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2 Minnesota Kids – Thursday, November 18, 2010 – www.mnSun.com

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Traditions tie family together by Mindy Mateuszczyk – Sun Newspapers The holidays are a time of year many people look forward to all year long. There could be many reasons for that, from getting together with family to time off from work or school and certainly for the opportunity to participate in long-held traditions. Traditions, as defined by Maple Grove psychologist Dr. Sally Brinza, Ph.D., are practices which are passed down from one generation to the next that teach about the family’s ideas, culture, social values and sometimes religion. “Traditions add closeness and coherence for a family,” Brinza said. “It’s a way to bond. It’s the glue that helps kids feel like they belong to a group and helps them develop a sense of identity.” But traditions, like everything else during the holidays, can sometimes cause more madness than merriment. “You have to make choices,” said Russell Peterson of Albertville. “So we let crazy family go away.” In addition to house and tree decorating, for years the Petersons often hosted a holiday buffet, a New Year’s party; celebrated the winter solstice and both of their birthdays. His daughters Kyra, 14 and Eliza, 12, are dancers. Their commitments during the holiday season have grown larger, requiring increased chauffeuring time by mom and dad. It can take a bite out of their already limited time to accomplish extra tasks around the holidays. “I was driving so much; we even had a name for it. The Russ Buss,” Peterson said. So he started letting go about 8 years ago. “You can really only do two things in the car, drive and maybe have a discussion with your children.” About nine years ago, his daughters began dancing in holiday recitals.

Their involvement grew to the point that during the 2010 holiday season, they participated in three different productions, all with multiple performance dates. “It’s important to even find small moments wherever I can,” Peterson said of his family’s busy schedule. Since he spends a lot of time in the car with his daughters, he says he might take a detour one night to drive them through a neighborhood with Christmas lights. Another thing they might do is invite friends to meet up with them for a meal at a restaurant. “Sometimes traditions don’t have to be these big productions,” said Dr. Brinza. “If you think about presents, little ones really are just as happy playing with the boxes. You don’t always have to go out of your way to make it a big deal.” Peterson tries to hold onto a saying his mother-in-law shared with him. “Nobody will remember 10 years after you’re dead whether you had a clean kitchen or not.” Brinza said it’s wise to prioritize during the holidays. “If you’re dreading an activity or it’s getting to be cost prohibitive it may be time to reassess whether you want to keep up that tradition,” she said. “Traditions should be enjoyable and meaningful, not high-stress.” She suggested three ways altering the tradition to alleviate the stress. Downsizing: Keep some elements but don’t go all out. Perhaps instead of forking over the big bucks to see a holiday show at one of the larger theaters, look for a church production or a less expensive community theater option. Ask for help: If hosting the family and providing all the food is too overwhelming, consider making the meal a potluck. Brinza also says people who play

eternal hostess shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and ask if the family get together can be rotated from one house to another each year. Try something new: Brinza suggests if the family’s traditions are not a source of happiness then it may be time to decide as a family to try something completely new. “Sometimes the traditions that worked when children are younger don’t always work as well as they get older,” she said. Inventing new traditions together is equally as valid for children as passing down the generational traditions. “It gives kids a sense of involvement and importance,” Brinza said. For Susan Ritchie of Plymouth, her daughters are the biggest indicators of what traditions work best for them. “To me, our traditions are something expected that we do yearly,” Ritchie said. “They’re something that if we didn’t do it the kids would protest.” The Ritchies started a day after Thanksgiving tradition when her oldest daughter was 2. Now, 13 years later and a second daughter born, the tradition lives on and has expanded to include cousins. Every year, the group heads to Macy’s 8th floor auditorium to view the display. Afterward they each purchase a special ornament. The rest of the day is filled with lunch, camaraderie and window shopping. Every year they select a new place to shop such as the Midtown Global Market, or General Store in Minnetonka. Sometimes the most beloved traditions are the ones that develop unexpectedly. These are traditions that may be created out of necessity or even as a way to infuse variety into the holidays and yet, become rituals that families choose to participate in year after year.

