Often, when kids are talking, they're pushing at the world to see what it will do; they don't necessarily mean it, just like you don't necessarily want a detailed response when you tell your spouse that you feel fat in those pants. Even if it sounds like your child has come to a conclusion, that's not usually the case; he's likely just trying it on for size, and he doesn't really want your wise opinion about the matter.
So, over the years, I discovered that the most useful word in a parent's vocabulary is MMMMM. It's simple, easy to remember, and doesn't even require you to open your mouth. MMMMM is a wise answer to a wide variety of the most common childhood questions and assertions:
I'm NOT going to take a nap!
Look! I cut my hair!
It's all [insert brother's name here]'s fault!
I want that [candy, video game, nail polish...]
Why can't we get a [puppy goldfish, snake...]?
I hate [him, her, it]!
I want a Maserati for my birthday!
I made you breakfast in bed!
If you were me, where would you put another tattoo?
MMMMM is a far better answer than "Wanna bet?" "Oh my god!" "Over my dead body!" "Another? What do you mean another?" and so on. Why? When you say a nice warm MMMMM to your child with a smile in your eyes, what you're really conveying is an invitation: "Tell me more."
Here's the secret behind the secret: When you state your opinion strongly on something that a child is exploring, that forces her into a corner (and it's usually opposite of yours). Leaving it open lets her come to a conclusion slowly, by herself, with no loss of face if she changes her mind. Just like you, kids pull out lots of pants to see how they look when they're on. What's best for them to hear, just like for you, is a nice MMMMM. And then let them tell you more. While they do, you can say "MMMMM" equivalents, like, "I hear how much you want a pet... what would be a perfect iguana name?" and "Wow, that makes you mad, huh?" and "I can't wait to see what you cook up next." I want to live in a world someday that is populated by adults who can come to reasonable conclusions, who can change their mind if they need to. So we need to bring kids to where they can think for themselves, and MMMMM is a great tool to help them get there.
P.S. I wrote this column today at least partially to remind myself to take my own advice. See, when asked for my opinion, I tend to give it. For example, when approached recently about the possibility of a nose piercing, my response had a lot more N's and O's than M's. I think we'd have all emerged happier and wiser, and still without unnecessary holes, if I'd managed a nice MMMMM.
Our annual survey of the Top Places to Take Kids is going strong!
Last week kicked off Survey Month here at KidsOutAndAbout.com, where YOU get to decide who makes that year's Top 20 places to take kids in the Rochester area. It only takes 3 minutes for you to help Rochester decide... and you get LOTS of ideas for places to take your kids this summer while you're voting, because it's all there in one place. Here are some early-out-of-the-gate standings:
In the Indoor Play Centers category, Sky Zone, the newcomer to the list (they only opened in December 2013), has leaped into first place, followed by the YMCA, and then neck-and-neck are last year's winner,Bounce-It-Out, and The Sandbox.
Lollypop Farm is currently leading in the category for favorite farm (agri-entertainment), followed by Stokoe Farms and Wickham Farms. Only four votes currently separate the next runner-up, Springdale Farm, from Wickham. (Note that Brown's Berry Patch has closed to visitors. :-( )
Rehearsal for Murder: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 29-31
This weekend at the Auditorium, A Magical Journey Thru Stages will present the "whodunnit play" Rehearsal for Murder. Actually a play within a play, it is appropriate for ages 12 and up, or possibly slightly younger, depending on the child. Shows are Friday night at 7:30, Saturday at 2pm and 7:30, and Sunday at 2pm. All tickets are $ 10.00. The not-for-profit beneficiary of this show is Bivona Child Advocacy Center: Audience members are encouraged to bring donations of healthy snacks for children (individually wrapped Goldfish packets, Ritz Bits, breakfast bars, pretzels, fruit cups, applesauce cups, juice boxes, etc). For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
The Sandbox honoring upcoming Jungle Jolt party deposits
Beyond The Bump: June 6, 2015, from 10am-2pm at the DoubleTree Rochester (Jefferson Road, Henrietta)
Beyond the Bump 2015, presented by UR Medicine. Rochester’s premier event for new and expectant moms! It’s a fun and educational day out designed to help you prepare for all aspects of having a baby. This year, we’ll feature 70+ organizations, as well as 20 seminars and demos on topics related to pregnancy, childbirth, newborns & infants, and motherhood. You can meet with providers in the Pediatrician Meet & Greet and shop for handmade products in the Mom & Baby Market. A variety of activities like baby & bump photos and a babywearing test drive area will also be available. Every attendee will receive an reusable tote from The Bump with products and samples from some of the best names in the baby business, like MAM, Sassy, Boppy, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Peter Rabbit Organics, fridababy, La Croix, Love Child Organics, nurturme, Sage Spoonfuls, and Weleda! Not to mention, we have door prizes from Baby K’tan, Becco, Keekaroo, Nuna, Sage Spoonfuls, Boppy, and more! Please visit our website for up-to-date information, including a schedule of events and a list of exhibitors and vendors, and to purchase your tickets. Advanced registration is required, and special rates are available for pairs and groups.
