Stages
Teens & Tweens
Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story. So says the famed teen expert/author/speaker Josh Shipp, aka The Teen Whisperer and the author of The Teen’s Guide to World Domination. And now it’s your turn, parents, thanks to Shipp’s renowned new book, full of practical advice: The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans: How to Decode Their Behavior, Develop Unshakable Trust, and Raise a Respectable Adult.$26.99 • harpercollins.com  more
If you have a child with physical and/or cognitive disabilities, that doesn’t mean he or she can’t enjoy skiing or snowboarding this winter.  Thanks to a partnership between Padraig’s Place, an Apple Valley-based nonprofit, and Buck Hill Ski and Snowboard School in Burnsville, kids and adults of all abilities can experience winter fun in... more
Minnesota Parent is giving away a FREE Winter Family Fun vacation at Lutsen Mountains (valued at more than $500)! This prize package includes two nights lodging, lift tickets and ski rentals for a family of four, all coinciding with the Family Fun Nights at the Summit Chalet, featuring magic shows, art projects, face painting, a pizza party,... more
I have two teens at home, at the bookends of high school. My senior is making strategic decisions about his plans after high school, while my freshman daughter is becoming a young woman who’s focused on her sudden, active social life — and her outfits. Their growing older makes me cognizant of what’s to come in my parenting journey. I... more
There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. In fact, there’s a certain power in it, according to Susan Cain, the best-selling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and the founder of Quiet Revolution, a company focused on the success of introverts in the workplace. But what if you’re a kid? Cain’s got you... more
I was one of thousands of pediatricians in attendance at the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) national conference in September. We spent our days in learning sessions, discussing research and new recommendations from the pediatric health-care organization that sets the stage for more than 66,000 pediatricians. Among all the... more
Before I birthed my first child, my internal pledge to my future offspring and myself was to let them be who they were meant to be. As guardian of their early years, I still hold to the conviction that the greatest service I can do for them is to discover them. I want to understand how they communicate, what their strengths are and what... more
For me, lipstick has always been so fun. I love trying different colors and brands – it’s such an easy way to completely change your mood and look for the day. The only thing I don’t like about lip color is how it transfers onto other things — your food, your loved ones, the rest of your face. In a totally selfless act, I’ve decided to test... more
Bestselling author and New York Times journalist Frank Bruni argues that too many young people believe their futures will be determined by where they’re accepted into college.But it’s simply not true, according to the real stories found in Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. $14.99 • amazon.com more
The chatter is everywhere: A gap year — once considered a questionable, even risky path reserved for unsure seniors — is now a viable, respectable alternative to starting university course work.In fact, a gap year seems to be an increasingly legitimate part of the American post-grad experience.And yet, I never thought it would be something I’d... more
Once You Know This — the debut novel from Emily Blejwas, a Minnesota native and mother of four — tells the hopeful story of an 11-year-old girl who struggles to make her future bright, amid the makeshift family that emerges around her.Bonus: Blejwas will read from her book on Sept. 28 at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis.$16.99 more
Teenagers need family. They may not say it. In fact, their outward actions seem to defy this. Their eyes are always on their phones. They hide in their rooms, binge-watching Netflix, while still texting in five group chats at once. Sometimes, I think I’m really having a good conversation with them and I realize they didn’t hear my last verbal... more
“Practical solutions grounded in neuroscience” are at the heart of this revered book by Colleen O’Grady, a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 25 years’ experience and a mother to a once-teenage daughter of her own.Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter explores the teen brain, the... more
Junior year for my first born is finally done. Honestly, I think they should’ve given us parents a ceremony, something with certificates of completion and small speeches. I realize that, in generations past, a boy of 16 would practically be an adult. Sixteen-year-olds of yore had to prove their manhood/womanhood in dramatic ways. They... more
Try-on-at-home clothing services seem to be taking over the world. Adults have Stitch Fix and Prime Wardrobe (and many others). Kids have Runchkins, Kidbox and Rockets of Awesome (truly awesome, in our experience), to name a few. And now a local mama of three girls — professional stylist Wendy Witherspoon of Edina — is getting in on the... more
From the author of Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind, comes a new book to help parents and kids thrive during the teens years: Crazy Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens with Love, Laughter and the Science of Resilience.Drawing on neuroscience, psychology and “real-life stories from the teen battle trenches,”... more
We live in an age where we’re always on the move. And that societal rhythm affects the heightened pace we keep as a family. As a mom, I know I’m the metronome in setting the tempo for our kids — maybe even more so than their dad is. And as you may have heard me mention before, I prefer a normal walking speed as opposed to that... more
It’s the bane of every teen’s existence: Acne! Indeed, imperfect skin is an unfortunate reality for many kids during adolescence. And it comes right about the time teens care more about their appearance than ever.While the reasons for developing acne are complex, there are ways to help prevent and treat outbreaks when they occur. As with... more
I was feeling a little guilty this week. While on Amazon the other day, several albums popped up as “recommended for you,” based on my previous browsing. I wasn’t really looking to buy, but many of the titles I wanted were available for same-day delivery. What a world we live in! I ordered a couple records, and that evening I... more
In the age of social media, the surge of a good story can circulate around the world and back — and leave you spinning. I’m a 40-something Gen Xer, the parent of two teens. I do my best to keep up, but I’m aware there are things trending all over the Internet that aren’t the soccer pictures of my fellow moms’ kids.Netflix’s 13-episode series... more
This New York Times bestseller — and a Top 10 Book of the Year, according to Time — attempts to bridge the generation gap between today’s parents and their girls, drawing on in-depth interviews with more than 70 young women, plus input from a wide range of psychologists, academics and experts to reveal “hidden truths, hard lessons and important... more
With the advent of my youngest starting high school on the way, I can’t help thinking how ready I feel for her new adventure. With the first, it’s a guessing game, isn’t it? We so hope we’re getting it right. Then we — after one (or several) mistakes — start to seriously question things: Could I have done that better? If I had to do... more
More than 40 percent of mothers choose to stay at home for a significant amount of time after having children.Reentering the workforce, however, can be a bear.In Moms For Hire: 8 Steps to Kickstart Your Next Career, L.A. film and television producer (and single mother of four) Deborah Jelin Newmyer offers encouragement and solid advice as well as... more
