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Parenting

Parents, Encourage Your Child to Stand Up to Bullying!

2:00

We’ve all read the stories about how a crowd of bystanders have not intervened or called the police for help, as someone was being bullied, attacked or beaten. It’s a horrible thought that if you need assistance, no one will respond.

When children grow up in a home that encourages standing up to bullying, they are more likely to step up to the challenge than kids who’ve been taught to stay out of it, according to a recent U.S. study.

About one in 10 children are victims of bullying, and many anti-bullying programs are focused on getting bystanders to intervene, researchers note in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. While previous research has linked certain parenting practices to higher odds that kids will be victims or perpetrators of bullying, less is known about how parents impact what children do as bystanders.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,400 fourth and fifth graders about how their classmates responded in a bullying situation. On average, the kids participating in the study were 11 years old.

They also interviewed parents at home and gave them hypothetical bullying scenarios, asking them how they would advise their children to respond.

In school, kids whose classmates said they might intervene to stop bullies and to comfort victims were more likely to have parents at home who told them getting involved was the right thing to do, the study found. At the same time, kids whose parents told them to stay out of it were both less likely to help victims and more likely to become perpetrators. 

“We were surprised to find that when parents told children not to get involved, children were actually more likely to join in the bullying,” said lead study author Stevie Grassetti, a psychology researcher at the University of Delaware. 

Based on the study results, it makes sense for school anti-bullying efforts to involve parents and endeavor to give children consistent messages about prevention in both settings, the authors conclude.

One limitation of the study is that during school visits; researchers didn’t define what constitutes bullying the authors noted. With home visits, researchers assumed parents gave kids the same advice about the hypothetical incidents that they would offer in real life, which might not always be the case, the researchers also point out.

Parents are role models for how children learn to respond to life’s unpredictable situations. They see and absorb everything their parents say and do. To teach your child compassion and courage, start by being a good example of both and letting them know that standing by and doing nothing to remedy the situation is not an option.

Story source: Lisa Rapaport, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-children-bullying-parents-idUSK...

Parenting

Spring-Cleaning Kid’s Stuff!

2:00

Traditionally, spring is when we review what is needed and what needs to go. Clutter that has been growing throughout the years is viewed with fresh eyes once the season of renewal begins.

Along with typical household items, all the extraneous, broken and outgrown kid’s stuff can begin to take a toll. It takes up a lot of space and requires constant picking up. Clothes are beginning to look like a small mountain made of material, buttons and zippers.

Organization and prioritizing are the keys to making the job of spring-cleaning work.

When you’re ready to tackle the kid’s stuff- make them a part of the process. From arts and crafts to toys and clothing – get their input and give them choices. You, however, make the final decision on what stays or goes.

Here are a list of items to start with and how kids can have input:

1. Artwork. Kids love to create things, but not everything is a masterpiece. Encourage your child to pick out a few drawings, paintings or pottery works that are their favorites. Consider framing those pieces and putting them up in their rooms. For the other works of art that you like or they are having trouble letting go- take photos and store them on your computer, so you have a record of their creations! If your child is old enough, ask them to be the photographer.

2. Clothing. Sometimes getting rid of clothing is harder (for sentimental reasons) on the parents than the kids. I admit to being guilty of this. I still have several pieces of clothing from when my adult daughter was a toddler or baby. They are stored in a chest of memories. For all the rest, sort clothing that is likely to be passed on to either family members or friends, and ones that are ready for donation. Torn and stained clothing needs to be tossed out. Family homeless shelters always need good, clean children’s clothes.

3. Collections. Many kids are collectors, everything from bugs to superhero gadgets to valuable sports cards. Whatever your child chooses to collect is a symbol of their unique personality and interests. Managing collections provide early lessons on personal responsibility and organizing. Take an interest in what your child is collecting and find a way to honor the collection while respecting the space available to store it. It’s enriching for children to learn about limits and become comfortable making decisions to live within them. It’s also a time to learn about boundaries for collecting stuff. Many a hoarder began with a specific collection and moved on to collecting everything – unable to let go of anything. Have your child pick one collection to focus on and explain what they like about it.

