How to Help Kids Survive Online Schooling

By Brooke Campbell

Coming back to school can be a difficult thing to adjust to. You know what is harder? Coming back to a computer screen for classes. Online schooling has recently become the new normal for students across America. Either that or taking extra precautions for in-person classes, like wearing masks and carrying hand sanitizer at all times. It can cause a lot of stress and be extremely overwhelming. Luckily for you, I have a few tips and tricks that can help ease your child of the pain of online schooling.

Wake up early

This one may sound simplistic, but it is more helpful than you think. I am personally not a morning person, and the thought of getting up early on purpose everyday is not something I choose to do, but it has proven to be helpful in beginning to make a routine for the day. You can start by making your bed, brushing your teeth, and having breakfast. Think of one of those movie moments where the main character wakes up and the shots continue in a montage of happy morning moments. Sounds pretty nice right? The most important outcome of establishing this morning routine is that in a short period of time it becomes the norm, and your body adjusts.

Pace yourself

When I am taking classes, I feel like the work begins to stack up, layer on layer…on layer. Did I mention that I think there are many layers? Sometimes it stacks so high it looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, ready to topple over. I try to do a million things at once and get stressed out when I cannot complete everything in one sitting. It was not until I dug myself too deep in the work – hole that two important words engrained themselves in my brain. Slow. Down. I know it can be frustrating when it feels like the workload is never – ending, but taking your time to complete tasks is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it is the best thing to do. Scratch that. I think it is the ONLY thing to do. Part of pacing yourself is setting up a schedule before you get bogged down. Working to complete a task in small interests over a period of time is so much better than waiting and letting things pile up. Time management is essential and the secret to getting things done without that last – minute stress. This is not always easy, and many students need help planning this type of work schedule, especially at first, but once they have learned how to pace themselves, it is a tool that will be helpful throughout school and beyond.

Find Time for a Break

Times right now are tough, and putting too much pressure on yourself can be tiresome. Take some time for yourself to do something fun. Whenever I have a break in the day, I make sure I go to the nearest coffee shop so I can drown myself the biggest cup of iced coffee I can find (and I might even go back for more). As something as simple as a coffee break can brighten my mood and relax me. Find something that makes you feel that way. Reward yourself. It can be something as simple as playing on your phone for a little while. Look at Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter. You can pull Netflix up, watch an episode, work some more, and watch another episode. It does not matter what it is as long as it makes you feel more relaxed and level – headed when you get back to working on things. You can even schedule these break times into your work routine.

Unwind at the Day’s End

After working all day long, you need time to relax at night. This is the opportunity for you to really unwind and pat yourself on the back for achieving everything you set out to do. Watch a movie or eat a bowl of ice cream. Allow yourself to feel satisfied that you have accomplished a great deal during the day and look forward to a new start tomorrow. Get a good night’s sleep and begin the next day rested and relaxed.

While not completely guaranteed, these few simple tips will give your children a push in the right direction. You can even try them out yourself! Children typically learn by example, so if you have a positive attitude towards these steps, and even model them in your own hectic life, they most likely will too. The results could be a more productive, successful, and stress – free life for the whole family.

Sources:

https://www.edutopia.org/article/why-are-some-kids-thriving-during-remote-learning

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/06/29/back-to-school-reopen-online-classes/3251324001/

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/homework-study-skills/online-learning-how-to-prepare-child

https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/03/23/how-effective-is-online-learning-what-the.html

COVID-19 and Schools: How to Help Your Kids Navigate the Year

By Cassidy Black

When schools abruptly closed in April 2020, and students got two extra months of summer, they never thought returning to school like normal wouldn’t be an option for this fall. Now that school has started this year for your children, let’s check in.

The CDC stressed opening schools quickly and safely this fall for students. However, schools were to make the best decision possible for their students and community when deciding the route for reopening. My sister’s school provided families with multiple different options: all in-person, all remote via the school, or all remote via an outside source. Regardless of your decision, we’d like to help your kids navigate this weird ‘new normal.’