You’ve finally arrived. You’re the parent of teenagers. You’ve made it through the sleepless nights of babyhood, the tedious making of multiple lunches and snacks every morning. You share your home with somewhat independent creatures that may not keep a tidy bathroom, but show glimmers of their own future adultness. It’s hard not to make... more
Kitestring calls itself “your virtual overprotective mom.”It’s a free, text-based service (not an app) invented by an MIT student who was worried about his girlfriend getting home OK.To use it, you text a time frame to Kitestring. When the time frame has passed, the service sends you a text, asking you to check in. If you don’t respond, Kitestring... more
“You don’t have to play the guitar, you know,” the photographer said to 15-year-old Donovan Mack.Sitting on a tall white box, Mack dangled his feet idly as he plucked notes from the instrument. “I like to,” he said, and the soft melody continued as Will Swanson, also 15, moved around him, snapping his camera, trying to capture different... more
I have no excuse for my consternation. We’ve been warned for years. All along, we’ve heard comments in response to the antics of our kids’ younger personalities, playfully pointed out as little foreshadows of what might be yet to come: Oh, you think that’s bad? Just wait ’til they’re teenagers!She’s so pretty. Better watch out: You’... more
If your kid’s headphones seem seriously cranked, check out Etymotic’s ETY-Kids5 Safe-Listening Earphones for ages 4 and up.These noise-isolating buds are specially designed for safer sound output, so they’re safe, even when your teen turns the volume up to 11. $39 • amazon.com • etymotic.com more
The advent of middle teenhood has brought on a slew of stressful new challenges — grades, college-prep exams, varsity-sports dynamics, overscheduling, driving lessons and more. Just when you think you’ve had about as much as you can handle, you realize: My kiddo is sure taking a lot of Snapchat selfies. Does he even hear me talking to him... more
Parents face many factors when deciding whether — and where — to send a kid to summer camp.Do the dates work with your family’s travel plans for the summer? Will your child miss out on a lot of sports or other activities at home? Will she make friends at camp?Will you choose a camp that focuses on sports, religion, outdoor activities, academics or... more
Every month Minnesota Parent receives self-help parenting books filled with stories about how hard to is to parent (and why), but they’re woefully short on solutions. They’re 98 percent backstory. This book — How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk (part of a longtime bestselling series) — actually offers how-to... more
From the beginning of my parenting journey, I’ve looked at the faces of my children with a bit of wonder and awe. I behold them as gifts bestowed upon me. I’ve studied their expressions, their reactions and their moods from the time they were just babes in my arms. I consider it my job to lovingly guide them to pursue who they’re... more
Billed as a Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out, Alex J. Packer’s book, updated in 2014, is billed as a “wacky, comprehensive, and insightful etiquette book that shows teens how to use good manners to build fulfilling relationships, get what they want out of life, feel good about themselves and save society... more
“Watching TV with your teens presents all kinds of pitfalls: out-of-the-blue raunchy sex scenes, a surprise bloodbath (Game of Thrones, anyone?) and other awkward moments you never wanted to share with your kids.”So says Common Sense Media’s TV Editor, Polly Conway, who recommends 10 teen-safe shows to bridge the gap at tinyurl.com/teen-... more
The group of parents now raising tweens is the last to grow up — basically — without the Internet. The good news is that, having received our first email addresses on dinosaur systems as college students, we DO know how the web works. We all have Facebook (well almost all of us), plus most of its cousins. We’re hooked on getting answers... more
Three years ago, I reluctantly bought my then-fifth-grade daughter her first cell phone. We were new to the state and I didn’t have the comfort of known friends/neighbors to count on if a soccer practice ended early, or if I was running late to pick her up from school.I broke with my own firm belief that no elementary schooler should need his... more
If your child is struggling with overeating, it can be incredibly hard to discuss the issue.Aimed at helping parents of ages 10 to 18, Free Your Child from Overeating — written by therapist and mother four Michelle Maidenberg — helps families address the causes of overeating and offers more than 50 mind-body strategies rooted in cognitive... more
Q: Our teenager listens to music with over-ear headphones and she CRANKS them so loud! What is her risk of noise-induced hearing loss?A: If you’ve ever been to a music concert and left experiencing ringing in your ears and difficulty hearing, you know firsthand that loud sounds can cause hearing damage. Most of the time, attending a... more
Like me, you may think of the car-buying process as something like grocery shopping at a box store on a Sunday afternoon, only worse. You know it’s going to be painful, but you grit your teeth and get it over with. Sure, you go home with what you need afterwards, but they didn’t have everything you wanted, and you probably spent more than you... more
During a recent dinner conversation with my teens, I asked the age-old conversation starter: Who did you sit with at lunch today?I got two very different responses. As I took their answers in, I realized that this one simple question defines how they each approach life and relationships. When they were youngMy daughter is a 13-year-old eighth... more
KoalaSafe creates a new wi-fi network in your home that’s set up just for the kids.You can restrict the hours that the Internet is on, block sites by name or category (such as “adult” or “social media”) or block specific apps (such as Snapchat).You can require YouTube SafeSearch and Google SafeSearch to restrict inappropriate search results, too.... more
I was 14 years old when my mom sent me off from my home in Central California to stay for a summer with my aunt in Hinckley, Minn.The trip was intended to ease me into a new move, which included changing high schools. I spent my summer canoeing on the local lake, experiencing my first thunderstorms and tasting my first brats from the... more
Chelsea Clinton, with her book, It’s Your World, challenged tweens in 2015 to “get informed, get inspired and get going” to make positive changes in the world.Now, given the history her mother made recently — becoming the first female nominee for President of the United States — this book ($18.99), which explores the challenges of poverty,... more
Angst: Noun. A feeling of dread, anxiety or anguish. I recently had the privilege of hosting some very dear friends from Paris for a week.Our family friendship was one of those serendipitous discoveries. When we met, we found a playmate for each of us, if you will. They’re a family of four, with an older son and younger daughter close in... more
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about some tangible motto or quip that I might share with my eldest son as he enters his last two years of high school.As a mom of a boy, I’ve learned how important it is to economize my words.In his elementary years, I realized my ranting and long-winded explanations to him about making his bed and brushing his... more
With all the heavy textbooks kids carry — along with tablets and laptops and more — isn’t it time someone came up with a backpack that actually helped them get organized and stay comfortable?We think IVAR’s backpacks come pretty darn close with strategically placed, sewn-in dividers that distribute weight more evenly and reduce lower-back strain.... more
Thirty and Flirty and Thriving is the phrase Jennifer Garner’s 13-year-old version of herself says over and over to break free of her young teen stage in the film 13 Going on 30.The Razzle-eating teenager desperately wants to move past her awkward phase and into adulthood.I’ve read it’s kind of a thing for moms to show this flick at their... more
