Category: Being Your Best Parent

Help young kids see the getting season as the giving season, too

We all know how much kids like to receive. You only have to mention Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy to understand how true that is. So how can we teach our children to appreciate that the holiday season is primarily about giving, not getting, and to understand how lucky they are?

Start early. Although giving and gratitude are hard concepts for really little ones to grasp, it’s never too early to start building a culture that embraces them. I’ve heard that by the age of 4 hab...

Posted on November 07, 2018 at 12:29 PM by Fiona Royer

Take the time to learn how to pronounce 'difficult' names

When I met my now-husband, he introduced himself using his middle name, Cyriac. “Cyriac” was especially difficult for me to pronounce because it was completely foreign to my ears. I remember being tongue-tied every time I attempted to say his name.

Because of those earlier awkward, yet amusing, moments, I always give others grace when they have the same experience hearing his name for the first time. Because of that expected awkwardness, in certain situations, my husband sometimes choo...

Posted on November 07, 2018 at 11:42 AM by Keisha Mathew

Have a difficult ex? Co-parenting is still possible with these tools

Raising children with another person can be unbelievably stressful. Despite our best efforts to be sensitive to another person’s parenting style or preferred method of discipline, aligning one’s values with the other parent when both parents have strong opinions of the “right” or “wrong” way to rear children can be tricky. 

While parties who don’t have children together can effectively sever ties (absent a financial obligation to the other party), this is an impossibility for parents. ...

Posted on October 25, 2018 at 10:02 AM by Katy Mickelson

Breastfeeding inequality: it’s time to end the mommy wars

Too much bandwidth is being taken up by the so called "mommy wars."

In this debate, opposing tribes of (typically well-off, middle-class) moms berate each while wielding their totemic claims: “Breast is best” vs “Back off and butt out, it’s every moms right to choose what’s best for her and her baby.”

Now, I’ll be honest. Until recently, I used to be one of these moms. I had breastfed two children and so it was obvious: my team was Breast is Best. In fact, being a blogger, I even po...

Posted on August 21, 2018 at 7:00 AM by Neve Spicer

Baby's first flight? Here's what you need to know.

Traveling can be a pain in the ass. And now, you want to bring along your infant and all the baby paraphernalia that’s transformed your once neat-and-tidy home into something resembling a toy store after a hurricane? I wish you much luck. But while I’m still new at this whole dad thing (not to mention traveling with a baby), I’ve found that with some planning and research, you can steer clear of some of the infant-travel-related headaches, whether your destination is in the States or abro...

Posted on July 26, 2018 at 7:00 AM by Matt Beardmore

The social media mom: how social media can influence the way we feel

Photo: BatzKids

Beth is a new mom, and she is exhausted. She hasn’t showered in several days. And even though it's well into the morning, Beth hasn’t brushed her teeth yet. Between breastfeeding on a tight schedule — as prescribed by her pediatrician — and worrying about her daughter gaining weight, Beth has had no time for herself. But today, her daughter is one-month old!

Beth picks out the perfect outfit for her baby. She stages the perfect setting and carefully places her daught...

Posted on July 03, 2018 at 7:00 AM by Jamie Kreiter

The secret to traveling with kids? Planning, planning, planning.

Up to three-quarters of us use the summer season to combine fun and togetherness in a “travel adventure,” as our son describes our family vacations. So start planning your travel adventure now! Planning ahead makes it easier to beat the crowds and reduce trip costs.

Search for savings. We use Groupon and online resources, including those available through professional and museum memberships, to save money. Our annual trip to the Hesston Steam Museum, and visits to some museums, are les...

Posted on June 28, 2018 at 7:00 AM by Ruth Mallery

I survived the Wisconsin Dells and lived to write about it

Photo: Steven R. Shook/Flickr

It’s a widely known fact that Chicagoans LIVE for summer. I mean, isn’t that why we stick around during the insanely long and rough winter? And if you are anything like me and counting down to summer vacation, let me remind you to put a trip to the Wisconsin Dells on your summer bucket list.

Why do so many Chicago families flock up north every summer? Because the waterpark capital of the world quite literally has it all. As a born and raised Chicagoan I...

Posted on June 12, 2018 at 12:04 PM by Amanda Simkin

Doing the math (yes, even on summer break)

Your preschooler can count to 50, maybe even 100. But does your child know what five means? It turns out that understanding the “fiveness” of five is far more important for a solid foundation in math than the ability to recite a string of numbers in the right order. And you can keep building this foundation all summer long.

Since 2007, the Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative has been helping teachers discover ways to improve math instruction for young children. Substitute “par...

Posted on June 08, 2018 at 8:10 AM by Geoffrey Nagle

Preparing for your child's first overnight summer camp

As a parent and director of an overnight summer camp, I know that at this point in the season, campers and parents begin to experience a wide range of emotions (myself included!). Hopefully, the predominant feelings are those of excitement, but it’s also natural to be apprehensive and nervous. While it may be challenging to deal with these conflicting emotions, there are several things you can do to manage these emotions and set your child up for a successful and fun summer.

Do a dry-r...

Posted on May 23, 2018 at 10:43 AM by Becky Altman