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Weller Health Education Center
Weller Health Education Center


Many parents feel that the healthiest option is a packed lunch from home, but that might not always be the case. The key to a healthy lunch isn’t necessarily where it comes from, but rather what’s in it.

It used to be common knowledge that a home-packed lunch was a healthy choice, but we’re finding out now that it isn’t always the case. A couple of studies recently came out saying that packed lunches are likely to be considerably less healthy than meals prepared at schools that follow the National School Lunch Program nutrition guidelines. These studies found that, compared with school lunches, home-packed ones had fewer servings of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. They also had more calories, fat, and sugar. One major reason for this is because when we pack a lunch at home, we tend to pack a lot of stuff that we like without thinking about nutrition. One of these studies found that about 90% of lunches that kids brought from home had desserts, snack chips, and sweetened drinks – all of which can be high in calories, fat, and/or sugar.

Here are a few tips to make sure packed lunches are healthy and fun:

Pack the rainbow – Bright colors help make lunch more fun and fruits and vegetables come in a full rainbow of colors. Typically, the more colors you pack, the more nutrients you will get.

Offer variety – Kids get bored with the same thing all the time. Make sure you mix it up with a variety of different foods every day. Alternate the typical sandwiches with wraps, soups, or other dishes.

Watch out for fat, sugar, and salt – These are often added to many processed foods such as lunch meat, chips, or beverages, and can lead to future issues like obesity, diabetes, or heart problems. Limiting these will help keep your kids healthy now and in the future. You can pack water or 100% fruit juice instead of sodas or vegetables and hummus instead of chips.

Choose healthy alternatives to processed foods – Lots of kids’ favorite foods are highly processed and contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients, but you can create your own version which is not only healthier, but cheaper. Instead of buying pre-packaged lunch meals, pack some whole-wheat crackers with meat and cheese cubes. If you can’t create it yourself, try to choose a healthier version, like making sandwiches with 100% whole-wheat bread instead of white bread.

Include a treat – Kids love sweets, and not allowing them to have a treat will probably not go over well. Instead of banning desserts altogether, choose treats that are fairly low in fat, sugar, and calories that also provide some nutrients like vitamins and minerals or protein. Try making Rice Krispies treats with peanut butter instead of marshmallows or packing a healthy granola bar instead of a candy bar. If your kids want more traditional desserts, just give them smaller servings. Only pack 2 or 3 cookies instead of a full bag.

Follow My Plate guidelines – The USDA My Plate is a great tool for creating healthy meals. It shows you relative amounts of each type of food, such as fruits and grains, which should be included at every meal. If your child’s lunch box looks like MyPlate, you can be sure you’ve created a healthy lunch.

USDA My Plate: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

You can’t assume a home-packed lunch is always healthy, but creating a nutritious lunch can be easy and fun if you know how to do it. Include lots of foods that are high in important nutrients like vitamins and minerals while limiting sugars, salt, and fat. A nutritious lunch can help keep your kids healthy and give them the energy they need to power through the rest of their day.


Our new “Kids in Motion! Nutrition” curriculum can help students in grades 3-5 develop a better understanding of the importance of eating healthy foods and teach them the basics of nutrition. Currently in a pilot phase, this 12-lesson curriculum introduces students to nutrition topics ranging from nutrition facts labels and making smart choices at the grocery store to energy balance and nutrition-related diseases. Each lesson combines teacher instruction with hands-on activities, videos, and worksheets aligned with national and state educational standards and the Common Core.


For more information about this and other programs contact slesavoy@wellercenter.org

Almost everyone has dropped food on the floor and still wanted to eat it. Some people apply the "5-second rule" - that random saying about how food won't become contaminated with bacteria if you pick it up off the floor in 5 seconds or less.

The 5-second rule has become such a part of our culture that scientists actually tested it. As you can probably guess, they found that the "rule" is mostly myth: Bacteria can attach to food even if you pick it up super fast. So, depending on which types of bacteria happen to climb on board, you could still get sick.

Here are two facts to consider whenever you feel tempted by the 5-second rule:

  1. A clean-looking floor isn't necessarily clean. A shiny linoleum floor is probably cleaner than a 1970s-era carpet. But even clean, dry floors can harbor bacteria. Newly washed floors are only as clean as the tools used to wash them (picture eating food off the mop in the cafeteria if you need a visual). Even with a brand-new mop or sponge, stubborn germs can still remain on the floor after cleaning.
  2. Fast is better - but it may not be fast enough. Although a piece of food does pick up more bacteria the longer it's on the floor, bacteria can attach to it instantly. So any food that makes contact with the floor can get contaminated if conditions are right. And foods with wet surfaces, like an apple slice, pick up bacteria easily.
When in Doubt, Toss It Out
Some bacteria are not harmful. But others can torture you with miserable stuff like diarrhea. Even if there's no visible dirt on your food, you can still get sick. You just can't tell what kinds of bacteria may be lurking on the floor.

