Thursday, September 27, 2007

Life's Lessons

How many times, while watching your child, have you found yourself thinking that something they did or said reminded you of your own childhood? Everyone probably does this at one time or another and if you use this information it may just help you raise your child.

This can be useful for any number of reasons; perhaps it may be something like comforting them after a friend hurts their feelings, or being able to anticipate a result or reaction and preparing them for the outcome. This is not meant to imply that you will be able to do this all the time or even that you would if you could because many of these things are necessary life lessons.

However, it does give you a little edge when trying to think of something to make them feel better about what has happened or maybe even help you make the actual lesson a little clearer to them. Many times you will be able to give the "I know how you feel" speech and while they may not believe it at that particular moment, they will remember it.

You can also use it as a way to show them alternative actions for expressing their feelings. A father may look at his son and tell him that fishing used to make him feel better or even playing sports. As a mother you may tell your daughter that whenever something like this would happen you used to go play with your dollhouse. A dollhouse can be very effective when trying to show them how a fight with a friend might have been avoided or showing different ways to handle a situation. They can accomplish this perhaps by role-playing using the dolls and dollhouse.

As parents you want to keep anything that might disappoint, hurt or frustrate your child away. But you also know it is not possible and not even always practical to try. All you can do is your best and remembering your childhood can be a help.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Self-Entertainment Encouraged

Ok, we all know that keeping a child entertained can, at times, be difficult. That may have something to do with the fact that many adults, whether parents or other caregivers, might have a slightly different concept of entertained.

To most children it means 100 percent of our undivided attention at all costs. Naturally while giving this undivided attention they assume that it also entails them getting to do whatever they have their hearts set on. Who cares if it involves stomping through every mud puddle in the area and then making cool prints on a freshly washed kitchen floor? It's not a big deal that those gorgeous bright paints they were using a minute ago are no longer on the table, or that the cat has suddenly become a blue blur.

Kids Art Tables

Adults, however, tend to want to keep the area as neat and clean as possible. (Although, remember how much fun it was getting dirty as a kid?). So, in order to keep the peace in the household there are rules that you set up for playing, etc. Something that really helps when it comes to making a child understand this concept is to have one particular place where most of their activities are allowed and encouraged. It does not have to be a completely separate room or area, it can be a small area or table just for them. 

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Little Vanity Can't Hurt

Raising a child, especially in this day and age, is never an easy task. First time parents are naturally a little less sure of themselves then some of the "seasoned pros". Many times quite a bit of trial and error is involved and even then you may not be sure that you did the right thing.

Obviously parents and caregivers make mistakes, although I tend to think some our parents would never admit to that, it is still a fact. And at the risk of sounding very sexist, girls can be harder to raise than boys. Ok, that said, perhaps a little elaboration is in order.

First it is believed that girls mature quicker than boys, so it stands to reason that they will test the waters concerning independence, etc. at a quicker pace than boys. And we know that peer pressure for both sexes starts at a very young age, but in girls at times that tends to lean more towards being self-centered or self-involved. That can be very hard for a parent, not to mention anyone else in the family, to handle. At times, all kids considered themselves more grown-up than they actually are, but with girls in particular in can happen much sooner and a lot more frequently.

Girl's Vanity and Stool Sets

As a caregiver you do want to encourage independence, but you also don't want it to completely consume your child. You might consider a small compromise or two as a way to satisfy you both, For example, your daughter thinks her room is far too childish for her now, but some of her ideas of change may seem more appropriate for a young (or maybe not so young) adult woman living on her own. If you state this outright you are liable to create another world war, or a case of hysterics at the very least. Take a simple furnishing such as a vanity, while most often they are seen in an older girls room there are some that are completely fine to have for a younger girl. One example of this is the Bouquet Vanity Table, its simple style is perfect for a girl that wants to be "grown up".

Be sure to tell your daughter that a vanity is something very special, dating back to even the medieval times where a lady would await the return of her prince. Well, ok, maybe not quite like that but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Encourage Kids to Be Active

Too many kids in this day and age don't get active. They watch too much tv and eat too much junk food, and they do this with their parents who watch too much tv and eat too much junk food. Our kids look up to us as roll models and want to "be" like us. If all they see us do is sit on our butts then how can we expect our kids to be any different?

What makes this even worse is the sad fact that today many schools don't even offer P.E. programs and the ones that do offer very weak an inefficient programs that don't teach kids how to enjoy a healthy and fit lifestyle.

So what's the solution?

Be a good a good role model and get out there and exercise yourself. If you don't do it how can expect your kids to do it? Bottom line is that you can't.

Having exercised for many years and being a personal trainer and fitness coach It breaks my heart to see people pass on their bad habits to their children.

Recently I interviewed Brian Grasso, head of Founder and Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association. Brian helps kids all across the country embrace exercise as way of life.

When I asked Brian what the solution is to the youth obesity problem here's what Brian told me - "We have to make it fun, and that's part of the critical concern I have. The reason kids are dropping out of sports is that it's not fun any more. We cloak ourselves in thinking our kids want to win the soccer game. They do because we want to. They do because we tell them they should. They do because - we make it more stressful than it really should be. So really, truly, fitness and sports should be fun."

