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You're Winning at This Parenting Thing!

No one ever said parenting was easy… but it is, without a doubt, the most rewarding gig we’ll ever have. Our days are filled with countless decisions, saying “no” more than we ever thought possible, managing schedules, getting our kids up and moving – even when they resist, and somehow having our own social lives, getting food on the table, and keeping a clean house in between. It’s exhausting – rewarding for the most part, but exhausting. And, if you’re anything like me, most days, you feel like you’re always forgetting something.

Please know that, no matter how many dishes sit on the counter at night or how dirty the living room rug may be, you’re doing something amazing.

You undoubtedly love your kids – which is priceless in and of itself. But beyond that, you’re serving them daily – beyond providing for their basic needs.

You take time out of your busy schedule to get them to and from practices, rearrange weekend plans, and wrangle carpool schedules to cover the inevitable gaps. You launder practice gear and uniforms, pitch in on fundraisers, check in with coaches, and stay up late writing notes when you have concerns or praises.

You prep game-day snacks, coordinate awards programs, host teammates and friends at your home, and work extra hours to cover the costs that come with having active, involved kids. You stay up late to get back online and finish work you didn’t get done during business hours due to practices or weekday meets.

You give and give and give of yourself. It’s exhausting, but it’s amazing. You are amazing.

Because of you, your kids are building healthy habits that will carry through their lives. They are building social skills and lasting friendships, learning to communicate clearly, and experiencing the successes that come with hard work. They’re learning how to work through frustration and disappointment, to persevere and get back up when things don’t immediately work how they want them to. They’re learning how to manage their time and balance their workloads, to make their time count, and what it means to contribute to the team.

Sports are not just about building skills (they’re about that, too, of course). They’re about building lifelong skills, character, and an ability to be a contributing member of a team.

Many kids miss out on these valuable experiences; yours aren’t, and that’s because of you. Parenting doesn’t come with a rulebook, and on any given day, we question whether we’re doing the right thing. Know that you’re doing it right. You are amazing.

No one ever said parenting was easy… but it is, without a doubt, the most rewarding gig we’ll ever have. Our days are filled with countless decisions, saying “no” more than we ever thought possible, managing schedules, getting our kids up and moving – even when they resist, and somehow having our own social lives, getting food on the table, and keeping a clean house in between. It’s exhausting – rewarding for the most part, but exhausting. And, if you’re anything like me, most days, you feel like you’re always forgetting something.

Please know that, no matter how many dishes sit on the counter at night or how dirty the living room rug may be, you’re doing something amazing.

You undoubtedly love your kids – which is priceless in and of itself. But beyond that, you’re serving them daily – beyond providing for their basic needs.

You take time out of your busy schedule to get them to and from practices, rearrange weekend plans, and wrangle carpool schedules to cover the inevitable gaps. You launder practice gear and uniforms, pitch in on fundraisers, check in with coaches, and stay up late writing notes when you have concerns or praises.

You prep game-day snacks, coordinate awards programs, host teammates and friends at your home, and work extra hours to cover the costs that come with having active, involved kids. You stay up late to get back online and finish work you didn’t get done during business hours due to practices or weekday meets.

You give and give and give of yourself. It’s exhausting, but it’s amazing. You are amazing.

Because of you, your kids are building healthy habits that will carry through their lives. They are building social skills and lasting friendships, learning to communicate clearly, and experiencing the successes that come with hard work. They’re learning how to work through frustration and disappointment, to persevere and get back up when things don’t immediately work how they want them to. They’re learning how to manage their time and balance their workloads, to make their time count, and what it means to contribute to the team.

Sports are not just about building skills (they’re about that, too, of course). They’re about building lifelong skills, character, and an ability to be a contributing member of a team.

Many kids miss out on these valuable experiences; yours aren’t, and that’s because of you. Parenting doesn’t come with a rulebook, and on any given day, we question whether we’re doing the right thing. Know that you’re doing it right. You are amazing.

