Protective Factor #6: Making sure kids are socially-emotionally strong

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs”
are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well
that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, where even the best
parents make mistakes and are sometimes unsure that they’re doing the
right thing.

The truth is raising people to be the best that they can be should be hard
work. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and
as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty that your community can
do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty
that you can do to support yourself.

PROTECTIVE FACTORS
Protective Factors are attributes in people and families that increase health
and well-being. All families have Protective Factors.

You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer
against risk factors and are even more important in the probability of
positive outcomes.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors.
When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without
thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the
Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best
ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent and build healthy family
relationships.

Think of the Protective Factors as layers of insulation between your family
and the stress of the world. The more layers you have, the better the buffer
for you and your kids. Each of the Protective Factors has been proven to
support positive parenting—meaning happier kids and parents.

Protective Factor #6: Social-emotional competence of children

The final Protective Factor is something that teachers call “social-emotional competence.” Basically, it means that children can manage their emotions, talk about their feelings and develop ways to solve problems in interactions with others. These skills are critical to success in school and life.

What social emotional comptetence in children looks like

  • Children feel loved, believe they matter, and can figure out how to act according to the expectations of different environments, for example, home and classroom.
  • Children take turns and share.
  • Children are able to talk to their parents about their feelings and parents help children express their feeling through language rather than “acting out.”
  • When a child’s behavior causes extra stress and frustration to the child or the parent, the parent asks for help.  This might include talking with an experienced teacher or counselor.

Tips for social emotional comptetence in children

  • Consider how your home feels from your child’s perspective. If needed, how can you make your home more peaceful?
  • Set clear rules and limits, e.g., “people in our family don’t hurt each other.”
  • Model empathy for others
  • Know what social and emotional skills children typically do and do not have at different ages.
  • Visit the Zero to Three website for tips and tools for infants and toddlers,
    Visit the Nebraska Family Helpline for information on child behavior problems or mental health needs. For crisis assistance on issues from bullying, drugs and thoughts of suicide to sharing and obedience issues, trained counselors are available 24/7 at 1-888-866-8660

Specific Strategies

Early learning

Make sure your child is receiving high-quality early childhood education as soon as possible. For stay-at-home parents, this can mean bringing in a trained home visitor to share new ways to help your child with social-emotional skills.

Social learning

Kids who have ample time around other kids have more opportunities to learn social cues and practice their own people skills, like sharing, taking turns and having conversations. If your child isn’t in school, playdates, church groups, tumbling classes or just regular trips to a crowded park are great ways to make sure your child is connecting with others. Set up one-on-one playdates so your child can deepen relationships.

Behavior management

Every child has challenging behaviors from time to time. Your school district and pediatrician can provide referrals to counseling services that are often free to help you correct problem behavior and keep your child on the right social-emotional path.

Learn more about Protective Factors. Download the eBook now.

Protective Factor #5: Finding concrete supports for your family

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs” are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, and even the best parents make mistakes and are unsure they’re always doing the right thing.

The truth is that raising people to be the best they can be is hard work. And it SHOULD be hard. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty your community can do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty that you can do to support yourself.

Protective Factors

Protective Factors are attributes in families that increase health and well-being. All families have protective factors. You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer against risk factors are are even more important in predicting positive outcomes for children.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors. When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent, and build healthy family relationships.

Protective Factor #5: Concrete Supports

You can’t do this alone – that’s an undeniable truth of parenting. Concrete supports mean having access to goods and services that address your family’s needs. Your community provides concrete support services so that when things get tough, you have somewhere to turn for help. And everyone needs help sometimes.

What concrete supports look like

  • Seeking and receiving support for food, shelter, clothing, health and other services when needed
  • Knowing what services are available and how to access them
  • Adequate financial security; basic needs being met
  • Advocating effectively for self and child to receive necessary help

Tips for concrete supports

  • Make a list of people to call or places to contact for support
  • Ask the director of your child’s school to host a community resource night so you can see what your community offers
  • Get to know and use the resources below

Resources

Parenting help

Basic needs services

The churches and community centers in your area can direct you to specific services. Local food banks and distribution services like FoodNet can provide meals, and may be able to provide a line on other services.

