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Welcome to our SpringSpot blog! 

We focus on family wellbeing, and offer kids enrichment programs and camps which incorporate social emotional learning, movement, and fun!  We also provide exercise programs for adults and kids to help you and your family thrive together. 

 

Enjoy and start enriching your body and mind today.   

Updated: Oct 19



Let’s be honest, the past seven months as a parent during this pandemic have been a roller coaster.  A lot of ups and downs, going sideways, forwards and backwards and a whole lot of thinking on your feet.  You’re probably mentally and physically exhausted.


October is mental health awareness month and I strongly believe that your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. I recently discovered how being present with my kids can have a really positive impact on my mental state. We’re not only spending more time together, but now we’re spending more quality time together.  


Time has taken on a whole new meaning.  I’ll admit that our lives were so over scheduled pre-pandemic.  I was always in motion - driving to-from work, driving kids to-from school, going from meeting to meeting, driving kids to-from activities, traveling for work, traveling for vacation (what a foreign concept now!) that I never had a chance to pause and realize just how fast time was passing.  I previously wrote about taking your time and that has really been beneficial for helping me realize the power of being present with my kids and partner. 


Now it isn’t always easy.  There are days when I get really frustrated with my kids.  Like when my older son “forgets” to log back in for his next class, or has misplaced an important paper to finish his homework, or when my youngest keeps running around the table instead of staying in his chair to eat his meal with us!


But trust me, be patient and you’ll see just how powerful being present can truly be. 


How Your Child Benefits


  • Your child feels they matter - When you take the time to be there fully, they notice the difference. All the toys and gifts in the world will never replace spending quality time with mom, dad, grandma or grandpa.


  • Your child expresses more - Being fully present allows you to ask more questions and give your child an opportunity to share more what they are thinking and perhaps some of the joys and worries they have.


  • Your child feels less lonely - If your child is distance learning, your child doesn’t have their teacher or friends sitting in the same room with them which can feel pretty isolating.  When you’re fully present with your child, you help fill that void of connection that they are seeking that they used to have with their friends at school.


  • Your child will be less attention seeking - Being fully present makes the time you spend together with your child more meaningful and they may be more understanding when you have to finish something else and need time alone.


How You as the Parent or Caregiver Benefits


  • You become a better listener - Being fully present allows you to listen more and hear things your kids are trying to tell you, but you were too distracted before to hear. When kids don’t have a chance to express themselves, they keep things inside and may have outbursts later.


  • You’ll feel less guilty - By being more present and making the time you spend together more meaningful, when you're working or doing something else, you will experience less guilt from being away from your kids.


  • Your brain will feel less cluttered - By focusing just on the present moment, you give your brain a break to truly enjoy the moment with your child.


  • You'll smile more - You’ll start to really enjoy your time together and truly feel that there isn’t anywhere else in the world you want to be at that moment. With no distractions, your mind and body can just be there with your child, doing whatever you're doing.  


Now it's great to know why this helps, but how can you be more present?



Tips for Being More Present


  • Be spontaneous - Ask your child, "Do you want to play with me?" They'll feel so happy you asked them instead of you always telling them “Not right now,” when they ask *you* to play.  If they want to play freeze tag, run with them and really try to catch them (though be careful!)  If they want a pretend tea party, honor that.  


  • Be kind - Use the time to nurture your child and model what it’s like to be present, and they’ll reflect it back to you. Build them up and they'll return the favor to you.


  • Leave your phone out of sight - Being present means your child has your undivided attention.  Not having your phone there means you’ll be less tempted to think about how you’ll respond to a particular work email or check social media.    


  • Put it on your calendar - Our days are still filled even during these Covid-19 days. We may be less over-scheduled than pre-pandemic, but setting aside dedicated time on your calendar has two benefits.  First, you're more likely to do it because you've scheduled it and two, having it on your calendar is a good reminder and something you can look forward to. You can put our Family Yoga class on your calendar to dedicate time to exercise and bond together.



  • Do it every day - Just like any habit you want to keep, you have to do it every day. Whether it’s for 10 minutes or 50 minutes, make it count.  Do it every day and you’ll start seeing the benefits for you and your child(ren).


