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Education & Information

How parents can help kids who are  hesitant about returning to school

How parents can help kids who are  hesitant about returning to school
Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

It's hard to believe that summer is almost over and the back-to-school season is right around the corner. The school year is approaching fast and since many kids have been home pandemic schooling for the past year and a half the return of "normal" is likely to bring kids and parents alike some anxiety about what the return to school will look like.

We have all been living through an extended trauma and this past year has impacted us in ways that we may not even realize—and we may not come to realize the scale in which we have been altered for years to come. Just as we have been learning to cope and navigate the world during a global pandemic, so have our children. They've been expected to perform at pre-pandemic levels for quite some time; this doesn't negate their very real reality of pandemic life.

Kids have had to readjust socially, and in many children this has caused a loss of social skills and increase in social anxiety. With school quickly approaching and the push for schools to open back to full capacity, it's completely normal to have heightened anxiety around the traditional opening of schools. How we handle this anxiety and prepare our children for their own challenges can make all the difference between having a rocky start to an already stressful new school year.



Checking in with your child on their feelings about returning to school should be the first step. Find out what their comfort level is and what they expect school to look like when they return. Then do some research to find out if the school's Covid policy for this year will allow your child's expectations to be met or if you need to help your child reexamine their expectations with the reality of the school district's policy.

Every school district likely has its own rules. Some may be requiring masks and social distancing, while others may be going back to pre-pandemic schooling, taking their chances without masks, trusting that families will do what's best for them. It's hard to say which schools will follow the CDC guidelines and which ones won't, so it's important to be informed about what your child's school is doing and evaluate your family's comfort level.

Practice some conversation starters. Especially if your child is generally shy or has developed some social anxiety. Masks make it more difficult to read facial expressions, and the traditional way of showing you're friendly or happy with something someone said is obscured. Having some phrases to pull out in a pinch may help your child feel more at ease in the school setting. These things don't have to be anything in depth, but the discussion about the possibility of a compliment helping to break the ice can calm an anxious child who may not have been in the physical classroom for an extended period of time.

It can be helpful to look at the things your child can control if hesitancy to return to the classroom is high. In a school setting this can get a little tricky, but if the school does not require masks and your child is more comfortable wearing a mask, that is something they can absolutely control. They can wear a mask. They can carry hand sanitizer and travel disinfectant wipes. They can also look to create their trusted group of friends to keep in their safe bubble. These would be the friends that are adhering closely to the personal guidelines that your child is most comfortable with. This will allow them to continue to socialize in and out of school, which will help with feelings of social isolation, depression and anxiety.

At the end of the day, school is coming back in a traditional way whether we are ready or not, so ensuring your child is prepared as best they can be will help decrease the stress surrounding the return. Introducing coping skills that kids can do from their desks in the event that their anxiety peaks is one of the most helpful preparation tools you can provide. Tools like deep breathing, grounding techniques such as the 5-4-3-2-1 method, a small stress ball, or a piece of felt with a calming scent sprayed on it that they can pull out and smell are all easy and helpful. Practicing these things before the first day of school will help it become easier for children to do if and when they need to center themselves. They're also helpful outside of the classroom for anyone who may be experiencing anxiety or stress.

The return of school is stressful during normal times, but even more so now. As parents, we can do our best to not only prepare our children through conversations and introducing new skills, but we can give them more of a leg up by modeling the skills they can use when possible. Kids are more likely to do what they see, and if they see you using the skills you're teaching them, they're more likely to use them when you're not around.

Jacalyn Wetzel, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and therapist as well as a mom herself.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.


The actual event occurred in a nano second, but the camera has the ability to slow it down to twenty seconds.

time, science, frames per second, bounced light

The amazing camera.

Photo from YouTube video.

For some perspective, according to New York Times writer, John Markoff, "If a bullet were tracked in the same fashion moving through the same fluid, the resulting movie would last three years."


In the video below, you'll see experimental footage of light photons traveling 600-million-miles-per-hour through water.

It's impossible to directly record light so the camera takes millions of scans to recreate each image. The process has been called femto-photography and according to Andrea Velten, a researcher involved with the project, "There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

(H/T Curiosity)


This article originally appeared on 09.08.17

Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash

People are right to complain about being charged a cleaning fee and being asked to do chores.

