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Not-so-scary Halloween flicks

COOL CHEMISTRY The great party experiment

GET ORGANIZED Holiday supplies on demand



THE BEST PLACE FOR KIDS. Her’Manii, age 8 Supracondylar Humerus Fracture After Her’Manii fractured her elbow, the orthopedic specialists at Children’s were quick to get her in to surgery and on to recovery. Because the only breaks this busy second grader should have to worry about are the ones she chooses to take herself.

Visit for more information on how we can help your child. For a pediatrician, family physician or pediatric specialist, call 1.800.833.3100. 2096263-01




13270 Millard Ave OMAHA, NE 68137 402-691-8875




3457 South 84th St. Omaha, NE 68124 402-391-6225 |








6 Editor’s Column 8 On Our Radar 10 Momaha Movies 28 Be Well 29 Handling Anxiety 32 Get Organized

22 Woodland Animal Masks

ON THE COVER 16 Science Theme Party

SPONSORED FEATURES 12 Fontenelle Forest 14 YMCA of Greater Omaha 26 McAlister’s Deli 30 Huntington Learning Center


momaha where moms connect

Write in style with notecards featuring 8 watercolor images by Omaha World-Herald artist Matt Haney. Each stationery set features high-quality, 4.25 x 5.5� cards and envelopes, boxed and ready to give as a gift or a special treat just for you!

VOLUME 9 . ISSUE 10 . OCTOBER 2018 editor in chief CHRIS CHRISTEN 402-444-1094

creative director + designer HEIDI HOFFMAN 402-444-1351

assistant editor MARJIE DUCEY 402-444-1034


copy editor SHELLEY LARSEN 402-444-1143

ORDER AT OWHSTORE.COM OR CALL 402-444-1014 editor ASHLEE COFFEY 402-444-1075

content contributors AMY TOKOS MICAH MERTES M I K E W AT K I N S H E AT H E R W I N K E L

cover photo H E AT H E R W I N K E L

account manager L AURE N KRUGE R 402-444-1261

account executive DEBORAH FERNSELL 402-444-1209

account executive E M I LY M A R T I N 402-444-1411

account executive M A R I LY N M A R T I N 402-444-1405 Momaha Magazine is a monthly publication of the Omaha World-Herald, 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102. Momaha is a registered trademark, and all content is copyright 2018 by the Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved. The opinions and perspectives published herein are those of the authors and should not be construed as those of Momaha Magazine.



MOMAHA.COM EDITOR // ASHLEE COFFEY Wife to Kevin Coffey, music critic for the Omaha World-Herald. Mom to Sam and Elliott. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleeCoffeyOWH



h, October. The best month in this mama’s opinion. One of my favorite things to do every year with my boys is to visit Welch’s Orchard in Council Bluffs. The small, family-owned orchard might not have the carnival rides or games found at bigger pumpkin patches in the area, but that’s OK. We enjoy the homey feel of Welch’s. And it’s never crowded. They have a handful of festive décor for kids, including a wooden pirate ship and a beloved Frankenstein height chart. We measure the kids every year and take photographic evidence of

their growth spurts. We enjoy picking out pumpkins and apples to take home. Last year, my then-3-year-old Sam, picked out his own pumpkin for the first time. He was incredibly proud. We also discovered that year that his little brother, Elliott, loved fresh apples. I want my boys to grow up enjoying and respecting the hard work that goes into harvesting local vegetables and fruits. Plus, there are always a lot of great teaching moments intertwined in the fun. However you choose to celebrate the harvest this season, we hope you’re having fun together.



TWITTER @momaha_owh PINTEREST /momahaowh INSTAGRAM /momaha_owh

Build A Burger & Pizza Company

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Halloween Celebrate



Visit for a complete schedule of events. 2116105-01


ON OUR RADAR // EDITOR’S PICKS New and Momaha-tested too!

