Category Archives: Children

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Spread Healthy Living Habits

Researchers at Duke Medicine have provided us with hard evidence of what seems good common sense. A child whose mother encourages and models healthy behavior is more likely to be active and eat a balanced diet as an adult. Not all that surprising really. Still the findings, appearing in the May 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity are an important reminder to parents – children often tune out what you say, but they never miss what you do.

Healthy habits are easier to adopt when they are established early. What’s more, they protect against childhood obesity, a problem that’s more than doubled in children, tripled in teens over the past 30 years. In 2010, more than one third of kids and teens were considered to be overweight or obese.

Study author Truls Østbye, M.D., PhD, professor of community and family medicine at Duke, is quick to recognize that obesity is a complex phenomenon that’s influenced by many factors, but there are variations in levels of obesity from one society/environment to another, so there’s something in the environment that impacts obesity. Of course when it comes to children, the home and parenting help to shape both diet (encouraging eating fruits veggies) and physical behaviors (encouraging play outdoors) for long into the future. This latest study supplies evidence of just how important this can be.

The team examined the relationship between the home and behaviors that are related to being obese (diet and exercise habits, for example) in a group of preschoolers. There were 190 children, aged 2 to 5, whose mothers where considered either overweight or obese. The team collected details on the children’s intake of food over the past week, with items rated as healthy or junk foods. The children even wore accelerometers for a week, and this measured both moderate and vigorous physical activity as well as time spent in sedentary activities.

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Spread Healthy Living Habits Continued…

The socioeconomic status of the mothers was also examined; they supplied details on their education levels and job status. These factors had no association with the physical activity of the children, but showed mixed results in terms of diet. More research in this area could help understand how socioeconomic factors might influence a child’s health. Further work on if the influence of the home environment changes as kids get older will also be needed before strategies can be developed to
address these issues.

The mothers also supplied details about the environment where their child lived, including the policies about food and exercise, the access to healthy/junk foods, availability of equipment/space for activity, and of course, if they modeled healthy eating and exercise for the child. When the team analyzed all the data they saw some significant links between the measures of environment and the subjects diet and exercise patterns. To promote healthy habits in children, parental role modeling and a healthy home environment are key. Kids ate more healthy foods when there was limited access to junk food and a family meal policy at home. The home environment had more impact on diet, rather than activity patterns, of the children.

It’s hard to change behaviors, but our children are one of the best reasons to do so. You’ll be healthier, and your children will have a ready role model for living a healthy lifestyle that will benefit them long into the future. It’s common sense, now backed by solid evidence.

To your good health,

cotrim / Pixabay

Boost Their Brain With After School Activities

Looks like there’s something to the, now old fashioned, idea of playing outside after school. A new study finds that up to 60 minutes of physical activity each day after school might be enough to improve cognitive functioning, while also keeping our young people in better physical shape. The researchers, led by Charles Hillman, a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have published their findings in the journal Pediatrics.

Hillman and his team used 221 children (7-9 years old), half of whom were randomly assigned to an exercise program (called FITKids) while the other half were put on a waiting list, and thus acted as control subjects. FITKids called for the participants to take part in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day after school. The intervention was designed for the way kids like to move. Short bouts of exercise with periods of rest that lasted a total of two hours. The kids wore heart monitors and pedometers during the activity periods, and both the exercise and control group took part in brain imaging and cognitive testing at the start and end of the 9-month study period.

The researchers found that children who participated in at last an hour of exercise after school showed improvements in attention, as well as being better able to avoid (block out) distractions and make the switch (cognitive flexibility) from one cognitive task to another when compared to children who didn’t take part in the program. The exercising children showed significant improvements in terms of accuracy on cognitive tasks as well as having widespread changes in brain function as well. Their fitness level, not surprisingly showed a significant increase too.

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Boost Their Brain With After School Activities Continued…

Professor Hillman notes that some of the improvement in cognitive functions could be due to the social interaction that these programs involve. Kids are social beings, and take part in physical activity in a social environment. This is a reason why children like to take part in structured sports after school; they find this type of exercise fun and a place to make new friends. The research intervention did this as well.

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that children and teens (6-17 years old) get at least an hour of activity a day. Sadly a survey of high school students from last year found only 29% had met this goal within the last week. With the numbers of obese children and teens rising, we can see plainly the affects of not being active on a regular basis, and the need for this to change.

