• Racial disparities start very young, new Department of Education report reveals(Newser) - Black kids are suspended much more often than white kids-and by kids, we mean kids. Almost half of all children suspended from preschool more than once are black, according to a new Department of Education study, even though black students make up just 18% of preschoolers overall. Until now, education advocates have focused on disparities among high school and middle school students, the AP reports.

    "We think of 4- and 5-year-olds as being innocent," says one analyst. But "schools are using zero tolerance policies for our youngest also."

    Overall, black students of any age are suspended and expelled at a rate three times that of white students. Eric Holder hailed the report, the department's first to examine the problem among children so young, as "critical," saying, "This administration is moving aggressively to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline." But some analysts tell Politico that the report lumps together districts of different sizes and demographics. The data

    Read More »from Even as Tiny Preschoolers, Black Kids Are More Likely to Get Suspended
  • We are learning that the bond between father and baby is more important than we guessed.When we think about bonding with baby, the first thought-yep, even today-is probably about mother-baby bonding. And why not? Studies show that a strong emotional attachment between a mother and her baby may help prevent diseases, boost immunity and enhance a child's IQ. Pretty major stuff.

    But a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry points to a unique benefit of early bonding with dad. The Oxford University researchers looked at nearly 200 families and found that children whose fathers were more "positively engaged" with them at the age of three months had fewer behavioral problems when they were one year old (less anxious, fewer tantrums). Interestingly, the connection between higher levels of interaction and fewer subsequent behavioral problems was strongest in sons, suggesting that, while of course girls benefit too, boys are more susceptible to the influence of their father from a very early age, the researchers said.

    And it seems that men are

    Read More »from Why Dads Need to Get in on the Diaper-Changing Action
  • One toy purveyor is changing how we think about creative play.When Norman & Jules popped up in Park Slope in 2012, it was clear from the start that this toy store was a different breed of purveyor. There were no ugly plastic toys or noisy, battery-operated gizmos in sight. Instead the shelves were stocked with lovingly crafted cuddly animals, sweet wooden playhouses, and the most gorgeous kids books we've ever seen. Totally chic (and kid-appropriate) art bedecked the walls, and the vibe of the store felt mellow and happy, not frantic and cluttered. Needless to say, it's become a neighborhood gem, one that now offers online shopping as well, to meet the growing demands of the business.

    Owners (and husband-and-wife team) Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz have created a community-minded space where both parents and kids love to spend time--and it's about to get even better. This spring the Norman & Jules outdoor play space, which is currently in fund-raising mode, will open in the store's backyard, offering up 800 square feet of fun for romping,

    Read More »from How One Toy Store is Taking it to the Next Level
  • Photo: The Dunne FamilyMeet Ryan Dunne, a Colorado 9-year-old who loves to read, paint, play with his friends and dance. In a few years, he will be confined to a wheelchair.

    When Ryan was 3, he was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes progressive muscular degeneration. “Ryan’s muscles have basically been breaking down since the day he was born,” says Ryan’s father Chris Dunne. Kids with DMD (it mostly affects boys) usually end up in wheelchairs by age 11 and, thanks to the loss of lung and heart functions, don’t often live past early adulthood. “Every day that goes by I watch my son get weaker and weaker,” says Dunne. “He can’t climb stairs anymore, he can’t play sports with his friends anymore or ride the school bus.” Indeed, it is a heartbreaking condition with very little hope for the future — until now.

    For the first time ever, there’s a promising new DMD drug under investigation. In early trials Sarepta Pharmaceuticals found that the drug — called eteplirsen —

    Read More »from A New Drug Could Save This Boy’s Life — But He Can’t Get it
  • William and Kate went to Mustique; Kim and Kanye, to Paris. Sienna Miller and Tom Sturridge? Rome. But you don't need a private island or European landmarks to have a remember-forever escape. This is it--the last time you'll travel sans baby for a while. The last time you'll walk, hand-in-hand, without a stroller in sight or the nagging thought of getting home to a babysitter.

    We've gathered the most irresistible babymoon ideas, from big city to cozy cottage. Take some time, grab a book and relax. It may be clichéd, but it's true: This is the last time you'll be able to for a while.

    By Christina Vercelletto

    Read More »from 10 Baby Moon Ideas to Savor Your Time as a Party of Two
  • According to Forbes, Boise, Idaho is the second best city for raising a family.Cities like the Big Apple, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Austin are hubs of culture and innovation, but admittedly not terribly well suited for family life. Sure, for us fully formed adults who want our pick of the litter when it comes to Saturday night date spots, big city living is the only way to go. However, when you look at the quality of affordable education, frequency of rush hour traffic jams and formidable crime rates, you've got to admit that while you heart (insert city name here), you're a little concerned with the impact these unpredictable surroundings might have on your offspring.