4. Stuffed animals. Because they are so darn cute, stuffed animals seem to multiply like rabbits (particularly stuffed rabbits!) Culling these furry creatures can be difficult for parents and kids. Lots of children receive many more stuffed animals than they can play with or use. Overtime, they outgrow the attraction they once felt towards certain ones. Give your child a number that they can keep and let them make the decision of what stays and goes. Again, this is an area where other children can benefit from and enjoy the gifts donated by your child.

5. Arts and Crafts. If you have a child, then you’ve also got crayons, coloring books, paper, dried up markers and pens that don’t work. Grab a doodle pad and bring all the supplies to a table. Have fun sorting with your kids while making quick decisions about what’s worth keeping and what’s not. If you haven’t got one, consider creating a travel pack of supplies for use in transit. Extras in great shape can be donated. Use for birthday party decorations and activities.

6. Sports equipment. This is an area a lot of parents don’t think too much about but these things can fill a closet or garage in a few short years. Equipment that will be used next year should be cleaned and stored in a bin. Some sports items in good condition can be sold, put on consignment, passed on or donated to leagues.

7. Toys. Ah yes, toys… the biggest space eater of all. Kids these days have a tremendous amount of toy options. Between marketing, fads, peers and commercials there is an endless push for the latest, greatest new toy. How many of these once “gotta-haves” are now just filling up space and providing objects to trip over? Most of the same rules from above apply here. If it’s broken- it’s gone. If it’s not played with any longer- it’s gone. If it’s become a pet chew-toy- it’s gone. Organization is particularly important for toy collections. Bins can provide a good storage option if they used, but they can also become trash cans where all toys go even if they are just pieces. Its time clean them out.

Have your child pick out their favorite toys and decide which ones he or she would like to donate or throw out.

Sort and assign a bin by type. Good toys that your child has simply outgrown can be gifted to nieces and nephews and friends of your child. Intact toys that can still be played with can be donated. Broken toys should be trashed. For certain types of materials, you might want to check on finding a recycling bin.

During this cleaning expedition, you may need to gently point out a toy’s condition to your little one, “I know that play oven was one of your favorite toys, but it doesn’t stand anymore and the front door is missing. Maybe it’s time to let it go.”

And then there’s always Ebay, might as well make a little back on the thousands you’ve spent, especially on video games!

Spring-cleaning is a good time to re-evaluate what needs to stay and what needs to go. I think we’re all aware that it’s time-consuming, but clearing out the clutter not only gives you more space and organization, but also feels great when it’s done!

Story source: Clare Kumar, http://www.todaysparent.com/family/activities/spring-cleaning-with-kids/

 

Parenting

Your Child: Multitasking and Homework

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Does your child multitask with media while doing his or her homework? If so, they’re not alone and most likely they are spending a lot more time trying to finish an assignment.

What might at first glance seem harmless, doing homework or studying while watching TV, texting or checking social media can actually impair learning the material as well as lower test scores. Research has shown that it's one of the worst study habits a student can develop.

Why is that?  Our brains are wired to focus on one activity at a time. It’s how we’ve survived over the centuries.

Doing two things at once actually comprises the brain, shifting its processing from one neural network to another. Each shift comes with a cost of consuming time, mental effort, and brain fuel. Microseconds are wasted as the brain turns off the active network and turns on the next. This not only costs time (which adds up) but also depletes the brain’s critical resources of glucose and oxygen. The result – less gets done and less is remembered. While the brain is switching gears – trying to focus on the next thing required- it’s retaining less and less.

Oftentimes, this lack of retention shows up as poorer grades, less intercommunication skills and generally being more distracted.

In a study of 8-18 year old students done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one third of the students surveyed confessed that when they were doing homework, they were also watching TV, texting, or listening to music. Victoria Rideout, the lead author of the study, warns parents about the dangers of media multitasking. This concern is distinct from worrying about how much kids are online or how much kids are media multitasking overall. “It’s multitasking while learning that has the biggest potential downside,” she says.

