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      Great Healthy Snacks for Kids

      child-nutrition

       

      Finding great healthy snacks for kids is an ongoing challenge for every parent. With busy schedules, fixed grocery budgets and the discerning palates of children, making healthy choices is a process often pushed aside. Fortunately, parents and kids can work together to choose healthy options that are affordable and easy to find in the grocery store.

       

      Snacks with Cheese

      Adding protein such as cheese to a child’s snack helps the child to feel full while preventing the sugar high that sends kids bouncing off the walls. Most kids enjoy mild flavored medium-hard cheeses such as cheddar, Monterey Jack and Colby. Some snacks to try with cheese include:

      •Cheese paired with whole-grain crackers
      •Cheese and fruit kabobs
      •Quesadillas with cheese, refried black beans and salsa for dipping
      •Pinwheels made with a tortilla, cheese, and hummus or meat, rolled up and sliced into rounds
      •Cheese flowers, which are cheese shapes cut out with cookie cutters and put onto pretzel stick “stems”

       

      Peanut Butter

      So long as a child is not allergic to nuts, peanut butter is an affordable, filling and easy option for many different snacks. Some creative options include:

      •Spread on celery and line with raisins for “ants on a log”
      •Spread onto tortillas and drizzle with honey for an alternative to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
      •Use as a spread on mini waffles or rice cakes

       

      Yogurt

      Yogurt contains live active cultures that can help kids who are prone to belly aches. With so many styles of yogurt, including Greek yogurt, fruit-filled yogurt and mousse-style yogurt, there’s sure to be a flavor to please even the pickiest eaters. Parents can serve yogurt as a snack in these ways:

      •Mixed with pureed fruit and frozen into popsicles
      •Made into a parfait with layers of fresh fruit and granola
      •Mixed with frozen fruit and almond milk or apple juice as a smoothie

       

      Fruit

      Sweet fresh fruit is a staple in the homes of many families. To keep this snack affordable, stick with seasonal fruits such as apples in the fall, oranges in winter and strawberries in the summer. Some creative ways to serve fruit to children include:

      •Mixed into oatmeal
      •Added to cold cereal
      •Cut and ready for dipping into yogurt

      These great healthy snacks for kids are quick to make. They are also easy to bring while on the go, just put them into a reusable lunch sack.

       

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      Ways to Help Prevent Childhood Obesity

      Obesity has become a major health problem over the past few decades. While losing weight and getting healthy is difficult for adults, the problem is even more challenging when talking about childhood obesity.

      No person ever wants to be overweight, but unhealthful eating choices and too little exercise are firmly ingrained habits that are difficult to change. Some of the blame can be placed on parents who do not understand the health risks of obesity, but more often children gain weight because their parents lead a busy life and choose convenience foods over healthful foods.

       

      Combating Childhood Obesity

       

      Stock the Kitchen with Healthful Foodsavoid childhood obesity

      While most kids will gravitate toward snacks with too much sugar, fat and salt, they will enjoy more nutritious fruits and nuts just as much. It is important to limit between meal snacks so the children will be interested in eating the healthful meals that are served.

      It is also important that parents limit serving sizes and make sure children are eating a balanced diet.

       

      Limit or Eliminate Soda and Sweetened Drinks

      There is a high concentration of sugar in soda and sweetened beverages. Children should drink an adequate amount of water in addition to milk and natural fruit juices to get the nutrients they need while avoiding the sugars that can contribute to childhood obesity.

      Parents should not keep any beverages containing artificial sweeteners in their home because they are also unhealthful.

       

      Encourage Physical Activity in Children

      Young children have a natural tendency to run and play, but too much exposure to electronic devices such as computers and television can make electronic entertainment more tempting as they grow older.

      Parents who are busy working and maintaining a home may appreciate the peace and quiet in their home while the kids are watching TV or playing computer games, but these activities must be limited.

      Unfortunately, it is not always safe to allow kids outside to play with their friends, so parents should make it a point to get out with them and enjoy physical activities together.

      Parents must make healthful food and lifestyle choices for their children, and most of them will when they realize the importance of good health for their kids.

      The incidence of childhood obesity, diabetes and the development of heart disease can be greatly reduced when parents are able to help their children maintain a healthy weight. Obese children also suffer from poor self-esteem, and this can limit their outlook for a positive future and fulfilled life.

       

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      How to Respond to Verbal Bullying

      teen-attitude

       

      Verbal bullying is an all too common event that children face both in and out of school.

