12 Ways to Tell Your Child You Love Them

1. Write little notes for your child. In this age of texts and emails, a small message tucked inside a school bag or lunch box can be a nice treat for kids.

2. Hug when you say goodbye and when you say hello.

3. Have dinner together. Research shows that eating dinner with parents is associated with a number of benefits for kids including reduced risk of substance abuse, higher grades, and better self-esteem.

4. Read together. Grab your own book or some bills or work you need to catch up on and snuggle right next to your child for some quiet reading time.

5. Plan activities you’ll enjoy on the weekends. Whether it’s a picnic, a hike, a trip to the museum, or just hanging out to watch a new kids’ movie, planning something to do together and looking forward to it is a great way to show your child how much you love her.

6. Say “Thank you” and “You’re welcome.” One of the biggest benefits of raising a grateful child is that they appreciate the little things you do for them. When they say “Thank you,” always say “You’re welcome.”

7. Give your child your full attention. A recent survey found that kids are noticing that parents are distracted and on their phones rather than paying attention to them. Make sure that you block off some time to really stop, look, and listen to your child, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

8. Share something about yourself. Sharing something from your own life can help your child feel more connected to you, and will make him feel proud that you value his opinion.

9. Play with your child. Whether it’s playing a board game, building something with Legos, or making fun crafts together, do something fun with your child.

10. Discipline, with lots of love and understanding. When you take the time to teach your child what is and isn’t good behavior in a loving but firm way, you are showing that you care about him and how he relates to the world around him.

11. Tell your child what you love about her. Make a point to tell your child something good you noticed about her each day.

12. Laugh together! Never underestimate the power of being goofy together. You can find ways to inject fun into the most ordinary routines.

Adapted from

Limit Kids’ Exposure to Media Violence, Pediatricians Say

Media violence has become a routine part of the daily lives of American children, and parents, lawmakers and the media should take steps to change that, a leading pediatricians’ group recommends.

The new policy statement, from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), calls on pediatricians to routinely ask about children’s “media diet,” and for parents to limit the violent content their kids see — whether on TV, online or in video games.

Video gaming is a particular concern, partly because of the advent of 3D technology that creates a “more immersive experience with violence,” said statement author Dr. Dimitri Christakis.

Christakis directs the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

 The policy statement points to a “proven scientific connection” between virtual violence and real-life aggression, the doctors say. Many studies have found such links, Christakis said.

Some media violence experts contend that such a link is far from proven.

However, Christakis noted that “aggression” can include “being rude,” arguing or — for those old enough — driving aggressively.

“With children, actual physical violence is, thankfully, rare,” Christakis said.

But, he added, “aggressive thoughts and feelings do precede violence.”

The policy statement advises parents to: play their kids’ video games with them, so they know exactly what the content is; shield children younger than 6 from all violent media, including “cartoon violence,” and ban “first-person shooter” games altogether.

Christakis acknowledged that most kids will not be turned into violent offenders because of video games or movies. But he pointed to “societal level” effects of widespread media violence.

Click here to read more from Healthfinder

Engaging Parents to Promote Healthy Schools

Most parents think schools should help address the health of students, yet many parents are not involved in creating healthy school environments for their children.  Get involved with your school by joining their Healthy School Team!

Schools, parents, and students benefit from parents being involved in their children’s school. Students who have parents involved in their school lives are more likely to:

    • Get better grades,
    • Choose healthier behaviors such as biking or choosing better food and drink options,
    • Have better social skills, and
    • Avoid unhealthy behaviors like smoking.

The CDC wants parents to have the information on how they can support their children’s school. When parents are involved, the school is happier and healthier place to be, and their child’s grades and performance are improved.

Parents have a powerful role in supporting children’s health and learning.

What is Parents for Healthy Schools?

Parents for Healthy Schools is a set of resources that school groups, such as PTA/PTO and school wellness committees, can use to get parents involved in promoting healthy schools.

There are four resources included in Parents for Healthy Schools.

Parents for Healthy Schools: A Guide for Getting Parents Involved from K‒12

  • Provides an overview on:
    • School nutrition.
    • Physical education and physical activity.
    • Managing chronic health conditions like asthma or diabetes in schools.
  • Explains how parents can be involved in school health and gives guidance on how the resources can be used.

Parents for Healthy Schools: Making a Difference in Your Child’s School PowerPoint Presentation

  • Explains the importance of a healthy school and identifies ways parents can take action in promoting a healthy schools.
  • Includes an evaluation form.

Ideas for Parents

  • Suggests key questions and shares ideas parents can consider when asking about a health topic or wanting to take action.

Check-in questions

  • Identifies ways to track whether parents are becoming more involved in efforts to make schools healthier.

These four resources were developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with key federal and professional and non-profit organizations.

