parenting is a trip!
Washington state’s foster care system is squeezed.
6 myths about fostering debunked; how you can help. PAGE 13
The classic club encourages hands-on learning 34
THE ULTIMATE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT
After 19 years of parenting, this mom’s done with guilt 9
MAKING CHORE TIME WORK FOR EVERYONE
How to raise kids who actually want to lend a helping hand 39
SYTTENDE MAI Exploring Ballard’s Scandinavian roots 29
GOING WILD FOR 4-H IN THE CITY
What you don’t know about foster care in Washington state PAGE 13
4 PARENTMAP.COM A picture book about evolution; Love ya, Mom! #relationshipgoals; Are turf crumbs dangerous? 13 games that teach empathy
4 PLAY LIST
May is a good month to . . .
6 DEAR READER Celebrating good-enough moms
Letting go of the guilt In pursuit of being the good-enough mother
39 AGES + STAGES 3–5 and 6–10
What a chore! Get the kids to help without having to ask
46 SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW Kimberly Arthur How a clinical research scientist is serving up compassion to go
Out + About
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Ballard’s annual parade is one of the largest
Advertising Sections 10–11 F oreign Language Resources
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31–45 C amps + Activities
34 4 -H IN THE CITY
From dog training to STEM, hands-on learning
COVER COLLAGE: EMILY JOHNSON
SUMMER ADVENTURES 29
parentmap.com • May 2017 • 3
navigate great stuff daily!
ILLUSTRATION BY KAREN LEWIS
A picture book about evolution Too big a subject for your preschooler to comprehend? Think again, says author Jonathan Tweet. Grandmother Fish published in September 2016 to rave reviews. Hear what Tweet has to say about the book. parentmap.com/grandmother-fish
is a great month to . . .
Are turf crumbs dangerous?
1 PLAN A PLAYFUL ROAD TRIP l
As you plan that Memorial Day road trip, be sure to bookmark this lifesaving list of play stops all along I-5, from volcanoes to children’s museums to roadside ice cream stands. parentmap.com/roadtrip
With spring sports in full swing, we’re wondering what
those black crumbs
2 ESCAPE REALITY (AND THE RAIN)
on our kids’ uniforms are. The short
Go cliff-walking in Iceland, slash giant cartoon fruit, play Kung-Fu Ping Pong and more at Ballard’s new, family-friendly virtual reality arcade. parentmap.com/vr
answer: old tires. But are they dangerous? Get the latest: parentmap.com/turf
Love ya, Mom!
It’s only the best day of the year:
#relationshipgoals He’s back! Join us in Seattle on May 4 as we welcome back John Gottman, Ph.D., for “Happy Marriage, Happy Family: Using Science to Strengthen Relationships.” Consider it date night. parentmap.com/ lectures
Mother’s Day (May 14)! Point the family in the right direction with these 12 adorable DIY cards. Pro tip: They look great alongside a gift card to the spa. parentmap.com/diy-cards
13 games that teach empathy
Harness the power of tech and slip in a life lesson or two with this list of 13 Common Sense-approved ideas for inspiring apps, games and websites. Our personal favorite: the game that sends your student back in time to help a 14-year-old slave search for freedom in 1848. parentmap.com/ empathy-games
4 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
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One family journeyed to the new Renton mega store and brought back six insider tips, from navigating the play spaces to parking sanity. parentmap.com/ikea 4 LEARN ABOUT CITY CRITTERS l
From butterflies to beavers and from foxes to coyotes (!), wildlife is part of Puget Sound’s urban landscape. Learn about our creature connections from May 1-6 during Seattle’s Wildlife in the City Week, with events including urban hikes, Ranger Rick appearances and a festival at Pacific Science Center. parentmap.com/ wildlife 5 SKIP THE CAMP PANIC l
Stressing about summer camp gaps? Not to worry. We’ve scoured the region for camps with single-day options and other flexible offerings to fit families’ everchanging summer schedules. parentmap. com/flexicamps
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Celebrating good-enough moms “My kids learned more from the flawed, imperfect me, not the ideal mother I keep trying to become.” — Jody Allard, single mother of seven, “Letting go of the guilt” (p. 9)
y mother, Bubbie Shu (z’l) (as she came to be known), was perfectly not perfect. She passed away a decade ago and to say I miss her is an extreme understatement. She was the absolute opposite of what comes to mind when you think of today’s doting helicopter parents. Bubbie Shu and granddaughter It was inconceivable that my inner city Arielle, who turns 31 on May 12 Chicago middle school math teacher mama would hover or rescue us, and equally unimaginable that I would call her to deliver forgotten homework. She set exceptionally high standards from chores (oops, I mean contributions — see p. 39) to piano lessons, from learning honesty to showing respect. She was a remarkably good-enough mother, friend, sister, daughter, auntie and volunteer. She lived her Jewish values loud and proud and in many ways, her devotion to something grander than herself translated to love. My sibs and I sometimes survived but often thrived under her rule-laden “take no prisoners” parenting approach. My own children were stunned to learn that their part-teddy bear, part-lion but all loving Bubbie never experienced some of the joys of our family’s nightly rituals like a good snuggle, cuddle or story in bed. But I don’t necessarily need the ivory tower research of a former Stanford University counselor to know that my mother managed to give her children the two most important gifts for a child’s early life: growing up in a loving home and doing chores. In other words, she gave us unconditional love, security, competency, independence, resourcefulness and self-reliance. Sounds simple, right? Not so! That’s especially true if you’re one of the 10,068 Washington state children living in foster care. This month’s cover story will hopefully debunk age-old myths about foster kids and inspire your family to assist in whatever way you can. Step in lightly and donate hours or dollars, or take a deep dive and aspire to fostering as many kids (114!) as Erika Thompson (“Let’s get real about foster care,” p. 13). Finally, confirming my mother’s good-enough parenting approach a solid 50 years later is Kimberly Arthur of Seattle Children’s. Arthur juggles 4-yearold twins born at 26 weeks while being a clinical research scientist. She offers “compassion to go” to parents of children with health conditions or disabilities and along the way reminds us of the power of our year’s mission, #kindfulness (“Someone you should know,” p. 46). And with that, I wish you a happy good-enough Mother’s Day!
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Letting go of the guilt In pursuit of being the good-enough mother By Jody Allard
“Mommy, why didn’t you come to my writer’s showcase?”
“You never drive me anywhere.”
“You’re never home when I need you.”
y kids’ words ring in my ears, crashing into a single, relentless roar: “You’re not good enough. Try harder. Be a better mom.” I’m no stranger to these words, but after 19 years of parenting, I’m sick of them. They’ve become a familiar refrain, but they don’t hold me hostage as much as they once did. I now know they aren’t true. My children are loved, cared for and wanted. They have the freedom to explore and fail, and they come to me when they venture too far and need reassurance that they’re still OK. For all the times that they remind me that I’m not good enough as a mother, there are dozens more when they show me that I am. This guilt is an old acquaintance who has outworn her welcome. My kids always ask me what I want for Mother’s Day. Every year, I tell them the same thing: a little peace and quiet. Every year, they ignore me and festoon the house with balloons and flowers, cards and gifts. The little ones make me pictures, and the older ones buy me gift cards to my favorite coffee shop. They give me more than I need, but this year I’ve decided to give myself a gift: forgiveness. Every day, I forgive my children, never expecting them to be perfect, but I struggle to
extend the same compassion to myself. I worry too much about small decisions that won’t matter in five years, much less 10. Somewhere along the way, I began to believe that Google and Facebook know more about my kids than I do. I even let myself believe that Pinterest parties and the cult of “making memories” mean more to my kids than the love and affection I give them daily. But I am determined to turn over a new leaf. I’ll be 40 next year and I’ve wasted too much of my life on guilt. It’s time to make peace with myself and stop striving for perfection. It’s time to give myself permission to be a good-enough mother — nothing more and nothing less. My oldest son is 19 years old now, and my youngest twins are 6. When I look at them, and all of the kids in between, it’s impossible to tell which ones had formula or whom I let cry it out. I barely remember who sat in their rear-facing car seat the longest or who was riding in a booster car seat long before today’s recommendations. They all survived and they all grew into strong, independent and passionate individuals who have more confidence in
“Mommy, there’s a potluck at my school tonight. Why can’t we go?”
