Balance Technology With Outdoor Play Time for Healthier Kids

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Many children are too busy tweeting to go outside and hear a real tweet. Kids today spend an average of seven hours per day using electronic media but only four to seven minutes outside in unstructured outdoor play time.
“The importance of media in today’s world is indisputable, but a sky’s-the-limit approach to technology can have a powerful downside for kids if it’s not tempered with something more down to earth,” said Lindsay Legendre, manager of the National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement — an effort to get more children outdoors more often.
Research shows that spending time outdoors makes kids grow lean and strong, enhances their imaginations and gives them time to let off steam and just be kids. The Kaiser Family Foundation says children who spend too much time with technology are more likely to get fair or poor grades. As a result of research like this. NWF’s Be Out There movement created the “Outdoor Play for Every Day: A Parent’s Guide for Overcoming Common Obstacles to Kids and Outdoor Play,” which is loaded with tips and activities to help parents overcome the lure of technology and other common obstacles to getting kids outdoors.
Consider the following suggestions to maximize outdoor time while making peace with media and technology:
* Monkey See/Monkey Do. Set a good example about limiting tech time, and your kids will be more likely to follow suit. Talk to your kids, and let everyone have a say on the amount of time that screens will be used each week so ground rules are clear up front.
* Pay to Play. Encourage kids to earn screen time by balancing it with equal amounts of reading, chores or playing outside. Len Saunders, author of “Keeping Kids Fit” and father of two, suggests that for every hour of physical activity, kids earn 30 minutes of tech time.
* Let ‘Em Pick. Offer kids a set amount of screen time each day and let them decide how to use it (watch TV, play video games or surf the web). If the weather is nice, and they want to trade their screen time for playing outdoors, they can bank their screen time for use on a rainy day.
* Go Geocaching. Take your kids on an outdoor adventure that combines popular GPS technology and a treasure hunt. Don’t have a GPS? There are several smart phone apps that can do the trick. Learn more at
For parents who want their kids to enhance their physical and mental health by playing outside more often, the Be Out There Parent Guide is a valuable resource. Find the Guide and more ideas for enjoying outdoor time at

This Back-to-School Season, WGU Texas Declares, “No Parent Left Behind”

Across the state, parents are buying school supplies, loading backpacks, and packing lunches as their kids head back to school. With carpools, afterschool activities, and homework added to schedules already packed with work and other family responsibilities, the last thing more parents have time to consider is heading back to school themselves. But, they should be….

More than 3 million Texas residents, many of them parents, have started but not finished a college degree; yet by 2018, an estimated 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some post-secondary education. A bachelor’s or master’s degree can bring career advancement, increase job security and enhance earning potential, so how can busy parents finish their degrees and avoid being left behind?

"7th Heaven" Star Says Steps Can Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

(NewsUSA) – When used the right way, prescription medicine helps many health conditions. But many people don’t know the risks of keeping medications unsecured in the home, especially medications that have a high potential to be abused, such as stimulants, tranquilizers and pain relievers.Left-over and easy-to-find medicines can be abused by anyone entering a home — including teens and young adults. 7th Heaven star and parent advocate Catherine Hicks is working with the national campaign Safeguard My Meds to tell Americans how they can help prevent prescription medicine abuse by keeping medications safe in their home.Government statistics show that 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative."As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time, and they don’t even need to leave the house to do it," says Hicks.A new national survey shows that Americans most frequently said they store prescription medicine in the bathroom and kitchen — two areas where medications could be easily found by anyone entering the home.Hicks says taking these simple steps can make a big difference:* Keep medication in a locked storage container in a cool, dry place out of the reach of visitors, children and pets;* Keep a list of medicines in your home;* Never share prescription medicine with anyone else;* Talk to your community pharmacists about the best way to store and get rid of medicine no longer needed;* Visit the site for more tips and tools to make your home medication safe; and* Tell friends and family to keep their medications safe."When we keep prescription medicine in our homes, we need to keep those medicines safe, said Keith Hodges, pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Community Pharmacists Association. "We can all make a difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way."Safeguard My Meds is a free resource offered by the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma L.P. Visit

Keep Kids Learning During Winter Break

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Are you a parent dreading the anguished cries of “I’m bored!” from your kids during the long winter break? Are you a teacher concerned that your …

Companies Support Stability at Home

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Many households feature two working parents, making it tougher to ensure young children’s safety. But some parents find support in peer groups, where they can discuss issues, vent frustrations and learn how to communicate with their children better.

Being able to share concerns and frustrations with peers or experts helps parents maintain proper perspectives. Some companies realize that parent focus groups can benefit their employees. For example, one New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company, Corporate Child Care Services at Roche, developed a program to support the working parents that they employ.

Each month, dozens of parents meet to share personal insights. The program, started in 1999, was originally designed to support parents whose children were enrolled at Roche’s Corporate Child Care Center. But due to popular demand, the program expanded in 2002 to all employees at the site.

“The most important thing for us is to know that we are contributing to family stability,” said Dianne Keel-Atkins, director of Roche Corporate Child Care and founder of the Parent Focus Group program. “That means not only helping the children become productive, but also helping their parents succeed at balancing work and family life.”

Over a box lunch, parents discuss and provide guidance on a variety of topics, including school readiness, diversity appreciation and stranger awareness. Most recently, the Parent Focus Group hosted the local Nutley Fire and Police Departments in New Jersey for discussions on the importance of stranger awareness. The speakers provided parents with valuable tips on how to increase their children’s safety knowledge, including:

1) Communication: Make sure to sit down and talk with your children about your family’s safety plan.

2) Who’s Who?: Not all “strangers” are actually strangers. Tell your children whom they can leave with if you are not with them.

3) What’s the Magic Word?: Set up a secret code word, password or phrase with your child to ensure they go with someone who has been authorized by you in the event you are unable to pick them up.

4) Fire Alarm: Tell your child to scream, “Fire!” if someone puts them in danger. Screaming, “Fire!” is usually taken more seriously than “Help!” especially coming from a child.

5) Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Teach your children to be aware of their surroundings and the behavior of those around them. Tell them to keep their iPod volume at a reasonable level so that they can hear approaching people or cars.