      This situation happens most commonly in school but it can also happen outside of school hours at sports events, parties and other areas where teens congregate.

      Knowing what to do and how to respond to verbal bullying is something that all teens, children and parents must learn.

       

      Leave the Situation

      Whenever possible, someone who is being verbally bullied should leave the situation if it is possible to do so safely. Leaving the area before the situation escalates can help to avoid serious physical injury.

      Walking away without saying a word may sometimes be the best way to respond to verbal bullying.

       

      Preparing to Respond

      When walking away from the bullying is not possible, teens may need to come up with a verbal response to the bully. Strategizing about what to say to the bully can help things go as smoothly as possible. Having a plan can help a teen prevent overreactions and can lead to enhanced self-confidence.

      Practicing ahead of time can help a teen when such a situation arises.

       

      The Response

      Maintaining a steady voice, making eye contact with the bully and speaking in a confident way are essentials for a good response to verbal bullying. Teens can try to diffuse the situation by using these types of responses:

      • Fogging. This is done to confuse the bully. Fogging responses include a single word or just a few words that are neutral or positive. Examples of fogging responses to a bully include “so?”, “who cares?” and “maybe.”
      • Agreeing statements. These statements confirm the facts regarding the verbal bullying. An example of an agreeing statement is, “Yes, you’re right.”
      • Comeback lines. These responses are meant to stump the bully and make him or her think twice about his or her actions. Comeback lines may include statements such as, “whatever you say.”

      Responses to verbal bullying should not try to incite anger or escalate the situation. Using a comeback line can be tricky; this type of response requires careful practice and assessment of the situation to ensure that the situation does not worsen.

       

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      Verbal Bullying: What it is and how to stop it

      bullying_1

       

      Verbal bullying is a serious issue that many children and teenagers face. In order to put a stop to this type of abuse, parents, teachers and members of the community must first understand what it is.

      Once a verbal bullying situation is recognized, a variety of strategies can be used to stop it before the situation worsens.

       

      What Verbal Bullying Is

      Verbal bullying is most often committed by girls. It may consist of rumor spreading, using words that demean or degrade the victim or using words that cause social exclusion.

      It may also be done as a way to dominate others. This type of bullying is just as damaging as physical bullying and can lead to serious effects for the victim, including an increased risk of suicide.

       

      Ways Kids Can Stop Verbal Bullying

      There are several responses and actions that kids can take that may help to put an end to verbal bullying. Some things to try include:

      • Using neutral statements. Responding to a bully’s verbal assaults with neutral comments such as “possibly” or “maybe so” indicates to the bully that he or she isn’t going to get a big reaction from the victim.
      • Using positive or agreeing statements. Examples of these include “who cares?” or “Yes, you’re right.”
      • Remaining civil. Don’t sink to the level of the bully. Doing so may escalate the situation.
      • Telling an authority figure. Bullying that interferes with a child’s social life, confidence, well-being and mental or physical health must be reported to an authority figure as soon as possible. An authority figure may be someone like a teacher, school counselor, school nurse, playground aide, tutor or parent.

      Once a parent, teacher or another authority figure is made aware of a verbal bullying situation, action must be taken. An authority figure may be able to physically separate the bully from his or her victim.

      The authority figure may be able to increase awareness of the effects of bullying and help others to identify such behaviors in the classroom, cafeteria and other places.

      Adults can also help to diffuse the situation by determining what the motivating factors behind the bully’s behaviors are.

       

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      Winter Activities For Kids

      Between the cold temperatures and the snow and ice outside, it’s no surprise that so many kids would rather stay inside with a video game or the television. The more time that those children spend inside inactive and snacking, the more likely it is that they will gain weight.

      Parents and educators can look for some creative winter activities during those long winter months to keep kids healthy and moving.

       

      Use Nearby Facilities

      Many parents may not consider taking advantage of nearby recreation centers and other facilities that kids can use in winter.

      An ice skating rink is a good way for kids to have fun and get plenty of exercise. They can have fun learning the basics of balancing while moving across the ice.

      If the city has a branch of the YMCA, kids can also use the facilities there. Most locations have indoor racquetball, tennis and basketball courts as well as swimming pools.

       

      Embrace the Cold

      Instead of shunning the cold and staying inside, parents can encourage their kids to embrace the cold weather outside. Nothing beats the fun and excitement that comes from a snowball fight, and adults can turn a simple snowball fight into a game of capture the flag.