Parenting teenagers can be intense.Adolescents’ huge ups and down can drive you and the rest of the family crazy!Eline Snel — author of Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) and founder of the Academy for Mindful Teaching in Leusden, Netherlands — offers tips for... more
I am a Minnesota parent.I have, for the most part, raised my children here. And, on top of that, I'm lucky enough to have a voice as a columnist and features writer at the magazine that represents our parenting community.But I did not grow up here.I grew up in a predominantly white, sheltered community in Southern California, proximal to Long... more
Caring for others is an essential skill that can give today’s young people a leg up in all aspects of their lives. So says author Michele Borba, an internationally recognized parenting expert.Her new book — UNSELFIE: Why Empathic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, coming out this month — gives parents “science-backed” tools for teaching... more
Having two children hovering around either side of adolescence brings up new concerns to both to worry about and anticipate. Some concerns tap you right square on the nose and make your eyes water. They get you when you least expect them. As both of my kids encounter the talked about “change,” I’ve been doing some introspection on the... more
Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age — a 2016 documentary that explores how much screen time is too much — is now available for screenings nationwide.We here at Minnesota Parent wish someone would screen the film locally this year. Find out how at screenagersmovie.com, where parents also can find tons of resources — including “pro-social”... more
Last summer, I took my son to the elementary school parking lot for his first driving lesson. His birthday falls in October, not only a busy time, but also a time when, here in Minnesota, precipitation comes in many forms. I liked the idea of him being over the initial shock of taking control of a car — without the added stress of... more
But he was waiting to hear from friends who were planning to get together. Even when I added the extra temptation of getting burgers on the way (usually a slam dunk to get our kids to hang out with us), he still said no. Like many teens, he suffers from FOMO — fear of missing out. That left me alone with my FOGO — fear of grocery outings... more
Our family vacation was off to a pretty good start. We were chanting:Seuss is on the loose! Seuss is on the loose! Seuss is on the loose! All before we received our requisite tropical sunburns, island braids and Ron Jon T-shirts, we joined in this mantra with an enthusiastic group of fellow Carnival Cruise passengers, marching not... more
New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Larry Gonick continues his popular series of math, history and science books with The Cartoon Guide to Algebra ($18.99) — 222 playful pages tackling essentials such as variables, quadratic equations, rates, proportion and more. Paperback, e-book, Kindle and iPad versions are all available now.... more
I never told my kids I expected straight As from them. I’m not sure whether this is a good, bad or better thing. I just want them to do their best. I suppose the next obvious question is: How do I measure their best, exactly? Admittedly, I haven’t come up with a system yet. All I know is that during their elementary years I... more
Early spring is ACT season in Minnesota. Elizabeth Smart — president and founder of a boutique online tutoring company that prepares students for the SAT, ACT, AP and SAT exams — has crafted a concise ACT-prep pocket guide: Acing the ACT: An Elite Tutor's Guide to Tricky Questions and Secret Strategies that Make a Big Different ($12.99) is... more
One of the very first activities at Camp Angel involves getting all of the campers to stand in a line.Campers are then asked to step forward when a leader calls out a characteristic that speaks to them. When prompted by their favorite foods, colors or animals, kids gradually start stepping forward in small groups.But it’s not until the end,... more
A girl who looks no more than 9 years old spins gracefully — 25 feet in the air — her small hands gripping strips of bright blue silk, hanging from the ceiling.A young boy leaps on a large trampoline, flying ever higher with each bounce.Another girl whizzes past on a unicycle, leaning into a turn with an arm out for balance. Nearby, six kids... more
Camp Pillsbury is not your typical woodsy, lakeside summer camp. It’s not remote, secluded or even a little bit rustic. Instead of cabins, Camp Pillsbury lodging is comprised of dormitories on a beautiful 20-acre campus in the city of Owatonna, population 25,000, 65 miles south of the Twin Cities. Held at the former Pillsbury... more
I remember when my kids were young and our evenings were spent with them playing with the neighbors’ kids in the street. While they rode bikes or rollerskated, I chatted with the other parents of the neighborhood and went in and out as I got dinner ready. I usually had a glass of white wine on the counter that I’d sip between... more
Have you picked up our Camp Issue (or perhaps paged through our e-edition) yet?It's a whopper.Yep: March is our biggest issue of the year for Minnesota Parent.Why? Summer camps — whether you’re looking for a half-day camp for your preschooler or an overnight camp for your teen — have become a tremendously important part of growing up in the Twin... more
Many parents know all too well the answer they’ll get if they ask their child what he or she did on any given day: “Nothing.” But after a day at a Revolutionary Sports summer camp, that answer might get a bit more interesting.It might go something like: “Soccer, basketball, cricket, Frisbee, lacrosse, handball AND tennis!” At... more
“There is a predictable pattern to teenage development, a blueprint for how girls grow. When you understand what makes your daughter tick, she suddenly makes a lot more sense.” So says author and psychologist Lisa Damour in her new book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Billed as some of the... more
I watch the news every morning with a cup of coffee in my hands — like clockwork — at 6:05 to be exact. The kids know this is the only time no one (not even dad) can ask to change the channel. No cartoons, no Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, no stage audience laughs, just the news.  My teenage son, who is up at 6 a.m. for the 7 a.m. bus, sits... more
Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. In fact, publishers are catering to adults like never before with a bevy of adult coloring books released in the past year. The Doctor Who Coloring Book? Yep, that’s a thing. There’s also an Indie Rock Coloring Book (featuring pages dedicated to bands like Bon Iver and Iron & Wine) and The Tattoo Coloring... more
Pump It Up The Plymouth and Eden Prairie locations of this popular chain of indoor bouncy-house warehouses offer sensory-friendly open-jump sessions every month. During this time, lights are dimmed and the music is turned off.When: 6–7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in Plymouth and 6–8 p.m. Feb. 16 in Eden Prairie. Call ahead or check each location’s calendar for... more
Listening Library and Penguin Young Readers have just launched a new resource for LGBTQ teens, parents, teachers and librarians: Read Proud Listen Proud. Readers can find suggested books and audiobooks highlighting LGBTQ issues and characters, along with author interviews and discussion guides at readproudlistenproud.com. The site was inspired... more
Over the last couple years, my husband and I have taken it upon ourselves to introduce our 15-year-old to some of things we loved when we were teenagers.Call it a walk down nostalgia lane. We’ve had many a Friday night listening to music, hopping around Spotify to find our favorites. Inevitably, it always returns to the ’80s.My son, who plays... more
