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Category: Improve Your World

Nature vs Tech: Why Outdoors Activities Are Essential

Safe Teens and Techonology

Technology definitely has a time and place in our schools and we owe it to our pupils to teach them proper ways to use their devices for learning and communicating. However, we can also probably agree there are some downsides to all of this tech in our student’s lives.

Technology which opens our students up to a variety of pitfalls of dangers that range anywhere from cyberbullying to the health consequences of inactive lifestyles.

As educators, it’s no great surprise today’s technology is changing the way we monitor our children, communicate, interact, and engage with our students and, everyday we are on the frontlines watching and coping with the consequences as they unfold.

This makes it essential that we slow down and re-evaluate the role we allow technology to play in our classrooms. This is especially vital when we consider teens are digitally connected for 9 hours everyday! Yes, that is almost the same amount of time spent in school. If that statistic isn’t jaw dropping enough, we need to factor in that their younger counterparts clock in over 6 daily hours and children younger than 8 net nearly 3 hours a day!.

This data inevitably means that our children are missing out on important opportunities and activities to interact, explore, observe, and learn about the world around them. Instead of building new relationships or mastering valuable life skills, our boys and girls are inevitably living a distracted life. This is difficult for us to face, because we can only control what our students do during the hours we have them entrusted to our care. One simple way we can counteract too much technology is by examining the importance of outdoors activities and find ways for kids to strike a happy balance.     

Why Outdoor Activities are Essential for Kids

Over the course of the last few decades, a lot has changed in education as we strive to include more technology and teach for the test. While this has helped push in more STEAM activities and HAL opportunities, it has also led to a significant decrease in the amount of time allocated for recess, physical education, and the fine arts. To put this trend into perspective, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s children are spending approximately half the amount of time outside than we did when we were kids.

Listed below is a small sampling of why outdoor activities are essential for kids:

  • Poor indoor air quality is common in many schools. Fresh air is healthy!
  • There is an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and more that comes with reduced exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
  • Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in children- and even adults. 
  • The outdoors provide exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria which boost a child’s immune system.
  • Activities like gardening in the outdoors can help students develop observational skills and learn science concepts.
  • Sunlight provides beneficial vitamin D which can help energy levels and strengthen bones.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight also helps set a child’s circadian rhythms, which will help them develop a proper sleep schedule to enhance social and educational performance in school.
  • Outdoor activities and green spaces naturally improve many of the symptoms related to ADHD in children.

The Dangers of Too Much Technology

The reasons why outdoor activities are essential for kids is pretty solid, but we can’t overlook the possible dangers associated with too much technology. Our students’ devices might be entertaining, but there are real reasons educators need to be concerned. The following list shows why we need to help students find a healthy balance with technology in their lives:

  • Direct links between overuse of social media and increases in depression, feelings of low self-esteem, and anxiety have been documented in young people.
  • Devices can interrupt or cause distraction during key learning times in a classroom.
  • Our kids might be set up for a lifetime of joint and neck pain if they don’t embrace proper ergonomics.
  • Digital devices and fast paced stimuli can actually physically alter a child’s brain.
  • The glow from our screens and constant notifications can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep schedules leading to poor sleep.
  • Overusing technology limits one-on-one communication opportunities for kids which may inhibit relationship and social skills development.

Looking Forward…

Technology is obviously here to stay and we can’t feasibly ban all devices from our schools. However, a little mindfulness and proactive planning can go a long way. With a little creative thinking  we can help students find a healthy balance with technology and nature.

What are your some ways you handle technology versus nature in your school?

Technology definitely has a time and place in our schools and we owe it to our pupils to teach them proper ways to use their devices for learning and communicating. However, we can also probably agree there are some downsides to all of this tech in our student’s lives.

Technology which opens our students up to a variety of pitfalls of dangers that range anywhere from cyberbullying to the health consequences of inactive lifestyles.

As educators, it’s no great surprise today’s technology is changing the way we monitor our children, communicate, interact, and engage with our students and, everyday we are on the frontlines watching and coping with the consequences as they unfold.

This makes it essential that we slow down and re-evaluate the role we allow technology to play in our classrooms. This is especially vital when we consider teens are digitally connected for 9 hours everyday! Yes, that is almost the same amount of time spent in school. If that statistic isn’t jaw dropping enough, we need to factor in that their younger counterparts clock in over 6 daily hours and children younger than 8 net nearly 3 hours a day!.

