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Residential Care – The Heart of Boys Town

The post Residential Care – The Heart of Boys Town is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

When Father Flanagan founded Boys Town in 1917, it was as a home for boys who had fallen through society’s cracks. Regardless of background, ethnicity or religion, Father Flanagan brought these young men together under one roof because he firmly believed, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”

Today, nearly 100 years later, Boys Town still serves as a home for boys and girls – who are at-risk and in need of family-based care, education and nurturing. And Father Flanagan’s original vision has proved to be incredibly effective, with thousands of former Boys Town residents now leading successful, productive lives throughout the United States and beyond.

This is Boys Town’s Family Home program. And it is based on the simple notion of having a married couple of Family-Teachers as the heads of each Boys Town residence. In each home, up to eight boys or girls between the ages of 11 and 18 live and learn together under the close watch and guidance of their Family-Teachers.

Click here to learn more about life in a Boys Town Family Home.

Living with a houseful of teenagers can be hectic, as you might imagine. But as challenging as it can be, it fosters a unique atmosphere of familial camaraderie that lasts long past graduation. These kids end up feeling like brothers and sisters. And their Family-Teachers almost become a second family to them. The Family-Teachers give them a sense of stability and love that they have likely never known. It is this bond that is fundamental to the program.

And while Boys Town has grown over the years to provide in-home counseling and other services to at-risk families all across America, along with educational consulting to schools and even a nationally renowned research hospital, it is the Family Home program that is the heart and soul of Father Flanagan’s original dream.

The post Residential Care – The Heart of Boys Town is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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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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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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Toddlers and Spring Cleaning

This post was first published on Momaha.com. On your mark, get set, go! That’s right, you are at the starting line for the “Annual Spring Cleaning Race” project. Whether you have a two-page or a 10-page “to do” list, some deep cleaning is in order, and that usually takes longer than your regular weekly chores. It’s that time of year when you get down on your knees and wipe the floor boards that have been splashed with Nebraska’s snowy, salty grime from your little one’s boots, and when drawers need to be opened so you can sort through all of the outfits because, amazingly, your son or daughter has outgrown them in a matter of one season. You have great aspirations to get your long list done before your child’s busy summer activities begin, but as you walk up to the starting line, you find you have a toddler by […]

The post Toddlers and Spring Cleaning appeared first on Teachable Moments.

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6 Crucial Steps to Stay Relevant in Digital Marketing for 2015

6 Crucial Steps to Stay Relevant in Digital Marketing for 2015 | online marketing | Scoop.it
When it comes to digital marketing, whether it be SEO, social media or paid advertising, being relevant is absolutely essential. Here are 6 crucial steps.

Via Jeff Domansky
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Jeff Domansky's curator insight, November 24, 2014 12:45 AM

When it comes to digital marketing, whether it be SEO, social media or paid advertising, being relevant is absolutely essential. Here are 6 crucial steps.

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Stranger Danger – Keep Them Safe and Kind

The post Stranger Danger – Keep Them Safe and Kind 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.

The other day I was in an elevator and a nice little boy looked up to me and said, “Hi.” He was about five years old and with his father. I said, “Hello, how is your day going?” He then started to tell me about the lunch they had just had and the icky green sticks his dad made him eat (I assumed asparagus). He was adorable and our brief conversation made my day… until I walked off the elevator. I heard the father begin to scold him, “What have I told you about talking to strangers?!” I was so sad for the little boy, and even sadder that this little boy lives in a world where people are discouraging their children from being polite in order to keep them safe. It got me thinking, how do I teach my kids to be kind and polite, but always on guard? And, how do I teach them to be on guard without terrifying them about the world around them?

My husband and I discussed this at length and decided that honesty is the best policy. Boys Town suggests pre-teaching so that kids know what is expected of them. Based on this, we gave them the short-sweet-to-the-point intro “Sadly, there are some people in this world who don’t have good intentions and we need to be careful about who we talk to and what we do when we are not with an adult.” Then we gave specific examples of situations and what good people might do in these situations and what people with “not the best intentions” might do in these situations. We then gave instructions for each.

