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Archive for the ‘Healthy Relationships’ Category

teen and technology

If you have a teenager in your home, they are probably celebrating the start of their summer break.  This can mean they stay up later, sleep in longer and relax more.  Like other working parents, you may be dreading the extra-long gaming sessions and screen time that your kiddos may be planning over the summer.

Here are a few tips from media experts on how to tune down the technology and keep the peace in your house for the next 12 weeks and beyond:

  1. Dr. Jenny Radesky, the lead author of the most recent update of the Guidelines on Media and Children from the American Academy of Pediatrics, has a “no media on weekdays” rule. Dr. Radesky states “I try to help my older son be aware of the way he reacts to video games or how to interpret information we find online.” For example, she tries to explain how he is being manipulated by games that ask him to make purchases while playing.
  2. Lauren Hale, a sleep researcher at Stony Brook University in New York, suggests limiting the use of devices at least one hour before bedtime. This gives your brain time to “turn off” and relax, which will promote better sleep. According to Hale, “when kids watch or use screens at night, bedtime gets delayed.” Additionally, “when it takes longer to fall asleep, sleep quality is reduced and total sleep time is decreased.”
  3. Dr. Tom Warshawski, a pediatrician in Canada and founder of the Childhood Obesity Foundation, puts an emphasis on limiting technology by promoting the  5- 2- 1- 0 formula. That means each day includes: five servings of fruits and vegetables, no more than two hours of screen time, one hour of physical activity, and no sugary beverages.

Other screen time tips include:

  • Set firm limits on usage by making a technology schedule. Allow your teen to help with the details so everyone can agree.
  • Limit the number of devices available to your teen while you are working.
  • Limit the amount of free time that technology can eat up by signing them up for camps, volunteering, or even working.
  • Practice safe technology use by implementing rules such as remaining anonymous, using nicknames rather than your real name, reporting messaging or chats that make you feel uncomfortable to an adult, and protecting your passwords.
  • Turn off all screens during family meals
  • Turn off all screens at bedtime, keep devices with screens out of your teen’s bedroom after bedtime, and don’t allow a TV in your teen’s bedroom.
  • Research video and computer games before letting your teen get them. Check ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board.  Ratings can run from EC (meaning “early childhood”) to AO (meaning “adults only”). Teens probably should be limited to games rated T (for “teens”) or younger.

References

American Academy of Pediatrics (2018). Children and Media Tips. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Children-and-Media-Tips.aspx

Ben-Joseph, E.P. (2016). Screen Time Guidelines for Big Kids. Kids Health from Nemours. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/screentime-bigkids.html?ref=search

Common Sense Media. Screen Time. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/screen-time

Child Obesity Foundation. What Every Family Can Do: The 5-2-1-0 Formula. https://childhoodobesityfoundation.ca/families/simple-steps-families-can-take/#tab-id-2

Kamenetz, A. (2018). What Families Need to Know About Screen Time This Summer. NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/07/09/625387830/what-families-need-to-know-about-screen-time-this-summer

Written by: Heather Reister, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Butler County

Reviewed by: Bridget Britton, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Carroll County

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I remember the nurse placing a screaming dark-haired baby in my arms like it was yesterday. 18 years later, this baby is graduating from high school and telling me she wants to change her address to one different from mine.  While I appreciate her goals and ambitions, watching her go is tough.  Preparing now with a few simple things I am hoping will make this big transition smoother for both of us as she heads to college on her own.

Prepare and You Will Not Fear

I remember being taught this principle in relation to natural disasters when I was young, this same mantra is bringing me some comfort as a mother as I prepare to send a child into the world.  There is a long list of independent living skills youth and young adults need to be successful on their own; more skills than can be taught in the summer between their senior year and heading out on their own.  Starting young with developing and teaching life skills can bring peace and confidence with parents and youth as they move on.  Giving young children and teens responsibilities at home, allowing them to make mistakes and learn from them will prepare them for obstacles and responsibilities they will face when they leave home.  These needed life skills include not only skills such as cooking and laundry but budgeting, relationship skills, emotional and behavioral control, manners, self-care, time management and more.

Am I invited too?

My daughter, who is leaving, sat at the table listening one night as my sister and I discussed future Thanksgiving plans.  When we were finished she asked, “Am I invited too?”  It never occurred to me that she might be having some questions about where she would fit in when she left home.  We talked about what our communication would look like, how often, ways we would stay in contact and what family events she might want to be included in.  I let her know she would be welcome in our home anytime, without an appointment or reason. 

Plans do not always work out.  Let your young adult know that they are welcome in your home and what your requirements might be after they move away and return to visit. Help your child know that while you are excited about their new adventure you are always there if they just need to chat. Communication can be vital during this transition, for both of you.   Do not assume they know they can phone you if they feel sad or need to talk. 

