“Rename them”, scientists say“In a new study, 186 four-year-olds were given regular carrots and, on other lunch days, they were given the same vegetables renamed X-ray Vision Carrots. On the latter days, they ate nearly twice as many.”
Healthy Packed lunches – making choicesWhether or not there is guidance from your child’s school you can have fun together making your own list of favourite foods. Use a blackboard and different coloured chalks for various food types. This way kids have their say while gradually becoming aware of the nutrition values of different foods. If they can buy stuff at school, give them a restricted amount and let them ‘save’ the money to put towards something special, which is not food.
Healthy Main mealsFor the ‘main’ meal of the day limit the amount of starchy foods and always have one vegetable option that you know they like. Get the children to help you prepare what you’re going to eat. Then they can give it a name. Elsie’s cauliflower cheese. Start the day with fruit for breakfast. Don’t forget that frozen is just as nutritious as fresh. You can puree fruits and serve with yoghurt.
Developing Healthy HabitsGive them smaller bowls and, if age-appropriate, allow them to help themselves. They’ll appreciate being given a choice and feel grown-up. Encourage them to limit their portion size but ‘come back for seconds’. If they say they’re full don’t push them into finishing everything. Eating when you’re no longer hungry ultimately leads to habitual over-eating. Children also need to recognise what they’re feeling “Is your tummy full now?”
Healthy SnacksSnacks don’t have to be large. Stick to regular meal and snack-times, three meals a day and two snacks. If they don’t want a snack, skip it but watch out for crankiness before mealtime, as small children become suddenly hungry. Snacks don’t have to be large - a couple of slices of fruit and a cracker is plenty.
Feeling goodUp to school age children love to copy parents’ habits and choices – so take advantage of this and talk about what you’re eating – especially something new. They’ll want to try it too. Discourage the “yuck” face from older children in front of the little ones and talk positively about vegetables. Talk about fruit and vegetables when you’re out in the garden and crops that you see growing in the fields when you’re out for a walk. Go out and pick blackberries together in the summer and then make little blackberry and apple tarts. We will continue this theme of Healthy Food For Kids with our next blog about “When a treat’s no longer a treat…” In the meantime here is some further reading about the Carrot Experiment: http://www.livescience.com/7695-kids-prefer-veggies-cool-names.html
Shared memoriesWe were talking about going to the shoe-shop to get our first pair of school–shoes. I wanted red wellies, I remember. That idea soon went out of the window. “Try walking to end of the shop for me” said the assistant. Then I got it. All around me were other five-year-olds trying on black lace-ups while parents and grandparents looked on seriously. The children were all looking forward to the special treat afterwards.
What the experts say about Fitting Children's ShoesBabies are usually born with perfect feet. According to NHS Podiatrists it’s better to avoid pram-shoes and tight blankets for new-borns. They even suggest cutting the feet out of baby-grows. A child’s foot is not a small version of an adult’s. It’s softer and more pliable. And when the child starts to walk going barefoot is preferable in the right environment. Children’s feet – and this really is surprising – are vulnerable to deformity up to late teens.
How to fit your child for shoesFinding a reputable shoe-shop where the assistants take time over the fitting of your child’s shoes is worth the search and certainly gives peace of mind. It may not be necessary to buy new shoes at all, if the assistant re-assures you that the shoes are OK for a bit longer. Jo at the independent shoe-shop, Billy Goat, in Binky’s home-town of Alresford, says, “We will happily measure your child’s feet and let you know whether their shoes are still a good fit!”
Make a day of itChoosing the all-important new shoes is a social event. You may take your child to the nearest ‘big’ town for the day. Binky was recently taken to the award-winning French’s Shoe-shop in Southampton to have his feet measured. Naturally he got cake afterwards! Or maybe you can combine shopping for shoes with exploring a favourite Binky trail in London, Winchester or Alresford. And include cake, of course! https://www.wjfrenchandson.co.uk http://www.billygoatshoes.co.uk/visit-us http://www.shoefitters-uk.org/national-shoe-fitting-week
Norwich's Tunnel of LightStart with a walk round the historic street of the town and then walk through the 45 metre ‘tunnel’, 50,000 tiny lights, which reflect the colours and patterns of the Northern Lights. Norwich’s seasonal lights will be switched on 17 November. For info about the historic city as well, go to:- http://www.visitnorwich.co.uk/whats-happening/event/first-uk-tunnel-of-light/
Winchester's Woolly Hat FairOr if you are Hampshire based keep your eyes out for the Woolly Hat Fair coming to Winchester. http://hatfair.co.uk/woolly-hat-fair/ Events will be free to attend and will take place at 5pm every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3 – 22 December.
Hamleys Christmas Toy Parade- LondonAnd if you just happen to be in London on 20 November after doing the Binky Bear walk through St James’s Park - like Binky (finishing in Trafalgar Square) join all the fun of Hamleys Christmas Toy Parade. The whole of Regent’s Street will be closed to traffic for the event. http://www.hamleys.com/hamleys-parade.html London’s Christmas lights are already starting to go on, so check on-line for specific dates. Seasonal lights are now going on all over the country, so check in your local press for exact dates.
Reindeer SpottingIf you want to splash out on an extra special day this Christmas how about visiting Santa’s reindeers, somewhere in the UK near you? This link has a few pointers:- http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/family/days-out-where-can-you-see-1488475
In August 2015 I was invited by www.MyKidsy.com to write a guest blog about my own outdoor adventures in London with my daughter. Here it is and I hope you like it!Living about 50 miles from London in a sleepy Hampshire village, my daughter and I look forward to our day trips up to London and we try to get up each term, ideally on an Inset day when trains are not too busy. I lived and worked in London for over 15 years, commuting from the south-western suburbs and it was only when I began researching our third book Binky Goes To London and when we started to take the photographic illustrations of Binky our teddy bear character and his real animal friends in various central London locations, that I started to travel around by bus and on foot. What struck me was how previously-made tube journeys are so much faster and more interesting if you walk. So throughout the making of Binky Goes To London we travelled by bus and on foot with the occasional taxi ride, if we had a very tired corgi with us! Continue reading this article...
At Binky Bear we are passionate about getting children outdoors and having fantastic shared experiences with family and friends.
That’s exactly what we did back in July when fifteen brave families joined us on a sunny morning outside Alresford Station to go on the first ever organised, Binky Bear Outdoor Adventure, following the map at the back of our book, Binky’s Big Adventure.Continue reading this article...