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The Family Center: Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

Serving our community through programs and resources vital to today’s families.

Take Steps Toward Better Self-care - Start with Better Sleep

Ask the Experts by Megan Gunnel

Q: The holidays can be so stressful and overwhelming. Now that we are starting a new year, I would like suggestions on simple steps I can take to help me feel like I can better cope with stress and life challenges.

A: As a psychotherapist, I spend a lot of time talking with my clients about improving their self-care. That could mean lots of things to lots of people in lots of various circumstances, but ultimately, adding more intentionality or a heightened state ...

Read more: Take Steps Toward Better Self-care - Start with Better Sleep


Protect Your Child from Cold Weather Injury

Ask the Experts by Jeanne Lewandowski, MD

Q: What can I do to protect my child from cold weather risks or injury?

A: Parents need to understand the ways in which the body loses heat and limit the amount of time a child is out in the cold, wet or windy weather, especially as children may not be aware of cold temperatures.

Hypothermia, dehydration, eye injuries and frostbite are all potential risks for children in the cold. Exposure in certain areas of the body and too much time outside in the ...

Read more: Protect Your Child from Cold Weather Injury


High School Graduates - Consider a Gap Year Before College

Ask the Experts by Beth Walsh-Sahutske, MA LPC

Q: My daughter has some friends who graduated from her high school that took a year off before going to college and now she is interested in exploring this idea. After all of this college admissions pressure, am I crazy to consider allowing her to take a break from formal education?

A: The concept that your daughter is referencing is called Gap Year. It is almost always concentrated on a combination of education, service and personal growth. Such ...

Read more: High School Graduates - Consider a Gap Year Before College


About ADHD Medication Misuse

Ask the Experts by Ghada Abdallah, RPh

Q: I've been hearing, recently, that ADHD medications can be used as stimulants for people without ADHD. If this is true, why would these types of meds be abused and how dangerous is it? 

A: Yes, it is true that ADHD meds are often misused for something other than prescribed. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the three classes of medication most commonly misused are: 

  • opioids - usually prescribed to treat pain;  ...

Read more: About ADHD Medication Misuse


Making the Holidays Less Materialistic

Ask the Experts by Eric Herman

Q: During this time of year kids are bombarded with commercials to entice them to want a variety of toys and gadgets they may not need. What can parents do? How can we make the holidays more meaningful and help them appreciate the spirit of giving?

A: I have a few tips to help your kids learn the fun of giving, help curb materialism and reinforce the real reason for the season. Remember, it's not the gifts but what bind them that's important - the spirit of giving. ...

Read more: Making the Holidays Less Materialistic


Participate in Neighborhood Safety

Ask the Experts by Ryan Schroerlucke

Q: I've never been quite sure what to do if I notice suspicious activity or witness a crime. Can you please advise?

A: Crimes are frequently solved through partnership between the community and its police departments. There are many times when a resident will observe what they feel is suspicious but fail to report it as they don't want to bother the PD or they worry it may be nothing and cause embarrassment.

Nothing could be further from the truth - police ...

Read more: Participate in Neighborhood Safety


Seniors Benefit from Sharing in Family Meals

Ask the Experts by Marian Battersby

Q: I often feel bad that I do not include my elderly father in our family meals. So many things intervene and I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of coordinating these events. How can I make this happen?

A: You are not alone with your frustration. A recent survey by Home instead, Inc. in North America indicated challenges. Approximately 50% of those surveyed do not have enough sit-down dinners with their senior relatives. This is true even when the senior lives ...

Read more: Seniors Benefit from Sharing in Family Meals


Helping Toddlers Adjust to the Arrival of a Newborn

Ask the Experts by Patty Werner

Q. Our toddler was sleeping like an Olympian until his baby brother came home. How do I help my older child adjust to his new sibling so that he sleeps like he used to?

A. Toddlers can experience a wide range of emotions when a new sibling is brought home. It is important to acknowledge your child's feelings and encourage them to share them with you. It is common for a toddler to have difficulty at bedtime and overnight during this transition in your family. Here ...

Read more: Helping Toddlers Adjust to the Arrival of a Newborn


Alternative School Options for Teen Age Students with ADHD

Ask the Experts by Dean Dauphinais

Q. I'm the parent of a high school student who is struggling in public school because of some learning differences. Is there an alternative school option for them that may provide a better way to learn?

A. I feel your pain. My younger son's struggle with ADHD, anxiety, and learning began late in middle school. Although he was super intelligent and tested off the charts, learning and comprehending in a mainstream environment wasn't working for him. He did the ...

Read more: Alternative School Options for Teen Age Students with ADHD


The College Selection Process

Ask the Experts by Milissa Pierce and Beth Walsh-Sahutske

Q: My child just started high school. Is it too early to start talking about college?

A: Chances are you have been talking about college his whole life via favorite sports teams, family alma mater or some cool random mascot. That's great! Now is the time to explore beyond those familiar names to take a casual look at some other convenient colleges.

Visit local colleges or some near vacation destinations and take a tour- even if he has ...

Read more: The College Selection Process


Tool or Toy: Educating Middle Level Learners on the Power of Cell Phones

Ask the Experts by Rodger W. Hunwick

Q: My child is entering middle school next year. My spouse and I are reluctant about providing a cell phone as an incoming sixth grader. Other parents tell us their older child(ren) have a cell phone and we've received mixed reviews about whether or not it's necessary. Please tell us the truth about Tweenagers and cell phones at middle school; are these devices used more as a tool or a toy at school?

A: The truth of the matter is tweenagers use their cell ...

Read more: Tool or Toy: Educating Middle Level Learners on the Power of Cell Phones


Tips for Getting Ready for Kindergarten

by Kristen DeVooght, Dorothy Heitjan and Kimberly Maddalena

Q: How can we as parents help our preschooler make a successful transition into kindergarten? Might you have some tips to share?

A: It is vital in the preschool years to provide your child with the experiences that will build the foundation for later success in school. In order to help your child build this foundation, parents should provide:

  • Hands on experiences. Dig, cook, build, paint and sculpt with your child. Activities ...

Read more: Tips for Getting Ready for Kindergarten


Cooperative Parenting After Divorce

Ask the Experts by Sonya Thompson

Q: I feel like my ex-husband and I cannot get along. I am not sure how to put aside our differences - can you help?

A: Feeling hurt or angry is common. If you want to succeed as co-parents, the "co" has to mean cooperation.

Shifting roles from former spouse to co-parents can be challenging. Parents might find it difficult to manage anger or hurt without putting their children in the middle. Criticism of the other parent in the presence of the child can be ...

Read more: Cooperative Parenting After Divorce


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