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Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Just 1% of Children Eat Enough Vegetables

May 11, 2016

Hate-Vegetables

1 percent? Surely not:

 

Vegies might be brimming with goodness, but less than one per cent of Aussie kids are eating the recommended amount each day.

While children eat, on average, more fruit than adults, they’re having just 1.8 serves of veg a day compared to the recommended 2.5-5.5 serves.

And it doesn’t get much better as we get older, with less than two per cent of men and about four per cent of women meeting the guidelines of five-to-six serves a day.

The findings were based on analysis by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey.

The ABS found that overall, most Aussies don’t eat the minimum recommended daily serves from the five major food groups – vegies, fruit, dairy products, lean meats, and grains.

More than one third of our daily intake is now coming from so-called discretionary foods such as sweetened beverages, alcohol, cakes, confectionary and pastries – all of which are high in calories and poor in nutrients.

ABS director of health Louise Gates said that among the five food groups, fruit and grains had the best compliance.

“Less than four per cent of the population consumed enough vegetables and legumes or beans each day,” Ms Gates said as the data was released on Wednesday.

“One-in-10 was meeting the guidelines for dairy products, while one-in-seven consumed the minimum number of serves of lean meats and alternatives per day.”

Health experts say the findings on low vegetable consumption are worrying and probably linked to increased consumption of discretionary foods.

Aloysa Hourigan, senior nutritionist at Nutrition Australia, says the cost of vegetables, particularly in regional and remote areas, is also a factor.

“There could be benefits for having a sugar or fat tax for those discretionary foods to help discourage people from purchasing as many of them and that money could be used to help subsidise other foods,” she told AAP.

Dieticians Association of Australia spokeswoman Kate DiPrima said parents need to be role models for their children by eating more vegetables.

“If the parents don’t eat the recommended amount and aren’t serving them up to their kids, they don’t have any chance,” she said.

Ms DiPrima noted that only 4.5 per cent of kids ate the recommended amount of lean meat and other alternatives including poultry, eggs and tofu, putting them at risk of missing out on protein, iron and zinc.

“The two most commonly rejected foods are vegetables and meat. They’re harder to chew and have stronger flavours,” she said.

She advises parents persist with offering vegetables in all forms – mashed, grated, cooked, roasted, raw – at different times of the day.

“Don’t leave it until dinner at night when they’re tired and can’t chew, they’ll fall off the wagon.”

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Try Sitting Still as Much as the Average Student Has To

January 19, 2015

chair

If you want to improve the behaviour of the classroom you could do worse than treat your students the same way as you wish to be treated. Just like I find sitting on the mat utterly uncomfortable I try to minimise the amount of time they are on the mat. Just like I can’t sit still for too long before feeling under duress, so too I allow my students to experience active lessons that mixes learning with some movement.

The truth of the matter is that kids are bound to their seats or the mat for way too long. It is unhealthy and bad for the brain. Don’t take my word for it. Read this wonderful piece by pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom:

 

Except for brief periods of getting up and switching classrooms, I’ve been sitting for the past 90 excruciating minutes. I look down at my leg and notice it is bouncing. Great, I think to myself, now I’m fidgeting! I’m doing anything I can to pay attention – even contorting my body into awkward positions to keep from daydreaming. It is useless, I checked out about forty-five minutes ago. I’m no longer registering anything the teacher is saying. I look around the room to see how the children a few decades younger than me are doing.

I’m immersed in a local middle-school classroom environment. I quickly realize I’m not the only one having a hard time paying attention. About 50 percent of the children are fidgeting and most of the remaining children are either slouched in the most unnatural positions imaginable or slumped over their desks. A child suddenly gets up to sharpen their pencil. A few minutes later, another child raises their hand and asks to go to the bathroom. In fact, at least three children have asked to go to the bathroom in the past twenty minutes. I’m mentally exhausted and the day has just begun. I was planning on observing the whole day. I just can’t do it. I decide to leave right after lunch.

There is no way I could tolerate six hours of sitting even just one day, never mind every day – day after day. How on Earth do these children tolerate sitting this long? Well, the short answer is they don’t. Their bodies aren’t designed for extended periods of sitting. In fact, none of our bodies are made to stay sedentary for lengths of time. This lack of movement and unrelenting sitting routine, are wreaking havoc on their bodies and minds. Bodies start to succumb to these unnatural positions and sedentary lifestyle through atrophy of the muscles, tightness of ligaments (where there shouldn’t be tightness), and underdeveloped sensory systems – setting them up for weak bodies, poor posturing, and inefficient sensory processing of the world around them.

