This month's postings, October 2009

Flu tube
Getting too much swine flu news? Me, too! With so many updates comin’ atcha — from all over the country — it’s nice to have a local go-to for basic H1N1 info. The pros at Seattle Children’s have a new Q&A video that spells out everything you need to know. Link to it from our home page — then go wash your hands!

Sitters + swine flu
By now, you know your school’s swine flu policy — but do you know your nanny’s? Local nanny and sitter services are spelling out how they’ll keep sitters from spreading the H1N1 virus between families. Annie’s Nannies, for one, is waiving cancellation fees if a client cancels a temporary sitter because of illness. Check with your child-care provider and know their rules before an outbreak hits!

Nature deficit?
Does “back to school” mean “stuck inside” for your kids? Ask their teacher if you can provide a couple of nice plants for the classroom! A new study from Texas State University finds that when plants are around, students tend to have a happier school experience. In the study, students rated their level of learning, along with the instructors’ enthusiasm and organization; kids in the plant-enhanced classrooms consistently rated those things higher than kids in plant-free classrooms. Other tests have shown that plants can reduce stress, head­aches and even fatigue. Go green!

Clean sweep
Local moms need a break! That’s according to a new ParentMap poll, which asked hundreds of mothers to choose from a list of dream gifts. By far the most — almost a third! — said they’d choose a live-in house cleaner. Seventeen percent said they’d take a month in Tuscany (with or without kids). Running close behind: a fired-up sex life (chosen by 16 percent). A personal trainer, live-in gourmet chef and live-in nanny all came in at the bottom. Dead last? A $10,000 Nordstrom credit.

Laura amore
World-famous teen expert (and ParentMap author) Dr. Laura Kastner is giving a free talk this month; by attending, you can help build a library for kids in Africa! On Saturday, Oct. 24, at 3 p.m., Dr. Kastner and co-author Jennifer Wyatt will be at Seattle’s Pacific Place Barnes & Noble. Proceeds from your purchase will help Seattle Academy build a preschool library in Zambia.

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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