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Our Children | February 2014

SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

FEBRUARY 2014

Editor Graphic Designer Copy Editor Contributing Writers

Corporate Advertising Director Creative Director Prepress Manager Special Sections Coordinator

Kimberly Bamber Anna Joyce Kate Marsanico Karen Finucan Clarkson Scott Harris Arlene Karidis Archana Pyati Dennis Wilston Anna Joyce John Schmitz Ashby Rice

PUBLISHED BY THE GAZETTE/POST COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC 9030 COMPRINT COURT, GAITHERSBURG, MD 20877 | GAZETTE.NET

Our Children is produced by The Gazette’s Special Sections and Advertising departments. It does not involve The Gazette’s newsrooms. Contact us at specialsections@gazette.net. ON THE COVER

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February 2014 | Our Children

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DULY NOTED

Judging Juices

Doct prescribe Doctors antibiotics 65 perantib cent of the time if they perceive parents expe expect them, and 12 perce percent of the time if they feel parents don’t, accor according to a study cited by the CDC. Kids sho should get at least ho of moderate one hour physic activity daily — physical ideally seven days a week.

Guard the Noggin

- ARLENE KARIDIS

Just few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life.

In addition to sunscreen, cover kids up, which can also help prevent mosquito bites and West Nile Virus that’s spread from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Tooth Turmoil Dental decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children. This preventable health problem begins early: 17 percent of children between 2 and 4 have already had decay. By 8, just over half have had it, and by 17, it affects more then three quarters of kids. Children at low risk can stay cavityfree with frequent exposure to small

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Our Children | February 2014

amounts of fluoride. This is best gained by drinking fluoridated water and using a fluoride toothpaste twice daily. Those at high risk of decay may benefit from using additional fluoride products, including dietary supplements (for children who do not have adequate levels of fluoride in their drinking water), mouth rinses and professionally applied gels and varnishes. SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

abo a quarter of children ages Only about w 5 to 14 wear helmets when riding bicycles. The percentage of teen cyclists who wear helmets is close to zero. If every bicycle rider wore a helmet, that action alone would prevent an estimated 150 deaths and another 100,000 nonfatal head injuries each year. Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of serious head injury by as much as 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent. Helmets have also been shown to reduce the risk of injury to the upper and midface by 65 percent.

To Phone or Not To Phone? It’s one of the key parenting questions of this generation. Should you, or should you not, let your child have his or her own mobile phone? A mobile phone provides security and peace of mind for parents and kids alike, but also brings potential for overuse and abuse. And that’s to say nothing of the cost. A 2012 study from the GSMA, an association of mobile operators and similar companies, found that 65 percent of children 8 to 18 years old have access to a mobile handset, and 20 percent of those children own a smartphone. There is no magic formula, but according to Kerrie LaRosa, a parent coach based in Potomac, answers to a few simple questions can help families decide. What’s the purpose of the phone? If it is simply to chat with friends, perhaps computer time or another texting device might suffice. Perhaps the house landline will serve the purpose. If there is a more specific need to be filled, consider a child’s maturity as well as age. Can she handle not just the phone itself, but also the guidelines that go along with it? If the answer is yes, a “contract” between kid and parent can help solidify the deal and its ground rules. “Let them know what the expectations are upfront,” LaRosa said. “Remind them of the social expectations and the responsibilities. What happens if you lose it? When can you use it? Can they pay for it, and if so, how much of it?” - SCOTT HARRIS

INFORMATION IS FROM THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC) UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. PHOTOS -- JUICE: JUPITERIMAGES/STOCKBYTE/ THINKSTOCK; ISTOCKPHOTO: POISON, MILMIRKO; SUN, RIVENDELLSTUDIOS; TOOTHBRUSH, CRAFTVISION; PHONE, SCANRAIL; BIKE, GBH007

Many kids love juice, but Wendy Martens, a ess coach and certified health and wellness o Health in Glen president of New Pathway to d the label beEcho, warns parents to read fore selecting a product. gh in sugar, fruc“Fruit juices are typically high riad chemicals,” tose corn syrup and a myriad said Martens. “A rule of thumb is you shouldn’t buy a food product with more than five ingredients, and if your grandmother can’t pronounce ’s processed and the ingredient, don’t buy it. It’s ot need.” has elements our bodies do not Martens recommended “sweetening up” water with slices of citrus fruit or squeezing oranges or grapefruit to make your own juice. ou can juice any “If you have a juicer, you fruit,” she said. “But it will still be high in sugar, u consume. And so be aware of how much you rkling water.” you can cut the sugar with sparkling an Academy of According to the American children.org, kids Pediatrics’ website, healthychildren.org, ice a day, in adcan have small amounts of juice er drinks, such as dition to whole fruits and other en 1 to 6 should water and low-fat milk. Children be limited to 4 to 6 ounces of juice daily; ages 7 to 18 to 8 to 12 ounces.

THE LIST

Party rty Throw a

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C O O L P L A C E S T O C E L E B R AT E Y O U R C H I L D ’ S N E X T B I R T H D AY as they climb. Food is not provided, but families may bring refreshments.

BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON

W

hat began in the early 1800s as a way for well-heeled Victorians to showcase their wealth has become an annual event in most American households: the child’s birthday party. But today’s parties—unlike those in the 1950s when the custom began to take hold—are no longer confined to the backyard or the living room. Throughout Montgomery County, venues offer entertaining, educational and recreational birthday parties. No matter what a child’s age or interest—sports, fantasy, art, culture or nature—there are birthday-party packages that will undoubtedly provide hours of enjoyment and years of memories.

Ages: 6 years and older Guests: Must pay for minimum of 10, though fewer may climb Cost: $275 (covers 10 participants) Reservations: At least four to six weeks in advance Location: Rockville Phone: 240-283-9942 Website: earthtreksclimbing.com

4. The Baseball Zone

GET YOUR CHILD’S GAME ON with a baseball party. A typical 90-minute party at The Baseball Zone includes an hour of baseball activities, including “throwing accuracy games, radar-gun speed pitch, and hitting off of pitching machines and coach-throw,” said Derek Hacopian, owner. Parties here include pizza, Gatorade and baseball cards for each child. The birthday child receives a Baseball Zone T-shirt.

