One of my most cherished memories from my childhood was playing ball with my father in the front yard after dinner every night. When my wife had our first child a few months after my 30th birthday, I vowed to create similar moments for my son.
This did not seem like much of a challenge since we were an active couple already. We played sand volleyball in the summer, flag football in the fall, and indoor volleyball during the winter months. Kids tend to change your priorities, though. We had our daughter a few years later and those evenings on the courts were replaced with evenings on the couch. When we were blessed with our third (and final) child, the only “exercise” I was getting came from a few hours of coaching each week. I had let the challenges of being a parent, working and getting older get the best of me.
It was becoming evident to me that I would not be able to build those memories with my children if I didn’t change my ways. My 40th birthday was creeping on the horizon. I realized that if I didn’t take control, I never would. The nerd in me quickly turned to technology for the answer. I began running a few times a week. Using an app to track my progress helped to keep me motivated. It’s been nine months and I’m in the best shape of my life.
Summer is here. Time to put the excuses on the shelf and get yourself to a better place for yourself and your kids! Trying to figure out where to start can be a daunting task in itself. Technology can help, but there are over 250,000 health and fitness apps on the App Store alone. Here are a few apps that helped me along the way.
Couch to 5k This program is designed to get someone off the couch and ready to run a 5k in eight weeks. Think of it as running for beginners. The app takes you through progressions to get your body in shape to compete in a 5k. The workouts average 30-40 minutes, including a light warm-up. It gets you out and gets you moving. The couch to 5k program might just be what you need to make exercise a part of your weekly routine. Couch to 5k is something you can do with your kids, as well. It is working toward getting in shape while spending time with someone who surely has the energy to keep up with you. Regardless of your ultimate goal, this is an excellent starting point. There are several apps that offer a variation of this program. I prefer the “C25k 5K Trainer” app from “Couch Potato to Running 5k.” It’s free, has a simple interface, and is very easy to follow.
30 Day Fitness Challenge Here’s another app with a gradual progression style approach to getting fitness. 30 Day Fitness Challenge provides you with step by step workout routines to achieve realistic results by asking 10 simple questions during setup to help determine your current level of fitness and establish your goals. The result is a personalized weekly workout plan. Each exercise includes a short video demonstration and instructions to ensure proper form and execution while avoiding injury. The pacing is structured so that workouts increase in intensity based on your results. 30 Day Fitness begins with an initial free trial week to get you started. The app charges a weekly fee of $4.99 after the free week is complete. Weekly payments are not ideal; however, it is more affordable than most gyms, and the app gives you personalization that you would typically only get from a personal trainer.
Fitbod Not everyone is willing to pay a monthly fee for an app. A great alternative solution is Fitbod. Similar to 30 Day Fitness Challenge, the Fitbod app uses artificial intelligence to create workouts specific to you. You’ll need to answer a few setup questions to get started. The more you use the app, the better it becomes at developing a workout routine that will push your limits and meet your goals. Fitbod is designed for those looking to add muscle, so the app doesn’t include any cardio programs. You might want to pair this app with Couch to 5k to get the best of both worlds.
NEOU NEOU (pronounced “new you”) takes a different approach to fitness, providing its users with access to a community of well known, high-quality fitness instructors from all over the world. These elite trainers have designed hundreds of workouts that can be accessed on demand. Scroll through the app, find a workout that seems appealing and read the reviews before you start. You can choose from boxing, yoga, dance, fat burning, and lots of other categories and concepts. Think of it like Netflix for fitness. NEOU also offers live classes, if you prefer. Stream the workouts from your phone, SmartTV, or tablet. NEOU is more expensive than the others listed above due to the quality of the content and classes you are receiving. There is a free trial available, so check it out before committing.
Getting in shape can become very arduous quite quickly if you are not prepared. For example, a two-mile jog can feel like 10 miles if you don’t have something to listen to. Music lovers should look at purchasing a subscription to Spotify or Apple Music to help with the monotony of a run. Pandora is free, but the commercials are annoying mid-workout. Podcasts and audiobooks are fantastic options for those people looking to work their brain as well as their body. A great story can make the time go by incredibly fast.
