Black Hills Parent Summer 2021

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WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM Kid owned treat truck hits Summerset p. 12





Give your child the freedom to dream with CollegeAccess 529 No gift is greater than an education. To learn how to start saving today visit Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses of the CollegeAccess 529 plan before investing. This and other important information is in the Plan Disclosure Statement, available at Read the Plan Disclosure Statement carefully before investing. Before investing, you should consider whether your state of residency, or your intended beneficiary’s state of residency, offers a state tax deduction or any other state benefits such as financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors that are only available for investments in that state’s 529 savings program. The CollegeAccess 529 Plan is issued by the South Dakota Higher Education Savings Trust. The Program Manager and Underwriter for the CollegeAccess 529 Plan is VP Distributors, LLC, One Financial Plaza, Hartford, CT 06103, 800-243-4361. Certain of the investment management firms that manage underlying mutual Funds in the Program, including Virtus Investment Advisers, Inc., are affiliated with the Program Manager. Only South Dakota residents and Account Owners who designate a South Dakota resident as Beneficiary can invest directly in the CollegeAccess 529 Plan. Certain Portfolios are not available to those who invest directly. Residents of states other than South Dakota can invest in the CollegeAccess 529 Plan only through a financial professional. Additional fees apply for investments made through a financial professional. Please see the Plan Disclosure Statement for details. State taxes may apply for residents of states other than South Dakota. Notice: CollegeAccess 529 Plan accounts are not insured by any state, and neither the principal deposited nor any investment return is guaranteed by any state.

One in Eight

Women Experience Postpartum Depression Up to 80% of all new moms experience some level of baby blues after birth, but postpartum depression is more serious and can last for months or years. Here’s what you need to know:


South Dakota mothers who are younger, unmarried, have less education and lower household income, and/or are American Indian are at even greater risk for postpartum depression.*

2 3

Diabetes, hypertension, depression, or emotional abuse during pregnancy can lead to higher rates of postpartum depression.* Talking to your healthcare provider about healthy eating, exercise, family spacing, contraception, support programs, and treatment options can make a huge difference that will lead to healthier moms and families.

Don’t wait to reach out: • • • •

Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling. Connect with other moms in your community or online. Make time for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help with daily tasks or childcare.

If you are concerned about yourself or a new mom, call the National Hotline for Depression After Delivery 1-800-944-4773. For more information, visit *For the full 2018 SD PRAMS report:



14 Summer is the perfect time to bond as a family, but also to check in with one another. Whether it’s changing your routine, trying something new, or reaching out for support, we hope this issue helps start a conversation about mental health. We wish your family health and happiness this summer, and hope you get time to enjoy the sweeter things in life — like a delightfully juicy watermelon.

BHPARENT BH PARENT Publisher, Owner Rick DenHerder 605.343.7684 ext. 203 For Advertising Information Creative Director John Edwards Senior Designer Chris Valencia Designer Sydnee Dormann Communications Coordinator Meghan Rose Senior Editor Ashley Johnson Photographer Jesse Brown Nelson Digital Director John Eining Social Media Manager Jenna Johnson Distribution Manager Avery Thomas Distribution Richard Alley Contributors Jamie Clapham, Mark Petruska Black Hills Parent. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this publication without the expressed consent of the publisher is prohibited. The information included in this publication is believed to be accurate at the time of publishing. Additional advertiser information and articles are available online at Black Hills Parent magazine is a free, quarterly publication distributed throughout Black Hills area communities—from Rapid City to Spearfish, Deadwood to Hill City, Custer to Hot Springs, and every place in between, including: schools, medical and dental waiting areas, childcare facilities, specialty retailers, and other key locations in this area. Get an exclusive look at Black Hills Parent through our e-letter at Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates.




09 Stay Safe Outdoors Learn how to protect your family from common summer ailments like bug bites and rashes from poisonous plants. 12 Amazing Kids When their summer activities were cancelled, four girls in Summerset put their heads together to bring ice cream to their neighborhood. 14 Get Some Sleep Parents sacrifice a lot for our kids, including sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can cause health issues. Learn the risks, and how to prioritize healthy habits. 18 Summer Snacks Made Easy Help your family eat healthy with snack ideas and easy ingredient swap outs to fuel you all summer long.



22 After the Storm Jenn and Kyle Johnson share their story of grief, resiliency, and hope after losing their baby daughter in spring of 2020.

26 Mindfulness for Kids A Rapid City yoga instructor explains how mindfulness helps our kids manage anxiety, be more creative, and learn to understand their emotions. 30 Beyond the Bubble Bath Self-care is important for everyone, but parents especially. We asked a Spearfish psychologist how parents can find their own self-care routine. 36 Just Say Yes! Netflix’s movie “Yes Day” challenged parents to let go and let kids make the rules. A mom from Custer rose to the test, and shares her family’s adventures.



40 Ask the Expert: Yes Day There’s more to a yes day than simple family fun. From empowering kids to reducing parents’ stress, learn the benefits of saying yes to your kids more often.

53 Column: Education The dreaded summer slide affects our kids’ math scores the most. We rounded up fun games to keep your family sharp all summer long!


55 Column: Grandparents Hanging out with your grandkids is more than just fun, it’s healthy, too! Jim and Kathy White from Hermosa share their tips for having fun with grandkids.

42 Column: Making an Impact The Front Porch Coalition works to support suicide survivors and increase mental health awareness in the community. 47 Column: STEM Learning to code teaches kids to program computers, but did you know it can also help them manage stress and anxiety? 49 Column: Wellness Dr. Jaron Miner, a family physician with Monument Health in Custer, explains how a family physician cares for your entire family, no matter their age. 51 Column: Finance Taking a family vacation this summer doesn’t have to break the bank. Learn how to keeps costs low while still having fun!

56 Black Hills Cuties Black Hills parents are always happy to share photos showing off their little ones’ personalities. Proudly supported by Black Hills Wire. 60 Black Hills Calendar Looking for a reason to get out of the house? Check out these family-friendly events!

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BHP Online Preview Celebrating the 4th of July in the Black Hills is the perfect reason to fire up the grill and get together with friends. Check out our holiday recipes, ideas for festive family fun, and all the best places to watch fireworks in the hills.

Dr. Emilia Flint talks to us about self-care for parents on page 30, but she also had great ideas for kids! Come see us online for the inside scoop.

Summer is the perfect time to hit the trail. Not sure where to start? Our how-to guide will have your family trail-ready in no time.

Do you dread hearing kids say “I’m bored” all summer? Check out our top 10 tips and tricks for keeping your kids productive during summer break.





Live life local, together. We’re your resource for everything local, from parenting tips and tricks to summer fun and expert insights. Connect with us online to stay upto-date with the latest and greatest in the beautiful Black Hills!



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Summer means warm weather and longer days — the perfect combination for outdoor family fun.

Being outside provides a host of health benefits, but there are risks associated with being in nature. Read on for our top tips to keep your family safe from sunburns, bug bites, and poisonous plants this season!

SUN PROTECTION Unprotected skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes, but it may take up to 12 hours for the damage to show.

• For younger children, the easiest way to protect them is by wearing clothing made from tightly woven fabric or clothing with an SPF factor. • Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 50 and reapply at least every two hours, or more if you’re swimming or sweating. • Pay special attention to often-missed spots like the tops of ears and feet, and your nose. • Eyes need protection too — exposure can cause permanent damage. Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays when it’s bright out. • Protection and prevention is key for sunburns. Research shows a connection between severe sunburns in our youth and increased risk for skin cancer in adulthood, so starting your family out with good habits early on is important.

If you or your family do get a sunburn, taking cool showers or baths can help relieve the pain. Make sure to drink extra water to prevent dehydration, and apply moisturizers with aloe vera or soy to soothe burned skin. If you get blisters, don’t pop them! BHPARENT BHPARENT 99

BUG BITES & STINGS Use the right bug spray. Sprays with DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus with at least 20-30% strength are the most effective. If you’re in a tick-prone area, DEET will protect you from both mosquitoes and ticks.