Dr. David Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan observed that “under most conditions, the brain simply cannot do two complex tasks at the same time. Listening to a lecture while texting, or doing homework and being on Facebook—each of these tasks is very demanding, and each of them uses the same area of the brain, the prefrontal cortex." Most students incorrectly believe that they can perform two challenging tasks at the same time, according to Meyer. They may like to do it, they may even be addicted to it, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s far better to focus on one task from start to finish.”

Multitasking takes up a lot more time than focusing on one activity. Finishing homework can last much later into the evening causing kids to get less sleep than they need. 

Parents of students have to take an active role in their children’s study habits. During homework time, your child’s phone and the TV need to be turned off.  You may even have to put the phone in a different location in the house until homework is completed. A quick lesson refresher with your child after homework is finished can help you see how much your child is retaining and whether all the assignments have been completed.

The Internet can be a helpful tool when researching certain school topics; the trick is to stay on point without falling into the trap of checking out other tempting sites such as social media. Once on the computer, it takes a lot of self-control to stay focused on a singular subject. You may need to help your child stay the course during this time.

Be sure and praise your child for their accomplishments instead of making homework a battleground. The more they are able to develop good study habits, the less time it will take to complete their assignments and the sooner they’ll be able to check back in with their friends and find out what’s been going on.

Story sources: Michael Howard, http://www.beyondbooksmart.com/executive-functioning-strategies-blog/distracted-by-technology-focusing-attention-on-homework

Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/radical-teaching/201611/the-high-costs-multitasking-you-and-your-kids

 

Parenting

Kids Benefit With Older Moms

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Many women are waiting till they are older to have their first child, but their offspring may be the one that reaps the most benefit, according to a new study from Denmark.

Older mothers are less likely to scold or punish their young children, and those children tend to have fewer behavioral, social and emotional problems, the study suggests.

According to researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark, older moms tend to have more stable relationships, are more educated, and have more wealth and resources.

"We know that people become more mentally flexible with age, are more tolerant of other people and thrive better emotionally themselves," researcher Dion Sommer said in a university news release.

One theory as to why older mothers may make better parents is that they tend to be more psychologically mature.

Sommer noted, “that may explain why older mothers do not scold and physically discipline their children as much."

This type of upbringing may contribute to a more positive environment to grow up in.

In the study, the investigators looked at data from a random sample of just over 4,700 Danish mothers.

Among their findings: older moms generally resorted less to verbal and physical punishment than younger moms did — though those findings did get a little wobbly at the 15-year point.

The children of older mothers also had fewer behavioral, social and emotional problems than kids of younger mothers, at least at the 7- and 11-year-old points, while adolescence again seemed to muddy things up. The study controlled for factors like income and education, and attributed the results mostly to the greater patience and steadiness that comes to adults as they age.

Other studies, pointed out in a TIME Health article, have shown benefits for older moms, including:

Older moms live longer: react-text: 234 According to a 2016 study, of 28,000 U.S. women, those who had their first child after age 25 were 11% likelier to live to age 90 than those who became mothers younger. A 2014 study took this even further, finding that women who gave birth after age 33 were 50% likelier to live to age 95 than women who had their last child when they were 29 or younger. One caveat — and it’s a big one: the cause-and-effect still has not been determined, so it’s possible the older moms were simply healthier to begin with.

Their kids are taller and smarter. According to a 2016 study published in Population and Development Review. The investigators surveyed 1.5 million men and women in Sweden and found that those born to older mothers were more physically fit, had better grades when they were in school and had at least a small height advantage over people born to younger mothers. Again, causation was uncertain, allowing for the possibility that mothers who started off healthier and were able to have kids later may have simply passed those robust genes onto their children. Demographics — especially regarding income and education — may have also been at work. Wealthier moms with higher power jobs are likelier to have the financial flexibility to delay childbearing, bringing them into the cohort of older moms. More money can also mean better nutrition. Still, 1.5 million is an impressive sample group.

Older moms have more energy than you’d think: A study of mothers who had babies via egg donation after age 50 — well and truly beyond the point at which most women consider conceiving — found that they had levels of energy and physical function similar to women who had babies in their 30s and 40s.

So there you have it, women who are considering waiting a little while to start a family can do as well or better than younger women raising children, depending on their general health and outlook.

