(BPT) - The first days of school are filled with excitement and pangs of anxiety, but it doesn’t take long for high school and college students to fall into a routine. Adjusting to the new reality of school can be difficult, but it's the steps students take now that determine their success throughout the school year.
To make sure your child has a successful school year, consider these smart tips. This advice can help you have a great academic experience from now all the way through spring.
1. Eat and sleep well every day
Healthy habits allow the body and mind to be prepared to learn each day. Teenagers (14-17) should get eight to 10 hours each night and young adults (18-25) should get seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. On top of adequate rest, make sure to eat wholesome meals starting with a daily breakfast to ensure a hungry stomach is never a distraction in class.
2. Choose the right technology
Advanced classes require note taking, research and more, making a trustworthy laptop a student essential. Stay on budget with the portable LG gram notebook available in 13-, 14- and 15-inch options. With 15 hours of battery on a full charge, students can leave the charger at home, making this ultrabook the perfect fit for students on the go. Featuring Intel’s 7th generation i5 processor and plenty of storage, it's extremely versatile. You can change the display from “Reader mode” to “Movie mode,” which offers versatility for students who plan to use the device for a variety of content.
3. Don't let backpacks weigh you down
High school and college students too often are buzzing through campus with incredibly heavy backpacks. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that a backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's body weight. Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Select light technology when possible, like the LG gram, the lightest laptop available in its class at just over 2 pounds.
4. Learn smart study habits
How students study influences how well they do in school. Procrastination and last-minute cramming is not effective. The more your child can adopt smart study habits, the better he or she will do in class, plus stress levels will likely decrease. Set times each day to study, preferably not too late at night. Create a quiet, comfortable space free from distractions. If possible, turn the smartphone off or leave it in another room.
5. Reach out for help and available resources
An underutilized resource at high schools and colleges across the country is teacher assistance outside class time. Most professors (and even teacher assistants at colleges) have office hours each week where they help students. If students are struggling or just want to reiterate the material, this is the right opportunity. Swing by the office in person, shoot them an email or set up a video meeting. They are there to help.
6. Strike a balance
There are a lot of demands put on young adults these days. Work, extracurricular activities, classes, study time, exercising, socializing, family time and more make for busy days and nights. It's important to find a balance and set priorities to avoid burnout. Parents can assist children in determining how much they can handle by having an open and honest discussion. Make adjustments as necessary for a happy, healthy school year.
Yes! Screen time can be good for young kids: Experts agree digital education may help young kids learn
(BPT) - For years, parents and pediatricians fretted over how much screen time was too much, especially for very young children. Many child health experts advised minimal screen time for elementary-aged kids and none at all for children younger than 2. New research, a revised policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the personal experience of millennial parents who grew up in the digital age, have changed the way parents view screen time for youngsters.
"Research now shows us that not all screen time is equal," says Barbara Peacock, managing director of School Zone Inc., a recognized leader in creating innovative multimedia learning tools to prepare children for a lifelong love of education who recently launched AnywhereTeacher.com, a "Digital Educational Playground" for kids 2-8. "Everyone agrees it's important for children to maintain healthful levels of physical activity, but studies also show educational screen time can be an effective way to supplement children's learning. As the American Academy of Pediatrics recently noted, 'the effects of media use are multi-factorial and depend on the type of media, the type of use, the amount and extent of use, and the characteristics of the individual child."
The AAP and other child health experts have long counseled parents against allowing very young children to have much screen time. However, the AAP recently revised its stance, citing "evidence regarding health media use (that) does not support a one-size-fits-all approach" to media use by children.
Rather than keeping young children off devices entirely, the AAP now advises parents to develop a Family Media Use Plan that takes into account children's developmental stages, and uses that information to create an appropriate and individual balance for media usage by each child. The AAP encourages parents to establish boundaries for how and when children may use digital devices, ensure they understand the importance of not sharing personal information online, and openly talk with children about media use.
In revising its recommendation, the AAP looked to a growing body of research that shows digital media use can help facilitate learning. Writing in the Hechinger Report, a highly regarded watchdog media outlet that covers inequality and innovation in education, Lisa Guernsey, director of New America's early education initiative, and Michael H. Levine, founding director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a nonprofit literacy and digital media research organization, explained the shift in thinking.
