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Archive for September, 2016

Getting Kids Involved in Activities at School

Posted on: September 8th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

While your kids are getting back into the swing of things it is a great time to start thinking about how involved your kids are in school. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, about four of every five students participates in an extracurricular activity or club at school, and participation in clubs and activities at school were linked to student success and the student’s likeliness to go to college.

When it comes to getting your kids excited and motivated to join in clubs and get involved in school, it is often easier said than done. Here are a few reasons for your kids to get involved and tips on how to get your kids excited and involved.

Benefits of being involved

Getting involved in school does a lot more than just keep your child busy and out of trouble. Of the benefits that your child can get from being actively involved in their school are a higher attendance rate, better grade averages, improved social engagement, and improved college opportunities, according to theNational Center for Educational Statistics.

Getting kids involved in sports, arts, or clubs at school can also decrease your child’s screen time and teach them healthier habits, according to BayCare. Getting your kids involved in an extracurricular activity involving the arts, like music, theatre, dance, sculpting, painting etc. makes them more likely to become inventors or entrepreneurs. Sports teams also teach kids the value of teamwork which can benefit them when they enter the workforce. Getting involved in student government can teach kids how the government works to better their understanding of the world.

Encourage your kids to find a passion

One thing that can make it fun for your kids to get involved is to encourage them to find their passion, and pursue it at school. Does your child love math or science? Encourage them to find a math or science club. If they love sports, encourage them to join a sports team. If they aren’t sure what they want to do, allow them to try a variety of clubs.

This doesn’t just apply to high school students, it also applies to kids in middle school or even elementary school students. When your kids have the chance to participate in clubs or school groups they can form stronger bonds with teachers and fellow students, so it is never too early to start.

Many middle schoolers go through what is called “The Wheel”, where they are given the chance to try everything from orchestra and band to chorus and sports. Encourage your kids to really try to use this time to find what they want to do.

Set Ground Rules

One of the concerns that many kids have when their kids are choosing clubs is that their child will become overscheduled and overstressed. There are some things to look for when you think your child may be overscheduled, such as missing meals, falling grades, frequent headaches, and frequent stomach aches, according to Some ways to avoid this is to agree on ground rules ahead of time and go over the schedule with your child beforehand. Know how much time each activity will take, and make sure that they are allowing themselves enough time to wind down, do homework, and have family dinners.

When you have a big family especially, it can become time (and money) consuming when all of your children are involved in multiple activities, so make sure that each child is aware of the financial and time budget for them. Make a carpool plan with other parents and make sure that your kids understand priorities, says

If your child attends a school that doesn’t offer extracurricular activities, there are still plenty of options. After school care such as the YMCA has sports and activities for kids of all ages.

By Angela Ardolino of Parenting with Angela,

Backpack Safety

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

The new school year is underway, which means that kids will start filling their backpacks with their new school supplies. As your kids pile notebooks into their new backpacks, parents should consider the comfort and safety risks that come with heavy backpacks.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 7,300 backpack related injuries treated annually by hospitals and doctors. Here are some signs to look for and tips to prevent backpack injuries in your child.

Causes of Backpack Injuries.

When used properly, backpacks can be a good way to carry the necessities of a school day. Backpacks are designed to distribute the weight of the load among the body’s strongest muscles, so they are the best choice for kids that have to carry multiple books to and from home and classes. The biggest problem lies in kids having to carry multiple heavy books for several hours.

According to Baycare, a backpack should never weigh more than 15 to 20 percent of the child’s body weight, or they risk serious injury. Wearing a backpack improperly or putting too many books in the backpack are the leading causes of backpack injuries.

Common backpack injuries occur in the muscles and joints, and include severe back pain, neck and shoulder pain. Kids can also get permanent posture problems. Kids also risk curving and misaligning their spine and causing strains and sprains in their backs and shoulders. These types of injuries can follow your children into adulthood, so it is important to try to prevent backpack injuries as much as possible.

Injury Prevention

Preventing backpack injuries can be simple. One of the most easy and important things you can do to prevent injuries is to make sure your child is wearing their backpack correctly.Health Day News suggests wearing both straps, and making sure that the straps are wide and padded. Kids should also be wearing their backpack at least 2 inches above their waist, and it should be close to the body, not sagging down from the back.

Another way to prevent backpack injuries is to make sure it is balanced. Teach your kids to organize their books so that the heaviest ones are centered. Encourage them to spread their supplies throughout the backpacks designated compartments to even out the load. Try to choose a backpack with thick straps and a lot of pockets. Baycare also has an excellent video right now that will help you pick the right size backpack for your child.

Another easy way to prevent backpack injuries is to lighten the load. If your kids are constantly coming home with a heavy backpack full of books, consider alternatives, like getting home copies of the books or finding out if the teacher would allow an “E-Book” to use at home. If none of these are an option, consider a rolling backpack to help your child more easily carry their books, or you can request a prescription for two sets of books from your child’s doctor according to Baycare.

Signs of Injury or Backpack Danger.

There are a few signs to watch for that your child’s backpack is too heavy, and there are some instances when you will need to seek medical help. If your child has a visible change in posture when they are wearing their backpack, for example if they are hunching even slightly over, their backpack is too heavy. Another sign to look for is if the child is struggling when putting on or taking off the backpack.

It is important to encourage your child to tell you if they feel pain when they wear their backpack, or if they have tingling or numbness. You should also be on the lookout for red marks on their shoulders or backs. If they have tingling or numbness they should be taken to a chiropractor or pediatrician.

Always make sure that you are communicating with your child about the importance of backpack safety. If they understand the need to tell you when their back hurts or why they shouldn’t overload their backpack, they can help prevent future injuries.

For more information on backpack and back to school safety, visit our friends at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.

By Angela Ardolino of Parenting with Angela,