Have a Plan

Have a plan for if things go wrong too.  A clear plan for contingencies can help parents make a decision when emotions are running high or a quick decision is necessary. Have you discussed what will happen if your college student makes poor grades? What if they are homesick and want to return home? What if they want or need to change schools or apartments? What if they are unable to cover expenses and call to ask for money?  Having these discussions before hand can clear up confusion for you and your child. 

Take Care of You

Feelings of loneliness, loss, and grief may all be common when a child leaves home. Have a plan to deal with those feelings.  As I have discussed this transition with friends their advice and reactions have ranged anywhere from excitement to being seriously distraught over their son or daughter moving out.  There is no right or wrong way to feel.  Try to let your feelings run their course. If you feel like crying, cry. It is important to acknowledge how you feel and not allow others to dictate your emotions.  You will not react the same way your friend did to their child moving out and that is ok. 

Every family is different and will have different plans and responses to a big change such as a child leaving home.  Try to remember what a fun new adventure this can be for your son or daughter.  Your enthusiasm can go a long way to helping them move on.  Celebrate their successes and yours, and remember just like with anything else new in life- it takes time!

Good luck! I am in this one with you. . . 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-in-between/201406/5-steps-help-your-teen-leave-the-nest https://www.healthguidance.org/entry/18004/1/how-to-cope-when-your-children-leave-home.html

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

 

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Did that title spark your interest? As a mom of three small children, I find myself stressed at times because of my kids’ behaviors. The behaviors I am referring to are typical behaviors for their ages however when multiplied by three it is enough to make you want to pull your hair out at times. I know my children are not the only ones that struggle with the following:

  • Act overly silly or “out of control”
  • Have tantrums or meltdowns
  • Experience difficulty waiting or taking turns
  • Struggle being in close proximity to others
  • Move too quickly or with too much force
  • Act on impulse by grabbing, throwing, or touching things
  • Experience difficulty walking or waiting in line
  • Have problems during social interactions like talking too loudly or standing too close to others

If you have noticed some of those struggles with a child in your life then they may need help learning how to regulate. Self-regulation is “control [of oneself] by oneself. It is a skill that effects a person’s ability to handle disappointments, failures, and tolerate unmet wants or needs with the outcome being success. The key word is SKILL. Self-regulation is taught and then children need time to practice using this skill. The more they practice the better they become.

There are four types of games/activities you can do to teach children how to self-regulate. The purpose of the games is for children to practice managing their impulses and self-control.  

  1. Red light, green light- have a start line and a finish line, one child is the cop and says green light for the rest of the children to go and red light for them to freeze. If they move after red light has been said then they move back to the start line. First person across the finish line wins and gets to be the new cop. Reverse rules, stop when the cop says green light, and go when the cop says red light.
  2. The Freeze Game- dance to music and then freeze when the music stops. Dance fast to fast-paced songs, slow to slower-paced songs, and then reverse the rules.
  3. Wacky Relay- have children work with a partner to move an object from the start line to the finish line using elbow to elbow, palm to palm, hip to hip or forehead to forehead. The larger the object the easier it is.
  4. Self Control Bubbles- allow children to pop bubbles as you blow them, then tell children not to touch the bubbles at all, even if they land on their face. Praise children as they refrain from touching the bubbles.
blowing bubbles
Blowing Bubbles

Just a few minutes a day can really help improve their self-regulation.  Games and activities are great ways to help children reflect on their own ability to self-regulate in various situations. Children can learn self-awareness for handling stress and emotions that will carry them through their teenage and adult years while saving your sanity.

Sources:

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-regulation/

https://www.acesconnection.com/g/Parenting-with-ACEs/clip/5-incredibly-fun-games-to-teach-self-regulation-self-control-early-childhood-development-8-minutes-kreative-leadership

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

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excited kids looking at a computer

A couple months ago, I wrote a blog titled Accomplish MORE in LESS Time. I was tired of feeling like I was so busy at times, yet not feeling like I accomplished as much as I could or should. I wanted to make some changes to my schedule and my work habits. I started researching proven strategies for increasing productivity. I am going to review my progress and provide some additional information about productivity.

Since I denounced the concept of multitasking in my last blog, I have reduced the amount of time I spend trying to multitask. I check my email in batches: first thing in the morning, mid-morning, before and after lunch, and later in the afternoon. Logging out of email has helped reduce disruptions in my work flow. The downside is that I have been late getting on to Zoom meetings because my calendar did not give me the 15 minute warning. So, I have learned to set the alarm on my phone for these times. This allows me to keep email closed, yet not miss other obligations.

