Thursday, August 1, 2019

How to Get Your Child Socially and Emotionally Ready for the New School Year

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Reena B. Patel, a licensed educational psychologist and author, offers tips on helping to prepare kids for the start of a new school year

SAN DIEGO, California – (August 1, 2019) – Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the summer, and the start of a new school year for most people. Many children experience anxiety at this time, being filled with the stress of what starting school again will entail. From bullying and being nervous about making friends and having a new teacher, there’s a lot that can weigh on a child. This stress can continue throughout the school year and have devastating consequences. According to the American Psychological Association, when children experience chronic stress it can contribute to psychological problems, as well as physical conditions. The good news is that there are plenty of things parents can do to help their child prepare.

“Kids don’t know just know how to handle their emotions, so it’s important for parents to take steps to help address them,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Parents who make emotional and social health a priority will help raise children who are more successful, stable, and experience less stress in life.”

There are many things parents can do to help prepare their children emotionally and socially for taking on a new school year. These include tips:
  • Teaching kids to embrace progress, rather than perfection. If they feel they have to get perfect grades, for example, they will have a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Setting your expectations for them based on your values. It’s important to let kids know what you expect for the school year from them, but that you realize there is room for error, too.
  • Taking the time to talk to your children about your own social mistakes, so they can learn from them. Let them know what mistakes you made and how you would have handled it differently if you could go back in time now.
  • Remembering that winning isn’t everything. Kids need to learn how to be a team member, and how to lose gracefully. Play games with them where they will lose at times, so they can learn good sportsmanship and resilience.
  • Discussing with them what “success” means. Teach them that we all learn through our mistakes on our way to success.
  • Kids need to know how to make friends, so discuss with them how to do that. Have your child pick five qualities you would want in a friend and then discuss the list with them. As social issues arise, refer back to that list of core values to see if the relationship is a good fit.
  • Having a family discussion about finding balance and discussing how much can be fit into one schedule. This is especially important when it comes to the number of extracurricular activities that can be taken on.
  • Making sure your kids know that it’s okay to ask for help. 
  • Making a social media discussion a priority if your child uses it, ensuring that they use the T.H.I.N.K. acronym regarding what they post online. T (is it truthful), H (is it helpful), I (is it inspiring), N (is it necessary), and K (is it kind).
  • Having a discussion about bullying. Remind them that bullying is never okay and that they need to speak up if it happens. Discuss having boundaries, speaking up, being a good role model, and getting help when needed.
  • Teaching your child coping skills, which will help them be better prepared to handle stress and anxiety.
  • Letting kids know the importance of focusing on the positives in life. They can do this by keeping a gratitude journal, and having a positive affirmation that they repeat each day.

“Most parents are focused on the supplies that kids need for school, but those pale in comparison to the emotional tools they need,” added Patel. “By making sure kids have the emotional and social tools and skills they need, they will be more likely to enjoy the school year, get better grades, and be happier, all of which are good.”

Patel has a new debut radio show on Dash Radio, North America’s first mainstream South Asian radio station, which premiered in April 2019. The station was founded by Rukus Avenue Music Group, and can be head on 24-7 on the Dash Radio app, as well as on the on the Dash Radio platform at DashRadio.com. 

Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She also offers concierge parenting services, helping families to reach specific goals, such as focusing on college admission. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon.




Thursday, July 25, 2019

Xavier University to Transform Freshman Biology Experience through NSF Grant


New Orleans LA – Xavier University of Louisiana’s Biology Department has been awarded a $400,000 grant by the National Science Foundation through the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) over the course of three years.  This program, through the Targeted Infusion Projects (TIPs) competition, provides support to achieve short-term, well-defined goals to improve undergraduate STEM education.  The current TIP at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) seeks to re-design two freshmen lab courses as Course Based Research Experiences (CUREs).  Although merits of early research experiences are well-documented, very few freshmen at smaller institutions and HBCUs have research opportunities during their very first year of college. The proposed project aims at bridging this gap by infusing two authentic research projects in Biology’s foundational labs. The first, entitled the ‘Yeast ORFan’ project, in collaboration with Juanita College, PA, aims at characterizing unknown genes to determine their functions in yeast.  The second, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), LA, is centered on discovering novel regulatory genes in Aspergillus (a filamentous fungus) species known to damage crops of human consumption. 

