You Should Know
With so much focus on academics and therapies, parents often undervalue what after-school activities can do for their special needs children. But they shouldn’t. Extracurricular activities offer opportunities to build the talents their children may have regardless of their special needs. They also provide new and different ways to connect with other kids. They teach skills not taught in the classroom. They help build confidence. And, they can develop lifelong interests. Whether music, art, sports, dance, scouts, or something else; choose an activity that they actively enjoy. This is their time to shine and have fun.
Studies show that teens who spend time with their parents have better social skills and higher self-esteem. One study found that time spent with parents doing cultural activities (like discussing books or going on outings) was a better predictor of a teen’s aspirations than time spent together on school activities. Teens are crazy busy at school, we know, but it’s worth spending quality time with them outside of school too.
Financial Stress and Unhealthy Eating Habits
Long term stress, such as stress due to finances, can cause spikes in stress hormones. These spikes can lead people to overeat and choose foods higher in fat or sugar. Not surprising then, research finds that those who aren’t stressed about money are more likely to eat healthily. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have money issues; it just means they manage the stress better and don’t let it affect other areas of their life (like their eating habits). Who knew having a financial plan could help with weight loss?
It’s hard to believe, but studies show that children as young as 5 are experiencing anxiety and unhappiness with their physical appearance. Following mom’s lead, many kids express a desire to be thinner. By age 7, one in four children has attempted dieting behavior. Since kids primarily learn about body image from their parents, we need to watch what we say about ourselves and others. We must put more emphasis on exercise and healthy eating than on weight. And we should remember to focus on people’s inward qualities rather than on their outward appearance.