• Always apply sunscreen first, and then layer bug spray on top. • Don’t use products that combine bug spray with sun protection. You should reapply sunscreen often, but use bug spray sparingly. • Wear closed-toe shoes and tall socks or long pants if you’re walking through tall grasses. When you’re out hiking, stay at the center of the path and away from vegetation. • If you or a child are stung or bitten, removing any stingers and washing the area with soap and water can help reduce swelling and itching. • If you have difficulty breathing, swollen lips, tongue, or face, or any other abnormal reaction after an insect bite, seek medical attention immediately.

Applying an ice pack or using an anti-itch cream can reduce the urge to scratch a new bite, which reduces the chance of infection. If your child is in pain from a bug bite, an over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help. 10



POISONOUS PLANTS Remember: leaves of three, let them be! If you see any ivy or vine-like plants, look at their leaves; if they grow in clusters of three, stay away!

• Poison ivy is the most common poisonous plant in the Black Hills. It’s usually a ground cover about 10 to 15 inches high, with groupings of three leaves along its vines. It prefers wet, shady locations near streams and ponds. • Poisonous plants spread their toxin through oils. If your skin or clothing come in contact with poisonous plants, wash them thoroughly. • Common reactions are itching, swelling, and formation of blisters or red spots on skin. Wash in warm water with soap, and follow up with topical ointments, oatmeal baths, and cool compresses. If your symptoms don’t subside or get worse after a day or two, it’s best to seek medical attention. • If your skin blisters from contact with poisonous plants, the fluid inside may cause further skin reactions or burns — so take care not to pop them!

Rashes from poisonous plants tend to be incredibly uncomfortable. If your kids can’t resist scratching, you can use hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion. If the rash persists longer than a week, you can call their doctor for advice. BHPARENT 11

The girls sell everything from Italian ice and pushup pops to ice cream Snickers and Crunch bars. Their favorite treat? The M&M chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich!





TO SUMMERSET Summer is the best part of childhood; no school, nice weather, and plenty of time to hang out with friends. For four girls in Summerset, it’s about something sweeter: ice cream.


retchen and Enna Henry, and Chloe and Elianah Ohlsen, all live in Summerset. When most of their summer activities were cancelled last year, they came up with an idea to bring some much-needed cheer to their neighborhood. Gretchen says, “one day we were jumping on the trampoline together, and we came up with the idea to get an ice cream truck.”


Coming up with the idea was the easy part. When the girls approached Gretchen and Enna’s dad, Jason, about the idea, he gave them some homework. They had to research the products they wanted to sell, but also equipment, permits, and insurance for the truck. The girls rose to the challenge and presented him with their plan the same day. A stroke of luck found an old pizza truck at a local auction, and soon enough the girls’ dream became reality. They started driving around their neighborhood, and soon they had an avid following both around Summerset and on social media. Sometimes they have so many people come buy ice cream, they hardly move the truck at all. To make things run smoothly, each girl has a job: one takes orders at the window, one acts as a cashier, one gets ice cream from the freezer, and one hands the treat out the door. The girls rotate jobs so they all get a chance to do each position. After they close up shop each day, the girls count up their money and divide it into categories: bills, profits, and money for charity.


As part of their business plan, Jason told the girls they needed to consider giving back to charities or local organizations. After a successful season, the girls sat down together to decide how to spend the money they set aside. “We wanted to do something in our area, because those are the people who bought from us and supported us,” Enna says. While they had many ideas to choose from, the girls ultimately bought books, toys, and sports gear like footballs for kids in need during the holidays. “The Angel Trees we see around town inspired us,” Chloe says. The ice cream truck was such a success, the girls plan to do it again this summer. This year they plan to have matching t-shirts, and hope to have a jar of dog treats on hand for kids who bring along their four-legged friends. They all agree the experience has taught them a lot; from making their business plan, learning how to budget, and dedicating their free time to running the truck. In the end, it’s worth it, and Elianah says, “the best part is hanging out with my friends and making fun memories together.”

words Ashley Johnson photos Jesse Brown Nelson


Parents need to recharge, too There is an Irish Proverb, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” It turns out there is a great deal of truth in that. words Jamie Clapham





nyone with children knows there are many things parents are willing to sacrifice for the benefit of their children. One of those is often sleep. From the moment their first child is born, sleep is not the same for parents for many years to come. Doctor Roxanne Prichard is a nationally recognized sleep expert, whose research shows on average new parents lose approximately 42 days of sleep in a child’s first year of life alone! Even after children are older and not waking up at night, parents are often up late doing laundry, packing lunches, emailing teachers, or any number of other things that could not be marked off the “to-do list” during a busy day. Those late nights are frequently combined with early mornings. Families are up early for school or work on weekdays, and extracurricular activities on the weekends. “Decreased sleep is a nearly universal problem. Over the last 100 years the average amount of sleep adults get per night has decreased by 20%,” says Dr. Prichard. Many parents probably realize those statements are accurate but think losing sleep is worth their kids having everything they need. However, parents could be doing a disservice to themselves — and their children — by not getting sufficient rest.

Losing more than sleep

Sleep deprivation can have a host of negative consequences on health. During sleep, the body rids the brain of toxins. If those toxins are not removed, there can be a decline in cognitive function. Insufficient sleep also leads to slower reaction time,

According to Harvard University studies over the past 10 years, the quantity and quality of sleep a person gets can have a significant effect on both learning and memory. which results in higher risk for injury and accidents, increased blood pressure, decreased immune response, and increased resistance to insulin, which is a major risk factor for development of diabetes. According to Harvard University studies over the past 10 years, the quantity and quality of sleep a person gets can have a significant effect on both learning and memory. To effectively store information and consolidate and organize thoughts and memories you must obtain sufficient sleep. Though you are asleep, your body is busy doing things like producing growth hormone and leptin which are integral parts of regulating metabolism and controlling appetite. Thus, having less than ideal sleep may result in not having enough of these hormones and can lead to difficulty maintaining a healthy weight. The bottom line is sleep is important to your overall health, not to mention physical and mental function. Sacrificing sleep for the sake of your children may have the unintended consequence of them having a less healthy parent.



How to:

Parents want to be the best and healthiest they can be for themselves and their kids. So, what can be done to improve your sleep and your overall health? Prioritize Sleep

Create a Supportive Sleep Environment

Adjust Eating and Drinking Habits

Create a Routine

Don’t stay up late to write an email that can wait 12 hours to be sent. Go to bed early enough to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night.

Whenever possible, limit or eliminate caffeine or alcohol consumption 4-6 hours before bedtime.

Decrease light by using blackout curtains or wearing a sleep mask. Turn off screens on all electronics that emit blue light. Try to keep the temperature close to 65 degrees — research shows this is the ideal temperature for quality sleep.

Try to go to bed within a half hour of the same time each night and wake the same time every morning. Doing this regularly allows the body to have more regular circadian rhythms and better regulation of many important bodily functions. If this is done for 2 or 3 weeks, you may get to the point of not needing an alarm clock!

See a Medical Professional

If you are getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep but still wake up feeling tired or are waking several times throughout the night, you may have a medical reason that you are not getting quality sleep such as sleep apnea. This needs to be evaluated by a professional as soon as possible.



Good sleep can boost our mood, help reduce stress, and improve our memory.

A Clean Home

is a happy home Your home plays a major role in your happiness, it’s where your heart is. You spend a lot of time there, so make it a sanctuary that’s always ready for you and your loved ones to enjoy.

1. Clear the Clutter.

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to improve the look of your home is to clean out your junk drawer, empty storage bins, and clear shelves.

2. Set the Stage.

Once your living room is clutter-free, breathe life into your space by incorporating plants, making subtle updates, and maintaining your clean throughout the week.

3. Make a Routine.

Cleaning is one of the most common household chores homeowners admit to putting off. With pre-scheduled, regular cleanings from Merry Maids, you’ll never again have to worry about spending a beautiful Saturday indoors scrubbing pots and pans.

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Eat Smart, The next time you’re staring down a plate of broccoli and wishing it were a slice of cheesecake instead, know that you’re making your brain — not to mention your waistline — happy. 18



Be Smart words Mark Petruska

Set a good example now, and your kids will be happier, healthier, and primed to make smart food decisions as they grow up.

