By Karen Lerfald, Director of Special Services
What habits would you like to see in your children? Being kind, being positive, being tidy, money management, eating healthy or being active? Summer brings a lot of downtime for kids, but also provides opportunities to build healthy habits. I wanted to take a closer look at how healthy habits are formed, why it is important to help our children develop healthy habits, and some ideas to help form these habits in your children.
The overall key to forming habits is very simple, to repeat the action daily. However, this is easier said than done. In the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear, the author states that there is a science behind habit formation. This includes cues, which spark our habits; craving, the motivating force behind every habit; response or the actual habit you perform; and the reward or reinforcement. No matter your age, these pieces need to be in place to develop a habit. Willpower and good intentions are not enough to develop or maintain a healthy habit.
Surroundings also shape behavior, so it is important to be aware of the forces in your surroundings that support healthy habits as well as forces that can get in the way of good intentions. When developing healthy habits, the individual, child or adult, should have someone who will hold them accountable as well as be aware of forces that could interfere with forming a healthy habit like friends, social media, or gaming.
When developing a healthy habit, preparation is essential. Preparation allows the individual to see patterns, anticipate failures, and address weaknesses. Also, it can be helpful to pair a habit that you like with a habit that is more difficult to follow.
It is important that adults help children develop positive habits, so they can become their best possible selves. Parents want their children to fulfill their potential, and developing healthy habits is one way to do this. Having a conversation with your child about what type of person they want to be can start the process of developing healthy habits.
As kids are home for the summer, developing the habit of tidiness in your child may be essential to prevent a mess from building up at home. As stated previously, it is essential to develop a plan for the habit you want to develop. If you have a young child, reading the book, The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room, may be a great place to start. From a young age, children can help sort socks, dust low surfaces, and pick up toys when done playing.
Explaining why cleaning is important is also a step that cannot be forgotten. You can enforce the pick-up rule before bed and tie chores to an allowance. Giving bonuses or charging fees if a job is not complete may also motivate children. Visual charts and rewards are important to reinforce the habit. Kids do not always see the benefit, so they need a reward to keep them going.
As a parent, you can help your child understand the importance of sticking with and developing healthy habits. Even though the changes seem small and unimportant at first, after time they will develop into remarkable results.
The ISD 423 Board of Education will conduct a Regular meeting on Monday, June 13, 2022 beginning at 5:30 pm in the Council Chambers at Hutchinson City Center (111 Hassan St SE).
By Lesli Mueller, Director of Child Nutrition
School’s out, and now the summer fun can begin. With loads of time available kids are enjoying the great outdoors in all kinds of ways. Playing at their nearest playground, biking with friends, taking part in a baseball game and swimming at the local public waterpark.
We’ve all seen these activities in our communities and are amused by their obvious enjoyment. Academics during the school year and summer are important but just as important is physical activity for our kids to grow strong. Both can be jeopardized without fuel for energy.
We all know food is what fuels us. Not any food, but ones that contain the most nutrition can make a huge difference in how we perform in our learning and recreational activities. Summer can be a care-free time full of delicious healthy food from family picnics, barbeques, and everyday meals.
For those families who count on school breakfast and lunch, the summer months can be stressful with their food budgets having to be stretched even further. With inflation, rising gas prices and the cost of living going up families could really use some relief from expenses. Thankfully, Hutchinson will be providing free summer meals through the Summer Feeding Program, funded by the USDA. Part of the food being served is sourced locally from farmers for the freshest fruits and vegetables around. All meals follow USDA nutrition guidelines. Meals are FREE to children and teens ages 18 and younger at all the community sites.
Hutchinson Public Schools partners with Common Cup and we are so appreciative of the volunteers they provide for our Summer Feeding Sites. If you are interested in volunteering for this wonderful program that benefits so many kids contact Jen Wicklund at 320-587-2213 or [email protected] for the Common Cup organization.
We are awaiting approval for sites our meals will be served at, and will get that information to the public as soon as it’s available. Our hope is by the time you read this article sites will have been approved and summer meals are up and running. We apologize for the delay this is causing in communicating details about the program, but once we know more, information will be posted on the school website, social media and posters posted throughout the community as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Tutors: The District does not endorse or recommend specific tutors; however, a list of people providing tutoring services is available.