Many experts advise women not to wait too long to have children, due to declining fertility and increased risk of problems such as miscarriage, preterm birth and birth defects.

"However, when estimating the consequences of the rising maternal age, it's important to consider both the physical and psychosocial pros and cons," Sommer said.

The Denmark study was published recently in the European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Story sources: Robert Preidt, HealthDay reporter, http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20170323/older-mothers-may-raise-better-behaved-kids-study-suggests

Jeffrey Kluger, http://time.com/4709403/older-mother-benefits/

 

Parenting

Tips for a Fun and Safe Easter!

2:00

Easter is right around the corner and many parents and grandparents will be hosting or attending the traditional egg hunt. Little ones will scramble to fill their baskets and sacks with chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks and decorated Easter eggs.

If you’re one of the lucky hosts, here are 7 tips to help create not only make great memories, but also a safer and healthier day!

1. Egg Safety: Always cook eggs thoroughly and refrigerate them before and after dying. If you’re blowing out the raw eggs and dying the shells, use a straw or choose pasteurized eggs to avoid salmonella exposure. Wait to hide your eggs until just before the hunt is scheduled to start: you should consume boiled eggs within two hours of removing them from the refrigerator. If you’re worried about using hard-boiled eggs, consider replacing them with plastic eggs and hiding toys and treats inside instead.

One tip to avoid cracked egg shells while cooking comes from L.A. Times Test Kitchen and Food Editor, Russ Parson. "Place the eggs in a pan just big enough to hold them in a single layer," Parsons said. "Cover them with cold water and bring them to a rolling boil. Cook for one minute, and then remove them from the heat. When the water has cooled enough that you can put your hand in (about 20 minutes), the eggs will be perfectly cooked."

2. Coloring Easter Eggs: A favorite Easter tradition is creating unique egg designs. To dye Easter eggs safely, make sure everyone washes their hands before and after handling the eggs. Eggs that have cracked during cooking are an easy target for bacteria, so avoid coloring or eating those. Use only food-grade dyes, or make your own from grape juice, tea, beets, blueberries, turmeric, or other natural products.

Instructions for making naturally dyed Easter eggs can be found here.

3. Avoid Choking Hazards: Many families hide plastic Easter eggs, typically filled with a small toy.  For toddlers and crawlers (who will put everything in their mouths), it’s best to use larger plastic eggs that have nothing in them. Small toys are easy for little throats to choke on. If you’re giving your toddler candy, avoid jellybeans and hard candies. Hotdogs are the number one choking hazard for children!

4. Food Allergies: Ask parents if any kids with food allergies will be attending your Easter egg hunt. If so, it’s easier than ever to accommodate them. Peanut-, dairy-, and gluten-free candies are readily available

5. Outdoor Dangers: Take a walk through your lawn or pasture to make sure that all tools and chemicals are removed. Check to see that poison ivy or oak is not present. And don’t forget about anthills – these stinging pests can pop up overnight, particularly after a rain. Any pets that can get over-excited by running and yelling children should be kept inside or in a pen.

6. Speaking of Pets: If your four-legged friends are allowed to join in on the fun, be sure to keep chocolate, Easter grass, and plastic off the ground and out of their reach. Remind the kids (and parents!) not to feed any candy to the dog.

Baby bunnies and chicks are often given to kids at Easter. Many experts agree that these pets do not do well in the hands of small children. They also require consistent care and the proper environment to thrive. Stuffed animals are a much better choice for most children. 

7. Easter Hunt Alternatives: If you’re concerned about certain Easter hunt safety issues; consider an alternative plan. Games can be a huge hit with kids as well as a petting zoo or children’s entertainer. Some Easter game suggestions are: Guessing the number of jelly beans in jar, playing hide and seek, competing in an Easter egg spoon race, playing pin the tail on the Easter Bunny, or you may even want to make up your own games!

Easter celebrations are a favorite family event. Make this Easter a memorable and safe one for your family!

Story sources: Alyssa Baker, http://www.safewise.com/blog/7-tips-for-hosting-safe-easter-egg-hunt/

Maria Vultaggio, http://www.ibtimes.com/how-boil-easter-eggs-without-cracking-them-tips-perfect-hard-boiled-egg-1571632

Photo: http://www.govtedu.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/colorful-eggs-basket-e...

