Friday, 10 December 2010

Teaching Our Children To Have The Courage To Dream


Very few people have the courage to live life to its fullest. Very few people are willing to take risks in life. Very few people are actively striving to reach for the dreams that they hold deep in their hearts. But there are a few. What is it, exactly, that those few have that makes them different from the rest? What makes them keep trying? What keeps them from settling for less like so many other people do? And if you had to choose whether or not your child would be the type to sit back and settle in life for whatever he was given or would be the type to reach out and take few risks and grab for his dream, which would you choose?

Most of us would say that we want our children to dream and to believe that they can make those dreams come true. Most of us want our children to reach for their dreams. Most of us want our children to set themselves goals and then work towards making those goals a reality. But if we are not living our dream, how are we supposed to teach our children the importance of living their dreams? If we have given up on our dreams, how are we supposed to teach our children not to give up on theirs?

The best way we can teach our children to reach for their dreams, to make goals and achieve them, is by doing so ourselves. Dreams don’t always have to be about careers. Some dreams are very different from that. And how we, as parents, achieve them, teaches our children some important lessons about life.

An overweight mother might dream of losing weight. By taking steps toward being healthier and losing the weight, she would show her child the importance of setting goals and reaching them. If she loses the weight in an unhealthy manner, the weight loss is not likely to be a lasting one, and the child will only learn to go for the quick and easy route or that reaching goals isn’t really all that likely or lasting. But if the mother loses the weight by eating healthily and adding in some moderate exercise to her daily routine, her weight loss will be healthier and more lasting. From this, her child will learn that setting goals can be productive and that it takes time, effort and commitment to meet those goals.

A hard working dad might hate his 9 to 5 job. He might have dreamed about writing a novel ever since he was a child. By continuing to work at his 9 to 5 job, without giving any outlet to his writing dream, he is showing his daughter that it’s better to take what you’re given and accept your lot in life. He will teach her to settle. But if, on the weekends, he writes short stories for magazines and writes a bit more of his novel, he is showing her that it is important not to give up on your dreams. If he actively researches what it will take to find an editor and literary agent, joins writing clubs and continues feeding his dream of writing by taking positive steps towards it, he teaches his daughter that it is worth the effort to work towards your dreams.

A hardworking mom might be unhappy in her current position at work. She might dream of moving higher up the ladder in her profession, but she lacks the education required to do so. If she just accepts that this is as good as it can be for her, then she teaches her child to settle. She teaches her child to give up. But if instead, she starts taking some night courses that will help her eventually get the required education that she needs in order to get a promotion, then her son sees a better example. Her son sees her not giving up. Her child will learn that education is important and that it is important to obtain whatever learning is needed for reaching our dreams.

A dad might have lost his job and be looking for a new one. He might let himself get depressed and mope about the loss of his job. From this, his child would learn about self-pity. If instead, the dad never loses faith in himself and never loses the belief that he will find another job, so he keeps putting himself out there for interviews, then his child learns that it is important to believe in yourself if you want to reach your dreams.

These are just random examples of how people raising families can not just reach for their own dreams but can also be an example of doing so to their children, but there are many different scenarios that will still teach our children to value goal-setting. If we want our children to believe that they can attain their dreams, we have to believe it for ourselves. Children learn from us, not just from what we say but from what we do.

What is it that makes those few people with the courage to take risks and reach for their dreams different from the rest? What is it that makes them keep working towards their dreams? What is it that makes them keep taking step after step towards reaching their dreams no matter what obstacles stand in their way? It’s actually quite simple. They don’t give up. No matter what stands in their way or what seems to be making the task seem impossible, they keep working for it. They believe in themselves and in their dreams. They ignore the people who tell them it can’t be done. They think positively about the outcome of all of their work. They know in their hearts that they will obtain their dreams. They picture themselves reaching their goals. And we have to believe it for ourselves too, if we want to teach it to our children.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Ten Ways to Exercise With Your Child


This is an article I wrote for Beverly Hills Child Magazine in their September 2010 issue.

