Have you heard the Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned more phthalates? That’s a good thing, since phthalates are hormone disruptors and developmental toxins. They can harm reproductive and brain development and have been linked to obesity and asthma. Phthalates are a definite risk to babies.
You certainly don’t want phthalates in your crib mattress!
Phthalates have been used as plasticizers for decades in vinyl covered crib mattresses since the vinyl needs a plasticizer to make it soft. Not all phthalates have been banned, and manufacturers can still use derivatives of phthalates or chemical alternatives that may be just as toxic.
Another thing that’s happening in the crib mattress industry is that manufacturers are beginning to replace the vinyl coverings with fabrics containing a polyurethane backing. This means the crib mattress surface is not waterproof and that’s a problem. Crib mattresses need to be waterproof to avoid baby sleeping on mildew, mold, and fungus.
And get this – some crib mattress manufacturers are spraying the top of the mattress with PFCs – perfluorinated chemicals – to make it waterproof. This is the same toxic stuff that’s in Teflon and Scotchguard. Not a good thing for your baby to be sleeping on!
Why is Waterproofing Important?
A baby mattress needs to be waterproof since babies can generate a lot of wetness during sleep. This can cause mold, mildew, and fungi in the mattress. It’s a health hazard, so you want to avoid getting any moisture into the surface of your mattress.
Another thing that can live in a mattress is dust mites, which can also be a problem for your baby. A waterproof crib mattress also protects against dust mites.
What’s the Best Way to Waterproof a Mattress?
Plastic is currently the only viable way to make a mattress waterproof. But some plastics are quite toxic – like vinyl. Food-grade polyethylene has a simple molecular structure and does not contain phthalates or other unsafe additives. It’s the safest plastic available.
Naturepedic takes it a step further and uses a bio-plastic to waterproof their crib mattresses. They use polyethylene made from non-GMO sugarcane. Naturepedic mattresses are the ONLY crib and baby mattresses that are waterproofed with non-GMO sugarcane. There is no petroleum in their waterproofing! This is the healthiest waterproof baby mattress you can buy.
You can read Naturepedic reviews from our customers, and shop our range of Naturepedic mattresses below:
Naturepedic Organic Mattresses: A Behind The Scenes Look - YouTube
To provide a thorough Naturepedic review, there’s nothing better than going directly to the source!
Our Tour of the Naturepedic Organic Mattress Factory
Gaye Abbott and I recently had the wonderful pleasure of touring the Naturepedic organic mattress factory in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. We were enormously impressed!
The first thing that struck us was the lack of any chemical smell whatsoever. This factory was very clean with an earthy, fresh smell.
The entire Naturepedic factory is certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). GOTS is the worldwide leading textile organic and non-toxic standard that includes ecological and social criteria. GOTS independently certifies the entire textile supply chain.
What does it mean to be GOTS certified?
First, the raw material is organic. Naturepedic’s cotton and wool is USDA certified organic and their latex is GOLS certified organic. In addition, Naturepedic has transaction certificates from every factory that processes the raw material (milling, weaving) that shows these factories have been inspected by GOTS. They have an amazing tracking system that can even track the material back to the level of who the original farmer was. GOTS also has strict non-toxic criteria for accessories and all that goes into the final product. The Naturepedic factory is regularly inspected by GOTS to ensure they meet all criteria and non-toxic standards.
Quality of Attention
During our visit a great deal of activity was happening all around – people cutting organic cotton, hand-stitching at sergers, and heat-sealing seams and coil encasings – amidst a strong feeling of community and cooperation. These were craftspeople who paid great attention to their work.
Naturepedic Organic Cotton
Another thing that struck us was the attention to the well-being of their workers. It was obvious that Naturepedic values employee health and safety as well as transparency and sustainability.
Unlike other factories of mass production, we learned that any time a worker sees anything that might be a little off, they are supported in stopping production to attend to the issue, no matter how small it may be. True quality of attention!
There was no huge, loud machinery. Naturepedic has come up with brilliant, simple and innovative ways to make mattresses without glues, adhesives, flame retardants or anything that doesn’t meet the GOTS organic and non-toxic standards. They have uncovered new ways of doing things that are sustainable, increase efficiency…and improve products!
Gaye and I also had the opportunity to spend the day with Barry Cik, founder and technical director of Naturepedic. Barry is a board-certified environmental engineer and we were truly inspired by his knowledge, transparency and devotion to the environment and to organic standards. It was obvious he and his team truly care about making mattresses and bedding that are safe and healthy for everyone.
Naturepedic Founder, Barry Cik
I consider Naturepedic to be a powerful example of what a conscious business can be – a well-run, mindful operation with a focus on products that enhance the health and well-being of families and our planet.
You can read Naturepedic reviews from our customers, and our range of Naturepedic mattresses below:
(Excerpt from How to Boost Your Child’s Immune System: What you need to know to strengthen your child’s health and prevent illness)
Optimizing your children’s gut flora is not that difficult, once you know what to avoid and how to replenish and maintain beneficial microbes.