Who Should Use these Resources?

Any school or group in the school that works with parents. These groups include:

  • National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)
  • National Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO)
  • School wellness committee
  • School health personnel and advisory council
  • Action team for partnerships that is part of the National Network of Partnership Schools

Others, such as school nutrition directors, school administrators, school nurses, teachers, parents, and community members or organizations, interested in working with parents and getting them involved in the school can also use these resources.

For more information, visit Parents for Healthy Schools website.

Sportsmanship for Parents

Adapted from Very Well

As soon as your child joins his first tiny tot soccer team, he starts to learn sportsmanship. Teaching it is part of his coach’s job—but it’s also your responsibility, and one that’s shared by every sports parent. Kids are watching, so be a good role model, right from the beginning. Here’s the grown-up version of 10 basic sportsmanship principles every young athlete should know.

1. Play by the rules. Don’t lie to the coach about why your child skipped practice, or try to sneak him onto a team he’s not ready for. Rules are in place to keep the sport safe, fair, and fun for everyone. Don’t teach your child that exceptions are okay; that doesn’t build team unity.

2. Be a team player. Help the coaches when you can, and cheer for every team member. Being a team player also means not asking for special treatment, such as extra playing time, for your own child.

3. Be a good friend. Seek to be kind and inclusive when you interact with the parents of your child’s teammates, as well as coaches, officials, league administrators, and so on. Remember, almost everyone is a volunteer and is there because his or her child loves the sport.

4. Own your mistakes. It happens: You forget a piece of equipment, deliver your child to practice late, or mess up a task you volunteered to do.

5. Avoid “trash talk.” If you have negative opinions of coaches, players, officials, parents, or anyone else involved in the sport, keep them to yourself.  That goes double anytime you’re within earshot of your child, her teammates, their opponents, and any other sports parents. If you have to vent, never do it in public or online. Save it for a private conversation with your spouse or a trusted friend.

6. Say “thank you.” It’s just good manners—and it helps keeps a sports program running smoothly. Everyone likes to feel recognized and appreciated.

7. Ask other fans to be good sports too. If you bring your other children, relatives and friends to your child’s games and events, make sure they are good spectators.

8. Shake hands after the game. While you may not be down on the field with your child doing the customary handshake, you can interact politely with the opposing team’s parents in the stands and anywhere else you encounter them.

9. Be respectful when you win. Just as you’d tell your child: Winning is fun! Enjoy it, but not at the expense of the losing team.

10. Be gracious when you lose. When the game doesn’t go your way, accept it and move on. This isn’t the time to berate the officials or coaches. Let the coach debrief the team and show them how to learn from the loss. Your role is to support your child and help him deal with any disappointment.

Child With a Short Attention Span? Blame Your Digital Device.

Adapted from Reuters

Parents who turn to smartphones and tablets to break up the tedium of caring for an infant around the clock may be teaching their babies to have a short attention span, a small study suggests.

That’s because when parents stop focusing on playtime with their baby to concentrate on other things like tiny screens, their infants may mimic this behavior by also focusing on toys and other objects for shorter periods of time.

In other words, babies learn to focus better when their parents aren’t distracted, said lead study author Chen Yu, a brain science researcher at Indiana University at Bloomington.

How your phone might give your kid a short attention span | Reuters

“If parents join a child’s attention on a toy object, children are more likely to show longer attention on the target object compared with cases that parents don’t show any attention or interest,” Yu said by email.

This works best when parents follow their baby’s lead, Yu added.

“If parents try to lead by getting the child’s attention on the object of the parent’s interest, this effort may not be successful,” Yu said. “But if parents just follow the child’s attention/interest it is easier to be in joint attention with their child.”

Click here to continue reading about how your smartphone and tablet usage may affect your child’s attention span.

Eager to learn more about digital citizenship?  Check out Common Sense Media.

Kids’ Grades Can Suffer When Mom Or Dad Is Depressed

Adapted from NPR

When parents suffer depression, there can be a ripple effect on children. Kids may become anxious, even sad. There may be behavior problems. Health may suffer.

Recently, a large Swedish study showed that grades may decline, too, when a parent is depressed.

Using data from 1984 to 1994, researchers from Philadelphia’s Dornsife School of Public Health, at Drexel University, measured school grades for more than 1.1 million children in Sweden and compared them with their parents’ mental health status. The study was published in a February issue of JAMA Psychiatry.

At age 16, children of mothers who had experienced depression scored about 4.5 percentage points lower in their school grades than children of nondepressed mothers. Similarly, 16-year-olds with fathers who had experienced depression scored about 4 percentage points lower.

