Playing a musical instrument has been shown to have lifelong benefits. It strengthens executive function, teaches discipline and perseverance, and develops creativity. However, many of us have less than happy memories of practicing a musical instrument when we would rather be doing something else. How can we break the cycle with our own kids? We talk to Candice Choi, the Director at Musicians in the Making to learn more.
What are some of the benefits of playing a musical instrument?
There are many benefits of playing a musical instrument! Learning to play an instrument exercises all parts of the brain. Students learn to develop physical coordination while exercising their creative, emotional, and mathematical abilities all at the same time. Playing a musical instrument teaches the life skills that come along with learning something new. Most importantly, playing a musical instrument develops strong aural skills and the appreciation of creating beauty out of thin air!
I didn’t have the best experience with playing music as a kid. My parents made me play piano and I hated it. How can I avoid this with my own kid?
I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t have the best experience with playing music as a kid! We certainly can prevent this from happening with your child by continuing to engage and let the child lead with their own curiosity and creativity. You can encourage musical play at home by singing songs and dancing. You can make music in the kitchen with pots and pans! Play music around the house and show your child examples of other children playing the piano too! Celebrate them when they make strides in their musical development, no matter how big or small. Learning an instrument is not easy and children need as many cheerleaders as possible!
When is a good time to start music lessons? What instrument is the best for a little kid to start off with?
Age 4 or 5 is a great time to begin official lessons. The best instrument to start out on is piano. This is because the piano is a musical instrument that helps to develop a broad foundation for future musical studies. If students decide they want to learn other instruments when they get older, having knowledge of the piano gives them an advantage.
My kid is a little too young to start music lessons. How can I foster an appreciation of music at a younger age?
I always encourage parents to expose their child to all things musical! While they are too young to start lessons, you can still listen to a variety of music at home, attend family-friendly concerts, and dance and sing with your child! Once they are old enough to start formal lessons, all of their musical experiences will contribute to the success in their learning.
How long is an adequate trial of music lessons? I think my kid can really enjoy playing an instrument if they kept at it for longer. At the same time, I don’t want to drag things out if it’s not going to work out.
This is a great question! It really depends on the child. It is important to keep the student engaged so that they enjoy playing an instrument. When a student encounters a challenging time in their learning experience, I believe it is the teacher and parents’ job to help them through it. If one instrument is not suited for them, it is likely that a different instrument might be!
My kid has started lessons, but isn’t really interested. How can I get them to be more interested?
I would encourage them to find other friends who play music as well! Perform in a casual setting for one another at a playdate. Make music a part of their social life!
Musicians in the Making is a music school based out of the San Francisco Peninsula that serves students of all ages. Our unique approach allows our school to learn and collaborate with students and teachers both locally and around the world. Together as a community, we believe in creating harmony one note at a time!
Join Musicians in the Making for their Welcome Back Picnic on Sunday, October 1st from 1:00-3:00 PM for musical performances, food, and games! Location: Gellert Park, 50 Wembley Dr, Daly City, CA 94015
I am proud to call San Mateo my home, I have lived and worked all over the world but this is where I found my true sense of belonging. My journey into civic involvement accelerated when I became a parent, and led me to the incredible privilege of serving as Mayor of this wonderful City. As a San Mateo mom, I want to share my story of the transformative power that all of us parents have in shaping our community.
I grew up on welfare and in public housing, working two jobs in high school. My life was transformed by good policies and opportunities that allowed me to succeed. This personal experience has driven my commitment to champion San Mateo's values of inclusivity, prosperity, and resilience. I believe in a future where everyone has the chance to be lifted by our community.
I turned to the playgroups, forums and events to navigate those early years of parenthood and get my bearings! The San Mateo Parents' Club provided a platform for me to connect with other parents and start making a difference in our City. In 2019, I was appointed to the San Mateo City Council and then elected by over 24,000 voters, in the largest election in our City's history. In 2022, I was confirmed as the Mayor of San Mateo, a historic moment as I became the first Asian American woman and Jew of Color to hold this office. It was a proud moment for diversity and inclusion in our City's leadership.
