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What A Nine Year Old Can Do

  On Tuesday, my friend Anna sent me this poll, because she knows how I feel about kids being able to have some independence. The headline of the article was, “68 Percent of Americans Don’t Think 9-Year-Olds Should Play at the Park Unsupervised.” I wasn’t really surprised by what the poll had to say. If […]

Playworld Systems

How Free Play Changes Kids’ Brains

[The following post is sponsored by Playworld Systems.] I really loved writing about the benefits of free play last month. Playworld Systems makes the kind of playground equipment that helps free play thrive, letting kids take risks and figuring things out for themselves. When they pointed me in the direction of this NPR piece on […]

What My Kids Give Me, Besides The Obvious

I think it’s a given that my kids give me love and affection and joy and exhaustion and the occasional cold and near heart attack. All that kid-related stuff. But they also give me structure. With both of them off at camp I’m finding my life completely devoid of structure, and I don’t really like […]

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Why Funding The Arts In Schools Matters

The other night I was sitting in the auditorium at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens. Actually, technically, I was sitting in the Tony Bennett Concert Hall. And Tony Bennett himself was also sitting in the Tony Bennett Concert Hall, with his wife, Susan Benedetto. The two of them had founded the […]

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Saving Play

[The following post is sponsored by Playworld Systems.] When I was growing up I had a lot of freedom to play on my own. I could roam around my neighborhood, play with other children, put on talent shows, have adventures, make new friends, scrape my knees, get into arguments, make up, invent games, and discover […]

Child Neglect

It’s A Miracle That All Sensible Parents Aren’t In Jail

I have a little quiz for you. The biggest problem facing children in the United States of America today is: A) Strangers roaming the streets and parks, poised to snatch your children the moment you turn your back OR B) A complete lack of independence leading to obesity, boredom, and children who reach adulthood without […]

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Tears, Cookies, And The Violent Femmes

At this point, I can’t be coy about loving the weeks when my daughter is at sleepaway camp – I’ve been too outspoken to attempt any kind of sentimentally about it. Perhaps this year she sensed it more, or was just being extra emotional about going, but a few days ago she sat down at […]

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Like Clockwork, It’s Time To Ban Ice Cream and Icees again

Every year, when the weather gets warm. parents complain about how the ice cream truck makes their children cry. Their logic goes like this: “I don’t want my child to have ice cream. But I don’t want my child to be indoors. There are ice cream trucks outdoors. When I won’t let my child buy […]

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BMI Rant Part THREE!

Years ago I wrote about what happened when Jake came home from school with a letter saying that he was obese. A few days ago I wrote about it again, because this nonsense is again making news in NYC. And yesterday, my daughter came home from school with her BMI report. My daughter, who is […]

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BMI and Kids: Why It’s Bullshit

Today the NY Post ran a story about a girl in Staten Island who was told by her school that she was fat. One look at her and it’s obvious that she’s anything but. However, the notice from her school wasn’t based on looking at her, it was based on her BMI – body mass […]