How To Dress Our Children For The Climate Change Part III.

Well, we’re at the end of our series, How To Dress Our Children For The Climate Change! I hope you’ve garnered some pertinent information that you will use. I was thinking about the dress code many school districts have instituted. Some say it’s for the convenience and economics of the family and other’s say it is for uniformity. Depending upon the mindset of the school leadership and understanding along with cooperation and support of the staff and parents, the program succeeds or fails.  One thing is for sure, automatic compliance is built into the system. Non-compliance can have some rather inconvenient consequences. That’s the same thing that happens in a family that does not understand the need for a clear framework of a cooperative family culture. There will be consequences of one kind or another!

In the home, families need to work cooperatively, show respect for one another and feel a certain amount of freedom of expression. Communication styles can’t be for show when company comes around! Recently, I was asked to perform a classroom observation for a 3rd grade boy who was having some issues in school. Because I had also made a home visit, I was able to see the full spectrum of behavior for this young man.  The culture of his family did not blend in with the culture of the classroom there really was no continuity between the two, the climates of both environments did not support one another. I believe there must be more work in this area of family culture and the climate that exist in our present society.

After being an educator of children and a family advocate for over 30 years I am coming to the conclusion that parents in a lot of ways are abdicating much of what should happen in the home to the systems outside of the family home. Take for instance homework.  The commute for many parents is much longer than in earlier eras, because the boundaries of communities and neighborhoods have expanded to accommodate the fluctuating economy.  To get more bang for the buck families are moving outside of the city limits and that increases commute time. In a lot of ways Before and After school programs have become the surrogate parent when it comes to homework. I am not an advocate for completing all of the homework away from home. The learning climate of schools has changed dramatically!  There are categories on todays report cards that were not there when my children were in school.  Children are required to “show their work” in math and many parents can get their child to the right answer, but not in the way they were taught in school! The climate has changed! In before and after school programs children may be provided ‘homework time’, but the person who works in that area may not be skilled  in the new way of doing math. Parents come into the center and ask their child, “Did you do your homework?” Hmm…. that’s not the same as did you finish your homework is it?

A recent study I read reported that preschoolers are now the group that are experiencing  the highest number of student suspensions! I have experienced this up close and personal! I was a multi-age classroom teacher in a private school.  I had to revert to filming students with my camera phone to get the children’s parents to really ‘see’ what their child was doing in class!  Aggressive behavior has become more of a norm than we realize….look at the cartoons and movies children have access to. Childcare is a very profitable and competitive industry and parents make changes from one center to another without having to divulge why they are looking for another center. Beyond allergies, food evaluations are not in the forefront of the entrance application.

As we are being made aware of the changes in food growth, production and manufacturing we have yet to really get the word out to parents and educators how important hydration and movement are in the  day to day routines of our children. For the most part parents are packing inexpensive snacks their children ‘prefer’ vs. what is nutritionally appropriate. The word must go out that nutrition directly impacts behaviors! The climate has changed and we are in many cases in a state of emergency!

As the seasons change so does the diets and behaviors of children.  More sugar, less focus, more sugar, more inflammation and breaking down of the immune system in children and adults. More water consumption the more children must use the bathroom.  This in and of itself can prove to be a problem as teachers are required to take every child to the bathroom as a group at a certain time. What happens to the child who has a smaller than normal bladder or a sensitivity to dairy which can show up as incontinence in girls in certain ethnic groups and aggressive behavior in boys of color. If an educator is not aware of this because the parent is not aware of this, the child can be restricted in their bathroom privileges because they have to ‘go too often’ or may be thought to be playing around.

We never really thought about mental health  in the way we must view it now! The climate of what is acceptable and not has changed. Angry disruptions between toddlers and parents were a common thing in the department stores in the last few months. Screaming NOOOOO and I WANT IT! or I Hate You! on several occasions was the reason I left the store without making my purchase!

The climate for children’s behavior has changed alright and we must explore and investigate a variety of ways to dress our children in this age of climate change!

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