Helping kids create New Year's resolutions, set new goals






Finney County Extension agents

It almost the New Year and that means people are making New Year’s resolutions. Let’s not forget about the youth and how they too can create goals of striving to do better in the New Year as well.

An important thing to do before you start creating resolutions for the new year is to reflect on the year that is coming to an end.   When talking to your children asking what they feel were the best times you had over the past year. What were some times that they might have changed? What did they learn?

The following are examples given by the American Academy of Pediatrics, as healthy ideas for New Year’s resolutions for kids.


• I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.

• I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.

Kids, 5-to 12-years-old

• I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only on special occasions.

• I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!

• I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.

• I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends — like someone who is shy, or is new to my school.


13-years-old and up

• I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day. I will drink sodas only on special occasions.

• I will help out in my community — through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.

• When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.

Become a mentor

Our lives are shaped by relationships. Strong and supportive relationships make the good times even better and can make bad times more tolerable. While growing up, youth benefit significantly from caring relationships with people who are older and have different experiences. We call these relationships mentoring. Mentoring can be formal though a program like 4-H Clubs work, through K-State Research & Extension, or it can be informal, like the relationships you may build with a young person in your neighborhood or a youth group.  

When a young person has non-familial adults they can talk to, learn from and confide in they benefit in a variety of ways. Youth with mentors report higher self-efficacy, better relationship skills and fewer incidences of risky behavior.

Take a minute to think about who mentored you. Were there people who made a difference in your life — perhaps a teacher, coach or family friend? Chances are that your time together was spent doing something fun; playing a sport or game, 4-H project learning, sharing a hobby, or talking. As you think about this person, consider the qualities they possessed that helped you. Now ask yourself, could you be a mentor to a young person? Thousands of mentoring programs around the country are looking for good mentors.

If a formal program won’t work for you, consider how you can take on a mentoring role with a young person you already know. Think of the qualities your mentors possessed and see if you can provide similar support. The experience will not only benefit the young person. Mentors report a number of personal benefits from the relationships and highly recommend the experience for others.

For more information about these settings, as well as additional mentoring resources, visit

To find youth  mentoring opportunities contact the Finney County Extension Office, Barbara Addison, 4-H Youth Development Agent, 620-272-3670,, 501 South 9th St.  

Wheat survival

Conditions were unusually cold throughout Kansas during the early part of December. Also, there has been little or no snow cover. This means that soil temperatures were colder than normal. Direct cold injury is not the only source of winter injury. Under dry soil conditions, wheat plants may suffer from desiccation. This can kill or weaken plants, and is actually a more common problem than direct cold injury. Will this make some wheat fields susceptible to winter die-off? The following are some of the factors to consider when evaluating the outlook for winter survival of wheat:

How well has the wheat cold hardened? When temperatures through fall and early winter gradually get colder, that helps wheat plants develop good winterhardiness. When temperatures remain unusually warm late into the fall (which can lead to excessive vegetative growth) then suddenly drop into the low teens, plants are less likely to have had time to cold harden properly and will be more susceptible to winterkill. This fall, temperatures generally fell gradually and wheat should be adequately cold hardened.

How well developed is the root system? Good top growth of wheat doesn’t necessarily indicate good root development. Poor root development is a concern where conditions have been dry. Where wheat plants have a good crown root system and two or more tillers, they will tolerate the cold better. If plants are poorly developed going into winter, with very few secondary roots and no tillers, they will be more susceptible to winterkill or desiccation, especially when soils remain dry.

How cold is the soil at the crown level? This depends on snow cover and moisture levels in the soil. Winterkill is possible if soil temperatures at the crown level (about one-half to one inch deep if the wheat was planted at the correct depth) fall into the single digits. If there is at least an inch of snow on the ground, the wheat will be protected and soil temperatures will usually remain above the critical level. Also, if the soil has good moisture, it’s possible that soil temperatures at the crown level may not reach the critical level even in the absence of snow cover. But if the soil is dry and there is no snow cover, there may be the potential for winterkill.

Is the crown well protected by soil? If wheat is planted at the correct depth, about 1.5 to 2 inches deep, and in good contact with the soil, the crown should be well protected by the soil from the effects of cold temperatures. If the wheat seed was planted too shallowly, then the crown will have developed too close to the soil surface and will be more susceptible to winterkill. Also, if the seed was planted into loose soil or into heavy surface residue, the crown could be more exposed and could be susceptible to cold temperatures and desiccation.

Is there any insect or disease damage to the plants? Damage from Hessian fly, winter grain mites, brown wheat mites, aphids, and crown and root rot diseases can also weaken wheat plants and make them somewhat more susceptible to injury from cold weather stress or desiccation.

If you have any questions about wheat or any other concerns, contact David Coltrain, Finney County Extension Agent by phone 620-272-3670 or email

It’s about leftovers!

For some people, the best meal of the holiday season is the leftovers. So here are some ideas to savor the meal again.

• Turkey Soup

Simmer turkey with aromatic vegetables to make savory soup base.

• Casseroles

Combine the turkey or ham with the vegetables and make a casserole, pot pie or even a Shepherd’s pie.

• Turkey Chili

Use white beans, onions, celery, corn, chilies, and broth to make this hearty soup.

• Sandwiches

Slice the turkey; add cranberry sauce, and other toppings on a whole wheat bread for a tasty sandwich.

• Enchiladas

Find your favorite chicken enchilada recipe and substitute turkey for a festive meal.

Tips for freezing pie

Plan ahead for holiday baking with these tips for freezing pie.

• Pie crust

Freeze baked or unbaked. Freeze in pie pans to prevent damage. Bake unbaked crust from freezer at 475 degrees, or fill and bake as usual.  Storage time: 6-8 months.

• Unbaked fruit pie

Make as usual and add one extra table-spoon of thickener. Do not cut vents in top crust until ready to bake. Freeze in pan. Package. The bottom crust tends to get soggy, but fruit flavor is fresher. Bake without thawing at 450 degrees, 15-20 min. Reduce to 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until brown.  Suggested storage time: 3-4 months.

• Pumpkin pie

Prepare as usual and chill filling and fill unbaked, chilled crust. Bake without thawing at 400 degrees, 10 min. Reduce to 325 degrees to finish baking. Suggested storage time: 4-5 weeks.

For more information contact the Finney County Extension Office, Lehisa De Fornosa, Family & Consumer Science Agent, 620-242-36710.

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