Get Your Kids Hooked On Cycling

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By Haley Hobart

momdaugtherbikeCycling is great way to encourage your kids to become more active and live a healthier lifestyle. Tearing them away from their smart phone or the latest video game can often be challenging but cycling is great fun with endless health benefits. We’ve put together this guide explaining the advantages of cycling with some simple tips to get started.

Why cycle

Cycling is a popular form of cardiovascular exercise which can prevent heart complications in the future and reduce the likelihood of obesity. This low impact workout is gentle on the joints with a low chance of injury compared to other, more intense sports. It also increases the metabolism and burns calories, long after the ride is over.

Motor skills are improved as the body carries out the task of peddling and steering simultaneously whilst using body weight. This can improve co-ordination, a transferable skill which can improve sporting ability and day-to-day tasks. Studies have also linked cycling with improved mental health which may be a result of a healthier lifestyle combined with the fun that comes from exploring nature on two wheels. Still not convinced? It’s also great for the immune system which means less chance of picking up those nasty flu bugs and less time off school.

How to get started

Always do plenty of research before buying your kids bikes. There’s plenty of options to choose from but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Be sure to choose a bike which is appropriate for the terrain. One which includes off-road suspension and a titanium frame won’t be necessary for everyday use and will cost a hefty amount. Instead, choose a mid-way option which includes front suspension. Don’t be tempted by the cheap options which are often unreliable and can be more costly in the long term.

Once they’ve got their bike, you can encourage your kids to plan routes or little adventures. You can also find cycling routes online and there’s many dedicated groups catering for families and children which meet weekly. Here they can make new friends and enjoy the safety of a larger group.

Bike safety

Keeping your children safe on a bike is simple and only requires a few precautions. Firstly, be sure to choose an appropriate size bike which your child feels fully in control of. If they’re still in the learning stage, they must be able to place both feet on the floor which should avoid any nasty falls.

familybikeridetogetherHelmets are essential, whilst knee and elbow pads are an optional extra. These can provide added peace of mind for off road cycling. Purchasing hi-visibility clothing, lights and reflectors for evening bike rides is also a must. Finally, there’s plenty of certified training courses testing cycling proficiency, highlighting the dangers of traffic and the importance of safe riding on the road. This can be a great introduction for your children, developing a skill which will keep them safe for years to come.

Cycling is an exercise that your children will love and if you’re lucky they’ll spend less time on social media and slouched in front of the TV.

– Haley Hobart has been a mom and a writer for 10 years and frequently contributes to mommy sites and DIY sites with her expertise. She lives in London with her partner and kids of three.

Shaming Your Kids Online Can Permanently Damage Their Self-Esteem

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By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

twokidsunWhen you reflect back on your childhood, it’s likely you remember hearing these words at least once during your childhood. “You should be ashamed of yourself.” These words probably made you feel bad because you knew your parent was upset, embarrassed or hurt by something you said or did.

That was discipline and discipline is an important part of parenting. However, telling your child they should be ashamed of themselves is very different from shaming your child on social media. For one thing, anyone can see your display of shaming and it’s permanent, making it impossible for your child to be fully forgiven.

Parents who shame their children online can’t possibly understand the repercussions of their actions. Discipline is one thing, and kids do need discipline, but discipline with public shaming and humiliation is not healthy punishment or parenting. It causes all sorts of other problems as the parent/child relationship continues.

For example, kids who are shamed using social media become better at hiding and lying about what they are doing.

* They stop trusting their parent and will no longer be comfortable going to them when they are hurt or scared.

* They may become more narcissistic as a way of over-compensating for feelings of shame and humiliation.

* They may develop increased anger, leading to severe depression and anxiety.

* A child whose private life becomes public is also less secure with boundaries. After all, if their parent can’t be trusted to protect them, who can they trust?

Parents need to discipline their kids, but discipline should be done within the home. Taking access to social media away from the child and allowing them to earn the parent’s trust back is most effective when rules have been broken.

groupkidsIf you feel at your wits end–and you want to make a point with your child–I would advise you to remember these simple rules regarding social media shaming.

* Remember, you’re the adult. Never post something permanent when you’re angry, tired or in a bad mood. Think it over for at least 24 hours.

* Keep family business within the family. Shaming your kids, your spouse or your friends says more about you than it does them.

* Children are vulnerable in regard to their self-esteem because they’re still in the process of learning who they are. A public humiliation could permanently damage their sense of self.

* If you have any apprehensions about posting anything, don’t post it.

