Blog Posts by Parentables

  • How to Help Guide Your Child Towards a Career They'll Love

    Stephen Welstead/LWA/CorbisI have always enjoyed art and being creative, and I wish I had followed that path more closely through school and into college. There were so many signs that I should have followed that path, but I didn't, even though that is ultimately where I have landed because it really was my passion. One of the main reasons I didn't follow that path is because everyone around me had been telling me that I was supposed to be a teacher. I also love working with kids, and I come from a family of practical, service driven people who thought that that meant that I should become a teacher, and so that's the path I followed. Had I pursued my interest in the creative arts, I'm certain I would be further along in my career now. So how do we help our kids find their passion and follow the right path for them?

    Read More: 3 Steps to Finding a Passion That Makes You Money

    My path to becoming a teacher met an abrupt halt when after doing my student-teaching I realized that while I loved kids, I really didn't

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  • 5 Steps to Keep Your Family Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    Photo Credit: Kidde.comWaking up to an alarm in the middle of the night is often scary. I was especially concerned when this happened to me the other night because I realized it was the carbon monoxide monitor outside of our bedrooms. Carbon monoxide might be one of the most lethal toxins that can find its way into your home. It's odorless, colorless, tasteless, and highly poisonous. Appliances and machines like furnaces, portable generators, space heaters, and gas ovens, often without any warning, can emit it.

    Read More: 9 Emergency Kit Essentials to Stock for Your Kids

    The tricky thing about the side effects of carbon monoxide poisoning is that it often causes impaired judgment, confusion, and sleepiness because it starves your brain, heart and body from oxygen. So if the levels of gas are high, you most likely will not be in the best frame of mind to make good decisions. In many cases, those who hear the alarm either assume it's a false notification or just unplug it to stop the noise, which can lead to

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  • Michelle Duggar on Meal Plans and Involving the Kids

    Copyright DCLIn our house, organization is very important in everything we do and that of course includes meal planning. Our family works with a large master menu to plan our food for the week. Whoever is going to cook for that week gets to pick what meals they want to prepare. Usually, we plan two weeks at a time: that way we're not going to duplicate the same recipe too often. It also helps us when we plan our shopping list so we can make sure that we get all the ingredients that we're going to need. Menus and lists are a huge help with that.

    Read More: The Duggars' Snacking Secrets (Plus Michelle's Recipe for Homemade Apple Dumplings)

    Because we're cooking for a lot of children, we tend to make the same family favorites a lot. We're not going to try out too many crazy recipes that young palates won't be interested in. We eat a lot of green salads and veggie trays. Of course, ours are giant trays! A lot of times we'll slice up a big tray of tomatoes, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and top

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  • Do I Really Need to Save Money Now for My Child’s Wedding?

    Credit: Sarah Fernandez / Chateau & BungalowI have heard parents talk about putting money away for their child's wedding for as long as I can remember. But with the recent state of the economy, few people are actually doing so right now. It is hard enough for most people to save money for their own retirement or their child's college education. Weddings certainly aren't taking a priority, nor should they. But, the problem with this is that parents are often being blindsided by the actual cost of a wedding (nearly $27,000 on average in the U.S.) when they are trying to enjoy the excitement of their child's engagement, and the experience becomes incredibly stressful instead of one of the greatest times of their life. Here's what you need to know about the cost of weddings, where to spend your money, and where to be frugal.

    Read More: Here Comes the Bride! Can I Bring the Kids?

    Unavoidable Wedding Expenses
    The truth is that weddings are expensive. Even if you are planning a backyard wedding, you can expect to spend a few thousand

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  • When to Let Your Kids Quit and when to Make Them Stick it Out

    Credit: thetorpedodog / Creative CommonsMy step-daughter, Ava, wants to quit the track team. Just a month and a half ago she embarked on a parental campaign to acquire incredibly expensive indoor and outdoor running sneakers, spandex, sports bras and the school's line of logowear, personalized sweats and rugbies. We were skeptical but excited to see Ava engaged in physical activity. As a freshman at a giant high school, her dad and I want her to find her niche and some activities she loves.

    Read More: What Causes Teens to Make Bad Decisions?

    When Trey and I moved in together, my stepkids, Ava and Chet, were seven and ten. Before, as a single dad living in New York City, Trey had a different idea of kids' "activities." Rather than run around to youth sports practices, Trey took the kids to museums and signed them up for French lessons. I, on the other hand, view parenting as a commitment to shuttling between soccer tournaments and play practice.