If most of the classroom is fidgeting and struggling to even hold their bodies upright, in desperation to stay engaged – this is a really good indicator that they need to move more. In fact, it doesn’t matter how great of a teacher you are. If children have to learn by staying in their seats most of the day, their brains will naturally tune out after a while – wasting the time of everyone.

Are these teachers clueless to the benefits of movement? No. Most teachers know that movement is important. And many would report that they are downright and overwhelmingly frustrated by their inability to let children move more throughout the day. “We are expected to cram more and more information down their throats,” gripes one middle school teacher. “It is insane! We can no longer teach according to what we feel is developmentally appropriate.” Another teacher explains, “due to the high-stakes testing, even project-based learning opportunities are no longer feasible. Too many regulations, not enough time.”

They go on to explain that recess has been lost due to lack of space and time as well as fear that children will get injured. “Too many children were getting hurt,” says a teacher. “Parents were calling and complaining about scrapped knees and elbows – the rest was history.” Even their brief break from instruction during snack time is no longer a reality. These few minutes of freedom are now replaced with a “working snack” in order to pack in a quick vocabulary lesson. Physical education is held only every sixth day, so technically this isn’t even a weekly affair.

The children line up for lunchtime. “Come watch this,” a teacher yells over to me. The children line up in pairs and are told to be quiet. Once everyone is quiet, two teachers (one in front of the line and one in back) escort the children down to the cafeteria. The thought of prison inmates quickly comes to mind, as I watch the children walk silently, side by side down the corridors of the school hallway. I’m told they are to remain quiet and seated throughout the lunch period. “I feel so bad for them,” exclaims the teacher. “They are so ready for down time during lunch, but are still required to sit and be silent!”

Many parents are also becoming increasingly unsatisfied with the lack of recess and movement their children are getting in middle school. One mother states, “Middle school kids in particular are just coming out of the elementary school environment, consisting of multiple breaks throughout the day. These kids are still young, and depending on the district, could be just 10-years-old going into middle school. They are experiencing a great change already in the transition alone. A break during the day is what they need to re-group.”

This same parent contacted the district’s school board members who ultimately make many of the decisions regarding school policies. She also met with the principal and deans and created an online petition consisting of a strong parent community advocating for more movement in school. The results? A brief five to ten-minute walk outdoors after lunch, which the teachers explain is really half a lap around the building and back indoors they go. “It may not be recess–but it’s a good start,” this mother states. “However, I still believe it’s necessary to make it school policy that all kids get a longer break.”

I ask the teachers what kids do when they get home from school. “About 60 percent of them are over-scheduled. The other 40 percent have no one home, so they do what they want – which often relates to playing video games,” a teacher complains. “I’d say we have only a handful of children that go home and find time to play.” Both teachers try to keep homework meaningful and under an hour, knowing kids need time to release after a long day of school.

Even middle-school children need opportunities to play. This past summer, a teacher at one of our TimberNook camps brought along his 12-year-old daughter, Sarah as a “co-counselor.” Sarah was excited about being a counselor alongside a college student for their small group of five children. In the past, she had simply been a camper. However, as soon as the group set out into the deep woods, dispersed, and started to play,  she quickly switched roles. She instantly forgot about her new status and jumped wholeheartedly into the pretend world, alongside the younger children. What took place next, was quite remarkable.

Sarah climbed high onto a fallen log that ascended to the very top of their newly designed teepee, donned with fresh ferns to camouflage their rustic “living quarters.” She wore a brightly colored feathered mask on top of her forehead. “Listen,” she said to the group of children gathered around her. “We need to get ready for the opposing team’s attack.” She took the time to look each of the children in the eye. “You,” she said to one of the bigger kids in the group. “You are now appointed as top commander.” “Julie,” she said to a girl that is known to be one of the fastest runners in the group. “You are going to be our top spy.” She proceeded to roles for each of the children to play.

Her age, strength, and intelligence made her their natural chosen leader and the children respected her decisions. She played just as hard as the other children. She forgot about her new role as co-counselor for the rest of the week, except to occasionally lead a group song or chant during morning meeting. The fun of being a camper and free play trumped all responsibility. She was still a child. She was not ready to give up her right to free play. Who could blame her?

