Photoshopping flaws

“Fixing” the annual school photo results in a perfect image. However, the cost is often astronomical to remove a spot of acne or close the tooth gap.

Parents who pay to “fix” school pics are often motivated by a desire to boost a child’s esteem, especially during emotionally fragile years or seasons of stress. And editing apps are certainly popular for personal use on social media.

I wonder if parents feel as positive toward advertisers who fine-tune flaws on models.


Alexa, prepare!

Amazon’s Alexa might dominate the market now, but your child will probably grow up talking to Siri, Google and a host of other smart speakers.

The battle between voice ecosystems is just beginning. One of the biggest differences in the future will be the appearance of ads. (Remember when YouTube was ad free?)

Voice activation is so big, I wonder if students will still need to learn to type?


The decade-old maker movement has morphed into fully fledged maker education this fall.

Maker-centered learning is booming across the country, as kids return to school after being engaged in a vast variety of activities at camps, museums, science centers and community centers. Teachers, too, are returning from workshops in which they learned from engineers, programmers and other STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)related professionals.

One of the greatest benefits is that students are typically excited about learning in a maker space environment.

And isn’t that what every parent hopes happens for their child during this school year?

Beyond “real” meat

The grocery store shelves look nothing like the school menu for September.

Plant-based proteins are available throughout our local store. There’s obviously a strong consumer desire for more diverse sources of proteins. Added to a growing wave of concern for animal welfare and more creative approaches to preparing meat substitutes, saying “No” to meat has become easier.

Except at school cafeterias this fall.

The family totem pole

I was thrilled when my second grade grandson told me he was excited about studying D-Day.

Even with the promise of visiting battlefields, doing activities at living history site over Labor Day weekend, and showing where they fit on our family tree, I can’t seem to interest the other four grandsons in history.

I’m sad about that.

A personal history can be like an anchor, something the boys will need in our fast-changing world. Even today, or perhaps especially today, kids still need a sense of their heritage to ground them in their corner of the world.

Screen time tipping point?

Researchers studying the relationship between young children and their screens continue to trigger emotionally driven conversation between parents.

What is the optimal amount of screen time for a child during the early childhood years?

I believe a key question underlines all the conversations:
When a child sits in front of a screen, what is the screen time replacing?

Too often, the answer is obvious: talking, running, imagining, reading and laughing.

Researchers haven’t nailed a single “optimal” amount of screen time during early childhood, but until then, I surely hope kids are investing their time in play.

More than a play kitchen

If kids are starting to drag (get bored?) with summer, call them back to the kitchen. After all, it’s the safest place for them to get messy.

Plus, they can eat, which is a big attraction. And unless you have a pink smoothie maker, the space is gender neutral.

Invite kids to shop with you at the farmer’s market. Challenge them to design a printed menu based on what you’re cooking for supper. Invite them to prepare a healthy snack for the neighbor next door. Work alongside to prepare an entirely finger-friendly supper. (Summer foods make it easy.)

When food is the launching point, amazing things happen!