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The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Ways Older Adults Misuse Medications

Ask the Experts by Jeff and Debra Jay

Q. I am the primary adult caregiver in our family for my parents. How do I help my aging parents manage all of their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications?

A. When drugs come from a doctor's prescription pad, misuse is harder to identify. We assume pharmaceutical drugs are only used for medical conditions, but many older adults take medications for nonmedical reasons.

Abusing or misusing mood-altering prescription drugs can affect older adults ...

Read more: Ways Older Adults Misuse Medications


How to Have Stress Work for You, Not Against You

Ask the Experts by Nancy Piatek

People are always talking about how stressed they are in life. However, without stress, your life would be unexciting and boring. There is good stress and bad stress. Let's learn how to handle stress and have it work for you instead of against you.

Q. What is stress?

A. The definition of stress is a physical, chemical or emotional, factor to which an individual fails to make a satisfactory adaptation and which causes physiological tensions that may be the contributory ...

Read more: How to Have Stress Work for You, Not Against You


The Middle Years - Empowering Your Child

Ask the Experts by Michael Dib, EdD

Q: How do I empower my child to deal with disappointments that relate to test and report card grades?

A: Many parents feel the need to protect their children from getting their feelings' hurt when it relates to test and report card grades.

If your child expresses concern to you about a low test score or report card grade, the first step is to encourage your child to speak directly to the teacher before or after school. If that is not possible, have your child ...

Read more: The Middle Years - Empowering Your Child


Kindergarten Essentials READY, SET, GO! Helping Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten

Ask the Experts by Pam Cronovich, Christine Miller and Melissa Sharp 

Q: Now that spring is almost here, what can parents do to help their child get ready for kindergarten?

A: Readiness for Kindergarten can be found in many forms. Early academic skills and concepts will give your child a strong base as he or she enters kindergarten.

But there are equally important readiness skills that set the stage for your child's learning. Raising an eager learner is the goal, and it can be achieved ...

Read more: Kindergarten Essentials READY, SET, GO! Helping Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten


Lunchtime Nutrition Tips

Ask the Experts by Dan Kellogg

Q:  Should I continue to follow the food pyramid nutritional guidelines when packing my daughter's lunch for school?

A: No. MyPlate, published by the  United States Department of Agriculture, has replaced the pyramid. Look for the MyPlate graphic of a fork, plate and glass divided into five food groups

MyPlate is displayed on food packaging and used for nutrition education. MyPlate is divided into four sections of grains, vegetables, fruits, and ...

Read more: Lunchtime Nutrition Tips


Help for Victims of Bullying

Ask the Experts by Marlene Seltzer, M.D.

Q. Last fall, my 8-year-old daughter started at a new school. Everything was fine for the first few months, but lately she seems depressed and often complains of headaches. I've taken her to our doctor, but he can't find anything wrong. I'm afraid she may be being bullied by classmates. How can I speak to her to get her to open up about it?

A. You are smart in recognizing she may be the subject of bullies. Some parents shrug it off as their child "going ...

Read more: Help for Victims of Bullying


Skills for Strong Confident Women

Ask the Experts by Jennifer Mcmann-Buszka, MSNQ

I have two sons and a daughter. My daughter is older and the boys are only two and three years younger. I have witnessed the boys affectionately teasing her, but I can almost see her wither like a beautiful flower on a scorching day. How can I teach her to be strong and confident?

A. From a very early age, women are portrayed on television and in magazines as beautiful with blemish free skin, flawless sparkling white teeth, and of course, a perfectly ...

Read more: Skills for Strong Confident Women


Personal Safety and Self-Defense

Ask the Experts by Ian Kinder

Q. My daughter and I walk every night. With the days getting shorter, we are walking at dusk, sometimes even later. What can we do to stay safe?

A. Walk in well-lit, open areas that are well populated and active. Avoid dark areas that are confined and isolated. Carry charged cell phones and stay in areas where there is a good signal.

It is always a good idea to be trained in self-defense and carry a personal protection device, such pepper spray or a TASER. Stabbing ...

Read more: Personal Safety and Self-Defense


Flu Shots in Kids

Ask the Experts by Prashant V. Mahajan, MD, MPH, MBA

Why is it important for children to be protected against the flu?

It is estimated that each year an average of 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized because of flu complications. Severe complications are more common in children younger than two years of age.

Children with chronic health problems like asthma, diabetes and disorders of the brain or nervous system are also at high risk of developing serious flu complications. Parents ...

Read more: Flu Shots in Kids


Kindergarten Readiness - Social and Emotional Development

Ask the Experts by Lori Warner, PhD

Q: I'm worried that my child won't be ready for kindergarten; she has hardly been away from me in her whole life! What can I do to help her get ready?

A: Discuss her upcoming school with excitement and enthusiasm, but be honest that sometimes it can be challenging to start new adventures, and it's okay if she is a little nervous. 

Make sure she has a visit to the new school and learns about the routines she'll follow.  You can also do some "trial ...

Read more: Kindergarten Readiness - Social and Emotional Development


Reading Skills for Children

Ask the Experts by Melissa Sharp

I am a mother of twin preschoolers seeking knowledge on the early phases of reading and writing.

Preparing a child to read and write begins with the first book read in infancy.  From that point, children need experiences that foster oral language, content knowledge, literacy skills, and thinking.

What understandings and skills does my child need when learning to read?

Print conventions:  reading left to right and top to bottom, spaces between words, ...

Read more: Reading Skills for Children


Get a Doctor's Opinion if You Suspect Learning Disabilities

Ask the Experts by Lori J. Warner, Ph.D.

Q: Our 21-month-old daughter does not respond to her name and when we tell her "no," she doesn't stop what she is doing. Is it OK to take a "wait and see" approach or should we be concerned?

A: Parents often worry about behaviors that are part of typical development, but some behaviors are "red flags," indicating the need for a closer look. Always share your concerns with your child's doctor.  For more information about what milestones to watch for ...

Read more: Get a Doctor's Opinion if You Suspect Learning Disabilities


Private Caregiver vs. Home Care Companies

Ask the Experts by Carolyn Van Dorn

Q: I am considering hiring a caregiver to help with our special needs child. What is the difference between hiring a private caregiver and using a home care company? 

A: When utilizing the services of a private caregiver, you may pay less per hour and not have to agree to a minimum number of hours per day or week. You will have to perform applicant searches, be responsible for paying payroll taxes, carry personal liability, worker's compensation and unemployment ...

Read more: Private Caregiver vs. Home Care Companies


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