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editor’snote Though the holidays usually bring with them a range of emotions, this season is particularly special for me. After having worked as a contributing writer for McKinney Kids for over a year, I’ve happily accepted the position of managing editor. This opportunity has given me new insight into the uniqueness of the McKinney community, as well as the issues of being a single, working mother faced with managing holiday events for my children. Like many other parents, I greet the holiday season with a combination of excitement and dread, thankfulness and stress. In this issue of McKinney Kids, we offer readers resources to increase the fun and decrease the stress of the holidays. Discover ways to get the most emotional value out of the holidays without breaking the bank and a variety of affordable gifts for

kids. Then check out additional ideas for decreasing holiday stress, along with a slightly different approach to New Year’s resolutions. If you’re looking for ideas for new holiday traditions, Creating Holiday Traditions on page 20 offers recipes for making the perfect holiday cookie and edible garland. With family and friends making their way to your home, the Sleepover Survival Guide offers tips on handling a group of kids who won’t go home until morning and our expert etiquette Q&A offers information on the most appropriate ways children and adults may better manage themselves during this crazy time of year. Finally, because colder weather is on its way, we offer a number of suggestions for coping with children’s boredom and breakdowns. All the best to you and yours this holiday season,

Lucy Parker Watkins

Yuri Cook, MD, FAAP

Kim Smith, MD, FAAP

Board certified Pediatricians

Amber Jones, MS, PA-C

Sabrina Dorris, MSN, CFNP

Accepting New Patients Well And Sick Children Visits Extended Sick Visit Hours For The School Year “Meet The Doctor” Night Sports Physicals Immunizations Year Round Saturday Sick Clinic

1111 Raintree Circle, Ste. 290 Allen, TX 75013 214.644.0280  mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008


mckinneykidscontents December/January 2008 issue 28 Cover Picture: Averie is very active performer in Filipino and Asian communities around North Dallas who hopes to make a difference and to be a role model to other McKinney Kids.

Cover photo taken by Wendolin Mercado Photography

mckinneykidsmagazine publisher: Vanessa Ximenez

managing editor: Lucy Parker Watkins




to give your children

6 Six Keys to Less Stress

Before, during and after the holidays

8 Sleepover Survival Guide

Rules of the game

contributing writers: Sherrie St. Cyr, LCSW Lorie Fangio Myrna Beth Haskell Nora Leone Sandra Parks Amy Pawlak Haley Shapley

features 4 Get More Value Out of Your Christmas The top five most valuable gifts

art director: Marlina Rahman

14 Curing the Crazies

Indoor activities for winter

30 Being Happy with Who They Are

A different approach to children’s New Year’s resolutions

mkm advisory board: Tina Dvoracek Ebby Halliday Realty

Dr. Jeffrey Hollingsworth

Hollingsworth Eye Associates

Dr. Meredith Packard

Packard Family Orthodontics

Dr. Terry Scott

Just For Kids Dentistry

departments 23 26 30

awesome achiever kid connection kandid kids

McKinney Kids Magazine is a product of North Texas Magazines, Inc.

Copyright 2007, exclusive of proprietary ads and artwork designs. All rights reserved. No portion may be reproduced in whole or in part by any means without prior written permission from the publisher. Placement of advertising is not a personal endorsement by the publisher or its representatives, and no liability arising therefrom is assumed.

North Texas Magazines, Inc. 808 S. College St., Suite 111 McKinney, TX 75069 972.547.6261

Christmas is full of shiny things That sparkle, gleam and glow; These holiday pleasures dazzle us, And yet, deep down, we know . . . - Joanna Fuchs

Get More Value Out of Your Holiday Season The Top Five Most Valuable Gifts to Give Your Children By Nora Leone


aybe it’s a feeling of abundance carried over from Thanks-

dren’s lives is much more valuable than any present we can buy for

giving and we are all so full of turkey and dressing that we

them. This year, let’s all think “outside the box” and focus on these

aren’t thinking clearly. Or maybe it’s because, since Labor Day,

Five Most Valuable Gifts to Give Your Children. Then, come Janu-

retail has bombarded us with enticements to “shop early” for big

ary, you will still be basking in the glow of a glorious holiday season

savings. No matter the reason, the pressure is on. The holidays

spent being actively involved with your children, instead of stressed

are coming and we better get ready!

out about the bottom line of your credit statement.

Without exception, parents want this time of year to be the very

Spend a little TIME with your children.

best for their children. But the simple fact is, most of us overdo

Having special one-on-one time with your child is one of the most

buying presents. We even encourage the little darlings to make

valuable things you can give to them. My grown-up daughters

a list of their hearts’ desires. This can put a dent in the credit

remember that every year at Christmas, their dad would take each

card that will last long after the holidays are over, especially for

one for lunch in the city and go shopping for the special presents

big families.

they wanted to buy. It wasn’t what they bought that was important; it was the time spent with their dad. Do something they take

Most parents know the old story about how kids usually like the

pleasure in like going to a Christmas ballet or ice-skating. Spend-

big box better than the expensive gift inside. Let’s put it to the

ing time with you and having your undivided attention is the most

test this season and acknowledge that our presence in our chil mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

valuable gift you can give to your child.

Spend your ENERGY on things you like. Standing in line at Toys R Us or searching for a parking place at the mall isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. After a full day of accomplishing our daily tasks, do we really want to stay up all night decorating the house just so it looks like Martha Stewart did it? What if you spent that energy baking cookies with the kids or making your own special Christmas cards together? You’ll be just as tired, but the kids will love it.

Quality early childhood programs for your children from infants to preschoolers (6 weeks to 5 years old) Safe and happy environment Well-trained and certified staff NOW ENROLLING

OUSE OPEN H 2008 Jan. 19, 2008 Feb. 16,

Spend some money SHARING with others. According to Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, there are an estimated 13 million children living in poverty and desolation whose families can barely afford to put food on the table, much less buy

Classes Begins Jan. 21, 2008 Now hiring assistant directors and teachers

972-547-0030 ● 254-458-1514 (cell) 6800 Bountiful Grove Dr. • McKinney, TX 75070

gifts. Pick this or any other charity to donate to this season and demonstrate the act of sharing. Hopefully your child will contribute too. Most churches and shopping malls will have a “giving tree.” Pick a child who is close in age to your own child and let your little one shop for the gifts. What better way to learn and appreciate the value of sharing?