* If you want to stop the behavior, begin with talking to your child. It’s common courtesy. Since you are modeling for your child, reflect on what you are modeling when you post something that is going to humiliate them.

Parenting a child is difficult, and your job is to protect your child and help them become successful, well-adjusted adults. Social media outlets can be helpful to parents and children, but using a social media outlet to shame or punish your child is not wise. What you post never goes away, nor do the scars they cause.

– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at StartTalkingBook.com and more about Rapini at maryjorapini.com.

Sports America Kids Month

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..

boyssportsIn conjunction with June’s “Sports America Kids Month,” the Austin sports medicine team at Medicine in Motion presents compelling reasons for parents to encourage children to participate in summertime sports activities.

Held every year during the month of June, Sports America Kids Month encourages children to engage in a healthy lifestyle, including sports activities, during the summer months. To help encourage kids to become active, Austin sports medicine doctor and owner of Medicine in Motion Dr. Martha Pyron has established a free Saturday morning summer training camp for all ages and all athletic abilities.

“Physical activity is one component that is crucial to a healthy and happy body,” said Dr. Pyron. “Children should be encouraged to find a sport or physical activity that interests them. Not only will it make for healthier bodies, but the emotional and mental benefits are enormous too. Everyone who plays a sport can be a physical fitness winner!”

Playing one or more sports can help kids develop confidence, self-discipline, coordination, teamwork skills, and sportsmanship behavior. Perhaps most importantly, however, are the health and wellness benefits that come from the physical activity involved with playing sports. Recent data from organizations such as the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show the need for a stronger focus on health and wellness among American youth:

* One in three children are physically active on a daily basis.

* Over 80% of children do not participate in enough aerobic physical activity to meet standard youth guidelines.

* Children spend upwards of seven and a half hours a day watching TV, playing video games or on a computer.

* Reports from 2009-2010 shows approximately 12.5 million (16.9%) children are obese.

* Overweight children have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Childhood obesity is a serious issue with both short-term and long-term effects on health and wellness. Obese youth are more likely to have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Children who are obese are more likely to suffer from bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and psychological issues like poor self-esteem. Obese youth are likely to be obese as adult, which will put them at risk for adult health complications like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, various types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

For more information on Medicine in Motion’s Saturday training camps, contact them at 512-257-2500 or officemanager(at)medinmotion(dot)com.

Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at http://www.medinmotion.com.

5 Foods You Should Stop Feeding Your Kids Now

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By Leanne Thompson

healthychoiceIf you’re reading this then you must be a responsible parent—or at least, trying to be one.
You deserve a pat on the back.

But you’ve got to admit, you’re a much better parent before you had kids. Back then, you were pretty sure of what you will and will not become. You’ll be a “cool” parent. You promised yourself you will not become the kind of parent who forces her kids to eat their broccoli or drink their milk.

They want fries? They get fries.

While fulfilling your dream of becoming a cool parent sounds fun, you may want to play the “responsible parent” while you’re at it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased at an alarming rate. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and are more likely to develop serious health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at a younger age.

Bottom line: playing the “cool” parent all the time may cause your kids to fall into the trap of a high calorie diet with low nutritional value—one of the factors that contribute to childhood obesity.

If you’re guilty of helping yourself to some of your kid’s favorite “bad” foods then it’s time for your diet to grow up!

Here is a list of foods you should never let your kids eat:

1. Breakfast cereals

Put down that box!

No matter how adorable their colors and shapes are, breakfast cereals are no-nos. They may be “breakfast champions” for people who are always on the run, but not for your kids. Breakfast cereals are often laden with sugar—hello, calories and tooth decay! You may see some cereal boxes that boast whole grain goodness but the amount of added sugar that comes with the package is a serious deal breaker.

2. Fruit Juice Drinks (In a Box)

Fresh fruit juice—the liquid that comes from a real fruit, can be healthy when consumed in moderation. Fruits are chock-full of nutrients and as an added bonus they are “naturally” sweet. Fruit juice drinks, on the other hand, contain juice, water, sweeteners and perhaps other flavorings to make it taste natural. Here’s the thing: they are not natural.

But it says “No added sugar”

Did you check the list of ingredients? Most bottled beverages that promise calorie-free sweetness contain artificial sweeteners—some of the FDA-approved ones include aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin. According to The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, while these artificial sweeteners got FDA’s thumbs up, they might still be a problem because they may encourage bad eating habits (especially among children) by promoting a craving for sweetness.

pizza3. Pizza

Why is pizza not good for you again?

