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Do you have a young child whose weight or eating habits are out of control? Need some real world help with ‘taming the cookie monster’? Here are some things that worked for our family.
Our daughter, now 14 years old, was plump from birth and thrived happily for her first year on a combination of breast milk and formula. When she was completely weaned and eating only solid foods, however, she began to gain a great deal of weight at an unhealthy rate. This continued for the next year until, on the advice of her pediatrician, we began to modify our daughter’s eating habits. She was barely two years old, but her doctor felt strongly that we should make some changes before her weight became a lifelong problem. The goal was to prevent further weight gain until her height could catch up with her weight, without depriving her of nutrition or having her feel deprived of the comforting aspects of food.
I’m happy to report that our daughter is now a slender, healthy teenager with good eating habits and no ‘food issues’, but learning how to modify our family’s eating behavior was a long trial and error process. Because she was still mostly pre-verbal, discussing nutrition or reasoning with our toddler was not an option. We kept trying new things and learned over time what worked for her. (These tips should prove useful with older children as well but are NOT meant to replace professional advice: Be sure to talk to your pediatrician before changing or restricting your child’s diet.)
Here are some important lessons we learned:
Enlist the cooperation of ALL family members and caregivers.
Chart your progress over time.
Eat what your child eats
Get creative in dealing with your child’s individual needs.
Don’t starve your child!
Be patient and expect resistance and setbacks
Enlist the Cooperation of ALL Family Members and Caregivers.
The first step is to explain thoroughly to grandparents, daycare providers etc., your concerns and those of your pediatrician’s, pointing out that overweight children move more slowly, get less exercise and therefore develop less body confidence, often have social difficulties in school, and frequently become overweight adults.
Reassure them that you will follow good nutritional practices, that your child is under the care of a competent pediatrician, and that you will take special care to fill her psychological need for food in more appropriate ways.
Explain your goals for your child’s weight (e.g. zero weight gain until weight catches up with height), and tell staff your child should not be praised OR punished where food is concerned, only encouraged to eat slowly and move on to another activity when a reasonable-sized meal has been eaten.
Chart Your Progress over Time
Once a month weigh your child and measure her height, being careful not to express displeasure if her weight has increased. Instead, praise her, saying ‘how proud you are of the ways she is growing’. Get a copy of your child’s growth chart (weight-for-height) from her doctor, and keep it updated monthly. This gives important feedback regarding whether your methods are working, and you can adjust meals, activity levels, etc. accordingly. Never scold your child for overeating or being heavy: Our daughter went through the chubbiest part of her childhood completely unaware that she was in any way ‘different’, and eventually succeeded in achieving a healthy weight.
Eat What Your Child Eats
This requires commitment and discipline! You will only make things much, much worse if you single out a child to eat differently than the rest of the family. The whole family should be working toward healthy life-long eating habits and it’s your job as parents to make sure this happens. I do know it’s HARD to not order pizza when you are too tired to cook, but make it a once a month treat instead of a mainstay meal.
Do the obvious things to cut down on fat in your diet, including switching to skim milk, eliminating butter, cutting back on cheese and fried foods, and cutting out desserts altogether. Snack only on fresh veggies or fruit, and an occasional Popsicle treat (no fat!). Serve water as a beverage with dinner, (think of milk as a food rather than a beverage) and allow unlimited quantities of steamed or raw veggies (no butter, no ‘dip’). You as parents should decide how much ‘main course’ of a meal your family should have. Serve the heavier foods directly onto plates from the stove rather than bringing piles of food to the table, so there is less temptation to have seconds. Make sure portions are generous enough to satisfy true hunger, but not excessively large.
If seconds are requested, ask your child to wait a few minutes to ‘let her food settle’, or until everyone else has finished, and then give her a smaller second portion, and no third portions for anyone unless it’s a low-fat Item. Do the same yourself, and save any ‘Ben and Jerry’s’ binges for after your kid’s bedtimes.
Get Creative in Dealing with Your Child’s Individual Needs
Sometimes waiting a few minutes in between servings did the trick and our daughter realized she was full before gobbling up a whole second helping, but she would often feel torn about leaving any food on her plate, and stuff herself to the point of a tummy ache just to finish what she started. (This happened even though we NEVER insisted she ‘clean her plate’, a misguided and outdated parenting policy!).