So what are you to do with the piece of watermelon that just slipped from your grip? The safest choice is to throw it out. Or let the dog have it. (And there's another thing to consider - even the 5-second rule can't get around the fact that your food may have landed right in a spot where Fido parked his butt.)

Follow this link for a printable version: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=207&cat_id=20119&article_set=59290#cat20119

Weller Health Tip for Parents: Connecting with Your Preteen



Staying connected as kids approach the teen years and become more independent may become a challenge for parents, but it's as important as ever - if not more so now.

While activities at school, new interests, and a growing social life become more important to growing kids, parents are still the anchors, providing love, guidance, and support.

And that connection provides a sense of security and helps build the resilience kids needs to roll with life's ups and downs.

What to Expect
Your preteen may act as if your guidance isn't welcome or needed, and even seem embarrassed by you at times. This is when kids start to confide more in peers and request their space and privacy - expect the bedroom door to be shut more often.

As difficult as it may be to swallow these changes, try not to take them personally. They're all signs of growing independence. You're going to have to loosen the ties and allow some growing room.

But you don't have to let go entirely. You're still a powerful influence - it's just that your preteen might be more responsive to the example you set rather than the instructions you give. So practice what you'd like to preach; just preach it a little less for now.

Modeling the qualities that you want your preteen to learn and practice - respectful communication, kindness, healthy eating, and fulfilling everyday responsibilities without complaining - makes it more likely that your son or daughter will comply.

What You Can Do
Small, simple things can reinforce connection. Make room in your schedule for special times, take advantage of the routines you already share, and show that you care.

Here are some tips:

  • Family meals: It may seem like a chore to prepare a meal, particularly after a long day. But a shared family meal provides valuable together time. So schedule it and organize it just as you would any other activity. Even if you have to pick up something pre-made, sit down together to eat it. Turn off the TV and try to tune out the ringing phone. If it's impossible to do every night, schedule a regular weekly family dinner night that accommodates kids' schedules. Make it something fun, and get everyone involved in the preparation and the cleanup. Sharing an activity helps build closeness and connection, and everyone pitching in reinforces a sense of responsibility and teamwork.
  • Bedtime and goodnight: Your child may not need to be tucked in anymore, but maintaining a consistent bedtime routine helps preteens get the sleep needed to grow healthy and strong. So work in some winding-down time together before the lights go out. Read together. Go over the highlights of the day and talk about tomorrow. And even if your preteen has outgrown the tuck-in routine, there's still a place for a goodnight kiss or hug. If it's shrugged off, try a gentle hand on the shoulder or back as you wish your child a good night's sleep.
  • Share ordinary time: Find little things that let you just hang out together. Invite your preteen to come with you to walk the dog. Invite yourself along on his or her run. Washing the car, baking cookies, renting movies, watching a favorite TV show - all are opportunities to enjoy each other's company. And they're chances for kids to talk about what's on their mind. Even riding in the car is an opportunity to connect. When you're driving, your preteen may be more inclined to mention a troubling issue. Since you're focused on the road, he or she doesn't have to make eye contact, which can ease any discomfort about opening up.
  • Create special time: Make a tradition out of celebrating family milestones beyond birthdays and holidays. Marking smaller occasions like a good report card or a winning soccer game helps reinforce family bonds.
  • Show affection: Don't underestimate the value of saying and showing how much you love your preteen. Doing so ensures that kids feel secure and loved. And you're demonstrating healthy ways to show affection. Still, preteens may start to feel self-conscious about big displays of affection from parents, especially in public. They may pull away from your hug and kiss, but it's not about you. Just reserve this type of affection for times when friends aren't around. And in public, find other ways to show that you care. A smile or a wave can convey a warm send-off while respecting boundaries. Recognize out loud your child's wonderful qualities and developing skills when you see them. You might say, "That's a beautiful drawing - you're really very artistic" or "You were great at baseball practice today - I loved watching you out there."
  • Stay involved: Stay involved in your preteen's expanding pursuits. Getting involved gives you more time together and shared experiences. You don't have to be the Scout leader, homeroom mom, or soccer coach to be involved. And your child may want to do more activities where you're not in charge. That's OK. Go to games and practices when you can; when you can't, ask how things went and listen attentively. Help kids talk through the disappointments, and be sympathetic about the missed fly ball that won the game for the other team. Your attitude about setbacks will teach your preteen to accept and feel OK about them, and to summon the courage to try again.
  • Stay interested: Stay interested and curious about your preteen's ideas, feelings, and experiences. If you listen to what he or she is saying, you'll get a better sense of the guidance, perspective, and support needed. And responding in a nonjudgmental way means your child will be more likely to come to you anytime tough issues arise.


