Website: Children's Harnesses by Elaine, Inc.
and my other blogs about weight loss: Weight Loss Made Simple
and parenting my 2 boys: My Boys Can...

Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Make plans for Family Literacy Day, January 27

Yesterday my son brought home a notice about Family Literacy Day on January 27. The notice had a number of suggested activities that we can complete together as a family leading up to that date. The activities are laid out in a Bingo card format and the idea is for families to complete as many activities together as possible. The students return their sheets to school on the 27th for a chance to win a book and a gift card from Chapters. 

The activities on the sheet are wide-ranging. Apparently Literacy can be a broad term. "Fix or build something around your home" is one of the boxes so I guess they're assuming you'll be referring to a manual if you decide to put up some drywall with your kids.

Other suggestions were; Make a craft together, Count out the money together when shopping, Choose a book to read to your whole family, Make alphabet soup and make words out of the letters, Read at home for 30 minutes. 

All the suggestions are excellent and they all have the underlying theme of encouraging activities that bring families together. But in some ways it makes me sad that these reminders have to be said in the first place. I often hear parents say "it's faster if I do it myself". True enough but before you know it, the kids will be grown and gone and you'll be doing it by yourself all the time. 

For me, I try to make every day Family Literacy Day.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Kids and Physical Activity. They should meet more often.

Yesterday there was yet another report from Stats Canada about the inactive youth in our country and I must say the numbers were more shocking than I had imagined. 

Of kids aged 6 to 19 years, only 7% were "active enough to make health gains".

For children and youth, 8.6 hours (62%) of their waking hours were spent being sedentary and this increased to 9+ hours for children aged 15 to 19 years. The percentages of obesity among young boys and girls aged 6 to 10 was also disturbing; 8% and 5% respectively.

Why has physical activity essentially disappeared from the lives of our children? What can we do to get it back? As a parent, what examples are you setting for your kids? Could you lose a few pounds yourself? According to the report, chances are you could.  

Oh come on, don't shoot the messenger.

Adding small doses of physical activity to your day can be as simple as walking to the end of the street with your kids after dinner. Ask how their day was. Ask questions so they tell you more. It's amazing how much happens in their worlds and when given the chance, they'll tell you everything. Soon that walk to the end of the street will turn into walks around the block.

What about bike riding? Do the kids have bikes? If they are riding and you are walking, you'll be able to stay out longer and walk further while the kids ride ahead.

Walk your kids to school if you can. Bizarre idea? What's bizarre to me is seeing the long line of cars at the front of the school every morning to drop the child right at the door. Can you park a few blocks away and walk at least that distance to school? Once a week maybe? For your kid's sake? 

TV, video games, computer time, there are lots of convenient excuses and pleasant distractions to keep all of us sitting around at home. But speaking from experience, there are lots of equally pleasant distractions outdoors too that are worth exploring at least a few times a week.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Kids have a poor diet? Let them make dinner!

It's a miracle that neither of my children have scurvy. The statistical side of my brain highly doubts they are getting all the vitamins, minerals and fats their growing bodies need from the 3 or 4 items they agree to eat. But amazingly enough, they still have hair and fingernails and teeth and are still outgrowing their clothes. 

I've always had the boys help in the kitchen, stirring flour and baking powder and mixing the eggs and butter, but recently with the cold weather I dusted off the slow cooker and implemented some Child Labour. Time for the 6 and 7 year olds to make dinner.

And yes, I did have an ulterior motive. 

I had a feeling the boys would be more likely than not to eat a dinner they had made entirely on their own.

