Crowded malls, to-do lists and big-time busyness: For some of us, the holiday season packs a big stress wallop. But there’s still time to make a plan to keep things sweet and simple this month. Experts say the best thing parents can do to relieve holiday stress on their families is to slow down. Talk to your kids about expectations for gifts and activities, and be open with them if money is an issue, advises the American Psychological Association. Visit parentmap.com/more to get some great ideas for inexpensive gifts and holiday outings — and a nifty checklist for managing holiday stress.
Another hazard this time of year: the winter cold. A new study suggests one possible way to stay snot-free this season: exercise! A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that the more exercise subjects got, the less they got sick. Exercising for just 20 minutes five days a week cut illness by a whopping 40 percent! Scientists aren’t sure why, but they think exercise recruits immune cells that normally hang around in your lymph nodes and other places. Can’t hurt to try!
Whooping it up
Here’s a big turnaround: Researchers now believe it is children who are spreading the whooping cough (also known as pertussis) virus, not adults. Previously, scientists laid the blame for the whooping cough outbreak on adults, prompting major immunization campaigns aimed at grownups. But researchers at Michigan University find that it’s mainly children who are spreading the disease.
Heads up, moms of nut-allergic kids: A new study finds that only half of the people with peanut or tree nut allergies actually know what the nuts they’re allergic to look like! Researchers showed more than 1,100 people a display of peanuts and nine tree nuts in 19 different forms and asked them to identify the types of nuts; of those with allergies, only half could pick out the nuts that trigger their reaction. The study’s authors say parents need to show kids the nuts they’re allergic to in all sorts of forms, so they can avoid eating them.
Pizza my heart
Teenagers + pizza = a match made in (sodium) heaven! A new study finds that, thanks to their heavy consumption of pizza and processed foods, teenagers take in more salt than any other age group in America — about 3,800 milligrams of sodium daily — more than twice the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams a day. Researchers estimate that if teens could drop salt consumption by just one-third, it would result in as much as a 63 percent drop in the number of teens and young adults who suffer from high blood pressure. More info on this story is at parentmap.com/more.
Go (online), girl!
Got a smart, kind daughter? Chances are, that’s not how she portrays herself online, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 teenage girls by the Girl Scouts of America. Girls in the study reported that, in person, they are smart (82 percent), kind (76 percent) and a good influence (59 percent). But the same group of girls admitted they downplay those positive characteristics in their online profiles in order to appear more fun, funny and social. About 22 percent of the girls in the survey admit they try to come off as sexy; another 35 percent say they try to appear “crazy.”
Picture yourself . . .
Relaxing in a spa, eating a fabulous, romantic dinner, or spending a sweet evening getaway at a sumptuous local hotel. Now picture yourself entering to win these and other great prizes in our annual Big Gift giveaway, a holiday present from us to wonderfully deserving you! It’s simple — and free! — to enter. Just visit parentmap.com and follow the links. Enter by Dec. 15.
Picking a preschool?
Get a little (free) help from your PM friends. Our annual Preschool Previews bring dozens of local schools together at an event that lets you ask, evaluate and educate yourself on your options. In West Seattle/South Seattle on Jan. 8; North Seattle/Shoreline on Jan. 12; the Eastside on Jan. 13; and Kent on March 14. Mark your calendar — it’s fun and always free! And our 2011 Lecture Series lineup has been announced; visit parentmap.com/events for details on all events!