Rev Up for a Fantastic Summer

As summer approaches, your thoughts focus on what you’ll be doing as the weather warms. You think with pleasure of the upcoming possibilities: barbeques, picnics in the park, outings to the beach, frolicking with your family and pets in the back yard, an exciting vacation, and more.

But how are you going to muster up the energy to add all these fun activities into your already busy schedule? After languishing in the cozy house all winter, just thinking of this flurry of activity tires you out!

Try these tips to pump up your energy for summer fun:

  1. Make a commitment to yourself. Look in the mirror and make a vow that you’ll take part in more activities this summer. You’ll worry less about keeping the house and yard in meticulous form and doing the laundry and washing the car on the same days every week. Commit to enjoying a summer full of interesting recreation.
  2. Consider your options. Your kids want to take that 4 hour trip to the new theme park at least once. Your partner wants both of you to join the local boat club and go boating twice monthly. You’ve got one friend who wants you to take golf lessons with him and another who hopes you’ll attend a monthly art discussion group throughout summer.
    • Ponder the type of recreation you’d like to be involved in. Take time to consider which proposed activities you’d enjoy the most. Which activities really call to you?
  3. Get your energy flowing by exercising now if you didn’t start early in spring. To increase your energy levels, try a brisk walk outdoors every day. With your doctor’s blessing, increase your walk by 5 or 10 minutes each week until you reach 45-60 minutes. As you walk and increase your speed you’ll notice you’ve got more energy and stamina to face the day.
    • You’ll be full of vigor by the time summer rolls around.
  4. Use positive self-talk to mentally prepare for activities. Making statements to yourself like, “I’m looking forward to spending more time with my kids this summer” and “I will make an effort to stay in good physical shape so I’ll have more energy” will ensure you maintain a positive mindset and continue putting in effort to have the best summer ever.
  5. Converse with your partner. Hear their ideas on what they want to do this summer. Share your wish to be more actively involved with your loved ones and friends. Make some plans together to enrich your relationship while you enjoy the weather and have fun.
  6. Have gratitude. Recognize you have your family, friends, and health How lucky are you to have the choice to spend more time engaging in activities you love with your family? Very lucky. Look forward to the summer with gratitude in your heart.
  7. Reflect on your efforts. Because you’re changing how you’ll approach life this summer, give yourself some props. Stoking your energy to have an active season while continuing as a busy parent and worker is quite a feat. Yet, you believe enjoying some time with the people you love when the weather is beautiful is worth your effort.

Summer is about to arrive. Isn’t it time to re-invigorate and enjoy a fantastic summer? Vow to embrace your fun-loving side. Think about how you’d like to experience some new and different recreation this season. Exercise often to increase stamina. Practice the cognitive strategy of positive self-talk to pump up energy and prepare for lots of summer activities.

Talk to your partner about both of your wishes as the weather heats up. Recognize what you have and be thankful for it. Start now to get revved up for the summer; you’ll enjoy your best season yet this year!

Family Fitness: Staying Healthy Together

In these days of fast food dinners and hours spent sitting at computers and video games, families need more than ever to work together to stay healthy. As a parent, you have a responsibility to teach your kids the importance of being physically active every day.

Exercising together as a family ensures kids will grow up with this healthy practice deeply ingrained. In addition, when your family shares time together, regardless of the activity, it also secures and reinforces emotional bonds.

Be creative when it comes to planning family fitness activities. You might be surprised at how positively your family responds to new types of exercise together!

Examine these ideas for family fitness and commit to trying some of them:

1. Bike-riding. If your bicycles are gathering dust in the garage or shed, clean those bicycles and get them tuned up. Then, plan a family bike ride twice weekly.

• Vary the times of day you ride until you find the hour that fits best for everyone. Mornings on the weekends and in the summer might work. Alternately, try late afternoons before dinner or early evenings after the meal.

2. Swimming. Most children love playing in a swimming pool. Once all your kids know how to swim, take the family to the pool a couple of times a week, weather permitting.

• Swimming expends many calories and provides plenty of opportunities afterward for the family to just hang out in the pool to talk and spend quality time together.

