Parenting Resources: My Favorite Podcasts

The following post is by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck.

This week, I’m starting a new series showcasing some of my favorite parenting resources.  On Mondays for the rest of September I’m going to share with you some resources I’ve come to rely on and love.  To get things started, today I am sharing my favorite podcasts.

Why Podcasts?

I enjoy podcasts because I can listen while my hands are free to do something else. As any parent can tell you, there is always something that needs doing.

I love that I can listen to a podcast and feed my brain while I’m doing the  more mundane tasks like washing dishes, cleaning the house, folding laundry.  Knitting while listening to podcasts or audio books is also one of my favorite ways to relax.

You might not know that you don’t have to have an iPod or other mp3 player to listen to podcasts.  Many podcasters have the shows embedded into their webpages so you can listen directly at their website.

You can also download podcasts  to your computer and listen via iTunes or another media player.

My Favorite Parenting Podcasts

Mighty Mommy

One of the first parenting podcasts I discovered, Mighty Mommy is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network.  Cherylyn Feierbend is the host of this series.  These podcasts keep their promise and are indeed quick – less than five minutes each.  I appreciate that they get straight to the point.  Perfect for a busy parent!

Though they aren’t specific to parenting, I also love Grammar Girl and The Math Dude from this network.

[Read more…]

Link Love

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be back on Monday to begin a series on some of my favorite parenting resources. Happy Sunday!

Unstructured Playtime in Nature: What Does it Mean and Why Should We Try to Do it?

The following is a guest post by Vanessa Brown of I Never Grew Up.

Unstructured playtime in nature – it seems like such a fancy term for simply letting the kids run wild outside, doesn’t it?  Unstructured playtime in nature is basically letting your children experience nature without any requirements, to-do lists or agendas, either alone or with others.

It results in wonderful benefits: memories, strengthened family relationships, independence, self confidence, increased creativity and appreciation and love for the Earth.

Also, just think of all the important poets, leaders, scientists, environmentalists and ecologists we will need for the next generation!

Many studies have been done on the benefit of unstructured playtime in nature and how problems are caused when it is not provided. There have been beautiful books written on the subject. Last Child In the Woods by Richard Louv should be required reading for everyone that has a job or relationship with children.

How Can I Get My Kids to Do This?

You would think that this unstructured playtime in nature wouldn’t need any prompting or help, right? Well, you know, us adults sometimes do need help!

Children that are usually quite busy and used to structured playtime might be a bit confused when asked to simply go into nature with no agenda. They might come running back saying, “Mom, this is boring.” But stick with it.  They’ll get used to it and learn to love it. [Read more…]

Helping Your Child Manage Risk

The following is by Simple Kids contributor Catherine Way of Adventures with Kids.

Learning always involves a degree of risk and challenge. To learn something new you need to challenge yourself to do something you haven’t done before and risk failing a few times until you master the skill.  Children happily challenge themselves to learn new skills.  They want to learn to walk, or talk, or ride a bike and they are not put off by a few mistakes or tumbles.

Each new challenge that a child (or an adult) conquers, builds their motivation to learn, confidence in their ability to learn and knowledge of their capabilities.

It is tempting, as a parent who doesn’t want my child to be hurt, to say ‘no’ when my child wants to do something risky.  It is tempting to remove objects and equipment rather than let my child learn how to use them.   But this deprives my child of the chance to know their strengths and weaknesses and it damages their confidence in their own abilities.

If I want my child to make their own decisions as they grow older, rather than just doing what they are told or doing what everyone else is doing, I need to let them take risks and learn by experience the consequences of misjudging a risk. I need to encourage them to think about the risks that they want to take and how they can keep themselves safe.  This is an important life skill.

So, how can you encourage your child to be a safe risk-taker?

Set up the Environment

Set up an environment that challenges your child’s skills but doesn’t expose them to unnecessary hazards.

  • Remove hazards. This is why you should fence your pool or make sure there is something soft under the climbing frame in the playground.  This is why you put child-proof plugs in your powerpoints or a lock on your medicine cabinet.  Taking these precautions allows your child to explore in a safe environment.
  • Supervise your child.
  • Provide age-appropriate challenges so that your child is engaged when playing and not tempted to behave recklessly because there is nothing suitable to do.

[Read more…]