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South Shore

PARENTS TODAY Welcoming the holidays

Sec. B November 2012

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Enduring bonds

The importance of Children Are Our Most family traditions hat is your holiday family tradition? Do you


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HASC WOODMERE There really is no place like home at holiday time. Help your family get back the holiday you’ve always wanted and make your “merry” more meaningful this year.

Do you have a special way you decorate your tree, your menorah, your porch, or front door? Do you have a special book you read together or a game you play? It doesn’t really matter what your tradition is, but it is important for strong families to have holiday traditions. Research shows that developing rituals around the holidays create a sense of belonging among family members. Strong families have a sense of family history, spirituality, and unity – all which tie into family holiday traditions. Family holiday traditions are also important because they connect family members who may be separated by distance, working different schedules, or just busy with sports, school or jobs. These traditions help us to remain close to our family members and create a connection between our past and the future. As you decide what family traditions you want to keep and those that you may be ready to give up think about why you enjoy them? Is it spending time together, sharing your talents with others, or maybe a spiritual belief you have? Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive, often the things we remember the most about spending time with our grandparents is the day they taught use


November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today




to play a special card game, or when they let us help make the favorite family meal. Don’t forget to ask you children or other family members what traditions they want to make sure you keep, and which ones aren’t so important to them – you might be surprised. They may say that the evening you drive around the neighborhood looking a holiday lights, making homemade cookies together, or reading the book about the snowman are their favorite things.

Here are a few fun family traditions: • Volunteer – work the food bank or donate toys or food to someone who needs it more than you do. • Camp out under your family tree or watch the menorah glow while listening to holiday music. • Read at least one holiday book together. • Attend a community music program, play, or musical together. The best thing about family holiday traditions is that they can be ones that your family has done for decades, or new activities that you decide on together as a family. Either way, you are creating memories that will last a lifetime and sharing the spirit of the season with your loved ones.


South Shore Parents Today is an advertising supplement to the HERALD Community Newspapers. Copyright © 2012 Richner Communications, Inc. Published by Richner Communications, Inc. 2 Endo Blvd., Garden City, NY 11530 (516) 569-4000 •

’Tis the Season for teachable moments

“Aww, man! I wanted a new game for my Xbox, not another sweater.” Or, “…click… click…” (That’s the sound of a teenager texting instead of answering Aunt Debbie’s question.) If you’re a parent, you’ve been there at one point or another, and you know that a child’s social missteps – even if they aren’t purposeful or malicious – can be mortifying. According to motivational speaker Maribeth Kuzmeski, the holiday season is when parents tend to notice most acutely which of their kids’ habits could use improvement – after all, friends and family are there to witness what you see as an embarrassing display that reflects poorly on your parenting skills. “As a parent myself, I know that in the everyday hurry and worry of life, it’s easy to let your kids’ smaller foibles go uncorrected,” admits Kuzmeski, author of “The Engaging Child: Raising Children to Speak, Write, and Have Relationship Skills Beyond Technology.” “And once you’re in the midst of the packed holiday social season, it’s too late to correct behavxx iors you previously overlooked. The good news is, there’s no better time than now to take advantage of teachable moments, before all of those parties and gatherings begin.” “My experience as a professional and as a parent has convinced me that one of the most valuable gifts you can give your kids is to teach them how to effectively engage with others in a variety of settings,” Kuzmeski confirms. “And the holiday season provides a wealth of opportunities to demonstrate and practice those skills.” Kuzmeski recommends taking stock of all of the parties, pageants, and social settings you’ll be attending with your kids during the upcoming holiday season, and deciding beforehand what habits and skills you’d like them to demonstrate. “Don’t assume that your child ‘would never’ act in a certain way, or even that he or she ‘knows better’ than to engage in a particular behavior,” she advises. “Remember, kids don’t always know intuitively when they need to be on their best behavior, and they can’t ‘fake it’ as easily as adults can. The truth is, young people aren’t as disengaged and rude as we assume them to be – they just don’t always know the proper way to act. So start having these discussions now, not when you’re parking at Grandma’s house. And always, always be sure to model appropriate behaviors yourself!” The more you practice good connecting skills with your children, the more they’ll become ingrained as habits. Here are some holiday situations that Kuzmeski recommends using to instill productive communicating skills in your kids: Teach them that sometimes it’s cool to unplug. One of the biggest complaints that adults have with “young people today” is that they’re always “plugged in.” To some extent, that’s true – email, social networking, text messaging, mp3 players, and more have radically changed the way this generation communicates and spends its free time. Now, technology isn’t bad in and of itself, but we all know that it can lead to disengaged and even rude behavior – especially at holiday gatherings. You’ll probably meet with some resistance, but it’s important to teach your kids when they need to step away from the keyboard, and why face-to-face interactions are the most rewarding of all. “Place a basket at the door during any family event and collect all electronic devices before the mingling starts,” Kuzmeski suggests. “Include a note on the basket that reads, ‘So you can enjoy the friends and family you’re with.’ Explain to your kids how important it is to engage fully with people you love, especially if you don’t see certain individuals during the rest of the year. Point out that if they stay distracted by text messages and Facebook friends, they’ll miss out on fun and memories with cousins, grandparents, and siblings. Plus, kids need to understand that not giving others your attention is just plain rude…and that it won’t be allowed in your family.” Arm them with ice breakers. For youngsters who spend most of

