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ALL THINGS

Childcare February 2018

Are ADHD and sleep linked?

INFANT CARE

P. 24

P. 28

A song that cures colic P. 16

THE NANNY ADVANTAGE P. 34

ONE MOM'S CHECKLIST P. 40

THE GUILT TRAP

P. 14

Avery, 1 of Willmar

CAMP LISTINGS /// Yes, it’s ALREADY time to plan for summer!

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FEBRUARY 34 Should you hire a nanny? One local family shares the pros and cons of this childcare path.

Photo by Amanda Mortenson Photography

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Quality control

Peek inside!

Enjoy winter

When choosing a daycare provider, be sure to visit — and observe the style of childcare — during an active time.

You can’t use the waterpark at Great Wolf Lodge unless you stay overnight at the resort. Here’s why that’s a good thing!

Don’t drive yourself crazy feeling hopeless until summer. Suit up, get out and have fun!

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February 2018 • mnparent.com


VOLUME 33 /// ISSUE 2

About our cover kid Name: Avery Age: 1 City: Willmar Parents: Mike and Laura Frisvold Sibling: Baby bro coming soon: April 2018 Personality: Charming, curious and a jokester Favorite toys: Cars, puzzles and his red wagon Favorite book: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Favorite activities: Dancing, talking and playing on the playground Favorite foods: Blueberry muffins and clementine Cuties (basically anything involving fruit) Photos by Kelly Greenwalt / thesilverblossom.com Want to see your kid on the cover? Find out how at mnparent.com/coverkid.

Moms We Specialize in Them

Helping Parents Create a Healthy Foundation for a Healthy Family Moms Emotional Coping Skills Group Miscarriage Support Group Couples Counseling & Parenting Work-Life Balance Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

7 Metro Locations

612.296.3800 phawellness.com

mnparent.com • February 2018

Postpartum Counseling Center MNP 118 V6.indd 2

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FEBRUARY 10 FROM THE EDITOR

28 NANA & MAMA

When it comes to childcare, there is no ‘wrong’ choice.

When choosing infant care, reassess after baby arrives.

12 CHATTER

30 BOOKSHELF

Got a fourth grader? Sign up for a free ski-lift passport!

Winter is the best time to snuggle up and read.

14 BUMP, BIRTH AND BABY

32 IN THE KITCHEN

Guilt levels rise when we become parents.

Turn a treat into a fiber and protein powerhouse.

16 THE UNCENSORED TODDLER

66 FROM OUR READERS

Theatergoers

diaper you ever did see

Yes, a Stereolab song can calm a crying infant.

Could these little audience members be any sweeter?

Get these machine-washable award-winning nappies for summer!

Follow your heart

A very good year

The Guilt Switch

Colic cure? 18 SCHOOL DAYS

Sleep, Mama! Have you balanced out the care you give with the care you take? 20 TEENS AND TWEENS

The lions’ dens When I peek into my teens’ rooms, I look beyond the mess. 22 #ADULTING

Dare to fail Don’t let fear hold you back in parenting — or in life. 24 ASK THE PEDIATRICIAN

X factor

What role does sleep play in kids with ADHD? 26 ON BEHAVIOR

Should you help? When it comes to homework, the answer is: ‘It depends.’

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Beyond ratios

Stories to savor

Pudding mix

46 PLUS! THE cutest (swim)

ALSO INSIDE

48 Camp L ISTIN G S

& About 60 Out CA L E N DA R Photo by Dan Norman


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mnparent.com • February 2018

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FROM THE EDITOR mnparent.com

PUBLISHER Janis Hall jhall@mnparent.com SALES MANAGER AND CO-PUBLISHER Terry Gahan tgahan@mnparent.com GENERAL MANAGER Zoe Gahan zgahan@mnparent.com EDITOR Sarah Jackson 612-436-4385 • editor@mnparent.com CONTRIBUTORS Amy Beseth, Abbie Burgess, Megan Devine, Ed Dykhuizen, Dr. Gigi Chawla, Kelly Greenwalt, Tanni Haas, Shannon Keough, Shannon Lambert, Laura Groenjes Mitchell, Laura Ramsborg, Mary Rose Remington, Kaitlin Ungs, Jen Wittes, Jennifer Wizbowski CREATIVE DIRECTOR Valerie Moe vmoe@mnparent.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Dani Cunningham Kaitlin Ungs Micah Edel CLIENT SERVICES Delaney Patterson 612-436-5070 • dpatterson@mnpubs.com CIRCULATION Marlo Johnson 612-436-4388 • distribution@mnparent.com mnparent.com/find-a-copy ADVERTISING 612-436-4360 • sales@mnparent.com 45,000 copies of Minnesota Parent are printed monthly, available at news stands statewide. Get Minnesota Parent mailed to your home for just $18 a year. Call 612-825-9205 for more information.

Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403. Minnesota Parent is copyright 2018 by Minnesota Premier Publications. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Address all material to address above.

Choosing childcare W

hen I was pregnant with my son — my first and only child — I was working full time as a newspaper features reporter. I told my boss I was for sure coming back to work. Childcare had been arranged so that both my husband and I could work. My son would go into full-time care at 4½ months old. Would our plan actually hold? I think there’s always a bit of suspicion surrounding first-time moms and their assumptions about going back to work. Will Mama really come back? Or will she fall into a love so deep and consuming even work — her career! — won’t matter? After all, infant childcare often costs far more Photo by Tracy Walsh / tracywalshphoto.com than many a mother can bring home. You have to really want to keep your career going to lose money while working — while also being away from your kid. I mean, who would choose that? Well, me, it turned out. In my heart of hearts, I dreamt of that love — that burning desire to do nothing but stay home with my bundle of joy. A tiny part of me wanted to break my promise to my employer. Sorry, bosses, I would have to say: I’ve fallen in love! But it was not to be. Did I love my child with every fiber of my being? Yes! But did I fall in love with infant care? No. I mean, it was SO SO hard. I was not a natural. “Work” was so much easier. Indeed, I was actually excited to go back to work. Yes, I was conflicted (and hated dropping my son off). But I was ready. Did I feel guilty about my choice? Yes. A lot. I beat myself up: Someone else is raising my child for me! What is wrong with me? My mother stayed home until I was in middle school. Why couldn’t I? Was it the “right” choice? I think so. I think I fall into the camp of folks who are better mothers because they go back to work. And I had to do what felt best to me. I think that’s what our biggest parenting choices come down to: There are best practices, sure. But in the end, you have to go with what will work for you. (And here’s a well-kept secret: If it doesn’t work, you can change it.) In fact, in this very issue — our annual edition focused on childcare — multiple mothers talk about the choices they’ve made and how they’ve had to adjust things over time. They made their decisions, but then followed their hearts to build the lives they wanted for their children. With these and our other childcare stories, too, I hope we can help you navigate not just the childcare decisions you have to make, but also the complicated feelings that go along with them. Believe it or not, Mom and Dad, only you know what’s best — and always will. Sarah Jackson, Editor

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CHATTER

Fashion help If you don’t have time to shop (even online), much less time for a stylist, Evereve is there for you, Mama. The red-hot Edina-born rising-star retailer is now offering a new no-monthly-fee subscription box known as Trendsend. Fill out a style profile online and start seeing boxes with brands such as Free People, Splendid, Citizens of Humanity and more in looks designed to help you step out of your comfort zone. Items typically cost between $20 and $200, though you can indicate a preferred price range in your profile. You pay for what you keep (plus a $1 service fee), and send back the rest at no charge. Learn more at trendsend.com.

Evereve’s Trendsend items are designed to be flattering and fashionforward. Photos courtesy of Evereve

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Lift tickets for free! Do you have a fourth-grader? If so, this is your year to get outside, starting this winter and continuing through summer. First: Thanks to a new program by the Minnesota Ski Areas Association, fourthgraders can ski for free at member ski areas during the 2017-18 season. Simply sign up for the 4th Grade Passport Program at skiandboardmn.com. Passports, which are mailed, cost $19.95 and take about two weeks to arrive. (You’ll need to upload your kid’s most recent report card and a digital photo for the application.) Passports entitle fourth-graders to at least two free lift tickets (not ski rentals) at all participating resorts. Some resorts (such as Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls) are offering unlimited lift tickets for passport-holding fourth-graders. Meanwhile: Fourth-graders — and their families — are also eligible for free entry into all national parks (and federal lands/waters) through Aug. 31. Passes cover admission for the whole family, even at sites that charge entrance fees per person (or per car). In the case of per-person fees, the pass covers all accompanying children age 15 and younger and up to three adults. Learn more at everykidinapark.gov and nps.gov.

mnparent.com • February 2018

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Jen Wittes

BUMP, BIRTH & BABY

The Guilt Switch L

ast month we talked about the stunningly intense Worry Switch — the what-ifs and what-abouts that click into high gear with parenthood. I conveniently left out the other switch, which is equally powerful, if ever-so-slightly more pronounced in female parents. I’m talking about the Guilt Switch, well deserving of its own discussion. Like worry and unconditional love, guilt levels rise when we become parents. Guilt over eating non-organic foods. Guilt over the money we spend on organic foods. Guilt about not breastfeeding long enough. Guilt over weaning, or not weaning, soon enough. Guilt about looking at the smart phone and not the baby. Guilt that the smart phone might be held too close to the baby and … and … who knows what that will do? (That’s the Guilt Switch and Worry Switch working together in heart-racing syncopation.)

The influence of Mom Culture Mothers, in particular, seem to fall victim to this self-flogging hyper-perfectionism. That’s not to say that fathers are exempt. It’s just that society makes a big deal about “The Mother” and The Mother tends to spend more time chatting with her peers. She and her “mom friends” are forthcoming in their thoughts on parenthood. Comparisons are made. Choices are fussed over and examined internally. Perhaps the biggest mama guilt instigator is career choice. Stay at Home Mom, Work at Home Mom, Office Mom, Executive Mom. There are no winners in this long-raging Mommy War. Stay at Home Moms tend to get defensive about

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“what they do all day.” And Working Moms justify the life that works best for their family with statements such as, “Adult interaction and financial independence make me a BETTER mom.” The truth is, the grass is always greener. The truth is, we’re all doing the best we can to make choices that are neither good nor bad, but rather hard and authentic. And in my opinion, the authentic mom IS the perfect mom. Because babies and children are resilient. Because babies and children are BORN to love their parents, just as they are. And let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that we KNOW that the Stay at Home Mom does A LOT all day; and likewise that the Working Mom is energized by her career, which does indeed make her a better mom to her kids. To-may-toe, to-mah-toe: It’s what works for you.

Getting out of the spiral When I worked as a postpartum doula, I talked many moms and dads out of guilt spirals. As a parent myself? You know what they say. It’s hard to take your own advice. We all have that dang Guilt Switch. What can help us in our deepest, darkest guilt-ridden moments? Here are two of my favorite nuggets: 1. Think of your child as a bank account. You deposit endless savings in love, compassion, nourishment and health. You’re allowed to make a withdrawal once in a while. You’re allowed to make a mistake. 2. Of the thousands of parenting decisions you make every single day, 99 percent of them are good. For whatever reason, the so-called “bad” decisions seem louder and more important than the rest. See the good!


BABY STUFF

Swim nappies

Who knew pooping in a diaper — while in the water — could be so darling? These award-winning, machine-washable, reusable swim diapers (straight out of the UK and available in 10 insanely cute patterns) include a concealed water-resistant layer and leak-proof leg cuffs that contain “solids.” $12 • bambinomio.com/usa

I also like to think of the duality of every instance of parental guilt. The Stay at Home Mom sometimes feels guilt. The Working Mom sometimes feels guilt. We perceive ourselves as too harsh … and as too lenient. During the holidays, we might mourn our small budget or feel sickened at the abundance and going overboard. People wonder if they should co-sleep, people wonder if they should NOT co-sleep. With parenting, you really are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. So love yourself. Worry over your decisions (because no matter what I say you will), but feel confident in your decisions as well. No decision is final and — as always — you ARE the most perfect, amazing, flawed, beautiful parent for YOUR baby. Be easy on yourself. Enjoy. Laugh. Feel guilty. Snap out of it. You ARE a good parent. Jen Wittes is a certified postpartum doula and writer who now works in marketing and communications. She lives in St. Paul with her two kids, two cats and husband. Write her at jwittes@mnparent.com.

EXERCISE PREGNANCY STUDY The University of Minnesota is seeking women who are currently less than 20 weeks pregnant to participate in a research study examining the effect of exercise and wellness on mood following childbirth. DETAILS: • Program delivered to you via the mail and phone

• Program can be delivered in English or Spanish

• Must be 18 years of age or older

• Must be considered low-income, defined as:

• Must not currently exercise regularly

-Enrollment in any government assisted program (e.g., WIC, SNAP) AND/OR

• Must not take antidepressants • You will receive $100 & a FitBit for your time (you will be allowed to keep the FitBit after the study is over)

-Annual income that is considered low (less than $45,510 for a family of four, less than $30,044 for a family of two, and less than $22,311 if single).

