Screen rules that stick

In many homes, getting kids to turn off their cell phones, shut down the video games, or log off of Facebook can incite a rev…

  • The Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History

    The Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History

    By Debbie Dubrow, Conde Nast Traveler

    With the school year beginning, we're all looking for fun ways to inspire our kids and get them revved up for the learning they'll do in the year ahead. In my book, there's no better way to demonstrate how fun science is than a visit to a planetarium or natural history museum. Here are a few of my favorites.



    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon:
    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland is one of my favorites. Its open, light-filled spaces are packed with hands-on activities that engage everyone from my three-year-old to me and my husband. Smaller hands-on science labs let older kids run the types of experiments that require goggles, good reading skills, and closer supervision from the museum's staff. A sunlit cafe serves healthy, kid-friendly food choices, many of which are made to order.

    Read More: Hotel Rooms With Unbeatable Views

    American Museum of Natural History in New York City:
    It's the largest m

    ...Read More »

  • Racism and Rage

    Racism and Rage

    5 Things I'm Teaching My Kids About Handling Racism

    This is a difficult post to write. I'll warn you now that some of you simply will not understand. Some of you will think I'm reading into things, that I have a chip on my shoulder, am paranoid or I did something to bring this on myself.

    To you I say, walk a mile in my shoes.

    For as many of you who scoff, click off this post and shake your head, convinced that I am overly sensitive, there will just as many who understand. I won't have to explain the indignity because you've lived it.

    I'm an African American woman, married to an African American man for nearly 19 years. Together we are raising a family right in the middle of middle class, where I was raised.

    Related: 7 habits of highly effective kids

    But sometimes when we leave the place where we know people and they know us, we run headlong into a world with some who, regardless of what they'll admit publicly, see color first.

    ...Read More »

  • Hitting is a no-no. Hitting the books is a big yes. Now that your study bug is back in school, add to his or her library with knowledge-expanding reads.

    The Insomniacs

    The Insomniacs, by Karina Wolf

    A family suffers from jet lag only to realize that staying up all night is more fun than trudging through the day. Eerily cool illustrations look like they could have popped from a Tim Burton movie.

    Available at amazon.com, $12.

    Ganesha's Sweet Tooth

    Ganesha's Sweet Tooth, by Sanjay Patel & Emily Haynes

    A classic Hindu tale gets an artful interpretation in this piece of eye candy. When an elephant-headed child breaks his tusk on a sugary treat, he's empowered to put it to more noble use.

    Available for preorder at amazon.com, $11.

    Our Favorite Online Boutiques for Kids

    The Frank Show

    The Frank Show, by David Mackintosh

    On show-and-tell day, the story's young narrator brings his grandpa, expecting yawns. Little does he know that grandpa has a surprise - er, a tattoo - up his sleeve and plenty

    ...Read More »

  • You've probably heard about the practice of "redshirting" -- holding a kid back from kindergarten until they start at age 6. People say it's unfair, and that parents do it to give their children an advantage that cheats the system. At 6, after all, Junior is one of the oldest kids in class, and theoretically better at everything from academics to sports. More boys are redshirted than girls, whites more than minorities, and rich more than poor.

    It's funny that I never heard about how controversial redshirting was until I'd redshirted my own kid. Now that he's just started first grade (at 7), I try to ignore the outcry over this issue that's apparently irresponsible, classist, and erodes the level playing field that age restrictions are supposed to create.

    More from The Stir: Home-Schooled Kids Are Smarter

    Because I can tell you this: it was absolutely, completely, without a doubt the right decision for us to make.

    It was a hard decision, for sure. We went back and forth a

    ...Read More »

  • Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

    Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

    During an election cycle that's as heated as this one, it's nearly impossible for kids to avoid hearing about politics in some way or another. Political ads. Signs on a neighbor's lawn. Current events class. The news in general. How do you talk to your kids about what it all means, without spoon-feeding them your own opinions?

    • Start by explaining how the political process works. Stick to the basics: The United States is a federal constitutional republic, where power is shared by the President, Congress, and the judiciary. Though other political parties exist, either the Democrats and the Republicans have held the White House since the American Civil War. Talk about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. Break out those old "School House Rock" videos if you have to -- they do a pretty good job.
    • Explain commonly used political terms. It's difficult to explain what the pundits are saying if you can't explain what a pundit actually is. Scholastic
    ...Read More »

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