This data inevitably means that our children are missing out on important opportunities and activities to interact, explore, observe, and learn about the world around them. Instead of building new relationships or mastering valuable life skills, our boys and girls are inevitably living a distracted life. This is difficult for us to face, because we can only control what our students do during the hours we have them entrusted to our care. One simple way we can counteract too much technology is by examining the importance of outdoors activities and find ways for kids to strike a happy balance.     

Why Outdoor Activities are Essential for Kids

Over the course of the last few decades, a lot has changed in education as we strive to include more technology and teach for the test. While this has helped push in more STEAM activities and HAL opportunities, it has also led to a significant decrease in the amount of time allocated for recess, physical education, and the fine arts. To put this trend into perspective, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, today’s children are spending approximately half the amount of time outside than we did when we were kids.

Listed below is a small sampling of why outdoor activities are essential for kids:

  • Poor indoor air quality is common in many schools. Fresh air is healthy!
  • There is an increased risk for obesity, hypertension, and more that comes with reduced exercise and sedentary lifestyles.
  • Green spaces have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels in children- and even adults. 
  • The outdoors provide exposure to dirt, germs, and bacteria which boost a child’s immune system.
  • Activities like gardening in the outdoors can help students develop observational skills and learn science concepts.
  • Sunlight provides beneficial vitamin D which can help energy levels and strengthen bones.
  • Adequate exposure to sunlight also helps set a child’s circadian rhythms, which will help them develop a proper sleep schedule to enhance social and educational performance in school.
  • Outdoor activities and green spaces naturally improve many of the symptoms related to ADHD in children.

The Dangers of Too Much Technology

The reasons why outdoor activities are essential for kids is pretty solid, but we can’t overlook the possible dangers associated with too much technology. Our students’ devices might be entertaining, but there are real reasons educators need to be concerned. The following list shows why we need to help students find a healthy balance with technology in their lives:

  • Direct links between overuse of social media and increases in depression, feelings of low self-esteem, and anxiety have been documented in young people.
  • Devices can interrupt or cause distraction during key learning times in a classroom.
  • Our kids might be set up for a lifetime of joint and neck pain if they don’t embrace proper ergonomics.
  • Digital devices and fast paced stimuli can actually physically alter a child’s brain.
  • The glow from our screens and constant notifications can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep schedules leading to poor sleep.
  • Overusing technology limits one-on-one communication opportunities for kids which may inhibit relationship and social skills development.

Looking Forward…

Technology is obviously here to stay and we can’t feasibly ban all devices from our schools. However, a little mindfulness and proactive planning can go a long way. With a little creative thinking  we can help students find a healthy balance with technology and nature.

What are your some ways you handle technology versus nature in your school?

5 Little Things That Make the World Better

Every morning you wake up to a new day. You have a fresh day to have fun, get into trouble, be lazy, eat something tasty—and make the world better. Here are 5 LITTLE THINGS that take only seconds, and you can do them! When you do one every day, you make the world a better place.

1. Pick up a piece of garbage.

That’s all. You see a gum wrapper in a parking lot—pick it up and put it in the trash bin. It may seem small, but this one little act makes your world a little better every time you do it! And if you pick up a piece of garbage every day of your life, imagine the pile. That is the difference you can make.

2. Give someone a compliment.

“Hey, good job on that paint job.” “I like how you got that program to work.” “Cool moves!” No matter who you hang with, no matter what you are doing, you will have a chance to say something positive to someone in your life. That kind act can make a huge difference to the person you compliment. That person will feel better and think better about the world—and you. And it’s so easy. Practice on your parents.

3. Learn one thing every day.

We’re not talking about the learning you do at school or that stuff your parents keep reminding you about. You have eyes and ears and a brain that takes in the world. Ask yourself one thing about what you see or hear and find the answer.

You only need to do this once a day to get into the habit of thinking. You could be riding your bike and think: When did humans first discover the wheel? You could see a weird looking bird and wonder what kind of bird it is. Why do you have those two sharper teeth on the sides of your mouth?

By asking questions and looking for answers, you will make the world a better place, because the world needs more people who think and look for knowledge.

4. Say thank you.

Like giving people compliments, when you thank someone, you are connecting with that person. The more people connect—even when it’s just thanking a clerk who hands you a napkin—the world become a little better.

5. Smile! 🙂

Every morning you wake up to a new day. You have a fresh day to have fun, get into trouble, be lazy, eat something tasty—and make the world better. Here are 5 LITTLE THINGS that take only seconds, and you can do them! When you do one every day, you make the world a better place.

