Coach's Corner:

Coach’s Corner: Too Much Junk

Every parent wants good things for their children: a positive outlook on life, a healthy respect for authority, a strong sense of self, a disease-free body…a healthy body weight.

Despite our best intentions, a recent report suggests that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

With all the advances in medicine, how could this possibly be true? The blame falls squarely on today’s toxic food environment.

In short, your kids are eating too much junk.

And who can blame them? Junk food tastes great.

The good news is that healthy food also tastes great. Take these simple tips and transform your child’s diet into one that is packed with good health.

You and Your Money:

You and Your Money: Five Skills for Fiscal Success

I  believe that children can grow up to be financially literate if parents model good habits as well as take time to teach and train them in the skills needed to realize fiscal success. The following five skills can be added at age-appropriate times in a child’s life and modified with higher expectations and more complete training as they master the basics.

Skill #1: The Allowance Lesson

Some parents believe it’s easier to give their kids money than it is to hassle with an allowance. I can see their point—administrating an allowance is hard work at times. But if we use an allowance as a teaching tool, then our kids can learn basic money management skills such as:

POP Picks:

POP Picks: Book Recommendations – Back-to-School Book Picks

August is the month that parents and children start to get ready for the first day of school. Students who will be starting preschool, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten (or starting at a new school even if they have attended school before) often experience anxiety about what they will be doing at school, who their teacher will be, and whether the other children will like them. Older students may be worried about the same things, as well as being stressed about schoolwork. There are several new books this year that address specific concerns that your child may have and help you open up a dialogue about those first day jitters.

5 Safe Dating Tips for Your Teenager

Expert Mike Domitrz from The Date Safe Project has these dating suggestions for your teen:

1. Pick for Fun and Attraction

Date people that you truly want to date—a person you want to hang out with for no other reason than because you think you would enjoy spending time with this person AND who you are attracted to. Pity dates are disrespectful, uncaring and a waste of both people’s time. If you don’t want to date someone, be kind and say, “No thank you.” Before a date, write down your Dating Standards, a list of what your dating beliefs are. For example, “I do not kiss on the first date.” Challenge the standards by asking yourself, “If I really liked this person, will I still honor these standards?” and “If I’m really WOWed by this person, will I stick to these standards?” If the answer to either question is “No,” ask yourself why you would lower your standards for a date that is already going amazingly well. Lowering one’s standards is never a good way to begin a relationship. Whether the date is going great or horribly, stick to your standards! You DESERVE it. To help increase the chance for fun, meet at a fun, safe, public location where you can both have a great time. Having a date pick you up gives you less options if you do not feel comfortable during the course of the date. Meeting at a bowling alley is a great option for a first By Mike Domitrz date—unless you are a highly competitive bowler and you send a message that dating you is not about spending money or impressing you.

Coach's Corner:

Attention Parents, Coaches, and Athletes: Head Injuries and Success

Most children don’t tell their parents every time they happen to bump their head, even though a head injury might change their life. While one small bump is really not the issue, new research shows that it is the accumulation of these bumps that can cause more serious problems.

Athletes of all ages, both genders, and in every conceivable sport, can suffer a concussion, where the soft brain tissue hits the boney skull causing a disruption of brain function. Most athletes will recover quickly and completely; however, that was not the case last fall when concussions cost two elite Stanford athletes their careers.

Growing Up Online:

Locking Up Your Family’s Online Assets

Automatic locks on the family car. Check

Safety deposit box for valuable papers. Check

Padlocks for bicycles. Check

Secure passwords for online assets. Uh oh. 

Now that families conduct so much of their social and financial business online, strong passwords are every bit as important as sturdy locks on the doors of your house. Unfortunately, parents who are very conscientious about other forms of family security often do the virtual equivalent of leaving the key under the doormat.

Time for the Back-to-School Haircut: When Trips to the Salon are Shear Madness

As parents, we dread taking our little ones into the hair salon for haircuts when they shriek and cry hysterically in fear of the scissors. Here are some tips from actual parents and professional kids’ hair stylists to make the experience a more enjoyable one for the children—and their parents.

Cuts versus Trims—Let’s start with easing the fear. Don’t call it a “haircut!” Kids associate the word “cut” with pain. Tell them they’re getting a “trim” instead. Maybe bring your little one to your own haircut appointment so they can be reassured that getting a trim is not bad but actually a fun experience. Or practice with a stuffed animal at home; pretend to trim the stuffed animal’s hair.

How Do You Know When You Are Done Parenting? 5 Categories to Assess Your Child’s Well-being.

For many parents, when their children enter the teen years, things get more confusing. When the kids were younger it was kind of easy, or at least simpler. Keep them safe. Make sure they eat healthy. Let them know they are loved, etc.…

But when the kids are teens, “good parenting” gets harder and harder to define. Are you supposed to step in and fight their battles for them, or hang back and let them figure it out on their own? Can you prevent heartbreaks or must you only provide counseling afterwards? And does anyone know exactly what do to about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll? When are you done parenting?

Nursing Your Baby:

Will I Run Out of Milk Soon?

Halina asks, “I have a two-month-old baby girl named Ella and my mom thinks that I won’t be able to produce enough milk for her in a few months. She says that most moms run out of milk by four months of age. I thought supply will increase with demand, but I am being told otherwise. I am now terrified with what will happen and I feel I will always have to feed every couple of hours to protect my supply. Is this true about supply and demand?”

Preschool Parent:

If I Could Re-Live Those Preschool Years Would I Do it All the Same?

I have enjoyed contributing to the Preschool Parent section of this magazine over the years but my contributions have always been shared from the perspective of a co-op preschool director and never as a parent myself. This summer however, as I began to think about what new or interesting perspective on preschool parenting I could bring forth, I found myself thinking back to my children’s own preschool years. I soon drifted from just reflecting back on those years, to wondering what I might have done differently had I the opportunity to relive that special time all over again. I thought about this for several days and then to gather further insight, turned to friends and colleagues for their own retrospectives and advice.