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Making the Back-to-School Transition Seamless and Stress-Free

It’s not always easy to make the transition from family road trips, backyard barbecues and longer days to school bus pickups, homeroom assignments and school supply lists.

  • icon Updated: August 15

Recent Headlines

Friday 07/27/2018
Rising Temperatures, Rising Weights: Study Finds Kids Gain the Most Weight Over Summer
Updated: July 27, 2018 - 12:28 pm

It seems counterintuitive, but 
a new summertime trend is emerging: Children are gaining weight in between when the school year ends and begins in the fall.

Wednesday 07/18/2018
Can't Travel? Take a Literary Staycation!
Updated: July 18, 2018 - 12:14 pm

Once the obligatory summer vacation to the beach is but a sandy memory, don’t let the dog days of summer get you down! How about taking a literary staycation that can:

Thursday 07/05/2018
Have First Aid, Will Travel
Updated: July 05, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Every family has tricks of the trade when it comes to successful travel. And many emerge only after getting something wrong. Road-trip fails have taught me: to bring the portable training potty (lined with grocery bags and napkins) for emergency preschooler pit stops; to keep a trash bag in the back seat (doubles as a barf bag); to pretest sunscreen for allergic reactions before investing in a week’s supply; and to bring our own nightlights and bedrails.

MOMS SPEAK: Summer Sun Care
Updated: July 27, 2018 - 12:03 pm

What Local Moms Are Saying About ...

Friday 06/29/2018
SQUASH the Summer Slump!
Updated: July 27, 2018 - 12:03 pm

The “dog days of summer” bring more than just heat and humidity for school children, they also bring the dreaded summer slump. Between swim practice, sports camp, theatre programs and family vacations, students of all ages lose ground in the fundamentals of education: reading, writing and math. Teachers spend part of the first quarter assessing and re-teaching these building blocks before they can begin teaching new material for the school year. As a parent, what can you do to combat the summer slump? Here are some tips to prevent your student from losing ground, or perhaps, even gain some ground, while still enjoying summer break to its fullest.

Friday 06/08/2018
How to Turn Shelves Into an American Girl Dollhouse
Updated: June 08, 2018 - 1:54 pm

Like most young girls, my 7-year-old daughter is obsessed with American Girl and similar doll lines such as Target’s Our Generation and Wal-Mart’s My Life brands. She loves to dress each doll up for the day, change them into pajamas and tuck them into doll beds at night.

Monday 06/04/2018
New Book Sheds Light on Today's Kids, Their Behavior
Updated: June 27, 2018 - 6:18 pm

Katherine Lewis, a mom of three, volunteer and Girl Scout leader, was perplexed.

Tuesday 05/29/2018
Why Won’t My Child Listen to Me? Checking Your Own Communication Behaviors
Updated: May 29, 2018 - 5:36 pm

When my two brothers and I were in elementary school, our family always ate weekday dinners together. Everyone in the family had a chance to talk about problems, successes and minutia of the day. My parents insisted that if we wanted to be listened to, we had to listen to everyone else, including them. My parents created an environment conducive to sincere communication. They knew that if they wanted their children to listen to them, they needed to listen to us.

Tuesday 05/08/2018
Mental Health Tips for Parents and Caregivers
Updated: May 08, 2018 - 12:01 pm

Caring for a newborn can be a source of both joy and stress for a new caregiver. The demands of an infant are often underestimated and many find it challenging to divide attention between baby and both the physical and emotional demands of daily life.

Monday 04/30/2018
Finish Strong: End the School Year on a High Note
Updated: July 05, 2018 - 2:25 pm

April showers bring May flowers, but before you know it, those May flowers will usher in the end of the school year. Standing in your way of summer vacation, however, is the fourth quarter. Long gone is the enthusiasm and energy of the start of a school year, with new teachers, new subjects and new backpacks at the ready. With Daylight Saving Time beckoning children outdoors later and later each evening, school routines from the beginning of the year start to fall by the wayside. Now is the time to take a few moments to reboot, restock and refresh so that your student can finish the year strong.

Monday 04/09/2018
FAMILY Blog: It's Time to Get Outside
Updated: April 09, 2018 - 12:04 pm

Our region didn’t get blasted with a string of snowstorms this winter, but we definitely had our share of piercing cold temperatures. And I, for one, couldn’t be more ecstatic to finally pack away my winter coat, say goodbye to bleak skies, and say a big hello to bursts of color and warm afternoons. It’s time to relish the new season.