Why do we assume that children don’t need time to move or play once they reach sixth grade, or even fifth grade? They are only children! In fact, I would argue that we all could benefit from opportunities to play, even up through adulthood. Everyone needs downtime. Time to move our bodies. Time to get creative and escape the rigors of reality.

What can we do for our middle-school children? I asked Jessica Lahey, a middle school teacher, contributing writer at The Atlantic, and author of the upcoming book, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” to give her opinion on the matter.

“Teachers are often afraid that if they let children move, it will be hard to get them to settle back down again. This shouldn’t stop us from providing them with the necessary movement children need in order to learn. Middle-school children can always benefit from recess! Also, when I taught for Crossroads Academy, we had some great nature trails behind our school through the woods. I would often take my whole English class for walks. I’d give them a topic to ponder and then we’d walk for ten minutes to think about the question. We’d huddle and discuss the topic. Then, I’d throw out another question and we’d start to walk again.”

Jessica explains that this is also true for schools in urban regions. Children can walk to museums or local parks to explore and learn. They can bring along their writing journals and assess the world and culture around them. Learning doesn’t have to be done in a chair. Jessica goes on to tell me that one time, she had her middle-school children practice public speaking by taking turns standing on a small bridge over a rumbling brook. They had to learn to project their voice over the babbling brook in order to be heard by the rest of class. “It was a good practical lesson and there is something about nature that grounds the child, taking away the anxiety that typically comes with public-speaking,” Jessica reports.

All people in decision-making positions for school policies should be required to sit through at least one school day and experience first-hand what is required of children today. Then they will have a better idea of what is appropriate and what isn’t. Then they will start to think about what their decisions mean for real children in real schools. Maybe then, they will begin to value children’s need to move, need to play, and the need to be respected as the human beings that they are.

Middle school-age children need to move – just like everyone else!

 

Tip for Getting Your Kids to Open Up About Their School Day

January 8, 2015

first day

Personally, I try to make the child’s’ school experience pleasurable enough to make them anxious to share their day with their parents. But for the parents who find it hard to get anything substantive from their children in this area, here are some tips courtesy of via parenttoolkit.com:

 

1. Wait at least a half an hour

Kids are generally drained and strained the moment they walk in door. So wait at least 30 minutes to start talking about school. Give your child a chance to decompress and have a snack, take off the backpack, and just breathe.

2. Don’t turn questions into a third degree

What would make you want to open up and tell her all those details? The same rules apply to kids. Big kid turn offs: pushing, prodding, demanding, coaxing, lecturing and threatening.

3. Look interested

Think of how your best friend asks you about your day. Use her example. Make sure you are relaxed and appear genuinely interested when you speak to your child.

4. Ask questions that require more than yes or no

“Do you have homework?” “Did you give your speech?” are questions that make your kid only have to answer with a yes or no response. So pose questions that require your child to respond with more than just yes, no, nope, sure, nothing, fine.

5. Don’t use the same questions

A big kid turn off is hearing your same old predictable: “How was your day?” query. So be creative. Churn up those questions so your kid knows you are interested!

6. Stop and listen

The nanosecond your child utters ANYTHING related to school, stop  and give your full presence. Catch any little nugget of information and make it seem as though it’s a gold mine. Kids open up more when they think you’re interesting.

7. Stretch conversation with “invitation openers”

If and when your child shares a detail try using the “stretching method.” Don’t push or prod but instead use these type of comments: “Really?” “Uh-huh?” “I don’t believe it!” “Wow!” They’re not threatening and invite a talker to open up.

8. Repeat “talk” portions

Try repeating bits of your child’s conversation: Child: “I played on the swing.” You: “You played on the swing.” The trick is to repeat the tidbit in a matter-of-fact but interested way to get your child to open up and add more.

9. Make your house kid-friendly

Many parents swear they find out more about school from their kids’ friends than from their own child. So invite your child’s friends over. Keep the fridge stocked with food. Set up a basketball court (or whatever you need to keep those kids at your house). And then be friendly (but not intrusive) to the friend. You may find that not only do the friends open up more, but your child will tag onto the friend’s conversation.

10. Get on the school website

Find out what’s going on in your kid’s school world: read the teacher newsletters, click onto the school calendar, read the school activities schedule and menu. You can then ask specific questions about your kid’s day.

