Blog Posts by Yahoo! Contributor Network

  • 5 Signs of Vitamin Deficiency in Children

    Is your child getting enough vitamin C?Is your child getting enough vitamin C?Vitamins are more than just little pills to pop; they are the building blocks and support system of our bodies. Well-rounded, healthy diets can provide all a growing body needs, but the reality of our busy lifestyles and sometimes finicky eating patterns can lead to vitamin deficiency. Knowing what to look for is part of the battle. The following signs of vitamin deficiency in children are by no means complete, but it will give you a good idea of potential problems.

    Signs your child lacks Vitamin D
    Vitamin D deficiency in children is a common problem. My niece was recently diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency after exhibiting some puzzling symptoms. Signs that your child is not producing enough include late teething, irritability, poor growth, and muscle cramps. Seizures and breathing difficulties could also be traced back to insufficient vitamin D.

    Combat vitamin D deficiency with exposure to sunlight, milk, cheese, yogurt, and egg yolks.

    Signs your child lacks Vitamin A

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  • Fun Facts About Gymnastics

    Gymnasts pepare their hands with chalk.Gymnasts pepare their hands with chalk.Gymnastics are taken as part of a class, an after-school program, or first experienced in gym class. Many kids have had the shared experience of walking on a balance beam, tumbling, and spring boarding over a pommel horse. Gymnastics may be part of your life again, thanks to your daughter, son, niece, or an interest in the Olympics. Explore and share these fun facts about gymnastics.

    Who invented the leotard?

    The leotard is the gymnastics uniform. Leotards are comfortable, form-fitting, and they give gymnasts and dancers freedom of movement. The leotard is named after French acrobat Jules Leotard (1842-1870). He performed the first flying trapeze act on Nov. 12, 1859 while wearing a body-hugging costume.

    Leotard called his costume a "maillot," French for jersey. It was more of a body stocking, complete with long sleeves and full legs. These body stockings were typically worn under clothes, but Leotard used the garment to show off his athletic physique. By 1886 the word leotard was

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  • The Homework Monster

    On the way back home after dropping off the boys this morning, I navigated the jumble of high-schoolers' cars descending upon the parking lot mere seconds from the bell. One car had its windows down, a familiar song pumping over its speakers.

    I remember sitting in the back of my cousin's car with noise-canceling headphones on in an attempt to concentrate as I finished my homework while the same song played. (Clearly, those headphones didn't really cancel noise; at least not the volume teenagers play their music.)

    No, I wasn't irresponsible. I just didn't finish the homework even after staying up all night. It used to be that I could always stay up a bit later to finish (I'll just try harder!) but when I realized there was no way I could possibly finish, even without sleep, I panicked. Of course, I had more overnight study sessions in my future, but the quality of the work I produced was questionable. (One day I dragged my pencil from the top of the page to the bottom as I nodded off Read More »from The Homework Monster
  • Avoid Over-Scheduling Your Child: How Many Activities Do You Allow?

    Do you need people to keep your child's calendar straight?Do you need "people" to keep your child's calendar straight? Are there so many activities that it is easy to lose track? Do you ever wonder if you are over-scheduling the youngster? If early mornings and late nights are the norm in your family, your child may be overdoing it. Deciding how many activities to permit per child is not a question that carries a decisive answer. Nevertheless, there are some virtually universal gauges that make arrival at your personal number possible.

    Take Stock of the Youngster's School Schedule

    Elementary school is pretty much over in the early afternoon. Come middle school, there are suddenly sports leagues and other extracurricular activities the school might offer. By the time high school comes around, clubs, study groups, band rehearsals, athletic meets, and college preparation projects seem to turn the school day into a 12-hour day job.

    Tip: Adjust the number of extracurricular activities based on the number of school activities your

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  • 10 Ways to Cheer on Your Kids Without Being Annoying and Embarrassing

    Learn how to root for your kids without being annoying, making a scene, or otherwise undermining their sense of cool. Learn how to root for your kids without being annoying, making a scene, or otherwise undermining their sense of cool. Is there anything more embarrassing than a mom screaming on the sidelines of the soccer field? Not if you are a preteen or teen. How about the verbose parent at the spelling bee? Children love to have their parents' attention, but sometimes this attention makes them want to sink into the ground. Learn how to root for your kids without being annoying, making a scene, or otherwise undermining their sense of cool. Best of all, become confident in relating to your child as he grows older and leaves the apron strings behind; ten ways to cheer on your kids make it possible.

    1. Cheer for the Entire Team

    Screaming at the top of your lungs whenever your son gets the ball is annoying -- not only to your son, but also to the other players. Adopt the entire team and cheer on all the players. Know the kids' names. Your child will be cheered on by your presence and enthusiasm for the sport; the team is sure to appreciate your support.

