Page 1


January 2016



Tips to help kids sleep RI focusing on reading Food allergies on the rise

The State of the Children An annual look at how Rhode Island kids are doing

Audrey Hope Peckham, 6 months, of Warren



Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine



Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Contents January 2016 / vol. 1 / no. 6



6 A Note from the Publisher A look back and ahead.

11 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Facts you may not know.


12 My Turn Were things better back then? 14 The Healthy Child Dangerous allergies.

16 Education Improving reading in RI.

22 Ask Dr. Day Care Your questions answered.

24 Kid of the Month Thankful for art.

28 Calendar Things to do in January.


26 Directory of Advertisers They make the magazine possible and keep it free. Give them some love!

Features 8 Cover Feature:

The State of RI's Children

A look at RI’s kids and how they are doing

18 Sleep and Kids

How much do children need at different ages?

On the web

We are working on our website and the magazine is available digitally online (great for tablet, phone, or computer), and you can join our Facebook page. Visit and

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


A Note from the Publisher


nd suddenly, it’s 2016! I don’t know about you, but this year flew by for me. It feels like yesterday, but was actually last January, that I had the vision for Rhode Island Parent Magazine and sat in classes at the Center for Women and Enterprise in Providence trying to learn everything I didn’t know about running a small business. I have been a writer for pretty much all of my career: newspaper reporting, non-profit fundraising, freelancing, and copy writing the advertising and marketing for two international corporations. But running a magazine has definitely been a new challenge. I’ve made many mistakes but overall, it seems to be going well. What do you think? As we head into our sixth issue and the new year, it seems like a good time to take stock of things. I think we can all agree that the magazine’s look and feel is fantastic. This is due to two super people – Rob Kenney, who developed the design and works hard every month to keep it beautiful, and Kimberly Dobosz, who takes the spectacular photos on our covers. Watching Kim work with Rhode Island kids to bring out their inner models is a real treat. You should definitely consider using Kim for your family’s photos! Contact her at I am also constantly thinking about the content inside the magazine. I hope the sections and topics have been of interest to you, and with your input, I can continue to improve the content. What do you want to read about in 2016? Take a survey on our website,, or contact me directly at By the way, the magazine only reads so well because of our eagle-eyed copy editor, Sheila Flanagan. When I’ve looked at the articles so much I can no longer see typos, that’s when Sheila works her magic. Perhaps the most gratifying part of all this is the advertisers who trust us to get their important messages out. Each month, more businesses are contacting us to advertise. In the new year, I renew my pledge to help our advertisers be successful. And here’s something exciting coming up next month – our first Camp Guide! So while you bundle up this winter, you can dream about what your kids will be able to do when the weather is warm again. Here’s to a happy, healthy 2016!

Susan Gale


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

57 Rolfe Square, Suite 10094 Cranston, Rhode Island 02910 (401) 337-9240 Publisher/Editor Susan Gale Art Director/Graphic Designer Rob Kenney Copy Editor Sheila Flanagan Business Manager Lisa Koulibaly Advertising Sales (401) 337-9240 On the cover: photo by Kimberly Dobosz of Kimberly Dobosz Photography. Publisher photo taken by Keith Jochim. Rhode Island Parent Magazine is published monthly by Gale Force Communications. Unless specifically noted, no advertisers, products, or services are endorsed by the publisher. Editorial submissions welcome.

©2016 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

Like us on Facebook and Twitter: @RIParentMag

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Cover Story By Susan Gale

The State of

Rhode Island’s



wenty percent of Rhode Island’s population are children under age 18. This equals about 212,000 kids. We decided to do our first annual State of the Children report to look at the makeup of RI children and get some idea of how they are doing. We’ve chosen several markers of measurement based on working with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health, safety, education, economic well-being, and development of Rhode Island's children. The organization regularly releases data- and researchdriven publications about the state’s children. The information in this article comes from KIDS COUNT publications. Figures shown are mostly for 2013 or before, being the most recent year from which statistics are available.

Children by the numbers

The number of children in RI decreased by 14% between 2000 and 2013. U.S. births began declining in 2007, coinciding with the national economic recession, falling to a historic low in 2013. Rhode Island has the sixth-lowest birth rate in the U.S. In 2013, Rhode Island ranked 31st nationally in infant mortality rate with 6.5 deaths for every 1,000 live births, and ranked fifth of the six New England states. At the same time, 8

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

babies born to teen mothers without a high school diploma has fallen 64%. Twenty-nine percent of households in RI include children under age 18. Of these children, 59% live in owner-occupied housing while 41% live in renter-occupied. Four cities – Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket – are home to 67% of the minority children in the state. In these cities, 74% of total children are minority children. Between 2011 and 2013, there were 9,111 foreign-born children living in Rhode Island with 32% of them naturalized U.S. citizens. Of these children, 23% speak a language other than English at home and 96% of them speak English well or very well.

Number of Children in RI: 212,000 Under 5 years old


Age 5–9


Age 10–14


Age 15–17


RI children by the numbers Male










Native American


Other race


Two or more races


Identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual


Where RI’s 9,111 foreign-born children come from Central or South America










Canada, Bermuda, or Mexico


Economic Factors

The number of children living in poverty in Rhode Island increased from 19% to 21.5% between 2010 and 2013. In the US, Rhode Island’s child poverty rate sits in the middle of all 50 states’ rates, but is the highest of the New England states. Children who are members of a minority group have a higher likelihood of living in poverty. More than one third of the members of some minority groups live in poverty. In 2014, nearly 1,000 RI children faced homelessness, which means they stayed at homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, or transitional housing facilities with their families. This does not include families on waiting lists for

housing or homeless and runaway youth. Of the homeless children, 49% of them were under age six.

