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Fresh ideas, insights, and tips

lifeSkills  Lifeskills!  lifeSkills

Benefits of Chores

Benefits-of-Chores

Do children need chores? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, young children who are given household chores “build a lasting sense or mastery, responsibility and self-reliance.” And what parent doesn’t want that for their child?

 

The article also found that those who began chores around ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have positive relationships with their families, higher academic success and were also found to be more empathetic and responsive to others needs. Need we say more? Check out these 5 ideas for encouraging your child to help out around the house:

 

  1. Turn on some music while your child sweeps the kitchen or picks up their toys. Adding music to the mix will make doing chores more enjoyable for both of you.
  2. Kids love a good game – set a timer and motivate your kids to do their chore as fast (and efficient) as possible.
  3. Consider the way you approach chores – make it fun and let your child know that they are “helping” you by completing a certain task.
  4. Keep a chore chart - once your child has filled their chart let them choose a “prize” of their choice like staying up “late” on a weekend, ice cream with mom & dad, or a trip to your local children’s museum or zoo.
  5. Have fun with it. Making chores fun is the best way to encourage your child to complete their chores now and for years to come.

 

To read the full article, click here.


Nice Kids Finish First

Nice-Kids-Finish-First

The Little Gym helps kids develop social skills, which studies find may be the most important factor for long-term success.


Science has confirmed it: nice guys don’t finish last. At least not according to a new study which suggests that kindergarten students who display pro-social behavior may be more likely to graduate college and have steady jobs. The 20 year national study tracked more than 700 children from kindergarten through age 25. The researchers found that young children that scored highest in social competence skills, such as sharing, taking turns, and listening, were four times more likely to graduate from college than those who did not. The study also found that, in some cases, these types of social skills may be better predictors of future success than academic skills.

Positive social skills are something that can be learned and improved upon throughout childhood. Programs at The Little Gym help children grow and develop social skills in a fun environment that provides a different context for learning. Games are purposefully designed to enhance social development and the non-competitive environment encourages children to play with each other rather than against each other. Children learn to become more considerate of one another, more aware of the feelings of others, and more willing to work together for mutual benefit. These essential life skills help children learn how to interact in positive and socially acceptable ways which helps them become well-rounded little people so that, as research now confirms, they grow into well-rounded adults.


Oh where, oh where have our dear manners gone? Oh where, oh where could they be?

Oh-where-oh-where-Manners

Good manners are not something that children will naturally pick up. Children need to be taught, reminded, and reminded again of the importance of having good manners.  Good manners help children become well-rounded adults. The trick is to teach your child manners that are age-appropriate so they are able to understand why manners are SO important!  Here are 6 manners that are at the top of our good-manners list.

 

  1. “Thank you” is a word that both parents and The Little Gym instructors cannot stress enough!  A simple thank you sends a powerful message of gratitude. When someone does something for you, gives you a compliment, gives you a gift, etc. it is important to always say thank you. When a child is old enough, a good practice is for children to write their own personal thank you notes when receiving a gift or spending time at a friend’s house. A written note goes a long way!
  2. “Please” or “the magic word”, is an important tool for children to get what they want. Please is a great manner to learn for even children who are not yet talking. If a child wants something it is important for them to use their manners by expressing ‘please’ and following it up with a ‘thank you’.
  3. “Excuse me” or “pardon me”, at a certain age children should learn not to interrupt adults when they are having a conversation. Rather, they should learn to wait their turn or say ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ if they need to interrupt. These phrases also work when in public and your child needs to get around a person who may be in their way, or when your child bumps into someone by accident. By using ‘excuse me’ or ‘pardon me’ your child will not only be heard but will be doing this in a positive manner.
  4. “Hello” and “goodbye”; Greetings and goodbyes are basic functions of communication. Beginning at a young age children should learn the appropriate way to address people when they enter and leave a room. Greetings and goodbyes are a great way to teach children how to interact with one another.
  5. Table manners; starting at a very young age children can learn table manners. Starting when children begin eating solid foods they are often re-directed when throwing or spitting food. This helps children learn what is acceptable and what is not. When children get a bit older it is important for them to learn basic table manners; knowing how to use your utensils, asking for things to be passed when they are out of reach, and asking to be excused when they are finished with their meals. Basic table manners follow children throughout their lives and helps parents enjoy their mealtimes as well!
  6. Be kind to others; it is important for children to learn how to be kind and positive. Teaching children that mean words and teasing is hurtful helps a child understand the importance of kindness.

