The Benefits of Swimming: You and Your Child Should Get Along “Swimmingly”

RNLI lifeguard offering safety advice

Did you know there are many benefits to swimming? Bucknell University lists 9 physical benefits:

  • Improved flexibility
  • Increased endurance
  • Muscular balance
  • Heart strength
  • Improved physique
  • Increased circulation
  • Rehabilitates muscle
  • Improves ease of weight management
  • Low impact on weight bearing joints

All these are important, but for your children swimming is just plain fun.  What are some reasons to get your kids in the water and create a healthy habit for life?

Safe from the start

Helping your child overcome their natural fear of water comes from a safe and stress-free introduction to swimming.  Seeking out your local Red Cross approved swimming program will give you an age appropriate entry point.  From babies to adults, there are first timer programs that will ease their way into swimming, by developing proper techniques and safety consciousness.  Their ability to react calmly to situations in the water, because of good basic safety skills, could save their life or the lives of others.

Fun

If you just finished watching the summer Olympics, your gaze may turn to your child and you may have visions of them as the next Michael Phelps of Katie Ledecky.  Should they go that direction, lucky you.  If they just learn to play Marco Polo and manage to stay busy for a half a day, you’re pretty lucky too.

Safe swimming opens the door to days and days of water fun.  Water parks, lakes, oceans, and rivers are new playgrounds for cool wet fun on hot days.  Your family vacations can be filled with memories of beaches and docks, carefree good times, and kids so tired from swimming and water play, that they pass out first thing after dinner.  Quiet kids equal quiet times for moms and dads.

Competition
Swimming is a lifetime sport.  The techniques learned as a child carry into adulthood. Swimming is one of the few sports where competition continues as we grow older. Triathlons, masters swimming, distance swimming are all avenues opened to age groups.  

Swimming allows us to compete as individuals, but still have a team perspective.  Relays are the most team focused part of swimming competition, but still each individual has to do their part.  The different strokes and distances allow different body and personality types to excel.

Other benefits

Other avenues for lifetime fun and competition are opened by good swimming skills.  Boating, surfing, fishing and any other sport near the water becomes safer and more fun. With basic swimming skills, that Youtube worthy tumble into the lake, can stay funny and not be tragic. Another positive is that our daily dose of vitamin D doesn’t need to be taken as a pill. Some time spent in the sun, swimming or just on the water, is a byproduct of having good swimming skills. The fresh air and exercise, the relaxation, and the down time with family pull us away from the stresses of life and help us to have a closer bond with family and friends.    

There are many reasons to get your child swimming but mostly, spending time with your child and talking about the experiences will create bonds and experiences for a lifetime.  So go ahead and get wet together.

 

3 Tips for Keeping Your Kids’ Room Organized

Although kids are tiny humans, they tend to have a lot of stuff. From clothing to toys, books and shoes, your kid’s room probably looks like it’s always on the verge of bursting at the seams. While you can go in there yourself and straighten things up, this won’t actually solve the long-term problem of helping your child have a more organized room. So to help get rid of this headache for yourself and teach your child valuable life skills, here are three tips for helping to keep your child’s room more organized.

Consider Their Age When Creating Organizational Strategies

While having your kids understand and enjoy cleaning from the day they can pick up a toy would be amazing, this just isn’t a reality. For this reason, it’s crucial that you take baby steps toward organization based on your child’s age. Jennifer Haupt, a contributor to HGTV.com, recommends keeping things simple for children ages 2 to 4, getting creative with children ages 5 to 8, and gradually increasing organizational responsibilities for children ages 9 and up. For each age group, make sure you have the organizational tools you need for success, like toy shelves, bins and buckets for each and every item in the room.

Seek Your Child’s Input

If you have a strong-willed child, you probably already know that the best way to get a child to do something is to make it seem like their idea in the first place. Knowing this, Cynthia Ewer, a contributor to OrganizedHome.com, suggests having your child help you come up with an organizational strategy that will work for both of you. To best do this, try to consider yourself as their organizational consultant and seek to uncover how they will find the most organizational success in both their eyes and yours.  

