The Storyteller Podcast: Spotlight and Giveaway

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I’m constantly looking for unique ways to incorporate both parenting and child life together. I was delighted to come across The Storyteller Podcast Kid’s Edition from Adam James. He has created a captivating story that will engage every kid’s imagination. I think it’s a wonderful addition for traditional bedtime stories, but also a therapeutic tool to distract patients during medical procedures.

I’m enthused to feature him on the blog and also give one lucky reader four of his children’s books.

A bit more about The Storyteller Podcast and Adam James:

Let imaginations run wild!  The Storyteller Podcast Kid’s Edition is full of magic, music, and sound effects children love.  Each story is written and told by Adam James and usually teaches a lesson or has a positive message.

Click here to download and listen

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My name is Adam James and I’ve been telling stories since I was a little kid.  I’m a passionate storyteller and have now written dozens of children’s stories, 8 of which have been published in hardcover.  You can purchase my hardcovers at Bohem.  Last month I decided to turn my stories into a podcast with music and sound effects so that my kid’s had something to listen to in the car.  I grew up in many different places in the states and now live in the beautiful countryside of France where I write full-time.  I’m inspired by my 3 kids, my creative wife, and the magic that surrounds me.

Be sure to follow Adam on Instagram and Twitter.

Adam James Book Giveaway

Choose one or more ways to win.

  1. Sign up for email notifications at ChildLifeMommy.com and leave a comment on this post.
  2. Facebook: Follow Child Life Mommy, leave a comment and tag a friend on the post.
  3. Twitter: Follow, Like and RT the post to @ChildLifeMommy and @StorytellerPod
  4. Instagram: Follow @ChildLifeMommy, and @AdamJamesBooks, Like and Tag a friend in the post.

Winner will be chosen 2/7/18.

Improve Communication for Adults and Children with Games

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Guest Blogger, Jennifer Cantis

The odds are pretty high that playtime was your favorite part of the day when you were a kid. Playing organized sports, board games with family members, or just being let outside to entertain yourself with friends always seemed to be the best part of the day.

As we grew up, too many of us decided the time for play was over, and it was instead time to focus only on more serious endeavors. Thanks to the findings of recent research, we can confidently say it is time to adjust how we think about playtime. For many of us, it’s also time to start scheduling a playdate with the family.

Play Supports Childhood Development

The notion that playtime assumed a dominant role in helping to form a child’s personality, academic potential, and sense of citizenship is far from a new concept. Researchers and child psychiatrists have invested decades in studying and understanding how children who participate in games compared to children who are denied this opportunity

Playtime reduces stress in children while boosting the productivity and focus of children who are participating in academic events. It even makes them more responsible citizens by enforcing adherence to rules, encouraging respect for personal boundaries, and facilitating communication.

Adults and Special Needs Children and Games

Adults who played similar games to the ones played by children reported lower stress and better focus shortly after playtime, and they were more productive. This science backs up what so many large companies already know and rely on when designing their offices.

Play also carries with it the added advantage of boosting memory and focus for older adults and children who have ADHD. Play can also heighten communication skills for certain children with Autism. The message is clear. If you are looking to heighten the personal productivity of your child, build family bonds, and boost your child’s communication skills, the best thing you can do is to play a game.

What Makes a Great Game?

A great family game is one that helps open communication across generations. Now that the stage is set, you need to work to build an environment where your child is comfortable communicating with you. Give your child a sense of safety and empowerment by letting them pick the game and explain the rules of the game to you.

One of the biggest challenges in getting a child to speak about their problems can be overcome by getting them to talk about something they feel they have control and authority over. When they are explaining the rules of the game, they will be put at ease, which makes them more likely to confide in you.

Finally, suggest games that promote the outcome you want. Playing Simon Says could be a fun way to help your child read physical cues, but if you’re trying to encourage open verbal communication, it is likely a poor game choice. Picking a game that emphasizes physicality or verbal responses matters and will dictate what kind of communication skills are honed by the game. 

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Games That Improve Communication for Adults and Children

Classic Bean Bag Toss

Classic bean bag toss is a fun summer game that’s also called cornhole. The game is simple enough to play and provides an excellent opportunity for open communication and face-to-face interaction. Whether you’re looking to pull distant relatives together during a summer barbeque or trying to introduce some physical activity into your elderly parent’s life, cornhole is a great game to play to build the paths of communication.