Feed your brain

The most visible sign of hunger might be a rumbling stomach, but your brain gets hungry, too. It requires nutritious food to fuel your body: It’s responsible for your thoughts and actions, moods and movements, and it works hard around the clock to keep you functioning. Even when you’re asleep, your brain is active. It deserves a little TLC, right? Eating healthy foods is an important step in providing your brain with the nourishment it needs. That bag of Cheetos might put a smile on your face (and orange dust on your fingers), but it

isn’t doing your brain any favors. Look for foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to protect against free radicals — waste materials produced by the body that can damage cells. Watching what you eat is crucial to your mental and physical health. Give in to those junk food cravings and you risk harming your brain. Highly processed and refined foods are difficult for the brain to get rid of and can lead to serious health issues. Take sugar, for instance; it negatively affects the body’s ability to regulate insulin, promotes inflammation of cells, and helps those



harmful free radicals cause damage to brain tissue. Scientists know a lot more about the connection between food and mood than they did in decades past. The popular phrase “you are what you eat” rings true: the foods you ingest directly affect your emotions and behavior.

Healthy can be easy

Making smart food choices is the key to promoting a healthy brain and body. This might sound daunting — especially when you’re trying to please finicky children, who will pretty much always choose candy over an apple. Luckily, with a little creativity, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for nutrition. Snacking is as much a summer pastime for kids as swimming and riding bikes. Promote good habits by having healthy snacks on hand. Skip the potato chips and stock your pantry with kale chips or roasted chickpeas instead. Both are available in stores or can be made at home. Other good alternatives include almonds, pistachios, and popcorn. Fresh sliced vegetables can also satisfy that crunch craving. Carrot sticks, cucumbers, celery, and radishes are all nutritious and tasty. Pair them with hummus, peanut butter, guacamole, or black bean dip for a flavor boost. Take advantage of the summer fruit bounty, too. Strawberries, blueberries, and cherries are a delicious and healthy treat when the weather is warm — and even when it isn’t. Watermelons are the perfect summer treat; they’re low in calories and their high water content helps your kids stay hydrated. Try slicing one up sticking a popsicle stick in each slice before freezing for a delicious summer treat! 20


Want to make mealtime healthier? Try the following healthy substitutions:

Oatmeal for sugary cereals

English muffins for bagels

Greek yogurt for sour cream Dried fruit for candy

Sparkling water for soda

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Hope after the storm BLACKHILLSPARENT.COM


Kyle and Jenn Johnson were ready to bring home a new baby; the nursery was organized, their freezer was stocked with easy meals, and their bags were packed for the hospital — just in case. words Ashley Johnson photos Nick Hubbard

A rainbow baby is a child born after their parents have suffered a loss. Like a rainbow after a storm, a rainbow baby signifies hope and healing after a dark and painful time.


hey had a routine appointment on a Tuesday morning when Jenn was 37 weeks pregnant. The baby had a strong heartbeat, and everything looked great for a healthy arrival in a few short weeks. Two days later, their world turned upside down. Jenn hadn’t felt the baby move all morning, and went to see her doctor just to be safe. Before Kyle could join Jenn at the clinic, her doctor confirmed that the baby was gone. They checked into the hospital that afternoon, and Jenn delivered a beautiful baby girl early the next morning. They named her Eleanor Viola, or Ellie for short. Shortly after Ellie’s celebration of life, the world came to a halt in the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jenn and Kyle’s two-year-old son, William, could no longer attend daycare, and they both started working from home. Any support they should have had from organized bereavement groups or social gatherings was no longer available. To help them navigate those early days, Jenn and Kyle started seeing a grief

counselor. Kyle says, “We learned a lot about how we can trust each other and rely on one another for emotional support. Going through tough times can either push you apart or bring you together, and we worked hard to really lean on each other and grow closer.” As Jenn and Kyle learned to support each other and their son, they grew stronger as a family.

Leaning into each other

When they were ready to share their story, they sought solace in their friends and family. At first, it seemed difficult to relate with people around them. “People don’t really know how to talk about death. It’s human nature to not want to be uncomfortable, so it never gets brought up,” Kyle says, “but I had a couple opportunities to talk with friends about Ellie’s passing and how I was doing and it really helped. Even people I hadn’t necessarily considered close friends, but they reached out and were so helpful and willing to talk and ask questions.” Jenn says continuing to include Ellie in their lives has helped her process her BHPARENT 23

“Don’t be afraid to reach out. After we lost Ellie, we felt so alone and still feel alone sometimes, but finding people that have been through something like this has helped.”

When talking to bereaved parents, it’s helpful to include their child in conversation by name. If you don’t know it, don’t be afraid to ask. Also, common terminology such as miscarriage or stillborn can imply fault or blame; simply saying “pregnancy loss” avoids this perception. If you’re not sure of what to say, know there are never going to be perfect words. Reaching out is what’s important.




Project Finding Your Rainbow offers a place for parents who have suffered a loss to find hope and community. Women share how they found their rainbow in order to provide encouragement and raise awareness.

grief, but it also seems to help William understand what happened. “William has the biggest heart,” she says, “he still wants to include her in things. The first time we went to see Ellie after we found out we were pregnant, he was the first one to say ‘Ellie, we’re going to have a baby! You’re going to be a sister!’ He’s just so sweet, and it really helps us too.”

The rainbow after the storm

The Johnsons were blessed with a son named Oliver this year; he was born just six days before Ellie’s first birthday. They still have good days and bad, but they’ve both found ways to honor their daughter while continuing to heal and grow as a family. “I like to think that she’s still with us in spirit, and lives on through us. If I see things throughout the day that remind me of her, I’ll stop and meditate on that and allow myself space to appreciate that,” Kyle says. For other parents who suffer a loss, Jenn says, “Don’t be afraid to reach out. After we lost Ellie, we felt so alone and still feel alone sometimes, but finding people that have been through something like this has helped. Be willing to share your story and don’t be afraid to reach out — connect with a bereavement group, counselor, family or friend — you have to lean into people who care.” Kyle agrees, and he says, “It’s very intense grief immediately, but now after almost fourteen months have gone by I can say that I still feel her loss — and it doesn’t go away — but it gets easier. You learn to lean on people that are close to you, and you get stronger. But when it’s hard, just know that the storm will pass.” BHPARENT 25




Mindfulness is a blend of tuning into our mind and body, and being present in the moment. For kids, it’s a powerful tool that can help them navigate some of life’s trickiest challenges. words Ashley Johnson


hether it’s dealing with self-esteem issues, learning social skills, or dealing with stress, all children will encounter tough emotional situations. Luckily, mindfulness is a tool parents can teach their children to help them cope. Tiffany Trask recently started teaching yoga and mindfulness for children of all ages and abilities through her studio, Beats Unique. She also has almost two decades of experience working with children in various settings, including pediatric speech and language pathology.


Tiffany believes that introducing kids to movement, breath, and mind-body connection sets them up for success in life by helping them stay in touch with their physical and emotional needs. “By learning to quiet the mind and be aware of their senses, kids can really learn things like self-regulation and selfsoothing, which can help them slow down and make informed decisions in times of stress,” Tiffany says.

While yoga and mindfulness aren’t new, the benefits of practicing them are becoming more well established. “There’s research coming out that shows mindfulness helps lessen activation of the amygdala, which is where we get our fight or flight response,” Tiffany says, “Mindfulness activates the hippocampus instead, which controls learning and memory, and our prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotions, behaviors, and decision making.” The prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until our 20s, which means learning mindfulness young sets children up for a lifetime of increased problem solving, creativity, and emotional agility.


