How To Choose a Physical Activity For Your Child

How To Choose a Physical Activity For Your Child

You want your kids to get out there, exercise, and start an active lifestyle, even at a young age. But how do you get your kids started? Signing them up for some sort of recreational activity is a great place to start, but which one should you choose? Every child is different, so it’s important to spend some time exploring and considering different physical activities and how they might fit your child’s personality, preferences, and abilities. Below, we share some tips to help you find the right physical activity to keep your child moving and engaged.

1. Consider their age.

First of all, make sure you are suggesting age-appropriate activities for your child. Younger, preschool-age children often get more out of less-structured activities, such as playground playgroups and tumbling sessions. Although there are organized sports leagues for children who are three or four, consider waiting until your kids are a little older to start them in group sports. They will get more out of the coaching and structured practice sessions once they’re in elementary school.

2. Pay attention to what they watch on TV.

Pay attention to what activities your child seems to show an interest in when they’re watching television, playing video games, or otherwise engaging with media. If they always seem to be watching martial arts-related movies, perhaps they would enjoy karate classes. If they are always watching dance competitions, a ballet class might be a smart suggestion.

3. Keep safety in mind.

Some sports inherently come with more physical risks. For example, football and horseback riding are more dangerous than tennis or golf. This is not to say that your child should not become a football player or equestrian, but do keep safety in mind if they seem drawn to this type of physical activity. Talk to their pediatrician to ensure your child is healthy enough to participate in whatever activities they’re interested in. If your child has a history of weak ligaments, for example, football may not be the sport for them.

4. Try different activities each weekend.

If your child does not know what activities they would like to participate in, consider trying a different activity every weekend for a few months. Take them to a karate lesson one weekend, a soccer session the next, and maybe a horseback riding lesson the week after that. Along the way, they’re likely to find something they feel drawn to and can become more involved with over the coming years.

5. Always observe and evaluate.

Once your child is participating in a specific activity, pay attention to their performance and their attitude towards the activity. If you feel your child may be losing interest, ask them if they want to continue. It’s perfectly okay to allow them to quit and pursue a different sport; this is about keeping fit and having fun.

If you take the time to find a physical activity your child actually enjoys and excels at, they’re more likely to stay active for life. A active body is a fit body, and fitness is an important component of health.

To learn more about age-appropriate activities refer to Choosing age-appropriate activities for your kids.

5 Holiday Activities in Holland, Michigan

5 Holiday Activities in Holland, Michigan

The Holland area is just bursting with fun, family-friendly holiday activities this time of year. It’s the perfect occasion to get out of the house and share some cheer with friends and neighbors. Here are five activities that will appeal to kids and adults alike, getting everyone into that festive, holiday spirit.

1. Kerstmarkt: Full of Holiday Activities for All

November 23 – December 14, 2019

This European-style market is the perfect place to shop for gifts, holiday treats, and decorations for your home. “Kertsmarkt” is Dutch for Christmas market. The booths are set up all through the  8th Street Market Place. You’ll find everything from wall art to homemade jam, and there are always street performers around to provide festive background music. On Tuesday, December 3rd at 6:30 pm, the Parade of Lights will stroll through the market, which is something the kids will really love.

2. Sinterklaas Eve

December 6, 2019

Celebrate the ancient tale of St. Nicholas at this family-friendly event beginning at 6:00 pm at the Holland Area Arts Council. Each child will be given a lantern, and then the group will head outside to water Sinterklaas (which is Dutch for Santa Claus) ride down the street on a white horse. After the procession, there will be photo opportunities, warm beverages for sale, and rides on a trolley!

3. Christmas at the Cappon House

December 15 – 16, 2019

Step back in time and enjoy a Victorian Christmas celebration at the historic Cappon House. You’ll get to tour this gorgeous home and learn a little about how Americans celebrated the holidays in years gone by. This is an important and interesting history lesson for the kids! There will be sweet treats, Christmas carols to sing along with, and other family-friendly festivities. The Cappon House does ask that attendees pre-register.

