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About J. Shane Mercer

I am the digital marketing specialist at The Village Family Service Center. Keep up with Village news and events at https://www.facebook.com/thevillagefamily and on Twitter at @VillageFamily

Awesomely cute photos: It’s pajama day at Nokomis II

It’s been a week of fun and lots of cute pictures at the Nokomis Child Care Centers as they’ve celebrated Week of the Young Child. Today’s theme at Nokomis II was pajama day! Here are some photos from this morning. Click on a thumbnail image below for a full view.

If you want to see more images of the Nokomis kids from this week, here and here and here.

 

Photos: It’s Hawaiian Day at Nokomis I

Here are some more pictures from Nokomis Child Care. It’s “Week of the Young Child” and Nokomis is celebrating with themed days. Today was Hawaiian day at Nokomis I! Click on a thumbnail image below for a full view.

See more pictures from Nokomis’ “Week of the Young Child” celebration here and here. Find more info about Nokomis here.

More cute kid pics from Nokomis’s ‘Week of the Young Child’ activites

Nokomis Child Care is celebrating the “Week of the Young Child” with themed dress-up days this week. Here are some images from Nokomis II today (there are two Nokomis facilities), where it was sports team day. Click on a thumbnail image below for a larger view.

Nokomis Child Care Centers provide traditional child care and also offers care to families with special physical, financial, and/or emotional needs. Nokomis provides a place for all children to thrive and grow, regardless of their needs. Learn more about Nokomis Child Care Centers.

Very cute kid pics: It’s everybody’s birthday at Nokomis

In celebration of the Week of the Young Child, there’s a theme for each day of this week at Nokomis Childcare. Today was Birthday Day. Here are some images of the very cute kids at Nokomis celebrating everybody’s birthday :-) Click on an image below for a larger view.

Ask Jane: How can I help my child be more assertive?

By Jane Greminger

Q: My child always backs down. If another child wants her toy, she always gives up the toy. How can I help her be more assertive?

A: Most children are born with tendencies to use either passive or aggressive behaviors. In either case, teaching them assertiveness is important so they can learn to respect the needs of themselves and others equally—rather than pushing their wants and needs on
others (aggression), or acting as though others’ needs are more important than their own (passiveness).

Children who always back down need to learn the proper tools to help them become strong and confident, be able to express and value themselves, and help them believe that they have rights. It’s great that you are teaching your child assertiveness skills when she is young so she can become confident and have a secure sense of herself by the time she is an adult.

Teach your daughter to use the following strategies to help her become more assertive in her interactions with others:

  • Make clear requests. Encourage your daughter to make her wants and needs clear to others. (For example: “That’s my toy. Please give it back now.”) Depending on her age, your daughter may not understand she has rights, just as adults have rights. As parents and teachers, it is our job to teach children how to be assertive, and to express themselves in a polite manner as well. Young children often respond with anger when they are frustrated (such as throwing tantrums, throwing toys, screaming, etc.) Explain how acting out in anger does not make their needs clear, but instead can lead others to be defensive.
  • It’s okay to say “No.” Make sure your daughter knows it is okay for her to say “No.” You don’t want her to feel like she must submit to every request of her peers. Also let her know that if she doesn’t like the way she is being treated, it’s okay for her to speak up and say so. Stress to your daughter that nobody has the right to be mean to her or make her feel guilty or ridiculous in any way.
  • Be compassionate and kind, but not at the expense of your own needs. Express the importance of being empathetic, thoughtful, and kind to others, but explain that it is not okay to have someone else take advantage of that thoughtfulness. Encourage your daughter to stand up for herself.
  • Practice. Practice at home (where the environment is safe and supportive) by role-playing different scenarios. Make up circumstances or use situations she has experienced—then have her practice responding in more assertive ways. Promote independent thinking by discussing various responses to handling these situations.
  • This type of role-playing will help your daughter build her confidence so she is prepared to assertively express herself in real life situations. The more your daughter applies these practices to real situations, the more strong and confident she will become.

Jane Greminger is director of Nokomis Child Care Centers. Nokomis is a program of The Village Family Service Center. You can like Nokomis and The Village on Facebook!

14 tips to avoid overindulging children

We’ve all had the experience where our child asks for something in a store, we say “no,” they start having a fit, and we give in to make it stop. It usually works—for the moment. But it also ensures that every shopping trip is going to be a battle, and doesn’t do our children any favors.

Overindulgence can result in an inability to delay gratification, and delayed gratification is an important skill for our children to learn. Adulthood may be a rude awakening if they’ve grown up thinking they should be able to have everything they want.

Kelly Olson, Division Director, Minnesota Programs and Operations, The Village Family Service Center, provides the following tips to help you avoid overindulging your children.

