The Friday Worries Begin…

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Some of you know the struggles of the weekly swim lessons that my five-year old deals with. He gets very anxious all week-long, especially Thursday evenings and all day Friday.

He has been struggling for over a year now with his swim fears, but has made leaps and bounds. With every new technique, he begins to self-doubt himself and think the worst, drowning.

As a mom, I do my best to support him. I have had numerous play sessions helping him work through his fears. I validate his feelings, listen without judgement and offer strategies to help him cope.

Yesterday, he found a little worry doll that I got from a restaurant, years ago.

“What is this?” he asked.

Bingo! The light bulb went off in my head. I explained that you tell it all your worries and then place it under your pillow before you go to sleep. It will take all the worries away.

His response, “Yeah, right! That’s fake.”

Well here we are Thursday evening and he comes downstairs with his eyes welled up with tears. “I’m scared about swim.” He then looks over at the kitchen table and sees the worry doll. His demeanor completely changed and he says, “Can I have that to help me?”

“Yes, you can!”

With the worry doll in his little hand and another kiss goodnight, I closed the door and waited. Then I heard the little voice say, “I’m worried about swim”.

Ahh, let’s see how he is in the morning. I hope this works.

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Making worry dolls with kids is easy, fun and very therapeutic. It is a great intervention that child life specialists, parents, teachers and therapists can do to with the kids and families.

Looks like we will be making our own tomorrow!

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Planning a Pool Party

It is spring time, that means sunshine, outdoor play and pool parties! Hopefully for a chunk of the U.S. we will start to defrost and get some much needed vitamin D.

Here is a guest blog post from Kaitlin Gardner at AnApplePerDay on some great tips about planning a pool party for kids.

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How to Plan a Pool Party for Kids

The great thing about planning a party for the kids at the family pool – entertainment is already checked off the “to do” list. The pool is a wonderful resource for having fun, and kids always love to gather together to play in the water. So the planning is mostly about considering other details.

Here are items to check off:

The invitation process. Have your child make up a list of friends he would like to invite. Check with the parents to confirm mailing addresses. At this time, you can diplomatically confirm that the child can swim. While evites are great for parents, consider mailing out invitations. For a child, it’s a treat just to get the invitation in the mail. Address the invitation to both the child and the parents, so they can mark the date and time. Your child might want to take the invitations and pass them out at school, but likely some would get lost along the way, so consider using mail as the safe way to make sure everyone knows about the party.

Water safety. An important factor to think about when planning a pool party – the safety issue will need to be addressed. You can’t just expect any adults in attendance to look after kids in the water. This is too important an item to leave to chance. As the hostess, you’ll have to take care of this concern, so decide between you and your husband who is the “designated watcher.” That person will only be watching the kids, not checking the cell phone or flipping burgers on the grill. To make this go more smoothly, consider hiring one of the lifeguards from the local pool – the kids are used to obeying them around water. It will assure that you provide a safe environment.

Food and refreshments. You’ll have a lot of hungry kids from playing in the water, so make sure there’s plenty of food. It doesn’t have to be quiche or something fancy – kids love burgers, so just fire up the back yard grill. Have chips and drinks on hand. It might be a good idea to designate a time for the meal, so everyone eats together, and the kids stay out of the pool for a while.

Daytime or evening? If you’re having the party in early spring, where it’s likely to be chilly in the evening, an afternoon pool party might be preferable. If it’s the middle of the summer, think about an evening party. Then you won’t have to worry about sunburns, providing shade, and everyone trying to sneak into the house to escape the heat for a bit. Put up additional lights around the back yard, and an evening party will be a lot of fun.

Pool games. Have some toys available – Frisbees and things like that, for the kids to play with. But kids love to make up their own games in the water, so likely all you’ll have to do is prompt them if their activity flags for a moment. Sometimes, just yelling out “Marco” will bring the chorus of “Polo,” and the kids will be off to another round of play. Here are some great resources with ideas for pool fun, and some great planning tips:

Playing host to parents. When you send out the invitations, make it clear that the parents are welcome to stay and visit. Some of the parents might not know each other, so handle the introductions. This part is being a good hostess, just like you would at a party in your home. A home pool party is all about providing the environment where your child and his friends can have a fun – but safe – time in the water. Once you have set everything up, just enjoy the smiles as the kids laugh and splash in the water. AnApplePerDay-Logo Kaitlin Gardner writes for AnApplePerDay.com. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend.  In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature.  She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.

What a 10 Cent Ribbon Meant to a Boy

Swim lessons every week for the past eight months has had its ups and downs for my four-year old. He has had a huge fear of putting his head under water. Every Friday he breaks down and sometimes cries, pleading not to go and saying that he “hates swim.”

I validate his feelings, offer my support and remind him that learning to swim is necessary. The drowning statistics are outrageous and I will do everything in my power to prevent it. Plus I want him to enjoy the water with his friends and family.

Today was a HUGE day!

When we got to swim he saw his buddy there with a ribbon. Dilan has had a really hard time in swim as well and after a very long 18 months has finally moved up to Level 1. Whoo Hoo, Go Dilan! He was so proud of his ribbon and Gavin was eager to get one too.

During class, I saw his instructor reading over a sheet and testing him on different skills. I was cheering him on behind the two-way mirror.

Thirty minutes flew by and Gavin was moved up to not just level 1 but level 2. Which meant two ribbons!

He stood on his platform, rang the bell and everyone cheered him on!

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The whole drive home he kept saying, “Are you proud of me, mom?” Oh yeah, I was!

His excitement didn’t end there. He wanted to hang his ribbons on the back of his jeep and ride around in the neighborhood telling everyone of his accomplishment.

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His parade continued through our neighborhood reaching the train station a few blocks away. He knew there would be a lot of people coming home from work so he made his way there. He spoke to every person walking by, “And you know, I’m in level two, now” Some smiled and joined in his excitement, congratulating him and admiring his ribbons. Others who ignored him and carried on missed out on what life is all about, the pure joy of a child. He didn’t let it bug him and just found others to tell, even the neighborhood cats.

 I love this little boy!

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