Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Getting Organized for School

Tips for Getting Organized at Home for School

1.  Set aside a folder or box in a special place to keep school-related information.
2.  Put the school phone number and teacher’s name and number on the folder or inside the box lid.
3.  Make sure your children have supplies they need.  Keep extra supplies in a special place.
4.  Enlist your young child’s help in laying out school clothes at night.
5.  Decide on a weekday bedtime and stick to it.
6.  Decide how much TV and which program will be allowed during the school week.
7.  Help your child clean out his school bag once a week.
8.  Create a homework calendar.
9.  Leave lunch money in a designated place at the beginning of each week.
10.  Find out what specific topics your child will be studying during the year, then plan family                 activities to enrich the school curriculum.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Promoting Healthy Relationship Development in Teens

The late Erich Fromm had a humorous insight to relationships: “True love is like a pair of socks: you’ve gotta have two and they’ve gotta match.” So goes one of the many philosophies about what it takes to find and maintain lasting love and relationships.

Despite his somewhat casual approach to the subject, Fromm was right—couples who stay together tend to match and be more similar than they are different. It is these similarities and differences that often impact how well two people in a romantic relationship are able to communicate and interact with each other. In addition, each person also brings background influences into the relationship such as family of origin habits and processes. Individual characteristics also exert a certain amount of influence on the couple’s functioning as a whole. These components are further examined below.

Three Kinds of Premarital Predictors
Jeffry Larson and Thomas Holman have conducted the most long-term and specific studies of the premarital predictors of healthy marriages. They have synthesized these premarital predictors into three general areas:
1) background and contextual factors of each person
2) individual traits and behaviors of each person
3) interactional processes— how they effective communicate and resolve conflict.

For more information, download the publication: Promoting Healthy Relationship Development in Teens, Part II: Three Key Qualities to Foster Better Relationships at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY136400.pdf

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Benefits of Family Meals

When was the last time you and your family sat down to a good dinner? Recently there has been a shift in society’s view of eating family meals.

 Families today have busy schedules. Kids are involved in extracurricular activities, and many mothers are more active in the workplace. Although most families would say that family meals are valuable, they often allow other things to become a priority, devaluing the act of eating family meals together. Making time for family meals is beneficial to the entire family.

One way to make sure your family sits down for family meals is to ask your children to help with dinner preparation and make it a fun experience. Some fun programs you can explore are Cooking Up Fun (http://www.cookingupfun.cornell.edu/), Cook It Up, and Cooking with Kids (http://cookingwithkids.net/).
All of these can give you some good ideas about how to bond with your children as you prepare family meals. These programs highlight the importance of family meals and the benefits of creating the meal as a family

Download the full UF Extension publication at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY136200.pdf

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Caring for Stepparents in Later Life

Most people agree with the idea that families have a responsibility to care for older family members. Yet some changes in family life have brought up new questions about caring for the elderly. What happens when a parent divorces and then remarries later in life? Should adult children care for the stepparent as well as the parent? These questions are becoming more and more important as individuals live longer and growing numbers of older adults divorce and remarry.

Researchers from the University of Missouri sampled over 1000 men and women from across the U.S. to find out how adults viewed responsibilities to parents and stepparents. In telephone interviews, researchers presented stories describing a family dilemma and asked how much help the younger adult should give to the parent or stepparent.

For example, the parent remarries after being a widower, and after a few years dies very suddenly. Should his son help the stepmother with things around the house, even though they have never gotten along? What if the stepmother has more serious health problems: Should the son help care for her? What if the older adult is a parent? Should the son provide this care?

Results showed that adult children were expected to help parents more than stepparents, out of a sense of obligation and to repay parents for past help. Stepparents who came into families later in life generally were not seen as family members, and, as a result, were not automatically entitled to caregiving aid. However, the quality of the relationship also influenced the duty to help both parents and stepparents. When the relationship was good, respondents were more likely to think that help should be given. This research suggests stepparents of all ages have to earn family bonds by building a history and developing positive emotional ties with stepchildren

Source: Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Improving Savings, Health, and Happiness by Modifying How the Family Operates the Home

Have you ever considered how the performance of your home can affect your family’s happiness and relationships. Unless you have a home economics degree, you probably haven’t given this much thought.

A new U/IFAS publications will provide you with information about how improving your home’s overall performance can help you improve savings, health, and happiness. The publication discusses ways to improve your home’s family operations, which are routines and behaviors practiced at home by your family.

The concept of overall home performance has much to do with re-thinking how we can be happier, but this is not necessarily synonymous with being comfortable. Finding ways to keep our family members together under the same roof and in a relatively peaceful state is no easy task. Many families may decide to spend extra money on the family rather than paying for unnecessarily excessive costs of maintaining a home.

This is understandable because keeping the family together and happy is a good goal and worthy of pursuit. If families focus on the various factors comprising their overall home performance, there exists the real possibility of creating financial savings for the family as well as having more discretionary time. However, improving the home performance sometimes takes place in small increments. It often requires extended periods of time before the benefits are truly noticeable.

