Is this a Seinfeld Moment in Parenting?

August 29, 2014

Remember “The Opposite” episode of Seinfeld when George realizes, “…that every decision I’ve ever made, my entire life, has been wrong.” He then sets about to turn old patterns upside down—ordering tea instead of coffee and being blunt instead of agreeable in a job interview—and his life radically improves. I sense a similar epiphany in the real-life version of parenthood, but whether we’ll change our ways is yet to be seen. A new study out of the University of Colorado Boulder, says, “…the more time children spent in less structured activities, the better their self-directed executive function. Conversely, the more time children spent in more structured activities the poorer their self-directed executive function.” The senior author of the study, psychology and… Read More

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In 650 Words or Less: The Common App Essay and an Expert

August 22, 2014

In 650 words or less, describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there and why is it meaningful? Or In 650 words or less, recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn? Or In 650 words or less, discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.   You are now sitting in the shoes of a high school senior, thank you very much. These questions are a few of the prompts on the 2014-15 Common Application for college. They are the same ones from last… Read More

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5 Tips to Help them Finish their Summer Reading (and math)

August 15, 2014

Perhaps you, too, once had a weekend in college when you realized you had two days to read 700 pages of Dostoyevsky. I planted myself in a coffee shop and inhaled The Brothers Karamazov, along with the fumes of java, until I got the job done, my own form of crime and punishment. With a few weeks left of summer, I can’t send my kids to a coffee shop, not without a hefty Starbucks bill and some raised eyebrows. But we have work to do! Sure, we’ve been reading, and yes, we’ve been doing math, but there are papers to fill out and more math to be done. How are we going to get it all done and still have… Read More

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An Original Educated Mom: Nancy Weinstein

August 8, 2014

In the process of raising our kids, when we come up against an obvious “miss” in the things we depend on, whether it’s a highchair that could be better designed or a book that could have been better written, we have two choices: settle with the way it is, or take matters into our own hands. It’s the later choice that often drives us to obsession, as it’s done with a few parents I’ve profiled who’ve seen a need for something and then set off on a process of educating themselves and making their concepts a reality. I’ve interviewed moms who’ve figured out how to manufacture better lunch boxes; foster parents who have started charities for kids in the system;… Read More

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You’re Only Human: Drop the Multitasking

August 3, 2014

You’re probably good at multitasking. I’m with you. I can address 120 holiday envelops while watching Househunters International and check email while I dry my hair. I can even drive while I negotiate a temporary truce between siblings.  It’s task-switching, though, where I really shine. I’ve gone from downward dog to changing the laundry to returning a call and back again before you can say Tadasana. I can do these things, so I’ve never really understood the downside of multitasking.  But recently, my mother handed me a book called “Conquer CyberOverload” and I decided to put down my phone and read the 74-page book. The author, Joanne Cantor, Ph. D., a media professor with a background in social, cognitive and… Read More

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