• Free Online Parent Drop-In: Youth Mental Health

    The Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health offers free Parent Drop-Ins, 1-hour sessions where parents can seek guidance from experts specializing in specific youth mental health disorders. Parents can also connect with others facing similar challenges. Each Zoom session is hosted by expert clinical psychologists who specialize in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance use, suicidality, and psychotropic medication. Parent Drop-Ins are held on the last Wednesday of every month at 5:30 pm. Register to receive the Zoom link, and submit questions ahead of time. Upcoming Parent Drop-Ins: Wednesday, June 26, 2024 from 5:30-6:30 pm PST – on Zoom Wednesday, July 31, 2024 from from 5:30-6:30 pm PST – on…

  • February 2022

    Black History Month 2022

    Black Artists Aaron DouglasAaron Douglas was born in 1899 and made art during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a frenzy of art and cultural expression that happened in Harlem, New York that produced new art, music and literature. While the explosion of all this new art took place in the 1920s, Harlem continues to be a center of African-American art and culture today. Alma Thomas Alma Thomas was an expressionist painter who was born in 1891. Her early work was representational, but she evolved into her signature of work on canvas that is characterized by shapes, color, rhythm and powerful emotions. Thomas was a black woman in a…

  • May 2020

    Turn Off the Screens

    How to Get Them Up from the Screens BY SUKI WESSLING In normal times, our kids are using screens way too much. These aren’t normal times. I love the Internet and all it has given us, but as a parent, one of the things I am concerned about is when activities on screens replace healthy, real-world activities. These activities are the antidote to screen use, and involve moving the body, changing eye focus between long and short distance, developing complex fine motor skills, and social interaction. In other words, all the things our kids do when they are in classes, playing with friends, being creative, and just out in the…

  • May 2020

    Reluctant Homeschooler

    Reluctant Homeschooler? Join the Club! BY SUKI WESSLING It’s an odd time to be a homeschooler. You finally got used to being the weirdest family on the block, and then suddenly everyone is doing it. I’ve been writing about homeschooling and teaching homeschooled children for years, operating in an almost invisible subculture that mainstream parents and teachers only found out of desperation. As recently as January, a public school official expressed surprise to me that my job—online teacher of homeschooled students—even existed. Most of the teachers I met thought that homeschooling was perilously close to child abuse. So I and other veteran homeschoolers have been watching with a mixture of…

  • Mother and Daughter
    May 2020

    Skin Color

    Skin Color BY AMANDA FIRTH This is part of a short series on foster parenting and adoption in Santa Cruz County. Proper names in the stories have been changed for the protection of the children and families involved. An old and dear friend was over at our apartment to meet “our babies.” One baby was really about to become our baby forever. We were about to adopt a beautiful Latino baby. He was in the midst of a playdate with one of our former foster babies, who was white. The two of them were crawling around the living room together.“It’s a shame you’re not adopting that one. That one looks…

  • santa cruz kids playing outside
    January 2020

    Happy Healthy Kids: Eight Reasons to Embrace Outdoor Play

    Happy Healthy Kids Eight Reasons to Embrace Outdoor Play By Jan Pierce Are you one of those parents who wonder if your child’s schedule is too crowded? Too stressful? Do you watch him play video games by the hour and get a little nervous about the long-term effects? Do you wish she had time to “just play” rather than run from school to lessons to team practices? If you can relate to the above situations, you’re in good company. It seems today’s busy lifestyles don’t allow much time for healthy, unstructured outdoor exploration and play. Schools that give more recess and breaks from classwork are finding attention improves during the…

  • critical thinking kids santa cruz
    November 2019

    Happy and Successful Kids Life Skill 5: Critical Thinking

    Happy and Successful Kids Life Skill 5: Critical Thinking By Jan Pierce Everyday life involves a lot of problem-solving. How do you encourage your children to get along with others? What’s the best way to help your child learn to manage their time and select appropriate activities? Should you let your kids play video games and which ones are off-limits? Without realizing it, you’re making logical decisions every day, and your kids need to learn how to make sound, logical decisions as well. Thinking logically helps kids get balance. Not just in their social and emotional lives, but in their reading, their writing, and their math and science explorations as…

