A Special Section of The Brunswick News
APRIL 25, 2013
Tips to connect with your teenage children Settling into a schedule beneficial for family
2 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Distraction a key tool for handling tantrums By BRITTANY TATE The Brunswick News
Temper tantrums are just a part of a child’s life, especially for toddlers ages 2 and 3. It is their way of communicating their frustrations. Maybe they are tired, hungry or uncomfortable. Maybe they want something they can’t have or maybe they want to do something they can’t do. Regardless of the reasons, these tantrums can be unsightly and ear-shattering – for example, screaming, crying, kicking, hitting and biting. Learning to get a handle on these outbursts can soothe your toddler (and calm your nerves). Janel Holland, a licensed clinical social
worker in Brunswick, says the best way to soothe a tantrum is to try to determine the needs or wants of the child. However, she says it is important to not give in to the child’s demands, because this will teach the child that having a tantrum will get what he or she wants. “Try to give the child choices as they are learning how to manage new-found independence at ages 2 and 3. Parents can try to distract the child by focusing his or her attention on something else. For example, singing a song or listening to music is a quick intervention that most people have access to quickly,” Holland said. Parents can help children at this age learn appropriate display of emotions by modeling good behavior when dealing with their own emotions, Holland said.
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Janel Holland, a licensed clinical social worker in Brunswick.
“Children at this age may have some vocabulary, most have difficulty at times communicating verbally what they need and also lack the ability to fully control their own emotions. Parents play a big role in beginning to help children learn how to appropriately display and respond to a range of emotions, especially unpleaseant ones, like frustration, disappointment or sadness.” If intervention and modeling aren’t working, Holland says parents can remove the child from the situation, such as going to another room or outside. “Make sure it is a safe place where they cannot hurt themselves or someone else. Parents can help by refraining from showing their own feelings of anger and frustration and talking to the child in a soothing voice,” Holland said. Like Holland, Kathy Webb, a licensed clinical social worker in Brunswick, says offering a distraction or redirecting the child to something else that will be interesting to the child can control a temper tantrum. “You have to keep in mind the natural instincts of a child. You know that they are curious and their attention span is short. Get them interested in something else and redirect them from the situation,” Webb said. If a tantrum happens in a public place, such as a grocery store or restaurant, Webb says it is best that you take the child to a quiet area to cool off. “Take them to a quiet place (away) from
everyone else when they throw tantrums. It’s important to talk to the child during the (outburst), saying, ‘I know you’re angry, I know you’re upset, but you will be OK.’ They will (eventually) wear themselves out,” Webb said. Make sure to control your tone of voice. “Some parents have tantrums with their child, and that’s not good. Model good emotional and behavioral control. Stay calm and talk with them about their feelings. Understand your child is going through emotional turmoil and wants to be a part of whatever you’re doing. They are learning instinctively, and, with your help, you can show them how to have good emotional control,” Webb said. Once you gain control of these tantrums, the best way to deter future ones is to be prepared. “Make sure children are well-rested and fed before going on an outing, but also take items to help appease the child if a need does arise, such as snacks or toys. Also be mindful of the time of day when scheduling activities. Try to avoid events when you know the child will be sleepy, tired or cranky,” Holland said. If children continue to display tantrums for extended periods of time or become violent to themselves or others, parents should seek the advice of a medical professional.
ON THE COVER
A special Section published by The Brunswick News C.H. Leavy IV, President Ron Maulden, Vice President Kerry Klumpe, Managing Editor Hank Rowland, Local News Editor Health Slapikas, Advertising Director Frank Lane, Circulation Director Donte Nunnally, Layout and Design Brittany Tate, Reporter Bobby Haven, Photographer Nick Nichols, Photographer 3011 Altama Avenue, Brunswick, GA 31520 Phone: (912) 265-8320 Fax: (912) 264-4973
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 3
Table of Contents Nursery tips for first timers, page 5 Getting into a schedule, page 6 When homework gets hard, page 8 Connecting with teens, page 10
Brunswick resident and firsttime mother Jennifer Tacbas holds 3-month-old daughter, Logan. Photo by Bobby Haven
Setting rules at college, page 11
4 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Facts to consider about childhood fever Fevers scare many parents. When a child’s temperatures rises, it can induce panic and helplessness. But when parents recognize that fevers are oftentimes not incredibly harmful to children, that recognition can reduce panic and overreliance on fever-reducing medication. If a child is healthy, a fever does not necessarily indicate anything serious. A fever is a rise in temperature initiated by the hypothalamus in the brain, which acts as the body’s internal thermostat. The average body temperature is 98.6 F (37 C), but if body temperature is measured consistently throughout the day, this temperature will fluctuate. In fact, body temperature is often lower in the morning and higher in the middle of the day. In many cases, the hypothalamus raises body temperature as the result of an infec-
Normal temperature 97 to 99 degrees (36 to 37.2 Celsius). Low-grade fever 99 to 100.9 degrees (37.3 to 38.3 Celsius). Common fever 101 to 103.5 degrees (38.4 to 39.7 Celsius). High fever any fever over 103.6 degrees (39.8 Celsius).
