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parenting is a trip!



Find the perfect preschool for your child






Get in Gear in the New Year PAGE 28

What to look for, and how to find the right one 36


How Tiffany Spanier, M.D., helps children thrive 46

Good Growing newsletter inside




Worrywart to Worry-Wise When to be concerned and what to do p.16

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inside JANUARY 2019

Worrywart to Worry-Wise Why our kids are so anxious and how we can help Feature PAGE 16


Meet Tiffany Spanier, M.D., an Allegro Pediatrics pediatrician


Raising the bar beyond tolerance





13–15  Birthdays 23–26 Seattle Children’s Good

Growing Health Newsletter

33–35  Camps • Arts • Activities 37 P ediatric Dentists 38–39  NWAIS Schools 40–45  Schools + Preschools

How to choose a pediatrician


Five fun activities to do with baby this winter


+ About



How one local teen is minding the gaps

Make fitness a family affair this year

Why mentoring matters

11 4 • January 2019 •

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our eNews to get a weekly dose of the best outings, advice and inspiration.


5 Fun Activities to Do With Your Baby This Winter By Vicky McDonald


hen you have a baby in

babies, too. The Seattle Public Library and King

the wintertime, it can be

County Library both offer regular story times,

tempting to snuggle up and

in multiple languages, at branches throughout

wait for spring. But while keeping warm and

the city and county. Check out your local

bonding are important, it’s also vital to get

library to see what events are coming up.

out together. Doing so will motivate you to

friendly café, restaurant or mall. Your

activities for you and your little one to enjoy.

baby will often nap right through the noisy

Take in a movie

din of a busy café while you get to catch

Going to a movie on a rainy morning or

up with a friend. If you’re worried about

afternoon can be an entertaining treat. Certain

finding a place to breastfeed or change a

cinemas in the Puget Sound are baby-friendly

diaper, check out our comprehensive list

and feature early showings for parents and

to see if it offers special matinees or has a

soundproof “crying room” in the back of the auditorium.


Go to the library

Foster a love of books from an early age with regular trips to your neighborhood library. Sign baby up for a library card and get a cute, free tote from The Seattle Public Library. The library can be a great place to meet other parents and

of places to breastfeed and pump in the

infants. Cinemark Lincoln Square in Bellevue

every Friday at 10 a.m. Check your local cinema

hard to motivate yourself to get out and

Meet a friend or your partner in a kid-

but there are plenty of fun and low-cost

West Seattle offers baby-friendly matinees

will nap a lot. While it might initially be

tremendous sense of accomplishment.

outside world. Seattle winters may be gloomy,

Thursday at 10 a.m. and Admiral Theater in

During those first few months, your baby

you start getting out there, you’ll feel a

with friends and help your baby adjust to the

offers parent and baby screenings every

Go to a kid-friendly café or mall

it may take several attempts, as soon as

get back into the swing of things, connect


• 4

Seattle area at

• 3

Take an exercise class with your baby

Don’t let cold weather — or your baby — be an excuse to stop exercising! There are plenty of ways to take in a fitness class and involve your little one. Many yoga studios offer parent and baby classes, while Fit 4 Mom offers stroller strides classes. Check


Get some fresh air

Grab a coffee, tuck your baby in the stroller and take a relaxing walk in a nearby park. Plenty of parks are strollerfriendly and will give you and your baby some much-needed fresh air. If you are feeling a little more energetic, put baby in a jogging stroller and take a run on one of these stroller-friendly paths around the Seattle area (see n

out a full list of gyms and fitness studios that

Vicky McDonald is the digital content editor

offer child care at

at ParentMap. • January 2019 • 11

it starts with you(th)

Meet Leila Abe

How one local teen is minding the gaps By Patty Lindley

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ask 17-year-old Leila Abe how her mother might describe her to me. She answers: “I think she would probably describe me as quiet, but always thinking about something. … I’m really not what you would expect me to be, I guess.” As we continue talking, it doesn’t take me long to understand that this poised and thoughtful teen is certainly in many Leila celebrates with father ways above and beyond Daudi and brother Dana Abe expectation. A determined and demonstrated ability to express her views and to work toward the change she wants to see in the world — despite her natural introversion — has characterized Abe’s young life. A former Bush School student who is currently attending Cleveland High School, Abe is also involved in the Running Start program at Seattle Central College. As a student of color, she has become accustomed to spotting gaps in representation in her education, and these observations have motivated her to work toward restorative justice solutions, both in and out of school. She notes that her history classes in particular have been predominantly Eurocentric, and that she has experienced frustration “not learning anything about people who looked like me.” “Black students were expected to fill in the gaps that the white teachers couldn’t,” Abe continues. “I think that’s where I really started [to get involved in social justice issues]. ... There’s a problem with the institution, and we need to provide a better curriculum so that black students don’t have to do so much work.” Sponsored by: Organized by At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we believe all lives have equal value. We are impatient optimists working to reduce inequity. Explore interactive exhibits and find ways you can take action at the Gates Foundation Discovery Center, Image: Floating Community Lifeboats, Abir Abdullah © Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha

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Toward that aim, the highly selfmotivated teen worked with faculty “A lot of my passion and other classmates at both schools to help design and implement a racial-bias is about uplifting incident reporting system for students to marginalized anonymously escalate issues of disparity. For Abe, the drive to correct for voices . . . and gaps in the representation of the black trying to tell American experience — in history and in the media — extends outside the stories for people classroom to her volunteer staff position managing social media for the nonprofit whose stories organization Founded and aren’t told.” directed by University of Washington emeritus history professor Quintard Taylor, the website serves millions Offering fun, hands-on geology programs for kids of all ages. Educational programs are mobile - the experience comes to you! of visitors a year as a free reference — a “Wikipedia for African-American ROCKS • MINERALS • FOSSILS • BIRTHDAY PARTIES • SUMMER CAMPS • STEM ENRICHMENT history,” to use Taylor’s comparison — and exists to weave the truths of the ROCKSOLIDSCIENCE.COM | 206.715.2556 black American experience into every American’s identity. Abe’s incipient talent and interest in writing — bolstered by encouragement from her father, a professor and a published author and writer himself SM18_rock_solid_science_1-8h.indd 1 1/18/18 — compelled her to apply for and earn a spot in KUOW’s summer 2018 RadioActive Youth Media intro workshop, in which she was able to produce several impactful podcasts about her experiences confronting racism. This intensive workshop not only provided Abe with a new medium to share her voice and perspectives, but also a platform and opportunity to elevate and represent those of others. “A lot of my passion is about uplifting marginalized voices … and trying to tell stories for people whose stories aren’t told,” Abe says. One of her most personal and powerful RadioActive podcasts deals with a racist assault experienced by her mother and its traumatizing aftereffects. Abe’s KUOW feature story mentor, Sonya Harris, says of working with her on the piece: “She delved into the work and the result was a captivated and teary-eyed crowd of listeners during a public listening session. Ms. Abe’s work changed the atmosphere in that [setting] and mentoring her changed me! I have no doubt she will continue this pattern of ‘change’ in all the spaces she holds in the world.” Abe credits the loving guidance of her own parents and mentorship experiences like the RadioActive program for encouraging her community involvement. What advice does she have for parents who wish to inspire their own children to be changemakers, as well? “I think that every kid will find their way if their parents don’t push them too hard. You can become a leader in so many different ways — it doesn’t necessarily have to be for social justice issues. … So, don’t push your kids, just 253.779.8490 nudge them, you know?” n Patty Lindley is managing editor at ParentMap.

