Sophie’s Farewell

As August comes to an end so does my time at the Educational Resource Group. As some of you know my husband is in the Navy and he has received orders to Hawaii. I have lived in Annapolis for almost three years and worked in other places, but the ERG felt most like home.
I felt at home each day I went to work and it saddens me to be leaving. I really do wish I had found the ERG sooner. I have loved working with the students and helping them progress in their cognitive training. I love coming into the office and having fun with the other coaches. I will miss all of you all.
On a happier note I would like to share some of my favorite places to visit and things to do.

1. Washington DC –I always enjoyed jumping on the metro at New Carrollton station and taking the twenty minute ride into the city. It is filled with amazing history and I was able to embrace my inner photographer. I would go and walk and shoot all day.
2. Hersey Park –I know this isn’t in Maryland, but I went there recently and rode a roller-coaster for the first time! I have to say it was amazingly terrifying and I would do it again…. Well some of the rides anyway. I enjoyed my time at the park, but I still don’t love Hersey chocolate as much as Cadbury (made in the town I grew up in, so it is a biased opinion).
3. Bowie Baysox Stadium –When I went here this was also full of firsts….. My first fun filled day out with the other trainers from the ERG, my first baseball game and I ate my first hotdog! Dr. Perez, Manny, Amy and the other trainers kept me laughing all afternoon, the game was pretty good, but the first hotdog was also my last.
4. Downtown Annapolis –I am a very proud Navy wife and having the chance to live in Maryland was amazing. However, living so close to the history of America and the Navy was something else. I never missed a chance of a stroll in Downtown Annapolis. I did all the tourist things; went on the different boats, toured the Naval Academy, ate crabs and took hundreds of pictures. My favorite place to eat downtown had to be Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs…… I couldn’t get enough of the crab soup and ribs they had to offer. Every time I went in I received great service and enjoyed wonderful food.
It is an understatement to say I enjoyed my time in Maryland. I can’t even put into words how much fun I had while living here. It is easy to live somewhere and forget what is around and what great things the state has to offer. Go out and enjoy some of my favorite places. Don’t take Maryland for granted and relish every minute.
I travelled a lot before I met my husband and I love all the adventures anyone can have in different places. I am looking forward to the next adventure in my life. Maryland will always be the first state I ever lived and I will never forget the great times I had here.
I will also never forget my ERG family. I will be sending them updates and pictures of me spreading the word of the Educational Resource Group wherever I go! Let’s take the ERG Global!
Sophie
“Oh, the places you will go!”

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Spread some Joy- Tiffany Owens

Spread Some Joy

 

-Happiness and laughter-life’s natural medicine. Happiness is more than a phrase; it’s a way of living, a way of doing, and a way of interacting. Happiness has an abundant amount of benefits to the body and mind, more than just a smile or the platform to a “good day”. Renowned benefits include a healthier heart, a strengthened immune system, fewer aches and pains, greater use of intellect and efficiency, and longevity. So how do we create this happiness and joy and how can it be sustained? Here are five tips/tricks to help you increase your level of happiness and make way for a brighter, healthier tomorrow.

-Be Grateful- This is something too many of us forget to do. I will be the first to admit that I often take things for granted and do not appreciate all life has to offer and the opportunities that I’ve been given. Being grateful for what we have and cherishing every little moment in a day, or even saying thank you can go a long way for you and those whom you are grateful for.

-Reduce Stress-This is a big task to many, but you can start by surrounding yourself with positivity; including people, places or things and eliminating Negative Nancys or Debbie Downers. This could also mean worrying less about things outside of your control. Too often we get consumed with the chore of trying to control our surroundings. Once you come to terms that life is forever unpredictable and not everything may be scheduled and structured, you begin to release the pressure and weight of responsibility thus, reducing stress.

-Embrace & Be Open- Take a chance and live in the moment. Embrace the small talk of a new neighbor, be open to change at work, never limit your mind or possibilities. Let’s be real, living in the moment isn’t easy with three kids and a spouse, but embracing spontaneity every once in a while keeps the soul fresh and young.

-Forgive-Forgiveness is a big word and an even bigger challenge. As children we forgive more often because we are more trusting and optimistic. As adults we have experimented through life’s trial and errors of which we have learned to build barriers in order to protect ourselves. Step outside of your walls and climb down from your ego and learn to forgive more frequently. Forgiveness is the path to spiritual awakening for many and emotional justice for all.

