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Month: April 2020

Why some kids are happier right now, and other unexpected effects of quarantine

Elissa Strauss | CNN

Updated 4:56 AM ET, Mon April 27, 2020Mo Major exercises in the backyard with his children Marley, 4, and Max, 5, on March 26, 2020, in Mount Vernon, New York. Mo was laid off as a chef consultant and his wife furloughed as a preschool teacher as schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mo Major exercises in the backyard with his children Marley, 4, and Max, 5, on March 26, 2020, in Mount Vernon, New York. Mo was laid off as a chef consultant and his wife furloughed as a preschool teacher as schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

(CNN)- Like most parents, Seagal Hagege, a mom of three in Irvine, California, wasn’t exactly looking forward to sheltering in place.Together all day? In one house? How would the kids respond?Much better than she could have ever imagined, it turns out. Over the course of the past month, she said her kids, ages 8, 7 and 4, have become better behaved, kinder to one another and more independent.

“Beforehand, they didn’t have a chance to just be present at home. Every day after school we were running to music, running to gymnastics, and then we would get home, do homework and go to bed,” Hagege said.”Now we have a chance to get stupid and take a break together. They’ve really stepped up, and they are shining,” she said, talking about the games her kids are inventing and their new responsibilities like slicing fruits and vegetables for meals.”It’s been really eye-opening. I don’t want it to go back to the way things were.”A number of parents are encountering a similar (and unexpected) response to shelter-in-place rules as Hagege: Their children seem happier.They are less busy, have more control over their time, are sleeping better, seeing more of their parents, playing more alone or with siblings — and feeling better for it.Lilli Wuenscher, a sopranist and member of the ensemble of Leipzig's opera house, sings as her 10-year-old son Joshua and 3-year-old daughter Josephine have a pillow fight at their home, where the family stays confined due to the pandemic on April 3, 2020, on the outskirts of Leipzig, eastern Germany.

Lilli Wuenscher, a sopranist and member of the ensemble of Leipzig’s opera house, sings as her 10-year-old son Joshua and 3-year-old daughter Josephine have a pillow fight at their home, where the family stays confined due to the pandemic on April 3, 2020, on the outskirts of Leipzig, eastern Germany.To be sure, this is but one of many feelings children are experiencing, which also include anxiety, fear and sadness. They’re all valid responses to what is not a happy moment for the planet.And there are a large number of children living with financial insecurity and grief. No sane person would expect kids to be feeling better in those circumstances.Still, the rise of happiness in the families lucky enough to be experiencing it is notable. It helps parents see some of what was going wrong before the pandemic and contemplate how they might want to restructure their lives after this is over.

Kids are getting to slow down

While it’s too early for any studies on a happiness spike, hundreds of families from around the United States have shared on social media and in discussion boards a sense of relief and joy, which tracks with what we know about the causes of childhood anxiety and depression today.Between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by roughly 60 percent among those ages 14 to 17, and by 47 percent among those ages 12 to 13, according to a 2019 study. Suicides among 10- to 24-year-old rose 56 percent from 2007 to 2017.

One of the most well-supported explanations for this rise of mental health disorders is that children have too much going on and not enough choice over what they do. It’s a function of a whole society that is overworked and time-poor, and our kids are paying the price for it.”Kids have been thrown from very adult organized life into one where there is a much bigger stretch of unstructured time,” said Lenore Skenazy, author of “Free-Range Kids” and president of Let Grow, a nonpartisan nonprofit group that promotes independence as a critical part of growing up.Just a few months ago, many families had their daily lives scheduled down to the minute, she said. “When parents are trying to get three kids out the door on a regular school day, they have to be on top of everything. There are just so many contingencies in our super-structured lives, it’s like dancing the Virginia reel,” an intricate square dance, Skenazy said. “Everything has to be done precisely, or it is just screwed up.”

Only children don't need to be lonely children during the pandemic

Sheltering in place has lowered the stakes and expectations of everyday life, and it’s giving kids a chance to take more chances. This can include something as simple as your little ones buttering their own bread or elementary schoolchildren going on kids-only bike rides around the neighborhood. These seemingly small acts can give them a much-needed confidence boost.Letting them take chances can also restore what psychologists call their internal locus of control — the sense that they are in control of their own lives and can handle disruptions on their own. It’s a crucial element of emotional well-being.

