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4 Tips for Choosing a Camp Lessons Learned Away From Home Chase Johnson Sends Kids to Camp Brainstorm Our Annual Camp Guide

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CELEBRATING 5 YEARS OF AMPLIFY AUSTIN DAY 700 Nonprofits. 7 Counties. 24 hours to Give.








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smart parenting • healthy homes


Summer Camp Lessons


Shooting for Support


Tips for Finding a Camp



en español

14 Family Matters

40 Museum Exhibits 41 Family Events 43 Parenting Events 44 Story Times

16 Asuntos Familiares

Should You Force Kids to Play Together?

20 Lifelines

Sleep Tight: Protect Your Baby from Safe Sleep Sabotage


The Learning Curve SEL Program Helps Kids Manage Emotions and Focus on Learning

in every issue

38 Family Connections


45 Ten Things…

8 Around Austin 46 Kidzone

Your Little One Can Use (a Little) Tech For Lunar New Year!

47 Remembering My Roots A Better Life Through Sleep Deprivation

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43 Recordando Mis Raíces El Día de los Reyes

47 Piensa Positivo

Tu Forma de Ser

Play It Safe Product recalls

FILM REVIEW by Jack Kyser

Clean Up

This month’S review:

Three Kings Day

48 Just for Grins

¿Debería Obligar a los Niños a Jugar Juntos?

“Hidden Figures”

extras 22 Education Guide 24 Camp Guide 42 Cover Kids Contest Winners 46 Focus on Doctors

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On the Cover Benjamin is looking forward to summer camp.

Cover photographed by Jordan Ashley Photography

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® by S herida M ock

January 2017

t’s time to welcome a new year! Mine already contains a bright, hopeful outlook, a clean, uncluttered calendar and a sensible list of fresh resolutions waiting to be casually tossed aside. How about yours?


There’s no procrastination on your to-do list, is there? It’s not too early to plan for your kids’ spring break and summer activities. Here at Austin Family magazine, we’re kicking off the New Year with our annual Camp Fair. Join us on Saturday, January 21, for the biggest collection of camp representatives you’ll find in the Austin area. Talk to camp owners and counselors while your kids try out all the fun camp activities!



And on the other days of the month, check out this issue devoted to all things camp-related. Flip through our annual Camp Guide for alphabetical listings of the best camps in town. Read Heidi Smith Luedtke’s article about the softer skills learned at sleepaway camp. Pore over Alyssa Chirco’s tips on how to pick the camp that’s right for your family. We at Austin Family magazine wish you a safe and prosperous New Year!

Volume 24, No. 10

Kaye K. Lowak


Sherida Mock: Paula Halloum


Dr. Betty Kehl Richardson, Barb Matijevich


Betty Kemper:


Sherida Mock, Dr. Betty Richardson, Jack Kyser, Richard Singleton, Carrie Taylor, Brenda Schoolfield, Rocio Barbosa, Margaret Nicklas, Alyssa Chirco and Heidi Smith Luedtke


Maribel Ruvalcaba, Margo Vogelpohl


Don Huff, Scott Doughty & Mary Lingle


Jordan Ashley Photography


Kaye K. Lowak:


We are dedicated to serving the Greater Austin area by providing up-to-date information and ideas that promote smart parenting and healthy homes. We promote our clients’ businesses by increasing their customer bases and enhancing their public images. Austin Family is published monthly by KKKemper Inc. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7559, Round Rock, Texas 78683-7559 Phone Number: 512-733-0038 On the web at: Advertising rates are available upon request. While we use great care in creating our display ads, mistakes can happen. Austin Family and the publisher are not liable for any damages arising from any typographical or mechanical errors beyond the cost of the ad. Austin Family does not necessarily endorse any of the advertisers, products or services listed in this publication. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. Subscriptions are available for $30 per year. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No portion of Austin Family may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.


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Play it product recalls


Government Recalls Bath Seats, Night Lights and Carpet Powder Lexibook is recalling about 7,000 baby bath seats because they fail to meet the federal safety standard, including requirements for stability. The bath seats can tip over while a baby is inside, posing a drowning hazard. The recall involves all Lexibook baby bath seats and chairs. They were sold in a variety of colors. Affected units were sold online at,, and between January 2013 and August 2016 for between $30 and $60. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bath seats and contact the online retailer for return instructions and to receive a full refund or store credit, depending on the retailer. Known purchasers were notified directly. LTD Commodities and The Lakeside Collection are recalling about 39,000 night lights because the night lights can short circuit, posing shock and fire hazards to consumers. The recall involves projection night lights with a rotating plug and dome top with LED lights that change colors. Affected units were sold exclusively through LTD Commodities and The Lakeside Collection catalogs and online at and between July 2016 and October 2016 for about $6. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled night lights and contact LTD Commodities or The Lakeside Collection for instructions on how to receive a full refund. Known purchasers were notified directly. Milliken is recalling about 550,000 packages of dry carpet cleaning powder because the powder can contain harmful bacteria. The recall involves Arm & Hammer, Capture, Healthy Home, Oreck, Resista and Riccar brands. Affected units were sold at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, Oreck, Walmart and specialty carpet and vacuum stores nationwide between July 2015 and September 2016 for between $5 and $40 for individual packages or between $20 and $50 for kits containing the powder. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled dry carpet cleaner and contact Milliken to receive a free replacement. af The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission works to protect the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products.

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G o to www . austinfamily . com for weekly updates of A round A ustin news

Austin Public Health The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department recently changed its name to Austin Public Health. The change was driven by an aim to increase understanding of and visibility for the work of the city’s public health department. Officials say the new name more accurately reflects who they are and what they do, and that the new name is easier to remember and understand. “Public health plays a critical role everywhere and every day in protecting and supporting the health and well-being of people and communities,” says Shannon Jones, director of Austin Public Health. “Austin Public Health provides a range of services that promote healthy behaviors, prevent diseases, provide food protection, offer life-saving immunizations, prepare and respond to public health emergencies and help people navigate through crises in order to reach their full potential.”

“We really want to contact people who can’t afford this type of program, but are in need of assistance because their child was diagnosed with autism,” says Madhu Sundarrajan, co-director of SKILLS and assistant professor in the Moody College of Communication. “This project is designed to target families who live in Texas, with a focus on individual training for both parent and child.” For more information contact or call 512-471-2014.

For more information, visit

Parent Training for Autism Texans can now access free training to enhance language and communication skills of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through a new program at UT Austin. Made possible through a grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the training will enable parents and caregivers from across the state to participate in in-person or online trainings from the UT Speech and Hearing Center. The trainings teach intervention strategies to reduce behavioral issues and increase communication and language skills in children with ASD.


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Must -Do This Month

Called Project SKILLS (Skills and Knowledge of Intervention for Language Learning Success), the trainings consist of eight sessions that are free to parents and caregivers of children ages 12 months to 6 years. Additionally, the program will provide tablets and internet access to parents and caregivers who do not have devices or access to the Internet.

Brew a cup or two: it’s Hot Tea Month. Drop by Austin Family magazine’s Camp Fair on January 21.

Celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 28.

Hispanic Initiative Team (HIT) and volunteers hosted the second annual “Day of Giving” luncheon for River Oaks Elementary students, faculty and parents in November. The event is one highlight of the mentorship program established last year between GM HIT and the school, to help raise awareness of educational needs and encourage the community to join GM’s efforts to elevate STEAM education. “This is one of Pflugerville’s most underserved communities, as well as being a fully bilingual elementary, so it was a great fit all around,” says Angela Piñeyro de Hoyos, a GM employee leading the program.

The new Project SKILLS program offers free training to parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Photo courtesy of Moody College of Communication.

STEAM Mentorship As part of the General Motors Austin IT Innovation Center’s efforts to elevate STEAM education in Austin, GM’s

With the help of GM volunteers, several key programs were launched in Pflugerville ISD, involving more than 200 students in weekly STEAM activities. GM volunteers mentored elementary students on a weekly basis and led STEAM-related activities, such as building straw rockets and balloon-powered cars. They also worked with students at Connelly High School, the feeder school

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Volunteers from GM’s Austin IT Innovation Center host a Day of Giving luncheon at River Oaks Elementary School in Pflugerville ISD. Photo courtesy of General Motors Austin IT Innovation Center.

for River Oaks Elementary, to complete a first-ever AP Computer Science class. “Today’s event is a fun celebration of this partnership,” Piñeyro de Hoyos says. “Last year, it was my goal to get everyone into the school to see what we can do for them. This year’s goal is to grow that partnership, so we’re looking at bringing different groups together: Girls Who Code, Latinitas and other existing non-profits. We want to bring their resources into this community, in partnership with GM, where we can have the most impact.” One recent summer program brought together young girls from Latinitas and Girls Who Code to solve a business problem and redesign websites, all while networking with one another.

Boys’ School A new private school for boys will open in Austin this coming fall. Founders Amy Degner and Frances Ramberg say they were inspired by the local single-sex education opportunities available to their daughters, and they wanted the same options for their sons.

progressive approaches, guaranteeing a dynamic, diverse, creative education that meets the unique learning needs of boys. The curriculum will include traditional subjects such as math, science, language arts, art, social-emotional learning and physical education. The school plans to open with grades K-3 and add a grade each year, topping off at grade 8. Admission applications are due Feb. 3. Information sessions will be held on Jan. 18 at Old Quarry Branch Library at 7 p.m. and on Jan. 24 at North Village Branch Library at 7 p.m. For more information, visit

“Austin families have shown great enthusiasm for an all-boys school,” says Degner. “Everyone who approaches us values an environment and curriculum that focuses on the unique learning needs of boys. This school will teach boys through exploration and movement, by doing, making, inventing and building.” Degner and Ramberg say they plan to blend traditional subjects with

Frances Ramberg (left) and Amy Degner open The Boys’ School of Austin in fall 2017. Photo by Beau Elkins.

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January 2017 l


Fly Mamas Yoga The Little Yoga House now offers aerial yoga classes for pregnant women, which the company says is the only program of its kind in Texas.