As parents, we can be full of excuses for why we aren’t getting enough exercise. One of those excuses, often enough, is our children. We say that we don’t have enough time to exercise because our children take up so much of our time. We complain that we don’t get enough time to spend with our children as it is so how are we supposed to give some of that time up in order to go to a gym?

But we aren’t the only ones for whom getting enough exercise is important. Obesity is becoming a growing epidemic in many first world countries, and it is up to us as parents, to make sure that our children don’t become one of those statistics.

So how do we give up the excuses and make sure that we, and our children, get enough exercise? Here are ten suggestions.

1. Take your child on a picnic at the park. Bring along healthy snacks. Picnics at the park are the perfect environment for playing, running and being active.

2. Take nature walks with your child. Children love to go for walks and try to spot different animals and birds along the way. It’s also a great way to spend some real quality time with your child while she talks to you.

3. Dance with your child. Turn on the radio or find a music channel on the television and let yourself be silly. It will get your child moving and also create a wonderful memory for your child in the process.

4. Plant a garden with your child. Digging in the soil, watering the plants, pulling weeds and pruning the plants is all physical activity that helps to raise the heart rate and makes a great way to exercise while helping the environment and, if growing your own fruit and vegetables, saving money too.

5. Play ball with your child. Something as simple as throwing a ball back and forth with your child is a great way to get him exercising without him even realizing that he is doing any.

6. Sign you and your child up to learn something new such as dance or karate. These clubs are great ways to exercise while learning a new skill and spending time with your child.

7. Have your child join a sports team such as soccer or baseball. Team sports are a great way for kids to get some exercise. Many team sports allow parents to volunteer as coaches, team moms or just to help out during practices, and going to your child’s games will show your child you support her. Don’t just sit and watch her play though. Follow your child up and down the field from the sidelines and cheer for her!

8. Walk your child to and from school each day. Walking your child to school each morning is a great way to spend some time with your child before the school and workday begins, and you will also get to hear about your child’s day while walking home. Not only that, but by not driving, you will be cutting down on pollution and creating less traffic congestion near the school.

9. Take your child swimming. Not everyone has a pool in their backyard, but there are many public places where you and your child can go swimming. If neither of you know how, then you can take lessons together. Swimming is a fun way to get some exercise that works out the whole body.

10. Just play. Kids love it when a parent is willing to run around and play games with them. Play a game of tag or “Duck, Duck, Goose.” There are so many children’s games that will get both of you active. Just get out there and PLAY!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Finding Magic In Everyday Life

Stanton Park 18 Sept 2010

There are so many reasons to be happy in this life, and there are so many miracles that happen on a daily basis and in even the most ordinary of lives. It's important that we each take the time to cherish the beauty that this world holds for us and to appreciate the magic that each new day holds. There are several things you can do to help yourself find magic in your everyday life.

Open your eyes to the beauty that lives in the world all around you. Whether it is by noticing the first rays of a new morning or seeing the fresh morning dew sparkling in the sunshine, you can begin your day enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds you. And soaking in the sight of the golden rays and pink cotton clouds of sunset can bring you a new appreciation of the natural majesty held within this world. There are numerous sights that you see throughout each day that are wonderful examples of the beauty and magic all around.

Listen carefully to the joy and peace that comes with the sounds that surround you each day. From the magic of a child's laughter to the thunderous sound of waves crashing against a sandy beach, there are sounds everywhere that can evoke rich and deep emotions within you. Maybe you like listening to thunder storms or to the sound of rain as it patters against the windows. Or maybe you love to listen to music. This world we live in is full of wonderous and enchanting sounds.

Embrace the diverse sensations that you can feel with the variety of different textures in this world and how they feel against your skin. Luxuriate in a hot, soothing bath until your skin turns pink and the tips of your fingers wrinkle. Swim in a pool and feel the cool, wet water as you glide through it. Hug your son or daughter close and feel the warmth of his or her little arms around you. Lie between silk sheets on your bed at night. There are so many wonderful things that you can touch and experience against your skin every day.

