Happy Heart Health Month!

February is American Heart Month, which is meant to bring awareness to heart disease, the leading cause of death.

Our Children’s Program Coordinators will complete heart healthy activities with children (and their caregivers!) at the Visitor Centers. If you’d like to see these activities plus many more, check out the education resource section of heart.org.

The American Heart Association website, http://www.heart.org, has information and resources for people of all ages. We encourage you to check it out and share with others.

Remember: 

Research shows that physical and emotional activities directly correlate. When you exercise, endorphins are released and you feel better emotionally. The opposite is also true! When you have a rough day, your body feels tired and broken down. Both affect heart health; for the most part, happier, more physically active people live longer!

October’s Activities!

Each month, we send new ideas and activities to the Children’s Program Coordinators at each of the Visitor Centers. These activities address the unique needs of children impacted by incarceration and aim to give children ways to process emotions.

Toddlers: Emotion Recognition

 Purpose: Engage parents and toddlers in recognizing and responding to expressions

MaterialsEmotion Flashcards

Method:

  1. Create a set of flashcards for each family (so they can take them home)
  2. Parents show the cards to the toddler and ask:
    1. Can you show me a “happy” face?
    2. Which face do you like best?
    3. How are you feeling right now?

Result:

One of the main toddler goals is to recognize and appropriately communicate/express emotions. Toddlers are just learning to express themselves with words and still use many facial expressions to communicate their feelings and needs. Flashcards and parental engagement can assist them in learning the words that go with emotions and expressions.

Tweens: Cyberbullying: Who, Me? Why Should I Care

 Purpose:

  • Analyze online behaviors that could be considered cyberbullying.
  • Generate multiple solutions and actions that bystanders can take to improve a cyberbullying situation.
  • Practice peer mentoring for cyberbullying prevention.

Materials:

  1. Worksheets
  2. Writing Materials
  3. Construction Paper

Method:

Part 1: What’s the Problem?

  • Distribute the activity sheets. Have participants read the scenario about Kevin, José, and the video-sharing Web site.
  • Have participants write their answers to the two questions under What’s the Problem? Look for responses that indicate students’ understanding that both events are embarrassing, but that embarrassing someone in school exposes him to an immediate peer group, while embarrassing him on a World Wide Web site exposes him to ridicule by the entire school plus hundreds of millions of strangers.
  • Have participants tell their own stories without using actual names.
    • Ask: Have you ever witnessed kids posting or sending photos or videos in order to embarrass someone? What happened? Why?

Part 2: Think About It

  • Have participants read the Think About It section on the activity sheets. Point out that sometimes when people believe they cannot be seen or found out, they do things that they would never do in a face-to-face situation.
    • Ask: Who is doing the cyberbullying in this story? Is it only José? What about the boys in school who helped him upload the video to the Web site? What about the people who posted nasty comments? What about the people who viewed the video? Encourage students to decide for themselves and support their reasoning.
  • Have participants use drawing paper and markers to create a visual map showing all the players in this event. Participants may choose to show a labeled web, use concentric circles, or draw something more representational. Allow participants to share their maps with their parents and others.

Part 3: Find Solutions

  • Have participants discuss their solutions. Look for solutions that show empathy for Kevin and discuss the rights and responsibilities of being citizens of a worldwide community.
  • Make sure participants understand that those people who posted cruel comments were just as guilty of being bullies as the boys who originally uploaded the video were.
  • Discuss with participants how trusted adults could help, including asking a guidance counselor to talk to Kevin, a technology teacher to investigate whether it would be possible to remove the video from the site, and a school principal to try to enforce school bullying rules.
  • Have participants add to their concept map drawings, clearly labeling their proposed solutions.

Result:

Tweens learn about communication and collaboration, to interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts or others employing a variety of digital environments and media. They learn to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.

Tweens also take digital citizenship, that is: advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology. They also exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.

All Ages: Body Beautiful

Purpose: For youth to identify and share positive traits they possess

Materials:

  1. Body Template
  2. Markers/pens/crayons
  3. Scissors

Method:

  1. Give each participant a body template
  2. Encourage them to label each part of their body with a positive thing they can do
    1. Arms: Give Hugs
    2. Brain: Helps with Homework
    3. Legs: Runs Quickly
    4. Heart: Caring friend
  3. Allow them to share with their family and others

Results:

In a time when body issues are on the rise, even the youngest of children have body image issues. Children will see focus on the positive traits they and others have.

 

 

Milk has an expiration date and so do your car seats

As you’ve seen lately, car seat expiration dates are quite a buzz. You might be wondering why this issue has come to the forefront suddenly, when expiration dates were a non-issue before.

Let’s set something straight…Everything has an expiration date, whether it is stamped with one or not. Fresh flowers wilt in a matter of days and pictures yellow over the years; even Twinkies only have a shelf life of 25 days! The point being, things change and erode over time.

I remember a time when I was 8 and I learned a hard lesson: don’t leave your MC Hammer Can’t Touch This tape in the car during the month of June. Why? Because it warped and cracked. Think about car seats; they are made completely of plastic and fabric, two things that break down in the UV rays.

Not only can the plastic become so brittle that it shatters and the Styrofoam so degraded that it doesn’t protect upon impact, but best practice and regulations change frequently, meaning that seat may become obsolete.

Wondering what the expiration of your seat it? Expiration and/or manufacture dates can be found on the bottom of the seat or in the owner’s manual. If you can’t find an expiration date, check for a manufacture date. Most car seats have a maximum life of 5 years, though calling the manufacturer is the best way to find out what their schedule is. All-in-one car seats can be a danger here, as children should be in boosters more than 5 years. Keep that in mind the next time you look at convertible car seats.

It’s also important to replace seats after an impact. Seats can become damaged during an accident due to force. California law requires insurance companies to replace seats that have been in accidents, regardless of age of the seat.