Family

Family

Living with Children: Keep it simple

Q: My son just turned 5 and is starting to ask various questions about parents including why some people have two parents and he only has one. About two months before he turned two, his "donor" said he wasn't "feeling it" (his exact words) with him and didn't want to participate in his life anymore. How can I explain that to my son? My son has no recollection of this person, but his parents still visit and take him places as do two other members of his "dad's" family. I am really at a loss or how to explain this without hurting his feelings or making him feel unwanted or unloved.

Family

Ex-etiquette: Empathy can ease those 'scary' situations

I've told this story many times – and I'd like to tell it again to hit home that I personally understand how hard it is to practice good ex-etiquette. That's the reason I came up with the ten rules – I needed a rule book to remind me to put the children first. (Ex-etiquette for parents rule No. 1) when dealing with all the exes in my life. So...

Family

Lori Borgman: Cloudy with a chance of s'mores

There is an underlying assumption that you will have good weather whenever you plan a trip. The good weather assumption is right up there with other ridiculous underlying assumptions, like nobody will get sick, you won't have car trouble and the kids will get along beautifully.

Family

Ask Mr. Dad: It's never too soon to start childproofing

Dear Mr. Dad: I always seem to be hearing about children who are seriously injured (or worse) in their own houses. We just brought our new baby home from the hospital, but I want to start getting our house childproofed right now. How should we start and what should we do?

Family

Game review: 'Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions: Kid-Friendly RPG' shows benefits of teamwork

Parents need to know that "Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions" is an updated version of the very first game in the Mario and Luigi series of role-playing games (RPGs). Nintendo's iconic brothers demonstrate teamwork and a willingness to cooperate with rather than fight their enemies – even long-time nemesis Bowser – as they work to restore Princess Peach's stolen voice. When they encounter more aggressive enemies they enter turn-based combat that involves stomping and smashing cartoonish creatures with large hammers, causing them to disappear in a flash of light. Combat requires some skill and practice to master, but an easy mode lets younger and inexperienced players jump in without too much trouble.

Family

App review: Toca Life: Office, fun app for preschoolers tackles superheroes and robbers

Parents need to know that Toca Life: Office is part of the Toca Life series of open-ended play apps. This one takes place in an urban environment complete with a bank (and a possible bank robber), offices, a court room, a jail cell, a day care, and an array of superhero costumes, so be prepared for more than a stereotypical office setting. The main screen has a parent section with instructions and tips, a Toca News area, and a Toca Life Weekly link with fun videos and tips. All of these, along with the music and video recording abilities, can be disabled from the app settings within your device. In terms of characters, they're diverse in terms of gender, age, and ethnicity – one even appears to have vitiligo. Kids will also find a few wheelchairs around as well to help in their storytelling. Younger kids may struggle with the fine motor skills to pick up and use some of the smaller objects within the app. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the information collected and shared.

Family

New research shows kids' screen time shifting dramatically toward phones and tablets

My kitchen counter has changed a lot over the last six years. What used to be dedicated to a bowl of fruit, a coffee maker, various papers, and mail that I haven't gotten around to throwing away yet has become a mess of wires coiling back to one put-upon outlet. A rotating set of smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth speakers, and headphones have made their way to the counter as well, pointing to a broader set of changes in the house. Our family, which includes a 5-year-old and 3-year-old, has a lot of mobile device stuff. And we aren't the only ones. Recently, we released the third wave of the The Common Sense Census: Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight, an ongoing series tracking the use of media and technology among U.S. kids. Beginning in 2011 and repeating again in 2013, these surveys offer us a once-in-a-lifetime look to see how new technologies have been enmeshing themselves in our children's lives. Based on a nationally representative sample of more than 1,400 parents from all over the country, the survey paints a complex portrait of increasingly mobile families. Some of the key findings include:

Family

Is cyberbullying more common than you think?

It's hard to pin down exactly how common cyberbullying is among kids. Different studies measure cyberbullying differently. The definition of what cyberbullying includes can vary as well. One thing that's certain is that all kids who are online are at risk of cyberbullying. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that cyberbullying affects about 15.5 percent of high school students. For comparison, about 20 percent of high schoolers experience in-person bullying at school.

Family

Snacks: Not-too-sweet treats

Who says dessert can't come first? Let the kids break the rules with one of these sweet but not too sugary snacks whenever they have a hankering for something indulgent.

Family

Braised cabbage, pork shoulder does double dinner duty

Recently my friends Penny and Chris hosted a dinner party inspired by their recent travels to Germany. Several neighborhood families savored German beer cheese and hearty rye bread before sitting down to enjoy an array of sausages. Guests rounded out the meal by providing a salad studded with apples and walnuts and a bowl brimming with roasted fingerling potatoes. I opted to contribute an uber-traditional batch of braised red cabbage.

Family

Social Security: 13 fearless things to know about your SSN

While many of us look forward to Friday, with its end-of-the-workweek designation and our weekend plans, certain cultures consider it an unlucky day. Some people, suffering from triskaidekaphobia, are truly terrified of the number 13. Combine the two factors and it's not surprising that many believe that Friday the 13th is a frightening day.

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