Fourteen-year-old Maria Keller of Plymouth has been named a 2015 honoree by the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes for her non-profit organization, Read Indeed.Each year, the Barron Prize celebrates 25 inspiring, public-spirited young people who have made a significant positive difference in the world. Maria was honored for her work in... more
Without hesitation, you’d take your child to the emergency room for a broken arm, the dentist for a cavity, the pediatrician for a sore throat.But what do you do when your child suffers the death of a loved one, bullying at school or low self-esteem? What happens when you learn that your child is hurting other kids at day care, refusing to... more
There are few things as magical as experiencing falling snow through a child’s eyes — and Minnesota winters (usually) give us many opportunities to enjoy plenty of snowflakes. And that’s a good thing: It’s important for families to get outside and remain active during winter months. The more active kids are, the healthier they’ll be.Winter... more
When it comes to cultivating good kid habits — reading every day, saying please (and thank you) and cleaning up your own messes — it’s really never too young to get started. Now add to that list the habit of kindness: Researchers have found that caring and compassion skills can be practiced and, like a muscle, get stronger with use. Even... more
The responsibilities and choices that come with parenting a child with a severe disability or developmental delay are intense, immediate and pressing. Saving for your young child’s future may seem like one thing you can put off for now. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you should ignore: Someday your child with special needs is going to... more
My 15-year-old son, like most modern American teenagers, spends a good deal of time on his phone. It’s easy to be one of two things as a parent: I can be tired of keeping up — and just forget trying to understand what Snapchat is — or I can try to keep up. I admit I’ve done a little of both. The first option is much easier.You need... more
Q: What do you recommend for vitamins for kids? Gummies? Flintstones? And at what age should we start?A: For children older than 1, in general, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend vitamin supplements. It’s thought that if otherwise healthy children are eating a normal, well-balanced diet, they’re receiving what they need of... more
Many parents today have made a habit of feeling guilty about the hours of screen time their kids are exposed to every day.But it’s not just entertainment that our electronics are providing.In fact, devices — an average of more than five per household in the U.S., according to a report from Ericsson — are increasingly being used for productive... more
St. Paul author Geoffrey Saign has hit the jackpot with his 2014 book, WhipEye.Not only are teachers, kids and Amazon reviewers raving about his middle-grade urban fantasy thriller (the first in a series), it’s also received two pretty big literary honors this year — first place in children’s fiction from the 2015 International Book Awards and a... more
Today’s games and puzzles are so well-designed — and in tune with kids’ and parents’ needs — they seem to play more like toys! And that’s making more and more of our playtime downright educational. Check out these awesome games (including a local favorite) for stocking stuffers and more!  Cat StaxWhy we love it: This game’s cute,... more
My 12-year-old daughter recently announced to me that she wanted to redecorate her room. She wanted it more grown up with a new color palette that involved: Anything. But. Pink.I saw this coming. She’s been looking, starry-eyed, at the new Pottery Barn Teen catalog for the past year, earmarking the pages along the way. Seeing this... more
Not every kid excels in high school. If you have a teen whose grades need improvement, don’t lose hope. According to author Barbara Dianis, an education specialist, ADD/ADHD academic coach, there are proven strategies and techniques students can utilize to transform their grades and raise their class rank. In her 150-page paperback, Grade... more
Recently, one of the young girls on my block  rang my doorbell. She was selling homemade cupcakes. The price was reasonable, the treats looked delightful and my neighbor was beaming with obvious pride. Of course, I bought a few.Half an hour later, her sister rang the doorbell. She was selling homemade dog treats. These things looked... more
What do you get when you put 20 kids — age 1 to 10 — in a room full of brand-new toys? Our curious and cute testers, all Minnesota kids, found 30 great toy picks for holiday gift giving.Read on to find the full results to our annual Toy Test, including options for all ages, starting with toys for infants and on up to top picks for teens.... more
Soon we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving — a national day of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and of the past year. In our society today, Thanksgiving is typically celebrated with a gathering and feast. But, often, the thankfulness aspect of the holiday seems to be overshadowed by the emphasis on the commercialism on the day after... more
We all know Facebook isn’t famous for filling our lives with intelligent ideas. So imagine my surprise and delight the other day when I came across an FB advertisement for a device called the Bluapple that promised to save me $640 per year on groceries. Finally! All those hours spent on Facebook — liking family photos of people I hadn’t... more
If you just came back from a Minnesota apple orchard with a 10-pound bag of apples (what a steal!) — and you’re not quite sure what to do with them all — try this recipe from the new cookbook: Little Bites: 100 Healthy, Kid-Friendly Snacks. Once you’ve made it, this recipe should be easy to remember: Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees — and it... more
Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager? I have some recollections of the emotions I felt: I feared that the inner dialogue in my head was somehow shouting out to everyone around me. Of course, it wasn’t. But the crushes, the school pressures, the dynamics of my family life were all bubbling together inside me like they were in... more
Q: Lice is on the loose at school! What’s the best way to see if our kid has it?A: Anyone can get head lice. Every year, millions of school-aged children will become infected with head lice, most commonly preschool and elementary-aged children. Though it’s not a pleasant condition, it doesn’t cause any serious health issues or... more
For so many parents, time is a hot commodity: You hurry home from work to pick up the kids at after-school care or sports, rush home to make dinner, then eat on the run while driving to another activity. Homework gets done on the fly and everyone goes to bed exhausted, only to repeat the routine again the next day. Life is busy and time... more
Minnesota's apples are ripe and ready!And with more than 125 apple orchards open to the public across the state — including more than 20 near the metro area — that’s a beautiful thing.Local orchards cater to families with farms tours, petting zoos, hayrides, gift shops, apple-picking opportunities and apple treats of all sorts.And many of them... more
Tom Weber, a host for Minneapolis Public Radio, is out with a new book encouraging local exploration — 100 Things to Do in the Twin Cities Before You Die.“A lot of times people hear about cool things and make that mental note, ‘I should do that some day,’” he said. “When it comes time to think of things to do, they forget. I hope this is a way to... more
Recently, my friend Jennifer was talking with her 7-year-old son, Jackson, about his allowance. She was introducing the spend-some, save-some, donate-some system, and he was excited about this step toward being a more responsible big kid. Jennifer said the conversation was breezy yet earnest as they talked about what he liked to use his... more