You’ll want to invest in a good pair of wireless headphones, as well. Apple Airpods are incredible if you don’t mind the high cost. There are quite a few similar wireless options that are more affordable. Search wireless earbuds on Amazon to see your options.
Get Moving Together
The focus of this column was to help you, as parents, find a path to fitness. Bring your children on this journey with you. Doing these workouts together can be a fun bonding experience. The kids will get excited about watching you progress through the app, almost like playing a video game. You also are instilling in them the importance of staying in shape at a young age.
The results of your hard work will pay off quickly in your overall attitude and how you feel about yourself. There are so many positive results that can come from going down this road. In my opinion, this is a win-win for everyone in the family.
Drowning is the number one cause of injury-related death for children ages 1 to 4
Drowning kills nearly 1,000 children every year
79% of children in households with annual incomes less than $50,000 have little to no swimming ability
Formal swimming lessons reduce the likelihood of childhood drowning by 88%
May is National Water Safety Awareness Month. Beach and pool season is just around the corner. This is a good time for all families and caregivers to review essential swim and water safety information.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published updated recommendations on water safety. In the policy statement, the AAP lays out strategies to protect children at each stage of their life. Notably, the AAP recommends that all children should learn to swim and wear life jackets while near open bodies of water.
“Research has found that swim lessons are beneficial for children starting around age 1 and may lower drowning rates,” said Dr. Linda Quan, FAAP, a co-author of the AAP policy statement.
Sonali Morris, the owner of Goldfish Swim School Cleveland East Side and Goldfish Swim School Fairview Park, says that the earlier kids get into swim lessons, the better. “In our learn-to-swim program, we begin working with kids as young as four months old on critical swim and water safety skills. We continue to teach and reinforce those water safety skills at every level throughout our curriculum.”
With beach and pool season around the corner, the local swim and water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School recommend the following practical water safety tips for parents and caregivers:
Any time kids are around water, designate a “water guardian” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching children every single second. Note that most children who drown are supervised. Adults should practice “touch supervision” for young swimmers and keep them within an arm’s reach at all times.
Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
Enroll children in high quality swim lessons where kids will focus on mastering “water competency skills” — a few lessons here and there are not enough.
Make swimming a family activity! Get lessons for adults who do not know how to swim and practice swim skills together to keep swimming fun and positive.
Know that kids need regular, consistent practice in order to maintain these critical water safety skills — there is no such thing as “drown-proofing” a kid. Water safety should be top of mind year-round for all families.
Children who have been identified with speech-language impairments have likely established nonstandard patterns of speaking or have deficits that will require extra attention and training to improve. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) working with you and your child should serve as a “coach” to provide you with activities or homework to reinforce newly established skills and to strengthen emerging skills. One or two sessions a week is not enough, and your involvement in carryover activities is crucial to your child’s communication development. Talk with your SLP about activities and games you can use at home to help.
Some things that may help your child’s language development include:
Book sharing — Take turns holding the book and turning the pages, talk about the pictures, talk about the story, look for letters and words that are new to your child.
Talk with your child — During daily activities (doing laundry, doing dishes, buying groceries, bath time, etc.), give your child a job and talk while you work together.
For children with speech difficulties:
Provide quiet “talk time” each day to give them a turn, uninterrupted, to share ideas and stories with you.
Talk to your child face to face so that they can see how you move your tongue and lips to form sounds. Your example helps them to improve their talking skills.
With the turn of the seasons and the sun teasing through the clouds, our friends at Yelp Cleveland are helping you assemble your local picnic basket! From crunchy bread to creamy cheese and fresh cold cuts, these Northeast Ohio businesses will curate a perfect picnic in the park.
