Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Balanced eating

Radio Commentary

Many experts feel that far too much attention is placed on the body shape. This can translate into eating disorders for young teenage women.

It is also true that being seriously overweight can cause long-term health problems that should be avoided.

Parents can help children maintain a healthy balance. If they aren’t hungry at mealtime, don’t insist they clean their plates.

Parents should also observe how their children signal true hunger.

Sometimes young people will ask for food or say they are hungry when they are merely bored, lonely, or frustrated.

Try to determine whether the child is truly hungry. If not, help him find other ways to address boredom or frustration.

It’s also important to encourage physical activity. Discourage long hours spent in front of the TV or computer. Enjoy activities with your children. They are more likely to take part if you play along with them.

Also, be a good role model. Eat healthy foods and avoid inactivity. Children with overweight parents are twice as likely to become overweight as well.

Remember, though, to strike a balance in paying attention to weight. Too much focus can backfire and cause an eating disorder.

As always, moderation is the key.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Calendar habit

Radio Commentary

Which people are the most successful in life? Sometimes we see that it is not necessarily those who are the brightest or the most highly educated or the most well-intentioned.

Sometimes success is simply a function of being well-organized and staying the course. Woody Allen made famous the quote that “80 percent of success is showing up.”

Whether a child is in school or outside the classroom, being organized before showing up is an important trait that can make a real difference.

One good way to help children get in the habit of being organized is to buy them a big calendar. It should have lots of space to write on each day. The bigger, the better.

Encourage children to write key dates on the calendar, such as birthdays, school holidays, medical appointments, and planned outings.

Have them mark the dates they have to be somewhere regularly, such as after-school sports practices or music lessons.

Next, have them add the due dates for homework assignments, especially those that will take time to complete. And be sure they write in dates for exams.

Help children get into the habit of checking the calendar every weeknight for the next day’s activities. Talk about what needs to be done to prepare. Sunday night is a good time to check on what’s happening throughout the following week and to add new things that are coming up.

In many families, a calendar has proven to be the key to helping children schedule time wisely and stay organized — a habit that proves valuable throughout life.

Friday, October 17, 2014

College visits

Radio Commentary

The search for colleges can be very stressful. Parents can help in the decision-making process by planning visits to campuses.
They can also help students prepare questions to ask during the visits. Here are some suggestions:

What are the strongest departments and most popular majors at the school?

What is the average class size? Is it different for freshmen?

How do I compare academically with students already attending the school? What kinds of cultural, athletic, or literary activities are offered on campus?

What kind of housing is available? How many students are members of fraternities and sororities?

What support services are available to students? General counseling? Health care? Tutoring?

Are there any overseas or exchange programs?
What percentage of students receive financial aid?

Do you consider this a safe campus?

What do most students do after they graduate? What kind of student is generally happiest at this college?

Selecting a college that will provide a good “fit” often rests on intangibles – a feeling students get when they walk around the campus.

But answers to these questions can help students narrow down whether a particular college might be right for them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Annual Opportunities Expo highlights opportunities

News release

The Annual Opportunities Expo will take place on Thursday, Oct. 23 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 313 W. Tunnel Street, Santa Maria. The purpose of the Expo is to highlight the many opportunities available in northern Santa Barbara and southern San Luis Obispo Counties to help students with disabilities become working and contributing members of their community.

This one day public event hosts venders, educators, and businesses that support special education programs, and provides information about getting jobs and living in the community. Parents, guardians, friends, educators, and members of the community are invited to attend. Each year local businesses are honored for their contributions and exceptional students are acknowledged for their achievements.

October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month. In his recent proclamation President Obama stated, “Americans with disabilities lead thriving businesses, teach our children, and serve our Nation; they are innovators and pioneers of technology. During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we celebrate the Americans living with disabilities, including significant disabilities, who enrich our country, and we reaffirm the simple truth that each of us has something to give to the American story.”

More information is available from Cheri Spencer, Vocational and Transition Manager at 922-0334, or spencer@sbceo.org.

Self-esteem tips

Radio Commentary

There was a time when no one even considered a child’s self-esteem. Shame and blame were acceptable forms of child-rearing and schooling. Feelings were never considered.

Then several studies showed that children with higher self-esteem actually performed better. They were less afraid to ask questions if they didn’t understand. They had more courage to tackle difficult problems.

They had more perseverance when things went wrong. And they generally were more successful as a result of this.

Then the tables turned again.

Somehow, efforts at building self-esteem were blamed for low test scores. Building a child’s self-esteem took a back seat to drilling the basics.

The truth is that self-esteem is important, and those who have it are happier and still outperform those who don’t.

So here are some tips for parents who want to help develop their children’s self-esteem:

  • Give your child responsibility. Encourage volunteerism. Doing good makes one feel good.
  • Develop a social network that includes family, friends, school, and the community. 
  • Never humiliate your child. Try to use only constructive criticism, emphasizing that no one is perfect and that everyone can learn from mistakes. 
  • And finally, let your love be unconditional, based on your child’s worth, rather than on specific “successes.”