Letter from the Editor July 2011

Jenna Hammond

Now that the sunny season has officially begun, families everywhere are enjoying beach jaunts, great getaways, festive celebrations (happy early Independence Day), incredible camp sessions, and all-around carefree days (school's out!) near and far from home. Want to take a family trip but have yet to make any plans? We've got you covered with awesome travel coverage that kicks off with "Easy Escapes." The article by Kyle McCarthy, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Best Family Destinations (Alpha), spotlights cities with cultural flair and mass family appeal that are accessible by plane, train and car from the tri-state area. Discover locales that most tourists and business travelers neglect to frequent during the warm weather months, meaning you and your clan can reap the wonders of the areas without battling crowds or depleting your wallet.

Follow up the coverage of destinations filled with kid-approved museums, parks, shops, restaurants and adventurous terrain by turning to our Travel Directory. Each mini profile on everything from resorts near theme parks to popular attractions has suggestions for mapping out your itinerary. Before you enter travel agent mode though, read the sidebar in "Easy Escapes" that gives insider knowledge on scoring advance tickets to theme parks, discounted rates and other deals for making you feel like a VIP as you vacation.

Back on home turf, be mindful to keep your kids' minds active for optimum learning when school resumes. The article "Brain Training" by Rich Mancuso, owner and director of a trusted brain training center in New York City, offers a look at a breakthrough methodology boosting children's cognitive functioning, notably children with learning issues including dyslexia, ADHD and degrees of autism. Flip to the insightful read to learn more about the science as well as how to implement brain training at home. Just as entertaining as they are effective, the simple exercises Mancuso highlights, such as talking to your baby, timing children in inventive ways to complete tasks and rhyming with your kids, foster children's development in the classroom and out.

"By helping children build skills like attention, memory, comprehension, and logic and reasoning even before school years, parents can actually increase the chance of academic success and likely life success," agrees Dr. Ken Gibson, an advocate and author on the subject who Mancuso quotes. If you come up with some exercises that offer mind-body benefits and great fun under the sun (see it's a cinch to rhyme), let us know about it on Facebook.com/parentguidenews. We know other parents would care to try what you share. The activities might help readers' kids to pay attention, focus and achieve once the school bell sounds. Just be sure to make the brain boosting exciting while kids are learning and playing this July by leaps and bounds.

Didn't mean to get carried away with the rhyme. Enjoy the issue... and summertime!

Jenna Hammond