Tuesday 04/03/2018
Co-Sleeping with Toddlers: Risks May Outweigh Benefits, New UMD Study Warns
Updated: April 03, 2018 - 11:29 am

In an evolution of parenting styles, each of my three kids essentially got a different mom and dad: Our eldest got Type A rule-followers, the middle benefited from parents who were slightly broken-in and the youngest got the most permissive pair. One major difference was the amount of time that little caboose slept in our bed. It was a path of least resistance and sometimes a space necessity. Work travel often presented a kid-coveted bed vacancy. Admittedly, there was also comfort in clinging to that last baby. But it rarely made for an undisturbed night’s sleep.

Monday 03/26/2018
Girls and Camp: Fostering Community, Causes and Confidence
Updated: May 08, 2018 - 11:30 am

I spent the first 12 years of my life in a sleepy, rural town in the northeast corner of Connecticut. With both of my parents working full-time, my summer mornings began near dawn as I filled up my backpack and headed to the bus stop a few houses down the road. I would wait patiently with a sense of giddiness at what the day’s activities at camp would bring. Holiday Hill Day Camp was my escape, my pure fun without requirements or judgments, and the freedom to choose whether I played Four Square after lunch or made gimp bracelets in arts and crafts.

Monday 03/19/2018
Time to Brush Up: A Lifetime of Great Dental Health Must Start Early
Updated: March 19, 2018 - 2:20 pm

Maintaining proper oral health matters more than just keeping a sparkling smile – it’s also important for good overall health. This is especially true for children, as decay in baby teeth can lead to speech problems, oral infections and damaged adult teeth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sunday 03/18/2018
Why We Need to Continue Talking About Teen Suicide
Updated: March 22, 2018 - 1:07 pm

Last spring, “13 Reasons Why,” the popular show that depicted how a teenager chose to end her life after experiencing trauma and cyber bullying from her peers, sparked a lot of media attention and awareness about teen suicide.

Wednesday 02/28/2018
Youth Art Month: Foster Your Child's Creativity
Updated: May 31, 2018 - 1:13 pm

Every child is born with creative potential. Even Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he or she grows up.”

Friday 02/23/2018
5 Tips to Have Fun and Enhance Learning
Updated: February 23, 2018 - 11:55 am

According to the United States Department of Commerce, 65 percent of jobs for kids today don't exist yet, which is why it's important for them to explore the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as those occupations are growing at a rate of 17 percent. This type of education increases science literacy, creates critical thinkers and can prepare the next generation for a bright future.  

Thursday 02/15/2018
FAMILY Blog: New Beginnings
Updated: February 15, 2018 - 3:15 pm

Change. It’s something you either love or loathe, but one thing is for certain: Change means growth. January has always been known as the month for change. As we excitedly shouted out the countdown and watched the ball drop, we immediately had tunnel vision on how we were going to better ourselves in the New Year. And now, here we are — one full month into working on our resolutions. How have you been keeping on track?

Monday 02/05/2018
Helping Your Anxious Child
Updated: February 05, 2018 - 12:09 pm

About 30 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys—totaling 6.3 million teens—have had an anxiety disorder, according to data from the National Institute of Mental Health. Experts suspect that these statistics are on the low end of what’s really happening, since many people do not seek help for anxiety and depression. A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20 percent of young people with a diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment.

Friday 02/02/2018
"Healing Children" - Memoir By a Local Doctor at the Forefront of Children's Medicine
Updated: February 28, 2018 - 12:04 pm

From their tiny hands to their budding imaginations, children are not the same as adults. And yet, it wasn’t until the ‘80s and ‘90s when their differences were recognized in the medical world. Pediatric specialists did not exist and many children were treated medically as adults.

Friday 01/19/2018
Make Game Day a Win
Updated: January 22, 2018 - 10:40 am

It’s game day, which means your party needs food and needs it fast. Use recipes that can pump up the crowd this season and make every game a win.

Thursday 12/28/2017
Recognizing Dyslexia
Updated: February 02, 2018 - 10:39 am

When it comes to learning letters, if a child just can’t seem to hang on to them, parents take notice. Children in a Montessori early childhood classroom, ages three to six, are introduced to the letter names and sounds. If by the end of a child’s second year, at around age four or five, a child has not mastered the letter names and sounds when all the other children have, then the parent needs to be proactive.