To see if you qualify for this research study: English Speaking: Call or TEXT to 612-345-0325 or mompro@umn.edu. Spanish Speaking: Call or TEXT to 612-237-1004 or mompro@umn.edu. U of M - Kinesiology Dept MNP 1217 S3.indd 1

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Shannon Keough

THE UNCENSORED TODDLER

The music of our lives B

ack when I was a judgmental young woman with no children of my own, I had some strong opinions about parenting. If you asked me to make a complete sentence out of the phrase, “No child of mine will ever …” I could have offered a variety of options: • Wear a fleece Minnie Mouse sweatshirt in public; • Eat Cheetos while staring blankly at an episode of Dinotrux; • Need to be hefted up like a rolled-up rug and removed from Choo-Choo Bob’s while (literally) kicking and screaming. Of course, it’s a standard parenting milestone to have one’s strongly held beliefs — about the “right” way to be a parent — shattered in a humiliating surrender to weakness, reality and/or necessity. However, there’s one area where my husband and I continue to maintain a “not in our house” mentality, and that has to do with the subject of children’s music. Children’s music — it’s just not for me. Actually, by definition, it’s really not for me — it’s for the kids. So I’ll force a jolly smile and recite The Itsy Bitsy Spider, complete with finger pantomimes, when I have to. I’m not some kind of monster. But will I willingly collect Raffi records, bring them into my house and play them aloud? No! (Not yet, at least. Never say never.) In fact, by embracing selfishness and sticking to stuff we like, we have found ways to use music as a parenting tool. For example, music can be used to (kind of) soothe colicky infants, support desirable toddler behavior and teach tough life lessons, among other things. Let me elaborate:

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Challenge: A colicky infant. Solution: Jenny Ondioline by Stereolab First things first: As any parent who has dealt with a truly colicky infant will know, there is no “cure” for colic, aside from the passage of time. But there are some interventions that might temporarily soothe your baby. In our case, the droning strains of early Stereolab could occasionally quiet our little screamer. And when your child is big enough to be hypnotized by a screen, the video for Jenny Ondioline has a particularly sedative effect, I swear. Try it. (It’s free on YouTube.) Challenge: You want to take an uninterrupted shower. Solution: Marquee Moon by Television It’s a parenting cliché — the whole, “I haven’t been to the bathroom alone in two years!” thing. But maybe you don’t want to live that reality. Maybe you want to take a shower and not have your toddler whip-

ping open the curtain every 20 seconds. In that case, you need Marquee Moon. Clocking in right around 10 minutes, this song provides just about enough time to rinse off the filth of parenting. Also, your toddler needs to learn the art of waiting. Here’s what you do: Cue up the song. Announce to your child: “I’m going to put on the ‘Shower Song.’ You need to hang out in your room while it’s on. When it’s done, you can come find me.” You might have to act out this routine a few times before it produces the Pavlovian response you desire. Challenge: You must inform your toddler that candy will not be served for breakfast. Solution: You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones The title of this song pretty much summarizes the zeitgeist of the toddler experience. Just Google “reasons my toddler is crying”


TODDLER STUFF

Alphabet toy

This adorable Learning Letters Washable Activity Book features little pockets with cute pillows to tuck into each one. And it all zips up tight and is easy to carry around, too, thanks to a squishy, toddler-friendly, briefcasestyle handle. #adorbs $39.99 • lakeshorelearning.com

and you’ll discover an amusing array of responses, including, “We wouldn’t let him eat the rest of the football.” As the parent of a toddler, you’ll no doubt experience all manner of moments in which your little one goes nuts in the face of some perceived injustice. And while there is nothing you can really do about it (toddlers don’t understand reason), you can drown out some of the howls by playing this classic from the Stones. Once your toddler is familiar with the song, you can invoke it in times of crisis, asking — “OK, sweetie: What would Mick Jagger say?” And it’s a proud parenting moment indeed when your child tearfully answers, “You can’t always get what you want.” Shannon Keough lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children. Send questions or comments to skeough@mnparent.com. Green Apple Strategy co The Gardner School MNP 0218 2-3.indd 1

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Healthy-mama habits A

s parents, we have our work cut out for us. We give of ourselves in so many ways, caring for our children and nurturing relationships with those we love, all while keeping up with our responsibilities of work and home. Indeed, parenthood is a service of giving and caring. To sustain this type of lifestyle — that’s full of so much giving — we must also practice the art of self-care. This sometimes can feel like another “thing” we need to add to our daily list of things to do, but the reality is that when we neglect to take care of ourselves, it can have negative effects on both our mental and physical health, ultimately affecting our whole being. That’s why we need to nurture healthy habits so that we can be the mothers — and the individuals — that we want to be: women living with purpose, balance, connection and joy! Being a mom is a privilege, a wonderful gift that can provide us with

much joy and fulfillment. But motherhood is an immense responsibility, so it’s important, especially when times are a little tougher, to think about how to prioritize our individual needs. I encourage you to take a few minutes to be reflective about the care you’re giving to others to see if it is balanced with the care you’re offering yourself. Hard though it may seem, you can choose to prioritize the following habits to promote your own well-being and, by extension, your family’s welfare, too:

Exercise Get enough rest No, really. This is first for a reason. Sleep is vital for our functioning, mental state, physical health and overall well-being. Sleep deprivation is common among mothers, and it can inflict serious consequences on our health and even the care we’re able to provide for our families. When we’re sleep-deprived, we lack patience and have difficulty focusing and

Take a few minutes to be reflective about the care you’re giving to others to see if it is balanced with the care you’re offering yourself.

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concentrating — and we’re often more irritable. This goes for grownups and kids alike! As parents, we need to be mindful and intentional about our sleep habits. We must be extra diligent to get the sleep we need to maintain our overall health. Do what you can to balance your responsibilities (you may need to let some things go or ask for help), take naps and catch up on sleep when you can. It will make you a better mother.

Making time for exercise can feel like work at first, but when you make it a habit in your life, you’ll quickly be able to feel the benefits. Exercise helps you feel good, strong, confident and energized. (Read more of my ramblings on this topic in my column last month.) To make exercise a habit in your daily life, you may benefit by having some type of motivation or accountability tool, such as scheduled classes, a gym membership, a workout partner or a fitness tracker. Seek out activities that work with your lifestyle and that are fun and sustainable.

Eat right Do your best to be mindful of the quality and quantity of food you’re putting into your body each day. Sustain yourself with nourishing, regularly scheduled meals and keep healthy snacks on hand. Drink lots of water and limit overconsumption of caffeine and/or alcohol. Choose highquality fuel for your body. When you eat right, you won’t feel so tired.


SCHOOL-AGE STUFF

Excite and challenge

STEM projects for girls

Got a curious kid? Curious Jane: Science + Design + Engineering for Inquisitive Girls is a cabin-fever cure-all for ages 6 to 11 with exciting activities such as making bath bombs, constructing a strand of DNA (with jelly beans and licorice) and dusting for fingerprints. $16.95 • curiousjanecamp.com

Make time for connection Nurture relationships with your partner, friends and other loved ones. Carve out quality time with your spouse and make sure you have time each day to enjoy your children. (Yes!) Set aside time to connect with your friends in person, over the phone and/or over social media. Work to stay spiritually anchored by devoting even just a few minutes of quiet time each day for prayer, meditation or gratitude practices.

your child with a summer camp from UNW Academy of Music • Brio Music Camp, Intro to Music for ages 4-8 • Show Choir for ages 9-16

For more information unwsp.edu/academyofmusic or call 651-631-5108

• Piano Institute for ages 10-18 • Music Recording Camp for ages 13 and up

Camp Location: Northwestern Campus 3003 Snelling Ave N, Roseville, MN Registration opens April 1st (with deadlines in June)

U of Northwestern St Paul MNP 0216 H6.indd 3

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Nurture your joy Do something each day that you really like to do. Maybe you enjoy volunteering in one of your child’s activities or maybe you like to play an instrument, garden, knit or paint. What fills you up? What stimulates your mind? Fuel your creative spirit — so you aren’t parenting with an empty emotional tank. Work to make these self-care strategies habits in your daily life. You may need to start small, incorporating one or two of these ideas as consistent routines, but even a small effort will likely yield positive benefits. Megan Devine is an elementary school teacher who lives with her husband and four children in Northeastern Minnesota. She blogs at kidsandeggs.com. Breezy Point Resort MNP 0218 V2.indd 1

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The teenage lair M

y kids walk in the door after school, usually loudly and laughing. I’ve convinced my 17-year-old boy, a senior, to drive his 14-year-old sister, a freshman, home from high school with him. (For those of you parenting teenage siblings, you know this was no small feat.) Our 1-year-old French bulldog puppy waits attentively, barks excitedly and runs circles around them as soon as they walk in. Admittedly, I feel the same way inside as our Frenchie. While I don’t literally jump around, I do make sure I’m right in the kitchen, busy with something when they get home. I know after my son lures the pup to chase him around a bit, and after my daughter grabs a snack, up the stairs to their rooms they’ll go — often not to be seen until I call them down for dinner. I’ve got to take whatever time I can get to connect with them, whether it’s five minutes or 20. The habit of hunkering down in one’s bedroom is typical for teens in this stage of development, I know. But with the amount of time our kids spend content and alone in their rooms — such a stark contrast to those earlier years — I imagine most parents find themselves constantly wondering: What are they doing up there?

What’s left behind About once a week, I go into their rooms to vacuum and do a dish pick-up. I’ve found that if I go in more often than that, I get grumbly with the random wrappers, guitar pics and/or hair bands (full of hair) strewn on every surface, including the floor. Please don’t ask me to comment on

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LAIR (noun): 1. A den or resting place of a wild animal: The cougar retired to its lair. 2. A secluded or hidden place, especially  a secret retreat or base of operations;  a hideout or hideaway: A pirate’s lair. 3. British. A place in which to lie or rest; a bed.

their bathroom. I’ve thought about having a hazmat suit tucked into a spare closet just for that weekly job. I digress. It’s not that I don’t complain as I’m stomping down the stairs a second time with my arms full of glasses and coffee mugs. I’ve just decided that’s it’s better to take the few minutes I get with them as they come in the door as a time of

connection — and not nagging. I suppose the hard work of becoming a grownup is reflected in the chaos of their rooms.

Their kingdom Teenagers have but one space in their world that’s really truly theirs — their bedrooms. While their bedrooms are an extension of our home as a whole, they’re also their places


to get away from (or tuck into) the world. They’re in a safe place with all of their stuff and memories, too — old toys, knickknacks, trophies, things that have been with them a long time — even if they’re just hidden in the closet. New things adorn their shelves to identify their views and their developing opinions of who they are on their own, who they relate to, plus their sports teams, bands and pics of their friends. In this base of operations, they can think, study, watch, socialize and just be — separate from, but safely near us, their parents.

Teen happy hour Teens face a lot of pressure to maintain their positions in their social groups. Being an outsider isn’t acceptable at this age. Their self-worth is wrapped up in their peers. If you ask your teens what they’re doing in their bedrooms, they may respond the way they think you want them to: “Homework,” they’ll most often reply. This might be true, most of the time, but they also spend a good amount of time keeping up their social connections and friendships via their devices. They may be chatting up their friends or binge-watching the latest Netflix series. But for them, it’s not enough to watch Stranger Things. For teenagers, keeping up with latest episodes means they must stay on top of the inside jokes, memes and references made across social media, too.

TWEEN STUFF

Laundry catcher

Get your kids to put their clothes somewhere other than the floor. We tried this classic contraption for our toy test and it fit perfectly over a variety of doors, and the hoop, the backboard and the net were all surprisingly sturdy. One kid said: “Oh, I SO NEED this, Mom!” Parent testers liked that it can be left open at the bottom to let clothes fall into a hamper or cinched to create a full sack. #score! $34.99 • Kiddywampus, Hopkins

Tidying — with love It’s been another week; they’re away at school. I hesitantly go into their lairs and open up their blinds (and maybe a window, if needed). I catch myself mumbling about why they don’t make their beds anymore. And then I remember: This is just a phase. I taught them all of this stuff when they were younger. I remind myself about the two tests they were up late studying for and the project that was due today. And the choir

rehearsal they have to get to tonight. I’ll surprise them both with cleaned-up rooms. Made beds. I hope that my love and thoughts of hope will swirl around with theirs when they head upstairs — and that they’ll feel it as they plan, think, dream and just be. Jennifer Wizbowski lives in Excelsior with her husband and teenage daughter and son. Send comments, questions and story ideas to jwizbowski@mnparent.com. mnparent.com • February 2018

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Laura Ramsborg

#ADULTING

Daring to be vulnerable T

hroughout my high school years, I was the girl who liked to run, but never joined the cross country team — the one who liked to shoot hoops in the driveway, but never tried out for the basketball team. I told myself — and anyone who asked — that I wasn’t “into” joining a team, I wasn’t that serious about it, or I liked to play on my own. The truth was that I was afraid of failing. Failure petrified me and, as a result, it limited me, too. My motto used to be “better safe than sorry,” which is OK to a point. Yet, when it takes over your willingness to try something new and put yourself out there, it’s no longer a wise adage and becomes a debilitating excuse. After reading Brene Brown’s groundbreaking book, Daring Greatly, I realized what I was really afraid of was vulnerability. Allowing myself to be vulnerable meant that I might not be good enough and I might fail.