SPORTS

BALLOONS: STOCKBYTE/THINKSTOCK. VENUE PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS LISTED

1. Bowlmor

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK LANES, kid-friendly cuisine and a designated event host set the tone for a hassle-free and fun-filled bowling party. Lightweight balls, gutter guards and ball ramps allow young bowlers to enjoy the experience. “Scoring is automatic—the kids just type their names in,” said Erin Hagfors, director of sales. Party packages run 90 minutes to 2 ½ hours. “Everything is done right at the lanes so kids don’t have to shuffle from one space to another.” Among the “fun extras” is a bowling pin that guests can sign. Ages: 4 and older Guests: Eight minimum Cost: $18.95–$33.95 per person Reservations: At least two to three weeks in advance Locations: Bethesda and Rockville/Gaithersburg Phone: 301-652-0955 Website: bowlmor.com

2. Cabin John Ice Rink/

Wheaton Ice Arena

THE ‘COOLEST’ BIRTHDAY PARTIES are held on ice in rinks at two Montgomery County parks. While ice-skating is traditionally considered a winter sport, birthday parties at an ice rink “provide a refreshing break from the summer heat,”

Build-A-Bear Workshop

said Gina Finney, assistant facility manager in Wheaton. Birthday parties typically coincide with the two-hour public sessions, though rinks may be rented for private use. Food is available from the snack bar or, if a party room is rented, families may bring their own. Ages: 3 and older Guests: No minimum; party rooms accommodate up to 25 Cost: $6.50 per child (includes admission/skate rental); $50 per hour for party room Reservations: At least two weeks in advance for party room Locations: Rockville (Cabin John) and Wheaton Phone: 301-765-8620 (Rockville); 301-905-3000 (Wheaton) Websites: cabinjohnice.com; wheatonicearena.com

3. Earth Treks Climbing Center

TAKE YOUR CHILD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY to another level at this indoor climbing center. “Our parties are experiential, not instructional,” said Amy Gounaris, program director. “They include vertical climbing and vertical climbing games, which are based on age.” For example, younger children might try to reach a stuffed animal on the top of the wall, while older kids might be tethered together or blindfolded

Ages: 5–12 Guests: 15–25 Cost: $300 (covers 15 participants) Reservations: At least one week in advance Location: Rockville Phone: 301-424-4450 Website: thebaseballzone.net FANTASY/ADVENTURE

5. Build-A-Bear Workshop

IT’S HEARTWARMING TO SEE a party guest “walk out, hand-inpaw with a smile and a new best friend,” said Amy Pakett, public relations bear with Build-A-Bear Workshop. These parties, which typically last 60 to 90 minutes, allow kids to make a stuffed animal, the ultimate party favor. A party leader guides the children through each step of the bear-making experience and helps them create birth certificates for their animals. For an additional fee, party guests can “pawsonalize” their animal with outfits and accessories. Ages: 3 and older

SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

See PARTY, 18 February 2014 | Our Children

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THE LIST

Camp Choose a fun summer

12+ places for your kids to have a blast this season

BY ARLENE KARIDIS

S

ummer may seem far away, but now is the time to investigate programs to keep your children busy and having fun once school is out. Here is a sampling of some of the summer camps Montgomery County has to offer.

SUMMER AT MONTGOMERY COLLEGE YOUTH PROGRAMS

Jamz Basketball Camp

This camp is offered to third through sixth graders at the Rockville campus. There are five sessions, seven hours each. Students learn and practice dribbling, passing the ball and other basic skills, as well as sportsmanship. “I gear the camp to meet each camper at their level. We also incorporate a lot of fitness aspects that can benefit all,” said Coach James Fowlkes. “Hopefully the kids

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Our Children | February 2014

Hidden Spring Camp

can see basketball and fitness as fun. The camp is run off the following concepts: to be successful at anything you must work hard; work smart and work consistently.” Germantown Basketball Skills Camp

For boys and girls, beginners to advanced varsity high school athletes can work on the fundamental skills of basketball. Shooting, ball handling, defense and conditioning will help develop the skills needed to play the game at any level. There are five sessions, two hours each. Rockville Soccer Program

Full- and half-day soccer camps run four days a week for ages 4 to 18 at the college’s Rockville campus. This camp stresses the

SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

fundamentals of speed, agility and foot skills; participants play scrimmages to practice all aspects of the game. All levels of ability are welcome. Kids can receive extra training with experienced exprofessionals and with United States Soccer Federation and National Soccer Coaches Association of America licensed-coaches at this camp, said Pedro Braz, head men’s soccer coach at Montgomery College.

for launch and actually launching a rocket. Teams rotate through all the projects. “The kids love building and launching the rockets and learning how to work together to creatively solve problems. The biggest thing that they take away from our camp is the realization of how exciting science can be,” said Jamie Lerner, director for Mad Science of Washington, the company that developed 3-2-1 Blast-Off!

3-2-1 Blast-Off!

Joy of Art

This aerospace program is offered at the Germantown campus for second through sixth graders. There are five sessions, six hours each. Participants are divided into several groups and engage in projects such as calculating rocket height, preparing a rocket

This program, located at the Takoma Park campus, offers five one-week sessions. Students in first through sixth grades make several projects using a variety of media. Session themes incorporate painting, sculpting, weaving, printmaking, drawing and

COURTESY OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY RECREATION

Montgomery College offers more than 100 hands-on, engaging, recreational and educational programs for kids in kindergarten through grade 12. Summer programs are offered at the Rockville, Germantown and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses, and extended care can help accommodate parents’ schedules. “Summer at Montgomery College Youth Programs is a time for students to learn something new, delve deeper in something they are familiar with, explore many options and topics, and just have fun in a safe and nurturing environment. It is also a great opportunity to meet new friends with like interests,” said Sandi Harris, senior program director of Montgomery College Youth Programs. From basketball to soccer and space to the circus, here are a few Montgomery College summer options:

collaging. Some of this summer’s themes will include “Art and Animals—Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica,” “The Art of the Wild, Wild West” and “Art of the ’60s.”

options to ensure that families have the resources to keep their children actively engaged in summer activities.”

Circus Camp

Those 13 to 16 can escape each day to destinations like Hersheypark in Pennsylvania, Kings Dominion in Virginia and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. Summer Teen Escapes begin June 30, and there are four one-week sessions. Pickup locations include White Oak Community Recreation Center, Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, Potomac Community Recreation Center, Germantown Community Recreation Center and Olney Manor Recreational Park. “Summer teen activities are designed to be stimulating programs that address the interest and needs of young people, helping them to gain a sense of independence and responsibility,” said Montgomery County Recreation Teen Manager Adriane Clutter.

Circus techniques and skills that originated from around the world are taught at the Rockville campus for children 9 to 14. There are five sessions, six hours each. Participants come to understand and experience the wonder of circus performance and how it developed. For more information on Montgomery College Youth Programs, visit montgomerycollege.edu/youth or call 240-567-7264.

