Parental involvement, happy parents, benefits of reading, fun for kids, free economics seminars for ages 14-26

If you are always looking for fun things to do with your kids, bayareakidfun.com is a terrific resource. It compiles a weekly list of the dozens of plays, musical performances, exhibits and more being offered in our area each weekend and you can even sign up for a weekly newsletter giving you the highlights.

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Do you know of a student ages 14-26 who is, or might be, interested in economics? Last summer my teenage daughter attended an economics seminar put on by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). She lived in a dorm at St. Louis University and attended workshops with dozens of other high school students. Best of all, the seminar was free (room, board, books and tuition all covered, you just have to get there). FEE has just posted their summer 2014 seminars, and topics include: “Making Innovation Possible: The Role of Economics in Scientific Progress”; “Are Markets Just? Exploring the Social Significance of a Free Economy”; and “How Economic Thinking Can Create a Better World.” The closest campus being offered for the program this year is Chapman University (near Los Angeles). Schedules and applications are at fee.org/seminars. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so apply early.

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The Sonoma Community Center will launch three classes in its “Fun for 5 and Under” program this month. Jaime Love will offer “Exploring Movement through the Senses,” for children ages 2 through 5 on Saturdays, Jan.11 through Feb. 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. Krissy Marchus will lead “Dance from Around the World,” introducing children to international music and dances on Thursdays, Jan.16 through Feb. 20 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. In “Making Music,” Kathryn Del Chiaro will introduce a special instrument each day to explore music, creative expression and coordination on Mondays, beginning Jan. 27, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Parents and children are welcome to attend the first class free. The cost is $75 for a six-week session. To register, call SCC at 938-4626, or stop by to register in person. These programs are made possible by the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation.

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A happy parent raises a happy child (in most cases). Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier, courtesy of Beth Cooper (at Buffer.com)

1. Exercise: Exercise has a profound effect on our happiness and well-being. It can help you relax, increase your brainpower, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.

2. Sleep more: Sleep helps our bodies recover from the day and repair itself, and that helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness.

3. Spend more time with friends/family: Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference in how happy we feel.

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