Monday, 30 January 2017

Published Monday, January 30, 2017 with 1 comment

Going to watch your child’s game? Read This First

Going to watch your child’s game, it’s just natural that you are as excited as your kid who is going to play. While watching the game, most parents cannot take off their eyes from the score board, some from the watch and yet other are too occupied shouting out instructions to their little champions battling it out there.

Here’s to all excited, anxious, enthusiastic and eager parents; guidelines to be the perfect parent on the by-stands.
  • Encourage, don’t coach or yell Most parents cannot tell the difference. Because they are so excited about game, that mostly it’s emotions out of their mouths, rather strongly. For someone who’s playing on the field, instructions can be distracting, not just for your own kid but also for others on the field.

  • Respect the players, even if they are competition It does feel great if your kid scores over competition. But it’s rather rude to shout slogans against competition. Winning in the game is different than winning over the players. Rather than roughing up competitors, teach your child to give a hand to a player who just fell down, even if she’s from the opponent team.

  • Watch out for signs of anxiety Game is ideally supposed to be a de-stressor. If your child is not enjoying the game and has a constant look of anger or frustration, you should know that there’s something bothering her. That’s a sign that your child needs help.

  • Watch out for your child’s behavior with the teammates A lot of emotional quotient or social kills of your kid can be seen in the game. Watch out how your kid behaves with her team mates and with the competition. A keen observation and help in time can secure the kid a great career and life as she grows up.

  •  Observe the coach Many a times the coach can come on a little too strongly on the kids, sometimes coaches can bully kids to disturbing levels. You need to take notice of the coach’s behavior with kids. If you notice kids are scared, you might want to take it up with the coach.

  • Set an example Your children watch you and whether you may or may not notice, they follow you. Respect people around, even if they are from the opposing team. Be available for help. Smile, even if your team loses. Have friendly handshakes with all parents after the game along with an encouraging pat on the back or cheering words for all little athletes.

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Published Friday, January 13, 2017 with 3 comments

Doping: A Growing Concern for Teens

Worried your teenager might take up doping? You are not alone.

The kind of stress and pressure that teens live-in is tremendous, way more than we can imagine. There’s fear of being neglected, uncertainty in relationships, a whole new cyber dimension in friendship, pressure of performance, competition, expectations and so much more. But that doesn’t warrant then to find solace in doping. It just means that given the massive pressure, veritably most well-intentioned teen can fall prey to this menace. So parents need to be sensitive and sensible while dealing with even a probable situation.

Here’s what parents can do to prevent their teen from drug abuse:

Set expectations

Speak to your children openly about drug abuse. Make your child aware about the different types of drugs available in the market and the miseries caused by them. Your kid might fall prey to some kind of dope she’s not aware of. Lay strict rules against any form of doping and tell then in clear words that drug abuse will not be tolerated. Research has shown that if kids know that their parents will be disappointed if they even tried it, they would be all the more firm in refusing it.

Keep a Watchful Eye

Don’t stalk or spy on your kid, but you need to know where they are and who they are with. A positive way of doing this is by being involved with the child’s life. Tell them to update you on the where and with-whom and till-when of every time they are going out. Occasionally give a phone call to ask about something or for genuine work. You can also have spy cams installed in your house just to monitor who is visiting when you are not home. You should also keep a watchful eye on prescription drugs in the house. Research has shown that 40% (NIDA/NIH) of  the teens feel prescription drugs are safer than the illegal drugs.

Tell them the consequences

Kids need to know what happens if they fall prey to drug abuse. Make the consequences clear. Here are some consequences you can inform them of:

  • Legal implications can include jail time.

  • Life-long physical health issues along with mental health issues like brain damage, losing sensory control or worse, depending on the amount and type of substance.

  • Increased risk of life-threatening commutable diseases like HIV, Hepatitis etc.

  • Loss of academics, sports, career, personal life, professional life with strained relationships, money problems and miseries of life.

Be a responsible parent

In most cases, the initial triggers for a teen to take up doping comes from stress at home. A happy teen is less likely to be vulnerable to substance abuse. It is, hence your duty as a parent to ensure you are giving the right atmosphere to your child. You need to be able to create an environment where in you can talk frankly to your child about issues relating to growing up, relationships, career etc. Nothing better if your teenager can come and approach you for a problem or stress in her life.

