Thursday, December 17, 2015

Help Your Kids Make New Year's Resolutions Worth Keeping

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How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution with the best of intentions only for it to fall through by Valentine’s Day? Committing to resolutions is never an easy feat, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help your family make New Year’s resolutions worth sticking to this year.

Be mindful about resolutions and goals.  It’s important to talk about goals in a healthy way. As your family is discussing resolutions, have them think about the resolutions they are picking and discuss what successful-resolution keeping would mean to them. Focus on the positive of both past and future goals - a little optimism will go a long way. Pick healthy resolutions that will help them with long-term goals (i.e. “I will practice reading every night so I can read bigger books and expand my vocabulary). For healthy New Year’s resolution ideas for kids of all ages, check out this list from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Model resolution habits. It is important to have a ‘practice what you preach’ mentality as you are helping your kids keep their resolutions. This well help you stay accountable for your own resolutions and help instill a sense of responsibility in your child.

Everything is easier with a buddy. For many, buddying up with a sibling, parent, or friend makes sticking to a resolution a little bit easier. Consider making a family resolution, be it volunteering more often, cooking at home more often, or planning a family trip together. Resolutions can help bring your family closer together.

Set goals that help others. Kindness is the gift that keeps giving so it’s never too late to help your child set an altruistic resolution. Have your child make it a goal to help their school and organizations raise money through fundraising. You can learn more about the many kinds of fundraisers that Schoolathon offers in the links below:

Keeping resolutions successfully takes hard work, dedication, and commitment, but teaching your child that their hard work and commitment pays off is a glorious thing. Start the New Year with a clean slate and welcome all the possibilities to come.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday Themed Color-A-Thon

Have you ever had problems creating a fun fundraising event in during the winter season? There’s no need to keep your event contained to four walls when you have the option of keeping warm with a School-A-Thon run! Traditional events like our Color-A-Thon runs are a great option for holiday fundraisers, but we have some fun holiday ideas that can spice up your fundraising while keeping you and your fellow fundraisers active in the great outdoors.
Promote Jolly Joggers
Grab your favorite reindeer and put on your Santa hat for a fun filled Christmas run. You can entice people to dress up in their best Christmas costumes by giving out prizes for best Santa, Elf, Reindeer etc. Don’t forget to put out snacks at the finish line for all the festive participants. Have a table that has milk and cookies for the Santa’s along with some healthy carrots for the reindeer.
Image by Michael Dorausch via Flickr
Break out the Beards...
Another fun idea that are along the same lines is to provide your runners with Santa hats and beards and have them dress the part. Not only will your runners be festive, but it will draw attention to your cause to see a pack of Santa’s running down the streets of the run.
Image by DebMomOf3 via Flickr
...And the Ugly Sweaters
Why not put a twist on a classic holiday party with an ugly Christmas sweater themed run? Encourage participants to get creative with their sweaters and have the ultimate ugly sweater ready to give away as a prize.

Candy All the Way
Show your Christmas cheer with a candy cane run. Line the race trail with candy canes and holiday decorations instead of cones and have a couple ready to give away to participants. You could also have a gingerbread making station and hot chocolate to get supporters involved.

The Reason for the Season
The Holiday season is a great time to give back to those in need. You could set up a toy drive or food drive at the race where people can bring a toy for kids or canned food for those families who can not afford meals.

There are plenty of ideas to keep your fundraising fun this holiday season, it’s up to you to choose! Visit for more ideas on taking your “THON” from bland to grand this holiday season and all winter long!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Five Wonderful Ways to Stay Involved in the Community

It's easy to feel disconnected, as many families juggle activity after activity and relationships are more often developing online and through technology rather than with neighbors. There are, however, simple ways to get involved and bring a community closer together. To start you off, here are five wonderful ways to stay involved in the community:

waiting-410328_1280.jpgMake the Time
This may seem simple, but nevertheless, it is an important place to begin. Developing a sense of community takes time and dedication to become successful. Treat and investment in your community as strongly as you with any other relationship you have, and in time, you will reap the benefits that come with strong community involvement.

Take it to the next level: Start small by introducing yourself to a neighbor you haven’t met or help a neighbor with a small project. Even the smallest gestures can make a big impact on a neighbor and friend.

volunteer-891651_1280.jpgVolunteering is the best way to engage with your community and peers while doing some good locally. Find a cause and a demographic you want to advocate for in the neighborhood. Do some research and see if there are opportunities at the community center, hospital, women’s shelter, library, or food kitchen. It’s a way to introduce your kids to what the world has to offer, and it’s an excellent lesson in being a good citizen. Giving back to your community can mean the world to people you meet, and it can awaken a sense of purpose in you.