  • yoga and child birth
    October 2019

    The Birth of a Mother: Yoga Can Help Childbirth and Infant Rearing

    The Birth of a Mother Yoga Can Help Childbirth and Infant Rearing By Hannah Muse  The journey of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is undoubtedly one of the most incredible, life-enhancing, fulfilling experiences one can ever experience!  And – whether it’s our first pregnancy or our fourth – it can also be a great challenge for our bodies, minds, and emotional life in ways we’ve never experienced; in ways that we don’t always feel ready and resourced to handle without additional support.   Who needs goat yoga when you’ve got baby and prenatal yoga? And in Santa Cruz you can learn to be a prenatal yoga teacher. Photo: Expressivephotographics.com Luckily there is…

  • sing to your baby
    October 2019

    Sing to Your Baby: Music and Brain Development

    Sing to Your Baby Music and Brain Development By Jan Pierce The sweet interaction between a mother and her baby when the mother sings to the infant is a universal behavior. And researchers now know that this simple, most natural activity is mutually beneficial to both mother and child. Singing provides the sensory stimulation that helps baby to focus attention enabling learning, and the mother feels empowered as she creates a positive bond with her baby. Music builds connection, both with words and the unconscious mathematics of creating a melody. Benefits of Musical Experiences But studies are showing that a broad array of musical experiences can build connections in the…

  • santa cruz swim lessons for babies
    May 2019

    Swimming Lessons Save Lives

    Swimming Lessons Save Lives The sooner you get them educated the better By Tiffany Harmon The stark truth is this: drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children ages 1 – 4  and is the second leading cause for children 1 – 14 after motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, many children are at risk due to low, or no swimming ability, and the risk is even higher for minority children.  These statistics, while frightening, are extremely relevant for us, as residents of the Monterey Bay Area. We are incredibly fortunate to live in an area that is home to amazing ocean views, wildlife, and opportunities for recreational activities like surfing, swimming,…

  • April 2019

    Finding Summer Camps with Flair

    Finding Summer Camps with Flair By Jan Pierce Most of us remember summer camp. It was great: Rustic cabins, swimming in the lake, arts and crafts, songs around a campfire and capture the flag in the evenings. It still sounds good to me. But times have changed and lots of kids are more excited to plan a summer adventure around performance academies than attend a traditional summer camp. There are lots of options and while they are not inexpensive, they do offer wonderful opportunities for your kids. They can be week-long overnight experiences, or day camps only. SUMMER DAZE day camps, sleep away camps, arts camps, sports camps, fire fighting…

  • bathtime tips for kids who hate shampoo
    February 2019

    When Soap Gets In Their Eyes

    When Soap Gets In Their Eyes By Brad Kava Despite the claims of baby shampoos not to irritate children’s eyes, bath time was a horror for our 2-year-old until we discovered the baby bath visor. Whatever we did, he wanted nothing to do with having his head shampooed. Soap always got in his eyes and he hated it. Photo by Brad Kava Now, with the visor, he loves baths and doesn’t mind the once-annoying shampoo. As much as we wish we could get everything we need locally, we got this on Amazon, made by Danyoun and sold for a whopping $2.22. There are others listed there that are more ex-…

  • November 2018

    The Right Fit

    The Right Fit It’s Scary How Many Kids are Playing Sports in Shoes that May Look Cool, But Will Hurt Them By Bob Pursley Here we are again a new school year which brings new sports seasons, whether it is football, cross country, basketball or soccer the kids are asking you to buy the equipment that they will need for these sports. Some of these sports require very specific equipment including the proper footwear for the sport. Sports such as field sports require cleats which are a no brainer but when it comes to running and indoor sports it is not so cut and dry. As a High School Athletics…

