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Parents Survival Tips to Exam Stress

1). Remain Calm
Remember it’s not you, it’s them!! It’s perfectly normal for Parents to become anxious and worry for your kids in the lead upto exams - especially if it’s the first time a major exam, such as the Leaving or Junior Cert is ‘in the household’. The best way you can help your child is to remain calm yourself! It’s very important not to transfer any additional anxiety onto your kids. This can happen unintentionally.

2). Get out yourself & relax
Whilst it is important to be supportive and present for your child during this time, experience suggests that some ‘time out’ for parents is as important as it is for students.

3). Try to keep a normal household
 Exams can bring stress that can have a ripple effect on everyone in the house. Being practical - keeping noise and distractions to a minimum during study time is very useful. Keeping regular sleep patterns is essential during this period. If your child is having difficulty getting sleep, try a copy of Exam Buster  as it helps students release physical tension and builds positive self belief and exam strategy.

4). Feed the Mind 
Have plenty of healthy snacks in the fridge – fruit! Make sure everyone in the house starts the day on a good breakfast! Ideally a slow releasing energy cereal eg brown bread with an egg or porridge / muesli. Minimise high sugar snacks (chocolate, fizzy drinks) - have plenty of healthy alternatives. Provide alternatives to caffeine drinks – have decaff alternatives on tap!

The impact of facebook on children's psychology

1). Facebook and other networking sites “are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a short attention span and live for the moment”. There is hardly any concentration skills required in participating in these social networking sites, and these train the brain to have poor attention span.

2). Kids are detracted from learning to communicate in the real world. There are reports from teachers that social networking is affecting kids’ comprehension levels. Also, if kids communicate primarily through the screen they do not learn the subtleties of real life communication - such as body language, tone of voice, and subconsciously sensing the molecules that other people release.

3). Social networking sites make kids more self-centered. Since Facebook and other sites give kids their own page which is about them, it leads some vulnerable kids to think that everything revolves around them, a precursor for emotional problems in their later life. This might also result in inability to empathize.
These sites make kids prone to sensationalism.

4). Pedriatricians observe that some teens suffer from "Facebook depression". After spending a lot of time on Facebook and other popular social networking sites, some teens become anxious and moody. Also, a vulnerable teen may suffer from depression when he reads great things happening to his friends, and his life is not so great in comparison. Teens who experience "Facebook depression" usually have trouble with social interactions in general. 

6 Things to Know About Child Depression

It's more common than you think
Depression isn't normally an illness that we associate with kids, but it should be, says Robert L. Hendren, D.O., past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). The AACAP estimates that as many as one in 20 children and adolescents is depressed. "Another way to think about it is that, on average, at least one child in every classroom will have it," says David Fassler.

Depression can run in the family
Studies show that 25 percent of kids who have a parent who has suffered from clinical depression will experience their own episode, says Dr. Fassler. If both Mom and Dad are depressed, the risk increases to around 75 percent. Scientists aren't exactly sure of the reason for this, but one theory posits that these kids have a genetic vulnerability, which is then exacerbated by a stressful environment.

It's often masked or mimicked by other problems
 "Approximately forty percent of children and adolescents with depression also have an anxiety disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and about one in four has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)," says Dr. Fassler. Learning disorders are also common. Experts don't know quite how these relate to each other, but they do know that when there are coexisting conditions, it can be harder to suss out and treat each one.

Irritability can be a major clue
The biggest difference between symptoms of adults and those of children is that while adults are usually sad and withdrawn, children are easily aggravated and may have irrational outbursts, says Dr. Hendren. "Children might not recognize that they are feeling depressed," he says. "Often, they don't know how to identify this feeling and put it into words."

Kate Coyne*, a mom from South Portland, ME, initially took her daughter, Emma*, then 8, to a psychologist after a teacher said she'd been "uncharacteristically irritable" at school. "I was shocked when the psychologist said she was depressed," says Coyne. "Since Emma wasn't withdrawing or sleeping all the time -- symptoms that might have jumped out at me -- it never entered my head."

The dramas of Easter - Paula Manoli-Gray

Happy Easter – Kalo Pascha to everyone!

I do love Easter, but it does come with its dramas, and I don't mean the agonising temptation of Easter eggs and the guilt that follows!