Oh, right! Because it’s high in saturated fat and sodium.

However, the love for this food is so intense that the Department of Agriculture released a report on its consumption. According to the report, pizza contributes about 6% of the total energy intake of children, 2 to 19 years old, and 4% for adults.

Experts would argue that pizza is not as bad for your health as you think it is. If fact, according to the report, it represents more than half of the total daily intake of lycopene, a potent antioxidant. The problem lies on when and how you eat it—hello, pizza abuse. According to Guiseppe Russolillo, president of the Spanish Association of Nutritionists, pizza is an artisanal product in majority of Italy. In US it’s more related to ‘junk food’ as it is often bought from a fast food chain or frozen at supermarkets.

Russolillo pointed that pizza shouldn’t be consumed more than 2 or 3 times a month and shouldn’t be part of your daily diet, even less for children. A healthy diet, one that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, is needed to support the nutrient demands during the period of growing development in children. No, adding extra vegetable toppings won’t do. Stop drooling over that pizza and set a good example!

4. French Fries

You knew this was coming.

Stop feeding your kids French fries, now.

Forget the “cool” parent act and know this: the deep-fried potato strips we all love are by nature high in calories and fat. Of course you already know that! But you’re still in a state of denial. Well, it has to stop. We all know that nutritionists and other health experts are not exactly fond of fries because they are high in sodium and oozing with artery-clogging fat. Here’s another shocker: it can cause cancer.

When a starchy food such as potato is cooked at a temperature above 248 degrees, it produces a chemical called acrylamide. According to National Cancer Institute, studies in rodent models have found that exposure to this chemical poses a risk for several types of cancer. Although evidence from human studies is incomplete, the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, considers acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen”.

girldonut5. Doughnuts

Fluffy doughnuts that taste a little like heaven have to go too—yep, even the ones that come in fun size.

It’s hardly news that doughnuts are not really the best candidates for a healthy breakfast. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating a healthy breakfast versus one that includes soda or doughnuts can help your child get more nutrients and perform better at school.

Doughnuts are most often than not laden with sugar and trans fat. We all know that sugar is not really BFFs with your kid’s teeth or weight. And sugar combined with trans fat? The worst!

Trans fats raise levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of the heart-healthy one (HDL). High-fat intake has been linked to coronary heart disease, in which plaques build up in the arteries, sometimes leading to a heart attack. Store-bought doughnuts contain up to 40% trans fat and about 200 to 300 calories mostly coming from sugar—yikes!

Sources:

Childhood overweight and obesity
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood/en/

Added sweeteners
http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Added-sweeteners.shtml

The people who eat pizza every day
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26255931

Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/acrylamide-in-food

5 reasons for your teen to eat breakfast
http://www.eatright.org/kids/article.aspx?id=6442477998

– Leanne Thompson is a writer and a blogger who has contributed to some of the most well-known Health, Fitness and Nutrition blogs. After struggling with her weight in her teenage years, Leanna was driven to undertake a Bachelors of Nutrition degree with the renowned Iowa State University to study the needs of a human body. Ever since, she has made it her life goal to spread awareness about the importance of healthy weight loss and the wellbeing of the people she meets – Find out more at: leanneknows.com

Reading Curriculums Have Been Released On Kids Activities Blog

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booksReading curriculums and birthday party ideas have been published on Kids Activities Blog. Teach the kids reading with Mom recommended curriculums that work.

Learning to read can be fun. Reading curriculums and cool birthday party ideas have been released on Kids Activities Blog. Teach the kids reading with Mom and kid tested supplies.

The reading programs are categorized by Moms who want to teach with a more hands off approach or hands on approach. The hands on approach includes programs from Siegfried Engelmann, from IEW’s PAL reading and writing, and from the Learning Pallet.

The hands off reading curriculum list includes the Starfall Reader program, the Time 4 Learning curriculum, and the Reading Egg. The list is endless and includes recommendations if for example multiple siblings are taught at the same time.

If all one needs is a little inspiration to throw an awesome birthday bash, look no further. Seasoned Moms are sharing their favorite ideas that do not require to spend a lot of money.

The best party ideas for boys include throwing an Angry Birds party by making the decor, food, treats, and games with items found around the house. Other party themes include a nautical birthday, a train party, a DIY Super Mario party, and of course a firefighter party.

An M&M basketball cake is easy to make and will be remembered for years to come by the sport loving child. An Olympic celebration, a Winnie the Poo themed party, and a dinosaur party are among the kids favorite themes. The list is endless and for kids of all ages.

