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When it comes to academics, parents today face a ton of pressure! Even before our children are born, we’re encouraged to read to them and expose them to music in utero.Then there are the educational toys required to foster early math, reasoning and motor skills. And the music and movement classes. We must make our kids smart to give them a learning leg up, an edge in life. But be careful: If your toddler starts showing signs of intelligence and wit, you shouldn’t necessarily tell... more
It is with heartfelt thanks that I would like to express my gratitude to J.K. Rowling for writing the Harry Potter series of books. With her writing, she’s given me a wonderful excuse to spend hours snuggled up next to my children, reading and connecting with them in an almost magical way.When the Harry Potter book series first came out, I... more
Invented by a Utah dad of twins, Mittyz (for ages 6 and younger) eliminate the struggle of getting kid mittens on and off, thanks to an integrated thumb pocket, a double-pull wrist strap for sealing out snow (plus a quick-release buckle for easy removal) and oversized gauntlets that fit over bulky sleeves.Bonus: They’re 100 percent waterproof and... more
“Good job, Sasha!” enthused a fellow mother at the park as she tailed her preschool-aged daughter up and down the slides. “Great climbing! I’m so proud of you, strong girl!” This was one of the more effusive examples of “positive reinforcement” I’ve witnessed since becoming a parent. But if you spend any time at playgrounds or other kid-... more
From the makers of the now-beloved snot-sucking nasal aspirator known as NoseFrida, comes a medicine syringe topped with a binky — the MediFrida Accu-Dose Pacifier Medicine Dispenser.Genius. $12.99 • target.com, amazon.com more
We’re swooning over the modern designs coming out of Telegraph Paper Co., the brainchild of graphic designer and painter Lindsey Anderson of Moorhead.  Anderson started out selling greeting cards. But then after spending time with her niece and her friends’ kids, she was inspired to switch gears to create educational, color posters for... more
Not all families look the same. And yet, in children’s literature families are illustrated relatively rarely with diversity in mind. Mothers, fathers, grandparents and children tend to be uniformly white or portrayed as animals. When looking through the inventory at a bookstore, Minnesota native Norah Barrett Cooper and her husband... more
When it comes to education in the U.S., teachers lead the way in molding young minds.But it’s a huge job. One might argue it’s actually too much for teachers to do alone. After all, learning doesn’t stop when the school bell rings. And support at home can make a big difference in a child’s educational experience. How exactly can parents... more
We’re five minutes late for recess. It’s pretty typical. My lesson ran over because there’s always just one more student to check in with: One was struggling; one was bored because he finished early. During school days, I often feel like a carnival man, spinning plates on every part of my body, hoping none of them crash to the ground.As soon... more
Q: Can we skip the HPV vaccine?A: Many parents find HPV vaccination to be a particularly challenging topic as they struggle with the idea of thier child receiving an injection related to sexual health.But the vaccine — which is given during elementary school — is recommended to prevent multiple types of cancer in adulthood for both males and... more
So your kids don’t like beans — a protein source that’s also rich with iron? No problem! Just sneak them into these rich, tasty, flourless treats, which contain four times the protein and 10 times the fiber of boxed brownies. And they’re made with less than half the oil. Win! Black Bean BrowniesIngredients1 15-ounce can of black beans3... more
As a childbirth educator and doula, I hear the term ‘mother’s intuition’ a lot.Experienced mothers attempt to reassure moms-to-be or new moms with, “Don’t worry: You’ll just know. It’s just a mother’s intuition.” I’ve been guilty of using this form of advice myself, knowing quite well that when I get this little nugget of misinformation, I... more
I like to tell my daughter she’s made of teddy grahams and milk. Cottage cheese with pickles and Wheat Thins. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. My son is all brownies and Mexican food. Those were my go-to pregnancy cravings. Powerful, consuming, satisfying, must-have. “What’s your baby made of?” It’s one of my favorite... more
Looking for places in town that feel a bit removed from the crowds of the metro area, but are well within city limits? When you’ve hit your limit on trips to apple orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes, check out these local gems.Go off road at Cedar Lake If you’ve walked the paved paths around Cedar Lake — or created a loop bike by... more
Has bullying become our new normal? Many parents and educators have anecdotal evidence that bullying has been on the rise, and experts point to disturbing statistics: More than one out of every five students say they’ve been bullied, according to 2016 data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. But here’s a ray of light:... more
People who follow Minnesota writer Bao Phi on Facebook know that his feed is like a live memoir. His anecdotes about parenting, and his musings on writing, life and the world can be a joy to follow. In fact, one of his Facebook posts — a poignant story about going shopping with his 8-year-old daughter, Sông, and losing her in the store —... more
Ruby was a bubbly 6-year-old who usually bounced out of bed in the morning, excited for a day at school with friends and Ms. Martinez, her cherished teacher. Ruby had attended a mind-boggling number of birthday parties since the beginning of the school year, and also had playdates with several friends from kindergarten who were now in her... more
Bestselling author and New York Times journalist Frank Bruni argues that too many young people believe their futures will be determined by where they’re accepted into college.But it’s simply not true, according to the real stories found in Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania. $14.99 • amazon.com more
The chatter is everywhere: A gap year — once considered a questionable, even risky path reserved for unsure seniors — is now a viable, respectable alternative to starting university course work.In fact, a gap year seems to be an increasingly legitimate part of the American post-grad experience.And yet, I never thought it would be something I’d... more
Have you or someone you know experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth or lost a newborn infant? Chances are you know someone who has endured this heartbreaking experience.1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage (loss before 20 weeks gestation) and 1 in 160 end in stillbirth(loss after 20 weeks gestation). Our son Bryson was our fourth pregnancy... more
Did you know that tummy time, crawling and side-sitting can actually help with your baby’s fine motor development?These basic movement patterns — and the postural control and stability needed to perform them — can affect skills later in life such as handwriting!What can you do to help ensure that your baby’s fine motor development is on... more
We go to great lengths to photograph life’s big moments — those first smiles and steps, all the birthdays, the start of each school year, graduation day, wedding vows. So why wouldn’t we capture the very first one, the beginning of it all? Yes, birth photography may seem like an act of exhibitionism to some — a cruel-and-unusual addition... more
Q: My son seems to have really flat feet. And he trips a lot. Would special shoes help him?A: A flat foot refers to a condition in which the arch of the foot disappears or diminishes when a person stands. Most often, the arch will reappear if the person is sitting or standing on the tiptoes. Almost all babies and young infants are initially flat... more
Q: I’ve heard it’s OK to give infants Advil and Tylenol at the same time when treating fever. Is this true?A: I get many questions as to how to best administer these medications in combination. The honest answer is that there is no one, single way. Both Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) work to reduce fever. And, indeed, in... more
Once You Know This — the debut novel from Emily Blejwas, a Minnesota native and mother of four — tells the hopeful story of an 11-year-old girl who struggles to make her future bright, amid the makeshift family that emerges around her.Bonus: Blejwas will read from her book on Sept. 28 at Moon Palace Books in Minneapolis.$16.99 more
Is your kid ready to go beyond sight words?Encouraging interactive wordplay and early storytelling is the goal of My First Magnetic Story Board, featuring 100 word and punctuation magnets that help kids create simple sentences and even basic stories!$29.99 • lakeshorelearning.com more
Quick, punchy, easy-to-jump-into chapters — penned by Erin Leyba, a family counselor, parenting blogger and mother of three — are the draw for Joy Fixes for Weary Parent: 101 Quick, Research-Based Ideas for Overcoming Stress and Building a Life You Love.“Joy fixes are not about chasing happiness — a temporary pleasure,” Leyba writes. “Rather... more
Mama: One day, when I was dropping Kellan off at daycare, his teacher asked me how I felt about him turning 1 in a few weeks and the upcoming switch to the next-stage daycare room.I looked around the infant classroom that had been his home for the past nine months and it hit me that he was no longer one of the youngest babies in the room: He... more
Teenagers need family. They may not say it. In fact, their outward actions seem to defy this. Their eyes are always on their phones. They hide in their rooms, binge-watching Netflix, while still texting in five group chats at once. Sometimes, I think I’m really having a good conversation with them and I realize they didn’t hear my last verbal... more
Summer is fading into a collage of memories. Looking back, I’m truly grateful for the special moments I was able to create and for the experiences I had with my family. Though my kids are older now (6, 8, 10 and 12), it seems like just yesterday I was trudging through the thickness of my early years of parenting. (Leaving behind the days of... more
When I was a new mother, Facebook was just becoming a big thing.It was so long ago (2008), that we announced our son’s birth primarily by email.But as the months went on, we started sharing photos of our kid — who we were just getting to know — with the ever-evolving social media landscape.It was addictive, watching the likes and comments roll in... more
Oh, how we love The Bazillions!The Minneapolis-based kindie-rock band has been getting families’ toes tapping since 2010 with guitar-driven tunes and pitch-perfect harmonies with a touch of twang. (Do they remind anyone else of the Barenaked Ladies?) And now they’ve put out their fourth studio album, Rock-n-Roll Yearbook, just in time to get... more
Eric and Kristin Moan know a thing or two about premature babies and life in the NICU. Their twin daughters were born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 3 ounces and 1 pound, 7 ounces.Though their girls are now 4 years old and thriving, the Moans, who live north of the Twin Cities, remember struggling to navigate the NICU while also trying to... more
Meghan Marrinan Feliciano was due to give birth to her third child, a daughter named Sybil, in July 2016. The pregnancy went smoothly, the baby reached full term and the hospital bags were packed. She and her husband, Garrett, thought the early stages of labor had begun, but instead they received the devastating news that their baby no longer... more
Is getting enough exercise and eating right on a regular basis really easy for anyone?Add in the enormous feat of carrying and birthing a baby (or even babies!) and it can feel monumentally more challenging. Impossible.As a new parent, you have few #adulting assets — no sleep, no time (relative to your recent past), no money (in many... more
Amanda Lindquist can see that her 2-month-old son, Jacob, is getting tired — yawning, fluttering his eyelids, rubbing his eyes. After he falls asleep her arms, she doesn’t move him to a crib. Rather, she reaches for a box tucked beside the couch. She lays him down inside its four cozy cardboard walls where he rests soundly for almost two... more
Variety is the spice of life, and these books celebrate that fact.Being different is hard, especially for children who are trying to fit in or just beginning to understand societal norms.These books all feature lessons about how it’s important to be true to yourself and celebrate the diversity in life.I’m a Girl!A little mouse who loves to be fast... more
So, just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to change anything about how you live your life, right?I mean, all the stuff you used to do just needs to be done in a way that includes your little cherubs, who — by definition — do nothing but broaden and enrich the experiences you already enjoy.This is especially true in restaurants: You can... more
Whether you’re formula feeding from the start, pumping the occasional bottle for the sitter or practicing for the return to work, there are best health practices for bottle-feeding.A bottle-fed baby should be fed according to feeding cues (mouth movement, rooting, sucking on hands and eventually crying — just as you would feed a breastfed baby)... more
Is there anything better than a fluffy friend? Pets can teach valuable lessons to kids, like the importance of kindness, sharing, responsibilities and even loss. They’re also darn cute. Crack these books open to explore not just the wacky adventures of adorable creatures, but also how kids should act around animals.The Best Days Are Dog DaysA day... more
Few parents escape the occasional hassle of having to nudge a sleepy child or irritable teen out of bed for school. But some kids flat-out stonewall, missing days or even weeks of essential education. As a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents, I hear many parents ask, “What’s wrong with my child?” or “What... more
Q: My young toddler is needle phobic. Help!A: Vaccines are incredibly important for all children. They prevent life-threatening or debilitating infections; decrease illness and comorbid conditions; and challenge our immune systems to weather disease exposure throughout life, regardless of where we might travel.Most vaccines do... more
Q: The AAP now says parents and infants should sleep in the same room through age 1. But I can’t sleep because I wake up with every false cry my baby makes! Can I break this rule?A: In October 2016, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) officially recommended that in order to lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), babies... more
Ew, ew, eeeeeeew. If your kid doesn’t have lice, you don’t have to think about it. But having a bit of knowledge — if the little black sesame-seed-sized bugs do creep into your life — isn’t a bad idea.In honor of back-to-school season, here’s the latest on head lice treatments for that fateful day when the... more
When we asked Minneapolis mamas, “Do you bribe your kids for certain behaviors?” — the confessions flowed like red wine on a Mama’s Night Out. The answer was a resounding yes! with all sorts of bribery booty involved, ranging from single M&Ms — given out one at time — to straight-up cash. You’ll find no judgment here. We’ve all... more
One morning, when I asked my kid to get himself dressed for school, he immediately asked if he would receive an early birthday present in exchange for this great service. I said no, of course, thinking: Wait, what? After thinking for a second, he retorted sincerely: “But I’m not motivated. How am I supposed to get motivated?”Oh, dear.... more
A frequent lament of my Motherhood & Words students is the challenge of carving out time to write. There’s the tower of laundry on the sofa in the living room, the dinner that needs to be made, the sick child home from school, the co-worker calling to find out why you haven’t emailed the report that was due two minutes ago. With all... more
“Practical solutions grounded in neuroscience” are at the heart of this revered book by Colleen O’Grady, a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 25 years’ experience and a mother to a once-teenage daughter of her own.Dial Down the Drama: Reducing Conflict and Reconnecting with Your Teenage Daughter explores the teen brain, the... more
Junior year for my first born is finally done. Honestly, I think they should’ve given us parents a ceremony, something with certificates of completion and small speeches. I realize that, in generations past, a boy of 16 would practically be an adult. Sixteen-year-olds of yore had to prove their manhood/womanhood in dramatic ways. They... more
Nalgene’s new Lunch Box Buddy is sturdy, simple, easy to clean and offers plenty of room for your own reusable containers.Our 9-year-old test kid loved it and so did Mama, thanks to its light weight, easy-on neoprene case and a cool ice pack that can be used to divide its spacious storage cavity three different ways.The box (which features a flip-... more
The SafeSleep Breathe-Through Crib Mattress — invented by three professionals who all lost a loved one to SIDS — creates a bed of air layered between the mattress and a crib base, which allows baby to breathe even if in a face-down position.It also discourages overheating, thanks to increased airflow.$299–$399 • securebeginnings.com more
Before we get into all the fun things that can happen to your boobs while breastfeeding, I want to make something clear: I support all feeding choices. Next month, I plan to focus on bottle-feeding. It is my belief, having worked with many different families during their postpartum period, that some moms love breastfeeding and some don’t.... more
The start of the school year is creeping up on the calendar. As a teacher mama, the flip of the calendar to August always brings forward a plethora of mixed feelings. August is truly a month to enjoy summer in Minnesota, so I try to spend most of the month on or near a lake. Indeed, I savor the last month of my summer break. But I also... more
Wondering which backpack to get for your kid’s preschool or kindergarten debut? We recommend you skip the Minions and Princess Poppy rucksacks — and opt for one of these awesome options, chosen for their long-term durability, comfort/ergonomics and enduring designs (guaranteed to outlast your child’s latest cartoon-character obsession). ... more
Do you ever wonder how preschool teachers get 18 children (or more) from their classrooms to the playground, when you struggle to get your one child out the door in the morning? Wonder no more: Local teachers-turned-authors Deb Ellsworth and Tina Charney are letting you in on the tricks of the trade.Their new book, Your Amazing Preschooler:... more
It’s zucchini season! Also known as summer squash, these green or yellow fruits are available at farmers markets now. Celebrate the season by turning them, skin and all, into kid-friendly tots — a great side for breakfast or dinner.Zucchini totsIngredientsOil or cooking spray1 1/2 zucchini 1 large egg, beaten1/4 medium onion, minced1/4 cup... more
In preparation for writing this month’s column, I spent considerable time skimming articles online about the benefits of preschool.  And the prevailing wisdom seems to be that preschool probably has the biggest positive impact on kids who don’t have the advantage of super-engaged parents. Preschool for those kids is crucial.But for kids with... more
Try-on-at-home clothing services seem to be taking over the world. Adults have Stitch Fix and Prime Wardrobe (and many others). Kids have Runchkins, Kidbox and Rockets of Awesome (truly awesome, in our experience), to name a few. And now a local mama of three girls — professional stylist Wendy Witherspoon of Edina — is getting in on the... more
If your kids are little and your budget is tight, the idea of traveling may seem like a joke: How can your family afford Disney World when you can barely scrape together enough to cover daycare and a holiday trip to visit your in-laws? And what’s so romantic about taking kids in diapers on the road, anyway?I feel you.But travel is important — not... more
Getting kids to play outside should be easy. But sometimes — in this age of nature-deficit disorder/screen-time and a strictly enforced culture of helicopter parenting — it seems like it’s never been more difficult.However, I’m here to tell you: Our kids really, really want it — water, dirt, air and mud, lots of mud — yes, even the... more
Welcome to our Special Needs Issue!I’m so excited to be bringing you a magazine with this new, important theme.Although we try to address special needs in every issue of Minnesota Parent — typically in our On Behavior department as well as throughout the magazine — I felt we needed to step up our game. And, boy, did we learn a lot in putting... more