Follow this link for a printable version: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=107&cat_id=168&article_set=47066#cat168

This information was provided by the Weller Health Education Center. For more medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens, please visit www.wellercenter.org.

The Weller Health Education Center has been providing programs to schools for 30 years to help children live healthier lives. To learn any of the 34 programs we offer, please call us at 610-258-8500.

©2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Used under license.


Weller Center contact information
Weller Center contact information

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Weller Health Education Center
Weller Health Education Center


Weller Launches Homework Help Center




New online Center is a great resource for kids and teachers alike ...

The Weller Health Education Center has launched an online Homework Help Center for kids. This new Center offers articles with tips on doing homework, studying, taking tests, being home alone after school, and other school-related topics.

"Our new Homework Help Center is a great resource for teachers, school administrators, nurses, counselors, sports coaches, and health teachers," says Melissa Lee, President and CEO of the Weller Center. "And of course, parents and kids will love the helpful content and interactive features!"
The Weller Center offers 6 Steps to Smarter Studying for Kids:
  1. Pay attention in class. When you pay attention in class, you are starting the process of learning and studying.
  2. Take good notes. Good notes = easier studying. Start by writing down facts that your teacher mentions or writes on the board during class.
  3. Plan ahead for tests and projects. You can then plan how much to do after school each day, and how much time to spend on each topic.
  4. Break it down. If you have a bunch of stuff to learn, break it into smaller chunks. The more days you spend reviewing something, the more likely it is to stick in your brain
  5. Ask for help if you get stuck. You can't study effectively if you don't understand the material. Be sure to ask your teacher for help if you're confused about something.
  6. Get a good night's sleep! Your brain needs time to digest all the information you've given it. Try to get a good night's sleep and you'll be surprised by what comes back to you in the morning.
For more tips on helping your child or student with schoolwork, visit the Homework Help Center .

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Weller Health Education Center
Weller Health Education Center


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Weller Health Tip for Kids: Five Steps for Fighting Stress




Everybody gets stressed from time to time. Different people feel stress in different ways. Some ways of dealing with stress - like screaming, hitting someone, or punching a wall - don't solve much. But other ways, like talking to someone you trust, can start you on the road to solving your problem or at least feeling better.

Try taking these five steps the next time you are stressed:
  • Get support. When you need help, reach out to the people who care about you. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, other relative, a school counselor, or a coach. And don't forget about your friends. They might be worried about the same test or have had similar problems, such as dealing with a divorce or the death of a beloved pet.
  • Don't freak out! It's easy to let your feelings go wild when you're upset. Notice your feelings, and name them - for example, "I am so angry!" And say or think about why you feel that way. Then, find a way to calm down and get past the upset feelings and find a way to express them. Do breathing exercises, listen to music, write in a journal, play with a pet, go for a walk or a bike ride, or do whatever helps you shift to a better mood.
  • Don't take it out on yourself. Sometimes when kids are stressed and upset they take it out on themselves. Oh, dear, that's not a good idea. Remember that there are always people to help you. Don't take it out on yourself. Be kind to yourself and ask for the helping hand or pat on the back that you need - and deserve - to get you through the tough situation you're facing.
  • Try to solve the problem. After you're calm and you have support from adults and friends, it's time to get down to business. You need to figure out what the problem is. Even if you can't solve all of it, maybe you can begin by solving a piece of it.
  • Be positive - most stress is temporary. It may not seem like it when you're in the middle a stressful situation, but stress does go away, often when you figure out the problem and start working on solving it.
These five steps aren't magic - and you might have to do some steps more than once, but they do work. And if you can stay positive as you make your way through a tough time, you'll help yourself feel better even faster. Ah . . . it feels so good when the stress is gone!

Follow this link for a printable version: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=307&cat_id=20070&article_set=42436#cat20070

This information was provided by the Weller Health Education Center. For more medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens, please visit www.wellercenter.org.

The Weller Health Education Center has been providing programs to schools for 30 years to help children live healthier lives. To learn about any of the 43 programs we offer, please call us at 610-258-8500.
©2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Used under license.






Weller Health Education Center
Weller Health Education Center

Weller Health Tip for Kids: Taking Care of Your Teeth




When you get your picture taken, everyone says, "Say cheese! Smile!" So you do - you open your mouth and show your teeth. When you see the picture, you see a happy person looking back at you. The healthier those teeth are, the happier you look. Why is that?

It's because your teeth are important in many ways. If you take care of them, they'll help take care of you. Strong, healthy teeth help you chew the right foods to help you grow. They help you speak clearly. And yes, they help you look your best.

