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Family Hikes 6 steps to fun
Pandemic Burnout 7 ways to cope
Camp Queries What to ask
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10 Features 10 Camp Questions Nine queries to help you find the right program.
12 Disaster-Proof Family Hikes Find out the keys to a successful adventure.
14 Pandemic Burnout
Cooking with Kids Meatball Magic
Bits and Pieces Bioblitz Bliss Music for Spring Romance New-Mom 411
Come to Our Virtual Camp Fair Haiku Anyone? A Virtual Sleepover for Brownies
22 Calendar of Events 24 Humor Break A Bath Beats the News
We know you’re so over it. Here’s how to cope.
16 Money for Munchkins Use allowances to teach kids about cash.
18 Tear-Free Shots?
Yes, they may be possible. Follow these tips.
20 Get the Grrs Out Help kids manage big feelings.
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
f it’s all getting old—parenting while working at home, convincing the kids to wear masks, counting the feet between you and the person ahead of you at the Sharon Gowan grocery store—you Publisher/Editor are not alone. Read Sharon@family-life.us “Pandemic Burnout” (page 14) for tips on how to cope and keep up your stamina through these hard times. One positive piece of news: COVID-19 vaccination rates are going up. In general, vaccinations are major screaming events for kids. But dad Tanni Haas says they don’t have to be. Read his “Tear-Free Shots?” (page 18) for ways to help children manage the pain and anxiety of being “poked.” If shots are like spinach to kids, then camp is definitely dessert. Children thrive when they get a chance to try out creative activities and make new friends. Despite COVID-19, many camps are up and running—they’re just offering
modified programs. Find out about what is available in our area at Family Life ’s Virtual Camp Fair. You can see it April–June at sonomafamilylife.com. (Find out more on page 9.) Camps often feature lots of time outdoors. But you don’t have to wait for a program to start to enjoy nature, especially not in beautiful Mendocino and Lake Counties. Family hikes are a wonderful way to breathe fresh air and enjoy each other’s company. But sometimes it’s hard to get kids excited about hitting the trail. Never fear. Pam Moore, author of “Disaster-Proof Family Hikes” (page 12), has got you covered. Read her secrets for turning walks with little ones into fun adventures. Then check out visitmendocino.com and lakecounty.com for places to explore. May our green spring renew your spirits and bring you joy.
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April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Cooking with Kids
Make a One-Pot Meal
By America’s Test Kitchen
oldly flavored turkey meatballs cook up perfectly juicy and tender nestled in a skillet of creamy coconut rice. We packed the meatballs with cilantro, scallions, and ginger for fresh brightness and then added chili-garlic sauce and fish sauce for heat and savory depth. We bound the mixture together and kept the meatballs moist with an egg and some panko bread crumbs. After browning the meatballs, we sautéed red bell pepper in the leftover fat, and then we added rice and cooked it until it was translucent around the edges (a step that added nutty flavor and prevented future clumping). To cook the rice, we swapped out one-third of the water for coconut milk—just enough for a noticeable coconut sweetness but not so much that the finished dish was stodgy. The meatballs and rice finished cooking together in the covered skillet, and we rounded out the meal with the addition of thawed frozen peas. We finished the dish with more fresh herbs, a squeeze of lime, and some chopped peanuts for a welcome crunch. Be sure to use ground turkey, not ground turkey breast (also labeled 99 percent fat-free), in this recipe. We like the flavor of jasmine rice here, though any long-grain white rice will work.
Reprinted from The Complete One Pot (2020) with permission from America’s Test Kitchen, americastestkitchen.com.
Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Rice, Bell Peppers, and Peas Total Time: 1½ hours • 1 pound ground turkey • ½ cup panko bread crumbs • 6 scallions, sliced thin, divided • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided • 1 large egg, lightly beaten • 2 tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce, plus extra for serving • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger • 1 teaspoon table salt, divided • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into ¼-inch-thick strips (2 cups) • 1 cup long-grain white rice, rinsed • 1½ cups water • 2/3 cup canned coconut milk • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed • ¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped coarse • Lime wedges 1. Using your hands, mix turkey, panko, two-thirds of scallions, ¼ cup cilantro, egg, chili-garlic sauce, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, ginger, and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl until thoroughly
combined. Using wet hands, pinch off and roll 2-tablespoon-size pieces of mixture into balls and arrange on large plate (you should have about 20 meatballs); refrigerate for 15 minutes. 2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown meatballs on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes; return to plate. 3. Add bell peppers to fat left in skillet and cook until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice begin to turn translucent, about 1 minute. Stir in water, coconut milk, remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Return meatballs to skillet and add any accumulated juices. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. 4. Remove skillet from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Gently stir peas into rice and let sit until heated through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts, remaining one-third of scallions, and remaining ¼ cup cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and extra chili-garlic sauce. Serves: 4 MendoLakeFamilyLife 7
