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      Winter Activities For Kids

      Between the cold temperatures and the snow and ice outside, it’s no surprise that so many kids would rather stay inside with a video game or the television. The more time that those children spend inside inactive and snacking, the more likely it is that they will gain weight.

      Parents and educators can look for some creative winter activities during those long winter months to keep kids healthy and moving.

       

      Use Nearby Facilities

      Many parents may not consider taking advantage of nearby recreation centers and other facilities that kids can use in winter.

      An ice skating rink is a good way for kids to have fun and get plenty of exercise. They can have fun learning the basics of balancing while moving across the ice.

      If the city has a branch of the YMCA, kids can also use the facilities there. Most locations have indoor racquetball, tennis and basketball courts as well as swimming pools.

       

      Embrace the Cold

      Instead of shunning the cold and staying inside, parents can encourage their kids to embrace the cold weather outside. Nothing beats the fun and excitement that comes from a snowball fight, and adults can turn a simple snowball fight into a game of capture the flag.

      Kids may also love building a snowman family together and decorating those figures with their friends or siblings.

       

      Take Classes

      Kids who hate the idea of going outside in the snow and ice might like the idea of taking an indoor class with other kids in their age group. This helps them see that they can still have fun when the temperature drops.

      An indoor swimming class is a good choice for kids who want to learn something new or who love the water. Other activities that are suitable for keeping kids active in the long winter months include gymnastics and karate classes.

       

      Do Chores Together

      Children often learn by example. If they see their parents remaining active, they’ll want to stay active, too. Doing chores together is one of the easiest ways for parents to set a good example for their kids.

      This can include doing the dishes, vacuuming or even rearranging the furniture in the room. Parents and kids can also shovel the walk and clean off the family cars together as some examples of helpful winter activities.

      It doesn’t take a lot to get kids active, but it does require the involvement of adults.

       

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      2014 Bullying Statistics Recently Revealed

      With the prevalence of technology, today’s bullying not only includes in-person threats and physical violence but also the online world of cyber bullying. The most recent 2014 bullying statistics may shock parents, educators and the community due to the widespread prevalence of this sometimes deadly behavior.

       

      The Who and Where of Bullying

      According to a study by UCLA, 20 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 have experienced bullying, as have 28 percent of students in grades 6 through 12. Most bullying behaviors take place in the classroom.

      This is where 29.3 percent of those who were bullied experienced the event. Other common places where bullying occurs include in the hallways and locker areas, where 29.0 percent experienced bullying; 23.4 percent were bullied in the cafeteria; 19.5 percent were bullied in gym class and 12.2 percent were bullied in the bathroom.

       

      bullying_1Types of Bullying

      The most common type of bullying behavior in schools is name calling. This is followed by teasing, rumor spreading, physical assaults, isolation, threats, stealing and sexual harassment.

      Although cyber bullying was the least common type of bullying, it does deserve special attention because of its reach. Rather than a few people witnessing an in-person bullying event, cyber bullying can attract the attention of hundreds or even thousands of witnesses and the event can persist on the Internet for years.

       

      Bullying Targets

      Anyone who is different makes an easy target for bullying. More than 90 percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth experience bullying.

      Students with Asperger’s syndrome and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder are also common targets of bullies. Students who are overweight, have a striking physical feature or dress differently than their peers may also find themselves the targets of bullies.

      Of those who are bullied, only 20 to 30 percent report the events to teachers, parents or school counselors.

       

      Witnesses of Bullying

      Bullying affects the entire school. More than 70 percent of students in grades 6 through 12 have witnessed bullying. When someone intervenes within ten seconds of a bullying event, the bullying stops more than 57 percent of the time.

      Parents, teachers and the community can come together to change these bullying statistics for the better. When adults demonstrate cooperation and setting good examples, children in turn will follow these positive behaviors. It will take time, but it can happen.

      Armed with the 2014 bullying statistics, parents and educators can see what they need to look out for in order to put a stop to bullying.

