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cardinal-2524695_1920THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. This has been a constant sound in our house lately.  There is a poor cardinal who sees his reflection in our front window and tries to attack himself.  Upon reflection, I have realized that I am like that cardinal. I repeat the same series of actions over and over and expect a different result and am usually surprised when the results are not different.

There are many situations in life where I seem to follow the same patterns—in relationships, at work, as a caregiver, trying to get healthier, and at the grocery store where I wander endlessly trying to make sure I have everything I need in my cart.  Do you find yourself in a similar situation as me and the cardinal? THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK.

The Stages of Change Model, developed by Prochaska and DiClemente, helps us to understand that we can make changes to our behavior patterns when we are able to recognize that it is a cyclical pattern and that there is just not a beginning and an end.  Some people are able to “stop cold turkey” when making behavior changes, but for most of us, we are like that cardinal and return again and again, hoping for different results or we take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back.

The 6 stages of change that we move through are:

  • Pre-contemplation: no desire to change behavior, we don’t see it as a problem.
  • Contemplation: aware of the problem but still is not committed or motivated to change.
  • Preparation: wants to change, but has not yet started.
  • Action: change has begun and behavior has been maintained for fewer than six months.
  • Maintenance: behavior change has gone six months and beyond, and the adopted behavior has become a habit.
  • Relapse: we returns to previous behavior(s).

Changing our outlook can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding and beneficial to not repeating the same behaviors over and over.  As I work towards my own personal growth, I sometimes find that I have to “step outside of myself”. It is important to look at how my behavior affects others. I have also found that it is helpful to have a friend be my accountability partner and share with me where they see that I am stuck in the cycle of change.

Sometimes you will also find yourself in the role as an accountability partner for another OR you may find yourself helplessly watching as someone hits the glass over and over.  I have watched the poor cardinal for months hit the window again and again.  I tried to look up ways to stop his behavior on the internet.  Nothing worked.  I feel bad for the poor little bird, and sometimes I feel frustrated that I cannot help. If you are a caregiver, you may yourself in a similar situation. As an accountability partner, it is key to recognize the person you care for must take charge of making their own behavior change. Being able to step back and offer support without getting too emotionally involved can be hard to do.  I cannot change what another does but I can change my approach to my friend or family member as I support them as they work through the stages of change cycle.

As I write this, the cardinal is going at his reflection in the window again. Thank goodness, I do not have to be like the cardinal and can take small steps each day in  a variety of situations to change the outcome of whatever I am currently facing.  Even though there may be days where I am like the bird and hit the window, I do not have to stay stuck in the THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK.

Written By: Jami Dellifield, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed By: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Belmont County

References:

Cherry, Kendra, The 6 Stages of Behavior Change: The Transtheoretical or Stages of Change Model, Very  https://www.verywellmind.com/the-stages-of-change-2794868

Behavioral Change Models, The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) http://sphweb.bumc.bu.edu/otlt/MPH-Modules/SB/BehavioralChangeTheories/BehavioralChangeTheories6.html

Dellifield, J. Remley, D., Baker, S.Bates, J.S., Communication Strategies to Support a Family Member with Diabetes, 2019, https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5322

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/cardinal-bird-teacup-trees-red-2524695/ 

 

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As adults, we recognize the importance of getting enough sleep each night. It is easy for us to see how much better we feel and how much better we function when we have had a good night’s sleep. When it comes to our children though we may not think about how a lack of sleep can impact their daily lives.

Children’s mental and physical development is directly impacted by sleep. From the newborn to teenagers, getting the proper amount of sleep is going to help them function better.

There are several reasons why getting enough sleep is important for children.

  • Sleep helps keep the body’s immune system working properly.
  • Sleep helps the brain retain new learning and helps with memory recovery and retention.
  • Sleep impacts the emotional centers of the brain which controls rational behavior.
  • Sleep allows the body to relax and recharge.

Current research also indicates that not getting enough sleep can be one of the causes of obesity. These studies are observational but the Harvard School of Public Health reports that several studies have followed large numbers of children over long periods of time and have observed a convincing association between lack of sleep and obesity in children.

How much sleep does a child need? Here is a table from the National Sleep Foundation:

sleep chart

Would you recognize signs that your child is not getting enough sleep?

  • Always falling asleep in the car – especially on short trips
  • Very hard to wake in the morning – you have to wake them repeatedly
  • Irritable or moody
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Trouble concentrating

So, how can we help our children get enough sleep?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Have a consistent bedtime routine  – make it positive and relaxing.
  • Be consistent with your child’s sleep schedule.
  • Keep TV’s computers, video games, etc. out of your child’s room.
  • Watch for caffeine in products your child drinks.

So remember, when thinking about healthy habits; include sleep near the top of the list! Helping your child develop good sleep habits at a young age will benefit them for the rest of their life.

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by Kathryn Dodrill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

Sources:

Iowa State University Extension   http://www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/news/help-children-get-enough-sleep

Harvard School of public Health http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/sleep-and-obesity/

Oregon State University http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lincoln/sites/default/files/family_care_docs/ep-_An_Important_Part_of_Healthy_Development.pdf

National Sleep Foundation http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep

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