Editor's Note:

Editor’s Note

Summer is in full swing—and so is that darn drought! I love the warm weather, but it ‘shard watching the lawn yellow and the shrubs and bedding plants droop from less watering. We can all do our part; if you have some great water-saving ideas, please drop me a line at tory@ponthep.com and we’ll print them. We have a wonderful issue this month. One of my favorite articles is by Dr. Carole Hong. If your child has trouble staying focused, gives up easily, reverses letters or has trouble with handwriting, think about testing your child’s vision. Did you know that symptoms of vision problems can mimic ADD, ADHD and dyslexia? Don’t want to spend oodles of money this year on a vacation but need to get away? Why not stay home and treat that time off like a vacation? We call it a “staycation.” Camp in the backyard. Have weenie roasts and treasure hunts. Go up to the City and take the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus around town or visit the San Francisco Zoo to see those adorable giraffes on our cover! Maybe even spend the night somewhere and let the kids have fun using the hotel or motel swimming pool. Another great spot for a staycation or a weekend treat is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s a short drive away and the family can spend the day gaping at the fish, big and small, walk through the kelp forest (you’ll stay dry!) and let the kids pet the sting rays. Beaches are nearby. You’ll feel like you’ve been a million miles away. Do you or your child have the summer camp jitters? That’s when your nerves get the best of you and you feel terrible about sending your child off to sleep-away camp. Checkout the article by Daniel Hammond. He’s full of great tips for both kids and parents. Until next time….


—Tory Hartmann


Father Knows Best?:

Zen and the Art of Color-Coding Time

Hands down, the calmest part of my day is around8:00 a.m. when I’ve just returned home after walking the kids to school. I have maybe about five minutes between returning and finishing my morning preparations before I have to race out of the house to get to work. During this time, I fill up my coffee cup, take a seat on the couch and wait for my dog Chowsie to jump up on the sofa cushion next to me and rest his head on my leg while I sip my drink. If there was ever a true moment of Zen, that would be it.

I share this little antidote because, with the exception of those few minutes every morning, the rest of my life is the complete opposite. My wife and I are in the constant crossfire of impossible schedules and even more impossible demands—all while operating on the minimal amount of sleep people can get and still actually be living. The worst part is we’ve brought this on ourselves.

Nursing Your Baby:

Can I get pregnant while breastfeeding?

Beth asks, “I am happily breastfeeding my three-month-old after a rocky start with sore nipples and low supply. I am so relieved that things are going smoothly now and both he and I are perfectly in the groove. I was hoping to breastfeed for two years if possible. My question is when do I need to wean him so I can get pregnant again? When do most moms get their periods when breastfeeding? Is there a way I can get my periods earlier? I really want to have another baby and I heard that my fertility will not return until I am finished breastfeeding. Is that true?

The Doctor is in:

Pain Diary

One of the toughest visits in a pediatric office is a child who has mild prolonged pain. It typically comes in the form of belly pain or headache. There are often vague complaints and the child and parent have a hard time pinpointing the cause. Often the pain has been going on for months and the parents have decided to come in because it is starting to impact the entire family. This is never a quick office visit and often there is never a solid diagnosis when the family leaves. A simple pain diary may be the best diagnostic tool for these complaints.

Headaches are very common. Parents can become very anxious with a child having recurring headaches. Meningitis and brain tumors are the two most-feared diagnoses. The vast majority of children with headaches do not have any serious condition. Ibuprofen and Tylenol are the mainstays of treatment for the majority of headaches.

Preschool Parent:

Increase Your Child’s Science and Math Development… Let Them Play Outside!

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” — John Muir

Summer is here which means long sunlit days, less structure and fewer places to go. We will likely plan outings, play dates and camps for our children…but may forget that the greatest playground (and also a great place to learn while having fun) is right outside your door. Whether it’s your backyard, your local park, a swollen river, creek or even the gutter below your curb (well maybe not that so much here in California), the beach or your garden, the great outdoors provides so many important opportunities to play, learn and grow.