Why Healthy Teeth Are Important
How does taking care of your teeth help with all those things? Taking care of your teeth helps prevent plaque, which is a clear film of bacteria that sticks to your teeth.

After you eat, bacteria go crazy over the sugar on your teeth, like ants at a picnic. The bacteria break it down into acids that eat away tooth enamel, causing holes called cavities. Plaque also causes gingivitis, which is gum disease that can make your gums red, swollen, and sore. Your gums are those soft pink tissues in your mouth that hold your teeth in place.

If you don't take care of your teeth, cavities and unhealthy gums will make your mouth very, very sore. Eating meals will be difficult. And you won't feel like smiling so much.

Before Toothpaste Was Invented
We're lucky that we know so much now about taking care of our teeth. Long ago, as people got older, their teeth would rot away and be very painful. To get rid of a toothache, they had their teeth pulled out. Finally people learned that cleaning their teeth was important, but they didn't have toothpaste right away. While you're swishing that minty-fresh paste around your mouth, think about what people used long ago to clean teeth:

  • ground-up chalk or charcoal
  • lemon juice
  • ashes (you know, the stuff that's left over after a fire)
  • tobacco and honey mixed together

Yuck!

It was only about 100 years ago that someone finally created a minty cream to clean teeth. Not long after that, the toothpaste tube was invented, so people could squeeze the paste right onto the toothbrush! Tooth brushing became popular during World War II. The U.S. Army gave brushes and toothpaste to all soldiers, and they learned to brush twice a day. Back then, toothpaste tubes were made of metal; today they're made of soft plastic and are much easier to squeeze!

Today there are plenty of toothpaste choices: lots of colors and flavors to choose from, and some are made just for kids. People with great-looking teeth advertise toothpaste on TV commercials and in magazines. When you're choosing a toothpaste, make sure it contains fluoride. Fluoride makes your teeth strong and protects them from cavities.

When you brush, you don't need a lot of toothpaste: just squeeze out a bit the size of a pea. It's not a good idea to swallow the toothpaste, either, so be sure to rinse and spit after brushing.

How You Can Keep Your Teeth Healthy
Kids can take charge of their teeth by taking these steps:

  • Brush at least twice a day - after breakfast and before bedtime. If you can, brush after lunch or after sweet snacks. Brushing properly breaks down plaque.
  • Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Have your dentist show you the best way to brush to get your teeth clean without damaging your gums.
  • Take your time while brushing. Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes each time you brush. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a timer or play a recording of a song you like to help pass the time.
  • Be sure your toothbrush has soft bristles (the package will tell you if they're soft). Ask your parent to help you get a new toothbrush every 3 months. Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when it's time to change them.
  • Ask your dentist if an antibacterial mouth rinse is right for you.
  • Learn how to floss your teeth, which is a very important way to keep them healthy. It feels weird the first few times you do it, but pretty soon you'll be a pro. Slip the dental floss between each tooth and along the gum line gently once a day. The floss gets rid of food that's hidden where your toothbrush can't get it, no matter how well you brush.
  • You can also brush your tongue to help keep your breath fresh!

It's also important to visit the dentist twice a year. Besides checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist will help keep your teeth extra clean and can help you learn the best way to brush and floss.
It's not just brushing and flossing that keep your teeth healthy - you also need to be careful about what you eat and drink. Remember, the plaque on your teeth is just waiting for that sugar to arrive. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink water instead of soda. And don't forget to smile!











Weller Health Education Center
Weller Health Education Center

Weller Health Tip for Teens: Dealing with Bullying




Bullying Is a Big Problem
Every day thousands of teens wake up afraid to go to school. Bullying is a problem that affects millions of students, and it has everyone worried, not just the kids on its receiving end. Yet because parents, teachers, and other adults don't always see it, they may not understand how extreme bullying can get.

Bullying is when a person is picked on over and over again by an individual or group with more power, either in terms of physical strength or social standing.

Two of the main reasons people are bullied are because of appearance and social status. Bullies pick on the people they think don't fit in, maybe because of how they look, how they act (for example, kids who are shy and withdrawn), their race or religion, or because the bullies think their target may be gay or lesbian.

Some bullies attack their targets physically, which can mean anything from shoving or tripping to punching or hitting, or even sexual assault. Others use psychological control or verbal insults to put themselves in charge. For example, people in popular groups or cliques often bully people they categorize as different by excluding them or gossiping about them (psychological bullying). They may also taunt or tease their targets (verbal bullying).

Verbal bullying can also involve sending cruel instant or email messages or even posting insults about a person on a website - practices that are known as cyberbullying.

How Does Bullying Make People Feel?
One of the most painful aspects of bullying is that it is relentless. Most people can take one episode of teasing or name calling or being shunned at the mall. However, when it goes on and on, bullying can put a person in a state of constant fear.

