What Pros Want You To Know About Your Kids

Kris Connell and Hannah Storm CBS/The Early Show

No one knows your child better than you do. The school nurse doesn't know his favorite bedtime story or the fact that listening to the Beatles soothes him during thunderstorms.

She does know, however, that if he had eaten a scrambled egg for breakfast instead of a doughnut, he wouldn't be sitting in her office at 9:30 in the morning with a tummy-ache!

If every professional who deals with kids could pass on nuggets of information to parents, the world of children might go around a little more smoothly

With that in mind, Real Simple magazine (www.realsimple.com) compiled a list of tips from pros, in its special "Real Simple Family" issue.

The magazine and The Early Show are teaming all week in a series of the same name, featuring ideas on making your family life run better, and making it less stressful.

On Monday, in the spirit of back-to-school season, Real Simple's Kris Connell visited The Early Show to let viewers in on what school nurses, teachers, and athletic directors wish all parents knew.

Parents, of course, try their best to make sure their youngsters are taken care of in all areas of their lives, but sometimes, even the best parents can learn from pros who deal with kids all the time: doctors, teachers, tutors, etc. They have insight that might benefit you and your child.

Pointers Connell passed on:

From Doctors, Dentists, and School Nurses:


  • Go lo-carb in the morning: Make kids eat a real breakfast, not a sweet one. The simple carbohydrates in doughnuts, strudels and juice enter the bloodstream quickly, giving kids energy, but leaving them groggy by 9 a.m. School nurses see many stomachaches in their offices midmorning, and the kids are just hungry. Ideally, children should get protein (such as a scrambled egg) and some fat (at least two percent milk) to keep them full until lunch.

  • Don't offer a kids' menu at home: Children need to adapt to their parents, not vice versa. A pediatrician in Beverly Hills told Real Simple, "Parents say to me, 'I make dinner and little Johnny doesn't eat it, so I make him a grilled cheese.' I guarantee, if you don't make him a grilled cheese, he'll eat dinner. Every child has an appetite."

    From Teachers and School Administrators:

  • Making beds can help make the grade. Children who have responsibilities at home have the easiest time being responsible students. Give your child regular, age-appropriate chores. That will teach her to follow instructions and complete tasks -- helpful when she's organizing her science project the next day.

  • Empty their backpacks: You might find last week's ham sandwich that your child refused to eat. Or, more importantly, you might find permission slips, homework assignments, and notes from teachers. Sometimes, kids fail to tell you there's something important to sign, and they're the ones who suffer the consequences the next day at school.

  • Read, read: This sounds so simple. But you should practice reading with your children, whether it's a street sign, or a cereal box. It doesn't have to be a super-formal event.

    From Athletic Instructors and Dance Teachers:

  • Not everyone needs a trophy: Parents don't want their kids to experience pain, so even the losing team gets a medal. Letting kids think everyone wins every time isn't giving them a realistic view of the future. Losses teach children to cope.

  • Be the cheerleader, not the coach. The No. 1 job of parents is to encourage kids in sports. No matter what level of expertise a parent has, he or she shouldn't give the child advice. The more a parent tries to instruct, the more it can frustrate the youngster. If you want to help your child practice, ask the coach for advice (or run your techniques by him or her) when your son or daughter isn't around; your child will be happier not knowing Mom or Dad is dissecting his or her swing.
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