I cannot read Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! to my son without welling up with huge, mama-bear tears. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.Except when you don’t.Because, sometimes, you won’t.I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-upsand Hang-ups can happen to... more
Q: When do kids need to start seeing an orthodontist?A: Although most kids aren’t ready for orthodontics until middle school, it’s a good idea to have children evaluated early. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all kids receive a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by no later than age 7. By this age, most kids... more
Summer is here! And that means (we hope) you’ll have a little extra time for reading with the kids — at home, at the cabin or in the car.Get started with three, new super-engaging books for babies and toddlers, plus six highly visual books to keep school-aged kids busy with critical-thinking challenges and creative play! Out of the BoxPuppet... more
Photo by Tracy WalshSplish splashThe Twin Cities has become Splash Pad Central in recent years, including small neighborhood haunts as well as bigger spaces such as the 1-acre splash pad at Valleyfair’s Soak City waterpark in Shakopee.We especially love the Central Park Interactive Fountain in Maple Grove (pictured above) and the Burnsville Lions... more
When it comes to adding another child to your family — and perhaps taking the plunge to go beyond two kids — how do parents decide? Even more important, how do parents make their bigger families work? Forty-eight percent of Americans believe two children is the ideal number of children to have, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center... more
Balsamic vinaigrette is a go-to recipe for many home cooks, but sometimes it can be overpowering and even a bit sour.This five-minute recipe solves that little issue with two secret ingredients (maple syrup and Dijon mustard), dramatically reinventing this go-to dressing for just about any summer salad.Maple-Balsamic VinaigretteIngredients3/4 cup... more
Invented by a Nashville schoolteacher to help parents and kids connect more (ideally 30 minutes a day), this Gnome on the Roam set includes a storybook, a journal, a magical-looking stick pen, a miniature suitcase and a 6-inch-tall, ready-to-decorate PVC gnome.A companion app is designed to inspire exploration — and photo taking — for a modern... more
This Japanese-made, two-way trumpet from Mochi relies on babies’ natural sucking and teething motions.Infants simply have to breathe in or out into the instrument to make sound.Made of rice (51 percent) and polypropylene plastic, it’s geared toward ages 3 months and up. Cute (if noisy)!$24.99 • peopletoy.co more
Parents will often go to great lengths to ensure the safety, security, health and wellbeing of their children. But there’s one part of protecting kids that parents often overlook (or simply find unthinkable): “What if something happens to us?” Parents give of themselves — financially, physically, emotionally — to ensure the best for... more
From the author of Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind, comes a new book to help parents and kids thrive during the teens years: Crazy Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens with Love, Laughter and the Science of Resilience.Drawing on neuroscience, psychology and “real-life stories from the teen battle trenches,”... more
We live in an age where we’re always on the move. And that societal rhythm affects the heightened pace we keep as a family. As a mom, I know I’m the metronome in setting the tempo for our kids — maybe even more so than their dad is. And as you may have heard me mention before, I prefer a normal walking speed as opposed to that... more
Justin was really excited to be enrolled in a summer day camp. And his mom, Sophie, was happy that he was taking part in a quality parks and rec program in their community. Then came the phone call from the program director: Justin’s behavior at camp was unacceptable.It had begun on the playground on the second day of camp with bullying of... more
Is the term “work-life balance” the ultimate oxymoron of our times? Many of us struggle with the challenge of remaining fully engaged in the all-important work of raising one (or more) decent human beings, while also being a fully dedicated and productive worker. And for those who work from home (which is, face it, all of us at one time... more
Whether by birth or adoption, your transition from non-parent to parent covers about two years and change — two years of monumental, unparalleled, bonkers, worrisome, heartbreaking, heart-healing change. My daughter, my firstborn, changed me in about 5 billion ways. From the foods I ate, to the medical choices I made, to what I did with my... more
“So, honey, do you want to go to the park now?” Wait: Let’s pause for a moment. Toddlers tend to enjoy going to parks, right? In fact, your toddler (let’s call him Max) this very morning demanded a visit to the park. Of course, you didn’t appreciate his whiny tone, and you reminded him that polite requests can get you far in life. ... more
Life as a mom of four kids is always busy.  But now that my children have all passed through the infant and toddler years — and are all school age — I seem to have a little more room in my mama brain for things that require more mental capacity. I feel as a mother of kids age 5, 7, 10 and 12, I’ve regained the privilege of reading for... more
Tim Webert of Plymouth was at his son’s hockey game in 2014 when he witnessed the tragedy of a seemingly healthy young boy dying because of an undiagnosed congenital heart condition. “We immediately wondered if our kids had healthy hearts,” Webert said. “As I sought options to have their hearts checked, I was told there are no readily... more
Most kids love juice boxes. But if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, they’re not a great choice. Fortunately, mothers Laurie Ambrose from Chanhassen and Lisa Amundson (a dentist from Woodbury) — sisters who collectively have six kids! — have come up with a cool alternative that’s perfect for families.Their new kidsWATER drink boxes... more
Often when we think of rainy days, we picture time spent indoors — reading, building pillow forts and watching movies — desperately concocting ways to ward off boredom and help our kids expel astronomical levels of energy (without entirely wearing us out). But why miss out on all that wet, muddy fun? Rainy days are ripe with opportunity for... more
Let me start by being totally clear: I’m not pretending to have this all figured out. If I’m honest with you, there have been times when I’ve felt as if I was barely surviving. Certainly, I’ve cried more about my daughter’s life-threatening medical condition than I’ve cried about anything else. She has a rare genetic difference that... more
It’s the bane of every teen’s existence: Acne! Indeed, imperfect skin is an unfortunate reality for many kids during adolescence. And it comes right about the time teens care more about their appearance than ever.While the reasons for developing acne are complex, there are ways to help prevent and treat outbreaks when they occur. As with... more
Grow your own butterflies with this delightful kit by Insect Lore, which includes a reusable, 11.5-inch-tall, pop-up-mesh habitat, plus a feeding pipette and care instructions.We tried it — and the kids LOVED it!Live caterpillars ship separately. To get the best deal, order a kit and the caterpillars at the same time online, versus kits that... more
Soon the school year will be ending, and we’ll be enjoying the warmer weather and the longer days that accompany the approach of the summer solstice. It’s the ideal time to start spending more time outdoors — and to let our children capitalize on their core strength as kids: Playing!I’m a firm believer that all children need to experience a... more
With summer arriving — and a different kind of “busy” coming our way — we know we’re going to need convenience foods (that are also swimsuit-body-friendly).But that doesn’t have to mean scavenging half-eaten granola bars and the kids’ leftover Goldfish crackers.Thanks to a local stay-at-home mama, there’s another option — organic, gluten-free,... more
MamaAfter the excitement of the positive pregnancy test wore off a bit, my partner (Galen) and I began talking through what was ahead, including when and how we’d tell our friends and family about the pregnancy, which parenting classes we’d take and, of course, how we’d handle communication around the birth of our little one.Because my parents... more
Freezer jam is — hands down — the easiest and prettiest jam you can make.Traditionally canned jams involve first boiling the jam and the jam jars (in a water bath), effectively twice-cooking the berries. Blasphemy!With freezer jam, you can skip all that while also capturing the berries’ super-fruity, crazy-fresh flavors and bright, red color... more
You don’t need hand-lettering skills or even a chalkboard to create your own printable, shareable, digital chalkboard posters and prints.You just need Snapsprout, a free iPhone app designed for parents, complete with templates that celebrate everything from birth to those first days of school.    free • snapsproutapp.com more
Sick of garish baby toys? This cute little wooden archway — made of 100 percent birch and available in a variety of styles and finishes — is pretty enough to leave out all day long.It adjusts to two different heights and is finished with non-toxic stains. During Minnesota Parent's annual toy test, babies were drawn to the organic-cotton, wool-... more
In the age of social media, the surge of a good story can circulate around the world and back — and leave you spinning. I’m a 40-something Gen Xer, the parent of two teens. I do my best to keep up, but I’m aware there are things trending all over the Internet that aren’t the soccer pictures of my fellow moms’ kids.Netflix’s 13-episode series... more
It started with an innocent Freaky Friday daydream, parenting-columnist style. “Your kids are toddlers now. You should do a guest spot at Toddler Time,” I said to Shannon Keough, Minnesota Parent’s Baby on Board columnist.“And you know babies!” she countered. “Maybe we could trade places for a round?”Well, one thing led to another, and... more
OK, first things first: This is my last ever Baby on Board column! How bittersweet it is to leave behind the world of tiny little babies and all those milestones: The first smile! The first night of uninterrupted sleep! The first time you change a diaper right there in Row 22, Seat C, because the flight attendant won’t let you into the... more
Robbinsdale really is the new, hot place to be.It’s where you can find two of the Twin Cities’ trendiest restaurants — Pig Ate My Pizza and Travail Kitchen & Amusements (not to mention Victory 44, just a stone’s throw to the east in North Minneapolis). In the heart of Birdtown — on a single two-block stretch — you’ll find the... more
It seems like everyone has the travel bug lately. Even parents — a more traditionally tied-down crowd — are doing round-the-world travel. And they’re even bringing their kids, if their many Facebook photos are to be believed.But — as exciting as Iceland sounds and as enticing as Jamaica may be — large-scale travel isn’t right... more
Some of us end up coaching youth sports because we have a passion for the sport of choice. Some of us think it sounds like a really cool way to spend more time with our kid — or we get roped in by a fellow parent. And many us naively check the box that comes up during online registration that says, “Feel free to contact me about volunteer... more
Wendell Sherman-Strand, 5, of Minneapolis — who vacationed out West with his family of five this past summer — has an extremely rare genetic condition.Wendell was born in 2011 as a healthy baby. After his two-month checkup, his parents Katie Sherman and John Strand headed to northern Minnesota with their toddler, Bjorn, and infant Wendell to spend... more
If you grew up using boxed pancake mix, it might seem fussy to make pancakes from scratch. But once you’ve done it, you’ll see (like we did) how surprisingly easy — and tasty — it can be! You’ll likely save money — and you’ll open the door to all kinds of experimentation, too.When you’re ready to break out of the box rut, try this delicious... more
Buying toys for kids with autism spectrum disorder can be tricky, especially when so many item are marketed as “sensory”or ASD friendly. Fortunately, local families have a special resource for guidance in this area: Creative Kidstuff — a local toy store with seven locations in the Twin Cities, plus online sales — has partnered with St. David’... more
Q: My husband and I have started the discussion of what type of milk our son (10 months) will drink when we switch from formula to milk. My husband is pretty set on not giving him dairy milk, but I’m not convinced soy, almond and other sources of “milk” are such a good idea. Any suggestions?A: Milk types can be divided into two categories — plant-... more
Q: Our daughter is 6 and still isn’t sleeping through the night!  A: Sleep problems are common in kids. Such disturbances in sleep — falling asleep, staying asleep, awakening early and restless sleep — can impact the whole family, not just at night, but throughout the day. While there are many learned behavioral issues that can lead to... more
Being a stay-at-home parent was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. In spite of the exhaustion, exasperation and constant haggling with my boys over everything from what they ate to what they wore, I enjoyed those years spent hanging out full time with them — and re-falling in love with them every day. I wouldn’t trade them... more
This New York Times bestseller — and a Top 10 Book of the Year, according to Time — attempts to bridge the generation gap between today’s parents and their girls, drawing on in-depth interviews with more than 70 young women, plus input from a wide range of psychologists, academics and experts to reveal “hidden truths, hard lessons and important... more
With the advent of my youngest starting high school on the way, I can’t help thinking how ready I feel for her new adventure. With the first, it’s a guessing game, isn’t it? We so hope we’re getting it right. Then we — after one (or several) mistakes — start to seriously question things: Could I have done that better? If I had to do... more
The Push and Pull UFO is like a fidget toy for babies age 6 months and up.Four colorful rods with buttons on each end slide back and forth to make engaging clicking noises, offering simple lessons in cause and effect.A button in the middle of the spacecraft emits soft squeaks when pushed just right, encouraging fine motor skills.$9 • peopletoy.co... more
I feel a little ashamed that I haven’t written about adoption until now. I think the unrelenting nature of the whole parenthood thing has made me a bit self-absorbed and tunnel vision-y. Curiosity about the world outside my own little pinkeye factory became just another casualty of my stumbling-through-the-dark parenting style.... more
Last month, many parents were bummed to hear that a beloved longtime kid-shoe purveyor — Massachusetts-based Stride Rite — was closing all of its corporate locations in late April, including the store at Southdale, and outlets in Eagan and Albertville. But we have good news: The locally owned Stride Rite store at Rosedale Center (listed... more
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children with autism, according to the National Autism Association, due to kids’ tendency to wander and seek isolation — often in unsafe environments — when overstimulated by crowds.To combat this high risk, Sonja Brown, six years ago, founded a unique swimming school in Minnetonka — Swim Possible —... more
During my daughter’s last hospital stay, I received a tube, a bottle and a few jars of luxury hand cream — lavender-, grapefruit- and musk-scented emollients, in fancy, flowery packaging. It’s a thing. When people want to be supportive during a difficult time, they give you something that smells pretty. I knew about the casseroles, the... more
First there was the emergency C-section, a sudden and traumatic experience on its own. Then they found out their son was born, much to their surprise, with Down syndrome. They were filled with many different emotions at first, including shock, not knowing how to process the diagnosis. But life went on. And they fell in love with... more
Wondering about your child’s development is an everyday part of parenting. Is your daughter talking as much as other children her age? Is your son walking or moving around like his friends?It’s common for parents to compare their children to others. But it can be difficult to understand what might be a developmental concern and what might be... more
It’s almost farmers market season.And this insanely colorful, interactive book — from the author of the wonderful Cooking Class for kids — is the perfect companion for little ones, including 100 stickers, 50-plus punch-out paper fruits, veggies and flowers and activities such as mazes, matching games and adorable craft projects.There’s even an eat... more
One of the coolest things about toddler parenting is the constant newness — new milestones, new friends, new foods, new experiences. Particularly satisfying is finding a wonderful new place to explore. If you haven’t already, take a trip to Jensen Lake in Eagan. For the sake of discussing the toddler-friendly nature of this location... more
Parents and children can create funny, lovable stuffed creatures with this Monster Sewing Workshop craft kit, using a variety of provided printed fabrics, felt, thread and stuffing.A full-color manual explains the basic techniques of hand sewing. #lifeskills$24.95 • amazon.com more
Happy Mother’s Day, mamas!This year we’re celebrated on May 14. That means, if we’re lucky, on this day we’ll be honored with handmade cards and gifts from our little ones.We might even receive special recognition from the father of our children or others who are supporting us in our mothering experience.Mother’s Day can be a trigger for mixed... more
Learning how to be a good friend isn’t easy. Sharing and saying sorry sincerely (when you’ve made a mistake) are required skills. And — as these new stories show — children must also learn empathy, patience, loyalty, inclusiveness and even the ability to look past prejudice and the intimidation of bullies.My Friend MaggieThis tale of friendship... more
Q: I keep hearing about pinworms: How will we know if our kid gets them?A: Many aspects of pinworms — how to find them and how they’re spread — are very unpleasant. Fortunately, pinworms usually aren’t a serious health issue. These creatures are small, thin worms that live in the intestinal tract. When an adult worm is ready to lay eggs, she... more
Q: Who should parents call if they suspect abuse at daycare?A: If you ever have any concerns that your child has been abused or neglected by a caregiver, contact your child’s doctor right away for advice on what to do next. This may involve an immediate office visit. If the issue is something that goes beyond what a doctor’s office can handle —... more
More than 40 percent of mothers choose to stay at home for a significant amount of time after having children.Reentering the workforce, however, can be a bear.In Moms For Hire: 8 Steps to Kickstart Your Next Career, L.A. film and television producer (and single mother of four) Deborah Jelin Newmyer offers encouragement and solid advice as well as... more
Minneapolis author Eric Dregni remembers being sent to camp at age 6, kicking and screaming.Now a father of three, a college professor and the dean of the Italian Concordia Language Village, Lago del Bosco, in Hackensack, Dregni has published a humorous memoir about the challenges and rewards of overnight camp. You’re Sending Me Where? Dispatches... more
I recently helped organize a casual baby shower at a workplace gathering for a colleague. Thanks to a small group of creative teachers, we were able to pull off a Pinterest-worthy, Welcome Bébé-themed baby shower for our French-teacher mama-to-be. We shared pink cupcakes and offered words of advice over lunch with more than 100... more
Paul and Kristen Abdo (pictured above) of Edina were on their way home from a night out — trying to figure out how long they’d been away and if they had enough cash to pay their sitter — when they realized: There must be an easier way to not only pay the baby sitter, but also to book sitters.So the parents, who have three kids, created their very... more
When my best friend had her first child, she couldn’t believe how hard it was caring for a baby. She’d heard all the stories about sleepless nights, endless crying and nasty diaper blowouts.She was a longtime babysitting pro and an auntie, too. She was great with kids. She even worked with elementary school children for a living. She had all... more
