Teaching a child to demonstrate caring behaviors to loved ones far away is a lot easier today than it was years ago.
A big brother away at college, a grandma or grandpa who lives in another state, a relative serving in the armed forces overseas are all people who look forward to hearing from a child and are disappointed when they don’t hear. Children need to be encouraged to stay in touch with those who love them.
Here are some ways that make it easier to stay in touch:
- Skype enables a child to see and speak to a loved one via the computer when both parties have a webcam and this free software program.
- E-mail enables a young child to send brief messages. When special holidays come around, a child can send a free card using programs such as Hallmark or Blue Mountain
- Telephone calls, when possible, are also a good way to keep in touch
- There is always the tried and true…send a hand made drawing or card in the mail.
A fun activity to foster caring for those far away is to make a “Caring Calendar” and hang it in the kitchen.
At the beginning of each a month, a child can circle dates for hello calls and holidays, birthdays or special events for each person that he or she wants wants to remember in a special way. When everyone has Skype they can see one another, which makes it a special visit!
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It’s almost that time again; time to think all things school.
The following tips come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, www.nhtsa.gov, reminding us that young children need frequent reviews about bus safety and bus behavior. Children need to know the Danger Zone, which is the area on all sides of the bus where children are in the most danger of being hit. Officials from nhtsa suggest:
REVIEWING HOW TO GET ON AND OFF THE BUS SAFELY:
- When getting on the bus, stay away from the danger zone and wait for the driver’s signal
- Board the bus one at a time
- When getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road) and move away from the bus
- Stay ten feet away from the bus and never go behind the behind the bus
- Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until you can see the driver’s face, then wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross
- Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped and keep watching traffic when crossing
TAKE THE FOLLOWING BUS SAFETY STEPS:
- Supervise children to make sure they get to the stop on time, wait far away from the road, and avoid rough play
- Teach your child to ask the driver for help if he/she drops something near the bus
- If a child bends down to pick up something, the driver cannot see him/her and the child may be hit by the bus
- Have your child use a backpack or book bag to keep loose items together
- Make sure clothing and backpacks have no loose drawstrings or long straps, to get caught in the handrail or bus door
- Encourage safe school bus loading and unloading
- If you think a bus stop is in a dangerous place, talk with your school office or transportation director about changing the location
REVIEWING BUS RULES:
- Always stay seated when on the bus
- Fasten your seat belt, if there are seat belts
- Don’t put any part of you out the window: arms, head, etc
- Always talk quietly because loud noises could make driving difficult for the driver
- There is no eating or drinking on the bus
- Keep backpacks, books, instruments off the floor. The aisles need to be clear for kids to walk and in case of an emergency
- Never play with the emergency exits
- Never throw anything at one another or out the windows when in the bus
- Be ready to get off the bus when you reach your stop so you don’t keep everyone waiting
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School is almost over, summer is fast approaching, and the season of family get togethers, reunions, vacations and barbeques is close at hand. Quite a few of these events may take place in a park, where there will be the chance to take the kids out for a family hike.
Hiking is a great way to spend some quality time together as a family, and is a terrific form of exercise. Getting out in nature, and maybe leaving behind all the instant communication technologies, can be quite liberating too.
Now, before you get up and hit those trails, there are some simple and important rules you should keep in mind. Remember, you want this to be a fun experience, for both you and your kids.
You can always hike more, but never less.
So, start out with a short hike in mind. If it is going well, you can simply add to it as you go along. Go too far, for too long, and you may be carrying the little ones back to the car.
Bug bites, sunburn and skinned knees are the most common safety issues you want to make sure you can take care of on the trail.
• Sunscreen and bug-spray all exposed skin before setting out on the trail.
• Long pants are better than shorts in protecting the legs from bug bites.
• For the skinned knee, or hand, some anti-biotic cream and band-aids are a good idea to have on hand.
Make sure you bring along plenty of water. There is no such thing as too much water, and the best place to carry your water is inside you. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink. Stop every 20-30 minutes and take a few swigs of water. Stay away from sugary drinks, straight water is more than good enough.
Keep up your strength.
Have some good energy snacks with you too. Depending on the length of the hike, you may want to stop, perhaps at a scenic viewpoint, and take a little break with something to eat.
Have a plan if…
The last simple rule needs a whistle Make sure each child has a whistle attached to them. I don’t mean in their pocket, I mean around their neck, or looped into their belt, so they cannot lose the whistle. If, they should ever become separated from the group, they can blow the whistle loud and clear, while staying put. Make sure this is explained to them before, and reviewed during, the hike.
These rules, if followed, will go a long way in making that family walk in the woods a good one. Having it be a good time, a good memory, that is the key to getting the kids – and you – to want to do it again. Hiking is a great exercise that can take your kids to great places as part of a life-long activity.
Some helpful websites for making the family hike fun and safe:
Hiking with Kids – American Hiking Society http://www.americanhiking.org/resources/hiking-with-kids/
• A short list of ideas to keep the hike “kid-friendly.”
Helpful Tips on Hiking – American Hiking Society
• An excellent resource on everything you may need to know about getting started with hiking. From boots to bug-spray, rain gear to snacks, and safety and first-aide on the trail.
Kids and Hiking – REI
Just Jeff’s Hiking Page
Tips for Hiking with Kids
Article by: Ned M Campbell is the head coach of James Madison High School’s wrestling team in Brooklyn, NY, and is a USA Wrestling nationally certified coach. He is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches history at James Madison High School. Prior to teaching, Ned M Campbell worked with children and adults with disabilities during summer programs with IAHD and Southeast Consortium, and volunteered time supporting a therapeutic horseback riding program for youth and adults with disabilities.
Campbell is a published writer, and a contributing writer to the “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in “Can Do” Street programs.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Coach Campbell’s co-article for kids, on this subject, featured on the “Can Do” Kids blog at http://candostreet.com/blog-kids/
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If you are the parent or grandparent of a preschooler you’ve got to be thinking no way does my preschooler need structured exercise!
But…the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks us to consider the rise in overweight children between the ages of two and five years of age. In the late 1970s, about 5% of children between 2 and 5 years old were overweight. Just recently that figure reached nearly 14%,
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education(NASPE) suggests that preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) spend at least 60 minutes a day in total on structured physical exercise that help a preschooler develop motor skills. Children need daily practice to develop motor skills. Preschoolers need an additional 60 minutes on unstructured physical activities. They should not be engaging in more than 60 minutes at a time in sedentary activities unless they are asleep.
The guidelines for toddlers, 12 to 36 months old, are similar with the exception of structured physical activity adding up to 30 minutes a day rather than 60 minutes.
Parents and grandparents make the best teachers of physical exercise and activities. Try playing the following games to make sure your preschooler or toddle meets his or her daily requirements for physical activities:
- Any kind of tag game
- Catch with balls that are the proper size and weight for size and age
- Water activities such as swimming, water exercises and games
- Riding a tricycle or a scooter
- Crawling activities
- Doing jumping jacks
- Music games and dancing to music
- Playground jungle gym
NASPE offers a word of caution… it is best to make these daily activities fun or, as our preschoolers get older structured physical activities may become a turnoff.