    2. Applaud but Keep Screams to a Minimum

    Does your

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  • 5 Ways Extracurricular Activities Benefit Kids

    What are the benefits of extracurricular activities for your kids?What are the benefits of extracurricular activities for your kids?When my daughters were young, I'll admit that extracurricular activities were as much for me as they were for my kids. I appreciated the chance to socialize with other adults. I sometimes got a tiny break. Even if I had to participate with my infant, toddler, or preschooler, I didn't have to be in charge. Extracurricular activities benefited me, as well as my kids.

    As my children get older and begin to participate in extracurricular activities without mom by their side, I've really begun to notice just how much these after-school activities really do for my daughters.

    Social Interaction

    Interacting with peers in a non-educational setting is often lost after a long school day, lengthy homework assignments, and the increased use of technology among today's youth. If nothing else, children are interacting with one another in an entirely different way than I did when I was a child. It's not good or bad, but it's different. And there's room in the schedule for my daughters to sit

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  • The Curse of the Overscheduled Kid (and Mom)

    How do you balance activities, work schedules, and family time?How do you balance activities, work schedules, and family time?Life with kids is like a seesaw. Sometimes the activity level is high; other times it's low. Sometimes, when we're lucky, it's just right. Busy moms try to balance kids' sports practice and games, swimming lessons, special school events, and play dates with their own demanding work schedules. One way to balance it all is to plan ahead without over scheduling, all while still making time for unstructured activities.

    What happened to all that free time?
    When my six year old told me he wouldn't have enough free time once baseball started and he was still taking swimming lessons, I chuckled. As an adult, it's hard to realize that kids in school don't have endless hours of free time. By the time he gets off the bus he has enough time to unpack his backpack, relax for an hour, have dinner and then finish his homework. On a night of baseball practice he'll be rushed out the door and then come home in time to have a shower, a quick snack and go to bed.

    Back-to-back scheduling by season
    I try not

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  • Get Kids Involved in Chipping in for Their Own Sports Gear

    Make your kids chip in for their own gear.Make your kids chip in for their own gear.My daughters are still young, and I've already heard myself utter that stereotypical phrase, "Money doesn't grow on trees." But the fact is, for my daughters, money might appear to do just that. They don't make the connection between work and money. Will they understand that if we don't make a contribution, we don't get to choose how to spend our money? My husband and I were determined to make it clear by getting kids to chip in for their own gear.

    Every little bit counts.

    Just because your son can't pay for all of his hockey pads, equipment, and stick doesn't mean there's no opportunity for him to pitch in. Every little bit helps. Whether your daughter needs to pay for her mouth guard or her lacrosse stick, requiring her contribution means she'll take some ownership over her team experience.

    Help at home.

    My parents never required my sisters and I to have a job while we were students as long as we kept our grades up. But that doesn't mean that we didn't need to contribute

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  • How to Start a Club at Your Kid's School

    Find out ways to start a club at your child's school.Find out ways to start a club at your child's school.Did you ever wish your kid's school had more clubs? If your child is interested in a club that does not exist at her school, you can jump-start the club. You'll need to pick something that interests your child and does not overlap with school and community offerings for the same age group. The club could be an alternative to or in addition to seasonal sports teams. As parents, we can have a say in the type of clubs offered at school.

    A book club, for example, immerses young readers in the story. Early readers should be reading on their own and with parents for 30 minutes each day. After a long day of school for him and work for you, doing any extra work beyond the reading can be difficult. As parents we're also supposed to help our kids with story recall, by telling us about the story, without prompting them with questions. A school book club gives students and parents a more in-depth way to explore book themes without rushing.

    Drum up interest
    - Talk to other parents from your

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  • Life Lessons Learned from Childhood Competitive Sports

    Baseball offers many chances to learn life lessons.Baseball offers many chances to learn life lessons.Kids today have an incredible variety of sports and extracurricular activities to choose to participate in, from the 'old-school' standards like baseball, softball, music lessons and ballet, to newer activities such as rock climbing, fencing, roller hockey, and lacrosse. Some kids gravitate towards team sports, where they can be part of a larger group working together. Others choose more individual sports, preferring to compete against themselves. Many parents know the incredible values they learned from participating in youth sports and want to replicate that experience for their own children. So no matter the type of sport, some universal life lessons, like the ones I learned as a child, are all part of the game.

    Lesson 1: Never Give Up

    When I was young, softball was my sport. Starting in elementary school, I wanted to make the All-Star team. It always seemed like I was the 'little' one, and never could compete with the bigger girls on the team for the spot as starting

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