Big Kid

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    All kids, at some point, start begging, pleading, and pestering their parents for their own cellphone. As a mom with a 4-year-old, I assumed I had some time before the whining and wheedling commenced ... but it turns out, I might be wrong.

    Over the weekend I saw tons of ads on TV for "smartphones for kids," showing what looked like happy 8-year-olds texting away. Which was bad enough ... then, online, I stumbled across AT&T's FiLIP wearable phone, touted as "perfect for kids 4 through 11."

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    Jodi Levine, mom to two sons, Super Make It guru, and author of Candy Aisle Crafts, is the queen of creating extraordinary crafts from everyday supermarket items. And with her as a guide, you can make incredible candy treats and have a lot of fun with your child at the same time.

    "There are so many benefits to spending time crafting with your kid," says Levine. "It creates memories your child will have forever. My boys, Sammy, 11, and Lionel, 8, are big outerspace fans. They love the planet cookies!"

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    Every year, on every playground, no matter where you are, there's one kid who's a serial kisser. He or she chases after the other kids (or sometimes one kid in particular) and plants one on them -- a big wet sloppy kiss. Squeals and giggles may follow. It's an age-old game. The problem is, there's often an unwilling participant. And not every parent is ready for their kid to be kissed -- no matter how "innocent" it seems.

    "While some children do struggle with impulse control challenges, others are just curious or have seen this behavior modeled," says Fran Walfish, PhD, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. "A kid may also kiss another kid -- a provocative boy, for example -- to irritate him."

    Whatever the motivation behind the kiss, "It's just not appropriate to kiss other kids on the playground," says Fallyn Smith, LMSW, director of Social Success in Burlingame, California. 

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    In the old days, when a kid lost a tooth, they'd stick it under their pillow and find a quarter there the next morning. These days, the tooth fairy has gotten a lot more creative. And why not make it special? Losing a tooth is a huge physical milestone and cause for celebration.

    If you're looking for ideas to commemorate your child's first lost tooth or want to start a new tooth fairy tradition (and trust us, you will when you see the ideas below), look no farther. We rounded up 11 creative ideas from our favorite bloggers that will help keep the tooth fairy magic alive.

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    There are two checkered balls rolling around in the passenger seat floorboard of my SUV. The storage area contains two folding chairs: one adult-sized, one child-sized. The backseat is littered with granola bar wrappers, one seatbelt is still moist from a spilled water bottle, and the entire vehicle holds the faint odor of sweaty shinguards. In the rearview mirror I can see my reflection: wispy pieces of hair forming a halo around my ponytail, my makeup long worn away, my mouth slightly agape as I visibly struggle to remember the practice schedule I glanced at just two seconds ago.

    Somewhere along the line, I became a full-fledged soccer mom. Not only is this a lifestyle that is almost painfully glamorous, I find that it's a great opportunity to continually experience a series of intensely awkward moments every single week as I rush to and from my children's activities.

    Tell me, do you share my soccer mom pain?


    Image via Montgomery County Planning Commission/Flickr

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    This Sunday, September 21, thousands of participants will take to the streets of New York City to join in the People's Climate March. Heads of state are headed to the Big Apple to attend a summit on climate change. Meanwhile, the march is one of the biggest climate mobilization moments ever in history, and you can take part in it too.

    Whether you can make it to New York to take part in the big event or you'll be active from across the country, you can lend your voice and support to the cause. Better yet, you can get your children involved. Teach them about the importance of environmental awareness, climate change, and how to preserve our planet. Here's what you can do this weekend:

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    Over the past week, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has been accused of abusing two of his sons. He was charged with beating his 4-year-old child with a switch and leaving another 4-year-old with a scarred head. While much of the drama has surrounded the NFL and the Vikings over their handling of the case, the news has also shined a light on the act itself. The star football player has essentially become the face of corporal punishment.

    Corporal punishment, and spanking in particular, has been a hot debate in the parenting community for generations. Those who practice it swear it works. Those who abstain strongly discredit its effectiveness. But what effects does it really have? We've looked to recent research and published studies to really determine how spanking impacts children.

    Take a look at these 12 scientific facts about corporal punishment and decide for yourself:

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    Talk about awkward: Your kid is invited to a birthday party, only the invitation says guests should bring "no gifts." If you've ever found yourself in this predicament, you might surmise deep down that you're screwed no matter what: If you follow the host's wishes and show up empty-handed, you will feel like a heel, particularly if other guests bring gifts anyway. Or, if you blow it off and bring a present, the host might truly be miffed and thank you through gritted teeth.

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    Girls, girls, girls! Of course we know about their passion for all things princess (apologies for the mostly true stereotype) and their flair for the dramatic (again, apologies), but girls are unique in fascinating ways.

    Turns out girls have some advantages straight out of the womb ... and some that pop up in adolescence. Other characteristics really do make them vulnerable to topsy-turvey teenage years. 

    Here are 12 facts about girls that may surprise you.

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    We're well into back to school season, and as your kids are starting to spend the majority of their day away from home, do you really know how safe they are in case of an emergency? Save the Children, an organization that focuses on child safety and wellness, recently came out with its annual Disaster Report Card that gauges how well each state is prepared to handle a disaster. The scary news? Nearly half the states in the nation are not prepared to protect our kids!

    From multi-hazard plans for schools to evacuation plans for special needs students and child care centers, and reunification plans to help children and parents rejoin after a disaster, the organization looked at each state to determine how well they've planned. At a time when 54 percent of families have been affected by some type of disaster, it's important to look at the findings. And sadly, they're not the best.

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