Avoid malnutrition by feeding your children on these healthy and nutritious african foods

Nutrition is vital to child growth. According to UNICEF, malnutrition threatens to destroy a generation in Uganda. More than one-third of all young children – 2.4 million – are stunted.

Malnutrition was common among the poor, but it now affects both the poor and the rich. Parents are either too poor to provide for their children or do not know healthy diets to give children.

Getting children to eat nutritious foods is difficult because they prefer fast foods to home-cooked foods. It is a good habit to teach children to eat healthy foods to stay healthy, and strong. It also helps to establish healthy eating habits in the children. 

Consider feeding your child these foods for proper child growth.

Milk; Milk is essential for child growth from six months and above. Milk is rich in proteins, and it helps develop healthy bones and regulate blood pressure.

Eggs; Eggs are nutritious in proteins, iron, Vitamin A, D, E, and B12. Boiled are the best. Feed your child two to three boiled eggs per week.

Vegetables; It is important to feed children vegetables. Spinach, cabbage, and Amaranth (dodo) are a few vegetables children can eat.

⦁ Spinach rich in calcium and potassium

⦁ Cabbage is a source of fibre

⦁ Amaranth (Dodo) has high calcium. 

Meat: Meat is rich in Zinc, iron, fats and proteins. Other animal foods are good and help children grow strong and smart. 

Millet porridge; Millet is rich in fibre, proteins, carbohydrates and Vitamin B12. Porridge is for both babies 6-months above and children.

Posho; Posho is known as Ugali in Swahili. It is a source of carbohydrates.

Other important foods to include in children’s diet include:

  • Sweat and Irish potatoes
  • Yams
  • Eggplants
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Pumpkin leafs

Children should eat fruits every day to get vitamins and other multiple health benefits.

Eat any of these fruits every day.

  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges and passion fruits.
  • Ripe mangoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Bananas
  • Avacado

They look so adorable, So peaceful, Innocent and tender when sleeping. They remind me of the first week of their delivery. All you need is to watch them sleep. A sleeping child calms a mother’s heart. ❤❤❤

I do not carry children,  even my children and grandchildren.

It sounds unmotherly to people when I say I do not carry children. I don’t like children rolling all over me all the time, and that is who I am. I  raised three children, two girls and one boy, but I did not carry them that much.

I  changed napkins, washed clothes and did other domestic work at home without my children disturbing me.  I managed to do all these things on time by letting my babies by themselves. They rested on the chair and sat on the mat while I was working.

When you hold a baby, he gets used to that. A mother can not do something else besides taking care of a baby.  AS a married woman, I am not sure how I would explain to my husband if he found a dirty house. I was always neat despite taking care of children without help. I had clean dishes, a clean house and a quiet baby. If I had failed to accomplish my tasks, I would be called a lazy woman.

I prefer children to go out of the house to play with other children. I would only carry my children when they were sick, breastfeeding, or picking them up from the floor. It was, and it is rare to see me holding a child. I carried other mum’s children out joy and excitement, but it didn’t take long.

I recently went to the market with my grandchild, and she got tired on our way back. Then,  I asked her to jump on my back.  She did happily.
 I then asked myself when I last carried her and whether I would carry her again. I guess it was her lucky day.

 Grandmothers usually carry their grandchildren. In villages, they carry hoes and grandchildren as well. I am not that type. My children would run to sit on my laps during my free time, but I would push them away. I always told them to sit beside me but not on me.
I raise my grandchildren the same way I raised my children. I hate seeing spoilt children.

Do not get me wrong, I love children and show love to my children and grandchildren.  I buy snacks, cook food and let them play to their best.  I call my grandchildren and other kid) petty names to make them feel good about themselves.
The only problem I have is carrying them.
I do not know why?  I think it is my nature.
God created me that way.

How to get your child to eat breakfast before school

Preparing children for school is exhausting. The most challenging part is getting children to eat breakfast on time. I have African mothers scream to their children to finish their food to keep time at school and their workplaces.  Some use all sorts of tactics, but they do not work. Children at times leave their food on the table to catch up with the school van/bus. Breakfast gives children energy for the day, and that is why it is not okay to skip it.