While yoga and mindfulness are ancient practices, there’s nothing that says they can’t be fun for kids. For instance, if your kids love dragons, when you’re breathing talk about being a dragon ready to spit fireballs; they should feel the warm breath in their abdomen and up into their chest BHPARENT 27

“People are surprised how quickly kids will adapt to the idea of stillness because it seems contrary, but really that’s why they gravitate to it; stillness gives them balance.” Tiffany believes mindfulness is a tool you can always have with you; it doesn’t require special equipment to practice. Here are ways your family can practice mindfulness together, or on their own.


and throat. Tiffany says, “One of my favorite things to bring mindfulness to kids is giving them a breathing buddy. It’s a stuffed animal they can put on their tummy when they’re laying down, and they can see the buddy move with them as they breathe.” Combining the ideas of mindfulness with things your children relate to or enjoy makes them more likely to stick with the practice long term. For busy families who worry about adding another activity to their daily routine, Tiffany says not to worry about making it a huge deal. “Mindfulness doesn’t have to be an elaborate thing where you sit on cushions for an hour as a family,” she says, “just start out with five minutes in the morning to sit quietly together and breathe, and see how that feels.” Check in with your family and see how they feel after you’ve practiced together for a few days. If it feels helpful, keep going! If not, talk about what you do and don’t like, and see if there are other ways you can practice. 28 BLACKHILLSPARENT.COM

SHOW THEM HOW IT’S DONE Being a good model can also help your kids stick with their mindfulness practice. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, take a second to breathe deeply — and verbalize while you do it. For example, say, “I’m upset, and I need a second to breathe,” then take a few deep breaths. Not only are you showing your children how to be mindful, you’re showing them it’s okay to take a second to pause and deal with your emotions rather than simply react to them.

While yoga is about our physical being, mindfulness is about how we are internally; how we’re feeling, what our inner sensations are, and what our body needs. It’s a practice the entire family can do together, or each member individually. What’s important for our kids is connecting with what’s going on inside, and learning to love and care for themselves.

picks one thing they are thankful for in the morning before the day begins. You can do this on your own, or share over breakfast.


starting with the toes, scan through the body noticing each part.


sit outside or lay in the grass and watch the clouds. You can look for fun shapes too!


come up with affirmations that you can all say every day, such as “I am brave. I am kind. I am smart. I am loved.”


take a deep breath in, and on the exhale out and buzz for as long as you can.

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ill do you

OOD Take care of yourself too, Mom. Make time for your hobbies, Dad. Sound familiar? words Ashley Johnson


While these well-wishes come from a good place, they don’t always explain how to make time for ourselves, or what to even do with it. Making yourself a priority as a parent is hard, but it is also incredibly important. To find some practical advice on starting a self-care routine, we sat down with Dr. Emilia Flint, a licensed psychologist with Black Hills Psychology in Spearfish.

“First, we have to know what self-care is; it means honestly and genuinely attending to you for a period of time.”

How do we find our own self-care routine?

Dr. Flint says, “First, we have to know what self-care is; it means honestly and genuinely attending to you for a period of time.” This means whatever you choose to do has to be something you do on your own; it can be something like reading, working out, or cooking, but it shouldn’t be a group activity or something done for someone else. It’s also important to note that self-care is about feeling, not necessarily about doing. If what you’re doing doesn’t make you feel better, you’re probably not in the right place.




A little at a time

“You start to find those small, creative pockets throughout the day where you can just insert self-care.”

The best part for parents living a busy lifestyle? Starting small will still let you reap the benefits of self-care, and Dr. Flint says, “If the idea of adding something to your schedule right now seems terrifying to the point where you're like ‘why even try,’ know that it doesn’t take much. For example, over your lunch hour, take a minute to just breathe from your diaphragm. Sit in a comfortable position and find your bellybutton; breathing from your diaphragm should make your stomach move, not your shoulders. Take a really big deep breath and release it.” When we breathe deeply from our stomach, our nervous system naturally calms down, which can reduce stress and anxiety. Breathing is a great way to start a self-care routine, since it’s quick and simple. Additionally, Dr. Flint says finding a minute or two every day to do something as simple as breathing helps in other ways: “you start to find those small, creative pockets throughout the day where you can just insert self-care.”

Take care of you

When parents don’t take care of themselves, they can become stressed and burnt out. Dr. Flint says, “It’s important for anyone who is in a caregiver role to practice self-care. Imagine you have a pitcher full of water, and when you’ve engaged in self-care, that pitcher is full. But as you take on a caregiver role, you’re pouring out some of that care onto others, so the pitcher becomes empty. Self-care is what fills it back up.” Making time for self-care means parents are less stressed, and can show up for their families in a positive and constructive way.



Find your style

If you’re ready to dedicate more time to your practice, a great way to find your own style of self-care is to think about what makes you happy, or did when you were a kid. The things that interest us when we’re young tend to speak to our inner self more, since kids don’t have as many predisposed ideas of what they “should” be doing. If you’re feeling stuck, it also doesn’t hurt to ask around: “Have conversations with people about their selfcare. What they do may not work for you, but just talking out what works for others can generate ideas,” Dr. Flint says. It’s a trial-anderror process, so it might take a couple tries before you find something that suits you. “I think one of the most common mistakes people make is that they think there’s a formula they have to follow for it to work,” Dr. Flint says. There is no time quota you have to fulfill, no specific activity you need to do, or new sport to learn. It’s simply time you set aside to check in with yourself in a meaningful way.

“I think one of the most common mistakes people make is that they think there’s a formula they have to follow for it to work.” 34


Set the example

Helping our children is what parenting is all about, but being a caregiver is probably one of the most important times in life to have your own self-care routine. Dr. Flint offers, “It’s on parents to teach their children tools, but also to model what practicing self-care looks like.” For our kids to learn to take care of themselves, one of the most powerful things parents can do is show them how to walk the walk.

Emilia Flint, Ph.D., LP

Dr. Flint is a licensed psychologist at Black Hills Psychology in Spearfish, and a full time assistant professor at Black Hills State University. She enjoys supporting student-led research projects in addition to her regular academic teaching schedule, and her personal research interests include sport, exercise, and performance psychology.

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From sushi and mealworms, to silly string and trampolines, Laura and her kids had a blast letting loose!

It’s every kid’s dream: one whole day where their parents have to say yes, no matter what. words Ashley Johnson photos Jesse Brown Nelson

A yes day is exactly that, and it’s gaining popularity around the country. Parents can set boundaries on what is allowed during their yes day, like how much money can be spent, or whether kids can choose things that have future consequences, such as adopting a pet. But the point of the day is giving kids the freedom to choose what they think will be fun — and for parents to let loose and be kids themselves.


Laura is a small business owner in Custer, but more importantly she’s a mom to two wonderful kids; Elliott, who’s just turned seven, and Lola, nine. Like many moms, in the hustle of the day to day she often ends up telling her kids “no,” just out of habit. When we asked if she would take on the challenge of a yes day, she jumped at the chance. She realized a change of pace could be good for their family, but also a lot of fun. Laura watched the Netflix movie “Yes Day” with her kids and told them they

could do one of their own. She set a couple rules starting out: “Our rules were pretty simple. We had to follow general house rules, and nothing that affects the future.” Other than a couple of requests Laura had to veto, like getting a new pet, the kids planned a great day without breaking the rules. “I was nervous about the day before it happened,” Laura says, “my kids had ambitious goals for yes day and I wasn’t sure we could do it all!”


When yes day arrived, the kids had a full day planned. After breakfast as a family, Lola picked Laura’s outfit and did her makeup, which she had to wear all day. Then they headed outside in their yard to kick off the day with a silly string fight. Once they’d cleaned up, they headed to Rapid City for a day of adventure. The first stop was at a candy store on the way into town, where they bought candies that had bugs inside them. “They look so gross,” says Lola, “but it was fun to try them!”

The yes day idea comes from a book written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld in 2009, and was more recently popularized by the movie “Yes Day” released by Netflix in March. In the movie, the kids sign their parents up for wild antics like wearing silly outfits, having water balloon fights, and going through a car wash with the windows down. BHPARENT 37

The best part was going to the trampoline park and doing mom’s makeup.

“I would recommend it to every family. It was fun and meaningful for the kids.” They tried pickle juice flavored soda, suckers with mealworms and crickets, and candy sushi. After the candy store, they ate real sushi for lunch, which both kids said was a ton of fun to pick out. By this point, Laura says she started to relax and enjoy the day; “It felt like the weight was taken off my shoulders and I could just hang out with my kids and enjoy their company.” Next they headed to a trampoline park. Laura normally wouldn’t take them, she says, “but this day I did, and it surprised me how much fun I had playing dodgeball, following them around while jumping on the trampolines, and jumping into the foam pit.” The experience also settled some of her fears of the kids getting hurt, which she had worried about in the past.

