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Archive: Elementary Schoolers

Facebook, with training wheels

A couple of months ago, one of the kids from the old neighborhood "friended" me on Facebook. I was a little flattered, but also taken aback: what could a tween possibly get out Facebook? We've talked before about the relentless march of technology such as cell phones into tinier and...

By Brian Reid | December 16, 2009; 12:14 AM ET | Comments (28)

How far do you go in maintaining the Santa myth?

This is the time of year when parenting writers can't help but ask the question: Should you lie to your kids about Santa? But that's not all that interesting to me. Of course you should lie to your kids about Santa. And when they're old enough to start asking reasonable...

By Brian Reid | December 15, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (83)

Getting the 'brace face' at a younger age

Halloween came early for me this year. About a month ago, I took my elementary-schooler to the orthodontist, and -- and hour later -- she emerged looking like a tween, her new brackets decked out with green rubber bands. All she needed was a copy of "Twilight" and she would...

By Brian Reid | October 28, 2009; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (30)

Why We Shouldn't Care About the End of Walking to School

The New York Times, over the weekend, shined a light on one of our great modern scourges: the lack of kids who walk to school. Now, I don't mean to quarrel with those who believe that children could stand to get up and move a bit more often, but the...

By Brian Reid | September 15, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (42)

Start That Bilingual Education Yesterday!

The best age for a child to learn a second language is ... drumroll, please ... before age 7. And the earlier, the better. That's according to a team of international researchers studying the issue, reports the Associated Press. Babies who are raised bilingual learn two languages in the same...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 21, 2009; 03:00 PM ET | Comments (10)

Kindergarten Angst -- Is It Worth It?

For the past several months, many parents have been running on the kindergarten stress treadmill. Private vs. public? The county's language immersion programs vs. the neighborhood school down the street? Redshirt your child or not? After all, kindergarten is the new first grade, more academics and little play. That's what...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 24, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

Travel Soccer ... or Baseball ... or Any Sport

At the risk of alienating the parents of tens of thousands of youth in the D.C. region and probably hundreds of thousands of parents elsewhere, I just don't "get" travel sports. The big story this week is about a bunch of parents banished from the sidelines of two of their...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 22, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (67)

On Surviving Tough Easter Questions

By Rebeldad Brian Reid This year, Easter came and went without any hard-core questioning from the kids on the two toughest questions of the spring: 1) Does a giant anthropomorphic rabbit really come to the house to leave us chocolate? And 2) How does the whole resurrection thing work? I...

By Brian Reid | April 17, 2009; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (41)

When A 7-Year-Old Gets Bullied

When Beth of Silver Spring's daughter came home earlier this year and told her mom that a boy had been calling the girl chicken, Beth didn't take it too seriously. Beth told her daughter to squawk like a chicken back at the boy, figuring that would be the end of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 15, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

The Age-Old Battle of the Super Veggies

By Jan Gangsei Back when we were kids, my brother, Greg, like most 5 year olds, was not a big fan of eating his vegetables. In particular, Greg was not a big fan of eating his green beans, something he ranked right up there with stacking wood and putting away...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 13, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (28)

Tooting Your Own Horn: How Early is Too Early for Music?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Not long after we moved last summer, the family stopped by the local weekend-long arts festival and were immediately waylaid by a small tent packed to the gills with musical instruments. The local conservatory had pulled out violins and saxaphones and trombones and were letting kids...

By Brian Reid | April 9, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Sonic Youth, Miley Cyrus, Charles Barkley and Role Models

By Rebeldad Brian Reid On the way to school last week, I flicked on the radio to tune in the local college radio station, which sometimes brings howls of protest from the little voices in the back seat. But this time, the reaction was different: "Dad ... what is this?"...

By Brian Reid | April 2, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (25)

Netiquette: Lessons from South Korean Schoolchildren

Word: Netiquette Definition: The rules for behaving online The rules are fairly simple. According to Albion.com, they involve such behaviors as "remember the human, adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life and be forgiving of other people's mistakes." They are rules that many...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 25, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Big Birthday Present Question

A decade or so ago, a friend with kids got tired of her son always wanting to buy expensive gifts for his friends' birthdays. So, she gave him a birthday present allotment of about $5. She was thrilled with the results. Her son started to understand just how much the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 20, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (70)

A Friendship That Crosses Genders

One boy, one girl. They've been friends forever, having met at the ripe old age of 6 months. And so far, at age 7, the friendship continues. Sure, the relationship has had its share of bumps. For instance, when boy wasn't invited to girl's princess birthday party because he couldn't...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 4, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (22)

The Coaching Conundrum

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The ground is still frozen around here, making it hard to think of kids skipping over green fields chasing soccer balls or baseballs or Frisbees. But the local parks and rec department has begun hanging banners near local playgrounds soliciting for youth coaches. Even though we're...

By Brian Reid | February 26, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

Sleep Problems Aren't Just for Babies

Sleep. It's one of the Big 3 baby topics from Day 1. Is he sleeping through the night? Napping? Going to bed easily? Are you setting up the proper routine to encourage sleep? But then, surprise, you wake up one day and sleep is no longer the topic du jour....

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 23, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (42)

Scholastic: Too Much Marketing or Just Right?

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is on a new mission: To get Scholastic to drop the marketing of "toys, trinkets, and electronic media, many of which promote popular brands" from its in-school catalogs. The commercial-free childhood folks have paved such a path before, in getting Scholastic to drop...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 17, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (44)

Cynicism About Valentine's Day

By Rebeldad Brian Reid I am officially old enough to have grown cynical about Valentine's Day. Don't get me wrong: I'm not cynical about romance. I still believe that anniversaries are events to be celebrated. But I've just about had it with Valentine's Day: the overpriced, half-dead flowers, the sale...

