Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Governments Should Ban Schools From Imposing Toilet Rules

March 10, 2014

 

toilet roll

I have vehemently opposed school toilet rules for some time, arguing that it is unfair and unhealthy to impose such a rule. The evidence seems to back up my claim:

Some primary school children are at risk of developing kidney and bowel problems because they have difficulty getting permission from their teacher to go to the toilet.

And others say they are avoiding the school toilets because of where they are located and worries about sanitation and security.

Almost 1,000 school-aged children attending eight Irish primary schools in the east coast were surveyed and 545 children responded.

While, overall, children had a positive perception of their school toilets, and used them if they needed to, around 57pc said they experienced difficulties going to the toilet.

The findings emerged in a survey of pupils by Maeve Smyth, a public health nurse with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Wicklow. She was prompted to investigate the issue after school-aged children attending her bedwetting clinic said they found difficulties following their care plans while at school.

“These children described how they were reluctant to use the school toilets and permission was often denied,” she told the nursing and midwifery conference at the Royal College of Surgeons.

“Significantly, 57pc of the children had difficulties getting permission from the teacher to use the toilet when they needed to.

“And 34pc of children also intentionally avoided using them. These findings were significantly related to age, location, sanitation and security.”

She added: “Prolonged postponing increases the risk of, or exacerbates the problem of, urinary and bowel disorders.”

A spokesman for the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) said the finding that 34pc of children intentionally avoided using school toilets should be further investigated by the schools concerned.

He said: “Regrettably, sanitation was an issue in some schools due to government neglect of school buildings. While progress has been made in many schools in recent years, there is still a backlog of schools awaiting funding.

“A school board has a duty to ensure that the overall hygiene of a school is of an acceptable standard. But where it is identified that it is of a less than acceptable standard, then the board should be funded by the Department of Education to urgently redress the situation.”

He added: “In general, the union advises against children being forced to line up to go to the toilet at specific times.

“Where possible, children should be facilitated to go to the toilet when the need arises. However, this is not always possible where toilets are external to the classroom.”

 

Click on the link to read Even Prisoners Don’t Have to Beg for Toilet Paper

Click on the link to read School Makes Children Pay to Use the Toilet

Click on the link to read School Toilet Trial is a Terrible Idea

Click on the link to read Schools Putting Spy Cameras in Toilets and Change Rooms

Click on the link to read A Toilet Break is a Right Not a Privilege

Click on the link to read Even Prisoners Get to Use the Toilet

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Why Healthy Eating Laws in Schools Don’t Work

February 10, 2014

 

health

The late great Dale Carnegie wrote:

There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything … Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

It’s a shame that policy makers and school administrators don’t seem to have read any of Carnegie’s work because had they absorbed the quote above, perhaps they may have come up with something better to offer students.

People think that school represents the perfect place to undo parenting errors. They think that by bringing in a new school rule or program, that children will be set for life. Some of the rules and regulations in a school near you include:

- Anti-bullying programs

- Sex Ed programs

- Junk Food policies

- Playground no hugging rules

- Toilet rules

- Drug programs

- Anti-gambling programs.

 

And it goes on and on ….

 

Is this really a bad thing? What’s wrong with scrapping junk food from school?

Of course nothing is wrong with instilling healthy eating habits, teaching children about what constitutes bullying and how important it is to avoid drugs.  But to be successful you’re going to need more than a worthy cause.

The problem with schools taking on these issues is that schools already have a stigma for most children. Whether we like to admit it or not, most kids hate school and they hate what they are taught at school. So whether it’s a math or science lesson or its a discussion about the dangers or excess sugar consumption, the chances of breaking through are difficult. It requires a positive and creative approach.

And let’s face it, the programs eluded to above often look and feel like schoolwork. They often consist of worksheets and paired activities and feature mini-quizzes. Why do the people who put together these programs think that if they put an animal mascot on the front of the pack and crossword on page five that kids will warm to the content? No child has ever been fooled by such a gimmick.

And inflexible rules are worse. Sure, it’s not ideal for kids to be eating chips or popcorn at school, but taking away their treats is yet another way of reinforcing the stigma that schools are overbearing, ruthless and prison like. I just read that Brussels want to ban yogurts and cheese from school lunches. If I was a school kid in Brussels I would want to go home and douse myself in cheese just out of spite!