 

 

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8 Methods to Stop Your Child From Being a Bully

December 31, 2014

 

 

Courtesy of via huffingtonpost.com:

 

1. Your child needs to be aware of others’ inner experiences.
It needs to become second nature to him to think about others and their feelings almost as quickly as he thinks of his own. Many parents validate one child’s perspective, but fail to discuss their own feelings or feelings of another child. Just validating your own child’s feelings does not teach him that there are other people in the world whose feelings matter.

Example of validating your child:

“I see you felt really angry right there when John took your ball.”

Example of teaching empathy:

“I see you felt really angry right there when John took your ball. He looked angry too. I think he thought you were going to play with him, but then you ended up playing alone.”

2. Discuss your own emotions too.
It does children no good to view a parent as having no weaknesses or vulnerable emotions. If they can empathize with you, they will remember this and it will facilitate self-compassion when they are an adult behaving as you do. Here’s an example of that:

“I’m sorry you got upset when Mommy didn’t play with you. Mommy was feeling anxious because she had a lot of cleaning to do before our friends come over. I will play with you now.”

3. Discuss both siblings’ or friends’ emotions after any conflict, validating and empathizing with both sides. Do not only validate the child whose actions you agree with more.
Example: “You were mad that your sister grabbed your doll, and she was feeling sad that you weren’t paying attention to her.  That’s probably why she grabbed it.”  You’re not condoning any behavior, but just giving a value-free description of the emotions underlying each child’s actions.

4. Make sure to speak for those who cannot speak, such as pets or babies.  
“Why is baby crying?  I wonder if he is hungry or tired? What do you think?” And a zero tolerance policy for meanness to those smaller and weaker than yourself.  Horton Hears A Who! by Dr. Seuss is a good book to serve as a springboard for a discussion about why it is important to look out for those smaller than yourself.

5. When you interact with others outside the home, discuss their feelings later together.
“I wonder what Grandma was thinking when she waved bye bye to you. I think she was happy she visited with you, but also a little sad you had to go. What do you think?”

You can also do this with characters in books and on TV.

6. Aim for consistency around the issue of meanness and teasing.
Any name-calling or making fun of others should be nipped in the bud right away.  Bad names and mean words are unacceptable, even from the smallest child. Don’t laugh or roll your eyes when your 3-year-old calls Daddy a poopy head. This just shows her that bad names are okay and even funny. Instead, say something like, “It hurts Daddy’s feelings when you call him a bad name. That is not nice and it’s not okay.”

You and your partner or any other caregiver should get on the same page about “teasing.” Often, one parent thinks that gentle teasing is okay, and a more sensitive parent or child then ends up getting hurt a lot because the less sensitive family members are “just” teasing them multiple times a day. This is especially a salient issue with Highly Sensitive Children.  I recommend that this is discussed openly in a family, e.g. “Mary thinks that you calling her sillyhead isn’t funny, so please don’t say that to her. Joe thinks it’s funny so we can say it to him. Whenever someone says they don’t think teasing is funny, it means we should stop right away.”

7. When children see others who are different from them, e.g. with special needs or birth defects, it is important to discuss that everyone has feelings and wants friends.  
Don’t be content with just telling your kids not to talk meanly or make fun of these children. You should go up and say hello and introduce yourselves.  Read this wonderful article by a mom of a little boy with a craniofacial disorder for more on this.

8. When you are mean, apologize.  
Don’t just feel ashamed and then try to silently make it up to your child or partner later. Own your mean behavior. This is extremely important because you’re modeling taking responsibility for your mean behavior. Children learn from what they see you do much more than from what you tell them to you.

Example: “I’m sorry I grabbed your arm roughly when you pulled the stuff off the shelf in the grocery store. I did it because I was mad. But no matter what I was feeling, grabbing you wasn’t okay.”

 

If I can add to the list I would recommend having your child watch the entire How to UnMake a Bully series. I was fortunate enough to have some involvement in the installment above.

 

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Things Middle School Students Wish We Knew

December 15, 2014

middle

Courtesy of weareteachers.com via  :

 

1. I was not trying to get attention by falling off the chair. I am approximately infinity inches bigger than I was yesterday and I just lost track of how to balance. I felt like an idiot so I made falling into a joke. Crying was the other choice. And I’d rather cut off my arm than cry in school.

2. I did that homework. I am almost positive I did it. Getting it from done to folder to backpack to school to you is like seven extra homeworks. That is too many. It’s also possible I forgot to do the homework. I honestly have no idea where my planner is. Or maybe the homework was completely confusing and if I asked for help people might think I am stupid now when that used to be my best subject.

