Giggle Magazine August/September 2021

Page 1






AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 Volume 13 • Issue 4





Where Learning and Play Unite!



At Jonesville Preparatory Preschool we offer: Classes for children ages 2 through Pre-K Compassionate and experienced teachers A brand new state-ofthe-art facility Total school enrollment limited to 40 students allowing for small class size with individualized attention Research based curriculum unites learning and play A 6:45 am - 5:45 pm day with 3 flexible schedule and payment options

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EMSCULPT is the only procedure to help both women and men build muscle while burning fat. It’s also the world’s first non-invasive procedure for toning the buttocks. Get results similar to exercising and dieting for six months in a matter of a few treatments. Don’t wait months — achieve noticeable results within days! Imagine doing 20,000 crunches in 30 minutes. Now imagine doing that while laying back, reading a book, and not breaking a sweat or feeling at a loss for breath. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. With EMSCULPT technology, you can eliminate bulge, improve cellulite, and build muscle while simply laying down. EMSCULPT uses HIFEM® (high-intensity focused electromagnetic energy) to stimulate strong contractions in the muscles that would otherwise be impossible to achieve through voluntary contractions. With this procedure, there is zero downtime and none of the soreness or other downsides of an intense exercise session. Even better, patients usually ment! A standard treatment package is usually four sessions, spaced a few days apart, but your team at Gainesville Dermatology Aesthetic Center will help you decide on the best treatment options to achieve your goals. Best of all, the procedure doesn’t require the use of anesthesia or needles. EMSCULPT won’t replace a healthy lifestyle, but it can help you burn stubborn fat when a standard diet and exercise are not enough. Contact us today to claim your toned body. GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | AUGUST/SEP TEMBER 2021







Aníbal Rodríguez, Megan Sapelak

VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES Shane Irving ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Betsy Langan, April Tisher EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Sayeh Farah CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Nicole Harris, Nicole Irving, Lindsey Johnson, MS, MCHES, Crystal Ladwig, PH.D., Amanda Roland, Megan Sapelak, Stacey Steinberg, Tracy Wright




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Irving Publications, LLC reserves the right to edit and/or reject any advertising. Irving Publications, LLC is not responsible for the validity of any claims made by its advertisers. Nothing that appears in Giggle Magazine may be reproduced in any way, without written permission. Opinions expressed by Giggle Magazine writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s opinion. Giggle Magazine will consider all never before published outside editorial submissions. Irving Publications, LLC reserves the right to edit and/or reject all outside editorial submissions and makes no guarantees regarding publication dates.



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dental place CALL (352) 335 - 7777

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publisher's letter

the power of milk and cookies I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t sure how I was ever going to make it through the last school year. So many unknowns, so many variables and enough pivoting, worrying, hand washing, mask wearing and kid meltdowns that I think I am pretty set on conquering anything that comes my way. In fact, if there was an Olympic sport in “Parenting kids during a pandemic (and keeping wine coolers full),” we would ALL get GOLD! You get a gold and you get a gold and you get a GOLD! But, alas we made it to the summer, a little worse for the wear, but we made it. We breathed in a big breath and let the worry and stress out, if only for a moment. We knew something was coming… and now here we are. Gearing up for a new school year. While we know things aren’t 100% back to normal, our schools are open, sports are scheduled and it’s time to embrace the reality… we must get back to making school lunches. I know, I said it, and I am sorry! Breathe in and breathe out! And while us parents have some transitioning to do from last year, so do our kiddos. Our community offered so many options for creating a wide variety of educational opportunities so our kiddos didn’t miss a beat. I heard of families starting their own educational pods, some remained digital all year, others did hybrids, while some students attended in person the whole year. Our children had to become masters of accepting change and being “fluid” like the rest of us.

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Now, as they enter back into the classroom, some for the first time since March of 2020, us parents need to be armed and ready with enough milk and cookies as it will take to calm their nerves and reassure them that they will be OK and they got this. Patience will be key as they will most likely be going through so many emotions they won’t know how to express everything they are feeling unless there is an emoji that fits the bill. This year will be another one for the books, but, with a little planning, lots of deep breaths and a pantry full of cookies, you got this! They got this! It will be amazing! So, good luck parents, teachers and kiddos! Cheers to the 20212022 school year!

Nicole Irving, Publisher

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happy family • happy community™

conception 2 college™ 64 EXPECTING

Hyperemesis Gravidarum: How the “Princess Disease” Affects Moms



Plagiocephaly: Why Some Babies Develop Flat Spots and What to Do About It


How to Get Toddler Toys Squeaky Clean


Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten: Essential Skills to be Ready! 72 KIDS


mom's corner 17 #BOSSMOM Heather Parker 22 #MOMHACKS Back-To-School Hacks

forks & spoons


25 Minute Fitness for Busy Moms

Fresh Face For Fall: 10 Amazing Products to Help Combat Excess Oil

happy home 36 MAKE IT

IKEA Hacks: Making a simple window herb using affordable IKEA items. 38 2 CENTS

Freshman Survival Guide: Essentials for Dorm and Apartment Life 42 FIX IT

Home Tools 101 44 CLEAN IT

Ewww! The Gross Germs that Follow Your Kids Home in Their Backpacks

fe a tu re 46

Back to School and Looking Cool

Start the school year with these 13 must-haves!


51 FAMILY LEARNING 4 Things to Keep in Mind When Posting About Your Kids Online 55 FEATURED TEACHER 5 Tips For a Successful School Year From Alachua County's 2021 Teacher of the Year

happy community 78 CALENDAR

August/September 2021

How to Overcome Setbacks and Press Reset: A Meditation Guide for Tweens Skipping School: A Day of Fun or Something More Serious?






AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2021 Volume 13 • Issue 4


Eye Health for Kids at Every Stage


48 HOMESCHOOL CORNER Homeschooling and Scouting: An Inexpensive Curriculum Even for Non-Scouts



health 26 GET HEALTHY

Health Anxiety in Children: It’s Real and Needs Our Attention



24 DELISH Quick and Healthy To-Go Breakfast Recipes



Help Your Kiddos Burn Off Afternoon Energy

On the Cover: Hypochondria: Know the Signs PAGE 31 The Ugly Truth About Backpacks: They're Gross! PAGE 44 Know This Before Posting About Your Kids PAGE 51 ...AND MORE! GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | AUGUST/SEP TEMBER 2021




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# bossmom

mom's corner | #bossmom

As a mom, you quite literally do it all! Between working and making sure your kiddo gets to school with a matching pair of shoes, it proves to be the toughest job anyone could do. Our Giggle moms have shared with us what makes them a #BossMom, and we are all for it!

Photo courtesy of Heather Parker

Heather Parker

Mom to: James (16) and Cameron (13) Wife to James “Robbie” Parker

Where do you work and what do you do? Tell us a bit about it. What are some of your goals with it? I am the Executive Director for the Tyler’s Hope for a Dystonia Cure Foundation. Our mission is to advance research for a cure, discover effective treatments and promote awareness and education of DYT1 Dystonia. Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions, which force certain parts of the body into abnormal, sometimes painful, movements or postures. I am the only employee of Tyler’s Hope so the foundation can designate over 98% of the money we raise toward research to find a cure. I began volunteering with the charity years before I began working for Tyler’s Hope and I simply fell in love with their purpose. In my role, I handle the day-to-day operations of the foundation, organize fundraising events and oversee grant funding for research. I can connect with researchers, volunteers and supporters whose dedication to improving the quality of life of dystonia patients is exceptional. My goal is to help take this organization to the next level. I want to create a greater and growing public sense of awareness of dystonia. DYT1 is curable and with the necessary funding, we can put an end to this devastating disorder.

What is your favorite part / most rewarding part of being a mom? The most rewarding part of being a mom is watching my children grow into these amazing humans. I have the privilege of coaching my children through all of the ups and downs life has put in their path. I sit on the sidelines and see their faces beaming with pride when they score in a game. I am the one they come to when they fail a test and need advice on what to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I get to listen to problems with friends and talk through the next steps. And even on the days that I feel like I have completely failed them, they come into my room for a hug goodnight and tell me how much they love me. Being a mom is the best job in the world and I am so grateful they chose me.

What is the hardest part of being a mom? The hardest part of being a mom for me is knowing when to take a step back. My husband and I have tried to instill a strong sense of independence in our children. That means giving them opportunities to fail and learn from it. One of the most difficult things you can do is watch your child hurt, but what they learn from those experiences will help them grow. Now that my children are teenagers, the failures have become a little bit harder to watch, but this is the job. Life is messy, so I let them fall. I let them

Are you a #BossMom or do you know one? Do you work hard at home and at work? Giggle Magazine wants to hear your story! Visit to submit your #BossMom for a chance to be featured in one of our upcoming issues. GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | AUGUST/SEP TEMBER 2021


mom's corner | #bossmom hurt. I hope that my children grow up knowing it's OK to make mistakes. Sometimes life stinks, but you don’t crumble. You learn, you grow and become better prepared for the next challenge.

Heather's FAVO RITE S

GO-TO STARBUCKS DRINK When I go to Starbucks, I always order a skinny French vanilla latte with almond milk.

What gets you up in the morning?

What makes you laugh? My family makes me laugh every day. Our house may be crazy, but it is full of laughter. Robbie, James and Cameron are three of the funniest people I know. We laugh at ourselves and each other a lot.

What has been the biggest life lesson that you have learned being a parent? Nothing in life goes as planned. While I was busy figuring out how our lives were going to go, my children have thrown us off course almost every step of the way. From how and when they came into this world to their plans for the future, I have learned to make plans but to always be prepared for a curveball.


FAVORITE GAINESVILLE RESTAURANT Mi Apa is one of our family’s favorites. FAVORITE MOVIE I love the movie My Best Friend's Wedding. FANTASY DINNER PARTY GUESTS? I would love to have my in-laws over for dinner. They both passed away when our children were very young and I know they would have a blast getting to know them now.

What is your parenting mantra? It may sound harsh to some, but our mantra is “suck it up, buttercup.” Life is hard, but I truly believe you are not given more than you can handle. We teach our children that when bad things happen, it is okay to be upset. You get to have your moment to grieve, but then you need to pick yourself up and carry on.

How do you balance it all? I used to make myself crazy trying to do it all but I’ve learned that it is impossible for one person. Robbie and I both work full-time and our kids participate in way too many activities for either of us to get it all done alone. The four of us share the responsibilities of the house. We all have chores we are responsible for; we take turns cooking dinner and help each other out when someone needs it. Sometimes my kids are wearing mismatched socks or have a meal in which


all of the foods were prepared in the microwave, but everyone is happy at the end of the day. That to me is balance.

How do you relate to other #bossmoms? I think that most moms are #bossmoms and don’t even realize it. We all cook, clean, chauffeur, comfort, discipline, tutor and on top of it all work full-time jobs. From the second we wake up until the minute our heads hit the pillow we are doing everything in our power to keep tiny humans alive and happy. We are pretty fantastic.

