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Your Child

Bullying: Kids Helping Kids to Stop

1:45

Being bullied in school can be at the least annoying and at the worse, enough to make someone try to take their own life.

While adults have searched for ways to get the message across that bullying is not acceptable, certain kids who have a high amount of social influence over their peers may be the best resource for reducing the hateful interaction, according to a new study.

Schools with the largest numbers of these "social influencers" had the largest declines in student conflict, the findings showed.

The study included students from 56 New Jersey middle schools who had strong social influence within their peer groups. These kids weren't always the most popular kids in a particular grade, but had influence in their peer group.

The investigators selected the teens using a tool called social network mapping that allowed them to identify the kids who had the most connections, both online and off.

The researchers came up with their own plan and asked the kids to spread messages about the dangers of bullying and more positive ways of handling conflict. These anti-bullying messages were promoted through Instagram, print posters and colorful wristbands.

"We designed our own curriculum because current programs address problems as defined by adults, and they aren't necessarily fitted to each individual school environment," lead author Elizabeth Levy Paluck, an associate professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, said in a university news release.

"We think the best way to change social norms is to have these student influencers speak in their own voices. Encouraging their own messages to bubble up from the bottom using a grassroots approach can be very powerful," she added.

Kids were more likely to choose not to bully or to find other ways of handing stress or anger when their peers made it known that they did not approve.

"When adults choose student leaders, they typically pick the 'good' kids. But the leaders we find through social network mapping are influential among students and are not all the ones who would be selected by adults. Some of the students we find are right smack in the center of student conflicts. But the point is, these are the students whose behavior gets noticed more," she explained.

Source: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/influential-students-effective-at-bully-prevention-706695.html

Your Child

Skin Cancer Risk Higher for Redheaded and Fair Skin Children

1:45

Too much exposure to sunlight can damage the skin, particularly for children who have pale skin, red or fair hair, freckles or the type of skin that sunburns easily. 

Researchers found that having the genes that give you red hair, pale skin and freckles increases your risk of developing skin cancer as much as an extra 21 years of sun exposure.

Their study found gene variants that produce red hair and freckly, fair skin were linked to a higher number of mutations that lead to skin cancers. The researchers said even people with one copy of the crucial MC1R gene - who may be fair-skinned but not have red hair - have a higher risk.

"It has been known for a while that a person with red hair has an increased likelihood of developing skin cancer, but this is the first time that the gene has been proven to be associated with skin cancers with more mutations," said David Adams, who co-led the study at Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

"Unexpectedly, we also showed that people with only a single copy of the gene variant still have a much higher number of tumor mutations than the rest of the population."

Redheads have two copies of a variant of the MC1R gene which affects the type of melanin pigment they produce, leading to red hair, freckles, pale skin and a strong tendency to burn in the sun.

Exposure to ultraviolet light from either the sun or sunbeds causes damage to DNA and scientists think the type of skin pigment linked to redheads may allow more UV to reach the DNA.

In this latest study, the researchers found that while this may be one factor in the damage, there are also others linked to the crucial MC1R gene.

Although skin cancer is rare in children, the amount of sun exposure during childhood is thought to increase the risk of developing skin cancer in adult life. Children who have had episodes of sunburn are more likely to develop skin cancers in later life.

The skin of children is more delicate and more prone to damage. Therefore, take extra care with children, and keep babies out of the sun completely.

Because infants’ skin is so sensitive, it’s better in the first six months to shield them from the sun rather than use sunscreen. It’s especially important to avoid direct sun exposure and seek the shade during the sun’s hours of greatest intensity, between 10 AM and 4 PM. Keep to the shady side of the street on walks, and use the sun shield on your stroller

Once your baby reaches 6 months of age, it’s time to introduce sunscreens. Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that offers a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Look at the active ingredients; zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are good choices, because these physical filters don’t rely on absorption of chemicals and are less apt to cause a skin reaction. Test your baby’s sensitivity to the sunscreen first, by applying a small amount on the inside of baby’s wrist.

Toddlers should also be kept in the shade between 10 AM-4 PM. Protect young children with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and lightweight clothing that covers the skin.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Most kids get much of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18, so it's important for parents to teach them how to enjoy fun in the sun safely. Taking the right precautions can greatly reduce your child's chance of developing skin cancer.