Facing shame According to Brown, the biggest obstacle to being vulnerable is the shame we experience. And like it or not, we all have shame. Shame is that critical inner voice of doubt that whispers: You’re not good enough, or hisses: Who do you think you are? We each have our own customized shaming voice that specializes in pushing our buttons. To combat shame and open ourselves up to vulnerability, we must talk about shame, not bury it and allow it to fester. Brown recommends reaching out to trusted confidants to share our stories. “If you own this story,” she writes, “you

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February 2018 • mnparent.com

get to write the ending.” We must also love ourselves. Not in the vapid, “Yay, me!” style of a ’90s self-esteem seminar — but in a truly genuine way. To do this, Brown says we need to: Talk to ourselves the way we’d talk to someone we really love or someone we’re trying to comfort in the midst of a meltdown. Following this advice is more challenging than it may seem. Many of us, myself included, can dish out some scathing self-judgement. By acknowledging our shame, and meeting it head-on, we open ourselves up to being vulnerable, taking reasonable risks and living out our true potential.

My motto used to be ‘better safe than sorry,’ which is OK to a point. Yet, when it takes over your willingness to try something new and put yourself out there, it’s no longer a wise adage and becomes a debilitating excuse.

Taking risks

and dared greatly — even if it was a frightening experience. For example, if I (a self-described book nerd) hadn’t dared to join a co-ed sand

When I think about it more, I can pinpoint important times in my life when I took the plunge into vulnerability


Resources • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brene Brown • The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins • The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown (TED.com) • Listening to Shame by Brene Brown (TED.com)

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Healthy development starts at home. volleyball team, I wouldn’t have met my soul mate. If I hadn’t dared to get pregnant again after a miscarriage, I would have missed out on the joyous birth of my third daughter. If I hadn’t dared to leave a comfortable, corporate career to fulfill my dreams, I would never have discovered my passion for education and literacy — not to mention some amazing students and friends. It’s OK to fail or to endure disappointment (and even heartbreak). It’s courageous to be vulnerable. Failure won’t destroy me and I’m working on getting comfortable with vulnerability. I’m making it my mission to not allow fear of failure to limit me. Even if — especially if — it’s not the perfect time or I’m not perfectly prepared. I can’t afford to wait until everything is perfect, or I risk missing out on some wonderful experiences. That would be the greatest loss of all. So I encourage you to own your story, open up to vulnerability and dare greatly. Laura Ramsborg lives in Bloomington, where she dares greatly by being a wife, mother of three daughters and freelance writer. Follow her @RamsborgWrites.

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Gigi Chawla

Are ADHD and sleep linked? I recently read that sleep problems can be related to ADHD. Should we be looking into sleep therapy for our son, who has an ADHD diagnosis? Sleep deprivation can sometimes be confused with attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder in children. But ADHD on its own can also cause sleep problems, which can intensify existing ADHD symptoms. That’s why — during a child’s initial evaluation of ADHD — many contributing or alternative health conditions are considered before a diagnosis is made. A clinician may ask if the child’s ADHD symptoms are seen in many different situations versus just “acting out” at certain times with certain people. Or if the child has been tested for learning issues, such as dyslexia, for example. Or if the child’s vision and hearing are normal to allow a child to be able to follow directions in the classroom. Or if a child’s sleep needs aren’t being met. This last concern is quite interesting because children whose sleep needs are unmet often display poor focus, poor attention, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, emotional lability and other difficult behaviors, all signs of ADHD. There are many factors that may lead to sleep needs being unmet for children, such as sleep-environmental concerns, mental or physical conditions or lifestyle/ scheduling issues. When it’s time for sleep, a child’s bedroom should be quiet and dim/dark

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with no electronics, such as cell phones or tablets, as these may both delay sleep with use and disrupt sleep due to the blue light that is emitted. Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression can also prevent children from falling asleep or cause them to wake up early. Kids affected by scheduling issues include those without regular sleep routines, who are over-scheduled with activities or homework until late at night or those who don’t get enough scheduled exercise during the day to sleep soundly at night. Physical conditions such as restless leg syndrome or snoring due to large tonsils or adenoids can disrupt sleep quality, too. The most challenging issue is that children who truly do have ADHD also have difficulty getting organized enough

to get to sleep on time and also may be taking medications with a side effect of sleep disturbance. If your child has ADHD or is in the process of evaluation for ADHD, achieving quality sleep is a key component in arriving at a successful outcome. In the end, sleep inadequacy may be the full explanation for ADHD-like symptoms, a contributor to confirmed ADHD symptoms or a side effect of ADHD itself. Ask your child’s clinician about next steps. For some it may be a sleep study or a sleep specialist evaluation or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) evaluation, for others it may be a mental health assessment or for others it may be more rigor around schedules or the bedroom environment. Learn more about ADHD and sleep at cdc.gov and chadd.org. X


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What’s up with my baby’s frequent hiccups? She seems to get them every few hours! Hiccups don’t typically bother infants as much as they bother their parents! Noisy and sometimes persistent, hiccups are irregular contractions of the diaphragm muscle that become audible when air is pulled through the vocal chords. For babies, regular hiccups can start in utero and continue through the first year of life as the diaphragm muscle matures. Hiccups also may be associated with reflux or spit-ups or swallowing too much air during feeding sessions or bouts of crying. Though parents may try to prevent all of those contributing factors, they’re all also normal parts of infancy. So try not to worry about hiccups and know that over time, your baby will outgrow them. Dr. Gigi Chawla is a board-certified pediatrician and the senior medical director of primary care at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Send your questions to gchawla@mnparent.com.

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Tanni Haas

Should you help with homework? I

t’s late afternoon and your children come home from school exhausted, weighed down like turtles by school bags full of homework. What do you do? Insist they do their homework? Of course! The best available evidence shows that the more conscientious children are about doing their homework, the better they do academically. They understand the material better, retain more factual information and even get higher grades. In fact, doing homework on a consistent basis can help children develop good study habits and skills, learn how to plan and manage their time and become selfdirected and self-disciplined. But — here’s the tricky part — do you encourage your kids to do their homework on their own or do you sit down to help them with it? Well, according to numerous

researchers, the answer to that question is, “It depends.” In the most comprehensive summary of the scientific literature to date, researchers from Duke University concluded that whether parents should help their children with their homework depends on: 1) the grade level of the children, 2) how knowledgeable parents are about the subject matter, and 3) how much parents help their children with the work.

And your help is about more than just completing the homework: You’re also teaching your kids how to study in the first place. Erika Patall, the lead author of the research summary, said: “Homework is an especially good opportunity for parents to help young kids develop self-regulatory skills, by modeling study strategies and helping students set goals and make plans for completing homework.”

Elementary school

High school

Surprising as it may seem, researchers have consistently found that homework assistance is beneficial for children in elementary and high school, but not for middle-school-aged children. Why? Researchers believe that parental assistance with homework for children in elementary school helps because kids are young and impressionable.

The situation is quite different when it comes to high-school-aged students. Here, researchers speculate that parent involvement adds value because they’re likely to help only when they have particular expertise to share. When you know little or nothing about the subject matter of the homework, you’re more likely to let your children do it on their own. Judith Locke, a clinical psychologist at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, said: “Parental assistance with homework should slowly reduce as a child gets older.”

Middle school Why, then, would it be detrimental for you to sit down with your middle-schoolers to help them out with their homework? As budding teenagers — caught between childhood and adulthood — middle-schoolers have a new and especially strong need for autonomy and are likely to resist any effort on your part to interfere in their affairs. “Even if a parent is effective at helping a child develop skills,” Patall said, “there’s a psychological barrier.”

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Your help is about more than just completing the homework: You’re also teaching your kids how to study in the first place. Are you really helping? Before deciding whether to help your children with their homework, you should also consider whether you’re qualified for the job. Researchers have discovered that the more parents know about the subject matter, the more children can benefit from parental help. They also found that parents are better able to help their children with reading and writing than with math homework. With math, parents often know less and are less up-to-date with the latest instructional strategies. Indeed, parents’ old instructional math strategies often conflict with those contemporary methods taught at school.

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The bigger picture When it comes to homework, parents’ most important job is to create a clearly defined time, place and way to complete homework, researchers say. In fact, one of the most consistent findings in the world of homework research is that children benefit the most when parents support children in their own efforts rather than help them out every single step of the way. Linda Cameron, a homework researcher at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in Canada, said: “Be at the elbow, but don’t hold the pen.” Tanni Haas is a professor in the department of Speech Communication Arts & Sciences at Brooklyn College/The City University of New York. mnparent.com • February 2018

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Mary Rose and Laura NANA & MAMA

Cry-free childcare? MAMA: Before my son, Kellan, arrived, the childcare decision was all about logistics: How close was the daycare? What were the hours? How much did it cost? That is, until the first day I dropped him off at the daycare center we had chosen. I stayed for about 30 minutes, watching in disbelief as the reality of the 5:1 ratio at daycare began to sink in. The daycare employees did their best to manage the needs of all of the babies, but in a room with two employees and 10 babies, there seemed to always be at least two or three little ones crying. As I sat on the colorful carpet holding Kellan close, not wanting to release him into the scary reality of that space, I realized that our original childcare-vetting process was far too analytical and didn’t take into account the emotional side: How we would feel about the type of care he was getting for 8 to 10 hours each day? I already felt guilty enough raising him with two parents who work full time (and then some), but the thought of him being shuffled around with only his very basic needs met was heartbreaking. That night I hopped on Care.com and posted a job for a nanny-share position. I also added a post to my Nextdoor.com neighborhood, seeking local families looking for a nanny share. Over the next few days we reviewed more than 30 nanny applications, interviewed six nannies and met with three possible nanny-share families. Four days later, we had a family and a nanny picked out and there was no more crying over daycare. Today, at almost 2 years old, Kellan now attends daycare at our local YMCA

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I stayed for about 30 minutes, watching in disbelief as the reality of the 5:1 ratio at daycare began to sink in. childcare center. The nanny-share was a great fit in the early days, and now that he’s older, we love the flexibility, socialization and educational focus at the Y.

Through all this, I’ve learned that every childcare option comes with a set of pros and cons; the trick is to find the best balance for your family. If I had to do it all over again, I would recommend these strategies: • Revisit your childcare decision after the baby is born and check to be sure it still feels like the right fit; • Consider visiting the daycare center or having the nanny watch the child prior to the first day (ideally around 8 weeks of age);


• Leverage your resources, including the Internet and recommendations from friends and family; • Trust your gut: Even if your pros/cons list is telling you one thing, if it doesn’t feel right, explore other options.

NANA: Nearly three decades after the

Both Nana (above, top) and Mama (above and left) struggled with their first daycare decisions, but both later found the right fit.

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fact, I can still remember the angst of dropping off my 3-month-old baby at the home daycare we had carefully selected. As I got back into the car, I started crying and thought, “There has got to be another way.” Yes, we needed both incomes, and yes, I wanted a career, but I also wanted to be there to raise my baby. When I returned home from work that night, I had only about a half hour with Baby Laura before she fell asleep right after dinner. I proclaimed to my husband, “This is not going to work” and immediately created “Plan B.” Since I was a supervisor of a 24-hour employee-assistance program, I told my manager the next day I wanted to move from full-time days to part-time evenings. This plan would allow me to be home with the baby during the day, and my husband could care for her at night while I was at work. Unfortunately my manager said “no” to the part-time component, and when I asked why not, he lamely answered, “Supervisors don’t get to work part time, only counselors do.” Immediately I ran to the bathroom and

sobbed. I was sad, frustrated and angry. That night I discussed the roadblock with my husband and the next day made another trip to my manager’s office to propose “Plan C.” I said, “Demote me to a counselor, and put me on evenings four nights a week.” He grudgingly obliged, and my husband and I successfully worked this tag-team parenting schedule for approximately 10 years. Oh, and within a short time my manager “re-promoted” me back to supervisor. The two drawbacks to this arrangement were that my husband and I had only one night a week together, and I didn’t get much sleep. But once all three kids were school age, I quit the corporate life (which I was tired of anyway) and started my own company, which I ran from home. That worked well, but since the pay wasn’t steady, once Laura started college, and our sons were in high school, I returned to a “normal” full-time job with a predictable paycheck. Nana’s takeaway: Trust there are many ways to balance work and childcare. Be creative, persistent and assertive, and you will find solutions to stop the crying (primarily yours). Mary Rose Remington, a baby boomer and new grandmother in Minneapolis, and her daughter, Laura Groenjes Mitchell, a millennial first-time mom in Denver, are documenting their generational differences with this occasional series in Minnesota Parent and its sister publication, Minnesota Good Age.

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mnparent.com • February 2018

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Kaitlin Ungs

BOOKSHELF

Snuggle up!

Here we are in the middle of the coldest season. Is anyone else getting a little restless? You can frolic outside, sure. But afterward, take advantage of the snuggling season to escape into these absolute gems. Come summer, settling down with books and fuzzy blankets just won’t have the same appeal!