INGREDIENTS2 cups frozen peas (one 10-ounce bag)1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (see sidebar)2/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oilCoarse salt and ground pepper12 ounces pasta DIRECTIONSCook 1 cup peas according to package... more
As parents living in a digital age, many of us have thousands of pictures of our kids. But among those many images, certain photos stand out — signature shots that somehow speak perfectly to how we remember our kids in certain stages. They transport us back in time. I have several photos like this, and I can get lost in them if I look... more
Traveling around Minneapolis-St. Paul just got a lot more fun! Kid Around Town, a new free app by Twin Cities app designer and mama Aneela Kumar, is a family-friendly travel guide to top destinations around the Cities, featuring virtual scavenger hunts, trivia questions, photo challenges and a variety of other city “missions.”Developed for ages 6... more
Aija Mayrock was bullied throughout middle school and high school. Through it all, however, she learned a lot — and, at the age of 16, she wrote a lively, fun book to help kids age 10 and older not just survive, but thrive in the face of bullying. The Survival Guide to Bullying ($9.99) features tips, personal stories and quick quizzes... more
When Renee Piersa of Bloomington and Erica Myking of Burnsville became parents they quickly discovered the vast array of family friendly activities available in the Twin Cities.It didn’t take long before the longtime best friends — both Apple Valley natives, both moms to two girls, both working full-time — had a list of favorites they wanted... more
Aimee Jackson of St. Louis Park remembers exactly when school stopped being fun for her son. “It was right around third grade when he started getting testing anxiety,” she said. “He had taken standardized tests earlier, but it seemed like in third grade the teachers started emphasizing test prep and test day directly to the kids.”That was all... more
The start of a new school year is fast approaching! This time of year can be a very exciting and joyful time for some, but it can also trigger some feelings of nervousness or apprehension (for both kids and parents).This year will mark my 15th year as an educator, and now, as a parent, I also have a house full of school-aged children — this year... more
As a young tween, my daughter participated in a Destination Imagination tournament — an academic, kid-focused, think-outside-the-box program in which teams create and participate in challenges. Its goals are admirable: Encouraging kids to work together as a team, trust one another’s different gifts and ideas, and improve their critical-... more
Q: I’ve heard that kids with asthma should start their medications before school starts in anticipation of cold season. What do you advise?A: Any child with a diagnosis of asthma, especially if the child has frequent or persistent symptoms, should have an asthma action plan. Some children are especially susceptible to wheezing when they catch... more
Summer’s slipping away. Instead of pool noodles, coolers and grilling gear filling the seasonal aisles at Target, it’s back-to-school supplies everywhere you turn.Bleah.But, wait: Once you’ve stocked up on Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, there’s still time to savor this unbelievably beautiful (and precious) season we call summer in Minnesota.Our... more
AMUSEMENTSRainbow Play Systems showroom, Bloomington — Sarah Fejfar, Mendota HeightsGrand Slam, Burnsville — Kelly Marsh, Prior LakePump It Up — Jenny MacCourt, PlymouthBrunswick Zone. Very organized and I just sat back. Everything was taken care of! — Shauna Coble, Saint FrancisMemory Lanes, Minneapolis — Matthew Larkey,... more
My boys are 13 and 11, which means I’ve thrown roughly two dozen birthday parties over the past decade or so (no wonder I’m so tired). I’ve never been a skilled party-giver, but nor am I a fool. In those years of experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about birthday parties. And so, if some cruel twist of fate were to subject me to... more
If you’re looking for something cool (really cool) to do for your kid’s birthday party this year — and if your kid’s really into trucks and other big vehicles, then you might take a look at the new venture that is Extreme Sandbox.This family-run business in Hastings takes the touch-a-truck experience to a whole new level.Extreme Sandbox — a 10-... more
Summer activities in Minnesota are terrific for helping children enjoy exercise as well as develop social skills. As with any physical activity, however, there’s a risk of injuries. Ever year, more than 200,000 kids are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for playground injuries. As an orthopedic surgeon in Minnesota, I see a lot of... more
Before I had kids, people warned me that “they” watch everything you do. I didn’t quite believe it until I had my two girls. Fast forward nine years later and I have two sets of feet following me everywhere — in the bathroom, when I’m in the shower, when I’m on the phone and, of course, while I’m watching my favorite television show... more
Is there anything better than sitting outside with an ice cream cone on a hot summer day? This ritual gives us a moment to pause, to stop and smell the lady slippers, to perhaps reclaim some unplugged family time, to look back on our own good old days of summer.We don’t go out for ice cream to sustain the body or... more
WATERMELON-MINT POPS3½ cups seeded, cubed fresh watermelon¼ cup cold water1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice6-8 mint leavesPinch of sugar (optional) Place ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm (about 8 hours or overnight). LEMON-LIME BASIL POPS½ cup lemon juice (... more
Believe me, I know how it happens. You’re in a hurry. You’re only going to be in the sun for a little while, no big deal. Besides, you’ve exposed your precious hide to the elements before, and nothing bad happened. It’s hard to get worked up about consequences that might be waiting in the future. (And of course as soon as you go swimming... more
I was 21 years old the first time I travelled abroad. My final destination was a semester-long study program in Cheltenham, England. My plane from the West Coast landed in Boston along with a terrible snowstorm that cancelled my flight to New York City, where I was supposed to meet the college group I’d be travelling with to the UK.... more
We have an abundance of beauty and nature in Minnesota. Why not share that with your children by taking them for a hike?I know: Hiking with young children can be a challenge, to say the least.But it offers so many rich benefits. In my own experiences, there have been many not-so-enjoyable “trails of tears” with my own little ones getting... more
 I used to exercise all the time. I loved the gym! OK, liked is more accurate. But it felt good to work out. I especially liked the challenge of the escalator stair machine. Hot yoga, kick boxing and hiking were my other favorites.Then I had my son. And, boy, did I get lazy with working out. I was tired. I had... more
For many years, the mention of summer brought to my mind images of my kids spending far too long in their jammies. I can picture them still holding onto the coziness of their sleep with untamed bedheads and quiet play in their rooms. A new day meant a new opportunity to linger at an undiscovered park or pool, and endless places to picnic... more
Not every summer day is sunny. Thunderstorms often chase us indoors. But you don’t have to stay cooped up at home, thanks to nearly 30 Minnesota bowling alleys offering FREE bowling for kids, all summer long.See kidsbowlfree.com for details.   more
When friends visit from out of state during the winter and complain about the weather, I don’t try to convince them they’re wrong. Minnesotans know winter here can be more than tolerable if you embrace it by getting outside and skiing, running or even fat-tire biking. But it’s a rare outsider who can be convinced of that while staring... more
