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 Parenting Press®

Welcome to the June 2015
“News for Parents”

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  1. WHAT’S NEW?
    • Fireworks AND Fun All July Long
    • What Makes It Hard for Kids to Learn


  • How 5+2+1+0 Spells Healthy Kids

    How do you keep kids healthy? By the numbers, says the new 5210 campaign, which describes four daily behaviors for children:

    • five or more servings of fruits and vegetables
    • two or fewer hours of screen time
    • one or more hours of physical activity
    • zero sweetened beverages

    Groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Association for Sport and Physical Activity are asking educators at all levels, families, health-care professionals, community centers and after-school programs to spread the word about 5210 Healthy Children. It was developed through collaboration between the Defense Department’s Office of Family Policy/Children & Youth and the Resource Center for Obesity Prevention at The Pennsylvania StateUniversity.

    How important is 5210? Other news reports echo the value of reducing sugar and increasing physical activity. This spring, Craig B. Thompson, MD, president and CEO of Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, told the Wall Street Journal, “Sometime this decade, it is expected that obesity, driven in large part by excess sugar intake, will surprise tobacco exposure at the No. 1 cause of preventable cancer in the U.S.” The same day, an article in the same publication discussed research by the Physical Activity Council, which showed that in 2014, 28 percent of Americans did not participate in a single—not one—physical activity.

    Some examples of the 5210 recommendations that are easier to implement now with the more pleasant weather and the summer break from school:

    • Infants younger than 12 months of age should engage in structured and unstructured physical activities each day that are devoted to exploring movement and developing motor skills

    • Toddlers (12 to 36) months should engage in structured physical activities for at least 30 minutes per day plus unstructured physical activities for at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) per day

    • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) should engage in structured physical activities for at least 60 minutes per day plus unstructured physical activities for at least 60 minutes (and up to several hours) per day

    A few definitions from the 5210 sponsors:

    Physical activity is defined as any movement of the body that raises one’s heart rate above resting. Structured physical activities are planned, and unstructured physical activities are free-play.

    Aerobic physical activities involve moving large muscle groups. Moderate and vigorous aerobic activities make a person’s heart, lungs, and muscles work noticeably harder. Examples include bicycling, swimming, and playing chasing games like tag.

    Muscle-strengthening physical activities include climbing and swinging on playground equipment, doing sit-ups and push-ups, and resistance training. Bone-strengthening physical activities create an impact on bones, such as hitting a tennis ball, jumping rope, or practicing gymnastics.

    For those 6 and older, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends an hour of physical activity per day, with most of that time in aerobic activities of moderate or vigorous intensity. It recommends both bone- and muscle-strengthening activities at least three days per week.

    The “2” stands for limiting screen time—television, movies, computer games, handhelds, e-mail, web surfing—to less than two hours daily for those 2 and older, and no screen time for kids younger than 2.

    The dietary recommendations define servings of fruits and vegetables as:

    • a medium piece of fruit (such as an apple or orange)
    • a half cup of chopped, canned or cooked fruit
    • a quarter cup of dried fruit (raisins or plums, for example)
    • a cup of raw leafy greens (spinach, for example)
    • a half cup of raw or cooked vegetables
    • a half cup of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice (rather than fruit-flavored beverages or fruit juice with added sugar or artificial sweetener)

    Children younger than six months should not be given fruit juice, and kids younger than 7 should have no more than six ounces, because juice lacks the fiber and other important nutrients of whole fruit. For those 7 and older, the recommended limit is 12 ounces of juice per day.

    And zero: hard for some kids to accept, but the “0” is a recommendation for avoiding all sweetened beverages. Skip soda, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored beverages and you’ll reduce the chances that your kids will suffer from childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and the poor nutrition that often occurs when we satisfy our hunger with sugary drinks rather than nutritious food or water.

    The 5210 report (pdf) that we received has more than 300 pages, so this is only an introduction. For more information, see the work it’s based on,

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  • When Kids Suffer Due to Parental Deployments

    If you work or volunteer with military dependents, spouses or children, you may be interested in a new fact sheet, “Child Maltreatment in Military Families,” available from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (PDF).

    It points out that although military children as a group are adaptable, resilient, and well-adjusted, coping well with moves, school changes, and making new friends, they have experienced greater stress since 9/11. More parents have been deployed for longer periods and more often, notes the fact sheet, which points out:

    • Children of currently deployed parents have somewhat higher rates of anxiety symptoms (by about 4 percent) than children of the same age in a national sample.

    • Rates of behavioral issues (e.g., aggressiveness) and internalization of symptoms (e.g., sadness) are elevated among military children during periods of deployment.