Do not have loud conversations or conflicts with your child. Be a role model. Even if something makes you real angry, stay calm and reason it out with her. Keeping your voice low yet firm can assert your reason better than making it loud and aggressive.

Adolescence and teenage is the most delicate tie in a child’s life and perhaps the most fragile in parents’ lives. But together it can be a beautiful journey. Embark on it. Happy trails!
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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Published Wednesday, January 11, 2017 with 0 comment

Tips to Prevent Bullying in Youth Sports

All experiences, good and bad, are important for the overall development of the child. Bullying is not one of them. Bullying can have rather serious effects in a child’s personality which, studies have proven, stay on as negative personality traits or remain the root cause of depression or anxiety in adults.

Almost all of us have faced some sort of bullying as kids. Most of us could come out of it before it got ugly, but some of us went through the horrible phase that left a canker, and is still difficult to heal.

Bottom line, bullying hurts and no child should ever be exposed to it. This is one exposure you would want to keep your child away from. But unfortunately, with rising stress levels, decreased family time, exposure to Internet and all, have increased aggression levels in our children. Hence there’s been a noteworthy increase in instances of serious bullying and teen crime levels. If you think your child is not being bullied or bullying, take a look at the different types of bullying children engage in:

  • Boys tend to show physical or verbal aggression. In sports, they might tend to bully a new comer or a co-player into doing the dirty work for them. Or might make fun of a (likely) feeble teammate.

  • Girls resort to more of relationship bullying wherein they might not include a teammate in their group, or refrain others from talking to a particular kid, or may even spread rumors about the child.

  • Sports bullying takes a whole bigger magnitude by directly affecting game skills or the confidence of the victimized child.

Most likely your child is being party to one or the other forms of bullying. It might start as a little joke but can things can turn real ugly even before you react to it. With such dire consequences, it is highly recommended that parents talk about bullying with their kids. A candid conversation wherein you comfort your child to speak her heart out, listen more than speak and most importantly empathize with the child, can be a great stress reliever for the child.

Here’s what you should do if your child is being bullied:

  • As mentioned above, have a candid conversation. Listen carefully.

  • Be supportive. Do not jump to conclusions. Do not judge, criticize or blame either, the bully or the victim.

  • If it is just light fun type of bullying, you might want your child to ignore it. But if you feel the bullying is seriously affecting the child or is of real serious nature, try to find the triggers. Ask the child why does she think she’s being bullied.

  • Try and analyze the triggers. There can be feeble kinds who are insecure, withdrawn, anxious or socially awkward in some sense or the other. That child would need counselling. You would need to make conscious efforts to bring up the child’s personality and confidence. There are chances that your child’s over aggression or superiority complex is making her a subject of bullying. In this case also you would need to counsel the child and work on her social skills to make her socially successful.

If you come to know that your child is the bully, you should act immediately on it. Bullying indicates aggression which is a result of some sort of disturbance the child is deeply going through. This type of behavior, if not tackled, can lead to a criminal or offending personality. You need to talk to your child, understand what’s bothering her. In most cases children are just craving for attention or love or both. Talk to her, spend time with her, seek professional help if you feel it’s beyond you. If you can, talk the child out of it. Tell her the ill effects of bullying. Also tell her how hurtful and intense her actions or words can be for the victim. Tell them about the long-term effects of bullying on a child’s psychology.  

Bullying, for either party, is a scar on the child’s psychology and overall personality and it needs to be addressed to on an immediate basis. Ignoring it will not curb this menace, understanding and addressing it will. 
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Monday, 9 January 2017

Published Monday, January 09, 2017 with 0 comment

Help your kids take up these new year resolutions

Telling your kids about new year resolutions can be a great way to teach them how to make a fresh start in life, taking lessons from the past and resolving changes for a better, healthier and happier life. However, if your kids are too small to think up of their own new-year-resolutions, here are a few cues to get them started.

New year resolutions for toddlers:

  • I will keep my toys and things where they belong after I have finished playing or doing stuff.

  • I will greet elders when I meet them.

  • I will be kind to all animals.

  • I will be nice to other kids.

  • I will wash my hands after playing outdoors and every time before eating.

New year resolutions for kids and tweens:

  • I will clean up after my play or work.

  • I will brush my teeth twice a day without fail.

