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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

January 29, 2015

Bertrand Russell on Boredom's Merits

Christine: The Goldilocks Zone

Six Words You Should Say Today
Help Handling Tantrums from Positive Discipline Resource Community
This Week
Wild Things - Wildlife Photography by Steve Mandel
Tantrums - continued
Click to view our Business Directory

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I enjoy essays from Maria Popover's  She addresses the concept of boredom as a valuable experience and finds a way to relate it to how we are bringing up our children.  One of my genius friends says he can't stand to be bored, but I suspect that if ever he feels bored, the creative thinking that goes on in his mind is not boring.  When children say "I'm bored", I would respond with "What are you going to do about it?  All  food for thought!  What do you think?

Who among us has not become caught up in the excitement of imagining other worlds with living beings somewhat like us? Christine's article brings that reality just a little closer.

I've been trying Rachel Stafford's "six words you should say today" with friends who are easy to like and also some friends who are sometimes slightly cranky.  The results are heart-warming.  Try them!

This last week I observed two BIG tantrums --one in a store and another in a restaurant.  The one in the store was easier to handle than the one in the restaurant.  It's good to know ahead of time how to handle them, even better to plan outings a child in the tantrum stage can handle.  PDCR's Tantrum advice is very helpful!  Enjoy it if you're in that stage.

The Weekend   ~ Parenting Support  ~  Parks

Thank you for your interest in our newsletter and for sending many new families our way. Please, drop us a line anytime and recommend us to a friend

Have a great weekend with family and friends, Parmalee

  Bertrand Russell on Boredom's Merits capacity to endure a more or less monotonous life is one which should be acquired in childhood. Modern parents are greatly to blame in this respect; they provide their children with far too many passive amusements... and they do not realize the importance to a child of having one day like another, except, of course, for somewhat rare occasions.


Instead, he exhorts parents to allow children the freedom to experience "fruitful monotony," which invites inventiveness and imaginative play - in other words, the great childhood joy and developmental achievement of learning to "do nothing with nobody all alone by yourself," a testament to Kierkegaard's insistence that "the more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes." Russell writes: pleasures of childhood should in the main be such as the child extracts from his environment by means of some effort and inventiveness. Pleasures which are exciting and at the same time involve no physical exertion, such, for example, as the theatre, should occur very rarely. The excitement is in the nature of a drug, of which more and more will come to be required, and the physical passivity during the excitement is contrary to instinct. A child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil. Too much travel, too much variety of impressions, are not good for the young, and cause them as they grow up to become incapable of enduring fruitful monotony.

I do not mean that monotony has any merits of its own; I mean only that certain good things are not possible except where there is a certain degree of monotony... A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow processes of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they were cut flowers in a vase.

Excerpted from a newsletter.


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  Christine: The Goldilocks Zone

We live in the Goldilocks Zone. I bet you didn't realize you were part of a fairy tale. Astronomers define the Goldilocks Zone of a solar system as the range of distance from the sun where water will pool on the surface. We are looking for planets that may harbor life like us.

We call this area the Goldilocks Zone because it's not too hot and not too cold. It is just right for our kind of life. We know that life can form in this temperature and pressure regime. We don't know if life can form at other temperatures and pressures. It is also called the habitable zone.

In our solar system Earth is smack in the middle of the Goldilocks Zone. Venus is just outside the zone and too hot. Mars is inside the Goldilocks Zone but it lacks an atmosphere so it is too cold. There have been many announcements from researchers and NASA announcing planets in the Goldilocks Zone. So far we have found...Read more>>>>>>

Chistine is a local mom and scientist who makes science easy to understand.  You can find her blog here.  That's her happy son Greg several years ago!


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  Six Words You Should Say Today

(Books/Movies/Products) Book_HandsFreeMama.jpgIf you have ever experienced an emotional response simply by watching someone you love in action, I've got six words for you.

