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In a month, on my 49th birthday, my youngest child starts the first day of her last year of school. As a mom, I have mixed emotions. I’m excited for her and all she has and will accomplish, yet I am sad that my baby is a senior. Where did all of those years go? Just yesterday a social media memory reminding me that she passed her driver’s test popped up. It seems like yesterday when she was in the driveway practicing her maneuvering (parallel parking) over and over in preparation. Now, she drives herself wherever, whenever she wants.

My mom teaching my daughter how to drive her stick shift car

As she enters this year of “lasts,” I too will be entering a year of lasts. This will be my last year in my 40’s.  I can remember thinking about my last year in my 30’s. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to be experiencing another birthday! As I have said, “I want to get older, but I don’t want to get old.” In my 22 years working in healthcare, I saw younger people who were much older than their chronological age and older people who were younger than theirs. I decided very quickly that I wanted to be the latter. I’m sure my children would say I am old, though.

This year of lasts will be filled with lots of happiness and joy, as well as LOTS of tears, especially on my part. My kids make fun of me for crying at the drop of a hat. My colleague recently wrote a blog about the benefits of crying, so as the tears stream down my face, and they for sure will, I will not worry so much about hiding my tears. While I certainly don’t want to rain on her parade as these exciting events occur, I am mourning these last moments with my last child. I find myself thinking about all the things I wish I would have done while my kids were young and here all the time. Had I known how fast time would pass, I would have made more emotional deposits. While it’s never too late to start, I wish I would have worried less about cleaning the house or whatever else I thought was important.

Though all of the decisions my daughter will face over the next year will be exciting for sure, they may also be stressful. The American Psychological Association gives these symptoms of stress that you may see in your child:

  • Irritability and anger:  Stressed-out kids and teens might be more short-tempered or argumentative than normal.
  • Changes in behavior:  Sudden changes can signal that stress levels are high.
  • Trouble sleeping: A child or teen might complain of feeling constantly tired, sleep more than usual, or have trouble falling asleep.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: An adolescent may suddenly drop the ball on homework, forget obligations, or start procrastinating more than usual due to stress.
  • Eating changes: Eating too much or too little can be reaction to stress.
  • Getting sick more often: Stress often shows up as physical symptoms. Children who feel stress often report headaches or stomachaches and might make frequent trips to the school nurse.
My mom, my 3 kids, and me

As my daughter and I navigate this next year, I want to support her as she prepares for the next stage of life. We toured one of her 3 college picks last month, we will be touring a second one next week and the final one during fall. As I have watched her two older brothers make a few mistakes along the way, I know she too will make her own mistakes. These tips from AARP can help parents to maintain a healthy relationship with their children as they enter into and navigate adulthood:

  • Observe respectful boundaries.
  • Listen more than you talk.
  • Do what you love together and intimacy will follow.
  • Set ground rules for how to disagree.
  • Make room for the significant others in their lives.

I’m not too worried about my daughter and her ability to handle this next year, though I’m not sure about me. While the ultimate job of parenting is to put ourselves out of a job, I hope my children always want me to be part of their lives even when they are responsible, productive, well-adjusted adults who no longer need my guidance or reassurance.

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

Reviewed by: Melissa J. Rupp, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, rupp.26@osu.edu

References:

American Psychological Association. (2019, October 24). How to help children and teens manage their stress. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/child-development/stress  

Fishel, E., & Arnett, D. J. J. (2013, April). Parenting Adult Children, Friendship with Grown-Up Kid. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-04-2013/parenting-adult-children-family-relationships.html

Quealy, K., & Miller, C. C. (2019, March 13). Young Adulthood in America: Children Are Grown, but Parenting Doesn’t Stop. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/13/upshot/parenting-new-norms-grown-children-extremes.html?.%3Fmc=aud_dev&ad-keywords=auddevgate&gclid=CjwKCAjw3MSHBhB3EiwAxcaEu8XfiLpibGmTN7PCkXe2x6aXx8W8tmUtlXmcAUyEfZ_dgOyHSxt_NBoCVj8QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds.