As you can see, being present with your kids is truly the best gift you can give them. 


If you’d like more ideas or opportunities to be more present with your kids, join us for an upcoming live Family Yoga Class or enroll your child in our Online Kids Wellness Camps. Woven throughout our camps are social emotional activities such as family dinner time discussions to practice being mindful together as a family. 


Our next session Nature Explorers starts Nov 3rd.  Kids will explore nature in all it's beauty and splendor!  Kids will create their own Fall Farm and learn about farm to table, fall recipes, and what makes nature so wondrous!  Plus kids will practice self reflection and learn about being responsible.


May you be more present with your family and start enjoying the benefits today!


Be well!


She-Rae


#bepresent #happykids #happyparents #mentalhealth #familytime #parenting



With distance learning and more time being spent at home, parents are wondering if kids are spending too much time in front of the screen. Research is starting to show that it is more about what is on the screen and how we interact with content rather than how much time we spend on it. This doesn’t mean you can be on your screen all day, but maybe we should focus on what our children are doing on their screens rather than how much time they are spending on them.


Active vs Passive Screen Time

Is scrolling through an Instagram feed the same thing as having FaceTime with a grandparent? Is taking an exercise class online the same thing as watching a TV show? Researchers are starting to break down screen time into two types: Active and Passive.


In a recent review, researchers found that screen time like watching TV and playing certain video games had a negative impact on academic performance but playing active (exercise) video games and using social interaction apps (FaceTime) did not impact academic performance the same way. So what is active and passive screen time?

  • Active screen time is when your child is engaging either mentally or physically with the content on the screen. This could be recording a video of themselves or dancing along with a video. They can be talking online to their teacher as they follow along on a task. This requires some level of engagement with the content that is being presented to them.


  • Passive screen time is more mindless, effortless time spent on the screen. This is when we scroll through our Instagram feed or quietly watch TV. Video games like CandyCrush where it’s more repetitive motions than strategy or problem solving. You are sedentary, not physically active. You don’t need to think about what you are doing as you are doing it.


  • Passive is best in moderation, passive can become active. Watching a TV show isn’t always bad, it’s when we binge that it turns negative. Scrolling on Instagram quietly is passive but turning to your partner and asking what they think of the picture just made that screen time active. Watching a cooking show is passive, taking an online cooking class is active. As a parent, you can regulate the type of screen time and even turn passive screen time into active screen time!


What Can A Parent Do About Screen Time?

In 2015 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) gathered experts from various fields to discuss children growing up in a digital world. Overarching themes of that conference showed that content mattered and how parents role-modeled/regulated their digital use was important too. Here are a few things you can do at home with your child’s screen time:

  • Role-model technology use and set clear boundaries. Show kids how to manage online time by creating offline time yourself. Have clear times when technology is ok and times when the screens are off. Screen time shouldn’t be a babysitter, reward or punishment. Create a plan around screen time that works for your family. Remember, passive screen time is part of our modern world, so show them the time and place for it!


  • Content matters, mix it up! Encourage more active screen time than passive screen time. Have content where kids get up and move, or content that encourages them to create something. Get content that is culturally diverse too, the online world should represent the real world!


  • Turn off before bedtime. Have a routine where screen time is off before bedtime to avoid the negative consequences of screen time. The blue light from your digital screen impacts your sleep cycle and makes it hard to unwind. Screen time impacts the reward center of the brain which is why it can be hard to get kids off the screen. Setting a routine provides clear expectations and turning off before dark helps the body unwind.


  • Don’t just monitor, interact with your child too! Maybe you watch a movie together and talk about it. Or play a game that requires strategy with two people. Remember, it’s not just what is on the screen but how we engage with the screen too. Show them the online etiquette and behavior you expect out of them by navigating the online world together!


  • Offline doesn’t have to compete with online. Both online and offline can reinforce each other. We did things before the internet! If your child loves Minecraft, have blocks around the house for offline time. Do they just love Paw Patrol? Have stuffed animals around the house they can turn into characters from their favorite shows. But remember, offline doesn’t have to be the same as online. We can’t recreate the Pokemon world but we can wonder about dragons and come up with our own super powers!


