Weapons Ban: Just How Bad Are Toy Guns for Kids?
Tacoma mom Emily Waggoner, a former social worker who runs an in-home day care, wasn’t crazy about the idea of guns in her home — real or fake. But one day last summer, her husband, Dustin, and 9-year-old stepson, William, came home with a cadre of Nerf artillery. “Shotgun, sniper, semi-automatic —Read More »
Creativity-Boosting Gift Guide: 15 Toys and Gifts that Inspire Imagination and Invention
With the short, dark days of winter upon us, kids spend more time indoors and parents contend with a constant chorus of “I’m bored!” It’s time to seek out toys that spark a bright burst of creativity in young minds. How to choose? The best creativity boosters are open-ended playthings that engage cRead More »
After-School Activities: Kids 'Specialize' Earlier than Ever
It’s not your imagination. The number — and variety — of after-school programs that are available for kids has skyrocketed over the last few decades. “We’ve seen an explosion of what I call ‘hyper-competition,’ meaning there are more opportunities for kids to compete at younger ages and across a wiRead More »
Discipline: Getting Creative with Consequences
My 3-year-old was out of control. She was running laps in the house, knocking into things and generally leaving a trail in her wake. After multiple attempts to remind her of our no-running rule, I pulled out my go-to mommy threat, the one that works every time with her older sister. “Do you want aRead More »
Tales Dark and Grim: Why Kids Love, and Need, Scary Stories
I don’t know what possessed me at age 12 — maybe a demon? — but I forced myself to read The Amityville Horror. I can’t remember much beyond the basic plot (haunted house wreaks havoc on unsuspecting family), but I do remember how scared I was, page after page. Why did I put myself through that? I wRead More »
Bring the Noise: How Loud is Too Loud to Cause Hearing Loss in Kids?
When the Seattle Seahawks take the field for home games, fans wear their "12" shirts, they paint their faces, and if they care about hearing future games and not just seeing them, they're packing their plugs. It's loud here, louder than anywhere else in the NFL, something that didn't phase SeattleRead More »
Falling for Color: Five Fall Family Hikes in Greater Seattle
With summer a fading memory, hiking might be the last thing on your mind. But don’t pack up the kids’ hiking boots just yet. Autumn is a terrific season to hit the trail. Our wildlands are bursting with fall color right now — hues of flame red, bright orange and soft yellow. Summer crowds have dwinRead More »
20 Halloween Lunch Ideas for Kids
Kooky Spooky Characters Lian Mama Obento features this fun idea for making a Halloween "haunted house" bento box lunch -- with all of the well-known Halloween haunters included! This charming confection is made out of an onion bagel with cream cheese and a hot dog slice for the front door. (ThRead More »
Competition: How Much is Too Much for Kids?
How many times have we heard this? “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.”It’s advice that has been passed down through the generations. And for good reason: Experts agree that competition can be a “win” for kids — but only if parents, coaches and teachers handle it well.“AdulRead More »
How I Learned to Love Tweens: Four Unforgettable Parenting Lessons
Got tweens? Then you’ve seen it all: the tasteless duds, the sassy ’tudes, the roller-coaster moods, the peer-group devotion, the slow shedding of innocence.Yes, I remember it well. Last century, we labeled this age group “preteens.” Today, although we’ve rebranded them “tweens,” not much has changeRead More »
15 Fun Educational Apps for Kids
State Bingo and Roadtrip USA. Time for a cross-country educational adventure! Hit the open road and learn fun facts about all 50 states, including state capitals, birds, landmarks, flowers, nicknames and more. With a fully illustrated landscape of the country to help your child practice map-readiRead More »
Cliques and Conflicts: Helping Young Girls Manage the Social Scene
When my daughter entered fourth grade, the classroom dynamics got off to a bumpy start. A few strong personalities — and a new girl jockeying to fit in — led to small conflicts that lasted all year long. In May, the principal called to tell me my daughter and a few other girls were at risk of suspenRead More »
5 Ways to Help Kids Fall in Love with Books
When I told a friend I was writing an article on how to get your kids reading this summer, he said, “I need to know how to get my kids to stop reading ... and clean their rooms.” As a parent of two fairly obsessive readers, I am familiar with this good problem. However, as a teacher of children forRead More »
Beyond Stranger Danger: How Can We Protect Our Kids?
It seems not a day goes by without a horrifying news report of kidnapping, rape or child molestation. And these stories are jarring; after all, aren’t these events every parent’s worst nightmare? We think: If I can just keep my kids away from strangers, they’ll be safe. But here’s the reality: The dRead More »
Music Matters: Nurturing Musical Literacy
Cuddling over a book, we read to our children, sharing sounds and showing how speech matches letters on a page. In this way, we build literacy: Children become the readers and speakers of our native languages. But what of our native musical languages? Like speech, they surround us, and we, our childRead More »