Category Archives: Solutions

Waiting for Marco to “Figure it Out”

My oldest son Marco (9), has never been one of the more responsible kids for his age. He hardly ever cleans up after himself, so his room is a total mess, and his things are strewn randomly around our house. He hardly ever helps his younger brothers without prodding. He very frequently loses things. He hardly ever says “please” or “thank you.” Other adults who have observed Marco’s behavior have blamed my wife and me for poor parenting, either explicitly, … Continue reading

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When a Kid Negotiates Play Dates With Moms

My son Marco, at age nine, plans his own play dates. He knows when he has free time. He can ride his bike to other kids’ houses on his own. Unfortunately, very few of his friends can do these things. This fact has resulted in a rather sparse social life this school year for Marco. You see, there are kids who want to play with him, but they’re powerless. Their moms and nannies hold the power, and they’re not too … Continue reading

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Making Summer Vacation Worthwhile

Our neighbor Tommy (5) didn’t come to our house to play with my boys yesterday afternoon because he was doing homework for his summer camp. Oh, brother… If you think childhood is all about school, then of course, you think summer vacation is a waste. Why spend three months goofing off? You might as well attend a “summer camp” that simulates school. On the other hand, I’m a big believer in summer vacation. I happen to believe that it can, … Continue reading

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Signmaking at Camp Yale

At the fifth annual Camp Yale neighborhood summer camp, each kid created a nice memento – a wooden sign with their name carved into it and painted. The kids were thrilled. They put a lot of creativity into them, and they’re proud of the way they look.

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Huntopoly 3.0: A Technology-Aided Treasure Hunt

Some advocates of children’s outdoor play would have you believe that technology is the enemy. Kids who attended my fifth annual Camp Yale two weeks ago would vehemently disagree. They played Huntopoly 3.0 (here are articles on Huntopoly 2.0 and 1.0), which featured treasure boxes with some nifty electronics. Each team of kids got a “Quest Box,” that has a small LCD screen and button on the outside, and treasures and hunt instructions on the inside. Also on the inside, … Continue reading

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“I can build that!”

That’s what my son Nico (5) said last Saturday when he saw a wooden table and bench outside a restaurant. “But I’d make it better. I’d use different screws, and I wouldn’t make the benches so wide.” He really meant this. He can build a bench like that, thanks to a remarkable summer camp he attended the week before called “Tinkering School” in San Francisco. In one incredible week, he and a few other kids built two ladders and bridges … Continue reading

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Freedom + No Screens => Physically Fit Kids

I was stunned when I first saw it. My son Marco, age 8, just won a 5K race at 22:45, averaging less than 7-1/2 minute miles for three miles.  That’s better than most adults I know, including me! You see, he’s not a runner, per se. He has no running shoes or clothes, and his only real running training was three 1-1/2 to 2 mile runs in the weeks before this race. What he is is a kid who has … Continue reading

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Leaving Your Kids at the Park: A Good Idea for the 1%

Do your young kids live within one block of a park? My guess is that somewhere around 99% of kids don’t. The best data on this comes from the Centers for Disease Control, which claims that 80% of kids don’t live within a half mile of a park. The problem is, kids hardly roam anymore. Again, I don’t have precise data, but my anecdotal research indicates that the vast majority of kids in preschool aren’t allowed to roam on their … Continue reading

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Precocious Talents

What do you do when parents show off their children’s precocious talents? Just this past weekend, I sat with my three kids and a few dozen other parents and kids to watch a five-year-old boy play two classical pieces on piano, then a girl around the same age play two violin tunes. I squirmed. I thought about how I really don’t have anything comparable to show off about my kids. They do have some interesting talents, which I’ll mention later, … Continue reading

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Vacations Versus Everyday Home Life

Do your kids absolutely crave vacations away from home? Are they sad to come home? If that’s true, there are two possible explanations. One is that you plan absolutely off-the-charts, world-class vacations. The other is that your kids’ home life is drab and boring. For your sake, let’s hope it’s the former. Our family just took a vacation to Hawaii for spring break, and although we had some amazing moments, at other moments, our kids said they wanted to go … Continue reading

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