Posted on Leave a comment

Get Jumping!

 

Share with us @tryverima or comment below fun ways your family is staying fit! 

Zoom physical education is not the same, and seeing our kids apathetically jog in place in front of the computer can be disheartening.  According to the CDC, children between the ages of 6 to 17 should be exercising for 60 minutes per day, and we’re lucky if they get half of that.  I see this especially with my middle-schooler who deems himself too old to play on the playground, yet sports are cancelled and he doesn’t even have to get up to get to school or change classes.  The temptation during a break is to lounge on the sofa with a phone or tablet.  This sedentary behavior can negatively impact our children’s physical and mental health, which may be a factor in why depression in adolescents may be on the rise. 

#jumprope

The science shows the importance of moving, with active physical exercise tied to mental health. It’s difficult for parents who are juggling careers, childcare, school and meals to then get the kids to exercise more.  One fun and inexpensive solution for our family has been jumping roping.  For $10 or less, you can get a simple jump rope, and it’s all you need.  Sometimes we even do a hundred jumps without the actual rope to get the blood pumping before we sit for the next Zoom meet, or meal.

Jumping is fun for our kids, and something they can do together (vs. running/biking where 3 different ages make for very different speeds) and they don’t realize that they are exercising and getting their heart rates up.  Jumping rope is very effective since all of the major muscle groups are moving at the same time.  According to WebMD, you can burn some serious calories, and you’d have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you’d burn jumping rope.  “It’s certainly good for the heart,” says Peter Schulman, MD, associate professor, Cardiology/Pulmonary Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. “It strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time.”  

Building Bone Density

2015 research published from Brigham Young University shows one exercise offers greater benefit to bone density than to others and that is jumping.  Additionally, a 2017 study published in the Public Library of Science found that girls aged 11 to 14 who participated in weekly jump roping had higher bone density than those who did not jump rope. Jumping rope stresses the bones in the lower extremities with impact and the body responds by making those bones stronger and denser.  Running does help with increases in BMD (bone mass density) but not at the same effective rate as jumping.  And by contrast, elite cyclists have been shown to be more susceptible to bone loss perhaps due to the lack of impact in combination with calcium loss when sweating profusely.  Considering both men and women begin losing bone density in their 40’s, it makes sense to encourage our kids (and ourselves!) to build up our BMD while we still can.  

Increases Coordination

Jumping rope increases coordination because it requires the brain to communicate the different muscle groups to work together just to complete one movement.  The arms have to swing the rope, and then then we must get the timing and rhythm to jump over the rope at precisely the right moment to successfully complete one movement.  We then have to link all of those movements together.  A 2015 study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine showed that 8 weeks of jumping rope enhanced balance and general motor coordination in pre-adolescent soccer players.  

Have a Contest

For our kids, who are still growing, we’re trying to get everyone to do 500 jump ropes in a day (100 at a time). It’s a low-cost fun way to get the heart beating, all the muscles moving and the kids laughing. Sometimes my kids compete with each other, other times they work on their personal bests, and still other days, we just turn on the music and jump.  We have a prize in our family for the most creative way to do 500 jump ropes.  The winner gets to do 100 jumping jacks! Look at #jumprope on TikTok. It’s amazing what some kids are doing with a simple rope.

Posted on Leave a comment

Halloween 2020

Share with us @tryverima or comment below what your Halloween plans are!

As if moms needed another “Mommy Wars” battle in 2020, Halloween is brewing disagreements on what is safe and what is risky.  The important takeaway is that all moms are coming from a place of love and we all are just trying to keep our children safe and happy. 

The CDC released guidelines placing various Halloween activities in either a lower, moderate or high risk category.  And unfortunately, to no one’s surprise, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is higher risk.  Also unfortunately, this running from door to door is my kids’ favorite part of Halloween. It’s not even about the candy, as each year they pick out maybe 20 pieces and donate the rest and of those 20 pieces remaining, maybe half get tossed out in December. So it saddens me that my kiddos won’t be engaging in one activity that they so look forward to each year.  In my attempt to not have to cancel Halloween this year, I’ve been looking around for some ideas to still make Halloween special for my kids this year and thought I would share them here. 

