Articles

Fatherhood Brings Heart-expanding Moments

Just before I became a dad, I received a lot of advice and many predictions from family, friends and, frankly, everyone who saw my pregnant wife and I together. Most were predictable: You’ll be tired all the time. You’ll learn to sleep standing up. You’ll be doing laundry 24/7. The best comment I got was this one: Becoming a dad opens a new chamber in your heart that you didn’t...

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Touré Roberts Wholeness

Father’s Day Reflection: Finding ‘Wholeness’ in the Midst of Brokenness

The countdown to Father’s Day is here, but for some people, the holiday is a reminder of the lack of emotional connection they have with their fathers. Touré Roberts, husband, father and pastor of Potter's House at One LA, reflects on his own father’s approach to parenting, and how his new book, “Wholeness,” speaks to overcoming childhood pain in order to become the best parent you can be. “I had to...

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Water Play, Safety and Summer Fun at Great Wolf Lodge

My son loves to cajole me and my husband into having in-home campouts. As the clock ticks past his bedtime, he’ll run to his room, grab his blanket and pillow, then run back into the living room or our bedroom and sing: “We’re camping out!” For his birthday last weekend, we decided to take him and one of his best buddies for a little in-door “camping” fun beyond the confines...

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YouthArts Winners

New Roads School Student Named 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

"Conceptual social justice artist" sounds like a title for an over-40 survivor of a hate crime to me, but given the political climate, the prevalence of school shootings and the exposure of hate speech on social media, I'm reminded that it's no longer far-fetched to see a teenager become and artist activist. Sanna Legan uses her mix of mini-corsets, beaded tampons, sketches and multimedia art to address the harsh bullying...

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Angel City Games Bring Connections and Community to Athletes with Disabilities

There are three things L.A. dad Clayton Frech wants you to know about the Angel City Games – which will take place June 21-24 this year on the UCLA campus. This is not the Special Olympics. Athletes can participate for free. There is so much more going on here than just sports. Frech founded the games, the only multi-sport competition in L.A. for those with physical disabilities, in 2015. He...

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tweens in los angeles

Tween Time: Photographic Memories

Teach your tweens how photography operates as an artistic medium and a chronicler of history.  At the Getty Center (getty.edu), “In Focus: Expressions” runs through Oct. 7 and focuses on the human face. On display are 45 examples of photographic portraiture that showcase the work of famous photographers such as Walker Evans and Weegee, but also range from primitive examples of early portraits from the 1850s to more modern works...

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summer camp los angeles

#CampReady: ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’

If I tell you about one of my and my husband’s biggest summer-camp blunders, will you hold our secret between your palms gently and without judgment? Do you promise to forget what duds we were – taking only the lesson inherent in it to save yourself from falling into the same pit?   It was the peak of summer camp in Los Angeles, and my husband and I were busy working...

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father's day

Fatherhood Today, Dad’s Way

Every family is different, especially in the 21st century. Even as recently as the 1980s, parenting along gender lines was more defined. But shifting roles and values have fathers spending more time with their kids than ever before. Dads are taking on more of the parenting – and they’re doing it their way. Results and opinions on how that’s going seem to be mixed.  In general, experts note that fathers...

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shortcake recipe

Summer Shortcakes You Can Make at Home

As a little girl, Ann Kirk was all of us (and all of our kids) who have mothers who bake. “My favorite thing to do would be to sit on the counter and just wait for that spatula or anything that she would give me that had cookie dough or brownie batter on it,” Kirk says. She watched every move her mom made, but never thought she would become a...

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Daditude

Chris Erskine: On ‘Daditude,’ Humor and Dealing with Grief

My eyes were a faucet, leaking tears that dropped onto the newsprint and merged with the ink that made up Los Angeles Times writer Chris Erskine’s first column about the death of his oldest son, Christopher, in March. I tried to imagine the columnist at his writing desk, crafting raw grief into words as clear and beautiful as crystal, yet warm and relatable to the readers peering into his shock...

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swimmer's ear

Stopping Swimmer’s Ear

Colleen Ryan, M.D., is a family medical physician at Culver City Primary Care – part of the Cedars-Sinai medical network. One common medical issue she’ll be helping young patients with this summer is swimmer’s ear, an infection of the ear canal that is also known as otitis externa. It’s most common in ages 5-9 but can happen at any age.  Is swimmer’s ear only caused by swimming?  The ear canal...

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gardeners in los angeles

Make Your Summer Garden Grow in Los Angeles

Planting season in Southern California is not in summer. Gardeners here will tell you it’s best to dream and plan now and plant in fall, when temperatures are kinder to tender young plants. Still, summer is when kids are out of school and families have more time, so I checked in with Rachel Young, director of horticulture, and Rachel Lewellen, harvest garden coordinator, at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge...

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sibling rivalry

A Book that Celebrates Sibling Rivalry

“Frenemies in the Family,” the latest volume of historical and contemporary biographies by Kathleen Krull, is a wonderful read for people of all ages. I left it on my coffee table and came home to find my 80-year-old father-in-law and 6-year-old daughter equally excited to talk about the Bunker Brothers (go look them up!).   Krull has spent a lifetime as a biographer for children, and “Frenemies in the Family” is...

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kids fashion los angeles

Grey and Ray: Remodeling Fashion for Boys

Heidi Lieberman and Gudrun Kosloff are refashioning boys’ clothes one stylish outfit at a time. These creative collaborators met when their sons were in preschool and bonded over a shared frustration: Where are all the fun clothing choices for boys?   Faced with so many cute options for little girls and nothing for their sons, they decided a change was necessary. “Boys can express themselves through clothes just like the girls,”...

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Book Club Hits a Home Run Honoring African-Americans’ Achievements

As baseball season heats up, local children are catching up on some old school stats—specifically, the historical achievements of African American baseball players. Pop quiz: Which baseball player hit more homeruns than Babe Ruth in a single season? The answer is Josh Gibson. While his name may be unfamiliar to some, it’s etched in the young minds of Parents of African American Children (PAAC) Book Club members. PAAC was founded...

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mindfulness for moms

Mindfulness for Busy Moms

When I opened the door to DEN Meditation on a recent Saturday morning, feeling victorious because I found a parking space right in front (no easy feat on busy La Brea Avenue), I was greeted by the smell of essential oils and fresh flowers. My senses were awakened, which I learned is one of the central goals of a meditation practice. This would be my first meditation class, and I...

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summer camp los angeles

#CampReady: The Final Countdown to Summer Camp

May is here and your kids are no doubt counting down the last days of school for summer camp in Los Angeles to commence. Let them have their fun. You, dear parent, need to be counting down your final days to prepare for summer camp. Whether this is your first go-round or you are a summer-camp veteran, pay attention, because what you do over the next few weeks could make...

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etiquette classes in los angeles

Modern Manners for Kids in Los Angeles

How is etiquette school still a thing? That was my first thought when I received this assignment. The concept sounded frightfully outdated, especially in a household like mine, where there’s no room among the chaos for white gloves or ballroom dancing. And it certainly doesn’t seem to fit the L.A. vibe, where casual clothes and lattes on the go are more commonplace than a formal afternoon tea. But while “etiquette”...

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Tween Time: Baseball, Immigration and a Talking Taco Truck

Bring your teens and tweens to The 24th Street Theatre, known for its thought-provoking, community-focused productions, for the world premiere of “ICE,” the story of two baseball-loving men who arrive in L.A. from Mexico with big dreams but no documentation. Armed with their aunt’s super salsa recipe, they are determined to find success with their taco truck (which “talks” from its marquee). The play’s title holds a double meaning. The...

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crab cake recipe

Kid-Friendly Dining for Grown-up Palates

When Michael Franks, co-owner of Chez Melange in Redondo Beach, got into the restaurant business several decades ago, there were two distinct differences: very little fresh food was served and many restaurants didn’t allow children. Much has changed. Most eateries – including Chez Melange, which opened in 1982 – now welcome families. “We grew up with the family, and now we’re going through a second generation, and even a third...

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breegan jane

Breegan Jane: Designing New Visions for Work and Family

In 2014, Breegan Jane had the kind of wedding that inspires dreams. With glowing skin and an adorable baby bump, she wore a gorgeous sand-colored gown as she and her groom stood barefoot on the beach. But since the couple’s marriage and Leona, a restaurant they owned, fell apart a few years later, she has spent her time fashioning a new life for herself, her sons and her work. An...

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Millennial Dad: Mother’s Day, Kate’s Way

Every Saturday morning, yard sales generously pepper neighborhoods across the Southland. From the colonial fences of San Marino to the drought-resistant gardens of Venice, Angelenos will eagerly haggle over your refuse. And as a card-carrying member of the minimalist movement, my wife, Kate, likes to host the occasional yard sale to get rid of our clutter. Here's my take on this year's Mother's Day in Los Angeles for Kate, my...

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medical myths

Doc Talk: Steering Clear of Health Hype

As director of pediatric otolaryngology and a professor of head and neck surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Nina Shapiro, M.D., has met plenty of misguided parents. They want the best for their families but have trouble sorting what’s healthy from what’s not. A case involving a 16-month-old baby with a persistent cough inspired Shapiro to write her new book, “Hype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical...

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crayon collection

A Moment on the Lips, a Lifetime in the Landfill

Sheila Morovati wants you to add one more word to the environmental mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” “Refuse, refuse, refuse,” says the Malibu mom of two. What she wants you to refuse is that plastic straw restaurants plunk unbidden into the glass of water they bring you with your meal. That’ll be easier for folks in Malibu, where a citywide ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and disposable cutlery –...

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summertime with kids

Local Author’s Memoir Chronicles Summertime Joys and Woes

Summertime. Your kids love it, but do you? You don’t have to answer that. Instead, sit back and live vicariously through Kristen Hansen Brakeman, a La Cañada mom of three daughters and author of “Is That the Shirt You’re Wearing???,” a humorous book that chronicles her family’s shenanigans over two summers. “Normally, I would write when the kids were at school because my job was a freelance job, and my...

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baby box

The Baby Box Co. Aims to Put Babies to Sleep and Take Parents to School

New parents have many questions, and often turn to Google in their quest for answers. L.A.-based The Baby Box Co. and its global Baby Box University aim to supply information on parenting basics – and actual resources to help parents keep their babies comfortable and safe when theyare sleeping – in one handy package. Inspired by a Finnish tradition, longtime friends Michelle Vick and Jennifer Clary created the company. The...

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stem3 academy

Coveted FIRST World Championship Spot Goes to STEM3 Academy’s Robotics Team

STEM3 Academy’s Robotics Team 5678 won a spot at the FIRST World Championship competition in Houston this month. For the team, this was an extraordinary opportunity, and the second time that they have been selected to participate in the international competition in its only four years of participating in regional events. The team is proud to have placed 28th out of 67 teams in their division, the best showing they’ve...

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Scootie Gootz Makes Indoor Play More Inclusive and Musical in Woodland Hills

When his twin sons, Ty and Micah, were little, Shawn Stockman, member of the Grammy Award-winning group Boyz II Men, played with them the way many dads play with their kids. “When Shawn would get home from being on tour,” says his wife, Sharhonda, “Micah would count off their usual game of chase: 1, 2, 3! Shawn would run around the house, calling out ‘Scootz and Gootz!’” That funny phrase...

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These Los Angeles Festivals for Tweens Have the Write Stuff

Two young and growing Los Angeles book festivals for young people are returning to Southern California this month. The fourth edition of YALLWEST, an offshoot of South Carolina-based YALLFEST, is one of the biggest teen and middle-grade book festivals in the U.S. The main action takes place from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. May 5 at Santa Monica High School. Along with more than 100 book signings and panels, there will be...

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adaptive clothing

Adaptive Clothing Hits the Mainstream

For some parents, the morning ritual of getting their child dressed is a dreaded battle, a frustration exasperated by buttons in wrong places, seams that dig into skin, tags that itch, shoes impossible to put on correctly and fabric that feels inhumane to sensitive skin. Putting clothes on a child with a disability – whether that child uses a wheelchair or leg or arm braces, wears a feeding tube or...

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accessible water play

Splash! Accessible Water Play Around Los Angeles and Beyond

As a tot, Jonny Pierce, now 24, loved to float with his ears underwater to drown out the everyday noise. Competitive swimming has turned out to be a helpful coping mechanism for his autism and hypersensitive hearing. On the other end of the spectrum, Kylie Cervantes, who has autism, used to hate having water on her face. With the care of her instructors in an adaptive aquatics program at Best...

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helping moms

Jessica Patay: Helping Moms Be ‘Brave Together’

Rancho Palos Verdes mom Jessica Patay has always found joy and rejuvenation in what she calls “Ya-Ya-Sisterhood” gatherings – warm and hilarious get-togethers with girlfriends over dinner or at the spa or on weekend girlfriend trips. She didn’t let becoming a mom put an end to these outings, but when her middle son, Ryan, was born with a rare, genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) 14 years ago, Patay and...

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rare diagnoses

Your Child Has What? Navigating the Challenges of a Rare Medical Diagnosis

The general public is familiar with diagnoses such as autism, Down syndrome and ADHD. But what happens when your child is diagnosed with a rare condition that family, friends and teachers have never heard of? L.A. mom of four Hillary Smiley knows this territory well. Her third child, Luke, has a congenital disorder called agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC), caused by a full or partial absence of the band...

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helicopter parenting

Avoiding Helicopter Parenting: To Hover or Not to Hover

We can all visualize the modern phenomenon known as “helicopter parenting.” A dad crouches on a sidewalk to tie his 10-year-old’s shoes. A mom takes the helm of her daughter’s science fair project, hoping her little prodigy will snag first prize. Parents join forces to pen their kids’ unbelievably poignant college admissions essays. Secretly, you may wonder how much helicoptering damage you’re doing to your child, but if your child...

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Summer Camp in Los Angeles

#CampReady: C is for Couselors-In-Training

Not all leaders are born. Some have been cajoled into leadership roles and molded into leadership material with the help of summer camps in Los Angeles. At least that’s Sasha Karlova’s story. While the young Karlova was soft-spoken and reticent, her mentors glimpsed a spark in her that they sensed could be stoked into something more. “Leadership is not something that comes easily for me, but I have been very...

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Mother Nature vs Materialism with Netiya

One recent morning, my 7-year-old daughter got dressed for school and announced that she was wearing all purple. “Purple shirt, purple pants, purple boots, purple socks, even purple underwear!” she proclaimed proudly. “That’s awesome, Ave!” I said. “Nicely done!” Then she said something that broke my heart a little: “Do you think anyone will make fun of me for wearing all purple?” Oh man, I thought. It’s happening. My self-confident,...

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toddler survival guide

Mike and Heather Spohr: Survival of the Fittest for Parents of Toddlers

If you love “The Walking Dead” but have young children at home, you’ve probably fallen behind in your consumption of the zombie show – or anything like it. Next time you tuck your tot in, get your fix via a hilarious parody of zombie survival guides: “The Toddler Survival Guide.” Written by husband and wife Mike and Heather Spohr, the book will get you cackling out loud and might give...

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Brunch in Los Angeles

Any Given Sunday: A One-Act about Brunch in Los Angeles

On Sunday, Kate and Isaac Parfrey are awakened by Leo, whose cry pierces through their Westside bungalow. Kate retrieves the 1-year-old and the squeal stops immediately. Silence. Beautiful silence. 6 a.m.: Kate: “Oh no you don’t. You’re getting up, too.” Isaac’s attempt to sleep in is thwarted. He rises and prepares two pots of coffee, one for each catatonic parent. 7 a.m.: Hank, a 3-year-old boy going on 16, approaches...

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parenting classes in Los Angeles

Helping Families Take Root and Parents Take Wing

When you walk into Malibu’s new holistic wellness nonprofit, Roots & Wings, you might feel like you’ve walked into a cocoon of warmth, peace and acceptance. You’re greeted immediately with “How can I help you?” And a smile. There’s no request for a doctor’s referral or diagnosis. Roots & Wings invites you just as you are. “We don’t care about any diagnosis or previous treatment. We take families who need...

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mommy and me spa in los angeles

Mommy and Me Spa Day in Los Angeles: Share the Ahhhhh

While a relaxing day at the spa can be a great solo break for a busy mom, it can also be a fun way to spend one-on-one time with your child. We found a fantastic group of L.A. spas that offer special packages for moms and kids to enjoy together, or services for kids to enjoy while Mom takes advantage of an adult treatment. So go ahead, bond with your...

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Simple as One Potato: Spring Vegetable Pasta Recipe

Catherine McCord really wants you to cook – and eat – with your kids. The L.A.-based family food blogger, chef and cookbook author behind Weelicious has even created a meal-kit service to help make that happen. Launched two years ago in California and expanded this past year into seven other states, One Potato (onepotato.com) offers an especially family-friendly twist. “We want you to cook just a little bit,” says McCord....

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autism awareness month

An Autism Awareness Month Update

April is Autism Awareness Month, so we checked in with Gary Feldman, M.D., medical director of the Stramski Children’s Developmental Center at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, for an update on research, diagnosis and treatment. What’s going on in the field of autism research now that makes you feel most optimistic? Probably two categories. One is the increasing evidence that shows us that early intervention can have a...

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Compton/Woodley Los Angeles Enrichment Program Teaches Kids to Fly

On a recent chilly and rainy day at Compton/Woodley Airport, clusters of middle and high school students buzzed around the facility. Some hung out inside the airport’s Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM), staffing the front desk, lounging on couches or working on computers inside the experiential classroom. Others braved the weather and ventured outside. A few of them settled with ease inside the cockpits of single-engine airplanes. The tweens and teens...

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kids and yoga

Three Easy Yoga Poses to Do With Your Kids

There seems to be plenty of kids yoga to go around these days – studios, classes in schools, games, books, apps, YouTube channels and podcasts. But your kids can start right here and now with these three fun and easy poses suggested by Stacey Alysson, who teaches yoga to more than 300 L.A. preschoolers each week. Alysson is also author of “Parker Pig Goes to Yoga,” illustrated by Patrick Girouard,...

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positive parenting

The Power of Optimism

Weak muscle tone, developmental delays, poor growth, insatiable appetite, life-threatening obesity, intellectual impairment, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, aggressive and violent behavior ….   The neonatologist, clutching photocopied pages of a medical textbook, rattled these symptoms off to Lisa and TJ Graziano, describing their 13-day-old son’s future.   “He would read symptom after symptom after symptom after symptom after symptom, turn the page and continue,” says Lisa. “I think it was three pages of symptoms,...

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Tween Time: A Historic Picture of L.A. History

When the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency commissioned Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco to create a mural for the city’s 1981 bicentennial, it obviously wasn’t counting on her unvarnished view of L.A. history. The agency ended the project when Carrasco wouldn’t remove 14 historical moments – including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots and the whitewashing of David Alfaro Siqueiros’s mural “América Tropical”...

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Local Kids Help Write and Illustrate Anti-Bullying Book

“I looked down inside my heart for friendship and love …”  “Try not to let mean words get to you; they’re meaningless and a waste of energy. Don’t let bad people touch your heart.”  “… if you really want to be happy, be kind, have a lot of friends, and follow your heart.”  “When I share my candy and squishes, I see happy faces light up like exclamation points!”  These...

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inclusive chess

A New ‘Army’ of Chess Players

Children of all ages often yearn to have control over something in their lives, whether that’s what to eat for breakfast or what to wear to school. Kids on the autism spectrum, and those who have ADHD, also yearn for social connections. Kids To Kings, a chess tutoring program, uses the game to transform children into kings, giving them ultimate control over their “army” on the board and helping them...

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Inclusive Toys We Love

From wheelchairs and hearing aids for dolls to fun sensory, sorting and emoji toys, these products make playtime fun for kids of all abilities.

summer camp los angeles

#CampReady: For Summer and Beyond

Summer camp has obvious benefits for all children. For children with disabilities, though, those benefits seem particularly deep and profound, and can have a ripple effect through the entire family.   Lisa Tivens’ teenage son has attended Reid’s Gift, a camp for those ages 14-22 with a variety of challenges, for two years. Witnessing his participation has been powerful for her. “They tailor the program so that everyone feels wanted, important,”...

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3 Simple Hydration Rules: Drink more water. Mostly tap. Sometimes filtered.

Suffering from headaches? Drink more water. Feeling tired? Drink more water. Fighting the flu? Drink more water. Trying to lose weight? Drink more water. As pediatricians, we advise our patients to “drink more water” all the time – a recommendation that sounds so simple, yet is so often under-recognized. More than half of the children in the U.S. do not drink enough water and one-fourth do not drink any water...

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granada hills charter

Granada Hills Charter Robotics Team Wins State Championship and Secures Spot in World Competition

Granada Hills Charter (GHC) High School’s robotics won the tournament championship at a California statewide robotics competition in Pomona, CA over the weekend. The GHC robotics team qualified for the world competition which will be held April 25-28 in Louisville, Kentucky. The VEX Robotics Competition harnesses the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts and instills life experiences that foster the growth of teamwork, leadership, and communications. The VEX competition...

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compass charter schools

Compass Charter Schools Scholar Secures Debut Role in New Nickelodeon Comedy Series

Today, Compass Charter Schools (CCS) announced entertainment news courtesy of one of its own. Lilimar Hernandez Ruiz, a high school senior from North Hollywood, made her television debut on Nickelodeon’s new comedy "Knight Squad." CCS is a virtual independent study charter school serving grades TK-12 with enrollment of more than 1,000. CCS is dedicated to offering scholars like Ruiz access to quality online and homeschool educational programs to meet their...

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A Unique Academy Helps Kids on the Spectrum Transition to Adulthood

When you imagine the future for your child on the autism spectrum, do you imagine her or him using computer guided tools to create precision metal parts for aerospace companies? Maybe you should. In 2013, an organization called the Uniquely Abled Project sought to find out what people with developmental disabilities were good at. How are these folks “uniquely abled”? The answer they found was that many were good at...

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Support Your Child’s Development With Sensory Play

From birth all the way through childhood, children use their senses to build nerve connections and make sense of the world around them. Sensory input provides children with the necessary brain feedback to develop their gross motor, fine motor, language, social emotional and even cognitive skills. Because of its important role in development, sensory play is vital for every child. Unfortunately, with the increase in technology usage and our busy...

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Parents Caring for Special Kids Should Take Special Care of Themselves

You need to make the gluten-free, casein-free lunches for your kids’ nut-free campus and get your pet to the vet. You really should reply to those emails from last week and finish the paperwork to approve your son’s speech therapy before you take his sister to gymnastics class. Did you even remember to tell your husband to get dinner? The demands of family life make it hard to juggle everything...

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john august

L.A. Parent Chat Room: Meet Screenwriter and Author John August

You may know L.A. local John August from his screenwriting credits, which include “Big Fish,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” But, now he’s notched up a new credit: middle-grade novelist. “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire,” an engaging and exciting blend of magic, mayhem and mystery, introduces readers to 12-year-old Arlo, a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Col. Arlo soon makes friends and is invited to join...

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summer camp in Los Angeles

#CampReady: What You Really Want in a Summer Camp

On a Saturday morning in early February, hundreds of families flooded the campus of Westridge School in Pasadena. Some drove from as far away as Santa Clarita, while others walked just a few blocks from home (a good idea, because parking was at a premium).  The draw? The Westridge Summer Opportunities Fair, where 117 organizations set up tables in the gym and around campus to show families what they’ll have...

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Calling All Sporty Moms in Los Angeles

As a child, I took to sports with enthusiasm and fortitude. While I was never the strongest member of my teams and I was usually the shortest, the one thing I had on my side was speed. My pint-size demeanor combined with a lifetime of walking twice as fast to keep up with the longer legs in my life to create an all-star soccer and softball player.   But that was...

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vegan date truffles

Healthy Make-at-home Fun: Vegan Date Truffles Recipe

Who would have thought that vegan date truffles would be the perfect confluence of D. Brandon Walker’s roles as chef and dad? At the time he created the recipe, Walker was working as personal chef for music producer Russell Simmons, who is co-founder of Def Jam Recordings – and also a vegan. While upping his vegan game, Walker was also looking for a treat for his daughters, who are now...

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dad in los angeles

Millennial Dad in Los Angeles: Hairy Situations, Toddler Style

This column is about style. I know it exists – even after we enter parenthood. Plenty of Millennials have it. All one has to do is walk around the Silver Lake Reservoir on a Sunday morning and watch the hipster daddies somehow make mustaches, macchiatos and mastiffs work with their perfectly quaffed hair.  But me? I feel like I need a makeover. Between diaper changes and tantrum-preventive negotiations, this papa...

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childhood cancer

Battling Childhood Cancer One Shave at a Time

In late 2002, Greg Doyle’s 4-year-old son was diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma, a rare form of lung cancer. Doyle, a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department, felt helpless.  “Being a first responder, I’m used to having problems that I can solve, and I couldn’t solve this one,” Doyle says. “I had to trust people I barely knew to take care of my kid and try to make him better.”  ...

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tide pod challenge

Putting the Tide Pod Challenge in Perspective

You’ve certainly heard about internet “challenges” where people – especially teens – film themselves doing everything from harmless fun like pretending to be a mannequin to dangerous things like eating laundry detergent pods.   These and even more frightening challenges (the “Blue Whale” purportedly challenges participants to commit suicide) easily make headlines, but Brian Prestwich, M.D., lead physician in the Family Medicine department at UCLA Health Century City and father of...

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for tweens in LA

Tween Time: Shadow Magic

Technology has dramatically changed the way entertainment is created and consumed for tweens in LA. All of the high-tech wizardry, however, can make old-fashioned techniques seem unusual and even avant-garde. Shadow puppetry, for example, is a centuries-old art form that can still be used to create a magical experience for audiences. You might have seen the Catapult Shadow Dance Company when they were finalists on “America’s Got Talent.” This innovative...

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mompreneurship

This Danish Mom’s Business Grew Organically

Caring for her young daughter while writing her master’s thesis on mompreneurship steered Cecilie Hammelev-Wethje in an unexpected direction.  The Danish native could have accepted Denmark’s yearlong paid parental leave. But with plans to move after graduation to L.A. with her American husband, Hammelev-Wethje researched her options for balancing motherhood and working in the U.S. “I realized I still wanted to do something besides being a mom, to contribute to...

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kindness and kids

Children’s Book Portrays Kindness as Heroic

There is something special about hearing the elders in your family tell stories. The sound of their voices, coupled with the way they journey through plot twists and describe past events and real-life characters, burrows into listening ears and, sometimes, plants the desire to captivate others with story. For children’s book author Marja Perren, the person who most nurtured her love of story was her grandmother.   “I was raised in...

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mean girls

New Book Addresses ‘Mean Girl’ Effect in Early Years

As a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert and writer Katie Hurley, LCSW, argues that the “mean girl” syndrome is not reserved for high school. In fact, Hurley wrote her book, “No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls,” with younger girls in mind. “You’ll find information and strategies to help your girls from preschool through middle school with developing friendships, dealing with relational aggression...

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5 Tips for Protecting Your Children During Your Divorce

So, you have arrived at the difficult decision to end your marriage, a decision with which you struggled. How will you break the news to your son or daughter? How will you feel when you do not see your child every day? How will your child feel when he or she does not see you each day? What can you do to assuage the emotional impact the divorce will have...

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Junior White Coat Ceremony Graduates 159 Local Students

The Saturday Science Academy II at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine (SSA-II), a STEM program for youth from underserved communities in L.A., graduated 159 K-12 students at its 18th annual “Junior White Coat Ceremony” on Jan. 20. SSA-II is a year-round program with three eight-week sessions during the school year and a four-week summer course. The program is open to all students, but ultimately seeks to inspire students of color...

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For Parents of Teens With Autism, Optimism Buffers Stress

The fact that mothers of teens experience stress is no surprise to anyone who has parented – or even met – a teen. The fact that moms of teens who are on the autism spectrum or have intellectual disabilities face more stress than their peers with typically developing teens is also no great surprise. Studies have shown that parents of teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders (AD) or Intellectual Disabilities (ID)...

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L.A. Vaulting Program Helps Kids of All Abilities Thrive on Horseback

At birth, Steven Rostomian suffered oxygen deficiency , leaving him with physical and mental challenges that would last the rest of his life. “He used to be in a wheelchair, had maybe 20 to 30 seizures a day and a food tube in his stomach,” says his mom, Sarah. Doctors emphatically told the Glendale family that Rostomian would never walk. Then the family heard about a program that gives children...

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Connect and Communicate With these Three Strategies

Melissa Reiner knows about talking to kids. Asked what she does, the oldest of her three sons, who’s 10, says, “She uses this special way of speaking. I didn’t like it at first, but it really works.” The founder of Bridging Pathways, Reiner uses these talents to help kids and families throughout Southern California who are dealing with the challenges posed by autism. She offers these three strategies for improving...

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having more kids

On Having More Kids: When Baby Makes Four

The decision to have a child is one of the most momentous people can make. Those who venture down that path undertake lifestyle changes that transform every aspect of their financial, social and personal lives for decades to come. An equally momentous transition can be the one from one child to two. Add a sibling and you’re upending things for yourself, your co-parent and your first child. While parents bond...

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Valentine's Day Events in Los angeles

Make it a Date with 15 Family-Friendly Outings in Los Angeles

February is the month for Valentines, hearts, flowers and dates with the one you love. We’ll trust you moms and dads to plan your own grown-up outings (or evenings in) – but why should you have all the fun? Here are 15 family dates you can enjoy with the kids. Bring on the Brunch For a cozy way to start the day, head to Home (www.homerestaurantla.com), with locations in Silverlake...

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summer camp los angeles

#CampReady in Los Angeles: Outwit Summer Brain Drain

Imagine, for a moment, that you are on “Jeopardy!” Host Alex Trebek rattles off the answer to the question you need to provide: “This phenomenon results in two to three months of academic learning loss in school-age children.”   You punch your buzzer and light up your podium. “What is summer brain drain?” you yell, triumphant. You are right. While summertime represents that much-anticipated season of rest and riotous fun for...

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millennial dad in Los Angeles

Millennial Dad in Los Angeles: Suds with my Bud: Kid-Friendly Craft Breweries

On a December afternoon, while the rest of the country was freezing its collective butt off, mine was planted on a picnic bench at Rock & Brews, a kid-friendly biergarten in El Segundo. I sipped craft beers and noshed on fries while my son Hank romped around in the kids zone. There are moments in the L.A. region where one is left wondering, “Should this be happening?” This was one...

