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  • Discipline FAILS: How to Do it Better

    TKThe kids weren't responding to my discipline tactics. It was time for a makeover.

    By Jason Good from Parents Magazine

    THREAT "If you ask to watch TV one more time, I'm tossing it out the window."
    Problem There are many. For starters, what the hell am I going to do without a television? Also, I live in a nice community, and throwing things out the window would result in extreme social ostracism by my neighbors.
    Revision "If you ask to watch TV one more time, I'll wander into the kitchen and stand there eating all the brownies until I figure out if I'm willing to distract you from the television by enthusiastically suggesting that we play a nice round of Zingo!"

    RELATED: How to Discipline Your Kids

    THREAT "Brush your teeth, or they'll turn green and fall out of your mouth."
    Problem Kids really don't care at all about what happens in the future unless by "the future" you mean the next eight seconds.
    Revision "If you don't brush your teeth, they'll get this weird orange film on them. Look at your

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  • Impressive but Easy Cakes

    girl eatingImpress your guests with our creative candy decorations -- all completely doable in less than 30 minutes!

    By Amanda Kingloff, Taryn Mohrman, and Erica Clark from Parents Magazine

    Mini Smash Cake
    A mini layer cake for a first birthday is coated in frosting, edged in colorful sprinkles, and topped with the cutest little "cupcake." To make the topper, pipe a swirl of frosting onto a small peanut-butter cup and decorate with sprinkles and a nonpareil "cherry."

    RELATED: Easy Birthday Cakes

    Birthday Buzz Cake
    Create flowers on a sheet cake in seconds. Use a green food marker to transform the sticks of lollipops and adorn with gummy spearmint leaves. A yellow jelly-bean bee (flanked by two halves of a black jelly bean) gets its stripes from a black food marker and leaves a trail of chocolate sprinkles.

    Rainbow Cake
    Simply press jelly beans into a frosted layer cake for this showstopping effect.

    Confetti Cake
    Carefully cut Airheads into strips and twist them around your finger to form streamers. Arrange

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  • Stars' Smartest Toy Picks

    I'm always telling my 5-year-old daughter, Ashby, how important and fun learning is. It's one reason I love my career so much: There's always something new to explore. We all want our kids to have fun, and it's even better when they can learn at the same time. I asked a few celebs to share their fave educational toys.

    By Nancy O'Dell, host of Entertainment Tonight from Parents Magazine

    Kristin Davis

    Sex and the City star, mom of 1-year-old Gemma
    "She's recently become very good at the sorting toys. For her birthday, Cindy [Cynthia Nixon] gave her a house that has blocks in different colors and shapes. In two days, she got it! And she knows how to open it, get all the blocks back out, and start again. I'm very impressed."

    : Age-by-Age Guide to Toys!

    Ali Larter
    Resident Evil: Afterlife actress and mom of 2-year-old Theodore
    "He's amazing with the alphabet and with his numbers and all of that. Alphabet flash cards have been incredible. On airplanes, they

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  • 10 Things New Moms Shouldn't Worry About

    All mothers fret about their babies, but don't let these common concerns drive you crazy.
    dad reading By Linda DiProperzio


    Although a baby's constant crying might alarm you, it's important to remember that crying in newborns and infants is normal. "Children under age one cry for many reasons: hunger, sleep, dirty diapers, and being over or under stimulated," explains Michelle Haley, M.D., pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri. "And parents should realize that crying will not hurt an infant."

    RELATED: 10 Newborn Worries (Not to Fret About)

    Dr. Haley also points out that a baby who cries a lot is not an indication of poor parenting skills -- some babies simply cry more than others. Erika Landau, M.D., co-author of The Essential Guide to Baby's First Year, agrees. "If you respond immediately and the crying stops, there is no reason to worry."

    If your infant is inconsolable, you may want to ask your pediatrician about colic. "Colic is

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  • How to Beat Summer Brain Drain

    dad readingTK
    Help your kid's reading skills soar during summer break with these words of advice from literacy experts.

    By Michelle Crouch

    When Kelley Dolling's first-grade students go on summer vacation, they forget a lot of the reading skills they've learned. "I talk to their second-grade teachers, and find out that many children who were doing great in June are struggling in September," says Dolling, who teaches in Cottonwood, California. "We call it the summer slide."

    RELATED: Educational Summer Toys

    Indeed, studies show that students who read little, if at all, when school's out can lose valuable ground. And since many 7- and 8-year-olds are just becoming competent readers, it's especially important for them to spend time practicing. Read up on how to make books a fun part of your family's summer routine.

