Posts belonging to Category school-age children



Ways to Encourage a Service Attitude in Children

The following post is courtesy of Nancy Parker who blogs at http://www.enannysource.com/blog/

kidsandcharityWe all hope our children will grow up to be the kind of adults that reach out a helping hand to those less fortunate. However, a service attitude doesn’t just happen; it has to be given ample chances to take root and grow strong.

Parents can have a profound impact on nurturing that attitude in their children. Here are a few ways you can help your child develop a service attitude that will stay with them throughout their lifetime.

Model a giving heart. Children learn best by watching those they love and respect. If you want your child to truly value helping others, show him that’s it’s important to you through your own words and actions. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and get involved in whatever way you can. It doesn’t always have to be a hands-on project; there are many support jobs that make the direct work possible. Maybe your cause is best served by working on the fundraising committee, or folding and mailing out newsletters, or managing the volunteers. Whatever you do, talk about it with your child and involve him whenever possible. Let him know how your actions help others and share the benefits you get by being part of the project.

Promote the idea that one person can make a difference. Many people today are pessimistic about the impact that one person can have. But the belief that one person who gives from the heart can make a real difference in the world is at the heart of the service attitude. Instill and nurture the belief that your child can make the world a better place. Seek out news stories that spotlight people, especially children, who have taken positive actions around an idea they believe in. Read books where the hero is kind and loving towards others. Celebrate small victories and acknowledge that every big victory started with one step. Focus on what you can accomplish rather than what you can’t. Starting a compost project in your neighborhood won’t stop global warming, but it will contribute to a sustainable community. Working a shift at a homeless shelter won’t end homelessness, but it will help local people get a night’s sleep away from the cold and rain. Empower your child to see and embrace the possibilities.

Give your child the opportunity to get involved in a real way. We often don’t let young children participate in volunteer projects because we want to protect them from the harsh realities of the world. However, most children are able to handle much more than we think they can. Children are able to see past the problems and connect with the people affected. There are many volunteer opportunities that welcome children and help parents explain the issue in age appropriate ways. You and your child can volunteer to serve meals at a homeless shelter, visit isolated seniors in a nursing home, collect winter coats for foster children, or work a shift at a pet adoption day. What you do isn’t important. Taking the time to volunteer on a regular basis is what counts.

Encourage giving with everyday actions. While volunteer projects are a great way to introduce your child to helping others, a true service attitude is something that’s present every day. Get in the habit of joining with your child to think of ways you can help others in your everyday world. Carry a supply of water bottles and granola bars in your car and hand them out to the homeless people standing on street corners. Purge the play room and closets on a regular basis and donate the toys and clothes that aren’t being used. Pick up trash off the sidewalk and put it in the street side trash can. Give up your seat on the train to an elderly person. Return a shopping cart to the store front for a mom with young kids. Ask a child who’s sitting on the sidelines if he’d like to join in the game. There are endless opportunities throughout the day for both you and your child to help others.

Start a gratitude habit. Studies show that people who are grateful for what they have, whatever that may be, are more likely to be happy in their lives. Being grateful also helps you feel good about what you have when others around you have less, so you should consider starting a gratitude habit with your child. Talk at breakfast about what you’re looking forward to, share at dinner what things happened during the day you’re grateful for, or end the night with saying thank you.

No matter how young your child is, take the time to nurture his service attitude. It’s a passion that will stay with him for a lifetime.

 

Walking Safety Tips

Safe Kids USA asks you to follow the tips below to make sure you keep your children safe while they are walking to and from school.

 tips

Tips for Walkers

  • Developmentally, most kids can’t judge speeds and distances until at least age 10, so younger kids need to cross with an adult
  • Did you know most walking injuries happen mid-block or someplace other than intersections? Whenever possible, cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and keep looking and listening while crossing
  • Walk, don’t run, when crossing the street
  • It’s always best to walk on sidewalks or paths, but if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible
  • Remove headphones when crossing the street
  • If you need to use your phone, stop walking
  • Distraction among drivers is at an all-time high today, so try to make eye contact with the driver before you step into the road

 For more road safety and walking tips go to www.safekids.org

Keeping Kids Safe as They Go Back to School

 As another school year begins, the American Red Cross suggests steps that everyone can take to make the trip back to school safer.

“When kids go back to school, parents should make sure the child knows his or her home phone number and address, parents’ work contact information, how to get in touch with another trusted adult and how to dial 9-1-1,” said Dr. David Markenson, chair of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and pediatric expert.

“Parents should also teach their children not to talk to strangers or accept rides from someone they don’t know,” Markenson added.

Bus Safety

If children ride a bus to school, they should plan to get to their bus stop early and stand away from the curb while waiting for the bus to arrive. Other safety steps for students include:

  • Board the bus only after it has come to a complete stop and the driver or attendant has instructed you to get on.
  • Only board your bus and never an alternate one.
  • Always stay in clear view of the bus driver and never walk behind the bus.
  • Cross the street at the corner, obeying traffic signals and staying in the crosswalk.
  • Never dart out into the street, or cross between parked cars.

