Trouble with Transitions
8 Ways you Can Help your Child Deal with Change
It’s a new school year with lots of changes to adjust to – new classroom, teachers or, friends, new activities and responsibilities. Some kids find transitions and changes challenging. Our parent education coordinator, Liz Kim, shares some articles that provide tips helping your child survive and thrive in an ever-changing world:
Trouble with Transitions
8 Ways you Can Help your Child Deal with Change
Three Tips for a Painless Switch to Litterless Lunch
Did you know that the average elementary school-age child brings in approximately 67 pounds of waste each school year if they bring a disposable lunch every day? That would almost 25,000 pounds of waste for Blakeburn!
Luckily many Blakeburn families are switching to litterless lunches for their kids, keeping unnecessary waste out of their kid’s lunches and off our school yard! Read on for tips to make the switch to litterless lunch:
1. Get the goods.
If you don’t have reusable food containers, or want to start from scratch, you’ll want to invest in some that will work for your child’s favourite foods and fit in their lunch kit. Compartmentalized containers, like bento boxes, various sized Tupperware-like storage units, or washable bags work well. Add a refillable water bottle, cloth napkin, and reusable cutlery, and you are set.
Get ideas for reusable products:
2. Buy in bulk.
Skip the individually packaged Goldfish crackers or mini yogurts and pick up normal or bulk-sized packages of your child’s favourites that you can divvy up into the containers. Stock up on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that don’t come in any packaging! You’ll save money too - studies show you can save a third of what you were spending before going litterless.
Get ideas for what to put into litterless lunches:
3. Prep ahead.
To really make this worthwhile, prep what you can ahead of time and enlist your child to help. If you have five sets of containers, you can pre-load snacks, pre-cut veggies, and dole out yogurt or drinks on Sunday night, then add whatever else the night before. Or if you’re reusing the same containers, teach your child rinse and refill their snack and drink containers every night.
Making changes in your family is not always easy, and if it still feels overwhelming, take it one step at a time. You coudl start with encouraging your the kids to take their drink boxes home and refill baggies. Next, replace those boxes and baggies with containers. And so on. Besides saving money for your family, you’re saving your school as well from wasting money on trash removal. Of course you’re helping the environment too by keeping waste out of the landfill. But more importantly you’re supporting your child to make this positive change!
1. MYTH: Lice can jump.
FACT: Lice do not have wings. They cannot fly and they cannot jump. Instead, they move by crawling. That is why direct head-to-head contact, such as kids putting their heads together while playing, is the most common way for head lice to spread from one person to another.
2. MYTH: You are more likely to get head lice if your hair is dirty, you have bad personal hygiene habits or if your home is untidy.
Getting head lice has absolutely nothing to do with personal hygiene or the cleanliness of a home. And washing your hair will not get rid of lice, which cling to hair follicles, nor nits (lice eggs), which are extremely sticky and cling to hair.
3. MYTH: An itchy head means your child most likely has head lice.
Itchy scalp is one of the common symptoms of head lice. But there can be other causes of itchy scalp, such as seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) or dry skin. Moreover, some children who have head lice may not experience itching.
4. MYTH: Head lice prefer long hair.
Lice do not care whether hair is short, long, clean or dirty. Lice thrive in hair, period, specifically on the blood they get through the scalp.
5. MYTH: You can get head lice from pets (and vice versa).
Lice cannot be transmitted from pets, and pets cannot get them from people.
6. MYTH: Head lice carry and transmit diseases.
The good news is that lice have not been shown to spread disease. That said, they can be extremely bothersome. Children who have head lice can experience intense itching and develop a rash from the bites, and the skin can become infected from scratching. They can feel irritable and have trouble sleeping because they are itchy. And of course, lice can be emotionally upsetting for a child and for her family.
7. MYTH: To kill the lice, you must stuff all your child’s belongings in plastic bags, and put them in a freezer or leave them in the bags for several weeks.
This used to be the recommendation years ago, but it is understood today that lice do not survive very long away from a host. The best way to handle a lice infestation in your environment is to simply vacuum any items and areas you think your child may have rested her head on, wash her linens and towels with hot water and put them in a hot dryer to kill any lice or nits.
8. MYTH: Kids are most likely to get head lice in school.
This is a common misconception, probably stemming from the fact that school-age children are at an increased risk for getting head lice. The fact is, kids tend to get head lice from places and activities where they are more likely to have direct head-to-head contact or share personal items, such as combs, bedding, towels and hair accessories. The most common sources of head lice infestations are, in addition to school, camp, daycare, slumber parties and sports activities, among others.
9. MYTH: Head lice are extremely contagious and children who are diagnosed with head lice should be isolated until all the nits are gone.