       

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      Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Bullying

      Today’s parents don’t have to look very far to find examples of bullying. It seems as if stories of bullying can be read about in the newspaper or seen on TV almost every day.

      However, the subject of bullying can be challenging to approach with children. Whether a child is in preschool or a senior in high school, parents want to ensure that their kids are safe and confident enough to stand up to bullies. These simple tips can make having the conversation about bullying a little easier.

       

      Define Bullying

      When parents try to talk to young children about bullying, many kids might not even understand what that word actually means. Other children believe that harassment needs to be physical before it can be classified as bullying.

      If parents want to open the lines of communication about bullying, it’s important for kids to understand what all is incorporated into that term. Bullying can consist of:

      • Repeated verbal insults
      • Continuing threats
      • Physical actions like pushing, hitting or kicking
      • Social manipulation such as purposeful exclusion or spreading rumors
      • Cyberbullying through texts, websites or social media
      • Other repeated activities that make a student feel threatened and unsafe

      Ask the Right Questions

      It’s usually not easy for children and teens to talk about bullying with their parents. Bullying can make students feel helpless, so they might not feel comfortable asking for assistance from parents or teachers.

      Asking the right questions can be integral in helping students be honest about what’s happening. Instead of asking them if they are being bullied, try asking “What’s the best thing that happened to you at school today?”, “What’s the worst thing that happened to you at school today?” or “Who do you sit with at lunch time and play with at recess?”

      The answers to these questions can provide helpful insights into a student’s day to day life at school.

       

      Keep Communication Open

      Even if a child isn’t being bullied currently, his situation could change drastically next week.

      That’s one of the many reasons why it’s so important for parents to keep the lines of communication open with their children. Every conversation doesn’t need to be serious and teaching major life lessons.

      When kids and teens feel comfortable sharing the little details of their days with their parents, they will be more apt to come to their parents when larger issues like bullying arise.

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      What is Bystander Mobilization?

      Coorperation

      Bullying and harassment among children and teens have become a hot-button issue in contemporary society as a rash of suicides have swept the country. The victims may feel like they have nowhere to turn and act out by harming themselves.

      In response to this crisis, an emerging practice that empowers other students to put an end to bullying has started gaining traction. While bystander mobilization might be encouraged by teachers and other adult authority figures, the ability to put a stop to bullying is left in the hands of the students.

       

      The Bystander Effect

      Students often feel powerless to stop a peer who they witness bullying others. In the moment, they may fear that speaking up will turn the bully’s attention on them. As such, they don’t take any action, especially if there are other students watching the bullying occur.

      This is referred to as the “bystander effect,” in which people do not go out of their way to help others in distress when there are other witnesses to an event. In instances of bullying, bystanders – especially children – don’t want to get involved and single themselves out.

      Afterward, they may feel upset, stressed or guilty over what happened, even if they were only watching what was going on.

       

      Bystander Mobilization

      Bystander mobilization is a way of turning that weakness into a form of strength. It asks witnesses to call out the bully and his or her behavior during the act itself, whether it’s taking place in front of them, down the hall or even online.

      The child is encouraged to address the victim and make sure that they are all right, while also pointing out that the actions of the bully are wrong to other children watching. In some instances, they may encourage other bystanders to leave so that the bully doesn’t have an audience and thus the attention they crave.

      When one person speaks out, it becomes easier for others watching to speak out against the bully.

       

      Bystander Mobilization – it takes courage and ethics

      Stepping forward and showing a bully that their behavior is damaging and dangerous takes courage, but it can be immensely rewarding for children of all ages. By addressing the act of bullying in the moment, they can help de-escalate and stop harassment before it causes long-term physical or psychological harm.

      Bystander mobilization can also give children and teens greater experience with confidence and empathy, making it less likely that they will simply ignore bullying that they witness in the future.

       

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      Bullying and depression

      Bullying and depression often go hand in hand for both the victims as well as the bullies. People who experience cyber bullying are at an even greater risk of developing clinical depression.