The Fly Mamas classes use hammocks hanging from the ceiling as a prop for strengthening muscles, easing common ailments, alleviating stress on the joints and providing a comfortable sensation during relaxation.

by the

numbers 1400

Number of day and resident camps in the US

Stacy Wooster, a prenatal yoga specialist, partnered with the organization to develop the program. Wooster has served pregnant women and young families in Texas since 2002. “After introducing aerial yoga to children, we quickly began to see the amazing benefits, and we knew there was an opportunity with prenatal,” says Abby Nagler of the Little Yoga House. “I immediately thought of Stacy to help grow this idea. An expert in prenatal yoga, Stacy brings boundless expertise to our program, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with her.”


$217 million

Annual money raised for camp scholarships


Fly Mamas is a 4-week series taught at 2700 W. Anderson Lane For more information, visit


Percentage of camps that offer financial assistance Source: American Camp Association

Hammocks hanging from the ceiling offer support for pregnant women in Fly Mamas yoga classes. Photo by Dos Mundos Creative.

The Khabele School is now

Headwaters School is an independent school serving students from early childhood through Grade 12 on three campuses in Austin, Texas. Beginning with a Montessori foundation and progressing to the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme, we cultivate identity formation, foster empathy, and embrace diversity to bring more peace to the world.

Please join us for an upcoming Admissions Open House: Early Childhood & Elementary: January 7 Middle & High School: January 28 Registration and details at


January 2017 l

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Diaper Donation

The Honest Company recently donated over 80,000 diapers to the Austin Diaper Bank. The donation is one of the largest ever received by the diaper bank and will help an estimated 12,000 Central Texas children whose families cannot afford a sufficient supply of diapers.

of needy children and their families who desperately need this basic necessity,” says Beverly Hamilton, founder and executive director of the Austin Diaper Bank. “We don’t want any child sitting in a soiled diaper because their family has limited resources.” “We love to support the great work Austin Diaper Bank is doing in the Austin community,” says Kim Wells, who serves as social good coordinator for The Honest Company. Founded by actress Jessica Alba and father of four Christopher Gavigan, The Honest Company provides products for children, home and personal care.

Music Grant

Beverly Hamilton, founder of the Austin Diaper Bank, shelves donations from the Honest Company. Photo courtesy of Austin Diaper Bank.

“Austin Diaper Bank is so grateful to The Honest Company for coming to the aid

A San Marcos High School music teacher recently received a grant from 21st Century Fox and Give a Note Foundation. Christopher Hanson was one of 20 music educators to receive a $1,000 grant for his school music program. In addition, Hanson was one of five educators selected to attend the 2016 National Music Education Conference in November as a VIP guest.

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Chris Hanson of San Marcos High School poses with Give a Note CEO Jane Mell Balek. Photo by Victoria Chamberlin.

The grants were awarded as part of a national “MusicEd Idol” competition announced last July. Students and parents were invited to nominate music educators who inspired them. “This is a wonderful opportunity to shine a spotlight on great music programs, which benefit students in all U.S. schools,” says Jane Mell Balek, CEO of the Give a Note Foundation. “These stories cannot be told enough, and we encourage communities to support their local school’s music programs and the teachers who make them possible.” For more information, visit af

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Summer Camp Teaches Lessons in

by Heidi Smith Luedtke


Parents spend a lot of time trying to motivate kids. We use chore charts, checklists, reminders and rewards to get them to feed the dog, clean their rooms and complete schoolwork. But these techniques don’t change behavior long-term. Real motivation must come from within.

The Psychology of Summer Camp

Time at camp may be all it takes to spark a little self-determination in your kid. I know it sounds too good to be true. Your school-age slacker—the one who expects you to find his homework and pack his lunch—might start doing some things for himself. And your often-bored tween might come home with more pep in her step. Psychologists use self-determination theory (SDT) to explain why some experiences make us feel engaged and excited while others drain and deplete us. The premise is simple: when an activity meets our needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness, we are energized and empowered. Kids’ basic needs are no different from those of adults. Kids want to do things for themselves. They crave a sense of accomplishment and routinely seek feedback. (“Look what I made, Mom!”) And kids thrive on connections with loved ones and peers. Feelings of belonging boost their self-worth. Summer camp offers loads of opportunities to meet all these needs. And that should make kids (and the parents who love them) very happy campers indeed.


The need for autonomy is satisfied when kids control their own lives. At camp, your son will have endless opportunities to care for himself. Staff won’t select his clothes, organize the contents of his locker or remind him to put on deodorant.


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No one will delay dessert until he eats his veggies. Independence is what camp is all about.

Don’t worry. The world won’t stop if your son wears the same shirt three days in a row. His peers will speak up if he gets super stinky. During the school year, many kids jump from one regularly scheduled activity to the next with no unstructured time in between. Camp puts kids in charge of their own activities. Maybe your daughter will take a hike. Maybe she’ll paint pottery. Maybe she’ll write you an email. It is up to her to decide how she’ll spend her free time. One thing is certain: she won’t sit around whining about having nothing to do. And if she does, you won’t be there to hear it.


The need for competence is satisfied when kids learn new things and get positive feedback about their efforts. Your kid might choose a camp focused on art, science, sports or music. Or he may opt for a good old-fashioned sleepaway experience, complete with row boats and weenie roasts. Some camp activities may be outside your kid’s comfort zone. Stretching is good. Your child may be unsure she can cross the slippery log over the creek. She may tremble with excitement about her role in the theater production. Peers and counselors will coax her along and give constructive advice. By the end of camp, she’ll be the star of her own adventure stories.

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If your kid is an experienced camper, encourage him to share what he knows with newbies. Being an ambassador or mentor affirms kids’ competence in a big way. Teaching a peer how to trim a sail or chip a golf ball out of the tall grass will take your son’s skills to a higher level. His confidence will soar in response.


Your biggest concerns about summer camp may center on the social scene. Your child may not know anyone on arrival. That’s okay. Camps create connections in many ways. Your kid will be instantly bonded with bunkmates because they share a home base. Family-style dining and friendly competitions encourage interaction, too. The pursuit of shared goals—like building a robot or putting a frog in the counselor’s sleeping bag—cements kids’ camaraderie. Extroverted kids may make lots of friends at camp. Less sociable souls may not. What matters most is that kids have opportunities to talk, play and live with a diverse group of peers. They won’t all become fast friends. Learning to navigate the choppy waters of friendship formation is a big part of the camp experience. Your kid’s social skillset will expand—even if she doesn’t find a new BFF. No matter what your kid takes to camp, he’ll come home with a suitcase full of memories and a renewed sense of self-determination. You’ll see it as soon as he wakes from his long post-camp nap. af Heidi Smith Luedtke, PhD, is a personality psychologist and mom of two adventurous kids.

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s d i k e c r o f u o y d l u Sho ? r e h t e g to play to

by betty richardson

I volunteered at my 2nd grader’s school recently, and I noticed one of the boys (“Jimmy”) was ignored by the other kids. It broke my heart. When I asked my son about it later, he said Jimmy is hard to play with. I thought I’d raised a child who would be more inclusive. Should I force my son to befriend this “outcast?”


It is seldom wise to force children to play together. It’s most often best to invite or set up a play date, but not to force play. Before you think about schemes, get more information about why Jimmy is being ignored. Here are my suggestions: 1. Ask your son what he

experiences when he tries to play with Jimmy. Ask him to describe what Jimmy does that makes him “hard to play with.”

2. Talk with the teacher.

While confidentiality will prevent giving you specific information about Jimmy, the teacher might put your mind at ease or give you suggestions on how your son can better interact with him.

3. Contact Jimmy’s parents.

Use an open-ended prompt, like “Tell me about Jimmy. He’s in the same class as my son.” This could help you understand why Jimmy seems isolated from peers, is reportedly “hard to play with” and what—if anything—to do about it. Think about what you have learned before attempting


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to fix this child’s isolation. You might find that the parents need a friend more than Jimmy does.

4. There are several reasons why some children don’t play

with or interact much with others. Jimmy could have behaviors associated with autism spectrum, which is a wide continuum with lots of differences in kids with this diagnosis. I visited a school to observe a boy who was not interacting with others. I saw him get a wagon and pull it around and around, ignoring others. He didn’t want other kids crowding him. Kids like this do best if others quietly work around them without touching or sharing words or toys. It’s a work in progress for kids on the autism spectrum, with individualized plans to increase their social skills. You could do more harm than good if teachers and parents are not involved. Or Jimmy could just enjoy being by himself. He could be shy or have elective mutism. He could have trouble hearing. Children with ADHD are sometimes, but not always, difficult for other children to relate to. I’ve worked with children who have little or no power at home and seek to control in play. One young girl demonstrated this by always having to be the person with power in her play. She would be the teacher, and the other kids always had to be the students. This could be called “hard to play with” by peers.

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7. Talk with your son about standing up for himself and

others who are different if bullying occurs and to report it to adults at school.


6. Encourage your child to embrace differences in others.


5. Keep in mind you cannot fix everything for children.

8. Think of life with children as a stop light. When you

encounter a situation that makes you uneasy and you want to act, first behave like you are at a red light (unless it’s an emergency). So, stop and do nothing. Then imagine the light turns yellow, signaling a caution period as you gather information and ponder what to do. Then the light turns green for you to do something helpful based on what you learned. af

Set in beautiful Lake Travis ....................................................

A fun, self-paced and individualized education

Betty Richardson, Ph.D., R.N.C., L.P.C., L.M.F.T., is an Austin-based psychotherapist who specializes in dealing with the problems of children, adolescents and parents.




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Pre-School: Ages 3-5 School: Ages 5-9 and growing

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by betty richardson

Me ofrecí de voluntaria en la escuela de mi hijo de segundo grado recientemente, y noté que uno de los niños (“Jimmy”) fue ignorado por los otros niños. Eso me rompió el corazón. Cuando le pregunté a mi hijo sobre esto más tarde, me dijo que es difícil jugar con Jimmy. Pensé que había criado a un niño que sería más inclusivo. ¿Debo obligar a mi hijo a hacerse amigo de este “marginado?”