The Wings return home to Frontier Field next Thursday, June 4 to play seven straight games. The first four games will be against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees top affiliates! There will be post-game fireworks on both Friday 6/5 and Saturday 6/6! On Friday (7:05 first pitch), the first 1,500 fans will receive a souvenir stadium cuppresented by Frontier and a spectacular fireworks show will follow the game, presented by Frontier. On Saturday (7:05 first pitch), the first 1,600 kids 12 & under will receive a backpack, presented by Zweigle’s, 100.5 The Drive and News 8. There will also be fireworks on Saturday night, presented by ESL Federal Credit Union. The homestand continues through Wednesday, June 10. VisitRedWingsbaseball.com/fun for up-to-date promotional information … See you at the ballpark! (And you'll see me on the big screen at the middle of the fifth inning!)
Our Week by Week Guide to Summer Camp is our most popular page these days!
Rochesterians are last-minute people. Did you know that? I started this site here in 2001, and as it spread throughout the country, I noticed that this more true of us here than in other regions. My best guess is that there is so much for kids, teens, and families to do here that we're a bit more casual in our commitments: If you don't make the deadline to sign up for one activity, there's always another amazing one right around the corner. That being said, you'll feel great when you finish up your kids' summer plans and can cross it off the list. So check out ourSummer Camp 2015 guide for hundreds of options, sorted either week by week or subject by subject. In this week's Camp Spotlight:
Hochstein School of Music & Dance
Arts in Action Camps at the Hochstein School of Music & Dance: Sessions are based on a specific theme and concludes with a performance bringing all of the learned elements together. Core instructors include specialists in music, creative movement, and visual arts and are joined by guest performing artists from Hochstein's talented faculty and the Rochester community. Children are grouped by ages, with a maximum of 15 per group, and attend daily music, art, and movement classes, all designed around the week's theme. To register, call 585-454-4596 or follow the link learn more and sign up online.
Rochester Childfirst Network
Don't miss your opportunity to be a part of Rochester Childfirst Network's Summer Camps. A Passport to Adventure. Your tuition includes weekly field trips to exciting places right here in Rochester! Choose one week, one session or the entire summer. Call 473-2858 for more details.
Seneca Park Zoo
ZooCamp gives your child a unique Zoo experience with curricula designed specifically for each age group. Every day we will explore the weeks theme through animal encounters, activities, games and nature hikes. Campers will work alongside Zoo staff, attend demonstrations around the Zoo and participate in interactive educational experiences. Register online http://senecaparkzoo.org/page/zoo-camp or call (585) 336-7213 for more details.
Fairport Canal Days: Next weekend June 5-7!
One of the most popular arts festivals in New York State, Fairport Canal Days sets sail June 6th and 7th, with an opening chicken BBQ and concert on the evening of June 5th. Enjoy over 200 artisans, many fine food vendors, and great live music. It's family friendly, fantastic fun. Friday is the chicken BBQ from 5:30 to 9:00 pm. During the weekend, the hours are Saturday June 6, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday, June 7, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Head over for wine, chocolate, and cheese tasting - Saturday & Sunday, the Duck Races on Sunday, and premier juried art festivals--all in the scenic village on the historic Eric Canal.
Want to work with KidsOutAndAbout.com?
KidsOutAndAbout is currently seeking a part-time inside salesperson to work in our Browncroft-area office. If you love KidsOutAndAbout.com AND the phone is your friend, please send your resume with a cover letter describing your qualifications to our VP of Operations, June Santini, at email@example.com.
Have you met Grant Manier yet?
Grant is one of the country’s most exciting emerging young artists with state and national accolades. Even more amazing, he’s done it all with a diagnosis that most would consider a disability, but he considers it an ABILITY. Grant has autism. Check out this article featuring Grant and his amazing work. Grant is breaking the mold and changing perceptions, whether an admirer or owner of an Eco-original or print, people love his art, his story, and what he stands for....HOPE.
Thursday, May 28: Lego Club at Brighton Memorial Library. Build with LEGO! We provide the bricks, you provide the creativity! Ages 6-12. Registration required. Call 784-5300 or stop in to the Children's Center to register.
Thursday, May 28: Greek Festival at Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. Join us Thursday, May 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st from 11am - 11pm as we continue our tradition of bringing the aromas, tastes, sounds, and traditions of Greece to Rochester on the grounds of the Greek Orthodox Church, 962 East Avenue.
Saturday, May 30: Camp Bay View Open House at YMCA- Bay View. Come find out what Camp Bay View is all about! Our open house will allow you to meet staff, obtain camp information and tour our facilities (weather permitting).
Sunday, May 31: Greek Festival at Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation. Join us Thursday, May 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st from 11am - 11pm as we continue our tradition of bringing the aromas, tastes, sounds, and traditions of Greece to Rochester on the grounds of the Greek Orthodox Church, 962 East Avenue.
Sunday, May 31: Camp Bay View Open House at YMCA- Bay View. Come find out what Camp Bay View is all about! Our open house will allow you to meet staff, obtain camp information and tour our facilities (weather permitting).
The Walker family focuses on health and physical fitness.