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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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Fun Family Thanksgiving Ideas

Posted by Susan Sloop - Family

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Help for Holiday Grief

Posted by Karla Belzer - Family

Several of my friends have already made the comments.  "Things just won't be the same."  "I don't know how I'm going to make it through this season."  "I wish I could just skip ahead to January." With so many that I know experiencing loss this holiday season, I thought it would be timely to re-post this blog on Holiday Grief from 2015. "What wi...

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Effective Communication

  I originally wrote this article back in 2015, but felt like it was worthwhile to publish it again. People are highly passionate in their beliefs, and in our current culture, differing beliefs or views are creating quite the stir. Difficult topics can make it a challenge...

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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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September is Fall Prevention Month

September is Fall Prevention Month Falls are not a normal part of aging, but they are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. That is why University of Illinois Extension is partnering with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free® Coalition to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22 and all September lo...

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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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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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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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Many benefits of volunteering

As part of our community wellness effort, this month we want to talk about the importance of volunteers. What a volunteer gives to an organization in time, expertise and spirit can never be repaid. However, there are also many benefits to the individual that make it one of the most rewarding things one can do. This month, Kristin Puckett, our 4-H program coordinator from Vermilion County, share...

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Too Much is Not a Good Thing

While on vacation a few weeks ago, I noticed there were many elementary and middle school aged children present at our resort. I also noticed that many of them had something in common.- their rudeness, lack of manners, and disrespect for others. What was...

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Play Is The Way

"Child's play" is a phrase that describes something that is very simple to accomplish.  However, child's play is actually increasingly complex tasks that have a large impact on a child's social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development.  Infants play by themselves, called "solitary play."  As toddlers, children typically play side by side, with little interaction, an activity...

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