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Five long years. That’s how long my mother lived with dementia. It was five years of watching that progressive disease take away the strong, stable and loving mother that I knew. Throughout those years, I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster. There would be days that she was mentally sharp that were followed by days of angry outbursts, vacant stares. My emotions were split between uncertainty, guilt, sadness, hope, frustration, and grief. While I understood most of the emotions, it was difficult for me to understand the emotion of grief. How could I be grieving someone who was still alive? What I have learned since her passing is that grieving someone who is still alive is a term called ambiguous loss.

Ambiguous loss can be experienced when a loved one is physically here, but may not be emotionally or mentally present in the same way they were before dementia. This type of loss is experienced by caregivers of loved ones who are living with such things as mental illness, brain injury and dementia. It is a profound sadness that lingers in caregivers who have lost a relationship with their loved ones.  Unlike grief that is experienced when a loved one dies, ambiguous loss can be difficult to cope with due to the frequent uncertainty of what has been lost or if the loved one will return to how they used to be. In the typical bereavement process grief tends to recede over time, and loved ones are able to have a distinct closure on the relationship. However, ambiguous loss is not a one-time trauma. It is an ongoing series of losses that occur as the disease progresses. In a sense, caregivers and loved ones are frozen in a fog of coping and grieving. This type of loss and grief can also bring the other aspects of the caregiver’s life to a standstill and can affect the caregiver’s career, friendships and other relationships.

As a way to manage the loss and grief that is felt while caregiving for a loved one with dementia, The Alzheimer Society suggests strategies for living positively with ambiguous loss and grief when caring for someone with dementia. Here are a few of their recommendations:

  • Reflect on the losses, and have someone who will understand and allow you to express your feelings.
  • Normalize and begin to accept your feelings of ambiguous loss by talking to others who have similar experiences.
  • Stay Connected with family and friends and support groups.
  • Look after your own needs. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. This may mean that you need to take a break from caregiving responsibilities.
  • Let people know how they can help.  Rather than thinking that your family and friends already know what you need.
  • Seek out information on dementia and what to expect. Empower yourself with knowledge.

Recognizing the emotions of loss and grief when caregiving for a loved one with dementia is the first step to help build resiliency throughout the caregiving process. Empowering yourself with knowledge and support systems will help you navigate the emotional tidal waves of ambiguous loss and grief.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly MEd. Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Champaign County

     Ambiguous Loss and Grief in Dementia: A resource for individuals and families. Alzheimer Society of Canada. Retried from https://alzheimer.ca/sites/default/files/documents/ambiguous-loss-and-grief_for-individuals-and-families.pdf#:~:text=Ambiguous%20loss%20is%20a%20type,the%20same%20way%20as%20before.&text=For%20example%2C%20you%20may%20feel,longer%20knows%20who%20you%20are.

      Boss, P. (2000) Ambiguous Loss: Learning to live with unresolved grief. Harvard University Press

     Boss, P. (2011) Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to find hope while coping with stress and grief. John Wiley & Sons

     Zaksh, Y. Yehene, E. Elyashiv, M. & Altman, A. (2019), Partially dead, partially separated: Establishing the mechanism between ambiguous loss and grief reaction among caregivers of patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness. Clinical Rehabilitation, Vol 33 (2), 345-356

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This year MyPlate turns 10! This important birthday marks ten years of guidance on building a healthy routine. In our family, we have a tradition where we share birth and baby stories with our birthday children. So, in that spirit, let’s look back at the “birth” story of MyPlate.

You may remember a food pyramid or food groups from your school health days.  The first food recommendation came out in 1894 through a Farmer’s Bulletin. These first guidelines focused on diets for males. In 1916, a nutritionist, Caroline Hunt, wrote a USDA food guide and included recommendations for young children. These recommendations were put into five food groups.

Changes were made to these guidelines throughout the years to reflect changes in society. For example, during the Depression, guidelines were broken into income levels to help people shop for food. Recommendations were made during wartime to accommodate limited supplies and rationing that was common in the United States.