tion or illness, according to the Nemours Foundation for Children’s Health. It is believed that making the body less hospitable
Fevers can be scary for parents who don’t realize they’re a natural bodily process to fight illness.
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to viruses and bacteria helps reduce their propensity to grow and multiply. A fever is often a good indicator that a person is sick, which can sometimes be difficult to determine if there are no apparent symptoms. This can help parents and doctors discover what is triggering the fever. For parents of toddlers and older children, a fever of 103 F or less is generally nothing to run to the doctor about. There is no inherent harm in letting the fever run its course, and it can actually prove beneficial in fighting the viral or bacterial illness that is causing the fever in the first place. If your child is a newborn, a fever of 101 F or higher can be considered a medical emergency and should be evaluated by a doctor right away. Youngsters ages 7 weeks to 3 months should be brought to a doctor immediately if they have a fever of 101 or higher. If a child has a fever of 104 or higher and his or her body temperature will not come down to 101 or 102, even with treatment, this is a cause for concern. This guideline, courtesy of renowned childhood medical expert Dr. Sears, can help parents determine if their child’s body temperature is something they should be concerned about.
Most pediatricians agree that a fever should not be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen if it is not making a child extremely uncomfortable. These medications can be used if the child has pain or is complaining about how they feel about the fever. Acetaminophen is used every 4 hours, while ibuprofen lasts a little longer and is given every 6 to 8 hours. When checking fevers, parents often wonder which thermometer is best. While some parents employ the lips-on-the-forehead method, there are more accurate methods of determining temperature readings. Glass rectal or oral/underarm thermometers These have been around the longest and have a proven record of accuracy. They do take the longest to read a temperature and can be difficult when dealing with fidgety kids. Ear thermometer This quick and easy thermometer has become a favorite method. But accuracy can vary, giving different readings from each ear. Temporal thermometer Another quick method, this thermometer is swept across the temporal artery in the forehead and has a better accuracy rating than the ear thermometer.
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 5
Baby is on the way,
time to set up the nursery
Expecting parents eagerly anticipate the arrival of their new bundle of joy. After 9 months of waiting to see what he or she looks like and wanting to cuddle their newborn, the baby’s arrival is a momentous event. As most people know, for such a little person, babies seemingly need a ton of gear and other items. One thing the baby will eventually need is a nursery to call home. Although newborns do spend the first few months of their lives often tucked in at night in a bassinet or co-sleeper cradle in mom’s bedroom, chances are the infant will nap or gradually spend increasing amounts of time in his or her own room. Outfitting the nursery with the essentials can mean comfort and convenience. To some parents, every baby product out there is a necessity. But in reality, there are maybe a handful of things to put into the nursery – at least for the time being – to adequately provide for the baby. Crib At some point in the near future, baby will be doing most of his or her sleeping exclusively in the crib. Although that can seem like a far-off goal now that your little one prefers to sleep in your arms while watching late-night television, after a few months junior will become comfortable with his or her room and may even enjoy the security the crib provides. Before selecting a crib, be sure to check for certain recalls and ensure the brand and model are not on the list. The crib should be sturdy and meet guidelines for minimum spacing between spindles. Older, hand-me-down cribs are not recommended. Although drop-side cribs may offer ease of placing baby inside, some of these types of cribs have been recalled in the past for faulty railings that trap the infant. A stationary sided crib is another choice. Position the crib away from items that can be pulled into the crib by curious hands. Try to keep it away from windows for draft reasons and also to avoid window-fall accidents. Cribs should be free of breathing obstructions, like stuffed animals or puffy side bumpers to reduce
