After a long, lazy summer, your kids are heading back to school this week. Is it safe to say they’re not entirely happy about this? Two Meredith magazines — Parents and Family Fun — promise to make the ordeal a bit easier. But both manage to airbrush the difficulties with an obsessive focus on how to con kids into eating healthy foods or keep them occupied with craft projects.
Family Fun mostly caters to parents of well-behaved girls, with its focus on arts and crafts and cooking for beginners. There’s a feature article called “Sew Cool for School,” in which kids learn how to decorate desk organizers, backpacks and pencil pouches with needlepoint. Sound like more fun than playing Candy Crush on an iPhone? If your kid thinks so, maybe you should be writing a magazine column yourself.
Other pearls of wisdom include recipes that overthink snacks like trail mix. Take the “banana split” version, which has kids grabbing fistfuls of popcorn, banana chips, chocolate chips, walnuts and freeze-dried strawberries. Blech! For the kids with sophisticated palates, it suggests a sushi-stuffed avocado. We wonder how that recipe plays in Meredith’s home state of Iowa.
Parents teases us with a cover photo of fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, posing with her two kids, Luca, 5, and Bowie, 3. If you’re hoping for a celebrity dish on parenting, the closest thing to dirt you’ll find in this fluffy one-page Q&A is Minkoff admitting that she shops at Zara for her kids.
Parents’ take on back-to-school includes 50 tips from teachers, educational experts, bus drivers and the like. It goes without saying that number of them strike us as not so bright. But the hands-down jaw-dropper of them all was tip No. 9, from a first-grade teacher in North Carolina who advises — we kid you not — “Ask me for my Starbucks order, and surprise me with it one morning.” We’re guessing (and hoping) this teacher — and her principal — got a few eye openers from parents who read that one. Ditto for the editor of this particular feature.
Elsewhere, Parents tackles tough issues: finding time for sex (the parents, we mean) and an article on how parents balance work and financial stresses these days.
Hint: If you were hoping for a way around it, you’d better get a grip: Expect to fork over as much as 30 percent of your income on childcare.
Disciplining kids a big business
Look out, Park Slope: New York has a feature on how creepy — and expensive —…