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Dogs May Help Decrease Stress in Youth

A study in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology showed that children who played with trained dogs after undergoing a stressful task had greater gains in Positive Affect scale scores from baseline compared with those who received tactile stimulation and those in the sit and wait group. Researchers also found significantly lower State/Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children scores among those in the dog intervention group compared with those in the sit and wait group.

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Brief Exercise Breaks During Class Helps Bodies and Brains

Two-minute exercise breaks in the classroom may help school children meet physical activity goals without disrupting learning, new research suggests.

University of Michigan researchers say short bursts of in-classroom activity can trim childhood obesity rates while helping elementary schools provide 30 minutes of daily exercise for students.

“What we’re showing is that we can give kids an additional 16 minutes of health-enhancing physical activity,” said lead investigator Rebecca Hasson, an associate professor of kinesiology and nutritional sciences.

Children in the United States are supposed to get at least one hour of exercise each day, including 30 minutes of physical activity during school hours, the study authors explained. Most don’t reach this daily goal.

“Many kids don’t have PE (physical education) every day but they might have recess, and if they get 10 more minutes of activity there, it would meet that school requirement,” Hasson said in a university news release. “This doesn’t replace PE, it’s a supplement. We’re trying to create a culture of health throughout the entire school day, not just in the gym.”

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Social-Emotional Development for Preschoolers

preschool early learning group play social emotionalThe importance of social and emotional development on a young child’s life cannot be emphasized enough. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy social and emotional development is an integral part of a child’s health and wellbeing.  This development is defined as the ability to form satisfying, trusting relationships with others and includes, play, communication, learning, face challenges, and a full range of emotional behaviors. Key features of this development include how children interact with others and how they self manage their emotions and behaviors. In order to promote advantageous social and emotional childhood growth, studies indicate that introducing healthy positive factors in the classroom and at home are in the best interest of the child and will better serve their progress.

Social-Emotional Developmental Milestones

3 years-old:
• Copies adults and friends
• Shows affection for friends without prompting
• Shows wide range of emotions

4 years-old:
• Enjoys doing new things
• More creative with make believe play
• Cooperates with other children
• Would rather play with other children then his/herself

5 years-old:
• Wants to be like friends
• Likes to sing, dance, and act
• Is sometimes demanding and cooperative
• Can tell the difference between real and make-believe

Reference: Promoting Social-Emotional Development. Zero to Three

Get Involved in Your Child’s Middle School

father helping sonBeing involved in your child’s school and schoolwork when they’re in elementary school is easy.  Students in those grades need more help with assignments and attention from chaperones.  Plus they are generally more inclined to have adults present and receive their help.  In middle school however, all bets are off.  Students feel less of a need to have their parents around and there are typically less opportunities for parents to become involved.  Because of this you might have to think outside of the box or look for new ways to be involved with your child’s middle school experience.  SchoolFamily.com put together a helpful list on ways to be involved with your child when they’re in middle school.

Get to know the teachers. It’s a good idea to meet each of your child’s teachers.  Find out important information from them like how much time your child should spend on homework each night. Find out when tests are scheduled and ask what the best way to get in touch with them is if you have questions.

Find a niche for yourself at your child’s school. Unlike in the lower grades, middle school classrooms don’t need extra adults on hand. But you can volunteer in other ways. Serve as an adviser for an extracurricular activity such as the school paper, chess club, or science fair.

Volunteer to chaperone school dances and drive kids to school sports competitions. You’ll meet other parents, school staff, and your child’s classmates.

Go to school meetings and events. Attending concerts, plays, assemblies, meetings, and other activities is a good way to become familiar with your child’s school community.

Find out about homework assignments and school tests. If your school has a website where teachers list homework assignments, get in the habit of checking it regularly. If not, contact your child’s teachers and ask them to alert you when there’s an important project or test coming up.

Check your child’s homework, but don’t do it for him or her. Offer to check math problems, proofread written papers and look over spelling words. If you find a mistake, point it out to your child and help her figure out the correct answer.

Let us know what other ways you are involved in you child’s middle school in the comments below.