their days “LOLing,” “BRBing,” and “TTYLing,” having a good old-fashioned verbal conversation might be unfamiliar, if not downright intimidating. Especially if your child isn’t a natural chatterbox, it might be helpful to give him a few ideas of how he can strike up a discussion with people he doesn’t see every day. “Even before the days of smartphones and Facebook, it was completely normal for youngsters to feel reluctant to approach older adults,” Kuzmeski points out. “You’ll be doing your kids a big favor if you arm them with icebreakers that they can use to proactively connect. Before holiday events, discuss what some good topics of discussion might be and help them to make a list of strategies for drumming up conversation. They’ll also be able to power through any awkward lulls in conversation that might otherwise discourage them from taking the connecting initiative in the future.” Explain the importance of expressing gratitude. We live in a “me, me, me” society, and even more than adults, kids tend not to think far beyond their own emotions and experiences. (Don’t blame them; much of it is biological.) During the holidays, that selfish hardwiring tends to manifest itself in a cursory “Thanks for my present!” before the child in question runs off to play with her new loot or rip open the next package. This year’s gift-swapping is a good opportunity for your kids to learn how to express gratitude in a much more meaningful way. “Explain to your children before the first round of presents is handed out why it’s important to show gratitude,” Kuzmeski says. “Make sure they understand that each present represents the fact that another person cares about them and spent time and money to make them happy. Then, talk about meaningful ways to show gratitude. Perhaps it’s setting aside a few minutes after gift giving to say thanks privately to the gift giver. For example, your daughter might say, ‘I really appreciate the new coat, Grandma. I’ve been eyeing it forever and I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally have it!’ You might also suggest that your children keep a small pad and pen so that they can jot down what they received, and from whom. Later, set aside some time to sit down and write thoughtful thank-you notes together.” Make sure they mind their manners. During a typical weekday dinner on almost any given day of the year, you might decide to let a muttered, “Eeew, this is gross,” pass without comment. After all, you’re tired from a long day at work and you really don’t have the desire or the energy to disrupt the meal with a lecture. However, the same under-the-breath comment at your mother-in-law’s Christmas extravaganza is the last thing you want to hear from your son. (And that’s only one of many potentially embarrassing situations that might crop up.) Therefore, take advantage of every opportunity to reinforce Continued on Page 4

Five ways to help your kids feel comfortable connecting


mall talk is an important skill for any connector, regardless of age, to master. From the check-out line at the grocery store to the person sitting next to you on a flight, you just never know which connection can result in something big or wonderful. When you look at it that way, every connection you don’t make is a potential opportunity missed, so engaging meaningfully is a skill that’s best learned early. Maribeth Kuzmeski shares five strategies your kids can use to connect with people in any scenario this holiday season.

1 Share something extra about themselves. When adults meet a new child, they’ll often ask easy-to-answer stock questions like, “What’s your name? How old are you?” In addition to providing the “bare bones” answer, help your children think of something extra they can offer. For instance, your son might say, “Hi, I’m Billy. I’m five years old and I love to play baseball!” Voilà! What might have been a standard teeth-pulling session has just been transformed into a bona fide conversation. 2 Be complimentary. Whether you’re seven or seventy-seven, a compliment is always a great way to break the conversational ice. To get started, teach your kids to comment on something interesting the other person is wearing. For example, “I love that necklace you’re wearing. It’s so pretty!” Or, “Wow, your shirt is my very favorite color.” 3 Talk about the weather. Sure, commenting on the weather has a rather “blah” reputation, but the fact is, it works, and it’s a great way to ease into a conversation with someone you don’t know very well. Teach kids to pay attention to their surroundings so they can comment on them during small talk. For example, “Have you been enjoying the nice weather?” Or, “I really hope the forecast is accurate, because I’d love a white Christmas!” 4 Find things in common. If you can find a common interest with the person to whom you’re speaking, small talk can turn from mediocre to meaningful in an instant. Teach your kids to be aware of conversational and external cues. If your daughter notices that someone is wearing a Braves jersey and she’s also a fan, she can strike up a conversation about the latest game. Or if your son hears someone say that she’s from Columbus, Ohio, he might say, “My grandparents live near Columbus. Don’t you love the zoo there?” (Hint: If you are going into a situation and think of some common interests ahead of time, go ahead and arm your kids with them!) 5 Wrap it up well. One of the trickiest parts of small talk is the conclusion. Give kids a few lines they can use to wrap up a conversation before it veers into awkward silence. “It was great to meet you. I hope to see you again soon! Enjoy your holidays.”

November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today

Ways to help your kids (politely!) connect and communicate this holiday season




Ways to help your kids (politely!)


November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today

Continued from Page 3

Why Should We Let Our Children Fly From the Nest? Think about your own best memories of childhood; did any of them involve your own parents? We didn’t think so! Turns out that there are some pivotal developmental skills that we cannot give our own children; try as we might, we can’t: • • • • • • •

Make our children happy Give our children high self-esteem Make friends for our children or micromanage their relationships Successfully be our children’s manager or coach Compete with our children’s electronic world Keep our children completely safe, but we can drive them crazy trying Make our children independent

The psychologist and author Michael Thompson explains, “In order to grow in the ways they need to grow, children have to take the lead, and usually away from us.” Michael shares his strong argument for the loosening of ties. He explains how the camp environment, for example, creates a setting that invites children to learn the lifelong skills of resilience, responsibility, and resourcefulness, enabling them to have emotionally significant and character building experiences – out of the rescue-reach of their parents but within the guiding influence of their counselors. What makes children resilient are the cumulative resources they acquire as they go through life. Camp and school are kind of the yin and yang of education. You might think of school as the “science” of learning, while camp is focused more on the “art” of attaining mastery through opportunities to practice in real-life situations. Dr. Michael Unger, director of the Resilience Research Center, has identified these areas to expand a child’s psycho-social competencies exponentially:

• • • • • •

Building new relationships Finding a powerful identify Feeling in control Being treated fairly Feeling like they belong Identifying with a community

The professionals are telling us to do what is counter-intuitive to good parenting – when sending children to school or camp, where they have the guidance of professional adults other than their parents, let go a little and allow them to navigate on their own and build confidence in their own abilities to find solutions to their problems. (Child therapist Dr. Wendy Mogul refers to the phenomenon as “the blessing of a skinned knee.”) It is then that our children can re-invent themselves because they come to believe in and rely upon their own abilities to achieve their goals and picture their successes:

• • • • •

To be happy and confident To be safe To have friends To be successful in school and life To be independent

Until we meet again…Happy Trails!

