I remember when Bay Area Parent was called Kids, Kids, Kids. This was 40 years ago, before I became a parent myself. I recall seeing the free publication in the grocery stores and in the gym where I worked out. I had no reason to pick it up back then.
But it wasn’t much longer before the magazine – soon to be renamed Bay Area Parent – became a big part of my life. I have a long, interesting history with the publication – first as my go-to source as a mom, then as a part-time, work-at-home editor and for the past many years as its full-time senior editor. In that role, I oversee the articles we publish in our monthly magazine and in our ever-expanding array of ancillary publications, such as the Summer Survival Guide and Teen Focus.
In celebration of our 40th year of guiding and supporting Bay Area families, I looked back through the archives. I was eager to see how the magazine changed over the decades, and how that reflected parenting itself – the needs, goals and interests of our readers over generations. It was a blast – fun and enlightening.
Of course, back in the beginning, everything was on paper, even here in techie Silicon Valley. The earliest magazines came out in newsprint before transitioning to a glossier, more compact magazine format. I remember always picking up two copies, one to keep on the bedstand and one to keep in the backseat of the car. I never knew when I would need immediate information about a community event or activity for the kids. Now, of course, so much of what we offer has shifted online – from digital copies of the magazine to weekly newsletters to a searchable daily calendar.
Different and the Same
Today’s parents are dealing with so much that my generation didn’t have to face head on: a pandemic, increasing gun violence, inflation, the realities of climate change. I am amazing by the strength and resilience of those of those raising children in this atmosphere.
But as I look back at the articles in Bay Area Parent, I actually see more similarities than differences. It’s all a matter of degree. Parents are parents and kids are still kids. In so many ways, the concerns and goals for our families have remained consistent.
For example, in the second-ever issue of Kids, Kids, Kids, the lead story was a helpful guide to getting children out of the stressful urban and suburban environment and into nature for a day of fishing. Nearly a quarter century after that, our lead story struck the same note. It was about “nature-deficit disorder,” a newly coined term back than that emphasizes the importance of connecting city kids to the great outdoors. We are still publishing articles with this same, increasingly important message.
Our archives confirm other similarities. Parents of all four decades have cared passionately about their children’s health, finding the best schools and curbing the influence of technology. Back in 2006, we were writing about the problems of school bullying, video addiction, a crisis in science education and a lopsided family-work balance. Sound familiar?
As both a mom and an editor, I can’t recall a time when parents weren’t struggling to be less busy and to pay for camp and back-to-school clothes. You can see from our archives that parents then and parents now search for pediatricians, deal with ear infections, make dinner for finicky eaters and scan our calendar to find worthwhile and inexpensive weekend activities for the whole family.
As we move into our next decade, we will continue to be here for you as you make your way through your own unique parenting adventure.
If you are a regular reader of Bay Area Parent, this anniversary edition will look different to you. That’s because we have freshened it up with a new and more contemporary design. Let us know what you think of it. And enjoy looking through the older covers and topics displayed on this page. We’ve come a long way since vintage Kids, Kids, Kids.
Onward Bay Area Parent to year #41. And onward brave and committed Bay Area parents.