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COL Teen work experience can be beneficial

Contrary to other studies of working teenagers, a new study by University of Minnesota sociologist Jeylan Mortimer shows that adolescent work experiences can provide many benefits to teens.

Mortimer surveyed about 750 St. Paul students over 12 years from the beginning of high school through their mid-20s. Mortimer concluded that high school students who work at part-time jobs fare better in many ways than students who don't have jobs.

Part-time jobs gave students increased confidence and time management skills, helped them to explore vocational options and enhanced future academic success.

Breakfast is a good way to start the day

Eat well in the morning, says Denise Wyland, Iowa State University Extension nutrition specialist.

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Breakfast is important because it re-fuels your body after a long overnight fast, she said. It revs up your metabolism, kick-starts your brain and improves your mood.

Wyland suggests starting with a high-energy carbohydrate, adding some protein and finishing with fruit. One example is a bowl of ready-to-eat cereal, topped off with milk and a glass of orange juice.

Time-out an option for misbehaving kids

Parents sometimes call time-out when their children misbehave. The idea is to place misbehaving children in a quiet place alone for a few minutes and then talking about the problem, says Connie Schwartau, regional Extension educator in Minnesota.

Time-out is a technique that can be used with children ages 3-12 when they are noisy, fighting or doing something so annoying that can't be ignored. It is best to approach time-out as a way to calm everyone done, not as a way to punish a child, Schwartau said.

She said it's a good idea to talk about the time-out concept when children are behaving well.

Make frozen prepared foods

Making your own frozen prepared foods is economical, says Cindy Petersen, regional Extension educator based in Hutchinson, Minn. You can cook enough for several meals when you have the time with little extra effort.

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For best results, remember that freezing maintains but doesn't improve quality. Use only fresh, high-quality food ingredients.

Cleanliness in preparing food for home freezers is a must. Freezer temperatures of 0 degrees F or below don't kill bacteria in food -- they simply stop bacteria from multiplying. After frozen food is thawed, bacteria will grow and multiply again.

Cook thoroughly but don't overcook, Petersen said.

Be a good listener for your children

If your child or a young person is upset about world events and wants to talk, be a good listener, says Tina Hostager, regional Extension educator in Goodhue and Wabasha counties in Minnesota.

Try to put yourself in your child's place. Try to remember how you felt when you were young and times were troubled. Don't assume that their responses are or should be the same as yours were, she said.

Show that you are paying attention. Don't jump from subject to subject or interrupt. If you can't think of anything to say, go back to something your child said earlier in the conversation and ask a question about that.

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