February 2013

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live with family Kitchen Superstars Turn your little ones into budding chefs with the right ingredients to get them active in the kitchen Ask Doctor Mom All they need is love By Kristin Seaborg �� A cut above: When chopping veggies feels like a chore, let them stand next to you and slice their own wooden set to make dinnertime an interactive game for everyone. Cutting food set by Melissa and Doug, $20; Orange Tree Imports, 1721 Monroe St., Madison; �� Small wonders: For toddlers, it���s a fun challenge in stacking pieces together; for older kids, it���s about learning measurements; while for you, it���s all the mixing tools you need in one colorful, compact package. Nesting bowls and measuring cups by Joseph Joseph, $56; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Store, 227 State St., Madison; �� Mess master: Before you let them eat cake (or anything else), let them pour it, mix it and even explore it while keeping their clothes tidy under a cutesy apron. Apron by Asd Living, $24; Orange Tree Imports, 1721 Monroe St., Madison; 24 BRAVA Magazine February 2013 Kristin Seaborg is a pediatrician with Group Health Cooperative and mother of three. Photo by Shanna Wolf Now that we have entered a month characterized by sweet cards and chalky candy hearts, I thought this was the perfect time to talk about the language of love. Maybe this isn���t a topic you would expect to be apropos of a pediatrician, but let me recount just a few statements I���ve heard from parents during routine office visits in the past few weeks: ���My son could do better in school, but he���s just too lazy to study more.��� ���My daughter is built like her father���s side of the family. That���s why she���s so fat.��� ���My daughter doesn���t make friends easily. She���s very hard to get along with.��� All these statements were made by parents who were sitting next to their children. Though made in a conversational manner, they reliably caused a flush of shame to rise from the depth of each child���s cheeks. Although each of these parents wanted what was best for their child, the way they were speaking about them in their presence was doing more harm than good. As parents and role models, it���s easy to forget that the words we use can either help children build a strong foundation of confidence and selfworth, or cut through their fragile self-esteem like a knife. Because a child���s sense of selfesteem is one of the cornerstones of mental health, which in turn can impact their physical health, a healthy selfesteem is an important building block for any child���s overall health. If we remind them of all the wonderful ways we find them unique and fascinating, they will believe they are wonderful, too. This Valentine���s Day, I invite you to tell your children a few specific reasons why they are cherished. Point out their attributes, strengths, and times they made you proud. The rewards will be sweeter than a box of chocolates.

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