Mother Earth Living

Smart Parenting

Practical advice about raising children

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5/19/2016


Photo by Fotolia

Growing your own food can be a big step in learning to eat well early in life. Instilling healthy eating habits in kids can be tricky, but if you can teach them to love gardening, your chances of getting your picky eater to eat their veggies will increase. With a few tips, you can get your child to enjoy themselves in the garden. Check out the list below for some ideas on giving your little one a green thumb.

Let Them Choose

Letting your kids pick what to plant can help keep them interested. They get to choose something and watch how it changes as they take care of it. The cause and effect part of gardening can be very rewarding for children. Get garden tools that are suited to their small hands and let them participate in the whole process of creating and maintaining a garden.

Give Them Their Own Area

Dedicating a small section of the garden to your child can make gardening feel like a special activity for them. Having their own area to work in helps them feel important and included. Giving them their own garden space also grants a little room for creativity, because they can set up their garden just how they like it.

Let Them Decorate

Plain flower pots look better with a coat of paint, and your child will enjoy making something colorful. Allow your child as much creative freedom as possible to decorate the garden as they wish. Let them paint pots or draw signs to identify plants. Anything they can do to personalize the garden will keep them content.

Let Them Get Dirty

Kids love to get their hands dirty. Letting them go wild in the garden may be the secret to keeping your little helper entertained. Let them dig their own holes and plant their own seeds. Getting their hands in the dirt is something almost no kid can resist. Let your child water the garden sometimes, as well. Who doesn’t love playing with the garden hose?

Be aware though; May and June can be rainy months, and if your yard is in a low-lying area, small puddles can quickly turn into a muddy pond. If you find yourself in this situation it may be helpful to remove water with a pump or at least redistribute it to other areas of your yard. Your white carpet will thank you later.

Plant Something Fun

Kids are all about their senses. No matter what it is, they want to touch it, smell it or put it in their mouths. The garden can be the perfect place to explore your senses. Plant things that appeal to all the ways your kids interact with the world. Colorful flowers give them something to look at. Wooly plants such as lamb’s ear are interesting to feel. Marigold and mint are highly scented plants. Lettuce and radishes will sprout quickly and show your kid that their hard work is paying off.

Bribe Them

OK, this probably isn’t the best way to get or keep your kids in the garden, but a reward system can make them more interested in their new role of farmer. You can create a garden chore chart and reward them for completing all their tasks. The reward should be something small but exciting. Getting to pick a rental movie, having 10 extra minutes of playtime or a small treat are some good possible rewards. Personalize the chart and reward system to your child and they might eventually start volunteering to garden.

Relax

Don’t make gardening too stressful for your little helper. When offering advice on an activity, be specific but not overly strict. Rows don’t need to be planted perfectly straight. Let your kids have a little wiggle room and allow them to garden in a carefree way. Never cry over spilled seed and always remember that clothes – and children – are washable.

Getting your child to help in the garden can start a lifelong love of healthy food. The physical activity is just one reason to get outside, and the time you spend together is irreplaceable. Even if your garden isn’t the most successful, you’re getting plenty of practice and your child is learning valuable skills they can carry with them their whole life.


Megan Wild is a gardener who is the process of cultivating her first succulent garden. She loves visiting local floral nurseries and picking out plants that she struggles to fit into her yard. Find her tweeting home and garden inspiration @Megan_Wild.



5/11/2016

You’ve heard of that mom — the one who has a natural solution to every ailment that strikes her child, who makes her own cleaners and laundry detergent, who somehow has her kids trained to crave organic vegetables over fruit snacks. This type is often known as the “crunchy mom” or “eco-mom.”

Eco-moms are loosely defined as women who initiate green living and maintain natural lifestyles and households. In parenting, cleaning and cooking, these women look for the most clean and natural alternatives to keep their bodies and homes free of chemicals and toxins. And more and more parents, and people, are leaning toward a crunchier lifestyle.

Whether you’re looking for a gift for an eco-mom in your life or you want to start taking a more natural approach to your own household, the following ten items are essentials.

mom and dad playing with baby
Photo by Fotolia/taka.

1. Essential Oils and a Diffuser

Headaches, sore throats, colds, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, pain, allergies — you name the symptom, and there’s an essential oil designed to alleviate it. Diffusing essential oils eliminates the need to turn to over-the-counter pain relievers or antibiotics. Making your own essential oil blends for use in a diffuser than you may think, watch our video to learn how.

