Family Food Storage: Why Your Family Should Have a Garden

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Guest Blogger, Lizzie Weakley

If you want to eat as healthy as possible while teaching the family about responsibility, then consider growing a garden in the yard. The garden is a way for you to monitor what your family eats. It can also turn a bit of a profit if you grow enough vegetables and other types of produce.

Lower Grocery Bill
If you’ve shopped at a grocery store lately, then you know that fresh produce has a high price tag. When you plant a garden, you can get seeds at a low price, growing vegetables and fruits at a fraction of the price that you would spend at the grocery store. When you aren’t spending money on these items with the regular grocery bill, you’ll start to see a drop in how much you spend each month.

Safety
When you have your own garden, you will know what materials are used to make it grow. You could simply plant the seeds in the ground and rely on the sun along with your water source to make the seeds grow, but there is another option. Companies like Nature Safe have fertilizers that are safe for the environment as well as the products that you grow. This allows you to have fresh items that are free of the chemicals that are sometimes used on items that you get in the grocery store. Since there is a lack of pesticides and other chemicals, you’ll be doing the health of the family a favor.

Teaching About Nature
Your children can help in every aspect of the garden. They can create rows for the garden and plant the seeds. This is a good time to teach them about nature and how plants grow with the help of the sun, water and bees. While they are learning about nature, children can also learn about healthy living. These are ideas that they can carry on to their adulthood, passing down gardening traditions and techniques to their own children.

Always Have Food

When you have a garden, you will usually have a food source, even when you can’t get to the grocery store. As the produce comes in, you can store the items by canning them. This will allow you to keep a substantial amount of food for months ahead. You could also sell some of the produce that you have to make a little extra money for the family.

A garden is ideal for teaching and maintaining life. It’s a way for everyone to learn about the safety of growing produce and how it can be good for the body. You’ll also be able to save money that would be spent on expensive items at the grocery store.

The Ripple Effects of Mindfulness and Meditation

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I recently completed a six-week course of mindfulness and meditation at my children’s pediatric wellness center. I went into it with some knowledge of the practice and the benefits that it can bring to people, but not really knowing how to incorporate it fully into my life. My ultimate goal was to deepen my learning experience and also teach it to my family and the children that I work with in my practice.

The workshop was led by Cory Muscara from the Long Island Center for Mindfulness.  He was incredibly helpful in breaking down the theory, how to practice different types of meditation and how to realistically weave it into your life. He gave us daily homework to practice guided meditation, self-reflect and increase our awareness of the present moment.

All three may sound easy to do, but it was a challenge because our brains are wired to constantly think, plan, judge, and move at a high-speed. We are also juggling the emotions that are tied to our thoughts, such as anger, guilt, and anxiety. It makes sense that so many people have a hard time navigating through life, especially if they don’t have the coping tools to stay calm, think clearly and communicate effectively.

In a matter of six weeks, I could see a drastic change in my life. My interpersonal relationships were much stronger than they were before. I was able to articulate my thoughts and feelings with my family calmly (especially during those intense parenting moments) and also became a more active listener to their needs.

I was able to disconnect from chaotic thoughts that would typically trigger stress and anxiety and reconnect with emotions of stillness and confidence. I was also able to strengthen my techniques of child-centered play with the clients in my practice and teach coping strategies based on mindfulness to the kids and parents.

I think it is wonderful to see the trend of adults practicing mindfulness and meditation, but I am really excited to see that educators, parents, and healthcare professionals are incorporating it with children.

Here are a few children’s books on mindfulness and meditation that I have started to use with my kids and the families in my child life practice.

Master of Mindfulness: How to Be Your Own Superhero in Times of Stress  

Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda

Moody Cow Meditates

Peaceful Piggy Meditation

Puppy Mind 

The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercise for Kids (and Their Parents)

What Does it Mean to be Present? 

Have you thought about incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your life?

Video Game Addiction: 4 Tips For Making Sure Your Kids Unplug

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Guest Blogger, Kara Masterson

One of the most common challenges that parents face in today’s world is allowing their kids to spend too much time in front of tablets and computers. Instead of spending time outside or being creative, children can spend too many hours playing video games with their technology. To ensure that your kids unplug and have fun in other ways, there are a few important tips to follow as a parent.

Plan Crafts

Make it a point to learn different crafts that your child can make at the dining table or at a desk. Look up crafts online or purchase kits from craft stores with themes that center around upcoming holidays or seasons. Stock your child’s room with crayons, markers, ribbon, and construction paper to ensure that they can continue to be creative when they need a bit of entertainment.

Purchase Outdoor Playsets

Build an outdoor playset that will allow your child to climb, slide, and swing in the backyard with a product that will offer hours of fun. You can purchase a playset that features ladders, bridges, and towers where your kids play pretend and use their imagination. There is definitely nothing better than seeing your kids having a good time playing outside.

Limit Technology Time

It’s important to help your kids break their video game addiction by limiting the amount of screen time that they have. Consider setting rules when it comes to their video game time, which means limiting their activity to 30 minutes a day or even taking away the technology when they’re disciplined. You can also allow them to have breaks from an iPod or their game console by teaching them more about how their video games are actually made.

Sign Up for Leagues

Allow your children to stay physically active and unplug from their video games by signing them up for sports leagues each season. You child can learn how to play softball or spend time on the soccer field on teams where they can work with other players to improve their social skills. They’ll be sure to make new friends and will look forward to getting some fresh air.

Work With Their Love Of Technology

Because your kids love technology so much why not use that love to teach them about useful skills that they can use in their future. You could have them start learning web design or how to code. If they start learning how things like this now, they will definitely have a leg up in the competition. Who knows one day they may even grow up as an entrepreneur of a tech company and be able to work with other organizations such as Ottawa IT Support.

When you want to help your kids unplug and break their video game addiction, there are several steps to take to help them have fun without the use of technology. By introducing your child to other activities and sports, they’ll lose their desire for video games and take an interest in being creative and using their imagination.