Faces of FOCUS
It’s hard to believe that I’m starting my fifth year as the FOCUS Site Director at Camp Pendleton. When I was young, my father was stationed at Camp Pendleton. After he retired, we returned to Camp Pendleton every summer and enjoyed the beach and camp grounds. It was always our last activity of the summer before school started. Now, here I am back at Camp Pendleton working to support military families. It’s a nostalgic time of year for me as the summer comes to a close and families begin to gear up for the new school year.
As your family wraps up the last of your summer activities and starts preparing for school, your children might be experiencing a variety of different feelings. Children may be excited to reunite with friends, but they may also be a little worried about what the school year will be like. To help get everyone in your family feeling excited and confident about the coming year, check out the great articles in this edition of FOCUS Quarterly. "Ready, Set, Back to School!" offers practical tips for getting your child’s year off to a great start. The "FOCUS On..." article provides information about how to talk to your kids about feelings, which is a useful skill for kids of all ages. In fact, scientists have even found that learning to manage emotions is just as important for brain development as what children learn in school. The “For Those in the Know” section highlights some helpful back-to-school resources, like MCEC’s Ask Aunt Peggie website and the School Age Care program. And don’t forget to check out the “FOCUS Top 5”, which offers our favorite suggestions for games to play with your kids on the car ride to school.
The start of a new school year can be challenging, but military families are strong. Best wishes for a wonderful and exciting new year in school!
By Melinda Morgan, Site Director, Camp Pendleton
Ready, Set, Back to School!
The Feeling Thermometer
The Feeling Thermometer is one of my favorite tools that we use at FOCUS. It helps kids and parents express how they feel. It also assists family members to understand that each person in the family may have different responses to the same event. The Feeling Thermometer provides a common language for families to identify and share feelings.
The thermometer has four color zones: green, yellow, orange and red. The green zone is an area of comfortable feelings, such as happy, excited, or perhaps silly. Kids sometimes share that playing outside, or having a family movie night, is the type of activity that helps them feel “in the green.” The yellow zone represents feelings that are just a little uncomfortable, such as a little sad or a bit worried. The orange zone describes more uncomfortable feelings, such as mad, sad, or nervous. The red zone is used to describe more intense feelings like fear, anger, or extreme sadness. At FOCUS, we teach children and adults to use this tool to talk about their feelings, things that make them feel uncomfortable, and ways they can get back to the green zone.read more »
FOCUS Top 5
Car games for the ride to school - with a FOCUS twist! Car games are a great way to engage in positive play with your children and to help the ride to school go quicker. Our top 5 adaptations to classic games emphasize key FOCUS skills, including expressing emotions and setting goals. These games can help children, who may be feeling a little nervous about going back to school, to talk about their feelings and to practice problem solving while having fun.
FOCUS honors the service and sacrifice of our military families and their service members
For Those in the Know
Ask Aunt Peggie
School Age Care (SAC) – Military Child and Youth Development Program
American Hero Books®: My Daddy is a Marine and My Mommy is a Marine
American Hero Books® : My Daddy is a Marine and My Mommy is a Marine are great for children who have a parent in the US Marine Corps. The author, Alia Reese, brings her perspective as a Marine Corps spouse who is raising two children through multiple deployments and changes in duty stations. These books help young children to understand their parent's very important job and why they have to be separated from time to time. The books are customizable using the InsertYourOwnPicture™ system, which allows kids to put pictures of themselves and their parent into the book. For more information about the books and purchasing, please visit the following website: www.heartstarpress.com/store/Default.asp
Reese will also be holding Story Times and Book Signings at the following times: September 7th – 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM at Quantico, MCX – Book Signing September 8th – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM at Quantico, MCX – Book Signing November 7th – 10:30 – 11:30 AM – Microsoft Store at Arlington, Virginia – Story Time
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our FOCUS World calendar which provides 30 days of suggested activities to assist you in building a stronger family. If you have had a chance to use the calendar and have any feedback, we would love to hear it!