Raising Healthy Children: How to Set Your Kids Up for Success

By Joyce Wilson

Parents fill various roles in their children’s lives. In particular, they serve as caretakers, role models, and protectors. According to the experts, one of the most important jobs parents have is to help their children make healthy choices in order to prepare them for adulthood. Here are some ideas from Empowered Flower Girl that can help you begin making those important lifestyle decisions.

Learn the Importance of Healthy Habits

If you want your kids to grow healthy and happy, teach them how to maintain their health. When you focus on healthy habits, you reduce their risk of future conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

For children to maintain ideal body weight, they need to be able to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy food choices. In addition, teach them about hygiene and expiration dates. After all, spoiled food can wreak havoc on the body. When you understand the importance of health, whether the health comes from diet or exercise – including the many benefits of martial arts – you can instill those habits in your children.

Instill Healthy Habits Early

To make healthy eating a priority, stock up on fresh, unprocessed at-home snacks. If you only have nutritious snacks available, children cannot choose to drink sugary soda or eat snack cakes. Instead, keep pretzels, fresh fruit, bagels, and sparkling water at home. Children begin to develop their sense of taste in the first two years of their life. Providing reduced-sodium snacks to toddlers may help them develop preferences for foods with less salt.

Children model themselves after you. They observe your habits and your ability to handle stress and coping mechanisms. For instance, if children see an adult becoming aggressive, they too may react aggressively. When paving the way for better decisions, do not be overbearing and restrictive, because you could encourage eating disorders. Instead, be the example for your kids.

It’s important for your children to see you engage in healthy friendships, too, so invite friends over to the house sometimes and be transparent about minor conflicts in a kid-appropriate way. You can also show them the importance of reconnecting with friends by finding old high school friends online. It’s a simple process of entering your location and searching through databases for familiar names. Reconnecting with friends from your past can be a lot of fun and show your kids how to find people they enjoy being with.

Make Success Attainable

Be open to talking to your kids about good and bad habits. Talk to them if you worry about gaming, drugs, alcohol, or poor education habits. Hold family dinners where you can discuss your day and model good behavior while discussing the risks associated with unhealthy choices. Starting these practices while your kids are young will help them feel more comfortable talking to you about bigger issues, like bullies or conflicts with friends. Empowered Flower Girl offers tools and resources to help both you and your child learn how to deal with these difficult situations in healthy ways.

Set good examples for your kids with your choices as well as your behavior.

In addition, talk to them about how they can achieve their dreams. It is never too early to discuss future aspirations. Teach your children to practice a skill every day and, when they experience failure, to get up and keep trying.

Do not forget to chase dreams of your own. This could involve starting a business centered around a hobby that you enjoy; be sure to do plenty of research to ensure that you’re putting together everything you need to get this venture started on solid ground. Or, join the countless parents and older adults who return to school to finish or start a degree. With all of the obligations of parenthood, you may enjoy the flexibility of online schools. Online degrees can match your passions and interests. The following ideas can narrow down your options:

  • To learn more about data analytics, cyber security, and information technology, choose a degree in IT.
  • To find occupations in management positions or start a business of your own, look into business management degrees.
  • A degree in education may not only launch your career but help you become an effective teacher to your children.

When your children learn to make healthy choices, they maintain those decisions throughout their lives. Developing new habits as an adult can be challenging, but not only can you make a positive change in your life, you can establish a healthy foundation for your children.

Remember to chase after things you love, too, and to make use of helpful resources like Empowered Flower Girl to help you and your child learn ways to work through difficult situations in life.

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher and enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on Teacher Spark. Her website is a compilation of practical resources that will inspire student engagement and instill a love for learning. By tapping into a student’s natural creativity and curiosity, Joyce believes that they can take their education to a new level.

 

Got Fall/Winter Travel Plans? Here are Tips for a Fun and Safe Family Vacation

By Joyce Wilson

School breaks give your family a chance to spend time together and bond. Like many families, you may choose to plan a vacation; however, with the ongoing pandemic, many of the family vacation plans you love may no longer be available. This situation may leave you wondering how best to spend your vacation as a family.

Empowered Flower Girl suggests some indoor and outdoor family vacation activities, some COVID-safe travel options, and how to stay safe during your family vacation.

Indoor and Outdoor Family Vacation Activities

Regardless of your family size, there are many fun activities you can do as a family during your vacation. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do some gardening together as a family
  • Play hide and seek
  • Build a homemade treehouse or swing set
  • Play mini-golf with the older children
  • Consider attending dance classes together
  • Go hiking or biking together

Family vacation indoor activities include:

  • Playing board games
  • Going to the gym
  • Arranging indoor gardening activities

Family Vacation COVID-19 Safety Tips

Keeping your family safe during your vacation is a challenge this year due to the ongoing pandemic. According to federal experts, you can travel if you’re fully vaccinated, but you still need to take some precautions. They don’t recommend non-essential travel for unvaccinated people.

