Tag Archives: childhood

Staying Strong Against Cyberbullying

Staying Strong Against Cyberbullying

Written by: Joshua Blazen

What does bullying look like during the age of online school? Today, many children have access to social media accounts, cell phones, and the internet. These online platforms have created a new type of bully: the cyber-bully.            

What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is any teasing, intimidation, or harassment that occurs outside of school hours via social media or other technology. Roughly 10-40% of school-age students will experience cyberbullying at some point. The experience of cyberbullying is different for each student. Some cyberbullied children may be flooded with “spam” messages from bullies, some may have embarrassing rumors or photos spread by bullies through social media, and some may receive threatening or intimidating messages from bullies. Since cyberbullies can set up anonymous online accounts, cyberbullying victims do not always know who their bullies are. For this reason, cyberbullying can be more frequent and more difficult to avoid than traditional bullying. More time online with digital learning may increase both opportunities and impacts of cyberbullying. 

What are some warning signs of cyberbullying?
Here are some warning signs that your child may be experiencing cyberbullying:
• They become upset, sad, or angry after spending time online or on their phone. This may be a reaction to experiencing some kind of digital harassment. It may lead to decreased interest in digital activity. Current requirements for increased online learning and online homework completion can unintentionally enhance a student’s discomfort. 
They become socially withdrawn. Cyberbullying can make a child more self-conscious, and this can make them avoid social situations where they might be judged. 
They go to great lengths to hide their screens when you enter the room. Children often feel shame about experiencing bullying and may try to hide it from their family members. 
They appear more down or sad than usual. This may include losing interest in activities they once enjoyed. If your child experiences a sudden downturn in mood without a clear cause, you may want to get some more information to see if cyberbullying could be the cause.
They suddenly want to avoid school. If a child who normally loves school suddenly starts dreading going to school, this could be a cause for concern. It may be that the child wants to avoid seeing their cyberbullies as much as possible. Some children may even use feeling sick as a reason to stay home or stay offline. They may refuse to turn on their camera during online learning. If this is the case, you may want to gather more information to see if your child is experiencing cyberbullying. 

How can I protect my child from cyberbullying?
• Make sure your child knows that you are ready to listen. If your child talks to you about being a victim of cyberbullying, be supportive and non-judgmental. Some children feel like it is their fault for experiencing bullying and they can feel ashamed to tell their parents for this reason. Make sure your child knows that they are loved and appreciated no matter what.  
Talk to your child’s teacher if you believe your child is experiencing cyberbullying. Teachers don’t always know when cyberbullying is happening, so it may be helpful to bring it to their attention. Ask if the teacher would consider talking to the class about cyberbullying in a way that doesn’t specifically identify or target your child as a victim. Your child’s teacher may even have a specific anti-bullying curriculum in mind! 
Help your child come up with some strategies to avoid cyberbullies. You may want to help your child limit their technology and social media time by agreeing on a technology-use schedule. An online schedule can reduce the amount of time they are exposed to cyberbullying. You could create a tech space in the house that is more public so your child feels as though you are part of the online experience and can intervene on their behalf. Additionally, you may want to show your child how to block cyberbullies’ phone numbers and social media accounts.

What should I do if my child is cyberbullying others?
• Help your child come up with more acceptable ways to solve conflicts. Children often resort to teasing or bullying to get revenge. Make sure that your child knows they can come to you for advice when they have disputes with others. 
Gather more information. Your child’s teacher may be able to shed some light on any conflicts your child has with other children. Talk to your child to learn more about why they are bullying others. Some children may bully others to cope with stress or other negative feelings. 
Talk with your child about feelings. Help your child understand the way that bullying makes others feel. Help your child come up with acceptable ways to express their feelings. 

Resources
For more resources for caregivers, visit the Cyberbullying Research Center website: https://cyberbullying.org/resources/parents

More recommendations for caregivers from ConnectSafely:https://www.connectsafely.org/cyberbullying/

To report chronic or severe instances of cyberbullying and harassment:https://www.cybersmile.org/advice-help/category/who-to-call


Tantrums – What do they mean?

Tantrums – What do they mean?

Written by: Joshua Blazen

If you know a child, you have probably witnessed a tantrum. You’re not alone! Most children aged 18- to 48 months have tantrums. Many toddlers will have at least one tantrum per day. 

What do tantrums mean?
During a tantrum, some children will lay on the ground and cry, some children will throw objects and scream, and some children may even hold their breath. While each tantrum looks different, the reason for a tantrum is usually the same. Young children use tantrums to communicate when they don’t have the language skills to express themselves. Here are some of the most common causes for tantrums:
To get something: Young children may use tantrums to access something they want, like treats, attention, more time with a fun toy, or more time with a fun person or activity.
To avoid something: Young children quickly learn that they can avoid an unpleasant activity, like bedtime or a time-out, with a tantrum.
To express feelings: Through a tantrum, your child may be telling you that they are feeling frustrated or disappointed. It can be emotional when an enjoyable experience ends, and your child may use a tantrum to tell you that.
To express needs: For children who don’t have a lot of spoken or signed words, tantrums are the best way to let adults know that they are tired or hungry.

