Parenting

spiritual parenting

Lighting the Spiritual Spark in Your Child

In order to light the spiritual spark in our kids and keep it lit, the goal is to get them to turn inward for answers. This means that we, as parents, must turn inward before we act and react so that we can give more thoughtful guidance with better outcomes. Here are a few ideas to keep daily life with your kids on a spiritual track. Start Talking Early Many...

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managing anxiety

Is It Holiday Anxiety, Or Something More?

The excitement of the holiday season is here, and that can mean big adjustments for parents and children. Parents are getting ready to take on the holidays by planning for family coming into town or getting their own families ready to travel. For kids, school is coming to a break, and they get to relax. By this time, children have become more accustomed to the new routines of the school...

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“Thankful Jar” – Family Questions of Gratitude

As much as I remind my young daughters to show gratitude by saying “thank you” and other niceties, I often wonder if I’m expecting too much of them. Is it unreasonable to want my 2-year-old and 6-year-old to see beyond the immediacy of their own wants and needs and remember to extend graciousness to others? Perhaps, but I keep at it anyway. My mom raised me to regard gratitude as...

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thanksgiving with kids

In L.A., All is Gravy on Turkey Day

Millennials, or at least the coastal-elite version I cavort with, have a complicated relationship with that American holiday referred to as Thanksgiving. That’s probably because a more enlightened reading of American history has scrambled our feelings about the fourth Thursday in November.   First, there’s the genesis of the holiday, which children were once taught celebrated a communal harvest meal that native Americans shared with the New England colonists. Now, many...

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the tincture of time

Elizabeth L. Silver: Dealing with Uncertainty in the NICU

When we bring our first newborn baby home from the hospital, we expect that we’ll be up at ungodly hours. We have been told by loved ones and strangers alike that our lives are about to change forever. In the midst of our nervousness and joy, we accept these night- and life-altering changes with chagrin and glee.  Three-and-a-half years ago, L.A. parents Elizabeth L. Silver and her husband, Amir, were...

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winter camps in Los Angeles

Winter Camps in Los Angeles with Parent Perks

As parents, we instinctually ask, “What’s the best choice for my child?” when making almost any decision, and that is a natural place to start when choosing a winter camp for your kids. But in a city like Los Angeles, with its wealth of premium resources, isn’t there also space to consider, “What’s the best choice for me, the parent?” After all, it’s your winter holiday, too!  Below is a...

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hamilton in los angeles

Tween Time: Hamilton vs. ‘Spamilton’

“Hamilton’s” time at the Pantages comes to an end Dec. 30, so if you haven’t yet seen it (or seen it multiple times), don’t procrastinate. “Hamilton,” recommended for ages 12 and older, has become a cultural phenomenon, and most people now know about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterful musical depiction of Alexander Hamilton’s life story via rap, pop, hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway music. The Pantages holds a lottery for $10 tickets...

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Down syndrome

Kid Podcast ‘Brains On!’ Explores Down Syndrome

What do your kids know about Down syndrome? How about your kids’ friends and classmates? A great, age-appropriate way for them to learn more is via the “Brains On!” podcast produced by American Public Media – with writing and reporting from L.A.’s own Sanden Totten, formerly a science reporter at public radio station KPCC. In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, “Brains On!” devoted an episode to the...

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philanthroparties

PhilanthroParties Show Teens How to Party for a Cause

Lulu Cerone grew up in the sweltering San Fernando Valley, so as a kid she became a lemonade stand entrepreneur, racking up cash as her thirsty neighbors sought out her homemade juice.  Eventually, Lulu’s mother, Lisa, encouraged her to turn her lemonade sale profit to good use – to look around her community and identify a social problem she wanted to help improve. But Cerone found herself transfixed by the...

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middle school students

Parenting Through Middle School Students’ Perfect Storm

New parents get all the sympathy. Everyone is ready to commiserate over the sleepless nights, dirty diapers and crush of responsibility that come with the birth of a child. Our babies, after all, need our 24/7 attention and care.  Parents of middle schoolers, on the other hand, don’t get much more than a grimace from those of us who have survived that stage in our kids’ lives. We roll our...

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Before and After Kids: L.A. Parent Launches #HappierWithKids Campaign

Many parents have taken to Instagram to post “Before and After Kids” photos of themselves. The idea, in case you live under a rock, is that everyone posts photos of themselves before they had kids, and after. While some hashtags have taken a negative tone toward becoming a parent, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the joy of parenting. To that end, L.A. Parent is launching the #HappierWithKids campaign. With...

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postpartum depression screening

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Launches Postpartum Depression Screening Program for New Mothers

Every year, more than 6,500 women give birth at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Now, all new mothers are being screened for one of the most under-diagnosed and under-treated medical conditions in women: postpartum depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 percent of women who give birth each year report symptoms of postpartum depression. Only a small number ever get help, leaving many with the serious, untreated condition....

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ROBYN STACK REAGAN

Robyn Stack Reagan: Coming Full Circle to Build Acceptance

Robyn Stack Reagan, program director of Circle of Friends – The Path to Inclusion, is mother to two adult children and has two grandchildren, one of whom just started kindergarten at the elementary school Reagan’s daughter, Ashton, attended. That first day of school brought back memories for Reagan. When Ashton started kindergarten in the 90s, she would not speak in class, had trouble making friends and was bullied. The family...

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kids social life

Kids’ Social Life at School: Helping Your Child Manage Without Meddling

We all know how important social life at school can be. We were kids once, too. From making new friends in kindergarten to navigating fickle social circles in middle school, forging and sustaining relationships is a huge part of growing up. Peers also play a significant role in kids’ development.  “The power of the relationship is crucial in building other components of learning,” explains Christina Kim, director of student life...

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toddler emotions

The Big Emotions of Little Ones

A child’s social-emotional development during the first five years of life will affect their ability to function in school, respond to stress, adapt to change, persist in challenging situations and form meaningful relationships throughout life. Unfortunately, there is often an emphasis on promoting children’s cognitive growth in the early years, with limited attention paid to strengthening their capacity to manage emotions. Infants rely on sensitive and responsive caregiving to modulate...

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melissa de la cruz

Melissa de la Cruz: On Being the New Girl and Writing Fiction

Bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz recalls ninth grade as the worst year of her life. That’s the year her family immigrated to San Francisco from Manila, Philippines. She spoke English, but the culture shock of moving to another country in the middle of her teens was a “weird adventure.” De la Cruz now lives in L.A. with her husband and 10-year-old daughter. She has written more than 40 books,...

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stem in los angeles schools

Adding an M to STEM in Los Angeles Schools

Just who’s putting all this steam into STEM in Los Angeles Schools? Take a straw poll, and you’ll hear credit for the classroom technology boom assigned to a variety of individuals. Topping the list are the scores of ever-inventive teachers, principals and heads of school who are willing to experiment and generous parents and donors offering their time, expertise and funds. Finally, there are the students who – with their...

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preschools in los angeles

Preschools in Los Angeles: 9 Things Your Child Should Learn

Last fall, as I watched my son run down the walkway toward his new kindergarten classroom, I noticed that he appeared tinier than usual. I looked at the other children, products of preschools in Los Angeles, flowing past him and realized that he was, in fact, considerably smaller than most of them. As his R2-D2 backpack flapped against the backs of his knees, I wondered whether we had made a...

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race talk with kids

Having the Race Talk with Kids: Parenting Resources by Age

I grew up in a small paper-mill town in central Louisiana during the late 1970s and ’80s – a time still rife with the lingering effects of segregation. My family lived on what folks called “the black side of town.” On the bus ride across town to school every morning, my friends and I fawned over the beautiful houses that decorated the better-paved streets in other neighborhoods, and I envisioned...

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confident kids

Five Ways to Help Your Child Build Confidence

We all want to see our children succeed and be happy, but in today’s challenging times, it’s easy for children to experience self-doubt if they don’t have the right tools for making good choices. Self-confidence – a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment – is a learned skill and most children rely on their parents to guide them through the process of acquiring it. This can be...

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toddler road trip

Tackling the Toddler Road Trip

It’s the stuff of teeth grinding and stress-induced headaches, a prospect that makes your average parent hysterically bargain for alternatives. Yes, I am referring to road trips with kids. I have an irrational fear of flying, so my young family – wife Kate, 2-year-old Hank and baby Leo –  and I take the challenge head-on. I live for the open road and freedom on terra firma. My family road-trip goal...

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kids using smartphones

Setting Limits on Kids’ Smartphone Use

Much fuss has been made over the debut in early September of the latest generation of iPhones. Despite the $999 price tag for the top-of-the-line iPhone X, the news no doubt has tweens and teens asking for an upgrade. But experts are finding evidence that excess smartphone use could be connected to depression and anxiety among teens and tweens – possibly because they are trading in-person relationships and interaction for...

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On the Record: Teaching Kids About Family Heritage

Growing up, I remember people asking me if I considered myself more Hispanic or more American. I thought it was an odd question, because I didn’t think I had to choose between the two. My parents are from Bolivia and my brother and I were born and raised in Texas. It was hard to explain back then, but I felt I was American and at the same time truly loved...

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9 Ways to Help Your Kids Cope With News of the Las Vegas Shootings

As our nation mourns and reacts to another mass shooting, we at OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center are struck by the ways in which this event evokes similar feelings that arose in response to other recent traumatic events. Whether it was in the aftermath of a shooting that took place at a school, congregation, work place, vigil or nightclub, adults struggle to find the words to comfort and support their...

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we are savvy

Teens Showcase Their Savvy in New YouTube Red Series

When I was 11, there were few opportunities to peer into the lives of tweens outside of my immediate community. Today, tweens  have many chances to see how their peers around the world are living. These include a YouTube Red Original series called “We Are Savvy,” which aims to give tweens and teens a refreshing spin on girl culture. The cheeky magazine-style show set in three of the hosts’ bedrooms...

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haunted houses in los angeles

Halloween Fun for Tweens: Terror Time

For young kids, Halloween revolves around cute costumes and trick-or-treat candy. Teens’ interests often shift toward more frightful fun. With that in mind, here’s a guide to Southern California Halloween attractions that are a real scream. The Queen Mary (www.queenmary.com) in Long Beach is said to be haunted, making it spooky enough on an average day. Its Dark Harbor event Sept. 28-Nov. 1 intensifies the fright with menacing mazes and...

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chris pegula

Chris Pegula: The Diaper Dude

Armed with a degree from NYU, Chris Pegula began his career in pursuit of his dream of acting. But parenthood shifted Pegula’s perspective and family life became his main focus. The father of three is the creator of the hip line of Diaper Dude gear for cool dads and author of the newly released book, “Diaper Dude, The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years.” In the book,...

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Aligning Your Kids’ Enrichment With Your Big-Picture Goals

My 7-year-old son is a joiner. He plays Little League, basketball and dances in a hip-hop class. When the brochure for after-school enrichment comes home in his backpack, he pores over the choices, circling everything that interests him. This past year, he tried drum lessons, skateboarding, game design and cooking. I love his enthusiasm, but almost every day I see articles online about the dangers of having overscheduled kids. Am...

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Remember the Rainbow for a Healthy Newborn

Bringing home Baby is one of the most joyful yet daunting times in one’s life. The idea that you are now actually in charge of a human life can be overwhelming, but if you just remember the colors in the rainbow, you can be well on your way to spotting any serious health problems. Before my families are discharged from the hospital after the birth of a child, I like...

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girls who code

Merging Two Kinds of Language: Literature and Coding

The front cover of the new Girls Who Code novel, “The Friendship Code,” showcases a familiar image of girl friendships: four tweens are hanging out in a bedroom, chatting it up and having fun.  While the room is decked out in purples and pinks, stars and fluffy pillows, crack open the book, and you’ll discover a story that’s far from stereotypically girly. The “gossip” these characters are dishing has to...

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home organization for moms

The Art of Organization for Busy Moms

When it comes to life and all its chaos, the thing that can help or hinder busy moms the most is organization – or the lack of it. Efficiency and time management are key to making it through those busy days filled with soccer practice, kid’s birthday parties and parent-teacher conferences – all before it’s time to come home and put dinner on the table. In Barbara Reich’s new self-help...

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tweens in los angeles

Tween Time: Pasadena Library Says ‘Yeah!’ to YA Fiction

Do you love YA fiction? Well, the folks at the Pasadena Central Library hear ya and will again host a day devoted to Young Adult literature. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 16, Pasadena Love YA brings more than 15 authors to the library for panel discussions, meet-and-greets and book signings. Amerie, Audrey Coulthurst, Cindy Pon, Emily Ziff Griffin, Daniel Sweren-Becker, Aditi Khorana, Jeff Garvin and E. Katherine Kottaras are among...

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LIFE IN COLLEGE

Everything You Need to Know About Life in College

Whether your student is heading off to a big university or staying local and attending your city’s community college, starting at a new college can be a fun and exciting time filled with self-exploration, new friends and tons of memorable moments. In “UChic—The College Girl’s Guide to Everything,” author Christie Garton seeks advice from more than 50 girls who attended colleges all over the nation and draws from her own...

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los angeles programs for kids

Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

A lifetime ago, my incoming junior-year class was required to participate in a “leadership day” at a nearby ropes course. It was my every nightmare come true: uncharted physical activities and interacting with high-school peers who had decided long ago I wasn’t up to par. I successfully crossed a tightrope and engaged in a sharing circle without stuttering, but the memory that most stands out was falling off a swing...

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NFL in Los Angeles

Help! My Son Loves Football

In many places, September is the month that welcomes fall, bringing a dramatic shift in weather and mood. In Los Angeles, however, it’s just another summer month – sometimes even the hottest of the year. September also brings the start of football season, but for more than 20 years I had no reason to think about America’s sports obsession because Los Angeles had a lovely zero NFL teams. Then, last...

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music therapy for families

Time for a Family Tune-up at Home

In July, after 3-year-old Jackson Verner suffered strokes that left him with limited use of the left side of his body, Jenna Bollard, his music therapist at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, handed him a ukulele to play. “It forced him to start using the left hand,” says Jackson’s mom, Sara. “You have to be creative with kids.” Jackson’s family uses drums in the same way. And when they put on...

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praise your kids

Praise This, Not That: How to Praise Your Kids

There is nothing more satisfying to me than to tell my daughters how proud I am of them. I’ve always thought parents are expected to tell our kids they’re good and smart to help build their self-esteem. I was surprised to learn that some child development experts encourage parents to say things such as, “Good job,” “I’m so proud of you,” and, “You’re so smart” to our children less often....

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kids and chores

Kids and Chores: In Defense of the Sticker Chart

There are quite a few online articles and posts about kids and rewards that speak to the dangers of sticker charts, behavior charts, reward systems or anything that involves external compensation for kids doing things that they are just supposed to do.   The problem, some argue, is that if kids get used to being rewarded with prizes, they will come to expect it and only do things when there is...