 

Practice makes perfect – keep practicing and reminding your child of the importance of having good manners. Be repetitive, if your child does not say please then simply make them ‘say the magic word’ and they will begin to catch on! Often times role-playing is a great way to have your child experience the appropriate way to act in certain situations. Great manners go a long way and it is best to begin good practices at a young age!


6 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

6 Ways to Build Confidence in Kids

Parents are a child’s greatest influence. As a parent, there are many things you can be doing to establish and strengthen your child’s confidence. Here are 6 tips for strengthening your child’s confidence.

 

  1. Consider the compliments you give your child. Words of praise mean more when they refer to a child’s specific efforts or new abilities. Try using Specific Positive Feedback to focus on specific feedback rather than simply saying “Good Job”.
  2. Nurture your child’s special interests. Every child is unique, as parents and caregivers it is your job to help your children feel confident about those interests.
  3. Provide endless encouragement for your child. Your child will never forget the way you make them feel – that’s why it is important to be supportive of your child. Encourage them to reach for the stars!
  4. Do not label your child as anything – this may limit them and the way they feel about themselves as they grow.
  5. Extend trust in your child and let them make decisions.
  6. Focus on the glass half full – teach your child optimism. Teaching your child how to have an optimistic mindset will allow their confidence to shine!

 

Building self-confidence begins very early in life, it is important to set your child up for success. Use these simple tips to help your child become more confident. 


5 Ways to Make New Mom Friends

Five-Ways-to-Make-New-Mom-Friends

Making friends as a new mom is not always an easy feat. It’s like standing in the cafeteria on the first day of school surrounded by strangers wondering where you fit in – but this time you’re at the playground, you have a baby on your hip, you just finished singing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 1000th time, and you just want to have an adult conversation. Is that too much to ask?!

 

Whether you’re at the grocery store, the playground, or at The Little Gym, as a new mom you’re constantly scoping out potential mom friends, eager to strike up a conversation about ANYTHING. No matter where you are, making new mom friends does not have to increase panic or stress. Here are 5 tips for making mom friends with ease.

 

  1. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. No seriously. How are you going to meet an awesome new mom friend if you’re cooped up in the house all day? Put yourself out there by getting involved in a mom’s group or mommy meetup. Enroll yourself and your little one in a Parent/Child class at your local The Little Gym. Or head on over to the playground and scope out a mom that looks like you may have something in common with. It could be the start to a beautiful friendship!
  2. Find a friend? Get her contact information! Don’t be shy! Finding a new mom friend is like dating… if you find a mom you like get her number so you can see her again. If you guys don’t connect the second time around you can’t say you didn't try!
  3. Plan a play-date. Find a mom you like? And she has a little one the same age as yours? SCORE! Plan a play-date! This is the best way to get moms talking – to each other.
  4. Plan a “Mommy” play-date. Find a sitter or get your significant other to take the baby reigns, it’s time for a mom’s night out. Grab some drinks or dinner and enjoy a kid free night with your new friend. Moms deserve off nights too!
  5. Be yourself. This is the best way to find genuine friends that will last a lifetime.

 

Finding new mom friends may not always be simple, but having one or two really awesome mom friends can make a world of a difference. So the next time you’re at the grocery store, playground, or even your local The Little Gym, don’t be shy – strike up conversation and see where it takes you! There are plenty of fish in the sea and soon enough you will have a group of great mom friends that will last a lifetime.