The Ritchies discovered this about six years ago. “Christmas night has always been low key in our family because people have always had to work,” said Ritchie, whose family members are employed in retail, broadcasting and other pursuits that don’t always guarantee holiday time off. A few years ago, she and her cousin were home Christmas evening with all the kids and decided to bring out a fondue pot for an easy, fun meal. The idea was an immediate hit. “We just keep making it better every year,” Ritchie said. “We go through recipe books and try to outdo ourselves for sauces.” Ritchie and her family enjoy this tradition because it’s an easy one for extended family to participate in as their schedules allow, without the added fussiness of formality. For families eager to start up some new traditions, Brinza offers more tips on how to evaluate if an activity has longevity potential. These questions can be pondered before or after trying a new holiday activity: EVALUATE: Will people enjoy the activity and want to do it again? Is the cost manageable? ACHIEVE: Does this activity involve the shared values you want to pass down to your family? RESPECT: Does this activity work around the other traditions in our family and extended family without interfering? Whether the family traditions celebrated are years in the making or fledgling ideas borne of your own creativity, Brinza said they are worth the effort. “We have to work hard to get that family time together,” she said. “It does help to think about how we’re going to spend it.”


4 Minnesota Kids – Thursday, November 18, 2010 – www.mnSun.com

Winter calendar COMPILED BY JENNIE OLSON – SUN NEWSPAPERS The beginning of winter does not have to mean the beginning of a boring routine. As you exchange T-shirts for jackets and flip-flops for boots, there’s no need to struggle to find new ways to enjoy a Minnesota winter with your kids. Here are some fun, local events that will keep you and your kids entertained and educated throughout the coming months.

NOVEMBER ROBIN HOOD Dates: Oct. 1-Dec. 5 Location: On the Cargill Stage of the Children’s Theatre Website: www.childrenstheatre.org Description: Ivey Award-winning director Greg Banks (CTC’s Romeo & Juliet) goes medieval – with muscle. High-powered and action-packed, this is not your yeomanly tale of yore, but a lean, mean, swordfight-fueled story of good vs. evil, trickery vs. heroism, and compassion vs. greed. A CHRISTMAS STORY Dates: Nov.16-Dec. 31 Location: Children’s Theatre Website: www.childrenstheatre.org Description: Based on the beloved film, this CTC debut production adds new twists to the classic tale about a midwestern working-class family celebrating the holidays the only way they know how, complete with drama, humor, and an incredibly tacky lamp. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET Dates: Each Thursday-Sunday from Nov. 19-Dec. 19. Location: Lyric Arts Company & Main Street Stage, 420 East Main Street, Anoka, MN Website: www.lyricarts.org Description: The sweet and charming story of Kris Kringle - is he just another department store Santa or the real thing? A little girl’s belief in Santa Claus makes Christmas magic. JUNIE B. JONES: JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS Dates: Daily from Nov. 19-Dec. 27 except Mondays and Tuesdays Location: Stages Theatre Co. & Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main Street, Hopkins, MN Website: www.stagestheatre.org Description: The young actors at Stages

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fun for kids & the whole family

Theatre present a regional premiere about everyone’s favorite first grader. YOUNG EAGLES AT AIRLAKE AIRPORT Dates: Nov. 20 and Dec. 18 from 9 a.m.Noon Location: 8140 220th Street West, Lakeville Phone: 952-831-5142 or 952-432-4231 Description: Young Eagles offers kids a chance to fly for free in a private airplane with a qualified pilot. The national program was launched in 1992, and more than 1.2 million young people have participated since. CURIOUS GEORGE LIVE Dates: Nov. 20 and 21; Saturday at 12:30 and 4:30 p.m.; Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Location: Target Center, 600 First Avenue North, Minneapolis Website: www.sesamestreetlive.com Description: The irrepressible little monkey jumps into action in a new live touring musical production. With the help of his friend, The Man in the Yellow Hat, George tries to help Chef Pisghetti save his restaurant by winning a meatball competition that takes him to Rome. 13TH ANNUAL GOBBLE GAIT Date: Nov. 25 at 8:30 a.m. Location: Historic Downtown Hastings, West 2nd Street, Hastings Website: www.gobblegait.com Description: Enjoy a Thanksgiving Day 8K race or 2K fun run through beautiful historic Hastings. Proceeds benefit Hastings Family Service. MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT Dates: Nov. 26-Dec. 31 Location: Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska Website: www.arboretum.umn.edu Description: The arboretum celebrates the holiday season with a dazzling display of gingerbread structures, festive holiday trees, holiday music and more. HISTORY HIJINX Dates: Nov. 26-28 Location: Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul Website: www.minnesotahistorycenter.org Description: History HiJinx: Chocolate Cocoa Mug. Paint Mayan and Aztec glyphs and symbols on a white ceramic cocoa mug and take home a recipe for

