How to Talk to Kids About Hurricane Harvey -- and How They Can Help

As Hurricane Harvey continues to threaten Texas and Louisiana, kids from around the country are reeling from the storm’s emotional effects. Here, we offer tips on how to calm kids -- and how they can learn to practice kindness and empathy themselves, even in the face of tragedy.

 

How to talk to your kids about Hurricane Harvey

Acknowledge their feelings.

If they feel scared or sad, let them know that that’s an understandable reaction, and that a lot of people feel that way.

 

Ask what they’ve heard and answer any questions they may have.

Sometimes kids get misinformation or their imaginations make a bad situation seem even worse. Be honest but brief and age appropriate with what you share. Explain that the hurricane is a natural but rare event and no one’s fault.

 

Reassure them that no matter what happens, you’ll always do everything you can to keep them safe.

Talk to them about your own emergency plan. Or, if you don’t have one, make one, get an emergency kit together -- and then talk about it.

 

Spend more time bonding with them.

Plan for longer bedtimes and more family and cuddle time for a while to help kids feel secure.

 

Tell them about the helpers.

When he was a kid, Mister Rogers’ mom told him to look for the helpers whenever there was a tragedy, because that’s how you know there’s hope. Tell your kid about the rescue teams going out to save people, the medical professionals tending to the injured, the volunteers collecting donations. Tell them about the furniture business owner who opened his stores as shelters. Tell them about the “Texas Navy” -- the outpouring of private citizens heading into the disaster area in boats to rescue strangers. Finally, share some ideas about how they can show compassion by becoming helpers too.

 

How kids can help

Raise money for charity.

Many charities have already received so many supplies that they don’t have room for more, but need monetary donations to get them past the initial demand for help. Kids can help by holding their own fundraiser selling lemonade, cookies or crafts, or even just setting up a donation booth collecting spare change from passers-by. Here are a few charities they might consider: Save the Children, Feeding TexasAnimal Defense League of Texas, or Texas Children’s Hospital.

If you live in the area, donate time with your family once the storm has passed.

Assisting with cleanup, helping to deliver food, or fostering displaced pets can help kids feel more in control and ultimately heal.

Cuddling with the Q-Time Buddy or another stuffed animal helps many kids feel calmer.  


Why Social and Emotional Skills Matter -- and How You Can Help Your Kid Build Them

Struggling with your kid’s behavior, need help minimizing meltdowns -- or simply want to help your child learn life’s most game-changing skills? Help them boost their social and emotional skills and watch them blossom.

Why social and emotional skills are so important

Helps kids grow into successful adults.

Kindergarteners who are good at sharing have been found more likely to get a college degree and hold a job at age 25 than kids who aren't. In fact, social and emotional skills are linked to both school readiness and life success in career, relationships, health and happiness.

 

Builds confidence, independence and responsibility.

Strong emotional skills make kids feel good about themselves and their ability to meet life’s challenges.

 

Helps develop manners and empathy.

Kids with solid social skills are not only more polite and helpful, they’re able to see situations from other points of view.

 

Encourages kids to connect.

Kids who are socially aware are closer to their family and friends because they’ve learned to build trust, kindness, sensitivity and openness.

 

Minimizes meltdowns.

Behavior naturally improves when a child feels more in control of their emotions and has the tools to manage their feelings.

 

Inspires kids to make better choices.

Their awareness of themselves and others makes problem-solving easier.

 

Makes kids happier, calmer and more resilient.

Kids with social and emotional skills are more self-aware, communicate better, and bounce back faster from obstacles.

 

Help boost your kid's social and emotional well-being with Q Wunder

When you focus on building your child’s social and emotional skills, you help your kid thrive. But how do you figure out what your kid needs help with -- and know how to work with them to improve their behavior and thinking?

Brought to you by Parents’ Choice Award winner EQtainment, the Q Wunder app inspires your child to practice better behavior and develop self-awareness -- and helps you encourage their progress. With the Q Wunder app, you’ll discover what your kid’s strengths are and what they still need to work on. You’ll even get customized guidance for you and your child, including animated kids’ videos, original music to sing along to, and parent podcasts.