ADD A TOUCH OF WHIMSY Finding the perfect card can sometimes be frustrating. Illustrator Lana Effron offers adorable cards with a touch of whimsy. Even the envelopes are coordinated. We can’t decide whether we like the safari or the flower theme best. Gift tags, gift wrap, personalized invitations and menus, too. She’s thought of everything! $5 and up,



HOLD THE ESSENTIALS The All-At-Once Makeup Pouch got a workout on vacation. Unfold it on a counter and see all your makeup. No more hunting for that elusive lipstick at the bottom of your conventional makeup bag! Ideal for holding jewelry, too. Machine washable and easy to wipe clean. Sized right for toting in a suitcase or gym bag. $23,

PLAY AND ERASE Monster Magic from Japanese author and illustrator La ZOO will thrill — not scare. Forty pages of wipe-off activity will give your child plenty of holiday fun. Give a witch colorful fingernails and then snip them away. Draw cookies for the dessert monster and watch while he munches them right off the page. Discover that giants love meatballs and Dracula drinks juice while your little one enjoys turning spooky creatures into silly ones with her magic wand, an erasable marker. $12.99,


A possible U.S. space force has been in the news lately. Get your newborn looking to the stars from the start with a galaxy wall hanging from Lorena Canals. It’s ideal for a living room, bedroom, corridor or child’s room. Hanging from five cotton cords, joined to a plastic pole covered in cotton thread, are small cushions (a star, Mars, Saturn, a rocket) and several balls and tassels. Her canvas map and wall-hanging baby numbers also are adorable. $69,

CHECK BABY’S WEIGHT Dad thought the Kilö Digital Baby Scale by bblüv was easy to use and liked its sleek look, large display and compact size. Change the units between kilograms, pounds and ounces with a switch on the bottom of the machine. A fidgety baby can make it tough to get an accurate reading, though. Use the hold function when baby is squirming. $69.99,



Scholarships and tuition assistance are available. For more information about Marian, contact Director of Admissions Molly Adams Woodman at 402.571.2618, ext. 1161 or 7 4 0 0 M I L I TA RY AV E N U E

OMAHA, NE 68134 2116121-01

402-932-2030 9


Not all Halloween-themed movies are super scary. Here are five kid-friendly flicks to watch this fall. COMPILED by Micah Mertes



When you say “familyfriendly Halloween movie,” Walt Disney’s beloved 1993 comedy is probably the first film that comes to mind. It stars Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker as a trio of Salem witches who stay young through a spell that absorbs the youth of a child. Resurrected after 300 years of death, the witches hatch a plan to suck the souls out of all of Salem’s children. The only hope? Two children and a talking cat.

The friendliest ghost gets his own liveaction movie. Casper is a lonely spirit haunting a Maine mansion in the company of his three ghostly uncles. When a ghost therapist (Bill Pullman) and his daughter (Christina Ricci) arrive, Casper finds a new best friend. “Casper” is a testament to just how weird kids movies were in the ’90s, featuring cameos by Clint Eastwood, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Gibson and Dan Aykroyd.


“THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS” The Henry Selik-directed, Tim Burton-conceived stop-motion animated fantasy that is probably the only film that qualifies as both a Halloween classic and a Christmas classic. The movie is about Jack Skellington, king of “Halloween Town,” who mistakenly stumbles into a world where every day is Christmas. Jack is so taken with this newfound holiday that he attempts to celebrate it himself, leading to a few gruesomely humorous consequences.

“MONSTER HOUSE” This 2006 animated comedy is a delightful homage to that spooky ’80s classic, “The Goonies,” featuring a group of children who discover that their neighbor’s house is in fact a living, breathing monster. Produced by Amblin Entertainment, “Monster House” gets the tone just right. The movie’s witty script comes courtesy of co-writer Dan Harmon (creator of the NBC cult comedy series “Community”).

“PARANORMAN” There are few family films as visually striking or emotionally devastating as “ParaNorman,” a stopmotion-animated 2012 film about an 11-year-old boy who can commune with the dead. Norman, a bit of an outcast, is the only one who can stop a 300-year-old witch’s curse from destroying his Massachusetts town. The film’s wonderful vocal cast includes Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Jeff Garlin, Leslie Mann and John Goodman.