Bunny’s Staycation Bunny is NOT happy when Mama announces she’s leaving for a business trip. She dreams about hiding Mama’s suitcase, selling it or flushing it down the toilet — until she realizes she could just tag along on the trip! Unfortunately, Bunny can’t go along, but Papa fills the days with adventures that make Mama’s trip seem not so long. Ages 3–5 • $17.99

Tiny and the Big Dig

Caring For Your Lion

Tiny the dog is repeatedly told that he’s too small to dig anything up, but with the encouragement of his owner and his big spirit, Tiny gets exactly what he wants through hard work.

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Ages 3 and up • $16.95

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Mice Skating This book is worth picking up just for the illustrations. But the story of a sweet, snow-loving mouse named Lucy — who tries to convince her friends that winter is amazing — will warm your heart. Ages 3 and up $16.95

Dough Knights and Dragons Two unlikely (in fact, outlawed) friends look past their differences for their shared love of baking and form a friendship while they share and create recipes — in a cave. When it comes time for the annual dragon-and-knight fight, they find a pacifist loophole through their delicious hobby. Ages 5 and up • $16.95

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mnparent.com • February 2018

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IN THE KITCHEN

Cocoa fluff

S

hould you really feed your kids chocolate for breakfast? Well, yes — especially if it’s something you can make ahead (the night before), and especially if you’ve blended in potassium- and fiber-rich avocado and banana, plus protein-packed chia seeds. So say the family-food mama-bloggers behind the amazing Sweet Potato Chronicles in their new, gorgeous School Year Survival Cookbook. Yum!

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Chocolate Avocado Chia Pudding INGREDIENTS 2 avocados 1 banana 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 1/4 cup chia seeds 4 tablespoons maple syrup 1/4 teaspoons salt Pinch of ground cinnamon Raspberries or blueberries (optional garnish)

DIRECTIONS Place avocados, banana, cocoa, chia seeds, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon in a blender or small food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop pudding into two bowls or glass containers with lids such as mason jars. Cover and refrigerate overnight, which allows the chia seeds time to plump up. Serve topped with berries.

Source: Adapted from The School Year Survival Cookbook: Healthy Recipes and Sanity-Saving Strategies for Every Family and Every Meal (Even Snacks) by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh © Sweet Potato Chronicles. Photography © Maya Visnyei Photography. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.


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Na n ny diarie s

A loca l moth er of fo hiring ur shar numer es her ous na bad, th story o n nies — e grea f the go t — ov od, the er the course of 13 y By Ab ears bie B urges s


Nanny diaries Dawn Janes-Bartley never planned on hiring a nanny for her son, Alex. Having his grandmothers take turns with childcare was working out just fine — until both planned to escape to warmer weather for the same two-month period. So she hired a nanny named Leah to cover the gap. And it worked out so well that eight weeks with Leah turned into most of a year. She even came back to work for the family a second time around — this time with her own children in tow. Janes-Bartley has now had nannies in her home for the past 13 years. Those years have spanned two marriages and four children — Alex, 13, Kyle, 10, Anna, 9, and Kali, 2. “Thirteen years of wonderful people who have input their personality into my children,” she said. “They shaped them into good kids.”

Finding the right fit Once while choosing between two candidates for the job, Janes-Bartley remembers a moment of clarity while in a children’s music class with her son who was a toddler at the time. She could picture one of the potential hires rolling on the floor with the kids in the class and goofing around without caring what people thought of her. Since that was a quality she wanted to instill in her children, she knew then that was the person she wanted to hire. Her current nanny, Ashley Haus, 24, has worked for Janes-Bartley and her husband, Chad Bartley, for about a year. They first connected on Care.com. “Ashley is great with the kids and she’s teaching them about what’s important in

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←←Ashley Haus (far left) — Chad Bartley and Dawn JanesBartley’s current nanny — cares for the family’s 2-year-old daughter, Kali (on table), full time and the older children, Anna, 9, Alex, 13, and Kyle, 10, part time.

life,” Janes-Bartley said. Haus attributes the success of the working relationship to the fact that her personality clicks well with the parents. Getting to know them as people — and not just talking about the kids — has definitely helped, too, she said. While one nanny Janes-Bartley hired was in childcare as a long-term career, most have been college aged or recently graduated women like Haus who are in transition while they look for a job in their field. For the first few years, Janes-Bartley hired live-in nannies because she couldn’t risk someone showing up late. The family transitioned to live-out nannies, but still give preference to those who live near their town of Minnetrista.

Challenges along the way Not every nanny Janes-Bartley hired has worked out. Some just weren’t reliable, even going on vacation and not returning when they said they would. Once, when Alex was a baby, Dawn and her husband at the time came home to find him screaming in his crib while the nanny was downstairs on Facebook, ignoring his cries. They talked to her about their expectations, but when it happened again, they let her go.


I’m not looking for a babysitter. I’m looking for that third parent. — Dawn Janes-Bartley, a Minnetrista mother of four and longtime nanny fan Years later the children told their parents that the current nanny was being physically rough with them. The nanny denied it, saying the children weren’t being honest. Even so, Janes-Bartley knew something wasn’t right with the situation. She fired her on the spot. “All the sudden I’m scrambling for childcare. But I had to do the right thing for the kids,” she said. After that experience she wasn’t as trusting — or as lenient. She and her husband began popping in to make sure things were OK at home and checking references of potential hires meticulously. “I was very thorough with interviewing after that — asking significantly more questions,” Janes-Bartley said.

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1/11/18 11:25 AM

A smooth relationship The positive experiences have far outweighed the negatives for JanesBartley. Seven of the caregivers she hired have become like part of the family — and still keep in touch. Haus said it helps that she feels like she can talk openly with her employers. “Being comfortable with communication is important,” she said. Little things that make the job easier for Haus include the use of the family vehicle to transport the children, a credit card for outings and expenses and free reign to share the family’s food. Janes-Bartley said Haus also has the flexibility to run her own errands with the kids if she needs to. She said she trusts Haus to look out for what’s best for her kids just like she and her husband do. “I’m looking for that third parent,” Especially for Children MNP 0218 V2.indd 1

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Nanny diaries she said. “I’m not looking for a babysitter.” Haus accompanied the family on a Disney cruise this winter, where she helped with the kids, but also got time off to enjoy some excursions on the trip. Janes-Bartley views nannies as an extension of the family. “I’m giving them the most important thing in my life,” she said. “That’s a pretty big deal. I’d better have a lot of love and respect for that person.”

Keys to success For 11 years, Tracie Kapaun, a local childcare consultant with Cultural Care Au Pair, has been placing 18- to 26-year-old students from overseas with Minnesota families for yearlong childcare assignments. Many families are interested in the ethnic exposure and language benefits of a live-in au pair. “It’s a cultural experience in your home without traveling,” Kapaun said. Kapaun said there are three keys to success for setting up a good working relationship with an in-home caregiver. She encourages parents to create a list or handbook spelling out expectations ahead of time; be respectful and treat them like part of the family; and have a weekly meeting to connect and talk about any issues. “Don’t let things get buried,” Kapaun said.

What do nannies do all day? Haus spends the day with 2-year-old Kali and picks the older three up from school and takes them to and from dance, soccer and choir. “For families like Dawn’s, I — 100 percent — think it’s so great that they have nannies because they can do sports and go all these places,” Haus said.

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Haus says the hardest part of her job is accommodating the wide age differences of her charges. Two-year-old Kali loves going to the playground, an activity that doesn’t thrill the older kids who would rather be at the skate park. Still, Haus, who describes herself as hands-on, finds ways to keep all the kids busy. “We went to the Minnesota Zoo once a week this summer,” she said. “I know where everything is there.” Haus’s parents have formed a relationship with the kids too. “I took the two girls fishing with my dad,” she said. Haus cooks for the kids, cleans up their dishes, tidies any spills or messes that happen and folds laundry when needed. Janes-Bartley said she isn’t looking for a housekeeper, but expects that the house isn’t worse for wear than when she left in the morning. Her priority is having someone who is fully present with the children — but coming home to a tidy house is a plus. “I don’t want to spend my first hour and a half at home cleaning up,” she said. “I want to spend it with my kids.” Hand in Hand Nannies, a Minnesota nanny agency, says on its website that typical duties of a nanny may include cleaning, errands, cooking meals, transportation to children’s activities, laundry and grocery shopping. And the more extensive the duties a nanny performs, the higher her pay.

The cost question “Sometimes people think we must be wealthy to afford a nanny,” Janes-Bartley said. “No, we just skimp on a lot of other things because having one person to help care for our kid is a priority for us, above a lot of other stuff.” For one child, she estimates the cost of a nanny is twice as expensive as daycare. But for two kids, it gets closer to breaking even. Now with four kids, her current childcare setup is actually cost-effective.

They also looked into sharing a nanny with another family, but it never quite worked out. A nanny share can significantly reduce the cost of childcare for both families involved. Hiring an au pair is about the same or slightly less expensive than a nanny, Kapaun said. Janes-Bartley estimates a nanny’s hourly pay for a family like hers can vary between $11 to $18 per hour, depending on the extent of the duties and the qualifications of the nanny. Families wishing for more extensive household management may pay more. Hiring a nanny comes with costs other than salary. According to Child Care Aware Minnesota, nanny-hiring families can be similar to employers: “You may be responsible for contributing to Social Security, taxes, workers’ compensation costs, insurance and vacation time.” Indeed, Janes-Bartley pays for a worker’s compensation policy and unemployment

TERMS TO KNOW Nanny: An unlicensed in-home caregiver who often has professional training or childcare experience. Live-out nanny: Commutes to your home to provide childcare during set hours. Live-in nanny: Lives in your home and provides childcare during set hours; the employer absorbs the cost of room and board. Nanny share: Two or more families employ one nanny, sharing the cost of the salary; most nannies watch all the children together, but many families work together to come up with a schedule tailored to their specific needs. Since both families are contributing to the nanny’s pay, the nanny is usually able to earn more than she would make working for a single family. Au pair: A young adult from overseas who lives with you as a family member and provides culturally enriching childcare. Sources: Childcareawaremn.org, Care.com, CulturalCare.com, HandinHandNannies.com.


Which path should you choose? de Check out our ultimate gui re to choosing a childca path — a nanny versus a at center versus in-home care th. -pa are ildc mnparent.com/ch

insurance. And she uses a payroll service to issue checks and withhold taxes.

A continuing connection When a nanny moves on to another opportunity, that doesn’t have to mean it’s the end of the relationship. Janes-Bartley stays in touch through texts and pictures, and many former employees have come back to visit. She flew to Denver for the first birthday party of a former nanny’s son and took Alex to Michigan to see his second long-term nanny get married. “I knew how important those people had been to the kids, so I made it a conscious effort to be connected,” she said. Haus thinks she will remain part of the kids’ lives through the years. “I can’t imagine at this point losing contact,” she said. Janes-Bartley said nannies have added another dimension to her own parenting journey. “Having a nanny has been the most amazing and positive life experience I could have given my kids. Every single one has left their mark on our family, and most have become lifelong extended family to us,” she said. “And I am sad that in a few short years, my days with sharing the lives of my kids with someone else who loves them will end. They’ve changed my life and my kids’ lives for the better.”

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Abbie Burgess is a Twin Cities freelance writer and lifestyle blogger at thepinkpaperdoll.com. mnparent.com • February 2018

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Beyond the basics

Find a truly good fit for your child by knowing what to look for in a daycare provider BY SHANNON LAMBERT 40

February 2018 • mnparent.com


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inding childcare is just plain hard. There’s so much to consider: What type of childcare setting do you want — a daycare center, a nanny or in-home childcare provider? Then there’s how much you can spend, the location, the caregiver-to-kid ratio, the ages of the kids, how well your child will fit in to the mix and the style of caregiving (discipline, free play, structured and routine, academic). Seriously, the list is endless! Then there’s your gut feeling, perhaps the most important factor of all. After you find a place that has an opening, that will work for your schedule and that fits your budget, you still have work to do: You need to be sure the setting will be a good fit for your child. This is usually accomplished by visiting the center and interviewing the provider. So you arrive during naptime or after business hours with your prepared list of questions, tour the facility and sign the paperwork. It all looks good. Right? But there is so much more to choosing a childcare provider than just finding the right type of daycare and asking the right kinds of questions. Sarah Kollin, a case manager responsible for daycare licensure at Red Lake County Social Services in Red Lake Falls, Minn., suggests parents look for provider engagement with the children as well. How does your potential childcare provider interact with the children? Do the staff appear to truly enjoy spending time with children or do you get the feeling that the kids are merely tolerated or managed? And how do you tell the difference?