Grab your plaid blanket, wicker basket and the kiddos! Pack up and head into nature with a yummy assortment from these Yelp-approved local businesses.
Get cheesy with cheddar, provolone or colby jack! Whatever your favorite may be, Old Brooklyn Cheese Company has it. With local, domestic and imported cheeses available, you can find the creamy, sharp or smoky wheel of your choice. Pick out an ultimate cheese and charcuterie board to add to your picnic basket.
Tip: Do your kiddos love string cheese? Try the imported mozzarella as an upgrade for your picnic basket.
Bread, croissants and sticky buns – OH MY! Get your carb fix at On the Rise. Compliment your yummy cheese with rosemary focaccia or a French baguette. And the kiddos will love a scrumptious PB&J filled with house made peanut butter and raspberry jam on french pullman loaf.
Tip: Don’t forget something sweet for dessert! Try a brownie, blondie, sticky bun or a chocolate chip cookie and you won’t be disappointed.
Munch on a beef smokie snack stick, smoked salami or savory deli cuts. Add these freshly sliced meats to your basket for a melt-in-your-mouth treat. Planning to take your picnic to a spot with a grill? Ohio City Provisions has house-smoked hot dogs, mild Italian sausage and traditional bratwurst, too. Bring the buns and condiments and you’re set for a grill out.
Tip: Bringing Fluffy on the picnic, too? Ohio City Provisions sells dog food and pork rawhides for your doggo.
You’ll need a drink to wash down your treats! Forget the lemonade stand, stop by Juice Garden in the West Side Market for a vanilla bean lemonade or a juice concoction of your choice. Try fresh squeezed OJ, grapefruit juice or a blend like la dolce vita filled with beet, pineapple, apple, pear and lemon. For an on-the-go option, Juice Garden has juice bottled up and ready to be thrown right in your picnic basket.
Tip: Mix in a fruit flavor to your vanilla bean lemonade, then have it made into a slushie for a refreshing treat!
Local, healthy and organic, Green Rooster Farms is serving up to-go sandwiches and salads plus house-made ice cream. The tuna salad sandwich and caesar chicken wrap are farm favorite sandwiches. Pair it up with potato salad or house salad for an on-the-go meal. They have plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options, too!
Tip: Pack ahead. Green Rooster Farms is quite delicious, but only open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Download the free Yelp mobile app, search “picnic spots” and filter by location to find the highest rated places to take your picnic in your area!
Yelp is a website and mobile app that connects people with great local businesses – anything from restaurants to dog groomers, parks, and even dentists! Start exploring your neck of the woods. Northeast Ohio Parent is thrilled to host content from our partner Yelp Cleveland. These posts aim to connect parents and families in the greater Cleveland/Akron area to fantastic local businesses. Stay tuned for more fun guides from Yelp Community Leader Lauren Kotmel and Yelptern Bridget Barkume.
The unfortunate reality is that a large percentage of individuals with autism are also diagnosed with a mental health disorder. With this comes a critical need for efficient assessment and treatment for the autism community.
Join Milestones Autism Resources Tuesday, June 11, at the Cleveland IX Center for its first ever Deep Dive Series at the Milestones National Autism Conference, as they delve into the complexities of depression, anxiety, and trauma, as well as assessment, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatment. Cara Marker Daily, PhD, BCBA, is one of the featured speakers lending her expertise to these sessions, and was kind enough to share a sneak peek into her topic of the relationship between ASD and autism on the Milestones blog this month. Find out more about the Deep Dive sessions or register for the conference here.
The following is an excerpt from her blog post:
Did you know that those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are dying at a younger age than the rest of the population and that the third leading cause of their death is suicide (Hirvikoski et al., 2018)? Those with ASD are four times more likely to be depressed than those without autism, particularly those with higher IQs (Hollocks et al., 2019). Compared to the general population, adults with high functioning ASD are 10 times more likely to endorse suicidal thoughts (Cassidy et al., 2014). This is why screening and assessing individuals with ASD for depression is so important throughout their life span. Unfortunately, the research is lacking on specific tools to help us identify and medications to treat those with ASD who are depressed.