the risk of SIDS. Changing table Most parents prefer a convenient changing table that also stores diapers and toiletries. Although it may not always be possible to travel to the nursery for every diaper change, you can still equip the nursery with a table or another sturdy place to change your infant. Some dressers double as changing tables in their design. A small loveseat or a guest bed in the nursery can also be a place to change the baby and provide a comfortable place to rest when he or she is waking up in the middle of the night. It is important never to leave a baby unattended on any surface because you never know the moment when he or she will learn to roll over or move enough to fall off of the changing surface. Safety devices Although infants are too young to get into much trouble, babies eventually become very active and curious. Take the time now to babyproof the nursery. Select window coverings that cannot be pulled down or do not feature cords that can present a strangulation hazard. All outlets should be blocked with a safety plug or some sort of cover to deter little fingers from seeking them out. Secure cords to lamps and other electronic devices in cord keepers. Latches for drawers, closets and other doors can deter baby from getting into places that can be dangerous. Door knob covers enable adults to open doors but are too tricky for toddlers to figure out. When selecting furniture, look for items with rounded corners, which are safer should a child fall into the furniture. And use a latch to secure top-heavy dressers or armoires to the wall so they cannot fall on a child. Mental stimulation Young children are constantly exploring the world around them. At a very young age, their vision is still developing, so large, bold visuals can help stimulate visual comprehension. Some parents opt to
have vivid wall murals painted in the nursery. But bold, framed artwork or photos can also draw the eye of your little one and keep him or her engaged. Research indicates that listening to music can help stimulate the brain and
may even benefit a child’s intellect. Music can also be soothing to a baby, especially one alone in his or her nursery. You can consider a small radio or CD/mp3 player in the room to create a more soothing atmosphere.
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6 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Settling into a schedule beneficial for household By BRITTANY TATE The Brunswick News
Trying to put newborns on a schedule is tricky. As a new mommy, you are bound by your baby’s needs – changing diapers, feeding, burping, bathing and cradling. Life can feel like a whirlwind. But after a few months of learning your baby’s habits, you will finally fall into a rhythm, knowing exactly what time you can take a bath, juggle household chores or sneak in a nap. Brunswick resident and first-time mother Jennifer Tacbas is finding that out now,
though, she does something not seen much in today’s time-obsessed society: She lets her 3-month-old daughter, Logan, make her own schedule. “I nurture whatever sleep and feeding needs she has, whenever she has them, and it’s worked great for me, and is very enjoyable for both Logan and myself. “I let her fall into a routine that comes naturally to her (and) I feed her whenever she shows signs she is hungry,” Tacbas said. “You can’t force a baby to sleep, (and) you can’t force a baby to eat, or shouldn’t, anyway, so I don’t. Once she moves to solid foods, I will want to get more of a schedule in place to (prevent) overeating and the risk
Bobby Haven/ The Brunswick News
Jennifer Tacbas puts her daughter, Logan, down for a nap.
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of obesity.” Tacbas says organization and patience are key when it comes to baby feeding and sleeping routines. “Keeping her to the sleep ‘schedule’ she is on is pretty easy. I make sure the room is organized for her sleep time. That way, as soon as she falls asleep after nursing, she can be laid down without any interruptions,” Tacbas said. She knows these approaches don’t always work. “What might work one week may not work the next week. The sooner a parent accepts that there is no 100 percent guaranteed way to ensuring your baby will follow set feeding and sleeping routines, the happier the parent and the baby will be,” Tacbas said. The playing field is much different for mommies with children who are in the “terrible twos” up to kindergarten age. Brunswick resident Nettie Alexander is gradually preparing her 3-year-old twins, Eli and Eliza, for school. “The moment we brought them home from the hospital, we had a plan, and we stuck to it. When one child ate, the other ate, too, and when one slept, the other would sleep too. We never deviated from the schedule,” Alexander said. “They are on a three-hour schedule: eat,
play and nap. And we do the same thing in the morning and night. They do better when they know what to expect.” Alexander says consistency is key, especially when you have someone else watching your child for a few hours. “Talk with other caregivers – spouse, friends and parents – and get them on the same page. If not, they will get overtired, hungry and will cry nonstop,” Alexander said. “Also, develop a schedule that works best for you. With the twins, we fed and changed them at the same time, because, if we didn’t, we wouldn’t know who was fed or changed.”
Organization and patience are key when it comes to baby feeding and sleeping routines. Alexander suggests that soon-to-be mothers think of a plan before the baby is born to get an idea of how you would want to schedule. She also says new moms should be open to suggestions. “If something doesn’t work, keep trying. Don’t be afraid to try something new for you and your child. Just enjoy every moment, relax, and don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Alexander said.