Guys and girls who are bullied may find their schoolwork and health suffering. Amber began having stomach pains and diarrhea and was diagnosed with a digestive condition called irritable bowel syndrome as a result of the stress that came from being bullied throughout ninth grade. Mafooz spent his afternoons hungry and unable to concentrate in class because he was too afraid to go to the school cafeteria at lunchtime.

Studies show that people who are abused by their peers are at risk for mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They may also think about suicide more.

Bullies are at risk for problems, too. Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. It's estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30. Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy.

Who Bullies?
Both guys and girls can be bullies. Bullies may be outgoing and aggressive. Or a bully can appear reserved on the surface, but may try to manipulate people in subtle, deceptive ways, like anonymously starting a damaging rumor just to see what happens.

Many bullies share some common characteristics. They like to dominate others and are generally focused on themselves. They often have poor social skills and poor social judgment. Sometimes they have no feelings of empathy or caring toward other people.

Although most bullies think they're hot stuff and have the right to push people around, others are actually insecure. They put other people down to make themselves feel more interesting or powerful. And some bullies act the way they do because they've been hurt by bullies in the past - maybe even a bullying figure in their own family, like a parent or other adult.

Some bullies actually have personality disorders that don't allow them to understand normal social emotions like guilt, empathy, compassion, or remorse. These people need help from a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or psychologist.

What Can You Do?
For younger kids, the best way to solve a bullying problem is to tell a trusted adult. For teens, though, the tell-an-adult approach depends on the bullying situation.

One situation in which it is vital to report bullying is if it threatens to lead to physical danger and harm. Numerous high-school students have died when stalking, threats, and attacks went unreported and the silence gave the bully license to become more and more violent.

Sometimes the victim of repeated bullying cannot control the need for revenge and the situation becomes dangerous for everyone.

Adults in positions of authority - parents, teachers, or coaches - can often find ways to resolve dangerous bullying problems without the bully ever learning how they found out about it.

If you're in a bullying situation that you think may escalate into physical violence, try to avoid being alone (and if you have a friend in this situation, spend as much time together as you can). Try to remain part of a group by walking home at the same time as other people or by sticking close to friends or classmates during the times that the bullying takes place.

Bullying Survival Tips
Here are some things you can do to combat psychological and verbal bullying. They're also good tips to share with a friend as a way to show your support:
  • Ignore the bully and walk away. It's definitely not a coward's response - sometimes it can be harder than losing your temper. Bullies thrive on the reaction they get, and if you walk away or ignore hurtful emails or instant messages, you're telling the bully that you just don't care. Sooner or later the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you. Walk tall and hold your head high. Using this type of body language sends a message that you're not vulnerable.
  • Hold the anger. Who doesn't want to get really upset with a bully? But that's exactly the response he or she is trying to get. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions. If you're in a situation where you have to deal with a bully and you can't walk away with poise, use humor - it can throw the bully off guard. Work out your anger in another way, such as through exercise or writing it down (make sure you tear up any letters or notes you write in anger).
  • Don't get physical. However you choose to deal with a bully, don't use physical force (like kicking, hitting, or pushing). Not only are you showing your anger, you can never be sure what the bully will do in response. You are more likely to be hurt and get in to trouble if you use violence against a bully. You can stand up for yourself in other ways, such as gaining control of the situation by walking away or by being assertive in your actions. Some adults believe that bullying is a part of growing up (even that it is character building) and that hitting back is the only way to tackle the problem. But that's not the case. Aggressive responses tend to lead to more violence and more bullying for the victims.
  • Practice confidence. Practice ways to respond to the bully verbally or through your behavior. Practice feeling good about yourself (even if you have to fake it at first).
  • Take charge of your life. You can't control other people's actions, but you can stay true to yourself. Think about ways to feel your best - and your strongest - so that other kids may give up the teasing. Exercise is one way to feel strong and powerful. (It's a great mood lifter, too!) Learn a martial art or take a class like yoga. Another way to gain confidence is to hone your skills in something like chess, art, music, computers, or writing. Joining a class, club, or gym is a great way to make new friends and feel great about yourself. The confidence you gain will help you ignore the mean kids.
  • Talk about it. It may help to talk to a guidance counselor, teacher, or friend - anyone who can give you the support you need. Talking can be a good outlet for the fears and frustrations that can build when you're being bullied.
  • Find your (true) friends. If you've been bullied with rumors or gossip, all of the above tips (especially ignoring and not reacting) can apply. But take it one step further to help ease feelings of hurt and isolation. Find one or two true friends and confide how the gossip has hurt your feelings. Set the record straight by telling your friends quietly and confidently what's true and not true about you. Hearing a friend say, "I know the rumor's not true. I didn't pay attention to it," can help you realize that most of the time people see gossip for what it is - petty, rude, and immature.