Offer Reassurance and Help

Even if they don’t seem like it, your children actually listen to your advice. If they are stuck on a project and can’t think of ideas, help them! Throw out suggestions and ideas, and just maybe one will stick. Often I find myself texting my mom for ideas and suggestions for papers because I can’t think of anything. Also, keep tabs on their school district’s policies about COVID-19 and everyday maintenance. Sign up for district emails/newsletters, teacher policy updates, and more. The more you know to help your kids, the better.

Find the Good in Each Day

Celebrate little things! Every day after school, especially this year, your child is going to come home (or leave the computer screen) physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I know I walk away from my computer screen drained every day. It is highly important to find the good in every day. Did your child pass their history test? Make their favorite dinner! Did they attend every online class on time today? Give your child a hug and tell them you are proud. Trust me when I say they need to hear it more than you think.

Talk About Mental Health

Self-care is always important, but even more so right now. Be open with your kids about mental health and how to approach these feelings. The best thing a parent can do when their child expresses feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, or anything else, is to love them and get help when necessary. Helping your children keep a steady sleep and eating schedule and getting regular exercise can help to boost mood as well. And have discussions with others about the signs you need to look for so you know when to get professional mental health help.

Remind Your Kids that Feelings are Valid

Emotions are running at high speed this year for everyone. Remind your children that their frustration over the absence of extracurricular activities is okay. It’s okay to be upset and frustrated that school dances aren’t happening. It’s understandable to be angry that you can’t go watch your friends play soccer or football. They are allowed to have feelings and express them to you. When the “storm” has passed, it will be okay to go back to regular activities. But meltdowns may happen. Just be there.

Keep Learning

Probably the best thing to do is just keep learning. Parenting is one of the world’s most difficult jobs. But as Dr. Lauber has always told us, it’s also the toughest job you’ll ever love. Check out our links below.

Extra resources:

https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/helping-children-cope-with-changes-resulting-from-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html

https://www.childandadolescent.org/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-high-school-students/

How Much is Too Much? Junk Food Addiction

By Michelle Raymond

Have you ever sat down to watch TV with a bag of chips and suddenly half of the family-sized bag is gone before your show has even started? This has happened to me and it probably happens to teens and adults every day. The only difference is that children and teens are still growing, and their bodies require more nutrients to continue that growth. 

So, you may be asking, why is overeating such a bad thing in teens considering they need to eat more than the average adult? Well, it all depends on what they are eating. Eating two rows of Oreos from a pack may sound amazing but it holds little-to-no nutritional value. 

The bottom line is junk food is calorie dense but nutritionally poor. When you add increased calorie consumption to a developing body it can negatively affect how the body develops, causing obesity, diabetes, nutrition deficiencies, eating disorders, and even depression. 

In your teenage years, the habits you develop carry over into adulthood, which is why it is so important to practice good eating habits not only in childhood but your teen years as well. Often teenagers get in the habit of eating junk food. When they go off to college or leave home, it becomes even easier to eat cheap and ready-made junk food daily. Without mom or dad to cook your homemade healthy meals, young adults tend to go for the simpler and more delicious option.

The best thing you can do is teach your kid what to eat and how. How much is too much? Junk food does not have to be cut out entirely. Instead it can be a treat. Tell them they can eat anything, just in moderation. 

One great way to teach your child is to teach them to cook too. Maybe try making a healthy meal once a week with your child. That develops their healthy habits. And later in life, they won’t be completely lost when mom and dad are not around to cook for them. 

Another method is to teach your child how to meal prep. Try meal prepping Sunday for the week to come. Cut fresh fruits and vegetables for lunches or cook chicken and prepare it in salads or rice. This is an easy way to have a healthy grab-and-go food for busy teens. No need to go through McDonalds drive though when you have pre-made healthy food options sitting in your fridge at home.

It’s not always about what your teen is eating. Sometimes it’s just about “how much”. Do your nutritional research and help your child develop life-long healthy habits so they can be a healthy adult outside of your home.

For more information:

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/take-charge-health-guide-teenagers

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/go-red-get-fit/unhealthy-foods

https://www.thewomens.org.au/health-information/staying-well/adolescent-girls/food-and-nutrition-for-adolescents

“Fall” in Love with these Seasonal Activities

By Steven Langdon Jr

Fall is in the air. The weather is getting colder, and the geese are booking their tickets south. 