      Fortunately, there are ways that parents can take action by being attentive to the warning signs and helping their children learn ways to stand up for themselves and develop strong self-esteem.

       

      Links Between Bullying and Depression

      Psychologists and child development experts have established many links between bullying and depression in children. The depression that results from being bullied may last for many years and can even linger after the bullying behaviors are stopped.

      Children who have experienced cyber bullying may develop more serious symptoms of depression, especially if the bullying is perpetrated by anonymous individuals.

      Some of the additional effects of being bullied include:fear-of-failure

      • Anxiety
      • Physical illness, aches and discomfort
      • Low self-esteem
      • Decreased participation in extra-curricular activities and hobbies
      • Increased absence rate from school

       

      Symptoms of Depression in Children

      While some of the symptoms of depression in children are similar to the symptoms that adults experience, children may also react in other ways. Children may show more physical symptoms of depression.

      Signs parents, caregivers and teachers should look for in the victims of bullying include:

      • Unexplained outbursts of crying or anger
      • Changes in sleep patterns, including increased sleepiness or insomnia
      • Not being able to concentrate on school work or tasks
      • Sudden changes in appetite or eating habits
      • Increased tiredness, fatigue and slow movement
      • Giving away of favorite or prized possessions
      • Withdrawing from social situations
      • Increased restlessness and anxiousness
      • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
      • Increased talk of death and mentions of suicide

       

      Taking Action to Prevent Bullying

      Frequent communication with a child who is experiencing bullying is key to identifying the symptoms of depression. Parents along with teachers and other professionals can take steps to prevent bullying and depression that follows.

      Physicians and school counselors can help parents and children gain access to the care and resources they need for overcoming the effects of bullying. In some cases, individual or family counseling may be recommended.

      Any parent or professional who feels that their child is in immediate danger should treat the situation as a medical emergency and contact the appropriate local authorities for urgent assistance.

      Bullying does not have to be a rite of passage for children if parents and teachers take action to end it.

       

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      Your child’s separation anxiety: Is it normal?

      It’s not unusual for a young child to feel worried or anxious when being dropped off at daycare or someone else’s home. In most cases, separation anxiety is a normal stage of childhood development. However, in some children, the anxious feelings persist or even intensify over time, causing chronic worries and interference with daily activities.

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      Bullying and special needs children

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      Children with physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional and sensory disabilities are at an increased risk of experiencing bullying at school and in other public places where they spend time, such as playgrounds and parks.

      A child with disabilities may not have the verbal skills to speak up for himself or herself and may be more physically vulnerable to aggressive actions performed by bullies. In addition, some types of disabilities cause a child to become a bully.

      Teachers, parents and other important adults in the lives of children with disabilities can come together to identify problem behaviors and work towards a solution.

       

      Types of Bullying That Affect Children With Special Needs

      Bullying is a power imbalance that occurs between two or more people. In most cases, bullying takes place over a duration of time and often progresses to a worsening level of behavior and actions.

      There are many forms of bullying that affect children with special needs, including spreading rumors, cyber bullying, teasing, verbal harassment, racial slurs, taunting, making obscene gestures, threats, spitting, kicking, slapping, punching and hitting. Any of these can happen to a child with special needs who may not understand the context or even why people are doing that to him or her.

       

      Rights of Children With Special Needs Who Are Bullied

      Children with special needs are protected against bullying, harassment and other forms of intimidation. Under federal law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, school systems must address any bullying or threatening behavior exhibited towards children with special needs.

      This is true for Head Start all the way through college.

       

      Creating a Safe Environment for Children With Disabilities

      Schools must provide accommodations for children with special needs.

      When bullying takes place, the child must first and foremost be kept safe. Once any medical needs are addressed, the bullying behavior can be considered. Creating a safe environment for children with disabilities may require actions such as amending the IEP, having a meeting with the school counselor and principal, or scheduling supportive services such as psychotherapy or meetings with social workers.