Experts recognize that regular activity in both childhood and the teen years has many benefits for the health of the body. It can help build healthy muscles and bones, improve cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and of course, help with controlling weight. An increasing tide of research is showing that there are positive effects of physical activity on the brain function of our children. Now we parents need to get them up and get them moving – while we do the very same ourselves.

To your good health,

White77 / Pixabay

Talking Smart Matter,To Prepare Kids For School Success

As our children are now at school, many parents are wondering about how to help their child achieve academic success. To learn
all they can.
To benefit from the tremendous opportunities put before them. Science has long recognized the value of talking to our children during those early days – birth to age 3, as this helps build that foundation for success at school, and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests reading be part of your daily routine from birth onward.

One simple approach is the 3 T strategies, Tune in, Talk more and
Take turns
. You can use these at meal times, while waiting in offices, traveling by car or during daily routines like dressing for the day or getting ready for bed. Use any opportunity to respond to what your child is saying, build your child’s vocabulary by using descriptive words and be sure to engage your little one in conversation as this encourages curiosity and strengthens social skills.

Every word you say acts to build your child’s brain. Rich, descriptive language exposes your child a larger vocabulary, and helps them become more ready to learn in all areas, because curiosity has been established and rewarded at home. A child who has been exposed to more words will naturally know more words. That’s a solid foundation for school, and this will make understanding the teacher easier. The best thing you can do for your own kids in terms of preparing them to be successful students is talk to them at home – interact together and allow their brains to absorb all the things in their world.

Reading aloud is considered a key piece of the learning success puzzle – you build a parent/child bond while strengthening your child’s language skills. They hear words you don’t use in ordinary conversation, they learn about places and people they’ve never seen. It’s a great way to tune into a child’s interests – and then talk about the book. Get a conversation started.

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Talking Smart Matter,To Prepare Kids For School Success Continued…

The great thing is that this is so easy to do. Anything you do, singing, talking, playing, responding in any way, builds up the brain. In fact, 85% of brain development takes place during those first three years of life. These are the connections a child will rely on to think, to talk and interact for the rest of its life. So the more connections, the easier thinking will be, and thus the better prepared a child will be to enter school.

Research also finds that children who were read to as infants have bigger vocabularies and more math skills when they got to kindergarten. Reading proficiency at third grade is amazingly, the most reliable predictor of graduation from high school and a successful career.

Being read to benefits every kid, even an active kid who has trouble sitting still to hear the story. Try instead to talk about the book, look at photos, tune into what about the book has caught your child’s interest and talk about that. Let young kids hold the book, turn the pages, and don’t get caught up in reading every single word. Go with the flow, if he loses interest, let him. Letting a child lead during story time is actually maximizes what your child gains, while minimizing the frustration and stress for you.

As for technology, the science on how it impacts a child’s learning isn’t clear. Until we know more, keep in mind that technology is not really the issue here, but how parents and children are using it. Devices used as babysitters are not going to offer the same benefit as if the child were working with another person, parent or sibling. After age 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests you limit screen time to two hours a day, and monitor choices carefully.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development, or lack of interest in books, talk with your pediatrician. Early intervention can have remarkable results.

To your good health,

Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Fitness May Fight Depression In Girls

One of the best, most natural ways to ward off the blues (at any age) is being in good physical shape. Now a new study finds that the more fit a middle school girl is, the less apt she is to show symptoms of depression. Though the effect on depression was small, it was there, encouraging us to get both boys and girls up and moving in order to fight off this troublesome problem.

The research involved measuring the fitness of over 400 sixth graders from North Texas. The measure was arrived at by noting how many shuttle runs a middle schooler could do within a specific time, as well as their own assessment of strength and endurance. For the girls, the strongest predictor of symptoms of depression was a history of the disease, but even after taking past depression and BMI into account, more fitness in sixth grade was linked to a lower chance of depression in the next grade year.

No one is suggesting that exercise will cure everything, but it is interesting that depression has been associated with a higher BMI in other studies. Also the middle school years are a period where fitness levels tend to drop off, weight goes up and depression follows suit. This is the reason a focus on these years can be so valuable.

Also of note, depression for sixth grade boys did predict poorer fitness the next year. While there was a trend between fitness level and depression in boys, it wasn’t statistically significant. Keep in mind that boys tend to be less depressed, so the impact of fitness may have simply been harder to detect. A work that used a larger number of male subjects would help to clarify this point.

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Fitness May Fight Depression In Girls, Boys Continued…

The link between depression and fitness levels may be explained by any number of things. Better self esteem, getting more positive reinforcement… biology. Science already knows that some proteins and hormones tied to less depression do respond to more exercise. It seems being active on a regular basis really can’t hurt you.