Are you one of the million parents struggling to get children to eat breakfast before school?
Well, I share tips on how to get your child to eat breakfast before school.

Prepare their favourite meal: Children love eating their favourite snacks and food. Identify what your child likes eating most and serve it for breakfast.

Make sure children sleep early. Kids sleep late and wake up late. If a child wakes up in the last minutes of departure, they will be stressed to eat breakfast. Just like adults get stressed while doing things in a rush, so do children.  Always make sure children sleep early and wake up early. Serve them with breakfast and let them eat at their pace.

Eliminate distractions;  When you serve food for a child, take away all electronics such as phones and switch off the Television.

Eat Together; In most cases, children eat alone breakfast. Children enjoy the company and feel encouraged when eating along with other people. It doesn’t require you to have a big family, but you can grab a cup of coffee to encourage your child.

Make sure your child visits a washroom; When parents are rushing in the morning, they forget children need to empty the bowl. They focus on brushing teeth, food and running to school. Children need to take the morning procedures like bathing, brushing teeth, peeing and poohing before breakfast. This will help a child to eat without any discomfort.

How to cope with talkative children.

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

Dealing with talkative Children is challenging. They require more attention and are more inquisitive. Mothers in Uganda love quiet children because they think they are disciplined. It is a misconception, but in reality, being talkative doesn’t define a child’s discipline. Every child’s personality has advantages and disadvantages.

The pros of talkative children.

They are fearless and can easily communicate: Talkative children are bold and say what is on their minds.

They make friends quickly.

They amazingly move people’s hearts: If you sit next to a talkative child, you can never be bored. They draw and show, sing, and tell stories out of anything.

The cons of a talkative child

Talkative children lose focus on things they do. Their concentration is minimal as compared to quiet children.

Talkative children are curious and ask many questions. You may ask them to move a chair, and they ask you why?  At times, they ask very uncomfortable questions.

They rarely go quiet, even in public places,  because they don’t fear saying what is on their mind.

They require attention. If you have a talkative child at home,  you may not listen to other children besides her.

How to deal with a talkative child

Keep children busy with creative activities. I met a four-year-old child who would only keep quiet when it was time for cartoons. Think of activities and toys that will keep these children occupied. Blocks are good games too for children to express themselves and become creative.

Play games. Play games that require both of you to keep quiet.  A silent game will teach your child not to talk about everything but think about it and say it later. It will also help a child to concentrate. Hide and seek is the best game it sounds old, but it works.

Do not stop children from talking or comparing them to others.  It will make the children feel bad about themselves. It also reduces their self-esteem.

Help the talkative to interact with other children. Talkative children are social and love making new friends. Allow them to interact with other children, express themselves and make new friends.

Are you parenting a talkative child? Share with a comment how you are coping with them. 

How to balance motherhood and career.

Motherhood is a joyful, challenging and rewarding journey that takes sacrifice, commitment and tenderness. Motherhood has caused mothers to sacrifice their careers and lifestyles to become good parents. Some women in music, sports, business and other industries are affected career-wise after giving birth. Meanwhile, others tend to care more about their career than children. Do you find yourself failing to balance motherhood and career? Well, it is one of the challenges that mums face. Consider these ways as measures to balance motherhood and career.

Practice self-care; At times, mothers prefer staying alone in their bedrooms listening to themselves without the interference of children. These feelings happen because you are overworking yourself out. You are giving too much to your children and work yet forgetting yourself. Take good care of yourself to take care of others properly.
Sleep well, exercise and share your challenges with friends. Self-care will help you emotionally to deal with both children and work.

Value your time; In the tales of motherhood, time is everything. The time wasted will affect your child’s happiness and your business. Mums who have successfully balanced motherhood and career have planned themselves well. Let time for picking up your children be time for picking your children, and nothing should interfere.

Create family fun and activities to strengthen the family bond. No matter how busy your schedule is, create family time. The stronger your bond, the more you know your children.