Share a funny parenting story that all moms/parents can relate to: One morning, years ago, I had to leave for work early so my kids were responsible for getting themselves to the bus stop on their own. My morning was going great. I just had a productive meeting and my kids were responsible enough to

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO FRAGRANCE? I have never worn a lot of perfume, but I was introduced to Bootzie Oil years ago and I just love it. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE STORE? I love IKEA. It’s probably a good thing we do not have one in Gainesville because I could spend hours there. TYPE OF WINE? A good chardonnay is my go-to drink. FAVORITE THING TO EAT? I love Pull’n’peel Twizzlers, especially on long car rides. SOUNDTRACK PLAYING IN YOUR HOME? We listen to everything from rap to country and my kids love music. Odds are that no matter what you are listening to, we know the words. FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS? We like to spend time out on the water as a family. If we have the weekend off, chances are we are out on the boat.

Photo courtesy of Heather Parker

I wanted to come up with something clever and cute, but it is my alarm if I am being honest. Our days are filled with crazy chaos and I’m tired. It’s good chaos most of the time, but chaos nonetheless. I wish I woke up and drank my coffee, worked out and leisurely prepared myself for the day, but that's not even close. Our mornings are usually hectic and loud. It never fails that one of the kids forgot something for school or a practice that afternoon, there isn’t anything to eat even though the pantry is full of food, and at least one article of clothing someone needs for the day is missing or dirty. By the time everyone leaves the house, I am usually exhausted. It’s kind of funny but I usually use my ride to work as my quiet time to prepare for the day.

Photo courtesy of Heather Parker

mom's corner | #bossmom get to the bus on their own - I was on top of the world. At about 9 a.m. (mind you school began at 7:45 a.m.), I received a call from my daughter. She wanted to know if I could bring her a pair of tennis shoes before the end of the day because she had volleyball practice that afternoon. I immediately went into a lecture on being prepared and responsible. I asked her what shoes she was wearing and if she could tolerate wearing them just for today. It was then I learned that was not an option because she was not wearing shoes. My lovely child had walked from our house to the bus stop, rode the bus to school, and walked around for over an hour with no shoes. She tried to convince me that there wasn’t any rush and she would be fine in socks for the day. Needless to say, I left work immediately and brought her shoes. When I arrived at the school, she was in the front office smiling. She kissed me, took the shoes, and skipped back to class without a care in the world. To this day, I always check to make sure everyone has shoes on whenever they leave the house.

What is some advice you have for other #bossmoms trying to balance it all? We are all just surviving most days. We are all trying to be everything to everyone and it's hard. First, it’s okay to teach your children to do things for themselves. And if you are worried that they will stop needing you, trust me, they won’t. Second, take some time for yourself every day. Even if it is just a few minutes. Letting yourself recharge will help you stay sane. Lastly, straighten your crown and walk tall, momma. You have one of the hardest jobs in the world and you are killing it. Even when you don’t feel it, your tiny humans can see what a rockstar you are. You got this!



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mom's corner | #momhacks

# momhacks

We all know that the hardest job you can have is being a mom! The days are definitely long and the years are astonishingly short. But, who better to trust with ways to make your life simpler than other moms who know best! Our #momhacks are here to save the day!

Back-To-School Hacks Check out these Mom Hacks to help ease from the lazy days of summer back to a structured school schedule.

Before buying ANY school supplies, take stock of what you have first! Who cares if they are a bit used or sharpened down to the core. A dollar saved is a dollar towards a latte!

I like to pre-make healthy breakfast options that are quick to warm up in the morning. Mini muffins, oatmeal packets, and waffles are a few.



Consult the calendar for afterschool activities and schedule meals in advance. Opt for leftovers or quick cook meals on busy nights. - LINDSEY JOHNSON, MOM OF A 7TH AND 9TH GRADER

My favorite back to school shopping shortcut is to start adding things I know are needed (Ticonderoga pencils!) to my Walmart grocery pick up orders during the summer. There is no last minute scramble for supplies after meet the teacher and I never have to step in the store! - APRIL TISHER, MOM OF A 4TH, 9TH AND 12TH GRADER

When the boys were younger, we would slowly start getting back into a routine. A couple of weeks before school started, we would go to bed earlier and get up earlier to get us all ready to go back to school.” - KIM BLAKE, TEACHER AND MOM OF A COLLEGE FRESHMAN AND 11TH GRADER

No-iron fabric labels are a necessity to help keep up with sweatshirts at school. Labels are also helpful for organizing school snack bins in the pantry to make for easy lunch packing! - HEATHER MONTES, MOM OF A 2ND, 7TH AND 9TH GRADER






(352) 380-0901 3545 SW 34th Street Gainesville, FL 32608



l forks and spoons | delish

Quick and Healthy


The mad dash out the door on hectic mornings doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good nutrition. These recipes are quick and easy to grab and go! Make extra so you have breakfast ready for the next day too!


VERY BERRY SMOOTHIE Start your day with a berry blast! This smoothie is packed full of antioxidants and a great way to get your daily servings of fruit. 1½ cup frozen strawberries 2 cups frozen blueberries 1 banana ½ cup Greek yogurt (or dairy-free alternative)

1 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk ½ tablespoon honey ½ cup ice ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes Place all ingredients into a blender, breaking the banana into smaller pieces. Blend until creamy and frothy, stopping to scrape down the sides if necessary. If desired, garnish with strawberries or blueberries. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one day.

QUICK AND EASY OVERNIGHT VANILLA OATS Overnight oats can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator for 5 hours up to 3 days. Wake up in the morning and breakfast is ready! Get creative with ingredients for a variety of tastes. 1 cup old fashioned oats 1 cup milk of your choice ¾ tablespoon chia seeds 1 tablespoon honey 2 tablespoons nut butter ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon cinnamon Fruit of your choice Add milk, oats, chia seeds, nut butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon and honey to a mason jar or other sealable container and mix together with a spoon. Put the lid on and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight. In the morning, add sliced fruit or other garnish.

Baking one batch of egg muffin cups can provide a quick and healthy breakfast for several mornings. Adjust ingredients to personal taste or for weekly variety. What an easy way to get some veggies! 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cups mixed peppers

(yellow, orange, green, or red)

1 cup onion 1 cup spinach 4 whole eggs 4 egg whites Salt and pepper to taste Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a non-stick muffin pan with cooking spray. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil, peppers and onion and saute for 5-7 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add in spinach and cook for an additional minute. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Crack eggs and egg whites into a bowl and whisk, then stir in cooked veggies. Pour egg and veggie mixture evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch and the eggs are cooked through. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Egg cups also freeze well for next week’s meals.



health | get healthy Warning Signs The American Academy of Ophthalmology educates parents about warning signs such as a rapid loss of interest in activities that require extensive eye use, turning the head to look at something in front of them, and easily losing their place in the text while reading. Johns Hopkins Medicine also includes symptoms such as disinterest in distant objects, holding items close to the face, squinting, rubbing eyes, light sensitivity, and poor hand-eye coordination. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for evaluation.

Eye Health for Kids at Every Stage BY LINDSEY JOHNSON, MS, MCHES

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month. While many parents may not think twice about children's eyes unless there is a problem, optimal eye health starts before birth.

During Your Pregnancy

Smoking while pregnant can increase the risk of prematurity. Besides other health concerns that come with premature delivery, babies born early are at greater risk for permanent vision loss or blindness. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of bacterial meningitis by five times, which can lead to vision loss.


During the first several months of life, babies’ eyesight is still developing as they are slowly learning to take in the stimuli in the world. By three months of age, babies are able to focus on and follow an object. By five months of age, babies are able to see in three dimensions and have a better grasp of depth perception. By nine months of age, final eye color is typically established.


As children enter toddlerhood, be on the lookout for eye misalignment. If the eyes are not symmetrical in the direction they are looking, consult advice from the pediatrician. External forces that may cause vision impairment at this stage include measles infection and children inadvertently getting into harmful cleaning chemicals.

This stage of life also introduces more screen time. When possible, limiting screen time can help avoid eye strain as well as improve sleep. When prolonged screen time is necessary, implement the 20-20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

Eye Exams by Age Shortly after birth, a physician will conduct a newborn eye screening that may include a “red reflex” test, where eyes show up red in the light as they do in photos. The pediatrician will conduct a second screening at a well-child appointment within the first year of life. Between 1-3 years, there may be a “photoscreening” test to check for healthy eye development. This is a specialized camera that can help detect problems. Between 3-5 years of age, once a child is old enough to identify letters, they will also complete a vision test at the pediatrician by reading an eye chart.

Teens and Young Adults

Eye injuries are the most common cause of blindness in children. While not all accidents can be avoided, there are some instances where preventive measures can protect vision. According to the National Eye Institute, being hit by a baseball is a leading cause of vision loss in children ages 5-14 years. Approximately 90% of sports eye injuries could be prevented with proper eyewear protection. While many parents think standard eyeglasses or sunglasses offer protection in sports, Dr. Kendra DeAngelis, MD, an oculoplastic surgeon, states that “the truth is that non-protective eyewear can shatter upon impact, causing more damage to your eye.”

The pediatrician will routinely do vision screenings to detect potential problems. If they detect something of concern or your child exhibits any of the symptoms listed, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation. An ophthalmology exam includes eye dilation and can detect vision problems as well as eye disease.

Diet for Optimal Sight A healthy diet that includes fruits high in vitamins C and E, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, non-meat proteins such as nuts and eggs, and leafy greens containing vitamin A are all beneficial to eye health and vision. Eye health is important for development, school success and full interpretation of the world. Limiting screen time, placing chemicals out of reach and wearing protective eyewear for sports can reduce eye strain and injury. Monitoring your child for symptoms will help detect problems early. Keep those eyes healthy and bright!

School-age Children During this stage, vision impairments become easier to detect as verbal skills improve and children begin formal classroom instruction.


*If you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight, please contact your pediatrician.




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health | get healthy



Parenting is a full-time job. Regardless of whether you spend your days chasing children or sitting behind a desk, life is busy. It can be easy to put your own health on hold while taking care of others. However, maintaining a fitness routine can provide strength, stress relief, health benefits and a chance to do something positive for yourself. Working out a few times every week will give you a boost of energy to keep up with the demands of parenthood. A small investment in time will reap huge rewards. Set aside a little time and give this bodyweight workout a try!

Warm-up (5 minutes):

— Jog in place for 30 seconds — 10 lunges — 20 jumping jacks — 10 pushups — Sit on the floor, extend one leg and reach for your foot to stretch your hamstring; switch to the other leg. — Grasp hands together behind the back and open up the chest.



Cool Down

EMOM - Every Minute On the Minute

— Reach arms to the sky with a deep breath and swan dive forward, stretching the hamstrings. — Inhale and reach arms back to the sky and repeat. — Lay flat on the floor with arms extended overhead and legs extended outward, lengthening the spine. — While lying on the floor, bend the knees with feet flat on the floor. Place the right foot on the left knee. Reach hands through and pull the left knee towards the chest and hold for 15 seconds. Switch legs and repeat. — In a standing position, swing your arms across the chest a few times, giving yourself a hug. — Grasp hands together behind the back and open up the chest. — Give yourself a pat on the back you did it!