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heather rigby

Ford Theatres’ Heather Rigby On Building Community Through the Arts

Heather Rigby is an L.A. native, born and raised in Studio City, who left the Valley to become a pre-med major at Harvard University. While adjusting to college life in Cambridge, she discovered that her true passion is the arts. For the past 11 years, Rigby has worked at the Ford Theatres, an historic 1200-seat outdoor amphitheater in Hollywood. Her job is to create dynamic programming that represents the rich...

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audiobooks for kids

Audiobooks for Kids: Reads for the Road

Four years ago, my family and I were preparing for a camping trip to Camp Whitsett in the Sequoia National Forest with my son’s Cub Scout pack. Ben was 8 and he loved books. I loved to read to him, but I get carsick if I try to read in the car. Obviously, my husband couldn’t read and drive at the same time. I was worried Ben would get bored...

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cycling with kids

2 Years on  2 Wheels: Cycling with Hank

When I was a single lad in my 20s living along the Miracle Mile, I commuted to work in Santa Monica by bicycle. Four days a week, I placed my young life in the hands of Los Angeles traffic. This was unwise according to my future wife, who worked as an RN in the ICU at Cedars-Sinai and saw countless critical bike accidents, the details of which I will mercifully spare you....

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teaching kids about friendship

Teaching Kids About Friendship: You’re Not My Best Friend Anymore

It absolutely ruffles my feathers when I hear kids say to one another, “You’re not my best friend anymore.” I’ve heard it on the playground at school and even in my home.  Some kids have said it to my 6-year-old daughter, Sofia, and, unfortunately, I’ve heard Sofia say it to her friends. I’ve wondered whether they understand how hurtful those words can be. When I heard Sofia say that to...

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One More Month to be a Dodgers Reading Champion

Our Los Angeles Dodgers are red-hot right now, with the best record in baseball this season – 77 wins and counting. You can grab some of their winning spirit to turn your kids into red-hot readers with the Dodgers Reading Champions program. There’s just one month left to join the fun! The program, which runs April through August, is designed to motivate L.A. kids to read, and to help them...

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For Teens and Tweens, A Look Back at the Watts Riots

Our current crop of teens and tweens might not remember the Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. Likewise, parents may not recall the Watts Riots, a monumental moment in L.A. history that took place 52 years ago this August. On that point, parents and tweens alike can get a history lesson courtesy of the new middle-grade novel from Karen English. “It All Comes Down To...

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9 Kid-friendly Work-friendly Spots

School is out and your kids are on the loose, but you might still have work to get done. When it’s inconvenient to hire a babysitter, or you just need to get your children out of the house, we’ve found amazing places where you can work and they can play. From child-friendly coffee shops to full-time drop-off care, we’ve got you covered. It Takes a Village A celeb-approved (Rebecca Romijn...

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Kids Can Pitch In to Help Shelter Pets

Whether it’s a stray cat, a lost dog or a baby bird that has fallen from the nest, kids love lending a hand to help animals in need. “There’s a movement of kids who want to help animals,” says Pasadena Humane Society President and CEO Julie Bank. “The Pasadena Humane Society gets calls on how kids can get involved, probably a daily thing, and we started to really listen.” The...

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Our Breakfast-to-Bedtime Back to School Guide

Remember last year’s back to school photo? The kids wore big, happy grins and fresh haircuts. Inside their shiny new backpacks awaited orderly pencil cases and a homemade-with-love lunch filled with summer veggies and nothing processed. Cut to the second week: Running to the car five minutes late, the day’s completed homework forgotten on the kitchen table and cranky parents playing Rock-paper-scissors to see who has to leave work early...

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A Divorce Lawyer’s Tips for Parenting Through Kid Conflict

Tara Scott is a former Brentwood divorce lawyer – with a 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter – so she knows a thing or two about parenting through conflict. Now a family mediator in Beverly Hills, Scott has found that things she learns in her mommy-and-me group help in mediation and that her mediation skills apply at home. Here are some of her tips for wading into a disagreement between your...

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Easy and Fun Recipes for Busy College Students

Healthy, low-cost food options that are dorm-room friendly have been traditionally hard to come by, but “The Quick and Easy Vegetarian College Cookbook” from Adams Media offers more than 300 meals that fit the bill. Staying healthy amid the hustle and bustle of college life can be tough, but this recipe book offers delicious meals and snacks for even the busiest students. The book suggest healthy late-night study snacks and...

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Building a Social Network For the Non-sporty Kid

There is no question that team sports are amazing for the mind and body. So many important social skills are taught through working as a team and exercising the body. Additionally, friendships typically grow stronger by participating in sports outside of school. Because of this, young kids (especially boys) are traditionally signed up for the usual round of team sports – soccer, basketball and baseball. These are great, but let’s...

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Dance/Movement Therapy Helps Kids With Autism Connect

The 5-year-old girl, diagnosed with autism, wasn’t used to connecting with people. She didn’t speak, made little eye contact and showed little physical awareness of others. She would sit near, even very close, to people without acknowledging them. Then Lori Baudino took her on a journey. Baudino, a Westchester-based clinical psychologist and dance/movement therapist, says the girl was very physical – but inappropriately so. “She would often hit her body...

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Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn: Celebrating the Everyday Wins

Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn are good friends, co-hosts of the hilarious podcast “One Bad Mother” and authors of the newly published book, “You’re Doing a Great Job: 100 Ways You’re Winning at Parenting,” designed to cheer on parents from pregnancy through the toddler years. Instead of focusing on Pinterest-inspired birthday party décor and Instagram-worthy meals, Ellis and Thorn encourage parents to celebrate their hundreds of daily, at times mundane,...

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Looking Beyond The Supermarket Aisle For Your Baby’s First Foods

Next time you walk around your favorite supermarket, take a moment to study the food on the shelves. For the most part, it will reflect the tastes and preferences of the people who buy there. Dominating will be the most popular brands and the most popular types of food, the best sellers for that particular chain and that particular location. But if you shift your gaze to the people walking...

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Hitting the Beach for Summer Fun Hollywood Style

To many of us in and around Los Angeles, summer fun at the beach is an afterthought, only beckoning when the inland heat calls for relief. A friend from Studio City once referred to it as “the great A/C unit to the west.” Out-of-towners often accuse us of taking our 75 miles of Pacific coastline for granted. And they're right. I'm feeling especially salty at the moment because I recently...

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Raise Readers By Starting Your Own Book Club

Like many parents, I’m guilty of turning to digital babysitting when I need a break and the kids want some summer fun. Television or cell phone games become my go-to when I need 15 to 20 minutes of peace and quiet after a long day. I know it might not seem like good parenting, but sometimes when survival mode kicks in, a little help from the television or cell phone...

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Tween Time: The Summer of Love Turns 50

“The Summer of Love” – that watershed moment when the hippie youth culture became a potent force in American society – turns 50 this year. Music then, as now, was a cultural driving force. 1967 was the year the Beatles recorded “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and the year of debut albums from The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. Parents who want...

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Bridging the Summer Gap to Prevent Learning Loss

Now that the academic school year has ended, students are ready to enjoy summer and all of the fun that it promises. Beach days, family vacations, swimming pools and waterparks; activities that bring fun memories, social time with friends and a highly anticipated break from the classroom. Unfortunately, with all of the fun that summer has to offer, the gap between the end of one academic year and the beginning...

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Nine Tips for Tackling Tantrums

Tantrums are a common childhood experience, particularly if you are parenting kids ages 18 months to 4. When a child begins yelling, crying, kicking, whining and complaining that is out of proportion to an incident or situation, it can be frustrating, uncomfortable or embarrassing for parents or caregivers – especially when this behavior is displayed outside the home in front of bystanders. Parents may feel puzzled about how to act...

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A Parenting Slow-Down With the Help of Band-Aids

I’ve always wondered about kids’ obsession with Band-Aids. At my house, we go through about two boxes of Band-Aids a week, using them for every little mark my daughters get on their bodies. They try to mend everything with a Band-Aid – including holes in their socks – even though I’ve explained to my 5-year-old year old, Sofia, that colorful Band-Aids don’t fix everything. Or do they? A couple of...

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Seven Summer Activities for Learning in and Around L.A.

It’s a sweet synergy when you can have fun with your kids while they’re learning. Los Angeles is a big city with even bigger opportunities for families to discover and explore together, but you might not have heard of these lesser-known gems. Among them are a path-blazing center that rescues animals while helping kids connect with nature, a shop where you can go back and forth in time (or, rather,...

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fatherhood

Stephen “tWitch” Boss: On the Joys of Fatherhood

You might know him as the resident DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” every so often showing off his awesome dance moves alongside Ellen herself. As a hip-hop dancer, entertainer, actor and former “So You Think You Can Dance” star, Stephen “tWitch” Boss has had some great gigs, but he is quick to admit that his favorite is being a dad. He married Allison Holker of “Dancing with the Stars”...

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Our Millennial Dad Talks About Father’s Day

Father’s Day. When is that? Oh yeah, in June. Papas, pops, padres, daddies, daddios and plain old dads don’t get a holiday with the same play as Mother’s Day – or even the Feast of St. Joseph. (That’s a Catholic holiday in March honoring Jesus’ more-terrestrial father.) This talk of Jesus and his dads reminds me how many ways the term “dad” can be interpreted. And this reminds me of...

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hyperlinked

L2M Brings STEM to Life in YouTube Red’s Hyperlinked

Getting kids interested in STEM is going beyond the classroom. Instead of talking about careers in science, technology, engineering and math through parents and teachers, YouTube Red Originals is showing tweens how it’s done. The new show "Hyperlinked" launched in May and features tween music group L2M. The series follows five girls as they come together to create their own website by girls for girls. The mission of the website is to...

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Father’s Day When Father Isn’t there

Father’s Day is usually an occasion for children to celebrate with their parents. Children might make cards, write stories or invite their parents to school for special programs marking the importance of their parents in their young lives. For a child whose father is absent, however, these celebrations can be confusing and even painful. A parent might have died or live in another state or town. A father could be...

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Shop Talk: New Parents’ Survival Kit

When their bundle of joy arrives, new parents experience a whirlwind of change. These handy products will help calm the storm and smooth the way for moms and dads.

Why Summer Vacation is Important for Family Health

To kids, summer vacation means time off from school. To many parents, vacation of any kind seems like a luxury they can’t afford. But Krikor Deramerian, M.D., a pediatrician and “Wellness Champion” at Kaiser Permanente’s Baldwin Park Medical Center, says you can’t afford not to take a break. Hectic work and school routines cause the body to pump out the stress hormone cortisol. “When this is sustained, it has effects...

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spa le la

Spa Le La Makes Me-Time Sitter-Free

As I parked, pattering hail created a strange white noise against my windshield. This probably helped all three of my children enjoy an extended nap in the back of my minivan. It was a week before Mother’s Day and there was no sitter in sight. None of this sounds like the start of a spa day, but alas things have changed. Enter Spa Lé La, a luxurious spa with a...

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Toddle and Spin at Baby DJ School

For a unique musical experience, visit Baby DJ School in Santa Monica or West Hollywood. Run by enthusiastic teacher Anna Wallace (also known as “DJ Annie Wonder”), this isn’t your typical children’s music class with guitars, pianos and drums. Instead, kids ages 2 months to 5 years are introduced to faders, laptops, vinyl records, turntables and other DJ equipment. The 45-minute lessons also feature one-of-a-kind songs such as “Makin’ our...

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L.A. Summer Shakespeare is Great For Teens & Tweens

Summers often mean summer reading for middle and high schoolers. Whether or not Shakespeare is on your tween’s list this year, take advantage of the wealth of summer Shakespeare productions and get an entertaining Shakespeare lesson. Shakespeare By The Sea (www.shakespearebythesea.org) stages its shows, which are always free, all over Southern California, beginning this year at San Pedro’s Point Fermin Park with “The Taming of the Shrew” June 15 and...

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Photographing Babies Who Are Worth the Wait

Amanda Naor is an L.A.-based newborn and family photographer, but she isn’t a parent – not yet, anyway. She and her husband have been on an infertility journey that began in June of 2015 and she is determined to tell their story to call attention to the plight of couples who struggle to get pregnant. If you needed medical help to become pregnant or have adopted a child because of...

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Tween Time: A Memorable Memory Play

“Memory 5D+” might sound like an app (with more appeal for the middle-aged than for tweens), but it couldn’t be more human. The production is a multimillion-dollar, multisensory theatrical experience featuring more than 35 Chinese musicians, dancers, acrobats and singers that will appeal to teens and tweens. The “Memory” in the show’s name refers to the traditional Chinese music and dance that form the core of this production. Musicians will...

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Talking to Kids About the Manchester Attack

On Monday night, May 22, a suicide bomber set off explosions that killed at least 22 people and injured 59 more outside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The crowd was there to see a concert by pop star Ariana Grande, so many of those injured and killed were kids and families. Because of Grande’s popularity with tweens, it’s likely your kids have heard at least something about the attack. They...

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Abbie Boudreau: On Raising News-Savvy Kids

As a kid, Abbie Boudreau was curious about everything. She wanted to grow up to be an astronaut and a pastry chef. Later, as a graduate student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, her inquisitiveness and desire to help others led her to pursue a career in broadcast journalism. The Emmy-Award winner went on to work at CNN and ABC News as an investigative correspondent and now covers feature...

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Geocaching With Kids for Outdoor Fun In L.A.

Armed with a modern-day treasure map (of the iPhone variety), my 4-year-old son and I beelined through the park, following the in-app compass to our destination. Ding! “You’re getting close!” the app encouraged. Our hearts were pounding as we arrived where X marked the spot. We frantically flipped over leaves, shuffled rocks and generally sleuthed around a bit, until … pay dirt! My son popped open a small Tupperware container...

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Work-From-Home Tips for L.A. Moms

In just a few short years, working from home went from a novelty to a bona fide, mainstream way of life. These days, nearly one in four Americans does part or all of their work from home, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and that number is expected to rise. Working remotely saves on commute time and costs, boosts morale and can offer flexibility –...

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How to Spot a Developmentally Appropriate Preschool

It's spring and if you have a young child, there's a good chance that preschool is on your mind. If you want to find the right place for fall 2017, I recommend that you start your search now. Good schools fill up quickly! There are plenty of things to consider when choosing a preschool. Clearly, proximity to home or work is a biggie as are cost, hours of operation and...

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The Millennial Dad Takes on Alternative Transportation

I am sitting with Hank in a Nippon Sharyo (which literally means Japanese vehicle) cab, model P865. This pantographed workhorse – a Los Angeles Metro train with a electric-current-collector on top – is here because of years of painstaking negotiations and political savvy, an effort by L.A. officials to create a more attractive cityscape while simultaneously curbing carbon emissions and alleviating traffic congestion. I have fantasized about a train connecting...

