Read More »from Should Boys Have Barbies? Expert Advice on Gender-Specific Toys
Walking through Target or flipping through a Toys "R" Us catalog, there's generally no question which toys are aimed at which gender. Facing those aisles of tea sets and Barbie dolls or toy guns and fight-ready action figures can make even the most tolerant among us crave a gender-free holiday.
For a list of America's most popular toys -- including boy, girl, and gender-neutral options, click here!
Toys tend to cater to traditional gender roles, but there's good reason to break out of the stereotypes. Broadening your child's toy horizons may help him or her tap into an undiscovered talent or interest. Playing with dolls may develop your son's understanding of empathy. A sporty playset may boost your daughter's confidence. Whatever your preference, the most important thing when looking for toys, says Laura Scott, a 30-year veteran in the field of child/adult education, is whether they're age appropriate and developmentally significant.
For this year's best educational, active, and
Blog Posts by Parents.com
- Parents.com | Cool Mom – Fri, Dec 4, 2009 5:30 PM EST
Read More »from Should Boys Have Barbies? Expert Advice on Gender-Specific Toys
- Parents.com | Cool Mom – Tue, Dec 1, 2009 10:29 PM EST
Bedtime battles have a tendency to tire out parents just as much as kids. According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 69 percent of parents reported that their child, ages zero to 10, had sleep problems at least a few nights a week, mostly centering around arguments about going to sleep or waking during the night.
Getting enough sleep is vital to your child's growth and development, not to mention your own sanity. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived kids get injured more often, they get sick more easily, their grades suffer -- and so do their moods.
Click here to see how much sleep your child needs each night.
Keeping a regular, enjoyable bedtime routine will help cut down on your struggles and help make your home a more peaceful place, day and night.
1. Watch food and drink consumption.
Large meals can make it difficult to sleep, so give your child some time between dinner and bedtime to digest. Make sure your child stays away from sweetsRead More »from Bedtime Battles? Try These 6 Tried-and-True Strategies
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a major recall of 2.1 million Stork Craft drop-side cribs, including 150,000 with the Fisher-Price Logo. The recall is the largest crib recall in history, and follows reports of four infant suffocations, in addition to reports of more than 100 drop sides detaching from the cribs. It affects cribs sold since 1993. For information about this recall, visit the Parents.com Toy and Product Recall Finder.
Take our quiz to see how baby-safe your home is.
According to Don Mays, senior director of product safety and technical policy for Consumer Reports, consumers should always avoid purchasing cribs with drop sides. Mays says 7 million cribs have been recalled since 2007, and most of the issues have revolved around the drop side and its hardware.
"Do not buy a crib that has a drop side," he says. "We are not convinced that any particular model on the market is durable enough to withstand the regular use and abuse thatRead More »from How Safe Is Your Babyâ€™s Crib?
- Parents.com | Cool Mom – Sun, Nov 22, 2009 9:39 PM EST
Beyond Baby Einstein: 6 Old-Fashioned Ways to Boost Your Child's Intelligence
Maybe we never really believed that our babies would become Einsteins after being plopped in front of a Baby Einstein video. But it was such a pleasant dream, the notion that we could passively create brilliant babies by osmosis, while having the TV double as a babysitter. Click here for 50 easy ways to make your baby smarter.
The Walt Disney Co.'s recent offering to provide refunds to anyone who purchased a Baby Einstein Video since 2004 serves as a reminder that no flash card, no video, no Mozart CD is going to replace our own active role in helping our kids learn and grow. The old tried-and-truisms, like reading, good nutrition, art projects, and just talking to your kids remain surefire ways to help them be grow and develop. Let the following list serve as a guide to encouraging your child's curiosity and intellect.
Studies have shown that lessons in instruments and voice haveRead More »from Beyond Baby Einstein: 6 Old-Fashioned Ways to Boost Your Childâ€™s Intelligence
- Parents.com | Thanksgiving – Wed, Nov 18, 2009 2:13 AM EST
The turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and family time are a given on Thanksgiving. The variables? Your unpredictable children. As the holiday based around thankfulness and a full table approaches, consider giving your kids a crash course in manners. Visit Parents.com for fun ways to encourage good behavior at Thanksgiving gatherings.
According to manners expert and consultant Thomas P. Farley, manners are a simple matter of kindness and consideration, and it's never too early for your kids to start minding their Ps and Qs. "You start with the basics: please, thank you, and sorry," says Farley. "If you instill those three things and the child really knows that those are important, you're 90 percent of the way there."
Farley shared the following tips to prepare your children (and yourself) for Thanksgiving -- and everyday -- manners.
1. Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and being grateful.