spicy Mexican hot chocolate. Craft is included with museum admission for children; $1 supply fee for adults. STATE CAPITOL ART TREASURES Dates: Nov. 27-Dec. 26 Location: State Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul Website: www.mnhs.org/statecapitol Description: Go on a self-guided scavenger hunt to discover 12 beautiful and important decorations in the State Capitol building. Each self-guided booklet includes 12 gold stars that are placed next to the corresponding photographs when the item is discovered. CURIOUS GEORGE & HIS ANIMAL FRIENDS Dates: Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14 Location: Outdoor Center, 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie Website: www.edenprairie.org Description: Discover nature in a fun and active way, just like Curious George. Each program teaches your curious child about a new animal. Take a short outside hike, do a craft project and enjoy music. TREES, TRAILS & FOREST ANIMALS Dates: Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and 14 Location: Outdoor Center, 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie Website: www.edenprairie.org Description: Based on the very popular summer camp, this program explores the trails around the nature center and teaches kids about the animals that call our forest home. We look for nesting birds such as owls, wood ducks, robins and more.

DECEMBER ANIMAL ALPHABETS AND BABY ANIMAL FUN Dates: Dec. 1, 8 and 15

Location: Outdoor Center, 13765 Staring Lake Parkway, Eden Prairie Website: www.edenprairie.org Description: Learn the alphabet and learn about animals at the same time. Also learn about animals like toads, frogs, turtles and bears. NATURE TOTS Date: Dec. 2 Location: Bell Museum, 10 Church Street S.E., Minneapolis Website: www.bellmuseum.org Description: An interactive program for two- and three-year olds and their families 10 - 11 a.m. the first Thursday of the month. Activities include music, crafts, games, and nature exploration. GRAND MEANDER Date: Dec. 4 Location: The Red Balloon Bookshop, 895 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN Website: www.grandave.com Description: Grand Avenue businesses celebrate the holiday season with a free kids’ breakfast with Santa at Tavern on Grand, art fairs, craft activities (at Creative Kidstuff, Wonderment, and other stores), carolers and other live music, sales and free samples. Meet Santa’s reindeer at a tree lighting ceremony and enjoy special activities at Red Balloon. HOMETOWN HOLIDAY Date: Dec. 4, 6-8 p.m. Location: One City Hall Plaza, Chaska Website: www.chaskamn.com Description: Merchants will offer shopping enticements, hospitality and good cheer, and the chance to win a valuable shopping spree. Horse drawn wagon rides accompanied by a guide. KIDS COOKING HANUKKAH Date: Dec. 4 from 1-3 p.m. Location: Way Cool Cooking School, 16544 West 78th Street, Eden Prairie Website:


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In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

tion to the building sets. The LEGO Harry Potter sets can be purchased at harrypotter.lego.com.

found at major retail stores as well as amazon.com and www.barbie.com/videogirl.

Compiled by Jennie Olson - Sun Newspapers

DANCE STAR MICKEY Dance Star Mickey dances, walks, talks, and is activated by pressing his foot. He has five different music types along with interactive games for the whole family. Dance Star Mickey can be found at Toys ‘R’ Us, Amazon.com, dancestarmickey.com, and major retail stores.

When it comes to holiday shopping, there’s nothing like the feeling of finding the perfect gift for your child. But with all of the busyness of decorating, entertaining and cooking for the holidays, you may not have time to know which toys to look for this season. Here are some hot sellers to keep in mind as you plan your next shopping trip.