Sarah has her favorites,

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When a new review or story is posted, add the article to your favorites as an easy reminder to try the dish or restaurant in the future.

Read Sarah Baker Hansen’s latest review or be the first to know about new restaurant openings. Omaha Dines gives you easy access to Food Prowl, our best-of-Omaha series. Craving a burger, a waffle, a bloody Mary or a solid patio? The Omaha Dines app can help you sort through your options. Mark your favorites as a reference for when you have time to try the establishment yourself.

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EAGLE AMBASSADOR Recovered from injury, bird will go on display at Fontenelle Forest TEXT Molly Mullen PHOTOGRAPHY Brooke Manes

"Good morning, Fisher!

Are you hungry today?" asked Betsy Finch, manager of Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Recovery program. Her question was directed to the forest’s newest ambassador, a bald eagle recently relocated from the forest's small raptor recovery clinic in eastern Nebraska to a permanent home at Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Woodland Refuge in Bellevue. Fisher lives in a brand new mew built with a donation from Chip Davis, the Grammy Award-winning founder of Mannheim Steamroller. With a lifespan in captivity of 50-plus years, Fisher could spend the next several decades teaching


visitors about the life, cultural significance and history of the bald eagle. Fisher is one of more than a dozen birds of prey in the refuge. These hawks, falcons, owls, vultures and other birds cannot be released back to the wild due to their injuries. They now live as educational ambassadors to the public, on display seven hours per day. Fisher weighs about 8 pounds. When he arrived at the recovery center in March, he weighed a dangerously low 5 pounds. That is because he had been shot. No one knows how long he was lying injured, unable to eat. Volunteers received a call from Fontenelle Forest’s 24-hour hotline about an injured bald eagle in the Omaha area. Volunteers brought it to the Raptor Recovery center. “He had been shot in the left wing, and his bones were exposed with bullet fragments in him,” Finch said. “We knew we had to get him to the Henry Doorly Zoo’s medical facility immediately to amputate the tip of his wing in order for him to survive.” In 42 years of treating injured or orphaned raptors, the recovery center is seeing more birds than ever before. This year, Fontenelle Forest expects to break last year’s record of 617 birds of prey. Seeing a bald eagle with a gunshot wound always affects the staff and volunteers. “Not only is it illegal to shoot a bald eagle, it is just so senseless to cause pain to a beautiful, symbolic, ecologically important bird like this,” Finch said. It became clear early on that Fisher was going to stay with the team, living on

display at Fontenelle Forest. “We needed to save his life and find him a home. I am thrilled about the fact his home is here,” Finch said. “His personality will be good for the Raptor Woodland Refuge because he is pretty calm for a wild bald eagle.” So what will the rest of Fisher’s life look like? His habitat is twice the size of the next largest mew in the refuge, so he will have room to live comfortably. A runningwater feature is in place so he can take baths. He will receive meals of rats, rabbits and fish, and maybe even chickens. “It is still a shame that he cannot live out his days in the wild, but he will be pampered for the next 50 years of his life," Finch said. "He will be an ambassador and admired by the public regularly, and I sense he will be OK with that."

FIND FISHER You can see Fisher at Fontenelle Forest’s Raptor Woodland Refuge beginning Oct. 8. Purchase tickets or a membership for the whole family to Fontenelle Forest at The Raptor Woodland Refuge is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free for members or is included with daily admission to Fontenelle Forest.


Explore the Seas on s

19 miles of trails, ADA certified Boardwalk for wheelchairs and strollers, seasonal programming for the public, weekly Forest yoga, and more!