The truth is that lice are most frequently spread through head-to-head contact, which allows the lice to travel from one person to another. Since they cannot jump from one person to another, transmission can be prevented by taking such precautions as not sharing personal items and avoiding close contact. Isolation of a child who has head lice, or keeping him out of school, as long as he has begun treatment, is not necessary.
10. MYTH: Natural alternative treatments for head lice are always safe and effective for kids.
The truth is that parents must be cautious when using products that are touted as being "natural" to treat their child's head lice. Many products may contain ingredients such as certain essential oils that are not recommended for use on young children. Always check with your doctor before using any products on your child's scalp. And keep in mind that no product, natural or not, is 100% effective in killing lice and nits.
More resources on Lice:
Fraser Health: What do I need to know if my child has lice
HealthLinkBC: Lice Overview
Parent Map: Facts of Lice (parent perspective)
Getting our kids to read is crucial to their development; that much we know! But how can we make reading time at home more enjoyable and productive? Here are a few simple ideas.
Our parent education coordinator, Liz Kim, shares some useful articles:
The first article explains seven tips for parents as they read with their kids
The second article shares ideas for getting a reluctant reader to love reading.
Looking for ways to occupy your children during school breaks or on weekends? Hoping they can continue learning without noticing? Here are a few low-cost and free ideas to get everyone in your family staying smart and sane during the breaks.
Social and Emotional Development
“Kids brains are developing and churning out information at all times. It’s important to feed their little brains and bodies with the most high quality, vitamin and mineral packed foods possible,” said Elizabeth Fassberg, a nutritionist with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. “Science has shown that food affects kids’ memory, attention and cognitive skills.”
Here are a few important nutrients to incorporate into kids’ diets.
It’s okay to think outside the box when it comes to packing snacks and lunches for kids. Not sure if your child would eat a boiled egg to get their choline? How about French toast slices with some maple syrup dip? For a change from granola bars, which often contain excessive sugar but little nutrients, try a trail mix with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins and a few M&M’s. Since berries are not in season, buy frozen varieties and add them to yogurt or smoothies. And get kids involved in choosing their snacks and lunches; the more input they have, the better the chances they’ll eat it!
Sources: www.prevention.com, www.parents.com
Learning to read looks a lot different today than it did when we were kids. Our kids are encouraged to really think about what they are reading and share those thoughts with their peers. This allows for a much deeper comprehension than we may expect because we may not have been taught this way.
There are many ways to encourage and support your child at home with this type of reading:
Q: My son is starting to get really into playing video games. What resources are out there to help parents who aren’t too tech savvy?
A: More than 80% of kids age 6-17 are playing video games on a regular basis, so it’s a good idea to get in the know. Since this is a huge topic, I’ll try and address the three most common questions related to video games:
1. Is it okay for my child to play [insert name of game]?
There is a huge range of video games out there, and the content and graphic nature makes it really important that you know and approve of the games your children want to play. When choosing games, consider what they are interested in (sports, cars, movies), talk to other parents with children the same age, understand the ratings on games, and do your research. (See ESRB ratings and parent-focused video game reviews below.) Games that promote problem solving, encourage cooperative play, or are challenging without being violent are ideal. Expert advice is to play with your children so you understand the game first hand, can see if any of the content concerns them, and are able to discuss the game and any impacts it has with your child.
2. How much video game playing is okay?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting your child’s “screen time” to one or two hours a day. This includes video games and computer time, TV watching and iPod/DS/PSP playing. It’s not just about how much time is too much, but also how that takes away from other things your child could be doing like playing outside, being creative, reading, or interacting with family and friends. Studies have linked excessive screen time with problems like obesity, lower grades, and difficulty paying attention. However, it’s not a good idea to ban video games altogether as they are a strong part of kids’ social lives, especially boys. Experts advise setting up rules and time limits that your kids need to stick to, but make them realistic enough that your child can finish a level or progress in a game in the time allowed. Also, keep tv’s and video game systems out of kid’s bedrooms and in a common area of your home where you can monitor them.
3. What are the effects of exposure to video games (and video game violence)?
Younger children are most at risk of being effected by video games as they cannot always tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Studies show that video game violence has an immediate effect of stirring up aggressive feelings and possible behaviour. Over a longer term, possible impacts are that kids may get desensitized to violence, get in more conflicts with peers and teachers, mimic character’s behaviours, and see grades decline. But it’s not only “shoot `em up” violence to be aware of. Many games intended for Mature audiences, include graphic violence against women (prostitution and rape); and although the rating for these games may be “M”, they are often marketed towards younger audiences, or younger kids play with their older siblings.
