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.



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



 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/






From Those in the Know about Childhood Obesity

obesityThis post is about the long-lasting effects of childhood obesity.

The first of two reports is from MedlinePlus,  a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health. The second report is from HealthDay News, which recently was posted on Womenshealth.gov., Dept of Health and Human Services.

MedlinePlus Report: As reported by Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV on Childhood Obesity and Adult Hypertension

Being a heavy child may have long lasting impact. In fact, new research suggests it may quadruple your risk for high blood pressure as an adult.

Starting back in 1986, researchers in Indiana began tracking the growth and blood pressure of over 1,100 healthy adolescents. Over the 27 years, they were able to accumulate a vast amount of data. 6% of normal weight children had high blood pressure as adults. While 14% of overweight children developed high blood pressure. But the big news was the 26% of obese children ending up with high blood pressure as adults.

The researchers believe these findings add more evidence that being overweight or obese in childhood is a true public health threat.

Highlights of HealthDay News Report on Childhood Obesity and Adolescent Eating Disorders:

Obese children and teens who lose weight are in danger of developing eating disorders — including anorexia and bulimia.

These problems may not be diagnosed quickly, because parents and doctors “think it’s a good thing that these teens have lost so much weight,” said lead researcher Leslie Sim, an assistant professor of psychology and an eating disorders expert at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minn.

“We started to see kids coming into our clinic with severe eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, where you lose a lot of weight and restrict your eating, and these kids actually started out as obese,” she said.

“They lost way too much weight and became preoccupied with their eating,” Sim said. “Every thought and behavior really surrounded eating.”

“We think obese kids are at risk for eating disorders because they are getting a lot of media messages that they are not healthy and that there is something wrong with them and they need to change their ways,” Sim said. “And because they are teens, they do extreme things. Weight loss is not that typical for adolescents,” Sim said. “I think parents should be concerned with any weight loss,” she added.

“When parents see their children losing weight, they should ask about their eating habits and whether they are skipping meals or avoiding friends, as these may be signs of an eating disorder,”  Sim said. “At least 6 percent of teens suffer from eating disorders.”

“The study highlighted many important messages, ” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “Obesity itself is a risk factor for eating disorders. This link is well established for binge-eating disorder, where obesity is potentially both cause and effect.”

“Effective treatment of obesity cannot simply be about weight loss — it must be about the pursuit of health,” Katz said. “An emphasis on healthful behaviors is a tonic against both obesity and eating disorders. By placing an emphasis on diet and activity patterns for health and by focusing on strategies that are family based, we can address risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity.”


How to Foster a Positive Body Image in Your Teen

While this site focuses on the needs of parents and teachers of children 3-7 years, the following article speaks to fostering a positive body image in a child’s teen years,a concern for all parents.The article comes to us from Tina Marconi;  Tina is  the content manager for “babysitters.net”. For  further discussion, you can reply to her at “marconi.tina0 AT gmailDOTcom”.


The process of going through puberty is a rite of passage for every human on the planet, and is a concrete sign of your child’s physical maturation. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of dashed self-esteem, and negative body image in many kids, especially teen and tween girls.

Fostering a strong, positive sense of self-worth and a good body image may seem like a delicate balancing act, but there are steps you can take to help your teenager mature into a poised, confident and self-assured young adult.

Start Early

The foundation for a strong, positive body image in your teenager begins when she’s a child. Before the teenage years arrive, bringing with them the nagging fears and insecurities of puberty, start talking to your little one about different body types, acceptance and the appreciation of a healthy body. Make a point of discussing the unrealistic images she absorbs from the media and the collective societal scrutiny of celebrities and public figures. The ideas your child has about body image when she reaches her teen years will be shaped by what she’s already learned, so don’t wait until she’s a pre-teen to start this essential conversation.

Watch Your Own Speech

More than almost anything else, your children will learn how to interact with the world and how to view it by observing you. If they hear you constantly speaking ill of your shape or bemoaning a few extra pounds, they will absorb those insecurities and begin to reflect them. Make a point of speaking positively about your body, even when you feel insecure. Not only will it help you model a positive body image for your kids and teenagers, it will also boost your own sense of self-worth by cutting out negative, critical thinking.