The 1950’s brought us the format of the “Basic Four” food groups. This model was used for 20 years and might sound familiar to some of your first lessons on food and nutrition. The five groups were meat, milk, fruits and vegetables, and grain products.

Research surrounding food began to shift its focus from obtaining enough nutrients, like with the Basic Four model, to encourage consumers to avoid overconsumption of foods that contribute to chronic disease. Enter the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992. The pyramid underwent a change in 2005 that included physical activity and added oils at the very top as a food group.

MyPlate was introduced in 2011 as a portioned plate. The plate is a visual reminder of incorporating all five food groups into daily food choices while encouraging personalized choices.

With MyPlate, Americans find practical ways to incorporate dietary guidelines in their daily food choices. MyPlate emphasizes five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. This variety is recommended to build strong bodies and minds. MyPlate encourages “the benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter.”

To help MyPlate celebrate their birthday you may consider:

Get a personalized plan at MyPlate.

Set a small goal for yourself. Try adding a new vegetable or incorporating fruit every morning.

Download and print a MyPlate template and hang it somewhere as a reminder.

For more ideas check out the birthday celebration website for links to the app and other activities.

However, you choose to celebrate MyPlate, have fun doing it! From all of us at Live Healthy Live Well; Happy Birthday MyPlate!!

Sources:

Evolution of USDA Food Guides to Today’s MyPlate. Riley Children’s Health. https://www.rileychildrens.org/connections/evolution-of-usda-food-guides-to-todays-myplate#:~:text=The%20USDA%20introduced%20today’s%20MyPlate,encourage%20personalization%20of%20food%20choices.

MyPlate 10th Birthday. MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/birthday.

What is MyPlate? MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate.

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

barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shelby Larck, Extension Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Larck.1@osu.edu

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Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take! Pollination is important for plant reproduction and food production.

The following examples are “fruit” of the plant, even if we might call them produce, vegetables or nuts: apples, cucumbers, zucchini, almonds, and strawberries. All of those foods grow on the plant as the result of the pollination of the flowers. Even though cucumbers and zucchini are categorized as vegetables in the cookbook, botanically, they are the “fruit” of the plant because they have the seeds. They rely on a pollinator to transfer pollen from one flower to another.

Other plants that rely on pollinators include: apricots, avocados, bananas, beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, coconut, cranberries, eggplant, figs, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangos, melons, okra, onions, oranges, papaya, peach, pear, peppers, plums, pumpkin, raspberries, squash, tangerines, tomatoes, and turnips. In addition to herbs, spices, sesame seeds, sugar cane, sunflower oil, and vanilla, other favorites that rely on pollinators include coffee and chocolate.

The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. One way they do this is to promote Pollinator Week, June 21-27, 2021, #PollinatorWeek.

This week I plan to:

  1. Learn about bees and other pollinators. More than honeybees! While honeybees might be a favorite because they pollinate and provide honey, there are over 4,000 types of bees in the United States. In Ohio, there around 500 bee species. More than bees!  While bees need our support, they are not the only insect that pollinates. In Ohio, pollinators are primarily insects such as bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, wasps, and others. In addition, hummingbirds are pollinators. Certain bats are also pollinators, especially in tropical and desert areas, but none act as pollinators in Ohio.
  2. Invite pollinators of all stages to my yard. In addition to food, pollinators also need water and shelter. There are great resources on the different types of plants to help feed pollinators at different life stages. One example is to grow plants like milkweed, fennel, and dill to feed caterpillars, which eventually grow into monarch and swallowtail butterflies. Offer water in a shallow bowl or birdbath for any small pollinators.  Place a few larger rocks or sticks in the small container to provide a place for insects to land and perch.    
  3. Help others overcome their fear of “bugs”.  Not everyone loves insects, even though these small pollinators offer so much! Pollinators will not hurt you if you leave them alone. We need them to do their jobs to help us have delicious foods! PBS has a nice lesson for parents to help children overcome their fear of bugs.
  4. Appreciate my summer meals. I will slow down to appreciate and enjoy all the food that is on my plate, thanks to the work of pollinators.