By Brenda Vatthauer, Principal, Hutchinson Middle School
We are living in a very different world from the way we knew education three years ago. There is fear of the unknown, a lack of trust in our societal system and many judgments placed on our educators. As we lead into the final weeks of the school year, it is healthy to reflect and learn from the past two COVID years as well as vision forward to next fall. It is certain that our middle school, with the students in the center of our work, would benefit if we prioritized reinvesting with our families. With this commitment, families and staff need to work as a team, learning about our combined challenges, and unite together to problem solve barriers and support students. It takes a true partnership of parents and school staff working together to improve learning, support adolescent development and the health of middle school students. Stronger partnerships should be a shared responsibility in which schools are reaching out to engage parents in various ways and parents are committed to actively supporting their son/daughter during the middle school years. This is a critical time in adolescent lives where a supportive “partnership” between home and school is essential. Research shows that parent engagement and partnership in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement and enhanced social skills.
Starting the 2022-23 school year, HMS plans to emphasize parent involvement by providing a variety of activities and frequent occasions to fully involve parents. This will include:
- Parent support – focusing on sharing information with parents to help parents improve their child’s learning and to identify and develop social and emotional skills for students to be successful.
- Parent Camps – parents involved in discussion around topics of interest to them.
- Book studies – Middle School Matters by Phyllis Fagell and Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard.
- Increased communication – we are looking for ways to maintain two-way communication between families and the school.
- Encouraging parents to be part of decision making in our middle school in collaboration with the community.
Developing a stronger parent/school partnership is a necessary variable in the equation of student success. This includes shared beliefs, values and attitudes. If we expect students to do their personal best each day, we need to do our part to develop a stronger partnership between parents and school. Thanks to all the parents for your support this year and we look forward to building a stronger network next fall.
The Hutchinson Public Schools will be accepting quotes for the transportation of the School District’s students for the 2022-2023, 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 school years with a possible contract extension of an additional two years.
Quotes are due no later than 3:00 p.m. on June 20, 2022 at the office of Brian Mohr, Director of Buildings, Grounds and Student Transportation, 30 Glen St NW, Hutchinson, MN 55350.
Information on the bid process can be obtained by contacting Rebecca Boll by phone at 320-234-2615 or by email [email protected]. Information on transportation needs and specifications can be obtained by contacting Brian Mohr by phone at 320-234-2609 or by email at b[email protected].
After review of the quotes, it is the intent of the District to award a contract for bussing services by July 6, 2022.
By Jocelynn Buckentin, Technology Innovation Specialist
I had a hard truth delivered to me this week, and it came at the hands of a pint-sized human at the ripe age of 6 years old. This child, with her wide-eyed innocence, told me that her dad liked playing video games more than he liked playing with her, and that it made her sad. This statement, as jarring as it may seem, is not uncommon for me to hear when I talk with students about media balance. While her statement was not directed at me, it immediately drove my thoughts inward to self-reflection. What would my own daughter say to her teachers about my device use at home? I have certainly been guilty of scrolling mindlessly through my smartphone, but does it interfere with my ability to connect with my kid?
The answer to this question may alarm you. Many studies have been conducted around the concept of distracted parenting, and they all confirm that the “continuous partial attention” we give our children when we divide time between a device and their care is harmful. Child Psychologist Linda Stone explains, “It interferes with a child’s language development by interrupting emotional cues, which is the basis of most human learning.”
Similarly, Psychologist Kathy Hirsh-Pasek clarifies that “language is the single best predictor of school achievement, and the key to strong language skills are those back-and-forth fluent conversations between children and adults.” Think of it like the back and forth volley during a tennis match. Each side is actively engaged, attempting to anticipate the others’ next move, and ready to react accordingly. With each interruption, such as a quick check-in on social media or response to a text message, we interrupt that volley and miss cues that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
Part of my job as a technology integration specialist is to help students to navigate the digital world, and that includes a healthy discussion on the importance of media balance. The harsh reality is that time spent on devices is time NOT spent actively exploring the world and relating to other human beings. While occasional partial attention is not catastrophic, we would do well by our children to avoid chronic distractedness when it comes to our own device use. Trust me when I tell you that they are watching you, and modeling what they see. After conversations with colleagues in preparation for writing this article, they echo this sentiment wholeheartedly. Students can be brutally honest about what they see and hear at home, and are quick to share stories of distracted parents with their teachers and classmates.
Do we want our children to go through life dividing their attention between mindless scrolling and the real world, or do we want to teach them how to effectively strike a balance that will encourage mental, physical, and emotional well-being?
The best way to teach our students this important lesson is to model it ourselves. Be mindful of your phone and/or technology use by enabling trackers like “screen time” to show you just how much time you are spending on your device each day. Have a conversation with your child about staying “present” during family time, such as having a device-free dinner. Ask yourself, “Can this wait until later?” when pulling out your device in the presence of your child. And finally, recognize that this process is not easy, and give yourself credit for trying to make this important change.