 Although this fall – like much of the year – will not quite be the same, many Fall activities can still be enjoyed. Of course you’re still concerned about safety. So we’ve pulled together some of the best, and safest, things you can still do this Fall season.

Carve a pumpkin

This is a fun activity no matter what age you are. Most farms are still open but some of them may have restrictions or change their hours, so call ahead. 

If your farm is closed or you do not feel safe going to one, do not worry. Many local grocery stores and Walmart’s also carry pumpkins. 

There are many kits and videos on the Internet that could help, if this is your first time carving a pumpkin. I think it’s a great activity for the whole family and is a great way to show off your creativity. Maybe there can even be a family competition to see who has the best design. 

Navigate a Corn Maze

A personal favorite of my family’s is the corn maze. These are perfect for anyone that loves puzzles and does not mind getting lost once or twice in the process. 

Some farms have both pumpkins and corn mazes. Why not knock out two birds with one stone? Out here in rural America often you can finish the corn maze and then relax while taking a ride over to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. 

Play outdoor sports 

The weather is cool and it is football season. And many people will go out to toss the pigskin. But that’s not the only sport one can play.

You could toss around a frisbee, or play a round of golf. Maybe try badminton, baseball or tennis, all of which can be played while observing social distancing guidelines. 

 Did you know there are two other versions of golf? 

One is disc golf, which we wrote about in a June 11th article. There’s also footgolf, which we wrote about on Sept. 6th. Both of them are similar to golf but with a twist. Disc golf has frisbees and footgolf has a soccer ball. 

Looking at the Fall leaves

Around here the most common Fall activity is to look at the remarkable display of colors that is the forests of Pennsylvania. Thousands of variations of colors like orange, red and yellow. And the best part is it may not cost you any money. Maybe it’s a short drive for you to find your areas Fall display of leaves. 

At the least, if gets you in the “Fall” mood to see what nature can create with just the change of the seasons. 

Links

End Summer with These Social Distancing Sports

By Seth Woolcock

As the summer continues to segue into grey September days, this Autumn feels a little different than usual, especially when it comes to youth sports.

Some states have decided to cancel fall youth sports altogether, while others have given the green flag. 

But, whether your kid’s athletics are canceled for the season or still going, it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about some different options that they can do to stay active while also staying safe and healthy.

And with social distancing here to stay for the time being, I recommend you check out these sports that can be played while maintaining social distancing:

Running

It’s one of those sports that it seems like you either love it or hate it. It also is something that all you need to get into it is a decent pair of sneakers. 

But either way, running and cross country, especially for would-be varsity athletes, really should be a sport that makes a comeback because of COVID-19.

If you are someone who doesn’t necessarily love sports or is a little self-conscious about being athletic, running is a great place to start mainly because it’s largely an independent activity.

It improves cardiovascular health and also reduces the body’s stress hormones, says a Harvard Healthstudy.

I suggest you do make sure you’re kid does learn some safety protocols and procedures, such as running against traffic in highly-visible clothing.

Pickleball

Pickleball was first played in 1969 in Washington State.

Known as the middle child between traditional tennis and table tennis, pickleball is a similar paddle sport played between two or four players.

In my high school, we had a pickleball tournament every year in gym class. I think one of the coolest things about the game is that so many kids, even the ones who normally didn’t get overly excited about gym class, could get decent at pickleball pretty quickly.

Paddles and balls are relatively inexpensive. And there are more and more pickleball courts in communities today. If your community doesn’t have a pickleball court, you can modify a tennis court by doing the following.

FootGolf

The first footgolf tournament was played in the Netherlands.

So Footgolf is, as you probably guessed, a combination of soccer and golf. Played just like regular golf or disc golf, it is played by golfers using a soccer ball to navigate the course, working around hazards to get the ball in the hole in the fewest amount of kicks or strokes.

Most footgolf courses are played at regular golf courses, but for a substantially lower price than regular golf. If your kid is into soccer but can’t play this season due to concerns regarding COVID-19, or if they just like kicking things, try taking them to a footgolf course and see how it goes.