2. Himalayan Salt Lamp

These dim lamps are like natural air purifiers as they work to eliminate dust, pollen and contaminants from the air. Believed to improve your mood and energy levels while relieving your kids’ allergies and asthma symptoms, these lamps have several benefits for moms and babies.

3. Dr. Bronner's Soap

Eco-moms love this popular, natural line of soap. Made with high-quality, pure ingredients, Dr. Bronner’s soap is well-known for its versatility. You can use Dr. Bronner's soap for everything from washing your face, hair and body, to doing dishes and laundry, to scrubbing toilets and washing windows.

4. Glass Water Bottle

These trendy water bottles are a must-have for moms and kids. Eco-mamas like these because the glass and lids are BPA- and phthalate-free. The majority of these are sturdy, lightweight and easy for kids to hold.

5. Ceramic Cookware and Nontoxic Kitchenware

Since moms tend to do much of the cooking, they will want nontoxic cookware that is scratch resistant, easy to clean, and free of chemicals and heavy metals.

6. Coconut Oil

This is the most versatile and useful investment for any mom. While it’s a healthy fat to use for making granola or almond butter, it also serves as a natural moisturizer for skin and hair. Coconut oil is great for healing eczema and diaper rash, but also for removing your makeup or relieving stretch marks.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another versatile household item. Whether using it as a facial toner, an all-purpose cleaner or an aid for an upset stomach, eco-moms will always want to have apple cider vinegar on hand.

8. Microfiber Cloths

Cloths with microfiber technology, such as e-cloth or Norwex, allow you to clean without using harmful, chemical-laden products. Adding only water to a microfiber cloth cleans 99 percent of bacteria, so your family can be spared exposure to extra cleaning chemicals.

9. Reusable Bags

These can be cute and trendy, often decorated with quotes or themes that appeal to either your values or aesthetic preferences. Simple, recyclable totes come in handy when moms are heading to the farmers market or the grocery store.

10. Loose-Leaf Herbal Tea

Tea is similar to essential oils in the sense that there’s a tea leaf for every ailment out there. Specific herbal teas can aid in digestion and sleep quality, boost relaxation and happiness, relieve allergies and so much more. Some are known for their benefits while pregnant or breastfeeding as well.

While you may think crunchy, eco-moms do a lot of extra work to live more naturally, these essential items provide more benefits and reduce their stress levels in the long run.


Ali Lawrence is a tea-sipping writer who focuses on healthy and sustainable living via her family blog Homey Improvements. She was born and raised in Alaska, and dabbles in PR, Pilates and is a princess for hire for kid’s parties. Find her on Twitter @DIYfolks.



5/6/2016

Trying to find a different way to celebrate this Mother’s Day? Cards and flowers can be a lovely way to show mom you care, but how about some partner yoga to strengthen the bond between mother and child? Doing yoga together requires trust, connection, playfulness and a loving touch. Sounds just like mom, right? What better way to say, “Happy Mother’s Day,” than with a yoga bonding break? Here’s a fun sequence to do as a pair!

Back to back breathing:

This is a beautiful way to begin your Mother’s Day practice. Mom and child sit back to back in a cross-legged position or lotus pose, for those who can find it with ease. Pressing your backs together, gently deepen your breath. Notice if you can feel each other breathing and then for some extra amusement, try to sync up your breath until you have the same rhythm. This exercise helps to set up a connective foundation for the poses that follow, while calming busy minds through focused, diaphragmatic breathing.


Photo by Evelyn O'Doherty

Double Down Dog:

We all love the stretch we get in downward facing dog. With a partner, you can double the fun. Mom can place her palms on the ground and lift her hips into the air, looking between her legs. Little ones can do the same underneath her, or for more of a challenge, place the tops of their feet on mom’s sacrum, while pushing their palms into the ground. Gazes will be on each other and provide the opportunity to say “I love you” and do some giggling!!

Two Trees

Poses that require balance are always challenging, but doing tree pose with your little one is a great way to help one another. This pose can be done many ways with a partner. Try holding hands while in tree. Balancing on one foot and lifting the other to place against the standing leg (just not on the knee), observe if you can both stay up for a few breaths. Try each facing a different direction, or closing your eyes. How do you support each other and balance best? If there is more than one child, this pose is fun in a group, too. You can be a forest of trees!