  • I will not bully or get bullied. I will tell an adult I trust if such a situation arises.

  • I will stick to healthier food options that include eating fruits and veggies. Soda, junk food, sugary drinks and sweets will be reserved for special days like parties or get-togethers.

  • I will develop a hobby if I already don’t have one, and dedicate some time at least once every week.

  • I will limit my TV, tab, mobile and video game time to as advised by my parents.

  • I will spend more time playing outdoors.

  • I will not give out my personal information like name, address phone number or photo on chat or personally, unless I have consulted my parents about it.

  • I will follow safety rules like putting on helmet while riding a bike or wearing a seat belt in a car.

  • I will be kind and considerate to children with special needs.

  • I will talk to an adult I trust if anything is bothering me, anything at all.

To healthy and happy beginnings. Have a great 2017.

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Published Monday, January 09, 2017 with 0 comment

Essential New Year Resolutions for Sports Parents

If you are a sports parent, your schedule, your routine, even your life to a large extent revolves around your child’s sports calendar. And if by any chance there’s more than just one sports kid in the family, it just gets crazier. With so much of involvement, it is only natural that parents tend to get obsessed with kids’ sports career. But clearly parents over involvement of parents in the kids’ sports activities does them more harm than good. Here are a few new year resolutions for sports parents to help start the new year on the right note and have a great sports year.
  • I will tell my child to play, not compete, just play and have lots of fun out there playing.

  • I will make sure I give love and support instead of last-minute coaching tips just before the game begins.

  • I will support my child’s team even if they are losing.

  • I will not whine about the game, coach, school or team in front of my child.

  • I will not force my dream on my child. I will give her the liberty to pursue whatever she wants even if it’s not sports.

  • I will not interfere in my child’s game when she is playing with her friends in the backyard.

  • I will not analyze the game, the mistakes they made, things they could have done right etc. after the game’s over. If my child does not want to talk about the game, I will not talk about it.

  • I will let my kid have a life outside of sports too. I will let her miss a practice once a while just to have her catchup with her friends or attend a birthday party.

  • I will ensure I give her game-free weekends to just relax or have fun.

  • I will give her love and affection after every game irrespective of if she’s won or lost.

Wishing you and your little athlete a very happy new year full of beautiful moments to cherish.

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Published Monday, January 09, 2017 with 1 comment

Beginner’s Guide to Youth Sports Photography

Here is a beginners’ guide to photography for parents who wish to capture all the wonderful game moments as everlasting memories. This beginner’s guide will walk you through very basic tips and suggestions to help you take better pictures.
  • Understand your camera

  • Whatever camera you have, you must know it inside out because during the game the action is would be so fast that there barely would be time for experimenting with settings and perspectives. If you know your camera well, you’ll be able to use all the right settings for the right moments, putting a whole lot of vigor into the photographs.

  • Understand the game

  • Knowing the camera is important but knowing the game is equally important too. If you know the game, you would know the game moments and when exactly probable action would be. This way you’ll never miss a good shot.

  • Change camera setting to “daylight”

  • For most cameras, the default setting is ABW which means “automatic black and white” balance. Changing that setting to “daylight” will make the colors appear more vibrant and the pictures life-like.

  • Take shots from a low angle

  • Pictures taken from a lower angle seem to capture more drama and detail. You must bend to the height of the players on the field or lower. You might want to use a folding chair or a tripod or monopod to help you keep the camera at a certain angle. This will help you hold the camera steady and capture action from a low angle.

  • Try to create a frame in every picture

  • An ideal frame would be where in there is focus in the picture, unnecessary clutter is not there. To get such a frame look for up-close shots. Create a focus and refrain from making the picture too busy.

  • Use natural light your advantage

  • Bright sunlight can be both a bane or a boon for photography, depending on how you use it. Have your back towards the sun to be able to capture naturally lit targets. Facing the sun while clicking would make the pictures too bright, full of life.

  • Go where the action is  

  • Do not shy away from going close to people and places. Going close to action is going to get you great shots in better frames without the pictures being too busy.

  • Create a story

  • Don’t just concentrate on the game. Take pictures of the stands, people meeting and greeting each other, right before the game the dressing room action, players warming up, post-game shots like fans rejoicing, disappointed fans, players reactions, trophies and so much more.

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