(1 5 minutes):

Each minute, perform the movements prescribed for that minute. If you finish before time is up, use the remaining time to rest. At the start of the next minute, begin the next movement. If you do not complete all the movements before the next minute, move on to the next movement when the clock dictates. If you are consistently unable to complete all the repetitions in any given minute, reduce the number of reps but continue to challenge yourself. Set the clock for 15 minutes and switch movements at the start of each minute. Repeat until the time runs out. Each movement will repeat three times.

Minute 1 - 15 sit-ups Minute 2 - 15 jumping squats (be sure to go below parallel) Minute 3 - 10 burpees Minute 4 - 20 lunges (knee touches floor) Minute 5 - 30 second plank


(5 minutes):


Contact your provider before beginning any new exercise regime.

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health | get healthy

Health Anxiety in Children: It’s Real and Needs Our Attention BY TRACY WRIGHT

Picture 11-year-old Joseph. His grandfather recently passed away after a long bout of cancer. Unfortunately, it was not without pain and suffering, for which Joseph got a front row seat. Now, months after his grandfather’s passing, he has started to complain of body pains to his parents, his siblings and even teachers at school. His parents have taken him to his pediatrician several times but tests have shown that Joseph is perfectly healthy. But Joseph continues to complain and shares fears of his pains being a disease that could kill him.

Joseph is likely suffering from a common condition present in many people—once referred to as hypochondria, the more current term is “health anxiety,” and it can afflict children as much as adults. Someone with health anxiety “lives with the fear that they have a serious but undiagnosed medical condition, even though diagnostic tests show there is nothing wrong with them,” said the Children’s Center for Psychiatry, Psychology and Related Services. A new study conducted by Aarhus University and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department found that health anxiety in children and adolescents can be a common occurrence. It also found that “children with recognized physical illness at the age of 11 have a particular increased risk of developing symptoms of health anxiety later in adolescence.” This information matches what we already know about health anxiety—that either a personal health occurrence or one in a close family member or friend can trigger the condition.

“Someone may develop health anxiety after becoming sensitized to health information or it may develop as an anxiety spontaneously,” said Lauren Soberon, Ph.D., a local licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Haile Village. For most parents, hearing a child express a symptom of illness triggers immediate worry and concern and experts advise parents not to ignore those feelings. “Some anxiety symptoms can manifest very physiologically, which is often referred to as psychosomatic symptoms. They are very real but mediated by stress/anxiety and not other medical causes,” Soberon said. “However, physiologic symptoms should never just be ignored. Parents should take symptom complaints seriously and seek medical evaluation to rule out medical causes of symptoms. Once medical illnesses are ruled out and if symptoms persist, this may suggest more of a psychosomatic presentation.” According to the Child Mind Institute, many times children with health anxiety may correlate a common everyday symptom with a more serious condition. For example, a child may think



health | get healthy a simple headache (which could be caused by hormones or mild dehydration) means they have a brain tumor. Or a child may think a bruised knee equals hemophilia. They may seek out health information obsessively on the internet or ask questions frequently about health conditions. It is important for parents to understand that even if their child isn’t experiencing true physical conditions, they are still suffering with real symptoms of anxiety and unrest, said the Child Health Institute. If left untreated, like any mental condition, symptoms can poorly affect a child’s overall health. “Untreated health anxiety could potentially spiral into a more severe anxiety or mood disorder. For example, a person could become health-obsessed and begin washing their hands compulsively as an attempt to maintain health. Over time this could become a ritual tied to the need to create relief from their anxiety, consistent with obsessive compulsive disorder. Another example might be a person whose anxiety over their health lends them to isolating, staying home, withdrawing from society and relationships and becoming depressed, consistent with a major depressive disorder,” Soberon said. “Realistically, any untreated significant mental health symptom has the potential to develop into a more severe mental health symptom or disorder.” These past 18 months have definitely sparked nervousness about health and sickness for everyone. COVID-19 anxiety has been reported in many adults, and this type of worry can spread to children in the family. “With COVID, there has been a large amount of health information in our daily life, children have likely been overexposed to potentially alarming health information that they may not really understand. There is certainly the potential to become sensitized to health information in the context of the COVID crisis. Parents should be sensitive to the amount of health information they are discussing or viewing and should ensure that any information provided to children is ageappropriate. Giving children the opportunity to ask questions about health information they have heard also provides the chance for parents to reduce any misconceptions that might be anxiety provoking,” Soberon said. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) remains the recommended treatment for children who may be suffering from health anxiety. In this type of therapy, the child is taught to recognize the false beliefs that trigger their anxiety and teaches them coping skills to help them manage it, said the Children’s Center for Psychiatry, Psychology and Related Services. “CBT works to reduce cognitive distortions (errors in thinking) and enhance appropriate behaviors and decision making. In the context of health anxiety in children, CBT can be effective in clarifying misinformation about health risk, reducing bodily hypervigilance and somatic symptoms through relaxation and stress management strategies and minimizing the burden that fears about health have created in a child’s life,” Soberon said.



Possible Symptoms of Hypochondria or Health Anxiety in Children (from the Children’s Center for Psychiatry, Psychology and Related Services)

Regularly checking themselves for any sign of illness Telling a parent or loved one about a new physical complaint almost every day Fearing that anything from a runny nose to a gurgle in their gut is the sign of a serious illness Frequently asking their parent to take them to the doctor Asking to have their temperature taken daily (or more than once per day) Talking excessively about their health Happily wearing bandages like badges of honor, has one on almost constantly May focus excessively on things most children typically don’t: a certain disease (example: cancer) or a certain body part (example: worrying about a brain tumor if they have a headache) Having frequent pains or finds lumps that no one else can feel Fearing being around people who are sick

* If you think your child may be showing signs of health anxiety, contact your pediatrician.

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health | get pretty

Fresh Face For Fall 10 Amazing Products to Help Combat Excess Oil BY MEGAN SAPELAK

There is nothing better than the fresh look of makeup first thing in the morning. Unfortunately with the mix of humidity and the brutal Florida heat, your makeup may start to look like a sad washed-up clown before noon. Have no fear! We have compiled our best list of products to keep your makeup fresh and in place all day long!

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happy home | make it

IKEA Hacks:

Making a simple window herb using affordable IKEA items. PHOTOGRAPHY AND STORY BY STAFF

By now many of us are well aware of this Swedish company IKEA that sells all kinds of home goods at a reasonable price. What you may not be aware of is there is a whole movement of people that have found ways of customizing or repurposing IKEA products, turning them into brilliant products that fit all sorts of specific home needs. We decided to dive into this world and try one of the hacks suggested at one of the websites that caters to these brave few: We chose their instructions for a window herb garden. Why this particular one? This particular hack met perfectly our criteria for a first try project: quick, easy and affordable. And let’s just say we were very happy with the results. Want to try building your own? Below is a list of all you’ll need to buy and how to put it all together.

Window Herb Garden




1. SVARTPEPPAR pots with holders (Opted “S" hooks for 2; 3 may fit but ads additional weight which may not be ideal). 2. HORNEN shower curtain rod Pot 3. Optional: RUDSJÖN “S” hooks (these can be used to hang additional items you may need Shower Curtain Rod for your small indoor herb garden (sprayer, clippers, etc.) 4. Herbs of your choosing; we chose Rosemary and Sage for ours. Rosemary Sage 5. Potting soil

1. Purchased Supplies at IKEA store in Orlando (Millenia). 2. Found ideal location for rod and adjusted with enough tension to safely hold pots. This may take some time to get the right tension. Once the correct tension is achieved, rotate rod for locking into place. 3. Hang pots using hardware included. Note: the SVARTPEPPAR pots that come with hardware are considerably heavy. We recommend keeping the hardware and replacing them with plastic/metal pots. This should lighten the weight on the shower rod and allow for a possible third pot if needed). 4. Fill pots with potting soil and herbs chosen. 5. Enjoy your fresh herb garden!



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happy home | 2 cents

Freshman Survival Guide: 15 Essentials for Dorm or Apartment Life BY LINDSEY JOHNSON, MS, MCHES

Preparing for your child to head off to college can not only be heartbreaking but, as many parents before you know, it can also break the bank! The list of must haves seems to grow daily as you prepare them for the rite of passage of living on their own, bunking in a dorm with a roommate and understanding the necessity of buying macaroni and cheese and peanut butter and jelly in bulk! We have compiled a handy checklist to help you keep your spending on track as you prepare your college bound kiddo for their new adventure. Good luck parents!

Dorm Life: Whether in a single room or sharing space with roommates, dorm rooms are limited in size. Be creative with storage solutions and minimize the number of personal belongings that need to be stored in their room. 1

Mini Fridge - Store essentials like milk, yogurt and leftovers.


Storage Containers - Find creative ways to organize their belongings!



Bed Risers or Bed Lofters - If permitted, raising the bed will allow for additional space underneath for desks, storage or other furniture.


Bed Linens - Most dorm beds are either Twin or Twin XL size. Check with their college for specifics first.


Bath Towels, Hand Towels and Washcloths - Buy extras but remember space is limited.


Shower Shoes - If they will be using a shared bathroom, they will want shoes/sandals to walk down the hall and to wear in the public shower stall.



Shower Caddy - Buy an easy, waterproof container to carry toiletries to and from the hallway bathroom.


Headphones - This helps block out noise by roommates and focus on studying!


Sleep Mask - If light tends to bother them, a sleep mask can help block out light if their roommate keeps different hours.


Microwave - Some dorms have microwaves in common areas. Otherwise, you may want to get them one for their room to make popcorn and heat leftovers.


Laundry Basket/Bag - They will need something to transport dirty clothes to the laundry room.


Few Dishes and Silverware - Having a few staples on hand to prepare oatmeal, drink coffee, or enjoy a bowl of cereal can be helpful. Buy the basics and encourage them to wash frequently!


TV - If living with roommates, discuss beforehand who will bring a television.


Lamp - A lamp will help with focused studying! Alarm Clock - A quick glance at the clock and a buzzing alarm will help them be on time for class!


happy home | 2 cents

Apartment Life: Many families opt to save money by having students share an apartment with roommates. Whenever possible, have your student discuss with roommates before moving in to determine who will provide which items for shared use. 1

Full Set of Dishes and Silverware- If their apartment includes a dishwasher, go ahead and buy the full set.


Pots, Pans and Serving Utensils - A full-sized kitchen allows for the opportunity to save money and cook their own meals. A lesson in Finance and Home Economics!


Bed Linens - Depending on what size bed they bring, buy sheets and a comforter to fit the new space.


Kitchen Towels - Purchase hand towels for washing and drying dishes and cleaning up messes.