-Fake the Funk- Better known as “Fake It Til You Make It!” Even if you’re feeling down and are certain the whole world is against you, just smile. The simple motion of smiling releases endorphins (happy hormones) and improves your mood and helps you feel less tense. Tell yourself “today will be a good day” when you wake up in the morning. It tricks your brain into already believing in positivity, that way, you are more likely to react favorably to things that would normally drive you mad.

These positive habits are great not only for maintaining a work life balance, but keeping the peace in your social relationships and is applicable to anyone of any age. Parents, share these tips with your children. Start healthy habits early to influence positive behavior well into adulthood.

Dr. Timothy Sharp of The Happiness Institute states “Happiness is determined more by our minds than by our circumstances”. Always remember that happiness is measured by each person differently meaning, what makes you happy may not be the same for the next person so, try to understand and accept rather than dismiss and judge.

 

LIVE HAPPY AND BE WELL

~Tiffany

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Can you manage the rocks in your life?

By Kelly Barnard

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon and you’re dreaming of the things you would like to accomplish. Law School, marathon running, sailing, get in shape. The list will vary depending on your goals, age, stage in life. Then somehow it’s 5 years later and you’re still in a job you hate or not making and progress in life. Why is this? Do you find yourself spending inordinate amounts of time occupied by the internet? The TV? Do you hear yourself saying, ‘I wish I had time to learn x.’ Do you complain that you never have time for your dreams?

 

Where does all this time go? It’s lost to the Time Thief. It’s happened to the best of us! It’s pretty much the same scenario. You sit down to computer to check your checking account balance or look for a recipe on Pinterest and you slip down the rabbit hole. Soon enough, you’ve watched an episode of Friends you’ve seen at least a dozen times or pinned things for projects you have no intention of starting or crafts you have no interest in making or played Candy Crush for the last hour.

 

SOAR Study Skills (Kruger, 2007) suggests dividing your life into three categories:

  1. The Rocks: These are the big things in life. Perhaps you want to finish your degree, or pursue marathon running or sailing or you want to learn to knit. Maybe you want to date.
  2. The Pebbles: These are the activities you must do. This category includes things, like eating, sleeping, working or going to school. These activities occur daily and are required tasks.
  3. The Water: These are the activities we get to do if we have spare time. They include playing video games, watching tv, etc. These are fun activities to do as time allows but are filler to the rest of our lives.

 

When you’re older and look back on your life, will you remember that you beat some video game? Will you even still have your Pinterest or Facebook?

Will you regret that you didn’t pursue a doctorate or take up a lifelong hobby? Maybe or maybe not. If you spend all your extra time pursuing the “water” in your life, you will never have room for the boulders. The idea is that you’ve lived your life to its fullest, taken advantage of all the things life has to offer and look back on your life with a smile. Just think how much extra time you would have if you put down the phone or the XBox controller! Try dividing your life into the three categories. Take the time to separate your life into the required and optional. Set goals for larger things you want for the Rock section. Make sure you’re making time for all the tasks in your life.

 

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A voice from the other side by Hope Stone

I was a public school teacher for five years. I will always consider myself a teacher. The drive and empathy that many teachers have when starting out what will continue to ensure that I feel in my heart that I am a teacher.

~ Only, I no longer have four walls, a chalkboard and 30 some students. ~

Some days that hurts, other days I remember that I took a stand for my own personal goals and that meant that I needed to step out of the classroom environment. What I can tell you is that I continue to learn daily at ERG how to help children succeed, a feeling that I begin to feel slip away from me in the public school system.

 

I applaud each and every one of you for taking the steps necessary to ensure your/ your child’s success. It is never too late to start on the path for better planning, reading retention, memory processing. Even better, it’s never too early to start! A question that I want to pose to you today, what can you do to better help connect the programs at ERG, to home, to school and then back to ERG? I know from experience that teachers are impacted by their jobs constantly; way after the school bell rings and even after school is out for the summer. Last summer I even found myself drawing out classroom seating arrangements in the middle of July! I loved to celebrate my students’ accomplishments when I could notice them. Positive reinforcement really does work! On the flip side, there were days when I would be at a complete loss as to what would help a particular child. I didn’t know back then that there was a place like ERG to send them to. If you haven’t told your teacher about the program that your child is completing at ERG, do it! While you are at it, ask if there is anything else you can do to assist. You might find that the teacher could use some of the knowledge from ERG to help in the classroom even more. They may just appreciate a parent that is willing to appreciate what they do rather than criticize. When I was a kid, my dad and I would watch the 5pm news, dinner at 6 and we would talk as a family. This has become a lost art having busier schedules than ever but find some time to discuss how they feel about the programs at ERG and if they feel the same way in the classroom. You may be surprised! Do not underestimate the importance of one day, one month or one year in a child’s education. Every day is important and they are constantly observing and learning and we want to make sure that they are learning in the best way possible!