3. That time I called you Mom was the most humiliating moment of my life. It’s one thing in second grade but middle school? Ugh. How does this stuff still happen to me?

4. When you force us to get up—do stuff, act it out, test our ideas—it wakes us up and makes the lesson so much more fun and easy to remember.

5. Sometimes I just can’t focus. I’m buzzy, jumpy, pumped with electricity. Somebody suddenly looks distractingly attractive, across the room, which is fully that other person’s fault, not mine. Or I don’t get what we’re discussing and the pain of not understanding is so excruciating I just have to take a break from paying attention.

6. It feels awesome when you notice something special about me. When you value a skill or interest of mine, you give me a route in to subjects I didn’t think I’d like—and make me feel like I have something worth sharing.

7. What you tell me about myself matters way more than I hope you know. When you tell me I am something—smart, brave, kind, stupid, a trouble-maker, creative, a writer, a mathematician, funny, hard-working—I believe you.

8. I like it when you’re sarcastic but not when you’re harsh. When you say something ironically and I get it, I feel smart and mature. But when you’re mocking in a sharper way, it feels mean and a little scary.

9. Respect me. There are lots of things I already know about myself. Some I want to talk about, A LOT, and it means so much to me when you find time to include me (and it) in class. But lots of other things about me, I’m not ready to discuss, and especially not in class.

10. If you call on me and I am flat-out wrong, please don’t humiliate me. I’m already praying for a hole to open up in the floor and swallow me. It’s hard for me to believe that not knowing isn’t shameful but is instead a good starting point for learning. Help me.

And one bonus extra thing: You are suddenly one of the most important adults in my whole world. How you respond to me affects everything. Please be tough. Please be gentle. Especially when I am neither.

 

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Suicide is a Problem Schools Shouldn’t Walk Away From

November 30, 2014

jayden arnold

Since a child spends a majority of his or her waking hours at school, it bothers me that many schools are so reactive when it comes to helping a child at risk. To wait for obvious signs of distress is a policy that flirts with disaster. I have long called for schools to help students who have difficulties making friends or who are undergoing challenges such as radical change, seperation of their parents or those going through a breakup of a friendship or relationship. Instead of waiting for the students to ask for help, is there anything wrong with offering it?

Suicide often occurs when the victim feels that nobody cares or understands. What  better way to show you “get it” than to initiate contact with a student that might need it?

Suicide is not a problem that schools can afford to blame on home issues. It is very much an issue that needs to be tackled through a partnership between school and home:

 

A SUICIDE prevention policy should be developed in every school in Australia to counter the scourge that affects so many young people, the Black Dog Institute says.

The policy should include plans to execute prevention programs, goals for positive mental health and guidelines for managing suicidal behaviour in schools.

Institute director Professor Helen Christensen said the action plan should be distributed to all school staff.

Teachers and parents also could be trained as “gatekeepers” to improve the identification of suicidal youth by better recognising warning signs and referring students on to further care.

“Gatekeeper training can be delivered universally such as to all school staff or selectively to parents of at risk students,” Prof Christensen said.

Under peer helper programs young people, too, could be equipped with knowledge and skills to help fellow students they believe to be at risk.

Experts believe young people are more likely to confide in one of their peers than in an adult when they are having serious problems.

Prof Christensen has made a series of recommendations on suicide prevention in the specialist publication of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Teacher.

“There is increasing recognition that a coordinated approach to suicide prevention must involve the participation of key community organisations,” she said.

“Among them schools are particularly well placed to deliver interventions that will enhance resilience, improve mental health and reduce risk of suicide.”

Schools at the centre of a mental health crisis among young people report that students are self-harming or threatening to injure themselves at a rate of more than two per week.

Child psychologists also say increasing numbers of children are presenting with mental disorders such as severe anxiety and, in the most extreme cases, have suicided.

Principals campaigning for more counsellors to handle disturbed children in schools report more problems are emerging in younger students — some exhibiting violent and challenging behaviours and a lack of remorse.

Cyber bullying, increasingly linked to incidents of self harm and suicide, now affects an estimated 463,000 a year with around 365,000 of them in the 10-15 age group.

Research by the UNSW’s social policy research centre has found increasing evidence of the lasting effects of cyber-bullying with links to low self-esteem, mental health issues, depression and anxiety.