Why were our children so anxious?

Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College and author of the book “Free to Learn,” suspected that the school closures are a big contributing factor to the happiness spike.School has become more achievement-focused, and recess and opportunities for creative play have shrunk. He said that suicide rates for children are twice as high during the school year than they are during the summer.Making matters worse, children are rarely offered much of a reprieve after the bell rings.

“We tend to think children develop best when carefully guided by adults. So the belief is that even when they are out of school, children need to be guided,” he said. “Kids rarely get a break from being judged and directed.”Gray said this mentality sits in direct contrast to what he believes children need to develop healthily and happily — time to play and explore.”Suddenly kids are being able to [be self-directed]. They have time on a nice spring day to just sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. The things that are the subject of poetry that we have been denying our children are suddenly available to them,” he added.

The positive responses some parents are seeing

Many parents are seeing more risk-taking and independence among their kids.Diana David Joseph, a parent of triplets, age 5, and an 8-year-old, is hearing “Mom” a lot less often these days. Whereas her 5-year-old once needed lots of help after school, now they are managing more of the day on their own.”I swear before they couldn’t do anything without me. They couldn’t even get a cup of water,” she said. Now,”there seems to be this newfound feeling that we don’t need Mom overseeing everything that we do.”

A mom of two in North Carolina, who prefers to remain anonymous to protect her child’s identity, has noticed the same in her 12-year-old who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder and autism spectrum disorder.At first, her daughter was struggling, as the lack of structure left her “unmoored.” “After about two weeks, I noticed an improvement,” she said. “My older daughter was creating her own systems, practicing her clarinet every day — something I could never get her to do when it was a ‘requirement’ — and coming up with new ways to help around the house.”Her daughter has since organized her bedroom and the garage, and cooked breakfast. Overall, she seems “less emotionally overwhelmed” than she was before.The mom credits this shift to the fact that the whole family now eats three unrushed and healthy meals together every day; her kids are sleeping more without the early morning wake-ups; and her kids are both having a chance to get bored and then also having time to find a solution on their own. Lastly, the fact that they are all going through this heightened emotional time together and are “building the plane as they fly it” has given them something to bond over.Another source of the happiness boost is the increased camaraderie among siblings.Get CNN Health’s weekly newsletter

Braden Bell, a teacher in Nashville and father of five, said his youngest two children, ages 17 and 13, are getting along better than before.”Like almost any other family, our children love each other but also fight a lot. … I was worried how all this would be,” he said. “But overall our experience has been, in general, less stress, more family time and more happiness.”Bell said this goes for everyone in the family and, like others, credits this shift to a much-needed break from their busy lives. His sons, who didn’t have much in common before, are now finding ways to connect and share interests. For example, his fitness buff 17-year-old is teaching his 13-year-old about working out.”I know this isn’t a great time for everyone. I am really aware of that. But in many ways we have gone back to how humans lived for thousands of years, and are having extended periods of time with immediate family,” he said. “These are rhythms that we had as humans for a lot longer than our crazy contemporary lifestyles.”

The Cartel Teams With Untitled Entertainment to Produce 10 Movies

U.S. production, finance and management firm The Cartel is teaming up with management and production company Untitled Entertainment to develop and produce 10 movies for television and theatrical release as well as international distribution over the next two years.

The Cartel and Untitled Entertainment will jointly develop and produce the titles and The Cartel will finance and operate as the production service company. Untitled TV executive Laura Notarianni, formerly of Temple Street Productions (“Killjoys,” “Orphan Black”), will be creative point on the deal.

The Cartel, which has produced and financed more than 90 movies and series, is in pre-production on “Creepshow” season 2 for AMC’s horror streaming platform Shudder, and Syfy’s new 10-episode series “Day of the Dead.”

“Untitled is a tremendous management company and represents exceptional actors, writers and directors,” Stan Spry, co-CEO, The Cartel, said. “Michael Rosenberg (head of television, Untitled Entertainment) has been a friend and colleague for over a decade and has impeccable taste, and great development and production experience.”    TOP ARTICLES3/5READ MORETV RATINGS: ‘GOD FRIENDED ME’ FINALE FAILS TO SCORE HEAVENLY NUMBERS

Rosenberg said: “Stan and The Cartel provide great expertise in production and financing of movies and movies for television.” He added that the slate of movies “will not only utilize and showcase our diverse and exceptional talent roster but also provide entertainment and escapism to broad audiences.”