1. Pick up a piece of garbage.

That’s all. You see a gum wrapper in a parking lot—pick it up and put it in the trash bin. It may seem small, but this one little act makes your world a little better every time you do it! And if you pick up a piece of garbage every day of your life, imagine the pile. That is the difference you can make.

2. Give someone a compliment.

“Hey, good job on that paint job.” “I like how you got that program to work.” “Cool moves!” No matter who you hang with, no matter what you are doing, you will have a chance to say something positive to someone in your life. That kind act can make a huge difference to the person you compliment. That person will feel better and think better about the world—and you. And it’s so easy. Practice on your parents.

3. Learn one thing every day.

We’re not talking about the learning you do at school or that stuff your parents keep reminding you about. You have eyes and ears and a brain that takes in the world. Ask yourself one thing about what you see or hear and find the answer.

You only need to do this once a day to get into the habit of thinking. You could be riding your bike and think: When did humans first discover the wheel? You could see a weird looking bird and wonder what kind of bird it is. Why do you have those two sharper teeth on the sides of your mouth?

By asking questions and looking for answers, you will make the world a better place, because the world needs more people who think and look for knowledge.

4. Say thank you.

Like giving people compliments, when you thank someone, you are connecting with that person. The more people connect—even when it’s just thanking a clerk who hands you a napkin—the world become a little better.

5. Smile! 🙂

7 Ways to Cope with Braces as a Teenager

teens coping with braces

Getting braces can be a huge deal for many teenagers. It can affect you both physically and emotionally. There is an adjustment period that you must ride through. There will be food restrictions and you may have some speech issues as your mouth adjusts to braces.

Here are 7 tips for braces that will help you navigate this journey as a teenager.

Embrace the Braces

Braces are quite common amongst teenagers but that doesn’t mean you would necessarily feel comfortable with having them. The first step in coping with braces is to accept them whole-heartedly. If you look around, you will notice quite a few people who have braces. This should help you feel less conscious about them.

However, if you still feel embarrassed by your braces, draw attention away from your mouth. For example, skip the lip gloss that will draw attention to your teeth, get a new haircut, put on cool accessories, or go for trendy eyewear. 

Focus on the End Goal

Getting braces as a teenager can seem like the end of the world and cause anxiety. What can help is focusing on the end goal – which is to have straighter teeth and a better smile.

Ask your dentist for an approximate end date. If you know when the braces will come off, you will focus more on the end date than anything else. It will help you realize that braces won’t be on your teeth for as long as you would imagine.

Schedule Regular Dental Appointments

Regular appointments with the dentist will help in tackling various issues that you might have.

Your braces can make you prone to plaque and tartar accumulation between your teeth. You may need dental cleaning to clear them off. Regular dental appointments will help in keeping your teeth clean and tackle issues like tooth sensitivity, bad breath, or cavities.

Consider Painkillers

Over-the-counter medication helps in relieving some pain. Ask your dentist to prescribe you some if necessary. However, keep the use of painkillers to a minimum. Take them only when the pain becomes unbearable.

Follow the directions for the painkiller you are taking. If you rely heavily on painkillers, there will be side-effects. Take the dosage as per your age and weight.  

If your dentist appointments are painful, you can take one painkiller before your appointment. Inform your doctor about the same.

Apply Dental Wax

The brackets of the braces can rub against your lips or cheeks. This can be quite irritating and painful.

To avoid this from happening, use dental wax to create a barrier between your braces, and lips and cheeks.

Roll a small piece of wax to make a small ball. Cover the area that is irritating your mouth by flattening the wax over the metal. Even if it comes off and you swallow it by mistake, don’t worry as it is non-toxic.

Request for Invisalign

If braces are an option that you just do not want to consider, ask your parents if you can opt for Invisalign.

They are much less noticeable than metal braces but equally effective. Due to their transparency, Invisalign is becoming a popular choice amongst teens.

Check with an orthodontist if you are the right candidate for Invisalign. You may need some adjustment before they are fitted.

Understand What to Avoid Eating

There are certain foods that you should absolutely avoid when you have metal braces. Sticky foods and hard, crunchy foods top that list.

Sticky foods like gummy bears, caramel, licorice, and chewing gums are an absolute no-no as they can get stuck between the brackets. Taking them off would almost be impossible.

Hard foods such as nuts, apples, corn on the cob, and candy must also be avoided. The hard foods can bend the braces wire, break a bracket or even pop it off. Moreover, hard foods will make your mouth sore.

