Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Stress Busting 101: How To Reduce It In Your Life

We are coming upon one of the most stressful times of the year for people–the holidays. This contributed article has some good tips to consider to focus on reducing your stress:

We all lead busy lives and can find ourselves feeling stressed from time to time. Heck, not even time to time for many of us; more like all of the time! It could be family, work, health, or other issues that can lead to the stress, if not a combination of them all. But whatever your source of stress is, it is a good idea to take control of it now, so that you can deal with it and find ways to eliminate it. After all, stress can make many aspects of your life worse, such as your health (both mental and physical).

Professor Cary Cooper, from robertsoncooper.com, has stated that in our lives, there is always a solution to the problems that we face, even if it doesn’t feel like it or that it feels impossible. But when we just let things carry on as they are, it can make things much worse. The keys to dealing with and managing stress tend to be building up some emotional strength and having less of a “woe is me” kind of attitude. When you do have a victim attitude, you are justifying the situation rather than doing anything about it. Taking control of the situation can help, as well as being positive and having a good group of people around you. Being able to share the load, so to speak, can help massively. Even if it is just someone to talk to over the phone.

What else can you do to address and then eliminate the stress that you have in your life? Here are some stress-busting suggestions.

Be Active

Being active and exercising isn’t going to make your stress disappear. But what it does do is help you to manage it. Exercise can lead to a bit of an escape, as well as reducing the intensity of it all for you. Exercise can lead to a production of happy hormones that can lift your mood. So when you have to go back to a stressful situation, you are likely to deal with it in a better way.

Seek Alternative Therapies

As well as exercise, there could be an alternative therapy that could help you to feel better about things. Regular massages, reflexology appointments or even seeing a chiropractor could help you. Again, it isn’t going to eliminate the stress in your life. But it will help you to deal with it better. The reason behind these kinds of treatments is whole-body healing. The focus, according to myauburnchiro.com, is not so much on sickness, but rather on overall wellness and healthy living. So it could be really beneficial for you to give it a try.

Connect with Others

A good support network of people around you–friends, family, or colleagues–is a good way to help to lift your mood. They can offer support and fun, as well as offering advice to help you deal with the situations that you face. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. It can be good to just talk about your feelings, too, even if you just want people to listen, rather than offer solutions. Sometimes, when we say things out loud, it can help us to resolve the issues that we had on our mind.

Avoid Unhealthy Habits

As we know, there are many things that can make us feel better when we are feeling stressed. But there are also some things that can make us feel worse. We may think that they are going to help us, but unhealthy habits can actually have the opposite effect. Smoking, alcohol, and too much caffeine can actually make our bodies feel more on edge and stressed. In the long-term, these are just crutches and can make things worse. This is especially true if you end up feeling like you can’t get through your day without a bottle of wine, for example. So look for healthier habits, as said above, such as exercise or an alternative therapy.

Be More Productive

You may feel stressed because you have so much on your plate that you need to do. But the key is to be more efficient with your time, rather than spending every waking minute doing things. What things could you tick off your list at the same time? What work can be prioritized and others not as much? Can you get help at home, like a cleaner, for example, so that you can focus on other tasks that have more value to you? Set aside time to be more productive and remove distractions, such as your phone. It could mean putting it in airplane mode, for instance, until you get a specific task done. It is all about working smarter and being more productive, rather than working harder.

Make a Positive List

You will be surprised at what a difference being positive can make. If you find it hard to be positive, then it can be a good idea to take some time out and write out what you are grateful for, as well as the positive things in your life. When you take the time to do just that, it can make a massive difference and, you’ll see all of the good and happy things that you do have. It can put the stressful side of your life into perspective a little bit and help you to refocus.

Help Others

Along a similar line of making a happy and positive list of things in your life, it can also be a good idea to look for ways to help other people. It can give you a different focus and again, puts things into perspective for you. It can act as escapism and does help to give you a happy and euphoric feeling. You may not think that you even have time to do something like this. But when you make an effort to do it, you will see the benefit of it in your life.

Hopefully, one of these ideas helps you handle your current stress. What works for you? 

 

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Making a Commitment to Morning Pages

I’m doing it. I’m making a commitment right here and now, to anyone reading this, that I’m writing Morning Pages every single morning!