themselves than I ever did. All of those parenting decisions I worried so much about don’t seem to have mattered very much in the end. My kids learned the most from flawed, imperfect me, not the ideal mother I keep trying to become. So, I’m going to take the internet’s advice one last time and calm the fuck down. I’m going to delete the Pinterest app and stop asking social media for parenting advice. I’m going to give myself permission to relax, chill out and make mistakes. I will be human and fallible without explanation or apology, and I won’t waste another minute of my life on guilt. I will dedicate myself to being truly present (when possible) and give myself permission to follow my own interests and dreams, too. I’m going to model healthy boundaries and self-esteem, rather than continuing to let my kids’ opinions shape my perception of my value. My kids don’t always have to like me, and parenting isn’t a popularity contest. Above all, I will accept my flaws and remind myself that my kids have never needed a perfect mother. All they’ve ever needed is me. n Jody Allard is a single mother of seven kids living in Seattle. She writes primarily about parenting, social justice and life with a chronic illness. parentmap.com • May 2017 • 9
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6 myths about fostering debunked; how you can help BY MALIA JACOBSON
When Erika Thompson of Puyallup decided to become a foster parent in 2007, she had well-laid plans. She and husband Brent had two tween daughters and hoped to adopt one boy from foster care to complete their family (more foster kids weren’t part of the picture). But the route to adoption wasn’t straightforward, and along the way, she fell in love with fostering. After welcoming six children for short-term stays, she adopted her son Aiden, now 7, in 2011. And she didn’t stop
there. She’s now been a foster parent to 114 kids and counting. As a foster parent educator and recruiter for national foster agency Olive Crest (olivecrest.org), Thompson tells prospective foster parents to expect surprises. “You can have the best-laid plans, but it almost never works out the way you expect,” she says. Most newbie foster parents don’t know what to expect, she says, in part because most people don’t know much about what fostering really entails. “You hear the really ugly stories, but not the reality” — a reality that’s thrilling, heartbreaking and unexpected, all at once.
The reality of foster parenting starts with hard numbers. Our state’s foster care system has more children than qualified foster families, and that gap is widening. The state’s foster parent application pool has dwindled since 2012, while the foster child population has edged up since 2010. In 2017, the state reported that 2,577 children entered foster care in 2015, while just 1,350 Washingtonians became licensed foster parents. In total, 10,068 Washington children are in foster care, according to the Adoption Exchange Association, with 2,167 awaiting adoptive families. >> parentmap.com • May 2017 • 13
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FOSTER CARE continued from page 13
For those readers who don’t have a working definition, foster kids are children who, for reasons ranging from the death of one or both parents to abuse and neglect, enter the state’s foster care system. That “system” is a network of agencies and individuals working in partnership with the state to care for vulnerable children, says John Morse, executive director of Seattle-based adoption and foster placement agency Amara (amaraparenting.org). Compounding the problem of too many kids and not enough homes is the fact that in many cases, a group of siblings seeks placement together. That further narrows the pool of available foster homes, because the state limits the number of children per licensed foster home to six. “Roughly 70 percent of children in foster care have a sibling, so the request is often ‘Do you have a home for all of these children?’” says Morse. About 60 percent of the time, biological siblings stay together in foster care, well short of the state’s goal of 95 percent. Because of a shortage of licensed foster homes, foster children in Washington also move more often than those in other states. A state report shows that our state’s foster kids have an average of 5.21 placements in their first year of care (the national standard is 4.12). Rotating through placements slows foster kids’ academic progress to the tune of one year of lost academic progress for every four moves, according to one study. Foster parent retention is a struggle, too. One study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that about half of new foster parents quit within their first year. Foster parent licenses must be renewed every three years; those who let their license lapse must completely restart the process (which can take the better part of a year), says Thompson. This squeeze on care hurts kids; it’s a key driver
for the region’s youth homelessness crisis, says Tatyana, a youth network representative for The Mockingbird Society (mockingbirdsociety.org), a Seattle-based foster and homelessness advocacy organization. State data show that each year, 400 teens without a permanent home age out of Washington foster care; one-quarter of them will be homeless within a year. So why are there more kids and fewer families? Poverty is a factor, says Janis Avery, CEO of Treehouse (treehouseforkids.org), a Seattle-based agency providing education resources and support to foster children. “Poverty is a tremendous driver in child abuse and neglect,” she says. In other words, as the region’s economic inequality increases, so does the need for foster homes. “Another key trend is that more children are entering foster care under 5,” says Avery. “Today, about half are under 5. It used to be around a third.” This is significant because fostering babies and toddlers means higher hurdles for licensed foster parents to jump. Families who foster a baby or toddler must contend with stricter requirements, including rules regarding medical care (for example, newborns must visit a pediatrician shortly after entering foster care), immunizations (all family members must get a flu shot in order to foster babies and toddlers) and child care (finding a licensed day care that accepts infants as well as Department of Social and Health Services [DSHS] payment can be a struggle in the childcare-strapped Puget Sound region). The result? A massive and mounting challenge of finding enough stable foster homes for the kids who need them, says Avery. Because foster homes are in short supply, kids who need them often spend hours — or sometimes entire nights — in a DSHS office or
right for everyone,
all types of families can foster.
hotel while a caseworker searches for a placement, says Morse of Amara. This problem is big enough that Amara opened an Emergency Sanctuary home — the first of its kind in King County — to house kids waiting for a foster home for up to 72 hours. Nicknamed Grandese’s Place, the shelter joined Hand in Hand’s Safe Place in Everett in providing immediate, temporary housing for kids in crisis; Amara opened another Emergency Sanctuary home in Pierce County in 2016. Since opening in 2014, Grandese’s Place has housed more than 500 children. “We want to give these kids a soft place to land,” Morse says.
The state’s foster care system is in crisis. More children are entering the foster care system — a fact that a recent series by Crosscut and InvestigateWest attributes in part to rising rates of opioid drug use and other factors — with a larger share under age 5 (younger children necessitate stricter requirements for foster families, and some foster parents elect not to take children under age 2). The number of available foster homes simply isn’t keeping pace with demand. Foster families of color are particularly needed, as children of color are overrepresented in the foster system (African American children, for example, are more than twice as likely to to be in out-of-home care as their white counterparts, according to Partners For Our Children). One factor in this crisis may be prominent myths that surround foster parenting.
MYTH NO. 1 Nontraditional families aren’t welcome There’s a well-known television ad that says “Not everyone can be a foster parent.” But in truth, while foster parenting isn’t right for everyone, all types of families can foster, says Sheri Novak of Tacoma. As licensed foster parents, Novak and her partner, April Stallings, have cared for more than 160 foster children over the course of three decades. Single parents, same-sex parentmap.com • May 2017 • 15
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FOSTER CARE continued from page 15
partners, working parents, renters and those with biological or stepchildren living at home can become foster parents. One requirement that’s fairly ironclad: immunizations. All family members need to be current on shots; flu and pertussis (whooping cough) shots are required for the entire household if foster parents want to take foster children younger than the age of 2.
MYTH NO. 2 You’ll go broke Do foster parents foot the bill for all expenses related to raising foster kids? Not exactly. “It still surprises me that people assume that foster parents have to find extra money in their own budgets to foster,” say Thompson. The application and licensing process are free, and the state pays licensed foster parents between $500 and $700 per month toward foster kids’ living expenses (more if a child has special needs) and will often reimburse a family’s legal fees if a foster child is adopted. Foster children can also receive pajamas, school supplies and clothing through a number of wellknown donation programs, including Mattress Firm’s annual Pajama Bowl. “Our foster children are comfortable. They have backpacks, they have toys, they have shoes. They don’t go without,” says Novak of her family.
significant behavioral, academic or emotional challenges, says Avery of Treehouse. “But many are just children born into families with less support than we as a society want to give them.” Zack, a 19-year-old living in Auburn who spent time in foster care as a teen, recalls being sent to the school office for the minor offense of talking in class and then hearing a high school office worker mutter, “Another foster kid getting in trouble.” He wasn’t sure if he was meant to hear the utterance or not, but the barely concealed disdain were unmistakable. Today, Zack is a network representative with The Mockingbird Society. He works alongside 21-year-old Tatyana. Tatyana, who was in foster care for most of her teen years, says people often assume foster children must have deep-seated behavioral or emotional problems if they move through a number of placements without finding a permanent home. “It was frequently assumed that I was bad because I hadn’t found a permanent placement,” she says. The truth: Frequent moves are common since there are fewer permanent homes than there are kids who need them.