Gina Matter was a kid when she fell in love with the story of Harry Potter. She discovered the books by J.K. Rowling when she was a struggling reader. Her mother started reading the stories aloud to her before bed.“The series captivated me so much, I began to pick up the books and continue on without her,” Matter said.Today Matter — who lives... more
Looking down at my newborn boy, whose slow, rhythmic sucking matched the metronome of my heartbeat, I felt tears forming at the corner of my eye. But these weren’t tears of joy; they were tears of pain. My neck, my back, my shoulders — everything — felt stiff, sore and tense. As much as I wanted to relax, I simply couldn’t. Instead of... more
As a working mom of four, I find mornings in our household can be a whirlwind. Breakfast is an important meal, but it can get bland with the monotonous repetition of boxed cereal, toast or, even worse, skipping breakfast altogether. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Kate Sullivan Morford’s new book: Rise and Shine: Better Breakfasts for... more
Yay! Target has launched a new collection of whimsical toddler apparel inspired by the most famous works of Dr. Seuss.Graphic tops, including some sold with matching pants, feature famous quotes and characters and bright patterns, too.Look also for an early reader biography — Dr. Seuss: The Great Doodler — geared toward ages 4 to 8.$8.99 and up •... more
This new stacking toy features six gear shapes that spin — rather than slide straight down — a spiral pole.SpinAgain, geared toward ages 1 and older, earned a Parents’ Choice Awards Foundation nod in 2016. We like that it includes a reversible base that can be flat for stability or rounded for a more wobbly challenge; plus it has a removable... more
It’s the big “but …” of toddlerhood. As in, “This would be the best age, but ...” or “He’s such a sweet kid, but …”If there’s one thing that universally challenges toddler parents, it’s tantrums. Much like earthquakes, they vary in style, duration, intensity and frequency. Between the ages of 1 and 3, these fits are as certain as a fault line... more
Congratulations, you’re going to have a baby! Whether you’re giving birth or adopting, your life is going to change in a major way with the arrival of that little bundle of magic and tears. Yes, that’s what everyone says; and, yes, it’s a totally boring thing to say. And you won’t understand the profundity of that change until there... more
The Midwest Fetal Care Center in Minneapolis was a marvel when it opened a year ago, offering life-saving fetal surgeries to babies in utero, including twins. Now the center has expanded its services to include open fetal surgeries with a special emphasis on treating spina bifida.Literally meaning “split spine,” the condition (which begins... more
Jennifer, a mom of two, was standing at the kitchen counter, slicing an apple for her son, Michael, when she heard a horrendous banging noise coming from the other side of the room. She immediately turned around to see her son smashing the door of the refrigerator with a baseball bat.“Stop! Stop!” she screamed as she wrestled the bat away... more
Here I am, 37 weeks pregnant, asking BabyNameWizard.com to generate sister names for Maria and Jane, my two daughters. Three come up on the lists for both girls: Elizabeth, Anna and Sarah. For a moment, I feel something loosen in me, a surrender: OK, we’ll just use one of these. We’ll let the experts decide for us. Only yesterday a... more
You’ve finally arrived. You’re the parent of teenagers. You’ve made it through the sleepless nights of babyhood, the tedious making of multiple lunches and snacks every morning. You share your home with somewhat independent creatures that may not keep a tidy bathroom, but show glimmers of their own future adultness. It’s hard not to make... more
Q: Can teething cause diarrhea or fever?  A: There are many misconceptions about symptoms associated with teething. Research has shown that low-grade fevers can be seen with teething. However, any temperature of 101 or higher very likely isn’t due to teething, but rather some sort of infection. Looser stools can... more
Social skills can be hard to master for anyone, and the unwritten rules that prescribe them in our fast-paced culture can be all too easy to miss for some children. Where should I sit in the cafeteria? What do I do when I get into a fight with one of my friends? What happens when no one seems to be interested in the same things I am? ... more
Sometimes art is all about the hype.Seven-year-old Cameron seemed to agree as he half-jokingly said, “I’m so scared, I’m so scared,” as he prepared to roll up a flat slab of clay to complete the main structure of his fairy house. After the two edges made contact, he beamed a relieved, triumphant smile. “I did it!” he exclaimed. His... more
When it comes to engaging kids in STEM concepts, ping pong balls — flying through the air at unpredictable speeds — can be an excellent place to start.That appears to be the case, at least, at The Works Museum in Bloomington, which offers a diverse array of educational summer day camps for ages 4 to 12.Here engineering and design concepts aren’t... more
“It’s a ’60s party from a ’60s movie!” yelled a group of YMCA Day Camp Manitou counselors. “See the surfers on their surfboards? Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na!” Hundreds of day campers — from the “wee backpackers” at age 4 to high schoolers volunteering as junior counselors — echoed back the tune, mimicking a surfing... more
Not all reading time must be filled with traditional, narrative stories.Each of these books tells its own kind of tale, ideal for parents and kids who like a challenge and time spent poring over beautiful printed pages. The Lost HouseThis is one of the hardest search-and-find books we’ve ever seen!Even after you’ve found everything hidden in... more
Q: Our preschooler has a really hard time sitting ‘crisscross applesauce’ during circle time. He instead sits with his legs in a W shape. Do we need to break him of this habit to protect his knees?A: As you may have already discovered, there are differing opinions on the topic of W-sitting.It can be common for younger children to prefer to sit in... more
Q: Our daughter recently got over strep and a mom at school told us to watch out for ‘PANDAS?’ What’s she talking about?A: PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections. It’s a relatively newly known syndrome, first described in the late 1990s. Revised diagnostic criteria and guidelines... more
Kitestring calls itself “your virtual overprotective mom.”It’s a free, text-based service (not an app) invented by an MIT student who was worried about his girlfriend getting home OK.To use it, you text a time frame to Kitestring. When the time frame has passed, the service sends you a text, asking you to check in. If you don’t respond, Kitestring... more
On a recent Minneapolis Mamas Facebook thread, a mother lamented her 4-year-old’s terrible behavior.A clear chorus came back from mothers in praise of one particularly successful tactic — cutting back on screen time.Need a guide? Check out the much-praised Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social... more
Bring on the next MasterChef Junior! Sized just right for little hands, this 17-piece intro-to-baking box was a hit during our annual Toy Test.But this gift set isn’t just a toy. All the tools and pieces are designed for real cooking and repeat use.Though technically recommended for ages 3 and older, it seems like a good fit (with supervision) for... more
This teething ring — made from untreated Indian hardwood and finished with vegetable seed wax — features the added bonus of bunny-esque ears made of organic cotton.If you’re feeling overwhelmed by plastic, check out these “teething ears” (available in many prints and colors) — along with rest of the amazing-looking Finn & Emma collection.... more
Whenever I learn that one of my friends is going to have a baby, I promptly begin to panic on her behalf. “Congratulations!” I yelp, hoping my frozen smile will mask my palpable anxiety. I realize how crappy this is. For one thing, I’m taking someone else’s big life event and making it all about me. Furthermore, can’t I just stop... more
Sailing instructor Madison Hobbs had a clear view of all her beginning sailors, working in teams of three to balance and maneuver their 8-foot training vessels, powered only by the steady winds coming off Lake Calhoun.In one boat, kids chatted excitedly, working to angle their sail just right, trying not to tip over. In another, two boys... more
“You don’t have to play the guitar, you know,” the photographer said to 15-year-old Donovan Mack.Sitting on a tall white box, Mack dangled his feet idly as he plucked notes from the instrument. “I like to,” he said, and the soft melody continued as Will Swanson, also 15, moved around him, snapping his camera, trying to capture different... more
As promised in last month’s issue, Dad’s Night Out (DNO) follows Mom’s Night Out (MNO).I really want to make it clear: You dads need to do this! Though it’s sometimes implied that new fathers inherently have more freedom (you don’t lease your womb to occupants, you don’t breastfeed), you, too, need to remember what it’s like to be autonomous... more
Mothers have a reputation of living their lives for other people. Indeed, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that for me, as a kindergarten teacher-mother of four, I could spend every waking hour doing something productive that involves some sort of service to others, whether that’s cooking family meals, doing laundry,... more
I have no excuse for my consternation. We’ve been warned for years. All along, we’ve heard comments in response to the antics of our kids’ younger personalities, playfully pointed out as little foreshadows of what might be yet to come: Oh, you think that’s bad? Just wait ’til they’re teenagers!She’s so pretty. Better watch out: You’... more
For parents of a child with a disability, it can be a challenge to find a summer camp that’s fun, rewarding and welcoming. “It’s so hard to find activities, especially for girls on the autism spectrum,” one mom told The PACER Center.PACER is out to change that. Every August for the past 14 years, PACER, located in Bloomington, has run its... more
For my best friend and me, growing up in the ’90s, it wasn’t enough for us to just read about Kirsten Larson, the American Girl, and Little House on the Prairie books. We wanted to live it! So, in the summers, we dressed up in calico dresses and checkered sunbonnets sewn by our mothers and headed to camp at Minnesota Pioneer Park, a... more
The Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, rather than reopening in mid-April as planned, will welcome visitors in June, due to a logistical delay in its multi-million-dollar renovations.The contractor hired to fabricate the parts of The Scramble — the museum’s new four-story climbing adventure, featuring two towers, a spiral slide and a netted... more
Stay-at-home moms — and veterans — often face huge challenges when trying to return to the workforce. Many employers mistakenly view them as unemployable or undesirable because of their so-called employment gaps. But the Minneapolis office of the IT-consulting firm York Solutions has successfully launched a new initiative — called... more
Virtually everyone loves a warm chocolate chip cookie. But hauling out the electric mixer, cleaning messy bowls and dealing with baking sheet after baking sheet of cookies? I can do without that part. Hence this miracle — a chocolate chip cookie mixed in a coffee mug and cooked in the microwave. Even the youngest kids can make one by... more
Parents are unwittingly putting children in increased danger because of common car seat mistakes. Here's how to keep your favorite tiny passengers safe.Installation rules, manufacturer regulations, confusing gadgetry and ever-evolving laws that vary by age — trying to understand car seat safety can feel like falling blindly into a black hole.This... more
If your kid’s headphones seem seriously cranked, check out Etymotic’s ETY-Kids5 Safe-Listening Earphones for ages 4 and up.These noise-isolating buds are specially designed for safer sound output, so they’re safe, even when your teen turns the volume up to 11. $39 • amazon.com • etymotic.com more
Need a french fry fix? Hold up (and hold the fast food potatoes) and go healthy with this crazy-tasty recipe by foodie author Chungah Rhee, featuring the soon-to-be in season delight that is asparagus.Baked asparagus friesIngredients1 cup panko bread crumbs1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheeseKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste1... more
Take a trip back in time to your childhood and think about how you loved to spend your days.Many of us can remember joyful, uninterrupted hours of play — whether it was spent building LEGO creations, constructing a fort in the woods or dreaming up imaginary worlds for our dolls. Flash forward to today’s jam-packed schedules, increased... more
During my son’s earlier years, I wasn’t a confident parent. And the problem was wildly exacerbated during daycare drop-offs. Instead of emitting calm during the hand-off, I would respond to my son’s every effort to resist our separation.Oh, honey, you don’t want me to leave? How about one more hug? OK: How about I sit here for a bit and play... more
Winter is a great time of year to get kids hooked on reading at home. When we’re stuck indoors on cold Minnesota days, get cozy and read!But, when your child is not excited about reading, fostering these habits can be a struggle. Consider these simple strategies to get your child on track:Visit your local library frequently. We try to visit our... more
Help your kids build concentration and focus with this 32-card memory game that you can customize with 16 personal photos.We love the retro packaging and card designs. (What a cool gift idea for friends or family!)Bonus: All of Paper Culture’s products are made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper — and every order results in the planting... more
Toddler Mom, the time has come to get out of the house. Wait. Let’s reorganize that thought: Out of the house, without child, showered and off to a destination other than Target, the gym, the indoor playground or work. Though you may have previously dabbled in the tradition of a good old Mom’s Night Out — MNO, as the increasingly acronym... more
Q: What could cause dark under-eye circles in my toddler?A: The area under eyes has thin and delicate skin, which often will easily show the capillary bed, which can show up in the form of dark, under-eye circles. Among young children, the most common cause is nasal congestion. This can be caused by allergies, smoke exposure, a recent upper-... more
 Q: We saw this supplement at Costco and on Amazon and we were intrigued because our 5-year-old has been presenting some ADHD-like symptoms at school. It promises to ‘support memory, concentration and focus.’ Is it worth a shot before trying prescription drugs? Reviews online seem positive.A: First it should be noted that 5-year-olds are... more
Q: My 3-year-old has insanely smelly feet. Help! A: Ah, one of the unforgettable aromas of childhood.Yes, kids have sweaty feet — and sweaty bodies — for a good part of the day. They’re constantly in motion, frequently breaking into sprints or suddenly wrestling with friends, often exercising on and off all day long. From a... more
Q: Are all types of child-care centers required to accept children with disabilities? A: Yes. The Minnesota Human Rights Act requires that all public accommodations, such as child-care centers, provide access to their services to individuals with disabilities. Are child-care centers required to accept all children with disabilities?No.... more
What if you could peer into the mirror and see your future self peering back? It’s you, but you have wrinkles, bags under your eyes, gray hair. How startling would it be? More important, how would this sight change you?This isn’t speculative fiction. It’s something a team of researchers cooked up as a way to help young people make better decisions... more
Early mornings, sleep-deprived parents, a time crunch and, of course, emotional youngsters, desperate for their parents’ attention. It’s the perfect storm for catastrophe. And yet, that’s when one of the toughest parts of the day looms — the dreaded daycare drop-off. Day after day, we peel away our sobbing offspring and we’re left with a... more
Rita Katona and Eric Hall of Minneapolis have introduced a new kind of baby food under the brand So Good Baby, now sold in handy pouches nationwide.What makes the local couple’s products special is that they’re pressure processed, rather than heat pasteurized, a practice that can sap flavor and nutritional value. So Good Baby’s organic,... more
My son started attending his in-home daycare when he was about 10 months old. The thing about in-home daycare is that there’s a certain “family” element to the whole thing. You might get to know your provider’s partner and children. You might catch glimpses of their family life when you run into them after hours at the nearby ice cream shop.... more
Navel pants — created by Sarah Longacre, the beloved founder of Blooma (a local yoga studio and haven for mamas and mamas-to-be) — are on sale now online.After making an early debut at Bellyrama at Lake Harriet this past September, the high-rise comfy pants, which include a removable 9-inch belly band, cost $70 (20 percent off if you sign up for e... more
Have you tried Opal apples? These gold-skinned Washington State-grown orbs are crunchy and sweet — dare we say good enough to rival Minnesota’s own Honeycrisp?But what really sets these babies apart is their ability to resist oxidation (that yucky browning that happens almost immediately after you slice an apple). Opal apples are... more
Sure, spring is technically “around the corner,” but in Minnesota, our reprieve from the cold usually comes not in March or April, but as late as June!Fortunately, we’ve got the scoop on indoor play spaces for kids in the Twin Cities — including more than two dozen venues — at mnparent.com/indoor.Two new additions to our list include... more
I remember, when I was a new mother, looking desperately to my mama friends for advice.I had one friend who — skipping the fake war stories and humblebrags I’d become accustomed to — bluntly said: “I just want a damn shower.” Please pardon the not-family-friendly language, but the inflection/anger is important here.Indeed, just wanting... more
Each year, 250,000 children in the U.S. are treated for exposure to cleaning products at home, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.Finding alternatives to harsh, potentially harmful cleaning agents is one way to protect children from accidental poisonings.Fortunately, non-toxic cleaning products can be just as effective and are far... more
Little kids don’t need anything fancy to get interested in reading. They require only a willing parent and a book or two.But sometimes literary bells and whistles — such as those included with the books here — can be just the thing to encourage kids to use their imaginations, engage in creative play and maybe even go the heck to sleep!  Train... more
Citrus, when you live in Minnesota,  is winter’s solace, a blast of sunshine in January.Clementines, satsumas, mandarins, Halos, Cuties, whatever you want to call them, they’re all in season now.Heavily marketed to parents and kids (usually in 5-pound bags or larger) they’re super sweet, mostly seedless, easily portable and usually easy to... more
It’s not always easy to have a sister or brother with a disability.But there are profound benefits: Siblings of children with disabilities are often more empathetic than other children.Loving someone with physical, mental or emotional challenges can lead children to learn kindness and caring. Siblings in this situation also may become more mature... more
Here’s a fun rainy-day / frigid-day activity: Take photos, artwork, invitations and more and turn them into small puzzles!Attach images to the kit’s adhesive 4-by-6-inch foam boards, then slide them through the Make Your Own Puzzles puzzlemaker to safely create perfect jigsaw pieces.Note: This toy was popular with all ages at the annual Minnesota... more
There’s regular PlayDoh (playdoh.com) and homemade play dough (tinyurl.com/playdough-mn). And now there’s Eco-Dough, an all-natural play dough made with plant, fruit and vegetable extracts.It’s lightly scented with essential oils (which keep the dough soft and pliable), so your hands smell and feel great — and slightly moisturized — when you’re... more
Squeezy bath toys are super fun! But how do you ever really get them clean?If the very thought of mold potentially growing inside your kid’s bath toys creeps you out, we suggest you check out Marcus & Marcus’ silicone squirting bath toys, which can be taken apart and easily and air dried — or even run through the dishwasher (top rack only).... more