Tour at the right time Parents can learn a lot about a potential childcare provider by simply watching how staff interact with both the children and other parents. But it’s important to observe providers when it’s most beneficial to you, though

not necessarily the provider. Indeed, a provider’s first instinct is to offer an interview at a time that’s most convenient for her or the center, and understandably so. However, for a more realistic look at a provider, the best time for a parent to stop by is during a busy and/or stressful time. If you can, try to schedule your visit either right after drop off or right before pick up. Be honest and up front with the childcare provider: She’ll wonder why you want the interview at such an inopportune time. Let her know you want to see what the end of the day looks like or how the day starts out. These will be the times you’ll be

• Do staff get down to a child’s eye-to-eye level? A provider with good skills knows how to grab a child’s attention. Most children respond better if they feel they’re heard. The best way for a provider to show your child she’s listening is to make eye contact. And this needs to be done at the child’s height. • Do providers seem engaged? Are they affectionate and compassionate? Do the providers, laugh and smile and/or pause to hear what children have to say? Do the kids run to staff with enthusiasm to show them things? Do they share their stories and say:

Be wary of the provider who will let you interview only during quiet, kid-free moments. Childcare is the product, after all. You should be able to see a demo before you buy. there anyhow; it’s nice to see what you’ll be stepping into every day. You can spend the drop off/pick up time simply observing and keep your list of questions for when things quiet down for the provider. If that just won’t fly, then schedule the meeting while the kids have free play or while they’re being led in a structured activity with another provider. Be wary of the provider who will let you interview only during quiet, kid-free moments. Childcare is the product, after all. You should be able to see a demo before you buy (and you know it won’t come cheap). At the very least, ask to bring your child back for a “test run.”

Make observations When you finally do visit, here’s what to consider: • Are you greeted at the door? And more important, is your child greeted with enthusiasm? And is the same true for all the families?

“Watch this!” • What happens with “bad” behavior? When a child misbehaves, does the provider approach the child calmly and quietly to redirect the behavior? A good provider will get down to the child’s level to offer gentle guidance, distraction or alternative choices. • Kids are going to act out — and at the most inopportune times. How does the daycare handle this, particularly in the middle of an interview? Almost anyone can care for a child’s basic necessities and keep them alive until you return. To find good, quality childcare you need to find a place that truly cares for your child — for all children — and knows how to show it. Shannon Lambert is a social worker and a freelance writer living in Northern Minnesota. She blogs about parenting and self-help for moms at makingmommas.com. She’s former childcare provider and a mother to six boys, who have all spent time in daycare. mnparent.com • February 2018

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Photos courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge.

A LOOK INSIDE GREAT WOLF LODGE


BY SARAH JACKSON

M

any Twin Cities parents are wondering: What’s the difference between the old Water Park of America and the new Great Wolf Lodge resort that took its place in Bloomington across the way from the Mall of America? Waterpark: Well, when it comes to the bones of the 75,000-square-foot waterpark, it’s actually very similar with pretty much the same rides and slides — touched up, enhanced with new branding and some special features.

On a recent two-night trip to the resort for Media Family Weekend (Jan. 5-6), however, we noticed one major difference: It’s not so busy. Even though it was the last weekend of winter break and even though multiple slides were closed due to crazy-cold outdoor weather, the slide lines weren’t long, if there were lines at all. Why? Under the new brand — which boasts 15, going on 17, locations in the U.S./ Canada with Chicago and Atlanta coming

this year — only hotel guests are allowed to use the waterpark, which means no crazy admission lines. Families don’t need to rush to get inside to get their money’s worth for the day because they can use the waterpark during their entire stay, including the days of their arrival and departure before or after using their actual rooms. During our stay, we wished that the lazy river was bigger (or about a mile longer), since it was the busiest place in the park and therefore not exactly “lazy.” But we

Photos Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

mnparent.com • February 2018

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A LOOK INSIDE GREAT WOLF LODGE

loved how the currents somehow kept us on course, even as we moved through the awesome (but chaotic) wave pool. Activities: Another huge factor is that the resort — which officially opened Dec. 12 — is absolutely packed with other non-water activities that kids love, including an expanded arcade, a climbing wall, a ropes course, a mining station, a stuffed-character-creation store, a candy shop, a gift shop, an outfitter, a kids’ spa, mini bowling and — by far the most popular feature of the hotel during our stay — MagiQuest, a resort-wide digital scavenger-hunt. Kids point magic wands at interactive objects throughout the hotel to collect gold, open portals and slay dragons. (Psst: Even the giant bear rug on the wall in the lodge lobby is part of the game.) Cost: Yes, all of the above attractions cost extra (except the waterpark). Wands, which kids get to keep, start at $17.99. It

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costs an additional $14.99 for game activation, which lasts for your entire stay and can be reactivated — with past progress! — for future stays. A Paw Pass ($69.99 per kid) includes MagiQuest and access to many of the other attractions. Free activities include interactive, musical story times, crafts, Wolf Walk tours, kid yoga and “wolfercise,” character meet-and-greets, dance parties and a big Northwoods Friends bedtime show. (Coming soon is the option to host birthday parties here.) Rooms: Rates for the resort’s 404 rooms

and suites (available in 13 floor plans) start at $199 (weeknights) and include microwaves and mini fridges. If you have a larger party (6 or more), check out the cabinstyle rooms, which include themed separate sleeping quarters for kids, so parents can stay up later (with the lights and TV on). Be sure to ask about another postbedtime perk known as Wine Down Service — “coming soon,” sources say, to the Bloomington location. Ordered by door hanger and announced by text (so as not to wake the kids), this add-on includes


Spreading Hope to Families of Micro-Preemie Babies, One Potato at a Time. thepotatoheadproject.org a bottle of wine and a non-Goldfish snack. Some of the larger suites sleep up to 12 and offer the best value with the cost of multiple bedrooms and bathrooms shared between families. Food: We found the eight (!) dining options at the new lodge to be far more sophisticated than those at another location we visited back in 2010 in Washington state. Giant jumbo shrimp cocktails were a highlight of the evening buffet for the grownups and the kids loved the breakfast buffet with paw-stamped pancakes, a mountain of bacon and a gorgeous fruit selection, along with many other options. Just off the main lobby, wine and local beers are on tap alongside locally sourced vittles. You’ll also find a Dunkin’ Donuts, Ben & Jerry’s and — inside the waterpark — a bar with blended drinks to give you that full staycation feel. Overlooking the waterpark, there’s a walk-up pizza joint (serving Surly, among other brews), plus another bar with a woodsy theme. Bonus: All kitchen facilities at Great Wolf Lodge are peanut and tree nut free. What’s different? In short, it’s still a waterpark-hotel geared toward kids, but with a much more exclusive and immersive atmosphere, including animal-track carpeting running down every hallway and a set of fuzzy ears for every guest — yes, even parents. Learn more at greatwolflodge.com.

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if you are a fan of determination, then you are already a fan of Special Olympics. volunteer, support, coach or compete.

Sarah Jackson stayed for two nights (for no charge) with her son, age 9, at Great Wolf Lodge as part of a media weekend with 30 other members of the local press, including local bloggers, and their families.

specialolympicsminnesota.org

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mnparent.com • February 2018

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how to enjoy winter T

By Amy Beseth

his is the sixth year I’ve been a mother in the dead of winter — and the first year that I am not going to let it ruin me. As I reflect on my childhood, I don’t remember disliking winter, but rather enjoying each season as it came and went. Experiences and traditions, the warmth of the indoors, cookies baking, hearty, filling breakfasts, bundling up for a long day of outdoor adventures in the security of my own back yard. I don’t remember being cold. I don’t remember being uncomfortable. And I especially don’t remember feeling hopeless until the return of warmer days.

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I remember the glare of the January sun and the cool spray of snow on my face while sledding down our favorite hills. I remember the elation of rolling the largest snowball I could push. I remember warm cuddles with loved ones. Fast forward 30 years, and winter — especially with children — has become a personal challenge. Sometimes the mere time it takes to get children bundled and ready for the elements takes longer than they’re actually willing to be in the outdoors. Illnesses tend to blossom this time of year, too, and — coupled with harsh temperatures — can increase isolation. As my twin sons entered kindergarten

last past fall, it hit me that time is slipping by so fast, I don’t want to wish away an entire season. I want to enjoy and hold on to each moment I have with them. Soon they’ll be teenagers. My strong Norwegian heritage made me wonder: What do Norwegians do? Norway’s climate is much like ours. Being in a northernmost region, Norway’s winter days are dark, too. And yet, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report, the country boasts the happiest people in the world. So I spent some time searching online to discover how the Norwegians and others find joy when the dark and cold take over the winter months. Here are my top takeaways:


Buy the right gear

Move around

If you’ve ever had a toddler, you know getting outside isn’t as easy as it sounds. Bundling up a little kid can leave you breaking a sweat before you even don your own coat. But here’s the thing: What you wear really matters. Finding the right clothes — that go on with ease and keep you warm — is essential, not just for the kids, but for you, too. There’s a saying from our wise Nordic friends: There’s no bad weather — only bad clothing. During my first few years staying at home with my kids, I remember spending a lot of time finding the perfect attire for my little ones, all the while completely forgetting about myself. When we would finally make it outside, I’d cringe while drudging through the deep snow to make a snowman, joining in sledding adventures or simply standing in the elements to watch my children play. By not taking part fully in these activities, I essentially wasn’t taking part in all the things I reminisced about bringing me joy when I was a child. It took me three years to purchase my own extra-warm, tall winter boots: They were a success! My lower half was no longer cold. This year, I forced myself to put my budget-conscious ways aside and invest in warm clothes that work for the rest of my body.

Once you get outside, move your body. Whether its playing with your kids in the snow or a quick walk on your lunch break, the key is to move. Fresh air, vitamin D and exercise will always serve your mind and body well — once you actually get out there. Also, keep in mind, winter in Minnesota doesn’t end with the spring solstice in March (at least not usually). Snow and hard freezes can come in April (and May), which means you may as well resolve to get yourself outside year round, rather than waiting for “winter” to pass.

Get cozy If you’re able to follow my previous suggestion, my next tip will complement it perfectly. Get cozy. Scandinavian winter culture is all about some form of cozy. In Danish, it’s hygge. In Norwegian it’s koselig. Swedes say mysigt. Call it hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, sipped while you sit under a ridiculously soft blanket, all just after you come inside from the cold. (Or, if you have toddlers, sip hot chocolate at the table first. THEN jump into a pile of snuggly blankets.) Hygge is about enjoying the pleasures of “indoor life,” and creating a sense of intimacy, togetherness and inner warmth (and maybe not starring at digital devices). Scandinavians make the activity of getting cozy into an Olympic sport by coming up with special winter-only

celebratory games, clothes, decor and more to create that feeling one can really only enjoy when it’s cold and dark outside. With the warm light of candles and hearth fires, special seasonal meals and drinks, fuzzy slippers and sweaters — and an emphasis on simplicity — Danes reportedly actually look forward to their long cold winters. We can, too!

Reserve joy This last tip is my own — and something that I’ve noticed I’ve lost in myself in this age of instant gratification: Wait. The idea of waiting for anything really is a thing of the past. We no longer wait for our favorite show to appear each week, but rather binge watch the latest recommendation on our favorite streaming device. If we wish to buy something, we can simply turn on the computer or phone and order it the moment it crosses our mind (and maybe have it delivered in less than two hours with Prime Now). Reserving joy is putting something you enjoy doing aside and saving it. Perhaps you save a hobby or a project you’ve been wanting to do, a stack of books you would like to read or some new recipes to try. Pick something that brings you joy and — gasp — reserve it. Save it for the winter months. I’ll see you in the spring. Amy Beseth is a mother of three and the owner of Pride & Joy Doula Services, serving St. Paul, Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs. Learn more at prideandjoydoula.com.

mnparent.com • February 2018

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plan a summer

ADVENTURE at Minnesota Parent’s 12th annual

Camp Fair Saturday, February 24th 10am–2pm Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

meet one-on-one

with dozens of camp representatives Free admission and children’s ac

tivities!