5 Reasons Why Active Kids Rock

We all love our kids. Like, heart squeezes and wants to burst at least three times a day, love our kids. But then there are those moments when we just want to Velcro their little tushes to the couch and have 10 minutes of peace and quiet. Funny how that works. And while that feeling is probably not going to completely resolve, we can neutralize it somewhat by keeping in mind just why our active kids are so awesome. Here are my top five:

  1. We can live vicariously. While there may be a few of us out there who can still land a roundoff, back handspring, back tuck combo, I’m betting it’s few and far between. But when your kid does it, you get to relive the rush all over again.
  2. They give us outlets. There are few bonds stronger than that of team parents. We spend hours on the bench with one another, fighting and cheering for the same thing. We cross cities and state lines, share hotels, and work together to get our kids where they need to go. The only thing about team sports that’s better than cheering for your kid and seeing them succeed is the relationships you form with the other parents. Thanks, kids!
  3. They’re pure joy. Because watching their little face when they score or land that stunt they’ve been working on is akin to finally seeing Santa and his little elves in real life. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Because think if they weren’t. Active kids are healthy kids. They tend to do better in sports, live healthier lives even after their youth sports days are done, and have awesome social skills. Yes, they can be a little off-the-walls with energy some days – but imagine the opposite. There are plenty of kids, particularly in their later years, who are happy to park it on the couch and watch TV or play video games all day. Not only is that plain sad; it’s far less healthy. Kids are supposed to have energy and stay active – it’s what they’re meant to do!
  5. They’re ours. While their incessant energy and the bumps, tumbles, and noises of things falling in the house at all hours can drive us batty, at the end of the day, they’re our little people. We’ll still kiss every bruise, be there for snuggles and hugs, and cheer them on when that activity produces successes. We love them and share pride in their conquests – because they’re ours, and no one else can say that.

Keep Cool While Keeping Healthy: 5 Summer Snacks

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be overly time consuming or expensive – there are plenty of healthy treats perfect for summer that are quick and easy to make and that kids of every age will enjoy. Here are five ideas to keep your kids happy, healthy and cool all summer long.

Pico de Gallo – Not many kids jump at the idea of eating vegetables for snack time, but pico de gallo turns healthy veggies into fun. It’s so easy to make – just dice tomatoes and onion, then sprinkle with a touch of salt, fresh lime juice to taste, and cilantro. Serve it up chilled with cucumber slices or black bean chips for a healthy twist from the standard tortilla chips.

Rainbow Fruit – It’s hard to beat out fruit as a snack – it’s healthy, hydrating, and quick to prepare. Make use of those kebob skewers and seasonal produce for a healthy and fun snack sure to delight. Raspberries, strawberries, and watermelon all make easy in-season picks for red. Consider cantaloupe or orange slices for orange, bananas or pineapple for yellow, green grapes or honeydew for green, blueberries for blue, and purple grapes or blackberries for purple. Stack one of each colored fruit in rainbow order on the kebob and serve cold – it’s just that easy.

Froyo Pops – This one takes some ahead planning, but once done, you have snacks for the whole week! Using a popsicle mold (or if you don’t have one, a simple ice cube tray or small Tupperware container), add your choice of fruit – fresh or frozen – to the bottom of the mold. Top it with low-sugar yogurt, then add some more berries. Top it off with one last layer of yogurt, then add your popsicle sticks and pop in the freezer. They’re easy, healthy, and filling – and a perfect way to stay cool on even the hottest of days.

Frozen Grapes – If this one isn’t yet a staple in your summertime freezer, it should be! Thoroughly clean fresh green grapes, pat them dry, then pop them in the freezer in your choice of storage container. Dole them out as needed. They’re healthy, fun, and refreshing – bet you can’t stop after just one.

Fruit and PB Dip – Natural peanut butter is a great way to introduce protein and healthy fats into your diet, and this peanut butter fruit dip is the perfect way to enjoy it. In a small bowl, combine 8 oz of low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt with ½ c natural style peanut butter, ¼ c. low-fat milk, 2 Tbsp honey, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Serve it up with bananas or apple slices.

