BACK TO SCHOOL! Anxiety and Kids:
Helping Them Cope Tricks for Easier Transitions Make a School Bus Photo Frame Plus: Recipes, Events & More
Kalamazoo Public Schools
are reaching higher! to 2016 10 0 2 m o fr s te ra n o ar graduati Rising 4- and 5-ye and high l o o h sc le d id m , ry ta Rising elemen chievement school student a ts taking n e d u st f o r e b m u n the More than doubleent courses in the last 8 years Advance Placem ion for it tu e g e ll o c e e fr : e romis The Kalamazoo P idency & attendance requirements apply) KPS graduates (res ve been or a h ts n e d u st S P K 0 More than 4,20 of The Kalamazoo Promise are beneficiaries 2,455 students ly te a im x ro p p a f o Growth 11 years st la e th r e v o t) n e rc (24 pe
For enrollment or more information please contact Kalamazoo Public Schools at
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M a r i e L eitoer Ed
Who are these lovely people? See below.
In the spirit of going back to school, Tiffany is helping her kids, and yours, get on the bus, as they say. Her School Bus Photo Frame project on page 13 is a fun way to not only use craft sticks and glue, but also create a little token of home to decorate kids’ lockers or cubbies. Tiffany lives in Alamo and is the mother of two boys.
BACK TO SCHOOL! Anxiety and Kids:
Helping Them Cope Tricks for Easier Transitions Make a School Bus Photo Frame Plus: Recipes, Events & More
Ren gives us a “two-fer” recipe this month: her Chicken and Dumplings is classic comfort food, but it’s also a recipe that is easy and quick so you aren’t spending hours cooking over a hot stove. And the kids can help, too. Good food and good times — what’s better than that? An Allegan mom, Ren is a graduate of Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia School of Culinary Arts and a former baker for Alpen Rose, Via Maria and deBoer Bakery.
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tiffany andrus, ren briggs, brian lam, anne lape, david miles, brian powers
Everyone in a relationship will relate to the first few sentences of Brian’s Family Man column. But there’s more to his message about the pitfalls of telling kids (and spouses) what they “need to do” than meets the eye. Check out his spot-on observations on page 30. Brian, owner of Lam Creative Solutions in Kalamazoo, is the father of a seven-year-old.
As a teacher, Anne has seen firsthand the debilitating effects anxiety can have on kids. Her article, “Anxiety and Kids,” on page 19 helps shed light on this perplexing disorder, while providing tips and ideas to help anxious kids cope. In addition, in her Everyday Hacks column, Anne provides more timely tips on getting kids ready for — dare we say it? — going back to school. The mother of a high schooler, she lives and teaches in Kalamazoo.
tiffany andrus, celeste statler, krieg lee
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FYI is published 6 times a year by Encore Publications, Inc. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to Encore Publications, 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo MI, 49007. Phone: 269 383-4433. General email correspondence to email@example.com FYI is distributed free of charge at locations throughout Southwest Michigan; home delivery subscription rate is $18 per year. Advertising rates and specifications at fyiswmichigan.com or by request. FYI does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors; articles and advertisements do not necessarily reflect FYI’s opinions or those of the FYI staff.
To learn more about us visit fyiswmichigan.com
4 • Aug/Sept 2017
We love how David always manages to create the perfect visualization of the topics in our Family Man column. Whether the column discusses parenting or poop, or both, David’s illustrations make us smile. David is a Kalamazoo illustrator who has created pictures for Zonderkidz, Highlights, Sleeping Bear Press, as well as FYI, whose creative genius can be seen on page 30.
About the cover:
Elisa Rios, 5, is on the bus and ready for her first day of school as mom Holly, dad Roberto and baby brother Luca look on. Special thanks to Kalamazoo Public Schools Transportation Department for their assistance. Photo by Brian Powers.
In Every Issue 3
From the Editor
Fun for Free
Lakeview Park offers fun and frolic for families
Make This! Find comfort with our easy Chicken & Dumplings recipe
Is this Normal?
Why is my son spitting at me? Why does my tween tell lies? You ask, experts answer!
13 Creation Station
Anxiety and Kids Helping anxious kids cope starts with understanding them
Get on the bus with this fun picture frame project
Ac tivities 24 Family Events
Family-friendly fun at no charge!
Greater Kalamazoo’s most comprehensive calendar of family events
Timely tips for getting everyone ready for back to school
PARENT TO PARENT 30 Family Man
What you really need to do is . . . stop telling your kids what they need to do
Fun For Free FYI
Experience Some Library Magic
Show Off Your Mad LEGO Creations
Wait! Before your kids dismantle their latest genius-inspired LEGO creation, they should enter it in the Kalamazoo Public Library’s LEGO Building Contest. This is the sixth year of the competition, which has five different age brackets for contestants: 0–5 years, 6–8 years, 9–11 years, 12–14 years and 15–18 years. All entries must use your own LEGO, DUPLO or MEGABLOCKS bricks and fit within a space that’s 12 inches wide by 12 inches deep by 12 inches high. Entries will be accepted from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Aug. 11 at both the Central and Oshtemo branches. Creations will be on display for public voting on Aug. 12 and winners announced Aug. 14 on the library’s website and social media sites. For more information, all the contest details and rules, visit kpl.gov/kids/lego-2017.aspx. When: Aug. 11–14 Place: Kalamazoo Public Library Central Branch, 315 S. Rose St., and Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St. Ages: 0–18 for entries, voting open to all ages Info: kpl.gov, 269.342.9837
If you and the kids are in the mood for a little hocus pocus, head to the Portage District Library to catch magician Gordon Russ for a morning of magic and laughter. Russ saw his first magic show at his hometown library as a kid and was so inspired that he became a magician and illusionist. Russ has toured extensively overseas, but for the past 20 years has specialized in performing fun-filled programs geared to young audiences. When: 10 a.m. Aug. 23 Place: Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane Ages: All ages Info: portagelibrary.info, 329-4544
Celebrate the Apple!
From picking them to eating them in a pie, apples are just awesome. So join the folks in Bangor at their annual festival honoring this fruit of many flavors. Events will include a car show, a 5K run and walk, arts and crafts fair, kids’ events and live music. When: 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Sept. 16 Place: Downtown Bangor Ages: All ages Info: bangorapplefestival.com
Find Your Thrill at Blueberry Festival
Kids love ’em, parents love ’em, even grandparents love ’em — of course, we’re talking about blueberries, and your whole family can indulge in a blueberry-lovin’ binge at the National Blueberry Festival in South Haven. With a parade and pageant, arts and crafts, concerts, and more ways to eat blueberries — from pancakes to pies — than you thought possible, this festival is four days of blueberry bliss. Take in the classic car show, sand sculpture contest, fish boil and kids’ activities, too. Admission to the festival is free, but there is a cost for some vendors and food. When: Aug. 10–13, hours vary by day and activity, check website for schedule Place: Downtown South Haven Ages: All ages Info: blueberryfestival.com, 269.637.5171
Listen to a Lakeside Concert
Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon enjoying the view and music while seeing how the other half used to live. The W.K. Kellogg Manor House presents a free concert by the Cereal City Concert Band on the shores of Gull Lake with special performances by Edye Evans Hyde and the Terry Lower Trio. Tours of the Manor House and grounds will be given before and after the concert. When: 3–5 p.m. Aug. 13 Place: W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners Ages: All ages Info: conference.kbs.msu.edu/events/lakeside-concert-tours, 269.671.2400
Playground Pick FYI
Lakeview Park Reviewed by experts Paige, 4; Owen, 2; and mom Alexis
ith two playgrounds, paved walking trails and 26 acres — oh, did we mention it’s also on the shores of Austin Lake? — Lakeview Park in Portage is a scenic play place to spend an afternoon or early evening. Alexis and her husband, Joe, often pick up a pizza at a nearby eatery and have a picnic with the kids and then burn off their dinner by exploring the park’s many amenities. The family likes to roam between the two playgrounds — the smaller one, geared for younger kids, is near the park’s Portage Road entrance, and a newer, more expansive play area is located on the lakeshore. The smaller playground features a tube slide (which Paige says “is the best one” she’s been on), a double slide and a bridge between structures. There are also manipulatives like a tic-tac-toe game and a tube for talking, which ARTS COUNCIL OF GREATER KALAMAZOO PRESENTS
Schedule FREE CONCERTS IN BRONSON PARK 4 PM EVERY SUNDAY!
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OUTER VIBE MOTOR CITY WOMEN THE VERVE PIPE KEITH HALL & NASHON HOLLOWAY SIDEWALK CHALK SCHLITZ CREEK KALAMAZOO CHILDREN’S CHORUS
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8 • Aug/Sept 2017
Paige found especially fun to chat through with her brother Owen. The lakeside playground was a little more challenging for the young ones, as some of the structures feature elements that can turn and spin but require a little more strength than 4- and 2-year-olds can muster. Mom Alexis acknowledges that the lakeside playground requires more parent interaction, as the kids needed help on the rope and net features and other structures. The raft swing, however, was a huge hit with both kids, especially Owen, who “can swing all day,” according to his mom. With a paved walking trail between playgrounds, as well as other paved trails running through the park, the family (which also had a 6-month-old in a stroller) found it was easy to go back and forth from one playground to the other as well as to the bathrooms, which are located near the parking lot and lakeside playground. Alexis says this park is her family’s go-to play spot, with its ample parking and features, including nature trails, ball fields and the lake, so the kids are never bored. “What I like is it has a variety of things to do. When the kids get tired of a playground, we can go for a walk or go look at the water,” she says. “It also has the prettiest view of the lake.” Where: 9345 Portage Road Hours: 8 a.m.–dusk Best ages: 0–5 on the smaller playground, 6 & older for the lakeside playground Amenities: • Newly surfaced basketball and tennis courts • 2 large pavilions with picnic tables and grills • 2 fishing piers • Baseball/softball field with concession stand (open during games) • Water fountains
Make this! FYI
Family Dinner Cook some love into it Ren Briggs
Ren Brigg s
I have always said that cooking with a pinch of love
makes everything taste better. Your kids can put a little “love” of their own into helping make this simple, hearty recipe. It is quick and easy for families on the go.
