Tag Archives: parenting

Easy Ways to Encourage Physical Activity

Easy ways to encourage physical activity (in the digital age)

 

In the past few decades childhood obesity has tripled in the United States and it is now believed to impact the lives of more than 12 million adolescents and children. It has become a particularly sensitive subject, which has left many parents looking for practical ways to help their kids get a grip on their weight and steer clear of the many weight related health conditions.

So as a parent, what can you do to help your children stay fit and healthy?  As well as adopting healthy eating habits as a family, another fundamental goal is to encourage kids to maintain an active lifestyle. This certainly isn’t an easy task in the age of the internet, where computer games and smart phones are unavoidable, but with a little effort, it is certainly doable.  

 

Stop Driving Everywhere

The modern car revolutionized the way society operates and made getting to work, school, and seeing friends and family so much easier. Yet that does not mean we are obliged to use our cars for every journey.

Is it really necessary to drive to a friend’s house that lives just around the corner? Walking whenever possible is a sure way to encourage your kids to get active and appreciate the outside world. Even better, it will help you save on fuel and avoid additional wear and tear of your vehicle.

 

Make it a Family Event

Another great way to make exercise fun is to make it a family event where every generation of the family can feel involved. Instead of planning a day out at the cinema or going for a meal, consider activities such as a family bike ride.

This will allow kids of all ages to get involved and it can be made into a fun fuelled adventure that doesn’t feel like exercise one bit. Not only are bikes a great way to get active, but allow you as a family to explore local environments and make treasured memories.

 

Consider Garden Activities

Don’t just allow your kids to play on their computer games or watch TV all day. Ensure you are limiting their screen time to a healthy amount. The rest of the time they should be taking part in other activities, such as study, socializing and physical activity. Of course, sports aren’t for everyone, so if your child really isn’t a fan, then there are still many other opportunities.

For instance, my kids have various outdoor toys in the garden, including a trampoline, climbing toys and swing sets. These are affordable and a fun way to get kids outdoors and active.

 

Keep Play Fun

If you are playing a sport outside, don’t get too wrapped up in the details and rules of the game,  especially with regards to younger kids. Allowing your children to let loose without any restrictions is likely to be much more fun for them.

As kids get older, they will organically become more and more familiar with the rules, so for now just let them concentrate on having as much fun being active as possible. This can be a difficult task for sports fans, but still an important factor to bear in mind.  

 

Age Appropriate  

Another thing to consider is whether or not an activity is age appropriate. The most important part of encouraging kids to stay active is to ensure they enjoy it. The reality is that if they find it boring or too difficult then they are going to become dissatisfied with the activity and lose interest.

As a parent, you main role is to ensure they stay motivated and engaged. Younger kids and tots can really benefit from simple activities such as kicking a ball around the yard. Not only will this help them burn off some steam, but will also help them develop hand eye coordination and motor skills. Older kids and teens tend to find sports such as soccer and baseball more rewarding and the social aspect can also greatly aid them in their development.

 

Be a Motivational Parent

As the parent, you have the responsibility of ensuring your kids stay motivated to participate in physical activity including sports. Often, all a child needs is a little bit of encouragement from their loved ones and they will find the confidence to participate. As they get involved, continually let them know how proud you are and praise them whenever they make progress. The influential effect of a parent’s compliment should never be taken for granted.

 

The Bottom Line

Keeping kids motivated is arguably more difficult than ever with so many distractions from the digital world, but it that makes it even more important. Exercise is not only essential for a healthy and well balanced body and mind, but it can also help in a myriad of other ways too. This can include childhood development, confidence building and acquiring social skills.  You may even find that it builds a closer relationship between you and your child! 

4 Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

4 Ways to Create a Kid-Friendly Garden

 

When children come along, the garden becomes less of a relaxing area and more of a play place for the young ones. However, you don’t have to worry about your child getting hurt or work on labels saying “No, don’t touch that,” “Keep distance,” et cetera. Here are some clever ways to turn your garden into a children’s haven that grown-ups can enjoy too.

