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YFS Quarterly E-Blast Articles


This Holiday Season Schedule Some Family Fun Time!

Spend time with your family during the Holidays and all year.  Many people take time off from work and school during the holidays and it is important to schedule time to spend with families to strengthen connections and renew relationships. During this time make sure you turn off your cell phones, computers and televisions and take time to focus on your family. 

Research shows that families who spend time together tend to be strong families. They communicate better and share a sense of belonging. Karen Thomas, a family and consumer sciences educator at Penn State offers a few ideas on how to spend time with your family this holiday season.

  • Family game night. Spend at least one night during the holidays with the TV off and the family huddled together to play a favorite game. You may play cards, bingo or any other family favorite. Consider continuing this practice throughout the year and designate at least one night per week as family game night.
  • Go for a walk. After eating rich holiday foods, taking a walk provides not only time together but a great way to get some exercise.
  • Movie night. Rent a movie or watch a TV holiday special, pop some popcorn, and kick back for some family fun. Like game night, this may be something you’d like to continue throughout the year as a way to spend time together.
  • Play outdoors together. You can ride bikes, play ball, or go for a hike. It’ll give the entire family some fresh air, exercise and great fun.
  • Go shopping. Hang out together while shopping at the after holiday sales.
  • Cook together. Parents and kids can do the holiday baking and food preparation together. Even the youngest children can wash vegetables, set the table, or ice cookies.
  • Spend some one-on-one time with each child if you have more than one. Spending time alone provides time to bond with the child and helps him or her gain a sense of belonging and feeling of importance. It also provides an opportunity for the two of you to get to know each other better.
  • Since grandparents and older family members usually visit during the holidays, take time to share family customs and tell stories about past generations. Families build strength when they share family customs, rituals and traditions give family members a sense of belonging, and they strengthen values and beliefs. 

One of the greatest gifts of the holiday season is the gift of time with family. Spend time together to strengthen relationships and to make wonderful family memories. Strong families spend time with each other - quality time in large quantities. So begin during the holidays and continue making time for each other throughout the year.  The staff of Hanover Township Youth and Family Services wishes you and your family good health, happiness and fun during this Holiday Season!


 Holiday Stress

Stress, depression and the holidays: How to cope

Stress and depression can have a negative impact on your holidays and hurt your health in many ways. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression. 

The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it's no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.

But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

When stress is at its peak, it's hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past. Staff from the Mayo Clinic suggests the following tips:

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can't come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

    Try these alternatives:

    • Donate to a charity in someone's name.
    • Give homemade gifts.
    • Start a family gift exchange.
  6. Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  7. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity. If it's not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  8. Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.

    Try these suggestions:

    • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don't go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
  9. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

    Some options may include:

    • Taking a walk at night and stargazing.
    • Listening to soothing music.
    • Getting a massage.
    • Reading a book.

Holiday stress and anxiety in children is also a common occurrence as well.  The reality is that all the hustle and bustle the holidays bring means schedules are often out of whack, bedtimes get pushed back, and routines disrupted.  It is important that you try to stick to routines and try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over. It’s also important to give your kids some downtime.  Leave room for some quiet activities, like listening to music, walking in the woods or reading a book. You can also help children cope by setting a calm example.  Try to keep things relaxed as much as possible.  As with so many situations, the way you react to the situation can set the tone for how your children will behave.  Kids can sense when holiday stress gets to you and this could make your children anxious.  To minimize anxiety in your children during the holidays, try to embrace these tips and keep the stress as well managed as you can.   

Take control of the holidays

Don't let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If you continue to feel stress around the holidays and feel overwhelmed or anxious you may benefit from speaking with a professional.   Hanover Township Youth and Family Services is here for you.  Feel free to contact us at 630-483-5799.  Don’t let stress and anxiety negatively impact you and your family life. 


 Open Gym

Winter Break Open Gym is Warmed Up and Ready to Offer Your Child a Blast of a Time!

