And the best cold treatment |


Hey again parents,

Newsletter was on a little hiatus, so we have so much to catch up on. First, how's the getting college kids settled thing working out? A lot of parents around this time are starting to get that sinking feeling that their freshman won't be in touch that much. If this is true for you, try to be chill about it. It's developmentally appropriate as they say. Do your best not to light up their phone with a gazillion messages. We have to walk that line between optimistic support slash checking in and overly close monitoring. I sometimes think of parenting as starting as a kind of fort, wherein we protect our infants fiercely, to becoming a walled garden, where kids can play and explore safely, to scaffolding, there for support while building goes on, and finally to just a few safety wires to catch people if they fall. I hope some of the stories below help you in whatever building stage you are in. As ever, you can reach me at or @luscombeland on Twitter. P.S. If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to a friend. And if you got it from a friend, sign up here for email delivery each Friday. You know, more or less.

If you missed Time's fantastic cover story on how Scandinavian parenting really works and how shared parenting is at the heart of so many things including equality at work, then settle in for a great read. I love this piece for how it demonstrates that a few family leave provisions can be transformational in the lives of men. "Nothing can really prepare you for [Swedish fathers], not even living, as I did for a decade, in New York City’s performative-dad capital of Park Slope, Brooklyn," Irin Carmon writes. TIME

Sports are great for kids. Team sports are especially great for kids. But how to know what sport to choose? They can be expensive and time-consuming. The Aspen Institute has put together a handy guide that lets you take your child's characteristics and interests into account. The website allows families to weigh three factors in deciding what sport makes the most sense: safety, physical activity, and the sport’s psychosocial benefits, thus removing at least some of the guesswork in picking what to suit junior up for. TIME

Natural disasters leave a lot of wreckage in their wake. What is sometimes forgotten is that this wreckage can include families flung far and wide and unable to find each other. This is what's happening in Indonesia is the wake of that terrifying tsunami. Aid workers are now scrambling to reunite children and their parents, under sometimes very complicated circumstances. TIME

As the weather cools, cold and flu season approaches. I recall being told quite forcefully by my pediatrician to stop bringing my snuffly kids in to see him. Their colds sounded much more life-threatening than they were, he said, because their little nasal passages are so tiny. So what should parents do for a child with a cold? A new interactive graphic from the British Medical Journal looks at all the usual remedies and the studies that show their effectiveness on both adults and kids and comes up with one that has been shown to work on children: saline nasal irrigation. That's it. Step away from the Robitussin, people. BMJ

Teenage defiance, the eternal bugbear of parents, can be used as a force for good, the excellent Amanda Ripley writes. New York Times

This very interesting study from the U.K. has found that day care centers, or nurseries in England, may actually be better for certain aspects of child development than nannies, or informal care from friends or families. The caveat is that the nursery workers have to be well-trained. The study is small and not completely clear on causation, but it does suggest that it may well be sound economic policy to pay childcare workers significantly more and require them to be extremely well-trained. In that way, parents can continue in the workforce if they wish, while their children are well-cared-for in a group setting. Since we know how crucial the early years are to human development, this would seem to be worth shaving a fraction off the defense budget for. Just saying. Science Daily.

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Steve Carell, actor and father of two

“I’ll never forget the first audition after my daughter was born. I nailed it because I didn’t care any more. All I wanted to do was get home to my baby and it changed my perspective on my career and on the world, on who I was.”

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