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Register Now for Movie Night on March 3

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Going to the movies with toddlers can be challenging. Between keeping your fingers crossed that they remain calm throughout a film to the frequent bathroom breaks that come from having tiny bladders, actually getting two hours to relax and enjoy a feature is nearly impossible. Watching movies at home is always an option, but even with the latest and greatest in surround sound and the highest definition television, you still miss out on the moving-going experience. This is exactly why PAMP holds Family Movie Nights two to three times a year.

PAMP movie nights are a great way to get the family out of the house, mingle with other PAMP parents, have dinner and enjoy a feature film. Bring a towel or mat and your own drinks – even alcohol – and PAMP will provide the pizza and snacks for the low price of $5 for adults and $2.50 for children over 1, making movie night an easy option for budget-friendly, family fun.  

On March 3 at 6:20 p.m. (doors open at 6) PAMP will screen Finding Dory at the Mitchell Park Community Center, where everyone’s favorite blue fish searches for her long-long parents and learns about friendship and the real meaning of family along the way. Animated by the Disney-Pixar team in 2016, Finding Dory is rated PG and runs just over an hour and a half.

Make sure you register by 10 p.m. on THURSDAY, March 2 so we can make sure we order enough pizza to feed everyone, and we’ll see you at the movies!

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The Emotional and Psychological Benefits Of Kids With Pets

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

One of the biggest reasons parents opt to get a pet for their child is to teach youngsters important lessons about responsibility and this also include them in the circle of life. But there’s many other ways that animals can impact kids both psychologically and emotionally. From larger labradors to tiny terriers, fluffy felines and cuddly kittens, this important bond does more than help kids understand caring for another living creature and dealing with the concept of life and death.

For a prime example, in an earlier post we discussed many relevant questions parents should be asking their healthcare provider about an ADHD diagnosis for their child. But did you know that interactions with animals can also have an important impact on kids with mental and emotional disorders like ADHD?

According to results of a study published by our neighbors to the south, The Orange County Register, they reported using positive reinforcement with kids similar to training techniques used with animals that provide positive and unique results that are important to their development.

One of the leading educational psychologists participating in this study, Dr. Sabrina Schuck of the UC Irvine Child Development Center, viewed the struggles of children who are often given authoritative messages from home and school. They may be subject to aggressive statements like, “sit-up straight, pay attention, stop talking,” and other advice from educators, care providers or parents who become inadvertently impatient from some of these symptomatic behaviors. Even children without mental health or educational difficulties can suffer from the deliverance of these statements.

During their research, these professionals shied away from delivering these types of commands to children. Instead, they offered alternatives to thwarting these types of destructive or antisocial behavior that kids can often exhibit. As a part of their experiment, they used time with animals as a reward. Similar to positive training techniques used with pets, they delivered the same methodology with kids with similar results.

Results and Rewards
"For kids with ADHD and kids in general it's hard keep them motivated," offers Dr. Schuck. "The theory is, if kids are reading to the dog (for example) it makes it a little more engaging than if just had to read in front of their peers." So it only stands to reason that interacting with animals offers benefits for children regardless of their mental or emotional state of mind.

Even without a diagnosis of a learning disability or a debilitating mental condition, having a pet at home can help provide children a way to navigate a myriad of different difficulties into a more relaxed and controlled environment. Think of it this way, if you’re attempting to discipline a child, all they usually see is a command with no sense of reward or achievement, especially for a toddler who doesn’t understand language skills as of yet. 

Instruction and Interaction
When a pet is included in a family environment, children will see that bad behaviors result in negative consequences, but not without using positive reinforcement techniques. Children learn from what they see and grow from these experiences. As parents and pet owners, we’ve stopped swatting dogs on their noses with a rolled-up newspaper and have refrained from spanking our kids. We’ve replaced these tactics with better forms of discipline that don’t include violence.

From toddlers to teens, the younger we start introducing our kids to interaction with animals, the better off we’ll all be in the long run. Giving kids a relationship with a pet provides them with a form of interaction that comes without judgement, devoid of sarcasm, a lack of bullying and other situations we can’t control when they’re away from our supervision. This will help to build their self esteem and feed their soul with unconditional love which gives them a place where they understand relationships from a simpler standpoint. 

