Blog Posts by Parents.com

  • PANDAS: Is This Condition Real?

    PANDAS DisorderWe've been hearing a lot these days about a disorder called PANDAS. Maybe you've read about 15 teenagers in upstate New York who suddenly developed what was originally described as a tic disorder? It's now believed to be PANDAS.

    PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections. Essentially it means that for some children, being exposed to a bacterial infection such as strep can trigger severe symptoms of OCD. How? The infection triggers the immune system to produce antibodies intended to attack the infection. But the antibodies attack the brain instead-specifically, the basal ganglia, which is the part that controls emotions, behaviors, and physical movements.

    It's turned out to be a very controversial diagnosis. Some doctors say there just isn't enough evidence to prove that strep or a similar infection can lead to OCD. Or that the studies proving its existence are flawed. They'll say that the children who are "suddenly" acting

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  • 5 Things Parents Can Do to Protect Children on the Internet

    Kids on the ComputerThe Internet is a treasure trove of information that can also present real risks for kids of all ages. Rather than going to the extremes of banning the use of digital devices (computers, tablets, phones, etc.) in the home, be practical and exercise good judgment. Take some simple steps in order to protect your family online.

    By Leticia Barr

    The following five suggestions serve as starting points for every family.

    1. Establish guidelines for the use of digital devices. Guidelines will vary according to age but general ones for all ages include limiting screen time, standards for appropriate online behavior, being careful not to share too much information online, and being sure that other caregivers respect and uphold your family's rules for using devices when looking after your children.

    2. Locate the computer in the hub of your home. Placing the family computer in a high traffic area allows you to keep an eye on what your child is doing. While teens may value their privacy, a computer

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  • Best Presidential Baby Names

    BabyDemonstrate your love of country, or give your baby a lofty legacy, by naming him or her after a great American leader.

    By Paula Kashtan

    Jefferson
    Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
    Looking for a J name that's less popular than Jason or Jeffrey? Jefferson is the way to go. It comes with the simple nickname Jeff, and your baby's namesake would be the chief author of the Declaration of Independence!

    Madison
    James Madison, 1809-1917
    Madison ranks in the top 10 on the charts, and it makes a lovely name for either a boy (Mad) or girl (Maddie). Fun fact: The name wasn't used until 1985, the year after Daryl Hannah's mermaid character in the movie Splash chose Madison for her name.

    Quincy
    John Quincy Adams, 1817-1825
    It has the sound of a trendy name, but Quincy actually dates to the 1800s. It's traditionally a boy's name, but would sound just as cute on a girl. If you're planning a large family, Quincy is a great way to honor your fifth child, since "quin" means five.

    Jackson
    Andrew Jackson,

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  • What's Your Pregnancy Personality?

    Pregnant WomanGet ready for a takeover -- of your mind and body -- by these 10 types.

    By Kerry Lyons

    I found out I was expecting for the first time on April 1. Because we'd only started trying that January, I thought it was a joke -- a classic April Fool's Day "Gotcha!" How I knew it was for real? A deep, driving hunger that only a bagel with butter could satisfy. Fast-forward two Aprils, and we had another baby on the way. This time I was excited -- and panicked -- over the thought of juggling two under 2. Ha! I can laugh now: A couple of years later, my husband and I were trying-but-not-really-trying when I found out I was pregnant again -- with identical triplets!

    It dawned on me that you don't need to be pregnant with multiples to experience the multiple personalities of pregnancy (I remembered Hungry Hannah and Mood Swing Molly from my first go-rounds.). I'd like to introduce you to the gals I met over my preggo days. Perhaps you'll see your alter-ego on this list.

    Hungry Hannah
    Prides

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  • 10 Tips to Save Money on Baby Expenses

    BabyHaving our second child in December reminded me once again that right along with the joy that a new baby brings, comes a lot of new expenses. However, the excitement of new life doesn't have to be dampened with the worry that you'll go broke in the process! In fact, with our son and now our daughter, I realized that there are many ways that you can reduce the costs of having a baby. Here are a few of my favorite ways to save.

    By Lydia Beiler

    1. Borrow as much as possible from friends
    We live in a smaller townhouse built in the 1800′s, and while it is full of character it really lacks storage space. So when our son was born 3 years ago, and again this time around with our daughter, we took advantage of borrowing items from our friends who offered their baby things. Some of the things we borrowed were a bouncer seat, a swing, a cradle, and even some clothing. Not only did this save us from having to buy these items, it also freed us up from having to store them in our little house!

    2.