Rara vez es prudente obligar a los niños a jugar juntos. Lo mejor es invitarlo o planear un día de juego, pero no obligarlos a jugar. Antes de pensar en proyectos, obtenga más información sobre porque Jimmy está siendo ignorado. Aquí están mis sugerencias: 1. Pregúntele a su hijo lo que él experimenta cuando trata de jugar con Jimmy. Pídale que describa que es lo que hace Jimmy que lo hace “difícil jugar con él”.

2. Hable con el maestro.

Aunque debido a la confidencialidad, el maestro no podrá darle información detallada sobre Jimmy, pero si podrá tranquilizarla o darle sugerencias sobre cómo puede su hijo interactuar mejor con él.

3. Póngase en contacto con los padres de Jimmy. Utilice

un mensaje abierto, como por ejemplo “¿Cómo está Jimmy? Él está en la misma clase de mi hijo.” Esto podría ayudarle a entender por qué Jimmy parece estar


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s o l a r a g i obl a i r e b e ? D s o t n u j r ga u j a s o n ni

aislado de sus compañeros, y al parecer es “difícil jugar con él” y de ser así, que hacer al respecto. Piense en lo que ha aprendido antes de intentar arreglar el aislamiento de este niño. Podría encontrar que los padres son los que necesitan un amigo más que Jimmy.

4. Hay varias razones por las que algunos niños no juegan o

interactúan mucho con los demás. Jimmy podría tener comportamientos asociados con el espectro del autismo, que es una amplia gama con muchas diferencias en los niños con este diagnóstico. Yo visité una escuela para observar un niño que no estaba interactuando con los demás. Lo vi coger un vagón y tirar de él alrededor y alrededor, ignorando a los demás. Él no quería que otros niños se le amontonaran. Niños como este actúan mejor si los demás trabajan tranquilamente alrededor de ellos sin tocar o compartir palabras o juguetes. Es un trabajo en progreso para los niños en el espectro del autismo, con planes individualizados para aumentar sus habilidades sociales. Usted podría hacer más daño que bien si los maestros y los padres no están involucrados.

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O podría ser que Jimmy disfruta estar solo. Puede ser tímido o tener mutismo electivo. Podría tener problemas para oír. Los niños con TDAH son a veces, pero no siempre, difíciles de relacionar con otros niños. Yo he trabajado con niños que tienen poco o ningún control en casa y buscan controlar en el juego. Una jovencita demostraba esto al siempre tener que ser la persona con el control en su juego. Ella seria la maestra, y los otros niños siempre tenían que ser los estudiantes. Esto podría ser llamado “difícil jugar con ella” por sus compañeros.

Give Them An EDUCATION They’ll Carry FOREVER.

5. Tenga en mente que no les puede arreglar todo a los niños.

6. Anime a su hijo a aceptar las diferencias en los demás.

7. Hable con su hijo acerca de defenderse a sí mismo y a otros que son diferentes si se produce el acoso y de informar a los adultos en la escuela.

8. Piense en la vida de los niños como

un semáforo. Cuando se encuentra con una situación que le hace sentir incómoda y desea actuar, primero compórtese como si estuviera en una luz roja (a menos que sea una emergencia). Pare y no haga nada. Luego, imagínese que la luz se vuelve amarilla, señalando un período de precaución a medida que recopila información y reflexiona sobre qué hacer. Entonces la luz se vuelve verde para que usted haga algo útil basando en lo que aprendió. af

Betty Richardson, Ph.D., R.N.C., L.P.C., L.M.F.T., es una psicoterapeuta con sede en Austin que se especializa en el tratamiento de los problemas de los niños, adolescentes y padres.

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Consider Catholic Education at a School in Your Area: Elementary/Middle Schools Cathedral School of Saint Mary • Holy Family Catholic School • St. Austin Catholic School St. Gabriel’s Catholic School • St. Helen Catholic School, Georgetown St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School • St. Louis Catholic School • St. Theresa’s Catholic School Santa Cruz Catholic School, Buda • St. Mary’s Catholic School, Taylor High Schools St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School • St. Michael’s Catholic Academy San Juan Diego Catholic High School January 2017 l




Local Elementary Student Launches Epilepsy Foundation

by Sherida Mock Chase Johnson, a 5th grader, oversees his November Hoop-a-thon fundraiser for epilepsy awareness.

AFM: What’s it like living with epilepsy? Chase: It’s hard to explain, because it’s different every single day. Kelly: We’re constantly changing his medication.

One day last spring, Chase Johnson came home from school fired up. The 5th grader realized he’d never encountered an awareness campaign for epilepsy, the neurological disorder that affects him daily. He’d heard plenty about other conditions—diabetes, cancer and more—but he saw that while epilepsy affects a lot of people (150,000 new cases per year, according to the Epilepsy Foundation), not many others knew about it. He was ready to change that.

John: With kids, you’re trying to keep them on just enough medicine: not any more than they need, but enough to cover what they need. But they’re growing, so those dosages are going to be constantly changing as they grow. About a year and a half ago, Chase had an implant put in. It’s a VNS (vagus nerve stimulator), and the layman’s way to describe it is like a pacemaker for your brain. We have started lowering the medicine to see if we can go with a smaller dose.

AFM:What made you want to start a foundation?

By fall, he had launched Chase for the Cure, an epilepsy awareness foundation, and hosted a fundraiser to pay for kids with epilepsy to attend summer camp. His enthusiasm and dedication impressed not only his parents—Kelly and John Johnson—but his doctor as well.

Chase: I told my dad that they’re always talking about wellknown diseases like diabetes and cancer, but they never, ever talk about epilepsy. I was wondering why no one ever does that. So, I had a couple of meetings with my principal [at Rooster Springs Elementary in Dripping Springs].

“Chase is a little bit shy by nature,” says Dr. Karen Keough, a pediatric neurologist who has treated Chase since he was 3. “The prospect of public speaking was initially intimidating, but he overcame this due to the passion he feels about spreading the word about epilepsy. I cannot overestimate the importance of reducing stigma so that these children can support each other, and so that their peers can understand their condition.”

John: Chase came home to me and said, “I want to start a foundation.” He said he wanted to raise awareness, and he wanted to do a fundraiser. He already had the idea of doing something related to basketball. So, we went to the computer and started looking stuff up. We found the contact information for the Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas. Chase went and talked with them for about an hour. We came out of it with some ideas and a plan for Chase’s Hoop-a-Thon. He presented his ideas to the high school basketball coaches and asked them for help, and it kind of grew from there.

Chase and his parents met with us recently to talk about what he’s accomplished in this short span of time.


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AFM: How did it go? Chase: Pretty good. It was 4 hours. First, we did a kids’ clinic for younger kids. After that, we did the Hoop-a-Thon. Basically, you shoot for 5 minutes and see how many you got. You get people to pledge money per shot, or they can do a flat pledge. After that, we had a skills challenge, kind of like the NBA March Madness skills challenge. While everything was going on in the gym, they were also having a silent auction in the hallway. John: Depending on what comes in and final costs for paying for gyms and things like that, it’s going to be about $13,000 raised.

Chase’s Do’s and Don’ts

Here’s what Chase Johnson says to do when you witness someone having a seizure.


• Call 911 • Make note of the time • Cushion his head • Remove his eyeglasses • Loosen any tight clothing • Turn him on his side • Look for ID


• Don’t panic • Don’t put anything in his mouth • Don’t hold him down or restrain him • Don’t try to move him For more information, visit:

Kelly: He’s going to be at Walnut Springs Elementary next week. His goal this year was to talk to at least one school. Now, he will have hit three.

AFM: Have you heard from anyone who heard you speak? Chase: We have heard from someone.

Chase Johnson addresses elementary school students in his campaign for epilepsy awareness.

AFM: Who benefits from the funds? John: One of the things Chase found in his research was a place called Camp Brainstorm. It’s a summer camp for kids with epilepsy. They are a lot of times turned away from summer camps, because they’re a high risk. Kelly: There’s many years where Chase couldn’t go, because the seizures weren’t under control. We didn’t know about Camp Brainstorm.

John: After one of his assemblies, the principal sent us an email saying that one of the students went home and told her mom about a boy who came to the school and spoke about epilepsy. Her older sibling was just diagnosed a few weeks ago. And they were wondering if we could help them with some guidance on resources. We got them in touch with the Epilepsy Foundation and the social worker there. Kelly: And Chase’s website. John: I had a customer who was looking at the website the day he got diagnosed. af

John: It’s the same summer camp experience that any kid would have. And it’s free for them. It costs anywhere from $800 to $1,100 per child.

AFM: How else are you raising awareness about epilepsy? Chase: I’ve been talking at the elementary schools in Dripping Springs. I’ve already gone to Rooster Springs and Dripping Springs Elementary. John: He spoke at their assemblies to a thousand kids each time and did a little 5-minute education session. He talked about the numbers. He talked about the do’s and don’ts of what to do if you see someone having a seizure. He talked about what a seizure is. Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

Chase poses with his parents, Kelly and John Johnson.

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Protect Your Baby from SAFE SLEEP SABOTAGE

Did well-meaning relatives shower your baby with holiday gifts that could be dangerous? Fuzzy baby blankets, cute stuffed animals and cheerful bumper pads can pose a serious risk to babies if parents don’t know about recent safe sleep recommendations. Placing these items in a baby’s crib can increase the risk of sudden unexpected infant death.

Best Positioning for Sleep

What Is Sudden Unexpected Infant Death?

• Keep soft materials out. The crib sheet should be a fitted sheet and fit tightly. Using a sheet that isn’t fitted or that is the wrong size can create a strangulation hazard. Don’t put soft, cushy materials under the crib sheet. If you use a mattress pad, it should be thin.

Each year about 4,000 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly during sleep time. Although the reason for many of these deaths is unknown, SIDS and accidental suffocation have been identified as causes. Sudden unexpected infant deaths have declined, thanks to the “Back to Sleep” campaign started in the 1990s. This initiative helped educate parents to place their baby on his back to sleep instead of his tummy. But this is not the only thing parents should do. There is much more to learn. In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued updated recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment.


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Place your baby on her back for every sleep. Don’t worry that your baby will choke if she spits up. AAP experts note that “infants have airway anatomy and mechanisms that protect against aspiration.”

