This Protein Snacks Kids Love post excerpt is part of my #GoodEnergy series at Premier Protein…
While every Mom knows that kids grow up fast, you might not realize just how fast. The average child will triple in size by their 13th birthday. That’s an astonishing rate!
To help keep your kids healthy and strong during this period of rapid growth, they will need about .5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. In other words, your 60 lb. daughter needs at least 30 grams of protein each day to fuel growth, restore damaged cells, sustain energy, support learning and memory, and to regulate her body’s changing hormones.
Easy enough, right? Not always. While most kids love pizza, mac n’ cheese, and -of course- ice cream, they don’t exactly beg for grilled chicken, lentils, and hard-boiled eggs.
Luckily, there are plenty of other yummy ways to sneak protein into your kids’ meals.
It’s 2:59pm, do you know where your energy is? If you’re like most working moms and dads, it’s probably hanging out with all those missing socks from the laundry. Unfortunately, when your energy is MIA you’re SOL, which isn’t very LOL. What are you to do?
Get Your Zzzz’s
Adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep nightly, but the average person gets only 6 hours each night. Think six is enough? According to a University of California sleep study, only 3% of the population is genetically capable of being rested after 6 hours of sleep. Chances are, you’re part of the 97% who desperately need eight hours.
My kids absolutely LOVE smoothies! As a mom, I absolutely LOVE all the fruits and veggies I can stash in there and the kids still beg for more.
For me, the dilemma is a) having the ingredients on hand and b) having the time to put it all together.
With school back in session, I was determined to find a quick and easy way to prepare the smoothies WITHOUT having to buy the pricey “smoothie blend packs” that are full of added sugar.
Luckily, making your own ready-made smoothie packs is super easy and you probably already have everything you need. We’re big fans of coconut over here, so I filled my ice cube trays with coconut milk and coconut water.
If you’re not a coconut lover you could easily use another juice, almond milk, or even greek yogurt for added protein goodness. After your cubes have frozen, cut up the fruit and/or vegetables you’d like to add to your smoothie mix. Once you have everything ready, divide up the portions into baggies and freeze.
Whenever a smoothie craving hits, all you have to do is grab a ready-made smoothie pack from the freezer and blend. Voila!
NO measuring, cutting, searching for ingredients…within 5 seconds you’ll be blending a vitamin and nutrient packed smoothie. Yum!
What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?
In the aftermath of the Super Bowl social media has been abuzz debating GoDaddy’s controversial ads. Their hot girl/nerd guy make out session garnered mass publicity and made them rich. According to GoDaddy, they gained 10,000 new customers in the wake of the commercial. This wasn’t just a “little bump” for them, it was their biggest sales day in history.
How is this possible? They angered every female in America with that ad? Easy. They’re the bully in the room with all the connections. As annoying as their commercials are, they get us talking and EVERYONE remembers their name. It’s basic human nature. We love train wrecks. We never forget the people who p*ss us off, but have a hard time remembering those who were “nice.”
GoDaddy knows this all too well and bet the farm on being controversial and memorable versus sweet and poignant. Ram may have preached “God Made a Farmer“, but GoDaddy made a sale. The almighty dollar wins and we’re once again reminded sex sells.
I could go on for hours about why I personally hated the commercial, but I’ll save the rant. I think we’re making a mistake by giving GoDaddy so much credit. GoDaddy did not create the hypersexualization of women, nor the stereotype that women are nothing more than arm candy in the tech world. They simply made a Super Bowl ad perpetuating the stereotype. Attacking the messenger won’t change the message.
If you were truly angered by the ad, DO SOMETHING about it? And no, I don’t mean boycott GoDaddy. I mean prove the stereotype WRONG. Change the message. It starts with one little girl, then another. Before long, the “bimbo” stereotype will fade away. BUT you have to take the first step. Let that first step start in YOUR home.
Stop buying your daughter scantily clad dolls.
Teach your daughter how to climb trees.
Send your little girl to math club and leave the ballet slippers at home.
Speak of only positive role models and leave the latest scandals to TMZ.
Read her books with tales of courageous young heroines.
Show nothing but respect for yourself so she learns by your example.
Raise her with the grit to pull herself up by her own bootstraps.
…and most importantly….
Love her truly, madly, deeply for the perfect little girl she is.
Our daughters and the world need to hear us, we can all take the step together. Please share this post if you’re with me!
Want more? Read: Teaching Our Daughters the Power of Beauty AND Brains
For those who might not know her yet, let me introduce you to Amanda Todd. A girl from a small town that matters in a big way.
This little girl matters because her story serves as a chilling example of how bullying can forever silence the light in our young girls. What makes her story so chilling is the realization that this could happen to any girl, at anytime, from anywhere.
She was simply a sweet young girl trying to navigate the troubled waters of her teenage years. Unfortunately, her one mistake led to years of torture and humiliation that not even her parents could protect her from.
Please watch the video below to as Amanda explains her story. While we will never fully know the heartache this poor girl endured, her courage speaks volumes.
For me, what makes this story so tragic is that I can see how the situation unfolded so easily. Any mom can look back into her teen years and relate to Amanda. While our decisions and reactions may have differed, we faced those same pressures. These days, however, our girls are being sexualized at even younger ages, dealing with bullying not just in person but online, and finding it even more difficult to get attention from their time-strapped parents.
The harsh reality is that as our involvement in social media increases, our interpersonal skills such as empathy decrease. This is not just speculation, but fact. Recent research presented at the Association for Psychological Science conference found that college students are 40% less empathetic than their counter parts 30 years ago. The research shows the sharpest drop in empathy occurring over the last 9 years. I hardly find it a coincidence that exactly 9 years ago MySpace made its debut, followed quickly by Facebook and the many other social networking sites.
Amanda Todd’s story is the face of those statistics. Our young girls are under attack online and often at the hands of other young girls who are just as troubled and vulnerable. In desperate attempts for attention, social media is turning into a battle ground for our teens. As parents, I believe we need to protect our girls from these threats online just as vigorously as we would offline. Social media and texting isn’t always as innocent as we’d like to believe and needs our supervision, vigilance, and discussion.
Our best defense in preventing another tragedy like Amanda’s is communication with our young girls.
It is our responsibility to let them know they are NOT alone.
Please click here for information regarding the signs and symptoms of bullying.
To read more of Amanda’s story click here.
As the Jennifer Livingston of WKBT video goes viral, I feel its the perfect time to share some bullying signs to help you identify if your child is being bullied. If you haven’t already, I urge you to watch the video below and comment. I’d love to hear your take!
Bullying is intentional, aggressive behavior toward an individual by another. This behavior is actually an imbalance of power that causes the aggressor to experience a false sense of empowerment and the victim feeling powerless. The effects of bullying are evident by various physical and behavioral signs and symptoms.
There are various types of bullying that people need to be aware of. Unfortunately, bullying is very prevalent among children today and can have serious negative effects for the young people who are bullied.
To successfully help children, who are victims of bullying, it is important for adults to recognize these displays, especially in young children. Some children may experience one or all of them.