Laundry Basket/Bag - If they don’t have a washer and dryer within the apartment, they will need a receptacle to transport dirty clothes to the laundry.


Storage Containers - Find creative ways to organize their belongings!


Furniture (Bed, Desk, Couch, Coffee Table) - Have your student discuss with roommates beforehand who will be responsible for which items.


TV - Depending on the living situation, they may want to have a common area television as well as one in the bedroom.


Vacuum, Broom, and Mop - Welcome to adulthood! They are now responsible for cleaning up their own messes!


Bath Towels, Hand Towels and Washcloths - Purchase a few of each to minimize laundry frequency.


Bath Mats - A bath mat will help keep the bathroom safe and dry.


Welcome Mat - Welcome friends and family to their new space while leaving dirt outside!


Shower Curtain, Liner, and Rings - Keep the water inside the tub!


Lamp - A lamp will help with focused studying! Alarm clock - A quick glance at the clock and a buzzing alarm will help them be on time for class!


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happy home | fix it



Have a toolbox or inherit some tools and not sure what the tools actually do or how they are used? We have you covered. Here is a breakdown of the most common household tools you may have at home and what they can be used for.


• A tool with a flat, wedge-shaped tip used to tighten screws with a singular groove in the head of the screw

WRENCH • Used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts • Variety of styles depending on project • Comes with either fixed or adjustable heads


MALLET • A type of hammer with a softer head made of wood, rubber or leather to strike an object without damaging it • Less powerful than a hammer but softer head minimizes damage • Used in carpentry to knock wooden pieces together or used to drive wooden dowels


Tools use two different kinds of measurements, metric and standard. Bolts are measured across the top of the head and can be listed in either the metric or the imperial (standard) system. Ensure that bolts and wrenches are using the same system to avoid confusion.



• Used to drill holes into a solid surface such as wood or drywall • Also used to help tighten screws and fasteners • Drill bits come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different sized screws. Selection of the proper drill bit depends not only on size but also on material such as wood or metal.

happy home | fix it

PHILLIPS HEAD SCREWDRIVER • A tool with a cross-shaped tip used to tighten screws with the same pattern on the head of the screw

RATCHET AND SOCKET SET • Ratchet is a type of wrench used with a socket, or hollow cylinder, that fits over nuts and bolts to help tighten them. • Sockets come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different sized nuts and bolts.

HAND SAW • Hand-held tool used to cut pieces of wood or other objects • Suitable for smaller projects with minimal wood cutting

PLIERS • Primarily used for gripping and holding smaller items • Also used to bend or cut wire and other materials • Variety of styles depending on project

ALLEN WRENCH • Also called a Hex Key • Used to hand tighten bolts and screws with hexagonal sockets in the head • Contains blunt tips and is usually made out of a single piece of steel in an L-shape • Often used for assembling furniture (An IKEA favorite!)


LEVEL • Used to determine an exact horizontal or vertical plane • For horizontal, the liquid area in the center will have the air bubble exactly in the middle, indicating the horizon. • For vertical, the liquid area will be on the sides and the air bubble will rest in the center to determine a vertical line. • Useful for hanging pictures


• Hand tool with a wood, metal, or fiberglass handle and a metal head • Used to strike items with force • Often used to add nails to the wall for hanging pictures, or nailing together two pieces of wood.


• Smooth heads and shafts • Affixed in place by a hammer or nail gun • Used for securing pieces of wood or other items together


• Also used to cut wood and other objects • Electric tool • Allows for greater precision and force than a hand saw • Suitable for larger projects that require precision and extensive cutting


• Head usually contains either a cross or a flat groove that corresponds with screwdriver head shapes. • Shaft of the screw has a threaded shank, which allows for good gripping. • Anchors are used with screws when hanging heavier objects on a wall and do not require the screw to be placed on a stud.


• Type of pliers used to bend, cut, and hold items • Particularly useful for jewelry makers, artisans, electricians, and network engineers • Able to get into tight places

• Used to apply spackle or putty to walls with holes or cracks • Also used to spread putty to seal bathtubs and showers



happy home | clean it

Ewww! The Gross Germs that Follow Your Kids Home in Their Backpacks BY TRACY WRIGHT

It is time to go back to school and for most children this means suiting up with a school backpack. The American Occupational Therapy Association reports that more than 79 million students nationally carry backpacks. We know that backpacks are meant to carry books, lunchboxes and other school supplies, but often some unwelcome friends may attach themselves to your child’s bag. Unhealthy GERMS can be found all over the inside and outside of an average child’s backpack and some can lead to illness and infection.

Too many germs to count!

Bye bye germs!

A University of Arizona study analyzed shoes and found 421,000 different types of bacteria including E. coli. According to the Mayo Clinic, “escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals.” Although most types of this bacteria are relatively harmless, some can cause serious conditions like vomiting and severe diarrhea.

Once a week, parents should empty their children’s backpacks and launder them. Check the labels to make sure that the backpacks are able to be laundered in a washing machine, usually containing only nylon or canvas fabrics. Whirlpool recommends removing all items out of the backpack and vacuuming out crumbs and dust.

Think about the germs that can be found on the floor of a classroom, bus or even worse—a school bathroom. Now picture your child casually tossing their backpack all over these surfaces and what they may pick up on the way. Add a lunchbox or sack that may be filled with old or rotting food and you have a perfect combination for an environment teeming with germs.

Another study conducted by the University of Houston found that 26.4% of shoes carry clostridium difficile and 40% had listeria monocytogenes, whose infections have become “more frequent, severe and difficult to treat,” said the Mayo Clinic. Cetec Labs in Cleveland examined children’s backpacks to determine what bacteria was found. They detected more than 300 units of staphylococcus bacteria. In fact, there was more staph than the test could count! Similar to E. coli, most staph bacteria are not dangerous, however, some staph infections can be fatal if the bacteria goes into the bloodstream, muscles, bones or major organs.


So now that we know what kind of dangers may be lurking on or in children’s backpacks, what is the best way to fight these sometimes harmful germs? Good Housekeeping recommends that parents wipe down their children’s backpacks with a disinfectant wipe. In addition, parents should check inside their children’s backpacks for any food or other items that may rot or go bad. Lunchboxes should be cleaned daily with warm, soapy water to ensure foodborne germs are being removed for a healthy lunch each day.

Next, spot clean the backpack to remove stains both inside and outside with a soft-bristled brush. It is important to read the care label to follow instructions. Typically, parents can toss the backpack into the gentle cycle with a fragrancefree detergent, said Whirlpool. Once the backpack comes out of the washing machine, use a towel to remove moisture then air dry. Backpacks should not be placed in the dryer to avoid warping of zippers or other items. If the backpack cannot be laundered in a washing machine, it is best to hand wash the item thoroughly. Whirlpool recommends using water, baking soda, a soft bristled brush and thoroughly soaking and rinsing the bag. Backpacks can pick up all sorts of germs. While not all of these germs are harmful, it is important to regularly clean backpacks to minimize exposure. A quick clean with a disinfecting wipe plus a more thorough washing periodically will help keep germs at bay and that backpack clean and fresh!



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learn | homeschool corner Astronomy, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Insect Study, Mammal Study, Nuclear Science and Oceanography. Many others are great to help kids develop important life skills like First Aid, Personal Management, Family Life and Cooking. Each merit badge book begins with a list of requirements to earn the badge. The remainder of the book includes reading material needed to help meet those requirements. They do require students to work outside of the book as well. For example, students working in the Environmental Science book would also create a timeline of the history of environmental science in America, conduct experiments, conduct their own online research, write and present a report, conduct observational analyses and learn about careers in environmental science.

No one loves a good deal quite like a homeschooler. Perhaps it’s because so many of us are single-income families, entrepreneurs, or want to turn everything into a learning opportunity, but we tend to jump at low-cost, highquality curricular options. When we started homeschooling, scouting was an obvious place to turn. WHAT ARE SCOUTING MERIT BADGES? Merit badges are used as part of the advancement process in Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America). Children as young as 10 can join. Each merit badge focuses on a specific topic. To earn the merit badge, scouts learn about that topic, perform activities related to it, and explore careers in that area. MERIT BADGES AS CURRICULA? Here’s where the homeschooling link comes in. Many of the more than 100 merit badges available are academic in nature. A merit badge book can be


purchased for $5 online as an eBook or paper book or purchased at a Scout Shop. You don’t have to be a scout to purchase one either. Each merit badge also has a free downloadable workbook for kids to use as they track their progress. Older versions of the books are available online in PDF form for free download. Most of the merit badges lend themselves nicely to supplement social studies or science curricula or even to use as a low-cost curriculum for middle and high school students. Common social studies content includes Citizenship in the Community, Nation, and World, American Cultures, American Heritage and Indian Lore, among others. Science is heavily represented with content on


INDIVIDUALIZING FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOLER One of the things homeschoolers like best is being able to individualize instruction to suit the interests of our kids. Scouting merit badge content is helpful there too. If you have a child who is interested in computers, they may use content for Programming, Animation, Digital Technology, Robotics and Graphic Arts. If you have a child who is interested in working with animals one day, they may use content for Animal Science, Bird Study, Dog Care, Horsemanship, Insect Study, Mammal Study, Pets, Reptile and Amphibian Study and Veterinary Medicine. Whether your child is interested in scouting or not, the content in most merit badge books lends itself nicely to homeschooling. Use them for academics, for life skills or just for fun (like learning about archery, camping, or canoeing). It’s an easy way to learn a lot without spending a lot.

Don’t miss out on the fun Join your local Cub Scouting pack today! Scouting is not just fun for the whole family, it also provides hands-on learning and achievement that puts your kid(s) in the middle of the action and prepares them for today – and for life!

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learn | family learning

Things To Keep In Mind When Posting About Your Kids Online BY STACEY STEINBERG

My kids had online footprints long before they had ever dipped their toes into the social media pool. Everything they did, including their achievements, medical concerns and silly antics, has graced my Facebook feed since they each entered the world. I documented my journey through motherhood in public blog posts and sappy op-eds, many of which I now regret. About six years ago, as I continued sharing my way through motherhood, I began to question my constant use of social media to document and display my every move as a parent. And I began to question my constant use of social media to document my children’s every move as children. I broadened my lens and looked at “sharenting” not only as a mom, but also as a children’s rights scholar. I began to wonder: Are their images, which occupy far more space on my news feed than they do on my living room walls, really mine to share? Armed with a law degree and a passion for juvenile law, I used my own life as a case study and spent the next several years researching the intersection of a parent’s right to share and a child’s interest in privacy. I have documented my journey and the lessons I’ve learned along the way in my new book, “Growing Up Shared.” To each their own, to be certain, but based on everything I’ve learned, here are some of the key takeaways I am trying to implement in my own life, and that I would recommend to others. 1. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, many of our kids learned to rely on technology now more than ever to communicate. Even as we emerge from the pandemic, it is tempting to micromanage their every keystroke. However, if we are going to spend so much time thinking about what our kids are doing on social media, we also need to spend time thinking about our own choices online.