Make Time For Organization and Cleaning

Expecting your child to choose to keep their room clean and organized on their own might be setting your expectations a little too high. So to ensure your child has every opportunity to remain organized in their room, Vanessa Brunner, a contributor to Houzz.com, suggests scheduling in organizing and cleanup time to your child’s daily routine. Decide when it makes most sense to have your child work on the organization of their room, whether it’s at the end of the day for 20 minutes on twice a day for 10 minutes, and then use that time everyday for them to spend tidying up their belongings. By making this a fixture in your home, you will show your child how important having a clean space is and that it’s something they need to expect to do daily.

You truly can set up a system to help your child maintain and organize their own space. Use the tips mentioned above to come up with your own way to accomplish your family’s organizational goals today.

By The Rules: 3 Behavior Management Strategies For Every Age

child-misbehaving

Kids are masters at testing limits; it’s how they learn about the world and become independent. Unfortunately, the majority of children engage in this type of behavior to learn about you as well – when mom says to clean up, can they ignore her for five minutes? For twenty minutes? Figuring out what makes their parents mad and what they can get away with is just part of growing up.

As a parent, of course, you want you children to behave, ideally the first time you give a direction, but this won’t always happen and there will need to be consequences. If you’re currently struggling to provide your child with healthy boundaries or coping with problematic behaviors, it’s time to make a change. These 3 tried and true strategies for handling problem behaviors may be just what you need.

Consistency Is Key

One of the most important things that parents need to do when applying rules and disciplining their children is to always be consistent. If the rules say your child can’t eat in the living room, but you let them have a snack on the couch sometimes, then you can’t expect your child to understand whether or not that rule is actually meaningful. This leads to testing – your child will take food to the couch, and if you ignore it one day and yell about it the next, they may become anxious or unsure of how to respond.

Don’t Make Empty Threats

We’ve all been there: your child’s toys are all over the floor and you’ve asked them to clean them up several times. Finally you break; you yell that if they don’t pick up their toys this minute, you’ll throw them all away. This is the kind of empty threat that parents are known for, things your children intuitively know you won’t do, and when you say these things your children have no incentive to respond. The stated consequence, they know, won’t be forthcoming.

It may not seem like a big deal to you if you make an empty threat now and again, but you need to look at the big picture. What happens if your child is having severe behavioral problems, for example? In the face of out of control behavior, some parents choose to send teens to boot camp programs when nothing else works. However, if you have a history of threatening consequence you don’t intend to act on, your child is unlikely to make efforts to improve their behavior. And if you do follow through, it may come as a shock, leaving them feeling unmored.

Be Realistic

When your child consistently fails to follow certain rules, you may need to ask yourself if you have age appropriate expectations. For example, expecting to have a fine dining meal with a toddler is unrealistic – children under age five are unlikely to remain seated and well behaved for more than 45 minutes in a restaurant. They just aren’t developmentally ready to do so.

On the other hand, children won’t learn to behave in restaurants unless you take them out and help them learn the rules. Your child needs your guidance, but they also need to be exposed to situations to learn the appropriate rules of behavior.

These 3 rules work for kids of all ages, and how you apply them can shape your relationship with your children into adulthood. Set clear limits and be both reasonable and consistent and you’ll see a rapid improvement in your child’s behavior.

When Your Child Doesn’t Talk: Hearing Issues Underlying Speech Delay

parent talking to child

When you child doesn’t speak much, there are several different causes that might run through your head. First, there may be panic – parents tend to immediately worry that children who are slow to speak may be autistic, but limited speech isn’t the only symptom of autism. Those parents with chatty older children may also worry that the other siblings speak for or over their younger children, discouraging them from developing speech.

One commonly overlooked reason that your child may be slow to learn to speak, however, is that they’re suffering from hearing problems. These can be caused by any number of things, and using hearing aids and providing speech therapy early on is vital to helping your child meet communication milestones.

Causing Of Childhood Hearing Loss

Many children are born with compromised hearing, which may go undetected due to the difficulty of accurately testing hearing in young children. Children born prematurely or who spent time in the NICU are more prone to such problems, as are those who go on to suffer a large number of ear infections or who have relatives who also had childhood hearing loss. It’s also important to remember that young children are especially susceptible to hearing damage, so make sure you protect your child’s ears if they’re going be in a loud environment.

Signs Of Hearing Problems

A child with hearing loss, may show delays in both receptive and expressive language. Receptive language indicates understanding and is largely constituted by your child’s responses to engagement. A typically developing two year old, for example, will point to pictures or body parts when you name them, while a slightly older child will offer verbal answers or a shake of the head in response to questions. These are signs of receptive language development.