POP Picks:

POP Picks: Book Recommendations

With schools on break and longer days, summertime can provide a unique opportunity for parents to spend extra time with their children. There are a number of excellent books that can help you use this extra time to enrich your children’s experiences in a variety of different ways.

Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, the women behind the popular KidsActivitiesBlog.com have written a great book that provides parents with lots of inexpensive and creative ideas to entertain and engage children of all ages. 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! Divides these activities into four areas: Boredom Busters, Crafts, Games and Simple Science. Each activity includes modifications that you can make for younger children and enrichment’s for older kids. There is a list of materials needed for the activity so that you can quickly check to ensure that you have everything you need before you get started. The activities range from indoor crafts like making (and playing with) wooden block townhouses and painting pictures with “Shake-Up Ink “created from dried-out color markers to outdoor activities such as making a Twister-like game using sidewalk chalk and creating (and playing)an outdoor Funnel Golf Toss course. Ages 3 to 10. (Page Street Publishing, $19.99)

Struggling with Reading? Is it Dyslexia? ADHD? Laziness? Or Could Poor Eye Coordination Be a Part of the Problem?

If your child struggles with reading, what’s the first question that pops in your head? Like many parents, you may think, “Does my child have dyslexia? “That question is reasonable, given that the International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as “a specific learning disability…characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities…problems in reading comprehension, and reduced reading experience….”

Growing Up Online:

How Social Media Can Shape a Girl’s Body Image

Raising a daughter who’s happy in her own skin isn’t easy. For years, parents have worried about the unrealistic way women are depicted in media, advertising, pop culture and even video games. Many try to counter this influence by pointing out to their daughters that commercial images of women are often manipulated by people hoping to make a profit. (Excellent information about the connection between traditional media and body image is widely available online. Check out the research at geenadavisinstitute.org, the info graphics at representationproject.org, and the interactive game atmypopstudio.com. )

Child’s First Stay At Overnight Summer Camp? How to Cope with the Jitters

There is no shortage of advice for how to prepare your child for their first sleep away camp experience. But where is the advice for prepping parents? Sending your child to overnight summer camp for the first time can be an absolutely amazing experience for them—but it can also be harder on you as a parent than you might anticipate.

No one understands parents’ separation anxiety as much as summer camp counselors, who deal with it on a daily basis. Southern California summer camp Pali Adventures attracts campers from all over the U.S. and over 26different countries, so a large percentage of the kids are far away from their parents and their home country. As director of Pali Adventures, I have the following tips for parents on how to deal with the summertime separation:

Don’t linger on goodbyes—your child needs space to be able to enjoy their time at camp so taking too long to say goodbye can just make things more difficult for both of you.

Trust the staff—you did your research to ensure that the staff is well-trained, so trust your judgment!

Editor's Note:

Editor’s Note

Happy Father’s Day! I hope you are letting dad swing in the hammock on Father’s Day—or at least letting him off the hook on a few chores, or helping him with those chores. Families are a sort of “team.” Everyone has a task, a station and a role. Our resident dad, Steve Shapiro (“Father Knows Best?”) shares the way children matriculate along through stages. He was quite surprised to realize that his girls weren’t shunning his favorite restaurant. He didn’t have to cajole them into trying new foods—they went for it with gusto! Home run!

This is the college season, with excitement about going away, plus student and parent jitters about that “nest leaving.” Check out our article in “College Bound” entitled “I’ll Miss You Too.” There’s some great advice from the student’s as well as the parent’s perspective. Thinking of sending your child off to camp? Check out our Kids’ Activities and Camps section. There’s still time to sign your child up for a rewarding and empowering experience.

As always, our book experts, Diane and Lauren Savage at The Reading Bug in San Carlos, bring us some great reading ideas. Books are great birthday gifts, so please think of them when you’re in a rush to find that perfect birthday present.

For the past few years, POP has been sponsoring a writers’ contest through the San Mateo County Fair. This year’s winner of Best Children’s Novel or Short Story contest is Kimberly Schultz for her story, The Fairy Garden. We have reprinted it here for you—try it out as a bedtime story! Let us know how your kids like it. Congratulations to Kimberly; we hope you have a long and prosperous career!

Until next time,

—Tory Hartmann