Set the tone before the meal begins, and explain theRead More »from Kids Gone Wild? How to Teach Manners in Time for Thanksgiving
- Parents.com | Parenting – Fri, Nov 13, 2009 2:22 AM EST
Earlier this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a major recall of Maclaren strollers. The stroller recall serves as a reminder that parents need to be ever vigilant when it comes to baby gear. Up to 1 million strollers were voluntarily recalled after discovering the amputation and laceration risk they pose to kids' fingers. Visit the Parents.com Product Recall Finder to find out more about this alert and other dangerous products that have been pulled from shelves.
But the recall brings up a larger issue: Who can you trust when it comes to your baby's safety? We asked Jamie Schaefer-Wilson to give us some pointers on picking out the right stroller. In addition to authoring the Consumer Reports book Guide to Childproofing & Safety, Schaefer-Wilson is also the manager of the National School Safety Alert Program and the owner of several strollers for her two daughters.
Think twice about secondhand
We all want a deal. Strollers areRead More »from Strollers 101: How to Choose -- and Use -- the Perfect Stroller
- Parents.com | Cool Mom – Wed, Nov 11, 2009 12:50 AM EST
Celebrity DNA is spreading and the resulting unusual baby names are giving us the kind of water-cooler fodder we crave. This last year has brought us prized favorites such as Sparrow, Mars, Atlas, Dreavyn, Ikhyd (shown here with his mom, rapper M.I.A.), and the unforgettable Petal Blossom Rainbow, among others. (Want to see the celebrity names that make us cringe? Check out our list of the 10 most unusual baby names of 2009.)
Of course, we've also seen our share of more classic girl names coming from the stars like Sarah (Kiss' Paul Stanley and wife Erin Sutton) and Sophia (Jude Law and Samantha Burke), and All-American boy names like Bob (Charlie Sheen and wife Brooke Mueller) and John (Boston Legal's Julie Bowen and husband Scott Phillips). But somehow it's those unusual ones that seem to dominate Hollywood. Must be something about their love of attention.
Not so with the rest of us. A new study conducted by researchers from New York University and Indiana University,Read More »from From Classic to Cringe-Worthy: Baby Names and What Makes Them Popular
If it weren't for the three television news cameras, the documentary maker, and the various reporters with notebooks and pens poised for action, Friday, September 4, 2009, would feel like any other day in Lincoln Square, a family-dominated neighborhood in Chicago.
The stroller brigade is out in full force. Women mill around with kids strapped to their backs and fronts, and the older, free-range children chase pigeons through the tree-lined, bench-lined central meeting place called Giddings Plaza. With watchful eyes, mothers sit on the raised stage portion of the square and feed their babies -- breastfeed their babies, that is.
Lauren Trost, a pretty, slight 33-year-old brunette Chicago resident, and her seven-month-old cherubic son, Hank, are at the center of what's being dubbed the Lincoln Square Nurse-In. Trost looks around in amazement at the crowd of more than 30 women. This wasn't exactly what she expected to see.
It all began Friday, August 21, when Trost wasRead More »from Woman Called Indecent for Breastfeeding in Public
- Parents.com | Parenting – Tue, Oct 27, 2009 1:03 AM EDT
If you've seen Meet the Fockers then you're familiar with baby sign language. In the movie, released in 2004, Robert De Niro teaches his grandson to communicate using his hands. Though portrayed humorously in the film, baby sign language is no joke. The pop culture nod to baby signing really gave the public insight into a movement that researchers have been studying since the early 1980s: Just because babies can't talk doesn't mean they don't have anything to say.
Kids can start learning how to communicate with signs when they're as young as 6 months old. There are signs to help with food, signs that represent everyday items, outdoor-related signs, signs to help with potty training,and more.
Based on a simplified version of American Sign Language, researchers (and parents) say that baby signs are a way of alleviating frustration and even tantrums, because kids are able to express themselves.
"Signing and communicating with babies helps them communicate before they canRead More »from No Words? No Problem. Teach Your Tot Sign Language
- Parents.com | Parenting – Mon, Oct 26, 2009 8:18 PM EDT
Remember the days when furniture was just something to sit on? A bath was there to get you clean and stairs were the easiest way from point A to point B? Then you had a baby, and everything in sight suddenly went from everyday utility to flashing Code-Orange-danger-potential. When you have a child, nearly everything in your home can become a safety hazard. How prepared are you for an emergency situation with your little one?
What's most important in a scary situation is that you're calm and reasonable, and the key to level-headedness is being prepared. Check with your local Red Cross and find a class on CPR and first aid, for starters. There are also many helpful resources online to determine if a particular situation is, indeed, an emergency, how to handle that emergency and hints to bulk up on practical advice for potentially scary situations so you're ready for just about anything.
It's a given that life changes when you have a child, but if you take the rightRead More »from Common Accidents for Kids, Easy Solutions for Parents