Weight’s Impact on Kids' Education
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Welcome to the FIFTH blog of the “How Weight Impacts Occupation” blog series. So far we’ve talked about:
The occupation we are talking about today is EDUCATION.
School is a HUGE part of a child’s life. Prior to COVID-19, children were spending most of their day at school. Now, families are needing to expend extra energy to facilitate learning due to this extreme change in lifestyles. But, it seems that the school districts in Florida may be planning to reopen in Fall. With everything else going on, it is quite concerning that weight can further impact a child’s education.
“Education” is composed of multiple components. It includes getting to school, interacting with peers, listening and maintaining attention in class, eating lunch, playing on the playground and in physical education, and returning home.
Every component of education can be impacted by weight.
1. Getting to School/Returning Home: Depending on your location and age of your child, he/she may walk to and from school. Children who struggle with their weight may not have the endurance and energy to walk the necessary distance. They may need to stop for breaks, or have a hard time walking at a certain pace. Thus, they may arrive late, or in extreme cases decide not to finish walking to school at all.
2. Interacting with Peers: Many of the children I work with have felt bullied or ashamed of their weight. This can impact their mental health and make interacting with their peers extremely stressful.
3. Listening and Maintaining Attention in Class: If a child is not physically active they may have difficulty maintaining their balance in a chair. This can lead to shifting and fidgeting, making it hard to pay attention. Additionally, if they have fallen into unhealthy habits at home, like staying awake at night watching TV, they may have difficulty staying away in class.
4. Eating Lunch: Lunch can be an extremely stressful time for children who struggle with their weight. If they have been bullied in the past, they may be nervous about what to choose for lunch or who to sit with. They may also not like to eat certain foods that have been served to them. Much of the time, children that I work with skip lunch completely and then stop at convenience stores on the way home.
5. Playing on the Playground/PE: This area is one of the most impacted by weight. Children who struggle with their weight often feel like they can’t keep up with their friends, are embarrassed because they are picked last in sports, and are frustrated with their coordination. This makes them even LESS LIKELY to do physical activity, and places them at a higher risk for gaining weight.
Most of the time, the children I work with want to set goals that improve their confidence at school.
Now that children are home due to social distancing, this is the PERFECT TIME to work on a healthy lifestyle and get them ready to return to school stronger and more confident than ever!
OT 4 ME offers Telehealth (online video) sessions so that kids can learn healthy lifestyles from the comfort of your own home.
If this sounds good to you, contact us for a FREE lifestyle consult!
If you want to get started on getting your child moving RIGHT NOW – check out our “5 Ways to Get Your Kids Moving” tip sheet.
Next week we’ll be talking about our last occupation – socialization! If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to subscribe to the OT 4 ME blog.
Let’s make healthy fun,
OT 4 ME
PO Box 273965
Boca Raton, FL 33427