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New L.A. Moms Share Their Joys and Challenges

Around 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 20, Sara Hulan-Crestani was in bed and about to fall asleep, having just come in from an evening visiting friends. Her husband, John Crestani, had also gotten home not long before. Sara was pregnant and due in two weeks, so she and John were enjoying their last days before the responsibilities of parenthood set in. Sara was ready for a good night’s rest, but before...

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Shopping For a Mom’s Day Out?

Gather the gals for a Mom’s Day Out celebration at The Point and The Collection at Plaza El Segundo from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 13. The first 50 attendees to register (at The Point next to Superba Food + Bread) for the free event will receive an exclusive tote and a free ride at Soul Cycle. All attendees receive a VIP passport unlocking exclusive specials: Michael Stars: Mimosas, macaroons and...

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Dina Kimmel Chats About Inclusive Play

Dina Kimmel has always been an entrepreneur. She launched two successful boutiques in North Hollywood in her 20s and 30s. But her business adventures turned personal when her son, Gabriel, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 2. With diagnosis came an overwhelming array of therapy appointments for Gabriel and the quest to preserve some sense of normalcy for her daughter, Sophia, who was 5 at the time. Kimmel...

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los angeles teens

It’s Teen Time at the YMCA This Summer

Cure your teen's summertime blues with free fun at Los Angeles YMCA locations this summer. Ages 12-17 are invited to visit the Y during June and July for free meals provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District, part-time jobs through the city and county of Los Angeles and swimming, basketball, fitness classes, free Wi-Fi and exclusive teen programs. Enrollment begins May 1 at all Los Angeles YMCA locations. All teens enrolled must attend an orientation...

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Safe and Sensitive Sunscreen

Sun protection is a year-round necessity in Southern California. But what if you have a child with sensitive skin or a teen battling acne? Dermatologist Paola Rodriguez, M.D., from Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center, shares great options for every skin type. How does sunscreen protect our skin? There are a couple of different ways in which sunscreen can protect our skin. Physical sunscreen, which some people would call a...

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parenting

On the Record: Keeping Up With the Joneses

My daughter Sofia is turning 6 years old this summer and when I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said, “I don’t want to have a party. I just want a cell phone.” I was dumbfounded because I don’t understand why she needs a cell phone. Who would a 6-year-old be calling or texting? How did she go from last year’s princess ice cream party...

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danica mckeller

Danica McKellar: On Making Math Fun During Your Child’s Wonder Years

Known for her role as Winnie Cooper on the popular coming-of-age TV series, “The Wonder Years,” and for her bestselling math books aimed at tweens and teens, Danica McKellar is now on a mission to make math fun for even the youngest kids. Her whimsical picture book, “Goodnight Numbers,” which debuted last month and landed at number seven on the New York Times picture book bestseller list, introduces young readers...

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Dating for Young Adults With Disabilities

Finding one surefire approach to dating for people with disabilities is as difficult as nailing down one definition for disability. “People with disabilities are the biggest minority group in the United States,” says Trevor Finneman, a 32-year-old attorney with hearing loss. “There are so many different kinds of disabilities, and each one impacts each person differently.” Dating can be awkward and challenging, if sometimes exciting, for anyone at any age....

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Understanding Middle School Mean Girls

Eleventh grader Natalie Hampton had always loved school. That changed in seventh grade, when fellow students at the private all-girls L.A. middle school she attended began cyber bullying and taunting her, even physically attacking her on four occasions. She almost always ate lunch alone and developed migraine headaches and gastritis. It was a common case of “mean girls” at work. Why do some girls become bullies around age 12 or...

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paying for your special needs child

Facing Your Finances: Paying for Your Child’s Disability

About a year ago, financial planner Robert J. Smith received a call from the father of a 27-year-old woman with Down syndrome. “Mom had died two years previously and Dad was finally able to address planning for his daughter,” Smith says. “We asked if his daughter was currently covered by Social Security and Medicaid. He replied that she wasn’t and he was too intimidated and overwhelmed to apply.” The father’s...

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Getting Teen Boys to Talk

Recently, a mom I know lamented that her formerly talkative son became silent when he turned 13. “He used to tell me about everything,” she said sadly. “Now it’s hard to get two words out of him and he does not share his life with us at all.” Her comment reminded me that I had suddenly felt panic 16 years ago when I was six months pregnant and realized I...

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On the Record: Weathering Parenting Storms

It was Sept. 12, 2008, and I was scrambling through my house in Houston, trying to secure my family, check our emergency supplies and board up the windows while packing a duffle bag full of rain gear and non-perishable food so I could leave for Galveston Island and cover Hurricane Ike, a powerful storm approaching the Gulf Coast and expected to make landfall in less than 24 hours. The anxiety...

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When the News Is Scary or Confusing

Editor's note: This is an update of a 2015 article which, sadly, is still quite relevant and timely. Television, radio, newspapers and social media bring us news of terrorist attacks and tragedy on a daily basis. And too often, as in the case of a shooting Monday (April 10, 2017) at North Park Elementary school in San Bernardino, the news is much closer to home. How can parents begin to...

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Millennial Dad: A Voyage of Selfie Discovery

What’s wrong with me? What am I doing clutching my 2-year-old in this chokehold as I attempt to aim my phone at our two duck-lipped faces? Can’t he have a normal “mirror” phase like any other pre-Kardashian child? Profound parental – no, human – guilt confronts me. I know this is wrong, base, tacky. But I need Hank to stare into my smart phone and smile. Smile! C’mon, smile! Instead,...

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los angeles events for tweens

Tween Time: Intriguing Exhibitions

Looking for an excuse to take your tween to a museum? Check out this trio of thought-provoking local exhibits. LACMA (5905 Wilshire Blvd., L.A.; www.lacma.org) is home to a fascinating retrospective on the visionary artist/educator László Moholy-Nagy. Walking through the galleries, you will be amazed at how many media Moholy-Nagy excelled in: painting, photography, sculpture, advertising and stage design. He was forward-thinking in his use of materials (such as Plexiglass)...

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A Straightforward Approach to Parenting Teen Girls 

Wondering why your sweet girl is starting to push you away? Psychologist Lisa Damour, Ph.D., is an expert in parenting teen girls and she has some good news. The teen years, she assures parents wondering why we have suddenly become “inexplicably annoying and totally irrelevant,” are “the psychological equivalent of putting training wheels on a bike.” In her book “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood,” Damour...

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family game night

Personalogy Family Fun Game Giveaway – For Friday Game Nights!

L.A. Parent is all about giving you fun ways to engage with your friends and children. Starting today, we're offering a fun way to get families talking each week in April, game-night style. For the next month, every Friday, we will encourage you to ask your children questions you may have never explored with the help of Personalogy Family Fun Edition, a new card game that's a conversation starter just for parents and kids...

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parenting

Jill Simonian: On Being A Real FAB Mom

When I first received a copy of “The Fab Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby,” my first thought was, We don’t have enough pressure as moms? Now we have to be back to fabulous within seconds after giving birth? But author Jill Simonian’s message is about a different kind of fabulous. For Simonian, founder of the parenting and lifestyle website TheFABmom.com, FAB...

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politics and parenting

Parenting Through the Politics

  On election night 2016, Diane Michaeli of La Crescenta watched the returns come in with her 13-year-old daughter, Carmela. Like many families in the L.A. area, they were supporters of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and were surprised by the results of the presidential race. “When it slowly became apparent that she had lost, sadness descended upon us,” Michaeli says. Carmela began sobbing. “I realized that I couldn't lose myself...

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parent shaming

The Cost of Parent Shaming

“A parent who lets their child act like that without reprimanding them is definitely raising an asshole,” a colleague said to me once. She started this conversation during a lunch meeting at a restaurant as we watched a mother wrestling with her toddler-age son who was having a tantrum. She made the comment because she knows I am a parent coach who works to end the practice of shaming parents....

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saying sorry

Beyond Saying Sorry: A More Meaningful Path to Conflict Resolution

“Say ‘I’m sorry’ and mean it!” How many times have we told our kids to apologize for saying or doing something hurtful to someone else? Honestly, forcing my 5-year-old, Sofia, to apologize in the heat of the moment makes me feel better as a parent. But when she doesn’t mean it, I feel guilty because I believe it’s a poor lesson to make her say empty words without meaning. After...

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National Study Looks at Adolescent Brains

If you’ve got tweens or teens, no doubt you’ve wondered what’s going on in their heads. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC and UCLA are now part of a 10-year nationwide study of 10,000 kids that aims to find out. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study will follow participants from ages 10 to 20, collecting brain-imaging data, genetic information and information about kids’ cognitive development and environmental exposures. Brain development...

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Why This Dad Is On Pokemon Go

Last year, Los Angeles TV producer Brant Pinvidic found himself equally baffled by two things. One was the exploding popularity of the smartphone game Pokemon Go, which in the summer of 2016 was played by millions of people, including his whole family. The other was how to find common ground with his 13-year-old daughter, who had become obsessed with catching its virtual characters to the point where he caught her...

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Tween Time: Are You Experienced With Jimi Hendrix and Madagascar Slim?

This month presents several opportunities to see live concerts and classic photos of historic ones. Adventurous music fans should be aware of the Aratani World Series. This collaboration between Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) and the Foundation for World Arts (World Festival of Sacred Music) offers a lineup of unique concerts between now and June 3 at the JACCC (244 S. San Pedro St., L.A.; www.festivalofsacredmusic.org). On March...

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Doc Talk – Springing Forward With the Kids

We switch to Pacific Daylight Time at 2 a.m. March 12. Most of us know it as “springing forward,” but it hardly makes us – or our kids – feel springy. Monika Mathur, M.D., a neurologist with the pediatric division of the Long Beach Adult & Pediatric Sleep Center at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, offers advice for getting the kids back in step. Does the time change...

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Shop Talk: Game On!

Whether you want to head outdoors together or gather around the kitchen table, we found some award-winning products to help you rev up the fun! These are courtesy of the National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA). For more information on NAPPA visit their website at www.NAPPAawards.com or follow them on social media at @NAPPAawards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Goodwill Jeans for Moms

Moms-to-be Can Do Good and Save on Maternity Jeans

Goodwill Southern California, a nonprofit social enterprise, and A Pea in the Pod, a contemporary maternity retailer, are teaming up to offer a special “donate and get a discount” deal to expectant mothers in the Los Angeles area. Donors are asked to bring in a pair of jeans and other clothing they no longer need to participating A Pea in the Pod stores, and they will get a 25-percent discount coupon...

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congenital heart defects

Women With Congenital Heart Defects Can Become Moms

For generations, doctors told women who were born with complex congenital heart defects that the physical demands of pregnancy and delivery would be too difficult for them, and that they should not have babies. That mindset has shifted. New recommendations for health care providers, published in the American Heart Association journal “Circulation,” offer a road map to helping women with congenital heart disease have successful pregnancies. “There is a burgeoning...

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parenting - Margot Machol Bisnow

Margot Machol Bisnow: On Raising Entrepreneurs

Author Margot Machol Bisnow defines entrepreneurs not just as business owners but also as musicians who put together a band, actors who organize their own careers and activists working to create a better world. As a way to explore that spirit of resiliency, outside-the-box thinking and innovation, Bisnow interviewed 60 successful entrepreneurs and their moms to discover the parenting style that helped foster these confident and creative entrepreneurs. The result...

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parenting - Omar and Argelia

K-Love’s Dynamic Duo Share Their On-Air and At-Home Magic

Argelia Atilano jokes that Omar Velasco, her husband and morning radio co-host on K-Love 107.5-FM, was never really “her type.” “I only dated guys in suits,” she says with her trademark laugh. “Attorneys, businessmen. I would never date a DJ – but the magic happened.” “I knew she was out of my league, but I kept pursuing her,” says Velasco with a smile. This is the type of banter that...

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teen marijuana use

Will Pot Legalization Boost Teens’ Use?

In November, Californians voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And while details are still being worked out, parents of teens and tweens should take action now and start having conversations about pot with their kids, says Diane Tanaka, MD, medical director of the Teenage and Young Adult Health Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Why? Because as use of marijuana becomes more tolerated, kids are less likely to consider...

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kids financial

Four L.A. Programs That Teach Kids Financial Savvy

Any financial planner will tell you that it’s never too early to start stashing away money for retirement or for that rainy day. Just as importantly, it’s never too early to learn about the proper ways to stash money away. There’s some evidence that most parents aren’t qualified to help children gain this knowledge. Total debt in the U.S. for car loans, student loans and credit cards is $4 trillion,...

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valentine's day plans

The Millennial Dad’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

There is a war going on out there, a cold war between loving couples with kids and loving couples without kids. And it heats up on Feb. 14. Officially named Saint Valentine’s Day, I call it S-V Day, after the iconic V-E Day and V-J Day from World War II. Childless couples meander carefree throughout the city, staying out ’till unholy hours. Meanwhile, the child rearing must meticulously plan and...

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home learning activities for kids

Digital vs. Analog: At-Home Learning Activities for Kids

Technology gives parents more ways than ever to provide a rich and engaging home learning environment for their kids. But how much is too much? Is it better to go “old-school” with plenty of books, journals to fill, and hands-on activities? Or is it best to be future-focused and provide the latest tablet computer and learning programs? Staying Hands-On Patti Clark, vice president of product development at Lakeshore, advocates for...

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tweens in la

Tween Time: Sleeping Beauty, Slides and Sand

This month’s Tween Time is brought to you by the letter S. First comes “Sleeping Beauty,” which the Russian National Ballet Theatre will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos, www.cerritoscenter.com). The ballet company has received critical accolades for its versions of such classics as “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.” This full-scale production presents colorful costumes and memorable...

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kids and money

Teaching Kids About Money: Spend, Save and Give Jars

When I told my daughter, then 4 years old, that I didn’t have money to buy her a toy, she said, “Just go to the bank and they'll give you money.” I frowned at her and tried again, explaining that I had only a $10 bill and what she wanted cost $20. She said, “It’s OK, just use your card.” I realized she had no idea about the value of...

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parenting

5 Common-Sense Tips For Raising Great Kids

It’s the middle of January and many of us have broken our New Year’s Resolutions and are back to who we were in December. For parents who are looking for a way to raise their children to be respectful, likeable, and successful adults it’s not too late. Here are 5 philosophical tips that will pay dividends for years to come including: Teach your kids to leave a trail of people...

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enrichment

Free Music-Tech Classes for Girls Come to Pasadena

In 2011, Erin Barra, an associate professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston, began a music revolution by teaching music technology classes to elementary and middle school girls across the country. Beats by Girlz has reached young women in New York, Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco – and Barra is now bringing the program to Pasadena. “The creation of Beats by Girlz started back at a workshop the Lower...