1. Physical – Physical bullying can include any unwanted physical contact such as hitting, punching, pinching, and cutting.
2. Verbal – Verbal bullying can include teasing and name-calling.
3. Non-verbal/emotional – Emotional bullying can include eye and finger gestures, exclusion from social gatherings, and intimidation.
4. Cyber - Cyber bullying is when children receive harassing or threatening messages via phone (text message or other), emails, or other technological methods.
Most children who are being bullied do not voice their dilemma, therefore, adults need to know how to spot the signs and symptoms of a bullied child. In this way, they will be better able to help their children to not remain bullying targets. Influential adults may also help them to overcome the negative effects that could scar them for the rest of their lives.
1. The bullied child often appears sad, depressed, and moody, cries easily, or is easily upset. Changes could be gradual or sudden, but in any event, attention should be given to the changes.
2. The bullied child often isolate themselves from others and do not care to participate in activities. They have no circle of friends, or if children are known to be sociable, but they are beginning to withdraw, it could be that they are avoiding rejection by their peers.
3. The bullied child may have lost interest in school or other social gathering with peers and, as a result, often makes excuses to not attend.
4. The bullied child may come home with visible injuries such as bruises, cuts, and scrapes. These physical marks could be signs of altercations with other children. In most cases, bullied children are afraid to fight back, either because they feel helpless or because they have been taught not to fight back.
5. The child comes home with torn clothes, missing personal items such as school books, or destroyed belongings. These signs could also be as a result of fights and other intimidating activities that render some children helpless.
6. Bullied children often complain of being sick with headaches or stomach aches. Children often use these complaints as excuses because such complaints cannot be easily proven or may not be disputed by parents.
7. The bullied child’s eating habits may have changed. They may have lost their appetite or binge eat.
8. Bullied children often perform poorly in school. Due to emotional distress, children may lack the ability to concentrate on their work.
9. The bullied child may display unexplainable anxiety, have trouble sleeping, or experience nightmares regularly. These experiences could be due to emotional distress and anxiety that play out during the night.
10. Bullied children often suffer from low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
11. Bullied children often appear nervous. Nervous conditions could result when they don’t know what to expect on a daily basis.
When signs and symptoms are spotted, parents should speak with their children to find out what is going in their lives and seek to take helpful actions to eliminate the negative effects of bullying and promote a healthy, safe environment for their child and other children.
About the Author: JoEllen Krauss is a stay-at-home mom who recently gave birth to a little girl, an addition to her family of twin boys and her husband. She’s passionate about helping troubled kids in her community center and also writes freelance for 1800WheelChair.Com. In this guest post she shares tips to detect whether your child is a victim of bullying.
Father’s Day is just around the corner which means copious amounts of BBQ, ugly ties, and tributes to dear old Dad. This year, why not switch it up a little and leave out the whole “ugly tie” thing?
We’ve got the hottest list of Father’s Day gifts for new dads, not-so-new Dad’s, and even grandDad’s. Want to see a grown man cry? Then get to clickin’ on these gift ideas for Dad…
Gift For New Dads
Gift for Gadget Dads
Does your baby-daddy love to play Angry Birds? What if he could play it on his big screen TV with nothing more than the flick of a wrist? He can if you buy him this Roku 2 XS 1080p Streaming Player
for Father’s Day this year. Not only does it allow you to play games with its motion sensor, you can also stream 300+ channels with movies, tv shows, music, sports, etc and costs less than $100. The ultimate gift for gadget loving Dads!
Gift for Geek Dads
This LEGO storm trooper tie tack is just about the coolest tie tack in the universe and can be yours for less than $20.
If you love it, act FAST…limited quantities. May the force be with you!
Gift for Nature Dads
Be honest, how many times do you find Daddy watching Man vs Wild chiming in “I could do that?!” This year give him the chance to prove it!
Created by the infamous Bear Grylls to help your man tackle just about any situation in the wild, he’ll be ready for the Apocalypse in no time. Or maybe just surviving a camp out in the backyard- that works too!
50% of preschoolers aren’t getting enough outside playtime. Have fun with us as we enjoy some fun in the sun this summer! In the comments below, tell me- what’s YOUR favorite outdoor playtime?
Is your little girl a Project Runway or Fashion Star fan anxious to learn more about fashion design?
Tune in for my career day class as I teach elementary school kids the basics of fashion design!
Want to use the fashion templates to play along at home?
Click the images below to enlarge and then print…
We took a poll at the glamaLIFE facebook page about “Me Time” and guess what??? The #1 request for “me time” was just 15 minutes alone to relax and take a bath without the kiddos beating the door down! Tune in as I share our TOP 3 tips for getting “Mommy Me Time”.
What’s your tip? Leave it in the comments below!
According to a national study posted in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine,
…about half of the preschoolers did not have at least one parent-supervised outdoor playtime per day.
These findings are especially troublesome considering the American Academy of Pediatrics urges outdoor playtime to help children with motor development, vision, cognition, vitamin D levels and overall mental health.
The researchers found three factors that increased a child’s odds of enjoying daily outdoor playtime:
- being a boy
- having a regular playmate(s)
- parents who exercised regularly
Running a muck outside is a right of passage for childhood and NO child should miss those opportunities. If it’s been a while since you’ve made it outdoors with your little one, here’s a couple suggestions to get you out of the house and soaking up Springtime!
Roll Down a Hill
Got a hill nearby? Roll down it! Yes, the grass stains are annoying, but I promise you the endless smiles and squeals are completely worth it!
Find a path, grab some “walking sticks”, and go on a walkabout. Look for flowers, weird bugs, secret hideouts -anything that strikes your fancy! Just being outside in unfamiliar territory is exciting and engaging for young ones (adults too!). Point out all the bird sounds, noises you hear as animals scurry around, and debate the existence of BigFoot. The goal is letting the conversation and your imagination run wild.
Yep, you’d amazed at how wickedly entertaining this is to youngsters. While you’re at it, go ahead and get really crazy and offer a prize to the one who collects the most rocks, finds the most unique one, smallest one, etc. They’ll be entertained for hours!
Hit the Splashpads
These fun “mini waterparks” are gaining popularity and popping up in shopping areas, playgrounds, and restaurant areas nationwide. Grab a towel, extra set of clothes, and let your kiddos cool off while you sit back and grab snapshots of the mayhem.
From our Facebook friends…
My 3 year old loves exploring the “forest”, which is a small patch of woods by our townhouse. She pretends that she is in a fern gully and has to cross the bridge to save various fairy tale creatures and princesses. This blows my mind because I can not even go near the woods without getting all creeped out!
Collecting (super sticky, sappy) pinecones.
What’s yours? Please share! Write it in the comments below…
Click for more from our Activities for Kids series
As a mom entrepreneur, you’re constantly on the hunt for work/life balance. No matter how hard you try there will inevitably be times when your “mommy” world and “entrepreneur” world collide. So what’s a girl to do when you’re stuck in a bank waiting line with three kiddos and a dead smartphone? Here’s 20+ games to play while waiting that will keep the kiddos distracted and YOU sane.