TLC Pediatrics, P.A. “Where Kids Come First”

Spend time CELEBRATING your faith. Eliska Counce, LPC, Director of Transforming Tomorrows Counseling Center, encourages families to celebrate their spirituality during this holiday season. “It is our deep values that are the cornerstones of our faith. By celebrating your spirituality - no matter what religion you are - your children will see that the material part of Christmas is not the most important,” she says.

Give your HEART to the people you love. Joy is contagious; give it to your whole family. Open your arms and your home to extended family and friends. Hearing you

Daniel J. Moulton, MD, FAAP • Beth Johnson, MSN, CPNP Board Certified Pediatrics

Accepting New Patients • Well Child Exams & Immunizations

laugh, seeing you smile and enjoying the excitement and antici-

• Newborn Care

pation of the holidays will affect your children long after the gifts

• Sports & Camp Physicals

are forgotten, misplaced or broken. Eliminate as much of the

• Same-Day Sick Appointments

superfluous as possible and dig down deep to your heart. Give yourself up to candy canes and Christmas stories.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Nora Leone is a freelance writer and lives in McKinney.

Call for Appointment or “Meet the Doctor” Info

972.747.KIDS (5437) Presbyterian Hospital of Allen 1105 Central Expressway North • Suite 320 • Allen mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 

“Fitness FUN on Wheels!”

“Let us bring the FUN to you! ” e Climat d olle Contr g ar Lon All Ye

Schools • Daycares Birthday Parties Other Special Events Ages 2-7

Have The Bes t Party in Town without Leaving Your Hom e

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mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 

A SLEEPOVER SURVIVAL GUIDE: Rules of the Game By Myrna Beth Haskell

Sleepovers can be overwhelming and exhausting. Let’s face it. They can be a downright nightmare. It will take quite a bit of planning and forethought, but both you AND your child’s friends can have a positive experience if you think things through before the first excited guest appears at your door.

Rule 1: Establish the Rules from the Get-Go Children respond well to rules if you establish them right away. When everyone arrives, hold a “Welcome Meeting.” Tell the guests about all the great activities you have planned. Then give them a list of rules to follow. Make sure they understand these are YOUR rules, not your child’s. Tell them if things go well, you have a special activity planned such as a blockbuster movie or a game with really cool prizes.

Rule 2: Prepare Your Home and Plan Ahead Find a place in your home that will be suitable for several kids bunking out and playing group games. Remove any breakable or valuable items. If you don’t have easy-to-clean tile or vinyl flooring, prepare the floor with some plastic splash mats or drop cloths. Place night lights in bathrooms and hallways so it is easier for guests to navigate their way at night. It’s also a good idea to stock up on a few extra supplies such as extra toothbrushes, pillows and socks in case one of the guests needs something.

 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

Most parents agree that too much FREE time is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have scheduled several controlled activities besides dinner, cake and opening gifts.

Rule 3: Sanity is in the Numbers Many parents suggest keeping the total number of guests to eight, including your own child. Most also agree an even number works best to avoid the “odd man out scenario.” A good rule of thumb is to invite those children whose families you know. Many parents are leery about sending their children to sleepover parties if they don’t know the family. In order to avoid inevitable disappointment due to declined invitations, put a message on the invitation such as, “Party continues after 8 for those who would like to sleep over.” This will enable guests to decline the sleepover, but still join the festivities and celebrate with your child early in the evening.

Rule 4: Activities Make or Break a Party It’s imperative you have a list of various activities planned. Outdoor activities will wear out your party goers without stressing you out. For indoor activities, it is best to choose those which will keep the kids relatively calm and focused. For girls, painting nails and doing hair always works. Fashion shows and karaoke are always crowd pleasers, too (don’t forget the video camera so they can watch themselves the next morning!).

MKM ME O S E AW IEVER ACH Our mission is to provide a dental experience that makes kids say, ‘I can’t wait to come back.’

If 12-year-olds were required to have résumés, this month’s Awesome Achiever would have quite an impressive list of credits. Hope Osborn has been home-schooling for the last four years, during which time this young ninth grader has won a number of chess tournaments, earned her Girl Scouts Bronze Award and worked on her grandparent’s East Texas peach farm. With a life goal “To change the world,” Hope has familiarized herself with the workings of the United Nations Tammy by attending Global Elementary Model United Nations Gough, (GEMUN) for five years as a successful ambassador whose D.D.S., M.S. yearly resolutions have consistently passed. She’s also been a Collin County Teen Court juror since Spring 2007 and recently completed attorney training. With Hope’s keen interest in animals, it’s not surprising the staff of the Dallas Zoo placed a special request

Hope Osborn for her return to work a second session. She was also accepted into the Girl Scouts Studio 2B Destination Program and attended aquatic biology classes in Michigan last summer. Additionally, Hope single-handedly manages her best friend’s working farm when the family is out of town. Hope’s other interests include yoga, reading, acting, travel, art, ballroom dancing and her soon-to-be-launched business, Fairy Dust Clay and Entertainment.


Tammy L. Gough, D.D.S., M.S. Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry

201 N. Alma Drive, Allen, TX 75013 (Behind Blockbuster Video)

Tammy Gough, D.D.S., M.S. B o a r d

C e r t i f i e d

Tammy Gough, D.D.S., M.S. B o a r d

C e r t i f i e d

Tammy Gough, D.D.S., M.S. B o a r d

C e r t i f i e d

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 

Schedule some group activities. Organize a mystery game or trivia game and break the kids up into teams. Group activities, such as charades and bingo, are always a hit with both boys and girls. However, many veterans suggest having an alternative activity planned in case any of the children don’t want to play the group game.

Rule 6: Yes Virginia, There is a Bedtime!

Crafts are enjoyable for either gender. The best crafts are those that also serve as party souvenirs. Some suggestions for souvenir crafts are: • photo frames (take a digital, group picture, print and insert in each child’s custom frame) – glue magnets on back for bulletin boards • pillow cases, tote bags or tee shirts – use fabric markers or paint to decorate • bookmarks or book bag chains that celebrate the theme of the party

Putting a movie in toward the end of the evening once the kids have prepared for bed usually settles them down. Make sure the movie is age-appropriate (when in doubt, ask for permission from parents beforehand). Any type of calming activity will suffice late in the evening. Just make sure you’ve already completed all activities which encourage hysterical enthusiasm. Plan to separate groups of kids if some want to whisper and pass notes via a pen light while others are ready to crash. The sleepyheads can make a beeline for the family room, while those who want to chit-chat can remain in another.

Rule 5: Fun Food, Happy Campers

After a night of ghost stories, giggling and gossiping, your child’s bleary-eyed guests may not be ready to “get with the program” the next morning. Give your child’s guests a specified time to get dressed, clean up and pack their things. Tell them there will be a surprise treat if they are successful. This may be a good time to give out goodie bags with a little something extra.

