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Supercast Episode 91: Simple Tips for Summer Health & Wellness

School is out for the summer and that means kids will be having fun with friends, staying up late, sleeping in, taking trips and often enjoying a fun but different diet. On this episode of the Supercast, we sit down with members of the Jordan School District Health and Wellness team to find out how we can keep kids on track – by following a few health and wellness tips for a happier summer with family and friends.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Hello and welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. School is out for the summer, and that means kids will be having fun with friends, staying up late, sleeping in taking trips and often enjoying some fun foods and a different diet. On this episode of the super cast, we sit down with members of the Jordan school district health and wellness team to find out how we can keep kids on track by following a few health and wellness tips for a happier summer with family and Friends.

Anthony Godfrey:
We're back in our little studio here in Jordan school, district offices. We haven't been here since the start of the pandemic and it feels really good to be here. What better way to kick things off than to talk with McKinley Withers and Rachel Dangerfield from our wellness team and it's summer, we made it to summer 2021, which is very exciting. I recently read an article about the, a bird called the swift and a swift. They now have the technology where they can put a little camera and a little altimeter on the bird and they can tell kind of the flight patterns and the swift flies for 10 months without landing 10 straight months without landing. And I think we all feel a little bit like a swift right now. We haven't landed for a long time, so it's good to finally have a summer where we can land and take a little bit of a breather.

Anthony Godfrey:
There is summer school going on, but hopefully everyone can get a little bit of a break. So we're here to talk with McKinley and Rachel about maybe how to get the best break possible over the summer. How to really be focused on social, emotional wellness. I think there's going to be a level of freedom that students are experiencing that maybe we haven't had before with the transmission lower in the county than it's been for a very long time with the mask requirement lifted and with some opportunity to socialize now returning. So let's talk about some of those tips for social emotional wellness. You always give us great advice. It's great to have you both here.

Speaker 3:
Well, we are so grateful to be here and as fellow Swifts making our way through this. So we are just so thrilled to be here and grateful for the chance that we have to connect with you and, and reconnect with the parents that are out there. And one of the things that we've been talking about in our work with students and fellow educators in the wake of this pandemic as Swifts who have just been kind of surviving and hanging on just making it through, we want to be very thoughtful about approaching changes with the mindset of working on gains and not recognizing gaps. So what, what I mean by that is the little victories are actually really big. We want to just make small bits of progress rather than acknowledge what big differences or gaps may exist because of this altered lifestyle. And

Anthony Godfrey:
They certainly do exist. They do, but we tend to focus too much on the losses and not enough on the gains. Yeah. Yes.

Speaker 3:
Yeah. And so what that looks like when we're, when we're trying to identify, you know, some, some small opportunities for gains, rather than gaps, there are a lot of strategies we can kind of talk through and hit. But the biggest one is continued practice of gratitude. So it's okay to acknowledge that times are hard and to get through the difficult times and see those, those difficult, difficult struggles, but it's also okay to recognize and acknowledge the things that are going well or have gone well and creating a practice around,

Anthony Godfrey:
I think when you're talking about in gains, not gaps, give me an example of that.

Speaker 3:
Okay. So let's assume maybe your child is feeling like they haven't had a lot of time with friends over the last 10 months. Maybe some social situations might there may be some gaps in their experience or their practice with being with friends, talking with friends reaching out to friends. And so there may be some social gaps, but what would be focusing on gains would be, well, what could we do today? That's very small. So let's just text a friend let's focus on reaching out or that's a gain, right? It might not feel like it meets the whole gap, but that's a gain. It's something you can do. It's something that feels manageable. If it's something that feels possible and enough, small gains over time can meet those gaps, but we don't want to feel overwhelmed by what isn't there. Rather. What could we do? What's our next smallest that

Anthony Godfrey:
It's always difficult though, because one of the last things a child wants to hear is why don't you call a friend, call Tommy, he'll come, you know, it's encouraging the social aspect. Sometimes doesn't sound very fun from a parent, but you're right. A little bit, a little gain is, is yeah.

Speaker 3:
And, and acknowledging and appreciating the little gains rather than seeing the whole gap. So celebrating if, if there's a text back, yeah. Maybe the friend didn't come over, but that's exciting. Right. And, and the more we can appreciate, rather than say the next step I like to use, what's the next smallest step, because it, it feels much more manageable.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are some other strategies kids can use to make the most of summer?