The reasons behind depression, at any age, are complicated. But imagine being a child living in poverty, perhaps amid violence and difficult life events with little (or no) support from family or friends… poor coping skills, negative thought patterns, self-esteem issues. All these raise the risk of depression, though they do not mean a child who deals with any (or all) of them will be depressed, just that the risk is higher. Kids struggling with depression may also benefit from either at school or family therapy, well recognized as a way to treat and prevent depression in children who are at risk.

There’s no denying that fitness is a good goal for young people. It’s never too soon to start teaching children about preventing obesity, one of those ways being regular physical activity all through life. For this age group, being active is more appealing when it is fun – they drop out when something isn’t enjoyable or has pressure attached. When the focus stays on building personal skills and abilities, physical activity is more likely to take hold.

To your good health,

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Students Learn More If They Must Teach Others

If your child struggles with learning, you’re naturally very worried, confused and unsure as to where to turn. Here’s some timely info to help. The journal Memory & Cognition brings us fascinating findings on mindset while learning. It appears people learn better and remember more when they think they’ll have to teach the material to another. When compared to learners who expect a test, those who think they are going to be teaching recalled more material correctly, organized It more effectively and had better memory for the most important details.

The work is based on experiments where one group of students was told they’ll be tested on a piece of written content, another group was told they’re preparing to teach the passage to another person. In truth, all the subjects were tested, and no one taught. Still it seems that just telling a learner that they’ll have to teach someone else changes the mindset enough so they learn more effectively. It seems that simple instructions can alter a student’s mindset.

When a teacher prepares to explain an important concept, they look for key points and organize information into a structure that makes sense. The study suggests that students also use those types of learning strategies to help them understand the information when they expect to be teaching. What’s more, the improvement to learning is so simple, just altering perceptions before starting to teach is all that was needed.

Lots of times we all get so focused on what our children need to learn, we don’t think about learning itself. Teaching the “how” to learn is as important as teaching the content because this is key to building a lifelong love of learning. A child who is struggling needs help because using fewer learning strategies tends to create more trouble coping with schoolwork and poorer performance overall.

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Students Learn More If They Must Teach Others Continued…

One smart take away for teachers is that students often need guidance on how to find those optimal learning strategies. No one strategy works for every student or subject. Even though our children are involved in formal and informal learning for years, they don’t necessarily use strategies that foster learning – even if they have them – as shown by the research.

What’s more, preparing for a test doesn’t encourage students to choose the strategies for learning that lead to their best performance.

The good news is that it’s never too late to pick up the learning strategies a student needs – the how to learn. There are ways for teens (and even older learners) to improve on the basic skills and strategies for acquiring information from what they read. There are strategies to help in organizing and memorizing, for expressing what has been learned on exams or in writing. Even in the often troublesome area of mathematics, there are techniques that can be taught for solving math problems.

There is no shame in admitting your concern and taking the next step – learning what you need to know to help your child (or perhaps yourself). A formal evaluation can help you identify specific issues and get you started on the road to helping them learn, progress and succeed in the future.

To your good health,

Efraimstochter / Pixabay

Is Your Child’s Cereal Bowl Full Of Risks?

As a parent, you walk the line between nutrition and taste when it comes to the cereal your children eat to start the day. We often have (justified) concerns about too much sugar in the cereals our children eat, but too many vitamins isn’t anything you’ve heard about, until now. The troubling suggestion comes from a recent report published by the Environmental Working Group, EWG for short, that says our children appear to be taking in too much vitamin A, zinc and/or niacin from some brands of breakfast cereal due in part to antiquated labeling.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States is responsible for the “daily value” percentages on the labels; the total amounts are based on recommendations for healthy adults (not children) and have not been changed since 1968. As a comparison the IOM (Institute of Medicine) updates the daily value recommendations every year based on the current thinking in nutritional research.

The IOM guidelines for youngsters are as follows – children from 4 to 8 should get under 0.9 mg of vitamin A, 15 mg of niacin, 12 mg of zinc a day.

When the EWG analyzed the nutrition labels of over 1,500 breakfast cereals they saw that 114 (just about 7%) of them have a large amount of the recommended daily value of all three of these nutrients in each serving. As every parent knows, most kids eat more than the standard serving of 3/4 cup in one sitting. Assuming a child took in about 2.5 servings they’d meet or exceed the daily limit the IOM suggests for these nutrients. No other foods needed, no daily vitamin required.