Herbed Chicken and Dumplings
• ½ tsp. chopped garlic • 1 Tbsp. oregano • 1 Tbsp. basil • 2 cups frozen sliced carrots • 1 can 8-count Grands homestyle biscuits
INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES
• Salt to taste
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• Pepper to taste
• 2 Tbsp. butter
• Small heart-shaped cookie cutter or kid-safe clean kitchen scissors (we used scissors)
• 32 oz. chicken broth •1 0 oz. Campbell’s cream of chicken or cream of chicken and herb condensed soup (I prefer the herb variety)
• Parchment paper • Whisk
HOW TO 1. Dice chicken and sauté in butter in a large skillet or stock pot. 2. Add broth, soup, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk thoroughly. 3. Simmer on low 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. While the mixture simmers, press out each biscuit to ¼-inch thickness on parchment paper and cut with cookie cutter to make dumplings. (If you don’t have a cookie cutter, see Hints for tips on using scissors.) 5. Cut leftover dough scraps into bite-size pieces for mini dumplings. 6. Add carrots to simmering mixture. Stir thoroughly. 7. Drop biscuit dough dumplings and mini dumplings into simmering broth. 8. Cook dumplings for 3—4 minutes on each side. If dumplings are thicker, let them cook slightly longer. 9. Serve immediately.
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Preschool – 8th Grade Proven Academic Excellence Small Class Size & Accredited Programs Open to All Community Members Tuition Assistance Available Before/After School-aged Program Infant & Toddler Childcare
http://www.stmikeschool.org School (269) 327-0512 Christ for Kids (269) 327-4889
Education with Christ at the Heart •
10 • Aug/Sept 2017
• If the broth seems thick, stir in a small amount of water until desired consistency is reached. • Rotisserie chicken pulled from the bone is a quick and easy precooked meat to use. • Fresh chopped garlic can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores for ease and convenience. • For a more traditional Southern-style chicken and dumplings, omit the herbs and use regular cream of chicken soup. • Substitute another vegetable that your family likes for the carrots; adjust cooking time for harder or softer veggies (i.e., peas = less time, onions = more time). • If using scissors to cut your biscuit dough, press each biscuit flat in your hand, fold in half and cut half a heart shape (with the center of the heart at the fold). Unfold for full heart. • Enjoy this with a garden-fresh salad or fresh fruits and berries.
Is this normal? FYI
You Ask, Experts Answer
Stopping the Spitting
My five-year-old is spitting at people when he gets mad. It started at the playground a few weeks ago, when he spat at a kid who wouldn’t share a toy with him. He spits at me when he’s upset with me or I’ve reprimanded him for other behaviors. Even though there are always consequences for this behavior (usually time out), it is not deterring him. Today, he spat on his teacher. What do we do to get him to stop this? — Mattawan Mom
You are concerned about your son’s spitting behavior and you understand that spitting is how he is expressing anger, so, you are already on your way to solving this problem! When the spitting occurs, calmly state, “Spitting is not OK,” and give him a brief time out. Following the time out, tell him that although feeling angry is normal, spitting is not acceptable. Assure him that you will help him when he feels angry, so that he can learn to manage this feeling. Talk with your son about situations when he has felt angry. What was happening? How did he know he was getting angry? Did he notice changes in his body like his tummy or muscles feeling “tight”? Tell him you will help him learn to solve the problems that cause his angry feelings in ways that won’t make a bigger problem for him. Give him things he can do when he feels angry, like count to five, take some breaths, ask for help, say “I’m MAD!,” stomp his foot, etc. Practice with him.
Take advantage of opportunities to share your feelings and how you calm yourself down in order to make good decisions. Look for times to point out good choices your son makes when angry or frustrated, and comment on these situations as indications that he is growing and learning! Answered by Nancy Mitchell, LPC, LMSW, therapist at Family & Children Services in Kalamazoo.
Is this normal? FYI
Telling Tall Tales
. My 12-old-daughter tells lies about her life to other people. She makes up very elaborate, detailed stories about things she does. For example, she told kids at school that she met and spent time with a famous singer while we were on vacation in Florida. And she has made up a story about having a boyfriend who lives in another state. I am pretty sure everyone knows these are lies. She really has me worried. – Kalamazoo Mom
Telling lies is not uncommon among children, typically with the intent to get something they want or to avoid a consequence. According to child development expert Jean Piaget, children tend to go through three
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12 • Aug/Sept 2017
stages of belief regarding lying. During the first stage, they believe a lie is wrong because of the likely punishment. By age 6, most children recognize that a lie is wrong even if they aren’t punished. Twelve-year-olds in our culture have often learned that lies are a violation of the trust and respect inherent in relationships. Since the lies of the 12-year-old above are not designed to avoid consequences or undesirable tasks, it is important to determine her motivation. Is she feeling a need to fabricate these stories in order to receive attention and admiration from her peers? Or to distract attention from her own shortcomings, such as academic struggles or perceived personal deficits? Has she been exposed to lying practiced by others as a method of building oneself up? Depending on the answers to the above questions, she may need some increased praise and recognition for her actual strengths, or assistance in finding aspects of her life of which she can be proud. People of influence in her life may need to examine their own truthfulness to make sure they are not setting an example of fudging the truth or exaggerating accomplishments. Rather than imposing consequences for this behavior, it is more important to begin an ongoing conversation about the importance of honesty in relationships if we want to be believed and trusted. Answered by Suzanne Coleman, LPC, child therapist at Family & Children Services in Kalamazoo.
Creation station FYI
Craft Stick School Bus Photo Frame by
Cousins Landen Andrus and Ava Andrus are ready to head back to school with their school bus photo frames.
Help get your kids a little more excited about
the start of school by working together to create a school bus picture frame for them to hang in their lockers or cubbies. Because this project requires scissors and a hot glue gun, grown-up assistance will be needed.
10• 14 • Aug/Sept 2017
MATERIALS NEEDED •3 6-inch jumbo wood craft sticks (plain or colored) •5 4½-inch skinny wood craft sticks (plain or colored) • Yellow craft paint and paint brush or sponge (if you aren’t using colored sticks) • 4 oz. craft glue
Most Likely to Succeed
When education starts with PRE-K, students are more likely to thrive in the classroom, graduate from high school and earn higher pay.
• 1 sheet of black craft foam •2 white buttons (1 inch in size) •4 -5 buttons of different colors (smaller than 1 inch) •S tick-on plastic gems and other embellishments • Letter stickers (optional) • Sharp scissors • Hot glue gun • 1 magnet (optional)
Together, we work to make sure every child can enter kindergarten ready to succeed – in school and in life.
Apply today! Call 269-250-9333 or visit dreambigstartsmall.org
HOW TO 1. Place the 3 jumbo sticks and 5 skinny sticks on your workspace.
PR E - K
K A L A M A Z O O
C O U N T Y
2. If you have plain sticks, paint both sides of each stick with yellow craft paint. Let dry. 3. Set the 3 jumbo sticks next to each other, horizontally with sides touching, on the workspace. 4. Cut 1 inch off one end of 4 of the skinny sticks 5. Use the craft glue to glue the 4 sticks vertically across the jumbo sticks about 1 inch apart from each other. 6. When glue has dried, turn the stick/bus structure over. 7. Glue the uncut skinny stick horizontally across the top of the 4 skinny sticks to make the bus roof. 8. L et the glue dry for 10–15 minutes until the stick structure is sturdy. 9. While the bus is drying, use a pencil to trace two 2-inchcircles on the black craft foam and cut out the circles. Glue each circle onto the bottom of two jumbo craft sticks to resemble the bus wheels. 10. Embellish the wheels by gluing white buttons in the center of the black circles and other smaller colored buttons in the middle of the white buttons. 11. Make a headlight by placing one of the stick-on gemson the end of the top jumbo stick. 12. Personalize the bus by adding sticker letters for your child’s name or grade to the front of the bus.
To Add Photos While our finished project didn’t include photos, this project is ideal to use as a miniature photo frame. 1. C ut photos to fit in the “windows,” leaving 1/8 inch on each side of the photo. 2. R un a thin bead of glue on the 1/8-inch edge of the front of the photos and then carefully place the window of the bus over the photo and press. Let dry. 3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for other photos you want to attach. 4. U se the hot glue gun to affix a magnet on the back of the bus to display on a locker or another metal surface.