Giving joy. A day at a time. Specialized day services, support, care and therapy for exceptional Omaha children and their families. Skilled care for children with complex needs


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BUILDING CONFIDENCE YMCA’s year-round swim lessons help students retain skills TEXT Mike Watkins PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of YMCA of Greater Omaha


ach day when she walks into the pool area of the Maple Street YMCA, Aquatics Director Taylor Korte embraces a personal mission. How is she going to help someone be better today? “Some days, it’s teaching a little girl how to dive; other days, it’s making sure a year-old baby feels safe in the water,” Korte said. “We are here to build relationships with others, and that is what I love about the Maple Street YMCA.” While summer is definitely the “hot” season for swimming, the YMCA of Greater Omaha offers swim sessions yearround. There are two fall sessions and one winter session on top of the spring and summer sessions. One thing Korte and Megan Warneke, aquatics director at the Charles E. Lakin YMCA in Council Bluffs, know is that swimming year-round builds confidence and ultimately, safety, in the water. “With the ages of the kids we work with, consistency is huge in the learning process,” Warneke said. “Swimming is like most other things in life. If you don’t practice it, you eventually start to lose those skills. “That’s when re-teaching comes back into play, and we see kiddos have to repeat the same stage more often than the kiddos who may have remained in the program.” Each session lasts eight weeks, and the program is split by both age and skill level. The Y offers different stages of parent/child classes for children who are 6 months to 3 years old as well as for 3- to 5-year-olds, who are paired together in stages 1 to 4, and 6- to 12-year-olds, who are in stages 1 to 6.


Each stage has different skills for kids to work on, but all stages have a major focus on water safety and drowning prevention. The skills build to help children progress to the next stage – and the curriculum stays the same no matter the season. “Having confidence in the water is what makes a good swimmer a great swimmer,” Korte said. “Having a child follow the swim program into the fall/winter ensures that the confidence will not fade, and come summer, they are going to be better swimmers than they ever were before.” Because all instructors are required to go through swim instructor training, they get a full understanding and overview of the program before they teach their first class. They also are given opportunities to

shadow certified instructors to gain confidence before teaching on their own. “These tools definitely help our instructors be the best instructors that they can be,” Warneke added. “We strive to not only build relationships with the kiddos in our classes but their parents as well. “The kids who stay in our program have built relationships with certain instructors that has aided in their progression in their swimming skills. I feel it’s important for parents and guardians to realize that learning to swim is a life skill all the time, not only during summer months.” The second fall swim session runs from Oct. 28 to Dec. 22. Registration opens Oct. 15 for members and Oct. 19 for nonmembers. You can register your children at or your nearest Y location.

r online Registe ny Y or at a n! locatio

SAFE SWIMMERS START HERE YMCA SWIM LESSONS - available for all ages & abilities

Our upgraded swim lessons teach water safety FIRST! Skills are presented to our swim lesson students through fun activities, making lessons an enjoyable experience for everyone! Learn more about the new curriculum online.

2ND FALL SESSION: October 28-December 22 REGISTRATION OPENS: Member: October 15 • Non member: October 19





BACKYARD CHEMISTRY Get your beakers ready for this halloweeny science lab STYLING, TEXT + PHOTOGRAPHY Heather Winkel

The mad scientist theme is a party experiment that can't go wrong. We set the stage with food — and a bit of crazy cool chemistry in a backyard laboratory (where it doesn't matter if kids make a mess). Invite some pals over and let them concoct crazy potions with soda and kooky desserts with ice cream. You’ll want to watch out for the radioactive cheese and bacteria-filled petri dishes, though. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!


The Soda Lab

Fill various sized Erlenmeyer flasks with colorful fruit-flavored soda (we added food coloring to ginger ale for the green) and display with shots of grenadine in syringes. Glass beakers become cups, and guests can measure and create their own potions with different flavors of soda. For an extra-eerie soda bar filled with bubbling brews, carefully add dry ice to flasks.


Table Treat Tents and Station Frames

1. Get our free table tent and event signs from 2. Print on 8.5” x 11” cardstock and cut out cards. 3. For tents, use a rounded corner punch on cards then fold in half to make standing tents. For frames, just place cards in 4” x 6” frames.

