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Keeping a kid entertained during grown-up dinners?

In the next few weeks, I will need to attend a series of late-running formal dinners... with a five-year-old in tow. Please recommend your most magical, engrossing, dinner-table-friendly activity books, games, small toys, etc. for the early school-aged set, so we can keep her quietly in her seat and out of everyone's hair. [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Aug 4, 2014 - 28 answers

Worried mom of 10-year-old son with inferiority complex

10-year-old that struggles with many things who, for a few years now, has, when feeling sad/depressed, talked about how no one likes him, he's not good at anything, has no special qualities, isn't smart... etc. Looking for ways to help him. [more inside]
posted by youdontmakefriendswithsalad on Jun 15, 2014 - 51 answers

My preschooler is the slowest eater on the planet

I have a 3 1/2 year old who will be starting preschool in the fall. He currently attends a home daycare, where he has breakfast and lunch, and often dinner. Once he starts preschool, we will have to manage breakfast and dinner at home. He is an incredibly slow eater and when we eat dinner at home, it literally takes him until bedtime to eat. This makes breakfast a major challenge as well. Getting him up earlier doesn't necessarily help because then he's groggy and uncooperative and will spend that extra 20 minutes moving at the speed of molasses in terms of getting dressed and toothbrushed. Please help. [more inside]
posted by telepanda on May 12, 2014 - 31 answers

Scaredypants!

My soon-to-be 3-year-old daughter is pretty timid, physically. It's nothing crippling or even worrisome, but still…c'mon kid, geez, just jump! You'll be fine! [more inside]
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas on Mar 10, 2014 - 34 answers

Fun experiments with an electronics kit for a 7 year old

I would love some suggestions for science experiments with the Cambridge BrainBox electronics kit. [more inside]
posted by snarfois on Mar 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Readings for parents about kids' healthy/responsible use of technology

Some friends and I would like to create (and work through) a reading list of current, thoughtful, thought provoking, but non-alarmist articles and/or books on helping kids create a healthy relationship with technology. The immediate focus is on elementary and middle school kids, but we'd expand it for general thought-provoking material on topic. [more inside]
posted by cocoagirl on Dec 7, 2013 - 3 answers

iPad puzzles and games for a 20-month-old

Flying in the face of scientists' warnings, my wife and I allow our child to play with the iPad from time to time. She's outgrown most of the apps she previously played with -- does anyone have any recommendations for good puzzle, games, and educational apps that would be age-appropriate and interesting for a twenty-month-old? Thanks.
posted by gerryblog on Dec 6, 2013 - 11 answers

Wandering Kids at a Exhibition

A recent AskMe thread and this answer in particular has me re-examining an experience I had a while back, when exhibiting at a show. One of the other exhibitors had her four-year-old child along. I'm sure that if she had any other choice she would have left her child at home. But I kept feeling like her attitude about her child and their impact on the rest of the show and the other exhibitors was....lax? And I'm trying to figure out if I'm being an unfair childless jerk. In part because I hope to have my own kids someday, and if I do, I may very well be in her same position. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Nov 6, 2013 - 32 answers

Projects/Activities for 3-year-olds

I've recently come to the conclusion that I need to spend more time with my 3.5-year-old boy/girl twins, and looking for some structured activities/things to do to help drive it and get them excited, as they generally prefer my wife over me... [more inside]
posted by um_maverick on Oct 28, 2013 - 30 answers

There's Only So Much Wisdom I Can Impart In Between Their Fart Jokes!

I'd like to convey as much wisdom/advice as possible to my kids before they become feral teenagers drenched in Axe and scorn. Please share the best lists/essays/articles you've ever seen on the theme of "Teaching Your Kids About ______". [more inside]
posted by julthumbscrew on Oct 22, 2013 - 14 answers

Dealing With Strangers (Other Parents and Kids) As A Parent and Father

As a parent and father, how do I, or how can I or should I, deal with parents of other children whose badly behaved kids do something mean or nasty to my own kid? [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Oct 8, 2013 - 22 answers

How do you teach values (I'm not talking about religion here) to kids?