The Q Wunder app, Q’s Race to the Top board game, and our other Q Wunder products are designed to help 3- to 9-year-old kids work on their social and emotional skills without even realizing it -- they’re too busy just having fun!

Get started now — download the free Q Wunder app!

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De-Stress Your AM with This Printable Morning Routine Chart for Kids

Children crave routine -- and establishing one with them is a great way to start teaching them time management, independence and responsibility. When kids get their morning routine down pat, the day starts with less chaos, which means you get to enjoy more quality family time at breakfast, your kids get to feel more in control of their day -- and you can make it to school on time, every time.

Print out one of these fun mnemonics to help your kid remember their morning routine -- or make up a morning routine chart of your own!

 

Buddy Kids Morning Routine Chart by Q Wunder

SUNRISE morning routine chart printable for kids from Q Wunder

Tiger morning routine chart printable by Q Wunder

Goats Kids Morning Routine Printable from Q Wunder

Got a minute? Grab your kid and watch this sneak peek of our Q Wunder Bonus Time video about how to remember your morning routine!


Q Wunder stuffed monkey with whining girl

Five Secrets to Stopping the Whining

“Mommmmmmmy, I don’t waaaaaaaant to put my shoes on! It’s not faiiiiiiiiirrrr!” As annoying as whining can be, your kid isn’t actually trying to annoy you. They’re just whining because they’re truly upset about something -- and admit it, sometimes you give in just to make them stop (only, oops, that just trains them to try it again next time). Go beyond the “My ears can’t understand you when you talk like that!” tactic with these five ways to stop the whine before it starts.

 

Acknowledge the request.

If your child asks for something, let them know you’ve heard them before it escalates into whining, crying and/or a full-on temper tantrum. You may think pretending you didn’t hear your child ask for the 17th shiny toy that caught their eye on this particular trip to Target is your best course of action, but your kid is not likely to take the hint. Instead, lead with a little peace, love and understanding. “Wow, that glittery slime is cool!”

 

Try an answer other than “yes” or “no.”

Kids hate hearing “no.” But unfortunately, whether the question is whether your kid can impulse-buy that slime or have ice cream for breakfast, there will be a lot of times your answer won’t be “yes.” Try delayed gratification instead. “Wow, that glittery slime is cool! Should we add it to your birthday/holiday wish list?” or “Mmm, I love mint-chocolate-chip too! Let’s make a plan for when we’ll have some. After lunch or after dinner?”

 

Give your kid some choices.

If your kid asks if they haaaaaave to take a bath, tell them they can shower or take one in the morning instead. If your child is playing a game on the Q Wunder app and it’s almost time to leave for swim lessons, ask if they’d rather play for another three minutes before they get ready or get ready now and play for three minutes in the car. Kids are told what to do all day long, so giving them a little control over little things you don’t care about either way can reduce whining big time.  

 

Set a schedule -- without overscheduling.

When your child gets tired or hangry, guess what? They also get whiny. So stick to a regular schedule for meals, snacks and bedtime. In between, make sure you have plenty of unstructured chill time. Just like their parents, kids who have too much to do (whether that’s errand overload or karate, soccer and a play date all on one day) get stressed. And stressed kids whine.

 

Set aside special time.

Your child may be whining to get your attention because they aren’t getting enough time and connection with you otherwise. Intersperse your day with moments where you give your child a hug or high-five, tell each other a joke, whatever. And give your kid a longer dose of undivided attention every day, even if all you can manage is five or 15 minutes, where they set the agenda and you’re all in. Make a big deal about announcing that it’s special time, then put the phone away, get down on the floor with your kid, and enjoy some guaranteed whine-free time!

 

Help your child learn social and behavioral skills (and have fun while they're at it) -- download the Q Wunder app!