It’s true that becoming a
means making peace with
MYTH NO. 3 Foster kids are problem kids It’s true that some foster children — understandably, given the challenges they’ve already faced in their young lives — face
MYTH NO. 4 Goodbye, control — hello, chaos
People often think that fostering means accepting bewildered children in the middle of the night with no time to think it over, says Lisa Bresnahan, an adoptive mom of two foster teens who lives in Sammamish. Midnight calls can and do happen, but it certainly isn’t the rule, Bresnahan says. “In reality, you can meet with a child a number of times before you make a decision about whether that child fits into your family,” she says. Bresnahan met both of her foster kids at the Northwest Adoption Exchange Kids’ Fest, an annual
carnival-type event set in both Seattle and Tacoma where children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents can meet. Like adoptive parents, foster parents can specify the types of foster children they’ll accept. Some choose to house kids of a specific age or gender, or kids with or without certain developmental disabilities, says Thompson.
MYTH NO. 5 Foster parenting means heartbreak It’s true that becoming a foster parent means making peace with impermanence as some 50 percent of foster kids will return to their birth parent(s). That is, after all, the goal: “The safe reunification of families is what we hope for,” says foster parent Stallings, partner of Sheri Novak and director of Comprehensive Life Resources’ Pearl Street Center in Tacoma (comprehensiveliferesources.org), a behavioral health support agency serving foster children. However, that doesn’t mean that foster parents shouldn’t “get attached,” says Monique B. Mitchell, Ph.D., a professor at the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work and author of The Neglected Transition: Building a Relational Home for Children Entering Foster Care. Whether children are in a foster home for several days or a decade, “We have to remember that these are relationships. We get caught up in forever, but in reality, nothing is forever,” Mitchell says. She tells caregivers to address this “temporal ambiguity” — or lack of clarity about the duration of the foster parenting relationship — with honesty. “We can say [to foster children in our care], ‘I don’t know how long you’re going to be with me, but every day and every moment that you’re in my care, I will care for you, I will support you and I will not let you down.’” Investing in the relationship — even if it’s a short one — offers the children a sense of security, worth and belonging that endures long after they leave your home, Mitchell says. >> parentmap.com • May 2017 • 17
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FOSTER CARE continued from page 17
MYTH NO. 6
Fostering a teen — are you crazy? Mention a plan to foster teens, and you’ll get looks of pity, admiration or a mix of both, says Bresnahan of Sammamish, who legally adopted two teens from foster care. The numbers tell the same story. Teenagers are adopted at a lower rate than other children from foster care: More than 20 percent of foster children awaiting adoption are teens, but they represent only 5 percent of children who enter care. All teens — including those in foster care — need a listening ear, compassionate caregivers, structure and support, and there are resources to help. Treehouse, for example, offers academic support via educational specialists who meet with a teen regularly and help monitor and encourage academic
S C H O O L S
All teens — including those in foster care — need a listening ear, compassionate caregivers, structure and support, and there are resources to help.
progress. Amara’s new post-adoption program offers classes, mentorship and ongoing support for adoptive families, which may be particularly relevant once kids hit the sometimes turbulent teen years, says Morse. Fostering a teen brings challenges, says Bresnahan. Her 18-year-old, Howard, nearly failed in school, but with support from Treehouse and Job Corps, he earned his diploma and was recently accepted into Eastern Washington University. The rewards of fostering a teen are unmatched, Bresnahan adds. “Howard has faced ups and downs, but now he says, ‘I love you so much; thank you so much for all that you’ve done. I know I haven’t always appreciated it.’ I can’t think of a greater gift we could have given ourselves and him.” >>
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FOSTER CARE continued from page 19
THE GOOD NEWS
Those closely involved in foster care stress that caring for vulnerable children is a community responsibility — one shared among neighbors, friends and relatives, along with the state and private agencies. The good news: You can contribute to this network of support, even if you can’t foster a child. And not everyone can — or should — become a foster parent. But there are ways to help, even without a bed to spare.
Donate hours, dollars, supplies or services Agencies like Treehouse, Amara and others rely on volunteers to staff support groups, transitional homes and donation banks. Host
your own donation drive, or donate new or gently used children’s clothing, toys and baby gear to Treehouse’s Wearhouse clothing and toy bank in King County or to Erika Thompson’s Wishing Well Foundation in Pierce County. Both offer a space for foster children to “shop” for clothing and toys, free of charge. Many agencies also welcome the donation of services such as professional photography, tutoring and legal aid.
Become a foster parent Think fostering might be a good fit? Start by visiting the state’s DSHS website or contacting a private agency (find a list at fosteringtogether. org/foster-care/private-agencies). Attend a free orientation or meet with a county liaison (an agency representative who can help prospective foster parents navigate the process) to learn more. If you are a parent of color, Amara is helping families of color learn more about fostering and adopting, starting with a May 6 conversation at Seattle’s Northwest African American Museum (naamnw. org). For more details about how to become a foster parent, visit parentmap.com/foster. n
Become a CASA Volunteer to become a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for a foster child or children. CASAs help children involved in cases of abuse and neglect by investigating case facts, recommending a course of action to the court and monitoring progress. CASAs must pass a background check and complete 32 hours of training. Learn more at wacasa.org.
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May Day Celebration and Potluck. Bring ﬂowers to craft a crown, a dish to share and your communal spirit. 3 p.m. FREE. Woodland Park near the horseshoe courts, Seattle. fremontartscouncil.org Pajamarama! Family Story Time. Wind down with bedtime stories at the library; PJs and teddy bears welcome. Select Mondays, 6:45–7:30 p.m. FREE. Ages 3–6 with families. King County Library, Shoreline Branch. kcls.org
Preschool Playtime. Take a breather while the kids play at this drop-oﬀ program. Tuesday, Thursday; 9–11 a.m. or noon–2 p.m. $10; call ahead or drop in. Ages 3–6. Lynnwood Recreation Center. ci.lynnwood.wa.us Sorting Out Race. View thrift store items with racial imagery to explore issues about race and history. Tuesday–Saturday, through May 17. Included with admission. Renton History Museum. rentonwa.gov
Kodomo no Hi - Children’s Day. Enjoy taiko drumming, dance performances, kids’ tea ceremony, games and more 11 a.m.–5 p.m. FREE. Japanese Cultural Community Center, Seattle. jcccw.org Pinocchio The Ballet. Last day for this magical, one-hour, family-oriented ballet by Tacoma City Ballet. Friday–Sunday, May 5–7. $10. All ages. Merlino Art Center, Tacoma. tacomacityballet.com
Watjen Concert Organ Recital. Enjoy the dulcet tones of this amazing instrument; add a building tour before or after the recital. 12:30 p.m. All ages. Benaroya Hall, Seattle. seattlesymphony.org Boardwalk Stroll at Shadow Lake Bog. Find out what a peat bog is navigating the boardwalk through this fascinating preserve. Daily during daylight hours. FREE; donations appreciated. Shadow Lake Nature Preserve, Renton. shadowhabitat.org
Play to Learn. Community play and circle time. Tuesday, 10–11:30 a.m. FREE. Ages 6 and under with adult. Charles Wright Academy, Tacoma, and Puyallup Library (additional weekly times and locations). playtacoma.org Baby is Social! Sing and play with your baby, and meet other new parents. Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. FREE. Baby with adult. Top Ten Toys, Seattle. toptentoys.com ONGOING EVENT
Voucher good for two free tickets to attend a Seattle Storm basketball game!
PICKS INGRID BARRENTINE
Bear Camp at Northwest Trek, May 20
Northwest Folklife Festival, May 26–29
This is not a voucher or ticket.