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Worrywart to

Worry-Wise Why our kids are so anxious and how we can help By Nancy Schatz Alton

16 • January 2019 •

Sign up for



orty percent of Washington state eighth-graders, 53 percent of 10th-graders and 57 percent of 12th-graders were unable to stop or control their worry, according to a 2016 survey conducted by the Washington State Department of Health. Think about that for a moment. Our kids were so stressed out, they literally cannot stop worrying. The same study found that 28 percent of eighth-graders, 34 percent of 10th-graders and 37 percent of 12th-graders felt so sad or hopeless for two weeks or more that they stopped doing their usual activities. That’s the definition of depression, says Harry Brown, who works with the University of Washington suicide prevention program Forefront. Twenty percent of people between the ages of 14 and 24 will develop and live with a mental health condition, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Washington state youth ages 15–19, according to the 2016 survey. The numbers are particularly worrisome to me: I experienced anxiety and a depressive episode at age 17. That’s why, as a mom of two, I’ve made it my mission to prioritize my family’s mental health just like we prioritize our physical health. Or, as I told my eldest when she asked why she had to go to swim class: “I want you to know what it feels like to feel good in your body.” I want both my daughters to I’ve made it understand what it means to feel my mission to good in their minds, too. prioritize my When stress turns into anxiety, I want them to reach for that family’s mental toolbox of mental health practices health just like that we’ve spent years filling up. Most importantly, I want them we prioritize our to understand that when sadness physical health. overwhelms them for too long, they need to seek help from trustworthy adults or a mental health professional.

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We’ve Got Your Back

Worrywart to Worry-Wise continued from page 17

Why are our kids so anxious?

getting enough sleep,” she says. “Elementary-age kids need 11 hours nightly, middle schoolers need 10, and high schoolers need 11.” “Anxiety is the no. 1 referral reason In Damour’s house, there’s only in our outpatient clinics,” says Kathy one nonnegotiable household Melman, a clinical psychologist at rule: Her two daughters never use Seattle Children’s Hospital. technology in their bedrooms. “Sleep But why? Melman notes that is the glue that holds human beings while “life is as stressful as it has together,” she says. ever been,” she does see a correlation There may be between anxiety, a third factor at social media usage play, too: societal and high levels of pressure. screen time. “There is “We have Anxiety is a more perceived concerns about and discussed the impact [screen normal, healthy pressure around time] is having and protective being competitive on well-being. academically There’s information function. and in that depression It’s our internal extracurriculars,” is on the rise for says Cari McCarty, kids who spend alarm system a research a lot of time on alerting us that professor at the screens,” she says. UW’s Department “The more time something is of Pediatrics and you spend online, amiss. a member of the the less time you Center for Child are spending and Family Wellon connections Being. “We used to in person and do things because developing support they were fun, but now there’s a long systems.” to-do list that feels like part of the The immediacy and quick path to becoming a successful adult.” rewards of online time are a stark contrast to the work and time it takes to build relationships, study for a test or sit with uncomfortable feelings, she adds. Of course, there’s no one way to get Of course, a direct link between rid of stress and the anxiety it can media usage and anxiety is still being induce. In fact, Damour says, stress researched, but there is one known and anxiety aren’t always a problem. way that tech influences mental well“Culturally, people now see all being: It often undermines sleep, anxiety as unhealthy or pathological. says psychologist Lisa Damour. Clinically, we know that is not the “A really basic answer to rising case.” rates of anxiety is that kids aren’t

“ ”

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What to do with that stress

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Another analogy to try: weight lifting. “You can’t gain strength without lifting heavy weights,” Damour says. “Tremendous growth comes from adapting to stressful demands.” The trick is teaching our kids to embrace stress while making time for rest, recovery and fun. “Stress becomes unhealthy if it’s chronic and unrelenting. Talk about stress as an element of growth, and anxiety as a warning bell,” says Damour, author of the forthcoming book “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.”

Stress becomes unhealthy if it’s chronic and unrelenting. Talk about stress as an element of growth, and anxiety as a warning bell.

Consider emotion coaching Start “emotion coaching” when your child is a baby (or really, whenever you can), says Melman.

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Rather, Damour says, “Anxiety is a normal, healthy and protective function. It’s our internal alarm system alerting us that something is amiss.” It also tells us when we’re pushing ourselves to do something new and challenging, she adds. With this in mind, Damour encourages parents to model positive stress management. Tell your kids that most healthy people feel a little anxious a few times every day, so your kids don’t become anxious about being anxious. To help model this, Damour will ask 10th-grade students this question: “If I handed you the homework you used to get in ninth grade, would it be easy?” “They always answer yes,” she says. “I tell them the work they are learning to handle during each new grade will make them more capable.”


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Worrywart to Worry-Wise continued from page 19

“Say, ‘You’re crying right now. There’s something you’re having a hard time with. If it’s not your diaper, maybe you’re hungry.’” As your child grows, teach them how to cope with and express their fears. “[First,] help them notice their feelings and put their feelings into words: ‘You’re feeling afraid of the spider,’” says Melman. “Then, check the facts about negative thoughts: ‘We don’t have poisonous spiders in our state.’ [Be sure to] face fears rather than avoid them: Walk through a spider web knowing that nothing terrible will happen.” Parents also model their own tactics for dealing with stress by verbalizing their process, says McCarty. That means they should check some of that negative venting behavior in favor of solution-based thinking.

“Don’t just complain about how busy you are or how a workmate is driving you crazy. Say, ‘I made sure to take a walk break at lunch. I also realized maybe I can’t change my coworker’s mind, but I’m going to listen and address the issues in the best way I can, even though my heart will race when I tell him what I think tomorrow,’” says McCarty. It’s never too late to start doing this, both experts add. It’s worth it every time you take a breath when you’re upset with your toddler or every time you choose silence over an angry retort to your teen, McCarty says. This works for more challenging situations, too, says parenting coach Yvonne-Monique Aviva. She encourages parents to normalize grief.

“Teach kids how you grieve the hard parts of life and adapt to change,” she says. “A dad who’s having a health complication can talk about how he’s grieving the new normal, that he needs extra time to do what used to come easily to him.” In time, your kid will begin developing stress-relieving strategies of their own. As long as those strategies aren’t detrimental to their health, let your kid take the lead, Damour says. “Some will want to go for a run. Some will want to get in the shower and cry. Some will have an angry playlist or a sad playlist,” Damour says. “If grabbing their old teddy bear and watching ‘Mulan’ is their coping strategy, that’s a great 90-minute tool.”

