Blog Posts by Real Simple Magazine

  • I Don’t Know How to Love You

    The bond between mother and child is said to be unbreakable. But what happens when the child is hard to reach? Alysia Abbott reflects on the challenging journey she has taken with her son-and shares the love lesson she received from a most unexpected source. By Alysia Abbott
    Related: Portraits of Love: How One Father Captured the True Essence of His Autistic Son

    Within the past year, my husband and I stopped showing up in the many drawings and cards our five-year-old daughter, Annabel, brought home from school. Instead nearly every creation was made for him: her "baby"; her "cutie boy"; her brother, Finn. A map to Candy Land for Annabel and Finny. A valentine for Finny. A magnet for Finny. Whenever she drew herself in a picture, he was always there, always small, sometimes crying. And whenever her name appeared, just below she wrote his, connecting the dot in the i of his name to the l in her name so that it resembled a lollipop. When we recently moved to a bigger home, Annabel was

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  • 10 Things You Should Not Refrigerate

  • What Causes Hiccups? and More Tricky Kid Questions

    Do you feel like a fraud when your kids ask why the grass is green? (Because it contains chlorophyll-ring a bell?-a green pigment plants use to make their food.) Behold this parental compendium of uncommon knowledge, which explains a few mysteries of the universe.
    By Julia Edelstein
    What Causes Hiccups?
    Hiccups usually occur when the stomach rubs against and irritates the diaphragm, a muscle at the bottom of the rib cage. An irritated diaphragm pulls back fast, forcing air sharply into the lungs, says Norman H. Edelman, M.D., the chief medical officer for the American Lung Association. When the air hits your voice box, you hiccup. This happens repeatedly until the irritation stops.

    Why is Yawning Contagious?
    Two Italian scientists studied this puzzling phenomenon just last year: They believe that contagious yawning shows empathy. (When you yawn after your mom does, maybe you're saying, "I hear you. I'm sleepy, too.") In fact, we're more likely to "catch" a yawn from a

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  • Ingredients to Keep in Your Pantry

    You'll never be stumped for dinner ideas if you stock these foods in your kitchen.

    Foodcollection RF/Getty Images Foodcollection RF/Getty Images

    Peanut Butter

    An essential of childhood and cornerstone of the PB & J, this sandwich staple is packed with protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

    Get recipe ideas for peanut butter.

    John Kelly/Getty Images John Kelly/Getty Images


    A staple of every pantry, dried pasta-a delectable combination of semolina flour, water, and salt-is a surefire kid-pleaser, a quintessential comfort food, and the basis of no end of delicious dishes. Fresh pasta, which contains eggs, is more tender than dried and cooks in about half the time.

    Get delicious pasta recipes.

    Bill Steele/Getty Images Bill Steele/Getty Images


    The main dietary staple for half the world, rice is an infinitely adaptable grain. "Long-grain" means a rice kernel is three to four times as long as it is wide, whereas short-grain rice is almost round.

    Learn about different types of rice.

    Valerie Janssen/Getty Images Valerie Janssen/Getty Images


    Grains are an essential element in a healthy diet, and eating high-fiber whole grains may help reduce your risk of heart disease, ward

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  • What Parenting Responsibility Would You like to Pawn Off?

    Parenting is a joy, a privilege, a miracle. Except for the times when it's not. Here, fellow parents divulge which tiresome tasks and doleful duties they would love to live without.

    Anna BondWeekend-morning duty. My side of the bed is closest to the door, and while I love waking up to that pitter-patter, I wish it came much later than 6 A.M.
    Amy Reesman
    Easthampton, Massachusetts

    Can I give up the hours between 4 P.M. and 7 P.M.? Like clockwork, my children go insane, crying about everything under the sun-their home-work, someone looking at them, a kid who took their crayon, or others breathing in their vicinity. The only solution seems to be sleep-preferably for me.
    Marsha Ho
    Staten Island, New York

    Helping out with homework. It's still boring, even when you're a grown-up.
    Heather Jennings
    Oakland, California

    This is awful, but I can't stand playing-especially playing on the playground and assembling toys. I'll bathe, feed, and nurture my kids, volunteer in their classrooms, drive to the

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  • How to Keep the Peace when Kids Share a Room

    Use these tricks to avoid problems when your children share the same bedroom.