As we move forward in the digital world, more research is still needed on what is the best way to use screen time at young ages. You can refer to the AAP guidelines and speak with your pediatrician about screen time if you’re concerned. Screen time, active or passive, doesn’t replace real time interactions or going outside. However, as research grows, parents can shift their mindset; it’s beneficial to look at WHAT your child is doing on their screen so you can worry less about HOW LONG they are spending on it.


If you're looking for active screen time options for your child, learn more about our after-school online Kids Wellness Camps or take an online exercise class together!



Cheers,


Diane




As we head into the new school year and adjust to the reality of distance learning, we are all experiencing new challenges and fears. As a teacher, I have made huge adjustments to ensure that I am meeting all of my students’ needs. I know that you as parents are feeling the same; searching for the best way to support your child during distance learning and keep yourself healthy and sane. 


Here are some tips and tricks to make distance learning a bit more palatable for you and your child throughout the year:  


Set up an open workspace for your child

One of the hardest things to adjust to is the fact that children are learning at home. Children are used to learning in a school environment. They are used to being in a classroom, with their peers modeling the classroom behavior, and a teacher guiding them throughout the day. Now, they don’t have that physical separation between school and home. This is why setting up a workspace for your child is crucial. When setting up the workspace, keep the following in mind:

  • Setup your child with good ergonomics..  This means their table and chair are at the correct height, their feet are touching the ground and they are not hunched over.  Their device is at eye level. 

  • Materials accessible.  Be sure all necessary materials are accessible at their workspace. This includes pencils, pens, erasers, blank sheets of paper, and anything else they may need for their lessons.

  • Water bottle. Have your child place their water bottle by their desk and have them fill it throughout the day. 

  • Add personality.  Let them decorate their workspace and provide stress relievers such as silly putty or stress balls to keep their hands busy.

  • Break times. Encourage your child to leave their workspace in between lessons and when the day is over. 


Take time before class to go over Zoom rules and techniques

Help your child start class with confidence by getting them acquainted with Zoom or Google Meet before class starts. Some Zoom techniques and rules that are especially helpful are:

  • Show your child how to mute and unmute.

  • Remind them to raise their hand if they have something to say. (Zoom even has hand emojis they can use!)

  • Make sure they know to stay at the computer or device and keep their video on.

  • Remind them to always show respect to the teacher and other students by staying quiet while others talk.


Create a daily schedule that makes sense for you and your family

Another challenge you may be facing with distance learning is finding a consistent and balanced routine. You might be working from home and juggling a lot of different schedules. For some, scheduling out your day may seem nearly impossible. However, I strongly encourage you to find a schedule for your child that works best for you and your family and here is why: 

  • Children thrive off of consistency. It helps them feel secure and understand expectations.

  • Children are used to following a daily schedule at school. This helps them stay engaged in their lessons and focused on their work.

  • Schedules benefit your child’s emotional, cognitive and social growth.


Find time in the day to step away from the computer

Along with creating your daily schedule, be sure to schedule time to have your child (and you) step away from the computer. Even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, children need a chance to take a break and move their body! Here are some ideas for what they can do:

  • Go for a walk outside.

  • Put on some music and have a dance party!

  • Take part in a family exercise challenge. Encourage each other to do 100 pushups and see who can finish first!

  • Watch one of SpringSpot’s wellness videos. Here, children can stretch and move their body, find their calm, and go on an adventure!


Find opportunities to connect

Set aside time in the day for your child to step away from school and connect with themselves and others. Encourage your child to get all of their work done before 4pm so that they can focus on spending time alone or socializing with their peers. Here are a few ideas for after school:

  • Spend time as a family to connect and talk about your day. Check out the list of questions that go beyond, “how was your day?” our Members page under Parent Resources. 

  • Read a book or learn something new like making friendship bracelets. 

  • Check out our Online Fall Camp! At camp, children get a chance to be creative, move their bodies, and socialize with their peers.


Be kind to yourself

You’re doing the best you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your child’s teacher or peers. We are all adjusting to this new normal and deserve to give ourselves and each other a little grace.



Sincerely,

Teacher Sarah



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