Winter Break Camps 2014

School's Closed! Time for Winter Break Fun!

Just because the kids get a break from school doesn’t mean you get a break from work. Check out our list of fun and enriching Winter Break programs and find the solution to your child care conundrum.

Chess Winter Break Camp
Roger Carter Community Center
3000 Milltowne Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Dec. 29-31, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ages 5-14
Campers can play and learn about chess with highly rated professional chess instructors from Silver Knights Chess. Children are broken up into groups by skill level. Fresh air breaks included. Registration for full days and half days available.

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Holiday Happenings -2014

Make the Month of December Merry and Bright!

Compiled by Melanie O’Brien
It’s time to celebrate! Make your holiday season merry and bright with a month of special activities. Much of this information was received months in advance. Please call ahead to verify the information and to check on prices and ticket availability.

Light Up the Season

Baltimore City
Monument Lighting Family Festival Seasonal performances, music, refreshments, holiday films, and special winter-inspired kids’ art activities. The Walters Art Museum. Thu., Dec. 4, 5-8:30 p.m. 410-547-9000, www.thewalters.org.
A Monumental Occasion Official lighting of the Washington Monument with music, refreshments, and entertainment. Mount Vernon Place, 600 block N. Charles St. Thu., Dec. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m., lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks. 877-BALTIMORE, www.promotionandarts.com.
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Bmore Healthy - December 2014

Kids Can Get a 'Jump Start' on Weight Loss at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital

By Amy Landsman

During a routine physical early this year, 12-year-old Joshua Sanchuk’s pediatrician told him and his mom that Joshua, who weighed 216 pounds, was borderline diabetic and had high levels of fat in his liver, a condition that can have harmful long-term health consequences.

Seeking help, Joshua and his mom, Becky, traveled from their home in Upper Falls, in northern Baltimore County, to Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital in Northwest Baltimore. There, in late February, Joshua underwent an initial evaluation, received an individualized treatment plan, and got the thumbs-up to enroll in a four-session Jump Start class, a new initiative the hospital was phasing in to its Weigh Smart program for children with weight issues.

The aim of the Jump Start program, which the hospital officially launched in March and serves children ages 7 to 17, is getting severely obese children and their families into treatment as quickly as possible. Jump Start's rolling admission meant Joshua was able to join the weekly, 90-minute program shortly after his initial assessment; in the days before Jump Start, he may have had to wait as many as four to five weeks to enter a Weigh Smart Intensive Group. Those groups, which meet two hours twice a week for nine weeks, start when the program has 12 kids ready to go, so there is often a delay for kids signing up for a new cohort. [... whole story]

Family Matters - December 2014

Learning from Our Mistakes

By Molly Brown Koch

Making mistakes is human. Repeating them is also human—but pointless, as it improves nothing and makes life miserable for both parent and child. I’m talking here about the common, garden-variety, everyday, not-too-serious mistakes—the kind that can help us grow, one blunder at a time. I define a mistake as an action based on our “take” of a situation, with the expectation of a good outcome. When we don’t achieve that desired, good outcome, we have made a “miss-take.” Let the following blunders from my past show you how our mistakes can be our best teachers.

Blunder No. 1 My 3-year-old daughter, Andrea, and I were alone at home together. I was downstairs in the kitchen, while she was upstairs for a nap. The sudden, strong aroma of peppermint wafting through the house, however, alerted me to the fact that she wasn’t sleeping. As I started up the stairs, I yelled angrily, “Are you playing with the toothpaste?” An adamant, strong voice yelled back, “No!” But when I reached the bathroom door, I stood face to face with a green-covered kid, her long hair plastered to her head and face, the bathroom a slippery mess. [... whole story]

Game On! - December 2014

R2-D2 vs. C-3PO? - It May Be Sooner Than We Think

By Patrick Gutierrez
In 1980, back when I was 8 years old, I remember having to sneak out of my bed at midnight to watch the NBA Finals on television. Despite the fact that the series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers featured some of basketball's biggest stars at the time (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Julius “Dr. J” Irving), CBS and its local affiliates broadcast half its six games on a late-night tape-delay in most of the West—including at my family's house in Indio, Calif., about 100 miles away from the Forum, the Lakers' home court.

Similar deal with the 1980 Winter Olympics. The “Miracle on Ice,” that famous upset of the mighty USSR ice hockey team by the upstart Americans? ABC televised that on a nationwide tape-delay, too, despite its being played in the United States, in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Fast-forward to earlier this year, when I had the option, if I so desired, to keep my daughters entertained in the car by letting them watch live coverage of the Winter Olympics taking place 5,500 miles and multiple time zones away in Sochi, Russia—on my phone.

The manner in which our children experience sports today is vastly different from how we experienced it growing up, and one of the driving forces behind that is technology. [... whole story]

Last But Not Least - December 2014

Magic in the Memories

By Lisa Robinson

There’s nothing like the joy on a child’s face when she gets up on Christmas morning and sees what Santa left for her under the tree. I think in some ways it’s even more exciting for the parents. Gratifying might actually be a better word for it, because after weeks of lists, visits to Santa, shopping, and hard work toiling in Santa’s workshop putting together all the toys, we finally get to see the fruits of our labor. (Okay, the labor of Santa’s elves.)

These days, the build-up has a new helper: The Elf on the Shelf, a doll parents are supposed to place strategically throughout the house to show their kids that he is keeping a watchful eye on them, making sure they stay on Santa's “nice list.” I'm so glad I didn't have to deal with this Elf when my children were young. I hear so many parents stressing about moving him around so the kids will believe he’s real. I would have put that Elf in permanent timeout. [... whole story]

Your Special Child - December 2014

The Keypad to Success: Universal Design

By Amy Landsman

What difference can a cup of water make? For one local 17-year-old, it's the difference between relying on others for nearly every need and having some measure of independence.

Four years ago, Matthew Slattery, then 12 years old, was badly injured in an automobile accident, when a truck hit the family car. His mom, Susan, died in the crash. His brother, Peter, 16 years old at the time, suffered multiple fractures. Matthew lost more than half his blood, suffered broken bones, and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury that left him cognitively, visually, and physically impaired. He was hospitalized for six months. [... whole story]

Tech Talk - December 2014

Training Wheels for New Cellphone Users

By Carolyn Jabs

If your child is one of the lucky ones getting a new cellphone during the holidays, now is the time to think about the rules that should go along with it. Kids need to understand from the get-go that having a phone is a privilege and, like all privileges, comes with responsibilities.

Family contracts outlining those responsibilities are available from several reliable sources including ConnectSafely.org (www.connectsafely.org/family-contract-smartphone-use.) and Sprint (www.sprint.com/4netsafety/phoneContract-feature.html.). Even if you don’t feel the need to sign a formal contract with your child, these documents still cover important talking points.

Being clear about expectations, however, is just step one; many children will benefit from a little extra structure. To help them remember and respect the rules they've agreed to, you may want to consider the wide range of technical tools also available for use with cellphones. [... whole story]