The right toys will teach problem solving skills
Encouraging the use of creative activities and games that challenge your children to think outside the box and build their problem solving skills at an early age will help encourage them to become independent thinkers and problem solvers â€“ skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Giving your child simple games such as building blocks that require identifying different shapes is a great way to start building problem solving skills. For older children, more challenging games may be required to build their problem solving abilities and their confidence in taking on greater challenges. One new game that has caught the attention of educators and parents alike is the new Perplexus 3D game maze by Plasmart Inc. This is a 3-dimensional maze game where players maneuver a small marble around challenging barriers inside a large-sized transparent sphere. Unlike traditional flat-surface mazes that are composed of one path, Perplexus challenges playersâ€™ problem solving abilities with numerous paths to choose from and hundreds of barriers to overcome. Players can race each other or the clock. In addition to being an entertaining game, itâ€™s a valuable tool for cognitive development, encouraging children to exercise their problem-solving, motor and dexterity skills, as well as improving their hand-eye coordination. Experts say the game is just as challenging for adults as it is for children and will especially keep parent solving skills sharp as well.
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 7
Top Baby Names in 2012 Thousands of new babies are born every year. Time and again expectant parents are left with the often difficult decision of coming up with a name to bestow on their new bundle of joy. Some parents want something that is trendy or inspired by a Hollywood character or personality, while others look for a name with a certain meaning behind it. For example, the name â€œJacobâ€? is of Hebrew origin and means â€œhe who supplants,â€? while the name â€œSophiaâ€? is of Greek origin and signifies â€œwisdom.â€? The following are the most popular baby names of 2012, courtesy of Social Security Administration statistics.
Sophia Isabella Emma Olivia Ava Emily Abigail Madison Mia Chloe Elizabeth Ella Addison Natalie Lily
Jacob Mason William Jayden Noah Michael Ethan Alexander Aiden Daniel Anthony Matthew Elijah Joshua Liam
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8 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Parents may need to refresh skills for homework help Your fifth-grader brings home math homework and asks for your assistance. The class is up to multiplying fractions, and it’s been years since you’ve done this type of work. Never mind numerators and denominators, the most you know about fractions at this point is how a pizza is cut into eight slices. What are you going to do when your
child is a teenager bringing home even harder homework? Although they are routinely the first people students ask for homework help, many parents confess they are flummoxed by algebra equations and can’t tell a preposition from a participle. Whether they earned straight As when they were students
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Homework time often becomes a family affair. Many parents are finding they need to brush up on basic skills to offer adequate assistance.
or not, lack of practice means parents may no longer recall the lessons of their youth. Many North American parents struggle to help their students with homework as well. Immigrant parents have the most difficulty, likely due to language barriers. In addition, immigrant parents were likely schooled in different education systems in another part of the world, making homework assignments seem foreign even for those parents who speak English well. Parents who understand the homework may be confusing their children by assisting them in a manner that is inconsistent with the way the students are now being taught.
How to get help Contact the teacher and find out if you can purchase or borrow a copy of the teacher’s edition of the textbook. This way you can keep abreast of the lessons and instruct in the same way that the lessons are being taught in school. If a book is not available, find out if instructional materials can be assembled to assist you in mastering the concepts. Log online to search for the subject matter and refresh your memory. Many teachers or experts volunteer information online to help educate students (and parents) about math, science, reading and other subjects. Parents looking to double check their math and science work can use a website like Wolfram Alpha, which is a computational knowledge engine. Hire a tutor if you find you’re doing more harm than good when assisting with homework. If lack of personal knowledge about the homework or simple frustration over your child’s inability to grasp the lessons is making homework time unbearable and ending in a shouting match, consider the use of a tutor. Students a few years older than your child might be able to help with homework because it is more fresh in their minds. Plus, your child may feel less pressure when learning from a peer or older sibling.