How to Replenish and Maintain Healthy Gut Flora:
It’s important to eat a healthy diet with whole foods that are rich in fiber.
Beneficial microbes (probiotics) thrive on nutrients called prebiotics, which are plentiful in a high-fiber, plant-based diet. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that help to increase immunity by stimulating the activity of beneficial bacteria. Here are some foods that are exceptionally high in prebiotics:
To optimize your children’s gut flora, you can give them probiotics. Probiotics are the live, beneficial bacteria and other microbes that are needed in the gut to maintain immunity. Probiotics can be given through supplementation or by adding certain fermented foods to the diet.
Fermented foods are fairly easy to make and can be more cost-effective than buying supplements. You can also buy certain non-pasteurized, fermented foods in health foods stores. Non-pasteurized is important since pasteurization heats the product to high temperatures that will kill the good bacteria, cancelling out the probiotic benefits. Fermenting foods also improve digestion by breaking down the food into a more easily digestible form. Fermented foods keep for a long time without losing the nutrients.
Here are some foods that contain probiotics that you can make on your own:
Yogurt Made from Raw (non-pasteurized) Grass-fed Milk
If you don’t want to make your own yogurt, you can buy whole fat, organic yogurt made from raw, grass-fed milk. Contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter if you can’t find this in stores. The commercial yogurt you find in most grocery stores is pasteurized and contains sugar. It typically does not contain enough live probiotics.
Here is a great resource for learning to make your own fermented foods, purchasing live starter cultures and other equipment:
There are many probiotic supplements on the market that you can buy in health food stores, online, and from health practitioners. Probiotic supplements are considered safe to give to babies and children. They are available in powders, capsules, and liquids.
It’s important that the probiotic supplement you use contains multiple strains and has adequate numbers of colony forming units (CFUs). 10-30 billion CFUs per day are recommended amounts for babies and children. The number of CFUs in a probiotic supplement can vary a lot between brands. Quality is a big issue and many preparations don’t contain the number of viable CFUs claimed on the label. Probiotic supplements need to stay alive during processing and shelf life, and they are sensitive to oxygen, moisture and heat. Most probiotic supplements should be kept refrigerated. They must also survive stomach acid and digestion in order to colonize in the digestive tract and remain viable to do what they need to do.
Here are some good probiotics:
Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Children’s Chewable
Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Infant Formula
UltraFlora Children’s Chewable by Metagenics
Orthobiotic powder by OrthoMolecular
What to Avoid:Processed Foods and Sugar
Bad bacteria thrive on sugar and starches, and there’s a lot of starch and added sugar in processed food.
Antibiotics do not discriminate; they will kill both the good and the bad bacteria and disrupt the balance of gut flora. Babies given antibiotics in their first year tend to have higher rates of asthma, and children who take frequent rounds of antibiotics are prone to further infections. Using antibiotics for minor infections is unnecessary and can create more frequent infections. But there are some bacterial infections that can be serious and require antibiotics. If you must use antibiotics, be sure to replace the beneficial bacteria by giving your child probiotics or fermented foods.
Antibacterial Soaps, Cleansers, Hand Sanitizers and Wipes
If you use these products frequently, you may be destroying the good with the bad. The skin is loaded with good bacteria necessary to immunity, and using antibacterial wipes and sanitizers could inadvertently disrupt the development of immunity by depleting the good bugs. Additionally, using antibacterial household products might lead to strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This means more powerful bugs that antibiotics are no longer able to deal with.
Products that can be infused with antibacterial chemicals include furniture, mattresses, toys, plastic kitchen tools, cutting boards, highchairs, and bedding. None of this is necessary and could be harmful to health.
There’s no evidence that antibacterial products provide any health benefits. They have no effect on viruses such as cold or flu, and there’s no evidence that using antibacterial soaps or wipes are any better than simply washing hands with normal soap and water.
Two chlorinated antimicrobials – Triclosan and Triclocarban – are the most commonly used, and are associated with endocrine, thyroid, and reproductive changes. These chemicals are absorbed into the body, and also washed down the drain, into lakes, rivers and water supplies.
Dr. Stuart B. Levy, of the Tufts University School of Medicine, warns about antibacterial household products:
“The recent entry of products containing antibacterial agents into healthy households has escalated from a few dozen products in the mid-1990s to more than 700 today. Antibacterial products were developed and have been successfully used to prevent transmission of disease-causing microorganisms among patients, particularly in hospitals. They are now being added to products used in healthy households, even though an added health benefit has not been demonstrated. Scientists are concerned that the antibacterial agents will select bacteria resistant to them and cross-resistant to antibiotics. Moreover, if they alter a person’s microflora, they may negatively affect the normal maturation of the T helper cell response of the immune system to commensal flora antigens; this change could lead to a greater chance of allergies in children. As with antibiotics, prudent use of these products is urged. Their designated purpose is to protect vulnerable patients.”