    A version of this article originally appeared on
    James BaigrieWould you-or do you-have your children share a room? Sometimes room-sharing is a choice, and other times, it's a necessity. After all, not every home has one bedroom per kid.

    But whether by choice or necessity, similar issues may arise when you set up roommates of the non-rent-paying variety. How can kids get alone time? What if they have different bedtimes? What if they fight over toys or space?

    We spoke to two parenting experts (who also happen to be parents themselves) to figure out what having a sibling as a roommate means for your child, and how you can make sharing a bedroom a great experience for everyone.

    Also See: A Children's Bedroom Gets Organized

    Why Sharing a Room Can Be A Good Thing
    Jessica McMaken, founder of parenting consulting site Razbelly and mom of three, has found that her two older children, ages 4 and 7, like sharing a

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  • 10 Beauty Shortcuts

    The fastest way to dry nail polish, grow out a bad haircut, and more.

    By Stephanie Abramson

    More from

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  • Tips for Raising Healthy Kids

    She may look (and even act) like your Mini Me, but kids aren't little versions of adults. Here are pint-size guidelines for diet, sleep, exercise, and more.
    By Maya Kukes

    Growing up is hard work, and a child has a special set of requirements to get the job done. "Kids have to be treated as their own entities with unique needs," says Laura Jana, a pediatrician in Omaha and a coauthor of Food Fights ($15, That's because your little person is still developing, of course, from her brain to her bones. Here are a few ways in which she's different from you-and how you can give her what it takes to get big and strong.

    Meiko Takechi ArquillosMeiko Takechi Arquillos

    She Dehydrates More Easily

    There are a few reasons for this: Water makes up a greater proportion of a child's body, and children have faster metabolisms, which means their systems need more water to run smoothly. You've heard "eight glasses a day" for the average grown-up, but for kids there's no magic number. The amount of water depends on a child's weight and

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  • How to Stop Kids from Biting Their Nails, Sucking Their Thumbs, and More

    Your kids' little quirks make you, well, want to start biting your nails. Help them overcome unseemly behaviors with some expert advice.
    By Jennifer King Lindley

    How to Break a Bad Habit
    You adore your child, but you can't say the same about some of his annoying habits: The knuckle cracking. The nail nibbling. The way he interrupts your phone calls with emergency pleas for peanut butter. Relax-there are a few wise strategies to restore your sanity.
    Ben Javens First, it's important to understand the impulse behind the actions. If he's smacking away at the dinner table, he may just need an etiquette adjustment. However, some parental button-pushers-like thumb-sucking, nail biting, knuckle cracking, and hair twirling-are unconscious ways to relieve tension. "They can help alleviate feelings that a child is experiencing in a big way-boredom, anxiety, overexcitement," says Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., a psychologist in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the author of What to Do When Bad Habits Take Hold ($16,

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  • The Facts About Emotional Eating

    Want to have your cake and eat it, too? What you don't know about emotional eating-why we're wired to do it and why (sometimes) it's not such a bad thing.
    By Alice Oglethorpe and Noelle Howey, additional reporting by Julia Edelstein

    Geof Kern"I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them," wrote Nora Ephron in Heartburn. If only most of us were so philosophical about the way we eat when we're in the throes of a powerful emotion.
    Unfortunately, after we celebrate our promotion with champagne and cupcakes or drown our romantic woes in a bowl of spaghetti, we tend to feel remorseful. "I indulged myself," we might confess, in a hushed tone, to a friend the next day. (Even our choice of word-indulge-is loaded, as it implies we are engaging in a vaguely illicit behavior.)
    But is this self-flagellation really necessary? Some experts say no. "It's healthy to emotionally eat once in a while-to eat for comfort, to celebrate, or

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