The Baby’s Bed

• Use a firm sleep surface. Make sure that the surface of your baby’s bassinet or crib is firm. Soft surfaces can increase the risk of suffocation or cause your baby to rebreathe carbon dioxide. Don’t use a pillow as a sleeping surface or pad the mattress with pillows. Also, a car seat, carrier or swing is not safe for the baby’s primary sleeping surface.

• Don’t add extra items. The only thing that should be in the crib is your baby. Use a blanket sleeper instead of a loose blanket to keep your baby warm if needed. Keep stuffed animals and pillows out of the crib. • Don’t use bumper pads. Deaths from strangulation and entrapment have been reported from the use of bumper pads. Using them increases risk and offers no benefit.

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Where Baby Should Sleep

Other Things You Can Do

• Don’t put your baby on the sofa or armchair for sleep. Experts advise parents to be particularly cautious here. If you feed or cuddle your baby while lying on the sofa or sitting in an armchair, make sure you don’t fall asleep. “Sleeping on couches and armchairs places infants at extraordinarily high risk of infant death,” AAP experts caution. The baby can suffocate if she gets trapped between the cushions. Another risk is that the adult can roll on top or against the baby.

• Breastfeed your baby. Babies who are breastfed or who receive breast milk have a lower risk of SIDS. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the risk reduction. • Offer a pacifier for naps and bedtime. Once breastfeeding is established, offer a pacifier for sleep times. This has been shown to have a protective effect. You don’t need to put the pacifier back in the baby’s mouth if it falls out during sleep. Also, don’t put a pacifier on a string around the baby’s neck or attach it to a stuffed toy.

• Don’t put your baby to sleep in the

parents’ bed. If you bring your baby into your bed to breastfeed or cuddle, put her back in her own bed to sleep. AAP experts say “this arrangement is most likely to prevent suffocation, strangulation and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed.”

• Avoid smoke. The baby’s environment should be smoke free. Don’t smoke or allow anyone else to smoke around your baby. • Don’t dress the baby so warmly that she becomes overheated. One sign of overheating is sweating. Another is that the baby’s chest feels hot.

• Keep your baby in the parents’ room for sleeping at least until she is 6 months old. AAP experts make this recommendation because “there is evidence that sleeping in the parents’ room but on a separate surface decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.” • Avoid bed sharing. Put the baby in her own bed for sleeping. The risk of injury or death from bed sharing is even higher for babies younger than 4 months. Also, don’t put the baby in bed with other children or caregivers, with someone who is really tired or someone who is sedated from medicine or alcohol.

• Learn more. Check out the Safe to Sleep campaign, which offers educational materials for parents, caregivers, daycare workers and healthcare providers in several languages. af Brenda Schoolfield is a freelance medical writer in Austin.


As we went through our first month, huge things started to happen. Focus and grades have improved. The results gave us light at the end of the tunnel.” - ANGIE and DAVID S., Brain Balance Parents BRAIN BALANCE ADDRESSES: • Academic, Social or Behavioral Issues • Processing Disorders • Lack of Focus • Trouble Making Friends • Tantrums

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• Impulsiveness • Learning Disabilities • Sensory Integration • Family/Social Relationships • ADHD

Brain Balance is a non-medical approach combining physical and sensory exercises with academic skill training and healthy nutrition. We identify the issues, then create a plan that addresses your child’s specific needs. Individual results may vary. Our advertising features actual parent testimonials.

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Cathedral School of Saint Mary’s Challenger School Harmony School of Science Harmony Science Academy Harmony School of Innovation Harmony School of Excellence Harmony School of Poli. Sci. & Comm. Headwaters School Headwaters School Holy Family Catholic School Hyde Park Schools Jardin De Ninos Interlingua Magnolia School San Juan Diego Catholic School St. Andrews Lower & Middle School St. Andrews Upper School St. Austin Catholic School St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School St. Francis School St. Gabriel’s Catholic School St. Helen Catholic School St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School St. Louis Catholic School St. Mary’s Catholic School St. Stephen’s Episcopal School St. Theresa’s Catholic School Santa Cruz Catholic High

910 San Jacinto, Austin 512-476-1480 15101 Avery Ranch Rd., Austin 512-341-8000 1521 Joyce Ln., Round Rock 512-255-8844 13015 Pond Springs Rd., Austin 512-258-1299 11800 Stonehollow Dr., Austin 1421 Wells Branch Pkwy., Pflugerville 930 E. Rundberg, Austin 2124 E. St. Elmo, Austin 2100 E. St. Elmo, Austin 13415 Hwy 620 North, Austin 9607 Brodie Ln., Austin 512-804-2708 801 Rio Grande St., Austin 512-480-8142 9400 Neenah Ave., Austin 512-246-4455 3901 Speedway, Austin 512-465-8344 11400 N. MoPac Expwy., Austin 512-465-8333 8707 Mountain Crest Dr., Austin 512-432-5317 2700 W. Anderson Ln., Austin 512-299-5732 107 R.R. 620, Ste. 300, Lakeway 512-466-2409 Lake Travis 512-266-9620 800 Herndon Ln., Austin 512-804-1935 1112 W. 31st St., Austin 512-299-7800 5901 S. Parkway, Austin 512-299-9800 1911 San Antonio St., Austin 512-477-3751 9300 Neenah Ave., Austin 512-388-8846 300 E. Huntland Dr., Austin 512-454-0848 2500 Wimberly Ln., Austin 512-327-7755 2700 E. University Ave., Georgetown 512-869-3244 120 W. Oltorf, Austin 512-442-8547 2114 St. Joseph, Austin 512-614-6622 520 Washburn St., Taylor 512-352-2313 6000 FM 3237, Wimberly 512-847-9857 4311 Small Dr., Austin 512-451-7105 1110 Main St., Buda 512-312-2137

PreK4-8th PreK-8th

Austin Community College

Locations in Austin-metro area

Earn college credit in H.S.

Butterfly Garden Country Home Learning Center Extend-A-Care For Kids Fine Arts Academy Headwaters School Kiddie Academy of Pflugerville Little Hands International Preschool Kiddie Academy of Cedar Park Magnolia School Spicewood Country School Stepping Stone Schools

207 Chisholm Trail Rd., Round Rock 1310 US Hwy 183 North, Austin 6900 Escarpment Blvd., Austin 77 area campuses Allandale Avery Ranch 6305 Manchaca Rd., Austin 2617 Kelly Ln., Pflugerville 3620 Hillside Dr., Round Rock 1602 Medical Pkwy., Cedar Park 2903 RR 620 N., Austin 6102 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin Locations throughout Austin Metro

512-331-1442 512-288-8220 512-472-9402 512-419-7611 512-658-2996 512-443-8843 512-270-9988 512-572-1888 512-920-3028 512-266-9620 512-346-2992 512-459-0258


Best in Class Brain Balance

12400 Hwy 71, #505, Bee Cave 3267 Bee Caves Rd., Suite 118, Austin

737-484-1370 512-328-7771

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3-13 yrs. Indp. Instr. 9th-12th 1st-9th 10th-12th PreK-8th 9th-12th Prek-8th JrK-8th PreK-8th PreK3-8th PreK4-8th PreK-8th PreK3-6th PreK4-8th PreK4-8th

Inf-PreK, After School 3rd-5th Inf-K 6 wks-12 yrs 1.5-5 yrs 6 wks-12 yrs 3-13 Indp. Instr. Inf-K Inf-K

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Helping students shine for over 25 years! We’re closer than you might think! Call today to schedule a visit. 512-847-9857 6000 FM 3237 • WIMBERLEY,TEXAS 78676 • WWW.STSTEVESCHOOL.ORG

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January 2017 l



YMCA of Greater Williamson County DAY CAMPS pg 24 • OVERNIGHT CAMPS page 30 SPECIAL NEEDS CAMPS page 32

day camps Austin Girls Choir

Austin 512-453-0884 Ages 8 – 16 Austin Girls Choir camps include instruction on vocal skills, note reading, basic harmony and fun songs, with simple choreography.

Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp

Several locations throughout Austin 512-542-0076 Ages 3rd – 12th grade Led by professional writers, campers discover and practice the arts of poetry and storytelling in a low-pressure, fun environment and become published authors.

Bits, Bytes & Bots Computer Adventures

Various locations 512-415-4120 Ages 6 – 14 Offering fun and educational week-long, half-day technology camps in game creation, movie-making, robotics, Scratch programming, Kodu Game Lab programming and Minecraft®. Low student to instructor ratio.

Bricks 4 Kidz ATX

Multiple greater Austin locations 512-270-9003 Ages 5 – 13 Build LEGO® models that move! Our themed enrichment camps feature motorized building, crafts, games and creative building time.


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YMCA of Austin

Campers take home LEGO® mini-figures or accessory packs.

Cafe Monet Summer Art

Westgate, Triangle and San Marcos 512-892-3200, 512-906-2200, 512-805-2800 Ages 6 and up Hands-on lesson in creativity. Paint pottery, fuse glass or spruce it up on a wood plaque.

Camp Adventure by Kiddie Academy

1602 Medical Pkwy., Cedar Park 512-986-7355 Ages preschool – school age At Kiddie Academy, we aim to make your child’s summer as educational as it is fun. Our Camp Adventure program and curriculum do exactly that, through themed events, activities and trips. Your child’s ordinary summer vacation is transformed into a fun and strong foundation for the future!

Camp Avalanche at Chaparral Ice Center

2525 W. Anderson Ln. #400, Austin 512-252-8500 x 160 Ages 7 - 14 Our campers fill their days swimming, going to the park, going on field trips, doing arts and crafts and—of course—ice skating!

Camp De Champs at Chaparral Ice Center

2525 W. Anderson Ln. #400, Austin 512-252-8500 x 160 Ages 6 - 13 Camp De Champs offers 11 weeks of figure skating and hockey skating instruction. Kids receive two lessons daily, as well as public skating time, off-ice training, goal setting,

Customize your Camp Guide search at arts and crafts and a new, optional performance recital on Thursday evening of each week.