SPONSORED BY

mnparent.com/campfair • 612-825-9205 • events@mnpubs.com


CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS

E Academic

Groves Academy Summer Programs Groves Academy offers summer programs for students entering grades 2–11 from the community with learning and attention challenges. Taught by Groves trained teachers, our small class sizes and specialized instruction build success and confidence. Both academic and enrichment programs are available. 3200 Hwy 100 S St. Louis Park 952-920-6377 grovesacademy.org

iD Tech Camps The world’s #1 sumer STEM program for ages 7–17, held at 150 prestigious universities including Macalester. With worldclass instructors and innovative courses in coding, game development, robotics, and design, our programs instill in demand skills that embolden students to shape the future. Held at Macalester & 150+ Locations Nationwide 1-844-788-1858 iDTechCamps.com

Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest Students in grades 4–8 will learn how to run a successful business through a variety of fun, interactive activities. Held at JA BizTown, our unique kid-sized city. June session explores STEM careers; July session will appeal to the young entrepreneur. 1800 White Bear Ave N Maplewood 651-255-0455 jaum.org/ja-summer-camps

Summer STEM Camps with Curious Minds LLC Kids become a citizen scientist or engineer by participating in exciting hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities and challenges. Curious Minds LLC is an official partner of Twin Cities Public Television SciGirls CONNECT on PBS TV! June 18th–August 10th half-day camps for ages 5–13. Register at curiousminds.info. curiousminds.info

The Works Museum Engineering & design camps for kids in pre-K–grade 6. Coding, LEGO engineering, girls design, robotics, architecture, and more! Half and full day options, June–August 2018. The Works Museum: inspiring the next generation of innovators, engineers, and creative problem solvers. 9740 Grand Ave S Bloomington 952-888-4262 theworks.org

Zoo Camp Minnesota Zoo offers half-day to week-long adventures for toddlers to 12th graders (and adults!) to meet animals, make new friends, and have fun learning about the natural world. Check out our popular Horse Camps and our new Build a Canoe with the Zoo camp for 7th–9th graders! Register at mnzoo.org/zoocamp. 13000 Zoo Blvd Apple Valley 952-431-9320 mnzoo.org

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CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS

Arts

Adventures in Cardboard Mythic Play in Summer Wildlands! Be initiated into an esteemed House of The Realm and jump into live-action adventure gaming! Build your own armor, create castles to defend your land, battle on trails, fields and shorelines! Swords, bows, catapults, magic and monsters! Full days spent in beautiful parks across the metro region. Days, Monday–Friday, ages 8–16 and several TEEN ONLY weeks! 22 sessions in 10 Regional Parks, June 11–August 17. 3448 16th Ave S Minneapolis julianmcfaul.com

The Art Academy Give your child the opportunity to explore their creative side and develop their skills by illustrating their own children’s book and learning the principles of drawing and painting at the Art Academy’s Summer Camp program. Classes and camps, with exceptional student/teacher ratios, are available for students ages 5–18. 651 Snelling Ave S St. Paul 651-699-1573 theartacademy.net

Art Camps at Studio Seven One week painting and drawing camps for students ages 7–18. Compositional elements will be explored through landscape and figure studies. Students will paint and draw

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both in the studio and outside. Trips to galleries and museums included. Camps are Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. $580 per week, all materials are included. kahlowcurtis@gmail.com. 708 N 1st St Minneapolis 612-376-038 studio7artmn.com

Articulture Art Camps Articulture art camps encourage kids to explore a variety of media and emphasize personal creativity—fun and educational! Themes range from animation to food as art. Runs June 11–August 31 for ages 4 and up. Full and half-day options. $132–$285. 2613 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis 612-729-5151 articulture.org

Artistry Over 50 week-long visual and performing arts camps for grades 1–9! Artistry campers will explore art forms including pottery, puppetry, fused glass, design, theater arts, drawing, painting, sculpture, bookmaking, printmaking, and more! $110–$150/halfday. Combine for full day experience. Scholarships available. Bloomington Center for the Arts 1800 W Old Shakopee Rd Bloomington 952-563-8575 artistrymn.org/education/camps.html

ARTrageous Adventures Fun, creative weekly camp themes, parties and events throughout the year! Paint, reARTcycle, sculpt and collage in our handson studio right in the heART of Kenwood, Minneapolis. Check us out on Facebook for fun events, craft ideas and camp info! Minneapolis 612-423-7554 ARTrageousAdventures.com

Kidcreate Studio Kidcreate’s award winning summer camps are designed to inspire and educate young artists, ages 3 to 12, in an environment where giggles and grins are encouraged. Camps combine art education with an atmosphere full of fun. This summer’s camps include; Beyond Pokémon, Big & Messy, Glitter & Glow, LEGO Star Wars, Mad About the Masters, Shopkins Cute, Sparkle Spectacular, The How To’s of Drawing, The Messiest Art Camp Ever, Think Pink, Willy Wonka’s Candy Crafts and many more! Making a mess is the best at Kidcreate! Eden Prairie: 7918 Mitchell Rd 952-974-3438 edenprairiemn.kidcreatestudio.com Woodbury: 1785 Radio Dr, Ste F 651-735-0880 woodburymn.kidcreatestudio.com WATCH FOR OUR NEW STUDIO, OPENING SOON IN SAVAGE!


mnparent.com/camp The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program

Textile Center

The Loft’s Young Writers’ Program offers numerous classes throughout the summer that foster creativity, enrich talents, and create friendships. Classes run for ages 6–17 at all skill levels.

Small classes taught by skilled artists―learn to weave on a loom, create a handmade hammock to lounge in, stitch a quilt to enter in the Fair, or become a fashion designer and sew a fabulous outfit! Ages 6 and up. Halfand full-day options.

Open Book 1011 Washington Ave S 612-215-2575 loft.org

Maker Activities for Kids at the Library Hands-on, drop-in activities for youth ages 8–12 at the library! Activities offer an opportunity for youth to be engaged and inspired by STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) concepts. Parents/guardians are encouraged to join in the fun! Always free! Saint Paul Public Library (multiple branches) Saint Paul 651-266-7034 sppl.org/camp

Minneapolis College of Art and Design Join us at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design for a series of innovative, handson, and engaging visual art and design camps and classes for kids and teens ages 6–18! Weeklong and multi-week options. Scholarships available. 2501 Stevens Ave Minneapolis 612-874-3765 mcad.edu/youth

Shell Lake Arts Center With programs in jazz, rock band, show choir, art, theater, film, and more, the Shell Lake Arts Center is like nowhere else! Just two hours northeast of the Twin Cities in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin. Come join us for the experience of a lifetime! 802 1st St Shell Lake 715-468-2414 shelllakeartscenter.org

3000 University Ave SE Minneapolis 612-436-0464 textilecentermn.org

Dance, Music, Performance

Chan DT Musical Theatre Camp Chanhassen Dinner Theatres offers summertime theatre camps for kids and teens (ages 5–18). It’s a fantastic week of full and half-day sessions focusing on musical theatre fundamentals taught by Chanhassen professionals throughout the summer. Sessions begin June 11th. Registration opens Feb. 1st! PO Box 100 Chanhassen 952-934-1525 chanhassendt.com

Circus Juventas Travel the globe without ever leaving our big top! Our full-day, week-long camps explore a vast array of circus arts from Morocco to Mongolia, China to Russia. Reserve your spot now to be a part of one of the most talked about and unique summer camps anywhere. 1270 Montreal Ave St. Paul 651-699-8229 circusjuventas.org

CREO Arts & Dance Conservatory Wholesome, creative, joyful dancing for all ages & stages. June 18–August 20. Our noncompetitive dance studio provides expert instruction in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and hip-hop. Summer classes include: Pony Power, Fairy-tale Ballet, Faith Based Dance,

Ballet/Jazz/Modern Intensives. Wayzata Home Center 1250 Wayata Blvd E 612-636-6893 creodance.com

O’Shea Irish Dance Classes Director Cormac O’Se, original member of Riverdance. Professional Irish Dance training for preschoolers through adults; for competition, for fun, and for fitness! Weekly Classes: Mondays–Saturdays. Beginners Classes registering now! Summer camps June, July, August. The Celtic Junction 836 Prior Ave N St. Paul 612-722-7000 osheairishdance.com

She Rock She Rock Girls Rock ‘n’ Roll Retreat is a five-day camp for girls, trans and gender nonconforming youth, ages 8–18. Participants will learn an instrument, form a band, write original songs, and perform in two shows. No prior experience is necessary! 1550 Summit Ave St. Paul 511 Groveland Ave Minneapolis 844-743-7625 sherocksherock.org

Sing Minnesota August 6–10, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sing Minnesota is a weeklong day camp for girls and boys, ages 8–12 sponsored by the Minnesota Boychoir. While focusing on choral singing, campers also participate in other creative arts: drama and movement, visual arts, and outdoor fun and games! $350, scholarships available. Concordia University Buetow Music Center 300 Hamline Ave N St. Paul 651-292-3219 boychoir.org

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CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS St. Paul Ballet Dance all summer long with St. Paul Ballet. Dance camps, intensives and drop-in classes available for ages 2.5–100! 655 Fairview Ave N St. Paul 651-690-1588 spballet.org

Stages Theatre Company Summer Theatre Workshops: June 18– August 17, 2018. Calling all ACTORS, SINGERS, and DANCERS… Have fun learning about theatre from some of the area’s finest teaching artists! Stages Theatre Company offers a variety of age appropriate workshops for students ages 4–16. 1111 Mainstreet Hopkins 952-979-1111, option 4 stagestheatre.org

SteppingStone Theatre (SST) Camps & One Day Classes Young people lead the creative process in SST’s year-round Creative Learning programs for ages 3–18. Create-A-Play in our devised theatre classes, learn theatre design skills in our workshops or perform on the main stage as a LEAP artist. Mix up your creativity and play in our interactive, youth-centered programs to promote critical thinking and empathy. Scholarships available! 55 Victoria St N St. Paul 651-225-9265 steppingstonetheatre.org

Theatre Arts Training at Children’s Theatre Company June 11–August 17, ages 4–18. Theatre Arts Training offers camps for all levels in acting, musical theatre, improv and more, making it easy to find the perfect fit for the young actor in your life. Be Curious. Be Creative. Be Confident. Registration now open. 2400 3rd Ave S Minneapolis 612-874-0400 childrenstheatre.org/summer

University of Northwestern (UNW) – St. Paul, Academy of Music Whatever the age or musical ability of your child, UNW Academy of Music has a summer camp to excite and challenge them on their musical journey. Brio Music Camp: Intro Music for ages 4–8. Show Choir for ages 9–16, Piano Institute for ages 10–18. Music Recording Camp for ages 13 and up. Northwestern Campus 3003 Snelling Ave N St. Paul 651-631-5108 unwsp.edu/academyofmusic

Zenon Dance Company & School Week long dance camps for ages 6–14. Each day includes technique, choreography and fun. Participants will perform for family and friends on the last day! Register online for Youth Hip Hop & Sampler camps throughout the summer. 528 Hennepin Ave, Ste 400 Minneapolis 612-338-110 zenondance.org/camp-zenon

Day

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Awarded “Best Day Camp” by Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Picks. Camp Como enhances your child’s appreciation for the natural world with enthusiastic instructors, zookeepers and gardeners, and behind-the-scenes adventures. Campers will get closer to plants and animals than ever before. Preschool through 8th grade. 1225 Estabrook Dr St. Paul 651-487-8201 comozooconservatory.org

Gibbs Farm Day Camps We’ve created the perfect mix of day camps for your kids! Family-friendly pricing, fun for kids ages 4–15. Choose Pioneer PeeWees, ages 4–5; or one of our three-day camps, ages 6–10, including Pioneer Kid, Gibbs Girl or Dakota Day Camp. Digging History, our archaeology day camp, and Victorian Ladies Day Camp are for ages 11–15. Camps offered June 19–August 31. Pioneer Kid, Gibbs Girl, Dakota Day Camp, Digging History, Victorian Ladies: $99/week. Pioneer Peewees: $19/day. 2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629 rchs.com

Gibbs Girl Three days, three experiences! For girls 6–10. This craft-rich camp explores the lives of girls in Minnesota during the 1800s: Life as a Pioneer girl, Dakota girl and Victorian girl. Tuesdays–Thursdays, June 19–21 and August 7–9, 21–23, and 28–30, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. each day. $99/week.

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2097 W Larpenteur Ave Falcon Heights 651-646-8629 rchs.com

Minnehaha Academy Summer Programs Jump into summer fun with more than 60 half- and full-day athletic, enrichment and academic camps for grades pre-K through 12. 4200 W River Pkwy Minneapolis 612-728-7745 minnehahaacademy.net

Playworks 2018 Summer Camp Sign up for Playworks Summer Camp, full of learning, adventure, field trips, and fun! Children learn through hands-on experiences, outdoor activities, playing in the Atrium, and educational programs. Playworks Summer Camp is open to children 6–12 years of age. Daily meals are included. Part-time and full-time options are available. 2200 Trail of Dreams Prior Lake 952-445-PLAY (7529) playworksfun.com

Providence Academy Providence Academy’s Summer Activities offer a variety of programs for students age 5 through grade 12. Enjoy activities that promote experiential learning, creative and academic growth, and unique summer experiences. Full-day sessions for students age 5 through grade 6. 15100 Schmidt Lake Rd Plymouth 763-258-2500 providenceacademy.org/summer

School Chess Association Summer Day Chess Camp All levels of chess instruction, professional educators tailored to the student’s individual needs. Fun activities include swimming, water slides, field ball, Magic the Gathering, soccer, tennis, roller skating, bowling, fishing, sign language, and roleplaying games. Programs: June 25–28, July 9–12, July 16–19, July 23–26, July 30–Aug 2, Aug 6–9, Aug 13–16. St. Louis Park Recreation Center 3700 Monterey Dr St. Louis Park 763-593-1168 schoolchess.org

Spring Break & Summer at Blake From robots to art projects and the classroom to the athletic field, Blake challenges students to creatively express themselves in an array of disciplines. Sports, academics, arts and day camps are open to pre-K–12 students throughout the Twin Cities. Hopkins, Minneapolis, Wayzata 952-988-3463 blakeschool.org/summer


mnparent.com/camp Tanadoona | Camp Fire Minnesota Explore Tanadoona’s Big Woods and zigzag by canoe across Lake Minnewashta! With 103 acres, adventures are endless with new friends and local and international counselors. NEW: water log rolling, Tanadoona Tree House, and agility course! Open Houses: 3/10 & 5/5. 3300 Tanadoona Dr Excelsior 612-235-7284 tanadoona.org

Horseback Riding Regent Arabians: Developing Equestrians for Life

LESSONS, DAY CAMP, TRAIL RIDING, BIRTHDAY PARTIES. Handle, groom, & ride beautiful, intelligent & experienced horses. We educate & ride year round. Students improve their physical & mental fitness, self esteem, respect & focus while pursuing their dream with horses! 26125 Tucker Rd Rogers 763-428-4975 regentarabians.com

Serving people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, HOBT collaborates with SCHOOLS and COMMUNITIES on unique, interactive ART RESIDENCIES that nurture the creative spirit and encourage a sense of joy and wonder. If you are interested in an art residency for your school or organization, visit hobt.org or call 612.721.2535 for more information.