What are Morning Pages? If you have read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, then you’re familiar with Morning Pages. OR if you have ever been to just about any writing conference or creativity workshop, you have probably heard about them. If not, Morning Pages are:

 Three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.  (From Julia Cameron’s website/book)

I started today (and actually wound up with FOUR pages). Day one down. I’ve had a creativity block for a while now–although every once in a while I am inspired to write something like this post, “A Letter to a Narcissist” I wrote this week. So, today during Morning Pages, I came up with a first sentence for a short story. No idea where that will lead me, but since then, I’ve been thinking about this line and who could say it and what the conflict for the story could be.

I did a Google search for “morning pages”, and I happened upon Chris Winfield’s site. His tagline is “take back your life.” He has a free ebook (in exchange for your email address) titled How to Save 23.3 Hours Each Week. His site is all about working smarter, not harder. But he also has this amazing page about Morning Pages, which you can check out here. He starts the post by saying he never thought he’d have time in the morning to write three pages by hand, but he made a commitment to do it; and since then, he says that some of these amazing things have happened in his life:

  • I’ve come up with ideas that changed my businesses
  • I’ve worked through issues that were bothering me and seemed overwhelming
  • I’ve been better in tune with my intuition and listening to my heart
  • They have shown me what’s most important in my life and helped me to focus on that
  • and more….(check out the link above to see what else he says)

Pretty amazing, right?

So I’m making the commitment. I also recently made the commitment to read something for enjoyment EVERY SINGLE DAY. Now I read a lot. I read a lot of online articles, blog posts, unfinished manuscripts, emails, kids’ books (to my daughter), and articles about agriculture. But I haven’t been reading for myself. My creativity and writing have suffered because of this. So, since last Sunday, 11/12/2017, I said: “Enough is enough.” Katie and I went to the library. I found a novel written by an author my friend suggested. And I’m happy to say that I have read at least one chapter every day.

Surely, all these positive steps–reading and Morning Pages–will continue to feed my creativity and renew my spirit, and soon that first line I wrote during my Morning Pages will turn into something more.

By the way, for some people, journaling (which is what Morning Pages is) can give you results in your life. If you have never checked out Mari L. McCarthy’s Create Write Now site, then you should. Start with this post I did on her book–all the links you will need to find out her amazing story are in that post here

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Practical Parenting: Making Bedtime and Sleeping Better For Your Child at Any Age

When it comes to babies and really young children, it’s undeniable that routine is king. With the world so big and unpredictable, routines help to bring order to the chaos and are highly beneficial for establishing good sleep patterns. With night times sorted, day times tend to flow much easier – kids and parents are in a better mood and have more energy for active play and creativity. It’s never too early to start with introducing a bedtime routine that works for you, your baby and their siblings. The key is simply consistency. Here’s how to create a restful routine that works.

Where do I start?

You can get started with introducing a routine from as early as six weeks old. It may not stick right away, of course, but you’re putting in strong foundations for the future. If you think about it, we all need time to unwind before falling asleep, and babies are no different. With older children, it’s helpful to explain what you’re doing and why. So tell them: “We are having a story, and then we’re going to bed, so that we can get up in the morning and play.” Find advice from Mothers and More on the safest sleeping positions to introduce.

Make Bedtime Special

Many small children get anxious at the thought of being separated from you, and that’s perfectly natural. So spending some one on one time before bed is a great way of relaxing them. Reading a storybook, singing a bedtime song, and having plenty of cuddles before they get into bed helps to take away the fear factor. Many parents try a white noise machine – babies are used to background noise and motion from their time in the womb and often like the sound of a fan or even a washing machine or dryer to help them fall asleep!

Try a Transition Activity

Before you go straight into pre-bedtime, it’s useful to use a transition activity to move from active play into a more relaxed state. This can start with a quieter kids program centered around rest, like In The Night Garden; it can be taking a bath with bubbles; or it can be playing quietly in their room for a while. Easing gently into the routine is much better than expecting them to immediately feel sleepy the second their pjs are on.

Put Them Down Drowsy

Make sure that you put babies especially down to sleep when they are drowsy, and not fully asleep. This helps to manage “micro-wakeups” during the night. Imagine if you went to sleep in a nice, soft bed and woke up on the lawn outside. You’d be really freaked out, right? You might yell. You’d definitely want to know what had happened. And you’d probably have a hard time getting back to sleep again. The exact same is true with babies that fall asleep being rocked or cradled in your arms. When they “come to” during the night, they may realize that they are not in the situation they were when they fell asleep – and they’re likely to protest about that! Teaching them to fall asleep in their own environment is really important and helps to make sure they’re able to get themselves back to sleep if they do wake up.