Story sources: http://patient.info/health/preventing-skin-cancer

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/07/12/skin-cancer-risk-for-freckly-red-heads-equivalent-to-21-years-in-sun.html

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/children/oh-baby

 

 

Your Child

Special Diet for Kids With Crohn Disease, Colitis

1:45

A special diet may help children with Chron disease and ulcerative colitis without the use of medications, according to a new study.

Chron disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that was once considered rare in children. It is now recognized as one of the most important chronic diseases that affect children and teens with approximately 20-30 percent of all patients with Chron presenting symptoms when they are younger than 20 years old.

The diet includes non-processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts. Over 12 weeks, the diet appeared to ease all signs of these inflammatory bowel diseases in eight of the 10 affected children, researchers report.

"The study shows that without other intervention, other changes, we can improve individuals' clinical as well as laboratory markers," said study author Dr. David Suskind. He's a professor of pediatrics and director of clinical gastroenterology at Seattle Children's Hospital.

"I'm not surprised," Suskind added, "primarily because preliminary studies ... opened our eyes to the idea that diet had an impact."

Standard treatment for Chron disease and ulcerative colitis usually includes steroids and other immune-suppressing drugs. With severe symptoms, surgery is sometimes required to remove portions of the intestine.

Suskind and his team put the 10 patients, between the ages of 10 and 17, on a special diet. The diet is known as the specific carbohydrate diet. No other measures were used to treat the study participants' active Crohn's or ulcerative colitis.

The diet removes grains, most dairy products, and processed foods and sugars, except for honey. Those on the specific carbohydrate diet can eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts.

Suskind noted that scientists aren’t sure why the diet seems to work, but there are several theories.

First, it's known that diet affects the gut microbiome -- the array of bacteria in the digestive tract contributing to digestion and underlying the immune system .

"One of the likely reasons why dietary therapy works is it shifts the microbiome from being pro-inflammatory to non-inflammatory," he said.

"Another potential [reason] is there are a lot of additives in the foods we eat that can have an effect on the lining of the intestines. This diet takes out things deleterious to the mucus lining in the intestinal tract," Suskind said.

Other IBD researchers are praising the small study.

Dr. James Lewis is chief scientist for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America's IBD Plexus Program. He's helping lead national research in progress comparing the effectiveness of the specific carbohydrate diet to the so-called Mediterranean diet in inducing remission in patients with Crohn's disease. The Mediterranean diet stresses eating mostly plant-based foods.

Lewis praised Suskind's new study, noting that despite its small size, it adds to growing research suggesting a potential therapeutic benefit from the specific carbohydrate diet to inflammatory bowel patients.

"Even our most effective [standard] therapies leave a proportion of patients with persistently active disease or the inability to completely heal the intestine," Lewis said. "Because of that alone, we need other therapeutic approaches."

The study was published in the recent edition of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.

Story sources: Maureen Salamon, http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/news/20170109/special-diet-may-be-boon-for-kids-with-crohns-colitis#1

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/928288-overview

 

Your Child

Helping Your Child Learn From Failure

2.30 to read

Do you immediately run to the rescue and try to save your child from failing? Many parents, guardians, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, neighbors, and school systems seem to believe that failure is simply not an option for a child these days. 

Perhaps because the idea of failure is often associated with pain and loss, parents naturally want to spare their child any suffering. It’s certainly a normal response to want to help your boy or girl achieve whatever they set out to do, but without disappointment your child’s chances of succeeding in the future diminish. Without failure, success rarely happens. Learning how to cope with disappointment, anger, frustration and sadness are a part of growing into a responsible person – whether you’re a child or an adult.

More important than not passing a test, not making the team, not being chosen for a part in the school play, not spelling a word correctly in a spelling bee, is learning how to cope with disappointment and embarrassment.

How your child responds to feelings of anger, frustration, embarrassment, sadness or low self-esteem will mostly depend on their age and maturity. Children can be taught positive coping skills that help them move past an uncomfortable event. Children also see how parents and others around them handle stress and failure. If we get angry, bossy, inconsolable, and don’t accept responsibility for our own actions, we teach our children to do the same.

Failure at one thing has often opened the door to accomplishments in other areas. Your child may not be accomplished enough to make a sports team, but he or she can run circles around others in math or science. Even though you’ve told your child they can sing like an angel since they were old enough to complete a sentence, others may find that he or she can’t really carry a tune. Your child most likely will not get the lead in the next school musical. And that’s okay. She may discover that her real talent is creating costumes out of raw material, or he may find out that nobody can build a stage set out of cardboard better than he can. Encouragement and praise for what your child can achieve goes a long way in helping them understand and deal with what they can’t achieve.