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KIDS CO., WHERE KIDS GROW A NONPROFIT PRESCHOOL For ages 3–5 years old * Monday–Friday, 7 am–6 pm NOW ENROLLING at 2 LOCATIONS (scholarships available)

When you should be concerned

child, Brown suggests sharing your observations with them. Lead with “I” statements. “Try ‘I feel worried because you seem withdrawn and “Mental health is like physical stressed. How are you feeling?’” health,” Damour says. “A common says Brown. cold isn’t worrisome, nor are short If your child shares that they’re bouts of stress and anxiety.” But anxious, depressed or even when those periods last longer, it’s harming themselves, “Tell your worth paying attention. child, ‘I’m so glad you told me. “I like the 24-hour rule: If they’re Lots of people struggle, and you’re okay 24 hours later, it’s okay not not alone. There’s to worry,” says help available, and Damour. I’m going to find But when help for you,’” says anxiety or Melman. sadness begin Then, let them The myth is that interfering with know that it might daily life, it’s time if we talk about take a while to to seek help. find professional suicide, we’ll make “Take note if help or the right there are changes person or place, it worse. The truth in eating, but that you’re is if your child is sleeping, energy there for them in levels, school the meantime, she thinking about it, performance adds. it’s a relief and and increases “The truth is in physical that it’s difficult to an opening to complaints,” says get care for child have someone Melman. “Have and adolescent they stopped mental health. ask about it. Do all you can hanging out with to prioritize their friends or getting help,” says participating Melman, who in their usual suggests starting activities?” with your own Don’t be afraid primary care physician. to ask tough questions, either. If “Finding mental health care for your child seems or says they feel your child deserves the highest hopeless, go ahead and ask them if level of importance,” says Melman. they are having suicidal thoughts. “As stressful as that is for parents “The myth is that if we talk both emotionally and financially, about suicide, we’ll make it worse,” it’s vital to prioritize getting this says Brown. “The truth is if your care for your child.” n child is thinking about it, it’s a relief and an opening to have someone Nancy Schatz Alton is a writer, ask about it.” teacher and poet. Read her work at If you are worried about your

Kids Co. at Cascadia In Northgate 1700 N 90th St, Seattle, WA 98103 (206) 632-7753

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#NeverAgain 19 years since Columbine. 6 years since Sandy Hook. 11 months since Parkland. 8 months since Santa Fe.

This is one anniversary we aren’t looking forward to: the next school shooting. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Let’s stand up and say NEVER again. supports commonsense gun reform. Follow us on

to join in our fight to end gun violence NOW. • January 2019 • 21






PICKS Plan your winter escape! 800.574.2123

Children’s Film Festival Seattle, Jan. 24–Feb. 9

Kitty Literature at Seattle Humane, weekdays

Pier Into the Night, Jan. 5



ParentMap Preschool Previews, Jan. 12, 19 and 27

Polar Plunges, Jan. 1

22 2019 • 22••January January 2019 •

TUESDAY Polar Bear Plunge. Gather your courage, then go for an invigorating plunge in Lake Washington. 11 a.m. Two locations: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Renton; Matthews Beach, Seattle. FREE., Model Train Festival. Last day to take in an eye-popping array of model trains. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Included with admission; ages 5 and under free. Washington State History Museum, Tacoma.




Sing-A-Long Sound of Music. Dress as a nun, Maria or the Baroness to belt out “Doe, a deer, a female deer” along with other fans. Friday–Sunday, Jan. 4–6. $35. Ages 8 and up. The 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle. Cast Off! Free Public Sail. Bundle up for a winter tour of Lake Union; trips last about 45–60 minutes; sign up early in person. Sunday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. FREE. Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle.

Toddler Time at the Aquarium. Stop by for fishy fun and marine-themed activities for little kids. Sunday–Tuesday, Jan. 6–8, 27–29; 9:30 a.m.–noon. Included with admission. Ages 0–5 with caregiver. Seattle Aquarium. KidJump. Exclusive time for littles to jump without crazy big kids flying around. Monday–Saturday, 9–10 a.m. $14; grip socks required ($3); accompanying adult free. Ages 6 and under. Flying Circus, Tukwila.

Boardwalk Stroll at Shadow Lake Bog. Embark on a self-guided, half-mile walk through this fascinating bog preserve. Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. FREE; donations appreciated. Renton. Classical Tuesdays in Old Town. Make Tuesday special with free live music for the community. 7 p.m. FREE. Slavonian Hall, Tacoma.



Around the World in 80 Days. Catch this humorous show put on by SecondStory’s Theatre for Young Audiences. Saturday– Sunday, Jan. 12–27. Ages 5–12 with families; Sunday shows are all ages. SecondStory Repertory, Redmond. StinkyKids: The Musical. A wad of gum stuck in someone’s hair prompts the discovery of friendship’s true value. Saturday–Sunday, Jan. 12–20. $12–$15. All ages. Tacoma Musical Playhouse.

Low Sensory Play Time. This special playtime features a limited number of particiipants and a calm environment. Monday, Wednesday–Friday; noon–2 p.m. $20; preregister. Ages 0–10 with adult. Roo’s World of Discovery, Kirkland. Frozen Fountain Ice Rink. Glide on the ice at Point Ruston’s pop-up skating rink. Bundle up; it gets cold! Daily through Feb. 2. $12.50–$14. Point Ruston, Tacoma.




Ice Adventures. Get chilly with a snowball catapult, faux snow, icy science shows and more. Saturday–Monday, Jan 19–21. Included with admission. Hands On Children’s Museum, Olympia. Ruby Bridges: A Civil Rights Journey. Witness a powerful play that showcases the life of the first African-American child to integrate into a Southern white elementary school in the 1960s. 3–5 p.m. FREE; preregister. Theatre on the Square, Tacoma.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration. Community gathering features music, dance, poetry and a keynote speaker. 11 a.m. FREE. Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. FREE Entrance to State Parks. Enjoy our state parks FREE (no Discover Pass required) today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




North Sound Preschool Preview. ParentMap invites families to explore a wide range of local early learning options under one roof. 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. FREE; preregister. Shoreline Community College. Winter Adventure Hike. Explore Rattlesnake and Christmas lakes on a 2.5-mile, naturalist-led hike. Sundays through March 24, 1:30–3:30 p.m. FREE; preregister. Ages 7 and up with adult. Cedar River Watershed Education Center, North Bend.

Meet-Up Monday. Meet up with a friend to receive discounted entry and free coffee. Mondays, 10 a.m.–noon. Adults and under age 1 free. Children 48 inches tall and under. WiggleWorks Kids, Bellevue and Puyallup. Birds Here and There Exhibit. Explore the creative interpretations of birds from seven local artists. Daily through Jan. 31. FREE. Seward Park Audubon Center, Seattle.

Toddler Time. Open-early play gym lets the little ones burn off energy with bikes, slides and toys. Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.– noon. $2. Ages 3 and under with caregiver. Issaquah Community Center. IdeaX: Science & Art. Bring your kids to enjoy hands-on sensory play with science and art activities. 5:30–6:45 p.m. FREE. Ages 5–10 with adult. Tukwila Library.

The Wizard of Oz. Take your family on a breathtaking trip down the yellow brick road with this one-night performance of the iconic story. 7:30 p.m. $55 and up. The Pantages Theater, Tacoma. Weekday Skate. Ice skate for less during the week. Monday–Friday; check online for “public skating” times. $6–$12; includes skate rental (walkers available to rent). Sno-King Ice Arenas, Kirkland and Renton.,

22 Open Skate. Indoor practice for skateboarders of all ages. Open daily, varying hours. $5–$10. All Together Skate Park, Seattle. Kitty Literature. Kids practice reading skills with a supportive audience of shelter cats during a 20-minute session. Monday– Friday afternoons. FREE; preregister. Ages 5–10. Seattle Humane, Bellevue.


A Seattle Children’s Publication | Winter 2019

Making Resolutions for Your Family’s Well-being The new year is a traditional time for resolutions, and it’s an ideal time to consider what we can do differently to improve our family’s overall health and well-being. There are four key areas where even small changes can have a positive impact: nutrition, exercise, sleep and screen time. And to ensure resolutions really ‘stick’ and become routine, it’s wise to make them SMART! That is: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. For example, we might resolve to try one new fruit or vegetable twice a month, or stop off at the park once a week to play for 15 minutes. If you brainstorm with your family and agree on just one SMART resolution for each of these four areas, that’s a big step in the right direction!

