family mealtime

Mealtimes with your Kids

Mealtimes are very important for children, because they help to show children the importance of eating food regularly.

When your children are very young, they tend to be fed on a “when hungry” basis, but as they grow older, it is important to introduce regular mealtimes with your family. As well as helping them to [...] Read more →

beach football

Outdoors Sports that You can do with Your Children

Outdoor activities are great for kids because they help to keep children fit and healthy. Spending time in the outdoors also allows children to get a breath of fresh air. It can be really worthwhile to spend time in the outdoors with your children. Here are some activities that you can do with them in [...] Read more →

physical activities

Physical Activity Guidelines for Children

Physical activity is very important for those who wish to stay healthy. Babies and young children should strive to meet physical activity guidelines if they want to develop normally.

Remaining active also helps to encourage continued flexibility and the development of motor skills. Guidelines for physical activities differ depending on the age of the person [...] Read more →

Recommended Sites

Lots of information and recommended guidelines from the NHS on childrens health. Click the image to visit.

NHS Choices

Detailed information and resources from the UK government website. Click the image to visit.

Gov UK

Sports for Children

Sports help to promote fitness in children, as well as giving them an environment to improve other skills.

Most sports help to improve physical coordination in children and help to develop their motor skills. Some sports give children the opportunity to interact socially with other people in their age group, and allow them to develop teamwork skills. Even solo sports can allow them to meet up with other competitors.

Sports for Young Children

Younger children tend to thrive in sports that require basic movement skills rather than precision or coordination. Children who are between the ages of 2 and 5 may also struggle with organised sports that have complicated rules. However, the sports that they do at this age can help to develop skills which can be transferred to other sports as they grow older.

Unstructured activities are likely to be most appealing to children at this age, as they are yet to develop proper understandings of what it means to “win” or “lose”.

Popular physical activities for 2 to 5 year old children include; running, catching, throwing, and swimming. These activities can sometimes be combined together in the form of a child-sized obstacle course.

Junior School Children

By the time that children are 6 years old, they will have begun to develop more of an understanding about sports, and they may have started to take an interest in some of the sports that are played by adults. However, they still lack the ability to perform some physical tasks or the attention span that is required to play a full length match.

Some adult sports have been adapted to make them more suitable for young players. Children are able to start improving other skills, such as accuracy and throwing distance.

Team games such as rounders are ideal for groups of young people. They help to build skills like team work, because players are forced to work together to cover a number of different roles. The rules of rounders are very simple, so most children are able to pick them up very quickly. It is also possible to set up a rounders game with very little equipment. All that you will need is a bat, a ball and something to mark out the posts with.

Tag Rugby is an example of a game which has been developed to make it easier to introduce junior school aged children to sports.

In Tag Rugby, all of the players wear a special tag which is attached to their clothing. Rather than tackling players in the physical manner that is used in Rugby League or Rugby Union, players must pull off another player’s tag. Most children are too young to be able to tackle safely, however Tag Rugby gives them the opportunity to be involved in a Rugby style game without the high risk of injury.

kids sports

Kids sports

Alternatively, 5-a-side football involves fewer players and the games are much shorter. 5-a-side football means that people are able to play a football style game without having to commit to finding as many players. Adapting games like this so that fewer players are required also gives player the opportunity to use a more varied skill set, because they are required to cover more positions. This allows children to have the opportunity to find their niche without being typecast too early.

Other sports that junior school aged children might like to try include; tennis, gymnastics, dancing, martial arts and horse riding.

Teenage Sports

By the time that children reach their teenage years, they are more than capable of doing most sports that do not need a special licence. Teenagers are more aware of how to use their bodies to complete certain tasks. However; it is worth noting that growth spurts and the complexities of puberty can affect their coordination and balance. Some children find this period difficult and confusing, and they may be inclined to stop enjoying sports as much as they used to.