Leading the City through the pandemic as a single mom was not easy. When we went into lockdown, I saw our fragile childcare system nearly collapse as enrollment rates and attendance plummeted. Childcare is essential to working families and our County is already strained by the cost and shortage of childcare spaces. I assembled and led a coalition of women leaders, nonprofit and public agencies to launch the San Mateo County COVID-19 Child Care Grant Program, which distributed $5.5M to over 300 child care providers to help child care providers keep their doors open for working families. I’m grateful for these chances to bring my lived experience as a parent into my leadership to better serve families and help us recover from the pandemic.
Now our public safety requires climate resilience. My first act as Mayor was to declare a state of emergency. Last Winter, we estimate 10,000 homes and businesses in San Mateo flooded. Our aged infrastructure is inadequate to protect the community from future flooding events and we need dedicated resources to fortify ourselves from the risks of climate change.
Residents and civic leaders united to create Flood Free San Mateo to support bold action to address flooding risk in our hometown. The Coalition is leading a ballot initiative that will create locally controlled and sustained funding to safeguard our homes, businesses, and public spaces from flooding.
Unanimously endorsed by the City Council and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Congressman Mullin, Senator Becker, San Mateo County Labor Council, San Mateo Police Officers' Association, San Mateo Consolidated Firefighters Association, San Mateo County Housing Leadership Council, small businesses, and neighborhood and faith leaders — all are encouraged to stay informed about the upcoming ballot initiative this Fall.
I encourage everyone to learn how San Mateo's stormwater management protects the well-being of our families, the vibrancy of our local economy, and the sustainability of our environment. Visit the Flood Free San Mateo website at: www.floodfreesanmateo.com
Together, we can tackle the generational challenges of our time. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve your families and build bridges that bring us together and forward. Thanks to the San Mateo Parents’ Club for being part of this incredible journey!
Want to learn more? Listen to Mayor Lee’s Interview with award winning radio host, Dr. Robert Franklin on NV-1.
Fall photos provide beautiful scenery, versatile outfit choices, and can be used and displayed in many ways. Let’s go over what you need to know when booking your fall photo session with Allie B, a lifestyle photographer, mom of two, and member of the San Mateo Parents Club.
Step One: Selecting a Photographer
Photographers offer different styles, price points, and packages. When reviewing a photographer's portfolio, consider style preferences such as color palette, contrast, posing, and more. For example, do you enjoy traditional posed family portraits or a group shot filled with giggles and movement? Do you prefer light and airy, bright and bold, or dark and moody? Deciding which style you like will help you to choose the right photographer.
Photographers may offer multiple types of sessions like shorter mini sessions that typically last around 15 minutes, or longer sessions that can span multiple hours. Mini sessions can be a great option for families with little ones that might not handle a longer session as well. They also work well for families looking for a smaller number of images. Be sure to do some research to find a photographer that suits your needs.
Did you know that SMPC partners with local photographers to fundraise for the club? By booking your fall photo session with SMPC you can get beautiful family photos and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the club. Spots fill up quickly, but a few slots have been added, so sign up!
Step Two: Choose a Location
Your location will set the vibe for your whole session. If you are opting for a mini session the location may be predetermined, but some photographers will offer different locations on different dates. Classic parks, beautiful beaches, stunning trees, and hillside views are just a few of the locations you might be considering. The colors of a location can make a big impact on your photos so keep in mind what colors you might like as a backdrop. Other considerations that might be important to you include distance, stroller access, parking, public restrooms, etc.! Communicating location requirements with your photographer can ensure a smooth experience.
Pro Tip: If you’re booking an outdoor session, consider booking as close to “golden hour” as possible. This is right after sunrise and right before sunset. The light is soft and gives a warm glow.