Radioactive Cheese

1. Using the rim of glassware or a cookie cutter slightly smaller than a large round cracker, cut out circles from pre-sliced cheddar cheese. 2. Using a small cookie cutter (or test tube), punch a smaller circle from the center of the now circular cheese. Place the cheese circle in the middle of the cracker. 3. Cut the remaining cheese “ring� into pieces resembling a radioactive sign and place pieces around the small cheese circle on the cracker.


1. Mix one large box (5.85 ounces) chocolate instant pudding according to package directions. 2. Crush about half a package of Oreo cookies. 3. Scoop a thin layer of chocolate pudding into the bottom of 100 milliliter glass beakers. 4. Add 8-ounce container of Cool Whip and twothirds of the crushed Oreo cookies to the remaining pudding. 5. Stir together and scoop into beakers on top of chocolate pudding layer. 6. Sprinkle remaining crushed Oreos on top and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 7. Garnish with gummy centipedes before serving.


Secret Lab Badges

1. Print our free lab badges from 2. Print on 8.5� x 11� cardstock and cut out badges. 3. Use a rounded corner punch to round corners of badges. 4. Use a hole punch at the top of the badge and tie a colorful cord through the hole.

Petri Dish Gelatin

1. Mix three colors of gelatin according to package directions. 2. Pour each color into a petri dish, just enough to cover the bottom. 3. Refrigerate for an hour, remove and add sprinkles, gummy candies or anything else that looks like bacteria to the gelatin. 4. Refrigerate for another hour before adding petri dish lids and serving.

Ice Cream Concoctions Fill flasks with syrups and test tubes with sprinkles. Let guests create their own ice cream concoctions in single-serving ice cream cups.



Put on your safety glasses! No mad scientist’s lab is complete without a few explosive experiments. Just don’t forget, you can get into this super secret lab only with an ID badge!

Blow Up the Balloon

1. Using a funnel, add about 2 tablespoons baking soda to a balloon. 2. Pour about 4 ounces vinegar into a flask. 3. Carefully fit the balloon over the flask opening. 4. Once the balloon is secure, hold up the balloon and let the baking soda fall into the vinegar. 5. Watch the balloon blow up!

Soda Pop Geyser

1. Put on your safety glasses. 2. Fill a flask halfway with soda. 3. Crush a roll of Mentos mints and using tongs, carefully drop pieces into the flask. 4. Once the soda starts to bubble, stand back and watch the geyser!



Your Halloween costume made easy – simply create a mask and wear a color-coordinating outfit. STYLING + PHOTOGRAPHY Heidi Hoffman Visit to download the mask template. Cut out elements using the template. Layer the pieces, gluing in place as you go. Attach a ribbon to each side of the mask, long enough to tie the mask around your child's head.


THE DEER 1 sheet dark brown felt 1 sheet light brown felt 1 sheet light pink felt 1 sheet white felt 1 sheet black felt Brown ribbon Floral embellishments (optional)



THE SKUNK 1 sheet black felt 1 sheet white felt 1 sheet dark gray felt Black ribbon



THE FOX 1 sheet dark orange felt 1 sheet white felt 1 sheet black felt 1 sheet light pink felt 1 sheet turquoise felt Orange ribbon






This family-friendly option won't break your budget TEXT Lily Saer PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of McAlister's Deli


cAlister’s Deli opened its second restaurant in the Omaha area on Aug. 31. The brand has always put an emphasis on family, and with this new location comes an unbeatable promise: $1.99 dine-in kids meals all day, every day. It’s an affordable, healthy option destined to please children and parents alike. The restaurant strongly believes that spending time together as a family should never come at a high cost and quality moments should always be accompanied by quality food. These core values are what prompted the Deli's low price points and healthconscious choices. In fact, the ingredients being utilized in all seven kids offerings are the same ingredients highlighted throughout the adult menu. The kids meal entrées include: • ROLL-UPS: Smoked turkey, Black Forest ham or grilled chicken strips with all natural cheddar cheese, lettuce and tomatoes rolled in a wheat wrap. Choice of ranch or honey mustard dipping sauce. • KIDS SPUD: Genuine Idaho potato served with butter. Choice of cheddarjack cheese, bacon and sour cream as toppings. • CHICKEN & BROCCOLI BOWL: Grilled chicken strips tossed with fresh steamed broccoli and cheddar-jack cheese. • FRENCH BREAD PIZZA: Crunchy French bread topped with tomato sauce and cheddar-jack cheese. • MAC & CHEESE: Elbow macaroni noodles with creamy cheddar, American and Neufchatel cheeses topped with cheddar-jack cheese. • KIDS McA89 SALAD: Crisp cucumbers, tomatoes and croutons served over fresh greens. Choice of dressing and protein: Turkey, ham, chicken. TOASTED CHEESE SANDWICH: All-natural cheddar cheese on toasted wheat bread.


