Category: Parenting

6 Youth Sports Activities to Get Your Kids Active

Youth Sports Activities

Children today are more likely than ever before to become obese. Dealing with the negative effects of this at such a young age can affect them for their entire life. Since childhood obesity is a widespread issue, many parents want to enroll their children in sports activities to stay active while having fun and making friends.

Here’s a list of six youth sports activities that will get your children moving and keep them active.

Flag Football

Flag football is one of the best youth sports because it’s non-contact. It means that no players on the other team can hit your child or cause them physical harm. This makes it a great option for kids who are just learning how to play sports and offers an opportunity to get more comfortable being active in front of others.

Running flag football plays can even teach your kids how to be a part of a team and develop some communication skills. It becomes the perfect game for children who aren’t interested in playing on conventional teams. Flag football offers similar benefits to traditional tackle football. The benefits include learning how to work together as a team and improve communication skills.

Soccer

Soccer is a great sport to introduce to young children because it combines teamwork with physical activity. It also teaches important skills like balance, coordination, endurance, and agility.  Some studies have shown that soccer encourages higher fitness levels than other childhood sports such as basketball or baseball.

As a bonus, research has found that playing soccer can improve academic performance in math and science among high school students who participate in the sport during their childhood years.

Track & Field/ Cross Country Running

Running is one of the most popular sports in the world and for a good reason. Running provides great cardiovascular conditioning while also strengthening your leg muscles. It helps with speed, endurance, coordination, balance, and weight loss.

Track & Field also has social benefits, like building bonds with teammates or classmates through training sessions. You can start running at any age, but it is recommendable that children begin by walking, then progress to jogging before finally running.

Swimming

Swimming is great for general health and fitness. It is because it works out every muscle in the body while providing excellent cardiovascular conditioning.  It improves your child’s endurance without putting too much stress on their joints or bones. This makes swimming a good option for younger children who are still growing.

The best part about swimming is you can start at any age. But it is recommendable that you learn the basic moves like how to float before continuing to more advanced techniques like diving or crawling underwater.

Martial Arts

Martial arts are one of the best ways to turn your child’s interest in martial arts films, comic books, and video games into something they can participate in. Martial arts teach kids discipline without sacrificing too much fun.

The study has shown that learning how to fight better reduces bullying. It also teaches important social skills such as respect, concentration, and time management. Having classes or clubs for them will also give them some more friends who share similar interests.

Tae Kwon Do is probably the best martial art for children. This is because it focuses on a light-hearted atmosphere without heavy contact like boxing would require. It allows kids and adults to come together on an equal playing field while improving their focus, concentration, and coordination.

Dance

All children enjoy dancing, but dance can also be a great way to get more active. There are many types of dances from various cultures that will provide your child with various health benefits. The benefits include muscle toning, weight loss, coordination, and endurance.

Kids who take up dance usually find it easier to make friends. The classes often become social events where kids learn how to work together as a team.

Since dance is both fun and good exercise, it’s no wonder why so many kids today prefer to take up this activity rather than less healthy pursuits that benefit their overall well-being or education.

Closing Remarks

These six sports activities will not only keep your kids active, but they’ll also have so much fun while exercising with others, thus improving their social lives.  Exercise  is also beneficial for any child to help boost their mood and maintain  positive attitude.  These types of youth sports are healthy for children because they teach them discipline while strengthening their bonding.

8 Ways to Support Your Kids in School

When you become a parent, you also become your child’s first teacher. The examples you set and the lessons you teach them are the foundation for their entire lives, even within formal education. With this thought in mind, it bears stating that being present in their lives and their educations is one of the most important aspects of their lives you can be involved in.

Sometimes it can be difficult, juggling it all and trying to maintain a presence for them, but it is possible.