4. Holland Symphony Holiday Concert

December 14, 2019

Enjoy holiday songs both old and new at the Holland Symphony’s annual performance. There will be songs you remember from your youth, as well as some lighter-hearted hits that will appeal to the kids. Two performances are being held at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm at Dimnent Chapel at Hope College.

5. A Piffledywiff Christmas

December 13 – 22, 2019

This fun performance at the Lampost Theatre tells the tale of Christmas across two countries. It’s a good way for children to learn about various traditions and cultures while also enjoying a funny, laughter-inducing play. There will even be desserts to sample throughout the performance, and you’ll learn all about what a piffledywiff is.

The holiday season is a great time to share experiences and grow closer to family and friends. Put some of these holiday activities in your schedule, and invite a few friends to join you! At the end of the day, you’ll come home happy, warm, and ready to celebrate even more.


What Does Flossing Actually Do for You?

What Does Flossing Actually Do for You?

From the day your child gets their first tooth, you begin their brushing routine. You teach them that brushing is important to keep their teeth healthy, and you slowly start teaching them how to brush — how to apply the toothpaste, and how to move the toothbrush.

What you may not mention to your child right away is that flossing is also important! In fact, you may have some questions about flossing children’s teeth, why it is so important, and when you should start. Keep reading to discover the answers.

What Does Flossing Actually Do for the Teeth?

When you brush your teeth — or your child’s teeth, for that matter — you are removing bacteria, sugars, and acids from the surface of the teeth. Together, these substances form a sticky film called plaque. Removing the plaque protects your child’s teeth from cavities and decay that can result from the acid that oral bacteria secrete after they eat sugar. The problem is that your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere. In particular, it can’t reach between your child’s teeth, which is one of the places where oral bacteria really like to hide.

Flossing removes plaque and oral bacteria from those hard-to-reach places between the teeth. Experts say that brushing alone can leave 35 percent of the tooth’s surface uncleaned, which is quite a lot! Flossing cleans that remaining 35 percent of the tooth surface for more complete cavity protection. (Flossing also prevents bad breath and gum disease, which are also the result of oral bacteria!)

When Should You Start Flossing Your Child’s Teeth?

Since manipulating floss with tiny fingers is hard, you will initially want to floss your child’s teeth for them — just like you do with brushing. You can start as soon as your child has two baby teeth that touch. Yes, flossing the baby teeth is important, even though they will fall out in a few years. Cavities and decay in the baby teeth can make it difficult for your child to properly eat and talk.

Many children’s teeth don’t touch and are therefore not close enough together to require flossing until they’re between the ages of two and six.

How Do You Floss Your Child’s Teeth and Teach Them to Floss?

It’s usually easiest to use smooth, waxed floss since this glides between the teeth more readily. Ask your child to open their mouth, and then gently guide the floss between their teeth, making a C shape around the bottom of each tooth. Do this once a day. Your child will soon get used to the routine.

When your child is about six, you can start allowing them to floss their own teeth under your supervision. You can go back and floss any teeth they miss at the end. Some kids find that using dental flosser picks is easier than using a long string of floss.

Flossing is as important for kids as it is for adults. To learn more about flossing, refer to this resource: Does Flossing Benefit More Than Just Oral Health?

4 Family Activities to Enjoy This Fall

4 Family Activities to Enjoy This Fall

Fall is in the air. The kids are back in school, leaves are changing color, and temperatures are falling. It’s the perfect time of year to spend some quality time together as a family, and a great way to do that is to plan some fun family activities on the weekends. Here are some fall activities for kids that you will also enjoy.

1. Apple Picking

Apple season runs through the end of October in the Holland area. Picking apples is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fall air, and it is healthy, too. Not only will you get exercise walking through the orchards and reaching for apples, but you’ll go home with a big basket of healthy snacks.