Bits & Pieces
ugs, plants, birds. Search for all of them at Bioblitz at the Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC). Families will be guided to look for as many species as possible and then record what they find on the free iNaturalist app. One-hour guided visits will take place 10 a.m.–1 p.m. on April 10, 17, 24, and May 1. Admission is on a sliding scale, $10–$100. Register online at bit.ly/hrecevents. There will also be two-mile self-guided hikes on the HREC property, populated with oak woodland and pastures, on April 3, 10, 17, and 24. Hikes are priced on a sliding scale: 0–$10. Register online at bit.ly/ hrechike. Mendocino County health orders will be followed during Bioblitz and hikes. ¶
Music for Spring Romance
llen Taaffe Zwilich made history in 1983 when she became the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. Hear her work at the Santa Rosa Symphony’s (SRS) spring concert, which will feature Zwilich’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra, along with the work of Caroline Shaw, Arturo Márquez, and Tchaikovsky. See the prerecorded performance on April 25 at 3 p.m. via the SRS YouTube page. Subscribe at tinyurl.com/b8r62azk. For more information, go to srsymphony.org/Plan-Your-Visit/Ways-to-Watch. ¶
he first weeks and months of parenting a newborn can be difficult in the best of times. Add in a pandemic, and the isolation and uncertainty can make mothers feel especially vulnerable. For those needing some extra assistance, the Child Parent Institute in Santa Rosa has created a Mothers and Babies Support Group. The free ten-week, therapist-facilitated online group aims to help new moms and pregnant women connect with each other while they learn about parenting, bonding, and the emotions that come with new motherhood. Sessions will be held on Fridays, April 9–June 11, 9:30–11 a.m. Register at tinyurl.com/u2798nyx or calparents.org. ¶
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Virtual Camp Fair Come to Our Virtual Camp Fair
oes your child want to learn how to speak Spanish? Explore coding? Take up drawing? Summer camps offer instruction in these and other areas. And it’s not too early to start looking for the best program for your child. Check out Sonoma Family Life ’s Virtual Camp Fair for options. Click on a virtual “booth,” and instantly learn more about any program that piques your interest. Check it out at sonomafamilylife.com. ¶
Melissa Eleftherion Carr
A Virtual Sleepover for Brownies
ver noticed that Ukiah is haiku spelled backwards? It is a quirky fact that is annually celebrated at the free Ukiah Haiku Festival. This year’s event will be online and will feature local poets reading their work in a round-robin style. If there’s time, poems from past winners, as well as Japanese masters like Basho and Buson, will also be included. Outgoing Ukiah Poet Laureate Roberta Werdinger will produce the event and incoming Poet Laureate Melissa Eleftherion Carr will host it. To attend the festival, which will be held on April 25, 3–4 p.m., email Werdinger at email@example.com, and she’ll send a Zoom link. Find out more at facebook. com/events/889133021918093?active_ tab=about. ¶
or Girl Scouts, getting badges is now a virtual experience. And the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa is helping out with the process. The museum’s Art and Adventure Brownie Virtual Sleepover will help Brownies attain their Letter boxer badge. At the two-day Zoom event, participants will learn to make their own stamps and letterboxes, make and solve puzzles, and learn to draw Snoopy. There will even be a sing-along. A badge will be mailed after the event. Art and Adventure, which is for girls in grades 2–3 and adult chaperones, will be held on April 17, 4–7 p.m., and April 18, 9–10:30 a.m. Tickets are $35. Register at tinyurl.com/2ck84x6c or go to schulzmuseum.org/learn/ calendar-of-events. ¶
3. Does the camp have a philosophy? The answer to this question can help you get a sense of the camp’s overall mission. Traditional summer camps can provide the opportunity to build friendships, foster a sense of independence, develop social skills, try new things, and learn how to fail in a safe and structured environment. “Our philosophy is we provide campers a noncompetitive environment with which they
Camp Questions 9 Essential Summer-Program Queries By Sandra Gordon
s more Californians become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, camps are working out how to hold in-person, virtual, and hybrid programs. Come to our Virtual Camp Fair at sonomafamilylife.com to research camps. And then, when you’ve found your favorites, ask these questions.
1. What will my child do there? Many camps will say they offer something for everyone—from basketball, theater activities, music, sports, horseback riding, archery, robotics, rock climbing, arts and crafts, or water sports. Still, to narrow your camp selection, determine the camp’s main activities. At camp director Sam Doescher’s program, for example, “you might love archery, but if you hate the water, you might not have the best 10 MendoLakeFamilyLife
time because you’re in the water every day learning to fish, water ski, knee board, wake board, or sail. Archery is just a small portion of our program,” Doescher says. 2. Is the camp accredited? American Camp Association (ACA) accreditation signals that a camp has met or exceeds all state camp requirements. ACA accreditation requires documented background checks, and certifications.
