Title: Keeping kids active: Ideas for parents
Author: Marjorie E. Nolan, MS, RD, CPT
Keeping kids active: Ideas for parents
Children are more sedentary than ever, watching television and playing video games instead of biking to the playground or playing kickball in the backyard with their pals is a major cause. And even schools have stopped emphasizing fitness, in some school districts, physical education has vanished completely because of under-funding.
Kids need regular exercise to build strong bones and muscles. Exercise also helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day. Such habits established in childhood help adolescents maintain healthy weight despite the hormonal changes, rapid growth and social influences that often lead to overeating. And active children are more likely to become fit adults.
As childhood has become more sedentary, children have put on weight -- lots of it. In the past 30 years, the rate of childhood obesity has more than tripled, leading to a dramatic increase in the number of children with type 2 diabetes, a disease once limited to sedentary, overweight adults.
You do have the power to give your children a lifelong appreciation for activities that strengthen their bodies.
Follow these tips to keep your kid active:
#1 Set a good example
If you want an active child, be active yourself. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park the car farther away from stores. Never make exercise seem like a punishment or a chore. Find fun activities that the whole family can do together, such as:
Walks with the family dog
Hide & Seek
If mom and dad exercise, it's a very powerful message for a child to exercise. In addition to getting active, exercising together gives you good family time. The goal is to get kids moving, whatever the activity.
#2 Limit 'Screen Time'
There are a lot of reasons why children are less active today, but the biggest culprit is the television set, followed closely by video games and computers, these activities encourage a sedentary lifestyle by limiting movement for long periods of time.
Watching television is directly related to childhood obesity. Children who watch more than five hours of television a day are eight times more likely to be obese than are children who watch less than two hours of television a day.
A surefire way to increase your children's activity levels is to limit the number of hours they're allowed 'screen time' each day. When children are bored they find things to do.
#3 Promote Activity, not Exercise
Of course sports and other organized activities are a great way to keep your kid moving however, kids don't have to be in sports or take dance classes to be active. Every kid is wired differently. We all have certain strengths and characteristics that permit us to do certain things better than others. Many noncompetitive activities are available for a child who isn't interested in organized athletics.
The key is to find things that your child likes to do. For instance, if your child is artistically inclined, go on a nature hike to collect leaves and rocks that your child can use to make a collage. If your child likes to climb, head for the nearest neighborhood jungle gym or climbing wall. If your child likes to read, then walk or bike to the neighborhood library for a book.
#4 Start Young
Remember your energetic toddler? Direct that energy into a lifelong love of physical activity. By incorporating physical activity into our children's lives at an early age, you are setting the foundation for good fitness habits in the years to come. For instance, have your child show you how bunnies hop, eagles fly or dogs wag their tails.
Some other suggestions for keeping kids interested:
* Play games your elementary school child loves, like tag, cops and robbers, Simon says and red light, green light. If you don't remember the rules for these games, make up your own or walk to your local library and check out a book on games.
* Let your toddlers and preschoolers see how much fun you can have while being active. Don't just run with them. Run like a gorilla. Walk like a spider. Hop like a bunny. Stretch like a cat.
* Plan your family vacations around physical activities -- hiking, biking, skiing, snorkeling, swimming or camping. Take along a ball or Frisbee disc to sneak in some activity at rest stops.
* Make chores a family affair. Who can pull the most weeds out of the vegetable garden? Who can collect the most litter in the neighborhood? Have your kids help shovel the snow off the driveway and use that excess snow to build a huge snow fort.
* Vary the activities. Let each child take a turn choosing the activity of the day or week. Batting cages, bowling and restaurant play areas all count. What counts is that you're doing something active as a family.
About the author:
Marjorie E. Nolan is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer. Marjorie offers expertise advice and counseling on child and adolescence weight loss and healthy lifestyle coaching for the entire family. For free tips to learn how you and your family can lose weight and keep it off visit Marjorie at http://www.NoDiet4Kids.com or email her at Marjorie@NoDiet4Kids.com
Title: Kids Activities - 10 Inspiring Ideas For A Rainy Day
Author: Lindsay Small
There is nothing worse than a rainy day in the middle of the school holidays, when children are cooped up inside, you have nothing planned, and the inevitable cries of “I’m bored” are not far away! Keep this list of rainy day activities ready for just such a day. Older children may enjoy choosing from the list themselves.