There is a connection between how we share as parents and how our children share with their own social media accounts. Children model their parents’ behavior, and when we are

persistently checking for new “likes” or “followers,” they notice. Children tend to mimic these observed behaviors in adolescence and adulthood. It is possible that our constant photographing, sharing and checking social media for feedback is teaching them that this sort of constant connectivity is expected and appropriate. As kids engage more online, they need us to be good role models. We can do this by asking them before sharing their pictures, by putting our phones away during family time and by pausing before posting personal information. We have a lot to learn, and our newfound need for connectivity during the pandemic is not making the task easier, so we need to give ourselves grace as we figure it out. 2. GIVE KIDS VETO POWER. ComRes, working in partnership with the BBC, conducted a survey to understand how families GIGGLEMAGAZINE.COM | AUGUST/SEP TEMBER 2021


learn | family learning share online. The study found that by age 10, kids had strong reactions to sharenting. Their reactions grew even stronger by age 12. Children want parents to ask permission before sharing their stories and pictures online. Before posting about our kids, it is critical that we ask them how they feel about us sharing their story. Even young kids deserve “veto power” over what parents share. We want our kids to grow up valuing privacy and respecting others. One of the best ways for us to teach these lessons is to value and respect their privacy now. Devorah Heitner explains in her book “Screenwise” that by asking your kids for permission before posting about them, you are teaching them valuable lessons, including self-control, respect and empowerment. “Your child will have a better understanding of this complex social media exchange … because you’ve modeled it,” Heitner writes. This will help kids make better decisions on their own when navigating social media’s tough terrain. 3. TAKE CARE NOT TO ALTER THEIR MEMORY. Help kids see

life from their own perspective, not from the perspective of your camera lens. Seeing a picture or watching a video too soon after an experience can fundamentally change the experience for us. Nadine Davidson-Wall highlighted this concern in her paper “ 'Mum, Seriously!’: Sharenting the New Social Trend with No Opt-out." As we create curated versions of childhood, we risk altering our own memories, and probably the memories of our children. Davidson-Wall explains: “The public presentation of selective and edited photos of children, controlled by parents, shapes the memory of these children, influencing self-definition.” When we are constantly documenting their lives, we are, in some ways, rewriting their childhood. I want my 7-year-old to remember the first time she went to Disney World on her own terms, rather than having it defined by the curated view I chose to put on social media.

4. GUARD THEIR PRIVACY. Parents often ask me what they can do

to protect their kids against the risks posed by data collectors, online child predators and identity thieves. Unfortunately, if you do choose to share, it is nearly impossible to avoid all risk. However, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks and protect their privacy. Avoid sharing personally identifying information, such as full names and birth dates. Think twice about sharing embarrassing pictures. If your child has a medical condition and you need advice, consider limiting the audience with which you share. Delete old posts once they are no longer helpful for your family, and store your photos somewhere other than in public spaces.

There are many good reasons to share online, and sometimes it is hard to get the benefits from online sharing without accepting some of the risks. Our kids rely on us to make well-informed, calculated decisions before we tell the world information they may one day wish we had kept quiet.



We are the first generation of parents to raise kids in a world that includes social media, and our kids are the first generation to grow up shared. I may regret some of my early choices, but I also look back on my news feed with gratitude for its existence, and I keep sharing with optimism for the future. Through my work in this field, I have recognized that, like with so many other aspects of parenting, social media is a tool. Used appropriately, it helps us build relationships and connect with one another. Our job — as parents and child advocates — is to harness that power and look out for the perils, in the hopes our kids will benefit from the digital footprints we’ve created during their childhood. *Originally published at On Parenting in the Washington Post


Before posting about our kids, it is critical that we ask them how they feel about us sharing their story.

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learn | featured teacher

5 Tips For a Successful School Year NICOLE A. HARRIS

from Alachua County’s 2021 Teacher of the Year

It goes without saying that last school year was tough, and that is certainly an understatement. Aside from massive learning loss, families faced circumstances that came with hard and sudden changes. Some faced the loss of a way of life they had always known while others faced already difficult situations that only worsened due to the pandemic. As things begin to return to a time that now seems like an unfamiliar distant past, it can be disorienting to sort out what the next steps should be for your child as they head back to fully open schools. Here are 5 tips to help move you from merely surviving to thriving in the next school year.

Photo provided by Nicole Harris

LOSE THE GUILT, EMBRACE ACCEPTANCE You may have read the title and are skeptical if this article is worth your read. Perhaps you were expecting advice on more practical matters such as ensuring good grades for your child or a strategy to tackle the purchase of school supplies for multiple kids in different grade levels. That type of advice will come later, I promise. For now, consider this: the pandemic has done a number on all of us and we need to heal from far more than COVID-19. As a parent, you’re reading this because you want your child to be happy and healthy. Pause and take a breath. I’m serious. Do it. If you weren’t doing the best you can, you would not be doing everything you can in this moment to help your child recover from the effects of the pandemic, but you need to recover as well. During the school year, logging into another Zoom session might have been too much on some days where you didn’t have enough

energy to enforce that your child engage because you faced your own challenges. Maybe that led to a less than stellar performance for your child, or was it the opposite? You may be feeling guilty because you pushed your child so much that they performed well academically, but being pushed beyond their limits took a toll on them mentally. In any case, it is likely that you were doing the best that you knew in such unprecedented times (‘unprecedented’ – that’s a word we’d all like to never hear again, am I right?) Embrace that, like you, millions of parents all over the globe had to make the same decisions with little guidance. Find comfort in the collective journey of figuring it out and embrace that if you are still here today, you have an opportunity to move forward fruitfully, no matter how slow the process. Do you owe your child an apology?

Embrace that and know that though uncomfortable, you teach your child the greatest lesson by modeling how to take responsibility and be held accountable. Is the playroom the messiest it's ever been, so much so, that you’re embarrassed to have guests over? Commit to two toys in place a day, one dusted shelf, so on and so forth. Been ordering takeout more than you’d like to admit? Plan for one cooked meal and slowly reintegrate that practice into your life. Incremental progress is better than none. Slow and steady wins the race. You got this (even on the days where it doesn’t feel like it)!



learn | featured teacher

COMMUNICATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY LEADS TO RESILIENCE One of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher was the expectation that I could remedy situations I was not informed about. Remember, there is no shame in admitting that you need help. If you know that your child has experienced significant learning loss, it is not a mark on their intelligence. There was a pandemic (I will keep reminding you of this for the duration of this article, you’re welcome). If you noticed that your once-a-mathwhiz daughter no longer understands concepts as quickly as she once did or that your son who loved being in the band hasn’t picked up his instrument in months, tell their teacher from the beginning. The students in my classes that did the best were the ones whose parents voiced their concerns early and together, we worked on a plan for their child’s success at the top of the school year. With that said, remember that teachers are experiencing their own personal and professional journey to recovery as well so kindness is the rule. If you have older kids on the secondary level, consider how powerful it is to have your child self-advocate for issues they are having in school. During parent-student meetings, allow for at least one moment where they get to speak up about their needs, even if they are in elementary school. Have a conversation with them at home before the meeting so they won’t be caught off guard and feel anxious. Being given the autonomy to respectfully share concerns with adults is truly empowering. For parents of older children, meet with your tween or teen to discuss healthy conflict resolution and what it means to take ownership of their shortcomings and learning. As you pull back and allow your kids to speak up about their own learning and communicate about difficulties they are having in a timely manner, you are setting them up for resilience beyond the classroom. This does not mean that you never step in as their parent. They will always need you, but scaffolding responsibility as they age is vital for their growth. If there was any time to build the muscle of problem solving, this is it! Furthermore, even if some circumstances are beyond the teacher’s capacity to help, it is likely that they can point you to services and additional resources that can help your child succeed!



GET INTO THE GROOVE OF RHYTHM AND FLOW One thing for sure that the pandemic contributed to was the disruption of all our routines. Where’s the line between at home relaxation when work and school now happens from the couch or the bedroom? How does the playgroup connect when it’s now through a screen? So many questions, so little answers. Before the school year starts, consider a gradual release of activity. Your child may not be ready to jump right into the five afterschool activities they were once a part of even if they have been begging to return and you can’t wait for them to do so. It’s no different than when they want another helping of dessert or to avoid bedtime. They may not have a clear sense of boundaries yet, but as their parent, you can best assess how much they are truly able to handle. In a lot of ways, this school year will be the “third shift.” First, kids had to deal with their school year shifting immediately into a completely virtual space. Next, they were put in the middle of a hybrid teaching model. Now, they are entering the classroom where there will be an attempt at normalcy in a world that seemingly won’t ever be the same again. Essentially, your child has had to start over three times! Think about how hard that is as an adult, much less in the formative years. While there may not be much you can control still in your personal circumstances, one area to look into is creating a schedule that provides safety and structure when stability seems unattainable. If you’re a meticulous planner where every second of your day is planned, evaluate how rigid you really need to be and the ways you can have your kids play a role in their own planning process so they can build their own organization skills and build in moments to breathe. Perhaps you’re a parent that has so much going on, you don’t know the first thing about keeping a consistent planner. Start searching online and experiment with different planning styles that work for you. Go into the process knowing the first three attempts are trial and error. Call it a discovery phase and fully embrace it if you need to start over. Do you need the calendar to be all digital with alerts on your phone? Are you more visual and need large colorful displays around the house? Whatever route you take, you want the kids to develop intrinsic motivation and know the difference between taking a break and giving up entirely. When they have a consistent reference point of how certain blocks of time should be spent, it will become second nature and time to work on school will seem less daunting if they know there are planned and scheduled times to hang out with friends or to snuggle up with mommy and daddy. No matter what is happening at school or the world around them, your child will know what’s coming next by the simple action of sticking to a routine. When life does throw curveballs and you must deviate from these established norms, it will serve as a hopeful roadmap to get back on track.

learn | featured teacher


A child educated only at school is an uneducated child. - GEORGE SANTAYANA


BUILD CULTURAL CAPITAL I would be remiss if I wrote an entire article on tips to succeed when returning to the school year without addressing the global shift that took place not only because of COVID-19, but socially and politically. Sending children to school has always been a place where they have been exposed to new people and new ideas but so often that happens passively. Now, more than ever, your child will encounter people that are vocal on a variety of issues. Even homeschooled children will experience media that opens a portal to the larger world. Rather than run away from this, think about ways this can be an enriching experience. Now, I won’t pretend that every other parent is planning to instill a kind approach in their household and this reality will come with very hard discussions at times. This isn’t as black and white as a debate on Critical Race Theory or choosing which political party to join. I’m talking about an expansive look at the world to build kindness, compassion and empathy. As a family, you all will be able to grow together if learning about the world becomes a family affair. I’ll take a page from my own mother’s playbook. When I was a kid, my mom was intentional about exposing me to music from all over the globe and learning about the countries, cultures and customs and not just the news headlines. If I took an affinity to a certain part of the world, I was given books to study it further or was able to watch documentaries or children’s programming about my interest. I was placed in environments where I had to do creative projects with people who thought differently than me and was encouraged to read many genres

of books. For older kids, viewing perspectives that are different than what you believe is an opportunity to think critically while possibly still holding on to the views and values that your family holds dear. I can say that my existence as an adult is far more enlightening because I had a mom that believed in giving me a global outlook on the world beyond my own hometown of Miami. It reinforced that we are all a small piece of the puzzle that can do our part to make this world better.