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kids and media

Tara Sorensen: Creating Children’s Programming with a Mom’s Touch

One of Tara Sorensen’s favorite places to be is among books, children’s books in particular. “The Giving Tree” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” are a couple of her favorites. The L.A. mom of two and head of kids programming at Amazon Studios has always loved a good story with characters that leap off the page and into the imagination. It was her love of storytelling that led her into children’s television programming. Before joining Amazon, she was at National Geographic, where she was vice president...

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parenting

Depression in Moms Goes Beyond Baby Blues

“I’m depressed.” How often have we heard a fellow mom say that? We commiserate, give her a hug and move on. After all, the phrase is used quite casually these days. It might indicate sadness – the loss of a job, the death of a loved one or a sense of stagnation – or it might indicate hormonal shifts. Unless that mom says she has been clinically diagnosed with depression, there is a chance we won’t treat her comment with gravitas, ask questions or steer her toward professional help. Experts say we should. Depression in moms is not always definable, not always evident, not always diagnosed. Women suffer from mood...

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mommy and me groups

Mommy-and-Me Groups Offer Friendship and Support

When my son was an infant, I sought out a therapist. “I need someone straightforward to talk to about new baby/marriage/work stress,” I explained when asking a counselor friend for a recommendation. I told her my son was 4 months old and she responded with great empathy, “Oh, you’re right in the middle of it.” “It,” as I was to learn, is that period when your child’s needs are all-encompassing...

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parenting

Giving Your Child The Power to Say No

The weekend was winding down and the four of us headed out for a Sunday matinee. We all decided on “Miracles from Heaven,” rated PG. It’s a story about a 10-year-old girl who has a rare, incurable disease. The mother becomes a fierce advocate for her daughter and the film eventually ends with the young girl recovering from her illness, in what can only be described as a miracle. But...

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kids mental health

Protecting Adolescents’ Mental Health with Screenings

Doc Talk: Tips & Advice  If your child is 12 or older and you visit the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with a medical issue, you’ll likely be asked to leave the room for 2-3 minutes so the doctor can administer a mental-health screening. Dr. Alan Nager shares about the program he created. When and why did you begin these screenings? About four years ago. The American Academy...

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parenting

ON THE RECORD: Parenting at Dinner Time: From Chaos to Calm

As we start a new year, we often think about what we can do better and differently. At the top of my list is my chaotic, loud and frustrating dinner time with a toddler and a baby. It often includes meltdowns, whining, getting up and down hundreds of times and me repeating the lyrics to the hit song, “Sit Down and Eat.” My husband and I are on a mission...

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los angeles events

Tween Time With Author Greg Pincus

Did you know California once had a law that banned homework? Don’t worry, parents, it was repealed more than a century ago. This obscure law, however, did serve as an inspiration for Greg Pincus’ new middle-grade book, “Homework Strike.” Pincus has brought back Gregory K., the main character from his last book, “The 14 Fibs Of Gregory K.,” and now has Gregory struggling with the trials and tribulations of life...

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pregnant moms in la

Pregnancy Is a Great Time For a Massage

Pregnancy is a time of great joy and excitement. It’s also a time of many physical, mental and emotional changes for a woman. Some of these changes, such as a growing belly and hormonal shifts, can create discomfort for the mother-to-be. Getting massages during and after pregnancy can help to alleviate some of these discomforts by relaxing tense muscles, increasing circulation and soothing the nervous system. During pregnancy, many women...

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parenting

Parents Spend More Than Nine Hours a Day with Screen Media

A first-of-its-kind study released this month by Common Sense Media shows that parents spend more than nine hours (9:22) a day with screen media, the vast majority of that time being spent with personal media (7:43) and only slightly more than 90 minutes devoted to work media. The vast majority of these parents (78%) believe they are good media-use role models for their kids. Meanwhile, many parents are concerned about...

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divorce and parenting

When Your Ex Text Messages Too Much

Open communication between parents and children is always encouraged. For children whose parents are divorced, communication with parents should mimic how communication would operate if both parents were under the same roof. However, the non-custodial parent (aka the parent who does not have child custody at that given moment) should be careful not to abuse that open door. Often times I’ll hear complaints from the parent in custody that the...

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cameron candace bure

Candace Cameron Bure: On Motherhood and her own Full House

As a fan of ’80s family sitcoms, I loved watching Candace Cameron Bure’s TV character, D.J. Tanner on “Full House,” navigate middle- and high-school drama, struggle through her Spanish class, crush on cute boys, fight and make up with her younger sisters.  For many of us, she was the big sister we wished we had as we watched her grow up on the popular ABC show, which ran from 1987...

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toy safety

Be On the Lookout For Choking Hazards

Much is written about toy safety this time of year, and one of the biggest toy related dangers to young children is choking or aspiration - the entry of a foreign object into the respiratory tract. But there are many things besides toys that end up stuck in kids' throats or airways. We have seen kids choke on gumballs, candy, wheels from toy cars, earrings and toy parts, but the...

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children's books

L.A. Dad Adds Gift to Princess Heroes Book Series

As the father of 9-year-old twin daughters, L.A. author Sanjay Nambiar is keen on writing stories that broaden the scope of how girls see themselves. “The Gift of Gift,” the second book in his Super Amazing Princess Heroes (SAPH) series, was released in November. “Girls need role models that are just as powerful as boy role models,” says Nambiar, who says the book aims to marry the feminine side of...

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parenting

Small Books With a Big Mission for Multilingual Kids

Board books and babies just go together. But when L.A. moms Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein shopped for their little ones, they didn’t find any that reflected the Latino culture they grew up with. “We both knew there was something missing for our children,” says Rodriguez. Best friends since childhood, the two worked together to create Lil Libros, a line of simple board books that teach letters, numbers, shapes and...

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parenting

Creating Your Own Fun Family Traditions

Many family traditions are passed down through the years and are a great way to connect the generations. For my family, I like to incorporate traditions from our childhood and create new family traditions together. I believe traditions help us focus on experiences rather than things. Here are some ideas to help you make a lifetime of memories: Kindness or Service Elf: Our twist on “Elf on the Shelf” is...

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8 Tips for Talking to Kids About Alzheimer’s

Learning that a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be quite overwhelming. If you’re a parent and have to talk to your child about the disease, those feelings are likely exacerbated. This reality, while harsh, is one that affects millions of families. While we often think of Alzheimer’s as an illness that solely affects the patient diagnosed with the disease, the fact is, it affects the whole family. According to the Alzheimer’s...

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holiday traditions

Family Holiday Traditions Worth Sharing

Add any of these ideas from L.A. families to your seasonal celebration. When you roast a Thanksgiving turkey in my house, you have to use Grandad’s stuffing recipe. And all the up-and-coming young cooks in the family are pressed to take a good whiff of the stuffing so they can learn how much poultry seasoning to add. (Sniffing is the best way to tell.) Family and friends love my Christmas...

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Hottest Trends and Products from the ABC Baby & Kids Expo

What’s the hottest trends for baby and tots this year? Well, we found the world’s smallest stroller, a glider that reclines and charges your cell phone, colorful silicon food storage made even better and whimsical teepee tents to add some fun to your playroom. We’re back from the ABC Baby & Kids Expo, the largest juvenile-products trade show in North America, where we had an exclusive first look at all...

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Shop Talk: What’s Cookin?

The holiday season is the perfect time to show off those culinary skills. Don't have any? Don't fret! Here are some tools and treats that will have you whipping up tasty goodness in no time.

Family Loss

Grief During the Holidays

If your family lost a loved one this year, the approaching holiday season might seem a little less joyful. And how your family approaches it can make a big difference – especially for the children. “Kids are going to take their cues from the adults,” says Lauren Schneider, clinical director of child and adolescent programs at Our House Grief Support Centers in West L.A. and Woodland Hills. Our House provides...

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parenting

Lisa Ling: Blending Motherhood and Investigative Reporting

Lisa Ling loves to tell stories. As a mom, she has a daily ritual of cuddling with her two daughters and reading their favorite books. As an award-winning journalist she has told hard-hitting, investigative stories from around the globe. For years, I have watched and admired Ling, who has been a correspondent for “ABC World News Tonight,” the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” co-host of ABC’s “The View” and is now the...

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parenting book

Book Review: “Girls & Sex, Navigating the Complicated New Landscape”

Peggy Orenstein, a New York Times best-selling author, covers it all – sexual myths our teens believe, the effects of social media, the hookup culture, the role of drugs and alcohol and the realities of sexual assault – in this book that every parent should read. Orenstein is a journalist and a mom who shares her own concerns as a parent and tells us early on that the in-depth reporting...

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tech for kids

Anti-bullying App Saves Kids a Seat

Navigating the school cafeteria can be stressful. But for 16-year-old Natalie Hampton, who lives in Sherman Oaks and was verbally, physically and cyber bullied during middle school, lunch was one of the worst parts of the day. Being seen eating by herself didn’t help. “I felt vulnerable and worthless. I also think being excluded branded me as a target for bullying,” says Hampton. Her experience led her to create the...

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parenting

Three Everyday Questions for Your Kids

“How was school? How was your day?” That’s what I eagerly ask my 5-year-old daughter every day when I pick her up from school. My anticipation of an exciting and enthusiastic answer is quickly shot down when I get the same answer every time: a simple and monotone, “good.” That’s just not going to cut it. I need more than that! In my quest to find out what’s really on her mind, who she’s playing with, who’s not being nice...

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family loss

When a Baby Dies: Honoring Pain & Healing Hearts

I know firsthand the pain that comes from the death of a child. Thirty-five years ago, I said goodbye to my beloved daughter Jasmine. I will never forget the privilege of carrying life within me, feeling her every move, giving birth, nursing her at my breast and having her be an important part of our family for six months. Jasmine’s death is one that I still grieve, but as a perinatal education specialist, it’s one that guides me and helps me...

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kids' health

AAP’s New Sleep Recommendations Say Rooming-In is Best

Infants should sleep in the same bedroom as their parents – but on a separate surface, such as a crib or bassinet, and never on a couch, armchair or soft surface – to decrease the risks of sleep-related deaths, according to a new policy statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics Oct. 24. “SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment,” draws...

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enrichment

The Importance of Sticking with Enrichment

When interest fades, should kids quit or power through?  When Natasha Vogt, a San Fernando Valley mother of two, watched her younger daughter enthusiastically perform in her dance recital, she breathed a sigh of relief. Earlier, her 4-year-old had decided she wanted to quit tap and ballet lessons, but had been convinced to stick with it at least until her recital. “She enjoyed being on stage so much that we...

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kids money tips

Sunny Lee: Raising Money-Savvy Kids

Sunny Lee, the youngest of four children, grew up in a small village in South Korea. Watching her parents, factory and construction workers, scrimp to just barely meet their basic needs, Lee decided early on that she would use education, hard work and sheer determination to become financially independent. The Rancho Palos Verdes resident began her career as a journalist and later became a financial advisor. Her vigilance about money...

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girlfriend getaways

Girlfriend Getaways: Moms’ Time Out

This Sonoma girlfriends’ getaway is perfect for pals with a personality. Repeat after me: “I deserve a break from my momly duties. My girlfriends deserve a break. We are awesome, therefore we should do awesome things on our break.” Of course, escaping your family’s hectic schedule is not easy, nor is coordinating a getaway with busy friends. And finding a location not too far from home with activities that appeal...

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positive parenting

Finding Diversity in Children’s Books

Five Easy Ways to Find Inclusive Reads Your Kids Will Love “There were tons of brown kids just like me running around the neighborhood where I grew up in East L.A. in the mid-90s, but I never came across a single book about anyone who looked like me until high school,” says Julia Casas, youth services librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch. When Casas, a Latina,...

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parenting having the talk

If Your Child Accidentally Sees Online Porn

If it hasn’t already, it’s going to happen. Your child will type an innocent word into an online search engine, log onto a gaming site or search for a favorite music video and stumble onto photos and video you – and often they – would rather they didn’t see. Tracy Levine Wallace wants you to think about that now. “Be one step ahead of this,” urges the L.A. mom and...

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A Play Date With littleBits

Play dates are always fun, but getting to play the super cool creative engineer on the Disney campus is especially fun! L.A. Parent joined littleBits last week at Disney’s Creative Campus for an exclusive play date to unleash our inner inventor. Ayah Bdeir, creator of littleBits, joined the kids and adults with her product development team for a hands-on exploration of the modular electronic circuit blocks that easily snap together...

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positive parenting

On the Record: The Keep-Your-Cool Challenge

A diaper blowout right before you need to leave your house. Bedtime tantrums. The constant need to repeat things like, “Hurry up, let's go,” and, “Stop doing that!” A daily routine that leaves you so tired you become aggravated at your kids for splashing water at you during bath time. There are countless ways your kids can make you lose your cool, but your reactions to these parenting trials teach...

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parenting

The Push for Passion & Purpose in College Admissions

Parenting your child to build an honest college resume starts earlier than you think  to help your student stand out in competitive times  “We regret to inform you…” Those five words were enough to bring me to tears. I dashed to McDonald’s in the rain and drowned my sorrows with a Big Mac and Hi-C Orange. The rejection letter was from Rice University, the Harvard of the South. I cried...

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los angeles schools

A Peek Through the Portal

How online monitoring tools are impacting education and families Remember how your kids sometimes forgot to give you the Friday folder from school or pulled it out on Monday morning for a quick signature before you’d even looked at it? Or was that just my kid? Well, there’s a new Friday folder in town, the online student-parent portal, and families can access it any time they like. Do parents like...

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parenting

Striking a Preschool Balance: Play-Based vs. Academic Programs

Search out the best play-based and academic elements to find the right fit for your child. When my daughter, Mirae, was 3, she came home from preschool one day raving about baby rabbits. A rabbit had given birth and burrowed her offspring in the dirt just under the swing set at Mirae’s preschool, Pierce College Child Development Center in Woodland Hills. A child found the burrow, and the adventure began....

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fun ideas for kids

Booki Vivat Turns Doodles Into Her Debut Book

Inspiration for a writer can come for almost anywhere. An overheard conversation. A story on the news. Two paths diverged in the woods. For Booki Vivat, it was a doodle she drew that said: “I live my life in a constant state of impending doom.” That drawing evolved, eventually, into Vivat’s delightful debut book “FRAZZLED: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom” (due out Sept. 27 from HarperCollins Children’s Books). The book...

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parenting

Chat Room: Super Mamas is Bridging the Culture Gap for Latina Moms

Family is an all-encompassing part of Bricia and Paulina Lopez’s world. The sisters grew up working alongside their two other siblings in their parents’ Oaxacan restaurant on Olympic Boulevard in Koreatown, and are now not only co-owners of the family business, but co-anchors of their own parenting podcast, Super Mamás, geared toward young, hip, Latina moms. Bricia and Paulina were born in Oaxaca, Mexico and immigrated to Los Angeles with...