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chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies You Don’t Have to Bake

“Why do we bake them?” my husband often asks after snatching some dough from the batch of cookies I’m making. With this recipe from Pastry Chef Lindsay Kirk of Small Batch Ice Cream in Mar Vista, you don’t have to. You can have your cookie dough and eat it, too. “It’s less messy, more portable,” Kirk says of the Cookie Doh Pops served up at Small Batch.  Substituting margarine for...

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Little Leaders Vashti Harrison

Instagram Challenge Turns into Best-Selling Children’s Book

Rosa Parks was an icon in the civil rights movement that began in the 1950s. But that bold woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus was also once a child. A new book shares the stories of Parks and other female leaders from black history with illustrations that remind us of their quiet beginnings.  “I was a quiet, shy child, and I think it’s important to...

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children's radiation exposure

Children’s Radiation Exposure: Gentler Imaging for Kids

When children are injured or ill, medical imaging can give doctors important information to help make kids well. But whether that’s an X-ray of a possibly fractured limb, a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia or a more advanced CT or PET scan, these procedures expose children to radiation. Marvin Nelson, M.D., is chairman of the department of radiology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where they perform as many as...

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Los Angeles smog

Smog Linked to Kids’ Bad Behavior

If you need to add to your list of reasons we hate the smog that hangs over every part of our SoCal home, here’s something new: juvenile delinquency. In a study published in December, USC researchers linked exposure to particulate matter in the air to an increase in behaviors such as lying, stealing, skipping school, vandalism and substance abuse. The researchers weren’t able to compare SoCal teens in highly polluted...

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2018 Vision Board

There’s Still Time to Create Your 2018 Vision Board

Last year was a tough year for many communities, and even with the start of a new year, it might be hard to dream up a better future. But consider setting aside time to design a vision board for 2018. I have found that creating vision boards that capture what we want our year – and our lives – to look like is fun and aspirational and provides me with...

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Los Angeles for Teens

Tween Time: Humor and Humanity Around Los Angeles for Teens

Arriving in Southern California this month are several thought-provoking theater productions just perfect for teens and tweens.  “Candide” comes to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion courtesy of the L.A. Opera (www.laopera.org). Leonard Bernstein composed the music for this colorful comic opera, and this production stars Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers” and “Frasier”) and two-time Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole. Based on the novella by Voltaire, “Candide” (recommended for ages 10 and older) is...

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cold and flu

Cold and Flu Myths and Tips for Prevention

Each year, there are millions of cases of the common cold in the U.S. The CDC reports that adults average two to three colds per year, and children experience even more. Still, misconceptions about proper management of cold symptoms persist.  A survey released last week from the Merck Manuals – publishers of the world’s best-selling medical textbooks – found that 88 percent of Americans are confident when it comes to...

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center theatre group

Center Theatre Group Chooses August Wilson Monologue Finalists

Center Theatre Group has selected 12 local high school students to participate in the regional finals for the 2018 August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC) to be held March 5 at the Mark Taper Forum.  This is the seventh year Center Theatre Group is hosting the Southern California component of the national monologue competition. The program is designed to inspire and educate Los Angeles youth using monologues from August Wilson’s “American...

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#MeToo

Helping Boys Get the #MeToo Message

Currently, we can’t watch the news or connect with social media without hearing about another sexual harassment scandal. Although our instinct is to want to talk to our daughters about ownership of their bodies, boundaries and consent. But the vital conversations to have right now is with our sons. In order to raise caring, empathetic and sensitive boys we need to create a cultural shift to one of mutual respect...

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bullying

The Battle Against Bullying

One of the worst things a parent can ever witness is their child being hurt physically and emotionally. Bullying covers both in spades.   Unlike schoolyard taunts, childish teasing and miscommunication, bullying causes hurt at a whole new level. It involves an imbalance of power where one person intentionally and repeatedly causes physical or psychological harm to another. This can take the form of pushing, hitting, destroying one’s possessions, excluding one...

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archer school for girls

The Archer School for Girls Breaks Ground on New Academic Center

In early January, The Archer School for Girls celebrated the groundbreaking of its Campus Master Plan. The event included addresses from Archer’s Head of School Elizabeth English, Craig Allen Jameson, Principal and Design Director at Parallax Architects, and Archer's Board Chair Frank Marshall. The School enrolls nearly 500 students reflecting the face of Greater Los Angeles: 39 percent of the student body is made up of students of color who...

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Cedars-Sinai

A New View for Young Cedars-Sinai Patients

No one likes lying in a hospital bed, staring up at the ceiling. At Cedars-Sinai, kids now have a better view. The medical center commissioned the nonprofit RxArt (www.rxart.net) to redo the ceilings and walls of 16 pediatric rooms. L.A.-based artists Urs Fischer, Sam Falls and Laura Owens completed the work, which includes images of trees, birds, animals and clouds as well as abstract art. Pictured at top is 12-year-old...

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kids and chores

Can the Kids Pitch In? Kids and Chores

’Tis the season for ambitious resolutions, fresh starts – and perhaps a bit more help around the house. But where to start? Are your children old enough for chores? Should you pay them? Are you sick of nagging – and re-doing their efforts? When polling my friends with 5-year-olds about the topic, the responses were entertaining. A creative Eagle Rock mom had some success convincing her son that Tom Petty...

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family mental health

A Mental-Health Checkup for Los Angeles Families

Now that the holidays are behind us, it is time to think of New Year’s resolutions. In January, people contemplate their physical health, making goals to exercise regularly, eat healthier, sleep more, get physicals and take better care of themselves. But how often do families consider the state of their mental health? The truism, “Prevention is better than cure,” applies to mental well-being as well as physical.   Here’s some wisdom...

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Tween Time: A Day of Service for Los Angeles Teens

Some kids might think of Martin Luther Day Jr. Day, which this year falls on Jan. 15, as just another day off from school. Others, however, consider it a “day on” for volunteering. MLK Day, which became a federal holiday in 1983, also was designated a National Day of Service in 1994. While people of all ages can participate, the holiday presents a particularly good opportunity for tweens and teens...

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sibling rivalry

Survival of the Fittest: Nurturing Positive Sibling Relationships

Sibling rivalry is one of the oldest forms of conflict known to mankind. Its drama has been played out in folkore, literature and film. In the animal kingdom, many newborns shun their siblings as a form of survival. I’ve read about how some baby birds push their siblings out of nests to ensure their own food supply. In a less dramatic way, we see some form of this played out...

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family fitness

Family Fitness: Making the First Move

Phil and Michelle Dozois of South Pasadena have been in the fitness game for decades. Michelle got hooked with her first gymnastics and dance classes at age 5, and went on to win gold medals in the National and World Aerobic Championships and create top-selling fitness DVDs. Her husband, Phil, has been a personal trainer for 25 years, and together he and Michelle opened their own health club – Breakthru Fitness – in 1998.  They are also parents of a 14-year-old...

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child's cough

Doc Talk: Taking Care of Your Child’s Cough

It’s the season of colds, flu – and cough. Leila Yoonessi, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, reminds parents to watch out for rhinovirus (the common cold), as well as respiratory syncytial virus, which can be truly dangerous in younger children. She also has tips about managing cough.  Is cough ever harmful in and of itself?  Cough is a natural defense...

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family fitness in Los Angeles

Claudine Cooper to Parents: ‘Focus on Living Long’

Claudine Cooper’s high-intensity fitness classes are part boot camp, part sermon and part party. Folks show up early to stake a spot in the studio before it overflows. They endure Cooper’s yells to push harder. They bob their heads along to her always-banging music, even when that third set of burpees and lunges makes their muscles scream.   “I know you came to work hard, or else you wouldn’t be here,”...

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eat healthier in 2018

Four Ways to Eat Healthier in 2018

Fill your family up with healthier food by using these tips from pediatric clinical dietitian Amanda Haney, MS, RD, CNSC, of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.   Get halfway there. If you’re not confident cooking at home (generally healthier than eating out), consider services such as Blue Apron that deliver pre-prepped ingredients that you can just put together. “I was at Ralphs last week and they also had...

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Lauren Potter Stars in Short Film About Acting and Disabilities

Actors face many challenges, including seemingly endless strings of auditions that may or may not pay off. A new short film starring Lauren Potter, the scrappy cheerleader from “Glee,” spotlights what that can look like for actors with disabilities. Called “Headshot,” the 5-minute film was produced in partnership with AbilityFirst, a nonprofit dedicated to looking beyond disabilities and expanding possibilities. The film was directed by Eva Ye and in the...

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For Jewish Kids With Disabilities, a New Learning Option

Chaya Chazanow and Sarah R’bibo have a lot in common. They are moms, they have kindergarten-age children with disabilities, they are Jewish – and they found what L.A. public schools were offering their kids just wasn’t enough. “It was always a fight to get what he needed,” Chazanow says of her 5-year-old son, who was born with a rare genetic disorder. What’s more, there were no Jewish schools in the...

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hummus recipe

Family Recipe: A Different Kind of Hummus

A house specialty at Panini Kabob Grill, which has several SoCal locations including Woodland Hills, Bevery Hills and Glendale, is the hummus trio. It includes traditional chickpea hummus, black bean hummus and this edamame hummus. “Parents love this for their kids because it’s healthy,” owner Ali Kazemi explains. “Kids like it because it’s easy to eat.” The spices are mild and the dish is creamy – and fun to dip with crackers, cut veggies or pita triangles. ...

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mindfulness for kids

CWC Silverlake is Bringing Mindfulness into the Classroom

Silence. Stillness. Meditation. These are words that make you want to inhale a deep breath and let it out ever so slowly. You may imagine a yoga studio with clean lines, soft lighting and bamboo floors. Your imagination likely did not conjure up an elementary or middle school classroom.  Yet Citizens of the World (CWC) Silver Lake, a public elementary and middle school charter in L.A., is weaving yoga and mindfulnness into its curriculum, which aims for an intentional...

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home decorating

Home Decorating Tips from Gina Wade for Families with Kids

Having kids changed the way Hollywood designer and entertaining expert Gina Wade decorates her own home. “I said goodbye to décor like the tall hand-blown glass trees that I used to set outside by the doorway,” says Wade, who has two children: Jake, 6, and Emerson, 4.  Her company, Gina Wade Creative, produces glamorous events for Hollywood and celebrities. But her signature Hollywood-to-home decorating and entertaining ideas make it possible for anyone to have a beautiful home, even while raising kids. “When you have little ones running around, it’s easy...

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shark tank

L.A. Students Shine in Shark Tank and Math@Work Webisode

Dressed in their best, two teams of aspiring local student entrepreneurs recently marched onto ABC’s “Shark Tank” set to present their business plans to the “shark” panel.  Calm and poised, Lincoln High School ninth graders Crystal Reynaga and Angela Garcia pitched Find You, a GPS watch that tracks young runners and includes an app to help their parents keep tabs on them. And eighth graders Timothy Coleman and Mauro Palomo, who attend Hawthorne Math & Science Academy, delivered a pitch on how their website $tartup connects entrepreneurs and investors.  The four students fielded a series of...

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kids outdoors

The Art of Getting the Kids Outdoors in the Los Angeles Area

Our family is very fortunate in having cousin Hannah, the matriarch of the family, turn 92 recently.  Hannah’s four children are now in their 60s and her grandchildren are now having children. Our littlest cousin and her newest great granddaughter, Sloan, was just born a few months ago.  One of the mantras that Hannah has always told each of us as we began having children was that whenever our children...

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comedian e.l. smith

E.L. Smith: Finding Love and Family through Comedy

Stand-up comedian E.L. Smith wasn’t the funniest or most outgoing kid growing up. In fact, he was pretty reserved and practical. His plan was to pursue a career in sports management and settle somewhere near his hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla.  A high school crush changed all of that. With his heart set on asking out the girl of his dreams, Smith bought two $25 tickets to a comedy...

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inclusive friendship programs

Friendship Programs Link Kids of All Abilities

Friendship is the magic that holds the power to lift us out of our isolation and sadness, to give us joy and a sense of meaningful human connection. And so, we raise the red flag when a child is constantly playing alone at recess.  Coby Bird, who has autism, was one of those children. He didn’t know how to relate to his peers. Some of them shunned and bullied him,...

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loss during the holidays

Dealing With Loss During the Holidays

’Tis the season to be merry, but for grievers the holidays are fraught with emotions and decision making may be complicated. Families are reminded that the children are grieving, too. Far too often, children are excluded when decisions are made about which holiday rituals and traditions from the past to uphold and when to create new ones. Offer opportunities that will help them maintain their precious memories and engage in...

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Parenting in Los Angeles

LOOM Puts Parents’ Wellness First in Community Hub

When you think of parenting classes, is your first thought learning how to address your baby’s needs or your own? Given the child-focused way parenting is addressed in our society, the answer is rarely the latter, but LOOM, a new community hub in L.A., is aiming to change that.  The company’s mission is to exist as “an inclusive, inviting and judgment-free space for both birth and non-birth outcomes.” To fulfill...

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sweet potato bread pudding

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding: Dessert or Side? You Decide

Jeremy Cantwell grew up in San Diego eating his mom’s and grandmother’s Japanese- and Hawaiian-inspired cooking. He’s also classically trained in French cuisine, which gives him a special appreciation for the Cajun-style food at the House of Blues in Anaheim, where he is executive chef. “There’s a lot of tradition that comes with the Cajun [and] Creole food,” says Cantwell. At home, he has a tradition of baking with his...

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millenial dad

He’s Making a List: The Millennial Dad’s Holiday Wishes

What’s the holiday season without the optimistic spirit of a child’s wish list? As a youngish dad, I sometimes envy the little ones because they get to unabashedly make materialistic demands on their caretakers during this time of year. We parents must stay strong, careful not to spoil our spawn. Oh, never mind … this is the Millennial Dad. Spoil away! Give the little beggars everything they desire.  I am...

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holiday traditions

A New Twist on Holiday Joy Teaches Kids to Keep on Giving

She starts off on the mantel – all knowing smiles and wide eyes – seemingly watching your kids’ every move. The next day, she moves to another spot in the house, still smiling, still watching, waiting to tell Santa who’s being naughty or nice. Does your family use one of Santa’s elves as part of your holiday tradition?   I love the stories behind holiday traditions – how each of us...

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choking prevention

Preventing Toy Chokings

Holiday time is “toy time,” which means it’s time to talk about toy safety. Alan L. Nager, M.D., M.H.A., division director of emergency and transport medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, says that ingestion (swallowing) and aspiration (sucking into the airway) of toys and toy pieces is a problem year-round. “We have a child getting something pulled out of their esophagus or airway several times a week,” he says.  To...

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Winter [Break] is Coming! Five Tips for Parents with Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Yes, winter [break] is coming, which means no school for two to three weeks for a lot of students. Are you concerned about how you’ll keep your child busy? Children are accustomed to the structured routine of school. As a parent of elementary school-aged triplets who have faced neurodevelopmental challenges, I value the importance of routine and predictability. When the calendar flips to November, my wife and I start to...

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parenting

Why We All Need a Parenting Village

My need for a parenting village became clear when I found myself sitting in my son’s school valet line belting out the lyrics to Barbara Streisand’s “People.” The chorus of horns behind me was drowned out by my off-key karaoke: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!” I was sleep deprived, coming off a slew of stressful doctor appointments for my middle son, and I had...

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Keeping the Holidays Inclusive and Fun for All

Keep things simple. Plan ahead. Stay flexible. Keep the lines of communication open. They may seem like common-sense tips for just about any life situation, but for parents of children with disabilities, these bits of wisdom are especially applicable during the holiday season – a time of year that is often as stressful as it is joyous. You want to celebrate just like – and often in the company of...

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teacher of the year

Two Teachers in L.A. County Earn 2018 California Teacher-of-the-Year Awards

Northlake Hills Elementary School teacher Erin Oxhorn-Gilpin has a rule about her own cellphone usage during class: it’s absolutely prohibited. The students in her first- and second-grade combo class are well aware of this rule. So when Oxhorn-Gilpin answered her phone during a recent math lesson, their eyes grew wide.   But their teacher had her reasons. As an L.A. County Teacher of the Year in the running for the coveted California Teacher of the Year award, she...

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toddler's window fall

A Toddler’s Window Fall – A Mom’s Nightmare

As many as 5,000 children in the U.S. fall from windows each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. L.A. Parent Assistant Editor Carolyn Richardson’s son recently fell from the window of their building. Here is her story in her own words:    “You are a great mom,” said an EMT as we stood in front of our apartment building in Encino. It was a warm afternoon this past September, and he was trying to calm me down and keep me...

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spiritual parenting

Lighting the Spiritual Spark in Your Child

In order to light the spiritual spark in our kids and keep it lit, the goal is to get them to turn inward for answers. This means that we, as parents, must turn inward before we act and react so that we can give more thoughtful guidance with better outcomes. Here are a few ideas to keep daily life with your kids on a spiritual track. Start Talking Early Many...

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managing anxiety

Is It Holiday Anxiety, Or Something More?

The excitement of the holiday season is here, and that can mean big adjustments for parents and children. Parents are getting ready to take on the holidays by planning for family coming into town or getting their own families ready to travel. For kids, school is coming to a break, and they get to relax. By this time, children have become more accustomed to the new routines of the school...

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achieve la

Mayor Garcetti Announces College-Readiness Initiative in Support of Local Youth

It is now easier for LA youth to go to college, thanks to a new community partnership. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently joined California State University, Los Angeles and YMCA officials to launch Achieve LA, an initiative to create pathways to higher education for local youth. Achieve LA will leverage existing Cradle to Career Success Initiative programs at four YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles locations to inform youth about...

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FAMILY'S HEALTH HISTORY

Time to Collect Your Family’s Health History

With the holidays upon us, here’s a new topic for your family gatherings: your family’s health history. When multiple generations get together, Sylvia S. Estrada, DNP, who provides genetic counseling and testing at the Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center at Cedars-Sinai, says you have a perfect opportunity to gather information that will help your healthcare provider better screen against diseases that can run in the family.  From which family...

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“Thankful Jar” – Family Questions of Gratitude

As much as I remind my young daughters to show gratitude by saying “thank you” and other niceties, I often wonder if I’m expecting too much of them. Is it unreasonable to want my 2-year-old and 6-year-old to see beyond the immediacy of their own wants and needs and remember to extend graciousness to others? Perhaps, but I keep at it anyway. My mom raised me to regard gratitude as...

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thanksgiving with kids

In L.A., All is Gravy on Turkey Day

Millennials, or at least the coastal-elite version I cavort with, have a complicated relationship with that American holiday referred to as Thanksgiving. That’s probably because a more enlightened reading of American history has scrambled our feelings about the fourth Thursday in November.   First, there’s the genesis of the holiday, which children were once taught celebrated a communal harvest meal that native Americans shared with the New England colonists. Now, many...

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holiday dessert recipes

5 Tips for Happy Holiday Cooking with 3 Sweet Recipes from L.A. Chefs

Hooray for the holidays – lights, music, love, joy and a chance to spoil family and friends with delicious homemade food from your cozy kitchen.   What? Holiday cooking isn’t your absolute favorite thing to do? You avoid the kitchen most of the year, and get stressed out by the pressure to produce a festive meal?   Relax, take a deep breath and a different approach this year with these tips from...

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the tincture of time

Elizabeth L. Silver: Dealing with Uncertainty in the NICU

When we bring our first newborn baby home from the hospital, we expect that we’ll be up at ungodly hours. We have been told by loved ones and strangers alike that our lives are about to change forever. In the midst of our nervousness and joy, we accept these night- and life-altering changes with chagrin and glee.  Three-and-a-half years ago, L.A. parents Elizabeth L. Silver and her husband, Amir, were...

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breathemobile

Asthma Doesn’t Take a Holiday

About one in every 11 L.A. County kids has asthma, and managing it poses three major challenges for parents: getting an asthma action plan, sticking to that plan and periodically reevaluating it to keep it current.   “People with any chronic condition need to get organized on a daily basis,” says Marilyn Li, M.D., co-director of the Breathmobile program at LAC+USC Medical Center. “In order for it to be effective, families...

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winter camps in Los Angeles

Winter Camps in Los Angeles with Parent Perks

As parents, we instinctually ask, “What’s the best choice for my child?” when making almost any decision, and that is a natural place to start when choosing a winter camp for your kids. But in a city like Los Angeles, with its wealth of premium resources, isn’t there also space to consider, “What’s the best choice for me, the parent?” After all, it’s your winter holiday, too!  Below is a...

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hamilton in los angeles

Tween Time: Hamilton vs. ‘Spamilton’

“Hamilton’s” time at the Pantages comes to an end Dec. 30, so if you haven’t yet seen it (or seen it multiple times), don’t procrastinate. “Hamilton,” recommended for ages 12 and older, has become a cultural phenomenon, and most people now know about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterful musical depiction of Alexander Hamilton’s life story via rap, pop, hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway music. The Pantages holds a lottery for $10 tickets...

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Down syndrome

Kid Podcast ‘Brains On!’ Explores Down Syndrome

What do your kids know about Down syndrome? How about your kids’ friends and classmates? A great, age-appropriate way for them to learn more is via the “Brains On!” podcast produced by American Public Media – with writing and reporting from L.A.’s own Sanden Totten, formerly a science reporter at public radio station KPCC. In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, “Brains On!” devoted an episode to the...

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philanthroparties

PhilanthroParties Show Teens How to Party for a Cause

Lulu Cerone grew up in the sweltering San Fernando Valley, so as a kid she became a lemonade stand entrepreneur, racking up cash as her thirsty neighbors sought out her homemade juice.  Eventually, Lulu’s mother, Lisa, encouraged her to turn her lemonade sale profit to good use – to look around her community and identify a social problem she wanted to help improve. But Cerone found herself transfixed by the...

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Tackling Four Common Misconceptions About Dyslexia

While research over the years has continued to yield much information about dyslexia, the learning disorder is still easily misunderstood. These misconceptions can lead to ineffective approaches to learning, doing a disservice to those with the disorder. Debunking some of the myths surrounding dyslexia can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. Here are the facts about four of the most common misconceptions about dyslexia: Misconception: Dyslexia is a visual...

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national blue ribbon awards

Eight L.A. County Schools Win National Blue Ribbon Awards

Eight schools in the L.A. area have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools this year, marking their place as beacons of academic achievement for local elementary, middle and high school students.  Local award winners are Leffingwell Elementary in Whittier, Wedgeworth Elementary in Hacienda Heights, California Academy of Mathematics and Science in Carson, Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High in L.A., Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington, KIPP Comienza Community Prep...

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middle school students

Parenting Through Middle School Students’ Perfect Storm

New parents get all the sympathy. Everyone is ready to commiserate over the sleepless nights, dirty diapers and crush of responsibility that come with the birth of a child. Our babies, after all, need our 24/7 attention and care.  Parents of middle schoolers, on the other hand, don’t get much more than a grimace from those of us who have survived that stage in our kids’ lives. We roll our...

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Before and After Kids: L.A. Parent Launches #HappierWithKids Campaign

Many parents have taken to Instagram to post “Before and After Kids” photos of themselves. The idea, in case you live under a rock, is that everyone posts photos of themselves before they had kids, and after. While some hashtags have taken a negative tone toward becoming a parent, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the joy of parenting. To that end, L.A. Parent is launching the #HappierWithKids campaign. With...

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postpartum depression screening

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Launches Postpartum Depression Screening Program for New Mothers

Every year, more than 6,500 women give birth at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Now, all new mothers are being screened for one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated medical conditions in women: postpartum depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of women who give birth each year report symptoms of postpartum depression. Only a small number ever get help, leaving many with the serious, untreated condition....

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college essay

Writing the Right College Essay: Tips to Stand Out From the Crowd

It’s tough to write a college application essay. Or so I hear. I’ve never actually written one. The college essay is a rite of passage for American teens, and high schoolers all over California are now preparing to write their essays for 2018. I did not go to university in the U.S., so I never had to craft a piece of writing with so much hanging in the balance. But...

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julia sevilla

Chess Champion from Granada Hills Charter High School to Compete in Uruguay

Julia Sevilla, 11th grader at Granada Hills Charter, is representing the United States in the World Youth Chess Championship held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The tournament began on September 16 and features 11 timed rounds. Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and the players who place fourth through 10th will be announced by October 1st. To prepare for a tournament, Julia spends up to 16 hours per week playing...

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ROBYN STACK REAGAN

Robyn Stack Reagan: Coming Full Circle to Build Acceptance

Robyn Stack Reagan, program director of Circle of Friends – The Path to Inclusion, is mother to two adult children and has two grandchildren, one of whom just started kindergarten at the elementary school Reagan’s daughter, Ashton, attended. That first day of school brought back memories for Reagan. When Ashton started kindergarten in the 90s, she would not speak in class, had trouble making friends and was bullied. The family...

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Los Angeles public schools

Navigating Los Angeles Public Schools and Beyond

Deciding where to send your child to school can be a daunting task. Parents need to think carefully about what is most important to them when it comes to their child’s education. Now, parents have a convenient way to access detailed information on public schools across the state. In March 2017, the California Department of Education piloted a new website with measurements to show how public schools are performing on...

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kids social life

Kids’ Social Life at School: Helping Your Child Manage Without Meddling

We all know how important social life at school can be. We were kids once, too. From making new friends in kindergarten to navigating fickle social circles in middle school, forging and sustaining relationships is a huge part of growing up. Peers also play a significant role in kids’ development.  “The power of the relationship is crucial in building other components of learning,” explains Christina Kim, director of student life...

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toddler emotions

The Big Emotions of Little Ones

A child’s social-emotional development during the first five years of life will affect their ability to function in school, respond to stress, adapt to change, persist in challenging situations and form meaningful relationships throughout life. Unfortunately, there is often an emphasis on promoting children’s cognitive growth in the early years, with limited attention paid to strengthening their capacity to manage emotions. Infants rely on sensitive and responsive caregiving to modulate...

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nontraditional education

What If? Taking A Second Look at Nontraditional Education

As kids settle into the new school year, education options continue to evolve. Students in and around L.A. have many choices, from online schools and classes to homeschooling programs and traditional schools that offer online components. Which of these might be right for your family? Which students benefit most from nontraditional education, and what challenges should families be ready to tackle? Here are some of the basics. Reasons To Go...

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mirman school

Innovation and Leadership at the Helm at Mirman School

The world is a revolving axis of new ideas, yet most never see the light of day. For many innovators, the biggest obstacle standing between their dream idea and its fruition is money. But student innovators at Mirman School in Bel-Air are climbing over this hurdle. As part of the school’s MirmanX program, students with the best ideas are receiving funding – to the tune of $10,000 per project –...

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melissa de la cruz

Melissa de la Cruz: On Being the New Girl and Writing Fiction

Bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz recalls ninth grade as the worst year of her life. That’s the year her family immigrated to San Francisco from Manila, Philippines. She spoke English, but the culture shock of moving to another country in the middle of her teens was a “weird adventure.” De la Cruz now lives in L.A. with her husband and 10-year-old daughter. She has written more than 40 books,...

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inclusive schools in la

Inclusive Schools in LA: Where All Learners Are Welcome

Sometimes, parents know from the time their child is young that she or he will need more support than a typical school setting can provide. Others may not discover learning challenges until a student gets older and assignments become more demanding. Whether they are just entering the school system or looking to find a better fit for upper grades, L.A.-area families can access a variety of programs to help their...

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stem in los angeles schools

Adding an M to STEM in Los Angeles Schools

Just who’s putting all this steam into STEM in Los Angeles Schools? Take a straw poll, and you’ll hear credit for the classroom technology boom assigned to a variety of individuals. Topping the list are the scores of ever-inventive teachers, principals and heads of school who are willing to experiment and generous parents and donors offering their time, expertise and funds. Finally, there are the students who – with their...

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preschools in los angeles

Preschools in Los Angeles: 9 Things Your Child Should Learn

Last fall, as I watched my son run down the walkway toward his new kindergarten classroom, I noticed that he appeared tinier than usual. I looked at the other children, products of preschools in Los Angeles, flowing past him and realized that he was, in fact, considerably smaller than most of them. As his R2-D2 backpack flapped against the backs of his knees, I wondered whether we had made a...

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college scholarships

College Scholarship Hacks: The Scoop on How and Where to Find Them

Funding college is an increasing struggle for families – especially those with too much income to qualify for financial aid, but too little to cover tuition. Scholarships and grants can help fill funding gaps, and your search for them should go hand in hand with your search for the right college. Scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid, and some organizations use the terms interchangeably. However, scholarships are...

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race talk with kids

Having the Race Talk with Kids: Parenting Resources by Age

I grew up in a small paper-mill town in central Louisiana during the late 1970s and ’80s – a time still rife with the lingering effects of segregation. My family lived on what folks called “the black side of town.” On the bus ride across town to school every morning, my friends and I fawned over the beautiful houses that decorated the better-paved streets in other neighborhoods, and I envisioned...

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confident kids

Five Ways to Help Your Child Build Confidence

We all want to see our children succeed and be happy, but in today’s challenging times, it’s easy for children to experience self-doubt if they don’t have the right tools for making good choices. Self-confidence – a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment – is a learned skill and most children rely on their parents to guide them through the process of acquiring it. This can be...

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toddler road trip

Tackling the Toddler Road Trip

It’s the stuff of teeth grinding and stress-induced headaches, a prospect that makes your average parent hysterically bargain for alternatives. Yes, I am referring to road trips with kids. I have an irrational fear of flying, so my young family – wife Kate, 2-year-old Hank and baby Leo –  and I take the challenge head-on. I live for the open road and freedom on terra firma. My family road-trip goal...

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kids using smartphones

Setting Limits on Kids’ Smartphone Use

Much fuss has been made over the debut in early September of the latest generation of iPhones. Despite the $999 price tag for the top-of-the-line iPhone X, the news no doubt has tweens and teens asking for an upgrade. But experts are finding evidence that excess smartphone use could be connected to depression and anxiety among teens and tweens – possibly because they are trading in-person relationships and interaction for...

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On the Record: Teaching Kids About Family Heritage

Growing up, I remember people asking me if I considered myself more Hispanic or more American. I thought it was an odd question, because I didn’t think I had to choose between the two. My parents are from Bolivia and my brother and I were born and raised in Texas. It was hard to explain back then, but I felt I was American and at the same time truly loved...

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Make Your Own Pizza for National Pizza Month

It’s National Pizza Month, and yes, you can make your own – with the kids. California Pizza Kitchen’s Senior Vice President of Culinary Innovation Brian Sullivan has made a lot of pizza with a lot of people at the iconic chain’s parties and events. “Everybody just seems to love it. It’s just fun,” he says. “You get to use your hands. You get to let go and be creative.” That...

