Viewing posts from: December 2016

Connecting Your Students through Gratitude

Amy Kobos, Health and Wellness Promoter, Fayetteville

What makes our teachers great? Each one of us has a unique experience that has sculpted us into who we are. Some have had very challenging lives, while others have challenges that lie ahead. Our teachers realize this, and with skill and patience, they assist us in challenges and help us grow from them. What is this fuel which helps us progress through these obstacles? It could be a physical skill an instructor took the time to demonstrate that helped you learn how to take risks in life. It could be your 6th grade teacher who helped you understand a math skill so you could incorporate it into your adulthood. It could even be the parents who establish healthy boundaries in real life.

Gratitude is central to the holiday season and the New Year! What better time to encourage students to appreciate how teachers have helped them flourish in the classroom and beyond! Last month, we mentioned a gratitude activity in the “Rethink Your Holidays with 10 Healthy Tips,” article which focused on gratitude among classmates. This emphasized the uniqueness of what or who helps us get through the challenges in our lives. This also incorporated the value of interpersonal relationships, cultural diversity, and critical thinking into the classroom. Let’s take this a step further with your students so they can show gratitude for you!

Here are some ideas:

  • Make a gratitude jar for the teacher as a gift. Throughout the semester, each student could submit words of appreciation on how he/she has developed while in the classroom.
  • Integrate gratitude towards teachers in your students’ weekly journal entries.
  • Have the students collect and frame inspiring quotes that mean something them as a gift to the teacher.
  • Instead of students bringing in sweets to show appreciation, encourage the students and parents to put together healthier gifts, like fruit bouquets, yogurt parfaits, a pass to the local botanical gardens, or even gift card for a massage or Home Depot.

Gratitude isn’t just a tool we use for self-exploration and self-growth. Gratitude is a tool we use to connect. When students participate in activities like this, it helps them become aware of what facilitates their obstacles and progress. It develops a healthier state of mind by turning those “what ifs” into something more assuring, like “I’ll do fine no matter what.” Gratitude connects us to all of those little life events and people of which or whom we may have taken for granted. This forms a unique footprint which helps sculpt those bridges that we can utilize on whatever path we take.

Empowering Your Kids About Healthy Body Image Starts with YOU

By Amy Kobos, Health and Wellness Promotor, Fayetteville

This conversation is just as important as the birds and the bees.

You need to talk with your children and students about healthy body image. But, how can you talk to them if you aren’t sure what healthy body image is?  We have been flooded for decades with what we ‘think’ healthy body image is, only to religiously count calories, go on fad diets, exercise profusely and feel guilty for eating a dessert.  The media are saturated with focusing on weight loss and depicting skinny girls and boys – because this is what we should be.  We also give excuses for thinking it’s okay to skip meals: “I’m too busy to eat; I shouldn’t eat as much today because I ate a lot last night; I need to fit in those pants.”  This is the core of American culture’s perception of what healthy body image is.

To have this conversation, it needs to happen with you first.  Use these tools to facilitate exploration within yourself so you know how to convey this to your kids:

  • What is your definition of healthy body image?
  • Why do you feel America’s current perspective on healthy body image is how you have to be accepted in society?
  • What components are necessary in order to sustain healthy body image?
  • How do you prioritize your body to stay healthy?
  • Do you feel guilty or make excuses for your body’s needs? If so, why?

Each one of you is going to have different answers. This is okay!  Butyou need to sort out what’s healthy and what could be detrimental.
Read more.

Three Easy Ways to Make Time for YOU

Joelle Sevio RDH BS CPT is the former Health and Wellness Chair for the Wake County PTA Council and an ironman athlete and you can find more of her work at

As parents, we make sure our kids are active, eat healthy foods, and don’t skip breakfast. So why don’t we hold ourselves to the same standards? Probably because our to-do lists are long: after work, kids, taking care of the house, and walking the dog, self-care is the thing that usually comes in last.

You’re thinking: yes, I know. As soon as we get through the holidays and January gets here I’ll do things differently. But what if you could get started NOW and start the year off feeling great?