Costumes

While I like to think I have always given my children free-reign over their costume choices, admittedly there were several litmus tests the costumes had to pass. I  had to consider if the costume weather appropriate/warm enough for Oct. 31? Could my child safely walk in the costume (sorry about the ax on the mermaid tail)? No to mention costumes had to adhere to the school’s rules which meant nothing violent/bloody and no masks obstructing the face (oh the irony!), and no weapons. 

Well, guess what? This year anything goes. . . call it mom guilt, but I didn’t blink when my kiddo asked for $40 web-shooters to accessorize his Spiderman costume.  I didn’t rush my daughter along as she made me navigate shop after Etsy shop looking for the perfect angel halo, and I didn’t skip a beat when that search didn’t result in an *acceptable* halo.  And I certainly didn’t even pause before I offered to make one for her and went material hunting online to create what she was envisioning. Additionally, the too-thin/cold, flowy, tripping-hazard of a dress this angel picked out is just fine for the festivities we have planned at home. So there WILL be costumes and each kiddo will be especially proud to wear theirs this year.  

Virtual Costume Show

So now, if like me you just spent much more time and money on costumes than you ever thought you would, we need a venue to show off these costumes!  Some have talked about organizing outdoor socially distanced parades, but ask any teacher, that getting kids to walk in some order 6 feet apart from each other will be a near-impossible feat.  So why not set up a virtual fashion show? Each kid can be spotlighted to show off her costume and explain why they chose their costume. And the best part? Grandparents and extended family living afar can still join the festivities!

Decorating

This year, I brought home some decorating supplies and my kids happily spent the entire weekend decorating and then iterating their decorations to add detail and improve their designs. We’re always told “it’s the journey not the destination” and this rings especially true for kiddos and decorating.  While they certainly enjoy the end result, the process brings them far more giggles and laughs.  Their eco-friendlier decorations included happily tied together yarn spiderwebs, cut and glued spiders, bats and jack-o-lanterns, and stuffed and dressed scarecrows.  Next weekend we will go pick out our pumpkins and a week or so before Halloween we will carve them.

My daughter also started searching the internet for healthier Halloween food and snack ideas and they will get to spend a few days creating and enjoying those treats. It gives them something fun to look forward to as well as some ownership in finding healthy snacks they want to eat, putting items on the grocery list and then preparing their own snacks. 

Halloween “Easter-egg hunt”

Each year for Easter I stuff and hide eggs for each kiddo and they LOVE hunting for them and then revealing what’s inside!

When my eldest was in pre-school, I started a new tradition for my candy-meh kids.  I purchase a small lego kit for each child, and then have about 15 large plastic eggs (that I reuse every year) per child. NOTE: Each child is assigned one color, so s/he has 15 of the same colored eggs. I put a bunch of legos in each egg and hide them around the house and yard. Once each kid finds all 15 eggs, they get the box with the instructions (and any pieces that didn’t fit into the eggs) and mom and dad get at least an hour of peace while the three kids happily build their respective sets. 

I have read that some folks plan to leave treats out on their driveways for kiddos to collect, but the jury is still out if this works/is safe in more high traffic/urban areas. And for my kids at least, it’s less about the candy and more about the decorating, the costumes, the social interactions and just having an afternoon and evening devoted to fun. 

However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, I wish you safety, laughter, and a happily memorable day.  Stay Safe! 

Posted on Leave a comment

The Plan for School? Flexibility.

Tell us @tryverima your plans for the school year.

Parents, teachers, administrators, immunologists, epidemiologists and doctors on both sides are hotly debating the need for children to be in school for in-person learning versus the safety of students and teachers and the risks to their health.  And like all hotly debated topics, it’s complicated and there is no one size fits all solution.  Last month, our school district announced the plan for hybrid learning at the elementary schools and distance learning for the middle and high schools. Last week, in response to the continuous rising cases of the virus, the state said, schools can not open unless the county’s case numbers stop rising for 14 consecutive days. Some parents were livid, some despaired, some relieved, but regardless, many jumped into a tizzy to form their own cohorts, pods, find teachers, tutors and nannies because however we managed to muddle through last spring; it is neither sustainable nor desirable

What we must understand is that zero risk of Covid-19 is not going to happen for a long while.  So the debate then becomes, how do we move forward by mitigating the risk of infection/illness to levels we deem acceptable? I live in the Bay Area of California right near the San Andreas Fault, which means we get earthquakes. But, we make sure our homes are reinforced to code, we have emergency kits ready, we practice earthquake drills at schools and home, and it is a risk we accept. East coasters are all too familiar with the damage they face every year with hurricane season. We all take risks daily when we get in our cars, play sports, eat sushi or a medium-rare steak.  But we take the necessary precautions to lessen those risks to levels where we feel comfortable. A dive joint’s sushi menu or football without a helmet are not good ideas.  And neither is opening up schools when cases are surging. But let’s be clear, teachers are essential workers and similar to our frontline workers in hospitals, grocery stores and factories and plants, we need them to take on an acceptable amount of risk. 