1. Sort through the toy cupboard:
It’s surprising how much fun this can be! Get everyone together and aim to clear one shelf or drawer. You will probably find that old treasures are rediscovered, odd pieces can be thrown away, and some things will be ready to be passed down or sold. If you are not sure whether to get rid of some of the toys, try packing them away in a box and hiding them in a dark corner of the cupboard for a few months. When they come out again they will either cause a sensation, or not - which will make it easy to decide on their fate!
2. Record the sounds around you:
Get out the tape recorder and make a project out of recording everyday sounds. Try water running in the bath, someone ringing the bell and opening the door, or flushing the toilet! It certainly makes you think about things a little differently than usual. Suggest that some friends or neighbors do the same thing and then get together to see if you can identify each other’s sounds!
3. Make a story tape:
Grab that tape recorder and a blank cassette, find a story you enjoy, and make your own story tape! Each child can read for a while, or can take on the part of a particular character. Make the appropriate noises too! You will probably have to practice a few times to get the hang of it, and be prepared for lots and lots of giggles! Tip: a homemade story tape makes a great present for a child who has to go to hospital or is bedridden for a time.
4. Have a jigsaw afternoon:
Get out all your jigsaws and invite some friends around with theirs too! Clear plenty of space and have a marathon jigsaw session. Some libraries have jigsaws you can borrow too, and you can often find jigsaws for sale very cheaply at charity shops (thrift stores) and car boot sales (garage sales).
Tip: if you buy your jigsaws second-hand and the box has seen better days, cut out the picture and store it in a re-sealable bag with all the pieces.
5. Have a mammoth junk modeling session with friends:
Invite a few families around and ask them to bring their craft-cupboard junk with them – boxes, containers, and other bits and pieces. You provide glue, sticky-tape, scissors, and encouragement. You could make houses, or creatures, or boats, or modern art or you could all combine together to make one giant model!
6. Make a card house:
If you don’t know any good card games or haven’t anyone to play with, try building a card house! Start by balancing two cards against each other so that they stand up in an inverted V-shape. Take it from there!
7. Make an indoor obstacle course:
Check with an adult that this is OK first! Use easily movable furniture (kitchen chairs, coffee tables) to mark out a course. Create a tunnel to crawl through with a blanket draped over low tables, or space cushions around the room to use as stepping-stones. You will have lots more ideas!
8. Practice balancing:
Balancing is fun! Try walking the length of the room with a book on your head. When you can do that, try balancing two or three, and then add a cuddly toy to the very top!
9. Create an indoor den:
A few blankets and tablecloths can create the most wonderful indoor den. Drape blankets between sofas and chairs, over stepladders and clothes-dryers, or tie the ends to cupboard knobs and door handles. Once the den is created find some special snacks, coloring pages and pencils, a CD player and music, a torch or two, and camp out for a while!
10. Play with string:
Older children can create some wonderful inventions with a ball of string and their imagination! A toilet roll and a sloping length of string make a great message chute or rocket. Get some action toys involved too: try making them a lift (elevator) out of a box or a basket and hoist them up! Adults should supervise constantly if there are younger kids around.
About the author:
Lindsay Small is the author of “Boredom Busters for Kids” – an e-book with over 50 pages of fun activities for kids like those
above. Find it at: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/boredom_busters.htm, http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/boredom_busters.htm. She also runs, http://www.ActivityVillage.co.uk, http://www.ActivityVillage.co.uk.
Title: Quality Time
Author: Tamar Levy
Quality time - games, books, television, computer: how, why and how much?
This article examines the term quality time and tries to clarify what should be emphasized when planning quality time with children. It also examines ways of knowing how to choose the better quality products from among the wealth of offerings on the market.
The meaning of the term quality time
The term was coined in response to the many hours parents work and the long stretches of time they are away from home. Behind it is the notion that it not only the number of hours the parent spends with the child are important, but also the quality of the time, that is, how the parent fills the time he spends with his child.
Quality time means time devoted exclusively to the child and to engaging in activities with him. The parent interacts with and focuses all his attention on the child. The interaction consists of communication between them at a time when the parent is entirely free from other activities: he does not think about work, talk on the phone, try to sneak a peek at the TV, etc.