HINTS •If your craft glue bottle is round like the one in the picture, it’s a good size for tracing a circle using the bottom of the glue bottle, before cutting. • If your child doesn’t have a locker at school, use the craft glue to attach a ribbon or string for hanging. The
ROARING SUMMER FUN
DINOSAURS NOW - 09.17.17
Land of Fire and Ice & Dinosaur Discovery
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is governed by its Board of Trustees
16 • Aug/Sept 2017
269.373.7990 | 800.772.3370 kalamazoomuseum.org
frame can so it in their cubby or hang on the door to your child’s bedroom. • Instead of filling all three photo spots (bus windows) now, wait and add pictures of your child as he or she progresses through the school year, such as the first day of school, mid-year and last day of school. It will make a nice memento.
Everyday Hacks FYI
Back-to-School Tricks for All Ages by
S tarting a new school year is an adjustment for ev-
eryone. New classes, new teachers, homework, and if you add changing schools into the mix, the adjustment can be even more difficult. Here are a number of tricks to make the back-to-school transition a little less, well, tricky.
Preschool and Kindergarten
Talk to your children about their new school in very specific ways. Saying something like “You’re going to have so much fun at your new school” isn’t particularly helpful and may set them up for disappointment if the school experience doesn’t match their idea of fun. Instead, drive by your children’s new school often, point out the playground where they will be playing or the front door and say, “Look, that’s the door we’ll walk through each morning.”
Send your children to school with a few photos of themselves that can serve as an icebreaker to talk to new friends about. Pictures of pets, family vacations, or a latest LEGO creation may be just the thing to get a conversation started with a new friend.
Avoid the long goodbye Create a goodbye ritual and put it firmly in place before school starts, so your children are accustomed to it. A good parting ritual is the “three kisses, four hugs, a high five, and we’re out the door!” If you practice that and stick to it, your little ones will know what to expect and that will help create a smooth transition into their day. I can’t speak to how it will work for your parental separation anxiety, however; mine usually requires an extra shot of espresso and a muffin.
Elementary School Getting to know you When starting a new elementary school, find out ahead of time about any special activities for your children’s grade level that they will have to look forward to, such as clubs, assembly programs or special field trips, or even art or music classes. Check the school’s Facebook page for back-to-school events that your children can attend and meet other kids before the first day of school.
Middle School Lick the locks What stressed my kid out going to middle school? Combination locks! Before your children start middle school, purchase a combination lock for them to practice with over the summer. As they get used to spinning the combination and opening the lock, their confidence about getting to classes on time will increase. Many school lockers already have combination locks built in and students will get the combination on the first day. Write the combination down in an inconspicuous place — such as inside of their binder or on the back of their ID card — in case they forget it. Teach time management You can expect your middle schoolers to have five or six different classes and homework every night. Organizing and prioritizing is difficult for many, if not most, students, so help them out by making an agreement before the school year begins on where they will do their homework, how soon after school they will get started, and how they will handle bigger tasks, like projects. Write this agreement down and post it in the designated homework area.
Keeping tabs Middle school is also the delightful age when our children start becoming more private and want to do everything for themselves. There are some unobtrusive ways that we can still stay on top of what our students are doing in class: • Most teachers send home a syllabus and homework policy letter at the beginning of the semester for parents to sign. Before I send it back to school, I take a picture of both sides of each syllabus and store the photos in an album on my phone. I can easily refer to them throughout the semester and ask on Tuesdays and Thursdays where the math homework is. • Some teachers have text reminders and class websites, and when those are available, sign up for all of them.
High School A little guidance Make friends with your child’s guidance counselor as early as possible. When back-to-school enrollment starts, go to the school as soon as possible and sit with your KPL_FYI_Fall_GetCarded_2016Ad2.pdf 3:32 PM student and your student’s counselor 1and6/27/16 work together
to craft the schedule that will best meet your student’s needs. Choose electives that match your child’s interests and ask about teachers who will be a good fit for your student. Do this every year. Spending this hour can make a big difference in your student’s whole school year. Keep up on grades I set a weekly alarm to check my son’s school’s online grade viewer. I have the alarm set for a time when I know I’ll be near my computer, and my son will be around if I have any questions for him. Get involved Regardless of the size of your children’s high school, the next four years are a time of shifting social groups and interests. Encourage your children to get involved as soon as possible with at least one activity at school. It might be a sport or clubs like Peace Jam, the newspaper, the gaming club, or the recycling club. These activities help your children become invested in their new school, meet students from all grades, and start to carve their own space.
WHAT’S COOLER THAN BEING COOL? HAVING A LIBRARY CARD. GET YOURS TODAY!
SEPTEMBER IS LIBRARY CARD SIGN-UP MONTH! LEARN MORE AT KPL.GOV/GETCARDED
18 • Aug/Sept 2017
Anxiety and Kids
Understanding anxiety is the key to helping kids cope By Anne Lape
lice Wagner’s 7-year-old daughter, Olivia, started showing signs of anxiety in kindergarten. “It would take us hours to get her to go to sleep at night,” Alice says. “She would ask so many questions about what was going to happen the next day, even if we were just going about our regular routine. If we were doing something new, we’d have to discuss each detail and imagine every possible scenario.” In school, Olivia’s anxiety was demonstrated as she moved very slowly and deliberately from one task to the next, wanting to get everything perfect before she moved on. When Olivia was feeling particularly anxious, she would wring her hands over and over until her skin was raw. Always deliberate with her words, she developed a slight stutter. As spring conferences came around, Alice, her husband Scott, and Olivia’s teacher decided that her anxiety was more than just a phase and it was time for them to address it professionally. Olivia met with a behavioral pediatrician, who referred her to a child psychologist for counseling. Olivia was also evaluated by her school district’s psychologist and speech therapist to determine what services the district could offer to support Olivia’s progress in school. After
the evaluations were complete, a team meeting was held with Olivia’s parents, teachers and the school psychologist and speech therapist, who developed a plan of action. Olivia began working with the school’s speech therapist and met weekly with a math intervention specialist to help her meet the kindergarten math goals. Olivia enjoyed the one-on-one attention and looked forward to her weekly meetings with her special teachers. A year and a half later, Olivia still has anxious days, says her mother, but now, thanks to the work of her counselor, Olivia has a literal bag of tricks and strategies to cope with anxiety that hangs on her bedroom door. In it are papers with tactics she learned in her therapy sessions, picture books, hand lotion and art supplies, all of which Olivia can use to calm herself during her anxious times. “This school year has been so much better, now that Olivia has a vocabulary to talk about how she feels and strategies to help her cope with her feelings,” Alice says. Editor’s note: All parents’ names in the story were changed to protect their privacy and that of their children.
More than butterflies Feeling anxious happens occasionally to everyone. Those feelings of butterflies in our stomachs or having a dry mouth when we speak in public are natural physical responses to a momentary stressful situation. It is normal for children to feel anxious as changes or milestones approach. Even strong, specific fears, such as a fear of the dark, fall into the realm of normal childhood development and, for many children, these fears and anxieties generally disappear as the child grows or life returns to normal. But when children are anxious or fearful to the point that it affects their everyday life, prevents them from participating in favorite activities or causes health concerns, then it’s not just simple butterflies; it’s a problem that should be addressed, say mental health experts. Anxiety is a recognized mental health condition and is the most common psychiatric disorder affecting children, according to the Child Mind Institute. In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 1 in 5 teens and young adults are living with a diagnosed health condition, and of those, half develop the condition by age 14. It has been estimated that up to two thirds of high school absences may have a mental health reason as their underlying cause.
Symptoms of anxiety Anxiety in children is often very difficult to recognize, and often looks like everything but anxiety. As a teacher, I’ve seen anxiety look like ADHD, defiance, depression and even allergies or heart problems. When one of my former students began experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, and dizziness, he was hospitalized with a suspected heart condition, but the ul-
20 • Aug/Sept 2017
timate diagnosis was that he was having extreme anxiety attacks. “Symptoms of anxiety come in multiple forms and various degrees of severity,” says local therapist Maude Statler, who works with adolescents and teens. “They may range anywhere from consistent reevaluation of past events, to unrealistic worries about present-day activities, to excessive questions about what could happen in the future. These are the obvious symptoms, though. If children are not necessarily speaking these thoughts out loud, but are mysteriously prone to headaches and stomach aches, irritability, and fatigue, they may be experiencing anxiety. Other symptoms to watch out for include difficulty concentrating, relaxing, and/or sleeping.” Boys and girls may sometimes display anxiety differently, Statler says. “Boys and girls will display similar symptoms of generalized anxiety if these feelings are considered accept-
able in their environment. For example, boys may be quicker to express anger and frustration when coping with anxiety, while girls may be more apt to express physical pain,” she explains. In my experience as a classroom teacher, I’ve found that boys who are anxious will often give up before they even try, while girls will often still want to please and may go overboard trying to get things “just right,” making themselves sick in the process. The unfortunate result is that we punish the boys’ anxiety, often labeling it ADD, and reward the girls’ anxiety by encouraging them and praising their hard work. That was certainly the case for Marnie Swanstrom and her son Abel. Abel had begun having behavioral issues in preschool; by the time he was in second grade he was having meltdowns that could last for hours. Every day, when she would drop him off at school, he would run out of the building after her,
Finding the right words Thanks to the stigma and misunderstanding of mental health issues, these topics are rarely discussed with children and they often don’t have the words to describe what or how they are feeling. This is especially true for children suffering from anxiety. At the same time, what we say to them can do more harm than good. For children, anxiety is a physical reaction that they cannot “shut off.” Telling a child “Don’t worry” or “Trust me” doesn’t help and may even fuel more anxiety because your child is trying to please you by not being anxious any longer. What can be helpful to a child is saying, “What you are feeling is called anxiety. I understand what it’s like to feel anxious. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling.” “Just being able to tell Abel that what he was feeling had a name, and that other people had it, too, we were able to break through his feelings that he was just a ‘bad’ kid.” says Marnie. “He is very bright so we went even further and talked about brain development and brain chemistry so he knew this wasn’t something he ‘caused.’ “Knowing what it was also gave us tools to help him. We worked with a therapist, we read books, watched videos and talked to other parents who had gone through it. It helped us make the decision to give him medication as well as learn methods to help calm him and quiet his brain. It broke my heart to see him so anxious, but I felt better helping him learn to handle it.”