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9 Ways to Help Your Kids Cope With News of the Las Vegas Shootings

As our nation mourns and reacts to another mass shooting, we at OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center are struck by the ways in which this event evokes similar feelings that arose in response to other recent traumatic events. Whether it was in the aftermath of a shooting that took place at a school, congregation, work place, vigil or nightclub, adults struggle to find the words to comfort and support their...

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Doc Talk: Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Cold and flu season is upon us. Margaret Khoury, M.D., pediatric infectious disease specialist and the regional lead of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Flu Vaccination Program, says we never know how long or severe the season will be, but that Australia – which has its flu season during our summer – has reported an early start to the season and twice as many cases of flu as they had...

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we are savvy

Teens Showcase Their Savvy in New YouTube Red Series

When I was 11, there were few opportunities to peer into the lives of tweens outside of my immediate community. Today, tweens  have many chances to see how their peers around the world are living. These include a YouTube Red Original series called “We Are Savvy,” which aims to give tweens and teens a refreshing spin on girl culture. The cheeky magazine-style show set in three of the hosts’ bedrooms...

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haunted houses in los angeles

Halloween Fun for Tweens: Terror Time

For young kids, Halloween revolves around cute costumes and trick-or-treat candy. Teens’ interests often shift toward more frightful fun. With that in mind, here’s a guide to Southern California Halloween attractions that are a real scream. The Queen Mary (www.queenmary.com) in Long Beach is said to be haunted, making it spooky enough on an average day. Its Dark Harbor event Sept. 28-Nov. 1 intensifies the fright with menacing mazes and...

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chris pegula

Chris Pegula: The Diaper Dude

Armed with a degree from NYU, Chris Pegula began his career in pursuit of his dream of acting. But parenthood shifted Pegula’s perspective and family life became his main focus. The father of three is the creator of the hip line of Diaper Dude gear for cool dads and author of the newly released book, “Diaper Dude, The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years.” In the book,...

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Aligning Your Kids’ Enrichment With Your Big-Picture Goals

My 7-year-old son is a joiner. He plays Little League, basketball and dances in a hip-hop class. When the brochure for after-school enrichment comes home in his backpack, he pores over the choices, circling everything that interests him. This past year, he tried drum lessons, skateboarding, game design and cooking. I love his enthusiasm, but almost every day I see articles online about the dangers of having overscheduled kids. Am...

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Remember the Rainbow for a Healthy Newborn

Bringing home Baby is one of the most joyful yet daunting times in one’s life. The idea that you are now actually in charge of a human life can be overwhelming, but if you just remember the colors in the rainbow, you can be well on your way to spotting any serious health problems. Before my families are discharged from the hospital after the birth of a child, I like...

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home organization for moms

The Art of Organization for Busy Moms

When it comes to life and all its chaos, the thing that can help or hinder busy moms the most is organization – or the lack of it. Efficiency and time management are key to making it through those busy days filled with soccer practice, kid’s birthday parties and parent-teacher conferences – all before it’s time to come home and put dinner on the table. In Barbara Reich’s new self-help...

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introducing solid foods

Introducing Solid Foods With Born to Eat

Introducing little ones to solid foods can be fun and exciting for you and your baby, but can also bring many challenges. In their new book “Born To Eat—Whole, Healthy Foods from Baby’s First Bite,” authors and nutritionists Leslie Schilling and Wendy Jo Peterson outline the basics of whole-food introductions for babies in a safe and fun way that includes the whole family. The book contains several recipes designed to...

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tweens in los angeles

Tween Time: Pasadena Library Says ‘Yeah!’ to YA Fiction

Do you love YA fiction? Well, the folks at the Pasadena Central Library hear ya and will again host a day devoted to Young Adult literature. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 16, Pasadena Love YA brings more than 15 authors to the library for panel discussions, meet-and-greets and book signings. Amerie, Audrey Coulthurst, Cindy Pon, Emily Ziff Griffin, Daniel Sweren-Becker, Aditi Khorana, Jeff Garvin and E. Katherine Kottaras are among...

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LIFE IN COLLEGE

Everything You Need to Know About Life in College

Whether your student is heading off to a big university or staying local and attending your city’s community college, starting at a new college can be a fun and exciting time filled with self-exploration, new friends and tons of memorable moments. In “UChic—The College Girl’s Guide to Everything,” author Christie Garton seeks advice from more than 50 girls who attended colleges all over the nation and draws from her own...

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los angeles programs for kids

Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

A lifetime ago, my incoming junior-year class was required to participate in a “leadership day” at a nearby ropes course. It was my every nightmare come true: uncharted physical activities and interacting with high-school peers who had decided long ago I wasn’t up to par. I successfully crossed a tightrope and engaged in a sharing circle without stuttering, but the memory that most stands out was falling off a swing...

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NFL in Los Angeles

Help! My Son Loves Football

In many places, September is the month that welcomes fall, bringing a dramatic shift in weather and mood. In Los Angeles, however, it’s just another summer month – sometimes even the hottest of the year. September also brings the start of football season, but for more than 20 years I had no reason to think about America’s sports obsession because Los Angeles had a lovely zero NFL teams. Then, last...

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music therapy for families

Time for a Family Tune-up at Home

In July, after 3-year-old Jackson Verner suffered strokes that left him with limited use of the left side of his body, Jenna Bollard, his music therapist at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, handed him a ukulele to play. “It forced him to start using the left hand,” says Jackson’s mom, Sara. “You have to be creative with kids.” Jackson’s family uses drums in the same way. And when they put on...

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praise your kids

Praise This, Not That: How to Praise Your Kids

There is nothing more satisfying to me than to tell my daughters how proud I am of them. I’ve always thought parents are expected to tell our kids they’re good and smart to help build their self-esteem. I was surprised to learn that some child development experts encourage parents to say things such as, “Good job,” “I’m so proud of you,” and, “You’re so smart” to our children less often....

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food allergies

Does Your Child Have Food Allergies

If your child gets a little gassy after a glass of milk, or a mild rash after eating strawberries, does she have a food allergy? Some primary-care doctors might not know how best to figure that out, according to a report published this summer by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Danica Schulte, M.D., who specializes in pediatric allergy and immunology at Cedars-Sinai, says people often confuse food allergy with food...

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rock climbing in los angeles

Getting a Strong Hold on Fitness and Fun

As I watch kids scramble up the bouldering walls at Stronghold Climbing Gym one recent morning, the words “no fear” come to mind. Up the sculpted gray walls they go, using the colorful hand- and footholds to stretch, push and pull their way to the top. The gym, located in Downtown L.A.’s Brewery Arts Complex and featured on this month’s cover of L.A. Parent, is pretty safety-forward, with plenty of...

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sweet rose creamery

Family Recipes: A Healthier Frozen Treat by Sweet Rose Creamery’s Shiho Yoshikawa

Shiho Yoshikawa is co-owner and executive chef at Sweet Rose Creamery, local purveyor of small-batch hand-crafted ice cream in gourmet flavors such as salted caramel, malted milk with mocha ripple, and blueberry muffin. But because she also has a 4-year-old son, sometimes she is looking for something with just a touch less sugar. That’s when she turns to frozen bananas. “It’s healthy,” she says. “It’s frozen and fun.” Freezing a...

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STEM Education Camp

Teachers Space Out for Students

As a child, Joanne Michael loved looking at stars and learning about the universe. Now, as a teacher, she prepares to spark that love in her students each time she participates in Honeywell Educators at Space Academy (HESA). The program shows teachers how to ignite their students’ passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. This was an amazing way of...

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baby led weaning

Cookbook Review: Food Intros for Baby Made Family Friendly

Gone are the days when feeding Baby solid foods meant opening a jar or making purée after time consuming purée at home.  With “The Baby-Led Weaning Family Cookbook” from Gill Rapley, Ph.D., and Tracey Murkett, a baby just beginning to enjoy basic foods doesn’t need to have a separate meal from the rest of the family. With more than 100 easy and fast recipes that are healthy, easily digested by...

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Don’t Miss L.A. Parent’s Inclusive Day L.A.

L.A. Parent’s Inclusive Day L.A. is happening Sept. 16 at Van Nuys Sherman Oaks Recreation Center (14201 Huston St., Sherman Oaks) from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. This celebration of children of all abilities and their families will be a day filled with fun times and valuable information. Kids can enjoy an adaptive playground with equipment that is accessible to wheelchairs and all others. We will be on the lookout for some...

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kids and chores

Kids and Chores: In Defense of the Sticker Chart

There are quite a few online articles and posts about kids and rewards that speak to the dangers of sticker charts, behavior charts, reward systems or anything that involves external compensation for kids doing things that they are just supposed to do.   The problem, some argue, is that if kids get used to being rewarded with prizes, they will come to expect it and only do things when there is...

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heather rigby

Ford Theatres’ Heather Rigby On Building Community Through the Arts

Heather Rigby is an L.A. native, born and raised in Studio City, who left the Valley to become a pre-med major at Harvard University. While adjusting to college life in Cambridge, she discovered that her true passion is the arts. For the past 11 years, Rigby has worked at the Ford Theatres, an historic 1200-seat outdoor amphitheater in Hollywood. Her job is to create dynamic programming that represents the rich...

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annual checkup checklist

An Annual Checkup Checklist for Your Child at Every Age

Now that summer is over and we’re getting back to getting things done, it’s time to think about your kids' annual checkup. Jayme Heath, M.D., is assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a pediatrician at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, and has some great advice about making the most of those visits. What is the best timing for an annual checkup for kids?...

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audiobooks for kids

Audiobooks for Kids: Reads for the Road

Four years ago, my family and I were preparing for a camping trip to Camp Whitsett in the Sequoia National Forest with my son’s Cub Scout pack. Ben was 8 and he loved books. I loved to read to him, but I get carsick if I try to read in the car. Obviously, my husband couldn’t read and drive at the same time. I was worried Ben would get bored...

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cycling with kids

2 Years on  2 Wheels: Cycling with Hank

When I was a single lad in my 20s living along the Miracle Mile, I commuted to work in Santa Monica by bicycle. Four days a week, I placed my young life in the hands of Los Angeles traffic. This was unwise according to my future wife, who worked as an RN in the ICU at Cedars-Sinai and saw countless critical bike accidents, the details of which I will mercifully spare you....

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Family Recipes: A Sweet Summer Salad from Fabio Ugoletti

A traditional Italian panzanella salad, a Tuscan classic, includes tomato, onion, cucumber and chunks of sturdy bread. But Fabio Ugoletti, chef at Bettolino Kitchen in Redondo Beach and father of daughters ages 5 and 9, gives his a kid-friendly twist.   The Michelin-starred chef substitutes watermelon for the summer tomatoes. “The flavor is a little sweet,” Ugoletti says.  He came to Southern California from his native Florence almost three years ago...

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teaching kids about friendship

Teaching Kids About Friendship: You’re Not My Best Friend Anymore

It absolutely ruffles my feathers when I hear kids say to one another, “You’re not my best friend anymore.” I’ve heard it on the playground at school and even in my home.  Some kids have said it to my 6-year-old daughter, Sofia, and, unfortunately, I’ve heard Sofia say it to her friends. I’ve wondered whether they understand how hurtful those words can be. When I heard Sofia say that to...

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overuse injuries in kids

Watch Out for Overuse Injuries Among Kid Athletes

If you’ve got a devoted teen or tween athlete at home, your best shot at keeping them injury-free this year might be to convince them to branch out. Yes, kids can get hurt playing high-contact sports such as football or soccer, but John Rodarte, M.D., who chairs the department of pediatrics at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, and practices privately in La Cañada, says overuse injuries in kids who focus too...

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One More Month to be a Dodgers Reading Champion

Our Los Angeles Dodgers are red-hot right now, with the best record in baseball this season – 77 wins and counting. You can grab some of their winning spirit to turn your kids into red-hot readers with the Dodgers Reading Champions program. There’s just one month left to join the fun! The program, which runs April through August, is designed to motivate L.A. kids to read, and to help them...

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For Teens and Tweens, A Look Back at the Watts Riots

Our current crop of teens and tweens might not remember the Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. Likewise, parents may not recall the Watts Riots, a monumental moment in L.A. history that took place 52 years ago this August. On that point, parents and tweens alike can get a history lesson courtesy of the new middle-grade novel from Karen English. “It All Comes Down To...

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Sanity-Saving Family Recipes For the New School Year

After a long day of rushing the kids to school, working, running errands and after-school activities, the last thing anyone wants to think about is where to find family recipes. Let Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh serve as your fearless leaders in this quest for survival and sustenance. Together, they developed “The School Year Survival Cookbook,” which features 110 time-saving and kid-friendly recipes for cooking when there just aren't enough...

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9 Kid-friendly Work-friendly Spots

School is out and your kids are on the loose, but you might still have work to get done. When it’s inconvenient to hire a babysitter, or you just need to get your children out of the house, we’ve found amazing places where you can work and they can play. From child-friendly coffee shops to full-time drop-off care, we’ve got you covered. It Takes a Village A celeb-approved (Rebecca Romijn...

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Kids Can Pitch In to Help Shelter Pets

Whether it’s a stray cat, a lost dog or a baby bird that has fallen from the nest, kids love lending a hand to help animals in need. “There’s a movement of kids who want to help animals,” says Pasadena Humane Society President and CEO Julie Bank. “The Pasadena Humane Society gets calls on how kids can get involved, probably a daily thing, and we started to really listen.” The...

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Cooking Class with My Daughters: Sharing the Flavors of My Childhood

Even though I have been living in Los Angeles since I was 10 and married the boy from the Valley who grew up with peanut butter and jelly and tuna salad, my favorite food is and will always be Persian. The aroma of cardamom, coriander and cumin is my childhood, my family home, my parents and my extended family. I have shared my love of basmati rice with saffron and...

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Our Breakfast-to-Bedtime Back to School Guide

Remember last year’s back to school photo? The kids wore big, happy grins and fresh haircuts. Inside their shiny new backpacks awaited orderly pencil cases and a homemade-with-love lunch filled with summer veggies and nothing processed. Cut to the second week: Running to the car five minutes late, the day’s completed homework forgotten on the kitchen table and cranky parents playing Rock-paper-scissors to see who has to leave work early...

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A Divorce Lawyer’s Tips for Parenting Through Kid Conflict

Tara Scott is a former Brentwood divorce lawyer – with a 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter – so she knows a thing or two about parenting through conflict. Now a family mediator in Beverly Hills, Scott has found that things she learns in her mommy-and-me group help in mediation and that her mediation skills apply at home. Here are some of her tips for wading into a disagreement between your...

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Easy and Fun Recipes for Busy College Students

Healthy, low-cost food options that are dorm-room friendly have been traditionally hard to come by, but “The Quick and Easy Vegetarian College Cookbook” from Adams Media offers more than 300 meals that fit the bill. Staying healthy amid the hustle and bustle of college life can be tough, but this recipe book offers delicious meals and snacks for even the busiest students. The book suggest healthy late-night study snacks and...

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Robotics Startup Creates Companion Helpers for Kids

In a bright co-working space in a building in Old Pasadena are the offices of a startup robotics and AI company. The scientists, engineers, artists and designers there have added a unique feature to their product-development lab: a playroom. But they aren’t just playing. They are working to change the lives of children – including those with developmental disabilities –and they’re looking for families to help them. The team developing...

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Doc Talk: Screening for Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates, which climbed for decades, seem finally to have leveled off among most groups of kids. Still, about a third of kids are overweight and nearly 20 percent are obese, leading a government panel of experts to recommend in June that all children ages 6 and up be screened for obesity by their pediatrician. Steven Jensen, M.D., medical director of general pediatrics at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital...

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Building a Social Network For the Non-sporty Kid

There is no question that team sports are amazing for the mind and body. So many important social skills are taught through working as a team and exercising the body. Additionally, friendships typically grow stronger by participating in sports outside of school. Because of this, young kids (especially boys) are traditionally signed up for the usual round of team sports – soccer, basketball and baseball. These are great, but let’s...

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Dance/Movement Therapy Helps Kids With Autism Connect

The 5-year-old girl, diagnosed with autism, wasn’t used to connecting with people. She didn’t speak, made little eye contact and showed little physical awareness of others. She would sit near, even very close, to people without acknowledging them. Then Lori Baudino took her on a journey. Baudino, a Westchester-based clinical psychologist and dance/movement therapist, says the girl was very physical – but inappropriately so. “She would often hit her body...

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children's health

A Back-to-School Checklist For Healthier Kids

It seems like only yesterday that our children were wrapping up their last day of school and heading off to the pool, summer camp and family vacation. But the new academic year will soon be here, and it’s time to think about what’s needed to prepare them for a safe and healthy start in the classroom. From obtaining required vaccinations to teaching kids basic hygiene habits and helping teenagers cope...

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kid friendly recipes

Light, Healthy, Family-Friendly Meals Made Easy

It can be tough to find healthy, kid-friendly recipes everyone in the family will actually like. Food writer Victoria Dwek knows firsthand how challenging this can be. In Dwek’s new book, “Secrets of Skinny Cooking,” co-created with nutritionist and dietitian Shani Taub, you’ll find more than 135 delicious recipes with tips and suggestions for cooking with even the pickiest of eaters in mind. The book is a visual delight. With each...

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Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn: Celebrating the Everyday Wins

Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn are good friends, co-hosts of the hilarious podcast “One Bad Mother” and authors of the newly published book, “You’re Doing a Great Job: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting,” designed to cheer on parents from pregnancy through the toddler years. Instead of focusing on Pinterest-inspired birthday party décor and Instagram-worthy meals, Ellis and Thorn encourage parents to celebrate their hundreds of daily, at times mundane,...

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summer camp

Super Summer Camp Memories

There are so many good things to say about summer camp. While at this point, we hope your kids are out there making great summer memories, we thought we’d check in with a few local camps about their favorite memories. Sometimes camp directors and counselors get to witness campers overcome shyness and achieve new things. And sometimes campers – and camp directors and counselors – make special connections. Coming Out...

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Looking Beyond The Supermarket Aisle For Your Baby’s First Foods

Next time you walk around your favorite supermarket, take a moment to study the food on the shelves. For the most part, it will reflect the tastes and preferences of the people who buy there. Dominating will be the most popular brands and the most popular types of food, the best sellers for that particular chain and that particular location. But if you shift your gaze to the people walking...

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family recipes - The Albright

Family Recipe: Asian Sweet and Sticky Wings

Yunnie Kim Morena grew up in and around SM Pier Seafood, the Santa Monica restaurant her parents opened after emigrating to the U.S. from Korea in 1977. “I loved being in the kitchen at the restaurant,” says Morena. “It was so exciting.” Morena describes her parents’ restaurant as a market-style place with lots of fish on ice and live lobsters and crabs. She recalls tasting her first uni (sea urchin)...

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Flexi Lexi Yoga Pants Deliver Performance With a Dose of Cute

Yoga pants are great for any number of things: lounging, napping, running errands. If you like to actually practice yoga in yours, though, you’ll want some that perform at a higher level. Yoga pants from Flexi Lexi (www.flexilexi-fitness.com) won’t let you down. The polyester-spandex pants come in a variety of eye-catching colors and patterns – from Aztec to pineapple to mint, watermelon wedges and neon-yellow. They also have a number...

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7 Great Water Sports for Kids

For some kids, choosing a water sport is a no-brainer. Synchronized swim, for instance, is a natural fit for 13-year-old Sophia Davison. “It joins two of my passions – speed swimming and gymnastics,” she says. Other kids might want to explore a little, and the L.A. area’s miles of coastline and nearby lakes make it easy. When my three kids were small, we started kayaking and picked up other water...

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Hitting the Beach for Summer Fun Hollywood Style

To many of us in and around Los Angeles, summer fun at the beach is an afterthought, only beckoning when the inland heat calls for relief. A friend from Studio City once referred to it as “the great A/C unit to the west.” Out-of-towners often accuse us of taking our 75 miles of Pacific coastline for granted. And they're right. I'm feeling especially salty at the moment because I recently...

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Boost Your Kids’ Nutrition By Putting On a Fruity Face

In May, the American Academy of Pediatrics – which has long advocated fresh fruit over fruit juice for kids – recommended that children under age 1 drink no fruit juice at all, the Academy’s first updating of advice about juice since 2001. The Academy also recommended limiting fruit juice to four ounces a day for ages 1-3, four to six ounces for ages 4-6 and eight ounces for older children....

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Family Recipe Fun with Fair Foods

While I was growing up, summer always meant warm nights, family fun and trips to the fair. Although I loved the rides, my favorite part was always the yummy food I could find there. In George Geary’s new recipe book, “Fair Foods—The Most Popular and Offbeat Recipes from America’s State and County Fairs” from Santa Monica Press, he highlights some classic goodies and new favorites. Geary is an award-winning chef...

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Raise Readers By Starting Your Own Book Club

Like many parents, I’m guilty of turning to digital babysitting when I need a break and the kids want some summer fun. Television or cell phone games become my go-to when I need 15 to 20 minutes of peace and quiet after a long day. I know it might not seem like good parenting, but sometimes when survival mode kicks in, a little help from the television or cell phone...

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Innovation in the Kitchen: Spiralizer Fun!

Looking for a fun, new way to bring more excitement into your family meals? “The Spiralizer Recipe Book,” by Carina Wolff, is sure to change up your dinnertime routine. It features 150 easy-to-make recipes the whole family is sure to love. Spiralizers are new, must-have kitchen gadgets that help turn healthy fruits and veggies into beautiful and creative meals. This new recipe book shows you just how easy it can...

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Bridging the Summer Gap to Prevent Learning Loss

Now that the academic school year has ended, students are ready to enjoy summer and all of the fun that it promises. Beach days, family vacations, swimming pools and waterparks; activities that bring fun memories, social time with friends and a highly anticipated break from the classroom. Unfortunately, with all of the fun that summer has to offer, the gap between the end of one academic year and the beginning...

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Lending a Hand at L.A. Kitchen = Cooking and Family Fun

Here are four reasons to bring your kids to Family Friendly Kitchen Prep at L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit just north of Downtown that reclaims local food and provides healthy meals to those in need. 1. They’ll have fun (yes, fun) with fruits and vegetables. 2. They’ll learn about food waste. 3. They’ll help families in need. 4. They’ll get to cook without making a mess in your kitchen. The kids –...

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New Research and a Tourette Syndrome Update

A research team led by Massachusetts General Hospital, UCLA and the Tourette Association of America announced June 21 that it had identified rare mutations in two genes that significantly increase the risk for Tourette syndrome. The neurodevelopmental disorder effects as many as one in 160 children in the U.S. For an update on Tourette, we turned to John Piacentini, Ph.D., director of the Child OCD, Anxiety and Tic Disorders program...

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Summer ArtExperience Gets Kids of All Abilities Creating Together

Children with and without disabilities are used to being separated – at school, at camp, at play. The Summer ArtExperience at the ARTX Learning Center in Long Beach brings kids ages 6-12 of all abilities together for 10 days of art exploration. “It’s all about inclusion,” says Monica Fernandez, director of communications and community engagement at the nonprofit Able ARTS Work, a partner with ARTX in the program. “They get...

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L.A. pediatrician

A New Way to Find Top Pediatricians

Parents looking for top-notch L.A. pediatricians can now consult the CHLA Health Network, a group of general pediatricians throughout Los Angeles who have affiliated with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The idea behind the network, officially announced in May, is to standardize the quality of care among these practices and give parents direct access to CHLA’s specialized care at the hospital’s main campus and partner hospitals – Providence Holy Cross Medical...

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Why Your Family Should Learn CPR This Summer

At the beach or the pool this summer there are three letters parents should keep in mind: CPR. That’s because starting CPR immediately if someone is pulled from the water in cardiac arrest, rather than waiting for emergency responders to arrive, gives that person three times the chance of making a full recovery – avoiding coma, brain injury or even death – according to a study published in the June...

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family recipe

Summertime Meals by the Campfire

“The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook,” from camping-equipment company Coleman, is your go-to guide for a fun and stress-free camping experience and some great family recipes. The cookbook offers more than 100 recipes that make it a culinary campsite resource, and also outlines several tips and suggestions for creating the ultimate summertime outing. The cookbook is divided into several sections to cover virtually every type of meal. The book features beautiful photographs...

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Cal State LA, Verizon Boost STEM Education Among East L.A. Middle Schoolers

California State University, Los Angeles has joined a program under Verizon Innovative Learning to provide science, technology, engineering and math experiences to middle school boys in East Los Angeles. Students will participate in summer intensive courses on the university campus to learn skills such as coding, 3-D printing, robotics and entrepreneurship that will help make them competitive for future careers in a digital economy. Throughout the 2017-18 school year, students...

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Nine Tips for Tackling Tantrums

Tantrums are a common childhood experience, particularly if you are parenting kids ages 18 months to 4. When a child begins yelling, crying, kicking, whining and complaining that is out of proportion to an incident or situation, it can be frustrating, uncomfortable or embarrassing for parents or caregivers – especially when this behavior is displayed outside the home in front of bystanders. Parents may feel puzzled about how to act...

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A Delicious Guide to Dairy-Free Ice Creams

If you love ice cream, you’ll really enjoy “Guilt-Free Nice Cream,” a new recipe book by Margie Broadhead featuring more than 70 delicious desserts that will have you astounded that no actual ice cream is involved. Broadhead, well known for her popular food blog “Made by Margie,” is a professional chef and owner of a catering company. In her book, she shows readers how to create recipes that not only...

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Six Tips for Making Summer Camp Worth It

Summer, at last, is here. And if your kids will be spending all or part of it at camp, it’s worth your time to help them get the most they can from the experience. “Invest in whatever program you have signed your kids up for,” says Janna Hawes, director of admissions at Clairbourn School in San Gabriel. With support from parents, campers can build new skills, make new friends and...

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A Parenting Slow-Down With the Help of Band-Aids

I’ve always wondered about kids’ obsession with Band-Aids. At my house, we go through about two boxes of Band-Aids a week, using them for every little mark my daughters get on their bodies. They try to mend everything with a Band-Aid – including holes in their socks – even though I’ve explained to my 5-year-old year old, Sofia, that colorful Band-Aids don’t fix everything. Or do they? A couple of...

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Seven Summer Activities for Learning in and Around L.A.

It’s a sweet synergy when you can have fun with your kids while they’re learning. Los Angeles is a big city with even bigger opportunities for families to discover and explore together, but you might not have heard of these lesser-known gems. Among them are a path-blazing center that rescues animals while helping kids connect with nature, a shop where you can go back and forth in time (or, rather,...

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fatherhood

Stephen “tWitch” Boss: On the Joys of Fatherhood

You might know him as the resident DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” every so often showing off his awesome dance moves alongside Ellen herself. As a hip-hop dancer, entertainer, actor and former “So You Think You Can Dance” star, Stephen “tWitch” Boss has had some great gigs, but he is quick to admit that his favorite is being a dad. He married Allison Holker of “Dancing with the Stars”...

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Our Millennial Dad Talks About Father’s Day

Father’s Day. When is that? Oh yeah, in June. Papas, pops, padres, daddies, daddios and plain old dads don’t get a holiday with the same play as Mother’s Day – or even the Feast of St. Joseph. (That’s a Catholic holiday in March honoring Jesus’ more-terrestrial father.) This talk of Jesus and his dads reminds me how many ways the term “dad” can be interpreted. And this reminds me of...

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hyperlinked

L2M Brings STEM to Life in YouTube Red’s Hyperlinked

Getting kids interested in STEM is going beyond the classroom. Instead of talking about careers in science, technology, engineering and math through parents and teachers, YouTube Red Originals is showing tweens how it’s done. The new show "Hyperlinked" launched in May and features tween music group L2M. The series follows five girls as they come together to create their own website by girls for girls. The mission of the website is to...

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Father’s Day When Father Isn’t there

Father’s Day is usually an occasion for children to celebrate with their parents. Children might make cards, write stories or invite their parents to school for special programs marking the importance of their parents in their young lives. For a child whose father is absent, however, these celebrations can be confusing and even painful. A parent might have died or live in another state or town. A father could be...

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Family Recipe: Meatballs – Spicy or Mild – For Sharing

Meatballs are often a kid pleaser and a crowd pleaser and Oscar Chavez, executive kitchen manager at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern, which recently opened a new location in Santa Monica, says these are no exception. He has a 15-year-old son and daughters ages 9 and 11 and makes this recipe at home – adjusting the spice for kid palates. “I made this recipe without the chipotle ketchup and without the...

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Shop Talk: New Parents’ Survival Kit

When their bundle of joy arrives, new parents experience a whirlwind of change. These handy products will help calm the storm and smooth the way for moms and dads.

Why Summer Vacation is Important for Family Health

To kids, summer vacation means time off from school. To many parents, vacation of any kind seems like a luxury they can’t afford. But Krikor Deramerian, M.D., a pediatrician and “Wellness Champion” at Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center, says you can’t afford not to take a break. Hectic work and school routines cause the body to pump out the stress hormone cortisol. “When this is sustained, it has effects...

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spa le la

Spa Le La Makes Me-Time Sitter-Free

As I parked, pattering hail created a strange white noise against my windshield. This probably helped all three of my children enjoy an extended nap in the back of my minivan. It was a week before Mother’s Day and there was no sitter in sight. None of this sounds like the start of a spa day, but alas things have changed. Enter Spa Lé La, a luxurious spa with a...

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Families Find Freedom to Splash at CSUN’s Center for Achievement

Kids and water can be a natural recipe for fun, but parents sometimes struggle to find a comfortable and safe swim environment for children with different abilities. An adaptive aquatics program at Cal State Northridge fills this need – and offers valuable experience for future occupational and physical therapists. At CSUN’s Center of Achievement, children age 3-18 with disabilities can enjoy activities in a therapeutic indoor pool. Adaptive Aquatics for...

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inclusive

Find Sports for All at the Angel City Games

Asher Stewart likes to keep moving. He was born without a fibula (shin bone) in one leg and there was an issue with his other foot. Doctors thought it best to amputate part of the leg, and planned for the surgery to take place when he was a year old. “At 6 months, he was trying to walk,” says Asher’s father, John. “Nothing’s ever stopped him.” The Angel City Games...

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Toddle and Spin at Baby DJ School

For a unique musical experience, visit Baby DJ School in Santa Monica or West Hollywood. Run by enthusiastic teacher Anna Wallace (also known as “DJ Annie Wonder”), this isn’t your typical children’s music class with guitars, pianos and drums. Instead, kids ages 2 months to 5 years are introduced to faders, laptops, vinyl records, turntables and other DJ equipment. The 45-minute lessons also feature one-of-a-kind songs such as “Makin’ our...

