It’s that time of year when we tend to think about what our kids can do over the summer for self growth. I’m forever grateful to my mother for pushing me towards volunteerism during my teen years. I think my experience volunteering at Camp Easter Seal as a 14 year-old helped me become a more compassionate and empathetic person. Here are three pages from the chapter in my book that deals with ethical maturity. These pages list only some of the many opportunities that are out there for our youth to reach outside themselves and help others.
So, the holiday season is here, and it seems like a fitting time to make the goal as a family of going device free for a day. I was so proud of the mother at the quick oil change store yesterday, because her son asked her if she wanted him to retrieve her phone that was left in the car. She replied that she didn’t want it, and they proceeded to play I Spy. They were having fun, and certainly bonding more than if one or both of them had a phone in hand. I realize that Pokemon Go is a fun family activity, but how about trying to go without any electronics for a day?
Here are some suggestions of what to do together instead:
*Board or card games
*Look at an Atlas or a globe.
*Go on a nature walk or a bike ride.
*Shop for a gift for an underprivileged child or family.
*Paint the child’s room.
*Make greeting cards, and/or write letters.
*Make a scrapbook or a family collage.
*Plan and prepare a family meal.
*Go to the local park and throw a Frisbee, play on the equipment, or shoot baskets.
*Hit golf balls at a driving range.
*Thrift store shopping.
*Sew, mend, or recreate clothes.
*Make a wallet or something else with duct tape.
*Play jacks or marbles, or work with Legos.
*Make play dough, or use Sculpey.
*Go through the newspaper, or read a book.
*Take a field trip to the library.
*Get visitor passes to a local gym.
*Visit a music or art supply store.
*Put together a jigsaw puzzle.
*Create a Scavenger Hunt in your neighborhood.
*Play Hide and Seek, or Kick the Can.
*Learn Yo-Yo tricks, card tricks, or try juggling.
*Plant bulbs, and/or an herb garden.
*Make and fly paper airplanes.
*Practice yoga or some other relaxation technique.
I hope these suggestions were helpful, and that you have a wonderful and healthy holiday season.
Although my healthy workbook is geared towards 8-14 year-olds, and most of them aren’t looking for work yet, it would be helpful to take a look at the following list of qualities that most employers are looking for in a future employee. The adult and child can go over the list to see which qualities they each possess. Working on self-improvement is good for everyone, and self-knowledge is an important part of the equation. After going over the list, and since it isn’t necessarily the right time for the child to look for a paying job, he or she can be encouraged to look into volunteering. Examples for where to volunteer are: the hospital; a local pre-school; the church; the Humane Society; the library, Special Olympics; a local retirement home or senior center; or the Red Cross. Here is the list of desirable qualities, in no particular order:
- Team Player
- Skilled With Computers
- Shows Initiative
- Good Listener
- Skilled in a Second Language
- Good Communicator
- Has Integrity
- Has Good Hygiene
I am passionate about health and wellness, and love to share my enthusiasm for the topic. The first thing I like to point out is that health, (i.e. our state of wellness), isn’t just about how we take care of ourselves mentally and physically. There are six areas of health, (also known as the six areas of maturity) that we can work on throughout our lives. Those areas are: PERSONAL, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, INTELLECTUAL and ETHICAL health, or maturity.
Here is an overview of those six areas:
• Personal Maturity—gaining self-knowledge and self esteem by trying to work on feeling
better about ourselves and our potential.
• Emotional Maturity–being aware of and able to understand and control our feelings
and thoughts; developing a positive outlook on life.
• Physical Maturity—taking good care of ourselves as our bodies grow and develop,
especially in terms of a healthy diet, adequate exercise, getting enough sleep,
and staying safe.
• Social Maturity—making and keeping friends; improving communication skills; and
being at ease with a variety of people.
• Intellectual Maturity–understanding the importance of learning about the world around
us; gaining knowledge about our interests; expanding our creative minds.
• Ethical Maturity–developing a sense of right and wrong; deciding how we want to be
perceived; becoming a responsible citizen.
So, take a moment to think about each area and ask yourself these questions:
1. How am I doing in this area?
2. Where do I excel in this area, and where do I see a need for self-improvement?
3. What goals can I make for self-improvement in each of those six areas?
I hope this post has helped motivate you towards working more holistically on your own wellness, as well as the wellness of the children in your family. Perhaps there are some family goals that can be made as well!