 

 

Parenting

Day Care Doesn’t Boost Weight Gain in Kids

1:45

With three out of five American children in some type of daycare arrangement, parents are often concerned about whether their child is eating a healthy diet when they can’t supervise what they are being served.

Previous studies have suggested that kids in daycare were more likely to gain excess weight, but a new study says other factors linked to obesity were not considered in earlier research.

"When we implemented these more sophisticated analytical approaches, we found that association really went away," said study author Dr. Inyang Isong, an instructor at Harvard Medical School and a pediatrician with Boston Children's Hospital.

"We cannot say that sending a child to day care makes your child overweight ," Isong continued. "We just don't have enough evidence to say that."

Given that so many children are in daycare, the updated analysis is good news for parents.

 Pediatricians and parents have had longstanding concerns that childcare might increase a young one’s risk of gaining weight, said Dr. Allison Driansky, an attending pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Most states do not have strict regulations regarding diet and exercise provided at day care, Isong and Driansky said.

"The concern was anytime you take control out of a parent's hands about what a child is eating or what a child is doing during a day, that could lead to obesity," Driansky said. "Not every parent is lucky enough to have a top-of-the-line day care. I think there was some concern that the day care wouldn't cooperate with what a parent wants for their child."

The new study included data from about 10, 700 U.S. children from diverse social, economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Factors such as the child’s gender, race, age and weight of the mother, family economic and social status, how many parents lived at home and the quality of the neighborhood were included in the analysis.

While the results pointed to no association between daycare and weight gain, Isong noted that this study "is not in any way full proof." Such proof would involve a clinical trial in which children would be randomly assigned to either childcare or home care.

The study did however offer a more detailed look at daycare and weight gain.

"We tried to control for a vast array of factors that could influence decisions to place children in child care," Isong said. "When we controlled for all those factors, the association went away."

Parents have the final say in what their children eat and do when they are not in daycare. Parents can encourage their little ones to be active, play outdoors and when old enough, find a sport they enjoy. Sugary drinks (including juices) should be limited and plenty of fruits and vegetables encouraged. Many experts recommend that children not watch TV before the age of two and that it be limited to 1 hour a day after that.

The study was published online in the October edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Story source: Dennis Thompson, http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20161010/day-care-doesnt-encourage-weight-gain-in-kids#2

Parenting

Kitchen Towels Loaded With Harmful Bacteria

2:00

Two of the most used items in kitchens would have to be cloth kitchen towels and paper towels.  According to a new study, they are also the most contaminated objects in your kitchen.

I use both kitchen towels and paper towels – a lot.  I’ve often wondered about cross-contamination depending on what foods I’m preparing for dinner.  Cross-contamination refers to the accidental transfer of potentially hazardous germs from one surface to another.

Preparing meats and poultry always give me cause for concern because of the wrappings (filled with liquid) and all the places I touch after handling them. No matter how many times I wash my hands and the surfaces I’ve touched, I still have to dry my hands and that’s when I usually grab a kitchen towel or a paper towel.

That’s why the results from this study aren’t surprising.

Kansas State University researchers asked 123 people to prepare a recipe using either raw ground beef or chicken, along with a ready-to-eat fruit salad. The participants did the food preparation in a kitchen set up on the campus.

A harmless type of bacteria was placed in the raw beef and chicken in order to trace levels of meat-associated contamination spread during meal preparation.

"First, participants were observed frequently handling towels, including paper towels, even when not using them for drying. Towels were determined to be the most contaminated of all the contact surfaces tested," lead researcher and food safety specialist Jeannie Sneed said in a university news release.

Many participants touched towels before washing their hands or used them after inadequate washing of their hands, she said. Even after they washed their hands properly, the participants reused the towels and re-contaminated their hands, according to the study in the journal Food Protection Trends.

Sneed advises that you wash the cloth towels after using them while preparing a meal, or use paper towels and throw them away after each use.

Her team found that more than 90 percent of the fruit salads prepared by the participants were contaminated with the tracer bacteria. This shows that if the tracer had been a harmful germ such as salmonella, there was a high risk of foodborne illness.