Quality means emotional quality for the child. When the parent concentrates on the child, the latter feels he is important, loved and wanted. Those feelings contribute significantly to his self-confidence and to his relationship with the parent. During quality time, that is, when the parent is completely attentive to the child, it is easier for the child to open up share with his parent all kinds of things. That mutuality is very important for the foundation of the parent-child relationship and also enables the child to receive feedback from the parent, which will help him process his experience and perhaps see things from a different angle.
Quality time is not necessarily a time for "productions" or distractions, but rather a time when the parent is entirely focused on the child, attentive to him and as available as possible. Thus reading a story, playing a board game, or even playing hide and seek inside the house are all activities which can become quality time.
Quality time is not measured in terms of what the child has learned from the interaction but rather according to how much real, full attention he has received. Not every action with the child has to be educational. In today's competitive society there is a very strong tendency to have the child make as much progress as possible and to enrich his knowledge. It is true that the child learns a great deal from his parents and that the parent has the enormous responsibility for teaching the child, but that does not mean that there is no time to play. If the parent and child played hide and seek and enjoyed themselves, then the child experienced quality time and profited emotionally
How is quality time spent?
Even if it is understood that quality time is measured by how free the parent is for the child, there is still the question of how to channel the time. The leading principle should be mutual enjoyment, that is, to search for activities that will enable pleasant, attentive interaction.
One way of spending the afternoon is to take the child to a local attraction, such as a jamboree or performance. When the parent decides on such an attraction, it is important to remember not to raise the level of stimulation too quickly for small children. If a child is taken to an amusement park when he is two years old, where will his parent take him when he is four? If the parent decides to go to a performance, it is better at first to go to small, intimate performances and only at a later age to go to larger productions. To make the outing interesting the level of stimulation will have to be raised, and if it is high from the outset, problems are likely to arise. In addition, smaller places enable closer parent-child interaction, and that is what is really important.
Mutual parent-child creative activities can be an excellent time for closeness and conversation. For the child to be able to utilize his capacities and feel comfortable while engaging in creative activities, it is important to let him do things his own way. For example the parent should not force the child to fill the whole page when drawing' or demand that he use specific colors. Since his finished work is his personal stamp, it is important not to interpret the work but to allow the child to explain it himself. It is also important to provide detailed positive reinforcement as to why the work is pretty. Because the child's finished product is an externalization of his inner
world it is important to treat it with respect.
Of course, children of different ages can be given different materials to work with, from Playdoh and finger-paints to scissors and glue.
Games and toys
Today's market is flooded with games and toys and the supply is enormous. The child does not need a lot of everything: he can play with the same toy a number of times, and he will only profit by using his imagination to find new ways of playing with the same game.
Choosing games and toys
First of all, the game or toy should be interesting and fun to play with for both parent and child, since both will play with it. It must be completely safe for the child. To be interesting it should be suited to the child's level of development, including language ability, motor skills and ability to deal with complicated instructions. The game or toy does not have to teach the child something, it has to provide a pleasant mutual experience. To know which game is suitable for the child's development, the parent can consult friends, the Internet, the kindergarten staff or friends with children.
In principle, at around two years of age the child can be acquainted with games that require coordination based on the understanding of concepts, such as the animal and its dwelling, the mother animal and its young, dominoes, etc. Such games allow the child to experience the significance of playing in turn, of playing with others and of postponing gratification, which are all skills he will acquire and practice, and calm interaction with a parent is a good time for such learning.
At around three years of age the child begins to play "pretend", a socio-dramatic game that essentially imitates situations in the adult world. It is worthwhile to provide him with equipment for such games, such as kitchen utensils and a doctor's bag, etc.
Studies have shown that children with lots of good experience in movement will grow up with a positive self-image and confidence in themselves and their abilities. Parents should provide their children with motor experiences such as hide and go seek, a play ground or just and dance and jump together. Such games are often entertaining for the child and can also serve as a good way for
parents and children to become close. The physical contact which is part of such games adds to parent-child closeness.
The importance of books
Reading books is a wonderful way of creating quality time, in that both parent and child concentrate together and experience the book being read.
There are three kinds of children's books:
1) Those whose aim is to help the child through an emotional process, such as weaning, going to sleep, divorce, etc.
2) Those with an educational message, such as "it is best to be what you are," "everyone is different and special," etc.