Create the Right Environment for Sleep

Just as it is for adults, creating the right environment to promote sleep is very important for babies and young children. So check that you have a comfortable mattress, that the room is the right temperature, and that your baby has comfortable sleepwear, like a swaddle or a sleep sack. Lighting is also important – it doesn’t have to be pitch-black; you can add in a soft night light if your child needs it for comfort. Make sure they also go to bed without feeling hungry – so a last feed or bottle can be given around 20 minutes before you put them down to sleep, and toddlers may want a bedtime snack – although avoid giving them any sweets or fruit juice.

Never Use Bed As A Threat

Resist turning bedtime into a negative by steering away from telling your children they’ll go to bed if they’re naughty. Focus on reducing their stress and anxiety over going to bed by keeping your tone of voice positive and calm; babies are very quick to pick up on tension and anger. Taking the softly-softly approach can work wonders.

Make Daytime Naps a Priority

A lot of parents think that if their child doesn’t sleep well during the day, the sleep will get made up at night, but the reverse is usually true. Getting overtired can mean that sending children off to sleep simply doesn’t work as well and may lead to more wake-ups during the night. At least one nap each day in their crib or toddler bed helps them get more used to the same sleeping environment when it’s time for bed.

How do you establish a nighttime routine?

(contributed post)

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A Letter to a Narcissist

A little bit of creative writing I’ve been working on…

Dear Narcissist:

I am no longer going to be a supply for you. What do I mean? I know where you get your energy. You get your energy from me, from her, from anyone who will allow you to come into their lives and wreak havoc. But today, I am putting my foot down, and the thing is, I’m not telling you.

This may seem unfair to anyone who doesn’t know a narcissist. But if I tell you, if I let you know that today, I’m done allowing you to make me feel like I don’t matter, to make me feel like I am less worthy than someone else in your life, then I won’t be able to stick to this. All I will be is your supply for the day. You will make me feel guilty. You will make me feel wrong. I could be wrong, but the thing is that doesn’t matter. What matters is how I feel after dealing with you–whether it’s a conversation, an in-person meeting, or no response to my attempts at contact.

Actually, I don’t think you will notice. You’ve started to groom someone else, someone else is supplying your high.  You have someone else worried about your every need; you have someone else who will do anything for you. You found others who are supplying that emotional energy you need, when you make them feel like less than themselves. You make them feel like you’re the only one who can fix them, the only one who will have anything to do with them because of how horrible they are. You basically have to do nothing in return, except for your grooming, because now the people in your life are just waiting, hoping, yearning for your approval, time, and attention. It really is a wonderful support system you’ve created for yourself. But it’s not real, and deep down, you know it. Everything in your life is a facade. How exhausting that must be to be grasping a life, filled with beliefs that aren’t based in reality.

Here’s the other thing. I’m not upset with you–not anymore. I used to be. I used to be upset about how you always changed the rules; how you said something and then when I did it, you changed your mind and said it wasn’t enough or it was wrong; how you blamed me for everything; how you didn’t consider my feelings; how you acted like everything you gave me was a gift that I was super lucky to have because you were so busy and great, and I wasn’t; and how you made me feel like I owed you for the nice things you did for me. I’m not upset at you.

I’m upset with myself–for knowing that it would never get better; for getting away from you before and then letting you back countless times; for feeling like if I could only do this ONE thing right, you would want me again; for wasting my energy with someone who clearly doesn’t care about anyone, including himself.

I only hope I can stick to the first line in this letter.

I’m not going to be a supply for you anymore.

Love,

Someone who has a long journey ahead

If you have a narcissist in your life, the pain that you may be feeling is very real and similar to what is expressed in this post. I have found an invaluable resource in Kim Saeed’s website, if you are looking for answers and need to start healing. 

 

 

 

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Magical Places to Take the Kids This Winter

I’m all about traveling articles, as you can tell on my blog–parenting, traveling, fun, self-esteem. Anyway, this contributed article has some good ideas for parents if you are looking for a winter getaway, whether you live in the United States or overseas:

It’s almost winter, and the cold will soon blow in with such force that you may have forgotten summer ever existed. And although you may be longing for the days where you could take the kids down to the beach for an ice cream, winter can be just as fun if you look in the right places. Here are some ideas for magical places to take the kids this winter.

