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Kicking off a Healthy St. Louis Summer

The weather seems to be having a tough time making up its mind just what season it should be, but we SmartParenting bloggers have no doubts: Next weekend is the start of summer!

This week we’re focusing most of our attention on ideas for summer – things to do, recipes to cook, books to read, and (my topic for today) ways to stay healthy.

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Seven Reasons to Plan a Kid-Free Getaway

This past week, Mr. P and I spent a few glorious, gin-soaked days in Savannah, Georgia.

We truly loved Savannah. I loved the way the jasmine and honeysuckle smelled when we walked through the city’s 22 park-like squares. The way the locals stopped us on the street to offer us help and suggestions when we were lost, their accents like, as Andy on The Office says, “molasses just sort of spillin’ out of their mouths.”

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How to Prepare Your Child for Sleep Away Camp

When Jenny Wolkowitz’ youngest daughter went to a two-week sleepover camp for the first time, the girl decided she didn’t need her favorite stuffed animal and left it at home. Days later, Wolkowitz had to put the toy in a box and send it to her homesick daughter by overnight delivery.

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Ending the School Year on a Full Stomach Thanks to Operation Backpack

It’s no surprise our kids aren’t as healthy as they should be.

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My Son Is Going to Prom. Why Am I in Tears?

Ah, the wonderfulness that is prom season is upon us. This is the time of year that the malls are filled with teen girls preparing for their big day buying gowns and accessories and getting their hair curled and primped. 

Mothers like me are also bustling around to make sure that each and every detail is taken care of for this monumental night of teenage-hood. But this is also a time of year for sadness for some of us as we notice that our children are growing up and will soon be adults. What is supposed to be a glorious time can be a melancholy event for parents who recognize that their children will soon be out of the family nest.
 
A few weeks ago when my son announced he was going to prom, I was quite cool. I went to prom both my junior and senior year in high school and considered it a big deal. But as the event creeps closer, it has been a time of reflection for me. This little boy who used to poop in diapers and follow me around like my shadow is now 17 years old, attending prom, and will be graduating next year and going off to college. How can this be?
 

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Finding Solace in the Prom Scene

Pull out your iridescent taffeta and matching dyed pumps from Payless. Prom season is in full effect!

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7 Ways to Celebrate Children's Book Week in St. Louis

This week marks the beginning of our country’s longest-running literacy program, Children’s Book Week. It is an annual celebration with a simple and powerful message: Books change lives, so let’s share them with our kids. Started in 1919 by the librarian of the Boy Scouts, who sought to improve the standards of children’s books, Children's Book Week is now administered by Every Child a Reader.

Children’s books hold a particularly special place in our culture. In fact, I probably enjoy them more than most of the adult books I read. They are deceptively simple, and the memorable ones tickle our imagination. They are full of the play and discovery characteristic not just of being a child but, well, of being human. And the element of illustration adds a whole other dimension to storytelling.

Here are some activities you can do with your child to celebrate this week.

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Talking to Your Kids About Natural Disasters

All these tornadoes lately!  Not to mention floods, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns and blizzards (had to throw that in for my family up in North Dakota). The end-of-the-world folks have to be buzzing.

Usually I try to shield my kids from disaster stories. But on Friday our family happened to dine within sight of the TVs above a restaurant bar, and my 7-year-old spent the meal avidly reading news headlines about the horrible storms and tornadoes in the South. At that point the death toll was in the 200s; now it’s at 345.

He had a million and one questions. The trickiest for me to answer was why people didn’t go somewhere safe when they heard the sirens? 

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Money-Saving Tips for Expectant Moms

Babies are expensive! Nursery furniture, bedding, clothes, toys, bottles and formula, and diapers, diapers, and more diapers … sometimes newly pregnant moms are surprised by just how much money they’ll be spending on their little bundle of joy.

Savvy shoppers have always been able to save money, but thanks to the Internet and online rewards programs, it’s becoming easier for busy expectant moms to take advantage of special offers even before their baby is born.

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3 Simple Rules to Make Parenting Easier

Parenting is hard enough when both parents are in the same home. But when you are divorced or no longer with your significant other, it can make parenting that much more difficult.

Children often like to play both sides, sometimes pitting one parent against the other to try to get their own way, which can create havoc in an already delicate relationship. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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We All Know Tanning Isn't Healthy, But ...

Let’s have a show of hands: How many of you have added a little color this spring? It could be anything – a few brushes of bronzer? A quick trip to a tanning studio? An application of sunless tanning lotion, either at home or in carwash style? Or even the “real” way, on a beach somewhere?

OK, I’m putting down my hand so I can keep typing. All winter I resolve to be fine with my natural skin tone, but when it’s time to break out the shorts and sleeveless shirts, I can’t bring myself to keep it.

Not only would my skin be healthier in the long term if I could bring myself to stay out of the sun, I feel a twinge of guilt for contributing – in however small a way, because I never get very tan! – to the societal preference for a “healthy” glow.  When I read articles like the one in last week’s Post-Dispatch about young women who have gotten skin cancer from tanning beds, I feel that twinge a little more strongly.

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Things to Do

Toddler Tinker Time
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, Tuesday through Friday, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

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Petite Picasso Virtual Art Classes for Kids
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Magic House now offers a virtual art experience for children – multi-sensory Virtual Petite Picasso classes. Classes are taught live from the Art Studio at The Magic House, and a different art activity is featured each week! 

 

 

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Saint Louis Zoo's Newest Exhibit Features Roaring, Spitting Dinosaurs in a Walk-Through Land Before Time

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Fun for Every Child: The Steps Summer Camps are Taking to Be More Inclusive

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Spring Break Camps Offer a Variety of Activities for Kids and Teens in St. Louis

Welcome 2021's much-awaited springtime with a variety of fun Spring Break camps for kids as young as Pre-K. From rocketry to wildlife, science to arts & crafts, sports to healthcare, in-person or virtual Spring Break camps offer kids a way to meet up with their peers, learn a new skill, or return to favorite fun activities. Here is a roundup of Spring Break camps available in the St. Louis area:

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How Are You Holding Up? Here's What Experts Say About Coping With Anxiety, Stress and Uncertainty

Telling children they shouldn’t worry about something doesn’t make that worry go away. Instead, we want to help them develop skills to manage worries so they can feel empowered to cope with future worries.

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