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child tennis player and future champion for Q Wunder

How to Help Your Kid Find Their Passion -- and Become a Champion

If you can help your child figure out what fires them up, you’ll give them a gift that lasts a lifetime, says Wayne Bryan, author of Raising Your Child to Be a Champion in Athletics, Arts, and Academics. Bryan is the father and coach of the number-one doubles tennis team in the world, Mike and Bob Bryan. Here, he chats with EQtainment founder Sofia Dickens about inspiring your kids to discover their passion and work hard to be great.

child tennis player and future champion for Q Wunder

SD: Tell us what you mean by champion and why raising one matters.

 

WB: The great lessons of life are learned when you’re a kid striving for something. Those who dabble in this, dabble in that -- a little gymnastics, a little swimming, a little basketball -- I don’t think you ever become really good at anything. I’m not saying you have to be a professional athlete or musician, but I think children should have a passion that gets them up each day. My boys’ primary passion is tennis. They’re the greatest doubles team of all time. But they’re also professional musicians who love music as much as tennis. Mike plays lead guitar and drums, Bob plays piano and keyboard and bass, and they have an incredible band. When they’re on the road, they don’t play video games or watch TV. In fact, when they were growing up, we didn’t have a TV or a video game in the house because they were so fired up for tennis, they couldn’t wait to get to the club to practice. And they were totally fired up for music too. Every child should strive to be great at one thing -- or two things! And every parent should help their child find their passion. If you just sort of trudge along and don’t give your best effort, I don’t think that leads to a happy, successful, fulfilling life. Life in the adult world is challenging and kids need to be challenged too. They need to learn how to deal with winning, and they need to learn how to deal with losing.

 

There’s a course at Harvard right now about the science of happiness. It’s based on the definition that happiness is striving toward a goal. It’s not a destination, it’s not necessarily a state of mind, it’s an active verb where you are striving toward something -- and I think that’s what you’re getting at.

 

I 100% agree. I never in my life told my boys to play tennis. Instead, I used all my wisdom and heart and soul to help them enjoy tennis. And the way I did that was, I took them to see great college matches once a week, high school matches when they were six or seven, pro matches. And soon, they’d formulated these goals. I took them to a Davis Cup match -- an international team competition -- when they were 10 years old, to see the US team play Mexico. Early on, they said, “Hey Dad, we wanna get some popcorn,” so we walked into this long tunnel, and who comes along but the American Davis Cup doubles team going out to play that day, Ricky Leach and Jim Pugh. They were number one in the world. When the kids saw Ricky Leach, the unbelievable pro they admired, they screamed out like they'd seen the President of the United States. And he laughed and said, “Hey, do you guys play tennis?” And the little guys said, “Yes, we just won the Tennis Doubles at Long Beach!” He smiled and kept walking, and as he entered the stadium, he looked back at these skinny little guys and said, “Yeah, I won that one too.” And he went out and won his match in four sets. It was incredibly exciting. All the way home on the three-hour drive, the guys were saying, “Hey Dad, Ricky Leach won at Long Beach and then he won the Davis Cup, and we’re gonna do the same thing! We’re gonna be number one in the world! We’re gonna be number one on our college team! We’re gonna win all the grand slams, and we’re gonna win the Davis Cup for the United States!” And you know what? They did it all. No team has done what they’ve done, ever.

 

Was it because my wife and I are great coaches and great parents? No, it was because we took the boys to that match that day and they formulated that goal. You want your child to play intercollegiate tennis or golf or lacrosse? Go to college matches. College dance, swimming, gymnastics, whatever…. You know what the cost is? Free. You know what the inspiration is? Massive. They will get to know the players, the players will talk to them. No one has an entourage in college. They’re very accessible. Helping your children formulate these goals early on pays massive dividends. And if you don’t have goals or dreams, I guarantee you’re not going to reach them.

 

I love your philosophy that it’s all about making the entire day fun.  I remember you said the first time you took the boys to a tennis event, all they probably remembered was playing under the bleachers or getting popcorn, but they had that positive association.