3. Those which simply tell a story.
Regardless of the kind of story, first of all the child will profit from an intimate, pleasant situation with the parent, and the resulting enjoyment will reinforce the relationship, which is a very important benefit. Naturally, an additional benefit for the child will be the development of his vocabulary and language in general.
Many books raise the child's independent emotional awareness. Children tend to identify relatively easily with characters in stories or to transfer the characters to significant figures in their own world. They discover that they are not the only ones to cope with a specific difficulty, and through a book can better understand their own feelings. Very often books suggest solutions which the child can adopt as is, or can use them as the basis for other solutions.
Books enable the child to preserve a certain distance from what happens: the story is not about him but about a fictional character and the distance allows him to examine his emotions, thoughts and behavior in a relatively protected and secure way, thus he can consider them without fear. Such a conversation will be possible mainly in quality time situations, that is, situations in which the child feels the parent is attentive to him and only him.
Today there are a great many books for toddlers, but how can the parent know if they are good or not? How can he know if it is suitable for his child?
First of all, as with games, the book must please the parent who is supposed to read it. Then the following should be examined:
1. The relationship between text and pictures: as the child grows, there should be more text and fewer illustrations.
2. The degree to which the written language is suitable for the language of the child: at the beginning of language acquirement rhymes are more suitable, songs and poems that can be recited; later complex sentences can be included, as can the prepositions the child is supposed to learn.
3. The degree to which the book activates the child: action books arouse a greater degree of activity while they are being read, which is suitable for younger children whose attention span is shorter.
4. Illustrations: are they pleasing to look at, can they be used to develop interaction, etc.?
5. How complicated the story is: the older the child, the more complicated and longer the story can be, and the greater the number of characters it can have.
6. Coordinating the story to situations in the child's life: if the parents know that changes are about to occur, shortly beforehand it is preferable to read a story in preparation for the subject, and to enable the child to process his feelings before the change takes place.
7. The child should be allowed to choose: the child can choose between two books the parent liked in the bookstore, and he can certainly choose what he wants to hear from among the books he has at home.
In summation, the most important thing about quality time is that it devotes attention to the child. The joint activity does not have to be very instructive or a great production, it should simply be done together.
About the author:
Tamar Levy is a child development specialist and obtains a M.A. in Preschool Counseling. Tamar acts as Director of Content at:
http://www.babytoonz.com, Babytoonz, a leading producer of, http://www.babytoonz.com, baby television programs and DVDs for infants.
Title: Kids Need To Play Outside, How Do You Do That Safely?
Author: Willie Jones
If you are a baby boomer then you'll remember the good old days when you played outside all day and complained vehemently when you were told to go inside for the night.
If you take a look outside these days the streets are fairly empty with few people even walking on the sidewalk or playing in the grass. We've become somewhat paranoid and the game has changed.
It seems like the children have lost their freedom to play safely outside by themselves and with their friends. Instead we now have very controlled environments of driving your child to a friend's house or taking them to various extra curricular activities. While this is still valid I find it a shame that we are victims of fear in this society. We also have more children becoming couch potatoes watching TV or playing video games. You've probably noticed obesity on the rise in America and this is true for our children as well.
But we can have some of the good old days back and here are some things you can do to make it safer to let your kids play outside;
1) If several kids on your street that play together, you can get together as adults and assign on a rotating basis who will keep an eye on all the kids while the others are getting important things done. But do this job with great care. You have precious little future adults that still look to you for safety.
2) Better still, play games with them. Someone who is looking to annoy, tease or do harm, is less likely to do so if active adults are on the scene.
3) Prepare for possible emergency. A family plan firmly in place and understood by all and *drilled*, may be more successful then not having a plan at all. An example of something you can do, is hang a whistle on a string. Every time the kids go out they put the whistle around their necks. They are taught that they blow the whistle hard in an emergency situation only! Tell them the cry wolf story and let them know what the consequences are for blowing the whistle in a non emergency situation. Can you imagine if all parents in your area are grooved in on this and you hear a whistle go off, you may have half a dozen people or more flying out the door instantly to investigate.