Percentage of race/ethnicity living in poverty Hispanic


Native American









Rhode Island is a leader among states for both children’s health insurance coverage and immunizations of children aged 19 months to 35 months. Having health insurance means children are more likely to receive preventative care and treatment for illnesses and chronic conditions, while having fewer preventable hospitalizations. Children with health insurance are also more likely to be screened for achievement of developmental milestones and miss fewer days of school. Nearly 97% of Rhode Island children have insurance coverage. The rate of uninsured children in the state fell from 5.4% in 2013 to 3.3% in 2014. For immunizations, Rhode Island’s rate is higher than the national average of 70% and is the best in the U.S. In 2013, 82% of Rhode Island’s children ages 19 months to 35 months were fully immunized. Sixty-four percent of children living under the federal poverty level were immunized, while 74% of those living above the federal poverty level were immunized.


High-quality early education from preschool through third grade is important to help children acquire critical cognitive, language, social, and emotional skills – establishing the foundation for all future learning. Rhode Island is moving towards having full-day kindergarten throughout the state, but still lacks in providing early education for lower-income children. In the 2014–2015 school year, seven school districts did not offer universal full-day kindergarten. Legislation enacted in 2015 requires all districts to implement full-day kindergarten by August 2016, and the 2016 fiscal year state budget allocates $1.4 million toward ensuring universal full-day kindergarten by then. (continued on next page) January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Only one third of the estimated 6,719 income-eligible children are enrolled in Head Start, which promotes school readiness of young children from low-income families through programs done by local agencies. Head Start is largely federally funded and lacks resources to assist all children who need it. Rhode Island also has 17 State Pre-K classrooms which served 306 low-income, four-year-old children in the 2014–15 school year. The Pre-K program is highly rated for quality compared to other states but near the bottom in terms of how many children can access it. Expansion of the State Pre-K program is included in the state’s education funding formula, with a $1 million increase planned each year for 10 years. For older children, RI is re-focusing itself on goals such as making sure all third graders are reading at grade level by the end of that school year. For more on this, please see page 16.

Education in RI Attend public school


Attend private school




Attend full-day kindergarten Receive special education services

81% 15%


During the 2015 fiscal year, the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families completed 3,270 investigations of abuse or neglect and found that 1,450 children under age six were victims of maltreatment. Such treatment at an early age can disrupt brain development and lead to a host of possible issues such as depression and substance abuse. For children under age six, the investigations confirmed neglect in 85% of the cases, physical abuse in 11%, and sexual abuse in one percent. Within the category of neglect, 41% of children had a lack of supervision and 35% had “exposure to domestic violence.” Rhode Island also has the highest percentage of low-income children living in older housing, which poses a risk due to lead paint. Eighty-two percent of low-income children were living in older housing between 2011 and 2013. However, the number of children with significant lead poisoning decreased by 85%, dropping from 212 in 2005 to 32 in 2014. To learn more about Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and see more details about RI children, go to  Susan Gale is Publisher/Editor of Rhode Island Parent Magazine. 10

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Sources:  Rhode Island KIDS COUNT 2015 Factbook  Rhode Island KIDS COUNT press releases  Early Learning Fact Sheet: Focus on Kindergarten  Young Children in the Child Welfare System

Martin Luther King Jr. Facts


n 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday. Here are some interesting facts about King that you may not know:

King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin: The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

King entered college at the age of 15: He was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather. Although he was the son, grandson, and greatgrandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family vocation until Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.

King was jailed 29 times: He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumpedup charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.

Source: Christopher Klein,, A&E Networks.

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


My Turn By Stephanie Bernaba

Were Things

Better I

Back Then?

often think about how we survived under the watch of our parents. There were no infant seats (how did you get anywhere with me in the car?); no seat belts (ok, there were seat belts, but they weren’t safe and no one wore them); people smoked basically everywhere; we gnawed happily on plastic and toys full of lead; climbed on high steel monkey bars; and electrical outlets were always in plain view. Parenting standards have obviously changed over the years (and most for good reason), but here’s why I say our parents rocked. They cooked. Food. In pans. Sometimes even in the oven. Every day. And if we were hungry, we ate meals, you know, with a starch and a vegetable. There were very few drive-thrus, very few prepackaged meals, and no pizza delivery. There was no such thing as a ‘meal deal’, and combinations that are considered meals today, like the “pizza and cookie” combo pack, didn’t exist. They sent us outside to play. Often until after dark. Our families encouraged it. We were only inside the house when it rained, and sometimes not even then. And when it did rain, I would count down the minutes until the rain stopped so I could get back out there. They weren’t afraid to discipline us. For the most part. They weren’t afraid of looking like a ‘bad parent’ at the mall. A while back, I was in a store with my son, and saw a couple with a small toddler who was whining and making noise. She wasn’t screaming, throwing cans, or having a tantrum. She was simply making noise. Her parents were so embarrassed, they scooted around the store, gathering what they needed as quickly as they could. They wanted out, lest they be judged by the other patrons. When they walked by me on the way out, the dad whispered to his daughter, motioning to another toddler, “See, he’s being a good boy. Why can’t you just be a good girl?” We knew the value of money. Probably not that well, but definitely better than we do now. I was happy when I had enough money to buy myself a cassette. We had fewer 12

