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  • Kids Need Phys Ed, so Why Are Schools Cutting It?

    girl playing
    By Leslie Garisto Pfaff

    Your second-grader has a spelling quiz today. It's 7:30 A.M. To help her do her best, you should...

    A. Give her a pep talk.
    B. Quiz her on the material.
    C. Turn on some music and challenge her to jump around for ten minutes.

    Okay, it's a trick question, since all these strategies can be helpful. But if you answered C, you've aced the prep test -- and there's a very good chance your child will do well too.

    Why We Need More Physical Education In Schools

    Of course, you know that regular physical activity is important for kids' health and reduces their risk of becoming overweight. However, the intriguing news is that it's also associated with higher academic achievement. A recent study by the Delaware Department of Education and the nonprofit Nemours Health & Prevention Services analyzed the records of more than 80,000 Delaware public-school students. It found that the kids who were more physically fit generally

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  • How to Improve Your Kid's Attention Span

    girl playing
    By Leslie Harris O'Hanlon

    My 5-year-old son, Walker, pays attention only when he wants to. I'm showing him how to make the letter "A" for what seems like the millionth time. I say, "Start at the top, go down, and make a line across." As I'm talking, he's looking at everything except at what he's doing. He fidgets and plays with his pencil. I keep pulling his attention back to what we're doing and my constant refrain is "Pay attention!" but I'm losing my patience. He listens when I read his favorite books, and he listens to his swim teacher when she tells him to extend his arms to improve a stroke, but this is an exercise in frustration.

    RELATED: Discipline Tactics for Every Age

    Child development experts say that, on average, a 4- or 5-year-old child should be able to stay focused on a task for two to five minutes times the year of their age. So, young kids should be able to focus between 4 and 20 minutes, possibly more, depending on the task. But this rule of thumb, just

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  • A Grandmother Who’s Pregnant—With Twins!

    By Judith S. Lederman

    I met my pediatrician husband four years ago on an Internet dating site. He liked my profile, but he said that he was really hoping to have more children. He was 50 and I was a 49-year-old mother of three grown children -- not to mention that I'd already become a grandmother! I thought a new baby wasn't likely to happen, so, longing to be just a few years younger, I wished him luck. Months later, though, he e-mailed again, imploring me to give him another chance. The issue of children, he said, we would leave to God.

    RELATED: How Pregnancy Has Changed: The Inside Scoop from a Pregnant Grandmother

    We dated long-distance for six months, before we married in 2010 and I moved from New York to Michigan to be with him. Three years later, God has given us an answer: Today I am 53 years old and pregnant with twins.

    A year into our marriage, I consulted with a doctor who told me it could happen, because I was "young for my age." For my husband and

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  • Signs of Child Abuse (and How to Stop It)

    baby crying
    By Jennifer Wilson

    We spoke with Matthew Cox, M.D., a child abuse pediatrician at the Children's Medical Center's Referral Evaluation of At Risk Children (REACH) program in Dallas, Texas, a state with one the nation's highest abuse rates. He regularly conducts medical examinations on children to determine if their injuries are due to abuse, and works with local agencies to ensure kids' safety. This is his advice on how to prevent and report abuse, as well as how to help victims:

    RELATED: 12 Kids' Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

    Signs of Abuse
    Above all else, if you suspect abuse, trust your instincts, says Dr. Cox. "Time after time we hear family members who say 'I was worried, but I didn't have any evidence,'" he says. "If you have a gut feeling, act on that concern."

    Common indicators of child abuse include:

    Bruises. Look for them in unusual locations such as cheeks, back, backside, or chest. Any bruise on an infant is worrisome.

    Babies who fuss

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  • Does Playing Violent Video Games Cause Violence?

    baby crawling
    By Richard Rende

    This seemingly simple question does not have a simple answer. Here's why.

    There are studies that report links between playing video games with violent content and measures of aggression. Many of these studies show small statistical associations - meaning that it is not highly predictive of aggressive behavior. In addition, many focus on kids' self-reports of their own aggressive behavior. While this is one valid way of measuring aggression, it is not the only way - which limits the take-home messages from these studies. And we all know that "association" (or correlation) is not the same thing as causation.

