Creating a Healthy Family Dynamic



With stimulation overwhelming them from school, home, friends and technology, children are more stressed than ever before. Amanda Hinman, co-founder of the Hinman Holistic Health Institute with her husband, Mike, says children need a holistic approach that addresses how they eat, live and learn in order to grow and thrive. “When your body is in balance, your mind is able to open up to the possibilities within,” she says.

                Hinman, with a background in the holistic health and exercise industries, is a health coach who studied at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. As an author, she is celebrating the release of her new book, Vibrant Child: 7 Steps to Increase Your Child’s Health & Happiness. Hinman’s approach to health looks at overall wellness for the children and the family, which includes nutrition, activity, down time, relationships, stress management and gratitude. She’s seen it work firsthand after her oldest daughter suffered from chronic seizures for which doctors could not find the cause.

                “I knew there was something much deeper going on than just a physical reaction. The seizures were brought on by anxiety, and conventional medication couldn’t control them,” says Hinman. The family made lifestyle changes that greatly improved their overall dynamic, and today her daughter is seizure-free. Hinman uses that experience as a guide to help other families. Through private coaching sessions, workshops, speaking events and other outreach, she and her team assist parents with strategies, beliefs and a community that supports wellness.

                When parents approach Hinman to help with their children, it could be for a number of reasons. Often, there’s something not quite right in the family dynamic and with how the child is thriving. “We see a lot of children with ADHD, anxiety, depression, ear infections, learning disorders, allergies and seizures. Many are picky eaters or have hypersensitivities to sensory stimulation. But my client is really the parent—usually the mother—who comes to me overwhelmed, exhausted, uncertain and even guilty that she doesn’t know how to best support her child. My goal is to make them feel empowered, rather than hopeless,” says Hinman.

                Nutrition plays a key role in the way a child’s body and brain develop. Hinman stresses eating real, whole foods whenever possible, and acknowledges that everybody has different nutritional needs, depending on their lifestyle. “Food is information for our body. Because our body is constantly regenerating, the information we give our bodies via food affects the way it functions. See where you can add in nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods that contain vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids,” she recommends.

                Hinman also stresses that parents need to be a unified force and exhibit consistency in messages, beliefs, thoughts and actions. “Creating an intention and focus for your family helps open the lines of communication. Parents need to take time and discuss what the family priorities are, what health means for the family and what living a truly happy life for everyone looks like,” she says.

                Relaxation is vital for everyone in the family, but especially young people that are still developing. “Children are becoming increasingly overscheduled. They shuffle from soccer practice to violin lessons to sleepovers to study groups with very little down time in-between. They don’t have time to play and explore. This lack of unstructured creativity and down time can lead to chronic, negative stress,” says Hinman. She suggests mindfully taking a break every day from phones, computers, television, music and even things like scented lotion, which makes our olfactory system kick in when we may be trying to sleep or relax.

                Attitude is perhaps the largest component in a happy and healthy family dynamic. Expressing gratitude is a practice that Hinman says should be part of the daily routine for everyone. “Take a moment before bed to talk to your children about what happened that day. What’s one good thing that happened to them, or one way they helped someone else? What are they grateful for? Showing appreciation for things in our everyday lives can make us more resilient when things do go wrong,” she notes.

                Having a nurturing, safe, home environment in which family members have open communication and are loved and accepted for who they are will encourage children to flourish. “One of the greatest roles we can do as parents is to facilitate our children learning what makes them unique. Once they understand themselves better, they can do anything. They know how to create the best lifestyle for themselves,” says Hinman.

For more information, call 312-316-3689 or visit Hinmans.com. See ad on page 23.

Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Jenny Klein Teaches Yoga

People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years for its physical, spiritual and personal benefits. Heaven Meets Earth, a yoga studio and center for conscious living in Evanston, is a place where students can move their practice forward and connect with others.

Cocodaco Dance Project

Like so many other people, dancing has always been a deeply meaningful form of expression for Ronn Stewart.

Functional Medicine

Dr. Kim Martin is board certified in integrative medicine with specialties in nutrition, neurology, and functional medicine, and is the head chiropractor at North Shore Health Solutions.

Practical Applications of Huna Philosophy

Funda Kahn opened Inner Child Connection 13 years ago in Northbrook.

Using Gems to Inspire and Comfort

Crystals and minerals have been on the Earth for centuries, long before humans and animals inhabited the planet.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

New Shiatsu for Phobias Protocol at Zen Shiatsu Chicago

Clients suffering from phobias such as fears of flying, public speaking, medical procedures, snakes, heights and more have reported substantial alleviation of their fears while receiving shiatsu at Zen Shiatsu Chicago.

Balance Chiropractic and Wellness

Dr. Chris Emmert has joined the team at Balance Chiropractic and Wellness as a chiropractic physician.

Eclipses Have Special Significance

Christine Arens, PTMAFA, one of the foremost astrology teachers in the world, will conduct a seminar titled 2017 Eclipses and How They Are Used, from 2 to 4 p.m., February 4, at the Edgar Cayce Holistic Center and Bookstore.

Inspiring Women’s Herbal Conference in Wisconsin

The sixth annual Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference, titled Honoring the Wise Women of the Past, Present and Future, will bring together international herbalists and authors for a gathering of the feminine June 9 through 11 at Camp Helen Brachman, in Almond, Wisconsin.

Preventing Falls All Year Long

In the winter, falling on ice becomes more prevalent, but falls that result in injury are a common occurrence throughout the entire year. In fact, 50 percent of all accidental deaths that occur at home are related to falling; 25 percent of all work-related injuries are fall-related; and the older generation is the most vulnerable, because 33 percent of people 65 or older will experience at least one fall over the next year. It is important to know some of the reasons for falling. as well as steps that can be taken to reduce the risks. There are two main reasons for falling—environment and balance. The environment (icy surfaces, wet floors, etc.) in which we live may cause us to slip, or we might trip over objects such as rugs, cords, pets or toys. The best way to prevent slips and falls is to inspect our house or workplace for such obstacles and remove or place them in less-trafficked areas. In the case of slippery surfaces, take steps to maintain traction on the surface. Reduce slipping by salting icy surfaces and/or adding non-slip pads to areas that frequently become wet. This is especially important for seniors because their balance, reactions, vision and overall strength can reduce their ability to maneuver around such impediments. Loss of balance is most evident with older adults because it is controlled by three systems that are susceptible to the aging process: our vision, our inner ear and our sense of touch (feeling the ground under our feet). These systems can each be affected by a variety of factors, including side effects from medications or diseases such as high blood pressure or diabetes that can often be managed by a physician. In some cases, services such as physical therapy or an optical exam can help discover loss of function in one of these systems, or at least teach some strategies to compensate for loss of function by maximizing function in the other two systems. Having our vision checked regularly, using an ambulatory aid such as a cane and generally maintaining an active lifestyle can help overcome some balance deficits. Physical therapy can be of assistance when it comes to regaining strength and range of motion after a fall, but also by preventing falls before they happen. Physical therapists can treat conditions such as balance disorders and vertigo in order to diminish the risk of falling. Marty O’Shea, PT, is the owner of ARC Physical Therapy, with locations in Chicago, Elmhurst, Westmont, Hinsdale and Orland Park. For a free consultation, call 630-832-6919 or visit arc-pt.com for more information. See ad on page 13.

Regulating Digesting

During the holidays, we tend to overeat foods that are different than our usual daily fare, and then quit them almost cold turkey in January.