  1. Northern Lights

Where: Finnish Lapland

The Northern Lights are probably one of the most spectacular natural sights you will ever see in the world. And winter is the ideal time to visit them. Why not take the kids up to Lapland where they can meet Santa and feed reindeer, and finish off the trip by taking in the view of the Northern Lights? It will be a magical experience for everyone, and it may get them interested in science.

You may be wondering: are the Northern Lights only in winter? The simple answer is no. They are active throughout the year; however if you really want to see the best possible view of them, winter is a better time to do it because the nights are dark and long.

  1. Chase The Sun

Where: Greek Islands

If you simply hate the thought of leaving the summer behind, and if winter really doesn’t agree with you, you can still experience the sun, sea and sand in other parts of the world. Escape the freezing temperatures this week and book yourself a flight to Greece. You’ll be able to relive your summer days before coming home for Christmas. Rent a villa for the whole family, and let the kids enjoy one last taste of summer before the cold hits.

  1. Christmas Markets

Where: Edinburgh

There’s no better way to get you and the kids in that festive spirit than to take some time to visit the Christmas Markets. There are plenty of locations all across Europe, which hold these markets; but Edinburgh is one of the best. You’ll be able to see the whole capital transform into a winter wonderland with stalls, massive Christmas trees and shows in the street. Let the kids have fun walking around and trying different meats, cheeses and sweets as they get excited for Santa.

  1. A Walk on the Wild Side

Where: Galápagos

It might seem a little odd to think about going to this tropical island during the winter, but it can be a great experience for the whole family; and you will come face to face with some of the most amazing wildlife in the world. It is the home of the Galápagos tortoise and is overflowing with animals and beautiful views.  

  1. Disneyworld

Where: Orlanda, Florida

If you want to really put that festive spark in your child’s eyes, then there is nowhere more fitting to visit at this time of the year than Disneyworld. You’ll be able to enjoy the rides, meet Disney characters and watch Christmas shows throughout December. There’s nowhere more fitting to spend winter at with your kids.

kid photo above

 

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5 Parenting Products You Didn’t Know You Needed

There are all the expected items you need for the new arrival in your life. You know what we’re talking about… bottles, diapers, high chair, etc. You will be spending more on your child than you do yourself, and that probably won’t change for the next 18 years or more. However, there are some items that you may not have thought about. They will definitely make your life easier; so when planning your baby’s shopping list, consider the following five items. You will thank us later on when you realize how useful they are.

A diaper pail
Can you smell something? Yes, of course you can. You have another full diaper on your hands, but what are you supposed to do with it? You could stick it in the garbage can, but they don’t always mask the smell. That’s why you need a special pail for the diapers. They are designed to hide those unsavory odors, so buying one is a near necessity–if you want to keep your home smelling fresh and fragrant.

A fan
Okay, so a fan may be useful for removing the smelly odors mentioned above. However, that’s not all a fan is good for. Some babies have a struggle with sleeping, as all frazzled parents will testify to. Thankfully, there are a number of solutions, and one of these is white noise. Place the fan near your baby’s bed (not blowing directly into his face), and the quiet whirring of the fan will hopefully send them into slumberland. Alternatively, you can download designated “white noise” apps on your tablet or smartphone that will do the job just as well.

A video baby monitor
Audio baby monitors are fine; but for added protection of your baby, you may want to invest in this luxury item. When you hear your baby crying (or not crying), you may fear the worst. From heads stuck in crib railings to sudden illnesses, you will want to make sure your baby is safe and well. A video baby monitor will let you know exactly what is going on with your baby, giving you the peace of mind you need.

A bug net for your stroller
You know how annoying those pesky bugs can be when they fly in front of your face? So imagine how your baby feels when you are pushing him along in the stroller. He won’t have the motor skills to swat away those blasted bugs, and you will get yourself into a dither trying to protect him. Therefore, a bug net is the perfect solution. While you may get covered in bug bites on the daily walk unless you use bug spray, you can at least have the assurance that your baby is perfectly safe within their netted bubble.

