Keeping kids active during the winter

It’s no secret that winter is a stressful time. Between holiday plans, family visits, and school vacations, it can be difficult to make sure your kids stay active without the structure of physical education classes or school sports. Just because class is cancelled and there is snow on the ground doesn’t mean your kids have to stay at home all day playing video games. There are many ways to stay active and have fun during the winter months.

1)     Give them a new sport to try. To keep kids healthy and fit, help them prepare for spring tryouts, or just give them something new to get excited about, why not sign them up for baseball or softball lessons? Extra Innings, a national baseball and softball training facility, has several locations in the greater Boston metro area that have full indoor training centers for year-round practice. Kids of all ages can sign up for lessons, rent batting cages, or register for conditioning clinics to hone their skills. No baseball experience? No problem! Extra Innings welcomes all athletes from total newcomers to seasoned players. Who knows – your son or daughter might just discover his or her new favorite sport. With spring tryouts just around the corner, winter is the perfect time to get started.

2)     Kids not into baseball? There are plenty of other options out there. Indoor soccer is a popular cold-weather activity, and like baseball, winter training lends itself well to spring tryouts. Ice hockey – indoors or out – is another popular winter sport. And basketball is another idea – since the pro season just got started, kids will be motivated to play and follow the lead of their favorite athletes.

3)     Let your kid be independent. If your son or daughter prefers individual sports, there are many to choose from. He or she can sign up for a martial arts class, which has the added benefit of improving self-confidence and focus. Or your kid can hop in the (indoor) pool, and take swimming lessons or just do some laps. Other possibilities include dance lessons, gymnastics, and fencing. All of these sports build confidence and athletic skills while giving kids a fun and invigorating goal to work toward while school’s out.

4)     Take them to the gym. Many fitness centers have special programs designed just for kids – in addition to getting some good activity in, they’ll be able to meet other kids and make new friends. The result? Happier, healthier kids and more “me time” for Mom.

5)     Embrace the cold. Lace up your ice skates or skis and get moving. Why not get the whole family involved? Once the snow starts to settle, pick a day to bundle up and head to a local park or skating rink. Sledding, skating, skiing, and snowboarding are fun for the whole family, and spending some time together is what the holidays are all about, after all.

6)     Snowed in? Even if you can’t leave the house, your kids can still stay active. Many video game consoles now offer games designed to get kids moving. Whether you have a Wii, an Xbox, or a Playstation, there are dozens of games to fit every console – and every personality.

By Robert Nash, GalTime Ambassador, Boston

Read more: http://galtime.com/article/parenting/64662/51148/keeping-kids-active-during-winter#ixzz2DLoVyNDN

Special Events This October

Check out what is happening in a Community Center & Pool near your this October.  We have three sites hosting special events this month that are  going to be a big hit for you and your kids.  Hope to see you there!

Mt. Scott Community Center & Pool

East Portland Community Center & Pool

Southwest Community Center & Pool

Tricks for keeping kids’ schedules active but balanced

On The Move
As a parent, it can be tough to juggle your own schedule, much less maintain your kids’. To help you out, we consulted a few experts (and moms!) and asked them to share their professional advice. Look at these four tricks for keeping your kids’ schedules active but balanced.

family playing ball together outside

Lead by example

Len Saunders, author of Keeping Kids Fit, says one of the best ways to teach your kids to maintain busy but balanced schedules is leading by example. “Children follow their parents as their number one role models,” he notes, so it’s important to make sure you have your own schedule in order before trying to manage theirs. “Show them how to keep their responsibilities written down on a notepad and to keep track of their own tasks, whether it be at school or play.” When they go to college and are on their own, he points out, they’ll have to be able to balance work, play, eating, social life and much, much more.

Get fit together

Because it’s not just about fitness (although that’s huge), Sarah Clachar, family fitness expert, professional health writer and founder of FitFamilyTogether.com, says young kids often do better with activities in a family setting. “It gives you the chance to strengthen bonds and work out tough issues. Focus on what you can do together with the precious time you do have outside of school and work, such as biking, kicking the soccer ball around or whatever.” Kids need time to be kids, she notes — wonder, get bored, get resourceful, etc.

Don’t over schedule

Christine Agro of The Conscious Mom’s Guide is a firm believer in the fact that kids need down time. “If we over schedule our kids, we never give them the opportunity to learn how to ‘just be,’ and they grow up believing that every second of their life needs to be full and scheduled.” Encourage kids to play outside, to lie on the grass and look at the clouds, to sit and read or to just do nothing. Give them unstructured space where they need to figure out how to fill their own time, without video games, phones or television, she advises.

Sprinkle in fun with education

If your kid has a really busy day (back-to-back activities), try to remember to sprinkle in a few really fun ones to avoid meltdowns, offers Bryce Gruber, mom and editor of The Luxury Spot. “Speech class, piano lessons and a math tutor might be your idea of a perfect Tuesday, but if so, you’re heading straight for a brick behavior wall. Balance one fun and one purely educational activity every day (or week) so your child isn’t overwhelmed.”

