Setting Effective Learning Goals In The New Year

Uncategorized Jan 25, 2022

I was dashing through the first big snowfall of the season with my oldest son on holiday and a great story came across the radio waves. A mom herself, the radio host began to tell the story of the orange tree. Unlike some other fruit bearing plants, the orange tree sees the greatest success when it is planted and nurtured in a nursery for the first three years of its life. That’s right! Three years of careful watch, watering, tending to and care before the young tree can even be planted outside!

 

But it does not stop there, oh no! The tree continues to grow and mature in the great outdoors before reaching its peak at 12-15 years old. At that time, it bears its delicious orange fruit that is ready for us all to enjoy. Isn’t that amazing! Whether a lone farmer or team working together, the care and dedication it takes for those tending to the fragile orange trees, to nurture them to their full maturation is truly a labor of love.

 

As we all watch our own...

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Health & Wellness Goal Setting for 2022

Uncategorized Jan 01, 2022

“Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock! Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring! Snowin' and blowin' up bushels of fun, now the jingle hop has begun!” ~ Jingle Bell Rock, by Bobby Helms. (Shihan's favorite Christmas song!)

Many of our SKILLZ Strong Ninjas and Proud Ninja Parents are breaking out into their best “Jingle Bell Rock” as the promise of a Ninja-tastic New Year knocks at the door! As 2021 has come to a close, the dawn of the New Year comes with fresh inspiration, motivation and high hopes for conquering great things in 2022!

Whether your goals for the New Year are physical, intellectual, emotional and/or social, there is truly something special and exciting about the blank canvas of the next 365 days before us, all about to be filled in with the colorful, precious moments of living and loving to the fullest!

As we consider how our fresh canvas will look in the New Year, there is no denying the importance and power of caring for the mind, body...

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The Secret to Developing Well-Rounded Athletes

Uncategorized Nov 11, 2021

Over the last year, sports programs have had shortened seasons, if any at all. Because of that, training time for athletes of all ages has dropped significantly. Now, with sports returning to a more normal duration, young athletes are working hard to regain lost skills and recondition their bodies. The problem, however, is that lengthy breaks increase the risk of injury upon returning to training. In addition, when athletes specialize in a sport, they generally only train muscles for that sport. To be truly at the top of their game, young athletes should engage in training that develops all muscle groups through a system designed to meet their athletic and developmental needs.

 

When athletes are on an extended break from their sport, their body deconditions, and they lose cardiovascular power, muscle strength, speed and agility, and other skills. As we generally see, after a “normal” break, athletes go back into training at a high level which usually increases...

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Tips on Bullying

Uncategorized Oct 18, 2021

Tips on Bullying

 

One of the biggest concerns from parents during the back-to-school season is bullying. Some 160,000 kids skip school every day because they fear of being attacked or ridiculed by bullies. The good news is that these disturbing statistics can be limited with the proper education.

 

As an educator that has worked with hundreds of children on anti-bullying strategies, I have found that the most important skill a child should have when dealing with bullies is confidence.  No matter what you teach a child, it will not be effective without the confidence to put the lessons into action. Children that fall victim to bullies usually are targets because they lack the confidence to stand up for themselves. Therefore, it is very important that you begin instilling confidence within your child if you want him or her to effectively handle bullying.

 

Here are a few tips on how you can build confidence within your child:

 

Make sure that you are a good...

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Childhood Fears - Developmental Expectations

Uncategorized Oct 05, 2021

Children of all ages have fears, from babies to teens. And whether these fears are from real or imaginary places, they are nonetheless scary. Since our brains are wired to protect us, fears are a normal part of a child's development. Children will eventually outgrow fears but being knowledgeable about what fears are more common at certain ages will help parents navigate their children through them in the healthiest and most successful way. Having a plan to help children build bravery regarding their fears will help them learn to self-regulate and face other anxiety-producing events straight on.

 

When we think of fear, we generally consider it to be a bad thing. However, some fear is okay and can help children be cautious and set limits for themselves. But when fear begins to limit a child's ability to participate in normal daily activities and is persistent or overly intense, intervention with a professional may be needed. Normal developmental fears for infants are things such...