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 9
Simple rules help child be a pet’s best friend In many families, kids and pets get along famously. Many youngsters are natural born animal enthusiasts while pets tend to respond to kids’ gentle and loving natures. But the bond between kids and pets is one that develops over time, and parents welcoming a new pet into their home should know that this transition is not always easy. Teaching kids to treat pets with love and respect and watching pets to ensure kids are safe in their company can help calm parents’ nerves. The following tips, courtesy of the ASPCA, can ensure both kids and pets stay safe while building a strong bond and a healthy relationship. • Teach kids to protect themselves from overexcited pets. Pets, especially puppies, can easily become overexcited. This can be mistaken for aggressiveness, especially by kids who might be scared. Teach kids to protect themselves from overexcited pets, including dog bite prevention. If kids fear their dog might bite them, then teach them to roll into a ball, protect their hands and face and call for help. Running and screaming might upset the dog, who then might go on the defensive. • Teach kids to recognize signs of aggression. Sometimes dogs will use body language to let people know they do not wish to be approached. Adults and kids alike should familiarize themselves with these mannerisms as a safety precaution. If these signals are ignored, then the dog might bite to protect itself. Signs of defensive aggression include: ears back, pupils dilated; tail down and tensed; posture mildly crouched, weight over rear legs; muzzle tense, wrinkled and snarling, and teeth exposed When a dog is exhibiting any of these signs, adults and kids should not approach the dog and let it cool down. • Keep kids’ toys away from pets and vice versa. Kids’ toys are not always pet-safe and pets’ toys are not always safe for kids. Separate the two and explain to kids that they should not use their toys when playing
with pets. • Teach kids to respect a pet’s “safe spot.” Pets may need a “safe spot” to which they can retreat and be sure no one will follow them. These spots are safe havens for pets, especially those adopted from shelters who might need more time to adjust to a new environment than a puppy or kitten. Teach kids to respect these “safe spots,” which might be a crate or a sleeping area, leaving pets alone when they retreat to such areas. Pets react defensively when others try to access their safe spots. • Teach kids and pets rules for each game. When playing reward games, such as those when a pet gets a treat or toy if it behaves correctly, teach pets to sit in order to get their reward, and teach kids that the pet must be sitting in order to earn its reward. This can keep kids from being jumped on or accidentally bitten when a pet gets overexcited by the sight of a toy or treat. It also teaches pets that they can’t get what they want simply by being physical. If the pet won’t sit, then adults and kids should walk away without giving the pet its treat or toy.
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10 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Parents have ways to link with teenage children By BRITTANY TATE The Brunswick News
From the awkward stages of puberty and dating to unruly behavior, raising teenagers can be hard. But it doesnâ€™t have to be all bad. Learning to manage your teens can help keep them on the straight and narrow and can ensure that the thin line between friendship and parenting isnâ€™t a blurry one. Brunswick resident Tonia Haymans and her husband use the Bible as a foundation on how to manage their teens, Jacob, 17, and Sarah, 14. â€œMy husband and I stay very involved and interested in them. We work diligently to be
consistent, (and) it makes it much easier now, because of all the time and energy we spent when they were little,â€? Haymans said. â€œThey each know we expect them to have good character, to be honest and trustworthy, and so, therefore, they do. When issues arrive, we address them immediately, then forgive and go on. They are not perfect, and we know tragedies and sadness can come, yet we pray to have wisdom and guidance in training them each and every day.â€? Establishing rules, Haymans says, gives teens guidelines and should be consistent. She also says parents should remind teens that â€œit isnâ€™t all about them.â€? â€œChildren, all ages, need and want rules. They want parameters. You cannot ask a
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Tonia Haymans sits with her children Jacob and Sarah. She and her husband use the Bible as a foundation on how to manage their teens.
child what he or she wants or how to make decisions without giving guidelines first,â€? Haymans said. Brunswick resident Muh Ling Chong approaches raising her teens, Ria Chu, 18, and Faye Chu, 16, somewhat differently. â€œSince they were young, I always made my expectations clear by being a role model. I made sure they knew what kind of behavior I couldnâ€™t tolerate and told them the consequences of improper behavior by showing them real life examples and stories from movies. More importantly, I had to make sure that I didnâ€™t (exhibit) behavior they couldnâ€™t tolerate,â€? Chong said. Chong says if a parent is a role model for teens, the right behaviors will be automatically reinforced. â€œAs a parent, I try to feel as a child, but I will not ask a child to feel as a parent. I learn what they learn â€“ we got our black belts in Taekwondo together â€“ and I teach them what I know â€“ I taught them piano, languages and other subjects. I am not superior to them,â€? Chong said. â€œI believe that when teenagers are involved in healthy activities after school, they usually will head toward a right direction to their future. I let them play computer games, but not video games, and they know when to stop and go back to study or practice their instruments, because they know what they must do to do well.â€? For Brunswick resident Gayle Bowman, learning to listen and evaluate what her
daughter, Carmen Alexandra Bowman-Randall, 18, said based on her feelings, thoughts and beliefs was hard. â€œParenting isnâ€™t easy. My mother used to say that children donâ€™t come with an instruction manual, (and) what works for one may not work for another. Once I understood (Carmen Alexandraâ€™s) point of view, I could better advise her, based on my expectations, beliefs, rules, past experiences, etc.,â€? Bowman said. Bowman says when teens are old enough to drive, get the friendsâ€™ name, address and phone number as well as that of their parents. And if you want, do some occasional â€œdrivebysâ€? to make sure they are where they said they would be. â€œAs parents, I believe our job is to create and develop intelligent, responsible, lawabiding, respectful and independent Christians. This cannot happen without exemplifying good behavior, setting rules and having consequences if rules are broken,â€? Bowman said. Haymans, Chong and Bowman agree that being a role model and setting good examples are two key ingredients in managing teenagers. â€œWe have to put ourselves aside and ask how their day was, check homework, use and demand proper use of the English language, email teachers, force them to write thankyou notes, be comfortable with saying â€˜noâ€™ and volunteer in the classroom. The rewards come later,â€? Bowman said.