Partner warrior poses:

Moms are always standing up for their kids with strength and courage, grooming them to be the most powerful warriors! Warrior poses make us feel strong and brave especially when we add a little mantra to accompany them. Start side by side, stepping back with the outside leg, placing the whole foot on the ground at a slight angle. Bend the knees of the legs that are touching in front and face hips forward. Take each other’s hands and raise them to the sky in warrior 1. Say “I am strong!” From there turn your bodies sideways, so that you are back to back with legs in the same position, and reach your arms out to the sides again, grasping each other's hands, and gazing over your front arms in Warrior 2. Say “I am brave!” From there, move back into Warrior 1 and lift your back legs in the air, slowly straightening your front leg. Reach your arms out to the sides, still holding onto one another in Warrior 3. Say, “I can soar!”


Photo by Evelyn O'Doherty

Joined child’s pose:

After supporting each other in these standing poses, come on down to the ground and relax in child’s pose together. Kneel facing one another and sit down on your heels, folding forward so your chest rests on your knees. When both of you are in this position, reach your arms out so you are touching one another and breathe. Not only is this a great stretch and way to relax but it’s a nice way to connect with love and affection. Mom can put her arms on the outside of her child’s to give her a great big hug!

Namaste:

To end your mother’s day practice, honor the light -- the thing that is special and wonderful about each of you -- with a few deep inhales and exhales, and bringing your hands together by your hearts, sharing a Namaste. This beautiful sanskrit word means, “I bow to you” or in more kid-friendly terms, “the light in me acknowledges the light in you.” It is a beautiful word that captures the gratitude for all mom does and for the love shared between mother and child. Namaste Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.


Susan Verde is a yoga and mindfulness teacher, and author of the picture books The Museum, I Am Yoga, You and Me and the forthcoming The Water Princess. She lives in East Hampton, New York with her three children. 


4/27/2016


Photo by Tycho Burwell

Children (just like adults) are faced with events and moments in their lives that are difficult and sometimes can feel almost unbearable. As a parent and a kids yoga and mindfulness teacher I try give my kids the tools to cope in these moments as it is often the ability to handle the ups and downs that allows us to find contentment and live life to its fullest. One way to do this is through the story of the Lotus flower. The national flower of India, the lotus begins its journey each day rooted in the mud and muck under water and travels upward. It breaks through the surface of the water to open clean and pristine with no sign of the dirt from which it arose. In the evening it closes up again often submerging back under the water into the dirt. The lotus flower presents a wonderful opportunity to give kids a concrete example of resilience and forgiveness and cultivating an ability to get through inevitable tough times. Here are some ways to use the story of lotus flower in your kid’s classes or at home with your own children.

What is your mud?

Perhaps it’s best to begin this conversation by describing the lotus and showing pictures of the flower to your kids. This alone will get their attention, as it is a beautiful specimen. You can explain to the kids that we all have mud in our lives like the lotus. We all have times that make us feel upset or stressed. Ask them to share a time when they have felt “muddy” prompting them to share an event in their lives that was unpleasant and the feelings that go with the mud. Sharing an example from your own life is a great way to get kids to feel comfortable talking about themselves in this way. It can be an argument, a loss, a moment of regret whatever you feel is an appropriate challenge to share.

How do we shake it off?

Once you’ve identified the “mud” meaning the challenges and the difficult emotions you can talk about the way the lotus is able to rise above the dirt and open up clean and beautiful. This image is a great way to get kids thinking about how to change their own perspective and their situation. Can they come up with some suggestions to shake off the dirt, handle the heavy emotions, change or approach the situation that causes them to feel stress and discomfort?

Again, using your own examples and your own ways of coping can prompt children to come up with some great ideas of their own. Maybe there are times to let things go and times to “do” something to change a situation. Making a chart with the children of situations and strategies can be a good way to have something concrete to refer to and remember when times are tough.

Guided lotus meditation

Once you have identified both the “mud” and the many ways to rise above it you can introduce a meditation exercise to help children imagine what it’s like to be a lotus flower and introduce the idea that we often need discomfort and challenge in order to grow and each day is a chance to start over. The children can either be seated in lotus or easy pose or relaxing in savasana. If at home this is a lovely way to wind down to sleep lying in bed.

The script can go something like this:

• Close your eyes.

• Place your hands on your belly and feel it rise and fall with your breath.

• Imagine you are a lotus flower, in the mud underneath the surface of the water.

• With every inhale and exhale you begin to make your journey towards the surface.

• As you grow you thank the mud for giving you what you need to rise above it. Past it.

• On your next exhale picture yourself bursting through the layer of water above you.

• Each of your petals unfolds, clean and beautiful.

• Once you have fully opened you feel yourself receiving the warmth of the Sun.

• Inhale and exhale as you feel warmer and more beautiful.

