Archive for: October 2012

October Puzzle Place

 By West Knoxville Mathnasium

Click on the puzzle below to download your own copy! Read more →

Ten terrific books about life lessons

 By Erin Nguyen, Children’s Department, Knox County Public Library



The Little Brute Family
By Russell Hoban
Reading level: PreK – 2nd
The little Brute family is not happy and not nice, until one day Baby Brute discovers something on a sunny spring afternoon that makes them change their ways. Read more →

You…your kids…and money!

By Kristina Howard, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Marketing Specialist



Money gives people — both young and old — decision-making opportunities. Educating, motivating, and empowering children to become regular savers and investors will enable them to keep more of the money they earn and do more with the money they spend. Everyday spending decisions can have a far more negative impact on children’s financial futures than any investment decisions they may ever make. Here are 5 simple ways to help educate children about personal finance and managing money: Read more →

Education as entertainment?

You bet!

Liza Zenni, Executive Director of the Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville


Talk about educating the whole child!  Turn your kids over to Knoxville’s arts and culture organizations this October and watch them grow in ways not possible either at home or in the classroom.  Start the month with the HoLa Festival. Can’t choose between two dance performances?  Go to both!  All of these activities participate in the Penny4Arts program through which children get in free when accompanied by an adult, so why not?  Head to the McClung Museum for an archaeological adventure or to the Clarence Brown to see the stage version of The Little Prince. Later in the month, go downtown to the Bijou for some live jazz or visit WDVX’s live radio show especially for kids. As the month starts to wind down, take in our wonderful Opera or enjoy the Knoxville Symphony’s interpretation of Leonard Bernstein, both at the fabulous Tennessee Theatre.  You and the kids will find your imaginations blown wide open by the time Halloween comes along!

Here are details on how you and your children may experience this stunning list of activities (and more) this month. Visit for more information. Read more →

Eerie entertainment and easy exercise

Scarecrows in the Park is fun for the whole family

By Ellen Blasius, Knox County Parks and Recreation Department


The weather is cooling, the leaves are falling, and the Scarecrows are coming back! Scarecrows in the Park, a celebration of fall presented by Knox County Parks and Recreation, will be held during October at New Harvest Park. Join the fun—create and enter your Scarecrow in the contest! The Scarecrows will be on display along the greenway trail at the park for the public to view and vote on beginning October 18, at 3 p.m., at the Farmers Market. Winners will be announced at the Farmers Market on October 25, and the scarecrows will remain at the park until October 31. Read more →

Stranger danger!

Teach your children to be safe

By Chief Lee Tramel, Knox County Sheriff’s Office


One of the most important conversations you can have with your child involves the dangers of strangers. Children need to know that not all adults are trustworthy. There are many things you can do to help keep your child safe.

Explain to your child what defines a stranger.

A good way to explain a stranger to a child comes from “A stranger is a person whom you have never met. You may have seen the person before but don’t know anything about him or her.” Let your child know that most strangers are nice, but some are not. Children should know that you cannot tell whether or not a stranger is nice just by looking at him or her. Read more →

Don’t let your child be a target

Understanding the victim profile is a good first step

Article provided by Premier Martial Arts


Child abduction is every parent’s ultimate nightmare. These feelings can be positive as they raise awareness on how to keep our children safe. There are many factors such as environment, location, opportunity and motivation that influence a predator in selecting his or her victim. Although any child can be a target, a predator does not want to get caught and will seek a particular profile of a child: one who is easy to persuade, needy or fearful and, most importantly, one who will make a terrible witness if caught. The following is a child target profile of would be potential child victims. Read more →

The importance of immunizations: part 2

By Lori Patterson, M.D., FAAP

When it comes to their children’s immunizations, some parents are choosing to listen to more than their doctor for information. Parents and caregivers are getting medical advice from message boards, blogs and other online sources. As a result, concerns and rumors have spread regarding the safety and purpose of vaccines. Dr. Lori Patterson, pediatric infectious disease specialist, responds to common questions and misconceptions of immunizations.


Do immunizations or thimerosal cause autism?

Read more →

Leading by example

Register to vote, and teach your children to do the same

By Michael Kull

During an election year, candidates try to distinguish themselves and often highlight inequality as a way of winning supporters anxious to improve their lives. They can make persuasive arguments that appeal to the emotions, but it is important to base important decisions like these on facts and critical thinking, rather than on feelings alone. Commercials, advertisements and debates are all opportunities to learn about not only the issues and platforms different candidates and political parties support, but they also can offer a glimpse of the character of the candidates themselves. Are they good leaders? Are they experienced enough to be effective? Are they balanced in mind, body and spirit? Read more →

EQ as well as IQ

Fostering Emotional intelligence in children

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.