Hilary Smith is a freelance journalist based out of Chicago. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary attended St. Stephen's Episcopal School and Northwestern University's school of journalism. Upon graduation, she turned her love of technology into a freelance writing career. After becoming a mother, she began focusing on writing about family and parenting in the digital age.

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Study: Children with IBS Vitamin D Deficient

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

If your child suffers from irritable bowel syndrome there may be help in sight. A recent study out of the University of Massachusetts suggests that 90 percent of preteens and teenagers diagnosed with IBS are vitamin D deficient.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, state that Dr. Benjamin U. Nwosu, an associate professor of pediatrics, suggest children diagnosed with vitamin D should receive supplementation. It’s estimated that 6 percent of middle schoolers are affected with the disorder, but symptoms can arise much earlier.

“I was surprised that IBS had the highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency of all the gastrointestinal disorders we studied in the past five years,” said Nwosu. “The primary finding from this study is that one out of every two pediatric patients with IBS has vitamin D deficiency compared to one out of every four healthy children and adolescents without IBS. The importance of this study was to initiate the first steps in the critical assessment of the role of vitamin D as an adjunctive therapy in children and adolescents with IBS.”

The study was completed by analyzing the medical records of 55 children with IBS and 116 children without the disorder. The deficiency was found at a much higher rate than children with celiac disease and lactose intolerance. It also investigated the relationship between vitamin D and symptoms that accompany IBS – anxiety, depression and migraine headaches.

Further research is expected, but if your child is experiencing IBS or IBS-symptoms, parents are encouraged to discuss it with their pediatrician to determine if their child may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. 

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Meet PAMP's New Membership Manager

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

She has only been on the job a couple of months, but PAMP Membership Manager Divya Visweswaran is excited about conquering the challenges that come along with her new role.

Divya says her job entails ensuring that members are satisfied with their membership, their questions and concerns are addressed and they’re able to make use of PAMP resources. This involves answering daily emails, recruiting volunteers for upcoming events, and managing the back-end membership database.

“I love the multi-faceted nature of the work,” she says. “I enjoy interacting with members online, learning about the membership back end/database, meetings with colleagues.” 

Having been a PAMP member for the year prior to taking the membership manager position, Divya says she’s truly interested in seeing membership steadily grow and have PAMP remain the valuable resource to new parents, just like it was to her when she joined six months after having her son, Kiran.

Although she currently resides with her husband and Kiran in Palo Alto, Divya grew up in Bangalore, India. Her husband, too, is from outside of the United States – a native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada to be exact. The pair married and moved to Palo Alto 10 years ago.

At home, the Visweswarans enjoy listening to Morrissey and music of the sitar and tabla, and when not chasing after Kiran, Divya loves reading classic novels, hiking the Stanford Dish on weekends and planning upcoming travel. Prior to obtaining the membership manager position, Divya volunteered as a home play date host.

Tags:  membership manager  PAMP staff 

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A Funtastic Super Sunday

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017

PAMP families and friends came together for a Super Sunday morning of activities, music, fun and movement at the first ever Funtastic Winter Arts & Crafts Day on February 5.

The morning opened with breakfast, followed by a music class with Music Together. Alkalign Studios had a “Spin to Win” and a yoga-inspired movement activity, La Petite Baleen provided coloring pages for kids to decorate with stickers, glitter and crayons and the always fun Messy Play Kits was there with its sensory stimulating signature goo children love. We even had bagels, cream cheese, mini muffins and a hot chocolate bar from Whole Foods.

"I really appreciated the casual environment where my three kids explored a few local activities while I got to know parents and prod teachers with my many questions,” said non-PAMP member Michelle Hurtado. “This event was extra special for the environment it created - unlike a fair of booths, it was a place to play and learn for kids and parents alike!"

For PAMP-member Erika Bailey, it was the Messy Play Kits activity that stole the show with her toddler. 