So, what if my child hasn’t discovered what they are innately good at doing? Life is not a race to excellence; it’s a process. Given enough time and experience, your child will discover his or her own hidden talent. It may take a few failures along the way to make that discovery.

Failure at first try, or second try, or many tries, can often motivate someone to practice harder, study longer, attempt a different approach or in other words – apply themselves more. Children can learn more about problem solving when they are allowed to experience different approaches.  Help your child evaluate what went wrong and how they can prevent it from occurring again by offering them choices. That’s a lot different than protecting them from experiencing the failure in the first place.

Through trial and error, then trying again and succeeding - our kids learn about patience, perseverance and satisfaction in their accomplishments.

Failure is not the opposite of success. “Failure is an event, not a person.” (Zig Ziglar) 

You’ve watched your child learn how to master sitting up, crawling, walking and eating with silverware. All along the way, a child has to make mistakes before they can get it right. Every time there was a fall or setback- most likely there was love and encouragement to try again. Parents that catch their child every time their little one loses his or her balance prevent them from ever finding their balance.

Success isn’t always about “winning.” It’s often about finding another path.

It may be painful to watch your daughter or son have to deal with an unpleasant or painful experience – but it’s something we all have to go through.  Bad relationships can help us value good relationships. Not being chosen can help us strike out on our own and discover the joy of self-reliance.

Childcare.about.com offers these tips for helping your child turn their failure into a lesson for success.

Help your child identify the emotions she feels and express those in an acceptable way. When your child is not successful, whether in the classroom or on the ball field, parents (or any adult caregiver for that matter) should be available to help them work through the emotions.

  • Give him an opportunity to talk about why he thinks things didn't go the way he wanted or expected them to go. Even youngsters can express their feelings, and one of the best things a parent can do is listen. Your child might even provide some insight into what happened that you were not aware of.
  • Provide age-appropriate activities that match your child's interests and skills. Too often, parents lose their way in expecting too much of a child at too young of an age. It really is okay if your child can't do a toe-touch in first grade or is unable to hit the ball off a tee at age 4.
  • Let your child know that winning isn't the most important thing. Give as much praise for his effort and his attitude as you do for a winning outcome.
  • Talk to your child about his strengths--the things that you observe as his positive traits. Conversations such as this can help build self-esteem in even a very young child.
  • Keep your expectations for your child reasonable and realistic. Don't expect your eight year old to master a piano piece by Beethoven in two days, just because her sister can.
  • Remember that your child watches how you respond to failures in your own life. It's okay to share your disappointment and important to show them how you learn from the experience.
  • Let your child know that you love him, win or lose. A big bear hug and a word of encouragement can ease the pain felt when he fails a test or falls down when learning how to ride his bike.

Parents can help their children mature and develop a strong character by helping them face and learn from their “failures.” Learning to fail at something with grace and grit can help your child develop into a more successful person.

Source: Robin McClure,  http://childcare.about.com/od/generaladvice/a/failing.htm

Your Child

Your Kindergartener’s First Day at School

2:00

Whether it’s your little one’s first time, or your child is a seasoned pro, the first day of school brings both excitement and apprehension. It’s not only kids who are slightly hyperventilating… parents are too. Why? Because school is a big deal!

Let’s start with Kindergarten. It doesn’t get much cuter than to see the excitement on a kindergartner’s face on the first day of school.  Between experiencing a certain amount of separation anxiety and their first taste of independence, these little ones are spinning in multiple directions. That’s one reason mom or dad needs to keep their cool - you can cry in the car on the way home.

Some schools offer parents and children a “get to know your school” pre-school visit. If you and your child have the opportunity to visit the school in advance – take it!

The more familiar your child is with the school, the better at calming his or her anxieties on the first day. It’s also good for mom and dad to be acquainted with the teacher and the lay out of the school before your little one starts class.

On the big day, try and arrive a little early. Introduce yourself and your child to the teacher.

Help your little one get the lay of the land. Show him where the bathroom is and explain that they can go anytime they need to- but they will need to ask the teacher first. Also mention that sometimes accidents happen, and that teachers know this. Some schools will ask parents to bring an extra set of underwear and clothing to be kept in the child’s locker for such occasions.