Stop to smell the roses, or for that matter, to smell anything with a rich, wonderful aroma. Different smells can evoke emotions in us as they can be associated in our minds with different memories. And some smells are just enjoyable to each of us for different reasons. Let the rich aroma of a freshly brewed pot of coffee help you start your day each morning. Or fill your bath with scented soap and bubbles. Bake a vanilla cake and let the scent of the vanilla fill your kitchen. There are so many ways to find the everyday magic in your sense of smell.

Taste the delightfulness that this world has to offer with a variety of different foods. From the juicy, natural sweetness of strawberries to the spicy, warm taste of a curry, your mouth has the ability to distinguish an endless variety of taste sensations. Bake some chocolate chip cookies and eat one while it's still warm. Make yourself a fruit salad full of the tangy sweetness of apples, the juicy tartness of oranges and the succulent sweetness of strawberries and other berries. Cook up and enjoy a salty and tangy chicken stir-fry. There are many different taste sensations to experience.

Pay attention to the magic and the miracles that occur in even the most ordinary lives. From the birth of a new baby to the blossoming of a flower, from the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly to the golden honey created by bees, all of these things and many more are miracles and examples of the awesome magic that this world holds.

Create some miracles of your own in order to bring the magic of this world more closely into your heart. The best way to create a miracle of your own is to do something wonderful for someone else. Give someone who is feeling down a hug. Tell someone a truthful compliment. When you are at the coffee shop, anonymously pay for the person behind you in line's coffee. Buy small gifts and deliver them randomly (and anonymously) to neighbors. If you know someone who is struggling financially, slip some money through his letterbox when he isn't home, or take him out to dinner. Offer to babysit for a tired mom who doesn't get out much. There are a myriad of ways to create your own miracles, and the magic of it is that the more miracles you create, the more you want to create, and the miracles that you create for others have a far-reaching effect in that those people tend to pass them on with new miracles for others.

This beautiful world that we all live in is full of magic and wonder. All it takes is to let yourself perceive the magic and the beauty that is all aorund you.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Ten Things Children Can Teach Us About Staying Active

1. You don't need music or a dance floor to dance.


2. Skirts are meant for twirling.


3. Climbing trees and building treehouses is a great form of exercise.

Tree climbing

4. You don't need a car to go places, all you need is your own two legs.


5. If you need to get somewhere fast, ride a bike.

Riding A Bike

6. Running is not just for exercise; it's also for fun things like playing tag.

Gabby in motion

7. Any hill, no matter how small, is great for jumping off of.


8. Water was meant for splashing in.


9. There is never a suitable reason not to climb on the climbing frames at playgrounds.


10. Never give up your sense of playfulness.

Surfing for beginners by BFG

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Obesity & Children - No More Excuses!

This is a topic that is on my mind a lot as record numbers of children are becoming classed as obese in both America and in the United Kingdom. How can this happen? Aren't parents supposed to be in control of what food is in their home and how much a child is allowed to eat? Aren't parents the ones who prepare their children's meals? As parents, don't we love our kids enough to feed them properly with good nutritious food? Because that's what is comes down to. If you love your child, you will make sure that most of what she eats is nutritious and healthy, full of all of the nutrients and vitamins that she needs and lacking in things like sugar.

I know that, for some, it is not as cut-and-dried as that. I do know that it can be more expensive to buy healthy, fresh food. I know that our kids plead with us on numerous occasions to buy them sugar-laden food, and I know that for some parents, the time it takes to prepare a meal from scratch is a luxury they don't often have.

But I also know that some things in life are more important than all of the excuses that we rely on to keep us from feeling bad for not doing something. The health of our children should be a huge priority in our lives. And that means feeding them healthy meals and limiting the junk food they are allowed to eat. So here are some tips to help us make sure that we do everything we can for our children's health and that we keep those excuses at bay.