Speaker 3:
So along the same lines, and it's still kind of under the, the mindset of gains rather than gaps is trying a streak. So a streak

Anthony Godfrey:
Now trying a streak may not be exactly what leaps to mind yet when people hear that term, tell us about what that means.

Speaker 3:
So what it means is you try and maintain a behavior for your, your streak is however many days you do that one thing. So a good streak for healthy eating would be

Anthony Godfrey:
Four hours there. I went without eating Funyuns. And that is a strange,

Speaker 3:
I guess, if you're counting your streak as every hour, that would be a streak. But if you are just focused on what's your next smallest step, a streak for healthy eating would be, I'm going to see how many days in a row I can eat a vegetable. So, and just, just see how many days you can accumulate of having a vegetable, which for many people that would be a positive change. And rather than shift to some big diet that you give up on, or don't actually enjoy, just try a streak. What's a small behavior that you're up for today. That you'll be up for again tomorrow. So a vegetable every day, see how long your street goes, or if it's exercise or movement, see how many days you can get your set of really minimal, you know, amount of movement, your 15 minutes of walking in the sunshine, how many days in a row can you maintain that? And maybe we could have, you know, many students who have maintained a couple of streaks throughout the summer. And I think you would, you start to see the benefits accumulate over time.

Anthony Godfrey:
I did read a long time ago about an older gentleman who had been physically fit his whole life. Very strong. Maybe you've heard this done pushups. And he said, somebody asked him, what's the secret to doing so many pushups and staying so fit. And he said doing one push-up every day, because once you've done the one you started, there's the momentum. And I may as well do a couple more and I may as well keep going. And so the cumulative effect of just sending the goal of doing one pushup every day, gave him the start. He needed to really be on a path toward physical fitness.

Speaker 3:
That's a perfect example. You know, when we think about students readjusting or adjusting to, or creating a lifestyle post pandemic, those that one, push-up a day, that one vegetable a day, that five minute thing that you're doing, those are the things that add up over time. And that's how human behavior gets. It improves

Anthony Godfrey:
They with us. When we come back more tips on health and wellness during the hectic summer,

Speaker 4:
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Anthony Godfrey:
Rachel order, some ideas for making the most of the day by by structuring it somewhat.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. So it's funny. Cause I've heard parents say, well, my kid thrives better without a routine. And what's funny about that to me is we know that's actually not true. Like kids do well in school because they have routines and they know what to expect, right. Especially our anxious kids when they start worrying about what's going to happen today. That's when we see them start to fall apart. So obviously your whole summer doesn't have to be structured for some of you. It may be, but just routines of like what time you're going to bed, what time you're waking up routines with brushing your teeth, taking showers, things like that, that we need to do every day. And then

Anthony Godfrey:
That's one to be doing that every day. I hope so. Yeah. That I have down, I'm on a really good streak for showering and brushing my teeth that are working. It is true that my, with my son showering every day is not a given. If there's a reminder there, especially in the summer, it feels like vacation when you're not showering. Yeah. Well,

Speaker 4:
And to that one thing that a strategy parents can use that works really well, especially with like elementary aged kids is like a visual schedule, right. Especially for our friends that like to, I like to do lists and so do our, our students and our kids. So when they can check it off and go on a streak was showering. It all just, it just ends up really well.

Anthony Godfrey:
Yeah. I do agree that a visual representation or chart can really make sure that kids follow through on those routines. And like you said, it doesn't have to be completely structured the summer probably ought to be a good blend of the two. You get those structured things done. And then you have some, some free time and you're able to do the things that you want to do, connect with friends and, and do the other things that you would choose for yourself.

Speaker 3:
And I would add to that. It, it's probably a good idea to add to your routines, some very small strategies for social or emotional wellness. Here's an example. So like we were just saying who texting or reaching out to a friend every day, just it and not even being too concerned about what the response is, but helping our child practice the skill of reaching out, practicing, building friendships. There's one routine that you could do every day. And then the emotional wellness component of that, that you could add to your routine would be something as simple as as a gratitude practice. So that could be at dinner time. Everyone says the one positive thing that happened to that day or a journal where they write three, three things that they're grateful for from that day or talking to just sharing or writing down the, the

Anthony Godfrey:
Social aspect. I really liked the idea of reaching out to a friend and not being so hung up on what the response is. So many kids and my kids are no exception over the years have just thought, well, nobody's asked me they're over there playing basketball. And nobody asked me to play, join in. How about you're the one who starts getting everyone together to play basketball or whatever it may be. And so initiating that social interaction is something that sometimes kids expect others to do for them, but they don't take the thought to initiate that themselves. Right. How do we prepare for the beginning of the school year? There may be some anxiety about returning to school. School is going to be very different from what it has been for the last year and a half. And many students may be returning from virtual learning into school and they haven't been in school for a year and a half. What are some of the things that you have found have been successful in the past when someone is anticipating something like that, that's creating anxiety for them.

