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ANTON WEEKLY – ALL ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - JANUARY 18, 2013

C AMPS & S CHOOLS

Using Chores To Teach School and Study Skills BY DR. RAYMOND J. HUNTINGTON

f your household is like most, there are many day-to-day duties that must be completed. While tasks like laundry and doing dishes may seem tedious for children, research conducted by the University of Minnesota’s College of Education and Human Development shows that “involving children in household tasks at an early age can have a positive impact later in life.” Without a doubt, chores foster a good attitude about working hard and being responsible and have many other important benefits. Here are several suggestions to help your child build valuable skills while contributing around the house: Picking up clutter - Make time each day for your child to pick up his or her bedroom or around the house. Try setting a timer and challenging your child to see how much he or she can accomplish in five or 10 minutes. Learning to understand how long different tasks take will help your child become better at budgeting his or her time -

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for homework as well as timed tests and assignments at school. Cooking - Helping in the kitchen is an excellent way to put math concepts into action, including fractions (using measuring cups and spoons, for example), addition (when counting ingredients, measuring and more), multiplication (when doubling a recipe), and telling time and temperature. Older children can learn about chemistry from the changes that foods undergo during the cooking process. Preparing menus and grocery lists - Planning your family’s weekly menu and making an accompanying grocery list requires many different skills. Children must think ahead about what they want to eat, other commitments each evening (such as soccer practice or club meetings), and what ingredients they will need to cook the meal. Planning and managing a project - dinner in this case - are skills they will use again and again. Organizing - As any busy parent knows, there is much to keep track of in a household. Ask your

older child to help organize the pantry, a closet or another area of the home, developing a reliable organizational system. You could also put your child in charge of collecting and sorting the mail every day, maintaining the family calendar or filing papers, bills and other important documents in the family filing cabinet. Organizational chores emphasize the importance of having a designated place for everything. Students who are organized are more likely to avoid misplacing their homework and being tardy and later will better understand how to manage multi-step assignments and projects. Cleaning - Cleaning the kitchen or bathroom can be a science experiment waiting to happen. Use all-natural cleaning products, such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice and do some research with your child on how they work and how they differ from chemical cleaning products. Find recipes for homemade cleaners online. Feeding pets - Caring for and feeding the family pet teaches your child about commitment, being re-

lied upon and keeping to a schedule. It also reinforces the lesson that your child’s actions have consequences. Have your child develop a chart to keep track of feedings, or take things further and bring him or her along to veterinary appointments so he or she can learn about your animal’s health. Age-appropriate chores teach responsibility, work ethic, organization and time management - and they even help children build self-esteem as they gain the satisfaction of seeing tasks through to completion. Chores can also reinforce school skills such as math, reading, critical thinking and more. With all of these benefits, assigning chores takes on new meaning. Not only will you gain extra hands around the house, your child will be learning and growing as a person and student. Dr. Raymond J. Huntington and Eileen Huntington are co-founders of Huntington Learning Center, which has been helping children succeed in school for more than 30 years. For more information about Huntington, call 1-800 CAN LEARN.

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ANTON WEEKLY – ALL ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - JANUARY 18, 2013

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ANTON WEEKLY – ALL ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - JANUARY 18, 2013

C AMPS & S CHOOLS

Helping Childen Beat The Winter Blues BY ALAN KRAWITZ

older weather, shortened amounts of sunlight and even school-related stressors such as homework or difficult subjects can all trigger those inevitable winter blues in children. But, many children’s experts agree that regardless of the specific cause of a child’s blues or down moods; activities, exercise and increased exposure to sunlight can help lift any kid’s spirits. “When we are talking about winter blues for children (or adults for that matter) we are really talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD,” says Dr. Renee Clauselle, founder of Family and Child Psychology in Franklin Square. SAD, also known as winter depression is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience seasonal depression, partly due to diminished exposure to sunlight. Clauselle says that in addition to treatments such as light therapy, staying active is key. “The more we move, and exercise the more serotonin is produced in the brain which helps beat blue moods,” she says. She adds that while it may be tempting to play video games all day when it is too cold outside, it is far wiser to trade that play time in for gym time at the basketball court, an indoor playground, indoor swimming lessons, skiing, sledding, dance classes or a variety of other activities that are based around motion. Being social is yet another way to keep a kid’s spirits soaring. “When we get together with friends, we tend to laugh more and experience more pleasure. Now is the time to fill up the calendar with play dates,” Clauselle says. In addition, Clauselle says that doing projects and creating goals together is also a great way to get in some family time and feel productive. Some of those projects include baking, painting, crafts such as knitting, crochet and sewing. Linda Crispi, director of the Children’s Center at Farmingdale State University of New York, agrees that activities are crucial to combating the blues. “Take a walk- look for animal prints in the snow. Go bird watching,” advises Crispi. Other activities Crispi suggests include a family game night, arts and crafts nights or creating rock