Mixing food and fun is always a hit. Making individual pizzas can suffice as dinner as well as an activity the kids will enjoy. In lieu of traditional birthday cake, set up bowls of toppings for a make-yourown-sundaes or make-your-own-cupcakes activity. You can always put a candle on the birthday child’s concoction! Remember, popcorn and chips are laden with salt. The kids will be thirsty, so you’ll need to stock up on a variety of thirst quenchers. Keep breakfast simple. Avoid making omelettes or scrambled eggs which only serve a few at a time. Most prefer to prepare French toast or pancakes to feed a large group. It’s easy to prepare, to keep warm, and you can make a large quantity at a low cost. To spice things up, add chocolate chips or M&M’s to the pancakes. It’s imperative that you ask parents ahead of time if their children have food allergies. Always keep cereal on hand in case someone is allergic to eggs. Also be prepared for the occasional vegetarian. Making sure you have at least one meatless choice will save you the trouble of whipping something up at the last minute

10 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

Getting the kids to bed at a respectable hour can prove to be an insurmountable task even for the most organized party host. Although sleepovers can be some of the most talked about celebrations, have reasonable expectations about how things will go.

Rule 7: There’s Got to be a Morning After

Hopefully, you remembered to list the pick-up time on the invitations, and to remind parents of this time when they dropped off their children the night before. Since most of your child’s guests probably have other activities to attend anyway, a 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. pick-up time is appropriate. Finally, when the last guest has stepped out the door, grab yourself a cup of herbal tea and head for the couch. This respite will be well deserved! Myrna Beth Haskell is a freelance writer who specializes in children’s health and development and parenting issues.

“Why I chose Faith in God vs. Faith in Drugs for my health” Dear Friend, I tell folks all the time, “I made the choice years ago to put my faith in God’s healing power vs. drugs for my family’s health.” There are many people who are looking for a better way, a way that makes more sense to them. Americans are far more educated and aware than they used to be, and that’s causing a profound change in the way we view things. Let me explain. Imagine driving your car, and the dashboard oil light comes on. Would you cover the light up with tape, or would you fix the problem? Of course, you wouldn’t just cover it up, you know better! But isn’t that what we do with our bodies when we take most drugs?

Let me tell you my story…

Fourteen years ago something happened to me that changed my life forever and unknowingly changed the destiny of my family’s health and wellness. Back then, I was a waiter in a restaurant, working my way through college. One day, while carrying a large, heavy tray, a sharp pain shot from my back, down my leg and through my foot. In an instant I was laying on the floor surrounded by a mess of plates, food, glasses and ice. It was like a bolt of lightning had knocked me to the ground. The pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t breathe, and I felt paralyzed. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so afraid in my life. You see, I had this pain in the past but never this bad. When I was 15, I injured my back while lifting weights in high school football. Three more times before the age of 20, I had the pain re-occur. I treated the pain like most people, with ice, heat, massage, hot showers, stretches, exercise, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and back pain pills. Each time I thought maybe it would just go away, but it didn’t. I was just covering up the symptoms, not fixing the problem. This time I knew I would have to do something different, so I tried chiropractic for the first time. The chiropractor did an exam, took some films and then “adjusted” my spine. The adjustment didn’t hurt, it actually felt good. I got relief, and I was very impressed. Later I started chiropractic school myself. Now that I’m a chiropractor, it all makes sense. God created our nervous system to control all function in our bodies, and when these nerves are pinched or interfered with, our bodies start to malfunction. Doesn’t it just make more sense to correct the mis-alignment in the spine and take the pressure off the nerves so our bodies can heal naturally, the way God designed them to, rather than to mask the symptoms by taking drugs or ignoring the problem? Each of my 5 kids received their first gentle chiropractic adjustment the first day of their life. My oldest daughter, Lexie, who is ten years old, knows enough to ask me to adjust her when she feels like she may be getting sick, or sometimes to stay tuned up. Lexie, Cassie (8), Abbie (5), Tabbie (2), and Tanner (8 mos.) are happy, healthy kids. My wife has been amazed with the health of our children. You see, none of our kids have ever had to take a round of antibiotics. Coincidence? No way! We approach their needs with natural health care that includes good nutrition, exercise, supplementation and chiropractic care. I wanted something different for my family,

rather than growing up sick all the time. And that’s my mission for you and your family. Shouldn’t it be like that for all of us? According to God’s health plan, it should. We can make a choice to live a dynamic and energetic life to the ripe old age of 120, just as Moses did in scripture. “And Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” (Deut. 34:7) God did not create His children to take man-made things and have organs removed. He made you to function at 100% – without interference. Do you ever doubt that when you get a cut, it will heal? The band-aid doesn’t heal it; God’s healing power within you heals it! That’s what we do ... remove nerve interference to allow God’s healing system to work the way it was intended.

It’s strange how life is, because now people come to see me with the health concerns of their family. They come in for low back pain like I once had or for pain, numbness or tension in the neck, shoulders, back, arms or legs. Also for pinched nerves, headaches, fatigue, sciatica, fibromyalgia, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Our allergy testing and nutritional counseling help support the special needs of people suffering with sinus and allergy problems, PMS, menopause, childhood ear problems and ADHD. People also appreciate our customized nutritional programs. Several times a day patients thank me for helping them with their health problems. But I can’t really take the credit. What I do is perform a specific spinal adjustment to remove nerve pressure, and the body responds by healing itself, just the way God intended. We get tremendous results. It’s a simple as that!

Incredible stories our patients want you to hear

“My two daughters (5 and 2 years old) have been seeing Dr. Bo since they were born and have never had to take a round of antibiotics or even be placed on any prescription medication. When my body is functioning properly, I’m a happy, healthy mommy. This makes the 1-hour round trip drive worth every minute!” – Paige R., Carrollton “Thank you for helping my grandson. His headaches & stomachaches have stopped, and now he wants to grow up to be a chiropractor.” – Kathleen R., Princeton “Since I’ve been seeing Dr. Bo (two years), I have not had to go to the doctor one time

for antibiotics (I used to have 3 to 4 rounds a year). I work in Plano and have to drive up here, but it is well worth the time and gas. Dr. Bo believes that the body has the ability to heal itself, and now I do too. If I had to move, Dr. Bo would have to move with me! – Kris B., Plano

You benefit from an amazing offer

Too often I see children suffering from chronic colds, ear infections, pain, etc. and adults who are fatigued, overworked, stressed, have very low energy, or have chronic pain. When you’re not experiencing optimal health, you can’t serve your full purpose in life. Many Americans no longer have health insurance, and those who do have found that their benefits are extremely reduced and limited. That’s where we come in. I have significantly lower fee plans, so that more families are able to afford the care they need. If you have more faith in God’s healing power than in drugs, come and see me. I’m your guy! So that’s why I’d like to offer you a special gift. When you bring in this article (by January 10, 2008) you will receive my entire new patient exam for $35, which we will be donating back to the Extreme Wellness Foundation. Through this special offer, our goal is to donate over $27,000 of natural health care to our community. In exchange for your donation you will receive a consultation, complete chiropractic evaluation, state-of-the-art computerized autonomic and motor nerve studies, x-rays (if necessary), and report of findings. There are no hidden fees. This exam could cost you $275 elsewhere. And further care is affordable too.