What If You're the Bully?
All of us have to deal with a lot of difficult situations and emotions. For some people, when they're feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated, picking on someone else can be a quick escape - it takes the attention away from them and their problems. Some bullies learn from firsthand experience. Perhaps name-calling, putdowns, or physical force are the norms in their families. Whatever the reason, though, it's no excuse for being the bully.

If you find it hard to resist the temptation to bully, you might want to talk with someone you look up to. Try to think about how others feel when you tease or hurt them. If you have trouble figuring this out (many people who bully do), you might ask someone else to help you think of the other person's side.

Bullying behavior backfires and makes everyone feel miserable - even the bullies. People might feel intimidated by bullies, but they don't respect them. If you would rather that people see your strength and character - even look up to you as a leader - find a way to use your power for something positive rather than to put others down.

Do you really want people to think of you as unkind, abusive, and mean? It's never too late to change, although changing a pattern of bullying might seem difficult at first. Ask an adult you respect for some mentoring or coaching on how you could change.

Steps to Stop Bullying in Schools
If the environment at your school supports bullying, working to change it can help. For example, there may be areas where bullies harass people, such as in stairwells or courtyards that are unobserved by staff. Because a lot of bullying takes part in the presence of peers (the bully wants to be recognized and feel powerful, after all), enlisting the help of friends or a group is a good way to change the culture and stand up to bullies.

You can try to talk to the bully. If you don't feel comfortable in a face-to-face discussion, leave a note in the bully's locker. Try to point out that his or her behavior is serious and harmful. This can work well in group situations, such as if you notice that a member of your group has started to pick on or shun another member.

Most people hesitate to speak out because it can be hard. It takes confidence to stand up to a bully - especially if he or she is one of the established group leaders. But chances are the other students witnessing the bullying behavior feel as uncomfortable as you do. They may just not be speaking up. Perhaps they feel that they're not popular enough to take a stand or worry that they're vulnerable and the bully will turn on them. Staying quiet (even though they don't like the bully's behavior) is a way to distance themselves from the person who is the target.

When a group of people keeps quiet like this, the bully's reach is extending beyond just one person. He or she is managing to intimidate lots of people. But when one person speaks out against a bully, the reverse happens. It gives others license to add their support and take a stand, too.

Another way to combat bullying is to join your school's anti-violence program or, if your school doesn't have one, to start one of your own.

Follow this link for a printable version: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=207&cat_id=20861&article_set=20425#cat20861

This information was provided by the Weller Health Education Center. For more medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens, please visit www.wellercenter.org.

The Weller Health Education Center has been providing programs to schools for nearly 30 years to help children live healthier lives. Our new program "Team Self-Esteem" specifically addresses the issues presented in this article. To learn more about this program or any of the 42 other programs we offer, please call us at 610-258-8500.

©2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Used under license.


Weller Contact Information
Weller Contact Information




Weller Health Tip for Parents: Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games, and the Internet
No doubt about it — TV, interactive video games, and the Internet can be excellent sources of education and entertainment for kids. But too much screen time can have unhealthy side effects.
That's why it's wise to monitor and limit the time your child spends playing video games, watching TV, and playing games on the Internet
Here are some practical ways to make kids' screen time more productive.
TV Time
Limit the number of TV-watching hours:
  • Stock the room in which you have your TV with plenty of other non-screen entertainment (books, kids' magazines, toys, puzzles, board games, etc.) to encourage kids to do something other than watch the tube.
  • Keep TVs out of kids' bedrooms.
  • Turn off the TV during meals.
  • Don't allow your child to watch TV while doing homework.
  • Treat TV as a privilege that kids need to earn — not a right that they're entitled to. Tell them that TV viewing is allowed only after chores and homework are completed.
  • Try a weekday ban. Schoolwork, sports activities, and job responsibilities make it tough to find extra family time during the week. Record weekday shows or save TV time for weekends, and you'll have more family togetherness time to spend on meals, games, physical activity, and reading during the week.
Set a good example. Limit your own TV viewing.
Check the TV listings and program reviews. Look for programs your family can watch together (i.e., developmentally appropriate and nonviolent programs that reinforce your family's values).

