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Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

During this time of unknowns, are we forgetting to check in on our teenagers? Do we sometimes think, “they have their video games and phones” and don’t bother to check in on them anymore than that? I have many friends with teenagers who share how self-sufficient their teenagers have become in the midst of COVID-19. Sure they sleep in too long, stay up too late, and may not be eating as healthy of a diet, but overall they appear to be happy and healthy. However, is that truly the case for our teenagers?

A recent study conducted by the National 4-H Council shared startling statistics. Of the 1,500 youth who were polled, 7 out of 10 identified they are struggling with their mental health. One key indicator found that teens report more pressure to hide their feelings than to do drugs. The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the National 4-H Council was published by multiple outlets including HuffPost. For more detailed statistics, the 4-H National page provides more.

While concerns of suicide are on the rise in our youth already, this global pandemic has increased the importance for us to check in with our youth to see how they are feeling. A statistic from the Youth Mental Health First Aid course shares that if a youth feels they have one trusted adult they can seek out to share feeling with, it decreases their chance of suicide drastically.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital has a campaign called On Our Sleeves that offers a place to begin a conversation. Resources are available to help parents, educators, and healthcare providers talk with youth about mental health. Honest and open conversations allow young people to share openly and honestly with you, a trusted adult.  This helps them so they don’t feel like the 65% of youth that are “dealing with it on their own”.

on our sleeves

Our youth are resilient, but they need your help to navigate these difficult years. Whether it is from a parent, guardian, or family friend, our youth need to have advocates when it comes to their own mental health. What are you waiting for? Invite that teen you know out to lunch (virtually or in-person!) and let them know how much you love and care for them.

References:

National 4-H Council. (2020). https://4-h.Org/about/Research/#!Healthy-Living. https://4-h.org/about/research/#!healthy-living

Nationwide Children’s Hospital. (2020). Nationwide Children’s Hospital. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/giving/on-our-sleeves

Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid. https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

Written by: Bridget Britton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Carroll County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

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As parents, we want to know that our kids are going to be able to function without us.  We send them to school to learn all the academic essentials and we stress the importance of good grades.  However, are they really prepared for adulthood?  Do they have the skills to navigate life effectively?  Can they survive on their own?  A study published in the Child Development journal, revealed “youth are taking longer to engage in both the pleasures and the responsibilities of adulthood compared to teens from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s”.  Jean Twenge, leading author of the study, found youth often arrive at colleges and jobs unprepared for independence.  Sarah Clark, is an associate research scientist with the University of Michigan and co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.  In a recent poll she asked parents how confident they were in their child’s ability to perform different life skills.  She found:

  • 8% could make an appointment with a doctor on their own.
  • 25% could dole out the correct dose of an over-the-counter medication.
  • 41% expected their kid to eat healthy foods.
  • 46% would save money for the future.
  • 50% could handle a minor injury with first aid.

It seems our youth are not as prepared as we would like them to be entering adulthood.  Where do we go from here?  How can we produce young adults who can function and thrive independently?  I believe we need to go back to the basics and provide them opportunities to learn practical life skills.  GreatSchools.org suggests teaching your teen the following:Family doing laundry

Starting at a young age, my daughter had chores to complete, was given choices to make, and was provided opportunities to develop basic life skills.  It was not always welcomed with open arms.  In fact, the older she grew the more it was met with resistance and often anger.  I am proud of the strong, independent 16-year-old daughter I have raised but was reminded the other day she still has life skills to learn.  She completed an application for summer employment and struggled to answer the questions.  I was surprised she could not complete this seemingly simple task.  She is an honors student and loves to read and write.  After I reflected on the situation, it validated that learning life skills is just as important as learning to read, write, and do math.  It takes both academics and life skills to produce quality, motivated, contributing members of society.

Note: A team of Ohio State University Extension professionals have been developing short videos with a number of these basic life skills in them – check them out here. Topics include: interview skills, basic first aid, how to change a flat tire, how to make a healthy smoothie, how to develop cultural intelligence, how to measure ingredients, and much more.

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, OSU Extension Educator, Belmont County dunfee.54@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, OSU Extension Educator, Ross County barlage.7@osu.edu

 

 

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You have probably heard about the increasing number of children who are overweight and the efforts to decrease the trend. 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! is a national childhood obesity prevention program which focuses on policy and environmental changes to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children through age 18. Let’s Go! works with youth and families through a collaboration of six sectors including schools, early childhood, communities, workplace, out of school and healthcare.  While the initiative originated in Maine through the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, communities across the nation have implemented the program.

 

The goal of the campaign is to change unhealthy behaviors and adopt healthier habits. While the primary target is youth, people of all ages can benefit from the guidelines.  Strategies are evidence-based and the messages are consistent and simple:

  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day
  • Spend 2 hours or less of screen time – television, smart phone, video games, etc.
  • Enjoy 1 hour or more of physical activity each day
  • Consume 0 sweetened beverages per day, such as soda, juice and energy drinks

5-2-1-0 graphic

Graphic courtesy of Keys for Healthy Kids

Collaboration is key to the success of the program in any state. Teams of nutrition, health and education specialists develop trainings to provide to partners within the community setting.  Some of the successful strategies that have worked for Maine and Florida include:

Engage community partners to support healthy eating and active living

Prohibit food being used as a reward

Implement staff wellness programs that incorporate physical activity and healthy eating

Provide water rather than sugar-sweetened beverages

Limit unhealthy snacks provided for celebrations, offering healthy snacks instead

In 2015, more than 350,000 children and their families living in Maine were reached through 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Future opportunities of the program may be extended to parents in the home environment and disabled children.

 

Sources: The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! http://www.letsgo.org/

Florida Health, Palm Beach County, http://www.5210letsgo.com/

Jennifer Even, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County

Reviewer:  Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

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