In 2016, My husband and I started renting our basement apartment out as a short-term rental on Airbnb. We live in a college town and figured we'd get some guests during football game weekends and graduations. We didn't realize how many people come to our town to visit their college kids or check out the school, so we were pleasantly surprised by how regularly we were booked.

In 2019, we bought the house next door and now rent out both floors of the old house as separate units. We love being Airbnb hosts and have had a very successful run of it, with hundreds of 5-star reviews, Superhost status and lots of repeat guests.

We also don't charge a cleaning fee or make guests do check-out chores. In fact, we find both things rather loathsome.


What makes us good hosts is that we've been Airbnb guests for years. As a family of five that travels a lot, we've found far more value in Airbnbs than in hotels over the years. We love having a kitchen, living room and bedrooms and feeling like we have a "home" while traveling. We even spent a nomadic year staying at short-term rentals for a month at a time.

When you've experienced dozens of Airbnbs as a guest, you learn what guests appreciate and what they don't. You see what's annoying and unnecessary and what's to be expected in comparison to a hotel. We started taking mental notes long before we started our own rental about what we would want to do and not do if we ever had one and have implemented those things now that we do.

As guests, we know the pain of the cleaning fee, so we don't charge one.

via GIPHY

It helps that my husband has a flexible schedule and grew up helping with his parents' janitorial service, so most of the time he cleans the apartments himself. We could charge a cleaning fee for his time and labor, but even if we were paying for outside cleaners, we still wouldn't put a separate fee onto guest bookings. It makes far more sense to us to just wrap the cleaning fee into the per-night price.

From a host's perspective, the one-night stay is where the cleaning fee question hits the hardest. Whether someone stays one night or 10 nights, the cleaning cost is the same. But spreading the cost over 10 nights is a very different beast than adding it to one night, especially from a guest's perspective. On the host side, if we had to pay cleaners without passing that fee onto guests, we've barely make anything on one-night stays. But on the guest side, a $100 a night stay suddenly jumping to $150 because a cleaning fee was added is painful, and often a dealbreaker. You can see the conundrum.

The way we see it, and as other Airbnb hosts have found, wrapping cleaning costs into the base price comes out in the wash over time, as long as you have some longer-term stays mixed in with the one-nighters. And it's a much better experience for the guest not to get hit with sticker shock on the "final cost" screen, which is already eye-popping when service fees and taxes are added on.

(I will say, this may only ring true for smaller units. If you're renting a huge home, cleaning costs are going to be higher just because it takes longer to clean. But I still don't think the full cost should be passed onto guests as a separate fee.)

As for check-out chores—asking guests to do things like start laundry, sweep the floor, take out the trash, etc.—those have never made sense to us. Hosts should have enough switch-out linens that laundry doesn't have to be started prior to checking out, and none of those chores save enough time for the cleaning people to make it worth asking guests to do it. I can see taking out trash if there wasn't going to be another guest for a while, but usually you'd want to clean right away after a stay anyway just in case it does get booked last minute.

The only thing we ask guests to do is to start the dishwasher if they have dirty dishes (as a guest, I've never found that an unreasonable request), lock the door and have a safe trip home. Don't need to pull the sheets. Don't need to take out any garbage or recycling. Those things don't take that long, but that's just as much a reason not to ask guests to do it. Annoying your guests by asking them to do something extra isn't worth the tiny bit of time it might save the cleaning people.

And you know what? This approach works really well. Approximately 95% of guests leave the apartments clean and tidy anyway. In seven years, I can count on one hand how many problems we've had with guests leaving a mess. That's been a pleasant surprise, but I think part of the reason is that guest are simply reciprocating the respect and consideration we show them by not making them pay extra fees or do chores on their way out.

To be fair, it probably also helps that we aren't some big real estate tycoon that bought up a bunch of apartments and turning them into short-term rentals run by impersonal management companies. People's complaints about how short-term rentals impact local housing economies are legitimate. We're more aligned with the original "sharing economy" model, renting out our home to guests who come through town. And in a small college town with a large university, there often aren't enough hotel rooms during busy weekends anyway, so it's been a bit of a win-win.