Here is an additional article with some practical advice if you are not sure why or how to have frequent conversations with your children!

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A Fresh Start By: Kristen Fassler

Now that it is September, the realization that summer is out and school is in has hit students. No matter if you are in Middle School or Graduate School, the feelings are generally the same. Who really wants to let go of awesome vacations, summer camps, ice cream and snowballs, and the best part of summer, sleeping in! Just because we have to trade in our swimsuits and flip flops for school clothes and backpacks doesn’t mean that exciting new adventures cease. I know, I know. You’re thinking to yourself “This girl is crazy!” Just stay with me for a moment.

Starting a new semester or school year is kind of like the real New Year for students. Essentially, we are embarking on a new chapter in our lives, even if it is in the middle of the year. This is the perfect time for us to revamp our habits and make the changes we promised ourselves we would make last year. This could be anything from wanting to stay more organized, turning in all of your homework in on time, exercising more, being more social in school, or my personal favorite, ending procrastination. Now, just like the regular New Year, we often lose sight of our goals about a month in. I will be the first to admit that I have vowed to start my work early and not wait until the last minute, and then ended up pulling an all nighter writing a 5 page paper due the next day. So let’s talk about how you and I both can make these changes stick. First, we need to realize why we are procrastinating, or waiting until the last minute to do our work. Then we can go over way to overcome these reasons.

It’s overwhelming! When you have a long term paper or what seems to be a super in-depth

project, it can seem like an unbearable amount of work and cause a shut down. (Do you ever have so much work to do that you just lay down and take a nap instead? Oh, no? It’s just me? –I wouldn’t suggest it)

What can we do? Break the task down into smaller, easier to handle tasks. It is much easier to stomach researching topics, outlining your ideas and writing a rough draft as three different assignments than it is to try to do all of these steps and a final draft in one setting.

I don’t know where to start! Believe it or not, simply starting the work can be the hardest part. This is called Task Initiation. Whether you don’t know where to start or you just don’t feel like starting, this can be a real pain.

What can we do? Make a plan and stick to it. Also, you can draw from the first reason we talked about and pick a simple task to begin with. Something as simple as picking your topic, or view point, for a paper is a great start and it will get you moving on the rest of the task.

I have so much other work to do! Sometimes we have a lot of work to do for other classes. That doesn’t mean we should put off an assignment until the last minute.

What can we do? When we have a ton of work to do it can seem like there aren’t enough hour in the day, but it all depends on what you do with the 24 hours you are given. The best way to handle this is to make a realistic schedule for you and stick to it. If something comes up and throws off your schedule, it’s okay be flexible, just make sure you have a backup plan and follow it.

I hope these tips help! Let’s have a great school year ÔÇôFrom beginning to end!

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The Journey To A Clean Room: A Practical Application of Executive Functions By: Reid Conley

The other day I was faced with the daunting task of cleaning my room, and I was less than excited by that prospect. Now, I am an adult and consider myself to have reached an adult level of maturity in many respects, but when it comes to cleaning my room I still act like a child. I simply cannot bring myself to do it and will sometimes throw (very adult and mature) temper tantrums. Some might call that sad, and they would be right. My mother calls me lazy, but I always point out that I prefer to be considered as having a deficit in my ability to initiate tasks. I usually just say this to be funny, but recently I was thinking about this and it occurred to me that we use such executive skills as task initiation, and many others, in even our daily and most mundane tasks without even thinking about it. So as I retell the adventure of cleaning my room I would like to point out all the executive skills that were being used as I went along (details may be exaggerated for entertainment purposes, I am not this filthy in reality).

