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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
As if your kids didn’t already love LEGOs, the brand took the classic toy up another coolness level this year with superhero-inspired bricks. Featuring the most famous good and bad guys, the line includes mini figures, large buildable action figures (like Captain America, pictured here), and even whole play sets devoted to the Marvel/DC universe. Now your child can assemble his or her hero before saving the world! Click here to check out the toys.
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Monday, November 5th, 2012
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
At Thanksgiving time, we are reminded again of how important traditions are in a family’s life and legacy. But many parents express anxiety about how to find the “right” traditions for their family. Should traditions just “evolve,” or should parents consciously establish them? The right answer is do both – allow some traditions to evolve by embracing the activities your kids naturally gravitate toward, and consciously experiment with other traditions to see which ones work within your family dynamic.
There are two secrets to establish lasting family traditions: repetition and anticipation. When you find something that brings out smiles, repeat it on a regular and predictable enough basis that it becomes an ingrained part of the family repertoire. For those traditions that need planning ahead, begin talking about the event days before it occurs to build excitement. Anticipation can be as much fun as the tradition itself.
Traditions come in two sizes: big (national and federal holidays, birthdays, anniversaries,); and small (those unique to your family). Both are important in a family’s legacy, so personalize them with these 10 ideas for creating special traditions:
1- Make the big holidays your own. Serve meals at the homeless shelter on Thanksgiving morning. Play backyard football before Christmas dinner to work up an appetite. Bring flowers to the local military cemetery on Memorial Day or July 4th.
2- Turn birthdays into unique celebrations. Hang balloons in the kitchen the night before so the kids arrive to a party room on their big morning. Eat pancakes for breakfast in mom and dad’s bed. Sing “Happy Birthday” in the most off-key way possible.
3- Double (or quadruple!) the number of birthdays. Serve a cupcake on quarter birthdays and half a cake on half-birthdays. Avoid gifts on these fractional celebrations, and instead focus on laughter, singing, and fun. Add a balloon or two. Celebrate your pets’ birthdays, too!
4- Have monthly Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Give mom a night off from household chores on the first Tuesday of every month, and make a special dinner for her. Do the same for dad on the second Thursday of every month. Pick which day of the month works best for you, but your family will have 22 more “celebrations” each year.
5- Share quirky inside secrets. Make a funny noise in the elevator when it’s just your family taking a ride, or give a whoop every day when the clock strikes your address number (if you live at 920 Elm Lane, cheer at 9:20 every morning and night). Invent a secret family hand shake.
6- Have the same meals for special occasions. Serve Chinese food for every anniversary, Indian food for good report cards, or hot dogs on the opening day of baseball season every year.
7- Get dressed up for a candlelight dinner. Once a month, have everyone wear their best party clothes and eat a fancy meal at home by candlelight. Put on soft music, bring out the good dishes, and use restaurant table manners.
8- Celebrate the first sign of seasons. Have a family leaf fight every fall when the leaves begin to pile up in the yard, go sledding after the first snowfall, eat fruit salad in the garden to celebrate the appearance of the first spring flower, and have a family water fight on the first summer day that reaches 90º.
9- Have family-only activities. Plan a family comedy night or a talent show, make holiday cards from scratch, or write personalized lyrics to an old song and then sing the new composition together.
10- Give back to the community together. Identify a favorite charity and participate in its fundraising each year – walk, run, bike, volunteer, and/or donate.
Try lots of different ideas. There’s no such thing as “failure” – if an idea doesn’t work, you’ve still spent wonderful moments with your kids. Plus, you’ve created unforgettable memories and, perhaps, given them something to tease you about for years to come (“Remember when dad thought it would be fun to have all of us join the “polar bear club” and jump into the lake in December?”)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).
Image: Mother and daughter in autumn yellow park via Shutterstock.
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GoodyBlog, Holidays, Must Read, Time for Fun
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
It’s that time of year again! You know, when Halloween hasn’t happened yet, but you’re already spotting Christmas stuff in stores. To help swing you into the holiday spirit a few months early, we’re giving away a plaything a day from our Best Toys of 2012 guide all month long! That’s right! You’ve got a chance to win a great gift every day to put under your tree! Click here to enter the sweepstakes and see what you can score today, tomorrow, or even next week. Goody luck!
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best toys, best toys of 2012, contest, free, freebies, gifts, Giveaway, holiday, playthings, sweepstakes, toys, toys of the year, win | Categories:
Entertainment, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Must Read, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Have some red, white and blue fun as we celebrate our nation’s independence. Indulge in some patriotic pastimes like catching a baseball game or eating a tri-color parfait. Or put together your own mini parade or wave homemade parade batons at your neighborhood celebration.
Check out more Fourth of July activities, crafts, and recipes below.
Fourth of July Activities
Fourth of July Crafts
Fourth of July Recipes
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Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Editor’s Note: This guest post is written by Dr. Robert Sicoli, co-medical director of the emergency department at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Dr. Sicoli is a fellowship trained Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician with over 20 years of experience.
