Monday, October 20, 2014

Nighttime rituals!


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Introducing your child to exercise

This last year has been a year of holistic healing and health in our household (alliteration aside). We have started to exercise daily, making a commitment to our own health and well-being, not to mention showing our son a great example of putting together a healthy body with a healthy attitude. This got me thinking about how to introduce the concepts of exercise, nutrition, and overall health and how important it is to start young.

1. Be the example
The easiest thing to show your children is how important health is to you by making your own health a priority. Don’t smoke in front of your children, don’t drink heavily, exercise and eat right in front of your children. I personally have turned fast food into enough of a joke that my son says McDonald’s is fake food when he sees the golden Arches. You can’t eat that kind of food in front of your children if you want them to develop healthy eating habits.

2. Take your kids to the health club
Most health clubs these days, whether they are YMCA, private, or other public style places, have a kid zone so that your kids can get some activity while you do your workout. The simple of act of going to a health club with your child makes them understand that this something that adults build into their schedules, so it must have some inherent value.

3. Family outings
Whether it is a hike, walk, or a bike ride, it is important for families to be active together. My parents always took me on really long walks in order to get some exercise. In fact, I wished I listened to my parents more often about getting exercise, as they are committed to 5 miles of walking on a daily basis for the last 50 years. I watch so many families get stuck in ruts where the kids only leave the house for planned activities, and I count my family lucky that we made this change to our lives this year.

4. Order right
Teach your children how to eat out by making good choices when you go out to eat. Restaurants will tailor food to serve you in the way you want to eat, not just the way they normally cook it. Many restaurants offer a wide variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options these days, and it would be a great thing to show children that you experiment on the healthy side of the menu on a regular basis.

Obviously the one big thing is to model the behavior you want to see in your children. You cannot expect a child to eat healthy without seeing you willing to eat the same food. Good luck to you all, and happy health!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bringing Religion Into Your Home - Guest Blog from Jackie Tortorello

"Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life."-Buddha 

Many parents wonder about the value of adding religion to their lives and the lives of their children. While some may maintain a skeptical outlook, others believe it can enrich their family by establishing a system of values, connecting with a higher power and creating a sense of community. 

Selecting a spiritual path
Sometimes setting out on the journey is the hardest part. If you and your partner have trouble picking out a spiritual path for your family to follow, consider a variety of options. Speak with friends and family about churches or centers they enjoy and consult the Internet with further questions. 

Not every religon takes place in a church and not all of them involve prayer, so be prepared to choose from a variety of experiences. Some non-denominational centers are designed to include all people and don't focus on a particular deity. 

Benefits of spirituality and religion
By introducing children to religon or spirituality at a young age, they enter a community based on morals and inclusion. Some parents might disagree but, said religous households promote stronger "self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious families."

Religous networks also provide an automatic support for parents who might be enduring hard times at home or looking for ways to establish a set of values within their family. Through prayer, consueling and meditation, a religous center can assist families in receiving the nourishment they need. 

One problem with bringing religon into households is the way it may create a source of conflict. Rather than enhancing a sense of unity and pro-family values, the pressure to conceive a higher power could isolate one family member if they choose not to believe.

While the decision to lead a spiritual life is left up to those who lead it, bringing kids into the church could help them grow alongside their family, their community and ultimately themselves. 

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Keep those shots up to date!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Can this be good for kids?

So, we have come to the point in our parenting journey where our son noticed that other kids have video games that they play. Whether it’s on smartphones, tablets, a portable game player, or a video game system, it seems that these devices and the accompanying games have become an intricate part of our children’s growth process.

I can remember growing up playing my friend’s Atari system, or my other friends Coleco Vision. I was insanely bored playing these games, so it was always my last choice. I guess there was some fun with these games, but there was definitely no intellectual challenge. That all changed with Nintendo, a revolutionary game system that made high quality graphic video games readily available to more Americans than ever before. This was followed closely by the Sega Genesis, and even my strict Eastern European parents bought me a Nintendo for Christmas. It became not just a status symbol, but almost a requirement for everyone you knew to have a video game system of some sort.

Now, the video game industry is more powerful than most entertainment companies. The need and desire for new games outpaces most movie opening nights…it is actually pretty scary to see how much video games are truly a part of our children’s lives. The question then becomes…are these games good for our kids?

The short answer is yes. They are not that bad for kids. Parents are always looking to some sort of boogeyman answer as to why kids are different from when they were kids, so I don’t believe that video games increase violence or lead kids to anti-social behavior. What I do worry about is the possibility for addiction.

Let’s face facts about our society. We are prone to addictive behaviors across the spectrum. Whether it is television, music, caffeine, sugar…even are most inane behaviors become addictive. I don’t like seeing kids so hooked on video games, and yes, I have known many a person who has spent weeks addicted to finishing a game and learning everything about it. Is this healthy behavior? I don’t think so.

The one thing I will give video games is that they do teach the player a variety of methods to achieve a goal, and an instant feeling of gratification when that goal is met. This is actually a useful life skill from such a surprising source. I would just hate for our kids to become dependent on video games for this goal fulfillment, and hope that the need to achieve goals can transcend the imaginary and become reality.

In the end, we decided to let Lucas play on our old Nintendo Wii, which we own only because everyone has to have at least one video game system, right? Thankfully he is fully satisfied playing full body dancing games, because I could not take a five-year-old wanting to play any other kind of video game yet!

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