• Now imagine it is evening and your petals slowly fold as you make your journey back beneath the surface.

• Continue breathing slowly in and out, remembering that tomorrow you will have another opportunity to rise from the muck and open your petals under the sun.

Lotus mudra

There is also a lovely mudra or hand position children can practice in other poses such as Tree or in meditation while seated when they need to feel connected to their roots while they balance and expand their hearts.

Bring the heels of the palms together then bring the tips of the pinkies to touch each other then the thumb tips without touching your knuckles and spread the rest of your fingers open like the petals of a flower.

However you use it the lotus flower is a tool from the natural world that can teach so much to kids (and adults). To me the lotus is what we aspire to be and who we innately are.

 


Susan Verde is a yoga and mindfulness teacher, and author of the picture books The Museum, I Am Yoga and the forthcoming The Water Princess. She lives in East Hampton, New York with her three children.


4/20/2016


Illustration by Peter H. Reynolds, from I Am Yoga

P-l-e-a-s-e, can we stay outside for just five more minutes?”

If your child has been waking up before the birds and his homework isn’t getting done, such indicators could point to Spring Fever.

“The good weather, surge of vitamin D, and the sense that school is coming to an end, are all signs that the seasonal transition has hit,” says Susan Verde, kids’ mindfulness and yoga teacher and the author of I Am Yoga (Abrams Young Readers, $14.95). “Kids’ natural desire to move their bodies and get outdoors is put into overdrive.”

While such restlessness can disrupt the daily routine, making it more difficult to keep kids on task, a mindful approach to your youngster’s change in mood and behavior can prove beneficial.

“Chances are, as parents, we’re experiencing the same thing. We enjoy the excitement of the warm weather and everything blooming, and we also like for our kids to connect with nature, instead of sitting inside. Being aware of your own feelings, you can then understand how the outdoors and desire to frolic is calling,” says Verde. With such perception, “You’ll probably become less anxious and frustrated, and more patient and compassionate. Then, you can start a conversation about finding a balance together.”

Win-win deal-making suggestions include the opportunity to take mini breaks, says Verde.
“While they’re doing homework, allow them ten minutes to run around outside or play catch. After, they can come back and regroup,” she says. And as long as you feel your child can handle it, “By all means, let them tackle homework outside. If it’s not a distraction it can be a refreshing and inspiring way to get work done”

Kids yoga is a structured way for kids to move their bodies and calm an overstimulated nervous system, says the expert.

“Yoga is a way to give kids some fun and movement, while actually working to bring their attention inward and get their minds to settle a bit,” says Verde.

In Child’s pose, for example, “The focus is internal, and is a great way to center. It’s a fun starting off point too, as your child can imagine he’s a seed, which grows and becomes more expansive, just like what’s occurring outside this time of year,” says Verde.

While you’re already seated, moving to Flower Pose encourages timely talk about nature and growth.  “Kids can roll back and forth to get their sillies out,” says the author.

Tree pose requires more focus and balance, by drawing both body and mind inward.
The calm, conscientious breathing and effort required is a way to cultivate what they will need to get through the rest of the day, and with their studies,” says Verde.

Attention and balance is also required in Eagle pose, which can sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable. “Learning to move through and past such discomfort can strengthen the ability to work through responsibilities that may not be as pleasant as what is calling from outside.” says Verde.

End your sequence in Savasana or in an easy seat, for a breathing exercise. With one hand on the belly, “Count the inhale and exhale. Breathe in for one count and out for one count, then breathe in for two counts and out for two. Continue counting up, but as soon as your mind wanders, start back at one. It doesn’t matter how high of a number they get it’s just a great way to help children notice when their mind wanders and help them practice bringing it back. Again, it’s a wonderful way to calm the mind and help children bring their attention back to their responsibilities so they have more time to enjoy the season.

 

The Poses

(Excerpted from I Am Yoga. Illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds)

 

Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Start by kneeling on the floor, with the tops of your feet resting on the ground, big toes touching. Sit back on your heels, either keeping your knees together or separating them the width of your hips. Bring your head down gently to the floor in front of you. Your hand can stay by your side or you can reach them out in front of you. Breathe in and out and hold the pose as long as it is comfortable. Use the pose as a chance to relax and rest.

 

Flower Pose

Sit on the ground and bring the soles of your feet together. Dive your hands in between your knees and out and under your legs. Lift your feet off the ground, knees pointing out to the side, and balance in your flower. Your feet will most likely separate in the air. Breathe in and out slowly. What kind of flower are you?