Excuse #1 - Healthy, fresh food is too expensive.


- Grow your own fruit and vegetables. You don't even need a yard of your own in order to do this. Some properly sized planting pots and hanging baskets can be enough to help you grow fruit, vegetable and herbs of your own.

- Re-use left-overs to create numerous meals from the same ingredients.

- Buy generic brands. Sometimes they are just as good as the more expensive brand name products, and the nutrition, in many instances, is just as good.

- Buy in bulk. Certain fresh ingredients can be bought in bulk and frozen in order to use later, and buying in bulk often costs less per item bought.

Excuse 2 - My child likes junk food, and they beg and plead for it all of the time.


- Be a parent. Part of being a parent is telling your children "no" when it is in their best interests. You don't have to eliminate junk food from your child's diet, but you should definitely limit it.

- Don't use sweets as a "treat." You don't want your child to be associating sugar-laden, non-nutitrious food as a reward or a special occasion, and giving it to him as a treat or a reward will just enforce the idea in his mind that good times equal sugar (or fast food or whatever unhealthy food you are using).

- Make sure your child can have nutritious fresh food on hand to take the place of the junk food they are craving. Fresh fruit is naturally sweet and filling at the same time. I know very few children who will turn down something as sweet and delicious as strawberries, for example, and strawberries are GOOD for your child to eat.

Excuse #3 - I don't have time to prepare healthy meals or to cook from scratch.


- Batch cook ahead of time. Take one day, maybe Saturday or Sunday (or whatever day you have the most free time) and cook the whole week's meals and then freeze it all, ready to be microwaved or reheated in the oven when you need it.

- Chop and freeze your fresh vegetables needed for cooking ahead of time. For example, if you will be making a lot of dishes that required diced onions during the week, then chop and dice some onion ahead of time and freeze it in freezer bags in the serving sizes that you will need for the meals.

- Measure out and portion your ingredients ahead of time. For example, you can do this with grated cheese. To keep yourself from using more cheese than a recipe calls for, measure out the portions you need into individual bags and store it in the fridge (or freezer) ready to use.

- Use your crockpot (slow cooker). If you wake up early enough in the morning, you can prepare the entire meal and start it cooking before you even leave the house for work in the morning, and by evening, a hot, healthy meal will be ready for you and your children. (Also, by then, the house will smell delicous!)

These are just a few solutions. I hope they are helpful. I'll tackle ways to help your kids be more physically active in a later post.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Walk Your Daughter To Work Day


Today is Walk Your Daughter To Work Day. I can't help but wonder how many people will actually take part in this today. I thought it might be a good idea to help parents make the choice to walk their daughters to work with them today by listing some reasons why it is a good thing to take part in.

Walking is healthy for both you and your daughter. The effort of walking helps with circulation and benefits the heart.

Walking with your daughter is a great way to bond with her. It gives you extra time with your child and allows your child to talk with you. It's a great way to learn more about what your child likes, and, in my experience, children tend to open up and talk quite a lot when out walking with a parent.

Walking with your daughter is a great way to show your child, through your actions, that health and fitness are important to you. Children learn best through the examples that we show them.

Taking your daughter to work with you helps her get to know you better. It's a way for your child to learn a little bit more about what your day away from them is like.

Did you participate in Walk Your Daughter To Work Day?

Friday, 11 June 2010

Finding Time For Walking Despite A Busy Schedule

Walking With Daddy sm1

Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise throughout
the day. Experts recommend taking 10,000 steps a day for optimal health benefits. You don't have to set aside a large chunk of time and go out for a long walk to get your walking fitness done. There are some easy ways to fit walking into a busy schedule.

Park at the far end of the parking lot when going to work or shopping. You can even park a block away. The few minutes that it will take you to walk that little bit further will increase the amount of steps you take for the day without eating into a large bite of your time.