1) Funny Face Competition
Everyone takes turns making silly and zany faces to entertain the group. Especially fun when mommy joins in!
2) Creative Storytelling
Pull out three random items from your purse and dare the kids to tell you a story including them. Then let them vote on who told the best story.
Oldie, but goodie, “I spy with my good eye ….” Always a favorite!
No need to get technical with rules, just act out a person, movie, animal, saying, etc and let the children guess answers. With you doing the acting you can control how tame or unruly the game is.
5) Staring Contest
This is about as simple as they come. Just stare at each other and whoever blinks first loses. Depending on their ages this could last forever or 5 seconds.
6) Round robin Storytelling
Start telling a story with one sentence and then rotating to the right each kid adds a sentence. If you have creative kids with vivid imaginations this can be quite entertaining!
7) Lip Reader
Test your kid’s lip reading ability by mouthing phrases, words, songs and seeing who can guess what you’re (not) saying. The kids can get pretty serious with this one and they intently watch your lips trying to figure it out.
8 ) “What If…”
Get the creative juices flowing with this game. Pick a random object and add a “what if…” scenario and let your children guess the outcome. For example, “See that jar over there? What if it was full of marbles and someone knocked it over?” Let then problem-solve (or practice comedic improv) while they explain what would happen next.
9) Guessing Game
Using a bag (or ask one of the littles for their sock), hide an item from your purse in the bag and let them take turns guessing what’s inside. To kill even more time you can start by letting them only hear it first, then smell it, touch it, before finally shaking it.
10) Make a “fortune teller”
Ask the receptionist for a piece of paper and fold a “fortune teller” game and fill the boxes with fortunes, commands they must act out, or math problems they have to solve. (Forgot how to fold one? Click here)
11) Mirror, Mirror
Make a face, stand on one leg, or draw a simple picture. Whatever it is, the kids have to repeat it exactly step by step. Whoever “mirrors” best gets to lead next.
12) Simon Says
Alright, you know the rules. The kids can only follow commands that start with “Simon says…” If they follow a command that Simon didn’t say they’re out. Have fun with it and sneak in some hilarious commands that will make them squeal!
13) What’s Missing?
Grab five or so items from your purse and lay them out on the table in front of you. Give the kids 5 or 10 seconds to remember what the items are. Next ask them to close their eyes and you remove one of the items. Have them open their eyes and guess which item is missing.
14) Magazine Search & Find
Grab a magazine and pick out an object for the kids to search and find. For the younger set, keep the search to one page and pick bigger images. For the older ones, you can use the entire magazine for the search.
Tell a story and have the kids guess if it’s fact or fiction. Kids love storytelling so it’s always a hit for their eager little minds. Brush up on some Ripley’s Believe It or Not stories to really “wow” them.
16) Begins with, Ends with
Word game where you can vary the difficulty to fit the age group. For the young ones, start by saying a word. The next in line has to say a word that begins with the letter that YOUR word ended with. For example, if you said “Dog” the next player has to say a word that starts with “g”. To make it hard for the older kids, keep the words in the same category. In this case it would be animals. Great game for building vocabulary!
17) Zoo in You
This one can get a little noisy, but is always good for a laugh. Everyone takes turns making an animal noise and the others take turns guessing which animal it is. Let them have fun with it and guess what noise an anteater for example might make. Who knows, but it’s fun to guess!
Perfect for the active kiddos that need some physical stimulation. Grab a scrap piece of paper (or use one of the subscription postcards from the office magazines) and crumble up into a ball. Mom’s purse is the “goal”. Take turns tossing the ball into the goal and tally points. Keep moving the purse farther back to increase the difficulty of the game.
19) Go Shopping with Door #3
Using a magazine in the waiting area give your child 5 seconds to “go shopping.” Let them pick out a gift, then ask them if they want to keep it or go with the magical “door #3″ gift. Next you have 5 seconds to blindly flip through the magazine and point at something for the Door #3 prize. There’s no point to the game really, but the kids have a blast wondering what you’re going to pick for the magical prize. The second your finger hits an elephant or toilet I promise they’ll be rolling on the floor laughing.
20) Tic Tac Toe
Kids love this game and you can make it extra special by using random objects for the x’s and o’s. For example, let paperclips serve as the x’s and mints as the o’s. Whenever tots feel like they’re “breaking” the rules, games become doubly fun!
21) “How much?”
Have them take turns guessing how much change you have in your wallet. Whoever guesses the closest get to keep the loot. This works with other random objects in the room too- how many pencils, how many chairs, how many books. Just make sure they guess before they get to actually count!
Let me ask, can you relate to any of these situations?
- When enjoying movie night with the family you have your smart phone nearby to check for that “important email” every 5 minutes.
- Soccer practice on Tuesday nights is great because it gives you a chance to finish work stuff on your laptop while “watching” from the stands.
- As much as you and the kids love making dinner together, most nights there’s only time to whip up something basic without little hands slowing you down.
I bet the answer is yes. I for one certainly can. Life has a way of getting in between us and those little cuties we hold so dear. We tell ourselves -and them- that we would do ANYTHING for them. And we mean that? However, the reality is they don’t necessarily need us to do “anything” for them- they need us to engage with them. Kids want our presence, not just presents.
Give them open arms and soft eyes, listen not with our ears but with our heart and mind. Instead of telling them we love them -show it with our sincere and devoted attention.
While technology these days has made us more connected with the outside world, it has also made us less connected with our world at home. The symptoms of this are headlines and gossip at the water cooler daily. Young girls becoming the prey of cyber-predators because they were so desperate to be heard they risked their safety. Or your friend two cubicles over who’s in marriage counseling to discuss the “emotional affair” his wife has had on Facebook for the past year. Technology and social media have become a blessing and a curse.
So what can you do?
The answer is simple: Stop trying to engage with your loved ones and start doing it. TODAY.
Actions speak louder than words and these tokens of love and attention don’t have to be complex, costly, or contrived. Remember the K.I.S.S. motto? It applies here too. To get you started, I’ve added a few suggestions below. Why not add these to your “to do” list for the day? Next time you’re writing “pick up dry cleaning” in your planner, try adding “play board game with kids after dinner” as well. Make engaging with your family priority one and I guarantee you will get all that love and attention back tenfold.
Time is precious, don’t wait another day to be the parent you’ve always hoped to be.
