A resource for families in Santa Cruz County
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Making this work for another month!
Dear dear Families,

We hear you! You're staying cool, being creative, relaxing some rules, doing projects, working from home, teaching the kids some basic home economics, adjusting to this temporary, sometimes stressful lifestyle, loving your pets and maintaining the BIG one -staying home!

I'm glad to see families starting gardens --flowers, herbs and vegetables. It's beautiful, therapeutic, practical and healthful. The Santa Cruz Garden Effort encourages questions and shares expertise.

If you're reading more than usual think about entering the library's Spring Into Reading Contest.

This can be a tough time for tweens and teens to be physically apart from their friends, for it's putting the brakes on their developmental stage of "separating," becoming independent at the same time they need our love and support. Many are chafing at the restraints on their freedom. If you or anyone in your family is feeling stressed, open this link to a solid, warm, professional guide to living successfully within a new paradigm.

Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Sunday & Monday Virtual Parenting Workshops to Cope with Covid-19 Coronavirus

The Lunatic Farmer has written an opinion essay on trends he has observed rising out of the coronavirus situation. You may agree or disagree with his observations, either way the article and the reader comments interesting. Some will parallel your own observations.

Please forward this newsletter to friends! And give them this link: https://tinyurl.com/w9btgxd

Have a creative and bountiful weekend with your family, Parmalee

P.S. The new website launch is very close to going live!
Activities for All Ages!
Play and Learn Chess
Great for beginners, continuing or advanced! Learn online, then play with family & friends.
Trace favorite toys:
Dinosaurs, Trucks, Soldiers, A vase of Flowers, A Train...
You can even do this inside with lighting if it's nasty outside.
How to Know What to Say - Developing Conversation Skills
In this course, the student will obtain the tools needed to start, maintain, and end a conversation. (A mini Dale Carnegie course)
Virtual Parenting Workshops to Cope with Covid-19 Coronavirus
Sunday, April 5

Monday, April 6:

After you've saved a starter emergency fund of $1,000, that's when you should begin paying off all debt except for your home, using the Debt Snowball.

We call this Baby Step 2.
Here's how it's done:
1. List all of your debts smallest to largest. This means listing them by total amount owed, NOT monthly payment.
2. Make minimum payments each month on all debts EXCEPT for that smallest one , IGNORING THE INTEREST RATES. This is about behavior change NOT math. If we were doing math, we wouldn't have gotten into debt in the first place.
3. Attack that smallest balance first. Throw all of your extra money at that one debt and watch it begin to disappear! At this point, a lot of people pick up a second job, or have a huge garage sale to get things moving even faster.
4. After you've paid off that first amount, keep the momentum going by paying minimum payments on everything like before, but then attack the second smallest debt on your list. Since you've paid off that first debt, you now have that minimum payment amount freed up, plus whatever extra money you're working hard to bring in. Put all of that toward the next debt and so on. This is when the snowball really starts to roll!

Now, you'll start to see traction and some light at the end of the tunnel. Keep it up and you'll be on your way to becoming debt-free!

Remember, The Debt Snowball isn't easy. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of discipline, but it WORKS... and it's worth it.
Freedom is closer than you think. YOU GOT THIS!
Dave Ramsey
You may also like Dave Ramsey's "30 Ways to Save Money on Groceries"
A few new habits can help you lower your monthly grocery bill, stick to your budget, and meet your money goals faster. That means more cash to pay down debt, invest for the future, or save for something fun—like a babysitter and a nice meal out where someone else cooks and cleans up.
Virtual Spring Camps!
Ask Nicole: Small Steps, Big Changes

Nicole M. Young, MSW
 
April is the Month of the Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month , which is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that 1) raising happy, healthy children is both exhausting and rewarding, 2) every parent struggles, feels unprepared, or worries they’ve failed at parenting at some point, and 3) everyone in the community can play a role in making sure children and families have the resources and support needed to thrive.
 
Dear Nicole, My family needs help. My partner and I both work two jobs but can barely make ends meet. We’re constantly stressed and hardly spend time together as a family. Whenever we’re together, we end up arguing. My kids fight with each other, I lose my patience and yell, and then my partner yells at me for yelling at the kids. It’s become a daily pattern that we can’t seem to stop, even though we all love each other and want to have good communication and relationships. What can we do to change this? Ronnie  
 
Dear Ronnie, First, you’re not alone! Many families experience similar types of stress and conflict. Second, it’s great you’re reaching out for help. Parents are often embarrassed or afraid to talk about parenting and relationship difficulties out of fear of being judged as a “bad parent.” The good news is that there are small steps you can take that can have a big impact on your family’s communication and relationships. Here are 30 small steps to try – one for each day of the month:
 
1.       Do something just for you. Read, meditate, exercise, socialize, or do nothing. You choose.
2.       Go for a walk or hike. Go alone (see #1) or with your family.
3.       Make a meal together. Let your children pick the food and help make it.
4.       Go to a beach or park. Fresh air and physical activity can work wonders.
5.       Do a chore together. Turn it into quality time by talking or listening to music together.
6.       Play games – cards, board games, video games or make up your own game.
7.       Eat together. Turn off electronic devices and talk about how everybody’s day went.
8.       Volunteer together. Teach your children to help other people, animals, or the planet.
9.       Explore together. Go somewhere local that you’ve never been before.
10.   Tell stories. Share true or make-believe stories.
11.   Look at family photos and videos. Talk about your favorite memories.
12.   Plant a family garden. Let each child pick something to plant.
13.   Read together out loud or silently while sitting next to each other.
14.   Give each child quality time before bed. Snuggle, read, or hug before the lights go out.
15.   Have an indoor or outdoor picnic. All you need is a blanket and food!
16.   Teach each other something new. Share a fun fact or special talent.
17.   Listen. When your child needs something, stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, and give your full attention. They’ll learn to do the same.
18.   Color together. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but art activities can be very soothing.
19.   Play music. Sing and dance together (or alone, see #1).
20.   Attend community events. Look in local newspapers and calendars to find fun, free events.
21.   Go on “dates.” Do something special (and simple) with each child. And your partner.
22.   Write notes or draw pictures that show you care about each other.
23.   Visit your local library for books, story time, or homework help.
24.   Have a family movie (or TV) night. Relax and laugh (or cry) together.
25.   Go on a walking tour. Pick a few local places, then go on a walk to find them.
26.   Look at the stars. Watch the stars appear, then look for shooting stars.
27.   Read maps together. Share your dreams about where you’d like to travel.
28.   Have a family meeting. Resolve problems or talk about everybody’s plans for the week.
29.   Hang out. Just sit, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.
30.   Give affection every day. Give hugs, high 5s, or pats on the back to show you care.

Final Thoughts: Remember that raising children isn’t easy, but no one should have to struggle alone. Small steps make a big difference. Try these ideas and add to the list!
Nicole Young is the mother of two children, ages 16 and 20, who also manages Santa Cruz County's Triple P - Positive Parenting Program. To find a Triple P parenting class or practitioner, visit http://triplep.first5scc.org . If you have a question or idea for a future column, please email Nicole at triplep@first5scc.org .