Very rarely does one sentence have immediate impact on me.

Very rarely does one sentence change the way I interact with my family.

But this one did. It was not from Henry Thoreau or some renowned child psychologist. It was a comment from kids themselves. And if I've learned anything on this "Hands Free" journey, it is that children are the true experts when it comes to "grasping what really matters."

Here are the words that changed it all:

"... College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response: Find out!>>>>>>>

Rachel Mary Stafford blogs at "Be prepared to read life-changing words that will open your eyes and heart a little wider."

  Help Handling Tantrums from Positive Discipline Resource Community

Positive Discipline Community Resources

(Graphics) TemperTantrum.jpgYour parenting experience is cruising along with relative ease and along comes your first big challenge: tantrums!

All children experience tantrums at one time or another, some more than others according to their temperament, and the number of frustrations that have occurred that day. All parents are faced with how to effectively handle tantrums, in private and in public. The goal is to balance two things: 

  • Allowing your child to have big emotions without shaming her for having them
  • Managing and containing the situation so that it does not escalate to an unsafe level

Tantrums start at about 12 months of age when children naturally enter an independent stage. They begin to have their own ideas, which are usually in conflict with your own. Tantrums are a sign that your child is developing just fine, and they actually have a beneficial purpose.  The outpouring of strong emotion through a tantrum is a very healthy and powerful way to release pent up emotions due to frustrations. Tantrums are the active process of release and are how children recover from the overload of frustrations.        

It is normal for tantrums to be as short as a few minutes and as long as an hour.  They can include crying; screaming, yelling, sweating; stamping feet, banging head, hitting; rolling on floor; holding breath.

Tantrums usually occur when children:

  • are told "No"
  • don't get their way
  • can't perform a physically difficult task
  • can't communicate what they want
  • are overly tired or hungry
  • just can't handle one more frustration

If consistently handled well, tantrums will decrease in number throughout the preschool years. Tantrums will happen; it's a fact of life with toddlers. However, you have actions available to you that will decrease the frequency throughout these early years. Try these ideas...>>>>>>

  This Week

(Holidays) LincolnMemorial.jpg

January in the Parks


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School Corner

Learn to Discover, Electronics & Programming Classes


Monterey Bay Charter School, What to Do When the Sky is Falling! 1/30


Spring Hill School K-8, Kindergarten Roundup 1/31


Gateway School K-8, Day Tour 2/3

Santa Cruz Waldorf School K - 8, Waldorf Alive! A Walk Through the Grades 2/11


Main Street Elementary, Goodwill Drive 2/13-15


Gateway School K-8, Kindergarten Information Night 2/11


Santa Cruz Waldorf School K - 8, Early Childhood Education Class 2/5

(Books/Movies/Products) Book_ProfesorAstroCatsFrontiersofSpace.jpg

Professor Astro Cat's Frontiers of Space: Imaginative and Illuminating Children's Book Tickles Our Zest for the Cosmos
Rocket fuel for the souls of budding Sagans

Comments by Maria Popova




Date Nights

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Junebugs Gym
2nd Saturdays
5:45 - 8:45


Ohana Gym
3rd Saturday
5:30 - 8:30pm





Parenting is "thrilling, exhausting, hilarious, fun, frustrating, rewarding.... and requires constant vigilance..."

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Tune up Your Parenting Skills


Workshops for  Parents with Babies to Teens

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 Wild Things - Wildlife Photography by Steve Mandel

Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Take a walk on the wild side!
Every day through Feb 21

This selection of 24 images were taken from various locations around the globe and features intimate views of wild animals in their native habitats. Learn about what it takes to capture an image at just the right moment.

(Special Event Images / Graphics) Mandel_Lions.jpgSteve Mandel is a wildlife photographer specializing in conservation photography. His goal is to have viewers of his images gain a greater appreciation of wildlife, and raise their awareness about the rapidly declining populations of wildlife globally, many of which are threatened with extinction.

