Shilpa Amin-Shah, MD
Dr. Amin-Shah is a mom of three children and an emergency medicine physician at Emergency Medical Associates, in St. Johns, FL.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Whenever we’re going away with our kids, my husband and I make a packing list of everything we need to take. The night before, we pack everything up and load it into the car. That way, the next morning, we just have to get everyone up and dressed and we can go. My husband and I preplan a lot. We make a lot of lists. This helps life run much more smoothly!
What surprised you most about parenting? Before I had children, I needed to sleep for eight hours to function. Now, five hours is enough. My kids’ energy is enough for me get through the day.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? My daughter eats everything. She’s a great eater! I know that a lot of kids don’t like slimy foods, like certain fruits. So I introduced them to my daughter pretty early so that she would get accustomed to them. I cut slimy fruits, like peaches, into small pieces and set them on her high chair tray. My daughter would study it for a bit, then pick it up, and give it a try.
Another trick I used is I would mix together foods I knew she liked, such as pasta, with foods that might be new, such as frozen peas. This way, when my daughter picked up a piece of pasta, she’d often get a little pea along with it.
My son, on the other hand, is a very picky eater. He likes shapes, so I found that when I cut his food into fun shapes, he’s more likely to eat them. For example, I cut cheese into triangles or squares. Also, my son likes bright colors, so I put a few drops of food coloring into food to make them more colorful. For example, I might tint his pasta red or green!
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? My children love to go for walks and go to the park. We spend a lot of time outdoors. In the winter we go the mall or Target and walk around. My kids also enjoy going to Little Gym and other indoor gyms where they can play and run around.
How do you recharge your batteries? I schedule at least one “Mommy Time” activity a week. Nothing fancy, something simple like a manicure/pedicure, meeting up for coffee with a friend or a quick shopping trip is just enough time to recharge. It also gives me something to look forward to when I have a busy week ahead.