Every month Minnesota Parent receives self-help parenting books filled with stories about how hard to is to parent (and why), but they’re woefully short on solutions. They’re 98 percent backstory. This book — How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk (part of a longtime bestselling series) — actually offers how-to... more
From the beginning of my parenting journey, I’ve looked at the faces of my children with a bit of wonder and awe. I behold them as gifts bestowed upon me. I’ve studied their expressions, their reactions and their moods from the time they were just babes in my arms. I consider it my job to lovingly guide them to pursue who they’re... more
Happy New Year, Minnesota parents!Will 2017 be a no-yell year for you? Will this be the year you finally take care of your marriage/partner/self (and not just your kiddos)? Will this be the year you become perfect and balanced and start going to the gym three times a week again?Of course it won’t. But as Amanda Bell — the #keepingitreal... more
On the holiday photo card I recently sent out to my friends and family, there’s a photograph of me, my husband and our four young children (above) — a snapshot frozen in time of all of us at our best.Below the image we shared a sincere greeting: “Oh so very blessed: Wishing you a holiday season full of joy! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year... more
I will try one new food every single day. Willingly. Even cauliflower. I will stop saying the word “mine” and will replace it with, “yours.” Sharing is caring.I will stop suggesting that my baby brother be given away, sent back, sold to the pet store or physically harmed.I will resist the urge to criticize my father’s cooking in manners that... more
When our two sons, who are now 15 and 13, were getting old enough to start thinking seriously about money (a few years ago), they asked some really interesting questions.They ran the gamut from careers (could they get rich as writers?), advertising (young kids have a hard time telling the difference between ads and entertainment), product... more
Q: Which baby formula should we choose?A: Though the formula options available on store shelves can be dizzying — organic, iron-fortified, non-GMO, probiotic- and DHA/AHA-enhanced — the good news is, the major “brand name” formulas contain all the essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed for healthy infant growth and development. ... more
Q: Should twins sleep in separate bedrooms?A: Sleeping arrangements for your children is really a matter of what works best for your family. There’s no compelling need for twins to have separate bedrooms, nor do they automatically do best if they’re in the same room, especially when they’re very young. However, keep in mind that, after about... more
Q: Should I worry about the occasional bloody nose for my 4-year-old?A: Most minor spontaneous bloody noses are nothing to worry about. In Minnesota, in the winter months, dry air is one of the leading causes of these occasional, spontaneous nose bleeds.Children with nasal allergies are more likely to experience nose bleeds, especially when... more
It’s tempting to hibernate during a frigid Minnesota winter, but your tots have just as much energy to burn now as ever.Making the most of the season, however, requires a bit of creative thinking — not to mention a lot of winter wear. I was reminded of this recently when I helped my young daughters run their very own hot cocoa stand. (Yes,... more
Last spring, just a few months shy of his 9th birthday, my otherwise healthy, active child began complaining of stomachaches. The first time he complained, I kept him home from school and fed him popsicles and crackers until lunchtime, by which point he had made a miraculous recovery. The week progressed as usual until Friday when he once... more
I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was not a banner year. I don’t want to get too specific; we were all there.Sure, it’s tempting to say something Minnesotan — “Oooooh well, that sure was something, huh? Guess it can’t get much worse than that now, can it?”But I can’t summon the energy to fake some sort of Midwestern obliviousness.... more
Do you have a kid who engages in potentially harmful, subconscious behaviors such as excessive nail biting, skin picking or hair pulling?You’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer significantly from these issues, including many children.But now there may be a solution for such Body Focused... more
The first Tree of Life image I saw was in a closed Facebook group of breastfeeding mamas in the Twin Cities. Ashley Vanderwerf shared a photo she edited in a post to the group. Screenshot shared with permissionThe original post Her post was simple and beautiful:"I edited this picture of my daughter nursing. If anyone wants me to make them... more
Welcome to our Technology Issue!Yes, it’s that time of year when we address one of the biggest distractions human children have ever known — digital media. Given our issue theme, I thought this might be a good time to return to the story of my 8-year-old son and his technology use.Maybe you remember how, in our June Issue, I wrote about the... more
Billed as a Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out, Alex J. Packer’s book, updated in 2014, is billed as a “wacky, comprehensive, and insightful etiquette book that shows teens how to use good manners to build fulfilling relationships, get what they want out of life, feel good about themselves and save society... more
“Watching TV with your teens presents all kinds of pitfalls: out-of-the-blue raunchy sex scenes, a surprise bloodbath (Game of Thrones, anyone?) and other awkward moments you never wanted to share with your kids.”So says Common Sense Media’s TV Editor, Polly Conway, who recommends 10 teen-safe shows to bridge the gap at tinyurl.com/teen-... more
Your kid wants LEGOs for the holidays: Again. Had enough?We highly recommend the latest iteration of building toys from Lauri as an alternative.Lauri’s new Action-Stackers Big Builder Set includes new joint connectors that allow children to build out (instead of just up).New spinning connectors can be used to create wheels and other features with... more
During research for our annual Minnesota Parent Toy Test, we came across a local company — DoodleTown Toys of Big Lake, established in 1972 — that produces beautiful, handcrafted wooden toys.Michael and Linda Poisson use northern white pine to create their toys, which feature signature smooth edges thanks to painstaking sanding and routing.We... more
Babies love tags! What’s up with that?Satisfy your infant’s fixation with a city-themed soft block from Rose & Rex, which includes four tag-like tabs with holes just right for babies’ fingers (plus an actual tag).Locales so far include London, New York, Brooklyn, Paris, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Sydney.All the blocks —... more
Minnesota Parent is giving away a FREE Winter Family Fun vacation for a family of four at Lutsen Mountains (valued at more than $500).This prize package includes 2 nights lodging, 2 days of lift tickets and 2 days of ski rentals for a family of four, all coinciding with the Family Fun Nights at the Summit Chalet, featuring magic... more
The group of parents now raising tweens is the last to grow up — basically — without the Internet. The good news is that, having received our first email addresses on dinosaur systems as college students, we DO know how the web works. We all have Facebook (well almost all of us), plus most of its cousins. We’re hooked on getting answers... more
Trying to get kids to eat broccoli has long been a parenting cliché. But not anymore.Today’s foodie parents don’t boil or steam veggies into oblivion. They know the power of roasting veggies quickly at high temperatures to bring out their sweetness.Not in the Candied Broccoli Club yet? Try this recipe.If you’re already a veggie-roasting pro (and... more
White snow, bright sun and dry skin — it’s wintertime in Minnesota! This time of year, typically November through March, people of all ages struggle with skin issues. And for kids, winter can be a particularly uncomfortable time of year. In fact, roughly 20 percent of babies develop dry, sensitive skin, and older kids face special skin... more
Three years ago, I reluctantly bought my then-fifth-grade daughter her first cell phone. We were new to the state and I didn’t have the comfort of known friends/neighbors to count on if a soccer practice ended early, or if I was running late to pick her up from school.I broke with my own firm belief that no elementary schooler should need his... more
I’ve often referred to the time between after-school pickup and dinner as “the witching hour.”Especially with my youngest children, the time between 4 and 5 p.m. is often the most difficult time of the day. After a long day, my young children crave my attention — and I want to relax and spend time with them.But our reality is that dinner needs to... more
I recently took a walk around Como Lake in opposition of typical traffic flow.Not only did I see the knockout fall colors from another angle, but I also looked upon more faces. Intrigued, I actually made an effort to smile and nod — maybe say hello — to each and every person (and dog) I passed.Even if I felt shy, even if the passerby looked... more
“My marriage is like The Walking Dead, OK? We’re all just trying to get out alive.” — Paula from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.As every new parent will come to realize, bringing home a new baby is weird.Before the baby, you can do your own thing. Tired? Head off to bed — no one’s stopping you! Want some exercise? Trot on down to the neighborhood yoga studio... more
My parents taught my brother and me to play Monopoly and then spent the next five years finding excuses not to play the game. After all, it takes a lot of time and patience to play board games with children. They forget the rules, they may cry when they lose and sometimes they try to cheat. My brother was famous for hiding a stash... more
It’s almost winter and the holidays are near: What better time could there be to snuggle up and read?Check out the following titles, all new this year, that help celebrate the season.Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree These two adorable, sometimes snarky sisters — captured, as usual, in gorgeous drawings by author-illustrator Lori Nichols —... more
Williams-Sonoma is famous for its holiday peppermint bark. But if you don’t have $30 to spend on a pound of the stuff, why not make your own?In multiple at-home tests, this recipe turned out beautifully for us — and you can even let the kids help bash the candies, spread the chocolate, sprinkle the peppermints and break the bark into pieces, too!... more
Q: My 1-year-old isn’t walking. How can I encourage her to at least try?A: It takes incredible strength, balance, coordination and bravery to take those first steps. Babies typically start walking between age 9 months and 15 months.Babies, who learn to walk best with bare feet, often begin near-walking by “creeping” alongside furniture or walking... more
Q: Our teenager listens to music with over-ear headphones and she CRANKS them so loud! What is her risk of noise-induced hearing loss?A: If you’ve ever been to a music concert and left experiencing ringing in your ears and difficulty hearing, you know firsthand that loud sounds can cause hearing damage. Most of the time, attending a... more
Winter is coming. Are you curling up into a fetal position with your favorite Slanket yet?Well, maybe you could skip the cabin fever this year. What if you could embrace winter by getting into skiing, snowboarding or even just tubing as a family? Check out more than a dozen winter-fun destinations in Minnesota at skiandboardmn.com, which... more
Parenting can be infinitely frustrating. It’s a grind that can suck the life out of even the most playful of parents.How can you bring back some of that magic?The answer, according to two Minneapolis moms, may be improv parentings classes, play days and camps. Improv Parenting is the brainchild of mother-of-three Keren Gudeman, an educator... more
I’m so excited about all the awesome toys — and toy-related ideas — we’re spotlighting this month in our annual Toy Issue!Wait. What?You don’t want more toys? You don’t like how your carpet/coffee table/entire existence has disappeared under a thick layer of giant playgyms/mats/bouncers/vibrating chairs, noisemakers and Megabloks? Or maybe it’s... more
Ages 0–3Picture BooksGiraffes Can’t Danceby Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-ReesMeet Gerald, a giraffe who desperately wants to dance, but can’t quite get his long, wobbly legs to cooperate. With perseverance and a little encouragement from a new friend, Gerald succeeds. Gerald’s story will inspire your kids to try, try again, and make their dreams... more
Sometimes the toys children want the most are the very ones that cause parents uncertainty — not just about our budgets, but also our values. Items that top a kid’s wish list can present parents with a multitude of toy-buying dilemmas.It could be a doll that each of your child’s friends has, but comes with a hefty price tag. Or maybe it’s a... more
Great places to bring your kids when the weather is cold and the wiggles need to get out!Adventure Peak in Edinborough Park, EdinaAirMaxx, Eden PrairieBig Thrill Factory, MinnetonkaBrickmania Toyworks, MinneapolisBrown Family Adventure Park, Ham LakeEagle's Nest, New BrightonGood Times Park, EaganInnerActive, Minnetonka – NEW!Jump City,... more
Having a child with a food allergy can cause great anxiety for parents, especially when it comes to sending their children out into the world.These fun, customizable stamps — which feature popular characters such as Minions, Pooh, Darth Vader, Anna and Elsa — can help families keep everyone informed quickly, easily and playfully. $45 •... more
Meddy Teddy — a “100 percent yoga-poseable” bear — isn’t the first toy to encourage kids to practice yoga.But Meddy, with his serene smile and peacefully closed eyes, may be the first to also encourage meditation, a mindfulness practice parents are finding surprisingly effective in dealing with behavior problems.One Baltimore elementary school... more
If your kid can’t get enough of chewing on your car keys (ew!), you might want to strike up a friendship with Eli the Elephant, Gus the Giraffe, and Leo the Lion — a trio of chompable stainless steel “keys.” Geared toward ages 6 months and up, dishwasher-safe Kleynimals (pronounced “clean-i-mals”) aren’t cheap, but they’ll certainly last from one... more
When you have kids, you can’t help but be proud of them.Even the littlest things can make you swell up with almost unbearable pride — those first baby smiles, those early toddler dancing skills, those kindergarteners who can read before the start of school!We just can’t help it. They’re so impressive, we just have to tell our friends who have... more
Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Track Set$44.99 | ages 4 and upFew kids in our toy test could resist this mesmerizing set — a new-and-improved version of an older model from Hot Wheels. Even the veteran parents in the group agreed this toy would definitely be worth the space commitment — and the price. A single central booster (which uses 4D... more
Like me, you may think of the car-buying process as something like grocery shopping at a box store on a Sunday afternoon, only worse. You know it’s going to be painful, but you grit your teeth and get it over with. Sure, you go home with what you need afterwards, but they didn’t have everything you wanted, and you probably spent more than you... more
During a recent dinner conversation with my teens, I asked the age-old conversation starter: Who did you sit with at lunch today?I got two very different responses. As I took their answers in, I realized that this one simple question defines how they each approach life and relationships. When they were youngMy daughter is a 13-year-old eighth... more
My poor children! They were born into a family where their mother and father aren’t afraid to say no — and to mean it. At times, they might think it’s an unfortunate circumstance, but I know that it’s often for their own good.Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of times that my husband and I do say yes, and cave in to requests. But, in our... more
Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE our annual Toy Issue. My kiddos have participated in the official Minnesota Parent Toy Test, and I even rely on the results for holiday ideas. I’ve also genuinely loved checking out all the cool new toy favorites — old and new — with my kids, neighbors, nieces and nephews during each stage of childhood. But the... more
Welcome to our annual Baby Issue! Whether you’re feeding a newborn right this very second, patting your belly in anticipation of a very important arrival or maybe even getting ready to welcome your first grandchild, this issue is for you! I expect the most-read article this month will be our sleep story, outlining five different types of... more
It’s time for back to school!Oh, wait. Are you just starting school?I feel you. I remember my son’s first days of kindergarten (a big topic in this issue, as you will see). It all started the winter before his 5th birthday. His school hosted a Kindergarten Round Up, an afternoon event at which preschoolers and their parents were promptly... more
It's time to gather around the crèche, the menorah or the non-denominational dinner table and show Baby what the holidays are all about — spending time with family and friends, honoring our religious/social traditions and getting lots and lots of presents. “What should I get my baby for Christmas?” is a... more
I'm so happy to share our good news with you: I'm pregnant!We are expecting Baby No. 3 in late February. I just popped earlier this month. My first time wearing maternity jeans was at our trip to the RenFest. (Isn't Maria's fox dress adorable? It's from Little Rabbit Wears. I'm obsessed with all things fox and will be blogging about my... more
Since becoming a MoM (Mom of Multiples), I've been fortunate enough to join some amazing Facebook groups where moms can share photos and stories, ask questions and offer advice — all in a safe and positive environment. I read a post from a mom with newborn twins who was struggling with nursing and pumping and wondering what to do. She asked... more
Here we are, already in the thick of the school year.And that means watching your kid face the challenges of academics, friendships and even the pressures of Picture Day!It’s not easy.Check out how the characters (both human and animal) in these books find interesting ways to conquer their fears and emerge triumphantly. Coasting CaseyThis... more
Yep, it’s fall, the perfect time to break out the slow cooker for easy school-night eats.This recipe, despite requiring only about 20 minutes of prep time and just five key ingredients, delivers a surprising amount of flavor.Serve the chicken over cauliflower “rice” and sauteed zucchini or a simple salad. Slow-cooker chicken... more
Jennifer, a busy mom of three, wondered if something was wrong when her middle child, Ava, abruptly stopped talking about school.Ava, a first-grader, usually bubbled over with enthusiastic chatter about her friends and her adored teacher, Miss Garcia. Ava had started complaining about feeling sick just before it was time to go to school.One... more
Q: My daughter has started playing hockey. What do I need to know to keep her from ending up in the ER?A: In the State of Hockey, it almost seems as if some children are born with hockey sticks in their hands and skates on their feet. Fortunately, organized youth hockey programs have made safety a priority and have taken a number of steps to... more
Q: My baby boy has white patches on the insides of his cheeks. What is it?A: Generally, when parents notice white patches on the insides of their infants’ cheeks, it’s usually a condition known as thrush.Thrush is an excessive growth of a yeast (fungus) in the mouth and is very common among infants in the first few months of life. The white... more
Want to give your kids a jump start on their financial future?Check out Blue Chip Kids: What Every Child (and Parent) Should Know About Money, Investing and the Stock Market.This lively and engaging book — filled with 165 cartoon illustrations — tackles many facets of personal and corporate finance that schools simply aren’t covering.David Bianchi... more
Most of us want our kids to be generous and thoughtful, and we want them to have a broad view of the world. So why not encourage them to donate some of their money or allowance to a worthy cause?Figuring out how much to give — and who to give it to — is good practice for kids learning to be smart and deliberate with money.The problem is,... more
KoalaSafe creates a new wi-fi network in your home that’s set up just for the kids.You can restrict the hours that the Internet is on, block sites by name or category (such as “adult” or “social media”) or block specific apps (such as Snapchat).You can require YouTube SafeSearch and Google SafeSearch to restrict inappropriate search results, too.... more