Due to a lack of having established CUREs as part of their curricula at undergraduate minority-serving institutions, there is a great need to study classroom-based research experiences and their multi-level impacts on underrepresented minorities (URMs) along with students who differ in factors like race and ethnicity.  “Xavier will be the first HBCU in Louisiana and likely the entire nation to convert high enrollment freshmen level courses into CUREs so that every single enrolled student will get to participate in exciting, integrative research and learn science by doing science,” said Dr. Shubha Ireland, Professor of Biology and Special Assistant to the Provost for Life Sciences Education at Xavier University.  “Based on current literature, we believe that this initiative will be a positive factor in increasing and maintaining student interest and retention in the sciences, which in turn, will have a direct effect in contributing to the ever-growing need for STEM graduates and post-graduates across the country.”  Ireland will serve as the Principal Investigator of this grant.  Three other faculty will serve as key personnel to implement this initiative: Dr. Andrea Edwards, the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Chair of Computer Science), Dr. Hector Biliran, Associate Professor of Biology and Dr. Joanna Haye, Assistant Professor of Biology.

The two CUREs, designed to increase students’ scientific competencies, motivation and self-efficacy while broadening their knowledge of career options, will impact 500 plus freshmen each year.  Spanning over both semesters of their freshman-year, all incoming Biology majors will learn genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, statistics, and bioinformatics, along with research techniques to hone their analytical and problem-solving skills. The freshmen will also receive training in scientific writing and communication. The acquisition of these new skills and knowledge early on will have applications in upper level courses at XULA and contribute to student success in college and beyond.  

The impact of the XULA CURE model will be measured and assessed in multiple areas including affective gains and student retention rates in the department of Biology. By engaging every single Biology freshman in authentic research, this TIP will further enrich the XULA Biology curriculum, prepare the next generation of scientists and open new scientific career pathways.  With the participation of more than 1,500 students over the course of three years, this TIP will positively influence the numbers of URMs joining the US STEM workforce.  The first CURE will be launched in the Fall semester of 2019.




Friday, July 12, 2019

HELP! Spaymart in State of Emergency!

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After serious flash flooding today in New Orleans and other parts of the state, Governor Edwards declared Louisiana to be in a state of emergency this afternoon.
 
A hurricane watch has been issued for parts of coastal Louisiana and some parishes have ordered evacuations ahead of anticipated rainfall and storm surge. New Orleans received 7 inches of rain in 3 hours. There are fears that the anticipated storm surge may even top levees in some places (SEE ARTICLE HERE)
 
Small shelters and rescues are contacting us for help, and we are mobilizing support as fast as we can, while trying to secure our own animals, facilities, and families. This unexpected weather emergency couldn't come at a more difficult time for us.
 
 
Please have any donations sent to the Spaymart Thrift Store at 6601 Veterans Blvd, Metairie, LA 70003
 
Keep up with updates on the Spaymart Facebook page and read the official announcement on the Spaymart website.

 

You all have been so generous and we appreciate your support during this state of emergency. Thanking you in advance.


 

ABOUT SPAYMART

SpayMart is a registered 501(c)3 public charity that runs a lifesaving animal welfare organization. Since 1998, they have worked diligently to enhance the lives of animals in the Greater New Orleans area and southeast Louisiana through programs directed at education, adoption, foster, rescue, and affordable spay/neuter. SpayMart’s goals are to: REDUCE pet overpopulation in the community PREVENT cruelty to all animals PROMOTE respect and compassion for all animals PROVIDE shelter and care for homeless and unwanted animals FIND loving, forever homes for the animals in our care.
 