Cycling

If your kid isn’t into running, maybe they’d be interested in one of the best alternatives, cycling. The sport has become so popular since COVID-19 hit back in March, that it’s been difficult to find bicycles to buy at times.

But if your kid already has a bike, or you’re able to get your hands on one, enjoy it. Cycling can be a great, healthy sport that the whole family can get involved in.

It seems like more bike trails are being put in yearly, which gives cyclists a safe place to enjoy biking while seeing the world and nature in a different way than they’re used to.

The sport is also another one that provides cardiovascular benefits, while also helping your kid develop better coordination.

Fantasy Sports

Alright, so I might be a little biased here, but I believe that fantasy sports are a great way for teens to keep in touch with the game while still being removed from actually playing it.

While fantasy football is the most popular and well-known fantasy sport, nowadays there is pretty much a fantasy version for every real sport. There’s everything from fantasy golf, to fantasy NASCAR, to even fantasy cricket.

Fantasy sports can be a great critical-thinking challenge and has various stats and trends to follow. Believe it or not, to be a high-level fantasy sports player, you actually need to be decent at math and statistics.

But there is the other side of fantasy sports, gambling. Quite obviously there is a large amount of luck involved in the game and you can quickly lose your buy-in if you’re playing for money. Warn your kids about playing for money. I’ve written other blogs on this site describing how some of my friends went several thousand dollars in the hole. I suggest keeping it low-stakes and for primarily bragging rights. But remember, kids should be able to enjoy fantasy sports without any betting at all.

Useful Links:

Teen Running Safety Guide: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/safety-running.html

Back-to-School Tips for Parents: COVID-19 Edition

Katie Mest
By Katie Mest

Back-to-school season won’t have the same excitement this year for kids and teachers. On top of the normal craziness of a new school year, educators and parents are worrying about how to keep their kids safe if they have to sit in a classroom and learn with other children. Hopefully, our back-to-school tips will give you some ideas on how to do that.

My niece’s elementary school created a hybrid schedule to minimize unnecessary contact between students. The first half of the alphabet goes into school the first half of the week while the other half is remote. Then they swap for the second half of the week. But it turns out that many of her close friends fall into the opposite group as her. This year is going to be hard on kids in a lot of ways.

This is as new for them as it is for you, so I pulled advice from some resources to help you as your kids prepare to step back into the classroom.

Back to School in COVID-19 Times

Check in with Your Child Every Day

Regardless of whether or not your school requires it, take your kid’s temperature each morning when they get up. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you would rather learn they’re sick yourself then getting a call later from a school nurse. Confirm with them that they know to tell you even if they feel only a little bit sick.

Designate a Spot for School Items

Back-to-school season usually stirs up a lot of germs that get brought into your house to begin with, but this year will be even worse. Find a spot in your house where your kid can leave their backpack, shoes, jacket, and lunchbox. A good place is typically right by the front door or garage door.

Sanitize as Soon as They Get Home

Once they leave their stuff at the door, get them in the habit of at least changing into new clothes and washing their hands. If they took any toys or devices to school, make sure those get wiped down before your kid uses them in the house. Same goes for you, parents, if you work around other people during the day.

Regularly Wash Cloth Masks

Don’t let a mask become one of those items that gets lost forever in your kid’s backpack. Create a consistent schedule for washing your kid’s masks. Make sure they have a few comfortable masks they can switch in and out when the others are getting washed. You may even want to put the entire household on the same mask-washing schedule to assure you’re all covered.

Create a Home School Area

If you haven’t already, you may want to have a specific place for your kid to go to do their homework and schoolwork. If they are doing all or some schooling during the day from home, this is essential. Kids have been stuck in their houses for months. It will be helpful for them to have certain places for focused work that is separate from the area in which they can play and have down time.

Going along with that, organize a schedule with them for homework time before they play. Especially if they didn’t have a lot of structure during out-of-school months (did any of us?), they will need help getting back into a routine.

Let Them Talk to Their Friends

I’m thinking about all the kids in a similar situation as my niece. They won’t get to see their buddies much, and socializing is an important part of childhood development. It might mean they’re on their devices a little more to video chat or message each other, but kids communicate differently than when you were a kid.

