A publication of the Howard County Office of Children and Families
Family Institute

May 2022
Nurturing Your Child’s Temperament
Develop an understanding on how you can best support your little one based on their temperament. Every child is unique in their own special way, but did you know that children are born with distinct ways of thinking, feeling and behaving? Some are curious while others are more cautious; some may be outgoing while others are timid. This ‘wiring’ is called temperament and it’s an important part of how your child reacts to the world. Join us for an engaging discussion on child temperament and leave with an understanding of how you can best support your child no matter what temperament they possess. This workshop is geared towards caregivers of children from birth to age five. 
Tuesday, May 3 / 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. / Free Virtual Workshop / Register   
¡El poder del juego! (The Power of Play) 
¿Alguna vez se ha preguntado qué está haciendo realmente su hijo mientras juega? ¿Qué significa cuando dicen que los niños aprenden a través del juego? En palabras de Albert Einstein, "el juego es la forma más elevada de investigación". Sumérjase en la mente del niño pequeño en este atractivo taller que proporcionará información sobre por qué los niños deben jugar, cómo el juego afecta el desarrollo infantil y aprenda cómo debería ser el juego. Este evento es virtual. Por favor regístrense aquí Thursday, May 12 / 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. / Free Virtual Workshop / Register
Worries, Concerns and Apprehensions 
In the early years, schoolwork, friends, reactions to negative experiences, or just the anticipation of something happening can overwhelm a child. In addition, the changes, stress and uncertainty of COVID has increased children's worries. Many parents report about the anxiety that affects children and the entire family. Attend this workshop to: Review the signs and the symptoms of worry in children. Understand how to identify what is causing your child stress. Learn techniques to teach and demonstrate strategies to help your child process and work through their worries. This interactive workshop allows time to ask questions to a mental health professional on how to help your family. For preschool through elementary. Thursday, May 12 / 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. / Free Virtual Workshop / Register   
Navigating Your Child’s Mental Health Journey 
Whether it is knowing the best ways to support your child’s social emotional health, having concerns about your child’s behaviors or feeling like something is seriously wrong, knowing where to go for answers is a top issue for parents. Those first steps to navigating mental health supports is a challenging and daunting task. Come to this presentation to learn about the stages of mental health and local resources and supports that will help guide your understanding, provide you with choices, and help you learn the steps to start helping your child even in the early years. You will leave with tangible tools for education and intervention as well as where to go for assistance if you hit roadblocks to services. Tuesday, May 17 / 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (8:00 to 8:30 p.m. Q & A) / Free Virtual Workshop / Register   
How Parents Get Their Groove Back: Managing Your Family’s Stress Levels and Schedules 
Are you feeling overwhelmed and stressed out? Are you struggling to manage your family’s schedules and responsibilities? We can help! This workshop features tips and resources to manage your family’s activities and lower your stress. Learn how to prioritize, organize, and reshape your family’s routine. Walk away feeling empowered.
Tuesday, May 24 / 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. / Free Virtual Workshop / Register 
Sibling Rivalry  
When siblings spend a lot of family time together, sibling rivalry can increase. This workshop is for parents experiencing challenges between their children such as arguing, name calling and fighting. We will cover why sibling rivalry occurs and practical ways you can prevent and bring an end to these challenges!
Thursday, May 26 / 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. / Free Virtual Workshop / Register  
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month
May is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month. This month is a wonderful opportunity to focus on what type of stressors might be present in your family and how you can overcome these stressors. One common stressor in homes with multiple-aged children is sibling rivalry.

Sibling rivalry jealousy, competition, and fighting between siblings may appear as aggression, arguing, or simply annoying one another. It is not gender specific. While sibling rivalry is common, temporary, and typically not serious, there are instances which may warrant consulting an outside resource or behavioral expert.

Here are some important questions to ask: 
  • Is it so severe that it is disrupting your home life and possibly your marriage? 
  • Is it creating a danger to or physical harm to a family member? 
  • Is it harmful to the self-esteem or psychological well-being of a family member? 
  • Could it be related to other significant concerns/issues depression or anxiety? 