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positive parenting

Positive Parenting: Getting Some Headspace with a New App

Parents looking to give their kids a mindfulness boost – and get one for themselves – have a new option. This summer, the creators of the Headspace meditation app launched Headspace for Kids. Available to Headspace subscribers ($7.99-$12.95 per month), Headspace for Kids features meditations on five themes – calm, kindness, focus, sleep and waking up – for ages 5 and younger, 6-8 and 9-12. The meditations are designed for...

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positive parenting

Practice, Not Perfection: Mindfulness Meditation for Kids

Meditation is a simple tool that can help kids develop focus and feel more calm.  And it can be enjoyable. Parents can meditate with kids in playful ways that create safe space for emotions to surface and imaginations to be set free. But getting there takes some practice. Mindfulness practice and meditation are different for kids than for adults, but their purpose is the same: to build awareness by taking...

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parenting

Doc Talk: Beyond the Bicycle Helmet

It typically happens like this: A child hops on his bike, hollers to his mom that he’s going for a ride and is gone before she can even respond. No one has checked to see if he is wearing a helmet. No one even knows exactly where he is. The boy is hit by a car and knocked unconscious. Someone calls an ambulance and he is brought to our emergency...

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parenting

Helping Your Teen Through a Move

Being the parent of a teenager is a challenge in any city, but can be even more difficult if your family has recently relocated. Southern California in general, and Los Angeles in particular, can be a challenge for anyone who is not used to the diversity in people and activities. For a teen who is new to the area, the first few weeks or months will inevitably present challenges with...

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positive parenting

On The Record: Becoming a Butterfly Parent

Rhinoceroses are strong, have endurance and thick skin. A rhino charges toward its goals and never stops until it gets there. As a child, my bedtime stories were not about princesses and unicorns. They were about living life like a rhinoceros and not a cow. When I became a mother and had little rhinos of my own, I naturally wanted the same for them – to be strong and determined....

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parenting

Is Homework Worth Kids’ and Parents’ After-School Time?

Is the deluge of after-school tasks a necessary character builder or a waste of kids’ time? As we look back over our school days, most of us can remember a particularly torturous homework assignment – an English essay, a science project, maybe a history presentation – that kept us up past midnight or ruined a weekend. Or a perfect storm when a lack of communication between teachers meant two projects...

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positive parenting

How Your Kids Can Mindfully Succeed At School

Mindfulness and focusing have the potential to help children achieve school success with peace. I am talking about not just your peace of mind as a parent, but peace and ease for your children if they are experiencing aversion towards school or homework. Mindfully focusing at school can help students get through their day with greater ease and success. The effect of mindfulness on the brain supports increased memory, positive...

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parenting

Parenting After Divorce: Grandparents’ Visitation Rights

While on a lunch break this summer, I noticed a small group of children all wearing summer camp T-shirts that read “Grandma’s Summer Camp, 2016.” Printed on the shirts were destinations the children had been during previous “summer camps” with their grandparents – the Los Angeles Zoo, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Hollywood Bowl, etc. Watching the kids’ excitement to be together as a family took my mind off my workload...

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positive parenting

Positive Parenting: Experts Answer Your Questions For Early Childhood

We hear it all the time, and yet we can’t hear it often enough: Children’s early years matter. Your child’s first interactions with you and with others, the environment you create for your family, and your child’s earliest educational experiences influence how your child’s brain is built, and set the tone for her or his relationships with others and future learning. The idea can feel overwhelming, but by asking yourself...

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parenting

Parenting & Eating Disorders in Kids: When Healthy Goes Too Far

You’ve heard medical experts extol the virtues of healthy eating. You’ve been told to keep your children away from sugar, salt and processed foods, and have started to focus on healthy eating and nutrition for yourself and your child. With all this attention to healthy eating, you’ve certainly helped safeguard your child’s health. Or have you? Is it possible you’ve put them at risk? Unfortunately, when the focus on healthy...

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On the Record: Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

I’m a helicopter mom. I hover over my 5-year-old daughter, Sofia, watching and listening to everything she does and imposing my ideas and interests on her in hopes she’ll choose what I think is best. My friends call me “controlling,” but I thought being a helicopter mom meant you were being protective, loving, motivating and educating. I was dead wrong, and my helicopter made a hard landing. I became conscious...

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special needs

Must-Do Self-care Tips For Special-Needs Moms

Areva Martin is a busy woman. She is an attorney, legal analyst and commentator who often appears on “The Doctors,” “Dr. Phil,” “Dr. Drew” and “Good Morning America.” She founded and runs the resource and advocacy organization Special Needs Network and is a wife and mother of three, with one son on the autism spectrum. And – believe it or not – she has learned to take good care of...

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parenting

Parenting: Foster Care and Finding Forever Homes

Thousands of children desperately need a home, or even just a safe place to sleep tonight. And they aren’t in some developing country. They are right here in Los Angeles County. “There are 35,000 children in the foster-care system,” says Lynne Baumhoff, director of adoptions and foster care at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, which provides adoption and foster care services in Southern California. “Some are in foster...

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fun summer activities

Blackberry Crumble: A Sweet Taste of Childhood

Katie Shyne of Taste on Melrose shares fond memories and a Spiced Blackberry Crumble recipe. Doesn’t blackberry picking with your mom sound like a delicious way to spend a morning? Katie Shyne, executive pastry chef at Taste on Melrose, brings her childhood memory and a childhood favorite recipe to life in this Spiced Blackberry Crumble. “It’s one of the first things I learned how to make when I was a...

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fun ideas for kids

When Do Children Ask ‘What If’?

You’re on the freeway and the driver in front of you slams on the breaks. You can’t avoid rear-ending the car. Still, as you pull over, you sigh with relief that the accident wasn’t serious. And maybe you are a little more cautious on your next commute. This is an example of counterfactual reasoning or “what if” thinking. It helps us feel regret when things could have gone better, relief when they could have...

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school news

Silicon Valley School Opens New Campuses around L.A.

Stratford School, a Silicon Valley-based group of independent private schools, is opening new locations in Altadena and Los Angeles. Stratford is recognized as a leader in early childhood STEM education, and both new Southern California campuses are scheduled to open in August for the 2016-17 academic year. One of Stratford’s core missions is to incorporate technology into the fabric of learning, says Cheryl Molenkamp, director of Lower School of the...

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positive parenting

A Family Legacy Worth Leaving Behind

It is a day I will never forget – Christmas 2013 in snowy Chicago, and my parents were visiting from Texas. Christmas carols were playing, festive food and decorated cookies were on the table, and I had buttery egg nog in hand and a big smile on my face as I sat to watch my then 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, open her first gift from under our tree. The first package...

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positive parenting

Six Summer Essentials for Family Harmony

With a little advance planning, summer break with the kids at home does not have to be anxiety-filled. As the school year winds down, so do the hectic days of getting the kids dressed, getting lunches made and rushing out the door to make it before the first bell rings. Summer vacation gives parents and kids a respite from the demanding daily schedule. Oftentimes kids associate the end of the...

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parenting

Dealing With Tragic News

Whether it’s happening in Nice, Dallas, Louisiana, Orlando, Brussels or Paris, it can sometimes feel like tragedy is also taking place right in the palm of your hand – or your child’s – via social media and smartphones. “It’s just a constant bombardment of input. I was shocked to hear that kids are getting news information from Instagram,” says Caroline Knorr, parenting editor of Common Sense Media, a California-based nonprofit...

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summer activities

Ready For Summer With Pie

When strawberries come into season in the spring, at my house we start out by just bingeing on them plain – or with maybe a touch of whipped cream. Eventually, we get around to some shortcake. Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections – with locations in L.A., Echo Park and at Grand Central Market downtown – offers a recipe for another strawberry classic, strawberry-rhubarb pie. “Kids love pies,” says the mom...

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Finding the Successes in Your Child’s School Year

You open the report card and there among the As and Bs is a big fat C in math. If only, you think, we’d spent more time this year with flash cards or graphing calculators. But hold off before you cancel adventure camp and sign up for Kumon. Because when it comes to assessing your child’s school year, grades are just a starting point. In fact, an obsession with grades...

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positive parenting

A Family with Unreasonable Hope

The doctor said it again and again: “She will never ….” And for Chad Veach, hearing this about his 4-month-old daughter, Georgia, was too much. “My heart sank into my socks,” says Veach, pastor of Zoe Church in Los Angeles and author of the new book “Unreasonable Hope.”   The doctor was explaining to Veach and his wife, Julia, that their daughter has lissencephaly, which literally means “smooth brain” and is...

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parenting

Our 2016 Dad Hero: A Full-Throttle Father

In July of 2003, a man crashed his car through a barrier blocking off part of Arizona Avenue for Santa Monica’s bi-weekly farmers market, plowing through the crowd of shoppers and killing 10. Eric Castellanos was working as an Emergency Medical Technician for an ambulance company, and was one of the first responders that day, directing help for the 63 people injured. The California State Assembly later honored him with...

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parenting

On the Record: Raising Bilingual Children

“Mami, quiero milk,” my daughter Sofia, 5, said to me in Spanish the other day. Translation: “Mom, I want some milk.” In a very annoyed and frustrated tone, I found myself snapping back, “Sofia, don’t speak Spanglish! How do you say ‘milk’ in Spanish?” She paused and yelled, “Leche!” Why was I so angry? It was a parenting moment I feared coming, Sofia choosing speaking in English over Spanish –...

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Does Your Child Have a Mood Disorder?

You already know that children and adolescents are highly emotional beings. You’ve seen first-hand how their moods can shift quickly and dramatically. Your toddler might throw himself onto the grocery store floor in anger because he can't have the cereal he wants. Your teen might begin the day talkative and cheerful, but go silently to her room after school, slamming the door behind her. And you are left to wonder:...

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positive parenting

Tips to Help Your Child Deal With Recital Nerves

As the end of the school year draws near, we are entering into “recital” season. Your child may soon be participating in a dance recital or dance show. It is normal for them to be excited about the upcoming performance. In fact, these nerves are a sign of energy. Nerves are often transformed into an exciting on-stage charisma and a successful dance performance. But how do you help your child...

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community news

Fresh Films Giving Teen Filmmakers a Shot at Stardom

For any teen who has ever dreamed of making a Hollywood production, this summer that dream can become a reality! Fresh Films is calling all teens (no experience required) to apply for its free summer program presented by SUBWAY® & Best Buy to work on sets here in Los Angeles and seven other major cities across the country to produce new episodes of a kids’ TV show! More than 200 teens will be...

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A New Career as a Volunteer

Meet our 2016 Amazing Mom, Julie Weinstein To illustrate the icy cold of the Arctic described in "Eve of the Emperor Penguin" from the "Magic Tree House" series, Julie Weinstein taught her second-grade book-club readers to make their own ice cream. The students learned how a liquid can freeze into a solid – and that book club can be really fun. For a science project on insects, Weinstein brought ladybugs...

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activities for toddlers

Where to Find the Perfect Toy Truck Around LA

Hank is a 1-year-old gear jockey. He bounces with a kind of Strauss waltz-like ebullience when a wheel positions itself in his field of vision. I have no scientific data to back this up, but he seems to possess a nimble radar for all things automotive, almost like a shark sensing a floundering adolescent seal on a lazy current. Having witnessed my toddler son’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for all things with...

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5 Tips to Lessen Summer Visitation Drama

Summer is when many of us create some of the best memories with our children. For divorced parents who have limited custody during school months, summer visitation can provide an excellent opportunity to extend visits and spend quality time with their children. It also allows for children to maintain a loving relationship with both parents after a divorce. Parents typically follow a child custody order issued by the court during...

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5 Don’ts For a Stronger Marriage

Given enough time and togetherness, any relationship between two people will face a challenge or two. And all marriages take a bit of work, no matter how in love you are. “Love is a component, but it really is only one component,” says clinical psychologist Darren Sush, Psy.D., whose Brentwood-based practice specializes in helping parents of children with autism. Many other things come into play in making a marriage work....

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On the Record: What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

Every year when my husband asks, "What do you want for Mother's Day?" I always respond exactly the same way: “Amor, I don't need a Mother's Day gift. My kids are enough." But wait a minute, who am I kidding? I do want something! Why do I feel guilty admitting that I secretly want something for Mother’s Day? Is it because I feel like I should not get a gift...

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The Container Store and Goodwill Want to Help You Kiss Clutter Goodbye

The Container Store is teaming up with Goodwill Southern California to help customers Kiss Clutter Goodbye. Through May 15, The Container Store is encouraging customers to de-clutter, donate and do life organized. The spring campaign includes item-donation weekend events April 23-24 and April 30-May 1 at The Container Store’s locations, as well as a call for monetary donations to Goodwill Southern California through May 15. “In partnership with Goodwill, we’re...

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Take Time, Talk: Eight Ways to Support Your Child’s Language Development

Like a snowball growing as it rolls downhill, young children’s vocabulary expands faster and faster as they hear more words. However, a constant stream of words from the radio or even an educational children’s video won’t create this cumulative advantage in language processing. Instead, social interaction (the back-and-forth, turn-taking nature of conversation) and talking with infants and toddlers will build their language and communication skills. This might seem easier said...

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Archer School for Girls Hosts Launch of FabLab Science Show

On a crisp March morning at The Archer School for Girls in West Los Angeles, students gathered to celebrate the launch of “FabLab,” a STEM-inspired television show aimed at tween and teen girls. With females making up only 30 percent of the characters on kids’ TV, “FabLab” brings meaningful girl characters to the forefront. Four of the show’s five hosts are female, and the producers are dedicated to showcasing women’s...

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Green Beauty and Home Care Products For Your Family

We all want to avoid exposing our families to harmful chemicals, whether they come in the form of airborne environmental toxins, pesticides in our food or toxic ingredients in our personal-care and household-cleaning products. The biggest offenders may be petrochemicals, which are derived from petroleum, oil and coal and have been linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and cancer. These widely used offenders can be found in just about...

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Can You Afford to Work Less?

Becoming a parent is a wondrous thing. Balancing home and work can be less wondrous – a parental juggling act of being present for the family and earning a living. To have more time for children, one parent occasionally scales back work. In my case, I’d had a career and waited to have a baby, so I wanted to be home with my newborn. In Los Angeles, where childcare costs...

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Working On a Dream

Their cell phones are never quiet and seem to vibrate simultaneously. During a recent afternoon, their oldest daughter, Avivah, is trying to coordinate a ride on Lyft from her high school in west Los Angeles to their home in the San Fernando Valley. Matt Asner takes care of the logistics while his wife, Navah Paskowitz, answers a text from their son. They’re frazzled, but definitely in sync. Asner and Paskowitz...

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Ace Your Next Well-child Checkup

Before they turn 3, kids are supposed to have 10 well-child visits with a pediatrician (apart from those inevitable visits for childhood illnesses). These should offer a chance to address the many questions parents of young children face, but time with the pediatrician is often less than 15 minutes – hardly enough time to cover even the basics. To make the most of that time, be prepared. Before your child’s...

