Teaching Your Kids Balance

Teaching Your Kids BalanceWe are a nation of movers and shakers. We brag about being multitaskers. We manage to work, get the kids to school, football practice, dance class and find time for the PTA meeting. We sync our smartphones so we know who needs to be where and what time and who is responsible for getting them there. We schedule meals, showers, homework, and social time.

In America, over 7 million children under the age of 17 take medication for ADHD. While we know there are children who have ADHD, some experts think we are rushed to judgment and label them as ADHD way too soon. Could it be that we have allowed ourselves to be a national community that does not practice focus and we lack the skills we once had to dedicate ourselves to undistracted work? If so, have we taught our children to operate on that same frequency of distraction and doing several things at once? Have we taught our children behavior that is sometimes associated with this illness?

Teaching our children and practicing what we preach

Begin by taking a good look at your child’s schedule. Are there things packed into his time that means little to him? Set priorities and remove excess activities from your lives. In essence, allow time for time.

Set an example. Teach your child the importance of doing what you are doing well. Live in the moment. When you are cooking dinner, put away the cell phone, turn off the television, and cook dinner. When you sit down to eat, do not allow anything to interrupt. No cell phones, books, headphones, or anything allowed at the table. This is when we eat our meal and connect.

Set realistic goals for your child. Do not expect a child that has been allowed to study his spelling words while he is in the bathtub and you are calling them out from your seat on the throne to suddenly be able to sit and focus on just spelling words for 45 minutes. Teach him in small time frames.

Healthy choices – consequences and rewards

Many parents make the mistake of allowing their kids to eat junk food when they are very hungry (like coming inside from swimming) and then offering healthy foods only at meal times. When a child is hungry (not bored) they will enjoy the taste of their veggie snacks or fruit bars much more. Take advantage of that time to stroke their brain with feel good – taste good options.

Of course, we all want to have special treats from time to time. Let your child help you decide. For example, instead of buying a big birthday cake and ice cream for his birthday party, suggest making treat bags. You can get information on buying candy online in bulk by clicking here. Kids are smart little people. Show them the healthier choices available. Explain that some kids cannot eat sugar, gluten products, or have nuts. Let them help you decide which candies would be best for the treat bags so everyone is happy.

Never use food (especially junk food) as a reward. You spend many hours telling your child why they do not need that. You say the sugar is bad for your teeth. You explain it makes them hyper and they do not feel good when they eat too much of it. You tell them, those choices have really bad effects on their bodies. Then they score an A on their math test or clean their room on their own and you give them a big old piece of this stuff that you say will make them sick! “Good job! Now, make yourself sick!” Of course, that is not what we think when we hand junior a chocolate bar, but the message he gets is confusing.

Take the time to teach your child healthy balance and it will stay with him for the rest of his life.





Best Ways To Accommodate Your Child’s Outfit Needs

child costumesLet’s face it, almost every holiday invites children to wear some type of costume or festive accessory.   Whether your child wants a full on goblin outfit for Halloween, an elf hat for Christmas, or a Heart Shaped headband to celebrate Valentine’s Day, one must always be on the look out for cheap and reasonable ways to keep up with holiday trends.  From school plays, school spirit days, themed birthday parties, costume parties, or costumes for playing dress-up, parents are looking for places to find the perfect costumes and accessories for their kid’s upcoming activities and events. Below are a few great places you can find great outfits for children of all ages.

Your Closets

An oft-overlooked place to find excellent costumes, are the closets in your home. This could be anything from “dress up” clothes that can be spruced up with embellishments, to mom and dad’s dated high school attire, to old costumes that can be transformed into something new. It is also an excellent place to find junk jewelry, and dated accessories that can be used to enhance costumes, both old and new.

The Craft Store

Even those who are not avid sewers or crafters can find several easy ways to make costume ideas online, or by getting creative with fabrics and embellishments. For example, a plain facemask can be embellished with rhinestones, sequins, and feathers to create a Mardi Gras style mask, or a box you have at home can be covered with brightly covered construction paper and black electrical tape to create a Rubik’s cube.

Vintage And Thrift Stores

Vintage and thrift stores are a great place to find second hand costumes in excellent condition. You can also find dated styles and trends for a decade theme party at a vintage and thrift store. For example, if your child is invited to a 70s theme party, bellbottoms and multi-colored polyester shirts are easier to come by in thrift stores than just about anywhere else. They are also an excellent place to find sweaters for the always fun, ugly sweater party.

Costume Store

Every Halloween, pop up Halloween costume stores can be found all across the nation. However, you can also look to see if there are any year-round costume stores, or costume rental locations in your area. Also take advantage of the post-Halloween discounts at your pop-up stores. Their goal is often to sell as much of their inventory after Halloween, before they close their location for the season. You can visit these stores a day or two after Halloween, and search for costumes for your children’s upcoming parties and special events.

Online Costume And Craft Stores

If you do not have the time or desire to get creative and make a costume for your kids, it may be easier to shop for their costumes online. For something unique and one-of-a-kind, search handmade arts and craft sites by crafters who ship the costumes they make around the nationwide. However, if your child has a very specific look they are going for, it may be easier to search for the costume they desire at a specialty costume website.