    Read More: Why We Still Take Our Eye-rolling Teen on Family Trips

    While Chet

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  • Michelle Duggar on Teaching Your Toddler to Communicate with Sign Language

    Photo Credit: DCLOur little ones can get frustrated as they're learning to talk because they understand more than they're able to communicate with speech. They get what you're saying, but they're not able to really respond with words right away. Imagine how frustrating that would be! One way to help our little ones communicate while they learn to talk is through sign language.

    Read More: Que? Learning a New Language with My 3 Year Old

    Instead of screaming for what they want, they learn a little sign language to help ask for things. Even though they might not be able speak yet, they can easily learn to sign. Toddlers are sharp! They know more than we give them credit for. It really doesn't take them long at all. In our home, we'll teach the toddlers some basic words like: more, please, all done, yes, no, thank you, mommy, and daddy. It really helps us all to communicate.

    Read More: The 25 Words Every Two-Year-Old Should Know

    As I'm teaching Josie a sign with her hands, I'll sign it

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  • Norovirus and Children: Surviving the Winter Vomiting Bug

    Evil Erin/Creative CommonsI once wrote that having a second child is both harder and easier than you might think. That description does not apply when norovirus (aka the winter vomiting bug) comes to town.

    Read More: The Silver Lining of a Sick Kid

    Then it's just plain hard.

    Jenni and I did actually experience a bout of norovirus with our first daughter, Lilia, when she was one year old. And while being on vacation in a friend's tiny London flat with a one-year-old and a profoundly nauseous wife was no fun, I have to say that being at home with two profoundly nauseous children (one and three) and a profoundly nauseous wife is just plain hell.

    Read More: Warning: If My Kid is Sick, I'm Calling Mom

    I know, because I've just been there. If this ever happens to you, here's a very simple survival guide.

    Let Them Watch Dora. However Much They Want
    I don't care what the experts say, concerns about screen time should be tossed out of the window when more than one family member is down with norovirus. If your

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  • 5 Reasons Every Parent Should Beware of Instagram

    Photo: Jamoutinho / Creative CommonsYou think you've got what's hot and trending under control because you use Facebook? Think again. Until I recently experienced one of the latest social media trends through the eyes of my middle-school aged niece, I realized that both you and I have a lot to catch up on.

    Read More: Cyber-Bullying Prevention Starts Earlier Than You Think

    Welcome to Instagram. Until now, I've seen my Facebook friends post photos through Instagram, and I thought it was just a cool and convenient way to share photos, giving it an old-school Polaroid feel. Sure, it is that -- but it's so much more. So here's the lowdown.

    Read More: The Language Your Kids Are Learning Without You

    1. It's Like Facebook 101 for Pre-Teens
    Since Facebook bought Instagram for a mere $1 billion (a fact that my 13-year old nephew chimed in to remind me), it was a no-brainer once I learned more about it that it hit me: Instagram is really a crash course for kids on Intro to Social Networking. Why? Instagram goes one step further

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  • How to Know when It’s Time to Break a Resolution

    Fail.I wrote a post a few months ago on becoming an early riser. While I still stand by the tips I provided to help others achieve that goal, I have since had to jettison the idea that consistent 5AM wake-ups are a tenable goal for me.

    Since then, a few things have happened to show me that it was time to ditch the resolution. Anytime a conflict reared up -- I got sick, we traveled, I had overwhelming deadlines - in other words, life happened, I found it to be absolutely punishing to get up that early.

    Read More: 10 New Year's Resolutions to Make as a Family

    So what's the big deal? Well, for one thing, my pride. I was proud to be an early bird, and I had pretty much bragged about it in a public forum. I like to be honest, and so here I am, announcing a failure. But I'm nothing if not helpful, so I'd like other people to learn from my failure to stick to a resolution.

    Look for What's Better

    When a resolution that we feel is important seems out of reach, it's time to do a

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  • How to Raise Happy Kids and Stop Bullying

    Copyright Paul LepistoContrary to what you have been hearing from your kids -- that the key to happiness and peer acceptance is getting a (fill-in-the-blank-here) for Christmas -- you might be able to bless your kids with happiness and richer friendships by one simple act.

    Read More: 6 Ways to Boost Your Happiness and Be a Positive Role Model for Your Kids

    The Key to Happiness
    Children from 9 to 11 years of age were split into two groups in a happiness and social acceptance study involving 400 students in Vancouver elementary schools. Teachers asked one group to "perform acts of kindness -- like sharing their lunch or giving their mom a hug when she felt stressed." The other half were asked to "keep track of pleasant places they visited -- like the playground or a grandparent's house."

    Read More: 14 Ways to Help Your Child Defend Against Bullying

    After four weeks practicing these small rituals, both groups of children scored higher in self-reported happiness. But the group that practiced

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