Evil Stepmother Speaks + 52 New Foods Challenge

Barbara Goldberg, author of The Evil Stepmother Speaks.
Topic:
A guide for stepfamilies who want to love and laugh
Issues: Why doesn’t anyone in the stepfamily listen to me? Why doesn’t the biological parents see what I see? Why am I so frustrated? And many other questions stepmothers ask.

Jennifer Tyler Lee, author of The 52 New Foods Challenge.
Topic:
A family cooking adventure for each week of the year.
Issues: Creative ways to get your children to eat healthy, balanced meals; practical tips to change the way your family eats—one new food at a time; bringing back the joy of mealtimes; exploring new foods and bust boredom at your family table.

Games for Two

Here at Parents@Play, we focus on toys and games that parents and kids can do together. But a number of readers have asked for some recommendations for those times when it’s just mom or dad and only one child. Here are a few of our “you-can-play-with-more-but-plenty-of-fun-for-two” games.

doodle diceDoodle Dice (Jax Ltd.)
This game is part Yahtzee and part art project. Each side of each of the six dice has a dot, a line, a squiggle, or a face. And each card in the deck has a drawing (called a “doodle”) made up of anywhere from 1-6 of those elements. Cards are color coded—all the ones with one-die doodles are orange, all the ones with two-dice doddles are red, etc. Players take turns drawing a card and rolling the dice, trying to match the doodle. If you don’t get it on the first try, keep the ones you like and roll the rest again. The object is to make one doodle from each colored card. But you can change the rules any way you want. For example, if you’re playing with a young child, use only the red and orange cards. The older the child, the more complex the doodles. You get the point. Ages 6 and up. 2-6 players. As low as $10.17. http://jaxgames.com/

hit the habitat trailHit the Habitat Trail! (Jax Ltd.)
A game that truly makes education fun. The goal is to collect two cards from each of the earth’s habitats: arctic, desert, forest, grasslands, jungle, mountains, ocean, and wetlands. You get those cards by answering multiple-choice questions—about either a habitat or an animal that lives there—from cards that you pull as you follow a spiral trail around the world. For example, are an animal’s stripes like rings on a tree—telling how old the animal is? (Nope).  Great for playing at home or, if you’re an educator, in the classroom. Ages 8 and up. 2-6 players. As low as $22. http://jaxgames.com/

 

linkeeLinkee (Linkee)
If you like trivia and quiz games, you’ll love LInkee. What makes Linkee different from some others you may have played is that each card contains four trivia questions whose answers all have something in common. For example: “Peter Rabbit” author (Potter), nickname for Australia (Oz), bird whose name rhymes with Berlin (Merlin), and Ian Mackellen’s character in “Lord of the Rings” (Gandalff). And the Linkee is…. Wizards. Linkee will make you think, wince, and laugh—sometimes all at the same time. Ages 14 and up. 2-30 players. $43. http://playlinkee.com/

sequence statesSequence: States & Capitals (Jax, Ltd.)
Got a kid who’s trying to memorize state capitals? This game—a variation on the wildly successful Sequence game—can help. The idea is pretty simple. Players are dealt cards, each with a colored representation of a state, the name of its capital, and a star indicating roughly where that city is within the state. Then each player tries to match the cards in their hand to identical images on the game board, putting a chip on each one. When you get five in a row, you’ve got yourself a Sequence. Two Sequences and you win the game. Use Remove cards to mess up your opponent’s Sequences. Other versions include Cats, Dogs, Bible, and Jewish. Ages 7 and up. 2-12 players. $16. http://jaxgames.com/

word aroundWord A Round (Think Fun)
A fast-paced, really fun game. Just flip over a round card and read the words written in circles. Sounds easy, right?—the words are right there in front of you. But without knowing where the word begins or ends, it’s surprisingly hard. Ages 10 and up. 2-6 players. $10 retail. http://thinkfun.com/

Three Must-Have New Baby Items

SONY DSC

SONY DSCSo the day has come, and you’re holding that tiny, helpless, unbelievably lovable, and completely dependent-upon-you baby in your arms. Congratulations, and welcome to the journey of fatherhood. Whether this is your first baby, or the third or sixth, that old provider-protector instinct is already kicking in. But between trying to cope with those nighttime wakeups and adjusting to a new pace of life, it’s not always easy to make the right decisions for the newest member of your the family.

Don’t worry, dad. The fact that you want to give your baby the very best means you’re more than halfway there. Three of your most important activities are going to be feeding, schlepping, and swaddling–all of which require the right equipment (and technique). Unfortunately, it’s hard to filter through the dizzying array of products and the equally dizzying amount of misinformation Here’s an intro to the equipment and some info that will help you stay on the right side of each one.

Baby Bottles

You may have heard the phrase that “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your little one. Many studies have shown the myriad benefits of breastfeeding, so it’s considered all the better if your wife is able to nurse. Does mama work full-time? If she can pump, give her encouragement to do so—and kudos for the hard work it takes to make this happen. The key to giving a breastfed baby a bottle is finding a variety that closely simulates the breast. Styles like the line of NxGen Nurser baby bottles are regularly recommended by lactation consultants.

[Read more…]

Becoming the Model Parent

Dear Mr. Dad: People are constantly talking about how parents should be good role models for their kids, and that makes good sense to me. But everywhere I look, I see parents behaving in horrible ways. Maybe I’m confused about what “good role model” really means. What are good role models supposed to do?

A: We all know that our kids are watching our every move (even when they’re ignoring us). And most of us have banished the phrase “do as I say, not as I do” from our vocabulary. So there’s no question that what we do is important and that our behavior can have a big influence on how our children will turn out as adults. But for me, setting a good example is much more about the being than the doing.

If you want your child to be an ethical person, treat others (and themselves) with respect, and make the right choices even if they’re not the easy ones, you’ll have to do more than demonstrate behavior. You’ll have to talk about the issues and point out examples of good—and bad—behavior around you, and in movies, TV shows, and books. And you’ll need to discuss with your child why people make the choices they do and what your child would have done instead. The goal is to lead your child to a point where he or she will make good choices even when you’re not there.

That said, being a role model isn’t all in your head, and how you behave is still important. Here are a few ideas:
[Read more…]

Conversations Between Dads and Brands

dad2summitDoug French, author, writer, blogger, speaker, entrepreneur.
Topic:
The emergence of the dad blogger; conversations between brands and dads; giving back to others; dad2.0 summit (in San Francisco February 19-21, 2015).