As I drew back the door to my lair and gazed upon the desolate wasteland of trash, clothes, chinchilla droppings and other odds and ends that never found their way home, I found myself unable to begin. I found myself facing the eternal quandary of where to begin. So the struggle with task initiation is actually a real one. A weaker man may have shied away, but not me. I took a deep breath and stepped into the room. The first step was finding a first step. A couple separate skills had to be used simultaneously at this point in order to proceed effectively, planning and prioritizing and goal directed persistence. I needed to set a goal, or goals, and then plan steps in order to reach those goals. The cogs spun in the ole bean for a moment, and I separated everything that needed to be done into smaller jobs. Clothes needed to be sorted and cleaned, board games and others miscellaneous items needed to be replaced on shelves, clean clothes needed to be folded and put away, trash needed to be thrown out and the floor needed to be swept. Now my goals were set and I just needed to decide which ones needed to get done first. The above order seemed best as that started at the top layer of the ocean untidiness.

Everything was going swimmingly when I happened across one of my old favorite toys beneath my bed, G.I. Joe. I stopped what I was doing and was overtaken by a nostalgic wave which caused me to take a slight detour off the road of productivity leading towards the realm of distraction. I delighted myself for a moment holding an action figure in each hand making them do well choreographed and masterful karate moves. I will not share how long this went on, but point is, I had just failed to effectively execute the use of my sustained attention on the original task, another obstacle in the way completing my quest.

I had now reached the point of organizing my board games. I have an impressive collection of them, impressive being word only fellow board games collectors might attribute to it of course; otherwise it may just be referred to as nerdy or strange. I had taken a great many of them to various locations and had neglected to put them back on their shelves when they returned. They now sat in the middle of the room in small piles. The next executive function that demanded use was organization. I have two separate shelves I put my board games on, one is high up and one is lower. First I had to separate the games into ones I play often and ones I don’t. The ones I play often go on the lower shelf. Then I had to figure out how to make all of them fit on that shelf. It takes some figuring out, it is very much a puzzle and the shelf was crammed full. Organization achieved.

The remainder of the cleaning went on without a hitch and the task was complete. One final skill was needed before I was officially finished, metacognition. This is the ability to look at yourself from a birds-eye view and assess your own performance in something. I looked upon my work and my assessment was that I had done a job well done.

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The Power Of Pokemon By: Garrett Denzler

Summer is here at last! It’s the time to hit the beach, explore new places, and train your brain. But most importantly, it’s time to catch up on some video games that couldn’t be played during the school year since studying, planning out long-term projects, and doing homework needed all of your attention. Most would consider video games to be mindless time-wasters that have no value, but that is not always the case. For instance, most Pokemon games can help keep your brain strong! Most Pokemon games require long-term memory, prioritization, and great processing speed!
Back when Pokemon first came out, there were only 151 of them. Memorizing the names, types, and stats of this many Pokemon is a challenging task for anyone! Today, there are over 700 different Pokemon! In order to become a Pokemon master, one must not only know all the names, types, abilities, and stats of all the Pokemon that exist, but they must also know how each one will be usable in a team dynamic! Pokemon masters have to keep up with the new Pokemon that are being discovered and remember all the ones from years ago! In order to do this, a great Pokemon Master must have strong long-term memory.
Out of the 700+ Pokemon that exist today, a Pokemon trainer can only choose 6, or fewer, to use at a time. This requires some major prioritization. A Pokemon trainer must think about the types, stats, abilities, and moves of his or her Pokemon. Then, he or she must analyze how the Pokemon will work in a team dynamic and determine if a particular Pokemon belongs in a team at all. After a selection for a team has been somewhat narrowed down based on types, stats, etc., a Pokemon trainer must decide what sort of battling strategy is best suited for his or her battling style; some like big Pokemon that can attack with bruit force, some like Pokemon with special abilities and moves that can slowly but surely wear down the opponent, and some like Pokemon that simply look cool. Whichever you decide on, be sure to identify, plan, and prioritize the Pokemon and battling strategies you will be implementing and you will be a Pokemon Master in no time.
Especially when it comes to competitive Pokemon battling, a trainer must have excellent processing speed. A Pokemon trainer must think about all the possibilities of the direction in which the battle could go, then decide which move to make first, all within the 60-second time limit they give you to make your decision! Being able to prioritize and decide what is most important to your strategy plays a role in this timed decision as well.
Pokemon is a much more complex game than some would think. Good Pokemon trainers must plan and prioritize the dynamic of their teams based on many different factors. In order to do this, trainers must also know and remember all of the Pokemon that exist to ensure they are aware of all their options so they can build the best team they can. Lastly, Pokemon trainers must be able to analyze and process the battling situation quickly in order to be successful in competitive battling. Therefore, only those with the highest executive functioning skills can be deemed as true Pokemon Masters. Just make sure to use those newly improved prioritization skills to let your Pokemon rest when papers and homework have to get done.
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Spring Cleaning: For the Parent and Child Alike!