‘Happy Marriage, Happy Family’ with John Gottman, Ph.D., May 4
Free Comic Book Day, May 6
JOHN E. BARRETT © SESAME WORKSHOP
Bike to School Day, May 10
Jim Henson exhibit at MoPOP, opening May 20
Mother’s Day Family Paddle. Adventurous moms will love this paddle through Foss Waterway with unique view of downtown Tacoma. 10 a.m.–noon. $35 per person; preregister. Ages 7 and up. Tacoma. metroparkstacoma.org Mother’s Day at Cedar River Watershed. Celebrate human moms, plus moms in the Watershed, with refreshments and a casual stroll. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. FREE. Cedar River Watershed Education Center, North Bend. seattle.gov
Monday Cheapskate. Among a few weekly discount sessions, this one oﬀers free admission to the preschool crowd. Monday, 9:30–11:30 a.m. $6.84; ages 5 and under free. Sprinker Ice Arena, Tacoma. co.pierce.wa.us ONGOING EVENT Kitty Literature. Call and sign up for your kids to practice reading with a supportive audience of shelter cats; 20-minute sessions. Monday–Friday, 3–6 p.m. FREE; preregister. Ages 5–10. Seattle Humane, Bellevue. seattlehumane.org ONGOING EVENT
Meditation for Baby and Me. Music for babes followed by meditation practice for grown-ups. Tuesday, 10 a.m.–noon. FREE. Adults with infants. Sahaja Meditation Center, Seattle. seattlemeditation.org ONGOING EVENT Ballard Church Indoor Play. This neighborhood church opens its doors for families with tots to stop by and play. Tuesday– Thursday, 10:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. FREE. Ages 0–8 with adult. Ballard Church, Seattle. ballardchurch.com ONGOING EVENT
21 Girls on the Run 5K. Run alongside and support young runners as they complete the culminating feat of their program; all welcome. 9:30 a.m. $15–$40. Renton Memorial Stadium. girlsrun.org Mushroom Maynia. Puget Sound Mycological Society promises “family fungi fun” at this mushroom growing and harvesting fest with crafts and puppet show. 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. $3/person or $5/family. Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle. psms.org
Low-sensory Play Time. Special play time features a limited number of kids and a calm environment. Monday, noon– 2 p.m. (check website for additional times). $20; preregister. Ages 0–10 with adult. Roo’s World of Discovery, Kirkland. roosworldofdiscovery.com ONGOING EVENT Drop-In Breastfeeding Support Group. Join other new moms every fourth Monday, 10:30 a.m.–noon. FREE. Moms with families. Neighborhood House High Point, Seattle. lllofwa.org ONGOING EVENT
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. ci.issaquah.wa.us ONGOING EVENT Mom & Baby Yoga. Gentle yoga for new moms along with community support. Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.; Thursday, 2 p.m. $20. Moms with infants. Seattle Holistic Center. seattleholisticcenter.com ONGOING EVENT
Bicycle Sunday. Take your family’s two-wheelers out for a spin on this one of many car-free Sundays along the lake; helmets required. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. FREE. All ages. Lake Washington Boulevard, Seattle. seattle.gov/parks I Dig Dinos. Dino fans dive into dinothemed activities including a dig pit, with an undersea theme this month. 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Included K I N with G admission. C O U NAges T Y 3–7. The Burke Museum, Seattle. burkemuseum.org
Memorial Day Parade. Honor our veterans at this moving annual parade. 10 a.m. FREE. Along N. Olympic Avenue, Arlington. arlingtonwa.gov Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalist Program. Explore tidal life at area beaches on low-tide days. 1–4 p.m. FREE. Richmond Beach, Carkeek Park, Golden Gardens, South Alki, Lincoln Park, Seahurst, Saltwater State Park and Dash Point State Park. Check website for additional dates and locations. seattleaquarium.org ONGOING EVENT
Toddler Gym. Seattle’s neighborhood community centers have eliminated fees from most drop-in programs, including toddler play times. Monday–Saturday, various times. FREE. Ages 5 and under with caregiver. Seattle. seattle.gov/parks ONGOING EVENT The Art of Rube Goldberg. Explore the iconic works of this zany artist and designer. Daily, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Included with admission. Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle. mopop.org
FOUNDATION 22 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
Write your fi
Color one block for every 20 minutes spent reading, being read to, or listening to a boo k. Colorea una forma por cada 20 minutos que leas, te lean, o escuches un libro audio.
FIVE D E R D N U H S MINUTE
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KING COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
Discover Your Wild Neighbors. Join Ranger Rick on a scavenger hunt, and learn about urban wildlife as part of Seattle Wildlife in the City Week. 3–5 p.m. FREE. Ages 4–10. Yesler Community Center, Seattle. seattlewildlifeweek.org Ms. Bee’s Play Place. Interactive, playbased activities to help promote social, emotional and language development. 10–10:45 a.m. FREE. Ages 0–5 with adult. King County Library, Fairwood Branch, Renton. kcls.org
Happy Marriage, Happy Family: Using Science to Strengthen Relationships. ParentMap again welcomes John Gottman, Ph.D., who will share his insights on building a harmonious and long-lasting relationship. 7 p.m. $25 advance; $30 door. Adults. Temple De Hirsch Sinai, Seattle. parentmap.com/lectures Nordic Stories. Hear stories by Scandinavian authors, then make a related craft project, the first Thursday of the month. 10 a.m. FREE. Ages 3–6. Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle. nordicmuseum.org
Small Frye: Storytelling + Art. Stories spring to life with Seattle Children’s Theatre at this first Friday event, now with art-making session. 10:30–11:45 a.m. FREE; preregister for art. Ages 3–5 with caregiver. Frye Art Museum, Seattle. fryemuseum.org Cinco de Mayo Spring Carnival. Celebrate with carnival rides, auto races, car show and more. Friday–Sunday, May 5–7. Evergreen State Fairgrounds, Monroe. evergreenfair.org
Free Comic Book Day. Find a participating shop near you and pick up your FREE comic. freecomicbookday.com Cinco de Mayo Celebration. Community celebration with live music, multi-cultural desfile, kids’ activities and food for purchase. Noon–4 p.m. FREE. El Centro de la Raza, Seattle. elcentrodelaraza.org CRY Holi. Get colorful with your neighbors at this rescheduled festival of colors. Noon– 4 p.m. $15–$20; ages 11 and under free. Crossroads Park, Bellevue. cryseattle.org
Bike to School Day. Ask your school to register with Cascade Bicycle Club, or just get on your bike and ride to school, to the park or around your neighborhood, today or any day. FREE. cascade.org Conservatory Story Hour. Stories and crafts amid the verdant surroundings. 11 a.m. Suggested donation $3. Ages 3–8 with adult. W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, Tacoma. seymourconservatory.org
Family Nature Class. Explore a topic with learning stations and a nature walk. Thursday–Saturday, 9:30–11:30 a.m. $18/adult-child pair; preregister. Ages 2–5 with caregiver. Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle. uwbotanicgardenscatalog.org ONGOING EVENT Tugboat Story Time. Get your sea legs on and board a tugboat for stories and fun. Second and fourth Thursdays of the month, 11 a.m. FREE. Ages 2–5 with caregiver. Center for Wooden Boats, Seattle. cwb.org ONGOING EVENT
Northwest Paddling Festival. Get out on the water and demo kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. Friday–Saturday, May 12–13. Free entry; $10/day for tours and demos. All ages. Lake Sammamish State Park. northwestpaddlingfestival.com Everfree Northwest. Every pony will love this family-friendly, all-ages convention for My Little Pony fans. Friday–Sunday, May 12–14. $10–$35; ages 12 and under free with paid adult. Doubletree Hotel, SeaTac. everfreenw.com
Remlinger Farms Opening Weekend. Celebrate moms with a day out at the fun park with a real steam train, hay maze, pony rides and more. Saturday–Sunday, May 13–14. $11.75–$13.75; under age 1 free. Carnation. remlingerfarms.com Half-price Moms’ Day. Marvel at the Washed Ashore exhibit pieces, visit the critters and celebrate Mom. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Moms half-price at the gate. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma. pdza.org
The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margaret and H.A. Rey. Exhibit connects a beloved character to history. Wednesday, Sunday through May 24. $5–$10 suggested donation; reservations required. Holocaust Center for Humanity, Seattle. holocaustcenterseattle.org Syttende Mai in Ballard. Celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day with FREE admission to the Nordic Heritage Museum all day and the popular 6 p.m. Syttende Mai parade. Seattle. 17thofmay.org
Movie Day. Enjoy a morning family movie with the prerequisite popcorn; check Facebook page for titles. 10 a.m. FREE. Belltown Community Center, Seattle. seattle.gov Third Thursday at Tacoma Museums. Romp (gently) around the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum FREE on third Thursday evenings. museumofglass.org, tacomaartmuseum.org, washingtonhistory.org
Tot Shabbat. Gather with other families to celebrate with songs and snacks; play time after. 9:45–10:30 a.m. FREE. Ages 0–5 with adult. Stroum Jewish Community Center, Mercer Island. sjcc.org Fairyfest. Enjoy all things fairy including Celtic music, dancing, art and a stroll to find over 60 fairy houses around the garden. Friday–Sunday, May 19–21. $7–$9; ages 11 and under free. Lakewold Gardens, Lakewood. lakewoldgardens.org
The Jim Henson Exhibition; Imagination Unlimited. Visit old friends from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock and more at this dynamic, interactive exhibit. Daily, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. See website for special pricing. Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle. mopop.org Bear Camp. Learn all about our formidable Northwest neighbors and how to live peacefully alongside them. 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Included with admission. Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Eatonville. nwtrek.org
Toddler Tales & Trails. Kids and caregivers enjoy story time and a short nature hike. Wednesday, Saturday; 10–11 a.m. $2. Ages 2–5 with caregiver. Seward Park Audubon Center, Seattle. sewardpark.audubon.org ONGOING EVENT Story Time for Kids. Get comfy and listen to great new and classic stories. Wednesday, 11 a.m. FREE. Ages 3–7 with caregiver. University Bookstore, Mill Creek. ubookstore.com ONGOING EVENT
Build it! Get ready to build with blocks, Legos, train sets and more. Thursdays through June 1, 9:30 a.m.–noon. FREE. Ages 2–5 with adult. Magnuson Community Center, Seattle. seattle.gov Active Dads Playgroup. Socialize with other dads, babies and kids every Thursday, 10 a.m.–noon. FREE. Dads with children. Neighborhood House High Point, Seattle. nhwa.org ONGOING EVENT
Northwest Folklife Festival. Iconic festival showcases a huge array of talent including performances especially for kids. Friday–Monday, May 26–29. $10/person or $20/family suggested donation. Seattle Center. nwfolklife.org Fishnapped! In the audience you’ll help solve this world-premiere musical mystery. Friday–Sunday through June 4. $13–$19. All ages. Olympia Family Theater. olyft.org
Wild Waves Opening Weekend. Take advantage of early-season ticket prices and start the summer with a splash. Saturday– Monday, May 27–29. $17 and up; ages 3 and under free. Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, Federal Way. wildwaves.com Tankfest Northwest. Just like it sounds! Admire tanks, military vehicles and things that go boom. 9 a.m.–4 p.m. $7–$15; ages 5 and under free. Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, Everett. flyingheritage.com
31 Lil’ Diggers Playtime. Behold the enormous sandbox of kids’ dreams. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday; 9:30–11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. $8. Ages 5 and under with adult. Sandbox Sports, Seattle. sandboxsports.net ONGOING EVENT Wild Wednesday. The last Wednesday of the month enjoy free admission to this fun indoor play space with a food bank donation of at least two items. 9 a.m.–8 p.m. FREE with donation. Ages 1–14. PlayDate SEA, Seattle. playdatesea.com
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MAESTROS An informal concert series especially for children ages 2-8 and their grown-ups!
