Parents, Prepare Yourself For, “I’m Bored, There’s Nothing to Do!”

Maggie with her teenage children

Well, summer of 2012 is upon us and as parents we begin to sweat near the end of May as to what our children are going to do with themselves all summer long. I know that within two days of summer break I am going to hear, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do!”

Leave a List
I leave a list every morning with my three teenagers explaining their “chores” for the day and yet, I hear the vacuum running when I pull into the garage 8 hours later. Now, I understand that between the hours of 6 am when I am getting ready for work and 2 pm when I am still at work, that my kids are getting their much needed sleep and that not a lot can be accomplished before this time of day. Staying up until 2 am or 3 am creates this discrepancy in sleep patterns for the summer. I yell out at midnight, “Some of us have to work in the morning,” yet the TV is still blaring at 3 am. I get it, its summer break!!!  And yet, if I sleep in until 7 am on a weekend, my kids have been known to poke at me and say out loud, “Is she alive? She never sleeps this late. Who’s going to get our breakfast?”

Am I Crazy if I Repeat Myself 700 Times?
The list of chores I leave is very easy and yet so complicated to complete within the 8 hours that I’m away from our small, but comfortable home. I say small to emphasize how few chores I list and how quickly they actually can be accomplished by three teenagers. Vacuum, pick up anything laying on the living room floor and put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher! I must say 700 times in the summer, “Rinse your dishes and put them in the dishwasher.” As you know, nothing smells worse than breakfast milk in a cereal bowl from 2 days prior. Cocoa Puffs become the size of mini golf balls and Trix become an art project in my sink as a variety of colors swirl from side to side, pretty, but still smelly.

Ahh, Time with Teenagers
So, I attempt each day to give the kids something to do, something that will give them a sense of accomplishment and something that will allow me to spend more time with the kids when I get home…ok, they are teenagers, I am kidding. But, it will allow me to finish the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, without interruption!

Maggie is a single mother of three children, ages 13, 16 and 17, who attend Corunna Schools. She and her children live in Owosso.

====================================================================================================== 

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Helping Our Children Weather Defeat, Adversity and Disappointment

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek
Memorial Mommy Blogger

Children will always have opportunity to face difficulty in their lives. And the ways they deal with it are as varied as their personalities, development of coping skills, etc. As a parent, I find I want to make the hurt go away as soon as possible. But no matter how I console them, it really is about giving them time and choices.

Here are a few of the things I have learned in my 30 years of parenting that have helped my children.

  1. Triumph with them even in their defeat. Give them praise for their effort and strength of character to try.
  2. Convey that you love them and are proud of them just for being who they are.
  3. Hug them and reaffirm them with physical affection. Look in their eyes.
  4. Be genuine in your words. Comedy only helps if that is their personality. Otherwise, refrain from making jokes.
  5. Divert their attention to positive solutions or alternatives.
  6. Let them cry and express themselves while not allowing them to get into self-destructive statements or behaviors.

I’m sure you may have some great suggestions as well. But there are just a few of my best to get you started on building happy, healthy children.

=======================================================================================================

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Please Don’t Text and Drive

Tracey (standing) with (l-r) Rachel (14), Jackie (in red) (17), and Kayleena (19)

Author Tracey Heslip (standing) with daughters (l-r) Rachel, Jackie (in red), and Kayleena

This blog is going to be short and sweet…well, maybe not so sweet.

This past week I was sitting in the Wendy’s parking lot facing M-21 at about 5:15 in the evening. I was APPALLED at how many people were texting and driving. I was there for about 15 minutes and during that time about 25% of the drivers were texting. You would think “teenage” drivers……NOPE!!!! A few were teenagers, but most were middle-aged; some with children in the back seat.

How can I tell my teenage drivers not to text for their safety and the safety of others, when their safety is at risk from other drivers? You may think that I’m over-reacting, but I think this is common sense. In the State of Michigan we have a law about texting and driving.

According to distraction.gov, using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays the driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. If you are driving alone and need to text, pull over. If you have a passenger, assign them “designated texter” to text for you.

In April 2011, Memorial Healthcare hosted a “Buckle Up Stop Texting” event at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. Their keynote speaker for this event was Amanda Umscheid, of Missouri, who shared her personal experience related to the loss of her sister in a texting and driving accident. For a moving video on why you should not text and drive, which includes Amanda’s story, click here.  

To help you remember not to text and drive, Memorial Healthcare is offering free thumb bands to the community. These bands are to be worn on a driver’s thumb to remind them not to text and drive. For your free thumb band, visit Memorial’s main lobby at 826 W. King Street, Owosso.

So please, please, please do NOT text and drive.