The following report from the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides goes into detail about common antibacterial agents in hundreds of consumer products. There’s a list of products containing these chemicals. The report also provides alternatives and the proper way to wash hands.
Underlying physiological imbalances are commonly overlooked causes of children’s behavioral problems. These imbalances can sometimes be complex and difficult to detect and can certainly affect your child’s brain and behavior – in both subtle and serious ways.
If your child is experiencing attention deficit, anxiety, angry outbursts, aggression, depression, or serious behavior issues, take heart – your child can recover!
The following information might seem a bit overwhelming. Just know that you can take it one step at a time. Most importantly, you need to know that healing does happen. Many kids regain their health and their mental/emotional states without the use of drugs.
Each child is unique, and you’ll need to put on your detective cap and look for clues and triggers to determine what might be going on with your child. It’s important to follow your instincts and to also know when to get help from a qualified practitioner who understands how to detect and work with these imbalances.
Here are some of the issues to consider:
intestinal (gut) dysbiosis
metal and chemical toxicity
nutritional deficiencies or nutrient overloads
food reactions and sensitivities
Intestinal or gut dysbiosis is an imbalance where there are not enough good bugs and too many bad ones. Optimizing your child’s gut flora is the most important thing you can do and the first step in resolving health and your child’s brain and behavior issues.
Read how to Optimize Your Child’s Gut Flora – coming soon
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals between nerve cells and other cells of the body. They work constantly to keep our brains and body functioning well. When neurotransmitters are out of balance and not working correctly, depression, attention deficit, anxiety, aggression, and a variety of behavior disorders can occur.
The nutritional precursors to neurotransmitters originate in the gut, so it’s essential that your child has balanced, healthy flora in the intestines. The good bugs play a significant role in the production and metabolism of neurotransmitters.
Serotonin imbalances are common in children. Whether your child has too high or too low levels, it can affect mood and behavior. Serotonin regulates and stabilizes mood, impulse control, reasoning, anxiety, sleep, and appetite. Increasing the good microbes in the gut is critical in balancing serotonin levels.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are other important neurotransmitters. Too much dopamine can cause intense anxiety, inappropriate thinking, and even psychosis. Too little dopamine can look like lack of motivation. Too much norepinephrine can cause manic episodes.
Other neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, can cause excitotoxicity. An excess of excitatory neurotransmitters can cause angry, aggressive behavior, mood swings, hyperactivity, insomnia, tics or even seizures.
These are just some of the neurotransmitter imbalances that are possible. You can have your child tested to find out if they have an imbalance affecting brain and behavior.
Everyone living in this world is exposed to numerous toxins every day. There is no escaping exposure, but you can certainly reduce your child’s exposure to the most harmful substances.
The body has significant detoxing capability, but some kids have a difficult time detoxing due to specific genetic impairments. When toxins accumulate in the brain and body, and your child is near or past their tipping point, this toxicity can result in health issues as well as mood, brain and behavior disorders.
The first thing to do is to detox your child’s home environment so that your home is a safe haven from the most harmful chemicals in common products and household furnishings. The most important room in the house to focus on first is where your child sleeps.
It’s also critical that your child’s food is “clean” – free from chemicals and GMOs. Only about 5% – 10% of the food in typical grocery stores is clean. The good news is that the prices of organic food are way lower now than ever before and even becoming more affordable than conventional. See article
Metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic are the most concerning. These are toxins that are known to cause significant issues, even at low levels of exposure. They can cause imbalances in neurotransmitter functioning and will affect behavior and mood. In addition, most of the heavy metals are free radicals that can cause oxidative stress, which also affects mood and behavior.
It’s important to determine and eliminate ongoing exposures. Exposures that are sometimes overlooked are vaccines and amalgam tooth fillings. Many vaccines have aluminum, and the multi-dose flu vaccines contain mercury. Amalgam (silver) fillings contain mercury, and normal chewing can release mercury vapor into the body. No amount of mercury should be injected into a child’s body or be present in a child’s mouth. There is no amount that is safe.
You can have your child tested for levels of metals, pesticides and other toxins.
Detoxing Your Child
In detoxing heavy metals, it’s important to have a knowledgeable doctor experienced in working with children in detoxification.
Here are some of the reasons why kids might have a difficult time detoxing:
methylation and/or sulfation impairments
depleted nutrients required to support detox pathways
There are two main stages of detoxification
Methylation and sulfation are biochemical processes that manage a lot of important functions of the body. Both must work properly, and if there are genetic mutations that affect these processes, it will affect the body’s ability to detox.
This might seem alarming, but there is good news! We inherit our genes, but nutrition and environment can change the way our genes express. If mutations are discovered through genetic testing, there are specific nutritional supplements that can enhance your child’s detoxification pathways.