There are many proactive strategies that you can use to help lessen or extinguish sibling rivalry in your homes. A few examples are: 
  • Model expected behaviors 
  • Use timers to teach younger children to take turns and share 
  • Spend intentional one-on-one time with each child 
  • Stay calm! 

To learn more about how you can implement proactive strategies to help diminish sibling rivalry in your home, consider attending the Sibling Rivalry Parent Workshop. 
Chalk Up Positive Vibes in Your Neighborhood 
Help bring awareness to Children’s Mental Health Matters Month and have some fun too!. Spend time outside with your kids creating chalk drawings or writing inspirational messages on your sidewalk or driveway. Once completed, take a photo of your artwork and send it to us at Children@howardcountymd.gov so we can share it on our @hococommunity Facebook page. Show the community that you care about and support children’s mental health through your creative designs!  
Children's Mental Health Matters  
Awareness Week, May 1 - 7  
Learn more about why early childhood mental health matters and view resources to help ensure young children have what they need to be successful. Mental health refers to a person’s overall behavioral, social, emotional and psychological well-being. Mental health impacts how we think, feel, and act, including how a child feels about themselves, relates to other children and adults, and handles change, stress and other life situations. Early awareness highlights the importance of caring for every child’s mental health and recognizes fact that positive social emotional support is essential to a child’s healthy development.  

During this week, children will learn ways to help themselves and others feel better when they experience "big" emotions, and how to take good care of their physical, social and mental health. Each day, families can receive short social-emotional activities to do at home and additional information to boost mental health awareness and engagement in the Howard County community through scheduled events. If you are interested in receiving this information, register here.
Strengthen Your Child’s Social-Emotional Development to Promote Strong Mental Health
Studies show that the foundation for sound mental health is built early in life. A child's meaningful relationships with parents, family, caregivers and friends helps form the architecture of the developing brain. Interruptions in this developmental process can have lifelong implications, impairing a child’s ability to learn and relate to others. Providing affirmative early experiences and environments of relationships for young children could significantly reduce the need for costly mental health interventions later in life. 

For parents, being aware of all the great things you are already doing – the everyday ordinary MAGIC – is primary to cultivating your child’s strong social-emotional skills, healthy sense of knowing who they are, and what they can do. The child’s ability to form relationships with others, express emotions, and face difficult challenges is nurtured by the connection between parent and child.

Even from birth, young children can already identify the manner of care they receive from adults. They feel secure and protected when the adults in their lives show them that they care and demonstrate affection. Young children are ready to explore the world, develop empathy, and understand the difference between right and wrong with the self-confidence that comes from nurturing early relationships. Here are some ways to nurture a strong bond with your child:  
  • Get to know your child - observe and allow them to take the lead, identify what they like and dislike, offer experiences focused on what she likes, and recognize what helps to soothe your child  
  • Show your child that you care - demonstrate affection, sing, talk and comfort your child when upset 
  • Establish a routine - create consistency in everyday activities that you and your child do together, talk your child through the routine (for example “after eating, we are going to brush your teeth, then read our book…”) and let your child know if the routine changes 
  • Help your child develop self-confidence - offer your child many opportunities to play with other children learn how to share or take turns, let your child express feelings, allow for independence, and help your child think of ways to resolve challenges  

To learn more about these strategies and Early Childhood Mental Health, visit: 

Teach Children How to Manage Intense Emotions
Child Mind Institute, in partnership with the California Healthy Minds' Thriving Kids Project, has created a series of free evidence-based videos and print resources for caregivers and educators to teach children critical mental health and coping skills.