Click here to read more and to listen to the NPR broadcast

Praise Pointers for Parents and Teachers

Search Institute

The Search Institute Offers Praise Pointers for Parents and Teachers

The ways parents and teachers praise young people makes a lot of difference in whether that praise is encouraging and motivating. Effective praise helps develop a “growth mindset” in which young people recognize that they can learn and grow through effort and practice. The following chart spells out six tips for praise that encourage youth to develop a growth mindset.


Example Why?
Purposeful, specific, and sincere “Great game! You really passed well to your teammates.” is more encouraging than, “Great game!” Being concrete reinforces those behaviors. If, however, you both know the player didn’t pass well or it wasn’t a great game, then this isn’t sincere. The praise won’t help the young person learn.
Reinforce behavior and effort, not “natural” intelligence “Congratulations! I know you studied really hard.” is more encouraging than, “Congratulations! You’re really smart.” The first option focuses on an action that can be maintained or improved. If you praise someone because of something fixed (such as “being smart”), it’s harder to cope with failure.
Attainable and realistic “That is a beautiful picture. I love the colors you picked!” is more encouraging than, “That picture is amazing! It could go in an art gallery.” Inflated praise can backfire. It gives the impression that you have to meet exceptionally high standards, which you know you can’t always do. That undermines motivation.
Information rich “I love the salad you made. It has a nice mix of flavors and colors!” is more encouraging than, “I love your salad!” Giving more detailed information reinforces strategies that can be used when similar situations come up in the future.
Self-focused, not in comparison to others “You made a lot of progress in correcting grammatical errors.” is more encouraging than, “You did much better on this than many other students.” Praising in comparison to others may motivate when we always win. But we feel defeated when we don’t always win, so we aren’t motivated internally to learn and grow.
Effort more than achievement “I like how you took deep breaths to stay calm even when you were upset at your sister.” is more encouraging than, “Thanks for not pushing your sister.” The focus on effort emphasizes being able to grow and learn.

Restore the Roar: February 20, 2016

Restore the RoarFeast on the 50 at Showalter Field: 

Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM

The WPHS Foundation is working in conjunction with Winter Park Pride, the City of Winter Park and Rollins College to help support the Restore the Roar – Feast on the 50 Event at Showalter Field on February 20, 2016.

The WPHS Foundation is reaching out to all WPHS Alumni, WPHS Parents and WP Community Members as they get ready to hold their first annual Feast on the 50 at Showalter Field. This year’s theme is Restore the Roar to Showalter Field and offers a unique dining experience with proceeds benefiting a new athletic facility, turf and other improvements. Their community goal is to raise $250,000, and they can’t do it without sponsorships, donations and attendance. There will be amazing food from Sonny’s BBQ, music from the band Room 2, fireworks and more. For more information click here: RTR Sponsor letter.

Gather your Wildcat friends and reserve a table now! Restore the Roar Tickets and Sponsorship opportunities available online at their Eventbrite page.

Students and Parents Learn About Social Media

Jerry 3When Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) staff met with the principals from WPHF’s twelve partner schools in the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, the principals were asked to share their top school health related concerns. Unanimously, the principals spoke about social media — students not understanding how to safely and respectfully use social media and parents not understanding how to effectively monitor their child’s social media usage.

In direct response to these concerns around social media usage, WPHF brought Jerry Ackerman, a nationally known student motivational speaker and social media expert to our area to speak to students and parents.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, Mr. Ackerman spoke to all Winter Park High School Live.Life.Healthy (LLH) classes.  Launched about four years ago with grant support from WPHF, LLH was created to generate a buzz among the students of WPHS about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  In order to reach as many students as possible, LLH uses social media such as Twitter and Facebook to share their healthy lifestyle messages.  Mr. Ackerman provided LLH students information on how to respectfully use and make an impact with social media.  LLH students also learned what it means to have digital citizenship and respect for others online and how to handle conflict without using social media.

Jerry 4On Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6:00 pm, Mr. Ackerman provided a parent presentation entitled “Parenting the Snapchat Generation” at Glenridge Middle School.  Mr. Ackerman gave parents a current look into the state of technology in a student’s life, rules parents should have for technology with their child, apps parents need to know about, and how parents can be armed to help the onslaught of technology. Approximately 50 parents and 15 children attended the presentation.

WPHF is in the process of conducting a follow up survey to determine the impact of Mr. Ackerman’s presentations.  If the information was well received, WPHF will bring Mr. Ackerman back for future presentations.

Questions?  Contact or 407.493.9703

Slides from Mr. Ackerman’s parent presentation are available here – Parenting the Snapchat Generation

Lake Sybelia – Dolphin Dashers

Running Dolphin

Dolphin Dashers is a running club that will meet twice a week on Monday and Thursday afternoons from 3-4pm. The goal of the running club is to be active with other students. Participants may run, walk, or jog to complete their laps. Parents are welcome to join as volunteers or simply participants.