Lunchtime is going to be an unfamiliar experience for these first-timers. You can ease their fears by taking them to the school cafeteria and letting them know that their teacher will tell them when it’s time for lunch. Explain how some children will bring their lunch from home, and some will get their lunch from the cafeteria line. Let them know that they will get to sit with the other children in their class.

Another tip to help your child understand how lunchtime will work is by taking her to a cafeteria-style restaurant before the school year begins. Explain how once they start school, lunchtime will be kind of like eating at a cafeteria. It can also be a good time to talk about healthy food choices.

If you’re going to pack a lunch for your child, begin a couple of weeks before school starts and practice the routine. You can get their input on what kinds of foods they might like and experiment with some healthy choices to see which ones they like the best.

You can also explain that there may be a naptime during the day. They don’t have to actually go to sleep, but they may get a chance to lie down on a cot and rest.

Let your child know that either you or another caregiver will pick them up from school at a certain time. If your child rides the bus, explain the process and how the adults will make sure they are kept safe.

Also, have a backup plan in case someone is going to be late or cannot pick your child up. Give the school a list of people you will allow to pick up your child when you can’t make it.

When it’s time to say goodbye, smile, wave and encourage your child to have a great day. The more relaxed you are, the less threatened your child will feel. Some children get very clingy and start crying – it’s a natural first-day-at-school- reaction to unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances. This may go on for a week or so. Teachers are pros at helping parents say good-bye. Enlist their help. Also know that some kids head off to class without even looking back. It's not a reflection on you- it's just that some personalities are always excited about a new adventure. 

As the school year progresses there will be lots of conversations about school and all the changes it brings. Remember to stay positive and give easy to understand information that correlates to your child’s age.

Stay informed on how your child is doing at school. You may want to set up a meeting with his or her teacher on a regular basis.

Once you’ve said good-bye and you’re out of the school building -go ahead and fall apart. It’s natural for parents to have some of the same emotions that their child is having. Your little one is growing up and has just passed an important milestone in life. You have too.

Source: Ruth A. Peters, Ph.D.

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/14244318/ns/today-back_to_school/t/tips-calm-your-childs-first-day-jitters/#.TlPNHHO1lvE

Your Child

Healthier Choices for Students in School Lunch Lines

1:30

School lunches have changed over the years and in many school cafeterias, food options are healthier than ever before, according to a new study.

Elementary school cafeterias are offering more vegetables, fresh fruit, salad bars, whole grains and more healthy pizzas, while the availability of high-fat milks, fried potatoes and regular pizza has decreased, researchers report.

"School food service programs have worked hard to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches, and largely have been very successful," said lead researcher Lindsey Turner, director of the Initiative for Healthy Schools at Boise State University, in Idaho.

Although in some schools food choices are improving, that’s not the case everywhere. Turner noted that more work needs to be done to make sure every student has the same healthy choices in the lunch line.

In the study of more than 4,600 elementary schools that are part of the U.S. National School Lunch Program, researchers found that school lunches improved significantly between 2006-2007 and 2013-2014.

Despite improvements in food choices, disparities were still found. For example, schools in the West were more likely to offer salad bars than schools in the Northeast, Midwest or South, the researchers found.

Schools with a majority of black or Hispanic children were less likely to offer fresh fruit than schools with a preponderance of white students.

Also, schools in poor areas were less likely to offer salads regularly.

Over the course of the study, Midwestern schools slightly reduced offering pre-made salads in favor of salad bars, but Southern schools were more likely to offer pre-made salads and less likely to have salad bars, the researchers found.

On the other side of offering healthier foods is choosing to eat those foods. Just because there are better food options available, doesn’t mean that kids will eat them. One expert noted that it takes time and effort for kids to change their eating habits. It not only has to look good, it has to taste good.

"It is not only important to improve the quality of school lunches but to make these foods attractive, tasty, easily seen and accessible," said Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center, in New York City.

Studies have found that putting fresh fruit in a nice bowl, in a conveniently located, well-lit area in the school cafeteria increased sales of fruit by 102 percent, she noted.

"A brightly lit, hot-and-cold salad bar filled with colorful fresh fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts, mushroom and spinach pizza, and veggie tacos center-stage in the lunchroom would be very attractive to students and staff alike," Heller said.

This approach works well at home, too, she added.

"Kids are more likely to grab healthy foods like cut-up melon, carrots, peppers, edamame and hummus when they are upfront and easy to grab in the fridge," Heller said.