Quick Tip

Don’t forget to leave enough room for snack and potty breaks between each activity! “Kids are like natural stress detectors, and they totally know when you’re rushing from one place to the next,” says Bryce. “They always perform better when they feel like everyone around them is calm.” So remember, keep your cool and just slow down.

by Elizabeth Mitchell Posted in Parenting / Super Moms Guide

Click here for the full article.

Healthy school lunch ideas: 7 quick bites, 3 recipes and more

School Lunches Healthy school lunch ideas: 7 quick bites, 3 recipes and more

Children can begin good eating habits at home, starting with school lunches. Simple changes like using whole grain bread and adding fruits and nuts are healthier alternatives. (Photo by Shutterstock)

Don’t lose your mind over school lunches, there’s an easy way with these healthy and simple school lunch ideas.
By Fernanda Beccaglia, from Voxxi

Summer is “unofficially” over and it is school time again, at least until the holidays.

Kids getting back on a regular schedule might come as a relief for many parents. For others it represents going back to a regular schedule too and an extra stretch on how to get organized especially when it comes to school lunch boxes.

Fact is, pleasing your kids while making sure they receive the proper nutrition, can be a bit challenging and stressful. And that is the last thing you want to deal with in the morning. Kids can either be the healthy-picky eater type; the fast food, sugar kind; or the one that eats anything and everything without any complaints. So here are some tips and ideas to make your life easier.

Tips

  • Have a list handy of the things your kids like and always have some of them ready in your pantry.
  • Don’t prepare anything complicated. Keep the lunch ideas as fresh and as simple as possible.
  • Pack, pack, and pack everything ahead of time. The last thing you want to do in the morning is figure out what you are going to prepare or give the kids to take to school.
  • Make sure you pack in containers you won’t mind to lose if they forget to bring them back home or lose them.
  • Mix textures, flavors, shapes and colors. Kids are very visual and they like change.
  • Keep it fun and alive adding some vegetables here and there.
  • Always keep their choices diverse.
  • Use any leftover rice, quinoa or pasta.
  • Keep portions and bites small.

Quick, easy bites and munchies to add

  1. Crackers and pretzels either whole wheat or gluten free make a great crunchy option
  2. Granola bars, nuts, walnuts, almonds (no nuts, in case the school has a nut allergy policy)
  3. Fruits like bananas, apples, pears, grapes
  4. Raisins and dates (pitted)
  5. Honey, almond butter or yogurt sticks
  6. Cheese sticks
  7. Individual cereal boxes

Three simple school lunch ideas

peanut butter Healthy school lunch ideas: 7 quick bites, 3 recipes and more

For a power lunch, sandwich or snack, use peanut, almond or cashew butter. (Photo Shutterstock)

1. Beyond the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Well, not really. My version—kids tested and approved—is more loaded with more nutritional value than the regular PB&J.

For that, use raw, or good quality, almond butter instead of peanut and strawberry jam instead of jelly.

Use whole grain bread or whole wheat instead or regular white, and sprinkle some chia seeds on top of the almond butter before spreading the jam on top. Make the sandwich and cut in four for easy handling.

Another option or twist for this classic is to use Nutella instead of peanut butter. You could add a thin layer of cream cheese on top and a banana on the side to complement flavors.

2. Tomato, baba ganoush and mozzarella sandwich

Tomatoes can be either loved or hated by both kids and adults.

But if your little ones like tomatoes, this is a healthy and super easy to make lunch.

Simply slice the tomato and pack it along some fresh mozzarella the night before, but don’t make the sandwich until the next day or the bread will lose its freshness. Also refrain from seasoning the tomato with salt or it’ll lose its texture and juices.

If your kids like fresh basil, add a few fresh leaves between the tomato and cheese slices. Any green you can add to their bites will do wonders for their well-being and health.

Choices of bread and spreads: You can either make a sandwich with rustic bread, soft whole grains or a wrap.

Assembling: Spread some baba ganoush or hummus on the bread, place a slice of tomato on top and add some mozzarella. Then seal and slice for easier handling.

3. Potato, egg, tuna salad

If your kids like potato salad, try adding a heartier touch to it using red grapes, walnuts, some small pieces of celery, perhaps some carrots and sweet peas, and a touch of sour cream or cream cheese.

Just cook the baby red potatoes, let them cool. Cut them in pieces and mix them well in a bowl with mayonnaise. Add some sliced grapes and walnuts. Season to taste.

You can also add some tuna to it, or if you want something more nutritionally complex, make an egg potato tuna salad.

Last but not least, you don’t need to have a different menu every week. But keep it diverse on a daily basis. Surprise them and they will surprise you back bringing an empty lunch box home.

Read more: http://www.voxxi.com/healthy-school-lunch-ideas-recipes/#ixzz25XYtI4yr