However, if your children continue to pursue an interest in sports, then you can continue to nurture their passion. By the time that they are a teenager, children are able to research the sports that they want to try and they can understand complicated rules and instruction. They are able to learn and perform solo sports, which may be considered to be dangerous amongst children who are any younger. For example, teenagers who are interested in sailing may be allowed to be in control of their own boat for the first time.

Teenagers are also better equipped to start dealing with contact sports, because their bodies are strong enough to cope with tackling. They are also able to learn and understand the importance of tackling safely whilst playing contact sports. This means that teenagers are more prepared to start playing full matches of fast-paced sports like Rugby and Hockey.

How to Get your Kids to Love Vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are important sources of nutrition for children; however children are notorious for their dislike of anything “healthy”.

Most parents know that their children should eat more vegetables, but mealtimes can become a struggle when they try to introduce new vegetables to their children. 10% of British children refuse to eat any vegetables at all. However, it is possible to get children to eat (and enjoy) vegetables and a wider range of fruits.

Parents are advised to try a few different strategies, because things that work for one child may not work for all children.

Why Children need to Eat Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are packed full of natural goodness which cannot be simulated by artificial produce. Depending on which fruits and vegetables are chosen, they will offer up an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are vital for good health. Each essential vitamin and mineral plays its own part in ensuring that the body works properly.

Failing to meet the targets for each choice can lead to deficiencies and health problems. Alternatively, children who only consume high sugar, high calorie foodstuffs are likely to develop obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and fatigue.

Understanding Food Phobias

Most children are born with an inherent phobia of new foods. Biologists believe that this trait developed to protect our ancestors from eating things that could be harmful for them. Sweet tasting items tend to offer higher energy values (more calories) and therefore early humans had a predisposition to enjoy these items when food was scarce.

Understanding why your child “hates” new foods can help you to think about how to bring new foods to the table. Introduce small portions of a new food and create positive reinforcement around the enjoyment that this new food can bring. Don’t tell your child off for disliking a new flavour, because they may begin to associate negativity with the food that you are trying to promote.

Baby See, Baby Do

Young children have a tendency to imitate the things that they see around them. If they are in an environment where other people express a dislike for vegetables, then they are also likely to develop a similar dislike. For example, if a child sees their mother picking tomatoes out of her sandwich, the child will most likely also want to avoid tomatoes too. In order to encourage your children to like the foods that you are giving to them, then you will need to make sure that you are very careful about the way that you react when you are eating your own dinners.

Get Involved

Children are more likely to enjoy something if they feel like they have been involved.

Once children are old enough, encourage them to become involved in the preparation process. Little tasks like shelling peas may help to encourage your children to eat and enjoy the peas as part of the meal.

If you have a garden at your home, you can also ask them to help you to grow food to eat. The anticipation which is built by watering and tending to a vegetable whilst it grows and ripens can help children to become more open to trying the produce when it is ready.

Food Fun

childrens veg

Childrens veg

Making food presentation more fun can give children the onus to try out new things. Arrange their dinner into miniature artworks for them to enjoy. You can even ask them to arrange the artworks for themselves during the preparation process.

We are often told that we “shouldn’t play with our food”, but attitudes are now shifting to allow there to be more “fun” around food”.

Raw Vegetables

A lot of children prefer raw vegetables to cooked vegetables, because the texture and crunching trigger different sensory stimuli.

Offer raw vegetables and dips as a way of getting your children to eat more vegetables. There is also a certain novelty factor that children enjoy about being able to eat with their hands. Children enjoy scooping up as much dip as possible, so gradually introduce new vegetables like celery, which allow children to get loads of dip with one scoop. Once you know that your children like the raw forms of vegetables, you can start to introduce the cooked varieties.

Hidden Vegetables?

If the worst comes to the worst, you can try to hide vegetables in the meals that you make. Start with vegetable sauces that are so pureed that it is impossible to tell what is in it. You can gradually bulk up meals to include bigger and bigger pieces of vegetables until your children just start to accept the ingredients.

Although this strategy can work for very fussy eaters, it may not help children to get over their psychological fears over time. Children who “discover” hidden vegetables may also feel like they have been betrayed by their parents.