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Photographing Babies Who Are Worth the Wait

Amanda Naor is an L.A.-based newborn and family photographer, but she isn’t a parent – not yet, anyway. She and her husband have been on an infertility journey that began in June of 2015 and she is determined to tell their story to call attention to the plight of couples who struggle to get pregnant. If you needed medical help to become pregnant or have adopted a child because of...

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Kid Artists Lending a Hand and Trucking Our Streets Clean

  As Los Angeles Sanitation (LASAN) department trucks in South L.A. go about their business this month, they’ll be spreading messages about “Keeping Our Streets Clean, Every Day in Every Way” thanks to 10 students from the Los Angeles Unified School District lending a hand with their talent. Winners of LASAN’s Earth Day L.A. Artwork Contest, the students will have their art displayed on the trucks through mid-June. More than...

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An L.A. Mosquito and Zika Virus Update

Summer vacation is upon us and mosquito season will last until November. That means the mosquito borne zika virus known to cause birth defects if a woman is infected during pregnancy will be in the news once again. Diana Ramos, M.D., director for reproductive health at the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, says we all need to protect our children's health and our families by making smart travel decisions, but...

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Tween Time: A Memorable Memory Play

“Memory 5D+” might sound like an app (with more appeal for the middle-aged than for tweens), but it couldn’t be more human. The production is a multimillion-dollar, multisensory theatrical experience featuring more than 35 Chinese musicians, dancers, acrobats and singers that will appeal to teens and tweens. The “Memory” in the show’s name refers to the traditional Chinese music and dance that form the core of this production. Musicians will...

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Talking to Kids About the Manchester Attack

On Monday night, May 22, a suicide bomber set off explosions that killed at least 22 people and injured 59 more outside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The crowd was there to see a concert by pop star Ariana Grande, so many of those injured and killed were kids and families. Because of Grande’s popularity with tweens, it’s likely your kids have heard at least something about the attack. They...

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Having a Safe and Healthy Summer Camp Experience

If you’re like many parents right now, you’re busy deciding which summer camp your children will be attending and thinking about how to prepare them for a fun, healthy and safe experience away from home. With those decisions, it’s natural for parents to experience some anxiety; especially for those who have first-time campers or children with chronic health issues. The following recommendations are based on my years of experience as...

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child safety

Responding to Your Child’s Swim Mishaps

It happens even when you’re right there, within arms reach of your child. One minute, they’re bobbing on a noodle or splashing on the steps. The next minute, they’re under water. You only took your eyes off them for one second, but it was during that second that your child disappeared. You lunge for them and pluck them up quickly – before any harm is done. They are physically fine,...

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Abbie Boudreau: On Raising News-Savvy Kids

As a kid, Abbie Boudreau was curious about everything. She wanted to grow up to be an astronaut and a pastry chef. Later, as a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, her inquisitiveness and desire to help others led her to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. The Emmy-Award winner went on to work at CNN and ABC News as an investigative correspondent and now covers feature...

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Geocaching With Kids for Outdoor Fun In L.A.

Armed with a modern-day treasure map (of the iPhone variety), my 4-year-old son and I beelined through the park, following the in-app compass to our destination. Ding! “You’re getting close!” the app encouraged. Our hearts were pounding as we arrived where X marked the spot. We frantically flipped over leaves, shuffled rocks and generally sleuthed around a bit, until … pay dirt! My son popped open a small Tupperware container...

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Gearing Up For Summer Camp

You have researched. You have visited. You have interviewed camp directors, fellow parents and friends. You have involved your children and you have found an excellent summer camp or camps for the kids to enjoy this summer. (And if you haven’t, know that crunch time is here and visit LAParent.com/camp to read up on all these things.) With less than a month to go until the schools release your children...

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community

Santa Clarita Teacher to Throw Out First Pitch on Dodger Day

Samantha Ford, Saugus Union School District physical education teacher, has been selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 40th Annual City of Santa Clarita Dodger Day on May 20. Ford was selected because of the shoe drive she organized after noticing some of her students wearing run-down and wrong-sized shoes to class. She has collected hundreds of shoes and gained national attention. The Dodgers take on the...

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Work-From-Home Tips for L.A. Moms

In just a few short years, working from home went from a novelty to a bona fide, mainstream way of life. These days, nearly one in four Americans does part or all of their work from home, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that number is expected to rise. Working remotely saves on commute time and costs, boosts morale and can offer flexibility –...

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A Cookbook With Lots to Love

“Love Real Food,” by Kathryne Taylor, is a vegetarian cookbook that’s all about simple, flavorful and wholesome cooking. Taylor is the creator of the popular vegetarian blog, Cookie + Kate. In her debut cookbook, she brings us her 100 feel-good favorites. The book is a visual delight, with gorgeous photos of Taylor’s food creations and sweet cameos from her adorable and crumb catching dog, Cookie. Throughout the book, Taylor offers...

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How to Spot a Developmentally Appropriate Preschool

It's spring and if you have a young child, there's a good chance that preschool is on your mind. If you want to find the right place for fall 2017, I recommend that you start your search now. Good schools fill up quickly! There are plenty of things to consider when choosing a preschool. Clearly, proximity to home or work is a biggie as are cost, hours of operation and...

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The Millennial Dad Takes on Alternative Transportation

I am sitting with Hank in a Nippon Sharyo (which literally means Japanese vehicle) cab, model P865. This pantographed workhorse – a Los Angeles Metro train with a electric-current-collector on top – is here because of years of painstaking negotiations and political savvy, an effort by L.A. officials to create a more attractive cityscape while simultaneously curbing carbon emissions and alleviating traffic congestion. I have fantasized about a train connecting...

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New L.A. Moms Share Their Joys and Challenges

Around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 20, Sara Hulan-Crestani was in bed and about to fall asleep, having just come in from an evening visiting friends. Her husband, John Crestani, had also gotten home not long before. Sara was pregnant and due in two weeks, so she and John were enjoying their last days before the responsibilities of parenthood set in. Sara was ready for a good night’s rest, but before...

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Shopping For a Mom’s Day Out?

Gather the gals for a Mom’s Day Out celebration at The Point and The Collection at Plaza El Segundo from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 13. The first 50 attendees to register (at The Point next to Superba Food + Bread) for the free event will receive an exclusive tote and a free ride at Soul Cycle. All attendees receive a VIP passport unlocking exclusive specials: Michael Stars: Mimosas, macaroons and...

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Spring and Mold Are In the Air

Our winter of beautiful rain might have ended the drought and turned our hillsides green, but it also means an increase in pollen and mold. Both can cause breathing trouble and put children's health at risk – especially for those with allergies. “One of the biggest offending environment is carpet,” says Eli Nussbaum, M.D, professor of pediatrics and UC Irvine School of Medicine and medical director of the Pediatric Pulmonary...

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Huckleberry Chocolate Chunk Muffin Recipe

Zoe Nathan likes doing good. And the co-owner of the Rustic Canyon family of restaurants, author of the cookbook “Huckleberry” and mom of three does a lot of good baking. Her latest adventure, Gather For Good, began with a series of bake sales featuring Nathan and her celebrity baker pals. At Bake & Gather events, the public is invited to mingle and purchase sweet treats to benefit causes such as...

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Dina Kimmel Chats About Inclusive Play

Dina Kimmel has always been an entrepreneur. She launched two successful boutiques in North Hollywood in her 20s and 30s. But her business adventures turned personal when her son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2. With diagnosis came an overwhelming array of therapy appointments for Gabriel and the quest to preserve some sense of normalcy for her daughter, Sophia, who was 5 at the time. Kimmel...

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special needs summer camp los angeles

Inclusive LA: Summer Camp for All Abilities

Christmas comes for two weeks every summer for 12-year-old Makenna Ito and her sister Lianne, 7. That’s when the girls, both born with a rare disorder called Cockayne syndrome, attend a special camp that brightens their lives. “Camp is a vacation for them. It’s their Christmas,” says their mom, Noreen, a fourth-grade teacher in Redondo Beach. Though both sisters are non-verbal, it’s clear that Makenna knows when they’re driving to camp. “She raises her hands in the car seat and is ready to jump out before I can unbuckle her,” says...

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los angeles teens

It’s Teen Time at the YMCA This Summer

Cure your teen's summertime blues with free fun at Los Angeles YMCA locations this summer. Ages 12-17 are invited to visit the Y during June and July for free meals provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District, part-time jobs through the city and county of Los Angeles and swimming, basketball, fitness classes, free Wi-Fi and exclusive teen programs. Enrollment begins May 1 at all Los Angeles YMCA locations. All teens enrolled must attend an orientation...

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Learning About Rancho History – and Service Dogs!

If your family is headed to one of the monthly Creation Station art workshops or other family events at Rancho Los Cerritos (4600 Virginia Rd., Long Beach; www.rancholoscerritos.org), keep an eye out for Marcia Harris and her canine companion. A longtime volunteer at the rancho, Harris also raises service dogs. Harris began volunteering at the rancho, an historic adobe house and surrounding property dedicated to inspiring curiosity about the past,...

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Air Travel Practice For Kids With Autism

Faced with a challenging task, most of us would like a practice run before we tackle the real thing. Just in time for summer vacation, Open Sky for Autism offers a bit of practice for people with autism who might find air travel difficult. The event takes place May 6 at Air Hollywood, a unique aviation-themed entertainment studio equipped with everything you would find in a commercial airport and on...

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Safe and Sensitive Sunscreen

Sun protection is a year-round necessity in Southern California. But what if you have a child with sensitive skin or a teen battling acne? Dermatologist Paola Rodriguez, M.D., from Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center, shares great options for every skin type. How does sunscreen protect our skin? There are a couple of different ways in which sunscreen can protect our skin. Physical sunscreen, which some people would call a...

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accessible los angeles

Out, About and Inclusive In L.A.

There was a time when “accessible” meant someone with a disability could get in the front door, and maybe up to the second floor – and after that they were on their own. These days, accessibility goes way beyond that, and many L.A. attractions are making it part of their mission. “Accessibility is more than just adding a ramp,” says Peter Martineau, marketing events manager at Aquarium of the Pacific...

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parenting

On the Record: Keeping Up With the Joneses

My daughter Sofia is turning 6 years old this summer and when I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said, “I don’t want to have a party. I just want a cell phone.” I was dumbfounded because I don’t understand why she needs a cell phone. Who would a 6-year-old be calling or texting? How did she go from last year’s princess ice cream party...

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early childhood special needs

Inclusive L.A.: The Preschool Launching Pad

Choosing a preschool is a process so fraught with confusion and pressure that some have quipped it is as difficult as choosing a college. While that might be an overstatement, for parents of children with disabilities, choosing a preschool can be an especially challenging and frustrating experience. Preschool is usually the first time parents send their kids out into the world. With a dizzying array of options, financial and other...

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Inclusivity in Hollywood

Inclusivity in Hollywood: Young Actors With Disabilities Find Benefits on Stage and Screen

At first, MacGregor Arney used acting as a way to become someone other than the kid with cerebral palsy. “I just wanted to be normal,” says Arney, who is now 26. When he started taking theater classes at Western Michigan University, Arney’s perspective started to evolve. He began to realize that his CP, which affects the functioning of his left hand and leg, wasn’t something he needed to escape, but...

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danica mckeller

Danica McKellar: On Making Math Fun During Your Child’s Wonder Years

Known for her role as Winnie Cooper on the popular coming-of-age TV series, “The Wonder Years,” and for her bestselling math books aimed at tweens and teens, Danica McKellar is now on a mission to make math fun for even the youngest kids. Her whimsical picture book, “Goodnight Numbers,” which debuted last month and landed at number seven on the New York Times picture book bestseller list, introduces young readers...

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Dating for Young Adults With Disabilities

Finding one surefire approach to dating for people with disabilities is as difficult as nailing down one definition for disability. “People with disabilities are the biggest minority group in the United States,” says Trevor Finneman, a 32-year-old attorney with hearing loss. “There are so many different kinds of disabilities, and each one impacts each person differently.” Dating can be awkward and challenging, if sometimes exciting, for anyone at any age....

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Questions to Ask During Your Summer Camp Search

As summer-camp-search season continues, it’s time to think about what you actually want to know about the camps you are considering for your kids so that you can ask the right questions when chatting with camp directors and staff. “Over the years, I have encouraged parents to attend an open house and meet the director or owner [of the camp],” says Nancy Oken-Redfield, owner and executive director of River Way...

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Disability In L.A.’s Multicultural Melting Pot

Visit the website of any of the county’s seven regional centers and a drop-down tab offers a list of more than 100 languages – from Afrikaans to Zulu – to help families connect with opportunities, information and services for those with disabilities. In a county as large and diverse as ours, this is hardly surprising. But if you don’t speak English and are new to this country, who informs you...

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Understanding Middle School Mean Girls

Eleventh grader Natalie Hampton had always loved school. That changed in seventh grade, when fellow students at the private all-girls L.A. middle school she attended began cyber bullying and taunting her, even physically attacking her on four occasions. She almost always ate lunch alone and developed migraine headaches and gastritis. It was a common case of “mean girls” at work. Why do some girls become bullies around age 12 or...

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paying for your special needs child

Facing Your Finances: Paying for Your Child’s Disability

About a year ago, financial planner Robert J. Smith received a call from the father of a 27-year-old woman with Down syndrome. “Mom had died two years previously and Dad was finally able to address planning for his daughter,” Smith says. “We asked if his daughter was currently covered by Social Security and Medicaid. He replied that she wasn’t and he was too intimidated and overwhelmed to apply.” The father’s...

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guacamole recipe

True Food Kitchen Guacamole Recipe: Getting Sneaky With Kale

True Food Kitchen offers healthy, tasty cuisine at locations across the U.S., including five in Southern California. It’s not exclusively vegetarian, but it is a great place to show the kids how fun veggies can be. True Food Kitchen El Segundo's Executive Chef Jordan Herigstad recommends the restaurant’s Kale Guacamole as a fun dish for families to make together at home. Herigstad grew up with four brothers and took an...

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Getting Teen Boys to Talk

Recently, a mom I know lamented that her formerly talkative son became silent when he turned 13. “He used to tell me about everything,” she said sadly. “Now it’s hard to get two words out of him and he does not share his life with us at all.” Her comment reminded me that I had suddenly felt panic 16 years ago when I was six months pregnant and realized I...

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On the Record: Weathering Parenting Storms

It was Sept. 12, 2008, and I was scrambling through my house in Houston, trying to secure my family, check our emergency supplies and board up the windows while packing a duffle bag full of rain gear and non-perishable food so I could leave for Galveston Island and cover Hurricane Ike, a powerful storm approaching the Gulf Coast and expected to make landfall in less than 24 hours. The anxiety...

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When the News Is Scary or Confusing

Editor's note: This is an update of a 2015 article which, sadly, is still quite relevant and timely. Television, radio, newspapers and social media bring us news of terrorist attacks and tragedy on a daily basis. And too often, as in the case of a shooting Monday (April 10, 2017) at North Park Elementary school in San Bernardino, the news is much closer to home. How can parents begin to...

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Millennial Dad: A Voyage of Selfie Discovery

What’s wrong with me? What am I doing clutching my 2-year-old in this chokehold as I attempt to aim my phone at our two duck-lipped faces? Can’t he have a normal “mirror” phase like any other pre-Kardashian child? Profound parental – no, human – guilt confronts me. I know this is wrong, base, tacky. But I need Hank to stare into my smart phone and smile. Smile! C’mon, smile! Instead,...

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kids health in los angeles

Keeping Little Hands Clean

At the end of February, a study of 94,000 children across the U.S. found that rates of one type of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection – that kids picked up in the community, not in hospitals – had jumped dramatically between 2007 and 2015. The researchers, who reported their findings in the “Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society,” note that these infections were once confined to hospitals. These infections are difficult...

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A Straightforward Approach to Parenting Teen Girls 

Wondering why your sweet girl is starting to push you away? Psychologist Lisa Damour, Ph.D., is an expert in parenting teen girls and she has some good news. The teen years, she assures parents wondering why we have suddenly become “inexplicably annoying and totally irrelevant,” are “the psychological equivalent of putting training wheels on a bike.” In her book “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood,” Damour...

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family game night

Personalogy Family Fun Game Giveaway – For Friday Game Nights!

L.A. Parent is all about giving you fun ways to engage with your friends and children. Starting today, we're offering a fun way to get families talking each week in April, game-night style. For the next month, every Friday, we will encourage you to ask your children questions you may have never explored with the help of Personalogy Family Fun Edition, a new card game that's a conversation starter just for parents and kids...

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Autism’s First Film Fest Comes to L.A.

What would you do if someone offered you the use of a movie theater for a couple of days? If you’re Matt Asner, vice president of development for Autism Society of America, you put on a film festival. AutFest, the first film festival solely dedicated to the portrayal of autism in film and filmmakers on the spectrum, takes place April 22-23 at the AMC 30 in Orange. “I’ve always thought...

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august wilson monologue

SoCal High School Thespians Head to August Wilson Monologue Finals

On Feb. 26, playwright August Wilson’s name was evoked at the Academy Awards when Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress for “Fences.” The following day, Wilson’s words were brought to life by a dozen Southern California high school students during the regional finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition, held at the Center Theatre Group on Temple Street. Now in its 10th year, AWMC is a free program where high...

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kids with disabilities

Arts, Ability and Imagination

Georgia O'Keeffe, the painter known as the “Mother of American Modernism,” once said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way – things I had no words for.” O’Keeffe’s words say so much about art and what it can mean in one’s life. In Los Angeles, we celebrate inclusion in arts programs. Many children with disabilities are taking their first dance...

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Doc Talk: Tracking Progress Against Autism

Autism spectrum disorder is now estimated to impact one in every 68 children in the U.S. and anyone not affected by autism likely knows someone who is. Researchers have been working for decades to unlock its causes and find effective treatment. At the forefront of these efforts is the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA. Its director, Dan Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., says we know much more about autism...

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summer camp los angeles

5 Things To Think About On Your Summer Camp Search

You’re a proactive parent. You want your kids to go to camp this summer and have a great time. And unless you’re already planning on booking them at the same amazing camp they loved last summer, that means doing a little homework. As you check out various camps, you’ll need to check all the usual boxes. You want safe camp facilities, well-trained and experienced staff, program hours and location that...

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Five Tips for Addressing Your Child’s Learning Difference

With California public schools ranking the lowest in the nation for student-teacher ratio –an average of 24-to-1 compared with the national average of 16-to-1 – it can be difficult for teachers to hone in on the needs of each student. This is especially true for students with learning differences, but one critical element can help yield greater success: family involvement. Intervention should not be left solely to educators. Collaboration involving...

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kids with autism

Helping Kids With Autism Find Work

  Joanne Lara sees too much of what she calls the “school-to-couch” model. “Fifty thousand kids a year in this country are graduating high school with autism, with no place to go,” says the executive director of Autism Works Now (AWN), an innovative nonprofit that teaches workplace-readiness skills. They end up on their parents’ couch because they don’t know how to find and keep a job – and because their...

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parenting

Jill Simonian: On Being A Real FAB Mom

When I first received a copy of “The Fab Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby,” my first thought was, We don’t have enough pressure as moms? Now we have to be back to fabulous within seconds after giving birth? But author Jill Simonian’s message is about a different kind of fabulous. For Simonian, founder of the parenting and lifestyle website TheFABmom.com, FAB...

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Friendship In Flow

Lourdes Mack loves to dance, act, ski, play basketball and surf. And she’s done it all with her trademark enthusiasm and her bright pink wheelchair. Mack was born with spina bifida, a medical condition that damages the spinal cord and nerves. But Mack doesn’t want to talk about that – or her wheelchair. She’d much rather talk about playing a nun in Santa Monica High School’s recent production of “The...

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politics and parenting

Parenting Through the Politics

  On election night 2016, Diane Michaeli of La Crescenta watched the returns come in with her 13-year-old daughter, Carmela. Like many families in the L.A. area, they were supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and were surprised by the results of the presidential race. “When it slowly became apparent that she had lost, sadness descended upon us,” Michaeli says. Carmela began sobbing. “I realized that I couldn't lose myself...

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parent shaming

The Cost of Parent Shaming

“A parent who lets their child act like that without reprimanding them is definitely raising an asshole,” a colleague said to me once. She started this conversation during a lunch meeting at a restaurant as we watched a mother wrestling with her toddler-age son who was having a tantrum. She made the comment because she knows I am a parent coach who works to end the practice of shaming parents....

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saying sorry

Beyond Saying Sorry: A More Meaningful Path to Conflict Resolution

“Say ‘I’m sorry’ and mean it!” How many times have we told our kids to apologize for saying or doing something hurtful to someone else? Honestly, forcing my 5-year-old, Sofia, to apologize in the heat of the moment makes me feel better as a parent. But when she doesn’t mean it, I feel guilty because I believe it’s a poor lesson to make her say empty words without meaning. After...

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classic pasta sauce

A Fresh and Classic Pasta Sauce

Maurizio Mazzon started cooking in restaurants at age 15, but he was working in the kitchen long before that. Born in the Veneto region of Italy, he grew up in a home with a garden full of vegetables, where the pasta was always hand made. “In Italy, you start from the day you’re born,” says Mazzon. “I was the guy selected to turn the handle of the pasta maker to...

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National Study Looks at Adolescent Brains

If you’ve got tweens or teens, no doubt you’ve wondered what’s going on in their heads. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC and UCLA are now part of a 10-year nationwide study of 10,000 kids that aims to find out. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study will follow participants from ages 10 to 20, collecting brain-imaging data, genetic information and information about kids’ cognitive development and environmental exposures. Brain development...

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Why This Dad Is On Pokemon Go

Last year, Los Angeles TV producer Brant Pinvidic found himself equally baffled by two things. One was the exploding popularity of the smartphone game Pokemon Go, which in the summer of 2016 was played by millions of people, including his whole family. The other was how to find common ground with his 13-year-old daughter, who had become obsessed with catching its virtual characters to the point where he caught her...

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Painting a Different Picture of Camp

Summer camp is a place for kids to try out fun outdoorsy stuff, make arts and crafts (got lanyards?) and maybe learn a funny song or two. It’s also a place to meet other kids like them. But what if there aren’t many kids like them? At The Painted Turtle camp, kids who have had kidney transplants or are diagnosed with hemophilia, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, juvenile arthritis, IBD, cystic...

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Doc Talk – Springing Forward With the Kids

We switch to Pacific Daylight Time at 2 a.m. March 12. Most of us know it as “springing forward,” but it hardly makes us – or our kids – feel springy. Monika Mathur, M.D., a neurologist with the pediatric division of the Long Beach Adult & Pediatric Sleep Center at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, offers advice for getting the kids back in step. Does the time change...

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Mom Judging Makes Parenting Kids With ADHD Even Tougher

My vision of parenting before I had children went something like this (think Midwestern United States, circa 1979): Moms sitting in beach chairs at the end of a driveway, kids scurrying up and down the street on skateboards and bikes, teens fighting and moms shooing them away while pouring glasses of wine. Dark skies and everyone goes home. The next day: repeat. By the time I became a mom, the...

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You Can Now Support Special Olympics When Filing Your Taxes

California taxpayers have long had the option to support causes near to their hearts at filing time – and this year a new organization with plenty of heart joins the list. Special Olympics Southern California and Special Olympics Northern California join 19 other nonprofits in the contributions section of this year’s state income tax form. “One of our great champions, Assemblymember Jim Frazier from Oakley, California, has been a longtime...

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Inclusive Pageant Spotlights Girls of All Abilities

Many girls dream of wearing a crown and being “queen” for a day, and the California Miss Amazing pageant gives girls of all abilities that chance. The day includes all the usual pageant pomp, from formalwear and interviews to tiaras and trophies, but the beauty here is more than skin deep. “One of the main impacts of the program is [for the girls] to realize their potential,” says Miss Amazing...

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Goodwill Jeans for Moms

Moms-to-be Can Do Good and Save on Maternity Jeans

Goodwill Southern California, a nonprofit social enterprise, and A Pea in the Pod, a contemporary maternity retailer, are teaming up to offer a special “donate and get a discount” deal to expectant mothers in the Los Angeles area. Donors are asked to bring in a pair of jeans and other clothing they no longer need to participating A Pea in the Pod stores, and they will get a 25-percent discount coupon...

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north american athletic club

Families Get Fit Together at North American Athletic Club in Northridge

You may be familiar with sitting on the sidelines during your child's sports classes, but one gym is hoping to get parents back in the game. North American Athletic Club (NAAC) opened in December 2016 in Northridge and was designed by working families, for working families. NAAC offers a place where parents and their children can get fit at the same time at the same location. The founders, Theodore Theodosiadis...

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cal state la

Cal State LA First in the Nation in Upward Mobility

California State University, Los Angeles is ranked number one in the U.S. based on the upward mobility of its students, according to a study published in The New York Times. The study by The Equality of Opportunity Project examines the role of colleges and universities in helping individuals climb the income ladder. Cal State LA has propelled a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the...

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simon youth foundation

Simon Youth Foundation Offering College Scholarships to L.A. Seniors

The Shops at Montebello is once again offering scholarships to help deserving graduating high school seniors pay for college. Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for at-risk high school students, is looking for qualified applicants who live near The Shops at Montebello and in the surrounding community. Each year, Simon Youth Community Scholarships are awarded in every community across the country that is home to Simon,...

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congenital heart defects

Women With Congenital Heart Defects Can Become Moms

For generations, doctors told women who were born with complex congenital heart defects that the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery would be too difficult for them, and that they should not have babies. That mindset has shifted. New recommendations for health care providers, published in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation,” offer a road map to helping women with congenital heart disease have successful pregnancies. “There is a burgeoning...

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scholar dollars grant

New Scholar Dollars Grant Program Will Support Extracurricular Activities

State Treasurer John Chiang this month announced the launch of the Scholar Dollars grant program to address the growing need for funding to support extracurricular and after-school programs at California schools. “A well-rounded education marries reading, writing and arithmetic with coding, athletics and the fine arts,” Chiang said. At a time when California schools are struggling to ensure classrooms have the latest text books and basic school supplies, many extracurricular...

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parenting - Margot Machol Bisnow

Margot Machol Bisnow: On Raising Entrepreneurs

Author Margot Machol Bisnow defines entrepreneurs not just as business owners but also as musicians who put together a band, actors who organize their own careers and activists working to create a better world. As a way to explore that spirit of resiliency, outside-the-box thinking and innovation, Bisnow interviewed 60 successful entrepreneurs and their moms to discover the parenting style that helped foster these confident and creative entrepreneurs. The result...

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Teaming Up At Summer Camp

After the kids’ holiday break from school comes the headlong rush toward summer vacation. If you’re not going on vacation, you’ll need somewhere for the kids to go while you are working, and summer camp is the traditional solution. Camp gives kids a chance to try out new activities such as cooking or canoeing, or devote days and weeks at a time to passions such as theater, baseball or computer...

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parenting - Omar and Argelia

K-Love’s Dynamic Duo Share Their On-Air and At-Home Magic

Argelia Atilano jokes that Omar Velasco, her husband and morning radio co-host on K-Love 107.5-FM, was never really “her type.” “I only dated guys in suits,” she says with her trademark laugh. “Attorneys, businessmen. I would never date a DJ – but the magic happened.” “I knew she was out of my league, but I kept pursuing her,” says Velasco with a smile. This is the type of banter that...

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teen marijuana use

Will Pot Legalization Boost Teens’ Use?

In November, Californians voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And while details are still being worked out, parents of teens and tweens should take action now and start having conversations about pot with their kids, says Diane Tanaka, MD, medical director of the Teenage and Young Adult Health Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Why? Because as use of marijuana becomes more tolerated, kids are less likely to consider...

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kids financial

Four L.A. Programs That Teach Kids Financial Savvy

Any financial planner will tell you that it’s never too early to start stashing away money for retirement or for that rainy day. Just as importantly, it’s never too early to learn about the proper ways to stash money away. There’s some evidence that most parents aren’t qualified to help children gain this knowledge. Total debt in the U.S. for car loans, student loans and credit cards is $4 trillion,...

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valentine's day plans

The Millennial Dad’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

There is a war going on out there, a cold war between loving couples with kids and loving couples without kids. And it heats up on Feb. 14. Officially named Saint Valentine’s Day, I call it S-V Day, after the iconic V-E Day and V-J Day from World War II. Childless couples meander carefree throughout the city, staying out ’till unholy hours. Meanwhile, the child rearing must meticulously plan and...

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home learning activities for kids

Digital vs. Analog: At-Home Learning Activities for Kids

Technology gives parents more ways than ever to provide a rich and engaging home learning environment for their kids. But how much is too much? Is it better to go “old-school” with plenty of books, journals to fill, and hands-on activities? Or is it best to be future-focused and provide the latest tablet computer and learning programs? Staying Hands-On Patti Clark, vice president of product development at Lakeshore, advocates for...

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peanut allergy

Understanding New Peanut Allergy Guidelines

In January, the U.S. National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines about babies and peanuts. Parents were previously advised to avoid giving children foods containing peanuts until age 3 to keep them from developing peanut allergy, but are now encouraged in some cases to give peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months. Dr. Maria Garcia-Lloret, a pediatric allergist at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, helps us unpack the new guidelines....

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empanadas

Cooking Empanadas With Love

Guillermo Zapata grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And when he moved to Los Angeles in 1992 to pursue a modeling and acting career, he brought a taste of home with him. He renovated a small space in West Hollywood and opened SUR Restaurant and Lounge, now expanded and known as quite the trendy eatery. Along the way, he married and had two daughters, Lou Mila, 11, and Miarose, 8....

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Cooking Tips for Special Kids

Chef Darrell “DAS” Smith has been a dad for less than a year, but he already knows a thing or two about picky eaters. That’s because in October, he became director of food services at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. The organization serves nearly 400 children with special needs related to learning differences, autism spectrum disorders and other cognitive, behavior and social challenges. Smith and his team in...

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Four Reasons Educating Students With Learning Differences Matters

Have you heard the buzz about the on-the-job construction worker from Toronto secretly recorded while dancing to a hit song by Ariana Grande? The video went viral, boasting tens of millions of viewers, after his wife posted it on social media. Although this was a humorous and entertaining break from the onslaught of political banter we have been overwhelmed with, I long for a world where life-impacting concerns, significant to...

