Tag Archives: children

Getting Active at Home

Getting Active at Home

Written by: Jennifer VanEtten

With holiday goodies in the past and 2021 resolutions in full swing, you may be searching for new ways to increase your kid’s activity level! While a sunny summer and warm autumn allowed for easy access to outdoor activities during the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order, the damp winter weather may feel like a barrier. But with a bit of creativity, enthusiasm, and lots of free online videos, apps, and tutorials, kids can break out in sweat and giggles in no time!

The CDC recommends that children age 3-5 should get at least 3 hours of active play per day while children ages 6-17 should engage in at least one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise per day. While these guidelines may seem a bit daunting, even a short intense movements and long durations of small movements add up! 

Everyday Movement Around the Home (all ages)
Have any old balloons at home? If no, you can find them at any dollar store! An ongoing game of “don’t let the balloon touch the ground” can be a family favorite and easy entertainment for younger kiddos. During dull moments, pick up the balloon and start tapping it around!
Turn chores and everyday tasks into a race. Whoever can clean their room the fastest gets to pick a movie to watch later. Record the time it takes to get dressed in the morning, can your child beat their own record? Making these daily tasks a fun competition can increase time efficiency and heart rate!
Has binge watching Netflix become a new hobby? Turn the time between shows into an activity break! Some fun activities during this time could be a race to the other side of the home, a quick game of tag, or partner sit-ups and jumping jacks!

Sworkit Kid Workouts (options for all ages)
Sworkit is a fitness app for adults that recently released free workouts, warm-ups, strength training, and wiggle-eliminating video tutorials for all ages! Their content is accessible through the app store and free online.

Cosmic Kids Yoga (ages 3-6)
This YouTube channel provides a fantastical adventure through various themes of yoga instruction. They offer a range of 2 to 30 minute videos exploring various poses, mantras, and fun yoga practices that will have kids feeling refreshed and rejuvenated!

NFL Play 60″ 
This app, created by The American Heart Association, is a fun way for young football fans to engage in a game that gives points for physical activity! Children have to get up and move to get their players in the game and train them for action.

Learn How to Dance (ages 12-17)
Your kids may be seeing all of the latest dance moves on Tik Tok and Fortnite– with these tutorials from Bao, they can learn them! In his clips, Bao breaks down various dance moves and teaches them in easy-to-follow tutorials on Youtube, Tik Tok, and Instagram. 

When planning activites and setting expectations for exercise, it is important to remember that children will model what they see. If caregivers make exercise a fun activity that is a part of their everyday routine, kids are more likely to pick up on these habits. The benefits of exercising and prioritizing movement with children include an endless list of improved health outcomes for the entire family!



Talking with Children About Current Events

Talking with Children About Current Events

Written by: Emalise Mitchell 

Right now, children and youth have ongoing exposure to emotional national news, COVID-19 information, and acts of racial injustice and unrest. Even if children are not actively engaged with the news, they pick up information through adult conversations and background television and radio. Stressful current events are abundant.

What are some tips for talking about the news and current events?
Avoid the temptation to downplay.
As caregivers, we are often tempted to downplay seriousness when children are exposed to traumatic news. This is often because we want to protect children from worry and burden. However, caregivers can share simplified and honest information with children. Doing this helps your child to make sense of what they see and hear.

Reinforce safety
When children hear about chaotic current events, their first response is to think about whether they are safe, even if the event is not happening near to them. In times like these, remind your child that you will always protect them.

Stick to the facts
As much as possible, stay neutral when presenting the facts about what is happening in the news or in your community. It is best to focus on the facts of a situation rather than opinions and myths. Check in regularly with your child to get a sense of what they already know and their exposure to the situation.

Be open and available for questions
A caregiver’s willingness and readiness to listen sends a very powerful message to children of any age. As best as you can, listen to their questions and concerns without minimizing them. If you don’t know the answer to a question that your child asks, it is okay to let them know that you don’t know and you will find an answer for them.