If you choose to travel for your family vacation, the following steps may lower travel-related risks.

  • Ensure anyone you plan to visit has received the COVID-19 vaccine if they’re eligible.
  • Check the COVID-19 community spread rates of the places you plan to visit.
  • Make sure everyone you travel with wears a mask when you use public transportation.
  • If you must fly, try to take direct flights.
  • Pack extra sanitizers and masks.

Likewise, consider the following pandemic-friendly family vacation travel options.

  • Limit interactions by staying at a private vacation home rental.
  • Go for a socially distant family road trip in an RV.
  • Go camping at a remote location.
  • If possible, travel by car.

As you plan your family vacation, keep in mind that the pandemic is not over. Even if you take the proper precautions, traveling involves significant risk during this period.

Install a Fence Around Your Property

One of the most important safety measures during a family staycation is fencing around your property, and it’s best done by a contractor. Search for a fencing company nearby before selecting one and read customer reviews online.

Cost is among the important factors to consider when comparing contractors. The cost of installing a new fence can vary depending on materials used, fence size, and the location of the installation. As with all projects that require digging, safety is a priority. You should make sure that the contractor is aware of any underground utility lines on your property.

Have Fun and Stay Safe

The ongoing pandemic has limited the number of options available for family vacations, especially those that involve coming into contact with the public. Thankfully, there are still many activities that you can still do both indoors and outdoors, and the insights in this article will help you have a fun and safe family vacation.

Joyce Wilson is a retired teacher and enjoys sharing lesson plans, resources, and teaching tips on Teacher Spark. Her website is a compilation of practical resources that will inspire student engagement and instill a love for learning. By tapping into a student’s natural creativity and curiosity, Joyce believes that they can take their education to a new level.

EmPOWERing 21st Century Teens series addresses challenges and opportunities for youth and youth advocates

Empowered Flower Girl wants to support families and those who work with teens with a space to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities their young relatives/students face in the 21st century.

In observance of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, Empowered Flower Girl is hosting a FREE 3-week conversation series. If you’d like to participate as a guest panelist or if your organization provides resources to families of teens and preteens, email rkamaria@empoweredflowergirl.

The series will be streamed via Zoom and Facebook. Follow Empowered Flower Girl at www.facebook.com/empoweredflowergirl.

Schedule:
May 11, 18, 25 – 6 to 6:45 p.m. EDT
Zoom link: http://bit.ly/21stcenturyteens

Topics:
5.11 – Mentoring teens to live above bullying
5.18 – Intergenerational empathy
5.25 – Collaborating to support youth

Helping Kids Manage Their Unique Pressures Starts by Being a Healthy Role Model

By Amanda Henderson

Being a child isn’t always easy. While it’s true that there are few decisions to make in the early years, children learn to make decisions later on by watching their parents. If you are a positive role model, you will empower your kids to be healthy and independent adults.

The Pressures of Today

Kids today are under more pressure than ever. Our youth — especially teenage girls — deal with issues that we never did. Social media is an especially difficult hurdle for young girls to handle, and it unfairly puts ridiculous expectations on how they should look, act, and befriend.

Be EmPOWERed is a great book to read as a parent and to share with your daughter. It will walk you through Rasheda’s heart-wrenching journey through her victory of how she learned how to embrace all of the beautiful things that made her different.

It is not just girls that have to live up to an unrealistic standard either. Once young people enter college — and even before — they may experience what the Child Mind Institute calls “duck syndrome.” This is essentially a way to describe the turmoils that people are dealing with individually without letting the world see. It references how waterfowl seemed to glide without obstacles on the water while, under the surface, they must kick violently to stay afloat.

How You Can Encourage a Healthy Reality

As a parent, teacher, camp counselor, or other type of caretaker, you can model behaviors that will serve as a life-long example for the children in your life. Doing things, such as refusing to live up to social media standards and embracing your own reality will go a long way toward encouraging kids to do the same.

The online world is not the only place that you can model a healthy adult life. In the real world, talk to your children early about the future. Let them know that there is nothing stopping them from pursuing the life they desire. To do this, however, you need to live your own reality and take your own advice. If you are stuck in a go-nowhere job, look inside for the courage to go back to school.

Let’s say that you wanted to be a software systems architect in high school but chose an easier path. You can take an online computer science course now and earn a degree so that you can master your professional earning capacity. Plus, you’ll be following your dreams, and your children will see that you face your fears and overcome them.