===================================================================================================

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products, or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Foreign Exchange Student Fills Life With Joy

Laura Jafri

Laura Jafri

Life Can Be Overwhelming, But…
There are so many things in life that can be rewarding. Life is so busy and can pass us by like a blur. In my own personal circumstances, I feel very overwhelmed with the demands that my life presents. I have five young children who are very busy. Most of my time is dedicated to running them around and making their lives “go.” Add to that, two children with special needs. That, in and of itself, is a full-time job. Children, marriage, and having my own business make my life very busy and stressful. Despite all the stress, these are also the things that make my life feel fulfilled.  

People may think that I’m crazy, and maybe I am. It seems that I always take more on. One of those extra things that I took on this year was adding another child to our family. In February, we had a foreign exchange student from Sweden move in with us for six months. We didn’t know what to expect. Who would it be? What would they be like? What kind of changes would it bring to our family dynamics?

Welcome Home
We welcomed an 18 year-old Swedish “daughter” to our house in February. None of us knew what she would be like. It was a bit of a risk considering that it’s a six month commitment. She was nervous and we were anxious. I can’t imagine being 18, traveling half way across the globe and moving into a stranger’s home. She also didn’t know what to expect from us — what a brave move on her part!

Getting To Know Our New Daughter
We spent the first few weeks getting to know each other. She seemed quiet or nervous; I can’t imagine being her. It is incredible to me how attached I have become to her already, just after two short months. Our instructions were to treat her like she was one of our own children. It hasn’t been hard at all. She is such a wonderful person and has brought such an amazing experience to our family. We take her to school, pick her up and take her to all of her soccer practices. I go to her games and I find no difference for how passionate I am for her as I do for my own children. 

She isn’t that shy, nervous girl anymore. She has fit into our family like a glove. We have so much fun with her. I can’t imagine missing one of her soccer games. I love her and worry about her as if I have known her forever. I am already dreading having to give her back.

Open Your Heart
There are many organizations that offer this type of opportunity to Owosso families. Our exchange student came to us through the Owosso Rotary Club. It is something that Ayaz and I had always wanted to do. When the opportunity came up this year, we were excited to do it. I’m so glad that we did. Maybe we got lucky with such a smart, kind and wonderful student. For us, she has been a wonderful addition to our family.  I truly love her and I’m so glad we did this.  I highly recommend people consider taking in an exchange student. It has been so rewarding for all of us to love and learn all about her. I know that I will be crying on her graduation day and I can’t think about the day she’ll leave. 

I wanted to share with you how amazing this has been for us. I really recommend it to the right people. If you open your home and your heart to a child, it is amazing the rewards you get in return. 

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Magic Cupboard

Marianne Stuart with Children

Marianne Stuart

I have a magic cupboard and, if you are a busy mom, you should have one too.  I learned about this concept from a friend who has since passed away.  Cheryl had a closet that consisted of gifts of all varieties for different occasions.  The best part of this idea is that the gifts are purchased at your leisure and at a deeply discounted price.  

My magic cupboard is a room in my basement.  I have shelving units in it.  I shop year-round and I also specifically shop at Black Friday sales to fill my shelves.  When one of my children comes to me and needs a gift for a birthday party, I don’t have to rush out late at night and spend full price.  I head to the basement and bring up a few items for them to pick from. I also keep a good stock of gift bags.  

I have expanded this idea to include shopping for my children’s’ birthdays and Christmas gifts.  For that reason, I don’t let my children into the magic cupboard much.  I also buy with the intention of giving items to our church, who in turn give them to needy families at Christmas.  

Occasionally, I will find that I have things that seem to have gone out of style or I just don’t want to give to anyone anymore.  These items are perfect to be donated to Goodwill or I let my kids go through them.  Who would have thought that a portable cassette player would be so cool?!

My husband wants me to warn you that shopping for your magic cupboard has to be managed carefully and with restraint.  For some reason he thinks I have too many things in mine.  I beg to differ.  All I know is that even if I do have a lot, I have saved so much money and time by being prepared.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Helping Your Children Discover Their Gifts

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek, Memorial Mommy Blogger

I remember when I was a girl, I had so many big ideas about all the things I would do some day. I look back now and see how adults around me squelched my ability to blossom. They seemed to take my exuberant personality as more of a nuisance. It took many years before I could enjoy and revel in my person hood. It is so important to encourage our children to love who they were created to be. Here are some ways I have found that not only promote children in their gifting, but help them discover what their gifts are.