“This is a great fit that will leverage both company’s strengths in producing unique and engaging entertainment,” The Cartel co-CEO Eric Woods said.

Return to school in children’s interests – Ofsted

By Katherine Sellgren | BBC News education reporter

It is in children’s interests to return to school “as soon as possible”, says the head of England’s schools watchdog, Ofsted.

Amanda Spielman told a panel of MPs home and online learning were “imperfect substitutes” for school.

But she acknowledged adult health and infection risk needed to be considered.

Ms Spielman also said she expected to see a rise in the number of children needing some form of social care in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Amanda Spielman
Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman spoke to MPs on Monday

Losing education

Last week, England’s Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said no date had been set for schools to reopen to pupils other than key workers’ children and those considered vulnerable – and certain thresholds in fighting coronavirus would have to be met.

Speaking at the Downing Street briefing on Monday evening, the UK’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said the reinfection rate, known as the R, was near to three when schools were closed to the majority of pupils in March and is now below one.

Prof Whitty said experts were currently trying to establish what the impact of children returning to school would be on the R.

“Whilst it remains the case we think that the contribution of children at school is probably less than, for example, for flu, we do think it certainly contributes.

“And what we’re trying to work out is what proportion of the R it [schools being open] contributes and therefore if children went back to school, how much closer to one – and that’s in a bad way – would we be and could it even tip us above one, and what we can do, if so, to try and minimise that.”

On Monday morning, Ms Spielman told the Education Select Committee: “We have to accept that what can be done while schools are substantially closed is a very poor substitute for full normal education.

“Children are losing education and it’s not just the children who are disadvantaged or academically behind, it’s children without motivations.

“And it would be unrealistic for anyone, including me, to expect the vast majority of children to have made the same progress they would have made if they’d been in school, which is why I truly believe that it’s in children’s interests to be back in school as early as possible.”

Ms Spielman acknowledged “children’s interests alone don’t dictate the decision”.

“There are decisions around adults, adult health and infection, there are decisions around medical provision – clearly, this is a balance that is not mine nor the Department for Education’s to make,” she said.

But she urged schools to plan for how they could best return to normal education and “making sure children feel that normality”.

The Ofsted boss said she did not expect inspections to resume before the end of the summer term and schools would not be judged on how they had educated children during the current crisis.

There were “clear expectations” around safeguarding, she said, but “no expectations from government on learning”.

“We need to recognise that education has been substantially disrupted and will continue to be disrupted for some period after schools reopen, given what we know about likely expectations around social distancing and shielding,” Ms Spielman said.

But, she added: “We need to make sure that parents get the assurance they need that schools are looking after their children properly and educating them well.”

Domestic violence

Generic image of a teenager looking out of a window
The Ofsted boss expects a rise in social care referrals

The social-care area of Ofsted’s work was “the very busiest at the moment”, Ms Spielman said.

“We have every reason to think this [pandemic] is putting more pressure on a lot of families – we’ve all seen the reports around increased domestic violence,” she said.

“We know some families will be under significant financial pressure – and financial strain does not help families’ situations.

“So, yes, it seems very likely that there will be more children needing social care.

“But at the moment referrals to local authorities are down, not up – many referrals come from schools.

“So my expectation, yes, it’s that there will be even more pressure on children’s homes [and] home placements [of children needing to be looked after by their local authority], as we come out of this.”

The chief inspector also took questions from MPs about unregistered schools, the sex and relationships curriculum and whether schools could study GCSE content over three years rather than the traditional two.

Mr Williamson is due to appear before the committee on Wednesday

Coming soon: Top-Secret Michelle Obama Doc to Hit Netflix on May 6

‘Becoming,’ which originated with the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company, shares the name of the former first lady’s best-selling 2018 memoir and picks up where it left off.

Hollywood Reporter-A documentary feature about Michelle Obama — the existence of which has been kept top-secret for months — will be made available worldwide on Netflix on May 6.

Becoming, like reigning best documentary feature Oscar winner American Factory, originated from Higher Ground, the production company run by former President Barack Obama and the former first lady, which has an exclusive pact with Netflix.