Be present in the life’s of your children; Communicate to your children more often through a phone call when you are at work. After work, carry your children and ask them about their day. You can as well share about your day at work. Children feel more loved when their parents physically touch them.  
Get interested in your children’s activities and attend them whenever parents are needed. Honestly, put your phone down.

Make mum friends; Regardless of your social class or the amount of help you get at home, you need to make mum friends. Mums always help mums. Don’t be choosy. Oh, I am a career mum, and my friends have to be career mums too. No. You will need a stay at home mum friend to check on your child sometimes. To call when your home phone is not working. You need mum friends to share your motherhood journey with and to cry too.

In the end, motherhood should not be an obstacle to our dreams. All mums should achieve life dreams and career goals regardless of their profession. These achievements happen with proper balancing of motherhood and career.

She quit her job to stay home to take care of her children and teach them good morals.

A 38-year-old mother quit her job to sit at home and take good care of her children.
She never thought of giving up her job to become a stay at home mum, but the love for her children taught her to make life adjustments.
She was an accountant by profession with a job in a bank. Like any other working mum, she left her two kids with maids at three months and returned to work after giving birth.
 Most educated career women chasing their dreams leave their babies back home.

Her life was good until she noticed indecent behaviours in her children.
She spent less time with her children because of the tight schedule at work. I was not balancing motherhood with my career well. I gave more time and attention to my bank job than my children. Our son was aggressive, violent, very wild and could speak any word and anything she narrated.

However, I spent most weekends with the children, and their father, playing football together, swimming, going out for dinner to strengthen our family bond. That was also my chance to ask my children about their caretaker and how they feel about her.

One day, she was sitting in the living room when their son argued with a neighbour’s child. That little boy shamelessly called his friend a dog’s testicle, and when she asked him about it,  He said, ”that is what auntie calls me.”

I did not doubt it because my children’s behaviours worried me every day. Good enough my husband heard them too, she said.
 That moment broke her heart,  and she cried and blamed herself for being a bad mother.  
What is the purpose of a career when I am not performing my duties as a mother? She asked herself.

My husband proposed I  quit my job to take care of the children. I loved my career, but the love for my children made me accept his proposal. I put aside my job to teach my children morals and show them the right path.
The husband paid 80% of house needs because he had a good job. He also promised to give her a monthly salary that is half of her bank job and a housekeeper to help clean the house.

 I now spend more quality time with my children than before.  I learned what it means to stay with your baby when I gave birth to baby number three. For the first time, my child breastfed exclusively as compared to the first two children.
 I know my children’s personalities, likes and we bond more.

When her last born started school, her husband helped her open a business. My business is doing great. I drop and pick up children from school, do homework together and monitor them closely like a mother. I don’t regret quitting the job because I would not own my own business.
It gave me another opportunity to excel in life.

According to her observation and experience, stay at home mums raise morally upright children compared to those with a maid’s hand. She wished all parents were able, at least one of them would stay at home to raise children until they go to school. Life does not give us that opportunity because we all have to make ends meet. She argues working mums, try balancing jobs and motherhood by listening and monitoring their children.
”I am a happy mummy because I give my children what they deserve!”

How to improve children’s academic performance after years of school closure.

Schools in Uganda closed for two years to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Students, teachers and parents adopted the new way of learning online. Some children benefited from online learning, and others did not.

According to research, parents reported that young children in kindergarten did not benefit from online learning. Children in the lower primary did not observe discipline during classes. As much as the parents were present during the online lessons, they could not give professional advice to the children due to a lack of knowledge and experience in the new technology. 

Children in villages learnt through radios while others through their siblings and peers. Children taught by their siblings did not learn something new, making learning repetitive.

Although schools are now open in Uganda, teachers, parents, and children are sad, depressed and stressed. This state affects the children’s academic performance. There is a need for solutions to boost the children’s energy and academic performance.

