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/

 

 

 

 

Tips for Selecting a Summer Day Camp

camp

Many of us still have snow on the ground, others are bracing for still another wintery blast, which makes it hard to think about selecting a summer day camp. But, if you have a child that needs to be in an out-of school program during the summer recess, now is the time to do research to find the camp that meets your child’s needs and interests and is within your budget.

The American Camp Association offers the following guides when considering a day camp:

Day camps offer experiences that are unique from resident camps. Because of this, there are specific points to consider when choosing a day camp.

  1. Does the American Camp Association accredit the camp? ACA has specific standards applicable only for day camps.
  2. What training does the staff receive on safety, supervision, counseling, problem solving and other issues unique to working with young children?
  3. Is the price all-inclusive or are there extra charges for: · Transportation · swimming lessons · food service · horseback riding · group pictures · T-shirts · extended care · field trips
  1. If camp transportation is offered, where is the closest pick-up location?
  2. Does the camp have an “express bus” which transports children quickly?
  3. If before- and after-camp extended care is offered, who is with the children and what activities take place?
  4. Is lunch served or do campers bring their own sack lunch? Are snacks and drinks provided?
  5. If the camp offers swimming, are there swimming lessons or is it simply recreational swimming?
  6. Are campers in a group with a counselor all day? Or, are campers free to go from one activity to another with appropriate supervision? In this case, whom would you talk to if you had a question or concern about your child?
  7. Is an open house offered before camp starts where you can meet your child’s counselor and van/bus driver?
  8. Are parents allowed to drop by for visits or is there a special parent visitation day?

Most frequently asked camp questions by children who will be attending day camp and how you might want to answer them:

What will I do all day? You’ll get to do so much — things like swimming, tennis, basketball, arts and crafts, softball or baseball, cooking, ceramics, gymnastics, soccer, dancing, football… the list goes on and on. There are also special events and entertainment.

Who will help me have fun at camp? How do they know how to care for me?
Counselors are selected because they love working with kids. They are trained before camp begins to help you have a good time, make new friends, and enjoy a variety of activities. Their job is to help you have fun, be safe, and know your limits.

Do I get to choose what I want to do?
Some camps schedule the entire day so you have an opportunity to try all the different things at camp. At many camps, you’ll get to select one or even more activities every day. You can ask about how the day is planned for you.

Who will be my friends?
You will make a lot of new friends at camp. Camp counselors will help you make friends the very first day you arrive at camp. It’s nice to have winter friends and summer friends.

What’s so great about camp?
Camp is a special place where grownups help kids feel good about themselves. You get to make choices on your own, but you always feel safe. Camp is like a little community, where everyone’s opinion is heard, and kids work and play together. There’s just no other place like camp, because camp is built just for kids!

Why shouldn’t I just stay home and do what I want?
You might think it will be more fun to just stay home and do nothing, but believe us, camp is nonstop fun! There are such a variety of activities that you never get bored. And you always have friends; everyone’s always home at camp!

What would a day at camp be like?
Camp is filled with different kinds of activities. The fun begins as soon as the bus picks you up. You will spend the day doing activities you really like. Of course you’ll stop for lunch – maybe a barbecue or a picnic. Day campers will go home on their buses in the late afternoon, and look forward to returning to camp the next day.

What if I’m not good at sports?
Camp staff will encourage you, and you will succeed at your level. You are never measured at anyone else’s ability level. Camp is not all sports, but a combination of athletics, the arts and hobbies.

What if I have a problem?
There are lots of people at camp, besides your counselors, to help take care of you, depending on what you need. There is usually a nurse, so if you don’t feel well they have a place where you can rest until you feel better. You can count on the grownups that are at camp to help you with any problem you may have.

Once you have answered these questions, visit ACA’s Camp Database to find a camp just right for your child. Parents may call ACA National Headquarters 800-428-CAMP8camp800-428-CAMP  for further information about specific camps or for the ACA section in their region. American Camp Association website…http://www.acacamps.org/.

 

 

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Toys…Tips for Purchasing and Safety

With Christmas fast approaching and many of us still buying toys, I am sharing a message from a staff member of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

toysMore than half of the three billion toys and games sold in the United States each year are purchased at Christmas time. And while the majority of toys are safe, thanks in part to stronger federal rules and higher standards from toy makers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that in 2011 alone more than 193,200 U.S. children were treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries.

Toys have changed over the years and the assortment can be astounding, particularly to those who haven’t shopped for kids in a while,” said Bevin Maynard, a child advocate at St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.”Child safety, however, never goes out of style. It is something parents and family members should always keep in mind when selecting gifts for youngsters.”

Maynard notes that appropriate selection and proper use of toys, combined with parental supervision, can greatly reduce the incidence and severity of toy-related injuries.

