Archive for the ‘School’ Category

Parents, Prepare Yourself For, “I’m Bored, There’s Nothing to Do!”

Maggie with her teenage children

Well, summer of 2012 is upon us and as parents we begin to sweat near the end of May as to what our children are going to do with themselves all summer long. I know that within two days of summer break I am going to hear, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do!”

Leave a List
I leave a list every morning with my three teenagers explaining their “chores” for the day and yet, I hear the vacuum running when I pull into the garage 8 hours later. Now, I understand that between the hours of 6 am when I am getting ready for work and 2 pm when I am still at work, that my kids are getting their much needed sleep and that not a lot can be accomplished before this time of day. Staying up until 2 am or 3 am creates this discrepancy in sleep patterns for the summer. I yell out at midnight, “Some of us have to work in the morning,” yet the TV is still blaring at 3 am. I get it, its summer break!!!  And yet, if I sleep in until 7 am on a weekend, my kids have been known to poke at me and say out loud, “Is she alive? She never sleeps this late. Who’s going to get our breakfast?”

Am I Crazy if I Repeat Myself 700 Times?
The list of chores I leave is very easy and yet so complicated to complete within the 8 hours that I’m away from our small, but comfortable home. I say small to emphasize how few chores I list and how quickly they actually can be accomplished by three teenagers. Vacuum, pick up anything laying on the living room floor and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher! I must say 700 times in the summer, “Rinse your dishes and put them in the dishwasher.” As you know, nothing smells worse than breakfast milk in a cereal bowl from 2 days prior. Cocoa Puffs become the size of mini golf balls and Trix become an art project in my sink as a variety of colors swirl from side to side, pretty, but still smelly.

Ahh, Time with Teenagers
So, I attempt each day to give the kids something to do, something that will give them a sense of accomplishment and something that will allow me to spend more time with the kids when I get home…ok, they are teenagers, I am kidding. But, it will allow me to finish the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, without interruption!

Maggie is a single mother of three children, ages 13, 16 and 17, who attend Corunna Schools. She and her children live in Owosso.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Memorial FIT Kids Leads the Way for Healthier Futures

By Vicki Hemenway, Guest Blogger
Communications Specialist, Memorial Healthcare

It seems like there are so many extra-curricular activities available for our children these days that it can become overwhelming. If it overwhelms us, as parents, just imagine what it could be doing to our kids. I know when I’m stressed I get short-tempered, or as my daughter says, “snippy,” and my life is pretty simple compared to those of my friends.

In our house, school and homework comes first, then, if there’s time, it’s on to bike riding, basketball, etc. The part that I struggle with is healthy eating for my family. It’s too easy to just warm up a frozen dinner or go through the drive thru to save time, BUT, in the long run, it can do more harm than good.

I’m lucky enough to work at Memorial Healthcare right next to our FIT Kids Facilitator, Becky Dahlke. She is a wealth of information on healthy eating tips, low-fat/calorie recipes, the importance of exercising and more.

Memorial FIT Kids, which is funded by the Memorial Healthcare Foundation, is a joint effort between Memorial Healthcare, area school districts, Project Healthy Schools, University of Michigan, Baker College of Owosso, and the Shiawassee Family YMCA. The program was recently named one of the nation’s top 10 Programs of Excellence by Jackson Healthcare Hospital Charitable Services Awards.

In 2008, Memorial FIT Kids piloted the Project Healthy Schools (PHS) program, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and Corunna Public Schools to conduct CVD risk factor assessment followed by 10 weeks of in-class, interactive health education. Topics covered in the lessons range from assessing advertising to making salsa in class to learn the importance of choosing fruits and vegetables of all colors. Following the 10-week education program, students were re-tested to evaluate behavioral changes and health perceptions and to determine if CVD risk factors had decreased or increased. In 2009, the Memorial FIT Kids program was expanded to include Bryant Elementary in the Owosso District and St. Paul Catholic School, also in Owosso. Ovid-Elsie’s EE Knight Elementary, Perry Middle School, and Owosso Middle School were added in 2010 and Laingsburg Middle School will join in during the 2011/2012 school year.