    For those of you searching for a compromise, Forbes just made your life a hell of a lot easier. The site recently released its annual list of the best cities for raising a family. Now, those of you who hail from one of the aforementioned international hubs may think Forbes uses the term "city" a bit loosely. The site's picks range from major metropolitan areas like Cincinnati, Ohio to

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  • By Sarah Smith, REDBOOK.

    There's a fairly happy ending to the story of the boy who got bullied for carrying a My Little Pony backpack. First, he was told by his school that it was a "trigger" and he should leave it at home, but now the school says he can bring it after all, and they'll help him transition back to school safely. Victim-blaming being not so pretty as a pony.

    Related: The 9 Types of Moms You See on Facebook

    But I have my eye on even happier endings for this kid. Here's what I hope happens to him next, and down the road:

    This month: I hope he goes back to school and no one snickers quietly behind his back about the backpack, the fuss his mom caused, and how much attention the adults are paying him. This might be unrealistic. I remember being 9--there's more than one way to ostracize another kid. But still, I hope.

    Related: The 5 Most Annoying People You Encounter When You're Pregnant

    This year: I hope that whatever his next great love is--"Let it Go,"

    Read More »from What I Hope the Future Holds for the Boy Who was Bullied for His My Little Pony Backpack
  • The Land. Photo: Courtesy Erin Davis
    There’s a playground in the U.K. that’s such a far cry from the primary-colored plastics and rubbery safety floors we’re used to that many parents (and kids, for that matter) might easily mistake it for a town dump. But it’s precisely that parental-nightmare quality of danger — with its ragtag collection of broken chairs, piled tires, dirty mattresses, loose hammers and nails, and tin-drum fire pits — that makes this place, called The Land, so thrilling to the children who flock here.

    It opened two years ago, in North Wales, a throwback to the 1940s, when the idea of “adventure playgrounds” first took hold. But lately the novelty, staffed by “playworkers” who try hard to not intervene, has become a subject of renewed interest, part of a growing trend to take today’s overprotective, obsessive “helicopter parents” to task for sucking all the fun out of childhood. 

    Another shot of The Land from Davis's documentary. Photo: Courtesy of Erin Davis“Today, these playgrounds are so out of sync with affluent and middle-class parenting norms that when I showed fellow parents

    Read More »from The Strangest Playground on Earth
  • Kate Winslet's Perfect Quote on MotherhoodKate Winslet's Perfect Quote on MotherhoodKate Winslet just got her star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. She deserves it! She worked on her big upcoming film Divergent when her new baby, Bear, was just 6 weeks old.

    She told the Today Show that when they called her up to do re-shoots for Divergent she thought, "How am I going to do this?" As a new mom and even later as the mother of 4 children, I've asked myself the same thing: How am I going to do this?

    Kate Winslet answered her own question in a way that mothers have been answering it through the ages, "… Somehow, you do."

    There's no trick to it. Or there are multiple little different tricks that you can try, but ultimately you just do it. That's motherhood for you. You know it. I know it. Kate Winslet knows it. She summed the gig up so perfectly in her interview. It doesn't matter that she's a rich and famous movie star -- the motherhood part is the same.

    Kate Winslet explains what it was like to work on the movie 6-weeks-postpartum, "I would feed and shoot and nurse

    Read More »from Kate Winslet Nails the Essence of Motherhood in One Sentence
  • This Is Not a Momfession: On Needing, Wanting (and Taking) Alone TimeThis Is Not a Momfession: On Needing, Wanting (and Taking) Alone Time

    It's something that we shouldn't have to explain to the masses. And yet we do. Because we are judged. If not by society (yeah, right), then by our very own children and perhaps even partners. It's not even something that I do once in a blue moon! This isn't even a confession!

    YOU GUYS. I take breaks from "parenting." Mothering, if you will. I have a secret hideout, and I USE IT. In fact, I own it. And oh, it feels good.

    What do I do when I have this alone time? I have luxuriantly long, hot baths. I light candles. I stay up late watching HGTV and the Food Network on cable TV that we don't have at home, record nerdy amounts of voice memos with foodie inspo and article ideas, followed by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's breakdown of the history of rap on late night TV.

    Related: 24 things I can't do now that I have kids

    I drink beer. I drink tea. I drink wine. I sit in fancy coffee shops and drink really good Americanos. I write. I daydream. I have uninterrupted, adult

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