Learn more about Protective Factors. Download the eBook now.

Protective Factor #4: How parents can develop social connections that strengthen

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs” are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, and even the best parents make mistakes and are unsure they’re always doing the right thing.

The truth is that raising people to be the best they can be is hard work. And it SHOULD be hard. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty your community can do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty that you can do to support yourself.

Protective Factors

Protective Factors are attributes in families that increase health and well-being. All families have protective factors. You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer against risk factors are are even more important in predicting positive outcomes for children.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors. When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent, and build healthy family relationships.

Protective Factor #4: Social Connections

Social connections are positive relationships that provide emotional support and advice. Parents need friends. Having a network of social connections you can rely on is important for every family. This doesn’t mean that you have to have hundreds of people in your life – just a few people at each level will provide you with people to lean on, learn from and laugh with.

Spend time with people who make you feel good and distance yourself from people who tear you down. Be careful to include people who you trust to tell you the truth, not just to feed your ego. People on your go-to team keep you positive by contributing to you growing stronger, healthier, and more aware. They sometimes make you work to bring out the qualities in you that you value the most.

What social connections look like

  • Multiple friendships and supportive relationships with other
  • Feeling respected and appreciated
  • Accepting help from others, and giving help to others
  • Skills for establishing and maintaining connections

Tips for social connections

  • Participate in family and neighborhood activities like pot luck dinners, picnics, or community get-togethers
  • Join an activity at a local child care or family resource center
  • Visit your child’s school resource fairs or attend a parent group meeting

Learn more about Protective Factors. Download the eBook now.

300+ experienced the Pinwheels for Prevention Picnic

Getting ready for the Pinwheels for Prevention Picnic

On Saturday, April 25, Nebraska Children closed out Child Abuse Prevention Month with a massive family celebration and educational event.

The 2nd Annual Pinwheels for Prevention Picnic almost didn’t happen – early morning showers and a cool breeze almost shut down the event. But with a little cooperation from Mother Nature, some portable heaters and volunteers willing to towel off all the seats in the Railyard, the event went off without a hitch.

Kelly Medwick started off the day introducing Brandon Verzal, the picnic emcee and chair of the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund Board. Brandon told his family’s story. Their daughter, Alexis, was a victim of child abuse at the hands of a caregiver. Together, the family works to raise awareness of child abuse issues and to help build prevention systems across the state.

Kelly Medwick and the Verzal Family on stage

Next up, Courtney Philips, the new CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services took the mic. She described to the audience her vision for community-based child abuse prevention, where parents mentor and support one another, and the community provides services that strengthen families and prevent abuse.

Courtney Philips, CEO of DHHS  and her son

Next, the family-friendly String Beans took the stage with their homegrown brand of music and interactive audience participation.

The String Beans entertain the crowd.

Kids at the event enjoyed a bounce slide, face painters, balloon animals, cotton candy and free food from Buffalo Wings and Rings and Jimmy Johns. Runza and Raising Cane’s provided giveaways. Families were also invited to take free giveaways that promoted healthy family interactions.

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At the end of day, more than 300 parents and children braved the rain to learn more about positive parenting and spend time together. A rousing success!

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Protective Factor #3: Parental Resilience

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs” are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, and even the best parents make mistakes and are unsure they’re always doing the right thing.

The truth is that raising people to be the best they can be is hard work. And it SHOULD be hard. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty your community can do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty that you can do to support yourself.

Protective Factors

Protective Factors are attributes in families that increase health and well-being. All families have protective factors. You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer against risk factors are are even more important in predicting positive outcomes for children.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors. When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent, and build healthy family relationships.

Protective factor #3: Parental resilience

Parental resilience means being both strong and flexible. It is being able to manage stress and function well when you’re facing challenges big and small. Your ability to bounce back from stress plays a huge role in how you respond to your kids. When you’re able to come back from stress quickly, you spend less time in the “danger zone” of feeling overwhelmed or panicky.

