This month's postings, May 2010

OK, Spanky
Or . . . maybe not. New research suggests that 3-year-olds who are spanked more than twice a month are much more likely to become aggressive 5-year-olds than unspanked tots. But another study may signal good news: It looks as though fewer and fewer parents are prone to paddling. According to research from the University of Michigan, spanking is out, talking is in. Researchers polled more than 1,500 parents and found that only about 22 percent of them spank their kids. More in favor with parents these days are reasoning with the child (88 percent), taking away a privilege (70 percent) and the ever-dreaded “time-out” (59 percent). Read more on both studies. Or else.

Gimme a D
Yet another reason to up your child’s intake of vitamin D: New research shows a link between D deficiency and asthma severity. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, finds that children with asthma who have low levels of vitamin D have lower lung function and take more medicine.

Booster shot
Yes, your 7-year-old still needs a booster seat! A major national poll on children’s health issues finds that only 40 percent of kids use booster seats until they turn 8. So here’s an important reminder for parents who’ve given their booster the boot: Seatbelts are not designed for kids under 4 feet 9 inches tall. Booster seats are known to cut the risk of injury from car crashes by as much as half. Washington state law requires children use a booster seat until they are 8 years old and taller than 4 feet 9 inches. And tween parents, toughen up: The safest place for kids younger than 12 is in the back seat.

The Decider
Planning a family vacation? Most likely, your kids will be the ones calling the shots. Experts say now more than ever, kids are deciding where families go on vacation — and often, the grand­parents come along (and pick up the tab!). One possible reason: As people live longer, there are more grandparents around these days. Combine that with two parents who work full time and you’ve got a lot of yearning to spend family time together. The travel industry is right onboard; there are more family-friendly vacation options — such as cruises and all-inclusive getaways — now than ever before.

Just Dwecky
If you’ve read her groundbreaking book, you know: Dr. Carol Dweck is onto something. The author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success knows cool ways you can improve your child’s happiness and success by encouraging a new (“growth”) mindset. Learn how at a special evening with Dweck and Eric Liu on Thursday, May 20, 7–9 p.m. at Mercer Island High School. Buy tickets.

Giving Together
This month, we honor the important work being done by Committee for Children, a nonprofit group that battles bullying, violence and child abuse worldwide through social and emotional learning materials. CFC’s programs have touched the lives of more than 9 million children in 26 countries. What could be more important than that? Learn more — and get involved! — at the CFC website.

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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