Source: New York Times

If a region’s numbers are low and stable, and schools are making the necessary accommodations to limit class sizes, form cohorts, increase ventilation/move classes outside, etc. Then yes, let’s give our children what they need.  The key here is flexibility.  We need to have a Plan A, B,C and D.  And we need to manage our expectations that moving from Plan A to B,C or D WILL happen and that’s to be expected and it is okay.  In other words, the plan is to be okay with changing the plan.  We know all too well cases can surge within a couple weeks, and cases can also flatten and come down.  We know that what is happening in LA is not what is happening in Omaha.  We know in the Bay Area the numbers surged, then flattened, then decreased then surged. . . . If we know the plan is to shift, then we don’t feel disappointment when we have to shift.  Our plans and expectations won’t come crashing down as schools switch from full-time to hybrid to distance and back to hybrid. 

 

Similarly, we need to adjust our expectations for the length of time we will be on this roller coaster of change.  People will wait patiently if they know how long they have to wait.  It is the “indefinite” part that drives us nuts.  We may gladly wait 30 minutes to eat at our favorite restaurant (pre-Covid), but if the host just shrugged and said, “I have no idea. . . hopefully 5 minutes, but maybe not at all tonight, “ then we would grow increasingly impatient as each minute past the 5 minute-mark ticked by, and most of us would probably not wait at all.  If we thought this pandemic would be over and done with in a few months, we would be sorely disappointed and rightfully fatigued by now.  We pace ourselves differently if we’re running a 5K versus a marathon. Where many moms I spoke with are struggling is with the indefiniteness of the current norm.  It’s the not knowing for how much longer we need to be attempting to be successful at the impossible. The best we can do is going to have to be good enough.  And the best we can do is to have several plans, be flexible enough to shift those plans and take each day as it comes.  

We all know by now the importance of teaching our children the buzzwords of “grit”, “perseverance” and “resilience”. Well, here it is the (albeit unsolicited) real-world, months-long, teachable moment to model and talk about all these qualities as we model them for our children.  And while we’re at it, let’s add “flexibility” to our list.  It’s not going to be easy, but we never thought it would be, and it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Be smart, stay safe, wear a mask and plan to change the plan.  

Read more at http://www.tryverima.com

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Returning to Normal: But What IS Normal?

 

Tell us @tryverima the calculated risks you’ve deemed acceptable. 

Throughout the past few months, the world has been shaken. We have had our lives, our normalcy, our routines, challenged and altered forever. On a global scale, we have all been affected by the Coronavirus to some degree, and many refer to this time period as “The Great Pause”. Because that is exactly what it has been: a huge pause. Schools have been cancelled, businesses have been closed, parks have tape across them preventing little ones from playing, and we have stayed inside our homes in an attempt to avoid catching this deadly virus. When we do have to go out, we protect ourselves and others by keeping our distance, wearing a mask, and washing our hands regularly.

 

In some parts of the world, this pause has been helping somewhat, and the curve is slowly flattening. The number of cases is decreasing, and people are starting to talk about returning to life as normal. Parks are being reopened, businesses are slowly starting to accept customers through their doors again. Social distancing restrictions are being lifted, and people are allowed to see their friends and family members again.

Along with the good news of restrictions being lifted, however, is news that in some parts of the world cases of the virus continue to increase. There is talk of a second wave hitting us, or a bubble in a bubble as some would argue;  however the lack of visibility makes future planning murky at best. It is concerning that as some restrictions are lifted, we are seeing an increase in the number of cases.

So, what does all this mean? If we are returning to life as normal, what does that normal look like? Is it safe to return to such a state? Is it realistic to expect that we will ever return to what we consider to be ‘normal’? 

 

What is important to remember during this time is that everyone will have a different level of comfort and a different perspective on what normal looks like for them. Perhaps some of us are more comfortable remaining socially distanced until that curve is flattened even more. Perhaps some of us are sick of remaining inside our homes and for the sake of mental health, welcome the loosening of restrictions.

