Stop! Take a good look at our August 2018 cover. OK. What’s missing?
The Metro Parent masthead is there. Cool spine treatment – check. Cover copy – right where it usually is. But … where’s the cute CoverKid?
Gone. Replaced with a kid-free illustration this month. Shock! Cue the iconic Macaulay Culkin Home Alone expression. This is quite possibly the first cover in our 30-plus-year history that doesn’t feature a child. It’s at least the first cover in my almost 13-year history with the magazine.
Why the huge departure? Because this month’s cover story is all about some of the big benefits of parents taking solo vacations, leaving the kids behind with relatives, friends or babysitters, and planning an escape where they can just relax or explore all on their own. I know a few parents who’ve done this but, honestly, not enough. And we wanted to make sure you got this message this month. The kids are amazing, you’d do anything for them, but they don’t always have to be the center of the universe (in your life or on our cover). Sometimes it can be about you, reconnecting with your spouse or friends, getting some much-needed R&R and actually having a string of days where you don’t have to fulfill anyone’s needs but your own. Imagine.
On the flipside, this month’s other major feature offers recommendations from an array of our contributors (and yours truly) on what to binge-watch with your kids for an end-of-summer hurrah before school starts. I know there are all sorts of stories and studies about limiting screen time for your kids, and I agree with them 100 percent. Kids should get their faces away from screens more, get moving, get creating, get to daydreaming.
But there is a big difference between mindless screen time and watching shows together as a family, especially if those shows drum up themes that spark meaningful conversations. Or even if it’s just a show that you can simply enjoy and relate to together. For each of the shows (except one cooking show that wasn’t rated), we offered the Common Sense Media rating for families. But here’s the thing – use your own common sense about what is a fit for your child. Every child is different, and context matters too. It might actually be better for your child to be exposed to a grown-up issue with you there to provide some thoughtful perspective.
So, leave your kids for a week-long vacation every year, but connect with them over some binge-worthy show. The bottom line: It’s about balance. And while that can be easier said than done, it’s still worth working toward.