The Memorial FIT Kids program has proven itself effective in helping to lower total cholesterol and lipid levels according to results from a longitudinal study with a pilot group of sixth graders from 2008. We are seeing a good trend in lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL and a significant trend in lowering resting heart rate. Students are also changing their behaviors in a positive direction.

All of the other area school districts receive two interactive lessons during the school year. The nutrition lesson includes information about food portions and how portion size has changed over the years, how the media affects our food selection decisions, and how kids can be healthier in their daily food choices. The physical activity lesson, presented by the Shiawassee Family YMCA, provides knowledge of the importance of aerobic exercise and alternatives to traditional exercise such as Tai Chi and basic kickboxing with in-class demonstration.

For additional information on the Memorial FIT Kids program, contact Dahlke at (989) 729-4852 or visit online at memorialhealthcare.org. You may also become a fan of the program on Facebook by searching for “Memorial FIT Kids.”
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Disclaimer:
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy:
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy:
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products, or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Blissful Bedtimes and Catching Some Zzzzzzzs

Marianne Stuart

I want to talk about our kids and sleep. Sleep is highly underrated. Ask any exhausted mom. I have a few suggestions that can make your evenings and nights more enjoyable.

Nighttime Newborns
I have had many moms ask me how to get their newborns on a better sleep schedule. I think we all might have had a baby that gets its days and nights mixed up. My mother, who raised 14 children, gave me some great advice years ago.

 

  • Daytime naps should be in a common room and well lit. A darkened, quiet room is more conducive for longer periods of sleep which we want to encourage at night.
  • Now this next tip is the most important thing I am going to tell you. Do not make eye contact or talk to your baby during a night waking. I don’t care how cute they are, they ARE super cute, but they can drive you to insanity if they won’t sleep. Talk and eye contact are very stimulating for a baby and now you might have a wide awake baby that wants to be up for long while.
  • Another thing I am learning about babies is that it is a good thing to lay them down drowsy and not totally asleep. This allows them to go to sleep without you, a bottle or pacifier being a crutch that is needed every time in order to fall asleep. I heard an analogy that made so much sense: If a baby needs to be nursed to sleep always then when they wake up in the night they don’t know how to fall back to sleep except by nursing to sleep. The same applies to bottles, pacifiers, etc. It is like you falling asleep with a pillow and then waking up without it. Imagine how hard it would be to have your pillow taken away.

Toddlers and Routines
Toddlers thrive on routine. In our home we have an evening routine. We have the younger kids get ready for bed and then call everyone into the family room for prayers. This takes about five minutes. Nightly kisses are given out and the younger children know they have to go to bed. If we skip prayers then we have little ones that keep coming into our room because they don’t remember if they kissed us goodnight. Other routines can be a bath, pajamas, teeth brushed and then having a story read to them. I would like to tuck them in and see them in the morning. It isn’t always this easy for some little ones. They might want to get out of bed many times. I recommend keeping them in their crib until they start climbing out. Sure, the toddler beds are cute, but now you have a child that can get out many times before they fall asleep. I don’t know about you, but at the end of the day I am so ready to have some down time with my husband. Once they are in a big bed that they can crawl out of bedtime gets more challenging. If they climb out, just take them back and tell them that it’s time for bed. Don’t elaborate, less words are better. Do this until they fall asleep, even if it takes 20 times. Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart and this is one of the big challenges. Win this battle! Don’t let that little one win or you might find yourself losing bigger battles.

Elementary Age
I find grade school children an easier age group but they do need some unwind time. My kids love to read in bed with a book light. Some of our children went through spells and didn’t want to stay in bed. We would hear the patter of feet running down the hall to climb into bed with a sibling. One of us, usually Daddy, would camp out in the hallway and send them back to bed when they tried to sneak out. After a few nights they got the idea.

Tired Teens
Teens are wired more like night owls. Unfortunately, school starts too early for most of them to keep such late hours. One advantage we have found with homeschooling is that online classes don’t usually start until after 9:00am. There are a few things we can do to help our teens get more sleep. Dimming the lighting and some nighttime tea are helpful. Limiting computer and tv a few hours before bedtime also helps. I encourage them to read in bed or work on a craft project. My girls are really enjoying knitting and crocheting. When the opportunity arises I will let my teens sleep in, but not so late that they miss a meal. I still have a teenager that fights me on this one but I am working to win this battle! =======================================================================
Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Advocating For My Children With Special Needs

Laura Jafri

Laura Jafri

I am very blessed with five amazing school aged children. They are all very bright and each have their own special personalities. The oldest is in 9th grade, then I have a 6th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader and a kindergartener. This, in of itself, is a challenging household. Then, when you add the fact that two of them have special needs, that is a totally different story.