He operates a nonprofit for the conservation of Asiatic Lions in India and helps other conservation organization on a number of projects. Steve recently returned from Kenya where he worked with wildlife conservation and anti-poaching organizations.

(Special Event Images / Graphics) Mandel_male-and-two-owl-chicks-at-nest.jpgSteve uses Canon equipment, including a 1DX camera body, a 5D Mark III camera body, and various lenses ranging for 12mm up to 1000mm in focal length. He also specializes in robotic devices to capture images of wild animals from unique angles. He has built and used photographic drones, a robotic camera car, and a robotic boat with cameras above and below water.

His images have appeared in books, magazines, the New York Times, and for the past five years have been selected for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum's wildlife photography exhibition. Learn more at:

Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Foster Parent and Adoption Orientation
click to view website
  Foster Parent and Adoption Orientation
County of Santa Cruz
Date: The 1st Wed of every month from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Ages: Adult
Details: Foster Parent and Adoption Orientation
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 345-2700 view all details >>
Clam Chowder Cook-Off
click to view website
  Clam Chowder Cook-Off
City of Santa Cruz
Date: Every day (Feb 23-Feb 24) from 10:00am to 4:00pm
Details: Join the fun and excitement as talented Chefs from throughout the West Coast compete for the glory of the BEST CLAM CHOWDER!
Special Instructions: Each Tasting Kit Includes 6 taste tickets, spoon, cup, and a People's Choice ballot.
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
Arboretum Garden Free Day
click to view website
  Arboretum Garden Free Day
Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz
Date: The 1st Tues of every month from 9:00am to 5:00pm
Details: A tranquil place to see plants from around the world plus quail, bunnies...
City: Santa Cruz Phone: 831-502-2998 view all details >>
Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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Got Boredom?
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  Got Boredom?
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  Tantrums - continued

Know your child's level of tolerance for stimulation and plan ahead accordingly. Too many errands, too much noise and excitement, too many pretty, breakable things to touch, too many demands will all stack up. Toddlers' tolerance level for these things are far below an adults' level.

Keep consistent routines and eating/sleeping schedules. Throughout the day, let them know what is happening next so they know what to expect.

Allow the feelings but don't give in. Adopt the attitude of: "I know you don't like my answer; you're upset and that's okay. It happens to all of us. I'm here and I love you." A parent's job is to hold to consistent rules no matter the disappointment it causes. Giving in to unreasonable demands, fixing the situation for the child, and rescuing them from frustrations will only teach that tantrums are a way to get what they want and that frustrations are to be avoided instead of worked through.

Do not try to put a stop to the tantrum with threats. "Stop your crying right now or I'll put you on a time out!" This will only: make it bigger and last longer.

Do not try to rationalize the tantrum away. "It's no big deal." "You should be happy that you got any dessert at all." Statements like these often backfire creating more anger and frustration.

Understand the workings of the brain under the influence of emotions. All humans engaged in angry emotions are operating from a part of the brain (limbic system) that CANNOT listen to reason, make good choices, or think of a solution. Only when the emotional storm has passed, and not one second sooner, will the rational part of the brain (prefrontal cortex) be accessible. Then and ONLY then, can any rational dialogue begin. Knowing this can aid your ability to withstand a tantrum.

Make faces, say something silly, and put on a clown nose. Distractions through laughter and playfulness can sometimes head off a potential tantrum if it is a small one brewing.

Model anger management techniques in front of your child. Say out loud what emotion you are having and what you will do to feel better. "Ugh!! I'm so mad I got his parking ticket! I wish this didn't happen! I just need to breathe here for a minute....Well, I guess worse things have happened.

Strategies for Helping a Tantruming Child

Think safety first. Be close by to make sure your child doesn't hurt himself, others, or breaks objects. Move objects out of reach

Be close, but not too close. Be attentive, but not too attentive. You do need to supervise the situation, but give space for the full body movement of your child. Be far enough away that you are not being hit, bit, or kicked. You can also direct your attention to other things while being nearby: look out the window, read, make your grocery list, etc. Show that you care but you are not feeding the tantrum with your full attention.

