Thursday, October 16, 2014

Candy as rewards?

Recently I've experienced candy and other unhealthy foods are being given to students as rewards for good behavior and class work.  Am I the only one who sees what's wrong with this?

In an attempt to keep a positive environment in the classroom, educators are contributing to an epidemic. 

In 2012, the percentage of children aged 6-11 years old in the US who are obese is nearly 18%. This is an increase from 7% in 1980. Pediatricians report that children as young as 6 are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 

  • Four out of five children are not eating the minimum recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables. Instead, they are consuming foods of low nutrient density such as candy, cookies, chips and doughnuts.
  • Children spend an average of 4 hours a day watching TV or other electronics. 
  • Less than half of children are physically active for an hour everyday. 
  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
Research shows candy “rewards” become more desirable to children than if they had not been used as rewards in the first place. We were all born with a natural preference to sweet tastes.  These preferences should be sated with natural fruits and veggies. 

Offering an unhealthy food to a child for doing a 'good' job sends mixed messages. How can you back up teaching wellness if you're promoting unhealthy eating? 

I applaud the parents who take responsibility for their children's health and promote heathy eating habits and lifestyle.  I also applaud educators who have a 'zero candy policy' in their schools.  That's a true investment into their students future!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Be Mindful

Mindfulness is "the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment"

As the school year begins, I'm aware of the need to be mindful.

Mindful of rest.
Mindful of play. 
Mindful of nutrition.

The academic demands of our children are many; and increasing each year.  The length of time asked of them to sit (still) and focus on lessons are long.  Recess time is short and lunch is not always nutrient rich. 

We can do better than this. We must do better for our children.  

Children should play as children do.  Run, jump, roll, climb; for long periods of time. Inhaling the fresh air. Feeling the warm sun or cold wind on their face.  Be Mindful.

What we put into our children's bodies is just as important as the lessons they learn in class. How do we expect a child to be still and focus when they've started their day eating a bowl of sugary cereal or pastry?  How do we expect them to continue to learn in the afternoon after a carbohydrate loaded lunch will little protein, vegetables or fruit? Be Mindful.

Knowing when our children need rest is important. An overloaded schedule can burn out children. Don't get me wrong; I support extra activities. Be it sports, dance or art classes all are important. So is rest. Be Mindful.

I will strive to Be Mindful everyday, because my children deserve it.