If you have a picky eater, be sure the camp has plenty of mealtime options. can grow and enjoy their camp experience,” Doescher says. 4. Does the camp have many returning campers? A decent retention rate—of at least 50 percent—signals that campers are satisfied enough to want to come back. Ideally, the camper retention rate should be 60–70 percent, Doescher says. Ask about returning counselors, too. Again, a decent camp counselor retention rate should be 50 percent or greater. 5. What qualifications do the counselors have? At the best camps, “all counselors should have to undergo a background check, be vetted through the national sex offender database, and have been trained to report any sort of sexual abuse,” Doescher says. From a water safety perspective, at least 75 percent of the staff should be certified to be lifeguards and to perform CPR. Ideally,
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
senior counselors should be high school graduates and above; head counselors should be graduating college seniors, college graduates, or graduate students. 6. How does the camp handle meals? If you have a picky eater, be sure the camp has plenty of mealtime options, as in buffet-style meals, a variety of food stations, or cereal availability. If food allergies are a concern, ask about the camp’s food allergy policy and practices, such as how far the PB&J station is from the nut-free table in the camp cafeteria. For food in general, review the camp’s sample online menus and check out the camp’s food philosophy. Some camps will
feature only fresh ingredients, from-scratch cooking, or “healthy” foods. At other camps, not so much. 7. What happens if my child gets sick or injured? Ideally, a nurse should be onsite from early morning until bedtime, then on-call
Ideally, the camper retention rate should be 60–70 percent. through the night, with counselors trained to dispense medications and first aid. 8. Will my child be allowed to bring a phone? The answer to that can vary depending on the
camp’s policy. It’s up to you to decide how off the grid you’d like your child to be. At some camps, no electronics are allowed, including in camper cabins. At other camps, campers can use computers at the facility but not their phones. 9. What does this camp offer others don’t? Many camps now offer trendy features, such as a GaGa pit, a water mat, an indoor arcade, and robotics classes. But innovative camps will offer something extra special—a signature activity that campers will hopefully come to associate with the camp years later. At Doescher’s camp, it’s learning to roll logs in water. ¶ Sandra Gordon is an award-winning freelance writer.
Student Centered Open House April 27 1–2:30pm
Personal Nature Based Real World Learning
An Accredited Alternative For Grades K-12 La Vida Charter School www.mendolakefamilylife.com
11785 Orchard Lane, Willits
tell you to remember the snacks. On a hike, don’t worry about packing anything healthy. The trees, the dirt, and the fresh air are healthy enough to offset all the gummy bears, fruit snacks, and Capri Suns you need to keep your kids motivated to walk a few more steps.
Timing is everything. If your kids are like mine, they’re up and ready to rock before the crack of dawn. In that case, head out first thing. If your kids are not morning people…I’m
Disaster-Proof Family Hikes 6 Simple Steps for Keeping Kids Engaged By Pam Moore
family “hike” might look more like a meandering walk on a dirt path. But that doesn’t mean exploring the trails with your little ones can’t be enjoyable. Before you lace up your kids’ hiking boots this spring, keep the following tips in mind.
Keep expectations low. Be real about what you expect to accomplish. It’s much better to set the bar low and be pleasantly surprised than to be disappointed when expectations aren’t met. Forget about reaching a specific landmark or hitting a certain mileage. Focus instead on the intangibles, like whether your kids are having fun
Stop to smell the flowers. Pause to hug a tree. and want to return to the trail next weekend.
Fuel up. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of mistaking a hunger-induced tantrum for an exorcism, I probably don’t have to
If your child wants to squat down for a while to study a rock, let her. jealous. If you’ve taken the kids to a swim lesson in the morning, a birthday party over lunch, and your hike is scheduled just before dinner, consider rescheduling. A tired, overstimulated kid is not a kid you want to take on the trail.
Sun protection. The last thing you want is painful sunburn overshadowing a kid’s memory of a family hike. It may be shady where you’re going, but according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, while shade offers some sun protection, UVB light can still penetrate it. Also, be wary of being out during peak exposure hours (10 a.m.–4 p.m.), which increases the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.
Lead by example. If your child isn’t excited to hike, it’s worth pausing to ask yourself how you feel about
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
mendo lake hiking. Do you wish you could go back to your pre-kids era, charge up a challenging trail, and finish the day at a brewery, without so much as a glance at the kids’ menu? (We all feel this way sometimes.) For better or for worse, kids have a way of picking up on our vibes. As you pack your backpack, toss your negativity along with the old granola bar wrappers and used tissues you’ll inevitably find tucked at the bottom.
Have fun. Stop to smell the flowers. (My daughter insists that every flower she sniffs smells like roses. I don’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.)
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Be real about what you expect to accomplish. Pause to hug a tree. If your child wants to squat down for a while to study a rock, let her. Or create a contest. Who can be the first to spot a bird? Have the whole family hunt for things that are round, or search for green or smooth items. Fun is what keeps kids—and grown-ups— engaged and wanting to come back for more. Hiking can be an experience the whole family can enjoy together, as you long as you plan ahead and manage your expectations. Then again, you can do everything right and your perfectly planned outing could still fall apart. That, my friends, is called parenting. ¶ This article was originally published on Parent Co. Get Pam Moore’s free guide to Crushing Impostor Syndrome at pam-moore.com.
is no time for social engagement. However, it’s absolutely crucial to your mental health to connect with friends. Research shows that connecting with friends triggers the release of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Friends listen, provide helpful feedback, or commiserate
Remember, you’re not alone—most parents are struggling.
Pandemic Burnout 7 Coping Techniques for Parents By Patrick Quinn
e’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year now, and for many, life under lockdown is taking its toll. This is especially true for parents. Here are several tips for reducing pandemic parenting burnout.