Depression can look very different in individuals with ASD, so finding a therapist or psychologist who specializes in ASD is a must. For a diagnosis of depression, individuals may feel depressed, irritable, express a loss of interest in activities, exhibit weight or appetite change, have sleep difficulties, fatigue, psychomotor agitation, difficulty concentrating, feelings of worthlessness, or recurrent thoughts of suicide. Those with ASD who are depressed may also exhibit aggression, mood changes, hyperactivity, decreased self-care, regression of previously learned skills, increased compulsiveness, fluctuations in preoccupations/restricted interests, self-injurious behavior, catatonia, or just some other significant change in behavior (Magnuson & Constantino, 2011).
Proper treatment for depression can also be challenging if you are seeking out medication and not working with a physician or psychiatrist who is knowledgeable about ASD. Research is clear that certain medications that typically work with the general population do not work the same way with those with ASD. Those with ASD process medication differently than neurotypical individuals. For example, antidepressants, such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which are typically given to treat depression in the general population, are not effective in treating depression in children with ASD and may even cause more harm (Williams and colleagues, 2013). No medications have been approved by the FDA to treat depression in children with ASD. This is why therapy is so important.
Psychotherapy, which can be beneficial in treating depression, should be used, particularly those techniques of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). To be most effective, the therapist should modify the typical techniques of CBT to best fit the client with ASD (White et al., 2018). Due to the chronic nature of ASD, therapy should focus on the positives of the client during treatment. Use the client’s strengths during sessions and to practice strategies at homes. Inclusion of the client’s special interests should be integrated in the therapy. The core features of ASD should be addressed during treatment in developing exposure hierarchies and targeting social problems.
Additionally, group training with peers should be used to develop real-life practice skills and modeling. Furthermore, education about ASD and depression is important. The therapist should focus on helping the client develop emotional awareness and insight into ASD and their feelings of depression. With adolescent and young adults, therapy should also include increased reliance on parents. Treatment should be highly structured with clear expectations, but also slower paced so as to allow time for the client to process skills and practice repeatedly. Visual handouts should be used during sessions to assist with teaching, as most individuals with ASD process information more visually than verbally. The therapist also should try to reduce the use of metaphors to avoid confusion and provide additional time for in-session practice, as well as provide homework for the client to practice skills at home, at school, and/or in work settings. Proper diet, sleep and exercise, which also affect mood, should be addressed in sessions and self-regulation strategies, such as diaphragmatic breathing and other relaxation techniques, should be taught. Increased social and vocational opportunities for the individual with ASD are also beneficial in reducing depression.
Assessing and treating depression for individuals with ASD is hard, but with the right treatment team and proper therapy, depression can be reduced and coping skills can be taught. As more research is conducted, hopefully more therapies will be found effective, including possible medications to properly treat depression. If you or someone you know is depressed, please reach out to someone, as there are professionals who can help.
Cara Marker Daily, PhD, BCBA, is a licensed pediatric psychologist and board certified behavior analyst with over 20 years of clinical, research and teaching experience with autism in home, school, hospital and community settings. Daily is the president and training director of Daily Behavioral Health, a leading behavioral health provider in northeast Ohio specializing in assessment, consultation and treatment of autism, anxiety and disruptive behavior disorders. Daily also is the founder and executive director of the Building Behaviors Autism Center, which has received numerous grants to provide free and reduced cost applied behavioral analysis services to individuals with autism. She has written several cognitive-behavioral and behavioral-based curriculums, a peer-reviewed journal article, and the book, “The Key To Autism.” She presents internationally on topics of autism spectrum disorder and is regularly featured in radio, television, and other media platforms in Ohio.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo launched a naming opportunity for the sloth bear cub that was born in January 2019. The cub recently had its first check up with the animal care and veterinary teams where it was determined the cub is female.