We bought candies that have bugs in them! There was a room at the trampoline park only I could go into, so that was cool.


After the trampoline park, the trio went shopping, where Lola and Elliott got to pick out a couple fun toys. They had pizza for dinner with friends in Rapid City and then headed home to Custer. Lola went to a friend’s slumber party after dinner, but Laura and Elliott stayed up late watching movies. “I got to pick the movies out, which I don’t always get to do,” Elliott said. After all was said and done, Laura says, “I enjoyed all the activities they came up with. I think we will definitely do it again; it ended up being such a great bonding experience, and I relished being able to be a fun parent!” 38


The silly string fight was fun, and really set the tone for the rest of the day.

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Can a yes day empower kids, and why is that important? Dr. Trisha T. Miller Ph.D., Inc. For more insight into the benefits of a yes day, we talked to Dr. Trisha T. Miller, a licensed clinical psychologist at Psychological Associates of the Black Hills, LLC, in Rapid City. Her focus is on children and their families, particularly younger children aged 18 months to 12 years old. Dr. Miller is a mom to three children of her own, and is active in various community activities such as coaching youth sports teams and volunteering as a local 4-H leader. 40


A “yes” day, by nature, is empowering as it hands more authority over to kids than they would usually have. When kids hear “no” constantly, they are starved of a sense of empowerment and they may begin to feel they are prisoners to adult decisions, and may become anxious or depressed as a result. At the same time, there is a fine balance between empowerment and entitlement parents must be aware of when deciding how often or when to say “yes.” Sometimes, parents have good intentions to empower kids but end up planting a seed of entitlement through over-empowering.

How can a yes day benefit parents too? Parents are always planning for what’s next, which adds a constant underlying layer of stress. A “yes” day may feel like putting the “closed” sign

up for a day; parents can set aside responsibilities and be the “fun” mom or dad all day long, or give themselves permission to just live in the moment.

What’s the downside to always saying “no” to our kids? When parents constantly say “no” to the little things, kids learn to give up asking or talking to their parents because they feel “the answer’s just going to be ‘no’ anyway.” When that happens, parents miss out on little chances to build the trust that leads to bigger conversations and interactions as their kids get older. Also, saying yes more doesn’t mean always saying

yes. It means teaching kids to prioritize responsibilities through your “no” responses, while providing them with moments of engagement through your “yes” responses. For example, it means saying yes more often when you’re asked to “come look at this” when you’ve just gotten cozy in your easy chair. It doesn’t mean saying “yes” to going to the park if it means homework won’t get finished.

Does saying “yes” teach children to be more creative and resilient? Broadening what’s allowed can afford kids space, time, and freedom to explore their creativity and interests in a way that time restraints and tighter rules can hold back. Creating

times for them to be who they are, act how they feel, and just have fun can help kids handle moments of adversity since they have those positive-feeling moments to fall back on.

Are there benefits to kids seeing their parents let loose a little? When children see their parents put down their work, phones, and stresses and let their hair down by acting silly, laughing, and engaging in childish fun, both kids

and adults experience connection! Older kids are also likely to see adulthood as less daunting; they see you can be responsible but also have fun.

Can letting kids call the shots increase their sense of self? It’s important for kids to develop a healthy internal and external locus of control, which is the sense of control we perceive we have over our life experiences. A good sense of control leads to a confident child who understands

the limits of what they should and shouldn’t do. Finding a good balance with your kids each day between choices they get to make, and decisions you as the parent make, can help kids get the dose of control they crave in a healthy way!

How can parents find balance between saying yes more, but still have healthy boundaries? From my perspective as a child psychologist — and a parent — the biggest thing that stops parents from saying yes more often is they’ve already said yes to too many other things! Parents, including myself, often feel overwhelmed by the

plate of responsibilities they’ve piled up in front of them and it’s easier to just say no to what feels like will detract from getting things off that plate. Saying no to being over-scheduled can help create space for more comfortable “yes” time. BHPARENT 41

“Having conversations about mental health and suicide help youth understand it’s okay to not be okay, or to say ‘I’m not doing well and I need some help.’ Talking about it helps them understand that there is no shame in struggling.” - Bridget Swier (Left) “We all struggle at some point in our lives, and it’s okay to ask for help.” - Toni Speckman (Right)

words Ashley Johnson photos Jesse Brown Nelson




Opening up about tough subjects The Front Porch Coalition started as a small group of suicide survivors gathered around a kitchen table. Now, it’s a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting survivors, educating community members, and raising awareness of mental health needs in our community. CHALK YOUR WALK May is National Mental Health Awareness month, and the Front Porch Coalition organizes community events here in the Black Hills. To kick the month off this year, they hosted a “Chalk Your Walk” event, where they invited community members and organizations to decorate sidewalks with chalk art and positive messages of support. This year, Black Hills Parent joined organizations like Lifeways, Wellfully, the Cave Collective, Fort Meade, and others in chalking up sidewalks around the area. It’s a great way to start a conversation about mental health in our communities, while letting those who struggle know they’re never alone.

The Front Porch Coalition LOSS Team is a group of volunteers that works to support friends and family of a person who has died by suicide, also known as suicide survivors. Bridget Swier, the Director of Outreach and Communications for the Front Porch Coalition, says, “when there’s been a death by suicide, we’re dispatched by 911. It allows us to be on scene to support the family through difficult moments.” They follow up with the family for at least the first year, offering as much or as little support as the family requests. The Coalition also organizes an adult support group for survivors the fourth Saturday of every month.

Reaching Out

If you know someone that may be struggling, the hardest part can be knowing how or when to approach them. Common signs to watch out for include sleeping a lot, saying goodbye or ending friendships, and giving away their belongings, especially valuable or meaningful ones. But it’s important to know not every person will show the same signs, or any signs at all. Toni Speckman, the Front Porch Coalition’s Director, says, “It’s important to have conversations with your kids; driving in the vehicle with them is a great opportunity to discuss hard topics. Just check in with them and see if everything is okay.” For anyone who’s afraid or doesn’t know how to start the conversation, Bridget says, “Just be very direct and ask them, ‘are you having thoughts of suicide?’ If you’re direct, you make it harder for them to avoid sharing what’s going on.” It’s difficult to do, but it could save a life. Bridget says, “it’s always better to reach out and find you’re a little off base than to not speak up until it’s too late.”

Look to the Future

The Front Porch Coalition currently serves Pennington County and parts of Meade County. They hope to cover all the Black Hills in the next three to five years, and eventually support communities throughout all of Western South Dakota. Besides their outreach and support for suicide survivors, the Front Porch Coalition is working to build more resources in the Black Hills specifically for teens. In 2020 they started Defying Defeat, a program for youth under 18 who may be at risk of suicide. The group meets twice a month and introduces youth to positive activities in the Black Hills; previous outings have included pottery and equine therapy. They also provide a structured setting to discuss topics like anger management, emotional regulation, and teaching participants to love and accept themselves for who they truly are. For now, their focus is to continue growing their volunteer base, help educate those who work with our area’s youth, and raise awareness of mental health issues in our community. While the Front Porch Coalition’s primary focus is supporting those affected by suicide, their doors are open to anyone who needs help. They work with many organizations around the Black Hills and will help any way they can. LOCAL AND NATIONAL RESOURCES Rapid City 24-hour Crisis Center 605-391-4863 Front Porch Coalition 605-348-6692 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) National Crisis Text Line 741-741


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Coding programs computers, but it can also reprogram our kids’ coping skills to better deal with tough emotions.

Decoding and Unraveling Stress On the surface, coding is simply how we tell computers what to do, or create software programs that serve a certain purpose. However, coding is a great way for kids to learn skills that go beyond the keyboard.

Learn computational thinking words Chandelle Brink; Owner, Code Ninjas Rapid City

Before kids learn to program, they first need to understand how to break a problem into steps that a computer can understand. This process is called computational thinking. Computers are logical machines that follow strict orders; a concept that seems simple enough, but doesn’t come naturally to humans. For example, if you tell your kids to get ready for bed, there are steps involved: first they need to brush their teeth (which involves several steps on its own), then they need to put on pajamas, and get into bed. Going through the steps of a program teaches kids to think logically and critically, which can help promote strong mental coping tools.