Nutrition. Our bodies require quality fuel. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Create a ‘healthy-snack zone’ in the refrigerator and keep it stocked. Replace sugary sodas and juices with sparkling water. Eat together: add one more family meal per week to your schedule.

My Good Growing Are you looking for more information about child health and safety? Sign up for my Good Growing, Seattle Children’s free email newsletter for parents and caregivers of babies, children and teens. The newsletter is sent six times each year in an easy-toread format so you can quickly scan to find tips that apply to your family and areas of interest. Subscribe today at

Exercise. Preschoolers need at least two hours of active play and kids and teens need at least an hour every day. Adults need exercise too! Mix it up and have fun with a weekend bike ride, a romp with the dog, a swim session at the local pool, an after-dinner walk or a living room dance party. Sleep. We all need quality sleep to feel our best, and kids require a lot for healthy growth and development so try inching up bedtime just 15 minutes earlier. Help everyone ease into sleep mode by turning off all devices one hour before bed. Create a calming pre-sleep routine such as a bath or shower and a soothing story. Screen Time. Set screen-time limits that are right for your family, and help your child choose quality media. Visit HealthyChildren. org/MediaUsePlan for help. Ban screens from kids’ bedrooms and during meals, and establish screen-free household time for cooking, exercise, music, hobbies, games and books. Parents can model good habits with their own devices. When we make positive changes in these four areas, there’s a bonus benefit: more quality family time. And of course, resolutions aren’t just for the new year. Anytime is a great time to commit to positive changes, including right now! to learn more:

Visit keeping-kids-healthy.

‘Flu Doctor’ on Alexa Smart Speaker If you have an Alexa smart speaker at home, a new skill called ‘Flu Doctor’ can help your family prevent and treat influenza. The app was built by the digital health innovation teams at Seattle Children’s and Boston Children’s Hospital. As flu season progresses, Flu Doctor provides weekly updates to bring you the most current information. To enable it, first open the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet. Tap the menu icon (three stacked lines). Select ‘Skills &

Games.’ Search for ‘Flu Doctor.’ Select ‘Enable.’ Finally, say “Alexa, open Flu Doctor.” The flu can be unpredictable, so it’s best to layer protections: get a flu shot, wash your hands, stay home when you’re ill, and avoid those who are sick. to learn more:


When to Start Gynecology Visits It’s recommended that teen girls start seeing a gynecologist — a doctor who focuses on female reproductive health — between the ages of 13 and 15, whether or not they are sexually active. Girls don’t need a Pap test or a pelvic exam until they’re 21, so why start visits at a fairly young age? Gynecologists can help teenage girls to understand their bodies and how to care for themselves. They can help a teen understand what is normal, so they can notice any problems such as changes in their menstrual periods. If there are any problems, the doctor can find them early, so they can be treated.

It’s ideal to build a doctor-patient relationship over the years so the doctor really understands the patient’s health and can answer any questions she has about her changing body. These specialists can also teach teens how to prevent infections and pregnancy if they are sexually active. For women of all ages, a gynecologist is an important partner in staying healthy! to learn more:


Prevent Oversharing on Social Media In today’s super-connected digital world, how can we be sure our kids aren’t sharing too much? Protecting their safety, their privacy and their reputations requires parents to be vigilant. It deserves thoughtful teaching and honest, ongoing discussions. Before they ever enter the digital world, kids must understand this basic rule: If you don’t want the whole world to see it, don’t post it or text it. Even if that photo or message is intended for just one person, it can be shared widely. Imagine your teachers, your grandparents and strangers seeing it. (And it will be out there forever!) Work with your child to set strict privacy settings, but don’t rely on those settings to keep them safe. Kids themselves must be alert: If you

receive a text from an unknown person, do not respond; block the number. Don’t accept friend requests or approve follow requests from anyone you don’t know. Do you want the whole world to know your location? If not, don’t announce it or post photos of it, and be sure your app isn’t automatically reporting your whereabouts.

In addition to protecting their own safety, privacy and reputation, kids must do the same for others: Never text or post or pass along private information or unkind comments about anyone. Don’t post anyone’s picture or tag them without their permission. Technology and social media are everchanging, and kids are often more tech-savvy than their elders. So, parents must stay current on which sites and apps kids are using — and understand how they work. More than that, we need to be tuned in to our kids and keep these important conversations going. to learn more:


Kid Bits

Tips to Prevent Plagiocephaly

It’s OK to Ask About Suicide

Avoid Temper Tantrums

Plagiocephaly is a flat spot on the back of a baby’s head caused by pressure on the bones of the skull before or after birth. Because infants spend a lot of time sleeping and must be placed on their backs for safety, a flat spot may develop. Although it is often noticeable at 2 to 4 months of age, it is usually not a medical concern. To prevent it, give your baby lots of tummy time during their awake hours, and limit their time in strollers and infant seats when it’s not necessary. By repositioning the head as much as possible, plagiocephaly usually improves between 4 and 7 months of age. Remember, always put a baby to sleep on their back, in a bare crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24. The hopeful news is that there are actions we can all take to help prevent it. While many people fear that asking someone if they are considering suicide will put the idea in their head, that’s not the case. Asking does not increase the risk of suicide and in fact can be the difference between life and death. It offers relief to someone who may be struggling and helps them feel noticed and heard. In our own homes, we can reduce the risk by removing pills and firearms from the house. If someone is in immediate danger of harming themselves, don’t leave them alone; call 911 or take them to an emergency room.

Almost all kids have temper tantrums now and then. While the frequency and intensity may vary, tantrums often happen when a child is overwhelmed, hungry, tired or frustrated — and unable to communicate their feelings. Tantrums are upsetting and tiring for everyone, so it’s worth it to put some effort into preventing them. How? Give your child a feeling of control by offering choices; help them notice and name their feelings; give specific praise when you notice positive behaviors; ensure they are well-rested and fed; be consistent with limits and consequences; make promises only if you’re sure you can keep them. And of course, model calmness yourself when you are frustrated.

to learn more:


to learn more:



to learn more:


Know the Crisis Text Line: 741741.


Quick Tip Prevent tip-overs: Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall and place box-style TVs on low, stable pieces of furniture. Use anti-tip brackets, wall straps or braces to secure furniture.

Regional Clinic Locations

Online Resources

• Bellevue • Everett • Federal Way

Visit for the following: • Child Health Advice • my Good Growing email newsletter • Doctor Finder • Seattle Mama Doc, Teenology 101, Autism and On The Pulse blogs • Medical condition information • Health & safety information • Ways to help Seattle Children’s • Research Institute information

• Olympia • Tri-Cities • Wenatchee

Primary Care Clinic • Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic

Main Hospital Numbers 206-987-2000 866-987-2000 (Toll-free)

Heather Cooper is the Editor of Good Growing, which is produced four times a year by the Marketing Communications Department of Seattle Children’s. You can find Good Growing in the January, April, July and October issues of ParentMap and on our website For permission to reprint articles for noncommercial purposes or to receive Good Growing in an alternate format, call 206-987-5323. The inclusion of any resource or website does not imply endorsement. Your child’s needs are unique. Before you act or rely upon information, please talk with your child’s healthcare provider. © 2019 Seattle Children’s, Seattle, Washington.