Great care at a great fee

Please, I hope there’s no misunderstanding about quality of care just because I have a lower exam fee. You’ll get great care at a great fee. My qualifications … I’m a Cum Laude graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic. You may have seen or heard of me as a guest speaker for the Doctor’s Speakers Bureau. I’m also a Body by God provider (www.thebodybygod. com). After graduating from chiropractic college, I moved to McKinney because I thought it would be a great place to raise a family. For over eleven years, I’ve been entrusted to take care of babies, teenagers, adults and grandparents. I just have that low exam fee, because I’m on a mission to change and save lives. Our office is friendly and warm, and we try our best to make you feel at home. We have a wonderful service, at an exceptional fee. Our office is called Brantley Chiropractic and is at 1203 W. University Drive (conveniently located 1/2 mile east of Hwy. 75). Our phone number is 972-562-1717. Preferred new patient times will fill up quickly, so please call me or my wonderful assistant Christi to make an appointment today. We can help you. Thank you.

God Bless, Dr. Bo Brantley

P.S. I won’t waste your time or your money. If I don’t feel that I can help you, I’ll refer you to someone who can. P.S.S. Due to federal regulations, offer does not apply to Medicare patients.

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 11

Guide to Great Children s Gifts ,

By Haley Shapley

Ocean Wonders Aquarium

So you’ve scoured the stores and scanned the websites, but you are still stumped on what gifts to get the kids in your life this holiday season. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are gift ideas for children of all ages, from babies to teenagers.


Help baby get a good night’s sleep with this crib aquarium, complete with fish, bubbles, ocean waves and falling rain. The comforting sounds will lull kids to the Land of Nod, and when they awaken, they can play with lights, sounds and a spinning starfish. UP TO 2 YEARS

Baby Einstein Color Kaleidoscope $13,

This electronic grasp toy with three stages of learning is fun and educational for babies three months and up. Eye tracking, color recognition and language skills are just a few of the areas little ones can delve into while playing. UP TO 2 YEARS

Sport Baseball Chair and Ottoman $180,

Jazz up your favorite baseball fan’s bedroom with a chair and matching ottoman designed to look like a baseball. The sturdy chair swivels and has vinyl upholstery, so spilled game-time snacks will be a breeze to clean. AGES 6-8

ActiviTot Tropic Isle


Flybar Foam Master Pogo Stick

Give your tiny tot a vacation in the tropics with this developmental gym. A stomach pillow, mirrors and vertical toys with different textures and sounds are just a few of the facets of this adventure-themed toy, which has an almost endless number of activities. The mat can be customized as baby grows, so children will keep playing with it, even as they get older. UP TO 2 YEARS


One of the newest crazes in the fitness world, pogo sticks are a fun way to get a little exercise. This durable model keeps its bounce for hours of fun in the great outdoors. AGES 9-11

Discovery Whodunit? Forensics Lab $80,

Give a child an introduction to the fascinating field of forensics with this kit. It includes six cases to investigate and solve. Kids can analyze blood type, handwriting and fibers to get to the bottom of each crime mystery. AGES 9-11

Rachel Printed Hobo $23,

A cute heart-printed and bow-adorned hobo bag is a welcome addition to any purse collection. Plus, it’s big enough to carry all the essentials. AGES 12-14


Girls can sing and play along to some of their favorite songs with this pink keyboard and builtin microphone. With piano, organ, flute and synthesizer sounds, lights that pulse to the beat, and an echo effect, this toy is everything you need to unleash your child’s inner musician. AGES 2–5

Space Center Erector Set $70,

National Geographic Metal Detector

With nearly 700 parts, this kit takes some time to build, but the end product — a launch pad and spaceship that stands 23 inches tall — is worth it. AGES 12-14


Send kids on a treasure hunt with this metal detector, a great buy for its strong sensitivity to metal. The recipients will love hearing the beep, then getting to work digging to see what they’ve discovered. AGES 6-8

Barbie “Jam with Me” Karaoke Keyboard

Leapster Learning Game System $60,

Children will easily have loads of fun with this award-winning gaming system that encourages fine-motor, reading, math and art skills. More than 40 games with multiple skill levels and tutorials promote learning and problem solving. AGES 6-8

12 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

Little People Deluxe Christmas Story $30,

With this Nativity set, kids can re-enact the birth of Jesus. A great teaching tool, this package includes a light-up star, the tune of “Away in the Manger” and all the crucial characters from The Nativity Story. AGES 2–5

Striped Sleep Set

$30, Microfleece bottoms and a long-sleeved top keep the chill away when nights get cold. These pajamas come in blue or pink with striped pants and “Wish” or “Dream” written on the front of the shirt. AGES 9-11

Kettrike Air Happy

$170, This high-tech tricycle has a steering lock system so that handlebars can be locked into place before kids are ready to steer on their own, a comfy seat, and an autofreewheel system that allows children to rest their feet on the pedals while parents guide them with the pushbar. AGES 2–5

Apples to Apples Party Box $30,

This is a game kids and adults will love. Players take turns choosing cards with words on them such as “mischievous” or “beautiful.” Everyone then picks a card they think best exemplifies the characteristic. You’ll end up with some hilarious comparisons and a ton of laughs. AGES 12-14

Addison Watch

$75, Get the teenager in your life a fun and funky watch. This feminine one has multicolored mother-of-pearl charms hanging from the chain, and can double as a pretty bracelet. AGES 15+

Houndstooth Coat

$20, One of the best ways to spice up a winter wardrobe is to have a jacket that can function as a fashion statement and as a way to keep warm. Try this black-andwhite checked jacket from Bitten SJP, which sports a great price and a color scheme that will match almost any outfit. AGES 15+

Audio X Rocker

$100, This chair will be a huge hit with the teen who loves to play video games and listen to music. Its built-in system — compatible with TVs, DVD players, iPods, gaming systems and more — amplifies sound and increases its quality. AGES 15+

Haley Shapley is a freelance writer and editor living in North Texas.

