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The Challenge of Limiting TV Time

There seems to be a relatively new problem, with a unique theme, in my household: a Yo Gabba! Gabba! craze. It started about a year ago when our 1-year-old discovered television. This was primarily a result of my wife and I looking for ways to sooth her when she was upset or not feeling well.

Perhaps this was an error in judgment. We are well aware that television is not recommended for the under-2 crowd. But when a child is sick and despondent and the whole family is exhausted and miserable, then you just try to make things as comfortable as possible.

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Handmade in Our Hometown

I’m not crafty. I wish I was, but I’m not.

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Terrible Twos Times Two?

Our pediatrician is a master at prepping parents for the year ahead. So after hearing what he had to say about 4-year-olds, I am bracing myself.

Kids this age are independent, willful, determined and dogged. All of these would be qualities I’d prize highly … if they weren’t already being employed in getting a cupcake for breakfast or two more games on the Wii or an extension on bedtime.

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What's Happening on our Facebook Page

We love to interact with our readers on Facebook. If you're not a follower on our Facebook page yet, now is a great time to join us. We periodically conduct giveaways to great St. Louis family attractions directly from our Facebook page, and this week, we're giving away four tickets to see Nick's Storytime LIVE at the Fox Theatre on July 16. You can view and like our Facebook page here.

This week's contest is called BRING IT. The Facebook friend that brings the highest number of followers to our page by Friday at 3 p.m. wins the tickets. It's that simple. And they're great seats!

In previous Facebook contests, we've given away tickets to Cardinals games, kids CDs, and more.

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Surprising Sunscreen News

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about sunscreens among my friends. Turns out some contain ingredients that may disrupt the way hormones work in our bodies or actually do more harm than good when it comes to skin cancer.

With all the unknowns around increasing rates of everything from autism to type 2 diabetes in kids, a lot of parents are nervous about everything that goes onto and into their children. A few years ago, I was hearing similar “what-if” stories from the eco-parent types who were avoiding plastic drinking cups and bottles due to concerns about bisphenol A (which the government’s National Toxicology Program puts in the “some concern” category for developmental toxicity). Back when they first started talking about BPA, few of us knew what it was – and now, of course, BPA is pretty much a household term among families with infants and toddlers.  I suspect things could go the same way for oxybenzone in sunscreens.

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Missouri Makes a Decision about Common Core Standards

Some folks send their kids to school and trust that institution to properly preparing their children for the future.

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How Much Sleep Do Preschoolers Need -- and Are They Getting It?

Last week there was a major conference of sleep researchers in San Antonio, Texas. Usually reading through scientific abstracts like the ones presented there is a sure-fire way of inducing drowsiness, but I found several that actually made me sit up and pay attention.

The most interesting one looked at around 8,000 preschoolers to find out whether their bedtimes and how much total sleep they got had any effect on their overall development. My youngest son just turned 4 today, so I was curious—and I was surprised by what I learned.

The results may surprise you, too. But first, a pop quiz on how well you know your bedtime facts.

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Let's Go Gardening

Each day, our kids are blasted with ads for greasy, cheesy, sugary, processed foods. It’s no wonder they turn up their noses when you present them with a bowl of veggies. Unless, of course, the vegetables are deep-fried and doused in Ranch dressing.

One way to get kids involved in making healthy choices is to bring them back to square one – and that’s in the garden. When children play a role in growing their own food, they’re more likely to eat their fruits and vegetables and learn a new sense of responsibility.

“Gardening teaches kids about being care givers,” said Gwenne Hayes-Stewart, executive director of Gateway Greening, via e-mail. Her organization promotes gardening partnerships for community development. “Consequences of poor care are evident nearly at once. Just as apparent are the consequences of paying attention to what plants need. Kids pick up on this quickly. No water, the plant dies. Too much water, the plant struggles. Making sure to check the soil first, and bingo, success!”

You still have time to introduce your kids to the benefits of gardening this summer. Although it’s getting too late to plant many fruits and vegetables, you’re only a few steps away from a delicious harvest this autumn.

Said Debbie Tolstoi of Garden Heights Nursery by e-mail, “In August, sow seeds for the fall season such as spinach, carrots, collards, kale, lettuce, beets, turnips, radish, cilantro and dill. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants should be available in nurseries in late August or early September.”