3. Alternate walking and running. Sure, a family walk is a nice, leisurely activity. But what if you changed it up a bit and alternated walking 3 minutes then running 3 minutes? Most kids love to run, and would even happily race you for the few minutes you’d be picking up the pace.

4. Mini-biathlon. If your family likes to run and bike, bike and swim, or run and swim, plan your own mini-biathlon. Parents can design easy and fun training schedules for everyone.

• Engage the entire family in planning, training, and completing your mini-biathlon. You’ll spark your children’s interests in physical activities while sharing special moments together.

5. Calisthenics, Yoga, or Tai Chi. It’s nice to have some ideas for indoor fitness activities in case of a rainy day. Depending on the age of your children, many types of exercise can provide an enjoyable family fitness experience indoors.

• Stretches, modified push-ups, sit-ups and leg lifts will all provide physical challenges for you and your children when there’s inclement weather. Practicing Yoga or Tai Chi is also challenging and healthy without being too boisterous for inside the house.

• Use mats or blankets on the floor to make floor exercises more comfortable. You’ll get in some quality time and conversation with the kids while doing indoor exercises as a family.

6. Dance DVDs. One of the most enjoyable, carefree fitness activities to do with your kids is dancing. After all, who doesn’t love to dance?

• There are tons of dance DVDs on the market right now. From dancing to the oldies to learning to salsa to trying new hip-hop moves, you’ll surely find some DVDs that your family will love to do together.

Demonstrate that fitness is fun, challenging and invigorating and you’ll help your kids develop real excitement about staying active! When you educate your children from a young age about fitness and the advantages of staying in shape, these lessons will endure for their whole lives.

Fall Home Cleaning Projects Provide Teachable Moments for Your Kids

As summer shifts into fall, the kids return to school and you settle in for whatever the season brings.

For many of us, this means tasks around the house. Including the children in home cleaning will provide you with plenty of opportunities for teachable moments.

Whether you plan to clean from floor to ceiling or just do a few little things, you can use some of your fall projects to educate your kids about a variety of topics.

Cleaning Out Drawers

One task that many parents face with disdain is cleaning out drawers. However, you can use this project as a wonderful way to introduce young children to sorting and counting. Learning to group “like” things together is an important aspect of developing math skills.

For older kids, cleaning out drawers helps to sharpen organizational skills as they must decide how to store their clothing in an orderly fashion. Parents might offer suggestions or reinforce the choices their kids make when cleaning out drawers.

Raking Leaves

Teaching kids about how work pays off will put them on the road to work success in the future. One fall project that demonstrates how to have fun and get results from hard work is raking leaves.

Kids of all ages can join in. Parents can assign “jobs” depending on the kids’ ages. You can teach about taking responsibility for their jobs, the importance of cooperation, and the pride of getting the desired results from your work.

While you’re raking leaves, feel free to educate your children about what happens to plants and animals when the weather starts cooling down. Ask questions about what they’ve studied in school that may relate to what you’re doing or to the changes that occur during fall.

Rearranging Furniture

Including your children in this home project will provide plenty of teachable moments.

Have a simple measuring tool, such as a sewing tape measure, that can be easily manipulated by little fingers. Assign jobs of measuring furniture width, height and depth to the kids. These jobs pertain to all types of subjects: math, algebra and maybe even geometry.

Encourage your children to visualize how the room will look with certain furniture placed in various ways. If it’s their own room, ask them what arrangement they’d like most. Then, discuss how and whether their plans will work.

If you like, you can even have the kids sketch out their floor plans on graph paper as a simple introduction to design and engineering. Of course, you’ll want to show the kids about cleaning before you place furniture in its new space.

Cleaning the Garage

In cleaning the garage, as in any task around the house, you can talk about a positive quality that your child has and reinforce their efforts.

Also, encouraging your kids to think of “green” ways to re-use or recycle items you no longer want provides a fantastic way for them to learn about reducing your family’s carbon footprint.

Discuss local charities and swap meets where you can take items you don’t want. You’re educating your children about those charities and why they’re necessary. Also, you’re teaching about the social agencies your community has to offer.

Including your kids in your seasonal tasks may take a little more time and effort on your part. However, they’ll grow up loving to learn if you infuse education into working around the house. Increase your children’s chances for success by using fall home projects to provide teachable moments.