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Is Your Child Ready for the School year ahead?

Uncategorized Sep 12, 2021

The past year and a half of school has been such a tumultuous ride. From school closures to virtual classes to partial reopening, it seems as if our children have experienced every out-of-the-norm scenario we could come up with. And although the goal was to keep them safe, children’s development took a significant hit. We’ve seen more significant emotional distress, poorer health choices, regression in cognitive momentum, and decreased social skills. So, as the new school year is getting under way, it is more important than ever to ensure that they are prepared for the school year ahead in ways that cover all developmental areas.

 

The idea of “school readiness” has always been mostly referenced when related to cognitive skills needed for school. However, many studies have found that teachers aren’t as concerned with these things and feel that it’s more important that students function in the classroom by being confident, independent, and...

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Playful Connection - Filling Your Child’s Emotional Cup

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2021

Over the years, healthy connection levels between parents and children have decreased, leading to more challenging behaviors from children. Today's modern lifestyle has interfered with the opportunity for the parent-child bond to grow. This vital aspect of a child's life is essential for their emotional cup to be full, giving them healthy self-worth and self-esteem. To fill their cup, children need quality connection time with their parents every day. When they receive this, children will develop healthy self-worth and self-esteem and, therefore, approach the world with more kindness and compassion.

 

The "emotional cup" metaphor created by Upbility, publishers of therapy resources, asks that you imagine children have a cup that needs to be filled with attention, affection, and security. When this cup doesn't get filled, misbehaviors, arguments, and aggressive behaviors may be exhibited. The cup can also be emptied by stress, loneliness, and punishments. Children need positive...

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Should I Worry? Tuning into Teens’ Emotional Shifts

Uncategorized Aug 01, 2021

As we approach the one- and- half year mark of an ever-strong pandemic that has rocked our world, we are searching for ways to keep ourselves mentally and emotionally in check. For teens, this has been an even more difficult feat. Adolescence is already fraught with stress and moodiness but adding in the social isolation and fear have led to an even greater rise in anxiety and depression among teens. And while parents are doing their best to manage their own stress and provide for their families, alarming signs of depression in teens are being overlooked. Therefore, it is vital that parents are attuned to their teens “normal” moods and know when they are exhibiting more harmful ones.

 

As teens grow and develop, it’s no surprise that the raging hormones along with academic, social, and even athletic stressors set the stage for teenage angst. And while it’s not always easy to discriminate between typical teenage moodiness and depression, observing...

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Is Your Child Real World Ready?

Uncategorized Jun 03, 2021

In recent years, parenting has undergone a shift and has become hyper-focused on the child. And while care, attention, and love are necessary for forming healthy attachments and helping children reach developmental milestones, an over-protective or coddling type approach can also hinder them. Rest assured, this parenting tactic comes from a place of love but to allow children to achieve autonomy, we must allow them the freedom to make choices and learn daily life skills. This will set them up for the most success in the future.

 

It’s no doubt our world has changed, and our lifestyles are more hectic and fast-paced than ever before. Coupled with the failures, peer problems, disappointments, etc., that children run into along the way, it makes it hard for parents to sit on the sidelines and just let things happen. And often, parents feel a sense of guilt for not having more time with their children, so doing more gives them a sense of relief and creates what they think is...

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Rapid Resets: Quick Ways to Calm an Emotional Flood

Uncategorized May 05, 2021

As we know, children can lose control of their emotions for various reasons, and the behaviors we witness are generally unplanned. And since anxiety can look like defiance, adults often respond in counterproductive ways. When children are stressed, the amygdala, in the downstairs brain, is triggered, and the “fight or flight” response takes over. This hijacking of the brain makes it hard for children to be reached through conversation resulting in a disruption in the current environment. Implementing rapid resets can calm children and get their brains back “online.”

 

When children are out of the zone, and their “lid is flipped,” the sympathetic nervous system has been fully activated, and they don’t recognize what is happening. The reactions we see are based on each child’s current developmental stage, communication skills, and emotional competency. Also, some children have an anxious type temperament and are more likely to react...

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