Move to a safe place if needed. The aisle of a store or the top of your stairs are not ideal places to let a tantrum unfold. Carry your child to a more private or safer location such as a soft, carpeted area or your car.

Adopt a helpful phrase to say when you are in a public place, people are looking at you, and embarrassment begins to creep in. "Just experiencing a little technical difficulties... we'll be right back." Be a supportive voice as you witness another parent with a tantruming child: "I was in your place just last week. Don't worry, it'll pass.

Remain calm as best you can. Be the eye of the storm. Your calm physical presence will help your child who is out of control and doesn't know how to rein herself in.

Take lots of deep breaths. Count or sing to yourself to help stay calm.

Convey confidence that this will pass (even if you are not so sure - act as if you are!)  Trust that your child will work it through eventually.

Say very little. This is NOT the time to lecture! No information will go into a raging child's brain.

Say empathetic observations, "Looks like you are SO frustrated! I understand how you feel."

Set limits with short, firm, even-toned sentences, "No, I can't let you hit me." If you yell out in anger, you will add fuel to the fire.

Do not respond verbally to the outrageous statements they might say: "Mean, Mommy!"  "I want it NOW!" "Go away!"

Watch for signs that the emotional storm is winding down. This is when your child may be ready for hugs. He may be feeling uncertain about what just happened and is wondering if he is still loved. He may need water, food or sleep.

After reconnecting with your child, she will be more likely ready to hear corrections. Now is the time to speak about what actions (hitting, throwing, etc.) were not okay. Have her clean up things that were thrown, or spilled. Move forward to the next task at hand (finish shopping, getting ready for bed, etc.)

Key Steps


  • Monitor the amount of stimulation.
  • Know when your child is approaching overload.
  • Keep to consistent eating/sleeping routines.
  • Allow the feelings but don't give in to the unreasonable demand.
  • Don't rush to fix things.
  • Don't go against your better judgment just to avoid your child experiencing disappointment.
  • Model expressing your feelings and how to handle disappointments.

During a tantrum:

  • Think safety; carry them to a safe place if necessary.
  • Stay close, but not too close.
  • Be attentive, but not too attentive.
  • Be calm. Be the eye of the storm.
  • Know that this will pass.
  • Say very little. Refrain from engaging in a verbal argument.
  • Offer comfort (hugs, food, water) when they are calming down.
  • Remember, first comes connection, then comes correction.
  • With your help, have child clean up anything that might have been affected by the tantrum.

Going Deeper

Part of being a human means to have emotions, no matter what your age.  Children are often told not to be upset and to "behave yourself," when they are emotional. Children who are punished or made to feel wrong over and over for having strong emotions may grow into adults who bury their emotions in unhealthy ways such as overeating, abusing alcohol and drugs, or simply shutting down emotionally. They may become adults who may rage out of control without any anger management tools. A parent's goal is to teach about feelings: name them, allow them, and make healthy choices about what to do about them. Helping children move through disappointments will strengthen their ability to deal well with all the inevitable ups and downs of life.

One way to support the right to feel is to adopt a family rule that all feelings are allowed in this house. Make it clear that not all behaviors are allowed in regards to these feelings. Yelling, hitting, name calling - not okay. Jealously, anger, sadness -just a part of life

How Our Brain Works Against Us

Thanks to mirror neurons in our brains, we respond back to others the same emotions they send to us. When they yawn, we yawn. When others cry, laugh, feel depressed, or yell, our brain returns that behavior.  What do our brains tell us to do when our child is tantruming? We want to tantrum too! Recognize when those mirror neurons are firing and don't give in. Set a calming tone so your child can eventually mirror your calm energy back at you.

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