Encourage engagement by…
- make it a point to share meals at the table and keep your phone turned off
- grab ice cream and candy at the gas station on your way home and have a sundae making contest after dinner
- ask your daughter why she likes Justin Bieber so much and act interested
- instead of just saying “good job”, be specific about what part of the “job” was “good”
- stand on the sidelines (instead of the bleachers) during practice and cheer them on
- don’t wait for the recital, ask your daughter to show you her dance moves as she learns them
Do you have any to share? What has worked in your family? What changes are you hoping to make? Please share below…
The debate over “photoshopped” models and celebrities has raged for years in the media. Glossy magazines are emblazoned with pictures of celebrities that somehow appear 20 lbs lighter, tattoo-free, and without a line in sight on their 40 year old face. Are they just genetically blessed or are we being deceived by technology? While no one is willing to offer a straight-forward answer, students at Dartmouth might have found a way to get answers. They’ve created a software program that can detect whether an image has been altered and to what degree. (Read the research here)
Personally, I’m okay with adding a “soften” filter to an image that’s being printed, editing out a scar that distracts from the pictures impact, or erasing a few pimples. However, I’m NOT okay with much of the dramatic altering that’s taking place. I’m not alone on this. Celebrities themselves are taking offense. Jennifer Hudson recently spoke out about being completely shocked at the sight of her heavily photo-retouched 2008 album cover. See for yourself below:
Jennifer shared her disappointment on NBC’s Dateline,
“It’s like, ‘Where’s the rest of me?’ They Photoshopped me probably to the size I am now on that cover, when we all know I was nowhere near that. “
She adds, “It did not send out a good message. And it did not represent me well…” to her January 2012 interview. (Read the story in the NY Daily News here)
I give tremendous credit to Jennifer for expressing her outrage. The album cover was obviously not just a “touch up” and went way over the line of what’s acceptable- by anyone’s standards. I can only hope more celebrities like her stand up and voice their opinion. Our girls need to hear these confessions and realize these distortions are NOT examples of physical beauty to aspire to. They are nothing more than computer generated images-a far cry from the perfection God created in each one of us.
I’m excited about the progress the students at Dartmouth have made and I think its important that we share these images with our young girls. Sure we can tell them “those girls aren’t really that perfect”, but teenage girls don’t necessarily have a reputation for listening to their mothers. In this situation, a picture is really worth a thousand words. If you’re looking for an entertaining, yet informative way to discuss this with your girls, just press play below!
A bold claim from a bold book called The Art of Roughhousing. But they don’t stop there, here’s the full claim here:
Play—especially active physical play, like roughhousing—makes kids smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful.
I for one couldn’t agree more. I’ve been roughhousing with my littles since they were babies. I’m a firm believer in being physical with your kids. My kids and I are the “touchy-feely” type and our affection for each other isn’t expressed only through hugs -but with pile drivers, tickle fests, and flying leaps off random objects. While I think boys benefit most from this type of love language, my daughter is a huge fan as well. Whenever I’m out and about with my kiddos I hear, “wow, you’re so active and affectionate with your kids!” followed by, “wow, your kids are so loving and confident!” Coincidence? I think not.
I first encountered some of the research referenced in the book during college as I was pursuing my degree in Neuropsychology. Harry Harlow’s work with rhesus monkeys is well-known and had stuck with me years later when I was navigating those early years of motherhood.
Physical touch isn’t just a bonus for children, it’s a necessity.
Read his 1958 The Nature of Love study here.
The Art of Roughhousing defines several more benefits of roughhousing that deserve mentioning:
- Roughhousing is good for learning because it provides an opportunity for making mistakes without fear of punishment (Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce).
- Play trains mammals to cope with the unpredictable; it makes their brains more behaviorally flexible and increases their learning capacities (Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce).
- Emotional intelligence improves with roughhousing; children practice revving up and calming down, which helps them learn how to manage strong emotions (Anthony DeBenedet and Lawrence Cohen).
- Physical play releases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is like fertilizer for our brains. It helps stimulate neuron growth within the cortex and hippocampus, both of which are vital to higher learning, memory, and advanced behavior such as language and logic (Margot Sunderland).
So what if you’re convinced about the benefits of roughhousing, but don’t know where to start? What are the “rules”? Don’t worry, the authors have included over 150 pages of roughhousing activities complete with diagrams, age appropriateness, and essential skills required. There’s also a quick rundown of “do’s” and “don’ts” in the beginning to help ease you in. For example, a “don’t” is “obnoxious tickling like your big brother did.” Now you know.
What are your thoughts on roughhousing?
Do you use this type of play with your kids?
When it comes to raising creative kids, I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with our public schools. While there are many merits to celebrate, there are also areas where our kids are being hindered and starved. My biggest complaint is in the creative thinking department.
Our efforts to save a couple bucks with relentless budget cuts are depriving our children opportunities for growth as innovators, creators, and intellectuals. Instead of encouraging and inspiring our next generation to free-think, we are teaching them to memorize data and regurgitate facts. Hardly an atmosphere for nurturing the next Steve Jobs, Einstein, or Mark Zuckerburg.
So what’s a parent to do? Quite frankly, we must do what our schools won’t.
We must challenge and inspire our children to fight convention, dream the impossible, and question authority.
As Einstein once proclaimed, “There’s no great talent without an element of madness.” Tape those words to your fridge and let them serve as a daily reminder to spark a little madness in your child.
Only when children are permitted to stop mindlessly following leaders, are they able to BECOME leaders.
As parents, it’s our duty to give them that permission. Below you’ll find some great tips for taking those small steps towards raising creative kids.
Encourage Them To Answer Their Own Questions
Nothing is easier than “googling” answers these days, but where’s the challenge in that? The next time your child asks a question, let THEM create the answer before handing over the facts. For example, “Mommy, how do we see?” You: “Great question sweetie! We use our brain and our eyes to see, why don’t you draw me a picture of how you think all that works? What do YOU think happens behind our eyes that allows us to see?” Grab paper and pencil and then let their imagination run wild. You might be amazed at what they come up with? Once they’ve completed and explained their theory, you can then seek out the real answer. Were they close? Help explain the correct answer and point out any similarities. For example, did they draw a big mirror inside the brain? If so, you can compare that image to how our eyes “reflect” light. By exploring these “connections” you can help them retain more information from these learning adventures.
Ask THEM Why
Kids are notorious for asking the “Why” question relentlessly. Any parent who’s attempted a road trip has fallen victim to this never-ending line of questioning. In all fairness, why not turn the tables on them? Ask them “why” they are doing a particular activity, drawing, movement, etc. For example, if they’ve been doodling circles for 15 minutes straight, ask them “Why is it fun to draw circles like that?” Depending on their answer, you can ask another question. The goal is to get them to explore the reasoning behind their own behaviors. Teaching them to be introspective about their thoughts and behaviors strengthens their problem-solving skills. They learn to not just “accept” events, but to uncover the underlying motives, thoughts, and feelings. This free-thinking exercise will pay dividends when problem-solving more complex situations.
Find Strategy in Everyday Tasks
Every day life takes strategy. If you don’t believe me, think back to the last time you navigated through a construction site, figured out how to save an extra 20% on your daughter’s birthday present by joining a reward program, or salvaged the homemade noodles when you realized you were one egg short halfway through the recipe. Whether you realize it or not, all those feats took creative thinking, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. Successful completion of those activities were threatened to be derailed by unforeseen circumstances that required strategic thinking to overcome. Why not let your kids do the strategic thinking next time? Explain to them the situation and let them talk through with you potential solutions. This exercise not only teaches them resiliency, but it trains them to think strategically. They won’t just see obstacles in life, they will see options. Overcoming setbacks isn’t an overwhelming task anymore, but a fun exercise for flexing their brain power.