Another thing I have been doing, is avoiding ‘visiting’ with my co-workers first thing in the morning. More people tend to be productive and creative in the morning, rather than later in the day. This one has been challenging since I am a people person. At first I felt like I was not being friendly, so I explained my rationale to my co-workers so they would not think I am just being antisocial. This has been helpful for my own productivity. I have intentionally been designating morning time to work on projects like blog articles, webinars, and other “thinking” work and saving my socializing for the afternoon, unless my co-workers initiate a conversation.

While, I have been doing things that I learned from my research on productivity, I still have a lot of room for improvement. I want to get better at taking breaks from my work. I have a treadmill desk, so I often think I don’t really need to go outside or for a walk since I am able to walk anytime I want to right at my desk. This could not be further from the truth. According to MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Bob Pozen people who take regular breaks FROM their work are more productive. He suggests the question to ask yourself is not how many breaks you should take in a day, but “what is the appropriate time period of concentrated work you can do before taking a break?” Pozen suggests between 75-90 minutes of work followed by a 15 minute break is a good ratio.

empty office

I am going to be more intentional about taking breaks FROM my work in the next couple months. I have used socializing with my co-workers as one of my breaks from work, but I have not incorporated many other breaks aside from the occasional web-surfing in to my day. I want to incorporate LEAVING my office and/or building for at least a short walk or just to sit outside and enjoy the outdoors as my next goal for increased productivity.

I welcome any tips, tricks, or suggestions you have for increasing productivity since this is a journey for me. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Photo Credit:

https://pixabay.com/photos/children-win-success-video-game-593313/

https://pixabay.com/photos/simpolo-india-morbi-tiles-ceramics-2020200/

Sources:

Griffin, J. (2017) 4 Ways Multi-Tasking Decreases Productivity (And How to Avoid It). Northeastern University Graduate Programs. Retrieved from: https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/why-you-shouldnt-multitask/

Harmon, M. (2019). Accomplish MORE in LESS Time. Live Healthy Live Well Blog. Found at:  https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/03/28/accomplish-more-in-less-time/

MIT Sloan Executive Education. (2017). Want to be more productive in 2018? Take more breaks. MIT Management Executive Education. Found at: https://executive.mit.edu/blog/want-to-be-more-productive-in-2018-take-more-breaks#.XOL8RSB7lhE

Wharton School. (2013). Productivity in the Modern Office: A Matter of Impact. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from: https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/productivity-in-the-modern-office-a-matter-of-impact/

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hardin County, dellifield@osu.edu

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Picture of phone screen, tablet screen, computer screen and television screenCan you and your family go a week without looking at screens when you’re not at work or school?

This is National Screen-Free Week. Most of us have our cell phones handy at all times.  We text, email or connect to social media without thinking about it.  Our children are playing games, watching videos and messaging others on their phones or tablets.  Plus the television blares in the background whether anyone is watching or not.  In fact, 52% of moms think they check their phones too often with 45% of children saying their parent checks their phone too often.

Can’t go screen-free for the week?  How about cutting back? The average child watches more than 2,300 hours of television each year, but only spends about 1,200 hours in school.  “We Can!” has a nice chart to print off to record the amount of time or times different screens are used.  Try these to limit screen time:

  • No screen zones in the bedrooms, only allow televisions and computers in the family room.  Park cell phones for the night in the family room before going to bed.
  • Set limits for watching television, playing video games, and using the computer, tablet, or cell phone.
  • No television or other screens during dinner. Talk to each other.
  • When watching television don’t just sit there, get up and move, at least during commercials.
  • Don’t use the television or other screens as a punishment or reward.

Screen time often limits the time children play creatively or communicate with the people around them.  Children need to explore their world through play using their imagination and curiosity.  This helps them gain skills of creativity which helps with problem-solving.  Communication skills suffer due to too much time spent watching screens and not interacting face-to-face with others.  Too much screen time has also been linked to an increase in obesity.

Try some of these 101 Screen-Free Activities:Picture of little girl blowing bubbles outside

  • Play outside – play a game of catch or Frisbee, jump rope, blow bubbles, sidewalk chalk
  • Paint a picture
  • Clean up or redecorate your room
  • Read a book
  • Learn a skill – cooking, change the oil in a car, craftingPicture of boys jumping in the air outside
  • Make dinner together
  • Play cards, charades or board games
  • Go for a walk or ride bikes
  • Study sign language
  • Put together puzzles, legos
  • Go bird watching
  • Plant a gardenPicture of two girls playing in the sand
  • Go through closets and donate items not used or have a garage sale
  • Listen to the radio and dance to the music
  • Sing songs together

Enjoy time together! Have some fun!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University

Reviewer:Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University

References:

Action for Healthy Kids. (2019). Skip the Screen.  Available at http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/storage/documents/pdfs/tipsheets-may-2018/ght-skip-screen-eng-span-bleedsfixed-091117.pdf

National Institutes of Health.  (2018). We Can!  Available at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/screen-time-log.pdf

Screen Free.  (2018). 101 Screen Free Activities. Available at https://www.screenfree.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/101-Screen-Free-Activities.pdf

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causeway

Every day on my drive to work I cross over the Mosquito Creek causeway.  Driving over the lake is always beautiful with the scenery of birds, and ice anglers in the winter and an array of boats and skiers in the summer.