1. Be Involved With School Staff and Teachers

Meeting your child’s teachers and getting to know who’s who among the staff at the beginning of the school year can help establish a partnership that serves to benefit your child’s education. The teacher may have many students to contend with, but you can help ease the load and lessen their stress if you show you want to be involved. Your children will see your involvement and feel emotionally supported as well.

2. Keep Track of How Your Child is Doing

Doing this in order to punish them for bad grades will only stress both of you out, but ensuring you keep up with their needs is a significant way you can have an impact on their learning. Communicating with their teacher and seeing where their weaknesses and strengths are can allow you the headway to aid them before they get too far behind.

3. Help Them With Homework

Every child dreads homework. After a long day at school, most just want to be done and go play, but this isn’t always conducive to proper learning or information retention. If you can’t help them with their homework directly, it might be prudent to give them a special, quiet place to work. Always check in with them to make sure things are getting done, rewarding them if they finish.

If you might be worried that you can’t help them with homework because you don’t know the subject or language very well, finding someone who can help may be a wise decision.

4. Have a Positive, Praising Attitude

An overlooked aspect of children’s education is their mental health, and constant criticisms have been shown in studies to reduce both productivity and self-esteem. You are your child’s first source of validation, and as such, you need to be their biggest fan. Without sacrificing their learning potential, it’s important to support their strengths and praise them where they deserve it, while not letting them lag behind with their weaknesses.

By showing genuine interest in your children’s education and giving them positive, constructive feedback, you can feel their enthusiasm to learn.

5. Don’t Underestimate Organization

Having a routine, a schedule or an organized way of handling your child’s curriculum can reduce stress not only for you but for your children as well. There are ways to organize at home for your children, such as designated areas for their home studies, whether it’s for homework or distant learning. Another way is through an online school agenda, which stores everything you need within the cloud and reduces the likelihood that anything gets lost or forgotten.

6. Monitor Screen Time

Ensure your children aren’t spending an excessive amount of time playing video games or mindlessly watching the internet or TV programs. Practical media usage is important, as is recreational. Finding a balance between screen time and keeping your children safe is something not to be overlooked.

7. Encourage Independence

Micromanaging every aspect of your child’s education is something you want to avoid, both for your time management and your child’s stress levels. Be involved, but not overt. Help them develop their own routines and rules and show them how to follow through. Taking responsibility is an important life skill to learn, and doing so early can set good foundations.

8. Talk With Your Child

Talking and listening are important in equal measure; validating your child’s feelings can help them feel seen and heard by you, their first teacher. Never underestimate the value of being an open-source of communication and a safe place for your children.

Success!

Becoming involved with your school and getting to know your child’s teacher will also make your aware of the needs of school. You may have time to volunteer or assist by providing free school supplies.  As a parent, you want nothing more than the happiness and success of your children, hopefully, this article has helped aim you in the right direction.

Animal Therapy: How dolphins, cats, dogs & horses heal children

Animal Therapy for Kids

We all want our children to be healthy, happy, and successful. But medicine is not always enough for the health of a child. In such a case, different types of therapy come to the rescue. Here we will tell you about pet therapy and how it can benefit your child.

Animal therapy, or pet therapy, is one of the methods in rehabilitation and psychotherapy. Boris Levinson began to develop this field in earnest in 1961: the doctor noticed that the presence of a dog helped establish contact with a child with autism. Animals are known to help not be afraid of children who are facing painful procedures like injections. Even a small aquarium in the lobby of an outpatient clinic or medical center should already dampen the fear a bit.

There are two directions in pet therapy. The first is animal-associated therapy, i.e. activities that focus on treatment and assistance: development of motor skills, recovery from serious illnesses, alleviation of the symptoms of mental illness, and making contact in a specific way. The second is called animal-associated activity, which is more general work with animals aimed at evoking positive emotions in patients. The individual areas have their names: hippotherapy (work with horses), dolphin therapy, dog therapy (work with dogs), and feline-assisted therapy (work with cats).

