Juggling Back to School Schedules Sanely!!

Feeling frantic with the back to school frenzy already? You are in good company!

I just returned from My Fox Boston where Kim Carrigan and I talked about a potpourri of topics on all of our minds this week from juggling schedules to finding time for family meals to how to keep our kids active and eating healthy with such crazy schedules. We’re both in this with you and are facing these exact issues with our families this week, too. Not easy stuff!

Feeling frantic with the back to school frenzy already? You are in good company!

I just returned from My Fox Boston where Kim Carrigan and I talked about a potpourri of topics on all of our minds this week from juggling schedules to finding time for family meals to how to keep our kids active and eating healthy with such crazy schedules. We’re both in this with you and are facing these exact issues with our families this week, too. Not easy stuff!

Check out what we talked about:

The key to sanity really is the family meal. If you don’t have time to gather around your dinner table each and every night, you’re all doing too much – parents and kids. The benefits of the family meal will pay forward for all of you in health, sanity and family life so give it a try – and make it a priority.

BTW, if you have tips you find useful this time of year, drop them in the comments section for the benefit of all of us!!

Show 7 Companion Page: Teens and Destructive Behaviors

Show #7 Companion Page:
Teens and Destructive Behaviors

Bacchus has drowned more men than Neptune. (Giuseppe Garibaldi)

Guest Information:
Thanks to Heidi Heilman from the Wayland Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Wayland, MA, for joining me last night.

Heidi has a Masters in Social Work and has worked in the field of youth substance abuse for over 20 years, with experiences ranging from SADD, where she worked as Director of Field Services for five years, to working with communities, courts, and state governments to address youth risk associated with drugs and alcohol.

Wayland, MA, has a long history of dedication to youth substance abuse prevention dating back to the 1980s as the founding community of SADD, then called “Students Against Drunk Driving”, after some tragic teenage alcohol-related driving deaths.

The Wayland Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition has been in existence for over twenty years. The goals of the Coalition are to raise community awareness about youth substance abuse and its prevention through education, social marketing, and advocacy and to strengthen the community infrastructure to address youth substance abuse problem and develop a comprehensive community-wide strategic plan to address the issue. Coalition members include Wayland Public School staff and administrators, students, parents, representatives of the Wayland Police Department, Wayland Youth and Family Services, the Wayland Business Association, the Clergy Association, community health professionals and other leaders in the community.

The coalition is supported via grants. It received a three-year grant in 2005 from the MetroWest Health Care Foundation, and, in October 2008, a five year grant under the Drug Free Communities Support program, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The Coalition holds monthly meetings the first Thursday of every month, from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the Wayland High School Commons Conference Room and is open to all from the community.

Resources for more information:

SADD
The Cool Spot
Teen-Anon

Listen To This Week’s Show:

Music for the show: PodSafe Music Network.

Next Show:

Thursday May 7, 7:30pm EST: All About Moms

Send mom stories to: ideas@pediatricsnow.com or Twitter

Being bullied can lead to suicide in kids

Last week’s suicide of 11 year old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover is a wake-up call to parents and schools everywhere that bullying is not being handled correctly, swiftly or firmly enough to protect the true victims.

Carl’s mother told the news that he had been threatened by classmates for six months before he took his life by hanging, and that her cries for help to his charter school had fallen on deaf ears. As reported by the Boston Channel, he was subjected to daily taunts of being called gay, having his clothes made fun of and threats of physical harm.

Carl’s experience is disturbingly all too common. Kids are bullied across our country with parents and schools turning a blind eye. Estimates are as high as 30% for both the amount of kids in 6th to 10th grade being bullied and becoming bulliers. Over time, school, health and emotional issues develop in both groups that can linger into adult years if left unaddressed. Many of these kids resort to substance abuse to blunt the pain and some progress to more violent behaviors and truancy.

This is an issue that can impact any child in any type of town and socio-economic class. We are not helping our children or each other’s children to pretend it isn’t occurring in our communities, or can’t occur in our communities. It’s time we all acknowledge this is a global problem and help our schools have the resources to help manage these situations better and to teach our kids the skills to know what to do should they find themselves being bullied. This isn’t a lesson that can occur just once. It’s something that needs to start very young and progress over time. The best anti-bullying programs are actual the ones that focus on fostering a positive school community built on respect and caring. If you do not know what your school has for anti-bullying and community building programs, ask. Such programs not only help but do work.

It saddens me on so many levels that some children are bullied to the point that the see no other out other than suicide. Let’s not let another child experience this level of pain again. It’s time to take action as a community and stop bullying in all areas of our children’s worlds: school, sports, after school programs, summer camps, home, religious schools…everywhere our kids end up is a place that should be safe and bully free.

If you are worried that your child has been bullied, call your pediatrician today.

For more information:

Kids and Bullies (Pediatrics Now)
Stop Bullying Now (HHS website for kids, parents and educators. Very interactive and comprehensive with materials for handouts.)

Why should kids play? Why not!

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

And, not just Jack…Jill and the other kids, and their parents! We’ve become a dull and overworked society by all the work we’re doing at the expense of play. Adults feel they must work, work, work to bring home the bacon, and our kids’ have zero time for play thanks to over scheduled after school lives and a school day no devoid of recess and free time compliments of the no child left behind. The only way schools have been able to meet that mark is to increase learning time at the expense of the down time everyone agrees kids truly need during their school day.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us that studies actually prove that play makes us healthier, happier and is one of the best stress busters in the universe. Author Steward Brown (Play: how it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul) recently outlined for US News and World Report 10 simple ways that play benefits adults and kids:

1. It’s good for the brain
2. It taps into our imaginations
3. It teachers us about cooperation and fairness
4. It teaches us about friendship
5. Play during recess is good for learning
6. Play that occurs by being physical keeps the brain from declining as we age
7. We learn complex things better when we play with them
8. It helps solve problems
9. It helps with work stress and perspective
10. It helps keep our lives balances and in check!

Put this way, why are we not playing more??!!

So, today, find some time to play, alone and with your kids. Today, find time for your kids to play, alone and with other kids. Today, think about how you and other parents can grab more play time in the town in which you live – in school and after school. In other words, today, let’s take back play and make it a priority again!

Gotta go…play time beckons!

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