      Kids may also love building a snowman family together and decorating those figures with their friends or siblings.

       

      Take Classes

      Kids who hate the idea of going outside in the snow and ice might like the idea of taking an indoor class with other kids in their age group. This helps them see that they can still have fun when the temperature drops.

      An indoor swimming class is a good choice for kids who want to learn something new or who love the water. Other activities that are suitable for keeping kids active in the long winter months include gymnastics and karate classes.

       

      Do Chores Together

      Children often learn by example. If they see their parents remaining active, they’ll want to stay active, too. Doing chores together is one of the easiest ways for parents to set a good example for their kids.

      This can include doing the dishes, vacuuming or even rearranging the furniture in the room. Parents and kids can also shovel the walk and clean off the family cars together as some examples of helpful winter activities.

      It doesn’t take a lot to get kids active, but it does require the involvement of adults.

       

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      2014 Bullying Statistics Recently Revealed

      With the prevalence of technology, today’s bullying not only includes in-person threats and physical violence but also the online world of cyber bullying. The most recent 2014 bullying statistics may shock parents, educators and the community due to the widespread prevalence of this sometimes deadly behavior.

       

      The Who and Where of Bullying

      According to a study by UCLA, 20 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 have experienced bullying, as have 28 percent of students in grades 6 through 12. Most bullying behaviors take place in the classroom.

      This is where 29.3 percent of those who were bullied experienced the event. Other common places where bullying occurs include in the hallways and locker areas, where 29.0 percent experienced bullying; 23.4 percent were bullied in the cafeteria; 19.5 percent were bullied in gym class and 12.2 percent were bullied in the bathroom.

       

      bullying_1Types of Bullying

      The most common type of bullying behavior in schools is name calling. This is followed by teasing, rumor spreading, physical assaults, isolation, threats, stealing and sexual harassment.

      Although cyber bullying was the least common type of bullying, it does deserve special attention because of its reach. Rather than a few people witnessing an in-person bullying event, cyber bullying can attract the attention of hundreds or even thousands of witnesses and the event can persist on the Internet for years.

       

      Bullying Targets

      Anyone who is different makes an easy target for bullying. More than 90 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth experience bullying.

      Students with Asperger’s syndrome and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder are also common targets of bullies. Students who are overweight, have a striking physical feature or dress differently than their peers may also find themselves the targets of bullies.

      Of those who are bullied, only 20 to 30 percent report the events to teachers, parents or school counselors.

       

      Witnesses of Bullying

      Bullying affects the entire school. More than 70 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 have witnessed bullying. When someone intervenes within ten seconds of a bullying event, the bullying stops more than 57 percent of the time.

      Parents, teachers and the community can come together to change these bullying statistics for the better. When adults demonstrate cooperation and setting good examples, children in turn will follow these positive behaviors. It will take time, but it can happen.

      Armed with the 2014 bullying statistics, parents and educators can see what they need to look out for in order to put a stop to bullying.

       

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      Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Bullying

      Today’s parents don’t have to look very far to find examples of bullying. It seems as if stories of bullying can be read about in the newspaper or seen on TV almost every day.

      However, the subject of bullying can be challenging to approach with children. Whether a child is in preschool or a senior in high school, parents want to ensure that their kids are safe and confident enough to stand up to bullies. These simple tips can make having the conversation about bullying a little easier.

       

      Define Bullying

      When parents try to talk to young children about bullying, many kids might not even understand what that word actually means. Other children believe that harassment needs to be physical before it can be classified as bullying.

      If parents want to open the lines of communication about bullying, it’s important for kids to understand what all is incorporated into that term. Bullying can consist of:

      • Repeated verbal insults
      • Continuing threats
      • Physical actions like pushing, hitting or kicking
      • Social manipulation such as purposeful exclusion or spreading rumors
      • Cyberbullying through texts, websites or social media
      • Other repeated activities that make a student feel threatened and unsafe

      Ask the Right Questions

      It’s usually not easy for children and teens to talk about bullying with their parents. Bullying can make students feel helpless, so they might not feel comfortable asking for assistance from parents or teachers.

      Asking the right questions can be integral in helping students be honest about what’s happening. Instead of asking them if they are being bullied, try asking “What’s the best thing that happened to you at school today?”, “What’s the worst thing that happened to you at school today?” or “Who do you sit with at lunch time and play with at recess?”

      The answers to these questions can provide helpful insights into a student’s day to day life at school.