Other ways to encourage healthy habits in children include:

Get plenty of sleep. Teenagers are especially prone to forgoing bedtime so that they can finish homework or stay up late to chat with their friends. While both academics and socializing are crucial to their development, teach them that their health is also important by creating an environment that encourages everyone to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Don’t bow to peer pressure. We tend to think peer pressure is something that only affects those under 18. This is absolutely not true, and adults are often faced with decisions to make based on behaviors by their friends and acquaintances. Remember, you don’t have to go out every weekend even if your divorced friends are. By prioritizing what’s important to you and not bowing to everyone else’s whims, you show your child that it’s okay to be independent and follow their heart instead of the crowd.

Obviously, this is not a full guide on how to be a role model for your children. But living your own reality and encouraging healthy habits are a great start. Remember, everything you do now will be embedded in your children’s brains and will become the map for their own adult life. Children will do as you do, not as you say, so make the most of your behaviors. All eyes are on you.

About the author

Amanda enjoys writing in her freetime, and recently decided to create safechildren.info

How to combat cyberbullying while #athometogether

We’re all coping with the life changes that COVID-19 has sparked. Many adults are working remotely and children are home learning via virtual classrooms. 

While students are not engaging in-person, they’ll be engaging online – via social media apps and texting. 

Empowered Flower Girl, a social enterprise on a mission to transform the way young people relate to one another and themselves, encourages youth and parents alike to monitor online interactions and behavior. Cyberbullying is still a concern for many children. 

Here are tips to prevent online drama and encourage quality family time:

TECH-FREE FAMILY NIGHT: Ditch the cell phones, laptops and tablets for dinner and conversation. For some teens, talking face-to-face may seem old-fashioned but it’s a great way for families to connect. It also reduces the temptation to go online.

ASK QUESTIONS: Take an active role by inquiring about your child’s relationships with peers on and off line. Most children won’t volunteer the information. Parents should ask specific, preferably open-ended questions to get their children to open up.

Empowered Flower Girl is celebrating 10 years of service in 2020. Founded in 2010, EFG works with schools, community organizations and families to combat bullying, cyberbullying, relational aggression and other social challenges facing youth. Learn more at www.empoweredflowergirl.com. Follow via Facebook/Instagram at @empoweredflowergirl

 

Is It Teasing, Bullying or Something Else? Experts Across the Country Make the Distinction

In an effort to help parents and caregivers identify and address bullying, WedMD recently published the feature “What Does Bullying Look Like?”

Patricia Agatston, Ph.D., International Bullying Prevention Association president, and others across the country, offered their expertise in defining what is and what isn’t bullying and what can be done to identify and support children who’ve been impacted by it.  Read the full feature here.

Agatston, a national cyberbullying, will be among the speakers at the Michigan Bullying Prevention Conference, scheduled October 1, 2016, in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Registration for the full-day event is $25 and includes breakfast and lunch. The conference will be preceded by a FREE social media workshop for parents.  Karuna Nain, Facebook global safety manager, will present “Navigating the Social World with Your Teens — Insights from Facebook,” on Thursday, September 29. Visit the Michigan conference website for details.

 

PARENTING: Tips for stomping out bullying and digital harassment

We often receive emails, IMs and phone calls from parents and grandparents concerned about their child’s wellbeing in school. Often the child has reported being harassed or bullied. We commend parents for taking the first step toward a resolution.

There are numerous resources available to prevent and address conflict. One of my personal favorites is the Stomp Out Bullying organization.

Is your child being cyberbullied? Is she or he experiencing conflicts in school? Here’s how you can help.

Get more tips at StompOutBullying.org.

Be supportive of your child. Parents may be tempted to tell their kids to toughen up, that names never hurt anybody, yet – cyber attacks can harm a child easily and have a long lasting effect. Millions of cyber accomplices can help target or humiliate your child. That emotional pain is very serious and very real. Do not ignore it.

Alert the school and guidance counselor to watch out for in-school bullying and see how your child is handling things. It is important that you give your child love, support, nurturing and security. Children have committed suicide after having been cyberbullied. Take it seriously.

Did you know?
*Girls were about twice as likely as boys to be victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying.
*Of those students who had been cyberbullied relatively frequently (at least twice in the last couple of months):
*62% said that they had been cyberbullied by another student at school, and 46% had been cyberbullied by a friend.