Take it to the next level: Create your own event or volunteer opportunity for things your community needs. Maybe it is organizing a book drive for local students, starting a small library on your block, or organizing a neighborhood garage sale at the end of summer. Perhaps it’s starting a community garden that everyone can benefit from. Take initiative, and be the change you want to see in your community.

Be a People Person
Get to know people you see every day. You are bound to see certain people on a regular basis, and whether it’s your barista, someone who travels your same bus route, or other runners on your path, wouldn’t it be nice to establish a relationship with them? Not only can this be a way of making new connections and feeling engaged in your neighborhood, but maybe you will also gain a new friendship.

Take it to the next level: Befriend neighborhood pets. Dogs tend to recognize people they see and like on a regular basis, so even if you are not a people person, you will have a friendly face waiting to greet you.

houses-691586_1280.jpgStrengthen the Identity of Your Community
No matter what common interests you share, everyone can benefit from a clean, and safe neighborhood. Speak with neighbors or send out flyers to see if neighbors are interested in being involved. Organize clean-ups in your neighborhood or start an adopt-a-block system to keep your neighborhood clean. Set up a neighborhood crime watch to keep the neighborhood safe. A shared sense of pride in a community can bring neighbors together and keep everyone engaged and involved.

Take it to the next level: Establish a community board if there isn’t one in your neighborhood. A community board will be an excellent way to generate ideas and create social events like block parties, potlucks, and BBQs.

Establish Regular Social Gatherings
Establish a weekly or monthly occasion to socialize with friends and neighbors. It can be a bar trivia night, a Sunday potluck brunch or a game night hosted at home. Make a point to do this regularly because fostering bonds with friends and neighbors will not only keep you sane in a hectic world, it will help your emotional well-being to have strong relationships.

Take it to the next level: Imagine how you would feel if you engaged in healthy and active social gatherings. Organize a runners’ or hikers club. Find a Groupon event for yoga or swap healthy recipes. Who says socializing can’t be fun and healthy?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Building an Active and Healthy Lifestyle


The beginning of September can be a bit disappointing because it signals the end of our beloved summer and the beginning of fall. You’ve worked hard all summer to get in shape and be proud of the progress that you have made maintaining those morning jogs and accumulating all the time you’ve put in the gym, but now it’s time to finish strong and build an active and healthy life. Here are a few tips to help:

Partner in Crime
Don’t do it by yourself. It’s easy to push yourself to your very limits when you have someone right there next to you. This person can be your best friend, sibling, neighbor, or even mother. To make things even more interesting, create little contests, like who can do the most push-ups or who can run the longest without walking on the treadmill. Besides, having a little competition never hurt anybody!

Hit Up the Local Grocery Store
Staying in shape takes a little more than just running a mile and doing some crunches… It also requires a good diet and some self-discipline to stir away from those midnight cravings. You don’t need to start saying “Goodbye pizza, hello broccoli,” but rather surround yourself with healthier food at home and only eat junk food in moderation.

Set Goals
You can ask any person who has experienced some sort of success on how they got to where they are today, and they are going to tell you that they set goals for themselves. First ask yourself “what do I want to achieve through fitness?” SET THE BAR HIGH! Next, make a bunch of short-term goals that will help you climb the ladder to reach that long-term dream. Write these down on a notepad or in a diary of some sort and read them every morning when you start your day just to give you a little push of motivation.

To be in shape is a phase, but to stay in shape is a lifestyle. Now quit reading this and get out there and find your motivation!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Great Ready for an Excellent First Day of School

New year, new schedules, new excitements; With a lazy, sunshine-filled summer, you might ask yourself, “How does one even begin to prepare for a new school year?” It doesn’t have to be too complicated. Follow these seven tips on how to prepare your family and yourself for the first day of school.

first day of school.jpg1)   Organize.
For many families, wrapping up summer is a big part of getting into a school routine. Finish any summertime projects that are on your to-do list, help your kids organize their rooms and closets and focus on central areas like the kitchen, pantry, and living spaces. Starting with a clean and organized home can do wonders in preparing for the school year.

2)   Figure out the Technical Stuff
Get all the paperwork and forms completed, as well as any physicals or health check-ups. Make sure everyone knows the emergency numbers, contact information, and transportation schedules to and from school. For younger kids, help them find their classrooms, and for older kids, encourage them to figure out where all their classes are before school begins.

3)   Sleep Regularly.
With exciting things to do all summer it’s not hard to realize that the kids have been going to bed late and sleeping in every morning. During the school year, this routine can be problematic. Starting a week or two before the first day, get your kids to bed at a decent hour and wake up an hour or two before their school day would start. Kids between ages 3 and 6 need 10 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens, 13-18, benefit most from 8 to 9 hours of quality sleep.