AIR HOGS BATTLING HAVOC R/C HELICOPTERS The Air Hogs Havoc Heli Laser Battling Set lets kids battle helicopters with their friends and shoot other aircraft down from the sky. The set comes with two helicopters, two controllers, authentic battling sounds, two long-life rechargeable LIPO batteries and infrared targeting. This product can be found at Sears or Amazon.com.

VTECH FLIP This eReader for kids is similar to a Kindle or Nook and is another hot seller for Christmas 2010. The VTech Flip allows kids to watch and read stories while narrators use character voices and illustrations to enhance the reading experience. It also comes with interactive games, a touch screen, and the ability to download new content. The VTech Flip is sold at Toys ‘R’ Us.

LEGO HARRY POTTER The new LEGO Harry Potter sets let kids build their favorite scenes from the popular J.K. Rowling stories. Sets include Diagon Alley, Freeing Dobby, Quidditch Match, Hagrid’s Hut, The Burrow, Hogwarts Express and Hogwarts Castle. Games, video games and accessories are available in addi-

BARBIE VIDEO GIRL Barbie now comes with a real video camera inside. The camera lens is in her necklace, and the video screen on her back shows what is being recorded. Videos from Barbie’s point of view can be created, watched and shared. The Barbie also comes with a USB plug-in cord. The Barbie Video Girl can be

Best

holiday gifts for 2010

KUNG ZHU PETS This line of Zhu Zhu pets comes in two different teams – the Special Forces and the Ninja Warriors. Each team has play-sets, armor and accessories to engage in battle. Kids can train their Kung Zhu to beat the other team within the battle arena. SILLY BANDZ Silly Bandz come in hundreds of shapes and colors, including animals, objects, numbers and letters. They are made out of silicone and are typically worn as bracelets. Hot sellers this season include the Justin Bieber pack, Barbie pack, iCarly pack and others. The Bandzilla kiosk at Mall of America sells Silly Bandz, or they can be purchased at www.sillybandz.com.

APPLE iPOD TOUCH The new Apple iPod Touch has several new features, including FaceTime for video calling. The new HD recording option lets you record, edit and share high definition video, all on a new retina display with 960 x 640 resolution. The Game Center with an A4 processor allows for better games, either to play alone or against friends around the world. NINTENDO Wii PARTY Wii Party is a social gaming experience that has more than 80 minigames to play with your family and friends, and it’s interactive to get players off the couch. Wii Party can be found at major retail stores or at www.wiiparty.nintendo.com. BARBIE COLLECTOR 2010 HOLIDAY DOLL The 2010 Barbie Collector Holiday Doll is another hot seller for girls. This year’s edition is wearing a red and white gown with golden detailing on the bodice. Her accessories are imitation ruby earrings and a headband. The 2010 Collector Barbie can be found at www.barbiecollector.com, www.amazon.com and Toys ‘R’ Us.

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Diva for a Day Winners enjoy day of luxury by Jennie Olson – Sun Newspapers

After more than a month of nominations and voting, the two “Diva for a Day” contest winners finally got to enjoy their day of luxury in true diva style. Eagan resident Pamela Berry and Minneapolis resident Maria Hokanson were the winners of the Minnesota Kids “Diva for a Day” contest, sponsored by Minnesota Sun Newspapers. All contestants were either selfnominated or nominated by a friend or family member for the opportunity to win a day of pampering. The nomination period ended on Sept. 30, and from Oct. 1-17 the public could vote for their favorite contestant. Berry and Hokanson were the two nominees with

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the most votes. Hokanson’s husband was diagnosed with brain cancer in May, and between the treatments and taking care of their two young boys, life has been very hectic for their family. Hokanson’s friend nominated her as a way to help her unwind and spend some quality time with her husband. “That someone would even think to do something like that was amazing,” Hokanson said. “I have a wonderful network of friends and family.” Berry was secretly nominated by her mother-in-law as a birthday present, and her family worked very hard to keep it a surprise – except Berry’s eightyear-old who would sneak in comments

about being a diva throughout the day. “I’m just so blessed to marry into such a wonderful family,” Berry said. “They did so much behind my back to make this happen, and I had no clue.” The two women spent Friday riding around town in a limousine from AAccent Town Car & Limo Services, were pampered at Juut Salon & Spa, had an intimate dinner for two at Parma 8200 Italian Restaurant, and stayed at the Westin Edina Galleria for the night. “To track the voting and to hear from people and see their comments – everything even up until today has been so fun and a really fun diversion for a tough time in our life,” Hokanson said.