“I attended the winter craft morning with my just turned 3 year old Olivia, 5 month old Jackson and my mom Pat,” said Bailey. “We signed up with friends and their almost 3 year old Laura, so the girls could have a play date. Olivia loved the fizzing, melting snowman sensory play and the Music Together class with teacher Shay, who had been our teacher. The hot chocolate and bagels were a nice surprise and I appreciated the almond milk option.”

Held at Menlo Park’s Arrillaga Center, the two-hour morning was open to both PAMP members and non-members, and although the morning was geared toward children 0-5, Bailey believes the older toddler age group – children between three and four – got the most out of the activities provided and hopes that future events will contain more crafts that allow for expanded creativity. Overall, she said she was pleased with the price she paid.

Wish you could have experienced the fun? PAMP is hosting another great event, a movie night, on Friday, March 3 at 6 p.m. We will be screening Finding Dory at the Mitchell Park Community Center. Register now for $5 for adults and $2.50 for children over the age of one – pizza provided.

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Bullied Kids Suffer Academically

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Last week, a study in the Journal of Educational Psychology stated that children bullied throughout their educational career have declined test scores, a distaste for school and lack of confidence in their abilities.

Researchers monitored hundreds of children from kindergarten through high school and found nearly 25 percent had experienced chronic bullying.

Gary W. Ladd, the study’s lead and a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, began research in 1992 when he and his colleagues chose 383 (190 boys and 193 girls) kindergarteners to participate. Each year, the children were assessed and asked to describe their experiences with bullying, violence and verbal abuse on a scale of  one “almost never” to five “almost always.”

Of the 24 percent of children who reported chronic bullying, the study revealed they had lower academic achievement, a greater dislike for school and less academic confidence. The 18 percent of students who experienced moderate bullying early and increased bullying later on suffered similar consequences than the chronically bullied children.

The study also found that boys were more likely to stuff from chronic bullying, and when the study began cyber-bullying was not an issue. However, by the study’s end, 23 percent of participants had dropped out.

One-quarter of the children came from families with annual income of under $20,000, 39 percent from families making above $50,000 and the remainder were from families with an annual income between $20,000 and $50,000. Seventy-seven of the participants were white, 18 percent African-American and the remainder were Hispanic, biracial or came from other ethnic backgrounds. Most of the children were from Illinois, but by the fifth year many had migrated to other states.

Additional information can be found on

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ADHD: Helpful Questions to Ask Your Provider

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2017

Does my child have ADHD?  As an assessment psychologist working in a pediatric clinic I hear that question quite often. I understand the reasons behind it, but find it’s not exactly the most useful question to ask when trying to understand and help a child who might be having difficulties.

While we have various measures and methods of assessing for ADHD, getting a Yes or No answer to that question doesn’t necessarily provide much insight into effective interventions for home or school. ADHD, which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a clinical diagnosis that can be provided by qualified providers. The diagnosis provides an overarching label to multiple behaviors or symptoms that can potentially open the door for various services such as formal accommodations at school via a 504 Plan or an IEP. But that is probably where the usefulness of the label ends.

ADHD is a diagnosis that covers a wide range of behaviors and issues including, but not limited to short attention span, increased distractibility, increased activity levels and hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor executive function skills such as planning, organizing, and self-regulating. ADHD is comprised of three types: 1) Primarily inattentive, 2) Primarily hyperactive/impulsive, or 3) Both. Children who have the same primary diagnosis may not necessarily “look” the same or need the same intervention plan. There are different degrees of severity and accompanying issues to consider. Other individual factors such as self-awareness and insight, anxiety, sensitivity, self-esteem and many more are relevant. In addition, a child’s environment both at home and at school is critical to fully understand the impact of an attention/self-regulation based disorder.

Therefore, when looking for help with your child’s possible attention deficits, limited regulation, or impulsive behaviors, it is far more helpful to consider the specific behaviors, symptoms, issues, and struggles that you and your child are experiencing and ask the following:

  1. What might be causing, contributing, or helping maintain such difficulties?
  2. How do such difficulties impact my child’s functioning? (This may be at school and home including learning, interactions with others, sense of self, etc.)
  3. What are some recommended interventions to address these difficulties and to reduce any negative impact they might have?

