​​HELP ME NOW

If you or your child is in immediate danger call 911.

The online database, www.SupportGroupsInKansas.org, contains more than 2,500 local and national support group resources. Groups and resources can be searched by topic and/or by county. Topics include medical conditions, disabilities, relationship issues, parenting, grief, abuse, caregiving and addiction, among many others.

DECISION MAKING

What is healthy decision making?
Healthy decision making is a planned process of selecting from two or more possible options in order to solve a problem or set a goal. Healthy decision making allows students to feel empowered, realize their goals and change unhealthy habits.

While teenagers may exhibit problem solving abilities that are comparable to adults, their brains are not as developed in the areas of regulating impulsivity and stress. This means teen decision making skills are much less mature than adults during times of high stress and arousal. Given that adolescence is a time of great change and development, stress in their lives is inherent.

The ability of teenagers to make healthy decisions often plays a role in risk-taking behavior. Because adolescents are more likely to engage in risk-taking behavior than adults (due to their brain development and the social environment of adolescence) the ability to develop healthy decision making habits during this time becomes very important.

Decision making process
It can be helpful for teenagers to have a structured way to make decisions. Adolescent brains are prone to impulsivity. If we can teach them a process for making decisions, we can help moderate some of the effects of that impulsivity. While they may not need a process for simple day-to-day decisions, like what to eat for breakfast, a structured process can be helpful in bigger decision making such as whether to attend a party, skip class or what to do after high school.

Most research on problem solving and decision making in teenagers suggests teaching a 5-step problem solving model:

  1. define the problem/decision to be made
  2. brainstorm options
  3. evaluate the options
  4. make a plan of action
  5. evaluate results and make modifications as necessary

While parents cannot make all the decisions for their teenagers, they can help them to learn healthy decision making skills by cooperatively helping them through the decision making process. Decision making is something that should be taught to teenagers on an incremental basis, allowing them to make more and more decisions over time. While teenagers cannot always make decisions on their own, they should play as much of a role as is appropriate for the situation.​

TIPS for helping your teenager with decision making

  1. Reflect your understanding
    Attempt to summarize the situation as you hear it for your teen. If your teen indicates that your understanding is incorrect, ask them to clarify. The point of reflecting your understanding is to both ensure you have a good understanding of the situation and how your teen is feeling about the situation, as well as to help your teen feel understood.
  2. Share your perceptions
    Ask your teen if you can share your feelings on the situation. Getting permission first will encourage listening. Once your teen gives permission, share your thoughts in a calm manner. Do not put down any of their thoughts or ideas, rather, share how you feel about the decision making position they are in.
  3. Help in brainstorming
    Once both you and your teen's thoughts and feelings have been shared, ask if it would be ok if you could help them brainstorm some ideas. Try to allow them to come up with options first and then add additional options that have not been expressed. Make sure to allow your teen to make the final decision as opposed to convincing them of one decision or another. It is important for teens to have the experience of making the final decision.

Learn more
Decision Making/Problem Solving with Teens Fact Sheet
Parenting - Decision Making: Help your children become good decision makers​​

BULLYING

Bullying: An overview
Any aggressive behavior that is sufficiently severe, repeated or wide spread that creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student or staff person.

There are four broad forms of bullying:

  1. Physical bullying
    • Intentional aggression that involves injuring someone or damaging their property
    • Examples: hitting, kicking or punching, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone's belongings, or making mean or rude gestures
  2. Verbal bullying
    • Intentional aggression that involves saying or writing things that are mean or hurtful to others
    • Examples: teasing, name-calling, taunting, inappropriate sexual comments or threatening to cause harm to another person
  3. Social bullying
    • Intentional aggression that is used to damage someone's reputation or relationships
    • Examples: leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone or embarrassing someone in public
  4. Cyber bullying
    • Intentional aggression using electronic devices, such as cell phones, computers, tablets or other communication tools, including social media sites, text messages, chat rooms and websites
    • Examples: mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles
    • Learn more about cyber bullying

TIPS for students
Talk to the person.
It is a good idea to talk to the person to find out more about the situation. Try to remember that the person you are talking with is probably very sensitive about the situation and could be scared to talk about it.

Let that person know you care.
Help boost this person's self-confidence. If a person is being bullied, it could affect his or her confidence. It can help to let this person know that you are a friend and that you care about them.

