The Family Center: enrichment programs for families and professionals

Finding Peace and Balance in a Stressful World

Ask the Experts by Gail Elliott Patricolo

Q. I work full time and try to take care of a busy family. My daughter has a full load at school and with sports. We both seem stressed out all the time and need some coping skills we can share with the rest of our family. The stress does not seem to go away and may even be hurting our health and relationships. Are there stress management skills I can learn? 

A. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s following an argument with your spouse ...

Read more: Finding Peace and Balance in a Stressful World


Raising a Reader

Ask the Expert by Stephanie Cork, Education Specialist

Q: How can I foster a love of reading in my child?

A: One of the more difficult questions I am asked by parents of late elementary through high school children is how can they make their child enjoy reading. Like anything else, a child will not enjoy reading if it is difficult and does not yield any sort of intrinsic satisfaction, therefore, much of the answer lies in the importance of starting early in order to make the reading process ...

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Self-Defense for Mothers & Teen Daughters

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 ...

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Ask the Experts by Angela Hill

Q. I would like to get my family more physically active. What are some of the benefits of yoga? Where can I find a class for my whole family?

A. Yoga brings harmony and balance to the circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, respiratory, muscular, spinal, endocrine, digestive and immune systems. This gives you the emotional and physical stability to respond to life’s challenges with courage and grace.  

It’s a fun way to increase self-esteem, self-control ...

Read more: FAMILYoga


Building Better Brains!

Ask the Experts by Laurie Wagner, Education Specialist

Q: Are children diagnosed with dyslexia destined to struggle with reading their entire lives?

A: Research confirms that effective reading instruction literally reorganizes the brains of struggling readers. Especially effective is the engagement of the visual, auditory, tactile (touch) and kinesthetic (muscle movement) learning pathways.

When struggling learners are taught to read using direct, explicit, systematic, multisensory phonics ...

Read more: Building Better Brains!


Infant Massage: Learning the Language of Touch

Ask the Experts by Emily Robson, LLPC

Q. What is infant massage and what are the benefits?

A: Touch is the most powerful of all interactions between parent and child. It is a mirror of our inner feelings toward another person.

Babies can sense what their parent is feeling by the way they are touched. Everyone has a personal “touch” history, which consists of all the touch experiences that a person will have had during their lifetime. It doesn’t matter how old or young a person ...

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The Heavy Heartedness of Grief

Ask the Experts by Marla Ruhana, LMSW

Q. There is immense sadness surrounding me now as my dearest friend has recently died. Is this sad feeling normal?

A. Grief has many different stages, sadness is one of them. I empathize with you in the midst of grief. There are several stages of grief, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote of the five stages of grief, the stages are denial, anger, depression bargaining, and acceptance. Shock is also part of grief as well as social isolation. Everyone experiences ...

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Coping with Loss During the Holidays

Ask the Experts by Rebecca L Palen, MPA, LMSW, OSW-C, GC-C

Q. I just lost my spouse to cancer this past summer. I am starting to feel even worse now that the holidays are approaching. Can I have some guidance of how to get through the next few weeks?

A. While there are other critical dates and times that affect grieving people, but for many the most difficult day for the bereaved is Christmas.

This particular holiday than any other means family is together, making the void of your loved one ...

Read more: Coping with Loss During the Holidays


Kindergarten Essentials READY, SET, GO!

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

Helping Your Child Get Ready for Kindergarten GET READY

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 ...

Read more: Kindergarten Essentials READY, SET, GO!


Comfort Care: Understanding Palliative Care and Hospice Services

Ask the Experts by Kathleen Blazoff

My doctor recommended Palliative Care to my mother with Alzheimer’s dementia. What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care or Palliative Medicine is specialized medical care for people with a chronic and /or serious illness. Palliative are focuses on providing patients with relief of symptoms, pain and stress of an illness with equal attention to emotional and spiritual well being.

Palliative care assists the patient and family in establishing goals of ...

Read more: Comfort Care: Understanding Palliative Care and Hospice Services


Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Ask the Experts by Sharon Maier and Heidi Uhlig

Q. My aging parents are in need of more help from me, plus I have two small children to take care of. I struggle to care for them both. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle caring for both my parents and my kids?

A. When caring for your aging parents, know that you are entering new territory and you will need new skills and knowledge to adapt. You can gain knowledge on resources through the web or through local organizations such as Services ...

Read more: Tips for the Sandwich Generation


Talking to Kids About Alzheimer's

Ask the Experts by Barbara Roden

Q: I'm struggling trying to help my 14 year old son to understand why grandpa is being more forgetful over the past 6 months. The two of them have always had a close relationship. My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's earlier this year. Might you be able to offer some suggestions as to how I might be able to help my son understand what is happening now and what to expect in the future?

A. It is important when having a discussion about his grandfather and ...

Read more: Talking to Kids About Alzheimer's


Snowboarding Safety

Ask the Experts by Glen Clark, M.D.

Q. My friends invited me to go snowboarding, but it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a board. Any advice before I hit the slopes?

A. Get in shape. Follow a regular fitness program to strengthen muscles and build endurance to help prevent injuries. It is important to warm up and stretch before you hop from the car to the chairlift. Focus on calves, hamstrings and quadriceps, as well as your shoulders. Many snowboarding injuries are from people ...

Read more: Snowboarding Safety


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