Parenting Articles

Booster Seat Basics:  I know, I know. Getting a 6-year-old who has been riding in the car like a "big girl" to go back to a child seat would be no easy task. But now there's considerable evidence that keeping older kids in booster seats until they reach small-adult size reduces injuries and saves lives.

Boy-Chasing on the Playground: I take my 6-year-old daughter to the playground a lot after school, and I've noticed a weird phenomenon: The girls tend to get together in packs and
single out a boy to chase around. The boy's always laughing and seems to enjoy
it, but I'm curious as to why this happens at this age.

Child Safety Seats Get Safer:  For a new mom with just one infant, I take more than my share of child safety seats in and out of cars. That's because I test drive at least one new car or truck every week, and little Cate almost always comes along for the ride.

Dating Do's and Dont's - or five years, I was a single mother with two boys. And even though I was lucky enough to have a steady guy (a single dad) in the picture, questions came up all
the time. Was it okay for all of us to sleep over at one of our houses? Should we take vacations together? When this relationship ended and another one began a few months later, I was in uncharted waters again.

Disneyland with Wee Folks:  My family - me, husband Dave, and our two-year-old daughter, Amy - took our first trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, this past spring. We were a little unsure about Amy. Was it worth it with a child that young? Would she even remember the experience? Our concerns were erased by the time the trip was over. She had a ball - and because of her age, she never doubted that the magic was real. As for Dave and me, we'll never forget the expressions of wonder on Amy's face.

Driving By Example: Want your children to grow up to be skilled, safe drivers? Point them in the right direction by setting a good example. Whether your kids are tots or teens, the driving habits they see in you may someday become their own.

Mom's Health Alert:  You know when your child's next doctor's appointment is right down to the hour. But how diligent are you about keeping up with your own health checkups? If you have a Pap smear every year and leave it at that, you're not doing enough, says Dr. Vivian Dickerson, the division director of general obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California at Irvine Medical Center.

My Favorite Mom-To-Be Look:  Pregnancy doesn't have to mean hiding under shapeless shirts and leggings or tent dresses; the trick is to find a look that spells confidence and comfort. Here, four women share their favorite apparel picks.

Pregnancy No-No's:  When I was expecting my first child, threats to my baby's health seemed to lurk everywhere. I knew, of course, that alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs of any kind were off-limits. But what about those lattes I'd chugged before I knew I was pregnant? Did I need to get rid of my beloved cats? What sort of environmental hazards was I unwittingly exposing my fetus to? Nine months of caffeine withdrawal, cat avoidance, and breath-holding-around-noxious-odors later, my strapping baby boy arrived.

Ready, Set, Go Wild: When Terry Stroman plans her family's summer vacation, she never hears a chorus of "Been there, done that" from her sons, ages 11 and 13. That's because the Stroman clan is hooked on taking outdoor-adventure trips - a growing travel trend during the last ten years, according to the Travel Industry Association of America (202-408-8422; www.tia.org). So far, the Stromans have visited Yellowstone National Park, the jungles of Belize, and Utah's Desolation Canyon. Next summer, the family is planning a five-day, multisport-adventure trip to Colorado.

Riding Rules for Tots and Teens:  Beyond the basics--children shouldn't sit in front of an air bag, infants need to be in rear-facing child seats--take note of these tips regarding kids and cars that you probably haven't heard

Sanity Tips for Eating Out With the Kids:   Believe me when I tell you that the young gentlemen of my household, ages 12 and 9, are not cosmopolitan or gourmands. The best thing you could ever pack in their lunch boxes is a nice cold package of Lunchables, and they love beef jerky, french fries, and pizza. But - here's the surprise - they also sometimes get a yen for sushi, tofu, fried calamari, artichokes, Mexican food, or dim sum. They love to eat out, and they love to eat well.

The Importance Of Routines:  At 8:30 p.m. at the Osborne family house in Burlington, Vermont, an exemplary bedtime process is underway. The three children are upstairs changing into their pajamas, brushing their teeth, and settling into their beds to read. There is remarkably little protest or variation. "Bedtime is the one area where our routine has not wavered," says mom Eleanor. "Since the boys were toddlers, we've been doing the same thing, and now it's automatic. This is usually the calmest period our day."
Melody's Mommy
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