5 Reasons Sports Rule

Yes, of course sports are great. They’re fun and they keep our kids active. But there are so many reasons – beyond keeping our kids physically active – that sports are, simply awesome. Here are our top five reasons:

#1 – Socialization. Social skills last a lifetime and participating in sports and extracurriculars is the perfect way to build those skills. Athletes need to learn to communicate and work with their teammates and fellow athletes, but also learn to communicate effectively with coaches and other adults. That socialization leads to better communication and relationships in the present and years to come.

#2 – They build confidence. In sports, it isn’t rare that you’ll find someone who “knocks it out of the park” on the first try: It’s unheard of. Sports are all about trying again and testing your limits – both of which, when done properly, will lead to success and new skills which, in turn, lead to building confidence. And beyond building that skill, sports also offer an opportunity to celebrate those wins with others, building social confidence.

#3 – Kids in sports learn to challenge themselves. Some people just go farther in life. We’re willing to bet those people played sports. From an early age, athletes learn that practice makes better and that they not only need to push themselves to succeed, but that when they do succeed, it’s time to push themselves even further. That’s one of the best things about athletics: they never get “easy” and there really isn’t any such thing as perfect – there’s just better and a constant path of new challenges. It’s part of what keeps a given activity interesting and part of why true athletes have so much drive – in all facets of life.

#4 – Kids who play sports tend to also have better grades. Numerous studies have drawn a correlation between sports and good grades and test scores. According to a 2015 Penn State University and University of South Carolina study,1 kids who play sports also have a higher likelihood of completing high school and enrolling in college. Another study of 35,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District found that athletes also have higher attendance, attending school an average of 21 more days than non-athlete counterparts. There are plenty of studies with positive sport-education performance findings – and it’s hard to beat that kind of win-win!

#5 – Sports build your own community. Yes, sports are an amazing outlet for our kids – socially, physically and emotionally. But they’re also a great outlet for parents. Parenting can be lonely and sports are a perfect avenue to find new parent friends you share common ground with. And, let’s be honest – with all those practices and game/match days, liking and knowing the parents is an amazing thing.

 

1 https://sites.psu.edu/siowfa15/2015/09/18/does-playing-a-sport-improve-grades/

Kuddos To You!

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’re doing everything right as parents – but there’s one thing you’re doing right without a doubt: keeping your kids active. Whether they’re in gymnastics or martial arts, or soccer or baseball, what’s important is that they’re doing something active. But in case you need a reminder of why you spend your weekends and countless hours of your year attending practices, meets and games, and tournaments, here are five reasons why keeping your kids active is important.

  1. Healthy body – Sports build healthy bones and muscles, which in turn burns even more calories. This maintains (or creates) a healthy living weight which will benefit them and give their better chances of staying at a healthy weight throughout their lives.
  2. Lowers health risks – But more than improving external health and appearances, staying active changes the body’s internal chemistry as well. Activity and maintaining a healthy weight help to regulate blood sugar levels, a key component to preventing Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Improved sleep – Getting enough activity during the day is proven to help children get enough sleep during night. Activity helps to not only tire kids out and expend energy, but to regulate proper sleep patterns throughout the night and manage the internal clock.
  4. Stress management – Physical activity goes a long way to releasing some steam and stress. Though the pressures of school and growing up may seem small to us as we put them in perspective within our own lives, to our children, those pressures are very real and a huge part of their world. Sports are a great outlet to relieve that stress and tension, helping children to refocus and drive productivity.
  5. Confidence and social skills – Sports are a great way to build friendships and social skills. Team sports and individual sports both have their merits, helping children to learn emotions, empathy, and how to work as part of something bigger. Additionally, one of the byproducts of staying active is building a healthy physique which can lead to self-confidence.

There are so many reasons to keep your kids active – and to be an active part of that activity. Beyond the health and social benefits, their activities also present a great opportunity for you to be a part of something that matters to them. So take advantage of the moment and encourage that activity – kudos to you.

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