CAMPS OFFERED THROUGH MONTGOMERY COUNTY RECREATION

Montgomery County Recreation’s summer camps consist of full- and half-day programs located throughout the county for ages 2 to 18. Therapeutic recreation camps for participants with special needs are offered up to age 21, as well. Camp activities serve diverse interests, including sports, nature, swimming and theater. In addition to the traditional summer camp activities, there are special-interest programs such as aquatics, Lego-building and robotics. Hidden Spring Camp

Campers 9 to 13 enjoy activities that enhance their awareness of the outdoors, such as nature exploration, plant identification, creek walks and swimming. Sessions are two weeks, seven hours a day. Hidden Spring Camp is located at Lake Needwood in Rockville. Other Montgomery County Recreation outdoor camps are located at Tilden Woods Local Park in Potomac, Camp Seneca Special Park in Boyds and Valley Mill Camp in Germantown. Summer Fun Centers

Summer Fun Centers are daily drop-in camp programs for children 5 through 12. A variety of daily activities includes crafts, sports, drama, special events and games. Summer Fun Centers, with more than 30 sites throughout Montgomery County, run Monday through Friday from June 23 to Aug. 1 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Programming for both Hidden Spring and Summer Fun Centers provides a time for friendships, fun and being carefree kids,” said Montgomery County Recreation Supervisor Lori Tyer-Ellis. “These Recreation Department programs provide various

Summer Teen Escapes

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Therapeutic Recreation Camps

Montgomery County Recreation provides therapeutic recreation programming for youth ages 5 to 21 who have special needs. Accessible leisure, educational and personal development activities are provided through inclusion and adaptive programs. There are several Therapeutic Recreation Camps that, collectively, run from mid-June until early August. Camp Project Discovery serves youth and teens with physical disabilities. The program features adapted sports, arts and crafts, games, swimming and themed-week activities. The four-week program is offered at Earle B. Wood Middle School in Rockville. “Many of our participants have attended our programs from an early age and return year after year,” said Montgomery County Recreation Therapeutic Recreation Specialist Angela Luskey. “Expanding the program to support participants during the middle school and high school years is an opportunity to support families with teens who have relied on the Recreation Department for summer camp programming. These Therapeutic Recreation Camps provide activities and opportunities to ensure that all individuals have access to programming.” For more information on camps offered through Montgomery County Recreation, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/rec or call 240-777-6870. For Therapeutic Recreation Camp information, call 240-777-6840. See CAMP, 21

Child Development Center

At MCCDC, we are committed to providing you and your family with the peace of mind that your child is in a safe, nurturing environment that caters to their physical, emotional and spiritual development. Since 1971, our center has been caring for children as young as 6-weeks and providing a renowned kindergarten preparation program while nurturing your child’s spirit.

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301-770-5335 www.montrosechristian.org admissions@montrosechristian.org 5100 Randolph Road, Rockville 20852 SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

February 2014 | Our Children

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LITTLE ONES

Prepping

Pooch For a New Baby Planning and training in advance are key to family harmony

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Our Children | February 2014

SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

KC Theisen, director of pet care issues for The Humane Society of the United States. “Start thinking about what behaviors are off-limits,” she said, and focus on correcting those up to a year before the baby’s arrival. The unwanted behaviors may include jumping on people or furniture—the baby’s changing table or crib—or expecting your undivided attention, she said. Teaching your dog to keep all four paws on the ground and to remain calm in new situations are keys to helping him adjust, according to Krieg and Theisen. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a qualified trainer to introduce these behaviors, although it will be easier to train a puppy or an adolescent dog than an aging one. Spaying or neutering your pet will also help keep the animal calm and less territorial, Theisen said. And make sure he’s up to date on vet visits, so an underlying illness doesn’t contribute to his stress, she said. Give your dog his own baby-free space and encourage him to spend time with a trusted family member or friend to See PETS, 22

ISTOCKPHOTO/PTSOLATHE

BY ARCHANA PYATI

If

you’re a first-time expectant parent who also happens to be a pet owner, preparing the nursery won’t be your only project as you await baby’s arrival. Getting your pet ready for the addition to your family is essential to a harmonious household, where dogs and cats respond appropriately to their new environment and still feel loved, say local animal trainers and behavioral specialists. An animal’s intuitive nature can help him sense change is afoot. This new awareness may cause him to exhibit anxious or even aggressive behaviors, especially if he hasn’t been trained, said Karen Krieg, owner of Beltway Dog Training in Washington, D.C., who works with clients throughout Montgomery County. “A lot of times, dogs sense hormonal changes going on,” she said. “They’re in tune with our feelings.” The most important thing, said Krieg, is to make baby prep a reward-rich learning experience for your pet so he associates the baby with positive emotions rather than fear or anxiety. Training your dog in new behaviors will take the most time and will benefit from the most advanced planning, according to

LITTLE ONES

Bathing Baby 1912157

BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON

ISTOCKPHOTO/HANHANPEGGY

H

ygiene is its main benefit, but a baby’s bath offers opportunities for play, relaxation and some uninterrupted one-on-one time between parent and child. While “there’s not one way of doing things” when it comes to bath time rituals, said David Granger, M.D., vice chair of pediatrics at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, there are several safety practices that should not be subject to compromise. Parents should “set the thermostat on the hot water heater to less than 120 degrees” to prevent scalding. “Test the water with your elbow as it gives a truer sense of the water’s temperature than your hand.” For newborns and infants, “there should be no more than 1 to 2 inches of water,” said Sherrie Burkholder, a registered nurse and perinatal services educator at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. “A child can drown even in as little as an inch of water.” That is why parents “need to have all supplies ready to go,” said Burkholder. Once the baby is in the bath, everything should be within reach so that the parent never leaves the baby’s side. A sponge bath is ideal for newborns until the umbilical cord falls off, which usually takes 10 to 14 days, according to Burkholder. A moist stump “can get smelly and infection can occur,” she said.

Infants should be bathed in a baby tub, one “approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics or another well-known organization” and fitted into the kitchen sink. “That’s a comfortable height for most parents.” While some tubs come with a safety belt, Burkholder recommended against its use. “The parent needs to be there supporting the baby’s head so the infant doesn’t slide. A belt gives a false sense of security.” Parents should pay special attention to a baby’s folds and creases, cleaning the neck, underarms and diaper area well. Drying an infant’s skin as soon as it has been washed will help keep the baby warm. Once the hair has been washed and dried, cover the infant’s head, as “that’s where they have the most heat loss,” said Burkholder. “It used to be people were taught not to bathe a toddler every day for fear his skin would dry out. But that’s not necessarily true,” said Granger. Daily baths are fine, although moisturizer might be needed. There is no right or wrong time of day to bathe. “We tell parents to do whatever works best but get the infant into a routine,” said Burkholder. Bath time should occur around the same time of day. “We often suggest doing it in the evening when getting ready for bed. Turn the lights lower to help the baby get over the confusion between day and night.”