  • Care for mental and psychosocial well being of both teachers and students. Following years of economic breakdown and isolation, psychosocial support should be a priority to ensure preparedness for teaching and learning. 
  • Help students deal with their feelings. Children faced many challenges such as rape, defilement and child abuse during the closure of schools. Listen to students and help them deal with their emotions. 
  • Provide individual counselling: It is time for all schools to hire a school counselor for children to seek advice and guidance whenever in need.
  • Strengthen communication between family and school. Whether your child is in boarding or day school, keep checking on them. Talk to your child more often and find out how they are doing in school, besides academics.
  • Parents should strengthen and establish a good parenting and child relationship. Get close to your child and grow a solid relationship.
  • Retrieve teacher’s professional stress: In some countries, teachers have joined hands to give each other financial and emotional support. Ugandan teachers can pick a leaf and take care of each other. Share stories about their life and families and do something fun.

Closing schools kept children from their vital activities of life like playing, socialization and interaction. However, online learning has played a part but not for all learners resulting in poor performance. Parents, teachers, schools and community leaders should give the children prerequisites to perform well.

Stay at home rules for children.

I often leave my children at home by themselves when I am going to the market or work. At times they stay alone at home after school. Children staying home on their own is something most parents do but not for all children. It depends on the age group, how comfortable and brave they are.  

Age 10 and above is the right age to start to leave children at home by themselves but not the whole day.  

It is good to set rules for children regardless of their age before leaving them alone at home. Have a look at some of these stay at home rules for children.

Do not open the door for strangers or anyone: The most important thing is the safety and security of your children. Children must not open the house or compound gate for people they do not know like hawkers, and anybody making any delivery. 

Choose a leader amongst your children: When you have more than one child at home, it is good to put one of them in charge. Allocate roles and responsibilities among them for the leader to enforce. Regardless of their age, always choose the leader.

Check on the children: Always call them and find out how they are doing. You can call on personal calls or home telephone after two to three hours. Always credit your children’s cell phones with enough airtime to communicate back in case of an emergency. 

Practice first aid. It is wise for the children to know first aid. In case of medical assistance, the children can help each other as they call the professional medical personals.

Always Keep children busy: Give children a variety of activities to keep them occupied to avoid loneliness and unnecessary disturbances. Play toys, games, paintings, drawings are the few activities that children can do by themselves. I do not recommend the internet without regulation for young children because of inappropriate content online. Cartoons on television are good and always put the T.V under parental control. 

How to work from home as you take care of children.

I understand it may sound strange to a few people in Uganda because working from home was not popular in the formal sector not until the outbreak of coronavirus. Most people mastered working at home is for the informal sector. 

However, with technological advancement, there are several businesses and jobs that people do at home. Bloggers, remote workers, crypto-traders, content writers, online marketers, small scale business owners like grocery shops and retail shops are the few mentioned home jobs that people do at their homes.

As a home working mum, I assure you that working at home is fun and convenient however it has a million interferences. When I had just started remote working, my children were overjoyed to see mummy at home. I barely got time to sit on the computer to accomplish tasks because they were around me all the time. Sometimes they would show up during the Skype meeting, and that was unprofessional. Therefore, to avoid unprofessionalism and performance decline, consider;

Planning yourself: Taking care of children involves cooking, cleaning, dropping and picking them up from school when you have school-going children. It is a job on its own. So, you have to plan yourself and do everything on time. Write down the work plan and to-do list. As a writer, I prefer writing very early in the morning when children are sleeping. I do the reading and researching in the evening when they are asleep too. Make sure food and snacks are ready for the kids to eat whenever they are hungry.

Share roles and responsibilities in the house: Accomplish house chores by seeking help from your husband, wife or older children. Working from home requires you to prioritize what is most important. To stay with a focused mind and energetic, you have to eliminate things that will exhaust you. 

Set rules:  To be on the safe side, you need to set up boundaries. Explain to children that you are working from home and do not want them involved in your business. Make sure you enforce the rules so that they learn. Working time is working time, and it means: I will shut the door, I expect no noise from you or visitors.

Occupy children with activities:  A variety of activities will help keep the children occupied for a long time. Make sure that children have enough toys, games when on their electronics or with the caretaker. More still, sporty activities can be of added value.

Working from home is a dream come true for some mums because they earn as they watch over their children and maids. However, it is tiresome in the long run. To achieve your expectations and goals, you need to be gentle with your children and yourself.