By Brian Reid | February 5, 2009; 12:07 AM ET | Comments (51)

Is 15 Minutes of Recess Too Much to Ask?

15 minutes per day. That's the amount of recess time that researchers say elementary schoolchildren need to behave better in class. Unfortunately, 40 percent of U.S. schools do not provide children with recess, according to the International Play Association, which fights for childrens' rights to play. The latest study, published...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 26, 2009; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

Do You Have a Mom Car?

It doesn't really matter if you're driving a minivan, SUV, hybrid or a 2-door hatchback. The Mom Car is all about cleanliness -- or lack thereof. I find it eerily easy to relate to Momlogic's Andrea, whose car is a stinky, gooey, sticky mess. My husband, on the other hand,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 20, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Traveling By Train Alone

Lenore Skenazy is no stranger to criticism over allowing her son independence. Earlier this year, Skenazy started an entire Web site and movement for free-range kids after critics pounded her for allowing her then 9-year-old son, Izzy, to ride the subway alone. Skenazy's movement is back in the forefront this...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 2, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

Making the Most of Winter Break

The kids are excited; either their winter break has already begun or is about to. And that means a lot of time off school. Uh oh. For many of us that also means a whole lotta kids without many plans beyond holiday celebrations. That may be a welcome change for...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Sony Violates Children's Privacy Act

Sony BMG Music Entertainment has a privacy notice on its Web sites that users under the age of 13 can't participate in Web page activities. But, in reality, the site accepted registrations from children who entered a date of birth indicating that they were under 13, the Federal Trade Commission...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 12, 2008; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

Buh-Bye, Club Libby Lu

There's plenty about the state of our economy to lament and plenty of stores that are going out of business that we may feel sorry for -- even miss. But there's one that's closing that's simply a good riddance: that's Club Libby Lu. More than a year and a half...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2008; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (26)

Public Restroom 101

Ahhh! I've become hypermom without wanting or trying. For a few minutes, a recent shopping trip at Costco turned me helicopterish. The boys had a simple -- quite normal -- request. To go to the bathroom. And so, they went in without me. To be fair, they often go into...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

The Homework Disconnect

By a stroke of luck, our elementary school thus far has had a somewhat progressive approach to homework. It doesn't go so far as to not give it, like one private school in Coconut Grove, Fla. In kindergarten, we had a monthly calendar of assignments, all of which were optional,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 19, 2008; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (57)

Finding Toys, Both Safe and Inexpensive

All I want for two upcoming birthdays and holidays are a few safe, well-liked, inexpensive toys for the kids. And I'm well on my way to finding them, no thanks to toy companies who seem to think putting oversized, overpriced toys front and center makes sense these days. Alright, maybe...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Too Sexy for Little Girls

Sexy Halloween costumes are nothing new. Every year about this time, parents and reporters all around the country lament the low necklines, cinched waists, shrinking skirts and fishnet stockings that have sprung up at every Halloween costume venue in the country. The subject was a big talker last year on...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (7)

Food Allergies' Emotional Toll

As we discussed last week, food allergies can have a huge impact on the practical side of raising our children -- all of them -- in a safe environment. But allergies also exact an emotional toll on the kids and their parents. Mom Tracy Rosenfeld has had to face those...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Case of the Missing Jacket

I think 6-year-old may have set a new household record for lost clothing. Like most, we've had the occasional winter hat walk off somewhere at school. And we've got our fair share of one glove in search for a partner. When socks get a hole, we save the good one...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (22)

Sports Make for Happy Families

Let's face it. Not all families are happy with each other all -- or even most -- of the time. But if your kids and you seem to be at odds more than not, you might want to look toward sports and exercise as a solution. That's just one of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 13, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

The Pennant Chase, Then and Now

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The calendar says October, which marks the screwy time of the year when I start caring deeply about baseball (and, more recently, Big Ten football). This has always come as something of a surprise to my family, who lives 11 months of the year in a...

By Brian Reid | October 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

Confessions of a Less-Than-Perfect Mom

Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish high holiday of repentance. For those of you not up on Jewish tradition, it's a time to throw away all the bad things we did over the past year and start fresh. And so, what better time to repent to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

Should Schools Be in the Fundraising Business?

Almost exactly a year ago, we had our first fundraising discussion. The Sally Foster packets had arrived -- as they did again a couple weeks ago in my house. This year, though, it's not the PTA fundraisers that have me up in arms -- it's the one sponsored directly by...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (49)

Talking Through a Financial Disaster

By Rebeldad Brian Reid I had a heck of a time getting any work done on Monday -- frozen wide-eyed as the S&P Index dropped like a rock as the market imagined a world missing huge swaths of the financial services industry. Everyone I talked to was worried. Even if...

By Brian Reid | October 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

A Good Busy or Overscheduled?

What a surprise: Some new studies about scheduling kids for lots of extracurriculars conflicts with conventional wisdom. CW -- which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics and social sciences professor William Doherty, of the University of Minnesota -- says that overscheduling can lead to anxiety, depression and lack of sleep...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 29, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

Turning Boys on to Reading

When it comes to instilling a love of reading, husband and I have done everything right -- or so we thought. We read together with the boys during the day and at bedtime. We go to the library regularly as a family. And through the years, the boys have shown...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 26, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (36)

6 Food Myths for Parents to Debunk

In the ongoing battle to try to ram nutritious food into our kids, the New York Times has identified “6 Food Mistakes that Parents Make.” The mythbusting effort is laudable – and the research marshaled is impressive – but there are good reasons most of these myths have stuck around....