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 13

Brrr... it’s getting colder outside and our children will soon have the boredom blues. Who can blame them, really? Adults don’t enjoy being cooped up all day doing the same things over and over, so why would they? To heat things up a little while the kids are stuck inside during the winter months, try getting them stimulated with some of the fun activities listed below. They’ll be surprised how much fun playing inside can be… and so will you!

Stock Up Now Start by collecting materials that can be used at a moment’s notice for a variety of art projects. Each time you go to the store, purchase a few inexpensive craft materials such as finger paint, construction paper, glue sticks, feathers, pasta, stickers, popsicle sticks, paper plates, dried beans, etc. You can also collect things from nature like sticks, small pieces of wood, rocks, leaves, nuts - anything that can be transformed into an artistic masterpiece. Kids can use these items to paint the pieces of wood, make pasta jewelry, create musical instruments and so forth. Keep all these materials in a central craft box. If these materials are always on hand, you’ll be better prepared to set them out and let the kids go crazy with their creativity.

Fun with Textures Kids learn a lot from experiencing different textures. One fun way to play with textures is to create a Feely Box. All you need is an

Curing the Crazies Fun things to do to keep kids from going stir crazy this winter By Amy Pawlak

• Same Day Appointments • School and Sport Physicals • New Patients Welcome • Complete Care from Birth •

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old shoe box for the kids to decorate. Then, tell them to close their eyes while you put an object into the box. After the item is in the box, the kids reach in – with their eyes still closed – to feel around and guess what the object is. Repeat with different textured objects and you’ll have a fun and educational game on your hands in no time. Another idea is a Bubble Plate or the classic shaving cream art. To make bubble plates, simply put a few drops of liquid soap (only a few are needed) onto a plate with some water. Using a straw, gently blow air into the water to make bubbles appear. Typically, the slower the air is blown into the straw, the bigger the bubbles. As for the shaving cream art, cover the dining table with

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14 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

a disposable plastic cloth or trash bag. Then spray on quite a bit

then cut out the entire puppet and tape the sides of the rectangle

of shaving cream for the kids to run their fingers through while

together so it fits securely around the child’s finger. When the

drawing pictures, writing words and/or practicing numbers. Just

children are done creating their puppet pals, pull the couch away

make sure the shaving cream is unscented so it will not hurt

from the wall or cover up a table so they can stand behind it and

their sensitive little skin.

put on a puppet show.

Sorting Galore

Match Game Modified

Preschoolers will sort just about anything. From toys to books,

This is a great game for the older kiddoes in the house. Have

colored cereals to seeds, they love to sort! Make a game where

them cut out current events photos and the accompanying cap-

you call out a color and they go through all their toys to find

tions from newspapers and magazines. Then, cut the photos

those of that color. For example, call out “red.” Then let the

apart from their captions. Mix everything up and match different

child find all red toys. Then “blue,” and so on. Sorting books can

photos with different captions to see what funny creations your

also be fun. Books can be sorted by color, character, size, shape,

kids make.

season and more!

Puppet Pals

There are LOTS of fun, creative and unique things kids can do inside during the cold and rainy months of winter. These are only a

Tired of trying to find mates to those single socks that keep

few! Other ideas include writing their own short stories, building

coming out of the laundry? Don’t fret anymore. Put those loose

card houses, having carpet picnics, and building couch cushion

socks into the craft box. Have your kids use them to make their

castles. The list just goes on and on. For more ideas, visit www.

own puppets. Puppets can also be made from old magazine,, or search the In-

clippings or family photos cut and pasted onto popsicle sticks.

ternet for “fun indoor activities.”

Or, kids can make their own finger puppets by drawing a picture of an animal or person on a piece of paper. Before cutting it

Amy Pawlak is a McKinney-based freelance writer who enjoys spending

out, draw a two-inch rectangle (may need to be smaller or larg-

time with her husband Chris and their children Carley and Campbell.

er depending on the finger size) at the bottom of the picture,

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 15

self our ess Y r p Ex

y wn of Cla Walls aint-your-o.a p “ is a y” studio.. r o potter e space f lts! iv creat en and adu childr

ty tivi Crea ia

n . Virgi 115 W ney, Texas • Team Building n • Church Groups McKi 7-4472 4 • Bridal Shower 972-5

• Birthday Parties Hand & Foot Print • Girls Night Out Keepsakes • Teachers Gifts

Fun Stuff to do in McKinney McKinney Memorial Public Library 101 E. Hunt St. (972) 547-7323

Zenith Gymnastics 2140 N. Redbud Blvd. (214) 592-0662

Christmas Days Out Go shopping while we take care of your kids, Fun Fun.. Saturday, Dec. 22 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Lapsit Story Time Children ages 6-17 months with a caregiver Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10:05-10:25 a.m. Hold My Hand Story Time Children ages 18-35 months with a caregiver Mondays and Wednesdays - 10:35 a.m. Tuesdays - 10:05 a.m. and 10:35 a.m. On My Own Story Time Children ages 3-5 Mondays - 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays - 10:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. K.I.T.E After-school Program The History of Chocolate Children grade K-6 Thursday, Dec. 13 - 4 p.m. Family Storytime Mondays - 7:00-7:30 p.m.

John Wynn’s “Around the Square” Concert Series The Bevel House in Chestnut Square 405 S. Chestnut

Friday, Dec. 14 Featuring Singer Songwriter Beth Wood 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11 Featuring Nathan Brown 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20, dessert and coffee included Contact McKinney Guitar Studio at (972) 562-3993 for more information.

16 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

Parent’s Night Out Go to dinner or a movie while we entertain your kids! Saturday, Jan. 5 - 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. Open Gym - Friday, Jan. 11 - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Open Gym - Friday, Jan. 25 - 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

The Gingerbread Man

MPAC’s Courtroom Theatre at the Historic Collin County Courthouse 111 N. Tennessee Tuesday, Dec. 18 - 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 children and $7.50 adults (does not include per ticket fees). Info & tickets: (214) 544-4630 or

Drumming to End Violence Old Settler’s Park Recreation Center 1201 E. Louisiana (972) 542-5014 Free Drumcircle Every Saturday - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Drums available for guests who do not have their own.

talkofthetown The 2008 Krewe of Barkus parade is coming! The sixth annual Mardi Gras Dog Parade and costume contest is coming to Historic Downtown on Sunday, February 3 at 2 p.m. This year’s theme is Rock and Roll Paw of Fame. Plan your costumes and floats now! Don’t forget your Mardi Gras purple, green and gold, but also have some fun with the theme and bring your four-legged friends decked out is true Hall of Fame glam. Prizes will be awarded for best canine costume, best canine-owner costume, best float and best use of theme.

