Look To the Western Sky

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

Tag: balance

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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5 Things I Learned About Living in 2016

1. Life is a work in progress. I’m the kind of person who wants to fix everything right now. This is an impossible and exhausting way to live for two reasons. First, the only person I can control is myself; therefore, if the thing in my life that’s wrong involves another person, I can only do so much to fix the problem. Secondly there are only so many hours in the day, and part of those must be spent taking care of essential needs: since I am a parent, I must provide a home, food, and care for my daughter as well as myself. So a good portion of my time goes toward this. Therefore, the other things I want to do in my life take a backseat sometimes, and that is okay and normal. Everything does not have to happen RIGHT NOW.

2. Listen more. Speak less. I’m still working on this one. But I realized this about myself this year, with help from a very good friend–I often jump to conclusions and speak my mind before I have all the facts. I am working on my listening skills and taking a deep breath before spurting out the wrong thing.

3. Give people a chance. After divorce, most people will tell you it is hard to trust. No matter how bad the marriage was or who initiated the divorce, you were a part of a couple for a while (sometimes a long while) and now you are out on your own. While dating, I have learned that most people in a similar situation as myself are decent and also just trying to live their lives. This kind of fits with number two above, but I need to learn to not jump to conclusions and trust people until they give me a reason not to.

4. Being a parent is hard. Give myself a break. I miss my daughter terribly when she is away from me; but sometimes when she is with me, I don’t feel like I have time to think or process anything, and I am often exhausted. I worry about her constantly, and I am sometimes impatient. This seems to be similar to many other parents I know (single and married); and when I start to feel like “you are doing a terrible job–you should have done A, B, C,” I’m learning to take a deep breath and give myself a break. I love her more than anything, and I spend a good portion of my life being her mom. Every once in a while, I’m going to mess up and it’s okay.

5. Balance is key. To be the best person I can, I have to sleep, eat healthy, exercise, have fun with my daughter, read, write, work, have fun with my friends, and spend time with my parents. The key is to stay balanced. Don’t let any one area take all the time away from another. This is super hard, and again a work in progress; but I am doing better–especially the sleep. Do you know how important sleep is? 🙂

So what have you learned in 2016?

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