Model desired behaviors
Adult attitudes, beliefs, and actions affect children. It is very important to help your child identify their range of emotions and responses, as well as how to express them in appropriate ways. When you talk to your child, you can show positive ways of emotional expression, problem solving, and using words to describe your feelings.

How can I support my child’s sense of safety?
Limit news exposure
Decide how much news is appropriate for your child and set clear expectations in your household.

Provide a reliable routine
Whenever possible, keep predictable routines and structure in your child’s day. Consistency helps your child to have a sense of safety and predictability.

Encourage discussion
Male sure there is enough time for serious conversations about emotions. Encourage your child to talk about their thoughts and feelings. Allow them to ask questions and remind them of the facts – not perceptions – throughout your conversations. For example, if your child asks “Why did those bad guys hurt the good people?” you can respond with, “The people used violence to hurt other people because they did not like them or agree with them. Hurting others is never the right choice.”

Additional Resources
More resources for caregivers
• KidsHealth: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/news.html
• ConnectSafely: https://www.connectsafely.org/fakenews/
• CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html
• Healthy Children: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/Media/Pages/Talking-To-Children-About-Tragedies-and-Other-News-Events.aspx
• Scholastic: https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/social-skills-for-kids/how-to-explain-scary-news-to-kids.html
• SAMHSA: https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma12-4732.pdf

Children’s Books
“The Breaking News” by Sarah Lynne Reul
YouTube has the author Read-Aloud available here

“I Can Write the World” by Joshunda Sanders
YouTube has the author Read-Aloud available here

“On the News: Our First Talk About Tragedy” by Dr. Jillian Roberts
YouTube has a Read-Aloud option available here



Supporting Young Children’s Emotion Regulation Skills

Supporting Young Children’s Emotion Regulation Skills

Written by: ClarissaAlfes

What is emotional regulation
Emotion regulation is the ability to handle and control strong emotions and feelings, and the behaviors that come from them. Both adults and children regulate their emotions every day.  Research shows when children build their emotion regulation skills they are better able to handle challenges, be resilient and succeed in school. 

Emotion regulation is difficult to learn, especially for children! Many children can struggle with knowing how to handle the strong emotions they feel. When children have difficulty controlling their emotions, it can lead to challenging behaviors. Research suggests children benefit from being taught how to identify and manage their emotions. Adults can guide children through the practice of controlling their emotions and calming themselves in appropriate, safe and positive ways.

Ways to support children in building their emotion regulation skills:
Dr. John Gottman, author of Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, introduced the idea of Emotion Coaching, where parents support their children in building emotion regulation skills through:
•  teaching young learners to understand their emotions
•  encouraging children to talk about their emotions and feelings
•  working through challenging situations that bring about strong emotions. 

Here are ways to support your child in learning to recognize and manage their emotions:
1. Let them know their strong emotions are okay  
•  Validate their strong and negative emotions in a non-judgmental, calm way.
2. Label the emotions your child is feeling
•  Use Emotion Coaching to listen to your child, name emotions they are feeling, and help them think through solutions for their problem such as sharing, saying sorry, asking for help, using a calm down strategy, etc.
•  Narrating children’s emotions helps them to connect how they are feeling in their bodies to emotional vocabulary.
3. Engage them in activities that talk about emotions 
•  Read and discuss storybooks about emotions.
•  Play emotion games, such as emotion bingo, emotion matching and situation card games.
4. Be an emotional role model
•  Talk about your own emotions and talk through your emotion problem-solving.  Children learn through watching and copying adults.
5. Teach them ways to calm down
•  Teach calm down strategies and provide tools and physical spaces they can use to regulate by themselves. Use role play to practice these skills when children are calm. 
•  Do mindfulness breathing, meditation or yoga with your child
•  Teach children how to use an emotional thermometer to notice and think about how they are feeling.

Young children that learn emotional regulation skills are ready to recognize and handle upsetting emotions and take on challenges with resilient, calm and problem-solving mindsets.