screaming and crying. His struggles in class included issues with focusing and paying attention, and he suffered socially as well. “We had one evaluation that said he was acutely ADHD, but that really didn’t address his outbursts and meltdowns. So we took him to a neuropsychologist, who, after several hours of evaluation, told us she couldn’t even test him for ADHD because his anxiety was so off the charts,” says Marnie. “She said it was like peeling an onion — we had to address the anxiety before we could even look at other underlying issues.” For Marnie, the cause of Abel’s anxiety mystified her. “I thought, ‘What does he have to be so scared of?’ We thought we had done everything to make him feel loved, safe and secure. Treating anxiety But, we learned, whatever was going Anxiety is treatable and manon in his little brain was a mental health ageable with assistance from the issue that required a lot more than just right people. Bringing your child’s love and security to help him conquer.” teachers and health professionals
Anxiety Busters Here are a few techniques that can help your child to become calmer and lessen their anxiety:
Deep breathing can help greatly, but sometimes kids don’t understand what you mean when you say “Breathe deeply.” Try saying it this way: “Breathe through your mouth like you’re filling up a balloon in your tummy” and “Breathe out like you’re blowing out birthday candles very slowly.” Blowing bubbles also encourages deep breathing and provides a pleasant visual sensation as well. In addition, there are apps available for all ages that help with relaxation and guided breathing.
Find an activity that will tire your child’s “big muscle” groups, which will release endorphins and help calm anxiety. Have your child try climbing stairs 10 times in a row, doing wall sits or wheelbarrow walks, and pushing his/her hands against your hands. Choose some songs you love or put one song on to repeat — and dance!
• Playing with clay and Play-Doh. This can help relieve stress by allowing hands and fingers to do heavy muscle work. • Coloring. Even adults have recently realized the calming power of coloring. • Interacting with animals. One of my students’ favorite coping mechanisms is to sit and watch a few minutes of kitten or puppy videos.
on board can help determine the right combination of coping strategies to help make your child’s anxiety less overwhelming and daily life less stressful. Sometimes that involves medication and sometimes it doesn’t. But the most important first step is to seek help. Start with your family doctor or pediatrician for a consultation. Your doctor can do an initial evaluation and steer you toward appropriate next steps. It is crucial to have your child evaluated for any mental health problems you suspect, because the sooner treatment is sought, the more treatable it is and the risks for other problems, like poor school performance and social isolation, decrease. In addition, many resources are available for families who are trying to help a child struggling with anxiety. The Child Mind Institute (childmind.org) offers the following advice: • When your child is feeling calm, let him or her know that anxiety has a physical purpose, explaining that it is the body’s way of letting us know when things are OK and when things are not OK, and sometimes our brains forget to turn off the anxiety (fight, flight, or freeze). It is possible to retrain our brains to think different thoughts when we get anxious.
• Prepare your child in advance for changes or situations that may cause anxiety. If you are going somewhere new or stressful, talk through the situation with your child in advance and focus on the details that are most important to your child. Will people be there that your child likes? Will there be loud noises? Can your child take a favorite book or toy? What food will be there? What time will you be home? Make a plan for what your child can do
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22 • Aug/Sept 2017
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if he or she gets overwhelmed; scout out a quiet space ahead of time where he or she can go for a bit, or plan to take some time outside together if things get too hectic. • Be your child’s advocate. You are the best parent for your child, and while you can’t protect your child from all anxiety-producing situations, you can provide a buffer for him or her in social situations, particularly with friends or family members who, though well-intentioned, do not understand your child’s needs. Don’t insist your child hug and kiss everyone, and allow your child to take quiet timeouts if family events become too loud or overwhelming. • If your child is experiencing symptoms of anxiety, make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss what the teacher is seeing at school. This isn’t a conversation for email. Talk in person so that both of you can get the fullest picture of your child’s health and make a plan to help him or her. It is likely that your child’s teacher has experience with children’s anxiety and may have ideas that will help both at school and at home. If you determine that your child’s anxiety is getting in the way of his or her education, ask your child’s teacher to
help you work with the school system to put a formal plan (a 504 or IEP—Individualized Education Plan) in place that can provide accommodations for your child to help cope with the anxiety. This plan will follow your child through the rest of his or her K–12 education and will be updated each year with new teachers. But above all, says Statler, be available and willing to address your child’s anxiety. “The best way a parent can help is by being open to the possibility of anxiety. Talk to them about it; identify any anxious thoughts and then challenge them together,” says Statler. “If their thoughts are found to be unhelpful or inaccurate, help them generate alternative thoughts to replace them.“ Changing our way of thinking is not an easy task, but it “becomes easier when parent and child tackle it together, says Statler. “And, of course, do so with the utmost level of empathy; just because we are challenging their thoughts does not mean we are invalidating the feelings associated with them.”
WHERE IS? Addresses, phone numbers & websites of venues frequently appearing in the calendar: Comstock Township Library — 6130 King Highway, 345-0136, comstocklibrary.org Kalamazoo County Expo Center — 2900 Lake St, 383-8778, kalcounty.com/parks/expo Kalamazoo Institute of Arts — 314 S Park St, 349-7775, kiarts.com Kalamazoo Valley Museum — 230 N Rose St, 373-7990, kalamazoomuseum.org KPL-Alma Powell — Kalamazoo Public Library-Alma Powell, 1000 W Paterson Ave, 553-7960, kpl.gov KPL-Central — Kalamazoo Public Library-Central, 315 S Rose St, 342-9837, kpl.gov KPL-Eastwood — Kalamazoo Public Library-Eastwood, 1112 Gayle Ave, 553-7810, kpl.gov KPL-Oshtemo — Kalamazoo Public Library-Oshtemo, 7265 W Main St, 553-7980, kpl.gov KPL-Washington Square — Kalamazoo Public Library-Washington Square, 1244 Portage St, 553-7970, kpl.gov Parchment Library — Parchment Community Library, 401 S Riverview Dr, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org Portage Library — Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544, portagelibrary.info
Richland Library — Richland Community Library, 8951 Park St, 629-9085, richlandlibrary.org
24 • Aug/Sept 2017
Mondays Toddler Talk, (Aug only), toddlers play & adults share with a parent educator, 10:15 am– noon, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 1–3, FREE Baby Talk, (Aug only), talk about care of babies with facilitator Carolyn Call, RN, 2:30 pm, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 0–12 months, FREE Play & Learn, (Aug only), play for early learning, 3:30–5 pm, KPL-Eastwood, ages 1–5, FREE Tuesdays Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, fresh produce & other goods, 7 am–2 pm, Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, 1204 Bank St, 3596727, pfcmarkets.com, all ages, FREE Toddler Storytime, (Aug only), songs, movement & stories, 10:30 am, KPL-Central, ages 2–3, FREE Storyoga, yoga movements, games & stories, 1 pm, Richland Library, preschool–grade 1, FREE Wednesdays Baby Lapsit, (Aug only), songs, bounces & rhymes, 10 am, KPL-
Central, birth–walking, FREE Baby Steps, (Aug only), rhymes, songs & books, 10:30 am, KPLCentral, walking–24 months, FREE 1-2-3 Play with Me, (Aug only), play, make friends, & talk with child development specialists (registration required), 10:30 am, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 1–3 with caregiver, FREE Farmyard Wednesdays, (thru Sept 6), Green & Growing, Aug 2; Dog Days, Aug 9; Fiber Fun, Aug 16; Compost Critters, Aug 23; Tools of the Trade, Aug 30; Barn Picnic, Sept 6; 10:30 am–noon, DeLano Homestead Farmyard, 555 West E Ave, 3811574, naturecenter.org, ages 2–8, regular admission plus $5 fee Thursdays Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, fresh produce & other goods, 7 am–2 pm, Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, 1204 Bank St, 3596727, pfcmarkets.com, all ages, FREE Family Storytime, stories, songs, fingerplays & fun activi-
