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Topic: The Educated Mom

Childhood Expert Eileen Kennedy-Moore Answers our Questions

September 21, 2015

We are supremely fortunate to share with you this week insight from a leading child psychologist who has great advice on on how we can better handle some sensitive parenting moments. Eileen Kennedy-Moore, PhD, is an author, psychologist, and mother of four. She has a private practice in Princeton, NJ, where she works with adults, children, and families. In addition co-authoring Smart Parenting for Smart Kids and The Unwritten Rules of Friendship, she has a new video series for parents, produced by The Great Courses: Raising Emotionally and Socially Healthy Kids. Some of the topics she covers in her Great Courses lecture really interested me, including how to guide children through issues related to anxiety, perfectionism and popularity. I’m happy to share her answers with… Read More

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What if they are doing the best they can?

August 27, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Editor’s Note: This was originally written in 2016 and revised by Mindprint editors in 2019. Consider also reading “What if it’s a can’t not a won’t“ A few days ago, while listening to NPR in the car, I heard an interview with Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston and, unbeknownst to me, a “top ten” TED talk superstar. She has a new book out, Rising Strong, The Reckoning, The Rumble, The Revolution, that answers this central question: “What do…people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid… Read More

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Let the Make Cake: and other PBLs

July 17, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff It’s summer, and the kids are restless, so how about adding a little PBL to your PB&J? Forgive me; educators love to toss abbreviations and acronyms into conversation. In this case, we all know what PB&J is so I’m here to explain your new BFF, Project-Based Learning (PBL). Project-based learning is a rather fancy term for describing a type of learning that parallels the tasks of real life. Edutopia cites experts, who say it involves: students learning knowledge to tackle realistic problems as they would be solved in the real world increased student control over his or her learning teachers serving as coaches and facilitators of inquiry and reflection students (usually, but not always) working in pairs or groups It makes sense,… Read More

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Parents: What is Your Take-Back?

June 12, 2015

How to Stay Educated When Your Focus is on Them By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Most Saturday mornings, I am awakened around 6:30am by my youngest daughter. There’s the regular routine of unloading the dishwasher, feeding the dog, making the beds and figuring out how my husband and I will divide and conquer the rest of the day, and rest of the weekend. Last Saturday morning, I woke up around 6:30 and snuck out of the house quietly. We were visiting my parents’ house and it would be my husband and mom who’d figure out the bowl of Cheerios and morning schedule. My father and I were on our way to a conference for biographers. I got to listen to… Read More

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Give Parents a Break: What Would Andy Rooney Say?

April 3, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Spring Break. A lot of our readers are just beginning their week off from school, starting with this holiday weekend. Then, there are those, like my family, who had spring break in late March, and now have Friday off for Passover and Easter Weekend. The kids had a total of four days back in school. Of course, others have Friday and Monday off. And still others, such as our college babysitter, have neither Friday nor Monday off. It’s all very illogical, in an Andy Rooney-type way, with the most egregious spring break scheduling occurring in our local district last year when the unexpected snow resulted in the chipping away at vacation days until students had neither… Read More

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SPECIAL EDITION: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS ON SNOW DAYS (inside)

January 26, 2015

By Sarah Vander Schaaff It’s going to snow. So we’ve been told. I hope you’d stocked up on milk, bread, batteries and sleds. But for those moments when the kids are inside recovering from building snow forts, here is our top ten list of things to do inside. (Most require electricity, but not all.) So, grab a mug of hot chocolate and let’s get started! 1. Watch a great musical. There is more to a snow day than “Frozen”, pardon the pun. And every kid should know the words to 76 Trombones before he or she heads off to college. Some of my favorites are: The Sound of Music, West Side Story and My Fair Lady, but a great list… Read More

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Get Smart about Halloween

October 31, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff How we celebrate Halloween is a sign of the times: what costumes are popular, what the weather may bring (snow, hurricanes, ice or wind) and even what we dole out to eager trick-or-treaters. Considering nearly 1 in 13 children has a food allergy, a rate that has increased about 50% since 1997, it makes sense that food allergy awareness and its associated color, teal, are joining the wave. FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) is encouraging families to think about making a few additions to Halloween. Their website provides ways for families to create a map of allergy-friendly treat givers, to print a teal pumpkin sign or sheet of stickers, and advice on how to distribute… Read More

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You’re Wearing That?

September 19, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff What adolescent girls wear to school is a subject of much consternation, judging from the parent meeting I attended at my children’s school today. The conversation was lead by a psychologist trained in the treatment of eating disorders, body image and trauma, but voices rose highest when talking about whose skirt had been measured with a ruler. The three-fold theme of the talk, Gender, Body Image and Dress had complex implications, from distinguishing our understanding of “gender” from that of “sex” to looking at the effects of negative body image on depression, low self-esteem and eating disorders. But the logistics required for a school to enforce a dress code took priority over these fundamentals, and I… Read More

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Is this a Seinfeld Moment in Parenting?

August 29, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff 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… Read More

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Common App Essay: In 650 Words or Less an Expert’s Advice

August 22, 2014

As if your life depends on it… 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? 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 year, the makers of the common app essay say, because feedback was positive. Still, Brenda Bernstein, a professional resume writer, personal statement coach, and business copywriter behind the Essay Expert, knows that for some students facing the questions, it’s not that simple. “They don’t all have life coaches… Read More

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