1 Only Eat What You Have Room For
Toddlers only eat if they feel like it, despite adults’ ideas about 3 square meals a day. And they stop when they’re full! They also take their time so their brains can get those signals (which take 20 minutes to go from stomach to brain) that they’re full! You don’t have to draw meals out playing with your food, but go slow, taste everything, and don’t worry about eating everything (or do what we do for the littles—put just a little on their plate, and add more as requested!).
Despite the above mentioned 3 square meals convention, toddlers (and their small tummies and fast growth) know what’s up! It’s actually better to eat several small meals throughout the day than a few big ones. It helps smooth out digestion, which can help prevent discomfort from things like overeating, indigestion, acid reflux, and more. It also helps steady out your energy levels!
3 Fruit’s The Best!
If you don’t teach them about candy and juice (big no nos these days—childhood cavities and obesity are way too high!) fruit, especially the more nutritious, flavorful kinds, is the best!
4 Exercise Is Fun!
Adults look at energy as a time suck. You have to set aside time, put on special clothes, and haul yourself to a special place, then put in more energy than you usually have so it feels “worth it”. But kids go-go-go, and love it! Sure, they’ve got all that extra growing energy to burn, but they’ve also got the right attitude—the whole world is a playground!
Imitate the kids in your life. Take the road less traveled when you are out for a walk—the one with no side walk, a hill, and some cool looking leaves or snow that goes crunch under your boots (and be sure to stomp and crunch and kick it!).
5 Make Everything A Game
Besides making chores fun, you’re engaging in your life and exercising your brain! Toddlers will count how many shirts you fold, play matching games with socks, and of course you’re not trying to fold that sheet, you’re clearly holding it up so it can be a tent!
Spend a minute figuring out the grown up version of those games. See if you can do something faster, better, or different than you’ve done it before. If you’re cooking, go on pinterest and learn how to turn food into art. You’ll get more out of the things you’re doing already, and maybe discover something new to impress your friends!
6 Don’t Eat Before Bed
About 2 hours before bedtime, I’ve noticed, food intake stops. Dinner better not be late, because when those natural rhythms change, it’s game over!
Eating before bed is hard on your heart, and not really an ideal practice. It actually is far harder on older adults than it is on kids, especially since kids have fast metabolisms and are fairly hardy!
7 Have A Wind Down Routine
Bedtime routines are pretty much culturally sacred. A bath, a story, some cuddles, and lights out! Adults could learn a thing or two!
Working until bedtime, especially on a screen (phone, tablet, or computer) is a recipe for insomnia! Find a way to wind down (a bath and a book are great ideas for adults too!) that is more calming.
8 Learn To Sleep!
Most kids have to learn to self-soothe and lay still until they fall asleep. They might have a cheat—a white noise machine, a lovey, or a pretend-sleeping parent, but they figure it out. Some adults need to re-learn!
Make your bedroom for sleeping, commit to laying still (maybe do a bedtime meditation, like counting sheep), and don’t be afraid to use a cheat—anything that trains your brain as a signal for falling asleep.
Of course, with age, you might need a little extra help as the body doesn’t work as well as a toddlers! A melatonin supplement like Nite MGR can provide that extra support!
What have the kids in your life taught you?