  • November 2018

    Finding the Right Tutor for Your Child

    Finding the Right Tutor for Your Child By Jan Pierce There are many reasons for a child to fall a bit behind in one school subject or another. Maybe your family moved and the new school does things differently, or maybe your child is operating on a different developmental clock than the curriculum. Whatever the reason, being behind other learners is never a happy situation for your child. You may be able to do extra work at home to catch up, but often a tutor is the best way to help a child make great strides in learning. Hiring a tutor is a serious venture. You don’t want to risk…

  • November 2018

    Tired of Watching your Kids Play Video Games?

    Tired of Watching Your Kids Play Video Games? HERE’S HOW THEY CAN BUILD THEIR OWN. IT’S MORE FUN By Ricky Chavez Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox, and Super Mario may all be titles that you’re familiar with, whether it’s kids, teens, or adults, the amount of people that these games have reached is baffling. Today you can’t go anywhere without seeing people doing one of the many popular dances from Fortnite. Everyone seems to be so hooked on so many of these games and many have enjoyed them so much that they’ve said to themselves, “I want to make a video game!” but where does someone even start? My name is Ricky…

  • September 2018

    Why One Child Turns Out So Well, But Not the Other

    Why One Child Turns Out So Well, But Not The Other By Chris Jackson Have you ever thought, “I just don’t get why all my kids didn’t turn out well; I parented them all the same, so what went wrong?” Bingo. That’s just it: if you want all your kids to turn out the same (well-adjusted), parent them differently. When you parent them the same, they can and do turn out differently (and often not in a good way). You may have heard the recent news about a local police chief’s son who was arrested. On the department’s Facebook page, the chief stated, “His sisters (one corporate and the other…

  • September 2018

    Five Ways to Build Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills

    Five Ways to Build Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills By Jan Pierce Everyday life involves a lot of prob- lem-solving. How do you encourage your children to get along with others? What’s the best way to help your child learn to manage money? Should you let your kids play video games and which ones are off-limits? Without realizing it, you’re making logical decisions every day, and your kids need to learn how to make sound, logical decisions as well. Not just in their social and emotional lives, but in their reading, their writing, and their math and science explorations as well. In short, the child who knows how to think…

  • September 2018

    These Apps are Dangerous for Your Kids

    These Apps are Dangerous for Your Kids: Parents Should Be Wary of What’s on Their Kid’s Screens By Steve Walters Tech is fast. Kids are faster. If your children are using these apps, security experts say you should monitor them. They can fall into danger before they know what they’ve done. Don’t be shy about keeping a sharp eye on what sites they are visiting. Dangerous apps allow users to anonymously sent text messages, pictures, or videos. They provide user’s locations. They allow users to hide content such as pictures and videos; and they promote sexual activities or “hook ups.” Here are some to look out for. Live.Me Live.Me is…

  • August 2018

    Amnesty Hour

    Amnesty Hour By Chris Jackson As a parent, you’re like a spy. You need to gather intel on your kids. With good intel, you can make the right adjustments to keep them safe. The best way to get this intel is to get it right from them during what I call, “Amnesty Hour.” During Amnesty Hour, your kids can confess anything without fear of punishment. More importantly, they can tell you anything without fear of being lectured or seeing you disappointed in them. You see, one of the main reasons kids keep the truth from us is that they treasure our love and approval. They don’t want to lose it.…

  • June 2018

    Treat Your Kid Like a Rock Star

    Treat Your Kid Like a Rock Star By Chris Jackson Your kids aren’t rock stars, so why treat them like it? Because it works. It brings parents and kids closer together. Let me explain. One of the best things about being a radio host on 98.5 KFOX is that I get to meet a lot of bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, Van Halen, Journey, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, Aerosmith (and let’s not forget all the bands that play at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk!). When my son and daughter became teenagers, I started to notice two major similarities between those rocks stars and my kids–and no I’m not talking…