Hiking with the Kids

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.

hiking

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.

Safety first.

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.

Stay hydrated!

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.

Have fun!

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

http://www.americanhiking.org/gear-resources/tips-for-your-next-hike/

• 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.

hiking

Kids and Hiking – REI

http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/kids-hiking.html

Just Jeff’s Hiking Page

http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingWithKids.html

Tips for Hiking with Kids

http://www.wta.org/hiking-info/children/resources-for-families/how-to/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 teamHigh 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/

 

What to Expect When Your Child Joins a Team

teamJoining a team, especially for the first time, can be stressful for a kid. There will be so many new things to deal with. There might not be any kids on the team your child knows. Then there are the coaches to get to know. Finally, there is the reality that there are kids out there better at the sport than your child. Learning that you are not the best, or as good as you thought, is a very humbling experience for a child to have to navigate. But, it is also a very important life lesson.

Before deciding what team to have your child join, there are some important questions that need to be answered. To place your kid on a team that is too much for them, too demanding of time, or perhaps, beyond their current skill level, runs the risk of a very bad experience that could ruin your youngster’s interest in the sport. So, ask yourself, just how interested is your child in the sport? Are they passionate, obsessive, or do they just like it, and want to play it? Secondly, and in this you need to be very honest, just how good are they at the sport? Will this be their first experience on an organized team sport? Do they have the skills necessary to compete with the more advanced kids on a travel team? Again, what every parent wants to avoid is placing their child in a situation that quickly becomes negative, and sours their child away from the sport, and teams in general.

Another issue, and one often overlooked, just how much time do you – the parent – have to support this team? How many practices a week will they have? Where are the practices, and how will your child get to and from them? When and where are the games? In some sports leagues, an entire weekend day can be consumed with competitions. Will this conflict with other family commitments?

Lastly, what is the financial cost of joining this team? Many leagues have a fee for participation on a team. These fees cover the costs of field times, referees and officials, and depending on the sport, the cost of minimally necessary equipment. An example is the catching gear for baseball and softball. In other leagues, the child is expected to have all the necessary equipment, which can range from cleats and shin protectors for soccer, all the way to shoulder pads and helmets for football.

Now, once you have made your decision, and the season has begun, please remember how important it is that you support your kids in a positive manner. You want to try hard to not be too tough on your kid. You don’t want to be “that parent,” who is yelling and screaming at the coaches, and the kids, like it is a pro game. These are kids, they are growing both physically and emotionally. At the same time, don’t let your kids quit, and then miss out on the great experiences being on a team can give them. Let them at least finish what they started, and learn about the importance of keeping a commitment.

It is going to take a team effort, both on and off the field, to help your kids get the most out of this team experience. That means working with the coaches, and other parents, and maybe even being a surrogate parent for a kid whose parents aren’t making it out to the practices and games. It will be worth it though. A lifetime of great memories, and super important life lessons will be gained through participation in team sports. I am still influenced today by the many positive experiences I had, and great examples set by my coaches, while playing football and wrestling during my youth.

Below are two helpful organizations whose sole purpose it is to help kids, parents, and coaches do a better job getting the most out of youth athletics.

Positive Coaching Alliance is a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience.

http://positivecoach.org/

https://www.facebook.com/#!/PositiveCoachingAlliance

Proactive Coaching supports the development of character-driven sports, coaching for significance, and cooperative effort between parents and coaches to raise strong kids!

http://www.proactivecoaching.info/proactive/

https://www.facebook.com/proactivecoach#!/proactivecoach

 Article by: Ned M Campbell,who is 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 teamHigh 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 volunteer contributor to “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/

 

 

 

 

What is Your Child Eating in a School Lunch?

logo for Tray talkThe School Nutrition Association (SNA) launched a PR campaign called Tray Talk in 2010. The official website (www.TrayTalk.org), is designed to emphasize the benefits of school meals and showcase success stories from school nutrition programs nationwide. SNA members can help send positive messages about school meals by submitting their own “school nutrition success stories” at the Tray Talk website.

Here is some of the information shared on the site:

School meals are well-balanced, healthy meals that are required to meet science-based, federal nutrition standards.

    • No more than 30% of calories can come from fat, less than 10% from saturated fat
    • Meals must provide 1/3 of Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium
    • School meals are served in age-appropriate portion sizes
  • Every School Lunch Includes five choices that add up to a great value:
    • Milk – Fat free or 1% – flavored or regular
    • Vegetables – From jicama slaw to fresh carrot sticks
    • Fruit – Everything from kiwi to locally grown apples; often fresh
    • Grains – More whole grain items like rolls or sandwich bread
    • Meat or meat alternate –White meat chicken, bean chili, lean beef
  •  In January 2011, the US Department of Agriculture released proposed nutrition standards including new calorie and sodium limits, larger fruit and vegetable serving sizes and requirements to expand the variety of vegetables served in schools each week. The standards were finalized in 2012.

The School Nutrition Association makes the case for your child eating a school lunch saying, “A school lunch provides students with their choice of milk, fruits and vegetables, grains and proteins. School meals are a great value and a huge convenience for busy parents. School cafeterias offer students a variety of healthy choices and help children learn how to assemble a well-balanced meal. Parents can be assured that there’s no super-sizing in school cafeterias because federal regulations require schools to serve age-appropriate portions.”

For more information on healthy school meals, visit www.schoolnutrition.org.

Let’s Help Our Children With Storytelling

Dear Readers,

The children’s blog, that went up on Sept 21st, is about storytelling. 

storytellingStorytelling has almost become a lost art for many children. Yet, encouraging children to tell stories is the natural first step to transitioning them to writing stories. Simply put, good writing content comes from good storytelling. Coupled with good grammar, punctuation, and spelling a child can be a confident writer who enjoys, rather than dreads,  the writing process.

During the next few children’s blogs, the “Can Do” kids will be introduced to the art of oral and written storytelling by Storyteller Bill Wood, who began telling stories, writing stories, and putting on plays as a young boy. Now a senior, long involved in community theater, he is once again writing for children and producing children’s theater.

In the blog on the 26th, children will review a familiar children’s story that’s a bit on the scary side . They will see that the story can be made less scary, even funny, and still carry a learning lesson.

From time to time, I would like to use the children’s blog to continue encouraging children to practice storytelling.

As grandmas and grandpas,  moms and dads, aunts and uncles, teachers and coaches of young children, you all  have stories you can share.  I am inviting all who are reading this blog  to send me a story you have written,  or that was told to you as a young child, and now you tell to your children .

Once a month, we will pick a story for publication on the children’s site. Full credit will be given to the author of the story. Please send your story to me, jeanc@candostreet.com.

Let’s make writing interesting and fun by sharing our gift of storytelling! Let’s start sharing our stories!

All the best,

Jean

Fostering Caring for Family Far Away

Teaching a child to demonstrate caring behaviors to loved ones far away is a lot easier today than it was years ago.

caring

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!