Wacky, Wild World of Percussion Featuring Percussion Ensemble April 30 | 2:30 p.m.
Peter and the Wolf Featuring full Symphony Sarah Ioannides, conductor May 21 | 2:30 p.m.
plus box office fees
Held in Schneebeck Concert Hall, University of Puget Sound, 14th and Union, Tacoma. Arrive one hour early for instrument petting zoo! (No petting zoo for Peter and the Wolf)
Purchase tickets today: SymphonyTacoma.org | 253-591-5894 Series sponsor:
Presented by Bellevue Parks & Community Services Bellevue Youth Theatre
May 12–21, 2017
Bellevue Youth Theatre 16051 NE 10th Street, Bellevue
Advance tickets: $12. After May 8 tickets will be $15. All seats are reserved and we do sell out. Buying your tickets early is highly recommended.
For group rates and special pricing, show information or tickets, call Sheila Framke at the BYT Box Office, 425-452-7155.
28 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
3/20/17 10:00 AM
out + about
SYTTENDE W MAI Ballard’s annual parade is one of the largest such events outside Norway
BY DAYTONA STRONG
hile kids have to wait quite a while for the sequel to Frozen, this month they can satisfy their Nordic-minded imaginations at one of the largest Syttende Mai parades outside of Norway. Seattle’s 17th of May Festival draws thousands of spectators to Ballard each year. Marking the signing of Norway’s constitution, the daylong event celebrates Seattle’s rich Scandinavian history. In a time of rapid change in our city — and as Seattle’s connection to its Scandinavian past is growing more distant — Syttende Mai is something every Seattle-area family should experience at least once, no matter your heritage. It’s one of the region’s most entertaining festivals for families. We’ll get to the schedule of events in a moment — think parade! music! Norwegian
True Nordic: celebrating Seattle’s Scandinavian history PHOTO COURTESY SEATTLE SYTTENDE MAI / MARTIN NG
hot dogs! — but first it’s helpful to know more about the event. Syttende Mai, also known as Grunnlovsdagen, commemorates the signing of Norway’s constitution in Eidsvoll in 1814. It is important to Norway, but it’s also significant here in Seattle. Seattle has hosted Syttende Mai festivities since 1889, the year Washington was admitted to the union. Around that time, nearly a quarter of the immigrants in the area were of Scandinavian descent. The parade attracts approximately 10,000 people and always takes place on May 17, no matter the day of the week. (This year it’s on a Wednesday.) It’s a tradition for many families, including mine. Because I am a fullblooded Norwegian who grew up in Seattle (my dad came from Norway as a preteen, parentmap.com • May 2017 • 29
Syttende Mai continued from page 29 and my mom is Norwegian by way of North Dakota), Syttende Mai has been part of my life ever since I can remember. As a child, I’d dress up for the parade in a pint-sized “bunad” (Norwegian folk costume) with its thick black skirt, decorative bodice, crisp white shirt and an ornate “sølje” pinned to my chest like a broach. One year, I even made it onto the front page of the Ballard News-Tribune dressed in my little costume, gripping a Norwegian flag in my chubby hand. Attending with my parents and both sets of grandparents, decked out in colors of the Norwegian flag, filled me with a joyful sense of belonging.
NAVIGATING SYTTENDE MAI The festival kicks off in the morning with activities such as a tractor-led train ride, fjord horse viewings and crafts at the Nordic Heritage Museum (free admission that day). Bergen Place Park, at the corner of N.W. Market Street and 22nd Avenue N.W., hosts Scandinavian music and entertainment. Kids can learn traditional songs (sung in both Norwegian and English) and participate in a sing-along. The evening parade streams through Ballard’s main streets (find the route in the sidebar, “Parade primer”) starting at 6 p.m. Various schools and organizations — those with ties to Nordic culture and those without — participate. You’ll see marching bands and drill teams, Viking ships, classic cars and plenty of people in traditional dress in this huge show of both heritage and community celebration. This year’s honorary marshals are two longtime festival supporters: Leona Olson, who recently retired from the Syttende Mai committee, and Galen Thomaier, director of the Last Resort Fire Department. “Both of these people are longtime supporters and participants in our 128 years of celebrating Syttende Mai in Seattle,” says Laura Hanson, 30 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
parade organizer. (At the time of this writing, the grand marshal had not yet been announced.) “In a time of great flux and a rapid pace of development, I think all ethnic festivals are very important: They remind us of where we come from, our history and how it relates to the present landscape,” says Lori Ann Reinhall, president of the Seattle Bergen Sister City Association and music director for Syttende Mai. “In the case of the Ballard neighborhood, this message has a particular urgency,” she continues. “[But] with the current political climate, this message is even more important: We are all immigrants with a past to be proud of, a past that has helped shape the city to be what it is today.” n Daytona Strong writes about food, family and Scandinavian heritage at her blog, Outside Oslo (outside-oslo.com), and is the food editor for The Norwegian American.
parade primer SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
10 a.m.–5 p.m. Barneleker, children’s activites and crafts at the Nordic Heritage Museum (free admission) Noon–6 p.m. Music entertainment at Bergen Place Park Noon–2 p.m. Traditional Norwegian lunch at Leif Erikson Lodge ($35 per person, tickets available in advance) 3–5:30 p.m. Nordic Café at Leif Erikson Lodge (food and drinks for purchase) 6–8 p.m. Parade
PARADE ROUTE TIPS
Get there early to find a spot! According to the Syttende Mai website, the parade begins at the corner of N.W. 62nd Street and 24th Avenue N.W. The route follows south to Market Street and eastward to Bergen Place Park, then turns right onto 22nd Avenue N.W., continues south down Ballard Avenue and ends at N.W. Ione Place. Find more on the route and a full schedule of events at 17thofmay.org.
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Syttende Mai continued from page 30
more Scandi spots
There are plenty of other ways to explore Seattle’s Scandi heritage. While a number of Scandinavian businesses have closed over the years (locals might remember Olsen’s and the Copper Gate in Ballard, to name just a couple), others are still thriving.