I was 14 years old when my mom sent me off from my home in Central California to stay for a summer with my aunt in Hinckley, Minn.The trip was intended to ease me into a new move, which included changing high schools. I spent my summer canoeing on the local lake, experiencing my first thunderstorms and tasting my first brats from the... more
Editor’s note: Minnesota Parent asked Alison Feigh, program manager at the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center (and a former classmate of Jacob’s), to answer the question: “What can parents tell their kids in light of the recent news?” Here’s what she wrote.I would tell children that I wish I could have changed the ending of this story.Jacob’s... more
The single-serving juice box (or milk box) is the ultimate on-the-go toddler beverage — until your little one promptly squeezes the liquid right out of it, turning its straw into a terribly interesting fountain.MyDrinky — a rigid plastic, dual-handled, two-piece case — was designed to prevent such spills.Our Minnesota Parent test toddler (age 3)... more
Infant gear can be so ugly!Who’s this stuff for anyway? Babies?Enter modern-American designer Jonathan Adler, who recently partnered with Fisher-Price on a new line of contemporary items, including a chic little vibrating bouncer with a built-in mobile, featuring a signature high-contrast black-and-white fabric, plus walnut wood accents. $119... more
The mythology surrounding motherhood is something I could seriously do without. From the supposedly “instinctual” nature of mothering to the notion that mothers are meant to suffer with a smile, I’ve had enough. And I’d like to reassure you that you don’t need to let these ideas control your life. Motherhood myths that set my teeth... more
It’s autumn: What better time to get the kids in the kitchen?And what better tools than the Le Petit Chef set from Opinel.Minnesota Parent’s 8-year-old tester (not exactly a huge culinary-arts enthusiast) loved this stainless steel knife-peeler set.Each tool encourages proper hand positioning with strategically placed learning rings that prevent... more
“Lila is already reading!”“Jayden started reading when he was 3 years old.”“Jesse has been reading chapter books since kindergarten.”As a licensed reading specialist and the parent of a kindergartner, I can’t help but notice the push for children to start reading before kindergarten.What once was rare — and only for children who were... more
Groves AcademyThis private St. Louis Park school, founded in 1972, offers specialized services for students in grades 1-12 diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or attention disorders.Tuition for the 2016-2017 school year ranges from $27,120 to $28,160. The Learning Center at Groves is open to the public and offers fee-based tutoring,... more
For young children with dyslexia, just opening a book can cause anxiety and a drop in self-esteem. The letters might jumble into a code nearly impossible to decipher, making reading slower and more demanding than it is for their classmates. And it’s not just reading and writing.Kids with dyslexia often struggle with spelling, penmanship... more
Lil’ Kickers — a year-round children’s soccer program focused on child development — has come to the Twin Cities.Founded in Seattle in 1999, Lil’ Kickers has grown into national franchise with more than 100 locations in 28 states.It’s been popular in Chicago for more than 10 years and is now expanding north with two Minneapolis locations —... more
Q: What do you think of chiropractic care for babies? I’ve heard it can cure colic and help with many other infant problems. A: There are a variety of opinions regarding the effectiveness of chiropractic care for infants. I believe if the purpose of the care is mainly to help with soothing, muscle relaxation and using muscle groups... more
I consider myself a lifelong learner. This is reflected in my vocation (I’m an educator at a public school) and in my hobbies, which include fiber art, cooking, soap-making, photography and blogging, to name a few. My hobbies are creative outlets that are not only enriching and fun, but also good for my own well being.They help me to... more
When it comes to fall family fun, it’s hard to beat a local pumpkin patch on a crisp, clear October day in Minnesota. Not only are our local farms glorious in autumn — with beautiful fields of U-pick pumpkins and golden mazes of rustling corn stalks — they’re also packed with other kid-friendly attractions, including hayrides, bouncy houses,... more
Photo by Agape Moments Photography"Above all else, keep the babies on the SAME routine; once that’s accomplished, life is that much easier! And finally, ENJOY the small moments — the cuddles, smiles and first giggles."– Karen Kartman of Lino Lakes, mother of twins Aubrey and Lyla, pictured with big brother, Colby, 4, and Dad, Paul Photo... more
You aren’t imagining things. Twins are becoming more common — and have been for decades.In 2009, 1 in every 30 babies born in the United States was a twin, compared with 1 in every 53 babies in 1980, according to the CDC.Put another way, that’s more than 1 million more twins who wouldn’t have existed before the increase. And that’s... more
Skip Hop Moonlight & Melodies Nightlight SootherThis adorable owl emits a warm glow from its belly while projecting a calming constellation of a moon and stars.Lull your little one to sleep with eight different melodies and nature sounds.skiphop.com $39.99Solly Baby WrapKeep baby cool and comfortable with this lightweight, super-soft baby... more
Most women prepare for childbirth fervently. The Birth Plan has been en vogue for over a decade now and might include — among other things — the doula’s name, preferred interventions (if any), which Grandmas are allowed on the scene (if any) and where, precisely, the partner will be positioned (ahem) as the baby is crowning. The Birth... more
Newborns and young infants are supposed to sleep all the time. Right? (Cue the eye roll.)At least that’s what many parents-to-be are led to believe. However, many new moms and dads quickly learn that the adorable adage “sleeping like a baby” is highly misleading. Newborns and infants can be loud, wiggly, finicky little snoozers.Whether... more
Skip the frozen-section nuggets made with unpronounceable ingredients and try this down-home recipe.Instead of using an egg wash to adhere the breading, this recipe relies on — oh, yes — melted butter, along with Parmesan cheese and a few fairly common pantry items.It’s so simple, you can make it with the kids.And you’ll actually want to eat them... more
It’s never too early to read with your baby!In fact, early childhood development experts recommend reading to children from birth — at least 20 minutes a day, three days a week (read20.org).Here are some of our favorite books for babies. Find reading lists for all age groups (including age 0 to 12 months) at readingfoundation.org.Vegetables and... more
Q: We think our newborn could be allergic to cow’s-milk formula. What are the signs?A: Milk-protein allergy is a condition that develops in the first year of life. The most common form is an allergy specifically to the protein in cows’ milk. Symptoms — rashes, stomach upset/discomfort, vomiting and/or diarrhea — can appear within a few... more
Q: At what age do girls begin puberty? We’ve heard as young as 8! A: You’re correct that girls can begin puberty as young as 8 years old. And, in fact, that’s still considered within the range of normal. Girls typically start puberty between the ages of 8 and 13.Boys start between age 9 and 14. Keep in mind, however,... more
Chelsea Clinton, with her book, It’s Your World, challenged tweens in 2015 to “get informed, get inspired and get going” to make positive changes in the world.Now, given the history her mother made recently — becoming the first female nominee for President of the United States — this book ($18.99), which explores the challenges of poverty,... more
Angst: Noun. A feeling of dread, anxiety or anguish. I recently had the privilege of hosting some very dear friends from Paris for a week.Our family friendship was one of those serendipitous discoveries. When we met, we found a playmate for each of us, if you will. They’re a family of four, with an older son and younger daughter close in... more
Drawing inspiration from martial arts, ballet, gymnastics, other sports and even animal behaviors, the authors of this 2011 book ($14.95) — gastroenterologist Anthony DeBenedet (a father of three girls) and Lawrence Cohen, a psychologist and family therapist — present dozens of illustrated rough-and-tumble activities for children and... more
Right now, my three boys (ages 5, 7 and 9) are in our upstairs loft wrestling.Sitting at my computer at the kitchen table, I can hear a lot of clomping around and the persistent thumping of feet and arms, all punctuated by the occasional scream and the sound of my upstairs furniture shifting.These are loud and happy wrestling sounds.  I admit... more
As they say, a cliche is a cliche because it’s rooted in truth. The phrases roll off our tongues freely because they’re (Exhibit A) lit-er-ally a part of the modern American vernacular. But don’t you get tired of what’s commonly said about you, Mama?I do. Let’s start with wine In the last five years or so, wine has unfortunately... more
Unitech Medical — a locally based startup with offices in Plymouth — has introduced an herbal diaper cream.Unlike typical creams, it’s not thick and white, it’s actually a bit thin and light brown due its active ingredients — botanical extracts of herbs commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine such as arnebia root and amur cork-tree bark.... more
Date night, anyone? Girls’ night? Guys’ night? How about just a little “you” time?Drop N’ Shop — an entertainment center for children — is now open at the Mall of America and offering drop-in childcare for ages 6 weeks to 12 years.Located on Level 3 at Sears Court, the facility offers activities such as Zumba and yoga for kids, arts and crafts,... more
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about some tangible motto or quip that I might share with my eldest son as he enters his last two years of high school.As a mom of a boy, I’ve learned how important it is to economize my words.In his elementary years, I realized my ranting and long-winded explanations to him about making his bed and brushing his... more
There are so many rites of passage to behold as we guide our littles through childhood: skinned knees and bad dreams. Barf and birthday parties.Toddler Parent, you may find it curious — even alarming — that your favorite toddler columnist would loosely equate the joy of a birthday party with barf.Oh, but be certain, that choice was intentional.Don... more
The Twin Z Pillow is the nursing pillow to try if you have multiples.It’s E-shaped and works differently than a Boppy.You put the middle part behind your back for support and then wrap the sides around your waist and click them together in front of you.Our Moe-Mama’s-Must-Haves blogger (a mother of three, including now-9-month- old twins) has... more
I was about six months pregnant with our first child when my husband and I got around to discussing where the baby was going to sleep.“Well, I suppose we could just keep the bassinet in our room,” I said as we paced our cozy, 800-square-foot one-bedroom house.But was that a forever solution? Were we on board with sharing a bedroom with our... more
Q: My 2-year-old likes to play alone when other kids are around. Why? A: It’s normal for a 2-year-old to engage in solitary play. Solitary play is the first stage of play development.Children will explore learning and interacting with toys on their own or with caregivers, and at their own pace.They’re like little... more
Q: Our daughter, 3, is waking up terrified in the middle of the night. Help! A: Night terrors are sleep disruptions that typically occur a few hours after kids fall asleep during transitions between sleep phases. This is different than nightmares, which arise during the dream stages of sleep, late into the night or in the early... more
Q: How many grams of sugar a day is OK for a kindergartener?A: Appropriate sugar intake is an important topic for kids, teens and grown-ups.Americans are, by far, some of the most obese and unhealthiest people in the world, despite our amazing health-care systems.Excessive sugar intake puts kids on a path to struggle with high blood... more
 The Lockdown Drill School children today don’t just take part in fire drills.Because of numerous attacks on schools in recent years, kids as young as preschool-age are required to participate in lockdown drills that involve preparing for intruders, typically by hiding.And that can be scary.That’s why Tennessee native Becky ... more
With all the heavy textbooks kids carry — along with tablets and laptops and more — isn’t it time someone came up with a backpack that actually helped them get organized and stay comfortable?We think IVAR’s backpacks come pretty darn close with strategically placed, sewn-in dividers that distribute weight more evenly and reduce lower-back strain.... more
This school year my daughter will be starting sixth grade and my two middle boys will be entering third and first grades.Our youngest son could start kindergarten this year (he turned 5 in July), but based on his development — social, emotional, academic and physical — we made the decision to delay his entry into kindergarten until he’s 6.That... more
Do your kids like to play in the dirt? Build tree forts? Climb cliffs and careen through tunnels?If you’re nodding your head YES right now, you need to plan a trip to the newly updated Tamarack Nature Center, about 20 minutes north of St. Paul.Operated by Ramsey County Parks and Recreation, the center is located in a 320-acre preserve within Bald... more
Mosquito bites are the worst!Fortunately, we’ve found a new way to ease kids’ irritation and discomfort: Oilogic’s Bug Bites & Itches Essential Oil Roll-On is made with a blend of lavender, tea tree, lemon, citronella, spearmint and chamomile oils.It’s fragrant, soothing and safe for... more
We love this recipe for a few reasons.It's an easy and surprisingly delicious back-to-school snack (or breakfast).It helps you incorporate veggies (zucchini), fruit (blueberries) and whole wheat flour into your kid’s diet.Local and organic blueberries and zucchini are easy to find in Minnesota this time of year.And the batter looks a bit like... more
A recent morning after a harsh storm, I came outside to find a huge branch had fallen out of a tree and into our yard.By “huge branch,” I mean it was thicker than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s thigh and longer than a minivan. Somehow, we’d all slept through the massive snap and crash it surely made. (Those sounds must’ve blended in with all the... more
Students at the University of Minnesota have designed the “world’s first sensory-friendly backpack.”The Nesel Pack (a play on the word “nestle”) is a backpack for kids with sensory-processing issues, including children on the autism spectrum.It features specially designed straps with chest clips that create the feeling of a hug, plus hooks for... more
One Posh Closet, a Minnesota boutique featuring new and previously worn designer women’s clothing, is now offering children’s clothes.Founded by Nicole Jennings — wife of Super Bowl Champion NFL wide receiver Greg Jennings (see family photo above) — the Minnesota-based business started online in 2013, built around high-end pieces contributed by... more
Adoption is a wonderful way to welcome a child into a family, rich with a unique set of joys and challenges.Though not initiated by pregnancy, labor and birth, the start of the parent-child relationship is a birth of sorts — the birth of a new life together.Toddler adoption is an entirely different situation — also filled with specific triumphs... more
 My son entered this world with his own agenda. It was Oct. 31, 2014, and I was just barely 34 weeks pregnant.I was at work at St. David’s Center, going about the regular busyness of my day as an education coordinator in our early childhood education program, when I went into labor.Being a natural life planner, I’d done everything I... more
We're in the middle of a heat wave in Minnesota, and that means hot cars. Hot cars also mean hot car seats. Today I'd like to share a trick I figured out to help keep your little one's car seat (especially the buckles) from getting too hot. The idea came to me a couple weeks ago, and in the heat this past Wednesday I finally tested it out.... more
My daughter, Grace, came into the world as a micro preemie 11 years ago. Born at 24 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 6.2 ounces, Grace had a 66 to 80 percent chance of survival.She faced many medical challenges (as many preemies do), and she had lot of catching up to do. Our family faced some tough times, to say the least. It was hard on... more
Happy summer, Minnesota families!If you’re looking for things to do with your kids in the Twin Cities, you’ve come to the right place!This month’s issue — our annual Beat the Heat edition — includes 2 inclusive parks designed for all abilities, 4 family day trips reinvented, 13 shady places for babies, 14 fun splash pads, 19 summer bucket-list... more
Mother of two Asha Dornfest started her ParentHacks.com blog in 2005.Her recent book of the same name features 134 whimsically illustrated ingenious ideas for simplifying life with kids, such as:Strap your baby into a forward-facing carrier when you trim his or her fingernails.Put the ketchup under the hotdog to minimize mess.At the beach? Stash... more
Thirty and Flirty and Thriving is the phrase Jennifer Garner’s 13-year-old version of herself says over and over to break free of her young teen stage in the film 13 Going on 30.The Razzle-eating teenager desperately wants to move past her awkward phase and into adulthood.I’ve read it’s kind of a thing for moms to show this flick at their... more
A couple of years ago I created a bit of an over-the-top Pinterest-inspired summer bucket list with my children.In June, we made a big, colorful poster with lots of ideas of different things to do and put it on our fridge, thinking we would check off each experience as summer went on.We started right away with some practical and classic summer... more
Q: Our son was stung on his finger by a bee and his whole hand became swollen. Will his next sting be worse or cause an allergic reaction?A: Local reactions to bee stings — redness, swelling, pain and itching — are very common in children.The good news is that previously stung kids aren’t likely to have worse reactions the next time... more
Parenting teenagers can be intense.Adolescents’ huge ups and down can drive you and the rest of the family crazy!Eline Snel — author of Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) and founder of the Academy for Mindful Teaching in Leusden, Netherlands — offers tips for... more
 Broadway is joining the sensory-friendly scene with a special performance of Disney’s The Lion King at 2 p.m. Saturday July 30 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis.This one-time performance — geared toward people with sensory, social and learning disabilities and their families — is the first-ever sensory-friendly performance of a touring... more
Shortly after my oldest daughter turned 1, a friend reminded me that this particular milestone meant I could now let her eat peanut butter (the recommendation at the time).What a wonderful idea, I thought. And so one day I whipped up a PB&J for her lunch, she ate it and then she settled down for a nap.When she woke up about an hour later, I... more
1. Cut a watermelon in half and eat immediately with spoons. 2. Master somersaults.3. Have a teddy bear picnic at Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater.4. Take in a matinee with real butter popcorn at the Riverview Theater. Or hit the cheap seats in Hopkins.5. Make your own popsicles.6. Pajama day, all day.7. Make your own play dough.8. Lewis... more
Q: What's the best way to treat a toddler’s sunburn? Ouch!A: Sunburns are especially unpleasant for toddlers because they don’t understand the cause of the pain. Prevention, of course, is really the most important step to take. Sun blocks with an SPF of 30 or higher are important to use frequently, even on cloudy days if your child is going... more
Need to cool off this summer? Take a tour of the area's top splash pads!Andrews Park Splash PadChamplin New in 2014, this splash pad features boat motifs (including sprayer masts), rings, water-table-like attractions for early walkers, flower showers, a sunshade and numerous benches and picnic tables, too.tinyurl.com/champlin-... more
Q: My daughter gets so many ear infections. How do we know if she should get tubes?A: Thank you for this question! Frequent ear infections are common for many families. This is a problem that involves persistent fluid and/ or infection in what is called the middle-ear cavity — normally a very small, air-filled space behind the... more