I am amazed at the things children are learning in school these days! Our teachers do an incredible job of teaching math, language arts, science, social studies, foreign language, technology, health, physical education, art and music. Children absorb academic knowledge like sponges, and their achievements are reflected in report cards and on standardized test scores.  In school, children learn “how to learn” and in the process develop organization and study skills that serve them well as they move through life. Children also learn social skills, and teachers serve to model and instruct students on appropriate ways of behaving.

One thing that is not directly included in the curriculum, though, is instruction in developing “Emotional Intelligence.” Emotional Intelligence, or “EQ,” refers to the ability to identify, regulate and control one’s emotions and accurately perceive others’ emotions. I think it would be wonderful if all students could take a class called “Emotions 101,” so that everyone has a chance to learn the basics of dealing with emotions. However, at this point direct instruction in EQ must be addressed outside of school. In this article I will describe ways parents can foster the development of EQ in their children.


“Emotional Intelligence, or “EQ,” refers to the ability to identify, regulate and control one’s emotions and accurately perceive others’ emotions.”


First, I want to make a disclosure. Even though as a psychologist I make my living helping others with their feelings, I did not learn these skills in my childhood home. Rather, I learned from working with therapists and reading books on the subject. My parents are the first to admit that when my sister and I were children, they did not teach us about feelings. It was not something they knew much about. Change came when I was in college and my parents received lay ministry training which provided instruction about emotions, compassionate listening and empathy. My mom actually called me at my dorm to say she wished she and my dad had taken a different approach to parenting, one that focused on feelings.  I know from my work as a therapist that my family was not all that unusual. Many adults grew up in families where feelings were not addressed. As a therapist, I have worked with people who have average or better IQ’s but struggle to identify and express their emotions. They need help from me in learning how to name, discuss, regulate, and tolerate their feelings. Many of my patients take to this process like ducks take to water. Almost all of them say that this kind of learning would have been so much easier if it had taken place during childhood!

Until the time that we have “Emotions 101” classes in school, the responsibility for developing EQ in children falls on the shoulders of families and family surrogates. The good news is there are many things parents can do to foster EQ in their children. One of the most impactful things parents can do is to develop their own EQ. Parents can model EQ by talking about their own feelings and using a feeling vocabulary in the home. As an example a father could say “I want you kids to know I’m feeling sad lately because the anniversary of my father’s death is nearing.” A mother might say “I’m feeling disappointed, because I have to work this afternoon and won’t be able to come to your ball game.” Or “I felt really angry and scared today when another driver cut me off and almost caused me to wreck the car!” When parents use feeling words in everyday conversation in the home, children learn that feelings are natural and that everyone has them.


“My parents are the first to admit that when my sister and I were children, they did not teach us about feelings.”


In addition to modeling EQ for their children, parents can directly foster the development of EQ. Children can be told the names of the feelings they are having. For instance, when a preschooler says “I hate you, Mommy!” the mother can respond with “I can tell you are feeling really mad at me right now. You don’t like it when I tell you no.” When a child is trying really hard to ride a bike without trainers and starts to cry, the father can say “Naturally, you’re feeling frustrated and discouraged—it can be hard to learn something new, but keep trying and you will get it!”

Parents can tell children there are no wrong feelings and no feelings are off limits for discussion including difficult feelings such as anger, sadness, jealousy, insecurity and loneliness. Anger, especially, often gets a bad rap when in reality it is just an emotion like any other. Obviously, children need to learn to control their behavior when they are angry and to use words to express their anger. Paul White, LCSW, a child therapist, has a great intervention parents can use to help young children with anger. He recommends telling children, “It’s okay to be mad—it’s not okay to be bad.” In other words, validate the feeling of anger but set limits on any inappropriate behaviors kids do because they are angry.


“I think it would be wonderful if all students could take a class called “Emotions 101”so that everyone has a chance to learn the basics of dealing with emotions.”


Another thing parents can do to foster EQ is reinforce talking about feelings. When children initiate a conversation about feelings, parents can say “I am really proud of you for coming to me—it takes courage to talk about your feelings” or “I am so grateful you feel comfortable trusting me with how you feel.” At the end of a discussion of feelings, parents can ask “How do you feel now?” Usually children feel better after talking with a trusted adult so parents should point this out by saying “See, it really helps to talk when you are upset about something, doesn’t it?”

I predict one day teaching emotional literacy will be broadly recognized as being just as important as teaching reading, writing, math and science. At that point, children will take classes in school on EQ. Until then, there are many resources available for parents to assist with fostering EQ. A brief survey of reveals several books dedicated to the topic. There are many fine websites such as with practical suggestions as well. Consultation with mental health professionals is another great option for parents who wish to increase their own EQ and learn how to help their children with this important developmental task.

Kathryn Rea Smith, Ph.D. is a private practice psychologist specializing in assessment. She is the married mother of two school-aged boys.