Classes and Events These classes are popular and often fill up several months in advance, so please register early. Scholarships are available. If you would like to ask about a scholarship, call the number provided for the class you’re interested in. PARENTING CLASSES Autism 101 This free 90-minute lecture is designed to provide information and support to parents and families of children recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. A portion of each session is dedicated to answering questions from the attendees.

Youth Mental Health First Aid This 8-hour class is for adults who regularly interact with adolescents ages 12 to 18. Youth Mental Health First Aid will improve your knowledge of mental health and substance use problems and will teach you how to connect youth with care when needed.

Lectures are at Seattle Children’s main campus in Seattle, once per quarter, on a Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Lectures are also available via live streaming.

This class is offered at the Sand Point Learning Center in Seattle for $20 per person, which includes class materials and lunch. View dates at or call 206-9879878 if you have questions.

View dates or sign up for live streaming at Call 206-987-8080 if you have questions.


Autism 200 Series Autism 200 is a series of free 90-minute classes for parents and caregivers of children with autism who wish to better understand autism spectrum disorder. Each class features a different topic. Classes are usually offered on the third Thursday of the month, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Seattle Children’s main campus in Seattle. These classes are also available through live streaming. View dates and topics, sign up for live streaming or view past Autism 200 lectures at Call 206-987-8080 if you have questions.

Babysafe Babysafe is a 4-hour class for new and expectant parents and others who care for babies. Topics include infant development, baby safety, injury prevention and care of common injuries for infants from birth through 12 months of age. Infant CPR is demonstrated and practiced, but this is not a certification class. This class is offered in Seattle. The fee is $75 and each registration is good for two people from the same family. View dates and locations at or call 206-7892306 if you have questions.

Heartsaver First Aid, CPR and AED This video-based class for parents and caregivers covers how to treat bleeding, sprains, broken bones, shock and other first-aid emergencies. Also includes infant, child and adult CPR and AED use. Students receive an American Heart Association Heartsaver First Aid, CPR, AED Course Completion Card that is valid for two years. This class is offered at Seattle Children’s main campus in Seattle for $75 per person. View dates at or call 206-987-2304 if you have questions.

For youth, ages 11 to 14. Students learn about responsible babysitting, basic child development, infant and child care, safety, handling emergencies, age-appropriate toys, business tips and parent expectations. This class is offered in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Federal Way. The cost is $45 per person. View dates and locations at classes or call 206-987-9878 if you have questions.

CPR and First Aid for Babysitters For youth, ages 11 to 15. Topics include pediatric CPR, treatment for choking, and first-aid skills. Students receive an American Heart Association Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid, CPR, AED completion card, which is valid for two years. This class is offered at Seattle Children’s main campus in Seattle for $75 per person. View dates at or call 206-9872304 if you have questions.

For Boys: The Joys and Challenges of Growing Up This class is for boys, 10 to 12 years old, and a parent or trusted adult. An informal, engaging format is used to present and discuss issues most on the minds of preteens as they begin adolescence: body changes, sex, and other growing up stuff. This class is offered in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Federal Way in partnership with Great Conversations. The cost is $90 per parent/child pair; $70 per extra son. A copy of the book titled “Will Puberty Last My Whole Life?” is included. View dates and locations at classes or call 206-789-2306 if you have questions. Content outlines and short videos are available at

For Girls: A Heart-to-Heart Talk on Growing Up This class is for girls, 10 to 12 years old, and a parent or trusted adult. An informal, engaging format is used to present and discuss issues most on the minds of preteens as they begin adolescence: body changes, sex, and other growing up stuff. This class is offered in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Federal Way in partnership with Great Conversations. The cost is $90 per parent/child pair; $70 per extra daughter. A copy of the book titled “Will Puberty Last My Whole Life?” is included. View dates and locations at classes or call 206-789-2306 if you have questions. Content outlines and short videos are available at

Sibshops Sibshops are lively peer support groups for siblings of kids with special needs. Separate sessions are held for kids 6 to 9 years old and kids 10 to 13 years old. Sessions are offered at Seattle Children’s main campus in Seattle for $25 per session. View dates online at or call 206-987-4133.

EVENTS Free Car Seat Check WHEN: Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. WHERE: Seattle Children’s main campus, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle CALL: 206-987-5999 Come learn how to safely secure your child in the car. Child passenger safety experts will check your child in a car seat, booster seat or the seat belt and answer any questions you may have. First come, first served. We do not take reservations.

Free Bike Helmet Fitting and Giveaway Event WHEN: Saturday, March 30, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. WHERE: CORE Community Center, 1645 S Walnut St, Burlington CALL: 206-987-1569 Come get your child properly fit for a new bike helmet. Kids must be 1 to 18 and present to receive a helmet. The person who will be using the helmet must be present for proper fitting. First come, first served. No appointments needed. Learn more at







Free Admission at Renton History Museum. Learn about some of the earliest inhabitants of the Renton area at this museum housed in an art deco firehouse. 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.; also Jan. 19. Renton. Low-Sensory Evening. KidsQuest invites kids with sensory sensitivities to play with a bit less noise and light, and fewer other guests. 5:30–7:30 p.m. FREE; preregister. Ages 0–12 with families. KidsQuest Children’s Museum, Bellevue.

Holidays of Play. Last few days to visit the science center for special planetarium shows, a snowflake station and snowball fights on weekends. Daily through Jan. 6. Included with admission. Pacific Science Center, Seattle. Free First Thursday. Visit local museums for FREE, including Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Museum, Wing Luke Museum and MOHAI.

Small Frye: Storytelling in the Galleries. Stories spring to life with Seattle Children’s Theatre at this first Friday event with art-making session. 10:30–11:45 a.m. FREE; preregister. Ages 3–5 with caregiver. Frye Art Museum, Seattle. First Friday Night. Investigate blubber and fur and make a polar bear hat. 5–9 p.m. Pay-what-you-can admission. Ages 0–10 with families. Hands On Children’s Museum, Olympia.

5 Pier Into the Night. “Dive” under the surface of the Sound to explore sea life at night. 5–7 p.m. $2–$5 suggested donation. Jerisich Public Dock, Gig Harbor. Puss in Boots. Last weekend for the Fremont Players’ annual panto with outrageous characters, catchy songs and audience participation. Through Jan. 6. $7–$15. All ages. Hale’s Palladium, Seattle.




OFT Let’s Play: The Mitten. Beloved Jan Brett story comes to life on stage for tots. Jan. 9–13; 10 a.m. $5 at the door; under 2 free. Ages 0–5 with caregiver. Olympia Family Theater. Baby Gym. Explore and play with your baby with coach guidance at this drop-in group class. Wednesdays, 9:30–10 a.m. FREE. Ages 4–12 months with caregiver. Advantage Gymnastics Academy, Woodinville.

Indoor Playground. Bounce, balance, roll and play on a rainy day or any day. Monday–Saturday, various times. $10; adults and under age 1 free. Ages 0–5 with caregiver. Seattle Gymnastics Academy, three Seattle locations. Stroller Skate. Last chance to enjoy dedicated skate time for the stroller set; older siblings welcome. 1–3 p.m. $10–$15; kids in strollers free. Bellevue Downtown Park.





