December 2019

A publication of the Howard County Office of Children and Families
Family Institute
"Don't worry that children never listen to you;
worry that they are always watching you."  ~ Robert Fulghum, Author
Don't throw away that box!! The holidays are upon us and shopping is in full swing this time of year. Consider spending less on a gift for your child and use a box to make a fun toy that will entertain them for hours! Every year, Howard County Parents as Teachers program hosts its annual group connection favorite, ' Boxination -- where boxes and imagination come together.' The goal is to inspire parents with inexpensive and easy toys that can be made for or with children to spark their imagination. To see a variety of ideas, visit the Launch Into Learning Pinterest page .
The Family Institute/ Office of Children and Families is hosting a repeat showing of Resilience Film on Tuesday, December 10 at 6:00 p .m. Parents, early educators and community leaders are invited to a FREE showing of Resilience, a powerful documentary that explores the profound long-term effects of toxic stress, a condition that affects many young children in our community. Toxic Stress has a direct correlation to adult health problems such as heart disease, cancer and obesity. Interactive discussion after screening the film. Click to register.
The holidays can be tough on those affected by mental illness. NAMI Howard County has free support groups facilitated by trained parents that meet monthly at First Presbyterian Church, 9325 Presbyterian Circle, Columbia.

Parents and Caregivers of Children & Teens with Mental Health Concerns
 First Monday of each month, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
Parents and Caregivers of Youth Ages 16 - 26 Transition Age Youth Support Group : Third Thursday of each month, 7:30 - 9 p.m.

For more information about NAMI, visit:
Holiday Activity Ideas
Winter break affords more family time. If you are looking for positive things to do with your family, Screenagers suggest movie options that can spark conversation, podcasts to learn from and discuss and the classic favorite, board games. For more information, click on the links below:

 (Cross reference the list with to learn more about the movies listed and to decide if they are right for your child and their age.)

Surviving the Holidays
 During the holiday season, families participate in many activities such as parties, travel and visiting relatives can push children's moods to their limits. ADDitude offers a Holiday Survival Kit that covers how to: manage symptoms, maintain schedules and routines, keep impulsive children safe, and to keep the peace with visiting relatives. Help your child make the most of this time of year by downloading this survival kit.
Also available is The Family Gathering: A Survival Guide from Child Mind Institute on how to help your kids be at their best during the holidays.
Train Gardens
Baltimore & Ohio Ellicott City Station Museum Free for all ages, LEGO® trains, plus N gauge and O gauge models, will be on display from now until January 5. Open during museum operating hours, click here for info.

Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department's annual holiday train garden event is back for its 22 nd year. Open until January 1, admission is free, but donations will be accepted.   The Department is also a collection site for the Annual Toy Drive. Collection runs from: November 30 to December 20. Donations of new, unwrapped toys are accepted and are donated to children Howard County. For more information, v isit here .

Holiday Train Garden at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center
Visitors of all ages are invited to come enjoy an interactive exhibit of accessories and sounds provided by train enthusiast Dennis Moore. The layout features four continuously operating trains through an eight by eight-foot scenic garden. Train garden open during center operating hours
Project Holiday
Howard County Office of Children and Families, in partnership with the Office on Aging and Independence, will participate in a community outreach event that provides holiday gifts to families in need. Families enrolled in the Parents as Teachers program will be identified to receive gifts. Donations are being requested for adults and children ages birth to five . Gift ideas for children include books, interlocking bricks, toy replicas of farm animals, cars, planes, large soft blocks, nesting cups, stacking rings, and building toys. Collection for unwrapped gifts will occur through Friday, December 13 th at the Department of Community Resources and Services, 9830 Patuxent Woods and 50+ Centers located throughout the County. For more information, contact or 410-313-1453. 
Merriweather Symphony of Lights
 Howard County's time-honored holiday tradition is back for another year. Made up of more than 300,000 bulbs, this family-oriented spectacular is a dazzling display of larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations. For more information about this year’s event that is now until January 1, visit
It is that time of the year again! While children are off from school during the holiday season, it is the perfect time to discuss family traditions and rituals! Older children can write descriptions of the specific traditions and rituals your family shares. Younger children can draw pictures. If you want to make this even more fun, have your child help create new family traditions! 
For more information from ReadyRosie, watch:
To register for ReadyRosie for free, click .
Green Activities with your Children
You can reuse and recycle a variety of things laying around the house! Do you have old crayons? Dried up markers? Legos? Click here for ways you can recycle these items.
With Local Providers
Tuesday, December 10, 7:00 -9 :00 p.m. 
9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 100
An informal evening with a panel of Howard County ADHD experts. Bring your questions about parenting, work, school, social needs, or anything else related to ADHD and executive functioning. Connect with other individuals in your community.
ADDitude webinar
Wednesday, December 4, 1 p.m.

Whether your child struggles with following morning or bedtime routines, a homework schedule, regulating screen time, or organizing chores, you’re frustrated and tired of arguments. Regroup and make changes that teach lasting executive functioning skills. Click for webinar.

Self-Help Center lawyers are available for consultation in areas of civil dispute such as landlord tenant, small & large claims and debt collection as well as family concerns such as child support, custody, visitation, guardianship, and divorce. The lawyers do not represent people in court but are provided to teach them to represent themselves. To learn more and see the schedule of availability, click . For more information, contact the Law Librarian: 410-313-2135 or
Keeping Healthy Eating Easy

Prep portions ahead of time! Make batches of oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, or nut mixes and divide in small containers or jars. Handy portions help make your quick choices healthy choices too! Click below for more ideas from ChooseMyPlate: Kitchen Time Savers and Meal Planning Done Easy
How to Talk to Teens about Vaping

It's important to talk to your children to let them know about the dangers of vaping and how they can avoid peer pressure. For advice to start the conversation, what to say, as well as what not to say,  click here .
HC DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council (TAC)
Teen Meeting: Monday, December 16
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. The Barn in Oakland Mills Village Center

All Howard County high school teens (public, private, and home school) are encouraged to join TAC, where they will have a safe place to learn about risk taking, healthy alternatives, discuss what is happening in and around our community, and much more. Questions or to RSVP, call 443-325-0040 or email .
Have family visiting for the holidays? The Howard County Health Department is reminding residents , especially grandparents, to take a moment to make sure your medications are secure before your loved ones arrive this holiday season. Many who report misuse of prescription opioids started by getting them from friends and family. Protect your family and mind your meds. 
Winter Activity Guide
Recreation & Parks’ 2020 Winter Activity Guide is now online . This seasonal guide is an essential resource for finding before and after school programs, classes, sports leagues, 55+ plus programs and other activities offered throughout the County. Online registration for county residents begins December 4 at 6:00 p.m., with all other forms (mail-in, phone and walk-in) starting the following day.
Non-Howard County residents registration begins the following week.
If you were forwarded this e-mail and would like to receive the latest Parent Pages news and updates directly, please click!