-Ms. Goals R. Us
I saw the following phrases on a bulletin board at school the other day, and I thought it was a great example of trying to change to a more positive mindset. Perhaps we can all use a little help in this area once in awhile. I know I can!
INSTEAD OF: TRY:
I don’t understand What Am I Missing?
I give up. I’ll use some of the strategies I’ve learned.
I made a mistake. Mistakes help me improve
This is too hard. This may take some time and effort.
It is good enough. Is this really my best work?
I’ll never be as smart as her/him. I’m going to figure out what she/he does and try it!
I can’t make this any better. I can always improve. (Or, I’ll keep trying).
Let’s put down our electronic devices for awhile and have some fun making a personalized book. It would be especially fun for parents or guardians, and kids to do together! All you need is a blank composition book, scissors, a glue stick, and some magazines, or photos, or computer graphics, (or a combination of all three). It’s also nice to have a roll of clear contact paper, so you can cover the book after you’ve made your collage. Decide what kind of a blank book you’d like to make:
- A book for journaling in general.
- A book where you write down the simple pleasures you’ve noticed each day, and/or people and things for which you are grateful.
- A compliment book. (You’d write down verbal compliments you’ve received, plus insert notes, letters, or awards you’ve received.)
- A dream journal. (Remember to keep it by your bed. Write down your dreams as soon as you wake up!)
- A book of your favorite song lyrics.
- A book with examples of your poetry and other writings.
- A book of your favorite quotes. Write about each quote, and why it inspires you.
- A daily food intake and exercise log.
- A book of your ideas and goals.
- A sketch book.
- A book like the ones pictured here. I like to glue in my favorite articles from the health magazines I subscribe to.
- A book that is perhaps a little more random, including some of the topics discussed above.
If you do make a blank book, I hope you use it, enjoy it, and look back on it years from now. Just think, it’s your very own, personalized book!
Remember, wellness is a continuum. We should work on keeping ourselves well, in all areas of maturity, (personally, emotionally, physically, socially, intellectually, and ethically), for a life time. Try to keep your thoughts and actions on the positive, self-improvement side of the continuum. Things will get rocky along the way, of course. It’s hard to keep everything in balance. Hopefully this activity will help you cope with what life throws your way.
hi Everyone. I’m bringing back this post from last year, because I believe so strongly that kids want (even though they might not realize it) and need healthy gifts.
It seems like electronics are the go-to gift for kids. But, why not think more broadly about the individual? Why not encourage a healthier lifestyle by finding just the right gift to help your child mature personally, emotionally, physically, socially, intellectually, or ethically? Here is just a starter list of ideas:
*Promise a year’s worth of lessons, in whatever he/she is interested in learning about. Suggestions are: art, dance, a musical instrument, martial arts, gymnastics, fencing, fly fishing, swimming, golf, archery, tennis, figure skating, skiing, equestrian skills, etc.
*Give coupons for trips to specific locations: the zoo; a museum; a water park; a concert or play, a professional game, or competition; a fishing trip; or a shoe store.
*A one year membership to the local gym, (perhaps a family membership?).
*A basketball hoop in the driveway. (Family games of “Horse” and “Bump” can help with bonding, and skill development, physically and socially).
*A family ping pong table in the garage or basement. Again, this can be such a bonding experience for the whole family.
*Board games, especially ones that challenge the intellect, and encourage social interaction: Scrabble and Pictionary are good examples.
*A trampoline, (with safety nets).
*Equipment or supplies such as: hand weights; a yoga mat; swim goggles; a pedometer; bike accessories; juggling balls or pins; a bowling ball; golf clubs or balls; skis or ski boots; a fishing pole or tackle box; art supplies; a sewing machine, etc.
*Clothing for a specific sport or activity.
*A gift card at a sporting goods store, book store, art supply store, or musical equipment store.
*A coupon for time spent with you, doing the activity or their choice.
Some of the suggestions I have listed that are smaller in size, or are coupons, would simply make good stocking stuffers. I hope this has helped you think more broadly about gifts for your tween, teen, or your family in general. Wishing you Merry Fitness and a Happy New You and Yours!
If you have a middle-schooler, this is good article to check out.