I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve thought it myself – planting and maintaining vegetables sounds like too much work. Believe me, I definitely don’t have a green thumb – it’s more like the black thumb of veggie death. However, Tolstoi had some excellent tips that make planting a garden a snap:

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Is Your Family Prepared for Summer Emergencies?

A few years ago my parents, husband, brother and I were playing a game called Worst-Case Scenarios. In it, players pit their wits against situations like bear attacks, deadly flora, armed assailants and the like – things we wouldn’t usually experience in our day-to-day vanilla lives.

If you’d asked me to predict the winner, I’d have gone with my brother, a trained mountaineer. Or my husband, an Air Force veteran. Or my father, a lifelong hunter. Who won?

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You Did Not Just Say That

Kids say the cutest things. Nothing can melt a parent’s heart more than hearing “I love you, Daddy” or “You’re the best mommy” from a 5-year-old.

Once they get in public, however, some of the things that come out of their mouths aren’t so cute. In fact, they’re downright embarrassing, or worse, hurtful to an intended target. I mean, how can you prevent your kid from announcing to the world you wore your holey underwear today because you haven’t done the wash in a week?

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Reinventing the Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle

I’ve always loved going to concerts. In college, I became a music reviewer so I could get free tickets to all the shows and hang out with the bands. When Mr. P and I were dating, we regularly hit The Duck Room and Scottrade Center to see our favorite performers.

But when the Little Ps made their debuts, our pseudo rock star lifestyle gave its final curtain call. For instance, I’m dying to see The Black Keys at The Pageant on Thursday, but I feel 3-year-olds probably don’t belong in a sweaty, booze-infused dance pit in front of the stage.

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Only One in Three Teen Girls Are Getting the Vaccine to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Whenever I read the latest health news, I feel a little surge of pride when a new study comes out of Washington University in St. Louis. This latest one also stirs emotion in my heart for more personal reasons.

First, the study: Researchers found that only a third of teen girls ages 13 to 17 in the six states surveyed received the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, or HPV. While in adolescence HPV is thought of primarily as a sexually transmitted disease, in older women it becomes a factor in most cases of cervical cancer, which was diagnosed in 11,000 American women last year and will eventually be fatal to 4,000 of them.

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Things to Do

Omnimax Movies at the Saint Louis Science Center

Catch a movie or two at the Saint Louis Science Center's OMNIMAX Theater, where films are shown featuring the IMAX with Laser. This state-of-the-art theater provides the sharpest images, unmatched sound quality and 40% greater color range than traditional theaters. The five-story, 80-foot-diameter dome will fill your entire field of vision providing a truly immersive experience. 

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Water Waddlers Indoor Drop-In Swim

Stop in and have some fun in the indoor pool at the Lodge of Des Peres with your little one at this drop-in swim time for kids up to age 6. No pre-registration is needed; Water Waddlers is open to residents and non-residents of Des Peres.

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Open Gym at Miss Kelly's Gym
Friday, March 31, 2023
Saturday, April 1, 2023
Friday, April 7, 2023

Kids can work on existing gym skills, learn new skills or just play around during Open Gym at Miss Kelly's Gym. Reservations are not necessary.

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New Events and Family Favorites Mark Purina Farms' 2023 Season

Bark ‘N Bloom is the kick-off to Purina Farm’s 2023 season and the introduction to its newly renovated Visitors Center, which is home to fun-filled exhibits and programs from April through October. Also unveiling this season is Chickentopia.

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Life Lessons Learned at Overnight Camp

With the perfect blend of adventure and responsibility, camp life teaches kids valuable lessons they can use for the rest of their lives. If you send your child to overnight camp, here are some life lessons they are likely to learn.

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

Excitement is building for summer and the wide variety of summer camp experiences available for kids in the St. Louis metro area. But first! Spring break is around the corner, and there are plenty of Spring Break camps now enrolling. 

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10 Reasons Your Teen Might Love to be a Camp Counselor

Day or sleepaway summer camp is the perfect place for teens to transition to the world of the employed. The paycheck is nice, but being a summer camp counselor has other rewards, too.

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Drawn In: The New Animated, Literacy-Boosting Series that's Made in STL

Tyler, Nevaeh, Jadyn, and Grace – the fearless foursome of the new animated series “Drawn In” – have captured the imagination of viewers in St. Louis and ignited their love of learning with every new adventure. The show was conceived, created, and produced in St. Louis, and the majority of voice talent is based in the metro area. You can catch it on Nine PBS.

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