A number of schools have responded to the Sunday Telegraph’s coverage of the suicide issue affecting young Australians.

Figures show suicide is the leading non-medical cause of death in children aged 10 to 14.

Writing in the newsletter of Rosebank College in Sydney’s inner west, acting assistant principal Paul Hardwick told the school community: “It was with great sadness reading the Sunday papers that the fragility of life hit me.

“Over the last couple of months families, friends and school communities have been left to ponder ‘why?’ and ‘what should I have done differently?’

“The College’s deepest sympathies go out to the families and schools trying to work through the heartache and sadness as they come together to grieve the loss of those so young.

“While adolescent mental health issues are on the rise, we as a community need to be able to arm our children with the tools to seek assistance when they need it and certainly when they are vulnerable.

“Just asking if someone is OK is not always enough.”

Rosebank College republished in its newsletter points of advice given by the headmaster of The King’s School, Parramatta Dr Tim Hawkes, which ran in The Sunday Telegraph.

Southern Cross School at Ballina on the state’s north coast said it, too, was touched by the tragic stories published in The Sunday Telegraph.

The school this week held a Wellbeing Expo “to bring the subject of youth mental health into the public arena and open channels for young people to know where and how to contact the right people” for help.

 

Click on the link to read Teacher Runs Suicide Note Writing Workshop

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What’s in a Name?

November 25, 2014

james

 

I wonder if kids with the name Michael are more likely to stare out the window and think about their lunch:

It has long been claimed that names can influence your chances of doing well in life and now it seems that monikers can impact on behaviour at school as well.

According to a new study, children named Jacob, Daniel, Amy and Emma are the most likely to display impeccable behaviour while those named Ella, William, Olivia and Joshua are most often to be found on the naughty step.

The findings come from a survey that looked at the names of more than 63,000 school children who logged good behaviour or achievement awards in online sticker books.

Those with the most good behaviour awards were named Jacob and Amy, closely followed by Georgia and Daniel.

By contrast, girls named Ella and Bethany and boys named Joseph and Cameron proved to be the naughtiest.

Other naughty names for boys included William, Jake, Joshua and Jamie while recalcitrant girls were also called Eleanor, Olivia, Laura and Holly.

Well-behaved names included Emma, Grace, Charlotte and Sophie for girls and Thomas, James, Adam and Harry for boys.  

Baby names – and their impact on life chances – have been studied for more than 70 years, with the earliest studies finding that men with unusual first names were more likely to drop out of school.

More recent studies have found more correlation between names and social backgrounds, with the parenting skills of mothers and fathers having a more critical impact on future development.

Gregory Clark, the economist behind The Son Also Rises: Surnames and the History of Social Mobility, found that girls named Eleanor were 100 times more likely to go to Oxford University than girls named Jade.

Although there are proportionally more Jades in the general population than Eleanors, the former was rarely seen at top universities, while the latter was relatively common.

Other common names for Oxford students included Peter, Anna, Elizabeth, Richard and John, while among rarely seen monikers were Stacey, Connor, Bradley, Kayleigh, Shannon and Shane.

The latest round of research into names was commissioned by School Stickers, which creates online stickers for teachers to award to pupils. 

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Gift Ideas for Children that Are Not Toys

November 9, 2014

zoo

A clever and useful list of gift ideas by mother of 6 and blogger Rachel Jones:

 

18 Non-Toy Gifts for Children

1. Classes. Music, dance, riding, drawing — classes are a great way to encourage children in their interests and let them know that you pay attention to them and what they enjoy.

2. Memberships. Zoo, science museum, children’s museum, YMCA membership, etc. These are particularly great for family gifts! Many young families want to enjoy day outings, but affording them can be a challenge, so give them the gift of a yearly membership.

3. Subscriptions. Kids enjoy getting things in the mail. Why not encourage their reading by getting them a magazine subscription for something they are interested in!

4. Events. Movie tickets, or tickets to a play, concert or sports event are really exciting! Having an event to look forward to makes the rest of life more enjoyable.

5. Activities. Mini golf, bowling, skating rink. These are so much fun! And a big part of the fun is going together. Children love spending time with the adults in their lives; they want to see you enjoying your time as well as enjoying them.

6. Recipe and Ingredients. Kids love cooking with their parents. Baking something special or cooking dinner is an ideal time to spend together and learn life skills. Print out a recipe, purchase all the ingredients and set a date for cooking together.