Are you looking for something free and fun for your child to do over the winter break?  Youth and Family Services’ Winter Break Open Gym Program is the place to be.  Open Gym is a combination of recreational, educational, arts and crafts, games and social activities combined with lots of fun, meeting new people and seeing old friends.  Special guests and out of the ordinary opportunities are schedule for an extra treat! 

Winter Break Open Gym will have DJ Reggie as a special guest on December 27th and 28th.  DJ Reggie will be spinning the classic R&B hits as well as the top 20 that are guaranteed to get everyone dancing and moving.  Besides spinning music, DJ Reggie will have dance contests, the limbo and much more.  On January 3 and January 4, Open Gym participants will take part in “Cooking Without a Stove.”  Open Gym participants will have the opportunity to let their inner chef come out by making out of this world snacks and treats.  Your child will learn about measurements, food, working together, while having fun and creating new tasty creations.  For a complete Winter Break Open Gym Program schedule, please click here.  You won’t want your child to miss this!

Click here for the Winter Break Open Gym Program Schedule:

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February 14 to May 4, 2017

2017 Tutoring Services Program to start February 14, 2017 – sign up now!

It’s hard to believe that half of the school year is already over!  Don’t wait till the last minute – sign your child up now for our second semester of tutoring as space is limited. 

If you are concerned about your child’s school performance, additional academic help can make a difference.  Hanover Township offers a professional and affordable Tutoring Services Program that will provide support, instruction and mastery of your child’s academics.  Our tutors are certified primary and secondary teachers who specialize in supportive instruction and skill mastery.  Your child’s grades and self-confidence will improve. 

Our tutors can also help your child if they are struggling with homework habits, organizational skills and study skills.  Also, we give your child the advantage of meeting with the same tutor throughout the semester.  Our small tutoring groups encourage questions and teach students how they learn best and at their own pace. The tutoring session involves a tutor and a maximum of 4 students.  Our tutors use today’s teaching methods which are used in School District U-46 schools. Students, who attend regularly and bring their school materials/assignments to each session improve in academic performance and become more self-confident.

The Tutoring Services Program meets on either Tuesday or Thursday evenings (depending on your child’s time slot) at Streamwood High School, Sabre Center, 701 W. Schaumburg Road, Streamwood, IL 60107.  The fee is $45.00 per child.  Students must live in Hanover Township (the Cook County portion of Bartlett, Streamwood, Hanover Park, Elgin, Schaumburg, or Hoffman Estates) and must be in Grades 2 through 12.  Out-of-Township residents can call (630) 483-5799 for more information.  All parents/guardians for 2nd through 8th grade students must remain in the building during the tutoring sessions.  If you have any questions about our program, please feel free to contact us at 630-483-5799 or visit us on our website at  Don’t wait – space is limited!


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Hanover Township Youth and Family Services is happy to announce that we are an accredited Snowball certified chapter. Operation Snowball is an alcohol tobacco and other drug use prevention program focusing on leadership development to empower youth to lead drug-free lives. The name originates from the idea that “If I have a positive impact on you, you can have a positive impact on someone else and the effect snowballs.”  

Hanover Township Youth and Family Services’ plan to develop and implement Operation Snowball will include taking five teen representatives from Bartlett High School to a statewide training in January 2017.  This training will provide our youth and staff with leadership skills and program orientation.

Operation Snowball develops teens to assist with substance abuse prevention programming as a means of intervention, reach and sustainability.   Teens who have been training will be take part in a day long Snowball hosted at a local school.  The Snowball will offer participants the opportunity to work in small groups, hear speakers and have fun in ways that promote healthy decision-making, substance refusal skills and teambuilding. 

Stay tuned for updates about our first Snowball hosted by Hanover Township Youth and Family Services. If you think your teen is interested in developing their leadership skills and promoting a positive program, please contacts Ryan McSheffrey, Clinical Interventionist, at Hanover Township Youth and Family Services at 630-483-5799, or email,


Winter Riddles