It is such a breath of fresh air when a great anti-bullying initiative or healthy eating idea surfaces. One that captures the students’ imagination and encourages rather than bans, nurtures rather than smothers.

If you want children to listen they must want to listen. Don’t shove draconian rules and anti-bullying packs down their throats. Give them something that doesn’t look or feel like school work.

 

Click on the link to read You Can’t Have Your Lunch and Eat it Too

Click on the link to read How Many Teachers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? (Part 1)

Click on the link to read Girl Faces Expulsion for Being a Victim of Bullying

Click on the link to read Cancer Sufferer Claims she was Banned from Daughter’s School Because of her “Smell”

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

6 Year Old Suspended for 4 Days Because of Cheese in his Lunchbox

February 2, 2014

 

cheese

Lunchbox laws cause friction between schools and parents and achieve a great deal less than intended. I am all for healthy eating, but the answer is not to suspend a 6 year old for what is in his lunchbox.

Ultimately, as much as educators want to feel they can change the world in all instances, the job of parenting should rest solely with … parents. It is not the business for schools to suspend children for cheddar cheese bags.

There are far better methods for dealing with unhealthy lunches than dictatorial rules. These include:

1. Having a quiet word to parent offenders.

2. Complimenting children with healthy lunches.

3. Having a fruit and vegetable party in the classroom to celebrate a class achievement. This has proven particularly successful in my classroom.

4. Sending a list of healthy food options for lunchboxes to parents. Parents hate to be preached at but often welcome tips and advice.

 

I am sure my wonderful readers can recommend other positive ways to get parents to include more healthy items in their kids’ lunchboxes. As a teacher and parent I would love to read them.

 

Click on the link to read Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

School Makes Children Pay to Use the Toilet

January 19, 2014

 

pay

What is it with obsessing over the learning time lost due to toilet breaks? Either these breaks are legitimate in which case it is our duty to ensure that our students have access to the toilet, or it is an excuse the child makes in order to get out of the classroom. If it is the latter, the teacher should see it not as an abuse of trust, but rather as constructive feedback. The child is clearly telling the teacher that the lesson is boring. Teachers that successfully engage their students don’t have an issue with needless toilet interruptions.

For those schools considering toilet policies such as making students forfeit class money or privileges in order to get a toilet break, I wish to remind them of the following:

1. Teachers should not play games about something as serious as a child needing to go to the toilet.

2. Children should never be made to feel guilty for frequent trips to the bathroom.

3. Surely there are bigger fish to fry than time wasted on toilet breaks.

4. How would teachers like it if they were charged for toilet breaks during staff meetings?

5. Schools share too many similarities to prisons as it is, yet you don’t hear of prisoners having to give up privileges in order to go to the toilet.

 

I am glad that a class rule obligating students to part with their fake class money in order to claim a toilet break was scrapped. What disappoints me is how that crazy rule was allowed to be enacted in the first place:

An Oregon elementary school came under fire this week after one parent objected to a policy requiring students in some classrooms to “pay” to use the bathroom during class. (The policy has since been revoked.)

Melissa Dalebout, the mother of first-grader Lily, told local news outlet KATU that her daughter had an accident recently at Cascades Elementary School because she didn’t want to use her “Super Pro” bucks to go the bathroom.

The bucks were a form of fake money that children at the Lebanon, Ore., school earned for good behavior. Bucks that weren’t spent on bathroom breaks were redeemable for toys at the school store.

“I just feel my children should not be punished for having to use the bathroom,” Dalebout told KATU.

Mommyish blogger Maria Guido wondered if this type of policy might send the wrong message to kids.

“I don’t want my child to develop strange bathroom habits because teachers have him on a bathroom rewards program,” Guido wrote. “Not okay. I understand rewarding good behavior, but this bathroom break policy does not sit well with me. If my child wet his pants because of this, I would be pissed.”

Cascades Principal Tami Volz told KATU that the Super Pro payment plan, as well as strategies where excessive bathroom users lost part of their recess time, were imperative for classroom management.