I suggested a turkey stew, they agreed (thank goodness) and before bed that night they went to work. Out came the slow cooker pot, the knife, chopping board, vegetables, spices, measuring cups and measuring spoons. The 6 year old likes to stand on the stool, the 7 year old prefers to squat like a Bedouin on the counter. They did everything, from measuring the water and spices to chopping the carrots, celery and onions. Pieces were big, mind you, because the vegetable was always secured with a foot at one end while the knife worked away at the other. Once, when the piece of carrot was particularly huge, I told them the pieces had to fit on a spoon so out came a spoon and each severed piece was placed on the spoon before receiving approval and entering the pot. Then they switched and the younger one cut the celery while the older one did the Quality Control. Cutting the onion was not a popular chore and they both decided that would be my role in future. 

And so it went. 

In the morning, I put in the turkey thighs and the youngest turned the slow cooker on Low. There was much discussion on the way to school about having the turkey stew that night. They were both so excited when I made such a big deal over them making dinner.

And the results of this Experiment? First of all, it was absolutely delicious. Other findings: the oldest ate a full bowl; carrots, celery, onion, meat, it all went down like nobody's business. The youngest had the broth and most of the pasta letters. Strides for him, believe me.

And me? Well, statistically speaking the results may not have been significant but I'm feeling better about the odds of their diets improving.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A Peck of Dirt

When we were growing up, we almost never got to stay home from school. There had to be vomit, spots or a temperature over 102F. If one of our friends had the measles, all the Moms were on the phone to each other making arrangements to send their kids over to the sick kids' house to play. Same with chicken pox.

Summertime was spent in bare feet. Oh the joy on the last day of school when the shoes came off for good! Once our soles toughened up, no gravel road could slow us down. Grass, sand, dirt, stones and wonderful mud. All underfoot, all summer long. Feet as black as pitch by September and all the scrubbing in the tub before the first day of school was a ritual that always marked the end of summer.  

In those days there wasn't the obsession with cleanliness that seems to be everywhere today. Lysol spray and handiwipes and disinfectants and sterilizing toys once a week and NEVER eating anything that fell on the floor God forbid. Mom always said we needed our peck of dirt and that was definitely our thought too.

When I designed my own Child Harness, it had to have a long lead so my boys could have all the room they needed to explore the ground beneath their feet. I wanted them to be able to get close to the earth and follow the bugs with their fingers, make patterns in the dirt and pile up the sand at the park. They had to have the freedom to walk a distance away from me and crunch through the fall leaves at the side of the road. Their harnesses kept them with me while they explored our world and acquired their own peck of dirt along the way.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Importance of Walking

Sometimes re-stating the obvious is a good idea. We all know that walking is an easy and effective form of exercise but how many of us are denying ourselves AND OUR CHILDREN of this simple pleasure? How many of us leave the kids at home and drive around doing our errands because it's easier and faster? And if we take them with us, how many of us CARRY our child to the car, then when we get to where we're going, lock, strap and buckle them into a stroller TO RIDE while we march off behind like their Prison Warden?

Let my kid walk? Are you crazy? They're too slow and it's TOO MUCH WORK TO WATCH THEM!

Walking is a critical and essential part of childhood development. Practicing those gross motor skills gives that young brain a workout far greater than any of us adults can match. A 3 year olds' brain is twice as active as an adults (I read this today in a neurologic magazine). When a child learns to walk, it's a brand new skill for them that's exciting and fun and thrilling to practice! How do you react now when you learn something new? How many hours straight did you play Guitar Hero? What about Wii? Remember the first time you rode a bike without anyone holding onto the back? You didn't want to stop. Ever.

When a child graduates from crawling to walking, it's a new skill that they desperately want to practice. And for the sake of their development, they NEED to practice walking. But unfortunately the trend of denying them this important pleasure is evident everywhere.

Having your child on a Child Harness will not help you do your errands any faster. In fact, it's guaranteed to slow you down. But maybe that's a good thing. Go at your child's pace for a change. Absorb the colours and lights and sounds and smells around you just like your child is doing. Let them walk safely beside you, let them burn off that extra energy, let those neurons in their brains fire away, let them practice their new skills of balancing, walking and running.

And when they get tired, you've got their stroller and their favourite blanket right there waiting.