Parents: I'm wondering how your kids learned things like empathy, honesty, compassion, etc. I know that setting a good example is probably the #1 thing to do, and I plan to, but did you use other ways, like reading (fiction) kids' books with them that demonstrate these things? Am I overthinking this? I want to raise a kid with a conscience...
posted by trillian on Sep 9, 2013 - 27 answers

Fun things to do with a 4-year-old over Skype

My daughter's on the other side of the ocean for a little while, but we keep up with daily video chats. We talk, goof around, make faces, play with puppets, but I sometimes wish I had more ideas to keep her entertained. Can you think of any other fun things we could do? [more inside]
posted by muckster on Aug 21, 2013 - 9 answers

Natural Gas Smell

I did something colossally stupid this evening: Put up some pasta on the stove and then fell promptly asleep for a little while on the couch. Woke up to a terrible smell of natural gas. Found the water in the pot had spilled over and doused the flame of the burner it was cooking on. With the gas on high. It was probably like that for about 10 minutes or so. And now, four hours later, the house still has a strong-ish odor. Here is my question: does the smell indicate that gas is still present in the house, and if so, should I be concerned for the health and safety of my small children, who are sleeping a hallway away from the kitchen? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 15, 2013 - 13 answers

What, if any, contact should my children have with their absent mother?

My ex-wife suddenly vanished over 2 years ago to her native Asian country, leaving behind a son (then 1, now 3) and daughter (then 6, now 8). Contact was intermittent (sometimes once a week and sometimes every three months). I asked her to commit to a regularly scheduled call and she refused to do so. I also found the phone calls to be borderline abusive to my daughter (the daughter would ask, "Mommy when are you coming back," and the mother would reply, "When are you going to come see me?" which caused the daughter to feel responsible for her absence - or the Skype video chats where the daughter would have the camera on but the mother refused to do so). I have since cut off contact with the mother in order to protect my daughter, though wonder if it is the correct decision. [more inside]
posted by b_thinky on Jul 24, 2013 - 45 answers

Even Four Year-Old White Children Get the Blues

My four and a half year-old son has expressed an interest in blues music. Can you help me find enough great blues songs to fill a mixtape for him that are: a) electric; b) kinda rockin'; and c) not overly lyrically troublesome for a preschool-aged tyke? [more inside]
posted by DirtyOldTown on Jul 11, 2013 - 29 answers

I know that none of those words go together.

Boston MetroWest parent filter: I need an affordable full-time preschool in Needham, MA or between Needham and North Waltham. And by "affordable" I mean < $1000/month. My son will be 3 in October. [more inside]
posted by woodvine on Jul 3, 2013 - 5 answers

Separating Twins into Different Classes at School?

My (boy / girl) twins will be entering kindergarten this September. We've been asked if we want them placed into separate classes, or left together in the same class. Need to give them our answer by Monday and frankly, I'm at a loss and have no idea what I should do. If you are a parent of school-age or older twins, can you please share what you did and why? If you yourself are a twin, how did your parents handle it? How did it work out? Other knowledgeable anecdotes and advice welcome. Links to any online resources I can read on the topic would also be appreciated.
posted by zarq on Jun 22, 2013 - 28 answers

Giving my kid a positive and realistic message about her body

My daughter is 10 and in the midst of puberty. She has noticeable armpit hair. She's also fairly naive/unaware of standard social stuff - not clued in to what's "cool" etc. She also gets teased about being weird pretty regularly. She's also going to sleepaway camp for the first time this summer, and will be wearing a bathing suit a lot... [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 21, 2013 - 55 answers

How much 'adult' time do you have after having kids?

Are you an adult in a two-parent, dual-income family? Do you have kids of school age? Could you give me an idea of how much "adult" time you have in a normal week? I don't mean just sex, anything that's not kid-dominated would count: date night, beers, whatever. Pop culture makes having kids out to be all-consuming from just about conception until college but I don't have any real-world frame of reference for it so I'm trying to calibrate myself.
posted by whuuuu on Jun 3, 2013 - 45 answers

The giant pangolins of Madagascar are snoozing

My precocious but angry 2.75-year-old and I just got fired from our home daycare situation. I feel like I need Super Nanny. What now? How do I get him to stop being so rude? [more inside]
posted by woodvine on May 23, 2013 - 26 answers

What is the best non-fiction book for kids in your field of study/work?