4)   Set Up the Night.
To help your kids start their year on top, help them prepare everything the night before. Load up all necessary school supplies into their backpacks and leave it by the door next to any sports or extracurricular activities equipment they may need. Have them pick out an outfit that they feel comfortable and confident wearing. If they pack their own lunches, help them prepare as much of it as possible. These simple steps will ensure that there’s no rush the next morning, and they can enjoy the next step...

5)   Eat Breakfast.
Stop. Drop the bags. Put down the phone. Eat breakfast. There’s nothing else that will prepare your kids as much as fueling up for the day. Help them prepare a nutritious and filling breakfast that is also fast and easy and will sustain them until lunch to prevent aches, mood swings, and low energy later in the day. Make sure to pack a light snack to refuel mid-morning.

6)   Use a Planner
Whether you use a calendar to help plan important events and appointments for little ones or if you are encouraging teens to organize their own schedules, having a house central or personal planner will be essential to keep your family organized for the year.

7)   Have Fun.
No matter your child’s age, start their day with some good, old-fashioned love and encouragement. A new school year is the best opportunity to meet new friends and try new things. Encourage them to be open-minded and to be confident. Who knows how much fun they’ll have and how much they’ll grow this year when they start out with a bang?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Why You Should Encourage Your Kids to Join a Sports Team

Have you ever thought about sports as more than just a game? The core  goal of sports is to support being active and having fun, but do you ever think about all the life lessons that are taught through competition and sports? Here are some reasons why you, as a parent, should encourage your child to join team sports!

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Being a Part of Something
There aren't many things that feel better than a sense of belonging. A fear of rejection is a basic human instinct, but we have a bigger fear of our children being rejected by their fellow students and peers. Having your son or daughter play team sports will enable them to mingle with more kids, create a larger friend base, and eliminate or lessen the chances that your child ever feels lost or lonely.

Supports an Active/Healthy Lifestyle
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17% of American children are considered obese. Don’t let your kid become a negative statistic! When you encourage your child to play sports, you are also encouraging a lifestyle that will impact his or her life forever!

No Time for Trouble
It’s no secret that children who play sports are less likely to get into trouble. In fact, there is an old saying about idle hands that correctly interprets exactly what can happen if an impressionable youth is left to their own devices too often. With a kid’s time being occupied by practicing, training, or playing a sport, there just simply isn’t time for them to contemplate irrational decisions that will drive you crazy.

Sports Create Leaders
It doesn’t matter at what age or level your kid is playing at, they learn leadership skills in a hands-on format. If you child is shy, they may learn how to be a non-vocal, lead by example leader. If your child is outgoing, they may learn how to use their voice to inspire and motivate their teammates. Regardless of the personality type of your son or daughter, they will take the leadership skills they learned from their youth sporting experience into their future life experiences.

Sports have been known to bring families closer, show kids the true meaning of determination, and help set children up for successful futures. Encouraging your child to participate is a very important thing because sometimes all a kid needs is a push in the right direction to realize what they want to do. Just ALWAYS remember this one rule: Don’t push your kids too hard with sports, because eventually it puts a lot of pressure on your child and they will eventually quit having fun. With fun, any added experience is lost on a child.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fresh Springtime Money Saving Activities for Family Fun

Springtime is finally in full-throttle! How can you make the most of exciting and memorable experiences with your family without draining your wallet? While camping, baseball games, frolicking on the beach, and barbeque cookouts are what come to mind for spring and summertime activities, what other opportunities can you enjoy?

Get Outdoors
After a long and cold winter, what better way to spend time with your family then to get outdoors and bask in the sun. Walk to your neighborhood park. Find the best local nature preserves to walk, hike, swim, and explore. Visit botanical gardens. Camp in your own backyard on a clear spring night. Checkout if there’s geocache excursions available in your area for a fun, nature-filled scavenger hunt.

Explore Local and New Cultures
Culture and new experiences are all around you. Help your family embrace culture by visiting museums and walking around local festivals. Both museums and festivals often offer school vacation discounts or admission based on a small donation. Explore the farmers’ market, and try out local delicacies. Rather than adventuring to a new (and perhaps pricey) ethnic restaurant, pick out a dish to create in your own kitchen.

Explore Your Backyard
Your own backyard can hold a treasure trove of activities for you and your family. Think big and finish plans for a brand new tree house or play set. Try creative, smaller projects and build a birdfeeder, wind chime, or compost bin. Paint your mailbox a brand new color or have your kids paint garden stones for your garden bed. Teach your kids about sustainability by having them help plant vegetables for your garden.

