Monday, May 30, 2011

How To Get Your Kids Inspired To Play Sports

In this day and age there are many kids who would rather sit inside and watch television rather than play outside or do physical activities.  Many parents I know force their kids to play at least one sport just to make sure the child is active.  I don’t completely disagree with telling a child they must pick one activity but I also think that a child should be encouraged and inspired to play.  My son loves playing and these are a few things I’ve done to inspire him to love sports:
1.       Practice together-Kids love spending time with their parents plus if you take time out of your schedule to practice then it shows your child this activity is worthwhile.  I recommend starting with a very minimal amount of time at first based on your child’s age, ability, and interest.  Even setting a timer for 5 or 10 minutes at first will show them they don’t have to spend endless time practicing.  Make it as fun as possible.  I usually have my son practice a skill for a few minutes then play a game that reinforces that skill.  It helps for them to see you laughing and having a great time.  Make sure you keep your patience no matter how annoying your child is being.  It’s so important to teach them that this is fun!
2.       Add a little friendly competition-Schedule a low key game once a week with a few friends.  My son’s friends meet up to play different sports a few times a week.  This enables your child to associate the game with friends and it’s more relaxing to play without a formal practice or game.  You don’t have to make it into a huge play date.  The other parents and I just send a quick text to each other that says something like, “At the basketball courts until about 4 if you guys want to stop over.”  Usually at least one friend will stop over.
3.       Watch professional games-If you can afford it go to a major league game or just watch some on television.  I make special snacks and watch the games with my son.  It’s not just about the game it’s about hanging out, eating awesome food, and developing a love and understanding of baseball.  Our little league sells tickets to go to local minor league games and we all go together.  These games are much cheaper than major’s games.  Even going to high school games can be so much fun.  We meet up with a couple of other families and have a blast supporting our high school soccer, basketball, and baseball teams.  Plus your kids know that someday they’ll be playing for these teams too.
4.       Make it a family thing-Schedule a family competition once a week.  We have “Soccer Sundays” throughout the whole summer.  We barbeque, set up a couple of soccer goals, make up teams, and challenge each other to a pretty competitive game of soccer.  Usually the adults only play once but the kids can usually go at it for hours.  The added bonus is they are EXHAUSTED and ready for bed much earlier than usual.  I always feel like a good mom when I see kids outside, being active, and having fun with their family.  It’s such a great combination.
5.       Consider lessons-I know lessons can be very expensive.  My son likes pretty much every sport but I try to really focus on improving just one per year.  This year he took batting lessons with a professional coach.  The difference in his hitting was unbelievable and he has so much more confidence.  He wasn’t that into baseball because he had a rough year last year and struck out pretty much every single time.  Now he loves playing because he is doing so well.  As with anything in life,  it is so much more fun to do the things you’re good at.  It’s much more fun as a parent to watch your kid hit the ball than strike out too!

What do you do to get your kids excited to play sports?  Let me know if any of these ideas work for your family!

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Encouraging Positive Behavior

 One of the things that I try to teach my son is how our actions affect other people.  When we’re nice to someone it can make their whole day and then they’re nicer to others too.  The same happens when we’re mean to someone.  I tell him just a big, bright smile can put someone in a good mood.   This can often work as a ripple effect and affect the people that person meets and all they people they meet until your happiness is spread through many, many people.

One book that talks about happiness is “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud.  This award winning book tells kids that everyone has an invisible bucket that is meant to be filled with happiness.  When that bucket is filled the person feels wonderful.  When the bucket is empty the person feels sad.  The book then goes on to show what a person can do to fill not only their own bucket but also the buckets of those around them. 
This book can be used for very young children but I also just read it to my eleven year old son who was inspired.  We decided we were going to keep our own buckets.  I bought some small tin buckets and some vase gems and put them on our counter.  Every time we do something nice for someone else or if someone does something nice for us we put a gem in our bucket.  If we do something mean or rude we have to take a gem out.  This way we can see how our actions affect others as well as ourselves.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

I have a few friends who are vegetarians and I love to give my family vegetarian meals several times a week.  I find it so hard to find new recipes that provide enough protein AND taste good too.  This is a recipe that one of my friends gave me and it is delicious.  My father is a steak and potatoes kind of guy and even he loves these burgers!

3 can black bean, drained
1 can corn, drained
Chopped onions
Chopped carrots
3 sweet potatoes, steamed, chopped and cubed


1.       Preheat Panini-grill

2.       In large bowl, mash the black beans

3.       Add everything, mix well

4.       Form into patties (size is a personal preference)

5.       Let cook for 5 minutes on Panini (should spray with nonstick on top and bottom)

What are your favorite vegetarian recipes?

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Using Blocks to Develop Vocabulary

          When I was a preschool teacher one of my favorite areas to teach was in my block area.  Blocks are such a great tool to develop math and science skills as well as imagination and literacy.  Today I’m going to talk about how to help your child develop a rich vocabulary using blocks.  Imagination play is a great tool for conversing with your child.  Try moving all the furniture to one side and build a city with them.  Speak their language but incorporate some bigger words into the play, “Wow that building is so big!  It looks like a skyscraper!”  Some other words to use: architect, architecture, automobile, ambulance, elevator, crosswalk, or intersection.   
 I usually print the words off with pictures to put up around the city or on the walls, that way your child will learn some word recognition too.  If they remain involved you can have them write out the words to label different parts of the city.  In my classroom I had many kids, particularly boys, who hated to write unless it was for the block area. 
Note: Let your child dictate where the conversation goes.  I know there have been times when I thought we were going to be talking about a city and it turned out aliens came and took us to outer space.  Our playtime ended up being a great talk about spaceships, stars, and the different planets but never would have happened if I had been rigid in my instruction. 

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Sexy Date Night Look

So I'm going away for the night to Boston with my love (no kids) and I put this outfit together for the occasion.  This is much sexier and glamorous than what I normally wear (think jeans, hoodie, and sneakers on the baseball field) but I never get away so this is very exciting!  I first picked the dress.  I knew even before I started looking it had to be red and low-cut yet still classy.  Since this dress had silver trim I then matched the shoes and purse.  I didn't want too much red to I kept the jewelry to simple silver.  I think this will be a night to remember!

What do you do for date night?  I'd love to hear about your romantic getaways!


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