My kids (currently 6 and 9) have become voracious readers. We have a large and varied collection of excellent fiction for them, but the non-fiction collection is more haphazard. They love learning new facts as they read (the type of thing that makes them look up from the book and say, "Did you know...?"). I want to make sure that the collection of books gives them a good introduction to fields where I myself may not have enough knowledge to judge the quality/accuracy of the book. So what's the kid's book in your field that makes you say, "If only every kid got to read this book, people would understand [topic] better."? [more inside]
posted by winston on May 18, 2013 - 19 answers

When to start kindergarten for a late-November-birthday?

My four-year-old son’s birthday is in late November. In our state, that means we can choose whether he starts (all-day) kindergarten this coming fall, when he’s 4-going-on-5, or next year, when he’ll be 5-going-on-6. I’m pretty paralyzed over this decision. I’m looking for insights, especially those with some sort of data behind them, to help. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Apr 18, 2013 - 43 answers

Politely parenting my kid's playdates?

My preschooler is getting just old enough to have a proper social life (playdates, birthday parties, etc.). I've got some specific questions about the parental etiquette expectations surrounding these kiddie get-togethers. [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Apr 5, 2013 - 24 answers

Looking for wonderful books I can read to my kids, one chapter at a time

My kids (a boy and a girl) are now five years old, and my wife or I read to them every night before bed. I'd like to start reading larger books to them which we can stretch out throughout a week or more, by reading them a chapter a night. Please help me put together a great reading list of age-appropriate books that will capture their imaginations and inspire happy dreams. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 2, 2013 - 61 answers

The quest to Cat Lady-dom

I don't think I want kids and that scares me. [more inside]
posted by thank you silence on Mar 17, 2013 - 54 answers

Second-time parenting, how does that work?

Tell me about your daily schedules, parenting logistics, etc., with a newborn plus a toddler or older child. [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Mar 7, 2013 - 15 answers

Help me learn to play with my daughter

I have a beautiful, curious, 8 month old daughter. I love her, but I don't know how to play with her. Help! [more inside]
posted by elizamina on Feb 7, 2013 - 21 answers

How can I thank parents for doing a fantastic job?

How can I (should I?) thank parents for doing a fantastic job? [more inside]
posted by brynna on Feb 6, 2013 - 18 answers

Help me not let the 3DS become a disaster.

What things should I be concerned about when it comes to our 11 year old having a 3DS? [more inside]
posted by Saminal on Jan 31, 2013 - 11 answers

dad loved you best

How did you decide when and if to have a second baby? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Dec 27, 2012 - 37 answers

Strict dad or easy-going dad?

At times my 3-year-old son deliberately misbehaves. Do I double down on the discipline, or shrug it off? [more inside]
posted by zardoz on Nov 27, 2012 - 48 answers

Booster Seat Advice Needed

It's time to switch my kids from regular car seats to booster seats and I can't figure out which to buy or what features I should be looking for. If you've gone through this, can you please share your experiences to help me make a decision? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 18, 2012 - 8 answers

Kid=1 Snow Pants=0

My child hates/refuses to wear outdoor clothing? HELP! [more inside]
posted by white_magnolia on Nov 16, 2012 - 47 answers

in many ways "babysitting" is a misnomer; sitting on babies is no longer recommended by the APA

How old was your child when you first started leaving her with babysitters who weren't relatives? How long would you leave them for?
posted by gerryblog on Oct 3, 2012 - 31 answers

What fun things should we do before having kids?