If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we are all dealing with it in different ways and with different perspectives, and it is important that we are respectful of that. We need to be mindful of the fact that how we are approaching this pandemic may be different than someone else, and that’s ok. You do you. 

Some people will not leave their homes without wearing a mask, while others use masks only when indoors in public spaces.  Still others may have underlying health  or sensory issues which make masks unfeasible. Let’s reserve our judgement. We don’t know everyone’s full story, and we don’t know their reasoning for doing, or not doing, something. We need to be open-minded and continue on with love and kindness in our hearts. 

For those of us who are fortunate to be able to work from home, we have some freedom in choosing what works best for our family, what our level of comfort is when going out in public, and whether or not we choose to take our kids out into the community. For working parents, there isn’t always that level of freedom. Parents who work outside the home may need to take advantage of daycares opening back up, so that they are able to return to work and earn an income. Not to mention the children of essential workers also need childcare. We simply are not in a position to judge as we are not walking in their shoes. 

Additionally, many of us are caring for aging parents, and a lot of the time those parents are battling health issues that leave them immunocompromised and vulnerable to this virus. We need to take extra precaution when out in public, as well as limit how much we are around other people, while adhering to strict social distancing boundaries until this virus is eradicated. We don’t have the freedom to take advantage of restrictions loosening, because there is a loved one who could be inadvertently and fatally affected by such decisions.  

 

The arguments that have arisen in school districts about reopening plans have been heated at best.  But how does a school district accommodate every parent’s levels of risk tolerance?  And what about the risks to the teachers and their families? There is no one answer or plan that fits all, but please let’s stay respectful of the fact that we are all trying our best with the resources we have.  Some parents are desperate to send their kids to school but an immunocompromised member of the household makes that unfeasible.  Some children themselves are immunocompromised.  Meanwhile the mental health of other children is suffering and they crave live social interaction and learning. Other parents need to return to work and simply cannot homeschool their children for hours everyday. 

Throughout all of this, it is so important that we remember that everyone’s situation is completely different, and we don’t always know the full story. When you see a mother in the store with her children, instead of judging her for bringing her children, recognize that perhaps she is a single mother with no other alternative. Instead of giving her a dirty look and making her feel even worse, offer a smile and a kind word. When you see someone in mask and gloves, recognize that perhaps they are immunocompromised or caring for someone who is, and respectfully keep your distance.

Everyone is dealing with this pandemic to the best of their ability, and everyone is coping with stresses that we know nothing about. Reserve judgement, proceed with kindness in your heart, and focus on yourself and what you need to do for your family. 

We will get through this together, and one day we will return to normal, whatever that normal may be.

Posted on Leave a comment

Protests Sweep the Nation: How to Talk to Your Kids

Tell us @tryverima the conversations you’re having with your children. 

We can not ignore the protests and riots in cities across our nation, and naturally our kids are going to have a lot of questions. While it may be easier to brush this daunting conversation to the side, especially if the ramifications don’t immediately affect our daily lives, now is the precise opportunity to have deep and meaningful conversations with your children.  This infographic created by The Children’s Community School links the sociological studies to different phases of childhood. These studies indicate that children are ready to listen to race conversations at ages younger than we would think. 


Now that we know we can (and should) talk to our kids about race, the question becomes how? 

We come in many colors

First, we should acknowledge that people come in all different sizes, shapes and colors. To say “I don’t see color” or “skin color is not a factor” is in fact hurting the conversation. Janice Gassam in an article in Forbes wrote, “The goal is actually to see and recognize skin color but to control and regulate your innate impulse to make decisions based on such characteristics. Being able to first recognize this is critical. “

Talk to your children about the entire spectrum of people living in the world. And acknowledge and celebrate their differences. Theeverymom.com has compiled this amazing list of children’s books that celebrate diversity. 

Protests bring change

Secondly, explain to children that protests are not a negative, but rather a powerful tool and right we have as citizens. Give them the historical context that our country’s (USA) first steps towards independence and liberty started with colonists protesting against King George’s rule. 