Empowered Flower Girl encourages a shade-free summer

New campaign aimed at eliminating cyberbullying and relational aggression

No Shade Just SmilesWhether you call it “drama,” “beef,” or “throwing shade,” online conflict via social media is impacting the way young people communicate and relate to one another. Tension in and out of the classroom is being fueled by Facebook fallouts and Yik Yak attacks.

Empowered Flower Girl (EFG) advises youth and parents alike to monitor online interactions and behavior.

Results from a recent Wayne State University study found that 54 percent of youth were involved in online abuse.

This summer, Empowered Flower Girl is encouraging kindness and working to thwart meanness with its “No Shade. Just Smiles.” campaign.

“Parents and teens play a vital role in eliminating cyberbullying,” said Rasheda Kamaria, EFG chief empowering officer and founder. “If you’re experiencing conflict with someone, avoid sending mean text messages and posting shade-filled status updates. Have a conversation with that person if possible or if the situation is serious, seek help from a mediator.”

When there is a threat of violence or if a crime has been committed, call 9-1-1.

Seeking solutions to cyberbullying, drama, relational aggression or other social/communication challenges among teens in your school or community? Empowered Flower Girl offers engaging workshops, programs and content that tackle these issues.

For more information, visit http://www.empoweredflowergirl.com. Join the conversation with #NoShadeJustSmiles. “We want teens to break the internet with positivity,” Kamaria said.

Beyond Bullying Prevention: The end of bullying begins with empathy and compassion

End of BullyingBy Rasheda Kamaria

Empowered Flower Girl aims to inspire, entertain and empower youth, communities and families with our programs and online content. This month, National Bullying Prevention Month, I want to go a little further. I want to challenge everyone who reads this post to reach out to a young person and have an authentic conversation about . . . whatever. But what I challenge you to do more than anything, is listen.

Perhaps you’ve read recent headlines about the 14-year-old Florida boy, who after being “bullied his whole life,” committed suicide. Media outlets across the nation reported that the Greenwood Lakes Middle School student’s lifeless body was found in the school’s bathroom. He and his family had reportedly moved from New York to Florida because of bullying.

My heart aches and breaks. Not only for this young man but also for the countless others that we may know or have read about this year who have taken their lives to escape the agony of being harassed and taunted daily. Perhaps us as community leaders, educators, parents and everyday citizens can listen more to our children (and by our children I mean all children).

I believe it’s time we shift from bullying prevention to encouraging and instilling empathy, compassion and acceptance in schools, communities and families.

Rasheda Kamaria is the chief empowering officer and founder of Empowered Flower Girl LLC, a social enterprise that works with schools, communities and families seeking solutions to cyberbullying, drama, relational aggression and other social/communication challenges facing youth. A survivor of bullying, Kamaria was featured in the article “Being Bullied Changed My Life” in the May 2011 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine and has spoken and written numerous articles on the subject.

Proactive Parenting: Help Your Children Avoid Social Media Pitfalls

Shocked Mother and Texting TeenagerOMG! – It’s the reaction many parents have after discovering their child’s social media profiles for the first time. No matter if they’re honors students or academically challenged, many teens are tempted to engage in risky or inappropriate online communication that may be harmful to their virtual and real-life reputation.

Parents should be aware of their children’s social interactions and take action when necessary.

“We advise parents to be proactive about their children’s activities on and offline,” said Rasheda Kamaria, chief empowering officer and founder of Empowered Flower Girl LLC. “Be a role model and set the example instead of being your child’s BFF when it comes to navigating the social world.”

Why?

Because many children and adults alike are unknowingly putting themselves at risk as targets of online predators. Others may be hindering their chances for jobs, internships and even college admissions.

According to a 2013 nationwide survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder, more than 43 percent of hiring managers who research candidates via social media said they found information that caused them not to hire a candidate. The same is true for several U.S. colleges and universities.

A Kaplan-commissioned survey last year found that 31 percent of college admissions officers had visited an applicant’s personal social media page to learn more about them. Significantly, for those trying to get into college, 30 percent of admissions officers revealed they discovered information online that negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.

Here are a few tips for parents to help their children (and even themselves) avoid social sharing pitfalls:

• Have a conversation with your child about his/her social media interactions. You’d be surprised what they may share.
• Model appropriate online etiquette. Be careful what you post and share online as many children mimic their parent’s behavior.
• Set boundaries and inform your child of potential dangers online. The FBI offers valuable tips relating to cyber safety on its website.
• Unplug. Schedule dedicated family time minus media of any kind.

This summer, Empowered Flower Girl will launch a series of proactive parenting workshops. “Social Secrets: What Parents Should Know. What Teens Don’t Want Them To” is the first of the interactive workshops that will be offered. For more information, call 248-629-0334 or email info@empoweredflowergirl.com.