Posts Tagged ‘ holiday ’

A Valentine’s Day Love Letter for Your Child

Monday, February 4th, 2013

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.

I remember when I first held you in my arms and instantly knew how deeply I loved you. You were so tiny and helpless. You knew nothing and depended on me for everything. I was nervous because there was so much to learn and so much to teach. You were a tiny, gorgeous blob of clay. Since that first moment, it has been my joy and privilege to be your sculptor, to shape you into the beautiful child you are today and to continue shaping you into the responsible, moral, and loving adult I pray you will be someday. It’s my job to make you feel happy and loved. To protect, comfort, guide, inspire, and motivate you.  It’s a wonderful job, the best in the world. But it’s a hard job, and sometimes I still get nervous.

There are times when I do or say things that you don’t yet understand, and they upset you. I try to explain but some things will make sense only when you’re older. As a parent, I have to make rules and set limits that may seem unfair. Like when I make you eat vegetables or do homework, when I say something isn’t healthy or something is too expensive, when I tell you it’s bedtime or you’ve had enough TV or you need to clean your room.  You may think I don’t love you when all I do is say “no,” especially on days when it seems like I’m saying it a lot.

My days are very busy, with lots of grown-up things I need to do. Sometimes I have less time and energy to spend with you than either of us would wish. You may think I don’t love you when I’m too tired to play or when an important phone call interrupts us, when I have to work on the weekend, when I have a meeting during your soccer game, or when I come home late or have to leave town. You may think I don’t love you when I say, “I can’t right now,” especially on days when it seems like I’m saying it a lot.

As hard as I try to do things right, sometimes I make mistakes. Grown-ups aren’t perfect. You may think I don’t love you when I lose my temper or raise my voice, when I blame you for something you didn’t do, when I don’t notice the good things you did do, or when I say something that hurts your feelings or embarrasses you.

But I want you to know this: Even during the times when it may seem like I don’t love you, I really do. Very, very much.  With all my heart and soul. I love you more than anything else in the world.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my sweet, wonderful child.

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

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: Red paper envelope with white heart via Shutterstock.

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Find Handmade Gifts at the Etsy Holiday Shop

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Etsy Holiday Shop - Kids sectionIf you love Etsy.com and you live in the New York area, stop by the Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo.  Your favorite online marketplace has become a pop-up store featuring a well-curated and wide selection of artisanal and vintage gifts: art, clothes, jewelry, home decor, and paper goods.

You’ll discover thoughtfully displayed items, meet shop owners giving demonstrations of their handmade products, and also learn what unique gifts certain tastemakers (like Martha Stewart and teen blogger Tavi Gevinson) love.  You can also RSVP to free daily events and workshops with limited seating.

Parents.com attended a press preview this morning and couldn’t help falling in love with a variety of baby and kids items: tongue-in-cheek onesies from The Wishing Elephant, Gnome baby dolls from Warm Sugar, fox and bear jumpers from Wild Things Dresses, canvas teepees from House Inhabit, paper mobiles from Gosh & Golly, face pillows from Vintage Jane, and colorful ties and bow ties from Handmade By Emy.  (We even met Emy and learned how she got started making matching tie and and bow tie sets for adults and kids.)

The store lasts for 10 days only, running from Thursday, November 29 through Saturday, December 8.  Hours are 10 am – 10 pm. Even if you’re not in the New York area, visit Etsy.com/HolidayShop to see a list of featured of shops and items to inspire your holiday shopping. (And even if you don’t know what to choose, Etsy gift cards are always available!)

Etsy Holiday Shop - Wild Things Dresses

Etsy Holiday Shop - The Wishing Elephant onesie

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Faves of 2012: LEGO Gets Super

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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10 Special Traditions Beyond Thanksgiving

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Mother and daughter in pile of leavesEditor’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

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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Win Toys for the Holidays!

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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Fun Family Activities for the Fourth of July

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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Fireworks Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Fourth of July fireworksEditor’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.

Before use:

- 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.

During use:

- 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.

After use:

- 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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Create an Easter E-Card and Enter to Win $500

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Lego Easter Contest

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.

Hoppy Easter!

Official Contest Rules
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