I think being right next door, having personal communication with our guests (but also leaving them their privacy), and not charging or asking anything extra of them makes them want to be respectful guests. From our perspective, both as guests and hosts, cleaning fees and check-out chores simply aren't worth it.


Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.

While appearing on HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast, Patric Richardson, aka The Laundry Evangelist, said he swears by the “express” cycle, as “it’s long enough to get your clothes clean but it’s short enough not to cause any damage.”

Richardson’s reasoning is founded in research done while writing his book, “Laundry Love,” which showed that even the dirtiest items would be cleaned in the “express” cycle, aka the “quick wash” or “30 minute setting.”


Furthermore the laundry expert, who’s also the host of HGTV’s “Laundry Guy,” warned that longer wash settings only cause more wear and tear, plus use up more water and power, making express wash a much more sustainable choice.

Really, the multiple settings washing machines have more to do with people being creatures of habit, and less to do with efficiency, Richardson explained.

“All of those cycles [on the washing machine] exist because they used to exist,” he told co-hosts Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson. “We didn’t have the technology in the fabric, in the machine, in the detergent [that we do now], and we needed those cycles. In the ’70s, you needed the ‘bulky bedding’ cycle and the ‘sanitary’ cycle ... it was a legit thing. You don’t need them anymore, but too many people want to buy a machine and they’re like, ‘My mom’s machine has “whitest whites.”’ If I could build a washing machine, it would just have one button — you’d just push it, and it’d be warm water and ‘express’ cycle and that’s it.”
washing machine

When was the last time you washed you washing machine? "Never" is a valid answer.

Canva

According to Good Housekeeping, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to go strictly express from now on.

For one thing, the outlet recommends only filling the machine halfway and using a half dose of liquid, not powder detergent, since express cycles use less water. Second, using the setting regularly can develop a “musty” smell, due to the constant low-temperature water causing a buildup of mold or bacteria. To prevent this, running an empty wash on a hot setting, sans the detergent, is recommended every few weeks, along with regularly scrubbing the detergent drawer and door seal.

Still, even with those additional caveats, it might be worth it just to knock out multiple washes in one day. Cause let’s be honest—a day of laundry and television binging sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

To catch even more of Richardson’s tips, find the full podcast episode here.


This article originally appeared on 2.4.24

A respectable Weimaraners sits on the rug.

It’s incredibly rare to see a dog, especially a large one, sitting upright at a dinner table. It’s probably even more rare to see one that isn’t bothering with any food. That’s why a video posted by Federica Finocchiaro has captivated the public.

In a video seen over 2.3 million times on TikTok, Federica Finocchiaro shares how her dog, Grayson, a Weimaraner, is a very polite table guest.

“Does anyone else's dog just sit at the table?” Finocchiaro asked as she and her mother, Domenica Vinci, enjoyed breakfast together. “He just sits with us, and we didn't make him sit here... He just loves the company,” she continued.


Finocchiaro then shared a video of Grayson sitting with the family on Christmas. “My mom and I will come downstairs, or we'll be doing something and he's just sitting at the table casually,” said Finocchiaro. “He never tries to eat the food that we're eating—ever.”

@federicafinocchiaro_

Love u grayson #greenscreen #dog #puppy #funnydogs #fyp #wiemeraner #dogsoftiktok #dogtok #foryoupage #pup

Love u grayson #greenscreen #dog #puppy #funnydogs #fyp #wiemeraner #dogsoftiktok #dogtok #foryoupage #pup

Some people in the video's comments speculated about Grayson’s past. "He was human in a past life for sure," Ariel T wrote. “He thinks he's human,” David added.

"His love language is quality time," nonshowbizgf wrote.

Even though it seems strange that a dog would want to hang out at a dinner table, it could be because Weimaraners are very dedicated to their owners. “They can get depressed and act out if they are ignored,” the American Kennel Club wrote on its website. “This can lead to separation anxiety problems, notes the Weimaraner Club of America, so it’s important to teach puppies that there will be times when they will have to be on their own.”


A couple arguing on the couch.

