Once again, Ophelia de Serres and all her friends at Penny Pumpernickel Pants Playcare reign supreme. Her educational “playcare” for children ages 2 and a half to 4 years old incorporates outside play, nutritious lunch and snacks, and lots of games, reading and crafts in a “cheery fabulous environment.” North Seattle parents give Penny Pumpernickel Pants Playcare serious props for healthy play-based learning specifically tailored to nurturing and engaging young minds and bodies.
Readers are awfully fond of Wedgwood’s Blossoming Buds Cottage, with its “wonderful staff” and “warm and welcoming” atmosphere. A cozy preschool for children ages 2 and a half to 5, the cottage offers kids a well-balanced schedule with lots of free-choice play. Parents also enjoy “Date Night” evening care twice a month.
Finalists in this section also include the dependable and fun care offered for children ages 2–6 at Bellevue’s Drop & Go at Dizzy’s Bus Stop, and the flexible hourly child care for kids ages 2–6 at The Nest (thenestkids.com) in Woodinville.
Next up: Best Nanny or Babysitting Services »
Nanny or Babysitting Service
For three years running, readers have chosen A Nanny for U as their favorite go-to for full-time, part-time or on-call nannies for the Eastside and greater Seattle. This practically perfect Teddy award winner provides “kind,” “reliable,” “trustworthy” nannies and forges lasting relationships with the families it serves. As one reader attests: “Because they’ve made newborn twins and a 3-year-old doable.”
As always, Annie’s Nannies, Inc. ranks high with readers for its personalized placement of expert nannies. As “Seattle’s original full-service nanny agency,” Annie’s is renowned for matching up personalities for the right nanny-child-parent synergy, and readers are fond of the “strong ethics and customer service” that produce lasting relationships between nannies and families.
Flexibility is always key for child-care backup, and that is certainly the case with the range of services provided by Seattle Nanny Network and Care.com. Both of these trusted child-care networks are beloved by our readers for their host of quality child-care services — including some extras. Seattle Nanny Network offers free CPR and first aid training and certification to their client parents, while Care.com offers tutoring and lessons.
Parent Education Class or Program
ParentMap readers boast about their ability to communicate with their preverbal infants using American Sign Language taught by Hop to Signaroo founder Nancy Hanauer. Praised for her expert knowledge and decades of experience, Hanauer earns shout-outs as an “original,” “thoughtful” and “very funny” teacher. Readers swear these classes for preverbal communication reduce frustration in babies and caregivers alike.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t have to be a permanent parenting condition, readers assure us. “Helpful and realistic sleeping tips” for getting your child to sleep can be mastered at “informative and supportive” workshops by children’s sleep consultant Rebecca Michi. Parents rave about their newfound insight into sleep and infant development, as well as about Michi’s information-rich website and Facebook page.
Other parent education classes and programs that our readers really appreciate are EvergreenHealth Parent-Baby Groups, Grow Parenting classes and workshops, North Seattle Community College Co-operative Preschools’ classes and the Parent Workshop series at KidsQuest Children’s Museum.
Next up: Best Parent Support Programs »
Parent Support Program
For 30 years now, PEPS (Parent Early Parent Support) has been assembling new-parent communities and support groups in the Puget Sound area. For many families, PEPS has literally been a lifesaver during those anxiety-ridden, sleep-deprived early days of parenting. As one reader put it: “PEPS saved my marriage and maybe my life.” Readers value PEPS for providing them with “lifetime connections” and friendships for parents and their children.
ParentMap readers really value the transformative power of good parenting information. This is evident in the double-win this year for sleep consultant Rebecca Michi, who is also a finalist here in the parent support program category. According to one reader, Michi is “gentle, thorough and accessible. She is quite literally the voice of reason and experience in a parent’s darkest hours!”
Next up: Best Pediatricians »
Finding the right doctor for the kids is a great concern for ParentMap readers. Every year we go through a gah-jillion reader responses in the Golden Teddy grand tally, and every one gushes with praise and heartfelt appreciation for their family doc.