You can find this publication at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY132200.pdf
Other publications in this series include the following:
·         Improving Savings and Health through Minor Conservation Measures in the Home (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1320)
·         Improving Savings and Health by Maintaining Your Home at a Ready-to-Sell Level (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1321)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and Other Effects Of Childcare

Results from a recent study of almost 15,000 children from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reveal both positive and negative effects of organized childcare and preschool, both immediate and long-term.

According to the study, day care has a positive effect on intellectual development. The children benefit from their exposure to mathematics, vocabulary, and memory skills, and those acquired skills persist at least into the third grade. Benefits were greatest among children from the poorest families.

However, children in day care lag behind children with stay-at-home moms when it comes to social development. Children with a lot of time in day care centers also have more problems with mother-child conflict and school conduct (Jacobson, 2005).

Yet, aggressive behavior, including conflict, that had been found in previous studies of young children who received full-time care outside the home turned out to be temporary, fading by the time the children reached the third grade. Another surprising result was a difference between the daycare and non-daycare groups, which doesn't show up for years. In the third grade it was found that children who spent the most time in day care had poor school work habits compared to their peers in stay-at-home or part-time day care.

In making the decision when and where to put a child in a childcare setting, parents must understand the potential impacts of childcare. By being informed of the pros and cons as well as short and long-term outcomes, parents can better prepare for their child's next important leap into kindergarten and elementary school

Source: Patricia Bartlett and Donna Davis, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Parent Time

Parenting an infant is one of the most exciting and fulfilling opportunities of a lifetime. At the same time, it can be one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life. Research has shown that babies as young as one month old can sense and will be affected by a parent who is depressed or angry. Finding the delicate balance between the new parents’ needs and the baby’s needs is very important.

Experts recommend a number of helpful strategies for couples who are new parents. First, couples should share expectations. It is important to talk to each other about parental roles and what each other needs from their partner. Next, keeping open channels of communication is critical. Make time to talk to one another and be aware of how each partner is doing in the transition to parenthood. According to Dr. Millie Ferrer at the University of Florida, having both parents involved in the caregiving of their newborn will affect their marital satisfaction.

Next, new parents need to keep a positive attitude. Couples need to continue to work on solutions to possible problems before they get out of hand. Finally, new parents should also remain open to the help and support of friends and family. Their support can assist not only in the physical and mental well-being of new parents, but they can also provide an excellent caring network for the new child as well.

Source: Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Facts on Children’s Lying: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Everyone remembers the story of Pinocchio, the little wooden boy and his “conscience” Jiminy Cricket. Of course, Pinocchio had a problem with lying, as every time he did, his nose would grow longer. As parents, we don’t have the benefit of such evidence when our children lie.

In a recent study of over one thousand kindergarteners followed over three years, teachers reported that 71% to 83% of children do not lie. Mothers, however, showed less trust in their children as only 33% to 37% reported that their children lie rarely. Teachers did agree with mothers in one area – that boys were more likely than girls to lie frequently.

Some children will lie only on occasion in tempting situations and research findings support that occasionally lying among children is normal. However, some children will lie frequently, usually in a given setting such as school. The problem with frequent lying in children is that over time, with experience and cognitive developmental gains, they perfect their skills of deception with adults.

The researchers reported that children perceived to lie regularly at age 7 were also likely to lie consistently at age 8. And children who lied on a continual basis were more likely to act disruptively at home and at school.

So parents - you need not panic if you catch your child in an occasional lie, but children’s lying on a constant basis is cause for concern and calls for intervention

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Passenger Risks with Teen Drivers

Although much research and media attention has been given to teen drivers and the risks involved, less focus has been placed on the safety of their passengers.

A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine offered evidence that our young drivers and their passengers deserve closer attention. In a review of national data from both US Census and police-reported crashes, the researchers found nearly 450,000 passengers between the ages of 8 and 17 were in tow-away crashes annually, with almost 4 in 1,000 resulting in a fatality. Almost half of those passengers were in cars driven by 16 to 19-year-olds, and when riding with a teen driver, the fatality rate doubled.

The research also revealed that the greatest risk factors for young passengers between 8 and 17 years of age who were killed in car accidents, were when:
1)    The drivers were younger than 16
2)    Passengers were not wearing seat belt
3)    The drivers were going faster than 55 miles per hour.

The researchers recommended that policy makers consider adjusting licensing laws toward higher minimum ages and to restrict these young new driers from driving with minors in their cars. Likewise, they recommend parents be away of who their children are riding with and help young passengers be more aware of the risks and take better precautions, such as simply bucking up! 

References: Winston, F., Kallan, M., Senserrick, T., Elliott, M. (2008). Risk factors for death among older children and teenaged motor vehicle passengers. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent medicine. Vol. 162, (3), 253-260.