This time has brought on some new ways of life we wish we did not have to live with, but still, in some other ways it has beckoned us to return to ways that we had forgotten before the pandemic. As restrictions lift and we return to some semblance of normalcy, don’t let it make you forget all the lessons along the way. As the world still groans of “birth pains,” so to speak, remember to always re-center. Our lifestyles have become more sedentary than ever. Numerous studies support the tremendous impact movement has on mental health and learning. Make it a point to incorporate movement through YouTube channels like GoNoodle or simply a walk around the neighborhood. Furthermore, try weekly checkins with your child and ask them 1) what they feel their biggest victories were 2) areas where they need help and 3) both their apprehensions and what makes them hopeful for the week ahead. Saying daily affirmations out loud are a great way to get the entire family involved in reframing challenges into opportunities. Talking through these areas on a consistent basis will give your child security to know that they can move into the new school year with procedures in place to not only get ahead of problems, but to celebrate wins.

Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist who coined the term cultural capital. Much of the conversation around this concept is centered around its ability to ensure upward mobility as a person with cultural capital could make connections in a job interview, be marketable and build a network. But that is not the only piece of this arguably important part of a child’s development. Cognitively, children who actively learn about the world around them can make connections in a classroom setting and build background knowledge in a variety of academic subjects. But, perhaps the most crucial part is developing individuals that are empathetic citizens who want to give back in various ways even if that is at the most basic level of being a good friend on the playground.

school year!

We are fortunate to live in an area where there are endless community events that are often free! Check out your city’s community calendar and get out there!

Nicole A. Harris taught over 900 students in the subjects of honors African/AfricanAmerican History and various levels of English for eight years. She is a PBS, trampoline jumping, and learning solutions enthusiast.

Have a great 2021-2022






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From College Athletes to Local Attorneys

Meet attorneys Caleb and Katie Knepper While working with your spouse may not be for everyone, attorneys Caleb Knepper and Katie Knepper have enjoyed being on each other’s team since 2012. Both Caleb and Katie are attorneys at Ossi Law Group, P.A., a local law firm that focuses on the areas of Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate and Real Estate. Caleb and Katie met during their first semester of law school at Barry University in Orlando, FL and lived briefly in Ocala, FL before settling in Gainesville with their two dogs Jack and Maggie. Gainesville has always been special to Katie and it appealed to Caleb after spending time here: “Katie's family has lived in Gainesville for a long time—since the early 1800’s. For me, I came to Gainesville to get my Masters in Tax Law (LL.M. in Taxation) and enjoyed living in Central Florida. After growing up in a small town of about 3,000 in Southern Illinois and living in a big city for undergrad (at Washington University in St. Louis), Gainesville feels like a compromise between those two places that I never knew I needed. It has all the charm of a small town and most of the attractions and activities of a big city.”

Before becoming attorneys, Caleb and Katie thrived at their respective colleges as hard working and dedicated college athletes. Caleb, who focuses his practice on Estate Planning and estate tax planning, as well as Probate and Trust Administration, was a part of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Division III National Champion Basketball team for Washington University in St. Louis. He also was the recipient of the 2010-2011 Robert L. Pearce Award, which is given annually to a Men’s Basketball player who best exemplifies and demonstrates hard work, 110% effort and commitment to team play. While at the University of South Florida, Katie, who focuses her practice on Real Estate, Estate Planning, and Probate and Trust Administration, was a heptathlete competing in 7 different track events: the 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put, 200m, Long Jump, Javelin, and 800m. She also ran the 100m, 200m, 4 x 100m Relay, 4 x 400m Relay, and after college, competed in the 2012 USTA National Championships for mixed doubles for Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. In addition to dominating on the track and tennis court, Katie was also named to the 2009 Big East Academic All-Star team for her academic achievements while being a student athlete.

Caleb and Katie like to bring this same level of hard work and determination to their work life as attorneys while helping their clients with their estate planning and real estate transactions.

I enjoy practicing real estate because in many situations it can often be such an important step in a client’s life--whether they are buying their first home or their forever home. Helping people accomplish their goal of buying or selling their property can be very rewarding. There are not many areas of law that give you the opportunity to sit with two parties on opposite sides of a transaction, and at the end be able to say ‘congratulations’ to both of them,” Katie stated, and Caleb added: “My favorite part of my job is getting to meet a lot of different types of people and learning about their family, hobbies, and the things that clients enjoy doing that I might otherwise not encounter. I also love being able to work with my wife!

Caleb has been able to use his experience on a basketball team with his team at Ossi Law Group, P.A. “One thing that I've taken with me from basketball is that you can't win without a good team. I think we've got a good team here and our goal is to all do our best to help each other and our clients. Having a team of intelligent and kind people who enjoy being around each other and who genuinely care about each other usually brings out the best performances in everyone. When everyone else in the group is happy for you when you do well and is rooting for you professionally and personally, it's really easy to work hard because you want to do well for yourself AND for your teammates.” When asked what is it really like to work with your spouse, Katie laughed: “I love working with Caleb. We met in our first semester of law school and have been a team ever since. Some people have asked if working together would make us sick of each other or give us nothing to talk about, but I have found my experience to be the opposite. We love being able to bounce ideas off of each other and ‘talk shop’ with each other at the end of the day. I can't imagine anything better than getting to go to the office every day and work with my best friend.” To learn more about Caleb and Katie and Ossi Law Group, P.A., please visit


Both Caleb and Katie Knepper are attorneys at Ossi Law Group, P.A., a local law firm that focuses on the areas of Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate and Real Estate.




EXPECTING Hyperemesis Gravidarum How the “Princess Disease” Affects Moms

INFANT | 0-1 Plagiocephaly: Why Some Babies Develop Flat Spots and What to Do About It

TODDLER | 2-3 How to Get Toddler Toys Squeaky Clean

EARLY YEARS | 4-5 Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten: Essential Skills to be Ready!

KIDS | 6-9 Help Your Kiddos Burn Off Afternoon Energy

TWEENS | 10-13 How to Overcome Setbacks and Press Reset: A Meditation Guide for Tweens

TEENS | 14-18 Skipping School: A Day of Fun or Something More Serious?



c2c | expecting

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

How the “Princess Disease” Affects Moms BY TRACY WRIGHT

When the British Royal Family announced that Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was expecting her first child in 2017, every part of her pregnancy was reported by the media. This included her diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition that occurs in up to 2% of pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is a “potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease that may cause weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, and debility due to severe nausea and/or vomiting, and may cause long-term health issues for For women mother and baby(ies),” said the HER Foundation, a suffering with nonprofit organization committed to research and hyperemesis education for HG.

gravidarum, 20%

For those women suffering with HG, 20% are afflicted for their whole pregnancy. This was the case for local mom Stevie Doyle, Director of Communications and Engagement for Partnership for Strong Families. When she was pregnant with her first son in 2017, she began getting sick at eight weeks and lasted all the way through delivery. In fact, she threw up six to seven times during her delivery. Although she was very sick, she was never officially diagnosed with HG until her second pregnancy in 2020. “Since I was able to manage the condition much better the first time, I think that is why it was never officially diagnosed,” Doyle said. “With my second pregnancy, it was way worse. I once threw up 26 times in 72 hours, and I was sent to the emergency room two to three times in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.” After her obstetrician diagnosed her with HG, she worked with her OB to learn what anti-nausea medications worked best for her. Her OB was most worried about severe dehydration and the effect it could have on her and the baby. That is why her OB arranged to have a home health nurse visit her two times a week to administer IV fluids “which made such a huge difference,” Doyle said. Combining that with medication is what helped her manage her condition.



Severe cases of HG may lead to required hospitalization in order to administer IV fluids to restore the proper vitamins and nutrients as well as hydration, says the American Pregnancy Association. Tube feeding may also be needed if a mom is too sick to ingest any food or drink orally. Close monitoring of the baby is also recommended. Doyle said that she got ultrasounds almost every week during the third trimester. Thankfully, most HG cases can be managed at home through a variety of interventions including IV fluid treatment, medications and other home health remedies like a bland diet and smaller meals spaced throughout the day. HG may also lead to anxiety and depression so speaking to a therapist may help. It may be difficult to understand how a mother with HG can continue their daily life with such a harmful affliction. Doyle learned how to “get really good at throwing up and moving on with [her] day.” Once she was on a steady plan with IV fluid treatment and medications, just eating a little bit of food helped tremendously. “For moms diagnosed with HG, you need to work with your OB to figure out what works best for you and your baby,” Doyle said.

Photo courtesy of Stevie Doyle.

Since so many pregnant women (between 50are afflicted for 70%) experience some form of nausea, or “morning their whole If not properly treated, HG can cause adverse effects sickness,” during their pregnancy, it’s important for pregnancy. for both mom and baby like organ failure, premature women and their obstetricians to be able to distinguish birth and low birth weight. If women can’t keep down between typical morning sickness and HG. According food, they may not be able to meet their nutritional needs to the American Pregnancy Association, the key differences and will make it difficult to keep on weight, said Johns Hopkins between the two conditions are that HG always involves severe Medicine. Dehydration and the buildup of stomach acid can cause vomiting that does not subside past 12 weeks, the inability to keep an imbalance of electrolytes. food down and severe dehydration.


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c2c | infant { 0 -1 Y E A R S }

Plagiocephaly: Why Some Babies Develop Flat Spots and What to Do About It BY LINDSEY JOHNSON, MS, MCHES

Plagiocephaly is the medical term to describe a flattened area on a baby’s skull. This condition is sometimes referred to by physicians as “Flat Head Syndrome” and may impact up to 46% of healthy infants, according to Boston Children’s Hospital.