    • The total number of months of parental deployment in the prior three years is strongly related to the number of difficulties experienced by children when the parent was deployed and during reintegration.

    The fact sheet provides definitions of matreatment and a list of suggested reading along with general information about finding help for children who are suffering.

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  • Got Yarn? Got Fingers? Got Fun!

    What all of us can knit without needles is what Vickie Howell talks about in Finger Knitting Fun: 28 Cute, Clever and Creative Projects for Kids (Quarry Books).

    More important is her philosophy, that fiber is “a blank canvas for creativity as well as practicality.” When you close this book, Howell says, she wants you to know “what it’s like to put something beautiful, cool, clever, or even nonsensical into the world.”

    Like many other crafters today, she encourages readers to use both traditional and alternative, upcycled materials such as plastic bags and T-shirts. Projects range from simple necklaces to hats, belts, bracelets and a tote bag. How to finish the projects with dye, felting or simple sewing stitches is also explained. You’ll also find tips for using the projects as party or craft circle activities—ideal for rainy days at the beach or kids’ activities at a large family reunion. Like spool knitting, Howell’s projects can be adapted as travel projects, for passing time while waiting for a flight, or when strapped into car or plane seats.

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  • Got Duct Tape? Got More Fun!

    If you’re looking for a novel gift idea for a child, or you need a project that’ll keep kids busy on your summer road trip, look at Duct Tape: 101 Adventurous Ideas for Art, Jewelry, Flowers, Wallets and More (Quarry Books).

    Author Forrest Walker Davis starts out with basics that make sense for almost all ages (obviously, duct tape is not a craft material for preschoolers), and cheerful warnings about what happens with a false move early on. He provides careful, well-illustrated instructions for a few projects—roses, lilies, wallet, purse—and then offers dozens of photos of other possibilities, with a few how-to’s. These include dog leashes, belts, jewelry, mobiles and what he calls “sculptures”—figures of owls, goldfish, canaries, and globe. Tips on using paper, wire and duct tape to make hand puppets and marionettes are also provided.

    Comment on this story


  • Tips for the month

    Each Saturday, Parenting Press posts a new parenting tip and the previous week’s tip is moved to the archive. If you’d like the tips emailed to you each week, just let us know with a message to Make sure you put “Weekly tips” in your subject line and include the email to which the tips should be sent.

    This month, because so many babies are born in the summer, we’ve checked our archives for ideas on how to introduce children to a new sibling, and how to handle sibling jealousy and squabbles.

    June  6 — Helping Young Children Adjust to a New Baby
    June 13 — Teaching Children to Play Safely with Babies
    June 20 — Becoming Jealous of a Sibling
    June 27 — Preventing Sibling Problems

  • Family Fun Ideas — Celebrate the Solstice!

    This year, the summer solstice arrives on Father’s Day: what an opportunity to celebrate around the clock! (Especially if you want to get up with the dawn, stay up until dusk and don’t have to work on Monday, June 22.) Around the world, the longest day of the year is observed in many different ways. Some communities sponsor dances around a maypole, with participants weaving streamers down the pole; in other areas, the dances are around bonfires, or the bonfires are on the beach. Many cities have parades on the solstice weekend: you can watch one in Santa Barbara, Seattle and Rockland ME. Or make your own: let the kids create sun-face masks, trim the trike spokes with yellow crepe paper and circle the block with wagon-loads of tots in sunsuits.

    Fun Fact: When the solstice occurs differs depending on your location. In Honolulu, for example, it will come this year at 6:39 a.m., in Phoenix at 9:39 a.m., in Chicago at 11:39 a.m., Boston at 12:39 p.m.—and in Madrid and Oslo, at 6:39 p.m.

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  • Community Service — Take 3

    Our goal with this column is to suggest ways that you can model the concept of sharing and giving back to your community. Children also learn to work as part of a team. There are practical advantages to community service, too. Kids can use these projects to meet school or youth group requirements for community service and to start building resumes that they’ll use when applying for first jobs or college. You’ll find dozens of ideas for family-appropriate community service projects in our downloadable book Teaching Your Kids to Give Back and our Qwik Sheet Community Service for Kids.

    This month, we encourage youth to follow the example of the Australians who founded Take 3 in 2009 to raise awareness of marine debris by encouraging each visitor to the beach, lake or river to take three pieces of rubbish with them when they leave. It’s that simple! And you can do it away from water, too: on a stroll through your neighborhood, when you’re visiting a playground or on a hike. (To stay safe, toss anything you pick up in a bag right away; if you’re not wearing gloves, repurpose bread sacks and newspaper bags to protect your hands, especially if you’re picking up something dirty.)

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  • Special of the month — Teaching Toddlers to Share

    This special has expired.

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Last updated July 01, 2015