 

Champions take it in through their eyes, not their ears. You must see it before you can dream it. You must be passionate about it before you can achieve it. It’s what you expose your children to in a positive way. If it looks great, and there are uniforms and colors and excitement and fun and enthusiasm, they’re going to want to do it. If it’s drudgery and hard work and you’ve gotta do it this way and you’ve gotta take 15 laps before you can hit a ball, or you’ve gotta play a chromatic scale before I’m going to let you play this new Britney Spears song, you’re going to lose children. If you’re taking your son or daughter to a lacrosse or golf or tennis match, take a lot of other kids with you, because that amps up the experience even more. Have a little food on the way home. Enjoy. Watch, play, watch, play. It’s so simple to create passion. It’s not the sport or art, it’s how the sport or art is presented.

 

I used to play on a tennis all-star team in Salt Lake City and my coach was Dick Leach, Ricky Leach’s dad. He had two sons who grew up to be champions. And I said, “How did you do this? Did you push them like crazy? Or do you just back up and do nothing?” And he said, “Wayne, what you do is you push like hell but you never let them know what’s hitting them.” I said, “What does that mean?” So he gave me an example. He told me he used to coach tennis on Saturday mornings, and when Ricky was five years old, he would go along too. Afterward, they’d look at Porsches and get ice cream. Ricky sat on the sidelines four or five Saturdays in a row, and after the fifth Saturday, what did Ricky say to his dad? He said, “Can I hit one?” And what did Dick say? “No, maybe next week.” Next week comes around, and he says, “Can I hit one?” And his dad goes, I’m tired, let’s go have an ice cream and look at Porsches.” And next week comes along and he says, “Can I hit one?” And his dad says, “Okay, but just one.” He throws him the ball, and Ricky misses it. And what did Dick say? “Better luck next week.” From there, Ricky became one of the greatest tennis players of all time. It’s how you set the table. It’s got to be the child’s idea.

 

Now find out what to look for in a coach or teacher -- and why you should never tell your kids to practice: Download the free Q Wunder app, go to the Parents’ Corner and listen to the entire “How to Raise a Champion” podcast.

 


Bond with Your Kids on Your Next Family Trip with This Fun Printable Game

Road tripping with kids this summer? Break out this “Would You Rather” printable game to keep them busy and help them learn valuable social and emotional skills. Spend some quality family time learning about each other and working on listening skills -- just print out this list of “Would You Rather” questions and take turns answering, including why each person chose the way they did. You can also all come up with your own “Would You Rather” questions -- just be prepared for them to get super silly!  
Would You Rather printable gameBetween Would You Rather rounds, help your kids boost their social and emotional skills with the Q Wunder app -- download it now!

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family vacation kids in pool Q Wunder

Take a Family Summer Vacation -- and Sneak in Some Valuable Life Lessons While You’re at It

family vacation kids in pool Q WunderGoing on a family summer vacation? Have a great time -- and work on building your kid’s social and emotional skills without their even realizing it. Here are five easy ways to sneak a little summer learning into your family’s summer fun.

Take five (hammock optional)

Builds patience and focus

Ready, set, relax: Take five minutes to lie down outside, stare at the clouds and just listen with your kids. Afterward, ask them what they saw in the clouds and what sounds they heard that were different from what they hear back home.

 

Meet new kids

Builds manners, sharing and friendship skills

Encourage your kid to make new friends (and model making time for yourself while you’re at it): If you’re staying at a resort with a kids’ club, drop off your child for a few hours. Visiting family or friends? Introduce your kid to long-lost cousins or friends’ children -- and remind them to greet them by name and share toys.   

 

Try something different

Builds courage and grit

Practice being brave by heeding the call of new vacation adventures: Do something with your family that’s a bit outside your collective comfort zone -- go down the waterslide, try the zip line, go camping, sample the gator jerky.

 

Send postcards

Builds kindness and friendship skills

Teach your kid to think of others: Let them pick out a few postcards for close relatives and pals back home and write a couple of sentences on each. If your child is too young to write on their own, have them dictate to you what they want to say, then sign the postcard.

