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5 Tips To Staying Healthy And Active With Your Kids This Summer

5 Tips To Staying Healthy And Active With Your Kids This Summer

With the fourth of July now behind us, the weather is getting warmer and the sun continues to shine. Raising young children can be exhausting. With so many daily responsibilities it can be easy to plop the kids in front of the TV while you take care of the dishes. Take a moment to think back on your own childhood summers. Is it the days you spent indoors that stand out? No! It’s all of the exciting times you had with your family. Here are 5 quick tips to help you take a break from the day to day monotony of life and get outside to play!

1. Be Nourished and Hydrated

We all know the importance of nutrition as an adult. For a baby, nutrition and health are even more critical. Before you adventure into the great outdoors, make sure your children are properly fed and hydrated to help their developing bodies deal with high temperatures and humidity. For children old enough to be on solid food, make sure you pack a snack which includes a “rainbow diet”. This means foods like Kale, Berries, Apples and other colorful vegetables that provide a complete source of nutrition.

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2. Splash Around

Just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors! Whether you are living in an urban environment or out in the country, there is sure to be a pool, waterpark or lake around. Studies have shown that water play is actually instrumental in the development of children. Even if your children are too young to swim on their own, simply pouring water back and forth between two cups or splashing around in a wading pool can be enough. Water play helps children grasp concepts such as physics (motion, flow) and biology (plant life).

3. Go Camping

If you can manage a weekend off, camping with your children can be a fantastic bonding and developmental experience. Even if you have very young children, you do not have to give up your affection for the great outdoors. Babies as young as 1 month old can benefit from a weekend at a local campground. This experience can provide your children with a respect for nature, and help them gain knowledge of the relationship between humans and our environment by providing them with a new and exciting world to explore.

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4. Take Their Friends to the Park

Not only will your fellow parents love you for giving them a break to catch up with their daily obligations, but socialization is an important developmental experience for children of all ages. The significance of doing this in an outdoor, active environment is that physical activity releases endorphins that improve children’s social skills. Activities such as playing on a playground or participating in make-believe games help fine-tune skills that will later be necessary for success in a team environment – something that is vital for success in educational and career pursuits.

5. Register for a Summer Camp

Need some alone time this summer? Whether you want to undertake that home renovation you’ve been putting off or simply take a personal vacation, summer camp is an important experience that all children should have the pleasure of taking part in. Summer camp helps children learn independence in an environment that is safe and accommodating. Additionally, most camps provide the opportunity for children to learn additional skills such as music, science or sporting activities.

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With the kids out of school, summers can be a very busy time for families. Be sure to make the most of your time together by taking advantage of the many activities available to you. It’s easy to look back in September and wonder where the summer went, but the season is still young enough that you can still share experiences with your children that they will never forget.

Featured photo credit: Office of Public Affairs via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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