Comment

Establishing A Healthy Summer Routine For Your Kids

IMG_7815.jpg

Establishing A Healthy Summer Routine For Your Kids
by Anya Willis (guest contributor)

It’s easy for children to let themselves go a bit during the summer. When their regular routine based around school is no longer there, all those good habits you have helped them develop can disappear as well. It’s OK to let them slip to some extent - who wouldn’t - but you should at least be making sure they are getting plenty of water, healthy food and a good night’s sleep. Combine this with a useful and fulfilling activity like community service, and you have a recipe for a healthy, productive summer that still allows the kids to unwind and reboot.

 Drinking Water

You should make sure that each child has a reusable water bottle they can fill up when they need it. If you’re worried about your local tap water, invest in a high-quality water filter and teach your older children to refill it. According to The Guardian, our over-reliance on disposable plastic bottles is as bad for the environment as climate change. 

You can also leave frozen fruit in the freezer so they can make themselves a refreshing, fruity glass of water whenever they want one. This blog post explains the best step-by-step way to do this.

Eating Well

Prepare batches of healthy meals ahead of time so they can easily heat them up for lunch: these big batch summer recipes by The Kitchn should give you some inspiration. When you are prepping and cooking these, get your kids to observe and participate. By the end of the summer, you may be able to leave them with a few ingredients so they can put something together by themselves. 

Of course, you should also limit the amount of snacks you buy for the house, as they will be tempted to eat these instead. This doesn’t have to mean a summer without delicious frozen treats, however. Here are 24 recipes for healthy ice cream pops that the kids will love.

Sleeping Well

Many parents are faced with the question of whether to let their child stay up late and sleep in during the summer. The fact is, it can be harmless to let them shift their sleep schedule by a few hours, but doing this makes it harder for them to re-adjust when school starts. Be flexible and allow for some later bedtimes and morning alarms, but keep an eye out for dramatic sleep schedules (e.g.: staying up all night and sleeping all morning) and don’t allow these to become a habit.

If your child is sleeping plenty, but still waking up groggy, they may not be getting quality sleep. Assess your children’s sleep environment, including the age of their mattress. If the mattress is 7 to 10 years old, it's likely time to replace it. Scour online guides to help you get a better idea of what to purchase as a replacement for any sagging, old and worn out mattresses in your home. 

 Getting Them Involved

Every child gets excited at the prospect of not doing anything for several months, and most of them eventually regret it when they get bored. Many parents opt to send their kids to educational summer camps, which can be an excellent option if you can afford it. 

If your children don’t like the idea of camp, you can sign up your children for a local community project. This gives your children an opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people and help out within their community. Furthermore, studies have shown that teens who engage in voluntary or community-led work are less likely to use drugs or become pregnant and develop a strong work ethic and leadership skills later in adult life. 

Ultimately, it is important to have some sense of perspective when planning your children’s summer. They should have plenty of time to relax, as school can be stressful. However, kids are not always the best decision-makers when left entirely to their own devices. Nudge them gently in the right direction, while giving them enough space and independence to learn healthy habits by themselves, and you may find your child wraps up the summer a more mature, responsible person.

Comment

Comment

Exploring Outdoors! - A Guide for Parents and their Kids

A World of Their Own: Safe and Fun Outdoor Exploration for Kids
by Anya Willis (guest contributor)

Modern-day children may spend hours playing video games and staring at screens every day, but in one sense, things haven’t changed: Kids still love playing in the dirt and climbing trees. Technology has fostered a lifestyle change that encourages children to stay and play indoors. Consequently, there’s a risk that an entire generation is losing a connection to nature. Playing outdoors makes children stronger, more confident, and more knowledgeable about how to avoid dangers outside.

Some researchers have found that playing outside improves cognitive abilities, benefits motor skills, and builds cardiovascular health. Discovery, learning to overcome obstacles, and playing cooperatively with friends are all components of a healthy, nurturing childhood, but these and other factors fall by the wayside when children limit themselves to playing indoors. Having fun outside and learning about nature must take place in a safe environment. The responsibility of adults who have it in their hands is to transform their children’s world into a place of wonder and discovery.