Take It Easy

On them. On yourself. On others. It’s going to be a big change for everyone.

Support Your Kid’s Teacher

Whether you send in some extra Lysol wipes and tissues or reach out personally, your kids’s teacher will appreciate the sentiment. Everyone is in this together.

Read More

How the Pandemic has Affected Opioid Usage

pic of Megan D
By: Megan Donny

While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic is the top story on most news channels, we need to remember that our nation is facing another crisis: the opioid epidemic. 

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), during the Coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of opioid-related deaths.  

The AMA said that during this pandemic, more than 35 states have reported increased numbers in opioid-related deaths as well as continuing concerns about substance use disorder. 

Reversing the Trend

The Coronavirus has begun to reverse the strides made in recent years to reduce the effects of the opioid epidemic in the United States. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January showed there was a slight decline in overdose deaths. This was the first reported decline in 28 years. 

But the pandemic is reversing those trends. This is due to the isolation, quarantine and economic devastation many have experienced during this pandemic. 

“When the pandemic hit, some authorities hoped it might lead to a decrease in overdoses by disrupting drug traffic as boarders and cities shut down,” said William Wan and Heather Long from The Washington Post.

But the pandemic brought anxiety and depression, both of which can drive someone to drug use. Because of the pandemic and quarantine, people have been seeking out new dealers, many of whom are desperate for money due to lack of work because of the pandemic. 

Also, during the beginning of the pandemic, many recovery programs and treatment centers had to close to enforce the quarantine and social distancing. Locally, some 12-step programs had to temporarily close because the non-profit facilities they were using were closed to all group meetings. 

Drug Use and Your Child

If you’re worried that your child may be affected by the pandemic and may turn toward drug use, there are signs to look for. These signs include lack of motivation, lack of communication, hostile or angry behavior, secretive behavior, lack of focus, sudden loss of inhibitions, and periods of sleeplessness or high extended periods of energy, followed by a crash and then more sleep. 

Checking their social media is another way to know if they partake in drug use. Their social media posts or their closer friends may point to drug use. 

We’re deeply concerned about both the pandemic and the opioid crisis. Please take the necessary steps to keep your kids, and yourself, safe.

Links

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/01/coronavirus-drug-overdose/

https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-07/issue-brief-increases-in-opioid-related-overdose.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/09/coronavirus-pandemic-us-opioids-crisis

About spotting drug use: https://drugfree.org/article/spotting-drug-use/

Video Games are Taking on Mental Health

Desmond Brown pic
By Desmond Brown

The Electronic Software Association considers video games a stress reliever for all ages, though some are still skeptical. Many who are not immersed in the gaming world only hear about the violent, shoot-‘em-up type of games.  But recent years new games and new game character type have emerged. And studies are showing that these innovative games can be a new way to treat mental disorders. In fact, later in this article I’ll introduce the first game to be approved by the FDA to help with ADAD. Fur first, let’s talk about the new character types that are representing real life, including mental health issues, in a new way.

New Mental Health Characters

It’s true that previous games depicted characters with mental illness as either comedy or horror types (see Outlast or Borderlands). However, the gaming industry has moved past this way of thinking. Allow me to introduce you to Celeste. On the surface, Celeste is a platform-type game. In this game you have to overcome a series of challenging obstacles by jumping and climbing (think Super Mario Brothers). However, in this story there is a young woman named Madeline.

Madeline has an anxiety disorder. Throughout the game, you see her character experience panic attacks. When this happens, the music becomes sinister and the environment gets darker. She also starts to breath heavy and begin to shake. Although this is a 2D animated character, and very much a game, this is an experience many people have had in real life, including myself.

Having a character such as this has given me the sense that others might be able to feel or know what I have experienced. That representation is important for anyone, but I think it’s especially important for kids growing up. I grew up with and still have depression and mild anxiety. Certain things can trigger panic attacks for me, in addition to the depressive episodes I have where it feels like the weight of the ocean is on my body. Seeing a character in this game who is overcoming a mental barrier just as much as a physical one is very rewarding and comforting to me.