How will you celebrate National Pollinator Week?

Written by: Patrice Powers-Barker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Lucas County

Reviewed by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Darke County

Sources:

Bee Lab. (n.d.) Ohio State University. https://u.osu.edu/beelab/

Ellsworth, D. (2015)., Attracting pollinators to the garden. Ohio State University. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-47

McGinnis, E., Walton, N,. Elsner, E., and Knodel, J. (2018). Smart Gardening: Pollination in vegetable gardens and backyard fruit. Michigan State University Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/smart-gardening-pollination-in-vegetable-gardens-and-backyard-fruit

Nankin, F., and McMahon, J. (2017). Overcome a fear of bugs. Public Broadcasting Service. https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/helping-children-overcome-a-fear-of-bugs

Planting for Pollinators. (2020). Kids Gardening. https://kidsgardening.org/planting-for-pollinators/

Pollinator Partnership. (2021). Pollinator Week. https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week/pollinator-week-resources

Prajzner, S., and Gardiner, M. (2015). Ohio Bee Identification Guide. Ohio State University. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/ENT-57

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A great way to celebrate Earth Day is spending time outside and connecting with nature. Time in nature offers an easy and inexpensive way to increase your happiness, improve your mood, and feel part of something larger than yourself. Studies have shown that getting outside can:

  • Improve your memory and attention: After just an hour interacting with nature, memory performance and attention spans improved by 20%. In workplaces designed with nature in mind, employees are more productive and take less sick time.
  • Heal: Patients in hospital rooms with a view of trees had shorter stays and less need for pain medications compared to patients with views of brick.
  • Improve psychological well-being: Joggers who exercised in a natural green setting felt less anxious, angry, or depressed than people who jogged in an urban setting.
Child running outside under flowering trees

We also know from research that children who spend time outdoors are more likely to develop positive environmental attitudes and behaviors as adults. One of the best ways you can take care of our planet is to encourage children and youth to get outside.

Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, has created an expansive list of activities to encourage children to spend more time outdoors. Here are just a few ideas you can try with your children or grandchildren:

  1. Maintain a birdbath, grow native plants, or build a bat house. For more ideas, read National Audubon Society’s Invitation to a Healthy Yard.
  2. Collect lightning bugs at dusk and release them at dawn.
  3. Keep a terrarium or aquarium and learn about the plants and animals you observe.
  4. Be a cloud spotter; build a backyard weather station. A young person just needs a view of the sky. Check out The Kid’s Book of Weather Forecasting for more ideas.
  5. Encourage a “green hour” every day. Give kids a daily green hour that includes time outside, unstructured play, and interaction with the natural world.
  6. Collect stones. Even the youngest children love gathering rocks, shells, and fossils. Read Rock and Fossil Hunter by Ben Morgan together.
  7. Learn about and raise butterflies. Consider purchasing a monarch rearing kit and growing milkweed so you can hatch and release your own butterflies.
  8. Hang up a bird feeder and watch birds. Have them close their eyes and just listen. For more tips, check out National Audubon Society’s Easy Ways to Get Kids Birding and Bird Sleuth Investigator from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

No matter what you do while you are outdoors, remember that simply going outside is the most important step. Despite all the positive benefits of being outdoors, according to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. On this Earth Day, make a pledge to get out more and bring some young people with you. Nurturing the next generation of our planet’s caretakers is a perfect way to celebrate!

References:

Bratman, G. N., Daily, G. C., Levy, B. J., & Gross, J. J. (2015). The benefits of nature experience: Improved affect and cognition. Landscape and Urban Planning, 138, 41-50. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.02.005

Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Taylor, A. & Kuo, M. (2006). Is contact with nature important for healthy child development? state of the evidence. Children and their Environments: Learning, Using and Designing Spaces. 124-140.
https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511521232.009

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgery. Science, 224 (4647), 420–421. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.6143402

Wells, N. M. & Lekies, K. S., (2006). Nature and the life course: Pathways from childhood nature experiences to adult environmentalism. Children, Youth and Environments, 16 (1), 41663.

