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2023 Apr

It's a Win-WIn

Here are ways to help your child grow creatively.

Introducing our kids to new experiences is one of our most important jobs as parents. Without exposure to activities and opportunities outside of school, our youth are only getting half of the education they need.

Nature experiences, for example, have always been high on our family’s list of priorities. When the kids were little, we took them hiking as often as possible and introduced them to fishing, boating, and of course water sports. Just taking them to a playground for old-fashioned fun or to First Landing State Park with its gnarly live oaks, perfect for climbing, ensured that they got both fresh air and exercise.

Now I take my grandson, Lincoln, to the playground. He loves it. I’m always amazed at how easily he starts chatting with other children and making new friends. When kids are given the freedom to play, it helps them discover who they are and learn social skills in the process—all while having fun. It’s a win-win!

Soon good weather will be back, and you know how much kids love the beach. But you can enjoy our beautiful shores even in spring. Take a hike on the beach and look for birds, shells, and sand crabs. Play a game of tag or hide and seek among the dunes. Watch the ships go by on the horizon and talk about where they might be going or where they’ve been.

Exposing your children to the arts is another way you can help them grow creatively. See a play, attend a concert or a ballet, watch a parade. We are so fortunate to have dozens of venues, festivals, and events in our region. Our April calendar (p. 14) and Spring Arts Guide (p. 21) are both great places to start!

Summer is looming, which means it’s the perfect time to plan for summer camp experiences. Whether it’s a day camp or overnight camp, spending time away from Mom and Dad helps kids learn independence and teamwork, as well as new skills. Camp gets kids out of their comfort zone and inspires them in new directions.

Here’s hoping you show your kids the world this month. It’s out there, waiting for you and your family.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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