Types Positional plagiocephaly is the most common form. This is typically a result of extended periods of pressure on one area of the skull. Congenital plagiocephaly, or craniosynostosis, is a birth defect where the skull bones fuse too early. As a result, the skull is unable to grow properly and may cause a misshapen head. Causes and Risk Factors Back sleeping, extended time in car seats, swings and bouncy seats can contribute to the formation of a flat spot. Muscular torticollis is tight muscles in the neck present at birth that limit the head’s range of motion. When the neck cannot fully pivot, the head remains in the same position. Premature infants may also be more likely to develop plagiocephaly. The skull bones are softer and many premature babies spend an extended period on their backs hooked up to respirators. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that first-born children, males, and infants born with the assistance of birthing instruments



Treatment The first line of defense for positional plagiocephaly is reducing the amount of time the baby spends lying down. Limiting time in devices such as car seats, bouncy seats and swings is one approach. Creating ample opportunities throughout the day for the baby to experience supervised “tummy time” will strengthen neck muscles and limit time spent resting on the head. Increasing time snuggling the baby upright to the chest will also help strengthen neck muscles. Repositioning therapy with intentional positioning of the head in a different direction can also help. Some parents change the direction the baby lies in the crib, creating alternate views of the door and window to encourage head movement in new directions. In the case of torticollis, the pediatrician may refer the infant for physical therapy to release the tension in the neck and increase neck strength. For moderate to severe cases, some specialists may recommend an orthotic helmet, specially designed to the dimensions of the baby’s head. The helmet includes a hard outer shell with a soft foam lining on the interior. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), babies who begin orthotic treatment between ages 3-6 months will typically complete therapy within approximately 12 weeks. Infants born with craniosynostosis are at risk for increased pressure in the head and limited space for brain growth. Treatment may include an orthotic helmet or surgery to open skull sutures to allow room for normal brain growth. Plagiocephaly is a common occurrence in infants. While it may cause alarm among parents, most cases are not severe and are easily corrected with simple techniques. Consult your pediatrician if you have concerns about your infant’s head development.

Photos courtesy of Ashley Mudra.

History In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) began recommending back sleeping in order to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While this campaign has reduced infant mortality from SIDS, it has increased the incidence of plagiocephaly.

may also be at increased risk for plagiocephaly. Duke Health states that twin births may also be at higher risk.

c2c | infant “Lucas had plagiocephaly at birth due to a difficult delivery leading to an urgent C-section. Newborns' heads are very malleable and we need to be gentle, especially prior to closure of the “suture” lines. We noticed that his right side of the head was becoming flatter over the months and according to measurements at the Hanger Clinic, it was shifting his right forehead, eyebrow and ear more forward, possibly leading to right ear issues as he gets older. There is controversy as to whether helmet therapy is necessary or not. However, meeting with a diverse team including physical therapy, orthotics specialist, pediatrician and possibly neurosurgeon if needed can be crucial for determining what is best for your child, as well as considering cost. Many resources are available for home exercises, neck support when transitioning from tummy time to laying down positions and many social support groups online.

From a Mom Who Has Been There!

Luckily we had treatment during the winter months from Halloween at 6 1/2 months to January 2020 at 9 months old, so he had less skin irritation on his face and scalp with less sweating than if he had done it during the summer. Our experience with Kyra at Hanger Clinic was amazing and he became our little “space cadet” for a few months. We still have our helmet for the memories. He is now 2 years old and doing well!” - Ashley Mudra, mom to Lucas

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c2c | toddler {2-3 YEARS}

How to Get Toddler Toys Squeaky Clean BY AMANDA ROLAND

be dangerous. Thankfully, there are many cleaning products with ingredients derived from plants that can easily clean and sanitize toys safely. Keep in mind that no matter what, ALL cleaning products should be stored away from children and out of their reach. If you want to make an easy all-purpose cleaner at home, all you need is water, kid-safe liquid soap and tea tree oil. Studies show that tea tree oil is helpful in killing certain bacteria, viruses and fungi, according to Healthline, an online health resource. Combine three cups of water, four to five drops of liquid soap and 30 drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle before using the spray to make sure everything is combined. This cleaner can be used to sanitize hard plastic baby toys and play area equipment. If you want to go the store-bought route, some popular and safe brands on the market right now are Babyganics and Everspring. These brands’ products are plant-derived and leave out harsh chemicals, making them safe for toys and play areas that are frequently touched by kiddos. For plush toys, blankets and fabric books, chances are they are safe to throw in your washing machine! Run them through a normal cycle with your everyday kid-safe detergent to make sure they are sanitized. As long as none of the toys have plastic pieces on them, they can be thrown in the dryer as well. Just doublecheck any product tags for care instructions.

Most toddlers have no trouble collecting a mountain of toys thanks to generous family members and friends. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure their toys stay clean after your kiddo is finished playing with them and (probably) putting them in their mouth. But what do you clean them with? Many cleaners on the market have harsh and harmful ingredients in them that can be unsafe for small children. What’s the best cleaning option that is safe yet effective? There are many homemade and store-bought options. The main thing to ensure is that the products you are using are kid-safe and baby-friendly. Make sure to stay away from products with bleach, ammonia or harsh fragrances in them. Of course, these ingredients can be useful for other cleaning jobs in the house (like for bathrooms) but exposing your kiddo to them can



For hard plastic toys, many of them are dishwasher safe, which is such a relief. Run them through a normal dishwasher cycle with your everyday kid-safe dish detergent. The soap and hot water will kill off any unwanted bacteria. For those toys that you know are not dishwasher safe, wipe them down with hot water and dish detergent. Please note that bath toys need extra attention when cleaning, as water can get trapped in them and mold can grow. It is better to wash them by hand and air dry so that the water can drip out of any holes. As a rule of thumb, you should sanitize or wash your toddlers’ toys at least once a week if they are used every day. For toys or play equipment that they use less often, sanitize them every two weeks. With these efforts, you can rest easy knowing that your kiddos’ toys are clean and safe for all-day play! *Keep all cleaning materials away from children. Make sure all cleaning product is washed off of toys before giving back to children.


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c2c | early years {4-6 YEARS}

Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten: Essential Skills to be Ready! BY TRACY WRIGHT


Children should be aware of numbers and the concept of amounts of objects. Start counting the number of things you see, like birds in the yard or cars in the street. Pair counting with recognizing colors to double up essential skills. “Let’s count how many red cars are on the road!”

Fine Motor Skills

Practice fine motor skills such as appropriately grasping pencils and paint brushes. Working on proper scissor usage and dressing skills such as buttoning and zipping will help develop coordination and skill.


Beyond academics, kindergarten is also where children learn how to behave socially, both interacting with classmates and following rules and structure of the classroom. Before kindergarten, recommends giving your children opportunities to interact with other children at playdates or other types of settings and teaching them how to express their feelings in a constructive way. “We talk about our emotions and how to manage our emotions properly. Once a child can name and manage their own emotions, they are better prepared to empathize with the emotions of others,” Burdge said. Many local preschools help develop these types of social and academic skills. Florida has a voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) program available for 4-year-olds which helps prepare them for kindergarten. It is free for families as long as they register with a VPK certified program. There are so many things parents can do at home to help reinforce learning, Burdge said

Back to school means important milestones, and none may be more significant than the first day of kindergarten! While that day may be full of excitement and maybe tears, a lot goes into making sure your child is ready for the big day (and year). A number of important markers academically and socially are vital to ensuring your soon-to-be kindergartner is ready for school. “Because typical development varies among children entering kindergarten, I think it's important to remember that kindergarten readiness is not necessarily a single goal, but a process that develops over time,” said Karen Burdge, Preschool Department Leader at Sunny’s Preschool.


Academically, children entering kindergarten should have a basic knowledge of the alphabet and familiarity with writing letters, recommends A great way to practice is by writing their first name. Make it fun by using shaving cream in the bath or finger paints to practice. Practicing the sounds that the letters make helps prepare for independent reading.



“Read, read, read—anything your child is interested in. While reading, ask questions such as, ‘What do you think will happen next?’; ‘Can you tell how he is feeling by looking at his face?’; ‘How would you feel if this happened to you?’ Burdge recommends. “Look for opportunities to spark curiosity, even in everyday tasks. Some examples might be to count as you are climbing stairs together or name colors of fruits and vegetables as you walk through the grocery store.” Finally, don’t forget to practice independence with your child whenever possible. “Provide lots of opportunities for your child to practice how to put on their own socks and shoes, zip their own jacket and open their own food containers. These little things will help make the job of kindergarten teachers much easier, as well as build the confidence of your child,” Burdge said.









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c2c | kids { 7- 9 Y E A R S }

Help Your Kiddos Burn Off Afternoon Energy BY AMANDA ROLAND

Kiddos can harbor a lot of excess energy. With school back in session, you know that your children will come home ready to let loose… after they finish their homework of course. So how can you help them burn off energy in a positive way? We’ve got some ideas.

Kiddie Cardio


Incorporating exercise into your kiddo’s routine can be a great way to help them burn off energy. For young kids, including weighted workouts is not necessary as their muscles are still growing and developing on their own. However, cardio is great for getting their heart rate up and the blood flowing! To keep things fun, skip the classic (dare I say boring) styles of cardio like walking or running and try out more exciting options like biking, rollerblading, dancing or swimming. This practice will not only help them get the wiggles out before bed but it will also instill the importance of staying active as they get older.

O OD T Giving OT your kiddos

excess screen time after school or on the weekends will only work against you if you are trying to let them burn off energy. We know that letting your children watch TV or play on an iPad is sometimes unavoidable but setting a daily limit will be beneficial. The less time your child spends behind a screen, the better!

Family Game Night

How about some mental gymnastics to burn off some energy? Having a family game night with games like Scrabble, Pictionary or Scattergories Junior can be a great way to make them mentally tired. There are a plethora of mentally challenging games for kiddos that you can buy on Amazon. Also, having dedicated family time is always a plus after a long day.

At-Home Scavenger Hunt

This activity takes some work on the parent’s end but it is the perfect way to let the kiddos be energetic on a rainy day. Start by gathering about 10 objects that are easy to hide and a notepad. Hide each object around the house with a note attached to it with clues on how to find the next object. This will keep the kiddos busy for a while as they get some energy out of their system. Also, if you have multiple kiddos, this will help their communication skills as they work together to find the next object.

Simon Says


This game is perfect for families with multiple Teacher Tip: kids so they can all play together. I won’t waste If your kiddos are looking time explaining the rules a little restless in class, of Simon Says, but this a quick game of Simon works best if you, the Says can be a great way to parent, play Simon so get your students up and that you can call out the moving for an easy release commands. Make sure of energy. to call out commands that include explosive movements like jumping and stomping so that the kiddos get tired! After you have worn them out a bit, you can let the kiddos take over the role of Simon towards the end of the game. If all goes as planned, your kiddos will be worn out after all the jumping, skipping, stomping and clapping that Simon tells them to do!





c2c | tweens { 1 0 -1 3 Y E A R S }

How to Overcome Setbacks and Press Reset: A Meditation Guide for Tweens BY LINDSEY JOHNSON, MS, MCHES

Life can be hard. During the tween years, hormones are wreaking havoc on young bodies and emotions. School increases in intensity, social cliques form, kids get more involved in sports and afterschool activities. Tweens may also start using social media to connect with friends and the outside world. While these rites of passage and increased independence can be exciting, there is also a lot of new terrain that can cause stress.

Benefits of Meditation

A great coping skill to get through these rough spots (and beyond!) is meditation. According to Healthline, meditation helps regulate sleep, attention, stress management, creativity, moods, focus, retention of information and overall well-being. Caitlyn Adams, Reiki Teacher/Practitioner, Yoga Instructor and Owner of Energy Healing with Caitlyn says, “Mindfulness and meditation promote focus and clarity of the mind and also help with stress management. By learning these tools young, tweens can minimize the long-term side effects of chronic stress. I work with many mothers who are learning meditation and yoga not only for their own wellbeing but to give their children these tools for success.” Meditation is not just for adults or children, it is for everyone! With so many benefits, there is no reason to skip this self-care step!