Included on the list that included 23 “excessively fortified cereals” are bran flakes, raisin bran and wheat flakes – and while you might not expect a child to make any of these choices, cereal is still the number one source of a typical child’s nutritional intake for a day. What’s more two brands, Kellogg’s Krave and Cocoa Krispies appeal to children with a label done in a cartoon style.

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Is Your Child’s Cereal Bowl Full Of Risks? Continued…

Of course the established thinking is that fortification of cereals and other foods has proven to be a successful way of helping people get the vital nutrients they need. And while getting the right amounts is key, too much of a good thing may actually be very bad for everyone, including children. The FDA does have a clear regulatory policy in place to be sure that the fortification of cereals and all foods is safe, but that might not be much help.

Another recent study discovered that 45% of children are getting too much zinc, 13% are getting too much vitamin A and 8% are getting too much niacin. If the child is taking a multivitamin, the numbers go up alarmingly, 72% of those children taking a multivitamin are actually overdosing on of vitamin A, 28% are taking in too much niacin, and as many as 84% are getting way too much zinc.

When you think overdosing on vitamins or minerals, you typically think of someone taking too many supplements, not eating too much of a particular, readily available and heavily marketed, food. The short-term consequences of excessive intake can bring on gastrointestinal issues, while the long-term effects of too much vitamin A include damage to liver and skeleton. Overdosing on zinc can bring problems to the immune system, while too much niacin is actually toxic to the liver.

As a parent, you need to pick up your child’s favorite cereal and take a good long look at the nutrition facts and fortification levels. Cut back the intake if you have a concern, or your child is showing a sympto9m of excessive intake. The EWG suggests a parent use caution when feeding their children anything with over 25% of the adult daily value of any nutrient and monitor the intake of all foods to be sure they aren’t getting an excessive amount of any nutrient. This is especially important if you are also giving your child multivitamins.

To your good health,

Lazare / Pixabay

Teens And Sports Drinks: The Good News

All is not lost. True that researchers have confirmed a strong link between popular sports and energy drinks and harmful behaviors like smoking, playing video games and drinking sugar-laden soda. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says most children shouldn’t be consuming these beverages, and yet they continue to be a popular choice. So what’s the good news? The recent study also found that those who drink sports and energy drinks tend to be more physically active.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health asked almost 3,000 students in grades 6 to 12 a far reaching series of questions, finding that nearly 40% drank a sports and energy drink at least one time a week. Both boys and girls who drank these beverages on a regular basis were also more apt to smoke and play those often-vilified video games. This isn’t that much of a surprise it seems, though the team cautions everyone not to take the findings as a sign of cause and effect.

What about the link between drinking these beverages and taking part in sports, or being more active in general? The research team suggests that this might be the result of sports drink makers partnering with athletic organizations to target teen athletes. They also said that the workouts don’t always call for the kind of replenishment a sports drink provides. These beverages are really only necessary for those who take part in vigorous physical activity in a hot, humid climate.

Estimates appearing in the journal Pediatrics suggest that the intake of sports and energy drinks has tripled in teens during the past ten years – almost 12% of U.S. teens drink one of these drinks on any given day. This suggests that there needs to more education on the healthiest way to give water back to the body, by drinking water itself.

Understand that if a young person is drinking these all the time, they can contribute to tooth decay and extra weight.

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Teens And Sports Drinks: The Good News Continued…

For boys, weekly consumption of sports drinks was significantly linked to higher
TV viewing, about an added hour a week of TV time compared to boys who drank
them less than once a week. The video game time was an additional four hours
a week compared to those who drink these drinks less than one time a week.

What’s more, these drinks can over stimulate the nervous system of a teen, likely because the dose of caffeine is designed with the fully developed adult body in mind. The impact of these drinks on teen health, including sleep and sugar consumption, has not been well studied. If you can, avoid these drinks or severely limit their consumption in children and teens. There is earlier work that links a teen’s daily intake of energy drinks to a higher potential for abuse of drugs or alcohol.

Clearly being sensitized to high does of caffeine at a young age cannot be a good thing.

It’s important to be aware that sports and energy type drinks do have high levels of caffeine (to give the energy), and this can have a larger impact on the less developed teen body. A moderate caffeine intake is thought to be safe, for adults at least, according to the FDA – that’s 400 milligrams a day. There are no recommendations for kids or teens. Last year the agency was undertaking an examination of the safety of caffeinated products on kids and teens, but the investigations is still ongoing.