Driving over the causeway twice a day,  enjoying nature has provided me a moment to reflect both before and after work.  Over the years, this time is important to me, preparing me for the day and reminding me to slow down and take a moment to pause.

We all live busy lives. Our workdays are busier.  Digital technology has extended work into late hours.  Our work/life balance suffers.  Recently, at our Extension Annual Conference, keynote speaker Theresa Glomb gave an inspiring talk on how we can improve our work and home lives.  She shared a relatable message with the following action steps:

 

Work Hard

Have Fun

Choose Kind

Be Present

 

Work Hard–

Create a routine to accomplish goals or make significant progress on a project.

Plan for 60-90 minutes of uninterrupted work.

Have Fun–

Create a positive work environment.

Reflect on one good thing that happened during the weekday.

Share positive events with team members.

Choose Kind–

Ask a co-worker how their evening was last night.

Give a compliment for a job well done.

Be respectful.

Be Present–

Pay attention. Focus on the task.

Engage in mindful practices daily.

Pause before answering a question, text, or mail.

This advice is easy to remember and a simple tenet of how we can choose to spend our days in a more meaningful way.  Take a moment today to pause…. What strategies will you incorporate into your daily life?

Written by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.bravenewworkshop.com/creativeoutreach/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Work-Hard-Have-Fun-Choose-Kind-Be-Present-Lecture-BNW-MNovation-2018.pdf

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Does that question cause you some anxiety? Even thinking about it may feel impossible!
Our phones are used for so much these days; banking, shopping, entertainment, keeping in touch, navigating and more. Even my kids share ways their teachers incorporate their phones into their school day with quizzes and classroom research. 

cell phone

As our use of our phones has grown, so has the research suggesting that our phones can impact our health: physically, mentally and emotionally. With this in mind, taking a break from your phone can be a powerful way to improve your health and well-being. The benefits of taking a break from screens are vast and impact many areas of our daily life. Improved mood, better sleep, a healthier work/life balance, being more present in everyday moments and even a more focused driver are all positive benefits from a break. 

Putting down your phone can be easier said than done.  It doesn’t have to be permanently. Just a few small changes in the way phones are used in your daily life can have a big impact. Here are a few to consider:

Remove phones for transitional moments in your day: walking, getting ready in the morning, driving etc.  Instead of allowing your phone to distract you focus on walking from your car into the grocery store.  Be present in the moment. Pay attention to your breathing, what you see, what you smell.

Consider other ways to fill down time: We haven’t always had our phones. What did you do with your downtime before?  Our phones often control or take over our downtime with checking on social media or playing a game.  Think about what you used that downtime for before you started crushing all that candy and try to implement some of those activities or hobbies.  

Put your phone away before bed: The blue light emitted from our phones can impact sleep, making it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep. Our mind needs time to unwind after technology use throughout the day.   Shutting off your phone 30 minutes before bed can help you achieve more restful sleep and help your brain produce the melatonin it needs to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Find opportunities to explore the real world: Get outside, spend some time in nature.  Focus on building real relationships.  Walk over and have a conversation with a neighbor face to face instead of texting.  Call a friend or make plans that don’t include screens or your phone. 

Put your phone away during conversations:  Studies show that people feel less connected to conversation partners, and found their partners less empathically attuned, when a cell phone was present during the conversation. Having a phone present can be a barrier to a deeper or meaningful conversation. These conversations require trust and undivided attention.   Putting your phone away shows your loved ones that you are listening and focused on them. 

Whether as a temporary breather or an opportunity to create enduring change, there is much to be gained from taking a break from your phone. Screen-Free Week is April 29- May 5. Take the online pledge and you’ll receive support and tips for going screen free.
There is no need to go it alone- consider getting close friends, family, and household members to join you in this effort.

 

Resources:

Commercial-Free Childhood. (2019). Rediscover the joys of life away from screens. Retrieved from https://www.screenfree.org/

Gomes, M. (2018, April). Five Reasons to Take a Break from Screens. Greater Good Magazine. Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_reasons_to_take_a_break_from_screens

The National Sleep Foundation. (2019). Three ways gadgets are keeping you awake. Retrieved from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

 

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