5 Ways Practicing Yoga Can Help Your Child

Practicing yoga is a fantastic way for anyone to find balance emotionally, mentally and physically. If it can do these things for anyone, think of how beneficial it can be in the life of your kids. Practicing yoga can be particularly helpful for kids who have lots of extra energy or intense emotional fluctuations.

Yoga can be used in the rehabilitation process, as a form of therapy or simply to help a person relax. Consider these 5 ways that practicing yoga can be beneficial to your child.

It’s a Great Way for Them to Exert Extra Energy

Can your kids be on the wild side at times? Maybe they have a lot of extra energy that they just can’t seem to get out during the school day. It’s important that kids get the physical activity that their bodies need, and practicing yoga can be an awesome way for them to achieve that.

Enhances Strength, Flexibility and Balance

One of the great things about yoga is that even if your child is already pretty active, it can help them learn to use their muscles in new ways. The constant focus on balance helps create strength in muscles that your kids may not usually use, all the while increasing their flexibility as well.

The balance and coordination found through yoga can also help improve their skills with other sports as well. The action of falling then calmly getting up and trying again can be useful in more than one area of life.

Helps Develop Focus and Concentration

Practicing yoga is beneficial for improving concentration and mental focus. In many situations, kids diagnosed with ADD and ADHD benefit greatly from daily yoga. It allows them to exert pent up energy while also practicing quieting their mind.

It’s a Fantastic Calming Technique and Stress Reliever

Kids who experience different levels of anxiety can often times benefit from practicing yoga. The physical postures allow those practicing to focus on the body as opposed to the chatter of the mind. The breathing techniques are also incredible methods for overall calming and stress relief.

Some schools are even beginning to offer after-school yoga programs that help kids with aggressive tendencies or behaviors. This can also lead to a better understanding of what mindfulness and compassion really mean.

Boosts Confidence and Self-Esteem

Perseverance and patience are among some of the incredible lessons practicing yoga can teach. As your kids begin to reach certain goals in their yoga practice, their confidence and self-esteem are boosted.

 

Winter Hibernation: How to Help Your Child Stay Active in the Cold Weather

Warm weather is perfect for keeping your kids outside and staying active, but what happens when winter comes? The days are getting shorter and it’s starting to get much colder outside. When the winter season approaches, it’s common that kids (and maybe you, too) start to go into hibernation mode. While curling up on the couch with a good book or movie is ideal at times, it’s also important to keep your kids getting fresh air and physical activity. What are some ways you can help your child stay active this winter?

  1. Make the Most of It When It Snows

It might be cold, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! Whether you live in a place that usually gets feet of snow or somewhere that makes a big deal out of 2 inches, take advantage of it! Get the entire family bundled up nice and tight and head out on an adventure through the yard or neighborhood. Have snowball fights, build igloos and go sledding. There is so much you can do in the snow to stay active. Just make sure everyone is wearing enough layers.

  1. Go Camping Indoors

One thing that’s great about cold weather is that since your child will likely be spending more time in the house, more quality time can be spent as a family. Being stuck indoors is a great time to pretend you’re outdoors. Try moving furniture aside and pitching a tent. Put the kids’ sleeping bags inside and let them go all out with camping activities. This is a great opportunity for them to use their imaginations.

  1. Play Active Video Games

Video games don’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. There can be really great video games that also involve physical activity and brain exercises. Check out games on the Wii for options that can engage your whole body.

  1. Cut to the Chase

When it’s too cold to go outside, it might be time to allow a little running in the house. Hide and seek or games of chase can be really fun for your kids, especially when you pretend to be the monster. When they’re a bit older, turning it into a game of tag can be exciting.

  1. Jump Around

Now is a better time than ever to go wild with your kids! Throw on some fun music and get the whole family’s blood pumping. Dancing is a great way to stay active without purposely “exercising,” and it’s always fun to get silly every once in awhile. If your kids are small enough, they’ll most likely love being twirled around, dipped and tossed in the air.

Keep an open mind when it comes to indoor activities. Let your creativity run wild, and let your kids help come up with awesome ideas for staying active.

Benefits of Summer Sports

summer sports

Now that summer break is officially underway, you may already hear the complaints from your children, saying, “We’re bored!” or you’ve started to struggle with a chore chart or have become tired of arguing with your child about how much screen time he or she is having. Summer can be a wonderful change of pace from a busy schedule, it can be a difficult and often times frustrating season. If your child is not already enrolled in a summer sport, here are a few reasons you may want to encourage him or her to participate in a sport:

Exercise

During the school year, your child may be active during the day thanks to physical education classes and time on the playground, however, when summer rolls around it may be more difficult to keep the momentum going when it comes to getting exercise. During the first few weeks of summer, it may be easy to get your kid to the local pool or to take a bike ride, but after awhile he or she may grow bored. If you child is enrolled in a summer sport that he or she enjoys, he or she will get exercise on a regular basis and may be more eager to do more activities outside of practice and games.