Just north of Ballard High School, this shop sells Scandinavian cheeses; smoked, cured, and salted fish and meats; specialty candies; and an assortment of pantry staples. Also find home decor, clothing, books and a café: Try the “smørrebrød,” or open sandwiches, and the Solo (a favorite Norwegian orangeflavored soda I remember drinking at Syttende Mai parades back in my youth). 6719 15th Ave. N.W., scanspecialties.com
C A M P S
A TRIO OF BAKERIES
In north Ballard, Larsen’s Danish Bakery bakes specialties such as cloud-like cardamom buns and almond kringle (8000 24th Ave. N.W., larsensbakery.com). You’ll also find excellent pastries at Byen Bakeri (15 Nickerson St., byenbakeri.com) and Nielsen’s Pastries in Lower Queen Anne (520 Second Ave. W., nielsenspastries.com).
On Dexter Avenue North in downtown Seattle, the Swedish Club offers events such as a family-friendly Friday Kafé with meatballs (to rival Ikea’s) and Scandi “smörgås” (sandwiches) and dinners (no membership required), as well as some of the best views of Lake Union (to rival Canlis’ — don’t tell!). 1920 Dexter Ave. N., swedishclubnw.org
OLD BALLARD LIQUOR CO. (AND CAFÉ)
This is one for the parents. The artisan nano-distillery produces a variety of aquavits, and both the deli and the café menu highlight its Scandinavian heritage along with local producers. Note: Hours are variable; check the website or call. 4421 Shilshole Ave. N.W., oldballardliquorco.com
NORDIC HERITAGE MUSEUM
Not-to-miss family events include a monthly Nordic storytelling time and Pippi Day!, an annual celebration of Pippi Longstocking that takes place in April. The museum will close later this year to prepare for a move to a brand-new Market Street building, which is scheduled to open in 2018. 3014 N.W. 67th St., nordicmuseum.org
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out + about
4-H in From dog training to
STEM, urban 4-H clubs offer hands-on learning BY MALIA JACOBSON
n a wintry Sunday night in early January, a few dozen parents and kids from a Pierce County 4-H club fill out a cavernous church basement in Tacoma’s North Slope neighborhood. The monthly meeting of the “Amocat” (Tacoma spelled backward) club is a group potluck; parents mingle over homemade butternut squash soup and kale salad as kids scarf down the last remaining slices of pizza. Soon, the kids — aged third grade through middle school — are conducting group business, calling a vote on a pressing matter, running through the club’s finances and issuing reminders about an upcoming snowshoeing trip to Cle Elum. Parents chat on the sidelines, ushering a few younger siblings into side room where “Cloverbuds,” or 4-Hers-intraining ages 5 through 7, work on a craft project during the meeting. (4-H is open to kids 8 to 18; Cloverbuds is a low-pressure group with fewer responsibilities than a 4-H club.) The meeting ends with 4-H members breaking off into groups of six to eight to talk about their projects — smaller subgroups meet every couple of weeks to focus on a specific interest or hobby, in this case, sewing, rocketry and cooking. Parent (or grandparent) volunteers schedule and lead these smaller meetings. These small groups are where the skill building in 4-H — head, heart, hands and health — takes place, and the subject matter may surprise some. Amocat’s projects range from robotics to coding to digital photography, with nary a large animal to be seen; kids can join as many projects as they’d like, for as long as they want. Amocat is what’s informally known as an “urban” 4-H club, or one without an agricultural focus.
34 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
The Amocat group isn’t an oddity: About 1.8 million of 4-H’s nearly 6 million participants live in urban communities; 1.6 million are suburbanites; and 2.6 million reside in rural areas. Now the country’s largest youth development organization, 4-H has a century-long history that is steeped in agriculture and rural farming — the first club grew tomatoes and corn in the early 1900s in Clark County, Ohio. In 1914, the passage of the Smith-Lever Act formed the cooperative extension program through the USDA, creating a means of support for 4-H clubs nationally. Regardless of locale, 4-Hers reap some significant benefits: Tufts University’s Positive Youth Development Survey, a longitudinal study of 7,000 youths begun in 2002, found that 4-Hers are four times more likely to give back to their communities, twice as likely to be civically active, twice as likely to participate in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) activities outside of school, and less likely to be sexually active in high school.
Finding urban 4-H Both the family-friendly, bring-all-yourkids group meetings and the focus on child-led learning and leadership appealed to the Mingus family of Tacoma, Amocat members since the fall of 2015. When Rebekah Mingus started scouting out extracurricular activities for her oldest daughter, Katie, now in third grade, she knew what she wanted: something without religious underpinnings, something that wouldn’t bury the family’s calendar under an avalanche PHOTO COURTESY REBEKAH MINGUS / AMOCAT 4-H
the city 4-H club sampler “Urban” 4-H club projects range from urban farming to dog training to STEM. Here’s a sampling of clubs in our region. Find a club and join 4-H at 4-h.org/find or extension.wsu. edu/king/4-h/join.
daughter Katie conquer her sewing machine. Now on her third sewing project, she’s pieced together a complex quilt and isn’t being sidelined by bent needles or snarled thread. “I’m a lot better at threading my machine now, and at fixing my machine, too,” she says.
Dollars and sense of meetings, something inclusive and not genderspecific, and something that promoted enjoyment and skill mastery rather than rank. Most 4-H groups meet at least every other month with smaller, projectcentered group meetings usually held a couple of times per month. A friend told Mingus about a 4-H group composed mostly of families from Tacoma’s public Montessori community. It sounded like a good fit, and it was. “4-H seems to focus more on cooperation with other club members, and less on competition,” she says. “There’s no race to obtain a rank, badge or station.” There’s no finish line for learning in 4-H, says Brian Brandt, 4-H faculty lead for WSU Pierce County Extension. Many similar programs give kids a taste of a potential hobby, he says, but once the kids demonstrate proficiency, they move on to something else. “With 4-H, you can keep coming back to cooking or sewing or photography to develop mastery over the years,” he says. The focus on lifelong learning is helping Mingus’
Through a mix of public and private funding, 4-H offers experiences that might otherwise be out of reach for many kids, like access to robotics or rocketry gear or travel to STEM conferences. Brandt and his counterparts in other county cooperative extension offices actively seek out grants to supplement USDA and state dollars. For projects like Katie’s exploration of sewing, families pay a nominal supply fee, generally less than $20; 4-H membership is only $15 annually; and the cost is waived for families that can’t afford it. Affordability is part of 4-H’s appeal, says Mingus. “With three kids, we can’t pay to play constantly,” she says. “With 4-H, there are no uniforms or badges to purchase, and often grants cover things like outings, cameras and laptops for the kids to use.” At the club level, kids can choose to raise funds based on their group’s goals, but they don’t have to participate in any council-led fundraiser, says Kevin Wright, a 4-H youth development faculty member for King County. “If clubs choose to fundraise for their expenses, they aren’t expected to share funds with any upper-level organization.” >>
Cooped Up in Seattle (Facebook, “Cooped Up In Seattle 4H”): urban farming A Book of Adventure: sewing, cooking and science
Eyes of the Future (Facebook, “Vashon Eyes Of The Future”): training guide dogs
Igniting Magnificent Minds: science and technology
Botsmiths (botsmiths.org): robotics
Esprit de Corps (edc4h.org): computers, model railroads, small animals
Master Builder Robotics (Facebook, “Master Builder Robotics,” a closed group): science and robotics
Puppy Power (puppypower4h. wordpress.com); training service dogs
Teen Leaders of Tomorrow (extension.wsu.edu/king/4-h/ join); youth leadership
Better Basics; robotics and science
parentmap.com • May 2017 • 35
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This financial flexibility has allowed 4-H groups to thrive in unique situations. Tina Reeves leads the Canine Connections 4-H group at the Echo Glen juvenile detention center in Snoqualmie; it’s an offshoot of the Puppy Power club based in Woodinville. In the program, nine live-in teen inmates, a mix of boys and girls, rehabilitate nine shelter dogs marked for euthanasia through a mix of daily training and cognitive behavioral therapy. After two months of training, the dogs are adopted through PetFinder. com. Thanks to public and private funding, members’ parents don’t pay any fees for participation, says Reeves. For science- and tech-based clubs, like the Master Builder Robotics club in Auburn and the Better Basics 1:54 PM computer club in Redmond, 4-H grants help cover supply fees for technology that might otherwise be prohibitive. And the results are priceless: “I’ve seen the toughest-exterior kids build love and empathy with their dog,” says Reeves. “They’re learning that you can accomplish positive goals without using any force.” 4-H isn’t right for everyone, of course. Families seeking a gender-specific experience — say, mom-daughter or father-son bonding — or a structured club for kids under 8 may want to look elsewhere, since 4-H tends to mix boys and girls and ramps up after age 8. “I’ve always encouraged parents to not just do 4-H,” says Brandt. Referring to the Tufts youth development survey results, he notes, “We know that kids who participate in 4-H along with other activities have the best outcomes.” n
Malia Jacobson is a Tacoma-based freelance writer. 36 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
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ages + stages
Getting kids to do their (other) homework How to motivate kids to help around the house without having to ask By Jessica Murphy Moo
n her TED talk “How to raise successful kids — without over-parenting,” author Julie Lythcott-Haims highlights two important factors in a child’s early life that predict success in adulthood. First: The child grew up in a loving home. No real surprise there. Second (and perhaps not quite as intuitive): The child grew up doing chores. That’s right. It’s not socio-economic status, not education, not I.Q. Although those factors can and do play a part in a person’s successes, Lythcott-Haims, a former counselor at Stanford University, believes it is more beneficial to teach our children the long-term value of chores.