 

  1. Grow Sensory Plants 

Encourage the kids to spend their time in the garden by installing plants that stimulate their senses. For example, rattling seed head and rustling grass are great to listen to in quiet moments, while bright flowers like sunflowers, nasturtiums, and marigolds make for a lovely sight because of their multicolored blooms. Also, consider adding a variety of textures while decorating your garden, like downy sage leaves, to persuade the children to utilize the sense of feel/touch. In addition, parents can plant chocolate cosmos and other plants with fun smells, as well as stimulate taste buds by growing a pot of flavorful berries. 

 

  1. Make Your Garden a Pest-Free Zone

Slugs, ants and other insects can damage your garden and may make your children vulnerable to diseases. To ensure that your kids don’t come in contact with harmful pests, experts at Joshua’s Pest Control San Diego recommend professional pest control services. Specialists acknowledge that each business or home has varying pest challenges so they take extra care in inspecting the establishment to discover the best solution by developing customized solutions that suit every need. If you’re worried about pesticides, you can inquire if the vendor offers organic pest control. Organic treatments are based on the vendor visiting your garden on a regular basis to minimize your pest issues. These provide a natural alternative that features the use of natural ingredients, including rosemary oil and high-quality clove.

 

  1. Set Up a Mini Jungle

This can be done by planting weeping trees and grasses in one corner of the garden. Consider laying stepping stones to create a pathway through the mini jungle where children can let their imagination run free. Parents even have the option to seed giant sunflower and put a huge boulder for children’s climbing. The fun and inviting area will definitely get the little ones to utilize the garden, and be excited about spending time outdoors, away from their TVs and iPads. However, this can also create some good hideouts for unsafe critters, so it’s recommended that you keep the plant and grass to a minimum quantity and height. 

 

  1. Invest in a Trampoline 

This can be done by planting weeping trees and grasses in one corner of the garden. Consider laying stepping stones to create a pathway through the mini jungle where children can let their imagination run free. Parents even have the option to seed giant sunflowers and put a huge boulder for the kids to climb. The fun and inviting area will definitely get the little ones to utilize the garden, and be excited about spending time outdoors, away from their iPads. However, this can also create some good hideouts for unsafe critters, so it’s recommended that you keep the plant and grass to a minimum quantity and height.

 

By taking just a few measures before the summer comes to an end, you’ll be able to create a safe outdoor haven for your loved ones.

 

 

How to choose a game your toddler will enjoy

Toddlers love playing board games, but it is important to find one just right for their skill level, and short in duration so it can hold their attention. There are so many different games to choose from, knowing what’s right can sometimes be difficult. Here, we have some top tips to help parents find a board game their toddler is sure to love.

 

How to choose a game your toddler will enjoy

 

Easy Toddler Games

The first thing to think about is how difficult the game is to follow. If buying a first board game for your toddler, make sure the rules are simple. Also make sure the game doesn’t last more than 10 or 15 minutes, as toddlers tend to lose interest and stop concentrating after this length of time.

 

What is your Child Interested in?

Think about your child’s interests when choosing a game for them. If your child likes counting, choose a game which involves numbers. If they enjoy matching items, they will probably love a bingo lotto type game where they can match picture cards to their game board.

There are loads of games for toddlers which have play pieces such as toy food. These are great because children can use the items from the game as toys even if they are not yet interested in learning how to play the game properly.

 

Cooperative Games

These are the best type of games for toddlers, as all players work together to achieve a goal. It can help toddlers learn to work together with others – a valuable skill to learn from a young age. Games which have one winner or loser have their place, but very young children can become extremely upset if they lose the game, which can put them off wanting to play it again.

It’s best to play a game with your toddler, as they will love spending time with you and learning how to play. Toddlers can learn important social skills from playing board games, such as taking turns, so it’s a good idea to sit with them and show them what to do.

