Age-graded toys

When shopping for holiday toys, the “recommended age” does not imply how smart a child is.

A toy suggested for two to four-year olds is based on their developmental abilities, not brilliance.

Often, well-meaning gift givers “up-age”, assuming that because a child is smart, he can safely play with toys for older children.
That’s not necessarily true, especially when it comes to the size of parts or the complexity of tasks.


A clean Thanksgiving

Will you enjoy a clean Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow?

Perhaps the family cook is picking up a duck from a local farm or serving veggies from the organic co-op.

The term “clean” can include food that is natural, organic, less processed and free from “impure” additions. That means even a pint of berries will include growing and packaging locations, a website and often specific information about processing.

After years of being teased by marketing tactics and labels with additives we couldn’t begin to spell or pronounce, the shift toward wanting more “real” food has become a tsunami.

Has Friendsgiving arrived?

Friendsgiving – Thanksgiving dinner among friends – continues to be a “no rules” holiday.

From game nights to gourmet potlucks, the free-form experience has become one of several scheduled meal events for many during the fourth week of November.

Has this growing popularity made Friendsgiving a legitimate alternative to the traditional celebration?

Gender differences?

Do dads set more limits for their sons than daughters? Are dads more emotionally sensitive to their daughters?

Researchers will ask these and other questions related to dads and their children’s gender as the daily interactions of dads increase.

Perhaps we’ll finally have data to support or refute the assumptions that dads rough house more often with their sons and sing good night songs more often to their daughters.

Social co-viewing

Co-viewing has been the recommended way for parents and children to spend screen time.

Now, co-viewing has become even more social with apps promising to bring people together. And it’s not just parents and kids. Peer co-viewing is becoming increasingly popular, especially through apps that allow simultaneous video viewing and chatting.

Whoever thought watching online content would become such a social experience?


You might not have known what to call it, but we see technoference countless times each day.

Technoference is when parents access screens while interacting with their children.

“Acting out” – which doesn’t need a definition – is how a child responds to even limited technoference.

Researchers are just now starting to look at the long-term impact on children who experience “divided attention.” Technoference is so prevalent, it’s bound to have an effect on kids. I wonder, too, how it impacts effective parenting.

Parent teacher conferences

Parent-teacher conferences have been the standard way to communicate between home and school.

But although apps and new platforms make it easier to connect, I’m concerned that some parents might think the online class newsletters and updates can replace face time with a teacher.

Parent teacher conferences allow more than mere monitoring student progress. Physically being in a child’s classroom, sitting at her desk and talking with other parents while waiting in the hallway add a depth and dimension to understanding a child’s life at school.