Use the stairs. If a building you work in or a store you visit has a choice between stairs or elevator, take the stairs. You'll get a quick boost to your heart rate and help get more of your daily steps completed.

Take short ten-minute walks. Just go outside and walk around the block or walk around the building you are working in. Doing this a few times a day adds up to a lot of walking without interfering with your other daily activities.

Walk early in the morning or late in the evening. Setting aside time to walk before your day has begun or once your other activities have been completed means you can spend more time just walking and enjoying the sights around you.

Walk your children to school. Cars can be a hazard near schools anyway, so take the simple approach and walk your children to school. It will help with traffic congestion around the school and will benefit your children’s health as well as your own. If you live too far away, just drive part of the way to the school and walk the rest.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

11 Things You Can Do To Help Yourself Lose Weight

1. Write everything down that you eat. It will help keep you mindful of what and how much you are actually eating. Be completely honest.

2. If you're counting calories, don't count the calories in most fruit and vegetables, so you can eat as much of them as you want. (I love, love, love strawberries.) It'll help you choose to eat more of these nutritious foods. Remember some fruits are better for weight loss than other fruits. (For example, while bananas are a healthy food to eat, they are not particularly helpful in weight loss, but strawberries are a great weight loss aid.)

3. Make sure you include some fat-free dairy in your diet. Studies have shown that including more non-fat dairy in your diet, such as the dairy found in non-fat yogurts, can aid in weight loss.

4. Limit your breads, pastas, rice and flour products, but when you do have bread or burrito shells, go for wholegrain ones as the extrta fiber in wholegrain breads, rices amd pastas will help with digestion.

5. Do have desserts, but get creative in cooking up healthy desserts, or buying low-cal versions of things you hate doing without. Telling yourself you can't have nay desserts will just make you start craving them more, but by allowing yourself the occasional treat, you avoid making desserts become too much of a temptation.

6. If you're buying low fat products, check the ingredients. Sometimes "low fat" just means "high sugar." Better yet, stick to naturally low in fat, high in protein foods.

7. Eating things like bacon, ham, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, etc is fine as long as you go with lean versions or extra lean versions. Lean meats are an excellent source of protein, and protein tends to keep you feeling full for longer than carbohydrate-laden foods.

8. As often as possible, cook your food from scratch. This way you know what's in your food. The more processed something is, the less healthy it probably is. Once you start cooking more, it can be fun to experiment with healthier cooking.

9. Don't obsess. There will be times when you eat something bad for you. Do not see yourself as a failure because of it and then go on to eat more junk. See those times as a momentary blip in your healthy eating plan and go right back to eating healthy. Don't let yourself feel out of control.

10. At meals, fill your plate 1/3 full with vegetables/fruit, then add your meat & whatever else to the space that's left. If you are really hungry and need seconds, that's okay, but do the same thing again (filling plate 1/3 with vegetables).

11. Get some exercise. Even if it's just a bit of walking, it will help your heart and aid in upping your metabolism.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Courage To Dream

still pond sm


What does the word mean to you? I’m not asking about anything related to electricity or turning your washing machine on. In regards to you as a person, what does the word empowerment mean to you? Do you feel empowered? Or do you feel weak and helpless?

The reason I am asking this is because so many of my friends seem to be embracing the idea of being powerless about making changes in their lives. They have dreams, but they feel as though everything is against them achieving those dreams and that they have no say in whether or not they can make those dreams a reality.

I hear from them, over and over again, phrases such as, “I wish...”, “I can’t...”, and “If only...” I never hear positive phrases such as “I will...”, “I can...”, and “I am...” But in speaking in the negative tones that they speak in, they are, in fact, ignoring any power they have over their own situation. In not even considering the chance that they can do something to change things, they are making themselves helpless. But they don’t have to be helpless, and neither do you.