 
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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Co-Parenting Tips Every Divorcing Couple Needs to Know

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It’s well known that nearly half of all marriages in the country end in divorce. The rate is even higher for subsequent marriages. What many people are not as focused on are the children involved and how to best go about co-parenting in a way that will help them grow into well-adjusted adults. July is National Child-Centered Divorce Month, making it an ideal time to place the focus of divorce on the children, and what can be done to help ensure they come out of the situation in healthy manner.

“Divorce may seem like it’s something between the adults, but it is really something impacts the whole family,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Children need parents who will commit to working together for the health and development of their child.”

In a study published in the journal called The Linacre Quarterly, researchers shared their findings of reviewing three decades worth of research regarding the impact of divorce on the health of children. Their research found that divorce has been shown to diminish a child’s future competence in all areas of life, including family relationships, education, emotional well-being, and future earning power. Parents can help to counter the negative impact that divorce has on the children by focusing on effective co-parenting that will help ensure their success throughout life.

Children who see their parents continuing to work together are more likely to learn how to effectively and peacefully solve problems themselves. They will also have a healthy example to follow. It’s important for parents to remember that their feelings about their ex does not, and should not, dictate their behavior. It’s better to focus on being a positive example, putting your child’s well being in the spotlight.

Patel offers some tips that will help with ensuring co-parenting success:
  • Commit to making co-parenting an open dialogue with your ex. Arrange to do this through email, texting, voicemail, letters, or face-to-face conversations. In the beginning, it may be hard to have a civil dialogue with your ex. There are even websites where you can upload schedules, share information and communicate so you and your ex don't have to directly touch base.
  • The key is consistency. Rules don’t have to be exactly the same between the two households, but you and your ex should establish generally consistent guidelines. They should be mutually agreed upon for both households. For example, meal time, bed time, and completing homework need to consistent. This helps create a sense of belonging and creates a sense of security and predictability for children. Discuss and come to an agreement about each of these issues.
  • Don’t give in to guilt and try and outdo your ex by gifting you child with things, instead agree on discipline. This includes things like behavioral guidelines, rewards, and consequences, so there is consistency in their lives, regardless of which parent they're with at any given time. Research shows that children in homes with a unified parenting approach have greater well-being.
  • Keep in mind that children will frequently test boundaries and rules, especially if there's a chance to get something they may not ordinarily be able to obtain. This is why a united front in co-parenting is recommended. 
  • Be flexible and update often. If there are changes at home, in your life, it is important that your child is never the primary source of information.
  • Speak in positive language about your ex. Remember, often times, the marriage is what was the issue, not the parenting style. Each of you has valuable strengths as a parent. Remember to recognize the different traits you and your ex have - and reinforce this awareness with your children.
  • Children exposed to conflict between co-parents are more likely to develop issues such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD. Keeping this in mind, strive to keep conflict around them to a minimal or none at all.
  • Keep the conversations child-focused. This will leave out problems that you and your ex have with each other. The focus now needs to be on the children.
“Effective and healthy co-parenting may be difficult at first and it make time some time to work everything out,” added Patel. “But getting this part right in the long run is going to have a huge positive impact on your children, so it’s worth it. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help to put a plan together or determine how to best put co-parenting into action.”

Patel has a new debut radio show on Dash Radio, North America’s first mainstream South Asian radio station, which premiered in April 2019. The station was founded by Rukus Avenue Music Group, and can be heard 24-7 on the Dash Radio app, as well as on the on the Dash Radio platform at DashRadio.com.

Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She also offers concierge parenting services, helping families to reach specific goals, such as focusing on college admission. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon.




Thursday, June 27, 2019

Country Scents Buzz Along Essential Oils - Just $8.00!

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Right now, with summer in full swing, crab the Country Scents Buzz Along Essential Oils to help keep bugs away. The bottle is just $8.00 or it's $8.50 for the roll-on oil option!
 
The Buzz Along Essential Oil Blend is a potent blend of essential oils known to protect against environmental annoyances. Diffuse indoors or on a patio to enjoy a safe, all-natural aroma barrier. It consists of a blend of: cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, and lemongrass
 
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