What parental resilience looks like:

  • Resilience to general life stress
  • Hope, optimism, self confidence
  • Problem solving skills
  • Self-care and willingness to ask for help
  • Ability to manage negative emotions
  • Resilience to parenting stress
  • Not allowing stress to interfere with nurturing
  • Positive attitude about parenting and child

Here are a few ways to keep your stress under control

Time for you

You’ve heard this one before, but taking care of yourself will make you a better parent. This doesn’t have to mean an expensive spa day – go for a walk, have a cup of coffee in a quiet room, get a babysitter so you can go grocery shopping by yourself. Build in times when you can be alone with your thoughts and not being a care giver so your mind can recharge. You’ll find that you’re better at handing kid-related stress when you get some regular breaks.

Perspective

When it’s past dinner time, but the food’s not even in the oven and the homework isn’t done and the living room is a mess, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Think of a perspective phrase for these moments, like “Blessed” or “Perfectly Imperfect.” Call that phrase to mind when the little things are piling up. Close your eyes and think about the good in your life, and how these problems are not important.

Honesty

Some problems truly are small enough to shrug away. Some need to be dealt with. Financial, health and relationship problems can take a major toll on your own happiness and your ability to be the kind of parent you want to be. Deal honestly and directly with the real issues that are affecting your quality of life. Taking action to move in the right direction is usually less stressful than staying in an unhappy situation.

Make a plan

Sometimes the worst stress comes up when something unexpected does. Plan for what you can – have a schedule of how to get everyone out of the house in the morning. Pack lunches and backpacks the night before. Plan and shop for your weekly meals over the weekend – you can even make one or two meals ahead of time. Keep a big calendar in the kitchen of the family’s activities and spend a moment each morning looking at what’s coming up that day. Will you have to change dinner plans to squeeze in an appointment? Do you see conflicting activities that you need to make a change on? Make those decisions quickly and leave the house with your plan for the day ready to go.

Breathe and relax

Though it might not be for everyone, yoga and mindfulness meditation have been a source of stress reduction for many people. Visit your local YMCA or yoga studio about a free class. Books on mindfulness meditation can be found at your local library.

Have fun!

The occasional night out can do wonders for your stress level. But don’t forget the most powerful source of fun in your life – your kids! Take some tips from them on how to let go of your troubles. Spin around until you get dizzy. Have a dance party in the living room. Play Simon Says and charades. Laughing with the people you love most is a sure way to stave off stress.

How to make Nebraska giving days work for you

May is a big month for nonprofits in Nebraska. This month, both Omaha and Lincoln hold their annual community giving days!

These events were made popular nationwide about 5 years ago. Usually run by the local community foundation, community giving days encourage donors to give online in a specific 24-hour period. If they do, their donation will be matched with funds raised by the community foundation.  It’s a good deal all around because:

  • Nonprofits get to promote themselves to new donors
  • Donors get to amplify their gift with matching funds
  • Excitement around philanthropy is generated for the whole community

Nebraska Children will be participating in both Give to Lincoln Day and Omaha Gives. If you’re planning to join the philanthropic fun, here’s a complete guide on how to maximize your gift.


 

Omaha Gives! May 20, 2015

Omaha Gives is scheduled to kick off on 12 am on May 20th and run through 11:59 that night. The Omaha Community Foundation has raised $350,000 in “bonus dollars” that will be used to amplify individual gifts. This is NOT a dollar-for-dollar match. The bonus dollars will be given to organizations based on what percentage of total dollars they’ve raised.

For example, if donors like you give $1 million all day during Omaha Gives, and Nebraska Children gifts account for $10,000 of that, we will have raised 1% of the total. That means we’d get 1% of the bonus dollars – so $3,500. Not bad!

Extra bonus dollars!

Thanks to two of our most fervent supporters, NAME 1 and NAME 2, Nebraska Children has raised $20,000 in extra bonus dollars. That means for every $100 raised for us through Omaha Gives, NAME1 and NAME2 will kick in an extra $500. Amazing! 

