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Jan 10 2013

The Best Ways for Busy Parents to Occupy a 5-Year-Old

By at 3:48 pm

I’m lucky that Ronia loves to have books read to her, and on Shabbat you’ll often find the three of us curled up on the couch reading from a stack of our favorite children’s books.

She’s also recently gotten into chapter books, and is loving this gorgeous illustrated edition of The Arabian Nights so much that we read two thirds of it over one Shabbat. But we’re busy people, and sometimes we just don’t have the time to sit and read to Ronia. I have to make dinner, or do 15 minutes of work, or focus on the drive to Trader Joe’s. So we’ve developed an arsenal of games, activities, and things to listen to that keep Ronia happy and allow her dad and me to take care of business. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 27 2012

My Son’s Imaginary Friend is a Criminal

By at 9:33 am

When my children were younger, and people would inevitably remark about how well they “entertained themselves,” I would reluctantly acknowledge that I encouraged them by ignoring them.

I never neglected my children, and I was enchanted by them–I read them picture books for hours, spoke to them only in my non-native but nearly fluent Hebrew, invented silly songs about our daily routines, and played endless games of Candyland and Brochos Lotto. But I also left them to play alone or with each other while I curled up with a book on the couch. I wanted them to develop their inner lives, strengthen their habits of the mind and spirit, and I needed quiet time for my own flights of imagination, not to mention Shabbat afternoon naps. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 29 2012

Hannukah Gift Ideas: Board Games for Preschoolers

By at 9:56 am

where is hello kittyMy big girl just turned 4 years old, and she got several games for her birthday. I’m psyched. I love games. I spent my childhood playing Parcheesi with my father, Boggle with my mother, and cards with my grandmother and cousins. I spent a summer slamming Dominos on a small wooden table in the countryside of the Dominican Republic, and I’m still trying to beat my father at gin.

Armed with these happy memories, I gladly sat down on our living room floor to play Chutes and Ladders with my daughters. Twenty minutes and many, many chutes later, we weren’t much closer to anyone winning, and I was ready to poke my eyes out. Read the rest of this entry →

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