1. Attend to the three pillars of physical wellness: nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Not making time for self-care increases the risk of burnout. Experts agree that getting consistent, high-quality sleep improves virtually all aspects of health, which is why it is even more worthy of our attention during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, not only is regular daily activity good for physical health, but it can also improve emotional well-being. 14 MendoLakeFamilyLife
Stretched for time? Mini-workouts (google “seven-minute workout apps”) and short walks are convenient ways to make exercise a daily habit. Last but not least, eating healthy foods will do wonders for your mood and energy level, far more than feasting on chocolate, chips, and other “comfort” foods. 2. Connect with other parents and friends. This is something that often goes by the wayside because, as parents, we feel like there
about the challenges of parenting during a pandemic. Friends normalize our experience and help us feel less alone. While social distancing rules may make it difficult to get together in person, FaceTime, Zoom, or even an old-fashioned phone call can still help. 3. Build into your routine micro-moments for your own self-inquiry. When we’re constantly caring for others, it’s difficult to even identify or be aware of what we’re feeling. Meditation may be overwhelming right now, but even 10 minutes of silence can help us connect with ourselves. A stream of consciousness free-write is a great way to excavate thoughts that are clouding our ability to take action or find clarity. If that’s too daunting, try a journal prompt, such as “I’m going to forgive myself for…” or “I am inspired daily by…” 4. Cut yourself some slack. You deserve it now more than ever. Remember, you’re not alone— most parents are struggling, and unfortunately, that’s to be expected given the circumstances. It’s not your fault. Try not to be hard on yourself for every slip-up, missed deadline, pile
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
of laundry, or whatever else feels like a “failure” right now.
will lift your mood and effectively help you be more present with others.
cards to first responders and those hospitalized with COVID-19.
5. Practice realistic self-care. Taking a spa day is not realistic self-care for busy parents, let alone during a pandemic. But thankfully, realistic self-care can be as simple as taking five minutes alone on the patio to practice some yoga and breathing exercises, taking an extra-long shower or bath, enjoying a special glass of wine once the kids have gone to bed, or reading a few pages of your chosen book before bed, to name a few. If you are like most parents, when you sit down to take a break, a task or chore will pop into your head. If you don’t let those thoughts distract you, and you let yourself just be for five minutes, you’ll soon notice how these little breaks throughout the day or week
6. Connect with purpose and practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude for small things and focusing on values-based goals, even when you cannot control your surroundings, builds resilience. What are the
7. Seek professional help if needed. If you feel like you could benefit from talking to a mental health professional, you probably could. Telehealth options are available right now, so you won’t even have to leave your house to consult a medical professional. Several therapists associated with the Redwood Empire Association of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists offer a limited number of free sessions to those affected by pandemic crises. See recamft.org/ page-1861338.
It’s absolutely crucial to your mental health to connect with friends. techniques you use to feel better about circumstances that are out of your control? Maybe it’s starting a prayer journal with your kiddos, or writing down five things you’re thankful for at the beginning or end of every day, or writing thank-you/get-well-soon
Ukiah Unified School District
GIVE YOUR CHILD a joy-
ful learning experience full of discovery with: • Exploration of own interests & abilities • Experiential learning with field trips, arts • Respectful and caring learning community • Peace education and mindfulness • Earth stewardship
2021-22 Kindergarten &
Registration Opens January 5th OPEN HOUSE APRIL 14 Please call in advance to schedule a tour.
Register Online at www.uusd.net
Tree of Life Charter
A father of three school-age children and a former educator, Patrick Quinn is a parenting expert at Brainly, the world’s largest online learning and homework help community.
If you have questions, need assistance with registration, or access to a computer and printer, contact your school’s office.
FreeMontessori Montessori Free Elementary Education Elementary Education for Children for Children Ages 5 4 3/4 through 12 13 through
Calpella Elementary 151 Moore Street 472-5630
Frank Zeek Elementary 1060 Bush Street 472-5100
Grace Hudson Elementary 251 Jefferson Lane 472-5460
OPEN ENROLLMENT January For application and more information: 707-462-0913 firstname.lastname@example.org www.treeoflifeschool.net
Nokomis Elementary 495 Washington Avenue 472-5550
Oak Manor Elementary 400 Oak Manor Drive 472-5180
Yokayo Elementary 790 S. Dora Street 472-5690
Deadline for Grace Hudson Kindergarten registration: February 19, 2021 Deadline for registration at your elementary school of choice: March 26, 2021 Children age 5 by September 1, 2021, will enroll in Kindergarten. Children turning 5 between September 2 and December 2, 2021, will enroll in our Transitional Kindergarten Program.
Money for Munchkins Dos and Don’ts of Giving an Allowance By Tanni Haas
pril is Financial Literacy Month, a great occasion to consider how you can use an allowance to teach kids important money management skills. What are the most important dos and don’ts when it comes to giving your kids an allowance?