By Brian Reid | September 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (75)

Got Lice? Get the Facts

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26627227/ CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (39)

Finally Finding My Own Balance

Recently, I did what I once thought would be unthinkable. I drove to the office one final time, packed my boxes and left my desk a clean -- well, rather dusty, actually -- slate. Seventeen years of sweating it out in journalism and it all comes down to this: Is...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (81)

A Lesson in Behavior

chicago sun times: http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/1144389,CST-EDT-skuledit04.article cdc: youth violence prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/YVP/school_violence.htm

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 10, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (95)

Lunchbox Winners

180 school days. That's the number of lunches times two that I'm packing between last week and June. And if my kids had their way, the types of foods in their bags might total about a handful. While some of us are old hands at packing lunch every day, higher...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (105)

Where Are All the Men?

Relief! That's the word that describes my emotions last week when we received the long-awaited postcard telling us who the first-grade teacher would be. While we're lucky that our school has many very good teachers, there are a few I'd rather avoid. A good teacher means my son will likely...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (159)

'Greener' Schools

Most of the items on the school supply list make a lot of sense. Pencils, crayons, glue, notebooks, folders. But some just had me scratching my head. Scissors? Rulers? Pencil sharpeners? What happened to the scissors kids brought in last year ... and the year before ... and the year...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (101)

Off With the Training Wheels

Riding bicycles is just a regular kid activity that all kids should do, right? After all, bicycles are just one of those things that promotes independence. Learn to ride and the kids can bike to friends houses in the neighborhood, and to the park, and to the library. Sure, they...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 13, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (88)

Saturday Morning Laughs

Beep Beep. Beep Beep. "Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner" has been running through the halls of our house lately -- literally -- thanks to some newly found cartoons on YouTube and husband's newfound talent making animal balloon roadrunners. The cartoons bring back fond memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons while...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 12, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (44)

Math: A Lot of Questions With Few Answers

T.C. Williams High School English teacher Patrick Welsh calls it the math meltdown. Montgomery Blair High School math teacher Eric Walstein calls the county's math program "narrow and shallow." And Fairfax County's Frank Atchison, who coordinates that county's math program, says that "in [the] end, it does look like a...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 11, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (95)

Teaching Charity

The kids have a complicated allowance structure. It started when the oldest started clamoring for every Lego on the face of the planet. Meanwhile, his parents are more the save-and-save-and -save-again types. Half for spending and half for saving, we figured as we started our little lesson on fiscal responsibility....

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (142)

Has Advertising to Kids Changed?

Companies are making headway in trimming their advertising of unhealthy foods to kids. That's the latest from the Council of Better Business Bureau (CBBB), which began implementing The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in January 2007. Thirteen food and beverage companies are participating in the program, which aims to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 30, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (91)

Moving: 719 Miles and a Million Questions

By Rebeldad Brian Reid Ten years ago, I moved to the Washington area with all of my possessions in a green Mazda 626. Since I arrived, I've moved four more times. The total distance of those four moves, put together, was less than seven miles. But a week from tomorrow,...

By Brian Reid | July 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (234)

The Perfect Water Bottle

I'm in search of the perfect kids water bottle. Durable. Spill-proof. Washable. Sippy cups were bad enough. Drop them, bang them -- in general, treat them like toddler boys -- and many would start to leak regularly. Usually, the leak-proof insert had simply dislodged. Um. Didn't they say that thing...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Barbie vs. Bratz

Business Week and others dubbed the court case the "Battle of the Dolls." And in Round 1, we had Mattel in one corner and MGA in the other. Mattel, otherwise known as Barbie's corporate parent, said MGA Entertainment -- Bratz' corporate parent, stole work that belonged to it. You see,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (186)

The Cost of Child Care

Links: Child/Staff Care Center Ratios Allowed by State: http://www.nccic.org/pubs/cclicensingreq/ratios.pdf Google/NYT Story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/05/business/05nocera.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5124&en=77aa1e331c0119e3&ex=1372996800&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink Definition: Family Licensed Child Care Homes http://www.nccic.org/pubs/cclicensingreq/definition-fcc.html

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 21, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (160)

Game Day

"Do you DS?" Several times in the past few months, boys have thrown the question out to 6-year-old. And not only don't we own any video game systems, I'm not sure he even knows what the other kids mean. Clearly, the boys are using it as a conversation starter. It's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (115)

Are You a Kidsick Parent?

You and your child finally decided he/she was old enough for sleepaway camp. You packed the bags, maybe even had your child pack with you so he'd know exactly what he was bringing, including home addressed, stamped envelopes, paper and a pen. You dropped the kid off with a kiss...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (78)

Skin Protection 101

Ah, July. The weather in D.C. alternates between hot and sweltering. And about the only relief is to: a) stay indoors or b) swim All that time at pools and playing in water fountains means the kids get lathered with sunscreens, some of which contain ingredients I can't possibly pronounce....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (62)

Raising Lefties

Before becoming mom, I made certain, shall we say, presumptions about my future children. They'd need glasses early, just like their dad and mom. They'd be adventurous eaters, not unlike mom and dad. And they'd be right-handed, again like mom and dad. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 7, 2008; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (95)

The Great Crayon Fiasco

It all started innocently enough. Dinner out on a busy, tiring weekday. Crayons at the table that made their way into pockets. That part of the story is about as ordinary as they come. Except, same busy, tired parents and kids managed to forget about those crayons. And so, Saturday...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (53)

Who's Harder to Raise?