 Chewbeads — 100 percent silicone jewelry for babies to chomp on (instead of their mother’s real jewelry) — have become popular among modern mamas.Now the parent-founded company is expanding its line with Juniorbeads kids’ necklaces, including cute color combos geared toward girls and groovy shark tooth, robot and dog-tag pendants for boys.We... more
Summer in the Twin Cities is generally pretty glorious. After nine months of wool socks and Seasonal Affective Disorder, we see the sun emerge and suddenly forget the lengthy punishment we endured to get to this season of no coats.But there can be too much of a good thing, and yes, that even includes the summer sun.Whether we're motivated by a... more
The Twin Cities is home to an increasing number of playgrounds designed for kids of all abilities.St. David’s Center for Child and Family Development is hosting a grand opening on July 20 to celebrate the completion of the multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project at its Minnetonka campus.Among the features is a new inclusive... more
It's June!It’s time to spend every minute we can outside, right? But how? Check out our Outdoors Issue (June 2016) for starters. It's on racks now.Then please consider my advice for making the most of these summer months ahead: Pull back on screen time. I know, I know: I’ve read suggestions like these many times and I’ve said to... more
June is peak strawberry season in Minnesota — and this no-bake pie really shows off those red orbs’ freshness and bright flavors. Check local grocers or see minnesotagrown.com for a list of local farmers markets and strawberry farms.Fresh strawberry pie Ingredients3/4 cup sugar3 tablespoons cornstarchDash of salt1 cup water3 tablespoons... more
Kids need nature play and outdoor activities. But when there are 1,000 free cool games on the iPad, you’re facing an uphill battle, even in summer — unless you get creative and get excited to try new things.Here are just a few of the latest outdoors books perfectly tailored to families in need of inspiration and motivation:M Is for... more
Summer in Minnesota is synonymous with frequent trips to the cabin up, vacations up North, day hikes and camping for many local families. But all that warm-weather outdoor fun can cause some major skin issues. Fortunately, most rashes, spots and bumps are easily treatable. Here are some of the most common summertime conditions I see in... more
When I found out I was carrying not one, but two babies, I was in shock. The funny thing about it was that I knew twins ran in my family and was trying to prepare myself for that possibility before I got pregnant with my (now 3-year-old) daughter. This time around, the possibility of twins hadn't even crossed my mind. After the news sunk in,... more
The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money isn’t just rich with useful tips for teaching kids about finances — including parent best practices for the tooth fairy, birthdays, chores, mobile phones and beyond — it’s also relatable guide to combating materialism with gratitude and charity and many other... more
Caring for others is an essential skill that can give today’s young people a leg up in all aspects of their lives. So says author Michele Borba, an internationally recognized parenting expert.Her new book — UNSELFIE: Why Empathic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, coming out this month — gives parents “science-backed” tools for teaching... more
Having two children hovering around either side of adolescence brings up new concerns to both to worry about and anticipate. Some concerns tap you right square on the nose and make your eyes water. They get you when you least expect them. As both of my kids encounter the talked about “change,” I’ve been doing some introspection on the... more
As a busy mother, teacher and writer, I sometimes find it hard to balance my online time — social media, texting, emails — with my offline time.I find it necessary and valuable to make virtual connections, but I also yearn for and benefit from screen-free time on my own and with others who I love and care for. There are times that I’ve been... more
Have you ever tried to wash a rug? Inevitably, the plastic backing flakes off, not just in the washer, but all around the house.And yet, you can’t just ignore spit-up and potty-training accidents, right?Our favorite solution to this problem comes from Lorena Canals Rugs. This Barcelona-based company made its U.S. debut this year. We tested a... more
I never had such an appreciation for “the little things” in life until I had a brand-new baby in the house. In other words, when you haven’t had more than two consecutive hours of sleep in the last two months, you’ll appreciate anything that makes your life even slightly easier (dry shampoo, Bite Squad gift cards) or that takes your mind... more
Take a walk through any craft or garden store and you’ll see them — miniature houses, teeny-tiny plants and dollhouse-sized outdoor furniture for making the newest craze in gardening: Fairy gardens!Children’s imaginations are well suited to this crafty activity. A pile of small rocks and pebbles becomes a walkway. A few sticks make a little... more
The Michael and Ann Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center — a new 6,700-square-foot clinic located in The Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis — opened March 14.It’s the first and largest advanced fetal care program in the Upper Midwest, made possible by a partnership involving Children’s Minnesota, Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minnesota Perinatal... more
 The Twin Cities is home to a vast array of green spaces, including a fantastic mix of small neighborhood parks, many phenomenal regional parks and even a variety of educational farms nestled into urban areas. With so many choices, it’s easy to miss some of the metro’s lesser-known natural areas. If you’re looking for a new ... more
The whole shebang starts during your first brave trip to the grocery store, solo, with a 2-week-old: You're rocking a look I might gently call postpartum chic (not in PJs) meets zombie apocalypse (green-grey circles under your eyes, paper-thin pasty skin, hormonally imbalanced and wild-eyed with hunger). A pack of evil grannies clucks... more
There are more than 60 U-pick or pick-your-own farms in the greater Twin Cities area — and that includes farms with fresh berries!Minnesota strawberry season usually begins in early to mid-June, followed by raspberries and blueberries — beloved fruits for kids of all ages — in July and August. (See minnesotagrown.com for a complete list of farms... more
Q: Is there such a thing as a 4-month sleep regression? Our daughter was sleeping seven hours a night and now — at 3½ months — she gets up every three hours! A: Sleep regression at four months is challenging: Parents — whose babies begin to sleep through the night — are just finally feeling like they can get uninterrupted sleep. But... more
Under the federal law, all public pools and spas must have a variety of anti-entrapment systems installed.But not every pool or hot tub is public and not every pool is compliant with the law, which was named after a young girl who drowned after she was trapped under water by the suction from a hot-tub drain.Here’s what you need to know, courtesy... more
Q: We think our son is a problem eater (versus just a picky eater) because he eats only 10 foods — at age 2! What can we do to help him?A: You are not alone, despite almost all parents feeling like they are. Feeding challenges in children are common and affect approximately 20 percent of kids. The majority of this 20 percent are picky eaters.... more
But he was waiting to hear from friends who were planning to get together. Even when I added the extra temptation of getting burgers on the way (usually a slam dunk to get our kids to hang out with us), he still said no. Like many teens, he suffers from FOMO — fear of missing out. That left me alone with my FOGO — fear of grocery outings... more
Q: Why does our 2-year-old insist on walking on his toes? A: When learning to walk, toddlers quickly discover that they have more control over their balance with their weight shifted slightly forward toward the balls of their feet. Then, when they lose their balance, they can more easily fall forward and use their arms and hands to break... more
Man’s best friend. A house is not a home without a cat. Honk if you love ferrets. Pet enthusiasts consider their furry and scaly friends to be part of the family. Of course, there are also humans who prefer household members be limited to those on two 10-toed feet. But, as parents, both the animal lovers and the animal shy, we all may... more
OK, this isn’t my WHOLE birth story.But I can tell you this: My son’s birth included a dose of morphine and a possibly-botched epidural installment (because of curvature in my spine), which meant I felt powerful contractions to the end.Why exactly did I receive a narcotic?I believe, ultimately, it was because I was afraid — of pain, of tearing,... more
Whether you’re a new-mom-to-be on a quest for fresh knowledge, a friend looking for a fun baby-shower book or a grandparent in search of a perfect Mother’s Day gift for your daughter, we hope you’ll find something in this mix to pique your interest. Ma Doula: A Story Tour of BirthYou’ll hear a lot of birth stories during your pregnancy — be... more
Q: What products do you recommend for chronic diaper rash? A: Diaper care and the prevention of rashes have become much easier in many ways as diaper technology has evolved. Improved absorbency of diapers prevents persistent wetness on the skin. Changing diapers as soon as they become wet or soiled also helps prevent rashes.Much of the... more
Q: I’m pregnant. What can I do to protect myself against the Zika virus?A: Zika virus disease has become an international health concern because of the multiple countries currently affected by the virus. Mexico, Central America and the northern two-thirds of South America are countries where the virus currently is causing infections.... more
By now you’ve probably come to know your pediatrician or family doctor fairly well. There are — after all — nine well visits between birth and the third birthday. And that’s to say nothing of the mysterious rashes, first colds, earaches and bumped heads. I spoke with local pediatrician Ilene Moore of Southside Medical Clinic in Minneapolis... more
Minnetonka author and mother of four Julie Burton is coming out with an encouraging book for moms this May.The Self-Care Solution: A Modern Mother's Must-Have Guide to Health And Well-Being ($16.95) includes Burton’s own highly personal postcards from the edge of parenting (and the consequences of self-neglect) as well as insights from... more
Q: Your advice in the November issue — recommending that parents generally avoid multivitamins for their kids (mnparent.com/vita-mn) — prompted me to write. I believe the American Academy of Pediatrics supports the recommendation of a daily supplement of vitamin D. I didn’t see this mentioned in your article. Do you happen to know what... more
Q: How often do toddlers need baths? We don’t want our kid’s skin to dry out!A: Bathing a couple times a week may be sufficient for toddlers if they have days where they manage to stay relatively clean. But it really depends on how active toddlers are and how dirty they become each day. One factor may be if they’re still in... more
One of the very first activities at Camp Angel involves getting all of the campers to stand in a line.Campers are then asked to step forward when a leader calls out a characteristic that speaks to them. When prompted by their favorite foods, colors or animals, kids gradually start stepping forward in small groups.But it’s not until the end,... more
A girl who looks no more than 9 years old spins gracefully — 25 feet in the air — her small hands gripping strips of bright blue silk, hanging from the ceiling.A young boy leaps on a large trampoline, flying ever higher with each bounce.Another girl whizzes past on a unicycle, leaning into a turn with an arm out for balance. Nearby, six kids... more
Which would you rather have your kids learn — where food comes from (and how to cook and eat it) or the habits of dinosaurs?This pointed question comes from Jill Colella, the St. Paul founder of not one but two gorgeous bimonthly magazines for kids that encourage food savvy as well as early reading: Ingredient is for ages 6–12 and, new in 2015,... more
Many parents know all too well the answer they’ll get if they ask their child what he or she did on any given day: “Nothing.” But after a day at a Revolutionary Sports summer camp, that answer might get a bit more interesting.It might go something like: “Soccer, basketball, cricket, Frisbee, lacrosse, handball AND tennis!” At... more
Celebrity yoga-instructor Alanna Zabel has created the world’s first yoga doll collection — known as AZIAM Girlz.Each doll ($29.95) features articulated joints that allow for a full range of motion. In fact, they’re flexible enough to do all common yoga poses. Asana, the first in the series of dolls, comes with doll-size fitness accessories,... more
If you’re pumping breast milk or making your own baby food, check out Milkies Food Trays ($21.95 for two) from Fairhaven Health. Each tray freezes eight 1-ounce portions, allowing you to thaw the exact amount of food or milk you need for each feeding. Frozen “milk sticks” fit through all bottle openings and can be popped out and stored in any... more
“There is a predictable pattern to teenage development, a blueprint for how girls grow. When you understand what makes your daughter tick, she suddenly makes a lot more sense.” So says author and psychologist Lisa Damour in her new book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Billed as some of the... more
You’ve moved across country — or even just across town — or changed jobs, and now the childcare program your kid’s been enjoying (practically since birth) has become inconvenient or just plain impossible. Maybe you’re just not happy with the care your child’s getting, and it’s time to make a change. No matter why you’re making the switch... more
Parenting in the modern age — let’s face it — is complicated. To use the words of Jen Hatmaker in her viral essay for Today: We don’t just drink “a case of Tab” and send our kids outside for the day like parents of yore.No, we try to manage everything into a state of perfection. And things today are so not perfect.So, in our February issue (... more
 Q: I’m bottle-feeding our baby and I’m worried about overfeeding. Can you share your tips to avoid giving her too much?A: This is an excellent question. Infants, for the most part, take in only the calories they need to maintain their current health and provide for good growth. They rarely over-eat — or under-eat. If your baby’s... more
Q: Do you ever recommend probiotics for children?A: Probiotics may benefit kids in a number of ways, but research still needs to be done to understand exactly how they can be most beneficial.The intestinal tract contains millions of microorganisms — primarily bacteria and fungi (yeast). These microorganisms are generally considered either good... more
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends coughing and sneezing into the upper sleeve to help stop germs from spreading.For a kid with a major cold, that’s a lot of sleeve slime. Enter the Sneeve — a disposable, anti-microbial sleeve designed to absorb the yucky stuff ($6.99 for a box of 7).Sized for ages 3 to 8, the stretchy,... more
Did you know dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months?It’s not because the bristles wear out. Alas. It’s because the average toothbrush contains more than 10 million bacteria, often including E. coli and staph. Ew. Hint: Flush your toilet with the lid down to reduce airborne bacteria that can collect on your toothbrush and... more
Without hesitation, you’d take your child to the emergency room for a broken arm, the dentist for a cavity, the pediatrician for a sore throat.But what do you do when your child suffers the death of a loved one, bullying at school or low self-esteem? What happens when you learn that your child is hurting other kids at day care, refusing to... more
The hospital tour guide stopped next to a bank of windows, behind which stood a darkened room filled with folding chairs, empty boxes and definitely no babies. “This is the nursery,” he announced, smirking. Some prospective patients laughed nervously; others chuckled knowingly. “Yeah, we don’t ship babies away to the nursery at this... more
Q: Do we need a car seat for our 1-year-old on an airplane?A: Airline travel with young children is no easy task. The planning checklist often includes items needed to ensure adequate entertainment, food, diapering and clothing changes and comfort or transitional objects. But the most fundamental planning must start when purchasing... more
Gabriel is a bright, adorable 5-year-old. He runs around the park, playing on the equipment, occasionally checking in with his mom, even trying, when urged, to include his 3-year-old sister, Cecilia, in the park’s cool climbing structure. “It’s his favorite,” said his mom, Tara Baker of Eagan.Things weren’t always this carefree for Gabriel.It... more
There are few things as magical as experiencing falling snow through a child’s eyes — and Minnesota winters (usually) give us many opportunities to enjoy plenty of snowflakes. And that’s a good thing: It’s important for families to get outside and remain active during winter months. The more active kids are, the healthier they’ll be.Winter... more
When it comes to cultivating good kid habits — reading every day, saying please (and thank you) and cleaning up your own messes — it’s really never too young to get started. Now add to that list the habit of kindness: Researchers have found that caring and compassion skills can be practiced and, like a muscle, get stronger with use. Even... more
The responsibilities and choices that come with parenting a child with a severe disability or developmental delay are intense, immediate and pressing. Saving for your young child’s future may seem like one thing you can put off for now. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you should ignore: Someday your child with special needs is going to... more
Q: Dear Dr. Gustafson: I am writing becausee we are really struggling with our daughter's potty training for pooping.I started to train her when she turned 2. It took her just about a week to pee in the potty. However, she's still having trouble pooping in the potty.I know it generally takes long for No. 2, but we need to get her fully... more
Q: What do you recommend for vitamins for kids? Gummies? Flintstones? And at what age should we start?A: For children older than 1, in general, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t recommend vitamin supplements. It’s thought that if otherwise healthy children are eating a normal, well-balanced diet, they’re receiving what they need of... more
When your child suffers a bump on the head or body, there’s nothing quite so unappealing as a hard, blue freezing cold ice pack. Fortunately, there’s now a better way to bring your kid relief and show some TLC.Thermal-Aid zoo animals are filled with specially milled, de-germinated corn that can hold hot and cold temperatures (yes, without getting... more
The new-mom cliche “touched out” means something different to each individual. For some, it’s something like, “I’m nursing twins, damn it, and if you even look at my boobs, I will find a way to muster up a pair of laser eyes … and I will burn you.” For others, it’s straightforward and simple: “Sleep is the only thing that’s happening in... more
Q: Our 3-year-old daughter has a terrible cold, but none of the available OTC medications are listed as safe for ages 3 and younger. Our friends give their toddlers these medications anyway. Is this safe? A: For years, there were dozens of medicines to help relieve kids’ runny noses, watery eyes and harsh coughs. Today, however, those... more
Q: What’s the best time to take away a pacifier?  A: The easiest time to get rid of a pacifier is to never start using one in the first place. I realize this isn’t a practical or popular suggestion, since the vast majority of infants probably use pacifiers to some extent. But I believe they really don’t need them. The next-... more
Parenting has changed. No, I’m not referring to the changes one sees from generation to generation, I’m talking about what it was like to parent a mere 10 years ago.You know what we didn’t have then? Smartphones. Tablets. Phablets. Screen time.Today many of us sleep with our smart phones at the ready (if not under our pillows). And we’re... more
Q: Our 5-year-old son’s teacher is hinting that he has ADHD because he can’t sit still in class. And yet, his grades are nearly perfect. We think he’s just being a normal kindergartener. How should we proceed?A: There’s a wide range of activity and attention levels in 5-year-old children. If your son is doing well academically, then... more