ºpoliteness and to explain why various behaviors aren’t appropriate. “There are plenty of opportunities over the holidays for kids to practice their manners,” Kuzmeski points out. “Now, and as you start to attend various festive events, be alert for opportunities to remind your children what the appropriate thing to do is, and to help them exercise those ideals while they are still in the moment. For example, if your child cuts in line out of excitement while waiting to see Santa, reinforce that he needs to wait his turn, and explain to him that jumping ahead of others is disrespectful to them. Also, try not to ‘let things slide just this once.’” Empower them while you’re traveling. Plenty of families pack up and hit the road to visit family during the holiday season. You may be tempted to handle everything on your own for the sake of convenience, but Kuzmeski asserts that this is a wonderful opportunity to empower your children by allowing them to navigate “adult” situations. “Capitalize on all of the teachable moments that arise as you travel with your family,” she reiterates. “For example, let your daughter interact with the hotel receptionist and take care of all check-in aspects except the payment. If you need extra towels in your room, let your child call down to the front desk to request them. You could even let her call the airline’s automated number to double-check a flight time and status. When you accustom your children to these tasks early on, they’ll be much less timid and uncertain as they venture out on their own in the years to come.” Help them to host an event. For most of us, the holiday calendar will be peppered with social events. Your family might even be hosting your own festive get-together. If that’s the case, teach your child the value of being a host and “working” his own party. If you’re throwing a neighborhood gathering, for example, go with your child as he travels from door to door personally inviting each family on your street. Assuming your guests live farther away, sit with him as he phones those to whom he’s closest and asks them to attend your soiree. “Once the big event is here, have your child greet all of his friends when they arrive,” Kuzmeski instructs. “Then, ask him to keep an eye open to make sure that everyone feels welcome and included – while enjoying himself, of course! You can also help him to direct the flow of the party. (‘Now we’re going to play pin the tail on Rudolph!’ Or, ‘If you need more sprinkles for decorating your gingerbread man, just let me know!’) Lastly, teach him to thank all of the guests for attending as they leave. The fact is, many people don’t learn these skills until they’re adults, so you’ll be giving your child a major leg up.” Help them connect at the cash register. ’Tis the season for shopping, and the fact is, if you want good service, you must first be a good customer. Learning the value of connecting with the people you do business with – from clients and vendors right down to the lady who checks you out at the grocery store – can mean better experiences for you and for them. While your kids won’t be pitching their company’s product or trying to compromise with a contractor for years to come, they can definitely start learning the skills that will help them do so. “The next time you and your kids head out to

the market or to the mall, help them figure out how to engage with store employees,” Kuzmeski recommends. “Suggest that they thank an employee who showed you where to find an item, let a manager know about a great service experience, or ask the cashier, for once, how his or her day is going.” Make sure they deliver teacher gifts. It may seem silly to adults who have been conducting their own affairs for years, but personally delivering a gift to an authority figure – particularly a teacher – can be difficult for kids to do. Often, it’s a brand-new way in which to interact with this respected adult, and many children simply aren’t sure how to proceed. “Instead of having your child leave a gift anonymously on her teacher’s desk, or even handing it over and racing away in embarrassment, coach her on how to deliver a gift in a meaningful way,” Kuzmeski says. “Don’t assume your child can wing it – create a script she can use to tell her teacher how much she appreciates her. She might even mention what she has enjoyed learning about the most. Also, tell your child to include her best wishes for a happy holiday season!” Remind them to stay on their best behavior – especially in the presence of adults. As most parents are acutely aware, there are more than enough opportunities over the holidays for kids to be under the watchful eyes of adults who don’t normally see them. For better or for worse, it can feel like your success as a parent is up for debate. Yes, you’ll want your kids to behave for your own sake…but it’s also important to teach them that appropriate behavior, as well as right and wrong, don’t change from situation to situation. “From parties to play dates to family gatherings, explain to your kids that even though they may not be directly interacting with an adult, that adult might still be observing and evaluating their behavior,” Kuzmeski says. “Tell tweens and teens especially that you never know which adult (whether it’s a friend’s parent, a coach, a teacher, etc.) might give you (or turn you down for) your first job or write a college recommendation for you. This concept will also hold true later in life – after all, an uncouth joke in the break room that’s overheard by your boss can have serious ramifications.” “Ultimately, remember that there is no such thing as a perfectly behaved child,” concludes Kuzmeski. “You’ll probably hit some rough patches as you navigate the holiday season, but if you’re proactive about teaching your child to connect, they will be the exception rather than the rule. And remember, by helping them to grow into connectors, you’ll be giving them—and yourself—a truly invaluable gift this holiday season.”



Kids and gifts


equate love with “stuff.” And for younger children, receiving a huge pile of gifts in one sitting can be both overwhelming and overstimulating. If you have been wondering about these issues, here are some general guidelines for having a funfilled holiday with just enough stuff.