Nutritional Deficiencies or Nutrient Overloads
Your child needs key nutrients for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, for antioxidant protection against toxic metals and chemicals, for gene regulation, and for many other processes in the body and brain.
If there is a deficiency or an overload of any nutrient required for neurotransmitter activity, there can be behavioral issues. The good news is that normalizing nutrient levels can make a huge difference. Nutrient therapy can correct neurotransmitter imbalances and normalize brain chemistry without the side effects of drugs.
Each child has unique biochemistry and diverse nutritional needs. It can take some detective work to determine what’s going on with your child, but it can be completely amazing how quickly behavior can change when pinpointing the imbalances and making some changes in diet and supplementation.
Emotional meltdowns can be caused, in part, by nutritional deficiencies. Your child can be deficient in any nutrient, even if they eat a healthy whole foods diet and take supplements. Some deficiencies can be minor and not significantly affect the way a person functions, but other deficiencies can lead to mental illness.
Here are some of the reasons for nutrient deficiencies:
Poor nutrient absorption
Depleted soils and poor nutrients in the food
Exposure to heavy metals depletes nutrients
Stress depletes nutrients
Some medications deplete nutrients
When certain missing or low levels of nutrients are provided from diet or supplementation, it can have a powerful impact on your child’s mental, emotional health and behavior.
What might be surprising is that, sometimes, nutrient overloads can cause bigger issues than deficiencies. This is why some people get worse when taking certain supplements. You need to be careful about using vitamins, minerals, and amino acids without first knowing what’s going on with your child’s biochemistry.
If you have a child with extensive challenges, it’s best to do regular lab testing for nutrient levels, heavy metals, and organic acids. And work with a doctor or professional who understands all the underlying issues. The wrong supplements may make existing issues worse or can create new problems.
Be careful with following general protocols that say kids with “this” diagnosis should take “this” amount of “this” supplement. It’s best to know specifically what your child is deficient in or what is in excess and work with a qualified practitioner to normalize the levels.
A word about medications – nutrient therapy, detoxing, diet, etc. can be used in conjunction with prescription medications, if that’s what you are choosing. The medications may eventually be reduced or phased out altogether as the biochemistry is balanced. Just remember to tell all the doctors on your team about all of the medications and supplements you are using.
What Your Child Eats
You can make a huge difference with food! This is actually the place to start. Some behavior issues can change dramatically after changing the diet. See my food ebook for general food recommendations
There are a lot of biochemicals in food, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, that affect your child’s health, mood and behavior. There’s a synergistic process that happens with nutrients to produce the right amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters.
Food Reactions and Sensitivities
Food sensitivities can cause frequent temper tantrums and other negative behaviors. It’s possible that your child has hidden food sensitivities that can be related to many symptoms of health and behavior. Detecting and removing these foods from your child’s diet can profoundly impact the intensity and frequency of symptoms.
If your child is not obviously allergic, it can be difficult to pinpoint what your child is sensitive to because symptoms are often delayed. Unlike the obvious and immediate reaction you usually get with an allergy, food sensitivity reactions are delayed and can be more mild.
In addition to behavior issues, what are other signs of food sensitivities?
Red cheeks/ears after eating
Dark circles or bags around the eyes
Chronic runny nose or cough
Dry scaly skin or eczema
Constipation or digestive issues
Which foods are most likely to be associated with behavior? Almost any food can be a trigger – even foods that are considered healthy, like apples and grapes.
Is your child a picky eater? This can stem from biochemical imbalances. Some kids will only eat white foods – mainly wheat and dairy foods. It might be surprising that the gluten (from wheat) and casein (from dairy) in these foods can create opiate-like addictions.
If your child craves or eats a certain food frequently, try eliminating that food, since kids can crave the foods they are sensitive to.
You might want to consider an elimination diet. This entails temporarily removing suspected foods and then adding them back one at a time to find the foods that are tolerated and the foods that need to be avoided.
Eliminating these foods might be a good place to start.
Wheat and other foods containing gluten
Milk and all Dairy
It’s important to eliminate soy if there is aggressive behavior.
In addition to wheat, dairy and soy – phenols are the most common food compounds that can cause behavioral issues.
Salicylates – most common
Particularly if a child has angry outbursts or aggression – food restrictions can be a simple solution for a serious problem and can make a profound difference. An elimination diet is the best way to find out.
Feingold and Failsafe are elimination diets. Feingold is less complicated since there are less foods to be removed, which makes it easier to do. But the Feingold diet might not include all the possible offenders, so you might not see a benefit from the diet. The Failsafe is much more comprehensive, but that makes it more difficult due to a higher level of restriction.
When going off wheat, dairy and soy, or other foods, there may be a short period where your child has irritable or aggressive behavior due to withdrawal. Your child may need more individual support with supplementation aimed at helping them through the withdrawals.