A soft landing

If there’s one thing you can depend on when kids are playing, it’s that someone will have an accident. That often means falling, especially outdoors. For a child, exploration means experiencing new places, getting out into the yard and peering under and behind things, whether it’s under a bush or behind a tree. Make sure your children are exploring on a grass surface which will cushion your children when they fall much better than a gravel or cement play area. So exploring in the backyard can be safer than many of the traditional games that kids play when they’re out back.

Police the grounds

It goes without saying that you’ll be on the scene watching carefully as your kids poke around outside. Even so, children are genius at finding trouble even if you’re playing close attention, so take a close look around your yard for anything that poses a danger. If you have little ones, try seeing the space from their perspective by getting down on your knees. You might see sharp branches, thorn-bearing weeds or plants, or poison ivy, dangers you might miss by walking around and surveying it all from higher up.  Look for any sharp objects that may have been overlooked, like gardening tools or pointy objects. 

Clear the way

If your property has lots of vegetation, try to prune away low-hanging branches or limbs that could hit a small child in the eye. Clear away any large sticks or rocks your children could trip over as they run around. Bear in mind that little ones don’t always watch where they’re going, and are easily distracted by things that attract their interest. That’s a recipe for a twisted ankle or stubbed toe.

Family-friendly activities

Children learn a great deal from engaging in family-friendly activities with their parents and siblings. These are memorable times that young children tend to retain and internalize. Pitching a tent and camping out helps kids appreciate and understand their outdoor environment. There’s nothing quite like looking up at a sky filled with stars and wondering about the nature of the universe, and our place in it. It’s a fun and educational experience that doesn’t require hours of travel that will always stay with your child.

Nature trip

Take a bike journey around your neighborhood or in a nearby park, where kids can experience wildlife visually and aurally. Have a contest in which you and your children try to identify as many birds and animals as you can. You can have much the same experience by making a bird feeder and writing down all the species of birds that drop by.

Childhood exploration is fundamental to a child’s development. There’s a fascinating world just beyond your back door, a world your kids can see, touch, and smell. Remember that providing for safe exploration and learning helps lay the groundwork for your children’s growth.

Comment

R.E.D Missions Trip.

Before descending into heaven Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. One of the many ways the Teen Center seeks to build the kingdom of heaven is by empowering the youth in our community. While Kaleo helps us break down the word of God on a weekly basis, the R.E.D program allows us to hone in on a group of students that are seeking to grow in their knowledge of Christ in order to bring heaven on earth. R.E.D stands for Restoring and Equipping Disciples. We know that we are called by God through His mercy and restorative power in our lives. It is because of this that we strive to live a life that is compelled out of the glorious riches He lavishes upon us. Every year, the RED program provides students with the tools to be leaders not only in the four walls of the Teen Center, but also in their schools and neighborhoods.  

This year our theme was “Streams of Living Water”. Inspired by the book written by Richard Foster, the last 5 months our students have studied 5 different streams in our relationship with God. As we conclude our year together, we will be taking off to Oakland. On our week long trip will be collaborating with different ministries that will give us a glimpse of the places God longs to restore in the Bay area.

As we prepare to leave, here is how you can contribute. We would ask that you come alongside us in prayer.

Needs:

  1. Pray for safe traveling. We will take off SundayJune 26th and return July 1st. 
  2.  Pray for unity. Pray that our group would bond through both service and time spent in the word.
  3.  Pray for courage and boldness to embody the power of the spirit that we know lives in our students. 
  4. Pray for hearts to become sensitive and broken to the things that break for Gods heart.
  5. Pray for joy and strength to push through the week. Pray that hearts and bodies would remain strong and not weary. 

We look forward to all that God has in store for us this week. Stay tuned for more information about our students and our trip.

Trip to Big Bear at the beginning of the year.