The five skills children are taught include: 
  • Understand feelings – gain a better understanding and recognize emotions 
  • Relaxation skills – learn relaxation skills such as paced breathing 
  • Understanding thoughts – learn how thoughts, feelings and behavior are connected
  • Managing intense emotions – recognize and manage big emotions without giving in to the urge to act impulsively, which can lead to behavior problems  
  • Mindfulness – paying attention to the present moment can increase self-awareness, improve decision-making, and make it easier to deal with uncomfortable emotions 
The videos and print resources are available in English and Spanish.  
Early Signs of Learning Challenges  
It can be difficult to tell if a preschooler is likely to have a learning disability. Young children develop skills at different speeds and have different strengths and weaknesses. Typically, as they get older, their abilities even out. However, there are some signs in preschool and early school that a child may be diagnosed with a learning disorder later. Learning disorders are diagnosed when a child is having serious difficulties with a specific academic skill or subject like math or reading. For instance, a child who has a difficult time understanding the words they’re hearing or reading may have issues with receptive language. Trouble using words to express themselves can mean an issue with expressive language, or that a child has not grasped the skills needed for early reading.

Intervention can be helpful. When a child is unable to put things in order, count or pick up the basic concept of addition by the first grade, it may be a cause for concern since early math skills have not been learned. Behavioral clues are also important. If you notice a child gets frustrated or upset during a certain activity or there is something they are unwilling to do, it’s probably because it’s hard. But is it hard because it’s a new skill they haven’t learned, or is the child having difficulty staying focused? 

Child Mind Institute provides tips for young children who need additional support to thrive, and for their parents to learn what they can do to help. Check in with your child’s pediatrician who may order tests or refer you to specialists for early intervention. Support your child’s learning outside of the classroom. Reading, counting or drawing together can enhance the skills your child is learning as well as boost their self-esteem. For more information and tips click here. Also available in Spanish
Summer Scholars Art Program 
The Howard County Office of the Local Children’s Board in partnership with Howard County Public School System and Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center is excited to announce registration has opened for the Summer Scholars program. Summer Scholars is a free middle school summer program (for rising 6th, 7th and 8th graders) focused on math and social and emotional learning. The program includes: 
  • Academic support and arts enrichment 
  • Breakfast, lunch and snacks 
  • Transportation may be available 
The Summer Scholars program will be held Monday through Friday, July 5 to July 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Oakland Mills Middle School. Registration closes Friday, May 13. Register here

For more information, a question and answer session for parents will be held via Zoom on on Wednesday, May 4, at 7:00 p.m. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88050984622 
Empowering Fathers and Enriching Families
Howard County Department of Social Services, in partnership with S. Jones Books and Education, presents an eight-week virtual program for fathers. Empowering Fathers and Enriching Families is a program designed to support non-custodial fathers in managing and developing full, healthy, and supportive relationships with their children, co-parents and co-guardians. In this workshop series, participants will meet virtually to learn, explore, develop, and discuss healthy parenting practices. In addition, participants will receive counseling to develop goals and action plans to address challenges and identify resources to feel confident in their ability to parent. Orientation is scheduled May 3, with weekly classes to begin Tuesday, May 10 through Tuesday, June 28. To register, click here or call 850-559-7528 for more information. 
Parent CRAFT: A Free Resource for Parents 
Parent CRAFT is a free online video series available to all Maryland residents. Parent CRAFT teaches parents the skills they need to address the risks of substance abuse. The series is for any parent who has a teen or adult child at any stage of drug or alcohol use. 
Parents may also find Parent CRAFT useful if they suspect their child is experimenting. Commonly used drugs are easily available, and experimenting with them can lead to dangerous behavior, permanent health damage and even death. For more information about Parent CRAFT, click here.  
Suicide Prevention Forum  
Join the Howard County Health Department’s Bureau of Behavioral Health, Local Health Improvement Coalition and its partners for a Suicide Prevention Forum and Panel Discussion. Speaker Rajeev Ramchand, Ph.D., will provide an update on suicide and suicide prevention in the county and explain data trends, summarize trends in suicide deaths among veterans and describe approaches to preventing suicide among veterans. Panelists will explore collaborative community-based suicide prevention strategies. This event will be held virtually or in-person at the Non-Profit Collaborative Wednesday, May 4. To register and/or receive a calendar invite for virtual zoom, click here