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toys

New York Toy Fair – Unplugged

I made my annual trek to New York in February to attend the Toy Industry of America’s Toy Fair, a trade show that features hundreds of thousands of new toys, games and novelties from more than 1,200 exhibitors. It was worth braving the record-low temps and snow flurries of Manhattan for a sneak peek at the products hitting stores this spring or fall. Drones, robots and toys with integrated apps...

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Milk + Bookies Story Time Fundraiser Adds Celeb Readers

Milk + Bookies' 7th Annual Story Time Celebration is gearing up with new celebrity faces and a new open-door policy. In previous years the celebration and its arts and crafts, costumed characters, yummy treats and celebrity readers (who have included Tiffani Thiessen, Jack Black and JJ Abrams) was only open to those working with the non-profit organization. This time Milk + Bookies is extending an invitation to all L.A.-area parents to celebrate...

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Zaniac Brings Play-Based STEM to Santa Monica

STEM learning is all the rage these days, and its eponymous subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – have enormous potential for engaging learners in meaningful and rewarding enrichment. Zaniac taps into that capacity with its after-school centers in eight states throughout the U.S. In February, Zaniac opened its first California learning center in Santa Monica. Zaniac’s founders set out to create a place where kids in kindergarten through...

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5 Ways To Shrink Your Child’s Digital Footprint

Yalda Uhls understands how much you want to Instagram those adorable photos of your toddler on the potty. Really, she does. And the mom of a 13-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy is happy that Instagram wasn’t around when her children were small. “I have the cutest picture of my daughter and her friend in the bathtub,” says Uhls, senior scientific researcher at The Children’s Digital Media Center@LA at UCLA....

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Peter Walsh: Making DeCluttering a Family Affair

It starts with the baby shower and grows to invade our living rooms, closets and kitchen counters. Under the weight of all the baby gear, toys, art projects, school announcements, awards and books, we wonder whether it is even possible to de-clutter when you are parenting kids. Peter Walsh, an L.A.-based organization expert, best-selling author and a contributor on “The Rachael Ray Show,” says the answer is a definite yes! But...

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6 Most Common Sleep Training Myths Debunked

Have you ever stopped to think about what the definition of “sleep training” really is? Unfortunately, several incorrect sleep training stereotypes exist, suggesting that the practice requires parents to do everything from shutting the door on an 8-week-old baby for 12 hours, to eliminating nighttime feedings, to surrendering your family values to a sleep trainer who stays overnight at your home for several weeks. As a sleep consultant, I’ve heard...

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Doc Talk: Why There Are No Accidents

The other day, a 9-year-old came in to the emergency department with an elbow fractured in a way that required a surgical repair with metal pins, and a cut across the middle of his forehead that required plastic surgery. He had tried to skateboard down six stairs. In emergency medicine, we don’t call these “accidents,” because the injuries that happen by accident are almost always preventable. And the key to...

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8 Creativity Boosters for Kids

One of our jobs as parents is to find new ways to inspire and encourage our children’s curiosity, creativity and interest in the world around them. Try these eight tips to spark your child’s inner artist, actor or architect. Role Playing. How often have you heard the words, “Mom, can you play with me?” And what kind of games do our kids want to play most? The most exciting and...

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Operation Shower Hosts Shower For Military Moms-To-Be

Television host, sportscaster and military spouse Leeann Tweeden is helping bring joy to 40 Los Angeles-area military moms-to-be when she serves as guest host of a group baby shower in their honor.  The event is scheduled from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 16 in the clubhouse at The Riviera Country Club during the PGA TOUR’s 2016 Northern Trust Open.  The moms are active-duty service members or the spouses of deployed members...

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Eyeing Digital Device Safety

Nearly 64 percent of parents spend more than five hours a day looking at digital screens. And if we’d put down our smart phones and tablets long enough, we would notice that our kids are right behind us, with 65 percent connected two hours a day or more. Those figures are from a recent report by The Vision Council, a vision care industry group. The report, “Eyes Overexposed: The Digital...

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products - beauty

Beauty Products We Love

For the last six months, the staff and parent testers at the National Parenting Products Awards have examined and experimented with an abundance of creams, gels, lotions and potions in search of beauty products that actually deliver results. Here are our favorites. (See more beauty product reviews at NAPPAawards.com.)

Finny’s Screen Time Initiative Gives Parents a Say

How to control and monitor screen time while preventing device addiction is a constant balancing act for parents. A Santa Monica-based app company is helping turn screen time into teachable moments and giving back at the same time. Finny recently released its parental engagement app with the goal of increasing awareness around device addiction making it easier for parents to control their child's smartphones, but also make their screen time better....

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CDC Issues Travel Warning for Pregnant Women

Planning a “babymoon” cruise to the Caribbean or a Mexican getaway? Take note of a CDC travel alert that is especially directed at pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant traveling to countries where Zika virus has become a threat: Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This alert follows reports in Brazil of microcephaly...

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$1,000 Prize Offered In Dad Essay Contest

The DADLY Rally is coming to L.A., and is looking for moms who want to brag about the dads in their lives. Prior to its March 19 Los Angeles event at Kellogg Center at Cal Poly Pomona, the DADLY Rally is holding an essay contest with a $1,000 prize. Moms first register the dad they want to brag about through the DADLY Rally website (www.dadlyrally.com), then submit a 250-word essay...

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Building Your Baby’s Brain

Your earliest interactions with your child set the foundation for future learning A few moms sit on the floor of a bright, airy playroom at Well Baby Center in L.A. with their 1-year-olds toddling nearby. Facilitators, family therapist interns who are Masters-level graduate students, move among the toys, babies and moms. Each time a baby approaches an adult, she or he is engaged in back-and-forth play. Each giggle or squeal...

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Driving, Dreaming and Daytime Napping in L.A.

How to waste gasoline in style while putting your baby to sleep I’m leaping over speed bumps, cruising the potholed boulevards and aimlessly wandering the canyon roads. I have no destination and am often jammed in a traffic-laden city artery, but I have not an ounce of road rage, lane pain or street defeat. No, I’m delighted, because Hank is still asleep in the back seat. When you have a...

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Read Aloud Like a Rock Star

Seven Secrets from Voice-Over Actors, Teachers and Literacy Experts Early in my time volunteering with BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), I picked up my first valuable lesson on what not to do when reading to kids. On that fresh, September morning, my read-aloud selection for the 20 eager third graders gathered before me at Paseo del Rey Elementary in Playa del Rey was an educational but – in...

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A Plea for More Old-Fashioned Play

Happy New Year! Like many of you I also had a busy holiday season. This week, our kids were ready to go back to school, the house is slowly getting back to normal and routine is kicking in. If you are like our family, many gifts were given and received, especially anything that was device- or game-oriented. As a parent, educator and advocate for wellness and vitality, I have to...

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Hot Wheelers Comes to Outside the Box

Wheelchair accessibility and new classes are part of the learning center’s expansion. Outside the Box opened its first 500-square-foot storefront in 2009. The center, devoted to sensory activities that contribute to brain development for ages 8 weeks to 6 years, has expanded a couple of times over the years, and always made good use of the space. There were bubbles. There was paint. There were musical instruments, giggles and squeals....

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fun ideas for kids

Great Cold-Weather Gear

Feeling that winter chill? Here are some finds that will keep you cozy as the temperature drops. For more product reviews, visit NAPPAawards.com.  

Toddler Town Debuts at AdventurePlex

Farm-to-table fun – designed just for toddlers – is coming to AdventurePlex, Beach Cities Health District’s 17,000-square-foot kids fitness and health facility in Manhattan Beach. Officially dubbed “Toddler Town,” AdventurePlex’s newest healthy play zone includes an interactive toddler-sized farm, market and beach home – each specially crafted to help introduce kids ages 5 and younger to the organic farm-to-table nutrition cycle through imaginative play. AdventurePlex will also offer a variety...

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Talking to Kids About Therapy

If you are parenting children today, there is a good chance you have thought about taking your kids to therapy. Maybe your little one is acting out, having trouble making friends or just not listening. Or your teen is struggling in school, being victimized by bullying or engaging in risky behavior. Maybe a death, divorce or other family situation has made you wonder how best to help your child cope....

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How To Get Your Baby’s Eyes Checked – Free

“Ten fingers, ten toes,” are often the words you hear from the delivery room nurse, telling you there are no serious problems with your baby's health. Whew! The baby's crying. The lungs are fine. The nurses go on with their routine physical evaluation, making sure your baby has made it through the birth process in excellent shape. Once your new family is back home, you start to track your baby’s...

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Mary McNamara: A Mom With a Critical Eye on TV

Mary McNamara took on her job as television critic at The Los Angeles Times in 2009. The mother of three – Danny Stayton, 17; Fiona Stayton, 15 and Darby Stayton, 9 – had been a features writer and editor at The Times for 18 years when she was offered the job. “My question was, ‘Can I work from home?’ And they said, ‘Oh yeah, you’ll have to.’ If I didn’t...

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Top Tech Tools for Families

The school year is half over and the holidays are here and I’m starting to feel the familiar overwhelm. The errands, events, work demands and to-dos seem to multiply mercilessly as I try to handle it all. And while over the years I’ve gotten better at greeting stress with a smile, it still can feel hard to breathe when you realize your life is wall-to-wall, and cloning has not yet...

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Fun ideas for kids - Communigift

CommuniGift Helps Birthday Boys and Girls “Gift Back”

Most children who attend The Salvation Army’s Los Angeles Day Care Center downtown don’t expect a big party and a pile of presents on their birthdays. The center serves low-income children, many with parents who spend long hours working nearby in the Fashion District. So, 4-year-old Henry was shocked and delighted to receive presents courtesy of a secret birthday buddy who decided to “gift forward” some birthday presents through an...

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Are Those Toys Safe, Ducky?

The baby board book, featuring lots of colors and textures meant to stimulate developing brains, was labeled “organic.” Josh Kasteler tested it anyway, and found that the packaging contained such a high level of phthalates – chemicals widely believed to disrupt hormone levels – that it contaminated the book as well. Kasteler, a biochemist and molecular biologist who founded Santa Monica-based Safe Ducky (www.safeducky.com) in June, tests toys and other...

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Motherhood and Managing the Holiday Blues

Most of us have an image in our minds of the perfect family holiday: Sitting together around a table eating a delicious meal and sharing family stories, or maybe cuddled in front of the fireplace with beautiful decorations all around, exchanging gifts. But these pictures often aren’t as close to our reality as we would like. The pressure to create beautiful holiday memories, coupled with the everyday pressures of being...

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Holiday fun

Holiday Recipes From Milo and Olive

When Erin Eastland was moving to Southern California from New York in 2005, it didn’t take her long to figure out that she wanted to call Santa Monica home. It helped that she and her family scoped out the city on a Wednesday. “We came upon the farmers’ market and I was like, ‘We’re done,’” says the mom of two, who is now executive chef at Milo and Olive, a...

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Business-Minded Parents Make a Playdate Connection

When Lisa Fisher rolled into the launch party for the parent networking group Playdate Connection – trailed by her 2-year-old son, Drake, who has autism – she had no idea what to expect. “I didn’t know what the word ‘networking’ meant,” she says. “I’d never sold anything to strangers before. I was nervous.” It turned out she had nothing to fear. As soon as the paraplegic entrepreneur started putting out...

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Keeping It Real For Your Child Actor

Every parent is proud of their little darling’s accomplishments, from the finger paintings on the refrigerator to – in the case of some of our Hollywood-bred children – the National commercial airing during the Super Bowl. We adults recognize the difference between these two accomplishments, but kids might feel much more excited about their artwork on the fridge than about the day they spent on set eating cereal. And that’s...

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Tips For Buying Your Child an Instrument

The holidays are at hand and you want to surprise your musically inclined child with a brand-new instrument. Or maybe your rental is due in a month and you would rather put money into an instrument you own. First, I want to applaud you for making this important investment into your child’s musical education and enrichment. A top-quality instrument can provide enjoyment for many years. But what do I look...

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Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Promoting ‘Conscious’ Parenting

Becoming a parent changes us in the most profound and irrevocable ways, and it is often our children who motivate and inspire us to grow into our best selves. Through everyday interactions and ordinary moments, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful connection with our children and nurture a deep sense of resilience, tolerance and self-acceptance in them. But first we need to better understand ourselves, says Shefali Tsabary,...

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5 Baby Sleep Challenges During Holiday Travel

Traveling and parenting during the holidays can be strenuous enough without a baby. Add a little one to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster! Trying to get from one family get-together to the next can wreak havoc on your baby’s sleep schedule, leading to less sleep for everyone in the family. Read on to learn how to tackle the most common travel-related baby sleep challenges including plane...

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Actor Taye Diggs Celebrates Diversity With New Children’s Book

Helping kids of mixed race and culture celebrate their uniqueness with confidence was the focus of a recent Multiculti Mixer in West Los Angeles featuring a special appearance and book reading by actor Taye Diggs. The event was hosted by Multiculti Corner, a culturally diverse community of people with the intention to recognize, embrace, and celebrate what it means to be a part of a blended family. The co-host of...

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What To Do When Your Kids Argue

Sibling rivalry is one of the most discussed topics in my practice. “How do I get my children to stop fighting? How do I help them get along?” No matter what the age difference between the children, this is an area of no escape. Common areas of conflict include siblings sharing rooms, siblings being rude to one another and siblings arguing when a friend is over. And when rivalries flare...

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How to Choose a Child-Centered Preschool

Extensive research shows that attending preschool helps children develop social and emotional skills, improves their reading and language development, and gives them the opportunity to make decisions and ask questions in a safe environment. Regardless of their socio-economic status, race or location, children who have attended preschool are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and less likely to repeat a grade, have substance-abuse problems or commit a...

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Kids Help Kids With Your Golden Ticket

Community involvement and philanthropy are common dinnertime conversation topics for the Woods family, so it’s no surprise that Lisa and Josh Woods of West Los Angeles fully supported their children’s decision to start their own nonprofit to help less-fortunate kids. Created by 11-year-old twins Ryan and Jack, and their 8-year-old sister, Marley, Your Golden Ticket gives disadvantaged youth an opportunity to experience the excitement of live events such as ball...

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Have a Fabulous Fiesta Birthday!

Lucky and I love throwing parties, celebrating with friends, laughing, drinking and eating. Lucky is the chef of the house and I am the party planner – but neither of us likes doing the dishes! Here are our tips for a great fiesta with plenty of fun ideas for kids: Mix up the guest list. Invite your most fun friends and your most interesting friends. Sometimes, these are the same...

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Healthy Food Tips from Thyme Café & Market

Chef Maire Byrne, founder of Thyme Café & Market in Santa Monica (www.thymecafeandmarket.com), grew up in L.A. in a home with five brothers and sisters, so she’s no stranger to mixing food and family. Now the mom of two daughters, she was happy to share her favorite tips about healthy family fare. What is your approach to healthy eating for your family? At home, we eat pretty clean. We have...