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THE WONDER YEARS

How to Teach Kids

About Money

BY ARLENE KARIDIS

M

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BANANASTOCK/THINKSTOCK

ounting bills. An unpredictable stock market. Salaries that fall behind the cost of living. These are common challenges many adults face. Children should develop strong money management skills early for financial stability in the future, say local financial advisors and educators. “Between 5 and 7 years old is a good age to introduce basics. And show by example rather than explain concepts,” said Wayne Zussman, a financial planner and president of Triton Wealth Management in Gaithersburg. “A young child does not understand credit, but they can see cash. So have them watch you make a purchase. Or let them make a purchase themselves so they start to understand how a transaction works.” If a child wants candy, he suggested, parents can give him a dollar and explain he will get change back. “They touch the dollar bill and understand there is a give and take of money for service, and that it comes in paper and coins,” said Zussman. Introduce children to less tangible concepts by 10 or 11, he said, beginning with how banking works. “You might teach them how to write a check to pay a utility bill. Explain that the bank holds the money, and you are writing a check on your account balance, but the money has to be there,” he said. By 13, children are ready to learn about credit cards; this is when youth can realize those are not an endless stream of money in plastic form, Zussman said. “Explain you are borrowing money, but have to pay it back in a certain number of days so they see this is a convenience if you don’t have money in your pocket.” Financial Here again, he encourages parents to show education should children the process, the same way they did begin as early as 5 when their 6-year-old made a cash transaction in a store. or 6 with the most “Say, ‘Remember when we went to Sears and bought a coat? Now I am mailing basic concepts. payment.’ So they see the back end, which is the payment itself, while the front end is the

THERE ARE FOUR BASIC USES OF MONEY

to consider when educating youth, according to Brian Pierson, director of Convergent Wealth Advisors in Potomac. “You can spend money. You can save money. You can earn or invest it. And you can give it away,” he said. These four areas tie into more than teaching money management skills; Pierson suggested introducing them as tools to teach values. “With savings, in the earliest years, I would encourage children to put money in a piggy bank. This is similar to teaching them to put toys away to protect and preserve them,” he said. And, they can learn about giving away money by putting away coins or dollars to give to charities. That teaches them to share. With regard to earning and investing, “Some of children’s first words are ‘mine’ or ‘I want.’ If they are rewarded an ice cream cone for doing something good, they learn to work for what they have. Later they may use a weekly allowance they earned for chores,” said Pierson. Children can be taught self-control in spending habits, as well. “Help them understand what they have. If they want a doll or truck, ask, ‘Do you have money?’ This is a precursor to understanding credit card debt, as well as teaching responsibility,” he said.

EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES CAN ALSO HELP

teach money management skills, according to Maria Tarasuk, pre-K-12 program supervisor for social studies for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The website usmint.gov offers age-appropriate interactive games for students and teaches concepts about savings and spending. For parents, moneyasyougrow.org provides tips for teaching practical skills tied to understanding and managing money. The information is age specific for youth from 3 to 18, she said. Beyond the online resources, she advised that parents sit down and talk to their children. “For middle school and high school, I suggest going over the family budget so youth see real-world costs and how they impact their families,” said Tarasuk. But she said to keep it simple, sticking, for instance, to short-term spending—and focusing on specific budget areas like entertainment or utilities. “The goal is to teach what it takes to manage finances as a family and to do it in a way that is personal and not as abstract as what they may learn in class.” MCPS fifth-graders focus on career and education choices as part of the social studies curriculum. “Students research job choices online to determine the education necessary for a given job, median income and what skills they have to develop to qualify. This is largely to teach interrelationships between

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Pierson encourages introducing concepts of personal identity and credit scores as youth mature. “They need to know about cybersecurity, to understand they are vulnerable and know how to protect themselves,” he said, noting teenagers should also be aware of the online footprint they create. While there is a long list of what information to protect, as a general rule, “If you would be comfortable showing it on the New York Times Square jumbotron, then you can be comfortable showing it online.”

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transaction when you made the purchase,” he said. Zussman also suggested setting up a custodial account at around age 13 in the parent’s and child’s name. “They can see how the bank is paying them to keep their money there.” Geoffrey Sella, president of SPC Financial Inc. in Rockville, agrees that financial education should begin as early as 5 or 6 with the most basic concepts. “Middle school is where learning should become more structured. And practical education should begin and advance through high school,” said Sella. “These are the years when children have saved or begun working, so they have their own financial resources.” Middle school students, Sella said, can be taught how to balance checking accounts, how to track debit card spending, and about stock and mutual funds. “By high school, once they have had more advanced math, I would challenge students with questions like, ‘How long would it take to pay off a debt if I make minimum payments?’ or, ‘What is the total cost of a purchase if I have to pay interest?’” High school is also a good time to teach them about stocks and bonds and costs associated with mortgages, he said.

See MONEY, 23

BY 13, THEY ARE READY TO LEARN ABOUT CREDIT CARDS; THIS IS WHEN YOUTH CAN REALIZE THOSE

ARE NOT AN ENDLESS STREAM OF MONEY IN PLASTIC FORM.

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TWEENS & TEENS

BY KAREN FINUCAN CLARKSON

The tweets received

by Joshua Starr took him by surprise. “Some … were so disturbing that my staff reported them to the school principal and our security team,” the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) superintendent wrote in a December letter to parents. With snow in the forecast and the prospect of a day off looming, students began contacting Starr via Twitter. “Some of these ‘tweets’ were clever, funny and respectful, pleading for me to cancel school so they could sleep in or have more time to do their homework. Many of these tweets, however, were offensive and disturbing. Some were threatening to me and others. A few referenced my family. There was rampant use of racial epithets and curse words.”

ISTOCKPHOTO/ANDIPANTS

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“As kids are learning to make choices, especially in adolescence when they don’t have the proper brain development to ensure appropriate choices, parents need to not only communicate their expectations and monitor their child’s social media activity, but serve as models,” said Stacey A. Kopnitsky, assistant principal at North Bethesda Middle School in Bethesda. “Dr. Starr’s point was that we’re giving our children these powerful tools and if we don’t give them guidelines and structure, they’ll make mistakes.” So, just as parents historically have prepared their children for the real world, they now need to prepare them for the virtual world. “We are the first generation of parents struggling and grappling with this. There are no role models,” said Kopnitsky. “We are social media warriors.” The majority of teens are plugged in. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported in 2011 that 22 percent “of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day.” Keeping track of what kids are doing online requires a combination of selfeducation and vigilance, according to Kopnitsky. “You need to be familiar with the sites your children are using and to monitor what they are posting and seeing,” she said. With access—whether via computer, iPod, tablet or smartphone— comes responsibility, and it’s up to parents to ensure that teens are acting responsibly. “What I advise parents when things happen at school and go beyond what a child intended is to remember: Who buys the device? The parent. Who pays the bill? The parent. Who is technically the owner yet gifting the device to the child? The parent. So, who must set the rules and expectations?” More than 90 percent of parents set rules or limits for their children’s Internet usage, according to the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). Most popular are limiting a child’s computer use to a common area of the house, the amount of time a child can spend online and the times of day a child can be online. PARENT-CHILD COMMUNICATION IS KEY

to promoting appropriate online behavior, according to Jose M. Medrano, an academic coach for Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring. “It’s

important to share your values and expectations. Be repetitive; remind him. You may think your child isn’t listening, but he is.” Show and tell, suggested Medrano, noting that images can be more powerful than words. Several websites—including netsmartz.org from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and MCPS’ montgomeryschoolsmd.org/info/ cybersafety—offer videos with “real-life examples that speak to the consequences of (inappropriate) posting,” he said. Those consequences include college rejection letters. “Admissions officers are looking at what students are posting on their accounts,” said Medrano. “Even if a student gets in, a college can rescind the offer down the road or revoke a scholarship. It may be that the kid is holding an empty beer bottle, but the picture makes it seem like he’s doing something illegal.”