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Rewarding family volunteer activities Taking time to help others makes you feel good about yourself. No matter what age your child is, volunteering as a family is a great way to spend quality time together while also teaching values to your child. Research shows that young people who volunteer are more likely to grow up to be adults who volunteer. Serving others doesn’t have to take a lot of time and there are hundreds of ways to volunteer together as a family. If your family is new to volunteering, start with short, one-time projects that don’t require a lot of time. This way you will feel more energized, feel like you are making a difference and want to do more. Start with volunteer projects that you can do at home. For example, make cookies to deliver to a homebound neighbor or a friend in the nursing home, put together some bags of food to take to the food pantry, or create greeting cards for hospitalized children. Consider participating in National Family Volunteer Day, the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. Plan a project of your own or join other families in a larger community service project. (Contact your

local United Way for project ideas.) Sometimes it is easier for a family to sign up for an existing project where someone else has done all of the planning. Contact your child’s school, your congregation, workplace or other networks to find out what community projects are in the works. Solicit project ideas from all family members. When asked for input, adults and young people are more likely to participate if the project was their idea. If there are a lot of ideas, projects can be spread out over several weeks or even months. You may want to find a project that is of special interest to you or a family member, such as participating in a fundraising project for a family member who needs help or building a wheel chair ramp for a neighbor. It is always a good idea, too, to sit down as a family after the activity to process what happened. For instance, ask family members what new skills they learned, what new friends they made and what surprised them about the project. Talk about whether or not family members want to do a similar project next time.

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Holiday parenting tips Holiday time is a stressful time for any family. There’s never enough time for shopping, cleaning, cooking, partying and whatever else is on the agenda during these few weeks. Here are some tips to help families enjoy the holidays a little bit more. If you have very small children, don’t worry about buying them tons of presents. They won’t remember them, they won’t thank you and they will probably spend more time playing with the boxes than the toys themselves. For older children, start a tradition of giving only a few special presents to each child. And when it comes to opening the gifts, have each person open one gift at a time to extend the excitement about the present. Pay attention to your schedule during the holidays. Don’t say yes to more holiday parties than you can attend. Also, don’t volunteer for more tasks than you have time for. Put your family first and make sure there’s time to volunteer at your children’s school and attend their concerts and pageants before you fill up your schedule with other activities. Try to avoid filling the house – and your children – with tons of sweets. Sure, it’s fun to make Christmas cookies and decorate them every year, but skip making the fudge, fruit cakes or other cookies, or buying lots of candy just to have on hand. Kids and adults get enough candy and other holiday treats at school and work during the weeks leading up to the holidays. Pay attention to the type of gift that you give your children. Make sure the gift is something that will help a child develop a special interest or talent. For instance, buy a paint set for your budding artist or a guitar for that child who is interested in music. The holidays are a good time to teach your children about the spirit of giving. Volunteer as a family at a local soup kitchen or toy drive. Make sure your family gives a gift back to your community. If you find yourself overwhelmed during the holidays this year, remember that less is more and focus on doing a few great things that will make your family happy rather than many little things that no one may notice.

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8 Minnesota Kids – Thursday, November 18, 2010 – www.mnSun.com

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

Making time for family fun

Snowboarding is a very popular activity for youngsters and teens. Many winter recreation areas also have sledding or other opportunities for all ages.