Include the person into your group.
Making a special effort to include the person into your group could help raise the person's confidence.

Stick up for him or her.
If you see someone is being bullied, it might be helpful to say something. Take care to ensure that in trying to stick up for the person being bullied, you don't make the situation worse or put yourself in danger.

Tell someone.
Letting someone else know about the situation can help you be part of the solution. A teacher, counselor, administrator or another adult are all great people to notify. It would be helpful to involve the person experiencing the bullying in the discussion. Together, you can go and talk to someone about the situation.

Don't be a bystander.
Bullying situations usually involve more than the bully and the victim. They also involve bystanders - those who watch bullying happen or hear about it. Most bystanders passively accept bullying by watching and doing nothing. Often without realizing it, these bystanders also contribute to the problem. Passive bystanders provide the audience a bully craves and the silent acceptance that allows bullies to continue their hurtful behavior.

Some tips for getting help:

  • It might be easier if you talk to someone you know well and trust. This person can give you much needed support and might have suggestions for dealing with the situation that you might not have considered.
  • If you decide to talk to a teacher or counselor, you might feel more comfortable taking a friend with you. If you feel you might get too nervous to speak, write down what you'd like to say on paper or in an email.
  • If you think that the person you're speaking with doesn't believe you, or isn't taking you seriously, or if that person doesn't help you take action, it doesn't mean that your feelings aren't valid or that the bullying should continue. It's important you tell someone else and continue to do so until you get the help you need.
  • Being bullied can be upsetting and stressful, and it can affect your life in many different ways, including your self-esteem, relationships, work and education.

TIPS for parents
Unfortunately, children don't always tell an adult that they have been bullied, so parents are sometimes unaware anything is wrong. Repeated bullying can cause severe emotional harm and can erode a child's self-esteem and overall mental health. It is important to know the warning signs that may indicate that your son or daughter is being bullied so that action can be taken if needed.

Possible warning signs:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide
  • Learn more at www.stopbullying.gov

Learn more
Blue Valley Board Policy 3512
Common Sense Media
StopBullying.gov
Stomp Out Bullying
BullyBust

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

What is substance abuse?
Teenagers can experiment with a variety of drugs, both legal and illegal. Legally available drugs can include alcohol, inhalants (fumes from glues, aerosols and solvents), prescription medications, and over-the-counter cough, cold, sleep and diet medications. The most commonly used illegal drugs are marijuana (also known as pot or weed), stimulants (cocaine, crack and speed), LSD, PCP, opiates, heroin and Ecstasy. The use of illegal drugs is increasing, especially among young teens. In Johnson County, the average age of first marijuana and alcohol use is 14 years old (Communities that Care Survey, 2010).

Signs & Symptoms

  • demanding more privacy, locking doors, avoiding eye contact, sneaking around
  • changes in school performance
  • declining interest in activities your teen once enjoyed
  • change in friend groups
  • unusual borrowing of money from friends or parents
  • loss of motivation​
  • change in sleep patterns: difficulty falling asleep, sleeping too much or too little, or difficulty staying asleep
  • poor hygiene
  • frequent use of strong cologne/perfume, eye drops, breath mints, air fresheners, or mouthwash
  • sudden personality changes that include abrupt changes in school attendance, work output, grades, discipline
  • unpredictable mood swings that seem to be more than just teen hormones
  • nervous: excessive nervousness, irritability, restlessness, anxiety​

Getting help
Utilize outside help and support: "outside help" is not always rehab. Outside help could involve talking to your teen's school counselor, family doctor or sports coach. There are several methods that professionals can use to determine how to help your son or daughter,including:

  1. Drug and Alcohol Assessment- An assessment can be done over the phone or a face-to-face visit with a professional. This is usually done at a treatment facility with a doctor or counselor.
  2. Drug tests: Although at-home drug tests are available, some can be unreliable. Having a doctor perform a drug test can yield more accurate results.​​

Juvenile Substance Abuse - Initial Evaluation Information

AlcoholEDU course for parents
In addition, research has shown that parents have the greatest influence on the decisions teens make about alcohol. Because of this we strongly recommend parents to take AlcoholEdu for High School Parents. In this 15-20 minute module you will find:

  • Information regarding Social Host Laws
  • The latest research on underage drinking
  • Tips and tools for talking to your teen about alcohol
  • Strategies for setting rules and monitoring your teen

Course Access

  1. Visit: http://www.brainshark.com/everfi/AlcEduHSParents
  2. Enter your name
  3. Enter your child's school and district
  4. Click "submit" to start the course
  5. Click play to advance the slides

FAQ
Does teaching my teen to drink help them learn to drink responsibly?