What are your thoughts? How do you encourage creativity in your kids? Chime in below…
Great for weekends when you WANT to do something fun, but nothing too crazy. Either grab some goodies already in the fridge or head to the store for yummy picnic items. This might include cold cuts, cheese, bread, chips, drinks, etc. Or you can take a different -and more playful- approach? Remember, there are NO RULES to having a picnic! The more unconventional the better.
- Pack only orange colored foods
- Foods that are petite or mini-sized
- Pick a cuisine theme such as Asian, Irish, or Italian.
- Focus on counting, pack only “8” of each item and then have your tot count and pack each one. Once there, add and subtract the items for additional math fun.
- Bake a cake to celebrate a milestone, imaginary friends birthday, good grades in school, you name it!
Now here’s the fun part, deciding where to picnic! Make this playful parenting activity even more exciting by adding a dose of adventure. Instead of heading to the same park you visit every weekend, let chance guide your way.
- Let the kids chose direction (North, South, East, or West) and then the distance (5-30 miles) You then drive North 18 miles (whatever they chose) and find a nearby spot to lay out the blanket and enjoy your feast.
- Write down a couple of predetermined places and drop them into a hat. Let the kids “draw” the winning picnic location.
- Break out a local map (or print one from mapquest.com) and blindfold your child. In classic “pin the tale on the donkey” style, let them put a pin on the picnic location.
Feel free to mix and match these suggestions to create a “extreme picnicking” activity that’s just right for your family. Embrace the moment, take pictures, and cherish those adventurous smiles. Shoot me an email about your playful parenting moment and we might just feature you in our next newsletter!
Online homework help websites are a great resource for kids hoping to get ahead in school or just trying to keep up. Luckily, there’s a ton of “virtual tutors” that can help educate AND entertain our kiddos. I scoured the web and put together a list of the top sites for you to check out. If I’ve missed any great online homework helper sites, please feel free to add them in the comments section below- thanks!
This website offers features such as a “kid safe mode”, the ability to “remove characters” that are particularly annoying, and you can even “block ads” from being displayed. There are games available for kids 2-8 and can be sorted by subject, age, or activity. One of my favorite features is the “parental report” which shows your child’s progress on each game. This is handy when paired with the “educational settings” tab. For example, if you find a subject that’s troublesome for your tot, you can increase the games that are available focusing on that specific topic. Every child’s needs are different, so the ability to customize their learning experience is a huge bonus!
Popular with parents and teachers alike, Starfall is a one-stop shop for all things reading. Specifically geared towards elementary school children, or “emerging readers”, the site offers ABC games, beginner phonics games, and interactive activities for more advanced readers. As an added feature, there are mobile apps available so you can access the site anytime with your phone. The holiday themed learning games are always a hit with little ones!
Backed by the powerhouse PBS, PBSKids is the online homework help home to such celebrities as Curious George, Clifford, and Sesame Street. The site is best for preschool aged learners, but offers more advanced games as well. The characters are the great bonus for this site since they are so easily recognizable to younger fans. The learning games can be sorted by topic and character, but not by age. I found this to be a bit annoying when trying to find age appropriate games for my little ones to play. Also, there isn’t the customization and parental feedback available as with the other sites.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Discovery Channel and the Discovery Kids site lives up to its name. The site has your basic learning games, BUT adds in some Discovery flair with science activities, animal education games, and even a “secret agent” strategy game. The games are geared more towards the K-3rd grade set and promise to keep them entertained day after day. They add new topics regularly with their latest being “Puterbugs”, a game for teaching kids technology. My sons and I absolutely adore the science and social studies focus of Discovery Kids! It’s a great compliment to the other learning sites available.
Join our glamaKIDS, crafts for kids web series as we make a spooky Halloween shirt just in time for Halloween! This kids activity for Halloween is super easy and a great family craft activity to celebrate the holiday.
What you’ll need:
- 100% cotton shirt
- 1 bleach pen
- your “imagination”
- Practice the spider web technique first
- If using a thin fabric, place a piece of cardboard between the layers to prevent the bleach from bleeding through
The video will teach you how to make the “spooky” spider web design and you’ll be free to add on any additional embellishments you might like.
Additional Design Ideas:
- Adding an applique
- Decorative heat transfer
- Halloween patch
- Fabric paint to draw fun Halloween-themed shapes
- A spider made from ribbon, etc.
Let your creativity run wild and encourage the kiddos to brainstorm some “out of the box” ideas for decorating their spider web shirt. These shirts are also fun for family pictures since you can have the shirts look the same (all black with spider web for example), but then each member can customize their shirt. Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to see your shirts!
1. Get Healthy
Nothing is sexier than touchably soft hair with lots of bounce. Give your hair a healthy pick me up by washing with a tea tree shampoo that will strip out impurities and then deep condition with a vitamin rich conditioner. My personal favorite is TERAX CREMA, it can transform hair in one wash and won’t weigh it down.
2. Get Highlights
No need to schedule a hair appointment, you can do this on the cheap. All you need is a couple highlights that frame your face to create a come hither look that guarantees extra kisses. Pick up a boxed highlighting kit, like Garnier Nutrisse Nourishing Multi-Lights Highlighting Kits. (PS…only mix as much as you need…keep the rest for a later date!)
3. Get Tousled
No matter your hairstyle, nothing screams sexy like a slightly messed up style. The subtle suggestion of bed head hair can help get the imagination going with your significant other. Simply style your hair as normal, but leave a little bit unkept. A slight tease at the nape or maybe tie it back on a sloppy low sitting bun. Need some extra volume? Get waves and soft curls by setting hair with large rollers or even braiding damp hair and letting it air dry. Have fun with it!
4. Get Fresh
Is your hair limp and lifeless by the time Happy Hour rolls around? Fix it fast with dry shampoo. Spray this quick fix at the roots and you’ll recapture your bounce in minutes. My favorite is Klorane Dry Shampoo. Loaded with oat extract and B5, it gives lift without drying your hair out.
5. Get Shining
Hair that glistens just begs to be touched. If your hair isn’t naturally shiny, feel free to cheat a little with a couple of spritzes of shine spray. This tip is a great staple for any fashionista as it serves double duty as a cure for frizz and will leave your hair smelling fantastic. If you’re looking for one that works as a daily conditioner to boot, check out Biosilk Shine On Spray.
Empowering girls with confidence and inner strength is top of mind these days as my six-year-old daughter’s next birthday approaches.
But is it enough? It seems like all those lessons are negated by the images on TV, lyrics on top 40 radio, and often in our daily social interactions.
So what’s a mom to do?
Whether we want to believe it or not, our daughters are affected by the world around them – some for the better, some for the worse. As moms, we are given the blessed opportunity of being their most trusted resource for navigating this crazy world. It’s our duty to live up to that. Next time you’re settled in watching a movie, TV show, or even reading a magazine look for examples of empowered girls, successful women, courageous females, etc. While the rest of the world might be throwing negative role models their way, it’s your job to highlight the positive ones for them to aspire to. Teaching our daughters the difference between positive and negative role models early on will help them differentiate on their own later. This will be critical when they’re entering the teen years and more easily influenced by their peers.