The doc, which marks the feature directorial debut of cinematographer Nadia Hallgren (Trouble the Water), shares the name of the former first lady’s best-selling 2018 memoir and recounts some of the same history of her life. But it also picks up where that story left off by following her on the 34-city tour that she undertook while promoting her book.

“Those months I spent traveling — meeting and connecting with people in cities across the globe — drove home the idea that what we share in common is deep and real and can’t be messed with,” the former first lady said in a statement. “In groups large and small, young and old, unique and united, we came together and shared stories, filling those spaces with our joys, worries and dreams. We processed the past and imagined a better future. In talking about the idea of ‘becoming,’ many of us dared to say our hopes out loud.”

More here…

Mommy Matters: Helping children overcome shyness

by Stacey Skrysak | Monday, April 27th 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — Our children are home for the remainder of the school year and that has many schools utilizing online meeting websites like Zoom. But with a change to e-learning, it can be challenging for some kids to open up when they aren’t in the classroom setting.

Parenting expert Nadine Bubeck says now is the perfect time to work on that. She says, “Eye contact, enunciation, they all improve a child’s self-esteem and it teaches them coping mechanisms for overcoming anxiety. During this time when kids are going to school, being hugged by their teacher, and going to extra-curricular activities, it’s imperative we maintain these skills for them.”

selective focal photo of crayons in yellow box

Bubeck says there are easy ways to get your children to come out of their shell, by simply making everyday experiences more talkative.

One easy activity is to do a show and tell with friends through Zoom or Facetime.

Bubeck says, “Have your child make something out Legos or bring a special doll and have their friend do the same. Then, in turn, let them show each other their item and ask each other three questions. That will get them engaging and talking.”

Another easy activity is to hold a “how-to” presentation. For example, head outside and plant some flowers. Talk through the steps with your child, then ask your child to explain the process to you.

Bubeck has several free tips and activities through her company, Gift of Gab Kids. For more information, head to their Instagram page.

A serious new coronavirus-related condition may be emerging in children, with UK doctors reporting growing numbers requiring intensive care

coronavirus children
A serious coronavirus-related condition may be emerging among children, UK doctors say. 

Adam Bienkov 5 hours ago

Doctors in the UK have reported a serious condition emerging in children that could be related to the coronavirus, with growing numbers requiring intensive care.

A “significant alert” sent to general practitioners in London said that in the past three weeks “there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multisystem inflammatory state requiring intensive care,” according to a Monday report by the Health Service Journal.

The alert added that “there is a growing concern that a [COVID-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.”

It told doctors to “please refer children presenting with these symptoms as a matter of urgency.”

The coronavirus pandemic has so far affected mostly adults and older people, and the total number of cases of this unidentified condition in children is thought to be small, the Health Service Journal said.

The Paediatric Intensive Care Society, which issued a separate “urgent alert” about the condition, called for an “early discussion” of all new cases to identify its origin and limit its spread, the report said.

The alerts said the condition had features of “toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children,” according to the report. They added that “abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms” and “cardiac inflammation” were common.

The alerts said that “this has been observed in children with confirmed PCR positive SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as children who are PCR negative,” referring to the official name of the coronavirus. It added that “serological evidence of possible preceding SARS-CoV-2 infection has also been observed.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under growing pressure to reopen the nation’s schools following the national lockdown that began in March.

Asked about reports of the new condition, a spokesman for Johnson told a press briefing on Monday, “We are certainly aware of the reports, and the Department of Health are looking at that.”

Do you have a personal experience with the coronavirus you’d like to share? Or a tip on how your town or community is handling the pandemic?  Feel free to email me at throughlovewelearn@gmail.com

Flaxseed Oil Risks

By: Angelica Owens

Flaxseeds can either be made into a gel or an oil that have been known to make your hair grow and give it moisture. Even though there are positive reviews, there are still some risks to flaxseed oil. The risks are as followed:

  • Skin sensitivity to tropical oils
  • A decrease in blood pressure
  • An increase in estrogen, which can adversely affect a fetus during pregnancy
  • A possible increased risk of prostate cancer
  • Toxicity of eating unground and unripe seeds
  • Gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas, abdominal gas, cramps, diarrhea, and constipation

Flaxseed can be something that really helps with your hair, but it is important to take precaution with flaxseeds. Take the necessary steps to eliminate the risk factors associated with it.