Step Three: Select Your Outfits
There are dos and don'ts when it comes to picking the perfect outfits for family photos. You can start by asking your photographer; they may have a style guide, client closet, or recommendations for you. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are great resources when looking for outfit inspiration. Once you have a general idea of what you would like to wear, here are some tips to keep in mind. First, looking great is wonderful, but the most important thing is to feel your best. This applies to adults and kiddos. Find outfits that are comfortable from a fit and fabric perspective. You want your outfits to coordinate, not match, this means sticking to a color palette, mixing in varying shades, and adding subtle contrast and interesting textures. If you stick with neutrals, you basically can’t fail! Some colors can absorb light while others can reflect. But if you do want to add in some color, I recommend pastels or earth tones. Don’t forget about the shoes, they can make or break a look. Matching outfits are generally a no-no for family photos. In theory they can be cute, but you lose contrast and create a less natural look.
When it comes to sourcing outfits you have options as well! You can sort through your current wardrobe, purchase all new clothes, rent, or supplement. H&M and Old Navy are great options that will cover the whole family. If you’re looking for a statement piece, consider Anthropologie or Baltic Born. Shop local for adults and kids, there are great boutiques for adults and children like Unseen, Sprout, and more! If you need quick shipping Amazon or Revolve might have options for you!
Lastly, when considering outfits and locations, imagine what a photo may look like as a large print being hung in your home.
Step Four: How to Prepare for Your Session?
Getting ready for family photos can feel stressful. You’re investing your time, money, and effort, and are hoping for beautiful family pictures. It’s important to be prepared! This will be different for each family and each session. Consider the following factors: What time of day is your session? Is it a long drive? Will there be restrooms? What is the weather? Depending on the age of your child/ren you may have different needs. Diapers, car potties, snacks, boogie wipes, or even an outfit change might be necessary.
Give yourself plenty of time. With kids, sometimes being late is inevitable. On session day give yourself plenty of time to pack up your car, get to your location, and get comfortable. While most photographers understand that life happens, be sure to ask your photographer or review your contract regarding cancellations or late arrivals.
Talk to your kids. Prepare them for the session by letting them know what to expect and what might be expected of them. But remember, things might not go according to plan. A photography session is a unique situation for adults and kids. Try to relax and go with the flow. Lean in to the good, the bad, and the silly. And if you’re really in a pinch, you might want to resort to bribes. Small candies do wonders getting my five-year-old to smile.
Step Five: What to Do with Your Family Photos?
Whether you’re a minimalist or a gallery wall fanatic, there are so many great options to save and utilize your family images. To maintain the image quality provided by a professional, you should download directly to a computer, not your phone, which may compress the image quality. Use reputable printing companies if ordering prints, books, or products. If your walls are mostly bare, consider using your photo as a background on your TV. Finally, consider gifting your photos! There are so many amazing options for gifting an image that go beyond holiday cards. Send loved ones mugs, ornaments, magnets, and more.
If you have any questions, you can email Allie, at email@example.com. Follow her on Instagram to hear about upcoming sessions and for more family photo session tips! @alliebphotography.abp
Real estate investment is one of the important wealth building blocks. The San Francisco Bay Area has a high demand for rental properties due to its vibrant job market and a consistent influx of professionals and students. This can lead to a low vacancy rate and the potential for steady rental income. Rental income can be made by renting out a garage, room, or a house or apartment if you have it. And this can be a short-term or long-term arrangement.
A long-term rental means leasing part or all your property to a tenant for a predetermined period of time, such as a year-long or six-month lease.
A short-term rental is when you rent out part or all your property for a shorter time span, often without a lease agreement. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO allow property owners to list their space on a nightly basis.
So what makes investing in a rental property a lucrative financial decision? Here are 7 key benefits to consider:
While investing in rental properties can be rewarding, it's worth noting that investing in rental property comes with risks and challenges, such as property management responsibilities, potential market fluctuations, and local regulations. Whether you rent out your property for a short or long period of time, being a host or landlord does require some effort, especially if you want to find great renters. And to be effective, an investment property must be purchased at the right cost to produce cash flow monthly.
Are you interested in adding a rental property to your financial portfolio? A Gem Home has a workshop designed to help you answer some key investor questions on Tuesday, August 8 at 7pm over Zoom. RSVP today!
