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Facts for All Ages

Back to school! Ease those First-Day Blues! A tip sheet from the Illinois Early Learning Project

Ease Those First-Day Blues! A tip sheet from the Illinois Early Learning Project! Separations, sadness, fears, and tears—a young child's first day in your program can be challenging for children and adults! These strategies can help teachers and caregivers make it easier for children and parents to get through those first-day blues. Help families prepare....

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Bullying or Peer Conflict

Back to School, Back to Bullying?

With the start of the new school year, I thought I'd re-share a blog post on bullying I wrote in 2015.  This timely information is a great reminder for us all in how to tell bullying apart from peer conflict. A concerned parent once approached me with a myriad of questions on bullying. Why was her child being excluded from the peer group? What about name calling – is that bullying? Why...

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School and Homework Tips for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

With the beginning of school fast approaching, I thought I would share this article that I originally wrote back in 2015. August is the time of year when parents are busy getting their children ready to go back to school. Registering, shopping for school supp...

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How to Have a Successful Summer

Ah, the lazy days of summer. Around my house, summer is a cherished time of year – for both the kids and parents. Routines are more relaxed, the pace is slower, and the "rules" are bent a little. Even though we are all enjoying a little more freedom from the frantic school year, by this time of the summer, everyone is also ready for a little more "normal." What does having a successful...

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Unplug and Re-Engage in Life

Since Summer is here, I thought it would be a good idea to re-post this article about unplugging from our devices and enjoying our surroundings - especially our youth!  Everywhere around us, we see people constantly checking their smartphones. You might w...

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Unschedule Your Child

Summer break is coming up and parents are busily trying to make arrangements for their children to be safe and occupied during the next few months. Ask yourself - does your child's schedule have more on it than yours? Do you feel more like you...

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The Importance of Health Screenings

Regular preventive care exams are key to identifying risk factors and health problems before they become serious. Many diseases and deaths can be prevented by making healthy choices such as not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right...

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Effectively Communicating With Your Teen

Sometimes talking with your teenager can be a real challenge. I feel I have made a major breakthrough if I hear more than "fine" when I ask my teen how his day was. Sound familiar? In reviewing the current literature on the topic of communicating with tee...

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Extracurricluar Activities: How much is too much?

The first question my son asks me each day when I pick him up from school is: "what do we got tonight?" I can see the wheels in his brain turning as I respond- X amount of time for practice/scouts/4H, X amount of time for homework, X amount of time for play time and on as he's planning how his evening will go. Most days, he is excited to attend whatever practice or event we have going on, but t...

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Staying Active with the Whole Family

As New Year's Resolutions start to fade, we hear more and more excuses for why we are not able to complete our goals. "There's not enough time in the day!" "It's too cold outside!" "It's not fun!" "I'm too old!" These are some of th...

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Generations Can Learn From Each Other

When children, teens and younger adults spend time with older adults, there are many benefits to everyone involved. Older adults can be great role models for children, while also passing on family stories, historical information and teaching the rituals and tradition...

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Parenting Newlyweds - Tips for the Transition

The day you plan, dream and somewhat dread has arrived…..your child is getting married! It happened to me just last week-end. Every detail in place, my husband walked our daughter down the aisle to begin her new life as a Mrs. First of all, how in the world did I get this old? I mean, just yesterday I was changing her diaper and looking for her retainer in the trash can. The day was bea...

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Talking with Your Teen about School Violence

The primary topic in the media currently, is the mass shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. This has certainly brought about dialogue about gun control, mental health, and student safety in schools. Despite what has happened recently, t...

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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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Adult Day Settings: Splendid for Individuals and Caregivers

Let us start with the name "adult day care." Well, that title could turn people off from the start, but do not let it. I realize that a stigma can come with the name of a service, and, to be honest, I never really cared for the term "senior center" either, but that is an article for another day. Whether you are familiar or not with adult day care centers, we are quite lucky to have a few here i...

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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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November is National Family Caregiver’s Month and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Family Caregiver's Month. In 2016, the Alzheimer's Association reported that over 220,000 people in Illinois are living with Alzheimer's disease (AD). In honor of all of the caregivers out there helping someone with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, this article is for you and your loved ones as we enter the holiday season. I could speak for a long time on this topic...

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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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