 

Click on the link to read When Standing Up for Your Students Gets You Fired

Click on the link to read Girl Faces Expulsion for Being a Victim of Bullying

Click on the link to read Cancer Sufferer Claims she was Banned from Daughter’s School Because of her “Smell”

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Click on the link to read Rules that Restrict the Teacher and Enslave the Student

Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

January 9, 2014

 

tony

Courtesy of Charity Curley Mathews:

 

1. Everyone (over the age of 2) eats the same meal. No special requests, no substitutes for anyone who has all of her teeth. I do try to be fair (and stack the deck in favor of success) by adding a couple of choices and also paying attention to each person’s favorite ingredients so there’s always something for everyone in each meal.

2. Add spinach to everything. Eggs, brownies, I’ll make anything “Florentine.” It’s not sneaky, because I tell the kids it’s going in. I’m just looking for new angles for getting more of the good stuff into those tiny bodies. Ditto for wheat germ, flaxseed and chia seeds. Also, we eat whole wheat everything: pasta, bread, pitas. The kids don’t know any different and it’s so much better for them.

3. Make it fun. Inspired by French Kids Eat Everything, we have tons of pretty little plates and bowls, special spoons and sometimes splurge on fancy paper napkins. There are parfaits and tea parties regularly. My goal is to make mealtimes enjoyable so the kids associate eating real food with pleasure. It’s working.

4. Start with small portions. I give the kids only a bite or two of each thing and whoever wants more, gets more. This helps kids figure out when they’re actually full rather than me coaxing them into “just one more bite” or worse, eating until their plates are empty from here on out.

5. Serve new foods with flair. We often use the fancy little bowls for new foods: I give the kids one bite in a special dish. Then I use an idea from the brilliant new book, It’s Not About the Broccoli. The kids become critics and give a thumbs up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down. And if they give a thumbs down verdict, I’ll say, “That’s OK. You can try it again another time and maybe you’ll like it better then.” Planting the seed…

6. We cook all the time. Since I only work part-time, this works for us but any family could create a cooking culture by doing weekly dinners, big weekend breakfasts and so on. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day; the kids see me doing it and right there they’re learning a lesson that real food is a priority for our family. Plus, it’s fun to let them help and that’s another lesson. My goal is for each person to have a dozen dishes they can make before they leave this house. We’ve got a while, which we’ll probably need…

7. The table is a stress-free zone. Toddlers dumping their plates notwithstanding, the dinner table isn’t stressful because we’re not battling the kids over who eats what. The food is there and manners are encouraged but no one is yelling, or prodding. We’re either sitting, eating or talking. Sometimes singing. If this isn’t possible, whoever is having a hard time will be excused along with mom or dad and welcome to return when he or she is feeling more cooperative.

8. Homemade is better than processed. Especially when it comes to snack foods, it’s easy to either give the kids real food — sliced cucumbers, dried cranberries, chunks of cheese — or make our own versions of crackers, fruit leather, DIY “Nutrigrain” bars and so on. Every time you can make something in your own kitchen, it’ll be fresher, purer and almost always healthier.

9. Two snacks, maximum. Because little bodies burn through their calories in the day, I like to give a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack to avoid meltdowns. But constant eating is a big problem these days and I don’t want the kids to learn that habit. In fact, for the afternoon snack I like to stick to fruit and it can be as simple as apple slices or as sweet as bananas and strawberries on a skewer.

10. The kids drink water and milk, period. Once juice and soda are off the table (literally and figuratively), it’s not even something to fight about. Our kids have two choices for drinks, they like both of them and best of all — they’re both healthy options.

Food is such a huge part of our lives that I can’t help thinking about it, learning about it, and yep, writing about it. It’s bigger than just our family, though. Food has huge implications for health, happiness, even our country’s financial well being. With obesity declared an “epidemic,” diabetes affecting more Americans than ever and the first ever generation of Americans to have shorter lifespans than their parents, Michael Pollan said “cooking might be the most important factor in fixing our public health crisis. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your health.” I would add it’s one of the most important things that we can teach our kids.

 

 

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

 

An ADHD Epidemic or an Over-Diagnosis Epidemic?

December 26, 2013

ritalin

ADHD is only an epidemic because lazy doctors and greedy pharmaceutical companies have allowed it to be:

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) published a study “The amount of children on medication has reached an astounding 3.5 million up from 600,000 in 1990. Also an astounding 15% of high school kids are now diagnosed with ADHD.  The historical average was 5% of children were affected by ADHD.”

