This month's postings, September 2009

Back to flu?
School’s in — and that could be a shoe-in for the swine flu. Health officials expect to see a spike in the H1N1 virus this fall. You can help stop the spread. Don’t ignore flu symptoms in your child — fever, body aches and sore throat — and keep ‘em home if they seem flu-ish. (Likewise: Kick it at home if you’re sick!) Get your family vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available (around mid-October); until then, teach little ones to wash their hands properly, sneeze into an elbow and avoid sharing drinks or otherwise swapping spit with classmates. Eww.

School yourself
Want your kids to do well in school? Get a little learnin’ done yerself! Studies by the University of Michigan find that the more education parents have, the better their kids do in school. In one study, toddlers whose moms went back to school scored higher on language skills and school readiness than other tots. Why? Researchers think that parents in school read to their kids more. Also, they act as role models for their kids. But I like this one the best: Moms who go back to school tend to get very organized (uh, yes!); researchers think that structure helps kids’ development.

Gimme some ‘me’ time!
A big study in Germany has turned up a link between overscheduled boys and headaches. Researchers found that boys who don’t have regular free time are more than twice as likely to get headaches than those who do. In fact, researchers say, lack of down time causes more headaches than do family quarrels!

Oh, great idea
Just what kids need, an exciting new (bubblegum-flavored) product to “deter smoking”: e-cigarettes! That’s right, little electronic gadgets that … well, I’ll let the maker, Smoking Everywhere, tell you: “It looks like a cigarette, it tastes like a cigarette, it feels like a cigarette, but it isn’t a cigarette!” Yep, it’s a perfectly safe nicotine-delivery device! Supercute, in pink or blue. Last month, the Oregon attorney general filed a lawsuit against Smoking Everywhere, saying that the company made false health claims — and targeted children with sweet flavors such as bubblegum, chocolate and cookies ‘n’ cream. Ya think?

Sexless in Seattle, part deux
Can I get an “amen”? Last month, ParentMap reported that local parents are passing up sex — for sleep! Now, a huge international survey (by Westin Hotels) finds that we’re not as weird as we may seem. In Westin’s study of thousands of travelers in a dozen countries, 51 percent said they’d say “no” to sex — even great sex! — just to get some shut-eye. And here’s the kicker: More men than women picked sleep over sex. Travelers from only one country said they’d rather have the sex: our spicy neighbors to the north, Canada.

Get real!
We just did! We are excited (and somewhat baffled) to report that renowned teen expert Dr. Laura Kastner has joined our blog. You can now get great parenting tips from one of the most in-demand kid therapists in the Puget Sound area — for free! Visit our blog.

Learn, baby, learn . . .
. . . disco inferno! It’s our annual LearningMap Education Fair, your chance to kick back while we scurry around lining up schools for you to peruse — for free! This year, more than 60 schools are already on board for the Seattle/Eastside event: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 5:30–8:30 p.m. at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center. And our event for South Sound parents is Thursday, Oct. 8, 6–8 p.m. at Macy’s Court in Tacoma Mall.

Just imagine!
Sure, imagination is nice, but does it really matter? Yes, it does, according to local education and business leaders, who are planning a compelling evening on the power of imagination to transform lives. The Imagination Conversation will be held at McCaw Hall on Friday, Oct. 16; stay tuned for more on this exciting initiative in next month’s ParentMap.

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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