For detailed instructions and to get additional fun ideas, check out Kids Activities Blog this week. Come get inspired to teach the kids how to read.

About Kids Activities Blog

Kids Activities Blog is a website created by two moms (who collectively have 9 children), Holly Homer and Rachel Miller. Their new book was published this spring by Page Street, 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! Kids Activities Blog is an interactive website that publishes fun things to do with kids twice a day. It is an amazing resource for moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers and teachers to find kid-friendly activities that create memories and sneak learning into the fun.

– Courtesy of PRWeb

The Little Gym Shares New Study That Shows Physical Activity Can Help Kids Academically

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Article courtesy of PRWeb…..

familydrivewayThe Little Gym is excited to share the findings from the Journal of Pediatrics that explores how physical activity can help children in academic settings as well.

At The Little Gym, we know that being active provides serious benefits. So it came as no surprise when a recent study confirmed that regular physical activity can improve a child’s academic success. The Journal of Pediatrics found that “Promoting physical activity that involves aerobic exercise and motor tasks during the school years may be important not only for health, but also for successful academic development.” The study monitored two groups of children; those that were engaging in regular physical activity in afterschool programs, and those who were not. The results showed that children who were physically active displayed substantial improvements in testing scores, memory, focus, and problem-solving skills.

How can you encourage your child to get and stay active? Show children that exercise is fun! Go for nightly walks, bike rides, or have a family dance party. Get children involved in age appropriate exercises and group activities like The Little Gym. The benefits of being active will help improve your child’s academic performance, social skills, health, and much more. Get up and get moving today!

To learn more about the study, click here.

Tips For Keeping Kids Active This Fall

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Thank you to PRWeb for supplying this article…..Please share your thoughts in the comments section…..

momkidsrunAs the temperatures get colder this fall, it’s easy for kids to gravitate towards indoor and less active activities, it’s important to keep them moving, find out how.

The times, they’re changing, and it’s becoming even more difficult to keep kids engaged, happy, and well out of our hair. This can be especially hard when the cooler temperatures of Autumn and Winter set in, driving kids and adults alike indoors. Many people have used their friends: television, computer, and tablet as a distraction for children when they need 30 minutes of peace.

As parents, it’s not always easy, but are kids being exposed to too much technology? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children spend an average of 7 hours a day using media including television, computer, internet, video games, and cell phones. In an ever growing media driven world, it’s becoming even more important to make sure your child is getting active every day.

So, how can children be encourage to get active? Show them that being active is fun. Exercise as a family by going for a nightly walk, jog, or having a family soccer game in the back yard. Getting children involved in activities outside of the home, (like The Little Gym) to help them appreciate a healthy and active lifestyle for years to come. Whether running, jumping, or tumbling, get moving with children to build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits.

Peter Rabbit Encourages Kids To Eat Healthy And Be Active Through New Special Edition Book And Education Campaign

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Thank you to PRWeb and the Alliance For A Healthier Generation for supplying this article…..

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, National AfterSchool Association, Nickelodeon and Penguin Young Readers Join Forces to Launch Peter Rabbit Hop to Health Campaign.

newspaperThe globally beloved Peter Rabbit character will be featured in a new health and wellness initiative, Hop to Health, launching this fall. The new kid-targeted campaign was created through a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the National AfterSchool Association, and Nickelodeon who joined forces with Penguin Young Readers to educate children and their families about the importance of healthy eating habits and being active.

This fall, 60,000 free copies of a new special edition Peter Rabbit book, On Your Mark, Get Set, Hop!, will be distributed to more than 300 out-of-school time providers across the United States. The books will be accompanied by posters and placemats, empowering children and families to develop healthy habits for life. This new book features art inspired by Nickelodeon’s Peter Rabbit CG-animated series, which is based on the characters created by Beatrix Potter in her classic children’s book collection The Tales of Peter Rabbit.

The Peter Rabbit Hop to Health campaign is an important part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s mission to combat childhood obesity. Childhood obesity has almost tripled in children and adolescents in the past 30 years. Today about one out of three children and adolescents (ages 2-19) in the United States is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for serious health problems.

“The Peter Rabbit brand is the perfect pathway to teaching kids and families about the importance of leading healthier lives,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “We are thrilled to be joining with the National AfterSchool Association, Nickelodeon and Penguin Young Readers Group to ensure out-school-time providers, families and kids themselves, have the tools and resources they need to develop lifelong, healthy habits.”