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Although colder weather means children will spend much more time indoors, there is still the opportunity for physical activity such as a game of basketball in a warm gym. gardens with spring bulbs, which can be grown. Libraries can also be a great source of free programs for kids, says Elena Jannello, children’s librarian at Farmingdale Public Library. “We really pack our schedule with all kinds of events, so there’s basically always something going on here on any given day,” she says. According to Jannello, the library offers a wide variety of free programs from entertainment and education to crafts and special theme nights. Moreover, Crispi says that even proper nutrition can help play a part in warding off a child’s blues. “…Limit the amount of foods with carbohydrates and fat. Encourage healthy eating and maintain healthy energy levels,” Crispi says. She also advises preparing fun fruit smoothies or winter fruit salads. “Create a snowman face with rice cakes, cream cheese, raisins and carrots,” she adds. Finally, although most cases of the blues are easily remedied via increased activity and sunlight, Crispi advises monitoring children’s behavior for signs of more extreme symptoms such as problems with eating, sleeping too much, extreme moodiness, not wanting to play with friends or other atypical behaviors. “If any of these behaviors are present, you may want to talk with your child’s doctor. Depression in children can be difficult to understand and diagnose but it can be treated,” she says.


ANTON WEEKLY – ALL ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - JANUARY 18, 2013

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ANTON WEEKLY – ALL ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - JANUARY 18, 2013

C AMPS & S CHOOLS Study Finds That Online Activity Can Influence College Admissions tudents applying to colleges should be very careful about what they post about themselves online on social networking sites. A recent study shows that an increasing number of college admission officers are checking online sites and the information they are discovering is impacting their admission decisions. Results from Kaplan Test Prep’s 2012 survey of college admissions officers show that schools are increasingly discovering information on Facebook and Google that negatively impact applicants’ acceptance chances. While the percentage of admissions officers who took to Google (27 percent) and checked Facebook (26 percent) as part of the applicant review process increased slightly (20 percent for Google and 26 percent for Facebook in 2011) from last year, the percentage that said they discovered something that negatively impacted an applicant’s chances of getting into the school nearly tripled – from 12 percent last year to 35 percent this year. Offenses cited included essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol con-

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While something posted online may seem funny to a teenager, it will be no laughing matter if that post leads to the student being turned down for admission to a college. sumption in photos, things that made them “wonder,� and “illegal activities.� In 2008, when Kaplan began tracking this trend, only one in 10 admissions officers reported checking applicants’ social networking pages.

“Social media used to basically mean Facebook. But the underlying trend we see is the increase in use of Google, which taps into a social media landscape that’s proliferated to include Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, blogging and other platforms -- and teens today are using all of these channels,� said Jeff Olson, vice president of Data Science, Kaplan Test Prep. “Additionally, we’re seeing a growing cultural ubiquity in social media use, plus a generation that’s grown up with a very fluid sense of privacy norms. In the face of all these trends, the rise in discovery of digital dirty laundry is inevitable.� Olson noted, “With regard to college admissions, the traditional application — the essays, the letters of recommendation — represent the polished version of an applicant, while often what’s found online is a rawer version of that applicant. Schools are philosophically divided on whether an applicant’s digital trail is fair game, and the majority of admissions officers do not look beyond the submitted application, but our advice to students is to think first, Tweet later.�

Kaplan’s survey also found that only 15 percent of colleges currently have rules regarding the checking of applicants’ Facebook or social networking pages – a percentage that has remained fairly consistent over the past few years. Of schools that do have a policy, 69 percent said the policy prohibited admissions officers from visiting applicants’ pages – still leaving the vast majority of admissions officers with the flexibility to act at their own discretion. Students can learn more about how to better safeguard their digital footprints at www.kaptest.com /socialmediatips. Far more common than the use of social media to evaluate applicants is its use in recruiting potential students. Kaplan Test Prep’s survey found that 87 percent of colleges use Facebook for this purpose (up from 82 percent two years ago); 73 percent use YouTube (up from 56 percent); and 76 percent use Twitter (up from 52 percent). College admissions officers have not, however, embraced Google Plus – only 9 percent are using it to recruit prospective students.

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ANTON WEEKLY – ALL ANTON COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - JANUARY 18, 2013

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January 18, 2013  

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