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4 Packing Tips For Kids To Make Vacation Less Stressful For Parents

The post 4 Packing Tips For Kids To Make Vacation Less Stressful For Parents is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

This article was first published on Momaha on May 28, 2015.
http://www.omaha.com/momaha/packing-tips-for-kids-to-make-vacation-less-stressful-for/article_90393e8a-00ae-11e5-af0f-2fc059762855.html

Nothing screams “summer” like taking a family vacation that is sure to leave lasting memories and plenty of photos to laugh at for years to come. When the kids are out of school, families take advantage of the warm weather to hit national parks, the beach or a new city to explore.

While family vacations teach us fanny packs should never come back in style and that TVs in cars and squeezable applesauce might be the best ideas ever, preparing to leave town can provide excellent learning opportunities for your little one as well.

Here are some tips to make leaving town less stressful and more fun for the family:

1. Utilize the preparation time by teaching your family how to pack their own bags. Seriously, this can be a great learning experience! Help your kids determine the number of outfits they will need by telling them the number of vacation days and then asking them to add two onto that. (These are kids, after all. You can bet something will occur along the way that will require an extra change of clothes.)

2. Next, make an illustration that includes a number, a word description of the item needed and a picture of that item. If you will be gone four days, the child should put the number six, the word underwear and then a simple picture of underwear. This should be done for each item to be packed. Your child can use this visual as a reference while packing. They can cross-off the items on the list as they go along.

3. Have your child lay their clothes out on their bed for you to check. Count them, check for appropriate choices and praise them for their efforts. If adjustments need to be made, have them help.

4. Allow your children to put their clothing in their bag or suitcase. Offer suggestions, but allow them to do it themselves. As tempting as it is to simply pack for your child, allowing them to help gives them responsibility and helps them build confidence.
As an aside, we caution you to check each suitcase as you load them into the car – whether you are on your way to the airport or taking a road trip. One family did not and upon arrival to their destination, it was discovered that their 3-year-old had decided at the last minute that it was more important to have her collection of stuffed puppies with her than the clothes that her mom had checked and had her put into her carry-on suitcase. There were absolutely NO clothes in her suitcase – only puppies!

If you allow plenty of time to pack, the preparation can be fun. Happy vacationing!

The post 4 Packing Tips For Kids To Make Vacation Less Stressful For Parents is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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Summer Reading Part One

The post Summer Reading Part One is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

Reading is a lifelong skill that benefits students of all ages. As a teacher, I have seen that a student who is a good reader will be more successful in almost every subject in school. This is one learning area that children can continue to work on all summer. And it can be fun!

The goal is to encourage your children to read and improve their comprehension as well. You can help with this easily.

Here are some tips on how you can do this:

• Read with your child. It will help your child improve his or her skills while creating special memories.
• Choose stories to read together.
• Listen to each other read.
• Take turns reading a chapter (or even a page) aloud.
• Talk about what you read.
• Ask kids what they would do if they were the characters in the story.
• Discuss what you all think will happen next.

When children share their thoughts about a story, you can informally check for understanding. It will also help your child to think about what they are reading, a skill important for improving reading comprehension.

Where can you read? Anywhere! Curl up in a comfy chair or read a chapter together at the table after dinner. Throw a blanket over a couple of chairs and make a reading fort to go on a reading adventure. Lie down under a tree and let the birds listen too! Curl up together before bedtime. Just turn off the television, put down your mobile device and read!

The post Summer Reading Part One is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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Calming A Worrisome Child

The post Calming A Worrisome Child is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.

To say that I have a worrisome child would be an understatement. After the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, he refused to flush the toilet for six months for fear it would flood our house. Now, at age nine, we struggle to get him to sleep in his own bed because he is worried about robbers and buglers. Sleepovers only happen if they are on our turf. And every once in a while, he presents a new, seemingly nonsensical fear that makes us wonder where he even came up with the idea.

As a parent, dealing with this for more than eight years has been a real challenge. Fortunately, we have developed a system that helps him work through any of his worries. Through trial and error, I’ve learned the correct way to recognize and respond to these fears. These are my top three tips:

• Don’t Judge Their Irrational Fears – If they are worried about something, don’t immediately dismiss the fear by telling them it is silly. Obviously we know flushing the toilet is not going to flood our house and kill us all. But it was a very real fear at the time for my five-year-old. Rather than tell him he had an overactive imagination, we sat down to discuss the mechanics of a toilet, where the water comes from, what we would notice first if there was a real problem, how slowly the water filters out of a toilet, etc. I will admit: we used Google a lot in this discussion. But the more information we could use in our explanation, the more he understood why his fear was irrational. And involving him in the research helped him to not feel foolish or stupid for worrying about it.