As we've discussed before, boys and girls are inherently different. It's one of those facts that parents say but non-parents really don't believe until they have their own kids. But true it feels. Now comes the question from Parenting.com's Paula Spencer: Is one gender easier to raise than the other?...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Thank You, Teachers

Come Thursday at noon, another year of school will have come ... and gone. Not only does that mean scalding summer days, switching to the camp routine and living at the pool, but it also means it's gift time. Yes, now's when we get to pay thank our kids' teachers...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 10, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

When Teacher is the Bully...

It's the end of the school year. Time for field trips, special events and getting ready for the summer. But for a couple of kindergartners in the news recently, it's the end of a particularly rough first school year. Take 5-year-old Alex Barton. Alex, who is autistic, was sent to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 4, 2008; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (95)

Bunk Bed Boo-Boos

With two boys ages 6 and 4, the idea of buying bunk beds has crossed our minds more than a few times. Friends have them and love the camaraderie the children feel sleeping top to bottom in the same room. At one house, the bunk bed has been more like...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Batter Up!

Microscopic magnets in toys -- definitely dangerous. Lead. Yep, that, too. But aluminum baseball bats? A threat to little boys and girls? That's just what the family of Steven Domalewski says. Steven was 12 when a line drive hit him just above the heart, says the Associated Press. His heart...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 20, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

What Did Your Family Eat This Weekend?

Oh, the horror. Soccer ends for both boys, resulting in two parties/award ceremonies. Add to that two birthday parties, and needless to say, the weekend -- and the boys' bellies -- were filled with their share, and more, of junk food. Chips? Check. Pizza? Check. Donuts. Check. Cake. Check. Juice....

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

GROSS!

My six-year-old has a new habit these days. To get in and out of the bathroom faster -- I presume -- he sees no reason to lift the toilet seat while peeing. Now, I always thought I had to focus on teaching the boys to put the seat down, which...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 16, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

Electric Company, Come On Back

Welcome back, Electric Company. Question is: Can the 1970s magic of an amazing cast -- Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby -- be replicated? PBS is bringing back the show that ran from 1971 to 1977. "The literacy crisis today is as pervasive and alarming as it was in 1971...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

Fair Play?

AddictingGames.com. BarbieGirls.com. Club Penguin. EverythingGirl.com. Lego.com. NickJr.com. These are just a sampling of children's Web sites 1.0. They are geared to our kids' generation -- a group that is growing up with computers from Day 1. And these sites and others have raised some eyebrows at Consumer Reports' WebWatch. In...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 8, 2008; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will Travel ... With Kids

Are you planning a trip this summer? If so, you might want to take a few trip tips from Christian Science Monitor contributor P.A. Moed, who's been there, done that with a now teen-aged son since he was small. * Give your kids a taste of the culture you'll be...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 6, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

Stepping Away From the Sitter

Goodbyes. They're never easy. And the one that my family is going through now will be no exception. For four years, we've employed our dream nanny. She came to us through another nanny we liked and trusted. She'd worked with other families in our neighborhood for 17 years and raised...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tag, You're Out!

Three weeks ago, students at Kent Gardens Elementary School in McLean were told tag was out at recess. Too dangerous, said the principal. The move sparked a debate at the school, a committee formed and tag is coming back. Sadly, Kent Gardens Elementary is far from the only school that...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 25, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kids Influencing Kids

Once a month, we attend a family Shabbat service at our temple. The number of families attending is fairly small in comparison to the full temple membership, which makes the low-key service fun for all of us. But the real highlight comes afterwards, at the potluck dinner. All the kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Free Range Isn't Just for Chickens

New York Sun columnist Lenore Skenazy encouraged her son to spread his wings. She left the 9-year-old at Bloomingdales sans cellphone and let him find his way home. The boy had been begging for independence, Skenazy writes: Anyway, for weeks my boy had been begging for me to please leave...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (125)

Recyclable Art

In honor of Earth Day, let's talk art. Granted, I've spent way too much time strolling the aisles of Michael's for craft supplies. Paint in the big jars. Brushes. Glitter glue. Felt. Pipe cleaners. Beads. Play-Doh. Wooden cutouts with magnetic strips. Here are some of my favorite "recycled" projects over...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

The Debate: Party Present Opening

In Monday's blog about birthday presents, MarylandMom asked a question that struck me, too, as I read through the comments: Are we the only ones? My kids have never been to a party where the presents are opened at the party. Never. Everyone we know waits until after everyone has...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Computer Time for All Ages

Welcome to On Parenting's occasional guest blog feature, where we welcome parenting bloggers from around the Web. If you'd like to join the guest blogging party here at On Parenting, please e-mail parenting@washingtonpost.com. By Leticia Barr Since I began writing about children and technology, I've been asked many questions. One...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

The 'Right' Birthday Present

It all started innocently enough. Little girl, age 4, invites little boy (my youngest son), also age 4 to her birthday party. Boy and girl are playmates at school. The conversations start on the way home from school on Friday afternoon: Boy: I want to go buy [girl's] present. Mommy:...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (71)

The Dangers of Sport

Four-year-old is the kind of child who jumps, tumbles and slides whenever -- and wherever -- possible. He's gone through phases of only brushing his teeth while doing a headstand on a couch and performing jumping somersaults off the couch onto the hard-wood floor. That's when I first coughed up...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Slap on the Permanent Record

First-grader Randy Castro thought it looked fun to hit a little girl on her butt after watching another boy do the same. And for that, according to a Washington Post story yesterday by Brigid Schulte, he got tagged by his school as a sexual harasser and had the police called...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 4, 2008; 08:45 AM ET | Comments (41)

Rewards for Reading

A couple of months ago, a reading rewards program came home from school. Your child reads some books, writes them down and he gets a ticket to a baseball game, where the kids will be honored with a parade on the field. It seemed easy enough and our son was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Judging Books

