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Classroom Health and Safety

Take a Page From Brooke Burke-Charvet’s Parenting Playbook

Photos: Courtesy of Don Flood

Actress. TV host. Fashion designer. Carpool mom. Brooke Burke-Charvet is a woman who wears many hats. And as a mother of four, Burke knows a thing or two about the joys and challenges of motherhood.

“There’s so much pressure for us to raise perfect children, and I just don’t believe in that,” she tells Mediaplanet. “There’s no guidebook. As parents, we’re navigating uncharted waters. There’s no right or wrong way to raise a family.”

In 2012’s “The Naked Mom,” Burke candidly rejects the pretense and posturing commonly associated with parenting. Today she continues that conversation on ModernMom, an online community with tips, advice, videos, recipes and more. “I was willing to share not only what I was learning but what I really screwed up,” she continues. “When I write, I write about the good, bad and the ugly.”

Food fights

When it comes to helping children eat healthy, Burke knows that you can’t win every battle. “Nobody’s perfect. I have four kids and a busy life, so I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have a packaged snack drawer,” she laughs. “I try to put conscious choices in there, but I let my children be children.”

Burke believes that making nutrition fun and educational goes a long way — even with the pickiest eaters. “I continue a dialogue with my children all the time. I ask them, ‘What did you eat today? Did you have a vegetable? Did you have a fruit?’” Each day, she challenges her four children to “eat the rainbow” in order to diversify their intake of nutrients. “Experiment with different foods and different colors. It’s not just the yellow banana or the orange carrot. When it comes to purple, have you tried an eggplant? What color grapes do you like?”

Burke also urges that parents make mornings count. “A tired, grumpy child in a hurry cannot make a decision in the morning, so the night before I ask my kids what they want for breakfast,” she explains. Many studies indicate that a morning meal rich in protein and whole grains can boost brainpower in the classroom. “Sometimes it’s a smoothie, a quick bowl of cereal or avocado toast if we have time.”

Study breaks

When it comes to learning, Burke believes the key to improving outcomes is creating open lines of communication with your school system.

“Teachers are the second most important people in a child’s life,” she states. “They are giving them structure, comforting them and caring for them while they’re not in their family’s care. I give our teachers the upmost respect and appreciation.”

In most households, conversations about balancing homework, extracurricular activities and time spent watching TV or using mobile devices usually lead to arguments, worry, guilt and limitations.

“It’s really hard,” she reveals. “I feel like our kids are grinding through the academic system. I try not to overschedule them, and I love summer vacation. We enjoy the down time of staying up late and sleeping in, and not having such a structured schedule.”

A juggling act

When she’s not working, Burke enjoys gardening, cook-offs with her husband, David Charvet, and stealing little pieces of “me time.” And despite sharing insight with millions of parents online every day, the star maintains that she is not an expert.

“I raise all of my children so differently, and my style with each one of them is vastly different. I almost feel like I speak four different languages to each of my children,” she says. “I’m a conscious parent. I believe in honesty, flexibility and structure at the same time. I feel like a more connected parent now at 45 than I was at 27 or 30, and I learn from my children every single day.”

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