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Film, Music and Autism Come Together In This Lab

Lots of local folks took their films to last month’s Sundance Film Festival, but one has a particularly fun story behind – and above, below and all around – it. “Use Your Imagination,” which premiered at Oculus House at the festival Jan. 22, is a virtual reality musical created in collaboration with, and starring, artists with autism. The film was made with a grant from Oculus VR, makers of virtual-reality...

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kids and money

Teaching Kids About Money: Spend, Save and Give Jars

When I told my daughter, then 4 years old, that I didn’t have money to buy her a toy, she said, “Just go to the bank and they'll give you money.” I frowned at her and tried again, explaining that I had only a $10 bill and what she wanted cost $20. She said, “It’s OK, just use your card.” I realized she had no idea about the value of...

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school news

Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance Makes History in Gardena

Students, parents and teachers at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance (EPAF), a nonprofit public charter high school in Gardena, have reason to celebrate. As the school prepares to graduate its first class of seniors, it is making history. Not only will the entire senior class graduate, but each student has received early acceptance into a four-year college or university. The school is in its fourth year of operation. "This was the goal we’ve worked towards since...

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school news

EPA Awards Moorpark Unified School District $25,000 for Cleaner School Bus

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $25,000 to Moorpark Unified School District in Ventura County to replace an older diesel school bus. Funded through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, the new bus will emit less air pollution. Moorpark is one of three California school districts receiving a combined $200,000 to replace or retrofit 11 school buses. "Reducing exposure to diesel pollution particularly benefits children, as their lungs are still...

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parenting

5 Common-Sense Tips For Raising Great Kids

It’s the middle of January and many of us have broken our New Year’s Resolutions and are back to who we were in December. For parents who are looking for a way to raise their children to be respectful, likeable, and successful adults it’s not too late. Here are 5 philosophical tips that will pay dividends for years to come including: Teach your kids to leave a trail of people...

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family recipes

Celebrate Chinese New Year With Potstickers

The first day of the Chinese New Year is Jan. 28, and we’ll welcome the Year of the Rooster. The delicious little dumplings called potstickers are a traditional food this time of year because, according to chef Katie Chin, they resemble gold ingots and symbolize wealth. Chin, L.A.-based cookbook author, food blogger, TV personality and mom of 8-year-old twins, also points out that in Chinese culture, food is served family...

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kids health in la

Health Experts Say There’s Still Time for a Flu Shot

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reminds residents it is not too late to receive influenza vaccine to prevent getting the flu. Influenza activity has increased to a level where it is now widespread throughout L.A. County, which is earlier than this has happened in previous seasons. “Influenza typically peaks in January and February and can linger well into the spring, so vaccination for anyone over 6 months...

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kingdom day parade la

City Language Immersion Charter Marches in Kingdom Day Parade LA

Parade watchers at the 32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade Jan. 16 came face-to-face with cultural icons including Langston Hughes, Golda Meir, Magic Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Amelia Hernandez, Muhammad Ali, Benito Juarez, Edith Cowan, Steve Jobs, Ella Fitzgerald, and even Cleopatra and Moses – thanks to students from City Language Immersion Charter School (CLIC) in L.A. Marching for their first time in the parade, the students came dressed as these...

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HPV Vaccine

Some Kids Need Just 2 Doses of HPV Vaccine Say Cancer Centers

The University of Southern California (USC) Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and its fellow 69 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers voiced their support last week for recently revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. These guidelines recommend that children ages 11 and 12 should receive two doses – rather than the previously recommended three – of the HPV vaccine. Adolescents...

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enrichment

Free Music-Tech Classes for Girls Come to Pasadena

In 2011, Erin Barra, an associate professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, began a music revolution by teaching music technology classes to elementary and middle school girls across the country. Beats by Girlz has reached young women in New York, Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco – and Barra is now bringing the program to Pasadena. “The creation of Beats by Girlz started back at a workshop the Lower...

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kids and media

Tara Sorensen: Creating Children’s Programming with a Mom’s Touch

One of Tara Sorensen’s favorite places to be is among books, children’s books in particular. “The Giving Tree” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” are a couple of her favorites. The L.A. mom of two and head of kids programming at Amazon Studios has always loved a good story with characters that leap off the page and into the imagination. It was her love of storytelling that led her into children’s television programming. Before joining Amazon, she was at National Geographic, where she was vice president...

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kids' diet

Cutting Sugar in Your Kids’ Diet

Over the summer, while kids were bingeing on screen time and ice cream and parents were counting the days until school would start again, a panel convened by the American Heart Association was putting the finishing touches on a scientific statement about children and sugar, published in August in the association’s journal, “Circulation.” The panel’s recommendations were simple and stark: Children under age 2 should not eat or drink any...

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parenting

Depression in Moms Goes Beyond Baby Blues

“I’m depressed.” How often have we heard a fellow mom say that? We commiserate, give her a hug and move on. After all, the phrase is used quite casually these days. It might indicate sadness – the loss of a job, the death of a loved one or a sense of stagnation – or it might indicate hormonal shifts. Unless that mom says she has been clinically diagnosed with depression, there is a chance we won’t treat her comment with gravitas, ask questions or steer her toward professional help. Experts say we should. Depression in moms is not always definable, not always evident, not always diagnosed. Women suffer from mood...

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la schools

LAUSD Board Approves 2017-2018 School Calendar

The Board of Education today approved a new instructional calendar for Los Angeles Unified School District students for the 2017-18 school year, with classes starting in mid-August and ending in early June. The board’s decision, approved by a 5-2 vote, maintains a one-week Thanksgiving break and a three-week winter break. Overall, the new calendar includes 180 instructional days, as required by state law. Board members also asked Superintendent Michelle King...

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la families

6 Free Workouts for L.A. Families

Whether your goals for 2017 involve a narrower waistline, speedier 5K or just a longer and happier life, they’ll be well served by getting out and getting active with your family. Though the Southland has no shortage of gym memberships and specialty fitness classes, it also offers plenty of free – and fun! – workouts you and your kids will love. This might sound great when the fresh calendar year...

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mommy and me groups

Mommy-and-Me Groups Offer Friendship and Support

When my son was an infant, I sought out a therapist. “I need someone straightforward to talk to about new baby/marriage/work stress,” I explained when asking a counselor friend for a recommendation. I told her my son was 4 months old and she responded with great empathy, “Oh, you’re right in the middle of it.” “It,” as I was to learn, is that period when your child’s needs are all-encompassing...

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parenting

Giving Your Child The Power to Say No

The weekend was winding down and the four of us headed out for a Sunday matinee. We all decided on “Miracles from Heaven,” rated PG. It’s a story about a 10-year-old girl who has a rare, incurable disease. The mother becomes a fierce advocate for her daughter and the film eventually ends with the young girl recovering from her illness, in what can only be described as a miracle. But...

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kids mental health

Protecting Adolescents’ Mental Health with Screenings

Doc Talk: Tips & Advice  If your child is 12 or older and you visit the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with a medical issue, you’ll likely be asked to leave the room for 2-3 minutes so the doctor can administer a mental-health screening. Dr. Alan Nager shares about the program he created. When and why did you begin these screenings? About four years ago. The American Academy...

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parenting

ON THE RECORD: Parenting at Dinner Time: From Chaos to Calm

As we start a new year, we often think about what we can do better and differently. At the top of my list is my chaotic, loud and frustrating dinner time with a toddler and a baby. It often includes meltdowns, whining, getting up and down hundreds of times and me repeating the lyrics to the hit song, “Sit Down and Eat.” My husband and I are on a mission...

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los angeles events

Tween Time With Author Greg Pincus

Did you know California once had a law that banned homework? Don’t worry, parents, it was repealed more than a century ago. This obscure law, however, did serve as an inspiration for Greg Pincus’ new middle-grade book, “Homework Strike.” Pincus has brought back Gregory K., the main character from his last book, “The 14 Fibs Of Gregory K.,” and now has Gregory struggling with the trials and tribulations of life...

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air quality

This Mom Wants to Clear the Air

Lizette Hernandez takes clean air personally. She has rushed her son, Kimani, to the hospital in the middle of the night because he couldn’t breathe. And she works to keep his asthma controlled with medication and nebulizer treatments. “Kids are among the most vulnerable to air pollution,” says Hernandez, who is Southern California lead organizer for the Sierra Club’s My Generation program. Studies show pollution impacts children’s lungs, brain development...

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ABLE Plans Let Those With Disabilities Set Financial Goals

For most of us who would like to save up for something – a new computer, a college class, a trip or even retirement – all we need to do to get started is to open a bank account or take advantage of a retirement or college savings plan. Most people with disabilities don’t have that luxury. Those who take advantage of state and federal government benefits such as Supplemental...

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The Second City Launches Courses for Kids With Autism

The Second City – which has locations in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood – has been a launching pad for theater and comedy talent for decades. Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey are some of the institution’s more recent alumni. The venue also offers kids comedy, acting and writing classes. And this month, for the first time, the Hollywood location launches a program just for kids with developmental disabilities. In...

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pregnant moms in la

Pregnancy Is a Great Time For a Massage

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and excitement. It’s also a time of many physical, mental and emotional changes for a woman. Some of these changes, such as a growing belly and hormonal shifts, can create discomfort for the mother-to-be. Getting massages during and after pregnancy can help to alleviate some of these discomforts by relaxing tense muscles, increasing circulation and soothing the nervous system. During pregnancy, many women...

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los angeles school news

LAUSD and Los Angeles Public Library Launch Library Card Partnership

On Dec. 7, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the Los Angeles Public Library and Los Angeles Unified School District to launch the historic Student Success Card program. For the first time, the Los Angeles Public Library is partnering with L.A. Unified to issue a Student Success library card to every student. Bringing together the nation’s second-largest school district and the library system that serves the largest, most diverse urban...

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parenting

Parents Spend More Than Nine Hours a Day with Screen Media

A first-of-its-kind study released this month by Common Sense Media shows that parents spend more than nine hours (9:22) a day with screen media, the vast majority of that time being spent with personal media (7:43) and only slightly more than 90 minutes devoted to work media. The vast majority of these parents (78%) believe they are good media-use role models for their kids. Meanwhile, many parents are concerned about...

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divorce and parenting

When Your Ex Text Messages Too Much

Open communication between parents and children is always encouraged. For children whose parents are divorced, communication with parents should mimic how communication would operate if both parents were under the same roof. However, the non-custodial parent (aka the parent who does not have child custody at that given moment) should be careful not to abuse that open door. Often times I’ll hear complaints from the parent in custody that the...

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cameron candace bure

Candace Cameron Bure: On Motherhood and her own Full House

As a fan of ’80s family sitcoms, I loved watching Candace Cameron Bure’s TV character, D.J. Tanner on “Full House,” navigate middle- and high-school drama, struggle through her Spanish class, crush on cute boys, fight and make up with her younger sisters.  For many of us, she was the big sister we wished we had as we watched her grow up on the popular ABC show, which ran from 1987...

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toy safety

Be On the Lookout For Choking Hazards

Much is written about toy safety this time of year, and one of the biggest toy related dangers to young children is choking or aspiration - the entry of a foreign object into the respiratory tract. But there are many things besides toys that end up stuck in kids' throats or airways. We have seen kids choke on gumballs, candy, wheels from toy cars, earrings and toy parts, but the...

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preventing cavities

What You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

Have your child's molars been sealed? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this fall reported that dental sealants can reduce cavities by up to 80 percent during the first two years after they are applied, by up to 50 percent for the two years after that, and continue working for as long as nine years. CDC Director Tom Frieden even proposed school-based sealant programs so that more...

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family recipes

Be Bold and Bake Your Own Cinnamon Rolls

Imagine the smell of warm cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. Now imagine waking your family on a Saturday morning with that delicious, warm aroma. Yes, you can! Gemma Stafford, creator of Gemma’s Bigger, Bolder Baking (www.biggerbolderbaking.com), is dedicated to helping home cooks bake cinnamon rolls and a variety of other tasty dishes. “I grew up with a mom who was a fantastic cook and baker,” says Stafford, who was...

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children's books

L.A. Dad Adds Gift to Princess Heroes Book Series

As the father of 9-year-old twin daughters, L.A. author Sanjay Nambiar is keen on writing stories that broaden the scope of how girls see themselves. “The Gift of Gift,” the second book in his Super Amazing Princess Heroes (SAPH) series, was released in November. “Girls need role models that are just as powerful as boy role models,” says Nambiar, who says the book aims to marry the feminine side of...

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gifts for kids

These Gift Cards Pay for College

Wayne Weber was always the “cool uncle” who liked to delight his nieces and nephews with new toys on gift-giving occasions. But as they grew, he started to think about their futures as well. Just in time for this holiday season, Weber, CEO of Gift of College Inc., launched Gift of College gift cards, making it easy – and fun – to help support a child’s college education. And you...

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parenting

Small Books With a Big Mission for Multilingual Kids

Board books and babies just go together. But when L.A. moms Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein shopped for their little ones, they didn’t find any that reflected the Latino culture they grew up with. “We both knew there was something missing for our children,” says Rodriguez. Best friends since childhood, the two worked together to create Lil Libros, a line of simple board books that teach letters, numbers, shapes and...

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A Personal Account of an IEP Journey

Lia Martin’s 9-year-old son, Taylor, is a gifted artist – but he also has ADHD. That means, as the former sitcom writer and TV executive puts it, he didn’t enter the classroom seamlessly. Her son’s learning difference eventually led Martin to seek out an IEP (individual education plan), and that journey also was not seamless. It started with her feeling of failure the first time she heard Taylor, then a...

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parenting

Creating Your Own Fun Family Traditions

Many family traditions are passed down through the years and are a great way to connect the generations. For my family, I like to incorporate traditions from our childhood and create new family traditions together. I believe traditions help us focus on experiences rather than things. Here are some ideas to help you make a lifetime of memories: Kindness or Service Elf: Our twist on “Elf on the Shelf” is...

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Rosa’s Mud Cake From “How to Celebrate Everything”

Jenny Rosenstrach doesn’t just write about food. She writes about family, rituals, traditions and how food brings all that together in the most delicious way. “One ritual, family dinner, is so fundamental to the psychological health of our household that we think of it as our North Star, something worth organizing our days – maybe even our lives – around,” she writes. Her popular blog, “Dinner: a Love Story,” is...

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8 Tips for Talking to Kids About Alzheimer’s

Learning that a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be quite overwhelming. If you’re a parent and have to talk to your child about the disease, those feelings are likely exacerbated. This reality, while harsh, is one that affects millions of families. While we often think of Alzheimer’s as an illness that solely affects the patient diagnosed with the disease, the fact is, it affects the whole family. According to the Alzheimer’s...

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When Kids Swallow What They Shouldn’t

During the holidays, many children get their hands on things they shouldn’t. When parents are distracted with cooking, eating, drinking and chatting, no one sees the 2-year-old wander into Grandma’s bedroom to find the candy dish of pills on the dresser. This season, take preventive steps at home and in homes you are visiting. Keep medications and other dangerous substances in their original packaging (with child-proof caps if possible). Store...

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holiday traditions

Family Holiday Traditions Worth Sharing

Add any of these ideas from L.A. families to your seasonal celebration. When you roast a Thanksgiving turkey in my house, you have to use Grandad’s stuffing recipe. And all the up-and-coming young cooks in the family are pressed to take a good whiff of the stuffing so they can learn how much poultry seasoning to add. (Sniffing is the best way to tell.) Family and friends love my Christmas...

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winter camp los angeles

Finding a Great Winter Camp in Los Angeles

Winter is coming. It won’t bring snow. It might not bring rain. It will, however, bring a lengthy school break for most kids. Campuses in the Los Angeles Unified School District are closed a whopping three weeks. Burbank, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Long Beach public schools are closed for two, and Pasadena schools just slightly longer. Your children will be home, and you need a plan. And if your...

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Hottest Trends and Products from the ABC Baby & Kids Expo

What’s the hottest trends for baby and tots this year? Well, we found the world’s smallest stroller, a glider that reclines and charges your cell phone, colorful silicon food storage made even better and whimsical teepee tents to add some fun to your playroom. We’re back from the ABC Baby & Kids Expo, the largest juvenile-products trade show in North America, where we had an exclusive first look at all...

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family recipes

It’s Pie On a Stick

  Stephanie Norcio runs the beautiful test kitchen at Surfas Culinary District in Culver City, a mecca for top-notch cooking equipment and classes that cater to everyone from young kids to aspiring Master Chefs. Upcoming classes include Chinese take-out and Greek favorites for families and make-and-take holiday pies. Norcio, a whiz of a chef who is great with kids, was kind enough to share this recipe for pie pops. Her...

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Shop Talk: What’s Cookin?

The holiday season is the perfect time to show off those culinary skills. Don't have any? Don't fret! Here are some tools and treats that will have you whipping up tasty goodness in no time.

Family Loss

Grief During the Holidays

If your family lost a loved one this year, the approaching holiday season might seem a little less joyful. And how your family approaches it can make a big difference – especially for the children. “Kids are going to take their cues from the adults,” says Lauren Schneider, clinical director of child and adolescent programs at Our House Grief Support Centers in West L.A. and Woodland Hills. Our House provides...

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parenting

Lisa Ling: Blending Motherhood and Investigative Reporting

Lisa Ling loves to tell stories. As a mom, she has a daily ritual of cuddling with her two daughters and reading their favorite books. As an award-winning journalist she has told hard-hitting, investigative stories from around the globe. For years, I have watched and admired Ling, who has been a correspondent for “ABC World News Tonight,” the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” co-host of ABC’s “The View” and is now the...

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parenting book

Book Review: “Girls & Sex, Navigating the Complicated New Landscape”

Peggy Orenstein, a New York Times best-selling author, covers it all – sexual myths our teens believe, the effects of social media, the hookup culture, the role of drugs and alcohol and the realities of sexual assault – in this book that every parent should read. Orenstein is a journalist and a mom who shares her own concerns as a parent and tells us early on that the in-depth reporting...

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tech for kids

Anti-bullying App Saves Kids a Seat

Navigating the school cafeteria can be stressful. But for 16-year-old Natalie Hampton, who lives in Sherman Oaks and was verbally, physically and cyber bullied during middle school, lunch was one of the worst parts of the day. Being seen eating by herself didn’t help. “I felt vulnerable and worthless. I also think being excluded branded me as a target for bullying,” says Hampton. Her experience led her to create the...

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City Language Immersion Charter Breaks Ground

The City Language Immersion Charter (CLIC) school community will soon have a new home. The free public charter school uses dual-language immersion and constructivist, project-based learning with the aim that every graduating 5th grader becomes bilingual and bi-literate. The school recently broke ground at their permanent school site at 4001 Venice Blvd in the West Adams neighborhood. Students, parents, faculty, founding parents, the board, and community members all joined together on Saturday, October...

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school news

Granada Hills Charter Dancer Trains in Moscow

Sana Suzuki, Granada Hills Charter Class of 2020, has packed her ballet slippers and moved to Moscow to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, one of the oldest and most respected ballet schools in the world. Suzuki was invited to study full-time at the academy after demonstrating her talent during the Bolshoi Summer Intensive in Connecticut this summer. Her acceptance is a source of long-awaited joy and celebration for Suzuki and her family...

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parenting

Three Everyday Questions for Your Kids

“How was school? How was your day?” That’s what I eagerly ask my 5-year-old daughter every day when I pick her up from school. My anticipation of an exciting and enthusiastic answer is quickly shot down when I get the same answer every time: a simple and monotone, “good.” That’s just not going to cut it. I need more than that! In my quest to find out what’s really on her mind, who she’s playing with, who’s not being nice...

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family-friendly recipes

Easy Fish Tacos from “100 Days of Real Food”

As moms on the go, we’re always looking for healthy meal ideas that are also easy to cook. “100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous: The Easy and Delicious Way to Cut Out Processed Food” by Lisa Leake gives us exactly what we we’re looking for – quick and tasty recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desert and snacks. We also love the beautiful color photos with every recipe –...

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Registration is Open for Free Accessible Rose Parade Viewing

The Tournament of Roses and the city of Pasadena work together to coordinate three areas of accessible street-level viewing for the annual Rose Parade, and this year people with disabilities can make reservations online for the first time. There are three accessible viewing areas offering reserved space to people with disabilities free of charge. This allows those with disabilities – and up to four guests – to avoid having to...

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Students Record a Song To Urge a Closer Look

Children from the L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center are inspiring the community with their original song, “Beyond the Label.” The students, who all have developmental disabilities, participated in writing a song to encourage people to see beyond their diagnoses. The group has performed the song at the White House, and recorded the original piece with singer-songwriter Johnny Gill of the R&B/pop group New Edition and a team of professional...

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family loss

When a Baby Dies: Honoring Pain & Healing Hearts

I know firsthand the pain that comes from the death of a child. Thirty-five years ago, I said goodbye to my beloved daughter Jasmine. I will never forget the privilege of carrying life within me, feeling her every move, giving birth, nursing her at my breast and having her be an important part of our family for six months. Jasmine’s death is one that I still grieve, but as a perinatal education specialist, it’s one that guides me and helps me...

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school news

LAUSD Instructor is Among California Teachers of the Year

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson this month selected five outstanding educators as the 2017 California Teachers of the Year. “I am pleased to honor five dedicated and hardworking teachers who use their creativity and talents every day to make a huge difference in their classrooms,” Torlakson said. “These inspiring and innovative teachers enrich the lives of our students while helping them to succeed in 21st century careers and college. These teachers represent the best...

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kids' health

AAP’s New Sleep Recommendations Say Rooming-In is Best

Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface – to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths, according to a new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics Oct. 24. “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” draws...

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children's health

Protect Your Family With Flu Shots

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is reminding everyone 6 months of age and older to get an annual flu vaccine. Flu shots will be available at no cost to residents at Public Health Centers, L.A. County libraries and more than 100 community vaccination events throughout the county. Flu vaccination is also available at community clinics, pharmacies or through regular healthcare providers. The nasal spray vaccine, which has...

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enrichment

The Importance of Sticking with Enrichment

When interest fades, should kids quit or power through?  When Natasha Vogt, a San Fernando Valley mother of two, watched her younger daughter enthusiastically perform in her dance recital, she breathed a sigh of relief. Earlier, her 4-year-old had decided she wanted to quit tap and ballet lessons, but had been convinced to stick with it at least until her recital. “She enjoyed being on stage so much that we...

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Very Special Arts Festival Celebrates Children of All Abilities

As I walked into the courtyard of The Music Center this morning I couldn’t help but smile. Children were everywhere — singing, dancing, and making art. More than 5,000 K-12 students of all abilities from all parts of L.A. County came together for the 38th Annual Very Special Arts Festival. More than 130 schools attended this year’s festival, celebrating students’ achievements in visual and performing arts. Eighty school groups participated...

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kids money tips

Sunny Lee: Raising Money-Savvy Kids

Sunny Lee, the youngest of four children, grew up in a small village in South Korea. Watching her parents, factory and construction workers, scrimp to just barely meet their basic needs, Lee decided early on that she would use education, hard work and sheer determination to become financially independent. The Rancho Palos Verdes resident began her career as a journalist and later became a financial advisor. Her vigilance about money...

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California School of the Arts Launches in San Gabriel Valley

After 30 years of providing an award-winning academic and arts curriculum, the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA) has launched California School of the Arts (CSArts) with the opening of its first satellite campus in San Gabriel Valley. California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV) is hosting public preview days for interested families, which will be held at Northview Intermediate Campus, located on 1401 Highland Ave.,...

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girlfriend getaways

Girlfriend Getaways: Moms’ Time Out

This Sonoma girlfriends’ getaway is perfect for pals with a personality. Repeat after me: “I deserve a break from my momly duties. My girlfriends deserve a break. We are awesome, therefore we should do awesome things on our break.” Of course, escaping your family’s hectic schedule is not easy, nor is coordinating a getaway with busy friends. And finding a location not too far from home with activities that appeal...

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positive parenting

Finding Diversity in Children’s Books

Five Easy Ways to Find Inclusive Reads Your Kids Will Love “There were tons of brown kids just like me running around the neighborhood where I grew up in East L.A. in the mid-90s, but I never came across a single book about anyone who looked like me until high school,” says Julia Casas, youth services librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch. When Casas, a Latina,...

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education

Helping Quiet Students Soar

Support at home and in the classroom can help these thoughtful kids find their voice. In a loud world dominated by those who speak up, quiet kids can get overlooked, especially in school. These children are often highly observant and great listeners, which helps them collect information so they can succeed when it comes to written work and test taking. They often struggle, however, when group projects, presentations and class...

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family recipes

Family Recipes: Pancakes On the House

Chef Kristina Mikyste of Doma Kitchen shares a fun dish you can top any way you like  Ricotta cheese is an unusual addition to pancakes, but it is similar to the farmers’ cheese Kristina Mikyste used growing up in Lithuania – in a family of chefs. Needless to say, the family did a lot of cooking. “Especially Sunday,” says Mikyste, “because it’s a family day, so we always cooked. It’s...

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parenting having the talk

If Your Child Accidentally Sees Online Porn

If it hasn’t already, it’s going to happen. Your child will type an innocent word into an online search engine, log onto a gaming site or search for a favorite music video and stumble onto photos and video you – and often they – would rather they didn’t see. Tracy Levine Wallace wants you to think about that now. “Be one step ahead of this,” urges the L.A. mom and...

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A Play Date With littleBits

Play dates are always fun, but getting to play the super cool creative engineer on the Disney campus is especially fun! L.A. Parent joined littleBits last week at Disney’s Creative Campus for an exclusive play date to unleash our inner inventor. Ayah Bdeir, creator of littleBits, joined the kids and adults with her product development team for a hands-on exploration of the modular electronic circuit blocks that easily snap together...

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asthma in children

Understanding Asthma

Flu season generally brings a spike in asthma cases – although asthma can occur year-round – and parents are often confused about this number-one chronic illness of childhood. Educating yourself about asthma is important, because asthma does kill. Your child is more likely to have asthma if others in your family have it, or if they have allergies or eczema. And you have to know asthma well to manage it....

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play in schools

Making Recess Work

Newton’s first law of motion, “an object in motion tends to stay in motion,” is what you’re looking for in kids on the playground at recess. Old-fashioned fun wrapped up in physical activity is not only essential to kids’ growth and development, it leads to physically active adults. In many schools, recess programs have been shortened or cut altogether, and recess no longer lives up to this ideal. “Every child...

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los angeles schools

Inclusive Programs That Teach All Learners

With the right support, students with disabilities can reach their potential  There was a time when not all children were considered capable of learning, when many students with disabilities were kept out of school completely. “They used to use the term ‘educatable.’ I hated that,” says Lila Schob, who has been an educator for 20 years. “Everyone can be educated. Everyone deserves an education.” Today, from large public districts to...

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special needs

Wiley Academy Opens Preschool for Kids on the Spectrum

L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center has expanded. In September, the Wiley Academy for Specialized Learning opened with a learning environment tailored to children with autism spectrum disorders. The preschool program is for ages 3 to 5 and follows a language-based multidisciplinary curriculum. The emphasis is on whole-child development with daily exposure to activities that promote speech, fine motor, sensory and cognitive development. Alyssa Porter’s son, Jagger, 3, attends the preschool. “I toured other...

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positive parenting

On the Record: The Keep-Your-Cool Challenge

A diaper blowout right before you need to leave your house. Bedtime tantrums. The constant need to repeat things like, “Hurry up, let's go,” and, “Stop doing that!” A daily routine that leaves you so tired you become aggravated at your kids for splashing water at you during bath time. There are countless ways your kids can make you lose your cool, but your reactions to these parenting trials teach...

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parenting

The Push for Passion & Purpose in College Admissions

Parenting your child to build an honest college resume starts earlier than you think  to help your student stand out in competitive times  “We regret to inform you…” Those five words were enough to bring me to tears. I dashed to McDonald’s in the rain and drowned my sorrows with a Big Mac and Hi-C Orange. The rejection letter was from Rice University, the Harvard of the South. I cried...

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los angeles schools

A Peek Through the Portal

How online monitoring tools are impacting education and families Remember how your kids sometimes forgot to give you the Friday folder from school or pulled it out on Monday morning for a quick signature before you’d even looked at it? Or was that just my kid? Well, there’s a new Friday folder in town, the online student-parent portal, and families can access it any time they like. Do parents like...

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school news

Woodcrest Expands with Middle School Program

Woodcrest School has expanded its course offerings to include middle school, sixth through eighth grade. On Sept. 13, Woodcrest hosted the Encino Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Brad Sherman’s office, Assemblyman Matt Dabaneh, Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld’s office, local community leaders and parents to celebrate the official opening of the new middle school. Woodcrest Middle School’s Head of School, Rebecca Coen, told local dignitaries that the middle school students would be leading the ribbon...

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school news

LAUSD Magnets: Getting to the Points

If you live in the district, the right strategy could get your child into an excellent school. When my oldest child was 3, the director of our Montessori preschool invited us, with all the other preschool parents, to a symposium she was offering on how to navigate the Los Angeles Unified School District system known as e-Choices. I thought it was probably a little too soon to be worried about...

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school news

Frostig School Enhances STEM Learning with Snapdragaon Book Grant

Frostig School, located in Pasadena, has been awarded a $600 grant by the Snapdragon Book Foundation.  The grant is being used to add to the library’s non-fiction collection. Many of the new books will focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to support the school’s new STEM course offerings and weekly science labs.  Frostig School will also use the funds to fill gaps in its biology, arts and history...

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Young Adults With Autism Need Workplace Social Skills

"As I wandered the resource fair with both my kids in tow, it became strikingly clear how limited the options would be for Nicholas post-high school." "There is a lot of money invested in these kids when they are young, but there is significantly less as they get older. You feel as if you're on your own." These are real thoughts plaguing parents of high school-age children with autism spectrum...

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Step Out to Raise Funds for UCPLA

How many steps do you take per day? Do you have 10,000 in you? Find out, get fit and raise funds and awareness for individuals with cerebral palsy during the “Out & About With UCPLA” fitness challenge Oct. 3-28. The money you raise will help purchase equipment such as adaptable tricycles and adaptable beach wheelchairs that help people with cerebral palsy reach their fitness goals. Kids who participate can also...

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los angeles schools

Perks for Private-School Parents

Local campuses offer a host of classes and activities for moms and dads of students. Cara Lisco doesn’t expect to become a top-notch knitter or dancer by taking weekly classes at Highland Hall Waldorf School, where her three children are students. The knitting and eurythmy classes are among enrichment activities offered to parents of students who attend the Northridge private school. They are designed to help parents like Lisco have...

