kids and chores

Can the Kids Pitch In? Kids and Chores

’Tis the season for ambitious resolutions, fresh starts – and perhaps a bit more help around the house. But where to start? Are your children old enough for chores? Should you pay them? Are you sick of nagging – and re-doing their efforts? When polling my friends with 5-year-olds about the topic, the responses were entertaining. A creative Eagle Rock mom had some success convincing her son that Tom Petty is “table-setting music,” while a Mt. Washington mama was in the thick of it. “I just told my kids if they clean up the LEGOs and the couch pillows they...

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family mental health

A Mental-Health Checkup for Los Angeles Families

Now that the holidays are behind us, it is time to think of New Year’s resolutions. In January, people contemplate their physical health, making goals to exercise regularly, eat healthier, sleep more, get physicals and take better care of themselves. But how often do families consider the state of their mental health? The truism, “Prevention is better than cure,” applies to mental well-being as well as physical.   Here’s some wisdom from Mental Health America, a national nonprofit founded in 1909 to address the needs of those living with mental illness:   When we think about cancer, heart disease or diabetes, we...

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Tween Time: A Day of Service for Los Angeles Teens

Some kids might think of Martin Luther Day Jr. Day, which this year falls on Jan. 15, as just another day off from school. Others, however, consider it a “day on” for volunteering. MLK Day, which became a federal holiday in 1983, also was designated a National Day of Service in 1994. While people of all ages can participate, the holiday presents a particularly good opportunity for tweens and teens to develop an interest in volunteering and community service that they can continue into adulthood.     Good deeds combine with fresh air when you spend MLK morning at the Alta Vicente...

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sibling rivalry

Survival of the Fittest: Nurturing Positive Sibling Relationships

Sibling rivalry is one of the oldest forms of conflict known to mankind. Its drama has been played out in folkore, literature and film. In the animal kingdom, many newborns shun their siblings as a form of survival. I’ve read about how some baby birds push their siblings out of nests to ensure their own food supply. In a less dramatic way, we see some form of this played out in our homes. I have two daughters, and my dream is for them to develop a close relationship, to always help and protect each other. But how do we, as...

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kids movies

Bears, Rabbits and Neanderthals are Coming to SoCal Cinemas

The holiday-movie season is over, but that doesn’t mean you have to hibernate and wait for fresh family movies to come out in the spring. There are several kid-friendly movies scheduled for release before then.  The first arrival of the New Year will be “Paddington 2” Jan. 12. The PG-rated sequel to the “beary” popular 2014 live-action/CGI animated comedy picks up where the first film left off, with Paddington bear living with the Brown family. The story finds the cute bear on a quest for the thief who stole a special book that Paddington picked out as a present for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. This StudioCanal release (distributed through Warner Brothers) reunites many of...

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family fitness

Family Fitness: Making the First Move

Phil and Michelle Dozois of South Pasadena have been in the fitness game for decades. Michelle got hooked with her first gymnastics and dance classes at age 5, and went on to win gold medals in the National and World Aerobic Championships and create top-selling fitness DVDs. Her husband, Phil, has been a personal trainer for 25 years, and together he and Michelle opened their own health club – Breakthru Fitness – in 1998.  They are also parents of a 14-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, who, of course, are natural athletes. Right? Not exactly. “We struggle like every other parent that is trying to get their kids to stay active and put their devices down,”...

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family fun in los angeles

A Trifecta of Disney Fun

There is a triple of dose of Disney excitement to be enjoyed this January. Arriving in town Jan. 10 will be “Aladdin,” which materializes at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater (6233 Hollywood Blvd.) through March 31. Created by award-winning talent, including Alan Menken (“Newsies”), Howard Ashman (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Tim Rice (“The Lion King”), this Broadway smash features songs from the beloved Disney movie as well as new tunes written for the musical. It is recommended for ages 6 and up. You can find show days, times and ticket information at   More Disney magic can be experienced at the...

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child's cough

Doc Talk: Taking Care of Your Child’s Cough

It’s the season of colds, flu – and cough. Leila Yoonessi, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, reminds parents to watch out for rhinovirus (the common cold), as well as respiratory syncytial virus, which can be truly dangerous in younger children. She also has tips about managing cough.  Is cough ever harmful in and of itself?  Cough is a natural defense mechanism. Our lungs are lined with these little ciliary projections – you can think of them as little hairs – called the mucociliary escalator. Whenever we inhale something that’s irritating...

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family fitness in Los Angeles

Claudine Cooper to Parents: ‘Focus on Living Long’

Claudine Cooper’s high-intensity fitness classes are part boot camp, part sermon and part party. Folks show up early to stake a spot in the studio before it overflows. They endure Cooper’s yells to push harder. They bob their heads along to her always-banging music, even when that third set of burpees and lunges makes their muscles scream.   “I know you came to work hard, or else you wouldn’t be here,” Cooper said to a jam-packed room on Thanksgiving morning. Each year, hours before turkey and cornbread dressing pile up on her students’ plates, Cooper cooks up a butt-kicking workout for...

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Where to Have a Wheel Interesting Time

Whether you are a fan of small cars or big trucks, gear up for fun this month. The Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; offers a new exhibit that spotlights a unique area of the auto world – kids’ race cars. “Sidewalk Speedsters: The Grown-Up World of Children’s Cars” features a cool lineup of child-size competitive cars. Although these cars might have started off as toys, they have become highly prized by adults and collectors. On display will be some truly vintage vehicles. A 1927 Bugatti Type 52 “Baby,” a 1931 Custer and a 1934 Cannonball Racer are...

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