By Meisner, ERG Coach

Happy Spring, everyone! We have finally reached the point in the year where going outside no longer makes us cringe. With the onset of beautiful weather, we often find new reason to get happy and healthy. Every year we clean out our closets and our cabinets, but what about our brains? It is possible that though we benefit from de-cluttering our homes, we are unaware of the potential that is waiting to be dusted off within our minds. It is even more likely that our children, who love a messy room, will find even less value in a “clean brain.” Stress becomes a part of us, as do our piles of papers. When we have downtime, we feel obligated to become busy; we feel guilty for taking a quiet hour to watch t.v. instead of answering emails. Our kids begin preparing for finals, taking back on the pressure that has just dissipated from midterms! So how can we cleanse ourselves, after our closets are clean?

 

Mindfulness. To be mindful is to be present, and to call upon reasoning for your own actions. It is to connect your mind and body to your emotions that occurs alongside these actions, and as a result, create a new awareness in everything that you do.

 

Many adults are catching on to the wonder that is “mindfulness,” whether it be in the form of solid emotional meditation, physical meditations like yoga, or reflection through journals. However, similar and modified practices can be equally helpful to our kids, those who suffer from attention problems, the inability to execute tasks successfully, and especially those who have little control over emotional responses. These are the kids who come home from school repeatedly with notes in their folders about incomplete work, about talking too much, etc.; and while it seems like an impossible task to ask this child to be mindful, this is a process that can be built up over time.

 

Here’s a mindfulness challenge! Practice these steps alongside your struggling child.

1. Make your to-do lists.

2. Begin your list while communicating. If your buddy has trouble starting, ask them which tasks seems easiest and why. Which tasks seems the most difficult? Why? Work and talk.

3. Create an empty space in your mind with each task that is completed or each room that is cleaned.

4. While you are actively making space, ask yourself how you feel. Have a conversation with yourself about your intentions.

4. After a few tasks, reflect quietly on the spaces, on the things you’ve completed. Ask your child about their small accomplishments. How do they feel? (They will take more time than you on tasks. This is okay. The tasks are not the main goal, but the thoughts.)

5. Talk with your child about being “present” in their actions. Cleaning is frustrating? Or having so many items is overwhelming? In this calm state, it may be unbelievably easy to get your non-talker or your too-much-talker to open up about real things, such as how it really feels when their teacher yells at them or why they don’t do their homework. If it isn’t at first, have no fear.

6. Tell your child something you like about them. Then something you like about yourself!

 

Tasks have been completed, and now there is a calmness with which you can proceed as you please. These steps can be changed in an infinite amount of ways. The purpose is to create an initial routine that after just a few weeks, instills in our brains the ability to breathe, make space, create clarity, and reflect. The routine will dissipate, but the intentions will remain. The impulsive child, with practice, may begin to think before they speak or react violently to others. The chaotic parent, with as much practice, may begin to be more present at dinner or at soccer games. Mindfulness creates a sense of tangibility when we feel out of control; it is planning without planning, in that it becomes completely natural and immediate. You learn about yourself when you have the peace to do so. So, for all of you seeking clarity, there is hope! Explore mindfulness in its varied forms. I wish you a happy and healthy Spring!

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Maintenance

By James, Admin Staff

We all have goals and aspirations for the future. For instance, last month people around the world rang in the New Year with resolutions to improve something in their lives. Whether it was to get in better shape, reach out to old friends, or simply strive to be a better person, the intent was to change a behavior.

 
Well here we are in February and I can tell you from personal experience, it’s easier said than done! The weather in most parts of the US is miserable this time of year. It’s ironic that optimism is quickly met with retrenchment; I find it easier to get comfortable by watching the latest Oscar nominated film than to go for a run, order takeout rather than finding a fresh and healthy alternative.

 
A few years ago, I learned about a psychological phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik Effect. Simply put, it postulates that uncompleted tasks tend to be remembered longer in our short-term memory whereas tasks that we avoid, such as not abiding by our New Year’s resolution, have a negative effect on our long-term memory. What does all this argot mean?