More than 15 percent of American youth are involved in afterschool programs and millions more engaged in summer camps, community centers and faith-based organizations. Out-of-school time providers are poised to create environments for young people where healthy eating and physical activity options are accessible and encouraged. They play an essential role in empowering youth to make healthy choices and become leaders and advocates for healthy changes.

In addition to educating children and families on the importance of healthy living, the campaign also provides out-of-school time staff with fun and easy-to-use tools to talk to children and families about the importance of eating healthy and staying active. The five tips the Peter Rabbit Hop to Health campaign teaches about healthy, active living include:

* Eat your fruits and vegetables with every meal, including snacks.

* Get up, move and sweat every day.

* Sleep for at least 9 hours every night.

* Drink water every day.

* Get outside and play! Cut down on the time you spend watching TV or playing on the computer.

“Out-of-school time programs play a vital role in whole child development and contributing to healthy communities. Afterschool professionals continue to look for innovative ways to help children learn about health and wellness and to increase literacy skills,” said Gina Warner, ‎Executive Director at National Afterschool Association. “The Peter Rabbit Hop to Health campaign effectivity combines these two key areas, creating meaningful experiences for students. The NAA is pleased to partner with these great organizations to provide resources aligned with the NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards.”

Additionally, Nickelodeon will support the Peter Rabbit Hop to Health campaign through its social media channels to spread the message of healthy living to millions of children. Nick’s CG-animated Peter Rabbit preschool series is produced in conjunction with Silvergate Media and follows the adventures of the mischievous Peter Rabbit and his best friends Benjamin Bunny and Lily Bobtail, as well as many of the much-loved and iconic Beatrix Potter characters.

“Nickelodeon is pleased to join this effort to reach kids across the county with tools they can use to make healthy lifestyle choices,” said Jean Margaret Smith, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Nickelodeon Group. “Afterschool organizations are increasingly the place where kids are learning good habits, and the iconic Peter Rabbit connects with kids on being active, fit and fun.”

“We are so excited to introduce Peter Rabbit to new readers across the US. Our partnership with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the National AfterSchool Association, and Nickelodeon is a perfect alignment to educate kids and their families about wellness through Peter Rabbits’s fun and healthy habits,” said Francesco Sedita, President and Publisher of Warne, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers.

The 60,000 books will be distributed to more than 300 out-of-school time providers across the United States enrolled in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Out-of-School Time Initiative including more than 100 Boys & Girls Clubs and National Recreation and Park Association sites across the country. The Alliance’s Out-of-School Time Initiative provides out-of-school time programs with evidence-based professional development and the processes, tools and resources needed to increase children’s access to healthier foods and physical activity.

Parents are encouraged to visit the Peter Rabbit website (http://www.peterrabbit.com/us) for free resources from the Peter Rabbit Hop to Health campaign to empower children to lead healthy lives.

Out-of-school time staff should visit the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (http://www.healthiergeneration.org) and National AfterSchool Association (http://www.naaweb.org) websites for fun and easy-to-use tools to educate children about the importance of healthy eating habits and being active.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments for millions of children. To learn more and join the movement, visit HealthierGeneration.org.

About the National AfterSchool Association
NAA’s mission is to foster development, provide education, and encourage advocacy for the out-of-school-time community. It is the membership organization for professionals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during out-of-school hours. In 2011 NAA created Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Out-of-School Time Programs to provide evidence-based, practical Quality Standards to foster the best possible nutrition and physical activity outcomes for children.

About Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon, now in its 35th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 19 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B).

About Penguin Young Readers
Penguin Young Readers is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Philomel, Puffin, Speak, Firebird, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Viking, Razorbill, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jay Asher, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Ally Condie, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Sarah Dessen, Anna Dewdney, John Flanagan, John Green, Anthony Horowitz, Oliver Jeffers, Mike Lupica, Richelle Mead, Richard Peck, Patricia Polacco, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as The Little Engine That Could, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Strega Nona, Madeline, Mad Libs, Alex Rider, the Rangers Apprentice, Skippyjon Jones, Flower Fairies, and Pippi Longstocking, among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Group LLC, a Penguin Random House company.

Kids Outgrowing Their Skates

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By John Harmata

askmredgeSummer is over and I signed my children up for skating classes again. I tried their skates on just a couple days ago and they felt fine. Today at the rink they told me their feet are hurting. For most parents, this is the last thing they want to hear from their kids, especially if they just recently purchased new skates for them.