Parade registration is $5 per dog. Children may enter bikes, wagons, etc. decorated with the theme or Mardi Gras colors. Parade check-in begins at 12:30 Mitchell Park in Historic Downtown McKinney with line-up beginning at 1:15 p.m. After the parade, stay for the awards presentation as well as a few treats along the way. To register for the parade, contact Main Street McKinney at (972) 547-2661 or Blynda Christian at

We hope to see you there.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

A REAL GIFT The best gift of all is the relationship we enjoy with each other. We invite you to discover a personal banking relationship with your friends at Independent Bank. Anna Celina Collinsville Denison Howe Lit tle Elm M c K in n e y P ro s p e r S h e r m a n Va n A l s t y n e W hi t e w r i g h t

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 17

kandidkids “Love you mommy.”

“Dude, he’s my bear.”

“Yay! We went shopping!”

“Na ner na ner poo poo. I’m a cutie.”

“The wheels on the bus go round and round...”

There’s nothing like the love between a boy and his dog.

“Give me a kiss!”

“Are you serious?” “Ssh... I’m gonna get that cookie.”

“I love apples!” “Oh yes I can!”

“My future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.”

Email candid shots to 18 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 19


Creating Family Traditions

By Lorie Fangio

Inspired by the Sites and Sounds of the Holiday Season


ecember is upon us and the holiday

The extra time off from work and school

season is well underway. There are

during the holidays makes this the per-

so many sights, sounds and smells that

fect occasion to spend some time in your

evoke memories of childhood. I remem-

home forging new family traditions. I am

ber mom making rich chocolaty fudge

thinking about this more and more now

and the thrill I felt as packages began

that my oldest is firmly into her teens and

showing up around the tree. But my fa-

we have so few years left with our children

vorite holiday ritual was shopping for the

under roof. Making memories with your

Christmas tree.

children is easy, just spend time together doing fun activities. If you repeat these

Every year we went as a family. It was

activities year after year, they become tra-

dark outside and the night air was cold

ditions. It’s our unique traditions that bind

and crisp. I remember the big moon shin-

us together as families.

ing brightly and feeling as though I would burst from excitement. There was a glori-

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home,

ous smell coming from the carpet of pine

it is best place for families to come to-

needles beneath my feet. This delicious

gether. At my house, the holidays have

memory is the reason we have a live tree

officially begun when I’ve baked the first

at my house every year. Our family trip to

batch of Christmas Tree Cookies, usually

the tree lot is a way of recapturing my fa-

while we are still working on Thanksgiv-

vorite recollection of Christmas and it has

ing leftovers. Bake a batch or buy your

become a tradition in my home, one that I

cookies from the bakery and create an en-

could never part with.

chanting cookie garland. As visitors leave

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20 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

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your home from now until the New Year,

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla

they will be delighted to receive a pack-

and almond extract. Slowly add dry ingre-

aged cookie cut from the garland.

dients. Press dough flat and refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll

New Year’s Eve is another wonderful op-

dough and cut dough on a floured surface.

portunity to form new traditions. Consider

Bake on greased pan for 7-11 minutes.

celebrating with your children at home this year. Make it a party by allowing your children to decorate one room with colorful

HERITAGE LEARNING CENTER McKinney’s Premiere Child Care Center

Butter C ream Frosting

streamers and confetti. Get poster boards

• 1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature

and have each child create a sign declar-

• 1 - 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar

ing the New Year. Gather the supplies you

• 1 tablespoon of vanilla

need for festive snacks, and let everyone

• 1 teaspoon almond extract

help with the preparations. Be sure to get

• milk

some sparkling cider for a midnight toast. If you are concerned about letting your

On low speed, use an electric mixer to

young children stay up that late, declare

combine butter, sugar, extracts and several

the New Year at 10:00 p.m.

teaspoons of milk. Add milk until spreading

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consistency is achieved. As January approaches, it is natural to think about a fresh start. Our emotions are closer to the surface making it easy to get in touch with what we are truly grateful for, especially the big things like our children’s health. This is the perfect opportunity to bond with a dinner game. Every night, start the conversation with one thing each family member is thankful for. The sentiments can be large or small; in fact, it is the act of being thankful for the tiniest things that develops a grateful spirit. So think big AND small! Keep it light and fun and keep it around long after the New Year. Even if your children are grown, it is never too late to start new holiday traditions. Seed your future now and make some precious memories this year. By next year, it will be expected!

C hristmas Tree Cookies • 2 cups butter • 3 cups powdered sugar • 2 eggs • 2 teaspoons vanilla • 1 teaspoon almond extract • 5 cups flour • 2 teaspoons soda

C harming C ookie Garland 1. Measure your door frame. Add 36 inches to the measurement to dete mine length of cellophane you need. 2. Roll out the cellophane and cut it down the middle. You only need a width of 18-20 inches. 3. Lay your cookies face down in the center of the cellophane strip. 4. Fold the cellophane around the cookie. Working from the back, tie 2 ribbons in between each cookie. 5. Hang cookie garland using 3 nails: 1 in the center and 1 at each corner.

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200 N. Jordan Road • McKinney, TX mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 21

The Matter of Holiday Manners for Children An Etiquette Expert Q&A By Sandra Parks Owner of The Sandra Parks School of Etiquette

Q: When should I send thank you notes? Q: I’m going to a party a friend’s house. What if I don’t like the food? A: Thank you notes should be written to thank someone for a gift, a meal or for A: It is best to always try the food first. a favor done. Your appreciation should be acknowledged within 72 hours. Your thanks will seem much more sincere when it is expressed promptly.

There is really no excuse for not writing a thank you note. Purchase the proper tools and make it a habit to write a note as soon as possible after the event or receiving the gift.

Q: I have friends who don’t celebrate

Christmas. What kinds of cards or gifts can I give them?