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

toys than kids do today, and we played with them until they fell apart in our hands. We didn’t have a Nintendo DS® with fifteen games, an iPod®, a cell phone, a laptop, and DVDs to keep us entertained. What do you suppose that would have cost us in allowance? Six years’ worth? They allowed us to make friends. Our parents let us, for the most part, make our own decisions with regard to our friends. My parents didn’t go online to conduct background checks on my friends’ parents, or stalk kids’ parents on Facebook. Friendships weren’t contrived by way of playdates. We went outside, remember? We made friends organically. They threw us birthday parties. With cake and party hats. I don’t remember ever attending a birthday party of the magnitude I see today. I remember pizza and roller skating parties, but parties with ponies? Inflatables? Spa days? What?? Our parents were not concerned about impressing the neighborhood. They were concerned about celebrating our birthday, and for us, that meant family, friends, cake, a few bags of chips, soda, and ice cream. If we were lucky, we got a paper tablecloth and that Happy Birthday sign with 50 pieces of old tape on it from everyone else’s birthday. And do you remember how we looked in the pictures? We were smiling. We were happy.  We’ve come a long way since my childhood. Life in general is safer, less labor-intensive, and more convenient for sure. But with that comes a lot of, well, crap. Though I’m looking forward to navigating the winding and sociallycomplicated roads of childhood and adolescence, I still wouldn’t trade, for all the money in the world, the genuine, raw, and meaningful upbringing I experienced. I never really wanted a pony ride, anyway.  Stephanie Bernaba, of Richmond, is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in parenting, modern life, and entertainment. She blogs at, Redbook Magazine, and BlogHer.

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


The Healthy Child By Joy Adamonis

Food allergies on the rise in children


’ll never forget the look on my son’s face when he had his first allergic reaction. Landon was about 11 months old and he had no idea that anything was wrong. He had eaten a peanut butter cracker that was given to him by accident from a family member. It was his first taste of that amazing nutty goodness, which would end up being his last. We immediately took him to the hospital. By the time we arrived, his eyes had swollen shut, his pale skin was all red and blotchy, he was wheezing, and his tongue was swelling. It is an image ingrained in my mind forever. After a shot of epinephrine and two doses of Benadryl, he was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. Later that week at his follow-up visit, he was also diagnosed with a tree nut and egg allergy. We learned that most peanut and tree nut allergies are lifelong. He eventually grew out of his egg allergy, but unfortunately, his nut allergies are still prevalent, as the doctors predicted.

Millions of children have food allergies

Fifteen million American children have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a non-profit that works on food allergy issues. Out of that number, one in every 13 children under the age of 18 has a potentially life-threatening allergy. That’s roughly two children in every classroom! Unfortunately, food allergies are on the rise. Based on the findings of a 2013 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased by 50% between 1997 and 2011. There is no definitive answer as to what causes food allergies or why they are on the rise. There is speculation that it has something to do with the way we overprocess foods today. However, you are more likely to develop an allergy if you have a parent who suffers from an allergic disease such as asthma, food allergies, eczema, or environmental allergies.

When your child is diagnosed with a food allergy

I remember being so scared after Landon’s doctor’s appointment. For the past seven years, I have worked with a great group of doctors, researched as much as I can about allergies, and tried to educate others on the risks. Since I have dedicated myself to learning as much information as possible, my worries have dissipated a little.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Ridding our home of all remnants of nuts was harder than I originally expected. Many foods, household and hygiene products, and even some of my makeup had to go. You would be surprised to learn what actually contains nuts! When he started school, the real worry began. Finding safe foods was a battle. I would worry (and still do) that other parents wouldn’t take his allergy seriously or maybe they thought an item was safe. I have had to deal with both of these issues; one experience ended with Landon in the hospital. Food allergies need to be taken seriously. Please don’t take it personally when we don’t eat food at a party or ask you to refrain from sending certain foods to school. I wish my son’s life wasn’t at risk from a trace amount of nuts, but it is my reality along with many others. If you don’t understand someone’s allergy, please ask. Let’s make food allergy awareness something to celebrate, regardless of whether you have an allergy or not. Food should bring people together, not tear them apart.  Joy Adamonis, of Warwick, is a freelance writer and blogger who advocates for positive body image, an active lifestyle, mental illness awareness, and better education.

Tips for dealing with food allergies  Remove the allergen from the home: Search

through all your household products and remove anything with a mention of the allergen. This applies to “manufactured on the same equipment as,” “made in a facility with,” or “may contain.”  Carry emergency medication at all times: Your

doctor will likely prescribe epinephrine in an autoinjector, and may prescribe Benadryl® or inhalers.  Wear medical identification: This makes

emergency responders and others aware of your allergy. There are many companies that offer alternatives to the traditional medical bracelet. Dog tags, necklaces, and paracord bracelets are just some of the options.