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 11
With college life comes a new set of standards Many of this year’s high school graduates will be leaving home for a college campus in the fall. Such a departure is often bittersweet for kids and parents alike. Young men and women typically look forward to the freedom and independence that college life can provide, but those same men and women know they will miss the familiarity of home as well. Parents, too, have mixed emotions when kids head to college, as their sadness over a child leaving home is met with the pride they feel that the child they raised is setting out to make their own way in the world. Few moments in life involve such significant change as the moment when a young man or woman first arrives on a college campus. First-year college students often don’t know what to expect once they arrive on campus, but there are steps parents can take to help their kids prepare for college life. Teach kids how to schedule their time One of the things many college kids find once they arrive on campus is that their life is suddenly much less structured and their amount of downtime has increased considerably. Unlike high school, which keeps many kids in class or involved in extracurricular activities from the early morning through the late afternoon, college affords students much more free time, which is their’s to use as they see fit. Some kids dive right into on-campus activities, while others struggle to use their free time to their advantage. Parents can teach time management skills such as how to establish a schedule so all of that free time does not go to waste. This schedule can be adjusted on a weekly basis depending on coursework or extracurricular activities. Once kids learn to manage their time effectively, including using breaks between classes to review notes from a recent lecture or upcoming class, they’re likely to get the most out of themselves academically and find they have more time to pursue extracurricular activities as well. Discuss finances and establish a financial arrangement Many college freshmen struggle to manage their money. Some might never have had a job during high school while others who did work
only did so to earn spending money. But many college students need more than spending money once they reach campus. Rising tuition costs have made it difficult, if not impossible, for parents to bankroll their kids’ everyday expenses. As a result, many college students find themselves forced to manage their own money for the first time in their lives. Parents can teach simple financial lessons, such as the benefits of buying groceries as opposed to dining out or ordering in each night. College is also where many young men and women sign up for their first credit card. Parents can teach their kids the basics of managing credit, such as the benefit of paying off a balance before interest rates kick in and the negative ramifications of missing payments. Parents who can afford to provide financial support for their children enrolled in college should reach a financial agreement with their children before they are off to college. Make sure kids know your financial support does not mean they have unlimited access to your funds, and make it known that such support will not continue if kids aren’t performing well in the classroom. Encourage kids to contact any roommates before the school year begins Part of the trepidation many kids have when leaving for college concerns how they may or may not develop a relationship with their new roommate. Many schools assign roommates months in advance of the school year, giving kids ample time to make contact and make arrangements about whom is going to bring certain items, such as a television or coffee pot or even furniture if the room can fit any. Parents should encourage such contact so kids can get a feel of who they will be living with and lay the groundwork for a friendship before they even step foot on campus. The feeling of knowing someone on campus can greatly reduce the anxiety many kids feel when they arrive at school for their freshmen orientation. The day a student leaves for college is a significant day for parents and students alike. Parents can take a number of steps to make the transition to college easier for their college-bound son or daughter.
Parents of college-bound youngsters can help their kids prepare for such a significant life adjustment so kids are better equipped to handle both their academic and social lives.