Seeing Someone Like Me

One outcome of this is I think it helped me understand that I needed to be the one to make the changes in my life if I wanted to feel better. I think these games can help children and teenagers figure out things about themselves. Maybe it’s easier to see what you are going through once you project your problems onto a character you are playing. But, fortunately, the game is also still fun to play!

Other games are also depicting real life mental health issues. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice puts you in the shoes of a woman who has a psychosis. Sea of Solitude looks at depression in a metaphorical way as inside a woman’s mind. Arise: A Simple Story is about a man dealing with grief and depression. Auti-Sim places you in the shoes of someone with autism. Each of these games is a way for players, both with and without mental illness, to understand a bit more about others and themselves.

Video Games are Helping with Mental Issues

Recently, games have been built specifically to treat people with mental health problems. For example, EndeavorRX, is the first FDA approved video game that is targeted toward children eight to 12 with ADHD. Studies show that one in three patients who play the game for 25 minutes a day for a week can reduce their attention deficit problems for up to a month (compared to those who did not play). Note, the developers and the doctors who helped with testing both say the game is a supplement to therapy and other medications, not a replacement. But it is widely encouraging that we’ve come this far. You can sign-up for their newsletter to find out when the game will be available at https://www.akiliinteractive.com/get-endeavor

I wanted to write about this topic for parents who may have children with mental illnesses because it is hard to truly understand what someone is going through when they say they have depression or anxiety. Games like these can help everyone understand what your child is going through, or even help treat their symptoms.

Games for Change

If you want to learn more about games like these, I suggest visiting Games for Change. Games for Change is a non-profit that helps bring attention to games like these I’ve mentioned. It also helps produce them by working with developers.

Go to

Home Page

You can also take a look at The Insight Project, a collaboration between Hellblade developer Ninja Theory and Professor Paul Fletcher of the University of Cambridge. The Insight Project’s goal is to create gaming media that helps alleviate mental distress.

The Insight Project

I know many parents are worried about the negative effects of gaming on their kids. But it’s important to recognize that not all games are created equal. Do the research, set some boundaries, and I’m sure you’ll find that gaming can become a healthy part of your kid’s lives.

Other Links:

More on the game that helps with ADHD:

Helping your kids cope with quarantine emotions

pic of Megan D
By Megan Donny

Now that America is beginning to open back up, I find myself feeling upset about everything I missed out on because of the pandemic and anxious about the future. 

Unfortunately, I’m not the only one feeling this way. The outbreak of the Coronavirus has created a lot of anxiety in not only adults but children and teenagers as well. 

This can be a confusing and stressful time, especially for children and teenagers. 

All of the stress and memories of the things they are missing out on can cause them to feel depressed or more aggravated than they usually are. 

As a parent of a child or teenager, you’ve probably experienced some of the backlashes from your kids these emotions are creating. When children are angry or upset, many times they express that anger by yelling, being rude or acting out physically by slamming doors. 

According to clinical psychologist Sherry Kelly, many teenagers who are usually mild-mannered are acting out because they are feeling unusually trapped with no control over their lives anymore. 

While nobody can change what is currently happening with the pandemic, there are ways to help your kids process and control their emotions during this time. 

Four Strategies for Coping During These Times

One way, according to Kelly, is to encourage them to focus on the things they can control, rather than the things they can’t control. She recommends helping kids come up with two lists; one of the things they have control over and one for the things they don’t. You can then help your kids focus on the things on one list, and avoid thoughts about the other. 

Many kids are feeling especially isolated from their friends and other family members they may not live with. I know I personally have felt very lonely during the stay at home order and quarantine. It’s not a surprise that kids are feeling this way. To keep your children engaged with their family and friends, encourage them to Skype or play online games with them as a way to connect. 

Keeping an everyday routine for your kids is another way to help prevent negative emotions associated with the pandemic. By creating a new routine for your kids, it will help them feel less anxious about all of the uncertainty they may be experiencing.  

Make sure you also acknowledge your children’s feelings. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and to express any of their worries they may have. Children are likely to feel secure during times like this if they know their parent has acknowledged their feelings and is there to support them.