Creating a Routine

Although you may want to slow things down in the summer and be a little more spontaneous, creating some kind of a routine is good and will lessen the likelihood of hearing, “What should I do now?” Not only will it provide some structure for your child, but it will make the transition back to the school year much easier.

Socialization and Healthy Competition

Getting involved in any activity provides the perfect opportunity for your child to socialize with peers and extend his or her social circle. During summer break, many children end of spending their free time with the same kids, creating potential boredom and drama, but interacting with new kids is always good for developing and improving social skills.

In addition to socializing, becoming involved in a sport can allow your child to experience healthy competition. Competition, in general, has a bad reputation and many parents are hesitant to place their child in a competitive situation, but when done right it can be beneficial. When a child is engaged in healthy competition, he or she learns how to make a decision quickly, have self-control, maturity and discipline. Additionally, he or she will learn his or her limits, set goals, learn how to handle loss and how to work with others (even during conflict).

A Few Tips for Parents

While there are many benefits to participating in a summer sport, don’t pressure or force your child to join a sport he or she has no interest in. As a parent, it’s important to be involved and present at your child’s sporting event (you can help coach, volunteer, etc.), but be a good role model and be a “good sport”. Far too many parents get too into the game, exhibit a poor attitude, and forget that “it’s just a game”.

Help Your Kids Have a Fun and Meaningful Summer

fun summer for kids

Summer vacation can be a blessing and a curse for many parents. Although there’s plenty of time to spend time with your children, you may also get tired of hearing your kids say, “I’m bored”. Although you may feel like you have a lot of time to plan activities for your child during his or her summer break, three months flies by much quicker than you think. Here are some tips to help your child have a fun, meaningful, and memorable summer:

Create a Routine

During the school year, your children have a daily routine. Why not stick to one in the summertime? Does that mean that your kids should go to bed at the same time every night? Not necessarily, but you should make sure that your children get the recommended amount of sleep each night (school aged children between the ages of 6 to 13 years old need 9 to 11 hours of sleep a night). Not only is a good night’s sleep important for their mood and health, but sticking to a sleep schedule will make your transition to the school year much easier.

Other ways to stick to a routine is by creating a “chore chart” or something that makes your child an active participant in the household. Summer vacation doesn’t need to mean that your child takes a break from his or her responsibilities from caring for the family pet to cleaning his or her room to helping with dinner preparation or dishes.

Limit Screen Time

Most parents will resort to using “screen time” (tv, video games, computer) as bargaining tool at some point. If the day is chaotic, the kids are getting on your nerves, and you just need some quiet time, you may be tempted to offer screen time to create a little peace and quiet. As a parent, the choice is yours, there’s no right or wrong answer. However, be careful how much screen time you offer to your child. On average, children spend about seven hours a day on entertainment devices (phones, tvs, computers, and video games). Consider limiting screen time to a couple hours a day and encourage your child to do other things such as read, crafts, or spend time outdoors.

Encourage and Create Quality Time

Once you have created schedules and set boundaries, it’s time to encourage and create some quality time with your children. Even if you are unable to take time off from your regular work schedule, you can still have quality time with your kids and help them have a meaningful summer. Here are some ideas:

  • Enjoy the outdoors together. Whether you go on a family bike ride, plant a garden, or set up a tent in the backyard, enjoy the summer weather and remember it goes by quickly.
  • Encourage your kids to do something they’ve never done. Attending a camp or a class is a great way for your kids to learn new skills and create new friendships.
  • Set aside a little time every day to spend time with your kids and celebrate the “kid” in you.
  • Don’t forget to have fun and reduce your stress. Although a routine is important, don’t forget to have a little fun and let your kids be kids.

Tragedy: Tips for Talking to Your Children

When tragedy strikes, we keep the television and radio on for all the up-to-date coverage. We  become immersed in our smartphones and tablets, browsing through photos and watching videos. While this may be the only way to stay informed and get answers when we feel helpless and hopeless, children may be in the background absorbing the same information. If the information that we absorb is difficult to process, imagine how confusing it can be for a child.

 

As parents and caregivers, sharing information with children is a hard decision. Ideally, we’d love to present the world to our children in a soft and loving light, but the reality makes it feel like a lie. Although it’s important to keep our children informed, as it’s likely they will hear or see snippets of news, how much is too much and how should it be presented?