Let's start with the pipe bombs and fireworks. I know I covered this a few weeks back, but there have been some developments… 

After numerous battles with the neighbourhood kids to stop them setting off fireworks in the park next door to the house, one of the kids told us that a policeman had told him that sparklers and small fireworks are okay to use unsupervised and they are allowed to buy them. We don't know if the policeman happens to be his dad, uncle or his dad's uncle's koumbaro, but we had to bite our tongue after a trip to a new discount superstore in Larnaca. There, we found that fireworks are sold freely. You just have to pick them up from the display at the beginning of the shop, pop them into your trolley, pay for them and then you are free to let them off wherever you desire. They even have suitably ominous names like 'fire bomb'. And then we wonder why children can't see the harm in using these things; after all, you can buy them along with your bananas and milk. I didn't see a warning sign or indication that they wouldn't be sold to anyone underage either. 'Only in Cyprus', as we are used to saying…

What I do like about Easter on the island is that we combine elements of Western Easter with Orthodox Easter.  As my own children are 'half and half' (half Cypriot, half English), they get to enjoy the differences of both their cultures, such as the contrast of dyed red eggs and chocolate eggs, religious traditions like decorating the Holy Sepulchre (epitafio), and fairytale traditions like the Easter bunny and egg hunts. Which leads me on to drama number two.

My kids are still in private nursery so we have yet to experience this first hand, but I have heard numerous horror stories from mums whose kids are in the state system (which my son will start in September). Apparently, state schools – including the pre-school – annually show a film of the crucifixion of Christ, complete with dripping blood from the crown of thorns and graphic images of the nails being driven in. I don't know if this is every school or just the village schools I have heard of, but not surprisingly, it has left children in tears and suffering from nightmares. I have also heard that pre-schoolers are taken to church to drink the blood of Christ (wine) so that they may be cleansed of demons. Yes, they are told that they need to be cleansed of their demons at the age of five.

I don't know how I will react if my son has to partake in any of the above next year, but for now, Easter is still a nice time for him, untarnished as yet.

So, if you celebrate – however you celebrate - may you enjoy this time and all the elements that make it uniquely Cyprus, even if your kids do come back from school drunk!

Easter with the kids

The children's play placesWow Action Park, Party Place and Fun Factory, will all close only on Easter Sunday and will be open the rest of the week, with differing timetables, so check with the establishment for their particular times. Contact: 7000 0025 (Wow) / 2425 3300 (Party Place) / 7000 4095 (Fun Factory).

Leoni Pitman will be holding Easter craft sessions at her Splash 'O' Colour premises Wednesday, April 23 (10am-5pm), Thursday, April 24 (10am – 5pm), and Friday, April 25 (9am – 5pm). The crafts include Easter lanterns, Easter pottery painting and Easter hanging ornaments, amongst other crafts, and the cost per child is €7.50. Contact: 99095148.

Cyherbia Herb Garden, Maze and Woodland will be holding an Easter Egg Hunt starting on Easter Monday (April 21), until Sunday, April 27, from 10am – 5pm.

Located in the Larnaca district village of Avgorou, the event includes hundreds of Easter eggs hidden in the unique maze – the only one on the island – for children to hunt. There will also be other Easter themed games such as an 'I Spy' game in the Herb Garden with the goal to find and name the hidden bunnies, egg and spoon races, sack races and tug-of-war.

On the Monday and Tuesday, and the last day (Sunday), there will be an Easter bonnet and craft competition where children can create their own bonnets and baskets in the craft-area. The creations will be judged on Sunday, April 27, with one winner per craft. Leoni from Splash 'O' Colour will be running the crafts area.

Entrance is €5 per person, which includes a glass of herbal ice tea for adults and participation in the egg hunt and games for children, with each child receiving a small prize too. There is an extra charitable fee for the crafts of €3.50 with a portion of the proceeds going to the 'Stanna Needs Angels Fund' to assist Stanna Wieclawska pay for an urgently needed spinal operation to avoid paralysis.

Miranda Tringilis – owner of the gardens says: "Easter time is a fantastic opportunity for families to go out in the beautiful natural environment Cyherbia offers; kids can play in the clean air and sunshine and parents can join in or relax in the Tea Room. Cyherbia offers kids new adventures and educational activities on every visit."

For more details, contact: 99915443.

On Wednesday, April 23, Angela Ashby will be holding a Beatrix Potter themed Easter Spring Tea Party event at Faneromeni Park.

The whole event will revolve around author Beatrix Potter's charming characters, including Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

The line-up of the games includes egg and spoon races, 'eggie' golf, an Easter hunt with a twist, hoppy races and pin-the-tail-on-the-bunny. Other activities will consist of face painting, story time and cut-outs to take funny photos.

At the end of the event, all the children will receive a spring-related surprise gift from Peter Rabbit's garden.

Taking place from 10am – 12pm, the event costs €5 per family, which includes all the games and a tea party with food. Participants are asked to bring a picnic blanket, drinking water… and their camera!

Organiser Angela Ashby says: "Beatrix Potter and her characters embody everything spring is about and this themed event will be fun and entertaining, and will feature children's favourite characters from the books. Faneromeni park provides plenty of shade, and the opportunity for families to stick around after the event and enjoy the park, so it's a complete day out for everyone."

For more details, contact: 97610998.


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