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Top 3 Distractions that Make Children Fail In School

Top 3 Distractions that Make Children Fail In School

It seems more and more kids are distracted these days; with things like smart phones, tablets and the vast amount of information on the Internet, it’s no wonder that the current generation of school children find it difficult to focus and stay on task for long periods of time.  While it’s true that things like checking email, updating Facebook statuses, playing online video games and watching movies are big distractions, I’d like you to consider another distraction that you may have forgotten about: the health of their mouths, which often leads to failure at school.

Yes, the taboo topic: oral health.  Like it or not, the health of children’s mouths can be a huge distraction and contribute vastly to the success or failure of children in school.  Most of us have dealt with either cavities and/or gum disease at some point in our lives; after all, over 80% of the world’s population suffers with gum disease and cavities within a lifetime.

1.  Cavities can cause children to fail in school

Cavities are the single most common chronic childhood disease.  In fact, cavities are five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.  In the U.S. alone, cavities and gum disease cause kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually.

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Children experiencing mouth pain are easily distracted, unable to concentrate on schoolwork, and have problems with schoolwork completion. Untreated cavities can also cause headaches, physical dysfunction, poor appearance and speech issues—problems that greatly affect a child’s quality of life and ability to succeed in school, ultimately leading to them failing in school.

A recent study in Los Angeles, CA at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC reported that children living in the LA area who had complained of tooth pain were about four times more likely to have a GPA lower than the average versus children who did not have mouth pain.

2.  Heavy plaque left on the teeth

Let’s face it, children’s words are often cruel, and plaque that sits on teeth not only smells bad, but it also causes the teeth to look yellow or dirty, which can be a source of teasing or bullying.

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Your teeth don’t have to be straight and beautiful, but if they are dirty, other children are more likely to notice it and make a big deal about it, a distraction that leads to self-esteem issues and failure in school.

Also, recent studies confirm that the bacteria in plaque are responsible for everything from diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease, and a variety of chronic illnesses.  The bacteria inside plaque is full of nasty viruses, and other disease causing bacteria that wreaks havoc on immune systems, and starts to build up in childhood.  We can help put a stop to the rise of these diseases if we focus on home care while children are young.

3.  Bad Breath

Young or old, who wants to be around stinky mouth?  Here’s the problem: most kids that suffer with bad breath don’t know it, but everyone else around them sure does.  In the event that your child does suffer from bad breath, the first thing to know is that many times it comes from plaque on the tongue or the teeth, which needs to be focused on when cleaning.  However, if time goes by and you have exhausted all possibilities, you may need to see a doctor to make sure it is not stemming from an issue with tonsils, adenoids or sinuses.

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A silver lining to the dark cloud

Now, it all may seem doom and gloom, but there is one great thing to know:  these issues are all preventable, and most often treatable at home if you know the steps and the right products to use.

For instance, did you know that xylitol (a natural sweetener found in birch and corn husks) helps to neutralize the acids in plaque, and helps to re-mineralize the teeth?  It is sweet like sugar and is found in many forms such as candy, gum, toothpaste and granular form.  When taken after meals, it helps to neutralize cavity-causing plaque, and freshen breath. Six to ten grams (1-2 tsp) a day is all you need to really help with these issues.  The trick is to have it throughout the day and not all at once.

Also, learn what foods feed bacteria (breads, crackers, rice, pasta, simple carbohydrates, and dried fruit, for example), and what foods help neutralize bacteria (pineapple, nuts, seeds, cheese, broccoli and cucumber, for example).  Finish your meals and snacks with neutralizing foods instead of acidic ones.

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Incorporating new techniques

Lastly, really knowing how to take care of your mouth is the biggest piece to the puzzle that rarely gets taught and demonstrated by dental professionals.  We are told that brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist for cleanings is all that is needed, but if that were the case, most of us would be healthier than we are.  Truth be told, after seeing and cleaning thousands of mouths, most people get to about 80% of the bacteria in their mouths, but the 20% left behind is the most detrimental.

Try switching up your routine to get to areas that you might miss.  For instance, start brushing your teeth on the lower inside area closest to the tongue, or you could easily sit with your toothbrush and massage your gums while reading great articles at Lifehack.org, no toothpaste required!

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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