To be an effective parent and have a close family, you need to spend quality time together. This sounds simple enough but it can get quite difficult when you are working full-time and your kids have sports, their friends, church and part-time jobs of their own to work around. Even though your family’s schedule is probably packed, it’s still possible to include quality family time. You might have to get creative with your attempts to spend time together as a family and of course it will be challenging, but your family will grow closer because of it. A good way to get started on ideas for family time is to get input from your kids. You may be surprised to learn that they want your family to spend time together or to stay home more and do things together. The next step is to designate a regular family time as part of your routine. Some families have a weekly family night. Others have a monthly family outing. Others have a daily family check-in during dinner or before bed time. Designate a day and time that works for you and your family. Once you make the commitment for family time, make sure you stick with it for awhile. Take some time each month to ask family members how it is going and what, if any, changes need to

be made. Help your child, especially if a teenager, find a healthy balance between self-interest and family interest. For example, if your child refuses to participate in family activities, be clear that certain family times are nonnegotiable. Some ideas for family activities at home include playing card games, board games or video games; making jewelry, painting or other art projects; and playing a sport together, such as volleyball, basketball or baseball. Some ideas for family activities outside of the home include bowling, movies, dining out, visiting museums or helping with fund-raising events. Make sure to solicit everyone’s input on possible family activities. The activities will be more successful if everyone is involved in the planning from early on. Make sure your kids have a say in what is planned, where you go and the activities you want to do (and want to avoid). Whether you are spending time in the community or just sitting down for a meal, enjoy the time you spend with your family. Even if your schedules are varied, set some time aside regularly for spending time together – not only will it help keep your family close, but you may also find that it is a great stress reliever!

MinnKids.com is an online resource for Moms, inclusive of local activities, deals, parenting advice and blogs….all in one place. It's an easy way to keep your busy life with your family simplified and stay connected with your community at the same time. Moms, you can plan your kids’ activities easily for the best values in town, and at the same time, you can support your local family friendly businesses. Community connections, family fun and doing it on a budget. Isn’t that what you’re looking for? Log on to www.MinnKids.com for the latest and greatest in your community. See you there…

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9

Homework and Tears BY RHONDA MOSKOWITZ, M.A., PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS PARENT COACHING, LLC Sometimes a homework challenge can get out of control. Perhaps your child struggles with one particular subject. Doing that homework is frustrating and doesn’t make your child feel successful. What you end up with is a lot of homework avoidance, screaming, and crying. And it’s probably not all coming from your child.

Rhonda Moskowitz, M.A., PCI Certified Parent Coach has been working with families for over 30 years. She is a Parent Coach and founder of Practical Solutions Parent Coaching, LLC, www.practicalsolutionsparentcoaching.com. Contact Rhonda at Rhonda@practicalsolutionsparentcoaching.com.

What do you do? Acknowledge that the work is challenging. Tell yourself and tell your child that it may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. This work may take more time, effort and energy than others, but it can be done. Help your child divide each homework paper into workable chunks. If there are 10 math prob-

lems, cover 9 of them so your child can focus on only one problem at a time. Describe what you saw her doing well. “I saw you really concentrating on that problem! That was a lot of brain power working!” Talk to the teacher. Homework isn’t designed to bring students to tears. Let the teacher know what you are seeing at home. Ask for suggestions. If your child needs help outside of school, consider hiring a tutor. It’s hard for parents to also be the teacher. Many children simply won’t accept advise from their mom or dad. You child may work better with someone else. Many certified teachers tutor after school hours. In addition, your local high school or

college may help you find older students who can work with your child. The biggest struggle is often with our anxiety. It’s hard to watch your child in pain. Your mind starts moving in all kinds of directions. We worry about today and the future. Homework becomes our focus and may lead to interactions with our child that aren’t helpful. Take a deep breath. Try not to let your anxiety take over. You are not in this alone. Work with the teacher, the school and a qualified tutor to support your child. Stay focused on the picture of your child being successful. By focusing on that outcome you will be better able to support your child as she grows into that competent and capable person.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

Just Kidding! BY RHONDA MOSKOWITZ, M.A., PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS PARENT COACHING, LLC I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge, but when you’re a parent Thanksgiving is the season opener for the busiest time of the year. Caught between shopping, cooking, planning, working, getting together with friends and family, and keeping the house clean, it feels like you have no time to stop and breathe. And let’s not forget the constant emphasis on creating the perfect holiday everywhere you turn. Don’t forget that the kids still have to go to school and do their homework! If this is really how you want to experience the holiday season, read no further. But if you need a saner approach that not only includes your kids but also keeps them from exploding, think about incorporating an idea or two from this list.