3 Make a gift plan. Before setting out on your first shopping expedition, devise a plan that makes sense for your family. If you have younger children, decide on the number of gifts for each. With older children, you might want to establish a dollar amount rather than a gift amount. Once you’ve made the plan, stick to it – no matter what. 3 Draw names. Particularly in bigger families, gift-giving can become a financial and emotional burden if every-

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3 Communicate. If Grandpa Mike or Aunt Emily has a reputation for heaping on the presents at Christmas or Chanukah, let them know ahead of time that one will do, then offer a suggestion that is sure to please your son or daughter. If they insist that they want to do more, consider asking them to make a donation in your child’s name to a charitable organization or to purchase a gift for a local child in need.


espite the many messages from all corners promoting a “more is better” philosophy when it comes to holiday gifts, the truth is far more complex – especially for children. While most parents work hard to give their kids everything they need and much of what they want, it is often hard to draw the line, prompting many well intentioned moms and dads to ask, “How much is too much?” In general, the answer lies within each family. Parents should purchase what makes sense to them and what they believe their children will use and appreciate. However, in Avoid gift overload. Have a gift plan and stick with it. recent years, child psychologists and experts in child develone buys for everyone. Drawing names not only opment have returned to these questions as economic conditions have forced many reduces those burdens, but often results in more families to scale back, both throughout the year and meaningful gifts all around. during the holiday season. 3 Opt for a shared experience. Books such as “The Pampered Child Syndrome” Consider pooling the money you would have (Jessica Kingsley, 2006) by Maggie Mamen and “Give Me, Get Me, Buy Me” (HCI, 2010) by spent on individual gifts and putting it toward a Donna Corwin and several others on the same topic special outing, vacation or shared item for your offer similar conclusions: When children are given home. Long after the toys have broken and the too much over the course of their childhoods, they electronics have stopped working, your children will can develop a serious case of entitlement, become cherish their memories of a holiday that focused on unappreciative of what they have and begin to sharing time together.


3 Collaborate. Sometimes one big gift makes a lot more sense. If your child would love a new bike or a trampoline or horseback riding lessons, consider asking extended family members to contribute to that item or to items that go with it, such as a helmet or other gear.

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November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today

How many is too much?

November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today


South Shore


CAMP AND SCHOOL Bethlehem Nursery School Children learn best by doing and experiencing. Bethlehem Nursery School provides an environment that is child-centered, interactive, and “hands-on,” nurturing a child’s development socially, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually, and physically. The school’s director, teachers and assistants are dedicated, experienced and well-qualified. The school offers full and half day morning or afternoon sessions and a session for children who are “almost 3,” and is licensed by New York State. The school’s playground and large indoor gym area allow children the opportunity to develop their gross motor skills and interact through supervised play.. For more information or to arrange a tour, please call (516)223-3400. Bethlehem Nursery School 516-223-3400

Club Z Club Z! In-Home Tutoring offers quality instruction in all subjects, kindergarten through adult learning! We work in the convenience of your home, using your child’s school curriculum instead of layering on work that may not relate to what they’re doing in the classroom. Our rates are affordable, with no long-term contracts. Call us for a free consultation 516-390-0400. Get the Club Z! Advantage: convenient, affordable, effective! Each Thursday from 11/18 through 12/13, Club Z! Tutoring holds free skills workshops and homework help at our office. Visit us online at Club Z 516-390-0400

Community Nursery School Of Baldwin The goal of the program is to instill a love of learning in a non-competitive, handson setting. Children develop confidence and self-esteem while building a strong foundation for future learning. Art, sign language, reading and math readiness, music, drama indoor and outdoor play, plus yoga are integrated in a safe and nurturing environment. Community Nursery Of Baldwin 516-868-8406

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Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre Nursery School

Going to school for the first time is one of the most important milestones in a child’s life. At the Hewlett East Rockaway Jewish Centre Nursery offers the very finest programming in a facility designed for young children, emphasizing individual and small group activities. We focus on giving our children a strong foundation on which to grow socially, emotionally, academically and spiritually, providing them with the tools necessary to be successful in their education for years to come. Our school approaches Judaism as a heritage and a tradition to be celebrated by everyone who wants to participate. Our program includes a brand new Parenting Center, Mommy and Me classes and programs for children ages two through pre-kindergarten. For more information call Cheryl Karp at 599-1169 Hewlett-East Rockaway Jewish Centre Nursery School 516-599-1159

Coleman “Discover the Spirit” is the theme in the special western-style community known as The Ranch. Here children are helped to discover their talents and live out their dreams. Emotional competencies as well as physical skills are coached by carefully trained counselors in an environment designed for kids, where they can feel safe, make new friends, and practice skills to help them grow into happy and successful people. Children get all A’s -- athletics, arts, adventure, and aquatics; it’s what we call the Power of Fun! New this summer: Pioneers-in-Training, an introduction to camp for toddlers ages 20 – 30 months in the summer, with parent dropoff/pick-up: two or three morning a week. It’s never too young to have a Coleman Country Experience! See it for yourself by watching, “Coleman Country, the Movie” on our website: Coleman 516-378-6363

Garden City Nursery School


Garden City Nursery Scho9ol in a nonprofit, non-sectarian, cooperative nursery school founded in 1951. A cooperative nursery school offers a shared family experience with families and educators working together to provide the best possible experience for wholesome growth. Our program emphasizes both social development and academic skills while meeting the highest educational standards. Children are made to feel secure, nurtured and confident and learn by active involvement in first-had experiences. Garden City Nursery School 516-481-7765

We teach our kids how to learn not what to learn. We do this by helping children build their confidence, their creativity, their communication skills, their collaboration, and their critical thinking. In today’s economic environment a good education is a requirement it’s not optional. Our programs help children prepare for the life ahead. We believe they will have a better life if provided a better education. Come to our center and let’s start your child on a path to a better life. FasTracKids JEI Bellmore-Merrick Center 516-224-3177