Listen When She Talks About Her Body

When it seems like you and your teen are speaking a completely different language, figuring out how she feels and the standing of her self-confidence can seem like an insurmountable task. Teens naturally become a bit more withdrawn and reticent in their quest for independence, but you may not be as cut off from your teen as you think. Make a point of listening to her when she speaks, especially about herself. If she makes self-deprecating comments about her body, even in the form of a joke, you’ll know that it’s time to have a serious conversation about self-esteem and body image.

Encourage Her to Get Involved

Teenagers that are involved in their community or peer group through sports, clubs and other activities, have something to focus on other than their changing body and the way they feel about themselves. Organized sports, athletic programs and social or academic clubs can have a very real impact on a teenager’s self-esteem, so make a point of encouraging her to get involved with things that she’s interested in and pursue her hobbies in an active, engaging way.

Emphasize Physical Activity for Fun

As childhood obesity rates skyrocket and bring along with them a host of attendant health problems, encouraging kids to engage in active play and sports programs seems like a natural solution. Sedentary activities can increase a kid’s likelihood of gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, but focusing on physical activity for the sake of adhering to the narrow definition of beauty can lead to very real problems as your kids become teenagers as well. Rather than emphasizing the importance of exercise as a method of weight loss, make a point of praising the fun and exciting attributes of getting up, out and moving.

Help Kids Form Healthy Relationships With Food

Using food as a reward or a punishment, insisting that they clean their plates or withholding food can all contribute to unhealthy, skewed attitudes and a troubled relationship with food. Allow your child to eat when she’s hungry and stop when she’s full, and avoid treating food as something inherently bad or unfailingly positive. Foster an environment in which food is viewed as fuel, not a reward or a punishment.

Helping your teen to establish and maintain a positive body image doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lifelong process that begins when she’s a young child and will continue well into her young adulthood. Realizing that there will be peaks and valleys in your child’s view of her body is important, as is helping her to realize that unrealistic standards are not only unattainable, but also unhealthy and dangerous.

About Tina: Tina Marconi is a the content manager for “babysitters.net” & loves  writing  articles on different parenting advice. You can find one of  her  recently posted articles “ at http://www.babysitters.net/blog/how-to-foster-a-positive-body-image-in-your-teen/> “


Ways to Encourage a Service Attitude in Children

The following post is courtesy of Nancy Parker who blogs at http://www.enannysource.com/blog/

kidsandcharityWe all hope our children will grow up to be the kind of adults that reach out a helping hand to those less fortunate. However, a service attitude doesn’t just happen; it has to be given ample chances to take root and grow strong.

Parents can have a profound impact on nurturing that attitude in their children. Here are a few ways you can help your child develop a service attitude that will stay with them throughout their lifetime.

Model a giving heart. Children learn best by watching those they love and respect. If you want your child to truly value helping others, show him that’s it’s important to you through your own words and actions. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and get involved in whatever way you can. It doesn’t always have to be a hands-on project; there are many support jobs that make the direct work possible. Maybe your cause is best served by working on the fundraising committee, or folding and mailing out newsletters, or managing the volunteers. Whatever you do, talk about it with your child and involve him whenever possible. Let him know how your actions help others and share the benefits you get by being part of the project.

Promote the idea that one person can make a difference. Many people today are pessimistic about the impact that one person can have. But the belief that one person who gives from the heart can make a real difference in the world is at the heart of the service attitude. Instill and nurture the belief that your child can make the world a better place. Seek out news stories that spotlight people, especially children, who have taken positive actions around an idea they believe in. Read books where the hero is kind and loving towards others. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge that every big victory started with one step. Focus on what you can accomplish rather than what you can’t. Starting a compost project in your neighborhood won’t stop global warming, but it will contribute to a sustainable community. Working a shift at a homeless shelter won’t end homelessness, but it will help local people get a night’s sleep away from the cold and rain. Empower your child to see and embrace the possibilities.