My greatest love when I was little was reading. I'd often have multiple books going at one time. Long after my parents had said goodnight, I could be found under the covers with a flashlight, unwilling to put a book down. At bookstores, I'd sit myself down between the aisles,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 27, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (57)

Home Is Where the Learning Is

On Feb. 28, the Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles ruled that school-aged children in the state of California are required to be taught by credentialed teachers. What has ensued over the past month has been a furor in the home-schooling community, with articles and editorials in the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 26, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

How to Handle 'Challenging' Children

Sometimes, my oldest son and I butt heads. He's sweet, empathetic and loved by his teachers -- and parents, for that matter. He listens well outside the home. But come inside, and stubborn meets stubborn. Maybe it's the mistakes some of us make with firstborns or maybe we're just too...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kids' Worlds Online

Kid safety online seems to be the big buzz-term lately. Maybe it's because of the news around children are being bullied by "anonymous" friends. Maybe it's because of the potential of sexual predators instant messaging kids. Or maybe, as consumers of the Internet, we parents are more in tune with...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 21, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (12)

Family Movie Night

Sometimes, I wonder where the time goes. Busy week runs into busy week. Ice skating turns to soccer turns to swimming. By Saturday night, after long days of school and work, both parents and kids are just plain tired. A couple of months ago, my husband and I stumbled across...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (46)

The Tests Are Coming!

Two weeks in a row, my son's kindergarten class has been bumped from PE. When I asked why that was this past week, he said the older kids were practice testing in the gym. And so, the No Child Left Behind testing stressors have begun. First, we received an analysis...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 14, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

If Only I Knew Now ...

Hundreds of dollars for the "right" stroller. Hundreds -- even thousands -- more for experts from everything from sleeping to potty training to child-proofing. These are costs that some parents gladly pay for peace of mind or help getting a family on track. Remember those first days with your newborn?...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 10, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (43)

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Here we go again. Another kid suspended from school because of his hair. This time the offending child is 6-year-old Bryan Ruda of Parma, Ohio. Parma Community School apparently warned Bryan's mother twice before that his Mohawk violated the charter school's dress code, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports. The elementary school...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 3, 2008; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Everyday Math + Investigations = ?!?!

Why do I have to learn algebra that I'll never use? Ah, the universal question posed by many of my friends when I was a kid. Only this time, it came from my nephew -- the next generation. And sister-in-law's comeback was great! "Yes, you will. When you have to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 28, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (27)

I'm Scared!

My son is afraid. No, he's not a fraidy-cat -- not everything scares him. But offer him a ride on a Ferris Wheel or a water slide or any other amusement park ride that goes high and forget it. Clearly, we should have remembered that when we bought the family...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 27, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (37)

Overrated, Overread

Mr. Methodical (the six-year-old) is on a book kick these days. (Gotta say that I LOVE that he now likes books). And that means reading the Magic Treehouse books in order -- all of them. Near crisis even ensued over the weekend when the library didn't have book 20. Thankfully,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 21, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (78)

Point, Shoot, Then What?

Neighbors with new babies recently shared photos of the little ones via Flickr. That got me thinking -- again -- about my online photo service allegiance. Over the past six years, I've had good and bad experiences with photo sharing sites. First there was Kodak EasyShare Gallery. The site was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Valentines Are in the Air

And so it begins. Valentine's Day week. The elementary school sent home a note on Friday: Have your child bring in valentines for the entire class on the 14th so no child is left out. Here's a list of all the children in the class. Okay, so it's not a...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 11, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

The Languages We Speak

Forget music and gymnastics. The big "is-my-kid-keeping-up" trend these days is all about language; that is, how many languages your child is learning. The New York Times jumped on the trend in an article earlier this week: "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Spanish." While no one knows how much...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 7, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Bringing Up Voters

The election process. Presidential candidates are all over the news. Canvassers are arriving at our doorstep. One even blocked me from getting 4-year-old's bike out of the house over the weekend. Annoying "researchers" are calling daily during dinner. And still, I felt a small moment of pride the other night...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 6, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Ain't No Cure for the Summer Camp Blues

By Liz Snyder Well here's a twist, a guest blogger inviting a guest blogger; in this case my wife, Liz. She was poring over the Fairfax County "Parktakes" brochure this weekend in frustration, trying the solve the summer day camp puzzle for our kids. Yes, in February, the summer camp...

By Mike Snyder | February 5, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (50)

Hurts That Stick

Not so long ago, I had one of those weeks we'd all rather forget. You know the kind: Ankle sprain, second-degree burns and a hit-and-run car accident. While recovery from the ills took much longer than the week it took to incur everything, there were some terrific side benefits. Let's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Call the Homework Police!

Every night that I look at my son's unopened homework box, I feel a twinge of guilt. A monthly calendar of work. Lots of worksheets. A bunch of good learning games. But it's just not happening. Friends have figured out how to add homework to their routine without a problem....

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 31, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The COOL Mom

I am NOT the cool mom. That title currently belongs to a neighbor. Six-year-old went to play with her son the other day after school. At cool mom's house, he played Legos with friends, watched part of a Star Wars movie we hadn't let him see yet and ate cookies...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 28, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (83)

Are You Listening, Mom?

If your child is having a hard time grasping a concept, one solution might be to have the child explain it to you -- even if you don't know the answer yourself. That's the crux of a study on how kids learn from researchers at Vanderbilt University. The study tested...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (18)

Do You Kumon?

