Sometimes I take the time to look over the magazine shelf while shopping. Maybe something will catch my eye that is interesting. So I came across the new family magazine of the german Süddeutsche Zeitung – the big smiley and the ‘2 in 1!’ on the cover have pulled with me immediately. Also, the subtitle ‘How to teach children to look after the world’ I found catching. I put the magazine in the shopping cart. I have to say that we do not regularly buy magazines. Most of the time you do not get to read them anyways, and then the paper and your bad conscience pile up.
In fact, I read both parts of the magazine completely (even before I had the intention to write about it on a blog!). So if you take off the envelope on the back, you have two separate folders – one for the parents, one for the children (very laudable: it is ad-free). Just pulling apart the two magazines my daughter had fun with, and that she owns her own magazine she liked even better.
‘My magazine is your magazine’ is written in small letters on the cover. The concept behind this is that some articles from parent and children’s booklet deal with the same topic. For example, a family from the Philippines gets introduced. In the parent part there is an interview with mother and father, in the children’s section the daughter talks about school, hobbies and her life. I think that’s a nice idea. The children’s section is suitable for children from 4 to 11 years. It is easy for the parents to read the magazine with the children: each page is marked with a dot. Blue dots mean that even preschoolers can understand or do something with the article. The red dot works well from the first reading age whereas for the black dot kids should be at least 8 years old.
The absolute highlight of this issue were the colorful stickers with which you could give balloons funny faces. Which kid does not love balloons and stickers? So very appropriate action to carnival. My daughter also likes to be creative and has built a ‘balloon sorting station’ out of her furniture in her kids room, in which the balloons are trapped and you can see the faces well. The ideas kids sometimes come up with are just great.
The second highlight was the painting competition. The kids should create their own coat of arms with certain specifications: four fields that had to be filled with a pattern in favorite colors, a picture of your own house or dream home, a favorite toy and a thing that the whole family likes. The winner gets his personal coat of arms for the children’s room made of wood printed with its own design. My daughter was on fire for this action. Unfortunately, we have already sent in her coat of arms and I have not taken a good photo, just a bad copy of it.
Then there were funny ‘way-sight-glasses’ for crafting, which you can take to the next zoo visit.We have learned that gorillas must not be stared directly at. Looking in their eyes directly triggers stress in the animals because it is understood as an announcement to fight. I did not know that.
There was also a nice article about the ‘Nebelbogen’ (I also learned about it here), drawings with hidden objects, a number-link-game and mumh more. I also loved the story to read with embedded images, so that even non-readers can read carefully the text together with their parent. The children’s part of the magazine has given us useful hours of fun. My daughter is already looking forward to the next issue, which will be in stores late February. If you collect all the magazines of a year, the book spines form a ‘back monster’.
Now for the parents part: it is nice that the first page presents the 12-headed Süddeutsche Zeitung family team that designs the magazine – all moms and dads, who together have more than 40 children. That’s something! They must know a lot about family life. Then it goes on with a survey ‘which is the best age in life’. These are interviewed by people of all ages. Classy I found the answer of Astrid Kaminski (40): “What drives me is the probably unrealistic feeling that the best time is yet to come: less stress, less ambition, less bad politics, a tiny house and a big tree “.
Not so interesting I found the article about a statistic of January children. All the more I was impressed by the interview with the author Juli Zeh on the title theme. I must confess that Juli Zeh was not a household name to me, even though she is supposed to be the best-known German writer of her generation (born 1974). Her attitude to child discipline and advice how to better present than explain one’s own attitude to one’s children inspired me. Her interview is also about trained fear of failure, which have become reflexes and against which one be sure to arm as a parent. So she says, for example that the reflex, by no means wanting to make mistakes, to want to safeguard everything, to want to provide for everything, results from a foreign determination. “When you realize that panic is swirling in an on-the-wall plug and say, ‘Come on, you’re just a human, you have no control, and tomorrow, everything can be different again.’ I found myself completely in many of her lines. For example, I constantly think about whether we have decided correctly with the private kindergarten in the other village and whether this will affect the situation in the primary school, the circle of friends and so on.
In addition to the interview with Juli Zeh there is a page with really good tips from the editor for a good togetherness – from me to us. Because the author is also close to the heart that parents unlearn their children to mediate for the community of people and to engage the world’s problems. Out of sheer pursuit of optimizing one’s own family situation and completely internalized performance thinking, inadvertently a certain egocentricity develops among the parents – “What does that do to our children in the long term?” asks Juli Zeh quite rightly.
However, there are also light, exhilarating articles in the parent magazine, e.g. about the unicorn craze, about WhatsApp groups (that’s where I had to smile) or a short introduction to ’40 mothers we love ‘. I also liked the very honest contribution to the everyday life of a patchwork family. All in all, the magazine offers in my opinion a successful mix of reading material and is worth the money (7,90 Euros). However, I thought mothers might feel more addressed by the content than fathers and my husband would surely prefer reading the ‘real’ Süddeutsche Zeitung, if he had the choice. He didn’t confirm this! On the contrary – he also found most of the content interesting and worth reading.
Which family magazine is your favorite?