Little changes make a big difference

Little changes can make a big difference, so we have come up with a list of small ideas that will have a huge positive impact on your family.

Our simple adjustments to daily life can have great results for your child’s health, wellbeing, concentration, learning and performance in all areas of their life:

Breathing

Doing a few breathing exercises each day can improve your child’s immune system, energy levels, concentration and learning, ability to cope and stay calm, sleep and performance in sport. Your daily breathing session also creates a relaxing daily activity that means quality time spent together.

  • Lie in a comfortable position on your back with a small cushion under your head and place both hands on your tummy.
  • First master the breathing technique: breathe in to fill up your lower abdomen, pushing your hands upwards, then fill the middle part of your chest, followed by the top area of your lungs.
  • Next, as you breathe in, push the fronts of both feet upwards towards your head, making sure your legs stay flat on the surface. As you breathe out, push your feet as far away as you can. Carry out this process for 15 breaths for three times a day if possible.

Hydration

The most common deficiency in children is water. Find ways to drink more water as a family – ideas include:

  • Clear bottle with target lines to reach for different times of the day
  • Add natural flavours to water (cucumber, mint, slice of lemon, strawberry etc)
  • Have a daily set time when you will all sit down together and drink a small glass of water (combine this with an activity such as a quick card game or a game of hangman)
  • Have a covered jug of water on the table or in the fridge so children can help themselves

Sugar

We all know too much sugar is a bad thing. Try Sunflower’s smart sugar swop ideas:

  • Sweets – home-made popcorn or frozen grapes (chop up for small children).
  • Puddings – mashed up frozen banana (add cocoa powder for a chocolate version) or healthy chocolate mousse made with mashed up avocado and cocoa powder
  • Biscuits – rice cakes with natural peanut butter and a slice of apple
  • Yoghurt – bread sticks and hummus or a home-made avocado dip. Alternatively, choose natural yoghurt with no sugar and sweeten with fruit or a small amount of honey.
  • Sugary cereal – mix cocoa powder with oats to make a chocolate porridge. Toast with mashed banana or scrambled egg is another healthy option.

Stretching

A daily stretch can do wonders for overall wellbeing and concentration and also provides another daily activity you can do together. Start the day with some big stretches up to the sky to straighten your bodies out. Whenever possible, get your child to move around the room and stretch after 20 minutes of sitting using technology.

 Screen swaps

Offer your child irresistible alternatives to spending time on their screens. Each family will have different goals, but an example would be to have a target, such as – swap 20 minutes of screen time a day for a family activity. Choose ideas that counteract some of the negative impacts of too much screen time, such as:

  • Using binoculars or a microscope
  • Making dinner together
  • Getting outside, even if it is cold
  • Chatting
  • Having friends round to play
  • Physical activity such as bike riding, a kick-about in the garden or even an indoor aerobic session to music

And to make sure these improvements are ones you can keep, the charity even suggests a tried and tested technique known as the rubber band method:

How the rubber band method works: place a number of rubber bands around your wrist (four, five or more) at the beginning of the day. Your aim is to have all the bands on the opposite wrist by the end of the day by moving one band over to the opposite wrist each time you fulfil one of your little daily changes/resolutions.

Sunflower’s message is that for a child to feel good, perform well and get the best out of life, their body needs to be functioning as well as it can be in all areas; structure, brain, muscles, chemical balance and nervous system.

We have worked with hundreds of children – many with diagnosed health, behavioural, emotional or learning difficulties, others who are underachieving at school and some, who for no obvious reason, need a little extra support to achieve their potential.

If your child is struggling to cope, or you feel they need extra support with their any area of their life, contact the Sunflower Programme: 01483 531498, email: enquiries@sunflowertrust.com

 

 

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