What is it you want from life? Is it to lose weight and get fit and healthy? Is it to write the next blockbuster novel? Are you unhappy in your current career and want to change it? Do you want to earn a better income or take a trip across the world? Nothing is out of your reach! What do you dream about doing? Tell yourself that you are going to do it! Wouldn’t it be great to empower yourself? Wouldn’t it be great to feel strong and capable and in control of where your life is heading? Wouldn’t it be great not just to have the courage to dream but to have the courage to grab for those dreams too? The only things that stand in the way of your dreams becoming a reality are the limits you place on yourself. And you can remove those limits with nothing more than a thought!

The first step is to have the courage to dream. Make a list of the things that you really want in life. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Write it down! Have you always wanted to take a vacation in Ireland or Hawaii? Have you always wanted to own your own house? Do you want to lose weight or build up muscle? Are you a banker but always dreamed of being a teacher? Write it down!

The second step is to believe that you are capable of achieving that dream. Sounds simple, right? The good news is that it really is that simple. Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities. Tell yourself you are strong, capable and even fearless if the need arises. You can do this. You will do this. You will make your dreams come true. Get rid of that negative little voice in your head that whispers to you that you can’t do it, you’re not strong enough, it’s too hard and all of the other negative words. Just ignore it. You know, deep down, that you can achieve your dreams, so follow that deeper inner voice and believe in yourself.

The third and final step is to decide what steps you need to do to achieve your dreams and then take those steps. If you’re dreaming of becoming a novelist, then you need to start writing. You need to set aside time every day to write. Maybe you need to fine tune some of your writing skills so taking a class would help. If you’re dreaming of being a teacher, then you need to get the requisite training and degrees, even if it means taking classes after work while you continue your current job. If you dream of taking a trip to Europe, then you need to find out what it will cost you and start setting aside money from each paycheck. If you dream of owning your own house, then you need to clear your debts, clean up your credit history and save up the deposit. If you want to lose weight, then you need to find out what diet and exercise plan will work for you and you need to start doing it. Fit in exercise every day. Eat less junk and more healthy food. For whatever your dream is, you need to start working in the direction of making that dream a reality. Stop defeating yourself with negative thoughts and empower yourself, not just with positive thinking but with your actions.

You might be asking yourself why I care whether or not you reach for your dreams. I care because I used to feel powerless. I used to feel like all of my dreams were just out of my reach and that there was nothing I could do about it. I used to feel as though I wasn’t strong enough or good enough or capable enough to make my dreams a reality. But all along, I was deceiving myself into inaction. And I don't want anyone else to go through that, to live through feeling helpless when there is no need for them to feel that way.

When I finally started to take charge of my own inner voices, when I started to tell myself that I could achieve my dreams and when I started taking the steps that were necessary to get to my goals, I began to empower myself. And one of those dreams has already come true as a result. And now that I know that anything is possible, that I am capable of making my dreams come true, look out World!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

10 Ways To Inspire Your Child To Write

1. Read to your child or make sure he or she spends time reading every day.
Not only does reading help her get used to using her imagination, but it also improves her vocabulary by introducing her to new words.

2. Tell your child made-up stories. Seeing you using your imagination to come up with interesting stories for him helps inspire him to do the same.

3. Play story-telling games with your child. Start by saying one line of a story, and have the next person continue the story by coming up with the second line, and the third person has to come up with the third line. If this proves too difficult, each person can come up with a paragraph instead of a line each. This is a great way to stimulate your child’s creativity and get her thinking about the things that make up a good story.

4. Have your child and some of his or her friends write poems and make it a contest. Make sure they don’t put their names on the poems, and then collect the poems into a pile. Read the poems out loud, one by one, and tell them all they can vote for one poem, other than their own, that they thought was the best one. Then tabulate the votes and the winner gets a treat, like a candy bar, a sticker or a new notebook (depending on what you can afford to give and how old your child is). Do this once a week, at the same time each week, because knowing that it is coming up will have them all thinking about their poem throughout the week.