An all-in-one dinner mat
It’s like feeding time at the zoo in some houses, as babies are especially messy eaters. Avoid the cleanup woes with something like this Happy Mat. It sticks to the table and has useful holders for your baby’s bowls and plates. So the next time your little one gets the urge to throw his food around the place, this plastic marvel will contain your child’s mess without causing you extra work afterwards.

These are just some examples of what we think you will find useful, but be sure to let us know if you have any helpful tips for all the parents reading.

(contributed article)

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Scandinavia: The Ultimate Family Winter Getaway?

contributed article

If you get the chance to go away in winter, you have two basic choices: either run away from the cold or embrace it. And one of the best places on earth to enjoy a winter vacation with the kids is, without doubt, Scandinavia. It’s a beautiful part of the world at the best of times; but when the cold season and snow arrive, it becomes quite magical. Here are some ideas for you to ponder over if you plan on a breakaway this – or next – holiday season!

Live it up in Lapland

Lapland – in the very northernmost part of Finland – is one of the best winter family snow destinations, for all the reasons you are probably thinking right now. It’s about as close to Narnia as you can get, regarding scenery, and of course, there is a significant connection with the Father Christmas story. But there’s more to this glorious part of the world than just Santa and snow-capped trees. Riding a husky-driven sled or going on a reindeer sleigh ride is about as exhilarating as it gets for you and the kids, and you can go even faster if you want to swap dogs for an engine and a snowmobile. There’s plenty of skiing options, too, and let’s not forget about the Northern Lights – a spectacular attraction for this part of the world and perfect if you get the chance to take some time out for yourself.

Akureyri, Iceland

Iceland is more famous for its capital Reykjavik. But if you are looking for something a little different, Akureyri is an excellent alternative. It’s a small city that takes in plenty of culture and leisure and is an exceptional choice for either a city break or week-long trip when you need to keep the kids entertained. Make sure you go to watch whales in Husavik, and check out the remarkable and impressive lava fields, too. There are some stunning geothermal mud pools to locate: head out to the Lake Myvatn area for some magnificent views. Finally, if you need any other reason to head to Iceland in the winter months, as it’s one of the best locations in the world for seeing the spectacular Northern Lights.

Stay in A Swedish Ice Hotel

Want to give the kids a unique experience they will remember forever? Sweden is such an incredible place in the winter; but if you make the trip over, dedicate some time to finding one of their spectacular ice hotels. There are plenty around, up and down the country; but if you make your way up to Jukkasjarvi, you’ll find the somewhat simply named Ice Hotel. It’s incredibly popular, so book a fair while in advance. Jukkasjarvi is in the northern half of Sweden and is a fantastic location to visit during the winter months. The vast forests and woods are filled with bears and wolves – you’ll rarely spot them, but they are there! – and there’s a real sense of being somewhere that is 100% otherworldly.

Have you been to Scandinavia – or any other location for a winter break? Share your thoughts and favorite places with everyone in the comments section below! 

Picture credit

 

 

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5 Best Kid Friendly Places To Eat In London

Guest post by Scott Caruthers

5 Best Kid Friendly Places To Eat In London

Getting a restaurant that accommodates you and your kids can be rare, but while in London, you have a number of options you could go for that will not force you to sacrifice on style. The city offers a plethora of spots that are ideal for the whole family. You also have restaurants that are designed to accommodate adults yet offer kids an ample environment for adventure and entertainment.

  1. Abeno Too

Located along Great Newport Street, the Abeno Too restaurant is rated good for the whole family. It gives you the most famous street food from Osaka. The specialty dominant is the okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese savory pancake that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Part of the fun is in ordering the dishes, which you can do in a hot plate in front of you. Kids will particularly enjoy the finishes, including bonito flakes, which flicker in the rising heat. Additionally, there is enough space for kids who love moving about, so you will have a comfortable retreat while at the restaurant, and most important is to note the environment is calm and ideal for family eat outs.

  1. Bistrotheque

If you want to prove you could still handle a hip meal, the Bistrotheque restaurant presents you with an ample opportunity to explore. Its welcome services are friendly, and you will find a level of professionalism that is not found in any other East End restaurant. Most important to note is the setting that allows you to have your children around, and this is extended into the types of meals offered to ensure your kids also get a chance to enjoy the best from the experienced chefs.

The menu leans more on French cuisine with foods like cheeseburger and treacle tart. On weekend brunches, the restaurant offers pancakes laced with bacon. On an overall scale, the restaurant is reliable and fun-inducing that it has become one of the most ideal choices among those with children.

