Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand: Mom and Children’s Health Care Advocate
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Q. What is the most important lesson you try to impart to them?
KG: One thing I am always working on with my children is eating well-we serve fruits, vegetables and whole grains at all meals. My husband and I take turns cooking, depending on who gets home first. There are two games I play with the kids to promote healthy eating. We give every food item points from zero to 10 (zero being chips or candy and 10 being broccoli or grilled chicken). When it's time for a snack, we ask Theo to choose foods that have the highest point value. We also work with both boys to eat the most colorful food, to create a rainbow on their plates-red apples, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, and purple grapes. They are both good eaters and enjoy lots of fruits and veggies as a result.
Q. Who was your greatest child-raising influence, and why?
KG: My mom and grandmother are important role models for me. They were both strong women who taught me about finding a workable work-life balance. They both were the primary caregivers, but also had careers outside the home. My grandmother, Polly Noonan, raised four children while working as a secretary for the State Legislature. She also had a passion for politics, and started organizing women to be part of the democratic process to give women a greater voice. My mom raised three children while working as a lawyer. In fact, she had to take a law school exam the day after my older brother was born. Both my mom and grandmother, however, made breakfast every morning and dinner every night, and my mom even found time to sew my sister and me special dresses when we were little.
Q. What is your approach to discipline?
KG: Disciplining is one of the hardest parts of parenting. It's definitely a team effort in my house. With our 6-year old, we've found "time-outs" to be most effective.
Q. What was a memorable family outing?
KG: This past August, my family visited the Watkins Glen International Race Track up in the Finger Lakes. We took a tour of the track, and the kids absolutely loved it. It was a thrill for them to see the sports cars preparing to go onto the track. Then my husband took Theo (in his car seat, of course) around the track a few times in our minivan. They both had so much fun, and Theo couldn't stop smiling and saying how "cool" it was afterwards.