Education breeds confidence and inner strength. The more educated your daughter is, the more empowered she is to tackle the obstacles that come her way. Instead of falling victim to fear and uncertainty when faced with adversity, she will have resources to guide her decision-making. She won’t look to the world to steer her moral compass, she will have already learned how to chart her own course -from you! Fill her heart and soul with so many amazing and inspiring lessons that she won’t need late night TV to tell her how to act or believe. She already knows.
As mothers, it’s only natural to want to protect our children from negative situations like bullying and peer pressure. However, when we constantly stand up for our children they never have a chance to stand up FOR THEMSELVES. Fast forward to high school and instead of being ready to face teen drama with confidence they’re looking for mommy. Sadly, our best intentions as moms can actually be sabotaging our kids. Instead of rushing in to solve your child’s problems, challenge them to solve it for themselves. In the beginning they will need quit a bit of guidance, but over time they will become more and more independent in their problem solving. Not only will their confidence get a boost, but yours as well. You will know exactly how your child will handle a situation because you’ve walked them through it countless times before.
While there are many more strategies I could mention here, I’d rather leave some room for YOU to chime in. What empowering girls tips do you have to share?
Like this post? You might also like… Teaching Our Daughters the Power of Beauty and Brains
Recent findings by the American Psychology Association are troubling reminders that we must help children cope with homework stress. As my oldest finishes his first six weeks of 3rd grade, I can’t help but be overwhelmed myself by the amount of homework he’s assigned. Between his daily reading, reader response essay, math review, class supplement sheet, and all the other “special projects’ that pop up -this Mom is stressed! I can only imagine how stressed HE must feel?
For advice, I chatted with Dr. Deborah Gilboa of Ask Doctor G who added, “As a mom of four, I absolutely talk to my kids about stress. As a board certified Family Physician, I encourage the parents in my care to do the same with their kids. Children need to (in an age-appropriate way) learn to understand, avoid, and manage stress as it is unavoidable in life. Like death and sex, if we pretend hard subjects don’t exist, we are doing our kids a disservice.”
HOW do we know if our children are stressed?
Every child is different and knowing their own unique patterns should be considered, but here are common symptoms to watch out for:
- trouble sleeping at night
- unexplained headaches
- increase in nervous habits such as nail biting, fidgeting, or “nose-picking”
- sudden occurrences of bed wetting
- upset stomachs
- irritability, anger, aggression, easily upset
WHY should we be concerned about helping children with homework stress?
New research has shown that 75-90% of doctor visits are due to stress-related conditions. Further, the APA found that while 69 percent of parents say their stress has only a slight or no impact on their children, just 14 percent of youth say their parents’ stress doesn’t bother them. Whether we realize it or not, stress is causing a health crisis with our children.
As I read all these staggering statistics and look at the tense look on my son’s face as he tackles his math homework, I wonder WHAT strategies I can use to help him relax? For answers, I reached out to the glamaLIFE community.
REAL-LIFE MOM examples to help children cope with stress:
“One tactic is to set aside a time each day to talk to your kids one-on-one so they can talk about things in private without worry of being judged by siblings. Bedtime is a great time to catch up with your kids and to let them expect some alone time with each parent to vent, talk, catch up!” – Amy Kossoff Smith, Founder of The MomTini Lounge and Mom of 3 boys.
“One of my favorite activities to change the focus to an attitude of gratitude is to list all the things you are thankful for. What we focus on grows. If we talk with our kids specifically about stress, we begin to notice it more in our families. If we talk about all the gifts in our lives and search for them daily, we begin to see the beauty that surrounds us. Challenge your kids to turn a situation around and find the gift in it.” Kim Ades, M.B.A, President, Frame of Mind Coaching
“Help the kids build a tent in the family room using dining room chairs, bed linens, clothes pins, and other common household items. Then, pretend you are camping in the wilderness. Relaxation CD’s that feature nature sounds can provide wonderful sound effects to enhance the indoor camping experience.” Candi Wingate, President Nannies4Hire
Please feel free to add your own in the comments section below- the more the merrier!
It’s summer which means family travel time. This year, I had a crazy idea. Why not go to New Orleans? I’d been there several times in my 20′s, but never with kids. I absolutely adore the sights, sounds, and food in NOLA and knew my kids would too. After careful consideration, I decided to take the plunge and plan the trip. We got there just three days after Fat Tuesday and it couldn’t have been more perfect! There wasn’t any crowds, chaos, and sales galore on post-Mardi Gras souvenirs. We had a blast and the kids are already begging to go back.
Here’s my kid-friendly itinerary for New Orleans vacationing complete with contact information and pictures from our trip.
Check out the Street Music
One of the beautiful things about New Orleans is its strong musical roots. Jazz, Blues, Zydeco, country, rock -you name it. You never know when you’ll be leisurely strolling down the street and stumble upon talent playing for pennies in the middle of the street. On our first night, we found this band taking up a parking spot on Royal Street. It was true, down home blues family style complete with a 6-year-old girl on the drums. It was a great musical experience for the kids, entertained us all for at least an hour, and completely free.
Start the Day with Beignets
Cafe Du Monde has been the go-to coffee place in New Orleans since 1862. It’s steeped in tradition, but not variety. They only serve coffee (chicory flavored black or au lait- no barista here), beignets, and milk for the kiddos. The place is probably the most crowded spot in New Orleans and not exactly home to the most friendly waitresses, BUT it is still a mandatory stop for experiencing New Orleans. It’s open 24/7 and only closed Christmas Day.
The French Market has been around since 1791. Despite foreign wars, fires, hurricanes, and other man-made disruptions, the market has continued to survive and thrive symbolizing New Orlean’s desire to perservere. The market is part flea market, farmers market, and all NOLA. If you’re looking for souvenirs, check here first. “Fancy” beads are only 2/$5 versus $5.99 at the boutiques in the quarter. There’s also yummy treats from food vendors that won’t break the bank.
Grab some picnic items here and then head to the boardwalk behind the market for an impromptu lunch by the Mississippi River. Make sure you take time to just relax as you watch the steamboats, freightliners, and riverboats tug by.
Audubon Institute of Americas
An amazing treasure for the kiddie set, the Audubon Institute of the Americas includes the Aquarium of the Americas, Insectarium, and Audubon Zoo. All three provide hands on experiences for little ones they’ll never forget. The Aquarium has one of the largest collections of sharks in the States complete with a Stingray Touchpool, albino white alligator, and walk through reef tunnel.
The insectarium includes an Asian inspired butterfly garden, a multi-sensory “Immersion Theatre” and most notably an insect tasting room. I kid you not, if you ever wanted to try a chocolate covered grasshopper, here’s your chance! The Audubon Zoo has some wonders of its own, including a majestic white tiger, splash park for cooling off, and some awe-inspiring architecture from 1928 that reminds you just how special this zoo really is. There is so much to take in at each location you need at least two days to visit all three. They have a budget friendly Audubon Experience Package which let’s you experience all three destinations + an IMAX movie for the low price of $39.95 adults/$24.95 children. Such a bargain!