There are a few good places to pick apples near Holland. Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery is one of them. They do not charge an entrance fee; you just pay for the apples that you pick. In addition to apple picking, they also offer hayrides, and they also operate a cider mill.

2. Corn Mazes

Does getting lost in a field of corn and then spending an hour finding your way out sound like fun? The kids will love it. Corn mazes have become increasingly popular over the years. Basically, the farmers create a series of paths through a cornfield. There is only one way out, and it can take a while to find it since the corn is so tall and you can’t see where you’re going. You and the kids can try to navigate the maze together, or you can split up and see who gets out the fastest!

Crane Orchards operates a good corn maze in Fennville. It encompasses over 20 acres, and admission is only $5 for children ages 6 – 10 or $7 for anyone aged 11 or older.

3. Hiking

This is the perfect season for hiking. The weather is cool, and you can watch the leaves change color! Holland State Park is a great place to hike with the kids. The Stu Visser Trails feature raised boardwalks and easy terrain for little feet. Dogs are welcome to join you, and you’re sure to see plenty of wildlife in the wetlands.

4. Camping

Why not take one last camping trip before it gets any colder outside? Fall camping can be really fun since you get to cuddle around the fire for warmth and snuggle up inside sleeping bags at night. Oak Grove Resort Camp Ground is a fun place to camp near Holland. They have both modern and rustic cabins, and they also have RV sites if you happen to have your own camper. There are a lot of other fun fall activities for kids at the campground, too — like bike rentals and hiking trails.

These fall activities for kids will keep everyone entertained as the days grow shorter. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t forget to book those fall dental appointments to keep everyone’s teeth in good health.


What Happens If Your Children Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep?

What Happens If Your Children Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep?

When it comes to kids, just how important is a regularly scheduled bedtime? Whether or not your child gets enough hours of sleep each night affects them in more ways than you might think. Helping your children to get better sleep can improve their health and their mindset.

“Regular sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviors and health problems—irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression. Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, and better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health.”

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Children

Children who regularly suffer from sleep deprivation often develop ongoing behavioral problems. You may find that your child becomes irritable and cranky, has trouble concentrating, and seems down or depressed. Clearly, this has a negative impact on children’s performance in school and on their ability to learn and retain new information.

A lack of sleep can also contribute to health problems in children. Children who don’t get enough sleep may have a weaker immune system, leaving them prone to colds and the flu — and even increasing their risk of oral health problems like gum disease. Headaches, obesity, and hypertension can all be related to a lack of sleep, too.

Sleep Is a Major Health Concern

Your child’s sleep habits determine more than whether they’re going to be crabby the next day. An effective amount of sleep is essential for your kids to function and do their very best. It’s not just about how they act, though. It’s about how they feel. Getting enough sleep is just as important to their health as eating a healthy diet and exercising. Their health doesn’t end at bedtime, and neither does yours.

Teaching good sleep habits early on will help your child maintain those sleep habits throughout his or her lifetime. Good sleep is important for ongoing mental and physical health, whether you’re 8 or 80 years old.

To learn more about how to make sure your whole family is getting enough sleep, refer to Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need?

End of School Year Guide Parents

End of School Year Guide Parents

It’s almost summer, well summer vacation kids! It’s an exciting time of the year with a ton going on.

With so much to think about in the spring and summer, including family vacations and summer camps, it’s easy to get overwhelmed—but an end-of-year checklist can provide a valuable planning tool to help you organize and prioritize your family activities for the coming months.

Learning Liftoff created a great checklist which you can easily adapt to your own family’s lifestyle.

It breaks it down into a few different checklists:

  • End-of-School Checklist
  • Health Checklist
  • Summer Planning Checklist

One of our favorite items to check off is “Make doctor and dentist appointments for your children” It’s a great time of the year to have appointments scheduled right before school starts back up so the kids miss less school.

Read the full list at