To help her ‘let go’ of a meal we promised that we would ‘save it for her’ in the refrigerator, and then wrap it in plastic and let her see us put it away. This really seemed to do the trick: She got to remain ‘in charge’ of ‘her’ food, but didn’t have to feel any sense of loss if it went uneaten.
We did the same kind of thing with candy, too. (People love to give chubby kids candy!). We had a ‘candy jar’ on top of the fridge, where we put any gifts of hard candy she received (we weeded out the chocolate after she went to bed). After dinner, to help her know that ‘eating time’ was finished, she was allowed to choose one piece of hard candy for dessert. This solved the in-between- meal whining for candy issue as well as gave an endpoint to the meal without serving a heavy dessert.
If your child has some quirks around food (and don’t we all?) think hard about what need the food may be filling, and try to meet that need more appropriately. Common needs are Control, Boredom, Anxiety, Anger, and Loneliness. Get creative and keep trying new things. The consistent message you should be sending is that her needs are important and you will help fill them, without using food as a substitute. Your child should always feel that she will get enough to eat when she is hungry, and if you don’t keep junk food in the house, she will learn to eat healthy food to feel full.
Don’t Starve Your Child!
It seems obvious but it’s worth mentioning. Even the chubbiest kids get hungry and need to eat to keep up their energy levels. Regularly scheduled low-fat between-meal mini-snacks can help with this. The worst thing you can do (in my opinion) is make such an issue out of food that it becomes an unpleasant weapon of control. Your child should always feel in charge of her eating, and your job is to help her learn the best possible eating habits.
When you child does ask for food always offer something from the ‘unlimited’ list: a steamed or raw veggie, or occasionally some fruit, unless it’s obviously NOT an appropriate time for snack (just before bedtime, or moments before a meal is served).
Consistently attempt to replace your child’s need for comfort food with some activity that she enjoys: Say “Let’s read that new library book together first!”, and offer a snack AFTER the activity. In this way you can gradually learn to tell when your child is actually hungry and when she has some other need, such as feeling tired, bored, scared, sad, or just wanting some attention. Gradually she’ll learn to tell the difference, too, and slowly stop using food as her first ‘fill the need’ strategy.
By consistently offering only healthy food in reasonable quantities, with ‘seconds’ allowed of the heavier foods, and some ‘unlimited’ foods always available, your child will retain a great deal of control. She will get to decide how much ‘unlimited’ food to eat, and won’t constantly hear ‘NO’ when asking for more. (“You’ve already had seconds on the chili, honey, but you can have more carrots if you want”).
Allowing a snack when requested eliminates the chance of anxiety developing over NOT getting something to eat when your child actually IS hungry. By stalling the snack for a few minutes to read with your child or play a game, you send a message that food will always be available, but it’s really not an urgent problem, and in the mean time there may be a better way to comfort herself.
Be Patient and Expect Resistance and Setbacks
Changing family eating habits can be difficult, especially when food has been used as a source of family comfort or entertainment (and it occasionally is, even in the most ‘perfect’ of families!). Expect your overweight child and other family members to resist changes in eating habits, especially older children who have had longer to become entrenched in the junk food life. Keep firm in your knowledge that you are doing your best for your family, and even if it doesn’t always go smoothly you will KEEP TRYING. Don’t become discouraged or feel like a failure when your child gains weight or begins ‘sneaking food’. This isn’t a reflection on your worth as a parent, but instead shows how difficult this problem can be. If a family crisis or change in routine (i.e. vacation) throws you back into bad habits, start again. This is a PROCESS and is the best gift you can give your child.
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An expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students when he decided to do an experiment. He pulled out a large mason jar, a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one by one, into the jar. When no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”
He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. The instructor then poured gravel in the jar, shook it and asked, “Is this jar full? ” By this time the class was on to him. They replied: “Probably not,”
Next, he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar until all the space between the rocks was filled. Once more, he asked the question. “Is this jar full?” “No” the class shouted.
Finally, he grabbed a pitcher of water and poured until the jar was filled to the brim. The speaker looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?” The speaker listened to a number of very good responses and said: “The truth this illustration teaches us is this: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
What are the big rocks in your life? Are they your spouse, children and grandchildren? Are they your work, television or gambling? Are you wasting time with things that are unimportant? What is important in your life?