    Say Yes More Often

    Chances are, your child will receive a recommended summer reading list from his school, but don't limit him to those books, suggests Richard Allington, Ph.D.,

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  • Summer Safety Tips

    family with baby

    Splish, splash, slide! You're ready to introduce your child to the season's fun, but these carefree days can come with surprising risks for tots. Follow our stay-safe guide.

    By Sunny Sea Gold

    Last summer, my daughter Penny, then 11 months old, lost her appetite and was having a fussy spell when small, flat, blisters appeared on the soles of her feet. That's when I realized she had the summer baby virus I'd been warned about: Coxsackie, also known (less appealingly) as hand, foot, and mouth disease. Her doctor confirmed it and explained that the blisters were also in Penny's mouth and throat, so no wonder she was off meals. The virus would take about five days to run its course, and infant pain reliever would help soothe her.

    While grown-up bugs typically don't circulate in summer, baby-centric germs do. "There are certain viruses that thrive in the late spring and summer that young children are most vulnerable to," says Alicia Brennan, M.D., a pediatrician at the CHOP Pediatric

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  • Is Fast Food OK for Kids?

    toddler smiling

    By Elisa Zied

    The billions of dollars spent on marketing and the proliferation of fast food restaurants over the last several decades have essentially programmed many of us to frequent fast food restaurants. Whether we're short on time, traveling, have many mouths to feed or simply want to settle our stress, a burger and fries has come to epitomize the ultimate--and affordable--comfort food fix for parents and children alike.

    RELATED: What To Feed Kids Every Day

    Although eating fast food is not the sole cause of current high rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other diet-related diseases, it is likely a key contributor--especially among children. Studies suggest that children who eat more fast food tend to take in more calories and fewer nutrients than those who consume less or no fast food. Including more fast food in the diet may be a marker for less healthful habits overall. Perhaps families who eat a lot of fast food have fewer home-cooked,

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  • How Do You Know If Your Baby Has a Heart Defect?

    infant sleeping

    The signs and symptoms of heart problems in babies.

    By Darshak Sanghavi, M.D

    Heart problems are the most common type of major birth defect and a leading cause of infant death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, a child with a heart defect is born every 10 minutes. Given these statistics, many parents may wonder: How do I know if my baby has one? Like snowflakes, no two hearts with defects are exactly alike. However, there are roughly 40 different types of congenital heart diseases. The most common are simple defects affecting the muscles separating the chambers (for example, atrial septal defects and ventricular septal defects), or the valves (for example, pulmonary valve stenosis and mitral stenosis). Rarer, more complex defects include hypoplastic left heart syndrome (where the heart's main pumping chamber is absent) and heterotaxy syndrome (where the heart is pretzeled bizarrely, and the liver and stomach are backwards).


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  • 7 Safe Sunscreens

    girl playing

    Seeking safe sunscreen? Shield baby's skin from the harsh rays with these natural lotions.

    By Jessica Hartshorn

    Mineral-based sunscreens are best for your baby. (And not a bad idea for you either!) In the following seven sunscreens, zinc oxide is the primary active ingredient; it stays on top of your baby's skin to physically block rays.

    RELATED: 5 Most Common Myths About Sun Safety

    An additional mineral, titanium dioxide, helps get Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Lotion up to an SPF 50. Even so, you'll want to reapply after you've been outside awhile, and it's always best to avoid being out between 10am and 2pm. ($10-$11)

    Green Babies SPF 30 Sunscreen is lightly scented with essential oil. It's also PABA-and paraben-free. With all sunscreens, put them on before you head outdoors if possible. ($17)

    RELATED: Get Serious About Sun Safety

    Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple SPF 50 stays water-resistant for 80 minutes. Reapply after you towel-dry your baby. The

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  • How Much Does My Kid Need to Eat?

    girl playing

    Use this age-by-age guide to find out the amount of food your child should be eating -- and how to create healthy habits for a lifetime.

    By Sally Kuzemchak, R.D.

    From Day 1, we worry about our kids getting enough to eat -- yet with the childhood obesity rate at 17 percent, we also fret that they'll get too much. What's the right amount? To cut through the confusion, nutrition experts help ed compile this guide of just how much kids need at each age, plus tips on how to stay on track. Follow their advice -- and your child's weight will be one concern you can cross off your list.

    RELATED: Fighting Childhood Obesity

    AGES 1-3: Feeling Finicky
    Daily Calorie Needs 1,200 - 1,400

    Remember that baby of yours who happily ate chicken, squash, and most anything else that landed on his high-chair tray? He's been replaced -- by someone a lot less agreeable at mealtime. After your baby's first year, growth slows down by about 30 percent, and so may appetite. Infants

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