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Education By Susan Gale

A new statewide commitment to encouraging early readers


hildren who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than their peers. Being a reader by this point is a strong predictor of later school success, but by some accounting, 60% of Rhode Island third graders do not meet expectations for reading. This comes from the results of two standardized tests – the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Recent results show that only 37% and 40% respectively of RI third graders met expectations and were proficient in reading. The national proficiency rate is 34%. There were large achievement gaps by income in Rhode Island, with 21% of low-income third graders meeting expectations, compared to 53% of higher-income third graders on the PARCC test. On the NAEP, 24% of low-income students and 54% of higher-income students were proficient.

“This is one of my top priorities,” she said. “Let’s just be real. We’ve got a problem. It’s a real wake-up call. Seventy percent of good jobs require post-secondary education. Once you’re behind in the third grade, it’s hard to catch up.” The local effort is part of the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The national goal is that by 2020, a dozen states or more will increase by at least 100% the number of children from low-income families reading proficiently at the end of third grade.

Goals of the RI Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

The local campaign has laid out several goals: 

How Rhode Island compares

Rhode Island is fifth of nine states that used the PARCC test and tied for ninth out of 14 states that used the NAEP. RI is tied with Nebraska, Indiana, Kentucky, Utah, and Washington. Of New England states, RI is fifth for third-grade reading proficiency. Massachusetts tops both lists with 54% of third graders on the PARCC and 50% of third graders on the NAEP meeting expectations for reading. Higher-income communities do better on the tests. The five towns with the highest rates for third-grade reading proficiency on the PARCC are: South Kingstown (80%), Tiverton (66%), Little Compton (64%), Barrington (63%), and Narragansett (61%). Towns with the five lowest rates include: Woonsocket (24%) West Warwick (22%), Pawtucket (22%), Providence, (14%), and Central Falls (13%).

A national campaign comes to Rhode Island

Rhode Island is now actively working to improve the reading ability of its children. The United Way, in partnership with Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, launched the Rhode Island Campaign for Grade-Level Reading this past November. The Campaign will bring together business, government, labor, and non-profit leaders to work to improve third-grade reading proficiency. At a roundtable in November, Governor Gina Raimondo pledged to put a focus on achieving the metric of third-grade reader proficiency. 16

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Raise awareness about the importance of third graders reading at grade level and work with local communities to implement strategies for improvement. Develop a statewide birth-through-third grade policy and legislative agenda to advance key components including: improving school readiness; reducing summer learning loss; reducing chronic absence; and ensuring high-quality literacy instruction in the early years. Set targets to measure the state’s progress and see marked improvement.

“The Rhode Island Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will pay attention to the science of early childhood development and focus on a range of strategies from birth through third grade,” said Rhode Island KIDS COUNT Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant. “Rhode Island’s education and economic goals absolutely depend on closing the achievement gap in third-grade reading and equipping all children to be successful in later grades, college, and careers.” Ultimately, time will tell how well Rhode Island will make a commitment to improving reading proficiency for third graders, but many see reason for hope. “In a state as small as Rhode Island, when we join together to change lives, we can accomplish great things,” said Anthony Maione, CEO and President of United Way of Rhode Island. “No one group can do this work alone, and it will take a long-term, steadfast commitment by everyone to see it through to success.”  Susan Gale is Publisher/Editor of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Feature Story By Katherine M. Sharkey, MD, PhD

Healthy Sleep for “Can Nick and Alex sleep over?” “Let’s stay up and watch a movie!” “Aw, honey, let them sleep in late, they look so peaceful...”


ost parents agree: school vacation provides a much-needed break for families with school-aged children – a respite from homework, dashes to the bus stop, and evening pick-ups from sports and extracurricular activities. Although the school holiday gives everyone a breather from the hectic school-year routine, changes in sleep habits and vacation travel across time zones can jeopardize children’s sleep schedules. These variations make waking up for school a challenge after vacation ends. So, what do parents need to know about sleep, and what strategies can they use to get kids’ sleep back on track after the holidays?

Why we need sleep

All animals – even single-celled amoebas – have daily rest periods, suggesting that sleep is necessary to support life. In that way, the answer to the question, “Why do we need to sleep?” is simple: to stay alive. But the answer also is complex, because so many essential bodily functions occur while we are asleep. For instance, during sleep, our brain connections change, important hormones are released, our metabolism is regulated, and our hearts slow down. As a result, when sleep is disturbed or we do not get enough sleep, we have more problems with thinking and decision-making, and increase our risk for chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In children and teens, sleep deprivation is associated with a variety of negative health consequences, including increased impulsive behaviors, more drug and alcohol use, risk of mood 18

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Healthy Kids disorders like depression and anxiety, and a higher rate of car accidents. Several recent studies have implicated sleep disturbance as a risk factor for suicide, and students with shortened or disrupted sleep also have poorer academic outcomes like impaired learning, decreased concentration, and more behavioral problems.