Effective communication in business is not about creating the perfect PowerPoint presentation. It’s not about writing the perfectly-pitched report. It’s not even about assiduously alliterating .
Sometimes effectively communicating in business can hinge on something really simple——the habits you bring to your interactions with others.
As we all know, we all have habitual behaviours that we carry around with us and use unconsciously. It could be the “um” you sandwich between every fourth word of your presentation. It could be the nervous ‘fig-leaf’ gestures of your hands. It could be your constant swaying and looking away from your audience, as if you should be somewhere else far more important right at that moment.
Whoever you are, whilst you may know your facts inside-out, whilst your work ethic is the standard by which others are measured, if you don’t recognise and work on your personal presentation habits you might eventually destroy all that you have strived so hard to achieve.
Whatever your particular habit is, you can best find out what it is by two great methods:
Ask your colleagues what you do in face-to-face encountersthat annoys them
Have someone video a presentation to a group that you give
We all have a communication habit that works against us in some small way. But the challenge we face is that, left unattended, they start adding up. The more you have, the more unprofessional you look.
Here’s eight interpersonal communication blunders that can wreck your career over time:
Owning a weak handshake: A weak handshake signals uncertainty, hesitation, a lack of integrity, a lack of confidence and a lack of courage. It quite possibly also triggers subconscious responses in the recipient that cause them to focus more and for longer on your handshake than on your message. To butcher Nike’s slogan, “Just don’t do it!”
Displaying a nervous giggle: Just like a weak handshake, the nervous giggle, in the eyes and mind of your audience, turns you into a child. No one seriously does business with a child.
Over-using “I’m sorry”: A ‘killer’ for undermining your authority, a phrase like, “I need your report on my desk by 5 o’clock, sorry” just knocks your professionalism, your communication and your career for six. You have no need to apologise if you are the boss or the client. There is a place for politeness in business, as there are for courtesy and humility. But in the shark-eat-shark world of nature and business, there is no room for the weak and mousy. Sorry to have to break that to you…
Standing passively: Crossed arms, crossed legs… they signal just one thing—u—detachment, as if you really don’t want to be there, listening to the other person, but you have to. Passively standing kicks down the building bricks of trust, over time reducing your career reputation to rubble.
Avoiding eye contact: Whilst too much staring at someone can cause discomfort, so can too little. By not looking at your audience (of one of one thousand) in the eye, you come across as nervous and insincere. A reasonable period of eye contact is between 4 and 7 seconds at a time, per person, especially when you are talking to them.
Playing with your hands: Wringing your hands, or playing ‘fig leaf’ is a sure way of conveying insecurity about yourself or your message. And recently I was reminded by my Toastmasters club colleagues of a habit of mine that I need to break——twisting my wedding ring around my finger when I present. My colleagues found themselves focusing more on my ring-twiddling than my message.
Speaking too softly: A habit that is a sure sign in the eyes of others, that you are not confident about yourself, your message or your authority to deliver it. You come across as near-invisible, weak and insubstantial, as well as make yourself difficult to be heard by those who are hard of hearing. And as I get older, my hearing is definately getting worse—u—a legacy of spending years in front of PA stacks as a lighting manager for rock bands.
Using qualifying words: This is quite possibly one of the worst habits anyone could have. Absolutely nearly everyone qualifies their words, and most often the effect is to dilute the power and impact of your message. Seriously, using words such as “kind of”Free Web Content, “sort of” and “maybe” make even the smartest of us appear unsure.
Although academic excellence is not a requirement of overall happiness and quality of life of a person, being successful in school, regardless of whether one is successful in academics or sports can be seen to be a kind of foundation for a person’s future. When one is successful in school, he or she will have more direction and focus in life. Successful students know what they want to do with their lives because through their successes in school, they find their true potential. Successful students are clearer about their objectives, talents, interests and capabilities.