At a recent gathering of moms and kids, one mom asked the rest of us: "Do you Kumon?" Kumon for those of you, like me, who had never heard the term before some friends brought it up, is a seven-day-a-week academic learning, tutoring or enrichment program -- depending on who...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (48)

It Was Nice Knowing You, PTA

When school began in August, I had every intention of involving myself in my kindergartner's school. And what better way than getting involved in the PTA? So, I attended the first meeting. A decent sized crowd (about 50 people) showed up. Budgets were passed out. The officers went over money...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 10, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (32)

Little Girls, Big Limos

"Be happy you have boys!" So started the phone call the other night from my sister-in-law. She and her husband, non-parents who are unofficial second parents to my children, were dining near the Verizon Center on Monday night when the crowds started arriving for the Hannah Montana concert. Here was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (485)

Sibling Love and War

Before son No. 2 was born, husband and I spent a great deal of time planning to help his older brother welcome the new addition to the family. We talked with him about babies. We combed the library for sibling arrival books, eventually settling on and loving "Talk, Baby" by...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 4, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

Reality Check: The Fat Won't Just Disappear

We've talked about the issue before: A significant percentage of children in the United States -- 35 percent according to national figures -- are obese. But who would have thought that their parents don't know it? That's the crux of research out of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 3, 2008; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (55)

The Gift Conundrum

Apparently, teachers aren't much different than the rest of us. They like gifts ... if they're useful, according to a recent Washington Post story. Think baked goods, gift cards and gifts that reflect the teacher's interest. The odd regift and apple ornaments are no-nos, though. I readily admit I'm not...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 17, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (54)

Recording Memories

Ever since we became parents, people have asked whether we've shot video of fun childhood moments. Not just first roll, first steps, first words. But the kind of moments our kids might never believe. Like 6-year-old talking about his career plans to run Legoland and charge everyone $1 -- or...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 14, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Holiday-Birthday Mashup

With Hanukkah now in full swing and Christmas coming soon, it's easy to get caught up in that holiday spirit. But in our house, other big days are coming. Child No. 1 turns 6 this week, right in the middle of Hanukkah. Luckily, he's excited that he gets more than...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (107)

Too Sick for School?

Beware! I'm on a rant today. You see, I'm the mom who asks the preschool director to get other parents to keep their sick kids home. It's not that I'm unfamiliar with parents' needs to balance kids and work. It can be a pretty tricky juggle sometimes. I've had plenty...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 29, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Gifted Child

For years I've known that my now kindergartner has a special talent. He spent hours and hours doing tangrams at age 3. When other kids his age were just learning how to put interlocking puzzle pieces together, he was doing 24- and 48-piece puzzles bottom side up just for the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 26, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kids Don't Come Cheap

A couple of days ago, many of you discussed issues that keep you up at night. Sarah started it off: I'm kept up at night wishing I could afford to stay at home with my kids instead of working, and still afford a roof over the head, to repay the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 16, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (74)

All I Want for Presents Are A Few Good Ideas

"Did you see the recall?" husband asked first thing yesterday morning as the boys sat at their art table, meticulously putting Perler beads on templates to make shapes. "Where were those beads made?" The conversation happened no more than 10 minutes after I posted the latest Consumer Product Safety Commission...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The first marking period of the school year ended last week, which means parent-teacher conferences. And I've got to admit, the buildup to the conference has me a bit nervous. First off, the school has spent the past two months or so evaluating my son. The teacher has said that...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sleep. It Does a Kid Good

Take away much of my sleep for a night, and everyone in the house will survive. Take it away for night after night after night, and watch out. Mom's a bit like a stretched rubber band ready to snap. And it's not just the emotional distress from lack of sleep...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 5, 2007; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (53)

Cough, Cough ... Now What?

It's that time of year again. And no, I don't mean the start of the holidays. The first fall croup episode hit one of the kids in August. Despite the 90+-degree weather outside at the time, the pulmonologist's response: It's fall. Um. REALLY? Yes, he said. "I'm seeing lots of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Trick or Treat?

Halloween in our neighborhood is a fun, old-fashioned party. The kids still walk house to house, not store to store in a mall. Different blocks offer plenty of adult treats to go along with the kiddie ones -- usually chili, fondue, whiskey and other adult beverages. It's the last big...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 26, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (44)

The Debate: Public vs. Private vs. Home School

Back in the early '70s, my mother had given up on public schooling, but my dad saw no reason his kids couldn't go to public school like he did. That lasted until my mother learned that my sister was sleeping through classes and getting straight A's and my brother was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 19, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (59)

A Walk on the Independent Side

This morning, I will be starting down the road of teaching 5-year-old to walk to school alone. We're starting small. A couple days a week, I'll watch from the top of the street while he makes his way 5 houses down and 2 houses to the right. That's where he'll...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 15, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (47)

Ewww. I Won't Eat THAT!

Now I know why my kids are such picky eaters. It's genetic! At least that's what researchers at University College London say. According to a New York Times article on the picky eater study, most children will eat just about anything until around age 2. Then, they let their taste...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 11, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (65)

Home Alone on a School Day

During Friday's discussion of forgetting kids, David S. suggested a great topic, latchkey kids According to a 2005-issued Census report, 7 million children ages 5 to 14 spend some amount of time in "self-care." Kids ages 5 to 11 spend an average of 5 hours per week home alone; kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

I Know I'm Forgetting Something ...

Rushing here. Rushing there. Work. Grocery store. Make dinner. Soccer. Swimming. E-mail's to answer. Relative's 70th birthday to plan. Our day for school snacks. Our calendar's one big, black ink spot, and that's with only two kids. But managing to know who's in school and who's out on any particular...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 5, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Shoe Fits

Give my five-year-old a new pair of shoes, and like most kids I know, they'll be trashed within a couple of months. And the latest separation of sole and shoe, along with the lack of tread, forced the issue this weekend. So, off to Stride Rite we went. But here's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 1, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Winning Isn't Everything...