Increase creativity and problem solving At its core, coding is a way to create systems that solve problems for us. Arriving at a solution isn’t always

straightforward, so coders have to think outside the box to solve a problem. By combining these two skills, coding is a great way for kids to increase their ability to solve problems in a creative way, a skill that studies show might improve their overall mental health. Children who learn to think creatively can anticipate problems before they happen, understand consequences, and learn to manage their frustrations and find a solution rather than giving up.

Improves mental development

Coding is detail-oriented by nature, which can improve kids’ memory and attention skills. Because coding requires kids to focus on one project or problem at a time, it can increase their ability to focus. Enhanced focus helps kids in a variety of ways, such as in academics or athletics. It can also help them stay in touch with their feelings, which can lead to better self-awareness and emotional regulation. Learning to code is a great activity for kids of all ages, and there are plenty of great ways to get them started. From our robotics bootcamp to learning how to use Roblox and Python, Code Ninjas will teach your kids the basics of coding, all while having fun. BHPARENT 47




Any student who plays a school sport needs a sports physical, which is more focused than an annual wellness checkup.

2. UPDATE REQUIRED IMMUNIZATIONS Make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date. Flu vaccines are also recommended for all school-age children. Children 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.


As school kids get older, they tend to carry heavier books. That can spell shoulder, neck and back strain and affect their posture.


Pediatricians and Family Medicine physicians recommend that children age 6 to 12 get 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night, and that teens get 8 to 10 hours a night.


Stress can lead to a variety of health issues, like insomnia and sluggish immune systems. Talk to your children about anxiety and fears, and take care not to overload anyone’s schedule, including your own.

For more information:




READY TO CARE FOR YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY Family physicians are here for your family — from newborns to adults, in every life stage.

Dr. Jaron Miner is a Family Medicine Physician who practices at the Monument Health Custer Hospital.

When looking for primary care for their children, many parents overlook family physicians as an option. However, we are trained to care for every member of the entire family. This includes kids! We provide primary care for all patients, in every stage of life. Our clinics routinely perform well-child visits to ensure children are ready to go for summer activities and the school year — including any and all recommended vaccines and screenings. Family physicians are also trained to treat any medical issues that may arise for you and your children. If your child requires specialty service, we can certainly refer your family to the right specialist. We also have access to consult with general pediatricians as needed.


Many people don’t know that family physicians receive education and training in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, neurology and psychology, surgery and community medicine. We are ready and able to help your entire family with chronic and acute conditions. Should any member of your family require specialized care, we can help coordinate that care with the right specialists. Our goal is to make sure your entire family is happy and healthy, no matter the circumstances. In my practice, I have worked in areas where children are only seen by pediatricians. Here in the Black Hills many parents believe that only a

pediatrician can provide proper medical care for kids. Of course, there are many excellent pediatricians available — and one might be the right choice for your family — but most family physicians not only have the training and experience to treat children, they love having them as patients.


At this time of year, many parents are preparing to take their children for sports physicals and vaccinations. Your family physician can handle these needs for your kids. Remember, we’re called family physicians because we want to provide care for your entire family, including the youngest members. In many instances, this also includes prenatal OB care. If you have a family physician that you trust and would like them to provide primary care to your children, speak with them about it and see if that’s the right choice for you.


For all of us at the Monument Health Custer Clinic, we like to keep things local, and we enjoy building relationships with our patients and their families. We love to see children for their medical care, whether that’s for routine well-child checks, physicals for summer sports and camps, vaccinations or any other medical need. What’s great about a family physician is that as your family grows and changes, your doctor is there to help. Whatever you need, we’re here for you, and we’ll treat you like family.





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Create memories, not debt We only get 18 brief summers with our children before they head off on their own. While family vacations and summer fun are great for making memories, they can be tough on the wallet. A study in 2019 showed that over half of parents with kids at home blew their summer budget and accrued debt. The biggest culprit? Summer vacation. Don’t worry; you don’t have to stay home to save money. There are ways to still have a blast without breaking the bank.

a weekend, hit the local grocery store for supplies to make sandwiches or to pack snacks. That way, you can save your cash for entertainment and not food. Controlling your family’s meals also means you can eat healthier, which ultimately keeps everyone happier since they’re well-nourished.

Plan ahead

Plan a staycation

We’ve all heard that experiences are better than material gifts. A big reason is that anticipation makes the experience last longer. Getting the entire family involved in planning your summer fits the bill, and also gives kids buy-in, which provides authority and autonomy that kids crave. It also lets you look for good deals, whether that’s on lodging, tickets, or dining. Go fewer places, more often. A great way to have fun all summer? Look for places that offer a season pass and frequent there, rather than going multiple places. Many offer a season pass for less money than you’d spend going there twice, so you can easily make it worth your while. As a bonus, some come with additional perks like food and guest pass discounts as well.

Pack lunch

Eating out when you’re away from home can add up quickly. Even if you’re staying somewhere for

We may get to live here all year, but that doesn’t mean we have to leave in the summer. The Black Hills is a popular tourist destination for a reason. Between our awe-inspiring scenery, higher-thanaverage number of national and state parks, and incredible variety of museums, attractions, and restaurants, there’s something here for everyone: including your family. Staying here also means you have more flexibility to take advantage of last-minute sales, locals-only deals, or visit places in the middle of the week when they’re less busy.

Find free fun

There are amazing opportunities in the Black Hills that won’t cost you a cent. From dinosaur parks and fairy tales to fishing and hiking, there are tons of places to discover. Looking for ideas? Come see us online at for our favorites! BHPARENT 51




Avoid the summer slide Parents hear it every year: watch out for summer learning loss. We don’t know exactly how much kids lose every summer, but most kids lose significant knowledge gains in the same subject: math. To help keep kids sharp, we put together some fun, simple games your family can play together this summer. Who knows? Maybe parents will even have a little fun, too.

Go for a walk

This activity is great for younger kids while they’re learning basic math skills like counting and addition. Take a stroll around your neighborhood and ask them how many items they see: how many windows are on that house? How many colors of flowers are in that garden? To up the ante, you can both pick an object — pickup trucks, bikes, even lawn gnomes — and count them up on your walk. Whoever finds the most of their chosen object by the time you get home, wins!

Play the license plate game

If you’re out on a road trip or headed to your favorite Black Hills destination, this is an easy game to pass time on the way. Pick a target number, and see who can find a license plate that can make the number through a series of mathematical functions. For example, if your number is 18, a plate with a 4, 5, and 2 could mean 4 + 5, multiplied by 2, is 18!

Go out for ice cream

Discuss how many combinations of ice cream cones you can get. Start with a two-scoop cone; how many combinations are there with the flavors available? What if you add in rules like the two scoops can’t be the same flavor, or the first scoop has to be vanilla? You don’t have to come up with a final number if you don’t want to; simply walking through the theoretical steps of how you would find the number is an example of working through permutations and combinations. Whatever you do, don’t worry about counting calories.

Play a yard game

You can do this with almost any game, but cornhole is a classic. Play the first round with traditional scoring rules; a bean bag on the board is one point, in the hole is three. The first team to meet or exceed 21 points wins. The next round, make up your own rules based on mathematical functions. For example, if your score for the round is a prime number you get an extra point, or if your total score is a square number, you have to take the square root of and that’s your new score. The possibilities are endless, and you can take turns coming up with new rules. Who knows? Maybe you’ll like your new house rules version better!




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Grandparents and their grandchildren; a win-win that’s fun-fun! The benefits of family interaction for our children have been well documented. What’s becoming more clear are the benefits of being around children as we age and become grandparents. Children learn skills by observing the world around them; language, coordination, and social interaction, among others. As we age, interacting with children can keep us active and sharpen our own cognitive skills, but also reduce stress and promote relaxation. This means having a relationship with your grandchildren truly is a win-win.

It’s all about love

For the Whites, being around children is a natural part of life. They love spending time with their large family, and they’re both active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills; Kathy is a Match Support Specialist, and Jim serves as a board member.