Camp Doublecreek

800 Doublecreek Dr., Round Rock 512-255-3661 Ages 4 – 14 Camp Doublecreek is Austin/Round Rock’s Best Day Camp for 45+ years. It is an activity-based camp with free transportation from 12 different locations.

Challenger School

Avery Ranch, Pond Springs and Round Rock 512-341-8000, 512-258-1299, 512-255-8844 Ages PreK - 8th grade Our students learn to think for themselves and to value independence. Results are unmatched.

Country Home Learning Center

6900 Escarpment Blvd., Austin 512-288-8220 13120 U.S. Hwy. 183 N., Austin 512-331-1441 Ages 5 - 13 Children must have finished grade K to attend our summer camp program and field trips. (All ages, starting at 6 weeks, accepted for our year-round program.) Join us for an incredible summer camp experience, featuring child approved special events, exciting weekly field trips and kids’ choice special interest clubs.

Dance Discovery

Central Austin and Avery Ranch 512-419-7611, 512-658-2996 Ages 3 - 14

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Various themed camps include story time ballet, jazz, hip hop, gymnastics, yoga, arts and crafts and musical theatre. Each camp ends with a great show!

Estancia Art Camp

12703 Hwy 71, Bee Caves 512-580-2999 Ages 4 and up Kids are introduced to plaster sculpture, acrylic painting on canvas and wet clay. Great art experiences.

Extend-A-Care for Kids Summer Day Camp

Locations in AISD, DVISD and HCISD 512-472-9402 Ages 3 - 12 Weekly sessions consisting of sports, field trips, swimming, cooking, games and puzzles, reading, arts and crafts and more. Weekly themes are based on children’s literature.


2700 W. Anderson Ln., Austin 512-371-9506 Ages up to 9 Join us spring and summer for our Music Together classes for children and their caregivers.

Kiddie Academy’s Camp Adventure

2617 Kelly Ln., Pflugerville 512-989-7777 Ages preschool – 12 years We aim to make your child’s summer as educational as it is fun. Our Camp Adventure program and curriculum do exactly that, through themed events, activities and trips. With Camp Adventure, your child’s ordinary summer vacation is transformed into a fun and strong foundation for the future!

Girlstart Summer Camp

1400 W. Anderson Ln., Austin 512-916-4775 Rising 4th - 8th grades Girlstart summer camp allows girls to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a fun, informal environment and equips them with STEM skills they will use for life. Girlstart’s camp provides unique experiences that develop a strong conceptual understanding of STEM subjects and increases participants’ interest in STEM activities and careers.

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2017 summer camp guide KidsActing Spring Break and Summer Camps

16 Locations throughout Austin metro 512-836-5437 Ages 3 - 19 KidsActing's award-winning camps feature full-scale musical or play productions, Triple Threat Musical, Glee! and Adventures in Acting. Creative Kids for ages 4 - 8 are introduction to the performing arts.

Mad Science

Locations throughout Austin metro 512-892-1143 Ages 4 - 12 Mad Science camps are filled with exciting, fun, hands-on science activities. Children become junior scientists for the week and experience a variety of science adventures.

Nitro Swim

Cedar Park/Round Rock, Bee Cave 512-259-7999 Ages 6 months and up The indoor Nitro Swim Center offers the highest quality swim lessons, non-competitive and competitive swimming around. Learn to wakeboard, kneeboard and water-ski in a fun, supportive environment from our experienced and professional staff. No equipment or experience is necessary.


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Paramount Academy for the Arts

Downtown Paramount Theatre and South Austin 512-472-5470 Ages 6 - 16 Make lifelong memories on the Paramount stage. Four sessions downtown. Additional north and south locations offering Camp Story Wranglers, Technique Intensives: Song Writing, Comedy, and Film Acting, roboARTS

Rio Vista Farm

13013 Fallwell Ln., Del Valle 512-247-2302 Ages 7 - 16 Austin’s originator of English riding camps. Daily lessons taught by professional trainers, lots of horse time/care, arts and crafts and swimming for hotter afternoons. Friday horse shows for parents to attend.

Spicewood Country Camp

6102 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin 512-346-2992 Ages 3½ – 10 Nine shady acres in northwest Austin with animals, music, swimming, crafts, sports and horseback riding.

Stepping Stone School at the Brainery!

17 locations in the Austin area 512-459-0258 Ages 5 - 13

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2017 summer camp guide Engaging and exciting summer curriculum achieves a balance between engaging and challenging students, while ensuring they are ready for the coming school year. Campers will explore the continents of the world. The World Awaits.

St. Gabriel's Summer Programs

2500 Wimberly Lane, Austin 512-327-7755 Ages Incoming Jr. K - 8th Grade Join in the summer fun at our Saber Camps for Jr. K - 4th or Specialty Camps for 5th -8th. Basketball robotics, music, soccer and more.

Synergy Dance

2314 Bee Cave Rd. #C1, Austin 512-327-4130 Ages 2 and up Dance camps include ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, also included are tumbling, theatre, crafts and a performance on Fridays. Dance intensives for beginner to advanced.

Switchwillo Stables Summer Camp

4829 Switch Willo Rd. 512-920-0554 Ages All ages and skill levels We educate riders in a relaxed, supportive learning environment emphasizing safety in a tree shaded ring. They learn grooming, tacking up, and bathing of the horse or pony selected for your child.

TexARTS Summer Camps

2300 Lohman’s Spur #160, Lakeway 512-852-9079 ext 104 Ages 2 - 18 Musical theatre, dance and visual arts camps including a musical theatre intensive, weekly “best of” musicals, mini camps for ages 2 - 4 and visual arts camps.

The Magnolia School

2903 RR 620, Lake Travis 512-266-9620 Ages 3 - 11 Full or part time camps, featuring morning academic booster with language arts and


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handwriting, reading and math. Plus afternoon weekly themed camp activities. 7:30-5:30, Monday through Friday.

Wanna Play

4500 E. Palm Valley Blvd., Round Rock 14010 N. Hwy 183, Austin 512-345-PLAY and 512-258-PLAY Ages 6 wks - 12 yrs A place where kids want to be. Kids bring imagination, we bring the fun.

YMCA of Austin Summer Day Camp

22 locations throughout Travis, Hays and Bastrop counties 512-236-9622 Ages 4 - 14 Safe and enriching summer day camps. Enjoy field trips, swimming, games and more in a character rich environment with the YMCA of Austin.

YMCA Williamson County

Hutto 512-846-2360, Burnet 512-756-6180, Cedar Park 512-250-9622, Round Rock 512-615-5563 Outdoor Adventure Camps K - 8th grade, Excursion Camps K - 6th grade, Specialty Camps K - 8th grade, Kinder Camps, 3 years - K At the Y, we offer a wide array of summer camp options and activities that are designed to make summer fun, exciting, convenient and safe.

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2017 summer camp guide

OVERNIGHT camps Camp Stewart for Boys

612 FM 1340, Hunt 830-238-4670 Boys ages 6 - 16 “Low-tech,” wholesome fun, growth, 70-plus activities. Ragsdale family-owned, operated. Outstanding role model counselors, worldwide enrollent, home-style cooking. North Fork, Quadalupe River

Camp Lantern Creek for Girls

wood Country Sc Spice6102 Spicewood Springs Rd. hool 512-346-2992 •

9 am to 1:30 pm - extended care available Small classes with balanced activities & many opportunities for creativity and self expression Curriculum based • Barnyard animals • Music Highly recommended by parents!

4045 N. FM 1486, Montgomery, TX 936-597-8225 A unique girls sleep away summer camp that was created so girls can create their art, find their voice, try new skills, be cheered on whether they succeed or not, get dirty, push boundaries, love nature and so much more.

Heart O’ the Hills Camp

2430 Hwy 39, Hunt 830-238-4650 Girls age 6 - 16 Care-free all-girls atmosphere, Guadalupe River, air-conditioned. Family style dining. Wordwide enrollment, personable! More than 40 activities. Ragsdale family owned, operated.

Mary Beth Bird, Owner/Director

SUMMER & SPRING Break Camps 9 Different Camps to Choose From! Rockets, Robots, Chemistry, Spies, Secret Agents, Invention and More!

2009 - 2016 Fun and Hand-on Camps! Locations All Over Town Half-day & Full day Camps For Ages 4-12





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Newk's Summer Tennis Academy

325 Mission Valley Rd., New Braunfels 830-625-9105 Ages 8 - 18 This program is designed to accommodate any level tournament tennis player. Players are required to attend at least three of the eight weeks to ensure he or she experiences the ultimate academy training environment.

Sugar & Spice Ranch Camp

Bandera, TX 830-460-8487 Ages 5 and up Bonding mothers and daughters through horses. You and your daughter will own horses for a week and do everything together as a team. All-inclusive week-long session and a great way to reconnect with each other.

Texas Adventure Camp

325 Mission Valley Rd., New Braunfels 830-625-9105 outback-texas-adventure-camp Ages 9 - 16 Don't think of coming to the "Outback" Adventure Camp unless you are looking for an action packed, exciting week of fun and adventurous challenges. 50-foot swings, canoeing, zipline, rock climbing and more.

YMCA Twin Lakes Overnight Camp 204 E. Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park Grades 3rd - 8th

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2017 summer camp guide New cabins have bathrooms and A/C. Experienced counselors, nutritious meals and new friends. All the activities you love and a whole lot more!

Special Needs Camps Brain Balance

3267 Bee Cave Rd. 512-328-7771 Ages all children Non-medical, drug free program for kids who struggle with ADD/ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, high functioing autism, PDD-NOS and other spectrum disorders.

Inquiring Minds

3901 Shoal Creek Blvd., Austin 512-203-4540 Ages 4 - 13 A program for gifted students to explore diverse subjects through an integrated, hands-on approach.

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January 2017 l


4 Tips for Finding the Right Summer Camp

by Alyssa Chirco When the summer camp guide from a local arts center arrived in our mailbox, my daughter paged through it eagerly. She then proudly pointed to about 13 different camps she planned to sign up for this summer. From circus camp to acting camp to a camp where you make your own ice cream, she had visions of attending them all. For kids, the world of summer camp is filled with excitement and possibility. For parents, it can be a bit trickier to navigate. The options seem endless, the costs add up and those darned kids insist on having their own opinions and making choices that differ from your own. The good news? With so many quality summer camp options, it’s easier than ever to find a camp that will meet the needs of your entire family. You just need to follow a few simple guidelines.

