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Family Files

Facts for All Ages

Be an Intentional Family

Most of us say that family is most important to us and that we put them first – but do we? 99% of families have at least one television and a 2012 Nielsen report stated that the average American watches 34 hours of live television per week – along with...

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To Spank or Not to Spank?

I recently read an article on Facebook about a famous celebrity who admitted that she spanked her child when necessary. Knowing how the act of spanking as discipline can be a controversial topic, I proceeded to look at the comments left...

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Be grateful you just might age better, according to science

Many times throughout my life, I have heard and learned about being grateful. It started when I was young. It was a value that my parents hoped to teach me. "Eat your peas," my parents would say and "be grateful you have food to eat, there are starving kids in other parts of the world." I did not know there were hungry kids in my own hometown. I am not sure as I child I understood to be gratefu...

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Find a Healthy Balance with Technology and Your Children

Technology is so prominent in our society today, bringing disadvantages with it along with the benefits. How many times have you seen a toddler or small child given a smartphone, tablet or other similar device to keep them occupied while in public? While this can be helpful...

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Ideas for keeping your holiday anxiety in check

We are in the midst of the holiday season, and many of the songs we hear are joyous and happy but this may not be a happy time for all. For some, the holidays are sad due to the absence of a loved one (because of distance or loss), a change in family life due to divorce or unresolved family issues. For others, the demands of the holiday season cause such stress or unrealistic expectations that...

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Making the Most of Holiday Meals

  With the holidays rapidly approaching, I wanted to re-share an article published a couple of years ago that was written by Extension colleague Janice McCoy.  She points out the benefits of sharing meals together: Family mealtimes during the holida...

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Fall Into Learning

        Natural Illinois: Leaves Are All Around A tip sheet from the Illinois Early Learning Project You don't have to go to exotic places to find interesting plants and animals to study at home or in the classroom! From violets and bluestem to oak trees and pines, Illinois plants are as close as your local park or schoolyard. Preschoolers can lea...

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Back to school time with your teenager

Back to school time, with your teenager Hey parents of teenagers and pre-teens, I need your attention for the next couple of minutes because I am going to share some important information that can really affect your child's life. I know, we all know that choices we make have impact on our kids' lives, but sometimes as parents, we may feel like we need a survival guide...

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Rewarding School Effort – Good or Bad?

With the school year well underway, my children brought home their mid-term report cards last week. As we reviewed their grades and talked about areas to improve, there was a hint of expectancy in my oldest sons' voice. "Mom, I can't wait to show this to grandpa! He's going to give me lots of money for my good grades." Carrying on a tradition held over from my childhood, my parents reward my so...

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Helping Children Cope With Disasters

Natural disasters, such as the recent hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes can be devastating for everyone. For children just watching the news and listening to parents talk, life's events can seem out of control. This would be much more for children who expe...

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See You Later Alligator - Saying Goodbye at DayCare

This blog post was originally published in April 2015.  With a new school year underway, many of you may find it helpful to see again!   You and your child have spent countless hours together bonding and forming daily routines. It has been wonderful witnessing your child's growth and development. Now it is time to return to work, or you need to leave your child with a caregiver,...

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Additional Ways to Strengthen Your Resilience


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How to Strengthen Your Resilience Capacity


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Reconnect with the world outside for optimal health

After being stuck inside from a bad winter, we often say things like, "I'm suffering from cabin fever", or after being inside all day we might say, "I need some fresh air." As usual, there is some truth to these familiar sayings that we have heard passed down from generation to generation. I hope that with it being summer, we do not find ourselves saying them. Our bodies crave the outdo...

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Can Technology Affect our Memory?

I get asked by the participants of my Wits Fitness Brain Training classes "how is technology today affecting our children's memory or ability to remember?" Good question. In the Wits Fitness classes, we do many activities that "exercise" m...

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Keeping an Eye on Your Child’s Vision Tips from the Illinois Early Learning Project

Keeping an Eye on Your Child's Vision

What is more beautiful than your child's bright eyes? How well he sees with those eyes is important to his learning and development. Parents and teachers need to be aware that a child might not know if his vision is normal. Arrange for regular vision screenings. Newborns are checked for general eye health in the hospital nursery and at well-baby...

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Online health information - Is it reliable and still relevant?

  Many people today turn to the World Wide Web (www) as their source for information to solve problems, answer questions and even for their medical advice. You can now watch "how to" videos on so many things. Nevertheless, how do we know that the website that we land on has solid, reliable, trustworthy information? I mean, everything on the internet is true…right? No, unfortuna...

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Summer has started – What is on your summer bucket list?

We are almost two weeks in to summer, and for me that is a little sad because that means the longest day of sunlight has already come and gone. In addition, as I look at the calendar, we are in the midst of celebrating the Fourth of July. I always look forward to watching the fireworks, though! That is always on my "summer to-do list." What are the things that...

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Prevent Vacation Stress

Do vacations have to be completely stress-free to be enjoyable? No, of course not. When we stop to think about the fact that children on vacation are often away from what is predictable and familiar in their home life and routines, it is easier to understand wh...

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What s the Spin

What's the Spin on Fidget Spinners?

Posted by Karla Belzer - Parenting

"Mom, can I please take my spinner into the meeting?" "No, honey, there is no reason why you need to have that in the meeting." "But, Mom, having it will help me concentrate better. It will help me pay attention." So went the conversation with my 9-year old, begging me to let him bring the latest toy craze, his fidget spinner, into a club meeting that he attends...

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Learning and Fun on Family Field Trips

Learning and Fun on Family Field Trips What is a family field trip? When you and your child travel into the wide world with learning as your goal, you are on a field trip! Your destination can be as close as the front porch or as distant as a museum in another town. What are the secrets of successful family field trips? Plan with care. Where...

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Good Communication is Important

Good Communication is Important Good communication is essential in all aspects of our lives, but it can sometimes be hard to accomplish. In a time where people have never been more "connected" to each other w...

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Handling Children's Conflict

Recently my niece posted a copy of a contract that her father developed when she and her brother were little that set out the rules for playing with Legos.  The contract has 6 (!) segments, with my favorite stating that the contract starts on February 12, 1995, it ends at the year 2002, with a new contract written at that time.  If no new contract is written at that time, then my nephew gets the L...

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Early Childhood Screenings

Posted by Cara Allen - Parenting

Should my child be walking by now?  Is my child saying enough words for his age?  Is my child supposed to be recognizing written words?  When do kids begin to write their name? Sound familiar?  Many parents are not sure if their child's development is on track or not.  One resource available to parents is developmental screenings.  Many doctors' offices work this into regular well-baby...

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A Valuable Resource for Abused and Neglected Children

Since April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I thought it might be a good idea to shed a little light on the issue of child abuse in our communities, and highlight a resource that is available for the victims and their families. In fiscal year 2016, there were 245,3...

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