How sleep works

Our sleep is controlled by two processes: the buildup of sleepiness across the day and the timing of our internal biological clocks. The longer we are awake, the more sleepiness we build up, creating an increased drive for sleep across the day. This increased drive for sleep is counteracted by our biological clock, which promotes alertness across the whole day and allows us to stay awake until bedtime, even though we have been building up sleepiness since wake time. At night, our biological clock promotes sleepiness, even though the sleepiness that we built up across the day dissipates throughout the night. We sleep the best when the two processes – sleepiness build-up and the biological clock – are working together. Our pattern of light and dark exposure is what keeps the two sleep processes aligned. Staying up late increases light at the end of the day, which tricks the brain into thinking it is still daytime. Similarly, sleeping late decreases the amount of morning light exposure and tricks the brain into thinking it is still night. Therefore, staying up late and sleeping in can reset the biological clock to a later time and cause misalignment between sleepiness build-up and the biological clock. In other words, when we change our sleep patterns by, for instance, staying up later during the holidays or travelling across time zones, our (continued on next page)

How much sleep do your children need? As children grow and develop, their brains and bodies need plenty of sleep, but the amount changes as children mature. Here are the recommended number of sleep hours for children of different ages: Newborns, ages 0–3 months

14–17 hours

Infants, ages 4–11 months

12–15 hours

Toddlers, 1–2 years

11–14 hours

Preschoolers, 3–5 years

10–13 hours

School Age Children, 6–13 years

9–11 hours

Teenagers, 14–17 years

8–10 hours

Young Adults, 18–25 years

7–9 hours

Source: National Sleep Foundation,

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


biological clock and our drive for sleepiness can become misaligned, causing sleep irregularities that can carry over when the school vacation ends.

Sleep during childhood and adolescence

Sleep changes dramatically across the lifespan, with the most profound changes occurring in the first two decades of life. Newborn babies sleep most of the day without much influence of the 24-hour biological clock. Through infancy and early childhood, sleep becomes more consolidated at night, with daytime sleep reducing from 2–3 naps per day, to a single nap, to nighttime sleep only. As tweens and teens mature, they begin to experience a sleep-wake “phase delay” (later falling asleep and wake up times), because of developmental changes in the internal biological clock and how fast they build up sleepiness across the day. This means it is harder for adolescents to fall asleep at an early time and also more difficult for them to wake up early in the morning. Couple this with a school vacation that allows them to stay up past bedtime and sleep late in the morning, and you have a recipe for a morning wake-up disaster when school resumes. The effect of staying up late and sleeping in (and the resulting changes in the light-dark cycle) is so strong that it can even occur over the course of a weekend! And because of adolescents’ changing biology, it is much harder to reset the biological clock for an earlier time once it delays. So start the new year right by making sleep a priority for your family!  Katherine M. Sharkey, MD, PhD, of East Greenwich, is a physician with University Medicine's Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Division, and Medical Director of the University Medicine Sleep Center. She is an assistant professor of Medicine and Psychiatry & Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

How to promote healthy sleep for kids Parents can take the following steps to help their children get the sleep they need: 

Make healthy sleep a priority in your family – just like making healthy food choices and engaging in regular exercise.

Know how much sleep children need at different ages and enforce a regular bedtime and wake time that allows for enough sleep.

Establish a nighttime routine that includes relaxing activities to allow your child to wind down at the end of the day.

If holiday plans throw off your kids’ bedtime one night, try to keep the same wake time the next day – this can minimize the disruption to the biological clock and help them get back on track.

Children and teens should avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine. Caffeine can counteract the build-up of sleepiness, make it difficult to fall asleep, and delay the internal biological clock.

Preserve nap times in younger children; if older children and teens need to “catch up” on sleep with a daytime nap, make sure it isn’t too close to bedtime, or it could interfere with falling asleep at night.

If sleep problems persist or you suspect your child may have a sleep disorder, talk to your pediatrician or consult a sleep medicine specialist.

Where to turn for help with sleep Information about healthy sleep habits is available through the National Sleep Foundation at A listing of accredited sleep centers and board-certified sleep medicine doctors is available at


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Ask Dr. Day Care: Advice for Parents By Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, Ed.D.

Dr. Day Care answers your questions about children from infancy to school age. Send questions to: or ask them on


Dear Dr. Daycare, I have three foster children and the oldest one often has temper tantrums. How can I deal with these in a way that is best for the child but also allows me to keep my sanity? - Tired in Cranston, RI


Dear Tired, Temper tantrums can begin before a chid is a year old and peak at different ages and stages of development. Usually children will have a temper tantrum due to frustration and feeling not in control. Many parents are embarrassed by their child's behavior, which is a very normal feeling. The best way to avoid temper tantrums is to learn to notice the warning signs and react before it escalates. Professionally, I have witnessed many temper tantrums by children of all ages, and the best suggestion I have to offer is that you should notice your child's limits and personality. You know your child best, and most parents can almost calculate a tantrum through a change in their child's attitude, breathing, and facial expressions. A child’s feelings of frustration can be triggered by being tired, wanting an item in the store, clothing, bedtime, language development, or simply trying to get their own way. When your child is tired, avoid shopping trips, as these often could set a child up for a temper tantrum episode. Try to avoid tantrums by giving your child a choice. Make sure you are ok with either option that you present! This helps you give acceptable limits and allows your child to feel a sense of control. For example, when you see a tantrum about to blossom in a supermarket, ask your child in a calm and reassuring voice, “Would you like to stay in the store or leave now?” If there is no response from your child and the tantrum continues to escalate, set boundaries immediately and let your child know you will be leaving the store if they do not stop the tantrum. Following through on your word is a key factor in setting boundaries with your child. Another technique is to try distracting your child by getting them involved in another subject. In an excited voice, point out the lobsters swimming in a tank and engage your child in conversation if he/she is willing and able. However, if your child is in a full-blown tantrum, make sure they are safe and do not hurt themselves, other people, or you.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Some articles state that you should let the child be until the tantrum is finished. I personally am not a fan of this technique. One of my suggestions, while your child is in the process of a tantrum, is to approach them and gently touch a part of their body such as their shoulder, foot, or arm, or rub their head gently. In a calm, caring voice say “I know you are upset and frustrated, but I am here for you when you need me. When you’re ready and stop crying and screaming, I will listen to your voice and feelings since I can see you’re frustrated and angry.” I feel this technique lets your child know they are understood and, in time, most tantrums will subside and return less and less.  “Dr. Day Care” is Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, Ed.D., CEO/ President of Dr. Day Care and Kids Klub and children’s book author: Edgar Graduates.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine contributor wins award Dr. Day Care, otherwise known as Dr. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, was named “2015 Exceptional Emerging Leader” by Exchange Magazine. Shallcross Smith is the only recipient of this international honor in Rhode Island. The magazine’s November/ December 2015 issue featured 38 “Master Leaders” in early childhood education, spotlighting professionals who were reviewed on leadership, roles, knowledge base, and spirit. Shallcross Smith, who has a Doctorate in Education and Leadership, began as a family daycare provider and now owns 13 centers in Rhode Island. She is opening a new early learning center in South County in winter of 2016. She is also the author of Edgar Graduates, an early childhood book that helps enhance a child's vocabulary and highlights the options available for continuing education.

