Obesity amongst our teens, pre-teens and adolescent children is seeing a sharp rise over the last few years. It is estimated that in upwards of 30 percent of the youth populations of Canada and the United States are overweight. Obviously this brings about concerns among parents, doctors and educators.
As parents we often worry about our kids. How are they doing in school? What will they be when the grow up? What types of adults are we raising? These questions are asked by every parent. One way to raise your child to become a good adult, experience life, and gain some history of working with people are through volunteer programs. But what types of programs are available and how do they fit into a long term plan?
If you are a teen considering suicide, or, if you are a parent, sibling or loved one who knows someone who isn’t happy with life, you should know there are many options for help. First, you must understand that thoughts of suicide amongst youth are unfortunately a fairly normal experience. Growing up brings it challenges, and sometimes things seem quite overwhelming. If you are searching for help for your friend or family member in this predicament here are some thoughts to help you help them.
If you are a parent then you will likely face a child that plays with fire at some point in their life. To kids, fire is an interesting thing and it is fun to create. By the same token, fire is an extremely dangerous thing that can have grave consequences if not treated with respect. If you have kids in the home, you will want to follow the following tips to keep your children safe from fire fire.
First, you should absolutely have fire alarms in each room of your home. These are sometimes referred to as smoke detectors but they are essentially the same thing. The alarms should be installed very close to sleeping areas like bedrooms so that they will awake residents should a fire break out. As a general rule batteries for these smoke alarms should be replaced at least annually or per the recommendation from the manufacturer. However, perhaps a better way is to replace them during Daylight Savings Time. This is often used as a great time to remember to change the batteries in fire alarms. Also, you should perform some light maintenance on your fire alarms by keeping them free of dust and making sure they are operational.
If you have a fireplace in your home make sure that you keep it in good working order. Most people don’t realize that they need to perform basic maintenance on their fireplaces at least annually if not sooner. Minimally, you need to make sure all of the soot is cleaned from the chimney. The reason for this is that as you have fires, they soot rises and sticks to the inside of the chimney. This material is actually quite flammable so it needs to be cleaned out. If you can’t do it yourself make sure you call a professional chimney sweep.
Children should take part in a family evacuation plan. Sites like firesafetytraining.net discuss how to have a family fire drill and this is imperative. Why? Because in the event of a fire children should know precisely how to exit the home, where the escape routes are, and alternative exits from the home. An educated child is a safe child so do not take this lightly. Teach your children about fire and particularly the dangers of fire in the home.
Also, as a parent one of your jobs is to keep an eye on your child’s behavior. You should look for signs of your children playing with fire. Things like burnt matches or the smell of smoke on your child are sure signs that something is going on. Matches or lighters found in your child’s room is another warning sign that should be investigated.
Perhaps the most important point of all of this is to discuss the dangers of fire with your children. Part of our duties as a parent is to inform our children about dangers to them and to keep them safe. Be honest with them and have a frank discussion about fire safety. It could end up saving their life, and yours. FEMA has a great website about how to talk to your children about the dangers of fire and it can be found here.
If you have children then taking a family vacation can be quite an adventure. There are issues with kids traveling, particularly when they travel abroad. As you know, kids have lots of needs: food, sleep, entertainment, etc. Oftentimes this can lead to a lot of stress on your family vacation. Gone are the days, where you as a parent, can lounge about by the pool without a care in the world. All that being said, we intend to offer you some positives to taking the kids on your next vacation out of the country.
On the positive side taking a family trip abroad can be fairly cost effective – depending on where you are going of course. If you travel to a South American or Central American country then you can count on good prices for lodging and food. Traveling to say Costa Rica, you will find very nice hotels, lots of cheap eco-tourist activities, and very healthy and low cost food choices. Most Latin American countries have very reasonable prices and make it possible to take the whole family for a song (or at least a low cost low dollar vacation).
Costa Rica is actually a recommended vacation spot as several of our staff members here at NanDecade.ca have taken trips there. Almost unanimously, we recommend going to Manuel Antonio National Park which is a tropical paradise filled with wildlife, adventure, and fun for all ages. You can tour the jungle, see more wildlife than you can imagine, or visit the nearby white sand beaches. Yes it’s true – both a tropical jungle paradise as well as beach resort. How can you go wrong?
If you are interested in outdoor activities then Latin American countries once again take the cake as far as variety, and cost. You can choose between ziplining (quite an experience by the way), nature walks, and take tours of the rain forest. Since we are a site that focuses on children, we highly recommend a trip to The Children’s Eternal Rain Forest which was started by a small group of children in Swedish countryside. Yes, you heard that right – A group of kids from Sweden! They were so impressed by the rainforest they started raising money to buy a small parcel of land, protect it, and continue raising money to continue. This is quite a story, and one that your kids might enjoy hearing. Activism is alive and well amongst the youth of our world.
Other choices for travel include Europe, the United States, or Asia. What would your kids like? Europe is a great choice for children as it is rather “civilized” and most countries speak English. This truly can help kids while traveling as they feel comfortable communicating with residents of the countries that you are traveling to. Of course safety should always be a concern when traveling with children and you should always be aware of your surroundings. Also, the Federal Aviation Administration has a webpage devoted to kids, and flight safety that we recommend you check out.
As you may or may not know, young adult unemployment levels are quite high. Why is this? Quite honestly there is a lot of competition for jobs in this bad economy atmosphere. So, how can you help a teen find a job? Here are some of the best tips on setting them up for success!
First, you will want to have your teen jobseeker craft a resume. This is usually a stumbling block for most teens as they don’t have experience, or at least much experience to speak of, and they are at a loss as to what to list for an employment background. The key here is to be honest. It’s a fact that everyone has to start somewhere and teens usually don’t have much in the way of work experience or job history. So, you will want to list things like education, sports teams, volunteer or charity work. If by chance you haven’t done any of those things, just list things like your interests, schools you have attended, and what type of job you are looking for. Keep in mind, this will really set you apart from those other teens who don’t have a resume. The potential employer will see the effort you put into your resume and will think that you are a higher quality, more attention to detail candidate than those without a resume.
Now that you have a resume, you will want to begin applying for jobs. As a teen your options for jobs are scarce. Most start with jobs in the fast food industry or other repetitive style environments. The good news here is that fast food establishments are usually hiring and they will almost always give a chance to a new employee who is a teenager. So, start applying for as many as these types of jobs as you can. You should start with those jobs close to your home so that it is convenient to get to and from work. As a teen, you might not have a car or other transportation so a job within walking distance would be ideal.
Now that you have applied for jobs you need to get ready for the interview. Often interviews are very scary for those who have never been through one before. Just remember, they are interviewing you because they want to hire you. They need the help or they wouldn’t waste their time talking to you. So, be ready to answer any and all questions honestly. If you need further help with the interview process, here is a great resource by the Canadian government to help you prepare for a job interview.
If you have already finished your public education, and are looking to actually start a career as opposed to getting into fast food, there are some programs available depending on what you are interested in. If you would like to learn how to drive a forklift you could get certified fairly easily at a site like forkliftcertificationnow.com or, you could also attend a trade school of some kind. Keep in mind however, that this veers away from finding a job right away, however through most of these programs the jobs do come after successfully completing the program.
To summarize, if you are a youth looking for a job you should follow the above steps as a reference guide. Get your resume, apply, and go through the interview! Don’t like the types of jobs you are applying for? Then get some education from a college, trade school, or certification program. Any way you slice it having a job is a great goal for any youth.
Photo by Ann Arbor District Library / CC BY