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Choosing a School: It’s In the Details

Most schools offer a good education. Look beyond that to find a fit for your child.  The days of sending kids to an assigned neighborhood school, no questions asked, are gone. Today, Southern California families are fortunate to have many great schools to choose from, giving us the opportunity to find just the right school for our kids. But after the websites are combed, tours are taken and the big...

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special needs

Entering The World Of Oz With Justin

Autism is something I never imagined that my world would revolve around. It all began with a phone call from the school about my son, Justin, who was 5 at the time, not participating in class – odd behavior, not being sociable with staff or peers. Next, I received a letter from the school, asking us to have him tested. Following that assessment, a meeting was scheduled. The psychologist finished...

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parenting

Striking a Preschool Balance: Play-Based vs. Academic Programs

Search out the best play-based and academic elements to find the right fit for your child. When my daughter, Mirae, was 3, she came home from preschool one day raving about baby rabbits. A rabbit had given birth and burrowed her offspring in the dirt just under the swing set at Mirae’s preschool, Pierce College Child Development Center in Woodland Hills. A child found the burrow, and the adventure began....

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Chat Room: Molly Newman: Shepherding Students Toward The Arts – and Beyond

Molly Newman was the kid who loved books, stories and writing. She followed her love for literature and started her career as a high school English teacher. As the Director of College Counseling for Idyllwild Arts Academy, she now helps students follow their passion for the arts to college and beyond. Idyllwild Arts, located in the pine-forested San Jacinto Mountains, is an internationally acclaimed residential arts high school with programs...

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school news

Choosing To Fund Teacher Projects

Public school teachers got a huge boost this past August when DonorsChoose.org, a crowd-funding website focused on elementary and high schools, funded all 121 donation requests from L.A.–based teachers. In partnership with Staples, which donated $1 million to the nonprofit as part of its Staples for Students summer campaign, the organization helped citizen donors enliven learning for more than 15,500 L.A. students. Genein Letford, music director at New Academy Elementary...

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school news

LAUSD Embraces All-Girls Learning With New Charter

“I know who I am. I pay attention to what I feel. I know that I matter.” On the first day of school, girl power was reaching new heights among the 100 sixth graders reciting their school pledge at Girls Athletic Leadership School of Los Angeles (GALS LA). As the first all-girls school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Panorama City-based charter school was built on a unique...

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The Brentwood School Receives National Honors

At The Brentwood School’s lower school, serving kindergarten through sixth grade, character development, diversity and caring are central to school life and its backbone is “a meaningful and nurturing relationship between faculty and students,” says Lower School Counselor and Character Education Coordinator Laura Taylor. “No student slips through the cracks. Children feel safe and that’s when they thrive.” It’s no surprise, then, that the school is being honored this October...

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school news

South Bay Volunteers Clean Up Elementary School Gardens

More than 100 local volunteers ranging from lawyers and politicians to restaurateurs and thespians got their hands dirty to restore nine elementary school gardens in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach as part of Beach Cities Health District’s inaugural “Beach Cities Volunteer Day.” Employees from 16 South Bay organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, UCLA Health, the Office of Assemblymember Hadley and Surf City Theater spent a hot August day building garden beds, pulling weeds...

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fun ideas for kids

Booki Vivat Turns Doodles Into Her Debut Book

Inspiration for a writer can come for almost anywhere. An overheard conversation. A story on the news. Two paths diverged in the woods. For Booki Vivat, it was a doodle she drew that said: “I live my life in a constant state of impending doom.” That drawing evolved, eventually, into Vivat’s delightful debut book “FRAZZLED: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom” (due out Sept. 27 from HarperCollins Children’s Books). The book...

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parenting

Chat Room: Super Mamas is Bridging the Culture Gap for Latina Moms

Family is an all-encompassing part of Bricia and Paulina Lopez’s world. The sisters grew up working alongside their two other siblings in their parents’ Oaxacan restaurant on Olympic Boulevard in Koreatown, and are now not only co-owners of the family business, but co-anchors of their own parenting podcast, Super Mamás, geared toward young, hip, Latina moms. Bricia and Paulina were born in Oaxaca, Mexico and immigrated to Los Angeles with...

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positive parenting

Positive Parenting: Getting Some Headspace with a New App

Parents looking to give their kids a mindfulness boost – and get one for themselves – have a new option. This summer, the creators of the Headspace meditation app launched Headspace for Kids. Available to Headspace subscribers ($7.99-$12.95 per month), Headspace for Kids features meditations on five themes – calm, kindness, focus, sleep and waking up – for ages 5 and younger, 6-8 and 9-12. The meditations are designed for...

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fun ideas for kids

Recipes for Kids: Pasta and Possibilities

Diana Stavaridis, head chef at Manhattan House restaurant in Manhattan Beach, started cooking with her grandfather when she was a child but didn’t have the chance to imagine cooking as a profession until years later. Now she works with GrowingGreat, a community garden program that helps local elementary students grow school gardens, then brings fourth and fifth graders into the restaurant to cook with Stavaridis. The goal is to help...

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positive parenting

Practice, Not Perfection: Mindfulness Meditation for Kids

Meditation is a simple tool that can help kids develop focus and feel more calm.  And it can be enjoyable. Parents can meditate with kids in playful ways that create safe space for emotions to surface and imaginations to be set free. But getting there takes some practice. Mindfulness practice and meditation are different for kids than for adults, but their purpose is the same: to build awareness by taking...

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parenting

Doc Talk: Beyond the Bicycle Helmet

It typically happens like this: A child hops on his bike, hollers to his mom that he’s going for a ride and is gone before she can even respond. No one has checked to see if he is wearing a helmet. No one even knows exactly where he is. The boy is hit by a car and knocked unconscious. Someone calls an ambulance and he is brought to our emergency...

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los angeles attractions

Giving Kids a Strong Hold on Fitness

If monkeys had a playroom, it would be the Stronghold Climbing Gym in Downtown Los Angeles. Located in the historic building that once housed the California Edison Company’s Los Angeles #3 Steam Power Plant, in the Brewery Arts Complex, this state-of-the-art facility houses hundreds of opportunities to scale walls and find routes to the top, across and under various types of simulated climbing terrain. For those who climb, it seems...

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parenting

Go Get Their Eyes Checked

Optometrist Julie Forister was visiting South Coast Botanic Gardens with her family one day this summer. The mom of three was glad her 2-year-old daughter wasn’t interested in the Pokémon Go Takeover event that had taken over the lovely space – but that wasn’t the case for everyone. “Everybody was staring at their phone instead of looking at the pretty flowers in the garden,” Forister says. Now that the school...

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school news

The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools Welcomes Grape Street Elementary

As part of its mission to transform schools, the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and the Los Angeles Unified School District recently announced a joint collaboration to include Grape Street Elementary into the network of schools the organizations supports. The five-year Memorandum of Understanding includes a plan to strengthen instructional practices, implement socio-emotional learning, support teacher and school leader development and increase parent engagement. "The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools...

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parenting

Helping Your Teen Through a Move

Being the parent of a teenager is a challenge in any city, but can be even more difficult if your family has recently relocated. Southern California in general, and Los Angeles in particular, can be a challenge for anyone who is not used to the diversity in people and activities. For a teen who is new to the area, the first few weeks or months will inevitably present challenges with...

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positive parenting

On The Record: Becoming a Butterfly Parent

Rhinoceroses are strong, have endurance and thick skin. A rhino charges toward its goals and never stops until it gets there. As a child, my bedtime stories were not about princesses and unicorns. They were about living life like a rhinoceros and not a cow. When I became a mother and had little rhinos of my own, I naturally wanted the same for them – to be strong and determined....

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parenting

Is Homework Worth Kids’ and Parents’ After-School Time?

Is the deluge of after-school tasks a necessary character builder or a waste of kids’ time? As we look back over our school days, most of us can remember a particularly torturous homework assignment – an English essay, a science project, maybe a history presentation – that kept us up past midnight or ruined a weekend. Or a perfect storm when a lack of communication between teachers meant two projects...

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positive parenting

How Your Kids Can Mindfully Succeed At School

Mindfulness and focusing have the potential to help children achieve school success with peace. I am talking about not just your peace of mind as a parent, but peace and ease for your children if they are experiencing aversion towards school or homework. Mindfully focusing at school can help students get through their day with greater ease and success. The effect of mindfulness on the brain supports increased memory, positive...

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special needs

The Art of Autism: Growing Up

From Tom Iland: Growing up with autism is not easy. Social challenges, family dynamics, academics, employment opportunities and many other issues need to be addressed over the course of one’s life. In my experience, in having the right mindset and an effective, loving support system made these obstacles more manageable. Shortly after my diagnosis at 13 years old, I was taught that using autism as an excuse or as a crutch...

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Matt Asner Becomes Vice President of Development For Autism Society of America

Matt Asner will join The Autism Society as National Vice President of Development, Autism Society President and CEO Scott Badesch announced Aug. 23. “We are thrilled to have Matt as part of the Autism Society family. His passion, energy and wonderful commitment to helping give all diagnosed with autism the maximum opportunities to reach their highest quality of life, along with an amazing track record of success in all he...

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parenting

Parenting After Divorce: Grandparents’ Visitation Rights

While on a lunch break this summer, I noticed a small group of children all wearing summer camp T-shirts that read “Grandma’s Summer Camp, 2016.” Printed on the shirts were destinations the children had been during previous “summer camps” with their grandparents – the Los Angeles Zoo, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Hollywood Bowl, etc. Watching the kids’ excitement to be together as a family took my mind off my workload...

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school news

Turning Point Welcomes New Head of School

Turning Point School is welcoming Dr. Laura Konigsberg as the new Head of School, effective this 2016-17 school year. Prior to joining Turning Point, Dr. Konigsberg served as Associate Head of Bentley School, a dual campus K-12 day school in Oakland, where she oversaw the K-8 campus. Over her 15 years at Bentley, Dr. Konigsberg energized the school’s program, modernized its curriculum, and consolidated the K-8 faculty into one body....

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school news

Free Resources Start Students’ Year with Inspiring Math Messages

To help students in grades K-12 approach math with creativity and enjoyment, YouCubed, a Stanford University center that provides research-based resources for teaching and learning mathematics, has released a series of free lessons in time for back to school. The Week of Inspirational Math (WiM) lesson series for teachers, parents and students includes five lessons that offer students open, rich mathematics experiences that inspire creative thinking and a growth mindset....

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parenting

UCLA Doc Offers Tips on Preventing School Sports Injuries

Back to school means back to sports – and the risk of injury that comes with them. “Being aware of the injury potential of your sport and proactively seeking ways to prevent such injuries is critical,” says Dr. Jennifer Beck, a pediatric sports medicine physician at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. Every sport has its own inherent risks, but one competitive sport – cheerleading – often is overlooked. “There’s increasing...

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parenting

Back-to-school Readiness For Music Students

As a piano teacher and the founder of Music Teacher LA, I am often asked how to help young music students get ready for back-to-school time. For families whose children are taking private music lessons, such readiness is essential to ensure that children have a smooth transition from a summer of laid-back music study or vacation to motivational weekly music lessons. Additionally, feeling confident and prepared helps kids to begin...

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positive parenting

Positive Parenting: Experts Answer Your Questions For Early Childhood

We hear it all the time, and yet we can’t hear it often enough: Children’s early years matter. Your child’s first interactions with you and with others, the environment you create for your family, and your child’s earliest educational experiences influence how your child’s brain is built, and set the tone for her or his relationships with others and future learning. The idea can feel overwhelming, but by asking yourself...

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Shop Talk: Geared Up For Class

Supply lists, lunch-packing anxiety, early bedtimes and rushed mornings. Yep, it's time for back to school. Here are some A+ products that will get you and your kids off to a great start.

school news

Non-Traditional Learning: School’s Out and About!

As the pace of change in the world around us has accelerated in recent years, so have changes in the way children learn about that world. More and more alternatives to the “traditional” classroom are emerging, and more kids are taking advantage of them. As many as 3.4 percent of U.S. children are now homeschooled, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education. And the National Center...

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parenting

6 Tips for Setting Realistic Back-to-school Goals

My daughter Keya and I have a tradition for the last day of school. We go to Trails Cafe in Griffith Park, where she orders a snake dog and an old-fashioned root beer. We recall the year’s high and low points, and I listen as she tells me which teachers she liked, what subjects she found interesting and what her classmates’ summer plans are. Over the break, we don’t think...

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school news

STEM3 Academy Expands to K-12 This School Year

A STEM education just became more accessible for children with special needs. The Help Group’s STEM3 Academy, the first school of its kind to provide a robust STEM curriculum to young people with special needs, is launching an elementary school program for the 2016-17 academic year. With the new elementary program, STEM3 Academy will offer a comprehensive and integrated curriculum from kindergarten through high school. By focusing on the long-term development,...

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Why Kids With Disabilities Need Time For Play

As summer winds down and the new school year gets rolling, you’re likely looking closely at your child’s schedule. If your child has a developmental or other disability, one especially important thing to schedule in is play. Joclynn Benjamin, owner of Leaps n Boundz – which offers swimming, gymnastics and social programs for individuals of all abilities at several L.A.-area sites – says families often have few slots open for...

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parenting

Parenting & Eating Disorders in Kids: When Healthy Goes Too Far

You’ve heard medical experts extol the virtues of healthy eating. You’ve been told to keep your children away from sugar, salt and processed foods, and have started to focus on healthy eating and nutrition for yourself and your child. With all this attention to healthy eating, you’ve certainly helped safeguard your child’s health. Or have you? Is it possible you’ve put them at risk? Unfortunately, when the focus on healthy...

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This Special-Needs Camp Hires Counselors On the Spectrum

All over Los Angeles this summer, high school and college students are earning money and gaining experience as camp counselors. When college student and L.A. resident Carter Theiro shows up for work each morning and joins 130 camp counselors at a South Los Angeles camp, he brings a unique perspective to the job. Theiro, 19 and a student at Los Angeles Valley College, is on the autism spectrum. This is his third year as...

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school news

Thinking Globally: Lang Ranch Students Compete in Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Everything was going great until the U-Haul arrived. After months of hard work, the fifth-grade Odyssey of the Mind team from Lang Ranch Elementary School had made it to the World Finals competition. The seven girls on the team had gathered at the school at 3 a.m. May 24 for their flight to Ames, Iowa. For two days, they had been at Iowa State University enjoying the festivities surrounding the...

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parenting

Doc Talk: How to Handle the Heat Like a Pro

Whether your child is at the beach, on the ball field or just out playing in the park, heat-related illness is a danger this time of year. Parents often throw around the term “heat stroke,” but are usually using it incorrectly. There are many forms of heat-related illness. Heat Cramps/Edema/Syncope: It doesn’t have to be extraordinarily hot for children to develop cramps and muscle pain or swelling (edema) of the...

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Introducing Your Child With Disabilities To a New Teacher

A new school year is starting, which means a new teacher for your child. Take a few minutes to write a letter that will help equip your child’s teacher for the excitement and challenges ahead. “As much as our kids need support at times, teachers need just as much,” says Kathleen Secchi, Santa Clarita coordinator for Family Focus Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides support services to families raising children...

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On the Record: Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

I’m a helicopter mom. I hover over my 5-year-old daughter, Sofia, watching and listening to everything she does and imposing my ideas and interests on her in hopes she’ll choose what I think is best. My friends call me “controlling,” but I thought being a helicopter mom meant you were being protective, loving, motivating and educating. I was dead wrong, and my helicopter made a hard landing. I became conscious...

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special needs

Must-Do Self-care Tips For Special-Needs Moms

Areva Martin is a busy woman. She is an attorney, legal analyst and commentator who often appears on “The Doctors,” “Dr. Phil,” “Dr. Drew” and “Good Morning America.” She founded and runs the resource and advocacy organization Special Needs Network and is a wife and mother of three, with one son on the autism spectrum. And – believe it or not – she has learned to take good care of...

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School News: Joyner Elementary Gets Turnaround Arts Grant

Congratulations are in order for South L.A.’s Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary. The school was recently named a recipient of the coveted Turnaround Arts program grant, the only Los Angeles-area school to receive one this year. First Lady Michelle Obama was on hand at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show in May, where new schools accepted into the program were announced. Joyner Elementary’s Principal, Dr. Akida Kissane-Long, and Turnaround Arts: California...

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school news

School News: Conejo Valley Expands Personalized Learning Programs

Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) has expanded  personalized learning opportunities for its students with the launch of its K-6 Independent Home Study Program and the expansion of Century Academy, a personalized hybrid high school that mixes periodic face-to-face instruction with online learning, to now serve eighth-grade students. The launch of this new program and school expansion for the 2016-17 school year stems from the vision of the more than 10,000...

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parenting

Parenting: Foster Care and Finding Forever Homes

Thousands of children desperately need a home, or even just a safe place to sleep tonight. And they aren’t in some developing country. They are right here in Los Angeles County. “There are 35,000 children in the foster-care system,” says Lynne Baumhoff, director of adoptions and foster care at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, which provides adoption and foster care services in Southern California. “Some are in foster...

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community news

Gun Violence Video Contest for High Schoolers Extended

The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C. recently announced that the deadline for the second annual Tony Bourbon Youth Scholarship Video Contest will be extended one month to Aug. 1, 2016. The video contest, open to high school students in Los Angeles County, invites students to submit films/videos on the negative effects of gun violence on youth and the positive actions youth...

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fun summer activities

Blackberry Crumble: A Sweet Taste of Childhood

Katie Shyne of Taste on Melrose shares fond memories and a Spiced Blackberry Crumble recipe. Doesn’t blackberry picking with your mom sound like a delicious way to spend a morning? Katie Shyne, executive pastry chef at Taste on Melrose, brings her childhood memory and a childhood favorite recipe to life in this Spiced Blackberry Crumble. “It’s one of the first things I learned how to make when I was a...

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Meet Some Pint-Sized Plant Savers

A team of 6-year-olds from Notre Dame Academy Elementary School in West L.A. has garnered an international prize with their clever idea for preserving plants – and the insects that feed on them. This spring the team took the top prize in the ages 5-7 division of the Smithsonian-Cricket Media 5th Annual Spark! Lab Invent It Challenge. In this international contest, students had to identify a global health issue and create an invention to help...

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5 Steps To a Balanced Breakfast Smoothie

It’s time to create a new breakfast staple with fun ideas for kids. Although breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a typical kid’s breakfast includes foods such as cereal, pancakes, bagels or waffles, which are high in processed grains. These breakfasts are easy to make, but don’t include the ideal nutrient balance your kids need to start their day. A balanced breakfast contains a protein, a carbohydrate and healthy fat. Here are five steps to help you create a balanced...

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fun ideas for kids

When Do Children Ask ‘What If’?

You’re on the freeway and the driver in front of you slams on the breaks. You can’t avoid rear-ending the car. Still, as you pull over, you sigh with relief that the accident wasn’t serious. And maybe you are a little more cautious on your next commute. This is an example of counterfactual reasoning or “what if” thinking. It helps us feel regret when things could have gone better, relief when they could have...

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school news

Silicon Valley School Opens New Campuses around L.A.

Stratford School, a Silicon Valley-based group of independent private schools, is opening new locations in Altadena and Los Angeles. Stratford is recognized as a leader in early childhood STEM education, and both new Southern California campuses are scheduled to open in August for the 2016-17 academic year. One of Stratford’s core missions is to incorporate technology into the fabric of learning, says Cheryl Molenkamp, director of Lower School of the...

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Doc Talk: Treating Insect Stings 101

This summer, the buzz about mosquitoes and Zika virus will no doubt continue. But Southern California kids are much more likely to encounter bees, wasps, hornets or yellowjackets. All carry venom that can cause problems ranging from a slight nuisance to anaphylaxis and death.  First-aid starts with removal of the stinger. Flick it out with a credit card or your finger. Don’t pull it, grab it or tweeze it, or...

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special needs beach wheelchairs

Freewheeling At the Beach

A day at the beach is a quintessential SoCal summer family outing. And even if your child uses a wheelchair, you can hit the sand. Ashley Lyn Olson was paralyzed in a car accident at age 14, and has become a lifelong access advocate. In 2006, she launched wheelchairtraveling.com to encourage people in wheelchairs to “come access your world.” The northern California resident travels the globe and often hits the...

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July Fourth Fireworks With Sensitive Kids

Diane Cullinane has a son with sensory issues, and when he was 2 or 3 years old, the family decided to attend a local fireworks display one July Fourth. Cullinane knew her son was sensitive, so they parked three blocks from the celebration and watched from there. Even so, they had to leave after a few minutes. “It was just too much for him,” Cullinane says. For many kids with...

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Families Connected Program Launches in the South Bay

New Resource for Parents Targets Teen Wellness and Prevention of Substance Use The South Bay is connecting families on a whole new level. Thanks to the successful launch of South Bay Families Connected (SBFC) at Mira Costa High School, called Mira Costa Families Connected (MCHS FC), the free teen wellness and substance use prevention resource is now available to all South Bay schools including Manhattan Beach Middle School. “The Families...

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summer camp los angeles

My LEGO Party Turned Play-Well Engineering Workshop

I’m a LEGO purist. I love dumping the big box of hundreds of bricks that can be made into anything I imagine onto the floor. My child is the opposite. Mirae, my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter, is dedicated to the completion of the predetermined project on the front of the LEGO box. This line between free play and instruction was one we had to consider in planning a LEGO shindig with...

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community news

Community News: A Tween With An Open Heart

Noah Bella Michaelis may seem like your ordinary 12-year-old. She loves her pet dog, Finn, and pet tortoise, Escher; enjoys reading and collects miniature figurines. She was born with complex congenital heart disease and has had four open-heart surgeries since birth, but what is really extraordinary about Michaelis is her spirit. This indefatigable sixth grader has raised more than $65,000 for the Hopeful Hearts Foundation – a nonprofit that provides...

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positive parenting

A Family Legacy Worth Leaving Behind

It is a day I will never forget – Christmas 2013 in snowy Chicago, and my parents were visiting from Texas. Christmas carols were playing, festive food and decorated cookies were on the table, and I had buttery egg nog in hand and a big smile on my face as I sat to watch my then 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, open her first gift from under our tree. The first package...

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positive parenting

Six Summer Essentials for Family Harmony

With a little advance planning, summer break with the kids at home does not have to be anxiety-filled. As the school year winds down, so do the hectic days of getting the kids dressed, getting lunches made and rushing out the door to make it before the first bell rings. Summer vacation gives parents and kids a respite from the demanding daily schedule. Oftentimes kids associate the end of the...

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parenting

Dealing With Tragic News

Whether it’s happening in Nice, Dallas, Louisiana, Orlando, Brussels or Paris, it can sometimes feel like tragedy is also taking place right in the palm of your hand – or your child’s – via social media and smartphones. “It’s just a constant bombardment of input. I was shocked to hear that kids are getting news information from Instagram,” says Caroline Knorr, parenting editor of Common Sense Media, a California-based nonprofit...

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fun ideas for kids

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Camp Lunches

Camp time is here. You want your kids to be well nourished and enjoy their lunch, but kids often get bored with the food parents pack, and parents have a challenging time coming up with new lunch ideas. Kids enjoy camp lunches that have balance, variety and include surprise treats. The treats are small, but are delicious and hit the spot.   Here are five tips to help you build...

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summer activities

Ready For Summer With Pie

When strawberries come into season in the spring, at my house we start out by just bingeing on them plain – or with maybe a touch of whipped cream. Eventually, we get around to some shortcake. Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections – with locations in L.A., Echo Park and at Grand Central Market downtown – offers a recipe for another strawberry classic, strawberry-rhubarb pie. “Kids love pies,” says the mom...

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parenting

Doc Talk: Why You Should Learn CPR

The 2-year-old male was eating grapes when he began to choke. Choking is a common hazard for this age group, and can cause cardiac arrest (when the heart suddenly stops beating), brain damage and death. Fortunately, by the time this boy reached the emergency department his mother had already saved his life. She cleared his airway and performed CPR until help arrived. This is an essential skill for a parent...

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parenting

7 Strategies for Your Child’s Bad Mood

Everyone has a bad mood now and again – and that includes our kids. But if your child is grumpy or blue on a regular basis, it’s no fun for the family or for your child. And it could be a sign that your child needs help. I talked with clinical psychologist David Miklowitz, director of the UCLA Child & Adolescent Mood Clinic and author of “The Bipolar Teen” and...

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Finding the Successes in Your Child’s School Year

You open the report card and there among the As and Bs is a big fat C in math. If only, you think, we’d spent more time this year with flash cards or graphing calculators. But hold off before you cancel adventure camp and sign up for Kumon. Because when it comes to assessing your child’s school year, grades are just a starting point. In fact, an obsession with grades...

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family fun magazine

Swimsuit Shopping for Moms in LA

It's officially summer and the need for a swimsuit can no longer be ignored. Whether it’s an anniversary trip, beach day with the kids or a girls-only retreat, you may want to wear something new in the water. But for some Moms, the challenge of swimsuit shopping is one we'd rather avoid. Whether you struggle to find the right fit for your post-baby body or your focus on function has...

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community news

Fire Service Day Introduces Safety Program for LA Kids

A new educational safety program, designed to teach children five safety steps to follow in an emergency, was unveiled at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s annual Fire Service Day at Fire Station 27 in Hollywood on May 14. The department’s annual open house event drew thousands of Angelenos to their local fire stations to interact with first responders, learn how to stay safe and, at select locations including Fire Station...

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positive parenting

A Family with Unreasonable Hope

The doctor said it again and again: “She will never ….” And for Chad Veach, hearing this about his 4-month-old daughter, Georgia, was too much. “My heart sank into my socks,” says Veach, pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles and author of the new book “Unreasonable Hope.”   The doctor was explaining to Veach and his wife, Julia, that their daughter has lissencephaly, which literally means “smooth brain” and is...

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parenting

Our 2016 Dad Hero: A Full-Throttle Father

In July of 2003, a man crashed his car through a barrier blocking off part of Arizona Avenue for Santa Monica’s bi-weekly farmers market, plowing through the crowd of shoppers and killing 10. Eric Castellanos was working as an Emergency Medical Technician for an ambulance company, and was one of the first responders that day, directing help for the 63 people injured. The California State Assembly later honored him with...

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los angeles events

Chat Room: Sandra Tsing Loh is Using Comedy to Lower the Bar for Moms

For years, I’ve enjoyed Sandra Tsing Loh’s hilarious commentary on public radio and witty writing about juggling work, life, marriage and parenthood. The Pasadena mom of two teen daughters is known for her books, including “A Year in Van Nuys” and “Mother on Fire,” as well as her weekly 89.3 KPCC radio segments “The Loh Life,” and “The Loh Down on Science.” I was excited to chat with her about...

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parenting

On the Record: Raising Bilingual Children

“Mami, quiero milk,” my daughter Sofia, 5, said to me in Spanish the other day. Translation: “Mom, I want some milk.” In a very annoyed and frustrated tone, I found myself snapping back, “Sofia, don’t speak Spanglish! How do you say ‘milk’ in Spanish?” She paused and yelled, “Leche!” Why was I so angry? It was a parenting moment I feared coming, Sofia choosing speaking in English over Spanish –...

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summer camp

Ask the Camp Director 2016

How can kids keep up with their new friends and interests once school starts? If you’ve done a good job with your camp search, your child will spend most of the summer making new friends and discovering new things they love to do. In fact, camp activities and friendships go hand-in-hand. “Kids get so connected at our camps because they’re coming up with all these inside jokes,” says Katy Chase,...

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Toyota and L.A. County Lifeguards Host Water Safety Event with Boys & Girls Club of Gardena-Harbor

To remind the community of key water-safety tips as families head to local beaches this summer, carmaker Toyota and the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Division, hosted an interactive water-safety event for the Boys & Girls Club of Gardena-Harbor in May. Toyota is the official vehicle sponsor of the LA County Lifeguards, and the company considers staying safe at the beach key to having a great time this summer....

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special needs

Is Your Child With Autism Really Intellectually Disabled?

I am sitting in my office across from a special needs young man who is about to graduate from high school. He has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and is very verbal. But though he shows average intellectual ability on some tests of intelligence, he has virtually no academic skills. I can’t help but feel that this individual has been poorly served by society, and wonder why he is...

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school news

School News: Granada Hill Charter Students Rack Up Awards

Shannel Tejuco, Granada Hills Charter culinary arts student, won a full-ride scholarship valued at $122,584 after cooking her way to first place at the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) earlier this month at the Jonathan Town Club in downtown Los Angeles. Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) sent six talented young chefs to the C-CAP competition and each won scholarships, totaling $136,484 out if the $739,000 awarded. Shannel has been working...

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School News: Pasadena Senior Wins Gates Millennium Scholarship

John Muir High School senior Prakash Dass has been named a 2016 Gates Millennium Scholar, becoming the school’s seventh winner of the prestigious academic scholarship since 2005. The news was announced recently by Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) officials. Marshall Fundamental and Pasadena High School were also named recipients of the 2016 Silver Medal from US News & World Report as part of the magazine’s Best High Schools ranking. “Congratulations...

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community news

Manhattan Beach Student Honored with President’s Environmental Youth Award

An L.A. tween water conservationist recently received an award from the The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The extraordinary 11-year-old, Joshua Cigoianu, of Manhattan Beach, earned the 2015 President’s Environmental Youth Award. The national award is presented each year to exceptional students who demonstrate creativity, innovation and leadership to address difficult environmental challenges. “During a severe drought, finding ways to conserve our precious water is everyone’s responsibility,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional...

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school news

Laurence School’s Mock Court Takes on Peter Pan

As students at law schools across the country graduate this spring, 40 sixth-grade students at the Laurence School, an independent K-6th grade elementary school in Valley Glen (just north of Sherman Oaks), prepared their first case before a jury of their peers. After months of studying the law and judicial system, Laurence’s Kids’ Court convened on April 27th and April 28th. The eleven and twelve-year-old students presented the case of...

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Does Your Child Have a Mood Disorder?

You already know that children and adolescents are highly emotional beings. You’ve seen first-hand how their moods can shift quickly and dramatically. Your toddler might throw himself onto the grocery store floor in anger because he can't have the cereal he wants. Your teen might begin the day talkative and cheerful, but go silently to her room after school, slamming the door behind her. And you are left to wonder:...

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positive parenting

Tips to Help Your Child Deal With Recital Nerves

As the end of the school year draws near, we are entering into “recital” season. Your child may soon be participating in a dance recital or dance show. It is normal for them to be excited about the upcoming performance. In fact, these nerves are a sign of energy. Nerves are often transformed into an exciting on-stage charisma and a successful dance performance. But how do you help your child...