Little hands need a lot of washing — especially during cold-and-flu season. Help your kid easily reach the water with a faucet extender from Prince Lionheart, available in four colors.Combine one of these with a sturdy step stool and your toddler will be washing up on his own in no time, right? We found two for $9.99 at target.com. more
Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager? I have some recollections of the emotions I felt: I feared that the inner dialogue in my head was somehow shouting out to everyone around me. Of course, it wasn’t. But the crushes, the school pressures, the dynamics of my family life were all bubbling together inside me like they were in... more
There’s a good chance you’ve been hanging with “play groups” since before your child could even roll over. There are so many wonderful ways for parents to connect with peers and likewise expose babies to other babies — even if all that looks like is a small cluster of floor blankets with infants independently exploring their own toes. As your... more
Q: We keep hearing about alternative vaccination schedules. Is there a benefit? A: I strongly encourage all patients to stick with the recommend vaccination schedule. The vaccination schedule is developed and evaluated yearly by the top infectious-disease and pediatric experts in the U.S. The recommended timing and spacing of the shots... more
Q: How early is it possible to detect signs of autism? A: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) primarily affects social and communication skills. Because of this, most children with ASD will achieve their motor-developmental milestones, such as sitting, crawling and walking at normal times.However, some signs of ASD may be observed as... more
Q: Lice is on the loose at school! What’s the best way to see if our kid has it?A: Anyone can get head lice. Every year, millions of school-aged children will become infected with head lice, most commonly preschool and elementary-aged children. Though it’s not a pleasant condition, it doesn’t cause any serious health issues or... more
For the last five years I’ve struggled to find a label for myself. I like definitions for things. Labels are comforting and secure. I often feel if I could just find a word that describes the person I’ve become since losing my daughter I would somehow be able to own that title and act the way a whatever-the-word-is acts. I once... more
Life changes dramatically when you have a baby — and that includes your home. Here are five products designed to help families keep their abodes clean and beautiful despite bouncy seats, activity mats and Boppy pillows stuffed into every corner. Cozy crib Stokke, which became a household name in 1972 with its modern Z-line wooden... more
One day, you’re a woman with a job, a social life and the option of sleeping without interruption until your alarm goes off. The next, you’re a mother, suddenly responsible for ensuring the well-being of a small human who can’t turn himself over or support his own head. It’s beautiful and profound — but also pretty terrifying. The... more
Q: When should we start our baby on solid foods? I've heard everything from a few weeks to four months!A: It’s not surprising that parents are confused about when to start solids, because clinicians are too! There’s evidence to wait until six months of age and evidence to start much earlier. Organizations, such as the American... more
Q: How long is it safe to keep infant twins in the same crib?A: Although it may seem harmless or even more natural to have twins in the same crib, this isn’t a practice endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The reason for this is the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Twins are often born prematurely or have... more
Who doesn’t love a room full of new toys? Parents. That’s who.Whether you’re an expecting parent, a new parent or are already knee-deep in diapers and Disney-princess dresses, there’s a surprising challenge that can sometimes arise: Grandparents.In most cases, Nana and Pop just want to share a little extra love with their grandchildren. But,... more
“This is my favorite, favorite thing to do,” said doula Sarah Longacre, owner of Blooma, as she invited Minneapolis mom-to-be Mia Como to take the center seat in the circle of women gathered for her Mother Blessing. “It’s different than anything else we do at Blooma — and different than anything we do in the United States — to celebrate moms... more
A newborn baby. Tiny fingers, perfect little nose, itty-bitty feet, fuzzy little hairs and that delicate, oh-so-soft skin. A newborn photography session truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to document all those tiny details. It’s the very beginning of your child’s story, and she’ll never look the way she does right now, during those... more
Minnesota Parent’s annual Baby Issue is on stands now!It’s one of my favorite magazines to produce every year because — in my opinion — few things are more interesting, more complicated, more challenging or more fun (yes, really) than babies.Babies are the beginning of everything.Yes, they’re starting their own lives. And that’s miraculous.... more
When Betsy Batista found out she had cancer in 2014, the diagnosis was especially difficult as it meant she had to stop breastfeeding her 4-month-old daughter so that she could undergo chemotherapy. “I was devastated,” the St. Louis Park mom said. That’s when Batista’s doula told her about the possibility of donated milk: Mothers... more
Aija Mayrock was bullied throughout middle school and high school. Through it all, however, she learned a lot — and, at the age of 16, she wrote a lively, fun book to help kids age 10 and older not just survive, but thrive in the face of bullying. The Survival Guide to Bullying ($9.99) features tips, personal stories and quick quizzes... more
Fussy babies love to be swaddled, but in summer, there’s always a risk of overheating your baby with too much fabric.The Ollie Swaddle  ($48) for ages newborn to 4 months is made with a custom moisture-wicking material to minimize overheating, and its elasticity allows for freedom of movement, along with an opening at the bottom that makes it... more
“Oh great," you’re probably thinking. “Homework.” This is often how I feel when someone insists I read such-and-such parenting book. “When exactly am I supposed to read that?” I want to ask. I have two little kids; I work; I haven’t even started Breaking Bad. However, if you’re a reader like me, there will probably come a time when... more
Parenting a toddler can be — at times — tumultuous, exhausting, frustrating, even farcical. And that’s on a good day! They throw tantrums, they poop their pants, they declare independence when — and only when — you’re running late and don’t have time for them to pick out and put on their own clothes. It’s a wild ride, to say the least.... more
The start of a new school year is fast approaching! This time of year can be a very exciting and joyful time for some, but it can also trigger some feelings of nervousness or apprehension (for both kids and parents).This year will mark my 15th year as an educator, and now, as a parent, I also have a house full of school-aged children — this year... more
Q: Our kids’ backpacks get heavier every year. How much weight can a child safely carry? A: This is an excellent question. Planning for what to put in a child’s backpack is an ideal opportunity to work with your child on effective school and homework planning. A number of health groups recommend that a child shouldn’t carry more... more
Q: I’ve heard that kids with asthma should start their medications before school starts in anticipation of cold season. What do you advise?A: Any child with a diagnosis of asthma, especially if the child has frequent or persistent symptoms, should have an asthma action plan. Some children are especially susceptible to wheezing when they catch... more
Q: How can we tell if our 1-year-old daughter has pink eye?A: This is a common and challenging situation for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Typically anytime a child has a redder than normal eye — or if there’s any drainage from the eye — he or she is thought to have a contagious form of pink eye (conjunctivitis). The... more
IT WAS A DARK, COLD, MINNESOTA NIGHT. My mom was visiting from Wisconsin, and we were working in the kitchen, preparing supper. Looking at the clock, I suddenly realized I’d forgotten about my 4-year-old’s dance class, which was about to start. My heart rate jumped as I zipped around getting her bag ready and telling her we needed to get out... more
Running has always been therapeutic for me. I’ve been a runner for more than 20 years — and the lead therapist for the Health Partners Regions Hospital Running Program for the past eight.So when I became pregnant for the first time, I wanted to be able to continue running as much as my body allowed.After a successful delivery, I was ready to... more
Before I had kids, people warned me that “they” watch everything you do. I didn’t quite believe it until I had my two girls. Fast forward nine years later and I have two sets of feet following me everywhere — in the bathroom, when I’m in the shower, when I’m on the phone and, of course, while I’m watching my favorite television show... more
Q Do temporal thermometers really work? A These thermometers use an infrared scanner to measure the temperature in the temporal artery in the forehead. This artery carries blood from the heart to the head and can give a temperature reading that’s as accurate as a rectal temperature, which is still thought to be the... more
Q Our daughter’s been coughing every night for a week. Would running a humidifier help? A Coughing in young children can be especially difficult to deal with! Often the cough can linger for longer periods than typical for older children or adults.This is partly because a younger child may not be able to generate the same... more
Q When can we give our baby peanut butter? A This is a great question. If you had asked this question a few months ago, it would have resulted in a different answer. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that the introduction of peanut butter, or other allergenic foods, should be delayed until a child is at least 3... more
 I used to exercise all the time. I loved the gym! OK, liked is more accurate. But it felt good to work out. I especially liked the challenge of the escalator stair machine. Hot yoga, kick boxing and hiking were my other favorites.Then I had my son. And, boy, did I get lazy with working out. I was tired. I had... more
Our daughter was about to turn 2 and we thought we were ready to have another baby. My husband and I each grew up with an older sister and we wanted our daughter to grow up with a sibling, too. Watching her play with her dolls and stuffed animals really showed the potential she has to be an amazing big sister.It wasn't long before I suspected I... more
Squeez’Ems (reusable screw-top food pouches) and Pack’Ems (reusable snack bags, pictured below) help you cut back on disposable packaging.We like the pouches because they allow you to serve homemade applesauce (and other gooey foods) on the go.The snack bags, which feature Velcro closures, can be folded down flat when empty (unlike... more
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than 2 and recommends limiting older children’s screen time to no more than one or two hours a day. Despite that advice, screens time is second only to sleep as the thing our kids spend the most time doing, according to a study conducted by the National Institute on... more
Q: Can infants suffer from seasonal allergies?A: Allergies often are inherited, so observing for symptoms is important. When the immune system repeatedly is presented with a substance (allergen), the body can erroneously begin to recognize it as foreign and set off a cascade of cell activities similar to those triggered by an infection.... more
Q: How important is it to trim our son’s toenails? He’s too ticklish and/or fussy to let us near his feet.A: This is a perfect example of “choose your battles.” Toes are wiggly and feet are ticklish. Cooperation in this situation can be negligible, but distraction is an excellent strategy. Try doing the task while your child is... more
Q: Our son is 21 months old and not talking beyond the word “Mama.” Should we be concerned? His older sister was talking in sentences much earlier.A: This is a great question and important issue to address with your pediatric clinician sooner rather than later. Optimal speech and language development in toddlers depend on a lot of... more
Q: Help! Our teenage son has terrible acne. Over-the-counter products are just not working. Is this a hormone issue? Would prescription medications fix it?A: Yes, it’s a hormone issue. And, yes, there are many prescription options that can work if the over-the-counter products aren’t helping.Acne results from increased sebum (oily substance)... more
Q: Our 2-year old loves spicy food (really spicy!). Is there any harm in him eating these foods?A: Spicy food isn’t a problem for children. Usually the problem is getting them to try spicier than normal foods. There are only a few rare foods that can actually cause a chemical burn to the skin and mucous membranes, and most families stay away... more
New this spring from high-quality helmet-maker Nutcase, is The Baby Nutty helmet ($44.99) for ages 12 months and older (for heads 47 to 50 centimeters in diameter) — because “Even babies wanna bike.”With the popularity of balance bikes among toddlers soaring, it makes sense to start them young on head protection. Styles so far include Petal... more
The display flashed "Great workout!"and a sense of dread dug its claws deep in my belly.I stepped off the treadmill feeling like I was still moving, my heart doing that flutter thing again. I waited for the sensation to pass. It always passed, I told myself. Always. Hadn’t the doctor said staying active would help improve my mood? If it was... more
Q: My 7-year-old’s loose tooth won’t fall out. Is it safe to do the string-to-door technique?A: No, I wouldn’t recommend the string-to-door technique to remove a stubborn baby tooth. If your child wants to try to remove a tooth on her own, she could try that. For this method, it is recommended to firmly grasp the loose tooth with a... more
Q: Our 1-year-old has red patches of skin on his cheeks. It is eczema?A:  Eczema is a chronic skin condition. Since it’s chronic, the symptoms can fluctuate in severity. At times the skin can look completely normal. When it’s exacerbated or triggered, it can appear quite dry, red or irritated and can be quite itchy or painful. In... more
Q: At what age is it safe to take our baby on an airplane?A: The best thing you can do is discuss this with your baby’s doctor. In general, healthy newborns may be able to handle airplane travel without any issues. However, there are certain health conditions or other factors you may want to consider. These might include if your baby was born... more
I’ve recently developed a strong interest in researching and applying mindfulness strategies in both my personal life and in my teaching profession. There’s strong evidence that mindfulness practices can help children and adults build emotional resilience. Mindfulness can also be an empowering method of developing daily self-regulation and stress-... more
One of the most exciting times of a woman’s pregnancy is decorating her baby’s nursery. Like so many new mothers-to-be, I spent hours researching the safest car seats, cribs and toys. I baby-proofed everything in the house. When it came time to convert our spare bedroom into a nursery for our soon-to-be-born daughter, I knew not to use... more
The Twin Cities supports a uniquely vibrant birthing community. There are dozens of seasoned home-birth midwives, a handful of free-standing birth centers in the metro and surrounding areas and several hospitals striving to be more mom-baby friendly every day.Add to that an unusually concentrated pocket of maternity and postpartum businesses and... more
Q: Nearly every morning lately our 4-year-old has a bad tummy ache (cramping pain), followed by painful diarrhea (usually after eating milk and cereal for breakfast). Then he’s fine for the rest of the day. Could he be lactose intolerant?A: As strange as this may sound, some of this may just be a normal pattern for your child. Eating... more
I’m not what you’d call an athlete — at least not by my standards. I practice hot Vinyasa a couple times a week and try to get a short run in once or twice a week as well. (I prefer floating on my paddleboard, but snow and ice hinder that in winter.) I’ve learned that, for me, it’s all about the exhale.I was the kid in middle school who... more
Q: When should we start talking to our daughter about sex?A: The short answer to this question is as soon as she starts asking questions. Discussions should be at an age-appropriate level. These questions often start with questions like, “Where do babies come from?” Questions about an obviously pregnant woman are likely to come up, too.Long,... more
My 2-year-old daughter loves playing in water, so I thought signing us up for some parent/child swimming lessons would be a good idea. It's been really great spending time in a warm pool in the middle of winter. I signed us up to take a Parent & Child Class through Bloomington/Richfield Community Education Services. We've had five lessons... more
My oldest daughter was a reluctant camper. Every year, she went because we told her she had to and that she might (one day!) enjoy it. We started trying various overnight camps in first grade. She always packed at the last minute and routinely copped an attitude when we’d near the grounds. Each year we’d hold our breath, hoping she’... more
Q: My son (age 7) has a dark birthmark on his back that I think he’s had all his life. His doctors have looked at it in the past and all have said it appears to be normal, but it keeps getting larger as his body grows bigger.  A: Birthmarks come in a variety of colors, shapes, locations and can change over time. There are two... more
The very first opportunity I had to live out my role as mom came before my first child was born. It was the simple understanding that everything I took in to my body was being funneled into the formation of my baby. Keeping track of what I ate was the one thing I could do externally that gave me the opportunity to mother the changes that were... more
I once went to a Pilates workshop designed to get participants “back in touch” with their postpartum bodies. The women in the class were in the throes of the newborn period — only a month or so postpartum, in most cases. They looked exhausted, but hopeful that things would get better. I was probably about a year into being a mother. The... more
Q: Our 3-year-old son is having sleep troubles. Our friends are recommending melatonin supplements (gummies). Are they safe? A: Sleep problems in a 3-year-old are common and normal. Children at this age want to know their parents are available to them at any time, day or night. They want to delay sleep as long as possible,... more
As parents, you expect to raise your child through many bumps and bruises, nightmares, broken curfews and broken hearts, triumphs and aspirations.These expectations begin during pregnancy. Excitedly you begin to stockpile teeny-tiny onesies, board books, even middle names.Loss of a child — whether in miscarriage, stillbirth, infancy, later in life... more
As a first-time parent, keeping track of your child's immunizations can be a bit overwhelming. This is understandable because starting at 2 months of age, almost every "well child" doctor's visit involves at least one immunization. No wonder my daughter seems nervous when she sees people wearing doctor's scrubs.Looking at the immunization... more
I wanted to share this video in case you missed it the first time around... It's a video that EVERY mom should watch. If you've ever felt like you made a bad choice, said something wrong, did something wrong, or questioned yourself as a parent for any reason, you need to watch this. The video shows what a group of moms think about themselves... more
Talking to kids about health, safety and sometimes even sports doesn’t necessarily come naturally to parents. Thank goodness for creative writers! This month, we’ll help you cover some tricky topics, including personal safety and strategies for starting — and even struggling with — sports (from a precocious little girl’s perspective). Miles... more
Sonia Walters knew something needed to change. Her two daughters, ages 4 and 7, were experiencing a range of health problems, including cyclic vomiting syndrome (known as CVS), skin rashes, chronic stomachaches and hypoglycemia symptoms, not to mention mood swings and irritability. After several unsuccessful visits to the doctor to address... more
If yoga  brings balance, confidence, strength and — most important — calm to the whirling lives of busy adults, could it cool down fighting siblings? Squelch toddler tantrums? Smooth the tempestuous moods of teens and adolescents? Miraculously … yes!Moving and breathing mindfully, connecting body and brain, can indeed help with whatever... more