Many people play different roles in the life of a child, therefore, they will all contribute, in their own way, to the success of the individual. For one, the parents. Parents who are patient, loving, caring, supportive and understanding will provide their children the basis of understanding that helps them achieve success in school. As we all know, it depends on the personal characteristics and personality of the individual. If the child is born naturally driven, it will not take much from the parents to help their child succeed in school. The teachers and coaches all have a large functional role to play in helping students achieve success too. Their consistent guidance and attention to individual students will pay off if the students become receptive of their lectures and advice. For an individual to succeed in school, they must know who to mix around with. First, we have the parents and guardians; then, we have the teachers and coaches; third, we have the student; and finally, the friends that the student surrounds himself or herself with during school. Success will only be available to those who are open to success. If the student in school surrounds himself or herself with negative people, they will inevitably close all doors to success. In other words, no matter how talented, capable the individual is, no matter how supportive and loving the parents are, no matter how patient the teacher is, if the individual chooses to close the door to knowledge, success cannot be found.
In order to achieve success in school, one would have to be open to ideas. As long as we continue to introduce different types of lessons and topics to them, the children will find it easier to capture what their basic interest is all about. Don’t focus on just academic excellence because that’s not what success in school is all about. Be open to the possibility of a child being multi-talented in various fields or in sports, or creative in music, etc. The school is the perfect nurturing ground for such talents! We continue to introduce different things to children so that they can find success in LIFE, not just school.
Sure, a good lesson plan will do the trick to the kids their learning and educational needs are basically covered within the lesson plan but this is not all. We must teach children how to be receptive towards other non-conventional ideas, how to create new technology, broach new topics, and find new ways to do things. All of that, together with academic achievements will determine whether the individual can achieve success in life or not.
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Two years ago I started my small Virtual Assistant business with a non-existent marketing budget. I borrowed marketing books from the library, read countless articles on the Internet and joined a professional trade association of my peers. I learned hundreds of marketing techniques and one valuable lesson. The lesson I learned is that the financial ruin of large companies is often achieved by incredibly expensive and glitzy marketing plans that do not take into account the company’s ability to earn a profit. Over time, I found that the most effective marketing techniques that allow a company to make a profit are those that are inexpensive or free. What a fantastic discovery for me at that time! This knowledge, combined with hard work and excellent customer service, enabled my small business to expand at a phenomenal rate.
When developing your marketing plan be aware that frugal marketing techniques take more time and a great deal of personal creativity but they DO produce results! Following are a few of my most successful frugal marketing techniques:
It is not necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a beautiful website. Some of the most effective and interesting websites I have seen were built on a frugal budget. Far more important than the cost is the content of a website. At a minimum your website should include your company name, contact information, tag line or slogan, company/owner biography, a list of services, a client list or list of testimonials, articles or press releases you have written and any interesting information related to your business that might be of help to your visitors. It is essential that you use a paid web host and not a free service. Free hosting may exclude you from search engine listings and may brand you as a neophyte in your field when that impression may not be correct. Inexpensive hosting is available and many hosts provide free or low cost web templates that will give your site a polished and consistent look. For a list of affordable web hosts visit the Web Host Directory and Host Review. Having a well-developed website will help you leverage the results of your other frugal marketing techniques and, in the long run, will save you money by reducing the overall cost and shipping of your marketing materials.
Create a press release and submit it to your local newspaper. Highlight the unusual aspects of your business and educate the reader about your business and your industry. Do not simply promote your own company, but promote the industry as a whole. Position your business as unique in that industry by explaining, for example, how your company takes a novel approach to delivering products or services. Take the same press release and format it for the Internet. For added impact, search the website to find other community newspapers in your state that might be interested in your business news. Follow standard press release formatting and be sure to add that you are available for interviews in your contact information section as this opens the door for feature interviews during slow “news” weeks for local papers. Send out a press release every quarter or at least twice a year. Always include your website’s URL in any marketing materials and press releases. For more information about press releases including formatting and Pertinent Information.
Sponsor local or on-line contests by providing a prize. This could be one of your products or a coupon for two or three hours of your services. In return you will receive valuable free publicity. Find local contests, which would welcome your participation by scanning your community newspaper. Target on-line contests by surfing for well-established companies that compliment your own. For example, if you sell wine glasses, you should seek a company that sells wine and offer a set of wine glasses as a contest prize. Another option is to search for e-zines (on-line newsletters) that cover a topic related to your business and ask the editor about partnering to offer a contest to readers with your product or service as the prize.
