellowing fades over time. As always, your best outcomes are achieved when working closely with your healthcare practitioner.
Rose Hips for Wellness
There’s nothing like a rose to stimulate feelings of wellbeing. And nothing quite like rose hip – the actual fruit of a rose – to enhance health and promote wellness.
Of all the roses, the beautiful Wild Dog Rose is the type most often cultivated for their hips. Once the flower has bloomed, and all the petals have fallen off, the hip is picked and used in a range of herbal preparations. Rose hips contain a variety of antioxidants (especially Vitamin C), Vitamin A, carotenoids, and other plant compounds that are recognized for their role in preventing degenerative disease, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Many natural health practitioners use rose hip to treat wounds and inflammation. Rose hip oil is commonly used in cosmetics as it has the ability to revitalize skin cells. It has been used to treat scars, acne and burns. In Germany, rose hip powder (capsule) has been used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Herbalists have long used rose hip tea to ease constipation and as a supplement to treat a cold.
Rose hip pulp can be incorporated into sauces or made into a jelly. Standardized extracts are also available in capsules. Always check with your wellness practitioner before using any herbal remedy.