A: “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greet-

ings” are probably the safest! Unless you have researched their religious beliefs, try to stay on neutral ground. Items you have considered with thought will always make a good gift to give to someone regardless of their religious background. You can never go wrong with artistic, one-of-akind products. And what you must always keep in mind is the concept of perceived value. What is perceived as valuable by one culture may not be valuable to another. 22 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

You never know, you may like it. When sampling the food, only take a small portion so you do not waste the food if you do not like it. Simply explain to the host/hostess after the event why you did not eat all of his/her food. Remember, we do not ever want to offend someone that invites us to a function.

Q: I was invited to a party but my best

friend wasn’t invited. Do I tell her about it?

A: You are not at liberty to invite someone to someone else’s party. So no, you should not invite your friend.

Q: I don’t remember what my friend gave me for Christmas and I’m worried about writing a thank you note.

A: Try your best to remember what you

Q: I have a lot of friends at school but I

got as a gift. If you cannot remember, make your thank you note as personable as possible. The thank you note should be considerate and express your appreciation.

A: Let us not forget the reason for the

Q: Mommy and Daddy are having a big

can’t buy all of them presents. What do I do?

season. It is the thought and the love from the heart. Remember to stay within your budget. A happy holiday greeting is just as sufficient as a gift if that is all you can afford at the time.

Q: I’m having a party for my friends,

but a lot of them haven’t told me if they can come. Now what do I do?

A: Do not make an issue of it. This is

why I always tell hosts/hostesses to plan for more guests than they have invited. It happens all of the time.

party for New Years. A lot of the children who will be there are kids I don’t get along with. What do I do?

A: Because Mommy and Daddy are host-

ing a party, you must be on your best behavior. Put your best foot forward and do this by being polite and courteous to everyone that comes. You will feel good about yourself when it is all over. Sandra Parks is the owner and primary etiquette teacher of The Sandra Parks School of Etiquette.

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 23


Many of us have been there. You’re in aisle 22 of the grocery store and your toddler decides it’s time to get out of the cart. When you don’t oblige, she starts to scream at decibels heard by all, including the man in the bread section who dons a hearing aide.

ignore your child because you’ve developed the patience of Job since entering the world of parenthood, but those around you feel differently. They stare as though they’ve never seen a child have a tantrum. What’s a parent to do?

At home, you have a handle on your tot’s occasional tantrums. She gets smuggled to a safe environment (her playpen or a child-proofed bedroom) and you continue with your tasks as she tires herself out by either falling asleep or settling into a calmer state.

Tantrums are a normal part of growing up. Even adults have been known to throw a tantrum or two (rush hour traffic comes to mind). Your child has simply had enough and cannot find the vocabulary or patience to express her frustration so she, as one might say, “loses it.”

However, the public domain is another issue entirely. The tantrum invariably begins when your main course has just arrived or when you’re fifth in line at the checkout counter. You would like to just 24 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

Stephen W. Garber, Ph.D., Marianne Garber, Ph.D. and Robyn Spizman, authors of “Good Behavior” (St. Martin’s, 1993), assure us that, “Most parents have to deal with at least a few tantrums, especially

Tantrums are Normal

when their child is between two and three and is trying to establish her individuality and wants to do everything her way and certainly not yours. This is actually a sign of growing independence and is quite normal.”

Prevention is Key You are best off if you can manipulate your child’s environment and mood to decrease the chance that she will have a tantrum in the first place. Here are some simple precautions that will facilitate a stress-free outing:

Do: √ Dress your child in layers so she will be comfortable with the change in temperature from outdoors to indoors. √ Avoid long lines and places where you will need to wait.

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mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 25

the good news. First, we see the big earto-ear frown; next, the flushing of the face; then, the balled up little fists.” Cline and Fay warn that parents shouldn’t lose their composure or scream back at their child. “Handling temper tantrums requires parents with soft voices who don’t even try to reason with their child.” Some children will fuss and fidget for quite some time before breaking into a full blown meltdown. Your astute recognition of these pre-tantrum behaviors and a quick exit might waylay a public disturbance.

Calming a Public Tantrum Sometimes we just don’t see it coming. If you are in public and your child has lapsed into a full blown tantrum, there are several things you can do to calm the situation. In their popular book, “What to Expect the Toddler Years” (Simon & Schuster, 1996), Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff and Sandee Hathaway, B.S.N. offer tips for parents in this situation.

√ Bring along a bag of small toys that will interest your child if she starts to get fussy. √ Avoid places and things that previously triggered a tantrum (i.e. the toy aisle). √ Give your child choices during your outing (i.e. “Would you like a toy to play with…or some raisons?”). √ Bring healthy snacks just in case your child gets hungry.

Do not: X Take a tired child into a crowded store and expect her to cooperate.

X Take a hungry child to any public place where food is inaccessible.

X Keep your toddler strapped to a cart or stroller for an extended period of time.

X Enter a public place with a child who is showing signs of an imminent meltdown.

The Checkout Tantrum William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N., authors of several childcare texts, address the checkout counter dilemma in their book, “The Discipline Book” (Little, Brown and Co., 1995). “Checkout counters are usually

26 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

where most children’s behavior disintegrates. At the checkout, let your child help put purchases on the counter, maybe counting or naming things. Keep him busy and involved in the homestretch.” They explain this will also keep his mind off the treats on display. As he gets older he will become more aware of the beckoning candy at checkout. Sears and Sears instruct, “Don’t say yes every time he asks. You can discuss ahead of time if this will be a treat day. It’s important not to let your child embarrass you. If your child knows you always say no to supermarket begging, he won’t do it. It took us six children to figure this one out!”

Recognizing the Warning Signs Even with the above precautions, you are not guaranteed to have a tantrum-free outing. Foster Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay write about the warning signs parents should look for in their book, “Parenting with Love and Logic” (Pinon Press, 2006). “There’s usually a little warning – that’s

They suggest you try to distract your child. If this doesn’t work, take your toddler to a relatively private place as soon as possible. “Carry her outside, to your car, to a restroom or to a dressing room. Speak to your child softly as you leave. This gives you the appearance of being in control.” They also suggest you ignore the audience and take the tantrum in stride. If your child knows she is embarrassing you, it will fuel her aberrant behavior. “No matter how great the temptation, and even if your toddler refuses to stop her tantrum, don’t give in to any demands. Doing so will just feed the next tantrum.” Most importantly, remember this is a fleeting part of your child’s early develop years. You will survive your child’s public tantrum and probably relive it with a smile someday when you regale others, including your “grown up” child, with the explicit details. Myrna Beth Haskell is a freelance writer who specializes in children’s health and development and parenting issues.

