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.

Academics In Childhood: 4 Reasons Why Early Education Is Essential

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Guest Blogger, Kara Masterson

Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, explains; “There’s an explosion of activity in the first five years of life, more profound than any future years. If we can capitalize on that and maximize the support and learning opportunities, then we really stand a good chance of setting young children on a trajectory of success.” That is just part of the reason why early education is so important. Here are a few other reasons why this kind of education is essential.

Improved Social Skills

Learning how to interact with others is a skill that will benefit children throughout their lifetime. Within an early education setting, students socialize with other students. They learn to communicate, play, and take turns. Young children are also able to adjust better when they start Kindergarten because they have already been around other children in a structured environment. Oral language provides a foundation for literacy development and children have the chance to practice oral language when they are around others.

Enhanced Attention Spans

Children who receive early education will also have many opportunities to practice increasing their attention span. Daily schedules, story time, and classroom activities allow students to enhance their attention span by escalating their interest and level of engagement. Students have opportunities for structured and unstructured play where they are learning to attend to one thing at a time. Focusing on specific tasks is good preparation for the school years.

Develop Cognitive Skills

Children receiving an early education will learn the basics in all academic areas including reading, math, and science. Schools such as Miniapple International Montessori School provide opportunities for children to learn at their own pace through a discovery learning model. The effects of developing cognitive skills early on have shown to benefit children later on in school. In fact, children in early-learning programs show higher levels of achievement throughout school. Alternatively, if a child does have learning issues; they can be identified early.

Early Literacy Skills

Early literacy skills prepare children for so much more than just Kindergarten. Learning letters by sight and sound, phonological awareness, print awareness and vocabulary is quite literally the foundation that students build upon for the rest of their lives as readers. It is widely known that literacy skills are developed early in life and correlate greatly with school achievement. Furthermore, children who have limited experiences with language and literacy will have more difficulty learning to read.

Young children are sponges that soak up all that is happening in the world around them. Early education gives children the opportunity to practice social skills, enhance attention spans, develop cognitive skills, and teach early literacy skills. All children can benefit from early learning opportunities.

Empowering Kids Through Play

Empowering Kids Through Play

The Young Child Expo and Conference was a success last week. My colleague, Deb Vilas and I presented on a very hot topic right now, Play in Early Education: The Antidote to Technology Overload. We broke down the negative effects of too much screen time and what it does to kids; problems with attention, sleep, self-regulation, impulse control and poor social skills.

We also discussed the academic pressure that both the teachers and children are feeling. The curriculum is incredibly tense and doesn’t allow kids to learn in a healthy environment. Sitting at a desk, with a pencil in hand and memorizing 120 site words isn’t the most optimal learning space for a kindergartener. School doesn’t become exciting anymore, it becomes work and we are turning them off at a very early age. Kids begin to act out and misbehave both in the classroom and at home.

So our antidote is to bring child centered techniques into the classroom setting. Play is the most natural way for children to learn and express themselves. By being with kids, allowing them to lead, explore, and problem solve with full acceptance of who they are and where they are at the moment, we are empowering them. Kids will begin to strengthen their skills in self-regulation, impulse control, communication, self-confidence, mastery over experiences in their life and feel safe to express their emotions and thoughts. They are building their self-identity.

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We broke it down into a four components to help the attendees absorb the information and see themselves using it with their kids.

We even had some fun role-playing and provided the audience with an opportunity to try it out. We made it playful by providing the audience with noise makers shaped as lips and they were told to whistle every time we made a mistake. It was a captivating presentation that brought up a lot of great discussion from the audience.

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We hope to bring this presentation to other conferences to help caregivers, educators and professionals working with kids.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please leave a comment below or email me at Childlifemommy@gmail.com 

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