ties, 10:30 am, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 0–5, FREE Play & Learn, play for early learning, 10:30 am–noon, KPLEastwood, ages 1–5, FREE Play & Learn, (Aug only), play for early learning, 3:30–5 pm, KPL-Washington Square, ages 1–5, FREE Storyoga, yoga movements, games & stories, 6 pm, Richland Library, grades 1–5, FREE Fridays Family Storytime, stories, songs, fingerplays & fun activities, 10:30 am, KPL-Central, ages 0–5, FREE Play & Learn, play for early learning, 10:30 am–noon, KPLAlma Powell, ages 1–5, FREE Lunchtime Live, local musicians, food trucks & pop-up vendors, 11:30 am–1:30 pm, Bronson Park, kzooparks.org/ events, all ages, FREE Hook, Line & Sinker Kids’ Fishing, (thru Sept 1), learn about fishing, 5–7 pm, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan,
Thru Sept 4, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Tours, learn about a variety of fish species, 10 am, noon, & 2 pm Mon–Sat; noon & 2 pm Sun, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan, facebook.com/wolflakehatchery, all ages, FREE Thru Sept 9, Eclipse 2017, a simulation of the Aug 21 total solar eclipse, 3 pm Tues & Thurs, 2 pm Sat, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3 Thru Sept 10, Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist, a Smithsonian exhibition by the Native American artist displaying her abstract paintings, landscapes, drawings, sculpture & signature diptychs, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, all ages, $5 adults, $2 students, 12 & under free Thru Sept 10, Did an Asteroid Really Kill the Dinosaurs?, explore the impact that likely killed off the dinosaurs, 11 am,
Mon–Fri, 1 pm Sat, 2 pm Sun, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3 Thru Sept 10, Dinosaurs at Dusk, explore feathered dinosaurs & look for clues about the origins of flight, 3 pm Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3 Thru Sept 17, Dinosaurs: Land of Fire & Ice, explore the age of the dinosaurs, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE Thru Oct 22, Our People, Our Land, Our Images, an exhibition of 51 works by 26 indigenous photographers, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, all ages, $5 adults, $2 students, 12 & under free Aug 4–13, 2017 USTA Boys’ 18 & 16 National Tennis Championships, the top 400 tennis players compete, 9 am–9 pm, Stowe Stadium, Kalamazoo College, 337-7343, ustaboys. com, all ages, outdoors, $5 per day, 18 & under free
ONGOING Thru Aug 6, Peter and the Starcatcher, Farmers Alley Theatre presents a swashbuckling prequel to Peter Pan, 7:30 pm Thurs, 8 pm Fri & Sat, 2 pm Sun, Little Theatre, WMU, corner of Oakland Drive & Oliver Lane, Kalamazoo, 343-2727, farmersalleytheatre.com, all ages, $30–35 Thru Aug 6, The Lion in Winter, a modern-day classic of sibling rivalry, adultery & dungeons surrounding the royal family of Henry II of England, 8 pm Tues.–Sat., 5 pm Sun, Barn Theatre, 13351 M-96, Augusta, 731-4121, barntheatreschool. org, teens & up, $37 Thru Sept 4, Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine, exhibit focusing on men & women who served as surgeons & nurses during the Civil War, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE
Tuesday, August 1
Tech Tuesdays, experiment with technology tools: Little Bits, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
facebook.com/wolflakehatchery, all ages, FREE Saturdays Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, fresh produce & other goods, 7 am–2 pm, Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market, 1204 Bank St, 3596727, pfcmarkets.com, all ages, FREE Hook, Line & Sinker Kids’ Fishing, (thru Sept 2), learn about fishing, 9–11 am, Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery, 34270 County Road 652, Mattawan, facebook.com/wolflakehatchery, all ages, FREE Sunday Portage Market, fresh produce & other goods, 10 am–2 pm, Portage Senior Center, 320 Library Lane, Portage, 3596727, pfcmarkets.com, all ages, FREE Concerts in the Park, Keith Hall & Nashon Holloway, Aug 6; Sidewalk Chalk, Aug 13; Schlitz Creek, Aug 20; Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus, Aug 27; all concerts begin at 4 pm, Bronson Park, 342-5059, ka-
Under Construction: Nature’s Best Builders, hands-on workshop presented by the Kalamazoo Nature Center, 2 pm, KPLOshtemo, all ages, FREE but ticket required
Open Roads Fixapalooza, get bike parts & help fixing your bike, 3:30–5:30 pm, KPL-Alma Powell parking lot, ages 11–18, outdoors, FREE
Fresh Food is Fun, the Fresh Food Fairy shows how “eating a rainbow” can make you happy & healthy, 4 pm, KPL-Alma Powell, ages 6–11, FREE Stories with Jethro, read stories to a friendly dog, 4–5:30 pm, KPLOshtemo, all ages, FREE
Dairy Open House: Cheese, learn about cheesemaking, 4–8 pm, Pasture Dairy Center, WK Kellogg Biological Station, 10461 N 40th St, Hickory Corners, 6712508, pasturedairy.kbs.msu.edu, all ages, FREE The Pillowcase Project, decorate your pillowcase & learn how it can help with emergency preparedness (registration required), 4:30 pm, KPL-Central, ages 8–11, FREE Writer’s Workshop, trade writing tips, tricks, prompts & constructive criticism, 6 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
Aug 8–12, Kalamazoo County Fair, farm animals, educational displays, 4-H exhibits, carnival rides, games & food, 9 am–9 pm, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 383-8778, kalamazoocountyfair.com, all ages, $6 adults, $2 ages 6–12, 5 & under free Aug 8–20, Disney’s Newsies, musical about a ragged band of teenage “newsies” who dream of a better life, 8 pm Tues–Sat, 5 pm Sun, Barn Theatre, 13351 M-96, Augusta, 731-4121, barntheatreschool. org, ages 10 & up, $37 Aug 10–13, National Blueberry Festival, various activities for the family, downtown South Haven, blueberryfestival.com, all ages, outdoors, cost varies Sept 30, 2017–Jan 7, 2018, Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World, touring exhibition with hands-on experiences, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE
Crafts, color a plush animal (registration required), 7 pm, Comstock Library, ages 3 & up, FREE Wednesday, August 2
Summer Family Fun, interactive program for children & caregivers, 10 am, Portage Library, all ages, FREE
Drop-in Storytime, stories, songs, games & parachute play, 10:30 am, Comstock Library, ages 1–5, FREE Teen Cookies & Canvas, enjoy a morning of painting & cookies (registration required), 11 am, Richland Library, grades 6–12, outdoors, FREE
Space Shapes, learn about the shapes in the Solar System, noon & 12:30 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, ages 4–10, FREE One World, One Sky, Big Bird, Elmo & Hu Hu Zhu explore the sky, 1 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3
Return of the Dinosaurs Summer Hands-on Happenings: Dino Land, learn about habitats & create a meteor ball & diorama,
1–4 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE
India Before the Himalayas: When Snakes Ate Dinosaurs & Mammals Inherit the Earth: How the K/Pg Mass Extinction Killed Off Dinosaurs and Opened the Way for Mammals, two lectures by paleontologists Dr. Jeff Wilson & Dr. Greg Wilson, 1:30 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Stryker Theater, all ages, FREE
STEM: Build a Spaghetti Bridge, science & engineering activities (registration required), 1:30 pm, Comstock Library, all ages, FREE
Comics Club, create your own comics & graphic novels, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE SpacePark 360, travel thru an amusement park spanning the Solar System, 2 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3 Make Your Own: Wreck This Journal, create & embellish your own journal, 2–3:30 pm, Parchment Library, ages 11–18, FREE Reading with Tucker, read to a friendly Golden Retriever (registration required), 4–5:30 pm, KPLAlma Powell, ages 5–18, FREE
Teen Game & LEGO Club, play video games, read comics & build with LEGOs, 4–5:30 pm, Portage Library, grades 6–12, FREE Thursday, August 3
Ribfest, food, entertainment & music, 11 am–11:30 pm, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 145 E Water St, kalamazooribfest.com, all ages, $10, free before 4 pm Teen Time: Miss Peregrine’s Party, crafts & activities (registration required), 1:30 pm, Comstock Library, grades 6–12, FREE
Audio Exploration, try out different music gear & software & talk to musicians, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
Martial Arts with Charles Parker, learn self-defense techniques from a 3rd degree Judo instructor (registration required), 2 pm, ages 7–10; 3 pm, ages 11–13, KPL-Eastwood, FREE Fitness in the Parks, free exercise program, 6:30–7:30 pm, Frays Park, 4400 Canterbury Ave, 337-8006, kzooparks.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE Friday, August 4
Binder Park Zoo, see the zoo’s animal ambassadors (registration required), 10:30 am, Richland Library, all ages, FREE
Joel Tacey, Michigan’s Family Funnyman, enjoy Joel’s Book Builder Magical Comedy Show,
10:30 am, Comstock Library, all ages, FREE
Stroller Walk, a stroll around the park, stories & treat, 10:30 am, KPL-Oshtemo, all ages, FREE Ribfest, food, entertainment & music, 11 am Aug 4–12:30 am Aug 5, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 145 E Water St, kalamazooribfest.com, all ages, 10, free before 4 pm
City Summer by Urban Folk Art Exploratory, interactive workshops to sharpen your problemsolving & critical thinking skills, 1–3 pm, KPL-Alma Powell; 2–4 pm, KPL-Central, ages 6–11, FREE Art Hop, art at locations around Kalamazoo, 5–8 pm, 342-5059, kalamazooarts.org, all ages, FREE Saturday, August 5
Sensory Showtime: The Emoji Movie, a movie welcoming to guests with special needs, Celebration Cinema, 6600 Ring Rd, Portage, 324-7469, celebrationcinema.com/sensoryshowtimes, all ages, see website for times & ticket prices
Fitness in the Parks, free exercise program, 9–10 am, Upjohn Park, 1018 Walter, 337-8006, kzooparks.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE
Reptile Weekend, hands-on encounters with reptiles & amphibians, 9 am–6 pm, Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek, 269-979-1351, binderparkzoo. org, all ages, regular admission Fly with the Raptors: Zipline Adventure, fly on a ground-landing zip line, 10 am–noon, Kalamazoo Nature Center, ages 8 & up, regular admission plus $12 fee LEGO at the Library, build, race & imagine, 10:30 am, KPL-Oshtemo, all ages, FREE Ribfest, food, entertainment & music, 11 am Aug 5–12:30 am Aug 6, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 145 E Water St, kalamazooribfest.com, all ages, $10, free before 4 pm
First Saturday @ KPL, stories, activities & door prizes, 2 pm, KPLCentral, all ages, FREE
United Teens Talent Show, performance by the winners of the 2017 United Teens Talent competition, 7 pm, Civic Auditorium, 329 S Park St, 342-5059, kalamazooarts.org, ages 13–19, FREE Sunday, August 6
Reptile Weekend, hands-on encounters with reptiles & amphibians, 11 am–6 pm, Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek, 269-979-1351, binderparkzoo.org, all ages, regular admission
Visit the DeLano Apiary, discuss the importance of beekeeping, 2 pm, DeLano Farmyard, 555 West E Ave, 381-1574, naturecenter. org, all ages, regular admission
Groove Council, Detroit-based soul, R&B, blues & funk band, 6:30 pm, The Stage, Kindleberger Park, 650 S Riverview Dr, Parchment, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE Monday, August 7
Crafts, paint a sun catcher (registration required), 10:30 am & 1:30 pm, Comstock Library, ages 3 & up, FREE
Maker Mondays: Shrinky Dinks, drop in for tinkering, creating & exploring different projects, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
Once Upon a Raptor, learn about raptors, presented by the Kalamazoo Nature Center, 2 pm, KPL-Eastwood, all ages, FREE but ticket required
Disc Golf, learn to play disc golf, 4:30 pm, KPL-Oshtemo parking lot, grades 5–12, outdoors, FREE Anime Club, share ideas about anime, manga & Asian pop culture, 4:30–6 pm, Parchment Library, ages 11–18, FREE Teens’ Top 10 Book Club, read & review books before they’re published, 4:30–6:30 pm, KPLCentral, ages 11–18, FREE Tuesday, August 8
Stroller Stroll, walk on strollerfriendly paths, 10 am, Kalamazoo Nature Center, ages 0–5 with adult, regular admission
Alan Kazam the Magician, enjoy a magic show, 2 pm, KPL-Alma Powell; 6:30 pm, KPL-Oshtemo, all ages, FREE but ticket required Tech Tuesdays, experiment with technology tools: Toy Tear-apart/ Frankentoys, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE Open Roads Fixapalooza, get bike parts & help fixing your bike, 3:30–5:30 pm, KPL-Alma Powell parking lot, ages 11–18, outdoors, FREE Stories with Jethro, read stories to a friendly dog, 4–5:30 pm, KPLOshtemo, all ages, FREE
Writer’s Workshop, trade writing tips, tricks, prompts & constructive criticism, 6 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
Fun with Dairy Food, learn about the science of milk, 6:30 pm, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 12685 East C Ave, Augusta, birdsanctuary.kbs. msu.edu, ages 5 & up, $7 adult, $6 student, $5 child Crafts, paint a sun catcher (registration required), 7 pm, Comstock Library, ages 3 & up, FREE
26 • Aug/Sept 2017
Wednesday, August 9
Summer Family Fun, interactive program for children & caregivers, 10 am, Portage Library, all ages, FREE
Fresh Food Fairy, sample fresh vegetables & enjoy smoothies from the bike blender, 10:30 am, Comstock Library, all ages, FREE
LEGO Build Competition, join the annual LEGO competition, 10:30 am, Richland Library, all ages, FREE Space Shapes, learn about the shapes in the Solar System, noon & 12:30 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, ages 4–10, FREE
Make Music & Make a Mess, dancing, karaoke & water balloons, 1 pm, Portage Library, all ages, FREE
One World, One Sky, Big Bird, Elmo & Hu Hu Zhu explore the sky, 1 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3 Return of the Dinosaurs Summer Hands-on Happenings: Dino Land, learn about habitats & create a meteor ball & diorama, 1–4 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE
Planet Dinosaur, look at more recently discovered feathered dinosaurs from Asia, 1:30 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE
Comics Club, create your own comics & graphic novels, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE SpacePark 360, travel thru an amusement park spanning the Solar System, 2 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Planetarium, all ages, $3
Hot Wheels Racing, build tracks, race cars & crash into LEGO buildings, 6:30 pm, KPL-Washington Square, all ages, FREE Thursday, August 10
Vehicle Days, see some BIG vehicles, 11 am–1 pm, KPL-Oshtemo parking lot, all ages, outdoors, FREE Teen Time: Sharpie Tie Dye Socks, crafts & activities (registration required), 1:30 pm, Comstock Library, grades 6–12, FREE
LEGO at the Library, build, race & imagine, 2 pm, KPL-Eastwood, all ages, FREE Zumba Dance, dance with Heather Mitchell, 2 pm, KPL-Central, ages 6–11, FREE
Gamer’s Arena, pixel punching, fast driving, card flipping & monster fighting, 2–4 pm, KPLCentral, grades 5–12, FREE Pizza & Pages, book discussion of The Hate U Give, by Angie
Thomas (registration required), 4:30 pm, KPL-Alma Powell, grades 5–12, FREE Fitness in the Parks, free exercise program, 6:30–7:30 pm, Frays Park, 4400 Canterbury Ave, 337-8006, kzooparks.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE Friday, August 11
Tales on the Trail, walk along the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, 10:30 am, KPL-Alma Powell, all ages, outdoors, FREE Create!, create with your favorite materials (registration at the door), 1–2:30 pm, Portage Library, grades 2–5, FREE
City Summer by Urban Folk Art Exploratory, interactive workshops to sharpen your problemsolving & critical thinking skills, 1–3 pm, KPL-Alma Powell; 2–4 pm, KPL-Central, ages 6–11, FREE Nova VR, explore virtual reality gaming (registration at the door), 1–3 pm, Portage Library, grades K–5, FREE Saturday, August 12
Fitness in the Parks, free exercise program, 9–10 am, Upjohn Park, 1018 Walter, 337-8006, kzooparks.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE KPL’s Annual LEGO Building Contest, enter your original creations, 10 am–4 pm; entries accepted Aug 11, KPL-Central & KPL-Oshtemo, all ages, FREE
Tumble Toddlers, movement with music (registration required), 10:30 am, KPL-Central, ages 1–3, FREE Barnyard Story Corner, interactive stories about nature, 11 am–1 pm, DeLano Farmyard, 555 West E Ave, 381-1574, naturecenter.org, all ages, regular admission Ramona Park Health Fair, demonstrations & information from organizations, 1–3 pm, Ramona Park, 8600 Sprinkle Rd, Portage, portagemi.gov, all ages, FREE
PalletPalooza, recycle a pallet in a family-friendly competition, 2–6 pm, WMU Student Recreation Center, Western Avenue & Oliver Street, 382-0490, palletswmi.com, all ages, FREE Sunday, August 13
DeLano Open House, tour the historic DeLano home, 1–4 pm, DeLano Homestead, 555 West E Ave, 381-1574, naturecenter. org, all ages, regular admission Grandparents’ Day, intergenerational activities with grandparents, 2–4 pm, Kalamazoo Nature Center, all ages, outdoors, regular admission
Music in the Park, family-friendly concert featuring Out of Favor Boys, 5:30 pm, Flesher Field, 3664 S 9th St, Oshtemo, 5537980, kpl.gov, all ages, outdoors, FREE The Green Valley Boys, country, folk, bluegrass & gospel band, 6:30 pm, The Stage, Kindleberger Park, 650 S Riverview Dr, Parchment, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE Monday, August 14
Family Storytime, stories, rhymes, music & the mystery letter of the week, 9:30 am, Portage Library, ages 2–5, FREE
Baby & Toddler Storytime, books, fingerplays & creative movement, 10:30 am, Portage Library, ages 0–23 months, FREE Ferret Fun Returns, informative program with Dee Gage & her furry ferret friends (registration required), 11 am, KPL-Central; 2 pm, KPL-Washington Square, all ages, FREE
Maker Mondays: Sewing/Embroidery/Cross Stitch, drop in for tinkering, creating & exploring different projects, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
Disc Golf, learn to play disc golf, 4:30 pm, KPL-Oshtemo parking lot, grades 5–12, outdoors, FREE College & Career Readiness, how to get ready for life after high school, 5:30–7 pm, KPL-Eastwood, grades 8–12, FREE Wee Sing, Play & Dance Now, singing, dancing, listening & playing instruments with Colleen Yonge, 6:30 pm, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 15 months–3 years, FREE Tuesday, August 15
LEGO at the Library, build, race & imagine, 2 pm, KPL-Alma Powell, all ages, FREE
Tech Tuesdays, experiment with technology tools: Conductive Thread, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE Movie & Popcorn: Moana, enjoy the Disney movie, 2–3:30 pm, KPL-Alma Powell, all ages, FREE Open Roads Fixapalooza, get bike parts & help fixing your bike, 3:30–5:30 pm, KPL-Alma Powell parking lot, ages 11–18, outdoors, FREE Stories with Jethro, read stories to a friendly dog, 4–5:30 pm, KPLOshtemo, all ages, FREE
The Pillowcase Project, decorate your pillowcase & learn how it can help with emergency preparedness (registration required), 4:30 pm, KPL-Central, ages 8–11, FREE
Writer’s Workshop, trade writing tips, tricks, prompts & constructive criticism, 6 pm, KPLCentral, grades 5–12, FREE Wednesday, August 16
Summer Family Fun, interactive program for children & caregivers, 10 am, Portage Library, all ages, FREE