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 27

Tuition-Free International School Planned For McKinney


ne of the most important decisions a parent makes is how

The Imagine International School of McKinney plans to offer the

to best educate their child. For area residents, that decision

International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, a world-renowned

may soon include an exciting alternative.

academically rigorous college preparatory program which includes foreign language instruction beginning in kindergarten.

Pending approval from the Texas Education Agency, the Imagine

While the curriculum will meet and exceed Texas state standards,

International School of McKinney intends to open its doors to

the school will also focus on developing leadership skills at each

students in the Fall of 2009. The school will be a tuition-free,

grade level, along with an understanding of citizenship and

K-12 public charter school starting with grades K-8, and adding

civic responsibility.

one grade per year. Operated by Imagine Schools, a nonprofit organization with a proven track record of successfully opening

With a reputation for academic excellence, the IB educational

and operating public charter schools nationwide, the school will

framework promotes an environment which emphasizes develop-

serve students residing in the school districts of McKinney, Frisco,

ment of each student’s own cultural and national identity in addi-

Allen, Melissa, Celina, Princeton, Prosper and Lovejoy.

tion to international awareness.

28 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

The IB has gained national and international recognition as a well-rounded educational program which prepares students extremely well for success in higher education. Julia Brady, Imagine Schools’ North Texas representative states, “We are excited about offering local parents an additional public education option for their children. A key feature of the IB program is its interdisciplinary approach to teaching which makes learning in all subjects very relevant to each child. Students are encouraged to become critical and reflective thinkers by actively participating in inquiry-based learning.” Brady adds, “What makes the IB program additionally attractive is that success in the program is less a matter of ‘being born smart,’ but more a matter of motivation and hard work.” The quality of students produced by the IB Diploma program has not gone unnoticed by college admissions departments. William Shane, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Vanderbilt University, says, “There is no other curriculum anywhere that does a superior job of both educating students and inspiring a true and broad-based love of learning.” In December of 2006, The New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce released a report documenting the current inadequate preparation of the U.S. workforce to adapt to increasing global competition. The report stressed the need for educational programs which emphasize creativity, intercultural awareness and the ability to “think outside of the box.” Brady believes the proposed new school directly addresses this need. “Many parents are beginning to understand that mastery in a second language and a quality educational experience which combines strong local, state and national standards, along with an international perspective, is going to be essential to their child’s ability to compete in a global economy.” When asked about how the school would add to currently available educational choices, Jeanne Domingue, a member of the School’s Founding Group, said, “We are very fortunate in our community to have such a strong tradition of being committed to excellence in education for our children. The Imagine International School of McKinney is a natural extension of the work that our local school districts and area private schools are doing in providing a wide range of high quality academic options in our area.” A public information meeting about the school is scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2008, at Faubion Middle School from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Additional information about the school is available online at

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 29

Being Happy With Who They Are A Different Approach to Children’s New Year’s Resolutions By Lucy Parker Watkins


here are few things in life which can be taken for

these annual self-promises, why not encourage a slightly different

granted, except for writings on New Year’s Resolu-

approach this year – one that will encourage inner discipline and

tions. A quick Internet search offers multitudes of


articles focusing on the same suggestions: healthier eating habits, brushing teeth three times a day and watching less TV. Each of

There is a school of thought amongst parenting experts which

these ideas holds merit and offers children opportunities for self-

advises a focus on children’s positive, more desirable behaviors.

improvement. But why not consider a positive, reaffirming ap-

Reminiscent of the garden analogy which states healthier growth

proach towards New Year’s resolutions by helping children build

chokes out the weeds, these theories suggest children are more

upon those wonderful things they already do?

likely to continue behaviors their parent’s regularly acknowledge while discontinuing those behaviors left unacknowledged. When

Each year thousands upon thousands of school-age children are

parents maintain a positive focus, children are more likely to

given essay assignments on the topic of New Year’s resolutions.

develop additional beneficial behaviors. Overtime, you may dis-

This practice has gone on for generations and many adults con-

cover your child naturally eases away from things such as video

fess to having made up resolutions just to complete their child-

games or TV as a result of parental affirmations which nurture

hood assignments. In all likelihood, today’s children are doing

preferred behaviors. However, this positive approach does not

the same thing. Ironically, the tradition of making and breaking

mean parents should have a party each time a child says please

resolutions seems to be more deeply ingrained than the idea

and thank you or makes the bed. It’s actually suggesting parents

of actually following through with the undertakings. So rather

offer their children the same thing adults seek: recognition of ef-

than setting up children for the same frustrations adults face with

forts and successes.

30 mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008

The beginning of 2008 is a great time to give your child the gift of acknowledgement and positive feedback that says, “You’ve been doing this all along and I appreciate it. Let’s

~Where Medicine and Compassion Meet ~ Providing Healthcare for Infants, Children and Adolescents

build on it!” This attitude may also encourage the child to add new, positive behaviors to his repertoire which translate into two of the greatest gifts parents can give their children: influence and empowerment. These theories can be applied to an infinite number of situations, but they do not work entirely on their own. Probably the most important factor helping children maintain potentially life-changing resolutions is how they perceive the behaviors of their greatest role

Cheryl Eley, M.D., F.A.A.P. & Virenda Wood, M.D., F.A.A.P. Diplomates, American Board of Pediatrics

Same Day Appointments Available Sé Habla Español Most Insurance Plans Accepted 4510 Medical Center Drive, Suite 211 McKinney, TX 75069

Phone: 972-548-8382 Fax: 972-547-9951

models. If mom and dad are determined to maintain personal promises, showing persistence and resolve, they are modeling positive behaviors that will have more long-term effects than any flimsy resolution. While these suggestions are not the end-all for parenting dilemmas, this approach has the potential for manifold benefits. By emphasizing constructive behaviors, children are able to acknowledge their personal strengths. This translates into a positive self-image which will help a child adopt other beneficial behaviors such as better hygiene, increased study time and how they handle themselves in public. Building upon positive, healthy habits and witnessing the resulting improvements will breed inspiration for additional successes. It’s emotional physics. Where there is a positive view, there is a positive approach which increases the likelihood of positive results. The whole process can potentially snowball, creating a virtuous cycle. Best of all, the child is given the opportunity to grasp the golden ring of parenting -- inner-discipline. As your family members begin to assess their lives and look for areas of improvement, allow time to celebrate successes from which you and yours may continue to learn. Not only will this help each family member see how others have improved their lives, it allows both children and adults to feel good about who they are and where they are headed in the New Year.

mckinneykidsmagazine Dec/Jan 2008 31

McKinney Kids Magazine Dec/Jan08  

McKinney Kids Magazine

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