Finding Joy After Post-Holiday Blues
Updated: December 28, 2017 - 3:11 pm

Each year, the holiday season brings with it a lot of excitement, activities and social gatherings. We often make a special effort to decorate Christmas trees, treat our children to Santa sightings, purchase colorful wrapping paper and gifts, make festive cookies and treats and even take the time to “move” our Elf-on-a-Shelf in unique poses! The entire month of December is often devoted to one task after another with the intention that our children get to do, see and experience as much as possible, without considering the effects on our wallets, bodies, our internal spirits and minds.

Friday 12/08/2017
50 Holiday Movies on Netflix, Freeform, Amazon and Hallmark
Updated: May 31, 2018 - 1:16 pm

If your ideal way of celebrating the holiday season involves snuggling up on the couch in your festive PJ's watching one Christmas movie after the next, then we've got you covered! Here's our list of the 50 best holiday movies to watch on Netflix, Freeform, Amazon and Hallmark. 

Thursday 12/07/2017
12 Newly Released Children's Holiday Books
Updated: December 28, 2017 - 2:36 pm

From globe-trotting Christmas cookie adventures to dreidel-making mysteries, these newly released children’s books will have you and your little ones basking in the holiday spirit. So grab some hot cocoa, snuggle up by the fire and enjoy one of these seasonal reads!  

Thursday 11/30/2017
FAMILY Blog: Give the Gift of Experiences
Updated: November 30, 2017 - 4:10 pm

Gift an experience and you give an experience that lasts a lifetime! As the holiday season approaches, I ask that we take a step back and consider gifting our children experiences rather than just “stuff.”

Wednesday 11/08/2017
FAMILY Blog: How to Be a Vegetarian During the Turkey Holidays
Updated: November 08, 2017 - 4:15 pm

When I was fourteen, I bravely walked up to my parents and declared that I was becoming a vegetarian. As most parents would, they smiled and replied, “Sure sweetie, whatever you say.” Thus started the very long and tedious transition to vegetarianism. Whoever says becoming a vegetarian is easy; they’re lying. Especially when you’re younger and doing it all on your own. I wrestled with food for months before figuring out the right vegetarian diet. Even now, ten years later; I’m still learning.

Wednesday 11/01/2017
Harper Macaw: Meet D.C.’s Very Own Chocolate Factory
Updated: November 30, 2017 - 4:26 pm

A good bar of chocolate should be complex. It should have layers of flavors like bark, cloves, coffee and fruit. It should have a nutty taste and deep undertones. The bar should also be both bitter and sweet, but not too sweet that the whole bar is eaten in one sitting.

Monday 10/30/2017
Urgent Care vs. ER: How to Decide Where to Take Your Child
Updated: October 30, 2017 - 3:10 pm

Just knowing where to go could save you $1,000 in medical costs.

Managing Candy Consumption During the Halloween Binge
Updated: November 01, 2017 - 2:19 pm

Who doesn’t love Halloween? A holiday that is solely driven by eating candyand lots of it. Of course you want your kids to take full advantage of this, to enjoy the holiday and have fun trick-or-treating. But you might also be dreading the aftermath of “My child is up way too late and now he/she wants to eat all this candy… and I have to say, No… right?”

Monday 10/09/2017
Race for Every Child: Local Six-Year-Old Gives Back to the Hospital that Saved Her Life
Updated: October 10, 2017 - 1:46 pm

Matt and Sarah Rodjom of Fairfax, VA were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting twin daughters in the spring of 2011.

Wednesday 09/27/2017
A Brand of Quirkiness: Local Mother-Daughter Duo Create Whimsical Styles for Children
Updated: November 01, 2017 - 3:09 pm

It was a partnership that accidentally happened. A business partnership morphed out of the mother-daughter relationship of Lisa and Jamie Thompson.

Friday 09/15/2017
The Benefits of Individualized Learning
Updated: September 15, 2017 - 4:40 pm

An interest in Montessori education is on the rise—with its emphasis on hands-on, self-directed learning. And it was this child-focused approach that inspired teacher Julia Brown to bring this form of education to Maryland. She was motivated by her own experiences in traditional classrooms and sought to find a way to emulate the teaching experience she admired.

Thursday 08/31/2017
Back-To-School Internet Safety: What Parents Need to Know
Posted: August 31, 2017

Today’s kids are more tech-savvy than ever before. Even toddlers know how to use Mommy’s iPhone to access Calliou episodes, while older kids have computer skills that astound their parents. Some schools are now even providing iPads for their students, while others require students to prepare all their homework on a laptop or PC.