Preview programs. Make sure you think they're appropriate before your kids watch them.
Use the ratings. Age-group rating tools have been developed for some TV programs and usually appear in newspaper TV listings and onscreen during the first 15 seconds of some TV programs.
Come up with a family TV schedule. Come up with something the entire family agrees on. Then post the schedule in a visible household area (i.e., on the refrigerator) so that everyone knows which programs are OK to watch and when. And make sure to turn off the TV when the "scheduled" program is over instead of channel surfing for something else to watch.
Watch TV with your child. If you can't sit through the whole program, at least watch the first few minutes to assess the tone and appropriateness, then check in throughout the show.
Talk to kids about what they see on TV and share your own beliefs and values. If something you don't approve of appears on the screen, turn off the TV and use the opportunity to ask your child thought-provoking questions such as, "Do you think it was OK when those men got in that fight? What else could they have done? What would you have done?" Or, "What do you think about how those teenagers were acting at that party? Do you think what they were doing was wrong?" If certain people or characters are mistreated or discriminated against, talk about why it's important to treat everyone fairly despite their differences. Teach your kids to question and learn from what they see on TV.
Offer fun alternatives to television. If your kids want to watch TV but you want them to turn it off, suggest alternatives like playing a board game, starting a game of hide and seek, playing outside, reading, etc. The possibilities for fun without the tube are endless — so turn off the TV and enjoy quality time with your kids.

Video and Interactive Computer Games
Look at the ratings. Video games do have ratings to indicate when they have violence, strong language, mature themes, and other content that may be inappropriate for kids. The ratings, established for the Entertainment Software Rating Board, range from EC (meaning Early Childhood), which indicates that the game is appropriate for kids ages 3 and older, to AO (for Adults Only), which indicates that violent or graphic content makes it appropriate only for adults.
Preview the games. Even with the ratings, it's still important to preview the games — or even play them — before letting kids play. The game's rating may not match what you feel is appropriate for your child.
Help kids get perspective on the games. Monitor how the games are affecting your kids. If they seem more aggressive after spending time playing a certain game, discuss the game and help them understand how the violence that's portrayed is different from what occurs in the real world. That can help them identify less with the aggressive characters and reduce the negative effects that violent video games can have.

Internet Safety
Become computer literate. Learn how to block objectionable material.
Keep the computer in a common area. Keep it where you can watch and monitor your kids. Avoid putting a computer in a child's bedroom.
Share an email account with younger children. That way, you can monitor who is sending them messages.
Bookmark your child's favorite sites. Your child will have easy access and be less likely to make a typo that could lead to inappropriate content.
Spend time online together. Teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
Monitor kids use of chat rooms. Be aware that posting messages to chat rooms reveals a child's email address to others.
Find out about online protection elsewhere. Find out what, if any, online protection is offered at school, after-school centers, friends' homes, or anyplace where kids could use a computer without your supervision.
Follow this link to for a printable version of this article: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=107&cat_id=168&article_set=21723#cat168
This information was provided by the Weller Health Education Center. For more medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens, please visit www.wellercenter.org.
The Weller Health Education Center has been providing programs to schools for nearly 30 years to help children live healthier lives. To learn more about any of the 40 programs we offer, please call us at 610-258-8500.
©2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Used under license

Weller Health Tip for Kids: Why Exercise is Cool

Kids exercise all the time without even thinking of it. Just being active, like when you run around outside or play kickball at school, is a kind of exercise. What else counts as exercise? Playing sports, dancing, doing push-ups, and even reaching down to touch your toes.
When you exercise, you're helping build a strong body that will be able to move around and do all the stuff you need it to do. Try to be active every day and your body will thank you later!
Exercise Makes Your Heart Happy
You may know that your heart is a muscle. It works hard, pumping blood every day of your life. You can help this important muscle get stronger by doing aerobic exercise.
Aerobic means "with air," so aerobic exercise is a kind of activity that requires oxygen. When you breathe, you take in oxygen, and, if you're doing aerobic exercise, you may notice you're breathing faster than normal. Aerobic activity can get your heart pumping, make you sweaty, and quicken your breathing.
When you give your heart this kind of workout on a regular basis, your heart will get even better at its main job — delivering oxygen (in the form of oxygen-carrying blood cells) to all parts of your body.
So you want to do some aerobic exercise right now? Try swimming, basketball, ice or roller hockey, jogging (or walking quickly), inline skating, soccer, cross-country skiing, biking, or rowing. And don't forget that skipping, jumping rope, and playing hopscotch are aerobic activities, too!
Exercise Strengthens Muscles
Another kind of exercise can help make your muscles stronger. Did you ever do a push-up or swing across the monkey bars at the playground? Those are exercises that can build strength. By using your muscles to do powerful things, you can make them stronger. For older teens and adults, this kind of workout can make muscles bigger, too.
Here are some exercises and activities to build strong muscles:

  • push-ups
  • pull-ups
  • tug-of-war
  • rowing
  • running
  • inline skating
  • bike riding
Exercise Makes You Flexible
Can you touch your toes easily without yelling ouch? Most kids are pretty flexible, which means that they can bend and stretch their bodies without much trouble. This kind of exercise often feels really good, like when you take a big stretch in the morning after waking up. Being flexible is having "full range of motion," which means you can move your arms and legs freely without feeling tightness or pain.
It's easy to find things to do for good flexibility:

  • tumbling and gymnastics
  • yoga
  • dancing, especially ballet
  • martial arts
  • simple stretches, such as touching your toes or side stretches
Exercise Keeps the Balance
Food gives your body fuel in the form of calories, which are a kind of energy. Your body needs a certain amount of calories every day just to function, breathe, walk around, and do all the basic stuff. But if you're active, your body needs an extra measure of calories or energy. If you're not very active, your body won't need as many calories.
Whatever your calorie need is, if you eat enough to meet that need, your body weight will stay about the same. If you eat more calories than your body needs, it may be stored as excess fat.
Exercise Makes You Feel Good
It feels good to have a strong, flexible body that can do all the activities you enjoy — like running, jumping, and playing with your friends. It's also fun to be good at something, like scoring a basket, hitting a home run, or perfecting a dive.
But you may not know that exercising can actually put you in a better mood. When you exercise, your brain releases a chemical called endorphins, which may make you feel happier. It's just another reason why exercise is cool!
Follow this link to for a printable version: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=307&cat_id=20872&article_set=10269#cat20872
This information was provided by the Weller Health Education Center. For more medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens, please visit www.wellercenter.org.
The Weller Health Education Center has been providing programs to schools for nearly 30 years to help children live healthier lives. Our program “Kids in Motion” specifically addresses the issues presented in this article. To learn more about this program or any of the 39 other programs we offer, please call us at 610-258-8500.
©2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Used under license.



Weller Health Tip for Kids: Ready, Set, Breakfast!
"Eat your breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day!" Why are parents always saying that?
Well, imagine you're a car. After a long night of sleeping, your fuel tank is empty. Breakfast is the fuel that gets you going so you can hit the road.
What Should You Eat?
Any breakfast is better than no breakfast, but try not to have doughnuts or pastries all the time. They're high in calories, sugar, and fat. They also don't contain the nutrients a kid really needs. And if you have a doughnut for breakfast, you won't feel full for long.
Just like with other meals, try to eat a variety of foods, including:
  • grains (breads and cereals)
  • protein (meats, beans, and nuts)
  • fruits and vegetables
  • milk, cheese, and yogurt
Breakfast Ideas
First, the traditional ones:
  • eggs
  • French toast, waffles, or pancakes (try wheat or whole-grain varieties)
  • cold cereal and milk
  • hot cereal, such as oatmeal or cream of wheat (try some dried fruit or nuts on top)
  • whole-grain toast, bagel, or English muffin with cheese
  • yogurt with fruit or nuts
  • fruit smoothie, such as a strawberry smoothie
And now some weird (but yummy) ones:
  • banana dog (peanut butter, a banana, and raisins in a long whole-grain bun)
  • breakfast taco (shredded cheese on a tortilla, folded in half and microwaved; top with salsa)
  • country cottage cheese (apple butter mixed with cottage cheese)
  • fruit and cream cheese sandwich (use strawberries or other fresh fruit)
  • sandwich — grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, or another favorite
  • leftovers (they're not just for dinner anymore!)
Skipping Breakfast
Some kids skip breakfast because they sleep too late or because they think it's a way to stay thin. But skipping breakfast doesn't help people maintain a healthy weight. In fact, someone who skips breakfast tends to eat more calories throughout the day.
If you find yourself skipping breakfast because you're too rushed, try these quick breakfasts. They're easy to grab on the way out the door or can be prepared the night before:
  • single servings of whole-grain, low-sugar cereal
  • yogurt
  • fresh fruit
  • whole-grain muffin
  • trail mix of nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, crackers, and dry cereal
Need More Convincing?
Just in case you need more evidence that eating breakfast is the way to go, kids who don't eat breakfast are less able to learn at school, get less iron (an important nutrient) in their diets, and are more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI), which is a sign they may be overweight.
On the other hand, kids who eat breakfast do better in school, are more likely to participate in physical activities, and tend to eat healthier overall. So tomorrow morning, don't run out the door on an empty stomach. Fuel up with a healthy breakfast!
Follow this link to for a printable version: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=Weller_Health_Education_Center&lic=127&ps=307&cat_id=119&article_set=10255
This information was provided by the Weller Health Education Center. For more medically reviewed health information written for parents, kids and teens, please visit www.wellercenter.org.
The Weller Health Education Center has been providing programs to schools for nearly 30 years to help children live healthier lives. Our program “Food Feud” specifically addresses the issues presented in this article. To learn more about this program or any of the 39 other programs we offer, please call us at 610-258-8500.
©2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. Used under license.