 

Popular Kids Cartoon Characters

Toddlers love cartoon characters from their favorite books and programs. Choosing a game which features a character they love is sure to help them be more interested in learning how to play it. There are many board games and picture cards featuring popular characters – there is sure to be something your toddler will love!

 

Active Games for Kids

Toddlers don’t often enjoy sitting still, so getting them to sit on the floor or around the table to play a game can be challenging. There are some games which encourage kids to move around, such as those where players have to do certain movements and actions or sing songs. These types of games are great choices for wiggly toddlers who hate sitting still!

 

Reading Skills

It’s a good idea to choose a board game for a toddler which doesn’t involve any reading. There are plenty of games which can be played by those who can’t yet read – as long as parents explain the rules toddlers are sure to learn fast.

 

About the Author

Emily Dick is a writer and blogger and is currently writing for her parenting blog WhooopsaDaisy.com. She enjoys writing about a range of topics, whether it’s toys and games for kids or the latest baby equipment. Emily has recently graduated with a degree in social science from The Open University, and she is currently raising her toddler daughter Daisy.

 

Extra Discounts for EBT Cardholders

Extra Discounts for EBT Cardholders (you've got to read this!)

 

EBT benefits can be a lifesaver.  For some it is a helping hand to get you by in a tough time, and for others it could be a matter of whether they eat dinner or not every night.  Regardless of the situation, it means money is tight.  Your family may be missing out on opportunities others have, but you shouldn’t have to.  As someone who has been through these circumstances, I want to share with you some of the great discounts and freebies I have found for EBT cardholders to help you save money! 

 

EBT Cardholder Discounts

  • Museums
  • Amazon Prime
  • Zoos
    • Some zoos even offer discounted admission – check the zoo’s website or give them a call
  • School Fees and Lunches
    • Discounted lunches and reduced or waived fees for school – most states have programs to ensure low income families can still afford to send their children to school.  This includes discounted or free lunches, reduced or waived fees for school, and even a summer lunch program.  Call your school or stop into the office to inquire.  You may also be able to find out more information from the USDA School Meals website.
  • Home Internet

Remember to show your card to verify eligibility for all of the above mentioned discounts!

 

Free bowling for kids (during summer months)

 

Other discounts to keep an eye out for (not EBT card required)

  • Program discounts through your employer
    • cell service, fitness center memberships, local discounts
  • Grocery store loyalty cards and programs
    • Walmart Savings Catcher – scan your receipt with the app and they will compare the grocery prices to other local stores and give you the difference back!
    • Meijer Mperks (for those of you in the Midwest!)
    • Price Matching
  • Check brand, store, and event websites for coupons and discounts
    • Before shopping online or visiting a store, check websites for coupons and discounts
    • Visit the brand or store website for exclusive coupons
    • Apps like Shopular and Retailmenot for store coupons
    • Restaurant and fast food apps often offer additional discounts
    • Redbox App for free/discounted movie rentals
  • Coupons.com website and app
    • Check for product or brand specific coupons
  • Current memberships
    • Investigate your current memberships.  They may get you discounts at other locations (i.e. partnering museums, library, etc)
  • Seasonal Discounts
    • Some events or memberships will offer discounts if you sign up during a certain time frame
    • Check for off season discounts
  • KidsBowlFree.com
    • Great opportunity for summer months
    • Sign up online for 2 free bowling games per day for each child (up to age 15) at qualifying locations
    • Shoe rental is not covered, however you can pick a pair of low-cost light soled shoes from a store like Walmart to wear only for bowling and not have to pay for shoes.  I spent $10 a pair for my boys and would have paid that in 3 visits alone.  Plus, after school starts and the free bowling ends, they can keep them as bowling shoes or they can have a spare pair of shoes for school! 
  • Birthday Offers
    • Sign up for savings at various places and receive free/discounted offers for your birthday

 

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