Communicate clear expectations for spending, saving, and giving. Experts agree that if you want to teach your kids about the value of money and also encourage them to become caring human beings, then require them to divide the allowance into three parts: spending, saving, and giving. “This is an excellent way to expose them to the three most important things they can do with their money,” says personal finance expert Brad Munson, “and it’s a lesson that can last a lifetime.” 16 MendoLakeFamilyLife
Come to a mutual agreement about how much money they are allowed to spend and how much they are supposed to save. Then find a charity that they truly care about. Susan Borowski, a contributing writer to the Money Crashers website, says that having kids “choose the charity of their choice will make them more likely to set aside the money. Just like we give to charities that matter to us, children also need to give to a charity that matters to them, or they won’t be motivated to do it.”
Use the allowance to inspire regular conversations about money management. Kimberly Palmer, the author of the book Smart Mom, Rich Mom (AMACOM, 2016), says to “worry less about how much [money] you give” kids and more about using the allowance as “a chance to talk to your children about money.” Personal finance expert Neale Godfrey, the author of more than two dozen books on financial literacy, agrees: “Talking to your kids
Require them to divide the allowance into three parts: spending, saving, and giving. about allowance and money is just as important as giving it.” Godfrey and Palmer are right: Research shows that the more kids discuss money management with their parents, the better they become at managing their own finances as adults. Be consistent, but regularly review your allowance policies. Only change allowance policies if you have very good reasons to do so, like if you simply can’t afford the current amount or your kids are not spending it in the agreed-upon ways. As child psychologist Mary Kelly Blakeslee, PhD, says, “[N]othing bothers kids more than unfairness. If you change the rules without a good reason, you’re reneging on a contract. While children need to learn that life isn’t always fair, you can still respect your children’s feelings by explaining why you have to decrease their allowance or postpone payment, and by letting them know you can understand their annoyance or disappointment.” Munson agrees:
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Consistency “builds trust, reduces bargaining, and encourages planning for the future.” Don’t use the allowance as punishment or reward. An allowance, says Munson, “is supposed to develop greater trust and better communication and cooperation, so using it as an unexpected disciplinary tool will just make you look cruel and arbitrary in the eyes of your children (no matter how much they might seem to deserve it). Find another way to make your point while living up to the original bargain.” Financial planner Nevin Martell agrees: Using money “as a yo-yo–‘I don’t like this or I don’t like that, so I’m going to cut your allowance’–is not going to help them form a healthy relationship with money.”
Similarly, don’t use the allowance to reward your kids for unrelated accomplishments. “Giving your kids money as a reward,” says certified financial planner Joseph Hogue, “establishes the mentality that you only need to do things if you’re getting paid.” Instead, suggests Hogue, “let
Tying the allowance to chores is wrong for several reasons. them pick the family outing for the week or just tell them how proud you are of their accomplishment.” Don’t tie the allowance to the performance of regular household chores. Tying the allowance to chores is wrong for
several reasons: 1) It defeats the very idea that being part of a family entails that one has certain responsibilities; 2) it encourages kids to bargain every time you ask them to do something around the house; and 3) kids may stop doing their chores once they feel they have enough money. Experts say to only offer your kids extra money for tasks you otherwise would have paid someone else to do like, say, mowing the lawn or painting the house. Godfrey suggests that parents carefully distinguish between what he calls “citizen-of-the-household chores,” for which they shouldn’t get paid, and “work-for-pay chores,” for which it makes sense to give them some extra money. ¶
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about what the experience is going to be like. Promising them that shots won’t hurt at all may backfire. “If you say it won’t hurt, and then it does,” says pediatrician Amy Stockhausen, MD, “they’re always going to question whether you’re really being honest.” Research shows that when parents say, “don’t worry,” kids become even more
Tear-Free Shots? Yes, It’s Possible with These Tips By Tanni Haas
et’s face it: Few kids enjoy going to the pediatrician, especially if they’re scheduled to get shots. But shots are a fact of life whether kids are getting vaccinated at annual wellness check-ups, or they’re getting seasonal flu shots or the COVID-19 vaccine. So, it’s best to get your kids comfortable with them sooner rather than later. What can parents do to make trips to the pediatrician, if not a favorite, then at least a tear-free experience? Here’s what the experts suggest.
Give your kids advance warning. Kids don’t like surprises unless you’re offering them a favorite treat, so let them know in advance that shots are on the horizon. “Like so many things in parenting,” says pediatrician Wendy Swanson, MD, “knowing what to expect is essential for your child.” Don’t give your kids 18 MendoLakeFamilyLife
too much time to dwell on the shots because this will only make them more anxious—a couple of days is enough. “The waiting and anticipation of shots,” says Swanson, “is far worse for kids than the actual injection.” Be honest with them. Be honest when you talk to your kids
Be honest when you talk to your kids about what the experience is going to be like. anxious because they get the sense that there really is something to worry about. Instead of telling your kids that it’ll be pain-free, tell them, as primary care doctor Maureen Boyd, MD, puts it, “[that] it probably will hurt a bit, but it’ll only hurt for a moment.” Explain why vaccines are important. Using words they will understand, tell kids why they need to get their shots. Let them know that shots prevent sickness. Pediatrician Melissa Arca, MD, suggests saying that shots keep kids “healthy just like eating healthy foods, getting daily exercise, and getting enough sleep do.” Similarly, Sophia Mirviss, MD, another pediatrician, suggests telling kids that shots keep them “healthy and strong, like eating vegetables or brushing their teeth.” Stay calm and collected. Once you get to the pediatrician’s office, be calm. Experts agree that your kids’ behavior will mirror yours. “If you act or feel nervous,” Swanson
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
GIVE US A SHOUT!
says, “your child may pick up on this.” But, if you remain calm, your kids will, too. If they’re young, have them sit on your lap and hold their hands while they’re getting their shots. It’ll help relax both of you.