What IS Meditation?

Verywell Mind defines meditation as “a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention.” Very simply put, meditation is focusing on the present moment completely. Our minds get so busy thinking about everything going on in the world around us that sometimes we forget to stop and just be present in the moment. This “presence” is also called “mindfulness” and being aware of every thought and action as it happens. There are various types of meditation including guided meditation, mantra meditation, candle gazing, loving-kindness and mindfulness. The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind, slow the heart rate and experience focus and relaxation.



How Can I Help My Child Get Started?

There are many apps and websites that provide tools to help with meditation. Some people find it easiest to start with either a guided meditation or with simply focusing on the breath. To get your child started, you may want to practice together. Follow these simple steps:

1. Find a quiet place free of distractions. 2. Find a comfortable position. Many people meditate on a cushion on the floor, sitting upright in a crosslegged position.

3. Have your child close their eyes or soften their gaze so the world around them is not in clear focus.

4. Take a few long, slow breaths, pausing at the end of the inhale and exhale. Pay close attention to the breath and try to block out any potential distractions. If thoughts enter the mind, return focus to the breath.

5. Relax the body and also the mind. Let go of all stress and anxiety that is stored within. Remain in this state for 5-10 minutes. With practice, meditation becomes easier and time may be extended.

Beginning a meditation practice at a young age will help your tween prepare for life by giving them healthy coping strategies. When life gets tough, taking a few minutes to pause and get centered can help reset the mind and body to a relaxed state.

RESOURCES TO GET STARTED Websites: Guided meditations designed specifically for youth Meditation cushions, books and accessories

Apps: Insight Timer Headspace Calm




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c2c | teens { 1 4 -1 8 Y E A R S }

Skipping School: A Day of Fun or Something More Serious? BY LINDSEY JOHNSON, MS, MCHES

Teen life is tough. School is “boring” and teens gripe about the daily school grind. While they may rather stay in bed all day, Florida law requires regular school attendance. Some kids play hooky a few times while others are habitual offenders. Truancy • Title XLVIII of 2020 Florida Statutes states that “If a student has had at least five unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences within a 90-calendar-day period, the student’s primary teacher shall report to the school principal that the student may be exhibiting a pattern of nonattendance.” If your child is absent from school for legitimate reasons, communicate with the school.

Why Do Kids Skip School? • Bullying The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that 20% of students are being bullied, most often as verbal attacks, name calling, and rumors. • Being Overwhelmed Academically Students struggling may use avoidance strategies to deal with the problem. • Problem in the Classroom or With Peers Beyond academics, students may have an issue with a teacher or the dynamics of a certain classroom. They may also be experiencing a difficult situation with peers. • Financial Demands Some students work one or more jobs to help support the family, which can interfere with regular school attendance. • Substance Abuse Students who wrestle with alcohol, drug or nicotine abuse may skip school to enable their habit or recover from intoxication. • Mental Health Problems Students suffering from anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions may find it difficult to keep up with classroom demands. • Negative Peer Influences Hanging out with the “wrong crowd” can lead otherwise compliant students to succumb to peer pressure.

Consequences • Ineligible to Participate in School Activities Many schools require a student to be in attendance all day in order to participate in athletics and school-sponsored activities. • Extra Work and Lower Grades Missing multiple lessons and assignments creates more makeup work and the potential to fall behind. • Drivers License Suspension or Revocation Teens with permits or drivers licenses may lose driving privileges for habitual absenteeism.



• Legal Issues Both teens and parents can be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for truancy in Florida.

Warning Signs • School Outreach Many schools notify parents of student absences by phone, text, or email. Ensure your contact information is current with the school. • Dropping Grades If your teen’s grades are slipping, dig deeper to determine the cause. Absenteeism may be the cause or the result of classroom struggles. • Change in Behavior If you notice a change in your child's behavior, do not ignore it. They may be struggling and this could lead to missing school and complicating problems.

Talk to Your Teen • Discuss Consequences Preferably before it happens, discuss the ramifications of skipping school, both in the short and long term. Many students only see a day out of school. • Get to the Root of the Problem Understand why your child is missing school. They may not be transparent so this may require discussion with peers, parents and teachers. • Form a Plan Once the problem has been identified, communicate with the school on how to get the student back on track by creating a plan for student success. • Work With the School for Quick Notification Schools and teachers appreciate parental involvement and efforts to help children succeed. If they know you personally, they will be better prepared to communicate regularly.



community | calendar

august | september SUNDAY, AUGUST 1


Little Women High Springs Playhouse Timeless and enduring classic about the March sisters’ journey from childhood to maturity during the American Civil War. Together the March family learns to endure both good times and bad as they share the joys and pains of growing up. Family-friendly show promoting responsible themes and traditional values. ON EXHIBIT NOW THROUGH SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

Survival of the Slowest Florida Museum of Natural History Survival of the Slowest features animals that are slow, small or weak and explores how they use these traits to thrive! Visitors get an up-close look at live animals, including a sloth, hedgehog, snake and others.




Stay and Play 2.0

Splash Jam

Sun Country Sports Center 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

11 - 11:30 a.m. Sun Country Sports Center

Stay and Play 2.0 is a safe and fun environment for kids 5 and under and their parents. Kids will enjoy open play and obstacle courses in the Star Gym. They can also take advantage of the activities and obstacle course in the SunBurst room. This preschool gym offers equipment especially designed for your little ones. It also includes a KidZone exploration play structure. This event repeats every Friday.

Come for some extra time in the pool to improve your skills! Available for children ages 3 and up. (West location only). This event repeats every Saturday.


free Free Fridays Concert Series 8 - 10 p.m. Bo Diddley Plaza This event repeats every Friday. SATURDAY, AUGUST 7

free Haile Farmers Market 8:30 a.m. - Noon Haile Plantation Head out to Haile to enjoy fresh, local produce, meats, honey, oils and more! This event repeats every Saturday.



Ninja Jam 12:15 - 1:10 p.m. Sun Country Sports Center Learn the ways of the Ninja. Available for children ages 3 and up. (West location only). This event repeats every Saturday. SATURDAY, AUGUST 7

Stay and Play 2.0 3:15 - 5:30 p.m. Sun Country Sports Center Stay and Play 2.0 is a safe and fun environment for kids 5 and under and their parents. Kids will enjoy open play and obstacle courses in the Star Gym. They can also take advantage of the activities and obstacle course in the SunBurst room. This preschool gym offers equipment especially designed for your little ones. It also includes a KidZone exploration play structure. This event repeats every Saturday.



Sunday, September 26 • Williston, FL Vendor Garden • Food & Beverage Garden Ticket sales at Event Sponsors:


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community | calendar SATURDAY, AUGUST 7

10th Annual Gator Clot Trot 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Veteran’s Memorial Park Get your CHOMP on and support the 10th Annual Gator Clot Trot! Walk and fundraise with the Hemophilia Foundation of Greater Florida.


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18 First Day of School for Oak Hall School Students


National Dog Day


WWE Supershow 7 p.m. Stephen C. O’Connell Center This Supershow features Universal Champion Roman Reigns, WWE Champion Bobby Lashley, Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair! Plus, Charlotte Flair, Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Sasha Banks, New Day, Rey Mysterio and more!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 10 First Day of School for Alachua County Public School Students

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11 First Day of School for Queen of Peace Catholic Academy and St. Francis Catholic Academy Students SATURDAY, AUGUST 14

Oakmont .4k Slacker Run Oakmont Register at This fundraiser is for those who have always wanted to finish the race at their own pace. This “run” is less than ¼ of a mile and fun for the whole family. All proceeds go to the Child Advocacy Center. SATURDAY, AUGUST 14

Home Buyers Education Seminar 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Gainesville Alachua County Assoc. of Realtors This seminar is perfect for those looking to buy a home, but don’t know how to start the process.


Ninja Jam 12:15 - 1:10 p.m. Sun Country Sports Center Learn the ways of the Ninja. Available for children ages 3 and up. (West location only). This event repeats every Saturday. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4


free The Florida Vintage Market Noon - 5 p.m. High Dive Enjoy one of Florida’s most popular markets with the whole family. Enjoy vintage items, artists, food and more at this free event! Family and pet friendly. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

Stay and Play 2.0 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. Sun Country Sports Center Stay and Play 2.0 is a safe and fun environment for kids 5 and under and their parents. Kids will enjoy open play and obstacle courses in the Star Gym. They can also take advantage of the activities and obstacle course in the SunBurst room. This preschool gym offers equipment especially designed for your little ones. It also includes a KidZone exploration play structure. This event repeats every Friday.

Stay and Play 2.0 3:15 - 5:30 p.m. Sun Country Sports Center Stay and Play 2.0 is a safe and fun environment for kids 5 and under and their parents. Kids will enjoy open play and obstacle courses in the Star Gym. They can also take advantage of the activities and obstacle course in the SunBurst room. This preschool gym offers equipment especially designed for your little ones. It also includes a KidZone exploration play structure. This event repeats every Saturday. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

UF vs. Florida Atlantic University Football Game 7:30 p.m. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium


Labor Day


free Free Fridays Concert Series 8 - 10 p.m. Bo Diddley Plaza This event repeats every Friday.


Rosh Hashanah


International Bacon Day


Patriot Day


Splash Jam 11 - 11:30 a.m. Sun Country Sports Center Come for some extra time in the pool to improve your skills! Available for children ages 3 and up. (West location only). This event repeats every Saturday.



Alachua County Heart Walk Register at Enjoy this family-friendly event while fighting against heart disease and stroke!





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community | calendar


National Grandparents Day


UF vs. University of Alabama Football Game 3:30 p.m. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium


Yom Kippur

The Hippodrome Everyone is a suspect in this hilarious murder mystery with a twist. One actor plays the investigator, the other plays all 13 suspects, and both play the piano throughout! This ‘whodunit’ is a zany blend of music, mayhem, and murder! Suitable for an adult audience.

Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies Florida Museum of Natural History


National Hunting and Fishing Day


Murder for Two


Tiny Titans presents information about dinosaur reproduction and behavior with the help of the fascinating people and science behind these recent discoveries. Learn about the family life of dinosaurs and their relation to birds in this captivating exhibition for all ages. SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26


UF vs. University of Tennessee Football Game Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Bridal and Boutique Show 11:30 a.m. Langan Acres Check out the latest trends in bridal and boutique fashion. Also includes a vendor garden and food and beverage garden.

Jan. 23-Sept. 12, 2021

Come hang out! Meet LIVE animals that are slow, small or weak and learn how they have used these traits to survive and thrive! Esta es una exhibición bilingüe.

3215 Hull Road, Gainesville • Funded in part by Visit Gainesville, Alachua County







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