Each offering comes with a side of choice: steamed broccoli, potato salad, fresh fruit, applesauce, spud chips, mashed potatoes or mac & cheese. If takeout is preferable, the same items are available for $2.99. Drinks can be added for $1.49. McAlister’s is committed to families, and though persuading children to consume a nutritious meal can pose a challenge, the Deli is making strides to combat that narrative by offering creative and flavorful items for kids. Little ones will love it and parents can feel good about it. The kids menu isn’t the only feature worth celebrating, though. Known for great food, wide variety, exceptional customer service and Famous Sweet Tea, McAlister’s Deli has received numerous

industry accolades. The fast-casual chain originated in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1989, and the franchise has grown to include more than 420 restaurants in 28 states. Since Aug. 31, McAlister's Deli has proudly served up a double dose of "genuine hospitality" to the Omaha area after opening its door to the community for the second time.

McALISTER'S DELI 603 S. 72nd St. 12405 West Center Road Open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily




Read and Grow: Autumn Leaves October 19 | 10 a.m. | FREE program Family Workshop: Pumpkins* October 20 | 10 a.m. Ghoulish Garden Adventure October 28 | noon to 4 p.m. Lil’ Sprouts: Victorian Garden* November 7 | 10 a.m. November 8 | 1 p.m. *registration required


100 Bancroft Street, Omaha (402) 346-4002




Is your child struggling in school? Teachers want to help STORY Marjie Ducey


chool is a big adjustment for all. Many kids can handle it with no problems. But what happens if your child appears to be struggling in these opening weeks? Three teachers share advice.


JULIANNE SCHMITT Kindergarten, St. Gerald Catholic School

CAROLYN COPENHARVE Fourth grade, Harrison Elementary

• Kindergarten is often your child’s first all-day school experience. Tears are normal for the first few days or even weeks. Once the routine grows familiar, your student should be happy and maybe even excited to get to school. • If your child doesn’t want to talk about school, it might be a sign he or she is having difficulties. Major changes in behaviors, such as no appetite or trouble sleeping are other signs. • Refusal to go to school is another way to tell if your child is struggling. Children should want to go to school and see their teacher and peers. • If any of these things strike a chord, reach out to your child's teacher. Oftentimes a teacher has no idea what's happening at home. • A teacher might greet your child outside the classroom, help modify a workload or give parents strategies and language to make school seem like a positive place.

• If a child is struggling at the beginning of the school year, then parents need to talk with their child about expectations. • Children need to understand that they will not be experts in all areas, but they need to try to do the work. • Taking risks when things are hard takes courage and practice. Parents should show their children it’s OK to make mistakes, but is not OK to give up or not try. • Secondly, parents need to keep open communication with teachers. Teachers want to help and support students. • Sometimes children don’t feel comfortable admitting to their teachers that they don’t understand something. This is especially true at the beginning of the year when students are still building trust with their teachers. • Two-way communication about a child's successes and struggles helps keep everyone on the same page and moving in the right direction.