Tonight, husband is in command of the soccer coach's whistle for the first time. Parent coach No. 1 had to head out of town. So, he'll be joining another parent to teach five- and six-year-olds some of the basics of working together to score goals. In this, his rookie experience,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 27, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Run! There's a Kid Merchant at the Door!

The Sally Foster fundraising catalogue came home in kindergartner's backpack last week. My reaction: Ugh. Already? Husband's reaction: We can throw that away, right? And so I waffled. Trash it? Forget about it? Or suck it up and spend mega bucks on thicker wrapping paper in long sheets along with...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 19, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (132)

Ode to All Sleepless Parents

Today is Rosh Hashanah, a celebration of the Jewish New Year. As such, I'm staying off the computer. For those of you laboring at work, take some time to get a good laugh and shed a few tears at this "Pachelbel-inspired ditty" found on YouTube: Recalls Update: For some, the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 13, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (16)

Do Kids See Black, White, Brown, Etc.?

A mom and her daughter were obviously shopping for the little girl friends. They came across the Bratz Dolls. The only ones left were the Black or maybe it was the brown one. The little girl told the mom that she didn't want to buy that one because it...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 12, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (81)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

THE LOOK. I remember it well (and somewhat fondly now that I use it on my own kids). In fact, it's family lore. My mother could give us THE LOOK -- really more like a glare -- and we'd obey. THE LOOK was quite convenient in public where all the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 11, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (123)

School Is Tiring!

School is tiring business. That's the only thing that can account for a new level of arsenic in those early evening hours that we've been experiencing since the start of school last week. My sister warned me. Every year, the kids are exhausted the first few weeks of school, she...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 6, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Child Diagnosis 101

The number of kids treated for bipolar disease grew 40-fold between 1994 and 2003. But whether that many kids actually have the mental illness also called manic depression is another story. While the concern over the rise in diagnoses isn't new (The Post's Sandra G. Boodman wrote about it in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 5, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Greening the Kids

A couple of weeks ago, son No. 1 picked up some trash on our street and dropped it in a neighbor's garbage can on the way home. "That's one less piece of trash in the world, Mommy," he said. This is the same child who's been known to roam the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 4, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

It's Off to School We Go

"Are you sad?" "Will you cry?" Those are two questions I keep hearing from moms who've been where I am today -- the first day of kindergarten. And one thing is certain: My 5-year-old is ready for this transition. At the school's open house on Friday, he happily roamed around...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 27, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Family, Family, Where Art Thou?

Kids just want to spend time with Mom and Dad. That's the word from a recent poll on the subject, this one by The Associated Press and MTV. And that's just what this last week before school has been about for us. We bustled everyone into the car for a...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 24, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Snack Attack

Kathy Lazor, MoCo schools diet and nutrition: County provides following info to principals, who then make different decisions that run the gamut over bring anything to strict rules. Info is: be sensitive to children who have allergies. County expresses concern for foods that can cause food-borne illness b/c of food storage. Hence foods that require refrigeration are discouraged. For events in which parents may want to cook, they are required to prepare food on site and have a food preparation expert on site at the time to gaurantee that the food is prepared in ways that avoid food-borne illness.

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 21, 2007; 01:06 AM ET | Comments (88)

Put a Lock on That Door

Ah, the joys of toddlers in cribs. They can't come into your bedroom at -- ahem -- untimely moments. There are no fine-tuned preschool/elementary school ears listening to the rumblings in the other room with questions you'd rather not answer just yet. Once they grow, you can imagine the conversation...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 16, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

Lessons From a Three-Year-Old

It's beginning to feel a lot like hospital roulette these days. Looking back on our vacations over the past two years, it's hard to remember one in which younger son didn't have to either go to a doctor or hospital. First, it was Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 14, 2007; 07:49 AM ET | Comments (15)

Oh Wonderful Board Games

Finally! The days of Candyland and Chutes and Ladders are beyond us. Don't get me wrong; those games were fun for awhile. But there's only so much of Gramma Nutt and Queen Frostine -- Princess in newer versions -- that one parent can take. But before we delve into the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 13, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (89)

The Debate: Talking Pedophilia

"Jack McClellan blogs openly about where best to meet girls under the age of 12. The local authorities are watching him, warily. Should just talking about such matters be enough to get him locked up?" That's the lead-in to an article this week on Newsweek.com entitled: A Law-Abiding Pedophile? McClellan...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 3, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (54)

What a Chore!

Is getting your kids to do their chores a challenge? If so, check out Chore Wars, a free online game that launched this month. The game takes some setup time. The group administrator assigns points (i.e. minutes a chore takes) to different tasks. And then the war is on ......

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 30, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Subjects That Are Left Behind

Bye, bye social studies. Adios, science. School these days is all about reading and math. Okay, maybe not all, but it sure seems that way. According to a Center on Education Policy report released this week examining school subjects since the beginning of the 'No Child Left Behind Act,' 36...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 27, 2007; 06:22 AM ET | Comments (133)

We're Off to the Movies

Now playing this summer: "Ratatouille," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Transformers," and "Shrek the Third." Several months ago, we took the kids to see "Charlotte's Web." The thought: They hadn't been to the movies in awhile and it's a classic. Plus, the book wasn't capturing elder son's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 24, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (35)

Potter Mania

You might say that my sons were born to read Harry Potter. After all, their dad read them (and me) the Harry Potter books while I was pregnant. And now, as the last, long chapter of the series is about to hit our doorstep, I'm wondering when to start reading...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 20, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Manners -- Are They Really Forgotten?