When selecting toys this holiday season, be sure to:

  • Choose toys suitable to the child’s age, interest and skill level. “Age labels are for safety reasons and not intended as developmental ratings,” said Maynard. “If a package indicates the toy isn’t suitable for children under 3, it doesn’t mean that your 2-year-old won’t be able to figure out how to play with the toy, but rather that the toy has small parts or sharp pieces that could injure a younger child.”
  • Skip toys with small magnetic pieces for any child under age 6 or under age 10 if they have younger siblings who could easily access the pieces.
  • Look for well-made toys.
  • Avoid toys that produce loud noises. High-volume games can permanently impair a child’s hearing, and loud sounds can frighten a younger child.
  • Avoid toys painted with lead paint. Exposure to lead can result in lead poisoning, causing serious damage to a child’s brain, kidneys and nervous system.
  • Avoid electrical toys with heating elements (batteries, electrical plugs) for children under the age of 8. These toys are a potential burn hazard.
  • Avoid toys with strings, straps or cords longer than 7 inches, which can wrap around a child’s neck and accidentally strangle him or her.
  • Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things for young children.

Maynard adds that riding toys should not be used near stairs, traffic or swimming pools, and that parents can use the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper to identify small toy parts that are potential choking hazards. “Small children should not play with anything that can fit into one of these cylinders.”

A Gift is Not Complete Unless Proper Protective Gear is Included
Bicycles, skates, scooters and skateboards are popular gifts for the holidays, but if children lack the proper protective gear or skills, injury and death can occur. To keep kids safe whenever they “wheel” around, be sure to:

  • Include a helmet as part of a gift, which according to Safe Kids USA, can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury as much as 88 percent.
  • Buy stickers or bike reflectors and use them on the front, sides and back of the bike to increase the child’s visibility to drivers.
  • Buy a bike horn or a bell as a stocking stuffer. This tool is essential for warning motorists and pedestrians of a bicyclist’s approach.
  • Don’t forget to buy elbow and knee pads as well as wrist guards for skates and skateboards.

Kids sometimes are reluctant to wear protective gear, insisting that they are good riders or complain that none of their friends wear them. But Maynard urges parents to resist that temptation, and notes “requiring children to wear a helmet every time, everywhere they go, is the best thing you can do to protect them.”

For more information on how to keep kids safe this holiday season, or anytime of the year, visit facebook.com/stjosephschildrens.

SOURCE St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

 

30 Blogs for Preschool Activity Ideas

Paul Taylor, provider of the following guest post, is an ex-nanny. Passionate about thought leadership and writing, Paul regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting blogs/websites. She also provides value to nanny service by giving advice on site design as well as the features and functionality to provide more and more value to nannies and families across the U.S. and Canada. She can be available at taylor33.paul@gmail.com.

preschoolEager to learn and filled with curiosity, preschool children can present quite a challenge when it comes to keeping them entertained and out of trouble.

During this stage of their life, children are still learning about the world around them through play and structured activities, and having a variety of activities to keep them engaged and entertained is a must; through the virtual village that is the blogosphere, parents and childcare providers have access to a wealth of educational and entertaining activity ideas. The following 30 blogs prominently feature entries covering such subjects, making them a valuable resource for the adults charged with caring for preschoolers.

Indoor Play

Inclement weather and lack of access to safe and open outdoor play space can leave parents and caregivers scrambling for ways to keep housebound kids from going stir crazy. These activities are all structured around the idea of keeping kids engaged indoors, for times when outdoor play simply isn’t feasible.

Outdoor Play

Research conducted by the Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the University of Washington indicates that many preschool children have few opportunities to engage in supervised outdoor play, which can support creativity, prevent obesity by discouraging sedentary habits, and strengthen developing motor skills. The benefits of getting young children off the couch and into the great outdoors are numerous; here are five blogs with ideas for active and stimulating outdoor play.

Educational Play

Almost any play that a preschooler engages in provides them with hands-on, real-life learning experiences; however, there are some activities that help kids learn important concepts. Bloggers share their ideas for educational activities in the following five links.

Group Play

While keeping a group of preschoolers entertained and getting along can be a struggle, side-by-side and group play are essential for helping kids learn the socializing skills that they’ll carry with them as they get older. Parents and caregivers can keep tantrums and feuds to a minimum by encouraging structured activity during play dates, making the information included in the following five blog entries quite valuable.

Safe Play

During the preschool years, kids are learning safety skills on a large scale, like fire or water safety, and also the basics of safe play in general. Helping pint-sized daredevils learn to play it safe and passing along the basic rules of safety in general can be done through active play, as detailed in these five posts.

Preschool Prep

If your little one is on the verge of beginning a structured preschool program, it’s likely that quite a bit of your energy is dedicated to helping him prepare for this major milestone. From knowing what to expect to perfecting potty training, these five blog entries can help parents and caregivers get a child on the right track and ready for school.

There are a staggering number of blogs on the Internet with a focus on preschool activities and other relevant topics, so don’t stop here! Check the links section in a favorite blog’s sidebar for others that may be similar.

What’s New for the New Year?

newThis year, look for more new educational vocabulary building matching games as well as more math games and more games courtesy of our friend across the pond.

You will find the new educational games in the club house. The educational games will continue to be under games. The new games from greyolltwit software are also in the club house. Just click on the balloon that says… more games.

We are now producing a series of new,short animated videos entitled, ” What Do the “Can Do” Kids Say About…?

The video content focuses on getting children to think about what they would do about such every day issues as sharing, eating right, being kind, telling the truth, helping a friend,  behaving appropriately in the classroom, and in the playground, personal hygiene, table manners and party manners, taking care of a pet, respecting others.

We will post a new video each month beginning in early spring.

So, stay tuned for more new programs, games and blogs!