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This Service Brings Healing To Your Home

Renee Dua is a doctor – and a busy L.A. mom of two. And after an exceptionally long night in a hospital emergency room with her infant, to receive medical attention for something that any pediatrician could have handled, she’d had enough. “We spent eight hours of our day sitting there,” Dua says. So in mid-February she founded Heal, a service that brings doctors to see patients at home. All...

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A Book Club Podcast Just For Tweens

For almost 10 years, Kitty Felde hosted “Talk of the City” on local public radio station KPCC. Part of the fun was attending the L.A. Times Festival of Books and meeting listeners at the KPCC table. Parents would bring their kids with them, and the kids would say they also listened to the station. Felde’s response: “You do not.” But the kids would always insist, “We have to. We’re in...

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Stop Over-Parenting and Raise An Adult

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in the media, at PTA meetings and among parents and educators on the effects of helicopter parenting – knowing when to step in to help and when to allow children to do things for themselves. A new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims does a great job exploring the topic of over-parenting and its detrimental effects on young adults. How to Raise...

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Celebrate Good Times

Planning a party? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with great finds, including fun ideas for kids, that will make your next shindig a hit! Party Plan On the Go Need a little inspiration? The Partyology app (free for iOS, www.partyology.com) lets you design, plan and shop from top retailers with your iPhone or iPad. Get instant access to great party tips from bloggers and party experts, and find...

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Try This Fun Fall Workout With the Kids

It’s that time of year. The kids are back in school, and suddenly, life is crazy busy again, which means getting in a workout can be even more challenging. As a mom of two and pre/postnatal exercise specialist, I’ve found the best way to do this is to involve your kids. I hope you and your little ones will find this 10-minute workout fun and effective! Sara Haley is an...

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Stress Busters for Students

There’s no question that academic expectations for students have become more rigorous in recent years. You may have heard that traditional kindergarten at most public schools is now academically equivalent to what first grade was a generation ago. And it doesn’t get any easier from there. While many students enjoy and rise to the challenge of mastering new subjects, the steadily increasing load of schoolwork, tests and homework can take...

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Helping Your ‘Average’ Student Thrive

Somewhere between the worlds of the trilingual 5-year-old concert pianist and the student struggling through remedial classes lies another student. This is the average student, the one who neither breaks scholastic records nor lives on the edge of failure. He can easily be overlooked by teachers because he’s not putting cherry bombs in toilets, nor is he solving the world’s food-shortage problems. He is just getting by. That’s not good...

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Why Kids Need Job Skills Now

Except for occasionally being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” most of us didn’t give much thought to our career options until our college years. Maybe. Our focus up to that point was on getting the grades to get into college. These days, programs are popping up that capitalize on our teens’ desire to do things on their own terms, channeling that drive to help...

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Local Programs That Give Girls a Voice

Janel Pineda always knew she loved writing, but never thought about how that could impact her life. That changed when her uncle mailed her a newspaper about a Los Angeles writing program for young girls. At age 14, Pineda joined WriteGirl, where she attended writing workshops and worked closely with a mentor throughout high school. “I always wrote short stories and poems in my free time, but my school was...

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A Fetching Family Service

Necessity isn’t always the mother of invention. Sometimes, it’s parenting fatigue. At least that’s how it worked for Bryson Strauss and Ashley Eaton, who became parents for the first time four years ago. “It’s just so incredibly exhausting having a child,” Strauss says. During one of many sleepless nights, husband and wife looked at each other and said, “We wish someone could just go get us some diapers.” The result...

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A Different Kind of Carpool

Need to get each of your three kids to a different place at the same time? HopSkipDrive (www.hopskipdrive.com), a ride service started by three L.A. moms tired of struggling to get their children to various activities, could be the answer. No, this isn’t Uber for kids. HopSkipDrive is more like an extension of your child’s caregiver. Drivers will follow your pick-up and drop-off instructions, walking in to sign your kids...

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Detecting Body-Image Issues In Your Teen

What does your teen see when he or she looks in the mirror? “Body image” is how we describe what people believe about their outward appearance, how they feel about their bodies and how they sense and control their movements. Issues can occur when teens start showing signs of a negative body image, perceiving their bodies as something other than reality, convinced that their size or shape is a personal...

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Emotional Health Begins In the Womb

Our experiences in the womb, during birth, and as young babies set in motion physical, mental, emotional and relational patterns that can have a profound and lifelong impact. Babies in the womb are conscious and aware of – and respond to – the outside world. So, how do we communicate with our “inside babies”? According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and author of Silent Messages, 70 to 90 percent...

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Finding a Home For treehaus

Saralynne Lowrey Precht and Michelle Pedersen met at an early-intervention therapy program at the Cheerful Helpers Child and Family Study Center in L.A., not long after their sons were diagnosed with autism. Over play dates, family dinners and therapy sessions, they found they shared a common childhood vision of owning a boutique. As they mulled over how to make it happen, they researched how to navigate L.A.'s Fashion District, work with artists...

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Teaching Kids To Speak Up

My daughter is lost in play with a friend, and I watch as her eyes suddenly fix on the floor beneath her. The conversation is quiet and I can’t quite make out the words between them, but I can sense from her posture that she doesn’t want to speak up. The path of least resistance tends to be her favorite path, even if it means pushing her own ideas and...

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Don’t Neglect Essential Social-Skills Development

“Don’t miss the forest for the trees,” so the saying goes. When it comes to parenting, the “trees” are the many academic milestones and measuring sticks society tends to focus on, and the “forest” is the bigger picture of overall development and social skills in our children. Society tends to be achievement oriented and, once children reach ages 3 to 5, their ability to verbalize, add, subtract and write takes...

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Use The Six R’s For a Smoother Return to School

Stocking up on new notebooks and sharpened pencils is the easy part of going back to school. Oftentimes, a more difficult adjustment is navigating the emotional changes kids and parents experience in the early days and weeks of returning to the classroom. But the start of a new school year doesn’t have to be stressful for kids or for parents – just remember the six R’s: Rest: Make sure your...

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30 Real-Food Snack Ideas for Kids

Snack. The word itself sounds fun and delicious, right? We all perk up when imagining our own personal-sized package of chips, crackers or cookies. Sadly, these so-called “snacks” are just treats with a convenient name change. Most Americans are not eating quality meals or snacks, but instead are eating packages of sugary, salty, empty carbs with minimal nutrition. We have been conditioned to crave these snacks in bright, colorful boxes,...

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Turn Your Kids Into Drought Busters

This past spring, after a disappointingly dry winter made it clear that 2015 would be the fifth year of California’s punishing drought, Bettina Bush’s 5-year-old daughter, Cassie, started learning about hygiene at school. “She was spending a lot of time in the bathroom washing her hands,” says the L.A. mom of two. The water was running, and it was time for some positive parenting and a mother-daughter talk. Bush, editor-at-large...

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College Life: 5 Things To Tell Your Daughter Before Move-In Day

Your daughter is going off to college and you’re worried she won’t be prepared to live away from home (though she’d probably beg to differ). The team behind HerCampus.com and The Her Campus Guide to College Life  has some simple tips you can offer to help her get the most out of her first dorm experience and have the best freshman year possible. Protect your safety and your belongings. Dorm...

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Mario Lopez: A Dad With Something Extra

Mario Lopez is host of the Emmy award-winning entertainment news show “Extra,” and has his own radio show, but he’s also an L.A. dad who fits in plenty of family time. Parenting his daughter, Gia, 4, and son, Dominic, 1, isn’t always easy in a profession and a city known for its hustle and bustle, but with the support of his wife, Courtney Mazza, they make it work. A typical...

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Daniella Guzman & Whit Johnson: Anchored to Family

Like most parents with careers, Daniella Guzman and Whit Johnson fit two full-time jobs into each day, juggling their work responsibilities as co-anchors of NBC4’s “Today in LA” and the work of parenting their young kids. But their work days have an usual twist: They start at 1:30 a.m. Because their news show airs live from 4:30-7:30 a.m. weekdays, the co-hosts’ morning alarms go off when most of us are...

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How Failure Improves Homework Habits

Most parents want to make sure they are doing everything they can to assure their children are happy, healthy, feel good about themselves and are successful. “How do I get my child to clean up their room without a fuss?” “How do I limit electronic entertainment?” “How do I get them to stop fighting with their siblings?” These are common questions I receive. But one of the most common is:...

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Keep Tabs on Children’s Product Recalls

Maria L. recently searched a swap meet for the perfect stroller for her baby, due in a couple of weeks. When she settled on one to purchase, Maria had no idea that the item was on a Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) list of recalled products  known to cause injury and deaths. Recently, to help Maria save money, her family and friends also gave her used baby items that they...

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Three Keys to Positive Parenting

As the mother of three wonderful children and a professional psychologist, I have often been asked – by my clients, friends and family – “How do you do it?” My answer is that having a positive mind and attitude will allow you to accomplish things and get tasks done. The key to reaching that positive attitude is to be organized, take time for self-care and learn to let go. We...

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Parenting : Candace Parker at home

Candace Parker: An All-Star at Work and at Home

Candace Parker’s athletic résumé is almost unmatched. She led the University of Tennessee Lady Vols women’s basketball team to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2007 and 2008, leading the team in scoring (20.6 points per game) and rebounds her final season. She was named the 2007 and 2008 John R. Wooden Collegiate Female Player of the Year, State Farm Player of the Year, Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Year...

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L.A. Moms Who Blog

A new blog is created somewhere in the world every half second (if you believe what you read online). When I was pregnant with my first child, back before I knew enough to appreciate all that private time, I too, decided to start a blog. But after my son was born, regular showers and sit-down meals became fond memories and the only “me time” available was during naptime, during which...

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Three Powerful Ways to Motivate Summertime Music Practice

As a teacher, I am frequently asked how to encourage children to practice during summer break and school holidays. Some experts believe children who do not practice (or rarely practice) during summer will need one additional month of practice to recover their skill at the end of the holiday. So, what can you do? Get involved. Ask your child about the piece he or she is working on. Sit with...

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Isabel Garretón: Mixing Family and Fashion

While many entrepreneurs start their businesses with customers in mind, Isabel Garretón started out thinking about her suppliers. Twenty-five years ago, she created her self-titled upscale children’s apparel line to give underprivileged moms from her native Chile an opportunity to raise themselves up through the work of their hands. And what beautiful work it is. Garretón now employs more than 100 artisans who specialize in hand embroidery, hand smocking and...

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In-Home, Post-Natal Newborn Service Launches In Southern California

Orange County Mom Creates Non-Medical Post-Natal Newborn Service “Uccellino” to Assist New Parents with Newborn Care in the Comfort of their Own Home Newborn babies typically don’t come with instruction manuals, but thanks to a new service created by the personal experiences of an Orange County mom, “motherly” advice and support can now be just a phone call or home visit away. Uccellino, which in Italian means “little bird,” is...

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Positive Parenting : Project Giving Kids

The New Kid in Town: Project Giving Kids

Have your children considered volunteering, then hesitated, not knowing where to begin? Project Giving Kids (www.projectgivingkids.org) makes positive parenting easier with age-appropriate volunteer opportunities around Los Angeles. Founded in Boston in 2013 and newly launched in L.A., the service is designed specifically for kids. “Kids can drive the whole process by learning about causes they relate to and choosing fun, rewarding ways to help support those causes,” says founder Molly...

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Taking the Perfect Family Photo: Photographers Give Their Advice

With summer under way, families are getting together for barbecues, pool parties and outdoor adventures, and taking advantage of all these summer activities to stage family photos. Family portraits can get a little stressful, especially since there is always that one person in the group who feels like taking pictures is not for them. Whether you have little ones who get fussy and don’t want to pose, a relative who...

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Teach Life Skills This Summer

As summer begins, many parents look forward to a relaxing, stress-free two months. They are so happy to be relieved of the pressures of getting their children ready for school in the morning, making lunches and making sure homework gets done in a timely manner. The household looks forward to the less-structured environment and a vacation from routine. I understand and sympathize with this feeling of relief. However, I want...

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Parenting Kids In a Multicultural Family

Each of Chanel and Ioakim Boutakidis’ two sons had a traditional Chinese Red Egg and Ginger party to mark his first month of life. Each also had a Greek Orthodox baptism, in Greece, before he turned 2. In the Boutakidis’ Altadena home, there is always a pot of rice on the stove and cucumber-and-tomato salad in the refrigerator. Their large extended family gathers for Chinese New Year and Greek Easter....

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When Parenting is Not What You Expected

Los Angeles-based psychologist and neuropsychologist Rita Eichenstein, Ph.D., has worked with what she calls “atypical” children for more than 25 years. Eichenstein coined the term “atypical” to help describe kids who have combinations of developmental, behavioral and learning differences that make it difficult to fit them into neat categories of clinical diagnosis. “But what I have come to realize is that focusing on the child’s needs is not sufficient,” she...

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Three Keys to Teaching Kids Gratitude

It can be difficult as parents to maintain our sense of gratitude. Our days are often full of activity, stress and fatigue. Sometimes the idea of writing in a gratitude journal can feel like the last thing we want to tack on to the end of our day. And yet we know that the more we set an intention to practice gratitude in our daily lives, the easier it becomes....

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3 Ways to Help Boost Your Teen’s Self-Esteem after Rejection

Rejection is never easy. More difficult to handle, as a parent, is the rejection of your child. You feel responsible and take the rejection personally. You ask yourself, How did I fail as a parent? But even more, you ask yourself, What can I say or do to mend my child’s broken heart? As a mother or father, you’re usually at a loss as to what to do in the...

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Parenting and Business: Connecting With Customers

Our families and our business consume every waking moment of the day – and sometimes most of our nights. We are in the moment-by-moment flow of parenting and taking care of a healthy family, as well as growing and creating a healthy business that will provide for our family today and tomorrow. When you have a family with more than one child, just as when you have a business with...

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Party Invitation Tips From the Pros

Every year we grow a little older. And when we are children, this is fun. That’s because of birthday parties. And if you are planning a party for your child, you know that you can’t open the gifts, cut the cake or get to that magical singing-over-the-candles moment unless you’ve sent out the invitations. Here, then, are a few parenting tips to help you do that with maximum etiquette and...

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Finding Quality Childcare in L.A.

Choosing a childcare provider can be one of the most important decisions parents can make, particularly during the years before a child starts kindergarten. The number of available options can be overwhelming, and it is easy to be tempted to go with the first recommendation from a friend or neighbor. But experts warn that a childcare solution that works for one family might not work for yours. Here are some...

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Parenting Through Technology Transitions

These tips will help you take your child from total supervision to safe driving on the digital highway. Not that long ago, a child’s road to independence was pretty straightforward. At first, you took them everywhere with you. Then, maybe, you let them walk down the street to a trusted neighbor’s house. Eventually, they made the trek to school with a friend. Little by little, they made their way from...