The study was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

Story source: Steven Reinberg, http://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/food-and-nutrition-news-316/america-s-school-lunches-getting-healthier-study-709097.html

Your Child

Laser Pointers and Vision Loss

1:45

Laser pointers were once found primarily in schools, certain industries, entertainment venues and scientific labs. Today they are easily available over the Internet and have garnered the attention of kids and teens that use them as toys. They’ve also become a social media phenomenon as videos of people using them to tease or play with cats rack up likes and shares.

Low powered laser pointers have been considered basically safe for children to play with as long as warnings to avoid pointing the laser at someone’s head or eyes were followed. When operated unsafely, or without certain controls, the highly concentrated light from lasers—even those in toys—can be dangerous, causing serious eye injuries and even blindness. And not just to the person using a laser, but to anyone within range of the laser beam.

Typically, laser light injuries are not painful. Eye injuries may go unnoticed for days and even weeks, but could be permanent.

Some examples of laser toys are:

•       Lasers mounted on toy guns that can be used for "aiming;"

•       Spinning tops that project laser beams while they spin;

•       Hand-held lasers used during play as "light-sabers;" and

•       Lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open room.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), laser pointers fall into 4 classifications. The classifications categorize lasers according to their ability to produce damage in exposed people, from class 1 (no hazard during normal use) to class 4 (severe hazard for eyes and skin). There are two classification systems, the "old system" used before 2002, and the "revised system" being phased in since 2002.

Researchers recently documented 4 boys who suffered severe eye damage from a laser pointer. The authors report described two 12-year-olds, one nine-year-old and one 16-year-old who came to a medical center with central vision loss and "blind spots" within hours to days after looking into or playing with a green or red laser pointer.

In one case, the boy looked at the reflection of a laser pointer in a mirror. Two others simply pointed the lasers at themselves, and the fourth was engaged in a "laser war" with a friend.

"Long-term outcomes for these patients will be pretty mild vision loss," said senior author Dr. David R. P. Almeida of VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"Males may horse around with things more, or we just happened to have boys in our series," Almeida told Reuters Health by phone. Injuries could be just as likely for girls.

He advises parents to be careful about where they buy laser pointers, as some retailers may not list the power rating or may list it incorrectly, and to limit use for kids under 14.

Retinal tissue in the back of the eye leads to the brain, and it has no ability to regenerate after tissue loss, Almeida said.

"One patient developed bleeding and needed an injection in the eye," which can be particularly unpleasant for children, he said.

Kids may use laser pointers as long as they avoid improper use, Almeida said.

"Unsupervised use of these laser pointer devices among children should be discouraged, and there is a need for legislation to limit these devices in the pediatric population," he and his coauthors write.

There's no doubt that these products can open up a world of imagination - dragon slayer, cosmic explorer, super pirate, the list goes on. Handled correctly they can provide hours of fun - mishandled, hours in the emergency room. If your child has a laser pointer or toy, make sure he or she knows the rules and understands why being careful about where it is pointed is so important. 

Story sources: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/09/06/laser-pointers-can-cause-irreversible-vision-loss-for-kids.html

http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm363908.htm

 

 

Your Child

Yearly Flu Shot Could Stop Most Flu-Related Deaths in Kids

2:00

A simple yearly flu shot could prevent most flu-related deaths in children, according to a new study.

While the flu season is winding down, research shows that parents need to remember the benefits flu shots offer, when it rolls around again next fall.

Scientists found that about three-quarters of U.S. kids who died of flu complications between 2010 and 2014 were unvaccinated before they fell ill.

If all children got their yearly flu shot, 65 percent of those deaths could be prevented, the researchers estimated.

Experts said the findings support what health officials already recommend; adults and children age 6 months and up should be vaccinated ahead of every flu season.

It’s not a common occurrence, but children can die of the flu. When it does happen, "it's a tragedy," said Brendan Flannery, a researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the study.

"People often don't consider the flu to be very serious," Flannery said. "But it can be, and even children can die."

Healthy kids can become seriously ill and develop complications such as pneumonia. The risk is higher among children with certain medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.

Flannery's team found that a flu shot could cut the risk of death among both healthy kids and those with "high-risk" medical conditions.

The findings are based on 358 children and teenagers who died of a flu infection that was confirmed by laboratory testing, over four flu seasons. Only one-quarter had been vaccinated -- though the rate was higher among kids with underlying medical conditions.

Of 153 children with high-risk conditions, 31 percent had gotten a flu shot.

