Postings for February 2013

Cry, babies

Here’s a new twist to that very old dilemma: to let the baby “cry it out” or to pick up the infant, soothe, walk or feed her? A new study by Temple University psychology professor Marsha Weinraub reports that infants are best left to self-soothe and fall back to sleep on their own.

“By 6 months of age, most babies sleep through the night, awakening their mothers only about once per week. However, not all children follow this pattern of development,” writes Weinraub in a Temple University news release.

Weinraub and other researchers measured patterns of nighttime sleep awakenings in infants ages 6 to 36 months. Her findings revealed that there are two groups: sleepers and transitional sleepers. She says babies, like adults, move through sleep cycles of sleep and awake time.

The bottom line? Babies need to learn to fall asleep by themselves. When parents are overly tuned in to those frequent awakenings, the baby might not be learning ways to self-soothe, something that is critical for sleep, Weinraub says.

Chores wars

According to Youth Eastside Services (YES) parent coach Jennifer Watanabe, getting kids to do chores works better when parents let their kids know there’s a purpose for doing them. Kids should understand that benefits come with all that work — such as inviting friends over, contributing to the household or learning how to care for their own home.
Here are some guidelines from YES.

• Ages 2–3: Kids can pick up their toys, take laundry to the laundry area, help feed pets. At this age, kids should be closely monitored and encouraged with praise.
• Ages 4–5: Clear the table, help prepare meals, put away some groceries. This is a good age for teaching, as these youngsters love time with adults.
• Ages 6–8: Vacuum, take out trash, fold and put away laundry. Kids this age are motivated to be independent.
• Ages 9–12: Help wash the car, wash dishes, clean the bathroom, help with yard work. Kids in this age group have a lot going on and respond better when they know what is expected of them in advance.
• Ages 13–18: Most teenagers can handle nearly any chore, though they may need some instruction. However, putting too much on the shoulders of these capable kids will leave them feeling overwhelmed.

Stress test

How stressed are our kids? Very, according to experts. We need to tune in to signs that our kids aren’t coping well, so we can help them manage their stress. Untreated, stress can affect our kids’ social and emotional well-being — as well as their overall health.

Michele Borba, author and educational consultant, offers these “signs of stress” to look for in kids and teens. Some of these tips are excerpted from her book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.

The key is to identify your child’s physical, behavioral or emotional signs before he is on overload. A clue is to look for behaviors that are not typical for your child’s “normal.” Here are a few of the most common signs of stress. Is your child displaying any of these symptoms? What else? Could it be stress related?

Physical signs of stress

• Headache, neck aches and backaches
• Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomachache, vomiting
• Shaky hands, sweaty palms, feeling shaky, light­headedness
• Bedwetting
• Trouble sleeping, nightmares
• Change in appetite
• Stuttering
• Frequent colds, fatigue
• Emotional or behavioral signs of stress
• New or recurring fears, anxiety and worries
• Trouble concentrating, frequent daydreaming
• Restlessness or irritability
• Social withdrawal, unwilling to participate in school or family activities
• Moodiness, sulking or an inability to control emotions
• Nail biting, hair twirling, thumb sucking, fist clenching, feet tapping
• Acting out, anger, aggressive behaviors such as tantrums, disorderly conduct
• Regression or baby-like behaviors
• Excessive whining or crying
• Clinging, more dependent, won’t let you out of his sight

Go to Borba’s website for more information.

  — Linda Morgan


Rainier Scholars rock

Rainier Scholars is a Seattle-based program that offers talented and motivated students of color the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond. Each year, the program admits 60 students to its 11-year program.

Last fall, a handful of Rainier Scholars high school seniors applied early decision to their number-one college choice. Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Harvard University, Pitzer College and Yale University answered five students with a resounding “Yes!”

Big kudos for MIHS

Cool school news from Mercer Island School District’s 2012 annual report:
Forbes Magazine rates the district as among the country’s 25 best districts for your housing dollar — and among the top 10 districts in small cities in the U.S.
The Seattle Times’ School Guide rates Mercer Island High School (MIHS) the top public high school in Washington state for quality of preparation for students.
• MIHS received a silver medal from the U.S. News & World Report for excellence in math and science education.
Speaking of top schools . . .

The website ranks Aviation High School in the Highline School District as one of the top high schools in the Seattle area. The site ranks schools by comparing their standardized test scores for a given year with scores from other schools in the state.

Aviation High focuses on engineering concepts, with projects revolving around an aviation theme. It emphasizes STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fundamentals along with critical thinking skills. Go here for more information.

Annie Wright to offer Chinese

Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma will offer Chinese to middle and upper school students beginning in fall 2013. The school is the first in the South Sound area to offer a middle school Chinese program.

The school also offers Spanish for kids in preschool through high school, and French for upper school students. When the Chinese language instruction program begins, students in grades 4 and 5 will be introduced to Chinese culture and language, so they can choose which language to take in sixth grade.


Seattle Children’s Museum

Located at Seattle Center, the Seattle Children's Museum is designed for kids 10 and younger. The museum includes exhibits that are open for exploratory play, along with additional programs offered throughout the day. Every day at noon, the museum offers a story time for kids of all ages. Museum hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. For more information, go to the Seattle Children's Museum.

We’re pleased to feature the Seattle Children’s Museum as our February Giving Together partner. And you can help as well: For every ParentMap Honey purchase made, 5 percent of the profits will be donated directly to support the Seattle Children’s Museum’s mission of helping kids and their families discover more about the world around them through hands-on activities. Visit each week to find an outstanding deal that is specifically tailored to families.


Bullies making matters worse

According to a recent study, kids with food allergies are often bullied by other kids. The bullying included threats with foods (such as having food thrown at them) by a student’s classmates. An article in the journal Pediatrics reports that nearly half of the kids whose families participated in the study said they were harassed. Bullying was associated with distress and dissatisfaction with the kids’ quality of life.

Super schoolroom at Seattle Children’s

Most of us know what an incredible resource Seattle Children’s is as a world-class center for kids’ health care. Here’s what many people don’t know: Seattle Children’s runs a top-notch school for young patients who stay at the hospital for extended periods of time.

Seattle Children’s Education Department includes six teachers and three instructional assistants who provide developmental and educational assessments and instruction to children ages newborn to 21 years old.

Here’s who is eligible for school services at Seattle Children’s:

• A student who is enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade and whose hospital stay is longer than one week
• A child from birth to 5 years old who has identified developmental disabilities, or who is considered at risk for them
• A student from out of town who is living temporarily near the hospital while receiving treatment at a Seattle Children’s clinic
Services include one-on-one tutoring or small-group class instruction; assessments that may help to identify special learning needs; special education for a student who has an individualized education program (IEP); and planning with a student, parents and teachers to help the student return to school.

New-age medical care

There’s a new service in town that gives patients access to medical providers via phone and webcam.   (just launched in beta) connects patients with a provider within 15 minutes — and often helps resolve their problems, without a visit to the ER. CareSimple’s doctors and nurse practitioners live and work in the Seattle area, are board-certified and trained to diagnose and deliver care using phones and webcams. For more information, go to

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