To your good health,

Lazare / Pixabay
Lazare / Pixabay

cotrim / Pixabay

10 Steps To Raising Happy Kids

It’s true that never before have parents had so much information on raising smart kids, successful kids… but what about happy kids? Most of us are quick to say that we want our children to be happy, that the well-being of our children is more important than almost anything. And yet more than two thirds of adults surveyed said they are “extremely concerned” about the well-being of the next generation, and this feeling holds for different genders, incomes, ages, ethnicities and political leanings.

Experts know that a happier child is more apt to become a successful, accomplished adult. In fact, happiness is a big advantage in a world that is focused on performance. Happy people tend to be more successful than unhappy ones in both love and work. They get better performance reviews, have jobs that are higher up the ladder and thus earn more. They’re also more likely to get married, and tend to be more satisfied with that marriage over the long haul.

But in today’s complex world, it can be hard to balance what is best for a child and what makes them happy. Often these two don’t agree… but they also don’t have to be mutually exclusive either. Here are some ways to get more happiness into your life… and in turn raise happier children.

1. Get
happy yourself
, as this is the first, most vital step. How happy you are effects how happy your children are in a big way. Happy parents are found to be statistically more likely to have happy kids, without any genetics being involved.

So spend time with friends or family who laugh, have fun. This will get you laughing too. Even hearing another laugh has neuroscientists thinking that this triggers mirror neurons in a part of the brain that makes a listener feel as if they are laughing themselves, even if they aren’t.

2. Teach
your children to build relationships
– educating your children on just how to relate to others has a big impact on how happy they will be. Encourage small acts of kindness to help build empathy as research finds over the long run this will make kids happier.

3. Expect good effort, not perfection – always banging the achievement drum really impacts a kid, and not in a good way. This tends to create kids who have higher levels of depression, anxiety and substance abuse than other kids. Praise the effort, not the ability and this encourages kids to keep engaging in that whole process.

4. Teach optimism – to look on the bright side, as this tends to make teens less prone to depression as they experience puberty. Optimistic kids are better at school, work, and sports, are healthier and live longer, end up with more satisfactory marriages and are less apt to face depression or anxiety in life.

5. Teach emotional intelligence – this is a skill to be learned, not something inborn that everyone just “knows”. Instead try to empathize with your child’s feelings, label and validate the emotion when a child is angry or frustrated. Let a child know that feelings are okay, bad behavior is not.

Continues below…


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10 Steps To Raising Happy Kids Continued…

6. Build happiness habits – once a habit is established, it’s easy to follow. Here are some things to try – get distractions/temptations out of the way, set goals to increase a child’s social support (and social pressure), focus on one goal at a time and keep at it, don’t expect perfect performance right away, it will take time, there might be relapses, but as long as there is also forward progress, that’s the key.

7. Teach self-discipline – as this one trait is more predictive of a child’s future success/failure than smarts or nearly anything else. The ability to delay gratification predicts intelligence, success at school and social skills in the teen years. One great idea is to help kids distract themselves from temptation.

8. Make more time for play – kids are already mindful (fully enjoying the present moment) but also spend less time playing, either inside our out of doors. Over the last 20 years kids have lost 8 hours a week of free, unstructured, spontaneous play. Playtime is essential for helping kids grow and learn.

9. Set up an environment for happiness – we’re all influenced by our surroundings, kids too. Less TV time helps as research shows a strong link between happiness and not watching TV. Happy people just watch a lot less television than unhappy ones.

10. Eat dinner together – family dinners matter, this time helps mold kids, make them happier. Research shows that children who eat dinner with the family on a regular basis are more emotionally stable, less likely to abuse drugs/alcohol. Family dinners even beat out reading to your children as the way to prepare them for school.

To your good health,

Up Kids Intake Of Veggies Using Fun Names

Here’s an idea that might help you get your kids to eat their veggies. Even though the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is now in effect, putting one serving of fruits/veggies on those school lunch trays does not kids will eat them. Now a Cornell University study has identified a unique approach. Changing the names of these foods – so carrots become “x-ray vision carrots” – might just do the trick.

The work, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examined 186 preschool children, aged four. On some lunch days the kids were given carrots, and on other days the same veggie but with a more intriguing name. The kids ate almost two times as much of the veggies, and kept on eating 50% more of the veggie even on days when they didn’t have the catchy names.

Giving these good for you foods fun names appears to make them more appealing, more fun to eat. And the influence of the names might linger.