We know you’re going through a tough time, parents. Hang in there. And remember what Dr. Lauber always says, “Parenting is the toughest job you’ll ever love!”

Resources:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-03-ways-kids-happy-home-self-quarantine.html

https://www.today.com/health/quarantine-tips-help-your-kids-stay-physically-mentally-fit-t180028

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2020/04/23/even-mellowest-teens-are-raging-against-quarantine-heres-how-help-them-cope/

Could Disc Golf Get Your Kid (And You?) Out of the House?

By Seth Woolcock

COVID-19 pressed the pause button on sports at all levels. The professional leagues were interrupted, college athletes were told to go home and youth, your kids, were forced to forgo their spring and summer sports seasons.

However, even as the sports world stands still, discs are still flying and chains are still slapping against poles all across America. I’m referring to recreational disc golf, of course. 

What is Disc Golf?

Disc golf, standardized in the 1970s, is played like regular golf. However, you don’t hit a ball. You throw a disc, much like your regular frisbee disc, into an elevated chain net that catches it. The goal is to get the lowest possible score (least number of throws) through nine holes or 18 holes. 

Via Discraft.com

Like regular golf, there are various “clubs” (discs) that fly in different patterns and different speeds. Therefore, you select your disc for each shot. Disc golf is both an incredibly simple game and easy to start, but also a very complex game as your skill level grows.

Perhaps the most compelling thing about disc golf, especially for teens, is that it is usually free-to-play, as courses are normally built and maintained at public township, county or state parks.

I first started playing the sport when I was 15, right after some of my high school teachers created a course at our neighborhood park. 

Since then, I have played dozens of courses, hit hundreds of trees and improved immensely at the game. I’ve also made great memories and enjoyed a lot of  “hanging with my friends” time.

I think the best part of the game for me has been the places it’s taken me. From the hills in Western Pennsylvania to a small river-town along the Susquehanna River, all the way to an abandoned military base in Maryland – disc golf has shown me beautiful landscapes that I wouldn’t have otherwise come across.

Why Should Your Kid and/or You Try It?

No, I’m not a parent, but I have teen siblings and cousins. And it seems now, more than ever, that it’s harder to keep kids outside a long time. Disc golf is a sport that turns hiking through a park into a total adventure.

I’ve seen it played by people well into their sixties, so I know you can get out there and do it.  It provides a solid upper and lower body workout if you want it to. It also tests your aerobics and concentration when you’re attempting difficult shots. 

In addition to getting your kid doing something productive outside, like I said, disc golf is usually free-to-play. And the discs, unlike real golf clubs, are actually pretty affordable – generally ranging from $5-30.

My personal favorite disc golf brand is Dynamic Discs. You can usually get a great starter pack for less than $25 on Amazon.  

Future Outlook of Disc Golf:

Disc golf could become more popular than regular golf by 2028, says an article written by Joshua Woods, an Associate Professor of Sociology at West Virginian University and founder of “Parked Disc Golf.”

With traditional golf courses declining every year and more disc golf courses continuing to be installed, it might not be too long before disc golf is the new norm. Imagine your kid’s future company having a disc golf outing instead of the traditional golf outing.

Things to Do Before You Go:

I would recommend watching a few YouTube Videos before your first game.  While disc golf is a really easy concept to grasp, having a veteran player to learn from is never a bad thing. There are a few basic terms and ways to throw the discs you may want to learn before you go. It will save your time and frustration in the long run. I think most of the basics can be learned in a short YouTube clip. A video that helped me when I was just beginning was this one.

Second, you may want to download the “UDisc Disc Golf” App.  This handy app, created by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), is a go-to tool for any disc golfer. In addition to acting as a scorecard, the app shows you just about every disc golf course nationwide. You can also add layouts to help first-time players navigate the course, and leave reviews and ratings of courses.

I want you to remember to have fun out there.  While the game is easier than regular golf to pick up, like any sport, there is a learning curve. Try not to get too frustrated in the time it takes to understand your discs. Also, take in your surroundings and enjoy the time you are going to spend with your kids. Like Dr. Lauber always says, “Parenting is the hardest job you will ever love!”

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