Good Ol’ Spring Cleaning
While some people love cleaning, others will want to save this project for a rainy day. After freshening up your backyard, take the productivity inside and tackle spring cleaning. Clean out closets, and get rid of excess junk. See what you can renovate and reuse, and what you can recycle or donate. Put your family to work and let your house breath lighter. Not only is this project free, you can actually make some money if you sell what you don’t want in a garage sale!

Do Some Good
Volunteering is an excellent way to spend time together as a family. Organize a neighborhood or park cleanup and get the neighbors involved, or pick a cause you support as a family and find ways you can help locally. Adopt a pet from a shelter or encourage your kids to become mentors to other kids in your community.

Teach Your Kids
Just because school is out doesn’t mean that your kids can’t keep learning. Teach them how to swim, swing a bat, or ride a bike. Take a step in the silly direction and learn with them how to juggle, how to make a mud pie, how to plant a fairy garden, or how to speak a gibberish language.

Let Your Kids Teach You
Connect with your family and find your inner child by enjoying carefree, nostalgic activities. Cloud watch, bird watch, play in the rain, run through the sprinklers, fly a kite, create sidewalk chalk art, chase bubbles, puddle jump, make pinwheels, braid flower crowns, pick wildflowers, tie dye something- tie dye everything! The opportunities are endless. Don’t miss a chance to be with your kids and let them remind you how fun it is to be a kid again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stretches for Before and After Sports Practice

Exercise at any age is beneficial to your health- both mental and physical. It is equally important to encourage stretching before and after sports practice and games to keep kids' muscles limber and avoid or reduce soreness. Here are a few simple stretches for kids to do before and after taking part in sports activities:

Spine Stretches
  • Put your hands in the air and reach as high as you can.
  • Hold your arms above your head and lean to your left side and hold for ten seconds, repeat on the right side.
  • Keep your legs straight and spread them shoulder width apart. Lean over and reach down to your left foot for ten seconds. Repeat on your right side.

Upper Body Stretches
  • Cross your left arm across your chest and hold for ten seconds. Repeat with your right arm.
  • Lift your left arm behind your head and touch your right shoulder. To deepen the stretch, hold your elbow and pull lightly with your right arm. Repeat on the other side.
  • Put your arms behind your back and interlace your fingers. Bending forward at the waist, lift your arms up until you feel the stretch. Release after ten seconds.

Lower Body Stretches
  • Stand on your right foot and bend your left leg and hold your ankle with your left hand. (Be careful, this stretch requires balance). After holding for ten seconds, repeat on the other side.
  • Sit down and put the bottoms of your feet together in front of you. Pull your feet in closer for a deeper stretch. Hold for ten seconds.
  • While sitting, put your feet straight in front of you, lean over and try to touch your feet. Spread your legs apart and reach for the left leg and hold for ten seconds, repeat this on the right leg.
While stretching, it is very important to hold the stretch in place without bouncing. If you are in pain or outside of your comfort level, release your stretch and move on. At School-A-Thon, we believe it is important for students to lead an active lifestyle and learn the importance of staying healthy. For more benefits of staying active or family fitness ideas, refer to some of our other blogs.

If your child has an injury, or is training for a specific sport, consult a physical therapist or athletic trainer to determine the safest and most effective stretching exercises.

Monday, February 23, 2015

5 Fort Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Building a homemade fort in the house is an indoor activity stapled in nearly everyone’s childhood. From your living room to a shady tree in your yard, you can’t go wrong with a fun fort for your kids. Here are some great options to get you started:

Turn your kitchen table into an incredible fort with old tablecloths and fabric. Cut out a few windows, a door, and you have a fun place for the children to read, snuggle, nap and play.

Cardboard House
Do you have cardboard boxes in the basement saved for future need? Have you or someone you know recently purchased a new refrigerator, stove or washing machine and have a leftover giant box? If so, you have an easy making for an awesome cardboard house. Just add some windows, a door and draw on the rest.

Living Room Fort
Using your couch and recliner as support, throw blankets over them and make a cool indoor fort. If you are really getting into it, you can even bring in the TV and have a fun movie night equipped with popcorn.

If you have a tree in your yard, it can be the making of a great fort. Hang some sheets or streamers on the branches and watch them flow in the wind. Put a table and chairs inside and play a board game, color or make a craft in your fort for a fun little change on scenery.

If you are in an area that is full of snow in the winter, building a snow fort or igloo is always a fun winter activity. The best part about snow fort is your children can keep adding on to them all winter without the mess and clean-up of indoor forts.  

No matter what kind of fort you build with your kids, it is sure to be a good time. The possibilities are endless and the fun will be unstoppable. Stay tuned to our social media platforms for other fun activities to do with your kids.