This baked French dessert (kla-foo-TEE) features fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick, flan-like batter.Ingredients1 tablespoon unsalted butter2 eggs2 egg yolks½ cup all-purpose flour4 tablespoons sugar½ teaspoon kosher salt1 ½ cups heavy cream1 teaspoon vanilla extract8 ounces cherries, pitted... more
Inspired by the grilled pineapple side dish served at Brazilian steakhouses, these tasty spears pair well with grilled chicken or steak. You could also serve them with cinnamon-sugar-sprinkled vanilla ice cream and call it dessert. Going camping? Pineapple travels well. Before you go, place the dry ingredients in a large plastic bag, prep the... more
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than 2 and recommends limiting older children’s screen time to no more than one or two hours a day. Despite that advice, screens time is second only to sleep as the thing our kids spend the most time doing, according to a study conducted by the National Institute on... more
Looking for a fresh way to bring science to life? Brains On! — a new podcast for kids — answers a variety of listener questions. Each episode is about 25 minutes long and is hosted by a different kid. Find out: How and why do jellyfish sting?What makes paint stick? How do volcanoes erupt? Does video game music affect you?In a world in which STEM... more
It starts in early spring when the snow’s still falling: We dream of weekends filled with warm breezes, walks in the woods, wildflowers, cool lakes and babbling brooks rushing with life (instead of ice chunks).We wish for family camping trips. Well, it’s time for the wishful thinking to be over — because it’s finally here. That... more
David McCullough’s book urges kids to stop trying to be perfect. Born from a commencement speech by the author (a high school English teacher and a father of four), the book aims to “liberate kids from the me-centered attitudes encouraged by our culture.” They aren’t special. “Let them be, rather, part of something bigger than themselves.”$16.99... more
There’s a sweetness in child’s play that sounds like nothing else. And I’m not eager for that to go away when it comes to my tween daughter. She’s in both worlds right now, still playing with dolls, but also Instagramming selfies with friends. I can’t say she does one or the other more. I see the days of make-believe arching into a world... more
Travel is often thought of as a leisurely activity, a luxury that doesn’t fit easily into family life. When you’re caught up in the challenges of parenting, a run to Target may feel like the most ambitious trip you can manage. But if you want travel to be a part of your children’s lives, you can’t leave it to chance. You’... more
Name of the game: Rock Me ArchimedesObjective: Move your marbles from the center of the teetering platform to your end without letting either end to touch the ground.Ages: 8 and upPlayers: 2Cost: $34.99Why you’ll love it: This game not only helps kids (and even us adults) develop their strategizing and estimation skills, but it also... more
Q: Help! Our teenage son has terrible acne. Over-the-counter products are just not working. Is this a hormone issue? Would prescription medications fix it?A: Yes, it’s a hormone issue. And, yes, there are many prescription options that can work if the over-the-counter products aren’t helping.Acne results from increased sebum (oily substance)... more
Beverly Gillen, a Minnetonka mother of two grown daughters and a parenting educator, has published the ultimate get-going-early guide for kids and parents who have their sights set on college.Get Connected for College: The Savvy Student’s Guide to College Prep ($19.95) covers the top 100 college ... more
My kids pull weeds. I should say, my husband and I make our kids pull weeds. Torture?Maybe, for us. We started this when we lived in Austin, Texas. It’s hot there, like really hot. So the weed pulling thing didn’t have a lot of initial appeal for them. To be honest, it didn’t have much appeal for me either.Our yard started out like those found on... more
Picture this: You call your 7-year-old for dinner, and she comes running into the dining room, even though she knows your house rule is no running inside — and drops your iPhone on the floor. Boom, cracked screen. Or how about this: While emptying the dishwasher, your 10-year-old gets a little hyper and puts all his weight on the open silverware... more
Years ago, when my kids were climbing out of their toddler years and starting school, I came across a fascinating theory about childhood development. It went something like this: A child’s trust belongs to his mom until about age 7. After that, the child transfers that same trust to his father to carry him into his tween years. As the child grows... more
We were skeptical of the stainless steel lunch boxes from PlanetBox.But then we tried The Rover ($59.95 with necessary accessories), designed for kids (or even adults) who like a wide variety of foods in smaller not-touching portions.Yes, it’s heavy — 2.5 pounds empty, including the must-have carry bag.But we loved packing... more
Summer camps that focus on STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — aren’t exactly new.But this year, Twin Cities families will have even more choices for kids interested in STEM activities.Engineering for Kids opened up its first Minnesota franchise in Minneapolis in December and will be offering its first day camps this spring and... more
What’s the best part of a summer camp at the Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis?If you ask the Keefe kids — who’ve been going to camp there for nearly a decade — the best part of camp actually occurs after the weeklong program ends.The Bloomington siblings, ages 8, 11 and 18, all said their favorite part is returning to camp after their projects... more
With a snap of the bat, the wiffleball is … gone! … straight over the boards at Target Field and into the woods of central Minnesota. Wait, what?At Trout Lake Camps — in the Brainerd Lakes area about 3 hours north of the Twin Cities — anything is possible, including a grand-slam home run at a Major League Baseball park. The central... more
Every summer, campers at Sunnyside Stables Horse Camp get lots of opportunities to ride horses. Thanks to indoor and outdoor riding arenas — as well as horseback riding trails on 75 rolling acres in rural Rosemount — kids ride every day, rain or shine. But they also get horse experience that goes far beyond “giddy up.” Camp... more
I’m not what you’d call an athlete — at least not by my standards. I practice hot Vinyasa a couple times a week and try to get a short run in once or twice a week as well. (I prefer floating on my paddleboard, but snow and ice hinder that in winter.) I’ve learned that, for me, it’s all about the exhale.I was the kid in middle school who... more
Is your child ready?Children are ready for new experiences at different stages. Parents know their children best and these questions can help gauge if this is the summer your child should start camp:•What’s your child’s age, and what’s your perception of his or her readiness level? Children younger than 7 who haven’t had other overnight... more
Q: When should we start talking to our daughter about sex?A: The short answer to this question is as soon as she starts asking questions. Discussions should be at an age-appropriate level. These questions often start with questions like, “Where do babies come from?” Questions about an obviously pregnant woman are likely to come up, too.Long,... more
Minnesota has hundreds of summer camps to offer families. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to send their kids to camp.However, there are many options available to help families to reduce costs and make camp a reality for their children. Financial assistanceFinancial assistance is available at numerous Minnesota camps, you just have to apply... more
Drums pound in the distance. A trumpet signals a charge. Suddenly a hoard of warriors — decked out with helms and axes — charges toward the castle, attempting to break down the gates. The defenders inside, whose armor all shares a symbol of a boar upon it, ready their swords and shields and quietly reaffirm their planned strategy to repel the... more