The Americans started using animals in the treatment of illnesses in 1969, and today cats, dogs, dolphins, and horses are active in the treatment of epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome. Animal therapy is conducted by a qualified specialist, who develops a therapeutic plan based on the patient’s history and comorbidities. All animals that participate in pet therapy receive special training.

The main pet therapists are considered dogs, who are known for their sociability, friendliness, patience, and controllability. Dogs are indispensable for the treatment of motor disorders that accompany cerebral palsy. Playing with a dog restores the fine motor skills of the hands and feet, teaches patients to pick up and throw a ball, and to pet the pet. Through play techniques, young patients practice certain skills, often without even realizing that they are in therapy sessions.Dogs in cerebral palsy rehabilitation are also indispensable for increasing motivation, fighting aggression and stress. Large, friendly dogs are subconsciously perceived by patients as protectors. Therefore, children feel calm and confident in their company.

Animals are approached for help in a variety of situations, such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and even after a stroke. Pet therapy is used for diseases that are not related to the nervous system, but in which the patient has an increased risk of depression due to long-term treatment, such as cancer, or in palliative care. As Levinson noted more than half a century ago, animals help establish communication with people with different neurodevelopmental disorders – such as autism. And of course, animals are used to treat mental disorders, from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. For specific work with patients, the best animals are those that can be trained and trained: horses, dolphins, dogs, and pigs. But furry rodents, birds, lizards, and other animals, even donkeys, also help fight illness.

How pigs and cats can help 

Scientists are still figuring out exactly how pet therapy works and to what extent it is effective. According to some studies, watching animals increases the activity of the prefrontal cortex of the large hemispheres of the brain – this area is involved in decision-making and is responsible for social interaction. Contact with animals releases endorphins in our bodies, like when we play sports, kiss, or make pleasant memories. Endorphins have an analgesic effect, so pet therapy reduces to some extent the severity of pain syndromes, for example in fibromyalgia. These substances also reduce stress and anxiety, calm and lift one’s mood. Contact with animals, apparently due to the same hormones, normalize high blood pressure and improves the cardiovascular system.

But zootherapy also has effects that depend on the specific animal. For example, hippotherapy – treatment with horseback riding – is recommended for children with neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy. It takes physical strength, a sense of balance, and coordination to stay on a horse, and riding lessons help develop all of these skills. In addition, the horse is an animal with character, and you have to communicate with it, even while riding, which helps develop social skills. The nice thing is that one’s self-esteem goes up as well. Altogether, this turns hippotherapy into a tool of socialization.

Dolphin therapy has about the same effect on children. Movement in water and contact with an intelligent animal develop physically and emotionally, help a person move, perform non-standard actions. And feline therapy, that is companionship with cats, is usually recommended to relieve stress: the vibrations of purring and watching the soft movements of cats helps to relax. When selecting animals, their character is also taken into account. People with mobility disorders should choose quiet, phlegmatic animals as companions. Patients who need to be motivated or helped to cope with depression or fear will find active animals.

 Is it possible to buy a dog and get well?

All of this sounds tempting and begs the question: can’t we replace medication altogether with companionship with animals? It would be great to get a hamster and get rid of bipolar disorder, and to pet a cat and say goodbye to childhood traumas. But the animal itself is not a pill or a certified specialist. The animal doesn’t know how or who to treat (contrary to popular myths about the special sensitivity of cats). Therefore, it is necessary to work with pets, if a therapeutic effect is required, together with a specialist. Pet therapy is usually not used by itself but as part of a complex treatment.

Of course, to a certain extent, an animal can improve health and quality of life by its mere presence – this is called “undirected pet therapy”. For example, the fact that you got your child a dog imposes a number of obligations. The dog has to be walked, i.e. to take a leash and walk in the streets. It is a physical and useful activity, so that dog owners, especially those who like to walk, have a better chance of staying healthy, even if they do not exercise. In addition, dogs sometimes serve as a confidant, if not a therapist: things that patients don’t dare tell another person, they can tell the dog.