      School-wide programs about anti-bullying topics can also be performed as a way to educate the entire school community about this important issue.

       

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      4 Steps To Raising Confident Kids

      self-confidence

       

      Raising confident kids is not as easy as one might think. There are so many factors that go into nurturing this mindset that it is easy to overthink the process.

      The one thing to remember is that parents are their children’s first teachers, and in that regard, they are the ones who reinforce good behavior. So how does that translate into teaching children how to be confident and secure little people?

      Here are some tips for doing just that:

       

      1. Let them do it.

      It is so hard to watch children struggle through something, whether it’s tying their shoes, building a LEGO model or solving a word problem, but it is important that they develop the skills necessary to reason through the problem.

      Without their own logical deduction system in place, children will depend on their parents for even the most mundane tasks for longer than they should.

       

      2. Scale back the praise.

      This may sound cruel, but praise, just like anything else, can feel empty if it doesn’t fit the action.

      As children get older, they can tell when they are getting and exorbitant amount of praise for something that doesn’t require it, and they begin to tune it out. This backfires when they do a good job on a difficult task – they may not hear the genuine praise given at the time because they have become desensitized to it.

       

      3. Choose optimism over pessimism.

      Showing a child that there is a bright side even when they are having trouble helps them to readdress their thinking patterns and reactions to stressors. This is helpful if the child becomes distraught when things don’t go their way.

       

      4. Display the rule of choice and consequence.

      Letting children make their own decisions is difficult. Parents often feel concerned that their children won’t be happy with the outcome of some of the decisions they make. That is a fact – sometimes children will decide on a course that will disappoint them. But children must learn that their actions have consequences, and the best place to do so is at home.

      Instilling confidence in children is one of those difficult parental jobs that continue on for years. Parents play an important role in their child’s future behavior, and by addressing concerns like these early, children have a better chance of adjusting to life’s challenges.

       

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      Addressing Bullying In Youth Sports

      child-self-defense

       

      Bullying has been brought to national attention due to several high-profile tragedies. Bullying in youth sports has been part of the game for decades. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be so.

      There are many ways that coaches, parents, referees, volunteers, spectators and kids can work together to keep bullying out of youth sports.

       

      Educate Parents

      Parents must be educated about the effects of bullying on a victim, the victim’s family, and society as a whole. Some parents may not be willing to believe that their child is the culprit or may try to place the blame upon the victim. Involving coaches and sponsors in the conversation can help to ensure that communication is clear.

       

      Call Out Negative Behavior

      Institute a clear policy that negative behavior is not allowed by anyone in any aspect of youth sports. Bullying may begin with what seems like simple name-calling or teasing about poor performance. However, the situation can quickly escalate if nothing is done.

      Nipping negative behaviors in the bud makes it clear that this type of behavior is not acceptable in youth sports. Every youth sports organization should maintain a zero-tolerance rule that applies to:

      •Name-calling
      •Teasing
      •Aggression
      •Threats
      •Verbal abuse

       

      Become Familiar with Bullying Risk Factors

      Understanding the risk factors of becoming a bully can help parents and coaches deter the behavior. Many bullies come from homes where such behavior is typical. There may also be domestic violence in the household.

      Bullies often have a short fuse and a bad temper. They may use aggression to solve problems both on and off the field.

       

      Being Proactive

      Parents and coaches can be proactive at keeping bullying out of youth sports. Coaches can make themselves available to parents and players who need to report problem behavior. Parents can be open and honest with their children about reporting problems and setting good examples of how to treat others. Parents can also teach their children the zero-tolerance rule and not go along with others who are bullying.

      Youth sports affords kids the opportunity to form strong relationships, be physically active and learn new skills. Eliminating bullying in youth sports requires that parents, coaches and the community work together to set positive examples, enforce a zero-tolerance policy and create an environment in which everyone is welcome.

       

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