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Divorce and The Two-Household Family

A few simple strategies can make family time better at both parents’ houses. Do you still have homework? What time did you go to bed? What did you eat this weekend? What did you do at Daddy’s? Did Mom take you to get new sneakers? When you’re divorced or separated and the kids have been with their other parent all week or weekend, it’s tempting to start asking questions the...

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Enrichment and Beyond

For children interested in any kind of extracurricular activity – from sports to science to the arts – parent involvement and support are vital. While this often doesn’t go much farther than picking up and dropping kids off, signing a few forms and maybe buying snacks for the team, parents face a world of opportunities for bringing their children’s enrichment experiences home as well. Decades of research shows how vital...

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Showering a Baby with Books

By Dr. Helen Foster James Recently it was my pleasure to attend a baby shower for a longtime friend who had just become a first-time grandma. She was delighted to have a new little one in her life and her friends rallied around her in celebration. I had never heard of a baby shower for grandmas, but I’m always happy to celebrate with a friend. I googled around and found...

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10 Ways To Show (not tell) Your Child Reading Matters to You

You’ve told your child reading is important, but your actions are far louder than words. Set a good parenting example for your child by showing how important reading is to you and your entire family. Here are ten ways to show (not tell!) your child reading is important. Let your child see you reading. Parents frequently read when children are tucked away asleep. Let them see you reading. When they...

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A Course In Stepmothering

When I became a stepmom eight years ago, there were few resources to guide me over the rough spots in my new life. I read the only thin book I could find on the subject of parenting step children, and its bottom line was: “It’s the hardest job you’ll ever have and no one will ever thank you for it.” Before step-motherhood, I thought I was a kind and thoughtful...

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Baking Tips From L.A. Cookie Con

If you weren’t among the thousands of people who surged through the Pasadena Convention Center Jan. 25 for the debut of the L.A. Cookie Con & Sweets Show, you haven’t entirely missed out. True, you won’t get to indulge in the hundreds of samples doled out by the dozens and dozens of exhibitors, but we did gather some baking tips to help you stir up something sweet at home. If...

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Parenting Essay: Grocery Shopping with Kids in Tow

I know what you're thinking. There's no such thing as grocery shopping with one baby, let alone three. But I have my parenting ways. That is because I ask for help. A few appointments ran long while the kids were at daycare, so there I was at Albertsons in Reseda after picking up my 6-month-old twins and my very active 3-year-old. I walked into the store, and before I could...

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Parenting to Entrepreneur

From Parenting to Entrepreneur: Not Such a Stretch!

Today, you formulated a carpool plan, found a math tutor and baked two dozen muffins for the classroom party, and it’s not even 8 a.m. yet! Without realizing it, you are behaving like an entrepreneur. Parenting means creating something where nothing before existed. It means learning routines, when to delegate, when to give ourselves time outs, when to let go and how to be more flexible. Let’s delve into seven...

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Mom Entrepreneurs Parenting

Making it Their (Family) Business

These Moms Balance Work and Family By Creating Companies of Their Own For Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” and creator and designer of Rosie Pope Maternity, the decision to start her own business was based on a lifestyle goal. “I knew I wanted to be a mom and have lots of kids,” says the London-born entrepreneur and author. “Being my own boss was the only way I...

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Letting Kids Fail Parenting

Helping Children Succeed By Allowing Them to Fail

Nothing is stronger than the parental urge to protect our children. It’s deep in our DNA. Yet this instinct, taken to the extreme, actually makes our children vulnerable as they grow into adulthood. As a university professor, I had a front-row seat for the coming of age of several young millennials, who often were afraid to step outside their comfort zones. Their fear turned into paralysis and, after college, they...

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10-minute To-Do Positive Parenting

10-Minute Ways to Put Yourself on Your To-Do List

Where did the day go? I was busy all day, but I can’t remember what I did. I’ll get to that when my schedule frees up a bit. Who hasn’t had one of these thoughts at least once a week, if not every day? With kids, perpetual activity is the default state. Gone are the days of predictable schedules and even a little downtime. Throw in work, community involvement and...

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What Does Stay-at-Home Parenting Cost You?

Most working parents can relate to the desire to be with their children at every milestone. On the other hand, careers often provide satisfaction and a dual income that is important to the family. Mothers and, to an increasing degree, fathers must consider whether or not to stay at home with their children—a choice that can be difficult and very personal. One of the most immediate and pressing concerns in...

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Parenting, Self-Control and the Marshmallow Test

Welcome to the time of year when we all focus on self-discipline (or at least we try). Recently, psychologist Walter Mischel has returned to both the popular and academic press with research regarding his famous marshmallow test, an experiment involving 4-year-olds and their ability to resist eating a marshmallow placed in front of them in the hopes of receiving a larger reward later. Mischel found that children who were better...

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Light Up Your Hanukkah

This year, Hanukkah (or, if you prefer, Chanukah) commences on the evening of Dec. 16. There are a number of events in Southern California that commemorate this eight-day celebration. Popular children’s musician Doda Mollie, the woman behind the popular Chanukah Pajamikah CD, visits Children’s Book World (10580½ Pico Blvd., L.A.; www.childrensbookworld.com) at 4 p.m. Dec. 2 for a free “mini-pajamikah” party that includes holiday songs and stories for the whole...

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L.A. Moms Share Special Friendships

In September, we asked moms to write in and tell us about the important friends in their lives. Then we partnered with Terranea Resort to put together a getaway for one special group of women. Dozens of touching stories came in, and we chose Kristine Willis as our winner. Here’s how she describes her group of mom friends: Getaway Winner: Kristine Willis I have known these amazing women from 20-35...

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L.A. Moms Share Special Friendships

In September, we asked moms to write in and tell us about the important friends in their lives. Then we partnered with Terranea Resort to put together a getaway for one special group of women. Dozens of touching stories came in, and we chose Kristine Willis as our winner. Here’s how she describes her group of mom friends: Getaway Winner: Kristine Willis I have known these amazing women from 20-35...

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2014 Hollywood Christmas Parade Is Full Of “Wonder”

One sign the yuletide season is approaching Southern California is the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade. Celebrating its 83rd year, this longtime local holiday favorite has been described as the largest Christmas celebration in the country. It will include marching bands from across the country, equestrian acts, colorful floats and a number of celebrities, including Santa Claus. This year’s parade also salutes the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and...

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Quiet As An Orange Rhino

After an embarrassing incident when her handyman heard her screaming at her boys, Sheila McCraith, mother of four, pledged to refrain from yelling for 365 days. She began blogging as The Orange Rhino, and chronicled her yearlong, yell-free journey. Her post “10 Things I Learned When I Stopped Yelling at My Kids” was named one of the top parenting posts in January 2014 by The Huffington Post and has garnered...

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Navigating Video Game Ratings

You are at the multiplex with your family and your 13 year old wants to see an ?R-rated movie because “All the kids in my class have seen it and are talking about it. I’ll be left out if I don’t see it!” Do you buy your child a ticket and let them see it without you there to see it with them? Probably not. Now take this scenario and...

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Family Stress and The Big Pause

Recently, someone commented that because I’m a psychotherapist who has practiced yoga for more than 20 years, I must float around in a sort of bliss-filled bubble of equanimity and peace. Eh, not so much! I’d say my life is filled with an above-average amount of minor to major life stressors. It doesn’t look like that is going to ease up in the immediate future. But that is why I...

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9 Tips on Breaking Difficult News to Your Child

As a parent, one of the most important parts of your relationship with your child is communication and maintaining an open and honest relationship. Our children look to us for guidance and protection. For example, I always like to be the first to break news to my son, especially difficult news. That way I can control the environment and ensure the information provided will be accurate and truthful. This can...

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Westside Jewish Community Center offers New Program for Parents-to-be

The Westside Jewish Community Center is offering a unique new program for first-time parents. Jewish Baby University is a five-week program combining childbirth education with an exploration of Jewish tradition and rituals, concluding with a family Shabbat dinner. Each session features classes on a different topic, such as medical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, Jewish traditions and rituals surrounding childbirth, creating a Jewish home, Jewish life in Los Angeles, family financial planning and preparing mentally and...

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Developmental Benefits of Tummy Time

One of the great benefits to working as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is learning from colleagues from other disciplines. For example, I am co-teaching a class at CHLA for parents on how to care for a child who has a g-tube (gastrostomy tube). An occupational therapist, who is also co-teaching the class, talked about her discipline’s role in helping these children get the nutrition they need,...

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How To Have a Great Family Portrait Session

This moment in your family’s life is precious, remarkable, and unrepeatable. The way your newborn curls her fists when she sleeps. The wide-open wonder in your toddler’s eyes. The developing relationship between your second-grader and your preschooler — those little rivals, little partners in crime. I’m a mother, too — a grandmother now, in fact — and I understand how valuable these moments are and how important it is to...

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5 Habits To Strengthen Your Parent-Child Bond

All relationships in life require work and effort, but building and maintaining a strong relationship with your child will most likely be one of the hardest challenges you’ll encounter. It’s not just about building a better relationship, it’s about building a connection -- a genuine connection filled with respect, communication, love and hope. Here are five habits that can help you build and maintain a strong connection with your children....

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Ten Tips: Breastfeeding and Back to Work!

Everyone is focused on back-to-school at the moment, but it’s also National Breastfeeding Month! New moms headed back to work might wonder how they are going to make breastfeeding and their jobs work together. Here are some simple tips to make breastfeeding and your transition back to work a little easier! Before baby is born … 1. Plan to breastfeed. Simply making a plan and setting a time goal for...

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Turning Sexual Images In The Media Into Teachable Moments

Last week, a friend posted this question on Facebook: “Help! How should I handle my 8-year-old questioning me about the ‘Sex Tape’ billboards around town?” Her post received comments with suggestions that ranged from outright lying to deceit, denial, deafness and the favorite of many moms, “Ask your dad.” Rather than run away from the question, though, I think we need to make the Sex Tape billboard into a teachable...

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Bridging the Digital Divide Between Kids and Grandparents

In the digital world where we are raising our children, it seems that toddlers, teens and everyone in between is obsessed with technology and media. As growing numbers of grandparents occupy stools at the Apple Store Genius Bar, desperate to keep up, others choose to remain offline. How, then, can parents bridge this technology gap between their parents and their children, to help preserve the grandparent-grandchild bond? Yalda T. Uhls,...

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Telling Tales: Secrets For Sharing Your Story So Kids Will Listen

Once upon a time, when my little girl was 5, our family took a trip to Paris. While my husband was out handling the business part of our business vacation, Lauren and I went to visit the Louvre. It was a November weekday and the museum was wonderfully uncrowded – except for a large tour group from Japan blocking our view of the Mona Lisa. Determined that we would gaze...

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The Balancing Act: Free Play vs. Structure

Oh, summer. A more relaxed routine, bright sunshine and time that isn’t so planned. Each spring, leading up to summer, I toil with the question of how many camps to enroll my boys in. How much time should I take off from work, and how do I want to remember the summer? We all know how quickly the years go by. In our house, the first week of summer is...

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Local Pediatrician Brings Contemporary Styling to Hospital Scrubs

Pediatrician Neela Sethi Young, M.D.,was always sketching glamorous fashion designs as a little girl. With a penchant for maxi dresses and heels, the young pediatrician found the wide-cut, unisex blue scrubs she had to start wearing during her clinical rotations in medical school not quite up to her aesthetics. “As I put my first scrubs on, I thought they gave me the wrong one. These must be for a man....

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Unplug For Successful Family Dinners

By Randi Goodman, LMFT When I was a child, I remember family dinners as a time to be with the family without interruptions. When the phone rang, my mother would scream, “Nobody answer that.” As a mother myself, I find it difficult to hold a conversation with my children without them being attached to their cell phones and other electronic devices. They are Tweeting, Facebooking, and looking at Instagram instead...

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The Value of Pretend Play

By Patti Rommel, Director of Research and Development at Lakeshore Learning Materials Does your child love to dress up as a fearless superhero and conquer menacing villains, or reenact a scene from his or her favorite movie with friends? Maybe your little one can transform a cardboard box into a bottomless treasure chest … with just his or her imagination! If so, your child is engaging in pretend play, an...

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Parenting Help From Your Inner Child

By Dahlia Greenbaum, Parent Educator   Being a parent, unlike any other experience, can fill us with heart-bursting love and full-bodied joy one moment, while moments later exposing our deepest vulnerabilities and most uncomfortable feelings. Quite a huge impact from such a small human being, right?   When I meet with clients, one of the first ideas I offer is that most of parenting has nothing to do with our...

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Church & State

Dating Your Husband

You might think the dating phase of your relationship – along with the romance – is over. Think again! By Rina Baraz Nehdar Remember the drums beating inside your tummy, your heart racing as you ran around trying to find the perfect outfit, the make-up so meticulously applied – all in anticipation of that evening date with your special sweetheart? And all these years later, what happened? You still love...

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Samantha Kurtzman

Samantha Kurtzman-Counter: The Mother Company’s Mom

Samantha Kurtzman-Counter co-founded The Mother Company, which produces the “Ruby’s Studio” books, apps, shows and activities, after her son Jack was born. by Elena Epstein Samantha Kurtzman-Counter was enjoying a successful career as a television and film producer and director when she became a mom. “I thought I would return to work within three weeks of having my son,” she says. “But, once Jack was born, I quickly realized I...

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Mary John

Mary John: Money-Savvy Mom

This single mom of two daughters is also a wealth advisor. And she wants moms everywhere to take better charge of their finances. by Elena Epstein When it comes to money, Mary John, Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor for the Beverly Hills Region of Wells Fargo Private Bank, is on a mission. She wants every woman, starting at a young age, to understand money management and be able to...

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Mother's Group

Mothers Together

Joining a moms’ group can help forge connections and support By Elena Epstein Michelle Turner says the best advice she received while pregnant with her twin daughters was from a co-worker, advising her to join a moms’ group. She found the West L.A. chapter of the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs and signed up. Her daughters, Coco and Aya, are now 3 years old and the moms in...

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UCLA L&D

High-Risk Pregnancy

What To Do When Complications Arise By Christina Elston Jessica Fisher had a busy month ahead. Pregnant with twins after two years of frustration and fertility treatments, she was at a 19-week ultrasound where she would learn whether she was having boys or girls. Two days later she and her husband were headed to Palm Springs to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah with family, followed by a trip to Las Vegas...

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Girl Playing Tennis

Empowering Our Daughters

A Recipe For Raising Strong, Confident Girls By Robert Moskowitz Once upon a time, people said little girls were made of sugar and spice, and everything nice. Today, most of us recognize that the recipe for raising girls not only includes more ingredients, but that too much sugar can be toxic. According to Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of the groundbreaking and still-relevant book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent...

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