Mardi Gras World
Definitely a highlight, this “museum” is pure hands on FUN! The Mardi Gras World tour starts with the guide inviting you to get in the “mardi gras spirit” by playing dress up with a costume closet full of gowns, hats, capes, etc. You’re then given time to pose with various displays guaranteeing you have memorable pictures for the vacation scrapbook. Next, a film plays in the theatre telling the behind the scenes story of Mardi Gras complete with king cake and refreshments at the end.
Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, you’re given full behind the scenes access to the warehouse. Our guide was wonderfully entertaining and equally informative. She truly made everyone feel “at home” with both kids and adults hanging on her every word. Once the tour is complete you’re encouraged to wander about the warehouse. We probably spent another hour checking out the art stations, taking pictures with completed floats, and basically goofing around. The kids and I gained a whole new appreciation for Mardi Gras!
Your trip to New Orleans isn’t complete until you’ve experienced the Louisiana swamps first hand. While there’s plenty of places to choose from, I highly recommend Cajun Encounters in Slidell. It’s a short drive from New Orleans and they always have plenty of coupons scattered around town and online.
Our tour guide was a self-described “swamp rat” and took great pride in introducing his swamp to us outsiders. If something caught our eye, he was sure to make sure we got a close up. He was a wealth of information about the alligators, swamp itself, Katrina impact, Hollywood movies filmed there, and how to identify all the various animal habitats. Fact that still amazes kids? Alligators love marshmallows. Who knew?
There’s so many more New Orleans sites I’m anxious to see and I’ll surely be back this Fall if not sooner. If you plan on making the trip, visit New Orleans Online to have a travel guide sent to you. It’s full of travel ideas, event listings, and most importantly coupons.
As always, I’d love to see YOUR travel pictures! Where’s your favorite family travel spot? Please share in the comments below!
July 4th is just around the corner and fireworks safety for kids is crucial. As a July 4th baby myself, I appreciate a good fireworks show…especially when I’m the one setting them off. I want my kids to experience those same joys, but fear all the hazards that go along with fireworks. Thousands of kids get seriously injured each year by not following basic firework safety for kids guidelines.
In this episode, I gear up in the sweltering 100+ heat of TX to learn about firework safety. We set off fireworks in front of the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin with the help of Steve Wolf, professional stunt coordinator, and the supervision of the Austin Fire department. While we’re having a blast (literally), I will share with you the basic guidelines for safe holiday fun. When simple precautions are taken, fireworks are a great way to celebrate with a bang! Tune in to watch as I sweat a little (a lot), get some good luck kisses from the kiddos, and grab the fire extinguisher about 5 minutes too late…sigh.
The story behind Fit & FearLESS, the infamous red stilettos, and why moms need to be happy…
Fit and FearLESS is a weekly adventure web series where we prove being a mom isn’t about being doomed to sweatpants, spit up, and spoiled dreams. Join me as I get fit and push myself to fear LESS. I swim with sharks, get set on fire, drive a real NASCAR race car, and have a blast challenging myself with many more adventures. Why? Because I want YOU to get inspired and send me YOUR Fit and FearLESS! Maybe start that business you’ve always wanted, take those windsurfing classes, or train for that triathlon? Get inspired, dream BIG, and join the glamaLIFE revolution!
Read the full story of Fit and FearLESS here…
With summer rapidly approaching, many parents start to think about when their young children should start school. A lot of parents ask the question, “How old should my child be when he starts school?” But I think the better question is, “When will my children have a strong enough foundation of skills to be successful in school?”
There are several things to consider when deciding whether your child is ready to begin school.
1) Assess Your Child’s Maturity
One of the most important parts of a child’s readiness to start school is his social and emotional development. Does he separate easily from you? Can he play comfortably alongside other children? Does he accurately communicate his needs with words? Does he know how to take turns and share? A lot of success in school depends on being able to work smoothly alongside peers, so strong social skills are a must!
2) Assess Your Child’s Basic School Skills
While children develop on their own schedules, a child should have basic skills in a few keys areas before he begins a preschool or kindergarten program. For example, a child should be able to run, jump, and maybe skip. He should be starting to hold scissors or a pencil with the correct grip. He should be starting to learn some of the letters and maybe identify some of the sounds each letter makes He should recognize numbers and be able to count a small group of up to 10 or 20 items. And, he should be starting to identify rhyming words or at least be able to identify words that begin with the same consonant sound (like bat and ball).
3) Complete a Kindergarten Assessment
There are many wonderful (and free!) kindergarten assessments available online. These assessments ask a series of questions about your child’s existing skill level and will give you direct feedback on you child’s existing skill level relative to what will be expected of him in a preschool or kindergarten classroom. With this information, you can also identify the areas where your child may need a little extra practice before school starts in the fall.
4) Ask Your Child’s Current Teacher
If your child is in a daycare or enrichment program, your child’s current instructor is a fantastic resource. This person views your child within the group of same-aged peers every day and he or she will likely be able to provide you with an accurate measure of how ready your child is for a school program.
5) Throw a Playdate
If your child is not in daycare or an enrichment program (or if you just want to see his social skills in action for yourself!), you can get a great sense of his ability to work well with his peers by hosting a play date. Does your child play comfortably alongside his friends? Does he share materials feely and wait his turn while others work? Does he show empathy for others? Is he able to do many of the same things that his peers are doing?
6) Forget Everything Else and Trust Your Gut
There are so many things to consider when making a choice about when your child should begin preschool or kindergarten and there’s rarely a clear-cut answer. Some three-year-old children are ready for a full-day preschool program while other children are not ready for full-day school until they are closer to 5. Just remember that when your child is comfortable, he will likely thrive. And you know your child best, so trust your instincts.
The author is a former lawyer, now stay-at-home mom to two amazing boys. Her mom, Renee, is a retired kindergarten and preschool teacher. Visit them at www.schoolsparks.com, a totally free resource of information and tools to help parents prepare their children to start preschool and kindergarten ready to succeed. They offer a free kindergarten readiness test parents can take to see if their kids are ready to start preschool or kindergarten and over 100 free printable kindergarten worksheets to help children develop critical skills.
Easter Baking with Kids, Cake Pops!
Easter is just around the corner and we’ve got a a fun baking with kids activity…Cake Pops!
These yummy and oh-so-cute treats are super easy to make and a blast to decorate- perfect for little helpers in the kitchen! Tune in as we show you how.
What you will need:
1 box Cake Mix (any flavor)
cake pan (1 rectangle or 2 rounds)
1 canister of icing (any flavor)
cookie dough baller (can use hands)
various kinds of sprinkles, nuts, toppings
Want more Cake Pop fun? Visit Wilton for more recipes, decorating ideas, and supply information.
When it comes to physical activity, every little bit counts! LET’S GET MOVING month is designed to get you and your child to become more physically active. Children are less physically fit than they were a generation ago. In fact, inactive children, when compared to active children, weigh more and have higher blood pressure. Most importantly, inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults.
Many parents think of organized sports like soccer or baseball when they think of getting exercise. Unfortunately, practice and games once or twice a week are not enough activity to reach the recommended goal of at least 60 minutes everyday. As parents, we also can’t rely on physical education in schools to provide enough activity for our children. The good news is that there are many ways that we can keep our children active everyday!
