Tuesday March 11, 2014
I remember how exciting it was when my children reached big milestones of physical development, like learning to walk and ride a bike. Even now, they continue to impress me with what they can do on ice skates! But did you know there are many different types of motor skills that kids learn over time? Here's the rundown:
And if you're looking for ways to promote physical literacy and development in your kids, try these games (they're fun no matter what):
Photo: Catherine Holecko
Friday March 7, 2014
Unfortunately, we've all heard the ugly stories about sports parents who take their passion too far: The ones who yell at coaches, officials, and even kids (or worse, get physically aggressive at a child's game or practice). So what can we do about it? Two things: First, set a good example by displaying good sportsmanship throughout your child's season. While not every parent will get the message, some will--and so will your child, and that's what truly matters.
You can also sign the new Sports Parent Pledge from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, and share it with others. It's a simple way to declare your intention to be a positive part of the youth sports community. Once you've signed up, you'll receive a series of 6 weekly emails with helpful advice for sports parents.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
If you follow me on Facebook or subscribe to my newsletter, you know that last week my daughter competed in a national championship for her sport (synchronized skating). I updated Facebook once or twice a day with reports on how we were doing.
While the final outcome for the team was disappointing, all in all the girls had a wonderful time. And in part, that came from the way the event cemented their team bond. Sure, they've been practicing, traveling, and competing together all season, but this trip gave them a lot of quality time together and some very special bonding experiences. Already, they can't wait for next season!
Photo: Catherine Holecko
Monday March 3, 2014
As National Nutrition Month begins, let's look at some big announcements on childhood health and obesity that hit the news recently.
First, progress in preschoolers: The obesity rate for 2- to 5-year-olds dropped significantly over the past 10 years, says a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In 2003-04, the prevalence of obesity among kids that age was 14 percent. As of 2011-12, that prevalence dropped to just over 8 percent. While the CDC says the "precise reasons for the decline" are not clear, several factors may have contributed, including better nutrition and physical activity standards in child care; higher breastfeeding rates; and lower consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Next, new school wellness standards: Schools can't feed kids junk food--and kids shouldn't see junk food ads at school either. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack joined First Lady Michelle Obama to announce new, proposed guidelines governing foods and drinks marketed to kids at school. "Our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren't bombarded with ads for junk food," Mrs. Obama said in a statement. "Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn't be undone by unhealthy messages at school."
And finally, new nutrition labels: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed changes to the familiar black-and-white nutrition label found on many packaged foods. The label has been around for 20 years, but has only been updated once during that time. If the changes are approved, consumers would see more information about added sugars; updated daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and Vitamin D; more accurate serving size information; and a more prominent display of the item's calorie count. (I pinned a sample label here so you can take a look.)