HASC HASC Woodmere, a not-for-profitpreschool program provides an all-inclusive, integrated preschool progam for children with and without special needs. The program is held in a warm, safe and nurturing environment where highly trained staff provides creative programming using he latest innovative early childhood techniques. In addition to a language based preschool curriculum students ages 3-5 participate in gym, music, class trips and special events. The school is located on beautiful park=like property with beautiful playgrounds. If you are looking for a caring and supportive preschool that can offer your child a well-rounded program, look no further than HASC. HASC 516-295-1340

Mathanasium Mathnasium Learning Centers specialize in teaching kids math the way that makes sense to them. Mathnasium’s program is for students in 2nd through 12 grade who may need to boost their math skills or need an extra challenge. In addition to math tutoring, homework help and test prep are available. Mathnasium’s approach is to determine what a student knows and does not know then tailor a personalized and prescriptivie learning program. The results are a significant increase in math skills, a better understanding of math concepts, and better school performance. Mathanasium 516-881-7997 – Lynbrook 516-569-1500 - Cedarhurst

Point Set Indoor Racquet Club Point Set Racquet Club is not just about tennis! Sure, we have top quality programs for all levels. We provide a fun atmosphere for learning, competing and getting fit! But Point Set is also home to fun and unique Tennis Parties for all ages. Whether it’s a child or adult’s birthday party, graduation party, or business function, you’ll be glad you had it at Point Set. Tennis, Basketball and more - call for information (516) 536-2323. Point Set Indoor Racquet Club 516-536-2323

Resnick Reading Center

The Waldorf School of Garden City

Established in 1968, Resnick Reading Center has helped students become successful, competent and confident individuals. For director Diana Resnick Nahoum, the goal is clear – make your child independent by helping him succeed on his own. We take a personalized approach and design an individualized program for each student. PSATs/SATs, SAT IIs and ACTs preparation is aimed at helping each student achieve his best possible score. Tutoring is available in all subject areas and students are well prepared for Regents, AP, GED, and all standardized exams including GREs, MCATs, LSATs, and RCTs. Your child’s success is our most important goal. Day, and evening and summer sessions are available. Resnick Reading Center 516-374-5998

The Waldorf School of Garden City is an independent, coeducational, collegepreparatory day school for students from preschool through twelfth grade. Our philosophy is based on the values of imagination, integrity, hard work, kindness, personal and social responsibility, and mutual respect. We are dedicated to providing a rigorous, liberal arts education that focuses on the development of the whole human being. Emphasis is placed on a multidisciplinary approach to learning through a curriculum that balances the physical, artistic, social and intellectual. Our nurturing environment and diverse community enable our students to excel as educated and compassionate individuals. The Waldorf School of Garden City 516-742-3434

St. Mark’s Cooperative Nursery School St. Mark’s Cooperative Nursery School, located in Rockville Centre, New York, is a non-profit organization owned and operated by its members - the parents. The school is registered with the New York State Department of Education. Our nursery school is special because we are a “cooperative.” Our school is run by the families whose children attend classes. A Cooperative Nursery school represents the joint effort of parents and educators to provide young children with the best possible experiences for growth and development. There are many programs offered for 2,3,4 and 5 year olds as well as extended day enrichment opportunities. St. Mark’s Cooperative Nursery School 516-764-5232

Superior Fundraising The keys to a successful product fundraising campaign: The single most important aspect of a successful sale is to identify your groups need. This should be as specific as possible. If your potential supporters can identify with your cause, the end results will be significantly improved. For example, if you need to raise money for a trip, be sure to include where, when, and the cost per individual. Playground equipment, include what equipment you intend to purchase. The more general your cause the less enthusiastic your supporters will be; you can bank on the results. To find out more about how you can improve the results of your product fundraising contact Joe Mosey at” or 516-589-9325. Superior Fundraising 516-589-9325

Tutor Time Tutor Time of Baldwin and East Rockaway are state licensed high quality child care programs housed in stateof- the-art facilities. The centers have both indoor and outdoor playgrounds. The well qualified staff provides a caring environment in which to promote children’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical growth. Start Smart curriculum for 1½ to 2 year olds and Life Smart curriculum for 3-5 year olds, both copyrighted, are based on extensive research of how to effectively promote children’s learning. Children are engaged in hands-on developmentally appropriate activities that totally involve them in the learning process. Enrichment programs such as Creating Character, Fitness For Life, Gymnastics and a new foreign language program add to the fun. Tutor Time serves children 6 weeks to 5 years, 6:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., year round. Tutor Time of Baldwin 516-337-3337 Tutor Time of East Rockaway 516-596-1010

Twin Oaks Country Day & School Camp Twin Oaks, at 458 Babylon Tpke in Freeport, has been a leader in camping for all ages for over 37 years. From tots to teens, we offer progressive programming including sports, crafts, swimming, drama and a full summer of special events, which are sure to make each child cheer with excitement. As our campers grow, so does their program. From our youngest “Barney” campers to our “Gemini” Adventure and Gemini Teen travelers, Twin Oaks is the perfect place for your child to spend the summer. Enroll early for fantastic savings. For more information, call 516-623-4550 or visit Twin Oaks Country Day & School Camp 516-623-4550


Beyond the basics

om, I don’t wanna go!” Sound familiar?