DeGaetano says, call them “contributions,” because when we contribute to something, “we feel a sense of belonging.” (Think about organizations where you volunteer or to which you donate; you give to a group with which you want to be associated.) This mindset also moves the child away from “I’m
Rebranding First, stop using the word “chores,” says Gloria DeGaetano, founder and director of Parent Coach International. Instead,
When DeGaetano’s boys were ages 3 and 5, she was a single working mom. She made it to Friday evening crawling to the finish. Still, she wanted to wake up to a clean home on Saturday morning. So, every Friday night she’d put on music and let the boys ride the vacuum. Together, the trio would dust, dance and pick up toys. Pizza was usually involved, before or after. “I made it fun and joyful and a bonding experience,” she says. Bonus: DeGaetano’s sons grew into teen boys who kept clean rooms. While DeGaetano says this ritual was a “happy mistake,” we can all learn from it. Work together. The adult needs to model the behavior. “Kids are really perceptive to adult moods and attitudes,” Osborn says. “If your attitude is avoidance, if it’s something you don’t like doing, they will pick up on that.” If you’re all in it together, you also have more opportunity to encourage each other.
Time to roll up the kiddos’ sleeves. For those of you who’ve already taught your children to pitch in, my hat is off to you. You’ve given them skills that will not When we only help your home (and perhaps save contribute your sanity), but to something, you’ve taught them an attitude that will we feel a serve them well as adults because they sense of will understand the belonging concept of giving back. For the rest of us who are sheepishly uncrumpling the half-finished chore chart from the trash can (which we, not our children, empty weekly), read on. It’s well worth trying again, and there may a method or two you haven’t tried before.
Start ’em young
Designate time every day/week.
Having a routine sets up the expectation and helps you stick with it, while also allowing time for practice. A 3-year-old probably wasn’t the most magnificent duster in the beginning, but he’d always have another opportunity around the corner.
doing this because Mommy or Daddy said so” and toward “I help out because in our home, everyone pitches in.” North Seattle Community College parent instructor Glen Osborn agrees; belonging and learning to help others are the end goals of kids doing chores. He also says that a lot of skill building has to happen first, and the earlier we start, the easier it may be in the long run.
Use music. “Music is golden,” says Osborn. Many preschools have a special “cleanup song.” If your children have music they love, you can incorporate it as an incentive. My family’s current go-to tunes: the Trolls soundtrack and KEXPFM’s Saturday-morning show Positive Vibrations. Make it fun. Is this always possible? No. But if you
can make it entertaining, it’ll be an easier sell for the young set. Sometimes pulling a piece of paper from a hat or rolling dice to see who gets which item on the list can give a task enough of a spin. Or add a little parentmap.com • May 2017 • 39
ages + stages Getting kids to do their (other) homework continued from page 39 Some daily, some monthly. In Osborn’s family,
competition. Heck, even “gross” can be fun. I once put “toilets” on the list, thinking I’d be the one to do them, and both my 4- and 7-year-old wanted in on the toilet brush. (I had to supervise very closely.)
everyone drew lots once a month for the really grimy tasks, and whoever drew the short straw had that task for the month. The kids were always allowed to trade chores outright, which, he says, helped them with their negotiation skills.
You don’t need a chore chart. There are
lots of chore charts and apps out there with reward systems. If they work for you, I don’t think anyone’s going to tell you that you’re doing something wrong. (The goal is to do the chores, right? Plus, Osborn notes, allowance for out-of-the-norm chores can help with the older set as they begin to learn about money.) Still, both DeGaetano and Osborn advise caution with external motivation. As they point out, adults fulfill tasks without compensation every day. It’s the sense of responsibility that drives us, not the reward.
Pay attention to what your child gravitates toward. One child may be
great at making her bed, while the other prefers getting food ready for the next day’s lunch box. One of Osborn’s sons really liked food shopping when he was younger; now he has his license, and Osborn can text him the list.
And here are a few other ideas for the younger set: Keep the directions simple. Take it slowly. Let your kids master one skill at a time. Remember that if not everything has a designated place to go, the directions “put away your toys” may not be so simple. (I have learned this the hard way.)
Talk about the results.
Keep it up
Narrate what you’re doing. This might feel silly, but this practice can help a child recognize the small steps that add up to a completed task as well as help to convey how you feel about the end result. (“When we put the Legos away, the floor is clear, so no one will step on them and hurt their feet. That makes me happy!”)
Use “if/then” statements. In the jargon
what they think needs to get done and what they want to contribute. If they’ve had a hand in choosing the task, they are far more likely to complete it. I admit I had to hold my tongue when my daughter suggested the chore “put art on the walls.” I almost said, “Nice try — that’s not a chore,” but I looked up at our empty walls and realized it was a good idea. Will she get to do that every week? No. But it got her interested.
of early childhood education, this is called “priming” — you’re giving your kids a heads-up. If you notice, for instance, that it’s nearing time for a library trip but your child has made a mess, you might say, “If we want to go to the library, then we’ll need to start putting these things away.” Time it. For younger children with shorter
attention spans, don’t assign tasks that take hours. Keep it short and sweet. 40 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
The “huddle.” Both Osborn and DeGaetano
advocate a weekly family meeting. Osborn’s family used these meetings to divvy up the chores and to reflect: How did that go? Would I do it differently? Is there another way? Give your children autonomy. Ask them
My good friend and neighbor Hue Ho, a middle school science teacher and mom of two children, likes to make sure her children know how they’ve helped. “I’ll tell them, ‘Because you helped, we have 15 minutes free to read together.’” She also reminds them that they clean up to “make space,” which means more space to play. The chore becomes a win-win. Meeting “la résistance.” Let’s be realistic
here. There will be pushback. DeGaetano suggests backing off if a child resists. See what else they might want to do. If we think more long term, the process becomes less about the power play and more about encouraging the habit. “We want to help the child feel autonomy, ownership and responsibility,” she says. “We want them to find their sense of self — that’s the North Star.” n Jessica Murphy Moo is a writer, editor and teacher based in Seattle.
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Chores for 3- to 5-year-olds • Put away toys • Interpretive dusting and sweeping • Set the table (with unbreakable plates) • Clear the unbreakables ssist in making the bed •A ut clothes in the laundry •P ake items from the washing •T machine and put them into the dryer ind pairs of socks •F ut away the vegetables •P after a shopping trip (pull the crisper out from the fridge so they can reach)
Chores for 6- to 10-year-olds
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• Remove lunch box from backpack after school emove important paperwork •R like homework and permission slips and put in a designated place •P rep food or snacks for the following day • Lay out clothes for the next day •C hoose a meal and do the shopping (then create that meal together) •W ash counters/wipe down table eed and/or walk •F the pet ake bed •M • Sweep • Vacuum •W ash floor •C lean walls ake out the trash •T
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24 years of staging original musicals for children
•C lean out said lunch box
DRAMA • MUSIC • ART • DANCE Session One: July 10 - 28 Session Two: July 31 - August 18 206-499-5787
WILDERNESS AWARENESS SCHOOL
ParentMap Quarter Page 201701 (FA1).pdf 1 1/4/2017 2:06:19 PM
• Fantastic Field1/12/17 Trips 3:58 PM CMY • Day Camp • Small Group K Activities • Experienced Staﬀ • Enrichment Classes
DAY - and - OVERNIGHT
SUMMER CAMPS SEATTLE & EASTSIDE LOCATIONS AGES 4 TO 18
Mon, June 26 – Fri, August 26 Online registration begins March 1 Open enrollment ages 5 – 15 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, #242 206-632-7154
Winner of ParentMap’s Golden Teddy award for
BEST NATURE CAMP SIX YEARS IN A ROW! wildernessawareness.org
parentmap.com • May 2017 • 41
C A M P S
A C T I V I T I E S
6th Annual Camp for Singers entering 3rd-9th grade the 2017-2018 school year
August 14-17, 2017 www.rainieryouthchoirs.com
SPRING WITH SAM Kids and their grownups learn and discover at SAM!