  • Allowing your teenager to drink alcohol with you may actually backfire as an approach to teaching responsible drinking, according to a study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. It was determined that the more a teenager drinks at home with his or her family, the more he or she drinks outside of the home.
  • There are many laws in place that impose severe punishments for adults who allow teens to drink in their home, even if the adult is not there. It is a crime to give alcohol to a minor.

What should I do if I suspect that my teen is drinking or using drugs?
Ask them. If you suspect that your son or daughter is lying, consult a professional for a drug test. Keeping an open line of communication is one of the best ways to help your teen stay away from drug or alcohol use.

If I suspect that my teen is using, where should I look to confirm my suspicions? Places to look:

  • dresser drawers, socks, beneath or between clothes, in pockets of pants
  • desk drawers
  • cars: glove box, ash trays, under seats
  • CD/DVD/Tape/Video cases
  • small boxes - jewelry, pencil, etc.
  • under a bed or mattress
  • between books on a bookshelf
  • in books with pages cut out
  • makeup cases - inside fake lipstick tubes or compacts
  • inside over-the-counter medicine containers
  • backpacks/duffle bags

What are some ways I can help my child stay away from drugs and alcohol?

  • Set rules within the house: Make sure that your family knows that there is zero tolerance for use of drugs/alcohol. Be sure to set consequences for breaking this rule.
  • Keep tabs on your teen: Always know where they will be and what they will be doing when away from the house unsupervised. Be sure to occasionally check up on your teen and make sure that they are where they said they will be.
  • Know your teen's friends and their parents. Offer to have them over to your house for a movie night or make plans to attend an event together.
  • Encourage your teen to be involved in after-school activities: sports, clubs, fitness programs, etc. The more they are involved, the less time they have to experiment with drugs or alcohol.
  • Talk to your teen: Ask them how their day went, about their friends, what plans they have for the weekend, etc.
  • Plan family activities: Strengthen the bond that you have with your teen.
  • Make a habit of borrowing your child's car on short notice. If you do this, they will not have time to clean out the car or hide anything they shouldn't have in it.
  • If your child goes to a party, ask them to call you half way into the night. Also, mention that you will call them. Teens are less likely to get drunk if they know they have to have a coherent conversation with you.

RESILIENCY

What is resiliency?
Many of us have a fairly strong grasp of what resiliency looks like. Sometimes it is called "bouncing back" or the lesson to "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again". It's the concept that allows children to learn how to write their names, ride a bike or pass a driver's test. None of these things are easy the first time we try them but our ability to be resilient and persevere are the personality characteristics that carry us through. It may not be difficult to understand resiliency as a concept, but how do we teach our children how to get back up after life has knocked them down?

Why bother?
Some children face the more common stressors of divorce or illness. Other children are faced with catastrophes- disease, floods, hurricanes, tornados, poverty, etc. Whether such experiences crush or strengthen an individual child depends, in part, on his or her resilience.

Resilience is important because it is the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by or even transformed by the adversities of life. Everyone faces adversities; no one is exempt. With resilience, children can triumph over trauma, without it, trauma (adversity) triumphs. Along with food and shelter, children need love and trust, hope and autonomy (sense of self). Important terms:

  • Resiliency: universal capacity which allows a person… to prevent, minimize or overcome the damaging effects of adversity.
  • Optimism: stable belief that one will generally experience good outcomes in life. Believing things will work out for the best.
  • Percieved competence: Our expectation that we can effectively interact with our environment. Believing we know what to do and can do what it takes to be successful. Both optimism and perceived competence are related to well-being, better coping with stress and more effective self-regulation, and as a result, greater resilience.

Sources of resilience in children
There are 3 main sources of resilience: I HAVE, I AM, I CAN. A resilient child does not need all of these features to be resilient, but one is not enough.