Keep your expectations realistic. There is no such thing as a perfect holiday. We are not all living in a Norman Rockwell painting. To keep your sanity and be a better parent, lower your expectations. The decorating doesn’t have to be ‘just so’. Ask guests to pitch in by bringing some food. If you don’t feel pressured to do it all, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the event. Build in time for rest and relaxation. Children need down time. For that matter, so do parents! Build in something quiet—watching a movie together or walking around the neighborhood can refresh everyone. In addition, give yourself permission to do something without your family. A parent who makes sure that his or her needs are met is better able to deal with the demands of children. Remember to be physically active. Young children do better when they move their bodies. Get them outside and moving every day. This will

translate into better behavior when they are inside the house. Your vision of the event exists only in your mind. This is a real gift. You may have envisioned a very Martha Stewart dinner, but it looks closer to Sponge Bob when you’re done. No one knows that except you. Keep it to yourself, and everyone will think this is what you planned from the outset! Keep the kids involved. Give them real jobs. Have them create name cards or decorations for the table. Have them help set out the silverware. Even the very youngest child can be at the door to greet guests. The idea is for them to feel some ownership and partnership in the day.

Holidays are all about family. If that’s true (and it is), then they are messy, unpredictable, and may involve some disagreements. On the other hand, they are also about being with people whom you love unconditionally and who feel the same about you. Put your energy into what you want your family to remember. It’s not about the food or the ambiance. It’s about the love, support, and relationships. Then sit back and have a wonderful holiday.


10 Minnesota Kids – Thursday, November 18, 2010 – www.mnSun.com

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

Winter calendar - from page 4 www.waycoolcookingschool.com Description: Kids can learn to make challah bread, latkes, and other traditional foods associated with the Jewish Holiday of Lights. WALL-TO-WALL WALKER Date: Dec. 4 Location: The Walker, 1750 Hennepin, Minneapolis Website: www.walkerart.org Description: Families can enjoy live performances, films, gallery adventures, and hands-on art-making from 10 am–3 pm. Activities recommended for ages 6–12. THE BOXCAR CHILDREN Dates: Dec. 4-17 Location: Lyric Arts Company & Main Street Stage, 420 East Main Street, Anoka, MN Website: www.lyricarts.org Description: Lyric Arts brings the story of four Depression-era orphans to the stage, based on the books by Gertrude Chandler Warner. GINGERBREAD HOUSE MAKING Date: Dec. 6 Location: 3030 53rd St. E, Minneapolis Website: www.minneapolisparks.org Description: Families will make a gingerbread house – all of the supplies will be included. $6 per house. Regisstration required. 612-370-4956. TODDLER TIME: CIRCLES, SQUARES AND SEA STARS Date: Dec. 6 Location: 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley Website: www.mnzoo.org Description: Join a Zoo naturalist who will read a story, lead an animal encounter, a movement activity and an art project focusing on a specific topic. MOVIE NIGHT: THE POLAR EXPRESS Date: Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Location: Central Park & Lookout Ridge, 8595 Central Park Place, Saint Paul, MN Website: www.ci.woodbury.mn.us Description: The G-rated film screens in Central Park’s amphitheater. Adults must accompany children. Fee includes unlimited popcorn and beverage.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL Dates: Dec. 10-12; Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Location: Burnsville Performing Arts Center, 12600 Nicollet Avenue, Burnsville, MN Website: www.burnsvillepac.com Description: Burnsville Civic Light Opera presents A Christmas Carol, featuring sets, costumes, and special effects created for the 2008 Kodak Theatre Production, and recorded narration by Sir John Gielgud. A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT Dates: Each Friday-Sunday from Dec. 1019; Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Location: Lakeshore Players Theatre, 4820 Stewart Avenue, Saint Paul, MN Website: www.lakeshoreplayers.com Description: The Lakeshore Players present a modern adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic tale about a kid working on a school play who’s transported back in time. BREAKFAST WITH SANTA Date: Dec. 11, 9:30-11 a.m. Location: 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka Website: www.eminnetonka.com/recreation.cfm Description: Children will have an opportunity to sing holiday carols, visit and have a picture taken with Santa. Enjoy a continental breakfast starting at 9:30 a.m.