5. Get your child a library card. As in the first point above, reading is important for your child if she is going to develop the ability to write. Reading a variety of stories and books, as a library card will allow, will help her to become familiar with different writing voices and styles.

6. Self-publish his stories and drawings so that he can hold a physical book of his own creation in his hands. This can be done through places like Amazon’s CreateSpace, and Blurb, Inc. Or you can create the book by hand using your printer and the right materials. If you are completely lost on how to create the book, use a service such as Your Kids’ Creations. Having a physical book of his own words and drawings that he can hold, read and share with others inspires a confidence in his own writing that is hard to capture in other ways. This confidence will inspire him to write more.

7. Do some writing yourself. Seeing a parent take writing seriously and spend time writing emphasizes the importance of writing in a child’s mind. It’s a case of leading by example.

8. Have your child write and illustrate a poem. This helps show your child the connection between the beauty in words and the beauty in the world around her. It helps to make the connection that you are painting a picture with words when writing. As an extra step, you can even put her masterpiece on a mug, poster or magnet at for her to keep as a physical reminder that she can create beauty with her writing, or just to show her how proud you are of her work.

9. Help your child create a newsletter. Let him take pictures of his friends or other things with a digital camera, or provide him with pictures if a digital camera is not available, and he can write stories about sports he loves, games he plays with his friends, or just interesting news about his friends and family that he’d like to share. Help him put it all together in a newsletter format. Print up several copies and he can hand them out to his friends and family members. He can even let his friends participate in the newsletter by contributing stories to it.

10. Let your child have his or her own blog or use other social media outlets. With the proper supervision, writing for her own blog or keeping in touch with her friends through other social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook can really help inspire your child to reach for even greater creativity. Using a blog source such as makes it easy for her to choose a template and set up her own blog (though, depending on her age, she might need your help), and you can set it to not allow comments or to only allow comments after they’ve been moderated by you. She can share her writing of stories and poetry as well as her drawings and even simple journal entries in her blog. The blog can be set to private or public and you can monitor it to the extent that you think is necessary. Facebook and Twitter accounts can also be set to private and you can only allow them to authorize friends you know, but this frees them to chat freely and be creative with their friends.

There are many ways to inspire creativity and a love for writing in your child. Even as simple a thing as writing a letter to his or her grandparents can help bring out the creative writer in your child. It’s up to you to encourage your children and to lead by example in their lives. If you put importance on writing in your life, your child will see it as important too.

How To Keep Fairy Magic Alive For Your Children


Children are creatures of magic. In a child’s eyes, anything is possible, from the mundane to the truly magical. Through their innocent eyes, the world takes on a whole new presence, full of mystery, magic and wonder.

But somewhere along the way as children grow older, they begin to lose this sense of wonder and belief in the impossible. They mature and their dreams of flying and their fantasies of other worlds within worlds start to lose their luster as a new reality begins to creep into their consciousness little by little, a reality where magic is only a trick and the fantastical never happens.

How can we, as parents, keep the magic alive for our children? How can we help them retain their sense of wonder and their belief in the impossible? Is it an impossible task in this world where reality can all too often seem mundane and routine, or even sometimes cruel and harsh?

There are, indeed, ways that we can help our children keep their youthful innocence and belief in the magic and wonder of this world alive for them.

It is important that you retain your own sense of playfulness. Children need to see us, the adults in their lives, play and act silly from time to time. They need to understand that becoming an adult does not mean leaving our playfulness behind us, and the only way they can learn this is by seeing that sense of playfulness in us.

Dance. Sometimes, keeping the magic alive for our children is as simple as turning on some music and dancing with your kids. You don’t even have to dance well; in fact, the sillier your dancing is, the better it will suit the purpose of keeping magic and wonder in our children’s world.

Read to your children. There is nothing more magical than a well-told story. The adventures in a story book can help to keep your children thinking in creative ways and imagining all the things that could be. It’s a fabulous way of keeping their minds on magical possibilities.