The cub was the first sloth bear cub born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 30 years and the first offspring of mom, Shiva, and dad, Balawat.
To participate in the naming opportunity, guests can cast their vote at the sloth bear habitat at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo or online with a donation to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo through the Future for Wildlife Fund at futureforwildlife.org/slothbearnaming for one of the following names:
• Lali: meaning darling
• Nisha: meaning night
• Shala: an homage to mom, Shiva, and dad, Balawat
Each of the names are unique to sloth bears’ native region in India and each donation will go toward efforts to help protect sloth bears in the wild. The cub’s name will be selected based on the name that receives the highest donation total. The public can cast their votes through midnight on Monday, May 27.
Sloth bears are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is currently supporting a project to protect sloth bears in Nepal, where populations have declined dramatically in recent decades due to habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and poaching.
Sloth bears can weigh up to 300 pounds when fully grown. The species has several distinctive features and behaviors. Their unique flexible snouts act as a vacuum cleaner in sucking up termites or grubs from trees. Aside from insects, sloth bears also eat fruits, flowers, sugar cane and honey. Young sloth bears, up to six months of age, will ride on their mother’s back by clinging to their long fur.
Make your occasion extra special with these venues and entertaining possibilities.
5 Star Talent Specializing in face painting, balloon twisting, clowning and magic, 5 Star prides itself on being professional, safe, fun, family-friendly and value-packed. It offers highly trained, award-winning performers with years of training and performance experience in all types of venues, from large corporate events to small private parties. 330-620-9530, 5star-talent.com
Dazzle Me Cute The latest entertainment for girls across Northeast Ohio. Girls will enjoy manicures, pedicures, makeup, karaoke, disco lights and more! Allow it to bring the party to your door. For more info, contact 216-640-5156, email email@example.com, or go to dazzlemecute216.com
Flower Entertainment The premier children’s entertainment agency who books the best balloon artists, clowns, face painters, magicians, inflatable amusements and much more. 440-944-0278, flower-entertainment.com
Fun Squad Fun Squad rescues events from boredom so you can be a guest at your own event! They will plan, prepare and manage the FUN for parties, picnics, churches and companies of all sizes! Serving the community since 2006. 833-999-0326, funsquads.com
Goldfish Swim School Plan your child’s next birthday party at its 90-degree indoor pool. Birthday parties at Goldfish Swim School offer fun for the kids and no hassles for parents. Goldfish Swim School – Cleveland East Side: 216-364-9090; Goldfish Swim School of Fairview Park: 440-333-5393; Goldfish Swim School of Hudson: 234-380-4400; Goldfish Swim School – North Canton: 330-822-6921. goldfishswimschool.com
Great Lakes Science Center Engineer an out of this world birthday party at Great Lakes Science Center! Kid-friendly activities plus hundreds of hands-on exhibits create the perfect atmosphere for any child’s party! GLSC offers two convenient party package options, customizable food and beverage menus, and live science demonstrations. 216-621-2400, greatscience.com
Jungle Terry’s Traveling Zoo Official animal entertainer of Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine. Jungle Terry does educational animal shows for birthday parties, schools and many other special events. 440-275-1331, jungleterryandfriends.com
Little Explorers Little Explorers believes that children’s birthday parties can be magical and beautiful events! It offers custom and creative celebrations for boys and girls, varied party packages to fit every budget. The facility is designed exclusively for toddlers and children up to 6 years old to celebrate their special day, with kid-size furniture, fun play time and a festive atmosphere. 440-641-1515, littleexplorersplayground.com
Main Event Entertainment Main Event Entertainment is the most FUN you can have under one roof! Enjoy multi-level laser tag, fun-filled bowling and an arcade gallery with 100+ arcade games. Main Event is your event destination with packages for team building, corporate events and stress-free birthday parties. For more information, visit mainevent.com.