I HAVE

  • people around me I trust and who love me, no matter what
  • people who set limits for me so I know when to stop before there is danger or trouble
  • people who show me how to do things right by the way they do things
  • people who want me to learn to do things on my own
  • people who help me when I am sick, in danger or need to learn

I AM

  • a person people can like and love
  • glad to do nice things for others and show my concern
  • respectful of myself and others
  • willing to be responsible for what I do
  • sure things will be all right

I CAN

  • talk to others about things that frighten me or bother me
  • find ways to solve problems that I face
  • control myself when I feel like doing something not right or dangerous
  • figure out when it is a good time to talk to someone or to take action
  • find someone to help me when I need it

10 TIPS for raising resilient children

  1. Make Connections - Encourage your child to be a friend in order to get friends. Build a strong family network to support your child through his or her inevitable disappointments and hurts. Connecting with people provides social support and strengthens resilience.
  2. Help your child by having him or her help others - Children who may feel helpless can be empowered by helping others. Engage your child in volunteer work.
  3. Maintain a daily routine - Encourage your child to develop his or her own routines. This can be particularly helpful in helping your teen structure their time outside of school.
  4. Take a break - While it is important to stick to routines, endlessly worrying can be counter-productive. Teach your child how to focus on something besides what's worrying him, particularly if what is worrying him involves TV, a cell phone or the internet.
  5. Teach your child self-care - Make yourself a good example and teach your child the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest. Make sure your child has time to have fun, and make sure that your child hasn't scheduled every moment of his or her life with no "down time" to relax. Caring for oneself and even having fun will help your child stay balanced and better able to deal with stressful times.
  6. Move toward your goals - Teach your child to set reasonable goals and then to move toward them one step at a time. Moving toward that goal - even if it's a tiny step - and receiving praise for doing so will focus your child on what he or she has accomplished rather than on what hasn't been accomplished, and can help build the resilience to move forward in the face of challenges. Acknowledge accomplishments on the way to larger goals.
  7. Nurture a positive self-view - Help your child remember ways that he or she has successfully handled hardships in the past and then help him understand that these past challenges help him build the strength to handle future challenges. Help your child learn to trust himself to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Teach your child to see the humor in life and the ability to laugh at one's self.
  8. Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook - Even when your child is facing very painful events, help him look at the situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Help him or her see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good. An optimistic and positive outlook enables your child to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest times. Provide examples of other times in the past that they have managed difficult times.
  9. Look for opportunities for self-discovery - Tough times are often the times when children learn the most about themselves. Help your child take a look at how whatever he is facing can teach him "what he is made of." (and that what he is made of is great!)
  10. Accept that change is part of living - Change often can be scary for children and teens. Help your child see that change is part of life and new goals can replace goals that have become unattainable.

​DEPRESSION/SUICIDE

Signs & symptoms
Depression is more than sadness, and suicide risk is more than depression. Sadness is usually in response to something specific (i.e. a breakup, a poor test grade, a fight with a friend). The cause can usually be pinpointed or described. Depression is sadness that lasts for a long time (at least two weeks), and does not necessarily have a "cause." People will typically not be able to answer the question of "why they are sad."

Signs and symptoms:"Depressed mood" can look like sadness, or in children and teens look more like an irritable mood. Depression often brings with it a loss of concentration or interest in things that used to be fun or pleasurable – parents may see this as apathy. Changes in sleeping (too much or too little) and changes in eating (too much or too little) are also signs that sadness has moved to depression. Sometimes depression just looks like it has slowed the person down. They may report fatigue and look like they are physically moving slower – perhaps with a report of restless feelings. The symptoms combine to cause significant difficulty coping with life and participating in social, school or work activities.

FAQ​​
How do I know if it is serious?
Unhappiness and depression is hard to watch in someone we love. If sadness continues over time and interrupts the flow of life, it is serious. It may look to the adult like the child has just stopped life in his or her tracks. Life is hard, and there does not appear to be a logical explanation or solution.

What is the difference between depression and teenage moodiness?
Time and intensity. Moodiness comes and goes...depression sticks around and makes every part of life a little harder. With depression, you may still see some "up" times, but they are usually short lived and fleeting.

If my child is depressed, should I worry about suicide?
Suicidal thoughts can be an outgrowth of depression. When a student feels helpless and hopeless, ending life may seem like an option. This is a very scary place to be. Checking in with your child and asking if they feel like it will get better and that life can be fun again of if they have thought about hurting themselves is very important. At any point, if you are concerned about their answer to those questions, a suicide assessment should be conducted.