1. Determine Your Priorities

Every family approaches summer camp with their own unique goals. Many working parents, for example, rely on camps to provide much-needed childcare over school vacation, so scheduling options become top priority. If a tight budget is your biggest concern, you’ll need to focus on limiting your search to camps within your price range. Camp costs can range from as little as $100 up to $1,500 per week.


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It’s also important to consider what sort of an impact you expect summer camp to have on your child. Do you want it to be strictly educational? Provide an enrichment opportunity that is lacking during the school year? Build character and self-esteem? Offer lots of physical activity? Or maybe be just plain fun?

2. Know Your Options

Summer camps have exploded in popularity in recent years, with an estimated eleven million kids and adults attending camp each summer. This means that half-day, full-day and sleepaway camps are all readily available. Not sure where to begin your search? Austin Family magazine hosts its Camp Fair on Jan. 21, when potential campers can explore their options by talking with camp representatives in person. Austin Family also provides a Camp Guide in each issue and a searchable guide online at austinfamily. com. For camps outside the Austin area, the American Camp Association offers a searchable, online database at www.

3. Know Your Child

When it comes to choosing a camp, children usually benefit from some parental guidance. Respect their interests and ideas, of course, but help them figure out how to translate those interests into a camp that will meet both your criteria and theirs.

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At our house, we’ve settled on a popular church camp for fun and games and are looking into a day camp at the Humane Society as a way for my daughter to explore her love of animals—without me having to adopt yet another pet.

And no matter what type of camp you are considering, don’t forget to ask around for recommendations before making a final commitment. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to uncover the information you really want to know. Summer camps can provide kids with valuable opportunities to make new friends, expand their horizons, and most importantly, enjoy summer vacation. Once you’ve done your homework, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a camp that your child will love—and one you will feel good about too.

4. Do Your Homework

Once you’ve selected your ideal camp, there are a few key things to do before you register. Ask about the ratio of staffers to campers, and find out if background checks are performed on potential staff members. If the camp is away from home, it’s a good idea to determine if it has received accreditation through the American Camp Association.


Alyssa Chirco is a mother of two who writes about parenting and family life for publications across the country.




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For more information visit or call 512.299.9802 for grades K– 8 or 512.299.9720 for grades 9–12. Lower/Middle School: 1112 W. 31st St. Upper School: 5901 Southwest Pkwy.

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B y M argaret N icklas

Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Program Helps Kids Manage Emotions and Focus on Learning Ati Wongsaroj, a teacher at Webb Middle School in Austin, began her class on a recent Tuesday as she does every day—with classical music, low lights and journaling, followed by a recorded meditation. This day, her 8th

graders listened to a deep breathing and centering exercise called “Body Scan.” Some of the students sat at their desks, while others lay on a carpet to participate. Those opting out were encouraged to choose another, quiet activity. In a few moments, the class moved on to a student-led planning discussion—hopefully feeling a little calmer and ready for the challenges of their day. The technique is just one of many being taught or shared by AISD’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program staff—a group of specialists and others working to implement the nationally recognized program across the district’s 130 schools. As we all know, strong emotions like anger and anxiety can interfere with decision-making and limit our ability to focus on important tasks. The district’s SEL program is aimed at addressing this and other issues by helping students understand and manage their emotions, feel empathy, cultivate


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respect for others and deal with challenging situations productively and ethically. While it may sound “touchy-feely,” the program is based in science, according to SEL Director Pete Price. Brain research shows that an emotionally and socially safe environment is essential for learning, he says. Children living with high levels of stress or trauma tend to experience physiological effects that may make it hard for them to learn. For those students in particular, Price says, the old-fashioned top down, zero tolerance approach just doesn’t work. The district’s SEL program gives teachers and students alternative tools and techniques that can help them develop positive connections and better understand themselves and others. The results can empower students to manage their own behavior, in contrast to the more traditional reliance on teachers to modify or control it. Wongsaroj, who has taught middle school for five years, says she knows it’s an emotionally taxing and unstable time for many kids. Practicing the morning meditation and other mindfulness techniques has decreased the amount of drama students bring into her classroom. “I don’t have to deal with as much crying or as much negativity this year,” she says. Moreover, her students are better able to focus on academics, she adds. Each ASID school has an assigned SEL specialist who provides training and support to teachers and administrators on how

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Here are my five picks (slightly adapted) from “Ten Things You Can Do at Home,” posted on the AISD SEL resources webpage. • Acknowledge your child’s strengths before discussing improvements. • Ask your child how he or she feels. • Find ways to stay calm when angry. • Be patient when your child makes mistakes—it’s part of learning. • Be willing to apologize. to use specifically formulated curriculum and on integrating SEL principles into daily school life. Each school also develops its own plans and goals around SEL, so implementation at each campus looks different. In addition, the SEL team supports the work of other initiatives that align closely with its goals, such as No Place for Hate, a national effort that encourages students to appreciate diversity, oppose bullying, and challenge bigotry and prejudice. Though the SEL program is just in its sixth year, the district reports seeing positive results for students—from improved test scores to fewer disciplinary referrals and better attendance—especially for those schools who have engaged most actively. Social and emotional learning offers benefits to adults as well as children. In fact, the synergy it can create between teachers and students is likely the cause for at least some of the improvements schools have seen, says Caroline Chase, the program’s administrative supervisor. Disciplinary referrals may be down because children are acting out less frequently but also because teachers have better ways to respond to disruptive behavior. “Writing a referral is not the first they think of anymore,” she says. Teachers have even reported improved relationships with family members after teaching SEL concepts, Chase says. Interested in knowing more? Ask your principal about book studies, coffees or other SELrelated activities at your school. Invite your elementary or middle school student to tell you about their “Second Step” lessons or quiz your older child about “School Connect.” Grab a book from the Parent Book List or check out the SEL Parent Toolkit, both of which can be found—along with many other resources—at af Margaret Nicklas is an Austin-based freelance journalist, writer and mom who covers public affairs, public health and the well-being of children.

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Ins p i ri ng Chi l d ren to Achi ev e S i nce 1 9 6 3 © 2016, Challenger Schools. Challenger School admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

AustinFamily_Dec.indd 1


11/10/2016 2:57:28 PM

January 2017 l

by R ichard S ingleton

It’s a new year. The eggnog is empty. School

has rebooted. The piles of giftwrapping and ubiquitous Amazon boxes are stacked by the street. Wait. Is today recycle day or was that last week? But not everything is back to normal. I’m sure Santa left you with new technology and the hefty responsibility of figuring out how to manage screen time for your littles. Don’t panic. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have revised their views about screen time. More about that in a moment. First, a little trip down memory lane. It seems that history is rife with challenges when it comes to adopting new technology. According to cultural anthropologist Genevieve Bell, a member of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, it’s not out of the norm for society to get panicked when new technology emerges. Bell says this “moral panic” is often aimed at women and children. When trains were the technological innovation du jour, for instance, Bell reminds us that the reaction among the

moral panic police was fear that women’s bodies weren’t robust enough to travel over 50 mph. Ha! My wife clearly didn’t get that memo! She’s the driver of our family, and I can report that she routinely goes over 50 mph. And my body seems to be the only one that’s falling apart in our family.

So, technology and history have a love/hate relationship—and women and children get to go first. Ouch. Whether it was trains, radio, TV or the Internet, there have always been knee jerk reactions by the “experts” trying to protect the rest of us from ourselves. Not surprisingly, when the smart phone revolution began almost 10 years ago, there were emerging concerns and ultimately pediatric standards that promoted a ban on screens for children under 24 months. Back in 2011, a Time Magazine article reported on a study that found just nine minutes of Sponge Bob Square Pants “significantly impaired” children’s executive function. I have to admit that my own executive function is impaired after only three minutes of “under the sea” soliloquies.

Your Little One Can Use (a little)



January 2017 l

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So, there’s been a lot of angst over these sometimes terrifying reports. But, just as we’ve allowed women to go over 50 mph, we’re realizing that our children’s brains aren’t going to quit working if they FaceTime their grandparents.

New evidence says the old standards might have been long on worries and short on science. summarizes the AAP standards like this:

• Children younger than 18 months are discouraged from screen media other than video chatting. • Children 18-24 months should be using high-quality programming and apps with the interaction of a parent. • Children older than 2 should be limited to high quality screen time of 1 hour or less per day. Co-viewing and co-playing is ideal and should be secondary to reading, talking and playing together without the screen.

So back to the AAP. In October, the group allowed new parents to breathe a sigh of relief. Newly revised standards have tried to create a more nuanced and balanced approach to guiding healthily adjusted, rootin’ tootin’, screen totin’ toddlers. The new standards suggest that children as young as 18 months can have a healthy interaction with the screen-infused world. What hasn’t changed, from the dawn of civilization until now, is common sense parenting. No child should be left alone. Children need healthy boundaries and attentive supervision. also has an excellent online tool for creating a media use plan. It is well done and provides an excellent way to come face-to-face with just how much time we have our lives buried in a screen. As you launch your new year, take control of your time. It’s so precious, and you’ll never look back and wish that you had less time with your family and more time attached to a screen. Don’t beat yourself up about allowing children opportunities to explore the world of technology, but be creative and exercise common sense. Maybe even go for a drive together and take in a beautiful winter day…but mind your speed, you don’t want to melt! af Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.

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January 2017 l



2017 calendar

Compiled by BETTY KEMPER

Museum Exhibits pg 40

Family Events pg 40

Parenting Events page 43

Story Times pg 44

++ Denotes event occurs on multiple dates

Museum Exhibits Holiday Model Train Show Through Jan. 6. ArtSpace, 231 E. Main St., Round Rock. FREE. or 512‑218‑7099. State of Deception and The Butterfly Project Through Jan. 8. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. $8 youth; $12 adult. or 512‑936‑8746. Warhol by the Book Through Jan. 29. Blanton Museum, 200 E. MLK Blvd. $5 youth; $9 adult. or 512‑471‑5482. Orly Genger: Hurlyburly Through Feb. 74 Trinity St. FREE.