Kidz Bounce Drop-In Time. Grown-ups get a breather while the little ones get their workout. Tuesday–Thursday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m; Thursday, 5–6:30 p.m. $8–$10. Ages 2–10. Kidz Bounce, Preston. Lil’ Diggers Playtime. Favorite giant sandbox with digging in the sand for kids and wifi for grown-ups. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9:30–11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.– 1 p.m. $8. Ages 5 and under with caregiver. Sandbox Sports, Seattle.

Matilda the Musical. Enjoy this Tony Award-winning musical that highlights how every individual has the power to change their own story. Jan. 4–Feb. 3. $37–$82. Ages 8 and up. Everett Performing Arts Center. Free Admission Night at Imagine. Let off steam on a Friday evening playing in this seemingly endless museum. 5:30–9 p.m. FREE. Ages 1–12 with families. Imagine Children’s Museum, Everett.

Eastside Preschool Preview. ParentMap invites you to explore great early learning options in your community. 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. FREE; preregister. South Bellevue Community Center. preschool-previews Wetland Waddlers. Ice Is Nice is this month’s theme; explore the frozen park and use ice for various STREAM activities! 9:30–11:30 a.m. Ages 2.5–4 with caregiver. $20. Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center, Bellevue.





OmTots Play Gym. Bounce around and swing from the ceiling on a rainy day. Monday–Friday, 9:30 a.m.–noon. $12; discounts available. Ages 1–5 with caregiver. OmCulture Wallingford, Seattle. Toddler Time at ESC. Join Environmental Science Center naturalists for seasonal nature activities with your tot. Wednesdays, 10:30–11:30 a.m. FREE; preregister. Ages 2–4 with families. Seahurst Park, Burien.

Hoppy Hour. Bounce time for kids to get their morning wiggles out. Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $7–$12. Ages 1–8 for play, 3 and up to jump. Elevated Sportz Trampoline Park, Bothell. Tugboat Story Time. Bundle up for story time followed by open play on a boat. Second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 11 a.m. $2 suggested donation. Ages 1–8 with caregiver. Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle.

Baby Jam. The tots will be a-rockin’ with this multi-lingual, drop-in musical exploration; note its new location. Wednesday and Friday; 9:30 or 10:15 a.m. $12. Ages 0–3 with caregiver. Salsa Con Todo, Seattle. Wee Ones Weekly. Drop-in music-themed program for tots and their grown-ups. Fridays, 9:30–11 a.m. $5/family; includes 30 minutes of museum play in addition to the program. Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Sesame Street Live: Let’s Party. Enjoy the antics of all your favorite Sesame Street characters in this engaging stage show. 2 and 6 p.m. $25–$70. ShoWare Center, Kent. Children’s Film Festival Seattle. Go on a trip of imagination with amazing global films; opening party (Jan. 24) and pancake breakfast (Feb. 2). Jan. 24–Feb. 9. Check website for pricing. Ages 2–14 with families. Northwest Film Forum, Seattle.



Shoreline Indoor Playground. Huge play gym is a parent’s lifesaver in foul weather. Monday–Friday, 9:30–11:30 a.m. $2.50. Ages 1–5 with caregiver. Spartan Recreation Center, Shoreline. Evening Family Story Time. Get cozy in your jammies and bring your favorite stuffy to wind down with bedtime stories and songs. Wednesdays, 7–7:30 p.m. FREE. Ages 2–8 with families. Renton Highlands Library.

Animal Viewing at Kelsey Creek Farm. Stop by Bellevue’s city-owned farm park to see pigs, ponies, sheep, chickens, rabbits and goats, play at the playground, or wander the trails. Daily 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. FREE. Bellevue. Play.Perx. Bring your tot to this sensory play day and watch as they explore all their senses with a variety of materials. Thursdays, Jan. 24–Feb. 28, 9:30–10:15 a.m. $15/ class. Ages 1.5–3 with caregiver. Jewish Day School, Bellevue.

PlayGarden Open Play. Let the kids dive into the awesome and newly revamped PlayGarden, accessible to kids of all ages and abilities. Wednesdays, Jan. 9–30, 2–5 p.m. FREE. Seattle Children’s PlayGarden. Ballard Church Indoor Play. This neighborhood church opens its doors for families with tots to play out of the rain. Tuesday–Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. FREE. Ages 0–8 with adult. Ballard Church, Seattle.



Toddler Gym. Playtime at Seattle’s neighborhood community centers is free. Monday–Saturday, various times. FREE. Ages 5 and under with caregiver. Seattle. Monster Jam. Watch humongous trucks jump, fly, race, do doughnuts and perform epic stunts on four giant wheels. Friday– Sunday, Jan. 11–13. $15–$55. Tacoma Dome.

Seattle Preschool Preview. Explore a range of local early learning options at ParentMap’s preschool fair. 9:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. FREE; preregister. Pacific Science Center, Seattle. preschool-previews MLK Celebration & Live Paint. Bring your kids to learn about the brave words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through storytelling, theater arts, creative writing and more. 10:30–11:15 a.m. FREE. Shoreline Library.

Plan your winter escape! 800.574.2123 • January 2019• •27 27 • January 2019

out + about

Get in

in the

Find fitness for the whole family at these local spots BY GEMMA ALEXANDER

28 • January 2019 •


New Year W

e all know the routine: Holiday treats and packed schedules wreak havoc on healthy habits. And so, we start each dawning year with the best of intentions:

This year, we’ll exercise more, eat better, feel great. But what’s overlooked when making those resolutions? The reality of parenting. Between the drop-off times, the doctor’s appointments and the afterschool activities, when’s a parent expected to squeeze in a workout? So, for 2019, try this instead: Get that New Year’s resolution to stick by making fitness a family affair. These local family-friendly activities will keep the whole brood


moving and grooving long after the start of the new year.

Your parenting cheat sheet

Muddy adventures, free outings, parenting solutions for every age. Join the fun at • January 2019 • 29 0119_house_enews_1-4_b.indd 1

12/17/2018 1:32:46 PM

out + about

Get in Gear in the New Year continued from page 29

Dance it out

Sometimes all you need is motivation. Give your family something to work toward with the Magnuson Series of monthly running and walking events. Following set routes at Magnuson Park, each event typically offers a 5K and 10K run/ walk, a 15K run and a 400-meter kids’ dash. Some of the monthly events include a half-marathon or duathlon option. The program provides inexpensive, family-friendly, consistent fitness events for all ability levels — along with the impetus to get you and the kids out there on your daily run in between events. Bonus: Registration fees help fund tree planting around the city!

Tennis, anyone?

At the Amy Yee Tennis Center in South Seattle, families can drop in for Family Night every Friday from 6:45 to 8 p.m., with a fee of $5 per person. Let kids practice the tennis fundamentals as parents learn to lead games, drills and exercises. At different times throughout the year, the center also offers parent-child tennis camps. Once everyone in the family has the basics down, you can play together on tennis courts anywhere. Check your local city parks website to reserve a court. 30 • January 2019 •

Roll with it Getting active as a family works best when you have something fun to do that just happens to involve exercise. One idea: roller skating. Age is no barrier to entry, so kids and parents can do it together. If anyone in your family wants to take the activity more seriously, consider joining a roller derby league. And when the weather gets nice, cruise down any number of local paved trails (get ideas at roller-skating).

