• Hard Times at the Holidays -- Chantee Williams

    Written by Debbie Riek, Education Coordinator

    Hard Times at the Holidays -- Chantee Williams

    VIEW PHOTOS here...


    Chantee Williams describes a typical morning

    Chantee Williams shares the dreams she has for her daughter

    Chantee Williams talks about what Christmas memories she has growing up

    Chantee Williams talks about trying to put together Christmas for her daughter

    Chantee Williams talks about the increase in stress at Christmas

    Chantee Williams talks about what she wants Christmas to mean for her daughter

    Published in Education

    Monday, 20 Dec 2010 13:51

  • Early Learning Family Workshops

    Written by Debbie Riek, Education Coordinator

    Early Learning Family Workshops

    Early Learning Family Workshops

    WITF is committed to creating a neighborhood for families to discuss important issues and learn from each other. Our Ready To Learn Family Workshop series allows families to gather resources and support each other on their journey of raising engaged, enthusiastic learners.

    Leaving Is Hard
    Equipping families to support children during a loved one’s Military Deployment.

    Laying the Foundation for Literacy
    Encouraging families as they provide young children with early language and literacy experiences.

    So Many Feelings
    Helping families support children as they learn to manage anger and learn self-control.

    Math Explosion!
    Encouraging parents to increase the math experiences for young children through programs like Cyberchase and Curious George.

    You Want Me To Eat What!?
    Sorting through all the nutritional information and helping families to incorporate healthy meals into everyday busy lives.

    Simple Science
    Providing ideas and support to families as they explore and observe their surroundings with their children.

    Smart Media
    Helping children get the most from television viewing.

    For more information, or to schedule a family workshop, please contact Debra Riek, Educational Services Coordinator, at (717) 910-2806 or by email at

    Published in Education

    Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 17:51

  • Children and Stress

    Written by Debbie Riek, Education Coordinator

    Children and Stress

    We all know what stress is and what it feels like. Many of us, as adults, can recognize what triggers our stress level to increase (deadlines, financial struggles) and what we can do to cope with our stress and manage it effectively. Young children, however, typically lack the life experience and skill to understand their stress or what to do about it.

    A child, under stress, can be aggressive or detached, can cry or demonstrate nervous fine motor habits like twirling his hair or biting his nails. Increases in toileting accidents, sleep disruption and headaches and stomachaches can also point to potential stress in a child’s life.

    What causes stress in children certainly varies. New siblings, birthday parties, or getting a new pet can be as problematic as hectic routines, being bullied, and struggles in school. Family challenges like deployment, unemployment, divorce, or financial challenges also affect children…especially if their families fail to cope with their own stress in positive ways. The holidays, with changes to a child’s regular routine, new decorations and lights, and a bombardment of advertisements promising happiness with the latest toy can be overwhelming.

    So what are we to do, especially at this busy hectic time?

    • Help children anticipate stressful situations. Give them a heads up when schedules will change or when guests will come for visits.

    • Help children talk about their feelings. Make sure you are communicating honestly, based on a child’s ability to understand, about struggles that you can’t avoid. Reassure them that they will be ok and that difficulties the family is facing are not their fault.

    • Give them strategies about what to do when they feel anxious like using their words to ask for help, riding their bike, or taking a deep breath.

    • Keep routines like meal time and sleep schedule as regular as you can. If you know you will be going to a family get together and foods might not be terribly kid-friendly, offer a snack before you leave or even bring some snacks with you.

    • Be realistic about your own expectations for the holiday season. Many of us have had to modify previous gift-giving habits and event schedules. Develop new family traditions and times to spend together. Talk a walk through your neighborhood to look at lights in the evening or haul out the sleeping bags to “camp out” in the living room to watch a holiday classic together.

    • Take care of yourself. People say this all the time but it is certainly true when it comes to stress and children. Children learn so much about stress management from you. So make sure you are well rested and have carved out some time to relax over the holidays as well.

    Published in Education

    Thursday, 9 Dec 2010 17:26

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