As I mentioned above, this seems like a lot to deal with! Remember, you can take it one step at a time. Also keep reminding yourself, this is temporary. With an elimination diet you can find out what might be triggering your child, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will never be able eat these foods. After detoxing, nutrient therapy, and other healing interventions, the underlying imbalances can be resolved and your child should be able to eat most healthy foods.
Addressing underlying physical imbalances can make a big difference if your child is experiencing serious behavior issues. Along with our other suggestions for conscious parenting, you can completely transform your relationship with your child and your whole family!
Indoor Air Pollution can be Worse than Outside Air
Day and night, your children are breathing in toxins, both outside and in your home. Most of us think of outside air when considering air pollution. But the EPA estimates that the level of indoor air pollution may be two to five times higher than the pollution level outdoors, and many children spend more than 90% of their time indoors. With today’s energy efficient homes, there is little ventilation to help indoor air quality.
Children breathe in and retain more air pollution per unit of body weight than adults. Polluted air has a greater impact on children because their lungs and systems of elimination are still developing. When children’s bodies becomes overloaded, they cannot deal with more toxins. They may begin to have adverse reactions to certain exposures such as new carpet, paint, cleaning materials, mattress and furniture off-gassing, dust, molds or pollen. Even minor exposures can make a toxic overloaded child very ill. It’s estimated that more than 40 million people now have some form of environmental illness due to allergic or toxic reactions to various substances in their environments.
Indoor air pollution can cause symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Allergens, tobacco smoke or chemical exposure can trigger asthma symptoms or make existing symptoms worse. Environmental illness may include a long list of other perplexing problems that are difficult to pinpoint.
Particles or gases are being released into the air throughout your home from many different sources. But the room in which your children sleep is probably the most important. Sleep is the time for their bodies to regenerate. When your children go to sleep at night, their bodies go into deep repair mode, and the immune system attempts to get rid of the impurities. It’s difficult to detoxify if there is the additional burden of toxins in the air in the bedroom. How much time do your children spend in the bedroom? In addition to night-time sleeping, many children are spending a lot of time playing or napping in their bedrooms during the day.
Reducing Indoor Air Pollution in the Bedroom
First, it’s crucial for babies and children to sleep on an organic mattress that does not off-gas. It’s imperative to replace all mattresses that contain fire retardants, vinyl, polyurethane foam and other toxic materials. Additionally, most bed frames, cribs, cradles, bassinets, changing tables, dressers, cabinets and bookcases are made from composite or pressed wood products that emit formaldehyde or contain varnishes or paints that also emit toxins. If possible, replace this furniture with solid wood with natural finishes. Carpet is another big toxic emitter that can release pollutants more or less continuously. Toxins from cleaning products, personal care products, building materials, and paints can all get into the air. Any mold, dust-mites, or animal dander present in the bedroom can also be a big problem for children.
To reduce allergens and toxins in your child’s bedroom:
Reduce home humidity to under 50 percent to control mold growth
Fix plumbing, roof and other water leaks promptly, and safely remove all mold throughout the house
Vacuum twice a week with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter (more frequently if you have pets)
Vacuum upholstered furniture, drapes and mattresses on a regular basis
Clean hard surfaces with a damp cloth and don’t use toxic cleaners
Keep allergy-causing pets out of the bedroom or wash pets every week to reduce exposure to dander
Wash bedding weekly in hot water
Wash stuffed animals regularly
Remove carpet, if possible, and use natural, non-toxic rugs that you can wash regularly
Keep tobacco smoke out of the home
Avoid composite or particle board furniture and try to buy real wood whenever possible.
If you buy composite wood products, let them off-gas outside for several days or weeks before bringing them indoors
Ventilate rooms thoroughly after bringing new furniture inside. Open windows daily to improve indoor air quality.
Common houseplants such as bamboo palms and spider plants may help to purify the air
All these things are necessary and helpful, but to really make a big difference in indoor air pollution, a HEPA room air purifier is needed. We have done the research on home air purifiers and are now offering the best air purifiers at guaranteed lowest prices. Best Room Air Purifier
Asthma and allergies are increasing in children. Coughing, sneezing, congestion, wheezing, shortness of breath, headaches and tiredness can be a miserable experience for your child (and for you, too). Untreated allergies can lead to other illnesses such as ear infections and sinusitis, so it’s important to deal with the allergy symptoms while removing the allergens from your child’s environment. A good HEPA Air Purifier is essential for allergy and asthma prevention.
Allergens and chemicals that can trigger asthma and allergies include pollen, mold, mildew, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, smoke, and heavy metals and chemicals in dust. Formaldehyde and other chemical off-gassing from carpets, particleboard, and pressed-wood furniture can also trigger asthma. PCBs and plastics containing phthalates and BPA are also known to increase the risk of asthma.
If you or your child are suffering from allergies or asthma, an effective air purifier is important, since it’s designed to remove the tiny particles that trigger an allergic reaction. HEPA filters are significantly better at removing these tiny particles than the ionic and electronic air cleaners.