A second trial at two more schools used broccoli and green beans, both known to be not all that popular with kids. When broccoli became “tiny tasty tree tops,” and green beans were dubbed “silly dilly green beans” things changed and consumption doubled. At the end of the research 5% of the kids, up from 2% before the study started, were actually asking for these veggies.

This certainly demonstrates the power of marketing. And similar results have been seen in us all too mature adults. Changing the name of a dish from Seafood Filet to the more descriptive Succulent Italian Seafood Filet caused sales to rise by 28%, ratings of taste to increase by 12%. Changing expectations made for a different experience according to lead researcher Brian Wansink, the author of the book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

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Up Kids Intake Of Veggies Using Fun Names Continued…

The cool names are still only part of the efforts to get kids to eat more vegetables. Many parents simply start feeding a child a wide variety of veggies when he/she starts eating solid foods and while this often works for some, there are those kids who lose their taste for healthy veggies as they get older. Here are some other things you might try to encourage eating more vegetables in kids.

- Add fun noodle shapes to vegetable soup, kids are so busy spelling and searching they don’t notice they’ve eaten the veggies.

- Try getting veggies in with vegetable drinks over ice with a straw, cocktail umbrella or celery stalk.

- Offer raw veggies with ranch dressing for dipping.

- Speak to the artist in your child by encouraging them to make art from raw veggies. Then they can enjoy eating the art supplies.

- Make a veggie pizza using store bought crescent rolls that you cook, cool and then spread with cream cheese and top with raw veggies.

- Offer a salad with dinner along with a choice of dressings, and don’t forget the croutons and shredded cheese.

- Encourage kids to get involved in cooking the veggies, as this not only brings pride in the finished dish, and it prompts need to taste it.

- Hide veggies in other foods… orange mashed potatoes are a mix of carrots and potatoes that get mashed together. Cover broccoli with tomato sauce or cheese.

This research on getting young kids to enjoy veggies appears in the journal Preventive Medicine.

To your good health,

Kids School Performance Tips

It’s the time of year when every parent starts thinking (dreading?) back to school. You want your child to do well, they want to make friends and enjoy themselves. And homework – a battleground for generations – continues to frustrate parents and children alike. Research as recently as 2009 appearing in the journal Science has found that writing out self-affirmations (not like Saturday Night Lives’ Stuart Smalley) helps students (particularly minorities) ease stress, a key to helping them improve that grade point average. It seems that making affirmations about your core values can translate into improvements in performance.

The work involved 7th grade student subjects writing out affirmations of their values or statements about what was important to them personally. The participants finished one of the three writing assignments right at the start of the school year. The lead researcher on the project, Geoffrey Cohen, PhD reports that such an intervention reduced stress tied to school and helped the minority kids up their GPA by a nice 0.25 points. The group of poorest performing minority students had the biggest improvement, with a GPA rising 0.4 points.

It might help kids to handle stress by giving them strategies, up front, to handle it. One good one is to remind kids to take a moment to switch focus when feeling over-stressed. Think about family, friends or other loved ones, imagine doing something you enjoy in your favorite place or something else positive. This serves as an active reminder that even if you stumble, all is not lost. There are still good things in your life, and people who care.

Another great technique is to suggest kids imagine if this stressor will matter to them one year, five years from today. Often the perspective of time, of realizing that this too shall pass, is an easy way for kids to ease the tension.

It’s also a good idea, if your kids are showing signs of stress, to have them do as the study subjects did. Write down all the things that are really important to them and why. Value affirmations have been shown by a lot of research to be very effective buffers against stress. Writing is better than speaking in this circumstance and the list does not have to be shared to be effective. Just the act of writing and thinking things through has power for your child.

Continues below…


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Kids School Performance Tips Continued…

Even adults know that under stress we often choke, underperform when we want most to succeed. It’s natural, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Values affirmation helps assure a student of their own integrity and cuts stress, letting them perform where they really can… at their full potential.

To help school performance, nutrition is always important. Making the effort to be sure the kids have something (dare we suggest healthy?) in their stomach before they head out the door each day pays off. Studies show that kids who eat a good breakfast have higher test scores, concentrate better and solve problems more easily.

There’s also good research from an analysis of past work that finds kids who get more exercise do better in school. Playing on a team, or having time to run around at break is good for a child’s body and mind. The work suggests it’s most important to expose and encourage kids to be active on a regular basis.

Focus on a nutritious start to the day, help your kids get exercise and do what you can to address stress levels and it’s bound to be a good school year.

To your good health,