The current recommendation for children is to have at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all days of the week. Activity can be accumulated throughout the day. Even blocks of time as short as 15 minutes or more can be accumulated throughout the day to achieve this goal. This sixty minute recommendation can be accomplished very easily by including activity into your daily routine. For example, try taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking further away and walking to the store. Don’t forget activities like raking leaves, shoveling snow or having your child clean his or her room.
Why is physical activity important for my child?
- It helps to maintain a healthy body weight
- It improves your child’s physical skills like jumping, throwing, kicking and catching
- It strengthens your child’s muscles and improves coordination
- It can increase your child’s life expectancy
- It can reduce the risk of some cancers and diabetes
Just like choosing healthy foods, children are more likely to want to be active when other family members are active too. Lead by example; show your child that exercise is important by regularly exercising yourself. Here are some activities that the whole family can do:
- Take a family walk after dinner a couple times a week
- Go on a family bike ride through the neighborhood
- Create sidewalk art with chalk and play hopscotch
- Fly a kite on a grassy field at a local school
- Enjoy a playground at a school or a park
- Play Duck, Duck, Goose or London Bridge
- Limit time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching TV, playing on the computer or playing video games to no more than one hour a day.
All children need to be physically active. A child with a chronic health condition or disability should not be excluded from physical activities. Consult your child’s doctor about which activities are safe and if the activities can be adjusted to meet your child’s needs. An overweight or even a less coordinated child may feel uncomfortable in competitive sports, so activities everyone can participate in, regardless of skill, may be best. Some activities that are less dependant on skill level include:
- Biking, playing outside
- Flying a kite
Another way to increase physical activity with your child is to use it as a fun reward instead of food or money. When your child reaches a certain goal (like doing well in school) celebrate by going miniature golfing, hiking or visiting a swimming park.
Children need physical activity to build strength, coordination and confidence. All of these characteristics lay the groundwork for leading a healthy lifestyle in the future. Studies show that children who are exposed to various sports and exercise tend to stay active throughout their adults lives. Also, children who are more physically active tend to get sick less often than children who are inactive. So remember, when it comes to physical activity, every little bit counts!
Safety is always important when it comes to physical activities and your child. Make sure your child wears the proper safety gear. For example, a helmet for bike riding, skateboarding or rolling skating. Study after study will show that helmets save lives! Make sure to put sunscreen on your child when he or she is playing outside; and don’t forget to bring water to drink even if your child is playing in water. Lastly, if your child is in an organized sport, ask the coach what kind of safety equipment your child may need during the season.
Water needs of the Active Child
Now is a good opportunity to teach your child about the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated while exercising. Did you know that our bodies are estimated to be about 60-70% water? Water has several important functions in the body: it helps regulate your body’s temperature, it helps nutrients travel to all your organs and it also protects all of your joints. Water is equally good for your skin and helps your body process food more efficiently.
The current recommendation for children is to drink at least 4 ounces (a half-cup) of water every 20 minutes while exercising. We lose water everyday by sweating, going to the bathroom and even breathing! Explain to your child that water keeps the body hydrated and, if you don’t get enough water, you may start to feel dehydrated. Signs of dehydration can include:
- Feeling tired or confused
- Having a headache
- Having leg or stomach cramps
- Feeling thirsty
About the Author…
By Michelle Mirizzi, MS, Registered Dietitian
This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visitwww.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children’s healthy games, and tools. Available in English and Spanish.
Most of us already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but how to eat a healthy breakfast can be a little daunting. Beginning your day without breakfast is like trying to fly a kite without any wind. It’s hard to get started and even harder to keep going. Breakfast is the first chance your child’s developing body and brain has to refuel its glucose levels, (that’s the brains basic fuel), after several hours of sleep.
Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Here are just a few reasons why your child should eat breakfast:
- Studies show that eating breakfast everyday is important in maintaining a healthy body weight. Starting your child’s day with a healthy breakfast will also make them less likely to eat high-calorie snacks during the morning.
- Eating a well balanced breakfast improves their intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C; these nutrients are essential in a balanced diet. In fact, a good breakfast provides one-fourth to one-third of the day’s energy and nutrient needs.
- Children who eat a healthy breakfast tend to show improved academic performance, longer attention span, better attendance and decreased hyperactivity in school.
- Skipping breakfast will often make your child feel tired, restless or irritable by mid-morning. By eating breakfast, your child will have energy throughout the morning and help him/her concentrate better in class. This also means fewer trips to the school nurse’s office.
Breakfast can be served hot or cold, sitting down or eaten on-the-run. Breakfast can be a typical breakfast food, or left-overs from dinner the night before. The main point to remember is to include it in your morning routine for both you and your child. A good breakfast is easier than you think. By choosing the right foods, you can feed your child quickly at home or create a brown bag to go.
A nutritious breakfast includes foods from at least three of the five food groups:
- Fruit group; fresh whole fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges. Sliced fruit which can be added to cereal, yogurt or oatmeal.
- Vegetables group; 100% vegetable juice, or mushrooms, asparagus, or green peppers in an omelet.
- Grains group; whole-grain breads, dry cereal, bagels, english muffins, flour tortillas, rice.
- Milk group; low fat or fat free milk, yogurt or cheese. If your child is lactose intolerant, choose lactose-free products that still have the calcium and other nutrients needed.
- Meat and beans group; eggs, lean meat, peanut butter, beans.
Traditional and non-traditional breakfast ideas:
- Whole grain cereal with fruit and low fat milk
- Oatmeal with raisins and low fat milk
- Waffles, turkey bacon and fruit juice
- Bagel with cheese or peanut butter
- Breakfast burrito: scrambled eggs, cheese and veggies wrapped in a flour tortilla
- Grilled cheese sandwich and juice
- Turkey sandwich and a cup of low fat milk
- Rice bowl with chicken and vegetables on top
Follow these easy tips to make time for breakfast in the morning:
- Do some of your morning chores the night before, such as selecting clothes to wear and getting backpacks ready for school.
- Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier to allow more time to prepare and eat breakfast as a family.
- Skip the audio-video temptation: make breakfast time about eating rather than watching TV, playing a video game or using the computer. You may find it easier to get out of the house on time as well.
- Offer something non-traditional like leftovers from the night before. Eating nutritious food for breakfast is better than eating no breakfast at all.
- Have items available in your kitchen that can be quickly and easily assembled in the morning such as whole grain cereals with milk, fresh fruit, yogurt or bagels.
- Pick one morning a week where you make a special breakfast such as pancakes and eggs. You can set up the mix the night before or even make the pancakes and freeze them to reheat when needed.
Creating healthy habits
Children are “copycats”; They like to do what someone else is doing. Parents and older siblings can act as role models by setting a good example and taking the time to eat breakfast every morning. Rise and shine with breakfast and help your child develop a healthy habit that will benefit them throughout their life.
About the Author…
By Michelle Mirizzi MS Registered Dietitian
This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visit www.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children’s healthy games, and tools. Available in English and Spanish.