Written by: Laura M. Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60.osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu.

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Throughout the years, plastics have made our lives easier and more convenient, goods and services cheaper. We use them and dispose of them easily. I’m in debt to King Plastic. Having type 1 diabetes, plastics basically keep me alive; my insulin pump uses disposable plastic supplies that I throw away every three days. The car I drive and some of the clothes I wear have plastic which I dispose of eventually too. My keyboard and computer is made up of plastic, of which I have to trade in periodically. I’m not sure what becomes of them. My kids have benefited from plastics- they have had probably three times as many Legos, dolls, and electronics than I had growing up. We’ve been getting rid of these too recently. My dog chews on a plastic bone. The many choices of food I have at the store are thanks to plastic packaging. Hail to King Plastic!

You may have heard that there are three giant patches of plastics floating in the Pacific Ocean. You may have noticed more litter in state and national parks or in streams, rivers, beaches and lakes. Landfills are getting larger and larger. The uncomfortable truth of our convenient throw-away culture is that plastics are everywhere and we are starting to drown in them- literally. Plastics are showing up in our foods and the air we breath. Research suggests that we consume about 5 grams a year- the equivalent of credit card’s worth of plastics! Seafood often has small amounts of plastic because of all the ocean trash that they consume. If we prepare food with plastics, it can leach into our food. We breath plastic especially if we use a clothes dryer. We don’t know all of the health implications but some studies are raising some red flags. Plastic consumption is associated with reproductive, behavioral problems in children, and a host of endocrine problems.

For the sake of our health and the environment- we should quit worshipping King Plastic so much. But how? Consider these small behavior changes to keep plastic out of your body and out of the natural environment. Most plastics aren’t recycled either- so focus on reducing or reusing plastics. Although small, they really add up over a month, year, etc. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Limit single use plastics in the kitchen such as sandwich bags, wrap, etc. Use beeswax and reusable storage containers.

Avoid heating your food or beverages up in plastic storage containers or styrofoam.

Use reusable water bottles- avoid single use bottles.

Bring your own cotton reusable bags to the grocery or recycle your plastic bags.

Use laundry tabs or soap berries instead of laundry detergent in a plastic jug or better yet make your own!

Use wool balls for static reduction instead of dryer sheets.

Install a microfiber filter on your washing machine.

Shop for reused cloths.

Check the ingredients for all body care products to see if they have polyethylene or polypropylene in them. Avoid products with these two ingredients.

Use a bar of soap instead of body wash in plastic bottles.

Author: Dan Remley, PhD, MSPH, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness, OSU Extension

Reviewer: Susan Zies, M.Ed, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences

Sources

Jill Bartolotta. The Toll of Plastics. OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Inservice. February 18,2021. Zoom recording at https://osu.zoom.us/rec/share/CHNxkTyjQcymON8oUe_WN0MQHsln1KI3AzxbHbmNIeQIuM8N2-sT0CLyl12FO06c.hN44c5jppCbXdmw1

National Public Radio. Plastics- What’s Recycled, What Becomes Trash and Why? Access on 2/26/21 at Plastics: What’s Recyclable, What Becomes Trash — And Why (npr.org)

OSU Extension. Sustainable Action Through Video Engagement. Single Use Plastics. Accessed on 2/26/21 at Sustainability in the Kitchen: Single Use Plastics – YouTube

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Last year, I transformed into a self-proclaimed bird nerd. The change started in the spring of 2020 when I started working from home because of COVID. I placed my desk next to a window and in April, I noticed a robin building a nest. Watching the robin sit on her nest for hours upon hours was fascinating and I was quickly hooked.