This is my favorite technique. Write an article about an interesting or timely topic related to your business that would be of interest to your target market. Ask a friend or loved one with editing skills to proof your article for you. Create a four or five line biography at the end of the article that includes your contact information: your company name, e-mail address and company URL. Add a copyright statement at the very bottom of the article. Then submit the article to on-line article archives, e-zines and appropriate websites. This technique helps establish you as an expert in your field, publicizes your business, and creates incoming links to your website to increase your link popularity and search engine rankings. These three resources will get you started but a quick Internet search will provide an extensive listing of thousands of venues on-line.
Research your local chamber of commerce and start attending their networking events. Develop and rehearse an interesting “elevator speech” that summarizes your business and your talents in less than thirty seconds. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible, give your elevator speech and hand out your business cards and collect the business cards of prospects. Take the business cards you collected, use the back of the card to write down what you discussed or other important information about the prospect, and FOLLOW UP! Write and mail a quick note on your business stationery to say how nice it was to meet them and mention something memorable you discussed. Keep in touch with them on a regular basis.
Join on-line communities such as newsgroups, discussion boards, e-mail lists, etc. where your target market and peers congregate. Introduce yourself and your business if introductions are allowed by the community guidelines and encouraged by the list moderator. Establish your credibility and promote yourself by responding to questions in your field of expertise. Join an affordable, well-known and professional association of your peers on-line or locally. If it is permitted, announce your availability to take on sub-contracted work from your peers, but read the guidelines and do not “spam” these lists which will result in a loss of your credibility and professionalism. Become involved locally with a worthy charity by donating your time, products or services.
Over time, as your business grows, you can and should add a few paid marketing techniques to your marketing plan. But you must continue to use the most rewarding of your free and inexpensive marketing techniques to maximize your profit. Never forget that creativity, hard work and excellent customer service are the keys to growing a successful business while keeping your marketing costs in check.
What are the reasons that YOU procrastinate?
Are you a perfectionist?
Do you procrastinate on projects that you dislike?
Do you over schedule yourself?
Do you have fear of failure?
Or maybe fear of success?
Perhaps you dislike or disagree with the person delegating the job?
Do you lack clear goals?
There are many reasons for procrastination, but only one result. Stress, anxiety, and a great amount of wasted time.
A creative consultant, describes a woman who put off cleaning her desk and sorting through her paperwork for an amazing 2 years.
Her reason for procrastinating this important project?
“She realized that going through the piles and cleaning off her desk would force her to confront opportunities she’d let drop with the passing of the time,” Marcia explains. “She didn’t want to face that.”
At times that you find yourself procrastinating, Marcia recommends asking yourself these questions:
What purpose does your procrastination serve?
What could you like about the put-off job once you got started on it?
What wouldn’t you like about it?
What would be the consequences if you continue procrastinating?
What have you done in the past to overcome procrastination that might work for you now?
You may also want to consider a “Pros and Cons” sheet. Simply draw a line down the center of a piece of paper. On the left side, write down all the reasons for procrastinating on a particular task. Now, on the right side, write down all of the benefits of getting started and getting the job done. Once you can see how the “Pros” outweigh the “Cons” it should be easier to get started on the project.
Here are some Time Boosting tips to help you get going in the right direction:
Don’t try to do too much at once. Proper planning will allow you to space out a task over a few days, weeks, or months, and will keep the task from seeming so daunting.
Don’t worry about how “perfect” the job is done. When you stop procrastinating, time will allow you to go back and tweak areas that need it. Otherwise, you will find yourself with a small window of time to complete your task, and less time to make corrections.
Get a buddy! Find a supportive (and motivating) friend or coworker who can help you get moving on something that you are not looking forward to.
Don’t schedule tasks for times during the day that you know that your energy level is at it’s lowest.
Reward yourself by doing something that you like after reaching certain points in your less favorite tasks.
Procrastination is never our friend. It lowers your productivity, and, usually, the procrastinated task doesn’t go away. I always tell my children to eat their least favorite food first at dinner, because, if they wait, they will have it left at the end. Same goes for tasks that we are not looking forward to.
Get them done first, then move on to all the good things!
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