Extra-curricular activities can be a great complement to your child’s academic program and keeps them active and engaged. But let’s face it: an after-school program has got to be fun. After a long day at school, kids are only going to willingly go to an activity that makes them laugh and feel good. Of course you’d like it to be educational, worth your money and easy to get to at the same time. Here are some tips on choosing an afterschool activity that works for kids and parents alike: Consider your child’s personality. After a long day at the desk, some kids just have to move. Others may need some quiet time after spending the whole day in a group setting. Notice how your child typically feels after school and choose an activity accordingly. Talk to your child about her interests. After-school activities are the most fun when kids are naturally attracted to them. Just because you played baseball or tennis when you where in school, doesn’t mean your child wants to do the same. Do you feel there are gaps in what your child is taught at school? You can use after-school activities to fill this void. Overscheduled kids tend to be tired, grumpy and stressed, so be sure to prioritize. A child learns more from an extended, deep commitment to one activity than from being dragged to several different programs in a week. Think about your child’s needs. For instance, karate, gymnastics, and sports in general can build self-esteem, making it a wise choice for

children with confidence issues. Choose an after-school program that is close by and that fits in with your family’s schedule. Keep in mind homework, transportation, and mealtime. Once or twice week may be okay for a trip on the other side of town. An everyday activity, however, may cost more and could potentially be tiring not just on the parent, but to the child as well. Family schedules are hectic enough these days, and in many households, overscheduling becomes an issue, which will impact on what your child is getting out of his lesson or sport. Also, while a variety is good for a child’s wellbeing, too many activities can also take their toll – physically and emotionally – especially if there’s too much going on. Keep in mind that kids also need the time to be just kids – having fun playing catch in the park, biking around the neighborhood, and organizing sleepovers with their friends.





November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today

Exploring your child’s interests outside of the classroom

Head off those upcoming winter blahs

Encouraging kids to live a more active lifestyle

especially during the cold weather months when it’s more tempting to stay inside. While video games and Internet access aren’t lacking in value, the many benefits to extra-curricular activities are important to pursue year round. Though it can be difficult to get kids off the couch, there are ways parents can help their kids live and embrace a more active lifestyle, which will help them both now and down the road. Make it a team effort. Parents who are concerned their kids aren’t getting enough daily exercise should ask themselves if they’re getting enough exercise themselves. Kids aren’t the only ones who need daily exercise. A good way to encourage kids is to join them. Make daily physical activity a team effort. Kids don’t have to join Mom and Dad at the gym. Instead, go for a nightly walk after dinner, or make time to play catch in the yard. Kids often take cues from their parents even if their parents aren’t aware. Parents who exercise every day are much more likely to have kids who exercise every day as well. Set a positive example for kids and include them in your own fitness routine whenever the opportunity arises. Minimize television time. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends older kids watch no more than two hours of television per day. But as any parent knows, most kids average much more than two hours of television per day. To decrease that tube time, parents can take televisions out of their kids’ bedrooms, instead putting televisions only in the common rooms which will also allow parents to more closely monitor what their kids are watching.

Encourage extracurricular activities. While parents might find it hard to believe, today’s kids, even with all the video games and additional gadgets, still get bored. Boredom might be contributing to sedentary lifestyles. To combat boredom, parents should encourage extracurricular activities that get kids off the couch. Whether it’s participating in sports, joining the community or school theater program, or taking an art or music class – or even getting a part-time job, parents should encourage kids to do more after school than come home and turn on the television or play video games. Emphasize activity instead of exercise. Many adults associate exercise with going to the gym or running on the treadmill, both of which are tough to get excited about. Kids might be equally indifferent and less enthusiastic about exercise. Instead of emphasizing exercise, encourage kids to be active. Being active doesn’t have to entail playing a sport or doing any calisthenics. Instead, an active lifestyle is one that’s not spent idling the hours away lounging. Encourage kids to pursue interests other than video games or television shows. Express interest in your kids’ activities. Parents should be enthusiastic about what their kids are doing after school. When they return from their game or gymnastic competition or music lesson, take some time to talk about what went on. When parents express an interest in their kids’ activities, kids are more likely to embrace those activities, something that’s especially beneficial if you want to get kids off the couch.



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November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today



Embracing the season


uch of what makes the holiday season so special is the traditions that people hold dear. While families have traditions that stretch back decades, there is plenty of opportunity to embrace new means of celebration to breathe new life into Christmas, Hanukkah or the season’s other holidays. Chances are you’re already planning to hang the stockings or go caroling or digging out the electric menorah to display. Try some new ideas that will reinvigorate the season. You can add some of these and modify as they fit for your family.

3 Feed the wildlife. During the cold days of winter, birds and small animals that don’t hibernate may find it difficult to forage for food. By trimming an outdoor pine tree in edible snacks you’ll have a beautiful tree and one that benefits the wildlife as well. String peanuts and other nuts for the squirrels. Make little ornaments out of suet and string for the birds. Berries and corn can be enjoyed by all. Be sure to choose a tree that is far enough away from the home, so you don’t have too many scavengers hunting and pecking around the house. 3 Create a photo Advent calendar. Make your own Advent calendar that has small doors that open up to photos of different family members. Or use a collection of children’s pictures that showcase how they’ve changed as they’ve grown older. 3 “Adopt� a child for holiday gifts. Each year you can bring a smile to a child in need by purchasing a present for an underprivileged kid. Some post offices sponsor “Letters from Santa� events where participants can respond to one of the thousands of letters mailed to The North Pole. Or work with a local charity that organizes events to bring gifts to children in hospitals or in foster care. 3 Holiday story countdown. Every night in December watch a movie or read a story that tells an

November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today

Ways to create new holiday traditions uplifting holiday tale. Use this as a method of counting down until Christmas. On the night prior, reading “’Twas the Night Before Christmas� should suffice.