7. Crafting Date. Our daughter loves making crafts. I do, too; I really do enjoy the creative aspect. But I rarely take time out to do it with her. These crafting dates mean the world to our creative little girl. Keep a basket of craft supplies and get out a book for inspiration. We like Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight, by Marthe Jocelyn.

8. Arts and Crafts supplies. If your craft box is running low, stock up a little on things you need. Add in something fun the kids haven’t used before. A gift of arts and crafts supplies often brings on the imagination, and kids can’t wait to get to work!

9. Coupons. An envelope of coupons that they can “spend” at any time: I’ll do one chore — no questions asked; movie and popcorn night, you pick the movie!; 1:1 game of cards or basketball (whatever the child’s interest is in); sit and read a book with me; stay up 1/2 hour past bedtime.

10. Restaurant Gift Card. Dinner, ice cream, coffee, cupcake — whatever suits their fancy! Give them the freedom of inviting whomever they wish: it may be mom or dad; it may be a grandparent, aunt or even teacher they would like to spend more time with.

11. Dress-Up Clothes. These do need to be limited, but two dresses and a couple play silks can get hours and hours of play!

12. Books. We get a lot of books from the library, but there are some that I just can’t find there, or it takes us longer to read through. We have read through the entire Little House series, Narnia, and are working our way through Shel Silverstein’s books. Be sure to pass the books on when you are done, so they don’t clutter up your home.

13. Clothes. When kids only have a certain amount of clothes, they often enjoy getting clothes. Make it a point to get something that fits their style. That may mean Western clothes, superhero, fancy dresses, etc.

14. Snacks. If your child is a foodie, they will love this! Some homemade granola or cookies made just for them is a special treat!

15. Outdoor Supplies. If you are an outdoorsy family, giving kids their own fishing tackle or gardening equipment can be a big deal. It’s also something that gets left on the shelf in the garage, so you always know right where to find it.

16. Telling Time. Many children these days don’t know how to read analog, or find it takes too long to think about it, so they search for a digital watch. Getting them a cool watch makes them want to be able to tell time on it. Boys, girls, and even teenagers can be excited about this.

17. Games and Puzzles. Games and puzzles are great activities for when kids have to be indoors. It’s a good practice to have individual quiet times during the day, and having a puzzle to sit and work on by themselves helps brain development and problem solving skills. Games teach a lot, too! My kids talk about how they passed geography, just because we played Risk when they were little. Monopoly and Payday have been popular and help cement math skills. Memory games are great for younger children.

18. Calendar. Many children like to know what is going on, what day it is, how many days until ____. These kids are the ones who want to know what the plan is for the day, the order in which things will happen, what time friends are expected over, etc. They struggle with spur-of-the-moment and can be frustrating if you are a spontaneous parent. But celebrate it! These children have many strengths, and make our world run more smoothly. 🙂 Embrace their inner schedule and get them their own calendar. They can write down their own classes, appointments, playdates, etc. And if they ask you, send them to their calendar so they can get used to being in control of their own schedule. You can even schedule “spontaneous days,” so they know that something different will happen that day. Trust me, it will help them enjoy the spontaneous outings!

 

Click on the link to read When Parents Get Busted!

Click on the link to read The Inconvenient Truth Kids Style

Click on the link to read The Quality Most Parents Want to Teach Their Children

Click on the link to read Are Our Expectations for Children Too High?

Click on the link to read 25 Ways to Approach the Dreaded ‘How was School Today?’ Question

Do We Learn Enough From Children?

November 5, 2014

 

Sometimes our children show us up as ignorant. In the video above, one simple question is asked: If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?

Watch the difference between the way children interpret the question to the way the adults do.

It’s society that encourages us to be critical of our own bodies – it is not a natural construction.

 

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 7 Diagnosed with Anorexia

Click on the link to read The Destructive Impact of the “Fashion Police” Brigade

Click on the link to read The Plus Sized Barbie Debate Misses the Point

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

Watch a Classic Argument in Action (Video)

September 29, 2014

 

One child claims it’s sprinkling another that’s it’s raining. Both refuse to concede. My favourite is the girl in the middle that does her best to stay impartial and act as peacemaker.

 

Click on the link to read 7 Things a Quiet Student Wishes Their Teacher Knew

Click on the link to read Skills That Aren’t Taught But Should Be: #1 People Skills

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

Click on the link to read This is What I Think of the No Hugging Rule at Schools


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