Happy NewYear from

Rhode Island Parent Magazine

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Kid of the Month By Susan Gale

Thankful for Art


va Iacobucci’s artwork has been delivered to more than 3,000 homes in Rhode Island and around the world. Ava, 10, of North Providence, won the 2015 Kids Klub Annual Holiday Card Contest. Kids Klub is a nonprofit extended day learning program with before and after school care in North Providence, North Smithfield, and Woonsocket. The fifth grader’s work was chosen out of 189 submissions and became the front of the annual Thanksgiving card for the Dr. Day Care Learning Center, which operates Kids Klub. The 25th annual contest for children from kindergarten through age 12 was focused on families and celebrating cultural awareness during the month of November. The theme was: “What Thanksgiving means to me.” The contest “is a great way to engage students in a holiday that celebrates being thankful,” said Mary Ann Shallcross Smith, CEO of Dr. Day Care. Ava enjoys drawing as well as swimming, running, gymnastics, and reading. She wants to become a veterinarian when she grows up. She lives with her parents, Krista and Vincenzo Iacobucci, and brothers, Aidan, 12, and Griffin, 6. Alicia Gloria, Kids Klub Executive Director, enjoys helping the students create their artwork because “it gives the kids an opportunity to showcase how they feel about the holiday and generate excitement, as the cards are distributed to so many families.” The cards are distributed to thousands of families, staff, and others around the state and the world. If you are interested in receiving next year’s card, you can contact Rebecca Compton at  Susan Gale is Publisher/Editor of Rhode Island Parent Magazine.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


Directory of Advertisers Please support our advertisers. Tell them you saw their ad here. These advertisers keep the magazine free for you! Active/art/dance


Artists’ Exchange................................................ Page 7 Dream Big Gymnasium...................................... Page 21 Launch Trampoline Park.................................... Page 3 Lincoln Johnny Lightning Race Club................. Page 17 Rock Spot Climbing ......................................... Page 7 Teamworks................................................... Back cover To the Pointe of Performing Arts........................ Page 15 YMCA of Greater Providence............................. Page 13

Roger Williams Park Zoo................................... Page 11 Tomaquag Museum............................................ Page 21

Child Care/preschool BrightStars......................................................... Page 15 Dr. Day Care...................................................... Page 3 The Children’s Workshop................................... Page 11

Education/tutoring Club Z In-home Tutoring................... .Inside back cover

Health-related services The Groden Network......................................... Page 4 Psychological Associates of Warwick................... Page 25

Music Julie Garnett Lullaby CD................................... Page 3

Parties/workshops Animal Experiences............................................ Page 17 Bjorn the Magician............................................ Page 17 Bwana Iguana Reptile Adventure........................ Page 17 Mad Science of Southern MA and RI................. Page 21 Pop n Bop Bubble Bash...................................... Page 17 Reel to Real Recording Studio............................ Page 17

Photography Kimberly Dobosz Photography.......................... Page 23

Shopping/apparel/jewelry Once Upon A Child........................................... Page 4 The Jewelry Center............................................. Page 3

Miscellaneous Kid Think.......................................................... Page 7 Cumberland-Lincoln Prevention Coalition.......................................................Inside cover

To advertise, call (401) 337-9240 or email


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Rhode Island Parent Magazine is the only magazine in Rhode Island focused on parents and families. PRIMARY AUDIENCE Women in the 18–54 age range CIRCULATION 14,000 initially DISTRIBUTION Available for free at several hundred locations throughout Rhode Island. ADDITIONAL AUDIENCE Dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, child experts, pediatricians, teachers, child care centers, etc. 85% OF PURCHASES and purchase decisions are made by women, so Rhode Island Parent Magazine is a great way to reach your audience. * Based on an industry-accepted average of two readers per each magazine.

