From the February 2015 issue

Less is More

At the very moment that I’m typing this, Lauren and Kelly, two of our designers, are busily creating all sorts of magazine magic. Lauren’s probably whipping up an ad or editing photos. Kelly’s likely laying out a feature or that behemoth we call the Calendar. But both are multitasking, plugged in listening to audio books as they kern, color and create.

Me? I’m in dead silence – or as close to silence as I can find in an office with 20-plus people. When I write or edit or even think a little hard, I can’t listen to music, let alone follow along while a narrator whispers a story in my ears.

Lauren and Kelly have made a case that the work they do is different. It’s visual and less linguistic and so it doesn’t distract from their work. And they do have a point. I can certainly handle music and TV while I’m wrapping presents or baking cookies.

But the truth is that we’re all wired a little differently when it comes to how much distraction we can take. And distractions aren’t just audible. A recent study came out questioning if all the brightly colors posters and flashy flourishes so prevalent in your average kindergarten class are really kid-friendly or just a bunch of visual noise, distracting children at an age when it’s really hard to sit still and focus.

In this month’s cover story, “The Toned-Down Classroom” (just one piece in our annual Education section), we take a look at what the ideal learning environment is for kids – especially early learners – and explore this possibility. Who knows? In 10 years, maybe we’ll see monochromatic media rooms and classroom walls devoid of rainbow-striped alphabets and kooky creatures.

Speaking of sensory overload, if you’ve ever been to MetroParent.com, you may have wondered if you’d stumbled into a virtual carnival. No, wait, maybe this is what Tokyo’s like – so much flashing, so much to see. Where do I start? Well, those days are over. Our new website somehow manages to be so much more and so much less. We’ve expanded our offerings and now have more than 120 categories of content. We literally cover the alphabet – from Adoption to Zoos, Breastfeeding to Youth Sports, Children’s Health to …

OK, we don’t have a category that starts with “X.” Or “Q,” for that matter. But every other letter in the alphabet is more than represented. And, more importantly, we hope that every aspect of parenting is. It is our hope that with our new, cleaner design and our abundance of resources, we’ll have you covered in a parenting pinch. Please check it out and download our free Winter Survival Guide, something that could come in very handy in frigid February. Email me jelliott@www.metroparent.com to let me know what you think about our new site. (Be sure to put “The New MetroParent.com” in your subject line, so I don’t miss it.)

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