Presents, candy, cookies, family, food galore, late nights and so much more. It’s such a rich time of year. Full of meaning, full of fun, but full. I have so much to be thankful for and enjoy, but even I get overwhelmed and overstimulated, and if all the season’s festivities are enough to wear out an adult, it’s definitely enough to make children in need of some downtime and relaxation. We are definitely feeling that here at the gentle home. More than anyone in my family, I get overstimulated easily. I love my friends and my family, but the way I recharge is by being alone in the quiet, with room to reflect on my day and breathe in deep. I am very sensitive to this need in my children, knowing that healthy, resilient children are ones who have balance in their life.
Our children’s little bodies are in an amazing state of growth and change. They need more sleep than adults and a nutrient dense diet. Even exciting events can be stress to their immune system and a shift in routine can be a lot for their little bodies to cope with, even if they never tell you. Children who are overstimulated and exhausted will often be hard to spot. Why? They don’t always wear the signs we think they would, and they don’t even recognize the signs themselves. Often, instead of being worn out and ready for bed, falling easily into sleep after an eventful day, they might be more energetic, even hyper, and less able to sleep. Instead of showing gratitude for those much wanted toys opened on Christmas day, they might be cranky, sullen, or cry at every turn. It’s their way of saying to us “I’ve had too much, I really need a break and maybe some quiet time in my room.”
Detoxification is my way of describing balance. Children most definitely do not need to be on juice fasts or other types of fasts that deprive the body of calories and nutrients, but what children need is a way to come back to a calm center. Balance is coming back to a starting point. When we’ve exerted ourselves too much, we need to rest. When we haven’t eaten well, we need to take the time to put nutritious food back in our body. Detoxification as a family is how you can decompress from too much stimulation, and relax from too many activities. Rarely will a young child express this need to you, so that is why I think it is so crucial we recognize this need and gently suggest ways to bring balance into this hectic time of year. The best way to do this is to recognize this need in yourself and do it with them, preferably together as a whole family. And there’s no need to wait until the new year; after-Christmas detoxing as a family is not only helpful but in many ways, necessary.
Here are 3 after Christmas detox recipes the whole family can enjoy!
*Detox bath. After Christmas Eve was said and done, presents opened, sugar cookies iced and eaten, our youngest (2 years old) was really having a hard time. She had barely touched her dinner, so I knew her body couldn’t be functioning at its best with just a diet of jell0 and a sugar cookie. She had been playing all evening with her sister and cousins and there was much excitement in opening presents. When we finally packed the car and headed for home, I wasn’t surprised when she cried for nearly the entire thirty minute drive there. In the car I thought, I have to find a way to get her relaxed enough to fall easily into a restful sleep. Her little body was so worked up I knew it would be difficult to get her to lay in bed and stay still. First, I knew she needed a bedtime snack that included some protein, but I also decided to give her a relaxing detox bath before bed. I found just the information I needed at The Paleo Mama.
Once home, I filled our tub with warm water, 1/2 cup of Epsom salt, 1 Tb of organic cold-pressed coconut oil, and 4 drops of therapeutic grade Lavender essential oil. Thankfully, my youngest adores bath time so she hopped right in. Then, I lit a beeswax candle my sister made for me and turned off the bathroom light. The magic of the flickering firelight mesmerized her! My oldest, who did not want to take a bath, quickly became interested and hopped in too. I sat beside the tub and spoke in a very calm soft voice and instructed them to do the same. We looked at the candle light and were very quiet as they soaked in the goodness of the oil, salt and Lavender. It was such a great transition from our busy day to our quiet beds. I will definitely be adding detox baths into our routine when we need to relax and strengthen our immune systems!
*Green smoothies. I am in love with green smoothies this pregnancy. Now that I’m in my third trimester (I was too nauseous to have them in the beginning) I will have a green smoothie usually twice a day. They are an easy way for me to add nutrients to my diet and supplements like liquid chlorophyll. My children love smoothies too so I simply incorporate all that green goodness for them when I make them for myself. I call them “green smoothies” because I add a nutrient dense green food or supplement into the smoothie along with the fruit. They eat it right up! Here is a nutrient dense green smoothie recipe for the whole family, but feel free to play around with different combinations!
Dairy-free (Paleo friendly) Green Smoothie
1 cup of frozen mango chunks or frozen blueberries
2 cups of fresh fruit like mango, ripe banana or peaches.
1/4 cup of full fat canned coconut milk
1 Tb liquid unflavored organic chlorophyll
Add frozen fruit, fresh fruit, coconut milk and 1/2 cup of water. Blend, adding more water to the consistency you want. Add the chlorophyll and gelatin and mix again, until all is smooth and incorporated. Serve and enjoy!
*Bentonite clay foot mask. Growing Up Herbal has a great article on the uses and benefits of Bentonite Clay for children, but it is definitely a whole family healing product! I first started using it when I made my own homemade face powder. Next we started making our own homemade tooth powder (which I love!) but there are so many benefits to incorporating bentonite clay into your lifestyle and even diet that I just had to include it in my detox recipes (even helping to reduce symptoms in autistic children). A bentonite clay foot mask is a fun relaxing way to do a simple detox. One idea is to give everyone a foot mask and turn on a movie for the whole family, so children aren’t tempted to walk around! Just don’t forget about it! Wash it off after twenty minutes, ten minutes for children, or until it is dry. Use this recipe here.
For me, part of balance this season is also cleaning the house, donating old toys and clothes and making room for all the beautiful things that we welcomed into our life and want to welcome in the coming new year. I hope you have a restful, balanced rest of 2015!
How do you bring balance into your holiday season?