25 Dangerous Things All Kids Should Try

25 Dangerous Things All Kids Should Try

I have this whiz-bang idea that my kids should be encouraged to act out the wild ideas that enter their hair-brained imaginations. Reining in my kids with boundaries is indeed essential, but why squelch their compulsion to explore? A hands-on childhood will teach them loads of marvelous skills, from problem solving, teamwork and self-confidence all the way to the importance of stain remover and following directions. The problem with letting my little monsters sword fight or blow up vinegar and baking soda volcanoes in the kitchen is not so much the wildness of their actions (although that is always a concern) but my ability to say, ‘yes’ and put aside my nagging inner voice reminding me that we are out of Band-Aids or calculating the number of hours cleaning versus the number of minutes of play. [Missing content, get the full article here] The most dangerously fun answer a parent can give to their child’s request for adventure is a resounding, ‘YES!’ For me that means pushing aside the feelings of fear that my kids will get hurt or of annoyance at what a pain in the neck it can sometimes be to drop what I am doing and teach my kids how to build a slingshot that they will most definitely use to shoot the dog or me with. Aren’t wild curiosity and fearlessness parts of childhood? And shouldn’t I – shouldn’t we – want to be a central part of the crazy quests that kids will invent in the name of fun? My children will slapdash together bold and invincible-sounding schemes anyway, so I might as well...
I Am “That Mom” Who Uses the iPad as a Babysitter

I Am “That Mom” Who Uses the iPad as a Babysitter

Claudia Winkleman, the host of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing (the UK equivalent of Dancing with the Stars), thinks that children and even their parents rely on TVs, smartphones, and computer screens too much for entertainment. The 43-year-old mom of three kids tells The Sun on Sunday: ‘The children of the future will be in therapy going, ‘I never talked to my mum and dad as they were always online.’ It’s gone a bit bonkers. We need to learn when to switch off. I’m probably the only person who doesn’t have an iPhone, and I’ve got no tellies — which is ridiculous seeing as I work in telly.” While I agree with what Winkleman is saying — that we should actually talk to our kids and not just put them in front of screens all day — I also understand why parents do. I am completely guilty of this myself. I am a writer and work from home, but I don’t have the luxury Winkleman has of employing nannies and housekeepers. My husband and I are on full-time childcare duty. We have no family nearby to help us and my daughter is only in preschool 15 hours a week. Somehow I have to fit my work as a writer in with my job as a mom, which is incredibly difficult — especially when deadlines loom. It means there are times when my daughter’s around and I can’t play Guess Who? or Snakes and Ladders — I have to write. The result? I find myself turning to Mr. TV or Mr. iPad to be my default babysitter. Sometimes, I feel I am pushed to my limits because my husband...
#AskAnExpert: How Can I Get My Baby to Sleep Through the Night?

#AskAnExpert: How Can I Get My Baby to Sleep Through the Night?

Kids in the House to help you tackle your toughest parenting challenges. This month, we’re bringing you advice on how to get your baby to sleep from four of America’s leading experts and a celebrity mom. Have a question? Tweet @BabbleEditors using #AskanExpert. Go to Sleep Early Many parents put their babies to sleep later thinking it will lead to waking up later, but actually the opposite is true. Between 7 pm and 8 pm is a good bedtime for your baby. Consistency Is Key Science says that extinction (putting your baby down while awake, leaving him in the room, letting him cry it out, and not going in all night long) is the most successful training method. But this method isn’t right for every parent. What does work is consistency. Pick the sleep coaching method that is right for both your child and your values, and then follow through with it consistently. Practice this every night, and you will be successful. — Kim West, also known as “The Sleep Lady,” is a mother of two and a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical (LCSW-C) who has been a practicing child and family social worker for more than 19 years. She is the author of The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. *** Teach Your Baby Not to Fall Asleep at the Breast Let baby suck on a bottle or breast until he is sleepy, then put him into bed to finish falling asleep. Do not let him fall asleep at the breast. When baby starts to get sleepy, walk him to bed and give him a few jiggles (aka: the Pantley Dance), signaling that he...
Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad’s Wife

Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad’s Wife

My husband is a stay-at-home dad. This is a new and probably temporary dynamic for us. He recently retired from the military and he’s taking a break before entering the civilian work force. He takes care of things on the home front while I work full time and freelance part time. Like everything else in life, being the one who gets up and goes off to work every day comes with highs and lows. If we’re talking counting blessings, my family has plenty, so when I complain about my job or being the breadwinner, I feel a little guilty. I know I am lucky to have a job … many don’t. We’re fortunate not to struggle financially … I know some families worry about how they’re going to buy groceries. But I still have my moments of bitterness when the alarm goes off … like every weekday morning. Sometimes, life gives us little moments that helps shift our perspective. The view from a crack in my bathroom door this morning was one of those little moments. I get up with the chickens to write in my journal or on my blog (we don’t actually have chickens, but I get up early … you get the idea). I like the sound of nothing while I take those first few precious slurps from my favorite coffee mug. I have three kids so my house is always loud. Really loud. Having this time to be alone with my thoughts and my words is what centers me and makes me feel human. At 6:30 this morning I downed that last bit of coffee and...
It’s the Little Things We Do That Make Us Good Mothers

It’s the Little Things We Do That Make Us Good Mothers

Being a mother is the most exhausting, amazing, guilt-inducing, heart-wrenching, but rewarding experience I have ever — or probably will ever —have. The entire experience is the strangest paradox to me. Sometimes I find myself counting down the hours until bedtime, only to sit on the couch scrolling through photos of my kids 20 minutes later because I already miss them. It’s a mixture of feeling such pride over the amazing things that they say and do, and then feeling like a complete failure because surely I am screwing everything up and they’re going to hate me one day. I cannot even begin to express how many times a day I feel like I am completely failing at being a mother. My patience is short, I raise my voice, I nag about the most ridiculous things. I am too regimented and become far too easily frustrated when things don’t go my way … which is often. These are the things that often haunt me at night once my children are in bed — all of the things I didn’t get right that particular day. There are days when it feels like it’s all I can do to make it through and keep everyone alive. I’ll cry as I rock my son to sleep and get choked up as I say bedtime prayers with my daughter, because I feel like there’s no way I’m doing this job well. But then my children will blow me away by showing me that that’s not what they see — that’s not what they take away from our days together. Last night, as I lay in bed with my daughter...