We want to know what you think. • What did you like in this issue? • What do you want to see more or less of? • Know a teacher, coach, or special person who makes local family life better? • Know of an upcoming event or fun family outing? • Want to write stories or recipes, or blog for Family Life?
Try to distract them. Experts suggest playing fun games like “I Spy,” singing together, telling them
Kids don’t like surprises unless you’re offering them a favorite treat. a story, reminiscing about a favorite place that you’ve been together, or talking about an exciting thing that you’ve planned to do later in the day. Praise and reward them. Once the visit is over, pediatrician Laura Marusinec, MD, suggests giving kids lots of positive feedback. This will “make your child feel better about getting shots in the future,” she says. She suggests telling your kids that you’re proud of their bravery; say that bravery means doing the right thing even if it’s scary, and that they did the right thing by getting the shots. Experts also suggest that you reward them for their good behavior. You can take them on a trip to the park, go to the zoo, see a movie together, give them a favorite treat, or let them choose what you’re all going to have for dinner that evening. As Arca puts it (only partly tongue-in-cheek): “getting shots is no fun for anyone and ice cream really does make everything better.” ¶ Tanni Haas, PhD, is a college communications professor.
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Get the Grrs Out
A TREE IN THE WIND Copy Bailey
Help Kids Manage Anger
By Louison Nielman
nger in children is often noisy and challenging. Since their brains are still developing, they can’t yet control their emotions, so they resort to more primal reactions such as screaming, kicking, and throwing tantrums. However, kids can learn how to restore their sense of calm—by describing their anger, measuring it, and finding their own ways of expressing it. Anger often masks unmet needs, so encouraging your child to talk about it can help you find solutions together. When your child feels listened to and understood, their relationship to you becomes more harmonious. This is especially significant because children can sometimes blame themselves for getting angry and might even be afraid of no longer being loved. Making space for our emotions destigmatizes them and allows us and others to better understand these feelings. The reverse—blocking difficult emotions—comes at a high price, ultimately harming our
1. Stand with your feet flat on the ground. Relax your shoulders and arms. Imagine the wind blowing.
2. Sway your arms, like the branches of a tree in the wind.
3. It’s stormy! Sway your arms faster and faster. Your body swivels a bit, but your feet remain rooted to the ground.
4. The wind calms. Gradually slow down, until you’re still and peaceful.
Bailey is discovering how to shift from a state of agitation to calm while always feeling safe. She remains anchored.
Mindful Kids Activity Book 11-5-20.indd 29
well-being. Here is an activity from my book, The Mindful Kids Activity Book: 60 Playful Projects, Games, and Exercises to Make Friends with Your Feelings (Bala Kids, 2021) that will help children discover a technique for, first, expressing anger in a healthy way and, second, ultimately returning to a calm state.
Reprinted from The Mindful Kids Activity Book: 60 Playful Projects,
Lie down and listen to an audiobook or a story read to you by your favorite grown-up.
11/4/20 5:25 PM
Games, and Exercises to Make Friends with Your Feelings (Bala Kids, 2021) with permission from Bala Kids, an imprint of Shambhala, shambhala.com/ bala-kids.
Louison Nielman is a clinical psychologist who specializes in counseling children and teens. She is an advocate for therapeutic forms of mediation, such as storytelling, puppetry, and playful relaxation therapy.
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Healthy Kids Need Healthy Teeth. Visit Your Dental Provider!
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Free Tire Collection APRIL 12–16, 9AM-3PM • 300 CAHTO, LAYTONVILLE APRIL 26–MAY 1, 9AM-3PM • NOKOMIS RD PARKING LOT, HOPLAND
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NO RIMS 17” DIAMETER MAXIMUM LIMIT TO 9 TIRES PER DAY
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Have More Fun & Create Great Memories MendoLakeFamily Life.com www.mendolakefamilylife.com
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April Thursday 1 FREE Virtual Circle Times with First 5 Lake County. Via Zoom.
English: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10 a.m.; Thursdays, 4 p.m. Spanish: Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; Thursdays, 10:45 a.m. Email for link: earlyintervention firstname.lastname@example.org. Also see: facebook.com/First5ELC./A través de Zoom. Inglés: martes y jueves, 10 a.m.; Jueves, 4 p.m. Español: martes, 4 p.m.; Jueves: 10:45 a.m. Correo electrónico para enlace: earlyinterventionreferrals@ esnorcal.org. Consulte también: facebook. com/First5ELC. FREE Park Adventure Coast Kits.
Mendo Parks kits for younger kids, packed with games & nature-based learning activities. (Available in English & Spanish.) Download activity kit: mendoparks.org/ education-programs. FREE Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. Hiking trails remain
open. Social distancing & masking required. Picnics & parties not allowed. Pack out all trash. Tours cancelled. Trails open: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. 8400 Hwy. 53, Lower Lake. andersonmarsh.org. FREE Coffee Talk! Mom’s Group.