In May, bluebirds visited my suburban backyard for the first time and after putting up a bluebird house, we hosted the pair of bluebirds and their 3 adorable babies several weeks later. I was fascinated by the whole process, from the nesting, feeding, and successful fledging (developing wing feathers that are large enough for flight). I cheered the first day the babies flew out of their box and also experienced sadness when they left their house for good. My sorrow was quickly replaced with joy when a pair of Baltimore orioles passed through for a couple of days. I was enthralled watching the colorful birds eat the grape jelly I set out. Summer brought ruby-throated hummingbirds and warblers. This winter, I am enjoying a barred owl who lives nearby and occasionally graces me with his majestic presence.

Picture of a Barred Owl by Laura Stanton.
Barred Owl
Photo by Laura M. Stanton

Although the joy of birding happens right outside my window most days, whenever possible, I safely visit different habitats to expand the variety of birds to watch. Whether I am inside or outside, I notice so much more than just the birds. I notice positive changes happening within.

The benefits I have experienced from watching our feathered friends have been confirmed by research. Why is birding good for your health? Watching birds:

  • Is a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the moment, and without judgment. Whether you are birding inside or out, you are in the “here and now” which has been shown to decrease stress, anxiety, and rumination, and improve attention, memory, and focus. In addition, mindfulness can reduce chronic pain.
  • Requires stealth and silence. Spending time in silence lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow, and enhances sleep. Silence can also be therapeutic for depression.
  • Encourages meditation. During meditation, you eliminate the “noise” in your mind, creating a sense of calm and peace that benefits your emotional well-being and your overall health.
  • Relies on your sense of sight and hearing. A study found that just listening to bird song contributes to perceived attention restoration and stress recovery. Click here to listen to a sample of common bird songs.
  • Prevents nature-deficit disorder, a phenomenon related to the growing disconnect between humans and the natural world. Americans, on average, spend approximately 90% of their time indoors.
  • Benefits your heart. Regular exposure to nature is associated with improvements in cardiovascular disease and longevity.
  • Stimulates a sense of gratitude, which is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness.

Sources
Carter, S. (2016). Nature deficit disorder. Live Smart Ohio. Retrieved from https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/carter-413osu-edu/nature-deficit-disorder   

Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Algonquin Books: Chapel Hill, NC.

Powers-Barker, P. (2016). Introduction to mindfulness. Ohioline. Retrieved from
https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5243

Stanton, L. M. (2020). Barred Owl. JPEG file.

Stanton, L. M. (2020). Noises off: The benefits of silence. Live Smart Ohio. Retrieved from
https://livesmartohio.osu.edu/mind-and-body/stanton-60osu-edu/noises-off-the-benefit-of-silence

Written by Laura M. Stanton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Warren County, stanton.60.osu.edu

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

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Probably nothing upsets parents more on a daily basis than the constant bickering and fighting that goes on between children within the family. Sibling rivalry, a common issue faced by most parents, has been around as long as there have been brothers and sisters. As upsetting as it may be, some sibling rivalry and conflict can be beneficial. It gives children their first experience in learning how to interact and get along with others. A child who has siblings is taught how to see another individual’s point of view, how to settle disputes, how to compromise and how to show affection and not hold a grudge.

Even though there is a positive side to quarrels among siblings, there are also times when parents need to intervene.  The following information can give you some guidelines about what might be an appropriate stance to take about when and how to intervene.

black-and-white-childhood-children-460032

  • Stay out of it – If there is normal bickering, minor name calling, then the parent’s role is to stay out of it, and let them settle the disagreement on their own.
  • Acknowledge anger and reflect each child’s viewpoint. – If you notice the volume going up, nasty name-calling, mild physical contact, or threats of danger.
  • Firmly stop the interaction, review rules, and help with conflict resolution. – If the potential for danger is more serious.
  • Firmly stop the children and separate them. – if it becomes a dangerous situation. One in which physical or emotional harm is about to or has occurred. If a child is hurt, attend to that child first, review the rules, and possibly impose a consequence.