12 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Playground safety tips for parents Children are encouraged to play outdoors to exert physical effort and promote health. Few things are more exciting to young children than the opportunity to swing and scale playground obstacles. But what if the outdoor play equipment poses significant safety risks? Playground injuries have become a considerable concern for parents and caregivers across the country. According to the organization Safe Kids U.S.A., nearly 220,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in emergency rooms for injuries associated with playground
equipment in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available. From 2001 to 2008, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated 40 deaths that were believed to be linked to playground equipment. The average victim’s age was six years old. Of the fatalities, 68 percent were the result of hanging or asphyxiation. No one wants to prevent children from having fun, but it is essential to child safety that playgrounds be well-maintained to ensure playtime does not end in injury. Improperly maintained equipment coupled with ineffective shock-absorbing surface material Adult supervision is one of the primary ways to reduce playground injuries.
can increase a child’s risk of injury. The CPSC says the equipment associated with the most injuries include climbers (monkey bars), swings, slides and overhead ladders. Fractures remain the most common playground injury, followed by contusions and abrasions. To keep children safe, there are certain precautions that should be taken whenever children are allowed to use playground equipment. It is up to adults, including parents and guardians, to ensure that play areas are safe and to use their judgement to restrict play if unsafe conditions are present. Here is a checklist for adults, courtesy of the National Program for Playground Safety. • Always be sure adults are there to supervise. Adult supervision is needed wherever children are playing. In school settings, where there are a number of children out at recess, there should be an ample ratio of adults to children. Adults can observe potential hazards and intercede if children are misbehaving. Playgrounds that have rope activities should be avoided, as should putting children in clothing that has string ties. • All children should play on age-appropriate equipment. Due to developmental differences as children age, it is essential children play on equipment that correlates to their age groups to keep play safe and fun. • Make sure surfaces are cushioned.
Falls account for an array of playground injuries. Acceptable cushioned surfaces can help prevent more serious injuries from falls. Materials that can be used include pea gravel, sand, rubber mats, rubber tiles, and mulch. • Make sure equipment is safe. Equipment should be inspected regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. S-hooks on swings and other hanging items should be entirely closed, and there should be no protruding bolts. Footings and steps should be in good working order. Equipment also should be safely anchored in the ground. If any safety hazards arise, the equipment should not be used until it is fixed. In addition to the information provided by NPPS, the National Recreation and Park Association has conducted their own playground safety initiative, identifying 12 of the most common playground hazards and how to avoid them in their report, “The Dirty Dozen.” Inadequate use zones and entrapment in openings are just two of the hazards identified by the NRPA. Individuals can download an NRPA brochure by visiting www.nrpa.org/Professional-Development/Certification/CPSI/The-DirtyDozen/. Schools and other organizations can purchase the brochures for use in lesson plans by visiting the NRPA store. Children also need to be on the lookout for unsafe conditions. Parents and teachers can gear lessons around playground safety.
Simple ways to teach kids about money
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 13
Growing up in a time of economic struggle, today’s kids might be inadvertently learning lessons about money. If Mom and Dad have been forced to cut back or even lost their jobs, chances are kids have noticed and learned something as a result. Even if parents have managed to weather the economic storm of the last several years without making too many sacrifices, they can still start teaching kids about money, even if kids have just entered kindergarten. It’s never too early to teach kids lessons about money. The following tips are a few ways parents can do just that. Give kids an allowance Many parents give their kids an allowance so they can have some spending money when out with friends. But giving an allowance is also a great way to teach kids about managing their money. Start with an amount that is small but large enough for kids to make purchases. By doing so, kids will learn that things they want cost money and that properly managing their money will enable them to purchase the things they want. If kids spend all their money by Monday and don’t
get their allowance until Friday, resist the temptation to give them more money if the kids ask for it. This, too, will help kids learn the value of managing money. Open a savings account in your child’s name Another way to teach kids about money is to open a savings account in their names. Once the account is opened, take your child to the bank once a week to deposit a predetermined amount of money. This shows the child the importance of steadily saving money. It might be difficult at the outset to get kids into this habit, but once they make savings deposits part of their routines and their balances start to grow, they will likely grow more enthusiastic about their weekly trips to the bank. Help kids make larger purchase Helping kids make larger purchases, be it a new bicycle or a video game console, is another way to teach them about money. Such purchases teach kids about long-term financial goals, and how it’s necessary to stay diligent with savings in order to meet those goals. Paying for half is a good way to reward kids for meeting these goals.