Family Events SUNDAY 1 Free Skate Lessons ++ 11 to 11:45 a.m. Playland Skate Center, 8822 McCann Dr. $8. or 512-452-1901. Why Are the Lost Pines Lost? Guided Hike 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Bastrop State Park, 100 Park Rd. 1A, Bastrop. FREE with admission. or 512-321-2101.

TUESDAY 3 Teen Cocoa & Cookie Party 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Ages 12-18. Pflugerville Library, 1008 W. Pfluger St., Pflugerville. FREE. or 512-990-6375.

WEDNESDAY 4 Space 8: A Maker Lab ++ 2 to 8 p.m. The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. Free with admission. Community Night ++ 4 to 8 p.m. The Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. By donation. Austin Barn Dancers ++ 7:30 to 9:45 p.m. Hancock Rec Center, 811 E. 41st St. FREE. or 512-453-4225.

THURSDAY 5 Living History Days 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. FREE for those pre-registered. or 512-936-8746. First Thursday Austin 5 to 8 p.m. Downtown Austin, Cesar Chavez and 2nd streets. FREE. firstthursdayaustin. com.

FRIDAY 6 Courthouse Tours ++ 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. FREE. or 512-943-1670.


Pfreeze Pflop 12 p.m. Scott Mentzer Pool, 901 Old Austin Hutto Rd., Pflugerville. FREE with donation of canned food. or 512-990-6358.

Madrone Canyon Hike 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Laura’s Library, 9411 Bee Cave Rd. FREE. or 512-327-3045.

Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World 12 to 1 p.m. Harry Ransom Center, 300 W. 21st St. FREE. or 512-471-8944.

Giant Chess ++ 12:30 to 3 p.m. Wooldridge Square Park, 900 Guadalupe St. FREE.

Free First Sundays 12 to 3 p.m. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. FREE. or 512-936-8746.


January 2017 l

Saturday Family Movie 2 p.m. Windsor Park Branch Library, 5833 Westminster Dr. FREE. or 512-974-9840. CONTINUING: Courthouse Tours see Friday 6.

SUNDAY 8 Family Days 12 to 4 p.m. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Rd. FREE. or 512-445-5582. Sunday Funday 1 to 4 p.m. Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel St. FREE. or 512-478-2335. CONTINUING: Free Skate Lessons see Sunday 1; Courthouse Tours see Friday 6.

TUESDAY 10 Family Movie Night 6:30 p.m. Twin Oaks Branch Library, 1800 S. 5th St. FREE. or 512-974-9980. Tween/Teen Night ++ 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Taylor Public Library, 801 Vance St., Taylor. FREE. or 512-352-3434.

WEDNESDAY 11 CONTINUING: Space 8: A Maker Lab see Wednesday 4; Community Night see Wednesday 4; Austin Barn Dancers see Wednesday 4.

THURSDAY 12 Little Texans 10 a.m. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. FREE with admission. thestoryoftexas. com. CONTINUING: Tween/Teen Night see Tuesday 10.

Austin Family is now making it easier for you to submit your calendar event. Go to, click on “Submit your event” and send in your entry. The deadline is the 5th of each month preceding the month of the event. Events less than $15 usually are listed. For events more than $15, send details to kaye2003@

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MLK Day Films 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St. FREE. or 512-974-4926.

CONTINUING: Free Skate Lessons see Sunday 1; Courthouse Tours see Friday 6.

SATURDAY 14 Hands on History ++ 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. FREE. or 512-943-1670. Dinosaur Discovery 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lakeshore Learning Store, 9828 Great Hills Tr. FREE. lakeshorelearning. com. Handwashing Clinic 11 to 11:45 a.m. Round Rock Library, 216 E. Main St., Round Rock. FREE. roundrocktexas. gov or 512-218-7001. Second Saturdays Are for Families 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. FREE. or 512-458-8191. Amazing Family Garden Race 1 to 3 p.m. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. $15 per family. or 512-232-0122. CONTINUING: Courthouse Tours see Friday 6; Austin Giant Chess see Saturday 7.

MONDAY 16 MLK Community Festival 9 a.m. MLK Statue, UT Campus. FREE. or 512-657-3064. Open Skate Session for MLK Day 12 to 6 p.m. Playland Skate Center, 8822 McCann Dr. $8. or 512-452-1901.


Homeschool Meetup ++ 1 to 2:30 p.m. Leander Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd., Leander. FREE. or 512-259-5259. Austin Boat and Travel Trailer Show 4 to 9 p.m. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. $6 children 7-12; $10 adults. CONTINUING: Austin Barn Dancers see Wednesday 4.

FRIDAY 20 Austin Boat and Travel Trailer Show 12 to 9 p.m. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. $6 children 7-12; $10 adults.

Teen Movie Night 5:30 p.m. Pflugerville Library, 1008 W. Pfluger St., Pflugerville. FREE. or 512-990-6375.

WEDNESDAY 18 CONTINUING: Space 8: A Maker Lab see Wednesday 4; Community Night see Wednesday 4; Austin Barn Dancers see Wednesday 4.

THURSDAY 19 Science Thursday ++ 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. FREE. or 512-463-6712.

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January 2017 l


Family Movie Night 2 to 4 p.m. Old Quarry Branch Library, 7051 Village Center Dr. FREE. or 512-974-8860.


SUNDAY 22 Austin Boat and Travel Trailer Show 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. $6 children 7-12; $10 adults.

Austin Boat and Travel Trailer Show 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. $6 children 7-12; $10 adults.

CONTINUING: Courthouse Tours see Friday 6; Free Skate Lessons see Sunday 1.

Austin Family Magazine’s 19th Annual Summer Camp Fair 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Rd. FREE.

Culture Nights 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. AGE Cafeteria, 3710 Cedar St. FREE.

CONTINUING: Courthouse Tours see Friday 6; Austin Giant Chess see Saturday 7.


CONTINUING: Space 8: A Maker Lab see Wednesday 4; Community Night see Wednesday 4; Austin Barn Dancers see Wednesday 4.

THURSDAY 26 CONTINUING: Culture Nights see Wednesday 25.

FRIDAY 27 Celtic Fest 9 a.m. San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos. FREE. 512-393-8400. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on 35mm 7 to 9:45 p.m. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. $3 and $5. or 512-936-8746.


January 2017 l

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Texas Wildlife Day 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St. FREE. or 512-471-1604. Harry Potter Party 2 p.m. Howson Branch Library, 2500 Exposition Blvd. FREE. or 512-974-8800.

El Dia de los Reyes

The Thing in Grandma’s Closet 2 p.m. The Long Center, 701 Riverside Dr. $12. CONTINUING: Austin Giant Chess see Saturday 7; Courthouse Tours see Friday 6; Celtic Fest see Friday 27.


En México, el 6 de enero es muy esperado por todos, porque celebramos El Día de los Reyes. Es cuando los Reyes Magos visitaron al Niño Jesús. Los niños reciben regalos como un recordatorio de que los Magos ofrecieron presentes al Niño Jesús. Los familiares y amigos se reúnen para compartir algunos alimentos, incluyendo un pan de levadura dulce llamado la Rosca de Reyes.

Austin Family Magazine Camp Fair, Jan. 21

CONTINUING: FREE Skate Lessons see Sunday 1; Courthouse Tours see Friday 6; The Thing in Grandma’s Closet see Saturday 28.

Bridges to Growth offers early childhood parenting classes throughout the month. 805 W. University Ave., Georgetown. or 512‑864‑3008.

Parenting Events

The City of Austin offers free car seat checks and Safe Baby Academy classes throughout the year at a variety of locations in the Central Texas area. Appointments and reservations are required. For dates and locations, email or call 512‑972‑SAFE (7233).

Any Baby Can offers free parenting classes in English and Spanish on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Postpartum support group meets on Thursdays. 6207 Sheridan Ave. FREE. or 512‑454‑3743.

La Leche League of Central Texas hosts nine regular meetings in addition to play dates and gatherings in Austin, Round Rock, Killeen/Temple, Bryan-College Station and Waco. All breastfeeding mothers, babies

La Rosca está decorada con higos y dátiles secos y esta en forma redonda para simbolizar las coronas usadas por los Magos. Hay una pequeña figura de plástico escondida dentro de la rosca que representa al Niño Jesús. Al estar oculta la figura nos recuerda que el nacimiento de Jesús era un secreto en el momento. José y María tuvieron que ocultar al Niño Jesús de la campaña del Rey Herodes para deshacerse de todos los bebés varones en Belén. Cada persona debe tener un pedazo de la Rosca, y si por casualidad usted encuentra la figura del Niño Jesús en su pedazo del pan es su obligación—o privilegio—de acoger la próxima fiesta el 2 de febrero, el Día de la Candelaria, la celebración que termina las fiestas navideñas. af Rocio Barbosa, madre de dos hijas, vive en Round Rock.

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January 2017 l


Texas Wildlife Day, Jan. 28 and mothers-to-be are welcome to attend.



YMCA offers a free Childhood Obesity Intervention Program on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the month. Various locations. or 512‑236‑9622.

Screenagers Movie 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Lakeway Church, 2203 Lakeway Blvd., Lakeway. FREE (reservation required).

Info Session 7 p.m. North Village Branch Library, 2505 Steck Ave. FREE.

WEDNESDAY 18 Info Session 7 p.m. Old Quarry Branch Library, 7051 Village Center Dr. FREE.

SUNDAY 22 Open House 12 p.m. Cathedral School of Saint Mary, 910 San Jacinto Blvd. FREE. or 512-476-1480.

Market Place

Story Times Austin area libraries offer story times for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and families with children of all ages. In addition, there are story times in Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, American Sign Language and other languages. Contact your local library for more information about times and appropriate ages. Austin Library Branches throughout Austin 512-974-7400 Barnes and Noble Arboretum 10000 Research Blvd. 512-418-8985 Barnes and Noble Bee Cave 12701 Hill Country Blvd. 512-263-7402 Barnes and Noble Brodie 5601 Brodie Ln. 512-892-3493 Barnes and Noble Lakeline 14010 U.S. Hwy. 183 512-249-5644 Barnes and Noble Round Rock 2701 Parker Rd. 512-600-0088 BookPeople 603 N. Lamar Blvd.