“WE USE THE TERM DIGITAL FOOTPRINT, BUT WHEN I TALK TO KIDS I COMPARE IT TO A TATTOO.

IT’S THAT PERMANENT.”

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AND, THERE CAN BE LEGAL REPERCUSSIONS

for students making inappropriate posts, noted Starr in his letter. “I’d like to think that they wouldn’t post such things if they understood the consequences of their actions or if they knew that I’m legally responsible for reporting threats to the police and to their parents. I’d like to think they wouldn’t post such things, especially if they understood that these posts are permanent and can follow them ...” “We use the term digital footprint, but when I talk to kids I compare it to a tattoo. It’s that permanent,” said Kopnitsky. “The process of removing a tattoo is similar to what you have to go through to remove a post that doesn’t portray you in a positive light.” Some teens mistakenly believe that their posts don’t have an afterlife, especially those who use Snapchat, a popular “Mission Impossible-type app,” said Medrano. Kids send a photo, which disSee ONLINE, 20 1906500

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TEENS

Teen Rebellion WHAT’S NORMAL. WHAT’S NOT.

BY ARCHANA PYATI

Ask

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Our Children | February 2014

I’m away from my family?’ is a question of identity that’s been fairly easily answered up until that point … [but] that’s [now] translated into behaviors of difference.” Sometimes, a teen’s desire to separate gets personal—when he or she criticizes a parent’s appearance, manners of speech or hobbies, said Dr. Bruce Pomerantz, an adolescent psychologist in Chevy Chase. Yet even those behaviors, however hurtful,

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could be considered within the spectrum of “normal,” as teens experience ambivalence toward their parents—rejecting and needing them at the same time, he said. The challenge for parents is to resist the urge to respond automatically with anger or punishment. “You don’t promote change if you punish excessively,” said Pomerantz. Parents should expect their child to argue with the rules, particularly if parents haven’t

taken the time to learn what’s important to the teen or his point of view, said Dr. Thalia Kirimlis, a psychological associate with Healthy Synergy Psychological Services LLC in Germantown. “I always tell parents, ‘It’s OK if a child resists what they’re told to,” she said. “It’s normal.” In fact, it behooves parents to engage teens in a process of revising family rules;

BRAND X PICTURES/STOCKBYTE/THINKSTOCK

any parent with grown children what their toughest period of child rearing was, and many will respond unequivocally: adolescence. A child’s teenage years will likely be characterized by more than a few arguments, slammed doors and outrageous fashion experiments, but to what extent are these behaviors considered by experts to be “normal” versus red flags signaling a problem with deeper roots? “Even if there’s a ‘perfect parent,’ they’re still going to have a difficult time communicating with their teen because the kid is in a transformational phase in their life,” said Dr. Kathryn Steinman, a Bethesda psychologist who frequently works with teens and families. Teens are on a journey to craft an identity separate from their parents; that quest often entails rejecting rituals, activities and rules the family holds dear, according to Dr. Roger Friedman, a Silver Spring psychologist and social worker who teaches at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and is a clinical consultant for child welfare and mental health programs. “There’s a natural process of independence in every family when a youngster reaches adolescence,” said Friedman, which involves an external testing of family rules and an internal search for identity. “‘Who am I when

the teens will feel their perspectives are being considered, said Friedman. “The nature of rule setting needs to be more collaborative,” he said. “For a 16- or 17-year old, they have to be a player in what’s being established.” Teens who feel like they’ve been heard are more likely to trust their parents and be open to negotiating, he added. That way, parents have more leverage in asking their teen to work on a few problem behaviors. Changes in appearance, like new clothes or hairstyles or experimenting with makeup, can also be expected, according to Kirimlis. Youth are “learning how to express themselves” during adolescence. Piercings or tattoos may also be something your teen wants to explore, although ideally, she said, they’ll seek your consent first. Even experimenting with drugs and alcohol—although for some families, trying an illegal substance one time may be out of sync with their values—isn’t considered out of the ordinary, said Steinman. “Most kids are going to experiment,” she said. “I don’t advocate it, but I wouldn’t want them to be totally in the dark either” about drugs and alcohol. SO, WHAT ARE THE SIGNS THAT YOUR TEEN

may be experiencing something more serious than the normal need for greater autonomy? “Withdrawing is a major red flag,” said Steinman. “I find that when a kid starts to have apathy … they feel like they’ve tried to communicate time and time again, and they feel like they’re not being heard.” If your teen’s behavior threatens his or her daily functioning or the family structure, then it may be time to take a closer look, said Pomerantz. A teen’s refusal to do homework, excessive skipping of school, anger to the point of perhaps punching a wall or staying out all night without disclosing his whereabouts are signs he needs help, he said. And while a change in friendships is a normal part of adolescence, your teen’s refusal to give you any opportunity to meet their new friends should concern you, Pomerantz added. Similarly, changes in a teen’s appearance aren’t automatic causes for worry. But, for example, a girl who wears long sleeves during the summer months could be concealing a tendency to cut herself, or a boy who is always at the gym could be suffering from body image issues, according to Pomerantz.

Plummeting grades, particularly for a child who is an academic achiever, should also be a signal that your child is in distress, said Steinman. And when real conversations end, and turn into angry outbursts between you and your teen, that indicates “communication has totally broken down,” Friedman said. And yet, it’s incumbent on parents to determine the root of the problem by interpreting their teen’s red-flag behavior. “I always tell parents they have to play detective since teens can’t always verbalize their feelings,” Kirimlis said. TWO FACTORS ARE POTENTIALLY AT PLAY

if a teen’s behavior seems erratic and out of character—underlying mental health issues or undiagnosed cognitive impairments or learning disabilities, explained Pomerantz and Friedman. According to Steinman, withdrawing from family or friends, declining academic performance and even substance abuse could be signs of major depression. Something as straightforward as reading comprehension difficulties could lead to a teen’s disengaging from school and turning to drugs and alcohol to cope if he doesn’t receive extra academic support, Pomerantz said. Self-harm, like cutting, could also be seen as a faulty coping mechanism for teens “who don’t know other tools” for dealing with academic and social pressures, said Steinman. It’s particularly challenging, Friedman said, when a serious clinical problem interacts with the normal developmental process of separation teens go through, and it’s important for parents to distinguish between the two. How can parents empower their teens— and themselves—to survive adolescence? To build trust and open communication, continue to involve yourself in your child’s life. “You have to align with your

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“YOU NEED TO MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE, NOT WHERE YOU ARE OR

WHERE YOU WANT THEM TO BE.”

