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To contact Celia Kibler, please email her at celia@celiakibler.com or call 1-301-922-2164.

How to Keep Your Kids Delightful when the Weather Is Frightful

by Celia Kibler

Keep Up the Daily Schedule. Just Adjust the Activities

The kids are running around, they’re screaming, they’re yelling, they’re getting on each other’s nerves and YOURS! You sit pulling your hair out and praying for nicer weather. What’s a parent to do?

Let’s talk about that because actually, there is a lot you and they can do, aside from tearing the house and each other apart.

Set up a schedule for your day, and do this for every day. When the kids get used to a daily schedule, then the indoor bad weather days are not such a challenge. Here’s what you should include in your daily schedule. Chores; Reading; Active Game Play & Exercise; Homework; Meals; Hygiene/Baths; Religious time (if applicable); School/Work; Extra-Curricular Activities (if applicable); Medical visits (if Applicable).

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In other words, there should be nothing left out of this daily schedule. Notice that although consistent, your daily schedule will probably change from day to day with the specific daily activities being added or deleted. Once this schedule is put into place, the kids and everyone will know what is expected for that day. Get in the habit of reviewing your schedule over breakfast each morning.

Now that your schedule is put into place, here are some great ideas to have at home that can keep your child(ren) active and interested when the weather does not allow for outdoor play.

All of the following can be played in any living space from apartments to single-family homes. Just remember to keep running to a limit when in an apartment, out of respect for neighbors.

Indoor Active Games

BALLOONS: Balloons are inexpensive, safe for indoor use and tons of active fun for all. You can play catch games with balloons, bopping games, kicking games and more. TIP: UNDER INFLATE your BALLOONS to avoid popping. Underinflated balloons will last longer, provide hours of fun and are easier to hold for little ones. Remember to watch your kids and listen for a popped balloon, so that you can dispose of the scraps as soon as possible.

BALLS: use BEACH BALLS or SPONGE BALLS for safe indoor play. If you can find an area in your home that you can spread out the furniture and open up space, kids can play a great game of soccer or hockey as they burn energy and get exercise. You don’t need a lot of room for kids to have fun.

POOL NOODLES (cut in 1/2 to 3’ size) provide a fun, safe, indoor or outdoor hockey stick for play. You can find pool noodles usually at your local Dollar Store and simply cut them in half with a serrated knife.

HOOPS: Small hoops are sold and run around 12” in diameter. These small hoops provide safe indoor play for hula-hooping or just as a goal to throw balloons or softballs through.

OBSTACLE COURSES: Cones, Tunnels, Furniture, Sheets & blankets, can all help kids to set up a fun Obstacle Course for play. Let their creativity shine and they’ll stay busy for a good long time.

IMAGINATIVE PLAY: Kids can drape a blanket over 2 chairs for a tent that allows them to pretend they are camping outside. Include a fun picnic lunch under the tent and they will have the best time being outdoors without being outdoors.

DANCE: If kids get too rowdy, put on some music, start dancing and they’ll join in shortly. You can freeze Dance too, by stopping and starting the song.

Cleaning the House is Exercise Too!

HOUSEHOLD CHORES “the FUN WAY”: Play THE DICE GAME*. Find one die, you can get bigger ones in Novelty Stores if you want. Make a chart to explain what each number on the die stands for. EX: 1: Dusting 2: Vacuuming… etc. Make #6 a FREE DAY. Each day at a specific time, your child(ren) roll the die and complete the activity that the number they rolled relates to. It’s fun, the kids look forward to it and you get your house cleaned (or as well as a kid can do it haha).

*For a printout of the DICE GAME, join PUMPED UP PARENTING Group on Facebook and look under the ‘Files’ Section.

More  Active Play (especially helpful for apartment-living)

COMMUNITY RECREATION CLASSES: Register your kids for active classes through your local school or Recreation Department. It’s really great if you can find a class that includes the parents in the activity so that you all can stay fit together.

NINTENDO Wii: A video system with a twist! The Wii games have kids joining in the fun by moving their bodies to play the games. Fun for the whole family!

VIDEOS: Enjoy doing exercise videos at home and everyone can exercise together.

