The Buzz: Latest Tips & Trends for Parents


The Catskills’ Emerson Resort & Spa is already well known; last year, Conde Nast Johansens, the hotel guide, named it the “Most Outstanding Inn in North America, Bermuda, The Caribbean, Mexico and The Pacific”.  Now, The Emerson is giving parents-to-be the luxury treatment with their new Babymoon Getaway.  A package includes two nights’ accommodation mid-week; dinner each night in the resort’s restaurant; a Mother Goddess spa package (facial, Indian head massage, luxury pedicure); spa treatments for Dad (neck-and-shoulder massage). Plus celebratory gift basket with Emerson onesie, pregnancy calendar, and jar of pickles and other goodies; this comes in a reusable ice cream container, which Mom can fill with ice cream to satisfy her pregnancy craving — at any hour of the day or night.  The Emerson Babymoon starts at $995 per couple. Call 1-877-688-2828, or visit (11/06)


You can get your kids to remember their chores with PAYjr, a free online service for parents and kids.  Parents can assign a dollar amount to different chores and kids get emails reminding them of what they need to do, and what they will earn.  For an online tutorial, go to (11/06)


If nursing your baby isn’t soothing enough, the new Nurse n' Sleep battery-operated pillow vibrates and massages. $44.95 at (11/06)


   Having conquered the pregnancy market with her Mothers Work maternity clothing empire (which includes Mimi Maternity, Motherhood, A Pea In the Pod, and Destination Maternity stores, as well as Edamame Spas), Philadelphia mom Rebecca Matthias is now turning her attention to saving for college.  An offshoot company created by Matthias, Futuretrust, is offering a MasterCard-linked college savings program that helps families get a 'jump' on saving for college by automatically contributing 1 percent of purchases to a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan of the member's choice. Additional rebates are also available when members make purchases from retailers participating in the Futuretrust Preferred Merchant Network. There’s no membership fee. Applications are available at the maternity stores mentioned above, online at, or by calling 1.888.trust68. (9/06)


   Its proponents say the growing trend of teaching hearing babies sign language reduces frustration and may even boost IQ in the tiniest of humans.  Baby Fingers, a leading New York City program, is coming to LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City this fall.  There will be Saturday classes for newborns-15 months; and 12 months-2 years.  Level 3 classes, for ages 15 months-3 years, begin in January.  For info: Amanda Polania (718) 482-5324, or email: To register: (718) 482-7244. (9/06)


   You and your spouse sit down at a table lit by flickering candles, beautifully set, and are served a gourmet dinner by . . . your kids? If this sounds like a dream come true, or merely a dream, Steve Sundberg, executive chef at Skytop Lodge in the Pocono Mountains, aims to make it a reality with his Kids Cook in the Clouds event on Saturday, December 9, 2006.  Children ages 7 to 14 will learn how to create a dinner party, including crafting invitations, menu design, table etiquette, and becoming a gracious host.  While this is going on, parents can enjoy some relaxation time — at the Skytop spa, or hiking, doing yoga or going on a bike ride.  Then everyone gets together to enjoy the meal.  All this is part of the lodge’s special culinary weekend. Info/reservations: 1-800-345-7759; (9/06)


   The littlest stars can get a taste of the performing life when they step on stage at Be Mused Productions’ new children’s theater workshops, taking place in White Plains. Weekend classes offer the Broadway experience to kids in grades K-2 (“Wee Musicals”); grades 1-9 in various “Be Musical” workshops; and all ages, in “Family Musical” workshops where mom and dad get to perform with their kids.  Be Mused is run by veteran performer Kim Breden, who has been working with kids for 10 years.  Info: (914) 423-2063; (9/06)


   Operating for almost 30 years and now spread throughout the world, Banana Splits is a school-based program for kids who have experienced parental divorce or death. Group sessions provide a safe place for children to express their feelings and teach coping skills. Psychologist Dr. Valerie Raymond, who runs the groups at Friends Seminary school in Manhattan, has created a website providing activities and resources for parents, and information for teachers interested in setting up groups. In November, she will also be holding her annual training day for prospective Banana Splits group leaders.  Go to for more info. (9/06)


   Kids don’t often get tired of their toys these days, but parents and teachers can encourage them anyway to design their own — and shoot for the stars, in the 5th annual TOYchallenge contest sponsored by Sally Ride Science.  Named for the astronaut — whose current mission is to motivate kids, especially girls, to get involved in engineering design — the contest is open to kids in grades 5-8 who can enter as part of a school team.  Go to to find out more.  To learn more about Sally Ride Science, visit (9/06)


Cancun’s newly restored beach has led to a new kids’ program at the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort. “BeachBuilders” teaches children about hurricanes and their environmental impact; the resort was closed for nearly a year following Hurricane Wilma last October.  Kids’ Club participants, ages 6-10, will use miniature shovels, hard hats, rakes and buckets during the half-hour class on beach recovery. (9/06)

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