There are many HEPA air purifier products on the market with a wide range of prices. Be cautious about the cheap ones since they probably won’t do a good job of removing the allergens. With air purification, you certainly get what you pay for.
HEPA filters will do a great job of capturing particles, but not the VOCs. To also remove formaldehyde and other VOCs, (chemical off-gassing) you will need an air purifier with additional technology. Air purifiers with plain activated carbon or granulated carbon are not as effective in removing VOCs.
We did a lot of research before determining that Austin Air and EnviroKlenz air purifiers are the best purifiers for allergies, asthma, and reducing VOC off-gassing in the home. I’ll discuss these both in detail:
EnviroKlenz Air Purifiers
The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System has true certified HEPA filters. In addition, the EnviroKlenz earth mineral technology breaks down chemicals into their elemental parts so they are gone forever. It captures, destroys and neutralizes toxic chemicals and hazardous VOCs, odors and fragrances. It has been validated and tested to be much more efficient than a carbon air purifier. Perfect for allergies, asthma, and people with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS).
A four speed blower on the EnviroKlenz offers the quietest and most efficient air flow on the market.
The EnviroKlenz Mobile Air Purifier with UV Light does everything that the EnviroKlenz standard model does, with the addition of reducing microorganisms – molds, bacteria, and viruses. Plus the UV model has indicator lights on the power switch that tell you when the HEPA filter and the UV lights need to be replaced.
Austin Air Purifiers
All Austin air purifiers have true certified HEPA filters. The Austin Allergy Machine is great for clearing asthma and allergy irritants – it has High Efficiency Gas Adsorption (HEGA) – a combination of military carbon cloth and true medical HEPA.
For removing formaldehyde and other chemical gases, I recommend the Healthmate Plus. Most homes have a substantial amount of formaldehyde lingering in the air. The Healthmate Plus does an excellent job of removing asthma and allergy triggers, in addition to formaldehyde, and other chemical gases and odors.
The Austin Air HealthMate Plus has 60 sq/ft of true HEPA medical filter medium that removes harmful airborne particles. It also contains 15 lbs. of solid activated carbon and zeolite impregnated with potassium iodide to remove harmful odors & gases. The inch-thick barrier of carbon/zeolite/potassium iodide mix acts like a sponge, scrubbing hazardous gases from the air, before they reach the HEPA paper. There is also a pre-filter that traps larger particles such as dirt, lint & hair.
Austin Air filters are designed to last for 5 years before needing to be replaced. This makes the Austin air filters less expensive to own than every other carbon-HEPA air purifier on the market. You can buy lower quality units at cheaper prices, but the cost of ownership will eventually exceed the cost of owning an Austin air cleaner, and it won’t do nearly as good a job of cleaning your air.
If you or your children have chemical sensitivities, allergies, asthma or other breathing problems, try an Austin or a EnviroKlenz air purifier. Try it out and see if it helps. Most people can feel the results within a few days.
Do you accept the full range of your child’s feelings, including the anger, sadness, fears and disappointments? Do you find it tempting to want to avoid certain emotions by trying to shut them down in some way?
Of course, it would be so easy and wonderful if your children were happy and pleasant all the time! But when kids learn that disappointment and sadness make you uncomfortable or they are not allowed to cry or be angry, they might begin to avoid feeling what they feel, thinking it’s unacceptable. They might form a belief that says, “If I want to be loved I can’t show my feelings”.
Suppressed feelings will emerge in one way or another at some point. Sometimes they’re expressed through chronic illness or they may show up as chronic sadness (depression), chronic fear (anxiety) or chronic anger (aggression).
Your kids need you to be their emotional coach. They need to learn to feel comfortable with all their challenging feelings. They need to trust that you can accept and help them with their full range of emotions. This will expand their emotional IQ for later in life and will also help them build close, connected relationships with others.
Kids can have a difficult time telling you how they feel. They sometimes have big feelings that overwhelm them and they don’t know what to do except to act those feelings out with strong behavior.
Some kids are really good at stuffing and storing up their feelings all day at school or when they are with other people. Then when they get home, they have a huge meltdown. These meltdowns can actually be a good thing! It’s an important release of built up stress and tension.
Feelings will only go away once they are felt. Your child needs your help in feeling and releasing the upsets and fears they have been holding on to. If you can help them feel safe enough to let out those feelings, they will dissipate pretty quickly and will no longer be driving your child’s behavior. And both you and your child will feel a lot better.
When you say no to something your child wants and he launches into a rant on how unfair life is and how he hates you, it’s easy to view this as disrespect. But this might be the only way your child can communicate his pain and strong feelings. If you take it personally and let your buttons get pushed, you will make the situation worse. What is needed is empathy and deep listening. Your child just needs to be understood. This is not giving in. You don’t have to change your decision, just recognize your child’s perspective and feelings.