3 Remember someone who has passed on. The holiday season is one made beautiful by lit candles and twinkling lights. Remember a loved one or a friend who has passed away by lighting a remembrance candle in his or her honor. It’s a way this person can still be part of the festivities. 3 Have a holiday sing-a-long. Sure it may be tradition to go around the neighborhood singing carols, but it’s just as fun indoors. Have a singing party where guests are given lyrics to popular tunes they can sing around the piano or karaoke machine. 3 Bring some joy to a public servant. Police officers, firefighters, military personnel – many of these workers do not get off for the holidays. There are a certain number of public servants who must remain on call in the event of an emergency. Treat these people to something enjoyable when they may be missing their own festivities. Cook or cater a meal for a fire house, deliver cookies to the police station or put together care packages for people living on a military base. 3 Banish the holiday blues. When the holidays are set to go for another year, many people find they become a little down. After all, a home that was once filled with merry trinkets may now go back to the bare essentials. Create a tradition where everyone in the family receives one more gift – a personalized ornament that can be packed away for use next year – that’s given in January before the decorations are packed away. It’s another opportunity to open a present, and it symbolizes looking forward to the joy of next year.

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Don’t let the holidays get the best of you

Holiday stress-busters

Avoid feeling like ‘Scrooge’

Prioritize and delegate


et’s face it. The holidays can be stressful — the shopping, family, hosting, eating, parties, being alone. But you don’t need to feel overwhelmed.

3 Focus on Gratitude Focus on gratitude instead of perfection. It is easy to get caught up in all the craziness of the holidays, such a decorating every inch of the house or buying all those gifts. Try to keep things simple and focus on quality time with family and friends. The goal is to experience more gratitude and appreciation for what we have, rather than on what you “should” be doing.

Remember that children can be impacted by stress in the family and try to effectively manage your own stress. Recognize that family relationships are a source of support, but they can also trigger stress. Spend time with people you care about and try not to isolate yourself. Accept family members and friends for who they are and put aside conflicts or unrealistic expectations. Remember that you do not have control over the way other people behave, but you do have control over the way you react to other people’s behavior. Accept that traditions change as families change and that things don’t have to be the same or perfect to be special. Discuss plans in advance so activities are predictable and children know what is expected of them. Whenever possible involve children in plan-

3 A Family Affair Make it a family affair. Have the entire family be part of the holiday preparation and clean up. Children love to help in the kitchen, so put them to work setting the table or assisting with the food prep. Have everyone pitch in when cleaning up after the presents have been open. Then pop some popcorn and enjoy a movie all together.

3 Consider an Open House Choose a location (like your uncle’s house), a date and a convenient time frame when family members can come and go as they please without the pressure of being on time for a meal. Serve finger foods and other easy fare to make it easy on the hostess. 3 Attend Far-Away Celebrations

Only Every Other Year

It’s a fact of life that people marry someone from another state or move out of town due to a job change or other circumstance. This can leave many families feeling pulled in too many directions when the holidays roll around. It can be difficult to decide how to come together, so work out the details in advance.

3 Negotiate Annually All families are different so it can be practically impossible to please everybody every year. One year your cousin may need to leave early to spend the rest of the day with her husband’s family. Another year it may just work out best to hold the event on a completely different day of the month. Which brings us to …


olidays can be very exciting and happy for many children, but can also be a very stressful time for some children and their parents. Stress can be due to unrealistic expectations, difficulties with establishing priorities, multiple and competing demands on time and energy, or facing the holidays after a loss or change in the family. Thus, it is important to recognize sources of stress, establish priorities, organize your time, and abandon impossible goals.

Here’s how to prevent and manage stress during the holidays:

3 New Traditions Find new traditions that work for you. Question how you have done things in the past that have brought distress and discontent to you and the kids. Don’t like going to your in-laws for a week? Then don’t. It is okay. This is your life and your family.

3 Combine Family Events Instead of running to your parents’ house and then to see each of your siblings separately, consider having just one shin-dig at one location when most everyone can attend. To make life even easier, forego the sit-down dinner and choose to go the potluck route. Some people choose to throw a small party at their house every year on the second Friday in December, for example, and have things for the kids to do, like building a gingerbread house or painting ornaments.

By Barbara Keith Walter, Ph.D., M.P.H. ning and try not to change plans unexpectedly. Try not to abandon healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular meals, good nutrition, good sleep habits, limiting time watching TV or playing computer and video games alone, and balancing periods of rest with activity. Attempt to stick to established routines and continue to consistently enforce established rules and consequences even if you are traveling or relatives are visiting, but also recognize when it is important to be flexible. Bring a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, book, game, or small toy when traveling. Anticipate times when children will be waiting and bring something to entertain them. Be prepared with healthy snacks and drinks if you are out of the house longer than expected. Plan ahead and accept that you might not be able to do or participate in everything. Acknowledge feelings and help children find ways to appropriately express them. Help children find a special way to remember special people who are not with them over the holidays. Encourage children to take time to relax and appreciate what they have. Establish a budget and attempt to stick to it. Don’t promise children gifts that you cannot realistically give them and don’t be afraid to let children know if something is too expensive or they are asking for too many gifts. Consider alternatives to giving gifts, such as sharing your time, talents, or resources with others.

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For example, Christmas can be even nicer when spent on a day other than December 25th. You could get together with your grandparents a couple of weeks before or after Christmas Day for a much more relaxed mood. You would get to take your time opening gifts while enjoying each other’s company. What a time to treasure and look forward to every year!