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14 The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013
Kids can play safely while having fun on field The spring sports season is a popular time for school-aged children. After a few months of being cooped up indoors, many kids are ready to spend time in the fresh air. Organized team sports are one way they can burn energy and learn lessons in camaraderie and problem-solving. Spring sports season presents a host of opportunities for athletic youngsters. But the secret to a successful season has little to do with wins and losses and a lot to do with making sure children have fun and take the necessary precautions to reduce their risk of injury on the playing field. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, nearly 40 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports across North America each year. Although sports are an ideal way to socialize and get muchneeded exercise, they also can increase participants’ risk of suffering a sports-related
injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that millions of children age 15 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries every year. Some of the more common injuries include sprains and strains, growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries and heatrelated illness. Certain sports go hand-in-hand with the spring season. Here is a look at some popular spring sports and how to reduce a child’s risk of suffering some of the more common injuries associated with those sports. Baseball/Softball The start of the spring season coincides with the commencement of the professional baseball season. Therefore, many schools and towns have baseball and softball leagues that also begin once the weather warms up. Baseball and softball are popular sports. However, each sport involves sliding, running, fast-moving balls and long hours out
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Parents can help prevent sports-related injuries by insisting kids stay hydrated when exercising and always wear the proper safety equipment when playing. in the elements. Each of these activities can cause injury, and some of the more common injuries associated with baseball and softball include soft tissue strains, fractures after being hit by a ball, sunburn and heat fatigue. Children who are playing baseball or softball should always wear the recommended safety equipment. This includes a batting helmet, shin guards, athletic supporters, sunscreen, mouth guards and eye protection. Proper stretching and warm-ups can make muscles and tendons limber before play. Soccer Soccer has long been a popular sport around the world, and interest in the sport has grown considerably in the United States. Soccer is ideal for developing hand-eye coordination. The constant running involved also makes it one of the best spring sports for kids in terms of overall exercise. Due to the constant movement involved with soccer, players should regularly rehydrate. Shin guards can prevent injuries and bruising to the legs, while wearing sunscreen will protect kids from sun exposure.
Lacrosse Lacrosse is a game that marries elements of basketball, football and hockey. Players throw and catch a small, hard, rubber ball with a netted stick, called a crosse. Lacrosse is a contact sport, and protective gear is essential to prevent injury. Players must wear helmets, typically with a safety grill over the face for boys. A mouthpiece, gloves and padding can be worn to further prevent injuries. Track and Field Some athletes excel in track and field. Although less combative than other sports discussed and with little or no risk of contact-related injury, there are still some dangers inherent to track and field. Strains and sprains from falls or rolling ankles are common. Safety precautions for track and field competitors revolve heavily around the athlete’s conditioning. Allow for ample warm-up periods and make sure athletes always wear supportive footwear. Players should always consume a good deal of water or other fluids to remain hydrated.
The Brunswick News / Thursday, April 25, 2013 15
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Volunteering beneficial for kids of every age Volunteering is a great way for people to give back to their communities. It’s also a great way for parents to instill character in their children. When kids volunteer, they learn lessons about responsibility while also learning how enjoyable it can be to help the less fortunate. Kids who volunteer early in life are more likely to do so throughout their lives, and that lifetime of service can be invaluable. The right volunteering opportunity for a child often depends on the child’s age, as some opportunities are better suited to younger children, while others are tailor-made for teenagers. The following are a few age-appropriate ideas that can help get kids excited about volunteering and giving back to their neighborhoods. Elementary school children When kids reach elementary school, parents should introduce them to volunteering. Volunteering activities for school-aged kids should be simple, such as accompanying their parents to food banks where kids can help feed the homeless and less fortunate. Kids with grandparents living in assisted living facilities can read to residents at the facility or bring them homemade arts and crafts or even foods they helped prepare (just be sure to clear any items with the facility’s medical staff before distributing). These tasks are simple, and kids won’t feel nervous when accompanied by Mom and Dad. Middle school children When kids reach middle school, they might not feel it’s necessary for Mom and Dad to
tag along as much. This is perfectly alright, and it’s a great time for kids to branch out and choose some volunteer activities of their own. Instead of accompanying kids to the food bank, let them work a shift on their own. Kids who have been volunteering since early childhood might have some volunteering goals of their own by the time they reach middle school, so don’t insist they continue with current activities if there’s something else sparking their interest. Kids might want to help an elderly neighbor around the house, such as shopping for groceries or taking care of their property. Encourage such ideas, and expect kids to want to exercise some independence when they reach middle school. High school students High school students tend to have busy schedules, but those who have been volunteering since childhood will likely find a way to continue doing so. Teenagers tend to have more specific interests than younger children, and parents can encourage teens to incorporate those interests into their volunteering. For example, kids who love sports might be able to work with the local sports and recreation center to coach younger athletes. Or kids who excel in the classroom can tutor younger students. Volunteering can look good on a high school student’s resume when the time comes to apply for college, but parents should be careful that their high school-aged children don’t stretch themselves too thin with extracurricular activities. Encourage volunteering but not at the expense of schoolwork.
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