Many kids (and parents) are feeling mounting anxiety over the approach of a new school year. From hectic mornings to last-minute projects, the many activities that make up the busy schedules of the school year. New school year pile of excessive paperwork. New Kids, Teachers and Staff. Mixed in with a little anxiety about the right clothes, phone or backpack, I know, I, for one, am ready for summer of the 2020 school year already. Truth be told, Kids and Parent's all suffer for the new school year blues. If you weren't already overthinking enough, below we have listed a few back to school health threats that you should be aware of.
Over Packed Schedule: Remember the long dog days of summer? Sleeping in. Napping after a long day at the beach. Not anymore kiddos. With a majority of households where both parents are working, children are being scheduled before and after school activities or care.Once home at the end of what typically is the parents end of work day schedule , is dinner, hours and hours of homework. Most kids are not getting an adequate amount of free time or well needed family time. Before it gets to crazy this school year, take a look at your schedule and the kids schedule and make choices that gives them activity time as well as needed family time.
Lack of Movement: The good old days of "Red rover, red rover send Jason right over." Tag and dodge ball are long gone. Over the past decade slowly games that we use to play have been removed from gym class and not allowed at recess. Some schools banning play altogether. Reasoning varies depending on the school or district, but bullying has been the over all theme for limiting play. Gym class has turned into rule-laden structured activity. I know what your thinking, in point number one we talked about limiting after school activities for more family time. The over all point is during the day the kids are not getting what they did in the past. Making sure you have some outside time planned with your kids after school wouldn't be a bad thing. Plus just think about all the memories and bonding time you will gain. Win-Win.
School Food: Packing our kids lunch is always a good way for be assured you know what they are eating when your not there, unless of course their making trade agreements with other students. According to the USDA roughly 31 million children are served hot lunches per day. A growing concern is quality of food or if they have even eaten what they were served to begin with. Doctor's offices are bombarded with calls about increased headaches, rashes and fatigue some tracing back to the food they were served.If your child is signed up for before school or after school programs they are more likely to be given unhealthy snacks or treats. Have an open conversation with the person in charge of the food program in your kids school. Talk to your student about what good food looks like to you and your family. Take them shopping with you so they can see the good healthy choices you provide for your own family.
AAAaAAAcCCHHOoooo: Students and adults all struggle with back to school germs. Boosting your immune system is always a great idea before entering Germ High, but if it has slipped your mind, like it always does mine, it's time to worry. In 2016 it was reported that 50 percent of the schools don't employ a registered nurse full time. In many cases they have one or two nurses per district that are assigned certain days at certain schools. If you have a child with chronic health problems this could be a disaster. It is important for you to know who is caring for your child when they are at school. If it is a cold, bloody nose, or a slip and fall in the hallway, knowing who is meeting your child's health needs is important.
Bird's and the Bee's and wait...A sexually Transmitted Disease?!?: As a parent the last thing you are looking forward to is "The talk" According to the CDC the good news is our children will delay intercourse longer than their parents. On the bad side they are not avoiding sexual activities. In fact, children as young as 10 are reporting sexual activity. This was further talked about in the Journal of American Medicine reports 24.5 percent of patients diagnosed with HPV are between the ages of 10-19.In fact, 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers. Nobody likes to think about their child facing peer pressure when it comes to sexual activity. Times are vastly different from what we were exposed to as children. Cell phones, internet and TV are putting the world at their fingertips. Make sure they know you are someone who is willing to answer questions and guide them without judgement or preconceived notions that we know "what it's like to be a kid." Let's face it, we didn't have google.
Do we really even talk anymore?: When we are living in the age of emoji emotions. Sad face reactions and a thumbs up approval do we really need more interaction with one another? YES! Children are growing up in an age where social skills are found one their phones, Facebook or Twitter. "Friends" are a Facebook number and not someone that will be by your side in good times and in bad. Poor social skills are a detriment to their mental health it allows them to find comport in disengaging from activities. May we suggest a technology free dinner? Family time where your kids can engage in conversation about the peaks and pits of their day will allow them to open up and express themselves. It's a much better idea than having them text you a sad face emoji.
How much more can I do?: High honors. AP Bio. Division one sports. Starring role in the school production of Annie. You as a parent may not push your student to be the best in everything,participate in everything, excel in everything that they do, but they put that on themselves. Okay, some parents do apply that much pressure. According to the American Psychological Association teens are self reporting stress levels that are higher than those of adults during the school year. That type of pressure exacerbates all physical and psychological disorders, including depression. When they apply all that pressure to themselves and one thing doesn't go to plan, it can be devastating to your student. Help your children set realistic goals for themselves. Setting them up for success is key. Talk to them about challenges that you may have had and teach them how you overcame the obstacle.
Sticks and Stones: Not being accepted by peers at school is one of the hardest things our students have to face. There was a time when getting picked on at school ended at the sound of the bell. Today are kids are faced with ongoing taunts by their bullies, thanks to social media. According to the Cyber bulling Research Center more than one third of children 11-15 have been cyber bullied. Mental health issues are plaguing our children who face such cruel encounters. Talk to your kids, listen and validate them when they express distress. Call your child's school and inform them on what is going on. The safety and success of students is a top priority for schools.
When we were all kids we couldn't wait to get out of school and be an adult. We all know how that turns out. Our children need to have fun and be KIDS as long as possible. Engage them with family based activities that ensure them they are loved, safe, and always able to express themselves.