September 20, 2017

Stress-Relief in a Bag by Nicole Clancy

Ever feel so overwhelmed that you can’t even think straight? Planning an outing with a little one takes exactly that…planning! Three experts share their user-friendly, everyday child care tips for insuring we have all we need… in one bag. A little pre-planning allows moms and dads to travel about town with greater ease, and less stress. These simple tips will feed your little one’s mind, challenge their body and invigorate their spirit.
Balance it. Barbara Bushman, PhD Professor at Missouri State University and Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, recommends packing a bean bag or two for every day outings. They are a light-weight and portable choice for an entertaining toy on-the-run. “Balancing the bag on top of his/her head and standing with both feet together, or placing the bag on the floor and hopping over it offer a coordination challenge guaranteed to keep your little one interested.” Dr. Bushman says. She adds “bean bags provide control and safety, whereas a ball can roll away.”
The beeper rules. Eliminate the struggle of when to say when, by trying this trick from Brett Klika, Director of Athletics at Fitness Quest 10 and author/researcher of children and athletics. Pick up a child friendly watch at your local convenience store, and show him/her how to fasten about the wrist. Set the countdown timer at ten minutes to go. “Setting the timer gives the child an objective boundary for certain behavior.” He further explains, “your child will learn to value time and since they have the watch, feel as though they have more control or input.” Klika continues, “this process removes the power-struggle and places time accountability in their hands,” The result is no tears, no dreaded melt-downs and no more negotiations.
Game on. Stashing a deck of cards in your bag provides fun memory or coordination games to distract little ones while running errands. Klika, advises “toss a card in the air and challenge your child to catch it. Or play games with the numbers. For example, “pick two cards and calculate the sum of the two numbers.” He continues, “or choose a few cards and challenge them to remember the order.” Your imagination is the limit to activities using a deck of cards.
Fun with Bubbles. Pack a small container of bubbles to help focus your little one’s energy. Jan Schroeder, PhD Department of Kinesiology at Cal State University Long Beach recommends, “alternate blowing bubbles and chasing them across the lawn.” Counting or adding bubbles as they appear and then subtracting as they pop is another fun option to provide practice learning numbers. Focusing energy and attention on a physical or mental activity will provide a welcome distraction while waiting for an appointment.

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