Article was generously written and contributed by Ling Wang of A Gem Home.
Congratulations, you're about to embark on one of the most rewarding and challenging journeys of having an infant - chest/breastfeeding. As lactation experts and advocate for breastfeeding, the team at Healthy Horizons has seen many new families struggle with this beautiful yet demanding aspect of raising a baby. In this article, we'll share five invaluable insights that we wish we had known about breastfeeding before having a baby. These tips will empower you to navigate the ups and downs of breastfeeding and create a nurturing experience for both you and your little one.
One of the most crucial things to remember about breastfeeding is that it's a learning process for both mother and baby. As natural as it may seem, breastfeeding requires practice and patience. Some babies latch effortlessly from the start, while others may take time to find their rhythm. Don't be discouraged if you encounter difficulties in the beginning. Seek support from experienced lactation consultants who can provide guidance and encouragement. Remember, your baby is also adjusting to this new world and learning to feed as much as you are learning to breastfeed.
A proper latch is fundamental to successful breastfeeding. Ensuring your baby is latching correctly will prevent discomfort, pain, and improve milk transfer. Key points to remember are:
Positioning: Hold your baby close to you, with their body facing yours. Their nose should align with your nipple, and their mouth should be wide open before latching. Here is a YouTube video that demonstrates how to hold your baby while breastfeeding.
Latch: When your baby latches, ensure that they take in a significant portion of the areola along with the nipple. A shallow latch can lead to sore nipples and hinder efficient milk flow. Here is a YouTube video that explains proper latch.
Comfort: Breastfeeding should not be painful. If you experience discomfort or pain, gently break the latch and try again. Seeking assistance from a lactation consultant can be beneficial in correcting any latching issues.
Breast milk supply is a common concern for new parents. It's essential to understand that milk supply can fluctuate throughout your breastfeeding journey. During the early days, your baby will have frequent feeding sessions to stimulate milk production and establish a robust supply. As your baby grows and their feeding patterns change, your body will naturally adjust to their needs.
Remember, breastfeeding works on a supply-and-demand basis. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your body will produce. Trust your body and your baby's cues. Avoid comparing yourself to others or stressing over the amount of milk you produce. If you're concerned about your milk supply, consult a lactation expert or your healthcare provider for personalized advice. There are also some wonderful lactation supplements, and teas/treats available to help boost milk supply!
Breastfeeding can be physically and emotionally demanding. It's crucial to establish a support system and prioritize self-care during this time. Surround yourself with supportive family members, friends, online communities, and join a breastfeeding support group where you can share your experiences and receive encouragement.
Ensure you're nourishing yourself with a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest. Guide your employer to a well known resource for workplace lactation rooms, so you’re able to continue to be supported when you return to work. Remember, taking care of yourself allows you to provide the best care for your baby. If you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, don't hesitate to ask for help, and consider enlisting the support of your partner or loved ones to take over some tasks, so you can focus on breastfeeding and bonding with your baby.
While breast milk is the most nutritious food for your baby, breastfeeding is more than just a means of nourishment. It's a powerful way to bond with your little one and provide them with comfort, security, and love. Breastfeeding promotes skin-to-skin contact, releases bonding hormones, and fosters a deep emotional connection between parent and child.
Embrace this intimate time with your baby and be present in the moment. As your baby grows, you will cherish these breastfeeding memories. Remember that breastfeeding is a personal journey, and every mother, baby, and family is unique. Embrace the experience and be proud of the gift you are giving your child through breastfeeding.
With many wonderful parks and playgrounds in San Mateo County, it can be hard to decide where to go. Should you go to a tried and true park with playgrounds the kids already love? Or should you check out a new park that could become their new favorite? The only thing better than the parks in our area is our weather, which allows for visits virtually any time of the year!
Some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a playground:
Separation between age groups: Playgrounds can be exciting or scary for smaller kids. Separate areas for older and younger kids can create a safer and more comfortable setting for younger kids to explore.