Give your child the opportunity to get involved in a real way. We often don’t let young children participate in volunteer projects because we want to protect them from the harsh realities of the world. However, most children are able to handle much more than we think they can. Children are able to see past the problems and connect with the people affected. There are many volunteer opportunities that welcome children and help parents explain the issue in age appropriate ways. You and your child can volunteer to serve meals at a homeless shelter, visit isolated seniors in a nursing home, collect winter coats for foster children, or work a shift at a pet adoption day. What you do isn’t important. Taking the time to volunteer on a regular basis is what counts.

Encourage giving with everyday actions. While volunteer projects are a great way to introduce your child to helping others, a true service attitude is something that’s present every day. Get in the habit of joining with your child to think of ways you can help others in your everyday world. Carry a supply of water bottles and granola bars in your car and hand them out to the homeless people standing on street corners. Purge the play room and closets on a regular basis and donate the toys and clothes that aren’t being used. Pick up trash off the sidewalk and put it in the street side trash can. Give up your seat on the train to an elderly person. Return a shopping cart to the store front for a mom with young kids. Ask a child who’s sitting on the sidelines if he’d like to join in the game. There are endless opportunities throughout the day for both you and your child to help others.

Start a gratitude habit. Studies show that people who are grateful for what they have, whatever that may be, are more likely to be happy in their lives. Being grateful also helps you feel good about what you have when others around you have less, so you should consider starting a gratitude habit with your child. Talk at breakfast about what you’re looking forward to, share at dinner what things happened during the day you’re grateful for, or end the night with saying thank you.

No matter how young your child is, take the time to nurture his service attitude. It’s a passion that will stay with him for a lifetime.



A Nanny’s Perspective on Managing Preschooler Behavior

In the following post, Roxanne Porter, a freelancer and a regular contributor to www.nannyjobs.org/ shares her perspectives on managing preschooler behavior. Roxanne provides knowledge about nanny services and enjoys writing on nanny related articles.  You can be in touch with her at “r.poter08ATgmail.com”.

behaviorWorking with children for many years, puts a person in the unique position of having witnessed many different types of behavior. One of the most challenging periods in a child’s life for parents is the preschool years. Between the mixture of a desire for independence and the developing sense of self-knowledge, it can be hard for a child of this age to express themselves in an appropriate manner when they are experiencing a strong emotion. Additionally, many children between the ages of three and five years old reach a developmental stage in which they prefer to do things that may be beyond their capabilities.

The following suggestions about managing behavior are provided to help parents of preschoolers take advantage of the knowledge that nannies have gained from years of experience in working with children.

1. Set defined limits-Children of any age need to know what is expected on them. However, too many or overly complicated rules can be confusing. At the preschool level, it is best to stick to a rule for each year of a child’s age. A rule that they should help to clean up after playing is a good one to begin with at first.

2. Use frequent reminders-Young children are only beginning to learn to follow rules. Therefore, it is important for a parent to remember that they may need to hear the same rule over and over again until they learn.

3. Model good behavior-Children are always observing. In order to get a child to perform a desired behavior, such as sharing or cleaning up, a parent should first perform the act in front of the child. This will give them a visual understanding of what good behavior looks like. In many instances, a preschooler will immediately mimic this behavior.

4. Prevent tantrums-Public tantrums are one of the more challenging behaviors that a child can present. Many times, a tantrum occurs when a child becomes overly tired, hungry or bored. Before going out in public, a parent should always make sure that their child’s needs are met. This will help to prevent the frustration that often builds before a tantrum occurs out of a need for release.

5. Make it fun-Many positive behaviors can be taught by parents who use innovative and engaging games. For example, clean-up time can be made fun when a parent plays music or sets a timer. Additionally, a child is more likely to eat their food when they help to prepare parts of it themselves.

Preschool behavior may be uncharted territory for many parents who are surprised by their child’s sudden need for independence. However, by setting clear rules and helping their child to learn them by using fun and soothing techniques, a parent can easily help their child to learn to regulate their behavior so that they can enjoy their experiences together.





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