WALKS: Dress appropriately and go for a walk. Even if there’s a little rain, grab an umbrella and go for a power walk. All kids love a puddle to jump in or to dance in the rain!

With a little imagination and some soft play equipment, your kids can have fun and stay active, regardless of what the weather is outside. Prepare ahead and your kids and your sanity will thank you for it. For more tips, contact Celia here.

Baby Fat: When to Rejoice, When to Worry

By CHRISTINE ELLIOTT, The Associated Press
New parents learn quickly that everyone has something to say about a pudgy baby, with remarks ranging from harmless (“Look at those chubby cheeks”) to hurtful (“Isn’t he a little big for his age?”).

“I got comments all the time from my so-called friends,” says Lan Ma, recalling that her two children, as infants, had chipmunk cheeks and “rolls after rolls of flesh.”

Ma, of Edgewater, N.J., ignored any suggestion that Thomas, now 4, and Tyler, 2, were too big, even when both weighed in at 14 pounds, double their birth weights at their 2-month checkups. “I was never worried about their weight when they were young, because they were both very, very healthy.”

Some other parents, however, can become anxious, given widespread reports that an increasing percentage of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight.

“With all the talk about obesity, we certainly have some overzealous parents who are worried about their nice, healthy, chunky baby becoming an overweight adult, and (they are) restricting their nutrients,” says Dr. Robert Holmberg, a pediatrician in Bangor, Maine, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Obesity.

When should “baby fat,” long the symbol of a thriving infant, be cause for alarm?

In general, a chubby baby is a healthy one, doctors say. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise major factors in the obesity epidemic among children and adults  “haven’t had time to affect the infant,” Holmberg says.

But while doctors urge parents not to panic, they also encourage them to watch for warning signs:

Before age 3, parental obesity is a stronger predictor of future weight problems than an infant’s birth weight or place on the growth chart.

“If parents are overweight, their children are at much greater risk for the development of weight problems,” says Dr. William Dietz, director of the division of nutrition and physical activity for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Genetics may be partly to blame, but more often the culprit is lifestyle, says Dr. Thomas Robinson, associate professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

“A child is raised and learns about feeding, eating and activity in that same environment” as the overweight parent, he notes in an e-mail interview. A sustained growth spurt before age 4, in which weight increases more rapidly than height, is another possible warning sign, Holmberg says. Parents should note if weight appears to be interfering with developmental milestones, such as walking. Still, always consult a pediatrician before changing your baby’s diet.

Several studies suggest that breastfeeding, in addition to its nutritional advantages, lowers the risk of obesity later in childhood. Adds Dietz, “the longer the children are breastfed, the lower the risk.” The AAP recommends breast milk for at least the first year.

Parents should also use this time during infancy to establish healthy routines for the entire family, doctors say. For instance:

Keep junk food out of the house. “It is amazing to me how many young children, even under a year of age, are fed sugar-sweetened soft drinks and French fries and other fast foods,” Robinson says. “If a parent eats junk food and has it in the home, that is the food their child will learn to eat, no surprise.” Other than the occasional chicken nuggets, or birthday cake at school, Ma steers her kids away from processed foods and avoids them herself, opting instead for fresh vegetables, chicken and fish. She sends her son to preschool with bananas and rice crisps for snacks.

A parent is always so much more effective as a role model than as an instruction book,” says Ma, a project manager for IBM and author of the e-book “You Can Have It All: Baby, Career and Plenty of Sleep.”

Limit TV time for everyone.

The AAP recommends no viewing for children under 2, but Robinson notes that it’s hard to discourage kids of any age from watching too much TV if mom and dad aren’t setting a good example.

“This is a good time for them to consider reducing the number of TVs in their home and watching less themselves,” he says.

While regular exercise is important for toddlers, infants get their workouts naturally by learning to lift their heads, roll over, sit up and crawl, says Celia Kibler, owner of Funfit, Inc., a Maryland-based fitness center for kids. “A baby at 6 months should have no trouble achieving the muscle tone it needs,” says Kibler, whose classes for infants focus on bonding with parents, not working out.

In what may be the toughest advice to follow, Holmberg encourages parents to resist the urge to compare their babies with others.

“That’s a very dangerous thing to do,” he says. “All babies are different.

___

For more information:

http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/

© 2006 The Associated Press

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