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February 2014 | Our Children

15

YOU

Timeout

your

staying sane while parenting BY SCOTT HARRIS

Timeouts aren’t just for kids.

Parenting is a taxing, unrelenting endeavor. For all its rewards, it mirrors most any other high-stress pursuit: If you try to do it while frazzled, distracted, fatigued or agitated, your performance will suffer markedly. Knowing your children and their tendencies can help head off surprises and stress. But knowing your own, and those of your parenting partner, can help even more, particularly in the proverbial heat of the moment and outside it, when defusing bad behavior as a parent can in turn defuse it in kids, or even prevent it from happening altogether.

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Maintaining a cool head may do more than keep a calm household. A study conducted by University of Pittsburgh researchers and published in September by the journal Child Development found that parents who severely shout at, curse or insult their children may be doing as much psychological damage as they would with physical abuse. Adolescent children in the study who received “harsh verbal discipline” experienced increased levels of depressive symptoms and were more likely to participate in antisocial or aggressive behaviors like vandalism, regardless of the overall strength of the parent-child bond. At the same time, children’s tantrums— whether from a toddler, an adolescent or in between—can certainly be destructive and counterproductive forces in their own right. And therein lies the balancing act. “Tantrums can become manipulative, so parents can coordinate in advance so kids don’t think they’ve won,” said Robyn Des Roches, a certified parent educator with the Parent Encouragement Program, a nonprofit educational organization for parents, teachers and others based in Kensington. “We don’t spank anymore, but sometimes we yell. That’s not as bad as physical abuse, but it takes 45 minutes to calm down after it. And they learn from you,” she said. All the more reason parents should see to their own well-being and sanity first, before attempting to tend to their kids. Des Roches drew a parallel to the airplane oxygen mask—put your own mask on in the event of emergency, then attempt to help others. “Give yourself the oxygen mask first,” Des Roches said. “Make sure you’ve had a chance to rest. Parents do their worst parenting when they’re stressed and sleep deprived. Take care of yourself, and then you can really be present for your kids,” she said. The advice makes sense, but can sometimes be difficult to implement in many overburdened, overcommitted families. “Just take time for small things that you like doing,” said Kerrie LaRosa, a parent coach based in Potomac. “Take the stairs at work. Make time for adult relationships. Look at where you spend your free time and decide what’s the most important.”

Simply making a point to block schedules for adult activities—a date night, reading at home, a trip to the gym—can pay big dividends. A fitness center with child care services, for example, can provide “cheap babysitting” while allowing parents to better care for themselves, Des Roches said. A little coordination between parents can also go a long way. If one parent sees the other beginning to lose composure, a little “adult timeout” can be beneficial. Parents should avoid arguing or correcting each other in front of a child; agreeing on some boundaries on the front end can help parents coordinate and cooperate more effectively in the heat of the moment. “Parents should have each other’s backs,” Des Roches said. “Observe objectively. You can have face-saving code words if you’re getting too upset. You can tell the other one to go read the paper.” Parents can also take preventive measures with children. Stowing the smartphone and paying full attention to kids can not only model behavior you want to see in them, but also “fill their emotional fuel tanks,” LaRosa said. Even 10 minutes of one-on-one time can make a significant difference, Des Roches said. Parents who are plugged into their kids’ tendencies can also defuse a tantrum before it happens. It boils down, LaRosa said, to understanding what works best for each individual child. “Don’t give it a lot of attention. Say ‘I’m going to go upstairs, and I’ll be there when you calm down.’ Sometimes a hug or holding them helps. Different things work for different kids,” LaRosa said. “They’re going to happen, so how do you respond? Have tools in your back pocket. Come up with a plan between parents so when tantrums come you’re not caught off guard.”

“Parents should have each other’s backs. You can have

face-saving code words

if you’re getting too upset. You can tell the other one to go read the paper.”

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PARTY, from 5 Guests: Six minimum Cost: $10–$25 (cost of undressed animal per guest) Reservations: At least two weeks in advance Location: Bethesda Phone: 301-365-8388 Website: buildabear.com

Matthew Fishel, D.O. Now Accepting New Patients Most Insurance Plans Accepted

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Ages: 6 and older Guests: Nine minimum; party room accommodates 24 Cost: $16-$20 per person Reservations: Four to six weeks in advance recommended Location: Gaithersburg Phone: 301-330-5546 Website: shadowlandadventures.com

6. Be with Me Playseum

The Playseum Upstairs

IMAGINATIONS RUN WILD at these two unique play spaces. Designed by local mom Gina Seebachan and her kids, the Be with Me Playseum is a “mini city with 13 different rooms—including a live pet shop and art studio—that encourage creative play,” she said. Partygoers spend Playseum dollars at places like the bakery, where they make their own ice cream shake, or the soap bar, where they make bubble bath or get their nails done. Following a themed story time, children don a chef hat and apron to decorate cupcakes. Older children attending parties Upstairs enjoy the pillow-fight, karaoke and soap rooms, among others. Hockey, foosball and billiard tables are popular, as is the graffiti wall where the birthday kid spray-paints his name. The pièce de résistance is the cupcake sundae challenge. Ages: 1–7 (Playseum); 8–14 (Playseum Upstairs) Guests: Seven minimum; 80 maximum (Playseum); 100 maximum (Playseum Upstairs) Cost: Parties start at $175 (Playseum); $225 plus gratuity (Playseum Upstairs) Reservations: Four to eight weeks in advance recommended Location: Bethesda Phone: 240-507-8965 Websites: playseum.com; playseumupstairs.com

7. ShadowLand Laser

Adventures

A BIRTHDAY PARTY AT ShadowLand is an exciting, whole-group activity where kids simultaneously share the same experience,

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said Heather Spies, marketing specialist. Guest adventurers strap on gear and enter a multilevel arena where they use logic, stealth and lasers to achieve their ultimate objective. Partygoers usually play out their adventures with other customers. Parties, which run 1 ½ to two hours, include one or two games of laser tag and a private event room, as well as soft drinks and paper goods. “We will set up, clean up … and can even provide the food and cake.”