January 2017 l

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Visit our advertisers. 512-472-5050 Cedar Park Library 550 Discovery Blvd. 512-401-5600 Georgetown Library 402 W. 8th St. 512-930-3551 Kyle Library 550 Scott St. 512-268-7411

Round Rock Library 216 E. Main St. 512-218-7001 San Marcos Library 625 E. Hopkins St. 512-393-8200 Taylor Library 801 Vance St. 512-352-3434

Lake Travis Library 1938 Lohman’s Crossing 512-263-2885 Laura’s Library 9411 Bee Cave Rd. 512-381-1400 Leander Library 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. 512-259-5259 Pflugerville Library 1008 W. Pfluger St. 512-990-6275

10 THINGS… For Lunar New Year! January 28 begins the Year of the ROOSTER! • Paper lanterns

• Lion dance

• Rooster decorations

• Firecrackers

•“Gong hey fat choy”

• Steamed dumplings

• Red envelopes filled with money

• Tangerines

(May you be prosperous)

• Dragon dance Pick us up at HEB, Whole Foods and Central Market

• Clean house

January 2017 l



focus on



Dr. Kimberly Albert ADC Steiner Ranch Dr. Kimberly Albert received her medical degree from University of California in San Francisco and completed her pediatric residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She is board certified in pediatrics. Dr. Albert joined ADC in 1998 and has been recognized as by Best Doctor’s, Inc since 2005. See ad on page 48

CLEAN UP! The new year is a great time to teach and inherit good habits, and cleaning up is a great way to start the year fresh and without the old clutter. Here are a few tips to get kids involved in keeping the house clean while maintaining a fun atmosphere.

Dr. Rachel Montgomery Lonestar Pediatric Dental Dr. Montgomery graduated from Baylor University in Waco, and followed up by attending the University of Texas Dental School in Houston. Her residency was completed at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, with a specialty in pediatrics. Rachel can most likely be found spending time with her husband Marty and their precious boys. See ad on page 39

Providing kid-sized brooms or mops makes the chore cute and fun! It’s a sweet and involved way to interact with your child while cleaning, and smaller-sized implements are easier for children to maneuver. Investing in a tiny broom or dustpan teaches kids good cleaning habits early on and makes them feel special.

Cleaning Games • Pretend the cleaning is a “mission.” It’s a fun way to put everyone on their fastest cleaning work. • Using a simple timer or stopwatch as a motivator. For example, make a game of putting away as many toys as you can find of a certain color or shape or type before the timer runs out. Or see who can get 10 toys off the floor first. Or see who can put away three dishes the fastest. • Role-play Cinderella by dressing up in rags while cleaning up. Singing is another fun thing to do while cleaning. • Tape a square outlining one of the tiles in the room, and have kids push all the dust into the square. This gives kids a concrete and tangible location to direct the sweeping—same goes for raking leaves outside. Just use a rope to make the target spot. • Draw a bunny face on an old sock using permanent marker, then give the kids a “dust bunny” to catch dust bunnies around the house. Cleaning with children help develops a sense of responsibility and respect for the place they inhabit. Find cleaning toys of all kinds at Terra Toys.


January 2017 l


Dr. Marty Montgomery Lonestar Pediatric Dental Dr. Marty Montgomery comes from a family where all the children were drawn to dental careers early in life. A graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Marty attended Tufts Dental School in Boston. He completed his residency at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, specializing in pediatrics. See ad on page 39 Dr. Betty Richardson Dr. Richardson earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in nursing, and a PhD in psych/mental health nursing. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed professional counselor. She has over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents. See ad on page 42 Dr. Theresa Willis ADC Steiner Ranch Dr. Willis is a graduate of the University of Texas, received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and completed her residency at Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Willis’ professional interests include developmental pediatrics, fitness and healthy weight in children and teens. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. See ad on page 48

Don't Miss Austin Family Magazine’s 19th Annual Camp Fair, Saturday, January 21, 2017

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The question I most often hear is, “How much screen time is healthy for my child?”

by rocio barbosa

I wish I could point to a fixed amount, and everyone could adjust their schedules accordingly. I can say this: if winding down before bed is a problem in your house, try turning off all screens 90 minutes before bedtime. Research indicates that humans need that 90-minute window to adjust their eyes from screen light to the indirect, ambient light of a home at night. As a bonus, I bet that you’ll see more reading time, family play and conversation.

Three Kings Day

As for the rest of the day, it’s an issue of quality over quantity. Three hours playing Fruit Ninja is probably too much. But if your child spends three hours creating a game like Fruit Ninja, that’s a pretty hefty cognitive challenge. In Mexico, January 6 is highly anticipated by everyone, because it marks El Día de los Reyes, or Three Kings Day. This day celebrates the day when the wise men visited the baby Jesus. Children receive gifts as a reminder that the wise men presented gifts to the baby Jesus. Family and friends gather to share food, including a sweet yeast bread called the Rosca de Reyes. The Rosca is decorated with dried figs and dates and formed into a round shape to symbolize the crowns worn by the wise men. There is a small plastic figure hidden inside that represents the baby Jesus. Hiding the figure reminds us that Jesus’s birth was a secret at the time. Joseph and Mary had to hide the baby Jesus from King Herod’s campaign to get rid of all the male babies in Bethlehem. Everyone must have a slice of the Rosca, and if you happen to find the figure of the baby Jesus in your piece of cake, it’s your obligation—or privilege—to host the next party on February 2, El Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas), the celebration that ends the holidays of Christmas. af

Recognizing that distinction, PBS Kids offers a free tablet-based app called PBS Kids ScratchJr. Working from the original Scratch platform developed by the MIT Media Lab, this app offers kids ages 5-8 the chance to animate PBS Kids characters in a platform that instills basic concepts of coding and digital animation. Much like fan fiction has extended popular literature, we hope to see kid-created projects extend the life of PBS Kids programs and, in the process, turn kids from being viewers to implementers of their own ideas. Visit for more digital educational media ideas and resources. af Benjamin Kramer, PhD, is the director of education for KLRU-TV, Austin PBS.

Piensa Positivo

by Leslie Montoya, life coach and host of Despierta Austin

Tu Forma de Ser

Cuando escuche al motivador Anthony Robbins comentar en una de sus conferencias que parte de nuestra manera de pensar y de actuar es influenciada por las cinco personas con las que más interactuamos, aprendí mucho sobre la manera en que pienso y hago las cosas. Tomate unos minutos y encuentra tus cinco influyentes. Una vez los tengas, observa detalladamente tu comportamiento y comparalo con el de ellos. No por nada esta el dicho que dice, “El que con lobos anda a aullar aprende.” Aprende a seleccionar tu manada. ¡Piensa positivo!

The Way You Are

When I heard motivator Anthony Robbins comment in one of his lectures that part of our way of thinking and acting is influenced by the five people we interact with most, I learned a lot about the way I think and do things. Take a few minutes and find your five influencers. Once you have them, observe your behavior in detail and compare it with theirs. Not for nothing is the saying that goes, “He who walks with wolves learns to howl.” Learn to select your pack. Think positive!

Rocio Barbosa, mother of two girls, lives in Round Rock.

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January 2017 l


by C A R R I E T A Y L O R

A Better Life Through Sleep Deprivation


The middle of the night is when you are the most creative. Successful writers are known to leave notepads by their beds to jot down any thoughts of brilliance that come to them throughout the night for use on future Pulitzer Prizewinning novels. One morning I woke to find I had written, “he isn’t hairy – look for the toothbrush,” in dry-erase marker on my bathroom mirror. I’m already a few chapters into this thriller for your reading enjoyment.

Nothing prepares you for the newborn night terrors.

I’m talking those long nights of being awoken every other hour by your new baby, going cross-eyed while trying to stay awake during a breastfeeding session and watching your husband sleep peacefully just inches from your curled fist. The sleep-deprived mind conjures strange, strange thoughts.


But I would argue that sleep deprivation is a useful tool for enlightenment and getting to know your true self. Let me tell you why.


If you’re up in the middle of the night with a child, you are likely to be questioning your very existence. I often wonder, Who am I? Is there really a God? When did I last shower? It’s these moments that lead to life-changing revelations, like how going four days without bathing actually saves you money on soap.

Many parents say they understand why sleep deprivation is used as a torture method, I guess because of the mental and physical pain and occasional hallucinations, but I say, welcome the hallucinations! Nothing makes a 1 a.m. nursing session less lonely than the chance to visit with my favorite TV show characters and childhood friends. And it takes my mind off the snores radiating from the other side of the bed. af Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer and mother of two boys.

ADC PEDIATRICS NOW IN CEDAR PARK Selecting a pediatrician for your child is one of the most important

a parent will do, and the decision is not always an easy one. At Lisa things Gaw, M.D. Urgent Care Pediatrics The Austin Diagnostic Clinic our goal is to provide quality, compassion and individualized care for your child. With offices in north Austin, Circle C, Steiner Ranch and now Cedar Park we are sure to have a convenient office close to home.

Kimberly Albert, MD brings 19 years experience to ADC Cedar Park and is accepting new patients and most insurance plans now.


Kimberly Albert, M.D. Pediatrician, ADC Cedar Park Now accepting new patients

ADC Cedar Bend

+ Urgent Care 2400 Cedar Bend Dr.

48 ADC Cedar Park

1401 Medical Parkway Building 2, Ste 150

January 2017 l

ADC Circle C

+ Urgent Care 5701 W. Slaughter Ln.

ADC Steiner Ranch 5145 RM 620 N. Building I

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d n a l r e d n o


r e t n i W

e c n a d r e t h g u a d y d d a d

February 4, 2017 at the Oasis limited tickets at:

Join us for Spring Break camp! Enjoy a free book for your child when you tour any of our locations.

$100 WAIVED ENROLLMENT FEE for new families who enroll in January and mention Austin Family Magazine

austinfamily readers’ poll favorites 2016




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