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Today is World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day! How can you observe this special day? Take Lady Gaga’s advice and spread kindness today and every day. When you do something to improve someone else’s day, you often feel happier, too. Today, we challenge you to perform at least one random act of kindness. How will you make someone smile today?

Holiday Mental Health Tips

The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a happy holiday season, here are some safety and mental health tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  • Try to keep household routines the same. Stick to your child’s usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which may reduce stress and help your family enjoy the holidays.
  • Take care of yourself both mentally and physically.  Children and adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parent or caregivers. Coping with stress successfully can help children learn how to handle stress better, too.
  • Make a plan to focus on one thing at a time. Try a few ideas to balance the hustle and bustle of things like shopping, cooking, and family get-togethers during the holidays: Stop and pay attention to what is happening at the moment, focus your attention on one thing about it ,and notice how you are feeling at the time. Withhold immediate judgment, and instead be curious about the experience.
  • Give to others by making it an annual holiday tradition to share your time and talents with people who have less than you do. For example, if your child is old enough, encourage him or her to join you in volunteering to serve a holiday meal at your local food bank or shelter or sing at a local nursing home. Help your child write a letter to members of the armed forces stationed abroad who can’t be home with their own family during the holidays.
  • Remember that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or isolation during the holidays.  It is important to be sensitive to these feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or friends if needed.
  • Kids still need to brush their teeth twice a day!
  • Don’t feel pressured to “over-spend on gifts.”  Consider making one or two gifts. Help your child make a gift for his or her other parent, grandparents, or other important adults and friends. Chances are, those gifts will be the most treasured ones and will teach your child many important lessons.
  • Most important of all, enjoy the holidays for what they are — time to enjoy with your family. So, be a family, do things together like sledding or playing board games, and spend time visiting with relatives, neighbors and friends.

A Healthy and Happy Transition Back to School

Going back to school means a transition from the generally laid back summer days to more structured school days.  It can also mean added stress for students and a need for increased awareness from parents.

Here a few tips we’ve gathered to help you and your kids experience a healthy and happy transition back to school:

Headaches

Boy_with_headacheBack to school may mean an increase in headaches for your child.  This can be a result of a change in their bedtime routine, increased academic stress, too much screen time, not enough exercise and more.  To decrease the likelihood of your child having headaches, makes sure they do the following:

Get enough sleep (sleep guidelines by age group can be found here)

No more than two hours of daily screen time (screen time guidelines for children can be found here)

Stay hydrated (tips to prevent dehydration in children can be found here)

Move 60 minutes/day (tips for kids’ physical activity can be found here)

For additional information on back to school related headaches, click here.

 

Backpack Safety

Three kindergarten girls standing togetherBackpacks are a necessity for students to carry their books, papers, and other school essentials.  However, a heavy backpack can cause injury to students.  Most doctors and physical therapists recommend that kids carry no more than 10% to 15% of their body weight in their packs.

For additional information on backpack safety, click here

 

 

School Breakfast and Lunch

device-nuggets-htc-dnaWant to know what options are available to your student through their school’s breakfast and/or lunch program?  Check our Orange County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Department’s (OCPS FNS) interactive menus here.  The menus allow the user to look up nutritional makeup of the food item as well as view a picture of the actual food item from OCPS FNS.  This service is also available through the app store here.   Bonus, the app allows parents and students to provide direct feedback to OCPS FNS about the food served in their school.

 

 

 

 

Stopping for School Buss

Each year, Florida drivers illegally pass school buses nearly two million times. Each illegal pass-by could result in a tragic injury or fatality of a student. The inconvenience of an extra few seconds spent waiting for a stopped school bus is insignificant compared to the loss of a child’s life, which is why Florida’s departments of Education, Transportation, and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, have teamed up to develop the Stop on Red, Kids Ahead campaign to remind drivers of the laws and safe practices to take when approaching a school bus.

StoppingForSchoolBusSmaller

For additional back to school health tips, visit our friends at KidsHealth.

Have a back to school health tip you would like to share with us?  Leave a comment or visit us on Facebook: HealthyKidsTodayMagazine or Twitter:  @HealthyKids2Day