Aha! Blog

The Surprising Way My Son Earned His Smartphone

“But Mom, everybody else has one!“ What parent hasn’t heard that line a trillion times? But no mind, even after much begging and pleading, I stuck to my guns and said no.

The item in question was a smartphone—and my 10-year-old son wanted...

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Open Your Ears and You'll Open Your Eyes

Yep. On occasion, I yelled at my kids. Sometimes I let them talk me into buying them things that they really didn't need because in the moment, it was simpler than any other kind of negotiation. (Hey, I was a tired, working, single mom!) I doled...

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Excuse Me, But It’s Time to Role Model Good Manners for Our Kids

A friend remembers her mother trying to teach her and her sibling good manners at the breakfast table when they were young. “What’s the magic word?” their mother asked before sliding pancakes on their plates. The younger sister thought and then...

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Family Camping—A Breath of Fresh Air for Kids

It’s late afternoon. I’m writing this sitting in a lawn chair in front of a campfire, part of a tidy arrangement of tents and RVs. Above me is a canopy of trees. “Next door,” a mother and her small child are curled up in a chaise reading together...

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What I Learned Today about Monsters, Recess and Waiting

I had some fun drawing and making art with a classroom full of enthusiastic 2nd Graders today. I showed some of my art and they showed me some of theirs and then I even got the chance to sniff some of their "smelly markers." It was a good...

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The Hidden Benefits of Hidden Pictures

There is something universally appealing about puzzles, no matter what our age or particular passion: jigsaw puzzles, word searches, mazes, Sudoku, or any of the puzzle-type games we have stored on our phones. The best puzzles are challenging but...

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A Short, Sweet Season of Childhood

When I was a toddler, family legend goes, another child tossed my lovey, a ragdoll I had named Monica, into a small barrel of trash that had just been lit. Before any of the adults present could stop me, I reached in and snatched my doll from the...

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Teaching Your Kids to Write Handwritten Letters: It’s Like Sending a Hug in the Mail

I’ve always thought that receiving a handwritten letter is like getting a hug in the mail.

I’m one of probably a handful of people who are truly excited—who even know—that April is National Card- and Letter-Writing Month. I’m in an even...

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What Is the Value in Children Doing Puzzles?

Over the past 15 years I have studied the effects of media on children, and I continue to work to help create good content for children, both on and off screen. But as a mother of three children, I understand at a deeper level that digital screen...

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Does Talking to Adults Tongue-Tie Your Kids?

When my firstborn was just a baby, an artist friend introduced me to his children,  who were ages six and eight. I was surprised and delighted when each made eye contact, said hello audibly, and offered a handshake. They seemed so comfortable and...

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