Lucy Calkins from Teacher’s College of Columbia University recently wrote an extremely helpful essay that suggests how we could start by explaining that George Floyd’s death is the latest in a line of unwarranted deaths for people of color. The conversation can then delve further into how and why these protests have sometimes turned violent or morphed into riots.  Calkin continues to say,  “students need to know that this recent death occurs against a backdrop in which unemployment and COVID-19 both, are disproportionately tearing apart the lives of Black and Brown people. So these accumulated grievances combined have brought us to this moment. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us long ago, ‘A riot is the language of the unheard.’ “

A Nation of upstanders

Lastly, empower your children to change their bystander status to that of upstander. To be someone who recognizes the injustices and possesses the empathy and the bravery to be a catalyst for change. This is a perfect time to reinforce your family’s values and model for your children that, “we speak up when something is wrong. “ 

To quote one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. “

It’s up to us mamas. Let’s instill respect and love for humanity in our children, and let’s start today. 


Learn more at www.tryverima.com

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Sleep in Midst of a Pandemic

Tag @tryverima and share how you have been sleeping.

It’s 1:27 AM. The house is silent (finally!) and though you are exhausted, you wonder to yourself if you will ever sleep tonight. You didn’t last night, and hardly at all the night before that, except for perhaps a few groggy hours of muddled sleep around 5:00 AM, a mere hour or two before your littles were up and raring to go for the day. This is becoming a regular pattern for you, especially since the start of the pandemic, so you give up sleeping for now and turn on your light to read and get your mind off the 101 thoughts racing through your head. 

Sleep deprivation, insomnia, anxiety, and depression are being recognized in more and more women these days, and society has begun to take note. There have been countless articles recently that have brought to light the imbalance in parenting, and the unfair expectations put upon women these days. Women carry the brunt of the mental load in most households, and that responsibility is absolutely exhausting, especially when combined with managing a career as well. All this has only been magnified as we shelter at home and add homeschooling/full time childcare to the mix.  Rachel Garlinghouse shared her struggles during the shelter at home on ScaryMommy.  It’s no wonder many women are developing anxiety or depression, and turning to sleep aids to help them get the rest they so desperately need.

 

In an attempt to get a decent night’s sleep, some women turn to prescription medications. These medications however often come with their own side effects that can leave people feeling groggy, “hungover”, and sometimes even more tired. This continuous cycle of sleep deprivation is all part of the problem, and it is perpetuating this struggle that women are facing.  Women who are dealing with sleep issues like anxiety and insomnia need a natural sleep aid that helps them get a decent night’s sleep and which doesn’t come with a whole host of side effects. Hayley MacMillan wrote about her experiences with sleep aids and how CBD is her tactic of choice

Luckily, there is more and more evidence each day that points to CBD oil as being a safe, natural, effective treatment for sleep disorders. While we await definitive clinical trials studying the specific effects of CBD on sleep, there has been significant anecdotal results from many patients who have noticed a stark increase in their sleep quality after starting to take CBD oil. Some physicians, who are in support of using CBD oil felt that while CBD could in fact be helping their patients to sleep better, they also considered that CBD is also treating other symptoms that were hindering their patients’ sleep, like anxiety or Restless Leg Syndrome. 

Oftentimes, the mental load that women carry tends to ramp up into overdrive at night when we’re supposed to be resting. We’re checking that endless to-do list, wondering if we forgot anything important, making a mental note of the kids’ Zoom times, thinking about what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner, worrying about a work deadline and staying employed.  We are desperately trying to sustain the unsustainable for an undefined amount of time.  It is often in the evening once the others are asleep and we can finally think, when anxiety creeps up and launches into high gear. By finding something that can treat the anxiety, then the sleep will naturally follow, assuming there are no other underlying conditions preventing a decent night’s sleep.

CBD can also aid in balancing sleep cycles, help your muscles to relax, and even lessen chronic pain that may be contributing to a restless sleep. It is important to find the dosage that works best for you, as people will react to different amounts in completely different ways. The trick is to start low and go slow; start with a small dose of our high-quality broad-spectrum CBD tincture in the early evening. Squeeze the contents of the dropper under your tongue and let the liquid absorb through the membrane for as long as comfortable (preferably a minute or so) before swallowing.  See how it makes you feel and how it helps you sleep. If you don’t find it helping enough, try increasing the dose. For some they will feel the effects that day, for others, the CBD needs to build up in their systems before any differences are noted.  

We’re all juggling a lot right now and we deserve at the basic level to be functioning on all cylinders which only can come after a solid night’s sleep. Sleep well, Mama, you deserve it. 

Learn more at www.tryverima.com