Go, go yoga Yoga is a versatile option that can be adapted to any fitness level or age group, making it a great fitness fit for families! Locally, 8 Limbs Yoga has four studios around Seattle and offers a variety of family and child yoga classes, as well as child care during some adult classes. Another idea: Practice yoga at home (you’ll find plenty of advice and how-to videos online). Whichever approach you choose, the benefits of yoga extend beyond exercise by teaching kids (and adults) compassion and emotional self-regulation.


Sign up for the Magnuson family fitness series

Seattle-based nonprofits KEXP 90.3 FM and The Vera Project occasionally host family dance parties and, more frequently, Seattle Dance Fitness holds structured $20-per-family, onehour dance parties at The Creative Dance Center in North Seattle (the next one is Feb. 1). The party combines fitness songs and dancing games with props such as balloons and hula hoops for hilarious “dance battles.” Finish the evening with the free dance, which includes glow sticks, streamers and party lights. Of course, you don’t even have to leave your house to have an epic dance party. Just start your favorite playlist and roll up the living room rug (combine dancing with vacuuming for maximum impact). If your kids are reluctant to join in, introduce a little light competition. Challenge them to an old-school dance-off or fire up your gaming console for a dance revolution.

Our insider’s guide to fun!

out + about

Get in Gear in the New Year continued from page 30

Hit the gym (with child care) There’s nothing wrong with making fitness your “me time.” To help, find a gym with child-care options so you can lift weights, take a class or even swim laps. Whatever activity you choose, on-site child care lets you focus on your form instead of your fam. Find local options at

Go geocaching If being active for your family means exploring the great outdoors, you’ve probably heard your kids ask, “How much farther?” even when the trailhead is still in view behind you. And while snacks make great motivators, it’s easy to start feeling like Hansel and Gretel, doling out bread crumbs every few steps. So, until the day our kids are old enough to appreciate the unique ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, try geocaching. This

high-tech scavenger hunt turns a walk in the woods — or just about anywhere — into the kind of treasure hunt kids can understand. Learn more at

Cycle around

Talk about multitasking! You can get exercise, have fun, help save the planet and get where you need to go just by hopping on a bike. Riding in Seattle’s traffic with little kids can be an intimidating prospect, but our area has plenty of resources — such as Pedalheads and the Cascade Bicycle Club — to help biking families get the right equipment and learn how to be safe cyclers. Easy lakeside trails and an ever-expanding network of bike lanes provide safer routes for beginners of all ages. With some planning and practice, soon you and your youngsters will be buckling helmets instead of seat belts.

Just keep swimming Even if your kids are old enough to swim alone, taking them to a family swim session is a good way to make fitness fun. Check the website of your local city parks department for pool hours. (Each municipal pool has a different schedule, so one of them is sure to fit your own.) Worried about the weather? Read up on the best indoor pools at n Gemma Alexander is a Seattle-based freelance writer with two daughters. She blogs about the arts and spends too much time on Twitter (@gemmadeetweet).


THE Y IS WHERE YOU BELONG Start 2019 off right! The Y is where your health journey begins. Children learn what they can achieve, families spend quality time together, and we all build relationships that deepen our sense of belonging. Join today! 32 • January 2019 •

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Media That Encourages Creativity in Kids

During a typical day, kids and teens check out YouTube, watch TV, play video games, scroll through social media feeds and listen to music. Overall, they’re passive consumers of the content they love — which is fine. But with a little nudging — and the right tools — they can be using that time to build creative skills while sharing their stories, opinions and ideas. Kids actually love to express themselves, but sometimes they feel like they don’t have much of a voice. Encouraging your kid to be more of a maker might just be a matter of pointing to someone or something they admire and giving them the technology to make their vision come alive. No matter your kids’ ages and interests, there’s a method and medium to encourage their creativity. Get kid-specific ideas:

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Your Kid Needs a Mentor

Why mentoring matters and how to find one By Kari O’Driscoll

hen I was a teenager, my stepmom was my saving grace. I had a mom, but Susan was the one I confided in precisely because she wasn’t my parent. She was more interested in supporting me and maintaining a relationship than pulling rank or doling out punishment. She didn’t treat me like an equal, but neither did she treat me like a little kid. I realize now that she was my first mentor, offering guidance and care during the years when I was learning what it meant to be my own person. These days, as the mother of two teens, I think every kid needs a mentor. Janice Deguchi agrees. Deguchi is the executive director of Community for Youth, a mentoring program for teens in the Seattle area. This nonprofit has been working to pair adult mentors and teens for more than 25 years. The organization currently serves 80 youth; its mission, Deguchi says, is to “help kids this age develop their voice, understand themselves and experience unconditional positive regard from a caring adult.” All factors that are crucial for healthy development and, ultimately, economic stability, she says. I’ve seen the positive influence mentorship has had on my own children. When she was in sixth grade, my daughter Lauren was paired with a mentor through Seattle Girls’ School. Her mentor Sarah is a smart, loving, fun young woman who was ultimately an important guide for Lauren. She was closer to Lauren’s age than I was, and the relationship they built through group activities as well as individual outings to the movies or just hanging out meant that Sarah felt like family. She was a passive role model and an active, engaged problem solver who encouraged Lauren to speak her mind without fear. “She was an adult and had more life experience than my friends, but she wasn’t a parent,” my daughter says of their relationship. “It’s different when you can talk to an adult and know it’s totally safe.” 36 • January 2019 •

“Young people need relationships that involve caring, support, shared power, growth and an expansion of possibilities.”

What to look for in your kid’s mentor Of course, not all mentoring programs are the same. Some highlight academic or career assistance. Others focus on fostering a trusting relationship with an adult who isn’t a family member, like the Community for Youth program. Regardless, a strong mentorship should have five crucial elements, according to the Search Institute, a research-based organization working to help strengthen youth programs across the country. In order to thrive, the institute says, young people need relationships that involve caring, support, shared power (allowing the teen to lead and use their voice), growth (seeing the child’s potential and encouraging them to learn from mistakes) and an expansion of possibilities (encouraging their imagination and broadening the young person’s experience).

Why mentorship matters “Research shows that young people with mentoring relationships are more resilient, more likely to set and meet personal goals, volunteer in their community and more likely to be leaders,” says Victoria Santos, codirector of Young Women Empowered, a Seattle-based organization that provides leadership training and mentorship to female students ages 13–18. Santos points to her work with young women as an example. “For young women to see positive adult women who are willing to be courageous and honest about their own challenges navigating their lives is tremendously inspiring,” she says. “What I see as most powerful for young women is the expanded sense of possibility, hope and self-belief that blossoms [from a mentorship relationship].” As kids get older, a relationship with a mentor also helps them learn to interact with other adults. Having opportunities to advocate for themselves and learning how to ask for support are key to


future success interacting with college professors or bosses or in any number of situations for when they’re no longer living at home.

So, where can you find a mentor? It doesn’t have to be a formal mentoring program, although there are benefits to those, such as structured time together for mentor and child, background checks on potential mentors and official mentor training. Some young people are lucky enough to have a strong relationship with a boss, coach or school counselor who guides them and listens to them. Locally, Mentor Washington maintains a list of organizations in our state and will help parents and guardians find a good match based on geography, the child’s age and type of mentorship. Other programs include the YMCA’s Reach & Rise program, Young Women Empowered, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound and Community for Youth. School counselors are also an excellent resource for ideas. It can be hard as a parent to know that your child is confiding in someone other than you, but trust me: If that person is a mentor, it can also be incredibly reassuring. There were times when my daughter would come home and tell me that Sarah had given her the same exact piece of advice she’d ignored when I offered it. I would roll my eyes and keep my thoughts to myself, knowing that the important thing was that there was another adult who was watching out for my kid. n Kari O’Driscoll is a Seattle-based writer and mother of two teenage daughters.