My oldest daughter was a reluctant camper. Every year, she went because we told her she had to and that she might (one day!) enjoy it. We started trying various overnight camps in first grade. She always packed at the last minute and routinely copped an attitude when we’d near the grounds. Each year we’d hold our breath, hoping she’... more
The very first opportunity I had to live out my role as mom came before my first child was born. It was the simple understanding that everything I took in to my body was being funneled into the formation of my baby. Keeping track of what I ate was the one thing I could do externally that gave me the opportunity to mother the changes that were... more
You know how New Year’s budget-tightening advice goes. You hear you should make coffee at home instead of stopping at the coffee shop — the one where the barista greets you with your very own personalized joke-of-the-day — and you can save about $3,700 a year. But of course you miss your daily joke, and it’s a scramble to make your own coffee... more
My daughter is no longer a little girl. It sort of crept up on me. Yes, at 11, technically she’s a girl. She chatters about everything and nothing like a little bird outside my window. She giggles, she jumps and makes up dances on her trampoline. But she also shuts the door hard when she gets ready for school. I’m no longer allowed in... more
As most parents do, I often think about my children and wonder what kind of adults they’ll be when they grow up.I hope they will become altruistic individuals, giving more than they take from the world.But my children are constantly bombarded by messages from billboard ads, celebrity figures and TV commercials that scream the opposite — that... more
<p>Close</p> your eyes for a few seconds and picture a computer programmer or coder. Odds are high you just pictured a man in the role, maybe even a loner or a geek.And it isn’t just adults who share in this preconceived notion. Children do, too, including young girls, which only feeds the stereotype.Women make up only 18 percent... more
I have a picture of my son excitedly holding a small box that had arrived in the mail. It was taken just weeks before he started middle school. In it, his ecstatic expression says it all: I have arrived. I am among the elite. I have a phone.A few months into the school year, he realized: As exciting as it was to pull it out and text... more
Q: Can you please explain the risks associated with frigid weather so we can get our teenager to dress sensibly this winter?A: Winter weather presents two big risks for anyone, regardless of age: Frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is a condition in which skin tissue will get cold enough to freeze. It’s most commonly seen when skin is... more
I’m on this road, but I do not travel it alone.My ever-growing, three-egg-a-day-eating teenage boy and my spunky, determined tween daughter — who goes through her day in a constant hum — join me.It’s strange that these two who I watched oh-so-carefully as they grew in and out of car seats and into booster seats — and quietly awed at their... more
Black Friday is just around the corner, and — if you’re a parent to a kid who’s into video games — that means it’s time to study up.November and December bring about most of the biggest and most highly anticipated video game releases of the year. But which games are right for your kid and his or her maturity level?Yes, video games are rated by the... more
When my son entered middle school — the dead center of the tween years — he seemed to lose his head. And I couldn’t figure out why.During his elementary years, schoolwork seemed almost effortless for him. Always easygoing and friendly, confident and calm, he was a natural in the classroom.He was a verbal processer, so he’d happily talk through... more
Isn’t it funny, how all of a sudden you find you're right where you are supposed to be?I have a lot of that happening lately, some days more than others. I'm new to the Twin Cities, after most of my life in Central and Northern California and most recently a five-year pitstop in Austin, Texas.  It’s been months of getting lost every time... more
Sending your child off to school can be a traumatic experience.During a child’s earlier years, parents often have — for better or for worse — complete control over every day.But when you drop your child off at that first day of preschool or watch him or her drive away to high school on their own, you’re reminded that a lot of control dissipates... more
Melissa Pederson, a Minneapolis mother of two, knew there was a problem when her very bright daughter stopped liking school. Teachers were frustrated with her work, despite the girl’s high standardized test scores and expansive vocabulary. What was happening? Pederson contacted Loran Meccia, director of the Center for K-12 Guidance at... more
It’s October: Papers are strewn in lockers and backpacks. Pencils, once tall and sharp, are now short and stubby from long math problems. Club meetings and fall sports practices are in full swing. And your kiddo looks … tired.   In fact, you’re tired — tired of running around and trying to figure out how to have a family meal together (... more
One of my favorite parenting activities is attending my kids’ games. Sure, I complain about the busyness of practice schedules. And I don’t always enjoy rushing out the door on a Saturday. But once we start throwing the folding chairs in the car, willing the Keurig to fill our travel cups faster and remembering we didn’t wash the game... more
When Sumi Mukherjee travels to schools throughout Minnesota to talk about his experience with years of childhood bullying growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he starts the conversation the same way each time.“How many of you have been bullied?” he asks.The Plymouth-based writer and speaker then sees about half of his young audience members... more
The other night, my 13-year-old came up to me while I was working at the computer. “I have done the math,” he said. “And you owe me $92.”Whoa, what? He was right. Last week I’d borrowed $40 when I needed cash. The other $52 was because my wife and I had forgotten to pay his allowance of $13 for four weeks running. Sure, it’s a... more
My daughter, 11, is starting middle school this fall, and my son, 13, is starting high school. Although, I know they’re both excited, I sense a bit of apprehension at the mention of a big step-up year. They’ve both heard the horrors of far more work and academic challenges at their next levels of school — the older one, of course, adding to... more
Camping with children can be difficult at times, sure, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, peaceful even! If you’re just getting started, however, it’s hard to know where to begin your adventures. To provide answers, we’ve found the ultimate expert — Kelly Cunningham, author of the Muddy Flowers mom blog and co-founder of Beyond the Tent... more
Five years ago, when my daughter Louisa was finishing seventh grade, her English teacher gave the class one last assignment: Write a letter to your future, high school senior self. Include a description of your current likes, dislikes and accomplishments; write down some reminders of what you want to do as a senior; and make some predictions.The... more
I considered myself lucky this spring. While many parents of high school seniors were helping their children cram in visits to multiple college campuses before making a final decision, our family was spared that down-to-the-wire stress. My daughter, Louisa, has known since last fall that she’ll be attending a four-year art school in... more
I learned the hard way, when my kids were little, how quickly fun in the water can turn to danger.My father-in-law and I were seated at the poolside entertaining Elias, then a toddler, while my two older kids took a quick swim before lunch.As 7-year-old Louisa and 5-year-old Sebastian laughed and splashed in the shallow end, joyously demonstrating... more