Speaker 4:
So I've had students tour the school and visit the school. So, and all across all ages. So elementary, they can meet the teacher beforehand. They can practice walking to their classroom. They can go play on the playground and start to sort of get used to that environment in secondary. We've also set up tours, special tours. Cause a lot of times, you know, the ninth graders will go toward the 10th or the high school or whatever, but they can go again. And the schools are really, really awesome at working with these kids and they can go meet all of their teachers. They can go practice, opening their locker when there's not the pressure of all the kids around and the Bell's about to ring. So that's one strategy that I've seen work really well,

Anthony Godfrey:
Which fits in with the idea of taking on that anxiety a little bit at a time, getting a little bit of exposure stopping by the school. I love the idea of walking through your schedule or walking through the school, playing on the playground depending on your age. And then it starts to become a little more familiar and something that maybe you can picture a little bit more being at that school. And also, you know, there's of course every year there are those students who are going from ninth grade to 10th grade moving into the high school, sixth to seventh. Those are always times of anxiety for all of us where we're nervous about this big shift. There's a, there's a change in, in friend groups. So I like the idea of kind of dipping your toe in the water. Also counselors are there for a good portion of the summer off and on administrators are there and then teachers are there a week before school starts essentially. So there are some opportunities to become familiar. And the locker, I remember the locker is, is such a, I don't know why they have to be so difficult, you know, right left. Right. And you pass it the first two times, but you don't the third time, I don't know who came up with that many years ago, but it's been vexing twelve-year-olds ever since. But th those are some really good ideas to try to just get accustomed to the idea of being back in school after having a what's is hopefully a really restful.

Speaker 3:
And along with that still continuing to normalize the experience. You know, it a lot of kids may be nervous too. There's a lot of kids are also learning how to use their locker. But if, if I was asking you superintendent twice a day, every day, all summer, are you sure you're going to be okay? Are you, are you nervous? Are you are you feeling a little bit nervous about this school year? I mean, it is so different, right? How would that make you feel over the course of the summer? What

Anthony Godfrey:
Do you think? Like I was maybe supposed to be

Speaker 3:
Nervous like you were supposed to be here. Yeah. So along with that, I think it's important that we acknowledge the feelings we accommodate and we're, we allow for children to experience anxiety, but we don't have to cue them for it constantly. Yeah, it may be a little different, but they've done school for a lot of years and they've adapted and they will adapt. They'll get used to it. So allowing for those small victories, those gains, but also, you know, not cuing them to have a bad experience.

Anthony Godfrey:
That that's a great thing to keep in mind. It's always a balance acknowledging feelings, but not emphasizing those in queuing. That's really the word for it. It's queuing. Well, schools are going to be very accommodating if there's any way that we can help over the summer and answer questions. It may be difficult to reach people on certain days, but I would just encourage anyone listening to keep trying, and you can make that connection. One

Speaker 3:
Thing that we kind of just always remind people is that it's, it's also okay to not be okay if, if you're at this point where you know, that getting some additional help would be good. Getting help is the only way to get better in a lot of situations. And so the 24 hour crisis lines are available all summer long. There's the Huntsman mental health Institute crisis line 8 0 1 5 8 7 3000. You can use the safe UT app all summer to do a chat or a call with crisis workers. And there's also a new resource for families called the stabilization and mobile response team. They will go to homes to support with behavioral or substance use issues in the home, or there's a whole variety of issues that they are ready and equipped to support families, and they will do it at your home. So that number is 1 8, 3, 3 safe fam which is also a good resource just to be aware of

Anthony Godfrey:
Some great resources for the summer. Rachel, any parting words.

Speaker 4:
I hope everyone has a great summer and I hope they land comfortably. Yeah. Yes.

Anthony Godfrey:
After our long swift flight. Thanks. Thanks to both of you for joining us and for everything you do to help keep us, keep us well.

Speaker 3:
Yeah. Thank you. Thanks for having us. It's been fun. [inaudible]

Anthony Godfrey:
Thanks for joining us on the super CAS. Remember education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there. [inaudible].

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