The Enchanted Garden, dress up for a day of gnomes, fairies & garden magic, noon–2 pm, Leila Arboretum, 928 W Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, 269-979-0270, lasgarden.org, all ages, $2 The Great Eclipse of 2017, learn about the Aug 21 solar eclipse, 1–3 pm, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, all ages, FREE
Comics Club, create your own comics & graphic novels, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE Teen Game & LEGO Club, play video games, read comics & build with LEGOs, 4–5:30 pm, Portage Library, grades 6–12, FREE
Summer Reading Party, trade in reading tickets for food, games, crafts & prizes, 5:30–7:30 pm, Comstock Library, all ages, FREE Movie Night, enjoy a comedy & snacks, 6–8 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE Thursday, August 17
Audio Exploration, try out different music gear & software & talk to musicians, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
Senses & Sense-a-bilities, hands-on activities to make sense of the five senses (registration required), 2 pm, KPL-Eastwood, ages 6–11, FREE Lakeside Concert, performance by the Cereal City Concert Band with Edye Evans Hyde and the Terry Lower Trio, 3–5 pm, WK Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E Gull Lake Dr, Hickory Corners, conference.kbs.msu.edu, all ages, FREE New Odyssey Concert, band presenting various decades of music, 7 pm, Overlander Bandshell, Portage, 329-4522, portagemi.gov, all ages, FREE
Movies in the Park, watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington under the stars, 8–10 pm, Oshtemo Township Park, 7275 W Main St, Oshtemo, 553-7980, kpl.gov, all ages, outdoors, FREE Friday, August 18
Little Scientists, explore science thru stories, songs & experiments (registration required), 10:30 am, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 3–6, FREE City Summer by Urban Folk Art Exploratory, interactive work-
shops to sharpen your problemsolving & critical thinking skills, 1–3 pm, KPL-Alma Powell; 2–4 pm, KPL-Central, ages 6–11, FREE
Movies in the Park, watch The Lego Batman Movie under the stars, 7 pm family activities, movie begins at sunset, La Crone Park, 535 W Paterson St, 337-8191, kzooparks.org, all ages, FREE Saturday, August 19
Sensory Showtime: Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, a movie welcoming to guests with special needs, Celebration Cinema, 6600 Ring Rd, Portage, 3247469, celebrationcinema.com/ sensoryshowtimes, all ages, see website for times & ticket prices Oshtemo Rotary Fun Day, kids’ activities, music, air show, fire department bucket rides, petting zoo & pony rides, 9 am–3 pm, Flesher Field, 3664 S 9th St, Oshtemo, 375-4260, all ages, FREE
The Printed Page— for Ideas that Stick Imagine that moment in front of the TV when the commercials come on. What do you do? It may not be that surprising, but many of us tune out. We talk, grab a snack, or we check our phone to scroll through texts—anything but look at the commercials. What might surprise you is the number of people who look through their daily mail. Flyers, coupon sheets, and newspaper inserts get more attention during TV commercials than the actual commercials! When the time comes to spend your business’s marketing budget, look at the difference between interruption advertising and invitation advertising. Will your message interrupt people? Or, like the flyers and coupons that come in the mail, will it invite people to find something on their time and on their own terms? When your reader gives you a warm welcome, you know you’ve found a great first step in your advertising. Print creates the invitation.
Kalamazoo’s Vintage Market, antiques, collectibles, shabby chic, retro & repurposed items, 9 am–4 pm, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820, all ages, $5 adults, children free
1116 W Centre Avenue ☎ 323-9333 PortagePrinting.com
Mini Carnival, end of the summer reading bash in the park, 9:30 am–12:30 pm, Richland Park, all ages, FREE Be the Change, learn to make a difference in Kalamazoo thru a service project (registration required), 10 am–noon, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE
LEGO at the Library, build, race & imagine, 10:30 am, KPL-Central, all ages, FREE Creature Feature: Owl, see an owl up close, 11 am, Kalamazoo Nature Center, all ages, regular admission
Who Eats Whom?, build a food chain, meet live animals & discover who eats whom outside, 1 pm, Harbors West Park, 3458 Summersong Path, Portage, 329-4522, portagemi.gov, all ages, FREE
LEGO One-Scoop Challenge, create with one scoop of LEGOs, 2 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE Sunday, August 20
Thunderwude, bluegrass band, 6:30 pm, The Stage, Kindleberger Park, 650 S Riverview Dr, Parchment, 343-7747, parchmentlibrary.org, all ages, outdoors, FREE Monday, August 21
Draw a Story with Ruth McNally Barshaw, the illustrator teaches creative writing, drawing & storytelling techniques (registration required), 2 pm, KPL-Eastwood, ages 8–11, FREE
FALL Child care for WMU students, employees and the community
• NAEYC accredited • Flexible scheduling • Hourly/weekly rates • Located on campus • Culturally diverse • Back-up care available • Research-guided, play-based curriculum • Ages 15 months to 12 years • Pre-K Michigan’s Great Start Readiness Program site wmich.edu/childcare 2210 Wilbur Ave. | (269) 387-2277 Materials were developed under a grant awarded by the Michigan Department of Education
Sharpie Tie Dye, make a tie-dye creation, 2 pm, KPL-Washington Square, grades 5–12, FREE
Escape the Library, decipher coded messages & solve clues leading to keys for escape, 4 & 6 pm, KPL-Central, grades 5–12, FREE Tuesday, August 22
Youth Summit, Kalamazoo County Substance Abuse Task Force hosts interactive learning sessions on living above the influence of drugs & alcohol, 8:30 am–1 pm, Bernhard Center, WMU, 388-4200, preventionworks.org, ages 13–18, FREE Wednesday, August 23
Magic, Magic, Magic!, magician Gordon Russ provides music & laughter, 10 am, Portage Library, all ages, FREE Nova VR, explore virtual reality gaming, 3 pm, KPL-Oshtemo, ages 13 & up, FREE Global Art, explore history, geography, language & culture by creating art, 4 pm, KPL-Central, ages 6–11, FREE Reading with Tucker, read to a friendly Golden Retriever (registration required), 4–5:30 pm, KPLAlma Powell, ages 5–18, FREE Thursday, August 24
DeLano Farms Tractor Tour, a tractor-drawn wagon ride & treats to feed farmyard animals, 4 pm, DeLano Farmyard, 555 West E Ave, 381-1574, naturecenter. org, all ages, outdoors, regular admission
Rocket Readers, book club encouraging language development, 4:30 pm, KPL-Central, grades K–2, FREE Saturday, August 26
2017 Healthy & Fit Expo, features professionals in health & fitness, plus Olympic weightlifting competition, 9 am–4 pm, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 517706-1011, all ages, $3 adults, 12 & under free Barnyard Story Corner, interactive stories about nature, 11 am–1 pm, DeLano Farmyard, 555 West E Ave, 381-1574, naturecenter. org, all ages, regular admission
Family Campout, a cookout, night hike & sleep under the stars, 5 pm Aug 26–noon Aug 27, Kalamazoo Nature Center, all ages, outdoors, $40 non-member, 3 & under free Sunday, August 27
2017 Healthy & Fit Expo, features professionals in health & fitness, plus Olympic weightlifting competition, 10 am–3 pm, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 517-706-1011, all ages, $3 adults, 12 & under free
28 • Aug/Sept 2017
Mudfest, a giant mud pit & slip ‘n’ slide, learning stations & zip line, noon–5 pm, Kalamazoo Nature Center, all ages, outdoors, regular admission, fee for zip line
Saturday, September 9
Kalamazoo’s Insane Inflatable 5K Obstacle Fun Run, an obstacle course filled with inflatables, all day, Gilmore Car Museum, The Rock Show, ultimate trib- 6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corute band, 6:30 pm, The Stage, ners, 671-5089, gilmorecarmuKindleberger Park, 650 S River- seum.org, all ages, $57–75 view Dr, Parchment, 343-7747, NSRA Street Rod Nationals parchmentlibrary.org, all ages, North, street rods, muscle cars outdoors, FREE & custom vehicles, 8 am–5 pm, Monday, August 28
Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 303-776-7841, nsra-usa.com, all Summer Crafternoon, make ages, $15 adults, $5 ages 6–12, 5 crafts to take home, 1 pm, KPL& under free Eastwood, ages 6–11, FREE Suicide Prevention Walk, join Wee Sing, Play & Dance Now, Gryphon Place for a 5K walk thru singing, dancing, listening & downtown Kalamazoo (registraplaying instruments with Colleen tion required), 9 am, Bronson Yonge, 6:30 pm, KPL-Central, Park, gryphon.org/events, all ages 15 months–3 years, FREE ages, see website for details Tuesday, August 29 Eco Raft Race, create a floating Senses & Sense-a-bilities, vessel from eco-friendly materihands-on activities to make sense als & race, 2–4 pm, Mayors’ Riverof the five senses (registration re- front Park, 251 Mills St, 337-8191, quired), 2 pm, KPL-Alma Powell, kzooparks.org, all ages, $25 per ages 6–11, FREE vessel College & Career Readiness, how to get ready for life after high school, 5:30–7 pm, KPL-Alma Powell, grades 8–12, FREE