An ADHD diagnosis may be a part of the answer to the first question but won’t be very helpful for the other two, which are as important if not more so. Every child is a unique individual regardless of an ADHD (or other) diagnosis. Thus, while there will be some overlap in interventions recommended, the plan for each child will differ. There are certainly some well-recognized interventions for children with ADHD that can indeed be helpful. However, it’s necessary to consider the multitude of individual and diverse factors relevant to each child in order to recommend or provide truly helpful interventions. 

Hadas Pade is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at Sutcliffe Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Pade, originally from Israel, is fluent in Hebrew and English. She has worked in a variety of settings providing assessments, therapy, training, and consultations to children, adolescents and families, as well as training and consultations with teachers and schools. Dr. Pade is a strength-based provider who specializes in conducting psycho-educational and psychodiagnostic assessments for children and adolescents.

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Study: Kids are Consuming Too Many Sugary Beverages

Posted By Communications Manager, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2017

In new information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the organization reports that almost two-thirds of children aged 2-19 consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage each day, and 30 percent of children drink two or more sugary drinks per day.

Within that data, male toddlers (ages 2-5) are drinking 65 calories and female toddlers are consuming 59 calories each day, making up 4.1 and 4.0 percent of their daily calories, respectively. As children age, the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed per date increases, with boys aged 12-19 drinking an average of 232 calories per day and girls 12-19 drinking 162 calories. Boys aged 6-11, on average, drink 133 calories per day and girls aged 6-11 consume 104 calories.

When breaking the information down by race, boys and girls identifying as Non-Hispanic Asian consume half as many calories from sugar-sweetened beverages as all other races. Hispanic females, followed by Non-Hispanic white females consume the next lowest calories. Non-Hispanic black females and Hispanic males consume equal amount of sugar with Non-Hispanic white and Non-Hispanic black males topping the list.

Current dietary guidelines recommend that less than 10 percent of a person’s daily calories come from added sugars and the American Heart Association recommends children cons

ume under 100 calories of added sugar and limiting the intake of sugary drinks to no more than eight ounces per week. According to the CDC, consuming an excess of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, cavities and high cholesterol in children.

The information for this study was compiled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for years 2011-2012 and 2013-2014. Information was collected through an in-person 24-hour dietary recall interviews covering beverage intake for a 24-hour period.

Sweetened beverages within the study were defined as regular soda, fruit drinks – including sweetened bottled waters and fruit juices with added sugar) – sports and energy drinks, sweetened coffees and teas and other sweetened beverages, including horchata and those sweetened with sugarcane. Diet drinks, 100 percent fruit juice and self-sweetened drinks (coffees and teas) were not included in the data. 

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Get Your Table Now for the 2017 PAMP Rummage Sale

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2017

It's that time of year again! Register now for the annual PAMP Rummage Sale at the PAMP member price of only $30 to sell your previously loved children's and maternity clothes, equipment, toys and household items. This is a great opportunity to get a jump start on your spring cleaning and make another parent's day. 

Previous Rummage Sales have been a huge success for parents and we are opening tables to PAMP members first!

Here's the rundown:

- All tables are 6 ft y 3 ft and are not assigned.

- No signs or banners promoting businesses are allowed, unless you are a Rummage Sale sponsor, and you cannot represent a business or sell on behalf of a business, nonprofit or church

- All items must be "like new" - puzzles must have all of their pieces, clothing must be stain- and- hole-free. Items that have been recalled are prohibited. Check Consumer Product Safety Commission for all recalls

- Keeping your items organized in your own portable racks or bins and sorting them by size, sex or season will help, and please bring your own price tags or stickers to avoid any confusion. 

- Pricing items on par with Ebay, Craigslist or consignment stores will help you be a more successful seller. We are aiming to sell 50 tables and other members may have similar items so keep that in mind when pricing your goods. 

- Plan on staying the entire duration of the event to get the maximum exposure. You are responsible for your own set up and breakdown.

- Finally, you have the opportunity to donate any items that you don't sell to the Salvation Army, which will accept all types of baby and children's items. This is not mandatory, but encouraged. 