To request a rate card and discuss advertising, email or call 401-337-9240. January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


January 2016 Our calendar is as up-to-date as possible at press time. Be sure to check information with event sponsors for updates/ changes. To submit calendar items for February and beyond, please email them to

Special events

Places to go

Celebrate America Recycles Day at the Newport Art Museum. Bring broken doll parts, the wheels missing a truck, and homeless puzzle pieces and transform them into gorgeous, sculptural art. With Newport’s own “junk assemblage” artist, Tom Deininger. 10 am–noon, January 14. Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport. Free.

Artists’ Exchange. A non-profit arts collaborative with multiple art studios, a gallery, art boutique, and café, as well as a secondary venue, Theatre 82 and Café, a multi-use performance, meeting, and instructional space. Offers family events and classes in art, music, and theater. Owned and operated by Gateways to Change, Inc. 9 am–5 pm, Monday-Saturday. 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Paid and free events.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Join the Rhode Island Civil Rights Roundtable and Rhode Island for Community and Justice to discuss and explore youth-led activism of the past, present, and future in Rhode Island. See website for details. January 18.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Celebration Concert. Celebrate MLK Day with gospel music from Prism of Praise Community Choir and spoken word. Seating is first come, first served. 6:30 pm, January 16. Rhode Island School of Design, Fleet Library Mandle Building, 15 Westminster Street, Providence. Free.

Explore a display of photographs, words and books describing Dr. King's life and work, participate in an interactive exploration of the negative power of discrimination, and see powerful performances of “M.L.K.: Amazing Grace.” Actors Rochel Coleman, Jackie Davis and Rafini bring history to life through songs and stories as they portray Civil Rights activists Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, and more.  Recommended for ages 5 and up. 11:30 am–4 pm, shows at 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 2:30 pm, January 18. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $9/ person; free/children under 12 months.

Martin Luther King Day Nature Activities. Discover nature's winter wonderland. Get outside for a winter walk, then go inside to warm up with a good nature story. Meet a live animal, and create a beautiful icy work of art. No registration required. 9 am–5 pm: Spot the Snowflake, spot all 10 and take home a prize; 10 am–2 pm: Nature Craft Table; 10:30 am: Winter Walk (weather permitting); 11:30 am: Nature Story; 1 pm: Icy Art Investigation, use ice, dyes, salt and more to create a frozen sculpture; 2:30 pm: Animal Interview. January 18. Audubon Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. Free with admission. $6/adults; $4/children 4–12; free/under 4.


Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

RISD Museum. Museum, classes, family activities at different times, including Tours for Tots, Open Studio, and Family See and Sketch. 10 am–5 pm Tuesday–Sunday; 20 North Main Street, Providence. Also enter from 224 Benefit Street, Providence. $12/adult; $10/seniors; $5/college students; $3/youth 5–18; free/ under age 5. Free on Sundays and 5–9 pm on the third Thursday of the month. Ice Skating. 10 am–10 pm daily. Alex and Ani City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza Providence. $7/adults; $4/children 12 and under; $4/seniors and military. Audubon Society Environmental Education Center. 9 am–5 pm, Wednesday–Saturday and noon–5 pm, Sunday. 1401 Hope Street, Bristol. Some activities free. Admission $6/adults; $4/children 4–12; free/under 4. Providence Children’s Museum. Different activities every day. 9 am– 6 pm daily except Mondays; open select Fridays until 8 pm. 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months.

Freedom Journey 1965: A Photographic Journey into Civil Rights History View seldom-seen images from the Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights march. Roger Williams University and Providence Public Library have partnered to bring Freedom Journey 1965 to Rhode Island for the exhibit’s first stop on a national tour. The historic and riveting photographs included in the New York Historical Society exhibition were captured by Stephen Somerstein, a City College of New York student in 1965 who traveled to Alabama to document the march. With five cameras and several rolls of film, the student newspaper photo editor gained unfettered access to Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, James Baldwin, and other civil rights leaders during the 54-mile march. He also turned his lens to the men, women, and children lining the route and viewing the march from their front porches and sidewalks – their expressions of hope, fear, and apprehension a poignant reflection of this contentious time. Self-guided tour during normal library hours. Providence Public Library, 150 Empire St. Providence. Free.

Friday nights Family Friday. Free entrance to Providence Children’s Museum. 5–8 pm. January 15, Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. Free during this time period. Bring Your Own Improv. Family–friendly comedy show. 7–8:30 pm. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road. $8/adults; $4/children under 12 and seniors. Frosty Drew Observatory & Sky Theater. Public stargazing. 7:30 pm. 61 Park Lane, Charlestown. $1/person suggested donation. Friday Night Live. Interactive scenes and musicals with improvised song, dance, and skits. All ages. 7 pm. Everett Stage, 9 Duncan Avenue, Providence. $5.


Family Performance Series. Different performances each week such as Magic, Puppet Shows, Music, Theater, Storytelling, Improv and more. 11 am–noon. Theatre 82, 82 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Pay what you can.

Sunday/ January 3 Meditation for Kids & Families. A simple introduction to Buddha’s teachings, emphasizing loving-kindness, respect for others and keeping a positive attitude. 9:30–10:30 am. Serlingpa Meditation Center, 339 Ives Street, Providence. $4. Open Studio – RISD Museum. Artist-designed activities let visitors of all ages experience artwork in imaginative, thought provoking, and whimsical ways. 2–4 pm. RISD Museum, 224 Benefit Street, Providence. Free. Block Builders. See 12/2.

