In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 12, 2006 / 20 Tishrei, 5767

They're kids, all right? So let them play

By Lenore Skenazy

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 'Here's some soothing medicine for stressed out parents and overscheduled kids," read an Associated Press story on Monday. "The American Academy of Pediatrics says what children really need for healthy development is more good, old-fashioned playtime."

This is supposed to relax us parents? Are you kidding? After my kid does two hours of homework and baseball practice and the recommended 30 minutes a day of reading and at least a couple of pages of the "Get Your Fifth-Grader Into A Good Middle School That Will Get Him Into a Good High School That Will Get Him Into a Good College that Will Get Him a House and Three Kids in Teaneck" workbook, now I have to make sure he gets out there and PLAYS, too?

Uh ... wait a sec. I guess I see the point.

The Academy is saying something that needed saying: Kids are so overscheduled today they are missing out on the biggest enrichment class of them all — playtime.

"Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive and emotional strength," the docs reported. And yet, for many well-intentioned parents, it's last on the list of approved activities.

How come?

First and foremost, I blame cable. Not kids watching cable (although three hours of the Cartoon Network will turn anyone's brain into Go-Gurt). ADULTS watching cable — that's the problem. Because any time some poor child gets abducted or, G-d forbid, killed, it is on the news all day. Sometimes all decade.

As the anchors grimly shake their heads for the zillionth time, it's almost impossible to remember the truth: These horrible incidents are not increasing. They are on TV precisely because they are rare. We live in very safe times, and New York City is the safest it has been since the '60s. So it is no nuttier to let your kid ride her bike outside today than it was when the Bradys were still a Bunch.

But try telling that to your friends. I have. They look at me as if I've just found them the perfect baby-sitter: Mark Foley!

Result? The kids stay inside — watching cable. (See the cycle?) Or else they play computer games. Or they sit plopped in front of some video that's supposed to make them a genius because, as we all know, that's how Mozart got his start. With most of the kids inside, the kids who do venture out can't find anyone to play with. So in they go, too.

And that's assuming those kids have any free time to begin with! The children not cooped up with their electronics are often cooped up someplace else — dance class or soccer practice or after-school homework help.

These programs aren't bad. My family does them, too. But when supervised activities fill every free moment, kids never get a chance to figure out how to entertain themselves, or even how to deal with other kids without some grownup saying, "Okay, Tyler, now YOU bounce the ball."

That's why plain old playtime may actually help your child more than yet another season of tae kwon do-based new math tutoring on ice.

If you're wondering which one to squeeze in, ask your kid.

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JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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