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Ten Reasons Why Growing Up With Pets Is Good For Kids

Ten Reasons Why Growing Up With Pets Is Good For Kids

Kids love the idea of owning pets, and they don’t mind having lots of them. But the truth is that most parents don’t understand children’s attraction to pets. Kids know that they can never have a part unless their parents approve it and so they keep talking about their desire, hoping that dad and mom would grant their request someday.

If you are at this point with your kids and you are not sure about accepting the idea of housing pets because of the stress involved, we are with you in this. We want you to look beyond the time and efforts needed for caring for pets, and focus on the reasons why growing up with pets is good for your kids.

1. It teaches them responsibility

Kids with pets have to take care of the animals the best way they can. They would most likely be responsible for cleaning the pet’s house depending on their age. And they would also make sure that the pet is properly fed and never lacks drinking water.

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For example, kids that have dogs like boxers would have to do the necessary research to know the best dog food for boxers because such breeds would not eat just any type of dog food. All these activities teach kids to take up responsibility. And after an extended period of living with pets, they would have mastered the act of being responsible.

2. It builds their self-confidence

To kids, their pets are like humans. So, they try to relate with the pet as they would with their age mates. They talk to the animals, play with them, cuddle with them and even get angry with them. All these displays of their innermost feelings to their pets without the fear of being judged would play a significant role in boosting their self-confidence.

3. It teaches the act of sharing

One of the ways by which kids bond with their pets is by sharing things with them. Kids share food, drink, thought, and ideas with their pets. They look for those special moments of giving things to their pets. And the plus side is that the pets never have to ask for it. So, kids learn to share things with other people based on their discretion.

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4. It helps to form healthy habits

Children with pets would have the opportunity to move around the neighborhood often. For example, kids with dogs would have to take them for walks, and in the process, they run also. Running and walking would keep a child physically fit, and they would never forget the habits when they’re older.

Another instance is the food for dogs. In the US, dog owners are encouraged to give dogs all natural pet treats to keep them healthy. Of course, kids who have dogs that always snack on healthy treats would be curious to know why healthy eating is important. And once the children know the value of healthy foods, they would incorporate it into their lifestyle too.

5. It improves health

According to research, kids with pets are super healthy. They have a high-resistant immune system that wards off diseases naturally. So, their health improves, and they hardly have hospital visits except on rare occasion.

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6. It boosts love between siblings

One of the primary purposes of having pets is because they are good playmates. And with kids, they get to play more. So, siblings that have pets would usually want to play with it. And since just one person cannot claim possession of the pets, the siblings would learn to play together and stay happy. Siblings with pets have something that would distract them from constant fighting and arguments which children engage in often.

7. It reduces the risk of developing asthma

According to research, kids with pets are not likely to develop asthma. No one is sure about how this works yet, but speculations say that constant exposure to animal furs strengthens the lungs of kids and keeps the air passage cleared.

8. It improves reading skills

Little kids that are just learning to read often dislike the constant correction from adults whenever they are reading. And because of that, they could stop putting much effort in learning how to read perfectly. However, it is a different scenario for kids that have pets. In their pets, they would find the suitable reading buddy; a great listener that would not correct them when they make mistakes. As such, they would read out loud to their pets without feeling ashamed. And when they are consistent with it, they get better at reading.

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9. It reduces loneliness

Pets are great companions for kids. They play together and share meal times. In addition to that, children talk to their pets, and they have the imagination that they are talked back to. And this makes kids with pets feel less lonely. Since they know that they have a constant friend in their pet, as they would never get bored of playing with them. Such kid would rarely feel lonely.

10. It curbs anxiety

Kids have stress challenges too. Sometimes, they are stressed in school. And the anxiety may also occur due to a lack of quality sleep. However, kids get to talk to their pets concerning the anxiety and what they think is responsible for the way they are feeling. Children unburden to their pets and thus, feeling better within a short while.

Featured photo credit: Leah Kelley via pexels.com

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Zuhair Sharif

Digital Marketer

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Published on May 7, 2021

20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

  1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
  2. Introduce brain breaks.

Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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Active Brain Breaks

Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

1. Swapsies

Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

2. Dance Party

Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

3. Freeze Dance

Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

4. Keep It Up

Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

5. Simon Says

This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

6. Animal Movement

Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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7. Find It Fast

“Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

8. The Frog

Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

9. Pizza Delivery Time

Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

10. Limbo

We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

11. Human Knot

Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

12. Feather Balance

This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

13. Stack them high

The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

Relaxing Brain Breaks

We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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14. Meditation

Meditation

is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

15. Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

16. Reading/Listening to a Story

When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

17. Doodling

My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

18. Coloring Sheets

Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

19. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing

is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

20. Going Outside

Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

Final Thoughts

Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
[2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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