What’s so great about it? First, it requires some physical activity but is far from taxing. Adults and children of all ages can fully participate in the game. It’s easy to spend time talking and acting silly with loved ones when playing cornhole. Finally, it’s a great conversation starter. You can start with some good-natured banter to keep it lively.

Finish the Story

Want to play a fun game that doesn’t require any toys or equipment? Cut photographs out of magazines and put them into a bag. Take turns with your child pulling out pictures from the bag. Whoever pulls the story out of the bag must start the story. Once the story is halfway done, it’s up to the other person to finish it! This is a great game to play with younger kids because you can focus on pictures that show people’s facial expression to build their ability to read emotional responses.

Emotional Charades

Emotional charades is a great game to play if your child is suffering from communication or emotional challenges! Let your child start out as the leader. They must act out an emotion, and it is your job to guess how they are acting. If you’re right, it’s your turn to be the leader and act out an emotion. This is an engaging game because there is no talking so the focus is on developing emotional intelligence and your child’s ability to react appropriately to other people’s emotions.

Feed Me Pie

If you’re okay getting a bit messy, Feed Me Pie is a ton of fun! Make a whipped cream pie and take turns with the other person giving detailed instructions on how to feed you pie while they are blindfolded. What’s so great about this game? It proves that details matter, and it encourages active listening by the blindfolded person.

Final Thoughts

Playtime is a critically important part of a child’s development, and, as we learn more about how it promotes healthy and productive lives for adults, it becomes clear that it also keeps adults well adjusted.

Games not only are a great way to have fun, but they also reward adherence to boundaries, clear communication, and disconnecting from the digital distractions. So, go ahead and book a playdate with your child, colleague or friend to feel refreshed and renewed.

Tips For Teaching Kids To Balance School and Sports

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Guest Blogger, Wendy Dessler

As a parent, you know how hard it is to fit everything into your family schedule. Your kids have school, sports, dance, clubs, and friends. They have LOTS of friends.

Not only are you transporting and supporting all of their activities, you have your own career, a home to keep up, a relationship to nurture, and your own friends and activities, which are just as important to you as theirs are to them.

It seems like you are the only parent that struggles with this. You are not. This is a challenge for every family and you will have to work on it as a family. By setting up a plan of action that includes all members of the family, everyone gets their rewards, and everyone understands the sacrifice the other is making for them.

This is how care, responsibility, and respect is mastered and taught.

School

Most of us would agree that education must come first. The child primarily must put energy, stamina, and time into their schoolwork before you can cut that up to include other activities. The average American kid spends 6 hours per week on homework. This must be allowed into the schedule or, the kid will probably rush through it or not do it at all in order to get to dance class or football practice.

Making a chart (sorry, but it must be done)

Make a chart that shows the average week of each member of your family. Show how much time mom and dad can give in transporting, attending, and help with activities. Use different colors for each person. Children learn better when they can visualize things. It is also an eye-opener for you. Include the schedules of other kids in the family. Show what their interests cost in money and time.

Schedule in downtime

It is hard to say, “Sunday is a family day!” and stick to it. Sooner or later, someone’s life will interrupt your Sunday and then it is fair game for all players. Schedule your time in small windows that work for everyone.

Schedule in downtime. These are pockets of time that the child has no responsibilities, Use these windows to teach the child how to unwind and release his mind. Some children have a very hard time understanding relaxation.

Create a budget

Like an allowance, a child must learn to consider the cost of the things they want. Set a budget and show them when you apply things to the budget. This includes:

  • Entry fees
  • Clothes and footwear
  • Travel expense
  • Cost of extra gear

Teach them to work the budget

This is a perfect opportunity to teach your child how to handle money and get more for his dollar. For example, if you buy their dance dresses on clearance, you can show them that leaves more dollars for other things.  

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Special occasions

By now you should be at a point where the child understands the time and money restrictions. Let them have a say in what they do with the amount of money allotted.

For example, your child may want to take all of her friends to the skating rink for her birthday. By the time you buy tickets, reserve the party room, buy the cake, and gifts, this has turned into a major expense that will last 2 hours. Give her that option.

But then suggest other options. Maybe a Rainbow themed birthday sleepover would be fun. She can invite a few of her friends over for a sleepover. You can easily decorate her room in rainbows. You can buy rainbow colored candy from Sweet Services and make a candy buffet. Don’t worry, they have sugar-free and allergy-friendly candy.  Your child has a unique party, she has more time to celebrate, and she saves a ton of money.