3 Just Stay Home Some make the choice to celebrate the holiday at their own home every year. The decision may not popular, and you might have to defend it every year, but it could be the most relaxing and fun day of your entire year. Just imagine yourself hanging out in comfy sweatpants all day long while you play with your kids and their new toys, games and other gifts. If tensions get high between family members, think of others who may not have any family, or even a home. Consider serving food at a homeless shelter sometime around the holiday or at a soup kitchen. Or donate food to a community food bank. These are great opportunities to take your kids along and teach them the true meaning of the holidays. To ensure no feelings are hurt, make sure your family knows they are always welcome to spend holidays at your home (with some notice, of course!). With a little understanding and communication, everyone in your family can have a peaceful holiday season.

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November 1, 2012 — HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today



Holiday countdown

Ideas for family fun during the school break

Survive shopping trip with kids in tow


Dr. Raymond J. Huntington

Get the family away from the video games. Reading during winter break can be a fun and beneďŹ cial hobby for kids, as well as mom and dad.

At the end of a semester, your child may appreciate being able to choose his or her own reading material, so take him or her to the library a few days before break begins to stock up. Let your child choose what he or she likes, even if thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s comic books in lieu of autobiographies. The point is not to burden your child with more reading assignments, but to get him or her reading â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and excited about what he or she reads.

3 Visit museums. What better time to plan a few fun field trips than holiday break? Hit as many museums as you can. Art galleries (large and small), history museums, and science and nature museums are fun for adults and kids alike, and often have special exhibits around the holidays. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget other types of museums, too: firefighter museums, flight or aviation museums, heritage museums (Jewish and African-American, for example), and botanic gardens, to name a few. 3 Explore your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interests. With some free time on your hands, holiday break is a great opportunity to foster your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interests. Is your child interested in medicine? Check with a hospital in your area to see if you can arrange a tour. Have a budding writer on your hands? Look into online or in-person writing workshops in your area for children or teens. Children who are less enthusiastic about school may have other hobbies worth exploring. A sports fanatic might enjoy a tour of a stadium or sports books specifically geared for reluctant readers.

3 Offer educational television and

movie ideas.

Try as you might, after a long semester of working hard your child may be drawn to the couch and the remote control over anything you suggest, especially the few days or so of holiday break. Try offering educational channels or programs as alternatives to reality TV and sitcoms. Look for interesting documentaries on topics of your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interest, or basedon-true-events films, for example.

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3 Use the computer for productive


Your child may spend more time than youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like on the computer instant-messaging with friends and catching up with people on Facebook. But rather than forbidding the computer, try offering your child new ideas to translate his or her technological skills into educational opportunities. Help your child set up a blog on a subject about which he or she is passionate. Loan your child the family flipcam for holiday break and tell him or her to develop a short film or silly documentary to share with the family online.

3 Encourage your young entrepreneur. Most children are motivated by the idea of earning money, so brainstorm with your child on different ways he or she could do so this break. If your child decides to advertise his or her services (snow shoveling, for example), help him or her come up with a compelling flier to pass around the neighborhood. Perhaps your child has a more detailed idea for an online business. Encourage him or her to research the idea, start drafting a business plan and perhaps set up a free website. Help your child get inspired by reading up on kid and teen entrepreneurs at sites like and Holiday vacation is a good time for your child to unwind and enjoy a respite from the structure and frenzy of the school year, but with a little planning ahead and creativity, this time off can also be a great opportunity for your child to explore something new and enjoy learning for learningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sake.

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What can you do to keep your child occupied - and learning this holiday season? Here are several ideas: 3 Read for fun.

such as raisins, fruit and carrots that will both satisfy kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; taste buds and keep them occupied. Play games. At the start of your shopping adventure, give your children a series of challenges that will keep them busy and engaged. Kids who love to count will enjoy tracking the number of a particular item they spy as you shop and emerging readers will have fun scouting letters and words. Older children can be given more sophisticated challenges, such as tracking and totaling the cost of purchases or figuring out how much items will cost when a discount has been applied. Let kids contribute. Take some of the sting out of being dragged from store to store by inviting your children to help make some of the dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decisions. Would Aunt Nancy like the blue scarf or the red scarf? Should we have sandwiches or pizza for lunch? A note about safety: Safety is a big concern when shopping with children in crowded malls or stores. Make sure that older kids know what to do and where to meet if you become separated. If younger children will be walking with you, write your cell phone number on a small piece of paper to be placed in their pockets or attached to the insides of their jackets. And remember, always accompany children into restrooms and keep an eye on them while inside.


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t may seem like the kids just went back to school, but before we know it, the holiday break will be upon us. And that means your child has a week or two ahead of no studying, no homework and no school.

ackling a holiday gift list â&#x20AC;&#x201C; particularly at the peak of the season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; can be stressful even for enthusiastic shoppers. But bringing kids along for the ride can be enough to inspire the most passionate purchasers to forsake shopping â&#x20AC;&#x201C; at least brick-and-mortar shopping â&#x20AC;&#x201C; forever. While leaving the kids behind may be optimal, here are some surefire strategies for surviving your next consumer outing with little ones in tow. Prepare in advance. When it comes to shopping with kids, a little preparation goes a long way. If at all possible, choose a destination that offers some form of childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entertainment, such as a play area or interactive display. Before you leave home, let kids know what you will be doing and your expectations of them during the process. While you may need to repeat the information several times during the outing, take a few minutes before leaving to emphasize that gift shopping means buying things for others. Bring appropriate toys. Pack a bag with a variety of toys and books that will keep your children occupied whether they are walking or in a stroller. Leave toys that come apart, canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be carried or are intended for outdoor use at home. And donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget your childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sleep time comfort item. A nap might be your best opportunity to cross a lot of gifts off your list. Have nutritious snacks and drinks at the ready. Take along some water or milk and snacks

November 1, 2012 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; HERALD COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS - South Shore Parents Today

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