It seems daunting, but like most major changes, taking it in steps is key. In my 15 plus years as a competitive athlete, as a mom, and working in the health and fitness industry, I have learned a strategy or two, and I’d like to share a few of them with you here. Your task is to implement ONE of these a week until they stick. Once you have a good handle on the first strategy, then move to the next.

1. Find the time for movement in your life. If your child has a sporting practice, use that time for physical activity and a digital detox. Use sidewalks or walk/run around their field where they are practicing (as long as you don’t embarrass them!) You may think 15-30 minutes isn’t enough but you will be surprised at the physical and psychological benefit you get from even a short amount of exertion. If you already have a good fitness base, don’t discount a short workout as opposed to no workout. Add intensity if you can’t go the distance. Other ideas include bike rides as a family, running while your child rides their bike or walking/running/riding your bike to the school to volunteer. If you are a working parent, use your lunchtime to fit a workout in.

My favorite way to hold yourself accountable is to make an appointment on your calendar.

2. Move towards a less-processed whole foods life. Look at what is in the food you are buying. If you have older kids, have then help you investigate the labels. How about this week switch out the chips and make baked potatoes? Buy one less processed item and one more item from the produce. Don’t feel guilty over the holidays when you have treats, because you are already making steps in the right direction. Focus on the fact that you are making progress! After all, you are on strategy #2 so that means you have conquered #1! It helps to have a mantra to repeat to yourself when you are in situations where you will tend to make food choices that aren’t the best. What will your mantra be?

3. Get your entire family involved in the kitchen. No one needs to be a gourmet cook. And let’s face it, what 3-6 year old doesn’t love cutting soft fruit with a dull spreading knife? If you have older kids, let them pick a night to cook or for you to cook together. Remember: think less processed and choose foods that grow from the Earth. Let’s get back to cooking and family time—family dinners should be a priority but most of us are over committed so you should feel like you have conquered #3 when family dinners are 2-3 times a week! I love using a crock pot or cooking in bulk. How about homemade pancakes for dinner and freeze some for breakfast on the weekend?

Change takes time and effort but since you are reading this, I know you are ready to get started on strategy #1. I have added a nutrient dense delicious recipe to help you start your journey. This is a great one for kids to make on their own or with a little help if they are under 8.

Oatmeal Bites

1 cup Oatmeal (organic if possible; oatmeal is naturally gluten free for those with a gluten allergy, but many brands of oatmeal are processed at facilities with gluten, so read the label)
½ cup nut butter (I like cashew for the extra iron or try organic peanut butter)
⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
½ cup ground flax seed (organic if possible)
¼-½ cup low sugar dark chocolate chips (55%or more chocolate for more nutrients)

Combine ingredients and mix together in a bowl. Roll mixture into bite size balls. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and enjoy! Store these in the refrigerator. These are great for lunches and for holiday parties without the guilt! These do have allergens including nut, so be mindful of what is safe for your family and what is allowed at your school!

Hurricanes Ticket Savings at NCPTA Night

Hurricanes tickets make great Holiday Gifts!

The North Carolina PTA has teamed up with the Carolina Hurricanes to bring you a special opportunity. Get in on the action and take advantage of big savings on tickets for this special game night!

hurricanesflyer_011417Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Islanders
Saturday, January 14, 2017
7 p.m.
PNC Arena
Raleigh, NC

A portion of every ticket purchased through this special offer also benefits NCPTA Programs.

Purchase Tickets Today!

NCPTA Selects Reflections Theme Search Winners

National PTA Reflections sponsors a student-focused Theme Search Contest annually to determine a future program theme.

NCPTA proudly announces the following state-level winners for the Reflections 2018-2019 Theme Search:

“If Only I Could…”
Eric Cai, Polo Ridge Elementary PTA, Charlotte

“What is your purpose”
Charitha Kamuni, Alston Ridge Elementary PTA, Cary

“Make your mark”
Konstantina Kortesis, Southeast Middle PTSA, Kernersville

“The Great Escape”
Sherry Liu, Jay M. Robinson Middle PTA, Charlotte

Viraj Singh, Barringer Academic Center PTA, Charlotte

Learn more about the Reflections Art Program.