 

Give choices and take turns

Builds self-awareness, flexibility and patience

Divvy up the fun: Let each family member pick out something they want to listen to in the car, somewhere they want to eat, and something they want to do on vacation. Remind your kid that everyone gets their chance and to honor each person’s choice by being respectful until their turn comes up.

 

Bonus: Play Q’s Race to the Top On the Go! Pack and Would You Rather to practice turn-taking, have fun together and pass the time till you get there.


Skip the Store-Bought and Make This Focus-Fueling Hummus with Your Kid Instead

EQtainment hummus recipe Q WunderEvery kid loves pressing buttons. And as long as they’re not your buttons, hey, everyone’s happy. Encourage your kid to help you in the kitchen (and press the food processor or blender buttons while they’re at it!) by making this healthy, inexpensive, all-ages-approved snack. The chickpeas in this recipe contain magnesium and complex carbohydrates to fuel focus. And simply collaborating in the kitchen helps your child develop cooperation skills.

Plus, this recipe is forgiving and versatile. Want to sub cannellini beans for chickpeas? Go for it. No tahini on hand? Leave it out. The recipe is designed to be mild in flavor to make it kid-friendly, but ask your child to taste it and “see what it needs” -- a bit more salt, say, or a sprinkle of cumin, maybe.

Serve hummus as a kid-friendly dip with whole-wheat pita triangles, carrot sticks and other cut veggies, or spread it on a sandwich. It’s good warm, room temperature or cold, so it’s a perfect summertime snack, picnic staple or even warm-weather dinner. Dig in!

 

Hummus

 

  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (a little less than 2 cups)*
  • 1 small clove of garlic, pressed through a garlic press or roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt 
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup water (if you cooked the chickpeas yourself, use cooking water)

 

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend for two minutes, scraping down the sides as needed, or until completely smooth.
  3. Serve with raw veggies (carrot sticks, cucumber sticks and red pepper slices tend to be kid favorites), pita triangles and/or pita chips. If you want to get fancy, sprinkle paprika on top.
  4. Store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

*If you have a pressure cooker, it’s easy to cook your own chickpeas, even without soaking them first. For this recipe, you’ll need one-third of a pound of dried chickpeas. Fill your pressure cooker up halfway with water, cover and lock the lid, and bring to pressure at high heat, about 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes. You may also need to increase salt in the recipe. 

 

While you and your kid get cookin’, sing along to “Focus” from Q’s Pop Playlist on the free Q Wunder app!


kids at summer camp Q Wunder

5 Ways to Set Your Kid Up for Summer Camp Success

kids at summer camp Q WunderSigning up for summer day camp can help little campers reap big benefits, including building independence, self-confidence, social skills and more. But it can also be challenging for kids to readjust from the familiar routine of home or school. This summer, fend off pre-camp jitters and ensure your kid’s a happy camper with these six summer camp tips.

 

Start slow.

If your kid’s nervous about camp or has never done summer camp before, let them dip a toe in the pool before asking them do a flip off the high board. In other words, if your schedule allows, look for half-day camps and/or one-day-only camps rather than signing them up for a week-long, 8-AM-to-6-PM program. And hold off planning every second of the entire summer with back-to-back camps. See which camps click with your child and sign them up for more of those later in the summer. Granted, you run the risk that they’ll be full, but it’s usually easier to add camps as you go than to switch things around after you’ve already signed up.

 

Recruit a friend.

Nothing settles a case of the pre-camp butterflies like knowing a buddy will be there too. Coordinate your child’s plans with their friends’ parents for the win-win.

 

Work on resilience.

Help your child feel more confident by building grit and independence: Play games together and let them get used to losing sometimes. Pow-wow with parents of your kid’s friends to plan an all-day play date trade or even sleepover swap. Praise your child for being brave enough to swim across the pool. Dance and sing along to the song "We're Stronger" from Q's Pop Playlist available on the Q Wunder app.