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  • The Chore Challenge: Teaching Kids Responsibility

    Girl SweepingDiscover the secret to getting your kid to set the table or tidy her room without being constantly on her case about it.

    By Beth Howard

    My daughter, Zoe, was 5 when I decided to give her a couple of chores: making her bed every morning and putting some of her clean clothes in drawers on laundry day. Let's just say she blew off these tasks for months. I was beyond frustrated that my sweet kid, who eagerly pitched in at school during cleanup time, couldn't care less about lending a hand at home.

    Sound familiar? While chores are typically greeted with enthusiasm in the preschool years ("Look, I'm helping Mommy!"), by the time a child is 5 or 6 -- and genuinely ready for more responsibility -- her natural excitement wanes, says parenting expert Deborah Gilboa, M.D., the founder of AskDoctorG.com. Don't let your chore-dodger off the hook. To spur her on to action, enlist the help of these motivational tricks from the experts.

    Pull Out the Big-Kid Card
    If you've never specifically given

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  • Surprising Places Real Moms Have Given Birth

    BabyFor some moms, where they deliver turns out to be a huge surprise. Read stories of real moms who delivered on a plane, in the post office, perched in a tree, and more!

    By Tricia O'Brien

    On the kitchen floor
    Dorothy Price
    Charlotte, North Carolina

    Price's ob-gyn sent her home from the hospital twice and told her to return when she was "keeled over and unable to talk." So she sucked up the pain and kept busy, running errands with her sister. Upon returning home, and even though her contractions weren't five minutes apart, she called the doc at 3:30 p.m. and managed to say, "In labor. Baby coming now!" The nurse instructed Price to dial 911. "I walked into the kitchen and held onto the counter to brace myself," Price says. Just as the baby was crowning, the fire department and paramedics arrived. After two pushes, Kaden Amir was born on the floor.

    Out on a limb
    Sofia Pedro
    Mozambique, Africa

    In 2000, Sofia Pedro climbed a tree to escape surging floodwaters in Mozambique. After three

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  • 11 Ways to Make the ER Less Stressful

    AmbulanceThe E.R. can be a bewildering place with loud noises, bright lights, restless kids, and freaked-out parents. Our guide makes it less stressful.

    By Michelle Crouch

    The first time I ever went to the emergency room with one of my kids, I stopped and picked up food for us on the way. It was almost dinnertime, and who knew how long we'd be waiting? Bad move. It turns out that some E.R. physicians won't give a child any kind of sedation unless her stomach has been empty for at least four hours. For anesthesia, they may prefer to wait as long as eight. Although my 4-year-old daughter Stella's situation wasn't urgent -- she had pushed a plastic bead up her nose -- the doctor wanted to sedate her before removing it. Because we had just eaten, that was out of the question unless we wanted to hang around for hours. Luckily, the doctor agreed to try the procedure without sedation, and he was able to extract the bead. But what could have been a simple removal was difficult and more painful for

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  • Apps for Paranoid Parents

    Mom with PhoneAre you a hover mom who needs to know where your child is at all times? We've found the apps (including ones with GPS tracking) that will give any parent more peace of mind.

    By Brett Singer

    To date, the Apple iTunes store boasts over 15 billion app downloads, and these apps have evolved far beyond games and productivity. Just as there are apps to help your children avoid being bullied, there are apps that can calm even the most paranoid parent. Many of these use GPS to track a child's location, so parents should read the license agreements more carefully than usual before downloading. There is a chance your kids may complain that you are "spying" on them -- just make sure to have a clear conversation about protecting them while respecting their privacy. Here are 10 apps that will help parents feel better about letting their children be more independent.

    FBI Child ID
    Created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, this app lets parents store their children's photos plus other

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  • Adventurous Eating from "A" to "Z"

    Child EatingWe've compiled a list of off-the-beaten-path foods. Try them with your kids in alphabetical order -- if dates don't go over well, just move on to eggplant, or choose another food from the list.

    By Julie Knapp

    We don't have to tell you that a steady diet of PB&J and fried potatoes can't provide the variety of nutrients kids need. But did you know it could also put your child on a path toward a lifetime of similar food choices? "It takes a long time to develop a palate," says Leanne Ely, a nutrition consultant in Charlotte, North Carolina. "To raise a healthy eater, you need a sense of adventure in your own kitchen."

    A is for Arctic Char
    The American Dietetic Association recommends eating approximately eight ounces of fish a week. Arctic char is an environmentally friendly alternative to farm-raised salmon. It has a milder flavor and is low in mercury. Plus, it's high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain development and may provide protection against disorders

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