8. The Adventure Park

at Sandy Spring Friends School

THIS AERIAL FOREST OFFERS partygoers an opportunity to reach new heights. The Adventure Park has “more elements, courses and zip lines than any park in the area,” said Missy Conner, park manager. A unique clip system “lets climbers experience their adventure independently, while giving adults amazing peace of mind.” Parties can be held in The Labyrinth, a freestanding structure with some 40 elements of mixed-difficulty levels; The Monkey Grove, featuring 10 trees with climbs up to 45 feet; and the main park with 13 courses. Climbs run two or three hours. Food may be brought in and there is no time limit on the after-climb festivities. Night parties are available. The Park is open March 15 to Nov. 30. Ages: Children must weight at least 30 pounds (The Monkey Grove); 5 and older (The Labyrinth/main park) Guests: 12 or 24 (The Monkey Grove/The Labyrinth); eight minimum (main park) Cost: $350 for 12 or $600 for 24 (The Monkey Grove/The Labyrinth); $39–$44 per person (main park) Reservations: Several months in advance recommended Location: Sandy Spring Phone: 240-389-4386 Website: sandyspringadventurepark.org

ART/CULTURE

Several American and European trolleys are on display in the Street Car Hall. A party room is available, though food and decorations must be brought in. Ages: All Guests: Up to 45 Cost: $150 (chartered streetcar); $100 (party room) Reservations: At least two weeks in advance Location: Colesville Phone: 301-384-6088 Website: dctrolley.org

11. The Mud Hut

9. Imagination Stage

WHETHER THEY INCLUDE taking in a professional theater production or working with a teaching artist, birthday parties at Imagination Stage delight and engage. Workshop parties are themed—based on books, such as “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” or “Where the Wild Things Are”—and vary by age, according to Krystle Seit, education associate. During a show birthday, guests may see an early-childhood or main-stage performance. Private backstage tours are additional. A party room comes with the workshop and may be rented for a show birthday. Ages: 1–12 Guests: Up to 18 (workshop party); up to 35 (party room) Cost: $425 (workshop and party space); $10–$25 per person (show birthdays); $150 (party space) Reservations: One to two months in advance recommended Location: Bethesda Phone: 301-280-1660 Website: imaginationstage.org

10. National Capital Trolley Museum FOR KIDS WHO LIKE to be on the go, a ride on a historical streetcar may be the ideal birthday party. Guests enjoy admission to the trolley museum and an exclusive ride on a vintage trolley through Northwest Branch Park on Saturday or Sunday at either 1:30 or 3:30 p.m., according to Joanie Pinson, director of education. The museum’s Main Hall includes exhibits and a model of the Rock Creek Electric Railway.

UNLEASH YOUR CHILD’S inner artist with a 90-minute party at this art studio. A range of pottery pieces—everything from figurines and piggy banks to mugs, cups and plates— is available for partygoers to paint. Popular figurines include little mermaids, princesses, cats, dogs, unicorns and dragons, said Julie D. Fallone, marketing director. Once the pottery is painted, studio staff fire it and a week later it’s ready for pickup. The Mud Hut also offers a party plate that is signed by each guest for the birthday child. Ages: 6 and older Guests: Six minimum Cost: $19–$22 (cost of item) Reservations: At least one week in advance; two to three weeks recommended Location: Olney Phone: 301-260-8786 Website: mudhutstudios.com NATURE

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Your child deserves the best! Pre-school and Day Care

12. Woodend Nature Sanctuary

EXPLORE THE GREAT OUTDOORS with a party at this 40-acre nature sanctuary. Parties at Woodend are thematic. For example, “we have ponding, where kids get wet and muddy exploring the pond and looking for critters,” said Carol Hayes, birthday party coordinator. “With animal clues, kids become detectives looking for tracks, scats—which is animal poop—and scrapes, usually from a deer rubbing his antlers on trees.” While parties are outside come rain, snow or sunshine, a variety of indoor games and activities are available when weather turns severe. A party room is included, but food must be brought in. Ages: 4–8 Guests: 14 included in price Cost: $225 (members); $260 (nonmembers) Reservations: At least one week in advance Location: Chevy Chase Phone: 301-652-9188 Website: audubonnaturalist.org

Now enrolling! Accepting ages 18 months to 6 years old Open from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm

www.TopHatMontessori.com (240) 813-0713

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Top Hat Montessori is conveniently located at the intersection of Muncaster Mill Road, Woodfield Road, and Snouffer School Road in Gaithersburg’s Flower Hill neighborhood at 18203D Flower Hill Way, Gaithersburg, MD. SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

February 2014 | Our Children

19

ONLINE, from 13 appears within 1 to 10 seconds after it is viewed. It is possible, however, for the recipient to capture or recover the image. Other social media apps popular with teens include Instagram and Twitter. JUST AS THERE IS AN AGE FOR VOTING

kids use social media to harass or embarrass by posting vicious messages. Others will post videos of their victims being physically assaulted. “They become Internet celebrities for demeaning other kids,” he said. Parents should be prepared to act when their child violates a family’s social media ground rules. “If your teen wasn’t using the car safely, you wouldn’t let him drive for a while,” said Kopnitsky. The same should hold true for any device he’s using to access social media sites. “Have a constructive conversation and let him know that when he is ready to follow expectations, the privilege will be restored.” Some parents rely on cell phones to stay connected with their children and may be hesitant to take them away. “That’s why you have a prepaid phone with no camera

on it ready to go when something happens,” said Medrano. “It’s important to have consequences when they do things online.” When it’s your child’s friend who makes a mistake, use it as a “teachable moment,” said Kopnitsky. “You might say, ‘Wow, did you see what so-and-so put up? I bet that picture isn’t necessarily the way he wants to be thought of.’ You can have a nice third-party type of conversation.” Alerting the parent of your child’s friend to that inappropriate post may not be viewed favorably by your kid, but “it’s important to have a conversation with the other parent,” said Medrano. The talk “might eliminate more serious consequences down the line.” But don’t be surprised if the other parent isn’t interested in a chat. “It’s a fine line when it comes to getting involved,” said Kopnitsky. “Different families have different values. Some parents may say they want their child to make his own choices.” To ensure appropriate online choices by your child, keep driving home your expectations. “Be consistent with your message, stay true to your values and stay the course,” said Kopnitsky. “No, your child may not like what he’s hearing, but he is hearing it.”

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ISTOCKPHOTO/FRANCKREPORTER

and drinking, there is a minimum age for accessing most social media sites. It is 13. That’s because the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires sites and services to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use or disclose personal information from a child who is not yet a teen. That said, 30 percent of parents admitted in a parenting.com survey that they allowed their tweens to log on to social media sites. “Tweens don’t understand that the profile they are creating may not portray them in a positive light,” said Kopnitsky. Parents should prohibit underage social media usage. When a teen is, in a parent’s opinion, mature enough to begin interacting through social media, Kopnitsky suggested “laying out expectations, but allowing him to dem-

onstrate responsibility. Establish a monitoring protocol with your child. If you do it together, he’s more invested in it and you don’t come off as ‘big brother.’ The idea is to respect his privacy while ensuring that he’s representing himself in a way you are comfortable with.” That means having access to a child’s social media accounts as long as he is a minor, said Kopnitsky. Just under 60 percent of parents actively monitor their child’s Internet use, according to FOSI. Of that group, 83 percent log on to their child’s Facebook account; 79 percent review their child’s browsing history to see what sites were visited; and 70 percent look at their child’s phone to review text messages that were sent and received. Just like you get to know the friends your child hangs out with after school, you should get to know his online friends. Sometimes those friends are anything but. “There was a young lady who got money for her birthday and posted a photo of it. A few hours later, her house was robbed,” said Medrano. Teens can become victims in other ways through social media. Cyberbullying is a real concern, according to Medrano. Some

all-day field trips, trips to a local pool, sports activities, arts and crafts and themed weeks.

