You Should Know
Take him to the playground. No, really. Climbing, hanging and swinging on the monkey bars build strength in the upper body and core muscles. It also develops flexibility and agility in the shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers. By integrating large muscle activities with the hands, kids learn to coordinate those muscles and use them more adeptly in other activities… like handwriting. Who knew? So, to hone those fine motor skills, make sure your kid is getting plenty of time to work on his gross motor skills.
If you consider coloring just a kid’s activity, think again. Coloring has a de-stressing effect on adults. Besides making us focus on a particular activity instead of our worries, it also brings out our imagination and takes us back to our childhood (a much less stressful time in our lives). Using both logic and creativity, it activates the different areas of our two cerebral hemispheres. Plus, it’s simply relaxing. Psychologists have used it as a relaxing technique for years. So, if you’re feeling a little tense, put on some good music and pull out the crayons and coloring books.
It’s August. Time to start talking about the new school year. Whether they’re starting their first year or starting their last, get them excited about what they can expect. New friends, the playground, snack time… graduation. Share your own stories. Answer questions and address any fears no matter how silly or small. Make sure older kids finish up their summer assignments in plenty of time. Take little kids to the library and encourage reading for an hour each day. It’s time to get the brain moving again, but plan some fun end of summer activities too. It’s going to be a great year!
Researchers have found that, regardless of life circumstances (income, career, family, etc.), most of us reach the lowest point on our individual happiness curve in midlife (mid 40’s to early 50’s). The reason is unclear, but researchers suspect it has to do with unmet expectations. In other words, we feel disappointed that our present reality is not what our younger selves thought our future would be. To make things worse, we then feel guilty for feeling glum because our lives are not really that bad. But there is good news. As we get older, the pattern apparently reverses and we realize we’re happier than we thought we would be.