Feel the love! It’s a three-way tie in the 2013 Golden Teddy’s pediatrician category. In our parenting tribe, these family pediatricians are rock stars. Dr. Matthew W. Allen of Ballard Pediatrics makes many parents feel at ease with his alpine-hiking, sea-kayaking, soccer-playing dad demeanor (Dr. Allen has three children of his own.) “He has a relaxed nature about him, but is still very attentive to your child’s needs and your concerns,” shares one reader.
Dr. Tiffany Spanier of Bellevue’s Pediatric Associates is also a mother herself; she knows how to quell the anxieties of parents with great compassion. According to one reader, Dr. Spanier is “very easy to talk to and always willing to answer questions.” Fun fact: She’s also a really, really good volleyball player.
Dr. Kimberly Schrier of Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Issaquah clinic goes “above and beyond” for her families. Like her associates here in the winner’s circle, Dr. Schrier develops a real connection with her patients and exhibits a mindfulness that our readers noted as exemplary.
Dr. Tashi Gyaltsong (Group Health – Northgate) — She has the best touch with my children that I have ever seen — they love her, and I trust her as a doctor.
Dr. Benjamin Jackson (Virginia Mason Sand Point Pediatrics) — Personable, never rushed, always available for questions.
Dr. Kristin Nyweide (Virginia Mason Sand Point Pediatrics) — Super-patient, kind, competent, responsive, personable, amazing.
Dr. Gary Spector (The Polyclinic Madison Center) — Just the most knowledgeable kids doc in town!
Dr. Benjamin Starnes (Swedish Physicians Queen Anne Clinic) — Great with kids, very knowledgeable.
Best Birth Support Services
Belly to Babies
Fans rave: Amazing doula services with excellent support and counsel. ... Experienced birth and postpartum support!They love moms!
Dragonfly Doula — Wonderful team of professionals to help with all stages of preganancy, birth and the first few months. ... Amazing, knowledgable staff made our pregnancy and delivery easier than expected.
Nurturing Expressions/ Tracy Corey, RN, IBCLC — Lactation appointments, free weight checks, retail for lactation and breastfeeding needs. ... They are very knowledgeable, plus they have Tracy Corey, the Boobie Coach!
Overlake Medical Center Women’s Clinic — Great lactation and postnatal services for new moms. ...Very compassionate.
Next up: Best Kids’ Dentists »
Let’s face it: Having a rubber-gloved stranger poke around in your mouth with sharp objects takes some getting used to — especially for sensitive children. Finding the right dentist can make all the difference in your child’s attitude toward dental hygiene and consequently their lifelong oral health. Our readers don’t trust just anyone to ensure that their child’s smile remains healthy and bright.
Dr. Roger Lucas of Lynnwood Kids Dentist is this year’s Golden Teddy winner. Readers rave about the Lynnwood practice renowned for dealing gently with nervous patients. According to one reader: “My kids are upset when it isn’t their turn to go.” Readers recommend Dr. Lucas for his calm demeanor and his great advice. One reader gushes: Dr Lucas is “amazing with the kids and tells me exactly how to properly take care of their teeth and many tricks to keep them cavity-free!”
Dr. Kristin A. Johannsen and Dr. Jeffrey Marks of Northwest Pediatric Dentistry are champion good-time dentists, super at “distracting kiddos from anxiety.” According to one happy parent: “Wonderful clean office + friendly helpful staff = Happy kids who want to come back!”
Dr. Kristi Linsenmayer and Dr. Purva Merchant of Seattle Kids Dentistry run a “ridiculously kid-centric” office. One reader exclaims: “I wish it were around when I was a kid. Dr. Merchant really is a princess.” Readers also give the big thumbs-up for the free parking.
Dr. Stephen Stuehling of Lakeview Kids’ Dentistry has a “totally awesome setup for kids” in Madrona. One reader’s comment says it all: “My 8-year-old asks, ‛Mom, when can I go to the dentist again?’”
Dr. Christine Tweedy of Westside Children’s Dentistry is beloved in West Seattle. Dr. Tweedy’s patients, who range from preschoolers to high school students, feel comfortable with her fun-mom manner. (Dr. Tweedy is a serious outdoor enthusiast with two daughters of her own.)