CAMP, from 7

COURTESY OF KIDSCO

KIDSCO INC. SUMMER CAMPS

KidsCo Inc. offers summer camp options at seven locations throughout Montgomery County—Silver Spring, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Brookeville, Germantown, Clarksburg and Damascus. The KidsCo Day Camp program is open for youth from pre-K through ninth grade, and is located at schools with recreational activities. Kids On-The-Run Travel Camp is for students entering third through sixth grade, and Teens On-The-Run Travel Camp is for those entering sixth through ninth grade. The On-The-Run programs feature day trips where youth participate in various recreational activities. Each summer camp is a one-week session, and extended morning and afternoon hours are available. KidsCo Day Camp

KidsCo Day Camp offers weekly,

Kids On-The-Run Travel Camp

This day program offers a variety of activities, including all-day field trips, twice-weekly pool visits, sports, arts and crafts and themed weeks. Travel Camp and Teen Travel Camp

Youth enjoy excursions throughout the county, and sometimes beyond, where they engage in a variety of events, such as watching professional sports games and enjoying water parks, rope courses, white-water rafting and paintball. “Our hope for every summer is that each and every camper walks away with memories and experiences that last them a lifetime,” said Jay Gerson, owner and operator of KidsCo Summer Camps. For more information, visit kidscoonline.com or call 301-7409600.

Children and a counselor at a KidsCo camp have fun at a water park.

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Serving bright college bound students with language-based learning differences in grades 4-12.

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PETS, from 8 make being away from you easier. Early on, remove access to the nursery by using gates. To make up for that restricted access and your soon-to-be-restricted time, engage your dog in mentally stimulating and playful activities. “When you’re with your dog, make it count,” said Krieg, who emphasizes “quality over quantity.” “Try to hold onto things that you enjoy doing with your dog,” said Theisen. Michelle Manger, a trainer at Your Dog’s Friend, a local nonprofit with a training center in Rockville, suggested getting your dog to follow verbal cues rather than physical cues like hand gestures; your hands will probably be occupied with your infant. “Practice giving verbal cues from various locations so your pet responds to the sound of your voice rather than your physical presence,” she said. Cats feel less anxious if they have high posts or perches to jump to, so make sure you install some of these in your home, said Theisen. Before the baby’s arrival, practice with dolls, strollers and other baby equipment so your dog gets accustomed to the new

rituals and gear associated with a baby, according to Your Dog’s Friend’s website, yourdogsfriend.org. Invite friends or family members with babies over to acclimate your dog to what a real human baby sounds and smells like, said Krieg. “Dogs live in a universe of smells,” she said, adding that you could bring home wipes, diapers and lotions to introduce these new smells to the pet. “Give your dog a chance to learn that [the baby] is not a new toy.” Once the baby has arrived, it’s critical to never leave an animal alone and unsupervised with him, said Krieg. Coordinating a dog’s feeding schedule with the baby’s is one way to create positive associations with the child in a dog’s mind, according to Mary Huntsberry, an associate certified applied animal behaviorist and owner of Helping Pets Behave in Gaithersburg. Once the dog reaches a comfort level with the baby, try incorporating your baby into routines your dog enjoys, like simple games or walks with ample treats as rewards—“anything that the dog really likes that’s associated with the baby’s presence,” said Huntsberry.

Teaching Toddlers to Get Along with Pets As your baby grows into a toddler, he or she may unintentionally engage in

according to KC Theisen, director of pet

family pet. The pet may respond by behav-

care issues for The Humane Society of

ing aggressively toward the child, creating

the United States. “You can start early to

an unhappy situation for the entire family.

help them understand that this is another

Even “good” dogs may bite if no one is said Debra Ekman, founder and administrator of Your Dog’s Friend. Intervene early

enjoying or merely tolerating your toddler’s presence. “The absence of threatening

ing its tail, or licking its lips—and let him

behavior doesn’t mean the dog is fine

escape to a safe place that your toddler

or OK,” said Mary Huntsberry, owner of

attention to stress signals and to know

mal’s space can all be uncomfortable for

your pet’s limits.

a dog, according to Your Dog’s Friend’s

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it snaps, she said, so it’s essential to pay

ing, hugging, lying on or going into the ani-

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Helping Pets Behave in Gaithersburg. A pet may tolerate behavior for years before

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-ARCHANA PYATI

ISTOCKPHOTO/KAISPHOTO

right and wrong way to handle pets. Kiss-

Our Children | February 2014

Learn to read your animal’s body language to determine whether he’s truly

if you see anxious body language from

Toddlers should be conditioned on the

22

living being and that you can hurt them,” she said.

your dog—turning or backing away, tuck-

can’t access, she said.

LIVING GRACE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Admits Students of Any Race, Color, and National or Ethnic Origin

the animal with soft, gentle touches,

disruptive or hurtful behaviors toward the

helping them out of a stressful situation,

Now accepting applications for 2014-2015

website. Redirect your child to approach

MONEY: RYAN MCVAY/PHOTODISC/THINKSTOCK; REBELLION: JUPITERIMAGES/PIXLAND/THINKSTOCK

MONEY, from 11 education, future choices and the impact these choices could have on income,” said Leslie Grimmell, instructional specialist in the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs for MCPS. Sixth-graders participate in a junior achievement financial literacy program. Volunteers present lessons over a couple of weeks on topics such as savings, spending, credit cards and credit scores. A national high school program called the Stock Market Game is a component of elective economic classes. Students learn about selling and buying stocks and the role of the market in setting stock prices. The skills and lessons children are introduced to over the years range in complexity. How do parents gauge what a child is ready to learn? Grimmell suggested noting their ability to understand the most basic concepts, then moving on to more complex ones when they are successful. “But typically in kindergarten and as they are going through primary grades, you can look at short-term and long-term savings, start-

TEENS, from 15 ing with piggy banks for small items,” she said. The ultimate goal is for students to be on their way to making their own financial decisions before high school graduation, said Tarasuk. “It’s important for students to know about student loans and what is involved in applying for them,” she said, as college is all about thinking ahead and being prepared.

kid,” said Steinman. “You need to meet them where they are, not where you are or where you want them to be.” According to Steinman, sometimes the best strategy for reaching a teen is an indirect one: not pointedly asking them “Are you OK?” or attempting a serious talk in their room, but rather through a casual conversation while running errands or giving them a ride. “The subtle message is, ‘I’m here for you,’” which teens will pick

up on even if they don’t ask for help right away, she said. And, even if your teen rejects your overture to accompany you on an activity you previously enjoyed together, such as a basketball game, keep asking. A breakdown in the relationship between parents and teens occurs when “there’s not a sufficient emotional connection between parent and child,” Pomerantz said. “You have to keep inviting your child to do stuff with you. The invitation is key. It means you’re interested in the child’s life.”

SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE

February 2014 | Our Children

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Our Children | February 2014

SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE GAZETTE


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