  1. If you are taking your kids shopping, make a plan and discuss it with your child before you leave home. If you don’t plan to buy anything for them, tell them ahead of time. Then stick to “no” regardless how many times they ask. According to a national survey commissioned by the Center for a New American Dream, American children aged 12 to 17 will ask their parents for something an average of nine times until their parents finally give in. And the nagging strategy works. 55 percent of the kids surveyed said they are usually successful in getting their parents to give in!
  2. If you are going to purchase something for your child, ask yourself some questions? Do they really need it? Does it help them grow emotionally, spiritually, physically?
  3. Set rules for large purchases. Saving large items for Christmas and birthday gifts helps children learn to wait.
  4. Think about the life lessons you are trying to teach your kids. Overindulged kids may begin to think the way they grew up is the way the world works, and expect to have anything they want when they want it.
  5. Teach kids the value of a dollar by having them help you grocery shop and stay within a budget.
  6.  Give your kids an allowance—expect them to save their own money for things they really want.
  7. Expect children to do chores. Chores help children learn responsibility and make them feel like a valued member of the family.
  8. Involve older children in saving for a family trip. They may be able to come up with ways to reduce monthly spending.
  9. Set rules for screen time. Too much time in front of the television or computer can lead to isolation from the family. Having screens in their rooms can also hinder their sleep.
  10. Realize that it’s OK to set limits for kids and to say “No.”  Life is not always about being told yes, and we need to prepare our kids for the No’s as well.
  11. Accept your role as a decision maker for your kids.  Kids have too many decisions to make and often are not developmentally able to make good decisions. It’s our job, as parents, to guide them.

The Village Family Service Center is a multi-service agency with offices throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. For more information or to make an appointment to see a counselor, contact The Village at 1-800-627-8220 or www.TheVillageFamily.org.

 

14 tips for keeping your teen safe when dating

Yikes! Your teen wants to date. Now what do you do? Kelly Olson, Division Director, Minnesota Programs and Operations, The Village Family Service Center, has a few tips for setting boundaries and keeping your teenagers safe when they are ready to start dating.

  1. Decide when you will let your teen start dating. Every teen is different, but some general guidelines are to encourage group dating for ages 13-14. Intense solo dating at age 13 may not be developmentally appropriate and could put your child at risk. One-on-one dating usually begins around age 15 or 16.
  2. Set clear expectations and let your adolescent know how often and when you expect contact. Ask them to let you know who they’ll be with, where they will be, and to call or text for permission if anything changes.
  3. Set a curfew, and let them know the consequences for disobeying the rules.
  4. Talk to your teen about rules within a relationship—how often they can have contact, how you expect them to treat a partner, and how they should expect to be treated.
  5. Set boundaries regarding phone privileges. For instance, phone turned into parents by 10 p.m. on school nights and 11 p.m. on weekends; and shut off your wifi at the same time.
  6. Talk to your teens about the risks of online dating and how easy it is for people to pretend to be someone else.
  7. Never prohibit relationships. Telling your adolescent they are NOT allowed to date someone will only increase their desire to do so.
  8. Get to know your teen’s partner. Invite them on family outings so you can monitor the relationship.
  9. Have conversations with your child about the relationship. Keep the lines of communication open and let them know they can talk to you about anything without judgment.
  10. Decide how much privacy you will give your child. Allow some privacy, but check on them if you believe they are engaging in risky behavior.
  11. Talk about sex. Share your values and provide information.
  12. Discuss potential problems and help them think of ways to handle difficult situations. How will they say “No,” how will they handle peer pressure, and what can they do if they want to get out of a risky situation?
  13. Manage your own emotions. It may be difficult to deal with your child becoming romantically involved or sexually active. Take a deep breath and remain calm. An overly reactive or angry response may cause your child to shut down.

    Kelly Olson

  14. Finally, remember that dating is normal and OK. You can expect your child to get seriously interested in a dating partner.  This is part of normal development and an important step in learning about relationships.

The Village Family Service Center is a multi-service agency with offices throughout North Dakota and Minnesota. The Village’s licensed professional counselors are trained to help couples, individuals, children and families dealing with a wide variety of relationship, behavior and mental health issues.

For more information or to make an appointment to see a counselor, contact The Village at 1-800-627-8220 or www.TheVillageFamily.org.

9 tips for dealing with medical debt

A broken bone, mental health therapy, a long-term illness, a car accident, a premature baby. All of these situations—and so many more unexpected ones—can land a family in medical debt. According to Wikipedia, “Medical debt is different from other forms of debt, because it is usually incurred accidentally or faultlessly. People do not plan to fall ill or hurt themselves, and health care remedies are often unavoidable…” A family can’t comparison shop for a needed surgery or delay treatment for cancer until they have the money to pay for it in full. When most people think of medical debt, they think of a person or family with no health insurance at all, yet a large percentage of Americans who have incurred medical debt actually do possess health insurance (also known as the “underinsured”). According to a recently released Kaiser Family Foundation study, 70 percent of those with medical debt were insured, and their financial struggles arose from cost-sharing and other out-of-pocket expenses. If you find yourself facing medical debt, here are some steps and options to consider. 1. Make sure the amounts you are being billed are correct. Doctors, nurses, medical billers, and other staff can make mistakes in billing, so verify you are being charged for services you actually received. If you have insurance, call your insurance company to confirm that all itemized amounts have been written off correctly in accordance with your policy. 2. Contact your medical provider. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to ignore their medical bills. Bob Dahlseng, Certified Financial Counselor at The Village Family Service Center, advises people… Read the full story on The Village Family Magazine website.