Dr. Connors of Duke University who fought to bring Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) into the spotlight is appalled and considers this a “national disaster of dangerous proportions.”  Many doctors are quick to diagnose and give out medications. This comes from a phenomenal marketing campaign by pharmaceutical companies that publicized the disorder and promoted the medication to medical practitioners. The proportion of children taking medication for ADHD increased with severity, from 56.4% among children with mild ADHD, to 71.6% among children with moderate ADHD and

Click on the link to read my post on More than 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD!

Click on the link to read my post on Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

December 24, 2013

barb1

 

The debate over the latest push for a plus-sized Barbie is steeped in political correctness on both sides and ignores the children the toy is aimed at.

One side argues that Barbies aren’t of realistic dimension and the doll is guilty of influencing feelings of negative body image among young, impressionable girls.

The other side argue that the picture above shows an obese girl and that there is a responsibility to teach children that being overweight is not the ideal from a health standpoint.

My view is that Barbie has already had many decades of reproducing the same type of doll. It’s too late for the company to suddenly become inclusive. So your going to have one overweight doll amongst thousands of stick figures? That’s a great way to make someone overweight feel good, put them in a room crowded with models!

If they release the Barbie pictured above it will be the source of more bullying because one can’t help comparing it against every other Barbie ever produced. Even the marketing pitch shows the comparison.

Let’s take the responsibility of making our children body confident out of the hands of Mattel and lets own this problem and do something about it.

1. We need to tell our children that they are wonderful people, regardless of their size. If you think an overweight girl is unhealthy, try an overweight girl racked with guilt and self loathing.

2. Let’s not put such an emphasis on looks and instead replace the focus with more important attributes like kindness, empathy, loyalty and integrity.

3. Let’s help our young find their talents and show them how they can use their unique abilities to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Plus sized Barbie is a meaningless, insincere and tokenistic gesture at a time when we need to show our kids that they really matter!

 

barb2

 

Click on the link to read Study Claims that Being Attractive can give you Better Grades

Click on the link to read The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

 

Doctors are Hypocrites When it Comes to ADHD

November 12, 2013

ritalin

So doctors are now warning that ADHD is being over diagnosed. Over diagnosed by whom?

By dentists?

Vets?

Beauticians?

Doctors have been savagely over prescribing medication (Ritalin prescriptions have risen by 72% in Australia from 2000-2011), often for as little as concentration issues in class. This is not a reason to give children medication!

Why is it that we focus on the child that is not concentrating rather than the teacher that isn’t sufficiently engaging his/her class? How can we blame the student when the teacher has often invested nothing more than a trip to the photocopier machine in planning for their lesson.

Remember, the very same teachers that complain about the lack of concentration in their class can often be seen dozing off during a staff meeting or professional development seminar. If poor concentration is all it takes to earn a prescription, then teachers at staff meetings make for great Ritalin candidates!

For too long we have been allowing our children to be the guinea pigs for our obsession with the quick fix solution. I would have thought that one cannot make a proper determination about a child’s ADHD status until they have ruled out social issues, home life issues, dietary habits and sleeping patterns. But this due process often goes out the window, because those matters take time, patience and sensitivity. Who has got time for that when there’s a wonder drug that turns a daydreamer into a concentration machine?

So the doctors think too many children are diagnosed with ADHD. I wonder who they have to blame for that.

Click on the link to read my post on Shock Horror: Sleep Deprived Children Diagnosed with ADHD Instead!

Click on the link to read my post on ‘If my Son was a Dog, I’d Have him Put Down’: Mother of ADHD Child

Click on the link to read my post on Why Are There So Many Children Exposed to Prescription Drugs?

Click on the link to read School Nurse Arrested for Stealing Students’ ADD Pills

Click on the link to read The Rampant Misuse of ADHD Pills

Click on the link to read Is There Any Student Left Without a Disorder?

Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

November 10, 2013

 

hole

Courtesy of leading nutrition experts:

Plan healthy, tasty breakfasts. Offer children a lean protein at breakfast such as eggs, string cheese, Canadian bacon, turkey bacon or hummus, Sothern says. Serve them fresh fruit such as berries. Or whole-grain cereal with nuts is another option. Top off the meal with a glass of fat-free or 1% low-fat milk or a carton of low-fat yogurt, she says.

