Tag Archives: Child Health

Sunday Morning Shout Out

With this blog, I am constantly thinking about educational and parenting issues for columns.  With summertime, more time has been spent thinking about children, behavior, and summer slide, than actual time spent in the classroom.  As a parent, I guess my head is literally more in the sand, the water, the soccer field, or at the fun summer event than the classroom, until now.  I have just become acquainted with the standing desk.

A few weeks ago, “The Washington Post” ran an article “Standing Desks At Schools: The Solution to the Childhood Obesity Epidemic.” Perhaps you think of such desks as simply a feature in swank modern offices.  In fact, more and more schools are using them as a way to fight childhood obesity and attention problems.  They give student, what researchers’ term, “active-permissive environments,” to best learn in and succeed.

Standing desks have been found to be a powerful tool to help children expend energy and calories, a boon to this country’s obesity epidemic and its poor cousins of heart diseases, Type 2 Diabetes, and host of other maladies that are affecting young people today at epidemic rates.  A study reported in the “American Journal of Public Health,” titled “The Impact Of Stand-Biased Desks In Classrooms On Calorie Expenditure In Children” found in its sample of 80 first grade students that students with standing desks burned 17% more calories than those in traditional desks.  Students who were obese in the study burned 32% more.  Multiply the use of standing desks, by five days of school per week, and we have a pretty powerful obesity fighter.

This also turns the old belief of sitting still and learning on its head.  Researchers found that being able to move around is essential to processing new information and learning.  Think of the learners that get lost, while seemingly feeling tortured by the demands of sitting still to learn.  Studies have found the use of standing desks is very effective in helping children who would otherwise become distracted and perhaps behavioral issues in the classroom, more able to stay focused and learn.  Being able to move around while listening to the teacher, allows students a different way to complete course work.  It breaks up monotony for the students. It clears the way for certain learners who tune out and perhaps act up.  Movement promotes learning.

So while I personally prefer thinking about sitting in the sand this time of the year, before we know it-school will be here.  With such promising studies about the standing desk’s efficacy, perhaps more schools and homes will start using them.

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Filed under Education, Education Reform, Health, Improved Learning, Parenting

Sunday Morning Shout Out

We may have milk, but apparently we do not have water.  According to a recent study discussed on NPR that was done by Harvard scientists and recently published in the “American Journal of Public Health” most kids and teenagers do not drink enough water.  In fact, the study titled ‘Prevalence of Inadequate Hydration Among US Children and Disparities by Gender and Race/Ethnicity: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012‘ found that one-quarter of children in the study, age 6-19 did not report to drink any water at all as part of their fluid intake.  In essence, those who reported some water consumption, were also found to be drinking very inadequate amounts.

Initially, the researchers were looking at sugary drink consumption and found these dramatic, paltry water consumption findings.  However, after further review of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found that more than half of the several thousand students studied between 2009 and 2012 were at least slightly dehydrated.

Is this a big deal?  The study discussed how even mild dehydration can affect children’s fatigue levels, mood, and possibly their ability to learn.  After all, water and not purple energy drinks, keep us best hydrated.  It regulates the body’s temperature; fights toxins; keeps are joints and muscles lubricated; helps build muscles, burn fat, keep us energized; and can aid in weight loss.  It also keeps skin hydrated and supple.  The Institute of Medicine states that children and teenager should consume about two to three quarts of water a day, depending on age, size, and sex. To meet our daily intake needs, it can come from the tap, but also soups, fruits, and vegetables. Basil and cucumber can flavor it nicely. –So can lemon.  As parents, we can do more to make it the choice, over other choices, by making it a prominent choice of drink for our families.  That Brita pitcher in the fridge can overtake soda’s place.  Or, how about some “juicy water,” where juice is diluted by water?  While we may have every other drinks it is important that we have the most important one:

W A T E R and make it easily available at school and home It really is that important!!

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Filed under Health, Parenting

Monday “Think About It”

Being a parent is rewarding but it certainly is not easy.  It is tough enough helping them learn about death and loss; alcohol and drug abuse but probably one of the most difficult aspects is assisting your child’s learning and understanding about reproduction and their own sexual development.  Part of learning about normal sexual development is an understanding of sexual behavior rules.   There is probably no ‘perfect’ way to do this and discussions can certainly feel odd.

It is also worth noting that perhaps the best discussions will be unplanned and happen based upon a comment or action often during car rides.  Even songs on the radio can initiate the conversation(s).  So how do you prepare and plan?  There are a variety of good resources that help parents understand this process, including online articles such as “When Does Sex Education Begin?,” and “Is Your Child’s Sexual Behavior Normal“, published in Psychology Today.