Hawks on the Wing: An Evening for the Birds, join Josh Haas, creator of the film, Hawks on the Wing, to raise funds for KNC raptors, 4–8 pm, Kalamazoo Wednesday, August 30 Nature Center, all ages, regular Reading with Tucker, read to a admission friendly Golden Retriever (registration required), 4–5:30 pm, KPL- Sunday, September 10 Alma Powell, ages 5–18, FREE NSRA Street Rod Nationals Movie Night at the Museum, North, street rods, muscle cars & cruise in for a movie, 7–10 pm, custom vehicles, 8:30 am–2 pm, Gilmore Car Museum, 6865 W Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, 671- 303-776-7841, nsra-usa.com, all 5089, gilmorecarmuseum.org, all ages, $15 adults, $5 ages 6–12, 5 & under free ages, see website for details Walk to End Alzheimer’s, a walk for Alzheimer’s support, care & Archery 101, learn the basics of research, noon–2 pm, Arcadia archery, 5–7 pm, Kalamazoo Na- Creek Festival Place, 145 E Water ture Center, ages 8 & up, outdoors, St, 342-1482, act.alz.org, all ages, regular admission plus $12 fee see website for details Thursday, August 31
Saturday, September 16
Bangor Apple Festival, farmers’ market, kids’ activities, classic car show, vendors & entertainment, LEGO at the Library, build, race downtown Bangor, 350-3759, & imagine, 10:30 am, KPL-Oshte- bangorapplefestival.com, all mo, all ages, FREE ages, outdoors, FREE Wednesday, September 6 Kalamazoo Mom-to-Mom Sale, Teen Game & LEGO Club, play gently used kids’ clothing, toys, video games, read comics & build books, furniture & maternity with LEGOs, 4–5:30 pm, Portage items, 9 am–1 pm, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820, Library, grades 6–12, FREE loriesevents.vpweb.com, all Friday, September 8 ages, $2 adults, children free NSRA Street Rod Nationals Fall Expo & Craft Show, craftNorth, street rods, muscle cars ers, artists & vendors from across & custom vehicles, 8 am–5 pm, Michigan, 9 am–4 pm, KalamaKalamazoo County Expo Center, zoo County Expo Center South, 303-776-7841, nsra-usa.com, all 903-5820, loriesevents.vpweb. ages, $15 adults, $5 ages 6–12, com, all ages, FREE ages 5 & under free LEGO at the Library, build, race Art Hop, art at locations around & imagine, 10:30 am, KPL-CenKalamazoo, 5–8 pm, 342-5059, tral, all ages, FREE kalamazooarts.org, all ages, FREE Saturday, September 2
Wednesday, September 20
Teen Game & LEGO Club, play video games, read comics & build with LEGOs, 4–5:30 pm, Portage Library, grades 6–12, FREE Saturday, September 23
Point 1K Spoof Run & Duck Derby Raffle, a 329-foot flat course plus family activities, live music & Duck Derby raffle to benefit Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, 10 am, with race at noon, Bronson Park, 345-0273, point1k.com, all ages, see website for details Sunday, September 24
Bronson Children’s Hospital Walk & 5K Run, benefitting Southwest Michigan’s only children’s hospital, 11 am–3 pm, Bronson Methodist Hospital parking lot @ John & Lovell streets, 341-8100, bronsonhealth.com, all ages, outdoors, registration fee
Harvest Fest, pie-baking contest, petting zoo, hay rides, scavenger hunt, storytelling & food booths, 11 am–4 pm, Vicksburg Historic Village, 300 N Richardson St, Vicksburg, vicksburghistory.org, all ages, FREE Thursday, September 28
Messages of Hope Community Performance, youth relate their stories of hope thru spoken word poetry (registration required), 6 pm, Cityscape Events, 125 S Kalamazoo Mall, gryphon.org/ events, ages 5 & up, FREE Saturday, September 30
Sensory Showtime: The LEGO Ninjago Movie, a movie welcoming to guests with special needs, Celebration Cinema, 6600 Ring Rd, Portage, 324-7469, celebrationcinema.com/sensoryshowtimes, all ages, see website for times & ticket prices
Juvenile Diabetes Walk, a 1-mile walk to support the end of type 1 diabetes, 8:30 am, Arcadia Creek Festival Place, 616-222-1240, www2.jdrf.org/ site/TR/Walk/GreaterMichigan WalksChapter4517?pg=entry& fr_id=6963, all ages, see website for details KCAN Super Hero 5K Run/ Walk, wear a super hero costume for the run/walk, 9 am–noon, Celery Flats, 7366 Garden Lane, Portage, ages 4 & up, $20–25 ages 11 & up, $10–15 ages 4–10
Events may change without notice. FYI Family Magazine makes all reasonable effort to ensure the accuracy of the events listed here, but makes no warranty for the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the events information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for results obtained from the use of the information.
Family Man (continued from page 30) us how to play with our G.I. Joes, Barbies or He-Man figures. The other night, my daughter asked me to help her on the piano. She started trying to figure out songs she was familiar with, songs that were not in her piano book. (For some reason, she is endlessly fascinated with the keyboard intro to A-Ha’s Take On Me.) When I directed her to her actual assignment, she got frustrated and said she wanted to learn Take On Me. So, switching gears, I started showing her how to play that. She got frustrated again and pushed my hands off the piano. “I thought you wanted my help,” I said. “I do! Just . . . sit there and help,” she replied. It was then that I became frustrated, but I sat and listened. Finally, after several minutes of finishing on an incorrect
note, she asked me to point out the correct one. I did, and she resumed. It hit me later that this experience was basically akin to my spouse telling me about her day. It was a time to listen, not tell. Parenting can be very difficult. You’re responsible for the growth, development and safety of a human being (albeit a very little one who sometimes forgets to flush the toilet). It requires focus, time and a careful and perplexing blend of discipline and kindness. But perhaps the hardest part of parenting is knowing when not to “parent.” Give your child — and yourself — the gift of relinquishing parental control for specific periods of time. In small doses, that can be for granting them iPad or television time, but more importantly it can be intentionally setting aside days after school that are just
for play. After a long day, or week, of being told what to do, having complete freedom could be a welcome emotional break for your kids. If they choose to still focus on soccer, art, piano or whatever, let them kick the ball around without instruction or create without guidance or judgment. Maybe you’re already good about this (again, I’m only a 4, so chances are you’re better than me), but if you’re being honest, could there be more time for this sort of freedom? If so, give them more. Now, I’m going to tell you what you need to do. You need to get that Take On Me song out of your head. (Sorry about that.)
LISTEN TO THE BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC ON AIR ONLINE
WMUK IS NPR FROM WMU
LIKE WHAT YOU HEAR fyiswmichigan.com •
Family Man FYI
I Gotta Be Me! (musical notes abound) by
If you’re looking for a new way to
draw ire and resentment from your spouse, resulting in sleep-on-thecouch-style blow-ups, I’ve got a great activity sure to accomplish that goal. Start telling them what they need to do. A quick and easy way to do this is to start every sentence with, “What you need to do is . . .” Spouse venting about a frustration at work? “What you need to do is . . .” Spouse concerned about weight goals, social obligations or strained relationships with their family? “What you need to do is . . .” This tactic also works well for those of you looking to alienate yourself from co-workers, friends and neighbors. I’m not saying people disdain solicited advice or instruction, but it seems to be pretty universal that people hate being told what to do. We seem to be pretty conscious of adults’ aversion to being told what to do (although, admittedly, I’d have to give myself about a 4 out of 10 on the awareness level, if I’m objectively self-assessing), but what about with our kids? When you think about it, kids spend almost their entire day being told what to do. They get up and they’re told they need to get ready for school, pick up the pace, brush their teeth, pick up the pace, get their shoes on, pick up the pace. At school they’re told what they need to do to be proficient at math, or reading or whatever else they’re learning. They’re told to line up for lunch or for the buses and parent pick-up. Free-
30 • Aug/Sept 2017
dom doesn’t come until the end of the school day. Or does it? Kids these days (Yes, I just said that, and now I’m officially old. I’ll remember this date.) have an abundance of afterschool activities. My daughter does dance, piano, theater and singing lessons throughout the week. Other kids her age may do some of those activities and soccer, football and swimming. Have time off for Spring Break or summer? They go to camps. And not the “go-find-frog-in-the-lake” camps. No, these are camps that further reinforce these other activities. Camps that tell them what they need to do. When my daughter gets home from whatever activity she was at, she needs to eat dinner. Then, she needs to do her homework and she needs
to practice piano. Then she needs to get ready for bed. Now that I’m officially old, I can (most likely incorrectly) recall having significantly more do-nothing time as a youth. It could be the reason I’m not good at anything, but I don’t remember having nearly the amount of structured activities that most kids now are engaged in. I remember walking from backyard to backyard, playing make-believe games with neighborhood kids until an inevitable argument broke out and one kid went home crying. Maybe I’m remembering that as being a bigger percentage of time than it was, but one thing was for sure: our parents did not come out and tell us how to play make-believe. Nor did they tell (continued on page 29)
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32 • Aug/Sept 2017
Published on Jul 22, 2017
Back to School! Anxiety and Kids: Helping kids cope, tricks for easier back to school transitions, school bus photo frame, recipes, events a...