Archive for Healthy Lifestyle

Are You Not Entertained?

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Standing on the checkout line at the supermarket I can’t help but wonder…what if aliens landed here in search for intelligent life and turned to the media? They would see a civilization poised to watch the ups and downs in scrutizing detail of other people’s lives.

This reminds me of that great scene in Gladiator where Russell Crowe (who looked amazing by the way) turned to the crowd after killing his tenth consecutive opponent and cried out, “Are you not entertained?”

Why are we fascinated with the lives of other people, especially the challenges they go through. I don’t get reality TV, especially why you would let someone else with a camera crew of a dozen people into the privacy of your home and your life? Our words do not match our actions. Ask people what is most important to them and they will immediately reply, “My family!” Ok, so then why would you put them on display? For what purpose?

Sorry folks, but you will never see my family’s reality show, and I won’t be watching theirs. I’m making the choice to focus on living our best life.

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The Promise of a New School Year

Each new school brings brand new sneakers, book bags and promise. Children start the school year with an A+; they have to keep it. Parents can help in a number of ways.

1. Plan ahead to reduce family stress
Whether it is the weekly meal menu, healthy lunch boxes, or having the school wardrobe ready, it’s always better to plan ahead. Include your children in the planning whenever possible. Rushing through the start of a day can easily spiral out of control.

2. Everything in it’s place
Keys, school papers, book bags, sports equipment, and musical instruments should all have a specific place in the house. Though parents can create the organization, kids need to maintain it. To help kids learn organization, consider purchasing Get Organized Without Losing It written for late elementary through middle grade. It has lots of kid-friendly humor and is written by Parental Wisdom advisor Janet Fox.

3. Set your children up for success
Studies continually show that children that each a good breakfast with lots of protein can concentrate better in school. Get them up a little earlier to start the day right.

4. Provide a study spot
a. Have school supplies in a place that is quiet and free from distractions.
b. Teach them about budgeting their time so projects are ready, not rushed.
c. Review (not do) their homework so you know what is going on at school.
d. Make sure you dig deep into book bags so you can read all school notes.

5. Don’t wait for a red flag or a bad report card before recognizing a struggling student. Contact the teacher before your child gets too far behind.

6. Encourage safety
a. If your child walks to school, make sure he knows how to obey traffic rules.
b. If she rides a bike, be sure she wears a helmet.
c. If he rides the bus, make sure the school district has installed seat belts.
d. Children can only learn if they feel safe. If your child is being bullied, discuss the situation with school officials and insist school programs that teach tolerance and inclusion such as Operation Respect. They offer free programs to schools.

7. Don’t let over-scheduling take away your precious family time. Limit the number of activities you allow your child to participate in.

8. Have dinner together every night. Use this a way for your family to stay connected and to let your children know they belong. Read more about Family Day, which is September 22nd. Pay attention to which subjects and teachers your child talks about. Often those are the teachers that have the most profound impact on your child. Write the teacher a note to let them know their influence.

9. Create an environment for lifelong learning, and teach your children that lessons can easily extend beyond the classroom. Extracurricular and family activities are good ways to help your child learn new things and gain confidence in his or her abilities.

10. Stay involved in your child’s school and participate especially when opportunities arise to meet your child’s classmates such as book fairs or school trips.

11. Keep in touch with your children’s teachers and let them know of any situation that may affect your child in school such as a family illness, recent move, job loss or divorce.

12. When your children challenge your family rules, as compared to their friends’ houses, such as no TV during the week, explain clearly but firmly that things are done differently in your house.

13. Routines are important to children as it helps them feel secure. Consistency is key when it come to bath time, reading and bedtime.

14. Remember you are preparing our next workforce generation. Be sure to instill the importance of showing up and not let your children stay home from school unless it’s absolutely necessary. In the same respect, make sure they understand that being on time is equally important.

15. Make learning real. Show how school skills are needed for such day-to-day activities as cooking from a recipe, balancing a checkbook and writing thank-you notes.

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You can only spend time

Recently a few dads mentioned they are not spending enough time with their kids, or in other cases, they felt the time slipped past them since their children are now older.

As I noted in my book Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals® time and money have much in common, but one very clear distinction: you can make money and you can spend money, but you can only spend time – you can’t make time.

Despite what you might think, if given the choice, children would much rather spend time with you as compared to you working harder or longer hours to make money to buy them things. The best plaything in the world is you.

I point this out as Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon Professor who gave the famous Last Lecture recently passed away. The famous speech, which is now a book, was really meant for his children, but the rest of us eagerly listened in.

The world wanted to hear more from Randy, but he didn’t want to miss any time that he could spend with his children, so he collaborated via cell phone with Jeffrey Zaslow of the Wall St. Journal as he rode his bike an hour a day for 53 days.

Putting myself in his shoes, I can’t imagine not being there for my children in their moments of joy and more importantly in their moments of need. But it comes down to being there, which is about the choices we make. As Randy reminded us, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

If you don’t know how to play with your kids – find someone who does effortlessly and do the same things. If you think the time has passed where you didn’t teach your son to ride a bike or throw a ball, ok, but you can still talk to your grown son and learn about him.

The key to time is making the most of what you have.

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Jury Duty Compared to Working Little League Concession Stand

Of all the wonderful memories I have of my children growing up, one of the worst was the rotation of working the concession stand at little league.