As a parent, you can set parental controls on most systems (see ESRB Parent’s Guide to Video Games, Parental Controls, and Online Safety below) and only allow games that you have investigated. Nothing can replace playing and talking to your kids about video games from a young age so that you can continue the discussion as content becomes more questionable.
Note: I did not have space to discuss online gaming and internet safety at all. If you have interest in this, I can cover this topic in a future article.
Canada’s Centre for Digital & Media Literacy on Video Games:
Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB):
ESRB Parent’s Guide to Video Games, Parental Controls, and Online Safety
Parent-Focused Video Game Reviews
Children’s Technology Review - www.childrenssoftware.com
Common Sense Media - www.commonsensemedia.org
GamerDad - www.gamerdad.com
What They Play - www.whattheyplay.com
Have more tips or resources to share? Add them to the comments below!
Q: While trying to explain the story behind pink shirt day last week, I found that the idea of bullies was scaring my (Kindergarten) child. How can I help empower him instead?
A: As parents we need to understand bullying and what tools we have as parents to help our kids navigate this issue.
Bullying is not bugging.
There is much attention on anti-bullying these days, but it’s important to separate kids being mean or having a conflict from bullying. According to www.ERASEbullying.ca “bullying is a pattern of unwelcome or aggressive behaviour, often with the goal of making others uncomfortable, scared or hurt. It’s almost always used as a way of having control or power over their target, and it is often based on another person’s appearance, culture, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.” Kids are going to be kids, say nasty or inappropriate things, and make social blunders, but it becomes bullying when it is intentional, repetitive and related to gaining power.
The three roles in bullying.
In any bullying scenario, kids take on one of three roles – the bully, the victim or the observer – each facing specific challenges. The bully is trying to gain power in a social situation and sees bullying as his only strategy. The victim is trying to avoid getting hurt again and does not know how to stop it. And the observer is trying to decide how to respond to this uncomfortable situation. How a child responds to these challenges is called resilience.
Donna Volpitta, and Joel Haber (co-authors of The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive--Not Reactive—Parenting) suggest that, kids need to learn how to deal with these challenges in the same way they need to learn to read and write. “Our role as parents/educators is to teach kids strategies to enable them to make good choices that help them resolve a bullying situation successfully. Young children do not have the skills to negotiate complex social situations like bullying gracefully and successfully.”
So, as parents, we can guide our kids to learn social skills like empathy, negotiation, and sharing rather than trying to solve their conflicts for them. We can open discussions with our kids and role play scenarios. We can offer them opportunities to practice working through disagreements with friends, without interfering.
Our principal, Jane Kruks, tells us that bullying is thankfully not a big issue within our school, but she and the staff are also very consciously creating and reinforcing an environment which teaches social responsibility of all members of Blakeburn. I’ve heard her at Bounce acknowledge students who came forward to report unwanted behavior, sending a clear message that it’s not tolerated. This kind of culture encourages everyone to be responsible for upholding Blakeburn’s tenets: Take care of yourself, take care of others, take care of this place.
Have more tips or thoughts to share? Add them to the comments section below.
Erase Bullying (contains resources for parents and children)
Focus on Bullying: A Prevention Program for Elementary School Communities
The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive--Not Reactive—Parenting
Q: When my son gets near the school, he impulsively starts running to his friends, and I worry that he could get hit by a car when everyone is doing drop offs. Am I overreacting?
A: Absolutely not. Your concerns are totally valid. BC’s RCMP say that kids aged 5-9 are the most vulnerable as pedestrians. Here’s what you and everyone involved with drop offs and pick ups can do to keep our kids safe.
1. Play by the rules of drop off.
I know mornings are rushed for everyone, but let’s work together as Blakeburn parents to keep all the kids safe.
2. Model traffic safety.
I know I’m guilty of jaywalking but it doesn’t help my kindergartener to see Mom doing it and think that’s okay. Teach your kids these traffic safety rules by following them yourself:
Source: BC RCMP - http://bc.cb.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=87&languageId=1&contentId=6729
Want to help your kids avoid bringing home the latest illness? I did some research and found some surprising facts about colds and flu that might help:
1. It’s not just about washing hands. If your kids don’t DRY their hands, it’s even worse for carrying germs than if they hadn’t washed them at all. Taking time to train our kids to wash hands with warm soap and water AND dry them after any contact with bathrooms, food, animals and other people is the best defense against transferring cold germs.
2. Flu shots might be free for you this year. The flu hits 10-25% of us between Nov-April every year and young children are among the highest at risk. This year, Fraser Health has added two new groups to the list of people eligible for free flu shots: “healthy children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age” And “household contacts and caregivers of children from birth to less than 5 years of age” which would include parents and other kids.
Where to get flu shots around Port Coquitlam: