Tag: parenting tools

Should your kids be watching 13 Reasons Why? 15 must-read articles to help you figure it out.

Okay, parents. Let’s talk 13 Reasons Why and whether your kids should be watching it. Because, no doubt, your kids are doing just that. And now that it’s been picked up for a second season on Netflix, the question about whether your kids should watch it won’t be going away anytime soon. Now personally, I haven’t watched the series yet myself because after checking with the Common Sense Media review (which has a suggested age of 16+) and talking with my own trusted parenting friends, I’ve decided my 11-year-old is too young. Also, we’re getting word about entire schools sending out warning letters to parents,...

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8 tips to compliment your kids in ways that are meaningful and empowering

As parents, we’re our kids’ biggest fans, right? That’s why a lot of us tend to compliment them. A lot. Whether it’s the first time they learn to ride a bike, the masterpiece they created in art class, a stellar report card, or even that time they remembered to clean up their toys without being told, we want to praise them like we should, as the song goes. But it turns out, those positive words and our best intentions can have some unintended consequences. And I know, that seems like such a backward way of thinking. Related: Should every kid get a trophy?...

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A clever idea to get kids in the kitchen on their own, no nagging (or even talking!) required.

My boys have been cooking alongside me ever since they were little. But now that they’re older and I’d love for them make their own breakfast, prep their own snacks, and put together their own lunches from time to time, I’m finding it harder to get them into the kitchen on their own. One issue might be that I call the kitchen my kitchen. That can’t help. Another issue may be all my yapping (that’s code for nagging). I want them to be autonomous, but it’s impossible not to chime in on everything from their snack choices to the kitchen rules, which they...

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Great news! NPR is releasing their first-ever podcast for kids!

NPR is the only thing I ever listen to in my car — unless my kids want to hear “It’s Raining Tacos.” On repeat. (Because of course not every episode of Spawned is entire kid-safe.) So I was absolutely stoked when I heard that next week, May 15, NPR is going to release a podcast for kids ages 5 to 12 that highlights the wonders of science, technology, discovery, and inventions. Stunningly, this is the first-ever children’s program in NPR’s 47-year history. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I have a feeling this podcast will be worth the wait. Related: 5 cool TV...

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3 tips for keeping a gratitude journal with kids that’ll make them happier, healthier, and more thankful too

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about how transformative gratitude can be for your psyche. Studies are cropping up everywhere showing that being intentional about thankful has huge health benefits, from better sleep to less anxiety to rewiring your brain for positivity. And it even works with kids. So, last month, I decided to start a gratitude journal with my daughter. After just a few days, I noticed a big improvement in my daughter’s attitude. In fact, one night she told me, very simply, “I’m so glad we’re doing this. It makes me happy.” And no, I hadn’t pitched her on...

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Is my child gifted? Helpful advice and online resources from an educational expert.

I still remember when my son’s then first-grade teacher asked if they could test him for the gifted program in our school district. I looked at her and asked, “Are you sure?” I just thought my sweet, curious boy asked a lot of questions. Like, a whooooole lot. But gifted? Even after he was identified as qualifying for our program, navigating next steps was extremely challenging. I had to understand my rights with the GIEP (Gifted Individualized Education Plan); find him educational support outside of school; and then figure out how it would impact his siblings and whether they should be tested too....

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If toilets could talk: 9 funny things every parent wishes our homes could say to our kids.

We’re happy to be working with our sponsor Brother to bring you this post If we had a nickel for every time we told our kids to put away their shoes or pick up their toys, well, we’d be writing this from our yacht in the south of France while Jeeves served us lunch. Sorry to disappoint you but none of us are writing this from our yacht in the south of France. Yet.  But, what if our actual furniture, appliances, and garbage bins could talk? Or at least, leave notes for our kids, to give us a little break from the...

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Thinking about adopting? Here’s how to get started, from a parent who’s been through the journey.

If your family has been thinking about adopting, I’m here as a BTDT mom to help. This year, my family grew by one more child when my husband and I adopted our daughter, a spunky 2-year-old from South Korea. It feels like we’re experts on adoption at this point, having waited a full three years to get her home, but it doesn’t feel that long ago that we were totally clueless about where to start. I’m not going to lie, the process is long and bumpy. And it can be exhausting, both emotionally and physically. But without hesitation I’d highly recommend it to anyone who feels...

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A penny for your thoughts? This new card game helps kids process those hard emotions.

When I look back at some of my biggest parenting fails, most of them have occurred when I haven’t taken the time to consider my kids’ emotions or help them process their worry, anger, fear, or whatever else it is they are experiencing right in that very moment. That’s why I’m loving the beautiful new card game illustrated by Jaime Letourneau, A Penny For Your Thoughts, created to help kids talk about emotions. I spent some time this week playing this game with my most passionate — read: unpredictable — child at bedtime, and I saw an almost immediate positive impact in his (or her,...

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30+ fantastic open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t get a yes or no answer.

If you’re not getting much more than a “yeah,” “nope,” or “fine” when you ask about your kid’s day at school, it might be time for some new conversations starters. (Trust us, we’re right there with you.) So we set out to collect dozens of smart, easy, open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t just get a yes or no answer. We’ve thrown these out around our own dinner tables, and have been surprised by how much these 30+ questions really got our kids talking. So, here’s to engaging dinner conversations…with the whole family. Top photo by Jon Flobrant via Unsplash   Open-ended questions about feelings We...

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The one word that made me a better parent. Hint: It’s from Bob’s Burgers.

My kids are 8 and 10 now, and I tend to think of them as tiny adults. They can mostly keep themselves alive without any assistance from me. But they’re still careless when it comes to noise, mess, and responsibility. In other words, they still act like, well, kids. Which means that I get pretty annoyed with them. Easily and often. The kids left a mess in the kitchen. The kids didn’t feed the cats. The kids piled Transformer parts and clean clothes in their dirty laundry baskets. At the end of a long day, it’s easy to lose my cool when the kids...

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3 simple ways to find more one-on-one time with your kids, no babysitter required.

As a single mom of four kids, you can probably imagine how tough it is to give my kids individual time, at least without hiring a babysitter and spending even more money on dinner or a movie. Turns out, you don’t have to spend money — or even need a second adult in the house — to give your kids the one-on-one time they love and need, where they’re getting your absolute, undivided attention. In addition to Stacie’s terrific post on how she turned after-school snack time with her kids into meaningful together time, check out my own 3 simple ways I’ve learned to...

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Are you paying your babysitter enough? 9 surprising stats about childcare.

One of the questions parents are always asking each other is, “how much should I be spending on my babysitter or nanny?” The answer is so tough. The last thing I want to do is underpay someone with the important job of taking care of my kids, but I know that rates depends on the experience of the sitter, whether it’s a part-time high school student or an experience, trained full-time nanny, and of course, where we live. Related: 21 inspired ideas when you’ve only got a two-hour date night So I talked to the folks at UrbanSitter who recently conducted a national...

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Dr. Harvey Karp answers parents’ biggest sleep questions. Yes! | Spawned ep 68

On this week’s episode of the Spawned podcast, we are excited to welcome Dr. Harvey Karp, of Happiest Baby on the Block fame, though he virtually needs no introduction. We’re so excited he joined us to answer some of parents most difficult questions about sleep, whether they’ve got newborns or, uh…tweens. We appreciate his common sense, non-judgmental approach to sleep, not to mention some of the tips that saved our own lives when we were new parents. (If you know his genius 5 S’s, you know just what we mean.)   Listen now! And don’t forget to subscribe to Spawned with Kristen...

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Could this simple idea finally make potty training easier for parents?

I tried reward charts, treats, and downright begging when it came to potty training, and my daughter was having none of it. So when I heard about Pee-kaboo potty training stickers, created by a stay-at-home mother of two who lives in my own town (go New Jersey moms!) I was like, whoa. Could this be the help that desperate potty training parents have been looking for? Related: 9 terrific baby gift ideas to help baby (and mom) get more sleep The cool thing about these reusable stickers is that you can only see the cute designs — after they’re peed on. Kind of like the plus...

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Beyond thank you and please: 7 manners all kids should learn for holiday entertaining (and that we’re not all teaching)

Please and thank you — important stuff, right? I’ve always believe that courteous kids grow into nice adults and we all need more nice in the world these day. But that’s not where etiquette begins and ends. So with the holidays here, and lots of entertaining and mingling coming up on our calendars, we’ve started talking in our home about some of the manners that we want our kids to know, so they can be fantastic guests and hosts. I’m sharing them here with the hope that maybe our ideas will help some of you too. Top: Please and Thank You poster at TanyaGDesign on Etsy I know...

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10 free educational online resources for curious kids that every parent should know

We love how the Internet can help us when it comes to raising a generation of more curious kids. There are just so many remarkable free educational online tools and resources that help support a child’s natural curiosity, and even help push them a little (or a lot) when it comes to learning about all kinds of subjects and sparking their passion about the world around them. That’s exactly what our newest sponsor, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (or CTY, as it’s been fondly known for more than 30 years), does for bright kids and their families. And if you don’t know about...

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7 tips to help kids walk to school safely. Because October 5 shouldn’t be the only Walk to School Day!

Back in my school day, my mom let me walk alone to school, my friends’ homes, and the pizzeria by the time I was 10 years old. (Uphill, both ways, and barefoot, no less.) Fast forward to me as a parent and I admit my own kids — now ages 12 and 9 — have never walked anywhere on their own. One reason is that their school is much too far from home. The other reason is what’s a common cultural fear these days of letting our kids out into the world by themselves. Even though research shows that kids are actually safer today than ever. With the 20th...

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5 simple tips to help parents prevent and deal with bullying. We get it. We’ve been there. And it sucks.

Bullying is nothing new. Unfortunately. And I still have the emotional scars from 7th grade to prove it. But for our 21st century kids, bullying is only amplified with the lively presence of social media in all our kids’ lives, meaning now bullying that once happened mostly in school can follow a child home 24/7. The first time my daughter came home crying because another girl made fun of her T-shirt, I felt deflated. Not just as a mother feeling helpless, but because the feelings of hurt I experienced in my own childhood came flooding back to me. I’m sure a lot of you can relate....

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5 tested tips for handling separation anxiety, from parents who have been there too

I know a little something about dealing with separation anxiety when it comes to young kids and school. Back when my kids were in preschool, this was my routine: drop them off at the classroom, peel around the corner and press my back against the wall, then wait — sometimes two minutes, sometimes ten minutes — until they stopped crying.  Sometimes I cried too. Separation anxiety is exhausting and heartbreaking and, yes, even sometimes a bit frustrating. If you’re in the middle of it right now, know you’re not alone. We’ve been there — some of us still are there — and...

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