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community news

Fresh Films Giving Teen Filmmakers a Shot at Stardom

For any teen who has ever dreamed of making a Hollywood production, this summer that dream can become a reality! Fresh Films is calling all teens (no experience required) to apply for its free summer program presented by SUBWAY® & Best Buy to work on sets here in Los Angeles and seven other major cities across the country to produce new episodes of a kids’ TV show! More than 200 teens will be...

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family fun magazine

Picnic Perfection: Tips for Healthy, Safe and Delicious Meals On-The-Go

Whether you are headed to the zoo, a park, an amusement park or the beach, day trips provide excellent opportunities to spend time together, create memories and explore the areas surrounding Los Angeles.  These tips from our family fun magazine will keep you fed and maximize the fun. Bringing meals and snacks along for the ride will give you better control over food choices while helping to save money and...

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A New Career as a Volunteer

Meet our 2016 Amazing Mom, Julie Weinstein To illustrate the icy cold of the Arctic described in "Eve of the Emperor Penguin" from the "Magic Tree House" series, Julie Weinstein taught her second-grade book-club readers to make their own ice cream. The students learned how a liquid can freeze into a solid – and that book club can be really fun. For a science project on insects, Weinstein brought ladybugs...

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activities for toddlers

Where to Find the Perfect Toy Truck Around LA

Hank is a 1-year-old gear jockey. He bounces with a kind of Strauss waltz-like ebullience when a wheel positions itself in his field of vision. I have no scientific data to back this up, but he seems to possess a nimble radar for all things automotive, almost like a shark sensing a floundering adolescent seal on a lazy current. Having witnessed my toddler son’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for all things with...

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Doc Talk: Treating Cuts and Lacerations

You probably call them “cuts,” but I call them “lacerations,” even at home. Most doctors do. Whatever you call them, properly treating cuts is important. If a laceration has significant bleeding or is obviously serious, immediately apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or towel and go to the emergency department or call 9-1-1. If the injury looks like something you might be able to treat at home, first wash...

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essay contest

NuVision Essay Contest Offers Big Bucks for High Schoolers

NuVision Federal Credit Union recently announced the launch of the first annual Think.Tank.Challenge., an educational essay contest with $20,000 in prize money to be awarded to local high school students and participating schools. NuVision’s Think.Tank.Challenge. will take place at Carson High School, Lakewood High School, Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Schurr High School in Montebello. Kick-off assemblies are being held at each of the schools. The contest will challenge students...

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archer film festival

JJ Abrams Speaks at Archer Film Festival

The Archer School for Girls hosted its fifth annual Archer Film Festival empowering female filmmakers, featuring director and producer J.J. Abrams as the keynote speaker. Seeking not to exclude men, but rather to include women, Archer received thousands of student-produced film submissions from young filmmakers globally. Celebrities, medi, and the public viewed screenings of finalist films at the Arclight Cinema in Culver City after a pink-carpet reception at The Culver...

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5 Tips to Lessen Summer Visitation Drama

Summer is when many of us create some of the best memories with our children. For divorced parents who have limited custody during school months, summer visitation can provide an excellent opportunity to extend visits and spend quality time with their children. It also allows for children to maintain a loving relationship with both parents after a divorce. Parents typically follow a child custody order issued by the court during...

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5 Don’ts For a Stronger Marriage

Given enough time and togetherness, any relationship between two people will face a challenge or two. And all marriages take a bit of work, no matter how in love you are. “Love is a component, but it really is only one component,” says clinical psychologist Darren Sush, Psy.D., whose Brentwood-based practice specializes in helping parents of children with autism. Many other things come into play in making a marriage work....

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On the Record: What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

Every year when my husband asks, "What do you want for Mother's Day?" I always respond exactly the same way: “Amor, I don't need a Mother's Day gift. My kids are enough." But wait a minute, who am I kidding? I do want something! Why do I feel guilty admitting that I secretly want something for Mother’s Day? Is it because I feel like I should not get a gift...

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The Container Store and Goodwill Want to Help You Kiss Clutter Goodbye

The Container Store is teaming up with Goodwill Southern California to help customers Kiss Clutter Goodbye. Through May 15, The Container Store is encouraging customers to de-clutter, donate and do life organized. The spring campaign includes item-donation weekend events April 23-24 and April 30-May 1 at The Container Store’s locations, as well as a call for monetary donations to Goodwill Southern California through May 15. “In partnership with Goodwill, we’re...

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women's health - heart matters

Heart Health For Moms – Don’t Miss a Beat

Kathy Magliato and a 35-year-old named Cristin technically never met, but the thin and lovely blonde made an impression on Magliato anyway. Cristin arrived at Providence Saint John’s Health Center direct from the treadmill at a Santa Monica gym in full cardiac arrest. She died. In her 2010 book “Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon,” Magliato, a cardiothoracic surgeon on staff at Saint John’s, shares Cristin’s story...

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Hogg’s Hollow Track Meet Is Fun On the Run

There was one exclamation repeated over and over again at Hogg's Hollow Preschool's annual Track and Field Meet last month: "They're pretty good!" Children ages 3-6 competed in a range of contests at the March 18 extravaganza, taking full advantage of the La Cañada-Flintridge facility and its adjacent track field while showing off almost a year of training in a variety of events. There were foot and bicycle races, tug of...

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Take Time, Talk: Eight Ways to Support Your Child’s Language Development

Like a snowball growing as it rolls downhill, young children’s vocabulary expands faster and faster as they hear more words. However, a constant stream of words from the radio or even an educational children’s video won’t create this cumulative advantage in language processing. Instead, social interaction (the back-and-forth, turn-taking nature of conversation) and talking with infants and toddlers will build their language and communication skills. This might seem easier said...

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Arts Programs for Kids With Special Needs

Like most children, those with special needs enjoy being creative and sharing their projects with others. The arts can provide a relaxing and fulfilling activity, and are a safe way to explore feelings and ideas. “There are many forms of art, and children with autism or other developmental differences may have particular strengths and interests,” says Diane Cullinane, M.D., a developmental pediatrician board certified in pediatrics and neurodevelopmental disabilities, and...

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Archer School for Girls Hosts Launch of FabLab Science Show

On a crisp March morning at The Archer School for Girls in West Los Angeles, students gathered to celebrate the launch of “FabLab,” a STEM-inspired television show aimed at tween and teen girls. With females making up only 30 percent of the characters on kids’ TV, “FabLab” brings meaningful girl characters to the forefront. Four of the show’s five hosts are female, and the producers are dedicated to showcasing women’s...

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national scrabble day

Culver City Middle Tweens Win Scrabble Championship

Two Los Angeles tweens have taken home the title of 2016 North American School Scrabble Champions just days before National Scrabble Day. The annual championship was held April 9-10 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the NFL New England Patriots, and now, top Scrabble-playing students. After two days of competitive play, Jem Burch and Cooper Komatsu took home the Championship trophy and $10,000 grand prize. The win comes just...

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L.A. Sports Programs for Kids With Special Needs

Kickball was one of my favorite childhood sports. Our weekly neighborhood games were even sweeter because we had a designated pitcher. Jonathan would be the first one on the empty lot at the end of our street. He’d always bring the ball, and as long as we could get at least four kids together, we had a game. Jonathan used a wheelchair, but he loved kickball, and for us, that’s...

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L.A. Mom’s Photo Exhibit Explores Student Stress

Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg’s photo exhibit, When Did it Stop Being Fun, is much more than an art show. It’s a personal statement from a mom on a mission. Mayers-Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-based photographer and mom of three kids ages 11-17, has witnessed firsthand the academic and extracurricular stress and anxiety that has become part of our children’s lives. Starting in elementary school, students now work to build a résumé that will...

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Green Beauty and Home Care Products For Your Family

We all want to avoid exposing our families to harmful chemicals, whether they come in the form of airborne environmental toxins, pesticides in our food or toxic ingredients in our personal-care and household-cleaning products. The biggest offenders may be petrochemicals, which are derived from petroleum, oil and coal and have been linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and cancer. These widely used offenders can be found in just about...

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Frostig

Tween Wins Award from PTA’s Reflections Arts Program

Kudos are in order for Dominic Aloe, who won an Award of Merit from the California PTA Reflections Arts Program for his photograph of white clouds against a brilliant blue sky. A San Marino middle-school student, Aloe shot his prize-winning picture from the playground of Frostig School, where he enjoys an after-school art class. His instructor, Frostig art teacher Jessica Monares-Jimenez, has been helping Dominic explore his passion for photography while...

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Can You Afford to Work Less?

Becoming a parent is a wondrous thing. Balancing home and work can be less wondrous – a parental juggling act of being present for the family and earning a living. To have more time for children, one parent occasionally scales back work. In my case, I’d had a career and waited to have a baby, so I wanted to be home with my newborn. In Los Angeles, where childcare costs...

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Support For Special Needs Siblings

For 13-year-old Brianna Baker, joining a support group for siblings of children with special needs was natural. She had essentially grown up visiting Encino-based McRory Pediatric Services as her younger sister, Olivia, underwent a series of occupational, physical and speech therapies. After Olivia, now 10, was officially diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that impacts speech and motor skills, Brianna began seeing a counselor on her own and,...

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Doc Talk: Communicating With Your Doctor

When parents call their pediatrician’s office or emergency services when needing help with an illness or injury, they aren’t always ready with the information the person on the other end of the line will need. When you call your doctor’s office, keep in mind that the person on the phone is trying to figure out whether they need to make your child an appointment for later in the week, fit...

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Working On a Dream

Their cell phones are never quiet and seem to vibrate simultaneously. During a recent afternoon, their oldest daughter, Avivah, is trying to coordinate a ride on Lyft from her high school in west Los Angeles to their home in the San Fernando Valley. Matt Asner takes care of the logistics while his wife, Navah Paskowitz, answers a text from their son. They’re frazzled, but definitely in sync. Asner and Paskowitz...

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Why the World Needs Kids of All Abilities

Vincent Van Dyk was born with a rare condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental delays, delayed growth and other issues. “When we first got his diagnosis, it was really scary,” says his mom, Felicia. “I thought back to my own childhood, how kids used to make fun.” Still, Van Dyk decided to make sure Vincent, who is now 12, was fully included when he started attending...

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Rolling Robots Develops VEX Robotics Champions

Three teams of kids from the tech workshop Rolling Robots won awards at the 2016 VEX Robotics State Championship, which took place March 12 in Pasadena. Team 7700R won the Tournament Champion and Innovate Award in the high school division, while Team 7700B won the Design Award and were finalists in the middle school division. 7700W, the all-girls team in the elementary school division won the Judges Award. All three...

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Come to L.A. Parent’s Special Needs Resource Fair

L.A. Parent is hosting a resource fair for families with special needs from noon-3 p.m. Dec. 11 at Skirball Cultural Center (2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A.; www.skirball.org). We hope you'll join us! Admission is free. The event will celebrate diversity in the arts with a performance by The Miracle Project (http://www.themiracleproject.org), an award-winning theater arts program for kids on the autism spectrum. Dancers from Infinite Flow (http://www.infiniteflowdance.org), a wheelchair dance company,...

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Exhibit at our Special Needs Resource Fair!

We are delighted to offer local businesses that serve families with special needs the opportunity to meet our readers at our Special Needs Resource Fair. Exhibitor space is limited, so book your table today! Completing this form does not guarantee space at the event. Once your form is submitted, our staff will follow up with details shortly with pricing and details.

Eight Ways to Calm Autism-related Anxiety

Professionals say a little anxiety now and then is natural, and even good for us. But anxiety that interferes with daily life – as it does for some children who have special needs or are on the autism spectrum – is not. Here are a few tried-and-true techniques for calming feelings of anxiety in children with autism. Be prepared. A big part of stress reduction is planning for stressful situations,...

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Ace Your Next Well-child Checkup

Before they turn 3, kids are supposed to have 10 well-child visits with a pediatrician (apart from those inevitable visits for childhood illnesses). These should offer a chance to address the many questions parents of young children face, but time with the pediatrician is often less than 15 minutes – hardly enough time to cover even the basics. To make the most of that time, be prepared. Before your child’s...

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South Bay Moms Can Work Out – And Give Back

Baby Boot Camp has long relieved moms of an excuse for not working out by letting them bring their kids and baby bumps along for some exercise. Now three locations in the South Bay are giving them some extra incentive as well. This supportive community of moms working out with their kids in tow has partnered with Sweat Angels, which allows businesses to use Facebook check-ins to donate to charity....

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belvedere middle gets fitness center

UCLA Health Gives Belvedere Middle Fitness Center, Hope

The damning statistics about childhood obesity are not as much fun to report as good news about programs that support physical activity for kids' health. This good news comes courtesy of UCLA Health's Sound Body Sound Mind, which just donated a $50,000 state-of-the-art fitness center to Belvedere Middle School in East Los Angeles. Belvedere is one of seven L.A.-area schools chosen to receive a new fitness center this year. The program...

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Deaf Son’s Need Inspires Swim Shirt Company

Cole Sherman is profoundly deaf, has cochlear implants and loves to swim. “My son, he’s a water baby,” says Cole’s dad, Eric. For many years, water and the processors that implant users wear outside the body just didn’t mix. But in 2012, when Cole was 7, he got his first set of waterproof processors. The Tarzana family quickly discovered that the processors weren’t convenient to wear in the pool. “The wearing...

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Estate Planning For Families With Special Needs

Estate planning is a task that is neglected by many parents. But in families that include children with special needs who will need long-term care and resources beyond their parents’ lifetime, it is a task that can seem especially daunting. Even something as wonderful as an unexpected financial windfall can have unforeseen – and devastating – consequences for these children. “We received a frantic call from a family for whom...

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Los Angeles education - Tutors LLC

L.A. High School Student Creates ‘Uber for Tutors’

Dillon Rosenblatt is a senior getting a Los Angeles education at Harvard Westlake High School, but he’s also a CEO. As the co-founder of Tutors LLC, he’s working to take the stress, inconvenience and high costs out of meeting with a tutor. In doing so, he believes he’s created the “Uber fortutors.” Students can log into the Tutors LLC app, then browse through tutors who have registered with the company,...

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Pam Lyn King: Coaching From the Heart

Pam Lyn King knows first hand what life is like for a special-needs family. Her younger sister, Kristol, was born with Down syndrome and autism. When Kristol died three years ago at age 20, King felt a profound void that she wasn’t sure how to fill. Landing a new job as an administrative specialist in the communications department of Kaiser Permanente in 2014 opened her heart in ways she didn’t...

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Zaniac Brings Play-Based STEM to Santa Monica

STEM learning is all the rage these days, and its eponymous subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – have enormous potential for engaging learners in meaningful and rewarding enrichment. Zaniac taps into that capacity with its after-school centers in eight states throughout the U.S. In February, Zaniac opened its first California learning center in Santa Monica. Zaniac’s founders set out to create a place where kids in kindergarten through...

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Granada Hills Students Create Art for Iditarod Mushers

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, dubbed the Last Great Race on Earth, is finally over and a winner has been declared. Musher Dallas Seavey is celebrating his win of the strenuous 1,000 mile race across Alaska that ended in Nome, Alaska in the early hours of March 15. Competitors are still finishing the long trek, but here’s the L.A. connection: Granada Hills Charter High School students with mild, moderate...

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Summer Camp for Special Kids

You did your homework, made your visits and found a great school for your child with special needs. But soon school will be out. What will your child do this summer? If you are considering summer camp, know that there are a lot of great programs in the L.A. area that will allow your child to have a real summer-camp experience in a safe and nurturing environment. Now is the...

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frostig school

Frostig Center Welcomes Lion King Actor Kevin Bailey

Kevin Bailey, an actor and producer who was in the original Broadway production of "The Lion King," visited Pasadena's Frostig Center recently. Mailey  shared his expertise and gave insight to students rehearsing for their performance of the Disney classic this April. Now that he's turned to producing, with his acting days behind him, he gives back to the community of actors just starting out. Bailey talked with students and drama instructor...

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The Case For ‘Traditional’ Day Camp

When looking for summer camps for their children, parents are faced with a wealth of options. There are sports camps, arts camps, school camps and camps dedicated to many other activities and interests. Each of these offers benefits, but certain programs stand apart. According to several parents and camp directors, “traditional” day camps that have programs mirroring classic resident camp programs, present unique advantages for campers and families. Traditional day...

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5 Ways To Shrink Your Child’s Digital Footprint

Yalda Uhls understands how much you want to Instagram those adorable photos of your toddler on the potty. Really, she does. And the mom of a 13-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy is happy that Instagram wasn’t around when her children were small. “I have the cutest picture of my daughter and her friend in the bathtub,” says Uhls, senior scientific researcher at The Children’s Digital Media Center@LA at UCLA....

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Putting People With Autism To Work, Now

Each Thursday evening six young adults gather around a large table in an office off Ventura and Reseda boulevards and work to hone their employment skills. Because these individuals have autism, their chances of finding meaningful employment aren’t great. While 50,000 18-22-year-olds with autism graduate from public schools in the U.S. each year, the employment rate among people with disabilities is only 10 percent. This is why Joanne Lara and...

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LA Kids Get Active for Charity with UNICEF

UNICEF's Kid Power Los Angeles, which launched last month, is a school-based program that uses a fitness band to track students’ physical activity and allows them to earn points that unlock therapeutic food packets for severely malnourished children around the world. The therapeutic food packets contain a specially designed protein and vitamin-rich peanut paste, which allows children who are severely malnourished to be treated in their communities. UNICEF is calling the...

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Peter Walsh: Making DeCluttering a Family Affair

It starts with the baby shower and grows to invade our living rooms, closets and kitchen counters. Under the weight of all the baby gear, toys, art projects, school announcements, awards and books, we wonder whether it is even possible to de-clutter when you are parenting kids. Peter Walsh, an L.A.-based organization expert, best-selling author and a contributor on “The Rachael Ray Show,” says the answer is a definite yes! But...

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Four Great Family Bike Trails

If your family's spring break is a "staycation" this year, make your time feel like a bona-fide getaway by slowing down the pace and enjoying a bike ride. Many of us have developed an intense spin class or other stationary riding habit in our day-to-day, but forget that biking outside – just for family fun – can be delightful. "You see a place in a totally different way when you...

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KIPP Raíces Academy Gets National Blue Ribbon Award

Kudos to KIPP Raíces Academy,  named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). KIPP Raíces Academy was the only school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and one of only 33 schools in California to receive a 2015 Blue Ribbon award. The East Los Angeles elementary school was chosen as an “Exemplary High Performing School” based on its achievement on state assessments. “KIPP Raíces...

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special needs - find'em scent kit

Keeping Bloodhounds On the Scent of Missing Kids

Around half of all children on the autism spectrum will wander toward something that interests them, or bolt away from something that is bothersome. And because they have little sense of danger, this wandering can take them away from their caregivers and into unsafe situations. These children often go missing, and according to the National Autism Association, children ages 9 and younger with autism who wander off are killed 42...

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special needs -Flydra Project Passion

Animation Contests Seeks Artists With Special Needs

L.A.-based Flydra Creative is an animation studio launched by a group of young up-and-coming animators. They’ve worked at places like Cartoon Network, studied cinematic arts at USC, been YouTube sensations and won awards. Now they want to give other young animators – animators of all abilities – a shot at seeing their ideas for a cartoon character and animated series come to life. The studio has launched “Project Passion,” an...

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special needs - Reasons to Smile

Down Syndrome Stories That Will Make You Smile

When Andrea Knauss gave birth to her third daughter, Anna, 25 years ago, a nurse came into her hospital room and told her, “God has a big job for you!” The hospital photographer told her, “I guess you don’t want pictures of your baby, do you.” Anna was born with Down syndrome, and the hospital social worker Knauss consulted couldn’t even point her toward a book or video that would...

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Hollywood Schoolhouse Celebrates 70 Years

In January, Hollywood Schoolhouse commemorated its 70th anniversary with a Town Hall Meeting and Open House for students, parents, alumni, prospective families, and more. Joined by Los Angeles City Councilmember, David Ryu, event guests honored Hollywood Schoolhouse’s founders and celebrated seventy years worth of campus and program transformations. With its humble Hollywood beginnings dating back to 1945 as the Small Fry Nursery School, Hollywood Schoolhouse has since grown to house...

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6 Most Common Sleep Training Myths Debunked

Have you ever stopped to think about what the definition of “sleep training” really is? Unfortunately, several incorrect sleep training stereotypes exist, suggesting that the practice requires parents to do everything from shutting the door on an 8-week-old baby for 12 hours, to eliminating nighttime feedings, to surrendering your family values to a sleep trainer who stays overnight at your home for several weeks. As a sleep consultant, I’ve heard...

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Doc Talk: Why There Are No Accidents

The other day, a 9-year-old came in to the emergency department with an elbow fractured in a way that required a surgical repair with metal pins, and a cut across the middle of his forehead that required plastic surgery. He had tried to skateboard down six stairs. In emergency medicine, we don’t call these “accidents,” because the injuries that happen by accident are almost always preventable. And the key to...

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Trinity Classical Offers College Credit to Students

Students Can Earn Transferable College Credits Potentially Saving Students and Their Families over $30,000 in Tuition, Books and Supplies Trinity Classical Academy, a high school in Santa Clarita, now offers their junior and senior students the opportunity to participate in its Dual Credit Program and earn high school and college credits simultaneously for 11 of their existing Honors and AP Classes. The college credits Trinity students earn may transfer to over...

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8 Creativity Boosters for Kids

One of our jobs as parents is to find new ways to inspire and encourage our children’s curiosity, creativity and interest in the world around them. Try these eight tips to spark your child’s inner artist, actor or architect. Role Playing. How often have you heard the words, “Mom, can you play with me?” And what kind of games do our kids want to play most? The most exciting and...

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Zika Feb. 2016

Calming the Buzz About Zika

Since the first reports of a potential link between infection with the mosquito-borne Zika virus in pregnant women and severe birth defects in their babies, the media has been buzzing with updates. Zika infections have been connected with cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that causes a baby’s head and brain to be underdeveloped. L.A. County’s first case of Zika was in an adolescent girl, who was infected on a...

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Partnership Yields Success for L.A. Schools

When Santee Education Complex in South Los Angeles first became part of the Partnership For L.A. Schools in 2008, the campus was covered in graffiti. Fights, gang activity and drug use were common on campus, the teachers were threatening to strike and just 27 percent of students graduated. By the end of the 2014-15 school year, the campus had experienced a total turnaround. The graduation rate, according to Los Angeles...

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Autism Focused Private School Hosts Open House in Woodland Hills

CARD Academy, a nonpublic school day school for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), today announced its open house in Woodland Hills, Calif. on Saturday, February 27, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Using an applied behavior analysis (ABA) teaching approach, CARD Academy educates students with ASD, developmental delay and speech-language impairment from preschool to age 22. The open house will offer parents a chance to discover the benefits...

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Operation Shower Hosts Shower For Military Moms-To-Be

Television host, sportscaster and military spouse Leeann Tweeden is helping bring joy to 40 Los Angeles-area military moms-to-be when she serves as guest host of a group baby shower in their honor.  The event is scheduled from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 16 in the clubhouse at The Riviera Country Club during the PGA TOUR’s 2016 Northern Trust Open.  The moms are active-duty service members or the spouses of deployed members...

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Fifth Graders Take Over the Music Center for Blue Ribbon Fest

More than 3,100 fifth grade students – more than 18,000 over three days – from throughout Los Angeles County will simultaneously perform a choreographed Hip-Hop dance on The Music Center Plaza as part of the 46th Annual Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival Feb. 17-19. As California’s longest-continuing arts education initiative, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival has introduced more than 830,000 students to the power of the performing arts, despite school budget...

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L.A. Students Take On Skechers Los Angeles Marathon

Students Run LA will have more than 2,800 students running in the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon on Feb. 14. After six months of training, this Valentine's Day run becomes a symbol of accomplishment for many students who have learned to love themselves by recognizing the power within. "I will never give up on myself again." Gizelle Pompa, 11th Grade "I realized I serve as my only obstacle in achieving...

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Archer Students Accept XPRIZE Challenge

Local students tackling complex world problems? Yes, please! The Archer School for Girls in Brentwood let us know that they’ve recently launched a challenge with the prestigious XPRIZE Foundation, inviting Archer’s middle school students to design innovative solutions to food sustainability problems. Students in grades 6-8 who accept the challenge will use Archer’s exploratory X-Block period to investigate issues surrounding growing food, getting it to the table and managing food...

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Santa Clarita Celebrates High School Artists

We love seeing young artists exploring their creativity. Kudos to the City of Santa Clarita for dedicating a Community Wall to celebrate local artists. The newest exhibit, at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, features a talented group of Valencia High School art students. Students gain valuable hands-on experience by installing the art themselves. They are then treated to a free reception hosted by the city. The art is rotated quarterly,...

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education - Greg Whiteley

Filmmaker Greg Whiteley: Focusing on the Future of Education

When filmmaker Greg Whiteley became a parent 14 years ago, he developed a “full-time preoccupation” with finding the best schools for his children. In his new documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, Whiteley examines our current education system through the eyes of students, parents, teachers and administrators. Documenting the experiences of students at the innovative High Tech High, a San Diego public charter school focused on project-based and collaborative learning, the...

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Doc Talk: Calming Your Child’s Fears

When you bring your child to the emergency department or the doctor’s office, you are there to get help. But children in these situations face many common fears. Hospitals and doctors’ offices have lots of ways to comfort kids, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask for this help. You can help as well. Kids live in a world of distraction and imagination, so use that to comfort them. Doctors and...

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Get Into the Act at Abilities Expo

Abilities Expo, coming to the L.A. Convention Center Feb. 5-7, showcases technology, products, services and information for people of all abilities. But this is not an event designed just for looking. The “Events Arena” at the back of the hall, for instance, will feature wheelchair dance, service dogs, adaptive shot put, all-abilities yoga, adaptive skateboarding, power soccer, wheelchair tennis and adaptive basketball. “This is where we do hourly demonstrations of...

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Pairing Special Needs Families With Quality Providers

Need a restaurant recommendation? Try Yelp. A plumber? Angie’s List. And if you’re looking for a reliable service provider for someone with special needs, you can turn to Love My Provider (www.lovemyprovider.com), a fee-free website specializing in therapeutic services such as Applied Behavior Analysis; occupational, physical and speech therapy; summer camps and day programs. The nonprofit company was founded by special educator and behavior analyst Sara Gershfeld, who provided special-needs...

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Eyeing Digital Device Safety

Nearly 64 percent of parents spend more than five hours a day looking at digital screens. And if we’d put down our smart phones and tablets long enough, we would notice that our kids are right behind us, with 65 percent connected two hours a day or more. Those figures are from a recent report by The Vision Council, a vision care industry group. The report, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital...

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USC Telehealth Offers Free Help For Special-Needs Caregivers

Mary Ann Frattarole thinks it was early 2012 when she started getting desperate calls from parents and caregivers of children and adults with special needs. “I got some heart-wrenching calls from parents that had a special-needs child,” she says, including one mom who also had a husband with a disability for whom she was the only caregiver. “She said, ‘I don’t know how I can make it another day. Can...

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products - beauty

Beauty Products We Love

For the last six months, the staff and parent testers at the National Parenting Products Awards have examined and experimented with an abundance of creams, gels, lotions and potions in search of beauty products that actually deliver results. Here are our favorites. (See more beauty product reviews at NAPPAawards.com.)

Summer Camp 2016

Rethinking Summer Camp

Seek out options that create a stronger sense of self. In choosing a summer camp, hours, location and schedules matter, but if you dig deeper, you can book a camp experience that gives your child more than just a place to hang out. While a good amount of the school year has likely been focused on achievement, fitting in, doing what everyone else is doing and being a “good” student,...

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Finny’s Screen Time Initiative Gives Parents a Say

How to control and monitor screen time while preventing device addiction is a constant balancing act for parents. A Santa Monica-based app company is helping turn screen time into teachable moments and giving back at the same time. Finny recently released its parental engagement app with the goal of increasing awareness around device addiction making it easier for parents to control their child's smartphones, but also make their screen time better....

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There’s Still Time For Flu Shots

Even as L.A. County officials reported the first deaths of the 2015-16 flu season in mid-January, health experts reminded families that it isn’t too late to protect themselves by getting a flu shot. Both of the deaths occurred in people – a man in his 40s and a woman in her 90s – with pre-existing health problems, but pregnant women and very young children are also especially vulnerable. “Even though...

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CDC Issues Travel Warning for Pregnant Women

Planning a “babymoon” cruise to the Caribbean or a Mexican getaway? Take note of a CDC travel alert that is especially directed at pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant traveling to countries where Zika virus has become a threat: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly...

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$1,000 Prize Offered In Dad Essay Contest

The DADLY Rally is coming to L.A., and is looking for moms who want to brag about the dads in their lives. Prior to its March 19 Los Angeles event at Kellogg Center at Cal Poly Pomona, the DADLY Rally is holding an essay contest with a $1,000 prize. Moms first register the dad they want to brag about through the DADLY Rally website (www.dadlyrally.com), then submit a 250-word essay...

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Wellness, Didi Hirsch

Local Center Wins Grant For Disaster Distress Helpline

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ Suicide Prevention Center, one of only three in the U.S. with 24-hour English- and Spanish-speaking crisis counselors, won a highly competitive federal grant to continue operating the national Disaster Distress Helpline. The free, confidential helpline provides 24-hour crisis support services for people struggling emotionally because of natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, drought and incidents of mass violence. The...

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Building Your Baby’s Brain

Your earliest interactions with your child set the foundation for future learning A few moms sit on the floor of a bright, airy playroom at Well Baby Center in L.A. with their 1-year-olds toddling nearby. Facilitators, family therapist interns who are Masters-level graduate students, move among the toys, babies and moms. Each time a baby approaches an adult, she or he is engaged in back-and-forth play. Each giggle or squeal...

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Driving, Dreaming and Daytime Napping in L.A.

How to waste gasoline in style while putting your baby to sleep I’m leaping over speed bumps, cruising the potholed boulevards and aimlessly wandering the canyon roads. I have no destination and am often jammed in a traffic-laden city artery, but I have not an ounce of road rage, lane pain or street defeat. No, I’m delighted, because Hank is still asleep in the back seat. When you have a...