ELISABETH HASKELLVORIS English teacher, Omaha Benson • One of our goals is to identify students who are struggling in their first year and to create a success plan for each. • Teachers often recognize a student is struggling by their behavior in the classroom or by their lack of academic progress. As a team, we meet regularly, which helps us keep students from slipping between the cracks. • Families may become aware their student is struggling if the student expresses frustration with course work, concern that he or she isn't understanding classes or that doesn't want to go to school. • Families should also connect to the Infinite Campus portal to monitor grades and attendance. If parents suspect their child is struggling, an email to teachers could help them understand how their child is really performing. • We hope that our students become advocates for themselves. There are resources at our school to help.

• One of the best ways to help struggling students is to make sure their morning routine is consistent. • Wake up at the same time each day, and make sure everyone has time to get ready without feeling rushed or stressed. • When parents are running behind, children feel that stress. Walking into school carrying this stress is never a good way to start the day. • It is even worse when students are tardy. The more stressed children become, the less they are able to process what is being taught. • Getting out of bed a few minutes earlier and setting an alarm to alert everyone that it is time to leave for school will help your children have a calm, structured beginning to their day.

KIDS ARE WATCHING 9 tips for setting a great example, passing on the best of you to your child



rom an early age, the only behavior kids see is what their parents are doing. As a result, it’s common for children to grow up with similar behavioral characteristics to their mother and father. So, how can parents ensure they are passing along the right things and staying away from negative emotions such as anxiety, anger and insecurity? Dr. Vinay Saranga, a child psychiatrist, offers these tips. 1. Think before you react. This can take practice as sometimes it’s easy to react almost immediately. But try to think about your reactions and the consequences of those reactions because your children are always watching. 2. If you feel you are having a momentary breakdown of anxiety, anger or some sort of insecure or negative behavior, walk away for a moment and regain your composure. Come back to the room when you are feeling better and your emotions aren’t getting the best of you. 3. Label your feelings. Make sure your children know that it is OK to feel sad, scared or overwhelmed. Our emotions are a part of being human. What’s not OK is when we let our emotions consume us in unhealthy ways. Labeling what you are feeling can help improve your sense of self-awareness. Once you start labeling your emotions, you develop a sense of understanding that helps you regain control. 4. Rethink your focus. Often times, anxiety can narrow your view. Instead of focusing on negativity or threats,

look at the big picture. Will this even matter in a year or two? Are the circumstances really that bad? 5. When you act in a negative way that doesn’t set the best example for your kids, tell them. Say something like, “Mommy or daddy overreacted and worried too much about this or that. How I should have handled this situation was to…” 6. Give your kids freedom based on age. It’s understandable that at an early age you would set boundaries like only riding their bicycle a certain distance, but as they grow older, expand those rules. Let them slowly build their independence and confidence. 7. Accept the fact that your children are going to make mistakes and get hurt. Every parent wants the best for their kids and wants to protect them, but you have to let go and let your children learn by making mistakes. Then dust themselves off and come back from those mistakes. 8. Welcome conversations and teach acceptance to help your children cope with their feelings. You want them to feel comfortable enough to confide in you. When kids have a sense of trust and solid relationship with their parents, it helps them excel and work through their emotions at any age. 9. Practice relaxation techniques, mindfulness and meditation to calm your own emotional reactions, and teach these skills to your children as they grow up and are able to understand them.




Huntington Learning Center helps brothers find success in the classroom


TEXT Mike Watkins


ven before he was diagnosed as a first-grader, Brayden Geiger displayed most of the signs associated with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at home and school. His mom, Danielle, said everything they worked on together at home seemed like a new concept at school for Brayden – even simple spelling words or simple addition. “We hoped it was just him being a boy and that he would grow out of it,” she said. “First grade got harder as the expectations for listening were much more apparent, and he wasn’t able to sit still and listen.” At the suggestion of Brayden’s teacher, Danielle and husband Greg scheduled an appointment with their son's pediatrician. Brayden was diagnosed with ADD and an anxiety disorder. Medication quickly addressed his attention deficit, and he started showing