• Discuss Their Rational Fears – In a day and age with school shootings and violence everywhere you turn, it’s hard for our children to escape the bad news. I know the second my son’s face starts to tense up that he is worrying about something. Every time I see this, I take him to a quiet place to talk. Or, I offer that if he wants to talk about anything that might be bothering him, I’ll be in the other room. Thankfully he is very good about opening up with what’s bothering him. After one of the more recent school shootings, we discussed what procedures his school has in place to keep him safe and who he could talk to at school if he ever became extremely worried or afraid for his safety. The Boys Town Crisis guide has great tips on how to facilitate this conversation and ease their fears.
http://www.boystown.org/parenting/guides/crisis

• Give Them the Tools to Calm Themselves – Relaxation techniques are huge for our family as they really seem to help in stressful situations. We practice breathing exercises that he can use when he is worried. Together we have developed a list of activities to distract his attention so he is not focusing on fear. For example, going outside to shoot hoops. Other activities are meant to be quieter so that he can do them at school or in public, like saying the ABCs backwards in his head or drawing the person sitting in front of him. These simple actions really help him focus his attention on something other than his fear. Here are similar tips you can try:
http://www.boystown.org/parenting/article/staying-calm

More than anything, I’ve learned in raising him that these are the things that make me a good resource in his eyes to help him deal with his fears:
• Reserve judgement
• Talk to him and try to understand him
• Watch for those little gestures that indicate when he is worried

My goal whenever we talk is to help give him information and suggestions on how to calm his fears so that eventually when he leaves my house (tear) he will be able do it by himself.

The post Calming A Worrisome Child is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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The Day Father Flanagan Died

The U.S. Government Had Called on the Founder of Boys Town to Help Children in Post-War Asia and Europe   It was a story made famous by Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. During the winter of 1917, Father Edward J. Flanagan borrowed $90 from a friend and turned an Omaha boardinghouse into a residence for homeless and neglected boys. The young Irish immigrant priest stuck to his then radical idea that all boys were welcome regardless of race or religion. By the late 1940s, after three decades of successfully working to change the lives of children society had labeled as hopeless (and 10 years after “Boys Town” won Tracy an Oscar), Father Flanagan had become the undisputed authority on youth issues, not just in America, but worldwide. As the nations of Europe and Asia began to rebuild following the devastation of World War II, they were faced with large numbers […]

The post The Day Father Flanagan Died appeared first on Teachable Moments.

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#KylieJennerChallenge

Teachable Moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. The influence of mainstream media on today’s teens is perhaps stronger than it has ever been. With multiple social media avenues, blogs and magazines toting this week’s latest look flooding the brains of today’s youth, sometimes it’s hard for young girls and boys to be comfortable with how they look. And more often than not, the types of role models our teens are looking up to may not be the role models we would pick for them. The latest craze? Having lips like Kylie Jenner. Who is Kylie Jenner, you ask? Kylie is the youngest sibling of the infamous Kardashian sisters. Thrown into the spotlight of reality television at a […]

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Summer Movie Review: Inside Out

The post Summer Movie Review: Inside Out is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent. 

I couldn’t wait for the release of the new Pixar movie Inside Out, I love a good kid movie. In fact, most of my family finds joy in the simple pleasure of most cartoon flicks. So, last weekend my husband, myself, my two kids (5- and 7-year-olds), my 13-year-old nephew and even my parents hit the movie theater. Before the movie even started, we got to enjoy the Pixar short film entitled Lava, a love story between two volcanoes. Sounds bizarre, right? But, between the catchy song and the adorable graphics, we were all smiling through the entire clip and it was a great way to set the tone.

The actual move, just like the other Disney Pixar movie, did not disappoint. The characters were memorable, the design and graphics were amazing and I loved the overall story. The storyline did a great job of reminding parents what kids are thinking and what they are “feeling.” And they did it in such an adorable way. Everyone had his or her favorite movie moments. I remember my 5-year-old son laughing out loud when the feeling Anger got so mad that fire spurred erupted out the top of his head. My 7-year-old daughter was really drawn to the feeling Joy; she loved her swirly dress; she also loved the ending. I loved what the movie referred to as core memories, those key memories in your life that make you who you are. The memories you never forget. I also enjoyed the subtle adult humor that was incorporated. I found myself laughing out loud a few times too … and, yes, just like most Pixar movies, I found myself crying at the end; I wasn’t the only one.

As a parent, I could definitely relate to those times when you are dealing with something pretty big (in this case moving across the country) and you forget the effect it might have on your kids. We sometimes have unrealistic expectations on how we think kids should just handle it — move on or even get over it. But this movie reminds us that kids don’t work that way; little things are actually big things to them. We need to listen to them, hear their fears, concerns, joys and troubles and help them through them. Make them feel good about themselves. Remind them daily, hourly, every minute that they are loved!

So, if you haven’t already gone, I highly recommend this movie. It is great for all ages; even my teenage nephew enjoyed it.