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Nontraditional Sports That Think Outside the Ball

Jennifer Jones first introduced her daughters to parkour on the streets of New York. “We traveled to New York in 2014, when my daughters were 7 and 8 and my stepdaughter was 15. I was concerned about the younger ones wanting to be carried as we walked 20 blocks at a time,” says Jones, owner of Market clothing boutique in Brentwood, “so I thought outside of the box and set...

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Read Aloud Like a Rock Star

Seven Secrets from Voice-Over Actors, Teachers and Literacy Experts Early in my time volunteering with BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), I picked up my first valuable lesson on what not to do when reading to kids. On that fresh, September morning, my read-aloud selection for the 20 eager third graders gathered before me at Paseo del Rey Elementary in Playa del Rey was an educational but – in...

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A Plea for More Old-Fashioned Play

Happy New Year! Like many of you I also had a busy holiday season. This week, our kids were ready to go back to school, the house is slowly getting back to normal and routine is kicking in. If you are like our family, many gifts were given and received, especially anything that was device- or game-oriented. As a parent, educator and advocate for wellness and vitality, I have to...

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Doc Talk: Being a Good Observer

This time of year, we see many children in the emergency department and in our urgent care center who have one of the seasonal viruses that are going around. But visiting an emergency department, or your pediatrician’s waiting room, can expose your family to viruses that will make your child sicker, or make you sick. That is a good reason to learn about which illnesses you can manage at home,...

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New Roads School Names Luthern Williams Head of School

New Roads School in Santa Monica, an independent schools for students in grades K-12, has named Luthern Williams Head of School. Williams previously served as Acting Head of School and the Director of New Roads Middle School. The School’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved Williams’ appointment at a recent meeting. “Luthern’s commitment and passion for New Roads School is undeniable,” says New Roads Board of Trustees Chair Mark Windham. “He...

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Heads Up For New Soccer Guidelines

If you’ve winced at the sight of a ball coming down on a young soccer player’s head, new guidelines from the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) won’t surprise you. Heading the ball is too dangerous for players under age 11, the federation made known in early November, and players ages 11-13 should attempt it only during practice. Sports medicine doctor Bianca Edison, M.D., believes young athletes need to watch out for...

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A Conference To Talk About Typing

Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher both have limited speech due to autism, and when they were growing up, this meant they were labeled “retarded” and excluded from regular education. But their lives were turned around when, as adults, each learned to communicate by typing. Bissonnette, 52, and Thresher, 42, eventually embarked on a world tour to shine a light on autism that became the 2010 documentary film Wretches & Jabberers....

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Buddy Baseball Registration is Underway

Teams for players with special needs start their season Feb. 6. Registration has begun for the Cal Ripken – Babe Ruth League 2016 Buddy Baseball Program at Hartwell Park in Long Beach. The league is open to players ages 4-18 with special needs and their “buddies,” and serves Long Beach and the surrounding communities. “Buddy” refers to the person who helps the player with special needs swing the bat, round...

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Hot Wheelers Comes to Outside the Box

Wheelchair accessibility and new classes are part of the learning center’s expansion. Outside the Box opened its first 500-square-foot storefront in 2009. The center, devoted to sensory activities that contribute to brain development for ages 8 weeks to 6 years, has expanded a couple of times over the years, and always made good use of the space. There were bubbles. There was paint. There were musical instruments, giggles and squeals....

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She Battled Cancer With a Smile

If Vivian Bui follows her chosen career path of becoming a pediatric oncologist, establishing empathy for her patients should not be a challenge. She knows exactly what cancer patients experience. At 15, Bui has gone through five rounds of chemotherapy and 39 rounds of radiation to treat nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer of the upper throat behind the nose. She began her battle with cancer a year after being diagnosed with...

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BARK Dogs Help Children Fetch New Reading Skills

Between 1997 and 2006, Long Beach resident Josie Gavieres raised six puppies to work with Guide Dogs for the Blind. The last dog she raised, Groucho, had an especially sweet temperament, but didn’t qualify for the program. Gavieres decided to take advantage of his gentle disposition in a different way. “I had always wanted to be a first-grade teacher because I think reading is so important,” Gavieres says, “so I...

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Granada Hills Charter Student To Attend Science Congress

Granada Hills Charter High School senior Matthew Nelson was selected by American astronaut Buzz Aldrin to attend the annual Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders coming up June 29-July 1 in Boston. Nelson will join Nobel Prize winners and chief executive officers of leading technology firms at this historic gathering that introduces high school students to inventors, professors, futurists and other scientific professionals. A member of the class of...

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Talking to Kids About Therapy

If you are parenting children today, there is a good chance you have thought about taking your kids to therapy. Maybe your little one is acting out, having trouble making friends or just not listening. Or your teen is struggling in school, being victimized by bullying or engaging in risky behavior. Maybe a death, divorce or other family situation has made you wonder how best to help your child cope....

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How To Get Your Baby’s Eyes Checked – Free

“Ten fingers, ten toes,” are often the words you hear from the delivery room nurse, telling you there are no serious problems with your baby's health. Whew! The baby's crying. The lungs are fine. The nurses go on with their routine physical evaluation, making sure your baby has made it through the birth process in excellent shape. Once your new family is back home, you start to track your baby’s...

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Mary McNamara: A Mom With a Critical Eye on TV

Mary McNamara took on her job as television critic at The Los Angeles Times in 2009. The mother of three – Danny Stayton, 17; Fiona Stayton, 15 and Darby Stayton, 9 – had been a features writer and editor at The Times for 18 years when she was offered the job. “My question was, ‘Can I work from home?’ And they said, ‘Oh yeah, you’ll have to.’ If I didn’t...

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Top Tech Tools for Families

The school year is half over and the holidays are here and I’m starting to feel the familiar overwhelm. The errands, events, work demands and to-dos seem to multiply mercilessly as I try to handle it all. And while over the years I’ve gotten better at greeting stress with a smile, it still can feel hard to breathe when you realize your life is wall-to-wall, and cloning has not yet...

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Fun ideas for kids - Communigift

CommuniGift Helps Birthday Boys and Girls “Gift Back”

Most children who attend The Salvation Army’s Los Angeles Day Care Center downtown don’t expect a big party and a pile of presents on their birthdays. The center serves low-income children, many with parents who spend long hours working nearby in the Fashion District. So, 4-year-old Henry was shocked and delighted to receive presents courtesy of a secret birthday buddy who decided to “gift forward” some birthday presents through an...

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Local School Receives Day of Service Award

City Language Immersion Charter school (CLIC) recently received the 2015 Green Apple Day of Service Project of the Year award. It was presented in early November by the L.A. chapter of the US Green Building Council during its 11th annual Green Gala. For the past four years, USGBC-LA has provided local schools with mini grants that help to fund green campus initiatives. CLIC received a $1,000 grant for the 2015...

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Child Educational Center Co-Founder Receives Leadership Award

Eric Nelson, co-founder of the Child Educational Center (CEC) in La Cañada, director of The Outdoor Classroom Project, and author of “Cultivating Outdoor Classrooms,” was recognized in November by Exchange magazine as a Master Leader in the field of early care and education. Master Leaders were chosen based on their leadership, impactful roles, knowledge base, spirit and experience in the field of early childhood education. An Early Childhood Education (ECE)...

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PS1 Pluralistic School Explores Gratitude

Last month, PS1 Pluralistic School hosted Gratitude Revealed – A discussion based on the film series exploring the science, mystery and pursuit of the building blocks of gratitude. (www.gratituderevealed.com). Featured panelists included director and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, who created the series; mindfulness innovator Susan Kaiser Greenland, founder of the Inner Kids program and author of The Mindful Child; Joel Pelcyger, Head of PS1 Pluralistic School; and 13-year-old PS1 student Dylan...

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For Autism Initiative, Sesame Street Looks to Our Neighborhood

TV’s “Sesame Street” has long been populated with flightless birds, singing frogs, cuddly monsters and children of all sorts. And as the number of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum continues to grow in the world at large, they are coming to Sesame Street as well. To help out with the “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children” initiative, Sesame Workshop turned to a neighborhood in Sherman Oaks,...

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This Holiday Shopping Keeps Vacation Dreams Afloat

Since 2006, Autism on the Seas has organized and staffed vacations (on cruises and at resorts on land) for families with children and adults with a variety of special needs – from autism to Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other types of challenges. Now the organization has launched a nonprofit arm that will help fund these vacations as well. The Autism on the Seas Foundation will award varying amounts of...

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Are Those Toys Safe, Ducky?

The baby board book, featuring lots of colors and textures meant to stimulate developing brains, was labeled “organic.” Josh Kasteler tested it anyway, and found that the packaging contained such a high level of phthalates – chemicals widely believed to disrupt hormone levels – that it contaminated the book as well. Kasteler, a biochemist and molecular biologist who founded Santa Monica-based Safe Ducky (www.safeducky.com) in June, tests toys and other...

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Motherhood and Managing the Holiday Blues

Most of us have an image in our minds of the perfect family holiday: Sitting together around a table eating a delicious meal and sharing family stories, or maybe cuddled in front of the fireplace with beautiful decorations all around, exchanging gifts. But these pictures often aren’t as close to our reality as we would like. The pressure to create beautiful holiday memories, coupled with the everyday pressures of being...

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Holiday fun

Holiday Recipes From Milo and Olive

When Erin Eastland was moving to Southern California from New York in 2005, it didn’t take her long to figure out that she wanted to call Santa Monica home. It helped that she and her family scoped out the city on a Wednesday. “We came upon the farmers’ market and I was like, ‘We’re done,’” says the mom of two, who is now executive chef at Milo and Olive, a...

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Business-Minded Parents Make a Playdate Connection

When Lisa Fisher rolled into the launch party for the parent networking group Playdate Connection – trailed by her 2-year-old son, Drake, who has autism – she had no idea what to expect. “I didn’t know what the word ‘networking’ meant,” she says. “I’d never sold anything to strangers before. I was nervous.” It turned out she had nothing to fear. As soon as the paraplegic entrepreneur started putting out...

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Keeping It Real For Your Child Actor

Every parent is proud of their little darling’s accomplishments, from the finger paintings on the refrigerator to – in the case of some of our Hollywood-bred children – the National commercial airing during the Super Bowl. We adults recognize the difference between these two accomplishments, but kids might feel much more excited about their artwork on the fridge than about the day they spent on set eating cereal. And that’s...

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L.A. Parent Special Needs Resource Fair Program Guide

  Our 2015 Special Needs Resource Fair was held November 15 at the Skirball Cultural Center and featured entertainment from The Miracle Project and Ballet for All Kids, along with more than 40 tables from businesses and services that are resources to families in our community.  Click here to view our Special Needs Program Guide.

Woodcrest School Announces Expansion

Parents in the San Fernando Valley now have a new private middle school option for sixth through eighth grade. In 2014, Woodcrest School in Tarzana formed a strategic advisory committee to investigate the need for a middle school in the West San Fernando Valley. On average, private middle school options have annual tuitions over $17,000 and campuses that can intimidate students matriculating from small private-school environments. The committee requested that...

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Handling School Admissions Interviews Like a Boss

While private schools vary in curriculum, education philosophy and how many students they accept each term, they all share the same goal when interviewing prospective students. They use the interview to make sure the student is going to fit in well at the school, enjoy themselves and be able to thrive in the academic environment. “We are looking for families that would be a good fit for the mission of...

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Tips For Buying Your Child an Instrument

The holidays are at hand and you want to surprise your musically inclined child with a brand-new instrument. Or maybe your rental is due in a month and you would rather put money into an instrument you own. First, I want to applaud you for making this important investment into your child’s musical education and enrichment. A top-quality instrument can provide enjoyment for many years. But what do I look...

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Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Promoting ‘Conscious’ Parenting

Becoming a parent changes us in the most profound and irrevocable ways, and it is often our children who motivate and inspire us to grow into our best selves. Through everyday interactions and ordinary moments, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful connection with our children and nurture a deep sense of resilience, tolerance and self-acceptance in them. But first we need to better understand ourselves, says Shefali Tsabary,...

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Archer School for Girls Awarded Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Grant

A student team from the Archer School for Girls has come up with a clever idea to influence water conversation in face of California’s ongoing drought. Their idea has also won a $7,000 grant from Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam. Archer’s team of 20 students and faculty mentors Michael Carter and Shane Berning created a proposal for an inexpensive, compact faucet-mounted water meter with an adjustable aerator encouraging conservation and responsible water consumption....

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5 Baby Sleep Challenges During Holiday Travel

Traveling and parenting during the holidays can be strenuous enough without a baby. Add a little one to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster! Trying to get from one family get-together to the next can wreak havoc on your baby’s sleep schedule, leading to less sleep for everyone in the family. Read on to learn how to tackle the most common travel-related baby sleep challenges including plane...

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school news - Flintridge Prep backpack drive

Backpack Drive Supports Pasadena Kids In Need

This fall, Flintridge Prep students are hosting a Community Backpack Drive to support the children who are part of Pasadena Families in Transition, an organization within the Pasadena Unified School District. In a recent homeless population count done in the city of Los Angeles, there were 4,727 homeless individuals in the San Gabriel Valley, including many families with young children in the Los Angeles school districts. The goal of the...

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Tackling Homework Procrastination

Do you often feel that you need to push your child to get started with homework? Are you finding that your child forgets to record certain tasks, books or schoolwork? Some schools start homework as early as prekindergarten, so our children are being challenged at an early age to learn responsibility, organization and multitasking. As children move to higher grade levels, they often find it more difficult to multitask multiple...

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Tips For Health Insurance Open Enrollment

If you dread your health insurance plan’s open enrollment period, with its fine print to read and new plans to ponder, Elizabeth Abbott can tell you why. “The reason it’s hard is that you know it’s important,” says Abbott, director of the California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA). “This is a decision that has consequences for you and your family.” You shouldn’t put this decision off until the last...

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Mathnasium Hosts 5th Annual TriMathlon

Conejo Valley-area students put their math skills on display Oct. 18, earning money for local schools and winning prizes for themselves during the Mathnasium of Thousand Oaks 2015 TriMathlon contest. In the U.S. and Canada, Mathnasium TriMathlon participants raised $37,000 for local schools. Here are the top three Mathnasium of Thousand Oaks winners in grades 2 through 5: Grade 5: Naren Krishnan, Red Oak Elementary School, 1st Place; Renee Hong,...

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Roosevelt High Students Address National Education Leaders

The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools has announced that one of its schools, Math, Science & Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High School (MSTMA), made history this week as the first California school to address the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). Students made their presentation during the Education Forum at the association’s annual Leadership Summit. The SETDA Leadership Summit brings together leaders from more than 40 state departments of education,...

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Turning Point School Announces Dr. Laura Konigsberg as Next Head of School

The Turning Point School Board of Trustees announced last week that Dr. Laura Konigsberg has been appointed the next Head of School beginning July 1. She will succeed Deborah Richman who, in the beginning of 2015, shared her plan to retire at the end of the 2015-16 school year after 28 years of service. “Unanimously chosen by the Board of Trustees, Laura Konigsberg was a standout among an impressive field...

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Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies Choose ColorSoundation Music Curriculum

Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academies, a national early-childhood education franchise with three decades of experience, has adopted a unique music curriculum called ColorSoundation for its franchises across the U.S. This teaching system was developed by Los Angeles-based musician and teacher Shiho Yamamoto to teach very young children the fundamentals of music through the integration and interplay of colors with sounds. Yamamoto is also the Founder of the West Los Angeles-based...

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Christopher Fulton, Ph.D.: Helping Anxious Teens (and Parents) on the Road to College

In the last two decades, there has been a noticeable shift in the level of academic and extracurricular expectations placed on college-bound teens. A 4.0 or above GPA and top SAT scores must be accompanied by demonstrations of leadership at school, volunteering in the community and “passion and commitment” to an activity. Pressure to be accepted into the “best” college has created a new type of education “hysteria” among parents...

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13-year-old Chef Cooks With Food Greats at Autism Speaks Gala

By the time Chase Bailey was 10, he was hooked on cooking shows. He discussed best methods for caramelizing onions with his mom and filled the family DVR with recipes for pizzas baked in brick ovens and tortillas filled with mahi mahi and mango-radish salsa. At 11, he started his own cooking blog, followed by his YouTube channel, “Chase 'N Yur Face.” And in October, the Irvine 13-year-old, who is...

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UCLA Professor Shares Body-Shaming Research With New Roads Students

While it’s no surprise that, particularly for young women, body-shaming causes emotional harm, it turns out that merely labeling a child as “too fat’ may trigger a hormonal response from the body that keeps him or her overweight even a decade later. This discovery was made by Dr. Janet Tomiyama, a distinguished professor in Health and Social Psychology at UCLA, who recently discussed her research with New Roads School’s GLASS...

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Actress Fran Drescher Leads Summit Urging Focus on Cancer Prevention

She is best known for her humor and signature voice, but actress Fran Drescher is using her star power to raise awareness about potentially cancer-causing toxins in our food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies. Drescher, a cancer survivor and comic actress best known for hit TV series “The Nanny,” hosted the inaugural Cancer Schmancer Women’s Health Summit at Oct. 13 at Skirball Cultural Center. The day-long conference included panel discussions on...

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Cure Cancer In Costume

The L.A. Cancer Challenge, taking place from 7 a.m.-noon Oct. 25 at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, isn’t your typical fundraising event. Organized by the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, this 5K/10K Walk/Run really gets into the Halloween spirit. Participants are encouraged to come in costume, so if you aren’t a stellar athlete, you could still win a prize for costume design. (No need to worry about running...

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What To Do When Your Kids Argue

Sibling rivalry is one of the most discussed topics in my practice. “How do I get my children to stop fighting? How do I help them get along?” No matter what the age difference between the children, this is an area of no escape. Common areas of conflict include siblings sharing rooms, siblings being rude to one another and siblings arguing when a friend is over. And when rivalries flare...

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What You’ll Learn At School Open House

While searching for private schools for their son Kevin (now in college), Tony and Kristy Adler of Bel Air eagerly attended several open houses at L.A. schools with him. They quickly learned the do’s and don’ts of open-house protocol. “We were doomed at one school from the beginning when I grabbed our son’s name badge. Apparently, that was one of the tests, to see if a child recognizes his own...

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How to Choose a Child-Centered Preschool

Extensive research shows that attending preschool helps children develop social and emotional skills, improves their reading and language development, and gives them the opportunity to make decisions and ask questions in a safe environment. Regardless of their socio-economic status, race or location, children who have attended preschool are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and less likely to repeat a grade, have substance-abuse problems or commit a...

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Kids Help Kids With Your Golden Ticket

Community involvement and philanthropy are common dinnertime conversation topics for the Woods family, so it’s no surprise that Lisa and Josh Woods of West Los Angeles fully supported their children’s decision to start their own nonprofit to help less-fortunate kids. Created by 11-year-old twins Ryan and Jack, and their 8-year-old sister, Marley, Your Golden Ticket gives disadvantaged youth an opportunity to experience the excitement of live events such as ball...

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STEM Learning In L.A.

People can’t seem to talk about education any more without using four letters: S-T-E-M. STEM sounds much more exciting than when we used to call it simply “science,” “math” or “computer class.” And STEM topics are now being touted not just as school subjects for aspiring techies, but as life skills vital for all kids. “At its essence, science is a way for human beings to understand the world,” says...

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Have a Fabulous Fiesta Birthday!

Lucky and I love throwing parties, celebrating with friends, laughing, drinking and eating. Lucky is the chef of the house and I am the party planner – but neither of us likes doing the dishes! Here are our tips for a great fiesta with plenty of fun ideas for kids: Mix up the guest list. Invite your most fun friends and your most interesting friends. Sometimes, these are the same...

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Healthy Food Tips from Thyme Café & Market

Chef Maire Byrne, founder of Thyme Café & Market in Santa Monica (www.thymecafeandmarket.com), grew up in L.A. in a home with five brothers and sisters, so she’s no stranger to mixing food and family. Now the mom of two daughters, she was happy to share her favorite tips about healthy family fare. What is your approach to healthy eating for your family? At home, we eat pretty clean. We have...

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This Service Brings Healing To Your Home

Renee Dua is a doctor – and a busy L.A. mom of two. And after an exceptionally long night in a hospital emergency room with her infant, to receive medical attention for something that any pediatrician could have handled, she’d had enough. “We spent eight hours of our day sitting there,” Dua says. So in mid-February she founded Heal, a service that brings doctors to see patients at home. All...

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National TACA Autism Conference Offers Hope and Help to Affected Families

Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States, with 1 in 68 children currently affected with the disorder. For these families, identifying and paying for the help they need to get their child on the road to recovery is extremely daunting. That’s where Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism, comes in. TACA not...

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KIPP Raíces Academy Honored with National Blue Ribbon School Award

On Sept. 29, the U.S. Department of Education named KIPP Raíces Academy in East Los Angeles a National Blue Ribbon School. KIPP Raíces Academy was one of only 33 Blue Ribbon Schools in California, and the only school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to receive this distinction. The school was chosen as an “Exemplary High Performing School” based on state assessments and high school graduation rates, according to...

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A Book Club Podcast Just For Tweens

For almost 10 years, Kitty Felde hosted “Talk of the City” on local public radio station KPCC. Part of the fun was attending the L.A. Times Festival of Books and meeting listeners at the KPCC table. Parents would bring their kids with them, and the kids would say they also listened to the station. Felde’s response: “You do not.” But the kids would always insist, “We have to. We’re in...

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New Online Autism Training For Babysitters Available

All parents want their child’s babysitters to be well prepared – able to keep their child entertained, handle the after-school or bedtime routine and deal with whatever challenges or emergencies might come up. For parents of children on the autism spectrum, there’s a new online tool available to help prepare sitters for the unique challenge of caring for these special kids. Available from the Institute for Behavioral Training (IBT), the...

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School Involvement for Special Needs Parents

If you are the parent of a student with special needs, you likely spend a lot of time at your child’s school discussing IEPs, accommodations and other issues affecting his or her education. Some encounters go smoothly. Others don’t, and this might have you avoiding the school except at drop-off and pick-up time. But there’s a school of thought (no pun intended) that contends that getting involved in your child’s...

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Help Group Summit Focuses on Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD

A two-day conference featuring leading experts in research and best practices in the assessment and treatment of autism, learning disabilities and ADHD is set for Oct. 23 and 24 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The Help Group’s Summit 2015 is designed for educators, clinicians/therapists and parents. Speakers include experts from UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, University of Washington, UC Davis, UC Riverside and USC. The conference...

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Trinity Knights Athletics Adds to Varsity Football Coaching Staff

Former Indianapolis Colts Strong Safety Delano Howell and former Defensive Back Cletis Gordon of the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers have been tapped as assistant coaches for the Trinity Knights Varsity Football Team at Trinity Classical Academy in Valencia. Head Coach Les Robinson (“Coach Rob”) and Dr. Matthew Dixon, Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Trinity Classical Academy made the announcement Sept. 24 and the new coaches joined...

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Stop Over-Parenting and Raise An Adult

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in the media, at PTA meetings and among parents and educators on the effects of helicopter parenting – knowing when to step in to help and when to allow children to do things for themselves. A new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims does a great job exploring the topic of over-parenting and its detrimental effects on young adults. How to Raise...

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Celebrate Good Times

Planning a party? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with great finds, including fun ideas for kids, that will make your next shindig a hit! Party Plan On the Go Need a little inspiration? The Partyology app (free for iOS, www.partyology.com) lets you design, plan and shop from top retailers with your iPhone or iPad. Get instant access to great party tips from bloggers and party experts, and find...

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Try This Fun Fall Workout With the Kids

It’s that time of year. The kids are back in school, and suddenly, life is crazy busy again, which means getting in a workout can be even more challenging. As a mom of two and pre/postnatal exercise specialist, I’ve found the best way to do this is to involve your kids. I hope you and your little ones will find this 10-minute workout fun and effective! Sara Haley is an...

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New Occupational And Speech Therapy Clinic For Children Opens In West Hollywood

The founders of OT Studios, which opened in July, believe that every child deserves to live life to the fullest, regardless of their challenges. Here is what you and your child can expect to find at the facility: Highly trained and qualified therapists Sensory integration, occupational therapy and speech therapy services An intimate and creative atmosphere! A fun studio space and perfect setting to work on motor and sensory development...

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Individualized And Innovative iGranada Launched On Devonshire Campus

Technology is changing the world around us, so shouldn’t our high schools change as well? Granada Hills Charter High School opened its new Devonshire campus Aug. 17, with a heavy focus on technology and innovative student learning. The iGranada Digital Arts & Sciences program at the Devonshire campus provides more than 200 students in grades nine through 12 and their parents with a flexible choice in education by combining online...

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Stress Busters for Students

There’s no question that academic expectations for students have become more rigorous in recent years. You may have heard that traditional kindergarten at most public schools is now academically equivalent to what first grade was a generation ago. And it doesn’t get any easier from there. While many students enjoy and rise to the challenge of mastering new subjects, the steadily increasing load of schoolwork, tests and homework can take...

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Saint Sebastian School Launches Dual Language Immersion Program

Saint Sebastian School, a private Catholic preschool, elementary and middle school in West Los Angeles, began its new Spanish-English Dual Language Immersion Program Aug. 24. The program features half the day’s learning in Spanish, the other half in English. Students in Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten will learn to not only read and write but think in in both languages. The dual language program is only the second of its kind...

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Echo Horizon School Offers New Learning Spaces

Echo Horizon School is purposefully focused on creativity, inquiry and innovation in order to best prepare students for 21st century demands. With that in mind, the school has opened two new spaces— a Makerspace for 3rd-6th graders and a STEAM space for Pre-K to 2nd graders. These spaces, along with the existing spaces for visual art, dance theater, music, gardening and cooking, and digital media, provide students the opportunity to...

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Helping Your ‘Average’ Student Thrive

Somewhere between the worlds of the trilingual 5-year-old concert pianist and the student struggling through remedial classes lies another student. This is the average student, the one who neither breaks scholastic records nor lives on the edge of failure. He can easily be overlooked by teachers because he’s not putting cherry bombs in toilets, nor is he solving the world’s food-shortage problems. He is just getting by. That’s not good...

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Why Kids Need Job Skills Now

Except for occasionally being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” most of us didn’t give much thought to our career options until our college years. Maybe. Our focus up to that point was on getting the grades to get into college. These days, programs are popping up that capitalize on our teens’ desire to do things on their own terms, channeling that drive to help...

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An Online School Snapshot

You can find out many of the most important things about a school with a simple visit. You can meet the principal and teachers, have a look at the campus facilities, learn about the schedule, sports teams and enrichment programs. But a new online tool from the California Department of Education offers a window into another layer of information about L.A. schools. It has a cumbersome name – The California...

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Learn To Install Car Seats Correctly

No child in L.A. avoids riding in a car for long, but despite massive outreach efforts, most of them still ride in car seats that are either wrong for their size or improperly installed. “The incorrect-use rate is still over 90 percent,” says Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of SafetyBeltSafe USA, a Torrance-based national nonprofit devoted to car-safety education. Tombrello says the range of car seat models – including convertible seats...

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How Common Core Looks In the Classroom

In a fifth-grade classroom in Pasadena, students receive language arts and math instruction as part of a well-researched, artifact-driven social-studies lesson on Jamestown, VA. In the San Fernando Valley, third graders apply their math skills to figure out how many medium pizzas it would take to feed 72 people. And over in Santa Monica, fourth-grade students are taught to answer reading comprehension questions based solely on the evidence presented in...

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Local Programs That Give Girls a Voice

Janel Pineda always knew she loved writing, but never thought about how that could impact her life. That changed when her uncle mailed her a newspaper about a Los Angeles writing program for young girls. At age 14, Pineda joined WriteGirl, where she attended writing workshops and worked closely with a mentor throughout high school. “I always wrote short stories and poems in my free time, but my school was...

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My City Bikes App Is Health On Wheels

There are lots of reasons for you and the kids to hop on a bike – whether for the ride to school and work, or just for some family fun. The city where nobody walks is really quite bikeable, but taking to two wheels can be daunting for beginners. A new app is designed to make it easier. “It’s really common for people to just kind of be at a...

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A Fetching Family Service

Necessity isn’t always the mother of invention. Sometimes, it’s parenting fatigue. At least that’s how it worked for Bryson Strauss and Ashley Eaton, who became parents for the first time four years ago. “It’s just so incredibly exhausting having a child,” Strauss says. During one of many sleepless nights, husband and wife looked at each other and said, “We wish someone could just go get us some diapers.” The result...

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A Different Kind of Carpool

Need to get each of your three kids to a different place at the same time? HopSkipDrive (www.hopskipdrive.com), a ride service started by three L.A. moms tired of struggling to get their children to various activities, could be the answer. No, this isn’t Uber for kids. HopSkipDrive is more like an extension of your child’s caregiver. Drivers will follow your pick-up and drop-off instructions, walking in to sign your kids...

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Helping Special-Needs Teens Transition Socially

A group of teens is talking. Your child wants to join the conversation, but isn’t sure how to go about it. What would you advise? If you’d tell your child to just walk up and introduce himself, you aren’t doing him any favors. “It would look odd to just walk up to a random group and say hi,” says Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D., founder and director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic,...

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DEAFestival 2015 Comes to Grand Park

The 17th annual DEAFestival, a free daylong family event offering resources, entertainment and community building, will take place at Los Angeles City Hall and Grand Park (200 N. Spring St., L.A.) from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 3. The event will feature a deaf talent show, a T-shirt design contest, a fashion show, information booths, art workshops, child safety seat classes and free car seat giveaways. At the “Once Upon a Sign”...

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Detecting Body-Image Issues In Your Teen

What does your teen see when he or she looks in the mirror? “Body image” is how we describe what people believe about their outward appearance, how they feel about their bodies and how they sense and control their movements. Issues can occur when teens start showing signs of a negative body image, perceiving their bodies as something other than reality, convinced that their size or shape is a personal...

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Yoobi Kicks Off a Season of School Donations

One week after starting the new school year, children at Jackson Magnet STEM Dual Language Academy in Altadena got a “kick start” on a year of learning Aug. 24 thanks to a donation from school and office supply company Yoobi. After a morning assembly, Yoobi founder Ido Leffler, Chief Giving Officer Justin Wolff and a crew of Yoobi staffers delivered 29 boxes full of free supplies to classrooms, enough for...

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Emotional Health Begins In the Womb

Our experiences in the womb, during birth, and as young babies set in motion physical, mental, emotional and relational patterns that can have a profound and lifelong impact. Babies in the womb are conscious and aware of – and respond to – the outside world. So, how do we communicate with our “inside babies”? According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and author of Silent Messages, 70 to 90 percent...

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