On the expressive side, children should be babbling by nine to twelve months and have at least three words by eighteen months. As your child grows, speech acquisition deficits will become more noticeable, and also more frustrating for both of you.

Testing Your Child’s Hearing

Testing hearing in young children is challenging, since they often can’t follow the typical directions, especially if they have limited expressive language. You can, however, ask your pediatrician to direct you to a specialized pediatric audiology lab where they’ll have experience and appropriate equipment designed to test young children.

Helping your child learn to communicate is one of your most important jobs as a parent, whatever that communication ultimately looks like. Whether your child is hearing impaired and primarily uses sign language, develops full, age appropriate speech, or learns to use an alternative or augmentative communication device, determining the source of their speech delays and developing a solution that works best for them should be your ultimate goal.

young boy with a dog

Tips For Teaching Your Child How To Care For A Pet Dog Or Puppy

Every child wants a pet at some point, and often their pet of choice is a dog or a puppy. They say they’ll take care of them and you won’t have to do any work, but they don’t realize that taking care of a dog is about more than just playing with them. They also don’t realize that a dog can be an expensive investment that costs money for many years.

One good reason to get a dog, or a puppy, though, is when your whole family wants one and wants to chip in to raise it and care for it. Don’t just get one for your child, as your dog will become a part of your whole family. Read More

Late-Life Decisions For Adults and Their Parents

Sometimes the idea of parenting isn’t just about kids, but also about your parents as well. When your mom and dad get past retirement age and into the ‘elderly’ category, there are a lot of decisions to be made, and the more you can communicate these details with each other early on, the better those decisions are going to be.

couple-making-a-will

To make a point of this, consider living situation arrangements, the process of will-writing, moving financial resources around later in life, end-of-life care (like hospice, for example), and funeral arrangements. All of these can and should be dealt with when you are your parents are still both cognizant of consequences of decisions. Read More

3 Ways to Encourage Your Children To Develop a Healthy Work Ethic

teen girl working

With today’s ever competitive workforce, it’s important for parents to give their children the best chance possible to be able to provide for themselves as adults. Too often we see young adults who don’t have the drive or determination to put in the work necessary to become accomplished in their fields or persevere ahead of their peers. So what can parents do for their little ones now in order to help instill vital work ethic skills into their small characters? To help you on this journey of self discovery, here are three ways parents and other adults can encourage children to develop a healthy work ethic. Read More

3 Things to Consider When Baby-Proofing Your Home

baby-gate-living-room

Bringing a new baby into a home can be an exciting and stressful time. From purchasing all the baby gear to washing all those tiny clothes and banking as much sleep as possible, many parents feel that they have enough to worry about without having to prep the home for the havoc that a mobile baby can bring. But once those legs and arms start moving and you’ve got a crawler or a walker on your hands, you’re going to wish you’d put more thought into baby-proofing.

So to help with this ordeal, here are three things you may want to consider when baby-proofing your home in order to keep your children safe. Read More

Spoiling Yourself As a Parent: The Royal Treatment

Not everything about being a parent means that you have to focus just on your kids. You’re still an adult. You still enjoy your personal time, and you still have your individuality. Plus, as an adult, you have money that you didn’t have when you were younger, so at some point, you should spoil yourself and give yourself a reward for your hard work. Yes, your time will probably be largely selfless as you help your kids grow up, but give yourself some credit!

And a few ways to do this, once you get the funds in order, would be to do things like buy a pedicure chair, take a vacation without the kids, go for the occasional dinner and a movie date, create your perfect master bedroom, or maybe even buy a nice car.

mom having a pedicure
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3 Tips for Introducing Your Children to Fine Art

girl painting

When having children, you experience a refreshed viewpoint of the world. While it is easy for adults to become cynical or distanced from the wonder of life, children see everything for the first time and are amazed. The joy a child experiences over every new thing, from their first taste of ice cream to their first trip to a museum can cause some of the most cynical adults to be renewed.

Museums are the kind of reverential places many children find amazing and intriguing. They are exposed to brilliant new colors in paint, abnormal shapes in sculpture, and portraits of people like Grandma and Grandpa in charcoal. Places like Park West Gallery can quickly become a favorite destination among children as they learn to create at home and mimic artists. Read More