Hudson Valley Parent

HVP - May 2014

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n May 2014 By BILL SPRING A lot has changed since the first issue of Hudson Valley Parent rolled off the press- es 20 years ago. Things we take for granted today — like $1,200 infant strollers and cribs outfitted with video surveillance cameras — would have seemed like something out of "The Jetsons" to the new moms and dads of 1994. Two decades ago, a child's birth- day party typically meant cake and presents on the back deck; today's parents increasingly opt for pay-per- kid events at local dance studios, bounce palaces or gymnastic schools. Carol Lundergan of New Paltz has a unique perspective on these chang- es in family culture. A mom who raised young kids in the early 90s, she is now the full-time legal guard- ian of an 8-year-old girl, a fact that gives her a special insight into the dif- ferences between then and now. The biggest changes, she feels, are in the arenas of connectivity and structure. "Parents are just more involved with their kids nowadays," she says. "Twenty years ago, I never spoke to my child's teacher other than at teacher conferences; now I can email a teacher any time I want. I also know all the parents this time around, so there's a lot more support and communication." She sees this increased communi- cation and involvement as a positive development, but also worries that it has led to too much rigidity in the lives of today's kids. "Raising a child today," she says, "I see that most 20 years of playtime Our children's leisure, now and then "It's gotten to the point where people don't know how to explore the outdoors by themselves." — Marian Goldin, Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall acknowledges the difficulty of letting kids roam free in this day and age. The museum's new playground, Grasshopper Grove, offers a large gated play area, blending the wildness of the woods with some of the structure and security that today's parents demand.

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