What do I do if my child is threatening to hurt themselves or I am afraid they are suicidal?
If you are concerned about your child's immediate safety call 911. Tell the operator your concerns and fears. The police will come out and help get your child to a hospital or mental health center. In the meantime, do not leave your child alone. (You may even need to follow him or her into the bathroom.) Remove all hazardous materials from the house or store them out of your child's reach. This includes guns, large knifes, razor blades, over the counter and prescription pills, ropes, etc. If your child has mentioned a specific way to kill themselves, pay particular attention to the materials needed. Remove all the ways or means that your child could use to die by suicide.

If your child will cooperate, you can take them to the emergency room. A doctor will speak with you, evaluate the situation and make recommendations. If it is determined that he or she needs to be kept safe in the hospital, the police or emergency room will help you.

As a parent, this can be a scary and lonely night. Please remember, there are places to go for help and people waiting to help you. Trust your instinct. If you feel like something is going on with your child, then it probably is. If you are concerned about your child's safety, act on that concern.

What if they tell me they are just kidding?
If a child has mentioned feeling depressed, hopeless or suicidal, believe it and check it out. It is too much to risk that they might have been "just kidding." Research tells us that students who die by suicide or attempt suicide have thought about it multiple times before acting.

Is there a cure for depression?
Depression is not only a mood disorder, but also a physical condition. Medication (antidepressants) is often prescribed as a first intervention. We know that treatment can be most effective when counseling or therapy is included. There are specific skills that can be taught to help a student feel in control and hopeful.

Will my insurance cover treatment?
Sometimes, depending on your policy. Coverage for mental health varies a lot with different insurance companies. Your company may have a specific group of psychiatrists and therapist from which you can choose. Johnson County Mental Health will work on a sliding scale. They have a 24 hour after hours number that you can call if you need immediate help. (913-384-3535)

* Decisions regarding medication and medication management should be made in consultation with a qualified professional with the training and expertise to prescribe and manage medications for depression. Some anti-depressants have side-effects and proper parent and professional monitoring of adolescents on medications is essential.

Learn more
If you are concerned about your child and depression, you can contact your school counselor/school nurse/school psychologist. The school will be able to give you additional information and advice specific to your child. Your family doctor is a great resource. Johnson County Mental Health is one public agency that can help.

Resources:

Jason Flatt Act: Suicide Prevention Plan, Crisis Intervention and Professional Learning
The Jason Flatt Act (KSA 72-8260) was passed by the Kansas Legislature and signed by the governor in spring 2016. As a result of this law, each building will have a crisis plan that will include:

  • recognition of suicide ideation;
  • appropriate interventions; and a
  • crisis recovery plan

So that this information is in the hands of those working closest to the student, each school will provide at least one hour of suicide awareness and prevention training for all school personnel. The content of this training will be made available for parental review.

In Blue Valley, we have found that the Jason Flatt Act is very compatible with our efforts of suicide prevention and intervention. Our district has taken a tiered approach offering prevention education to all students, responsive services to those in need, and intervention protocols for those in crisis. Each building also has a comprehensive crisis plan and crisis response team to work with individuals and groups in the event of a crisis. The district also has a crisis response team and FLIGHT Team that support staff and students during and after an event. The Jason Flatt Act has given us an opportunity to review and refine our procedures while developing annual training presentations that adhere to the KSA 72-8260 and regulations passed by the Kansas School Board.

Our plan is to develop suicide prevention training that includes all KSDE required components and professional learning related to mental health, protective factors, and risk factors. Each year, members of the building mental health team will utilize the following information to meet the requirements and, most importantly, provide for a responsive safe environment for students. Please contact Dr. Mark Schmidt, Assistant Superintendent Well-Being and Student Services with any questions or concerns.

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

The basics
During adolescence, young people learn how to form safe and healthy relationships with friends, parents, teachers and romantic partners. Both boys and girls often try on different identities and roles during this time, and relationships contribute to their development. Peers, in particular, play a big role in identity formation, but relationships with caring adults - including parents, mentors or coaches - are also important for adolescent development.

Connection with family
Families today can take many forms. Regardless of family form, a strong sense of bonding to family has been identified as a factor leading to better emotional development, school success and less involvement in high-risk activities, including drug abuse. Here are 10 simple ways to connect to your teen:

  1. Share his or her interest
  2. Do something together
  3. Skip the lecture
  4. Keep it simple
  5. Give him or her breathing room
  6. Have family meals
  7. Chat while working together
  8. Connect online
  9. Create a ritual
  10. Talk about your youth

Connection with peers
The nature of adolescents' involvement with peer groups changes over the course of adolescence. Adolescents need adults who can help them withstand peer pressure and find safe and productive peer groups.

