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Posts Tagged ‘healthy children’

As the first day of school approaches parents often start to think about routines for the new school year.  Routines can change or need to be adjusted with a new school and sometimes reestablished after the lazy days of summer.

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Routines are an important part of a child’s development.  Routines do more than just keep us organized, they help our youth learn life skills, build their self-confidence, and teach team work and much more.  According to Healthy Children, children do best when their routine are regular, predictable and consistent.

Here are a few routines to consider as you head back into a new school year:

Morning Routine: having a routine in the morning can help families get to work and school on time, remember homework, lunches and other important items and be ready to face the day.  If your children struggle to get going in the morning allow them enough time to wake up before starting their morning routine. A morning routine should include time for breakfast.

After School: Routines after school can organize extracurricular and evening activities and still work in other necessary activities like homework and chores. Children that old enough to be home alone after school benefit from a routine and knowing what is expected of them.  Posting routines for all to see and follow may be helpful.  This also encourages autonomy as our children and teens start to move through the routines on their own.

Bedtime: An evening routine can help our children get their recommended amount of sleep.  Bedtimes may be different for our children based upon their needs and ages. A routine before bed can help children be ready. Build quiet time in and avoid screen time, close to bed to help your child be ready for restful sleep.   A night time routine could include reading time, singing together or just some time with each individual child to talk about their day.

Bed Lamp Bedside Pillows Flower Bedroom Ho

Other routines that are important and beneficial to children include meal, weekend and clean up or chore routines.  Routines look different in every family.  It’s important to be flexible when building a new routine for your family.  It make time for family members to adjust and the new routine may need a few changes,  be patient and willing to adapt as needed and soon you will be seeing all the benefits of routines in your home.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Sources:

https://sleepfoundation.org/excessivesleepiness/content/how-much-sleep-do-babies-and-kids-need

https://www.healthychildren.org/english/family-life/family-dynamics/pages/the-importance-of-family-routines.aspx

https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families/enewsletter/screen-time-and-sleep

Peaceful Parenting, OSU Extension

 

 

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To some it may seem old fashioned, or a thing of the past, but family meals are a proven way to help strengthen families. Years of research has found that the more children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they were to smoke, drink or use drugs. Why? Eating dinner together has a positive effect on social development, family communication, nutritional intake and the development of the family structure.  The conversations that go hand-in-hand with dinner help parents learn more about their children’s lives and help them better understand the challenges their kids face each day.

The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in a research survey of teens and parents found that,  compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners a week, those who dine with their families fewer than three nights are:

  1. Three and a half times likelier to have abused prescriptions drugs
  2. Three times likelier to have tried marijuana
  3. More than two and a half times likelier to have tried cigarettes
  4. One and a half times likelier to have tried alcohol

CASA research shows teens are at a greater risk of substance abuse as they move from middle school to high school. It is especially important for parents to stay involved during this time.  Dinner is one way to make this happen.  It is never too early or too late to start the tradition of regular family dinners with your children.

Besides getting to know your children/teens better, there are other advantages to having frequent family dinners. When children and teens eat at a family table they:

  • Have healthier eating habits
  • Have lower levels of tension and stress at homefamily meal
  • Are more likely to say their parents are proud of them
  • Are likelier to say they confide in their parents
  • Are likelier to make better grades in school
  • Are more emotionally content and have positive relationships
  • Are at lower risk for thought of suicide

As a parent of five children, I know all too well, the battles of balancing work and family to get the meal on the table with the majority of the children each night, but with some planning, you can outwit common family mealtime obstacles and use dinner as a forum to strengthen family ties.   Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Set the mood.  Try eating at a clutter-free table without the television in the background, and no handheld devices.
  • Divide and conquer.  Let everyone help.  Many busy hands make the job easier.
  • Plan ahead.  Be sure all family members know what you expect, when to have their hands washed and their appetites ready.  Dinner does not have to be at the same time every night but let family know in advance.  Posting the menu on the refrigerator is a good idea.  Let the children choose what foods they would like to eat.
  • Cook up the conversation.  Save unpleasant topics for another time.  Be a good listener.  Practice reflective listening and use “I” messages.
  • “May I be excused?”  Clearly define the end of the meal.  Relax, and enjoy the meal together.

Remember that families do not change overnight.  Make small changes each day or week.  Time flies by so quickly in this fast-moving world, but remember that what your kids really want at the dinner table is YOU!

Sources:

Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (2001), May 9, 2001. http://www.casacolumbia.org/index/htm.

Compan, E., Moreno, J., Ruiz, M.T., & Pascual, E. (2002). Doing things together: Adolescent health and family rituals. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health,  56: 89-94.

Ohio State University Extension, Ohioline, Factsheet FLM-FS-4-03. http:/ohioline.osu.edu.

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewed by: Kristen Corry, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Noble & Monroe Counties

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Kid-eating-veggies

Getting your child off to a good start can prevent health problems later. With back to school right around the corner, it’s a great time to develop good lifelong eating habits.

Seven Rules for Healthy Eating
These seven rules for healthy eating helps to raise a healthy eater by defining what the parent is in charge of and what the child is in charge of with regard to their meals and snacks.

1. Responsibility- a parent’s responsibility is to provide nutritious food and regular mealtimes and snack times. Decide where your child should eat. Give food only at the table. Let your child make choices from a variety of good foods. A child’s responsibility is to decide how much to eat.
2. Respect- respect a child’s need to be guarded about trying new foods. Encourage, yet never force a child to try something new.
3. Resist- resist power struggles. Don’t make mealtimes a battle. Choosing to eat is your child’s job. Your job is to provide healthy food and to keep the atmosphere relaxed.
4. Reinforce-reinforce good eating habits. Don’t purchase sugar cereals. Ignore whining for junk food, yet do allow your child to have an occasional treat. Avoid using food as a way to keep a child entertained. Establish regular meal and snack times. Set a good example by eating and enjoying a variety of foods. Your child learns by watching you!
5. Replace- Don’t allow a child to carry around a bottle or cup of milk, juice or soda. This encourages eating for comfort not hunger.
6. Recognize- learn to recognize correct portion sizes. Offer your child the correct portion sizes
7. Relax! Providing healthy foods, regular times for meals and snacks and a calm, relaxing environment will help set the pace for healthy eating.
Family meals are extremely important for you and your family. It is a perfect time to engage in conversations about the day. Children who have frequent family meals:
• Develop good manners and eating habits
• Improve conversation skills
• Learn to compromise and not always have their favorite foods
• Eat more vegetables
• Are frequently happier
• Do better in school
• Often avoid teenage problems such as eating disorders and substance abuse

Start today having family dinners as many nights as possible!

Resources: American Academy Pediatrics/family dinners

Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, RD,LD, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

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