Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to School Essentials List for Mum and Dad

Preparing for the new school term can be so much fun. For most families, the end of the summer holidays goes hand in hand with a shopping spree. Whether you treat your kids to a day out at the shopping centre complete with an ice cream stop, or go shopping in secret, some items are essential to prepare your children for the autumn and winter period at school. Many parents and relatives like to give these as gifts so the kids have even more to look forward to about going back to school after the long summer holidays.

One of the key items every child needs is a spacious school bag for books, stationery, science projects, lunch boxes and the like. To avoid having to invest in a new bag every year, abstain from buying into trends that are likely to change in the space of a few months. Instead of a pink, celebrity-themed messenger bag, for example, buy a classic leather or canvas backpack that will last longer both in terms of practicality and trends.

Smaller must-haves like lunch boxes and pencil cases can be more trend-lead as these are relatively inexpensive and so can be replaced more often.

Any back to school shopping spree should include a trip to your local sports store. Every child needs a comfy pair of trainers for P.E. classes. These should be suitable for all sorts of sports, not designed with a specific use in mind, such as football.

The considerably colder and wetter weather in the autumn and winter months won't stop most children from mucking around outdoors. In fact, they should be encouraged to spend time in the fresh air just as they would during the spring and summer months. As long as they're appropriately kitted out in rain gear, they'll be absolutely fine, and likely to be fitter and healthier than if they're sat indoors all day. Mum and dad should just be prepared to deal with a bit more mud in the house.

Invest in sturdy rain ponchos or quilted jackets to keep your little ones dry and toasty. Make sure they have pockets for things like gloves, handkerchiefs and pocket money.

Kids' wellies are essential for the autumn and winter months. The walk to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon is so much more fun if it involves a bit of puddle jumping! Wearing a pair of wellies is also the perfect way to brighten up an otherwise dull school uniform.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Play - Giving Childhood Back To Children

I grew up in an upper middle income community in South Florida on a lake and many of our neighbors like us had maids and yard men, which in those days meant your family was doing pretty well. We had the nice pool that all the kids come over to in the afternoon for a dip when the weather was too hot to ride bikes to climb trees. It was a real neighborhood where the families talked to each other and watched out for each others kids. And more important kids were able to be kids and play.

Finding someone's bike left out behind our car in the front driveway seemed almost a daily occurrence. It seemed that when their mom's would holler for them to come home for dinner they would run off with their sisters or brothers and skee dattle home leaving their bikes behind.

We had the house where all the kids loved to come and hang out. It was fun. My father even built on to the house and created a game room with pool and ping pong tables to gather and socialize with our friends. It would have seemed like we had the ultimate family until that dreadful day.

My parents gathered my sister, brother and I together and sat us down to tell us their news. Dad and mom were getting a divorce and dad was moving out. That day my world changed. I went from being a happy go lucky child, not having a care in the world, to a child who felt the stress of her parent's adult world.

I grew up in that moment. I became serious. I was given a pen and piece of paper at age five and told to write down my new chores because mom was going to need extra help and many things were going to change. Boy, was I unaware of just how different things were about to become.

Childhood after that day was no longer carefree. I was told I had to grow up and become responsible. I took what they said seriously and after my father moved out I began taking on a lot of the rolls that our maid used to fulfill. I began cooking, cleaning, and being the older sister even though I was the youngest of three.

We no longer could afford the house with all the luxuries that once was ours when both dad and mom lived under the same roof. We eventually had to sell it and move to a house my mom could afford. Mom also had to get a job to support us which was tough back then for women because they made peanuts for their hard work. She worked two jobs many times just to make ends meet. There wasn't much time let to nurture us when she came home most night clasping from exhaustion.

Mom was taken to a hospital due to a nervous breakdown. I was so sad to see her in such pain but on the outside I wanted to act big and not cry so that others would know that I was not being responsible. She finally came home and returned to work but it took her a long time to recover and the scars it left on me still continue.

I went on to buckle down in school and graduate early because I thought school was a waist of time and I should get on out there and work. I missed out on many things by this sentence that seemed to have been placed on me. I am sure it was my own perception of that day that cost me like many other children, their childhood. But like so many other kids from broken homes, two parent working homes, or other hardships to where growing up in the world today surely seems certainly difficult.