In order of preference I would put jury duty and root canal surgery ahead of that task.

A 7-year-old Massachusetts boy was benched during his Little League baseball game because his mother failed to show up to work the league’s concession stand, and the mother isn’t happy about it.

Jodi Hooper of Freetown said she was unable to fulfill her obligation at the concession stand because she couldn’t get time off from work, according to MyFOXBoston.

Dave Brouillette, head of the Freetown Youth Athletic Association, told MyFOXBoston that the concession revenues are necessary to fund the league’s programs and that he has to enforce the rules, which require parents show up for their assigned concession stand shifts or risk suspensions for their children.

Brouillette told the station that he wasn’t able to see his own son play because he had to cover the concession stand shift for Hooper, according to MyFOXBoston.

As usual, we’re focusing on the wrong things. Instead let’s consider:

1. We have too many adults involved in children’s sports which is taking away from the real objective; to have children learn a sport, have fun and team building skills without adult interference.

2. If parents sign up their child, they are there to see them play, not watch fries turn a lovely golden brown.

3. Why is the concession stand needed anyway? Don’t we have an obesity problem in this country as it is?

Adults, get out of the way and let kids play.

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Happy Earth Day Microsoft!

Where do I begin? I just sent out an email to Parental Wisdom members (below) which talks about how we’re stopping our children from enjoying the most wonderful lessons on earth in a rush to excel. I came across a piece by the senior product manager at Microsoft that I have to share:

You helped her learn to walk. He’s totally potty trained at last. Just when it seems you’ve conquered the most angst-ridden issues faced by parents of toddlers, here comes another source of concern: In a world increasingly dominated by technology, familiarizing your child with a computer and online tools is more important than ever.

Parents can’t afford to wait until their children start school to introduce them to technology, says Craig Cincotta, senior product manager at Microsoft Corp.

“Schools are incorporating computers into their curricula at very early grade levels. It’s not unusual to find a computer loaded with learning software in preschool and daycare settings,” he says. “Children who have experience with computers at home will have an edge over those who first encounter technology in the classroom.”

Boy, is this person ever wrong. Children are becoming frustrated and angry, even at young ages because we are not allowing them to be children – children are meant to play, especially outdoors.

Have you ever tried to toilet train a child too early? It doesn’t work. When children are ready, toilet training is easy. The same is true of education, computers and sports. Let children play freely, and when the time comes for studies and computers and organized sports, they will come ready to learn.

Here is the email sent yesterday to Parental Wisdom members.

We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.
-Ancient Proverb

Global climate change, pollution and how large a carbon footprint you leave behind may seem like many issues parents face – overwhelming.

The answer is actually quite simple and lies in the ancient proverb that states we borrow the earth from our children.

Unfortunately, we take our children from the very thing they gravitate to, the wonders of nature. We put them in schools too early, in front of computers too early, in organized sports programs too early, all because being inside and educated means they will be safe, smart and ready for a cutthroat world.

According to a recent article in the Wall St. Journal, the birthplace of kindergarten is returning to its roots – quite literally. Children ages 3 to 6 walk into a forest outside Frankfurt Germany to sing songs, build fires and roll in the mud. To relax, they kick back in a giant ‘sofa’ made of tree stumps and twigs.

Fredrick Frobel, the German educator who opened the world’s first kindergarten actually called it a “children’s garden.” He suggested that children of this age learn far more by playing in nature than they do immersed in letters and numbers.

Let’s move from ‘No Child Left Behind’ to ‘No Child Left Inside’ and stop our 5-year-olds from what some educators call ‘early academic fatigue.’ If you can’t change the education system, at least you could give your children the gift of spending time with nature. Take a walk with your child and see what he sees, it’s amazing what a young child can teach you.

Perhaps if we made this a habit, there wouldn’t be a need to set aside April 22nd to remember the Earth; everyday would be Earth Day.

Mud pies anyone?

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Teen Drivers

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There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Benjamin Disraeli – British politician (1804 – 1881)

I’ve noticed considerable attention and concern over teen drivers recently. While visiting various government websites, they recite accident statistics, which causes us to gloss over and not pay attention to the real message.

Instead of citing statistics, try citing rules. Interestingly, the laws that make the most sense were put in place as a result of the accident statistics related to teen drivers. In the words of the great Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be king.” Parents get to be king. Parents get to cite rules over and above the government rules. And no one has to gloss over with while reading statistics.

Feel free to visit Parental Wisdom – Free Reports and print out Teen Safe Driving Contract. There are two versions; one is a PDF, and the other is an editable version so you can personalize it.

Be sure to talk to your children about this important topic. Clearly this is an area where you don’t want to become a statistic.

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You are beautiful!

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Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.
– Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

They called her Sunshine, the nickname given to Stephanie Kuleba, 18 because of her brightness, blond hair and personality. The South Florida teen died Saturday, about 24 hours after corrective breast plastic surgery. Gone are the hopes and dreams of a high school senior. All because of a reaction to anesthesia, proof that there’s no such thing as a simple procedure.

With all the things we need to tell our girls as they grow up, we need to let them know they are really beautiful.

Counter the myths of the beauty industry as few people can be a size 2. The beauty standards are too high for even the supermodels to follow, since most are photo-shopped.

Where does real beauty come from? Knowing who you are, and being happy with that.

Thank you Dove for reminding us of that. Please watch this .
Love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment.

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