Throughout each school year, at monthly council meetings and special events, Balmoral Hall Parent Association (BHPA) hosts a series of speakers who will inspire, educate, and motivate our school community.
February 21, 2019, Balmoral Hall Parent Association (BHPA) welcomed Dr. Simon Trepel, MD, FRCPC, to our school. Dr. Trepel is an expert on social media, smartphone, and video game addiction amongst children and teens.
In the 1980s and 1990s, young people were outside for about 18 hours a week. Today, kids interact with nature less than seven hours per week. Many of them prefer being on a screen to any other activity. Some have three devices going at the same time! In 2005, the average age of exposure was 4 years old; by 2013, it was 4 months. A study conducted in 2016 determined that 92% of 1-year-olds had used a mobile device. Nowadays, 50–60% of 4-year-olds have a TV in their bedroom and own a tablet or a mobile device. Teens send 30–100 texts for at least one hour daily. The majority of North American youth spend more time on screens than sleeping, eating, going to school, or spending time with family and friends. Is there anything parents can do to reverse this trend? Or, is this "progress"?
I would like to personally thank Balmoral Hall Parent Association (BHPA) for the wonderful presentation they organized for our school community on the topic of anxiety and children with Dr. Michelle Warren on November 1, 2018. As the new guidance counsellor this year at Balmoral Hall, I have a specific interest in mental health advocacy and promotional mental health programming. I believe equipping students with the skills they require in order to navigate life stressors with resiliency is one of our most important goals as educators.
Dr. Warren normalized anxiety as something that we all deal with from time to time, highlighting that an anxiety disorder is when the anxiety starts to represent a repeated pattern that gets in the way of follow through with our normal activities.
Some key points for supporting children and youth with anxiety shared in Dr. Warren’s presentation were as follows.
Ensuring that accurate information is provided to the people who interact with students the most (parents and teachers).
Equipping parents with parenting strategies that promote normal development and build independence (limiting reinforcement of avoidance).
Using mindfulness (awareness of the present moment and of our thought patterns) and centring practices.
Seeking out support using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) strategies.
Brenley Shapiro, a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist and Certified Mental Game Coach with Heads Up High Performance, based in Toronto, Ont., shared her insights for strong, powerful, and productive thinking with members of the school community last month as part of a series of workshops scheduled at Balmoral Hall throughout Wellness Week, January 29 to February 2, 2018.
Her lunch-and-learn workshop with parents and faculty reflected the theme, "Inspiring Greatness," whether inspiring greatness from within or inspiring greatness within others. All participants gained valuable insights and understanding with respect to the role that mindset plays in generating success, as well as the key features involved in developing that mindset and breaking down barriers that impede it.
Such was the focus of her talks with Middle and Senior School students, as well.