4) Last year on the Oprah Winfrey show there was a family that had an emergency plan in place that was quite ingenious. In a prior family meeting they developed a code and I believe it was a number code, but any simple code would suffice. They were told never ever reveal the code to anyone for any reason. It paid off because a man approached their younger daughter and told her, that her parents wanted him to bring her home. She asked him for the code. He could not produce one and instantly she ran and averted a potential disaster. On the show, Oprah tried to get the girl to reveal the code but the little girl remained true and would not reveal it. She was highly praised by Oprah and I thought this was a fantastic plan the parents had come up with. It worked for them and could possibly work for you.
5) Adults are obviously much stronger than children but that doesn't mean that a child cannot hurt an adult. Karate or Tae Kwan Do classes can be of benefit to boys and girls. It can not only build character and strength, but it can also teach them how to get out of certain grips and holds and where to hit in an emergency situation. It may be enough to get away. Also, it's a great way to keep them fit and healthy.
6) I think that the best thing you can do is teach your child to be aware. If children learn early on basic safety precautions, it becomes a life long habit. Do you remember as a kid walking down the street, staring at the sidewalk as you were walking? Teach your children not to do that. Have them scan ahead and all around.
This will do two things:
a) they can spot potential trouble ahead of time and
b) it gets you out of your head and seeing the world around you. This is good for you to do as well.
Kids need to play and be social and it's ok to get dirty sometimes. I see it all the time with my grandchildren that they are the most happy and energetic when they are outside. They actually fight less and work more as a team with each other and their friends when they can safely play outside. Make yourself and your children more aware and for peat sake, have some fun!
About the author:
Willie is a freelance writer and researcher and is dedicated in bringing information on health related issues and other topics.
Title: Sweeten Someone's Childhood
Author: Jean Fisher
We live in times when the innocence of childhood is being lost earlier than ever before. What can we as parents, grandparents and caretakers do to postpone the inevitable? What can we do tocreate memories and experiences for our children (and ourselves) to treasure for a lifetime?
Get outside as much as possible. It was a beautiful, rainy, Spring day here in Northern Arizona and I needed to return some books to the library. However, when I pulled into the parking lot, I didn't jump out of the car and dash into the library right away. My attention was captured by the site of a small boy, probably about two years old, playing in the adjacent park. Between the library parking lot and the shady park, runs a small gully. On a wet day such as this one, water coursed through that grassy gully. The object of my attention was dressed in a hooded slicker and rubber boots. He was wading in the water and floating sticks down the stream. Now I could plainly see that on frequent occasions the water was trickling down inside those little green rubber boots. I felt sure that the boy's caretaker (grandmother?) watching from the bank also knew that she would be peeling soggy socks off those little feet when they got home. But weighing the options, she had decided that wet feet were a bargain in exchange for the glorious experiences of the day.
Find a park, drive to the forest, spend time next to rivers, lakes and oceans. Take along a good book and let your child romp in the outdoors. Even if you can't get away very often, make sure that when you do, the outing lasts long enough for satiation to set in. Of course, with some children that might mean spending the entire day at the playground. To avoid unpleasantness at the end, agree on a time limit before you go and give a 15 minute and then 5 minute warning when the time to leave is approaching. Then stick to it!
Don't mind a little mess. Creativity and imagination need stretches of uninterrupted time and sometimes the creative processes require a few props. It can get pretty messy! So make a plan. Designate an area for capricious play, "No toys in the kitchen or dining room!" Only one type of toy out at a time, "Put away all the action figures before you get out the legos." Have a time frame, "At 5:00 everybody stops what they are doing and we become a clean team." Read stories, tell stories. Of course, read to your children. I especially like fables and fairy tales. Reading together is fun and can often provide one of those "teaching moments" giving you the opportunity to discuss the morals and messages behind the story itself.
But don't rely on books alone for your stories. Tell some of your own. Children love to hear stories of the things they did when they were younger. They also love to hear stories of your own childhood. Here's a story my dad used to tell us.
He was one of six children growing up on a busy farm. Everyone worked hard. It was the end of the summer and Grandma (dad's mom) had been working in the hot kitchen all day preserving food in jars. When dinner came around she was especially tired and cranky. In her super-sensitive emotional state, Grandma felt unappreciated. It seemed that everyone had something negative to say about the meal. She cracked! "The next person who says anything critical about my cooking will be preparing all the meals from now on!"
The table was a quiet place after that. For weeks everyone talked in hushed tones and made pointed compliments about the food, but Grandma had not forgotten her threat. The family was sure of that!