Weekly group run by Mother-Wise to promote positivity & friendship in the local motherhood community. Thursdays. 9–9:30 a.m. Join: us05web.zoom. us/j/85727070430#success. Meeting ID: 857 2707 0430. Passcode: 2qfC0x. 22 MendoLakeFamilyLife
Calendar of Events FREE Perinatal (Pregnancy & Postpartum) Mood Support for Moms. Support group held every
day of the week at various times. Sponsored by Postpartum Support International (PSI). Register: supportgroupscentral.com.
other pick-up locations in Mendocino County, visit: mendorecycle.org. FREE Virtual Mad Genius for Teens.
Science experiments on Instagram Live. Wednesdays, 2–3 p.m. instagram. com/thehideoutteens_mendolibrary. FREE Online Weird Science.
Saturday 3 Hopland Hikes. Two-mile
self-guided hike. Groups of 9 (must be in the same social pod). No dogs permitted. COVID-19 guidelines followed. $10 per person. No one turned away for lack of funds. Saturdays. 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Hikers must arrive by 10 a.m. Hopland Research & Extension Center. 4070 University Rd., Hopland. Register online by 2 p.m. day before hike. bit.ly/hrechike. FREE Self-Guided Whale Trail. Docents
will be stationed along the bluffs, pointing out whales & answering questions. Social distancing & masking required. Saturdays. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Thru April 24. Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. 45300 Lighthouse Rd., Mendocino. pointcabrillo.org/ self-guided-whale-trail.
Wednesday 7 2021 HazMobile–Hazardous Material Drop-Off. 15 gallons per
vehicle. Wednesdays. 9 a.m.–1 p.m. & Sat., Apr. 10. Mendo Recycle. 3200 Taylor Dr., Ukiah. For a complete schedule, list of accepted materials &
Explore the world of science thru experiments. School-age children welcome. Presented by Lake County Library. 4:30–5:30 p.m. Register: library.lakecountyca.gov.
Thursday 8 FREE North Bay Regional Job Fair.
Virtual event. Noon–4 p.m. Visit website prior to fair for training video. portal.premiervirtual.com/ event/register-jobseeker/4911-northregional-fair.
Saturday 10 Bioblitz at Hopland Research Center. Find different species
& record discoveries on the free iNaturalist app. One-hour guided experience. Sliding scale: $10–$100. April 10, 17, 24 & May 1. Hopland Research & Extension Center. 4070 University Rd., Hopland. Register: bit. ly/hrecevents.
Monday 12 FREE 2021 Tire Amnesty. Bring old tires. No rims, 17” maximum (rim size). Limit to 9 tires per vehicle. Open to public, not tire dealers. Apr. 12–16, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.: 300 Cahto
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
Ln., Laytonville. Apr. 26–May 1: Nokomis Rd. Parking Lot. Hopland. mendorecycle.org.
platforms welcome. 4:30–6:30 p.m. Sign up: library.lakecountyca.gov.
Thursday 22 FREE Just Between Friends Kids’
FREE Tree of Life Charter School
& Maternity Consignment Sales
Open House. Call to schedule a tour:
Thursday 15 Ceramics for Kids. Facilitated by
ceramicist Jacque Adams. $95/4 sessions includes materials & firing costs. Space limited. All ages welcome. Distancing/masking observed. Thursdays. 2–4 p.m. Thru May 6. Middletown Art Center. 21456 Hwy. 175, Middletown. Register: middletownartcenter.org.
Saturday 17 FREE Dino Light by Corbian Visual Arts & Dance. Virtual performance
blends puppetry, technology & dance. April 17–18. Register: lutherburbankcenter.org/event/ dino-light.
Sunday 18 Los Tangueros del Oeste. Online performance of tango, flamenco & electronica. Presented by the Ukiah Community Concert Association. $15. 2 p.m. Tickets: ukiahconcerts.org/ tangueros.
Wednesday 21 FREE Online Gamer’s Paradise.
Participants share games they are currently playing. For players of all ages. Family-friendly games. All www.mendolakefamilylife.com
largest of its kind in the North Bay. Clothes, toys, games, shoes, baby gear, strollers, furniture & more. Free admission & parking. COVID-19 guidelines followed. Priority entry for ticket holders. Apr. 22: 2–7 p.m. Apr. 23: 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Apr. 24 & 25: 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Sonoma County Fairgrounds. 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa. Tickets: northbay.jbfsale.com. FREE Inside the Hart Gallery: The Art of Grace Hudson. Karen
Holmes, former Grace Hudson Museum curator, leads a virtual tour of the Hart Gallery, home to many of Grace Hudson’s numbered oil paintings & her other artwork in different media. 3–4 p.m. Livestream presentation: global.gotomeeting. com/join/962028333. Info: gracehudsonmuseum.org/new-events.