       

      Keep Communication Open

      Even if a child isn’t being bullied currently, his situation could change drastically next week.

      That’s one of the many reasons why it’s so important for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children. Every conversation doesn’t need to be serious and teaching major life lessons.

      When kids and teens feel comfortable sharing the little details of their days with their parents, they will be more apt to come to their parents when larger issues like bullying arise.

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      What is Bystander Mobilization?

      Coorperation

      Bullying and harassment among children and teens have become a hot-button issue in contemporary society as a rash of suicides have swept the country. The victims may feel like they have nowhere to turn and act out by harming themselves.

      In response to this crisis, an emerging practice that empowers other students to put an end to bullying has started gaining traction. While bystander mobilization might be encouraged by teachers and other adult authority figures, the ability to put a stop to bullying is left in the hands of the students.

       

      The Bystander Effect

      Students often feel powerless to stop a peer who they witness bullying others. In the moment, they may fear that speaking up will turn the bully’s attention on them. As such, they don’t take any action, especially if there are other students watching the bullying occur.

      This is referred to as the “bystander effect,” in which people do not go out of their way to help others in distress when there are other witnesses to an event. In instances of bullying, bystanders – especially children – don’t want to get involved and single themselves out.

      Afterward, they may feel upset, stressed or guilty over what happened, even if they were only watching what was going on.

       

      Bystander Mobilization

      Bystander mobilization is a way of turning that weakness into a form of strength. It asks witnesses to call out the bully and his or her behavior during the act itself, whether it’s taking place in front of them, down the hall or even online.

      The child is encouraged to address the victim and make sure that they are all right, while also pointing out that the actions of the bully are wrong to other children watching. In some instances, they may encourage other bystanders to leave so that the bully doesn’t have an audience and thus the attention they crave.

      When one person speaks out, it becomes easier for others watching to speak out against the bully.

       

      Bystander Mobilization – it takes courage and ethics

      Stepping forward and showing a bully that their behavior is damaging and dangerous takes courage, but it can be immensely rewarding for children of all ages. By addressing the act of bullying in the moment, they can help de-escalate and stop harassment before it causes long-term physical or psychological harm.

      Bystander mobilization can also give children and teens greater experience with confidence and empathy, making it less likely that they will simply ignore bullying that they witness in the future.

       

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      Bullying and depression

      Bullying and depression often go hand in hand for both the victims as well as the bullies. People who experience cyber bullying are at an even greater risk of developing clinical depression.

      Fortunately, there are ways that parents can take action by being attentive to the warning signs and helping their children learn ways to stand up for themselves and develop strong self-esteem.

       

      Links Between Bullying and Depression

      Psychologists and child development experts have established many links between bullying and depression in children. The depression that results from being bullied may last for many years and can even linger after the bullying behaviors are stopped.

      Children who have experienced cyber bullying may develop more serious symptoms of depression, especially if the bullying is perpetrated by anonymous individuals.

      Some of the additional effects of being bullied include:fear-of-failure

      • Anxiety
      • Physical illness, aches and discomfort
      • Low self-esteem
      • Decreased participation in extra-curricular activities and hobbies
      • Increased absence rate from school

       

      Symptoms of Depression in Children

      While some of the symptoms of depression in children are similar to the symptoms that adults experience, children may also react in other ways. Children may show more physical symptoms of depression.

      Signs parents, caregivers and teachers should look for in the victims of bullying include:

      • Unexplained outbursts of crying or anger
      • Changes in sleep patterns, including increased sleepiness or insomnia
      • Not being able to concentrate on school work or tasks
      • Sudden changes in appetite or eating habits
      • Increased tiredness, fatigue and slow movement
      • Giving away of favorite or prized possessions
      • Withdrawing from social situations
      • Increased restlessness and anxiousness
      • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
      • Increased talk of death and mentions of suicide

       

      Taking Action to Prevent Bullying

      Frequent communication with a child who is experiencing bullying is key to identifying the symptoms of depression. Parents along with teachers and other professionals can take steps to prevent bullying and depression that follows.

      Physicians and school counselors can help parents and children gain access to the care and resources they need for overcoming the effects of bullying. In some cases, individual or family counseling may be recommended.

      Any parent or professional who feels that their child is in immediate danger should treat the situation as a medical emergency and contact the appropriate local authorities for urgent assistance.

      Bullying does not have to be a rite of passage for children if parents and teachers take action to end it.

       

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