How does social media fit in with connectedness? You'd think as much as our kids are "plugged in" they would be more connected, right? New research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic) - and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill. It is clear that social interaction matters to our kids (and most adults). When technology leads to increased face-to-face interaction, it leads to positive connectedness. However, if technology is the primary means of social connection, it can be isolating and lead to poor social skills that may inhibit future involvement.

Connection at school
Students who feel connected to their school are also more likely to have better academic achievement, better attendance and stay in school longer. How is a strong connection to school developed? Many experts agree that developing a strong connection to school is built on healthy relationships…with parents, teachers, peers and others.

School connectedness provides a protective factor for teens. Research has shown that young people who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in many risky behaviors. Parents who have the expectation that their teen will be involved, will have a teen who is more likely to choose to be involved. It's important to note that teens respond better when given the freedom to choose an activity. This can be coupled with the understanding that they will commit to that activity for a reasonable amount of time. The level of involvement in activities, clubs or organizations should be balanced with other demands in the teen's life (homework, family, job, church, etc.).

Learn more
NASP

Alberta - Healthy U

Office of Adolescent Health

Other Resources
Walsh, D. (2004). Why do they act that way?. (1st ed., p. pp 212, 230). New York, NY: Free Press.
Marche, Stephen. "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely." Atlantic. May 2012: 60-69. Print.
"10 Simple Ways to Connect to Your Teen." Family Education. N.p.. Web. 24 Sep 2013.
Verial, Damon. "The Main Teen Social Issues." Global Post. N.p.. Web. 24 Sep 2013.

EXERCISE/NUTRITION/SLEEP

Exercise
The exercise component is essential when it comes to achieving and maintaining a healthy body. Not only does exercise provide cardiovascular benefits, strengthen bones and build muscle, it also plays an important role in improving moods and helping prepare our brains to learn.

As our culture becomes more sedentary due to modern conveniences we use for transportation, communication as well as recreation, physical activity is not as second nature as it was at one time. Because of this, we have to be more creative on how we can implement exercise into our daily lives. Organized sports, our local recreation centers, and simply finding activities that our children enjoy that involve moving their bodies, are ways that we can promote being active.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids get 60 minutes of exercise a day. These 60 minutes will look different depending on each child's interests and individual circumstances. We also know that our weather plays a key role in our exercise options. When the weather forces us to stay inside, we can visit our local Recreation centers or YMCA facility. These centers often offer work out facilities and various exercise classes. Some also offer indoor pools that provide swim lessons and open family swim hours at a minimal fee. It's important to expose our kids to a variety of activities so that they see exercise as something they enjoy and look forward to doing. Helping our children live an active life will expose them to all of the physical and mental benefits that exercise promotes and will help them learn healthy tools in managing stress and growing into their full potential.

Nutrition
Children's bodies and minds are growing from birth until about age 23. Good nutrition is important for strong bodies and strong brains to learn. Schools have mandates for a balances school lunch program. Good food choices start at home. Make plans to work as a family to have nutritious meals and choices at home. Below are references to help families move forward to good food that helps make wise nutrition choices. There are sites for those with special health needs so everyone benefits healthfully with reliable information.

Local

  • Blue Valley Schools website - find out about the school lunch program for Blue Valley School District
  • Local grocers in our area have employed nutritionist to assist you for making healthy food choices for family meals and snacks. Inquire at your local grocery.
  • Children's Mercy Hospital

Nationwide

Specialty areas

Sleep
A student's performance during the day is affected by the amount of quality sleep obtained and is linked to chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, as well as affecting the effective treatment of those diseases. Students that are chronically fatigued may also struggled with inability to focus and stay on task, and to participate and complete classwork.

Sleep requirements
Sleep requirements change as a person ages:

  • Preschool-11-12 hours per day
  • School age-At least 10 hours per day
  • Teens-9-10 hours per day

Sleep loss on a daily basis is accumulative over the period of a week, and is known as "sleep debt". Attempting to decrease the sleep debt by sleeping late on days off, or napping, is ineffective, and can result in altering the body clock. If a student appears to be getting the recommended amount of quality sleep, and still appears fatigued, medical assessment should be obtained.