 

Ask open-ended questions.

Instead of asking your child if they’re worried about camp, ask how they’re feeling about going and really listen to their response. Rather than brushing off fears with “You'll love it when you get there -- it’ll be great!”, acknowledge their concerns and talk about how they might deal with them. Asking your kid open-ended questions and discussing their answers can also help them prepare for situations that might come up at camp. Start with You and Q card questions, such as "What does it mean to be brave?" from Q's Race to the Top On the Go! pack.

 

Let them know what to expect.

Ask the camp if you and your kid can take a quick tour of camp facilities and meet a few counselors ahead of time. If that’s not possible, at least look at photos of the camp online. Go over what will happen during the day, what time you’ll pick them up, and what you’ll do together when you see each other later -- including share the day’s adventures with each other!

 

Get your kid set for summer camp -- help build key social and emotional skills with the free Q Wunder app! 

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T: 5 Ways to Teach Respect

boy showing respect Q Wunder EQtainmentYour kid takes one look at the dinner you’ve just slaved over and declares “Yuck!” Or responds to your request to pick up her toys with “Whatever” and an eye roll. Or sees someone squeezing into an airplane seat and yells “You're fat!” Fear not, there’s still hope for your child. Impulse control is tough for little ones -- which makes dealing with rude behavior tough for parents -- but you can help them develop and show respect.

 

Practice the Golden Rule.

To get respect, you have to give respect. If you don’t want your kid to scream at you, don’t scream at them. If you don’t want your kid to bad-mouth another kid, don’t let them hear you bad-mouthing another adult. Your kid learns from watching you, so show kindness and empathy toward others and your kid will learn to do the same. This also applies to how you interact with people who are a different race, sexual orientation, country, religion, size, etc. If your child asks you about them (or stares and says loudly “Why is that person talking funny?”), you can matter-of-factly acknowledge their differences, but also take note of the many things you have in common.

 

Teach listening.

Give your kid good listener lessons, playing "Look 'Em in the Eye" from Q's Pop Playlist on the Q Wunder app for inspiration. Reflect back what your kid says (so they know you really heard them), ask questions, then request that they practice doing the same. If frequent interruptions are still an issue, you can even let them choose a talking stick -- it can be a real stick, a ball or whatever small object they want -- then take turns passing the stick and waiting to talk until you get it.

 

Go over good manners.

In addition to being respectful yourself, talk about the specifics of polite behavior with your kid. If your child voices a desire in the form of a demand (“Give me a cookie!”) or complaint (“I wanted that cookie!”), calmly ask them to try again and don’t respond to the request until they can put it politely (“May I have a cookie, please?”). Let them know that tone as well as content counts (so snarling “Give me a cookie, please!” doesn’t count).

 

Give clear expectations.

Sit down as a family when everyone’s calm and go over your family’s rules. You might even ask your kid what they think the rules should be and write down their ideas, adding some of your own as you go, to help them feel invested in behaving well. Then be sure to explain what will happen if they don’t -- and stick to it. So if your kid makes fun of others, mocks you, willfully ignores you, talks back or is otherwise just plain rude, you can remind them that you don’t treat people that way in your family and follow through with the consequence. If you’re at the playground, for instance, and your kid refuses to give another child a turn on the teeter-totter, you might go home and try again another afternoon. Just remember to be respectful even when your kid is being anything but -- so instead of embarrassing your child by yelling at them in front of everyone, pull them aside and discipline them in private.

 

Explain how to express feelings respectfully.

Little kids don’t have much of a feelings filter, so name-calling, sassing and “I hate you!”s come naturally to them anytime they’re frustrated. It’s your job to teach them some alternatives. Encourage them to express their emotions by naming them (“I feel mad when Morgan takes my blocks” or “I feel sad when you won’t let me watch another show”) so you can help them work through those feelings and ultimately learn how to manage them on their own.

 

Time for family game night! Learn to take turns and listen to each other with a fun round of Q's Race to the Top.