When you are emotionally equipped to deal with all that parenting throws at you – the upsets, the hurts, the arguments, the joys, the sorrows, all the heart-wrenching moments – you will be able to effectively assist your child with his or her strong feelings to move through it all without anger or harm to your child and your relationship.
Unraveling the feelings and beliefs underneath the upsets is not always a simple task. There is no cookie cutter method for assessing a child’s needs. Every situation is different and until you have the tools to identify the real issues yourself it’s immensely helpful to have some guidance.
In our parent coaching program, you will get the guidance you need.
Valerie, our expert parent coach, providesa purely judgement-free, completely confidential space for you to talk about what’s happening. She’ll support you in a new way of communicating and interacting and help you incorporate new tools – so your kids are more cooperative and you can feel more peace and ease.
If you want to talk about your frustrations, feeling overwhelmed, or a specific challenge you’re having…whatever is on your mind… take a half hour for yourself to talk with Valerie. Trust me, it could change everything.
Can you maintain your calm and communicate effectively with your kids when you are tired, irritated and your stress levels are through the roof? Well, most of us find this very difficult!
How do you show up as the parent you want to be – even when you’re ready to explode?
When you’re in those frustrating moments you need to know there’s way more happening than the defiant child in front of you. Understanding the deeper motivations behind your child not listening to you is critical to eliciting a healthier interaction.
Here’s the deal. You can read all the books and try all the tools, but it’s very difficult to interact effectively and peacefully (consistently) with your children until you clear the underlying issues and dynamics involved in your parent-child relationship.
What makes it so challenging is what’s going on in your head and heart when your child is acting out. This generally ties back into the way you were parented. These patterns and beliefs are so deep and subconscious that it’s difficult to even know they are there.
You need help to uncover what is triggering you and how to resolve it within yourself so that you can show up effectively and lovingly for your child. Because when you are in the middle of a stressful moment, your neocortex (the reasoning part of your brain) shuts down and you can’t think straight. You’ve probably said things you regret. Maybe you’ve lashed out in anger. You’re not alone.
All those thoughts, feelings and words are coming out even though you know once they do, you can’t take them back. You can see the damage coating every word that comes out of your mouth and it feels awful for everyone. And it greatly undermines the influence you have on your child.
There’s a reason you’re frustrated and upset, and sometimes it has more to do with what’s going on within you than it does with your child. If you can identify the unconscious beliefs that are driving your emotions and behavior, you can recognize them when they come up and choose a different way of being.
Many of us were not allowed to cry or feel our strong feelings. If that was true in your childhood, when your kids are expressing these feelings, it can bring up anxiety in you, and you might want to shut those feelings down.
Or you might have had a parent who was overly controlling about the way you looked or about how clean and tidy the house should be. Whether you are aware of it or not, these deeply seated beliefs and feelings might be driving your interactions with your own kids. In your current life, you might be super messy or a super clean freak, or you might be overly controlling or overly permissive with your kids. Until you take the time to dig into what’s underneath all that, it will show up in your parenting.
Unraveling your triggers and the feelings and beliefs underneath the upsets takes some time and it’s difficult to manage this all on your own. That’s what Valerie does in our coaching program. Valerie is our expert parent coach. She will deeply listen to your frustrations and help get you on track to understand your specific family dynamics, your triggers and your unmet needs so you’re able to show up for yourself first, and then for your children as the loving, caring parent you’ve always wanted to be.
In the meantime, I’ll share a little gem. It’s called, “The Pause.”
When you feel triggered, just stop for a moment. Pause. This pause is a moment where you can choose either to take a deep breath and think for a second about how you can communicate in a constructive loving way, or you can choose to say something reactive and shaming. HUGE.
This pause holds tremendous power for you as a parent. It does take practice, but if you keep at it that pause will begin to show up without effort. When you begin to recognize your triggers and your underlying beliefs and feelings, and you are able to pause consistently, it will just start showing up for you automatically. It’s a space that will make a powerful and positive difference in your lives.
If you can understand your child’s motivation and reason behind their behavior, you can take the right steps to change the situation. Your child’s negative behavior can be a message to you that
some important emotional need is not being met, and/or
a limiting belief is present
Both kids and adults have basic emotional needs. Mostly we have a need for emotional connection and positive attention – the need for belonging. We also have a need for autonomy in our own personal power, and to contribute in ways that are meaningful to us.
If your child doesn’t feel a sense of belonging, she will act out in ways she thinks might get her the emotional attention she is lacking. Perhaps it shows up as whining or clinging.
Or if you are continually doing things for your child that he can do for himself or you have too much control over his life, he is not getting a sense of his own personal power or significance. His need to feel important, capable, and have some sort of control over his own life might show up as talking back, power struggles, tantrums, or defiance. “You aren’t the boss of me” is a statement that this need for autonomy and significance is not being met.
Underneath our feelings are beliefs about ourselves, about others and about the world. These beliefs can be either limiting or supportive. Beliefs are usually hidden in the subsconsicous mind, which drives over 90% of behavior.