    RELATED: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Video Games

    Consider a recent well-designed study published in Developmental Psychology. The study authors reported that teen accounts of their frequency of playing violent video games were predictive of increases in their self-reported aggressive behavior over time. There were a number of

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  • 10 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid in Your Home

    baby crawling
    By Keely Savoie

    Many chemicals today are known or suspected to be links to cancer, early puberty, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, autism, and other serious health issues. "As we look at protecting children's health, we need to look not just at nutrition, diet, and physical activity, but also exposure to chemicals," says Jason Rano, director of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

    RELATED: 10 Surprising Safety Hazards

    The Safe Chemicals Act, which passed out of committee for the first time this year, would require chemical companies to prove that their products are safe. "In the U.S., we are a toxic dumping ground for unsafe products," says Katy Farber, founder of Non-Toxic Kids ( "Many parents are exhausted by trying to keep up with what to avoid and what to do. The Safe Chemicals Act would shift the burden to where it belongs." Your family doesn't have to live like ascetics to minimize your children's

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  • Should Pediatricians Discuss Guns with Parents?

    doctor and baby
    By Kara Corridan

    Would you object to your pediatrician discussing gun safety with you, including asking whether you have guns in your home?

    Yes. It's not my doctor's business.
    No. The doctor is just trying to help prevent unintentional injuries.

    That's the poll question we recently posed to our Facebook community. The overwhelming majority (70 percent) of respondents said they would not object.

    RELATED: 10 Surprising Home Safety Hazards

    This very topic has been the subject of debate for quite some time -- long before the events in Newtown, Connecticut shook us to our core. Back in 2011, Florida's legislature passed a bill, which was then signed by its governor, making it illegal for pediatricians to ask families whether they have a gun. (An early draft called for doctors to face five years in jail and a $5 million fine.) The lawmakers who created and supported the bill believed these conversations interfered with patients' Second Amendment right to bear

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  • In Defense of the Mom Who Put Her 7-Year-Old Daughter on a Diet

    mom and baby
    By Gail O'Connor

    What is it like to have the whole world call you a bad mother?

    Mom Dara-Lynn Weiss would know. Last year Weiss wrote about putting her obese 7-year-old daughter Bea on a strict diet, and posed with her, post-diet success, for the pages of Vogue. Weiss has now authored a slim volume called The Heavy, out yesterday, about the experience. (The heavy is Weiss, who was the one to monitor and sometimes get tough when it came to Bea's diet.)

    RELATED: Raise a Healthy Kid in a Supersize World

    I'd read the article before I read the howling on the Internet over Weiss's piece-she was called "abrasive," "irrational," "truly disgusting," and a "monster," among other things-and I was always sympathetic. Weiss's story didn't fit the profile of your "typical" overweight American family's. She had served well-rounded dinners with healthy vegetables. She kept no junk food in her cupboards (which is more than I can say). And she reserved fast food for a semi-annual

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  • 8 Medication Mistakes Parents Make

    baby and doctor
    By Jeannette Moninger

    When feverish, congested 2-year-old Kadence woke up in the middle of the night, her mom, Marena Teague, gave her a dose of ibuprofen and cold medicine, just as her pediatrician suggested. Kadence started fussing again a little later, and Teague, half asleep, reached for the medications again. "I realized almost instantly that I'd double-dosed Kadence with both medications," says the Summerville, Georgia, mom. In a panic, Teague called poison control. "I was told to keep Kadence awake for a few hours to make sure she didn't develop breathing problems or become unconscious," she says. "I kept the phone in my hand in case I had to call 911 fast."

    RELATED: Signs and Symptoms That Indicate An Emergency

    Thankfully, Kadence, now 5, was fine, but other kids aren't so lucky. Each year, an estimated 71,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for accidental medication poisonings. Medical experts say that many parents unintentionally goof when giving kids medicine.

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  • 10 Things You Shouldn't Ask a Lesbian Mom

    mom and baby
    By L.A. Pintea

    When my partner and I started telling our friends and families that we were going to have a baby, everyone was happy and excited for us. We were the only same-sex couple in our extended family and in our immediate circle of friends, as is often the case with gay people, so everyone had a lot of questions. Although people asked really insightful and thoughtful questions about our future family, we also heard some that left us scratching our heads. Here are the 10 questions I hope I never have to answer again, and the reasons why.

    RELATED: How to Discuss Being Gay With Your Child

    1. Which one of you is the mother?
    We both are! We're both parents and we're both women, so we're both mothers; more than that, we're both equally responsible for our child's well-being, safety, and education.

    In our case, my partner and I were together for four years before we had our son. We wanted to have a baby together. Together we dreamed about what our baby would

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