The rules:

  • Omaha Gives donations must be made online in order to be eligible for the match
  • If you have a charitable giving account at the Omaha Community Foundation, they’ve made using that as a payment option when you’re giving online
  • Donations up to $10,000 will be eligible for the match
  • Each hour we receive a donation, we’ll be eligible for special hourly prizes of $1,000
  • Nonprofits bringing in the most individual contributions will have 45 chance to win participation prizes ranging from $1,000-$3,000
  • You can schedule your donation ahead of time STARTING TODAY so you don’t have to worry about forgetting on May 20.

Schedule your gift now at OmahaGives!


 

Give to Lincoln Day, May 28, 2015

Give to Lincoln Day is scheduled to kickoff at midnight on May 28 and run through 11:59 that evening.  The Lincoln Community Foundation has raised $300,000 in matching funds, and these work just like Omaha’s matching funds – whatever percentage of the total funds raised your nonprofit accounts for, that’s the percentage of matching funds they’ll receive.

At 5 pm on Give to Lincoln Day, we’ll be gathering in the Community Foundation Garden on N Street, just west of Centennial Mall to enjoy some live music, snacks and celebration. Please join us!

The rules:

  • Give to Lincoln Day donations may be made online or in person at the Lincoln Community Foundation, 215 Centennial Mall South. In person donation must be during between 8 am and 5 pm on Thursday, May 28th. Checks must be made out to the Lincoln Community Foundation with “Nebraska Children and Families” written in the memo area
  • Donations up to $10,000 will be eligible for the match
  • Each hour we receive a donation, we’ll be eligible for special hourly prizes of $300
  • You can schedule your donation ahead of time STARTING TODAY so you don’t have to worry about forgetting on May 28.

Schedule your Give to Lincoln Day donation now!

Protective Factor #2: How Parents can learn more about child development

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. After all, “jobs” are supposed to end when you clock out. And you know perfectly well that being a parent is a round-the-clock proposition, and even the best parents make mistakes and are unsure they’re always doing the right thing.

The truth is that raising people to be the best they can be is hard work. And it SHOULD be hard. It’s the most important job to be done in Nebraska communities, and as a parent, you’re in the thick of it. There’s plenty your community can do to support you to be the parent you want to be. Better still, there’s plenty that you can do to support yourself.

Protective Factors

Protective Factors are attributes in families that increase health and well-being. All families have protective factors. You’ve probably heard of “risk factors.” Protective Factors act as a buffer against risk factors are are even more important in predicting positive outcomes for children.

If you look at any strong, healthy family, you will see the Protective Factors. When things are going well we are building the Protective Factors without thinking about it. But like many worthwhile things in life, living all of the Protective Factors takes practice. Basically, this means discovering the best ways to take care of yourself, be a strong parent, and build healthy family relationships.

Protective Factor #2: Knowledge of parenting and child development

Being a parent is part natural and part learned. Having a good understanding of how kids develop makes it easier to react positively to tougher stages – like tantrums and defiance. Informed parents are more likely to have realistic expectations, provide appropriate guidance, and build a positive relationship with their kids.

What knowledge of parenting and child development look like

  • Knowing the basics of what to expect at each stage of your child’s development
  • Matching your expectations to fit your child’s stage of development
  • Creating a supportive environment for each stage of your child’s development
  • Managing child behavior through positive discipline techniques
  • Recognizing and responding to your child’s specific needs

Tips for knowledge of parenting and child development

  • Ask your family doctor, child care teacher, family or friends about parenting or stages of child development
  • Recognize that parenting our children like we were parented may come naturally but may not be what we want to repeat
  • Take time to sit and observe what your child can and cannot do
  • Share what you have learned with anyone who cares for your child

Resources

Watch the following video on how a child’s brain develops in the early years.

Child development resources:

Getting your arms around some basic parenting is also extremely valuable. There’s no avoiding it – sometimes your child’s behavior will push you to the limit. When you have strategies to deal with typical (but frustrating) childhood behaviors, you’ll be in a better position to react in a way that builds your child up.

Parenting technique resources:

For more information on Protective Factors, download the eBook now:

FPBookBIG!