improvement in his impulsivity, attention and focus. But when Brayden and eventually younger brother Nick, who was also diagnosed with ADD, showed signs of struggling in school two years ago, Danielle reached out to Huntington Learning Center to give them both the tools they needed for success in the classroom. “Their inability to focus and pay attention at school was making it hard to complete work at school, so they were often bringing things home that they didn’t finish in school,” she said. “In addition, we noticed their grades were suffering as the subjects and assignments got harder.” The program at Huntington Learning Center is set up to test kids and determine what they need to be successful in school. They meet several times weekly in a group setting with a tutor who uses different methods and tactics to improve their

focus and ultimately increase their reading comprehension skills. This also positively impacts their math results. Even more importantly, the work Brayden and Nick did through Huntington increased their self-confidence and belief that they could succeed on daily classwork as well as standardized tests. “Before coming to Huntington, Brayden was sure that if he took the HSPT (High School Placement Test) that he wouldn't do well, but he passed,” said Gwyn Morris, center director. “If he is unsure, he will always ask for clarity, and he has gained many tools to help him with organization, staying on task and time management.” Danielle said she and the boys have seen significant improvement in all areas – better grades, getting their schoolwork done at school, doing better on standardized tests, etc. “I can focus a lot better in school, and my grades have definitely improved,” said Brayden, an eighth-grader at Elkhorn Ridge Middle School. “I made the honor roll last year. I used to get 4s and 5s and now I get all 1s and 2s. I did really, really good on my math MAP test (standardized testing at his school) last year!” Nick agrees, saying the progress he made during the past two years at Huntington Learning Center has had a lasting impact upon him and his outlook toward learning. “I can focus better at school, my grades have improved, and it is easier to take tests and do assignments because I understand what I am doing and don’t feel so overwhelmed, or that I need to rush,” said Nick, a fifth-grader at West Bay Elementary. “Huntington is amazing. The teachers are nice, and they have really helped me.”



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GET ORGANIZED // AMY TOKOS Amy Tokos is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Freshly Organized. You can find more organizing tips at


Don't buy another carving knife! Organize your holiday decorations instead


o you know where your pumpkin carving kit is hiding? We all have items we use only once a year. Not remembering where you stored them can send you racing to the store at the last minute to purchase a duplicate. Creating an easy-to-remember system will save you money and spare you from those annoying games of hide-and-seek.

PUMPKIN CARVING KITS We buy these every year. But the carving kits have tools that can be reused and there are often leftover patterns. Purchase a storage bin for all holiday-related items so you can find things easily. Include decorations, home accessories (dish towels, etc.), clothing and personal wear items, music CDs and anything else related to the holiday. Start with Halloween and work your way through the holidays.

SEASONAL DISHES Do you have a turkey platter you pull out each year for Thanksgiving? Holiday dishes are easily found if kept together. Put them in holiday bins or designate one space/cabinet for platters,


glassware and serving utensils that are used for family celebrations. If space is tight, these items do not need to be in the kitchen. An extra closet or storage area will do.

HOLIDAY CLOTHING Socks, ties and other holiday accessories can get lost in your dayto-day items. The big day rolls around, and we forget that we have them. Storing these items with your other holiday decorations will help you remember to put on those cute holiday socks. If storing them in holiday boxes isn’t feasible, set aside space in a hall closet. Consider boxes for Christmas, New Year's, Halloween and other holiday themes.

BIRTHDAY SUPPLIES Streamers, buttons and balloons make birthdays fun. Or maybe a plate, banner or crown is a family tradition? Create a birthday box to store all related items.

FAMILY MEMORABILIA Box these pieces by holiday, special occasion, family member, etc. Tip: Color-code your boxes (orange, Halloween; blue, birthday, etc). This makes it easy to keep them together. At the very least, place a large label on the end of each bin and organize accordingly. Each holiday or birthday, take a minute to pull items you no longer want and donate them.

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Profile for Omaha World-Herald

Momaha Magazine - October 2018  

Monthly magazine for parents published by the Omaha World-Herald in conjunction with its blog

Momaha Magazine - October 2018  

Monthly magazine for parents published by the Omaha World-Herald in conjunction with its blog