 

Tree Pose (Vrkasana)

Before getting in to this pose, find an unmoving spot on the floor or something directly in front of you to stare at to help you balance.

Begin in Mountain pose. From your mountain, lift your arms and reach out to either side, like th branches of a tree, to help you balance. Lift one foot, turning your knee out to the side, and place your foot either below the knee of the standing leg or above it. Breathing slowly in and out, bring your arms up over your head and imagine yourself growing like a tree. Slowly lower your hands to your chest, place your foot down, and repeat on the other side.

 

Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

Stand in Mountain pose. Bend your left leg and cross your right leg over the left. Lift your left arm in front of you, bending at the elbow, and circle your right arm underneath your left, turning your hands so your palms meet, or just bring your forearms together from elbows to fingertips.
Find balance first, then slowly lower your hips, as if sitting in a chair. Breathe in and out slowly, as if you are an eagle watching something far below. Unwrap your arms and spread your wings as you come out of the pose. Repeat on the opposite side.

 

Relaxation Pose (Savasana)
Lie down on your back with your legs straight and your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Let your legs separate naturally and your feet flop out to the side. Try not to talk or look around. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Let every part of your body relax and sink in to the ground and be supported by the earth underneath you.



1/27/2016

In a condo set-up for large families, sooner or later parents will have to address the issue of sibling rivalry when arranging rooms for their kids. If left unattended, sibling rivalry can lead to more serious problems such as deep-seated hostility and even physical violence. As a loving parent, you will do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.

Statistically speaking, sibling rivalry or conflict is normal. Most families with two or more children deal with it. But psychologist and anti-bully advocate Izzy Kalman argues that while sibling rivalry exists in many families, there is nothing healthy about it. If sibling rivalry is allowed to persist, it may cause pain not only to the kids but also to the parents.

Thankfully, there are ways to make apartment living with kids fun, comfortable, and healthy for all members of the family. For parents dealing with or planning to prevent their kids from fighting over rooms, below are five helpful and effective guides to rooming your kids properly.

Explain the Arrangement with Your Kids


Photo by Fotolia

Allocating individual rooms to each of your kids can be an ideal setup if you are not limited by budget and space. But if necessity dictates that your kids share a room, it is essential that you honestly explain to them the reasons for such an arrangement. Is it because you’re downsizing? Or because you want your older kid to be more responsible in looking after his or her younger sibling? Whatever the reasons, it is important that you try to make your kids understand.

As your kids develop an understanding of why they are sharing a room, creating a condo set-up for large families becomes so much easier. According Susan Bartell, child psychologist and author of The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask, kids are more receptive to share a room than some parents may know. Kids like to share rooms because sharing is about inclusion and being together. Bartell furthers that many parents expect kids to want their own space above all. While this is true when kids reach a certain age (in most cases during adolescence), many children value the company of their siblings.

Experiment with Bed Layouts


Photo by Fotolia

Each child must learn to establish personal boundaries in forming his or her identity. Conflict will likely arise when personal boundaries are breached. Experimenting with different bed layouts will allow your kids to delimit their personal space. The most traditional layout is the side-by-side. This formation provides an appealing visual symmetry that conveys to your children that their claim to personal space is equal. A side-by-side bed layout in condo rooms will also allow your children to see each other as partners, not rivals.

An adjacent bed layout is also gaining popularity because it allows more space for playing. This is ideal if you have younger kids who need space for their toys. If you have extra budget, installing bunk beds will also serve the same purpose. Having bunk beds or an adjacent layout will provide ample space for your kids to bond while playing.

Provide Multi-purpose Storage Space


Photo by Fotolia

A shared room becomes breathable when you provide storage space for your children’s personal things. Toys and clothes are common items that kids fight over. One of the most helpful apartment room ideas to avoid this problem is to have plenty of small- and medium-sized storage baskets and bins. Having sufficient storage containers  will make it easier and less stressful for your kids to keep their personal things and to maintain a tidy room. Another great idea is to have foldable storage box chairs that can also function as furniture. Multi-purpose storage items will help you realize your objective of avoiding heavy and cluttered rooms.

Storage space can also be customized to suit the needs of your children. For example, if your children are of school age, providing them with their own study tables will encourage them to study. If the room does not allow you to create separate desk areas, using one unit with designated sections is a great alternative.  Most furniture stores have various desk systems with adjustable pieces to address your children’s needs.