 
By not going for a run on let’s say Monday, I will regret that decision for about a day. As a result, I will tend to remember more about the circumstances of why I didn’t act (i.e. bad weather, daily stress, etc.) Had I gone for a run, the details surrounding that decision would be more vague; I acted therefore the task is complete.

 
This leads me back to why I chose to title this blog Maintenance. Simply by doing, we create positive feedback that reinforces the behavior. Eating healthy or exercising at least once a week instead of thinking about eating healthy or exercising causes one to reduce stress and anxiety –key inhibitors of maintaining a plan or routine. So next time when I find myself thinking that I should have, I will remind myself that even if I give it a try, that’s better than not having attempted it at all.

James C.

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New Year’s Resolutions: Healthy Sleep Habits for Kids & Teens

By Gina Muir, ERG Coach

Now that the excitement of the holidays has passed, many families are settling back into a routine for the winter. Instead of viewing it as a letdown, we should all try to make a fresh start for healthy habits in the New Year. Elaborate New Year’s resolutions are common –and commonly broken within a few weeks –even if the intentions behind the changes are solid. Encouraging children and teenagers to get enough sleep is an important healthy habit that parents can do to foster ideal learning environments and keep them in their best mental and physical shape. We all know that lack of sleep is one of the most obvious issues that can impact older children‘s health and education; distractions are seemingly everywhere that prevent a healthy sleep schedule. How can parents encourage their teenagers and older children to be as healthy as possible?

 
We all know that sleep is a vital regulation of bodily and brain functions in developing children. According to Sleepfoundation.org, one study found that only 15% of teenagers got a minimum of 8.5 hours on school nights. Teenagers need at least 8.5-9.25 hours of sleep to function optimally. Of course we know that most teenagers have little desire to get to bed early, with distractions like technology that include TV, social media, and video games (not to mention a heavy workload of school assignments). Does that mean they don’t really need all that sleep? No, Sleepfoundation.org goes on to state that “ biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence –meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm”. But the reality of the situation is that students often times need to get up in the morning before 6am to catch the bus and get to school on time. Often times, natural circadian rhythms of the body have to take a backseat to our modern lifestyle. It would be ideal if older children had the opportunity to wake up later, but most of us don’t have that luxury. Consequences of not getting enough sleep are integrated throughout nearly all aspects of a person’s ability to function. According to the American Psychological Association, research suggests that students who routinely gets just 25 minutes of sleep less that their peers are more likely to report grades of C’s, D’s, and below rather than A’s or B’s.

Adolescent sleep difficulties are associated with depression and ADHD. Concentration, problem solving, listening, and comprehension are impacted, and hormonal changes can lead to moodiness and aggressive behavior. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “drowsiness and fatigue cause over 100,000 traffic accidents every year and young drivers are behind the wheel on over half of these cases.” Hormonal imbalances from sleep deficiencies can also have an impact on physical appearance for some teenagers, leading to skin breakouts and unhealthy eating/weight gain. When a child is sleep deprived, they will naturally avoid exercise and often times choose snacks that are high in carbs and sugar in an effort to boost energy. Caffeine is seen as a quick fix but is no substitute for what a developing body is truly craving –at least eight solid hours of sleep.

So how can parents encourage healthy sleep habits for their older children who might be resistant to change? Simply removing technology from the bedroom might be a good option so that they aren’t distracted by entertainment. If that doesn’t go over so well, simply encourage them to get to bed with lights out just 15 minutes earlier each day. Once they notice that they are more alert during the school day, they should recognize the benefits. A nap after school can seem like a lifesaver to an exhausted teen, but it’s not an ideal habit to get into. If teenagers rely on evening naps to make up their sleep deficits this ensures that they stay up even later at night. Breaking the cycle by avoiding naps and instead getting to sleep earlier is a much healthier choice. Everyone knows that after a good night’s sleep they are more alert and focused, have more energy, and generally feel better overall. Of course we all want this for not only our children but also ourselves. Parents should try to model good sleep habits so that their children can recognize that getting at least 8 hours should be the norm.

Let’s make a resolution for 2015 to develop healthy sleep habits for our kids (and ourselves!) to keep them functioning optimally both physically and mentally. Something as simple as getting to bed a little earlier each night could have dramatic benefits in health and in the classroom.

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