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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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Thoughts on Graduation

The post Thoughts on Graduation is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

Graduation 2015 from Boys Town on Vimeo.

Recently, more than 80 Boys Town seniors walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, signifying the start of their journey from adolescence to adulthood. Though I have been a part of this ceremony many times during my tenure at Boys Town, it never ceases to fill me with pride and hope for the future.

You see, graduation is a rite of passage experienced by millions of teenagers across the nation every spring. And while it is justifiably celebrated with parties and gifts, it has become a routine and expected part of young adulthood. But for those 80 plus kids who just received their Boys Town diplomas, graduation was once far from a certainty. In fact, for most of them, it was nothing more than a dream – something that happens to other kids in nicer, safer zip codes.

Imagine waking up every morning not knowing where you were going to sleep that night. Imagine having to take care of your baby sister while your drug-addicted mother disappears for days at a time looking to score her next fix. Imagine seeing your childhood friends die one by one from stray bullets or drug overdoses or seeing them end up in prison for any number of violations. Now imagine all that while trying to make it to class every day in some school rife with drugs and gang activity.

It’s not too difficult to understand why many at-risk kids fail to make it through all four years of high school.

Which is why our graduates are so special.

So spare an extra thought for our Boys Town class of 2015. They’ve worked harder than most to get where they are today. And that hard work has prepared them well for the challenges they’ll face in the coming years, be they in higher education, the military or in the workforce.

As for us, the educators and mentors who helped them realize this achievement? We’ll celebrate too – for a minute or two – and then we’ll get right back to preparing the class of 2016 for their graduation.

Dr. Reznicek
Superintendent, Boys Town High School

The post Thoughts on Graduation is from Teachable Moments from the experts at Boys Town.

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The Father’s Day Gift

The post The Father’s Day Gift 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.

Ties. Socks. Electric razors. Grill tools. T-shirts with funny sayings. Ball caps with funny sayings. ‘Day Off’ coupons. Cologne.

All are good Father’s Day gifts.

But, in the long run, the items above have come and gone. The Father’s Day gifts that I still have are instead one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Made by little hands, they aren’t always suitable for framing, but they are always memorable. And they are always heartfelt.

And that’s why I’ve kept them. I can’t bear to throw them away.

Here’s a selection of some of my favorites.

This one is perfection in its simplicity. No extra words to clutter up the sentiment. No extra colors to distract. Plus, there is something about the backwards ‘r,’ the misshapen ‘y,’ and the indecipherable mix of capital and lower case letters that makes it one of the prize members of my Father’s Day collection.

In contrast, this piece is positively bursting with style and design finesse. My son was, when he made this, going through a Pokemon phase and was adept at tracing. Overall a solid design, and I would award him extra points for the shadows on the text…not an easy thing to do. I do wish he could have added some color, at least to the flames coming out of Charizard’s mouth.

Could a Father’s Day card get any better than this one? Not in my book. It’s colorful. It’s cut in the shape of a heart. It’s perfect. I suspect my daughter had a little help with the first five words, but the signature is priceless. This one stays on the top of my pile of Best Father’s Day Gifts Ever!

The post The Father’s Day Gift 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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