Harmonize the Space with Color

Color is a simple design element that will help you realize your objective of avoiding heavy rooms  for your kids. Color can create a cohesive environment that is cohabitation-friendly. Interior designer Mary Wadsworth advises the use of paint  or wallpaper to create separate areas that are aesthetically attractive and complementary. For example, using harmonious shades of blue, white and beige can provide area distinction if your kids are of the opposite sex. While the color blue is largely associated with boys, balancing this color with beige and white will create a gender-neutral room while still allowing your kids to identify their own spot in the shared space.

Whether your are a young couple or a single mom into condo buying, utilizing various color combinations is a creative way to add warmth and a homey feel to your kids’ room. You can also allow your kids to express themselves with their chosen color. Accenting walls in your children’s favorite colors will give them a sense of partial ownership of the room. For teenagers who may be drawn to bold colors, you can create a wall mural or install a cork board above their beds to give them their own special corner to express themselves.

Establish Ground Rules


Photo by Fotolia

Rooms for kids can be creatively and smartly designed, but conflicts may still arise especially when infringements on personal space take place. Borrowing or moving something that belongs to the other person is a common reason for conflict. The solution? Set up rules and consequences should anyone break those rules. It is also a great idea to engage your children when creating house rules so they feel part of establishing order. Rules depend on your household, but one ground rule involves asking permission before using any of the other person’s personal item. A common bedtime policy can work if your kids are close in age, but it may not be effective when one child is of school age while the other is still a toddler. The key is to take into account the schedule and needs of your children when establishing ground rules. That way, you establish rules that are realistic and appropriate.

Room sharing teaches your children valuable life lessons. A combined bedroom can teach your kids the art of sharing, compromising, and resolving conflict. As kids, of course, they need your guidance as a parent. Rooming your kids while apartment renting has many challenges. But with creativity and love, you can effectively design  a shared space for your children to help them become responsible and kind adults.


Patricia Evans is a part time interior designer and a full-time mother. She has worked in marketing, but quit her job to pursue her true passion: interior design. When she's not busy balancing her household and career, Patricia writes about lifestyle, travel, architectural trends, fashion, health, gardening, tea and cooking.



1/25/2016

Hobbies are excellent ways for kids to personally develop, learn skills and techniques while enjoying themselves. Even better, productive hobbies keep kids away from the couch and keep them from becoming bored. In order to avoid racking up expensive bills to support these hobbies, parents should consider the following tips.

young girl drawing in bedroom
Photo by Fotolia.

Encourage Intellectual Hobbies

A good place to start is by encouraging children to pursue free or inexpensive hobbies. For example, intellectual hobbies, such as reading, writing and drawing, require minimal amounts of money, but can help increase IQ and competency.

As children grow older, they understandably become more obsessed with technology and the Internet. Rather than of allow them to spend hours gaming or wasting time online, encourage them to learn software programming—knowing how to develop websites or online games could turn into a lucrative career later in life. For those who enjoy writing and surfing the web, encourage them to start their own informative blog, podcast or YouTube channel.

Encourage Craftsmanship

Hobbies encompass more than just killing time or spending time with friends. Many hobbies allow children to develop skills, knowledge and craftsmanship. For example, a coin collector could easily become an educated expert in foreign currencies. A child who collects military medals can gain in-depth knowledge of historical wars, battles and events. On the other hand, there are hobbies that provide more hands-on skills. A child who enjoys cooking could be encouraged to explore different ethnic foods and actually develop diverse cooking skills. A child who enjoys dancing could be encouraged to learn more about the physics and mechanics of their own body. This may result in them gaining lifelong, valuable skills that will help them later in school and work.

Don’t Encourage Competitiveness

Many parents make the mistake of encouraging too much competitiveness. As a result, children expect and then demand the best supplies and equipment in order to surpass others. For example, biking and cycling are great hobbies that deliver plenty of exercise and fresh air, but the most expensive bikes will cost thousands of dollars. Instead, focus on the simplistic and straightforward benefits of the hobby. Have children bike with friends or family, instead of just participating in competitions. This will enable them enjoy the hobby while maintaining meaningful social connections and staying within the family budget. Be prepared to explain that their equipment is equally useful as high-grade, name-brand parts. If they truly enjoy and excel in their sport, take advantage of promotional codes for gear that offer savings to help ease your budget.

There are many easy ways to encourage inexpensive hobbies, such as guiding children to intellectual pursuits, encouraging craftsmanship and discouraging extreme competitiveness. With their interests in mind, have your kids try different hobbies that may lead them to a future career or lifelong skill.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter, @BrookeChaplan.





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