The researchers then compared those kids with three large groups of U.S. children whose flu vaccination rates had been tracked. Overall, 48 percent of these children had been vaccinated for flu, the study found.

On average, the CDC team estimated, 65 percent of flu-related deaths could be prevented if all U.S. kids got their yearly flu shot. Among children with high-risk medical conditions, the vaccine could cut the risk of death in half.

While the flu vaccine isn’t foolproof, it typically reduces the risk of getting the flu or makes it less severe. The flu vaccine has to be reformulated each year, depending on the most dominant strain of virus.

"With an imperfect vaccine, we'll still see deaths from the flu," Flannery said. "But vaccination does reduce the risk."

Despite that, many U.S. children -- even those with high-risk medical conditions -- go unvaccinated.

One likely reason, Offit said, is that it's a yearly shot. That makes it inconvenient, he noted -- but also, to some people, "implies that it's not very good."

Flannery agreed that some people believe the flu shot does not work. To some extent, he said, that's due to uncertainty about what the flu is: Some people confuse it with the common cold, or even a stomach infection. If they fall ill with those infections after getting a flu shot, they think the vaccine didn't work.

The flu vaccine can help prevent hospitalizations, time off work for parents and a lot of misery for the kids, Flannery noted.

In addition, some parents worry about the vaccine's safety, particularly if their child has a chronic health condition.

But, Flannery stressed, "the vaccine is recommended for children with high-risk medical conditions because it is safe."

In the U.S., flu season usually runs between October and April.

The findings were published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Story source: Amy Norton, https://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/most-u-s-kids-who-die-from-flu-are-unvaccinated-721195.html

 

Your Child

Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving

2:00

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when family and friends gather to share good food, stories and memories together. Many folks enjoy a game of touch football and the always-pleasant Macy’s day parade as well. Most of all, it’s a day of giving thanks for all the blessings and challenges we each face throughout the year- knowing we face them side-by-side.

For kids, the message of Thanksgiving may not have quite sunk in yet, but there are several ways you can help teach your children how Thanksgiving and gratitude go hand-in-hand.

Several experts offer these tips for putting the thanks in Thanksgiving:

Playing the gratitude game!   Kids love games and this is one that can make them think about the things they are thankful for and have fun at the same time. Lennay Chapman, author of "Secrets to a Rockin Life”, has created "The Gratitude Game."  It’s pretty simple and will keep the kids on their toes! The game needs ideally three or more players and one person to serve as a timekeeper. Have everyone sit in a circle with one person starting off saying, "I am grateful for [fill in the blank]." That person has five seconds to come up with something for which they are thankful, whether it be their favorite stuffed animal, food or activity. As soon as the first person finishes, the person to the left goes. "The key is to say what you are grateful for without repeating, and without pausing for more than five seconds," says Chapman.

Create a Thankfulness jar! Robert Nickell, a well known syndicated columnist for national newspapers, parenting magazines and family oriented websites as well as creator of Daddy & Company, suggests creating a “Thankfulness Jar” for the family.

Have the children decorate a jar or basket, placing a notepad and pen next to it. Leave the jar out the week before Thanksgiving and have family members and caregivers write down things for which they are thankful. They can be big things, or small little gestures. This gives people time to think about it and write heartfelt answers. During the Thanksgiving meal, have the children pull them out and read them during dinner.

“Thankful Turkey” decorations! Another creative idea Nickell shares are "Thankful Turkeys." "Draw the old-fashioned hand turkey or be more elaborate, but have children write something they are thankful for on each of the turkey's feathers," he suggests. They can be used as place cards or decorations on Thanksgiving Day.

Thankful Writing! Have each child write thank you notes to every family member who comes to share the meal with your family. In those thank you notes, have the children specifically focus on what it is about that family member that makes them so special.

It’s show time! What better day than Thanksgiving (with a captive audience) to put on a play or read poems? Encourage children to collaborate and put together a Thanksgiving show or write a Thanksgiving poem about thankfulness. Have them perform the show or read their poems after dinner.

Be an example! Another great way to teach children gratitude is to model thankfulness. Volunteer with your children at places where, not only can they help others, but see how fortunate they are.

Create a family, “giving fund” so that everyone chips in, and then uses the money to donate to a charity.

Children are often grateful, they just don’t have a name for the feeling they are experiencing.

These simple tips are fun ways to give gratitude a name and expression.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Story source: Alaina Sullivan, https://www.care.com/c/stories/3726/8-tips-for-teaching-kids-to-be-thankful/

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