Draw with your children. Along with creating shapes and images out of playdough, this helps children think up imaginary things to create and even helps them express through their own eyes how beautifully they see things that are in the world around them.

Take nature walks with your children. Along the way, point out the different trees and plants, or butterflies and other insects you can spot along the way. Children have a natural tendency to view things in nature with awe and wonder. Teach them about some of what they are seeing. The growth of tadpoles into frogs and the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies can hold an immense measure of wonder and enjoyment for a child.

Play some innocent tricks on your children. This can be really fun. Simple magic tricks are easy to impress small children with, and can be very simple to perform. Pulling a coin from behind a child’s ear or playing a card trick can provide them with a sense of amazement that will last them for quite some time. Find unusual ways to play these kinds of games with your child, like, with a very young child, blow really hard as you come up to an automatic door and let them believe you’ve blown the door open. These are harmless and fun things to do, and they are small ways to add to a child’s sense of there being magic in the world.

Plant a fairy garden. Many garden centers carry kits for planting the types of plants that attract butterflies and other insects like them. Tell your child it is a fairy garden and add some small fairy statues around the garden to emphasize this fact. You can even help your child gather some twigs and fashion an impromptu fairy house to add to your garden.

Create a nature enclosure for your child to play in within the garden. Some shrubs can be fashioned in a circle over time to leave an opening in the center for your child to play within, or, for something more temporary during the summer, you can plant some tall sunflowers close together in a circle. As they grow, they form a wall of flowers with an open circle in the center where your child can play, feeling hidden in their nature “house.”

Create “power stones.” Collect some smooth round rocks and let your children paint them with glitter and colourful paints. Tell them that they can assign these “power stones” with special powers, such as “patience,” “tranquillity,” “happiness,” and other powers. Let them assign the powers and you paint the words on the rocks for them. Tell them that holding each rock, or carrying it in their pocket or purse, will help them hold the special power it contains within them.

There are many ways to create magic and to keep a sense of awe and wonder alive for our children. And finding the ways to do this that work for you and your child can be a fun process and can help bring back a bit of that fairy magic into your world again too.

Making Choices

If you’re struggling to lose weight or to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to think about your choices. Losing weight would be easy if making the right choices was easy. But too often, it’s easier to choose to eat what we want instead of what’s good for us and to choose to sit and watch tv instead of getting up and doing some exercise.

We make these little choices all the time, throughout the day, and though each choice made has a small impact, if we continually choose these things, they add up to having a big effect on our waistlines and health. Choosing the high-in-fat dessert once in a while won’t do any permanent damage to our health, but if we make these choices on a regular basis, the result can be harmful.

Sometimes, the easier choice doesn’t even feel like you’re making one. You just go on automatic and reach for something salty to munch when you’re bored. Or you get home from work, and tired from a busy day, plunk yourself down in front of the tv for a bit of relaxation.

But each thing you do in your life is a choice. You can choose to walk to the store instead of driving there. You can choose to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. You can choose to grab an apple when you feel like munching something or to go for a run when you’re bored.

Think about the things you do and the choices you are making by doing them. Are those choices helping you make it to your goal or are they hurting your progress? How important is your goal to you? Is that slice of cake and the few moments of pleasure you get as you scarf it down more important to you than feeling healthy and fit or than getting to your goal weight?

Thinking about your choices, once you start to really do it, can lead to helping you in areas of your life other than just health, fitness and weight loss too. Do you really want to chat with friends on Facebook? Or would your time be better spent catching up on writing the novel you dreamed of writing or knitting the scarf you promised yourself you would knit? Does sitting in front of the tv or computer screen mean more to you than spending time playing with your kids?

It’s okay to choose to socialize on the computer, play video games and watch tv sometimes. It’s only when those choices start to take up more of your life and take away from other areas that you have to begin to make different choices. What are your goals? What is it you really want to achieve? If you know what your goals are, then the majority of the choices you make throughout your day should be ones that help you get closer to them.