Four out of five participants also left raw meat contamination on the sink faucet, refrigerator, oven and trash container, the study found.

What can you do prevent cross-contamination during meal preparation? The Minnesota Department of Health offers these tips on their website:

During food preparation:

·      Wash hands and surfaces often. Harmful bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, and counter tops. To prevent this:

·      Wash hands with soap and hot water before and after handling food, and after using the bathroom, changing diapers; or handling pets.

·      Use hot, soapy water and paper towels or clean cloths to wipe up kitchen surfaces or spills.

·      Wash kitchen towels often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

·      Wash cutting boards, dishes, and counter tops with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

Cutting boards:

·      Always use a clean cutting board.

·      If possible, use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.

·      Once cutting boards become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves, you should replace them.

Cellphones are another potential source of kitchen cross-contamination, the researchers found. Moreover, many participants used cellphones during meal preparation and didn't clean them properly.

"We often take our cellphones and tablets into the kitchen," Sneed said, "but what about all the other places we take them? Think of how many times you see someone talking on their cellphone in places like the bathroom, where microorganisms such as norovirus and E. coli are commonly found."

If these devices are used in the kitchen, Sneed recommended wiping their surfaces with a disinfectant.

I’ve certainly been guilty of using my cell phone and computer while cooking. With so many recipes just a click away, I’ve been back and forth between the ingredients and the computer countless times. I do clean the keyboard with a disinfectant when I remember – which honestly, isn’t every time.

The study is a good reminder to stay on top of cross-contamination while preparing foods. I’m not sure that there is a way to prepare meats and poultry where every bit of bacteria is removed from preparation surfaces and our hands, but we all can be more aware of cross-contamination and take the extra steps to prevent foodborne illnesses. And don’t forget to wipe down those electronics either!

Sources: Robert Preidt, http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/20150326/kitchen-towels-can-make-you-sick

http://www.health.state.mn.us/foodsafety/clean/xcontamination.html#prep

Parenting

New Year Family Resolutions!

1:45

It’s the start of a brand new year and many of us will be evaluating our physical and mental health, goals and habits to see where we can make improvements. New Year’s resolutions always start off hopeful, but for many of us, fade away as day to day activities send us back on the treadmill of life.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way and when you share resolutions with someone else, there’s always that personal reminder that goals were set for a reason.

That’s why making resolutions, not as individuals, but as a family can keep hope alive.  Begin by making family resolutions a tradition that starts at the beginning of the year and has checks and balances throughout the year.  At the end of the year, see how everyone did and what could be done to make the next year even better.

Resolution: a decision to do or not do something. That’s about the clearest definition I’ve seen. Decisions are important – one decision may not always be the complete journey, but it’s a beginning. Without beginnings, nothing changes.

The best way to teach your children the importance of New Year’s resolutions is by making it a family tradition.

Dr. Benjamin Siegel, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, suggests saying, “Each one of us is going to state a few things that we want to continue to do and things we’d like to change that would make us feel better about ourselves and how our family works.”

Each family member gets a chance to share something they are proud of and something they would like to change. Depending on the age of your children, it may help if one or both parents go first. If your child is old enough to write, have he or she write down their accomplishments and goals. If they cannot write yet, you can write for them. Copy down exactly what they are saying without trying to “improve” the grammar or goal.

Ideas for families can include group activities as well as individual undertakings. Resolutions for the entire family might include taking a monthly hike, playing board games twice a month or committing to more volunteering activities. Try to limit the number so they are more doable and more meaningful. “A list of 100 things is impossible,” Siegel says. “It should be based on things that are doable without economic hardship.”

Post your list in a place where the family will see it on an ongoing basis such as on the refrigerator or a bulletin board in the kitchen. Dr. Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, suggests making a resolution box, in which each family member can drop in his or her resolutions, and then pull them out at a later date to review them.

What your child needs to work on depends on your child. If you are concerned about his diet, then encourage healthier eating habits for him as well as the whole family. If your daughter’s room is a mess, try to help her commit 10 minutes a day to cleaning it. As your child ages, he can be more active in coming up with goals, which will mean more to him when he achieves them.