Saturday/ January 2 Three Stooges Film Festival. Featuring Larry, Moe and Curly at their comical best in classic episodes from the 1930s and 1940s. 7 pm. The Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. Free. Family Yoga Class. Practice yoga postures with children age 5-12 (younger and older siblings also welcome). 10–10:45 am. Motion Center Yoga Collective, 1005 Main Street, Unit 8116, Pawtucket. $5. Block Builders. Kids can build with interesting blocks of all shapes and sizes in Discovery Studio, the Museum’s open-ended art and science exploration space. 10 am–3 pm. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months.

Saturday/ January 9 Animal Tracks and Signs for Families. Learn how to identify different tracks and other signs of native mammals and birds. Explore track patterns, hop like a 'bounder' or strut like a 'perfect stepper', investigate artifacts, and try making plaster tracks to take home. Participants will venture out on the trails to see what evidence they can find that wild things have been there. Although all are welcome, this class will be geared for families with children. Dress for the weather. Registration required. 2–4 pm. Powder Mill Ledges Wildlife Refuge, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI. $10/member adult; $5/member child; $14/non-member adult, $7/non-member child.

(continued on next page)

January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine


January 2016 Tours for Tots. Playful stories, creative art-making, and gallery adventures inspire children ages 3–5 and their favorite grown-up to imaginatively explore art and learning. 10:30–11:15 am. Registration is required. RISD Museum, 224 Benefit Street, Providence. Free. After the Beanstalk: Jack, Jill and the Giant. Help Jack and his sister Jill solve the giant's puzzling spatial challenges in an interactive performance that expands on the classic tale. Shows at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 1:30 pm; recommended for ages 3 and up. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. www. Family Performance Series. See 1/2.

Sunday/ January 10 Family Learning Sunday: Workshop with Big Nazo puppets. For ages 5-10, hands-on demonstration where participants are exposed to a variety of mask and puppet-creation fabrication and movement techniques. Everyone creates a mask. Register online. 2–3 pm. Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street, Providence. Free. Winter Beach Walk. Join naturalist Bob Kenney for an early afternoon walk along Moonstone Beach, without the summer crowds or closed piping over nesting areas. 1–3:30 pm. Moonstone Beach, Moonstone Beach Rd., South Kingstown. $10/member; $14/nonmember. www. Meditation for Kids & Families. See 1/3. After the Beanstalk: Jack, Jill and the Giant. See 1/9.

Saturday/ January 16

Saturday/ January 23

First LEGO League Robotics competition. Watch 40 teams of elementary and middle school students compete. Teams and their LEGO robots have 2.5 minutes to score as many points as possible on a game field made of LEGO elements. Sponsored by Rhode Island Students of the Future. 11 am– 4 pm. Roger Williams University Field House, 1 Old Ferry Rd., Bristol. Free.

National Pie Day!

Games Galore. Explore favorite family games with a twist – everything is made from repurposed materials! Play an assortment of games of chance and skill using everyday items, and learn how to make your own fun from materials you have around the house. 11 am–2 pm. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months. Family Performance Series. See 1/2. Tours for Tots. See 1/9.

Sunday/ January 17 Winter Birding Cruise. Departing from Newport, explore the coves, islands and points along the shores of Aquidneck, Conanicut, and Prudence Islands looking for Harlequins, Goldeneyes, Long-tailed Ducks, Scoters and maybe Winter Seals. Save The Bay and Audubon educators will provide expert guidance. Dress for the weather. Register in advance, space is limited. 10 am–noon. Bowen's Ferry Landing, 18 Market Square, Newport. $50/adults; $40/children ages 3–12 and seniors.

Craft Bash. Make canvas self-portraits. 11 am–2 pm. Artists’ Exchange, 50 Rolfe Square, Cranston. Free. Family Performance Series. See 1/2. Tours for Tots. See 1/9.

Sunday/ January 24 Meditation for Kids and Families. See 1/3. Imagination Playground. See 1/23.

Saturday/ January 30 Winter Birding at Sachuest Point. Winter specialties include Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, Harriers, Purple Sandpipers, and a variety of sea ducks. Dress for the weather. Registration required. Email or call (401) 949-5454. 10:30–1 pm. Sachuest Point Visitor Center, Sachuest Point Rd., Middletown. $10/member adult; $5/member child; $14/non-member adult; $7/non-member child. Tours for Tots. See 1/9. Family Performance Series. See 1/2.

Sunday/ January 31

Meditation for Kids & Families. See 1/3.

Meditation for Kids & Families. See 1/3.

Games Galore. See 1/16.

Open Studio – RISD Museum. See 1/3.

Open Studio – RISD Museum. See 1/3. 30

Imagination Playground. Kids invent their own ways to play as they stack and build with huge blue foam blocks, wheels, spools, tubes and a variety of loose parts. 11 am–2 pm. Providence Children’s Museum, 100 South Street, Providence. $9/person; free/children under 12 months.

Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

401-229-2101 January 2016  Rhode Island Parent Magazine



Rhode Island Parent Magazine  January 2016

Rhode Island Parent Magazine January 2016  

Get tips to help kids sleep, learn about food allergies, and discover The State of the Children in RI - a statistical look at how our kids a...

Rhode Island Parent Magazine January 2016  

Get tips to help kids sleep, learn about food allergies, and discover The State of the Children in RI - a statistical look at how our kids a...