Research shows that couples are becoming more egalitarian as it pertains to income. But when it comes to the division of domestic labor and taking care of families, there is still a considerable gap between the work done by men and women in heterosexual marriages.

Consider this: the average woman dedicates 4.6 hours per week to housework, while men contribute only 1.9 hours. Furthermore, women spend nearly 2 more hours on caregiving, including child-rearing than men.

Men and women are still having a hard time creating equal partnerships, and, more often than not, it means that women are the default parents of their children. They are also in charge of domestic duties and often have to make lists for their husbands and nag them to do their part.


Abby Eckel, a popular social media wife and mother, thinks this needs to end and uses her considerable platform to push to equalize domestic labor. In a video with over 900,000 views, she explains the harsh truth of why some men take advantage of their wives and refuse to change.

This is a harsh truth. But it needs to be said. He simply doesn't care. 

@itsme_abbye

This is a harsh truth. But it needs to be said. He simply doesn't care. It should not take conversation after conversation after conversation for your husband/boyfriend/partner to list, learn, and change. It's because he doesn't care. It doesn't benefit him to change. Approaching your husband AGAIN to discuss household inequity is likely to fall on deaf ears because he has been EXPLOITING your time, energy and labor. And if he didn't care when he started doing it, he sure as shit isn't going to care now. And he likely knows there will be no consequence when he doesn't. Because again, this probably isn't the first time this conversation has been had. And nothing happened the last time you had, so why would it happen no? This is the very reason I tell women who are early in relationships, and those that are single - start out as you mean to go on. This requires setting boundaries for yourself and the person you're in a relationship with. Be clear and upfront on what you expect out of it, what you will and won't do. Because the second you start cleaning up his place, or your shared space, doing his laundry, looking after and caring for pets without setting firm expectations, you'll soon find yourself being the sole owner and doer of those tasks. And trying to set boundaries after the fact - AFTER a man has benefited from you doing it, isn't likely to happen. #marriage #datingadvice #relationshiptips #marriedlife

“This is going to sound harsh, but I think a lot of people actually just really need to hear the truth, and it’s because he doesn’t care. It doesn’t benefit him to change,” she says in the viral video.

“Approaching your husband again to discuss an issue, whether it’s household inequity, you not feeling considered, or you not feeling like he’s putting any time and effort into it, is likely going to fall on deaf ears because he’s been exploiting your time, your labor, your energy and if he didn’t care when he started doing it, he’s not going to care now,” Eckel continues.

Unfortunately, according to Eckel, if there are no consequences for refusing to be an equal partner, he won’t change. She equates it to parents who make threats to child children but don't follow through.

“Eventually, things are going to go back to how they were. You’re going to stop nagging him and he’s going to be fine with it. Until you bring it up again. And then again, nothing happens because there’s no consequences. So why would he want to change?” she says.

Eckel believes the key to avoiding this trap is to set firm boundaries at the beginning of the relationship.

“Be clear and upfront on what you expect out of it, what you will and won’t do,” she continues. “Because the second you start cleaning up his place, or your shared space, doing his laundry, looking after and caring for pets without setting firm expectations, you’ll soon find yourself being the sole owner and doer of those tasks, and trying to set boundaries after the fact — after a man has benefited from you doing it, isn’t likely to happen.”

Obviously, not all men have problems doing their fair share of domestic labor in a family. Eckel made another video in which she shares the positive qualities that an equal partner brings to the table.

"I don't have to make him a list."

"I don't have to ask him to help with things around the house."

"He knows how to shop at the grocery store without pictures."

"He doesn't expect me to handle everything alone."

"He plans date nights without me having to beg for it."

"He does his own laundry."

"He makes his own appointments."

"My stocking has never been empty."

"He makes his kids' lunches in the morning."

"He makes his son's therapy appointments and takes his son to them."

"He doesn't believe that just because he goes to work, he shouldn't have to do anything when he gets home."

"He takes a genuine interest in me and my interests."

"He knows how to fold towels."

"He takes our kids to bed and knows our teachers' names."

"He doesn't make me feel bad if I'm not in the mood."

"He acknowledges and appreciates what I do and tells me often."

"He does basic adult tasks without being asked."