One way to manage sibling rivalry between your children is to establish family rules in your home. Having rules in place is a way to communicate your family values and forces you to think in advance about what behavior is important to you and what you want to enforce. These rules need to be enforced with predictable consequences. Don’t ignore the rules or make exceptions when you feel tired. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital shares more parenting resources on handling sibling rivalry.

It is also important to remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Modeling cooperative behavior, gives your child an example of how to handle frustrations and resolve conflict. These tips can help decrease the amount of sibling quarrels in your home.   There is nothing better than harmony.

Writer: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University, Clark County, green.1405@osu.edu

 

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

 

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nationalredday

February is American Heart Month sponsored by The American Heart Association. It is no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. What may surprise a few, is that it’s the number one killer in women, claiming nearly 500,000 lives. Most people believed that it affects more men so many women did not pay much attention to the disease. National Wear Red Day was started to raise awareness about heart disease being the number one killer of women. Tomorrow will mark 15 years since the 1st National Wear Red Day was observed. National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February.

Since raising awareness many women have been making changes in their lives to be more heart conscience. Some of the strides they’ve made have included losing weight, increasing their exercise, making a healthy behavior change and checking cholesterol levels. Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day, and deaths in women have decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years! Even though all of this progress has been made, 1 in 3 women still die of heart disease and stroke each year.

 

So what can you do besides wear RED tomorrow? Know your heart healthy numbers.

  1. Risk factors you can* and cannot control
    1. High blood pressure*
    2. Diabetes*
    3. Lack of regular activity*
    4. Age
    5. Gender
    6. Heredity
  2. Know your numbers
    1. Total cholesterol
    2. HDL cholesterol
    3. Blood Pressure
    4. Blood Sugar
    5. Body Mass Index
  3. Take Action
    1. Manage blood pressure
    2. Control cholesterol
    3. Reduce blood sugar
    4. Get active
    5. Eat better
    6. Lose weight
    7. Stop smoking

If you would like to find out more information on each of the areas above, you can visit GoRedforWomen.org  On their site you can take a risk factors quiz and learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.

I hope to see lots of RED tomorrow.

 

Sources:

https://www.goredforwomen.org/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/national-wear-red-day/

https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/know-your-risk/

https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/FebruaryToolkit.aspx

 

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

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

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Stethoscope on cashIf you are lucky enough to have elderly parents, you know what a precious gift it is to have them. However, with this precious gift of time, there are some challenges that occur as they age and need your help. It is difficult when the roles of parent and child begin to shift and the children become the caregivers. One of the most complicated issues is when there is a need to take over your parents’ finances. Taking control can be awkward and complicated, but putting it off too long can make it very difficult to sort out all of their accounts and make the necessary legal steps to ensure your ability to successfully manage your parent’s money.

How do you know when it is time to step in? Watch for early signs that your parent’s cognitive ability is declining, and there is a need to step in and take control. If you wait too long, there’s a good chance that significant financial losses have occurred. Some of the signs to look for are:

  • They become forgetful about cash
  • They start getting calls from creditors
  • Their house is filled with expensive new purchases
  • They have difficulty with simple tasks like balancing their checkbook
  • Bills have been paid repeatedly or not paid at all
  • Bills that seem much higher than they should be and cannot be explained
  • Donations to charity that do not match your parents priorities

 

Raising the topic might be difficult. Older adults may be resistant to relinquishing control of their finances. They may see this as the first step of losing their independence, which is one of the top two concerns for older adults. Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families from AARP gives helpful insight on how to start the conversation. They suggest:

  1. Look for an opening: You might use an article you read about or something you saw in the news to raise the topic.
  2. Respect your loved one’s wishes: Your plan must be centered on the person receiving care.
  3. Size up the situation: Figuring out your loved one’s priorities help determine your next steps
  4. Counter resistance: Your loved one might say, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” Some people are private by nature. If your first conversation does not go well, try again.

Managing your own finances can be challenging enough, and you aren’t excited about taking on the task of managing your parents finances as well. Addressing the topic can be awkward, but if no one steps in to help, the assets that your parents spent a lifetime accumulating could be lost.

 

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County

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