There are plenty of places you can turn to when looking for new costumes for your children. If you have many kids in your family, hang on to the costumes you purchase over the years to see if they can be repurposed at a later date.

Byline: Claire Wintrode’s daughter needed to be an angel for the latest school play, so they went to find an outfit online for cheap






How to Facilitate Fun and Safe Social Experiences for Your Young Children

kids playing board gameIt can be challenging to let your young children have fun while ensuring they are safe. Letting your children play at other friend’s houses, or go on excursions with their buddies can be risky if you don’t know their friends very well. Below are a few tips to help ensure your children’s safety, while supporting their development of an active and healthy social life.

Sign Them Up For Extracurricular Activities

If you keep your kids busy with extracurricular activities such as sports, arts and crafts classes, and summer camps, you likely know where they are and what they are doing as they enjoy the opportunity to play and socialize with their friends. If your kids have not yet found extracurricular activities that are a good fit, use it as an opportunity to keep searching until they find an activity they enjoy. They can even sign up for extracurricular activities with their current friends, or utilize extracurricular activities as a way to make new friends.

If They Are Going To a Friend’s House, Get To Know the Parents

Whether riding the school bus home with a friend after school, going to a birthday party, or staying the night at a friend’s house, try to get to know the parents of the kid’s house they are going to. Try to gauge whether the parents have the same values as you, and ask any questions you may have. Primarily, who will be home with the kids, who will be transporting them to activities outside the home, and find out how they will be spending their time so that you can make sure your child has everything they need. For example, if your son or daughter will be going to a pool party, you should make sure they have waterproof sunscreen, sunglasses, and any floating devices if necessary.

Make Sure You Know Their Schedule, And Double Check

It is important to know where your kids are at all times. If your child has a cell phone, you can install a tracking app, with or without their knowledge, so that you can find them at all times. However, as your kids become older, busier, and more independent, you may want to create a schedule so that you know where they are when they are not with you. Also create a system for letting you know if plans change, and make sure to double check where they are with surprise visits, and specific questions about where they have been.

 Host Fun Activities at Your House

One way to ensure you know where your kids are at all times, while giving them the time to socialize and have fun with their friends, is to host fun activities at your house. These fun activities should require a bit more time and attention to detail than simply inviting someone over to play or spend the night. For example, you could host a game night once a month, a baking party, a costume party, a movie marathon, or a holiday event.

The above tips are just a few thoughts to keep in mind to ensure that your kids have a reasonable amount of independence and are able to socially interact with kids their age while stay safe.

Byline: Andrea Potter recently decided to throw a costume party for her son, Alex, in order to meet all of his friends and understand his social circle more.  Alex dressed up as a teenage mutant ninja turtle, much to the liking of his friends.






Setting Limits on Technology for your Children

kid on computerWhile iPads, smartphones, and other devices can conceivably be educational, they often hinder children’s ability to learn how to read, write, and spell. Young children often learn how to use smartphones and touchpad devices before they are able to learn how to write with a pencil. Some parents don’t spend time reading to their children and use technology as a way to distract and entertain their kids. Technology can be a welcome addition to the home, but it should be used in moderation.


Watch Your Behaviors


It’s important to remember that children will mimic their parents’ behavior. If you are always on your smartphone or playing on the iPad, your kids will want to do the same thing. Be mindful of your technology behaviors and make it a priority to spend quality time with your kids. To show your kids that they are more important than technology, do not use your phone or other devices during dinner or when you are outside playing with your kids. Be mindful of them watching you, and make sure you are focused on engaging with them.


Set Rules


If you have school-aged children that know how to read and write, there is a good chance they already play video games and enjoy watching movies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend less than 2 hours watching television each day. You need to make sure you are setting limits on how much time your kids can watch TV and play with their devices. There are some apps and other programs that do help children learn, but you want to minimize how long your kids use computers.


Set rules on their use of technology and focus on engaging with your kids. Several devices come with timer programs that allow children to know when they need to stop using them. This can help parents avoid a frustrating struggle to get their kids to put down the iPad and go outside to play. If you have kids that fight you or whine about stopping their playing time, it might be a good idea to consider taking away all technology for a week to show them how much fun they can have without being dependent upon technology.


Learning to Think


Sometimes, the hardest kids to talk to are teenagers. They love to use their smartphones, which can be an expensive problem for parents. It is important that you understand what your teen is doing on social media and other sites. You need to remind them of the importance of privacy and discretion. Teach your teen to learn how to think about social media by talking about their texting behaviors: Have they ever sent out a message they regretted? Did they ever become bullied or offended by text messages and social media posts? The goal is to help teens learn how to establish socially appropriate behaviors when they use their phone. Teens still look towards their parents for social guidelines, so if you are texting during dinner, or if you keep your phone on during a movie, they are likely to do the same.


Byline: Alysha Linton purchases all technology for her family from Kensington.com at affordable prices.