Resources

CONCUSSION/TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, is an injury that is caused by a blow or jolt to the head, penetrating head injury, or by being violently shaken enough to disrupt the function of the brain are all under the umbrella of a brain injury. A TBI can change how a person acts, moves, communicates and thinks.

An Acquired Brain Injury, or ABI, includes harm caused by pressure to the brain from inside the body such as the result of: heart attacks, strokes, illness and near drowning.

The Blue Valley School District serves student with both types of brain injuries. If your child reports any symptoms of traumatic brain injury, seek medical attention right away and contact your building nurse as a follow up.

Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • "Pressure in head"
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Blurred, double or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish or slowed down
  • Feeling foggy or groggy
  • Drowsiness
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Amnesia
  • "Don't feel right"
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Sadness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Irritability
  • More emotional
  • Confusion
  • Concentration or memory problems
    (forgetting game plays)
  • Repeating the same question/comment

What to do
Let the school know what the diagnosis and recommendations from the healthcare provider are for returning to the school learning environment. Any restrictions in the classroom or athletic play should be shared. The best transitions after an injury include collaboration among medical staff, school staff and families. Blue Valley Schools are committed to education beyond expectations for each child; there are school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, administrators and teachers knowledgeable about TBI. Additionally, the district has a TBI mini-team of specially trained educators available to consult with school teams when necessary.

Learn more
Brain 101
Kansas Sports Concussion Partnership
BrainLine Kids
CDC
KSHSAA Concussion Guidelines
District Head Injury Guidelines
Blue Valley TBI Team​​​​​

TALKING ABOUT CRISIS

National tragedies can cause a range of emotion for both adults and children, such as feeling frightened or confused. From natural disasters to terrorist attacks, it is important that adults give children information and guidance on how to process and react. Helping children feel safe and secure and providing them with ways to cope is the most important thing we can do. For more information please use the following resources:

​​CONTACTS
BVH.jpg    BLUE VALLEY HIGH
Counselor website
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BVN.jpg    BLUE VALLEY NORTH
Counselor website
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BVNW.jpg    BLUE VALLEY NORTHWEST
Counselor website
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BVSW.jpg    BLUE VALLEY SOUTHWEST
Counselor website
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BVW.jpg    BLUE VALLEY WEST
Counselor website
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ABM.jpg    AUBRY BEND MIDDLE
Counselor website
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BVM.jpg    BLUE VALLEY MIDDLE
Counselor website
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HMS.jpg    HARMONY MIDDLE
Counselor website
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LKM.jpg    LAKEWOOD MIDDLE
Counselor website
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LMS.jpg    LEAWOOD MIDDLE
Counselor website
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OTM.jpg    OVERLAND TRAIL MIDDLE
Counselor website
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OMS.jpg    OXFORD MIDDLE
Counselor website
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PRM.jpg    PLEASANT RIDGE MIDDLE
Counselor website
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PSM.jpg    PRAIRIE STAR MIDDLE
Counselor website
Report bullying

BRE.jpg    BLUE RIVER ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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CHE.jpg    CEDAR HILLS ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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CPE.jpg    COTTONWOOD POINT ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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HES.jpg    HARMONY ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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HRT.jpg    HEARTLAND ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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IVE.jpg    INDIAN VALLEY ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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LKE.jpg    LAKEWOOD ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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LES.jpg    LEAWOOD ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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LVE.jpg    LIBERTY VIEW ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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MTE.jpg    MISSION TRAIL ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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MOR.jpg    MORSE ELEMENTARY
Counselor website​​​​​​​​
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OHE.jpg    OAK HILL ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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OTE.jpg    OVERLAND TRAIL ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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PSE.jpg    PRAIRIE STAR ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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STA.jpg    STANLEY ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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STI.jpg    STILWELL ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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SPE.jpg    SUNRISE POINT ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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SRE.jpg    SUNSET RIDGE ELEMENTARY
Counselor website
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TCE.jpg    TIMBER CREEK ELEMENTARY
Counselor website​​​​​​​​
Report bullying
VPE.jpg    VALLEY PARK ELEMENTARY
Counselor website​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Report bullying
VPE.jpg    WOLF SPRINGS ELEMENTARY
Counselor website​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Report bullying