-Volunteers gain early access (if you want to get in on the goods early, volunteer the day of the event. email for more information) so setup should be complete by 8:10 a.m. The event is open to PAMP members at 8:30 a.m. and the general public at 9:30 a.m. Entry for shoppers is free and the event will end at noon. Cleanup needs to be complete by 1 p.m.

Ready to buy? Purchase your table today for the PAMP member price of only $30 and join us at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto on Sunday, March 19. 


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Let Them Play! Drop-in Play Spaces around the Peninsula

Posted By Communications Manager, Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Toddlers are tiny little powerhouses of unwavering energy, and sometimes all the toys in the world can’t keep them entertained. All their zest for life and curiosity can, at times, be draining, and sometimes you just need a break – we get it. We also understand that making a weekly play date or class might not fit into your busy schedule, but you’re in luck. We’ve put together a list of drop-in play places that can tucker out your little ones.

Wund3rkid (559 College Ave., Palo Alto)
Wund3rkid offers a drop-in play rate of $25. Children must be at least 9 months old and accompanied by an adult, but they can enjoy Wund3rkid’s selection of toys from around the world.

Parents Place (200 Channing Ave., Palo Alto; 2001 Winward Way Ste. 200, San Mateo)
Play with your child (birth to 5 years) at Parents Place’s Drop-In Play on Monday and Friday from 9:30 to 11:20 a.m. and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to noon for a low $10 fee.

La Petite Playhouse (1264 Oddstad Drive, Redwood City)
For children under 3, La Petite Playhouse has a baby and toddler play area with slides, crawl spaces and mats. For children over 3, a larger play space is available.  

Safari Run (341 N Amphlett Blvd., San Mateo and 1180 Kern Ave., Sunnyvale)
For an annual fee (or drop-in rate of $10), Safari Run will give you 20 open play sessions between Monday and Friday in its jungle-themed locations.

Diddalidoo (544 San Mateo Ave., San Bruno)
Diddalidoo has three areas – infant, toddler and quiet – to entertain babies and toddlers of all ages. Single day passes cost $13.

Play! Los Altos (170 State Street, Los Altos)
Day passes start at $10 and range from 30 minutes to a half-day of play. Children can participate in arts and crafts, fort building and hide and seek.

Rec Room Creative (1419 Chapin Ave., Ste 101 Burlingame)
Recently opened (January 17, 2017), Rec Room Creative offers open-ended collaborative, imaginative and construction-type play for children under 6. Drop-in play is offered during business hours (every day except Monday). One hour play rates are $15 for one adult/child and $10 for one adult/infant (infant is defined as pre-walker). Additional guest rates are $10 per child and $5 per adult.

Sky High Sports (1524 Rollins Rd, Burlingame)
Although for older littles, Sky High Sports has a Kids Court with trampolines and a foam pit. Day passes start at $14.

Pump It Up (1309 Elmer St, Unit A, Belmont)
Open Play is from $12 10 a.m. -noon and $12 will give your children the opportunity to play with Pump It Up’s giant, soft and interactive inflatables. Children must be are at least 34 inches tall to play.


My Gym (2655 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto)
My Gym’s $75 membership fee is transferable to all My Gym Centers around the world and if you sign up for a 4-week course for $88, your child is entitled to one Practice & Play session (unstructured parent and child time) per week.

Junior Gym (811 South B Street, San Mateo)
Buy a membership for $50 or pay an hourly fee of $8 and hour if you’re a registered guest of a member or an inactive member to gain access to Junior Gym’s open gym Monday – Friday. They’ll love romping around Junior Gym’s play structures, sliding down the zip line and running through its obstacle course.

Gymboree (664 Los Altos Rancho, Los Altos)
A $50 new member initiation fee (currently being waived) and monthly membership fee (between $74 and $129) entitles members to weekly open gym hours on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and weekly classes (the $129 monthly option gives parents a two-hour drop-off option per week) as well as other discounts.

Know of any other local drop-in play places? Let us know in the comments. 

Tags:  peninsula play  places to play  play spaces 

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