I completely agree with Brian. We need to make it fun, we need to make our kids want to exercise and love exercise. And part of the solution to is for us to enjoy exercise as well. If we can't stand lifting weights but we love to hike then by all means hike. If our kids can't stand push ups but love to play basketball then by all means let them play basketball. Just make sure that put more value on enjoying the activity then winning the game.

The trick is to do what you love, and let your kids do what they love. If they like to watch tv that's fine, but put a cap on the amount of time they watch it everyday and make sure they get outside and do something they love.

Bio: Chris McCombs is a personal fitness coach and trainer in Newport Beach California. He specializes in helping people lose fat, tone up and look amazing. Chris is 37 years old and lives with his beautiful wife and two daughters in Anaheim Hills, Ca

Friday, September 14, 2007

To The Moon! Sensory Tables and Sand.

If you have children or you work with them on a regular basis, you are fully aware of the kinds of projects that they like to get involved in and anything they get to touch and have a "hands on" experience is a big plus. No matter where you go, they are constantly looking for things that they can get their hands into. Whether you are going to the park to play on the playground or even the beach so they can build sandcastles. However, what do you do when they ask about sandcastles and you have absolutely no way of getting them to the beach?

Luckily for parents and teachers today, there is Moon Sand! One of the coolest hands-on kits that you can get your children, you will swear that the sand that comes in this set came straight from the beach. If you have never heard of Moon Sand, it is a great way for your kids to play with what feels like dampened beach sand, only it never dries out. There will be hours upon hours of time that your children will be able to spend while working and molding this terrific sand product.

Non-toxic and full of fun, Moon Sand is completely re-usable as well as allergen free! If you think that this handful of sand cannot get any better, you even get a great inflatable tray in the package along with two pounds of sand and fun molds to shape the sand in castle form and more.. No matter what time of year it may be wherever you live, kids can get right into the thick of things with Moon Sand and it will almost feel like they were able to enjoy a great beach adventure.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ready for School? New Backpacks for the new year

Sometimes, even though you think that you have gotten everything together that your child will need for school, there often comes an instance where you have to get a couple of things at the last minute. Even after school has started, you may find that items will need to be replaced, or you might even want to get supplies in addition to the lot that you have already purchased. After all, when it comes to your child and their education, nothing should stand in the way of a healthy school experience.

Kids Backpacks

The Fireman Backpack is just perfect when you find that you need an additional carry all for your child or the one that they already have needs to be replaced. This fun backpack is made from durable, high quality materials including polyester, strong zippers, padded straps for extra comfort and much more. Not only is it colorful and fun, this pack is just the perfect size for any young child of school age.

Perhaps your child likes to visit friends for play dates or they may even be getting ready to enjoy their very first sleep over adventures. This is a great backpack to take along with them loaded up with all of the items that they need. With great storage space and extra compartments for smaller items, you will be glad to know that you spent your money wisely on this terrific back pack. You can even get the matching lunch bag if your child wants to have a great set!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Perfect First Play Date

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot get toddlers to interact with one another without a little bit of coaxing. Even if one child is willing to play and socialize with others, there may always be one or two in a group that just want to sit on the sidelines for a while. When you have a first play date planned for your child along with one or more children, you might want to think of having a couple of toys handy that will promote interaction as well as socialization.

While crayons and crafts are wonderful, sometimes it takes a little more to get kids on the path to making friends and playmates. At toddler age, it can also be a bit difficult to find a way to get children to share with one another, since this is a trait that they really have not had too much experience with as of yet. Having a toy or collection of toys that can be used by multiple children at once could be the best move you ever make with a first play date.

The Brick Me Building Set is a great choice for toddlers, especially when they like to put together colorful pieces in stacks and patterns. This is a nice set of large blocks made from plastic, which makes for easy handling and plenty of ways to build, share and interact with one another. Having such a set of blocks on hand could make life easier for any parent that would like to enjoy a memorable play date with their children.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mother's Little Helper

As a parent or caregiver you have probably heard "I can do it myself" or "I want to help" from your child more times than you can count. Many times this comes out during an activity that you may not feel comfortable having your child do or help. Naturally, they get their feelings hurt and your reasoning, if they listen at all, goes in one ear and out the other. All they hear is the word no or not now.

That is one reason it is important to try to find some activity or chore that they can do or help you do. It does not have to be a big job, just something that makes them feel useful and important. Perhaps the next time you are cleaning the living room you can ask them to straighten up the magazines on the coffee table, or the cushions on the couch.

If you are folding laundry, consider letting them fold the towels or carry the clean clothes to the appropriate room. Many children love to sweep, give them the broom and let them go sweep the kitchen or bathroom. It may not be the best job you have ever seen, but praise them for a job well done and that smile on their face makes it worth it every time.

Many times, they want to help cook or something similar but are just a little too short. Consider a Guidecraft Kitchen Helper that children can stand on. Its wooden construction and childproof folding design make it the perfect helper for your little helper.

You may want to take them up on their offer to help you clean as often as you can since you know that their sincere offer disappears quickly the older they get.