For example, we talked about walking home from school:
If you’re walking home from school and someone approaches you a good person might say “Hi” and walk on by. It’s ok to say “Hi” back and be friendly. But, when they start asking personal information, or if they start asking you to come with them or follow them somewhere, you need to walk away immediately. If they start to move towards you, grab you or force you to go with them, you scream and kick and make as much of a commotion as possible.

One of the most effective ways Boys Town handles pre-teaching is thru role-playing. So, we discussed appropriate responses and practiced a few times and had them react based on the type of people we were pretending to be. It seemed to work well and it got the point across. We did several roles where we wanted the kids to be unsure. We told them that if you are ever unsure, walk away, right away. Better to be safe than sorry.

The straight-forward approach worked well, but I think the role-playing was the best thing we could have done. As parents, we were able to feel more comfortable seeing how they would react and knowing that they would be able to do the right thing. It was also a fun way to lighten the mood on a scary subject and open the lines of communication for any other questions they had.

The post Stranger Danger – Keep Them Safe and Kind is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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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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Let Them Know What’s Expected of Them This Summer (They’ll Thank You for It Later)

The post Let Them Know What’s Expected of Them This Summer (They’ll Thank You for It Later) is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

Summer is here.

And while your kids are likely looking forward to sleeping in and lounging around, you’re probably greeting the thought with some trepidation. After all, unless you’re a teacher, summer doesn’t really change your daily life. You don’t get to sleep in. You still have to go to work and handle the daily tasks of maintaining the household. Yet you now have this added wrinkle – a houseful of kids who expect you to cater to their every whim.

Well this summer is going to be different. Or it can be, with just a little planning.

You see, a kid’s default mode is laziness. In the absence of any other directive, they will go about the day expending as little physical or intellectual energy as possible. That means sleeping until noon. That means sitting on the couch playing video games. That means lying on the bed chatting with friends on a mobile device. All while expecting you, the parent, to do laundry, cook meals and act as a personal chauffeur.

It’s not just general idleness that’s the problem, either. Without the regimen of school, kids can feel as if no rules apply during the summer months, which can lead to an uptick in rudeness and disobedience. And of course when summer’s over and it’s back to school, the shift back to a world of rules and expectations can be rocky.

Luckily for you, the parenting experts at Boys Town have nearly a century’s experience in dealing with this very topic. And they’ve put their heads together and come up with the Breeze Through Summer Contract.

Simply click the link below, check the boxes that apply to your kids – and even customize a few of your own – and you’ll have an ironclad document spelling out exactly what’s expected of your kids this summer. And though the contract’s stuffy legalese is intended with tongue firmly in cheek, its content is based on many decades of experience and will help your kids enjoy their break with a bit more purpose than summers past.

Customize and print your family’s very own Breeze Through Summer Contract. After all, life really is much easier when you know what’s expected of you.

The post Let Them Know What’s Expected of Them This Summer (They’ll Thank You for It Later) is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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Why Turning off the TV at Dinner Is a Must

“How was your day?” “Fine.” “What did you do at school?” “Huh?” “What did you do at school?” “I don’t know.” “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “What?” “Who did you sit with at lunch?” “Huh?” “Who did you sit with at lunch!!!!????!!” “I don’t know? Same people.”   Sound familiar? My kids LOVE to turn the TV on and have it as background noise while we eat. But, if these are the kind of answers I’m getting to my questions, its clearly not just background noise … I’m the background noise! I don’t want to be background noise. That is not what the dinner table is about and that is certainly not how we treat our family members. So … NO TV AT DINNER. Gasp! No cell phones either. Double gasp! (The second gasp comes from my husband.) No distractions, just family, food and conversation. We have been […]

The post Why Turning off the TV at Dinner Is a Must appeared first on Teachable Moments.

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