Saturday 24 FREE Children’s Advocacy Drive-Thru. Annual event for Child
Abuse Prevention Month. Booths will be set up to provide free goodies, resources, prizes & surprises. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Redbud Park. 14655 Ballpark Ave., Clearlake. lakecoe.org/ childabuseprevention. FREE National Prescription Drug Take-Back. Drive-thru
event by the Lakeport Police Department. Accepted: All over-the-counter or prescription medication in pill, April 2021
tablet, or capsule form, including schedule II-V controlled & non-controlled substances. Only pills in a clear ziplock plastic bag (so staff can see contents) will be accepted. Masking & social distancing required. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. West side of the Police Station. 2025 S. Main St., Lakeport. Info: check calendar at cityoflakeport.com.
Tuesday 27 FREE Virtual Kids’ Corner. Learn
about 4–5 books for ages 0–11. Facebook Live. 4–4:30 p.m. facebook. com/UkiahLibrary. FREE La Vida Charter School Open House. 1–2:30 p.m. 11785 Orchard Ln., Willits. lavidaschool.org.
LOCAL for 30 years
#1 local resource for local families magazine • web • email MendoLakeFamilyLife 23
Humor Break Suzy: I usually don’t wear clothes, unless I take a bath with my brother, then I wear my bathing suit.
The author’s husband and child
A Bath Beats the News Lessons Learned from a First Grade Zoom Class
By Jessica Guerrieri
no longer read the news. I’ve actually been banned from it—a direct order from my therapist. I got into a bad habit of waking up, doom scrolling, and stopping to read about whatever tragic event transpired while I was sleeping. I’d feel my anxiety— along with an overwhelming sense of impending catastrophe—kick in. As it turns out, this is not a healthy way to begin the day, especially while caring for three small children. Lately I let my daughters dictate the direction of our days, only nudging them (and myself!) back towards gratitude when we fall off course.
These mornings I’m barefoot in the kitchen sipping on cold coffee, throwing cereal towards my toddler, locating my five-year-old’s toothbrush, and calling out bribes to my seven-year-old in hopes that she’ll stay seated at the computer. In all the a.m. kerfuffle, I still get to hear the news, it 24 MendoLakeFamilyLife
just comes from a much purer source: a first grade Zoom meeting. Teacher: Can someone share one thing in their house that’s blue? Suzy, I see you are holding something blue. Hit unmute and tell us what you found. Suzy: No sound. Teacher: Suzy, press unmute. Suzy: Still no sound. Teacher: Try again. We can’t hear you. Suzy: Dad comes over to assist. My Dad told me not to share this because it’s private: My mom got out of the shower and wasn’t wearing clothes. Teacher: You’re right, that is private. Tell me about the blue item in your hand. Suzy: I take baths not showers. Teacher: Last chance to tell us about your blue item.
For 45 minutes, this is how the class continues: 15 six- and seven-year-olds gloriously, innocently oversharing. I marvel that their logic always follows a zigzag path, until eventually and inevitably they show the class their dog, or talk about losing a tooth or that one time they swam at a hotel pool. As a former teacher myself, I’m not sure what I was expecting. The main perks of my old job were these pure nuggets of delight. I guess I thought my daughter’s class would talk about what every adult I know is talking about: the pandemic. But children would rather tell you about Grandpa farting in the car than complain about wearing a mask. How unbelievably refreshing. As parents, it’s our job to filter out the parts of our reality that are too toxic for our children. And, as my therapist helped me to understand, I have to do that for myself, too. Instead of scrolling through the news, I need to take a page out of Suzy’s playbook and go back to the simple joys of bath time. We show them the tough parts they can handle. And they show us the very nature of resilience. We carry the weight, even though it’s too heavy. They keep reminding us to laugh. ¶ Jessica Guerrieri is a freelance writer/blogger. She and her husband have three daughters. Find her at witandspitup.com and follow her on Instagram @witandspitup.
April 2021 www.mendolakefamilylife.com
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t’s hard to get a culture hit during a pandemic. But the virtual Alexander Valley Film Festival aims to make it easier with online and drive-in screenings of indie films. Along with movies, there will be Q&A sessions, panels, and networking events. And local restaurants, wineries, and distillers will participate with products available for pick-up. The festival will run April 23–May 2. Passes are $19–$139 and may be purchased at avfilmsociety.org. Also check out the Sonoma County Virtual Israeli Film Festival, April 1 and 2. Purchase individual tickets at jccsoco.org/viff2021. ¶
Lakeport - Howard Ave. Clearlake - Pearl Ave. ClearlakeLocated - Meadowbrookon Dr.
• Coastnorth end of Fairgrounds Fort Bragg - Lincoln St. PO Box 966 Ukiah 95482
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he frequent urge to tear your hair out seems to go hand-in-hand with (pandemic) parenting. The Child Parent Institute (CPI) understands and wants to help moms and dads chill out. To this end, CPI is offering a free four-week online class called Parenting and Coping with Stress. The class promises to help parents figure out their unique responses to stress and, using a series of evaluations and tools, devise a plan to eliminate or exert more control over common stressors. The course will be held Tuesdays, April 6–27, 6–7:30 p.m. Get more information at calparents.org; register at tinyurl.com/ rtjxt64e. Registration closes 24 hours before the first class. ¶ www.mendolakefamilylife.com
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