Motorists should know what the yellow and red bus signals mean:

  • Yellow flashing lights — the bus is getting ready to stop, and motorists should slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign — the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off. Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

Driving

If children ride in a car to get to school, they should always wear a seat belt. Younger children should use car seats or booster seats until the lap-shoulder belt fits properly (typically for children ages 8-12 and over 4’9”), and ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years old.

If a teenager is going to drive to school, parents should mandate that they use seat belts. Drivers should not use their cell phone to text or make calls, and should avoid eating or drinking while driving.

All drivers should be aware that children are out walking or biking to school and slow down, especially in residential areas and school zones.

schoolBiking and Walking

Students who ride their bike to school should always wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs and ride on the right in the same direction as traffic.

Those who walk to school should only cross the street at an intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards. Parents should walk young children and children taking new routes or attending new schools at least for the first week to ensure they know how to get there safely. Thereafter, arrange for the kids to walk to school with a friend or classmate.

Take a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course so you’ll have the knowledge and skills to act if an injury or emergency happens. You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll always have first aid information at your fingertips.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or their blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

 

Removing Sugary Sodas is a Good Beginning, But…

sugaryWhile many schools have removed sugary sodas from the school vending machines and other points of purchase,  sugary fruit beverages and Gatorade-like drinks are still available in most schools.

According to the findings in a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation high-calorie drinks are the main source of dietary sugar among children. Making these drinks available at school can significantly increase students’ daily calorie intake.

The lead author of the study, Yvonne Terry-McElrath, a researcher from the University of Michigan and co-investigator with Bridging the Gap, a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a foundation news release, “Our study shows that, although schools are making progress in removing sugary drinks, far too many students still are surrounded by a variety of unhealthy beverages at school. We also know that the problem gets worse as students get older.”

The researchers surveyed more than 1,400 middle schools and more than 1,500 high schools to track beverages sold by these schools outside of meal programs over four academic years beginning in 2006. Specifically, they looked at places where students could buy high-calorie sodas, such as vending machines, a la carte lines in the cafeteria, school stores and snack bars.

The study, published Aug. 6 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found one in four public high school students could buy high-calorie soda during the 2010 school year. Four years earlier, sugary sodas were available to more than 50 percent of these students, the researchers said.

While this decrease in schools is encouraging, the investigators found many middle and high school students still have access to other sugary beverages, such as fruit drinks and sports drinks. In the 2010 school year, 63 percent of middle school students and 88 percent of high school students could buy some type of high-calorie drink at school.

The study also showed that while students’ access to higher-fat milk declined, in 2010 it remained available to 36 percent of middle school students and 48 percent of high school students.

C. Tracy Orleans, senior scientist at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the progress being made to remove sugary sodas from schools is encouraging. “But while this study does have good news, it also shows that we’re not yet where we want to be,” Orleans said in the news release. “It’s critically important for the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] to set strong standards for competitive foods and beverages to help ensure that all students across all grades have healthy choices at school.”

 

Establishing Bed Time Routines

bedAs parents we all know that going to bed can be the toughest time of day for young children because it means separation from us and things they enjoy doing.

Bed time can, and often does, become the toughest time of our day as parents. Trying to get our children to bed on a regular schedule for their sake and for our ours can be a real challenge. They need a routine to insure a good night’s sleep. We need down time…our own time to unwind or get to things we can’t do when our children are up and need our attention.

The Sleep Foundation (http://www.sleepfoundation.org) shares information and sleep tips that may make nightly separation and a good sleep a regular happening and not a sometime thing.

Knowing that preschoolers often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, parents will have the most success if the stick to a regular bed time and a consistent bed time routine.

The bed time routine needs to be relaxing and have a calming effect. Storytellings, a lullaby, a bit of gentle cuddling are often successful in preparing a child for sleep.

Children need to get comfortable with their sleep environment. They need to sleep in the same sleeping environment every night. The room needs to be cool, quiet and dark, There should be no TV or computer game viewing equipment in the room.

School age children (5-12) need to unwind from the demands and stimulation of school, doing homework, and after school activities that can make it difficult to fall asleep. Research on sleep disturbances for this age group has found that consuming caffeine beverages, such as colas, extensive TV viewing, playing online computer games or surfing the net close to bed time are  major contributors to sleep problems.

Inadequate sleep is a blue print for daytime difficulties such as irritability, poor academic performance in school and social and behavioral problems.

This age group needs to understand the importance of good sleep. Parents and children need to talk about the need for a consistent bed time routine and stick to that routine whenever possible.

Just as with younger children, a winding down time is helpful: listening to soft music, reading a suitable book, working at a quiet hobby are all good choices.

The bedroom needs to be cool, dark and quiet and free of a TV, computer or any electronic game viewing equipment.

Establishing and adhering to bed time routines is not easy. It often takes much effort and patience. But, helping our children develop and maintain good sleep habits is a wonderful life-long gift that only we can give.