At first, I didn’t know what to expect. My only daughter (the 6th grader) has severe autism. I have learned so much from her. One thing that I have always believed was that she was very smart and I wanted her to have the best education possible. It was her right and she deserved it. WOW, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into!

Over the years, I found myself hitting many brick walls in many different areas, especially in the school system. The services that my daughter needs in order to put her anywhere near an equal playing field compared to her peers is enormous. As a parent, it was very frustrating but, not knowing any better, I would say “ok.” Well, that didn’t last too long. I quickly figured out that I don’t take no for an answer—that’s all there is to it. My child deserves the best education possible and I am going to advocate for her to make sure that is what she gets. 

That has become a huge undertaking. It doesn’t mean that it is as easy as just asking for it. I have become a very involved and proactive advocate for my child. She needs me and I am going to do it. The challenges are sometimes overwhelming for parents. Then, my youngest son was diagnosed with autism as well. Being an advocate for two children with special needs is the role that God has given me. It means endless meetings with teachers, therapists and administrators. The time commitment is huge but the emotional investment is completely overwhelming.  All any parent wants is the best for their child.  It’s so painful to feel like every day is a battle for your children. All you want is to give them the lives that they deserve but the task is great and it is life-long. 

I have been very fortunate to meet some educators right here in Owosso that are willing to travel that road with me. They are supportive and try to give me and my children what we need. You can always tell who those teachers and therapists are, because they share a sincere passion for helping your child be successful. Unfortunately, there are some that don’t share that passion. As an advocate for your children, you need to figure out who those people are and work closely with the ones that will make education both an enjoyable experience for your child, as well as a successful one. Now, I never feel like I can’t be honest with them and tell them what my expectations are. That way we can work together to achieve our goals. Then you begin the process of carrying out an education plan (IEP) that is best for your child. 

Although this process is emotionally draining it is what I need to do as my children’s advocate. It can feel like a lonely battle sometimes. I want you to know that you are not alone. I am here! If you would like additional information on this topic, you may contact me via email at laurajafri@gmail.com. I have also listed some pertinent web sites for resources on this topic below for reference.

Autism Society of Michigan

Autism Society

Autism Speaks

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Get Your Home Organized For School Days

Lori Vacek— By Lori Vacek
 Memorial Mommy Blogger

Are you ready for that mountain of incoming school papers? Are you stocked up on school supplies? Getting organized will help you reduce clutter and not be overwhelmed by deadlines. In my next few blogs I will share what has helped our family.

ESTABLISH A SYSTEM FOR INCOMING PAPERS

  • Have older children be responsible to get all the papers from school to an established area. Younger children may have to simply put their backpack in a specific area. At our house, children are expected to put all school papers on my end table after school. I then can go through them while I ‘m waiting for dinner to finish cooking or during commercial breaks.
  • Establish an area to keep or file papers. Such as important test results, like MEAP or Dibbles, and cute art projects and interesting school papers. I have a deep drawer to put papers into and then I periodically sort them into folders.
  • Place all permission slips, calendars and upcoming events on a magnetized clip on the side of refrigerator in order by date. 
  • Throw out all homework and excess flyers after reviewing them. Be sure to really edit what you keep or you will have too much storage.

STOCK UP ON SCHOOL SUPPLIES

  • Now is the time to stock up on lots of pencils, markers, paper, etc. Most stores have great deals this time of year. Buy extras to store for later in the year. We have a drawer full for when the kids use up all those pencils doing school work.
  • Check each class for a list of required supplies and send them to school with your child. Be wise about what you buy, most parents overspend on items that get sent home for lack of space at school. 
  • Buy several sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues to donate to your school. This is a good way to ensure our children stay healthy.

These back to school tips can make the school year be more enjoyable for everyone.