Preventing and Treating Common Childhood Dental Problems Hollie Walsh’s son had his first dental checkup when he was 5 years old. The mother of three was diligent about early dental care, which proved wise. Even so, her son0918_lynnwood_kids_dentist_1-4.indd began developing cavities soon after his first visit to the dentist. By age 8, part of one of his molars fell out, and Walsh realized there was more to dental health than conscientious care. “It was such a big issue in a small mouth,” Walsh says. “A quarter to a third of the tooth just broke off. He wasn’t in pain, and it wasn’t discolored or soft. It just didn’t look like what you’d expect.” While parents typically start thinking about their child’s teeth after teething, when the first pearly whites pop through the gums, critical dental development happens long before.


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French American School of Puget Sound

What to Do When Your Kid Brings Home an F 
 Educator and best-selling author Jessica Lahey says that roughly 80 percent of middle schoolers and 90 percent of high schoolers at the schools she visits say their parents love them more when they get good grades. And that’s not good, she says. “Grades often don’t offer much information on what a student knows,” says Lahey. “If parents are constantly focused on [that kind of] extrinsic motivation, we’re undermining learning.” So, when a child brings home an F, Lahey encourages parents to talk about their process: “How did you study? What didn’t work that you’re not going to do next time?” “Don’t approach a bad grade with silence,” she cautions, noting that kids often already feel bad enough about a low score on a test. “That feels like judgment and shows them we don’t mean it when we say we care about learning,” she says. Focus the conversation on developing strategies that your child can put in place before the next big grading opportunity. Ask for your child’s suggestions and offer your own ideas, Lahey says. Every time your child tries a new strategy after they’ve received a bad grade, they’re learning how to learn. — Nancy Schatz Alton

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When the Other Kids Won’t Play With Your Preschooler 
 We’d all like our kids to thrive in academics, the arts, sports and citizenship. Here’s another item to add to our wish list for their success: friendship. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), those early social bonds are highly important. “Friends help define personality and independence. Friendships teach young people how to deal with their own complex feelings and those of others,” the AAP says on its Healthy Children website. With friends, kids also learn to trust, to explore who they are and to begin to build a sense of security apart from their families, according to the AAP. Interacting with other kids and making social connections come naturally to many children. But for others, forming those friendships can be a challenge. It’s certainly been challenging for Everett mom Courtney Calkins, who describes her 5-year-old son as “funny and kind.” But, she says, “He tends to get worked up and bossy on the playground.” What’s more, he’s very tall for his age, and his body language and voice can come across as aggressive, Calkins says. The social fallout? Other kids sometimes feel intimidated by or uncomfortable around him. Hear more of Calkins’ story and what experts recommend: — Nancy Chaney


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parent day jobs

Tiffany Spanier, M.D.

How this local pediatrician helps kids thrive

See an expanded interview and meet more heroes: /day-jobs

By Malia Jacobson • Photo by Will Austin


s a pediatrician with Bellevue’s Allegro Pediatrics, Dr. Tiffany Spanier supports whole-child health. That means her typical workday is a whirlwind of well-child checkups mixed in with everything from coughs to concussions. It’s as rewarding as it is demanding, she says. “I see a spectrum of ages, from newborns to adolescents, so there’s a lot of variety,” Spanier says. “I also help caregivers address specific behavioral, academic and emotional needs. It’s a full day.” Though she’s usually immersed in the health needs of kids, Spanier knows a thing or two about the challenges of raising them — she’s a parent, too. Since she first joined Allegro Pediatrics in 2004, she says, the demands of parenthood have changed. These days, parents are squeezed and stressed, and it’s hurting families, she says. “Parenting has become increasingly demanding and difficult,” Spanier says. “Without enough help and support, parents risk their own emotional and physical well-being, which negatively impacts everyone, including their children.” Whether she’s in the examination room or writing for Allegro’s health and parenting blog, Spanier works to help parents understand the importance of emotional wellness and its strong connection to physical health. (She became a certified mindfulness instructor in 2016.) “I like to help parents find joy in the relationship, and for parents and kids to feel loving and connected. Those are the foundations for physical, mental and emotional well-being.”

Has raising your own children changed the way you approach your patients?

As a pediatrician, having your own children is a humbling experience. You quickly realize there’s a big difference between giving advice and following it. Since having children, I hope I’ve become more patient and understanding. What’s the top question or anxiety you hear about from your patients or their caregivers?

The questions that I hear are so varied … but the 46 • January 2019 •

underlying concept that appears the most consistently is “Am I doing a good job as a parent?” and “Is my child going to be okay?” I’m always looking for ways to support and reassure families that they are doing a good job and that their child is going to be okay. How can caregivers raise children who are strong and healthy — both emotionally and physically?

As pediatricians, we recognize that there is a “When we model strong connection and teach kids between children’s emotional, physical about empathy, and mental wellit fosters being. If a child has connections a challenge in one of these areas, it of tolerance, can directly impact respect and the other two. Each well-child kindness.” appointment is a great opportunity for parents to get guidance and support from their pediatrician about how to meet the needs of their children. What role does empathy and kindness play in raising healthy kids?

Empathy allows us to see what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes, to try to understand and care about what others are thinking and feeling. It’s a life skill that supports children in developing successful friendships. When we model and teach kids about empathy, it fosters connections of tolerance, respect and kindness. And research shows that kindness can lead to increases in happiness and well-being. So, empathy and kindness are not only ways to build supportive connections, but they are also great ways to help our kids feel strong, happy and healthy. n Malia Jacobson is a health and family journalist based in Tacoma.

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How to Choose a Pediatrician


Everyone is welcome.


Whether you’re awaiting your first or switching doctors, here are five questions to ask when selecting a pediatrician. • Who’s your pediatrician? Ask trusted friends and family if they love their family doctor. Or throw out an ask on a Facebook neighborhood or parent group page. Be specific about the traits you’re looking for in a pediatrician. • Are you comfortable talking with this doctor? Listen to your inner voice during your first appointment. Remember: You’ll need to talk about topics that you usually only talk about with your best friends. • How does the pediatrician interact with your child? Read your child’s signals to see if this is a person that your child is comfortable with, too. The best doctors make kids laugh (“Is that a bird I hear in your ear?”) and feel safe (“Your tears are okay with me”). • How does the office handle sick child appointments and emergencies? If waiting for a precious slot with your feverish child outside the office doors at 7:55 a.m. doesn’t work for you, find an office that has a better system. • How do you feel about [insert your most important topic here]? Be sure to briefly talk about whatever you care most about when it comes to healthcare, be it vaccinations, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, teaching children good mental health practices. If you never want the word “diet” to cross your child’s doctor’s lips, ask them how they discuss healthy body image with their patients. — Elisabeth Kramer

Dream big. Plan ahead. Washington College Savings Plans can help you start saving towards a brighter future. Learn more at

GET and DreamAhead are qualified tuition programs sponsored and distributed by the State of Washington. The Committee on Advanced Tuition Payment and College Savings administers and the Washington Student Achievement Council supports the plans. DreamAhead investment returns are not guaranteed and you could lose money by investing in the plan. If in-state tuition decreases in the future, GET tuition units may lose value. • January 2019 • 47

January 2019  
January 2019