Party Right Rentals Party Right Rentals provides the products you need to make your next event special. Whether you’re planning a catered affair or corporate event, a neighborhood festival, a wedding, or a backyard graduation party, you’ve come to the right place. With an expanding inventory of rental products including tables, chairs, linens, china, flatware, concessions, flooring and staging, and more, Party Right Rentals can offer you a total event package from one convenient source. 216-672-0447
Pop Culture CLE Pop Culture CLE brings to life an all natural, hand crafted, gourmet ice pop. The company believes in: using all natural ingredients, using low sugar, being dairy-free, composting its waste, using locally sourced fruit when possible, and using high quality ingredients. 216-245-7316, popculturecle.com
Pure Image Photo Booth Pure Image Photo Booth helps make your event fantastically fun. It will have your guests raving and sharing their custom-designed photo strips — after all, who doesn’t keep and share a great photo of themselves? 216-446-5178, pureimagephotobooth.com
Romp n Stomp Let Romp n Stomp get your party jumpin! Providing inflatable bouncers, obstacle courses, slides and interactive play, concession, dunk tank, carnival games and prizes. Event staffing available. Serving families, companies and churches since 2006. 866-655-5867, rompnstomp.net
Honor those who have sacrificed for our country by attending one of the many ceremonies and events taking place on Memorial Day in Northeast Ohio. There are plenty of options in the greater Cleveland/Akron area to help your family commemorate the holiday.
Tallmadge Saturday May 25, 6-8:30 p.m. – Patriotic Concert and Pie & Ice Cream Social at Tallmadge High School
Sunday, May 26, 12-4 p.m. – Civil War Encampment with the 82nd & 29th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Monday, May 27, 10 a.m. – Parade & Memorial Ceremony https://tallmadge-ohio.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=148
The word “mother” makes me think of two things. It makes me think of my mother, and all the things she has done for my three sisters and me. Second, it makes me think of myself as a mom.
As I think back to my childhood, there are several happy thoughts that come to my mind that I’ll never forget. Maybe it’s because my mom also kept a close eye on the details when I was growing up; she had a way of making a lot of things just a little extra special. Sometimes I wonder what stuff my kids will remember when they think back someday about me — my hope is that the little things bring them a big smile.
Here are just a few things that now, looking back on, I cherish.
1. “Sprinkling love” on my food — Before the dinner was ready for the table, my mom would take a salt shaker and pretend to sprinkle “love” on my meal, just to make sure I knew she made it with love. To this day, dinner isn’t quite the same without love sprinkled in.
2. The love hand squeeze — My mom and I had a special code. If we were holding hands crossing the street, walking through the park, or wherever it might be, if we had each other’s hand, she would squeeze mine three times. That was code for “I love you.” Then I’d squeeze back four squeezes for “I love you, too.” (I’ve passed this one on to my daughters, too. Those little squeezes are the best).
3. The Good Morning Song — Even though I didn’t like to get up in the morning, she would always sing this little song she made up to wake me up.
4. Notes in my recipe book — My mom always wrote notes in the books that she gave me. Most recently, I found one she gave me in a recipe book that she put together. It was so special. It reminded me just how much things like this mean to our kids. (Bonus for creating a family book of recipes. They’re just priceless to me.)
5. How she encouraged me — From an early age, my mom would videotape me, listen to me perform, play with me and, most importantly, encourage me to do what I loved.
Certain things will always stick out to your kiddos. It may be worth thinking about for a moment. What are those things you want your littles to remember about you when they’re all grown up?
Kids and anxiety is such an important topic today. On the latest episode of aParently Speaking, host Miriam Conner continues the conversation with child psychotherapist Marjorie Landever.
Landever explains what parents — and anyone involved with children and teens — need to be aware of, including the “types” of kids who are prone to anxiety. Listen as she gives specific tools for parents, including consideration of the following questions: How does your energy as a parent affect your child? What should you be modeling and what words are helpful to a child who is feeling anxious?
Marjorie Landever (left) and Miriam Conner
Start listening by clicking on a media player below!