Dad's oldest brother, my Uncle Lee, was the kind of person who liked to stir things up a bit. He knew that dad's other brother, my Uncle Paul, was an impulsive sort and often acted and spoke before thinking. The evil plan was hatched. Uncle Lee dumped a mountain of salt into the pot of beans cooking on the stove and waited for dinnertime to arrive.
Sure enough, when a forkful of those beans went into Uncle Paul's mouth, he shouted out, "Whew, these beans are salty!" Then my dad would mimic the facial expressions of Paul as he realized what he had done and quickly back-pedaled by saying, "Just like I like 'em!"
I can't guarantee that this story truly originated in my Grandmother's farm house, but we enjoyed having dad tell it time and time again.
Play games. Board games, card games, active games, educational games, silly games, all of them are good. Games are invaluable for learning important life lessons such as sportsmanship. They can also be used to teach a wide range of subject matter--Math, Science, Social Studies, Language, there's a game for all of them. If your budget is tight, check with your local library. If they don't already offer puzzles and games for checkout, maybe they just haven't thought of it!
Are you physically able to get down on the floor to play? Do so if you can. Putting yourself on the same level as a child is powerful non-verbal communication. A child is much more likely to open up when you do so. The experts will all tell you that it is more important to be a parent than a friend to your child, and I will agree with them. The thought I would add, however, is that you do want your child to see you as an ally. Knowing that he or she has someone to talk with and depend on is vital to a child's confidence and self-esteem.
Keep an art box. Put in crayons, paper, markers, scissors, paint, glitter, glue. Also put in differently-shaped cardboard boxes, rolls from paper towels, toilet paper and wrapping paper. Collect pinecones and bottle caps to add. Anything you can think of, really! Find an old sheet that you can use to cover the table or spread out on the floor. Who knows, you may frame that sheet one day!
Have a dress-up trunk. Save old Halloween costumes. Large scraps of fabric become capes or princess gowns. Hats and scarves of all sorts belong in your dress-up kit. Do you have any old make-up that can be donated? Next, find a book of plays or act out your favorite story. You may not even turn on the television for a change! Use parental-control media devices. Well sure, they are going to see and hear it sooner or later. But the point is to make that later instead of sooner. Find out what the ratings are and then develop a plan for adding more levels as your child matures. Include the children when making the plan. Rules that you helped develop are always easier to follow.
Perpetuate the silly childhood myths such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, etc. It's not lying, it's make believe. Children understand the difference. Many children enjoy pretending they still believe long after the truth is revealed. And most older children will continue to pretend with younger children who still do believe.
Bake cookies. You have to do it, even if they are from pre-made cookie dough. The sticky texture of the dough, the delicious smell wafting from the oven, the sizzle as a too-hot cookie touches a wet tongue, and the extra crispiness of the last batch that got left in the oven too long--all these sensations will contribute to lasting memories of a sweet childhood!
Our childhood years are few in comparison to the decades of adulthood. Special and precious, let's do all we can to make those years positive and memorable.
About the author:
Jean Fisher is a former elementary school teacher. Her website, http://www.whatsfordinner.net/, What's For Dinner? provides a dinner suggestion for each day of the week, a customizable grocery shopping list, table topics and quality time activities.
Title: Four Letter Words For Parents
Author: AE Wise
Rearing children has never been an easy task. Children are human beings in an underdeveloped state and just like their adult counterparts; they exhibit personality traits that can be challenging. Unfortunately, more and more parents are opting for the easy way out and not promoting healthy development in their children. More and more parents are focusing on the intellectual and athletic development of the child ignoring the psychological and sociological development. What is a parent to do? Are there enough words to help develop a truly well rounded adult? Below you will find the best four letter words every parent should use to rear healthy, competent, loving, and happy children.
"Quality Time vs. Quantity Time" has been kicked around for two decades as a way of absolving parents from their key responsibility: rearing their children. Bussing children around from one sporting event to another is not quality time. Only one in 16,000 children will grow up to be a professional athlete. How many "Hall of Famers" have you heard thank their little league coaches? Unless that person was a parent, the answer is none. How many wealthy men have left their fortune to any of these groups? However, wealthy men who left vast amounts of money to the Boy Scouts of America for the same reason: promotion of values, family involvement, and civic involvement
A parent must ask the following questions:
Why am I carting my children off to all these events?