Q: How many nights in a row is it OK to give a 2-year-old ibuprofen for a 100- to 101-degree fever?A: I know having a sick 2-year-old in the middle of the night is never fun. The first thing you want to do is help him feel better. What I’d recommend is this: While you’re giving that first dose of ibuprofen to help with the fever, also... more
Q:  My son, age 4, has multiple warts on his feet! What’s causing this and what do we need to do? A: Warts are caused by a virus (human papillomavirus). They can occur on any part of the skin on the body, but are most commonly seen on the hands, feet, knees and elbows. They’re very common in children. They can be spread from... more
Q: We’re mystified by ear infections: When we take our 2-year-old to multiple doctors, the diagnoses aren’t consistent. One will say she has no ear infection at all. Another will say she has a severe ear infection!A: To better understand variation on diagnoses of ear infections, we may need to take a step back and more clearly define what’s... more
Every day a new app comes along, promising to make life better, easier or more fun. But they can’t all be that great. Luckily for us, we have Valerie Moe, Minnesota Parent’s tech-savvy mom blogger from Bloomington.She’s into apps — like really into apps — and recently she’s been sharing some of her favorites for parents and parents-to-be, too! All... more
Q: Can you please explain the risks associated with frigid weather so we can get our teenager to dress sensibly this winter?A: Winter weather presents two big risks for anyone, regardless of age: Frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is a condition in which skin tissue will get cold enough to freeze. It’s most commonly seen when skin is... more
Q: I’ve been hearing a lot about enterovirus D68 (as well as Ebola). What can I do to protect my kids?A: Enterovirus D68, which first hit the news in late summer, causes primarily respiratory symptoms. Even though the enterovirus family of viruses is very large, this particular strain is uncommon and hasn’t been around much, leaving most... more
I was sitting in the special-care nursery a few days after Felix was born, trying in vain to breastfeed my son. My milk hadn’t “come in” yet and he was having trouble latching properly. I turned to my husband, who was sitting beside me. “You know, I’m totally going to try to make breastfeeding work out this time,” I said. “But if he needs more... more
The Salt Cave — which opened last year in southwest Minneapolis — has expanded by adding a second cave in the basement of its location at 4811 Nicollet Ave. And this cave, loaded with 12,000 pounds of Himalayan rock salt, is tailor-made for kids.Toys and books are provided to engage children while they experience the health benefits of salt bricks... more
Kid Yoga Minnesota and Sunshine Morning Care recently opened at 2836 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. You’ll find kids’ yoga classes, of course, but also flexible morning child care, yoga camps, yoga training for classroom teachers and custom yoga classes for special needs individuals. Learn more at kidyogamn.com. more
Q: My son hates washing his hands, so we’ve resorted to using hand sanitizer almost exclusively, which he seems to do well with, even on his own. Is there a downside to this method?A: There are two potential downsides. First is that, though hand sanitizer is useful when there’s no sink/water and soap available, it’s not as effective in... more
It was official — I was pregnant. I'd suspected I could be, taken a home test and gotten confirmation from my doctor's office. What happened next?One of the first things I did after getting the results from my blood test was to go to Target and pick up a copy of the book every expectant mother should read. Of course I'm talking about What to... more
Q: What can I do to help my child get through teething?A: Teething usually first occurs starting at about 4 to 7 months old. Usually the front top or bottom two teeth emerge first. (If your infant is older than 7 months and still doesn’t have any teeth showing, don’t worry. Teething times can vary dramatically.)Teething can cause mild irritability... more
It’s a common scenario for a new mom out in public — a grandmotherly woman approaches you to ooh and ahh over your baby, usually commenting, “It goes so fast!” On the day in question for me, I was out with my 6-month-old son at the grocery store, fielding the usual comments from a friendly older woman. “What a sweetheart!” she said as Felix... more
Gulp! Your doctor has given you the "all clear" to resume sexual activity after birthing your baby. Now you just need the libido, energy and a good night's sleep to go with it and maybe sex will sound remotely interesting again. To alleviate some worries you may have about sex after pregnancy, here are 10 no-pressure, back-to-sex tips for... more
Q: Do toddlers respond to ice treatment after an injury the same way adults do? It’s nearly impossible to apply ice to a bump on a 2-year-old child, but is it worth trying?A: Ice can be very helpful in treating a variety of toddler injuries, but its use may require some creativity on your part. Wrapping an ice bag or pack in a wash cloth or Ace... more
Q: I’m wondering about the value of the many well-baby visits required for my 6-month-old. She seems very healthy. Why do they need to see her so often?A: Children should have routine well-child visits quite frequently, especially during the first two years. Though it can feel taxing, this schedule of visits was developed by expert... more
Is there such a thing? Kids on Halloween night will say, “No way!” But, parents, you know how easy it is to end up buried in sugary treats. What can you do? Check out the national Halloween Candy Buy Back program: Enter your ZIP at halloweencandybuyback.com to quickly find numerous Twin Cities dentists and orthodontists willing to pay $1 per pound... more
Imagine finding out you have breast cancer at age 39. Then picture trying to tell your sons, age 3 and 6.That’s what Katy Tessman Stanoch of Minnetonka had to do, along with explaining her surgery (a double mastectomy) and chemo treatments. Immediately, she and her husband tried to find a book they could read to their boys to help them... more
To a new parent, nothing sounds better than a little extra sleep! But how can you get it? The Amma Parenting Center Book of Sleep ($12.95) by the Edina-based parenting center’s founder, registered nurse and midwife Sara Pearce, offers advice. New this year, the book offers an alternative to a cry-it-out sleep training. Amma’s trademarked Sleep... more
Being a new mom is overwhelming. Amidst the post-delivery waves of emotions, you're expected to know details about everything relating to your baby. In the hospital, the nurses ask you how many wet or dirty diapers has your newborn had today (and they're speaking in 24-hour increments since the time of birth, not calendar days), when did you last... more
It’s October: Papers are strewn in lockers and backpacks. Pencils, once tall and sharp, are now short and stubby from long math problems. Club meetings and fall sports practices are in full swing. And your kiddo looks … tired.   In fact, you’re tired — tired of running around and trying to figure out how to have a family meal together (... more
Q: How can I get my kids to better embrace their fall sleep schedules? A: Sleep issues are common for infants, children and teenagers. It’s rare for families not to have to deal with this issue after summer breaks, especially. The best advice is patience and age-appropriate expectations. One of the biggest obstacles to a good... more
My daughter was 2 when her brother was born. I did a million things wrong and a few things right, or so it seemed at the time.  I involved her in the pregnancy. I read the “new baby” picture books. I took time — precious, bleary-eyed time — just days after his birth to sit with her and do puzzles. She got a new sandbox “from the baby”... more
Your baby cries. That’s normal, of course. But what if your baby really cries? A lot. And you begin to hear repeatedly — when in the presence of grandmothers, opinionated observers and even your pediatrician — the word “colic.”The Mayo Clinic defines colic as predicable periods of distress in an otherwise healthy, well-fed... more
There’s a picture of me in the early days with my daughter Lydia, clutching my baby and a checkbook with a supremely irritated look on my face. One of the things I remember most from the postpartum period — aside from the endless wails of my colicky baby and the sensation that my insides were constantly about to burst forth from my C-section... more
Q: I’m nursing my newborn and want to give her expressed breast milk when I eventually go back to work. What’s the best way to store breast milk, and how long can it be at room temperature before I have to throw it out?A: Clinicians at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (mayoclinic.org) recommend the following for the handling and storage of breast milk... more
Q: My daughter seems to react strongly when sunscreen is applied near her eyes, nose and mouth, and now she refuses to let us put it on. What can we do?A: In many ways, sunscreen lotions have great success preventing sunburns — and also reducing long-term cancer risks. And, in recent years sunscreen lotions have been made to be... more
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics started encouraging parents to lay healthy infants younger than 1 on their backs for sleep rather than on their side or stomach. In 1994, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development joined in the public education effort with its “Back to Sleep” campaign. The goal was to reduce the risk... more
Camping with children can be difficult at times, sure, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, peaceful even! If you’re just getting started, however, it’s hard to know where to begin your adventures. To provide answers, we’ve found the ultimate expert — Kelly Cunningham, author of the Muddy Flowers mom blog and co-founder of Beyond the Tent... more
Q: Our 4-year-old triplet girls are starting preschool. Should they be in separate classrooms?A: In working with families that have twins or triplets, one of the biggest challenges is for the children to develop their own, separate identities over time. Having them all in the same classroom, unless there isn’t another option, tends to... more
My daughter was about a year old when I went to see Gramma’s Boyfriend, a band featuring local musician Haley Bonar. I’d last seen her perform many months before, when both Haley and I were pregnant. I don’t know her personally, but the fact that we have daughters about the same age made me feel like we had some kind of cosmic bond. Then... more
Q: My 3-year-old son was recently diagnosed with severe food allergies. We frequently enjoy picnics during the summer with our friends and family. What can we do to prevent exposure to foods that will cause reactions?A: Be very aware of all the foods available at the picnic. Since you know what foods your child is sensitive to, this will eliminate... more
They go from breast or bottle to something mashed and messy — big grins and sticky hands. They examine individual peas and black beans before giving them a taste. They delight in the rite-of-passage, first-birthday frosting face; and they want to try everything on your plate.And then, one day — suddenly and without warning — bananas are yucky.... more
Moss-covered rocks. Dusty LEGO sets. Countless sticks, crammed into a corner. These are the “treasures” of my 11-year-old’s room.I’m well aware of his love for stuff. It’s a fun ritual when he’ll show me his collection of rocks, cards or erasers. But I’m starting to wonder if his little collections are getting out of control. Desk drawers are... more
There’s something magical about spring, especially in Minnesota when bitterly cold winters keep us cooped up for long stretches. If you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy doing outdoors this year, here are four container gardening projects we promise your kids will love. They’ll be delighted to find they can grow not just... more
Q: How can I protect my kids from ticks and Lyme disease this summer?A: Think small. The kind of tick bites you should be most concerned about come from deer ticks, which are smaller than the larger and more common wood ticks, also known as dog ticks.Many parents mistakenly think wood ticks can transmit Lyme disease. They can’t. (Be aware, though... more
Q: My 10-year-old daughter is highly allergic to bee stings and has been prescribed an Epi-Pen to use if she ever gets stung. How can I help her overcome her fear of having to use this shot?A: Practice, practice, practice. If it’s been a while since you received this prescription for your child, you may want to check with the office that... more
Q: We’re past the stage of baby-and-me swimming classes. When is a good time to enroll my twin sons in swimming lessons?A: Helping children be safe and comfortable in and near the water can start at a very young age, as you’ve already learned. Once a child is about 3 years old, families can usually find places in their community that hold... more
It's spring, and that means (finally!) it’s time to get outside and play! And with all the excitement — and often fast and furious play — kids can get hurt. Bumps and bruises are common, of course, but what should you do when your little one suffers a head injury? Should you be looking for signs of a concussion?Experts in pediatric health and... more
 Even a short period of time standing on a hard wood or tile floor while cooking or dish-washing can spell aches for days. If you like spending time in the kitchen, but the possibility of a sore back has you considering take-out, give this mat a try. Available in an astonishing number of colors, faux finishes and sizes, the gel-filled mat won... more
One of the best coaches I ever had as a kid was my older brother, Pete. He spent hours with me on our front lawn in the summer, patiently instructing me on how to position my glove to catch grounders, and how to keep my eye on the ball as I went after his pop-ups. On other occasions he taught me how to throw a football with a spiral, and he helped... more
Q: My kids love sports, but I’m concerned with overloading their schedules. How much is too much? A: Participation in sports can be very good for children and teens. It can promote positive socialization and help them develop skills for working through disputes and disagreements. It also helps them stay busy in positive activities... more
A: Cancer is an extremely challenging topic. And children have a limited ability to understand concepts like this. To help them understand, you will have to say repeated, short messages in very concrete and specific ways. It is important to tell them the truth. This can be very difficult for you personally because of the likely upcoming loss... more
A: The good news is that gone are the days when children were basically forced to do everything right handed — even if they preferred their left hand. Your daughter will likely learn a variety of techniques to help her adjust to many right-handed activities. If you know someone who is left-handed — like your husband — they will be able to... more
With Earth Day approaching, you might be wondering how to involve your toddler in the ecological discussion. They are old enough now to enjoy some Earth Day events, participate in eco-friendly habits such as recycling, and even start to see that their world goes beyond your finished basement.“Now wait, Jen,” some of you might say, “we already... more
When signing up for baby-related classes, expectant parents might schedule time to learn about labor and delivery, breastfeeding and basic childcare. But parents-to-be are unlikely to find a class detailing how to take care of themselves after bringing home their new addition. We’re supposed to have “self-care” figured out already, right? ... more
Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Did my partner Edna forget it again, as chronicled in last year’s column? You might be surprised to read that it didn’t matter to me. Reason One is because I really got her attention last year. Reason Two is that I’m also seeing the bigger picture — as evidenced by an upcoming prostate exam (which, for some... more
In October of 2013, Minneapolis mom Sara McLoone and her young daughter Scout packed up their stroller and flew to the country’s Capitol to participate in the “Stroller Brigade.” The gathering’s purpose? To demand a change to the outdated laws overseeing toxic chemicals. While the Chemical Safety Improvement Act hasn’t yet had any major successes... more
When Jay and Penny Olson dropped their nine-year-old daughter Autumn off at Camp Kesem two summers ago, she was withdrawn — not her usual bright and bubbly self. Autumn shut down when her mom was diagnosed with cancer earlier that year. “It was like we had lost our little girl,” Jay Olson said.When they picked her up a week later, things... more
Samantha Hedwall’s toddler, A.J., knows what she wants.The Mankato mom tried putting her in pink, but the two-year-old denied her. “She did not want bows in her hair and she did not want to wear a dress,” Hedwall says. A.J. wanted a tool set like her dad’s and only wears her “princess shirts” when she feels like it. It was frustrating... more
My parents visited my house recently during a fairly typical weekend. The family calendar for two adults and three teens included three concerts, three play performances, two sleepovers, one concert rehearsal, one community celebration, and one cocktail party. The kids also had to squeeze in homework time before Monday, and I had a column to write... more
Pregnancy can be stressful, and even a little isolating. “I kind of feel like an island,” said a friend of mine recently, who has two children. The physical changes can be troubling—from the nausea and exhaustion that characterize the first trimester for many women to the back pain and “rehearsal” contractions that are common in the third, it can... more
If you have a tween, you’ve been parenting long enough to have navigated a number of safety issues regarding your offspring, whether it’s seat belts, sunscreen, or secondhand smoke. But if you’re like me, you may have overlooked a concern that’s been right under your nose all along—or, more accurately, on either side of your head: hearing loss.... more
Put your money where your mouth is. I knew when I had three kids that I’d spend loads on diapers and the equivalent of a second mortgage on childcare. And I’d heard parents of older kids complain about their astronomical grocery bills. But it wasn’t until this summer, when my kids would lumber in and I’d find myself writing to the rhythmic... more
There’s a great scene in Paula Bomer’s novel Nine Months when the main character, Sonia, is grilled by a friend about her choice in preschool.Sonia: “Tom and Mike go to Open Arms Nursery. That little place down Atlantic.” [Her friend reacts with a look of alarm.] “My theory is, it’s preschool. It doesn’t matter so much. As long as they’re having... more
“I can’t believe how many of my friends keep having babies—and then act like it’s a good thing!” One of my Facebook friends had posted a lengthy rant that enumerated the many reasons people should stop having kids: war, famine, explosive population growth, guaranteed heartbreak, and so on. “Uh oh,” I thought.I’d been feeling kind of weird—a little... more
I’m not fond of waking up my 17-year-old daughter on school mornings. It can be downright dangerous. Even in a half-awake state, with her head buried under a twisted pile of blankets, Louisa can convey her anti-morning attitude with a powerful kick aimed in my direction.I try not to take it personally. That’s why I found it reassuring to read in a... more
The transition between summer vacation and the start of the school year reminds me of New Year’s Eve. It’s an opportune time to shed unhealthy habits and initiate positive ones that will lead to a more balanced life. And like New Year’s resolutions, school year resolutions are most successful when you realize that good intentions alone don’t get... more
“I walked around the house wearing the comforter off our bed—as a clothing item—more often than I would like to admit.”“My son is eight months old. It took me until last month to finally find time to get a haircut!”“Most of the time I was sitting at home in my underwear and a tank top.”This is some of the feedback I received from Facebook friends... more
My mom took up running when I was in high school. Although she’d never considered herself an athlete—she grew up in the pre-Title IX era, before it was OK for girls to sweat—she got caught up in the running craze of the 1980s, and she tried to recruit me, too.It was not an easy sell. I was a basketball player best known for my free-throw shot;... more