Gates: Gated playgrounds provide parents with peace of mind when supervising kids, especially if there’s more than one child to keep an eye on.
Tan bark versus rubber surfaces: Your mileage may vary with this one. Tan bark can be fun for kids to play with (or throw, grrr), but has a tendency to get stuck in clothes and hair. Rubber surfaces are softer and ideal for new walkers, but can get hot on warm days.
Sand: Many playgrounds have sand pits for imaginative play. It’s a great place for kids to socialize and learn how to share, as long as you’re okay with brushing sand out of clothes, shoes, hair…
Shade: With the longer days and warmer temperatures, shade can be very important for keeping your kids (and yourselves!) comfortable during any playground outing.
Water: We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve forgotten to bring a snack or a water bottle. Easily accessible water fountains will ensure everyone stays well hydrated.
Facilities: Bathrooms are essential, and picnic areas are handy for outdoor meals and snacks. Some parks may have additional facilities.
With that in mind, here’s a short, not all-inclusive, list of parks in San Mateo County that are popular with parents and kids. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite!
2720 Alameda de las Pulgas, San Mateo
A park that has a lot to offer for its size. It has a large playground (not gated, tan bark) with separate play structures for older and younger children. There are some shade structures throughout the play area, but it can still get very warm on sunny days. Due to the large number of picnic areas around the playgrounds and the expansive grassy areas, it’s very popular for birthday parties. For older kids, there’s also a small skate park. It is the home to San Mateo’s only community garden as well as the San Mateo Garden Center.
900 Chestnut Street, San Carlos
The only playground on this list where the toddler playground is separately gated from the rest of the park. The playground for the bigger kids is not gated. Both play areas have sand pits to play in. The play surfaces are rubber and concrete and there is some shade from surrounding trees. There are picnic areas scattered throughout the park, and there are a few picnic tables located within the gated toddler playground, perfect for snack time. There are grassy areas adjacent to the playgrounds for the little one who needs to work off the wiggles.
50 East 5th Avenue, San Mateo
There’s lots that this park has to offer, including a few playgrounds (not gated, tan bark/sand). Playgrounds are shady due to nearby trees, but it can still get warm on hot days. The park has many picnic areas and is very popular on weekends. Besides playgrounds, Central Park has many community events throughout the year. The Japanese Garden is a peaceful sanctuary with public koi feedings twice a day during the Spring and Summer. There used to be a popular Mini Train, but it has recently gone into retirement.
3471 Glendora Drive, San Mateo
This park has many walking paths and trails that lead into Sugarloaf Mountain. There is a gated playground area with play structures for older and younger children. Both play structures have sand pits, and there is no separation between the two play structures. There are many picnic areas with expansive lawns for running around. Pro tip: This is an extremely big park adjacent to Sugarloaf Mountain. The closest parking to the playgrounds can be found on Shasta Drive. There is a small parking lot as well as parking in the adjacent neighborhood.
Magical Bridge Playgrounds
CuriOdyssey, San Mateo
Mitchell Park, Palo Alto
Red Morton Park, Redwood City
The Magical Bridge Foundation designs and builds playgrounds all around the world that are socially inclusive and physically accessible. There are multiple Magical Bridge playgrounds in the Bay Area, and a few are linked above. There is a separate play area for toddlers, but it is not gated off from the larger playground. Play surfaces are rubber, Astroturf, and tan bark (some loose, some bound). Shade varies depending on playground location. The Palo Alto playground is well shaded, while the Redwood City playground has less shade and can get warm on a hot day (but there are often ice cream trucks nearby!). The Redwood City location has a water feature for kids to play in, while the San Mateo location is at CuriOdyssey and is only open during museum hours.
2900 Baze Road, San Mateo
Located in the Bay Meadows neighborhood, it is very popular with families who live in the area. There’s a gated playground with play structures for older and younger children, with no gate separation between the play structures. The surface is rubberized, but there is no shade, so it can get warm on sunny days. There is a sandpit that sees a lot of action from toy trucks and plastic shovels on the weekends. There are also some picnic tables, one of which is right next to the playground.
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