According to Sierra on Friday in the comments, "Manners have been out of fashion for the past 30 years but I hear they are making a comeback. I only hope and pray it is soon." Sierra's not the only one to mention a lack of manners in kids these days....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 16, 2007; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (183)

Food Fear

Apparently, it's not just me who's noticed: More kids these days are being diagnosed with food allergies. According to Sally Squires's Lean Plate Club column today, 8 percent of kids aged 2 and younger have a food allergy. Some will outgrow them, some won't. In 2003, a leading allergy specialist,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 10, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (108)

Life's Small -- and Big -- Lessons

Maybe it's because I grew up near and around water, but swimming is something I consider a "life skill." There's no question that the boys will take lessons until I know that they are strong swimmers. It's unthinkable to me that they not learn to be safe and strong in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (73)

Where Charity Begins

This week, The Washington Post launched a package called Worlds United about 11 teenage girls who are spending part of their summer in South Africa teaching girls in a poor town how to play soccer. The girls also will take HIV/AIDs classes with the girls in the town, Port Elizabeth....

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 28, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Let Kids Be Kids

There's been a movement underfoot recently telling parents to let kids be kids. "Parents need to let kids out from 'house arrest'," wrote the San Francisco Chronicle in a story this past weekend. That followed articles in The Post ("Getting Lost in the Great Indoors") and Slate ("The Paradox of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 25, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (36)

Individual Peculiarities

A couple of days ago, several commenters responded to a detail about my child warming his milk in the microwave with "What 5-year-old drinks warm milk anyway?" So, I thought we'd have some fun today with food and other small habits our kids develop. For instance, my 5-year-old will only...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (49)

Let's Go Swimming

The swimming pools have opened -- YAY! -- and we spent a fair amount of time in a few of them over the weekend. I spent a significant amount of my childhood in pools and have always insisted that my kids be in the water at early ages to be...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 31, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Kindergarten's Not Just Play Anymore

Kindergarten is fast approaching in our household. A part of me can't wait to have the transition to a new school done and over with. We attended the open house and talked briefly with the kindergarten teachers. My son's been to the 20-minute orientation where he met and played with...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 30, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Supernanny's 'Seeds'

"Supernanny" was in town this past weekend. No, not British nanny Jo Frost herself, but the show's casting producers. And a funny thing happened: The turnout at their casting call was slim pickings. The show put a good spin on it. Casting producer Kim Clevenger told The Post: "People usually...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 24, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (31)

Back to the Basics

Kickball, Red Rover, hopscotch, marbles, Pogo sticks. They all have one thing in common: They're "retro" play, according to a recent New York Times story on children's play. Here's the theory: Kids need to be taught to play because they spend so much time on modern activities like video games...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 23, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (46)

Goodbye, Cat

"Mona's in the garden," pipes up my 3-year-old animal lover who's not been allowed to touch his best friend's cat for years. (Cats trigger his asthma.) "Yes, she's buried in the garden," I say. He repeats. I explain that Mona died and is buried in the garden. Not sure he...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 17, 2007; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (31)

Bullying Takes on More Forms

No matter how you slice the numbers, it's likely that you'll have a child who is subjected to bullying at some point. And that bullying can cause stress, a loss of self esteem and dropping grades. A recent Stanford University survey says 9 out of 10 elementary school students reported...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 2, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (113)

Talk to Your Kids About Shootings

Words can't describe the loss suffered by the parents and families of the Virginia Tech students who were killed two days ago. Yet as parents, we need to find the words to talk to their kids -- particularly those who are school-aged -- about this tragedy. The Mental Health Association...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 18, 2007; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (34)

Drive the Money Point Home

It looks like the topic of money and kids is one that's going to take on more importance over time, particularly as financial institutions get in on the get-out-of-debt act. In The Post's Sunday Business section this week, Margaret Webb Pressler writes about a pilot program called Finance Park that...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 16, 2007; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (28)

One Room or Two?

About 2 a.m. the other night, after oldest son came in whining for milk, followed by younger son whining for the same, I started to wonder if our decision to have our boys share a bedroom was a smart move. We have enough room for each to have their own...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 12, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sex at School and Other Stories

While I was out cooking for two Passover seders and traveling, some interesting stories flowed through the news. Yesterday, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committed $500 million to battle childhood obesity. The foundation's goal is to "reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States by 2015." That's noble,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 5, 2007; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (142)

Club Libby Lu

We went to Tysons Corner Center this weekend to let my eldest son spend his allowance money on Legos. And boy, did we get an eyeful. Walking through the food court were about a dozen girls with their hair teased sky-high and their faces covered in more makeup than I've...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 26, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (116)

The Debate: Do You Talk Religion?

My house is filled with singing these days -- mostly of Hebrew and English Passover songs that my son has been learning at school. This is a school that I adore in every way: great teachers, good projects, fabulous playground, really nice kids. But my children's classes are much more...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 23, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (196)

Give Me Money!

My 5-year-old wants money. Well, actually, he wants to go to the store by himself to buy Legos. And he's planned an entire Lego party with his friends in which they all walk to the Lego store together when they are nine -- in his words "old enough to go...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (102)

Summertime, Summertime

It's March. Do you know what your kids' summer plans are? The camp industry would have you believe that January's the time to get your camp sign-ups done. In truth, NOW's the time to sort through the details before all the camp slots fill up and you've got bored kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 7, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (40)

Boys vs. Girls

As I sit down to write, my three-year-old is playing in the next room first shouting "Chugga chugga choo choo!" with a train, then "zoom, zoom" with two racing cars. What gender is the child? I'm guessing most of you chose boy, and you'd be right. Before I gave birth,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 28, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (109)

 

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