What can I do about tantrums?
What DO I do?
• Keep a consistent schedule. A predictable routine leads to less surprise disappointments for a child. For example, if clean-up time happens at about the same time every day, your child will be less surprised when it is time to put their toys away for naptime. 
• Look for triggers. Pay attention to the times of day and activities that seem to relate to your child’s tantrums. You may be able to avoid some of these triggers, like walking down the toy aisle at the store or driving past the candy store on the way home. Some triggers, like bedtime and brushing teeth, can’t be avoided. Try scheduling triggers that can’t be avoided at the same time every day so the child can predict when they happen. Give your child warnings and consider doing some kind of transition activity (reading a book or singing a song) before these triggers happen.
• Ignore tantrums. When tantrums do happen, stay calm and ignore them as long as your child is safe. Let your child know that you will talk to them once they are calm, and then don’t make eye contact with them or talk to them again. Try to keep occupied – you don’t want to make it seem like you’re sitting around waiting for the tantrum to be over.
• Reward your child when they don’t have a tantrum. Reward your child with attention and praise when they express themselves calmly instead of with a tantrum. Reward them if they make it through a trigger activity without having a tantrum. Teach them how to express themselves with words, and then reward them with praise and attention for using their words. When your child does have a tantrum, reward them with attention once the tantrum is over and they have calmed down. 
• Seek support if needed. If your child’s tantrums put them in danger of hurting themselves or others, talk to your pediatrician. If the tantrums seem to be getting worse no matter what strategies you try, talk with your child’s teacher or pediatrician for additional advice.

What DON’T I do?
• Try to reason with a tantruming child. If your child is screaming and crying, they are probably past the point of negotiating. A child in the middle of a tantrum is so upset that they aren’t hearing your words. They just know that their tantrum has gotten your attention!
Give in. Ignoring tantrums is hard. No one likes to see their child upset, and sometimes it feels like the easiest way to end the tantrum is to just give the child what they want. But stay strong! Giving in can make tantrums worse because it teaches the child that tantrums will get them what they want. When they understand this, they are more likely to escalate – longer and more intense tantrums – and this is not good for anyone. Remember, you’re teaching your child how to express their feelings in a healthy way, which is an important skill to have!

Resources
https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1790-toddler-tantrums-101-why-they-happen-and-what-you-can-do

https://www.brighthorizons.com/family-resources/taming-temper-tantrums

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/dealing.pdf


Nutrition in Childhood: It’s Important!

Nutrition in Childhood: It’s Important

Written by: Rachele Gentry

Many children are famous for refusing to eat food that is green, stinky or, generally, healthy. As a result, many parents say, “My child wants to eat chicken nuggets for every meal.” 

While chicken nuggets and French fries is a fun and tasty meal every now and again, eating processed food is not benefiting your child’s health. 

Childhood obesity is at an all-time high. Parents must know how to promote a healthy lifestyle to their children, and this includes good nutritional habits. Research suggests that nutrition is linked with learning and memory, and children who eat more nutritious food do better in school. 

Many parents find it difficult to provide their children with nutrient-dense snacks and meals. The difficulty may be related to a busy schedule, limited budget or a child who is a picky eater. But parents, you are not alone in the struggle. 

Here are a few simple tricks for promoting a healthy lifestyle for your child:
• Use the “rainbow test” when making a meal. Is the plate full of colorful foods or foods that are white or brown? When food is naturally colored orange, yellow, green, red or purple, nature is telling us it is packed with essential nutrients. 
• Get sneaky with it! Here are some wonderful tricks on hiding healthy in your child’s favorite food. 
Prep meals in advance to save time during a busy week. Meal preparation also helps to prevent eating out.
• Get your child involved in making a meal! Even something as simple as stirring pasta or seasoning vegetables can give children a sense of responsibility for a meal. When children know they helped make a meal, they are more likely to eat it.

What nutrients are essential for my child?
1. Protein helps build cells, produce energy and fight infection. 
Chicken, fish, beef, pork, beans, tofu, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt

2. Iron is important for making healthy blood that carries oxygen to all parts of the body
Red meat, beans, green leafy vegetables, eggs, tuna

3. Fats have a bad reputation, but healthy fats are a wonderful source of energy for children. Cooking oil, avocado, meat, fish, nuts, cheese

4. Calcium helps build healthy bones and teeth. It is also important for nerve, muscle and heart function. Dairy products, tofu, some dry cereals

5. Vitamin A helps growth, strengthens the eyes, promotes healthy skin and aids in preventing infection. Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli

How many calories should my child eat per day?* 
Ages 2-3: 1,000-1,400
Ages 4-5: 1,200-1,400
Ages 6-8: 1,400-1600
Ages 9-10: 1,600-1,800
Ages 11-12: 1,800-2,200
* Calorie needs vary based on gender, activity level and overall needs. Please consult your pediatrician to verify your child’s recommended caloric intake. 

Healthy eating prepares your child for a healthy life!