There’s something magical about spring, especially in Minnesota when bitterly cold winters keep us cooped up for long stretches. If you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy doing outdoors this year, here are four container gardening projects we promise your kids will love. They’ll be delighted to find they can grow not just... more
Q: How can I protect my kids from ticks and Lyme disease this summer?A: Think small. The kind of tick bites you should be most concerned about come from deer ticks, which are smaller than the larger and more common wood ticks, also known as dog ticks.Many parents mistakenly think wood ticks can transmit Lyme disease. They can’t. (Be aware, though... more
Q: My 10-year-old daughter is highly allergic to bee stings and has been prescribed an Epi-Pen to use if she ever gets stung. How can I help her overcome her fear of having to use this shot?A: Practice, practice, practice. If it’s been a while since you received this prescription for your child, you may want to check with the office that... more
“I always imagine good parents teaching their children Spanish, or how to play the flute as soon as little Bri or Megan can sit up. I’ve taught mine how to consume pasta without silverware and zone out in front of the tube.” — Jerry Stahl, “Bad Moments in Parenting,” therumpus.netI wasn’t prepared for the guilt.Even though I’d heard of “mother’s... more
Parenting philosophies abound. But one aspect of parenting we can all agree on is that protecting our kids is a big job. A hot stove, the neighborhood bully, crossing the street — parents are forever looking out for things in life that could hurt our precious kiddos.For this mom, the unseen threats are even more frightening, which is why... more
Moss-covered rocks. Dusty LEGO sets. Countless sticks, crammed into a corner. These are the “treasures” of my 11-year-old’s room.I’m well aware of his love for stuff. It’s a fun ritual when he’ll show me his collection of rocks, cards or erasers. But I’m starting to wonder if his little collections are getting out of control. Desk drawers are... more
I grew up a coach’s kid. Our family activities revolved around sports. The majority of my time was spent at a small Iowa gym, and having to shoot 10 free throws in a row before I could come in the house to eat dinner was standard protocol. Even the families we hung out with included other coaches. It was the norm.  It wasn’t until my father,... more
It's spring, and that means (finally!) it’s time to get outside and play! And with all the excitement — and often fast and furious play — kids can get hurt. Bumps and bruises are common, of course, but what should you do when your little one suffers a head injury? Should you be looking for signs of a concussion?Experts in pediatric health and... more
April is Financial Literacy Month, but as parents, we know teaching money matters is a year-round affair. Each trip to the store. When a child asks us about how much the house is worth. After handing over allowance. There are plenty of opportunities to talk about money. The problem is, money conversations can be uncomfortable and overwhelming... more
One of the best coaches I ever had as a kid was my older brother, Pete. He spent hours with me on our front lawn in the summer, patiently instructing me on how to position my glove to catch grounders, and how to keep my eye on the ball as I went after his pop-ups. On other occasions he taught me how to throw a football with a spiral, and he helped... more
Q: My kids love sports, but I’m concerned with overloading their schedules. How much is too much? A: Participation in sports can be very good for children and teens. It can promote positive socialization and help them develop skills for working through disputes and disagreements. It also helps them stay busy in positive activities... more
Tax time. If you’re like many Americans, you want to rush through them, or outsource them and be done. That is, until next year. But rushing through your taxes or failing to plan can mean costly mistakes, added hassle, or tax breaks left on the table. For parents with kids at home or in college, there are provisions in the tax code just... more
My kids generally enjoy school, but there are times — Monday mornings, for instance — when they complain that school takes up too much of their lives. I can understand the sentiment, even though I don’t believe it’s true. If you account for holidays, breaks and weekends, the total number of hours they spend in a classroom is much smaller per year... more
When Jay and Penny Olson dropped their nine-year-old daughter Autumn off at Camp Kesem two summers ago, she was withdrawn — not her usual bright and bubbly self. Autumn shut down when her mom was diagnosed with cancer earlier that year. “It was like we had lost our little girl,” Jay Olson said.When they picked her up a week later, things... more
My 15-year-old son, Sebastian, had his first taste of night driving a few months ago. He and I had attended a meeting for students who had recently completed or were taking driver’s ed training. Since we had his permit along with us, I suggested that he drive home. Until then, his behind-the-wheel experiences had been limited to brief,... more
If you have a tween, you’ve been parenting long enough to have navigated a number of safety issues regarding your offspring, whether it’s seat belts, sunscreen, or secondhand smoke. But if you’re like me, you may have overlooked a concern that’s been right under your nose all along—or, more accurately, on either side of your head: hearing loss.... more
I should always bring Kleenex to parent-teacher conferences. Every October, it never fails: something a teacher says about one of my three children will cause a lump to form in my throat and tears to materialize. Parental pride mixes with gratitude as I think to myself, “This teacher really gets my kid!”Last fall, it was a conversation with my son... more
I’m not fond of waking up my 17-year-old daughter on school mornings. It can be downright dangerous. Even in a half-awake state, with her head buried under a twisted pile of blankets, Louisa can convey her anti-morning attitude with a powerful kick aimed in my direction.I try not to take it personally. That’s why I found it reassuring to read in a... more
The transition between summer vacation and the start of the school year reminds me of New Year’s Eve. It’s an opportune time to shed unhealthy habits and initiate positive ones that will lead to a more balanced life. And like New Year’s resolutions, school year resolutions are most successful when you realize that good intentions alone don’t get... more
When I read stories of children who start charitable foundations at age nine, or donate their birthday gifts to homeless kids, I can’t help but wonder what makes these givers so different from my seemingly selfish brood. My kids seem to possess little interest in helping others, focused more on how to increase their collection of LEGOs and stuffed... more
You receive a text from the mother of your daughter’s friend, asking if she can sleep over at her family’s house that night.You come home from work one day to find a message on your home answering message, from a man who sounds like your son’s physics teacher, requesting that the boy stay after school next week for extra help.You check your kids’... more
As the parent of a ninth-grader devoted to her iPod, a seventh grader who’s enamored of video games, and a fourth-grader who knows his way around YouTube, I worry about the increasing role technology plays in my children’s lives.Yes, I am an old fogey. I prefer print copies of magazines, newspapers, and books. I just bought a CD at a store instead... more
Schools today must play by numbers: they’re forced to quantify learning through such measures as standardized tests, grades, and pass rates, or risk losing funding or being placed on watch lists. But most educators know this: important learning can happen at a social or emotional level, harder to quantify or measure today but more deeply planted... more