Maintain Oral Hygiene

The final and most important things to do is maintain good oral hygiene. This will help in preventing dental issues like cavities and tooth decay. Brush and floss after every meal. This will wash away the debris and prevent bad breath too.

Well, now you know how to prepare for braces. Just follow these tips and the braces will come off before you know it.

Author Bio:

Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily, and she loves researching and writing about it. She writes about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile – whether is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake, and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!

Getting braces can be a huge deal for many teenagers. It can affect you both physically and emotionally. There is an adjustment period that you must ride through. There will be food restrictions and you may have some speech issues as your mouth adjusts to braces.

Here are 7 tips for braces that will help you navigate this journey as a teenager.

Embrace the Braces

Braces are quite common amongst teenagers but that doesn’t mean you would necessarily feel comfortable with having them. The first step in coping with braces is to accept them whole-heartedly. If you look around, you will notice quite a few people who have braces. This should help you feel less conscious about them.

However, if you still feel embarrassed by your braces, draw attention away from your mouth. For example, skip the lip gloss that will draw attention to your teeth, get a new haircut, put on cool accessories, or go for trendy eyewear. 

Focus on the End Goal

Getting braces as a teenager can seem like the end of the world and cause anxiety. What can help is focusing on the end goal – which is to have straighter teeth and a better smile.

Ask your dentist for an approximate end date. If you know when the braces will come off, you will focus more on the end date than anything else. It will help you realize that braces won’t be on your teeth for as long as you would imagine.

Schedule Regular Dental Appointments

Regular appointments with the dentist will help in tackling various issues that you might have.

Your braces can make you prone to plaque and tartar accumulation between your teeth. You may need dental cleaning to clear them off. Regular dental appointments will help in keeping your teeth clean and tackle issues like tooth sensitivity, bad breath, or cavities.

Consider Painkillers

Over-the-counter medication helps in relieving some pain. Ask your dentist to prescribe you some if necessary. However, keep the use of painkillers to a minimum. Take them only when the pain becomes unbearable.

Follow the directions for the painkiller you are taking. If you rely heavily on painkillers, there will be side-effects. Take the dosage as per your age and weight.  

If your dentist appointments are painful, you can take one painkiller before your appointment. Inform your doctor about the same.

Apply Dental Wax

The brackets of the braces can rub against your lips or cheeks. This can be quite irritating and painful.

To avoid this from happening, use dental wax to create a barrier between your braces, and lips and cheeks.

Roll a small piece of wax to make a small ball. Cover the area that is irritating your mouth by flattening the wax over the metal. Even if it comes off and you swallow it by mistake, don’t worry as it is non-toxic.

Request for Invisalign

If braces are an option that you just do not want to consider, ask your parents if you can opt for Invisalign.

They are much less noticeable than metal braces but equally effective. Due to their transparency, Invisalign is becoming a popular choice amongst teens.

Check with an orthodontist if you are the right candidate for Invisalign. You may need some adjustment before they are fitted.

Understand What to Avoid Eating

There are certain foods that you should absolutely avoid when you have metal braces. Sticky foods and hard, crunchy foods top that list.

Sticky foods like gummy bears, caramel, licorice, and chewing gums are an absolute no-no as they can get stuck between the brackets. Taking them off would almost be impossible.

Hard foods such as nuts, apples, corn on the cob, and candy must also be avoided. The hard foods can bend the braces wire, break a bracket or even pop it off. Moreover, hard foods will make your mouth sore.

Maintain Oral Hygiene

The final and most important things to do is maintain good oral hygiene. This will help in preventing dental issues like cavities and tooth decay. Brush and floss after every meal. This will wash away the debris and prevent bad breath too.

Well, now you know how to prepare for braces. Just follow these tips and the braces will come off before you know it.

Author Bio:

Emily Taylor found the perfect fit for herself as the Online Marketing Manager at Thurman Orthodontics in Fresno CA as she believes that a great smile does more than just make a person look great – it makes them feel great as well. The power of a smile has always been a mystery to Emily, and she loves researching and writing about it. She writes about everything to do with a healthy bite and a beautiful smile – whether is it ways to achieve it or the importance of it in the various aspects of life. What brings a big smile on Emily’s face is her family and surfing. She also likes to bake, and her children and co-workers call her the cookie fairy!

Why Getting to Know Old People is Cool

They move slow. Most don’t have Instagram accounts. They don’t listen to rap or ride hoverboards. They are so different from you that they seem like they are from another planet. So why should you get to know them or talk to them?