The Go to Bee Product for your Face

By: Angelica Owens

Bees are good for more than just the environment, their venom is good to reduce the wrinkles on your face. Beenigma is a product made out of mostly Bee Venom that boosts collagen back into your skin. Bee Venom is also great for Anti Aging. It gets rid of wrinkles, tightens your skin and plumps your skin.

Beenigma contains Manuka Honey, which is a high grade kind of honey straight from New Zealand. It contains some powerful nourishment Qualities and is Antibacterial, Anti-inflammatory and Antioxident. This product is like Botox in a jar, but way more afforable and less painful! You no longer have to pay those high prices to get Botox to make you look younger. Beenigma is the solution for you!

This product is the only Bee Venom product on the market right now. It has been clinically demonstrated and has shown really strong results from its customers. To purchase this must-have product for people who would like to get rid of their imperfections on their face, you can buy it https://secure.beenigmacream.com/?cp=13701&KEYWORD=beenigma.

Home Workspace Causing Back and Neck Pain? Try This

By Aimee Bergquist and Kylie Urban

With many Americans working from home unexpectedly during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are turning their dining room tables, couches, or even quiet closets, into a workspace. For some, several weeks of working from home have already come and gone.

Nevertheless, what is working in an environment unlike the typical office and desk setting doing to the back, spine and neck?

“With the recent shift from working in the office setting to working from home, many individuals are forced to work in a less than ideal ergonomic environment,” says Rakesh Patel, M.D., service chief of spine and an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Michigan Medicine.

“The environments referenced above, such as the dining room table, mean the person is working in a hunched over position, which is associated with increased back pain.”

An ergonomic environment is one where the worker is comfortable in their workspace and doesn’t feel any strains or pain, says Sarah Platt Cooney, OTR/L, an ergonomics program coordinator for the University of Michigan Department of Environment, Health and Safety.

Now that several weeks of social distancing and working from home have happened, could a less than ergonomic workspace have already damaged the body?

“It’s unclear if long-term poor ergonomics leads to premature degenerative disc disease, or pain in the back and neck because of an injured spinal disc,” Patel says. “But, the worse the workspace, the less someone will be able to tolerate it. Additionally, the individual’s fitness, or core strength, and spine health will play a significant role in how long someone can work without the onset of symptoms.” 

Cooney and Patel provide some easy tips for making a current home workspace more ergonomic and one that doesn’t result in a trip to the doctor’s office for back and neck pain.

Find a workspace that enables productivity.

An ergonomic workspace includes being comfortable, which can lead to improved productivity. Find a comfortable area that avoids distractions, but allows access to all the tools needed to be productive.

Sit in a chair that is comfortable and, if possible, adjustable.

Cooney says it’s understandable that most people will have to use a chair from their dining table. If so, grab some pillows for additional padding and roll up a towel to place near the lower back for lumbar support.

Patel adds, “Experimenting with different chairs, for example, one with a back and one without a back, can also provide relief. Some chairs and stools have adjustable heights that could also put you in an optimal ergonomic position.”

Cooney says the feet also play a role in comfort.

“Be sure your feet are supported to avoid lower back pain,” she says. “If your feet don’t reach the ground, use a footrest or a stack of books for support.”

Adjust that laptop computer.

“A desktop computer is better for you ergonomically, but many people working from home are using a laptop as their primary computer,” Cooney says. “Our main goals in helping set up a laptop workspace are avoiding discomfort and reducing the head-down position.”

She adds, “If you happen to have a monitor at home that you could hook the laptop up to,that would be most preferred.”

If a monitor isn’t available, she says to choose a space that eliminates glare on the laptop screen, and raise up the screen using a stack of books or other materials so it’s eye level. Using an external keyboard and mouse will allow for raising up the screen and will keep the elbow positioned at a 90-degree angle. Keep the keyboard and mouse close to the body to avoid reaching forward.

Take stretch breaks.

Both Cooney and Patel agree that taking frequent breaks to stretch and relax the muscles are needed.

“Simply getting out of the seated position by walking around the house is beneficial,” Patel says. “Some individuals set up a standing home workspace and report great pain relief. In addition to breaks, strengthening one’s core can be extremely helpful, too.”

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