Sunnyside Stables Horsemanship Summer Camp Sunnyside’s camp is a place to discover horses and new friends. Each day includes riding—rain or shine, as we have an indoor and outdoor arena as well as scenic trails. You will discover the basics of grooming, saddling, body language, posture, contact, and balance to develop independent riding skills.

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Audubon Center of the North Woods Youth summer camps with a focus on wildlife, nature, challenge and outdoor skills. Rocks, Ropes & Rafts (entering grades 6–8); Outdoor Explorations (entering grades 5–7); Ways of Wildlife (entering grades 4-6). June–July. 54165 Audubon Dr Sandstone 888-404-7743 info@audubon-center.org audubon-center.org/summer-camps

Camp Bovey A summer youth program of East Side Neighborhood Services. We provide a safe place for youth to have fun while participating in outdoor activities. Campers gain confidence in outdoor living skills. Check out our new team challenge course in 2018! Northwestern Wisconsin 612-787-4030 esns.org/campbovey

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CAMP RESOURCES ADVERTISER LISTINGS 3300 Tanadoona Dr Excelsior 612-235-7284 tanadoona.org

Wolf Ridge Summer Camp Kids grades 2–12 will find outdoor adventures to match their curiosity at Wolf Ridge. Share nature up-close every day with lifelong friends at our 2000-acre campus near Lake Superior and the BWCA. Learning is the greatest adventure there is! Choose yours at wolf-ridge.org. Finland 218-353-7414 wolf-ridge.org

Special Needs

Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) Summer Camps AuSM’s summer camps are tailored for youth and adults with autism and feature options including 1:1, 1:2, and 1:4 staff to camper ratios. Parents and caregivers can rest assured knowing that their campers are being cared for by highly trained, experienced staff, while campers make memories that last a lifetime. Camps for AuSM members include Hand in Hand (residential, 1:1); Wahode (day, 1:2); and Discovery (residential, 1:4). E-mail camp@ ausm.org for more info. Register today! 2380 Wycliff St #102 St. Paul 651-647-1083 ausm.org

Groves Academy Summer Programs Camp Chippewa for Boys We develop character through adventure, inspired by over 80 years of tradition. Your son will receive individual attention as he learns life skills and makes lifelong friends in our wilderness environment. He will return more confident, self-aware and resilient. 22767 Cap Endres Rd SE Cass Lake 218-335-8807 campchippewa.com

Camp Olson YMCA Since 1954, Camp Olson has been providing unforgettable and life changing experiences for youth and young leaders through quality camping programs. Traditional summer camp available as well as specialty programs in sailing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and leadership development. 4160 Little Boy Rd NE Longville 218-363-2207 campolson.org

Camp WeHaKee Have fun, build friendships, be yourself! More than 40 activities that each girl

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chooses. Campers from around the world. Exceptional staff! At the heart of WeHaKee is relationship. Just three hours from Minneapolis in Northern Wisconsin! N8104 Barker Lake Rd Winter, WI 800-582-2267 wehakeecampforgirls.com

Star Lake Wilderness Camp Star Lake Wilderness Camp provides life changing experiences for 3rd–12th grades. Campers sleep in tents, swim in lakes, hike, canoe, cook on fires, and live in guided small groups. Some weeks have Christian programming. Pay only what you can afford. Pequot Lakes 651-263-0578 starlakewildernesscamp.com

Tanadoona | Camp Fire Minnesota Unroll your sleeping bag in a rustic cabin for a week with new friends, and local and international counselors. 103 acres along Lake Minnewashta, adventure awaits with activities like archery, agility and teambuilding courses, and canoeing. Open Houses: 3/10 & 5/5.

Groves Academy offers summer programs for students entering grades 2–11 from the community with learning and attention challenges. Taught by Groves trained teachers, our small class sizes and specialized instruction build success and confidence. Both academic and enrichment programs are available. 3200 Hwy 100 S St. Louis Park 952-920-6377 grovesacademy.org

Specialty Camp Choson

Camp Choson is a dynamic, welcoming day and resident camp that offers youth ages 4–17 opportunities to explore Korean arts and culture. A camper’s experience includes Korean language and culture, traditional dance and drum, Taekwondo, music, self-respect, archery, Korean arts, and outdoor play. Camp Lakamaga campchoson.org


mnparent.com/camp Girls Who Code Girls ages 10–18 learn coding, connect it to their interests, build confidence and join a supportive sisterhood of girls who code. Beginner and advanced courses: Intro to Computer Science, iPhone App Development, Wearable Tech & Fashion Design, Website Design & Development. St. Paul: St. Kate’s University 2004 Randolph Ave Mendota Heights: Visitation School 2455 Visitation Dr Minnetonka: Vantage Space Minnetonka Public Schools 4350 Baker Rd 844-226-7622 girlswhocode.com/campus

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Sports and Fitness Mini-Hops Gymnastics

Campers will have professionally trained coaches that will help develop and build gymnastics skills, lead small and large group activities, get crafty, build strength and friendships. There will be daily down time for the youngest campers (4 & 5 yr olds). All gymnasts are welcome from beginner to advanced. Ages 4+, M-F, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with 8:30 a.m. Early Drop Off available. Save 15% when you register by March 31st! 2600 Campus Dr Plymouth mini-hops.com

Revolutionary Sports Offers instructional classes, summer and school-release day camps, after school programs, and preschool programs. Kids, as young as age two, learn to play over 25 different sports, staying active, and having fun! Experienced, professional coaches that are great working with kids as young as two, use challenging, noncompetitive curriculum to teach sports and life skills. Metro-wide locations 7000 Washington Ave S Eden Prairie 612-234-7782 pla-it.com

TAGS Gymnastics Camps Fun, fitness, friends! Gymnastics and tumbling camps for boys and girls ages 3–17 in June, July, and August. Kids will learn fun, new skills while developing strength, flexibility, and coordination in a safe, positive atmosphere! TAGS Apple Valley: 5880 149th St W Apple Valley 952-431-6445 TAGS Eden Prairie: 10300 W 70th St Eden Prairie 952-920-5342 tagsgym.com

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HELLO SUMMER

GET SPECIAL DEALS YMCA SUMMER RALLY DAYS Thursday, March 1 – Tuesday, March 6

SAVE $50 on registration fee

SAVE $15 per session fee

SAVE $50 on registration fee

SUMMER POWER

SUMMER SPORTS

SUMMER UPROAR

Grades K – 5

Grades 1 – 6

Grades 6 – 8

Summer Power is your answer to quality care and exciting adventures. We offer flexible 3-, 4-, and 5-day options. No two weeks are alike! Weekly themes and weekly field trips.

Youth will have the opportunity to learn new skills, practice and play new sports. Y Summer Sports is a safe, fun, non-competitive sports program designed to build teamwork, leadership skills and self-esteem.

Uproar provides an exciting combination of spirited adventure and growth. Teens get their first taste of leadership as they help to plan their summer activities and participate in weekly field trips.

Thursday, March 1 – Tuesday, March 6

Register Online ymcamn.org/summer Membership not required. Financial assistance available. Need more information? Attend the

YMCA SUMMER PROGRAMS FAIR Saturday, March 3 9:30 a.m. – Noon

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Thursday, March 1 – Tuesday, March 6

Thursday, March 1 – Tuesday, March 6


YMCA CAMPS YMCA OVERNIGHT CAMPS CAMP ST. CROIX Ages 7-17. Located on the St. Croix River, two miles south of Hudson, WI. Campers participate in a wide variety of traditional camp activities or select a specialty camp such as horseback riding, rock climbing, sailing and canoeing. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.

CAMP ICAGHOWAN Ages 7-17. Located on Lake Wapogasset near Amery, WI. Icaghowan offers traditional camp and a variety of unique specialty camps focused on activities such as horseback riding, river canoeing and skateboard camp. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions.

CAMP IHDUHAPI Ages 7-17. Located on Lake Independence just 22 miles west of Minneapolis, MN, Ihduhapi offers youth a traditional experience or sailing and horseback riding specialty camps. Three-day, one-week or two-week sessions. Leadership development programs for grades 8-11.

CAMP WARREN Ages 7-16. Camp Warren, located in the north woods on Half Moon Lake near Eveleth, MN, offers girls-only sessions the first part of the summer and boys-only sessions later in the summer. Camp Warren has a strong tradition of progressive activities including sailing, archery, tennis, photography and horseback riding.

YMCA FAMILY CAMP CAMP DU NORD All Ages. Located on the edge of the BWCA on Burntside Lake, Camp du Nord offers a totally unique week-long camping experience for families. Cozy woodland cabins with kitchens range from rustic to upscale. Tent camping sites, full/partial food service also available. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming, nature and arts programs are offered as family activities and for children’s age groups. Relax at days end with an authentic Finnish sauna.

YMCA OVERNIGHT CAMP

SAVE $25 per session March 1 - March 6

YMCA TEEN WILDERNESS ADVENTURES CAMP MENOGYN Ages 12-18. Camp Menogyn is located on the Gunflint Trail 30 miles north of Grand Marais, MN. There are no roads leading to Menogyn, so all campers cross West Bearskin Lake by boat to arrive at this beautiful, intimate wilderness setting. Our focus is on the small group, compassionate guided wilderness canoeing, backpacking and rock climbing trips that are safe, fun and enriching.

CAMP WIDJIWAGAN Ages 11-18. Located on Burntside Lake near Ely, MN, Widji offers high-quality canoe and backpacking adventures in the BWCA and throughout North America. Widji wilderness trips are focused on respect and values that build skills for life and a relationship with the environment that is unparalleled.

YMCA DAY CAMP AGES 4 - 14 YMCA Day Camp provides a week full of exciting camp activities like canoeing, archery, fishing, camp crafts, cookouts, swimming and more! Day camps facilitate a great introduction to camping in a safe environment. Kids are home each night. Bus transportation is available at most locations.

YMCA DAY CAMPS: SPECIALTY CAMPS Develop a greater passion for the things you love, or try out something new at one of our YMCA specialty camps! Campers spend approximately 2 hours each day in their specialized activity. The remainder of the day is spent enjoying traditional camp activities.

YMCA DAY CAMP

SAVE $15 per session March 1 – March 6 DAY CAMPS Camp Christmas Tree 6365 Game Farm Rd., Minnetrista, 952-544-7708. Located on 45 acres at Dutch Lake near Mound, MN. YMCA Camp St. Croix – DayCroix 532 County Rd. F, Hudson, WI, 612-465-0560. Located on 400 acre site overlooking the St. Croix River. Camp Guy Robinson 3100 217th Ave NW, Oak Grove, 763-785-7882. Located at Lake George Regional Park. Camp Heritage 7732 Main Street, Lino Lakes; located across from Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes. YMCA Day Camp Ihduhapi 3425 Ihduhapi Rd., Loretto, 763-479-1146. Located on Lake Independence. Day Camp Ihduhapi offers the beautiful, north woods feel of camp. Camp Kici Yapi 13220 Pike Lake Trail NE, Prior Lake, 952-835-2567. Located on 80 acre site in Prior Lake. Camp Kumalya 1515 Keats Ave. N., Lake Elmo, 651-731-9507. Located at Lake Elmo Park Reserve in Lake Elmo. Camp Manitou 9910 Briarwood Ave. NE, Monticello,763-535-4800. Attraction-packed new location at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Camp Spring Lake 13690 Pine Bend Trail, Rosemount, 651-456-9622. Located at Dakota County Spring Lake Park Reserve in Rosemount. Camp Streefland 11490 Klamath Trail, Lakeville, 952-898-9622. Located on Lake Kingsley in Lakeville.

For more information:

612-230-9622

ymcamn.org/summer Membership not required. Financial assistance available.

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Out & About

FEBRUARY

mnparent.com/calendar

St. Paul Winter Carnival ⊲ Explore more than 75 winter-themed events, including ice carving, snow sculpting, sledding, skiing, dogsledding, a torchlight parade and — a special feature this year — a seven-story, $800,000 ice palace in Rice Park. When: Jan. 25–Feb. 10 Where: Downtown Saint Paul, near Rice Park and Landmark Center, as well as the Minnesota State Fairgrounds

ONGOING

Super Bowl Live ⊲ Join in the Super Bowl LII fun with this 10-day festival, including live music, food vendors, larger-than-life snow globes, ice sculptures and a daily Drum Down the Sun ceremony honoring American Indian culture in Minnesota. When: Jan. 26–Feb. 4. On Jan. 26, Tony Award-winning icon Idina Menzel will perform Let It Go, from the Disney movie Frozen. On Jan. 29 (Prince Night) acts will include The Revolution, Sheila E. and Morris Day and the Time, plus a community sing-along of Prince’s legendary song, Purple Rain.