For Jim and Kathy White, being grandparents has meant being parents again — but with more fun this time around. “It’s like parenting but more relaxed,” Kathy says, “We get to just love on them and have fun without worrying so much about going by the book.” The Whites live in Hermosa, and are doting grandparents to Alexis, 18, and Zoey, 16, who live in Chicago. Being active with kids reduces stress levels and helps grandparents stay fit, which has many long-term health benefits. The Whites enjoy indulging in a little childhood fun with their grandkids. Jim says, “You have to get down on their level — whether that’s on the floor or in the dirt or wherever — you have to be willing to get on their level and play with them.” Meeting kids where they’re at is fun, and it helps them explore their world. Not only that, it encourages grandparents to let loose and have fun, too.

Don’t be afraid to get crafty

If you can’t keep up with your grandkids’ antics, don’t worry. Doing activities like arts and crafts or reading boosts cognitive engagement while creating lifelong memories. Jim says, “When our grandkids were young we would sit them in our laps with a book and let them turn the pages or point out the shapes. Then that magical day came when they learned to read, and they wanted to spend time reading to us.” The books don’t have to be novels, and your grandchildren don’t have to be the next Van Gogh. Simply spending time with each other engaged in a creative activity and being in the moment is what counts.

Pick up the phone

Devoting time to chat one-on-one with grandchildren is important, especially as they grow older. Kathy says, “Alexis will call us every other week or so and we’ll chat — sometimes for up to an hour — and she’ll ask us questions about things or life or whatever, and that’s special to us.” Sharing family stories or perspectives gives grandparents a chance to reminisce about their own life, but can also give grandchildren a sense of identity. It’s a great way to boost memory, improve mood, and above all, bring your entire family a little closer together. BHPARENT 45





BLACK HILLS CUTIES April is the Month of the Military Child

Communities are encouraged to wear purple to show support for military children, and honor their strength and sacrifice in service to our nation. In recognition of military children in the Black Hills, we partnered with Black Hills Wire for this issue’s Cuties contest last April, and asked them to Purple Up!






Your military family’s connection to all things Black Hills. |



Outlaw Square Movie Night

Dates, times, and movies subject to change. 7pm. Outlaw Square. 703 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732


Family Fun Night

Deadwood History Inc. will have fun, educational programming for the whole family. 6:15p.m Outlaw Square. 703 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732


Trolley on the Trail Englewood Trailhead to Rochford

This event is a chance for disabled or mobility impaired community members to explore the Mickelson Trail. Reservations are required, call 605-578-1401.


(STARTS JUNE 17) Hill City Farmers Market

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Prairie Berry Winery 23837 US-385, Hill City, SD 57745 TUESDAYS

Family Food Truck Night

The best in Black Hills food trucks come together every week for family fun, live music, and tasty food. 5–8 p.m. Canyon Lake Park, Rapid City TUESDAYS (STARTS JUNE 29)

Deadwood Farmers Market 3–7 p.m. at Outlaw Square. 703 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732


Rapid City Summer Nights

Come downtown every Thursday night for live music, food, and activities for the whole family from 6–9pm, Main St. Square Rapid City, SD 57701 SATURDAYS

Rapid City Farmers Market

from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Market Park. 245 E Omaha St, Rapid City, SD 57701


Spearfish Farmers Market

9 a.m-12pm at Brady Park 510 Meier Ave, Spearfish, SD 57783

Enjoy food trucks, bounce castles, yard games, live music, and more. 5-8 p.m., in Box Elder


Custer Farmers Market

8 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. at Way Park Custer, SD 57730


Music on Main

Sturgis hosts mountain bike races, vendor booths, food trucks, kids games and activities, and live music. 6 p.m at the Harley Davidson Rally Point downtown. 2nd St, Sturgis, SD 57785


Hike 6.2 miles to the top of Crazy Horse Memorial and come face-to-face with a legend! 6 a.m.–4 p.m. THURSDAY 10

Intro to Improv

Try your hand at improv comedy or simply come for the show and laugh with friends. The Cave Collective, Rapid City. 7–9 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY 11-13, 18-20

Sense and Sensibility

Performing Arts Center, Rapid City. Shows at 6:30 p.m., except June 13 and 20 at 4 p.m. SATURDAY 12 & 26

Mount Rushmore Rodeo Series

Take the family out for a night of good ol’ fashioned fun all summer long. Palmer Gulch KOA, Hill City. 6-9 p.m. SATURDAY 12

Baby Shark Live!


Community night in the Box


Spring Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial


Based on the viral song, Baby Shark Live will delight fans of all ages with catchy songs and fun characters For All Ages! The Monument, Rapid City. 2 p.m.

SATURDAY 12 & 26

Art Adventures at the Dahl

Enjoy a free, family-oriented day of art, activities, and fun at the Dahl, plus an educational tour of their galleries. Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City. 1–3 p.m. SATURDAY 12

The Front Porch Coalition’s 19th Annual Suicide Awareness Walk

The day’s events include community resource booths, live entertainment, family games, and food. The walk starts at 7:00 p.m. from the park to the Rapid City Courthouse. Survivors of suicide are welcome to bring a photo or other special item of their loved one to walk with. Memorial Park, Rapid City. 1–7 p.m.

MONDAY-FRIDAY 14-18 & 21-25

Archaeology Camp

Students entering grades 4-6 are invited to participate in a real archaeological dig! The camp focuses on history, the restoration process, and the importance of archaeology with classes on orienteering, mapping and cataloging artifacts. Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center, Deadwood. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. FRIDAY 18

Movies in the Box: Croods 2.

Food trucks, games, bounce castles, and more! Bring a blanket or a chair to watch the free movie. Box Elder Community Center. 6–10 p.m. THURSDAY 24

1880 Train Shootout Days

The shootout begins in Hill City, where bandits board the train and stash their treasure. On the way to Keystone, the train gets “held up” by a group of cowboys who restore justice. 1880 Train, Hill City. 5 p.m. MONDAY-THURSDAY 28-July 1

Elsa & Olaf Frozen Adventure

Kids ages 3-7 going on a fanciful expedition through the Windy Woods to conquer Polar Peak. The camp will crystallize into a Thursday Summer Eve performance. Academy of Dance Arts, Rapid City 10:30-12 p.m.



Trolley on the Trail

Englewood Trailhead to Rochford This event is a chance for disabled or mobility impaired community members to explore the Mickelson Trail. Reservations are required, call 605-578-1401. TUES/THURS 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, & 22

Fairytale Princess Dance Class

Students ages 3–6 can learn fun moves and important skills while dancing to songs from their favorite princess movies. Prima School of Dancing, Rapid City. 11–11:45 a.m. THURSDAY 8

Intro to Improv

Try your hand at improv comedy or simply come for the show and laugh with friends. The Cave Collective, Rapid City. 7–9 p.m. FRIDAY 9

Native POP.

This Native American fine art show features original artwork, a film showcase, fashion show, and performing artists. Main Street Square, Rapid City. FRIDAY-SATURDAY 9-10

Neutrino Day

This all-virtual event is a two-day, immersive festival with virtual tours, and interactive STEM activities, Sanford Underground Research Facility’s website. WEDNESDAY 14

Trolley on the Trail

Englewood Trailhead to Rochford This event is a chance for disabled or mobility impared community members to explore the Mickelson Trail. Trolley tours include history of the railroad, how the railroad became a trail, and plenty of local lore and legends. Reservations are required, call 605-578-1401. SATURDAY-SUNDAY 17-18 & 24-25

Charlotte’s Web

Outdoor Summer Series presents the classic story of friendship between a pig and a spider. Performing Arts Center, Rapid City. Shows at 4 and 6 p.m. SATURDAY-SUNDAY 24–25

Carrie Ingalls 151st birthday.

Celebrate the life and work of Carrie Ingalls, the sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, with food, costumes, and games of her lifetime in Keystone. FRIDAY 30

Movies in the Box: The Secret Life of Pets 2.

Food trucks, games, bounce castles, and more! Box Elder Community Center. 6–10 p.m.


Mount Rushmore Rodeo Series Take the family out for a night of good ol’ fashioned fun all summer long. Palmer Gulch KOA, Hill City. 6-9 pm






Spearfish Sasquatch Baseball Games all summer long! Fun for the whole family! Black Hills Power Sports Complex in Spearfish. For the full schedule, theme nights, and other information visit!