  1. Dinerama

If you are looking to have fun with your family during a night out for some great meals, this is the restaurant to choose while in London. The atmosphere is what you would want to enjoy while with your kids tagged along and food wise it offers something to eat for everyone. It’s an all impressive spot for food while in London, and your kids will feel at ease as there are amenities meant to keep them entertained. The menu is filled with awesome options including cheeky Italian meals. Enjoy good vibes as you drown a bottle of tasty wine and some unique meals prepared to your satisfaction. Most important is they allow custom recipes that can help you choose what to eat.

  1. The Lacy Nook

Located in Stoke Newington, The Lacy Nook is a restaurant whose goal is to not only offer you tasty dishes, but also ensure your family is equally accommodated to enjoy the ample environment. It offers plates that are full of distinctive tastes and personality that you will find awesome. The chefs are focused on seasonal foods, so there is going to be plenty of options to choose from, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Kids are also accommodated perfectly with various amenities for their enjoyment and snacks to trigger their happiness.

  1. Mr Bao

The restaurant offers squidgy Taiwanese steamed buns that come easy for tiny hands, and there are also weekend dishes, like bao Benedict, which are irresistible to kids. For young families, you will find the staff welcoming and friendly, which is something that will help your children to feel comfortable around the restaurant. The restaurant offers beautiful Asian food that is focused on the fluffy bao bun. They offer a range of plates to share and delicious cocktails, and this is besides serving a fantastic brunch during the weekends. You could even sit as you watch your food as it is prepared in the kitchen.

Scott Caruthers is a travel and photography expert who has been reviewing destinations and London is among cities he has been to several times. He has helped identify some of the best restaurants in London that are perfectly configured to accommodate kids.

 

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Why Gardening Is Good For Your Health

Okay, I will be honest, I don’t garden. But I know a lot of parents like to do this with their children, and I just posted that article the other day about how to get kids eating healthy. One of the suggestions was letting kids grow their own vegetables and fruits. So sticking with that theme, check out this cool infographic from WhatShed? 

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Which Toys Can Help With Physical Development?

contributed article

photo above: Fun with friends. Image source

Living in a digital age puts a lot of pressure on parents to help their children develop safe and effective online skills. Coding is the new hot subject at many schools. Kids seem to know more about the world thanks to the explosion of easy-to-access information out there. But aren’t we forgetting something? All that time spent in front of a screen used to be the time we spent out in the backyard when we were kids. Will the children of today struggle with physical development?

There are plenty of great (better than when we were kids) toys out there that can be used to help your little one physically develop. Most children are naturally active; so if you have something they can ride or kick or throw, they’ll be keen to use it. In fact, many of these toys can help them develop mentally and emotionally as well. For example, a fast-moving ball is heading in a particular direction. Your child has to recognize that and predict where it will end up to reach it in time. In many activities, teamwork plays a big part here, too, helping to develop friendships and cooperation.

 

From the moment they can walk, you can provide a wealth of different toys to help your little one improve their balance. A good trike for a 3-year-old can help a child develop pedaling skills too. Steering needs to be practiced and can be learned by trial and error. What’s really great about kids moving on wheels is the role play that can go with it. As an example, children can become mailmen and bring you a parcel!

Once your children have mastered the art of pedaling and balancing, they might be ready for a proper bicycle. Cycling together is a fun way for the family to spend time together. It keeps you all fit and develops balance well, too. Best of all, it helps to tone every part of the legs!

Trampolines are excellent for developing strong core muscles and leg strength. Recognizing the relationship between effort and result is important here. Bouncing around is a lot of fun for children, and this activity burns a lot of calories too! Bouncing on a Pogo stick requires balance as well as strength and coordination to bounce. Of course, a space hopper might be an easier place to start!

Have you ever used a swingball set? This is tennis for a small place. It can be played with two people or practiced alone. Either way, it can be lots of fun and a great way to spend more time with the kids. Best of all, it hones the hand-eye coordination and builds strength in the arms. To build strength in both arms, a child can play on some monkey-bars or use a climbing frame in the garden. If you’re nervous about your child climbing, layout some play mats underneath.  Toys in the garden that help your child to increase their physical activity can be great for physical development too. You don’t need a lot of room, although you might need to supervise quite closely!

What do you get up to with your kids in the backyard?

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