Cold-weather winter break destinations from Chicago

Photo: Quebec City, Canada courtesy Flickr/colros

As the days grow shorter and colder, the temptation to go south can be irresistible. But what if the winter season inspired your plans instead? Some of my family’s favorite vacations have been to northern destinations that delivered the perfect combination of festivity, coziness, and invigorating outdoor adventure.

This year, consider one of these escapes:

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin Festive decorations and seasonal activities for fami...

Posted on October 21, 2019 at 11:41 AM by Amy Orzel

Tips for a stress-free school search [includes downloadable guide]


For parents considering independent schools, open house season is well upon us. Whether you are looking for preschool for the very first time or for the perfect spot for your kids as they wrap up their last years before college, these next few months are an exciting time, to say the least. But, these next few months are also often filled with that little six-letter word that tends to loom large for us parents: stress. 

The biggest ques...

Posted on October 17, 2019 at 6:00 AM by GEMS World Academy Chicago

NPN members receive 15% off Earth to Kenzie at Lyric Opera Chicago


This November, Lyric Opera of Chicago will present Earth to Kenzie, an intergalactic adventure told through opera for families with children ages 7–12, at the Vittum Theater. From video games filled with heroic missions and villainous space kitties to life lessons about making new friends and overcoming your fears in the classroom, Earth to Kenzie is the perfect production to introduce a young person in your life to the magic of music and theater!  


Posted on October 15, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Childcare during the CPS teachers' strike

Unless the Chicago Teachers Union and the city come to an agreement, CPS teachers and support staff, who are on the picket lines now, will continue to strike into the week of Oct. 21. How long the strike will last is anyone's guess, but one thing's for sure: If you're a working parent, you need to figure out where to send your child while school is not in session.

Here are some options for childcare during the strike. Check back often—we'll be updating this post as we get more informat...

Posted on October 11, 2019 at 9:27 AM by Laura Baginski

What exactly is an International Baccalaureate school? A primer.

By David Gregg

The Internation Baccalaureate is an internationally renowned continuum of educational programs based on best teaching practices and a commitment to developing internationally-minded global citizens. All IB programs help students see themselves as integrally linked to the world they are exploring through an inquiry-based curriculum that emphasizes real-world contexts for learning. 

In order to offer an IB Program, a school must complete an intensive 2-3 year applicatio...

Posted on October 10, 2019 at 2:25 PM

Can CBD ease anxiety in children?


A new school, friend drama, sports pressure. There are countless things that can stress kids out. When coupled with schedules that are busier than ever, it’s no wonder that anxiety is on the rise in kids. As parents try to navigate their child’s moods and intense feelings, many have asked me about natural approaches to anxiety relief such as CBD. Does it work? Is it safe? Is it worth the hype? In short, yes, CBD can be effective for children, bu...

Posted on October 08, 2019 at 7:00 AM by Rahul Khare

Tips and tricks for a stress-free Halloween, from NPN staff

As parents of kids ranging from 2 months to twentysomethings, the NPN staff has survived a couple of decades of Halloweens in the city. Here’s our best advice.

“One year I bought LED fiber optic hair extension clips for my daughters’ butterfly costumes, and loved that it made them so easy to spot in the dark on a crowded sidewalk! Now we do those or something else that lights up every year.”— Elizabeth Knutson, NPN Executive Director

“For costume-shy toddlers, try at least one pract...

Posted on October 03, 2019 at 1:24 PM

The best neighborhoods in Chicago for trick-or-treating

We asked our members on the NPN Discussion Forum to spill the Halloween beans on the best Chicago neighborhoods for trick-or-treating. Here’s what we learned.

Burling St. between Fullerton and Wrightwood Aves.
“The entire block is closed to traffic, and virtually every house participates and kids from all over the city come. You can spend the whole night just doing both sides of the street and the candy is awesome (and usually there are people handing out other things like glowsticks)...

Posted on October 03, 2019 at 11:27 AM

How I quit my office job, spend more time with my kids and still make money

My family was blessed with a beautiful baby girl in June 2016. I returned to work three months after she was born. My husband and I had the mentality of “divide and conquer.” I went to work before they were awake, and my husband awoke with our daughter in the morning, got her ready and off to our nanny share.

In the afternoon, we did the opposite. I hated missing breakfast with my sweet girl, but I knew this was what our hectic schedules called for. When I became pregnant with my secon...

Posted on October 02, 2019 at 4:34 PM by Christina Sidoti

10 things I taught my daughters to prevent bullying

Remember the movie Mean Girls, where high school students created a burn book to spread rumors about each other? While I, too, enjoyed the movie and often joke with my friends that “on Wednesdays we wear pink,” the movie exposed some very harsh realities when it comes to bullying. Sadly, with the rise of social media, the issue has only progressed since the flick came out 15 years ago, and the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why provided an even clearer picture of the nationwide epidemic.


Posted on October 01, 2019 at 1:43 PM by Lori Orlinsky