 

You have the right to deliver news to your child the way you see fit, but if you’re struggling to find the ways to have an age appropriate discussion, here are some tips and ideas:

Don’t Be Afraid to Talk to Your Child

 

Just because your child hasn’t talked about the latest natural disaster or mass shooting, it doesn’t mean that he or she doesn’t have questions. Chances are, he or she may be scared, confused, and anxious, yet unable to ask or find the right questions. Many parents are afraid to bring up a sensitive subject like tragedy because they don’t want to bring up negative news just in case the child hasn’t heard anything about the recent tragedies.

 

While he or she may have no idea what’s going on in the world, it’s only a matter of time before he or she sees a graphic picture of violence, hears a snippet from other adults, or even hears a confusing version from a friend. Make the move to have a conversation, it’s always better to hear it from you first.

Answer Questions, Don’t Overload Child with Information

 

When talking with your child about a tragic event, answer any and all questions that come up. Don’t ignore a question, but rather try to answer it with an age appropriate response. For example, if trying to explain a school shooting to your school aged child don’t go in detail about how many children or parents were killed. Instead, you can explain something like, “Someone went into a school and hurt a lot of people. It’s very sad news, but you are safe in your school and at home.”

 

You can also show your child a map or globe and point out the distance of the tragedy from where you live. Avoid letting your child watch the news as much of the information is repeated often and a younger child may have a hard time understanding that it’s a “recap” of information.

Take Your Child’s Anxiety Seriously

 

Even if you’ve told your child that he or she is safe, he or she may still feel anxious or have feelings that are difficult to explain; this is natural. Don’t get upset or frustrated with your child for feeling scared. Tragedy affects everyone differently, how does it make you feel? In efforts to keep life “normal” do just that. Maintaining a routine schedule can help children get past some anxiety. Maybe your son or daughter is terrified to go to school and you let him or her stay home for a day or two. If you continue to allow days off, you’re actually enabling the anxiety and your child may continue to perceive that school is an unsafe environment.
If concerns or issues continue, contact your child’s doctor or a psychologist for further tips on talking with your child.

Daycare vs. Nanny: Which Is Better For Your Child?

Daycare vs. Nanny: Which Is Better For Your Child?

With the busy lifestyles in today’s world and pressures of work, it has become difficult for many working parents to give the proper attention that their babies and children deserve. As such, parents need to take the help of others to ensure that their children get the requisite attention and care. While it is possible to ask other family members to take care of the young ones, it is not always a feasible option.

Alternatively, parents can choose between daycares and nannies for their children. Each of these options has their own benefits and disadvantages. Parents should be familiar with these aspects before selecting an option for their young ones.

Daycare

This is one of the most popular choices for many parents. A daycare facility will take adequate care of your child, as they will be staffed with trained caretakers.

Advantages

  • Daycare facilities tend to be more affordable than nannies.
  • The children will be constantly supervised by adults.
  • In order to get a license, daycare facilities have to meet certain regulations on safety and sanitary conditions.
  • Children can socialize and interact with others of their age.

Disadvantages

  • Taking children to and from the daycare center can pose a major inconvenience for parents. Time needs to be given every day on getting the children ready and packing the items.
  • Daycare centers will not accept children when they are sick. In such cases, a backup option will be required or one of the parents must skip work.
  • Some daycare centers maintain a strict schedule with respect to the routines of the child such as feeding and naps. This may be a problem for some parents.
  • If the work hours of the parents stretch beyond the working hours of the daycare, arrangements need to be made for picking up the child from the center.

 

Nanny

Nannies were the traditional method for taking care of babies. A person would be hired to take care of the baby as long as it was required. Although this had phased out for a while, an increase in demand for nannies as well as a decrease in job opportunities for qualified applicants, has once again created a space where nannies are an option for child care.

 

Benefits

  • Nannies provide one on one care to the child which is essential for infants. Such personal care is rarely available in daycare facilities.
  • As nannies will usually live in the parents’ house, the environment will be familiar and comfortable for the child.
  • It offers more convenience to the parents, as they do not have to spend time in packing items or dressing the child.
  • Parents do not have to rush from work to pick up the child since nannies can remain as long as required.
  • Parents can exercise more control over the values that their children are exposed to. Parents can inform the nannies about the rules and expectations of the family so that they can be imparted to the children by the nanny.

Drawbacks

  • Hiring a nanny can be quite expensive.
  • It can difficult to find the right nanny for the child.
  • As the nannies will more or less live in the home, it can affect the privacy of the household.
  • Nannies are full-time employees and they will be entitled to certain benefits, such as insurance, sick days, paid leave, amongst others. This can be problematic for parents who cannot afford these costs.

Both of the methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice of childcare will depend primarily on the benefits the parents wish to enjoy and the amount of money that they have apportioned towards child care.