While lighting off a few bottle rockets or running around the backyard with a lit sparkler may seem like a relatively harmless way for kids to celebrate the Fourth of July, thousands of people each year are injured by fireworks and many of them end up in the emergency room.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were over 8,600 injuries involving fireworks in 2010. Unfortunately, 40% of those injuries were children younger than 15 years of age. While the safest bet is taking your family to a public fireworks show, many states allow the private use of various types of fireworks. If you live in a state that allows fireworks for private use, follow these fireworks safety tips to keep you and your family safe.
- Make sure to buy ready-to-use fireworks. Avoid kits that require assembly at home and avoid making your own.
- Don’t buy fireworks with brown labels or that are wrapped in brown paper. These are usually made for public displays and not intended to be used privately.
- Always follow the label directions carefully.
- Always light fireworks outside and away from combustible items, like dry leaves and grass.
- Choose a proper, safe, and wide open area for light and setting off the fireworks. Don’t launch bottles rockets in a wooded area or near a busy street.
- Light fireworks one at a time. Never lash multiple fireworks together, never point them toward another person, and make sure to wear eye protection.
- Don’t let kids under 10 use any type of fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt some metals.
- Always keep a hose or bucket of water nearby.
- Never try to re-light a “dud.” Wait at least ten minutes and then douse it with water.
- Soak all fireworks in water before throwing them away.
- Store extra or unused fireworks in a cool, dry place.
While following these tips will help keep your family safe, accidents could still happen. Burn injuries are common on hands, fingers, eyes, head, and face. In the case your kids are injured, follow these tips for treatment:
- For relatively mild burns, such as red or irritated skin, rinse with cool water and apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area.
- For severe burns, such as blistering, peeling, and/or very painful skin, call your doctor or seek medical attention immediately.
- If smoke or other particles get into the eyes, avoid rubbing them or the irritation will get worse. Try cleaning the eyes by rinsing them with cool water, but if your child is still in pain after flushing the eyes or complains about visual problems, seek medical attention immediately.
- If your child has inhaled smoke, let him rest in a cool, ventilated area. If he continues to cough, if the coughing is severe, or if there is difficult or labored breathing, call 911 or visit the emergency room right away.
Have a Safe and Happy Independence Day!
Image: Multicolored fireworks fill the square frame via Shutterstock.
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4th of july, child safety, fireworks, fireworks safety, fourth of july, health, Health & Safety, holiday, holiday safety, Holidays, independence day, july 4th, safety, safety tips, sparklers | Categories:
GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Holidays
Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Less than two weeks until Easter! It’s time to dye eggs, eat chocolate bunnies, and force your toddler to wait in a long line to meet a stranger in a scary bunny costume.
Wait, you don’t like overpaying for a photo of your child screaming on a stranger’s lap? Try something new this year and skip the mall and make an adorable Easter photo right from your home.
It’s easy, just head over to the Parents Facebook page and:
1. Upload a photo or choose one from Facebook.
2. Pick from three cute options to frame your little one.
3. Share the fun on Facebook, Twitter, or email.
Not only is this adorable photo free, it might even make you money! One lucky person will win $500 for her photo.
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Monday, December 19th, 2011
For the person on your list who already has everything, why not give them a gift that gives back by donating to a charity on their behalf. Here are a few we love.
88Bikes donates bicycles to children around the world who face hardships such as poverty and war. For $88, you can donate a bike in a friend’s name and make a child immeasurably happy. Read our story on the organization to find out just how huge of an impact a bike can have on a child’s life.
DonorsChoose.org lets you give to classrooms in need, to help make sure that kids have the essentials they need to learn and teachers have the tools required for teaching.
Share Our Strength aims to end childhood hunger in American by 2015. Your contribution will help ensure that families have access to food that’s healthy and affordable. And if you give by December 31, your tax-deductible gift will be matched, dollar for dollar.
What’s your favorite organization or charity to give to?
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Monday, December 5th, 2011
Boy, have we got a just-in-time-for-Christmas giveaway for you! The great people over at Manhattan Toy, who partner with us on our very own Parents line of toys, have put together a prize package any kid would be thrilled to find under the tree. And the kiddos aren’t the only ones who will appreciate the 5 stellar toys that are up for grabs.
The philosophy behind the Parents collection of toys is that “when the toy does less, the child does more,” a concept any parent can feel good about. The toys in this line are specifically designed to inspire a child’s imagination—something you don’t quite see enough of these days. Through entertaining play, the toys, games, and puzzles in the line helps expand skills, boost brain power, and allow your child’s natural creativity to flourish. What’s not to love about that?! Even better, as soon as a winner is chosen and is contacted, this prize will ship overnight promising an extra-special Christmas morning!
Prize package includes:
Stow & Go Activity Cart (shown above) – $85.00
Busy Time Activity Center (shown here) - $90.00
Colorful Notes Xylophone – $28.00
Fruitful Fun Puzzle – $20.00
My Little Mailbox – $30.00
Enter to win by posting a comment below by 11:59 p.m., EST on December 16, 2011. We will pick one lucky reader at random. Read the full rules here. And Goody Luck!
UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed.
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Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Shopping & Gear, Your Child