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival 
May is celebrated as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) month. Join the Howard County Office of the County Executive and AAPI community organizations as they kick off the month, Sunday, May 1 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Chrysalis at Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods. This free event will feature: 
  • Cultural performances 
  • Food vendors 
  • Activities 
  • Community organizations 
For information on parking and what to expect onsite, click here
Robinson Nature Center  
The Robinson Nature Center is a nature education facility that bridges the gap between people and nature. The center is open for field trips, birthday parties, scout programs and more. Amenities feature indoor exhibits, children’s discovery room, outdoor trails & play areas, planetarium, rental spaces and gift shop. Check out the activities listed below and for additional offerings and programs, click here 
Outdoor Saturday Puppet Theater with ASL Interpreter 
Saturday, May 7, Miss Muffet & the Ant
10:00 to 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 to 11:30 a.m.  
Saturday, June 25, Tooth Types
10:00 to 10:30 a.m. or 11:00 to 11:30 a.m.   
Ages 2 and up 
$5.00 fee includes admission to the Nature Center after the program 
Delight in a nature-themed, outdoor puppet theater presentation with an American Sign Language interpreter. Each show portrays a different nature story. Afterwards, enjoy an interactive activity or craft. Call 410-313-0400 to register (no online registration). 
Sensory Friendly Sunday at the Robinson Nature Center    
Sunday, May 29, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.   
Sunday, July 24, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  
Fee for non-members, adults $5, children $3 
These events are designed for families with children, teens, and adults with sensory-processing differences, autism spectrum disorder, or developmental disabilities. Enjoy outdoor, self-paced activities including sensory bins and pathways, scavenger hunts and crafts or games. The planetarium will be open 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Preregister to receive additional information prior to the event, 410-313-0400 or click here. Sponsored by the Robinson Nature Center and Howard County Recreation & Parks. 
Howard County Library System
Play Partners 
Mondays, 6: 30 to 7:00 p.m. 
Central Branch – Warfield Room 
Ages infant to 23 months with adult 
Stories, baby games, and musical activities. Tickets will be available 15 minutes before class. 

Little Learners STEM Learning Stations  
Monday, May 9 / 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.  
East Columbia Branch – Lucille Clifton Rooms A/B 
Ages 2 to 5 years with adult 
Explore and engage in various STEM-concept through self-guided stations. Tickets will be available 15 minutes before class.   
Kindness Rocks 
Saturday, May 14 / 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. 
Central Branch – Warfield Room 
Ages 6 to 9 years 
Spread a little kindness this summer with Kindness Rocks! Come and decorate your own rock with bright colors, inspiring pictures, and positive thoughts. To register, click here

Little Learners STEM Sensory Playtime 
Monday, May 16 / 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.  
East Columbia Branch – Lucille Clifton Rooms A/B 
Ages 2 to 5 years with adult 
Explore sensory stations with different activities that stimulate and encourage children to explore and investigate. Tickets available 15 minutes before class. 
Moon Phases 
Wednesday, May 18 / 3:00 to 3:45 p.m. 
Central Branch - Warfield Room 
Ages 6 to 9 years 
Learn fun facts about the moon then create the phases of the moon using sandwich cookies. (Please note pre-packaged food will be consumed in this class. Parent waiver must be signed. Ingredients list and waiver can be downloaded.) Tickets will be available 15 minutes before class. Click here for more information. 

Little Learners Preschool Engineering 
Monday, May 23 / 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.  
East Columbia Branch – Lucille Clifton Rooms A/B 
Ages 2 to 5 years with adult 
Use your imagination and create different structures with various blocks that stimulate and encourage children to explore and investigate. Tickets available 15 minutes before class. 
Crazy 8’s Math Club 
Wednesday, May 25 / 5:15 to 6:00 p.m. 
Elkridge Branch – Seahorse Children’s Classroom 
Ages 6 to 11 years 
Crazy 8's is a nationwide math club designed to get kids fired up about math. Every week kids get to build stuff, run and jump, make music, make a mess...and make friendships at the same time. Click here to register. 
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