The post Summer Movie Review: Inside Out is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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Donor Stories: Harriet Karol’s Playground

The post Donor Stories: Harriet Karol’s Playground is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

We would like to spend a few moments to shine a spotlight on one of our awesome donors. Because it’s the deep, heartfelt generosity of donors just like them—and like you—that have helped Boys Town achieve Father Flanagan’s vision of healing children and healing families.

In this post we’re featuring a longtime donor, California mother and grandmother Harriet Karol.

Situated just outside the new Boys Town Residential Treatment Center, there is a special playground where troubled young children can play and romp as other kids do. For these children, who suffer from a variety of psychiatric disorders that require intense therapy and around-the-clock supervision, any opportunity to leave their troubles behind for a while is a blessing.

The playground and its surrounding picnic area were a gift from Boys Town donor and supporter Harriet Karol.

“The play area was very important to me,” explains Harriet. “It’s a place where children can forget their past problems and believe they can have a much better and more wonderful life… the life they truly deserve to have.”

Harriet has always believed that parents and caregivers are the key to children’s success in life. And she understands the value of providing children with the attention and nurturing they need, including the importance of teaching them essential life skills.

The opportunity to provide a playground where children could find joy and embrace a brighter future was an honor for Harriet.

“It touched a soft spot in my heart, and it was a privilege to give,” she says. A plaque outside the playground, known as Harriet Karol Park, expresses a heartfelt message from Harriet: “From Grandma Karol, because I care.”

Thanks to Harriet, children who are working to overcome difficult behavioral and emotional issues will always have a place at Boys Town to forget their troubles and have fun.

The post Donor Stories: Harriet Karol’s Playground is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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Newly Independent College Kids Returning Home for Summer Break

College is where kids explore their newfound freedom. But when they come back home, the old house rules still apply…

This past year, we packed up both our kids for college. It was a major undertaking of both timing and logistics because they both moved into their respective colleges within a week of one another. It was also a major transition for us because we are the parents of twins. And while we are proud of their accomplishments and knew this day would eventually come, we found that the house was very empty with just my wife, the dog and myself.

At first, we were not used to the quiet around the house. But after a while, without their late-night coming and goings that kept us up listening for the garage door or the creaking of the stairs as one of them finally went to bed after binge watching Netflix, we finally caught up on some of the sleep that we missed out on over the past 18 years.

But our newfound peace and quiet—along with their newfound independence—will be coming to a screeching halt the moment that classes let out.

Now, soon the twins will be returning home for summer break. They have been on their own—or so they think— for six or seven months now, coming and going as they please and sleeping and eating on their own schedules. Because of this, my wife and I are anticipating the worst when they are back under our roof. They will probably want to stay out late with friends that they have missed since going to college. They’ll want to take the cars whenever they want and will basically have no plans or responsibilities for the summer… or as we like to say, “living the life.”

My wife has already laid the ground rules about the late nights out. She explained to them that with other people in the house who get up early to work in the morning, they shouldn’t be staying out to whatever hour they like as they did when they were away at college. We have also explained in several emails that we need to know their schedules for work because the number of people in our home exceeds the number of cars we have, and if someone’s going to be without a ride to work, it sure as heck won’t be Mom or Dad.

In the end, we’re extremely proud of our kids. We’re confident they’ll mature into responsible, productive adults. But we’re not foolish enough to believe that it’ll happen over the course of one year away at college. So with our kids’ first summer break, we will do what we do in life: hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

Wish us luck…

Learn more in Boys Town’s Guide to Parenting Teens.

The post Newly Independent College Kids Returning Home for Summer Break appeared first on Teachable Moments.

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A Royalty Complex and Dirty Socks

I can only imagine the work it takes to balance out the life of a baby royal, ensuring that an overwhelming sense of entitlement doesn’t permeate the precarious childhood of the most watched children in Britain. My son thinks it’s my job to pick up his dirty socks, and that little stinker is far from being royalty. Cute? Yes. An heir to the throne, born with his own crew of caretakers in waiting? No. I can’t imagine that Prince William and Kate Middleton will read my blog all the way from the middle of the Heartland. But for those parents stateside, here are some tips to keep Moody Monarchs and Sovereign Sassies at bay with your own children. Encourage Independence and Self-Sufficiency We love our children and want what’s best for them. But in some guilt-ridden error of judgment, it often means that to show our love, we have to […]

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Tyler’s Journey: An Update

Hello! My name is Tyler Simmons and I am a Boys Town graduate from the class of 2012. I can remember that graduation day like yesterday, and I can say it has been one of the best experiences of my life still. As of today I am a Junior at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota and it is a tremendous experience as I am nearing my senior year of college. Attending Boys Town a few years ago was probably the best thing that could have happened for me going into college. It definitely prepared me for being a college student and focusing on getting my next award, which is my college degree. My major is Exercise Science-Management and it is a very interesting field of study for me as I love to exercise and be around physical activity, as well as understand the business aspects of it. […]

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