Is it truly for the children or are you living vicariously through the child?
Are you using your child as a status symbol?
When we are together, are we talking about the child, or the activity?
Playing is a child's work. It is through play that a child discovers and develops certain skills. A two-year-old needs to learn how to roll a ball back and forth, and preliminary social skills not the alphabet. A parrot can memorize the alphabet, and a chimpanzee can learn sign language. There is no great skill or higher intelligence in that. Playing is a child's version of stress release. It seems odd that someone who in 1968 could enter first grade without knowing how to read, attend a school day that included two fifteen minute recesses and an hour lunch, during a school year that began the day after Labor Day and concluded before Memorial Day could still grow-up to graduate college and end up a CEO of a major company. Why do we think that play is a waste of time? Play is fun. It makes you laugh thus lowering blood pressure, includes uses various muscle groups through activity which keeps wait down, and is multi-dynamic: teaches life lessons, sharing, patience, reading, problem solving, arithmetic, rhythm, strategy, cause and effect,
decision making, honor, self-worth, dignity, self-esteem, etc. Anytime a child plays any game, even if alone, a valuable lesson is learned. Just because a self-absorbed workaholic parent cannot see that does not make it less true. It is even more important for children to have parents play with them.
Video games only count if they last for an hour or less, and the whole family is actively involved. A child that spends more than an hour, and worse, alone playing video game does not gain any tangible intellectual reward. Bill Gates does not own a video game system.
Children want parents to talk with them, even when they say, "Nothing" or "I don't want to talk about it." How will a child know what is important in life if the parent will not talk to the child? One of the best times to talk with your child is at the dinner table, not in some restaurant, fast or five stars, but in the safety and quiet of home. Home is safe base; it is a time for the child to have the parent alone. Practice rephrasing questions so that they are open-ended, cannot be answered with "yes" or "no." Parents need to listen to their children and talking with them about their day even if the events may not seem important or educationally sound to you. It does not matter the child's nationality, creed, race, or favorite team most of them will answer this question the same way:
PARENT: "What did you do in school today?" CHILD: "Nothin' "
It is surprising how many parents believe that answer carte blanche. Many adults answer that question the same way when "work" is substituted for "school." The reason is simple, school is repetitive, the same subjects everyday. The child is just regurgitating an auto response. The teacher or teachers are teaching and the child is learning.
Try reframing: "Did anything new, exciting, interesting, insane happen today?" The humor of the question will flip the auto switch off, and the choices will hit upon a memory. Unfortunately, parents want to hear about the joys of arithmetic, writing, reading a classic. If parents will honestly recall their own childhood, they will remember that PE, art, recess were their favorite times, too.
Let your children know what you value and why. Why is that they must make all As? Is it for a better future for them, or parental bragging rights at work? Studies have shown repeatedly that the B-C student is the most successful in life.
It is not the fact that God has been removed from schools but that parents have removed Him from the home. A child who is given a spiritual support system tends to handle the difficult moments in life. The world is not worse, contrary to popular belief; however, the coping skills are nonexistent. Everyone needs to know that there is a Higher Force in control when we have lost control. It does not matter how this Higher Force manifests itself as long as it is positive. A centering prayer is a good way to help a child refocus when Life throws a curve ball. Prayer can give a parent the needed time to rephrase before reacting in a harmful manner, whether physically or verbally.
Pray with your child, for your child, for yourself, for others who encounter your child.
Children need to learn that money, privileges, items, grades, etc. are earned not owed. Children get a true feeling of accomplishment when they work and earn something. A parent does not help a child by giving the child anything the child wants without earning it. A baby chick that is helped out of the shell instead of pecking its way out is not strong enough to survive. It is true with children who never learn the value and accomplishment of earning something through work. A parent who completes a child's homework because the child says it is too difficult. Work with the child, reframe for the child, teach the child to ask the teacher for help, but do not complete the assignment for the child. The only lesson a child learns from that example is the parent can be tricked into doing the child's homework.
You may not always like your child but you must always love them. It is important that parents tell children often that they love them. All children go through periods of doubt, especially when they have committed some offense. Children do not always "know" that parents love them. If a parent cannot say the words, "I love you," to a child something is wrong and the child will interpret it as rejection. Things are not love, love belongs to people not to things. It is not money that is the root of all evil but the love of money. A child will reciprocate to the world the love received at home.