Friday 08/11/2017
A Healthy Approach to Back to School
Updated: August 17, 2017 - 4:25 pm

Many children are heading back to school this month. Transitioning from summer to a new school year can be tough to navigate. Dr. Linda Fu, a general pediatrician at Children’s National Health System, offers the following health tips for parents preparing for a new school year:

Tuesday 08/01/2017
10 Great Apps to Help Your Kids Explore the World Around Them and Achieve a Healthy Lifestyle Balance
Updated: August 01, 2017 - 3:28 pm

Summer isn’t over yet and there’s still a surge in free time, which means kids, tweens and teens are at risk of whiling away their days on devices vs. connecting with each other, being active, getting outside and exploring the world around them. This is a concern for parents, and with good reason.

FAMILY Blog: In Store for Back to School
Updated: August 01, 2017 - 5:49 pm

FAMILY Blog: In Store for Back to School

Tuesday 07/11/2017
Simple Self-Defense Skill Families Should Know When Traveling
Updated: July 26, 2017 - 4:57 pm

Traveling can frazzle your brain. Between trying to remember if you locked up the house or packed enough clothes for the kids, thinking about personal safety in airport parking lots is the last thing on most parents’ minds. However, poorly lit parking garages, arms full of luggage, confusing parking signs, forgetting where you parked and children trailing behind can make families easy targets for predators. To help families stay safe while traveling, Krav Maga Worldwide, the industry leader in self-defense and fitness, has put together a list of personal safety tips to keep in mind when at the airport, train station or in an unfamiliar city.

Saturday 07/01/2017
FAMILY Blog: Becoming a Washingtonian
Updated: August 01, 2017 - 5:44 pm

FAMILY Blog: Becoming a Washingtonian

FAMILY Blog: A Summer of Music
Updated: August 01, 2017 - 5:45 pm

FAMILY Blog: A Summer of Music

Wednesday 05/31/2017
Make Camp a Safe and Healthy Experience
Updated: May 31, 2017 - 5:48 pm

If you’ve already decided where your children will be attending camp this summer, it’s time to think about how best to prepare them for a fun, healthy and safe experience away from home.

Tuesday 05/23/2017
How to Talk to Your Child About ‘13 Reasons Why’ and Teen Suicide
Updated: June 22, 2017 - 2:14 pm

Thanks to a new binge-worthy show on a popular streaming site, the conversations of teen suicide, suicide prevention and mental illness have been thrust into the spotlight.

Thursday 05/11/2017
Graduation Gift Giving Etiquette and Guidelines
Updated: May 11, 2017 - 5:50 pm

May and June are the months of college, high school, nursing, trade school and university commencements. What’s the best way to be gracious during graduation gift giving season to recognize the new grad for all his or her hard work?

Monday 05/01/2017
FAMILY Blog: Not Another Hallmark Holiday
Updated: August 01, 2017 - 5:26 pm

Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of what I call the “Hallmark holidays.”

Thursday 04/13/2017
Hitting Refresh on Computer Science
Updated: April 13, 2017 - 4:26 pm

When you think of computer science (CS), what comes to mind? Better yet, who comes to mind?

Tuesday 04/04/2017
Inclusive Summer: A Camp for All
Updated: May 10, 2017 - 4:11 pm

Toby Doremus loves summer camp. For the last six years, Toby has attended Camp Inclusion, a day camp hosted at Folly Quarter Middle School. He’s surrounded by friends both new and old, has gone on fun field trips like berry picking or museums, and loves the bond with the counselors. They’re his friends, too.

Friday 03/03/2017
The Code to Success: Computer Science For Kids
Updated: March 03, 2017 - 2:47 pm

What does it take to move your child from consumer to producer of technology?

Thursday 03/02/2017
Hands On! 7 Reasons to Visit a Children’s Museum
Updated: April 07, 2017 - 4:41 pm

Museums are awesome places to visit in general, but children’s museums come with the added bonus of actually inviting children to touch and feel, interact and make noise as they do. Children’s museums are heaven to children, who are naturally curious, learn by touching and are excited about new and interesting things.

Thursday 02/23/2017
Kids and Furniture: Can this Relationship Be Saved?
Updated: February 23, 2017 - 1:32 pm