  • When you have an inkling they like a particular activity promote it
    My oldest son loved to draw. He would make his own comics and stories. We made it a point to make sure he had lots of art supplies in several mediums—crayons, paints, markers, different kinds of paper, books on drawing and lots of comics he could read. He has become a very talented artist and I am still amazed at his creativity.
  • Help them participate in activities they love
    Join a team, take a class, buy an instrument. Watch for areas they seem to really take to. Recently, we won a bowling party and the kids and I enjoyed the package together on a school break. We rarely bowl. My daughter, who had never bowled before, rolled one great score after another. We all had a great time. We are going to keep bowling. And next season she can join a team.
  • Express exuberant praise for a job well done
    Mention their accomplishments to friends and family and watch them beam with joy!
  • Go to their special performances and, make sure they know you value their efforts
  • Take time to listen to what they are saying – really listen
    I always say to them “I am listening.” This solidifies that I care about what they say. 
  • Hang good papers, art projects, cards they make in a prominent place
  • Let them try different activities and gauge their interest
    School lessons can be a great place to explore poetry, a certain subject, a time in history, or a famous character. My one son did not like to read. He did the minimum requirements needed. He always complained about the stories we read, until we read a book about Thomas Edison. I found he enjoyed reading about real people in history. His personality was such that he found fiction ridiculous.
  • Help them overcome obstacles that make them feel less confident
    Do they struggle with reading, or sports, or using a screwdriver? Give them opportunities to explore and try that difficult activity in a safe non-competitive way. You can always employ the help of someone else. Maybe a grandparent or friend to teach basketball skills, or build a bird house, etc. A friend of ours paid for her son to take a class to help with his reading and he blossomed through it!
  • Don’t take on the guilt
    If their interests are something hard to obtain like surfing in Michigan, or going to a school you can’t afford, don’t take on the guilt. I was sure I wanted to climb mountains as a girl, and I realize now that was not for me. Adversity, disappointment, and failure, if dealt with as an opportunity to grow, can be as powerful as success. Dr. Dave Williams of Strategic Global Missions says, “Failure is NOT fatal.”

Invest in your children’s gifts, talents, and abilities and watch them blossom into magnificent citizens. They will become encouragers of others around them. And promote opportunities for others to grow as well.

===================================================================================================

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

 

Memorial FIT Kids Leads the Way for Healthier Futures

By Vicki Hemenway, Guest Blogger
Communications Specialist, Memorial Healthcare

It seems like there are so many extra-curricular activities available for our children these days that it can become overwhelming. If it overwhelms us, as parents, just imagine what it could be doing to our kids. I know when I’m stressed I get short-tempered, or as my daughter says, “snippy,” and my life is pretty simple compared to those of my friends.

In our house, school and homework comes first, then, if there’s time, it’s on to bike riding, basketball, etc. The part that I struggle with is healthy eating for my family. It’s too easy to just warm up a frozen dinner or go through the drive thru to save time, BUT, in the long run, it can do more harm than good.

I’m lucky enough to work at Memorial Healthcare right next to our FIT Kids Facilitator, Becky Dahlke. She is a wealth of information on healthy eating tips, low-fat/calorie recipes, the importance of exercising and more.

Memorial FIT Kids, which is funded by the Memorial Healthcare Foundation, is a joint effort between Memorial Healthcare, area school districts, Project Healthy Schools, University of Michigan, Baker College of Owosso, and the Shiawassee Family YMCA. The program was recently named one of the nation’s top 10 Programs of Excellence by Jackson Healthcare Hospital Charitable Services Awards.

In 2008, Memorial FIT Kids piloted the Project Healthy Schools (PHS) program, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and Corunna Public Schools to conduct CVD risk factor assessment followed by 10 weeks of in-class, interactive health education. Topics covered in the lessons range from assessing advertising to making salsa in class to learn the importance of choosing fruits and vegetables of all colors. Following the 10-week education program, students were re-tested to evaluate behavioral changes and health perceptions and to determine if CVD risk factors had decreased or increased. In 2009, the Memorial FIT Kids program was expanded to include Bryant Elementary in the Owosso District and St. Paul Catholic School, also in Owosso. Ovid-Elsie’s EE Knight Elementary, Perry Middle School, and Owosso Middle School were added in 2010 and Laingsburg Middle School will join in during the 2011/2012 school year.

The Memorial FIT Kids program has proven itself effective in helping to lower total cholesterol and lipid levels according to results from a longitudinal study with a pilot group of sixth graders from 2008. We are seeing a good trend in lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL and a significant trend in lowering resting heart rate. Students are also changing their behaviors in a positive direction.

All of the other area school districts receive two interactive lessons during the school year. The nutrition lesson includes information about food portions and how portion size has changed over the years, how the media affects our food selection decisions, and how kids can be healthier in their daily food choices. The physical activity lesson, presented by the Shiawassee Family YMCA, provides knowledge of the importance of aerobic exercise and alternatives to traditional exercise such as Tai Chi and basic kickboxing with in-class demonstration.

For additional information on the Memorial FIT Kids program, contact Dahlke at (989) 729-4852 or visit online at memorialhealthcare.org. You may also become a fan of the program on Facebook by searching for “Memorial FIT Kids.”
=======================================================================================================

Disclaimer:
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy:
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy:
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products, or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.