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Cost: Most events are FREE. Info: wintercarnival.com

Where: Nicollet Mall — from South 12th Street to South 6th Street — in downtown Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: mnsuperbowl.com

Art Shanty Projects ⊲ Bundle up and get ready for a oneof-a-kind art happening on ice — about 500 feet off shore — featuring 22 unique, handmade shanties, the work of 80 artists, live performances and other oddities such as a human hamster wheel. When: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 11 Where: Lake Harriet, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: artshantyprojects.org

WinterSkate ⊲ Skate for free as a family, weather permitting, courtesy of Wells Fargo. When: Through Feb. 11 in St. Paul, through early March in Minneapolis Where: Loring Park in Minneapolis and Landmark Plaza in St. Paul Cost: FREE. Skate rentals are $4 per person in St. Paul. Info: tinyurl.com/winterskate-stpaul, downtownmpls.com/winterskate

Music Under Glass ⊲ Beat the winter blahs by boogying to blues, bluegrass and ballads in the tropical two-acre Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. This free concert series


showcases some of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians every winter. When: Remaining concerts will be from 4:30–6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, 18, 25 and March 4 and 11. Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: comozooconservatory.org

JAN. 26–28

Hudson Hot Air Affair ⊲ Go balloon watching and enjoy a variety of family-friendly activities including balloon launches, geocaching, smooshboarding, arts and crafts and an evening parade, all along the St. Croix River. When: Jan. 26–28 Where: Hudson, Wis. Cost: Many activities are FREE. Info: hudsonhotairaffair.com

part of this 17th-annual event, including experts with the Minnesota Kite Society. Additional activities will include ice fishing, horse-drawn wagon rides, a sled pull, snowshoeing and a marshmallow roast. While you’re at the lake, check out the Art Shanty Projects from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. When: Noon–4 p.m. Jan. 27 Where: Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: eastharriet.org

FEB. 2–25

Make Believe Neighborhood ⊲ Celebrate Mr. Rogers and the ordinary people who do extraordinary work to make the South Minneapolis neighborhood a brighter, healthier, friendlier place. When: Feb. 2–Feb. 25 Where: In the Heart of the Beast, Minneapolis Cost: $10–$20 Info: hobt.org

JAN. 27

Winter Kite Festival ⊲ Kites of all colors, sizes, shapes and themes will fly over Lake Harriet as

JAN. 27–FEB. 4

City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival ⊲ This cabin-fever reliever and cross-country ski festival features races and games for all ages, plus skijoring, a snow-sculpting contest, beer gardens, food trucks, a vendor village and more. Not planning to race? Check out the spectator info page — at tinyurl.com/loppet-spectators — including race maps and schedules, event locations and shuttle options (recommended). When: Jan. 27–Feb. 4 Where: Minneapolis

Cost: FREE Info: loppet.org

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Photo by Dan Norman

The Wiz ⊲⊲Travel with Dorothy and her friends in this dazzling all-ages show, featuring rock, gospel and soul music. When: Through March 18 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $15. Info: childrenstheatre.org

FEB. 2–18

MVP: The Jackie Robinson Story ⊲⊲Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947 and showed a segregated country that the talent of the player — not the color of his skin — is what makes him a valuable member of a team. This inspirational story, recommended for grades 3 and up, honors one of America’s true heroes. When: Feb. 2–18 Where: Howard Conn Fine Arts Center, Minneapolis Cost: $12–$15 Info: youthperformanceco.org

FEB. 3

Luminary Loppet ⊲⊲Walk, snowshoe or ski along candlelit trails on Lake of the Isles, featuring winter-themed art, luminaries perfectly spaced around the lake, an ice pyramid,

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fire dancers, an enchanted forest, IceCropolis, Ice-Henge and Ice-ster Island. Participants receive cocoa and treats along the way, and are entitled to attend the REI Luminary Party, featuring live music and more. When: Feb. 3 Where: Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis Cost: $12–$30; registration is required. (This event will likely sell out.) Info: loppet.org

Global Folk ⊲⊲Dancer Christian Adeti offers a sampling of the Titambe West African Dance Ensemble’s repertoire, featuring traditional drumming, dancing, music, storytelling and more. When: Feb. 3 Where: Hosmer Library, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: hclib.bibliocommons.com

Frosty Fun Festival ⊲⊲Try a wide variety of winter activities as a family, including sledding, skating and snowshoeing, as well as games like ice bowling, boot hockey and ice mini-golf, plus an otter slide, puppet theater, a bonfire, concessions, discovery stations and medallion hunts. When: Feb 3 Where: Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul Cost: $4 per person / $16 per family in advance; $5 per person / $20 per family at the gate; free for ages 2 and younger Info: See dodgenaturecenter.org for parking suggestions.

FEB. 5

The ABCs of the IEP ⊲⊲In this workshop, parents will learn how each required part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be


developed to meet their child’s needs. When: Feb. 5 Where: Gillespie Center, Mound Cost: FREE Info: pacer.org

FEB. 7

Stories of Wit and Wisdom ⊲⊲Listen to lively African and AfricanAmerican folktales, courtesy of the Black Storytellers Alliance. When: Feb. 7 Where: Brookdale Library, Brooklyn Center Cost: FREE Info: hclib.bibliocommons.com

Cost: FREE Info: pacer.org

FEB. 10 AND 17

Lady Days ⊲⊲Local jazz singer Thomasina Petrus will perform songs from some of America’s most famed jazz vocalists, including Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. When: Feb. 10 and 17 Where: Brooklyn Park Library (Feb. 10), Sumner Library, Minneapolis (Feb. 17) Cost: FREE Info: hclib.bibliocommons.com

FEB. 17–MARCH 11

Tropical Beach Party ⊲⊲Escape the cold at the zoo with a party in the tropical exhibit space, featuring two giant indoor sandboxes! Bring your own pail (BYOP) or favorite sand toy and play surrounded by palm trees, exotic animals and special activities. Weekend events include scavenger hunts, face painting, zookeeper talks and more.  When: Feb. 17–March 11 Where: Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley Cost: Included with zoo admission of $12 for ages 3–12 and 65 and older, $18 for ages 13–64 Info: mnzoo.org

FEB. 9–MARCH 3

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry ⊲⊲Based on the Newberry-Award winning novel by Mildred D. Taylor, this production tells the story of a young girl growing up in 1933 Mississippi. As with all Steppingstone performances, all the actors in this production are children or teenagers. When: Feb. 9–March 3 Where: Steppingstone Theatre, St. Paul Cost: $10–$16 (with a pay-as-you’reable performance on Feb. 11) Info: steppingstonetheatre.org

FEB. 10

Koding with Kodu ⊲⊲Middle-school girls with disabilities are invited to learn how to code their own video games using Kodu, a visual-programming language created by Microsoft. When: Feb. 10 Where: PACER Center, Bloomington

Photo by C. Waits

FEB. 13

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live ⊲⊲Observe, meet and interact with an eye-popping collection of life-like dinosaurs and other creatures presented in a theatrical performance. When: Feb. 13 Where: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul

Cost: $33–$58 Info: ordway.org

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Minnesota Parent Camp Fair ⊲⊲Get a jump on summer planning with Minnesota Parent’s 12th-annual Camp Fair. Meet one-on-one with representatives from more than 50 summer camps, including sleep-away camps and day camps. While you explore summer-adventure options, your kids can enjoy familyfriendly activities, crafts and a few featured animals from the zoo. When: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Feb. 24 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: mnparent.com/campfair or 612-825-9205

FEB. 17 AND 24

Toddler Obstacle Course ⊲⊲Ages 6 months to 4 years are invited to explore a specially designed obstacle course. (Infants get their own activity corner.) When: Feb. 17 and 24 Where: North Saint Paul Library (Feb. 17), White Bear Lake Library (Feb. 24) Cost: FREE Info: rclreads.org

FEB. 18

Justin Roberts ⊲⊲Roberts — a three-time Grammy nominee and former Minneapolis Montessori teacher — presents two decades of hit songs for kids and families with help from The Not Ready for Naptime Players.

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When: Feb. 18 Where: Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis Cost: $15 for ages 3 and up Info: thecedar.org

FEB. 20–MARCH. 20

Adaptive Sports Sampler ⊲⊲Children with disabilities are invited to learn new skills in a positive, noncompetitive environment. When: Feb. 20–March 20 Where: Matthews Park Recreation Center, Minneapolis Cost: $40 Minneapolis residents, $60 non-residents Info: Go to minneapolisparks.org/ register and search for activity number 78666.

FEB. 24

Tech Fest ⊲⊲Spend the day learning and exploring as a family with dozens of hands-on activities led by scientists, engineers and educators, including taking apart old electronics, dabbling in biomedical engineering, programming robots and more. When: Feb. 24 Where: The Works Museum, Bloomington Cost: $9 in advance, $12 at the door Info: theworks.org

Stuffed Animal Sleepover ⊲⊲Kids in grade K through 2 are invited to wear their jammies (optional) and bring a stuffed animal. Staff will give each animal an owner’s tag, followed by a bedtime story and song. Stuffed animals can be


left overnight and picked up on Sunday along with pictures of their adventures. When: Feb. 24 Where: Maple Grove Library Cost: FREE Info: hclib.bibliocommons.com

STEM Family Day ⊲⊲History and science come together in a day of activities focusing on the role of STEM along the Minneapolis riverfront.

FEB. 26–27

FEB. 28–MARCH 4

Stages Auditions

Disney on Ice: Frozen

⊲⊲Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins auditions ages 10 to 18 for productions, typically with appointments booked about two weeks prior to audition dates. February auditions are coming up for Whoever You Are (a musical) and Crenshaw (a play). Adult actor auditions will be posted as needed.

⊲⊲See the Academy Award-winning tale told live and sing along with tunes such as Let It Go, Fixer Upper and Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

When: Feb. 24 Where: Mill City Museum, Minneapolis Cost: Included with museum admission of $6–$12, free for ages 4 and younger Info: mnhs.org

When: 6:30–8:30 p.m. Feb. 26–27. Callbacks will be Feb. 28. Where: Hopkins Center for the Arts Cost: FREE Info: stagestheatre.org

When: Feb. 28–March 4 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: $17.50–$92.50 Info: targetcenter.com

MARCH 2

Dive-In Movie ⊲⊲Enjoy crafts and games followed by a family-friendly movie projected on a screen over Shoreview’s popular Photo by Alex Johnson

MARCH 3

The Okee Dokee Brothers ⊲⊲See the Grammy Award-winning artists — Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing (above) — behind kindie hits such as Can You Canoe?, Through the Woods and Saddle Up! Kids can take part in a free play-and-learn hour in the lobby one hour before the shows with art activities and music-and-movement demonstrations designed to enhance the performance. When: March 3 Where: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, St. Paul

Cost: $16–$20. Lap passes available on the day of the event for children younger than 3. Info: ordway.org mnparent.com • February 2018

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indoor waterpark. Bring your own noodles or floaties. Note: The hot tub will not be open during this event.

MARCH 4

Steps of Hope

When: 7 p.m. March 2 Where: Tropics Indoor Waterpark, Shoreview Cost: Admission to the waterpark, playground and gym costs $9.40 for ages 1-17, $10.25 for ages 18 and older or $39 for a family (up to six). Info: 651-490-4750

⊲ Check out the state’s largest annual autism resource fair, games, an AuSM Flash Dash and an opportunity to raise money to support programs for people affected by autism in Minnesota. When: March 4 Where: Southdale Center, Edina Cost: FREE Info: sohwalk.org

CHILDCARE/EDUCATION Learning Center & Day Care | 6 Wks - School Age Family Owned, Family Run Since 1985

952-888-8052

Rainbow Rainbow Montessori Montessori Academy

rainbowmontessorimn.com

8736 Nicollet Ave S, Bloomington

Rainbow Montessori MNP 0118 2cx1.indd 1

Catalina’s Preschool Spanish Southwest Mpls/Linden Hills

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CAMP ISSUE

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PARTY PAGES Great times for all ages at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

MN MUSIC HALL of FAME AT YOUR PARTY! Choose band size &/or Panda! • Music for all ages available! • Special rates for flexible scheduling

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FROM OUR READERS

Theater tots!

It’s been a long, cold winter so far! If you’ve had enough of indoor playgrounds and museums, it might be time to take the kids to the theater (like these families)!

↑↑Levi, 7, of Richfield, with Mom (Christine), heading into The Lion King at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis

↑↑Cate, 4, and Greg, 2, of Bloomington, participating in Swimmy at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins

↑↑August and Ruthie, ages 5 and 3, of Chaska, going to Shrek at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins

↑↑Dexter, 4, of Monticello with Mom (Stephanie), ready to see Beauty and the Beast Jr. at Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins

↑↑Alex, 3, of Lakeville, at A Year With Frog and Toad at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis

Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first name, age and city to editor@mnparent.com.

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