Why horses and dolphins are not indicated for everyone

Of course, we must understand that zootherapy is a method that requires serious research and evidence. Unfortunately, sometimes therapy with the help of animals is advertised unfairly, especially when it comes to the rehabilitation of children. For example, they promise unprecedented progress from lessons with dolphins, while there is no serious evidence that it is dolphins that improve the condition of patients.

If pet therapy is still considered as an auxiliary method of treatment, the animal must be chosen with a specialist. It all depends on the goals of treatment, the patient’s condition, and his peculiarities. Even if the child needs a faithful friend and outdoor walks, but is simply afraid of dogs, you should not drag him or her into contact with them. A patient with a spinal cord injury should not ride a horse, even if he wants to try hippotherapy, with a lack of warmth and close relationships is unlikely to seriously help a turtle.

There are also more prosaic contraindications. For example, an allergy to fur and skin, in which case you should not get a cat. In addition, not every animal can be therapeutic. Animals can be aggressive and fearful, and in this case, communicating with them will not be beneficial, especially for a person with a mental disorder or neurological disorder. But limitations can be circumvented – choose an animal that is not frightening and is not allergic to, exercise in places where animals are prepared to meet patients – and then exercise will do more good than harm.

5 Online Resources That Can Help Kids Grow

Online Resources That Can Help Kids Grow

Kids have always been very receptive to new information, and it’s our job as parents and guardians to help our kids grow by exposing them to quality resources of information.  Of course, it’s a challenge to provide a healthy dose of online freedom to explore, with sufficient online safety measures in place.

When striking a balance between entertainment and learning, or a combination of both, there are a number resources available.  In the streaming world Netflix is great, at times. There is also the Netflix Kids option. Social media platforms are far more vast and difficult to keep track of.  You may even wonder if TikTok is safe. However, after doing extensive research, we’ve narrowed it down to five of the best online resources created especially to help your child grow.  You can Google these resources in the search bar at the top of our website.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a free online learning platform. It provides free programs for children aged four to 18, as well as tools for instructors working from home and parents who choose to educate their children during this period. They even have a timetable to keep kids on track when they’re at home.

Apart from education, safety is also a top priority, especially when kids and teens have access to a wide variety of information. By following a few safety tips for students, you’ll be able to help them navigate the resources better.

CK-12

CK-12 is another excellent education site, with courses ranging from math, English, and science to philosophy and astronomy, among other topics. Run by an NGO, CK-12 uses digital textbooks or “Flexbooks” to diversify K-12 education across the world. Even teachers and subject matter experts can contribute and use CK-12 resources to create holistic workbooks and models. It also includes some information for university students, but the site is primarily for individuals under the age of 18.

Kanopy

Kanopy is a service that works with libraries to provide online access to movies and TV episodes. For older kids, there are documentaries, docuseries, and film festival selections, as well as a Kanopy Kids area with animated storybooks, Sesame Street, and more. Kanopy has a monthly limit on how many videos you can watch. You’ll need to sign up for their services with your library card to access their catalog.

SesameStreet.org

SesameStreet.org is a website dedicated to Sesame Street, the popular children’s television show. It’s ideal for little children at home. The parental controls are extensive, allowing you to lock the user onto the site to prevent your children from exploring the internet, as well as track what your child has been viewing. You may also build activity playlists and let your child loose on them.

DIY.org

DIY.org is devoted to assisting children in learning how to do something by themselves. The DIY sessions develop a holistic understanding of physical objects and improve the logical reasoning of children. The website offers a variety of lessons, including photography, painting, science, and cuisine. Adult and child sign-ins are distinct, and parents can follow their children’s progress through email notifications. It offers a 14-day free trial before switching to a monthly subscription.

Due to the wide availability of information these days, it’s important to guide our kids through it, point them in the right direction, and keep them safe. These five online resources should help them cultivate a learning mentality and understand the world in a better way.