We’re talking about old people. Agreed, the word “old” is a relative word. But for this article, we mean older people that may be of similar age as your your grand parents or even older. Some live for over a hundred years. Perhaps it’s an older neighbor with gray hair who is retired. Or a war veteran who comes to visit your school.

With social distancing these days it may not be possible for you to go visit an elderly person, but now is an ideal time to call someone you know.  They be lonely with few or no visitors.  Or they may be your neighbor and it’s could be as simple as saying high from your back yard or deck.  But it won’t just be a benefit for you. Here are a few reasons to not “count them out”.

Old people are time travelers.

It’s true. Think about a person who is 80 years old. When that person was a little child, there were no cellular phones, no Internet, no penicillin, no satellites, no microwave ovens or many of the small tools you use every day. 8o years ago, many people still didn’t have ball-point pens or telephones.

When you talk to an old person, you can see into the past. You can talk to someone who lived there. How did they visit with friends without mobile phones? What was life like without TV? How did they listen to music? An old person can take to back to a different time and a different world. When they talk about the world when they were your age, they are traveling through time. You are traveling with them.

Old people have learned to live with the hard parts of life.

They may not know how to repair computers attacked by a virus, but they can help repair human problems. Old people have had their hearts broken and survived. They’ve lost loved ones and dear friends. Most of them have moved from their home to somewhere else. They’ve been hurt, bullied, insulted and had to struggle in life. No matter what you are feeling, an old person can help.

Old people know stuff you don’t.

Remember, every life is different, meaning that every old person has different information in their head. Still, older people may know things that solve little problems you have. Need to put a wheel on a toy? Ask an older person. You lost a button? An old person can probably help. What do you do when the power goes out? Where is the oil in a car? When you have a question, ask an old person. You could learn a lot.

Old people can help you make big decisions.

After living a long time, most people have made countless choices. Some of those choices were positive. Some were not. Ask an old person about those god and bad decisions. What do they regret? They can help you make better decisions so that when you are an old person, you’ll be happier.

That is your future. Yes, if you take care of yourself, you will someday be an old person. You will see the world and life change in ways that you cannot imagine. By talking and getting to know older people, you see into the future: YOUR future. Why not take a look?

They move slow. Most don’t have Instagram accounts. They don’t listen to rap or ride hoverboards. They are so different from you that they seem like they are from another planet. So why should you get to know them or talk to them?

We’re talking about old people. Agreed, the word “old” is a relative word. But for this article, we mean older people that may be of similar age as your your grand parents or even older. Some live for over a hundred years. Perhaps it’s an older neighbor with gray hair who is retired. Or a war veteran who comes to visit your school.

With social distancing these days it may not be possible for you to go visit an elderly person, but now is an ideal time to call someone you know.  They be lonely with few or no visitors.  Or they may be your neighbor and it’s could be as simple as saying high from your back yard or deck.  But it won’t just be a benefit for you. Here are a few reasons to not “count them out”.

Old people are time travelers.

It’s true. Think about a person who is 80 years old. When that person was a little child, there were no cellular phones, no Internet, no penicillin, no satellites, no microwave ovens or many of the small tools you use every day. 8o years ago, many people still didn’t have ball-point pens or telephones.

When you talk to an old person, you can see into the past. You can talk to someone who lived there. How did they visit with friends without mobile phones? What was life like without TV? How did they listen to music? An old person can take to back to a different time and a different world. When they talk about the world when they were your age, they are traveling through time. You are traveling with them.

Old people have learned to live with the hard parts of life.

They may not know how to repair computers attacked by a virus, but they can help repair human problems. Old people have had their hearts broken and survived. They’ve lost loved ones and dear friends. Most of them have moved from their home to somewhere else. They’ve been hurt, bullied, insulted and had to struggle in life. No matter what you are feeling, an old person can help.

Old people know stuff you don’t.

Remember, every life is different, meaning that every old person has different information in their head. Still, older people may know things that solve little problems you have. Need to put a wheel on a toy? Ask an older person. You lost a button? An old person can probably help. What do you do when the power goes out? Where is the oil in a car? When you have a question, ask an old person. You could learn a lot.

Old people can help you make big decisions.

After living a long time, most people have made countless choices. Some of those choices were positive. Some were not. Ask an old person about those god and bad decisions. What do they regret? They can help you make better decisions so that when you are an old person, you’ll be happier.

That is your future. Yes, if you take care of yourself, you will someday be an old person. You will see the world and life change in ways that you cannot imagine. By talking and getting to know older people, you see into the future: YOUR future. Why not take a look?