"Literacy rates and toddlers' media use may seem unrelated, but they are inextricably tied," the co-authors noted. "The important connections between media and reading must be brought to light in schools, households, and in the public's imagination ... children at very young ages can gain important skills in literacy and language development if the content on the screen is designed for learning and if they have a parent or educator who talks with them about what they are doing and seeing."
Making media work for learning
Parental involvement in media use is the key difference between programming that benefits children's educational development, and valueless screen time, research shows.
The National Head Start Association recently stressed that "family engagement is integral" to successful learning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education agreed in a joint policy statement issued in May 2015: "Families are children's first and most important teachers, advocates and nurturers," the statement said, calling family involvement in kids' education "critical" to their long-term success.
Busy tech-savvy parents recognize how easy technology can make it to access high-quality supplemental learning tools for their children, but finding a trusted source of curated content is not always easy. Speaking to her company's newly launched site, Peacock comments, "AnywhereTeacher.com features content that has been developed exclusively by School Zone based on decades of research and broad-based experience working with educators, dating back almost 40 years when our founders, James Hoffman, Ed.D and his wife Joan, MA, recognized the need for at-home learning materials." The subscription-based AnywhereTeacher.com is an easy to navigate site for youngsters that combines the power of video with traditional learning tools such as flash cards, games, interactive worksheets and printable activities. Original episodic programming like Charlie & Company engages children with educational messages in a fun, familiar way.
The service, which starts at just $6.99 per month, allows parents to manage their children's activities and view their progress, creating an opportunity to talk about learning goals and improvement. The service is compatible with most devices and you can buy a subscription through iTunes, Google Play or PayPal to gain access from any device. There's no limit on the number of devices families can simultaneously use to access the site. Visit AnywhereTeacher.com to learn more.
Between screen time and the busy schedules of both parents and kids, today’s children are spending less time outside and missing out on this fun and beneficial part of childhood. Use these five fun ideas to get you and your kids outside and exploring nature.
Tips to Get Kids Outside and Away From Screens
(Family Features) Remember taking off for a day of adventure on your bike, returning home only for dinner? Kids these days don't have the same incredible experience of exploratory, unstructured play. According to a new survey commissioned by Nature's Path, 54 percent of moms say their kids spend more time playing in front of a screen than playing outside.
"Playing outside in nature is critically important for kids' development. Research shows it improves everything from problem-solving to cognitive ability to social relations," said parenting expert Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions. "Between screen time and the busy schedules of both parents and kids, today's children are spending less time outside and missing out on this fun and beneficial part of childhood."
According to the survey, the majority of moms try to regularly get their kids outside to enjoy the lifelong learning and health benefits of playing in nature. The biggest barriers that prevent this are: fear of letting kids play outside alone, being too busy juggling other priorities and not having the time to supervise outdoor play.
Here are five fun ideas to get you and your kids outside and exploring nature:
1. Get crafty. Let your kids collect leaves, flowers, stones, pinecones or anything that strikes their fancy - and then craft together. Make leaf prints, press flowers between plastic sheets to create placemats, paint stones or sticks to look like animals or make a terrarium in a bottle. The possibilities are as endless as their imaginations.
2. Schedule it. Kids are used to planned sports and activities, so schedule an hour of outdoor play that they will come to expect. That's where the planning ends - give them some ideas, but let them use their imaginations and engage in unstructured free play.
3. Explore at night. Turn a simple walk around the neighborhood into an adventure by going outside in the evening. Let kids take flashlights and glow sticks to help explore nature in a whole new way. Talk about the sights and smells at night and look at the stars together.
4. Share your favorite activities and make new memories. When you were young, did you love to skip stones on a pond? Build a fort? Jump in to piles of leaves? Tell your kids about your favorite pastimes and experience them together.
5. Get schools involved. According to the survey, the vast majority of moms (94 percent) agree it's important that schools also help kids discover nature. Moms can help schools by bringing them a program that's easy to implement. Nature's Path EnviroKidz Ecokeepers is a hands-on, exploration-based program that blends a traditional activity passport for kids to fill-in with a modern-day treasure hunt that uses GPS on smartphones to find hidden caches. It's free for schools and camps, and complements science and physical education curriculum. Parents can also download the Ecokeepers explorer guide and resources featuring activities to do with the family. The geocache app can be downloaded free from geocaching.com or your smartphone's app store.
While busy schedules don't always make it easy for moms to do everything they'd like to do with their kids, a little planning can help to get kids outside to experience all the benefits of outdoor play.
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