Lust is not love. Children need to learn that sexual desire does not equate love. If a child is not shown love at home, hugs for example, then the child will seek that physical connection somewhere else. Children need to be loved in a safe and accepting environment in order to grow into loving adults.
Love carries an obligation to be good, kind, and gentle to those who are weaker.
Children need to know that "the sun will come out tomorrow." Children need to know that no matter how hard a situation becomes it will get better, it might take some time, but it will get better. Children need to know that they are a parent's hope for the future. The parent knows the world will be better because they are in it. The truth is because of hope the world will get better.
Life is not fair. Life is not easy. Life happens. Life is disappointing. Life is boring. Starting in the mid-70s parents decided they needed to protect children from Life. You cannot. Children need to experience life in order to learn how to navigate past the difficult parts. Children who are taught they can say or do anything they wish without consequences fail in life. Life means "no" more times than "yes." The work force has taken a serious turn toward the worst because children have not learn the meaning of "no," discipline, responsibility, honor, pride, or love.
Life is beautiful because other people share in it. Life offers many fulfilling opportunities the most important of which is the number of diverse people in it. Life is rewarding because of the beauty in holds through Nature. Life is worth living because of every single life each person touches whether the other person realizes it at the time or not.
Aging teaches children the difference between reality and fantasy as long as the parent guides the child through the process. It is not reality to give children everything they want because that is not Life. Children who do not learn that there is a hierarchy will fail to become productive in the business world. The real world teaches everyone that there will always be someone else to whom to answer. Even someone who owns a business is accountable to suppliers and customers. The real world proves everyday that an adult who throws a tantrum is either mental ill or immature and not to be taken seriously.
In the real world, there are consequences for actions taken. Physics, every action has an opposite and equal reaction, cannot be denied forever even if it seems that a person has gotten away with an illegal or unethical activity. Every Holy Book has some equivalent of "what goes around comes around." Children need to know that a parent cannot always rescue them from problems of their creation.
WANT vs. NEED
There is a huge difference between want and need. Children, by their egocentric nature, want everything. However, if a parent provides too many material things to a child at an early age then how does the child learn appreciation or gratitude? If a child needs the latest style in clothes in order to express individuality, or an item because everyone else has one, or a high tag item to fit in and the parent gives in without explanation. Then parent has proven to the child that the child does indeed need material possessions are more important than personal growth.
A prime example of this is the perceived need for portable media devices. There was a time when a family trip afforded the perfect opportunity for families to reconnect. Only family members were allowed because the point was family togetherness. The long drive's entertainment included talking, singing (either to the radio or family songs when the airwaves were not available), arguing, reading, crossword puzzles, or travel size version of board games. No, however, cars are equipped, or can be equipped with DVD players, each child has an individual handheld video game, several members may have MP3 players, or a member is on the cell phone all this going on in place of true communication. Children literally tuning out the world and their parents can be seen outside the vehicle. Even when the family shops children and their parents can be seen ear plugged into MP3 players, and cell phones as they shop. It is interesting to note that more and more youth retreats and school field trips are no longer allowing children to bring their electronic devices. One reason is a security issue; however, behind that is an issue that schools are finally starting to address: personal communication between students.
Children's worlds are by nature egocentric, it is a parent's job to help them ascertain between want and need. Take an inventory of a child's room and see how many needed items have been set aside and neglected for the latest fad.
In today's society, most individuals are wary of anything that is free. People have been trained to believe that the most expensive is the best, the most exclusive the ultimate.
It is important to understand the essence of the human being: to be love, understood, wanted, and productive. All unhappiness can be found in a shortage in one, or all, of those four. Fortunately, all can be attained and parents are the most important supplier.
All parents want the best for their children. However, the past thirty years have placed modern parenting on shifting sand and have maintained this precarious foundation through pseudo-educational-psychological smoke and mirrors. Professional educators, child psychologists, and toy manufacturers have made millions on the backs of well meaning but ill- prepared parents. Stop the decline by introducing four letter words into your child rearing vocabulary.
About the author:
AE Wise is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for, http://www.Writing.Com/, Writers. She has over 20 years experience has a classroom teacher and mentor.