Discourage mindless munching. Don’t let kids eat in front of the TV or computer and gradually restrict all eating and drinking, except for water, to the kitchen counter, table or dining room, Sothern says.

Get them involved. Take kids to the grocery store. Skip the soda, cookie and candy aisles and have children select one fruit and vegetable to try each week. At home, include children in lunch and dinner preparation, Sothern says.

Reinstate family traditions. Insist on family dinners, set the table with real cloth napkins, light candles and play soft music in the background to encourage discussion. Compliment the children on their healthy food selections, cooking and manners, she says.

Get some shut-eye. Allow kids no more than one hour of media time before bedtime. Try to make sure they get the required 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Research shows that lack of sleep equals unwanted weight gain, behavioral problems and difficulty concentrating the next day, Sothern says.

Offer a nutritious starter course. Pennsylvania State University research shows that adults who eat a broth-based bowl of vegetable soup; a large, low-calorie, lettuce-based salad; or an apple before a meal consume about 110 to 190 fewer calories at the meal, including the calories in that first course. The same idea could work with kids, says Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State. They’ll not only fill up on fewer calories, but they’ll be eating a healthy first course.

Trick their tummies. Add their favorite fiber-rich vegetables — such as spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, carrots, peppers and onions — to lasagna, casseroles, pasta dishes and pizza. The veggies lower the calories and increase the nutrients in each bite, Rolls says. Also increase the proportion of vegetables in stir-fry dishes, broth-based soups and stews and extra vegetables to sandwiches. Substitute vegetable or fruit purees for half or even two-thirds of the added fat in quick breads and muffins, she says.

Use smaller plates. A study of first-graders showed that most kids served themselves more at lunch (about 90 calories more) when they used adult-sized dinner plates compared with using child-sized plates, which is about the size of an adult salad plate. “We know that adults over-serve themselves with larger plates, and this study says the same holds true for children. Using smaller plates at home may promote healthy child portion sizes,” says Jennifer Orlet Fisher, an associate professor of public health at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Teach kids to dance. Tell them you’re playing Dancing with the Stars and let them waltz, do the cha-cha-cha or swing dance, Sothern says. This active time will burn four to five times more calories than sitting and improve their overall health.

Swap sedentary time for active time. Kids only burn 30 to 50 calories when they are sitting for an hour, but they burn 400 to 500 calories in an hour if they are playing tag, dancing or doing field sports, she says. The government’s physical activity guidelines say children and teens should do an hour or more of moderate-intensity to vigorous aerobic physical activity each day. Sothern recommends they do at least two hours of physical activity a day.

Play outside with your children. Moms and dads should teach their kids to throw, pitch, catch, pass, jump and ride a bike because their kids may not be learning these important skills at school.

Encourage physical-activity breaks. “There is a lot of evidence that kids should not sit still for more than 60 minutes at a time,” says Penny Gordon-Larsen, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. When kids are doing their homework or on the computer, they need to get up regularly and move around or consider standing while they are working, she says. Every little bit of activity counts. Have them do at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity after school, such as shooting hoops, biking, playing soccer, jumping rope, dancing, walking or playing a fitness-related video game, Gordon-Larsen says.

Steer clear of sugary drinks. This includes regular sodas, sweet teas, high-calorie specialty coffees, energy drinks and juices, Gordon-Larsen says. “It’s such an easy way to cut out excess sugar and calories,” she says. Instead offer water and low-fat milk, even low-fat chocolate milk.

 

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

The Unique Challenges that Body Image Represents for Females

October 12, 2013

 

 

Whilst I don’t like women vs men comparisons on universal areas of concern, I couldn’t help but be moved by this extremely personal and perceptive take on the pressures faced by women to maintain a certain figure.

 

Click on the link to read An 8-Year-Old’s Take on Body Image

Click on the link to read A Father’s Advice to His Daughter About Beauty

Click on the link to read The Call to Stop Telling Your Children they are Beautiful

Click on the link to read School Official’s Solution to Harassed Teen: Get a Breast Reduction

Click on the link to read Our Young Children Shouldn’t Even Know What a Diet Is?

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

 


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