Everyone experiences losses throughout their lives. A loss is something that has happened in your life that has caused you grief, or sadness, whether on a very small scale (such a losing your favorite pencil), or on a grand scale,( such as the death of a loved one, or the family pet). In an earlier blog post, I discussed the stages of grieving, and offered some of the content from my book, that helps you analyze your losses. This post features some things to keep in mind regarding loss:
*Don’t hurt others because you’ve been hurt.
*You can’t solve your problems by escaping from them.
*Realize when you are hurting.
*Don’t let yesterday rule today.
*Take the first step towards forgiveness.
*Benefits come from each failure or disappointment, if you look hard enough.
*Walls that you’ve built are not sturdy enough to keep you strong.
*Healing brings forgiveness.
*Recover for yourself first.
*Let go of pain.
*Don’t wallow in self-pity.
*Forgiveness replaces bitterness.
*Layers of resentment bury joy.
*Give the gift of forgiveness.
*Release feelings in a healthy way.
*The future is never as dark as the past.
*Life can be changed, by changing your thinking.
*Everyone thinks their load is heavier.
*Tie a knot and hang on when you feel that you are at the end of your rope.
*If you want a rainbow, you have to get through the rain.
If one or more of those sayings rings especially true to you, consider writing it out and placing it on your mirror, so you can be reminded of it. Remember also the saying: This too shall pass.
Wow, it’s August already, and you know what that means…. it’s time to gear up for the new school year. If you have a child that is transitioning into middle school, I have some advice for you. My credentials? Well, I have taught middle school for over 30 years, and I still love teaching that level! During that time I have helped many of the students and parents through the transition from elementary school to middle school. Here are my suggestions for what you can do right now to help them start out on the right foot:
1. As we all know, self image is big, big, big at this age. Give some thought to that Back to School haircut. Consider getting the new hair style now, so your son or daughter can get used to it. Plus, that gives them some time to have another cut later on, if they aren’t happy with it.
2. It’s never too early to start working on a better sleep schedule. If you start now, then the change won’t be so drastic when September arrives. You and your child can look at the target bedtime that they need to get used to, and gradually work towards it.
3. Consider a field trip to the library together, to check out some nonfiction books about topics your child is interested in. That way, your student can remember the good feeling that comes with learning new information. Another field trip could be to visit a store that has educational books and toys.
4. Look into whether or not your student’s school offers a summer camp for incoming students. The camps I have been involved in have been wonderful as far as learning: names of some of the key staff members; the building layout; school rules; how to open a locker; how to stay safe; and how to make friends. If there isn’t a camp, the office staff is usually working during August, so you and your child can see if you can give yourselves a tour of the building. Plus, they can answer any of your student’s burning questions. And, chances are, you can meet some of those key staff members as well!
5. As we know, having a locker is a new experience for most middle-schoolers. So, even if the school hasn’t handed out the locker assignments yet, you could purchase a combination lock for your home use, and have your student practice with it. After all, the challenge isn’t so much in remembering the three numbers as it is to remember some of the basic rules about how to open a combination lock
6. Look up the 2014-2015 school calendar online together, and then put the important dates on a large family calendar. You can take this further by purchasing a small calendar for purse or backpack as well.
7. If you start buying school supplies, be sure you look up what is required for your specific school and grade level. Now is the time to concentrate on getting a binder organized and ready to go. Middle school kids love to decorate the outside of their binders, to show their individuality. There are some fun duct tapes out there that kids are using, and/or they can make a collage out of photos/words/phrases that they can get off of the computer or out of magazines. Or, they can show their original art work!
8. This is a good time to have a discussion about the changes that take place during puberty, and the importance of good hygiene. Your local library should have some helpful books on this topic. Here is a very helpful website, too, for all topics involving raising a ‘tween: www.TweenParent.com
9. Is your child on a healthy diet? This might be a good time for them to learn how to fix healthy breakfasts and lunches for themselves. Here is a terrific resource: http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/
10. Has your student been a couch potato this summer? Becoming fit doesn’t just help a student perform better in school, it will really help raise their level of self-confidence. Why not start taking walks together? Let’s get the juices flowing and wake up those brain cells!Fi
11. Create a study area somewhere in the home. Make sure there is plenty of light, and that helpful supplies are at an arm’s reach.
I hope you have gleaned at least one helpful piece of information from this post. I wish for your child to have a wonderful experience as he/she transitions into middle school.