Calling all dancers ages 7-12 to prep for visions of Sugarplums, mice, soldiers, party children and snowflakes dancing in our dreams! Academy of Dance Arts, Rapid City 1-2:30 p.m.

National Park FREE Day

Discover our national parks — including Badlands, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and the Minuteman Missile Site — for free. THURSDAY 12

Intro to Improv

Try your hand at improv comedy or simply come for the show and laugh with friends. No experience required, all ages welcome! The Cave Collective, Rapid City. 7–9 p.m. THURSDAY 12

Mount Rushmore Rodeo Series

Take the family out for a night of good ol’ fashioned fun all summer long. Palmer Gulch KOA, Hill City 6-9 p.m. FRIDAY 20

Movies in the Box: Raya & the Last Dragon

Food trucks, games, bounce castles, and more! Bring a blanket or a chair to watch the free movie. Box Elder Community Center. 6–10 p.m.



Outlaw Square Movie Night

7pm. Outlaw Square. 703 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732 TUESDAYS

Hill City Farmers Market

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Prairie Berry Winery 23837 US-385, Hill City, SD 57745 TUESDAYS

Family Food Truck Night

5–8 p.m. Canyon Lake Park, Rapid City TUESDAYS

Deadwood Farmers Market 3–7 p.m. at Outlaw Square. 703 Main St, Deadwood, SD 57732 TUESDAYS

Community night in the Box

Enjoy food trucks, bounce castles, yard games, live music, and more. 5-8 p.m., in Box Elder WEDNESDAYS

Music on Main

Food trucks, kids games and activities, live music. Fun for the whole family! 6 p.m at the Harley Davidson Rally Point downtown. 2nd St, Sturgis, SD 57785



Family Fun Night

Deadwood History Inc. will have fun, educational programming for the whole family. 6:15p.m Outlaw Square. 703 Main St. Deadwood, SD 57732 THURSDAYS

Rapid City Summer Nights

Come downtown every Thursday night for live music & food, from 6–9pm, Main St. Square Rapid City, SD 57701 FRIDAYS

Hot Springs Farmers Market

from 4 -6:30 p.m. at Centennial Park, N River St, Hot Springs, SD 57747 SATURDAYS

Rapid City Farmers Market

from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at Market Park. 245 E Omaha St, Rapid City, SD 57701 SATURDAYS

Spearfish Farmers Market

9 a.m-12pm at Brady Park 510 Meier Ave, Spearfish, SD 57783 SATURDAYS

Custer Farmers Market 8 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. at Way Park Custer, SD 57730


Kids Carnival

Come to Main Street Square in Rapid City for the 9th annual Kid’s Carnival sponsored by Black Hills Parent and Fleet Farm. Enjoy kid-friendly activities, coloring contests, prizes, and more! THURSDAY 8


Black Hills Con

Come to the Holiday Inn Rapid CityRushmore Plaza for two days of comic book, pop culture, anime, and sci-fi inspired fun. Dress up as your favorite characters and enjoy family friendly activities and presentations. Events include cosplay costume contests, fan-art contests, fan panels, vendors, photo shoots, and more!

Sturgis Art Festival

The first Sturgis Art Festival promises to be a day of family fun including food, drinks, activities, and of course, art! Main Street, Sturgis. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. FRIDAY-SATURDAY 11-12

Belle Fourche Annual River Festival


West Boulevard Summer Festival Handmade arts and crafts, entertainment, food, beverages, and family friendly fun for everyone! Wilson Park, Rapid City. Saturday 8am-6pm, Sunday 10am-4pm FRIDAY-SATURDAY 25–27

Two days of fun including a BBQ contest, community picnic, street dance, bounce house, dunk tank, and more! Tri-State Museum & Center of the Nation Visitor Center, Belle Fourche. Starts at 10 a.m.

Main Street Arts & Crafts Festival


Festival in the Park

Centennial Park, Hot Springs.



4th Annual Wild Deadwood Reads Festival Join local authors and bibliophiles for a weekend full of readings, book signings, and good old fashioned fun. The Lodge at Deadwood, Deadwood.



Enjoy one of the largest art and music festivals in the upper Midwest. Three days of vendors, food, artists, and musicians all come together to support Spearfish’s Matthews Opera House. Spearfish City Park, Spearfish.




Gold Discovery Days

When gold was discovered near Custer, the gold rush began and the Black Hills were never the same. Celebrate with three days of arts and crafts, bed races, bouncy houses, and more! Downtown Custer. SATURDAY-SUNDAY 17–18

Hills Alive Music Festival

Enjoy two days of food, fun, and great music from some of the top Christian artists in the country. Best of all, it’s free! Memorial Park, Rapid City. TUESDAY-SATURDAY 27–31

Days of ‘76

Deadwood hosts one of the best outdoor rodeos in the country to celebrate the gold rush that founded the town. Parades are on Friday and Saturday, with rodeo events and activities every day. Main Street, Deadwood.



Central States Fair

Car shows, demolition derbys, rodeo events, livestock shows, food, carnival rides—the list goes on! Don’t miss the biggest fair in the region! Central States Fairground, Rapid City. SATURDAY-SUNDAY 28–29

Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival Watch dozens of hot air balloons take flight early in the morning, then spend all day downtown for sidewalk sales and family activities. On Saturday, be sure to catch the balloons lit up at dusk. Hot Springs Municipal Airport.



Three days of rodeo events and competition (July 2-4) Black Hills Roundup, Belle Fourche.

Play mini-golf and cornhole, play in bounce houses, win door prizes, and listen to live music. Fireworks start at dark. Devils Tower KOA Campground.

102nd Black Hills Roundup Rodeo

Old Time Country Fair

Vendors, activities, arts and crafts, and food for the family. Custer. (July 2-4)


Sturgis City Fireworks Display

starting at dark at the fairgrounds on Ballpark Road.

102nd Black Hills Roundup Rodeo

Join us for the region’s largest fireworks display on July 3 at 10 p.m. Black Hills Roundup, Belle Fourche

Gold Camp Jubilee

Mining history, music, vendors, a parade, and an inflatable bonanza! July 3-4 Manuel Brothers Park, Lead.

4th of July at Devils Tower

Post 22 Baseball Game and Celebration

at Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium. Fireworks after the game (approx. 10 p.m.). Rapid City.

Rapid City Independence Day Celebration

Fireworks start at dusk. Rapid City. 4 Hot Springs 4th of July Celebration. Parade starts at 10 a.m., fireworks start at 8:30 p.m.

Old Time Country Fair

Vendors, activities, arts and crafts, and food for the family. Fireworks July 4 at dusk on Pageant Hill. Custer.

Gold Camp Jubilee

Mining history, music, vendors, a parade, and an inflatable bonanza! Fireworks over the open cut mine at Sanford Lab on July 4 at 7 p.m. Manuel Brothers Park, Lead.

4th of July Celebration

Sidewalk sales, live music, and a parade from downtown Deadwood up to Lead on July 4 at 4:15 p.m. Outlaw Square, Deadwood.




• Quality care for children, ages 4 weeks – 3 years • Affordable rates; free for those who qualify Head Start® is a registered trademark of HHS.

(605) 484-7585 | 757 Mount Rushmore Rd. Custer, SD

Climbing School & Guide Service


Piano | Voice | Guitar | Woodwinds | Strings FOR MORE INFORMATION AND SIGN UPS:

(605)863-4447 |

FREE Family Fun! Discovery boxes, activity tables, gold panning station and dig box in the museum! Smart toys games, puzzles and science kits in our store!

Open Mon-Sat 9-5 pm & Sun 1-4 pm 415 Fifth Avenue in Belle Fourche

reserve your space for fall

YOUR AD HERE 605.343.7684


Give your baby a bright start with a FREE personal nurse. The Bright Start program helps first-time moms focus on their health during pregnancy so they have healthier babies. Your personal nurse can help you: • Access prenatal care and nutrition guidance • Learn about child development • Feel more confident by practicing breastfeeding, home safety, and safe sleep positions • Set goals when your baby arrives • Determine parenting strategies that work best for your family • Laugh when you’re feeling stressed!

Connect to: • healthcare • family planning • pediatric care • childcare • early childhood programs • job training • continuing education • financial assistance & housing • other resources in your community

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