A recent conversation we had with our 7-year-old was is sex or sexy a bad word?  We didn’t come to a conclusion about good or bad but we did determine that there is a time and place and that it is not acceptable to everyone.

Know that it is not always a comfortable dialogue and lesson but it is necessary.  It is a parents responsibility to help their child through most of their sex education not a schools.

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Filed under Health, My Experiences, Parenting

Monday “Think About It”

It has come to my attention that next year my daughters school will no longer offer ice cream novelties for children at lunch time.  The reason is supposedly the Federal School Lunch Program instituting a policy where any food that is offered for sale that ‘competes’ with the items offered on the school lunch must meet certain requirements.  Ice cream doesn’t meet these requirements.

I can hear the moans now.  I can see the protests.  I can feel the pain.  Our attempt to ban Chocolate Milk failed.  I wonder how this brilliant plan from Washington is going to work out?

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Filed under Health, Nutrition Education, Parenting

The Spongebob Generation

SpongebobFrom my interactions with families and students it seems that Spongebob Squarepants has taken over as the ‘go-to’ entertainment figure for young children.  There used to be Big Bird then Bert and Ernie, then Elmo but in the last five years all I see kids watching is Spongebob and his cast of non-perfect friends and pet snail. Just yesterday I was at a very religious clients house and the two-year old was watching episodes during the hour I spent with his brother.

Reflecting on this I wonder …

  • How this little yellow sponge is going to help children develop?
  • What is it that makes the show so intriguing for children?
  • Is there an educational value in the show?
  • How different will the Squarepant generation be from the generations that grew up on Sesame Street?

Many studies suggest watching Spongebob has many negative effects on younger children and their development.  I’m having a hard time finding any studies that suggest watching the show has a positive impact on a child.  Perhaps you know of one?  I’m hoping so because it will help me feel a bit better as I watch a couple of episodes.


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Filed under Education, Health, Improved Learning, Parenting

ADHD Articles, Research, And Useful Information

ADHD is a significant topic on the minds of todays parents.  Parent questions often reflect their desire to know more about ADHD issues like diagnosis, treatment, discipline, nutrition and medication.  In the past we have provided some comments and resources on the topic and recently we were contacted by a representative from HealthLine Networks about linking to their site in some of our blogs.  In reviewing the site and the set of material they have on ADHD I was impressed and thought it be good to let our readers know about this information resource.

In the portion of the HealthLine Networks site devoted to ADHD there is a wealth of information categorized under five topic categories labeled:

  1. I Don’t Really Understand It, and Want to Know More
  2. I Want to Know if My Child Has It
  3. My Child Has ADHD, and I Need Help Coping
  4. I Want Help Living with Adult ADHD
  5. I Want to Know About Treatments

A couple of articles I especially liked were “10 Best Jobs For Adults With ADHD” and “The Benefits of ADHD“.  I also like that they had a balance approach to medication (which we at Tutor Doctor always stress is a last resort!) and other treatments.  Here is an excerpt from their article titled “Treatment Options for ADHD“:

Behavioral Interventions for Home and School

Organization – One of the biggest concerns for parents of children with ADHD is their child’s success in school, a lot of which hinges on organization—a skill with which many children with ADHD struggle. Simple interventions such as the ones listed below can be an immense help.

  • Schedule. Set the same routine every day, from waking up to bedtime, including homework and playtime. Post the schedule in a visible place; if a change must be made, make it as far in advance as possible.
  • Organize everyday items. Clothing, backpacks, school supplies, and play items all should have a designated, clearly marked space.
  • Use homework and notebook organizers. Stress the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home anything needed to complete homework.
  • Ask about using a computer in class. For some children with ADHD, handwriting is another stumbling block on the road to success. See if his or her teacher will allow for computer use in the classroom.

Positive Reinforcement – Children with ADHD often receive, and then start to expect, criticism from authority figures. If they get only negative feedback without ever hearing nice things about themselves, they’ll start to think of themselves as “bad.” If rules are followed and behavior is good—even in seemingly inconsequential situations—give small rewards and praise to boost your child’s self-esteem and reinforce good behavior significantly.

Extracurricular Activities – Children with ADHD often do very well with activities such as art class, music or dance lessons, or martial arts classes because energy can be channeled creatively and productively. These activities can be a source of positive reward for children with ADHD and can also foster mental discipline. Find out what your child is interested in, but remember not to force them into anything.

I also like the site since they are an alternative to WebMD and they included their Chief Security Officer (Gummy) and Hall Monitor (Stark) on their ‘About Us‘ page.  They are the best looking ones in the corporation…Check it out!  Can you guess they are a West Coast USA Corporation?

Thanks to Jennifer Brousseau for letting us know about the site.  Hopefully they will include your picture soon.

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Filed under Health, Improved Learning, Parenting