from the Hitching Company will leave from the front gate of the Ramsey House for a ride around the historic Irvine Park district. A costumed interpreter will join the riders to talk about the history of the area. ROBERT ROBINSON’S 2010 HOLIDAY CONCERT Date: Dec. 18 Location: Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main St., Hopkins Website: www.hopkinsartscenter.com Description: Dubbed “Minnesota’s Master Male Vocalist” by the Star Tribune, the beloved Robert Robinson returns with his new 2010 Holiday Concert. ROBERT ROBINSON’S 2010 HOLIDAY CONCERT Date: Dec. 18 Location: Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main St., Hopkins Website: www.hopkinsartscenter.com Description: Dubbed “Minnesota’s Master Male Vocalist” by the Star Tribune, the beloved Robert Robinson returns with his new 2010 Holiday Concert. O’NEILL BROTHERS CHRISTMAS Date: Dec. 21 Location: Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main St., Hopkins Website: www.hopkinsartscenter.com Description: Enjoy traditional Christmas songs as well as other favorites performed on two grand pianos by The O’Neill Brothers, Tim and Ryan.

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA Date: Dec. 11 Location: McRae Park, 906 47th St. E, Minneapolis Website: www.minneapolisparks.org Description: Santa brunch. Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee and juice. Plus be entertained by the McRae Park Jazz Band.

KWANZAA FAMILY DAY Date: Dec. 26 Location: Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul Website: www.minnesotahistorycenter.org Description: This year the African American holiday celebration focuses on the principle, Umoja, or “Unity”.

HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES Date: Dec. 18 Location: Ramsey House, 265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul Website: www.mnhs.org/ramseyhouse Description: Visit Irvine Park the old fashioned way. A horse-drawn carriage

SCHOOL’S OUT – BOWLING AND SWIMMING Dates: Dec. 28 and Dec. 30 Location: Brunswick Zone, 16700 Valley View Rd., Eden Prairie Website: www.edenprairie.org Description: A day filled with bowling, a

pizza lunch and swimming at the Oak Point Pool. Bring a swimsuit and towel. FAMILY NEW YEAR’S AT BIELENBERG Date: Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. Location: Bielenberg Sports Center, 4125 Radio Drive, Saint Paul, MN Website: www.ci.woodbury.mn.us Description: The sports center hosts games, inflatables, mini-golf, bingo, iceskating, an obstacle course, and an 8:45 p.m. countdown, offering families a safe, fun place to celebrate the New Year.

JANUARY WHAT IF? Date: Jan. 8 Location: 14600 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka Website: www.eminnetonka.com/recreation.cfm Description: The Minnetonka Fire Department’s “What If ?” program invites you to Minnetonka Fire Station 1 for an afternoon of learning and fun. Join fire fighters/public educators Jim Lundeen and Sara Ahlquist as they share their family “What If ?” program. IF YOU GIVE A MOOSE A MUFFIN Dates: Daily from Jan. 14-Feb. 13 except Mondays and Tuesdays Location: Stages Theatre Co. & Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main Street, Hopkins, MN Website: www.stagestheatre.org Description: The young actors at Stages Theatre present a world premiere musical stage production based on the one-thingleads-to-another books. FAMILY OVERNIGHTS: DOLPHINS DUSK TO DAWN Date: Jan. 14 Location: 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley Website: www.mnzoo.org Description: Children age five and older with their families get a nose-to-nose encounter with our animals and learn exciting things about nature and the environment.


In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

www.mnSun.com – Thursday, November 18, 2010– Minnesota Kids

CMYK

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12 Minnesota Kids – Thursday, November 18, 2010 – www.mnSun.com

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

CMYK

MinnKids November 2010  

News Magazine dedicated to parenting in Minneapolis-St. Paul

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