4/12/17 9:57 AM
FIND YOUR RHYTHM! All ages and skill levels | Year-round music classes and lessons Private instruction on 21 instruments and voice COMMUNITY MUSIC DEPARTMENT | 253.879.3575 | email@example.com
FREE FIRST SATURDAY SAT MAY 6, 11 AM–2 PM Miller Community Center
Create mixed media sculptures inspired by the urban landscapes of Seattle and the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest.
FAMILY FUN WORKSHOP: YOUNG ARTISTS SAT MAY 13, 10 AM–NOON Seattle Art Museum
Globe Trotting: Cities Near and Far! Ages 6–10 & Caregivers
Travel the globe through art then work in the studio to create your own 3-D city! Includes a sketching tour of the galleries.
visitsam.org/families Join the fun! facebook.com/groups/SAMFamilies SAMkids Media Sponsor
Photo: Robert Wade
42 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
C A M P S Summer camps that teach life skills
A C T I V I T I E S
Nowadays, preschools have waiting lists, and high schools have entrance exams. High-stakes testing has parents booking tutors, and schools reconsidering recess. But when our kids finally reach that vaunted goal — college — will they be eating Top Ramen in unwashed clothes, wondering how to make dinner, patch their clothes or pay the electric bill? Never fear: There are summer camps for that. These camps aim to prevent this parental nightmare by introducing kids to practical building blocks that stack up to real-life skills, from carpentry to finance. This summer, why not introduce your kid to the lost arts of adulting? Get planning. parentmap.com/camp-life-skills — Gemma Alexander
Enroll now ages 5-14 • In Woodinville
SUMMER MM MER R CAMPS CAMPS
Musical Theatre. Acting. Singing. Dance. VILLAGEKIDSTAGE.ORG ISSAQUAH EVERETT
Pony Paradise Rides 2017
Summer Day Camp
• Daily horse + pony instruction and ride time • Farm life skills (farming,animal care) • Group play, activities + games • Arts + crafts • Enroll NOW • Ages 5-14 • In Woodinville
• Preschool • Swim Lessons • Before & After School Program
4/17/17 12:12 PM
• Summer Camp • Fitness Classes
3/7/14 10:45 AM
parentmap.com • May 2017 • 43
C A M P S
A C T I V I T I E S
SUMMER CAMPS FOR ALL AGES! DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY TODAY! 0517_living_wisdom_1-16.indd 1
Seattle’s bestkept secrets Outdoor adventures, free outings, parenting solutions for every age Sign up for ParentMap eNews: parentmap. com/enews
Parenting Solutions for Every Age Sign up for weekly eNews:
4/10/17 0517_enews1_1-16.indd 3:19 PM 1
4/19/17 11:13 AM
Destination Science The fun science day camp for curious kids!
There’s a camp for every camper, from art tto zoo!
Save $10/wk! Ends May 31st
Multiple King County Locations! destinationscience.org 888-909-2822
44 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
C A M P S Frustration, Discouragement, Overwhelm?
Summer is Time for Change
A C T I V I T I E S
Ease, Conﬁdence, Success!
Empowering the next generation of tech makers + thinkers.
Your child deserves solutions that get to the root of struggles. We treat academic, attention, processing, executive function, and related issues that have prevented your bright child from ﬂourishing in school.
Lehman Learning Solutions Seattle 206-526-8560
4/17/17 12:10 PM
SAVE $75 Discount code: SPM17 Kids and teens follow their passion for technology at Digital Media Academy STEM summer camps. Save $75 on an unforgettable summer experience learning Programming, Filmmaking, Music Production, Robotics, 3D Printing, Game Design, and more!
Visit www.DigitalMediaAcademy.org to register. Offer expires 5/31/17.
June 19 – August 25 3 – 14 years old SUMMER PROGRAMS YMCA OF SNOHOMISH COUNTY YMCA-SNOCO.ORG/CAMP
4/15/17 5:19 PM
Learning & Enrichment Outdoor Education Performing Arts Fine Arts Sports Day Camps
Find registration information online: www.evergreenschool.org THE EVERGREEN SCHOOL
15201 M 15201 Meridian eridi idian A Avenue venue N N,, Sh Shoreli Shoreline line 99813 98133 81333 206-364-2650 | www.evergreenschool.org
parentmap.com • May 2017 • 45
someone you should know
Kimberly Arthur offers compassion to go How a Seattle Children’s clinical research scientist helps parents thrive By Elisabeth Kramer • Photograph by Will Austin
imberly Arthur carries her twin daughters with her all day long. Almost 4, they grin widely from the side of their mom’s custom coffee mug. Born at 26 weeks, the two were in the hospital for five months after birth. When they did come home, they brought oxygen tanks and surgically placed feeding tubes. Soon, one of Arthur’s daughters returned to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with permanent hearing loss; she now has a cochlear implant and hearing aid. It was, Arthur admits, a lot. “We initially had five therapy sessions a week,” she says, acknowledging that her family was lucky to have ready access to such options. Still, “that was five hours a week of people recommending so many different things to practice with two different babies who had oxygen tanks and feeding tubes.” So, Arthur understands the benefit of “compassion to go,” a concept she learned in the Mindful SelfCompassion course at the University of Washington’s Center for Child and Family Well-Being (depts. washington.edu/ccfwb). Arthur took the course in March 2016 and soon realized how its principles could profoundly aid the parents she saw at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Arthur is a clinical research scientist. Explain ‘compassion to go.’ What does that expression mean? I am actually borrowing that expression from my teacher, Yaffa Maritz. I fully believe in the value of [meditating], but it’s so hard to do that . . . and you can’t replace the hard feelings that come up or make them completely go away. Compassion to go is about giving yourself some compassion or acceptance for the fact that you’re feeling them . . . and that you don’t have to be the perfect parent. Tell me about the self-compassion course. Why do you need to adapt it? The main reason for adapting ‘Mindful SelfCompassion’ is because [the original course] is eight classes plus a retreat. I think for parents it can be hard to make that kind of
46 • May 2017 • parentmap.com
She and her team are now adapting that curriculum (pulse.seattle childrens.org/finding-strength-for-the-long-haul), originally developed by Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, for parents of children who have health conditions or disabilities. As a first step, her team hosted a short parent self-compassion course this spring to try out some of the activities and gather feedback. Arthur and her colleagues Kathryn Thurber-Smith, Krista Hanson and Ron Rabin lead the team that’s adapting the curriculum. They hope to offer their self-compassion course in the fall. Arthur says, right now, she’s just happy to get parents in the same room. “Being able to bring those parents together . . . they’re going to learn so much from each other.” n
commitment, but add being a parent who has [a child with] a health condition or who has a disability — there are a lot of reasons why it’s even harder to get out. What’s the long-term goal of the course? Will all parents be able to take it? My long-term goal is to do research to evaluate the course . . . [Research would ask,] ‘Is the class effective at reducing parenting stress and improving mental health?’. . . Ultimately, the goal would be to have a measurable benefit for both parents and their children. We want it to be available to parents who are coming from all different backgrounds. Someday we may look into culturally tailoring it for a specific group [of participants]. . . I hope that what we’re learning here about
If you’re interested in learning more about the selfcompassion course and Arthur’s work, she invites you to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Elisabeth Kramer is associate editor at ParentMap. Editor’s note: Join ParentMap on a year-long conversation to explore how families and schools can nurture empathy, mindfulness and kindness. parentmap.com/raisingkind
how to design a course with parents, for parents . . . I’m hoping that other people can replicate that later. Of course, not all of our readers will have access to or necessarily need a class like this. What would you want them to know? Any parent — any person! — can benefit from the concepts of mindful selfcompassion . . . The most important concept is being aware of how critical we are of ourselves. As a parent, catch yourself when you’re being critical of yourself and in that moment, think about what a close friend or family member would say. Chances are they would tell you that you’re doing a great job, that you’re a great mom or an amazing dad.
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,cause parenting is a trip!
TEMPLE DE HIRSCH SINAI, SEATTLE
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Spring is here! Is your yard ready?
PRE-SEASON SAVINGS EVENT GOING ON NOW Bring the kids to your LOCAL Seattle area showroom! The Backyard Factory â€“ Family Owned and Operated
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