No need to worry just yet because chances are your children haven’t grown out of them. It may be just the way in which they are putting them on their feet; in a hurry and not paying attention to what they are doing. Remember, these aren’t tennis shoes you’re putting on, so take time to put them on properly.

How do you check to see if skates fit or not? First check to see if they are putting them on properly. This can be done by following a simple check list:

• Loosen up the laces all the way down to the tips of the toes.
• Pull the tongue forward.
• Place the foot into the boot and kick back into the heel of the boot
• While the foot is still pointed upward, begin lacing from the bottom, all the way to the top. Do not put your foot flat down till you’ve totally laced them up.

Now stand up and see how they feel. If it still feels as if your toes are touching the front of the boot, then proceed with the following:

• Pull out the insoles and check if the front of them has curled backwards
• If so, cut off the backward curl with a pair of scissors, place them back in the skates and lace them up again.

If all is well and good, fine. If not, guess what? The boots no longer fit and it’s time to be measured for a new pair.

Note: Don’t confuse feeling tight in the width with growing in length. Many times I have skaters who say their feet have always felt tight in the width but just recently have become worse. Often times it is because they were originally fitted longer in length to accommodate width. Now that they have grown in length the widest part of their foot is closer to the front of the boot, making it tighter. When this happens, parents are often surprised to hear that their child still needs the same length boot, but much wider.

– Guest author, John Harmata

Rough And Tumble: Why Kids Need To Be Involved With Sports

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By Katherine Smith

boyssportsI have to start out by admitting to a little bias. I grew up rough and tumble. There were no contact sports that I didn’t try. Any type of ball and any size field was provocation enough to make a friend, and invent a game. Though I knew kids who had fallen and broken an arm or twisted an ankle, the thought of personal injury never really crossed my mind as a serious possibility. I was well-trained and very lucky.

That admission aside, I still believe it is vital that kids be allowed, encouraged, and maybe even cajoled into taking up a sporting activity. Sports offer too many benefits to be ignored. Not only should kids be encouraged to try a sport, they should try several. Different sports offer different benefits at different stages of physical development.

While more experienced young athletes may enjoy a few innings of hardball, younger kids just starting out will benefit more from slow-pitch softball. It is easy to look online and find the right equipment at the right price for your kids, whatever the sport. Online resources make it easy to locate specific equipment that is well suited to your kid’s size and abilities. There are almost no barriers to entry. Countless baseball diamonds, football and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts are waiting for the arrival of your kids.

Here are a few reasons why you should help them get there:

Athletes Are More Durable

girlsoccerCounterintuitively, one of the best reasons to get your kids into rough and tumble sports is that it makes them more durable and less accident prone. In contact sports such as wrestling, football, and marshal arts, one of the first things a student learns is how to fall. That is because over the course of her training, there will be a lot of falling and being thrown. No one will last very long in a sport if they have not mastered the art of falling without getting hurt.

Athletes are also highly motivated to stay healthy. You don’t get to be in the lineup if you are in a cast. The kids that learn how to fall early, are far less likely to do so. When they do, it is far less likely to result in injury. It all comes down to learning how to control one’s body. Few things outside of sports and a good coach can do that job better.

Athletes Learn Teamwork

We are both physical and social creatures. Team sports teach us how to make the most of both those aspects of our humanity. Harmonious society is not a natural thing. Kids are lousy at it. There is nothing more selfish in all the universe as a newborn babe. We have to learn to recognize and respect the needs and wants of other people. It is not easy and takes a long time.

Team sports, for many kids, is one of the first real lessons in society. They learn to trust and share and sacrifice for something bigger than their own stats. They learn how to share both victory and defeat. They also learn that tribe is not limited to gender, ethnicity, or creed. Prejudices do not thrive in a team dynamic.

Athletics Provides Physical and Mental Challenge

boysoccerIt is a pitiable human being who lives his entire life without ever being pushed to his limits. How strong are you? If you do not push against a heavy weight, you will never know. How far can you run? How fast? For how long? Without physical challenge, you can never fully know yourself or your capabilities.

The same applies to mental challenges. Currently, chess is considered a sport. But all sports push us to solve problems rapidly. The mind and body have to work together in concert to shake the tackle or slide into Second. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, there is someone else who is trying just as hard to stop you. Learning how to meet the challenges in sports prepares us to meet those challenges in life.

Becoming rich and famous is no part of why sports is valuable. Becoming more durable, a better team player, and a more effective problem solver are, however, excellent reasons to size your kid for a new pair of cleats.