For preschool-aged children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends resolutions that focus on cleaning up toys, brushing teeth and washing hands and being kind to pets. However, parents who consider these behaviors part of their regular expectations may want to provide resolutions that focus on higher goals.

Older children can begin to understand the relationship between a resolution and an improved outcome. Younger kids may view the whole exercise as a game. It doesn’t matter; whatever helps each family member accomplish his or her goal is the more important issue.

When your child gets into adolescence, the AAP recommendations focus more on the child taking more responsibility for his actions, including taking care of his body, dealing with stress in a healthy way, talking through conflict, resisting drugs and alcohol and helping others through community service.

Parents are the role models in this dynamic. Just as with everything else you do, your child is watching. “Parents should be reflective about how they wish to be in the coming year,” Siegel says. “It’s a good opportunity to promote good mental and physical health.”

Just like adults, kids know the thrill of accomplishing something, especially when their parents acknowledge them. As you go over the family list of resolutions each month or quarter, take time to acknowledge the successes, along with reinforcing the resolutions that need more attention. “Children will benefit by having the parent praise them, which will improve their self-esteem,” Siegel says. “This will help them with self-regulatory behaviors that they can integrate into being a healthy adult.”

Review time is not punish time for unmet resolutions. That may seem obvious, but emotions can get the best of us when things don’t go the way we planned. It’s important to be flexible but also understanding. The resolution is a guide for betterment, not written in stone. Understanding, compassion and dealing with issues head-on can help keep everyone on track.  Learning to take responsibility for our decisions, being able to change our mind and find a better solution and discussing new options, all help in making resolutions a reality.

However your family arrives at resolutions, the best part is that you’re doing it together and learning how to manage your role not only in the family but also in the larger world.

Story source: Laura Lewis Brown, http://www.pbs.org/parents/holidays/making-new-years-resolutions-child/

 

Parenting

An Apple A Day Could Make You Sick

2:00

While having an apple a day is normally considered a healthy food choice, federal investigators have confirmed that there is a correlation between a California apple processing plant and a strain of listeria bacteria responsible for killing seven people and making more than 30 others very sick.

An earlier warning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked consumers not to eat any pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples, including those with other toppings such as nuts, chocolate or sprinkles, until the source of the outbreak was pinpointed. Most of the people infected by listeria fell ill after eating pre-packaged apples.

Reuters reports that tests performed by Food and Drug Administration investigators on samples from the Bidart Bros. processing plant and apples the company supplied to retailers found a connection between the produce and two strains of Listeria monocytogenes responsible for the deadly listeria outbreak.

Bidart Bros., the company supplying the Granny Smith and Gala apples, has issued a voluntary recall of all shipments of the apples – caramel coated or not- still available in the marketplace. The last shipment was made on December 2.

The company advises that consumers should not eat the Granny Smith and Gala apples.  Affected apples can be sold under the brand names “Big B” and “Granny’s Best,” but could also be sold under other brand names or with no brand at all.

Consumers who are buying or have recently purchased Granny Smith or Gala apples should ask their retailers if Bidart Bros. supplied the apples, the company says.

Three other companies – Happy Apples, California Snack Foods and Merb’s Candies – have each announced recalls of commercially produced, prepackaged caramel apples since news of the contamination began in late December.

Listeria is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems.

According to the Mayo clinic website, symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea.  If listeria spreads into the nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion or change on alertness, loss of balance and convulsions.

During pregnancy, a listeria infection is likely to cause only mild signs and symptoms in the mother. The consequences for the baby, however, may be devastating. The baby may die unexpectedly before birth or experience a life-threatening infection within the first few days after birth.

If you have consumed any food that has been recalled or connected with listeria, pay close attention to any possible signs or symptoms. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above – contact your doctor.

Sources: Victoria Cavaliere, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/12/usa-california-listeria-idUSL1N0UR0P120150112

Ashlee Kieler, http://consumerist.com/2015/01/12/california-apple-plant-issues-recall-after-tests-find-link-to-deadly-listeria-contamination/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/listeria-infection/basics/symptoms/con-20031039

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