AdviceFilter: What life experiences (or fun things) should my partner and I make time for, before having a baby? [more inside]
posted by amoeba on Sep 19, 2012 - 19 answers

I'd kill for her

Vegetarian parenting, infant edition. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Aug 16, 2012 - 18 answers

help me find my perfect vehicle

I have a 4 yo and another on the way. We camp a lot. We have a VW jetta wagon, but it's getting cramped and we need something bigger. I like the Mazda 5 but my wife thinks it's "too minivan looking." ANy suggestions for maxi-wagons that have that third row of seating that can fold down into cargo space? We do not want an SUV but may have to consider something on the small end of the SUV range ... and we're hoping not to spend more than 24k. Used/new/prev lease all are options.
posted by luriete on Jul 30, 2012 - 22 answers

Calvin-Hobbes Architectural Design, LLC

Help me build the best modular indoor blanket fort EVER. [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature on Jul 21, 2012 - 15 answers

Help me help an eleven-year-old find her own normal.

She's not into what she thinks girls her age are "supposed" to be into. How do we show her that what she likes is what's normal, and maybe encourage her to reach out to find the other kids that like that stuff too? Is that what we should be doing? [more inside]
posted by kostia on Jun 11, 2012 - 97 answers

Looking for cool stuff online for my four year olds.

I'm looking for websites that have cool, educational, entertaining and kid-safe stuff I can share with my two 4 year olds, perhaps similar to the kids should see this, and/or sites that suggest neat projects and how-to's my wife and I can work on with them to open their eyes to the wonders of the world around them. All suggestions welcome!
posted by zarq on Jun 10, 2012 - 4 answers

Do kids do better with individual chores or group chores?

Parenting filter: I have two kids, 11 and 9. I'm a divorced dad trying to figure out a plan for their accountability for their chores when they're with me. The biggest stumbling block seems to be division of labor. On the one hand, assigning individual chores (Daughter, you wash the dishes. Son, you dry and put away) and rewarding for completion seems simple enough. But I want to teach them teamwork, negotiation, time management (who does what part first) and shared responsibility. So sometimes I say "Clean the kitchen, you figure out who does what". The latter seems better for a shared reward like a trip to the movies. Does anyone favor one approach over the other, and why? BTW they're coming from a household where their mom and I differed on how to handle chores, so they're a little used to coasting.
posted by punocchio on May 17, 2012 - 22 answers

Help me be a better stay-at-home mom.

Stay at home parenting: how does it work? [more inside]
posted by sutel on Apr 16, 2012 - 30 answers

How to talk to your kids about online porn?

Have you discovered your child has seen online pornography? What did you do about it? [more inside]
posted by amoeba on Mar 5, 2012 - 25 answers

How to be a good parent to a kid going through puberty

My daughter is starting puberty and I'm freaking out. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Feb 16, 2012 - 29 answers

How to help a kid chill out quick

Quick calming techniques for a jittery, anxious kid? [more inside]
posted by Betsy Vane on Feb 8, 2012 - 15 answers

Hey, I don't really want to hug her, either.

Unwilling toddlers and forced social interactions with adults: is it OK to instruct your child to (for instance) hug Great-Aunt Maisie, when she'd prefer not to? [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Dec 29, 2011 - 46 answers

Terrible Threes?

I need advice on how to raise disciplined, well-behaved children. Lengthy details within. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 23, 2011 - 47 answers

Help me teach my 7-year old to SEE!

Help me teach my 7-year old to SEE! I love my 7-year old son beyond words. He’s creative, cheerful, smart, and loving. However, he truly doesn’t see the world around him. My 4-year old daughter is much more aware of her surroundings. I don’t want to change him, just help him learn how to open his eyes and be more aware of his environment. The fact is, I have been the same way he is for most of my life, and I’ve learned recently that life is not only easier but more fun when you’re aware of your surroundings. I’d rather he not have to wait 30 years to improve. [more inside]
posted by zachawry on Oct 21, 2011 - 21 answers

'Reverse' Bicurious, am I kidding myself?

I am a 25 year-old gay(-ish?) male living in New York City. Perhaps uncharacteristically, I have a really strong drive to have kids (of my own) and really want to do so in the next five or ten years. I'm torn about how to get there though, given relationship difficulties that hinge largely on unresolved issues relating to my sexuality. Warning: TL;DR potential, but significant context is necessary. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 25, 2011 - 21 answers

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