The power struggles between parents and kids are usually the result of a conflict in needs. You have your own needs that can frequently conflict with your child’s needs.
Consider this scenario:
You’re struggling to get your child ready in the morning and they are having a meltdown about putting their shoes on. You have less than five minutes to leave before being late for school and work. Extremely stressful and frustrating. Why? Because you have a need that is not being met. Getting everyone to work and school on time is your need. The deeper underlying need might be security (you could lose your job) or acceptance (the teacher won’t like it if your kids are late again).
“We don’t have time for this!” you think (or yell).
Your child’s need at that time might be affection or connection. Turns out the night before they were upset about something and wanting affection and to feel that everything was going to be OK. But because they didn’t have the words to express what they were feeling, they said nothing. And now, this morning, that need for some connection with you is playing out in the hallway as a tantrum, since you are trying to rush them out the door. The limiting belief beneath the tantrum might be “I’m unworthy” or “You don’t care about me”. Limiting beliefs are not true, they are simply beliefs that we take on and feel to be true.
What might be a good way to handle this?
You can approach your child with an open heart and offer empathy. You can put a loving arm around your child and say, “I can see that you’re really sad right now and I feel sad with you. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t feel like doing and that can be frustrating. I think it would be good to have some special snuggle time tonight after we have dinner. Do you think that’s a good idea?” Help redirect their thinking toward a solution and getting their needs met. “Let’s get our shoes on and talk more about what we can do tonight while we drive to school. I bet you have some great ideas and I really want to hear them.”
Make sure to follow through with whatever you come up with. Kids need to know they can trust you and that what you say is true.
Let’s go deeper into exploring your child’s feelings.
You can create a strong parental bond and connection with your kids by being present to their emotional needs, validating their thoughts and ideas, and joining their never-ending desire to have fun and explore the world.
What does it really mean to be present with your kids?
Being present is placing your undivided attention and awareness on your child – as much as you can. You might spend a lot of time with your kids, but during this time, are you being present with them? Or are you mostly facilitating their lives, getting them ready, driving them around, etc.? It’s also possible that you’re spending more of your day struggling with your kids than connecting with and enjoying them.
If you are distracted, anxious or worried about something, you’re not present. Your kids can feel it when you’re not really with them.
Kids need to feel valued, listened to, and honored for their unique selves. When you give this type of quality attention to your children, you validate them. With this sense of validation and trust that you are on their side, their need to push back, rebel, or act out can greatly diminish.
Entering your child’s world through fun and play is one of the best ways to create closeness and connection. Letting them lead the way during play is empowering and builds self-esteem. Laughter and giggling reduces anxiety and stress in both you and your kids.
In addition to playing with your child, you can enjoy each other by creating art or music, taking nature walks, or laughing and snuggling. Or simply join your child in whatever he most loves to do. The more uninhibited fun you can have with your kids, the more joyful your parenting experience will be!
But let’s be real. How easy is it to show up fully present with your kids when you’ve got responsibilities, schedules, tons to do, and a lot to worry about? How much room do you have in your life for fun and games? This is why taking care of your own needs is critical and your #1 priority.
It can seem like two very competing goals – taking care of you AND making time to be fully present with your kids. But when you take care of yourself first, you will have the energy and emotional resilience to be fully present with your kids. It becomes easy and natural!
Listening is one of the best ways to be present with your child. In your busy day, you can look for opportunities to listen to your child’s thoughts, ideas, challenges, and stresses. You can even schedule one-on-one time with each child to just sit and listen to what’s going on with them.
Active listening is a great way to connect.
When your child is ready to tell you something, here are some tips to help you actively listen:
Come into the situation fresh and neutral, with an open, curious mind
Get rid of distractions – turn off the TV, your phone and everything that beeps
Listen to what is being said in words as well as what is being communicated nonverbally
Look directly into your child’s eyes with compassion
Listen without judgement
Release the need to hear what you want to hear so you can hear what is actually being said
Don’t think about the next thing you’re going to say
Refrain from comparing them, yourself or this situation to others
Seek to understand
As tempting as it might be, don’t try to fix the situation in that moment. Give empathy instead. You can summarize what you heard and ask if that’s what she meant. Ask “Can you tell me more about that?”. She will feel heard and valued and might go deeper into sharing with you.
Empathy is putting yourself in another’s shoes – to really understand another’s perspective and understand what they’re feeling. Empathy leads to connection and trust. Empathy takes continual practice – it can be tricky – you can over empathize or under empathize.
The most difficult part is to listen with empathy without letting your beliefs and attitudes about your child take the center stage. We all have our filters and our perspectives of how things should be, especially when it comes to our kids.
In our parent coaching program, you will learn how to recognize your limiting beliefs and triggers before they cause damage to your relationship with your kids. You will learn how to talk with your kids in the context of your unique situation, so they will feel your connection and your respect for them.